Murtha right again

January 26, 2009

U.S. Rep. John Murtha deserves credit for speaking the truth.

Unfortunately some people don’t like what he has to say and then try to twist his words to suit their purposes.

Murtha has come under fire for saying that the suspected terrorists being moved from Guantanamo are “no more dangerous in my district than in Guantanamo.”

He added there was “no reason not to put ’em in prisons in the United States and handle them the way they would handle any other prisoners.”

Now some people apparently took that to mean that Murtha was proposing that a special prison be built in his district to house the prisoners from Guantanamo. But that’s not what he was saying. He’s just saying these guys should be treated the same as other prisoners. After all, the federal prisons are full of serial killers and mean, vicious cold-blooded killers. How could the Guantanamo detainees be any worse?

Of course, the Republican fear mongers can’t have that. They need to make people scared and frightened. So, Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts, who represents Lancaster and the surrounding area, led the charge.

“I know for certain constituents in my district do not want known terrorists brought to their communities, or neighboring communities for that matter,” said Pitts. “There is no good reason to willingly bring these dangerous men into the United States. I don’t want them in Pennsylvania, or anywhere in the United States for that matter.”

So, exactly what are we supposed to be scared about these Guantanamo detainees? Are they super villians able to climb walls and fly out of prisons? Or do they have x-ray eyes and super hearing? It’s ridiculous. These guys are no better or worse than the other prisoners being held in various penal institutions throughout Pennsylvania and the United States.

After all, it’s not like these guys are going anywhere soon. When was the last time you heard of a major breakout from a federal prison? You haven’t because it’s not happening. These maximum security federal prisons are just that. It’s pretty near impossible for anyone to escape. So, why all the fear about these detainees. Could it be that Republicans are just looking to scare and frighten people with tall tales of Muslim terrorists? Nah, these Republicans would never do that. Right?

Well, people would be well advised to consider carefully what Murtha’s saying and not be fooled against by the fearmongers on the Republican side.

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Strange tale of Caroline Kennedy

January 23, 2009

The aborted bid by Caroline Kennedy for the U.S. Senate from New York is certainly one of the stranger chapters in American political history.

According to Associated Press, a person who worked closely with Kennedy said she was withdrewing her Senate bid because of a personal matter unrelated to her ill uncle. Kennedy, the 51-year-old daughter of President John Kennedy, had emerged as a front-runner to replace Hillary Clinton. But there were questions about her experience and her reluctance to answer questions about her finances. Kennedy discussed withdrawing from the race with Gov. David Paterson on Wednesday, and Paterson asked her to reconsider for 24 hours, the person said. But by 11 p.m. Wednesday, the associate said, Kennedy decided she couldn’t take the job if appointed, and she issued a statement shortly after midnight saying she was withdrawing.

Kennedy did not decide to bow out because her uncle, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, suffered a seizure during an inaugural luncheon Tuesday, the person said. The 76-year-old Massachusetts senator was diagnosed in May with an aggressive type of brain tumor. The person wasn’t authorized to disclose the conversation between Kennedy and the governor and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The person would give no other details about the personal matter. Kennedy’s one-sentence statement ended hours of uncertainty as she appeared to waver. “I informed Governor Paterson today that for personal reasons I am withdrawing my name from consideration for the United States Senate.” There was no comment from Paterson. So, it seems that we’ll never know what really prompted Kennedy to not seek the appointment. Was it secrecy? Kennedy, an author, lawyer and fundraiser for New York City schools, has long guarded her privacy, and the questionnaires were expected to include some closely guarded Kennedy financial data. Paterson had said he thought the candidates’ responses would be confidential because it was his personal request that they fill them out.

But the state’s open-government expert and good-government groups told the AP that once the forms were written and submitted to the governor at least some of the responses would be subject to public review under the state Freedom of Information Law. Or was it because Patterson had picked someone else? Had Hillary Clinton persuaded him not to appoint her. After all, it was Kennedy’s early endorsement of Barack Obama that severly damaged Clinton’s own bid for the presidency.

 Kennedy hardly set the political world on fire and was no sure bet to win re-election in two years. She jumped to the top of statewide polls in early December, but her public support waned following a brief upstate tour and a few press interviews.She was criticized as reluctant to answer questions, and her knowledge of New York and its issues were suspect. She was also mocked nationwide for her frequent use of “you know” and “um” in interviews and was branded a lackluster campaigner.

So, her campaign is over, about as abruptly as it began. And we’ll probably never know not only why she decided not to see the appointment but why she even sought it in the first place.


Palin has a point

January 13, 2009

I forgot to add in my last post that I do agree with Sarah Palin on one issue.

In her interview with conservative radio talk-show host and filmmaker John Ziegler, Palin complained about reports suggesting that Trig Palin was not her son and said she was “frustrated” by rampant rumors about her and her family.

While mainstream media stayed away from such rumors, they were fueled by bloggers and others online and the supermarket tabloids.

“I wasn’t believed that Trig was really my son,” she said. She called it a “sad state of affairs.”

“What is the double-standard here?” she asked. “Why would people choose to believe lies? What is it that drives people to believe the worst, perpetuate the worst?”

“When did we start accepting as hard news sources bloggers, anonymous bloggers especially?” she asked.

I couldn’t agree more. It’s a shame that so much of what thrives on the Internet are outright, vicious lies.

The mainstream media stayed away from such rumors because there was nothing to them. That’s the way it used to be when facts mattered, but now anyone can say anything and all kinds of people believe it. Conservatives and liberals are equally guilty of it. Never let the facts get in the way of a good yard is what they believe.

Let’s hope that one day we get back to where people base their decisions on the truth not just what they want to believe.


Sarah Palin at it again

January 10, 2009

Our favorite governor of Alaska just won’t go away will she?

After serving as a lightning rod for both liberals and conservatives last fall,  Sarah Palin seems determined to try and stay in the limelight.

According to Associated Press, Palin is questioning the media’s treatment of Caroline Kennedy in her bid for a New York seat in the U.S. Senate.

In an intereview with conservative radio talk-show host and filmmaker John Ziegler, Palin said, “I’ve been interested to see how Caroline Kennedy will be handled and if she will be handled with kid gloves or if she will be under such a microscope.”

Palin herself suggested class issues could be behind the differences in coverage, saying “… we will perhaps be able to prove that there is a class issue here also that was such a factor in the scrutiny of my candidacy versus, say, the scrutiny of what her candidacy may be.”

In the interview, Palin criticized the news media’s coverage of her and her family, telling Ziegler that CBS News anchor Katie Couric and comic actress Tina Fey had been “exploiting” her. Palin gave Couric a rare interview at the beginning of her campaign for vice president, and Fey frequently impersonated Palin on “Saturday Night Live.”

Palin singled out the Couric interview as condescending, particularly a question about what she reads and, according to the governor, “What do you guys do up there?” In fact, Couric never asked that question but did press, unsuccessfully, for the governor to state specific newspapers she read, which Palin never answered fully.

According to AP, in a news release issued Friday, Palin’s office said the governor was dismayed that her comments in the Ziegler interview were being taken out of context in the media “to create adversarial situations.”

Regarding her remarks about Kennedy, Palin said: “I was not commenting at all on Caroline Kennedy as a prospective U.S. senator, but rather on the seemingly arbitrary ways in which news organizations determine the level and kind of scrutiny given to those who aspire to public office. In fact, I consider Ms. Kennedy qualified and experienced, and she could serve New York well.”

What Palin apparently doesn’t understand is that there’s a world of difference between a presidential campaign and the appointment of a senator. I mean come on? How could you ever compare the two in any real significant way. It’s absurd and ridiculous, once again showing Palin’s lack of intelligence concerninig national politics. There’s no media arbitrariness involved in any of this. Trust me if Caroline Kennedy ever runs for vice president, she will come under the same scrutiny as Palin. And if she does a poor job as Palin did as a candidate, she will be lambasted by the media. Period.

After all Kennedy has already come under criticism for for her use of “you know” and “um,” in her first public appearances. New York news media also have published or broadcast numerous stories containing criticism of Kennedy’s lack of experience in elective office and whether she is the best choice to replace Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has been asked to join the Obama administration as secretary of state.

A word to Gov. Palin, please try and stay out of the news for at least a little while…please.


What makes America great?

January 9, 2009

One of the things that really makes America great is how we’re able to transfer power from party to party peacefully without a hint of violence.

That fact came into clear focus this week as President-Elect Barack Obama and President George W. Bush had lunch with former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bll Clinton and George H.W. Bush. It certainly was an image bound to go down in history with every living U.S. president standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the Oval Office.

The meeting was by all accounts very cordial.  Both Bushes deserve a lot of credit for taking part in the meeting and trying to give some advice to Obama, who will surely need all the help he can get. After being blistered by Obama on the campaign trail for the better part of two years, who could have blamed W for not wanting anything to do with his successor.  But instead he turned the other cheek and went out of his way to give Obama a primer on the stresses and problems involved with being the nation’s top chief executive.

According to the Associated Press, both Bush and Obama had warm words for each other.

“This is an extraordinary gathering,” Obama said. All the gentlemen here understand both the pressures and possibilities of this office. And for me to have the opportunity to get advice, good counsel and fellowship with these individuals is extraordinary. And I’m very grateful to all of them.”

“All of us who have served in this office understand that the office transcends the individual,” Bush said as Obama nodded in thanks. “And we wish you all the very best. And so does the country.

“One message that I have, and I think we all share, is that we want you to succeed,” Bush added, a beaming Clinton at his other side. “Whether we’re Democrat or Republican, we care deeply about this country.”\

After all the ugliness of the political campaigns last fall, who could disagree with that?


Obama proving skeptics wrong

January 6, 2009

Remember when all those Republicans and conservatives said Barack Obama would turn us into a socialist country come Jan. 20.

Well, guess what? According to Associate Press, Obama’s actually getting some praise from Republicans and conservatives about his proposed stimulus package, which would provide businesses with billions of dollars in refunds on taxes they paid several years ago.

“This gives companies an infusion of cash just when they need it,” Dorothy Coleman of the National Association of Manufacturers said of the proposed refunds.

According to AP, Obama’s proposal to stimulate the economy includes tax cuts of up to $300 billion, including more than $100 billion for businesses.

The refund provision would enable some companies posting losses last year to get refunds for taxes paid as far back as five years earlier. The businesses could refile their old tax returns, using the losses suffered last year to offset profits made when times were good.

Under current law, businesses can use losses to offset profits the two previous years.

“I think it’s creative, I think it’s bold,” said said Bruce Wein said, who heads the U.S. tax practice law firm DLA Piper. “It’s going to get a lot of backing from Republicans for the obvious reasons.”

AP said Obama’s tax package also targets individuals, providing a $500 tax cut for most workers and $1,000 for couples, at a cost of about $140 billion to $150 billion over two years. The individual tax cuts may be awarded through withholding less from worker paychecks, effectively making them about $10 larger each week.

Another provision brought to the negotiations by the Obama team would award companies that hire new workers a one-year tax credit at a total cost of $40 billion to $50 billion over two years. Businesses also would get additional incentives to invest in new equipment.

The ability to write off losses and apply them to tax bills retroactively was “at the top of the list from businesses’ viewpoint,” said Bruce Josten, the executive vice president for government affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Josten said the Obama transition team has held more than a dozen meetings with chamber officials to discuss a number of issues, with several of the meetings devoted to the economic recovery plan. The tax relief package detailed in press reports on Monday “fits the criteria that we’ve outlined,” he said.

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said tax cuts could help boost the economy “if it’s done right.”

“It’s tricky to make sure the relief is big enough to make a dent in our huge economy and done in a way that stimulates growth,” Grassley said in a statement. “Business tax incentives should be strong enough to spur investment and create jobs.”

House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio said he is pleased Obama and congressional Democrats “agree with Republicans that tax relief for middle-class families and small businesses has to be a major part of this economic package.”

Hmmm. Not too bad for a supposed socialist Muslim terrorist, huh? Wonder if any of these Republicans would like to retract some of their harsh attacks on Obama from last fall. No, I guess that’s asking too much from Republicans and conservatives to ever admit they were wrong.