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Posts Tagged ‘us’

Americans Step Up

Posted by AB on January 18, 2010

It has been nearly a week since the nation of Haiti was hit by one of the most destructive natural disasters of recent times.  The earthquake that killed thousands, injured thousands more, and left even more homeless is still fresh in the minds of people around the globe.  To anyone with a heart, there is pain to see so many human beings suffer, and the world has stepped up to help, led again by the United States.  Millions of dollars have been donated by the private citizens of the U.S., and our government has pledged $100 dollars for rescue and recovery.  Beyond that, thousands of U.S. Military members have been deployed, along with ships and planes carrying water and medical supplies.  The United States is proving, once again, why the rest of the world looks up to us.

One of the most encouraging signs is the bipartisanship.  Unless you are Pat Robertson, Rush Limbaugh, or Rep. Steve King (R-IA) you have recognized the desperate need of the Haitian people and our unique position, as Americans, to help.  Now is not a time for petty political partisanship, and that is exemplified by the coalition of former Presidents, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, have teamed-up to head the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund.  In recent times, we have been a country divided but, in hards times, we come together.  That makes me proud.

Posted in Economics, Misc., Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Please Help Haiti!

Posted by AB on January 13, 2010

It is time, again, for the United States to prove why it is the greatest country the world has ever known.  On January 12, a 7.0 earthquake, with several large aftershocks, devastated the Caribbean nation of Haiti.  One of the world’s poorest nations, Haiti, and its people will need help from everywhere possible, in all forms possible.  Thousands are presumed dead, and the rebuilding will take many, many years. 

And what nation and its citizens will respond fastest and most significantly?  The United States.  President Obama has pledged “a swift, coordinated and aggressive” response that, so far, has included ships helicopters, transport planes, and upwards of 2, 000 Marines to soon be deployed to Haiti.  There will be even more assistance from the U.S. and many other nations throughout the world, but ordinary citizens in the U.S. fulfill the most significant difference from other countries.  Already, United States citizens are taking the opportunity to do all that they can to help people that they will never meet.  That’s what we do, and that’s what makes great, so help all you can.  It’s the right thing to do.

Here is a link to a list of charitable organizations (via MSNBC.com):  HAITI

Posted in Economics, Misc., Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Justice Sotomayor

Posted by AB on August 8, 2009

Sonia Sotomayor, left, President Obama's choice to replace retiring ...

All of the talk, and all of the debate is over.  The time for work is now.  Judge Sonia Sotomayor is now United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.  Today, she was sworn-in by Chief Justice John Roberts as the 111th Justice of the US Supreme Court. 

Justice Sotomayor is only the third female Justice, the third minority Justice, and the first Hispanic Justice in the history of the United States of America.  Think about that for a moment.  In the matter of less than a year, we have elected a President who is the son of a Kenyan father and a white, American mother, and that President has successfully nominated a female Supreme Court Justice who was raised in a Bronx housing project by a Puerto Rican, immigrant mother.  It is easy to see that discrimination based on gender or race is alive and well, but don’t be mistaken; those voices of hate are loud, but they are few. 

We are a great country, but the inclusion and equality of all will allow us to become even greater.  So, for all of those who have led the way, and those who continue to lead, thank you.  As we continue to grow as a nation, we remember all who fought for this great day, and for those who fight for even greater days.  “Yes, we can.”

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Confirmed!

Posted by AB on August 6, 2009

No surprise, but very gratifying for her supporters. Judge Sonia Sotomayor has been confirmed by a Senate vote of 68-31. She will be only the third woman and first Hispanic to sit upon this nation’s highest court. Judge Sotomayor will be sworn-in as Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Saturday.

Nine Republicans voted “Yea,” while the rest of the Republican members of the US Senate voted “Nay.” There will, no doubt, be a political fallout for those who voted “Nay,” and some Pepublicans who voted “Yea.” This is not the time for that, however. We should all appreciate this historic moment in our nation’s history.

This confirmation is great for the United States of America, and not just because of her gender or race, but because she is immensely prepared to become a great Supreme Court Justice. I, for one, am very proud.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Did You Lose Your Healthcare Today?

Posted by AB on August 3, 2009

While Republican lobbyists organize protests to shout down Democratic Congress members and Obama Administration officials during townhall meetings, thousands of Americans will lose healthcare coverage, daily. 

The US House of Representatives have recessed, and after this week, the US Senate will enter into the August recess.  Now, these lawmakers will return to his or her constituents, and one of the most critical issues they will discuss is that concerning healthcare reform.  I’m sure that many Americans are interested in having the opportunity to ask quetions of their democratically-elected representatives, and this ability retained by Americans to have this direct contact with those who actually make laws is just another reason that our country is so great.   Townhall-type forums allow for public discussion of important issues that affect all Americans.  Unfortunately, there are those who are attempting to shout-down and intimidate Representatives and voters, alike.

The healthcare industry is prepared to spend over a million dollars a day, yes, a day to kill healthcare reform.  And where is that money going?  Well, one lobbying group dedicated to “killing” healthcare reform is called FreedomWorks.  The Chairman of FreedomWorks is former Republican Majority leader Dick Armey–that is his real name.  This is the same organization that funded the so-called grassroots movement called “Tea Parties.” 

 A disturbing memo from FreedomWorks has been leaked, and it is one of the most sickening, anti-American, anti-democracy memos imaginable.  The memo calls for anti-healthcare supporters, and in some cases the group will bus-in supporters, to disrupt townhall meetings by intimidating Representatives and constituents.  This tactic is not only dispicable for the lies that are perpetrated by these people but, most of all, for the total disregard for the rights of their fellow Americans.

Meanwhile, there have been estimates as far back as February that suggest that approximately 14,000 Americans a day will lose healthcare coverage.  That is nearly 100,000 people a week that will lose healthcare.  And what is the solution provided by these opponents of healthcare reform?  Well, in their diseased minds, there is nothing wrong with our healthcare system.  Their ideal solutions is one that would cut even more taxes on insurance and pharmaceutical companies while Americans see premiums rise at over triple the rate of inflation and wages. 

So, if you find yourself at a townhall meeting to discuss the future of this country, and there are 10-20 loud assholes disrupting the discussion, don’t get angry.  First ask them to respect the speakers and those in attendence.  Then ask them if they have healthcare–they likely do.  Then find out where they are from; chances are that they are not from your congressional district, as they have been asked to disrupt any and all townhall meetings possible.  The most important thing to do is to, however, is to resist this intimidation, peacefully, and collect the information that that affects your family.  Find the truth.

Warning:  These people are thugs, and I would put nothing past them. 

*If you can stomach it, I have posted some YouTube clips of these protests, via TPM.

Posted in Economics, Misc., Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Supreme Court Confirmation

Posted by AB on July 13, 2009

Today marked the beginning of a truly important democratic process atthe United States Capitol.  Sonia Sotomayor–only the third woman, and the first Hispanic Supreme Court nominee–began her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Beyond all of the political ruminations of the Senate, which will certainly be seen, this is an opportunity for Americans and the entire world to witness the confirmation process.

The hearing began with opening statements by the members of the US Senate Judiciary Committee, consisting of twelve Democrats, including Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and seven Republicans.  Following the statements by all committee members, Judge Sotomayor was introduced with statements from her home-state Senators, (D-NY) Chuck Schumer and (D-NY) Kirsten Gillibrand.  After two compelling introductions, Sotomayor was sworn in by Chairman Leahy, and then offered her own statement, which was a brief summary of her journey to this point.  It was her first opportunity to speak publicly since her nomination.

Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor is sworn in during ...

After today’s hearing, I heard most media pundits declare that Republican committee-members were very tame and respectful.  I don’t know whichSupreme Court confirmation hearing those people were watching, but the one that I watched was one in which Republican members were setting the precursors for an attack.  This will not only be an attack upon Sotomayor, but an attack upon President Obama, most importantly.

Despite the filth of some partisan politics that will be on display for the rest of the hearing, I encourage everyone to watch as much of this process as possible.  It’s not quite Haley’s Comet, but there are only nine Supreme Court Justices, and they all have lifetime appointments. 

*This seat became available with Justice David Souter’s retirement.

Posted in Misc., Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Iranian Resistance

Posted by AB on June 22, 2009

I have posted, here at Tar Heel Pirate, several times about the Iranian Presidential election and the fallout.  No matter how much I might like to keep this blog up-to-date on the happenings in Iran, there is simply too much going on for me to keep up. 

The people of Iran are engaged in a struggle for their basic freedoms, and whenever authority is challenged, there is great resistance.  It is difficult to tell where this may go, but there is a very real possibility that this is the beginning of a revolution.  Whatever the case, we can only hope that those who are protesting on the streets of Iran will have their voices heard without the threat of violence.  Unfortunately, we have seen threats of violence and tangible violence, already, and while the protests have gotten lighter, there is an ongoing passion to get justice from a seemingly flawed election.

My heart goes out to the Iranian people, no matter the side.  What we are seeing is democracy inside of a theocracy.  All parties should be heard, and all parties should be respected, without the fear of retribution.  We cannot expect an America-style system in Iran, and America should not interfere with the process that is taking place.  We should support the freedom to protest peacefully, and President Obama has shown tremendous leadership with his measured tone, despite over-the-top criticism from others.  Some of those critics believe that belligerent rhetoric will help those protesters, but nothing good can come from the United States Government taking sides in this situation.  We would never tolerate others injecting themselves into our elections, so we should back-off and allow them the same respect that we demand. 

For the best up-to-date info about the Iranian election (the photos are amazing):

Posted in Misc., Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Election: Iran

Posted by AB on June 11, 2009

This past Sunday, Lebanon held parliamentary elections, and a pro-western coalition claimed victory.  It was a clear defeat for Iranian-supported, Hezbollah, a militant group, just days following President Obama’s speech from Cairo.  The citizens of Lebanon have spoken, and moderation won out over extremism.  There is no question that the Lebanese parliamentary elections were good news for not only democracy in general, but it was also good news for America and its allies.  With that said, the world’s most important election since the US elections in November 2008 will take place this Friday, June 12, in Iran.

Despite the perception of Iran as an extreme, anti-America, Muslim country, we should  recognize that the majority of the population is very much pro-western and moderate.  Iran is a country of 71.2 million people that are relatively young, with a median age of 26.4 years.  The majority of citizens in Iran do not mirror the ideology of the hard-line religious leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini, and the confrontational, anti-American governmental leadership of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  With that said, there is a very real possibility that Ahmadinejad might lose to reformist candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        A victory by Mousavi would be a victory from the United States, in a way, because it might allow for more fruitful diplomacy at a time that the influence of hard-line Iranian policy seems to be waning in support.  Now, let’s also recognize that the real power in Iran is held by the Ayatollahs, so a defeat for Ahmadinejad doesn’t mean that Iran will ruled by those necessarily friendly to the US, but it would be an unmistakable rebuke to the hateful, confrontational rhetoric used by its President.

I am not going to get my hopes up, but if Mir Hossein Mousavi should happen to defeat Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, it would be a promising occurance for US-Iran relations.  I have no idea if, or how much President Obama’s Cairo speech will have influenced the elections in Lebanon and Iran, but it certainly did not hurt, and I find no coincidence in the timing of the speech to the Muslim world.  Hopefully, moderates in all of the middle east have the confidence and courage to make themselves heard, and loudly, but it doesn’t matter where they find that confidence and courage.  I cannot predict what will happen when Iranians vote on Friday, but I can tell you that it’s worth keeping an eye on the results.  This is the most important election since November.

Posted in Misc., Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Supreme Court Nomination = Madness

Posted by AB on May 27, 2009

It’s already begun, and yes, it’s madness.  Yesterday, President Obama announced his nomination for the Supreme Court seat vacated by the retirement of  Justice David Souter.  The nominee is United States Second Court of Appeals Judge, Sonia Sotomayor.  If confirmed by Senate, she will become the first Latina, and only the third woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court.  The Republican Party and conservative special-interest groups have been waiting to fight this nomination, whoever it was going to be, for years.  They wasted no time, as Judge Sotomayo has been eviscerated in the last 24 hours.

US President Barack Obama applauds his nominee for Supreme Court ...

Sonia Sotomayor’s academic record is stellar.  She graduated summa cum laude and phi beta kappa from Princeton.  After that, she graduated from Yale Law School, where she served as an editor of the Yale Law Review.  Her professional record is just as impressive.  Out of Law school, in 1979,  she landed a job as an Assisstant District Attorney in Manhattan.  In 1984, she entered into private law, and in 1988, she became a partner at Pavia and Harcourt.  Miss Sotomayor became a trial judge in October of 1992, when she was appointed to the US District Court by President George H. W. Bush.  In 1998, President Bill Clinton appointed her to the US Second Court of Appeals, where she was also the first Latina.

Anytime there is an opening on the highest court in the land, a fight can be expected.  After all, this is an exclusive club of only nine, and to increase the stakes even more, this is a lifetime appointment.  The importance of this process demands that difficult questions be asked about the nominee’s judicial philosophy, so I would never argue that she get a soft ride through the confirmation process.  It should, however, be a respectful process.  So far, it has not been.

Barely a few hours after the announcement of Sonia Sotomayor as the nominee, conservative radio show host, Rush Limbaugh declared that she was racist, or “reverse racist.”  He also demeaned the President as a “reverse racist.”  Also last night, former Republican Representative, Tom Tancredo, along with a never-ending list of right-wing pundits and bloggers, all called her racist.  And today, the former and disgraced Speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich “tweeted” that she should remove her name from nomination because she is a “Latina racist.”  This from a group of individuals who constantly complain that they can’t criticize the President without being accused of being racist.  Of course that’s not true, but false political outrage has been used by all sides for many years.  These remarks are simply disgusting, but these are disgusting men.

Strangely, Republican Congress members, who actually have to vet this nomination, have been cautious with comments about Judge Sotomayor.  I don’t know how long they can resist the hatred of fellow conservatives, but let’s hope they can focus upon the job of, respectfully, vetting the nominee.  Unfortunately, they are also being silent about the attacks being brought about by the haters.  If the Republican Party is to survive, its members must be careful to be respectful to this nominee, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but she represents the fastest-growing demographic in the country. 

Get ready.  This thing will be debated throughout the Summer, ending in the likely confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor as the next United States Supreme Court justice.  If the early rhetoric is any indication, this will be really nasty.  I hope that all sides will be respectful of one another, but I am not mad.

Posted in Misc. | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Memorial Day (Thank-a-Soldier Day)

Posted by AB on May 24, 2009

Barbecues, baseball, racing, picnics, quality time with family and  friends, and a day off of work or school–no matter how you celebrate the unofficial start of Summer, don’t forget about the true meaning of Memorial Day:  to honor those who have fought and died while protecting these United States of America.

Memorial Day was first recognized in 1868, when General John A. Logan requested that his troops “decorate” the graves of their fallen Union brothers, hence the original name of the holiday, Decoration Day.  Eventually, the holiday was extended to the honor of all US war dead. 

              Memorial Day by r o s e n d a h l.

For those of us who have never served in the military, or have had family members who have served, there is a tendency to look past the true significance of Memorial Day.  Even though we are at war, and that provides a better reminder for us than at peace time, we enjoy our freedoms without paying tribute to those who have died to protect them.

Tomorrow, we will see President Obama continue the tradition of laying a wreath at the “Tomb of the Unknowns,” and there will be many other honorable ceremonies across the country, like the 3 P.M. moment of silent reflection.  All that we really have to do is enjoy our freedom.  The sacrifice of soldiers past and present is not accompanied by any duty from civilians, but many of us want to give our thanks.  I can think of no better way to show thanks to those soldiers who have passed than by telling at least one living US Military member, retired or active, “Thank you for your service.”  It sounds simple, and it is, but it could make the day of someone who will never receive enough appreciation for his or her sacrifices.  Turn Memorial Day into “Thank-a-Soldier Day.”  If you do not know a member of the military, they are not hard to find.  The more you thank, the more you will appreciate the true meaning of Memorial Day.  I’ll begin with my sister.

info from:   http://www.answers.com/topic/memorial-day

Posted in Misc. | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »