Government

Dereliction of duty

Policy failure

Dick Cheney was a powerful partner in the governing of the United States when he served two terms as Vice President under President George W. Bush. In fact, Mr. Cheney was recruited as running mate because of his strength of character and conviction and his knowledge regarding the defense of our country and his commitment to doing so. As Vice President, Mr. Cheney was thoroughly involved in studying the information presented by every agency in the government to interpret, analyze and discuss it with the President.

In short, Mr. Cheney is abundantly qualified to assess whether or not President Obama is doing his job responsibly to protect the United States when he attends only half of the scheduled intelligence briefings.

The excuse presented by his staffers is that Obama—unlike President Bush—can read a report and reach the same conclusions as he would if he sat down with his advisors to discuss and debate, argue and extract, the opinions of other qualified, knowledgeable individuals. Talk about ego! Your safety, my safety and that of my family is at stake and Obama believes he is qualified to solve all the issues alone without input from others!

The day the embassy in Libya was attacked and destroyed and four Americans were murdered, Obama thought it was more important to attend a fundraiser in Las Vegas. His Press Secretary stated that Obama had done all that was necessary and there was no reason for him not to go—how about simple respect for the dead public servants?

Host a viewing of Half the Sky

Help raise awareness for violence against women worldwide.

While speaking with my cousin and good friend, a Marine and cop in training, about violence against women worldwide, I found myself getting more and more discouraged. Though he could tell you about how many registered weapons versus non-registered existed within our country and other stats, he knew virtually nothing about violence against women.

He didn’t know about the hundreds of thousands of rape kits collecting dust on shelves across the country, never being run. He didn’t know that a woman is raped every ninety seconds, that less than 10 percent of rapists will serve a day in jail, that human trafficking is the second largest industry today. These are things that I, as a woman, know and he, as a man, does not.

Senate Race Update: Massachusetts

New poll ... new ads ...

A new poll released on Monday shows the Massachusetts U.S. Senate race to be every bit as tight as advertised.  The poll of likely voters by Kimball Political Consulting shows Sen. Scott Brown (R) leading Democrat Elizabeth Warren by 46-45.  The prior version of the poll showed Brown with a six-point lead.

It should be noted, however, that the poll was taken immediately after the Democratic National Convention, at which Warren spoke, so the likelihood of a "bounce" for the Democratic side can't be dismissed.  Moreover, the poll is not an "independent" poll by a media organization, but rather a poll conducted by a political consulting group.  But it does generally reflect what other polls have been saying.

The key finding is that while both candidates do well among their partisans (and there aren't that many Republican partisans in Massachusetts), Brown leads by 54-36 amond independents.  A successful Republican candidate in Massachusetts must have a lead of that size among independent voters.  If Brown can hold on to it, he can hold on to his seat.

Senate Race Wrap-Up: NV, AZ, HI, WA

Ethical issues in NV? Not really a shock ... does the GOP have a shot in Hawaii? ... etc.

NEVADA [RealClearPolitics Poll Page]

Current RCP average: Sen. Dean Heller (R) 47.3, Rep. Shelley Berkley (R) 42.0

It's not all that surprising in Nevada that both parties have been touched by scandal.  Heller took office only upon the resignation of disgraced Sen. John Ensign, who couldn't survive a sex-and-cover-up scandal.  Whether it's Ensign carry-over or just Heller's inability to consolidate the electorate, Heller has polled generally in the high 40s, and has not looked like an overwhelming favorite.

But Berkley is running amid a scandal or her own.  She is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for using her office to bring about personal gain for her husband's medical practice.  Notwithstanding, she has the wholehearted support of the labor movement, which has plenty of sway in the Las Vegas area.

 

ARIZONA  [RealClearPolitics Poll Page]

Current RCP average: Rep. Jeff Flake (R) 43.0, Richard Carmona (D) 36.3

The retirement of Republican Sen. Jon Kyl opened up this seat.  Flake positioned himself well in the GOP primary, and won handily, and is the frontrunner for November.  Former U.S. Surgeon General Carmona earned the Democratic nod.

Flake is conservative, but has stayed within the Republican mainstream and appears likely to unify his party.  He has taken a big lead in fundraising.

Despite some polls showing Carmona close, the race is generally considered as leaning toward Flake.  Other polls have shown Flake well ahead.

Senate Race Wrap-Up: OH, MI, WI, ND

Youthful Mandel makes a run in Ohio ... Thompson solidifying WI? ... etc.

OHIO [RealClearPolitics Poll Page]

Current RCP average: Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) 45.8, Josh Mandel (R) 42.8

Earlier in the year, Brown did not look like a highly endangered incumbent.  Although he was usually polling short of 50 percent, he enjoyed big leads over Mandel and other potential GOP challengers.  But the race has closed quickly as Mandel has united Republican support, and Brown's position has not improved.

The 34-year-old Iraq vereran Mandel has revved up the political ladder, winning a seat in the state legislature at age 27, and getting elected Ohio State Treasurer at age 31.  Taking a shot at an incumbent senator might seem premature, but Brown is considered a bit to the left for Ohio, and was swept into office over unpopular incumbent Mike DeWine in the big Democratic year of 2006.

No poll has yet shown Mandel in the lead, but some give Brown a very narrow lead or tie, and Brown continues to poll under 50 percent.  Moreover, Mandel has been competitive in the money chase as well.  Since both parties will make a big push in Ohio, national momentum could sway this race a bit also.

 

MICHIGAN  [RealClearPolitics Poll Page]

Current RCP average: Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) 48.3, Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R) 42.5

Stabenow could be in bigger trouble than she is, given that Hoekstra has stumbled and struggled to unite the GOP.  Unlike Brown, Stabenow has polled over 50 percent on occasion, and she's getting as much mileage as she can out of the Obama Administration's bailout of the big automakers.

But she is not widely popular, and Hoekstra appeared to be gaining ground after winning the Republican primary.  Two late-August polls, however, showed Stabenow pulling back out in front, and Hoekstra does not seem to be making up ground on the fundraising gap, either.

No critical thinking for the GOP

It’s medieval thought for everyone in this country or else!

Many of the heinous parts of the Republican platform have been brought to light over the past week, but one that’s been virtually ignored—possibly due to the way it was worded—is the party’s stance on critical thinking.

One part of the Republican platform is actually opposing critical thought—or, as it was worded, Higher Order Thinking Skills. The republicans claim that this is in opposition to not only Outcome-Based Education (which is a good thing), but also that it challenges student beliefs and authority, which is SUCH a bad thing! Because heaven forbid that beliefs be challenged and students either A. change their opinions based on new knowledge, thus becoming adults and better citizens or B. strengthen their opinions with the challenges that debate and critical thinking employ.

I know much of what the republicans stand for is just plain wonky to a lot of us, but shouldn’t most people be outraged by this? Honestly, if you aren’t living in a cave, stockpiling weapons and training your children to be in your cult of the purple kool-aid, you should be demanding more critical thinking skills, not prohibiting them! How the hell else are we going to move forward and fix the problems we’ve created? 1984, anyone?

Disturbing news this week

Here are some scary and sad news headlines from this week in the world of women and parenting.

Hopefully we can learn from these situations and help improve the world we live in…

Rapist Beheaded by His Victim

You know, everyone is just shocked when we hear stories like this—no matter what part of the world it’s from—wondering just how a woman could resort to such violence. Hmm. Well, when we live in a world where a woman is raped every 90 seconds (that’s in the U.S; in other nations, it’s often more frequently), where less than 10% of rapists spend a day in jail in the United States alone, I don’t see why it’s so shocking at all. This woman, who beheaded her rapist, had also been denied an abortion after she pleaded for one and was five months pregnant due to her assault. Want to stop beheadings? Let women make their own decisions and arrest their freaking rapists.

Good news this week

Take a political break and read something uplifting.

As the political divide separates families, closes Facebook accounts and generally makes it uncomfortable to be out in public, there’s still plenty of good news in the world to share. Here are a few uplifting stories to pass around.

Bottle water ban in Massachusetts

Cities around the world have been banning everything from plastic bags to plastic bottles, and now Concord, Massachusetts has become the first city in the country to ban plastic water bottles. An 84-year-old member of the community is championing the cause, and even though bottled water companies are threatening to sue, the state’s attorney general has given the a-OK. It’s a wonderful step toward stopping the massive waste that is bottled water.

Stand against human trafficking

Today, more human slaves exist than in any other period of history.

Don’t you wonder why drugs and crime remain top priorities in our country, while human trafficking—the second largest industry on Earth—remain virtually ignored? It’s time we convinced not only the candidates for the U.S. presidency, but for all politicians everywhere to make stopping human trafficking a part of their political agenda while in office.

Today, more human slaves exist than in any other period of history. Though we were all taught that the Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery as we know it in elementary school, the fact remains that there are currently 27 million human slaves around the world today. These people have absolutely no freedom and make no money for the work they do, rather it is industrial, farming, domestic, or sexual work. All of it is coerced, and most of it is very violent, certainly no way that anyone would want their children to live.

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