July 2009

Corazon "Cory" Aquino, Former Philippines President, dead at 76

Former Philippines President Corazon Aquino, who overthrew the Marcos regime with her populist revolt and established and maintained democracy in spite of repeated coup attempts over the course of her tenure in office, died Saturday at 3:18 a.m. (1918 GMT Friday) in Manila.

Corazon Aquino's husband was assassinated on August 21, 1983. A little over two years later, this modest women, a politically inexperienced homemaker and mother of five, led the people of the Philippines into overthrowing the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, and establishing a democracy that served as an inspiration to countries struggling under oppressive regimes, the world over.

Should English Be the “Official” Language of the United States?

Contrary to popular belief, English is not the official language of the U.S. It is the de facto language, meaning that it’s the one typically used. Last year, my state voted overwhelmingly in favor of making English the official state language (almost 90%). With this many people in favor of English as the “official” language, should it be made official nationally?

Obama and Ohio

Ohio has been hit hard by the recession and the resulting rise in unemployment rates. Obama had a lot to say about how he would turn things around. 8 months later, nothing much has changed. And the people who live there know it

"People were looking for a savior to get us out of this mess and that's why they voted for Obama," said Jeff Fravor, 55, a retired train conductor. “I've nothing against Obama personally, but he's new to the job and 'hope' won't fix this mess."

Britain and the U.S. stay focused in Afghanistan

Fresh off a two day summit with China, Obama must have a lot on his mind regarding international politics. Speaking of international politics, remember that war that is going on in Afghanistan? The one that has been going on since 2001? The one that sort of feels like the way everybody talks about how Vietnam felt- except that no one is really protesting anymore and apparently someone figured out the right balance that the American public can put up with while keeping a war going and the military-industrial complex humming along…

Well anyway, what’s next?

Sotomayor Clears the Supreme Court Hurdles

Judge Sonia Sotomayor has been cleared after a long questioning session with Congressional senate judiciary committee, leaving her one step away from replacing the retiring Justice David Souter. Sotomayor spent a lot of time defending herself against allegations of being too left in her politics and allowing that to influence her decision-making as a judge. She is also set to become the first Hispanic person to serve as a Supreme Court Justice.

Obama Stresses Human Rights with China

With so many issues swirling around the globe right now- from the economic turmoil to the coming Copenhagen summit to the wars in and around the Middle East- it is good to see Obama holding strong on requests that China respect and protect the rights of religious and ethnic minorities.

High-level talks between Washington and Beijing are beginning this week and Obama’s message of respect for minorities in China by their government were part of his initial statements, setting the context for the conversations to come during the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Recent clashes between the Uighurs and the Han in western China have brought human rights to center stage as the talks begin.

Afghanistan: Who is taking charge

The war in Afghanistan is responsible for much debate, money, time and energy in the politics of the U.S. and the world. Obama has a lot of issues going on- he is fighting to get his healthcare reform ideas through Congress. He is preparing the country’s message for the coming Copenhagen summit on green issues, and this week he has spent way too much time talking about an arrest and the race issues that continue to be present in American society.

Goodbye Sarah

Sarah Palin has a 40% approval rating.

That’s not going to win the presidency, possibly not even the nomination- though it may win her a reality show or a radio program. Point being, Sarah Palin is going to leave the Governor’s office without a clear trajectory for the future. After being the Vice Presidential candidate and

There are ethics probes, legal bills and kind of less people loving her now than have been loving her in the recent past- but she does have over 500,000 Facebook Fan page Supporters…

After her surprise announcement on July 3 that she would resign, the country has had an undercurrent of debate both about why she is resigning and what she will do next.

Cash Rules Everything Around Me

Politics in its truest, boldest and most base form: Cash. Time is Money; Money is Power; Moneeeey… It’s a gas… Keep your hands off my stash…(Musical post: listen to this one while you read this post).

This week closes with two important power-moves revolving around the cold hard cash. California, who doesn’t have any, finally agrees with itself on how to spend it and the U.S., who doesn’t really have any either, decides to give $200 million to the Palestinian Authority.

Let’s start there.

No HealthCare Just Yet

For real, everyone? So we can rush a bill through for a war or for a financial crisis and come out on the other side with the Patriot Act or the Bailout but we can’t get a regularly scheduled vote to go off in a Democratically controlled Congress behind one of the current President’s core issues?

Senate leaders recently announced that they would not pass the bill before summer vacation… I mean, before the MONTH-LONG August recess. (Side note: They work hard, I’m sure. Like teachers do. A month or two off in the summer, ok.)

Obama sort of said, well, ok, but let’s get this thing done by the end of the year. As always, the savvy politician knows when to pick his battles. Well done.

Hope and Change: Obama Administration Changes date of budget review, Hopes for the best.

I love Obama and I’m glad he’s president. He’s not only pretty in line with my way of thinking about the world, he’s

also a relentlessly practical politician who knows how to read the general sentiment, talk to people where they are, and generally get his way. I mean, there he was on social media years ago- before Twitter was even cool. And he has shown amazing prowess as the unrivaled leader for the Democratic Party, a group that just a few years ago was looking hopelessly fractured and whiney.

Obama and Health Care

So let’s get to it: Obama wants national health care reform. Probably he wants this to be his legacy. And if I know anything about politics, I know he wants this to happen soon, to overshadow any weird crap that will happen in Copenhagen this winter, and to carry him through for the 2012 elections. And why not? Hope and change, dear reader, hope and change.

Call it socialism, anti-capitalism, or the best idea ever that’s been a long time coming, Obama is stumping for his health care plan and stumping hard:

Michael Steele Continues to be Off the Hook

It's been awhile since we heard from the gafferiffic head of the RNC Michael Steele but luckily for us, he popped his shiny bald head up recently and brought the funny.  Last weekend, Steele attended the Young Republican National Foundation convention and was asked by some bloggers on how he can bring "diverse populations" to a party largely seen as not-very friendly to diverse populations.  Steele replied "My plan is to say, 'Y'all come. Cause a lot of you are already here" and after some laughter, somebody in the audience says "I'll bring the collard greens."  This brought more laughter from everyone, including Steele, who then added that he'll bring "the fried chicken and potato salad."  More chuckles ensued and a good time was had by all.  Oh, that Michael Steele, making racist jokes as an answer to a question about how to make a party less racist.  Funny thing about that conference too-- the Young Republicans were voting for a new head of the group and had to choose between somebody who was caught having racist comments on their Facebook page and one who wasn't.  Guess which candidate won?

This, of course, hasn't been the only time Steele has said something that would be construed as Stephen Fetchit-like if it weren't for the fact he is black.  Which brings up this question-- what the hell is up with Michael Steele?  Here are the possibilities:

France Hearts India

Now this is interesting- while the U.S. news circuit is all about who is with us and who is against us, the rest of the world does not reserve politics and military alliances to with /without the U.S. In fact, being with us right now may be more of a hindrance, as the Chinese and other governments and investors are finding out as they think about the financial state of U.S. debt- and U.S. officials are working the global room, flying this way and that trying to shore up support and keep the dollar viable.

Meanwhile, 400 troops from India marched in the Bastille Day military parade in France. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, was there to watch and celebrate.

$1 Trillion in the Hole

Can you imagine $1 Trillion dollars? How about $2 Trillion?

Start imagining. Apparently the U.S. federal deficit is poised to top the $1 trillion mark for the first time ever, and may quickly rise to over $2 Trillion by the fall.

I don’t really know what to say. A $2 trillion deficit? Is that even possible? How can the media be talking about the recession turning around or abating and the government is TRILLIONS of dollars off on the federal budget this year. I mean, California already dropped down to almost junk status as far as credit goes- where does the U.S. government stand?

What is Sarah Palin doing?

Sarah Palin. Somehow a year later she is still one of the most polarizing and important politicians in the media, often getting the nod as the most important and viable member of the Republican Party. Her recent decision to step down as Governor of Alaska is igniting hot debate around the country.

Frank Rich wrote a great op-ed column in the New York Times this week. Rich asserts that Palin in fact “… stands for a genuine movement: a dwindling white nonurban America that is aflame with grievances and awash in self-pity as the country hurtles into the 21st century and leaves it behind.”

Are U.S. businesses too big to fail while island nations too small to care about?

This week’s G8 summit has been less than inspirational. The expected battles over numbers and responsibility are no shocker, but the emerging in vs. out crowd in who and what will be taken into account when the chips are down is revealing.

The Alliance of Small Island States is a UN-based group of 42 island countries. In some ways, small island countries have the most to worry about with climate change issues. Rising ocean levels threaten to take away much of their coastline, create extreme weather conditions, and in extreme cases completely flood over their island, like I wrote about for the Carteret Islands.

Blogger 'slams' the word slam

I just read another so-and-so ‘slams’ so-and-so story on CNN. The ‘slam’ was Jeb Bush saying he didn’t know if Obama was a socialist or not and saying he should have been more honest during his campaign. That’s the ‘slam’? Damn, he slammed Obama. He slammed him so hard Obama is still trying to figure out which way is up. Oh, man, that was such a slam I bet Obama will never get another vote.