Hope and change 2015

Remember back in 2008, when Barack Obama won the presidency because he ran on a platform of hope and change? And remember how pissed of his supporters were after a few years because change didn’t happen immediately.

But today:

The Supreme Court on Friday delivered a historic victory for gay rights, ruling 5 to 4 that the Constitution requires that same-sex couples be allowed to marry no matter where they live and that states may no longer reserve the right only for heterosexual couples.

And yesterday:

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a key part of the Affordable Care Act that provides health insurance subsidies to all qualifying Americans, awarding a major victory to President Obama and validating his most prized domestic achievement.

And this week:

After decades of bitter debate over whether the Confederate battle flag is a proud symbol of regional heritage or a shameful emblem of this nation’s most grievous sins, the argument may finally be moving toward an end.

South Carolina is leading the way for other states, as it considers removing the flag from its capitol grounds in the wake of a horrific racial hate crime.

Since Obama has taken office, we’ve extricated ourselves from two wars promoted by the previous president. The legalization of marijuana is taking place throughout the country and people are really getting pissed off that law enforcement tends to be more severe with certain races and ethnic groups than others.

This is fundamental change, and for some people, this is the most significant change they’ve seen in their lifetimes. But we see that change isn’t immediate. It takes a lot of hard work, and it faces virulent opposition. But it does happen. And once it does, it’s our responsibility as citizens to realize that just because we win one round, we then don’t just pack up our posters and say, “Well, I’m done. I got mine.”

We are making advances every day. This week, the liberals win. Don’t think the conservatives won’t counter with even more rabid condemnations of the Black-Marxist-Nazi-Kenyan usurper.

We are approaching a presidential election year. The battle lines are drawn. How far to the right will the Republicans go? Because the Democrats don’t have to move an inch.

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Black History Month: A congressional lesson

Since today is the last day of Black History Month, let’s have a black history quiz:

What do the following people have in common? (Chart from the Washington Post)

Senate

Yes, they are black. (Why else would they be in this quiz?) But they also represent a significant minority.

Of the 1,950 people who have served in the U.S. Senate, these nine are the only African Americans to hold a seat in the upper chamber of Congress.

Hyram Revels and Blanche Bruce were both senators from Mississippi who served during the post Civil War Reconstruction of the South from 1870-71 and 1875-1881, respectively. Both were appointed by the Mississippi State Legislature, but Bruce was the first black person for serve a full Senate term.

Edward Brooke (1967-1979) of Massachusetts was the first African American to win a Senate seat in a popular vote. The Bay State also was represented by Mo Cowan, who was appointed to the seat in 2013 to fill out the vacancy created by the appointment of John F. Kerry to the post of Secretary of State. Ed Markey now holds that seat.

Illinois has had three black senators, Carol Moseley Braun (1993-1999)), Barack Obama (2005-2008) and Roland Burris (2009-2010). Moseley Braun is the only African American to serve a full term as an Illinois senator. Obama … well, you know what happened to him. Burris was appointed to finish Obama’s term.

Tim Scott of South Carolina was appointed to the Senate in 2013 when Jim DeMint decided he was going to go to the Heritage Foundation to make a lot of money. It will be interesting to see what happens this year, when Scott faces a special election to complete the term. He’s only the third black person to represent a Southern state.

And Cory Booker of New Jersey was elected last year in a special election, but he runs again this year for a full term.

So, by the numbers, There have been five black Democrats and four black Republicans in the Senate. Three have been appointed. Two are up for re-election this year. And one became president.

An interesting countdown for such a tiny group.

Who was that woman in the Obama selfie?

Does it matter? I don’t want to bother with “selfie gate.”

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Because this is who the woman was:

It’s a world leader. They’re sitting at a memorial service that took about four hours in which people were dancing and singing and had a good time.

So are they supposed to put on a “serious face” when everybody else was having a good time.

Well, except for Michelle. (She kind of did look pissed in all the photos I saw during this sequence. And hubby and wife did swap seats, eventually.)

The Thanksgiving pardon

President Obama does the annual turkey pardon. Popcorn and Carmel live to see another day. The jokes aren’t too bad either.

 

Birther derangement syndrome

It only appears to be activated by the color black (from the Texas Tribune):

When Democrat Barack Obama was running for president in 2008, Republican voter Christina Katok of Walden said she believed he was ineligible for the job.

She reasoned that he was born in Kenya and therefore wasn’t a “natural born” American — one of a handful of constitutional requirements for the job. (Obama’s birth certificate shows that he was born in Hawaii, but some critics do not accept that as fact.)

Fast forward six years and another freshman U.S. senator, Canadian-born Tea Party firebrand Ted Cruz of Texas, is being mentioned as a potential 2016 presidential candidate. But Katok, who would vote for Cruz in a heartbeat, doesn’t have any concerns about his eligibility.

“As far as I’m concerned, Canada is not really foreign soil,” she said. Katok said she was more disturbed by Obama’s “strong ties to Kenya,” the African country where his father was born. She also said she didn’t like the fact that Obama did not release his long-form birth certificate during the 2008 race.

Maybe it’s some kind of medical condition. These are seemingly normal functioning people who just have an issue when seeing black and white. That’s why they have a problem with a mixed race guy who was born in the United States and whose father was born in Kenya, but have no problem with a white guy born in Canada whose father was born in Cuba and fought on the side of Fidel Castro during the Cuban revolution.

This Sacramento Bee cartoon pretty much captures birther logic:

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Sen. Ted Cruz, Canadian citizen

Tea Party poster boy and right-wing Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz seems to have run into a problem as he considers a bid for the presidency.

He’s a Canadian.

Here’s his birth certificate:

Ted-Cruz-birth-certificate

Now, unlike the birthers, I can read. And I see the line that says “Name of Mother Before Marriage: Eleanor Elizabeth Wilson. Her Birthplace: Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.” That means that Ted Cruz is an American. Just like John McCain, who was born in Panama and ran for president as a Republican, and just like Mitt Romney’s father, George Romney, who was born in Mexico and sought the presidential nomination in the 1960s as a Republican.

English: Ted Cruz at the Republican Leadership...

The Cuban/Canadian usurper

Oh, and Barack Obama — whose birth certificate says his mother was born in Wichita, Kansas, and who, unlike Ted Cruz, John McCain and George Romney was born in the United States (Yes, birthers. Hawaii is a state.) — is an American.

If I had the brain of a birther, I could riff on Ted Cruz’s birth certificate all day.

He was born in Canada! But his dad is from Cuba and they snuck into America through the Canadian border! Is he one of those “terror babies” Louis Gomert is always talking about?

His father is from Cuba! Did his father work with Fidel Castro? Is he a communist?

This birth certificate doesn’t prove anything. It doesn’t say “Ted” anywhere. Who is this Rafael Edward Cruz? Does he speak English?

What’s a geophysical consultant? Is that some kind of “one-world-government” adviser?

But Ted Cruz is an American. If you’re born to an American woman anywhere in the world, and your birth is registered with the American Embassy, you’re an American. That’s all you need. If you’re born anywhere in the world and your father is an American and married to your mother (no matter her nationality), and your birth is registered with the American Embassy, you’re an American. That’s all you need. If you’re born on American soil, and your parents aren’t American, you’re an American. That’s all you need.

But Ted Cruz is Canadian, as well. If you’re born on Canadian soil, you’re a Canadian. So technically, Ted Cruz could run for the Canadian Parliament.

Isn’t the exploding head of a Tea Party birther a sight to behold?

But we won’t see it (from the Washington Post):

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) announced Monday evening that he will renounce his Canadian citizenship, less than 24 hours after a newspaper pointed out that the Canadian-born senator likely maintains dual citizenship.

“Now the Dallas Morning News says that I may technically have dual citizenship,” Cruz said in a statement. “Assuming that is true, then sure, I will renounce any Canadian citizenship. Nothing against Canada, but I’m an American by birth and as a U.S. senator; I believe I should be only an American.”

Now I’ve seen references to “The Manchurian Candidate” as the Ted Cruz story has developed. But the difference there is that Raymond Shaw was born in America to American parents.

Oh, yeah. And Michele Bachmann is Swiss.

A birther invades an Oklahoma town hall

Teaparty

It’s August and Congress is in recess. That means it’s time for the Tea Party crazies to take over Town Hall meetings. What will they complain about this time? (From TPM)

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) was fielding questions at the event in Afton, Okla. when a woman asked him about “Obama’s identification.”

“Let me just stop you right there. You’re talking about the birth certificate?” Mullin said. “We lost that argument Nov. 6. We had four years to get that proven. We didn’t. We re-elected him. So that’s a dead issue.”

His answer prompted the woman to present documents produced last year by Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio that purportedly showed Obama’s birth certificate is a “fraud.”

Birthers believe in a theory that has been debunked numerous times that Obama is not a natural born citizen of the United States and therefore ineligible to be president.

When Mullin refused to take the papers, the woman stood before the crowd and detailed their contents….

The woman shouted over Mullin, decrying that Obama won’t “be held accountable to a crime that goes to the very root of what he’s doing to this Constitution.”

“He was a fraud, he got in,” the woman said as she stormed out. “He’s above the law.”

Why can’t a congressman just say, “Stop being an idiot,” to idiots? Sure, he’s a Republican and can’t say anything in defense of Obama at any time, but there’s no point in dealing with people who are so delusional they can only harp on fantasy. It’s not like this woman is going to vote for a Democrat. And it’s not like Mullin needs her out on the street campaigning for him, since having mouth-breathing ranters handing out your literature only turns off potential supporters.

Let’s see the “birther princess” in action:

Yeah. The birthers are still out there. But the Republicans let them thrive for the past four years and didn’t shut them up when everyone knew their argument was insane.

But there’s another thing to notice. There aren’t that many people at this congressman’s town hall. That can’t be a good sign for him if no one wants to hear what he has to say and crazy birthers don’t allow him to keep a meeting at least in this dimension.

By the way. I don’t see the argument that this incident proves Mullin is a birther. He admits it’s a non issue. The fact that he says, “I agree with you,” seems to be more of a “get out of my face” response than a “I know Obama is a Kenyan” acknowledgement.