Month: July 2010

“The Progressive Professor” Returning To His “Roots” From July 24-August 1!

The author will not be adding any entries from now until his return from New York City at the beginning of August!

I am taking my two sons back to NYC, their “roots” as well as mine, for the first time since we moved to Florida in 1989!

This is a wonderful family event, but I will keep up on the news and have commentary again when I arrive back online on August 2! :)

Good reading! :)

Women Justices And The Changing Supreme Court: Is It For Real?

The Supreme Court seems more and more to be a very conservative, almost reactionary, Court in so many ways, but David Broder of the Washington Post believes that having three women on the Court at the same time (Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan) has to affect the Supreme Court in ways hard to fathom now!

The author hopes the role of women will have a positive effect, but the problem is that it is likely that Ruth Bader Ginsberg will leave the Court before the Presidential election, and that it will be impossible for Obama to select a replacement as liberal as Ginsberg has been!

This is particularly true with a Senate bound to be of a smaller Democratic majority, and even the slight possibility of a GOP majority! :(

So it seems likely that in comparison to now, the Supreme Court might actually be MORE conservative, as a result, than it is right now! :(

The Fickle Nature Of Public Opinion Polls: Bill Clinton Vs. Barack Obama!

Imagine this: Former President Bill Clinton is now more popular than President Barack Obama!

Of course, Bill Clinton was quite unpopular during the 2008 Presidential campaign, as his wife was in combat with Obama!

But now, with no responsibility for government policy, and involved in Haitian relief and other charitable causes, suddenly he is popular, and is seen by many as a better campaign asset for many Democrats than the President!

Of course, Obama faces the constant barrage of problems and issues, and the opposition is unrelenting, which shows the reality of politics–that when you are engaged in the making of policy, you make enemies!

Once you leave, and years go by, and if you stay out of controversy, your ratings will go up, as attitudes soften towards you in retrospect!

So Clinton’s popularity can be utilized to help Democrats in areas where it might be best for Obama to avoid campaigning!

If the Democrats do better in the midterm elections than many expect, a lot of the credit will have to go to Bill Clinton! But that is all to the good! :)

The Constitution And Human Rights: Not Subject To Public Opinion Polls!

Back in 1947, a survey was done of military personnel, asking them how they felt about integration of whites and African Americans.

Also, they were asked how they felt about Jews and other minorities!

Not surprisingly, a vast majority made clear their Antisemitism and racial hatred! Narrow mindedness and prejudice was very evident!

However, in a courageous act, President Harry Truman went ahead in 1948, and ordered racial integration in the armed forces, whether those in the military liked it or not!

Why was this? Because President Truman knew this was not an issue of how people felt, or what public opinion was! It was a question of human rights under the Constitution of the United States! Truman was not setting out to be popular, but to do what was right to do in the promotion of equality and justice!

Therefore, the recent survey asking how troops felt about the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the military, and therefore the allowance of openly gay and lesbian soldiers as a result, was inappropriate and wrong, as it is not the issue of how military personnel feel! It is the issue of human rights, which should not be subject to a vote of the people!

This has been mentioned in an earlier entry on this blog, but it is being brought up again, upon the news that an openly gay soldier, Lieutenant Dan Choi, has been removed from the military because he is gay and said so publicly! This is happening to many others just at the time when the policy might be changing!

This is a miscarriage of justice and should not be happening, but it is, and it is disappointing that it is taking so long to bring about the end of this discriminatory policy, which forces talented and skilled soldiers out of the military, simply because of their sexuality! :(

Again, it should not matter what public opinion is on this matter, any more than gay marriage and adoption should not be denied, no matter what people think! These are human rights, and public opinion cannot stand in the way of a person’s basic human rights!

Charlie Crist: Possibly The Most Important US Senator Next January?

Governor Charlie Crist of Florida continues to lead public opinion polls over Marco Rubio, since he left the Republican Party and started an Independent race for Senator!

Crist is gaining a large portion of Independents, as well as Democrats, who are not thrilled by either Congressman Kendrick Meek , or his primary opponent, billionaire real estate investor Jeff Greene!

Crist could become the third Independent Senator next January as a result, joining Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, both of whom ally with the Democratic caucus and often vote with the party!

The question that arises is what Crist would do if he won the Senate seat, but it seems likely that he would ally with the Democrats as an Independent, similar to Lieberman and Sanders!

This issue could be more than just interesting; it could be decisive in organizing the Senate if the Republicans, somehow, manage to gain eight seats, and Crist joins the Democratic caucus, creating a 51-49 Democratic Senate!

Of course, if the Senate was evenly divided, Joe Biden could organize the Senate by his tie breaking vote! But a nine seat gain could also be resolved without Biden, if Crist declared he was in the Democratic caucus!

So Charlie Crist could be the man of the hour and the year, and in some ways, become the most important US Senator next January!

I am sure the thought must please him greatly, particularly after the collapse of his GOP support, which led to his Independent candidacy in the first place! :)

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke Advice: Government Stimulus Spending Needed Now, Dealing With Deficit Later!

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke gave testimony yesterday on the economy before a Senate committee, and emphasized the urgency of the government spending money to stimulate the economy in the short term, to make up for lack of private spending!

The issue of the deficit, Bernanke said, must be dealt with, as it is a threat to our long term economy, but right now the emphasis has to be on promoting economic growth, or else there is a danger of a further downturn in the economy!

Considering that Bernanke was appointed by President George W. Bush, and is seen as a conservative, this is advice that should be taken seriously by Congress and the Obama Administration!

Better to work to expand the economy, than to follow the lead of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937, who listened to conservatives who complained about government spending, cut the spending, and helped, therefore, to cause the Recession of 1937-1938! President Obama and the Democrats MUST take action to promote economic growth, no matter what conservatives and Republicans say!

Fox News Channel: Reminiscent Of Strom Thurmond, George Wallace, Lester Maddox, And Jesse Helms! :(

In the 1960s, we saw the passage of landmark civil rights legislation, designed to end the racial divide and provide equal opportunity in America!

Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, who had run as a segregationist Presidential candidate in 1948 on the States Rights Party, voted against it, and switched from the Democratic to the Republican Party!

Governor George Wallace of Alabama was defiant in the face of civil rights advancements, and exploited the issue of race in his several presidential campaigns, including his third party American Independent Party candidacy in 1968!

In the same era, Lester Maddox, a restaurateur in Georgia, who gave his white patrons little pick axes as a symbol of what would happen if any African American dared to enter his chicken restaurant, was elected Governor, and shamed his state, that such a prejudiced person could be elected to the state’s executive mansion! The state of Georgia finally redeemed itself by electing as his successor a peanut farmer from Plains, Jimmy Carter, who advanced racial progress in his four year term as Governor, before running for and winning the Presidency!

From 1972-2002, North Carolina elected Jesse Helms to the US Senate, after a disgraceful career as a segregationist talk show host on radio! Helms proceeded to use the issue of race constantly against his opponents, including an African American competitor, Harvey Gantt, who had been Mayor of Charlotte, and twice opposed him in the election campaigns of 1990 and 1996! Nothing racist was avoided by Helms, who gave no concern that he was promoting hate and division in the nation with his poisonous prejudice!

All of the above politicians, and many others, utilized the fear of middle class and poor whites that any advancement of African Americans was a threat to them,and that they were being denied opportunity because of black progress!

Well, the reader might say, that is all history, so why relate it now?

The answer is that racism and prejudice is alive and well at FOX NEWS CHANNEL and on talk radio, as they have constantly berated Barack Obama, accusing him and his administration of racism, rather than looking themselves in the eye! :(

So now the race baiters are Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage, and many other conservative activists, who have no shame, and yet are no different than their predecessors in Southern politics from Thurmond to Helms! :(

Now it is the so called NEWS MEDIA on the right, acting as if they are legitimate, who are the promoters of race hatred! :(

And all of these characters have distorted the 101 year history of the NAACP, an organization dedicated to interracial understanding and cooperation, whose name “COLORED PEOPLE”, does not refer to only African Americans, but people of all colors and races who have faced discrimination and prejudice in this country’s history. They are still facing it today, as the conservative activists leave no stone unturned to turn whites against African Americans, who are supposedly not entitled to equality and advancement, and that it is only coming about at the disadvantage and loss of opportunity of whites!

What a terrible lie, and a disgrace, that these forces spew so much hatred and division, and are seen by many people as legitimate! :(

They are no better than Thurmond, Wallace, Maddox, or Helms! They should all be ashamed of themselves! :(

It’s About Time That Fox News Channel Be Boycotted Permanently By The Obama Administration!

The latest outrage by Fox News Channel, besmirching the reputation of Shirley Sherrod, an Agriculture Department employee, as a racist, should be the last straw for anyone who believes in fairness, justice, and objectivity in news reporting! :(

Fox News Channel IS NOT a news channel; it is a propaganda organ; entertainment for the ignorant, the bigots, the hate mongers, and the liars; and the advocate of the extreme right wing, which wants to destroy anything that advances the lives of a vast majority of Americans of all races, nationalities, religions, and classes! :(

The Obama Administration has always been sensitive toward accusations that it is favoring people of the President’s own racial heritage; it has always been defensive toward its critics, instead of being defiant and combative!

It is time to change course, and to declare “war” on Fox News Channel! The administration should refuse to answer any questions or agree to any interviews with anyone connected with Fox News Channel! It is not a requirement that the government must agree to speak to all journalists and channels! Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and other administration officials should accept no questions from Fox, and ignore all attacks, rather than give them credence!

It should be considered a privilege for anyone to ask questions or gain interviews, and a standard of honesty and decency and accuracy must be expected, or face a boycott!

Such a boycott will gain critics, and cause some people to be angry with the administration, but there is no way to do anything about that, so the administration should not worry about the reaction! As it is, every administration has problems with the media, but Obama needs to make clear that he will not tolerate dealing with a media source that has no purpose, other than evil doing!

If it causes negative reaction, so be it, and if it affects the next election in 2012, so be it, as there is no guarantee that anyone can have that anyone, by any action, will guarantee a victory or a defeat in a future political race!

If it is fine that right wing Tea Party people, such as Sharron Angle and Rand Paul, refuse to talk to mainstream media, then it is fine for the administration to refuse to grant interviews to or answer questions of right wing media that has no purpose, except ill intent; to destroy, to divide, to stir up hate and slander!

Freedom of the press requires the right of people to question, but not of those in power to answer scurrilous charges! Nothing should be done to legitimize Fox News Channel as a reliable source of news and information as it is anything but that! :(

Those who work for Fox News Channel, who in their hearts and conscience, know that their station is doing a disservice to the field of journalism, should be courageous enough to resign their positions on principle, as working for that station besmirches their own reputations! It would be a mark of honor if these people, and they know who they are, showed decency and principle, rather than simply act as lackeys in order to keep their salaries! It would be a service to the quality and principles of the great profession of journalism in America!

Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren Should Be Head Of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau!

Now that the Financial Reform legislation has passed both houses of Congress and will be going into effect soon, the President has to find someone to run the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the right person is Professor Elizabeth Warren of Harvard University!

Warren has been the head of the Congressional bailout oversight panel, and has been tough on the Treasury Department on how they spent their money, and been a critic of a housing program that has not protected homeowners!

Warren has been a consumer advocate and watchdog, and a long term critic of Wall Street, which, along with Republicans, is fighting her nomination! The fact that she wants to hold Wall Street accountable is more than enough reason to appoint her to head this new consumer agency, which has been sorely needed for a long time!

This is a woman of courage and conviction, who will really be there for the American people, and hold the banking industry responsible for their reprehensible behavior which led to the Great Recession we are suffering through now for two and a half years!

If President Obama gives in to the pressure to deny her the leadership of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, then one will have to have doubts about his sincerity in pushing for this legislation, and progressives and liberals will have to reconsider their support of a President who caves in to pressure from the right wing! :(

Senator Lindsey Graham And The Supreme Court: A Profile In Courage!

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina can be considered the “maverick” in Republican ranks, now that Senator John McCain of Arizona claims he is not now, and never has been, a maverick, despite his constant assertions over the years that he was a maverick!

Graham is the new “profile in courage” in the GOP, as he has been critical of the Tea Party Movement, and has shown willingness to work with the Obama Administration on some issues!

He is considered a “traitor” within the Tea Party Movement and his own party, particularly in South Carolina, and will probably face conservative opposition when he next faces the voters in 2014, but he is not concerning himself with that at this point, more than four years away from that challenge!

Yesterday, Graham was the only Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee to back Elena Kagan’s nomination for the Supreme Court, as it was reported out, and is ready to go to the Senate floor for final confirmation!

Graham reprimanded the other GOP senators on the committee, reasserting his earlier stated view on the Supreme Court, when Sonia Sotomayor was up for confirmation last summer!

That statement was that as long as the nominee of the President is qualified, one should give him the respect of supporting his nominee, as he was the winner of the presidential election, and should be entitled to whoever he wants to put on the Supreme Court! As Graham put it, when the voters speak, we should all respect that, and support the President in his right to choose whoever he wants, again as long as the person meets the standard of appropriate qualifications!

It will be interesting to see how many Republican Senators back Kagan in the final vote, as nine of them supported Sotomayor last summer!

Again, plaudits to Lindsey Graham for showing principle and courage! :)