Franken beat Coleman by 312 votes. The final official result:
...I know that many in this room don't believe that progress has come fast enough, and I understand that. It's not for me to tell you to be patient...Indirectly addressing the Justice Department's defense of DOMA in a legal brief last month:
But I say this: We have made progress and we will make more. And I want you to know that I expect and hope to be judged not by words, not by promises I've made, but by the promises that my administration keeps...We've been in office six months now. I suspect that by the time this administration is over, I think you guys will have pretty good feelings about the Obama administration.
Now, I want to add we have a duty to uphold existing law, but I believe we must do so in a way that does not exacerbate old divides. And fulfilling this duty in upholding the law in no way lessens my commitment to reversing this law. I've made that clear.I wouldn't put it past the Fascist wing of the Republican Party to clamor for impeachment if Mr. Obama were to make any moves on the LGBT front that even resembled breaking current law, however the brief filed by the administration regarding DOMA sounded more like a Bush administration argument than one coming from Obama. But, I digress.
I know that every day that passes without a resolution is a deep disappointment to those men and women who continue to be discharged under this policy -- patriots who often possess critical language skills and years of training and who've served this country well. But what I hope is that these cases underscore the urgency of reversing this policy not just because it's the right thing to do, but because it is essential for our national security.On the HIV travel ban:
...my administration is committed to rescinding the discriminatory ban on entry to the United States based on HIV status. (Applause.) The Office of Management and Budget just concluded a review of a proposal to repeal this entry ban, which is a first and very big step towards ending this policy.On changing minds:
There are unjust laws to overturn and unfair practices to stop. And though we've made progress, there are still fellow citizens, perhaps neighbors or even family members and loved ones, who still hold fast to worn arguments and old attitudes; who fail to see your families like their families; and who would deny you the rights that most Americans take for granted. And I know this is painful and I know it can be heartbreaking.The entire speech below...
...And yet all of you continue, leading by the force of the arguments you make but also by the power of the example that you set in your own lives -- as parents and friends, as PTA members and leaders in the community. And that's important, and I'm glad that so many LGBT families could join us today. (Applause.) For we know that progress depends not only on changing laws but also changing hearts.
In a question-and-answer session that followed the announcement, [Academy president Sidney Ganis] said: "I would not be telling you the truth if I said the words ‘Dark Knight’ did not come up.” Earlier this year, “The Dark Knight,” a critically acclaimed blockbuster fantasy, was excluded from a list of nominees that included “Frost/Nixon,” “Milk,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “The Reader” and the winner, “Slumdog Millionaire.”One part of me wants to get up on my soap box and rail against this, that the Academy is supposed to celebrate the art and science of movie making, not the box office (let the MTV Movie Awards do that). Then another part of me balances it all out, remembering that "Slumdog Millionaire" won Best Picture last year over four contenders more worthy of the prize.
None of those films were as widely seen as “The Dark Knight” or “Wall-E,” another favorite that was snubbed, adding heat to a debate about whether the Oscar voters had drifted too far from the audience.
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) will return to work today, the Columbia State reports, "cutting short a mysterious hiking trip along the Appalachian Trail" if that's where he's really been.Did you follow that? Argentina by way of Minneapolis via the Atlanta Airport from the Appalachian Trail with a quick stop at a South Carolina airport.
WYFF-TV reports Sanford's state vehicle "was tracked down, not to the Appalachian Trail, but to the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta." A federal agent spotted Sanford in the airport boarding a plane to Minneapolis.
However, CNN has pictures of a car believed to be Sanford's but at a different airport in South Carolina. There is a sleeping bag in the back seat.
Meanwhile, Sanford's wife said yesterday she still hadn't heard from her husband and wasn't concerned, but said "he had left to have time to write." The governor's staff still insists he's on a hiking trip.
Politico says Sanford's "disappearing act is reviving an often-whispered, if rarely written, question about presidential hopefuls: Just how strange is too strange?"
Update: Returning home, Sanford tells The State newspaper that he was in Argentina, not on the Appalachian Trail as his staff had said in official statements. He said he had considered hiking the trail but wanted to do "something exotic."
"Sanford said he was alone on the trip. He declined to give any additional details about what he did other than to say he drove along the coastline."
When I voted for Obama, I did so knowing he would not wave a magic wand and fix everything overnight. I voted for him thinking he was the best choice of the candidates available to choose from. I still support that decision. Was he perfect for gays? No. We knew that ahead of time. Will he deliver on everything he promised? Probably not. What President ever has? The last President who rushed into trying to overcome centuries of prejudice left us with [Don't Ask, Don't Tell]. Oh what a great compromise that turned out to be.-Moby, a San Francisco blogger posting a rare political piece.
While I am disappointed by Obama’s lackluster support, I am also trying to see the bigger picture here. Our country is facing some of the largest crises in our history. Our financial markets are practically in ruins from rampant deregulation. Our country is virtually broke and we are “robbing Peter to pay Paul." Our healthcare system is on the verge of collapsing under its on mismanaged weight. More and more companies are going under daily and adding to the already record numbers of unemployed. Not to mention, we are facing two wars overseas, a pending disaster with North Korea, and now Iran’s turmoil threatens to embroil us even further.
Oh yes, we were quick to point fingers and blame. And I ask you, what has that gotten us? Nothing, zero, zip, nadda, zilch. Personally, I see it as a cop-out. We blame others in an effort to absolve ourselves of any personal responsibility. In the process, we give up our power and relegate ourselves to the “helpless victim” mentality. How many of you reading this right now has contacted a single government representative at any level? Even simpler, have you done anything at all, besides complain?Don't get me wrong. The administration's defense of DOMA was way over the top and we should all be angry at the language used in that legal brief. That said, I expect President Obama to tackle at least DOMA and DADT before the end of his first term. In the mean time, the poor guy has much bigger fish to fry.
I have a radical idea. How about we get off our collective asses and get involved. Whether it be thru voting, marching, volunteering, educating, donating, whatever. Everyone of us can contribute, one way or another. Contact your local, State, and Federal representatives and let them know you expect results. In an age of electronic communication, its as simple as type and click. We can forward stupid memes, pics, porn, and funny emails till we are blue in the face, but we can’t contact our elected leaders? How sad is that?
...The point here is pinning all our hopes on one man and then getting angry when he doesn’t deliver is foolish and naive. Yes, he could be doing better. Yes, we should hold him accountable for his promises. And yes, we should continue to demand more. But, the same is true of ourselves.
Approval ratings for Republicans hit an all-time low last week in both the New York Times/CBS News and Wall Street Journal/NBC News polls. That’s what happens when a party’s most creative innovations are novel twists on old-fashioned sex scandals. Just when you thought the G.O.P. could never match the high bar set by Larry Craig’s men’s room toe-tapping, along came Senator John Ensign of Nevada, an ostentatiously pious born-again Christian whose ecumenical outreach drove him to engineer political jobs for his mistress, her cuckolded husband and the couple’s son. At least it can no longer be said that the Republicans have no plan for putting Americans back to work.-Frank Rich, beginning his column in yesterday's NY Times.
Eric Mongerson's kids couldn't meet his partner of two years, much less join the couple for ice cream. His friends couldn't cheer on the children at concerts or Little League games.
The divorced dad spent thousands of dollars fighting an unusual ban imposed by a county judge in 2007 that kept the three minors from having any contact with his gay friends or partners.
He felt unfairly scrutinized every moment he spent with the kids, though he never was looking to make a statement. He just wanted to spend a day with his kids and his partner, Jose Sanchez - together.
This Father's Day, he finally will.
The ban stemmed from the bitter divorce between Mongerson and his ex-wife, Sandy, who were married for almost 20 years and had four children. Mongerson said the marriage ended when his wife discovered he was gay in November 2005.
Fayette County Superior Court Judge Christopher Edwards [awarded] Sandy custody of the children. The judge also issued a blanket order banning Eric Mongerson from "exposing the children to his homosexual partners and friends."
On Monday, the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously agreed. Justice Robert Benham wrote in the scathing 10-page ruling that the trial court abused its discretion without evidence of harm to the children. He concluded it "flies in the face of our public policy that encourages divorced parents to participate in the raising of their children."
The Guardian Council's partial vote recount and investigation into electoral fraud are rejected by the opposition. Demonstrations spread and intensify, with ever greater numbers of Iranians taking to the streets calling for the resignation of Khamenei and Ahmadinejad. Security forces respond with increasing force, arresting thousands and closing down media coverage, texting networks, websites and Twitter. Purge of reformist leaders, intellectuals, students and journalists continues. Leaderless demos gradually peter out, leaving resentment. Ahmadinejad steps up anti-western rhetoric. Resumed protests at a later date considered highly likely.
A second revolution:
An insider cabal of senior clerical and establishment conservatives challenges Khamenei and forces his resignation after a vote in the Assembly of Experts. Former president Hashemi Rafsanjani is elected in his stead and orders an investigation into the actions of Ahmadinejad and other senior members of the regime. Hardliners rally round the president while reformists demand new elections. Amid growing instability, Iran's unique Islamic/secular system of governance appears in danger of collapse.
Pew Research:These are excellent numbers, however if you dig deeper you will find that Americans are starting to move blame for the economy from the Bush administration to Mr. Obama. My hunch is the president's approval rating will be down near 50% by Labor Day. American's have short attention spans and tend to want quick fixes to everything. Getting the worst economy since the Great Depression back on track is going to take some time (I predict two years or so). And President Obama is going to have to ride out the inevitable resulting low poll numbers.
No opinion 9%
NY Times/CBS News:
No opinion 11%
We've known for some time that the United States cannot afford the current Republican leadership to be in charge of foreign policy. They have neither the understanding, judgement or temperament to do so. They veer from hoping Ahmadinejad to win all the way to wanting to stand up and get the president cheering for one faction in an extremely tense and difficult situation. Just thank your stars we do not have McCain or Palin grandstanding this in the White House right now.Good Lord! Can you imagine a "VP Palin" (Ugh...I still cramp up at the thought) even trying to dissect what is going on in Iran right now?!? ("Awww...Aren't they cute? God bless 'em and their little green fingers awl-so.")
I just wanted to point out that this has always been Obama’s MO. He’s always a step or two behind where his supporters want him to be, getting pulled along by their enthusiasm, rather than out ahead of them where he might get cut off. It’s a community organizer’s MO. You never get out ahead of your constituency. Instead you shape the playing field so that your constituency’s desires flow towards where you think they should go, and allow them to carry you along behind them.UPDATE #2: Video of Mr. Obama signing the memo...
A few months ago the U.S. economy was in danger of falling into depression. Aggressive monetary policy and deficit spending have, for the time being, averted that danger. And suddenly critics are demanding that we call the whole thing off, and revert to business as usual.-Paul Krugman (why isn't he on Obama's economic team?) on why the economic stimulus package should be given more time to halt the current downturn.
...the Obama plan is little more than an attempt to stick some new regulatory fingers into a very leaky financial dam rather than rebuild the dam itself.Mr. President, I've given you the benefit of the doubt for five months now. I am still on board, but my patience is beginning to wear thin. I have friends who have already given up on you. My arguments that "he's got this" and "give him time, he's playing chess while the rest of us are playing checkers" just don't hold water with them any more.
If the administration does feel compelled to defend the act, it should do so in a less hurtful way. It could have crafted its legal arguments in general terms, as a simple description of where it believes the law now stands. There was no need to resort to specious arguments and inflammatory language to impugn same-sex marriage as an institution.I have been a bit more patient than most, but this strong and stinging endorsement of DOMA really raised my hackles.
[High speed rail] would end the expansion of regional airline traffic as in-state travelers increasingly ride the fast trains. And it would surely slow the growth of highway traffic. Other potential benefits are also intriguing: a probable economic windfall for several cities along the route, with rejuvenated neighborhoods and center cities; several hundred thousand jobs in construction, manufacturing, operations and maintenance; and the environmental benefits that come from vehicles far more efficient and far less polluting than jets, buses and cars.-Jon Gertner, highlighting the tremendous benefits that would result if and when the United States builds high-speed rail, in an excellent essay in today's New York Times Magazine.
On the basis of what we know so far, here is the sequence of events starting on the afternoon of election day, Friday, June 12.He adds:
- Near closing time of the polls, mobile text messaging was turned off nationwide
- Security forces poured out into the streets in large numbers
- The Ministry of Interior (election headquarters) was surrounded by concrete barriers and armed men
- National television began broadcasting pre-recorded messages calling for everyone to unite behind the winner
- The Mousavi campaign was informed officially that they had won the election, which perhaps served to temporarily lull them into complacency
- But then the Ministry of Interior announced a landslide victory for Ahmadinejad
- Unlike previous elections, there was no breakdown of the vote by province, which would have provided a way of judging its credibility
- Less than 24 hours later, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamene`i publicly announced his congratulations to the winner, apparently confirming that the process was complete and irrevocable, contrary to constitutional requirements
- Shortly thereafter, all mobile phones, Facebook, and other social networks were blocked, as well as major foreign news sources.
The Electoral Commission is supposed to wait three days before certifying the results of the election, at which point they are to inform Khamenei of the results, and he signs off on the process. The three-day delay is intended to allow charges of irregularities to be adjudicated. In this case, Khamenei immediately approved the alleged results.And the people are in the streets...
I am aware of the difficulties of catching history on the run. Some explanation may emerge for Ahmadinejad's upset that does not involve fraud. For instance, it is possible that he has gotten the credit for spreading around a lot of oil money in the form of favors to his constituencies, but somehow managed to escape the blame for the resultant high inflation.
But just as a first reaction, this post-election situation looks to me like a crime scene.
Walkin' On the Sun - Smash Mouth
Stupid Girl - Garbage
Intergalactic - Beastie Boys
Ray of Light - Madonna
Scream - Michael Jackson/Janet Jackson
Fast Love - George Michael
Praise You - Fatboy Slim
Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough - Michael Jackson
Jungle Boogie - Kool and the Gang
Tubthumping - Chumbawamba
Love Rollercoaster - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Space Cowboy - Jamiroquai
Democrats long ago jettisoned America's melting-pot ideal - E Pluribus Unum ("Out of Many, One") - because it imperils their campaign for permanent rule. Splitting the country into separate identity groups and playing them against each other works a lot better. And anyone who disagrees is a racist.-Andrew Breitbart, blathering on in the wing-nut rag, Washington Times.
I'm very bullish on Montana. It is currently my number one pick to flip in 2012. Energy, land-management and environmental issues are key in Montana...It's way too early to predict how things may go in the 2012 presidential election. If you had come to me in June of 2005 and predicted a black Democrat would win Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and Indiana, I would have called you a fool.
Magic - Ladyhawke
Highly Suspicious - My Morning Jacket
Planet Home - Jamiroquai
Superstition - Stevie Wonder
West Coast - Coconut Records
Mad World - Adam Lambert
Powerful - Skye Edwards
Hometown Glory - Adele
Summer In Paris - DJ Cam
Optical Illusion - William Orbit
Things - Robbie Williams w/ Jane Harrocks
Reading the speech today, I am reminded of why many of us saw this unlikely figure a couple of years ago and concluded that he was uniquely capable of guiding the West - and East - away from a catastrophic conflict that we learned, by bitter experience, could not be won by force of arms alone...no other figure in global politics could have done this. At its heart, the speech sprang, it seemed to me, a spiritual conviction that human differences, if openly acknowledged, need not remain crippling. It was a deeply Christian - and not Christianist - address; seeking to lead by example and patience rather than seeking to impose from certainty.Michael Crowley:
One year ago today, Barack Obama clinched the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. In doing so, he defied Hillary Clinton's criticism that his candidacy amounted to little more than shallow and flowery speeches. Change, Clinton argued, comes from hard work--not pretty words. Today, in the Grand Hall of Cairo University, Clinton listened from the front row as Obama gave his most elegant speech yet. Perhaps it dawned on Clinton, if it hadn't already, that a great speech can do a lot of the hard work for you.Washington Post:
President Obama was the first to say yesterday that one speech cannot erase the accumulated hostility and mistrust between many of the world's Muslims and the United States. But his address in Cairo offered an eloquent case for American values and global objectives -- and it looked to be a skillful use of public diplomacy in a region where America's efforts to explain itself have often been weak.NY Times:
Before Thursday’s speech, and after, Mr. Obama’s critics complained that he has spent too much time apologizing and accused him of weakening the country. That is a gross misreading of what he has been saying — and of what needs to be said. After eight years of arrogance and bullying that has turned even close friends against the United States, it takes a strong president to acknowledge the mistakes of the past. And it takes a strong president to press himself and the world to do better.
Oh my God, Wayne. It's red dress day and they're all riding through town and it's fantastic!
I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles - principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.The President didn't just cow-tow to the Muslim world. He said what needed to be said:
...When violent extremists operate in one stretch of mountains, people are endangered across an ocean. And when innocents in Bosnia and Darfur are slaughtered, that is a stain on our collective conscience. That is what it means to share this world in the 21st century. That is the responsibility we have to one another as human beings.The speech is quite long, but in my mind it is required reading. Teachers across the country should print it and require their students to read it. The rest of us should make sure to set aside some time to study it.
This is a difficult responsibility to embrace. For human history has often been a record of nations and tribes subjugating one another to serve their own interests. Yet in this new age, such attitudes are self-defeating. Given our interdependence, any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail. So whatever we think of the past, we must not be prisoners of it. Our problems must be dealt with through partnership; progress must be shared.
That does not mean we should ignore sources of tension. Indeed, it suggests the opposite: we must face these tensions squarely.
Remember during the presidential primaries when Joe Biden described Barack Obama as "articulate and bright and clean?"The irony totally lost on Mr. Bush, of course.
According to [Richard Wolfe's] Renegade: The Making of a President, President Bush didn't understand the resulting controversy.
"Bush was so taken aback with the public criticism of Biden that he called in his African American secretary of state Condoleezza Rice. 'I don't get it,' he said. 'Condi, what's going on?' Rice told him what everyone else had said: that white people don't call each other articulate."
Mike Huckabee (Former Governor of Arkansas) 22%Now, fortunes can turn on a dime, and the voters of the United States aren't necessarily against putting really stupid people in very powerful posts (see Bush, George W.); and if the current economic mess is too dire to turn around in four years, all bets are off, BUT...
Sarah Palin (Governor of Alaska, 2008 VP Nominee) 21%
Mittens (Former Governor of Massachusetts) 21%
Newt Gingrich (Former Speaker of the House) 13%
An Air France plane missing over the Atlantic with 228 people aboard reported electrical problems in stormy weather before it lost contact, the airline said Monday, describing the loss as a "catastrophe."My thoughts are with the families of those on board.
The Airbus A330-200 sent automatic messages signaling equipment failure as it hit turbulence early in its 11-hour flight from Rio de Janeiro to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, Air France CEO Pierre-Henri Gourgeon told a news conference.
The last known contact with the plane was at 1:33 a.m. GMT (8:33 p.m. Sunday night ET), according to the Brazilian Air Force.