This is a very quick diary, because the news just popped up. The New York Times has announced the Andrew Cuomo has banned fracking in New York State, citing health risks.
Coming on the heels of Obama's moves to normalize relations with Cuba, and the confirmation of 12 of his judicial nominees, we can see that there is some hope for the future, even after the disastrous midterms elections.
Steve Benen writes on Rachel Maddow's Blog
Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) has sponsored a proposal called the ENLIST Act, which seems like the sort of bill that could garner broad support: under the plan, young, undocumented immigrants who entered the United States before they turned 15 would be able to join the U.S. military. After their service, so long as they’re honorably discharged, these immigrants would become legal permanent residents and be eligible to apply for citizenship.
As we discussed in April, the legislation is in line with American traditions – many immigrants to the U.S. became citizens by serving in the military – and has already picked up some bipartisan support from 26 Democrats and 24 Republicans.
But GOP Majority Leader killed the proposal, and John Boehner is apparently in agreement with him.
In response, Doug Heye, spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, said: “No proposed ENLIST amendments to NDAA will be made in order.”
Heye said no stand-alone vote on the measure would be permitted, either.
When the Associated Press asked House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) office whether the Speaker agrees with Cantor’s decision, Boehner’s spokesperson said the GOP leadership is on the same page.
Mr. SottoVoce spent time yesterday as Occupy Albany gathered, marched, celebrated, and then were eventually arrested by the State Police. When you see these photos, you'll understand the last. A scarier group of people you'll rarely see. But overall the day was joyous, and even the arrests went off without undue harm to anyone.
Follow me over the Occu-twirl for his lovely images.
The rec list has been clogged of late with dueling pro- and anti-Obama rants, complete with the requisite hyperbole and withering contempt against one another. Normally, for my health and piece of mind, I try to keep out of the crossfire, but I feel that the focus is so far from where it needs to be that I must say a few words. Dialogue about the actions—both positive and negative—of our elected leaders is healthy, and serious discussion about what it really means to be a progressive or a liberal or a Democrat can only help us understand our role in the political world. But we've just been dragged into 2012, the election year, and what happens during the next 10 months will have ramifications that are too deadly serious to ignore. We can't simply keep fighting with one another; we have met the enemy, he isn't us, and he means business.
Yes, Virginia, there are haters. They're called "Republicans." Our job MUST be to stop them from achieving electoral victories, from the Presidency all the way down the line to local school board members and town supervisors. Follow me over the squiggle, if you will....
A huge crowd gathered at Occupy Albany's encampment this morning, including protesters who arrived from around the of the state to take part, and had a lively rally there. They then marched en masse to the Capital Building, where they where they congregated in the War Room (how apt!), and presented a proclamation to the Majority Leader of the Senate (who was not there, naturally). Although there was a police presence, the uniformed officers were stalwart and respectful. The whole event was positive, and enormously energizing. Governor 1% Cuomo may wish--as his nightly arrests by the State Police would suggest--that he could permanently discourage this group, and keep all eyes away as he tries to eliminate the popular Millionaire's Tax at year's end. But a look at these faces should convince even him that Occupy Albany isn't going anywhere.
Come occupy the space below the squiggle to see Mr. SottoVoce's photos of today's events.
When Occupy Albany first set up camp, Governor Andrew "1 percent" Cuomo, determined that the protesters should be stopped. Among his reasons, I'm guessing, is that their presence across from the venerable Capital building, would complicate his plan to end the popular Millionaire's Tax, a surcharge on the state's highest earners, which is due to expire at year's end. Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings, who had originally had no issue with the occupation, was swayed by Cuomo into asking police to evict the group. But the Albany Police, to their enormous credit, stepped up and declared that arrests would damage the relationship between police and the community, which they had been working so hard to repair. They said, absent danger to others or serious lawbreaking, they would not arrest the occupiers. The State Police joined them in this belief. As the result, the Governor and the Mayor stood down, and there have been weeks of peaceful occupation without incident. People of all stripes have dropped by to visit, provide food and support. They've keep the park clean Here's kossack TexasTwister at the encampment. Occupy Albany marched in the Veteran's Day Parade last Friday, alongside Veterans for Peace, and received applause and cheers from the crowd. However, the Governor apparently decided that it was time to flex his muscles.
Albany's downtown park is divided in two: one section, Academy Park, is under the City's control; Lafayette Park falls under the jurisdiction of the State. The encampment has kept mostly in Academy Park, but last night decided to make their stand in Lafayette Park. Surrounded by a phalanx of State Police (who, to their credit, were calm, disciplined and behaved like professionals), a group of protesters remained in the Lafayette Park area, with a large number of witnesses, until the 11pm curfew. There were dozens of arrests. Come occupy the space beyond the squiggle to see Mr. SottoVoce's photos of the event.
Under a blanket of snow, the citizens at Occupy Albany remained cheerful. They showed no signs of abandoning their camp; rather, they helped one another erect new tents away from tree limbs that might crack under the weight of snow. Speeches, music, hot food, conversation and fellowship were on display everywhere.
Mr. Sotto Voce took these photos yesterday (Saturday) until his fingers were too frozen to continue.
You'll find them below the squiggle.
Update: Rec List! Wow! Thank you -- and Mr. SottoVoce thanks you -- for helping put Occupy Albany on the map.
When I posted Mr. Sotto Voce's photographs of Occupy Albany, people requested that I post some more of his photos in diary format. He has since traveled to NYC to spend the night at Occupy Wall Street and record his impressions. Following is a photo journal of that night; he found that because it was the middle of the night, he was the only person taking photographs. These seem to have posted in random order, but they include people sleeping, writing, thinking, waking up, sharing food, greeting union workers and others who stopped by at daybreak to talk and show support. There are also a few images of the reactions of people heading to work on Wall Street to the encampment.
His comments: These were peaceful, dedicated, resilient, committed people, willing to talk about issues in an open way. Some expressed delight to see someone "as old as he is" there among them, and some were concerned that he would catch cold out shooting. He can't wait to go back.
In the meantime, he's headed down to Occupy Albany to see how they are faring in the snow.
Photos below the squiggle:
I admit it, I'm addicted to this place. It's going to be very difficult for me to turn out the light on this community for a whole week. Frankly, I don't know how I'll manage it. But it's only right.
I'll give Markos the benefit of the doubt in assuming that he's busy, he doesn't pay close attention to the daily ins and outs, things had degenerated badly, people were calling for moderation. So he came in, mid-argument, and just stomped. At first, I was pleased. Some of the nastiest people will stop tossing poison into every diary, I thought. But then, I began to look closely, and realized he was throwing out the good with the bad. He was silencing some of the very voices this blog needs to hear the most, and doing it carelessly.
If the entire purpose of Daily Kos were political action, it wouldn't be so important. But right on the banner it says "community." A community is a fragile thing; it can't be nurtured by stomping. It takes care. I'm hoping this group silence will cause him to take a second look, rethink his approach, and make repairs. If not, our action is still necessary. We're supposed to be the good guys. If we can't stop, think about what we are saying, listen to one another, grow beyond our egos and evolve, how can we call ourselves progressives?
I'll be counting the days.
I've been watching the growing controversy on the left over the legal and moral issues surrounding the death of bin Laden, and I find myself chagrined at the position many people are taking which, in effect, elevates bin Laden to the role of wronged victim while casting President Obama and his administration as the villain of the piece. As dangerous as it is to wade into the swirling waters of this debate, I feel the need to offer my viewpoint beyond making comments in others' diaries.
I had a feeling that refusing to pass the 9/11 First Responders Health Bill was going to be the issue that would come back to bite the Republicans. It was such a blatant show of hypocrisy, after their years-long use of the tragedy in their election backdrops, their fundraisers and their justification for all manner of civil liberties violations.
Perhaps Jon Stewart's scathing takedown of the GOP on this issue, in his final broadcast of the season was the last straw, but it seems as though they've been shamed.
The First Responders that he brought on the show were articulate, appropriately outraged, and also funny. Placed against clips of Kyl and McConnell, they showed everyone what was real, and what was blatantly false. Particularly sharp was the takedown of the ridiculous "disrespecting Christians" line of defense for having to work over the Christmas holiday, by a Firefighter who said that no one in any NYC firehouse would feel his faith was disrespected by working Christmas or New Year's Eve.
Rich's trenchant but spectacularly ill-timed opinion piece in today's NY Times might be subtitled, "Why We've Already Lost (Though I Still Have My Job)". While I am often first in line praising Rich's work, there are times when I feel it's necessary to step back and take the longer view.