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You will have to forgive me and, hopefully indulge me. I tend to get my news a little late. I don't do broadcast television and I can't seem to keep up with Mr. Stewart on a regular basis on Hulu. A lot of what comes to me comes through some great friends on Facebook so I am just now getting up to speed on the whole National Prayer Breakfast brouhaha.

First, stop by the rec list and read Obama's nuanced, thoughtful remarks at Prayer Breakfast have the right in an uproar by subir. It tells you all you need to know.

Check out the link to the source article Critics pounce after Obama talks Crusades, slavery at prayer breakfast at The Washington Post also.

The article is a great read and does a pretty good job of lining up the immediate reaction to the President's speech. If you still care about what I have to say, come back.

Here is what I find to be another piece from WaPo about the prayer breakfast that is worth a read. Why Obama invoked the Crusades — and what it says about how he views terrorism by Aaron Blake.

Obama, for the duration of his presidency, has forcefully tried to separate Islam from what terrorists who claim that faith do, in the name of it.

The most striking example was in September, amid the growing threat of the Islamic State, when Obama declared not only that the terrorists were perverting their religion -- as he has often said -- but that they were actually "not Islamic" at all.

Apparently, it's a thing that President Obama will not use the terms "radical Islam" or "Islamic radicals". Even some Democrats (ahem, Tulsi Gabbard) want him to use these terms. But I believe, as I think does Mr Blake, that the President wants to reframe the concept. He is trying to do what all of us on the Left should be doing.

Don't fight your opponent on their own battlefield. Forgive me Sun Tzu. I think the actual concept is not to fight your enemy where they are strong. And make no mistake, Jingoism is a powerful force in US culture.

Blake calls this "perhaps the defining semantics debate of [Obama's] presidency" and I agree.

With a Republican controlled Legislative Branch and the turmoil of a new set of pretenders to the throne about to befall us, Barack Obama's most powerful tool is his rhetoric.

He can cower and fight a rear guard action to salvage the ACA and his reputation.

Or, he can stand proud and tall in the bully pulpit and call out the ugliest elements of American society.

That's why I voted for him. I want, just for a little bit, to hear my President say that we can do better, that we can be better and that we can rise above the divisions to work towards that more perfect union. Don't fight against Conservative memes. Create your own. Be bold. Be hopeful. Change the debate.

Meanwhile, some crazy dude in a robe was seen walking around the gathering of flannel suits and power ties.

No one has said a lot about him, except for a piece in The Wall Street Journal about relations with China and Obama playing "China's game".

But, look at that presence of peace. Think about living a good life and doing well by others. Think about making the world better and kinder.

If we can all think about that and leave the internecine battles about whose prophet is the correct one then we might actually do some good in this world.


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Martin Luther King Day is celebrated in January across the country. Robert E Lee Day is celebrated on the same day in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama. Georgia, Florida, and Virginia celebrate Robert E Lee on a separate day.

But today, Arkansas held a vote to separate the holidays, just like the enlightened southern states.

You might think that it would be the cool thing to do to separate the holidays. Yanno, just for the sake of appearing to care about the Civil Rights icon. Of course, the bill never stood a chance. But teh crazy was out in full force.

Inae Oh brought us eight ridiculous quotes from the debate whatever in the Arkansas House today. Follow the fold ...

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The ad is infamous at this point. Some say it sank Barry Goldwater's campaign. Many now claim that it was a seminal moment in political advertisements. Some claim that it is the godfather of today's nasty attack ads. It ran only once, but it lived on in the memories of those who saw it, talked about it and heard about it. Of course, the fact that nightly news shows played it again and again didn't hurt either.

In any case, "The Daisy Girl" (below) turns 50 today.

It’s a minute long and appeared during Monday Night at the Movies on NBC. This is what happens next, as TIME described it: The countdown ends, and the screen erupts in atomic explosion, followed by the voice of Lyndon Baines Johnson, who says somberly: “These are the stakes: to make a world in which all of God’s children can live, or go into the dark. We must either love each other or we must die.”
The movie, just in case you want to kill at your next trivia party?

"David and Bathsheba," starring Gregory Peck and Susan Hayward.


Sun Sep 07, 2014 at 08:23 AM PDT

A Diarist Looks Back at 125

by gravlax


125 diaries here at the Great Orange Satan. I thought I would take a moment to look back, look forward and ponder what I have done here.

But first, some vital stats:


diarist -- gravlax (I thought the name was appropriately whimsical)

uid --- 189368 (I remember thinking it was obscenely high back in the day)

joined --- October 7, 2008 (I was moved by the Presidential race)

comments --- 1743 (ZERO HR's)

diaries --- 125 (in 6 years, not bad)

Rescued --- 23 (Thank you Rescue Rangers, remember them?)

Recommended --- 10 (Not bad for a guy who comes and goes)

Obviously, this is a very personal diary, one for myself and both of my followers. I don't expect eyeballs and recs but I hope that you might read through my ramblings here.



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Fri Sep 05, 2014 at 02:26 PM PDT

The World According to "Duck Dynasty"

by gravlax

First of all, thanks A&E for unleashing these guys on us. No, really thank you. I mean it. They're like a right wing Kardashian clan. I needed that in my life. I really, really really did.

Now that these folks are "famous" the Robertson clan has been using their "celebrity" until it disappears ubiquitous in the media. I don't even have cable television and I know about these yahoos from Louisiana. They are apparently quite conservative and Christian. They are a perfect fit for Fox News.

I don't know their names. I think one is called "Uncle Brother"? I could make a bunch of poor white trash comments about them but that would be racist and prejudiced.

I try not to judge without knowing all the facts. Its just that, in this case, I don't care to know the facts.

Except that I believe this one to be true. I don't care what you say!

This just has to be what they looked like before getting all bearded up for the teevee for whatever reason.

Anyway, these loons appear on my news radar with alarming frequency lately.

I thought I would take a look at what the Robertons are doing as of late. Just cuz, yanno, I have the time to reflect and write a diary.

So, here goes nuthin'.

(This is totally pieced together from a patchwork of sources and is almost certainly a biased left-wing loon's account)



100%18 votes

| 18 votes | Vote | Results

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California, for those of you who failed geography weren't aware, shares a border with Mexico. That means that issues of undocumented immigration mean more in California than they might elsewhere. Of course there is also a large Latino population in California because they moved here the border moved across them. These two factors mean that California might have amore nuanced view about immigration than those in other states, even other border states.

There is no doubt that undocumented workers are making great contributions to the US workforce and tax base.

A recent study by USC and the California Immigration Policy Center took a look at the scope of those contributions in California.

The study put the number of undocumented immigrants in the work force at 2.6 million and their contribution to state GDP at $130 billion.

Yes, billion with a "b".

A few key findings about undocumented immigrants in California:

58% have no health insurance

38% work in agriculture

50% have been in the state longer than ten years

75% live in households that include US citizens

There you have it. Undocumented immigration is a big issue in California. And California is taking two legislative steps to open itself up to undocumented immigrants.
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Thursday night saw what is likely to be the only gubernatorial debate between between Republican Neel Kashkari and Democratic Governor Jerry Brown in California for the 2014 election cycle, which is sad. The Golden State is huge and Californians usually take their politics a little more seriously than allowing one debate.

Of course, this is also the state that elected Arnold Schwarzenegger, so yanno.

There were no YouTube moments, crazy soundbites, or eye-popping gimmicks
"Contentious California gubernatorial debate turns to insults"
From what I have read, it comes down to this. Republican Kashkari hounded Governor Brown for being out of touch and bad for business. Brown, meanwhile, claimed that the state has experienced a resurgence during his third term. The state has gone from $25 billion in debt to surplus and restored more than 1.4 million jobs.

Most sources give Brown a clear win and state polls show him with a decided advantage come election day. Kashkari may just be a placeholder or he may be putting himself in the running for 2018 when Brown will be term limited and the field might open a little wider.

It appears that Brown will win, so let's focus on some down ticket races in California this year. What do you think? Any pique your interest? Is there a race you would like to see get more attention in California?

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Didja hear the one about the Wyoming state bar convention that invited former VP Dick "Shoot 'Em Inna Face" Cheney to speak?

That would be the state bar's annual convention which will feature Cheney as the keynote speaker.

Well, they allowed Cheney to submit his own bio, which of course takes a dig at President Obama.

The text is identical to his bio from Alliance for a Stronger America, the Cheney's non profit.

President Bush and Vice President Cheney left office in January 2009. Shortly thereafter, President Obama began to dismantle the security policies that had kept the nation safe. His policy decisions have led to a reversal of the gains America made in the war on terror, in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, and a weakening of America across the globe.
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So, this issue seems to have fallen off the front page. I thought I would put another diary up for the West Coast/Hawaii/Guam crowd.

In case you missed it, there have been a series of strikes by fast food workers across the US today. Several labor organizations organized the strikes to raise the call for unions and a $15 per hour wage for fast food workers.

Before going any further, I will give credit to those who have already diaried on the subject here today:

What The Striking Fast Food Workers May Have To Contend With by Richard Lyon

Strike Fast Food, Fight For 15 by stopmotionsolo

Congresswoman Gwen Moore, 26 Others Arrested at Fast Food Protest in Milwaukee by Puddytat

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Teh crazy is strong with this one. So much so that I don't even know where to start.

According to The Oklahoman,
The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is criticizing state Rep. John Bennett for a Facebook post saying people should be wary of those who say they are “Muslim American.”
The FB post linked to sharia unveiled and it linked a story from Reuters about ISIS and murdered Christians. (Note: this is where the source link takes you from the blog. It doesn't appear to me to be the same article.)

Bennett's post reads:

Islam and Muslim are one in the same. They are adjectives describing their religion. Islam is the religion, Muslim is the person that follows Islam. If someone claims to be Muslim they subscribe to Islam (Quran). The Quran clearly states that non Muslims should be killed. Arab is the ethnicity, not Muslim or Islam. Be wary of the individuals who claim to be "Muslim American". Be especially wary if you're a Christian.
But then Bennett doubles, and even triples down on teh crazy on his FB page.
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In 2013, 17.5 million households (1 in 7) experienced food insecurity. That number is down from 17.6 million in 2012. While that's good news for some, it isn't good enough and will possibly rise again for 2014.

What is food insecurity?

The state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.
Food insecurity is just what it sounds like. If you aren't sure where your next meal that meets your basic nutrition requirements wil come from, you are experienceing food insecurity.

The USDA  just released its report Household Food Security  in the United States in 2013. The news isn't good. In fact the bright spot is that it is down .6 % from 2101 to 2013. According to the study 17.5 million US households experienced some degree of food insecurity in 2013.

Here is what it boils down to:

“It’s a matter of interpretation if you think it’s good news or bad news,” said Alisha Coleman-Jensen, lead researcher with the USDA’s Economic Research Service. “We didn’t find anything that got worse. Basically, it seems like things are holding steady or improving a little bit, but it’s not down to those prerecession levels.”

2013 SNAP Cuts Aren't Reflected In These Numbers

It is important to remember that when looking at these numbers. I predict that the numbers for 2014 will rise again.

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About 350,000 Americans with a diagnosis of a severe mental illness like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder are in state jails and prisons, while the number of psychiatric beds available has shrunk to 35,000, according to a coming analysis by the Treatment Advocacy Center, a nonprofit group that favors expanded access to treatment.
People can disagree. Reasonable people can even disagree reasonably. This all seems to go out the window when discussing the issue of mental illness.

Mental illness scares us for many reasons, mostly because we don't understand it very well. The concept or prospect of losing one's faculties is perhaps the scariest concept imaginable in modern society.

None of us wants to think about not being who we are.

Mental illness has many faces. It can be the homeless person on the street talking to themself.

It can be the world-famous actor and comedian who made us all laugh and cry on numerous occasions.

It can be the teenager that commits horrible acts of violence, sometimes armed.

It can be your mother or your father or your
                                                                    brother or your sister. Or it could be you.

Recently, I have been forced to do some research on some proposed federal legislation regarding mental health treatment in order to figure out what is happening. I have had to wade through what I consider a lot of weeds to find what I consider the heart of the matter.

I would like to stress at this point that I am a complete novice, just a guy with a screen and a keyboard. I am neither a doctor nor a lawyer, although I have played both on TV.

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