The last 24+ hours have seen a non-stop flurry of "OMG! Romney won the debate!" hand-wringing from the left. But Romney did NOT win the debate. He may have won the beauty contest portion, but that's not the part that mattered.
Obama's debate performance was exactly what was needed for the important goal of winning the election, even if it didn't give those on the left the sense of satisfaction we might have felt if we'd been able to bash Mitt by proxy.
The right-wing's machine had spent the entire week setting the stage for the "angry black man" attack strategy (thus the 2007 video "surfaced" by Drudge of Obama speaking passionately to [gasp!] black people prior to the debate).
Obama completely killed their post-debate dog-whistle plans by being calm, professional, and honest. And in the process, he dramatically increased his approval rating AND his lead among independents. Romney gained only among republicans, who were going to vote for him, anyway.
Romney led 48 percent to 42 among independents in a Pew Research survey from April, which showed Obama ahead by 4 points nationally. Pew’s latest poll shows Obama overtaking Romney 44 percent to 42 among independents and opening up a 7-point lead nationally.
So in the only important measure - gaining among those who will swing the election - Obama won hands down, while also screwing up the pre-prepped ad campaigns from the opposing team. It was a two-fer.
Folks can stop wringing their hands, now.
It's what the VOTERS think that matters.
First, two pieces of housekeeping:
- Gibbs said something in a way that sounded offensive to some and sounded inoffensive to others. Check.
- Some people here are more to the left and some are less to the left. Check.
Now we've got that out of the way...
I'd like to ask folks to try an experiment for the next 24 hours: When someone says something about a policy or a candidate, before commenting, please think about why the poll numbers from Joe and Jane Average show the democrats losing ground in both the House and Senate in November (theories about bad polling aside). Let those thoughts inform your comment.
[small update to fix a typo]
It wasn't the first time. As a matter of fact, I smelled it yesterday, too. The last two days have been thick with smoke-scented haze from the wildfires raging through Southern Canada. The smell is strong enough, I thought our neigbors were burning brush - but I couldn't imagine the fire department giving a burn permit, considering how dry it is. Later, I heard that the haze we've been seeing isn't just the annual holiday weekend driving pollution (32 million Americans planned to drive someplace this weekend), but instead a blanket of smoke from fires tearing through the Quebec region.
Meanwhile, Quebec's forest fire protection agency, SOPFEU, reported 52 wildfires were active on Sunday, with eight being classified as out of control.
EVERYTHING below is paraphrased from last night's meeting. I tried to capture the gist of what was said, but I can't type as quickly as humans speak (especially Bernie). Any inaccuracies or misspellings are mine. Feel free to correct in the comments.
US Senator Bernie Sanders and Friis Petersen, Denmark's Ambassador to the United States, Sunday, March 21, 2010
Introduction, Bernie Sanders:
I get a little bit tired of hearing some of my colleagues in Congress and people in the media dismiss the European model and Scandinavian model, because, you know, we've solved all social problems ... [much laughter]
We were driving in from Burlington earlier and I asked the Ambassador how much vacation time the average Dane has. Some people here have 0 vacation in the us, and many, if they're lucky, get 2 weeks after a few months and maybe 3 weeks or more if they hang onto the same job for a number of years.
It is 6 weeks for ALL workers in Denmark. [gasps in audience]
Now is not the time for us to be arrogant. It's time to open our eyes and ears. [More below the jump]
Watch out for this one to start making the rounds over here. Unsurprisingly, some folks refuse to let die the emails and IPCC reporting that didn't affect the reality of climate change (remember the emails that
deliars deniers claim debunk climate change, even though some just explain how disparate data sources can be used in one chart; and others complain about incessant demands for info being made just for nuisance value). Well, they're doing the same with glacier melt data for some inland glaciers.
To that end, the UK Institute of Physics apparently submitted a statement to a parliamentary committee in the UK that's investigating allegations of impropriety in glacial melt data in an IPCC report.
[Note: Senator Sanders had to attend via teleconference, due to the Health care vote today in the Senate]
The following is paraphrased. If there are any unclear bits, it's probably because I couldn't type as fast as Senator Sanders spoke. I also didn't catch the first minute or so, so it starts at an awkward point... Items in square brackets [like this] are from me either filling in detail for clarity, or filling in chunks where I couldn't keep close.
We're in an unprecedented position. Worse than any time since the Great Depression - not only in terms of the health care system and wars, but an economy in very bad shape. Green house gasses (GHGs) and global warming add a global problem to the mix. As the most powerful country on earth, we have to be the leaders. For many years, the US was not present in the climate discussion and we had a President who barely acknowledged the issue. We must make substantial cuts in GHG emissions. I will fight to make strongest possible bill.
UPDATE [For all those who expressed concern, here's the latest: all the scary stuff for me came back negative, hubby's stuff is still pending. But no matter the result, we need health care that leaves our families intact, without the dread of financial ruin as the result of something as mundane as a childhood sunburn. Hopefully, this won't return to the recent diaries list...]
A few months ago, my husband learned that he had very high cholesterol (you'd never guess it if you looked at him - he's the wiry muscular type). They put him on meds, and scheduled him for tests in July. He was laid off a couple of weeks ago, but insurance lasts until the end of July, so he can still get the tests done. In the mean time, my annual physical was already scheduled for June. I had considered canceling it, but decided to go ahead.
Well, they found a mole in a place where moles aren't supposed to be, and it was larger than it should be, so, biopsy time. Plus they decided it was high time for a mammogram. I'd had one years ago, after I finished nursing my little one (heh – who is now taller than I am), and my system decided that it really just wanted to keep on producing ... like forever. So they wanted to make sure there were no structural issues.
How does the old saying go? "When other people lose their jobs, it's a recession; when you lose yours, it's a depression." Things just got depressing in our household. Our sole breadwinner just joined the newly unemployed. His company has been seeking funding for months (a startup), but hasn't secured what they need. In order to remain viable while continuing the funding search, they've had to cut pretty deeply.
Folks who've seen my comments and diaries over the years know that we had a long, nasty patch of dual-unemployment, large COBRA payments, and two kids to feed a few years ago. It left us in a deep debt hole, which we have largely failed to climb out of, but slow, halting, painful progress was being made.
Since every 401k penny was drained last time, and paying down high interest debt takes precedence over investing, we don't have to worry about losing our 401K to COBRA this time out, so that won't be quite as much of a drag... Though, being insurance-free, again, is going to suck.
I lost track of which churches offer free dinner on which nights. I'll have to start asking around. At least we already paid for the CSA, so we'll have plenty of veggies for the summer. We'll be brushing up our barter skills, too.
AIG, the company that casts a long, dark shadow of avarice and greed across the entire world's economy; the company whose fat cat owners took billions of the dollars we could not afford from our pockets and turned them into personal bonuses; the company whose very name is now included in the dictionary under both the words "graft" and "corruption," has sunk to a new lower low [warning: NY Post link, feel free not to give Murdoch any more audience than necessary]:
Bids To Claw Back Grants To Pay Bonuses
Insurance giant AIG is trying to seize a $490 million charitable endowment -- and claw back $27 million it already awarded to New York charities -- to pay executive bonuses, The Post has learned. The endowment, called Starr International Foundation, is run by former AIG chairman Hank Greenberg, and has given millions to the Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum, Citymeals and other local groups.
That's right - these dirty scoundrels are trying to PAY THEMSELVES BONUSES WITH MONEY THEY ALREADY DONATED TO CHARITY. They are SUING to TAKE THE MONEY BACK.
[Update: changed to clearer title]
I was one of last year's Netroots Nation scholarship winners. It was an amazing experience! (Be sure to vote and donate so others can go this year!)
First of all, I got my first airport pat-down on the way through security. The woman who had the honor of determining that I once again upheld my long-standing tradition of not being a terrorist, told me it was because my shirt was un-tucked. (Note to self: tuck in your shirt). Anyone who knows me will know how utterly ludicrous this was. I guess there were no token little old ladies in line who they could harass to prove they're keeping us safe.
Anyway, there was a huge delay - like several hours, due to bad weather, which resulted in me babysitting a woman's niece. The woman was sending her visiting niece home, but had to be somewhere else by a certain time. The delay was long enough, that she had to leave. We made sure the nearby flight attendants were aware of the arrangement, and then the young teen and I sat and largely ignored each other, while we read our respective books until flight time.
Based on the reaction in this diary last night, it seems like the time is ripe to dig back a few years and resurrect the Health Care Equity Act.
Our representation on Capitol Hill keep trying to tell us that health care funded by the government is sub-standard and not worth having, so it seems only fair that we stop saddling them with government funded health care.
Now that health care is front and center in the House and Senate, perhaps we can help them participate in the "best health care system in the world" by giving them the opportunity to vote it for themselves.
Write, call, fax your Congressional delegation and the White House today!
Health Care Equity Act after the jump:
An AP stringer report is flooding news media across the country. The report claims that the Vermont Democratic State Committee has called Obama "soft" on prosecution of the previous Administration.
Nothing like a little lazy journalism to spice up Mother's Day news reporting.
What we did was ask the Administration to uphold certain legal standards, and to disentangle our country from the civil rights mess left behind by the Bush Administration. Unlike the simplified AP view of the story, we fully accept and understand that (a) the Administration has A LOT on its plate, and (b) they were essentially left a ticking civil-liberties time-bomb by their predecessor.
More, including the full resolution below the fold: