Remember this from 2007: time capsule of irony

Remember this post from 2007: Let’s tuck this away and see what happens. I knew this day would come. Seven years ago today I wrote that post. I can’t help but laugh and think to myself, “Isn’t it ironic?”

Especially ironic is the quote “[Hillary said] she would not meet with world leaders critical of the United States,” and then Obama (perhaps sadistically) appointed her Secretary of State, where she had to meet with leaders critical of the U.S..

Sorry Randy, you gambled on an idea and lost. But, the other irony is that your horse is probably in the 2016 race. (Is it just me or is politics full of irony?)


National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) – S.1867

Like SOPA, people are going nuts over what they think this bill means to their freedoms – or loss of freedoms. I had to react. They think S.1867 (PDF) will give the government the power to lock you away forever, without trial. I beg to differ. Read it for yourself then you can complain to your congressman. I’ve re-printed the most controversial section below, Sec. 1031, for your perusal:

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (S.1867)

Title X, Subtitle D, SEC 1031

Subtitle D – Detainee Matters


(a) IN GENERAL. – Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40) includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in subsection (b)) pending disposition under the law of war.

(b) COVERED PERSONS. – A covered person under this section is any person as follows:
(1) A person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attacks.
(2) A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.

(c) DISPOSITION UNDER LAW OF WAR. – The disposition of a person under the law of war as described in subsection (a) may include the following:
(1) Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.     (2) Trial under chapter 47A of title 10, United States Code (as amended by the Military Commissions Act of 2009 (title XVIII of Public Law 111–84)).
(3) Transfer for trial by an alternative court or competent tribunal having lawful jurisdiction.
(4) Transfer to the custody or control of the person’s country of origin, any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity.

(d) CONSTRUCTION. – Nothing in this section is intended to limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

(e) AUTHORITIES. – Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities, relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.

(f) REQUIREMENT FOR BRIEFINGS OF CONGRESS. – The Secretary of Defense shall regularly brief Congress regarding the application of the authority described in this section, including the organizations, entities, and individuals considered to be ”covered persons” for purposes of subsection (b)(2).

One section in particular, 1031(e), has people running for the hills. To me that paragraph means this bill does not preclude other laws.

Obama a lame duck in less than a year

Tomorrow, January 21, is Obama’s first anniversary as president. Last night Massachusetts elected a Republican senator to replace Democrat Ted Kennedy after he left office in August for health reasons. This gives Republicans the necessary 41 votes to kill any legislation in the Senate. In one quick and decisive move the GOP has rendered Obama a lame duck less than one year after he took office.

Who would have thought that Teddy Kennedy would be succeeded in the U.S. Senate by a Republican? The GOP now has the necessary 41 votes to block anything that the Democratic Senate majority wants to do, from passing legislation to confirming judges. The White House has been very slow to fill judicial and U.S. attorney slots and have squandered that opportunity. The Democrats have achieved NOTHING, and now they can’t do anything without Republican votes. George W. Bush became a lame duck with two years to go when the Republicans lost control of Congress in the 2006 midterms. Obama may have become a lame duck for the remainder of his term. Source: Unhappy anniversary | BurkaBlog.

The health care bill that was before the senate seems all but doomed to fail in light of this election. Time will tell, but I don’t expect any helpful legislation coming from Washington any time soon.

Obama coming to the heart of conservatisim – Aggieland

Hundreds expected to demonstrate Friday at A&M during presidential forum.

By Nathan Adkisson |

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A&M official: “We expect our students will treat the president with respect.”

Officials say about 20 organizations have reserved space to demonstrate on campus, including several Tea Party groups, the College Democrats and the College Republicans. While Texas A&M has not prohibited any groups from protesting, university officials said they expect demonstrators to honor the Aggies’ well-known code of conduct.

It’s not students we fear. It’s the hundreds of non-Aggies being bussed in from all over Texas – Tea Party groups – that probably did not vote for Obama and probably will try to stir up trouble.

I think Friday will be a good day for everyone to stay home.

President Obama speaks at Texas A&M
President Obama speaks at Texas A&M

It wasn’t that bad. North of campus and we didn’t hear or see anything unsual – we were in the office when he arrived and at home when he left. But, Obama, Bush 41, and Gates all came to town in support of a Points of Light/Volunteer forum.

Consuming On the President May Kill You

Capitalizing off of the presidency is nothing new, but read the fine print.
“Made in China” and “Don’t eat off plate” WTF?
Let’s celebrate on of the most significant events in United States’ history by sending money to China. I wouldn’t normally eat off this plate (’cause it’s so pretty) but it probably contains lead like everything else from China.

Oh, by the way, happy inauguration day! President-elect Obama (a term beaten to death by the press since November’s election) becomes President Obama today at 12 PM EDT. Of course the biggest event in recent times will draw the biggest crowd in recent times – millions are expected to brave freezing temperatures to watch the swearing in ceremony.

Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address

© MMVIII, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address
Jan. 20, 2009
(CBS) President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address, as prepared for delivery:
My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land – a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act – not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions – who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control – and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort – even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

“Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

First-family-to-be gets code names

In the Oval Office
White House photo by Eric Draper, November 10, 2008
President George W. Bush and president-elect Barack Obama meet in the Oval Office of the White House on Monday. Obama, gearing up for his historic January 20 swearing-in, held his first face-to-face talk with Bush.

First-family-to-be gets code names
Tribune staff report, November 10, 2008
The Secret Service traditionally has given pithy, private names to those whose lives they protect. The monikers are a throwback to a time when electronic communications were not encrypted, and they no longer serve a security function. Still, they give an occasional peek at the players’ personalities, in addition to serving as great trivia questions.

President-elect Barack Obama: Renegade (age 47)
Michelle Obama: Renaissance (age 44)
Malia Obama: Radiance (age 10)
Natasha: Rosebud (age 7)

Obama Elected President as Racial Barrier Falls

Surprisingly, it was a close race at least in the popular vote, but in the end, the electoral college made it’s choice clear. The interesting tid-bit – while we wait for the dust to clear – is the difference in the popular vote versus the difference in “EC” votes. (At time of press) Popular votes differed by 6% while EC votes differed by 34% for Obama. What does that say about the EC and this whole process? Was the population accurately represented by the electoral college?

It is time for change. It’s time for America to change, time for government to change, time for the way the world views America to change. Now comes the really hard job: keep America solvent, bring to an end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and find solutions to American dependence on foreign oil. Do all of that while not raising taxes is going to take a miracle.

Obama Elected President as Racial Barrier Falls –
Published: November 4, 2008
Barack Hussein Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States on Tuesday, sweeping away the last racial barrier in American politics with ease as the country chose him as its first black chief executive.

So today, the day after the election, I’m struck with the question: where will we go now? Actually, I have several questions. If you are a (dare I say right-wing) cynic, you might wonder if the U.S. will become socialist. Will the “welfare state” (the link uses police state) grow because minorities think a minority in the White House will favor them? If you are an optimist, you might wonder if Obama will encourage (read require) everyone – especially minorities – to rise to the occasion – empowering them to move out of the welfare state.