Daily Archives: October 11, 2009
Op-ed by Jeffrey Feldman
HP/Jeffrey Feldman—Forget the Swine Flu. America is suffering from an outrage pandemic.
Like everybody else in America, I was surprised when the Nobel committee awarded the 2009 Peace Prize to Barack Obama. I was pleased, but surprised. Apparently, just about the only living creature not surprised was Bo the First Dog. But the outrage that flowed from every corner of the political conversation was far more depressing than learning about the award was surprising.
When did American optimism succumb to this constant outrage?
Less than a year ago, tens of millions of Americans descended on Washington, DC, just so they could say, “I was there,” on the day Barack Obama became President. Nine months later, a majority of Americans seem convinced that this same man–who once inspired them so deeply–has personally slighted them.
The right-wing is certainly responsible in part for the spread of the outrage pandemic.
The right has reached a level of outrage at Barack Obama that already exceeds what the left mustered after eight years of George W. Bush. The result is that right-wing politics in America now follows one general argument: If Obama wants it, then it is so bad it must be stopped or it will destroy America.
The insanity in this approach became clear in the health care reform debate where we have heard Republicans on Medicare say crazy things like, “I’d rather die than see this country adopt government-run health insurance” (e.g., I would rather die than have the kind of government health insurance that I currently have, which keeps me from dying).
When people shake their fists in protest at the very things they say they will die to defend, the result is far worse than a nation divided along political lines. It is a form of national schizophrenia.
While the outrage pandemic may have reached critical levels on the right, the left has done its part in the past nine months, too.
Try talking to anyone in the left-wing, nowadays, and it seems everyone has a bone to pick with Barack Obama. Whatever Barack Obama does, more and more people on the left are outraged by him. First it was the bank bailout program, then the auto-industry rescue, then the health care bill. Then it was not moving fast enough on closing Gitmo, then the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, then withdrawal from Iraq. Now the left is outraged at Obama’s Afghan policy and his view on cap and trade and home mortgage relief and marriage equality and the prosecution of past administration officials.
Is there anyone left on the left who is not outraged at Barack Obama for something? If they’re out there, I never come across them.
Posted by Audiegrl
WASHINGTON – Thousands of gay and lesbian activists converge for a march from the White House to the Capitol, demanding that President Barack Obama keep his promises to push for civil rights protections from the federal government.
Rainbow flags and homemade signs dotted the crowds as people chanted “Hey, Obama, let mama marry mama” and “We’re out, we’re proud, we won’t back down.” Many children were also among the protesters.Some participants in the National Equality March woke up energized by Obama’s blunt pledge to end the ban on gays serving openly in the military during a speech to the nation’s largest gay rights group Saturday night. The president also said he would work to ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and to give same-sex couples the same civil rights as straight couples.
“I’m here with you in that fight,” Obama said. He acknowledged some had grown impatient that he wasn’t pushing for changes faster but urged advocates to continue pressing him and Congress to act.
Obama’s political energies have been focused on two wars, the economic crisis and health care reform, though he pledged “unwavering” commitment even as he wrestled with those problems.
March organizer Cleve Jones, creator of the AIDS Memorial Quilt and a protege of gay rights pioneer Harvey Milk, said he had initially discouraged a rally earlier in the year. But he and others began to worry Obama was backing away from his campaign promises.
“Since we’ve seen that so many times before, I didn’t want it to happen again,” he said. “We’re not settling. There’s no such thing as a fraction of equality.”
“Obama Says He Will End ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell'” (source)
President Barack Obama pledged to end the ban on Gays serving openly in the military in a speech Saturday, but acknowledged to a cheering crowd that the policy changes he promised on the campaign trail are not coming as quickly as they expected.
Click here for a full transcript of his remarks.
365Gay.com/—The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, announced today that President Barack Obama will deliver the keynote address at the 13th Annual National Dinner on Saturday, October 10th, in Washington, D.C.
U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy will also present the first-ever Edward M. Kennedy National Leadership Award to Judy and Dennis Shepard. The award is named in honor of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), a champion in the fight for LGBT equality.
“We are honored to share this night with President Obama, who has called upon our nation to embrace LGBT people as brothers and sisters,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “It is fitting that he will speak to our community on the night that we pay tribute to his friend and mentor Senator Edward Kennedy, who knew that as president, Barack Obama would take on the unfinished business of this nation – equal rights for the LGBT community, and for every person who believes in liberty and justice for all.”
Obama Nominates Openly Gay Ambassador
Washington Blade—President Obama is preparing to nominate his first openly gay ambassador, according to a knowledgeable source.
David Huebner, who serves as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s general counsel, will be nominated to become the administration’s ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa. A formal announcement was expected Wednesday evening.
Huebner, who currently works at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, specializes in handling international arbitration and mediation cases. Formerly a resident of California, Huebner is now based in Shanghai.
Long active in non-profit and community organizations, Huebner has chaired the California Law Revision Commission and served as president of the Los Angeles Quality & Productivity Commission. He’s also guest lectured on international topics at several schools domestically and abroad.
Gay Rights Speech: What Should Obama Say On Saturday?
Obama to Address Gay Rights Organization
David Huebner: Obama’s First Openly Gay Ambassador Nominated
“Why I Support the National Equality March“: NFL’s Scott Fujita Speaks Out for Gay Rights
posted by GeoT
As La Plata County in southwestern Colorado looks to shift to cleaner sources of energy, solar is becoming the power source of choice
DURANGO, Colo. – The sun had just crested the distant ridge of the Rocky Mountains, but already it was producing enough power for the electric meter on the side of the Smiley Building to spin backward.
For the Shaw brothers, who converted the downtown arts building and community center into a miniature solar power plant two years ago, each reverse rotation subtracts from their monthly electric bill. It also means the building at that moment is producing more electricity from the sun than it needs.
The natural gas industry, which produces more gas here than nearly every other county in Colorado, has been relegated to the shadows. Tougher state environmental regulations and lower natural gas prices have slowed many new drilling permits. As a result, production — and the jobs that come with it — have leveled off.
With the county and city drawing up plans to reduce the emissions blamed for global warming and Congress weighing the first mandatory limits, the industry once again finds itself on the losing side of the debate.
A recent greenhouse-gas inventory of La Plata County found that the thousands of natural gas pumps and processing plants dotting the landscape are the single largest source of heat-trapping pollution locally.
That has the industry bracing for a hit on two fronts if federal legislation passes.
“Being able to put solar systems on homes is great, you take something off the grid, it is as good as conserving,” said Christi Zeller, the executive director of the La Plata Energy Council, a trade group representing about two dozen companies that produce the methane gas trapped within coal buried underground.
“But the reality is we still need natural gas, so embrace our industry like you are embracing wind, solar and the renewables,” she said.
Putting his Money Were His Mouth Is
Soros to Invest $1 Billion in Clean EnergyBloomberg–Billionaire George Soros, looking to address the “political problem” of climate change, said he will invest $1 billion in clean-energy technology and create an organization to advise policy makers on environmental issues.
“I want to apply rather stringent criteria to the investments,” said Soros in an e-mailed message. “They should be profitable but should also actually make a contribution to solving the problem.” “The problem of global warming is primarily a political problem at this point,” Soros said. “The science is beyond dispute, but how do we achieve the objectives we all know are necessary? That is a political problem.”
The organization will address subjects such as carbon- emissions trading.
New York Times—President Obama responded to the news of his Nobel Peace Prize the right way. He said he was humbled, acknowledged that the efforts for which he was honored are only beginning and pledged to see them through, not on his own but in concert with other nations.
There cannot have been unbridled joy in the White House early Friday. Mr. Obama’s aides had to expect a barrage of churlish reaction, and they got it. The left denounced the Nobel committee for giving the prize to a wartime president. The right proclaimed that Mr. Obama sold out the United States by engaging in diplomacy. Members of the dwindling band of George W. Bush loyalists also sneered — with absolutely no recognition of their own culpability — that Mr. Obama has not yet ended the wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq.
Certainly, the prize is a (barely) implicit condemnation of Mr. Bush’s presidency. But countering the ill will Mr. Bush created around the world is one of Mr. Obama’s great achievements in less than nine months in office. Mr. Obama’s willingness to respect and work with other nations is another.
Mr. Obama has bolstered this country’s global standing by renouncing torture, this time with credibility; by pledging to close the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba; by rejoining the effort to combat climate change and to rid the world of nuclear weapons; by recommitting himself to ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; and by offering to engage Iran while also insisting that it abandon its nuclear ambitions.
Mr. Obama did not seek the prize. It is a reminder of the extraordinarily high expectations for any American president — and does bring into sharp focus all that he has left to do to make the world, and this country, safer.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu — Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 1984
“What wonderful recognition of someone who has already made such an impact on our planet with regards to the Muslim world, nuclear disarmament, climate change and, to some extent, the Middle East. He has reached out to the Arab world, including Iran, and North Korea.
In a way, it’s an award — coming near the beginning of the first term of office of a relatively young President — that anticipates an even greater contribution towards making our world a safer place for all. It is an award that speaks to the promise of President Obama’s message of hope.”~~Archbishop Desmond Tutu