Posted by: BetsM
Of the many reasons for public discontent with government generally and Congress particularly, none is more obvious than the wholesale movement of former members of both Houses of Congress into the lobbying business. The massive lobbying industry is quick to remind us that lobbying is perfectly legal, or perhaps it is better to say not illegal, and that it has been going on from the beginning of parliaments. That may be technically true, but it neglects the critical point that, when conducted by former members of Congress, and now increasingly their wives and children, lobbying is a sophisticated way of trading titles provided by voters for substantial personal gain.
No one truly believes that John Doe is as valuable to his lobbying firm and its corporate clients as former Senator John Doe is. Senator John Doe adds prestige to the firm. More importantly, he can open doors in the offices of his former colleagues. In the lobbying business, that is pure gold. The core and centerpiece of the lobbying business is ACCESS. It is possible to count on the fingers of one hand the number of members of Congress who refuse to see a former colleague.
My relatively few years in elective office spanned a critical transition time. Very few of my Senate colleagues from the 1970s became lobbyists. For most of the great ones it was a matter of self-respect and personal honor. By the time I retired from office in the later 1980s, not only former Senators but also their wives and sons and daughters were joining or forming lobbying firms and making a very great deal of money. It would take more than blog space permits to analyze the reasons for this transformation. But much of it had to do with the triumph of money over that earlier sense of personal honor. No American has the right to trade an office and a title bestowed upon him or her by the people for personal gain.
Senators Michael Bennet and Jon Tester are sponsoring legislation to bar Senators from lobbying for life. I would find it amazing if there were even committee hearings on this proposal, let alone a vote on the floor of the Senate. But such a measure would do more to demonstrate that the current Senate is serious about recapturing its dignity, its respect, and its sense of honor than any other single step I can think of. And perhaps most of all, it would go a very long way to restoring the confidence of the people in their government.
Posted by Audiegrl
Latina Magazine/Shani Saxon-Parrish—America has never before met a wise Latina like Soñia Sotomayor. Latina contributor and former Editor-in-Chief Sandra Guzmán offers the first glimpse of the woman behind the robe in this exclusive profile of the newly minted Supreme Court justice.
Here is an excerpt from this fascinating story:
I first met Soñia in 1998, after she had been sworn in as a federal judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. I was the Editor-in-Chief of Latina, and a mutual friend, New York attorney Lee Llambelis, suggested that Sotomayor was someone I should meet since I’d probably want to write an article on her (which appeared in our March 1999 issue). Sotomayor’s life story not only inspired readers, but also captivated me.
Since then, we’ve been to each other’s homes for dinner and shared many sweet, honest and confidential conversations. A doting hostess, she puts together cheese platters, makes tasty salads and hooks up a mean churrasco with a tangy lemon marinade. This past spring, she promised to share some of her culinary secrets, so we set a date to fire up the grill in her small yet superb two-bedroom condo in the heart of NYC’s Greenwich Village. Soñia thought things would finally slow down for her by the summer—but that’s when things really started heating up.
During those grueling confirmation hearings in July, Republican senators Lindsey Graham, Jeff Sessions and Jon Kyl dissected her now-famous “wise Latina” phrase, uttered during an inspirational lecture to Latino law students at the University of California, Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law in 2001.
The senators aggressively argued that her remarks proved she would bring bias and a liberal agenda to the bench. But Sotomayor repeatedly explained that her comments were part of a regrettable “rhetorical flourish that fell flat.” “I want to state up front, unequivocally and without doubt: I do not believe that any ethnic, racial or gender group has an advantage in sound judging,” she said. She added that she was simply trying “to inspire young Hispanics, Latino students and lawyers to believe that their life experiences added value to the process.’’
Chief Justice John G. Roberts, administers the Constitutional Oath to Judge Soñia Sotomayor in the Justices’ Conference Room on Aug 8, 2009. Mrs. Celina Sotomayor, the mother of the new Associate Justice, holds the family Bible during the ceremony
As the new personification of an intellectual rock star, Sotomayor has been inundated with interview requests—from Vogue to Newsweek, El País to Le Monde. But the new justice has yet to agree to a sit-down, aside from one she granted C-Span for a documentary on the Supreme Court. When I asked about a formal interview for this magazine, she told me, “I am not doing interviews and have said no to everyone. I do not want to be seen as having favorites.”
She did, however, agree to have her portrait taken for the cover and inside pages. And she went as far as granting me her blessing: “You will have to write based on our history together.”
And that’s exactly what I’ve done.
Filed under Barack Obama, Change, Creepy right-wing antics, Culture, Entertainment, Hispanic/Latino/Latina, Justice Sonya Sotomayer, Law, Magazines, New York, New York, NY, Partisan Politics, Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, Presidents, Republicans, Supreme Court, Uncategorized, US, Washington, DC, Women's Issues
November 11, 2009
Honoring All Who Served
The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery. At 11:00 a.m., a color guard, made up of members from each of the military services, renders honors to America’s war dead during a tradition-rich ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns. The ceremony takes place inside the Memorial Amphitheater.
The Veterans Day National Committee also selects a number of regional sites for Veterans Day observances throughout the country. From stirring parades and ceremonies to military exhibits and tributes to distinguished veterans, these events serve as models for other communities to follow in planning their own observances.
On Veterans Day, we honor all the men and women who have served in America’s armed forces. To read President Obama’s Veterans Day proclamation, find information on national and regional observances, or learn the history of the holiday:
please visit our Veterans Day website
A genuine homecoming for veterans
Respect for our veterans requires more than parades and “welcome home” signs. It means assuring that the men and women who have gone to war for this country are treated with dignity as they make the transition back to civilian life.
The Obama administration is taking an important step in that direction with its ambitious five-year goal of reducing homelessness among veterans.
The President bestows our nation’s highest honor for a military unit upon Alpha Troop, 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry:
Click here for sideshow:
Homeless on Veterans Day
About one-third of all adult homeless men are veterans, and an average night finds an estimated 131,000 of them from five decades bedding down on streets and in charity sanctuaries. About 3 in 100 of them are back from Iraq and Afghanistan. The problem of homelessness for Vietnam veterans is, shamefully, well known. But the men and women in this growing cohort took just 18 months to find rock bottom, compared with the five years-plus of the previous generation’s veterans.
posted by GeoT
President Obama’s Veterans Day Speech At Arlington Cemetery
WhiteHouse.gov—Today, President Barack Obama awarded Staff Sergeant Jared C. Monti, U.S. Army, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. Staff Sergeant Monti will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his heroic actions in combat in Afghanistan. He displayed immeasurable courage and uncommon valor – eventually sacrificing his own life in an effort to save his comrade. Staff Seargent Monti’s parents, Paul Monti and Janet Monti will join the President at the White House to commemorate their son’s example of selfless service and sacrifice.
President Barack Obama posthumously awards Army Sgt. 1st. Class Jared C. Monti from Raynham, Mass., the Medal of Honor for his service in Afghanistan, to his parents Paul and Janet Monti, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Jared C. Monti was born on September 20, 1975. He was a native of Raynham, Massachusetts. He graduated from Bridgewater-Raynham High School. He enlisted in the United States Army in March 1993. He attended Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
His military decorations include: the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, five Army Commendation Medals, four Army Achievement Medals, three Good Conduct Medals, three National Defense Service Medals, to name a few.
He is survived by his Father, Paul Monti, his Mother, Janet Monti, his Sister Niccole Monti, his Brother, Timothy Monti, and his Niece, Carys Monti.
He was posthumously promoted to Sergeant First Class.
THE MEDAL OF HONOR:
The Medal of Honor is awarded to a member of the Armed Forces who distinguishes themselves conspicuously by gallantry above and beyond the call of duty while:
—engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States;
—engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or
—serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.
The meritorious conduct must involve great personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his or her comrades and must have involved risk of life. There must be incontestable proof of the performance of the meritorious conduct, and each recommendation for the award must be considered on the standard of extraordinary merit.
Read more from AP: Obama honors soldier killed in battle