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MSNBC Premieres Hope and Fear in Obama’s America with Hosts Chris Mathews and Tom Joyner

Posted by: Audiegrl

A Two Hour Special Event on Race Relations in America On Martin Luther King Day

Tom Joyner and Chris MatthewsOne year after the inauguration of the first African-American President, MSNBC will present “Hope and Fear in Obama’s America,” January 18, 2010, 10 p.m. ET, an extended discussion surrounding race and post-racial identity in America. Moderated by “Hardball’s” Chris Matthews and featuring syndicated radio host Tom Joyner, live from Texas Southern University, a historically Black university in Houston, Texas. The two-hour special event on Martin Luther King Day will explore some of the most pressing and provocative issues connected to race and race relations in the U.S.

Hope and Fear in Obama’s America” will discuss the progress we’ve made in the United States and the challenges we continue to face around racial equality, addressing issues ranging from whether there is such a thing as generational colorblindness, to the “burdens of the first,” and whether there are a unique set of expectations and challenges attached to being the first to break a racial barrier. Panelists and guests will be announced at a later date.

MSNBC.com will soon feature additional information on the special and its guests and will also allow viewers to participate in live votes and continue the discussion online.

In a message to his audience of 8 million listeners, Joyner said, “This is an important story because it will give me and you a rare opportunity to participate in a much needed discussion about whether racism is still a relevant topic now that President Obama has been elected.” Joyner added, “It’s a crucial thing when mainstream America wants to know what’s on our minds. Together, we can give provide honest questions and answers about racism in this country. ”

Joyner reassured his listeners, that “of course, the traditional, easy way to tackle these topics is to get the same old people to say the same old things. Not knocking any of the people who have sat on panel after panel after panel to talk about race in America in past years. But it’s almost impossible to get any new perspectives on issues unless we solicit information from varied sources, and from what I can see, at this point, that’s what this MSNBC town hall Meeting will attempt to do. Chris Matthews and I will not talk to a panel of your “usual suspects” about hopes and fears in Obama’s America.”

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AP Nails GOP for Hypocrisy on Health Care Reform

Posted by LibbyShaw

The Associated Press, Houston’s Channel 2 News and The Houston Chronicle reminded readers and viewers that the very same Republicans who oppose current health care reform had, in 2003, supported an expansion of Medicare. Unlike the Democrats today with HCR, Republicans in 2003 had no plan to pay for the Medicare expansion just like they had no plan to pay for the war in Iraq and tax cuts for the wealthy. All were charged to our, our childrens’, our grandchildrens’ and our great grandchildrens’ credit cards.

This is certainly a new twist with the mainstream media given its tactic sympathy and support of the GOP over the years. As we know, since at least 9/11, the media has given pass after pass to George W. Bush and his irresponsible and devastating crusade in Iraq, his Administration’s culture of corruption in Washington and the failure of the Department of Justice to meet some of its judicial responsibilities. The media failed to disclose that non-partisan federal agencies had been invaded by partisan hacks and had been turned into political arms for the RNC.

It is nice to see that the media has, hopefully, returned to the task of real reporting.

Democrats are troubled by the inconsistency of Republican lawmakers who approved a major Medicare expansion six years ago that has added tens of billions of dollars to federal deficits, but oppose current health overhaul plans.

All current GOP senators, including the 24 who voted for the 2003 Medicare expansion, oppose the health care bill that’s backed by President Barack Obama and most congressional Democrats.

The Democrats claim that their plan moving through Congress now will pay for itself with higher taxes and spending cuts and they cite the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office for support.

By contrast, when Republicans controlled the House, Senate and White House in 2003, they overcame Democratic opposition to add a deficit-financed prescription drug benefit to Medicare. The program will cost a half-trillion dollars over 10 years, or more by some estimates.

With no new taxes or spending offsets accompanying the Medicare drug program, the cost has been added to the federal debt.

That’s right you so-called fiscal conservatives. Just shove more debt on the backs of middle class taxpayers.

The irresponsible Republicans rationalize their behavior in 2003 as DOH! We didn’t know we would bust the nation’s piggy bank so quickly. And, Vice President Dick Cheney assured us deficits don’t matter because Ronald Reagan had said it was so.

Some Republicans say they don’t believe the CBO’s projections that the health care overhaul will pay for itself. As for their newfound worries about big government health expansions, they essentially say: That was then, this is now.

Six years ago, “it was standard practice not to pay for things,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. “We were concerned about it, because it certainly added to the deficit, no question.” His 2003 vote has been vindicated, Hatch said, because the prescription drug benefit “has done a lot of good.”

Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, said those who see hypocrisy “can legitimately raise that issue.” But he defended his positions in 2003 and now, saying the economy is in worse shape and Americans are more anxious.

Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said simply: “Dredging up history is not the way to move forward.” She noted that she fought unsuccessfully to offset some of President George W. Bush’s deep tax cuts at the time.

Apparently only Democratic deficits matter now.

Some Republicans and conservatives are not buying the Republican lawmaker’s lame excuses above.

From Bruce Bartlett of Forbes:

The human capacity for self-delusion never ceases to amaze me, so it shouldn’t surprise me that so many Republicans seem to genuinely believe that they are the party of fiscal responsibility. Perhaps at one time they were, but those days are long gone.

Republican fiscal irresponsibility according to a fiscal conservative:

This fact became blindingly obvious to me six years ago this month when a Republican president and a Republican Congress enacted the Medicare drug benefit, which former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker has called “the most fiscally irresponsible piece of legislation since the 1960s.”

Recall the situation in 2003. The Bush administration was already projecting the largest deficit in American history–$475 billion in fiscal year 2004, according to the July 2003 mid-session budget review. But a big election was coming up that Bush and his party were desperately fearful of losing. So they decided to win it by buying the votes of America’s seniors by giving them an expensive new program to pay for their prescription drugs.

Recall, too, that Medicare was already broke in every meaningful sense of the term. According to the 2003 Medicare trustees report, spending for Medicare was projected to rise much more rapidly than the payroll tax as the baby boomers retired. Consequently, the rational thing for Congress to do would have been to find ways of cutting its costs. Instead, Republicans voted to vastly increase them–and the federal deficit–by $395 billion between 2004 and 2013.

There is more. Check out this piece on the Hall of GOP Lying, Hypocrisy and Shame.

Today the Medicare prescription-drug debate is remembered mainly for the political shenanigans Republicans used to get their bill through. Bush officials lied about the numbers and threatened to fire Medicare’s chief actuary if he shared honest cost estimates with Congress. House Republicans cut off C-SPAN and kept the roll call open for three hours-as opposed to the requisite 15 minutes-while cajoling the last few votes they needed for passage. Former Majority Leader Tom DeLay was admonished by the House ethics committee for winning the eleventh-hour support of Nick Smith, a Michigan Republican, by threatening to vaporize Smith’s son in an upcoming election. It’s worth remembering these moments when Republicans criticize Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid for his hardball tactics.

The real significance of that episode, however, is not their bad manners, but what Republicans ordered the last time health care was on the menu. Their bill, which stands as the biggest expansion of government’s role in health care since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, created an entitlement for seniors to purchase low-cost drug coverage. Grassleycare, also known as Medicare Part D, employs a complicated structure of deductibles, co-pays, and coverage limits. Thanks to something called the “doughnut hole,” drug coverage disappears when out-of-pocket costs reach $2,400, returning only when they hit $3,850. Simply stated, the bill cost a fortune, wasn’t paid for, is complicated as hell, and doesn’t do all that much-though it does include coverage for end-of life-counseling, or what Grassley now calls “pulling the plug on grandma.”

In their 2009 report to Congress, the Medicare trustees estimate the 10-year cost of Medicare D as high as $1.2 trillion. That figure-just for prescription-drug coverage that people over 65 still have to pay a lot of money for-dwarfs the $848 billion cost of the Senate bill. The Medicare D price tag continues to escalate because the bill explicitly bars the government from using its market power to negotiate drug prices with manufacturers or establishing a formulary with approved medications.

And unlike the Democratic bills, which won’t add to the deficit, the bill George W. Bush signed was financed entirely through deficit spending. While Grassley and his colleagues accuse Democrats of harming Medicare through cost cuts, it is their bill that has done the most to hasten Medicare’s coming insolvency. Between now and 2083, Medicare D’s unfunded obligations amount to $7.2 trillion according to the trustees. Numbers like these prompted former Comptroller General David M. Walker to call it “… probably the most fiscally irresponsible piece of legislation since the 1960s.”

Grassley is not alone in his incoherence. Of 28 current Republican senators who were in the Senate back in 2003, 24 voted for the Medicare prescription-drug benefit. Of 122 Republicans still in the House, 108 voted for it. There is not space here to fully review this hall of shame, which includes Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, and Orrin Hatch of Utah, among many others. Here is Kansas Republican Sam Brownback in 2003: “The passage of the Medicare bill fulfills a promise that we made to my parents’ generation and keeps a promise to my kids’ generation.” Here is Brownback in 2009: “This hugely expensive bill will not lower costs and will not cover all uninsured.” Here is Jon Kyl of Arizona: “As a member of the bipartisan team that crafted the Part D legislation, I am committed to ensuring its successful implementation. I will fight attempts to erode Part D coverage.“* Kyl now calls Harry Reid’s legislation: “a trillion-dollar bill that raises premiums, increases taxes, and raids Medicare.” (Bold is mine)

As we can see the Republican lawmakers’ opposition to health care reform legislation is as usual, a boatload of garbage loaded down by lies, hypocrisy and self-serving agendas.

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Filed under Conservative, Health, Health Care Reform, Media and Entertainment, Medicine, Partisan Politics, Politics, Republicans, RNC, Texas, Uncategorized, United States

Houston Swears In First Openly Gay Mayor Annise Parker

Posted by Audiegrl

Houston Mayor-elect Annise Parker, center, celebrates with her partner Kathy Hubbard, left, Parker's runoff election victory at a campaign party on December 13, 2009 in Houston.


Annise Parker leads supporters at a campaign event

Annise Parker (born May 17, 1956, Houston, Texas) is a Houston-area politician, the Mayor-elect of Houston, and the current Controller of the City of Houston, which is a position second only to that of Mayor. Previously, she served as an at-large member of the Houston City Council since 1997. Parker was victorious in her run for controller in 2003. She ran unopposed in 2005 and 2007; as of December 2009, she is into her final term.

Parker placed first in the November 2009 mayoral election, but failed to capture a majority of the vote. She decisively defeated attorney Gene Locke, the second-place candidate, in the December runoff. Upon taking office as mayor in January, Parker will be the highest-ranking municipal official in the LGBT community of the United States. (from Wikipedia)

Annise Parker sworn in as Mayor of the city of Houston – January 4, 2010. Houston becomes the largest American city with an openly-Gay Mayor

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Houston Is Largest City to Elect Openly Gay Mayor

Posted by Audiegrl

Houston Mayor-elect Annise Parker, center, celebrates with her partner Kathy Hubbard, left, Parker's runoff election victory at a campaign party on December 13, 2009 in Houston.


New York Times/James C. McKinley Jr.—Houston became the largest city in the United States to elect an openly gay mayor on December 13, 2009, as voters gave a solid victory to the city controller, Annise Parker.

Cheers and dancing erupted at Ms. Parker’s campaign party as her opponent, Gene Locke, a former city attorney, conceded defeat just after 10 p.m. when it became clear he could not overcome her lead.

Twenty minutes later, Ms. Parker appeared before ecstatic supporters at the city’s convention center and then joked that she was the first graduate of Rice University to be elected mayor. (She is, by the way.) Then she grew serious.

Tonight the voters of Houston have opened the door to history,” she said, standing by her partner of 19 years, Kathy Hubbard, and their three adopted children. “I acknowledge that. I embrace that. I know what this win means to many of us who never thought we could achieve high office.”

With all precincts reporting, Ms. Parker, the city controller, had defeated Mr. Locke 53 percent to 47 percent.

Annise Parker, the city controller, arriving at her election night party.

Throughout the campaign, Ms. Parker tried to avoid making an issue of her sexual orientation and emphasized her experience in overseeing the city’s finances. But she began her career as an advocate for gay rights in the 1980s, and it was lost on no one in Houston, a city of 2.2 million people, that her election marked a milestone for gay men and lesbians around the country.

Several smaller cities in other regions have chosen openly gay mayors, among them Providence, R.I., Portland, Ore., and Cambridge, Mass. But Ms. Parker’s success came in a conservative state where voters have outlawed gay marriage and a city where a referendum on granting benefits to same-sex partners of city employees was soundly defeated.

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Statement by Mayor-Elect Parker:

To my Friends, Supporters and all Houstonians,

In this campaign, I met many Houstonians.

I met fathers worried about finding a good job. I met mothers worried about crime. I met young men and women who only want a chance for a good education. Families worried about taxes. Homeowners who just want to protect the neighborhood they love. Hear me: the city is on your side.

I learned about the problems and the needs and the hopes of our city at the neighborhood level, where families work and live. This election has changed the world for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, just as this election is about transforming Houstonians’ lives for the better.

Let us begin from this moment to join as one community, united in the goal of making Houston the city it could be, should be, can be and will be. That’s what this city will be about under my administration.

Houston is a city that invites entrepreneurs – and shelters evacuees. A diverse city. A city built on dreams powered by hard work, creativity, common sense and cooperation.

Public service is a noble calling, and I appreciate that Gene Locke was willing to answer this call. He is a man who has been deeply involved in our community for many years and I hope he will continue to serve Houston. I wish for him and his family the very best.

Let me close by saying that while this is an exciting night, it is also a humbling experience. Our citizens deserve our best effort and I pledge to give them an administration that values honesty, integrity and transparency above all else. My administration will be concerned with only one interest: the public good.

Thank you so much. Together, we will make a difference.

Annise Parker leads supporters at a campaign event

Annise Parker (born May 17, 1956, Houston, Texas) is a Houston-area politician, the Mayor-elect of Houston, and the current Controller of the City of Houston, which is a position second only to that of Mayor. Previously, she served as an at-large member of the Houston City Council since 1997. Parker was victorious in her run for controller in 2003. She ran unopposed in 2005 and 2007; as of December 2009, she is into her final term.

Parker placed first in the November 2009 mayoral election, but failed to capture a majority of the vote. She decisively defeated attorney Gene Locke, the second-place candidate, in the December runoff. Upon taking office as mayor in January, Parker will be the highest-ranking municipal official in the LGBT community of the United States. (from Wikipedia)

Note: Though the race for Houston mayor is strictly non-partisan, she identifies as a Democrat, as did her opponent, Gene Locke.

Annise Parker sworn in as Mayor of the city of Houston – January 4, 2010. Houston becomes the largest American city with an openly-Gay Mayor

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TX Gov. Perry: No Amount of Good Hair Will Make the Cover Up Go Away

Posted by LibbyShaw

Texas Governor Rick Perry must be blinded by arrogance to believe that he could actually shut down and cover up an investigation and no one would notice. A politician would also have to be completely overcome by an over sized ego to do so during a primary contest.

Last night on MSNBC’s Hardball, Chris Matthews interviewed Samuel Bassett, former Texas Forensic Science Commission Officer about the Todd Willingham case.

OK so Perry did not like where this investigation was going and so, as only a dictator would do, he shut it down. And now we also know where the fake, self-serving “moderate” Kay Bailey Hutchison stands on barbaric medieval practices. We already know where she stands on ginned up wars and a deregulated Wall St. KBH voted with W. over 90% of the time. Princess Sparkle Pony may have made a brilliant tactical political move, at least according to Slater, but she also revealed her true colors as anything but moderate.

Earth to Perry: as hard as you spin, rail and cry, the execution of an innocent man on your watch ain’t going away. And Kay, hell will freeze over before this liberal would ever in her dreams vote for the likes of you. You squarely belong in the deather box right there along with Dictator Perry and your beloved W. who is responsible for the deaths of over 100,000 Iraqis. For? Please do remind us.

Scott Cobb over at The Burnt Orange Report has been providing exhaustive and outstanding coverage of this issue. Please click on the link to see how you can get involved with ongoing efforts to abolish the death penalty. Now that we know Texas has executed an innocent man, never has the case been stronger to eliminate this barbaric medieval practice.

This morning in the Houston Chronicle, Lisa Falkenberg wrote a sobering commentary about Rick Perry and the Todd Willingham execution.

Perry’s right that Willingham was nobody’s poster child.

The fact that he was a “bad man,” that he beat his pregnant wife, that he’d been convicted of low-level crimes, that he was fond of expletives, might have been enough, even a month ago to sow doubt about his innocence or simply deflect attention from the case of such an unsympathetic figure.

But the story isn’t just about Willingham anymore. It isn’t just about guilt or innocence. It isn’t even about whether Perry did his homework before allowing Willingham’s 2004 execution.

It’s about whether Perry is purposefully trying to subvert the law in Willingham’s case, and potentially obstruct justice in countless other arson cases that could benefit from the commission’s review, all for political gain during a hotly contested primary.
Pressure, ouster

And the case looks clearer every day.

Also also today The Huffington Post reveals that Perry called Willingham a monster.

Though Willingham was certainly a monster if he beat his pregnant wife, he should not have been executed if he did not kill his children.

Professor Bob Stein of Rice University weighs in on the political ramifications of Perry’s coverup.

I don’t think it’s extreme to say it’s a fight for the hearts and minds of the Republican Party.

I beg to disagree with Professor Stein. This is not a fight for the hearts and the minds of the Republican Party. This is about covering up the execution of an innocent man for purely political reasons. Perry obviously doesn’t care about the wrongful death of an innocent man. He, a typical Republican, is driven by his own ambitions and agendas.

But fortunately for Texas, all of the good hair and handsome looks on the planet won’t make Perry’s coverup go away.

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Filed under Death Penalty, Elections, Law, Partisan Politics, Politics, Republicans, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube

Texas David Marie Antoinette Dewhurst and Joe Scrooge Straus to the Poor: Eat Dirt

Posted by LibbyShaw

jim_carrey-scroogeTexas cannot keep up with the demand of those in need of food stamps. According to Lisa Falkenberg of the Houston Chronicle it is taking months to obtain benefits. Folks are growing more desperate by the day.

Meanwhile, Texas isn’t coming close to meeting federal requirements to process food stamp applications within a month. Last month, about 38,000 new applicants were left awaiting approval even though the federal deadline had passed. About one in six applications is processed incorrectly.

Food Stamps are 100% funded by the Federal Government. All Texas has to do is distribute the funds. Unfortunately due to either incompetence, stinginess or cold-hearted contempt for the state’s struggling jobless, Texas is not doing its job.

Does our state legislature care?

No it does not.

Why not?

The Health and Human Services Agency had requested 650 additional employees in order to meet the demand. Think about it. This would mean 650 new jobs in Texas and the potential likelihood of fewer folks in need of Food Stamps. But Republicans are running the state now and we all know how heartless they are when it comes to the poor. Marie Antoinette Dewhurst and Joe Scrooge Straus said NO. In other words: Starve. Eat dirt. Eat out trash cans.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst

Just last week, the Legislative Budget Board, led by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus, and made up of eight other lawmakers, rejected the agency’s request to hire about 650 workers.

House Speaker Joe Straus

House Speaker Joe Straus

A spokesman for Dewhurst has argued that the denial was temporary, to give officials time to devise a plan to address HHSC’s problems. But lawmakers have had the budget request for months and have been aware of the backlogs since the legislative session that ended in May.

Texas Republicans show us over and over that they are incapable of any empathy whatsoever for the poor. Their efforts in both Austin and in Washington are not targeted on serving the folks they represent. In fact, these lawmakers work against the financial and medical well-being of many of their constituents.

On Saturday 2000 people turned up for free medical treatment in Houston. As we know, Texas has the highest number of uninsured residents. In Harris County (Houston area) 1 in 3 adults have no insurance. Despite these appalling statistics, Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn work night and day to kill off health care reform.

Marie AntoinetteDavid Marie Antoinette Dewhurst wants to be one of our U.S. Senators one day. Jobless and hungry Texans won’t forget his message to them. Neither will this girl. The vile evil doings of Marie Antoinette put her head on a chopping block. Let’s not put ours on one by voting for any Republicans.

Nor will voters soon forget the Texas Republicans and their relentless efforts at turning this once great state into a third world country.

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Filed under Economy, Money, Partisan Politics, Politics, Republicans

Thousands Show up for Free Medical Treatment in Houston

Posted by Guest Contributor Libby Shaw

Hundreds of people lined up for free medical care in Houston on Saturday morning.

Hundreds of people lined up for free medical care in Houston on Saturday morning.

Yesterday in Houston nearly 2000 folks came to Reliant Stadium for, in some cases, desperately needed medical treatment. Shamefully, Texas has the highest rate of uninsured people in the country. The story is particularly ugly in Houston where 1 in 3 adults are uninsured.

Dr. Oz who runs the free health clinic compared the number of uninsured, untreated people as a national disaster comparable to that of Hurricane Katrina. According to him, Houston and the rest of Texas, a health care Katrina happens everyday.

Despite the shameful statistics on the lack of health coverage, our elected U.S. Republican lawmakers John Cornyn, Kay Bailey Hutchison, and in my case, John Culberson (Houston-7), continue to wage war against health care reform. As with Katrina while the world watched, Republicans showed they were not in the least bit concerned about the hurricane’s victims, some of whom horribly drowned and others who, to this very day, are displaced. Republican behavior with health care reform is exactly the same. The message: Let ’em eat Advil or drop dead. It ain’t our problem. Me and mine are just fine.

When not running free health clinics Dr. Oz is a professor of cardiac medicine at Columbia University. He also hosts a TV show about health issues at 3:00 p.m., M-F. Needless to say, the doctor’s show is very popular.

More from Libby @ daily kos logo

The Doctor Oz Show

National Association of Free Clinics

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