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Celebrate the History

20 Jan

Today is a tough day for someone who held hopes of seeing the first woman in US history take a presidential oath.  Watching the less qualified man step on ahead, is a tough thing to swallow. I have PUMA friends who just couldn’t watch any of it. I respect that, but am glad I was able to watch because I got to witness the history of this day even if it was not the the history I had most hoped to see.  

As I watched the events unfold, I tried to put aside the disappointment of the primary season and the dashed hopes of  being a Hillary supporter to focus simply on the amazing history being made this day. As far as moments in US history go, it did not disappoint.

Despite all the fancy pageantry, the real ‘wow’ moment for me came as I watched the Obamas walk into their new residence- the White House.

They had just finished up at the parade and were ‘home’ for a quick stop to get ready for the evening events ahead. They walked up to the White House door and very simply walked in. That’s when it hit me.

The First Family is the first black family to reside in that house – the White House! For all that implies for the advancement of race in this country, what a milestone! What a moment for all Americans.

The symbolism of this is so much larger than the politics or the man. 

Regardless of how much one despises the politics or tactics that camp Obama used to rack up caucus wins while Hillary trumped him in the larger primaries, this was a historic moment for all Americans whether you support him or not.

For today,  I decided to celebrate the history. I’m grateful I did. I don’t believe Obama is more qualified than Hillary- because he isn’t- but I’m humbled at the historic moment this day is for America.

And Bush is gone…HOORAY!!

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The Further Reduction Of Joe Biden’s VP Power

6 Dec

biden

You know Joe is in trouble when there’s more talk about the future Obama dog than the future VP. Here’s another sign Joe is losing power fast.

Vice President-elect Joe Biden will be forbidden by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from attending Senate Democratic Caucus meetings, Reid said in an interview with the Las Vegas Sun set to run Sunday at 2 a.m., as excerpted by Politico’s Mike Allen.

“Absolutely not,” responded Reid when asked if Biden would be allowed to attend these meetings.

But Biden spokesperson Elizabeth Alexander notes that Biden had “no intention” of going to the meetings anyway and there is no conflict at all between him and Reid.

“Vice President-elect Biden had no intention of continuing this practice started by Vice President Cheney of regularly attending internal legislative branch meetings,” she told ABC News. “He firmly believes in restoring the Office of the vice president to its historical role. He and Sen. Reid see eye to eye on this.”

Source

I find this amusing and a tad sad. Biden’s increasingly shrinking VP role does suggest that Obama insiders like the idea of banishing him to the off stage shadows. They appear to regard Joe as the buffoon he sometimes is. Losing a power Cheney had once staked out for the VP, is not the direction I imagine Biden would like to go.

I think it’s a waste of a man, who even though he gaffes a lot, could indeed bring something valuable to the table. If he were to sit in on these meetings, he could at least keep a better eye on what Pelosi and Reid are doing and inform Obama of any potential treachery.

You just know Pelosi is bound to pull a power trip or two if she doesn’t like something Obama is doing or she doesn’t get something she wants for the MoveOn.org crowd. Obama might have the nicer office, but let’s not forget, he needs the Pelosi seal of approval to get Congress to vote on the items he presents to them.

So Joe won’t be running the international relations efforts- Hillary will. He won’t be menacing bad dems who are not playing ball- that’s Rahm Emmanuel’s job, and now Joe won’t be attending dem caucus meetings either. What exactly will Joe work on that would be in line with ‘restoring the Office of the vice president to its historic role’?

The only historical role has been to attend state funerals and weddings of foreign leaders and inquire as to the general health of the President. 

That doesn’t seem like much for a man of Joe Biden’s experience to be satisfied with during the next four years. He’s not a thumb twirler, sit back kind of guy. If they don’t find something legitimate to keep Joe busy, he’s likely to become even more gaffe prone out of sheer idleness and boredom. Perhaps the White House could install Solitaire on his computer. At my workplace, many fellow colleagues quietly fill the working hours with online chess games. Perhaps Biden should take that up too.

Kennedy Clan Urging Caroline To Seek Senate Seat

6 Dec
In this April 20, 2008 file photo, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. shares a moment with Caroline Kennedy before addressing supporters at a rally in Scranton, Pa. The Kennedy clan wants to see their Caroline in the Senate seat soon to be vacated by Hillary Rodham Clinton. The family just needs to convince her to do it, and New York Gov. David Paterson to put her there.

The 2012 Ticket?

Further confirmation of Caroline Kennedy’s intention to seek Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat has come from inside the Kennedy camp today. Her cousin, Robert Kennedy Jr., the lone Kennedy who chose to back Hillary instead of Obama during the dem primaries, has confirmed the Caroline Senate story.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said he and the rest of the powerful Kennedy clan are urging Caroline to seek the New York governor’s appointment to the Senate seat now held by Hillary Rodham Clinton — and added she is ready and seriously considering it.

“I know she’s interested,” Robert Kennedy, who himself was prominently mentioned for the seat, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Friday. “She spent a lot of her life balancing public service with obligations to her family. Now her children are grown, and she is ready to move onto a bigger stage.”

Once Clinton, in line to become secretary of state, is confirmed to President-elect Barack Obama’s Cabinet, New York Gov. David Paterson will appoint someone to fill the seat for two years.

The Kennedy family’s connections and history cannot force Paterson to choose Caroline, but the family’s strong support could increase pressure on him to pick her over lesser-known contenders. For Caroline Kennedy, seeking the Senate seat would be a significant departure from the life she has lived until now, protecting her family’s privacy — and her own.

Robert Kennedy said his extended family would come out en masse for her if she does get the appointment and has to run for election in 2010.

“If she runs, you will see more Kennedys than you have ever seen in your life,” he said.

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There are many ways that Caroline could contribute to causes and advocate for issues as a private citizen. Political service is one way to make an impact in this world, but it is hardly the only way. With the Kennedy name behind her, Caroline could achieve much without having to pull the seat out from under other candidates who have more experience and wanted the Senate seat too. The name ‘Kennedy’ should not be a free pass to cut ahead in line of others who have worked for years to establish themselves through hard work and effort.

After everything that has happened with a relatively unknown Barrack Obama exploding onto the national stage and becoming President- elect within his first Senate term, I shouldn’t be surprised that Caroline Kennedy could walk into a Senate seat because she woke up one day and said she wanted it.

Welcome to the new democratic party brought to you by political thugs from Chicago and orchestrated by the democrats own Rovian team of Axelrod and Brazile. The new democrats include such illustrious members as: Obama, Al Franken, Chris Matthews (you know he’s eye a PA Senate race of his own), and now Caroline Kennedy. It’s all in the name and connections.

Richard Nixon always claimed that one day Caroline Kennedy would become the first female President. I thought about that today. I thought about how a path could emerge that would take Caroline from Senator to White House in 2016. It’s actually very easily mapped out if she becomes a Senator now, replaces Biden as VP in Obama’s second term, and runs for the president once Obama’s second term ends (if he were to win a second term of course).

It’s not that far fetched if you factor that Biden will not likely run for President himself in 2016 as he would be 75 years old at that time. Plus, Biden who has already had several aneurysms, could have further health issues over the next 8 years. Needing an heir apparent for the dem party after Obama’s reign is over, will make someone an insider favorite well before 2014 when the 2 year pre election campaign efforts begin.

As a VP, Caroline would have a tremendous platform to mount a campaign while also sidestepping the ‘experience’ question nicely. She has already demonstrated her ‘loyalty’ to Obama. They’ve worked together well when she helped on the VP selection committee.

As the first black president, he could make even more history by bringing along the first female VP to office and then helping her become the first President too.  He wouldn’t do it for Hillary, but Obama owes the Kennedy’s a lot, he finds Caroline likable enough, and it would buy one more historical footnote to the Obama legacy- why wouldn’t he do it?

As much as it breaks my heart to think it, if Caroline were to become a Senator, it’s likely she could be in a position to outmaneuver Hillary in a presidential bid in 2016. Heartbreaking isn’t it?

Maybe that was the Kennedy plan all along? Knock off Hillary to push forward one of their own. No one was in position to make it for this election, but the stage is set for a few years down the road. I predict we’ll see a Kennedy on a national ticket in 2012 and then again in 2016. Biden better gird his loins. There’s a Kennedy kick coming his way soon.

‘Office of President-Elect’ Is Just a Fancy Sign

25 Nov

obama Orszag Nabors

President-elect Barack Obama is looking very presidential these days. When he makes an announcement, he is ringed by American flags and stands behind a lectern that has a very presidential-looking placard announcing “The Office of the President-Elect.” 

But the props are merely that. Under the Constitution, there is no such thing as the Office of the President-elect. Technically, Obama will not even become the president-elect until the Electoral College convenes after the second Wednesday in December and elects him based on the results of the Nov. 4 general election, as stated in the Constitution.

So what is Obama’s executive authority in the weeks leading to Jan. 20?

In the 11 weeks between Election Day and Inauguration Day, the next president must ensure a smooth transition by selecting political appointees to manage key agencies and offices within the Executive Branch, and by creating the policies that will define the new administration — all while respecting the authority held by the current president.

The Presidential Transition Act — created in 1963 and amended in 2000 — establishes formal provisions for the transition period by outlining training and other assistance that the president-elect and his team of advisers can receive as they prepare to assume office.

The amended bill — co-sponsored by lawmakers including former Sen. Fred Thompson, Sen. Joe Lieberman, and Sen. Dick Durbin — calls for the “training and orientation of high-level presidential appointees,” among other things, as well as more efficient background checks to ensure individuals are properly vetted and confirmed for office.

“New administrations face a series of hurdles they must overcome to accomplish this essential task before they can begin to govern,” Lieberman told Congress in 1999 while arguing in favor of the amended legislation.

The original bill also allowed the president-elect and vice president-elect certain “services and facilities,” like suitable office space to conduct transition operations, public funds to pay their staff’s salaries and money to transport workers to and from Washington.

Obama has employed over 500 staffers to assist in his transition operations — working from a nondescript office building in downtown Washington and from locations in his hometown of Chicago.

His transition team has received a budget of $12 million — $5.2 million of which was allocated by Congress, and the rest from private donations of under $5,000.

As president-elect, Obama is also given the same highly classified intelligence briefings that President Bush receives on a daily basis. And Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden get full Secret Service protection, which Obama also received during the Democratic primaries and general election campaign.

But the “Office of the President-Elect,” while critical in building the future government, has no official power — which Obama himself acknowledged during his victory speech in Chicago on Election Night.

“It is an office — it’s just a quasi-government office for planning the takeover of the government,” said Stephen J. Wayne, a professor at Georgetown University’s department of government.

“Obama has no formal power as far as the existing government is concerned, but he has a lot of informal influence, which President Bush has encouraged,” he added.

Wayne compared the function of the “Office of the President-Elect” to spring training in baseball.
“It doesn’t count in the standings, but it does contribute to a team’s ability to do well from day one,” he said.

The extensive operations and considerable funding for Obama’s transition office are not unique. President Bush received $8.5 million to fund his transition team — a sum that was “unprecedented at the time,” according to Georgetown University government professor Chris Hull.

“The Bush administration built their transition team a month before the election was over to make sure it would be a fully-functioning office on November 5,” he said.

Despite its lack of formal power, some argue that the “Office of the President-Elect” must maintain an official and authoritative front — even if just for show. This transition comes at a particularly vulnerable time for the U.S. government in protecting against terrorism — as evidenced in 1993 when terrorists bombed the World Trade Center as former President Bill Clinton prepared to take office.

“President Bush and President-Elect Obama have stressed together that the times of transition are particularly perilous in terms of terrorist strikes,” said Hull. “The President-Elect and his team must appear to maintain confidence.”

Source

SNL: Rahm Emanuel

24 Nov

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Judas Bill Richardson Commerce Secretary?

21 Nov

It isn’t quite 30 pieces of silver, but it does seem like judas Bill Richardson, who gleefully stabbed the Clintons in the back when he switched support from Hillary to Obama during the dem primaries, will indeed reap a reward for his ‘loyalty’ to Obama.

Associated Press – Officials say New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has emerged President-elect Barack Obama’s likely pick for Commerce Secretary.

We knew something was in the works when Richardson shaved off the beard.  Al Kamen over at the Washington Post wonders: If Clinton’s the Pick, Where Does That Leave Richardson.

Report: Records Search on Joe the Plumber Improper

20 Nov

You betcha! The report is in and it says the search of ‘Joe the Plumber’ was unfair, wrong, evil and bad! OK, it doesn’t exactly put it in those words, but it does say there is ‘no legitimate’ purpose for it to have happened.

Agency director Helen Jones-Kelley should be fired for violating a private citizen’s privacy. Sadly, Governor Ted Strickland does not agree. He has only suspended her for a month without pay. He rejected a request to fire her. Shame on Gov. Strickland for not firing her for abusing her position and misusing official state records.

The findings have been forwarded to the Franklin County prosecutor’s office in Columbus. Perhaps justice might come through the court system rather then from the Gov. firing Jones-Kelley.

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Agency Director Helen Jones-Kelley

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — An agency director improperly used state computers to find personal information on “Joe the Plumber,” a government watchdog said in a report released Thursday. There was no legitimate business purpose for the head of Ohio’s Department of Job and Family Services to order staff to look up the records, Inspector General Tom Charles said.

Investigators weren’t able to determine whether the searches were politically motivated, the report said.

“All these searches were done in the midst of a national political campaign,” the report said. “But we did not find any evidence that shows the data was accessed or information released in response to media requests in an effort to support any political activity or agenda.”

The agency director, Helen Jones-Kelley, was placed on leave this month over separate allegations that a state computer or state e-mail account was used to assist in political fundraising for Democrat Barack Obama’s campaign.

The inspector general’s report concluded that she improperly used state e-mail to engage in political activity.

The report looked into 18 background checks into Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, a Toledo-area man known as Joe the Plumber. He became a household name in the final weeks of the presidential campaign after asking Obama about his tax plan at a campaign stop near Toledo.

Eight of the checks were done without any legitimate business purpose, the report said. Charles recommended tighter policies on access to confidential information in state computer databases.

The findings have been forwarded to the Franklin County prosecutor’s office in Columbus.

There was no home telephone listing for Jones-Kelley in Columbus.

Jones-Kelley has said the search of Wurzelbacher’s records were part of routine checks her agency conducts when someone suddenly emerges in the limelight.

She told state Senate President Bill Harris in a letter that records were checked because Wurzelbacher had indicated he might buy a business and it was determined that he owed back taxes. The department wanted to make sure appropriate actions were taken if he owed child support, received public assistance or owed unemployment compensation taxes, she wrote.

Jones-Kelley’s reasoning was at times contradictory, inconsistent and ambiguous, the inspector general’s report said.

It also found no policies or procedures to support her claim that it was the agency’s practice to look into someone thrust in the spotlight.

As Wurzelbacher’s profile was elevated in Republican John McCain’s campaign, criticism over the Ohio search rose to a fever pitch.

Republicans were furious that Wurzelbacher was targeted, saying that he was simply a private citizen who stood up and questioned the Democratic presidential candidate.

Wurzelbacher did not answer his phone Thursday, and his voicemail box was full.

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