Obama Praised by Conservatives…

The Clinton camp might see this as some sort of a set up; they might spin this as the conservatives wanting to run against Obama instead of Hillary Clinton as they might claim she polls better against the Republic party front runners at this time, though this poll might counter that assumption.

Nevertheless, I think that this is worth a read:

There is something profoundly surreal about having known someone like Barack Obama, whose political career has seen a meteoric rise that is the stuff of political fairytales. To turn on the television and see a once-familiar face grown slightly more mature, hear the same vocal intonations and note many of same personal characteristics – now all presented as elements of a “rock star” persona – is a strange experience.

Of course, with public acclaim of the kind Obama now enjoys comes a host of hangers-on, many eager to claim some “special relationship” with a famous person. Certainly, Barack and I were hardly best friends; he was a year ahead of me at Harvard Law School (and six years older) when we met the summer that I became a newly-minted editor of the Harvard Law Review. But we did work together for some time, and he reached out to advise me when I became the first female Managing Editor in the Review’s history.

Barack is a deeply committed liberal, and I am a proud conservative. Even so, he possesses five qualities that are genuinely praiseworthy — political ideology aside: […]

He’s intelligent. Clearly, his achievements reveal that Barack Obama possesses intellectual credentials that would impress even the snootiest resume snob. […]

He’s colorblind. When Barack became the first African-American President of The Harvard Law Review, it was big news. More radical black Review editors urged him not only to take controversial stands on a whole host of racial issues – they also pressured him to use his discretion to elevate black students to leadership positions within the organization. Barack declined to do so; though his choices were often left-wing (as, in fairness, was much of the Review’s membership), they weren’t race-conscious. […]

He’s self-confident. Even at age 29, Barack Obama had the self-possession and confidence of a much older man – a quality that, at times, manifested itself in amusing ways. […]

He listens. Certainly, Barack is a liberal’s liberal, and his leadership of The Harvard Law Review in many ways reflected that fact. But unlike many of his left-wing compatriots, he treated his ideological adversaries with respect on a personal level. […]

He has a sense of humor. […]

Wow. I wish someone could (truthfully) say the same of me. 🙂


March 6, 2007 Posted by | hillary clinton, obama | Leave a comment

Wounded Troops not Cared for Properly: Obama is all over it.

Workout Notes Swim 2100 yards; 500 fist/free warm up, 5 x 200 on the 3:30 (3:17, 3:12, 3:12, 3:11, 3:13; this was painful), 100 back, 500 pull in 8:17.

The pool has gotten more crowded lately. Of course, there are the lap swimmers (such as myself) and the “dog paddle” crowd. But a few folks appear to be getting ready for the indoor tri in a few weeks. And for the second time over the past days, I split a lane with a “real swimmer” who just blew my doors off. But it is good for me; I need to see what good swimming looks like from time to time.

Afterwards, yoga with Ms. Nancy who gave a good class. She has a dance background, and when she focuses on dance type moves, she really gives a good class.

Also, I kind of like it that she faces away from the class (mirrored front wall so she can still see us) and sticks out her butt alot.

Last night, Suzanne gave a rather intimate class with the two of us who showed up; we worked on various challenge poses (headstand, handstand, crane, etc.)

I am finding out that I really enjoy the Randi Rhodes show on Air America. She talks to all sorts of people on the phone (including trolls) and tackles the tough issues of the day. One of her recent issues is the plight of our wounded soldiers.

It is true that our soldiers recieve good medical care for their wounds. But treatment shouldn’t stop there; it is in the recovery phase that our system fails them. Certainly you’ve heard the horror stories about Walter Reed; but it doesn’t stop there.

[…]It is just not Walter Reed,” Oliva slowly tapped out on his keyboard at 4:23 in the afternoon on Friday. “The VA hospitals are not good either except for the staff who work so hard. It brings tears to my eyes when I see my brothers and sisters having to deal with these conditions. I am 70 years old, some say older than dirt but when I am with my brothers and sisters we become one and are made whole again.”

Oliva is but one quaking voice in a vast outpouring of accounts filled with emotion and anger about the mistreatment of wounded outpatients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Stories of neglect and substandard care have flooded in from soldiers, their family members, veterans, doctors and nurses working inside the system. They describe depressing living conditions for outpatients at other military bases around the country, from Fort Lewis in Washington state to Fort Dix in New Jersey. They tell stories — their own versions, not verified — of callous responses to combat stress and a system ill equipped to handle another generation of psychologically scarred vets.

The official reaction to the revelations at Walter Reed has been swift, and it has exposed the potential political costs of ignoring Oliva’s 24.3 million comrades — America’s veterans — many of whom are among the last standing supporters of the Iraq war. In just two weeks, the Army secretary has been fired, a two-star general relieved of command and two special commissions appointed; congressional subcommittees are lining up for hearings, the first today at Walter Reed; and the president, in his weekly radio address, redoubled promises to do right by the all-volunteer force, 1.5 million of whom have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But much deeper has been the reaction outside Washington, including from many of the 600,000 new veterans who left the service after Iraq and Afghanistan. Wrenching questions have dominated blogs, talk shows, editorial cartoons, VFW spaghetti suppers and the solitary late nights of soldiers and former soldiers who fire off e-mails to reporters, members of Congress and the White House — looking, finally, for attention and solutions.

Several forces converged to create this intense reaction. A new Democratic majority in Congress is willing to criticize the administration. Senior retired officers pounded the Pentagon with sharp questions about what was going on. […]

There are calls for an independent commission to investigate the situation and to make it right:

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s national security panel, headed by Rep. John Tierney, D-N.Y., scheduled a hearing at the hospital’s auditorium Monday morning. The list of Army officials, hospital staff and patients invited to speak includes the medical center’s previous commander, Maj. Gen. George Weightman.

The defense subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee also scheduled a hearing on Walter Reed for Monday.

In a letter Sunday to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., asked for an independent commission, possibly headed by former Secretary of State Colin Powell, to investigate all post-combat medical facilities and recommend changes.

“To think that men and women are serving their country in the most honorable and courageous way possible and all we give them is a dilapidated, rat-infested, run-down building to recover is a disgrace,” Schumer wrote. “My fear is that Walter Reed is just the tip of the iceberg, and merely highlights the pervasive and systemic mistreatment of our service members.”

And of course, Senator Barack Obama is all over this one, as he usually is:

In the wake of the scandal surrounding the conditions endured by some Veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) introduced two pieces of legislation last week to create a more suitable level of care for wounded troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Obama introduced, S. 713, the Dignity for Wounded Warriors Act, legislation written to “ensure dignity in care for members of the Armed Forces recovering from injuries,” which has been referred to the Senate Armed Services Committee for review.

“Last week, the Nation learned of the serious problems at Walter Reed Army Medical Center including decaying, cockroach-infested facilities and an overwhelmed patient-care bureaucracy,” said Obama in introducing his bill last week. “As described in a series of articles in the Washington Post by Dana Priest and Anne Hull, wounded soldiers are returning home from the battle in Iraq only to face a new battle to get the care and benefits they have earned.”

The Democratic presidential candidate’s legislation is already cosponsored by 23 Senators, with only three of those — Kit Bond (R-MO), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) — coming from the Republican side of the aisle.

Obama’s legislation would fix conditions at outpatient VA residence facilities by setting higher standards — such as stipulations that recovering soldiers’ rooms will be as good or better as the best standard rooms for active-duty troops — and increasing administration accountability. The bill also provides for expedited repair of maintenance problems in the facilities and, as Obama put it last week, “zero tolerance for pest infestations.”

The bill would also mandate that emergency medical personnel and crisis counselors be available to recovering troops 24 hours a day.

I wonder just what the Republicans were doing from 2003 until 2006? I can venture a guess.

First of all, I want to make it clear that I am talking about the Republic Party political leadership. There are many rank-and-file Republicans who are genuinely good people; many who put me to shame with the time and effort and money that they give back to their communities.

I am of the opinion that the Republic Party political leadership attempts to view everything “as a business”. So take the war: they want to do it on the cheap. Hence, if they can save on something (training, recruiting more troops), they do it. And, when a soldier is still able to fight, he/she is an asset. When they are wounded, they are a liability on the balance sheet, and money used for them won’t be recovered. Hence, they tended to be forgotten about.

That is the cold blooded nature of the corporate Republican leadership (again, NOT of the many good people in the “rank and file”).

More political news: the Presidential candidates.

Newt Gingrich: New Orleans residents too stupid to get out of the way.

He blamed the residents of New Orleans’ 9th Ward for a “failure of citizenship,” by being “so uneducated and so unprepared, they literally couldn’t get out of the way of a hurricane.”

And he called for a “deep investigation” into this “failure of citizenship.”

Here’s the full quote:

How can you have the mess we have in New Orleans, and not have had deep investigations of the federal government, the state government, the city government, and the failure of citizenship in the Ninth Ward, where 22,000 people were so uneducated and so unprepared, they literally couldn’t get out of the way of a hurricane. (emphasis original)

And Bill Scher reponds nicely:

UPDATE: Huffington Post’s Harry Shearer reacts:

…the folks in the Ninth Ward weren’t caught by a hurricane. They were surprised at 5:30 Monday morning (according to [LSU Hurricane Center co-founder Ivor] Van Heerden’s timeline) by an eighteen-foot-high wall of water as their federally built flood protection structure catastrophically failed.

Who’s the uneducated one?

Coulter again: this is amusing; listen carefully to this short clip and note the pronoun that George Will uses to refer to Ann Coulter:

Hat Tip to Crooks and Liars.

Hillary Clinton: evidently she is annoyed that New York Governor Eliot Spitzer has not given her candidacy a formal endorsement. I wouldn’t say that she “exploded” (as Newsmax says)

New York’s new Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer is earning high marks for his efforts to reform New York, but he does not have a happy camper in New York’s U.S. senator, Hillary Clinton.

Reportedly, Sen. Clinton’s staff “exploded” over Spitzer’s refusal to endorse her candidacy for president during a visit to Washington last week.

“Hillary’s people were really upset by Spitzer, and they called his people . . . to make that clear,” a Spitzer insider told the New York Post.

The Post’s “Inside Albany” columnist Fred Dicker quoted a senior Democrat who disclosed that the Clinton camp “exploded — really went crazy” over Spitzer’s non-endorsement.

but I can imagine that she is less than happy with the non-endorsement, as she also might be with the Governor not moving up the primary to help her:

Bucking a national trend, Governor Spitzer is approaching with caution a plan supported by state lawmakers to move New York’s presidential primary forward to February 5, the day California, Illinois, Texas, Florida, and a slew of other states are considering holding the contests.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Spitzer, Christine Anderson, said the governor would like to “study” the issue before deciding whether to support an earlier primary, a move that has attracted bipartisan support in the Legislature.

Mr. Spitzer’s hesitation stands in contrast to the strengthening national push toward front-loading the primary calendar, as states that have traditionally played a marginal role in the nominating process seek to become presidential kingmakers. In California, Governor Schwarzenegger is enthusiastically backing legislation to move the state’s primary to February 5, saying the switch would make California “relevant.”

Mr. Spitzer has other political concerns to consider. The longer he waits to decide whether to move the date, the more he invites questions about his position on Senator Clinton, who has yet to receive Mr. Spitzer’s endorsement.

Political analysts say bumping the primary date in New York to February 5 from the set date of March 4 would likely play to the advantage of the state’s two major White House hopefuls, Mayor Giuliani and Mrs. Clinton, offering them a good chance to seize a chunk of delegates early in the nominating cycle. A February 5 primary comes with its own risks: A failure to meet high expectations in a hometown state could have a devastating effect on the rest of the race.

Aides to Mrs. Clinton said the candidate has not publicly or privately expressed an opinion on an earlier primary day. A source close to Mr. Spitzer, however, said the Clinton camp has been more than clear about her preference. “Of course, they want him to support it,” the source said.

Note that Illinois is considering moving up its primary, mostly in an effor to help Senator Obama.

March 6, 2007 Posted by | hillary clinton, injury, obama, running, swimming, yoga | 3 Comments