Sunday, March 7, 2021
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Thank You John Paul Stevens; Who Will Obama Pick to Succeed Him?

A bit earlier this morning, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens announced that he will retirement, effective in June 2010. First off, I just want to say "thank you" to Justice Stevens for 35 years of service on the Court, plus of course his service to our country in World War II. As Adam B at Daily Kos points out, Stevens' service began the day before Pearl Harbor, at the age of 21, when "he enlisted in the Navy and joined its intelligence service, earning a Bronze Star for his cryptography work which helped break the Japanese codes"). Now, at age 90 (in less than 2 weeks), I thank Justice Stevens and wish him a happy retirement!

With Stevens' retirement, President Obama gets his second opportunity (after Sonia Sotamoyor) to replace a Supreme Court justice. A couple of points on that.

First this is more than enough reason for all of us to be happy that we elected Obama, not John McCain, in November 2008.  If McCain had won, he would have had the chance to tip the balance of the Supreme Court in a conservative direction for a generation or more to come, and that would have been a disaster.  

Second, this is a chance for President Obama to appoint a strong advocate for progressive values - environmental protection, human rights, valuing people over corporations, promoting the "general welfare," defending our freedoms and our responsibilities under the Constitution, etc.

Although appointed by Republican Gerald Ford, Stevens has generally been considered the most liberal justice on the Court. Now, President Obama has a chance to replace him with a young version of...John Paul Stevens! I urge President Obama to make an inspired choice that we can all be proud of for decades to come!

P.S. Names of potential nominees I've seen bandied about so far include solicitor general Elena Kagan, Judge Diane Wood (7th Circuit Court) and Judge Merrick Garland (D.C. Circuit Court). Both Kagan and Wood reportedly were interviewed by President Obama last spring before he decided to nominate Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.

UPDATE: On Facebook, Sen. Donald McEachin raise an interesting possibility.

It's too bad that Gov. Kaine took the job as DNC chair. He would be an awsome Supreme Court Justice...Before anyone gets that twisted, I think Gov Kaine is an excellent DNC chair. His legacy as a Supreme Court Justice would be enduring.
Kaine is 52, so certainly not too old to be nominated to the Supreme Court. He's also very close with Barack Obama. I wonder if this is a serious possibility.

Jon Stewart on “Union Victory Appreciation Month”


Of course, as we know, the right wingnuts have no sense of humor, even attacking a young, African American woman for telling a supposedly "racist" (yeah, uh huh - she's "racist" against herself - lol!) Eric Massa joke. Anyway, even the humor-deprived right wingnuts might (big stretch here, I know) find this latest skit by Jon Stewart to be funny. With that, check out the video of Jon Stewart riffing on Bob McDonnell's Confederate History Month, on the new "pantsless griffin mascot" for William & Mary, and finally on "Union Victory Appreciation Month" ("it just seems to focus on the tremendous ass-kicking that the north handed down").

Tom Perriello: How Health Care Reform Helps Students


From Tom Perriello's YouTube channel: "Rep. Perriello meets with students at Danville Community College to discuss the benefits of health care reform." Nice job, as always, by Tom!

DPVA: Health care lawsuit “a taxpayer-funded stunt to increase Ken Cuccinelli’s campaign kitty”

Strong words from the Democratic Party of Virginia:
Paperwork to establish Cuccinelli's new Liberty Now PAC was filed with the Virginia State Board of Elections on March 23.

That's the same day President Obama signed the health care reform bill into law. And the same day Cuccinelli filed suit on behalf of Virginia against the law, arguing Congress exceeded its Constitutional power in requiring individuals to purchase health insurance.


Jared Leopold, a spokesman for the Democrats, said the timing makes "Ken Cuccinelli's motives crystal clear: The Attorney General is using Virginians' tax dollars as a piggy bank for his personal political agenda....It seems clear that this health care lawsuit is nothing more than a taxpayer-funded stunt to increase Ken Cuccinelli's campaign kitty."


Meanwhile, in other, completely unrelated news, "just last week, Gov. Bob McDonnell held his first fundraiser at the [Governor's] mansion, hosting a reception for the 40 or so people who pledged $1,000 or more to Richmond's soon-to-be-opened charter school." The problem? "Traditionally, Virginia governors have not used the mansion to raise money, though no state law prohibits it." Hmmmm.

Doug Wilder: “I don’t regret” Not Endorsing Creigh Deeds


This is truly pitiful.
Campbell Brown: Governor, I've got to ask you, you did refuse to endorse the Democrat who ran against Bob McDonnell last year, do you regret that...?

Doug Wilder: No...I don't regret that at all, I think that the Bob McDonnell that spoke at the inaugural when he was sworn in is the Bob McDonnell that's speaking to amend the proclamation that he issued. He's recognized the mistake. He's not the Bob McDonnell that was a part of that thesis that Creigh Deeds focused upon.  No, the candidate for the Democrats, in my judgment, did not represent the values that I think most Virginians believed in, and I think that this hiccup, as far as the McDonnell administration, is something that could be and should be cured, I hope that it is.

As much as I'm not a huge Creigh Deeds fan, this is pathetic. Doug Wilder seriously doesn't regret his failure, when it really mattered, to endorse the Democratic candidate - as flawed as that candidate most certainly was, by pretty much all accounts - over Pat Robertson/George W. Bush disciple Bob McDonnell?  So, what part of McDonnell's policies does Wilder like, the anti-gay part, the anti-environment part, the slash-education part, the theocratic part, or the corporate welfare part?

P.S. In sharp contrast, State Sen. Henry Marsh said that "this is a pattern of this governor...He says the wrong thing, he sends a signal to his base and then he makes an apology."  

Nuclear Arms Pact Signed, Faux News Heads Explode


As CBS reports, "President Obama signs a major pact with Russian President Medvedev, cutting the number of nuclear weapons by a third." Most of us are thrilled about this, I'm fairly certain. But not the boys and girls over at Faux "News" ("unfair and unbalanced")!  For instance, check out this post, aptly titled, "Teh Stupidz! It Burnz!" Apparently, the right-wingnuts at Faux think we're all DOOOOOOOMED!!!! because President Obama and President Medvedev have just signed a New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. So, what's so horrible in this treaty to make us all DOOOOOOOMED? As nuclear expert Page van der Linden points out, absolutely nothing. For instance:
MYTH: President Obama does not have the support of top military brass on his nuclear weapons plans.

Not true. I'll just point you to comments from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen and the Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Cartwright upon the release of the Nuclear Posture Review. That other important (former military) guy, Secretary of Defense Gates, also has good things to say about the Nuclear Posture Review as well as the New START treaty.

As Page van der Linden, aka "Plutonium Page," notes, the lying isn't just laughable, "but it's also sinister, because people start to believe it." Of course, that never stopped Faux and the rest of the right-wing noise machine before. Fortunately, there are smart people out there like Page van der Linden, who earned her nickname "working with the nuclear waste at the Hanford Nuclear Site in Washington State," to set the record straight.

P.S. My own expertise on nuclear weapons is limited to graduate-level work on U.S. National Security Policy at GWU. I also have a modest degree of experience on nuclear power from my 17 years at the US Energy Information Administration.

McDonnell Plagiarizes Palin’s “Christian Heritage Week” Proclamation

As NLS reports, Bob McDonnell issued a Christian Heritage Week proclamation back in March. I was looking for examples of such proclamations by governors in other states, and one that stood out was by none other than then-Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska. I guess it's not surprising that Bob McDonnell and Sarah Palin would be ideologically simpatico. Still, what jumped out for me was not just that these two proclamations were somewhat similar in tone or message, but that they are essentially identical!

Thus, they both contain the same quotes, in the same exact order, by: Benjamin Franklin ("It is impossible to build an empire..."), George Washington, ("animated alone by the pure spirit of Christianity..."), Thomas Jefferson ("Can the liberties of a nation be secure..."), James Madison ("the diffusion of the light of Christianity in our nation"), Patrick Henry ("Righteousness alone can exalt a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people"), and George Mason ("That it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance..."). McDonnell's proclamation then concludes by essentially copying Palin's language.

Palin's proclamation: "Many truly great men and women of America, giants in the structuring of American history, were Christians of caliber and integrity who did not hesitate to express their faith.")  

McDonnell's proclamation: "...many other truly great men and women of America, giants in the structuring of American history, were statesmen of the highest calibre and integrity who did not hesitate to express their religious convictions, principles and faith."

That's right, my fellow Virginians, our governor can't even come up with his own talking points but needs to plagiarize Sarah Palin's.  Sadly, McDonnell doesn't just plagiarize Palin's words, he also copies her extremist ideology. And that's the real problem here.

UPDATE: Another "Christan Heritage Week" proclamation is in Michigan, but it's totally different in content and tone.

UPDATE #2: Apparently, McDonnell's proclamation is one of a series of these things, including Palin's in 2008, pushed by America's Christian Heritage Week, which "Argues that the United States should be recognized as a Christian nation."  Is that even worse than if McDonnell had purely plagiarized from Palin?

Bob McDonnell Apologizes, Admits “Mistake” on Confederate History Month Proclamation

NBC 12 political reporter Ryan Nobles tweets the breaking news:
Now McDonnell: "The failure to include any reference to slavery was a mistake, and..I apologize to any..Virginian who has been offended."

BREAKING: Bob McDonnell has issued revised proclamation on Confederate History Month that includes slavery. Calls ommission a "'mistake". Mo adds, "I wonder what Romney, Pawlenty, Palin and other 2012 GOPers think of their buddy Bob McDonnell's Confederate proclamation."

Incredible national attention given to McDonnell Confederate month flap. What impact could it have on his nat'l political future?

This comes after Tim Kaine said, "the ommission of slavery from the McDonnell proclamation: 'offends millions of Americans of all races.'" McDonnell's retreat also follows the story going national, Sheila Johnson condemning him, and Terry McAuliffe saying he's "disappointed that Governor McDonnell has decided to focus on this divisive issue."

UPDATE: Mo Elleithee tweets, "Amazing how quickly this killed his 'rising star' buzz."

UPDATE #2: Here's McDonnell's statement, which finally gets it right after relentless pounding for the past couple days. Again, better late than never?

The proclamation issued by this Office designating April as Confederate History Month contained a major omission. The failure to include any reference to slavery was a mistake, and for that I apologize to any fellow Virginian who has been offended or disappointed. The abomination of slavery divided our nation, deprived people of their God-given inalienable rights, and led to the Civil War. Slavery was an evil, vicious and inhumane practice which degraded human beings to property, and it has left a stain on the soul of this state and nation. In 2007, the Virginia General Assembly approved a formal statement of "profound regret" for the Commonwealth's history of slavery, which was the right thing to do.

the rest of the statement is after the "flip"
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