Tag Archives: United States Congress

Manufactured Crisis Averted

1 Aug

HT Marquil at EmpireWire.com.

Without analyzing a debt/deficit/spending/cuts deal that was cut just yesterday and I haven’t had an opportunity to review, I continually ask myself over these last several days why Washington is so willing to cut on the backs of the elderly, the poor, and the middle class, and why it so adamantly refuses to ask the very wealthy to pay, e.g., what they paid in income taxes back during the roaring 90s.

What will the tea party fad be replaced by, and when?

Anthony Weiner Asplodes

6 Jun

He shouldn’t have sexted, sure. He especially shouldn’t have lied about it. He shouldn’t have denied it for a solid week. He is such a strong progressive voice in the Congress, and is among the most vocal critics of Republicans and their policy. He may not have resigned, and he will stand for re-election next year where this sexting issue will be front and center. It is, I think, right to let his constituents decide whether he merits their further support, but it wouldn’t be a horrible thing if Weiner resigned at this point, either.

The guy is damaged goods. For now.

Because until today none of the images could conclusively proven to be Weiner, I withheld commenting on it in any substantive way. In the end, the images are of him and he sent them and he could have just admitted it last week when they came out. At least Chris Lee had the wherewithal to know to quit while he’s ahead and get out of public office before the tranny hunting came to light. Weiner didn’t have the same self-awareness to come clean knowing there might be more out there.

Had he done that, it would have just been about sexting. Now it’s about lying – to lots of people. Chris Lee had more class than Anthony Weiner.

And that trainwreck of a press conference. Weiner was late. The smug, unctuous Breitbart hijacked it for 13 minutes taking questions, eagerly awaiting his redemption after so many lies. He got it. He even got an apology.  When Weiner finally took the podium, he was contrite, teary-eyed, candid, and too late. He took questions for what seemed like a painful eternity.  The press conference that Breitbart had hijacked turned quite quickly into an Anthony Weiner therapy session.

As David Frum tweeted, “What I learned from the Wiener press conference: sexting is not the only form of narcissistic exhibitionism.”

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I think the idea was that after a week’s worth of running, he was going to stand there like a man and take every question. He’d stand there, alone and ashamed, and answer questions as impertinent as why wasn’t his wife on the stage, and that he was pretty sure all the women involved were of age. Ugh.

Each one of his answers will edit down very nicely in myriad attack ads.

The whole thing was a farcical distillation of how idiotic this country has become. If it’s not Sarah Palin’s painful mangling of the ride of Paul Revere, it’s some egotistical lean congressman showing off his pecs to strangers. But he stood there – he stood there until Howard Stern Show head writer Benjy Bronk asked Representative Weiner whether he had chubbed up for those pictures or if he was fully erect.

Weiner is right to let his constituents decide what should happen to him in 2012. Perhaps he should consider resigning now and then running for the special election. It kills two birds with one stone – it shows contrition for lying and covering up, but also lets his constituents hold the reins as in a vote-of-confidence. Malfeasance + (time x contrition) = Americans are historically forgiving. In the meantime, minority leader Nancy Pelosi will be initiating an ethics investigation into all of this.  Weiner has a reputation for being brash and obnoxious, so perhaps this doesn’t harm him as much as it might some other person.

And for the Republicans who are gloating – David Vitter. John Ensign. Larry Craig. Let’s not gloat too hard. K? Weiner isn’t busy going to Congress to moralize about sex, so he may be a liar and a stupid freak, but he’s not a moralizing hypocrite, FWIW.

It’s a very sad day for the Weiner family, indeed. I think losing Weiner’s voice in Congress – and losing that voice’s stature – makes it devastating for the country, and for the causes Weiner believes in.

Leadership Through Tweets

12 Apr

Jane Corwin, who has spent the last couple of years doing bugger-all in Albany, and is now making stuff up about Kathy Hochul instead of touting her weak roster of non-accomplishments, is all over this tough budget stuff that was going down in Washington last week.

Although the budget compromise process in Washington ended on Friday April 8th, on Monday April 12th, Ms. Corwin had just got through “reviewing” it, and instead of offering an opinion or a position or a hint of how she might have voted, she asked her Twitter followers what she should think:

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Literally within hours of the budget compromise being reached, Kathy Hochul released this statement:

“Tonight, with just over one hour before a massive a government shutdown, the United States Congress finally came to a budget compromise.

“For days, I have called on my opponents, Republican Jane Corwin, and Tea Party-endorsed candidate, Jack Davis, to join me in supporting a budget compromise to no avail.  I am thankful Congress has worked through their disputes and finally come to this compromise that cuts spending.  However, I am greatly dismayed at the lack of concern Jane Corwin and Jack Davis have shown on this issue.  Instead of supporting what was right for the people of the 26th District, my opponents chose to play politics and avoid the issue at hand.

“If Jane Corwin and Jack Davis were currently serving in Congress, their apathy towards the budget compromise would have delayed students their loans, seniors their social security benefits, small business owners their loans, veterans their benefits, military men and women their paychecks, and hard working families their tax refunds.

“We cannot allow partisan politics to stand, which is why once elected I will work with all Members of Congress to make sure this fiasco does not occur again.  I will work hard to pass a 2012 budget on time that makes substantial cuts, while still ensuring essential services are not disturbed.  We cannot decimate Medicare and break the promises made to our seniors.”

Like it or not, it’s a thoughtful and well-considered position. Yet four solid days later, Jane Corwin doesn’t know what she thinks about it all. (For the record, neither Jack Davis nor Ian Murphy have offered up any sort of substantive statement on the averted shutdown, either).

Four days later, Hochul continually taunts Corwin for her refusal to take a position on this. She made the point in a tongue-in-cheek release claiming to be the “only candidate to support the Sabres”:

“Now that the regular season is officially over, I congratulate the Sabres on an amazing 40th season and look forward to watching them in the playoffs.  Since my opponents – Republican, Jane Corwin, and Tea Party-endorsed candidate, Jack Davis – have refused to take a position on Congress’s budget compromise, I now call on them to immediately join me in rooting on the Sabres in their run for the Stanley Cup”

I mean, if Davis and Corwin can’t formulate an opinion on the most important thing the Congress has accomplished since this special election process began, it is right for Hochul to call them out and mock them.

This isn’t some silly game like going to Albany as a minority freshman, where frankly you don’t have to be smart or interested to keep getting re-elected. Going to Congress isn’t some jejune exercise that can easily be bought with personal millions just because you have an enrollment advantage.

Corwin continues to prove that it is she, and not anyone else, who is the joke candidate.

W-Tea-E-N

29 Mar

Some tea party.

Aren’t tea parties supposed to be dress-up make-believe events staged by toddler girls with their little friends and maybe some stuffed animals?  Instead, we have Rus Thompson and birther Allen Coniglio yelling past each other on the idiot concern-trolling local tea party radio station.

But this struck me from Jim Ostrowski’s insertion into the debate on his site:

I also believe that this discussion will convince many skeptics of the absolutely crucial importance of electing Jack Davis to Congress on the Tea Party line.

The only “crucial importance” of Ostrowski and DiPietro getting Jack Davis elected (they’re both on his campaign payroll right now) is that this is the first-ever political race where name recognition and money are not issues. They have a blank check to buy their way out of any and all problems and impediments that have beset tea partyish candidates in the past, and Davis is a known quantity, not some professional rabble-rouser. If Davis loses, they’re out of excuses. The only importance for these guys in getting foreigner-hating Davis elected is to establish themselves as serious political consultants.  If Davis had his way, DiPietro’s and Ostrowski’s ancestors would have stayed in fricking Italy and Poland, respectively.

Fear and Loathing In D.C.

11 Mar

Yesterday, Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee in the House of Representatives and IRA Sympathizer Rep. Peter King (R, NY-3) held a Congressional hearing entitled “Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response”.

As the hearings began, Rep. King defended his decision to hold the hearings saying that the threat of neo-Nazis and lone mad men don’t compare to the threat which Al-Qaeda poses to American citizens. “Despite what passes for conventional wisdom in certain circles, there is nothing radical or un-American in holding these hearings,” he said.

During an interview on Wednesday, King said, “It makes no sense to talk about other types of extremism, when the main threat to the United States today is talking about Al-Qaeda,”

However, Rep. King could not be more wrong.  This was not a hearing about “homeland security”, it was a fear-based witch hunt targeting American Muslims.  There is also significant evidence to the contrary as to Rep. King’s claim that there is no greater threat to our security than Muslims.

As a January 2011 terrorism statistics report — compiled using publicly available data from the FBI and other crime agencies — from the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) shows, terrorism by Muslim Americans has only accounted for a minority of terror plots since 9/11.

In fact, right-wing extremist and white supremacist attacks plots alone outnumber plots by Muslims, with both groups being involved in 63 terror plots, 18 more plots than Muslim Americans have been involved in.

I look forward to Rep. King’s investigation into right wing extremist activities in America.

Additionally, King’s hearings come at a time when Muslim American terrorism and involvement in extremism has actually plummeted in the past couple years, according to a Duke University study put out last month. Moreover, nearly 4 in 10 Al-Qaida related plots in the United States have been broken up thanks to intelligence provided by the Muslim community themselves and 70 percent of recent terror plots in the United States have been foiled by help from Muslim Americans.

Tending the flames of Islamophobia in this country is a full time job and King was certainly glad to throw logs on the fire.  This hearing served one purpose and one purpose only, to define and conflate the Islamic American community as a perpetual enemy and to identify them as a group of “others” who need to be watched and “surveilled” while providing another election bogeyman for the Republican Party.

Yesterday’s hearing was a shameful display of Congressional power and a reminder of Sen. Joe McCarthy’s HUAC hearings in the 1950’s.  Just as McCarthy’s “Un-American Activities” language presupposed guilt for those brought forward to testify, the title of this event presupposed radicalization of an entire community of Americans.

Rep. John Dingell, (D, MI-15) spoke at the hearing to remind Rep. King that he once witnessed Sen. McCarthy’s hearings and warned against allowing history to repeat itself.

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Rep Brian Higgins (D, NY-27) is a member of the Homeland Security Committee and was present at today’s hearing and I looked forward to his thoughtful take on the hearings.  Throughout the day, I checked his website, Twitter Feed and Facebook page for statements about today’s hearings and all I found was the following:

While I’m glad that Rep. Higgins is concerned with gas prices, visa waivers for Polish people, and something about ice skating, I was looking for some sort of feedback on what was a pretty important news story.  Proving that social media does actually work when a Congressman has a responsive staff, I quickly received a prompt and courteous reply to my requests for comment from Rep. Higgins’ Communications Director.

She provided me with his statement from Committee today which was not available online.

In the aftermath of 9/11, we were all taught that we are not at war as a nation with Islam, we were at war with those who hijacked that religion and used it to justify their murderous and cowardly acts.

From that a lot of relationships were developed between the law enforcement community, local, state and federal, with the muslim community to try to better understand one another.

I think we’re at a point where progress has been made but still much work needs to be done.  When I look at or hear the Sheriff from Los Angeles talk about the programs that have been developed in your community, it’s very similar to that of my community in Buffalo, New York.

A smaller city directly south of Buffalo is Lackawanna, an old steel city that was home to the Lackawanna Six. It was six muslim american men who were convicted of providing material support to al Qaeda by training in their camps in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

You know, there’s a lot of misunderstanding when you get into this issue and I think people get invested into their own emotional positions that don’t have a factual base. I’ll give you an example: in this nation we have not only a Christian-Judeo tradition, we have a Christian- Judeo-Islamic tradition in this nation.  But the basis of those religions are compassion, forgiveness, love, and tolerance. The prophet Mohamed is a prophet of mercy. In my Catholic religion I was raised by the Sisters of Mercy.

I think we all have a lot to learn from one another about this issue. We have a long way to go. The radicalization of Muslims in America is in large part influenced by the convergence of new technology that allows groups to communicate in ways they never were able to before. I think that provides a basis from which our nation, all our law enforcement agencies in each individual state and locality develop those relationships with the Muslim American community.

In the end we are all Americans and people don’t come to this country by and large (emphasis mine, CS) to create havoc. They come because they thirst for the freedom we have. That’s what they want for themselves and their families.

While Higgins is not known for grandstanding in committee nor making broad-based statements of opinion on issues of import, this is a carefully parsed statement designed to neither grant legitimacy to the larger question about the nature of the hearings nor to appear weak on terrorism.  While the content of his response was expected, I am still saddened to see members of Congress and our community writ large fail to stand up to the type of patriotic bullying advanced by hypocritical blowhards like Rep. King.

Today’s hearing violated the spirit of the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment as the purpose of the hearing targeted a religious group by virtue of their religion.  Seemingly put together to smear Muslim American advocacy groups and cast aspersions on their relationships, acquaintances and governing principles, yesterday’s hearing was a case study in fear and loathing.

When injustice and fear-mongering go unchallenged, we do our nation a disservice.  Today, I feel as if an opportunity to fight back a tide of xenophobic ignorance was lost.

Monroe Rising: Complete Lee Silence #NY26

25 Feb

Epic Fail.

It’s now been several weeks since Congressman Chris Lee embarrassed himself and resigned, all in one day.

You may be familiar with Monroe Rising, which is the (one of? who knows) wingnut blog that covers the Rochester area.  For years, they’ve been dutiful regurgitators of Lee press releases and reliable supporters of the well-coiffed, yet sartorially challenged former Congressman.

I am a registered user at Monroe Rising, and have now submitted two benign comments to this article inquiring why they completely ignored the Lee scandal, never mentioned the Lee resignation, never wrote a solitary word about the fact that a portion of Monroe County finds itself unrepresented in Congress due to a sex scandal. That linked-to article is their first mention of NY-26 since Lee’s departure.

The image above shows you what I see when I go to their site; if you aren’t logged in, there are no comments. Note the “No User Responded” heading.

Now, I’m no one to slam someone for being a partisan blogger, but when a huge scandal breaks in quite literally your own congressional backyard, I think you lose a massive amount of credibility by completely ignoring it, as if it never happened.  They were perfectly pleased as punch to report on former Congressman Eric Massa’s own sexual ethical issues, so why does Chris Lee get a complete pass?  Hell, even the local Buffalo Republican bloggers wrote something about it.

Two separate requests for comment sent to the owner of the site have gone unanswered.  I guess Chris Lee only exists when he’s not scandal-ridden.

Fail.

President Obama’s Remarks At the Memorial Service for the Victims of the Tucson Massacre

12 Jan
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 8:  U.S. President Ba...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

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Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for Delivery At a Memorial Service for the Victims of the Shooting in Tucson, Arizona

University of Arizona, McKale Memorial Center
Tucson, Arizona

January 12, 2011 As Prepared for Delivery—

To the families of those we’ve lost; to all who called them friends; to the students of this university, the public servants gathered tonight, and the people of Tucson and Arizona:  I have come here tonight as an American who, like all Americans, kneels to pray with you today, and will stand by you tomorrow.

There is nothing I can say that will fill the sudden hole torn in your hearts.  But know this: the hopes of a nation are here tonight.  We mourn with you for the fallen.  We join you in your grief.  And we add our faith to yours that Representative Gabrielle Giffords and the other living victims of this tragedy pull through.

As Scripture tells us:

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

the holy place where the Most High dwells.

God is within her, she will not fall;

God will help her at break of day.

On Saturday morning, Gabby, her staff, and many of her constituents gathered outside a supermarket to exercise their right to peaceful assembly and free speech.  They were fulfilling a central tenet of the democracy envisioned by our founders – representatives of the people answering to their constituents, so as to carry their concerns to our nation’s capital.  Gabby called it “Congress on Your Corner” – just an updated version of government of and by and for the people.

That is the quintessentially American scene that was shattered by a gunman’s bullets.  And the six people who lost their lives on Saturday – they too represented what is best in America.

Judge John Roll served our legal system for nearly 40 years.  A graduate of this university and its law school, Judge Roll was recommended for the federal bench by John McCain twenty years ago, appointed by President George H.W. Bush, and rose to become Arizona’s chief federal judge.  His colleagues described him as the hardest-working judge within the Ninth Circuit.  He was on his way back from attending Mass, as he did every day, when he decided to stop by and say hi to his Representative.  John is survived by his loving wife, Maureen, his three sons, and his five grandchildren.

George and Dorothy Morris – “Dot” to her friends – were high school sweethearts who got married and had two daughters.  They did everything together, traveling the open road in their RV, enjoying what their friends called a 50-year honeymoon.  Saturday morning, they went by the Safeway to hear what their Congresswoman had to say.  When gunfire rang out, George, a former Marine, instinctively tried to shield his wife.  Both were shot.  Dot passed away.

A New Jersey native, Phyllis Schneck retired to Tucson to beat the snow. But in the summer, she would return East, where her world revolved around her 3 children, 7 grandchildren, and 2 year-old great-granddaughter.  A gifted quilter, she’d often work under her favorite tree, or sometimes sew aprons with the logos of the Jets and the Giants to give out at the church where she volunteered.  A Republican, she took a liking to Gabby, and wanted to get to know her better.

Dorwan and Mavy Stoddard grew up in Tucson together – about seventy years ago. They moved apart and started their own respective families, but after both were widowed they found their way back here, to, as one of Mavy’s daughters put it, “be boyfriend and girlfriend again.” When they weren’t out on the road in their motor home, you could find them just up the road, helping folks in need at the Mountain Avenue Church of Christ.  A retired construction worker, Dorwan spent his spare time fixing up the church along with their dog, Tux.  His final act of selflessness was to dive on top of his wife, sacrificing his life for hers.

Everything Gabe Zimmerman did, he did with passion – but his true passion was people.  As Gabby’s outreach director, he made the cares of thousands of her constituents his own, seeing to it that seniors got the Medicare benefits they had earned, that veterans got the medals and care they deserved, that government was working for ordinary folks.  He died doing what he loved – talking with people and seeing how he could help.  Gabe is survived by his parents, Ross and Emily, his brother, Ben, and his fiancée, Kelly, who he planned to marry next year.

And then there is nine year-old Christina Taylor Green.  Christina was an A student, a dancer, a gymnast, and a swimmer.  She often proclaimed that she wanted to be the first woman to play in the major leagues, and as the only girl on her Little League team, no one put it past her.  She showed an appreciation for life uncommon for a girl her age, and would remind her mother, “We are so blessed.  We have the best life.”  And she’d pay those blessings back by participating in a charity that helped children who were less fortunate.

Our hearts are broken by their sudden passing.  Our hearts are broken – and yet, our hearts also have reason for fullness.

Our hearts are full of hope and thanks for the 13 Americans who survived the shooting, including the congresswoman many of them went to see on Saturday.  I have just come from the University Medical Center, just a mile from here, where our friend Gabby courageously fights to recover even as we speak.  And I can tell you this – she knows we’re here and she knows we love her and she knows that we will be rooting for her throughout what will be a difficult journey.

And our hearts are full of gratitude for those who saved others.  We are grateful for Daniel Hernandez, a volunteer in Gabby’s office who ran through the chaos to minister to his boss, tending to her wounds to keep her alive.  We are grateful for the men who tackled the gunman as he stopped to reload.  We are grateful for a petite 61 year-old, Patricia Maisch, who wrestled away the killer’s ammunition, undoubtedly saving some lives.  And we are grateful for the doctors and nurses and emergency medics who worked wonders to heal those who’d been hurt.

These men and women remind us that heroism is found not only on the fields of battle.  They remind us that heroism does not require special training or physical strength.  Heroism is here, all around us, in the hearts of so many of our fellow citizens, just waiting to be summoned – as it was on Saturday morning.

Their actions, their selflessness, also pose a challenge to each of us.  It raises the question of what, beyond the prayers and expressions of concern, is required of us going forward.  How can we honor the fallen?  How can we be true to their memory?

You see, when a tragedy like this strikes, it is part of our nature to demand explanations – to try to impose some order on the chaos, and make sense out of that which seems senseless.  Already we’ve seen a national conversation commence, not only about the motivations behind these killings, but about everything from the merits of gun safety laws to the adequacy of our mental health systems.  Much of this process, of debating what might be done to prevent such tragedies in the future, is an essential ingredient in our exercise of self-government.

But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized – at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do – it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.

Scripture tells us that there is evil in the world, and that terrible things happen for reasons that defy human understanding.  In the words of Job, “when I looked for light, then came darkness.”  Bad things happen, and we must guard against simple explanations in the aftermath.

For the truth is that none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack.  None of us can know with any certainty what might have stopped those shots from being fired, or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent man’s mind.

So yes, we must examine all the facts behind this tragedy.  We cannot and will not be passive in the face of such violence. We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of violence in the future.

But what we can’t do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another.  As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility.  Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together.

After all, that’s what most of us do when we lose someone in our family – especially if the loss is unexpected.  We’re shaken from our routines, and forced to look inward.  We reflect on the past.   Did we spend enough time with an aging parent, we wonder.  Did we express our gratitude for all the sacrifices they made for us?  Did we tell a spouse just how desperately we loved them, not just once in awhile but every single day?

So sudden loss causes us to look backward – but it also forces us to look forward, to reflect on the present and the future, on the manner in which we live our lives and nurture our relationships with those who are still with us.  We may ask ourselves if we’ve shown enough kindness and generosity and compassion to the people in our lives.  Perhaps we question whether we are doing right by our children, or our community, and whether our priorities are in order.  We recognize our own mortality, and are reminded that in the fleeting time we have on this earth, what matters is not wealth, or status, or power, or fame – but rather, how well we have loved, and what small part we have played in bettering the lives of others.

That process of reflection, of making sure we align our values with our actions – that, I believe, is what a tragedy like this requires.  For those who were harmed, those who were killed – they are part of our family, an American family 300 million strong.  We may not have known them personally, but we surely see ourselves in them.  In George and Dot, in Dorwan and Mavy, we sense the abiding love we have for our own husbands, our own wives, our own life partners.  Phyllis – she’s our mom or grandma; Gabe our brother or son.  In Judge Roll, we recognize not only a man who prized his family and doing his job well, but also a man who embodied America’s fidelity to the law.  In Gabby, we see a reflection of our public spiritedness, that desire to participate in that sometimes frustrating, sometimes contentious, but always necessary and never-ending process to form a more perfect union.

And in Christina…in Christina we see all of our children.  So curious, so trusting, so energetic and full of magic.

So deserving of our love.

And so deserving of our good example.  If this tragedy prompts reflection and debate, as it should, let’s make sure it’s worthy of those we have lost.  Let’s make sure it’s not on the usual plane of politics and point scoring and pettiness that drifts away with the next news cycle.

The loss of these wonderful people should make every one of us strive to be better in our private lives – to be better friends and neighbors, co-workers and parents.  And if, as has been discussed in recent days, their deaths help usher in more civility in our public discourse, let’s remember that it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy, but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation, in a way that would make them proud.  It should be because we want to live up to the example of public servants like John Roll and Gabby Giffords, who knew first and foremost that we are all Americans, and that we can question each other’s ideas without questioning each other’s love of country, and that our task, working together, is to constantly widen the circle of our concern so that we bequeath the American dream to future generations.

I believe we can be better.  Those who died here, those who saved lives here – they help me believe.  We may not be able to stop all evil in the world, but I know that how we treat one another is entirely up to us.  I believe that for all our imperfections, we are full of decency and goodness, and that the forces that divide us are not as strong as those that unite us.

That’s what I believe, in part because that’s what a child like Christina Taylor Green believed.  Imagine: here was a young girl who was just becoming aware of our democracy; just beginning to understand the obligations of citizenship; just starting to glimpse the fact that someday she too might play a part in shaping her nation’s future.  She had been elected to her student council; she saw public service as something exciting, something hopeful.  She was off to meet her congresswoman, someone she was sure was good and important and might be a role model.  She saw all this through the eyes of a child, undimmed by the cynicism or vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted.

I want us to live up to her expectations.  I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it.  All of us – we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations.

Christina was given to us on September 11th, 2001, one of 50 babies born that day to be pictured in a book called “Faces of Hope.”  On either side of her photo in that book were simple wishes for a child’s life.  “I hope you help those in need,” read one.  “I hope you know all of the words to the National Anthem and sing it with your hand over your heart.  I hope you jump in rain puddles.”

If there are rain puddles in heaven, Christina is jumping in them today.  And here on Earth, we place our hands over our hearts, and commit ourselves as Americans to forging a country that is forever worthy of her gentle, happy spirit.

May God bless and keep those we’ve lost in restful and eternal peace.  May He love and watch over the survivors.  And may He bless the United States of America.

Health Care Summit

25 Feb

I spent some time today listening to congressional Republicans set up their “let’s scrap it and start from scratch” talking point du jour, and congressional Democrats rebutting a year’s worth of unadulterated bullshit the GOP had been smearing across Americans’ faces over the last year or so.

It makes you want to vomit.