Daily Archive: 05/05/2013

May 05 2013

He’ll be so much more progressive…

after re-election.

Obama diversity disappoints again


5/5/13 7:04 AM EDT

There were, after all, just eight women among the 23 Cabinet-level officials in Obama’s first term. And that number will be even lower in his second.

After picking an all-white, all-male slate to fill departures at key departments including State and Treasury, Obama urged critics to be patient. Given time, he promised just before his second inauguration, he’d erase concerns sparked by an entirely white and male group of top picks.

“I would just suggest that everybody kind of wait until they’ve seen all my appointments – who is in the White House staff and who is in my Cabinet – before they rush to judgment,” he said. “Until you’ve seen what my overall team looks like, it’s premature to assume that somehow we’re going backwards. We’re not going backwards, we’re going forward.”

Now the second term Cabinet is complete, with final selections that include both Pritzker and Anthony Foxx, an African American, for Transportation secretary. Still, Obama’s put together a less diverse Cabinet than in his first term, when his picks were criticized for being too white and male. And quite a few of the people Obama had asked to hold off until the picture was complete say they they’re not so sure it was worth the wait.

(O)verall, there’s no denying the group he wound up with isn’t just less diverse than the current demographics of the country, and far less representative of the coalition of voters that got Obama reelected. It even falls short in virtually every category of the marks he set in his first term.

If Foxx is confirmed, there will be three African Americans in the Cabinet, one fewer than before. The number of Asian Americans has dropped from 3 to just 1: first-term holdover Eric Shinseki, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. And if Labor Secretary-designate Thomas Perez is confirmed, the number of Latinos will have officially made an identical slide.

“I at least expected that more than a third of the jobs would go to women,” NOW’s president, Terry O’Neill told POLITICO. “Women should be half the Cabinet. We’re 51 percent of the population, and more than half of us voted for the president’s reelection.” Instead, women have been picked for just seven of 23 Cabinet posts.

The numbers speak for themselves.

May 05 2013

On This Day In History May 5

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge

May 5 is the 125th day of the year (126th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 240 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1862, the Mexican Army defeated the French forces at the Battle of Puebla

Certain that French victory would come swiftly in Mexico, 6,000 French troops under General Charles Latrille de Lorencez set out to attack Puebla de Los Angeles. From his new headquarters in the north, Juarez rounded up a rag-tag force of loyal men and sent them to Puebla. Led by Texas-born General Zaragoza, the 2,000 Mexicans fortified the town and prepared for the French assault. On the fifth of May, 1862, Lorencez drew his army, well-provisioned and supported by heavy artillery, before the city of Puebla and began their assault from the north. The battle lasted from daybreak to early evening, and when the French finally retreated they had lost nearly 500 soldiers to the fewer than 100 Mexicans killed.

Although not a major strategic victory in the overall war against the French, Zaragoza’s victory at Puebla tightened Mexican resistance, and six years later France withdrew. The same year, Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, who had been installed as emperor of Mexico by Napoleon in 1864, was captured and executed by Juarez’ forces. Puebla de Los Angeles, the site of Zaragoza’s historic victory, was renamed Puebla de Zaragoza in honor of the general.


Cinco de Mayo is a regional holiday limited primarily to the state of Puebla. There is some limited recognition of the holiday in other parts of the country.

United States

In a 1998 study in the Journal of American Culture it was reported that there were more than 120 official U.S. celebrations of Cinco de Mayo, and they could be found in 21 different states. An update in 2006, found that the number of official Cinco de Mayo events was 150 or more, according to Jose Alamillo, professor of ethnic studies at Washington State University in Pullman, who has studied the cultural impact of Cinco de Mayo north of the border.

In the United States Cinco de Mayo has taken on a significance beyond that in Mexico. The date is perhaps best recognized in the United States as a date to celebrate the culture and experiences of Americans of Mexican ancestry, much as St. Patrick’s Day, Oktoberfest, and the Chinese New Year are used to celebrate those of Irish, German, and Chinese ancestry respectively. Similar to those holidays, Cinco de Mayo is observed by many Americans regardless of ethnic origin. Celebrations tend to draw both from traditional Mexican symbols, such as the Virgen de Guadalupe, and from prominent figures of Mexican descent in the United States, including Cesar Chavez. To celebrate, many display Cinco de Mayo banners while school districts hold special events to educate pupils about its historical significance. Special events and celebrations highlight Mexican culture, especially in its music and regional dancing. Examples include baile folklorico and mariachi demonstrations held annually at the Plaza del Pueblo de Los Angeles, near Olvera Street. Commercial interests in the United States have capitalized on the celebration, advertising Mexican products and services, with an emphasis on beverages, foods, and music.

May 05 2013

Sunday May 5, 2013: Up with Steve Kornacki Tweets

Hello. Today’s #Uppers was also pretty disappointing. You get the feeling Steve Kornacki still thinks this is 2008 and elections have hope. But we don’t have a functioning legislature and it’s either going to be about filibuster reform or nothing. Not the baseball card stats of 2014 and specifically not 2016 which always pisses me off talking about it because it’s so sensational. It was also about the Syrian civil war and that Israeli bombing in Syria, and for some reason Anthony Weiner.

Oh well I had an interesting debate on the War Powers Act which was more interesting than the show. Now #Uppers.

Hopefully Steve will bore me less in the future. Still I am sort o addicted to this tradition but I may quit #Uppers if it gets too bland. The same roster needs to come on. Thank you for reading.

May 05 2013

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

Up with Steve Kornacki: Joining Steve Kornacki will be: Abby Rapoport, staff writer, The American Prospect; Nate Cohn, staff writer, The New Republic;

Joan Walsh, editor-at-large, Salon.com, msnbc Political Analyst; Nia-Malika Henderson, National Political Reporter, The Washington Post; Maria Teresa Kumar, president, Voto Latino, msnbc Contributor; Michael Hanna, senior fellow at The Century Foundation; Amr Al-Azm, History Professor at Shawnee State University in Ohio and member of the Syrian opposition; and Andrew Tabler, senior fellow, The Washington Institute.

This Week with George Stephanopolis: Investor Warren Buffet; Roundtable: Democratic Strategist James Carville, Republican Strategist Mary Matalin, Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint, Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) and Cokie Roberts.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr Schieffer’s guests are Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), chairman, House Intelligence Committee; Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), ranking member, House Intelligence Committee; Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Joining him on the roundtable are former Pro Tennis Players Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova; NFL Player Brendon Ayanbadejo; former NFL Player Esera Tuaolo; owner of the Washington Wizards, Capitals and Mystics Ted Leonsis; President of the NFL Players Association Domonique Foxworth; William Rhoden, New York Times; and Chris Stone, Sports Illustrated.

The Chris Matthews Show: Katty Kay BBC; Dan Rather, HDNet; David Ignatius, Washington Post and Kathleen Parker, Washington Post.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: MTP guests are Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT); Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani (a noun, a verb & 9/11); Former Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA); and Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR).

The roundtable guests are: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrch (R-GA), Former Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. (D-TN), Rich Lowry, National Review and Joy-Ann Reid, Miami Herald.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Joining Ms. Crowley are Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN); Rep. Peter King (R-NY); Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Foundation for Defense of Democracies; Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, American Islamic Forum for Democracy; Former Member of the National Security Council Jessica Stern; Suhail Khan, Institute for Global Engagement; A.B. Stoddard, The Hill; Jeanne Cummings, Bloomberg News; Reliable Sources’ Ryan Lizza, The New Yorker; Lynn Sweet, Chicago Sun-Times; Legal Analyst Lisa Bloom; Cartoonist Garry Trudeau; and Elsa Walsh, formerly of the Washington Post.

May 05 2013

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Israel strikes Syrian military research center, US official says

By Robert Windrem, Jim Miklaszewski and Andrea Mitchell, NBC News

Israeli jets bombed a military research facility north of Damascus early Sunday, a senior official told NBC News — the second Israeli attack on targets in Syria in recent days.

Heavy explosions shook the city, and video shot by activists showed a fireball rising into the sky after Sunday’s strikes, according to Reuters.

Syrian media also reported that the target was the Jamraya military research center, which Israel hit in January, Reuters said. The center is about 10 miles from the Lebanese border.

Reuters reported that a Western intelligence source said the operation hit Iranian-supplied missiles that were en route to the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Exclusive: Syrian aid in crisis as Gulf states renege on promises

Expats take their vote home for opposition

China’s Africa ‘master plan’ debunked

Hundreds protest against China chemical plant

Bahrain’s medics politicised by crisis

May 05 2013

What We Now Know

In this Saturday’s segment of “What We Now Know,” Up host, Steve Kornacki up dates last week’s show and notes that the fight for real filibuster reform is not over. He discusses what they have learned this week with panel guests Mary C Curtis, The Washington Post; State Sen. Kelvin Atkinson (D-NV); John Amaechi, former NBA player; and Mike Pesca, NPR.

Progressives Urge Filibuster Reform Revival In Senate

by  Sabrina Siddiqui, Huffington Post

Progressive and labor groups on Thursday renewed calls for Senate leaders to reform filibuster rules that have allowed Republicans to repeatedly stonewall presidential nominees and legislation, including gun control.

Fix the Senate Now, a coalition of more than 70 progressive and labor organizations sent a letter to Senate leaders focusing on judicial vacancies. Republicans have repeatedly used filibusters to block President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees. The coalition’s letter urges Senate leaders to change rules requiring 60 votes to break a filibuster.

Jeff Merkley Escalates Push For Filibuster Reform

by Sahil Kapur, TPMDC

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) is teaming up with the liberal advocacy group Democracy For America to build public awareness of filibuster abuse and court supporters for reform.

“It’s now clear the experiment has failed. The Senate remains broken,” Merkley wrote to supporters. “Senate Republicans continue to force delays – even on bills with overwhelming public support, and even on nominees widely considered well-qualified.” [..]

Senate Democrats have the option to weaken the filibuster at any time with 51 votes, and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has repeatedly threatened to use that “nuclear option” if Republicans don’t stop blocking presidential nominees. Hardly any Democrats have publicly ruled out using that option to fix the Senate. But behind the scenes, despite anger at the GOP now, there is concern that weakening the filibuster could come back to haunt them when Republicans return to power and, for instance, seek to weaken abortion rights.

Merkley insists he’d be just as strong a supporter of his plan if he were in the minority, arguing that the point of the filibuster is to debate, not to obstruct in the dark.

Obama ‘comfortable’ with FDA’s lowered age limit for ‘Plan B’

By Michael O’Brien, Political Reporter, NBC News

President Barack Obama said that he was “comfortable” with new federal regulations making emergency contraception available to women and girls over the age of 15, but said more study was needed to see whether it was safe to allow access to the “morning after” pill for girls younger than that. [..]

On Wednesday, the FDA agreed to lower the age limit to 15 for sales of “Plan B One-Step,” and to make the emergency contraceptive available in the general aisles of stores instead of behind the pharmacy counter.

Justice Department to appeal judge’s Plan B order

By JoNel Aleccia, Senior Writer, NBC News

U.S. Department of Justice officials have filed notice that they will appeal a federal judge’s order requiring the Food and Drug Administration to make the so-called “morning after” pill available without a prescription to all women without age or certain sales restrictions.

The department also has asked the federal district court to stay its order, which was set to take effect on May 6, according to Allison Price, a spokeswoman.

The move comes a day after the FDA agreed to lower the age limit to 15 for sales of non-prescription Plan B One-Step emergency contraception and to make the drug available in the general aisles of stores with pharmacies, instead of behind the counter.

Iraq Violence Leads To Deadliest Month In 5 Years

by Eline Gordts, Huffington Post

With more than 700 people killed in just 30 days, April was the deadliest month in Iraq in five years. According to the United Nations Mission in the country, 712 Iraqis lost their lives in acts of terrorism and acts of violence in the month of April. Nearly 600 of the dead were civilians.

The string of attacks continued in the first days of May. On Friday, a bomb outside a Sunni mosque in Rashidiya killed at least seven, the Associated Press reported. In a separate incident, nine police officers and four militants were killed during clashes Thursday evening in the northern city of Mosul.

May 05 2013

Cinco de Mayo

Reprinted from 5/5/2012

The name simply means “The Fifth of May” and it’s an oddly U.S. American holiday.

Except in the State of Puebla they don’t much celebrate the victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in Mexico which makes it much more like Patriot’s Day that we here in New England get to celebrate almost every year as an extra filing day (I understand there’s also a foot race in Boston).

Interestingly enough it was a stand up fight against the banksters which they lost (those who do not remember history…).  Some people say that the French intervention was intended to establish a supply line to aid the Slave Owner’s Rebellion (or as the more charitable put it, The War of the Rebellion).

Not Congressionally recognized until 2005, celebrations started in California as early as the mid 1860s and for over 100 years were most common in Southwestern States with a large population of people of Mexican descent.  Now of course it’s just another excuse to over consume the cheap crappy Tequila and Beer that Mexico exports (don’t get me wrong, there are good Mexican Beers and Tequila but Corona, Dos Equis, and Jose Cuervo are not them) and ignore real, actual factual Mexican history because we’re so fucking exceptional that understanding and caring about the countries we border is as beneath us as even knowing which ones they are.

Just don’t mistake it for Grito de Dolores.