Daily Topics - Thursday & Friday January 28th and 29th 2010

obama imagesThe State of the Union - thoughts?

Health Action 2010 - Thom talks to progressive newsmakers as he broadcasts live from the annual Families USA Conference in Washington DC www.familiesusa.org

Plus, on Friday - "Brunch With Bernie" Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) spends the hour with Thom discussing the issues and answering listener questions www.sanders.senate.gov


Nels (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

I liked the part of the speech that I did get to listen to (about the last 1/2 hour). However, talk is cheap, lets see if this is all we get. Tired of hearing great ideas and getting the same ol' same ol'.

Side note, since I was watching on MSNBC, afterwards Oberman, Madow, and Mathews were commentating. Mathews went out of his way to point out that he forgot that the while the speech was going on he forgot that the President was African American.... I just have to say, that says more about Mathews than I wanted to know. 'Tis a pity that he still has to consider the skin tone of the a person he's listening to. I know it may be minor to most people, but it just really offended me.

Quark (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago


I had the same reaction that you did concerning Chris Matthews' comment on race. He also said, "I probably shouldn't say this, but..." and I thought at the time, no, Chris, you shouldn't. However, Chris Matthews never struck me as that enlightened.

Keith Olbermann's interview with economist James Galbraith dealt with one of my major concerns --- a change in direction for the administration to focus on the economy and jobs (though health care reform and the SCOTUS decision are close seconds, with education very important, too.) Video:


BTW, I listened to the entire hour and 20-min. (approx.) speech and found myself engaged the whole time, which surprised me.

Quark (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

Here's the entire SOTU speech for anyone interested:


D.Silva (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

I understand what Matthews meant. We are constantly reminded of the Presidents skin color especially on the FOX network. Last night President Obama was our American President not an African-American President. We would never say European-American President but that is exactly what every previous President has been. He is our President and trying lift up every American citizen not just preserve the wealth of the chosen few. I have been frustrated that we have not gotten anything done and that the President has not been leading effectively. Last night he again took the lead. Now its time for Congress to get things done.

rewinn (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

Samuel Alito = no judicial temperament.

Even a child knows to behave better at a speech.

Charles (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago


He's not used to being out in front of the cameras.

Mark K (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

The president’s nuclear and coal-powered speech kitchen sink speech was like so many points on a graph, although I’m not sure he was able to connect them all on a discernable path toward realization; he did offer the caveat that although he still wants change, he “can’t do it alone,” a subtle reminder of Senate obstructionism. When Rudolph Giuliani was pressed afterwards on CNN for the Republican “plan,” all he could mumble out was something about tort reform and national security, playing the usual fear and paranoia card. I marveled how many of Obama’s initiatives would be funded by tax credits, which have the same effect as tax cuts on the federal budget, even while he talked about record deficits.

Taxes were also the underlying issue in last week’s issue of the Seattle Weekly, where somebody named Laura Onstot wrote an article with the title “Take an Ax to It”—meaning the state-run Labor and Industries department, which oversees workers’ compensation. She calls it “a bloated, fraudulent mess,” more or less citing the business line verbatim. It is interesting to note that such issues tend to come-up every time there is an economic downturn, and businesses use recessions as an excuse to get ever more concessions—and when good times return, they are loath to give them up. Onstot employed the usual exploitive tactic of the odd anecdote, but otherwise it was pure corporate propaganda.

The article attacked the state’s workers’ compensation without actually providing any facts; if she did, she might them somewhat disturbing (to her case). Washington, in keeping with its reluctance to tax, ranks 38th in the country in the amount of premiums it charges for workers’ comp; another factoid not disclosed was that workers foot a quarter of that bill, unlike other states. And regardless of the amount, workers’ comp—and unemployment insurance— helps local businesses by keeping people who cannot work due to lay-offs or work-related injuries in consumer mode, recycling billions of dollars back into the economy. The writer also derided the “generosity” of these benefits, which included cost-of-living raises; yet why are premiums in fact relatively low compared to other states? Is it because, beyond business propaganda, there is no “bloated, fraudulent mess” of a bureaucracy? How can she explain why the system remains fundamentally sound, unlike most other states?

The Tax Foundation, meanwhile, says in its 2010 report that Washington has the 12th best business tax climate out of all states in the country. While the state has the 8th highest per capita income (somebody must be making money around here), it has the 15th lowest tax burden has a percentage of income in the country. 60 percent of Washington’s income from taxes is from sales taxes—which tends to hit the lower-income bracket much more than the higher—compared to national average of 32 percent, and the state relies on business and property taxes much less than other states. Although the official tax rate that state businesses are supposed to pay is slightly higher than the national average, in fact most businesses here find a way to pay far less. Either people and businesses don’t how good they have it here, or there are still a lot of backwater types around here (as I’ve suggested here before) who haven’t quite grasped the concept that there are other ways of doing things—and they may even be better.

Washington ranks in the upper echelon on many economic indicators that favor business, including low taxes. That is the reality. These low taxes have not come without cost to the state—the volatile nature of its revenue intake has particularly hurt education and health care funding. One suspects that taxes are just a smokescreen for the real issue: labor rights. But in any case, businesses crying wolf has had a long and sordid history, and we (and the media) should be give it all the credibility it deserves, or rather, not deserves.

Charles (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

"Government should have this clear goal: Where opportunity is absent, we must create it. Where opportunity is limited, we must expand it. Where opportunity is unequal, we must make it open to everyone."

More lefty-big-government propoganda? No. Gov McDonnell, from his Republican response to the State of the Union.

mstaggerlee (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

By and large, I thought the speech was great. President Obama essentially told the Senate Rethugs "OK - you now have your "Super-Minority" - congratulation on all that. Now there is the business of the people to attend to. Here is my plan for putting AMERICANS back to work. You SOB's can either choose to help us all out with it, or continue to play the obstructionists, and answer to the people!"

To me, that was the essence of the talk ... but talk is cheap. Let's pay careful attention to the actions follow.

Quark (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago


The saying actually is:

"The proof of the pudding is in the eating."

It doesn't make sense the other way...

DDay (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

"Keep fightin' for freedom, beloved, but don't foget to have fun doin it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was." Molly Ivins. RIP

Moi (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

Clean Coal and Nukes are Republican..... and when that $4 Billion goes into charter schools and vouchers, don't say he's not a Republican. No matter how much he slings at them.

Then again, he's going to hang with them this weekend. Maybe that's why they didn't respond....they're putting on a good game face for him.

Nels (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

I'm particularly interested in seeing if he follows through on his pseudo threat to the Dem's and does actually push them to stop running scared (loved that he called them out on that) and get things done.

Aka Michael (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

SSDD. Many of our fellow countrymen are in a bad way so what does the President do? He puts a freeze on domestic spending but does nothing with foreign aid. Doesn't charity begin at home? Many of our cititzens are homeless, jobless and now hopeless but the government is doing nothing while sending money to other countries. Isn't time to take care of own. Then when we are healthy and only then, can we can help others.

Nels (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

I also have to say that I thought it was great that he put the "Spending Freeze" off until next year.... lots could happen by then, and perhaps it will have to be put aside... wink wink nudge nudge know what I mean.

Mugsy (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

Inholf has "never seen anyone say things they KNOW aren't true with such conviction?

Mr. "Global Warming is a Myth" apparently has never looked in a mirror.

Nels (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

"Buy American" feels good to say, but Thom has really convinced me that placing and enforcing Tariffs is really the way to go. "Buy American" is a 'Putting the horse in front of the cart' solution.

Thomas Jode (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

Hey! There was a lady talking on the phone after the speech on NBC to Brain Williams, I think, and she was calling Obama a liar too.

Quark (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago


Today's Mpls. Star Tribune said that Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar had opposite conclusions regarding the lesson from the Mass. election.

I called Al's office (202-224-5641) to applaude him and called Amy's office (202-224-3244) to tell her to be brave --- the election should tell her that WE ARE HURTING OUT HERE and they need to go full speed ahead to reform health care!

Charles (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

"Obama's a liar!" That's so easy to say but not so easy to back up. Oh, I forgot he did say the debate on HCR would be televised. If that's all they've got, then they have unreasonably high standards fo honesty.

Charles (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago


He did not put the spending freeze off. This year's budget is already in the tank. They are know putting together the 2011 budget. That is why he said "that's how budgets are done."

Nels (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

You know, when I hear some of these right wing geniuses state their brilliant counter-arguments as "He's a liar, everything he said was a lie". It makes me want to really do something undemocratic like push for an intelligence test for voting, such as if you don't have at least a 90 IQ, you can't vote.

I know its wrong, please don't chastise me on it. I just get so annoyed with brainless parrots on both sides speaking loudly and saying nothing.

Quark (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

Sen. James Inhofe, Climate Change Denier (who declared that Obama was lying in his SOTU speech):

(202) 224-4721

DDay (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago


The Massachusetts vote was a protest vote. It was an angry and confused vote. No one can say it was about health care or any other one specific issue. What generalizations that can be said with some authority is that people are tired of being taken for granted. This is especially important for the Dems to hear. The other message is that business as usual will produce even more unusual election results in the future. The Repubs won that race less because of their appeal and more by default. Incumbents be fore-warned. The natives are restless and can turn on a dime. Beware! No one is safe.

D.Silva (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

Healthcare: Could we keep private insurance for health maintenance below $10k? The government would provide major medical coverage for everything over $10K. Pay for the government coverage with a tax on all imports. Insurance companies stay in business and coverage costs go down for business. Sounds good to me.

Zero G. (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

R.I.P. Howard Zinn who past away yesterday at 87.

Obama continues to push resources at the military and threatens to freeze domestic spending.

Fifth largest US embassy in the world being built in Haiti, why? 10 new military bases in Colombia?


Nels (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

Charles, I did not understand that about the budget, thank you for informing me.

The Church Lady (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

@ Nels

Careful Mister, you are skating on thin ice suggesting a voter's mean test based on IQ. It makes too much sense to be taken seriously in these times. You must think you are speeeshal!

rewinn (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

As a matter of national security, we need to build computers and cellphones that our military uses right here in the USA. If it costs a little more, we get a huge payback in the form of jobs.

Why is this such a difficult concept to grasp?

Zero G. (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

A Just Cause, Not a Just War
by Howard Zinn

Editor's note: The following essay appeared in the December issue of The Progressive in 2001, and was reposted here at CommonDreams.org shortly after, just three months following the events of September 11th. As Rudyard Kipling long ago and famously observed, you can recognize wisdom amidst crisis by locating those who 'keep their heads when all about are losing theirs.' Zinn's work is too vast and too incalculable to paraphrase or compile, but when you read his Violence Doesn't Work or Changing Obama's Mindset you easily recognize the wisdom and integrity of a man who saw beyond the hysteria of a moment. Howard Zinn, as Daniel Ellsberg has said, "was the best human being I've ever known. The best example of what a human can be, and can do with their life." We could not agree more.

A Just Cause, Not a Just War (December, 2001)

I believe two moral judgments can be made about the present "war": The September 11 attack constitutes a crime against humanity and cannot be justified, and the bombing of Afghanistan is also a crime, which cannot be justified.

And yet, voices across the political spectrum, including many on the left, have described this as a "just war." One longtime advocate of peace, Richard Falk, wrote in The Nation that this is "the first truly just war since World War II." Robert Kuttner, another consistent supporter of social justice, declared in The American Prospect that only people on the extreme left could believe this is not a just war.

I have puzzled over this. How can a war be truly just when it involves the daily killing of civilians, when it causes hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children to leave their homes to escape the bombs, when it may not find those who planned the September 11 attacks, and when it will multiply the ranks of people who are angry enough at this country to become terrorists themselves?

This war amounts to a gross violation of human rights, and it will produce the exact opposite of what is wanted: It will not end terrorism; it will proliferate terrorism.
more: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/01/28-7


Once again, Obama is continuing in the militaristic trajectory of this nation, he has not cut the military budget, he has not prosecuted torturers, nor those who willingly lied us into wars.

Change? What change?

kathi (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

Unregulated corporations are the cancer eating away at the planet in the name of profit and greed..The US government, once it is a wholey-owned subsidiary of the corporations, will exist primarily to provide the weaponry for the killer cells of that cancer.We as Americans are the only ones who can stop it. We have to realize what our tax dollars are really paying for, and we have to realize our own power in sheer numbers to put a stop to it before it is too late.

Quark (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago


I'm feeling your righteous anger at health insurance company crooks!

Quark (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago


Call Franken and Klobuchar and give THEM an earful. You're preaching to the choir with me.

Charles (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago


RE. Capping insurance at 10K.

Is that per family or individual?
What about persons earining minimum wage? That's less than 16K before taxes for a full-time worker.

I would prefer if, like income taxes, it was capped based on % of earnings.

DDay (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago


What makes you assume I haven't ? Al agrees and Amy won't listen. BTW I don't preach, I pontificate.

Charles (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

I've been watching a program on Planet Green, "Bload, Sweat & Takeaways". The program graphically displays the impact our consumerism has on the people who produce our "cheap" products.

D.Silva (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago


Just an outline... Smarter people than me can hammer out the details but the concept is sound.

I am a true liberal and would really like single payer but no way will it happen. I am looking for away to get something done. I pay $300 per month through my employer and my son needs a surgery over the summer. My co-pay for the surgery will be $1600. Something needs to be done.

Nels (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

Forgive me Church Lady, I should know better than to tread near and desire reason. I have sinned against Political Correctness, and I shall atone. I'll do my best to say something real stupid and thoughtless soon. (I probably won't have to try too hard :-) )

Quark (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago


My theory is that it is good to reinforce the legislators with whom you agree and to challenge the ones with whom you don't agree.

Charles (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago


Hear that. Recently joined the ranks of unemployed and uninsured. Can't afford $1100 a month for COBRA. Now I'm one of those crossing his fingers until I can find another job, in Ohio of all places. Even finding a job is no guarantee I'll get employer provided insurance.

The Church Lady (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

@ Nels

Church Lady is inclined to let it go this time. She has a thing for big young strapping nordic boys like she imagines you to be. Are you perchance a Lutheran? (She hopes so).

rewinn (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

Begala's argument that we are in a global market, therefore we should have no tariffs or other trade barriers, is a total non sequitur.

Living things have barriers: that's the differences between cells and slime

Zero G. (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

The dot-com bubble?

Charles (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

Even Dems can rewrite history. Or, have selective memory.

Thomas Jode (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

Same goes for everyone who actively supports our culture. That includes Repub's too.

Nels (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

I'm getting sick of this smoke and mirrors approach to trade. I'm tired of people saying we're in a global economy as justification for us shipping our manufacturing base out of country. KISS.... Keep It Simple STUPID! NAFTA, CAFTA its all crapola, its not helping us, its not helping them, its allowing the rich to enslave people in other countries (for all intents and purposes) while weakening the workers at home until we're willing to work for a $1 an hour, then week, then month. Their ideal of globalization is finding the lowest base of pay, not the fairest base of pay globally. I'm OK with workers in China making money by shipping products to America, so long as they're producing their products with the same costs we have here, fair pay, safe working conditions, environmental sound production so forth and so on.

Quark (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago


Your comments are generally very generous. I must be feeling prickly today. 'Sorry.

Charles (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago


But how would Walmart make money?

Thomas Jode (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

Your last sentence is contradictory.

Nels (not verified) 10 years 51 weeks ago

Sorry Church Lady, I'm one O' 'dem evil Irish Catholic boys. Though I am 6' tall and relatively strong. I hope you can still find it in your heart to still let it slide even in light of this. ;-)

How Much Better Off would America be If 6 Republican Presidents Hadn't Stolen The White House?

Thom plus logo It's about time the last one, Trump, is held accountable

Trump's impeachment trial is coming up in the Senate, and already his allies are trying to throw up procedural roadblocks to exhaust the effort to hold him accountable. Should America "move beyond" Trump? No friggin' way.
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to understand how to respond when they’re talking about public issues with coworkers, neighbors, and friends. This book explores some of the key perspectives behind his approach, teaching us not just how to find the facts, but to talk about what they mean in a way that people will hear."
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