'Yo Mama' Attack

When, in a discussion online or elsewhere (but usually online) a conversational opponent fails to argue the issue and resorts to personal attacks, calling names or expressing other, irrelevant nasty attitudes about the person.

This is exemplified by the (possibly apocryphal) phrase, "Yo Mama" to suggest that someones mother is a whore, even when neither she or whoring is under discussion.

Other examples include, "you're a communist", "asshole" and "you're a hypocrite.

Executing an unforced (ie, the opponent did not engage in it first) 'yo mama' attack results in a win for the recipient of the nasty accusation.

Religious Freedom. At Home.

Our society is crowded and diverse. Mere knowledge of your heretical belief in that obscene false deity *you* call 'God' is an insult to mine, the *true* God, the one who insists that It is Supreme and that all other claims are blasphemy.

You might think it's innocent to wear a cross in public. Whenever I look at it, I see evidence of deep, awful corruption. I see a person who has turned their back on God (the real One, mine) and by doing so, has denied my God's existence and insults the very streets upon which you walk that It created.

My God insists that I must convert or kill non-believers because they are dangerous. Their fake deity causes them to try to convert or kill. I might be able to resist, but my children are innocent and weak. Heretics will try to convert them, to take them away from the path of light. They might hear of the false, corrupt delights that your fake God offers, heaven or virgins or peace and believe the lies.

I know that you, heathen, feel the same way. You actually think your God is the real one but, since you are wrong, dangerously, blasphemously wrong, my God says I have to avenge Its honor and kill you.

Over your cross.

The thing is, I am right. I should, must protect God's honor. You would be, too.

So, you are a mild person. You think, live and let live. But, I am not and I have the right to religious freedom and it's absolutely *not* extreme to deny blasphemy, to fight heresy, to protect the honor of one's God. It is less common in these soft and weak-willed times. Many so-called believers are too focused on their worldly goods to do God's work but, throughout history, my view, the righteous view insisted upon by my God has held sway.

So, your cross is a provocation. My God says I have to kill you and your God. My God is the absolute ruler and so, you claim, is Yours. My God says that tolerance is blasphemous and so does Yours. That means I must kill you and your false God. No other path makes any sense at all. No other path honors my God as it should be.

It is incumbent upon civilized people to keep their Gods to themselves to keep the peace. Only by doing so can we have a peaceful society.

Oh, you're telling me I'm wrong. I can hear it in your head. "Sensible people do not believe their God insists on the death of the unrighteous. Jesus never said kill the heathen." But, of course, you're wrong on both counts, or close enough.

Sensible people *are* killing heathens as we speak. Their sense, of course, is different than yours but, they can do sums, they can read books, they can run military industrial complexes. If that's not sensible, I do not know the meaning of the word. They merely prioritize differently than you. Or that you would if you were actually devout.

Because, while there is no sign that Jesus said "kill the heathen", Jesus did not have a whole lot to do with the religion that grew up around Him. And, that religion is pretty clear about heathens. And gay people, and women who don't want to have a baby.

The Constitution actually says that the government will not "establish" a religion. It doesn't say anything about allowing religious practices or, worse, providing space for them to occur. The idea that government should not *interfere* with religion, is midrash, additional elaboration by people who think they understand more than the others. Just like those who justified the Inquisition.

A better midrash, a better interpretation, would be to consider that the establishment clause referred to the whole of society, to say that there can be no official religion and that any public expression of religion is an attempt to coerce those who believe in other things.

This would not only have been more correct according to the language of the Constitution, but it would have prevented a whole host of problems. No arguments about crosses on public land, no discussion of whether Moslems can be required to handle pork at work.

All of those questions would be answered, "Religion must not be practiced in public. It is a private thing, between you and your God and your family." You can no more impose your views about pork onto your employer than he can require you be circumcised.

When you are in public, among believers in other Gods, your God is no longer relevant. If that is unacceptable to you, stay home. You have complete religious freedom, there.

On Netanyahu's Victory

This is one of the very most difficult problems. I am a strong believer in the need for a Jewish homeland. I am a strong opponent of religious fundamentalism and intolerance. Israel is putting me in conflict about things that should never be an issue.

Among the principles that I believe is that, with their genocidal views about "the zionist entity", the Palestinians have chosen a permanently indefensible position. No one is obligated to compromise with such an idea.

But, as Israel develops, they are turning into a right-wing, fundamentalist society increasingly indefensible as well. Netanyahu finally won his election with frankly racist statements that align Isreal with similar ideas that are equally vile.

Netanyahu's election confirms an Israeli policy that is, for all practical purposes, the same as the Palestinians'. The views he enunciated, and that caused the Israeli people to give him the election, are that Palestinians have no right to a homeland and that Arab participation in Israeli elections is a foreign threat.

Palestinians claim that the Jews have no right to their own state and that the Jews should be pushed into the sea. How can Netanyahu's assertion that the Palestinians have no right to a state imply anything other than that the Palestinians should be pushed into the Jordan?

Israel has gone from being a beacon of democracy in the Middle East made brighter by the generous ethos of the Mitzvot, Tzdekah and Tikun Olam.

Today, democracy is compromised and is dimmed by having ratified the worst of the principles of fundamentalist intolerance and selfishness of it's enemies. Politically, I can see no difference.

Yet, a Jewish homeland is paramount. I now find myself trying to imagine if there is any limit to that principle. One should never have to face that question. Benjamin Natanyahu is a monster.

Obama Accomplishments

Really, you should go read this on Addicting Info so they can get their ad revenue.

However, Even their link to the original list has rotted to uselessness, so I copied this for backup purposes, here.

Enjoy. 3/15/15

What follows is a PARTIAL list of Obama’s accomplishments so far. Unlike many such lists, there is a link to a citation supporting every single one.

Legislative Prowess.

Despite the characterizations of some, Obama’s success rate in winning congressional votes on issues was an unprecedented 96.7% for his first year in office.  Though he is often cited as superior to Obama, President Lyndon Johnson’s success rate in 1965 was only 93%.   http://n.pr/i3d7cY

Fiscal Responsibility.

Within days after taking office, Obama signed an Executive Order ordering an audit of government contracts, and combating waste and abuse.   http://1.usa.gov/dUvbu5

Created the post of Chief Performance Officer, whose job it is to make operations more efficient to save the federal government money.   http://n.pr/hcgBn1

On his first full day, he froze White House salaries.  http://on.msnbc.com/ewJUIx

He appointed the first Federal Chief Information Officer to oversee federal IT spending. http://www.cio.gov

He committed to phasing out unnecessary and outdated weapons systems, and also signed the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act to stop waste, fraud and abuse in the defense procurement and contracting system.  http://bit.ly/hOw1t1     http://bit.ly/fz8GAd

Through an executive order, he created the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.  http://bit.ly/hwKhKa

Improving the Economy, Preventing Depression.

Obama pushed through and signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, otherwise known as “the stimulus package,” despite the fact that not one Republican voted for that bill. In addition, he launched recovery.gov, so that taxpayers could track spending from the Act.   http://1.usa.gov/ibiFSs   http://1.usa.gov/e3BJMk

In his first year, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act created and sustained 2.1 million jobs and stimulated the economy 3.5%.  http://reut.rs/i46CEE

Obama completed the massive TARP financial and banking rescue plan, and recovered virtually all of its costs.   http://1.usa.gov/eA5jVS   http://bit.ly/eCNrD6

He created the Making Home Affordable home refinancing plan.  http://1.usa.gov/goy6zl

Obama oversaw the creation of more jobs in 2010 alone than Bush did in eight years. http://bit.ly/hrrnjY

He oversaw a bailout of General Motors that saved at least 1.4 million jobs, and put pressure on the company to change its practices, resulting in GM returning to its place as the top car company in the world.  http://lat.ms/zIJuQx

Obama also doubled funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership which is designed to improve manufacturing efficiency.  http://bit.ly/eYD4nf

He signed the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act giving  the federal government more tools to investigate and prosecute fraud in every corner of the financial system. It also created a bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to investigate the financial fraud that led to the economic meltdown.  http://abcn.ws/g18Fe7

Obama signed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act, which was designed to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive credit card practices.  http://1.usa.gov/gIaNcS

He increased infrastructure spending after years of neglect. http://bit.ly/f77aOw

Obama signed the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, expanding on the Making Home Affordable Program to help millions of Americans avoid preventable foreclosures. The bill also provided $2.2 billion to help combat homelessness, and to stabilize the housing market.  http://bit.ly/eEpLFn

Through the Worker, Home Ownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009, Obama and Congressional Democrats provided tax credits to first-time home buyers, which helped the U.S. housing market recovery.   http://bit.ly/dZgXXw   http://bit.ly/gORYfL

He initiated a $15 billion plan designed to encourage increased lending to small businesses.

Obama created business.gov, which allows for online collaboration between small businesses and experts re managing a business. (The program has since merged with SBA.gov.)   http://www.business.gov

He played a lead role in getting the G-20 Summit to commit to a $1.1 trillion deal to combat the global financial crisis.   http://nyti.ms/gHlgp5

Obama took steps to improve minority access to capital. http://bit.ly/f9xVE7

He created a $60 billion bank to fund infrastructure improvements such as roads and bridges. http://bit.ly/e1SSaQ

He implemented an auto industry rescue plan, and saved as many as 1 million jobs.  http://bit.ly/ibhpxr   Many are of the opinion that he saved the entire auto industry, and even the economy of the entire Midwest. http://bit.ly/gj7mt5

Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Obama saved at least 300,000 education jobs, such as teachers, principals, librarians, and counselors that would have otherwise been lost.   http://1.usa.gov/ez30Dc

Obama dismantled the Minerals Management Service, thereby moving forward to cut ties between energy companies and the government. http://nyti.ms/bw1MLu

He provided funding to states and the Department of Homeland Security to save thousands of police and firefighter jobs from being cut during the recession.  http://bit.ly/g0IKWR

He used recovered TARP money to fund programs at local housing finance agencies in California, Florida, Nevada, Arizona and Michigan.   http://on.msnbc.com/i1i8eV

Obama crafted an Executive order establishing the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability to assist in financial education for all Americans. http://bit.ly/eyqsNE

Wall Street Reforms and Consumer Protection.

Obama ordered 65 executives who took bailout money to cut their own pay until they paid back all bailout money.  http://huff.to/eAi9Qq

He pushed through and got passed Dodd-Frank, one of the largest and most comprehensive Wall Street reforms since the Great Depression.  http://bit.ly/hWCPg0   http://bit.ly/geHpcD

Dodd-Frank also included the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau http://1.usa.gov/j5onG

Obama made it so that banks could no longer use YOUR money to invest in high-risk financial instruments that work against their own customers’ interests.  http://bit.ly/fnTayj

He supported the concept of allowing stockholders to vote on executive compensation. http://bit.ly/fnTayj

Obama wholly endorsed and supported the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act of 2009 that would close offshore tax avoidance loopholes.  http://bit.ly/esOdfB    http://bit.ly/eG4DPM

He made a deal with Swiss banks that permits the US government to gain access to the records of criminals and  tax evaders.  http://bit.ly/htfDgw

He established a Consumer Protection Financial Bureau designed to protect consumers from financial sector excesses.  http://bit.ly/fnTayj

Obama oversaw and then signed the most sweeping food safety legislation since the Great Depression.  http://thedc.com/gxkCtP 

Civil Rights and Anti-Discrimination.

Obama advocated for and signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which made it a federal crime to assault anyone based on his or her sexual orientation or gender identity. http://bit.ly/gsMSJ7

He pushed through, signed and demanded the Pentagon enact a repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy that forced soldiers to lie to fight for their country, and put our troops at risk by disqualifying many qualified soldiers from helping.  http://bit.ly/fdahuH http://bit.ly/mZV4Pz

Obama appointed Kareem Dale as the first ever Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy.  http://1.usa.gov/fi5IY0

Helped Congress pass and signed the Civil Rights History Act. http://bit.ly/th0JC8

He extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.  http://1.usa.gov/g2RLCj

Obama has appointed more openly gay officials than anyone in history.  http://bit.ly/g1lA7D

He issued a Presidential Memorandum reaffirming the rights of gay couples to make medical decisions for each other. http://1.usa.gov/aUueGT

He established a White House Council on Women and Girls  http://1.usa.gov/rFfqMM

He signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, restoring basic protections against pay discrimination for women and other workers. This was after the GOP blocked the bill in 2007. Only 5 Republican Senators voted for the bill.   http://bit.ly/fT3Cxg

Obama wrote and signed an Executive Order establishing a White House Council on Women and Girls to ensure that all Cabinet and Cabinet-level agencies evaluate the effect of their policies and programs on women and families.    http://bit.ly/e1puTk

He expanded funding for the Violence Against Women Act. http://1.usa.gov/dSbI0x

Under Obama’s watch, National Labor Relations Board has issued final rules that require all employers to prominently post employees’ rights where all employees or prospective employees can see it, including websites and intranets, beginning November 2011.  http://1.usa.gov/qu2EhQ

Fighting Poverty.

Obama provided  a $20 billion increase for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps). http://nyti.ms/gfLqyM

He signed an Executive Order that established the White House Office of Urban Affairs.  http://wapo.st/eWECA8

Improved Foreign Relations and American Status Abroad.

Obama visited more countries and met with more world leaders than any previous president during his first six months in office.   http://bit.ly/hZycda

As he promised, he gave a speech at a major Islamic forum in Cairo early in his administration. http://nyti.ms/dKvY4g 

He did much to restore America’s reputation around the world as a global leader that does the “right thing” in world affairs, at least according to the rest of the planet.   http://bit.ly/h743y7  http://bit.ly/ho4TCr

He re-established and reinforced our partnership with NATO and other allies on strategic international issues.  http://1.usa.gov/e7QuDj

Closed a number of secret detention facilities. http://nyti.ms/rpUc9l

Obama improved relations with Middle East countries by appointing special envoys. http://1.usa.gov/tiGAGe

He pushed for military to emphasize development of foreign language skills. http://bit.ly/AxUCLV

Offered $400 million to the people living in Gaza, called on both Israel and the Palestinians to stop inciting violence. http://bit.ly/9axfWh

He refused to give Israel the green light to attack Iran over their possible nuclear program. http://bit.ly/xVmSZK

He worked to make donations to Haiti tax-deductible in 2009.  http://huff.to/6YkAVY

He established a new U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.   http://1.usa.gov/eX28DP

Issued Executive Order blocking interference and helping to stabilize Somalia.  http://1.usa.gov/hxdf8U

He established new, more reasonable policies in our relations with Cuba, such as allowing Cuban-Americans to visit their families and send money to support them.  http://n.pr/hY3Kwa   http://nyti.ms/emQBde

He ordered the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay. It was Republicans (and a smattering of Democrats) who prevented him from following through.  http://bit.ly/eW6CVF

Obama ordered a review of our detention and interrogation policy, and prohibited the use of torture, or what Bush called “enhanced interrogation.” He ordered interrogators to limit their actions to the Army Field manual.  http://bit.ly/g6MTuC

He ordered all secret detention facilities in Eastern Europe and elsewhere to be closed.  http://bbc.in/h6N9ax

He released the Bush torture memos.  http://bit.ly/hWJ5z0

On his second day in office, he signed a detailed Executive Order that banned torture, reversed all  Bush torture policies, and put the United States in compliance with the Geneva Convention.  http://1.usa.gov/dL6Zve    http://nyti.ms/hzWWys

In response to the emerging “Arab Spring,” he created a Rapid Response fund, to assist emerging democracies with foreign aid, debt relief, technical assistance and investment packages in order to show that the United States stands with them. http://bit.ly/zfmGv9

Passed the Iran Sanctions Act, to prevent war, and to encourage Iran to give up their nuclear program. http://1.usa.gov/wLtNjb

Ended the Iraq War. http://tgr.ph/ru0tyS

He authorized and oversaw a secret mission by SEAL Team Six to rescue two hostages held by Somali pirates. http://bit.ly/y8c9Fz

Better Approach to “Defense.”

Obama created a comprehensive new strategy for dealing with the international nuclear threat.  http://1.usa.gov/gDX1nE

He authorized a $1.4 billion reduction in Star Wars program in 2010. http://1.usa.gov/gLFZl2

He restarted nuclear nonproliferation talks and built up the nuclear inspection infrastructure/protocols to where they had been before Bush.   http://lat.ms/gkcl3i

He signed and pushed to ratification a new SALT Treaty.  http://bit.ly/f3JVtw

Negotiated and signed a new START Treaty that will last until at least 2021.  http://1.usa.gov/cI1bC4

Through the Defense Authorization Act, he reversed the Bush Administration and committed to no permanent military bases in Iraq.   http://bit.ly/hk73OJ

He developed the first comprehensive strategy with regard to Afghanistan and Pakistan designed to facilitate the defeat of al Qaeda and the withdrawal of most troops, as well as the rebuilding of Afghanistan. http://wapo.st/ee4Xcs

He returned our focus to Afghanistan, stabilized the country, and began the process of withdrawing our troops. http://bit.ly/lNXUna

Fulfilled campaign promise and ended our involvement in Iraq, and will complete full troop withdrawal before Christmas 2011. http://onforb.es/nTUk4Z

He took steps to severely weaken al Qaeda and limited their ability to terrorize the world.  http://yhoo.it/n5lXs6

He negotiated and signed a nuclear nonproliferation treaty with India. http://1.usa.gov/aHp0Cn

He took decisive action to use NATO to limit the slaughter of innocents in Libya, so that the Libyan people could topple a despotic government and determine their own fate.  http://aje.me/qAh4Sj

Treating  Soldiers and Veterans with Respect

He made sure that families of fallen soldiers could be on hand when the body arrives at Dover AFB, by providing funding for it.  He also ended the media blackout on coverage of the return of fallen soldiers.http://nyti.ms/glqN66   http://bbc.in/gWSSkA

He funded Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with an extra $1.4 billion to improve veterans’ services. http://1.usa.gov/huhqfo

He provided the troops with better body armor.  http://bit.ly/hzSv2h

Created the Joint Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record program for military personnel, in order  to improve the quality of their medical care.  http://1.usa.gov/f4yaxW

He put an end to the Bush-era stop-loss policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan beyond their enlistment date. (personal note: my son will be in harm’s way for six fewer months with Obama as president, so you know I love this one). http://nyti.ms/e2YQ7Q

He supported and signed the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act, which made more money available to enable better medical care for veterans.  http://1.usa.gov/fN4ur1

He ushered through the largest spending increase in 30 years for the Department of Veterans Affairs for improved medical facilities, and to assist states in acquiring or constructing state nursing homes and extended care facilities.     http://1.usa.gov/gY8O3x

He created the Green Vet Initiative, which provided special funding to the Labor Department to provide veterans with training in green jobs.  http://bit.ly/epwUQY

He oversaw a $4.6 billion expansion of the Veterans Administration budget to pay for more mental health professionals.  http://bit.ly/gjzTxX


He has repeatedly increased funding for student financial aid, and at the same time cut the banks completely out of the process.   http://bit.ly/gYWd30   http://bit.ly/e9c7Dr   http://bit.ly/eEzTNq

Completely reformed the student loan program, to make it possible for students to refinance at a lower rate.   http://nyti.ms/dMvHOt

Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act , he invested heavily in elementary, secondary and post-secondary education.   http://1.usa.gov/gGRIAr   This includes a major expansion of broadband availability in K-12 schools nationwide   http://bit.ly/fNDcj3 , as well as an expansion in school construction.  http://bit.ly/fYwNrV

Also through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he put $5 billion into early education, including Head Start. http://1.usa.gov/tzT2Rr

Signed the Post-9/11 GI Bill, also known as GI Bill 2.0 http://bit.ly/hPhG7J 

He oversaw expansion of the Pell Grants program, to expand opportunity for low-income students to go to college.  http://bit.ly/hI6tXz

He passed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which provided an extra $12.2 billion in funds.  http://1.usa.gov/dQvtUe 

Greater Transparency and Better Government.

He signed an order banning gifts from lobbyists to anyone in the Executive Branch. http://bit.ly/fsBACN

He signed an order banning anyone from working in an agency they had lobbied in previous years. He also put strict limits on lobbyists’ access to the White House.   http://nyti.ms/gOrznV

He held the first-ever first online town hall from the White House, and took questions from the public. http://bit.ly/gVNSgX

The Obama White House became the first to stream every White House event, live. http://1.usa.gov/kAgOP5

He established a central portal for Americans to find service opportunities.  http://www.serve.gov

He provided the first voluntary disclosure of the White House Visitors Log in history. http://1.usa.gov/hQ7ttV

He crafted an Executive Order on Presidential Records, which restored the 30-day time frame for former presidents to review records, and eliminated the right for the vice president or family members of former presidents to do the reviews. This will provide the public with greater access to historic  White House documents, and severely curtails the ability to use executive privilege to shield them.

He improved aspects of the Freedom of Information Act, and issued new guidelines to make FOIA more open and transparent in the processing of FOIA requests.   http://1.usa.gov/gjrnp2

National Safety and Security.

He’s restored federal agencies such as FEMA to the point that they have been able to manage a huge number of natural  disasters successfully.   http://bit.ly/h8Xj7z

Authorized Navy SEALS to successfully secure the release of a US captain held by Somali pirates and increased patrols off the Somali coast. http://nyti.ms/efBO7B

Has repeatedly beefed up border security http://bit.ly/mMYB4i

Ordered and oversaw the Navy SEALS operation that killed Osama bin Laden. http://bit.ly/jChpgw

Science, Technology and Health Care.

He created a Presidential Memorandum to restore scientific integrity in government decision-making.

Opened up the process for fast-tracking patent approval for green energy projects.  http://bit.ly/j0KV2U

He eliminated the Bush-era restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. He also provided increased federal support for biomedical and stem cell research.   http://bit.ly/h36SSO    http://ti.me/edezge

Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he committed more federal funding, about $18 billion, to support non-defense science and research labs.  http://nyti.ms/fTs9t7

He signed the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act, the first comprehensive attempt to improve the lives of Americans living with paralysis.  http://bit.ly/fOi2rb

He expanded the Nurse-Family Partnership program, which provides home visits by trained registered nurses to low-income expectant mothers and their families, to cover more first-time mothers. http://bit.ly/jRRRJc

His EPA reversed research ethics standards which allowed humans to be used as “guinea pigs” in tests of the effects of chemicals, to comply with numerous codes of medical ethics.  http://bit.ly/bKgqdS

Conducted a cyberspace policy review.   http://1.usa.gov/gmbdvC

Provided financial support for private sector space programs. http://bit.ly/fn8ucr

He oversaw enhanced earth mapping, to provide valuable data for agricultural, educational, scientific, and government use.   http://bit.ly/dNTRyP

He ushered through a bill that authorized the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products.  http://on.msnbc.com/fiKViB As a result,  the FDA has Ordered Tobacco Companies to Disclose Cigarette Ingredients and banned sale of cigarettes falsely labeled as “light.”

Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he provided $500 million for Health Professions Training Programs.  http://bit.ly/ecQSgA

He also increased funding for community-based prevention programs.  http://bit.ly/frMPG3

He oversaw a 50% decrease in cost of prescription drugs for seniors. http://bit.ly/e5b1iq    http://1.usa.gov/fVNkt9

He eliminated the Bush-era practice of forbidding Medicare from negotiating with drug companies on price. http://bit.ly/fOkG5b

Two weeks after taking office, he signed the Children’s Health Insurance Re-authorization Act, which increased the number of children covered by health insurance by 4 million.   http://bit.ly/fDEzGv

He held a quick press conference, and urged Congress to investigate Anthem Blue Cross for raising premiums 39% without explanation. Rep. Waxman responded by launching a probe, and Anthem Blue Cross put the increase on hold for two months.    http://yhoo.it/e8Tj9C

Ushered through and signed the Affordable Health Care Act, which expanded health insurance coverage to 30 million more people,  and ended many common insurance company practices that are often detrimental  to those with coverage.  He also established  http://www.healthcare.gov/

Through the Affordable Health Care Act, he allowed children to be covered under their parents’ policy until they turned 26.  http://nyti.ms/fNB26V

Through the Affordable Health Care Act, he provided tax breaks to allow 3.5 million small business to provide health insurance to their employees, and 29 million people will receive tax breaks to help them afford health insurance.  http://nyti.ms/fNB26V

Through the Affordable Health Care Act, he expanded Medicaid to those making up to 133% of the federal poverty level. http://nyti.ms/ekMWpo

Through the Affordable Health Care Act, health insurance companies now have to disclose how much of your premium actually goes to pay for patient care.  http://nyti.ms/fNB26V

Provisions in Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act have already resulted in Medicare costs actually declining slightly this fiscal year, for the first time in many years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Last year’s increase was 4%. Compare that to the average 12% annual inflation rate during the previous 40 years. http://1.usa.gov/oMxpTh

Strengthening the Middle Class and Families

Obama worked to provide affordable, high-quality child care to working families.   http://bit.ly/fNfidS

He cracked down on companies that were previously denying sick pay, vacation and health insurance, and Social Security and Medicare tax payments through abuse of the employee classification of independent contractor.   http://nyti.ms/fOGLcj

Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act , he cut taxes for 95% of America’s working families.   http://bit.ly/eSEI4F

Under Obama, tax rates for average working families are the lowest they’ve been since 1950.  http://bit.ly/f74pD8

He extended and fully funded the patch for the Alternative Minimum Tax for 10 years. http://bit.ly/eFeSdP

He extended discounted COBRA health coverage for the unemployed from 9 months to 15 months, and he’s extended unemployment benefits several times.  http://aol.it/evtVxD   http://nyti.ms/emrqKJ    http://bit.ly/hOtIpg    http://bit.ly/fTT7kz

Environment and Energy.

He fast-tracked regulations to allow states to enact federal fuel efficiency standards that were above federal standards.    http://nyti.ms/e8e94x

He fast-tracked increased fuel economy standards for vehicles beginning with the 2011 model year. It was the first time such standards had been increased in a decade.   http://politi.co/hiaPKM

He oversaw the establishment of an Energy Partnership for the Americas, which creates more markets for American-made biofuels and green energy technologies. http://bit.ly/lZp73y

His EPA reversed a Bush-era decision to allow the largest mountaintop removal project in US history.  http://bit.ly/lP3yEL

He ordered the Department of Energy to implement more aggressive efficiency standards for common household appliances.    http://1.usa.gov/g3MTbu

He ordered energy plants to prepare to produce at least 15% of all energy through renewable resources like wind and solar, by 2021. http://reut.rs/fV155p  (As you can see, Republicans are trying hard to kill it.)

He oversaw the creation of an initiative that converts old factories and manufacturing centers into new clean technology centers. http://bit.ly/mjnq2R

Obama bypassed Republican opposition in Congress and ordered EPA to begin regulating and measuring carbon emissions.   http://bit.ly/froaP5

His EPA ruled that CO2 is a pollutant. http://bit.ly/iQTSNN

He doubled federal spending on clean energy research. http://bit.ly/iN0sCE

He pushed through a tax credit to help people buy plug-in hybrid cars. http://bit.ly/j8UP5Y

He created a program to develop renewable energy projects on the waters of our Outer Continental Shelf that will produce electricity from wind, wave, and ocean currents.   http://1.usa.gov/fgfRWq

Obama  reengaged in the climate change and greenhouse gas emissions agreements talks, and even proposed one himself. He also addressed the U.N. Climate Change Conference, officially reversing the Bush-era stance that climate change was a “hoax.”  http://bit.ly/dX6Vj3  http://bit.ly/fE2PxK  http://nyti.ms/hfeqvv

He fully supported the initial phase of the creation of a legally binding treaty to reduce mercury emissions worldwide.  http://bit.ly/eJ6QOO

He required states to provide incentives to utilities to reduce their energy consumption. http://bit.ly/lBhk7P

Following Bush’s eight year reign, he reengaged in a number of treaties and agreements designed to protect the Antarctic.  http://bit.ly/fzQUFO

Created tax write-offs for purchases of hybrid automobiles, and later he and Democrats morphed that program into one that includes electric cars.   http://bit.ly/glCukV

Mandated that federal government fleet purchases be for fuel-efficient American vehicles, and encouraged that federal agencies support experimental, fuel-efficient vehicles.   http://bit.ly/h5KZqy  http://1.usa.gov/fLWq5c    http://1.usa.gov/hmUSbk

Obama oversaw and pushed through an amendment to the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 authorizing advances from Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. http://1.usa.gov/yTRYVo

He also actively tried to amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to eliminate the liability limits for those companies responsible for large oil spills. http://nyti.ms/bxjDi3

He initiated Criminal and Civil inquiries into the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. http://nyti.ms/bVuB7a

Through Obama’s EPA, he asserted federal legal supremacy, and barred Texas from authorizing new refinery permits on its own. http://bit.ly/ww8eMd

He strengthened the Endangered Species Act.  http://bit.ly/hscjsH

His EPA improved boiler safety standards to improve air quality, and save 6500 lives per year.  http://bit.ly/jYH7nt

Through the EPA, he took steps to severely limit the use of antibiotics in livestock feed, to increase their efficacy in humans. http://bit.ly/fBuWd2

Obama increased funding for National Parks and Forests by 10%  http://bit.ly/fbJPjY

He announced greatly improved commercial fuel efficiency standards. http://1.usa.gov/oQiC1K

He announced the development of a huge increase in average fuel economy standards from 27.5mpg to 35.5mpg starting in 2016 and 54.5 starting in 2025   http://1.usa.gov/qtghsW

Other Stuff.

Obama has expanded trade agreements to include stricter labor and environmental agreements such as NAFTA.  http://bit.ly/etznpY

He oversaw funding of  the design of a new Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History, which is scheduled to open on the National Mall in 2015.  He protected the funding during the recent budget negotiations.   http://on.fb.me/fD0EVO    http://bit.ly/ff5Luv

Oversaw and passed increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. http://bit.ly/dFb8qF

Obama  nominated Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Sotomayor is the first Hispanic Justice in the court’s history, and the women represent only the third and fourth women to serve on the court, out of a total of 112 justices.   http://huff.to/eOChg6  http://bit.ly/i02wgP

He appointed the most diverse Cabinet in history, including more women than any other incoming president.   http://bit.ly/dX6vNB

He eliminated federal funding for abstinence-only education, and  he rescinded the global gag rule.  http://bit.ly/eCFAI1  http://bit.ly/f92drF

Obama loosened the rules and allowed the 14 states that legalized medical marijuana to regulate themselves without federal interference.   http://huff.to/eQfa7j

His FDA banned the use of antibiotics in livestock production. http://bit.ly/jUjLzo

Obama ushered through and signed national service legislation, increasing funding for national service groups, including triple the size of the Americorps program.   http://bit.ly/idgQH5

Republished with permission from PleaseCutTheCrap.typepad.com

Read the original article at http://pleasecutthecrap.typepad.com/main/what-has-obama-done-since-january-20-2009.html

Other AI posts on President Barack Obama’s many achievements.

The right to take money from rich people

I start by observing that the natural order of things is that each person cringes in a cave, waiting for starvation or an animal to kill him. I progress to the tribe, where the biggest, toughest bastard pounds your skull in if you don't do what he says or give him what he wants. In no natural setting is there anything like a 'right'.

The idea of a 'right' is a construction of society. At some point, the biggest, toughest bastard looked up and thought, "if I don't leave this guy some food, he's going to die and I'll have to do all the work myself." There was no 'right' to food. It was in the best interest of that chieftain to let him keep some.

As societies got more complicated, we figured out that it was really useful to let the lowlifes have 'ownership' of some stuff (I add apostrophes to 'ownership' because I think it was an illusion; the king could, and often did, come along and change the ownership to back himself). Turns out that having the continuity of 'ownership' allowed the worker to do some planning, including rearing more little workers. Kings like that.

All along, there was 'right' to ownership. It's a thing that some leader decided was a good idea and that it served his purposes. I know it's extreme but it is literally true that nobody ever gave one minute's thought to the idea of 'right' until, with some quibbles, the industrial era and the French Revolution.

At that point, the workers realized they outnumbered the kings. They realized that they were being screwed and so they invented 'rights'. The first right was the right be be killed if you were a rich asshole who said, "let them eat cake" (though I know that's actually fiction). What's true is that, in response to an idea of ownership that left most people poor, the workers killed everybody. In droves.

The cool thing about that is that they actually did define rights (no more permanent, really, than the right defined by kings, but a little more durable because they support the interests of many people) and acted on them. They encoded notions of property and obligation. (And that includes a thirty five hour work week, highly progressive taxation, and a whole lot of stuff rich people hate.) The reason that I come to this point is to make clear. Rights don't have anything to do with nature or morality or any external constant. Rights are things that are granted by the powerful to the weaker.

The genius of democracy is that it says, "We don't care if you a big, tough badass. Power resides in broad social agreement. The most brutal no longer gets to decide what's right. The populace does." Put another way, whoever could put together an army or a police force, defines the rights.

People with money and property tend to think that it is sacrosanct. That, ownership is a fundamental aspect of nature. Even cave people 'owned' their cave. Except that's not exactly right. They only kept their cave as long as the chief said they did. Since the French revolution, the decision is made by the populace with no more intrinsic restraint than a chieftain or king.

Choosing not to take money and property away from people in the country is actually a mere tradeoff of priorities. People want to conceive this as a moral issue where 'taking' is obviously wrong, but that is a fabrication of the modern age. The closest thing we have to positions based on some external moral principle are of the human species, followed by preservation of one's own society, followed by preservation of human life. After that, the competing moral positions are so varied that it's not worth discussing.

Are rich people right when they say they "earned it" so they deserve to keep it? Only if they are the only people voting. In many ways, we are all tenant farmers, working the land owned by the body politic. As with the real tenant farmers of yesteryear, they get to keep exactly what the landlord allows. If that's nothing, they have the right to go find someplace else – unless the chieftain, king or voters say you can't.

The Establishment Has Done It's Job

"Hands Up. Don't Shoot" remains the iconic phrase in this time as we realize that the police are violent enemies of justice. But now we watch the "liberal media" join the rest in pushing Ferguson down the memory hole. What was obvious before is now in question because, well, because we know that the situation was much worse than we realized. Doesn't that call everything into question?

The iconic phrase is now put to a "test". Really, now that Wilson has not been indicted on racism, wasn't this thing overblown?  Since Wilson has been proven not to be racist, don't you think that we should reconsider the other details. You need to be sure your slogans are accurate. We need to be fair to the police. And why don't we talk about whether Brown's hands were up. Maybe the report says they weren't, didn't it? Don't remember how this paragraph started? Can't put your finger on the exact issue any more? Then, as we would have said in my day, the establishment has done it's job.

To be clear: The report failed to indict Wilson of federal violations. That means that they did not feel they could prove crimes with the evidence available. It did not exonerate him. The only advance this report shows over the grand jury in Ferguson is that I believe that they would have indicted him if they could.

It remains true that Darren Wilson shot and killed an innocent man on the streets. One who many perceived to be surrendering and who was far away from him at the time. It remains true that the grand jury in Ferguson was run by a corrupt prosecutor who guided them away from indictment.

It is certainly possible that Darren Wilson did not kill Michael Brown simply because he was black. It is absolutely true that Darren Wilson worked for and participated in a job where racist acts were committed daily. This wasn't a place with a few racists. He was an active, and deadly, part of a department that systematically abused black people.

You can be 100% certain that, were I to find myself working in a place that *ever* said things quoted in the report, *ever* targeted and abused people, especially by race, that there would be hell to pay. I would have been fired in a short time because I would no more tolerate that than allow them to dip me in shit every morning.

That's because I am not a racist. Darren Wilson is.



Considering history...

My Dad was a designer. I worked for him during the transition into phototypesetting. Back then, when you wanted a logotype, you hired a lettering designer. The main one we used back then was named Charlie.

I worked in the printing industry starting in '78. I was involved in a grand argument between technology and companies with computer typesetting products over the transition from raster type fonts to, as we called them then, outline type fonts. Obviously, outlines, mathematically based fonts won.

That was mainly because of Postscript. I had a Postscript interpreter than ran on a minicomputer in about '84/5, before the Laserwriter made Postscript a household name for graphic designers.

Because of that, I knew John Warnock and Chuck Geschke, the inventors of Postscript. Hanging with Warnock in his office one day, he gets all excited as he remembers to show me the thing he's been working on. It was the beginning of Adobe Illustrator.

In'93, I was a technica sales specialist for Scitex, a leader in computer systems for the graphic arts. I got to be directly involved in the transition from minicomputer-based production systems for the graphic arts to Macintosh-based ones.

Those Macintosh based ones were effective because of the Laserwriter, outline fonts and Postscript. Round and round it goes.

No point to be made, but it's fun to look back.

Let Them Go

This is chilling and pretty much exposes the ethical reality of the Daesh cutthroats. At the end of the day, it's all about young pussy.

"As the radicals see it, “a 15-year-old makes a good wife,” he said. “A 14-year-old male is less useful as a combatant.”"

That said, I don't really understand the uproar. This is not some pedophile snatching the girls from a mall. They had enough adult agency to get airplane tickets, passports and a taxi to the airport.

"Had the security services really been concerned about Aqsa Mahmood’s welfare, they would have moved heaven and earth to get her back in November 2013"

I don't see why anyone outside their families (for whom I have deep, deep sympathy) would move heaven or earth to stop them. They are people with bad motivations who are no longer hanging around the neighborhood. That's a good thing.

(I know, they were lovely, well-liked, well-motivated, blah, blah -- they left their families and broke their parents' hearts to support terrorists. They are bad people, end of story.)

To me, it seems that instead of preventing people from going, we should focus our efforts on preventing them from coming back. Welcoming back a fully effective terrorist is a danger to our society, not losing a few thousand assholes.

Let's use the Middle East as a dumping ground for psychopath girls who want to play house with terrorists, and for psychopath boys to go and play with guns. Just don't let them back.


Fifty Shades of WTF?

It is fascinating to try to figure out what's happening in the zeitgeist that causes us to have a national interest in bondage.

I start to think that people who really do bondage must be making up for a weak father, either trying to be like him and dominate or wanting him to have been more protective and in control. But, the only person I have known who actually did bondage had a perfectly good father.

I can understand a general interest in a new sexual practice. Maybe that's it. People are simply bored by the old in-and-out and this book finally came along with something new. But, everybody watches porn, so everybody has run into some bondage stuff on the internet. Maybe this movie provides a pretext.

It's worth note that that we had a national opportunity to endorse bondage in the nineties. Ronald Reagan's estranged daughter, Patti Davis, wrote a book in 1994 called Bondage. It was a best-seller. A more literary take on the topic, it was pretty good and, if whatever was in our current zeitgeist had happened back then, we could already be twenty years into America's bondage era.

You have to wonder how many women are going to get tied up and blindfolded for Valentines Day. It's kind of weird to think. Look in any direction this weekend, if the houses were transparent, you'd probably see a woman getting spanked - in the name of loooove.