Thursday, June 6, 2013

Vice President Biden Eulogizes The Late Senator Frank Lautenberg

Personal note: In late April I had a PET scan which gave me some sad news - that my cancer has spread. Back in January, my doctors had told me that the brachytherapy radiation treatment I had earlier this year had most likely conquered my cancer (which had been localized in my uterus up until that point). Unfortunately, instead of conquering it, the treatment caused the cancer to metastasize to my liver, my spine, and numerous lymph nodes. Now I am undergoing chemotherapy again. I've been dreadfully sick over the past few weeks and haven't been able to post much to this blog. I have a few more treatments and then I will have another PET scan to see if the chemo is working. If my pain and sickness levels are any indicators, then hopefully the chemo is working well.

Anyhow, I thought it would be fitting to post this clip from Joe Biden's beautiful and poignant eulogy to Senator Frank Lautenberg, the New Jersey Democrat who died of complications from pneumonia and who fought ferociously for passenger rail:

...and this tweet from Amtrak:

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Just the Facts, Ma'am...

Stephen Colbert examines PolitiFact's fact-checking of Chris Christie's "Scoobygate" claim to being a Scooby-Doo fan when he was four:

While on the subject of fact-checking, Stephen brings to our attention a significant spreadsheet error in Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff's 2010 austerity debt study:

Finally, an interview with Thomas Herndon, the University of Mass Grad Student who debunked the Reinhart and Rogoff results in his academic paper: "Growth in a Time of Debt."

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ugh! Malkin the Mocker

Michelle Malkin (a conservative blogger) attempts to parody Michelle Obama’s dancing (with Jimmy Fallon), but actually Malkin is just showing her mean and ugly personality--and she can't even dance. On top of that, her ‘Finger of Blame’ move is much more characteristic of the typical republican. Just look at common nicknames they use every day: ObamaCare (as if it was a bad thing), the ObamaQuester (as if the sequester was his fault--actually, the republican majority of congress passed it), the ‘Diggie’ (referring to Obama’s “spending sinkhole,” when it was Bush’s wars that plummeted us into that hole). Malkin’s mockery is repulsive, immature and insulting…but very typical of a right-wing blowhard.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Memorable Moments

In his GOP rebuttal to President Obama's SOTU, Marco Rubio didn't have any new ideas to offer, just criticism. But what his response will mostly be remembered for is this slippery slurp:

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Republicans Continue To Remake Their Image...
Evidently They Want to be the New Democrats

From MSNBC's Thomas Roberts:

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>> Want to bring in our Wednesday morning political power panel. We have Joanne Reid, Doug Thornell, republican strategist Hogan. The democratic strategy session that's going on, the immigration, the gun control, the electoral changes that are going to take place; but it was really interesting yesterday, as we saw with Eric Cantor coming out, rebranding or wanting to rebrand the republican party and where they're starting. It seems as if this message is one that we've heard before but from a different person. Take a look.

>> Well, it starts by making sure that everyone in america gets a fair shot at success.

>> Our goal is to ensure that every American has a fair shot to earn success.

>> That's why immigrants from around the world historically have flocked to our shores.

>> That hope led generations of immigrants to risk everything to endure a tough journey to come to our shores.

>> We should be giving people the chance to get new skills and training.

>> As job markets are changing, more skills and training are needed.

>> So the rebranding is about going to pre-election speeches and drafting those as your own now post-election for Eric Cantor?

>> It's amazing, because "fair shot" has been such a signature phrase for Barack Obama. He's been using it for over a year. So it really was striking to hear Eric Cantor literally lifting lines from Barack Obama. I guess what the republican party has decided is Barack Obama is popular so they need to sound more like him. That doesn't mean they're going to change their underlying policy but they sure do want to sound like the guy who's more popular.

>> There has been a lot of pushback from the conservative entertainment complex, one being Rush Limbaugh. I want to hear what he had to say after Eric Cantor's speech.

>> There isn't any resistance to Obama anywhere. and it's going to get worse. even from this point. it is because of who Obama is and what his policies are and the perception that the american people massively support it all. and that's... Cantor is saying we're going to have to do a better job of explaining who we are. we need to do a better job of explaining why we're doing what we're doing. that's -- i think -- well, that epitomizes how lost they all feel. and right now, folks, there is no fight.

>> So Hogan, they have been labeled -- the right, that is, as the party of no. If Eric Cantor is re-articulating the position, is it basically just saying going from no, to nooo -- just to slow it down? because Ed Schultz was saying that Eric Cantor has a new tube of lipstick but it's the same old pig.

Refining the GOP Message

...and the masters of GOP messaging are Ferret News and Frank Luntz!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Choices in Education... and Free WiFi for All! :-)

Update: I referred to "free WiFi for all" based on what I read in this Washington Post article. But here's a link to an updated WP article by Cecilia Kang which clarifies five things about the public WiFi.

Choices. Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em, right John? Lol. (just kidding)

Changes--such as allowing home-schoolers to participate in school leagues--should be embraced. Changing the system to allow MORE choices for home-schoolers (and online e-learners, etc.) is a good thing and will benefit communities overall.

Brick and mortar schools, as we know them, may become obsolete within the next 20 years & then the argument will become irrelevant anyhow. Check out the future. And here's a direct link to the Khan Academy website.

As online education & home schools become more common, traditional schools will be wise to welcome the notion of offering a ‘buffet’ of choices for each and every k-12 student who wants to participate in ANY public school activity. Public schools need to be 'big tent' institutions and attract diverse students, part-time students, remote students, and yes, even home-school students who just want the extracurricular activities.

Remote learning opportunities will eventually permeate throughout our educational system and the changes they bring will be unstoppable, John. You’ll see. This article in your paper may help connect the dots for how remote learning (from home or k-12 institutions) could soon grow & thrive.

So quit being the 'choice police' as well as a nattering nabob of negativism. ;-D

When we come together to achieve common goals, everyone benefits and programs are strengthened. Welcome the change that allows expanded choices for others.

JollyP :-)

P.S. I home-schooled my own kids for 10 years (non-religious reasons).

Saturday, January 26, 2013

President Obama's Second Inauguration (a serious post)

(Photo from the White House Website)

For my birthday this year I wanted to go to President Obama's second inauguration. I had just finished some very grueling (and quite dreadful!) cancer treatments earlier this month so even though it would likely be exhausting for me, I knew it would be a spectacular way to celebrate my birthday and the end of my treatments. My husband, Mike, took me; and our two kids helped out enormously to make my wish come true.

Some of the niftier moments actually came before the inauguration.  After we got checked in to our Arlington motel room the afternoon of January 20th, we thought it'd be fun to take a practice run on the Metro into DC.  We decided to go to Metro Center and then walk to McPherson Square (because we’d be going to McPherson on the 21st).  As we were strolling to McPherson and taking in the sights, we passed Rev. Al Sharpton!  I said, “Al Sharpton,” when we were about two feet from him and he responded with a pleasant “hello” back to me. He was dressed pretty spiffily and was walking very quickly, so I’m sure he was headed for one of the inaugural events that evening.

Then on the 21st, while we were waiting at the corner of Pennsylvania Ave and 15th Street for the parade and listening to the inaugural ceremony over the loud speaker, we met some fine folks who were waiting with us. The first, pictured here with me, is Washington Post journalist, John Kelly.  He actually wrote a very nice piece--about Mike and me going to DC for the inauguration--included in this article: “Obama’s Second Act Draws a Smaller But Spirited Crowd” (there are snippets about a variety of people who traveled to the event ... the portion about us is on the 3rd page). 

This second photo is of me with Nat Martin, who is also a cancer survivor as well as (ironically) a cancer researcher.  His cancer was serendipitously discovered (& then treated) in an early stage 13 years ago, and he's been cancer-free ever since. I survived stage IIIA breast cancer 15 years ago (no recurrence), and I just finished treatments for stage IB endometrial cancer a couple weeks ago. Nat and I swapped battle stories for a while and then we discussed how important it is for every cancer patient to learn about his/her disease and be actively involved with the process of the treatments.

The parade photos that I took with my cell phone are kind of lame, so I’ll post just a couple that my husband, Mike, took with our camera. The first one shows President Obama in his limo passing in front of us when he was on his way to the inauguration ceremony, and then Mike snapped the second one as the Obamas were waving to us when their limo was heading for the White House after the inauguration.  A cool picture (below) of the two of them inside their limo takes you to inauguration photos from the White House website if you click on it. I've also included YouTube videos of President Obama’s inaugural speech and the parade highlights (below), as well as a link to the transcript of his inaugural speech.

The parade was running about an hour late, so Mike and I ended up leaving shortly after the President’s motorcade passed us because we were cold and tired and needed to get on the road to head for Pittsburgh. I did, however, get some video of Vice President and Jill Biden walking down 15th, but my hand was shaking so I'm not going to post the video here. Anyhow, it’s a good thing we left when we did because we bypassed the crowds and got out of DC in good time; but then it began to snow when we were in PA and the slippery roads slowed our progress dramatically.  It gives me pause to think of what it would have been like even later, had we stayed in DC longer.  We finally got to our daughter’s place around 11:30PM.

(inside the limo - click on the photo to view many more, Courtesy of the White House Website)

This extraordinary trip that Mike and I took was managed on a very tight budget.  Even though it was my birthday present, we didn’t have a lot of extra cash to spend.  But between an overnight stay at a Residence Inn by Marriott (which was very nice; so thank you, Mitt Romney--who is once again a member of the Marriott International Board of Directors), the gas, the Metro tickets, the toll road fees, and what little we spent on food--since we took bread, peanut butter and snacks with us--the entire cost of the trip was only about $400.  We spent the night before and the night after at our daughter’s apartment in Pittsburgh, so we saved a lot that way.  We definitely got our money’s worth and it was the best birthday present I could wish for; although I said the same thing when we went to President Obama’s first inauguration, too--which was the day before my birthday in 2009.

(Parade Highlights - Courtesy of the Whitehouse Website)

Oh, and speaking of being on a budget, we didn’t buy many souvenirs. The Residence Inn actually gave us a ‘goodie’ bag with some souvenirs in it, so that was a pleasant surprise!  But I did purchase a Washington Post newspaper as we were walking up to the parade entry point.  I could have bought a NYTimes or a USA Today; but I was counting pennies and decided I should buy the paper from the city I was in, and I’m glad I did!  It turns out that about a half hour after we got in to the secured area, we met up with John Kelly (pictured with me above) and I got his autograph on my brand new paper!  He actually had a witty column in the Washington Post that day which offered some uberly dubious ‘quick tips for inaugural tourists’ followed by a serious plea for inaugural visitors from the rest of the USA to urge our representatives to give DC residents equal rights and eliminate the whole “taxation without representation” disparity for the District.  John was a good sport about giving me his autograph and letting me take pictures of him, so I wanted to include a quick plug for his article.  

Finally, Mike and I couldn’t resist paying $1.00 to have our picture taken with President Obama just before we got back on the Metro to return to Arlington--as one last souvenir from this special day in history. It was windy though, and the Pres seemed to want to blow away, so Mike and I were giving him our most sincerest support (I was NOT pinching the President's bottom! LOL).

Was it a cheesy souvenir?  You betcha!  But it was only $1.00 and a fun way to end an amazing and very meaningful trip to our nation's Capitol for the momentous occasion of the second inauguration of President Barack Obama.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

January 21, 2013 - Inaugural Address by President Barack Obama (full transcript)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Stephen Colbert Suffers President Obama's Second Inauguration...and then Re-Inaugurates Himself

I live in a very conservative area in rural Ohio. Even though I'm a progressive and I know history will eventually confirm my opinion that President Obama will likely be our greatest president ever, I still like to watch my favorite conservative tv personality--Stephen Colbert, who exudes right wing thinking perfectly--to keep me grounded. I went to the inauguration and I'll post pics and a summary within a few days; but in the meantime, enjoy Stephen's take on the event. :)

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Obama's Second Inauguration
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Stephen re-inaugurates himself as Commander-In-Opposing-The-Chief for an historic second term:

Friday, January 11, 2013

Awesome Response by the Obama Administration to the Notion of Building a Death Star

From TPM... Best line: “Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?” Next best: “The Administration does not support blowing up planets,” which may represent a slight shift from the position of the previous administration.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Bleepity Bleep!

Jimmy Fallen shows us the rest of transcript after John Boehner told Harry Reid to f*** himself:

Speaking of bleeps, I'm still undergoing 'bleeping' cancer treatments and won't be posting much here for a little while longer. :-( But happy new year, everyone! :-)