Thursday, December 23, 2010

Yes We Can & Did! Happy Holidays, hooray for the Dems who never gave up!

Dear Obama/Biden Supporters:

I have a confession to make-I have had this blog on my desktop for weeks to send out. I have been communicating with many of you individually but couldn't' bear to send out such a negative message. If you don't know it by now, I am an optimist by nature,just like my father used to be. I told sister Suzi last night that I had to send this out before I left and she said,forget it. However, I couldn't do that and all that has gone on since the lunar eclipse has given me strength and renewal of spirit! You may think I am nuts but the passage of Don't Ask Don't Tell started things off and we haven't looked backward in the last 48 hours. You can see from Hank's latest editorial(***see it below) that even he has turned around and found the "President we all voted for". So, I want to end by wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year and saying I can breathe again. We are so lucky to have overcome the hyper-partisanship of the just say no Congress (with major help from the brilliant and beautiful Kirsten Gillibrand-Senator from NY) and to end this year with a bang not a wimper!!! I will end with something Susan from Rye sent me that really struck home,a quote from MLK (that magnificent man who would be so proud of BHO today) . From Susan: Someone brought this quote and read it at the meeting the other night and it really struck me. It is hard to do what is right when one has so many responsibilities! (Obama). Our role as grassroots organizers is to be the ones that keep reminding him of what is right. We can't be unbending and we have to be willing to compromise, but the dialogue must be always framed with the correct message, don't you think? "On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, "Is it safe?" Expediency asks the question, "Is it politic?" And Vanity comes along and asks the question, "Is it popular?" But Conscience asks the question "Is it right?" And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right." — Martin Luther King Jr.

With love and best wishes for a wonderful New Year!

A renewed Mama 4 Obama

(Now below is what I wrote before the wonderful passage of DADT, health insurance for 9/11 First Responders,and the amazing New Start Treaty:)

I was watching Bob Dylan's story last night on American Masters and heard a quote from him,"we really believed as song writers we would change the world. We thought from our words and our songs we could help end segregation". I had an ah ha moment of why I have been so tormented the last few days over Obama's "compromise". I think we people who worked for him and gave up our lives to get him elected thought we could change the world and the country. How uniformed we were about the workings of government. We thought we were part of a movement and that good would triumph over bad. Eight years of W with constant disagreement over a war of choice, greed and power running the government and then along came our "savior". What we didn't realize is that most of Congress put the next campaign over people and the country. However,our President is working for the next generation not the next election. I know people are angry and hurt like Kathy in MO who said: "Those assy rethugs are emboldened by the idiots putting them back in power in the last election. I don't think there is any dealing with them. They are going to get their way or nothing at all gets done no matter how important it is or how much it hurts the country. I am disappointed in Obama for cutting a deal with them and leaving the Dems out of the negotiations. Being bipartisan and compromising never used to mean giving in and giving them everything they want!" However, we have to remember those who will benefit from the President's compromise with the GOP. Jenny from the white House committee on women and girl's sent a complete list of those who will benefit from the bill(*****see e-mail from Lee and Jenny). She stated," it is a tough time, but we are moving in the right direction. This will really be good for women and families, so it’s an even more important message for us to get. Thank you for sharing information with others." Sue Hornik from OFA Most of us were pretty peeved that tax cuts for the rich were included, and the night of the announcement when I mentioned our unhappiness to my husband, who formerly reported on economics, he looked at me and said: “Are you nuts? We’re on the verge of a double-dip recession and he just got a second stimulus package.”

So I figured I better do a little more homework. For those of us who aren’t economic experts, the most understandable analysis is Austan Goolsbee’s White Board (he’s the new chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and was the President’s key econ man during the campaign). You can catch it in two places: and ...

Well, now you can see why I was stuck and unable to send this out. All I can say is this is a very special day for me,and I wish our beloved President a good rest in Hawaii. He is going to need all his strength to face the 2011 Congress. We got a "shellacking" and the American people rewarded the party that not only opposed the stimulus but tried to block the extension of unemployment benefits. They also rewarded the party that proposed to inflate the debt by hundreds of billions of dollars with tax cuts for the least needy two per cent. They rewarded the GOP because they were frustrated with inaction and blocked or watered down whatever it couldn't block, but we ended up the winners and don't you forget it. Grassroots and perseverance will not be overcome!!! I will be gone for a week and back after the New Year,lets all take a rest-we deserve it!!!!!!!!!!!!

With love,Sunny
A proud Mama 4 Obama

Please join me at both of these sites where you can make statements and they will reach many more people than in the past. In order to get to the blog please go to and read my updates and make comments

You can also find me on Facebook at "The Sunny Side - Political news for the Friends of Progressive Government" at!/pages/The-Sunny-Side-Political-news-for-the-Friends-of-Progressive-Government/141511589209655

****From Hank in NYC(out of order but right for the day,time,and end of the year!):

This will be my last Op/Ed piece of 2010. I wish you the happiest and healthiest of holidays, and a wonderful 2011!

Subject: To The Editor

“Obama, The Man We Voted For!”

Watching the President smack his hand on his desk and say, “this is done”, referring to his signing of the Bill that repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, we saw the Barack Obama that filled us all with so much hope and promise of what might be possible for America. Listening to the pundits saying that this was a good week for the President, one could not help but think that this was, despite all the doomsayers, a very good year for America. We have come back from the depths of the Great Recession and are poised to make major gains in job creation in 2011. All Americans now have access to quality, affordable health care, and nobody can be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions, serious illness or because they have reached a dollar limit for their coverage. Parents can now keep their children on their health insurance plans until age twenty six, and Obama Care has removed the “doughnut hole” from senior citizens cost of drugs.

This President’s courage and determination to see that all Americans are treated fairly has led to serious financial reform, continued tax relief for the middle class and small businesses, and yes, even the super rich who we hope will use that windfall to help charitable causes and to create jobs. Now that American businesses know what their taxes and health care costs will be, they may well start to hire and expand their operations. Employees will have a one year grace period where their share of payroll taxes will be reduced by 2%. Hopefully this will give many people the impetus to spend, send their children to college, and thereby do their part to further stimulate the economy. For those suffering from not being able to find meaningful, well-paying jobs, Mr. Obama has won them an additional year of unemployment benefits.

One of the more striking accomplishments for Mr. Obama this year was the ratification of the “Start Treaty” with Russia. Despite serious and at one time seemingly improbable odds, the President mounted a strong public campaign to gain support for this treaty, including the buy-in from every living former Secretary of State, Democrat and Republican. With the 71 to 26 vote in favor of ratification, Mr. Obama silenced the likes of Mitch (the un-wise) McConnell, John Kyl and the seemingly mentally depressed and deflated John McCain, the three un-wise men who wanted to be the Grinches who stole Christmas.

Barack Obama came into the presidency arguably facing the greatest set of problems since FDR. His lack of experience, combined with the enormous economic problems he inherited during his first year, were enough to defeat all but the hardiest of men, but Mr. Obama has learned, gained strength and confidence, and faces the last two years of his first term with enthusiasm, historic accomplishments behind him, and the renewed faith in what may have been the greatest campaign slogan of all time, “Yes We Can”!

From Beth in NYC and FL:

Have a great thanksgiving!!!

From Pam in Larchmont:

And I am soo thankful to see that our Sunny is soo driven and heartfelt!!You are a special person and we all appreciate you! So, you,Sunny are one person I am thankful for knowing on this Thanksgiving!!Enjoy your family! Peace!

From Nita our wonderful Westchester congressperson:

I am thankful for you and

Brad. Have a wonderful thanksgiving.

From in Pam Aspen,CO:

Thanks for all the great blogs; you are totally right on; we need to

have a stronger Democratic unity but are lucky for the people we have

that stand united. It was a tough election but there is no way we can

go back to the Neanderthal age of W and cohorts. Would you please put

these 2 people on your ML; one is my nephew Edward G who is very

interested in politics, and another is our friend Denise O'C who

is a stalwart Obama and team supporter. I have forwarded them your

last 2 epistles.

From Sheila in Larchmont:

Good one, Sunny. Have a happy and warm holiday in Florida.

From Robin in North Salem:

I experienced Sarah Palin’s America at Stew Leonard’s this afternoon shopping for Thanksgiving – not pretty!!!

From Doni in New Jersey:

A large Israeli police force accompanied by bulldozers from the Israel Land Administration razed the Bedouin village of Al-Arakib on Monday, destroying the temporary homes constructed by the village residents since the previous demolition. With the help of volunteers, the residents have already begun the reconstruction of the village, and have vowed to keep rebuilding until the Israeli government recognizes their rights to their land.

We, a coalition of Israeli and American Jewish organizations, condemn the Israeli government's continued demolition of Bedouin villages in the Negev and the expulsion of their residents. We condemn the Jewish National Fund for its complicity in displacing Bedouin citizens of Israel from their homes and land to make way for forests and new Jewish-only communities in their place.

The Bedouin have no comparable opportunities to create new agricultural or livable communities. They are being forced to leave their homes, lands and way of life for overcrowded urban centers plagued by crime, unemployment and despair.

We call on the Israeli government, with the support of the JNF in Israel (KKL) and JNF-US, to negotiate a just and mutually agreeable solution to the plight of the 190,000 Negev Bedouin, Israel's poorest and most disadvantaged minority - half of whom live in "unrecognized villages" without electricity, running water, sewage disposal, schools or health clinics, and with the constant fear of demolition and expulsion...
Rabbis for Human rights,

From Fran in Larchmont:

In “Advancing Reproductive Justice for Latinas in the U.S.” Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, deputy director

the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, offers poignant examples of the array of financial, regulatory and social barriers that stop many Latinas from accessing the birth control they seek, even when they have insurance. She displays keen disappointment that the health care reform legislation of 2010 because it does little to nothing to minimize or eliminate the these difficulties is palpable.

Especially if you missed the opportunity to ‘meet’ Jessica when she joined Future Choices in October, you will want to hear from her this month as she unrolls the Latina Institute’s strategies for ensuring the fundamental human right to reproductive health and justice for Latina neighbors, their families and their communities.

Future Choices is brought to your home either on Channel 75 (Cablevision) or Channel 36 (Verizon). The show airs Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 9 pm with repeats 3 am, 9 am, 3 pm and 9 pm the following day. See full schedule:

From Ross in Kirsten's office:

Yesterday, Kirsten was on Andrea Mitchell’s program on MSNBC talking about the next steps for unemployment benefits and repealing "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell." It’s a great interview that highlights Kirsten’s leadership on these key issues, and I want to be sure you see it.

Click here to watch Kirsten’s interview with Andrea Mitchell.

Trust me, you don’t want to miss this one.

From Lisa in NYC:

I wanted to share this recent list with you all. The New Museum is #5!

From Betty in Scarsdale:

YouTube - 11.29.10 Mark McKinnon on Lawrence O'Donnell

From Sheila in Larchmont:

Don’t know if any of you saw the segment on Women in the GOP last night on Hardball…but at the end of the segment which portrayed a very specific type of Grizzly Mama…Chris Matthews asked who was the up-and-coming woman among Dems – Joan Walsh said Kirsten Gillibrand and went on to praise her toughness…Chris not only agreed but said she was a woman to watch!!!

From Eileen in KCMO: We have to keep a sense of humor!

A pretty little girl named Suzy was standing on the sidewalk in front of her home. Next to her was a basket containing a number of tiny creatures; in her hand was a sign announcing FREE KITTENS.

Suddenly a line of big black cars pulled up beside her. Out of the lead car stepped a grinning woman.

"Hi there little girl, I'm Sarah Palin. What do you have in the basket?" she asked.

"Kittens," little Suzy said.

"How old are they?" asked Palin.

Suzy replied, "They're so young, their eyes aren't even open yet."

"And what kind of kittens are they?"

"Tea Party," answered Suzy with a smile.

Palin was delighted. As soon as she returned to her car, she called her PR chief and told him about the little girl and the kittens.

Recognizing the perfect photo op, the two agreed that the former governor should return the next day; and in front of the assembled media, have the girl talk about her discerning kittens.

So the next day, Suzy was again standing on the sidewalk with her basket of "FREE KITTENS," when another motorcade pulled up, this time followed by vans from ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN.

Cameras and audio equipment were quickly set up, then Palin got out of her limo and walked over to little Suzy.

"Hello, again,"she said, "I'd love it if you would tell all my friends out there what kind of kittens you're giving away."

"Yes ma'am," Suzy said. "They're Democrats."

Taken by surprise, Palin stammered, "But... but... yesterday, you told me they were TEA PARTY."

Little Suzy smiled and said, "I know. But today, they have their eyes open."

From Ben in NYC: 

Just posted The King's Speech on my blog, Through Rosen-Colored Glasses.

From Betty in Scarsdale:

A No Labels solution to Washington gridlock?

By William A. Galston and David Frum

Friday, December 3, 2010

As President Obama and congressional leaders struggle to establish a working relationship, they should ponder the sentiments of the real - and very frustrated - American majority.

A Pew survey taken after the midterm election found that 55 percent of respondents wanted Republican leaders in Washington to "try as best they can to work with Barack Obama to accomplish things, even if it means disappointing some groups of Republican supporters." Sixty-two percent wanted Obama to work hard to cooperate with Republicans, even if it meant disappointing some of his supporters.

But what the people want and what they expect are very different. In Congress, the center has collapsed, and ideological overlap between the parties has vanished. Although 30 percent of grass-roots Republicans consider themselves moderate or liberal, and 60 percent of Democrats consider themselves moderate or conservative, their voices are muted in the nation's capital. As increasingly polarized media feed centrifugal forces, potential primary challengers stand ready to punish deviation from party orthodoxies. Only 22 percent of the Pew respondents thought that cooperation was likely to happen under these circumstances.

On Dec. 13, more than 1,000 citizens from the 50 states will convene in New York to change the odds. They are founding a movement - No Labels. Among them will be Democrats, Republicans and independents who are proud of their political affiliations and have no intention of abandoning them. A single concern brings them together: the hyper-polarization of our politics that thwarts an adult conversation about our common future. A single goal unites them: to expand the space within which citizens and elected officials can conduct that conversation without fear of social or political retribution...

From Elizabeth in Mamaroneck:
This really, really is worth 13 minutes of your time. Really!
I'm so frustrated with Obama's concessions now. This article below got me all riled up.

Do you know anyone close to him to tell him to show a backbone? I have been the most

rabid supporter but his taking responsibility for partisanship is too much! Thoughts please.

All the best and happy holidays.

On the Subject of Quitting

Friday 03 December 2010

by: William Rivers Pitt, t r u t h o u t
(Image: Lance Page / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: orsorama, TalkMediaNews)

My head is swimming. My hands are shaking. My teeth are grinding together so hard that my jaw muscles look like I'm storing walnuts in there for the winter.

For once, these symptoms are not being caused by politics. I have not had a cigarette in four days. I have been gobbling nicotine lozenges like M&M's, and am breathing freely for the first time in twenty years. I think I've got this thing licked.

As it turns out, I picked exactly, precisely the right week to undertake this daunting exercise. I might as well have; with everything that has been going on, the physical symptoms I have been suffering - wooziness, tremors, grinding teeth, anxiousness, sleeplessness, and the occasional bout of extreme rage - would have been present anyway. Might as well have something good come out of it...(Read rest on line)

From Judy in Mamaroneck:

This is very special.. enjoy! Chanukah 2010 in the White House

From Nancy P in NYC :after seeing the above youtube:

This man really knows how to respect each and every one of us. He is

a treasure.

From Ron R in NYC:

What say you to this…also echoed by Frank Rich in Sundays NYT Op-Ed…..Nice seeing you in Miami

Subject: Robert Kuttner: What Now for the Democrats?

A real hard shot at Obama from the left. obama's coilition is coming apart. He will be weakened by attacks from the right and left... and he did it to himself.

From Betty in Scarsdale:

YouTube - Our Moral Obligation to Pass 9/11 Health Bill

Your Senator @ work,

From Betty in Scarsdale and Sheila in Larcmont after No labels Conference in NYC:

Hi--Didn't know if you saw this--what a day! Robin--I thought the panel with Mayor Mike was really good and can't remember if you stayed for that! Ill be happy to tell u abt it--also Cory Booker woke all up and Joe Sestak truly spoke from his heart!!

Here is what I remember. Cory Booker was outstanding. I had never heard him speak before and I was blown away. Content wasn't much different from others, but delivery was inspired. I thought the Bloomberg panel was somewhat thought-provoking. It was about gerrymandering and the partisanship emanating from rigged districting. Unfortunately, it was also boring and a waste of Bloomberg and Charlie Christ, both of whom I thought had a lot more to offer. Joe Sesnak was also excellent and very poignant.

I just heard on CNN that the tax bill passed the preliminary vote in the Senate with 83 "for" votes. They said it was likely there would be modification to the estate tax provision in order to maximize the possibility of passage by the House later this week. But that's CNN--very unofficial on everything but the numbers.

Talked to some interesting people at lunch, but all-in-all, by staying as long as you did, in my opinion, you got the gist of it. Sheila

From Jenny in DC:

Thank you for keeping up the fight! It is a tough time, but we are moving in the right direction. This will really be good for women and families, so it’s an even more important message for us to get. Thank you for sharing information with others.

Hang in there. Happy Holidays!

From Susan in Rye:

This piece pretty much says it all for me:  bbb
We need to be as strong in our messaging as the other side or we're going nowhere.

From Marsha in NY:


I'm so frustrated with Obama's concessions now. This article below got me all riled up.

Do you know anyone close to him to tell him to show a backbone? I have been the most

rabid supporter but his taking responsibility for partisanship is too much! Thoughts please.

All the best and happy holidays.

On the Subject of Quitting

Friday 03 December 2010

by: William Rivers Pitt, t r u t h o u t
(Image: Lance Page / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: orsorama, TalkMediaNews)

My head is swimming. My hands are shaking. My teeth are grinding together so hard that my jaw muscles look like I'm storing walnuts in there for the winter.

For once, these symptoms are not being caused by politics. I have not had a cigarette in four days. I have been gobbling nicotine lozenges like M&M's, and am breathing freely for the first time in twenty years. I think I've got this thing licked.(Read rest on line)


Thanks so much for your thoughts and as always ... great support to all.

I am singing a concert at my church job on the 19th and of course singing

Christmas Eve. I'm also busy doing real estate although it's beginning to

slow up. Maybe they'll change it to taxing millionaires and up. That would help!

From Kathy in MO:

It was my birthday and I just couldn't turn on the news or think about what was going on in DC. It is all so frustrating and awful. Honestly, I don't know where we go from here. Those assy rethugs are emboldened by the idiots putting them back in power in the last election. I don't think there is any dealing with them. They are going to get their way or nothing at all gets done no matter how important it is or how much it hurts the country. I am disappointed in Obama for cutting a deal with him and leaving the Dems out of the negotiations. Being bipartisan and compromising never used to mean giving in and giving them everything they want! I do understand his pragmatism about wanting to get the unemployment benefits restored, but that did not protect the millions going off after the first of the year. However, he gave too much to the very, very wealthy at the expense of many important programs. I am like you feeling lost.

From Lee DNC/OFA:

Subject: The Tax Deal and Women and Families

Good morning,

Please view the attached report from the National Economic Council on how the tax deal benefits women and families. For example:

· Women represent about 60 percent of the parents benefitting from the EITC and CTC expansions in the agreement. An estimated 12 million women will benefit from the expansion in the EITC and CTC that are extended in this agreement.

· Working mother with three children making $20,000 will receive a tax cut of more than $2,100 from extending recent expansions in the EITC and Child Tax Credit as part of this agreement.

· One out of every three families gaining from the extension of these credits is headed by a single mother. Families headed by single mothers are among the most economically at risk in our fragile recovery. This extension of the EITC and CTC would direct substantial resources to these families, with an estimated 4 million of the families gaining being headed by single mothers. (Read rest on line!)

You can find all this on the site under women.

From Hank in NYC:

This is being published in tomorrow’s Boston Globe!

“Obama and GOP Make Deal on Taxes ” – Editorial – December 7, 2010

This is a full-blown disaster! The president’s continued lack of courage and leadership has now sunk to a level never imagined by this reader and great supporter of Mr. Obama since his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic convention. Not only does Obama’s decision to completely cave in to the Republicans go against one of his most ardent and passionate campaign promises, it adds almost a trillion dollars to the national debt over the next two years.

What is truly frustrating, disappointing and depressing is that we elected a president we thought had the strength of character, and the courage of his convictions that the country so desperately needed after eight awful years of George W. Bush. I never thought I would say anything like this, but if “W” were president today, and he believed extending the tax cuts for the wealth was the wrong thing to do, he would have told Congress exactly what they could do with their tax cuts for the super-rich, and it would have been something like, “stick them where the sun never shines.”

From Joe in Ohio:

Happy Hanukah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy New Year, Happy and Healthy Winter Holidays to All………

Tis the Season to be Jolly, a season of good will, kindness, love and compassion. A time when we lay down our own needs and think of others, a season of giving, a season of peace. A season of thanksgiving and appreciation of the blessings our nation and the world have been given. We are all proud to be Americans, our land of opportunity, where all are welcomed, all are equal and all can work hard for the American dream.

Whatever holiday you celebrate, we all have a union of compassion, love and caring for all of mankind from our creator. A nation where we live and participate with the leaders of our great country.

A nation we can be PROUD of and as we show the true teachings of our religious believes, values and missions of our faith, giving and compassion………

Our nation where our leaders, both Republican and Democrat deal and gamble their VALUES which must FIRST give to the wealthy in order to give and help the POOR and those in need. We should all be so proud as we have empowered and are part of this great system !!!

Happy Holidays to All !!!

From Westchester 4 change:
We are angered by President Obama's offer to compromise on an extension of the extra tax cuts on the top earners, as well as on a return to a lower rate for estate taxes, in order to secure middle class and unemployment relief. Polls demonstrate that this is out of step with the American public and we believe that Congress should fight for a better deal.

We hope you will call your Representatives and express the need for more fair and progressive economic policies that reduce, rather than exacerbate, income and wealth inequality. Our messages are simple – 1) these levels of economic inequality are unprecedented and unsustainable for the economy; 2) They are damaging for our democracy and the product of policy choices.

Sen. Harry Reid, Majority Leader: 202-224-3542

Sen. Chuck Schumer: 202-224-6542 or 212-486-4430

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: 202-224-4451 or 212-688-6262

Rep. Nita Lowey: 202-225-6506 or 914-428-1707

Rep. John Hall: 202-225-5441 or 845-225-3641

Rep. Eliot Engel: 202-225-2464 or 914-699-4100

White House: 202-456-1111

Moving forward, Westchester for Change will educate ourselves and the community about the political causes of these growing income and wealth disparities and learn what progressives can do to help rebuild the middle class. We ask you to stay with us in this work. We may not succeed immediately, but our work is important and our goals are big.

New York State Budget Workshop

WHEN: Tuesday, December 14th, 7-9:30pm

WHERE: CWA, Communication Workers of America Union Hall in Port Chester 345 Westchester Ave. Port Chester, NY 10573

RSVP or QUESTIONS: Rachel Estroff 914-525-1940, or Meetup Space is limited. PLEASE LET US KNOW IF YOU PLAN TO ATTEND!

From Danielle in PA:

National Journal

House OKs Administration Earmark for Israel's 'Iron Dome'

By Sara Sorcher

Friday, December 10, 2010 5 a.m.

Tucked into a massive continuing resolution approved by the House on Wednesday is an extra $205 million for an Israeli missile defense system that the Obama administration views as essential to the security of the Jewish state.

President Obama sought the funds in May—well after his fiscal 2011 budget request was sent to Congress—to help pay for production of Israel’s Iron Dome missile shield, which is designed to stop short-range rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip and Lebanon. The money comes on top of a separate $200 million provision in the CR to support the Arrow theater missile defense program and other well-established U.S.-Israel missile defense ventures.

“This was a priority of Congress and President Obama, and it is the first funding of its kind for this important short-range rocket and artillery shell defense system,” Rep. Steve Rothman, D-N.J., a member of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, said about the Iron Dome funds. “Given the scrutiny that our nation is appropriately giving to every dollar expended for all purposes—including the defense of the United States and its allies—it is a mark of the great importance of these [missile defense] projects that they were included in this funding bill.”

Although the added funds for Iron Dome have received scant attention inside the Beltway, a Democratic appropriations staffer said there was no particular controversy over adding this to a measure that traditionally provides funds to keep the federal government operating at the previous year's spending levels. “Israel does enjoy strong bipartisan support in Congress so it was more amenable to include these types of funding,” the aide said.

But the looming switch to Republican control of the House next month has clearly changed the political environment in favor of deficit reduction and greater discipline in drafting spending measures, the staffer acknowledged. “I’ve talked with very pro-Israel Republican members of Congress who obviously supported the project because they support Israel, but even they hesitated because of the costs,” he said. “They didn’t want to support any of these [appropriations in the CR] because they interpret their [overall] mandate as cutting spending.”But the ever-growing threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, and the increasing strength of its proxies in Lebanon and Gaza, made the funding for the Iron Dome essential to pass, he added.As a presidential candidate in 2008, Obama went to Sderot, Israel, to affirm Israel's right to defend its citizens against Qassam rockets fired at the town and nearby communities by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip...(Read rest on line)

From Sheila in Larchmont after the defeat of Kirsten Gillibrand's 9/11 bill to cover health care for first responders(photo of Kirsten and Chuck):

I don't know who took this shot, but I suspect KG might still have been at Davis Polk on 9/11. If she was, she would have been in harm's way, as I was, on that day. Even if she wasn't still at Davis Polk, she no doubt had many friends and clients who were directly affected. I can only imagine how she feels at the defeat of this no-brainer bill. Memories of that day never go away. Those unbelievable asses have no souls.

From Mira in NYC:

Today, December 5, 2010, would be my mother Resia Schor’s 100th birthday. This is not just a nostalgic realization looking back at a deep past, as it was for me in 2004 which was my father Ilya Schor’s centennial: he had died in 1961 so forty-three years separated his death from his centennial. My mother died only four years ago, nine days before her 96th birthday. So 100 wasn’t such a stretch. But she had no wish to make it to this landmark. “God forbid!” she said when at one point I explained to her that if she lived to but also died in 2010 I wouldn’t have to pay any estate taxes (an amusing conversation in the light of this week’s disgraceful actions in Congress!). She had retained her excellent memory, her very left politics, her judgment of people unblurred by sentiment, and her courage intact, but when the encroachments of age threatened her independence and her ability to work, she had had enough. When my friend Tom Knechtel said goodbye to her after a visit to Provincetown in the summer of 2006, he said, “I hope I see you here next summer.” “I hope not,” she answered, flashing a beautiful smile.

When I began A Year of Positive Thinking I said that it posed the challenge to myself to find contemporary art that I love but that I would also write about significant artworks, films, and political actions and speech from the near and the deep past that have given me the courage to become and continue to be an artist and an activist. No artists are as important to that personal history as my parents Ilya Schor and Resia Schor.(read rest on line

From Fran in CA and Sunny in NY:

RIP Elizabeth Edwards, you fought the good fight!!

From our Congresswoman Nita:

Promoting Economic Recovery

As you may be aware, Congress and the Administration are working to extend tax relief for middle-class families and ensure those who lost their job through no fault of their own continue to receive unemployment benefits. These priorities are critical to support our fragile economic recovery. The agreement between President Obama and Congressional Republicans is a good start, and we continue our work to support economic recovery without dangerously swelling the federal deficit.

Ensuring Safety of Our Food Supply
Outbreaks of food-borne illness from foods like spinach, tomatoes, peanut butter, and cookie dough have raised questions about the safety of food on grocery store shelves. This week the House passed – and the Senate is expected to pass – the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act to protect public health and safety by preventing food contamination and ensure a quick and effective response if an outbreak does occur.

For more information about food safety, please click here.

Health Care for 9/11 Responders

It is shameful that Senate Republicans today blocked passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 health and Compensation Act, which the House passed in September. The Senate must pass the bill by the end of the year for it to be enacted into law, fulfilling our responsibility to provide health care for those who were sickened or injured as a result of their brave and selfless actions responding to the September 11 attacks.
To watch my remarks on the James Zadroga 9/11 health and Compensation Act, please click here.

From Sheila in Larchmont:

So we keep on calling: Gillibrand, Schumer, Pelosi, Reid, Sanders, Lowey...and hope that someone can figure out what negotiation or compromise really means. Good to see someone in there fighting!

From Herb sending Senator McCaskill letter from MO:

Republicans have gone around the bend. They have now blocked Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, military pay raises, unemployment benefits, medical care for 9/11 first responders, tax cuts for small businesses, and tax cuts for working families -- all to give extra tax benefits to folks on their second million dollars in income.
I don’t care if you’re a Democrat, a Republican, an independent, or a Tea Party member -- no American can take the Republicans’ promises about fiscal responsibility, deficit reduction, and protecting the middle class seriously anymore. Not after this week. This is insanity.

No matter what, we need to get this middle-class tax cut passed now, but that won’t be the end of this fight.

Join me now: Sign your name if you think we need to keep fighting to end the extra tax bonus to multi-millionaires, and use the money to reduce our debt.

A big part of my job is to protect the middle class and small businesses -- and continuing the middle-class tax cuts does that, while also pumping money back into the economy.

But, no matter what the Republicans say, extending tax cuts for the wealthiest 0.1% won’t help the economy. President Bush made the same promises almost a decade ago, when he told us giving a huge tax bonus to the very rich would have a big impact on our economy, and that the money would “trickle down” and create more jobs and stronger businesses.

Instead, the middle class is still struggling, the deficit has ballooned, and unemployment is at record levels.

All we’re going to get from these new tax cuts for multi-millionaires is billions of dollars added to the deficit.

The reality is that the Republicans are holding middle-class tax cuts, and help for the unemployed, hostage to give a tax bonus to the wealthiest Americans, while sticking us with the multi-billion dollar bill. I just don’t see how they can call themselves “fiscal conservatives” with a straight face any longer. But, if we want to save the hostages -- if we want the middle-class tax cuts the economy needs now -- we may have no more options at this point.

However, win or lose this week, I promise to you that this fight is not over.

Thank you for standing with me -- as many times as it takes -- to win this fight.

From Judy in Mamaroneck:



By Helen L. Burleson, Doctor of Public Administration

Statistically, America is now number 23 in the world in educational achievement.

Look to America’s fascination with Sarah Palin and how she has catapulted ignorance into a multi-million dollar enterprise. Americans on her level can’t get enough of her. The more she mocks intelligence and intellectualism, the more she increases her financial value. Not able to articulate a complete sentence, among her followers this is the new norm. As she sputters, sparks incoherent phrases of derision and mockery, the more they love her. She has become a household name, and has risen to the level of the people who are well known by just one name, like Cher, Oprah, Aretha, Bono, Heidi, Marilyn, Einstein, Ike, Mike, Teddy (both the first and the second – Theodore Roosevelt (also known as the rough rider) and Edward Moore Kennedy.

Palin has produced two books written by others and she has traveled the country greeted with admiration as she grows richer and richer. They call it folksy. They call it relating to her base. The more inarticulate she is, the more they love her.

Though she preaches abstinence, she is now the grandmother of a grandchild born out of wedlock, whose teen-aged mother is now capitalizing on promiscuity. On the speakers circuit, Bristol Palin can command in excess of ten thousand dollars telling teens that she made a mistake, and abstinence is the best policy. In other words, the old fashioned, don’t do as I do, do as I say you should do.

This mother and daughter duo are charming the dollars out of the pockets of the lesser educated people who identify with their common touch. Together as a package or solo, they are gold, pure and simple.

At a time when America is far behind much of the industrialized world, and learning and knowledge are the keys to responding to the technology era, the Palins are taking America back to the Stone Age. Remember the Stone Age when cave men were first learning how to use language, they spoke in sputters and single words and used body language to communicate.

We are in a knowledge-based race to develop and train a generation to get ahead in the age of technology and innovation. Perhaps we are on the wrong path. The Palins seem to have found the keys to the kingdom – ignorance and promiscuity. America seems to have an insatiable appetite for both.

Today, the quitter governor of Alaska, whose only aim seems to be to spread ignorance and hatred for the Obamas, took a swipe at Our First Lady, Michelle Obama. Adjudged the most powerful woman in the world, Michelle Obama, a Princeton University graduate, an attorney and a Harvard law school graduate is a beautiful, well poised, articulate and gracious lady. Palin, by contrast took 6 years and 5 colleges before she could earn a Bachelor’s degree in communications, is now the reigning queen of the trailer park crowd. Palin, also by contrast could easily qualify as the most ignorant woman in the world, yet she lashed out jealously at First Lady Michelle Obama.

Palin’s status in life is solidified and personified as the new low in the dumbing down of America. Bristol Palin, a chip off the old block is doing what her mother should be doing. Sarah should be on the speaker’s circuit saying that American women should not do as she did, but should stay in school, get a good education and add to the body of knowledge as the scholarly First Lady Michelle Obama does. Bristol’s message of don’t do what I did is hollow. Her practice abstinence message would be more effective if she had practiced what she now preaches.

The new cottage industry should not be ignorance and promiscuity because that only causes us to fall further behind in the race to the top for America to regain her position as the most admired and most imitated country in the industrialized world. The new cottage industry should be what President Obama proposes in his initiative to elevate the American standard of excellence with his “Race to the Top.”

From Peggy in LA:

great summary of the year! 

From Susan in Rye and Robin in North Salem:

There is no reason to think they care about people's welfare (oh, unless they can make big contributions). They should be ashamed.

DADT just defeated…we are going down in flames – this is so painful….why the F do we bother to compromise – these people are inhumane.
Senate Fails to Force Action on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

3:59 p.m.
Updated The Senate has turned down the attempt to move ahead with a defense bill that would repeal the ban on gay troops serving openly in the military. The vote was 57-40, three short of the 60 needed.

Republicans defeated a motion that would have cut off debate on an overall defense authorization bill, including repeal.

The move is a setback to President Obama and the Democratic leadership, who have made repealing the policy a key priority. And it short-circuited the efforts of a handful of Republicans who said they supported a repeal but wanted more time to negotiate the process of the voting.

Their leader, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, voted in favor of the motion but was not joined by any of her colleagues.

Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, called for the key procedural vote on repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy despite having failed to reach agreement with Republicans to proceed.

Republicans had indicated that without an agreement about the number of amendments and the timing of the debate, they would vote against moving forward to vote on the legislation...

From Susan in NYC:

We have weak leadership in power and obstructionists in opposition. It’s the usual ugly scene in Washington. I also don't think we have activists like in the 1960’s.

From Judy in Mamaroneck:

I received this writing before I saw the caribou clip this morning! I can't help but feel that this country has become Kafkaesque and little makes much sense any more! The Republicans are blatant with their demands, lies, distortions and lack of morality and yet, so many in this country are willing to believe what is being said and vote them into office, no matter how absurd!

As for Sarah Palin... she is 100% ego and in it for as much money as she can amass! The fact that there are people who would vote for her for President because of her "folksines"s is frightening! I still wonder who is caring for her toddler with Down Syndrome, who clearly needs intensive early intervention and daughter Bristol's baby whose mother is busy on Dancing with the Stars and running around the country on the Speaking Circuit! It is all $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$!

As for the caribou shooting, it looked like people with her had to show her how to use the rifle!

She is laughing all the way to the bank!

Here's the clip!

Click here: YouTube - Sarah Palin shoots a Caribou - Scene from "Sarah Palin's Alaska", episode 4

From Val in New rochelle:

I'm Judy's friend Val - she mentioned she was looking for

a video clip to send you of Palin hunting, made for her TV show. I

saw it on the news the other night and was disgusted by it. I'm not

sure, but I believe the link below is the same video.
I thought I'd save Judy the trouble, but she said she'd sent it too. Absolutely nothing dissuades people who love her - they turn a blind eye - total dumbing down of America. Please let me know if I can be of any help in the next campaign.

From Jane in Larchmont:

The Tax Bill

On the elimination of the payroll tax this year, the social security 'trust fund.' AARP supports it, believing on faith it will be reinstated. Others are not so sure.

"In the future, proposals to further cut Social Security taxes -- including to do so on a permanent basis -- will certainly be on the table. Once politicians have tasted the political sweetness of tax cuts, they always come back for more. If they succeed, it will worsen the long-term budgetary challenges facing Social Security and create more room for opponents to attack. Indeed, simply by entering into a bipartisan agreement to change the way that Social Security taxes are discussed, the odds improve that one day, some politician might very well be able to scrap FDR's program."

Other news about the bill.

"Senate leaders pack tax bill with narrow credits and perks"

Informative--breaking down the tax proposal--bar chart

From Sharon in Scarsdale:

This is unbelievable!!! Also sickening.


From Jane in Larchmont:

Yes, and I was so disappointed that the press either didn't mention S and G's millionaire tax proposal (you had mentioned that a while ago), or if they did, they gave it short shrift. I really think that if the cutoff was at that point from the get-go, it would have to fly, but that's over.

The part of the bill that worries me, as you could see, is the looming ax on Social Security. The debt commission leveled its aim at SS as well--an old Republican target--and an old Democratic pillar. BTW, someone who emerged from that commission looking really good to me was a person I hadn't known before--the congresswoman from Chicago--Jan Schakowsky--

bright, articulate, strong.


Last night, as I was unlocking my bike on a windswept Greenwich Village sidewalk after leaving a holiday party, a friend approached, cell phone in hand. A few minutes earlier, she and I had been inside, chatting happily amid the buzz and warmth of a holiday party. Now she had tears in her eyes. “Richard Holbrooke died,” she said.

Notwithstanding the hospital bulletins since he fell ill on Saturday—critical condition, damaged aorta, emergency surgery—this sudden, awful ending was a shock, because Richard Holbrooke was such an astounding volcano of vitality. Everything about him was large: his physical size, including the ultimate “in your face” face, a face like a Times Square billboard; his buzz-saw voice, a highly expressive instrument, equally adept at piano (a side-of-the-mouth, gossipy wisecrack, often pleasingly nasty) and forte (a high-decibel outburst of anger or indignation, almost always calculated for effect); his appetites (for experience, for danger, for praise, for power, for fun); and his ambitions (for himself, for his beliefs, for the United States, for the world). He was no doe-eyed peacenik, but as a diplomat he labored long and hard to seek alternatives to war and ways to end particular wars. He was sentimental about his own unsentimentality, romantic about his own tough-guy realism.(read rest on line

From Debbie in NYC/Care:

Exciting news! After passing unanimously in the Senate, the House of Representatives will vote on the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act (S.987) as early as tomorrow, December 14!

Please call and/or email your Representative as soon as possible. A phone script and sample email, along with background info, is attached – please share this with your networks!

Did you know?...

Sixty million girls around the world are forced into marriage before the age of 18.

These child brides are twice as likely to be beaten or threatened with violence by their husbands compared to girls who marry later in life.

Maternal health risks are particularly troubling as risk of death in pregnancy and delivery for girls under the age of 15 is five times higher than for women in their 20s.

Taken together, the costs of this practice are too high to be ignored. Societies cannot progress when even the common practice of marriage dooms girls and women to a life of poverty. The U.S. now has a chance to help girls around the world avoid early marriage.

Thank you for your support and patience during this process, and your action at this critical time.

From Dudley in NYC:

I rarely send links but this should be sent around the world to

From Betty in SCarsdale:

Subject: Breaking News: Post-ABC poll: public not yet sold on GOP

Breaking News Alert: Post-ABC poll: public not yet sold on GOP

December 14, 2010 5:03:15 PM-

Republicans made major gains in the November elections but they have yet to win the hearts and minds of the American people, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The midterm elections – where Republicans gained 63 seats to take control of the House of Representatives and added six seats to their Senate minority – were widely seen as a rebuke to President Obama. Still, the public now trusts Obama marginally more than congressional Republicans to deal with the country’s main problems in the coming years, 43 to 38 percent. And when it comes to who has taken the stronger leadership role in Washington, it's an even divide: 43 percent say Obama, 42 percent the GOP.

From Susan in Rye:

I just was on the conference call with Nita and she spoke a bit about her support for the compromise bill that she feels must pass before the Republicans take control of the House in January. She also spoke about messaging for the 2012 election. I hope you will pass this piece along to Nita and let her know that athough I can understand her anxiety about what is ahead in January, I strongly disagree with her about voting for this compromise. I feel that the Democrats are relinquishing their fundamental core beliefs by acquiesing on the extra tax cuts for the top earners, particularly the estate tax ceiling at $5 million and the capital gains remaining at 15% (which Nita mentioned disagreeing with at our recent meeting). The Republicans' "win" on their core issue of retaining benefits for the top earners is not only disastrous because it exacerbates the huge inequity of income that has caused a collapse of the middle class in our country, but it also allows the Republicans to have a stronger bargaining position when they begin to cut programs due to the even larger deficit. I fear that this will come back to haunt the Democrats in 2012 and this will be a debacle. The Democrats' failure to capture the message of "no more extra tax cuts for the top earners" will be looked at as a lost opportunity.

Please pass this piece along to her and let her know that I appreciate all that she does for all of her constituents and I know she is doing what she thinks is best, but I wanted to express my thoughts and feelings on this subject to her.


I would be very pleased if you would put this in the blog along with two more links that Rachel located that really encapsulate the problems with this "deal."

From Joe in Ohio:

I am amazed and insulted at the people who feel DADT was such a “landmark” issue for our nation……..A nation where “equality, freedom, liberty and justice for all…….” A nation of “Christian” based values which are GIVE TO THE WEALTHY AND SCRAPS FOR THE POOR….. A nation where the heartless, ignorant and greedy are “elected” into office. Republican Greed and Democrat stupidity !!!

From Dani in Brooklyn:

Thought this Vanity Fair remembrance was quite evocative. May we remember her and what she taught us all.

From Patti in KCMO:

-Winning by Losing or Vice-Versa

By Don Rose

Liberals, progressives and an overwhelming number of Democratic congresspersons are mad as hell at Barack Obama over the “deal” he reached with Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts not only for the middle class, but for the nation’s top earners—despite his rhetoric ever since the 2008 campaign where he pledged he would restore the Clinton-era taxes for those earning more than a quarter-million bucks a year (In short, raise the top rate from 36 to 39 percent on portions of income above $250,000).

He continued the chant throughout the recent campaign season and right up to the point during the lame-duck session where he changed his mind and agreed to extend the cuts for everyone, with the top-earners’ extension for only two years (hypothetically). He signaled far too early that he would make such a deal, putting himself in a worse negotiating position, leading commentator Jacob Weisberg to opine what a lousy poker player the president is...

The public really likes the deal—Independents, Democrats and Republicans all approve by large margins. Obama’s personal and political ratings have risen and a recent poll shows him beating all his potential Republican opponents in 2012 by numbers outside the margin of error—Sarah Palin by an avalanche.

Everyone agrees that Obama will accomplish nothing major in the next congress, but his veto will prevent the Republicans from either repealing any of his laws or getting anything major of their own. Nevertheless, the economy continues to improve, at least in the short term, and we are likely to see some level of reversal in the unemployment rates because of both the new “stimulus” and increased confidence in the business world that they don’t have to worry about new taxes or “antibusiness” restraints.

On top of all this he managed to repeal “don’t ask don’t tell.” Things are pointing toward a second term for Obama—about which I was slightly dubious, a month or two ago. I don’t know how consciously he might really have tricked the Republicans and that Krauthammer is right. But consciously, accidentally, incidentally or coincidently it looks more and more like he won by losing. ...(read whole article on line

From Patty in St Louis,MO: Fab article George P. Lakoff is an American cognitive linguist......long but good


On the other hand whoever the Repubs are using to write their scripts is workin' "real good" and I am amazed that our side doesn't have an equal or better team of writers. is also difficult to rope the individualistic Dems in and they would never embarrass themselves and tow the party line. Also, having a whole network squawking 24/7 and spreading the FOX lies is a lot of crap with which to compete. I watch MSNBC but they are preaching to the choir so that does nothing.


Haven't seen news today....did they pass the Start Treaty. The Rs are pissed that he got so much through the lame duck. It will be over soon.......I keep hoping that they will cook their goose by having voted NO on everything and then when they control the house, they will not help the people anyway. Could be a lot of sorry people out there.

From Sheila in Larchmont: After reading Lakoff article!

This article goes in my "saved Mail". I'm going to memorize it. Really cogent.

From Susan in Rye: After reading Lakoff article

This is fabulous! Thank you for sending this, it is worth reading every word. It is exactly what we've been saying and why we are so frustrated by the "deal." Letting the Republicans get their way with their fundamental message just perpetuates the wrong economic policies and doesn't demonstrate why these policies haven't worked for 30 years and won't work now. Rachel, Elizabeth and I are working with Demos on a teach-in/training session for Feb. which we hope will provide history about the rise and fall of the middle class and then tools for 21st century progressive grassroots messaging.We will keep you posted about the details. Also, did you see the NY Times magazine piece As much as we all love our Obama, he can't let the Republicans define the debate any longer - it's time to take our messaging back!

From Eileen in KCMO: After reading Lakoff article

Please forward to Michelle Obama and Tim Cain The Dems should hire him to train everyone now before the next election. I am serious-they need to have him on staff

From Betty in Scarsdale:

HUGE!!! YAY!!!

Breaking News Alert: Obama signs repeal of 'don't ask, don’t tell'

December 22, 2010 9:38:44 AM
President Obama signed legislation on Wednesday that repeals the 17-year-old law preventing homosexuals from serving openly in the U.S. military.

The bill requires military officials to complete implementation plans before lifting the old policy, a process that could take months.

From Nicole in Mamaroneck:

Hey friend. The email below was sent by our dear friend Karen Cheeks Lomax (ED of My Sister's Place). Direct evidence that Senator Gillibrand is doing good things!!

Wishing you and your family happy everything!!

yes I am bragging -- but this is what American University churns out.

Check this out! Merry Christmas!!

From Mary in MO:
Thanks for the up date about health care for 9/11 First Responders. I'm just languishing in peace and silence here on the farm.

I had called Kit Bond's office a couple of hours ago and was told the "dud" was voting "nay." So, of course, I told them what I thought. Not rudely, mind you, just very very very disappointed that he would cast one of his final votes in such a negative way --- just incomprehensible, blah, blah, blah........
Take care............Mary

From Senator Kirsten Gillibrand NY:

Two weeks ago, it looked like the US Senate was going to turn its back on the thousands of first responders who risked their lives to help the victims of 9/11 and are currently sick and dying as a result of their heroism. A group of Senate Republicans organized a filibuster and refused to pass a bill that would provide these heroes with the health care they need and deserve.

But now, I’m happy to report that we've had a true Christmas miracle.

Today, the Senate passed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act, which will provide health care and compensation to the first responders and community survivors who are suffering from illnesses caused by exposure to toxic debris from the fallen towers.

Many of us felt deeply that this bill was the right thing to do, but there were some who insisted on playing politics with the lives of 9/11 heroes. Thankfully, Americans from across the country made their voices heard.

This is not a partisan issue. Senators on both sides of the aisle wanted to fulfill our nation's obligation to these people and in the end, that is what we did. This is a true bipartisan success story.

How fitting that this bill - which is all about people helping others in time of need - would be passed during the week of Christmas. I’m proud to have been a part of this effort. I am so thankful to my colleagues and so many others who helped make this happen, and I am thrilled that these heroes and their families will now have the treatment and security they need during this difficult time.

From Ross in KG's office:

I want to make sure you don’t miss this morning's must-read article in The New York Times. It sums up so much of what we have known all along. Kirsten is something special...and she is just getting started!

From Renee in NYC: about KG article!

It is an unbelievably positive article giving Kirsten her due!!!!!!!