It is finished

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Late in the midnight hour, the President addressed the nation basking in the glow of a landmark political triumph over right-wing massive resistance to health care reform. His understated demeanor and measured words belied the enormity of this breakthrough.

Ted Kennedy would be so proud that his dream of universal health care is on the path to reality. His instinct that Barack Obama was the president we needed was vindicated in last night’s roll call. At the president’s side in this fight was the most effective Speaker of the House in living memory, Nancy Pelosi.   She refused to let this effort die and she helped revive the push for reform the pundits thought dead.

Nobody but Barack Obama could have pulled off this legislative victory.  Behind the genial exterior and megawatt smile is a disciplined, ruthless, pragmatic pol equipped with a flawless mastery of policy minutia.

The president’s  politically expedient compromises with the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbies greased the skids of the legislative process and ultimately resulted in the enactment of a recycled package of Republican proposals from the last health care showdown 16 years ago that provide at last a framework for health insurance for most Americans.

While others focused on progressive goals like covering everyone, bringing down health care costs and providing competition, Obama focused on getting a passable bill that partially addressed those goals. This President is interested only in the art of the possible.  Ideology is secondary.

Obama won and left the Republicans sputtering unintelligible nonsense for over a year.  They showed their arses last night, every flat hairy butt cheek. They used every arrow in their quiver to defeat reform: fear, deception, xenophobia, and racism.  They still lost.

Over the course of the next few years, 32 million Americans will finally gain access to health insurance they should have had all along. It is the most expensive in the industrialized world and doesn’t cover what it should, but it is better than nothing at all. 

My hat is off to the Commander-in-chief for this triumph over unadulterated Republican evil.

I still want a public option.

Skeptical Brotha to Martha Coakley: Thanks, Byotch

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Her Imperial Majesty Queen Martha I, Empress of Massachusetts

Your Imperial Majesty,

On behalf of the 45,000 Americans without health insurance who may die this year because you sat on a 30 point lead. Thanks, Byotch.

On behalf of the dozens of unemployed men I pass on the way to work everyday that viewed Ted Kennedy as a hero and needed another one to look out for the rights of unemployed workers. Thanks, Byotch.

On behalf of those who revered Teddy Kennedy as a progressive champion and are thankful to God for his 47 years of service. Thanks, Byotch.

On behalf of the Kennedy Family—particularly Vickie and Teddy Jr. who deferred campaigns of their own and instead wasted their time raising money for you and cutting television ads on your behalf.  Thanks, Byotch.

On behalf of all the judges Barack Obama could have appointed to reverse the right wing B.S. that reigns supreme in the federal courts had you won.   Thanks, Byotch.

On behalf of the struggling taxpayers at the mercy of the banks and credit card companies that could use a consumer protection agency that will never materialize because you were to %*& # busy vacationing in the middle of a special election campaign.  Thanks, Byotch.

On behalf of the struggling homeowners who were targeted by banks and mortgage companies as suckers to saddle with predatory loans.  Thanks, Byotch.

On behalf of those sickened by the smiles you put on the faces of racist miscreants like Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, and Rush Limbaugh for making their dreams of total Republican obstruction come true.  Thanks, Byotch.

On behalf of those who saw through Scott Brown’s campaign of fear and ignorance because they know that mindless obstruction is no substitute for creating jobs, and standing strong for peace and economic justice.  Thanks, Byotch.

On behalf of those who took the time to vote for your imperial candidacy even though you couldn’t be bothered to actually come up with a coherent campaign theme and tell people who you were and what you stood for.  Thanks, Byotch.

Sincerely Pissed,

Skeptical Brotha

Democratic National Convention Opens

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Today marks the first day of the deceptive quadrennial infomercial that formally introduces and markets a presidential candidate to disillusioned Americans as a must-have product and miracle elixir for all of our public policy ills.  The man good Democrats are hoping and praying becomes the 44th President of the United States is by all accounts an enigma and a man difficult to define despite the clarity of the prose in his bestselling and revealing autobiographical narrative. 

Wrestling with the meaning of Obama’s story and reconciling it with his path to power is what I’ve spent the better part of two-years doing unsuccessfully.  It will be fascinating to watch it come together as Michelle Obama and Ted Kennedy mount the podium in the Pepsi Center tonight.

Democrats are excited to hear from the extended Obama clan and the speechifying will culminate in an address by Michelle Obama.  Her task tonight is twofold. First, she must reassure White America that her husband is a common man just like them and that he is uncommonly prepared to lead the free world. Second, she must debunk all of the right-wing messaging that seeks to paint the couple as angry, dangerous, subversive and un-American.  

If sistah Michelle does her job tonight, she will humanize Obama enough for people to confront the racism behind some Hillarycrats irrational resistance. Presentation is key.   I look forward to seeing a stylish, svelte, and coiffured sistah present her husband and children to the world with aplomb.   Her peroration extolling the virtues of family, Mom and apple pie is sure to be a convention classic. 

Unfortunately, what Democrats are really selling is the same old wine of assimilationist neo-liberalism in the new bottle of Barack Obama.  I’ve been attempting to read the fine print of the new black politics and it’s a morally bankrupt creed that seeks cross-over appeal and social acceptance in exchange for a place at the ruling class table of capitalist patriarchy. 

On the eve of the 45th anniversary of Dr. King’s I have a Dream speech, this is not a progressive triumph—its an elaborate charade.  Dr. King wrote:

The majority of Negro political leaders do not ascend to prominence on the shoulders of mass support. Although genuinely popular leaders are now emerging, most are selected by white leadership, elevated to position, supplied with resources, and inevitably subjected to white control. The mass of Negroes nurtures a healthy suspicion toward these manufactured leaders.”

With $9,262,732 million raised from the securities and investment industry and over $21,746,468 raised from the most powerful lawyers and law firms in the country alone, we ain’t gonna get much change we can believe in without organizing some kind of progressive social movement that forces change out of a recalcitrant Washington power structure.

Lastly, God willing, we will be treated to the valedictory address from an ailing icon, Ted Kennedy.   Senator Kennedy, the Lion of the Senate, has been fighting the good fight for the entirety of his 46 years on Capitol Hill.  His battle is over but ours is just beginning.  In the words of my favorite scripture in Jeremiah “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”   Jeremiah Wright is spot on.  Obama may become our president, but we will still need to fight for progressive change.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy addresses the convention:

 

Michelle Obama Bio Video:

Mrs. Michelle Obama addresses the convention

 

Senator Kennedy hospitalized

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Hat Tip: By DAVID ESPO and GLEN JOHNSON, Associated Press

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy was airlifted to a hospital Saturday after suffering a seizure at his home, and did not appear to have had a stroke as initially suspected, his spokeswoman said.

The 76-year-old Democrat, the lone surviving son in a famed political family, was undergoing tests at Massachusetts General Hospital to determine the cause of the seizure, spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said.

“Senator Kennedy is resting comfortably, and it is unlikely we will know anything more for the next 48 hours,” she said.

Kennedy went to Cape Cod Hospital on Saturday morning “after feeling ill at his home,” Cutter said. After discussion with his doctors in Boston, Kennedy was taken to Massachusetts General.

An official who declined to be identified by name, citing the sensitivity of the events, had earlier said that Kennedy had stroke-like symptoms. The hospital declined to comment on his condition.

In October, Kennedy had surgery to repair a nearly complete blockage in a major neck artery. The discovery was made during a routine examination of a decades-old back injury.

The hourlong procedure on his left carotid artery — a main supplier of blood to the face and brain — was performed at Massachusetts General. This type of operation is performed on more than 180,000 people a year to prevent a stroke.

The doctor who operated on Kennedy said at the time that surgery is reserved for those with more than 70 percent blockage, and Kennedy had “a very high-grade blockage.”

On Saturday, Hyannis Fire Lt. Bill Rex said a 911 call came in from the Kennedy family compound at 8:19 a.m. A man was transported to Cape Cod Hospital and transferred by air at 10:10 a.m. from Barnstable Municipal Airport to Boston.

David Reilly, a spokesman for Cape Cod Hospital, said that Kennedy was brought to the hospital around 9 a.m. and stayed for about an hour before being flown by helicopter to the Boston hospital.

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts did not talk to reporters when he arrived at the hospital shortly after 1 p.m.

Kerry later issued a statement, saying that Kennedy “been a fighter who has overcome adversity again and again with courage, grit, and determination. Teresa and I are praying” for Kennedy’s family.

“We know that everyone in Massachusetts and people throughout the nation pray for a full and speedy recovery for a man whose life’s work has touched millions upon millions of lives,” the statement said.

Kennedy, 76, has been in the Senate since election in 1962, filling out the term won by his brother, John F. Kennedy.

Kennedy is the lone surviving son in a famed family. His eldest brother, Joseph, was killed in a World War II airplane crash. President John Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 and his brother Robert was assassinated in 1968.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, beginning a tour of hospitals in Eugene, Ore., told reporters that he had been in touch with the senator’s family.

“Ted Kennedy is a giant in American political history. He’s done more for health care than just about anybody in history. We are going to be rooting for him. I insist on being optimistic about how it’s going to turn out,” he said.

Obama’s rival for the Democratic nomination, New York. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, also issued a statement.

“My thoughts and prayers are with Ted Kennedy and his family today,” she said. “We all wish him well and a quick recovery.”

Kennedy gave Obama’s presidential campaign a big boost this year with his endorsement and has campaigned actively for the Illinois senator.