Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Archive for March 2015

Democrats can’t afford to lose the presidency.

I sat down at my keyboard this morning ready to write about the 2016 presidential election, this time to weigh in on the Democratic Party’s nominating contest. I had read a troubling interview, from the Sunday morning talk shows, given by one of the not-quite-announced Democratic candidates and it reminded me of how important it is to keep our eye on the big picture.

After scanning my news feed, I found that I didn’t have to start from scratch because Michael Tomasky, in an article in the 150th Anniversary Edition of The Nation, had already made many of my points for me. His piece, snarkily titled “Lesser-Evilism We Can Believe In” included a sub-heading that asks this important question: “Should we put government in the hands of a party determined to subvert it, or a party – however flawed – that believes it still has a role to play in securing the common good?”

(p.s. I chose the latter)

The trans-Atlantic Jim Marshall² duo


A look at two men named Jim Marshall (from different sides of the Atlantic) who influenced the world of rock musicians – one made its equipment, the other photographed it – after the jump …

Weekly Address: President Obama – Protecting Working Americans’ Paychecks

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.


From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President highlighted the progress made protecting American consumers since he signed Wall Street reform into law five years ago, including an important new step taken by the independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau earlier this week toward preventing abuses in payday lending.

The President emphasized his commitment to fighting to advance middle-class economics and ensure everybody who works hard can get ahead, while opposing attempts by Republicans both to weaken the CFPB and give large tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the middle class.

President Obama: “There is nothing we cannot do if the American people decide it’s time.”

President Obama spoke yesterday in Birmingham Alabama at Lawson State Community College. He mentioned that Congress passed a bill (insert shock emoticon here) but that they also released their budget. That budget gifts the richest Americans at the expense of middle and low income workers.

The emphasis of the speech was new rules to be issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) which will protect consumers from abusive payday lending practices.

We were hearing a story from some of the advocates who were working here in Alabama, a story about a family — the grandmother died, matriarch of the family.  She passed away.  They don’t have quite enough to pay for the funeral.  They go to a payday loan, borrow for the funeral; can’t pay back the loan in time; the family’s car gets taken away.  And the two folks who are the breadwinners in that family lose their jobs because they can’t get to work.  Right?  So what started off as a short-term emergency suddenly becomes a catastrophic financial situation for that family.

And you don’t need to be a math genius to know that it’s a pretty bad deal if you’re borrowing $500 and you have to pay back $1,000 in interest.  […]

The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, the CFPB, announced today that it’s going to take important steps towards protecting consumers from getting stuck into these cycles of debt.  (Applause.)  

And the idea is pretty common sense:  If you lend out money, you have to first make sure that the borrower can afford to pay it back.  Don’t lend somebody money if you know they can’t pay it back.  

As Americans, we don’t mind seeing folks make a profit.  And if somebody lends you money, then we expect you to charge interest on that loan.  But if you’re making that profit by trapping hardworking Americans into a vicious cycle of debt, you got to find a new business model.  You got to find a new way of doing business.  (Applause.)  

He expressed his hope that Congress would support his initiatives and he left his audience with this:

We’re also a country that was built on the idea that everybody gets a fair shot and that we put laws in place to make sure that folks aren’t taken advantage of. When this country does not live up to its promise of fairness and opportunity for all people, we’re all hurt.  (Applause.)  When we do live up to those promises, all of us are better off.    

Back in 2008, I came to Birmingham as a candidate for this office, and I said, “There is nothing we cannot do if the American people decide it’s time.”  Seven years later, I still believe there is nothing we cannot do if we decide it is time. (Applause.)  We’re all in this thing together, Alabama.  We’ve been through some tough times together, but we’re coming back together.  If we decide this is our time, then together we’re going to write the next great chapter in this country’s history.

Congress did pass a bill and we can all applaud that. But the American people need to stand up and say “it’s time — time to cast aside the party of the have-mores and embrace living wages for everyone who wants to work hard”.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice””

The March from Selma to Montgomery:

On 25 March 1965, Martin Luther King led thousands of nonviolent demonstrators to the steps of the capitol in Montgomery, Alabama, after a 5-day, 54-mile march from Selma, Alabama, where local African Americans, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) had been campaigning for voting rights.

Dr. King:

I know you are asking today, “How long will it take?” (Speak, sir) Somebody’s asking, “How long will prejudice blind the visions of men, darken their understanding, and drive bright-eyed wisdom from her sacred throne?” Somebody’s asking, “When will wounded justice, lying prostrate on the streets of Selma and Birmingham and communities all over the South, be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men?” Somebody’s asking, “When will the radiant star of hope be plunged against the nocturnal bosom of this lonely night, (Speak, speak, speak) plucked from weary souls with chains of fear and the manacles of death? How long will justice be crucified, (Speak) and truth bear it?” (Yes, sir)

I come to say to you this afternoon, however difficult the moment, (Yes, sir) however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, (No sir) because “truth crushed to earth will rise again.” (Yes, sir)

How long? Not long, (Yes, sir) because “no lie can live forever.” (Yes, sir)

How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

Five years ago today …

From the White House:

Better with Obamacare:

On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed a historic law that has transformed the lives of millions of Americans.

On Monday, the Affordable Care Act will celebrate five years of significant progress. That’s a fact that people across the country can see in more affordable coverage, higher quality care, and better health, thanks to Obamacare.

Five years after the Affordable Care Act passed, 30 million young adults can no longer be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition, 105 million Americans no longer have a lifetime limit on their health coverage, and 76 million Americans are benefiting from preventive care coverage. #BetterWithObamacare

Odds & Ends: News/Humor

I post a weekly diary of historical notes, arts & science items, foreign news (often receiving little notice in the US) and whimsical pieces from the outside world that I often feature in “Cheers & Jeers”.

OK, you’ve been warned – here is this week’s tomfoolery material that I posted.

Moose GOP 2016 Straw Poll: The Purple Pond teaParty Presidential Preference Poll

Heck, why not? A Moose Straw Poll is probably at least as good a predictor as the Iowa Straw Poll which has not successfully picked the eventual nominee since 2000.

According to The Hill, there are 20 candidates who have thrown their hats near the ring … ready to nudge them in given even the slightest encouragement.

Get ready for the largest GOP presidential field in recent history.

As many as 20 Republicans are taking a serious look at running for the White House in 2016. A handful of candidates have moved aggressively into the field, and others are expected to ramp up in the coming weeks, with several announcements expected in April.

According to the article, the field of declared candidates for the last election cycle never exceeded 10 and the largest group at a debate was 9 (in 2011).

The list is below the fold …