Madam Secretary, Hillary Clinton!

img_6498Photo: Lady Boomer NYC (pic snapped from Hillary tribute video)

In a 94 Yes, 2 No (Vitter and DeMint) vote on the Senate floor, Hillary Clinton was confirmed as Secretary of State, today, Wednesday, January, 21, 2009.

Sigh. I feel grounded and strong that we are all as a country, finally, in good hands.

I’ve been live-blogging with my fellow Conflucians re: the debate goings on, beginning at about 930 am, then again at about 2:15 in the comments. I hate to send you away, but in lieu of typing up my notes, a time-consuming effort, you can check through comment thread here.

At last, I can breathe a deep sigh of relief and am going to work out!

“A Salute to Hillary Clinton” in NYC: Eyewitness Report

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Photo: Lady Boomer NYC

Thursday, January 15, 2009 was an unusual day. Early that morning, my blog boss (unpaid, of course), the venerable and wily Riverdaughter, was calling. She had an emergency and asked if I wanted her ticket to that evening’s New York City campaign debt benefit, “Thank You, Hillary! A Salute to Hillary Clinton,” with Bill Clinton and Jon Bon Jovi. I jumped at the chance.

It was a special time for Hillary. She had just delivered her hallmark clear, knowledgeable opening remarks and Q&A testimony in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, January 13, 2009. They gave her their vote of confidence for Secretary of State on the following day. She would be giving her farewell speech to the Senate this very morning, and the full Senate was expected to confirm her on Wednesday, January 21, 2009, the day after the Presidential inauguration of Barack Obama. It was to be the last political appearance of Senator Clinton prior to her assuming her position on the worldwide stage.

It was also a miraculous day. A day where the perfect confluence came together to combine an extremely experienced airline pilot, who also happened to be a master glider pilot; was able to have the presence of mind to take control from his co-pilot; at 4,000 feet do a hard bank of the US Airways Airbus to line up correctly on the Hudson River, over which the plane just happened to be flying; miss the George Washington Bridge by a mere 900 feet, with Manhattan on one side, Jersey City on the other; radio the tower; and alert the passengers and crew to brace for a hard landing. That day 155 people successfully made it out on the wings, and were rescued within one minute by a coordinated, concerted effort of the New York Waterway ferry company, New York Police and Fire Rescue, and The Red Cross. They had about 5-8 minutes in the 36 degree water before hypothermia could set in. The entire city was jubilant, because following the tragedy of 9/11, this was a story of life, living, and everything gone right.

That chilly evening, arriving at The Town Hall, it was great to run into several PUMAs that I knew from DC, Denver, and Ricki Lieberman’s campaign events. I prepared my camera.

Salute to Hillary Clinton in NYC, 1/15/09 — Lady Boomer NYC

Governor David Paterson, who was introduced by NY Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, described Senator Clinton as “dynamic and outspoken.” He said,

Whether it’s housing, education, programs for the poor, the unemployed, the environment, homeland security, or agriculture reform, Hillary Clinton is in the center of everything for New York.

He honored her for her eight years of steadfast discipline and honesty, for being a finalist in her party’s nomination, adding, (striking a bittersweet PUMA tooth),

And one day, we will elect a woman President. I hope that Hillary Clinton will be around to be thanked as the person who made it responsible for them to be President.

Paterson recalled the US Airways perfect ditch landing on the Hudson that afternoon, and expressed how grateful he and all New Yorkers are to the pilot and crew. He explained that Hillary and Chuck Schumer were unable to fly in as a result, and were on their way from Washington, D.C. via train. He concluded by saying,

This is a unique event in that today Hillary Clinton was cleared in committee to be Secretary of State. She is a woman with a worldwide record, and she will now be performing on the worldwide stage. Barack Obama got the best and brightest of New York.

They screened the uplifting “One woman’s journey” video, some shots of which are included in my slideshow.

I didn’t walk in a fan of Jon Bon Jovi one way or the other, but I left one. He did a beautifully executed, unplugged-style electric acoustic set with three other musicians. Actually, I was so entranced that it didn’t occur to me until the last song to record it on my digital camera. So I got “Here Comes the Sun. He also sang a slow burn version of “Livin’ On A Prayer,” a rousing “Who Says You Can’t Go Home?,” The Beatles’ “Help!,” and a soulful version of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come.” (Yes, it’s about “change,” and I’m sure he’ll be doing at the inauguration celebration. Whatevah. ) The videos don’t exactly do the music justice, but close enough for rock ‘n roll.

Jon Bon Jovi: “Here Comes The Sun” — Video: Lady Boomer NYC

.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.

Jon Bon Jovi: A Change Is Gonna Come — Video: JCorso728

After his set, Jon said some words of introduction in praise of Bill Clinton, who had just returned that day from a trip to Africa for the Clinton Foundation to be at Hillary’s event. He expressed that all of his philanthropic acts came from the leadership of the Clinton / Gore Administration, and that the affordable housing issues he works with are all from Bill Clinton’s lead and inspiration.

Bon Jovi Introduces Pres. Clinton — Video: JCorso728

President Clinton took the stage and said that he’s been in a lot of campaigns, and BTW had been used to running for Governor every two years. But, praising Hillary, he declared,

I have never supported a finer candidate than the one I supported this year.

He thanked the Senators who voted for her nomination to Secretary of State, and who also spoke for her in the Senate chamber on the occasion of her farewell speech.

Sen. Chuck Schumer thanked Hillary as his Senate partner, praised her for her dedication and thoroughness, and complimented her: “as good she looks up close, she looks that much better in person.”

And she really did. Hillary was positively glowing that night as she walked on stage.

Sen. Clinton praised Chuck and said that she was proud to have represented the people of New York along with him, and that being a Senator of New York is the best, because she gets to represent the people of New York! She expressed how glad she was that the plane landed safely in the Hudson. My outgoing Senator characterized the upcoming weekend as exciting, where:

People from around the country and the world will come and watch. It’s an opportunity to start anew. It will give me great pleasure to represent my country as Secretary of State. I hope everyone will recognize how hard the times are. I ask for everyone’s patience, because it took us eight years to get into this.

Contrary to reports that we’re moving, I’m so happy that I’ll get to live in New York with Bill and Chelsea. After all, where else in the world would 10 people in the space of 30 seconds give me their opinion?

Praising the audience, her supporters, for being so gracious in helping her pay down her debt:

We’re here together! It’s so great to see people I’ve worked with and played with. On this night, my last political event, I’m looking forward to being a New Yorker and representing Lady Liberty in the world. So when I’m in the city walking down the street, come up and tell me what to do. I know I can count on you.

Hillary looked ebullient. On Saturday, January 17, 2009, she was to receive the King Center’s “Salute to Greatness” Award in Atlanta.

It was a wonderful, heart-warming evening. For me, it was one of those events that was all that, and more.

Send Hillary a Note of Congratulations for her confirmation as Secretary of State!

My PUMA Chronology of 2008 Election

Coming up to the inauguation of the 44th President, as we’re still in the first month of 2009, thought I’d post the Top 10 Posts I’ve written, based on popularity. It’s my travelogue, so to speak, chronologically along the road of how we got HERE.

1. Hillary’s Convention Speech: Keep Going!

2. Did Hillary Lose? Not So Fast: Taking Stock

3. NYC McCain PUMAs vs. Obie Pinocchios

4. Oops, Didn’t Realize I Was So Late: Dean’s DFA

5. Null and Void: Democrats’ Roll Call in Retrospect

6. Obamakids: Not Just For Grownups Anymore

7. Meet Murphy, Puma PAC Founder (video)

8. In Your Wildest Dreams . . .

9. We Will Get By—Lessons From Yertle the Turtle

10. Let’s Not Forget Why We’re Here, Okay?

11. House Bailout Does Not Pass GO

12. Hillary Clinton—Final Primaries Speech (Video)

13. Our PUMA Anti-Convention

14. Acorn, Freddie, Fannie, and Frank

15. Women’s Bodies Held Hostage = Election Year

16. The Clampdown: Coming to Your Neighborhood

17. Normalizing Hillary: Connect the Vote Dots

18. Breaking: Hillary on Ballot at Convention

19. The Week That Was Lipstick On A Pig

20. Obama’s Thought Police State

21. How Many States Are There Now, Sen. Obama

22. Where Do We Go From Here? Just Say No Deal (Video)

23. She-Deviler Media Gang Unrepentant-Boycott MSNBC!

24. Progressive? Obama’s Energy Platform: Nuclear and Coal

25. How We Got Here in Three Easy Steps — contact geeklove

26. We Are You: DNC RBC Rally (Pics)

27. Obama’s Mentor Spreads Hillary Hate

28. Dear Superdelegates, My Vote Is Not For Sale

29. Test, Test, Roar! Puma Has Radio

30. Sexism, Misogyny, Hillary Clinton (Video)

31. Raise Your Hand If You Think Florida Is Over

32. Bill Clinton Tells It On The View 9/22/08

33. Hillary Voters Are Lonely, Imaginary People

34. Greta Pounces on Nancy Like a PUMA

35. Dean: “So what do you want?” Now He Asks

36. Delegates Mad As Hell: Scramble for Floor Vote

37. Why Even Have A Convention?

38. Hillary Speech of a Lifetime (text 6/07/08)

39. Obamaniac Wheel of Fortune

40. Hill Can’t Buy a Thrill — What a Week It Was

41. Deja AP All Over Again: Delegates Not Released

42. Give ’em Hell, Harriet! (Interview)

43. Caucuses Fatally Flawed

44. Pelosi Prepares to Stop the Race Before Convention

45. Delegate Hijack = Party Unity Path? (Ickes Video)

46. What Me Cede? Hillary Election Night Remarks (Text)

47. Obama Opts Out At What Cost? (Video)

48. Hillary’s Remarks, AIPAC Conference, June 4, 2008

Clinton: We Will Lead with Diplomacy

Secretary of State Designate Hillary Clinton’s Opening Remarks Pt. 1 — during Senate confirmation hearing

January 13, 2009 — Hillary Clinton delivered a one-two punch in her day-long confirmation hearing for Secretary of State in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. She was knowledgeable, compassionate, and well-spoken about both the global and local issues of foreign policy and relations. Her brilliance seemed so obvious, and she was treated with respect from both sides of the aisle. I think they got that, given what’s at stake, she’s real smart-like, and has a comprehensive view with plans to boot.

Um? So what else is new? Given that, and that our country is in deep sh*t no matter which way you turn, you’d think that the American people would understand that HRC’s the only one who can save our sorry a** right now. But, noooo, I had to turn on CSPAN after the hearing, which had totaled about six-hours, to listen to what “the people” had to say. (shaking my head) I was surprised to find that because of her IDEAS, and also being a non-threat because she’s not running against anyone, the people might hear her. (sigh) We really must focus on education in this country. People are not so smart. And this evening, Sean Hannity is slammin’ her. Have you noticed lately? FOX ain’t our friends no more, folks.

In Sen. Clinton’s Confirmation Hearing: Morning, posted here earlier today, you can read her entire opening remarks.

I’m a compulsive note-taker, sometimes — on those little legal pads. I guess I could have typed this in the first place to avoid the double process, but I didn’t. I took notes as I listened to most of the Q and A, and am recapping so you don’t have to listen to all 6 or so hours. And I’m compulsive enough to not be able to move on until I transcribe these things, so I hope you find them helpful. I’m not compulsive enough however to listen back. They just don’t pay me enough for doing this. However, I highly recommend listening to the whole Q&A. It’s seriously riveting. Anyway, here’s a transcript of what I can read of my notes. I had a good day!

Senator Bob Corker to HRC: We all know that everything has a season, and this is your season.

Hillary’s main role will be as a chief dealmaker.

HC: Wants to put the State Dept. (SD) on sounder financial and management footing. She has already filled two top positions: The Principle Deputy, Jim Stenberg will be Deputy for Resources and Management, someone in that position for the first time in 10 years. He’s currently Dean, LBJ School of Government. Total job focus will be to manage the department and USAID. Second Deputy will be Jack Lew, past OMB Director. This is someone who’s accountable and who will look at the gaps.

HC: On USAID — has 1/2 the staff it used to have. The contracting agency is not an operational agency with the abilityh to deliver. Congress has given the SD a new responsibility for rebuilding and redevelopment. She is looking at CERP. Under CERP (Commander Emergency Resources Program), soldiers are given money to use in Iraq. The setup is flexible with no accountability. Whereas the SD career professionals can’t get $500 for a project.

[Ed. note: Already, even at this point in the process, I’m feeling we — our country, our world will be so much safer with HRC as SOS. She GETS everything so well.]

Sen. Russ Feingold, D-WI: Praised HRC, and stated that the Al Qaeda fight is our major concern. He asked: How will you follow-up with Barack Obama’s promise to redeploy troops in 16 months?

HC: Said we’ll begin leaving towns and villages by June and also redeploying troops to Afghanistan, so will want to have Iraqi troops in place. She expressed gratitude for the leadership of the outgoing US Iraq Ambassador.

Feingold: Darfur — what are our options?

HC: Darfur: Do a review. Have and take steps for a bold new approach. In conjunction w/ the DOD, sound the alarm of this terrible human crisis, Let the world know our plans after the review.

Feingold: Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Iran

HC: How to look at not just military review of entire policy but use Pres. Elect Obama’s “More for More” strategy. If more troops, then add more to the civilian side. Military solutions alone can’t shift the elements of resistance. We must work with the friends of Pakistan and Afghanistan to persuade them it’s THEIR future at risk, not just our fight.

Sen. Charles Lugar is questioning re: nukes.

HC: We need a rules-based framework for non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, in collaboration with other countries, so bad actors like N. Korea and Iran will be seen as the exception. Talking to the Ukraine and Serbia about gas utilities gives us a broader framework to talk about other issues. Ministers will be meeting in Europe for the NATO allies meeting.

Barbara Boxer, D-CA: If more women were in power, we’d have a better world. Clinton and Boxer began a committee to look into sex slavery, wage discrimination, and education of women worldwide. Talks about women’s plight in the world and violence against women, and, basically as per Hillary, that women’s rights are human rights.

HC: These are central issues we must address. This is criminal. Women are uneducated, underfed. We cannot have a free and progressive world if women are treated in such a violent way. She wants to use the State. Mistreatment of women around the world is crime, not custom and tradition. “We cannot have a free prosperous peaceful world if women are treated in such a discriminatory and violent way.” Women are enslaved, abused, tortured in every way. “I take responsibility to do all I can do to end this modern slavery — sex, wage slavery, primarily slavery of girls and women.”

HC continued: Women of senate, actually, She started a committee in the Senate, “Vital Voices” – Laura Bush has been outspoken for Afghani women and Aung San Suu Kyi and this will be spun off under her watch. [Ed. I don’t know what the former phrase means.] She will have an active women’s office tracking slavery and  discrimination against women worldwide.

She wants a partnership with Boxer to continue work on these issues.

Bill Nelson, D-FL: Reminded HC of issues arising in his state: Latin America, the rape of women working for contractors in Iraq, and a kidnapped contractor in Iraq who has a wife and seven kids.

HC: Does the US want to keep being a contractor or keep their contract services in house? Keeping services in-house would be cheaper and make things more accountable.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-AK: Question about will SD work with environment?

HC: State Dept. will work with environmental issues. Gives us a chance for cooperation between different departments. Cruise ships now go to Pt. Barrow, the northernmost part of the US. There will be disputes re: natural reserves ownership, and we need an international position on the oceans. Ratification of the “Law of Seas” is key. We need to figure out where our boundaries are, because these areas are now ice-free most of the year due to global warming.

Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-MD: Praising Hillary Clinton, “There couldn’t be a better person to represent our nation.” Spoke of Helsinki Commission, which he’ll now chair, and which HC was a member of. Commission was established by Pres. Gerald Ford, which then created the Helsinki Accord, which let to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

HC: Spoke of problem of refugees in Iraq and return of Iraqi refugees, of tackling the issues of population migration and refugees with a committee in the State Dept. Spoke of mineral wealth as a way to handle poverty and we must look at best practices, like Botswana.

Sen. John Kerry reported (to satisfy the reporters, he said) that an additional 138 questions were answered extensively by Sen. Clinton prior to the day’s hearing.

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-SC: How to coordinate private sector, foreign service professionals, and religious efforts with the State Dept.?

HC: Our security depends on: Defense, Diplomacy, and Development. It’s a government mission and a way of building relationship between them with governments. It’s not just foreign and civil service professionals: “Really, it’s all hands on deck.”

HC: There is no substitute for the USAID and the State Dept. She will streamline as much as possible and look at strategies, specific ideas, and partnerships. BUT, more than 10x the amount of money is going to the Defense Dept., and they are recreating the State Dept. This is because, when pressured, the military will move more quickly and they have the money. There is no substitute for seasoned diplomats and development professionals and they can work private and religious nonprofits.

HC: Stance on Israel remains that the US will not negotiate with Palestine unless it renounces violence against Israel and recognizes Israel’s right to exist as a state.

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-NY: Expresses real appreciation of Sen. Clinton. In the confirmation process, she has gone above and beyond the law in ethics. The Clinton Foundation has also shared its records above and beyond the law. He asked: Who will pursue the money and programs, fight for USAID and the State Dept. in Congress, and get foreign aid money to work as it should?

HC: Get handle on contracting out. Use committess we have in place, instead of appointing new commissions. Health, education, economic empowerment are thought of as old foreign aid. Reconstruction, rehabilitation, conflict resolution, peacekeeping is the new foreign aid. We must have both and make them efficient, and coordinated. We must move funds from the DOD to the SD, because the DOD is doing the job of the SD. In showing we can cooperate for redevelopment and diplomacy, we can change the focus of the State Dept.

[End of morning session, appx. 3 hrs. 16 minutes. I’ll post my notes of the afternoon Q&A session tomorrow.]

[h/t to PolitialNebTV for video]

Sen. Clinton’s Confirmation Hearing: Morning

Sen. Hillary Clinton is seated at the hearing

Photo by Susan Walsh / AP

January 13, 2009 — Hillary Clinton, surrounded by photographers, as she prepares to testify this morning in her confirmation hearings for Secretary of State, in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The CSPAN video, includes the morning question and answer period, during which Senator Clinton is brilliant and lays out what she will do for the country and the world. She plans to streamline and redirect resources for rebuilding and redevelopment, that have been under the purview of the DOD for the last ten years, back to the State Department.

The Senator’s full statement is reprinted below.

CLINTON: Thank you, Senator Schumer, for your generous introduction, and even more for your support and our partnership over so many years. You are a valued and trusted colleague, a friend, and a tribute to the people of New York whom you have served with such distinction throughout your career.

Mr. Chairman, I offer my congratulations as you take on this new role. You certainly have traveled quite a distance from that day in 1971 when you testified here as a young Vietnam veteran. You have never faltered in your care and concern for our nation, its foreign policy or its future, and America is in good hands with you leading this committee.

Senator Lugar, I look forward to working with you on a wide range of issues, especially those of greatest concern to you, including the Nunn-Lugar initiative.

And Senator Voinovich, I want to commend you for your service to the people of Ohio and ask for your help in the next two years on the management issues you champion.

It is an honor and a privilege to be here this morning as President-elect Obama’s nominee for Secretary of State. I am deeply grateful for the trust – and keenly aware of the responsibility – that the President-elect has placed in me to serve our country and our people at a time of such grave dangers, and great possibilities. If confirmed, I will accept the duties of the office with gratitude, humility, and firm determination to represent the United States as energetically and faithfully as I can.

At the same time I must confess that sitting across the table from so many colleagues brings me sadness too. I love the Senate. And if you confirm me for this new role, it will be hard to say good-bye to so many members, Republicans and Democrats, whom I have come to know, admire, and respect deeply, and to the institution where I have been so proud to sere on behalf of the people of New York for the past eight years.

But I assure you that I will be in frequent consultation and conversation with the members of this committee, with the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the appropriations committees, and with Congress as a whole. And I look forward to working with my good friend, Vice President-elect Biden, who has been a valued colleague in the Senate and valued chairman of this committee.

For me, consultation is not a catch-word. It is a commitment. The President-elect and I believe that we must return to the time-honored principle of bipartisanship in our foreign policy – an approach that past Presidents of both parties, as well as members of this committee, have
subscribed to and that has served our nation well. I look forward to working with all of you to renew America’s leadership through diplomacy that enhances our security, advances our interests, and reflects our values.

Today, nine years into a new century, Americans know that our nation and our world face great perils: from ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the continuing threat posed by terrorist extremists, to the spread of weapons of mass destruction; from the dangers of climate change to pandemic disease; from financial meltdown to worldwide poverty.

The seventy days since the presidential election offer fresh evidence of the urgency of these challenges. New conflict in Gaza; terrorist attacks in Mumbai; mass killings and rapes in the Congo; cholera in Zimbabwe; reports of record high greenhouse gasses and rapidly melting glaciers; and even an ancient form of terror – piracy – asserting itself in modern form off
the Horn of Africa.

Always, and especially in the crucible of these global challenges, our overriding duty is to protect and advance America’s security, interests, and values: First, we must keep our people, our nation, and our allies secure. Second, we must promote economic growth and shared prosperity at home and abroad. Finally, we must strengthen America’s position of global leadership – ensuring that we remain a positive force in the world, whether in working to preserve the health of our planet or expanding dignity and opportunity for people on the margins whose progress and prosperity will add to our own.

Our world has undergone an extraordinary transformation in the last two decades. In 1989, a wall fell and old barriers began to crumble after 40 years of a Cold War that had influenced every aspect of our foreign policy. By 1999, the rise of more democratic and open societies, the expanding reach of world markets, and the explosion of information technology had made “globalization” the word of the day. For most people, it had primarily an economic connotation, but in fact, we were already living in a profoundly interdependent world in which old rules and boundaries no longer held fast-one in which both the promise and the peril of the 21st century could not be contained by national borders or vast distances.

Economic growth has lifted more people out of poverty faster than at any time in history, but economic crises can sweep across the globe even more quickly. A coalition of nations stopped ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, but the conflict in the Middle East continues to inflame tensions from Asia to Africa. Non-state actors fight poverty, improve health, and expand education in the poorest parts of the world, while other non-state actors traffic in drugs, children, and women and kill innocent civilians across the globe.

Now, in 2009, the clear lesson of the last twenty years is that we must both combat the threats and seize the opportunities of our interdependence. And to be effective in doing so we must build a world with more partners and fewer adversaries.

America cannot solve the most pressing problems on our own, and the world cannot solve them without America. The best way to advance America’s interest in reducing global threats and seizing global opportunities is to design and implement global solutions. This isn’t a philosophical point. This is our reality.

The President-Elect and I believe that foreign policy must be based on a marriage of principles and pragmatism, not rigid ideology. On facts and evidence, not emotion or prejudice. Our security, our vitality, and our ability to lead in today’s world oblige us to recognize the overwhelming fact of our interdependence.

I believe that American leadership has been wanting, but is still wanted. We must use what has been called “smart power,” the full range of tools at our disposal — diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal, and cultural — picking the right tool, or combination of tools, for each situation. With smart power, diplomacy will be the vanguard of foreign policy. This is not a radical idea. The ancient Roman poet Terence, who was born a slave and rose to become one of the great voices of his time, declared that “in every endeavor, the seemly course for wise men is to try persuasion first.” The same truth binds wise women as well.

The President-Elect has made it clear that in the Obama Administration there will be no doubt about the leading role of diplomacy. One need only look to North Korea, Iran, the Middle East, and the Balkans to appreciate the absolute necessity of tough-minded, intelligent diplomacy – and the failures that result when that kind of diplomatic effort is absent. And one need only consider the assortment of problems we must tackle in 2009 – from fighting terrorism to climate change to global financial crises – to understand the importance of cooperative engagement.

I assure you that, if I am confirmed, the State Department will be firing on all cylinders to provide forward-thinking, sustained diplomacy in every part of the world; applying pressure and exerting leverage; cooperating with our military partners and other agencies of government; partnering effectively with NGOs, the private sector, and international organizations; using modern technologies for public outreach; empowering negotiators who can protect our interests while understanding those of our negotiating partners. There will be thousands of separate interactions, all strategically linked and coordinated to defend American security and prosperity. Diplomacy is hard work; but when we work hard, diplomacy can work, and not just to defuse tensions, but to achieve results that advance our security, interests and values.

Secretary Gates has been particularly eloquent in articulating the importance of diplomacy in pursuit of our national security and foreign policy objectives. As he notes, it’s not often that a Secretary of Defense makes the case for adding resources to the State Department and elevating the role of the diplomatic corps. Thankfully, Secretary Gates is more concerned about having a unified, agile, and effective U.S. strategy than in spending our precious time and energy on petty turf wars. As he has stated, “our civilian institutions of diplomacy and development have been chronically undermanned and underfunded for far too long,” both relative to military spending and to “the responsibilities and challenges our nation has around the world.” And to that, I say, “Amen!”

President-elect Obama has emphasized that the State Department must be fully empowered and funded to confront multi-dimensional challenges – from working with allies to thwart terrorism, to spreading health and prosperity in places of human suffering. I will speak in greater detail about that in a moment.

We should also use the United Nations and other international institutions whenever appropriate and possible. Both Democratic and Republican presidents have understood for decades that these institutions, when they work well, enhance our influence. And when they don’t work well – as in the cases of Darfur and the farce of Sudan’s election to the former UN Commission on Human Rights, for example – we should work with likeminded friends to make sure that these institutions reflect the values that motivated their creation in the first place.

We will lead with diplomacy because it’s the smart approach. But we also know that military force will sometimes be necessary, and we will rely on it to protect our people and our interests when and where needed, as a last resort.

All the while, we must remember that to promote our interests around the world, America must be an exemplar of our values. Senator Isakson made the point to me the other day that our nation must lead by example rather than edict. Our history has shown that we are most effective when we see the harmony between our interests abroad and our values at home. And I takegreat comfort in knowing that our first Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, also subscribed to that view, reminding us across the centuries: “The interests of a nation, when well understood, will be found to coincide with their moral duties.”

So while our democracy continues to inspire people around the world, we know that its influence is greatest when we live up to its teachings ourselves. Senator Lugar, I’m going to borrow your words here, because you have made this point so eloquently: You once said that “the United States cannot feed every person, lift every person out of poverty, cure every disease, or stop every conflict. But our power and status have conferred upon us a tremendous responsibility to humanity.”

Of course, we must be realistic about achieving our goals. Even under the best of circumstances, our nation cannot solve every problem or meet every global need. We don’t have unlimited time, treasure, or manpower. And we certainly don’t face the best of circumstances today, with our economy faltering and our budget deficits growing.

So to fulfill our responsibility to our children, to protect and defend our nation while honoring our values, we have to establish priorities. Now, I’m not trying to mince words here. As my colleagues in the Senate know, “establishing priorities” means making tough choices. Because those choices are so important to the American people, we must be disciplined in evaluating them — weighing the costs and consequences of our action or inaction; gauging the probability of success; and insisting on measurable results.

Right after I was nominated a friend told me: “The world has so many problems. You’ve got your work cut out for you.” Well, I agree that the problems are many and they are big. But I don’t get up every morning thinking only about the threats and dangers we face. With every challenge comes an opportunity to find promise and possibility in the face of adversity and complexity. Today’s world calls forth the optimism and can-do spirit that has marked our progress for more than two centuries.

Too often we see the ills that plague us more clearly than the possibilities in front of us. We see threats that must be thwarted; wrongs that must be righted; conflicts that must be calmed. But not the partnerships that can be promoted; the rights that can be reinforced; the innovations that can be fostered; the people who can be empowered.

After all, it is the real possibility of progress-of that better life, free from fear and want and discord-that offers our most compelling message to the rest of the world.

I’ve had the chance to lay out and submit my views on a broad array of issues in written responses to questions from the committee, so in this statement I will outline some of the major challenges we face and some of the major opportunities we see.

First, President-Elect Obama is committed to responsibly ending the war in Iraq and employing a broad strategy in Afghanistan that reduces threats to our safety and enhances the prospect of stability and peace.

Right now, our men and women in uniform, our diplomats, and our aid workers are risking their lives in those two countries. They have done everything we have asked of them and more. But, over time we have seen that our larger interests will be best served by safely and responsibly withdrawing our troops from Iraq, supporting a transition to full Iraqi responsibility for their sovereign nation, rebuilding our overtaxed military, and reaching out to other nations to help stabilize the region and to employ a broader arsenal of tools to fight terrorism.

Equally important will be a comprehensive plan using all elements of our power – diplomacy, development, and defense – to work with those in Afghanistan and Pakistan who want to root out al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and other violent extremists who threaten them as well as us in what President- Elect Obama has called the central front in the fight against terrorism. We need to deepen our engagement with these and other countries in the region and pursue policies that improve the lives of the Afghan and Pakistani people.

As we focus on Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, we must also actively pursue a strategy of smart power in the Middle East that addresses the security needs of Israel and the legitimate political and economic aspirations of the Palestinians; that effectively challenges Iran to end its nuclear weapons program and sponsorship of terror, and persuades both Iran and Syria to abandon their dangerous behavior and become constructive regional actors; that strengthens our relationships with Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, other Arab states, with Turkey, and with our partners in the Gulf to involve them in securing a lasting peace in the region.

As intractable as the Middle East’s problems may seem – and many Presidents, including my husband, have spent years trying to help work out a resolution – we cannot give up on peace. The President-Elect and I understand and are deeply sympathetic to Israel’s desire to defend itself under the current conditions, and to be free of shelling by Hamas rockets.

However, we have also been reminded of the tragic humanitarian costs of conflict in the Middle East, and pained by the suffering of Palestinian and Israeli civilians. This must only increase our determination to seek a just and lasting peace agreement that brings real security to Israel; normal and positive relations with its neighbors; and independence, economic progress, and security to the Palestinians in their own state.

We will exert every effort to support the work of Israelis and Palestinianswho seek that result. It is critical not only to the parties involved but to our profound interests in undermining the forces of alienation and violent extremism across our world.

Terrorism remains a serious threat and we must have a comprehensive strategy, leveraging intelligence, diplomacy, and military assets to defeat al- Qaeda and like-minded terrorists by rooting out their networks and drying up support for their violent and nihilistic extremism. The gravest threat that America faces is the danger that weapons of mass destruction will fall into the hands of terrorists. To ensure our future security, we must curb the biological, chemical, or cyber – while we take the lead in working with others to reduce current nuclear stockpiles and prevent the development and use of dangerous new weaponry.

Therefore, while defending against the threat of terrorism, we will also seize the parallel opportunity to get America back in the business of engaging other nations to reduce stockpiles of nuclear weapons. We will work with Russia to secure their agreement to extend essential monitoring and verification provisions of the START Treaty before it expires in December 2009, and we will work toward agreements for further reductions in nuclear weapons. We will also work with Russia to take U.S. and Russian missiles off hair-trigger alert, act with urgency to prevent proliferation in North Korea and Iran, secure loose nuclear weapons and materials, and shut down the market for selling them – as Senator Lugar has done for so many years. The Non Proliferation Treaty is the cornerstone of the nonproliferation regime, and the United States must exercise the leadership needed to shore up the regime. So, we will work with this committee and the Senate toward ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and reviving negotiations on a verifiable Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty.

Today’s security threats cannot be addressed in isolation. Smart power requires reaching out to both friends and adversaries, to bolster old alliances and to forge new ones.

That means strengthening the alliances that have stood the test of time- especially with our NATO partners and our allies in Asia. Our alliance with Japan is a cornerstone of American policy in Asia, essential to maintaining peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region, and based on shared values and mutual interests. We also have crucial economic and security partnerships with South Korea, Australia, and other friends in ASEAN. We will build on our economic and political partnership with India, the world’s most populous democracy and a nation with growing influence in the world.

Our traditional relationships of confidence and trust with Europe will be deepened. Disagreements are inevitable, even among the closest friends, but on most global issues we have no more trusted allies. The new administration will have a chance to reach out across the Atlantic to leaders in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and others across the continent, including the new democracies. When America and Europe work together, global objectives are well within our means.

President-Elect Obama and I seek a future of cooperative engagement with the Russian government on matters of strategic importance, while standing up strongly for American values and international norms. China is a critically important actor in a changing global landscape. We want a positive and cooperative relationship with China, one where we deepen and strengthen our ties on a number of issues, and candidly address differences where they persist.

But this a not one-way effort – much of what we will do depends on the choices China makes about its future at home and abroad. With both Russia and China, we should work together on vital security and economic issues like terrorism, proliferation, climate change, and reforming financial markets.

The world is now in the cross currents of the most severe global economic contraction since the Great Depression. The history of that crisis teaches us the consequences of diplomatic failures and uncoordinated reactions. Yet history alone is an insufficient guide; the world has changed too much. We have already seen that this crisis extends beyond the housing and banking sectors, and our solutions will have to be as wide in scope as the causes themselves, taking into account the complexities of the global economy, the geopolitics involved, and the likelihood of continued political and economic repercussions from the damage already done.

But here again, as we work to repair the damage, we can find new ways of working together. For too long, we have merely talked about the need to engage emerging powers in global economic governance; the time to take action is upon us. The recent G-20 meeting was a first step, but developing patterns of sustained engagement will take hard work and careful negotiation. We know that emerging markets like China, India, Brazil, South Africa, and Indonesia are feeling the effects of the current crisis. We all stand to benefit in both the short and long term if they are part of the solution, and become partners in maintaining global economic stability.

In our efforts to return to economic growth here in the United States, we have an especially critical need to work more closely with Canada, our largest trading partner, and Mexico, our third largest. Canada and Mexico are also our biggest suppliers of imported energy. More broadly, we must build a deeper partnership with Mexico to address the shared danger arising from drug-trafficking and the challenges of our border, an effort begun this week with a meeting between President-elect Obama and President Calderon.

Throughout our hemisphere we have opportunities to enhance cooperation to meet common economic, security and environmental objectives that affect us all. We will return to a policy of vigorous engagement throughout Latin America, seeking deeper understanding and broader engagement with nations from the Caribbean to Central to South America. Not only do we share common political, economic and strategic interests with our friends to the south, our relationship is also enhanced by many shared ancestral and cultural legacies. We are looking forward to working on many issues during the Summit of the Americas in April and taking up the President-Elect’s call for a new energy partnership of the Americas built around shared technology and new investments in renewable energy.

In Africa, the foreign policy objectives of the Obama administration are rooted in security, political, economic, and humanitarian interests, including: combating al Qaeda’s efforts to seek safe havens in failed states in the Horn of Africa; helping African nations to conserve their natural resources and reap fair benefits from them; stopping war in Congo; ending autocracy in Zimbabwe and human devastation in Darfur; supporting African democracies like South Africa and Ghana–which just had its second change of power in democratic elections; and working aggressively to reach the Millennium Development Goals in health, education, and economic opportunity.

Many significant problems we face challenge not just the United States, but all nations and peoples. You, Mr. Chairman, were among the first, in a growing chorus from both parties, to recognize that climate change is an unambiguous security threat. At the extreme it threatens our very existence, but well before that point, it could very well incite new wars of an old kind-over basic resources like food, water, and arable land. The world is in need of an urgent, coordinated response to climate change and, as President- Elect Obama has said, America must be a leader in developing and implementing it. We can lead abroad through participation in international efforts like the upcoming UN Copenhagen Climate Conference and a Global Energy Forum. We can lead at home by pursuing an energy policy that reduces our carbon emissions while reducing our dependence on foreign oil and gas-which will benefit the fight against climate change and enhance our economy and security.

The great statesman and general George Marshall noted that our gravest enemies are often not nations or doctrines, but “hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos.” To create more friends and fewer enemies, we can’t just win wars. We must find common ground and common purpose with other peoples and nations so that together we can overcome hatred, violence, lawlessness, and despair.

The Obama administration recognizes that, even when we cannot fully agree with some governments, we share a bond of humanity with their people. By investing in that common humanity we advance our common security because we pave the way for a more peaceful, prosperous world.

Mr. Chairman, you were one of the first to underscore the importance of our involvement in the global AIDS fight. And you have worked very hard on this issue for many years. Now, thanks to a variety of efforts-including President Bush’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief as well as the work of NGOs and foundations-the United States enjoys widespread support in public opinion polls in many African countries. This is true even among Muslim populations in Tanzania and Kenya, where America is seen as a leader in the fight against AIDS, malaria, and TB.

We have an opportunity to build on this success by partnering with NGOs to help expand the infrastructure of health clinics in Africa so that more people can have access to life-saving drugs, fewer mothers transmit HIV to their children, and fewer lives are lost.

And we can generate even more goodwill through other kinds of social investment, by working effectively with international organizations and NGO partners to build schools and train teachers, and by ensuring that children are free from hunger and exploitation so that they can attend those schools and pursue their dreams for the future. This is why the President- Elect supports a Global Education Fund to bolster secular education around the world.

I want to take a moment to emphasize the importance of a “bottom-up” approach to ensuring that America remains a positive force in the world. The President-elect and I believe in this strongly. Investing in our common humanity through social development is not marginal to our foreign policy but integral to accomplishing our goals.

Today more than two billion people worldwide live on less than $2 a day. They are facing rising food prices and widespread hunger. Calls for expanding civil and political rights in countries plagued by mass hunger and disease will fall on deaf ears unless democracy actually delivers material benefits that improve people’s lives while weeding out the corruption that too often stands in the way of progress.

Our foreign policy must reflect our deep commitment to the cause of making human rights a reality for millions of oppressed people around the world. Of particular concern to me is the plight of women and girls, who comprise the majority of the world’s unhealthy, unschooled, unfed, and unpaid. If half of the world’s population remains vulnerable to economic, political, legal, and social marginalization, our hope of advancing democracy and prosperity will remain in serious jeopardy. We still have a long way to go and the United States must remain an unambiguous and unequivocal voice in support of women’s rights in every country, every region, on every continent.

As a personal aside, I want to mention that President-elect Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, was a pioneer in microfinance in Indonesia. In my own work on microfinance around the world – from Bangladesh to Chile to Vietnam to South Africa and many other countries — I’ve seen firsthand how small loans given to poor women to start small businesses can raise standards of living and transform local economies. President-elect Obama’s mother had planned to attend a microfinance forum at the Beijing women’s conference in 1995 that I participated in. Unfortunately, she was very ill and couldn’t travel and sadly passed away a few months later. But I think it’s fair to say that her work in international development, the care and concern she showed for women and for poor people around the world, mattered greatly to her son, and certainly has informed his views and his vision. We will be honored to carry on Ann Dunham’s work in the months and years ahead.

I’ve discussed a few of our top priorities and I know we’ll address many more in the question-and-answer session. But I suspect that even this brief overview offers a glimpse of the daunting, and crucial, challenges we face, as well as the opportunities before us. President-elect Obama and I pledge to work closely with this Committee and the Congress to forge a bipartisan,
integrated, results-oriented sustainable foreign policy that will restore American leadership to confront these challenges, serve our interests, and advance our values.

Ensuring that our State Department is functioning at its best will be absolutely essential to America’s success. This is a top priority of mine, of my colleagues’ on the national security team, and of the President-elect’s. He believes strongly that we need to invest in our civilian capacity to conduct vigorous American diplomacy, provide the kind of foreign assistance I’ve mentioned, reach out to the world, and operate effectively alongside our military.

I realize that the entire State Department bureaucracy in Thomas Jefferson’s day consisted of a chief clerk, three regular clerks, and a messenger – and his entire budget was $56,000 a year. But over the past 219 years the world, and the times, have certainly changed. Now the department consists of foreign service officers, the civil service, and locally engaged staff working at Foggy Bottom, in offices across our country, and at some 260 posts around the world. And today, USAID carries out a critical development mission that is essential to representing our values across the globe.

These public servants are too often unsung heroes. They are in the trenches putting our policies and values to work in an increasingly complicated and dangerous world. Many risk their lives, and some lose their lives, in service to our nation. And they need and deserve the resources, training, and support to succeed.

I know this committee, and I hope the American public, understand that right now foreign service officers, civil service professionals, and development experts are doing work essential to our nation’s strength – whether helping American businesses make inroads in new markets; being on the other end of the phone at a United States embassy when an American citizen needs help beyond our shores; doing the delicate work of diplomacy and development with foreign governments that leads to arms control and trade agreements, peace treaties and post-conflict reconstruction, greater human rights and empowerment, broader cultural understanding and stronger alliances.

The State Department is a large, multi-dimensional organization. But it is not a placid or idle bureaucracy, as some would like to paint it. It is an outpost for American values that protects our citizens and safeguards our democratic institutions in times both turbulent and tame. State Department employees also offer a lifeline of hope and help – often the only lifeline – for people in foreign lands who are oppressed, silenced, and marginalized.

Whether they are an economic officer in a large embassy, or an aid worker in the field, or a clerk in a distant consulate or a country officer working late in Washington, they do their work so that we may all live in peace and security. We must not shortchange them, or ourselves, by denying them the resources they need.

One of my first priorities is to make sure that the State Department and USAID have the resources they need, and I will be back to make the case to Congress for full funding of the President’s budget request. At the same time, I will work just as hard to make sure that we manage those resources prudently so that we fulfill our mission efficiently and effectively.

In concluding, I hope you will indulge me one final observation. Like most Americans, I never had the chance to travel widely outside our country as a child or young adult. Most of my early professional career was as a lawyer and advocate for children and who found themselves on society’s margins here at home. But during the eight years of my husband’s presidency, and then in my eight years as a Senator, I have been privileged to travel on behalf of the United States to more than 80 countries.

I’ve had the opportunity to get to know many world leaders. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee I’ve spent time with our military commanders, as well as our brave troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I have immersed myself in an array of military issues. I’ve spent many hours with American and non-American aid workers, businessmen and women, religious leaders, teachers, doctors, nurses, students, volunteers and others who have made it their mission to help people across the world. I have also learned invaluable lessons from countless ordinary citizens in foreign capitals, small towns, and rural villages whose lives offered a glimpse into a world far removed from what many of us experience on a daily basis here in America.

In recent years, as other nations have risen to compete for military, economic, and political influence, some have argued that we have reached the end of the “American moment” in world history. I disagree. Yes, the conventional paradigms have shifted. But America’s success has never been solely a function of our power; it has always been inspired by our values.

With so many troubles here at home and across the world, millions of peopleare still trying to come to our country — legally and illegally. Why? Because we are guided by unchanging truths: that all people are created equal; that each person has a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And in these truths we will find, as we have for more than two centuries, the courage, the discipline, and the creativity to meet the challenges of this everchanging world.

I am humbled to be a public servant, and honored by the responsibility placed on me by our President-Elect, who embodies the American Dream not only here at home but far beyond our shores.

No matter how daunting our challenges may be, I have a steadfast faith in our country and our people, and I am proud to be an American at the dawning of this new American moment.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, for granting me your time and attention today. I know there is a lot more territory to cover and I’d be delighted to answer your questions.

(from CBS)

[h/t to myiq at The Confluence]

False Profits

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.  — Matthew 7:15

R-Alabama, Spencer Bachus said that investors are not aware of the differential between brokers, financial planners, broker dealers, investment advisers in how they are

The accounting firm handling Madoff’s 50 billion enterprise was a three-person shop operating out of a storefront. . . .

What is needed is a statuatory and regulatory structure for the 21st century.

Ron Paul said we can’t solve the problem by throwing more regulations and money at the problem.

Yes, that statement was uttered during the House Committee hearings on Bernard Madoff Fraud Allegations & Financial Markets Regulation, today January 5, 2009. Stephen Harbeck, President, Security Insurance Protection Corporation (SIPC) said that some of what people lost were “false profits” when he was questioned by Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-Long Island, NY. Wasn’t caught because gains looked like a steady hand over time rather than spectacular winner. I just couldn’t resist the irony of that homonym.

Brad Sherman, D-Sherman Oaks, CA. Basically, he’s saying 1.5 bil minus what’s lost on Madoff case. Standing behind over 1 trillion in accounts, but 1.5 would wipe them out. The insurance company doesn’t have capital to pay people back.

SEC didn’t correctly handle significant tips it received, what is going to be done?

“It ain’t me, babe,” says David Kotz, SEC Inspector General. He wasn’t sure if regulations were in place to protect the consumer investor. He’s not sure. He says they have to look at this or that, he doesn’t know. It’s pathetic. We need to find out how this could happen. He just looks like a scared bird and kiss ass to me. How could he not know or have seen the red flags. He wants to do an overview? Where were they till now?

“We investigate after the fact.” — Grastley asked sec to do audit of bear stearns, as they may have missed fraud there, but they didn’t.

To my knowledge, there’s no record of any complaint to my SEC office about Madoff. Investigation wasn’t reported to the chairman’s attention. I head office of insp gen, which is separate from the investigation commission. chairman wanted him to find out why the info regarding the madoff investigation was brought from the enforcement to the chairman or other commissions.

Madoff is accused of filing false financial statements for years put forth by a tiny accounting firm. If I die you’re supposed to pay off – finra and fec are supposed to do the fraud finding.

False profits means the losses and gains may be fake. Takes one investor’s money and gives it to another investor’s money, making it look like something is happening.

Forms were filled out, but were they complying with the law? What over orgs that the SEC audits, enforces also might not have had these other [accounting situations/red flags] and are problematic — OR PEOPLE WON’T INVEST. THEY’VE LOST THEIR LIFE SAVINGS.

Madoff put all money into treasuries at end of each month, so could escape being looked at, as it would have been for securities — i.e., therefore, these monies and transfers were not being reported, flew under the radar.

Bloomberg TV Interview with Former SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt prior to 1/05/09 Hearing Focused on SEC’s Role in the Madoff Scandal

Vodpod videos no longer available.


The whole 1/05/08 Madoff hearing, warts n all, from CSPAN. Press play while doing a mindless chore. If anything, I’m leaving it up, because it was a personal technical achievement, my first easily successful vodpod embed. Thank you very much.

Alexandra Penny Story

http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/01/09/madoff.alexandra.penney/index.html?iref=mpstoryview

Make Your Vote Count . . . in the Weblog Awards

I’m a bit lax on posting this, but it’s not too late!

You can make your vote count . . . in the Weblog Awards, although you may have residual doubt that it counted in the, you know, 2008 Presidential race.

Well, we’ll see about that. Although The Confluence has tens of thousands of views per day, it’s been experiencing the very same slander from Obots that Hillary Clinton, PUMAs and other supporters received during the primaries and general election cycle. The PUMA world has been under attack, as Uppity shows here and Dakinikat here,  but “attention is energy,” so I’m not going to send any more to the Obots.

The Confluence, where I’m a contributing writer, is up for Best Liberal Blog. You can vote at the handy links provided below, or click the badges on the upper right sidebar to vote for TC or Uppity Woman.

Voting ends on January 13. You can vote for your choice in each category once every 24 hours. So, yes, vote every day! As they say: vote early and often. Have at it.

For Best Liberal Blog, vote for The Confluence here

For Best New Blog, vote for Uppity Woman here

For Best Small Blog, vote for Nice Deb here

For Best Hidden Gem, vote for Deadenders here

For Best Food Blog, vote for Cake Wrecks here

For Best Pet Blog, vote for F**k You, Penguin here

For Best Podcast, vote for This American Life or NPR’s Planet Money here.

[h/t to Riverdaughter for her selections and links]

TIME picks PUMA for #8 Buzzword of ’08

Apparently our efforts to rub salt in the wounds of the Democratic machine and MSM in 2008 are not as insignificant as our detractors have claimed (or wished) they were throughout 2008. On December 31, 2008, John Cloud of TIME Magazine named PUMA #8 of their Top Ten Buzzwords of 2008. Here’s his description, but hey, what can I say, it’s about TIME. The list is part of their Top Ten Everything of 2008.

PUMA:

An acronym for “party unity my ass,” this term was the rallying cry of Clinton supporters who backed her candidacy even after many party leaders called for consensus around Obama in order to ensure a unified Democratic front going into the general election. As Barrett of doubletongued.org points out, PUMAs hoped to bring the Clinton-Obama fight “to a head-to-head smackdown vote at the [Democratic] convention.” Instead, Clinton threw her support to Obama well before the convention. This word, which disproportionately described female voters, recalls TIME’s 2007 buzzword of the year: cougar, i.e., an older woman seeking younger men.

I especially like the last sentence, when PUMA is compared to hot ‘n horny older women who seek younger men. (they know me so well) Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the nomination. What kind of free publicity is that for us? Good, very good. However, isn’t the comparison the perfect illustration of what we’ve been saying all year about sexism, the supposedly liberal Dem Party, and the MSM?

Here’s the rest of the list, so you can see if you’d like to read the descriptions in their presentation. I’ll admit that I’m just getting caught up with some of the terms. For instance, Rickrolled. I didn’t get the meaning of an old Rick Astley music video in the middle of Uncle Jay’s year-end wrap up video (posted here at LBNYC.) That is, until New Year’s eve, when my 11-year-old friend, Dave, explained the whole phenomenon to me at his folks’ party, sending him into absolute hysterics. So PUMA is just under that on the list, and one of five politically-related terms.

  1. Change
  2. Bailout
  3. Hockey mom
  4. Fist bump
  5. Nuke the fridge
  6. Staycation
  7. Rickrolled
  8. PUMA
  9. Tweet
  10. Topless Meeting

Hey, I think it’s great! Not bad for a movement that’s only been in operation for 6 months, all the while being discounted by the subjects of its protests.

[h/t to dakinikat for her coverage of this news at The Confluence.]