- Created on 11 October 2013
In this Oct. 7, 2013, photo. the U.S. Capitol is reflected during rain in Washington. Americans are finding little they like about President Barack Obama or either political party, according to a new poll that suggests the possibility of a "throw the bums out" mentality in next year's midterm elections. (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans are fed up with Washington and spreading derision around to President Barack Obama and both political parties, according to a new poll that could sound a warning for incumbents of all political stripes going into next year's midterm election.
Negativity historically hurts the party in power — particularly when it occurs in the second term of a presidency — but this round seems to be hitting everyone, and Republicans even harder. The AP-GfK poll finds about 7 in 10 view the Republican Party and the tea party movement unfavorably, while about half have an unfavorable view of the president and his Democratic Party.
The numbers offer warning signs for every lawmaker running for re-election, and if these angry sentiments stretch into next year, the 2014 elections could feel much like the 2006 and 2010 midterms when being affiliated with Washington was considered toxic by many voters. In 2006, voters booted Republicans from power in the House and Senate, and in 2010, they fired Democrats who had been controlling the House.
"There needs to be a major change," said Pam Morrison, 56, of Lincoln, Neb., among those who were surveyed. "I'm anxious for the next election to see what kind of new blood we can get."
The poll taken Oct. 3-7 finds few people approve of the way Obama is handling most major issues, and most people say he's not decisive, strong, honest, reasonable or inspiring.
In the midst of the government shutdown and Washington gridlock, the president is faring much better than his party, with large majorities of those surveyed finding little positive to say about Democrats. The negatives are even higher for the Republicans across the board, with 4 out of 5 people describing the GOP as unlikeable and dishonest and not compassionate, refreshing, inspiring or innovative.
More people now say they see bigger differences between the two parties than before Obama was elected, yet few like what either side is offering. A big unknown: possible fallout from the unresolved budget battle in Washington.
Morrison describes herself as a conservative Republican and said she is very concerned about how her adult children are going to afford insurance under Obama's health care law. She places most of the blame for the shutdown on the president, but she also disapproves of the job Congress is doing. "I don't think they're working together," Morrison said.
"Congress needs to take a look at their salaries, they need to take a cut to their salaries and they need to feel some of the pain the American people are feeling," said Morrison, who is married to a government worker who, she said, has been deemed essential and is still on the job.
People across the political spectrum voiced disappointment.
Suzanne Orme, a 74-year-old retiree and self-described liberal who lives in California's Silicon Valley, says the shutdown is more the Republican Party's fault. "The Republicans seem to be a bunch of morons who aren't going to give in for anything. I just don't get it with them. They are just crazy," she said.
But she also said she strongly disapproves of the way Obama is handling his job and doesn't find him likable, decisive, strong, honest, compassionate, refreshing, ethical, inspiring or reasonable. The only positive attribute she gave him was innovative.
"It sounds like he's kind of weak. He says one thing and does another," Orme said after taking the survey. For example, she said Obama hasn't made good on his promise to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and changed his position on whether people should be penalized for failing to get health insurance.
"I voted for him, and he's turned out to be a big disappointment," she said. "I mean, what's the alternative?" Orme said it just seems to her that Washington is run by lobbyists and consumed by financial greed.
A bad sign for Democrats is that Obama has bled support among independents — 60 percent disapprove of the way Obama is handling his job, while only 16 percent approve. As he began his second term in January, independents tilted positive, 48 percent approved and 39 percent disapproved.
Obama has held onto support from Carol Cox, a 59-year-old independent from Hartville, Ohio, who says she feels the president helps people in need. She is happy to see his health care law that offers coverage to the uninsured and to people with pre-existing conditions, although she thinks the rollout could have been better. "I think he's doing an OK job," she said of the president.
But she is not happy with either party in Congress. She said the shutdown is affecting her family's investments, and she's concerned about the future of Social Security. "I'm really angry and frustrated. I can't believe how mad I am about this."
As for next year's congressional election, she said, "I would love to see just a total turnover."
The AP-GfK Poll was conducted Oct. 3-7, 2013, using KnowledgePanel, GfK's probability-based online panel. It involved online interviews with 1,227 adults and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points for all respondents.
The survey was designed to be representative of the U.S. population. Respondents to the survey were first selected randomly using phone or mail survey methods and later interviewed online. Those who didn't otherwise have access to the Internet were provided with the ability to get online at no cost.
- Created on 10 October 2013
In an agony of stupidity, the government shuts down.
Only some of it shuts down, of course. The part that stays open is the part that's at war. "Those of you in uniform will remain on your normal duty status," the president said. "The threats to our national security have not changed, and we need you to be ready for any contingency. Ongoing...
- Created on 07 October 2013
by Aubrey J. Lynch
The title is a quote by Bill Cosby in a speech given on May 17, 2004 at an event sponsored by the NAACP commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Brown vs Board of Education. Mr. Cosby's point was, and continues to be, that black people need to take a good look at themselves and end what he believes to be our destructive practices that, in the considered opinion of Mr. Cosby, is at the root of the suffering of black people in America.
This phenomenally successful entertainer, entrepreneur, scholar and family man, holds the strong and well-publicized opinion that black people should pull up their pants, put their caps on straight, study hard, speak English correctly, take care of their children, conform to the norms of the US society and, by all means, stop blaming white people. If black people will do all of these things, then they can become full-fledged, productive members of this great nation. After all, Dr. Cosby is black and look how successful he has become.
I have tested variations of these sentiments with my own contemporaries, black males who graduated from college in the years between 1962 and 1972. I am completely disheartened by the prevalence of this kind of thinking among successful people. I have not yet heard one who goes beyond such thinking to examine the structural, cultural, societal and political determinants of success in America, especially in the years in question. To be fair, in a meaningful examination, we must limit our analysis to a well-defined period, since changes in society at large produce major changes in how people are likely to interpret cause and effect.
"You can't blame white people." The statement is a protest against the often heard lament, "White oppression is the cause of black troubles." Those who graduated in the early sixties would have lived to see, experience or hear lurid tales of the random terror inflicted on blacks by virtually any white person who chose to attack. The attack could be for whatever infraction the white person perceived or for no discernible reason. The society was structured such that there was no recourse for the injured black person. The white person was always deemed to be justified. Those of us who were in their formative years through the forties and fifties, have been seared with the terror that contact with white people could bring. A southern drawl, country music, the rebel flag, white hoods, burning crosses and stories of "strange fruit.," caused reactions in black people as predictable as a bell within hearing range of Pavlov's dogs. Black people know quite well the abuse of which a traditional white mindset is capable. It is, in effect, white terrorism.
In a society in which terrorists surround and torment their helpless victims, one would expect that mental illness would be rampant among the victims. I do not know of any investigation into the reasons why black people, as a culture, did not succumb to widespread mental illness, but instead, found ways to cope, to adjust, to endure, to survive, and then to prosper. They were able to do this in spite of being immersed in an unremitting sea of degradation and terror for which white people were solely, obviously and even proudly responsible. Arguably, that propensity to terrorize blacks still operates, though hidden, subtle, coded and plausibly deniable. Black people feel it intensely, even as whites deny it exists.
Those of us who lived through that period of open terrorism and survived to see the remarkable changes that have occurred in a lifetime, are often well aware that the changes did not come cheaply or as a result of an excess of humanity among white people. The fight has been long, often brutal and with many dead ends on the path to the current day. The terrorism could have resulted in symptoms among black people akin to post traumatic stress syndrome. A form of mental illness. Instead of a mental illness, the reactions of black people to the terrorists who surround us have resulted in behavior that does not conform to the norms of the dominant white society. These are the behaviors that Dr. Cosby describes and condemns.
My observation is that young black people know quite well that since both whites and successful blacks are telling them that they are wrong and to help themselves, there is no help on the way.
The good Dr. Cosby knows that history as well as I or any other black person who lived to feel the terror. For those, like Dr. Cosby, who are not only brilliant and talented, but likely had the benefit of circumstances that they don't think to mention, it is easy to give what they believe to be solid explanations for why the burden of picking oneself up rests solely on the backs of the downtrodden. However, it does not speak well of one who is so wealthy and secure to take it upon himself to admonish so publicly and persistently those who must survive under a continuing onslaught of criticism without help.
I would expect a great deal more than that from such a revered figure.
- Created on 07 October 2013
In order to fund the government, Congress needs to figure out what they're doing with this spending bill. As of today, they still haven't come up with a solution, leaving the government shutdown for a full week now. This is the first shutdown since that one 17 years ago where Monica Lewinskry single-handedly saved the world, or something like it.
Come October 17th, if still under this shutdown, the government faces a limitation on being able to borrow funds the way we have been. The debt limit needs to be raised and if Congress doesn't raise the limit, America will default on $16.7 trillion of dollars of debt we've accumulated. This sounds awful, right? That's because it is. It's being reported that this unprecedented unpaid debt would create a global market chaos. It's almost like the government's spending bill and debt limit are merging into one big old messy problem with hardly any solution (that either party wants to submit to) in sight.
Still at the midst of this indecision is House Speaker, John Boehner's refusal to raise the limit without having a conversation with President Obama about the U.S.'s spending habits. Boehner knows that the U.S. is on the path to an economic crash if he doesn't raise the debt ceiling, but he says it's up to Obama at this point. "All he has to do is pick up the phone. I'm ready to talk; I've been ready to talk," Boehner says. "I'm willing to sit down and have a conversation with the president, but his refusal to negotiate is putting our country at risk," he said.
In an interview that aired on ABC's "This Week," Boehner maintained the GOP position that Democrats must agree to partially dismantling or delaying Obamacare as a condition of re-opening the government. The Democrats do not agree, but are willing to negotiate. Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer claims that his party is willing to talk, "This is playing with fire, and we're happy to negotiate, but we want to negotiate without a gun to our head."
Let's hope Republicans and Democrats can come together on this spending bill and fully open the government so that we can all get on with our lives. Can't we all just get along?!
- Created on 04 October 2013
U.S. Capitol Police on motorcycles sit in front of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. The U.S. Capitol was temporarily locked down today after reports of gunfire outside the building. A female suspect was taken to a hospital after being shot by police, said Terrance Gainer, the Senate sergeant-at-arms. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images | Facebook
Several new reports point to possible motives for what caused a Connecticut woman to lead police on a car chase that ended in her death on Thursday.
"Law enforcement sources" told NBC News that Miriam Carey, 34, may have thought President Barack Obama was stalking her.
The sources also said Carey had a history of mental health issues. A law enforcement source told CNN that authorities found drugs at Carey's home used to treat schizophrenia and other mental disorders.
CBS News reports that Carey was fired from her job as a dental hygienist after she argued with her bosses over a handicapped parking space they felt she didn't need.
Carey's mother, Idella Carey, also told ABC News her daughter was suffering from post-partum depression.
On Thursday, police said Carey led them on a chase from the White House past the Capitol before being shot and killed by authorities.
"I'm pretty confident this was not an accident," Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said, according to the Associated Press.
Authorities don't suspect terrorism was a motive for Carey's actions.