It's been one year since President Obama defeated John McCain and rode into office promising "change we can believe in."
So – what has he done in the first year?
Some say Mr. Obama's biggest accomplishments have been keeping the financial crisis from becoming worse... and improving America's image abroad.
Democrats credit the $787 billion economic stimulus package with rescuing the economy... although Republicans call it a big waste... and with nearly 10 percent unemployment, the country is still waiting for the jobs to come back.
The president and Congress have spent most of the first year wrestling with health care reform and if we get anything at all – it's probably going to fall far short of meaningful reform.
Meanwhile President Obama has done nothing to regulate Wall Street or close the nation's borders. The deficits are beyond absurd. The wars continue – as does most of the government secrecy left over from the Bush administration.
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With Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats unveiling their 1,990 page health care reform bill – it made us wonder about other landmark pieces of legislation in U.S. history and how long they were.
As Sarah Palin prepares to release her memoir next month, it seems like so much of her life is already an open book. Palin - who quit as Governor of Alaska in the middle of her first term - has been having a nasty public battle with the father of her grandson.
Levi Johnston - the former boyfriend of Palin's daughter, Bristol - says Sarah Palin describes her son Trig, who has Down syndrome, as "retarded." Johnston also claims to know a lot more about what went on in the Palin household - so presumably, there is more tabloid trash to come.
Sarah Palin is pushing back - calling Johnston's claim "inflammatory," and saying Trig is their "blessed little angel" who knows it and is lovingly called that every day of his life.
Palin also suggests that Johnston - who is preparing for a photo shoot with Playgirl Magazine - is desperate for publicity. Sort of like Sarah Palin is.
Some Democrats are calling it the "Obama hangover."
Even with President Obama on the campaign trail, at fund-raising events and taping TV ads for many state and local candidates – it seems like the electricity of the 2008 campaign is a distant memory.
The Los Angeles Times reports how much tougher it is to get people fired up to volunteer and vote Democrat this time around. And, as President Obama tries to address health care, the economy and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – some of his decisions may not sit well with voters at the local level.
A lot of eyes are on the races for governor in New Jersey and Virginia; and a congressional race in upstate New York's 23rd district.
With election day a week away – things aren't looking so hot for Democrat Creigh Deeds in Virginia... One new poll shows him trailing Republican Bob McConnell by 11 points. Meanwhile – White House officials have been complaining about the quality of Deeds' campaign... gee, think they're trying to distance themselves from him?
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A majority of gun owners think President Obama wants to ban gun sales.
A new Gallup poll shows 55 percent of those who own a gun, 53 percent who have a gun in the household, and 41 percent of all Americans believe he will attempt to ban the sale of guns while he is president.
This concern is greater among Republicans and people living in the South and Midwest than among Democrats or those living on either coast.
It also helps explain the sharp increases in sales of guns and ammunition. There are reports that U.S. bullet-makers are working around the clock and still can't keep up with the demand for ammunition. Shooting ranges and gun dealers say they've never seen such shortages.
However, President Obama has never said - as a candidate or as president - that he intends to push for a ban of gun sales. The president has said that he believes in the Second Amendment and that "lawful gun owners have nothing to fear." In May, he signed a law allowing people to carry loaded guns in national parks.
Nonetheless, gun rights advocates point to Mr. Obama's record as a state legislator and U.S. senator where he "voted for the most stringent forms of gun control."
When it comes to Afghanistan, the Obama White House keeps pointing fingers at President Bush. Although the war is in its ninth year - they make it sound like things are back to square one.
Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel says President Obama is asking the questions that have never been asked on the civilian side, the political side, the military side and the strategic side - a not-so-thinly-veiled reference to Obama's predecessor.
As President Obama continues to delay his decision whether to send as many as 40,000 more troops into battle - the latest excuse is the runoff election in Afghanistan - the tide is turning against the war here at home.
A new CNN-Opinion Research Corporation Poll shows 59 percent of Americans are opposed to sending more troops into Afghanistan...only 39 percent support sending troops – and 28 percent say we should withdraw all U.S. forces.
The Obama White House may have started another war it can't win.
On yesterday's Sunday talk shows - Senior Adviser David Axelrod said of Fox News, "It's not really news. It's pushing a point of view.” And he asked that other news organizations not treat Fox like it's news.
The president's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, also said Fox is "not a news organization so much as it has a perspective."
This all started when White House communications director Anita Dunn called Fox an arm of the Republican Party and said the Obama administration would treat the cable news network as they would an "opponent."
Dunn is now in a dust-up with Fox News' Glenn Beck, concerning a speech where she quoted Communist leader Mao Tse Tung. Beck calls that "insanity."
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Americans are mad as hell… and they're keeping both big business and government in the crosshairs. The Wall Street Journal reports that historically the public focuses its anger on either one institution or the other — but not this time.
On the one hand, people are frustrated with the Wall Street failures that led to this financial mess; and they’re outraged at ongoing situations like bonus payouts at AIG. But Americans also see too much involvement by Congress and the federal government — accusing the administration of "socialism" and a "takeover" of the economy.
What's interesting here is some don't see government and business as opposing forces, rather they see "a unified elite pursuing one big swindle." For example — the government using hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayers' money to bail out banks and automakers.
In an attempt to make sure health care reform doesn't get rammed through Congress with little debate - a group of Senate Republicans has introduced a resolution requiring all bills be made public for at least 72 hours before a vote.
Not a bad idea. Since many in Congress don't read the bills before voting, maybe somebody should.
Over in the House, a group of more than 180 - mostly Republicans - is circulating a petition also requiring all bills to be posted online for three days. They're demanding the Democratic leadership schedule a vote on this. No vote so far, although Speaker Nancy Pelosi has pledged to post the final health care bill online 72 hours before the last vote.
But it's not just Republicans pushing for more transparency. A group of centrist Senate Democrats sent a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid this week saying "every step of the process needs to be transparent" - they also asked for three days for the public to look at this stuff on the internet.
There's also an online campaign called Read the Bill along with a group called Read to Vote that's collected more than 80,000 signatures asking lawmakers to promise to read every page of every bill before voting. That'll happen…
Republican Senator John Ensign of Nevada is just another example of what's wrong with Congress.
Ensign tells CNN he didn't break Senate ethics rules when he helped get a lobbying job for the husband of his mistress. Ensign claims he was very careful and merely "recommended" this man for a job like he's recommended a lot of other people.
But the New York Times recently reported that the senator played an active role in getting the lobbying position for Doug Hampton — whose wife he was sleeping with. And — that Hampton went on to lobby Ensign on behalf of his clients — which he's not supposed to do. Ethics rules bar him from lobbying his old boss for a year after leaving his job on Capitol Hill.
But this slime ball senator insists he did nothing wrong here. Senator, it's ALL wrong. When asked if he has any plans to resign, Ensign says: "I am focused on doing my work."
Now the Senate Ethics Committee (which is an oxymoron) has started a preliminary investigation… which, if history is any judge, is meaningless. They won't do anything - they never do when judging one of their own. The whole thing is a joke and shows the impunity with which these arrogant elected scumbags operate.