Wednesday, December 31, 2008
But we had enough to wonder, quail and groan at.
The final year of a two year presidential scramble. Sarah Palin. Joe the Plumber. Huckleberry Huckabee (I like that guy, even tho he is opposite of everything I believe— one of the few Presidential wannabees who had a real sense of humor), Mitt the Haircut Romney, John Edwards of the $400 haircut, and mistress. Speaking of mistresses, lets not leave out former Gov. Eliot (Mr Clean) Spitzer.
And remember Hillary "I dodged bullets in Sarajevo" Clinton, and not to be left out, John "evermore removed from reality" McCain.
The Obamarama. I hope this guy comes through.
And then there is the economic tsunami, where your curmudgeon saw all his 401 gains go south this year so that he is left with what he started off with three years ago.
And we see the moronic congress give the bankers and stock manipulators oodles of dough without restrictions but then get all huffy over the needs of the auto companies (and especially the unions).
They get all concerned over people who actually produce something but the bean counters can do whatever they want.
What is wrong with this picture?
And in the last days of the year the Israelis are bombarding the shit out of Gaza, or, as they say, the Hamas leadership. Why do I feel like we've been here before and it didn't work then either?
I've always thought of myself as a friend of Israel, but I really have to wonder about what they are thinking with this latest action. Rocket attacks on nearby Israeli towns notwithstanding. Creating new Palistinian martyrs will not advance the cause of Peace.
One of the terrible legacies of the 20th century (up there in the top ten of "worst centuries in human history" category) is the disregard for non-combatent life. Okay, it wasn't that much better in the 18th and 19th centuries, but usually once you'd been raped and had your food stolen you were still alive. These days you don't even get that small and problematic blessing.
You just get death.
Am i depressing enough now?
Okay, switch gears. There is still a lot to enjoy about life. It's the beginning of a new year. Are you carrying a load of resentment and/or hurt, a sense of failure, a realization that life has gone in a different direction than the one you wanted?
It's not the end of the world.
A door closes, another one opens. If you stop feeling sorry for yourself long enough to look around to see it. You can move on.
This is the time of New Year's Resolutions. I should have done that in all caps to give that expression, New year's Resolutions, the false importance it aspires to.
What this time is, is a time to remember you have or had goals, and it's a time to reassess those goals, desires, hopes, to see if some adjustments aren't in order.
It's time to look over the top of your champagne glass to a) see your future if you continue with what you have been and done in your past, and b) if you have the fortitude to move past that and adjust to new realities, seek new opportunities, make something new of yourself.
Of course this isn't something you do tonight. but you could start a process that grows over the course of the new year to create a new reality, a new future for yourself.
Hey, maybe you don't need that. Maybe you are where you should be (are you REALLY sure?).
But most of us are still a work in progress, and that's not bad. In my deepest heart, I don't really want to find myself finished. I don't really want to reach a point where nothing else needs to change or be done.
This is earth, and as a Sufi sage once indicated, an apple with a worm in it is about the best we can do as a representation of heaven. We gots to enjoy that apple, we gots to respect that worm.
we gots to eat around that worm and still get our nourishment.
Anyway, to get back to where I started with switching gears— shit happens and it will happen to you and me, if it isn't happening now already. But life and its blessings are also already happening to you and me. It's up to us to see and go with the best of these options. And it will be hard sometimes. But in the end i hope you, and I, will find the joy in life in the midst of the sorrows and disappointments.
May you all (both of my readers) have a happy and fulfilling new year!
Ooops, I forgot to complain. Blame it on the holidays.
Happy new year to the world! And to each of you.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
There's snow, all over the place and not stopping.
There's my cat, who will not go outside and expects me to fill in the entertainment vacuum.
And Barack Obama has asked Rick Warren, the evangelical, anti-gay right wing Rick Warren, to do the invocation at his inauguration.
I was hoping he would at least wait til he was actually president before he started disappointing us.
I expected some disappointment. As much as I admire the guy, he is a just-a-leetle bit too far to the right side of center for me. Of course, my center is probably just-a-leetle bit too far left for most folks. But I didn't think i would start to have issues so soon.
Now the Rev. Warren has some good qualities. But no one is all bad. Heck, even Hitler wanted his country to produce a car everyone could afford. That's a good thing, right? The fact that the Beetle became wildly popular among people who stood against everything Hitler was for is just ONE of life's little ironies.
Still, Rick Warrens' opinions about gays and abortion and his endorsement of the usual evangelical sex hang-ups don't show any understanding of the reality of people's lives. And they certainly don't reflect the ideal of inclusiveness which animated this country from its beginnings (well, except for the slaves), nor do they relate to the radical inclusiveness of Jesus's teachings. What would Jesus think about "megachurches?"
There is a large group of people, of all sorts, who feel that scripture is a dead document. That is, it must be accepted as written without any thought to the times in which it was written, and how times might be different now.
I'm a person who thinks that you can glean a lot of understanding and enlightenment about the human condition and our relation to "the divine" thru reading of scripture. But I cannot leave out trying to understand the times in which the various parts of scripture were written.
Is contemporary America in any way analogous to the struggles of a small group of people trying to survive in a hostile environment with the possibility, and at times, the actuality of slavery and extinction of their clan, beliefs and way of life?
Physically at least, people who have had to depend upon God for manna are in a different existential sphere than people who can run down to the local Stop and Shop for their daily bread.
When a tribe depends so desperately upon reproduction for survival, it could be natural to have rules against masturbation, abortion, homosexuality. Also rules about keeping the women in the house, not only to assure the proper paternity, but also to try to keep the death at birth rate down. Not saying that's right, just saying I can see the reasoning there.
But we have 300 million Americans. How many more do we need? I'm just bringing that up because I think our present situation means we should look for more timely and relevant guidance in scripture than rules about reproduction. And I am not making a blanket endorsement of abortion as birth control. Women close to me have undergone abortions, and with good reason. And not just because they were too feckless or irresponsible to use other birth control options. I'm just throwing this in because this is one of those hot items the evangelical right likes to jump on.
What I mean is that if you look at scripture in general, and the life and teachings of Jesus in particular, you could find a more practical, responsible guide for living. And if one follows that guide, a lot of these other issues become moot. Not that, say, unwanted pregnancies wouldn't happen, but they might be dealt with in a more honest and humane manner.
We are not the ancient Hebrews (nor the ancient arabic tribes, for that matter) and we shouldn't try to be them, think like them or act like them.
My rant for the day.
How'd I get here? Oh yeah, I started with Obama. He's got my support so far, i hope he doesn't ef it up.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I mean the man was ALREADY being investigated—and he still talked on the telephone. Hello? As Peter Sagel said on Wait, wait don't tell me,"We in Chicago weren't surprised at the corruption. We were surprised at how stupid he was."
Indeed. He was outrageously stupid. Not only by trying to sell a senate seat—did I mention 'over the phone'—the tapped phone—while already under investigation, but the seat wasn't just some schmoo's from downstate who didn't have much national presence. It was the president-elect's seat fer pete's sake! You have to wonder how he got to be governor, even in Illinois. He must've been more discreet in his perfidy, previously. No doubt the trappings of power got to him, like it has to other governors in Illnois and lately in New York. Something about high office must just make certain men feel that they're too big to get caught.
But how did he hide the stupidity?
The hairdo should have been a giveaway. No one willing to keep THAT thing on his head is to be trusted.
Anyway, the curmudgeon is pleased to see a good old-fashioned scandal in the news again—the money and corruption kind. No four-thousand dollar hookers, no sex or kinkiness, this one is rated PG. Some foul language.
Monday, December 15, 2008
When did I start this silly thing? A year ago? Immediately it was Clinton-Obama-McCain, Clinton-Obama-McCain. With a Mitt and a Huckleberry thrown in once in a while. Every day another opportunity for humor—or anguish.
I feel like a junkie who just got locked up in rehab. Where's my fix!?
Watching Obama pick his cabinet is about as exciting as watching barnacles adhere to the bottom of a boat. It sort of looks like Clinton Administration redux. But then, there haven't been a whole lot of Democratic administrations since 1980, so where you going to find people? At least a couple of them seem to be Washington outsiders, which is good.
I can't wait til he becomes president—and fair game.
I did get a little political fix today. An Iraqi reporter threw his shoes at Pres. Bush. Of course such an overt sign of disrespect by a foreigner is to be deplored. Are you properly deploring?
This is the kind of thing we want to reserve for ourselves.
Gotta admit, that guy had more cojones than the Congress had in the last four years.
In the meantime, here on the home front, we've had a major ice storm in New England. Yrs truly was out of power for about 30 hours. Not too bad since some people are still waiting, four days later. I got to experience the fine old 19th century tradition of reading by candlelight.
I'm telling you, it was hell not being able to use my computer.
What a freaking geek I've become.
With the new DSL connection I have I have been able to enjoy the Daily Show and Rachel Maddow. This is both an enhancement of my entertainment options and also a major time suck. And a big downside, I am getting to see commercials again.
If I have to watch the ads for "Yes Man" one more time, I will hire a squad of crazed ninjas to take out everyone associated with that movie.
It's like having sex with someone you realize you don't really like.
"I enjoyed it the first time."
And that weird toilet paper commercial…
some of you may wish to skip this part—
A mother bear chases a baby bear who has little white specks on his butt. The point of the ad is to sell a tissue that won't leave debris in your nether regions.
I dunno, I've had maybe over a dozen sexual partners (hey, I was a late starter) and I never saw this as a problem, nor did any of them, perhaps being too genteel, comment about any litter on my anatomy. Nor have I heard any jokes or comments from my guy friends about this. And you know guys, with their partially developed, puerile brains, wouldn't pass up a chance to joke about this.
My conclusion is that it is a nefarious plot to create a new fear among consumers so that they will buy that particular brand of TP. It's pointless to try to create a need, everyone is aware of that (God, I hope so), and I believe the desirability of softness has been, er, thoroughly covered. So all that's left is to create fear.
Don't fall for it.
Keep reading my blog. It will wipe the offal from the daily news off your brain without leaving any evidence of thought behind.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
There is a recession going on (of course you and I knew this, but it took some academics with slide rules to convince the gov't), the so-called Big Three automakers are looking for help, the price has gone up from 25 billion to 34 billion—I guess it costs a bit more to run those hybrid cars they drove to Washington this time—and since they have untold thousands of subsidiary companies and their employees in thrall to their needs— they have a good chance of getting help. The last I heard this was coming as a loan. And if this scenario is good, they will start facing reality and producing useful vehicles and repaying us, the taxpayers (let's not look at the question of how I will know that my taxes are reduced because of this payment), our loan to help them stay afloat.
Take a deep breath now and hold it until they pay us back.
By the way, it's not the auto WORKERS who are responsible for this mess. Management always likes to blame the people who actually do the work for any price increases or problems. It just boggles the mind to consider how well this works. Joe, the car assembly line guy, wants more family time—that's socialism to give it to him (horrors).
Hey, it's not the millions we spend on bonuses for our middle and upper middle management guys which are creating this problem. It's those guys who actually put the cars together and who want decent health insurance who are the problem. They want adequate compensation for their efforts. Obviously Communists.
Anybody here remember what Communists were?
In the meantime, George phone-the-job-in Bush admits that well, the Iraq thing has cost a bit more and taken a bit longer than expected. Yeah, it's cost over 4 thou American lives (and we're not considering the larger number of Iraqis here), is draining our treasury of money we need here, but hey, it's mostly a success.
Saddam is dead, isn't he? That's worth 4 thou grieving families.
Okay, I'm 63 years old, or young, compared to how old you yourself are. but I don't think I have ever seen anything as bad, financially, as this.
I've been out of work since February, and another 500 thou people got laid off just last month.
Guess how much hope I have of ever working again. The competition, where it is not steep, is certainly numerous. In any job you or I apply for, assuming there is such a thing out there, the human resources person will be so overwhelmed that unless you or I are in the first ten our chances are about as good as the survival of a North Vietnamese in a Rambo movie.
Change your name to A. Aabababa as soon as possible. If you're not on that first google page, you are toast.
Seems like this place is a winner.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
On Long Island, a Wal-Mart employee got trampled to death on Friday morning when drooling, greedy shoppers broke down the doors and swarmed into the store. At what, 5 AM? some ridiculously early time.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?
First, wanting so badly to save money (while spending it—go figure) that they would get up early to be at a store on opening to be sure they got THE BEST DEAL.
Second, being willing to be part of a mindless horde of avaricious shoppers.
Third, being willing to kill to get what they want.
I heard people were annoyed that they had to wait while the store, the police and the EMTs cleaned up the mess.
Way to show Christmas Spirit folks.
Suddenly, water-boarding doesn't seem so bad. I'd love to get my mitts on the first two hundred or so of those idiots who stormed that Wal-Mart. I'd like to adjust their attitude. This kind of thing really tests my pacific Christian philosophy.
I end up feeling like I really want to hurt those people.
Lord, forgive me. But there it is.
Can you imagine being one of these people? Can you imagine how ashamed you would be? And if not, can you figure out why you deserve to live?
If this is the way Americans are supposed to be, maybe it's time for me to return to the family roots in Slovakia. I asked before in this blog, if I were the only one who thought that it was weird that the economic health of our country depended on us buying things. A lot of things.
I still think it's weird.
I don't have a problem with people wanting something more than the basics of existence. And I don't have a problem with other people producing stuff that goes past the basics and who want to earn a living selling it.
But I do have a problem with elevating greed and possession to the be-all and end-all of life.
Actually I could just say "end-all of life" because anyone who is in the thrall of this possessive addiction has really opted out of true human life. There ain't no "be-all" for them, they are just robots.
What insanity is it that induces major retailers to create elevated levels of possessiveness in their customers? And what insanity is it that allows customers give themselves up to these consuming influences?
Are people's lives really so empty? Are retailers so insecure and greedy? Are people so stupidly susceptible to being manipulated to the point where they actually surrender any pretense to humanity?
Yes, yes and yes.
I keep coming back to that parable in Luke where Jesus tells the rich ruler to sell all he has and give the money to the poor. The rich ruler can't do it. Do you suppose any of those Long Islanders could give up even half of what they were planning to spend at Wal-Mart to the poor?
Don't bet the farm on this.
Disclosure: I lived on Long Island for a while once and I'm here to tell you, it's better to be in Youngstown, Ohio or Eugene, Oregon or anywhere else in the known universe. Long island makes you crazy.
Although so far they haven't been shooting each other in Toys R Us. That's left for the Californians.
Merry Christmas everyone.
Go meditate or something already.
Friday, November 28, 2008
So I finally get to a place where I can watch TV (no reception up here in the hills) and what do I get to see?
Massacre in Mumbai.
Why Mumbai? It's India's financial hub, like New York is America's. These religious/political extremists are learning to follow the money. Unfortunately for terrorists, Mumbai doesn't have anything as iconic as the Twin Towers, so they had to diversify—hotels, restaurants, train stations—and of course the obligatory strike against the Jews (i.e. Israel). How pathetic. It appears at this time that the attackers were Pakistani, or at least sympathetic to Moslem Pakistan rather than Hindu India, but really, why bring the Jews into this? If you hit too many different targets it just dilutes your message.
Riveting news reports and tragic.
When are people going to learn that violence isn't the answer?
When I was watching and hearing of the stuggles in northern Ireland, way back there in the last Millennium, it seemed to me that whatever the original impulse for violence, whether fighting against oppression, or fear of the insurrection, whether one was an Irish Protestant or an Irish Catholic, whether one supported the British rule in the North or didn't—whatever might have been idealism or self-protection in that mess—the end result was to eventually bring into the movement the most criminal and murderous of the human dregs. Throwing bombs into a tavern? That's a stroke against the oppressors? Or is that a response from one set of victims to another?
There was a lot of that kind of thing for a while. And of course the British gov't didn't help that situation much. The orders given the soldiers were not any more moral than the orders the leaders of whichever faction gave to their followers.
This rising to the top of the criminal element can be seen in other struggles, like most lately, the attacks in Mumbai.
When some charismatic personality (growing out of an oppressive political situation) has the power and inclination to motivate people for change, s/he has a choice: violence or non-violence.
Gandhi and Martin Luther King understood that gains were better achieved through non-violence—that is, non-violence on the part of their followers. Those who choose violence, think Osama bin Laden, condemn their movement and ideology to the annals of pathology instead of politics. Eventually they will attract people who are more interested in death (mostly of others) than idealism. Those people will say they are there for the idealism (free Northern Ireland, create a Basque republic, etc), but they will really be there because they like to kill.
It doesn't help the cause, whatever that may be. No, after a while all that's left are the persons who are psychologically attuned t0 the idea of hurting others. It's just nice for them that they get some political idea or movement to be in where they could exercise their tendencies without being treated by their companions as the criminals they are.
The real soldiers of most countries are trained to kill, but they are, in theory at least, supposed to try to avoid civilians. In the US there have been trials of soldiers who were less discriminating in their choice of targets. Our system isn't perfect, and certainly many escape the net, but we do have a system, at least, and it does work sometime.
What would a Taliban soldier be penalized for? Perhaps carrying an ipod loaded with music. But killing non-combatants? Eh.
I swear one of those criminals was shown wearing a Versace t-shirt. I don't have time to dig thru all the levels of irony in that.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Talking to Al Pacino's Godfather would be a little less stressful.
I wouldn't want to argue with her.
Also Obama is going to appoint Timothy F. Geithner as his treasury secretary. That news shot the stock market up a bit on Friday. Hopefully his talk on the economic situation scheduled for Monday will boost it some more. Of course I don't know who the hell he is, but the people who need to know obviously do.
And how come our financial health depends on a bunch of Nervous Nellies who have no long range vision and crawl back under their rocks everytime it looks like they are going to have an unprofitable quarter?
It looks like the Big O is hitting the ground running, not wasting a second, grabbing the bull by the horns, taking names and kicking butt— let me know if I missed any clichés. Anyway he is actually DOING something. Unlike the current resident of the White House who is in Peru, for another pointless economic meeting. No one wants to listen to him anymore anyway.
Theres a video on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6Y_ncOVlDw) of GWB coming out for a photo op with the G-20 Leaders and everyone's shaking hands but no one shakes hands with him. No one.
Its over George. Just slink off into the night already.
In an op-ed piece in the New York Times today Gail Collins, a far superior writer to myself, suggests that it's time for the pres to go. She suggests he resign, with Cheney resigning first ("we're desperate, not crazy") so that the Presidency would go to Nancy Pelosi who could give Obama a chance to get his stuff going early.
And it needs to get going.
The automobile manufacturers' situation needs to be addressed soon. Much as I despise those guys, the CEOs, COOs etc, not the line workers, it looks like some help has to be given the big three to help them avoid bankruptcy. Too many people would be adversely affected. I'm waiting to hear Obama's plans which he is supposed to announce Monday.
Apparently my support of the local deli, and the ripple effect on its employees if I can't spend money there anymore, is not enough for me to be considered for a part in this $750 billion giveaway. The small businessman always gets screwed. Anyone have a private jet I could fly to Washington in? That seems to be what gets noticed. If I could just get a chance to get in front of that committee, I know i could wheedle a few hundred thou out of them. I can bullsh!t with the best of them.
Yeah. Enough dreaming for the night. Goodnight, to both of my loyal readers.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
People are afraid stocks are going to go down, so they don't buy—which makes the stocks go down so people get afraid…
You know, the last two times I was unemployed were also bad economic periods. My timing is impeccable.
I wanted to get in on this bail-out thing. Went to Washington with paper and statistics showing that my little free-lance graphic business was in danger of going under. I figured that they could spare a lousy million for me. But on my way in to the Senate Banking, Housing etc. committee, I got pushed aside by Rick Wagoner of G.M in his rush to seek help, and Allan Mulally of Ford knocked me against the wall, and Robt. Nardelli of Chrysler stepped on my foot. Those guys were anxious!
By the time I got out of the emergency room, the committee had gone home for the day. While I was in the ER a guy from AIG tried to sell me some insurance.
Not a good day.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Happily the Democrats are helping out. it seems that they have let Lieberman keep the chair of the Homeland Security committee. He is Benedict Arnold without even the glory of the leg wound at Saratoga. *
His popularity in Connecticut is tanking big time. The only benefit to his staying in that position is that now he owes, he owes, Obama for not working to push him off the chairmanship, and he has to be a good little Democrat to save his own butt in Connecticut.
Speaking of euphoria, there is a video of election night at Hampshire college, arguably the most leftist college in the US. It shows the students celebrating in the college yard and spontaneously breaking out in the "National Anthem." Possibly a first, and very touching also.
In good news it seems that the felon senator Stevens of Alaska is losing to his Democratic opponent Begich. Which means the Polar Bear Goddess will not be able to appoint a Republican to replace him when he resigns to go to the hoosegow.
On the bad side, the Bushman is issuing a lot of presidential rules deregulating and further pillaging America's resources. Folks, it's not too late to impeach him. (I wanted to say impeach that -something else- but I want to respect the office at least if not the occupant.) Why, oh why is that man so blind to the damage he is doing?
Sometimes these rules are hard to change. I hope that everyone puts pressure on their congresspeople to do something about this.
Johnny Mac and the Big O got together for a meeting today. Apparently McCain doesn't mind palling around with guys who pal around with terrorists.
Barack Obama has a YouTube spot now. And he used the internet to great success in his campaign. It's going to be a real sacrifice for him to lose his Blackberry.
Arianna Huffington filled in for Rachel Maddow last night. Disappointed as I am at not seeing our Cummington girl on the air, I have to admit a real weakness for European accents. Is that dame married?
Barack's Mother-in-law will be living in the White House with them?
Is there going to be no rest for the man? You can run, Barack, but you can't hide.
*Benedict Arnold was wounded in the leg fighting for the revolution at the Battle of Saratoga. This before becoming a turncoat. There is a monument to his leg at the site.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I wonder if that would be a good thing for her, and for the country.
I'm thinking about how much influence she could have as a long-standing senator. She has the personality and the grit and the clout.
You young whippersnappers (what in hell is a whippersnapper) won't remember Tip O'Neil. He was a senator from Massachusetts, liberal, large in personality, body and appetite, distinctive in appearance (political cartoonists cried like babies when he retired) and he was a force in the congress for a lot of good legislation. Hmm, remind you of someone else?
Ted Kennedy, whatever his personal failings has also been a source of good in the congress. He is also large in personality, body and appetite, and a boon to cartoonists. My point is that someone who knows what (s)he wants and has the knowledge to pull it off can be a real power in the government. Should Hillary pass up this opportunity to take a job which will end with the Obama presidency (if not sooner?) Even if it is a high profile job which has potential for historical significance? As in being remembered in history books.
Not that that is very much. How many of you former students who went thru freshman Western Civ classes know any previous Secretarys of State?
Some of them were very important.
Some leaders of the senate were very important.
But you'll have to dig for the knowledge of what they were important for.
Presidents get all the glory.
Back to Hillary. I think she could be an effective leader for a much longer time as a senator in the US Congress than as a Secretary of State. Of course she doesn't have the drinking capacity (who does) of a Tip O'Neil and an Edward Kennedy, nor could she ever aspire to their physical bulk (God, I hope not).
And she isn't from Massachusetts. That's a big deficit.
Still, she could really make a great name for herself as a guiding force in the Senate, over the long haul.
Or she could be a visible and hopefully effective Secretary of State in the short haul.
Would the shorter political career be worth it? Any one remember Dean Acheson?
Anyone remember Zbigniew Brzezinski? Madeline Albright? Not that long ago.
Going way back—How about Bainbridge Colby? Elihu Root?
Well, these folks probably get more recognition than any important Senator, however obscure they may be. But have they had as much influence as a Kennedy or O'Neil?
Your history question for the night. If you have an answer, I wanna know too.
Tha's all from here.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Lots of videos on YouTube of the celebrating in NYC, probably other places too.
So fun to watch all those excited and happy people.
The old curmudgeon found himself a little damp-eyed more than once on Wednesday.
Love the NY Times headline. They almost never have a banner headline across the top of the front page, and never to my knowledge only a one word headline.
They didn't have to say anything else.
It's not time to stop the praying and working. The economy is in terrible shape. Another 240,00 people out of work last month.
I guess I was ahead of the curve, getting laid off in February.
Obama's gonna need some good advice and help and effort from everyone who can give.
Besides worrying about how the hell he's going to get the country started out of this mess, I have one major worry—what in the eff am I going to write and complain about now?
I didn't start off to do a particularly political blog, but it got that way, for the most part. The race was really heating up when I got started and it was hard to ignore.
No matter how much I tried.
There is still the economy. The hours on my part-time free lance job just got cut. Fortunately the unemployment benefits are still in effect. It gets hard to be a graphic designer when people don't have the money advertise or develop new product.
I'm feeling better. Of course there will always be something to bitch about.
I'm happy to not be complaining about McCain-Palin. Man, what a horror show.
He's resting somewhere and she's gone back to polar bear land. I hope they let her keep those boots. She did look good in them.
That's all for tonight.
Looking forward to a better tomorrow…
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I look and see that 14% is in, 17% is in—I know that the poll people think they have it wrapped up but I keep thinking that there is still 83% to count and I don't feel comfortable.
They're saying Pennsylvania is going to Obama—looks like the "bitterness that leads them to guns and religion" hasn't blinded them to where their best interests lie.
I think Obama will be the better President (he's certainly the one with the best chance of surviving his first four years) but McCain really deserves to lose. The wretched campaign he and the wolf-killer VP candidate have been running with the smears and exaggerations and lies only exhibited the bankruptcy of their candidacy.
81 electoral votes to 34 according to CNN, for Obama.
MSNBC has 103 to 58.
NPR is holding with 103 to 34.
Younger voters in Ohio going 64% to obama. Young voters heavy for Obama all across the nation.
Way to go you whippersnappers!
I know what my kids are voting, God bless'em. Chips off the old block. I'm so proud.
Obama isn't Mr. Pure. Witness his going back on his promise to use public funding, for example. He is a savvy politician. And ambitious. But McCain has turned into the real political whore. I'm sorry for him. What did it cost him to change the way he did? Or was it the real John McCain who came out for this contest?
It's too bad that it seems to have taken a major political crisis to bring so many people into the Obama camp. The difference between him and McCain are so clear, and so positive on Obama's side. Can't people tell a mendacious politician unless their wallets hurt?
So far CNN, MSNBC and NPR have Obama around 175 electoral votes. McCain at 49–76 depending on who you look at. What I'm interested in tho, is that the "popular" vote is only around 100,000 in favor of the big O.
I'm glad my guy is ahead, but i really wonder if this electoral college thing doesn't need some revision? Like maybe having electors for precincts or representational districts or something like that, and especially getting rid of the winner takes all thing most states have.
I'm getting more hopeful. My natural Slovak pessimism is starting to dissipate.
Ohio, my home state, has apparently gone for Obama. In Virginia, he's about 1400 votes ahead. Talk about a squeaker. He can still lose there.
This means a lot to me.
Back in 1964, I was a member of the Congress of Racial Equality in Cleveland. My freshman year in college. I went to meetings in the ghetto and wondered why there were so few white people there. I heard my friends asking what "those people" thought they were doing. I remember getting yelled at while marching around some public building in downtown Cleveland. Cleveland was very racist at that time, may still be for all I know, but I hope not.
All through the sixties I argued for equal rights, and was dismayed at every assassination and death among those who died in that struggle. This night is for them.
Viola Liuzzo, this night is for you.
Goodman, Schwerner and Cheney, this night is for you.
Medgar Evers, this night is for you.
Malcolm X, this night is for you.
Martin Luther King, gentle giant of a man, this night is for you.
And for all those who died or were beaten and jailed for fighting for their dignity, this night is for you.
As of now, 10:21, 207 to 129 for Obama on NPR and CNN.
More encouraging news:
The misbegotten bid to get rid of the income tax here in Massachusetts went down to defeat.
South Dakota defeated an anti-abortion bill, Colorado defeated a resolution to make law the idea that human life begins at conception.
I'm still waiting to hear about the vote for de-criminalizing marijuana possession is going in Massachusetts.
12:30 AM Nov. 5, 2008
Obama is declared the winner, McCain has made his concession speech. McCain was gracious and intelligent and respectful and courageous, all the things he was NOT in the last month or so leading up to tonight. Well, better late than never. He did good.
Obama, well, his acceptance of the election wasn't up there with the Gettysburg Address, but what is? It was still a damn good speech. I am so psyched. After my experiences in the 60's I could not have imagined this night.
I just pray some wingnut doesn't try to negate this election in a violent way. When one has seen Malcolm X and JFK and Bobby Kennedy ripped out from the fabric of one's hopes and dreams, 0ne develops a level of paranoia.
Anyway I believe that this country has a chance to be a real beacon of light to the rest of the world again. I go to sleep happy.
Oh, and the bill to decriminalize marijuana in Massachusetts passed. Sanity reigns tonight.
My son called from NYC. He's walking down 1st ave. A thousand people in the street, all smiling.
What a great day!
Sunday, November 2, 2008
I don't know whether to attribute this to religion (Catholic—and guilt-inducing— with the deep-seated old superstitions still active) or to being at the crossroads for most of the armies fighting over European real estate for the last thousand years, with the attendant inconveniences.
Maybe it's from a diet consisting mostly of pierogies and cabbage and slivovitz.
And beets for variety.
By the way, if you've never tasted slivovitz, say a fervent prayer of thanks to the Lord above.
My father used to keep Jelinek Slivovitz around. 100 proof, kosher for passover, and when you drink it you pass over (or out) for sure. It sears the flesh off your throat on the way down, which accounts for the gutteral languages of that part of the world. Then the heat reaches your stomach and the alcohol poison courses through your bloodstream. As soon as it reaches your brain you realize you understand everything and nothing at the same time. Synapses misfire or form crazy rhythms in your brain and a real connection with the universe and visions of God suddenly seem to come into your very being.
When you wake up, usually in a barn somewhere with a pig licking your face, you remember nothing.
I mean it's terrible.
Especially when you start hearing about the fistfights and what a fool you were.
Anyway, that's what they tell me.
Wouldn't know myself.
Basically it's the Eastern European answer to cocaine.
But cocaine is friendlier.
It's also good for removing blacktop tar from the sides of your vehicle.
I seem to have gotten off-topic again.
Anyway, I am rooting for Obama. He ain't perfect, but he's perfecter than McCain-Palin.
I say McCain-Palin because I really don't believe the old war hero will survive four years, and we'll end up with Sarah and Todd in the White House.
There's been so much smearing going on from the McCain camp i don't know where to begin so I won't. And stupidity. Geeez.
I just wanna say I AM a real American, even tho I don't vote Republican, don't approve of McCain and disrespect Palin. So there.
By the way, how come that business about Obama's aunt comes out only now, hmm?
Would YOU like to be judged by all your relatives actions and/or ideas?
I hope Obama wins the election,but I also hope he has the smarts to pick good people to advise and help him. The mess G.W. Bush leaves behind will take a lot of undoing. A generation or two. And more than one man, or one President.
One of the good things to come from this is that more people are understanding that "regulation" is not necessarily a dirty word. Once one sees that people with no restraints are gambling one's own money away, then the idea of some kind of "rules of conduct" becomes more acceptable.
My biggest problem with the election being over is that i will have to work to find new things to complain about.
Well, really, I don't think I have to worry too much about that.
Even in an Obama administration.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Mr Greenspan, arguably the most powerful man in America for a decade or so, regretfully admits he made a mistake.
"… on Thursday, almost three years after stepping down as chairman of the Federal Reserve, a humbled Mr. Greenspan admitted that he had put too much faith in the self-correcting power of free markets and had failed to anticipate the self-destructive power of wanton mortgage lending.“Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders’ equity, myself included, are in a state of shocked disbelief,” he told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform".
(Today, New York Times)
He's shocked, shocked to find out gambling is going on here.
I'm going to quote myself:
"Deregulate! they said. The market will correct itself and the economy will be strong. They said that a free market, unfettered by government rules and regulations is the best way to promote prosperity and financial health for all Americans.
Those people are idiots".
(Blog post of September 14—"We don't need no stinkin' economy")
Sure you can trust Institutions to look after their own self-interest. I'd say that's just what they were doing. Stuffing the vaults.
Actually speaking like that is wrong. There is a language problem here. One that Greenspan fell victim to. It's in speaking of "institutions" as if they were unitary beings, creatures complete in themselves. And forgetting that institutions are actually made up of fallible, often greedy and easily misled human beings.
"This institution will look after it's own self-interest and make responsible loans, it will protect the shareholders who trust it." That's talking like a bank or other lending institution is equivalent to a father looking after his family.
But what if Dad had limbs with brains and desires of their own? The left hand would be putting some food on the table while the right hand was raiding the freezer for steaks to sell at a profit, excusing it's actions with the idea that with the money it could buy more steaks at a cheaper market. After taking it's commission of course.
An institution isn't a thing. It's people.
And not all of those people are smart or honest or impervious to temptation.That's why we NEED REGULATION!
Where was I going? Oh yeah, we should try to change our vocabulary to reflect the fact that institutions are not monolithic beings but a collection of beings, not all of whom are working for the same goals, not all of whom are competent or honest or smart.
Sort of like Congress.
Tha's all for now.
Good night all of you.
(I think I'm up to three regulars now)
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Great news on CNN.COM. McCain people think that Sarah Palin is "going rogue" on them, not sticking to the program, venting her own opinions.
HER OWN OPINIONS!? HOLY CRAP!
If that's not a prescription for disaster (remember I don't use clichés—ho, ho) I don't know what is.
Now I don't want anyone to think that I feel that a female candidate needs to be shepherded along the campaign trail lest she stub her little weak feminine toe. I'm all for people of any sex (straight, bi, gay, trans—whatever) expressing their opinions. I'm especially in favor of Sarah Palin expressing hers. I would be and I am in favor of Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi and Michelle Bachman of Minnesota who wants to investigate all us "un-Americans," also expressing theirs. And Joe "going on forever with his foot in his mouth" Biden also.
And I desperately want all those white guys in suits to be publically expressing their opinions.
Think "reality show."
"Several McCain advisors" have said that Palin is "going rogue" on them. (Aren't I putting the "quotes" key thru its paces tonight?)
I love it.
The real Sarah is coming out at last and isn't she a thing of beauty?
According to the unnamed advisors:
She doesn't like that the campaign pulled out of Michigan.
She's a "diva."
She thinks those robocalls are "annoying."
Holy smoke, she and I agree on something! OMG!
I'm going to have to talk to my therapist!
Just kidding. I would have used a stronger word to describe those robocalls.
Now what did you expect, hmm?
That she would be a good little soldier?
She's being Sarah, and I love it.
I'm not even going to dump on her for the $150 large wardrobe. I mean, did you expect her to campaign in mukluks and a parka?
Gimme a break.
Besides, I loved those knee-high black boots I saw her wearing in a news clip.
Oh Sarah, those legs in those boots, let those boots walk all over— uh, excuse me, sorry—got carried away for a moment there. Heh. You didn't see that.
She is dragging the McCain campaign down. Not that he needed any help.
Poor Johnny Mac has been nose-diving for the basement ever since he got the nomination. He complains about being called "erratic." But what else can you say?
It's almost as if there is a conspiracy, of which he is a part, to get Obama elected. I mean, can someone REALLY be so removed from reality? Without being certifiable?
I feel sorry for the poor sucker. But I still hope he loses. How long will he last before there is a President Palin?
If that doesn't scare you, you are dead. Go lie down.
Funny tidbit from the Rachel Maddow show (on MSNBC—she's a hometown girl and I promote her shamelessly)—the highest paid person in the McCain campaing this past month was Palin's hairdresser and make-up person.
Hey, you have to establish your priorities.
What's important is what's important.
It is what it is.
What Sarah wants, Sarah gets.
I've heard that :
A. McCain chose her because the Republican estab. forced him to get someone who would appeal to the rubber-room fringe of the Republican party; or
B. That he chose her to show the Republican powers-that-be that a far-right candidate was poison and that they would dump her and allow him his own choice. Like Joe Lieberman.
If that's the case it didn't work.
Now Johnny Mac's stuck with her. But she's not stuck with him, nossir. She and Todd are aiming for the White House, not now, but there is always 2012.
Yeah. Put money on it.
I had thought she would eat up the established Republican party apparatus, but at this point I say it's 50—50 and I'm not taking anymore bets.
G'nite you two.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
McCain says people are angry, said it a couple times. Took a while to get to answering the question. Then he talked about Joe the Plumber and how Obama was going to raise his taxes, and spread his, Joe's, wealth around. He kept going on about how Obama was going to raise taxes, ignoring Obama's assertion that he was going to reduce taxes for 95% of the people.
This is a better debate, these guys can argue with each other.
Bob Schieffer asks about specifics of their plans, Obama answers. McCain borrows from Palin's answering tactics and starts talking about mortgages. Prodded back to question he spent sometime saying he knew how to cut spending, had to be prodded to specifics again.
Brought up earmarks, and Obama voted for them.
Obama responds that earmarks are only half percent and not major expense.
McCain says Americans are hurting and they're angry, and he understands that.
He's becoming a broken record.
McCain seems to be relying on his political ad slogans instead of argument.
A few of the "he said" vs "he said" stuff.
McCain says Obama not standing up to his leaders.
Will they say to each other's face what their ads say about each other?
McCain hasn't answered the question. Says Obama has spent more money on neg ads
Obama doesn't directly answer either. Says 100% of McCain's ads are negative.
McCain trying desperately to make Obama look bad, less trying to make his policies look bad.
Exchange about John Lewis—McCain's feelings hurt. Lewis was out of line, Obama says his campaign said that immediately. But also pointed out what had been yelled at the Palin rally which angered Lewis.
Obama crushes McCain on Ayers and Acorn. Points out falsity of McCain attack.
McCain reiterates, then goes to say he will not raise taxes like Obama.
Why would the country be better off if Obama's running mate becomes president than if McCain's becomes president.
Obama has an easy time with Biden—foreign policy experience, working man background, on right side of issues.
McCain says Palin a role model for women, fought with her own party, gave money to citizens, faced down oil companies, understands special needs families. He's proud of her.
McCain says Biden wrong on some foreign policies. Obama more gracious on Palin—it's up the voters. Ducked the question.
Free Trade— McCain continues practice of attacking Obama more than explaining his own policies.
McCain wants to put health care info on line—apparently means "computerize."
McCain brings up the "fine" on small business (Joe the Plumber). Says, basically, Obama trying to spread Joe the Plumber's wealth around. Obama rebuts.
McCain keeps up with the fine business. He ignores Obama's rebuttals. Keeps pushing his $5000 "gift" for health care.
McCain wants to improve teaching but wants ex-service people to be able to go into teaching without taking the certification tests.
That'll make for better teachers, you betcha.
I think McCain tried hard but only scratched Obama.
Obama did well at deflecting the attacks.
good debate, not likely to change opinions. Obama gets his goals, to look creditable.
McCain fails to change that.
Okay, let's see if I can talk in complete sentences. I think that McCain came out looking feistier than he has in the past, but didn't do much more in first half or so than repeat his campaign ad charges. I think he started off shakier, but maybe got madder later and it focused him. But he consistently let Obama's rebuttals of his charges slide by without rebutting the rebuttal.
He looked feistier but not smarter.
Chilling moment: during the debate on abortion he said that considering the health of the mother was an "extreme" position of the pro-abortion crowd.
EXCUSE ME? Considering the mother's health is extreme?
Sorry ladies, according to Johnny Mac, if giving birth might kill or disable you, too bad, you're toast. Way it goes.
Obama did well in answering his questions and rebutting McCain. McCain did a lot of punching but mostly hit air. Obama still looks like the man with the plan. McCain still looks like he's winging it. If someone is already in favor of one or the other candidate, I don't think anything that happened here will change his or her mind.
Funny line—one of the NPR people said they were looking forward to the Palin-Joe the Plumber ticket in 2012.
Amazingly, I say amazingly, NO ONE said "I was struck by…"
They must've got my email…
I had to listen to this and no hootch in the house to soften the blow. It'd be enough to drive me to drink if I had any. I'm going to bed.
You who read me, both of you, go to sleep too.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Well, this makes me feel better.
Incidentally, what's Italy doing in there? Isn't their economy basically run by the Mafia? And where's China?
Anyway even the Pres finally understands the Sh!te is hitting the fan. "Bush seemed to acknowledge that the lag is feeding anxiety on Wall Street. "These extraordinary efforts are being implemented as quickly and as effectively as possible," he said. "The benefits will not be realized overnight."
I got this from the Yahoo news.
The Pres says that the G-7 will "stand together" to work out this financial crisis.
Again, I feel a lot better.
In the meantime, Paulson is letting on that the gov't. may be buying shares in US banks, that is, effectively nationalizing our banking system.
Hmmm. "Nationalizing." Where have I heard this term before?
By God! We're all becoming Communists! O the Humanity!
Heh. It took a Republican president to go to China (Nixon, for the historically challenged) and now it takes a Republican president to lead us into socialism.
Me, i don't think a little socialism is a bad thing.
But like anything else, one doesn't want to go overboard.
Aren't these exciting times? Don't you wish they weren't?
Meantime, the Palin Person has been charged with abusing her power. Unfortunately it's within the lette of the law, but as usual in these situations, it is certainly in violation of the spirit.
Actually it's her hubby who is the major player here.
Hmm. Can you think of another political woman with a problem husband?
Enough. It's too late to be complaining, even for me.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Pretty slow at first, I don't like the format of this debate. They should have a question to bat back and forth, but it seems that they just get one shot, or even different questions. I'd like to hear them make responses to each other. As it is they spend half their time sniping at each other before answering the questions, if they answer the questions at all. Halfway through the debate and a real answer has been as rare as the spotted owl.
To me, a real debate is one in which a question is posed, and the first candidate gives an answer, explaining that his attention-deficit-disordered, probably autistic opponent wouldn't understand the issues. Then the second candidate responds by saying that his worthy and esteemed opponent is an asshat who bought his way through college and is a noted libertine who couldn't explain the working of a toaster much less the working of the economy, and then he gives his answer to the question. Then the first candidate responds by saying that his friend and colleague, the thrice-divorced, possibly homosexual, suspected child-molester is totally wrong and this is why. And finally the second contestant, oops, I mean candidate, responds to the response by saying that his long-time bosom buddy and fellow politician, who he respects deeply and with whom he has worked closely in Congress, has misinterpreted and twisted his response, which you would totally expect from a bi-polar, drug-addled, former white-slaver.
I'd love to hear a debate like that. I believe they used to have them a century or two ago. I mean, wouldn't it be a hell of a lot more interesting? It's a sign of the decline of western civilization that our politicians can't even insult each other in creatively malicious ways. The cowards leave it up to anonymous internet bloggers. Another example of computers and the web degrading human existence.
McCain is good at putting a certain emphasis and emotion into his voice. Keeps saying "my friends." It does a lot to cover up his mendacity. Although, he did do Obama a favor by getting him pissed over the health care issues and the associated taxes. Brokaw didn't let Obama answer right away but he got his response into the next question. Obama said that it looked like the "Straight Talk Express" has lost a wheel. Best thing was that tho he was clearly unhappy he didn't go overboard. There's a good way to do anger and a bad way. He did the good way.
I'm not all that enchanted by the questions the audience asked.
First question about what the candidates would do to protect people's retirement plans. McCain is going to have the Secretary of the Treasury buy up bad home loan mortgages and have the Sec. renegotiate them. Uh, well, what about my social security, you know, the question?
In answer to a question about whether or not they would give Congress a fixed date to reform Social Security and Medicare, Obama said he would like to do it within his first term said that couldn't be done without addressing tax policies. Obama rejected the McCain's charge that he would raise taxes, i.e. "fine," small businesses. His proposal would reduce tax on 95% of Americans, including those small businesses.
McCain said, "It's not that hard to fix Social Security." Ayup. So why hasn't it been fixed already?
Obama has to lose that "…and…" Of course his hesitations come from actually thinking about the question, not spouting pre-packaged answers like McCain. Did McCain memorize all those? I don't think they allow teleprompters in there.
Example of McCain's fact-twisting: he accused Obama of saying he would announce an attack on Pakistan. And that that annoucement would turn the people against us. Not only did Obama not say that, but it is the UNANNOUNCED attacks we have already made, which have cost many civilian casualties, which is turning the Pakistanis against us.
Mostly McCain repeats his sound bites, usually distorted or downright inaccurate, against Obama. He was protected by the non-response format. When Obama protested about the nonsense McCain was saying over the Iraq-Pakistani question and forced Brokaw to agree to a temporary back and forth, I think Obama came out better. McCain lost his way briefly, started talking about joking about Iran with a fellow veteran, then lost and dropped it without a resolution.
Anyway it was one of the few interesting parts of this debate, which wasn't really a debate, since there wasn't any statement and response.
McCain had a little zinger about health care, said he wouldn't allow "gold-plated benefits like hair transplants." Ouch. Joe Biden's ears must have been burning.
Brokaw asks a "yes or no" question about whether or not Russia is an "evil empire", neither of them could do it. McCain got a laugh with "maybe". Both gave lengthy answers, basically saying "no…but."
If Iran attacks Israel, would we go in to help Israel? Yes, probably.
McCain brought up the "meeting with enemies" charge. Obama did a good job explaining himself against that charge. He sounded more grounded in that question than McCain.
Last question, "What don't you know and how will you learn it?" From New Hampshire. Where do they find these people? Was this a transplanted hippie or one of the six-toed crowd up in the mountains? I vote for a yoga-ing Birkenstocker. Obama said a lot without answering. McCain at least said he didn't know the future, then went on to his own particular set of platitudes.
Linda Wertheimer says it was an interesting debate and is looking forward to the discussion after the station break. It was something but it wasn't a real debate.
I am going to count the "I was struck by"s and send an admonishing letter off to NPR.
Mara Liasson pointed out that gee it would be nice if they actually answered the questions, like the one about health care being a commodity.
McCain's health plan would make people be better off in the beginning, but down the line not so good. People shopping for their own health insurance would not do so well.
McCain did not do well on foreign policy.
Did not talk about actual decision to invade Iraq.
Commentator says that late arrival of foreign policy questions show how it has fallen in concern.
Obama sounded strong on foreign policy. Seemed to be a "steadier hand" on the questions.
One commentator says Obama did better than usual in debate.
I'd agree. He sounded like it was a lot more personal to him, not some academic exercise. Even if he can't do that"my friends" thing McCain does.
I'm almost disappointed. Only four "I was struck by"s in the post debate commentary. I must've missed a couple while I was typing. I don't see a transcript on the NPR site of the commentary part so I can't check, which also means I can't tell you who said what. That's the breaks.
I don't think anything happened here tonight to change people's minds. Maybe a few in the undecided middle will drift one way or another, but those on both the right and left will both be trumpeting their candidate's victory tomorrow.
There's one more debate: someone please, pour honey on me and tie me down on an anthill. I'll suffer less.
I think the election will boil down to one point—do you think Sarah Palin is worthy to be a heartbeat away from the presidency, or does the idea scare you all the way down to your pinko, leftist liberal, socialist commie toes?
G'night all (both of you)
Monday, October 6, 2008
Here is a sample quote in response to a question about Palin's behavior during the debate,
"The winking was beyond annoying. I haven't talked to any women who weren't deeply offended by her flirting for votes."
Parker also thinks moderate women who were thinking of voting for McCain after Clinton lost out, are now going to head back to Obama. Let's hope.
Bringing things closer to home:
I was saddened this weekend to hear that one of my favorite bands, the Dresden Dolls, is splitting up, at least for the time being. The two members, Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione, had what they called a "punk cabaret" act. Brian is a killer drummer with interesting facial expressions as he plays and Amanda a near-brilliant songwriter and performer. They've been doing a lot of solo gigs lately, now we see why.
On the upside, Amanda has what looks to be a very good solo album coming out, "Who killed Amanda Palmer?" Videos can be seen on YouTube.
Also, today, I heard Berkeley Breathed is killing off Opus the penguin and ceasing his Sunday comic. Oh alas, alackaday! One of my favorite characters.
News like this would be enough to drive me to drink, if I didn't already.
I'm going to go find something useful to do. You two, my loyal readers, should also.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
This is the annual "respect life" Sunday.
Y'know, I don't like abortion either, although I respect the decisions of those who choose one. I'M not the one who is pregnant and I figure i can't judge anybody for choosing to have one. I'd rather it wasn't chosen to be used except in the case of saving the life of the mother, or if the fetus would produce a severely damaged child.
Given the current state of politics and religion in this country, I don't see any other option. There are enough unwanted teenage pregnancies, enough people with more kids than they can afford to take care of.
If the Catholic Church, and its evangelical brethren, really want to stop abortions, they should put their considerable resources into:
• taking the stigma out of out-of-wedlock pregnancy
• free prenatal care and hospital services for unwed or poor wed mothers. Also helping the women to eat well and be healthy in the pregnancy.
• developing a host of willing adopters so that women who didn't want a child could be sure the child got a good home
• helping out those who want to keep a child but need help in raising it
• Stop acting like sex was the devil's creation instead of God's. That is, providing condoms, birth control pills etc to anyone who wants them.
Of course that is a big hurdle for the Church and the evangelicals. God forbid anyone should enjoy sex unless they were trying to make a baby. This whole pleasure thing is very suspect among those people. I'm sure they would rather no pleasure was involved.
I believe that even the flower enjoys the touch of the bee picking up her pollen. But that's just me.
Abstinence only goes so far, and only works for some people. I think it's a good idea for teenagers, but I don't expect that it will be widely used.
And then there is rape and incest. Traditionally, male-dominated theocracies have tried to put the blame for those things on the women. They blame everything sexual on the women. Even if one doesn't blame the women, what to do about the unwanted pregnancy that often arises from these violent acts? If it happens to you, your neighborhood priest or minister will urge you to keep the child, but don't expect him to come up with the scratch to pay for all the things you need to pay for.
Going back to "respect life Sunday." Something I find really objectionable and hypocritical about the anti- abortion crowd is their insistence that it not be done even to save the life of the mother.
Look folks, if you try to save the mother's life, the fetus dies. But if you save the fetus, the mother dies. If you believe each is a human being with a soul, then one way or another IT'S STILL KILLING! Choose your poison.
I'd say the mother has more right to decide what she wants than a priest or minister. But again, that's just me.
Sorry to be so grim, but sometimes that's what I'm here for.
Incidentally, the UCC got some flack from the IRS because Obama spoke at the big meeting in Hartford some months before he decdlared his presidency. The IRS felt that the UCC was endorsing a candidate. When they realized he was a member of the UCC, and as a member had a legitimate right to speak there, and hadn't declared his candidacy anyway, they backed off.
So is the bishop of Scranton risking taking the tax-exempt status away from the Catholic Church? Don't hold your breath. IRS agents won't be surrounding parish houses and taking priests off in handcuffs any time soon.
Nor should they.
On the other hand, there are a lot of Catholics in Scranton who say that abortion can't be the only criteria for choosing someone. They realize that electing people who can help make this a more humane world—better environment, better health care, more equitable distribution of wealth etc— may do more in the long run to take care of the abortion problem than someone whose only qualification for office is willingness to pass laws against it.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Oh, maybe I'm wrong, I forgot, she reads a lot of newspapers and magazines—"all of them, any of them, any that have been in front of me all these years."
The only reason she is accepted at all by the Republican Party is because Johnny Mac is not ratcheting up the electoral energy. Johnny Mac looks like he is just about hanging on. Sarah is at least perky. Also, Frank Rich says in the New York Times that Sarah Palin has "more testosterone than anyone else at the top of her party."
Well, I wouldn't know about that, but she's not afraid to just leap in when she sees a chance to move up in the world. I guess you could say that's "ballsy."
In the meantime we hear that Palin failed to report travel reimbursements on her tax return. "Well doggone it, gosh, I must have forgot. That happens to us ordinary folks sometimes down here on Main street."
Anyway, mavericks don't have to declare everything.
Whoa, the house finally passed that bailout, uh, I mean rescue plan. Minor change—it's now up to $800 bil (got a lot more expensive over the course of the week). Seems like they had to address some of the representatives concerns before they would come over to the pro-bill side.
Usually this is called a bribe.
Adam Davidson talking to Ira Glass on This American Life:
"While Congress has been debating the Paulson plan, there is another financial rescue option that many economists prefer. Most economists whom Davidson and colleague Alex Blumberg have spoken with say a stock-injection plan is clearly better. Instead of just taking toxic assets off of banks' books, the U.S. government would directly inject capital into ailing firms. In return, the government — and taxpayers — would get an ownership share in the firms equal to the amount of their investment."
Yeah, so how come this isn't the focus of the bill? It seems like some of our conservative brothers think this is "socialism."
Ooohh, socialism! (Hold out your arms and use your forefingers to make a cross here).
We can't have that. Nuh-uh, not for America. Except of course if you're a corporation that has effed up egregiously, then it's shoring up capitalism, if the gov't. gives you money. If they give some to me, then it's socialism. There folks, you have the two terms defined.
Socialism—giving money to poor, indebted, unemployed me.
Capitalism—giving money to corporations who need to reward their CEOs with big severance packages after a couple years of effing up.
Succinct, and to the point. Now you can skip that class at school.
Socialism, otherwise known as "government actually doing something for its citizens" has gotten a bad rap in this country. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, corporate vultures like Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick and J.P. Morgan (may their names be forever despised) used this term to scare all the Anglo-Saxons when those immigrants from Ireland and Europe started bitching and moaning about how they were treated. Ungrateful wretches. Then we had occasions like the Haymarket massacre in Chicago. This was blamed on anarchists, but the police were there to make sure the people supporting striking workers knew who was boss. They didn't figure some wingnut would throw a bomb.
The powers that be were grateful for an excuse to start shooting.
This was the beginning of a long and glorious tradition of official murder. The culmination in this country was at Kent State in 1970.
The story of workers' struggle for decent living against the captains of industry is pretty depressing. Profits, profits, profits. There is a reason that Jesus said it would be easier for a camel to get thru the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.
I don't believe in Hell, but I would believe if I knew that Carnegie, Frick, and Morgan (and others like them) were burning in it.
Not nice of me to say that, but there it is.
on that note— I'm outta here. I had some things to say about some catholic clergy trying to influence their flocks in a certain direction, but it's late. Gotta get my beauty sleep.
Thanks to both of my loyal readers for hanging in there with me.
WHY THE HELL AREN'T YOU DOING SOMETHING USEFUL?
Thursday, October 2, 2008
That's one way of showing your ignorance.
There was a lot of those inaccurate Republican talk points, like Obama is going to raise taxes on every American. Biden was good at getting right in there and refuting them. She didn't really answer back, unless I missed something, but would mouth the same baloney later. Clearly she had learned and prepped some stuff well and just stuck to it, no matter what the question or Biden's response.
Her handlers trained her well. Still, she's all packaging. The box is empty.
I wonder if they coached her on the gay rights question. I was surprised she was able to say that her ticket would support gay rights, excepting marriage, without gagging. Even tho she made that exception, I hear the rumble of many conservative bodies spinning in their graves. Good thing they didn't debate in Massachusetts. Angry Puritan zombies would have risen out of their graves and devoured them both.
The Obama ticket also does not support gay marriage. I suspect that Obama is not just saying that to console and cajole conservatives. I think he means it, which is too bad. Well, nobody's perfect. Our Joe, tho, I'd bet doesn't really give a damn.
Joe was good, showed himself knowledgeable, attacked without demeaning his opponent (in spite of the fact she knows as much about foreign policy as a box of rocks), no rambling or foot in mouth. Showed he actually knew what he was talking about, and I don't believe Palin had a good counter-response to any of his criticisms of John McCain. Alas, no "You're no Jack Kennedy" moment. Palin deserves one.
I'd give the debate to Palin on appearance and surprising everyone by not making a total fool out of herself like she did with the Couric interviews. But it couldn't cover up her lack of knowledge. Joe wins on the facts and showing that he is the one with the real goods where being a heartbeat away from the presidency is concerned.
Oh, I almost forgot, McCain's a maverick, and she's one too. Don't know how I almost forgot as she said this about 47 times during the debate. It was the little mantra she pulled out every time she had nothing to say.
Actually he thinks he is. Maybe because he's not born-again.
I'm looking at the transcript—how about this little zinger:
Palin —"One thing that Americans do at this time, also, though, is let's commit ourselves just every day American people, Joe Six Pack, hockey moms across the nation, I think we need to band together and say never again. Never will we be exploited and taken advantage of again by those who are managing our money and loaning us these dollars. We need to make sure that we demand from the federal government strict oversight of those entities in charge of our investments and our savings and we need also to not get ourselves in debt."
"Strict oversight?!!" You mean "regulation" of the capitalist system? Is this her or is this really a McCain thing?
You know, it's amusing to hear Republicans chide Republicans for not being watchdogs, for not "taking care" of their business—i.e., governing—but instead taking care of business. Taking care of the corporate entities who give them money instead of the poor suckers who voted for them.
Scary thing—she's in agreement with VP Cheney about the VP having more power under the constitution than was previously thought.
Palin—"Well, our founding fathers were very wise there in allowing through the Constitution much flexibility there in the office of the vice president. And we will do what is best for the American people in tapping into that position and ushering in an agenda that is supportive and cooperative with the president's agenda in that position. Yeah, so I do agree with him that we have a lot of flexibility in there, and we'll do what we have to do to administer very appropriately the plans that are needed for this nation."
OY. Can you imagine this person pushing her own agenda instead of John McCains'?
"Let's get those nasty books out of the libraries, dammit! And FBI—I've got an ex-brother-in-law you better go after."
Biden had a good response:
"And the primary role of the vice president of the United States of America is to support the president of the United States of America, give that president his or her best judgment when sought, and as vice president, to preside over the Senate, only in a time when in fact there's a tie vote. The Constitution is explicit. The only authority the vice president has from the legislative standpoint is the vote, only when there is a tie vote. He has no authority relative to the Congress. The idea he's part of the Legislative Branch is a bizarre notion invented by Cheney to aggrandize the power of a unitary executive and look where it has gotten us."
Way to go, Joe.
Not that Palin noticed.
Anyhow, that's it.
One last thing:
AGAIN with the "I was struck by…" during the commentary afterwards.
NPR, you're driving me to thoughts of violence. I'M struck by the thought that you need a "cliché police" department there. I volunteer. I'd love to strike everyone who used "I was struck by" during the commentary.
I'm outa here.
But I don't get to vote on this.
And all the congressmen in favor of it say it's not a bailout, that the taxpayer will have a good chance of making money on this. Uh-yup. Can't wait to see my dividend checks.
In the meantime, I'm waiting for the VP debate.
I'll be back.
Gotta go sharpen the knives.
Monday, September 29, 2008
I went to trader Joe's and stocked up on some canned and boxed victuals to eat when the sh!!t hits the fan and the electricity goes out and civilization as we know it ends. I still need some more briquettes for the grill so I can heat up this stuff and I'll be set for a while.
I was torn earlier between being sad about Congress shooting this deal down and being happy that they slapped Bush upside the head. That was earlier. As I learn more about what was defeated I am increasingly glad it failed. Mr. Paulson would still have been the most powerful man in the free world under this bill (did you vote for him? I didn't) with an oversite committee with no teeth.
“This is a huge cow patty with a piece of marshmallow stuck in the middle of it and I am not going to eat that cow patty,” said Representative Paul Broun, Republican of Georgia.
Great line. I applaud a great line no matter which side of the political spectrum it comes from.
The august New York Times thinks it was a mistake to reject this bill, that the Republicans who voted against it were acting out of partisan politics rather than concern for the country. The NYT neglected to say why they thought the Democrats who voted against it did so. I know why— $750 bil is a lot of moola. And the collateral was suspect. How would we get paid back? Are we going to send a contingent of Marines to break financier's kneecaps if they don't pony up? Me, I'm still waiting to see when I can ride my corporate jet that I must own, as a taxpayer, now that we all own 80% of AIG.
Some of that bill was good, but man, the people who caused this mess should be putting up more of their own, and the taxpayers less. If I screw up and go into debt, people will say "You schmuck! You knew what you were doing!" (actually I have and they have—and it's true).
But if Mr. 10 Million Dollar Severance Package screws up, it's "Hasta la vista baby, I'm off to the Mediterranean for a rest before I come back and ruin another company."
What I want to know is, what are the business schools teaching people anyway? Apparently ethics and sound fiscal planning are not on the curriculum.
"Truly, I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go throught the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God." Jesus said that.
Truly I tell you, if any of my tax money goes to help those wankers on Wall Street, and nothing comes back to me, there will have to be some changes in the makeup of Congress. And I may just personally take a ball peen hammer and visit some of those wingnuts who are stealing my money. I said that.
No, not really, I'm not a violent person by nature. But a boy can always dream.
Incidentally, according to Jesus, by my financial state I am in like Flynn for the Kingdom—well, hopefully, He'll overlook some of my activities during the sixties. Really, I don't do that stuff any more and I'm very sorry, mostly.
In other happier news, the Palin person is starting to be as welcome as an Alaskan winter in South Carolina. I feel sorry for her, a little—she saw the golden ring being handed to her, and reached for it without thinking about whether she had done the preparation necessary to make her worthy to have it. It will leave burn marks on her hand where she touched it and had to let go. I took a job like that once. Went in over my head, eventually got fired. And actually felt relief at being fired. Of course I didn't have a religious agenda to push, so it didn't hurt that much. Our Sarah thinks she is working for God, so it's going to be a real blow when Johnny Mac comes to his senses and tells her to step down.
She comes off in interviews as being about as knowledgeable as a tray of ice cubes. The expression on Katie Couric's face as she was interviewing her said it all.
How do you respond to this?—" . . . where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the healthcare reform that is needed to help shore up our economy. Um, helping, oh -- it's got to be all about job creation too. Shoring up our economy, and putting it back on the right track. So healthcare reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions, and tax relief for Americans, and trade, we've got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, um, scary thing, but 1 in 5 jobs being created in the trade sector today. We've got to look at that as more opportunity. All of those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that."
And goodnight to you all.
Both of you.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
It was not that exciting a fifteen minutes.
Obama has that professorial voice to deal with. He just doesn't sound like he can be angry even when he is angry. I feel sometime that he thinks "Oh, I'm supposed to be mad, or gleeful, or something here" then he does it. I sympathize, having a similar problem. People don't know I'm mad unless i shout and break things and make a real asshat out of myself.
Meanwhile Johnny Mac is squeezing every little bit of pathos out of the things he says. Well, really, emotion is all he has going for him at this point. His space alien running mate is a disaster and our John has been so busy talking up and reviewing his foreign policy credentials he doesn't have anything really constructive to say about the Wall Street meltdown. Well, he has to be careful, a lot of those guys are his friends.
Big article in the NYTimes about his ties to the casino industry. Oooh, family values there. I dunno, John, how long you can use those five years in Hanoi, given the thirty plus you've lived since then. I almost gagged to hear him roll out that story once again near the end of the debate. Things going badly for you, John? Bring out the prisoner of war story. It's attack-proof.
I'll say again, I think McCain is a hero for the way he acted when he was captured and imprisoned. But that does not automatically mean he should be president. And he only cheapens his bravery by bringing it out at every possible sound-bite moment.
Speaking of asshats, the icicle queen is making one of herself. Or she would except the Repubs have worked diligently to keep Ms. Palin out of the reach of that terrible liberal press. (Like the liberal press of Fox News and Rupert Murdoch's newspapers?) What exposure she has had really emphasizes the meaning of the word "exposure." She looked pretty naked, intellectually speaking, in those Katie Couric interviews. Better just to bring her out for speeches and not let her answer questions. She's good at delivery. If I were a Repub consultant that would be my advice. Use her attractiveness and her sassy delivery but for God's sake don't let her out on her own. No telling what she would say.
But don't forget, she lives next door to Russia. She has probably thought a lot about it and the Russia's threat to her state while she's been governor. That makes her foreign policy savvy.
She's been too busy being the earmark loving, patronage and nepotism using greedy little POLITICIAN she is.
You know, I really hate picking on someone who is such an easy target. I mean, it takes no effort on my part, brings me no glory. The person is a disaster, she has no business being a heart attack away from the presidency. WHAT WAS HE THINKING?
I put it down to senility. And being charmed by a pretty face. I think the Republican leadership (whoever those murky personages may be) are thinking that poor John is going to be bugled up to Jesus (as Kinky Friedman would say) soon and they will be able to control that little woman from Alaska.
HA! She shoots moose and wolves from helicopters. She'll eat the Republican leadership alive. And, frankly, they deserve it. I just pray that Obama wins this election so we don't have to watch that bloodbath. Actually, if he wins, everyone will be too busy watching him to see her devouring what's left of the Rove-Cheney coalition.
It's going to be interesting to see how much the financial mess affects those who might otherwise be tempted to vote their racist fears in November. If one listens carefully to the interviews and commentary on the radio one can sense an underlying fear of the BLACK MAN in those comments.
A BLACK MAN running our country!? Whoa! Is he going to commission a rap version of the 'Star-spangled Banner?' Is Ice-T going to be singing "Oh say bro, did you dig that star-blinged banner doing its thing over the hood?"
Could happen. You never know what 'those people' are going to do. Buy guns and lock your doors.
But the Obama is rising with the sinking of the market. Our love of money may actually put somebody good and useful into the White House (O, how I love the idea of a black guy in the White House!!!) for a change, a welcome change.
Okay. I'm out of gripe for the night.
Sleep tight, you two.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
How come they weren't smart enough to see this coming? I wanna know.
I'd have more confidence in Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, and you know the trouble he has. Only person in Alaska more corrupt than the current Republican VP candidate. But you have to admit he knows how to handle money.
Here's my live comments on GWB's speech:
The Bushman says we are in the midst of a financial crisis. Thanks George, I wasn't sure.
He wants to"supply" urgently needed money.
How does one do that? Oh, he takes out of my wallet.
We got here because all the money came in from foreign investors, made it easier to get credit. Credit for houses, tuition, new business.
Expectations that home values would continue to rise led to this.
Fall in value led to defaults.
Basically he is saying that greed, especially Wall Street greed, led to this situation.
But he doesn't want to come out and really say it. That would be un-capitalist.
I wonder who wrote this up for him. I don't believe he wrote it himself.
George is explaining this is not normal circumstance. That's why he is abandoning his Republican ideals for the moment. There is a spirit of cooperation between presidency and congress—uh-huh.
Rescue plan should protect taxpayers.
Whoa, he just said CEOs who fscked up should not get a financial windfall. I think thats new. Also un-Republican. I don't think he means it tho.
Basically George thinks the money will actually flow back to treasury when things settle down.
Not good enough. If I, as a taxpayer are supporting this, I want a corporate jet, at least.
My prediction for the future: Republicans will become socialists (tho they won't say that). Democrats will become financial reactionaries.
George spoke in platitudes for the most part.
Much gas, no solids.
Biggest financial crisis since 1930, some say since 1776, and he talked for 14 minutes and no details. But he did give a good Cliff notes account of the onset of this crisis, tho he really avoided assigning blame properly.
I've been hearing that even Republicans are gagging on swallowing this 700 bil plan.
In the meantime, Warren Buffet is putting a lot of moola into Goldman-Sachs.
And it's helping. He runs Berkshire-Hathaway, and the name Berkshire calls to me. I live near the Berkshires. He can buy me out. I'm cheap. 500 grand will do me.
Seems like most economists are having trouble with this, seems like this crisis has done what no amount of bi-partisanship preaching has done, the left and the right are sleeping with the center and enjoying group financial regulatory sex as never before.
Geez, you probably didn't need that visual.
Man, if even Republicans have a problem with this, I'm scared.
Brad Sherman of Cal., Dem., this congressman wants someone to co-sign the checks.
We need a good plan and it will have a moderate risk.
Sen. Bob Bennet of Utah, concerned about "realities of the situation." We need to act dramatically and rapidly, can take another day or two, but that's it. He's a republican and is against putting in all kinds of amendments that might delay things. Presumably amendments that would protect the taxpayer. Apologist for the administration.
Folks, the Sh!!t is hitting the fan. You better figure out what you have that's good for barter 'cause your money is going down in value, you betcha.
Paula Poundstone on "Wait, wait, don't tell me" (you can download past programs from NPR) had a great line. They were talking about how with all the news coverage of the presidential candidates, old George has fallen off the radar screen, doesn't seem so relevant. Paula said, "Now that the dollar has fallen so far in value, we can put his picture on it."
Ya know, we have all kinds of hackers breaking into computers, sending malware, stealing information, raising hell for the fun of it. How come none of them has ever thought that breaking into the bank accounts of over-paid CEOs and re-distributing the money would be a fun idea?
Oops, I didn't mean that, honest, T-men, I was just kidding. I'm not really a socialist, anti-Christ loving anarchist. It's just a pose. I need excitement in my life, I'm really a tie-wearing, white-shirted, red-suspendered anally repressed republican at heart.
If they don't believe that:
My next post will be from Leavenworth, or maybe Guantanamo Bay.
Guantanamo Bay, water-boarding paradise! Only the best water-boarders come here to show their stuff. It's not torture—it's a challenge!
Eh, I've got to go and put up more sandbags around my bunker. I'm either going to be fighting off the gov't. or citizens hungry for my cans of Spaghetti-O's. In any case, I have work to do.
If either of my loyal readers haven't been arrested yet, good night to you.