Saturday, December 18, 2010

Finally! DADT dies!

It's about time. and an achievement given that the Republicans in Congress have done all they can to make life ever more unfair for the common (i.e., not a politician, banker or lobbyist) American.

It's too bad that in the last two years when Obama could have done more, we've lost a lot of talented soldiers in the field, translators, and other military personnel because of the stupid law. Maybe someone ought to suggest that we reinstate with honor all those who were forced out. I know I just did, but no one listens to me except the two or three layabouts who have nothing better to do than read my posts.

Still, it's nice to have some good news around Christmas time, and I'm happy for my gay and lesbian friends that another little piece of discrimination has fallen down the sewer of history.

Speaking about happy—I'm sure the billionaires who got their precious tax break extension  (OMG they would have been SO financially crippled had they not got it)—and which will make the deficit worse for the rest of us— are happy. I hope they reward well their lobbyists and the craven congressmen who helped them.

Eh, I don't want to end on a sour note. Lord knows I will be busy with baking, presents, children visiting and making sure the Messiah Sing at our church comes off smoothly. So if I don't have a chance to post before January, Happy Holidays and a Happy and Prosperous New Year to both my readers and to all my friends.

And for those I haven't already inflicted with it—here's a cheerful little digital telling of the Christmas Story:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Why oh why do I think things will get better?

Obama, what happened to you?
I thought I voted for you and it looks like I got Senator McCain. Or George Bush redux.
How could you give the Republicans everything they want and then say it was a good deal?
How could you make it possible that the rich get more than the middle class out of your deal with the Republicans?
And why weren't Democrats involved in those dealings?
And what about DADT?

Are you a secret Republican?

I don't get it. I don't want the upper class to get extended tax breaks, relief on the estate tax, etc. I don't want to see the billionaires and corporations grind their heels on the middle class bodies anymore.
Quite frankly I don't think you achieved SHIT with your deal with the Republicans. You just gave them everything they wanted. Good for you.
When are you really going to start fighting!??!!

Maybe in 2012 I should vote for a Republican. Maybe then I will get the Democrat I wanted in 2008.

In other news, this is a postcard I sent to Justice Samuel Alito:

On the back I put the statement from the president about how the influx of money into the political process is  detrimental to democracy that Justice Alito objected to. Clearly, from the results of the last election, Obama spoke the truth.

Feel free to use this image if you want to send Justice Alito a postcard yourself.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Internet Communities and the Kindness of Strangers

I'm going to take a break from my usual political carping (tho, God knows, there is plenty to carp about) and talk about community. I think that human beings must have some innate compulsion to form community, somehow, in anyway they can—whether they are trying to or not.

I belong to a Macintosh forum. On-line, of course. Originally it was formed around a desire to find good deals on the web, particularly computer stuff, and to help each other with any computer related problems we had. Over time it morphed into something more extensive. Some have estimated that on our forum lately, only about 10 to 15% of our postings have to do with computers or software. What is the rest? In recent weeks someone has posted about a death in the family. Someone else broke a bone for the first time and wanted advice from others who had. Another posted a long and affecting story about the auctioning off of his  late grandfather's belongings. There are the requisite, to any forum, animal stories and pictures. People make jokes, people make fights. For a while there was a mini-community within the forum around the "Lost" series. Someone had a car accident. Another person got laid off (we've had a few of these) and posted about it for advice and sympathy, which he got. One member expressed thanks to another forum member for advice which helped him get a new job. Another wanted to know if someone had advice about getting around in Italy. We exchange recipes. We know who had kids, who had lost a pet or family member, who is looking for a car, a house, a computer.

I know that one member had an accident, almost died. Another had her stomach stapled for a weight problem, another collects guns and is likely to eat out-of-date food he finds in his house (he is our "can I still eat this?" guru). Yet another raises gerbils. A woman on the forum has snakes for pets. I know who had an an auto accident in Hawaii. I've learned about the beers from small English breweries from someone who lives in England. I know who is having good weather or bad weather, and where they live. We have a "Free First Monday" every month where folks can list computer parts, software, peripherals, etc that they are willing to send to anyone who wants them for the cost of postage. We learn about each others dreams, problems, tragedies and joys. Sometimes we get carried away and start arguing. Some of us are good at stopping or settling those arguments.

Which brings me, finally, to the reason I'm writing about this. We have had some deaths in our community. Several years ago, a much-liked tho somewhat unstable member committed suicide. We were shocked and sent our condolences to the family, who were blown away by the love and concern of a community they didn't know about. There was another suicide last year, a woman who met her husband through the forum, and tho they finally separated, there remained a strong bond between them. He notified us of her death and we were there for him with sympathy and support.

Last week one of our older, wiser members died, of an incurable pulmonary disease. She went by the handle of "AlphaDog," I guess to make sure her dog Louie knew his place. She was one of those who usually had good advice for us, who often was able to clear the air in an argument, who helped people. I discovered a couple year ago that we both shared a Slovak heritage, and we exchanged private messages about that and Slovak food. When news of her death spread, over 150 people expressed their sorrow on the forum. Everyone had been touched in some way by Beth (her real name), yet almost no one—only two or three— of our members had actually met her. Many had shared private messages with her. Some had gotten advice from her which helped them in some personal problem. One member wrote about how she had helped him buy presents for his children at a difficult time in his life, and all she wanted back was to know how the kids liked the presents. You could almost see the tears of grief rolling down his cheeks as he wrote. Again, they never met in person and knew each other only by their relationship as forum members.

Beth knew of her condition a year ago, but didn't broadcast it. Many of us knew she had a problem, but only a couple knew how serious it was. She seldom alluded to it. The most direct mention of it I saw was four months ago when she wrote in response to a post by one of our members who was concerned because he had just been told he had a heart murmur. She advised him to enjoy and live every day to the fullest, saying " My days are numbered - literally, although we don't quite know what that number is, except that it's not too many. I've been told to arrange for Hospice services and to get all of my affairs in order. I have. But I absolutely refuse to sit around and worry about what day I'm going to die."
 Good advice for everybody.

Beth was one of the most remarkable people on the forum, but there are a lot of remarkable people there. People who will argue with you one day and the next give you sympathy for a loss, or advice for a problem. Often someone would say "I can help. Send me a private message." Is there something special about us? Are Mac users nicer people (I'd like to think so, but I know it's not true.)

No, I think that a community forms around a group of people who meet or communicate frequently and for a significant period of time. Many of us have been in this group for years, and our individual postings number in the thousands. Your community can be "real," as in church or a special activity, or it can be "virtual," like ours. I have to wonder if there is any difference between those two, other than the method of meeting. They both have the possibility of help, advice, humor, or succor in time of need.

I hope you all have something like this in your lives.

That's all I have for you tonight.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The inmates are taking over the asylum

Well it's happened. Another flip-flop in the political scene. Again, voters have handed a stinging defeat to the party in power. The Republicans were in power in Bush's first term, lost out to the Democrats in 2006 and 2008, and now they are back.
As a teacher of mine once said, "Democracy does not always fill our hearts with joy."

If it is democracy. When one considers how much money was thrown into the races by the billionaires one has to wonder. All I can say is "Thank you, Supreme Court, for handing this country over to the oligarchs." People like the Koch brothers, who make their money from coal (good luck in the next couple years to you green-energy folks) poured millions in to these races. And they used their money to distract people from the faact that it was G. Bush's and the Republicans' profligate spending and two wars which created this deficit. They had eight years to mess thing up, and Obama and the Democrats so far have only had two to fix things.

But that very small percentage of the US which controls most of the money would have you forget that. They don't want the banks and Wall Street to be regulated. they want to keep on getting their incredible bonuses and profits. And in spite of their squawking about "socialism" during the health care debate, they will happily accept the small portion of tax-payer money they don't already have to be bailed out when things go south again.

So welcome to the United States of Oligarchy. It is becoming "government of the few, by the few, for the profit of the few." They will keep the rabble under control by creating false enemies and diversions so they will be too angry to think.

Say good bye to green energy, carbon control, net neutrality, and what's left of the middle class.

The Republicans talk about reducing taxes (and keeping that tax reduction the oligarchs got a couple years ago) but they don't say how. When Chris Matthews asked Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tenessee just where they would make the tax cuts she smilingly stone-walled him. She said "across the board spending cuts" but wouldn't commit to including defense, for instance in those cuts. And she wouldn't rule out social security cuts. It's typical of these people to avoid the specifics. not having governed before, they have no real idea of what they are doing.

There were a few bright spots. Harry Reid kept his seat in Nevada (thank you Nevada, I retract all those snarky things I said about you) and the Democrats still have the Senate. That last is a pretty dim bright spot tho. The Democrats pretty much screwed up their big chance to govern wisely by making too many compromises and failing to explain their policies adequately to the public. Are they now going to develop back bone? One wonders, considering how so many Dems up for re-election ran scared and tried to pretend they didn't even know Obama. I'd like to know how many of those survived.

It'll be interesting to see how the Republican establishment controls the Tea party favorites like Rand Paul who managed to survive the elections.

In the meantime, I guess I better go down to McDonald's and see if i can get a full-time job, since they want to cut back my pitiful social security benefit.

Let's everyone give a warm welcome to the new puppets of the Oligarchy who will be taking over in January.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I'm trying to figure out what those people behind all the attack ads, the support of the Tea party activists, the stupid and evil rumors about Obama (choose one— he's a Moslem, he wasn't born in America, he hates white people, and etcetera, miserable etcetera) want out of this election. I mean, what more do they need? "In the United States at the end of 2001, 10% of the population owned 71% of the wealth and the top 1% owned 38%. On the other hand, the bottom 40% owned less than 1% of the nation's wealth."
It hasn't got any better since then.
(By the way—there seems to be more than one "tea party"—Does anyone remember the Spanish Civil war, where infighting on the Republican side, (when "Republican" actually stood for something!) mostly fomented by the Communists insisting on doctrinal purity, actually led to the victory of Fascist forces and Generalissimo Franco's repressive regime? Those who work for the oligarchy's bidding will find themselves enslaved.)

What do these oligarchs want? Don't they have enough already? Do they really get so much pleasure from driving out of their gated and guarded enclaves and viewing the suckers who work for them that they have to drive those people into even more desperate straits? How much is enough? How much do you need to insure that your children and grandchildren will be able to live off your largess?
Will it be good for the children and grandchildren to have these riches handed to them instead of having to work for their rewards?
Where does ego stop? How great do you have to be for yourself and look to your descendants?
And how is all that worth a single life which you have destroyed in getting your riches?
If any of these asshats even bothered to read Shakespeare they would get an idea of the value, or lack there of, of inherited wealth and/or power. The Bible would give other clues, as would the actual history of the human race in the last five thousand years.
You don't know what your own children, much less your grandchildren, will do with the money which you squeezed and cheated out of the rest of humanity. You can bet that what ever it is, you won't approve.
I'd put money on that. If I'm right, pay me now. If I'm wrong, I'll get back to you later.
I'm confident that I won't need to get back to you later.

It seems the Republicans and their puppet masters are trying to destroy the middle class of America. They are trying to reduce the American social equation to lower class, and upper class. They want to  make Americans work for the same wages as people in Bangla Desh, China, the Maldives, Zanzibar etc. This is so bizarre and short-sighted.
Henry Ford was really an American fascist (he sold cars to Hitler's Germany long after it was clear Hitler would become America's enemy), he not only fought against unions but hired thugs to beat and even murder union organizers, BUT he did recognize that the American worker needed enough money to buy his cars. And he paid accordingly —he didn't want to pay for industrial accidents or provide health care or have a two day weekend—or have someone else tell him he should have these things—but he knew his employees should be able to afford his vehicles.
If only he'd known how cheaply Indian and Malaysian workers would have worked to build his cars.
History would have been different.

Oligarchies do not have a history of longevity. Of course, while they exist they make life miserable for those not in the "in crowd."

People do have the gumption to finally rise up against them or work around them until they collapse. The "local hero" idea in new England and elsewhere is one example of the force that will bring the oligarchs to ruin. When we choose our own methods of support and community we create the basis of our own economic and social freedom.
Buy as local as you can. Buy away from the big names, the big box stores. It won't be easy, "they" will try to make it expensive; "they" will try to keep you addicted to sugar and ease of preparation and ease of thought about what you are eating and where it came from.
This, by the way, is what "socialism," that much-maligned word, is about. You help me, I help you, we both work with him or her and we all make a living co-operating with yet another for mutual benefit. And no power of one over another.

That's a stickler for the oligarchs. Gotta have that power. How else to know how much we are worth?

Poor Jesus. He came to us 2000 years ago to speak of this, and his message is still ignored. We still judge people on their wealth, their status (whatever that is), their beauty—on everything but their ability to live as a vital part of a human community.

Even your Curmudgeon, who doesn't expect much from human beings, is a little depressed about this.
I hope you sleep well. Humanity needs you to be at your best in the morning.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

WTF? Kookbiscuits, cowardly oligarchs, and yours truly

I've been out for awhile. That mosque controversy wore me out, and when I was ready to write again, I was totally dumbfounded by all the insanity on the airwaves (being an old-fashioned kind of guy, by "airwaves" I mean the computer too). The mid-term elections are coming at us like tornadoes come on Missouri and Arkansas. Why do I suddenly feel as vulnerable as if I lived in a trailer park?
Back in my youth I thought that elections actually meant the choice between two principled though politically opposed individuals. Boy, was I naive. Principles, if they were ever there, seem to have gone the way of the dodo, or at least have the same endangered designation as the spotted owl.
What do we see in this election season?
The Repubican Party is either imploding under it's own corporately-funded, evangelically-dominated weight, or heading for a takeover of the House, possibly the Senate—depending on which cable-channel you were listening to. At least that's the way it looked when I started this a month ago. Now it's not so clear, if there can be any clarity.

What is clear is that Republicans are trying to buy this election. They are purchasing attack ads by the hundreds to show in states where they think there is a chance to beat a Democrat. Recently Rachel Maddow talked about 4.2 million dollars that Karl Rove's "American Crossroads"  is going to spend on attack ads. 75% of that money is coming from people who will remain anonymous ( October 6, 2010). Much of the Republican money is coming from anonymous donors. I don't know about you, but I think that anyone who wants to hide his/her political affiliations behind a cloak of secrecy is a coward.

The money from these anonymous people goes to Republicans, but I don't believe the donors are Republicans—I think they are oligarchs who want to continue to amass wealth and power and don't even give a pile of cow poop for their own supporters.

The Chamber of Commerce takes money from anonymous foreign sources, among others, but they assure us, though they won't say how, that they keep that foreign money separate from the political financial support they give anti-Democrat ads. Can't let outside forces get involved in our elections, right?
So how does that work exactly?

Suppose I have a kindly uncle who is willing to give me a certain amount of money every year to help me out.
But he says this is for necessary living expenses ONLY, don't spend in on booze and dancing. And I say okay Unc, I'm with the program. So I put the money in a special account that I use for household expenses. But, oh, now I have that much money from my earnings as a graphic artist which used to go for those household expenses and now is free for other things. Hmm, what to do with that extra money? Why, hey girls, let's have a drink and hit the dance floor!
Any so-called system the C of C has for keeping foreign money "separate" from their political activities is a fake. They are lying. I'll say it again, They are lying. What else can you expect from people who oppose anything that can help out the workers who make their businesses possible? Freaking hypocrites.

So people who wish to remain anonymous but have lots of dough to spend want to convince you how to vote. And they don't care who they have up for the designated office. Any kookbiscuit will do. Just look at the Repubican candidates:
Christine O'Donnell, in Delaware (Arkan saw what Dela wore. Did Tenne-see?)—She's against all out-of-wedlock sex, including masturbation. Good luck with that. And the picnic on the Satanic altar? Just a youthful indiscretion.
I remember when politicians were criticized for smoking pot (I didn't inhale, said Bill Clinton) but the tea bagging right puts Christine O'Donnell up as their candidate, in spite of her dabbling in witchcraft.  Witchcraft— all you "family, Christian values" people.
Well, as we say in the United Church of Christ, they must be open and affirming folks there on the right, to accept someone who dabbled in witchcraft. Perhaps the LGBT community will be as welcome as the witches in their political party. Uh-huh.
Incidentally, tho it is not a belief I can relate to, I can say that several people in my community practice Wicca and they are hard-working, decent, friendly people, not kookbiscuits. I do, however, suspect they may have had, or be having, sex outside of marriage.
The horror.

Sharron Angle—a new angle on politics for sure, at least in this country—at least since the anarchist heyday of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. If you are really disaffected with government, it's time to exercise your second amendment rights. Get those automatic weapons out folks, we can all be Lee Harvey Oswald. Remember when the idea was we could all aspire to be president? Now she implies we could all aspire to KILL the president, if we don't get our way—I mean, why stop at Congressmen?
I suppose that she means that ANYONE who disagrees with the powers that be can resort to "2nd amendment solutions" when disaffected. She doesn't seem to know that many leftists also own guns. Our anarchist branch has a reputation for bombing skills also. What I get from this was that I shoulda took out Bush and Cheney when they were in power. Is that what you meant, Sharron? And what's with the two "r"s anyway?
People have been killed for acting, or even appearing to act, on these beliefs (look up the "Haymarket").

And there is Rand Paul with his dithering about the Civil Rights Act (actually I kind of like him because he had the cojones to appear on Rachel Maddow's show while so many others are afraid), and  that Miller guy from Alaska (must be something in the air up there) who joins the others in wanting to ban abortion for rape and incest victims. Showing real Christian compassion there, folks. I suppose you also have a system set up to care for those unwanted children? Oh, of course you do—not.

I can only hope that enough people who see how crazy it is to have these wingnuts in positions of power will hit the polls this November.
The candidates mentioned above are just a sampling. You will see this all over the country.

And you will see much advertisement against any "liberal" candidate, Democrat or Republican. Many, if not all, of these ads will be funded by those unnamed corporate interests to get "their" candidates into office. "Their candidates" being people willing to sell their souls for milk from the corporate teat, the milk they need to keep them in office and enjoying the perks of pretending to do good for the country. Perks that come from the very corporate interests which are destroying democracy in this country.

I wonder though, if Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell  actually get their seats, how much control will anyone have over them. A kookbiscuit is a kookbiscuit is a kookbiscuit. They may not only screw things up for us, but even for their oligarchic masters.

What we do see from all this is that anyone can aspire to public office in this country—poor, rich (especially rich), Democrats, Republicans, Tea-Partyers pretending to be Republicans, (legal) immigrants, Kookbiscuits and asshats, Christians, Jews, Moslems—oops, maybe not Moslems, not these days, but ten out of eleven ain't so bad.

Sleep well, my two loyal readers, now that you have had your curmudgeonly fix.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

"Hallowed Ground"

Here's a series of photos a guy took of places around the World Trade center. All within four blocks or so.
Judge for yourself how hallowed it is. 

and a map:

The fear mongers are just evil. The NY Daily News had a picture of some kid on the front cover yesterday with the headline: "The teen-ager who suggested the site for the mosque—WAY TO GO KID"
So now they are going after teen-agers. Have these people no shame?

Frank Rich points out in his NY Times article today (August 22) that the right wing is undermining the very war in Afghanistan they support. The Taliban must be loving this. They are probably replaying videos of Fox News blatherings about the sacrilege of Muslims trying to build a mosque on "hallowed ground." And the comments of a gullible and fearful public don't help. I've heard some nasty stuff on the radio lately. Spoken by "good Christians" all. I bet the Afghanis who are wondering which side to support will be really impressed by this outburst of American understanding and good will.

And why aren't these asshats insisting we break off relations with Saudi Arabia, where all but one, I believe of the highjackers came from? Some are saying that Saudi Arabia is contributing funds to this project and that's another reason for disallowing it. That's bad, but us paying them for oil isn't.

I'm surprised someone hasn't suggested putting all Muslims in camps, like we did with the Japanese in WW2, so we can keep an eye on the evil bastards, by god, and make sure they don't make any more shoe and underwear bombs.

My heart breaks. My father came here because it was a land of freedom. When Czechoslovakia went Communist, no one suggested that he should be watched, not be trusted. Oh, but he was Christian, and white. Nah, that couldn't have been why.

This proposed building is going to be a community center with a prayer room. Aren't there hospitals and nursing homes with chapels? Is any building with a space for religious worship to be called a church, or synagogue, or mosque even if the space is only for the convenience for the people using the facility? If schools allowed prayer, like many of these so-called Christians demand, should we rename schools churches?
If my church allows yoga sessions, should we then be considered an ashram, not a church?

Again, this is a community center. This is not "on the site" of the WTC, it's on the site of a coat factory.
And many if not all, of the people wanting to build it are AMERICAN CITIZENS!

I started off just wanting to post a link to the photos. But this really bugs me. I need another drink.
Dear God, why do you put up with us?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Let them build the damn community center!!

I've had it. Even more than the usual political lies, this absurd controversy has made me psychically sick and ashamed. The Moslem community in New York wants to build a community center on the site of a former Burlington coat factory.  Sort of like the YMCA or YMHA right? Doesn't sound too controversial.
Oh, it's two blocks from the former World Trade Center site. Did I mention that?
It will be thirteen stories high. Oooh, enormous right? If you think so you haven't been to Manhattan lately, lately being the early part of the 20th century. 13 stories is peanuts.
And there will be a mosque as part of this building. Why a mosque? Seems there are a lot of Moslems in Manhattan, and the two mosques already in the area are overflowing. From the New york Times:
"Masjid Manhattan, on Warren Street, four blocks from ground zero, was founded in 1970. Masjid al-Farah, formerly on Mercer Street, moved to its present location on West Broadway, about 12 blocks from ground zero, in 1985. "

Is four blocks safe enough? Or twelve? How far away do Moslems have to go to satisfy ignorant yahoos who think this is a building to celebrate Moslem victory over America? Who basically blame Muhammad and all his followers for the attack on the WTC? Who are eager to stir up trouble so they can get more votes in November? Who think the entire Islamic religion is an enemy of our country? That by the way is about a billion plus people. From a couple dozen different countries with different traditions.
It is not a dozen and a half deluded fanatics who think America will be crushed by bringing down the symbol of our financial trading power.They may have been Moslems, but they did not represent Islam.
And there were Moslem businessmen in the twin towers and they also died when those buildings came down.
Don't they deserve some respect?

Folks, the Burlington coat factory is not hallowed ground. It was a goddam industrial site. The proposed community center is a place for the growing community of people who follow Islam to gather. You're afraid they are going to preach hate there? What's to keep them from preaching hate, if they want to, in the existing mosques, or in their homes or in rented halls. And who are they, exactly? All the Moslems in Lower Manhattan? Some of them? Do we know which ones?

By the way, the mosque closest to the WTC site is the more conservative one. Been there for a while. But the asshat Republican politicians and commentators seem to have not noticed. Perhaps there is not any political hay to be gathered from trying to displace existing houses of worship.

I misspoke when I said "asshat Republicans." they aren't the only ones. Sure, Eric Cantor, he of the "yeah we have religious liberty in this country, but c'mon!" and John Baynor who, ahem, believes in religious liberty but thinks the Moslems should  still build a mosque somewhere else, are Republicans. Where is somewhere else , by the way,  north of Canal Street? North of Houston Street? North of Canada?

Back to asshats— Harry Reid, Democrat, has also joined the "Sure I believe in religious liberty, but building a mosque there would hurt our feelings" crowd. He thinks he has to do this to ensure victory over one of the Right's major wingnuts, Sharon Angle. Well he is in Nevada. There is Las Vegas and Reno, both full of people with distorted visions of reality, distorted by desire for riches and excitement—they don't think. And outside of those two places there are  scattered bunches of renegade Mormons and survivalist freaks with automatic weapons. They think but shouldn't.
Lest you think I am throwing a lot of innocent and decent people under the bus—I know there are a lot of other decent and thoughtful people in Nevada who lead normal lives. We even have some of those in Massachusetts. I exaggerate for effect and emphasis.
I'm a curmudgeon. It's part of the job description.
I just hope they don't send Sharon Angle to Washington.
Massachusetts sent Scott Brown to the Senate, so stupidity is possible anywhere.

Where was I? Oh yeah, some other Dems have also felt the need to jump on this political ice-cream wagon. they should all be ashamed of themselves.

Here is the first amendment, just in case you forgot:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

 "…make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…"
The weakness in this amendment is that it doesn't say "the mob shall not…etcetery."
What you have been seeing on the web and TV is the mob. They talk of the "Ground Zero mosque". That it's not on Ground Zero doesn't seem to matter. That it is primarily a community center doesn't seem to matter. That most Moslems in America are, well, Americans, doesn't seem to matter.
Folks, the First Amendment is clear— we all, Christians, Jews, Moslems, Zoroastrians,  peyote-smoking Native Americans, even Scientologists, have the right to worship when and where we want to without interference.

The First Amendment doesn't say "unless we are scared of (your bogeyman here) or "if it hurts our sensibilities."
It says we have the right to worship (or not worship) when and where we please.
If you don't defend this, you are betraying a basic American ideal.

That's just the way it is.

Friday, July 23, 2010

An American Hero has Died

This morning, Friday July 23, newsman Daniel Schorr died. Mr Schorr was the last of the great newsmen of the 20th century. We are unlikely to see his like again.
He was dedicated to presenting the news without putting his own emotional spin on it.
When he read, in a live broadcast in 1974, the names on the just released Nixon "Enemies List' he came to his own name and said with equanimity, "The note here is, 'A real media enemy," and kept on reading names.

His is one of those voices which was a part of my life, almost all my life. He will be greatly missed.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Are you afraid of Black People?

On the July 21, 2010 Rachel Maddow show, Rachel had a good and long exposition on the political tactic of creating fear among whites—fear that the Black people are coming to get you and more importantly, get your stuff. Two of the biggest stories lately have involved Acorn and Shirley Sherrod.
In the Acorn story, videos were shown that seemed to show an Acorn employee agreeing to help smuggle young women across the border for prostitution. What wasn't shown was how the employee was getting information from the fake pimp and prostitute who were proposing this activity, which he then called into the police after they left. The police have verified this.
Acorn was not without sin, but it's biggest sin was getting a lot of people to vote who would not vote for the Republicans. Hence they had to go, and a carefully edited video was enough to do it.
Now just days ago, another video was aired on Fox "News" which came from Andrew Breitbart, who also, just incidentally, showed the Acorn video. Mr. Breitbart is a known liar and sleazeball. What else do you call someone who edits videos to promote a lie?
The editing here purported to show that Ms. Sherrod discriminated against a white farmer because of his skin color. And she was described as a "government official" when at the time of the story she was relating (20 years ago!), she was working for a non-profit. And the point of her story was how she realized that not doing her best for this farmer was wrong. She went on to help the man, and he has appeared on TV saying that she helped save his farm.
Somehow, gee I don't know how, that last part was left out.

The most disturbing part of this is not that Mr. Breitbart created this falsehood, nor that Fake, I mean, Faux, I mean Fox News immediately jumped on it and gave it mucho air time. No, you expect pickpockets to act like pickpockets, you expect mafia hit men to kill, so the actions of Breitbart and Fox are pretty much normal for them and what we expect. What is disturbing is how quickly the administration bought into this story, did not even TRY to verify it, and forced a resignation from Ms. Sherrod.

This is so utterly disgraceful.

There's no other way to put it. I mean, I mean, I mean I mean, how can this administration allow itself to be so totally flummoxed by these lies? Especially after Obama said a few weeks ago that Fox news was not a real news organization? Well, we knew that. Doesn't anybody fact-check at the white house? If Faux News says the Russians are going to launch missiles at us in moments, is Obama going to push the button?

Give me a freaking break.

Here's how spurious that video seemed to a, omigod, Fox News commentator, Mr. Shepard Smith:
"We here at Studio B did not run the video and did not reference the story in any way for many reasons, among them: we didn't know who shot it, we didn't know when it was shot, we didn't know the context of the statement, and because of the history of the videos on the site where it was posted, in short we do not and did not trust the source."

One redeeming commentator on Fox News.
Like Jehovah sparing Noah, I cannot damn the whole network to perdition.

But the point is, if even one, so it was only one, Fox News person was suspicious of the story, WHY THE HELL WASN'T THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION SUSPICIOUS OF THE STORY? Forgive me for yelling.

Breitbart has a history of phoniness, and the fact that Faux News picked up this story and gave it lots of airtime should have raised some red flags. But no, the Obamarama caved and asked for a resignation, and then ended up with egg on its face when the real story came out. When will they learn? When will Obama remember he has ba— remember that he won by a big margin, still has a lot of support in the country, and still has the Bully Pulpit so he can get up and call a spade a spade (perhaps not the best metaphor in this context) and bring the force of his office against this fear-mongering and lying?

And now Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who asked for the resignation, have had to make public apologies for this embarrassing forced resignation.

The best part, for Fox and its minions, is that it doesn't matter that the story is proved false. The administration made such fools of themselves over it that the right-wing wingnuts win anyway.

"The buck stops here." You know that Mr. President. Please, please, show a little more leadership.

I thought I was supporting a brave and focused leader for President. I sure wish he would prove me right.
And I sure wish the Democrats would also show some fortitude in pushing a progressive agenda. When Obama was elected, I worried that I would have to go elsewhere besides politics to find things to rant about. I needn't have worried. My biggest gripe now is not that I still have Repubicans (intentional misspelling) to rail against (expected that), but that the Democrats and Obama also deserve the miniscule darts of my aggravation. Oh, if only I had one of those missiles buried in North Dakota, I could really get some attention then. All I have now is my two loyal readers, who really should be doing something else.

I see a need, a job which should be filled. For a mere, oh say, 70 grand a year, I would be willing to check all news stories which come out of the right-wing alternate universe, and advise the administration on any that need to be addressed, and HOW they should be addressed. I'm not asking that much money, but I would make that sacrifice for my nation. 70 grand is not that much to pay to avoid embarrassing yourself in front of over 300 million people.
Consider it Mr. O. You need me. I am willing to serve.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I'm really not a violent person…

…but God help me, when i hear about how the latest attempt at an environmental protection plan is just about dead in the water in the Senate, my blood starts to boil. Apparently the oil companies, who don't have enough money to devote to  research into disaster prevention and clean-up, have enough money to throw at the Senate to keep any reasonable "Cap and Trade" legislation from being passed. The Repubicans are nattering on about how this is a tax. Mitch McConnell, weasel hypocrite extraordinaire, especially is leading this charge. They fulminate about new taxes as if it were you and me being taxed. but who will really be ponying up the cash? Why the very companies which have been making billions a year, with subsidies, subsidies!!, from our government. Deepwater Horizon, your tax dollars at work.
And the Congressional Budget Office has said that the original Lieberman-Kerry Bill (Joe Lieberman, doing something I approve of? These are the Last Days!) would reduce the deficit by 19 billion dollars. See it here:

I want to go to Washington and grab Senators by the neck and shake some sense into them. And cause bodily harm as well. But of course it would be useless. No way to shake sense into them. They are too full of the manna from the oil companies trough. When I see someone like the late Ted Kennedy, or Barney Frank (who co-wrote an article about cutting defense spending with—wait for it—Ron Paul) working on mutual concerns with political opponents, and getting things done, I am in humble awe.

I used to be such a gentle person.

By the way, this country spends more money on defense than the rest of the world combined!
Are we that scared?
In how many wars are we planning to get involved? I've always had a problem with this kind of thinking. I used to wonder why we needed enough nuclear missiles to destroy Russia several times over. Isn't once enough? But then, I'm a pinko liberal anarchist hippie—what do I know?

Anyway, why do we need to spend so much on defense, and what is the money going for? Ask your congress(wo)man next time you see her/him. Do we really need more submarines and fast bombers to fight against guys who hide in caves with their AK-47s and send weak-minded fools off to try to blow up airplanes with bombs in their shoes? Or underwear? Samuel Beckett, move over. Reality has taken over the Theater of the Absurd. And just who are we waiting for?
 God? Better hope She doesn't show up, because She will be very unhappy. 

I'll leave you, my two loyal readers, with that thought.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4th of July

I really hate to see patriotism being taken over by tea-party wingnuts and conservatives. It's hard for any one on the left, or even in the real middle of political thought (which is somewhere to the left of the media's idea of middle) to express love of country without being lumped in with those characters. It's especially hard for a former Vietnam-protesting, civil rights-supporting, FBI hating, anarchist manqué, 1960's college boy.

But though I have been critical, sometimes extremely critical, of how our government works, how often the reality of America has failed (and often continues to fail) America's ideals, I've never hated this country.
Let me tell you why:
There are the obvious things—you know, no king, freedom of speech (most of the time—and we certainly haven't beheaded anyone for it), etc.,  but that's not what I'm about.

What I'm about is how my father was born in Slovakia, a part of the Austro-Hungarian empire back in 1892 (Jesus, that was so long ago). I don't have all the details, but he worked for a "count," a Hungarian, and he told me about the time the horses he was watching (the counts' horses) were scared by a bear and it took him three days to round them all up. He was basically a serf—the Hungarians controlled that part of the Empire. And like many other conquerors (think about how the native Americans were treated), they weren't always nice to their subject peoples.
I'm not trying to dis Hungarians here, particularly. Some of my best friends, etcetery. They just acted like most other people in their position. No better, no worse. When he turned eighteen, he was supposed to join the army to defend the empire.
He decided that defending the government that was oppressing his people was bullshit and hoofed it across the mountains, probably with some like-minded companions, through a couple of countries whose language he didn't know, to another country across the ocean whose language he didn't know. Many Slovaks, like the poor and dispossessed of other countries, did the same. He ended up working in the steel mills of Youngstown, Ohio.

He came here in 1910, one hundred years ago this year. In 1916 America joined WWI, fighting against the Germans and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. One of my father's friends said to him "Joe, we have to go back and fight for Austria. otherwise Franz Joseph will be mad at us and we'll never go back."
My fathers response was "Piss on Franz-Joseph. This is the greatest country in the world. He'll never beat this country!"

My mother was also from Slovakia. Because of the Hungarians' policy of Magyarization, making all things, especially language, Hungarian, she couldn't study at school in Slovak. Her parents sent her to a Jewish school so she could study in her own language.

One day, we were going though some old photographs and she pointed to  figure in one, and said,"That's my father, in New York City." I was dumbfounded. "What was your father doing there?"
She said he had to leave Slovakia for a while because he was wanted by the authorities for agitation—for Slovak independence.
So he went to New York City, United States of America, where he didn't have to worry about the police.

I never had to face any of the challenges my parents faced. Because I live in America.
Nobody is forcing me to learn another language.
In spite of my political agitation, no police are after me.
And I did have the option of being a conscientious objector to war during the Vietnam era. It was a near thing, whether or not I would go to jail because of my beliefs (I didn't), but I got a fair hearing. You can't ask for better than that.

That's why, is spite of all my kvetching, all my distaste for the body politic, all the concern I have that bigoted and fearful yahoos are going to one day get their way and destroy the best of this country, I love America.

Yes, the history of this country has much to be ashamed of—slavery, for one, treatment of the Native population (who were in many cases forbidden to use their own tribal languages) for another, the treatment of early unionists and workers for the dignity of the working class, for yet another. You can come up with your own list of crimes and misdemeanors.


Still. We have the ideal and many of us continue to strive for it.
We don't want people to have to carry evidence of citizenship on their persons at all times.
We want people to be able to express their views, even if they are Glen Beck.
We don't want the FBI or NSA spying on us.
We don't want to give up freedoms for a false security.
We want our leaders to stop being controlled by money and powerful interests and to keep the welfare of the American citizen (and that citizen is a PERSON, not a corporation) uppermost in their thoughts and endeavors.
We want to keep the beauty of our land safe from reckless development and mining.
We want to worship in the way we want to, and make it easy for others to worship the way they want to, without having an official religion that everyone is supposed to bow to.
We don't want the government to tell us what we can do as consenting adults in our own bedrooms.
We want to be a nation which takes care of the helpless and oppressed, not to nursemaid them, but to give them a chance to stand on their own feet and move ahead without the burdens of class snobbery or prejudice.

I could go on, but you get the picture. This is why I love this country.
This is why I will fight to keep it true to its highest ideals.
I hope everyone had a happy Fourth of July, and  that everyone had an opportunity, between the ingesting of hot dogs and the drinking of beer, to think about what s/he loves about America.

Friday, June 18, 2010

I'm sorry, I'm so sorry

The ongoing spectacle in Washington DC as the congress questions oil company officials  is just amazing. It could be comic. But only Shakespeare could really do it justice. And of course we'd have to forget about the photographs of pelicans covered with oil, unable to save themselves, waiting to die.
Mr. Tony Hayward, he of the "I'd like MY life back" sentiment, says he wasn't "in on" a lot of the decisions about the Deepwater horizon oil drilling platform and its problems.  "Out of the loop." And this is the CEO of the company. He doesn't know what's going on, doesn't know about safety features not implemented, apparently doesn't know that walruses don't live in  the Gulf of Mexico.

Ed Markey, congressman from Massachusetts, showed that five different oil company disaster plans for the gulf were almost totally identical, and all had walruses as a species which would be threatened by a potential spill in the Gulf. The really sad fact here is that no one in the government who was supposed to be regulating these activities noticed this interesting fact. Or wanted to. Oil companies have a lot of money and they are more than willing to share it with government officials and elected representatives who are willing  to be their dupes.

They aren't so willing to share the money with the people whose lives they have ruined. Finally President Obama got off his high horse and did some real arm-twisting and got BP to put up a respectable starting amount of money for compensation to the people whose livelihoods are crippled by the disaster. Too bad pelicans don't know how to use money.

The perfidious influence of oil money on Congress was highlighted in bold color today with the "apology" of  Repubican representative Joe Barton of Texas, said to be the highest recipient of oil money for his political campaigning, to Tony Hayward. Mr. Barton was "ashamed" of the way BP was being "shaken down" by the White House. Imagine this asshat being willing to prostitute himself so openly. Mind-boggling. Of course, even his Repube colleagues saw that he'd made a fool of himself and he had to come out later in the day and try to say that what he'd said wasn't really what he'd said.
I wish I hadn't been working today so I could watch it live. This stuff is right up there with the Army-McCarthy hearings in the '50s. What drama. What a bizarre spectacle.

And how disgusting.

I have to ask again, folks—what are you willing to give up so we don't have to use so much oil, so we don't have to contemplate drilling in places we shouldn't be drilling, to get it?

Those pelicans are dying for our sins.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I want my life back!

Back on May 30, Tony Hayward, CEO of BP, topped Marie Antoinette's "Let them eat cake" comment.
And you thought it couldn't be done.

In an interview he acknowledged people's lives were upset, and, trying to build a little solidarity with the working class, he said "I'd like MY life back."
See it here:

I suppose the eleven guys who died on the platform, and their families, would like their lives back. I suppose all the fishermen and shrimpers and people who run tourist industry businesses would like their lives back. I suppose all the birds and fish and turtles who are dying from the oil would like their lives back.

It's really hard to look at the pictures. The poor creatures, who have no idea what is going on, they just know their world has turned against them. Humans at least have the cold comfort of knowing what is happening, even if the "why" of it escapes them.

30 years since the Ixtoc oil well disaster and there has been no, that is NO, advancement in spill prevention, stoppage and cleanup. And this disgrace must also be borne by our feckless congressmen, who pony up to the oil companies' feeding trough over and over again to get the money they need to stay in office. To do what? Pass legislation which is good for the country? No, they want to be able to keep sticking their faces into that trough of money.

And it's us too. It's time to think folks. What are you willing to give up? For all the talk of clean energy, there is one big thing which can save millions in oil expenditures and help the environment more than anything else. It's called conservation.

Where can you and I conserve, what are you willing to give up?
How far will you go?

It's not just turning down the thermostat and turning off lights, tho that helps.
But are you willing to plan so you don't have to use the car anymore than necessary?
Think you're going to be able to make your teenager walk more?

Are you going to be willing to move closer to where you work so you don't have to drive so much?

Are you ready to turn your computer off whenever you are not actually on it? Are you ready to use it less?  Remember pencils and paper?

Apple and Nokia and Dell and  Microsoft and other tech companies have all kinds of things you "just really need."
Two months ago you never heard of an iPad. Do you lust for one now? I don't, but I sure would like an iPhone.
Going to give up your Wii or Playstation? And rediscover games people played when there weren't so many electronics?
How analog are you willing to be? 

I love having a high-speed internet connection here, but where is the energy for that coming from? How many birds have died in oil spills, how many mountain tops have been razed in Appalachia for the coal to produce that energy?

To save on oil would you be willing to give up plastic wrap? Plastic bottles? Plastic food storage containers? All those plastic car parts that used to be steel? Polyester? (Well, maybe that one won't be so hard.)

Going to buy local? Local foods, local products (I believe there may still be some around, some items not made in China.) Gonna pay more at a local business instead of going to Walmart because it's cheaper?

Are you going to promote birth control in an effort to slow the population explosion? Six billion and counting folks. How many people can the earth really support?

I could go on, but it's late and I'd never finish this list anyway. We have too much stuff to think about.

Sleep tight, my two loyal readers.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Gulf's Good Friday

Sometimes I defer to a more accomplished writer than myself. The following is not a curmudgeonly rant—Rev. Liza  Neal, of the Village Congregational Church in Cummington, is too spiritually advanced for that (unlike me). I hope others find this message thoughtful and thought-provoking.

"I sit writing this with soft white sand beneath my feet. Over the baby blue purring waves a faint pink softens the horizon while the sun rises behind me. The moon hangs just past full still bright before me. The gulls are strangely silent. Pure white birds with long necks peck in the sand and the world of “civilization” is asleep. There are remnants though, plastic shovels and floaties lying next to sand castles. And then of course there are the tons and tons of oil, unimaginable amounts, pouring in this direction, our deadly offering to this idyllic scene.

Preparing for my trip to Siesta Key for a nephew’s wedding, I packed my suitcase. The fancy dress just bought, suntan lotion which has done me little good, and of course, my swim suit. I worried that I might not be able to swim when I arrived. Sitting here at dawn, I am overwhelmed by the calm self-absorption with which I go about my days. Sure I watch the news and am properly horrified, but I also go about my business, driving out to work and packing my swim suit. How is it that we can go calmly on destroying life around us?

My partner and I recently decided to become a one-car household. She bikes to work or takes the bus. I carpool with a friend who lives on the same street. We are managing much more easily than I thought we would. A friend said, “I’m so impressed with what you are doing!” But yesterday swimming out in the ocean, I picked up a sand dollar. Instead of being bone dry, it was brown like wet sand and its underside was slightly rough like the bristles of a miniature brush. It was the first living sand dollar that I have ever seen. And the oil is coming for it. How is imposing vague inconvenience and extra planning impressive?

I am not trying to punish myself here, or you for that matter as you read this. I am however trying to be honest with myself. I want to consider the life of others before I consider my own convenience. I want to consider the life of the earth, and recognize its connection to the life of everything around me, and my own life. When I hear the voice of God in the rise and fall of the waves, I want to respond not only with my heart but also with the way that I live my life. In the Bible, God worries and weeps over the destruction of the earth.

This is the Good Friday of the Gulf, and we have nailed the earth upon the cross. We stand now at the crucifixion, praying that the resurrection is more than just a myth. Jesus told his disciples that in their hands was the power to loose forgiveness and judgment, destruction and creation. We cannot hide in the upper room closing our ears to the march of disaster outside. We cannot stand in the garden weeping. We must change, not tomorrow but rather today. It is time to ask ourselves what we can to do, and to make hard choices. It is time not only to inconvenience ourselves, but to sacrifice what we have for something better, to work for the resurrection of the earth.

Peace and Blessings,
Rev. Liza M. Neal

Friday, May 28, 2010


Finally there is progress on repealing "Don't ask, don't tell." A year after the Big O took office and promised to support the repeal, it's going to happen. Okay, so he has had a lot on his mind.
The House has voted "to allow" the Defense Department to end DADT.  The Senate Armed Services Committee has also voted for a similar measure. The House provision passed due to a little compromise, saying that repeal wouldn't take effect until the Pentagon concludes its report on how to best effect the repeal.
Note that the Pentagon isn't considering whether to repeal DADT, but how to implement that repeal. Military intelligence at last. Of course one wonders about why a major study is needed on how to do it. Don't you just say, "Okay, you can stop now?" But hey, whatever works.
The big brass at the Pentagon are concerned about doing it in a way that doesn't disrupt our armed forces. Yeah. Ask the Israelis how allowing gays to openly serve has disrupted them. Whatever you might think about Israel's policies, you have to admit their army is pretty effective at doing the things armies do.
Even a handful of Republicans broke away from the "NO" machine to vote in favor of the provision. Of course there were dire predictions from the Repubes about chaos in the military, and how the American people don't want DADT to end. It's just wonderful how they can ignore the fact that 75% of Americans are in favor of repeal. But then Republicans are not known (lately, at least) to have any respect for facts, truth, or reality.
They just want to keep living in their alternate universe, and just visit their vacation homes in reality once in a while.

If only there were an end in sight to the BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. So far the "top kill" strategy has not been declared a success—but one sincerely hopes it will work. Rachel Maddow had an interesting (and depressing) segment on her Wednesday night program showing how a disaster in 1979 in the Gulf is so similar to the one now. And the only way that one was stopped was through drilling relief wells. It took nine months for that.
Everything BP is trying now, was tried then. With no effect. The really depressing thing about this is that after 30 years, in spite of incredible advances in drilling technology, there has been no comparable advance in technology in preventing or fixing disasters. Must not have been much profit in working on that aspect of the undersea drilling operation. That's your unregulated free market in action, folks.
The technology for getting oil from out under the ocean floor is up there at space shuttle level. The technology for fixing those "Oops—we have a spill" moments—down at dishcloth level.
Oh, and that 1979 disaster was from a well only 200 feet below the surface. This latest one? Five thousand and counting.
Folks, it's time to think about what you are willing to give up in your life, so that we don't need to use so much energy. Sell your house and move closer to where you work (if you still have a job)? Stop putting up strip malls and convenience stores every 50 feet or so in urban areas? Turning off lights and the damn computer once in a while?
Wearing more sweaters in the winter, sweating a little more in the summer? Dig up the lawn and start a garden? Deciding you don't need to drive everywhere? How about supporting a wide ranging and efficient public transportation system?
The future—it's not going to be easy, and may not be pretty.
I'll end on that note.
Keep smiling, everybody.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Politics, shmolitics

 Interesting days lately. Republicans are flailing around, I think. Now they've lost the financial overhaul regulation bill fight. Obama's popularity figures may be low, according to some polls, now—but he is getting some sh— I mean, some things accomplished. I think his popularity will rise again.
So, Mr. B—when are you going to go after "Don't ask, don't tell?" Huh? So far Mr. B isn't telling.

Repubes are also losing fights they thought would show they would be successful in the November elections. Mark Critz, Democrat, took the vote for representative from the district John Murtha represented until his death. Repubes thought they had a good chance to get that. Sorry, guys. And Rand Paul, with tea-bagger support, took the Kentucky nomination away from the official Republican Party nominee. Hey, Mitch McConnell, Senator from Kentucky, maybe your lies and hypocrisy are coming back to nail you. I hope so. I haven't hated to hear someone's voice on the radio so much since Reagan left office.
I love Rand Paul—he's not only wacko, when he talks he sounds like he's on drugs. He did have the gumption to go on Rachel Maddow's show, TWICE, most lately last night, the 19th of May— I have to give him props for that—especially considering all the others who have avoided her show like the plague. He also showed some skill in avoiding  answering direct questions about his views, especially regarding the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and where the line is drawn between government regulation and private property. He kept saying that people questioning his position are putting themselves in the position of supporting carrying weapons in public when going to a restaurant. He seems to have some difficulty in understanding that people don't have a choice what color they are born with, but they do have a choice about carrying firearms. Whichever side of the firearms debate you are on, it should be clear that there is a big difference in being told you can't come into a restaurant because you're black and being told you can't come in with a gun. For one thing, a gun owner can take the gun off and leave it in the car. Pretty hard for a black person to leave his/her skin color in the car.
Anyhoo, Mr. Paul will be doing a lot of fancy footwork around that issue in the months to come. Should be fun to watch. Here's hoping his Democratic opponent, Mr. Conway runs an effective campaign.

And, another "Family Morals Defender" has bitten the dust. Republican congressman Mark Souder of Indiana has been outed having an affair with one of his female staffers. Really honoring family there, eh Marky? At least he didn't hire a rent-boy, AKA male prostitute, like George Reker, another of these morality hypocrites, did. Funny thing about male prostitutes— if you read carefully the bible passages right-wing moralists bring up to condemn homosexuality, you see that they don't condemn homosexuality per se, they condemn the going to male prostitutes (and depriving wives their conjugal rights—and decreasing chances of having more children to increase the population of the tribe).

In other hypocrisy news, Nevada Senator-wanna-be Sue Lowden seems to be trying to deny she ever advocated the barter system with doctors (a chicken for your piles removal), check it out—

Of course the biggest news is about the biggest disaster, the on-going Gulf oil gusher. the executives from BP, Trans-Ocean, Halliburton, all pointing the finger at each other, all giving the rest of us the finger. In the meantime, no one knows how to stop the oil. Funny how so much engineering research and know-how went into getting the oil out of the undersea reservoirs, and so little devoted to what to do if there's a problem. They all got a tongue-lashing from the Pres, but those guys have pretty thick skins.
I say, put them in diving suits, and give them some duct tape and tell them to go down there and fix the leak and not come back up til they do.
The Pres had better really give some thought to the whole off-shore drilling idea before he tries to push that turkey again. That Gulf spill gets into the right currents (and it looks like it is going to), and every one on the east coast will see all the oil they ever want to see in their lives—on their beaches and on the wildlife and fisheries.

Oh Lordy, how we have effed up our planet.
There is something for both my regular readers to contemplate.
Good night.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Now here's a great clucking idea

I'm sure you've all heard this but it still boggles my mind—Nevada Senator wanna-be Sue Lowden has proposed bartering with your doctor as a solution to health care costs. Don't have insurance? Bring the doc a chicken. Or maybe, if you're facing major surgery, the whole coop. Or perhaps a calf.
I wonder how many chickens I'll need for my next colonoscopy? Five, fifteen? Maybe he'll want a pair of goats.
If he asks for snakes, I'm outta there.

The insanity of this idea is even more apparent if you ask, as Rachel Maddow asked on her program, will the doctor be able to pay his electric bills with chickens? How many chickens will that new x-ray machine cost?

And what about city dwellers? They don't have chickens. Maybe they can bring in some of those "alley rabbits" (AKA rats). I hear they taste just like chicken.

I wonder how many trout I'll have to catch to get that root canal I need?

I can just see pathetic scenes like this being played out:
Farmer: Officer, I caught this scoundrel trying to steal my chickens.
Officer: What do you have to say for yourself?
Thief: I'm not really a crook. I just need some chickens so my daughter can have the operation she needs.
Please don't throw me in jail, give me some chickens! (breaks down in tears)
This would be a great idea for a tear-jerker movie. If somebody makes one, I better get a cut of the profits. you heard it here first.

I haven't seen it but I hear Ms. Lowden has an ad out now claiming her proposal was taken out of context. No it wasn't. The evidence is all over YouTube. She can't even lie intelligently.

I have to send her a thank-you note. She made my day.

Friday, May 7, 2010

"Maybe I shoulda waited a while…"

In an astounding display of bad luck timing, President Obama announced on March 31st that he would approve some offshore oil drilling along much of the East coast. 20 days later an oil rig explodes in the Gulf of Mexico and suddenly, as someone in the government was quoted by NPR saying, "it is dead in the water." Like many sea turtles, fish and aquatic birds.
There are going to be lots of things dead in the water. Including the economies of many Gulf communities. That drilling idea is getting less popular.
House Repubican leader John Boener had said, on hearing Obama's announcement, that it didn't make any sense to not open the West coast to drilling also. I wonder if he has had anything to say about it lately?

In other news, Arizona governor Jan Brewer signed a new law requiring police officers to check the citizen status of any person they think they have reason to think is an illegal alien. Reasonable suspicion. And if by chance, you get stopped and don't have papers on you, but can later prove you are a citizen, you still get 6 months in the pokey for being negligent and wasting police officers' time.
But it's not a racial profiling law, oh no. It's just coincidental that Arid-zona is adjacent to Mexico. The law's not just aimed at Hispanics. Why, all sorts of Russians and Serbs and Italians (a lot of Italians have sort of dark skins don't they?) will also be stopped and questioned, right? Riiiigghhht.

What is telling here, is that a lot of Arizona policemen don't like this law, primarily because they know that it is actually a racial profiling law, and that it would be a waste of their time, and pretty much destroy any community good-will they have developed.

I have a theory—it's crazy, I know, but then I've never claimed to be sane—that Anglos in Arizona are well aware of the fact that that territory used to be part of Mexico, and they are worried that if enough Mexicans migrate there and become citizens, they might vote to take the land of their forefathers back. Goodbye Anglos.

Nah, that's silly. But there is a lot of fear in operation in the Southwest, and it has not been helped by Federal inaction. The best the gov't. has done so far is put up a fence which basically does more to defile the landscape and interfere with wildlife migration than it does to stop illegal immigrant trafficking. Even poor George Bush tried to do something about immigration in a positive way, and got shot down by members of his own party. The people making the most noise about illegal immigration are the ones getting the most contributions from those who benefit by employing the cheap labor of the illegal immigrants.

And speaking of moronic Arizonan political behavior, I understand that John McCain has recently said that he is "not a maverick." Uh, John, wasn't that the crux of your presidential campaign? You don't use being a "maverick" as a political slogan, put it on the cover of your book, and then say, "oh, i didn't mean it."

Does Arizona get the politicians it deserves? It looks like Arizona may take over from South Carolina as this years political cynics' "gift that just keeps giving.'

I'm sure that since I have not been posting lately, that both my readers have been finding more useful things to do with their time. Right?
Likely not.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

tax time

I took a break after the drama of the health-care bill. Of course it's not over yet. Wingnut Repubican attorneys-general are planning to take it to court. Yeah, good luck with that.

And then there was the annual tax crisis.
I don't mind paying taxes, but i am really pissed about unemployment benefits being counted as income.
I was getting the benefits because I DIDN'T HAVE AN INCOME!
So the gov't generously gives me some money out of the taxes I and everyone else has ALREADY paid, an amount which is one-third or less of the income I was just making it on in the first place, and then says "Oh, by the way, you better set aside about 15% of that to pay back in income tax."
And do this while you're looking for work in an economy which has been crippled (I'm tempted to use an expression which includes the word"cluster" but I'll refrain) by greedy wall street traders and greedy and/or feckless bankers. And I might add, the crippling was expedited by the failure of the government, which is taking my tax dollars, to regulate the financial industry which caused this mess.
There is only so far a person can cut back. My cat has to eat.

That is my main gripe. I'm not like the Tea-party asshats who rail on about taxation (and funny thing, latest research shows most of them think the taxes they pay are fair—check April 18 NYT and other publications) and how they are supporting the "other half" of the nation. The half (read "black women") that has babies just so they can collect more welfare payments. Right. Has anyone reading this blog (either of you) ever considered that as a good plan for bringing in some extra money for your crack habit?
I'm not saying there isn't fraud in welfare. I'm just saying I don't agree with punishing millions of needy people just to keep a few hundred or thousand from getting few illegal dollars. Go after them sure, put in more safeguards, but let's stop bitching about money going to the poor. We are supposed to be a "Christian nation," according to some, so let's actually follow JC's teaching.

Easy for me to say. These days, I'm one of the poor. Alas, my gender prevents me from popping out a couple of kids so I can enjoy more benefits.

In the meantime, these tax opponents are driving down federally funded interstates in cars which have safety features mandated by the federal government. But by God, let's stop all the taxation which makes this possible.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Health Reform! Woot!

Fine-freaking-ally! At last!

No public option, no single-payer—but at least some good things. The rest will follow.

As Rachel Maddow said "Government is for fixing problems." And this problem is finally getting a start on its fixes.

Unfortunately only half the government is governing—the Democratic half. Certainly the Republicans aren't helping. On the other hand, they are doing everything they can to abort it. Kind of ironic, considering the basic Republican position on abortion. And worse, they are not only not trying to calm down the weird and violent idiots they have inflamed all year long, they are continuing to fan the flames.

Now there are threats against the Congressmen who voted for the health bill. And no , NO, Repubican has unequivocally come out and said that the behavior is unacceptable no matter what. They keep fudging their statements with comments about how the Democrats have done things to call this behavior upon themselves, or how understandable it is that people are angry to the point of violence.

And they are delaying and screwing around and preventing any thing getting done in committee or on the floor. This is the most shameful behavior I have seen in elected, supposedly grown-up, individuals in the 50 years I have been paying attention to politics. is sponsoring a letter to the Republican leaders calling on them to disavow the mob behavior.
You can sign it here, if you're so disposed:

It is still mind-boggling how the Repubes have gotten so many people confused and angry so that they are against something which will help them. It's disheartening to see how many believe lies, and how many are willing to denounce democracy when things don't go their way.

Eh, I shouldn't be surprised.
that's it for now.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I'm ba-a-a-ack

Geez, I let myself go.
Too much Dreamweaver and web stuff, too much salsa—the dance kind, not the nacho chip kind.
Also I'm lazy.

But not that much has changed since January.
Republicans are still dissembling and being hypocrites, Democrats are still being cautious and uncertain.
They coulda had a health care bill months ago but no, they have to try to accommodate Repubes who don't want to play anyway; and then the Dems also have to deal with members of their own party who only have a summer home in reality.
Like Stupak from Michigan who was going to hold up the health care bill til the abortion funding with federal dollar parts were taken out. Minor problem: there ain't no such parts. The bill specifically says "shall not" when the mention of federal dollars going to abortion comes up. He finally was brought down by Pelosi and others who sort of pointed this out and made him look stupid. I guess he thought if Lieberman could get attention by grandstanding, then it would work for him.
He forgot that Lieberman is a weasel extraordinaire and knows how work the system.

And don't you just love Rep. Eric Massa from New York—I think New york pols are trying to supplant the South Carolina pols in the curmudgeon's affections (I'm not even going to try to get to Gov. Patterson tonight)—resigning under allegations that he groped a male staffer. Then he goes on Glen Beck's show and totally humiliates ol' Glen because he won't say what he was supposed to. He said he not only groped the guy, he tickled him til he couldn't breathe. Then he urged Americans to stop calling each other names. Like "socialist." Also he urged Americans to agitate for campaign finance reform.
Whoa, three strikes and you're out buddy. Don't ever cross a tea-bagger's doorstep again.

In short, The details change, but the picture remains the same.

Finally Obama is starting to get antsy and prod his Democratic minions into actually doing something. he must not have spent enough time in the senate to realize what a hide-bound and basically cowardly institution it can be. I just hope it's not too late for health care.
At least Anthem Blue cross gave the plan a good boost by obscenely boosting its own insurance rates again. It's a textbook example of what is wrong with our current system. Great timing folks. A grateful nation thanks you.
I wonder if they have a lot of ex-congressmen running that company.

I dunno, I try to be amusing here, because laughter's the only way to stave off despair in the face of the stupidity, avarice and inanity in government and society, but sometimes it gets hard.
One needs some good news once in a while.
All I got is Massa on Glen Beck's show. What's this world coming to?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

State of the Onion, state of the Apple

First layer of the onion:
Obama swung a few punches finally, in the State of the Union address. If the Republicans are going to oppose everything he proposes, they better start governing by proposing something themselves. Except the word "No."

Second layer: What the hell are those asshats on the Corporate Court, wait, I mean, Supreme Court thinking? Corporations are individuals with the same rights as me? Gimme a break. I've ranted about this before. Corporations are made up of people, but they are not people themselves and they DO NOT have the right to protect their corporate interests in the political arena.
If the Dems (and, let's be fair, some Repubs who are equally dismayed) don't do something to change this, your next senator won't be the senator from your state, but the senator from Pfizer, or Exxon. Some wag ( I wish this were my own idea) suggested future congressmen having jumpsuits with the logos of their campaign contributors on them, like race cars. And just as intelligent.

Second and a half layer: Annoying Justice Alito enough so he JUST HAD to express his displeasure publicly. Oh sure, he didn't know the camera would be on him. Well, it's possible, but he should have been aware the cameras would hone in on him after Obama's remarks. But I don't think so.
All I can say is: Hey Alito (and your conservative buddies) thanks for negating my vote. And what happened to the conservative ideal of "no activist judges?" If ignoring a century of judicial decisions is not activist, I don't know what is.
I WARNED PEOPLE! I was at a meeting, back in double ought, of people where someone opined that there was no big difference between G. Bush and A. Gore. I said then, "Two words, Supreme Court." It's mind-boggling how people forget this. Those asshats on the Roberts court are going to decide the fate of future generations. You want Roberts, Alito or Thomas deciding if your vote counts, or if your daughter should be able to get an abortion if she's been raped—do you? I sure as hell don't.
I think the Supreme Court decision was un-American. Is there any way to impeach these wingnuts and get them the hell out of there?
I'd like to blame this all on George Bush, but it was the unthinking masses who elected him who have created this mess. Poor George didn't really have much to do with it. I think it was Karl Rove—too fat and homely to make it as a politician himself, he had to find a convenient patsy, enter G.W. Bush..
Cheap shot on Karl Rove? Well, I'm too homely, probably too fat, not to mention short, to make it as a presidential candidate myself. So as a fellow "can't get a girlfriend" nerd, I can criticize him at will.

Third layer: telling the Dems not to "run for the hills." God bless Obama for that. I've been ranting on the "feckless Democrats" for some time now. And I'm pleased to see that Frank Rich of the New York Times also uses the word "feckless" to describe Dems. Check out tomorrow's NYTimes. C'mon, it's one thing to feel a little sorry for the guys who got beat, but you should till move on to do what you want to do after that.

The Republicans didn't waste too much time feeling sorry for Democrats when they were in power.

Enough. Moving on…

Even more anticipated than the state of the union address was the Apple event earlier on Wednesday. I confess I was looking forward to this more than the State of the Union myself. Hell, i've been unemployed for two years, I KNOW what the state of the union is.

So every one (every one who counts—i.e., Macintosh Kool-Aid ingesters) was wondering and theorizing and hoping that Steve Jobs (Kneel when you say his name!) would announce, finally, the tablet computer they'd been hoping for.
And you know what? He did. Except it wasn't. Everyone who had something they thought should be on it was disappointed because that item wasn't on it. Doesn't matter what.
As soon as the long desired tablet was finally announced, the fanatics threw up their hands and cried woe. Actually it seems a lot like the Israelites waiting while Moses was on the mountain. Don't you just love the Wall Street journal cartoon that read "the last time a tablet caused this much excitement it had commandments written on it?"
Ya know, I think it's a neat device, but I don't see a use for it in my life right now. Other people see it in their lives, and I hope they rush out and buy one. Apple has 50 billion dollars in its bank account, and it could always use more. I like Apple, not only because it creates the best software in the world, but the hardware it puts that software in is so beautiful.

They could use some help in the marketing department though. Ipad? Is the next, larger one going to be the Maxi-Ipad? Will there be a special name for iPads that you use on heavy business days? Gimmee a break.

Still, if the sales figures come in like Apple and I think they will (that Kool-aid and reality distortion field is STRONG!), people will forget about the name, like they did for the iPod and iPhone. Of which millions, MILLIONS, have been sold. Why o why didn't I buy Apple Stock when it was only $16 or so bucks a share?
I have a friend who doesn't like Apple, but still owns an iPod. Make room for the iPad, Merrie, two years from now you will own one. Really, it's perfect for someone in your situation.

It's not perfect for me, but I'd buy one anyway, because I love the kool-aid. Mmmm, mmm, good.

Random thought: Toyota has been in the news lately, and it has brought to the surface a question that has been festering in my mind for some time now: Does Toyota have a Department for the Creation of Stupid Car Names?
Just asking. Yaris? Venza? Corolla? What the eff is a Yaris? I had a Corolla station wagon once, and I still don't know what it means.
And what ever happened to "station wagons?' And what does "station wagon" mean anyway? Geez, you start asking these questions and next thing you know you're up all night in a cold sweat trying to find answers. Sorry I brought it up.

I am of the generation that came of age with Bel-Airs, Fairlanes, Falcons, Mustangs and of course, Corvettes.
REAL names.
Yaris? No no no no no.

That's just not right.

On "Wait, wait, don't tell me" today, Peter Sagal, talking about the Pope's saying priests should be more active on the internet, said that priests and bloggers are a lot alike in that both of them dress badly and don't get much sex.
I am offended to have my wardrobe criticized so cavalierly.

Okay, I'm about out of steam for the night. One of these days I have to rant on modern art. But not now.
Sleep tight, my two readers.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Internet nonsense

I got to get off politics for a while.
So I'll get on to something else that annoys me. And it's the forwarded emails I get all too often.

Before I start, I want to acknowledge that not all forwarded emails are garbage. You may have friends, as I do, who know what you're interested in or what will amuse you, and will not send you junk.

Then there is the other stuff.

I have a relative who likes to provoke me by sending me things she knows will annoy me. I'll deal with her later. But I want to talk about the things she forwards, and the other emails I get from people who send them in all seriousness, and what we can know about them.
And how you can save yourself aggravation and the effort of reading them.
Get used to the idea that there is nothing you can do about them. Except not forward them to some other hapless soul.

This particular item started off with something like "If you cross the border illegally into North Korea you get 12 years at hard labor."
In all caps.

Of course it was easy to see right away where this was going, so I just scrolled immediately down to the bottom and I was right. After listing what the writer thought would happen by crossing several country's borders ("if you cross the Afghan border you will be shot." Oh really? Tell it to the smugglers and Taliban who practically have highways leading in and out of the country), he/she/it finished off by listing all the supposed benefits of crossing into ours, like health care, driver's licenses etc.
The whole thing was full of partial truths (especially about the benefits of coming to the US) and outright fabrications or guesses, based, if based on any fact at all, on single recent news items.

But I'm not going to talk about that. This is about form, not substance. Actually, there is no real substance to this kind of form.

Savvy internet cruisers already know that ALL CAPS means bullpucky is in the message. All cap emails come from folks who are angry and fearful and otherwise helpless (or just plain evil or in need of attention) and think that shouting is the way to make other people listen to and believe them. Trust me, these folks are not trying to engage in a conversation. As witnessed by the lack of signature, return address and back-up documentation for the statements contained in the email. And the all caps.

I wonder if these people know what it means to engage in a conversation.

And these always start of with FW: or Fwd: FW:—meaning your friend or acquaintance forwarded an email that was forwarded to her/him and (s)he is passing it on. Forwarded emails have a long life, it seems. And are almost always useless.

There are some FWs that are collections of jokes, and I even got one that was amusing, once. But mostly they have some usually extremely far-right asshat political point to make, as above, or they are building on some fear or trying to create some fear in the recipients. These latter usually start off with the notorious, nameless "I."

"I want to warn you about a new danger from over-the-counter fiber supplements. My neighbor's daughter was taking XYZ fiber supplement when she was suddenly stricken with an attack of zombie syndrome and rushed to the hospital. We'd never heard of this before, and our doctor, Doctor Ima Doofus, told us it was something the medical profession was trying to hide to avoid panic…blah blah."

"I want to alert you to a new study which shows that watching cooking programs on TV will cause terrible gastrointestinal problems and make you fart like a pirate."

There will be no names, no documentation. I did get one that was purportedly from a doctor with a name but it still checked out as fake according to, even tho it appeared the doctor was real. Just terribly misquoted and statements distorted.

Snopes is a good resource for checking out these things.

I said these often have right-wing political lies and distortions. I want to know, what is wrong with all those Obama-loving socialists who are supposedly threatening the country? How do they expect to take over without sending their own forwarded ALL CAPS emails to counter the right wing? C'mon guys, you're falling down on the job.

I digress.

To review:
1. If your email is forwarded, be suspicious, especially if it's from someone you know is likely to fall for internet bullpucky. You'll have to look at it of course—for the same reason we have to look at automobile accidents we happen to pass by.

2. If you open it and it is in all caps, be aware you will be wasting your time reading it. Really, you'll hate yourself in the morning.

3. If it is written by the nameless "I" you will know that it has been written to create FUD—Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. Or delusion. Move along, there is nothing to see there.

4. If it's trying to scare you in some way, assuming you've gone so far as to try to read it, it's 99% certain to be junk.

5. If you've read it and are starting to be unsure about its validity, in spite of what I have told you (you aren't listening, are you?), check it out with or some other reliable source. One with references you can check to determine the truth or lack of truth in the message.

And whatever you do, DON'T FORWARD IT TO ME!!!!

That goes for both of you reading this.

That's all for now.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Shame on Massachusetts

It's a travesty. The seat of a senator who fought for health care for 40 years has been given to a man who vows to defeat it. This is a man, one of whose campaign ads started, "I'm Scott Brown. (zoom from close-up to distance) This is my truck." Give me a truckin' break. He also did the nude centerfold thing some years ago for Cosmopolitan magazine. Admittedly he was a hunk. But still, this is conservative family values?

Young people who plan to go into politics, take note—posing deshabille in magazines may be the wave of the future.
And, let me take this opportunity to say that this would be a better country if more women would go into politics.

Uh, no connection to the magazine thing. Honest.

I don't know what was going on in the brains of the people who voted for him. Especially since they have one of the best health care systems in the country.
Martha Coakley pulled a Hilary Clinton and thought she could coast into the senate seat like Hillary thought she could coast into the Democratic nomination for president. The state's Democratic leadership played the fool as well.
I also blame the feckless Democrats in the Senate. They spent too much time trying to play nice with people who had no intention of playing nice back. People who call the president a liar while they themselves spout total falsehoods about "death panels" and other baloney. The Dumbo- I mean, Democrats should have used reconciliation to pass a health care bill with 51 votes a long time ago. The the right wing "can't have that commie Neegrow in the white house" crowd wouldn't have spent so much money pouring money into this state to get a Republican voted in. I just signed a petition to the Senate leadership (and forwarded it to a few people) to do the reconciliation thing. It read in part:
"Voters did not elect President Obama and a Democratic supermajority in the House and the Senate so that health care reform could be written by the likes of Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson.
I signed a petition telling President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid that the Senate must use reconciliation to pass a better health care bill with a strong public option. I hope you'll follow the link below and take action, too."
Here's a link if anyone is interested:

I was right. I won't run out of things to complain about this year.

Friday, January 15, 2010


It's impossible to be snarky in the face of this tragedy. Who cares what some feckless politician in South Carolina says or does when so many people are dead, are injured, or homeless?
To turn on the news, on the radio or TV, is to be ready to shed tears.

What I have heard: Iceland (Iceland for Christ's sake, they were almost bankrupt because of the financial disaster last year) got there early with a plane of supplies. The Russians sent planes. Cuba allows the US to fly through their air space. Canada sent help. China sent a team of trained personnel. On my Facebook page, the Macintosh computer sales and service company Small Dog Computers, offered to match any donations, to the best to their ability. They raised over $15 thousand dollars. In my inbox, an email from Cheap Joe's Art Supplies had a link to a relief agency. And of course the United States is doing its part. As well it should, as our histories are so entwined.
I just have one question: why, dear God, does it take the deaths of thousands for the nations of this earth to join together in the resolution of a common goal? And why can't we keep that level of cooperation up after the crisis has past?

It is sort of bittersweet to hear that Marines are being sent to Haiti for aid. In the past the Marines have been sent to maintain order, mostly to support the ruling class which would not threaten the financial forces which were getting profit from their exploitation of the country.

We supported "Papa Doc" Duvalier, with his TonTon Macoutes, as he plundered and oppressed the country for years because he was anti-Communist. Some of what that country is today is because of what we, as a country, have done in the past.

So it is right and just that we are going in to help now. The Haitians are lucky that we have a president who is attentive to these situations and who realizes the extent of the disaster.

If you know of a way to send help to Haiti, thru Doctors without Borders, the Red Cross, or whomever, please do.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Get naked at the airport

There's a nice wave of hysteria and concern over the December 25th "underwear" bomber. All the stuff we've done since 2001 and there is still a chance for some malefactor to slip through. I suspect we can never eliminate all threats. There is such a thing as "human error." Something pretty hard to eliminate completely. But now security people are trying to see what else they can do to discover bombs and weapons. Like more thorough screening of airline passengers.

So it seems that in order to prevent terrorism we may need to expose ourselves in full-body scans. I expect to see a lot of giggling among TSA people at airline check-ins. I think a better idea would be we all just take our clothes off on arrival and check-in naked. Sure, it'll be ugly at first, unless you're lucky enough to be there the same time as a college women's soccer team, OR a college men's soccer team, choose your preference. I suspect people will be as dismayed at seeing me naked as I will seeing them, most of 'em anyway. But, you know, this may be the answer to the nation's obesity program. I don't plan on flying soon, but I'm going on a diet. I want to be buff if I'm ever flying at the same time as that women's soccer team.

In the meantime, the Repubes are nakedly belligerent and stupid over the underwear bomber. Obama waited 24 hours before he responded! Publicly anyway. This is horrifying. Never mind that Pres. Bush took six days to say anything about the shoe bomber back in the day. Stuff like that is okay for republicans, but democrats, especially black democratic presidents,are held to a higher standard. It's getting pathetic the straws the anti-Obama crowd is grabbing at. There is also the "he doesn't use the word 'terrorism'" crowd. They have been shown up by both Jon Stewart and Rachel Maddow playing a montage of clips showing Obama saying "terrorism."
Do tell.
It would be so nice if there were a principled opposition party in this country.

That's enough for now. It's cold and I want to go warm up my feet.

My three readers will have to wait for more later.