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.