Monday, December 26, 2011

Bookstore episode with child was ‘reprehensible,’ says Bachmann – CNN Political Ticker - Blogs

This is why Bachmann is not a serious presidential candidate and why she should be voted out of power in 2012. She is so out of touch with the issues of today.

Bookstore episode with child was ‘reprehensible,’ says Bachmann – CNN Political Ticker - Blogs:

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

New Virginia Adoption Rules Permit Anti-Gay, Gender, Disability And Other Forms Of Discrimination | ThinkProgress

As an adoptive parent that just finalized on our little girl, this article makes me sick. What is a family today? It can be anything. Sexual orientation does not matter. Religion does not matter. Single parents should be able to adopt. Just because I am liberal, should that exclude me from adoption? Should Muslims be able to adopt? Why sure! ANY LOVING FAMILY should have the ability to adopt a child. After all, this would give the child a stable loving environment to grow up in. To excel in. Why would Virginia be so narrow minded on what constitutes a family when they have 6,000 children in the foster system. Wouldn't you want the most options for stable, loving families? Even if that means it does not follow the 1950's version of a family? Virginia's Board of Social Services makes me sick... As an adoptive father, I know there are children in need. You are only hurting the CHILDREN...

New Virginia Adoption Rules Permit Anti-Gay, Gender, Disability And Other Forms Of Discrimination | ThinkProgress:

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The View (Even Hasselbeck) Takes Newt To Task On Child Labor (VIDEO) | Addicting Info

Wow! Even Newt Gingrich now excludes himself as a viable candidate for the GOP nomination for President of the United States. Way to be out of touch with reality and share your bigoted beliefs Newt. Why now we can't take you seriously either. I see that the whole Republican field is SO VERY WEAK! Obama should win in 2012 by a landslide because the entire GOP field of candidates are MORONS!

The View (Even Hasselbeck) Takes Newt To Task On Child Labor (VIDEO) | Addicting Info:

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Steven Van Zandt: There Is Only One Issue In America

This is a very enlightening article. It brings up the point that too much campaign finance is by a precious few and states the elimination of campaign finance all together. Such a breath of fresh air! Eliminating corporate donors, eliminate PACs to bring REAL democracy back to America. Yes, the poor have a voice too and it's time for their voice to be heard! Thank you Mr. Van Zandt for stating the obvious!

Steven Van Zandt: There Is Only One Issue In America:

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Peace, Love and Prosperity for all!

Okay. A stray from the regular political banter tonight. I'm posting about something near and dear to my heart. In this the holiday season that is now upon us, it's important to think of those less fortunate than us. Each year (this being the twelfth), we host a holiday party. As cover for this party, we ask our guests to bring an unwrapped toy. This is an alternative to a gift exchange for most of my family and friends are really self-sufficient. By hosting this annual event, we collected nearly $2000 in toys and have donated those toys to Toys for Tots each year. So, think of hosting a similar event. Think of all the toys we could donate for those whose holiday is not so bright. What a wonderful gift this is to bring some joy to a little boy or girl this holiday season. And you don't have to host a big shindig like we do each year. You could donate a new toy to a local Toys for Tots bin near you. And isn't that the real meaning of the holiday spirit? Below is an image of the toy we collected and donated last year... (and no, the cats were not donated... :)  )

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Let Private Industry Handle It

One of the reasons I tolerate being American and dealing with other Americans is the pure joy I get from watching Republicans suffer the consequences of being Republican.

Generally, this results from being on the short end of the selfishness, shortsightedness and greed of the underlying marginally "conservative" philosophy that is invariably not in the best interests of the groups of people who vote for them.

If you happen across this particular blog, you no doubt know of hundreds of examples of this. You're probably also aware that one of the most significant divides among the electorate is of urban versus rural and it's that divide that is the focus of this article.

Now, some of you might recall that two years ago one of the Obama Administration's pushes, later thwarted by elected governors in Ohio, Florida and Wisconsin, was to create seed money for the creation of regional rail on a state by state basis. And while I did and still fault that plan for not being ambitious enough (it needed to be handled regionally, not on a state by state basis), Governors Walker, Scott and Kasich (who are now well loved by their constituents, as we all know), essentially handed the money over to other states that did have a clue about the need for rail and had use for it in their respective states.

In essence, the article states what those of us who travel frequently already know: leaving the free market airline system to cover transportation among and across smaller markets is inadequate and essentially being eliminated in the wake of the lack of economies of scale in flying small planes to smaller markets.

Why does this matter? Well, let's start here:

Lynchburg (Va) is the home of the 2,000 workers for French nuclear services company Areva, and its largest international destination had been Paris by way of Delta's Atlanta hub, Courtney says.

Let's set aside for a second that Lynchburg, VA. is also home to Jerry Falwell's Liberty University (the private plane secondary airport is named after him) and focus on the consequences of that statement for a second. You're a multinational corporation, or even a domestic corporation headquartered in a town of small to moderate size in an otherwise rural area. At some point, the cost of travel and the lack of access to it becomes a factor in whether you choose to stay in that area or relocate to another one, taking jobs and tax revenue with it. Just stop by NCR's headquarters in Dayton, OH and ask them how that worked out. If you can find anyone.

Consider the same thing for State Farm Insurance in Bloomington, IL which loses service from airTran as a result of the SWA acquisition next spring.

Wisconsin is particularly telling. Prior to the acquisition by Frontier Airlines, Midwest Airlines had regularly scheduled service to multiple markets across Wisconsin. You could fly, for example, from Wausau, Rhinelander, LaCrosse, Green Bay or Appleton to Milwaukee and connect onward from Milwaukee to any destination in the country or other connections in Wisconsin). With the acquisition, those routes were eliminated, and you can no longer connect within Wisconsin at all.

Why? Well, the stated reason is that these flights are too expensive because of fuel costs, and that may be true.

But the correct response isn't the knee jerk one of "drive". If the cost of jet fuel is too expensive, and that expense is due to the cost of fuel, the cost of fuel doesn't magically get cheaper if people drive rather than fly. In fact, driving is not only more expensive for those people who now have to drive to a larger airport to catch a flight, it tightens the supply of fuel for the rest of us, making fuel more expensive and compounding the problem.

The correct response is to replace a mode of transportation that is now impractical (commuter flights from smaller markets) with one that will not be if we make an investment in it, namely repairing and replacing a rail infrastructure we've neglected for the last half century. But this requires planning, investment and patience, three things that are in grossly short supply here in a nation filled with Republican knee jerkers with a teenager's intellect and lizard brain emotional capacity and Democrats without the courage to think in the long term.

In essence, front and center we have an issue that cuts to the core of the shortcomings of conservative thinking. Rural conservatives put their faith in the free market, which abandons them when and because it is no longer profitable, leaving them to bear the increased costs of the burden themselves. Because they now have to, rather than pursuing a collective solution that benefits them, they instead double down on the conservative (driving more) which only perpetuates the problem (more expensive fuel costs) and allows it to spiral upward. What starts in Pierre, SD spreads upward to markets like Toledo, OH.

If you want to be a real cynic, you can tack on two items to the end of this list that complete a micro cycle in the macro:

When faced with this problem, a reactionary conservative will first employe denial (Peak Oil isn't real! Climate Change is a hoax perpetuated by the Weather Channel!) then pursue an irrational solution (a resource war like Iraq) to a problem that requires a collective one.

In fact, you can take almost any issue of this type and see the pattern form if you look closely enough:

1) Conservatives put faith in free market for a solution.
2) Free market takes the money and runs, pulling out, mismanaging or discontinuing services when they cease to be sufficiently profitable.
3) Those on the losing end of this proposition double down their support irrationally even as they deal with the clean up from and consequences of this action.
4) Some combination of rationalizing their victimization or denying the consequences of the decision occur.
5) An irrational response of some consequence takes place.
6) The new state becomes permanent or, if the suffering is sufficient, a progressive solution is put in place until the memories of those who suffered become distant enough that someone comes along to propose #1 again.

(As a special bonus, sprinkle in the farcical idea that some magic man in the sky will drop down some miracle solution if we just pray hard enough. He's a drought curer, just ask Rick Perry.)

Lather.Rinse.Repeat. Healthcare. The Environment. Social Security.

None of this is a surprise if you are paying attention. But most people don't. And they perpetuate the problem by doubling down on what causes it to begin with. On the one hand, it's sad. On the other, as some people have figured out, there's plenty of money to be made off of it. It's all in how you choose to cope, I suppose. You can start by not living in Lynchburg, VA.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Memo lays out lobbyist plan to undermine Occupy movement

Disgusting. Just plain disgusting. Why would you want to discredit the protesters... unless you have something to hide? Hmm...

Memo lays out lobbyist plan to undermine Occupy movement:

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More Proof That The Tea Party Is Sabotaging The Economy To Make President Obama Fail | Addicting Info

The Tea Party has just hit a new low. To tell businesses not to hire people to make one man fail is just despicable... I can't believe they would be this un-American! What about all those people who are unemployed. Do they have families to feed? Do they have mortgages to pay? And allowing your neighbor to default on their mortgage, how does that help you? This is just plain bigotry. And I as an American can not stand for this! This is why I HATE, LOATHE and very much dislike the Tea Party. Tea Baggers, you should be ashamed...

More Proof That The Tea Party Is Sabotaging The Economy To Make President Obama Fail | Addicting Info:

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

I just don't understand...

I just don't understand why is is so "evil" to be liberal. What part of equal rights for all, a clean environment, a level playing field, education for all, health care for all, free speech, prosperity for all makes being liberal "evil"? Ultra-conservative types says it was better in the old days. Yes, those olden days, where we had segregated schools and transportation. When a woman did not have the right to vote. When a minority would only have a 3/5 representation. When we had children working in factories. When laborers were paid peanuts. When a law abiding citizen could not pay for their treatment because of a predefined ailment. These rights were brought to you by liberals. So then again why are we so "evil"? Why are we the bad ones? Look in the mirror conservatives! You are the ones holding us back...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Radio ad refuses service to Obama supporters, Muslims | Austin

I'm sorry Crockett Keller, but by airing such an add to refuse service for Muslims, non-Christian Arabs, Liberals or Socialists; you are VERY UN-AMERICAN. Yes - I said it. This country was built on freedom. Freedom of religion, freedom to practice whatever political belief you have; and that's the problem with the extreme right wing arguments. They don't hold any value. They exclude rights to some of the American public and they instill hatred. So it is important to serve the public and as licensed instructor for concealed weapons; and you have the SERVE THE PUBLIC. You have to serve regardless of race, religion, political beliefs or sexual orientation. The State of Texas should revoke your license NOW! It would finally be something Texas would get right...

Radio ad refuses service to Obama supporters, Muslims | Austin:

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Using Armed Officers, WI Removes Silent Protestors In The Assembly Gallery For Wearing ‘Right To Assemble’ T-Shirts (Video) | Addicting Info

What is becoming of this country when a peaceful protest is forcibly removed from the Gallery of the Wisconsin State Legislature. Not only is this a complete WASTE of tax payer dollars but it goes against our first amendment rights. This is an disgusting act against freedom of assembly, freedom of speech. Whoever instructed the officers to remove these individuals should be seriously reprimanded. This extreme right wing behavior can not continue or this country is DOOMED. Say goodbye to the United States Constitution...

Using Armed Officers, WI Removes Silent Protestors In The Assembly Gallery For Wearing ‘Right To Assemble’ T-Shirts (Video) | Addicting Info: "i"

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Cain Doubles Down on His Claim That Liberals Want to Destroy This Country | Video Cafe

Liberals want to destroy America? Really? Herman Cain have you lost touch reality? And further in this video, Mr. Cain talks about closed minded politics. Really? Have you taken a look at the Republican party lately? How they have been hijacked by the Tea Baggers and WON'T COMPROMISE? How can anyone take this candidate seriously? He is off his mental rocker. Liberals do not want to destroy the country. It's not the white house that make the economic mess that we are facing today. President Obama has tried to pass legislation to help us out of the economic mess but your closed minded party that is the Republicans will not raise taxes on the upper 1%. Really? To help the rest of the country out? This policy would destroy America? I don't get it? Are you that DUMB? Another Republican candidate how doesn't know his head from his ass...

Cain Doubles Down on His Claim That Liberals Want to Destroy This Country | Video Cafe:

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Wall Photos - Stop the propaganda!

Okay - take a look at Kim Silver's "so called' photo of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Well, it's not of the movement but she is using it to incite hatred toward the movement and to belittle the actions taken by the Occupy protesters. Why would you use an anti-war photo from 2007 in the state of Oregon to discredit the Occupy Wall Street movement? Because we are gaining momentum? For we found a way to counter your Tea Party bull shit? They are running scared! Come on! Keep up the movement! Occupy Wall Street!

Oh... and report this photo as hate speech to Facebook too...

Here is the photo. This is NOT Occupy Wall Street. Why so much hatred toward liberals? We are FORWARD thinking! Not backwards like conservatives...

Kim Silver's Wall Photos: <- Click the photo or click here...

'via Blog this' Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America (9780307353481): Ann Coulter: Books

Are we really endangering America? I at least don't think so. I personally believe it is the far right that is endangering America. By putting party politics ahead a decent wage for all Americans; by trying to see Obama as one term President instead of fixing the mess we are in. By not supporting equal rights (i.e marriage between two consenting adults (no matter what gender)), this is the stuff the far right spews out that is endangering America. Since when is fair taxes for all, equal rights and employment endangering America? What kind of people read this shit? Yes, Ann Coulter - you spew shit! Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America (9780307353481): Ann Coulter: Books:

'via Blog this'

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cain: Not rich? No job? Blame yourself – CNN Political Ticker - Blogs

Really? Herman Cain. Really? Did you just spite all those people on unemployment? All those people who are perfectly qualified to work but can not because there ARE NO JOBS? Are you that out of touch with reality? This comment just pointed out how out of touch the Republican party is with the rest of America. You don't care about the best interests of the American public. I can not take you as a serious candidate anymore. I personally would like to join the "Occupy Wall Street" movement. I think their points should make you Cain, "...take a hard look in the mirror...".

Cain: Not rich? No job? Blame yourself – CNN Political Ticker - Blogs:

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Occupy Wall Street « Flickr Blog

Okay - why is the mainstream media not covering this protest in New York city? I think it is newsworthy. Why have I not known about this protest until today? It started a few days ago. Do our media outlets not want us to know what is really happening?

Follow my blog with

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rick Perry Blasts Obama 'Appeasement' Toward Palestinians : It's All Politics : NPR

Again. I hate, LOATHE this guy! Rick Perry makes me sick. Now, I've been studying the Israeli-Palestinian issue for some time now. After all, I have a degree in international relations (a political science program). But Israel has been the bullies in this conflict for long enough. It's time to recognize an official Palestinian state. This will be the true path towards piece in the region and FINALLY end all the Israeli settlements in Palestine. Which would also help toward peace. Rick Perry - you are an IDIOT!

Rick Perry Blasts Obama 'Appeasement' Toward Palestinians : It's All Politics : NPR:

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Perry To Israel: 'Help Is On The Way' : NPR

Damn. This is just a cheap political game play. Really? Are you pandering to the Jewish vote? Perry is a scumbag...

Perry To Israel: 'Help Is On The Way' : NPR:

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Perry used $294,000 in taxpayer funds to take his wife to vacation spots such as Madrid and the Bahamas

Again - do not take this guy seriously...

Perry used $294,000 in taxpayer funds to take his wife to vacation spots such as Madrid and the Bahamas:

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Gov. Perry Cut Funds For Women's Health In Texas : NPR

Okay. How can anyone take this guy seriously. For all you tea party shitheads out there, I'll explain it to you simply. Texas has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation. Only 48% of your public have private heath insurance. You spend more on teen pregnancy then any other state. Issue 1: How is that abstinence policy working out? You then cut $8.4 million to family planning clinics. That provide all sorts of procedures to ensure a healthy childbirth if that's what the women decide. And you move that money to conservative Crisis Pregnancy Centers which have no licensed medical staff. Provided no prenatal care. Issue 2: And how will sending millions of kids into wellfare help the state budget? It just doesn't make sense. We have to fight FIGHT to make sure this guy is never elected as President of the United States. This is a prime example of how he's doomed Texas (frankly we could loose Texas and I wouldn't care). He will DOOM the nation.

Gov. Perry Cut Funds For Women's Health In Texas : NPR:

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ten years after 9/11, we’re still in the dark - The Washington Post

A must read for the future of the country. We have to rethink how we understand Islam, Arab couture and radical Islam. They are not all the same...

Ten years after 9/11, we’re still in the dark - The Washington Post:

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Time for the jobless to march on Washington -

Yes! It's time for the left to WAKE UP and show the Tea Party fakes for the frauds they are. Stand up! Let's march. Let's show our numbers and let the TEA PARTY KNOW THAT THEY ARE NOT THE ONLY VOICE IN GOVERNMENT! Stand up NOW!

Time for the jobless to march on Washington -

Sunday, August 7, 2011

N.J. Gov. Christie Won’t Hear It From Shariah ‘Crazies’ - Truthdig

Wow! I am impressed. A Republican doing the right thing. Please commend New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for doing the right thing and exposing conservative fear of Shariah law as CRAP! Because it is...

N.J. Gov. Christie Won’t Hear It From Shariah ‘Crazies’ - Truthdig: "conservatives’ fear of shariah law “is crap.”"

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

First Read - Perry religious event draws scrutiny, carries potential risk

Okay - I will not go into the separation of church and state here. Although, that is another concern for this event. But my concern stems from this "prayer-in" is that he is seeking support from the big man with the cowboy hat in the sky for help bringing down unemployment. Really? Are you from the same party that is against tax hikes for the wealthiest of the wealthiest of this country? But is it that those tax hikes would help balance the budget while not impacting the class that is now impacted by the recent debt deal? Really, praying to the big guy with the cowboy hat in the sky is going to solve this? Apparently, I'm not the only one who see though this absurdity. Only 8000 tickets of a 70,000 seat stadium have been claimed. Ha Ha Ha HA! This should be viewed as a BIG rejection of his bigotry...

First Read - Perry religious event draws scrutiny, carries potential risk

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Photojournalist Arrested for Filming Police - TVSpy

Is this what the country is coming to? A photojournalist arrested for filming a crime scene? What about freedom of information. Freedom of press? The photojournalist was not impacting the investigation but the police officer overstepped his authority arresting the photojournalist. This is the country I fear. Our rights are being taken away from us. It's time to step up and restore the rights that have been taken away...

Photojournalist Arrested for Filming Police - TVSpy

Monday, August 1, 2011

Why GOP frosh said yes to debt deal - Marin Cogan -

I absolutely hate, loathe and find the Tea Baggers (sorry Tea Party - YOU SUCK!) absolutely despicable. The fact that they do not compromise and hold the government hostage like TERRORISTS is a failure of our government. Now more than ever, we need a credible third or forth party in congress. The Tea Party does have their place in our political system but they CAN NOT hold the rest of congress and the rest of the country hostage because they just don't get what they want. A two year old acts that way. Not adults, not political representatives. This is why I HATE, LOATHE, DESPISE the Tea Party. I hope we start to vote them out in 2012 and 2014...

I hope Google will place this high in their search settings... THE TEA PARTY SUCKS!

Why GOP frosh said yes to debt deal - Marin Cogan -

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Tea party to GOP: We could make 'examples' of you over debt ceiling -

Really? Is this Tea Party just plain ignorant or dumb? We are in the mess today because of two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (plus what ever is happening in Libya) and the Bush tax cuts. Causing the U.S to default on it's debt is just suicide. Are you for real Tea Party? Do you not get it? Really? It's time to wake up America and see the Tea Party as the frauds that they really are!

Tea party to GOP: We could make 'examples' of you over debt ceiling -

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

No justice for Caylee

I'm sorry. As a parent, I find the acquittal of Casey Anthony really appalling. The evidence was there. A funky smell from her car. The computer searches for chloroform. Duck tape on Caylee's mouth from her skeletal remains. And the fact that Casey did not report her missing for THIRTY ONE DAYS! How could this jury acquit? This is OJ all over again. What - do you need it spelled out?. Does a jury need to be spoon fed? Think! Who else had the motive? Who lied to police? Who's parents did not know what happened to little Caylee. Add that to all the other oddities of the case and well - EVERYTHING points to Casey Anthony.

I am a parent. I would NEVER harm my little girl. She is sweet and precious. I am there to protect her, to nourish her, to educate her, to guide her and most importantly to love her. And the parenting from Casey Anthony was clearly absent. Definitely a form of child abuse. Definitely an act of murder. There will be no justice for Caylee. That is disturbing and sad.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

New York moves to become 6th state to legalize gay marriage -

This is good news. Why anyone would vote against love is beyond me... This is a civil rights issue, plain and simple. You have every right as straight people even if your sexual orientation is different. This is a step in the right direction. Soon, rights will be equal in EVERY state...

New York moves to become 6th state to legalize gay marriage -

Sunday, June 19, 2011

McCain blames some Arizona wildfires on illegal immigrants -

How could you Senator McCain? This is a low blow. First, can I state the obvious? You live in a FREAKING DESERT! And secondly, climate change is making your state dryer...

And NO! You can't take our water. Michigan is becoming wetter. And you can't take our water. You will have to leave your desert and move up here and create JOBS! Shut your pie hole and do something...

McCain blames some Arizona wildfires on illegal immigrants -

Friday, June 17, 2011

Republican Group Targets Its Own Party : NPR

And this is why I am no longer a Republican. Those of us who were moderates have been cleansed from the party. I hope the right wing fails because of this. To exclude a huge portion of the populous, I think is a HUGE mistake.

Republican Group Targets Its Own Party : NPR

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It's a Republic stupid...

This quote absolutely disgusts me. We have a republic style of government. That means there are check and balances AND THE RIGHTS OF THE MINORITY are still protected when a majority votes. Idiot! Where did you learn your civic government? In the stellar Arizona state education system?

"Republican state Rep. John Kavanagh helped pass many of those laws. He says the Legislature is doing what it thinks is right. "We pass laws based upon what we believe the people of Arizona want," he says.

Kavanagh says the effort to split the state is just Democratic sour grapes.

"Democracy can be a real pain, especially when you're in the minority position," he says. "But that's the way it goes; majority rules.""

Ugh. It's a republic stupid. It's not a pure democracy. It never has been...

Taken from the NPR article "A 51st State? Some in Arizona Want a Split"

Arizona state Representative John Kavanagh fails his civic lesson. That is why your vote on immigration law in Arizona is going to the Supreme Court and why it was placed on hold. The majority does not rule when stupid laws are passed...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sunday, May 1, 2011

If the news is true...

This is huge! I may see the fact that certain organizations may freedom fighters but the news of Osama Bin Laden's death is good news. He was an evil, evil man and I commend the US forces that have finally brought him to justice. There is no place in this world for the hate that was spewed from this evil, evil man...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

House Votes To Cut NPR's Federal Funds : The Two-Way : NPR

I am absolutely disgusted with the Republican actions so far. With public broadcasting, you have a news organization that does not cater to political or business interests (unlike Fox News which is a slimy P.O.S.). With recent comments of fundraisers taken out of context but not that far from the truth, I find the Republican action of pulling funding for public broadcasting irresponsible, illogical and ignorant. Especially when the truth does not fall that far from home.

The Tea Party influence on the Republican Party is just simply bad policy. Evidenced by Tea Party demographics of a mainly older (over 55), male, white base. Furthered through racist remarks by Republican candidates (Sharon Angle) stating Sharia law is taking over the United States. I think it is refreshing to have a news source that points out the racist speeches of a Republican U.S. Senate candidate (thank God she lost!). Or a racist organization such as the Tea Party. If the Republicans had their way, the biggest donors would be generating the news. How is that for free speech? How is that for unbiased reporting? That's why their vote today is irresponsible, illogical and ignorant.

I sent a note to U.S. House Speaker John Boehner today stating just that. And that this action from HIS party disgusts me. And it should disgust you too!

House Votes To Cut NPR's Federal Funds : The Two-Way : NPR

Saturday, March 12, 2011

American Red Cross: Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami

In the wake of the devastating earthquake and Tsunami to hit Japan, please consider a donation to the American Red Cross to help in the efforts of aid to the citizens of Japan. Thank you!

American Red Cross:

Palin: Wisconsin union bosses ‘acting like thugs’ – CNN Political Ticker - Blogs

Really Sarah Palin? I think right wing talk show hosts like Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and others at Fox News are thugs. They are spewing just as much hateful rhetoric towards the left...

Palin: Wisconsin union bosses ‘acting like thugs’ – CNN Political Ticker - Blogs

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Why Palin doesn't need National Grammar Day -

I think there is something fundamentally wrong in a candidate if Twitter is the perfect medium. Especially if you are in the executive branch of government in a state (Alaska) or in that executive branch of the U.S. federal government. It shows that the candidate lacks the understanding of serious national issues. Here is the quote: "Twitter is the perfect medium for her. It doesn't involve constructing a complicated argument. Its 140-character limit allows her to get in a quick jab, and she uses it sharply."

Why Palin doesn't need National Grammar Day - "Twitter is the perfect medium for her. It doesn't involve constructing a complicated argument. Its 140-character limit allows her to get in a quick jab, and she uses it sharply."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Water Water Everywhere, and Nothing but Karma to Drink

Shortly before Christmas 2009 I found myself at the Glendale, California Hilton. It's a suitable enough hotel, conveniently located, but skip the hotel restaurant and head for the rooftop bar instead which has a panoramic view of the area and some nice balconies upon which one can have a drink, a smoke (if so inclined) and some passable bar food instead.

More to the point, though, in the washroom of my hotel room was a water conservation hangtag that gave the current status of Los Angeles' water supply in a gauge similar to the fuel gauge on your car, only with added colors corresponding to severity. The arrow pointed to the yellow/red border on the gauge (the equivalent of a quarter tank of gas) and stated "Los Angeles has a serious water shortage. Please voluntarily restrict the amount of time you spend in the shower and conserve the amount of laundry requests from this hotel."

It's the first part of that statement I'd like to focus on. Los Angeles doesn't have a water shortage, what it has, like Phoenix and Atlanta, is a population overage. Simply put, these cities have outstripped their capacity to support their populations based on the natural resources of their area.

As always, Gin and Tacos has a more succinct set of thoughts on this than I. But the numbers distilled in this report should be enough to give residents pause.

What matters for you, assuming that you live in the Great Lakes area, is what happens when cities with too many people and not enough water stop suing each other (as Atlanta did repeatedly in 2007) and start looking north and east.

If you want to accentuate the positive, you could posit that those people currently residing in those areas could cash out and re-stimulate the economies in this area as the cost of infrastructure becomes prohibitive in the American south and southwest. Surely, some percentage of mobile people will pick up stakes from Tuscon and endure a snow and cold winter with the rest of us, if for no other reason than lack of water. And, judging by the influx of Angelenos cashing out and moving into the Denver area (helping turn Colorado blue) there may be some truth to that.

Certainly, there will be some hairbrained schemes to syphon water off of the Great Lakes and pipeline it to those parts of the country that are drying out their aquafiers. A Chicago sourced pipeline pops up as an idea by some Congressman from time to time, as does the idea of a Cleveland based pipeline to points south. The impracticality of this idea should be apparent. It would be prohibitively expensive, against the Great Lakes Basin Compact and, frankly, would be subject to constant sabotage.

If you've ever been to a country without a reliable water supply, you understand the prevalence of bottled drinking water. The most omnipresent brand in India is Coca Cola owned Kinley bottled water. So the realistic scenario for those of us who live in the Great Lakes is to watch our natural resources die a death by a thousand cuts as companies like Nestle seek to replicate what they did in Mecosta County, Michigan; work with Republican governors to drain natural resources and resell them to help perpetuate unsupportable population growth one lake and aquafier at a time.


It's the winter of 1995 and I'm having dinner with my then girlfriend, her family, and friends of her family at the friends' brand new house. The husband and wife are relatively affluent (working for Marathon Oil) and the house was your typical North Dallas Special.

At some point after dinner, the following conversation transpired:

"This is a nice house."
"But isn't this whole neighborhood a flood zone?"
"Well, it was, but Congressman Oxley worked to get this area removed as a flood plain last year so we wouldn't have to pay the national flood insurance premiums."
"But doesn't this area flood fairly frequently?"
"Hasn't flooded in 20 years. We aren't worried."

The girlfriend is long gone (she didn't inherit her mother's wonderful personality or sense of fidelity, as it turns out). As Findlay braces for it's third round of flooding in four years, I can't help but wonder whether that couple has survived and persevered the ravages of the Blanchard.

The real reason I like to talk about Findlay is the fact that it's as red as red can be; the fact that President Obama managed all of 30% of the vote in the 2008 Presidential Election tells you all you need to know about Hancock County. They live the hypocrisy of modern day Republicans; they eschew "big government" but have a tax free enterprise zone - a gift of the first Bush Administration; they hate big government but are the first to run to the trough for emergency federal aid when the banks of a river that floods repeatedly overflows into a town that willfully builds and rebuilds too close to it.

By hook or by crook, the Ohio Senate managed to pass SB 5 which, among other things, takes away the collective bargaining rights of public employees.

This is, 1) ill advised electorally, as Republicans are now going to get their collective asses handed to them in the next election cycle, 2) bad morally, as you are callously and very visibly negatively stripping a standard of living from an entire segment of the middle class and 3) bad for the economy as you are negatively impacting the buying power of the same middle class people.

To top it off, I highly expect that these benefits will be restored once the restoration ends up as a constitutional amendment/ballot issue in either 2011 or 2012 anyway.

All of this is done in the name of a Republican strategy of satisfying their corporate donors while sucking up to an aging shrinking old white demographic base. It's not just bad policy, it's not just morally wrong, it's bad long term strategy for a party rapidly running out of ideas and almost devoid of PR. Not that I'm complaining.

I'm not going to burn your time and effort debating these points. If you're here, you get it. The situation in Wisconsin is getting enough press that you should be familiar with the issues at hand. Ohio's budget situation is somewhat worse than Wisconsin's, but that's about the only significant difference.

What I find interesting is this. I have a couple of friends and/or family members who have made their life's work maintaining the cognitive dissonance of being Republican/Liberterian public union members. I respect the work they do in their respective fields, but talking to either of them about the issue is akin to asking a robot to solve pi, eventually sparks start to shoot from their neck as the logic chain breaks down due to this unsolvable conflict they've had all of their adult lives. One of them said to me, with a straight face, "I hate voting for Democrats, because I don't believe in social programs." Which is interesting, considering his chosen career path is a social program.

As a liberal, I've spent the better part of 30 years shaking my head at people who are perpetually not observant enough to see the forest for the trees, wasting their vote on people who were bound and determined to undermine their standard of living because Jesus said so/evil lazy minorities/I like this guy because I'd have a beer with him/brown people are coming to attack us.

So here we are, watching the chickens come home to roost. It's certainly an interesting ride.

So what do water, flooding, and SB 5 have in common? My own personal moral compass resides somewhere between Deism and Buddhism, and I'm a big believer in Karma. Huston Smith's The World's Religions teaches us that the only universal rule among all religions is The Golden Rule.

Personally, I try not to revel in the misfortune of others. The fact that I'm not gleefully reveling in the misery of others any longer is a testament to my wife. A successful marriage and a good job does wonders for your outlook on life. But as I had a free afternoon this week, I drove around Detroit to see what was left of the places I used to frequent in my late teens and early twenties as a reminder of where I came from. The economic prognosis was not good.

And so, as I read about water shortages in the south and west due to overpopulation, NAFTA's impact on devastating the Mexican family farm and causing the current illegal immigration crisis along with the devastation of the midwestern industrial base; how the Blanchard River is flooding Findlay, Ohio yet again, so residents who continue to vote against their self interests cry out for government help again; and how no small number of those impacted by SB 5 have voted against their own self interests under the assumption that the union and the state would continue to protect them, I couldn't help to denote that Karma is very clearly in play. And while I try not to revel in the misfortune of others, I'm not immune to a smile. Perhaps, in some small way, some people will start to learn a very hard lesson in all of these struggles and change for the positive.

Supreme Court Rules For Westboro Baptist Church Anti-Gay Protests At Military Funerals : NPR

While I don't support the Westboro Baptist Church and their hate policies, it is still good that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in their favor. If not, we would have been down the slippery slope of removing free speech. If the church was not able to protest, who would know how long this blog would still be active. Again, I don't agree with the church's hate rhetoric, but I do see the need for free speech...

Supreme Court Rules For Westboro Baptist Church Anti-Gay Protests At Military Funerals : NPR

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The tax you should be paying -

Hmm. Wonder what a Tea Partier would think of this. I estimate my "use tax" and send it in to the state of Michigan in our yearly returns. But how many people do not? How many people request the same level of governmental service for nothing? That's the big problem with any Tea Party argument. You can't get something for nothing...

The tax you should be paying -

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Challenge Of Polling Labor Rights

Surprise, surprise. The vast majority of Americans support collective bargaining rights. Governor Scott Walker is losing the public perception fight. Yay!

The Challenge Of Polling Labor Rights

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Caller Poses As Billionaire, Pranks Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker : NPR

Really? A "Louisville Slugger" for the Democratic Senators that fled the state because you rammed this legislation through? Shame on you Scott Walker! Shame on you!

Caller Poses As Billionaire, Pranks Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker : NPR

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rev. Jesse Jackson: Assault on Unions Is an Attack on Basic Civil Rights

I have to agree. This is an attack on basic human rights. Workers' rights. I simply don't understand why anyone would be against workers' rights.

Rev. Jesse Jackson: Assault on Unions Is an Attack on Basic Civil Rights

Monday, February 21, 2011

Wisconsin Governor Refuses To Compromise : NPR

And that's the problem. Refusing to meet in the middle. That is the problem with the Wisconsin government. It is the problem with the federal government. There is no compromise. There is no meeting in the middle. Government is a course of give and take. You have to give a little to be able to take a little. This unwillingness to compromise is unsettling...

Wisconsin Governor Refuses To Compromise : NPR

Governor Walker's Citizen Suggestions

Here is the link to contact Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Tell him to remove the elimination of collective bargaining rights from the budget bill...

Citizen Suggestions

Mandate? Really?

Okay - Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is playing the mandate card to SHOVE the elimination of collective bargaining through the Wisconsin legislature. Um, 52% is not a clear mandate. Even so, if there was a mandate, would that make the Democrats reform of health care in 2010 also an mandate? Food for thought....

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Koch Brothers Behind Wisconsin Effort To Kill Public Unions - Rick Ungar - The Policy Page - Forbes

Not a big surprise. But stand up against the Tea Party. Stand up against the Koch brothers. They are against collective bargaining because they are against workers rights. They are for profits only. Sound familiar? It should because this was America at the start of the industrial revolution. Why would we want to go back to that age? Really? Stand up! Speak out! Protect our rights to unionize!

Koch Brothers Behind Wisconsin Effort To Kill Public Unions - Rick Ungar - The Policy Page - Forbes

When the Water Runs Dry

Another factor in the current upheaval that now permeates North Africa and Southwest Asia:

If you're at all interested in what's happening on the ground, or if you've happened to have been in an emerging country during a natural resource shortage, you should read this.

Why Wisconsin matters for President Obama -

The most disheartening thing about the protests in Wisconsin is that there is NO middle ground. Their is NO compromise. There are NO talks between the two sides. We have come to a tipping point in our hyper-partisan political system. Conservatives hate liberals. Liberals don't trust conservatives. There are no moderates in the federal government. They have all been voted out. And so we have come to this. This will escalate.

The protests will spread to other states. And until there is some moderation (in which I don't see any right now), this will continue to happen for some time. We desperately need a THIRD party. And the Tea Party is not that answer. Tea Partiers are Republicans. And they were responsible for voting out the moderation in both parties.

A third party would invite talks, moderation and adaptability. Something we desperately need today.

Why Wisconsin matters for President Obama -

Tea Party activists join protests, favoring Wisconsin budget bill -

Great. The nut jobs joined the action...

Keep strong! Keep up the fight in Wisconsin and Ohio. Do not back down. Senators, stay out of the state...

Tea Party activists join protests, favoring Wisconsin budget bill -

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Quoted for Truth

"Conservative politicians have always blamed the victim. It's minorities' problems for civil rights issues. It's environmentalists' problems on the environment. It's really always somebody else's fault. It's never the people responsible. It's never the bankers. It's never the way the legislation's done. It's always the workers."

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown.

So here we are. Less than a week after I spent a few pleasant days in, of all places, Madison, Wisconsin (it was nice to once again be in an area that celebrates a Super Bowl win, marking my fourth time doing so), there's finally a few minutes to take a breath and take stock of the events that are reshaping our world. And to think, my evaluation of Madison was: quaint, but boring.

The Middle East

As the dominos begin to fall, toppling corrupt regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, one of the things we as Americans discover is that what we hope for in other countries in other parts of the world doesn't really amount to a bottle of warm spit unless we literally come in guns blazing.

We've had literally no influence on events occurring outside of Southwest Asia (edited to add: other than putting half of those regimes in place to begin with), and will have no influence on those events in Africa and that region as they move forward. To that end, as regime after regime topples, and as citizens of the respective countries rise up and turn upon their governments, it should occur to someone, at some point, once again, just how stupid the Iraq invasion and the cost of lives and untold billions of dollars was (unless you look at it through the prism of oil, and we'll save that discussion for another day).

Somewhat sarcastically, in the comments section of our esteemed cat daddy's article on Tunisia, I mentioned that people were perfectly happy to participate in corruption as long as they had a job and benfited from it. Sometimes, sarcasm is warranted. At the time of the Tunisian uprising, unemployment among those under 30 approached 40%. Egypt's unemployment rate exceeded 10.5% at the time of Mubarak's ouster.

I strongly recommend this brief piece on just how bad the unemployment rate is in the Middle East. Because, at the end of the day, people all over the world are happy to belong to a regime that others may feel corrupt as long as they can feed their families and not be killed in the process. This has worked for multiple generations, as Middle Eastern and other oil regimes' trickle down economics has seen to it that most of the masses could be placated, and the ones who couldn't could be convinced that external forces (read: America or Israel) were to blame for their problems.

However, you walk a delicate line with that equation. As populations get larger, more socially connected, and better educated, too much concentrated wealth means the middle class can't expand, and the end result is pissed off cab drivers with degrees in higher education who can't find jobs suitable to their educational expectations. Give them something as simple as a cell phone with social media access and an uprising isn't that far behind. It isn't about religion. It's about jobs. Or, put another way, it's the economy, stupid, regardless of the predominant religion or skin color or way of life.

On Wisconsin

Speaking of which, I can't even begin to tell you how beautiful what's happening in Madison is now. I had a piece dripping with sarcasm prepared last week about how the American worker has turned on each other and lacked the backbone to stand up against plutocracy, but I wisely shelved it because it was rather rude and unsanitized, and then this happens.

You should, if you read this blog, be aware of the particulars; a phony budget shortfall ginned up by an undereducated governor who's strings are pulled by the Koch brothers in an effort to break unions. Add in a weak attempt at divide and conquer by exempting police and fire, and voila! mass protests by organized labor that are long overdue in this country.

If there are three political trends that overarch the waning years of the Baby Boomers they are these. First, the plutocratic idea, put forth in the Guilded Age that the wealthy "can hire half of the poor to kill the other half." Republicans have used this divide and conquer tactic since the implementation of Nixon's Southern Strategy in the early 1970s (though it goes back much, much further in American history in some form or fashion), and, outside of the south, it reached it's culmination with the Tea Party Movement, which was essentially, old white people screaming at everyone else that they were ruining their retirement by trying to keep the lights on. This isn't anything new on the part of that generation; Douglas Coupland identified this and summed it up nicely in Generation X, which was written in 1991. Malcolm X had a famous and adaptable quote about how slave owners would turn the house slaves against the field slaves that perfectly describes the Republican Party campaign management system.

The second is this: if I can't have mine, you can't have yours either. This is inherently selfish and narcissistic on the part of the person with this attitude, and I have to be honest, it seems quite strong and I'm not entirely sure where it comes from. But it's certainly counter productive. I'm not one to often play the God card, but the one fundamental tenet of every religion is the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. So you'll see a fair share of people who use this rationale when attempting to demonize those workers who are standing up for their right to collectively bargain. It's intellectually lazy, and being intellectually lazy takes very little effort.

I don't support Michigan's current governor, and wouldn't have voted for him if I could have, but you'll notice that while his budget certainly pummels the hell out of everyone and everything, he hasn't come close to expounding the rhetoric that Governors Walker, Kasich, Daniels, and LePage of Maine have as it relates to unionized public employees.

It's early yet, but Governor Snyder may just be that rare endangered species: a moderate Republican. A Republican is still a Republican, of course, (and your alternative in that election wasn't much of one), but still, it's a bit of a refreshing change from the nuts that populate the rest of the party and their hired help of elderly retirees and dimwitted exurban plumbers.

It's been entirely too long since protests from the left felt like anything other than obligatory. It's good to see employees standing up for their rights. And just in time too. Because if those of us who are liberal do not stand up right now, there will truly be nothing left to fight for.

The Painful Truth

One of the most dispassionate and intelligent writers on things Michigan is actually Jack Lessenberry of the Toledo Blade. He's written two very good columns (he doubles as the paper's Ombudsman) recently about Michigan's budget situation. I'd like to call your attention to this one.

While there are certainly some things that are unique to Michigan (it's abhorrence to local income taxes is one I share), the third political trend of baby boomers politically is this: I want everything, and I don't want to pay for any of it. This renders itself most explicitly in California, where a simple majority of citizens can approve a government funded mandate.

Unfortunately, they can also approve measures like Proposition 13, which drastically limit the state government's ability to pay for any of these mandates. The result, as in most states, is a crushing debt, brought on by one group of citizens, who want everything, and another group of citizens, who don't want to pay for anything. I mean, admit it, something for nothing is awfully appealing, regardless of your predominant ideology.

Politicians normally would have to walk the line and figure out which group of people are going to comprise the larger turn out in the next election to enable them to keep their jobs. That problem was solved in California with drastic redistricting, and in Michigan with term limits, neither of which are particularly effective. (Term limits are particularly stupid, another topic for another time.) Throw in the need for the same politicians to generate revenue to fund re-elections, gathered from business that expect a return on this particular investment, and you have the current situation we're in now.

Let's tie this in a bow. In the Middle East, revolution is triggered when excess wealth is tied into the hands of the top one percent and unemployment exceeds 10 percent amongst college graduates. To date, the US has dodged a bit of a bullet in that the most recent economic downturn hasn't disproportionately harmed college graduates outside of the midwest. (In fact, unless your degree is in philosophy or law, your employment prospects are fairly good).

But if you squeeze on that white collar too hard, it will bite you back, and there are plenty of unemployed blue collar folk willing to stand beside you, as Wisconsin Republicans are learning, the hard way. Finally.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Protests Continue In Wisconsin As Budget Fight Rages : NPR

Good job from the Wisconsin Senate Democrats! I'm sorry Governor, but these Dems are doing their job and rightfully so. Since your state does not a have a fillabuster provision in your legislature, this is the next best thing. It is a check and balance. It protects the people from a super majority. It looks out for the opposition and the opposition still has a voice here. Deal with it stinky cheese GOP!

Protests Continue In Wisconsin As Budget Fight Rages : NPR

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Books! Not bombs! February 16

Is a 3.4% percent increase in the defense budget necessary? $708 billion? Really? While only $49 billion is spent on education? Something is SERIOUSLY wrong with this picture. Why does defense get 14 times as much money as schools? And the GOP wants to cut education? Think again. Go for the FAT COW! Hit that $708 billion blood sucking leech that is the defense budget. And it's even more dismal for the evironmental protection agency. Kill that leech now!

Defense Budget:

Education Budget:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Books! Not bombs!

Hello all-

This will be the start of a campaign to influence our federal lawmakers that education is more important than defense. As the U.S. Congress is debating on where to cut spending from a fat federal budget, it is our goal to remind our policymakers that we should not cut our country's future for the present. And what is more telling the the present where a defense budget has exploded over the past decade. This blog will hopefully be the start of a new revolution. Fund education. Fund out future.  Books! Not Bombs!

I will support my case in the future posts on this site. I hope you will join me on this ride. Thank you!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Paul Ryan, John Boehner Defend House GOP Spending Cut Proposal

Why would we cut job training programs in what is a really slow recovery from the worst economic downturn in decades? Why not hit the low hanging fruit of the defense budget? Cutting job training when we need more jobs just does not make sense. The GOP is all smoke and mirrors... Their lies are become exposed!

Paul Ryan, John Boehner Defend House GOP Spending Cut Proposal

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Ron Paul Wins Conservatives' Straw Poll : NPR

Not surprising when the Tea Party has hijacked the conservative political process. Liberals, stay strong!

Ron Paul Wins Conservatives' Straw Poll : NPR

Friday, February 11, 2011

Remarks by the President on Egypt | The White House

The President's remarks on the situation in Egypt were inspiring. Here is an excerpt... The full speech is after the link.

"We saw people of faith praying together and chanting – “Muslims, Christians, We are one.” And though we know that the strains between faiths still divide too many in this world and no single event will close that chasm immediately, these scenes remind us that we need not be defined by our differences. We can be defined by the common humanity that we share.

And above all, we saw a new generation emerge -- a generation that uses their own creativity and talent and technology to call for a government that represented their hopes and not their fears; a government that is responsive to their boundless aspirations. One Egyptian put it simply: Most people have discovered in the last few days…that they are worth something, and this cannot be taken away from them anymore, ever.

This is the power of human dignity, and it can never be denied. Egyptians have inspired us, and they’ve done so by putting the lie to the idea that justice is best gained through violence. For in Egypt, it was the moral force of nonviolence -- not terrorism, not mindless killing -- but nonviolence, moral force that bent the arc of history toward justice once more."

Remarks by the President on Egypt | The White House

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Clinton Sticks To U.S. Principles On Egyptian Reform : NPR

The voice of the people of Egypt should be heard. President Hosni Mubarak should step down. People have the right to criticize the ruling government. Their voice needs to be listened to. We as the collective world should support the voices of the people.

Clinton Sticks To U.S. Principles On Egyptian Reform : NPR

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Palin: America Out Of Step With Reagan's Values : NPR

For once I guess I agree with Sarah Palin. America is on the "road to ruin" because of the newly elected GOP House of Representatives....

Palin: America Out Of Step With Reagan's Values : NPR

Monday, January 24, 2011

Random acts of kindness...

Hello all! Sorry that I've been away for a few days. I'm here in France and away from the political climate in the U.S. right now. Rather than politics, I will share a little story from my journey today. I was departing my hotel in Paris and heading to Lille. I decided to take the metro to the Gare du Nord station. Well - with two large bags and a laptop, it was a rather intensive workout with the bags going down numerous flight of stairs to get to the line. Then I had to switch lines and more stairs. When I reached Gare du Nord, a small rather polite nun saw me lugging the bags and she offered to help. I thought she would help take one of the bags down the flight of stairs, in which she did. But she also went out of her way to take be to the TGV lines at the Gare du Nord. I asked her if I could give her anything for her act of kindness but she said 'non'. I was so amazed but the genuine good in people sometimes. All who follow this (if you are religious or not) say a little prayer for the sweet little nun that helped me along my journey today. I will have to attend mass now so I can say a little prayer for her.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Long live wiki-diplomacy -

This opinion article is right on the mark. WikiLeaks is all about information. Information for all. And governments and corporations and other multi-national organizations will have to deal with the new frontier that is now the information age. The WikiLeaks reporting is the same as what is happening in Tunisia. The speed information is passed today makes governments, corporations and other multi-national organizations more responsible for their actions. This is good for all. It brings accountability.

Long live wiki-diplomacy -

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Health Care Reform Claim From Republicans Appears Shaky

So the GOP repeals the health care legislation on bogus numbers? Fitting for a party that has no alternatives for proposal just a flat no to any progress that us progressives can make in creating a better country for you and me. They are furious that the 111th congress got it right. And the American public will now see that the GOP is simply the party of 'no'. No constructive criticism. Just no. No alternatives. Just no...

Health Care Reform Claim From Republicans Appears Shaky

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Is Tunisia the first domino to fall? - Telegraph

The voices of the people must be heard. Yes, other regimes in the Arab world should take note. People will not be silenced...

Is Tunisia the first domino to fall? - Telegraph

Obama a one-termer, says Cheney – CNN Political Ticker - Blogs

Not so fast Dick! There are still two years to go and anything can happen in that time. We will wait and see - but you may be eating your words. Too soon to tell...

Obama a one-termer, says Cheney – CNN Political Ticker - Blogs

Domestic Terrorism and the New Schizophrenia

Between the holidays and an extended work assignment, it's been awhile. Grab a cup of something relatively strong and have a seat.

So one of the stories that received relatively little play in the domestic mainstream media is this.

For as progressive (and beautiful) a community that Washington west of the Cascades is, Washington east of the Cascades is not. From a tax and revenue perspective, you can guess which third of the state supports the other two thirds, but I digress, as the hypocrisy of what types of areas of the country support which others via tax revenue is a topic for another day. (I'll give you this much of a hint though, if you pulled all of the federal money out of South Carolina, there would be no more South Carolina. Which is a shame because Charleston is a really nice city).

The main point here is this. If there's one resolution or goal that I have/would like to see for 2011 it's that we start calling a spade a spade. From the above article about the parade bomb:

"At that point, it falls directly in the realm and sphere of domestic terrorism," (FBI Special Agent Frank )Harrill told the Associated Press. "Clearly, there was some political or social agenda here."This country has developed an accelerated domestic terrorism problem, where people with political agendas seek to enforce those agendas through the use of violence.

They do this by shooting up Unitarian Churches because liberals attend them, crashing their planes into office buildings because they don't like the tax code, or shooting police officers because Obama is coming to take their guns away. That is, if they aren't leaving bombs at polling places or, shooting a Congresswoman.

But to pay attention to contemporary media, this country doesn't have a domestic terrorism problem. It has a lone gunman/he was always such a quiet neighbor who kept to himself problem. Terrorism is reserved for those people of non white races and non-Christian religions who would seek to harm those who, implicitly, are white and are Christian. Terrorism in common vernacular is reserved for those groups who are needed to justify foreign military action, or the potential for foreign military action.

The reality is that we don't begin to make progress on all terrorism related issues until we begin calling a spade a spade. And until we redefine terrorism as acts of violence by all types of people on or toward all types of people as part of our daily discourse, both domestic and foreign, we won't begin to acknowledge and address the increasing problem we have in this country of people resorting to violence to get their point across. At least in this case, the FBI calling a spade a spade is a good start.

Extra Points
There are a couple of offshoots of the recent shooting of Congresswoman Giffords that generate worthy discussion points. The first, which is well covered, is the accelerated degradation of our public political discourse in our country by the Sarah Palins and Sharron "2nd Amendment Remedies" Angles of the world. It finally appears as if the swarming of sentiment on this issue means the expiration of Palin's 15 minutes of fame, which is at least 13 minutes overdue (Although a final act of tanking in the 2012 Republican primary may be in order to complete the job).

The second involves mental illness. Of the four most recent examples of domestic terrorism I've described above, at least three of them involve mental illness, specifically a schizophrenic derivative. A significant segment of our society suffers from some degree of this, either medically or in an intellectual void in the way we perceive the world around us (which I call Casual Schizophrenia). If you're told the world around you is increasingly violent (despite ample evidence to the contrary) or that a specific subgroup of society is out to get you, you become susceptible to an ever larger and more ridiculous series of messages about just how "bad" things are. Or how deep the conspiracy (which really doesn't exist)against you or your subgroup actually is. (

What gets little play is that the people telling you these things are usually just in it to sell you something. Glen Beck has advertisers. Goldline is hawking a service based on a perpetually pending economic collapse. Politicians telling you Obama isn't a citizen want you to make donations and get your vote, so they can continue to collect donations and profit personally from your ignorance. If you haven't listened to your local AM Radio station because the programming is 99% Republican rubbish, flip it on for an hour or so, less so for the pointless programming than for what the commercials are and what's being sold. So the call to "improve our political discourse" is nice, but there's a lot of money being made in stoking casual schizophrenia, and since that's one of the last remaining sources of income for at least one form of communication (radio), I wouldn't look for it to change any time soon.

The third also involves mental illness. Again, referring back to the four examples of domestic terrorism listed above, at least three of them were most likely carried out by legitimate schizophrenics. This lead in no small part to the sad state of mental illness treatment in this country.

Now, there are hundreds of reasons why Ronald Reagan was far from the saint that Baby Boomers make him out to be (mainly because he's all they have to cling to as a generational leader in recent memory, and as Boomers get older and more conservative they hold him in increasing esteem), but one area in which his administration clearly deserves scorn is it's treatment of the mentally ill. For example, the Mental Health Systems Act of 1980, which was rapidly defunded upon his taking office, would have expanded funding of treatment programs for the mentally ill at a community level, the consequence of and need for are now, based on the recent examples above, being laid bare.

The defunding was carried out in a manner consistent with the Reagan administration's CBO's modus operandi in these matters (and one the Harper government repeats in Canada today); provide continually shrinking "block grants" to states to distribute in the manner they see fit, while simultaneously removing any real substantive oversight on how those shrinking budgets are administered. This is a good primer on the topic.

That wasn't even Reagan's first kick at the can of cutting off funding for mental hospitals, he attempted to do so after the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act of 1967 was signed into law as governor of California, in the early 1970s. This is an example of the state level implementation failures of what his administration replicated at a federal level.

The end result is two generations of decreasing availability of mental health services for those who need them the most. In addition, as states received less funding and the Mental Health Systems Act was effectively gutted, states essentially no longer had the funding to allow for the involuntary admission of patients by other family members where they were still committed to legally. Michigan, for example, eliminated these type of involuntary admissions without court order in late 1981, in accordance with the ruling in O'Connor v. Donaldson (which, in fairness, was unanimous and had terrible consequences for large numbers of mentally ill).

I've ventured into incredibly abstract territory here, and I appreciate your indulgence. Tying everything back to more recent events, when you have:

  • An environment where people who are prone to schizophrenia, either casual or medical,
  • A mental health infrastructure that is ill equipped to assist people because it is defunded and lacks standards,
  • A system by which people with real problems but no criminal record who can no longer be involuntarily committed, particularly paranoid schizophrenics,
  • An environment in which these people are eagerly sold a fraudulent bill of goods that feeds their schizophrenia and
  • An environment in which these types of people can legally or illegally acquire the means by which they can cause harm to large numbers of people,
The end result is the upswing in domestic terrorism that permeates the news cycle. And until we address the root causes of the problem, it's only going to get worse. And unfortunately, it took the near assassination of a Congresswoman to kick start the conversation.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pakistan's Lesbians Live In Silence, Love In Secret : NPR

I know that this blog mostly concerns domestic issues but here is a story I felt was worth sharing. Especially on a day like today in which we are honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's legacy. There is still so much hatred towards those "others" is this world that I can not accept. We should be mindful of our neighbors and let them live the life that they seek. We should embrace the differences and the gifts from those differences that we each individually possess. Be that you are Caucasian, African American, Muslim or gay does not matter. You are you. Be who you are. Accept the differences that make us unique. Honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He states "Hate can not drive out hate. Only love can do that." Live that phrase today and tomorrow...

Pakistan's Lesbians Live In Silence, Love In Secret : NPR

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Meet Reince Priebus, The New RNC Chairman : NPR

Well - any moderates for the Republican party are officially now out. The Tea Party has succeeded in their plan to move the party more conservative and this will ultimately be their downfall. Booting out the more moderate members of your party is a huge disadvantage. They will move further to the right and alienate the majority of Americans that are either liberal or moderate. Their ultra-conservatism is a fringe movement. Most Americans want to see policy towards the middle. This election of Reince Priebus as the RNC chair is absolutely against ANY moderation. The polarization of the American political system just moved a further bit apart. It's surprising with the wish of the American public for more civility in our political process from the events of last weekend that the RNC elects someone against this movement.

Meet Reince Priebus, The New RNC Chairman : NPR