Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Bronx Cheer!

No, this post is not about baseball's American League Eastern Division Champions, but to acknowledge Bronx-born Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), congressman from the Sunshine State's 8th district, as one of the few elected officials on the Democratic side with any balls. Finally, someone stands up to the lunacy, hypocrisy and malicious rhetoric spewed by the GOP and its allies, particularly in their fight against healthcare reform.

The Republican health care plan is this: Don't get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly.

There it is. Doesn't get any clearer than that.

Of course, the thin-skinned GOP demanded Grayson apologize. You know, the party known for their love of civility, decorum, and high-minded debate. They were so flustered, poor dears. Meanwhile, Arizona GOP congressman Trent Franks recently called President Obama "an enemy of humanity." Some of his party brethren have also been publicly fantasizing about a presidential coup. Not to mention "death panels", the "birthers", etc. etc. etc. But Congressman Grayson was out of line. So he apologized.

I would like to apologize, I apologize to the dead and their families that we haven't voted sooner to end this holocaust in America.

Awesome. Here is the video:



Oh, and by the way, here are some choice quotes that illustrate why Rep. Grayson has no reason to apologize at all (kudos to Stepper at HuffPo):
“Last week Democrats released a health care bill which essentially said to America’s seniors: Drop dead.” [Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL), 7/21/09]

– “They’re going to save money by rationing care, getting you in a long line. Places like Canada, United Kingdom, and Europe. People die when they’re in line.” [Rep. Steve King (R-IA), 7/15/09]

– “The Republican plan will make sure we bring down the cost of health care for all Americans and that ensures affordable access for all Americans and is pro-life because it will not put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government.” [Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), 7/28/09]

– “That’s exactly what’s going on in Canada and Great Britain today…and a lot of people are going to die.” [Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), 7/10/09]

– “One in five people have to die because they went to socialized medicine! … I would hate to think that among five women, one of ‘em is gonna die because we go to socialized care.” [Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), 7/15/09]

'Nuff said.

Where Did 'We' Go

NY Times Op-Ed columnist Thomas Friedman draws parallels between the political climate in Israel that led to Prime Minister Yithzak Rabin's assassination in 1995 and the current poisonous atmosphere here in the US. A must read.

The Race Card

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sorry, Mike

Regardless of who has endorsed NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg for a cooked-up, crony-laden, quid-pro-quo third (!) term, I don't care:
not gonna get my vote. And as for celebrities, it would take a whole lot more than U2's Bono, the New York Yankees' catcher Jorge Posada, or Red Sux-loving actor Matt Damon to make me reconsider. Capice?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

3 is a Magic Number

After beating the Boston Red Sux 9-5 in the Bronx on Friday night, the New York Yankees' magic number to clinch the American League East is now 3. And since "three is a magic number..."

Blind Melon does the honors from School House Rock! Rocks

Friday, September 25, 2009

Glenn Beck: Dumbest Man on the Planet?

I would not go as far as saying Fox Noise's Glenn Beck is in favor of slavery, but he is either a stupid opportunist; or a stupid, cynical opportunist who thinks his followers won't think for themselves when he confuses a tax on slavery in the US Constitution with immigration:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Just Because the Internet is 2.0, Doesn’t Mean People Have To Be

by Harold Martinez
[translated from Spanish by KJ]

I find it amazing that of all the people I know there are only a few of those who prefer a healthy phone conversation over social networks, email and text messages via cell phones. Understandably, it’s more practical to send a quick line than to make a call on multiple occasions, but to only interact via text for everything I find inexplicable. I do not understand, do not accept it and I will not be part of the 2.0 conglomerate in which, apparently, we are all enrolled.

From today on, I will not have anymore text messaging on my cell phone. And for months now, I’ve only been answering emails during the early hours of the day. Some time ago I stopped being on MySpace; I’m just writing about things related to my new addiction which is running, but I still have Facebook because some of my close family members have registered and we communicate that way. But I’m considering closing my account. I have really gotten tired of the impersonality of these times and I refuse to remain part of modernity.

Call me naive, idealistic or romantic... But the truth is I got bored of the virtual world in terms of my interactions with humans. It struck me deeply that someone that I know, with whom I’ve shared drinks, or some interest in particular, feels strange to talk on the phone or they simply decide to send 40 text messages instead of having a conversation... I'm sorry, I can’t process this. I tried to do for months, and tried to being a little indulgent, but I’ve had enough. Occasionally it’s good to have some tact.

Good luck to all my 2.0 friends, I’ll be sure to send a postcard from the real world. My cell is still the same; if you want to call me, call me.

[Harold Martinez is a talented all-around visual artist, documentarian, and believe it or not, an electronic gadget junkie. - KJ]

Signs of Ignorance

The Huffington Post has a photo gallery of protest signs from recent non-town hall outside protests. A funny bunch, indeed, but also a sad commentary on the level of education in this country, for sure.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cuban 'Peace Concert' a Big Success

Put together by Colombian pop star Juanes, and featuring a host of Cuban and other Latino music stars, a massive concert called "Peace Without Borders" was staged at Havana's Revolution Square this past Sunday, Sept. 20th, drawing some 1.15 million people according to estimates given by organizers.

Some have complained about the lack of proper coverage the concert received in the American press. But myopic as the coverage may have been, these news outlets are catering to a readership that, for the most part, could care less about this kind of event and very likely couldn't recognize one name on the bill. So they work it from the angle most familiar to their readers, which is to refer to it as
"an event criticized by some Cuban-Americans who said the performers were lending support to the island’s Communist government simply by showing up." It's not like they would know Juanes from Miguel Bosé (unless they were huge Almodóvar fans).
Or the great Cuban artists who also performed at the ground-breaking event. (And where were the ever-present, never-miss-a-gig-like-this Black-Eyed Peas, anyway?) Not saying it's right; they just know their audience. I'm not surprised.

It should be interesting to see if the international non-Cuban artists--especially the Florida-based--are actually penalized for their participation in this concert/event, as many other have been in the past by the powerful, staunchly conservative, anti-Castro, Cuban exile community in South Florida. After all, Miami is the Latino Hollywood, and for mainstream Hispanic artists, pissing off the exile can have dire career consequences. (Juanes, a Miami resident, has been the recipient of boycotts and death threats ever since he announced his intention to put on the concert.)

Let's hope, for their sake, the "handful of anguished people"--as one Cuban music scholar referred to them--protesting Juanes and the concert both on and off camera here in the US, don't include those with the power to hurt their careers.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Healthcare Debate? What Healthcare Debate?

For anyone that has even remotely been paying attention, it is plain as day that there is no healthcare debate. What we have instead is one side coming up with various options and the other is talking--nah, yelling--about "a slippery slope to socialism," "tyranny," "marxism," "I want my country back!" and my favorite: "Get your hands off my Medicare, Uncle Sam!"

The insurance companies want the status quo. Period. That's why the Republicans won't back even a bullshit plan like the one put forth by industry shill Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT). No change. No reform. That's what they want. Period.

Oh, and yeah: the black guy is coming to take your guns!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dems Keeping their Distance from Carter Remarks

Here we go again: the cowardly lions--aka Democrats--have put distance between themselves and former President Jimmy Carter's recent remarks, in which he states his belief that "an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man" and there was "an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president" and how that was the spark igniting much of the anti-Obama fervor.

Yeah, and? What part of that is untrue or false?

That didn't stop senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jim Webb (D-VA), and Kay Hagan (D-NC) from disagreeing with the 39th president. Even the White House chimed in with a similar statement downplaying race as a factor in the attacks against President Obama.

So, wait--did we all misinterpret the "birthers" and their Muslim-born-in-Kenya crusade? Or Rush Limbaugh playing the song "Barack the Magic Negro" on his radio show? What about Glenn Beck affirming that the president has a deep rooted dislike of white people? Was Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY) not being racist when he said "That boy's finger does not need to be on the button"? I'm pretty sure leading teabagger Mark Williams was not being racist when he referred to Obama as "an Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug" and "racist-in-chief", right? How 'bout the NJ poll of conservatives where 35% of them consider Obama to be or is quite likely to be the anti-Christ?

I could go on for days...and I didn't even get to the Town Halls and 9/12 protesters.

OK, I understand it may not be politically expedient for those in office to endorse President Carter's statements. I get it. You don't want to alienate certain potential white voters. Fine, don't echo his statements. (Your still cowards, though. Sorry.) But he spoke the truth, so instead of rebuking his pronouncements why don't you guys JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP? Seriously. If you're not going to stand for the truth at least don't try to undermine it.

Forgive me for being harsh but, in the spirit of the President's assertion that he'll be calling out those who lie or disinform, I thought I'd follow his lead and chose to start with my own peeps.

You guys just plain disgust me sometimes. So spineless...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

MLB '09 Postseason Predictions

My, this season has gone quickly: not only are there little over a dozen and a half games left but my football loving friends have already informed me the NFL season is already underway.
(As a monogamous sports fan, I gotta start making plans for the baseball-free winter.)

So, here are my post-season predictions:

AMERICAN LEAGUE


East: Yankees
With the best record in baseball and their main division rivals—the Boston Red Sox, who are 6.5 behind—concentrating on the Wild Card, the Bombers seem like a sure thing at this point. Barring a very unlikely implosion…

Central: Tigers
Detroit are the almost the mirror image of the San Francisco Giants: imposing pitching but lackluster offense. But they’ve had the advantage of playing in a division, which, quite frankly, has been a shining example of mediocrity: the second place Minnesota Twins are barely playing .500 ball. (.503 to be exact; the rest of the division all have losing records.) But the Twins and Chicago White Sox are 4.5 and 6.0 games behind the Tigers, respectively. Also, we’re in September, which is the spoiler time of the season—Detroit got swept by the Royals last week; all over MLB, baseball teams out of the pennant race are now playing like contenders—so if the Tigers were to slide…

West: Angels
Once again, this baby belongs to the Halos. (And yeah, I still call them the California Angels, regardless of what owner Arte Moreno says.) The very impressive Texas Rangers are 6 games behind them and 5.5 games behind the Red Sox in the Wild Card race, so this week’s Angels/Red Sox series at Fenway is of much interest for the top 2 teams in the West. (Boston won the first game 4-1.)

Wild Card: Red Sox
Boston doesn’t have this one wrapped up, but are favored to win it and with good reason. The Red Sox are looking pretty sharp of late—they are riding a 6 game winning streak—and are hard to beat at home. On the flip side, they are quite mediocre on the road and more than half of their remaining games are away from Fenway Park. (Mostly against the Orioles, Royals, Bllue Jays, and Indians, but once again: spoilers.) Oh, and only a fool would count the Rangers out of the Wild Card race.

AL PLAYOFFS:
On paper, the Yankees would beat the Tigers and the Red Sox would overcome the Angels in the Division Series, culminating in a New York-Boston Championship Series. On paper. But, as we all know, they gotta play those games on the field and that’s where anything can happen. Thus, I’m not making any predictions, except that I doubt the Tigers make it to the World Series.

(I am, as you know, a Yankee fan so that’s where my loyalties lie. But, along with most non-Yankees and non-Red Sox fans, I have no interest in a NY-Boston postseason match up: I’m tired of seeing the Red Sox play in any capacity this season. So…)

You know what? I'm gonna man up and make an actual prediction: if the Angels face the Red Sox in the Division Series and survive, they'll be the American League Champions. (I'm still rooting for the Yankees, tho.)


NATIONAL LEAGUE

East: Phillies
The reigning World Series Champions are a solid bet to repeat in their division and look incredibly good: with a killer offense up and down the lineup, and a potent starting rotation, bolstered by the addition of last year’s AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee at the forefront—even that asshole Pedro Martinez is pretty reliable right now—the only real issue Philadelphia has is their bullpen, starting with this year’s implosion of closer Brad Lidge, whose blown close to a dozen saves. Tough team to beat, nonetheless.

Central: Cardinals
This one is practically sown up for St. Louis. I’d love for the perennially losing Chicago Cubs to make it interesting but it’s not going to happen. (It would get The Onion off their back, though.)

West: Dodgers
Manny Ramirez has been a bust—except for ticket sales and merchandise—along with his 50 game PED-use suspension, but Los Angeles have still managed to put together the best record in the league. The Colorado Rockies are trailing them only by 4 games but they’re concentrating on the Wild Card and no one else in the division has a real chance of dethroning the Dodgers from the NL West.

Wild Card: Rockies
I’m a huge fan of Giants ace Tim Lincecum, and consequently I find myself often rooting for San Francisco, who are 2.5 games behind the Rox in the Wild Card race. They are my sentimental favorite for the NL Wild Card but I’m going to try to be pragmatic and accept the fact that it probably belongs to Colorado. I will make a bold prediction, though: whichever of these 2 teams wins the Wild Card will not make it to the Championship Series. (Well, not that bold.)

NL PLAYOFFS:

I see the Dodgers disposing of the Rockies; Phillies winning the Division Series against the Cardinals. The Championship Series? Phillies over Dodgers in 6.


WORLD SERIES PREDICTIONS

(possible scenarios and outcomes):

Yankees vs Phillies: Phillies in 7.
Yankees vs Dodgers: Yankees in 6.
Yankees vs Cardinals: Yankees in 6.

Angels vs Phillies: Phillies in 7.
Angels vs Dodgers: Angels in 5.
Angels vs Cardinals: Angels in 6.

Red Sox vs Phillies: Phillies in 7.
Red Sox vs Dodgers: Red Sox in 5.
Red Sox vs Cardinals: Red Sox in 5.

(So, I guess my main prediction is, if the Phillies win the pennant they win the WS, huh?)


MLB’s Wet Dream:
If Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig could somehow rig the postseason, the Yankees would face the Dodgers in the World Series. Two big city teams with plenty of WS history between ‘em, plus the press would eat up the whole Joe Girardi facing his mentor, Joe Torre, who’d be up against the team he led to victory 4 times...Imagine the revenue!

Probably not going to happen and I could care less. It doesn’t really matter who they face in the probably-in-November classic; I just want my team to make it that far. Should be fun across the board, however it turns out.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

State of Disgrace

In addition to closing all libraries in early Oct., they are changing the current once a week trash collection to once every two weeks. Also, starting in early Oct. Philly will become a non-reading medieval village with trash piles up the wazoo.

- My dear friend The Divine Miss M, on how the lack of a state budget in Pennsylvania will affect her hometown of Philadelphia.

Sean Hannity, Spin Doctor Supreme


Dowd Agrees with Me

"Some people just can’t believe a black man is president and will never accept it."
- Maureen Dowd in her NY Times Op-Ed column this past weekend.

Monday, September 14, 2009

What Would Margaret Chase Smith Think These Days?

In 1950, the first person to speak out against Sen. Joe McCarthy (D-WI) and his witch hunts of the era was congresswoman Margaret Chase Smith (R-ME). On June 1st of that year, she delivered a stirring speech that included the following:

"...I don't want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny -- Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry and Smear... I doubt if the Republican Party could -- simply because I don't believe the American people will uphold any political party that puts political exploitation above national interest."

As it turns out, she was wrong then, and she would be wrong now,
in so far as Republicans pandering to the lower stratas of discourse.
But she was a courageous lady at a time when--especially for someone of her gender--it was politically convenient to look the other way. I wonder what she'd say about the loony hooligans who have hijacked her party...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Scumbag of the Year

Hands down, no contest, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC):

Clearly he must've confused the likes of a presidential address to the Congress--and the nation--with one of the astroturf events his party has been putting together of late. True colors, indeed. Disgraceful.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

'Sink or Swim'

In his "Flunk the Right" post over at The Daily Beast, former George W. Bush and John McCain advisor Mark McKinnon decries how our political discourse has sunken to such a level of partisanship that
"an American president can’t give a simple inspirational speech to students about staying in school and working hard without having his motives, character, and politics questioned", and goes on to summarize President Obama's recent speech to the nation's schoolchildren:

Show up with a good attitude. Listen to your teachers and elders. Work hard. Figure out what you’re good at. Don’t drop out. You can do anything you set your mind to. God bless America.” What part of that is at all objectionable?

Yet, we are quite aware of how vociferously numerous GOP politicians, right-wing pundits and misinformed regular folk indeed objected to it. But these people are not concerned with nuts and bolts. They see it as part of a bigger picture; a twisted battle for the heart and soul of the country which they must win at any cost.
This fight is emblematic of the core philosophy that guides their general outlook; one that lacks, for the most part, any kind of middle ground. (Or compassion: ever wonder why the phrase "compassionate conservatism" became a marketing brand for these folks? Or why the mere mention of the word "empathy" stirs up such profound derision?)

You see, the Republicans, especially at the far right of the party,
can be distilled ideologically down to three words when it comes to domestic policies dealing with healthcare, education, labor, the environment, etc: sink or swim. And before you call me simplistic, stop and think about it for a minute and ask yourself if the following does not sound familiar:

Can't afford health insurance? Get (yet) another job to pay for it. That operation you need costs more than what your insurer covers? Sell your house. Tuition too expensive? Welcome to McDonald's.
Your employer exploiting you and your co-workers? Switch jobs. Unions? They're a racket. Corporations polluting your water, air?
Hey, it's the cost of doing business. Disagree with the opposition party's President? Forget loyal opposition; label him an un-American, non-citizen who wants to take away your rights and freedoms
and use any hypocrisy and lies at your disposal to "prove" your point.

And so on and so forth.

While I'm pretty sure that Obama's ascent to the presidency was deep down not thought to be a possibility for many of them, and were subsequently caught by surprise when it came to pass, I don't believe the GOP is racist per se--although citizens of New Orleans have every right to argue this point--but having a liberal black president helps their agenda immensely. Most assuredly with those who disdain government, let alone one headed by a man of color.

This is indeed a daunting, yet winnable clash for those who would contest such an appalling mindset. Yet, the Democrats, and this administration in particular, do not seem up to the task at this point in time. I hope actions in the immediate future render me completely off the mark. God help us if I'm right.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Double Standard (example # 7932)

So, presidential adviser Van Jones had to resign because in the past he made inflammatory statements "suggesting a government role in the 2001 terror attacks and...derogatory comments about Republicans" but those who daily claim Obama is a marxist/socialist; who wasn't born in the US; who wants to establish internment camps and indoctrinate school children; who plans to spy on US citizens via the census and implement healthcare reform so the elderly and infirm can be euthanized, etc etc etc etc etc get a free motherfucking pass?!!

GROW A PAIR, DEMOCRATS!!! ARE YOU JUST GOING TO COMPLETELY ROLL OVER AND DIE ON THESE RACIST, UNPATRIOTIC, HATE AND FEAR MONGERING ASSHOLES?!!

I am so sick of this shit.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

This is My Team

Despite my earliest baseball memory being the 1973 World Series—the New York Mets vs the Oakland A’s; which the latter won in seven games—I’ve been a Yankee fan practically all my life. Because my father, who nurtured my love for the game, followed both New York teams I shared my love for the Yankees with the Mets. This ended rather abruptly when slugger Darryl Strawberry left the confines of Shea Stadium for his hometown of Los Angeles to play for the Dodgers and I concentrated solely on the Bombers, whose Bronx residence was some 20 odd blocks from the apartment where I’d spent the bulk of the first 10 years of my life. (I was actually born in Manhattan’s Washington Heights, a predominantly Dominican neighborhood.)

I vividly remember, as a little kid, every trip to and fro on the 4 train as just another excuse to gawk at the mythical home of Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, Yogi and DiMaggio. Then, in late June of 1976, we left the country. (My parents did not want to raise their two boys in the drug and crime infested mess that was NYC at the time.) Thankfully, I would frequently spend summers back in New York, and occasionally make the trek to Yankee Stadium. The 1977 and 1978 championship teams were the first collection of Yankees to have my unwavering allegiance: Chris Chambliss, Willie Randolph, Bucky Dent, Graig Nettles, and of course Reggie Jackson, were my favorites, but Mickey Rivers, Ron Guidry, Lou Piniella, Bobby Murcer, and Thurman Munson were also on board. To this day, it’s the mention of the ’77-’78 alumni at the team’s annual Old Timer’s Day celebrations that elicits the most wistful but effusive of nostalgic responses from me.

The Yankee teams of the ‘80s may not have been a feeble bunch—they actually won the most regular season games of any MLB team during that stretch—but they didn’t hold much of my interest. And during the ‘90s, for the most part, I was too busy with my marriage and subsequent divorce, while immersed in a fledgling music career that never really took off, to pay much attention to my beloved Yankees or baseball in general. Yeah, I was acutely aware of the Sosa-McGuire home run race—what fan of baseball wasn’t?—and the acquisition of defector and legendary Cuban pitcher Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez by the Yankees, not to mention their ‘96, ‘98, ‘99, ‘00 World Series victories. But it was an admiration from afar and not any real devotion.

For no particularly defining reason I went to my first Yankee game in decades during the 2005 season. I started going on a more regular basis with each subsequent season, randomly coinciding with a few games started by pitcher Chien-Ming Wang (one of which, against then A's ace Barry Zito, is the best pitching duel I've ever seen in person); witnessing beloved centerfielder Bernie Williams' final season; and the last hurrah of Yankee Stadium itself. (For the record, I really like "The House that George Built" despite its flaws, even while decrying the use of tax payer money for its $1.6 billion construction tab.) Through it all, I cheered the team on and enjoyed the outcome of each season—although the third place finish of the '08 Yankees was such a let down—but this year, for the first time since the '77, '78 clubs, I feel I can call the current roster of Bombers my own.

Of course it's sweet that as I write this they hold a 7.5 game lead over bitter rival the Boston Red Sux. But that's not it at all. It's the looseness of the team after years of a corporate-like atmosphere; the liveliness brought about by the ebullient likes of recent arrivals A.J. Burnett and Nick Swisher, among others, in an effort to make this team their own.

Watching this group and the contagious nature of its current vibe has been nothing short of a joyous experience for me. To see Melky Cabrera, Robinson Canó and Nick Swisher dance in the dugout after a recent Johnny Damon-Mark Texeira one-two HR punch was a pure delight. However, this kind of fun and games—especially the Burnett-initiated pie-in-the-face for the protagonists of walk-off wins—can only come about on a winning club. And these guys, with solid pitching and a powerful offense up and down the lineup, have done their fair share, as they find themselves on track to win 100 games or more. Tellingly, this has evoked recent comparisons by both the great Mariano Rivera and manager Joe Girardi to the championship dynasty of the late '90s, especially the '98 team, on which they both played and is considered one of the best Yankee teams of all time.

So, for the first time in 30 years I feel I can identify with a current pinstripe roster in a big way. Regardless of what happens from here on in, this is my team. And I couldn't be happier. Well, unless they reach the ultimate goal in October, of course.

One last thing: I sincerely hope against it but there is a possibility that the Yankees won't re-sign designated hitter Hideki Matsui after this, the final season on his contract, and he may return to Japan immediately after. But if that happens to be the case, I say, Arigato, Matsui-san. How 'bout sending him back home with a World Series ring? Now, that would be sweet.

Bachmann Moron Overdrive

If you have chosen not to dwell on the newest batch of batshit nonsense being spewed by the GOP this week, I envy you; smart move on your part. The latest wave of manure is best exemplified by Minnesota congresswoman Michelle Bachmann's exhortation to her followers to "make a covenant, slit our wrists, be blood brothers in fighting against any Democratic efforts to reform health care." (Sounds like something out of an Anne Rice book.)

I must say though, I sincerely hope those Bachmann supporters truly take her up on the wrist-slashing option. Less scumbags to deal with, and all that.

Friday, September 4, 2009

"I Want My Country Back (from the black guy)"

Isn't that what the "birthers", "deathers", "tea baggers" and other assorted conspiracy-driven, right-wing loons really mean to say? So, shouldn't they just come clean and, um, 'call a spade, a spade'?

The economy is already showing verifiable signs of improvement and if the Obama administration manages to clean up George W. Bush's economic mess, he is practically guaranteed a second term. Can you imagine what new conspiracies these wingnut scumbags would cook up then?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Happy Birthday, bro

My brother hits the big 4-0 today. In honor of our dear mother's better looking, more talented son's birthday, I'm posting the work of two other musical brothers, Chris and Rich Robinson of The Black Crowes, performing one of my favorite songs of theirs, "Wiser Time" on The Late Show with David Letterman. I love you, man.

You Won't See this on Fox Noise (even if it's coming from the WSJ): The Stimulus IS Working

Wall Street Journal:
WASHINGTON -- Government efforts to funnel hundreds of billions of dollars into the U.S. economy appear to be helping the U.S. climb out of the worst recession in decades...

The U.S. economy is beginning to show signs of improvement, with many economists asserting the worst is past and data pointing to stronger-than-expected growth. On Tuesday, data showed manufacturing grew in August for the first time in more than a year. "There's a method to the madness. We're getting out of this," said Brian Bethune, chief U.S. financial economist at IHS Global Insight.

Much of the stimulus spending is just beginning to trickle through the economy, with spending expected to peak sometime later this year or in early 2010. The government has funneled about $60 billion of the $288 billion in promised tax cuts to U.S. households, while about $84 billion of the $499 billion in spending has been paid. About $200 billion has been promised to certain projects, such as infrastructure and energy projects.

Economists say the money out the door -- combined with the expectation of additional funds flowing soon -- is fueling growth above where it would have been without any government action.

Dollars to donuts the likes of Sean Hannity won't utter a word about this. Btw, Fox Noise and the WSJ are both owned by Rubert Murdoch's News Corp.

Healthcare Reform: Let's Do it For Ourselves

In light of the recent revelation that the uninsured in red states outnumber their counterparts in blue states, and those folks in the former are the main opponents of healthcare reform, I’m reminded of an idea a dear friend—who lives in Lawrence, Kansas, which he calls "a blue pimple on the face of a red state"—had a while back, concerning liberals pushing for healthcare reform on a city and state level, as opposition to do so on a nationwide level increases:

"If they don't want it, well then at least let's do it for ourselves."

Right on.

While the Democrats get their house in order and learn how to sell the message nationwide, we need to look out for ourselves. We’ve tried looking out for the people in the red states whose children are the majority fighting and dying in Iraq, and suffering thru the economic policies of the Bush administration and look what happened in 2004. On Nov. 2nd of that year they said, "No thanks. We're better off without you." Which is quite a thing to say when blue states are subsidizing your economy.

Right now, though, we need to get our social and political agenda going in our own backyard, regardless of the outcome of the Obama administration's push for universal reform. This needs smart, ballsy, high-profile people to get it in gear, and some hard work, but think of the possibilities. If it's true that Hawaii has universal health care, why can't we?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Double Standard (example # 6548)

Think Progress:
At a recent town hall meeting, a 27-year old uninsured waitress named Elizabeth Smith asked Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) why as a working mother she can’t “get an affordable option” for health care. According to the AP, Smith’s 2-1/2-year-old son “hasn’t been to a doctor in 21 months, except for emergency room visits for ear infections, because she can’t afford either insurance or a doctor’s visit.” When Smith asked her question, Jenkins criticized creating “a government-run program” and said that she advocated tax credits so people like Smith could “go be a grown-up and go buy the insurance”

Un-fucking-believavble.
But we'll leave the commentary to Xmastime:

If a Democratic congressman had smarmily told a 27 year-old waitress to "go be a grown-up," "Joe-anne the Waitress" would already be on coffee mugs throughout the land and will have been breathlessly interviewed on every talk show on Fox News by now; Sean Hannity et al OUTRAGED WITH INDIGNATION!! at how out of touch some elitist, condescending intellectual could possibly be about all those hard-working moms in "real America."

Exactly.

But here's what no one is asking the politicians and protesters who oppose reasonable health care reform:

Why do you want the insurance companies to continue deciding whether your pre-existing condition precludes you from receiving appropriate care?

Are you comfortable having the insurance companies making a health-related, and perhaps life-threatening judgement, based on how it affects their profit margin?

What's your advice to those more than 40 million Americans who cannot afford health insurance? Cross your fingers and hope for the best?

I guess Congresswoman Jenkins already answered that last one.

By the way, this is the same woman who a few weeks ago suggested the GOP needed a "great white hope" to defeat Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential elections, only to later state she was not aware of the racial connotations of the phrase. Ignorant or a lying racist? Either way...