Thursday, December 23, 2010

Patterson's 62K Fine is Bullshit

This week New York governor David Patterson was fined $62,125 by the New York State Commission on Public Integrity--flimsy name, ain't it?--for accepting 5 free tickets to Yankee Stadium during the 2009 World Series. Basically, he shouldn't have accepted the gratuity from the team, since they lobby the city and state and he wasn't at the Stadium in any official capacity. He may have also perjured himself when asked under oath about it.

Meanwhile, former NYC mayor Rudy "9/11" Giuliani has yet to see any fallout from his perennial sniffing of Yankee butt. (Which includes him getting a World Series ring from the team.) This is what has led the Paterson camp and some outside observers to consider the current issue selective enforcement and possibly a political witch hunt.

As for the fine itself, I was initially for it--although the amount seems quite stiff--but, as a commenter on the Yankee blog River Ave Blues, pointed out, if "some bullshit beauty queen hand wave" nonsense buys him a get-out-of-jail-free card, then Patterson is essentially being penalized for being too arrogant and/or stupid to legally break the rules. In other words, if he'd thrown out the ceremonial first pitch or performed some gubernatorial-related photo-op he would've easily dodged the ethics violations charge and the need to perjure himself. Ah, loopholes...

But wait--what good are ethical guidelines/rules if they can be legally circumvented with ease? Until they put some teeth into the penalties for ethical transgressions of this kind I smell bullshit either way.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Health Care Should Never Be About Monetary Cost

Although it only took almost a decade and was, in the end, scaled down, the Sept.11th First Responders finally got Congress to pass the bill which would provide health care for them. Let me briefly put aside the deplorable wait and undue nonsense these folks had to go thru, to salute them on this victory and wish them the best from here on in.

Now, I have to bring up the obvious.

So, if we're to take Republicans at their word the issue here was cost. But this is where I have a fundamental divide with conservative rationale: when it comes to saving and preserving life cost should never be a determining factor. Period. Now, if we're talking about an issue of convenience and not health, that's another matter. Sure, bring up cost if building that bridge or paving that road would be too expensive for what whatever benefits we'd get in return. But with issues regarding health, to bring up cost as a reason to not implement measures is, quite frankly, obscene and even immoral, IMHO.

And don't get me started on the hypocrisy of bringing up cost when you support the proven non-job creating, deficit-enlarging tax cuts for the rich.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Christmas Cry Baby Blues

Politico:

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) called Democrats' push to force through an arms control treaty and an omnibus spending bill right before Christmas "sacrilegious," and warned he'd draw the process out to wage his objections.

“We shouldn’t be jamming a major arms control treaty up against Christmas; it’s sacrilegious and disrespectful," he told POLITICO. "What's going on here is just wrong. This is the most sacred holiday for Christians. They did the same thing last year - they kept everybody here until [Christmas Eve] to force something down everybody's throat. I think Americans are sick of this.

You know what Americans are actually tired of, Mr. DeMint? Overpaid clowns like yourself bitching and moaning that they MIGHT have to work leading up to Christmas Eve. Plenty of folks, including police, firefighters, nurses, EMTs, transit workers and many others who are lucky enough to have a job--not to mention thousands of the men and women of the Armed Forces--will be on the clock thru Christmas.

Do we need any more proof--along with their staunch defense of tax cuts for the rich--of how much contempt these people have for the average American? Ugh. At best, they are severely out of touch. But I'm not vouching for the latter. Assholes.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Forrest Gump of Baseball


On Monday, 79 year old Tampa Bay Rays coach Don Zimmer had a pacemaker installed. Get well soon, Zim. For those of you who don't know he is, well...


He was Jackie Robinson’s teammate; on the only Brooklyn Dodgers team to win a World Series; an original Met; a Red Sox coach during the incredible 1975 World Series; Red Sox manager in 1978 when the Yankees' Bucky Dent hit his legendary HR; managed the Cubs to a division title and named Manager of the Year in 1989; on the staff of the first Colorado Rockies team in 1993; and was the Yankees’ bench coach during the championship run of the late ‘90s…Damn!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cliff Lee signs with Phillies

The most desired free agent of the 2010 off season has signed with the team he went to the World Series in 2009. This development makes the Phillies' trading of Lee to the Seattle Mariners in December of '09 even more of a headscratcher. They decided to trade him because they thought they wouldn't have the money to re-sign him, and then do so the following year. Huh?

But the bottom line is, with the addition of Cliff Lee the Phillies now have the best starting rotation in baseball, the likes of which we’ve not seen since the Braves juggernaut of the ‘90s. If it’s any consolation to the teams in the NL East, the Braves only got one championship out of that formidable Maddux-Smoltz-Glavine beast, albeit with plenty of division titles and a few pennants to show for it. But boy, they must be bummed in Flushing...

In missing out on Lee, the silver lining for the Rangers and the Yankees—the other two teams chasing after him—is they won’t have to face him except when it matters, if that happens to be the case.

As for the money thing…

Much has been made about Lee rejecting the $148 million and $138 million contracts offered by the Yankees and Rangers, respectively, and accepting the $120 million offer made by the Phillies. Yes, Lee did leave money on the table in the long run, but he took the contract that pays more per year. So this whole "he turned down the big bucks" thing is disingenuous.

Personally, I see respecting a free agent for taking less money the same as deciding not to respect him for taking more money. In other words, I don’t agree with either stance.

Want to accept less money to play with X? Good for you.
Want to accept more money to play with Y? Good for you.

Respecting players that accept less or criticizing those who go after more money is a romantic notion I do not share. (It’s quite selective, too: we didn’t hear anyone say they respected A-Rod when he was willing accept less money to play in Boston, right?) It’s also perpetuated by folks who would leave their jobs in a heartbeat if they got offered a $100/wk increase in salary elsewhere, so I’m not inclined to take ‘em seriously.

Because a baseball career has quite a finite duration—Bo Jackson, anyone?—players have a limited window of time to make the kind of money no one in their right mind would turn down for doing what they love. I say go for it. If not, that’s cool too. To each to his own. But this vilification/deification nonsense has got to stop.

Monday, December 6, 2010

And While We're On The Topic of Government Spending

In reference to folks in "red states" complaining about government spending, a wise man once said (in admittedly coarse language)...

All those Federal taxes you love to hate? It all comes from us and goes to you, so shut up and enjoy your fucking Tennessee Valley Authority electricity and your fancy highways that we paid for. And the next time Florida gets hit by a hurricane you can come crying to us if you want to, but you're the ones who built on a fucking swamp. "Let the Spanish keep it, it’s a shithole," we said, but you had to have your fucking orange juice.

The next dickwad who says, "It’s your money, not the government's money" is gonna get their ass kicked. Nine of the ten states that get the most federal fucking dollars and pay the least... can you guess? Go on, guess. That’s right, motherfucker, they're red states. And eight of the ten states that receive the least and pay the most? It’s too easy, asshole, they’re blue states. It’s not your money, assholes, it’s fucking our money. What was that Real American Value you were spouting a minute ago? Self reliance? Try this for self reliance: buy your own fucking stop signs, assholes.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Boss Just Might Be Rolling In His Grave (but not for the reason you think)

The Yankees-Derek Jeter soap opera came to an end over the weekend. Congratulations to the Yankee captain for emerging victorious over his team's front office aka "the chumps".

Am I being a bit harsh? Well, I love my team and have no real beef with the Steinbrenner scions--actually, I like the delightful blowhard older brother Hank--but I can't get behind a bunch of guys who decide to fold when their hand is a royal flush. This may be the first time I've ever taken the side of a team over that of a player and boy was I disappointed. It seems as if baseball team owners can never do the right thing even when it all lines up in their favor.

Derek Jeter's contract with the team ended the day after the end of this year's World Series. The Yankees initially offered Jeter the more than fair 3 yr/$15m per. Considering he's not worth more than $8m tops in the current market, the other $7m could be construed as compensation for being a Yankee icon and services rendered. (He was already paid handsomely for the latter but let's move on.)

So, what do the Yankees do? With about 70% of Yankee fans agreeing with their offer (which surprised the hell out of me; I thought the knuckleheads/give-Jeter-a-blank-check crowd would come out in massive numbers and mount a full court defense of the Yankee shortstop), the front office knowing full well there was a very slim Jeter would leave the Bronx, and that NO OTHER TEAMS would meet his financial demands, they played hardball. For a minute.

What they eventually did was bid against themselves and up the offer to $17m per and add a 4th year player option! Ugh. By overpaying Jeter even more and still not appeasing those who worship at his altar, the front office failed. Twice. Good grief!

This past week, Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, arguably Derek Jeter's no.1 fan/colleague (he wears no.2 on his uniform in honor of the Yankee icon) got a brand new 6 yr/$20m per contract extension. That the 36 year old Jeter is gonna get paid $3m/yr less than an All-Star SS 10 yrs his junior says everything one needs to know about the Yankees' negotiation skills.

There are those who have said--among them Mets and Yankee great Darryl Strawberry--that The Boss must've been rolling in his grave over the handling of Jeter's contract. (Btw, those folks who feel Jeter was disrespected during the current contract negotiations should give Bernie Williams a call.) How in the world is overpaying someone disrespectful? The Jeter hero worship...sometimes I dunno.

But here's the kicker: The Boss would've never lost a negotiation where he had all the leverage. (Nor would the average person, for that matter.) Now, THAT might be making him spin right about now.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Democrats Have Failed Us

Let's cut to the chase: We can go on and on about GOP obstruction and an ideology entrenched in a fierce desire to consolidate power while defending the interests of the rich, or the failure of the current administration to hold its own in the face of this, but here's the bottom line: even with a congressional majority, the Democrats have failed us. Big time. And in more ways than one. But today, in a meeting with key congressional Republicans, the President of the United States may have sealed his fate with many who have supported him, by clearly demonstrating he doesn't have the testicular fortitude to confront those who openly defy him at every turn and have been clearly at war with his administration from Day One.

After having his bipartisan olive branch repeatedly swatted out of his hand by Republicans, whose number one priority is the failure of his administration, President Obama--in what can only be described as the political version of battered wife syndrome--acknowledged not reaching out enough to the GOP. Yes, he actually said that. Let it sink in for a second but try not to have your head explode while you're at it.

I think its time for the Democratic Party to act aggressively, independent of the White House and to make some bold statements. For starters, I suggest busing in to Washington, DC thousands of angry, unemployed folks for 3 days of protest before Congress. Let the GOP and their Democratic Blue Dog allies see who it is they are screwing over, live and in the flesh. I'm sure they can reach into their coffers or even get a couple of their wealthiest donors to foot the bill. Think of the press mileage they could get out of this; the surge in Democratic fervor among the base. And more importantly the message they'd be sending. (The voice of the American people, indeed!)

I'm not a political pundit, merely an observer. But it seems to me that unless a phenomenal, Clinton-like economic recovery transpires in the next 2 years, Barack Obama will be a one-term preisdent. Which is why--much to my chagrin--I suggest the party start looking towards running another candidate to face Obama in the primaries or prepare to be left out in the political wilderness for a decade or so. Seriously.

Here's Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Washington) on MSNBC's The Ed Show explaining the Republican "sink or swim" mentality while addressing the expiration of unemployment benefits and the President's baffling conduct vis-a-vis GOP lawmakers.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Friday, November 19, 2010

What Will the Next 2 Years Look Like?

In 1998, a lame duck GOP Congress--despite the wishes of the American people, as evidenced in the polls--went ahead to impeach President Clinton. Meanwhile, this administration can't find the resolve to say, "You know what? We're in favor of continuing the Bush tax cuts for the middle class. If you want to derail that if the rich aren't included, then YOU go out and explain THAT to the American people."

Not a peep. Oh, and yeah: the Dems STILL HAVE THE MAJORITY IN CONGRESS. You wouldn't know it, right?

In politics, perception is 90% reality, says the old cliché. And if it weren't true the Dems would win every single major election, for they have the populist agenda not the country club agenda on their side. Sticking up for the sick, the unemployed, the exploited, etc is being on the side of the angels. But when Republican craftiness and Democratic ineptitude collide, well...

This administration has made a few major tactical errors, and caving on their principles ranks quite high among them. Continually watering down the agenda to appease the GOP in the name of bi-partisanship only to have them reject the administration's proposals every single time, regardless, what kind of idiocy is that? "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." What about when you are fooled again and again and again?

No reasonable observer was expecting Barack Obama to be the savior of American politics. But the milquetoast approach to policy and bipartisanship from this veteran of the notoriously hardball Chicago politicial arena has been quite the revelation: the equivalent of a fratboy hitting on a lesbian and expecting her to hook up with him. Granted, the party of "no" has not been one of loyal opposition but one of utter obstruction. Yet, time and time again, the Dems fail to take a stand and end up letting the GOP run roughshod over them.

And then there are those within the Democratic party who feel this past election was a mandate from the American people for the party to become more centrist. As a moderate Democrat who leans left, let me just call bullshit on that one. There is no mandate. Period. More importantly, where does this readiness to compromise on principle come from? Unless, of course, we're talking about hacks staring at the political weather vane, I just don't get this seemingly wholesale Democratic spinelessness.

Plus, do you really want to give credence to folks who believe there's only one major party in American politics, to begin with? Not that I would dismiss the qualms and disappointment these folks have with the current system, but instead of sticking to its identity there are those who want the party to be more like the GOP? Why not the other way around? This is my problem with the Blue Dogs, who seem to feel more in tune with their opponent than their own party. Why else would one of them recently suggest the Dems be more like the Republicans?

In principle, I have nothing against being a moderate Democrat--diversity is healthy, and, as I stated before, I happen to be one myself--but when you vote in large part against the agenda and ideals of the party, maybe it's time to re-think one's allegiance, no? However, there is something about the Republicans the Dems should, hopefully, learn to emulate: sticking to your guns, fighting for your convictions, and growing the necessary spine and "stones" to do so.

Speaking of which, I have recently been accused of focusing on the shortcomings of the Democrats and in the process giving the Republicans a free pass. Nothing could be further from the truth. Of course I'm focused on the Dems: they have my allegiance! However, I'm not giving the GOP a free pass by aggressively criticizing the Democrats for not standing up to them. But guess what? They have FAILED miserably at it. The party of obstruction has been given every chance to help govern and instead rebuffed this administration repeatedly. Worse, the Dems have fallen for this nonsense EVERY SINGLE TIME. What's that definition of insanity again? Some might feel civility is the way to deal with folks that only respect fear and intimidation. Good luck with that. It's sure done wonders for Obama, huh?

The bottom line: politics is dirty and often ruthless. A sad fact but one that should never be ignored. The Dems are clinging to the idea that noble intentions are enough to govern and implement an agenda when you have a rabid, play-for-keeps opponent. Meanwhile, the vast majority of Americans ignore the accomplishments of the current administration. “We have done things that people don’t even know about,” the President recently told Jon Stewart. Whose fault is that? The GOP has successfully twisted the perception of the American people while the Dems did nothing to promote their achievements, believing that doing the right thing was enough. Guess what happened Nov. 2nd?

There are those who believe early signs of Republican internal dissent will avalanche into back-breaking discord come election time and have begun to align themselves with that glimmer of hope. Regardless, no matter how much infighting the GOP vs Tea Party divide might bring upon itself, without a resolute Democratic front it will all amount to nothing. And that doesn't seem to be on the horizon at this particular point in time. Not when Republican congressional leaders have the gall to ditch meeting with the President so they can have press conferences from which to attack his administration. And the White House's response? [cue crickets and tumbleweeds]

What the Democrats STILL don't seem to get is that the Republicans' sole intention is not to govern but to break this administration's back. That's it. And tax cuts for the rich, of course. (Btw, pardon my ignorance, but is it IMPOSSIBLE to shift this tax cut paradigm? What I mean is, I am most certainly in favor of tax cuts for the rich, AS A REWARD FOR INVESTING AND CREATING JOBS, but not as a no-strings-attached incentive, as the GOP is always pushing for. Is this not possible? And if it is WTF is this not on the table? Yes, I know that the GOP's demands for tax cuts for the rich are probably just a ruse and their true intent is to further line the wealthy's pockets under an economy-stimulating pretext. Thought I'd give 'em the benefit of the doubt, tho.)

The reality of modern American politics is an ugly one, and requires a steel-lined stomach and the courage not only of one's convictions but the ability to pounce and take no prisoners. I don't condone lying but short of that, in politics, you've got to hit your opponent with everything including the kitchen sink. We need more Alan Graysons and less milquetoast idealists in the Democratic party. Otherwise, in this aggressive and brutal political climate the GOP will beat you up, take your lunch money and make you pay them interest on it.

Looks like it's gonna be a long 2 years. You betcha.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Once Again, Let's Do It For Ourselves (part 2)

This is why:

When Wisconsin's Republican candidate for senator Ron Johnson--running against Democratic incumbent and liberal favorite Russ Feingold--was asked what should be done about the more than 100,000 homeless veterans in the US his answer was "I don’t believe this election is about details. It just isn’t."

He won.

Ron Johnson is against unemployment benefits.

He won.

Ron Johnson wants to maintain the Bush Tax Cuts for the rich.

He won.

Ron Johnson's favorite attack on Feingold was that the Democratic senator voted for the stimulus and healthcare reform.

Ron Johnson won.

Let's put aside the fact that someone like Feingold did the right thing but got no support from the White House--which did such a horrible job of communicating their message that only about 2% of the populace actually knows that their taxes have gone down since Obama has been in office--and take a sobering look at how a man running on a platform of not taking into account details beat out a principled incumbent. I mean, we've all heard of "not sweating the small stuff" but this is not just ridiculous it's offensive, as well. But of greater concern is that Johnson and his ilk will have a vote to help indirectly defeat measures in states where people not only did not vote for him but repudiate his entire platform.

More and more people like Johnson are coming out of the woodwork to undermine things like universal healthcare, unemployment benefits, environmental regulations, proper energy policy, corporate responsibility, on a national level. Let's get our own house in order before they make it even more difficult to do so. Remember, conservatives only back "states' rights" when it's convenient for ther anti-American agenda. Yes, I said anti-American. What else should I call people that consistently go against the interests of the average American?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Once Again, Let's Do It For Ourselves

In light of the results of yesterday's elections I will repeat it yet again:

It's time to forget about implementing change and reform nationwide and look out for ourselves. We must get our social and political agenda going in our own backyard, make our individual states function in the manner in which we'd like and not miss out on the policies we'd like to see enacted regardless of what happens in Washington. Why should we at home be at the mercy of obstructionists, meaningless compromises, and radical opponents on the national level? Let's strive for molding our states in our own image. This requires hard work and leadership, not to mention smart, ballsy, high-profile people to get it in gear, but it's a goal we must shoot for. Before it's too late.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The GOP's Political Frankenstein

Tea Party candidates are winning GOP primaries and the Republican establishment is running scared. Well, they created this monster, so now they have to live with it. That and the fact that while Sister Sarah and her "grizzlies" appeal to a significant part of the GOP base, their "charm" doesn't take hold that well outside of their own loony circles. How did they get here? Well, this is something they've been cooking up for some time now.

The Republicans tried with the Tea Party the same approach they started using with the Christian Right some 30 years ago: lure them in for votes and once their support carries the GOP into office, turn their backs on them. After all, they're not gonna vote for the Democrats, right?

Except the Tea Partiers were pro-active and office-seeking in a way the Christian Right wasn't. So now you have the GOP worried that the far right agenda of Tea Party candidates will alienate moderate Republicans AND independents in November. Hell, Karl Rove said as much to Sean Hannity on Fox Tuesday night. This could get pretty interesting. And while it may be to early for those of us with liberal political leanings to partake in some schadenfruede, this Republican mess is enough to make one smile.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nine Years Ago...

If you don’t mind I’d like to share with you my brief recollections from that day.

Since I didn’t have to be at work go until noon or so, I was asleep in my South Brooklyn apartment when it all happened. I don’t have a phone in my bedroom because I get calls at all hours of the day and don’t want to deal with that nonsense. Plus, my friends know they won’t wake me no matter what time they call so they feel free to call anytime. However, it was one of those friends who woke me that fateful Tuesday morning.

I couldn’t immediately make out who it was but someone was yelling into my answer machine and I got up to find out what all the fuss was about. When I picked up, my buddy Jorge, who was calling from Florida, didn’t even greet me. “Put on the TV!” Figuring this was something major I didn’t hesitate and immediately put on CNN only to be confronted by the sight of the World Trade Center up in smoke.

For the next 4 or 5 hours I was on the couch in front of the TV and getting calls from all over the world. My mom in the Dominican Republic, who like the vast majority of Dominicans was equally shocked and saddened, told me how my brother was on the roof placing both a Dominican and American flag side by side. Friends kept calling to check in on me and to commiserate. At one point I went back to my bedroom for the first time since Jorge had awakened me and absentmindedly wondered what that burning smell was. Oh.

I walked out to the corner bodega to get a bite to eat and noticed how the cars on my block were covered in a light coat of sand-colored ash. When I got to the corner and looked north on 4th Ave I saw what seemed like an army of commuters, trudging along on foot, exhausted and bewildered, but on their way home. Meanwhile, my Yemenite grocers looked dismayed and slightly unsettled; who knew what reaction would come their way? Thankfully, all was calm in the ‘hood as we started to piece together just how horrible this tragedy turned out to be.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Where Are We?

There has been much talk lately about liberal apathy and unreasonable expectations of the President feeding GOP scorched earth/divide and conquer tactics. While this may be true, and unfortunate--as well as something that needs to be reversed immediately--those of us who continue to support President Obama have every reason to be dismayed over his tenure in the Oval Office.

Sometimes you can control end results; often, you cannot. That's not what bothers me. However, not putting up a proper fight truly does irk me. If you'll permit me a dried up sports analogy...it's not whether you win or lose but how you play the game. And Obama's team has played a mediocre game despite much talent on the field. The GOP is not beating this administration; the White House is beating itself by making one bad play after another.

The talented team that ran a brilliant campaign has not lived up to the reasonable expectations we had, now that they are in office. Yes, it's way more complicated than that, obviously. But that's what it boils down to. Perception is the key currency in politics; it's what gets you elected and re-elected. Obama's efforts to compromise with the GOP--which was the equivalent of a straight man continuously hitting on a lesbian and hoping to score--rendered him ineffectual and weak. Irreparably so? I sure hope not. But enough damage has been done to his persona.

I thought a Chicago pol that came out of nowhere to become the first black US president would be a badass and not the milquetoast that took forever to figure out the GOP only respects fear and decisive action. Politics is a ruthless and dirty business; the GOP hate Bill Clinton not because he has a weakness for tail but because he plays dirty and for keeps like they do. Sadly, that SNL skit from last year, "The Rock Obama", is closer to the truth than anyone would like to admit.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Distinguished Gentleman

I thought someone who 10 years ago was a virtual unknown and rose out of Chicago politics to be the first African-American president would be one tough mofo. Instead, Obama has shown himself to be, for the most part, a step or two above a garden variety milquetoast. A stereotypical Democrat, indeed.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bob Cesca Nails It

There's been a lot of talk regarding the community center/mosque to be built mere blocks away from where the World Trade Center once stood. At first I thought this would not be a good idea on the grounds of sensitivity. That was before I found out there are currently 2 mosques within mere blocks of ground zero, one of which was opened in 1970 and actually predates the WTC. (The other has been around since 1985.) Or that a strip club is located a mere 2 blocks away. Now, I truthfully don't know. I really appreciate the feelings and concerns of those who lost loved ones at the WTC on Sept 11th but there are big inconsistencies in this situation. Huffington Post contributor Bob Cesca addresses them. Namely...

...there's going to be a shopping mall literally in the ground of Ground Zero. "Below-grade" means "in the ground." The Ground. In other words, Sarah Palin and her entire gaggle of various babies and ghost writers can visit Ground Zero and honor the heroes and victims of 9/11 while trying on tankinis at Juicy Couture (or whatever clothing stores end up there) constructed within the actual ground of Ground Zero.

This bears repeating: unlike Park 51, which is blocks away, there's going to be a 55,000 square foot mall under the same ground where people fell to their deaths on that terrible day. Ground that's mixed with the remains of the dead. A mall.

Is anyone asking those who oppose this new mosque about the discrepancy between de-facto hallowed ground and soon-to-be commercial real estate? I personally don't have a dog in this hunt, I'm just trying to gauge where people are coming from on this matter. But there's some obvious contradictions here and acting on a whim is probably not a good idea.

Here's the rest of Bob Cesca's piece.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

600 (no asterisk, thanks)




Alex Rodriguez
hit his 600th home run on Thursday August 4th, exactly 3 years to the day he hit his 500th four-bagger.




He did it at home, in front of the Yankee Stadium faithful, a 2-run blast in the first inning that was also the winning run in a 5-1 victory vs the Toronto Blue Jays. A-Rod becomes the 7th player in Major League history to reach this milestone and at age 35 the youngest ever.

His admission of steroid use in the first three years of the previous decade will always be brought up whenever his career and individual stats, and by extension his Hall of Fame credentials, are discussed. But as a fan of the player in question, I acknowledge this transgression but refuse to chime in with the haters and the hypocrites: folks that would leave their current jobs for a $100/wk pay raise elsewhere in a heartbeat, yet cry greed when an athlete wants to take advantage of their small window of opportunity to make money in their given profession before they are kicked to the curb (Bo Jackson, anyone?); or the purists who exalt players from a gloried past but look the other way when the topic of controlled substances taken by these legends of yesteryear is referenced. (Or when in many cases, these retired athletes admit they'd likely have taken today's PEDs if they'd had the chance.) In any event, let's scour the gyms of America and find the most steroid-pumped individuals, give 'em a bat, and see if they can hit 100 HRs against major league pitching, let alone 600.

So today I come not to bury Alex but to praise him--heh, heh--and wish him many HRs to come. May they all be in The Bronx and with A-Rod wearing pinstripes.

[photo AP/Kathy Willens via River Ave Blues]

Friday, July 23, 2010

Obama Needs to Man Up; Breitbart's Screwup

I sincerely hope the Obama administration has learned its lesson with the whole sorry-ass Shirley Sherrod affair: don't jump to fucking conclusions; do your research. And most importantly, stop being so afraid of the wing-nut smear machine. Scumbag emeritus Andrew Breitbart and his ilk will always take cheap shots like taking an edit from Sherrod's speech about racial reconciliation and pull a few sentences out of context to make it seem like a racist affirmation. That's what these assholes do. It's not that they have a different political ideology, it's that they are dishonest pieces of shit that don't care about the truth. Slime pays and they've got bills, you know?

But this time, hopefully, the smearmongers will have whatever little credibility they may enjoy questioned a bit more; their race-baiting pronouncements and slimy tactics less likely to be immediately regurgitated. After all, a misunderstood quote is one thing, but to purposely and shamelessly take a positive message and try to fashion it into one of division and hate is not only slanderous but indecent and immoral as well. But, hey, look who we're asking moral certitude from.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Shakespearean 'tweets' in Honor of Sister Sarah

I'm not a fan of Twitter but Sarah Palin comparing her mangling of the English language to William Shakespeare's linguistic flights of fancy has brought about many funny tweets. My faves:

“Cry havoc, and let slip the hockey moms of war!”

“Something is rotten in the state of Alaska. So I’m quitting.”

“Et tu, Bristol?!

“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury America not to serve it in any way. At all.”

“Shall I compare ya to a summer’s day?”

Priceless.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Tea Partier Not Your Dad's Mr. Roper

Let's get to the gist of this: Tea Party leader Mark Williams has vehemently defended his organization from accusations of racism but when confronted by the NAACP on the subject he lashes out and claims the NAACP has made "more money off of race than any slave trader ever." Dumbfounding huh? Well, what about Billy Roper, a Tea Partier and write-in candidate for governor of Arkansas who had this to say to the Kansas City Star:

“I don’t want non-whites in my country in any form or fashion or any status,” he says. Roper also is a tea party member who says he has been gathering support for his cause by attending tea party rallies. “We go to these tea parties all over the country,” Roper said. “We’re looking for the younger, potentially more radical people.”


That's incriminating enough. But then I find out that, according to the Anti-Defamation League website...
Arkansas-based White Revolution is a relatively new neo-Nazi organization that seeks to promote unity and cooperation among white supremacist groups. Run by Billy Roper, a former official with National Alliance, White Revolution coordinates rallies and protests - often in conjunction with other groups - that attract a wide array of racist participants, ranging from young skinheads to Identity Christians to neo-Nazis and Klansmen...Roper, born in 1972, is a onetime skinhead and a former high school history instructor who claims that three generations of his family have belonged to the Klan.

Care to add something to this, Mr. Williams?

McCarver Steps In It Yet Again

Unlike many baseball fans I've never had much of a problem with Tim McCarver in the broadcast booth; I find him to be more like a necessary evil than anything else. (Joe Morgan is another matter altogether.) But a recent pronouncement from McCarver reminded me of the Mets' botched firing of manager Willie Randolph a few seasons ago. In other words, a widely supported conclusion was handled badly and ended up biting the protagonist in the ass.

During Fox Sports' broadcast of the Saturday, July 17th, Yankees vs Rays game at Yankee Stadium, McCarver decried the absence of any tribute to former Yankee manager Joe Torre at the Yankees home park. Now, regardless of how one may feel regarding the Yankees' handling of Torre's departure, the fact remains that he led the Bronx Bombers to 12 consecutive post-season appearances, including 4 World Series championships, 6 pennants, and 10 division titles. So, yes, it's a no-brainer to suggest that Torre be acknowledged in the palace that is the new Yankee Stadium, and shame on the Yankees for failing to do so.

But for McCarver to compare this Yankee faux pas to mid 20th century German and Soviet generals being airbrushed out of their respective histories for not achieving whatever victory was expected of them, is not only grounds for invoking Godwin's Law, but an incredibly inappropriate and ill-timed statement mere days after the death of Yankees owner, and acknowledged hard-ass George M. Steinbrenner. Jesus, man, do you not think before you spew such nonsense? Good grief.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ted, Just Admit It

Right-wing nutjob and rock and roll has-been Ted Nugent recently appeared on Faux News' Hannity--one of the few non-music forums desperate enough to have him--to sing the praise of the Tea Party loons (complete with a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King), demand accountability from the government, and claim that President Obama is spitting on the US Constitution.

Now, let's put aside all facts and common sense and bring it down to this:

Ted, for the sake of argument we'll grant you the ridiculous notion that Obama is indeed metaphorically loogying on our supreme governing document. In turn, you admit that shitting one's pants to fake dementia that would preclude one from getting drafted to fight in Vietnam is no way to demonstrate accountability.

Cool?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

LeBron and Strasburg: My 2 Cents

It seems like the two biggest topics in North American sports right now are basketball superstar LeBron James' possible departure from the Cleveland Cavaliers; and the rise of impressive rookie pitcher Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals. Much has already been written about both elsewhere so I won't bore you with the details here. But here's my humble take:

- James, an Akron, OH native should not leave the Cavs until he wins a championship for his (almost) hometown team. But he's given the team 7 years and a valiant effort, so if he chooses greener pastures I won't hold it against him one bit. (On a personal level, I would very much NOT like for him to join the soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets, or whatever the fuck they end up calling themselves, for the reasons I've espoused here.)


- The hoopla surrounding Strasburg has honestly surprised me. ESPN has called him "the most-hyped pick in draft history", while Sports Illustrated considers Strasburg "the most hyped and closely watched pitching prospect in the history of baseball". Yes, the 21 year old is a wonderfully talented phenom but all this acclaim is quite over the top. (Mr. Baseball Nerd, Keith Olbermann agrees.) The fact is, Strasburg has started against mostly low-rung teams (Pirates, Indians), one of which he lost to (Royals), and the only solid team he's faced (White Sox) Strasburg got a no-decision in a game his team eventually lost. 4 games does not a Hall of Fame career make.

Yeah, he's averaging 10 strikeouts per game but c'mon, how 'bout we wait 'til he's been around a couple of seasons and the hitters have had a chance to see him. In the meantime, I suggest following Mr. Wolf's advice, let the the Nats milk the situation for all its worth and enjoy the ride. And if you think the sad saga of the D-Train has made me even more skeptical of the whole Strasburg hype, then you are quite right.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fox: Obama Gives Back Chunk of AZ to Mexico

Man, they've got balls over in Murdoch land.

A strip of an Arizona wildlife preserve on the border Mexico has been closed off to visitors--for security reasons, due to increased violence in the area--since 2006. You know, when W. was still president.

So, what does Fox Noise do in these times of controversy regarding AZ's stance on illegal immigrants? Why, fan more flames by reporting on their supposed news shows, not on the propaganda hours of Beck, Hannity, O'Reilly, etc that President Obama has actually given Mexico a stretch of land by the border. And then, after the damage is done, erase all record of ever having reported it. Un-fucking-believable.

No, wait--what am I saying? I ABSOLUTELY BELIEVE Fox is capable of this kind of wretched, unethical bullshit. Sensen No Sen has the complete lowdown.

Monday, June 21, 2010

GOP Shows True Colors in Defense of BP

I'm no fan of White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, but I like that he makes the clear distinction between a political gaffe and a deep-rooted ideology, vis-a-vis Republican apologies and concern for BP.



Dems need to harp on this every day until the November elections. To take the side of an oil company that thru negligence and greed--not to mention lax regulation and very little oversight during the 8 years of the previous administration--created a disaster such as this, is a disregard for the people of the highest order.

Remember what I've been saying about the GOP/conservative "sink or swim" philosophy? This latest genuflection is just another manifestation of it.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

An Imperfect End to a Perfect Game

In a recent span of a week or so in which umpire malfeasance has repeatedly reared its ugly head, last night's incident clearly takes the cake.

I'm sure you have all heard by now of Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga being denied a perfect game vs the Cleveland Indians, Wed night in Detroit, after umpire Jim Joyce blew a call at 1B that would've resulted in the final out of the game. (Btw, Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera deserves at least 10% of the blame for what eventually went down--what the hell was he doing chasing a grounder clearly in the path of the second baseman, instead of covering his base?!)

This was a disaster, plain and simple. And baseball fans round the whole world, not just here in the US, witnessed the sad debacle.

Commissioner Bud Selig should overturn the call, which, if I'm not mistaken would require the Tigers, Indians, and umpire Joyce to sign off. As for issues of MLB credibility taking a hit if the call were to be overturned, well, they turned a blind eye to obvious steroid use after fans returned to the game, following the '94 strike--so much for credibility. And there is precendent for changing calls--the infamous 1983 Yankees-Royals "pine tar game" comes to mind--why not do the right thing for a change?

Anyone w/a sense of fair play should not object to this perfect game being awarded, especially when the end result of the game itself was subsequently not altered as a result of the blown call. I'm a Yankee fan and Galarraga is not one of the non-Yankees I follow, but I'm a baseball fan as well. And I felt lucky to at least have caught the game from the 8th inning on, only to be utterly dismayed by the call when it went down.

Joyce candidly recognized his mistake after the game and approached Galarraga with what has been reported as a very sincere apology. That was classy. So was Galarraga's reaction to the whole thing. Let's hope Selig will follow in their footsteps and do what's right.

Oh, and yeah: Junior retired. It took a fuck up of historic proportions to overshadow the news of a living legend saying goodbye. Jeez...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bipartisanship is a Delusion: Has Obama Finally Figured it Out?

I've been harping on this for the longest: the Republicans had no intention of working with this president at any level. But not only have they repeatedly opposed his policies, the disciples of the party of "no"--excuse me, "Hell, no!"--have even had the audacity to claim involvement when these initiatives have benefited their constituents, as has been the case with the stimulus. (And don't get me started on their support of the Tea Party movement, a bunch of folks who took their name from a tax revolt, yet aren't aware of the fact that the average American is paying less federal taxes than in any point in history.)

But it seems that Obama may have finally figured it out. According to Gene Lyons in Salon, at a recent fundraiser in Manhattan he came up with the perfect metaphor to define the agents of obstruction:

He said that Republicans had made a calculated decision to oppose all White House initiatives, and to hope for the worst. "So after they drove the car into the ditch, made it as difficult as possible for us to pull it back, now they want the keys back. No! You can't drive! We don't want to have to go back into the ditch! We just got the car out!"

Exactly.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Quote of the Day

...[O]nly in America will you find people stupid enough not to see the irony in a teenage girl who got knocked up lecturing them on abstinence.
- Blogger Xmastime on Alaska half-governor Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol commanding $15-$30K per appearance on the lecture circuit.

Rick Perry's Texas-Sized Hypocrisy

Without a doubt, hypocrisy is one of the main currencies in politics. Both liberals and conservatives partake. But it pisses me off when treason-inciting, Tea Party-loving, small-government proponents like Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) have the tax payers foot the bill for his expensive temporary digs while his state deals with a sizeable budget deficit. Oh, the outcry if were one of those tax-and-spend, liberal Democrats! Asshole.

Here's the deal: what small government really means to these people is corporations and rich people having as much leeway as possible to do whatever they want to fuck people over and pay as little taxes as possible. Add a touch of small-government + not letting liberals turn your children gay = your chance at the American Dream; and you've got yourself a sales pitch for the long haul.

AP/Yahoo:

AUSTIN, Texas – With the state facing a budget shortfall of at least $11 billion, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has spent almost $600,000 in public money during the past two years to live in a sprawling rental home in the hills above the capital, according to records obtained by The Associated Press.

It costs more than $10,000 a month in rent, utilities and upkeep to house Perry in a five-bedroom, seven-bath mansion that has pecan-wood floors, a gourmet kitchen and three dining rooms. Perry has also spent $130,000 in campaign donations to throw parties, buy food and drink, and pay for cable TV and a host of other services since he moved in, the records show.

The public spending on Perry's rental comes as the state grapples with a budget shortfall forecast to reach at least $11 billion over the next two years. Perry has asked state agencies to cut their budgets by 5 percent and the Republican House speaker has begun to consider furloughs and shortened workweeks for state employees.

Ethics watchdogs, meanwhile, say Perry's campaign may have violated state disclosure laws because of the vague way he's reported what his staff calls "incidental" spending at the mansion.

"Anybody who is not offended probably doesn't know what's going on," said Rep. Jim Dunnam of Waco, the Texas House Democratic leader. To spend so much while asking state agencies to spend less, Dunnam said, is "just rank hypocrisy."

Chris Myers Disses New Orleans; Hispanics

Talk about coded language...

Friday, April 30, 2010

With the Quickness

I confess to being a horny hypocrite for lusting after a woman whose every utterance makes my skin crawl, but can someone PLEASE stop Sister Sarah from using the phrase "kicking it old school"?! For the love of God!

Palin's most recent usage was in the article she penned praising fellow nut job Glenn Beck on the occasion of his making Time magazine's annual list of the 100 most influential Americans. Ugh.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

By the Time They Come from Arizona

So, Arizona has a new immigration law that, rightfully, has very many folks--especially Hispanics--up in arms about its leading to racial profiling. It has even drawn criticism from such Republicans as Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.

But while I find this new measure to be quite insidious, I just can't summon the strength to be upset. As with the health care reform--which I felt should only be enacted in those states where the people wanted it, leaving those opposed to fend off the insurance vampires on their own--I find myself willing to simply let people carry on their stupidity so long as it doesn't affect those in my home state.
I'm not proud of this, but I'm tired of fighting the fight against those entrenched in maliciously misguided ideas. I'm truly sorry for the residents of Arizona who would be targeted by this measure, but that's what you get when you live in the belly of a bigoted beast.

One interesting twist is that capricious law enforcement can use this new legal mandate to stop and ask papers of anyone they feel like, regardless of their racial/ethnic appearance, since they could argue the supposed non-bigoted nature of the new law. Hmm...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

1600 Welcomes #27


Oh, the Hypocrisy! (Grassley edition)

Remember when the president called out those Republican politicians who railed against the stimulus, only to then turn around and partake of photo-ops in ribbon-cutting ceremonies for public works funded by said stimulus? Well, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has joined the club. In his case, the man who famously stated health care reform would "pull the plug on grandma" is now trumpeting his achievements in getting health care reform passed. Yup. See for yourself:

Friday, April 23, 2010

American Muslims: Between a Rock and a Hard Place


The recent South Park controversy brought about more talk of the moderate voices of Islam being largely silent when it comes to denouncing the acts and rhetoric of their most extreme brethren.
I guess, in part, these folks fear for their own safety due to the very real possibility of violence at the hands of those same radical muslims.

But those residing here in the US have another problem: if--and hopefully, not when--another successful Al-Qaeda-sponsored attack occurs on American soil, they will have to contend with folks like the one who owns the subtly adorned truck shown above. And with racism and xenophobia reaching almost fever pitch levels of late, it won't be pretty. Let's hope, for everyone's sake, none of this comes to pass.

[h/t: Xmastime]

Thursday, April 15, 2010

42

Much has been written and said about the man who on April 15th, 1947 broke the color barrier, especially on the anniversary of the date when the Brooklyn Dodgers decided it was time to end segregation in baseball. Without a doubt, it truly was the first step in what later became the Civil Rights movement. Many African-American players have voiced their gratitude; the player for my team who was named after Mr. Robinson had a great day, both at the plate and on the field. Quite poignant, yes.

But to me, a significant measure of Jackie Robinson’s influence and legacy became clear at the same Yankees-Angles game played in the Bronx on Thursday night. You see, I was unaware that young Halo outfielder Reggie Willits, a Caucasian player from Oklahoma, was actually named for Reggie Jackson. That, right there, says it all.

Pretty sweet.

Disingenuous Basterds

A few nights ago Fox NewsBill O’Reilly had former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on his program discussing the similarities and differences between the recently enacted national health care reform law and the universal health care available in the latter’s state, particularly how the federal government assumes a chunk of the financial cost in both cases.

As you know, I believe ‘sink or swim’ to be the basic tenet of Republican/conservative philosophy, so I was not surprised to hear O’Reilly repeatedly emphasize how “folks in Idaho” would find themselves subsidizing with their taxes something they may not want to contribute to.

But what really irked me about O’Reilly’s position on this particular point is his failure to address how federal taxes from all over the country are pooled and distributed according to necessity. More importantly, he overlooked how states like Massachusetts contribute the most in federal taxes; yet receive a much lower percentage in return from the federal government.

So, does O’Reilly suggest that each state receive federal funds in accordance to how much they contribute in federal tax revenue? I’m pretty sure he doesn’t want to bring up how some of the poorer states in the nation get so much more than some of the big, bad blue states that fund many of their public works, right? That wouldn’t be a good Fox talking point, now, would it?

Once again, this kinda talk brings me back to why health care reform should’ve been a state-by-state choice. In other words, the idea would be to let those of us who want it to find a way to obtain it in our own states; those who choose to continue under the draconian practices of the health insurance companies could remain with the status quo. Maybe that would shut up these selfish, egotistical fucks for good.

Earmarks Drop 10%; GOP says...zzzzzz

CNN:

The number and costs of congressional pork projects dropped this year, the Citizens Against Government Waste said in its "2010 Congressional Pig Book Summary," issued on Wednesday.

The 9,129 projects in the report "represent a 10.2 percent decline from the 10,160 projects identified in fiscal year 2009, and the $16.5 billion in cost is a 15.5 percent decrease from the $19.6 billion in pork in fiscal year 2009," the group said.

The nonpartisan group, which has been shining the light on how members of Congress use the earmarking process to steer money to projects in their districts, attributed the decrease in part to "reforms that were adopted when Democrats took over Congress in 2006."

h/t Xmastime

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Palin & Bachmann: Geniuses at Work

"I knew that we'd be buddies when I met her when she said, 'Drill here, drill now.' And then I replied, 'Drill, baby, drill' and then we both said, 'You betcha!'"

-- Sarah Palin, quoted by the Wall Street Journal, recalling a previous meeting with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN).

h/t Xmastime

Friday, April 9, 2010

Haiti

In the era of the 24-hour news cycle tragedies occupy a fleeting place in the media, their place quickly taken over by a newer concern. But the sad aftermath, of course, lingers.

Here's a couple of fave Haitian tunes of ours:

"Inflación", a killer track by the legendary, NY-based Tabou Combo, from their album The Masters [Barclay-1975];



and "Pwazon Rat" (Rat Poison) from Vodou Adjae [Mango-1991],
the stellar debut album by Boukman Eksperyans:

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sugarcoating the Confederacy

Truly, we liberals and Northerners are such pansies: nowhere else in the world would a treasonous and immoral endeavor--seceding from the country in order to continue the enterprise of slavery--be allowed to reinvent itself through blatant historic revisionism as regional pride;
its leaders and symbols proudly and publicly displayed. Once again, these folks committed TREASON, not some minor faux pas. And yet,
a decade into the 21st century they're ballsy enough to have a Virginia governor issuing a proclamation declaring April, "Confederate History Month" and omitting the wicked evil that was slavery in the process.
All that blood spilled for this?

And what did we get for keeping them in the Union? Eternal derision. They, on the other hand, get a huge chunk of our tax dollars. How's that working out for ya, liberal elite? Let's try this: next time these folks want to break off from our Union, what do you say we let them, huh? No wonder this guy was SO pissed.

Why Was O'Reilly on Centerstage?

This week, Fox Noise's Bill O'Reilly was the first guest of the new season of the YES network's Centerstage with Michael Kay. Now, someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that guests were culled form the world of entertainment and sports--that's what the "e" and "s" in the network's name stand for. I don't recall ever seeing a political pundit/commentator on the show. So, why was Mr. Falafel on there? Does it has to do with Fox--particularly its business channel--advertising heavily on the network? The Yankees and YES-owning Steinbrenner family's political inclinations, perhaps?

It's a well-known fact The Boss is a die-hard Republican who got in trouble for some Nixon-related shenanigans years ago. According to Wikipedia, "...he was indicted on 14 criminal counts on April 5, 1974, then pleaded guilty to making illegal contributions to Nixon's re-election campaign and a felony charge of obstruction of justice on August 23. Steinbrenner was personally fined $15,000, while his firm was assessed $20,000 for the offense...U.S. President Ronald Reagan pardoned Steinbrenner on January 19, 1989, in one of the final acts of his presidency."

Is politics seeping into the editorial room over at YES? And, all personal bias aside, if they were going down the political punditry/commentator route, wouldn't Keith Olbermann have been a better option, having been a sportscaster for most of his professional life, and thus more in tune with the show's other choices in guests? (Olbermann is actually a friend of Kay's.)

I dunno...it's hard enough being a liberal and a Yankee fan. Anyway...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fox Complicit with O'Keefe in Fake ACORN Video

Remember the outrage over San Diego ACORN employees caught on tape last year, purportedly helping right-wing "journalists" James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, posing as pimp and prostitute, respectively, set up a prostitution ring by smuggling in girls from Tijuana? Would you be surprised to know that the unedited tapes paint a different story? More importantly, did you know the person O'Keefe and Giles spoke to about their plan, immediately reported them to the police, and that the Attorney General's office backs up the ACORN official's account of the story, but Fox Nuisance overlooked that part? No, right? Scumbags.

Rachel Maddow uncovers the truth:

Friday, April 2, 2010

Stewart Rags on CNN (yet again)

It's bad enough that conservatives have poisoned the well of reasonable political discourse by forever engraving the bogus "liberal media" meme into the conversation. But it's even worse when CNN gives credence to it by nervously hiring a known conservative firebrand--and in the process, pulling a McCain and not vetting the guy properly--thereby legitimizing the disingenuous conservative argument.

I get that their ratings have slipped incredibly, and the folks over there have a reason to be concerned, but c'mon. Are they trying to dig up their own version of Glenn Beck? Please. This would be an ideal time for CNN to truly become an impartial editorial observer and not a Hollywood casting agent looking to find a similar hot property to the one the other studio had a blockbuster hit with.

Anyway...here's Jon Stewart's take on CNN's hiring of RedState blogger Erick Erickson (btw, the Larry King/Snoop Dogg sitcom would be awesome!):


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hutaree Motivation Not an April Fool's Joke (but sure comes close right?)

Freep.com:
"A member of the Hutaree militia charged with federal crimes was upset because she thought that President Barack Obama had signed into law this month a bill that would spend $20 billion to help the terrorist group Hamas settle in the U.S."

Fox Skews Poll; Millions Shocked (not!)

As fair and balanced as a meeting of Saddam Hussein's cabinet: Fox Noise's sister channel, Fox Business, is running an online poll which gears answers towards an anti-health care reform outcome. I'm so surprised! Daily Finance has more on the poll.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The False Equivalency Game

The few conservative politicians and pundits that have acknowledged the recent violent actions and irresponsible rhetoric from the right are trying to play the false equivalency game, stating how the level of rabid discourse is parallel to the left. Um, no. Not by a long shot. (No pun intended.)

Or in the words of Crooks and Liars' David Neiwert:
Come and talk to us again about how nasty and wrong hateful talk from the left is when:

-- A liberal walks into a church and opens fire on the congregation because they're all a bunch of conservatives and he wants to kill as many right-wingers as he can.

-- A liberal walks into another church and shoots a doctor in the head.

-- A liberal shoots three police officers who come to his door because he fears the president is going to take his guns away.

-- A liberal walks into the Holocaust Museum and shoots a guard because he hates Jews and believes it's time to start a race war.

-- A liberal walks into the Pentagon and opens fire because he believes the government is plotting against its citizens.

-- A pack of gun-loving liberals forms a plot to kill law-enforcement officers and start a revolution.

See, that isn't happening. But it is happening with characters from the right, opening fire on various perceived "liberal" targets, law enforcement officers, and government employees.
Exactly.

Oh, the Sweet Irony!

In an attempt to curb hate crime protection from including gays--on religious grounds--the Oklahoma state senate instead erroneously banned the statute that penalizes discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin. Genius!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Racism is Dead; Ignorance, Hypocrisy, Too (bridge for sale, also)

The caller in the video clip below calls into C-SPAN to complain that they are putting thru too many calls from "black folks". He also brings up how conservatives and Republicans were quite passive when liberals and progressives attacked George W. Bush. I guess the caller doesn't recall all those times we were told to watch what we said and that to disagree with Bush was to give comfort to the enemy. Remember that, douchebags?

I'm getting really tired of Republican politicians and pundits, Fox Noise commentators, and other assorted sleaze bags--the fatigue-wearing, cowardly draft-dodger Ted Nugent comes to mind--trying to equate the racist and violent reactions we've seen from some of their followers with the likes of Iraq war protesters during W's term. Do these assholes really believe that cutting off someone's gas lines, or making life-threatening phone calls is dissent? Or that dropping off a coffin on someone's front lawn is not one step removed from planting a burning cross? WTF?

And why doesn't anyone in the Democratic/liberal/progressive establishment step up and say so?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Rep. Cleaver Spat On? (let's go to the video tape)

Well, the right-wing loudmouths denied it ever happened and even offered a cash reward for anyone who could submit video proof that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) had been recently spat on by tea baggers protesting the health care reform bill. Well, here's the video. (The incident in question takes place at the 0:13 mark.) What say you?

(My apologies to sportscaster Warner Wolf.)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Sad, Pitiful Decline of John McCain

Sen. John McCain was someone who I always respected, despite our ideological differences. He seemed like the kind of man who shared my goals for the country, but with a alternate game plan.

That ship has long sailed.

His quest for power and relevance, since he became the Republican Party's 2008 presidential nominee, has been embarrassing to watch.

In 2008, John "Country First" McCain panicked, and in an effort to win the presidency chose Alaska governor Sarah Palin, an unqualified, born-again fundamentalist, right-wing zealot as his running mate. Then his campaign hired Tucker Eskew, the South Carolina GOP strategist, to coach Palin. This is the same Tucker Eskew who John McCain once said had "a special place in hell" for his role in the 2000 race-baiting smear that had the Arizona senator fathering an illegitimate black child and eventually lost him the party's nomination to George W. Bush. A smear campaign which was, btw, engineered by Karl Rove, who McCain brought on as a campaign advisor in '08.

He then proceeded, as The New York Times stated in their endorsement of Barack Obama for president, to run "a campaign on partisan division, class warfare and even hints of racism. His policies and worldview are mired in the past. His choice of a running mate so evidently unfit for the office was a final act of opportunism and bad judgment that eclipsed the accomplishments of 26 years in Congress."

The man who for years prided himself on being bipartisan--earning the wrath of the hard right, who deemed him not conservative enough--has now, with a Tea Bagger hot on his trail looking to out seat him, once again begun pandering to the very folks who never believed in him in the first place. Add to that his hollow and unbecoming grandstanding, promising no further congressional Republican cooperation in the wake of the health care reform bill's passage, and the Grandpa Simpson stereotype starts to ring painfully true.

Sad and pitiful, indeed.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Michael Moore Clarifies Things

The controversial filmmaker had this to say, the day after the passage of the health care reform bill:
Thanks to last night's vote, that child of yours who has had asthma since birth will now be covered after suffering for her first nine years as an American child with a pre-existing condition.

Thanks to last night's vote, that 23-year-old of yours who will be hit one day by a drunk driver and spend six months recovering in the hospital will now not go bankrupt because you will be able to keep him on your insurance policy.

Thanks to last night's vote, after your cancer returns for the third time -- racking up another $200,000 in costs to keep you alive -- your insurance company will have to commit a criminal act if they even think of dropping you from their rolls.

Yes, my Republican friends, even though you have opposed this health care bill, we've made sure it is going to cover you, too, in your time of need. I know you're upset right now. I know you probably think that if you did get wiped out by an illness, or thrown out of your home because of a medical bankruptcy, that you would somehow pull yourself up by your bootstraps and survive. I know that's a comforting story to tell yourself, and if John Wayne were still alive I'm sure he could make that into a movie for you.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Republican Dilemma

Level-headed folks are upset that numerous death threats and acts of violence targeting Democratic politicians have received little to no condemnation from Republican leaders--some of whom have been tacitly encouraging this kind of behavior from right-wing nutjobs--in the wake of the passing of the health care reform bill this week. On the surface, this one's a no-brainer, right? Political acts of violence are deplored by all kinds of folks. And you won't win any points with reasonable, independent voters. So, what's the problem?

Well, according to recent polls, 45% of Republicans believe Barack Obama was not born in the US and therefore, is an illegitimate president; 38% compare his agenda to that of Adolf Hitler; and 1 in 4 think he is the Anti-Christ. That's a sizable chunk of the GOP base and if those numbers are among the people you are counting on to get elected, it's no surprise that Republican politicians are reticent to forcefully oppose such absurd views. And those who do--as we've seen with the parade of apologetic Republicans begging for Rush Limbaugh's forgiveness, or the recent dismissal of former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum, from a conservative think tank, ostensibly for his criticism of the GOP's tactics in the health care reform debate--more often than not, end up walking the plank.

So, the Republican dilemma becomes the following: do they let the hard-right lunatics exemplified by the Tear Partiers, cast out moderate GOPers and grab hold of the party? Do the cooler heads strike back or just bide their time until the bottom falls out of the crazy brigade? One thing is certain: if these reactionary hijackers manage to sway enough people to decide elections in their favor, moderate Republicans won't be the only one's fucked. So will the rest of us.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Glenn Beck is the Textbook Definition of Ignorant

Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) was one of the top leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. But, guess what? In the clip below Faux News "historian" Glenn "Rodeo Clown" Beck disses the congressman for pretending to be a Civil Rights activist. Um yes, he did. The picure Beck shows is during a march on Capitol Hill this past Sunday, when anti-health care reform protesters called Lewis a "nigger", spat on Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), and called Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) a "faggot". Stay classy, teabaggers.



[h/t Xmastime]

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Thoughts on the Passing of Health Care Reform (updated)

President Obama took a big step towards not becoming a one-term president with the passing of his ambitious health care reform bill. More importantly, it promises to cover 32 million of those of us who are uninsured. It is not the ideal bill, but it's a significant advance from the prior status quo.

However, the path taken to reach this goal brought a lot of vermin out of the woodwork: a black, liberal president enacting a major overhaul of health care inspired more than a fare share of the right-wing racists and wacko conspiracy nuts to voice their protests in the most venomous and disrespectful of ways. Egged on by hate-spewing commentators, for months ignorant folks parroted accusations they could not define. (Ask 'em if they actually know what "socialism", "communism", "fascism" or "tyranny" look like.) And when the passing of the bill was about to come true, epithets like "nigger" and "faggot" were bandied about; people were spit on. Man, they partied like it was 1965. Or 1865.

As for my long-standing issue with this particular reform, I'm not as magnanimous as some, which is why I firmly believe it should've been implemented and approved state-by-state and not as a federal mandate. In other words, those of us who live in states who wanted health care reform and universal health care--or the next best thing--should've fought to have it in our back yard, with the federal government helping to subsidize it for those who couldn't afford it but truly wanted it. But if you believe that you and/or those less fortunate than you should sink or swim in terms of health coverage, then, fine. Let those people hurting in your state see what it really means to go without.

I won't disagree with you if find my stance petty; I'll freely admit to it without prompting from anyone. But I just feel if adults don't want something that benefits them, they shouldn't be forced to have it. As my Dad would say, "As much as I may love you, you've gotta love yourself more." Or, put more bluntly in this case, fuck 'em.

Now these naysayers will also have health insurance available to them. And like the clueless, idiot fucks who say they don't want the government involved in Medicare--who do they think runs it?--they will reap the rewards but always decry the people who made it happen for them. It takes a big enough person to do something good for others who will not only be ungrateful, but vilify you for doing it. I guess that's what the lesson of turning the each other cheek is about. So, I must be a foul Christian, 'cause I would've just said, "Fuck 'em."

UPDATE:

My old friend, Mr. P had this to say, in response to my post:
Certainly should be a state thing.

I'm not sure what this bill suppose to fix. The plan premiums may be up to $2,700 with a $6,000 (single) $11,900 (married) deductible. A married couple will have to pay up to $14,600 in medical costs a year before the insurance will pay a dime. The main problem with health care is affordability, many families can't afford to pay that much in health care per year. So who's going to pay their deductible? We are back to square one. Since this bill empowers the IRS, I would be surprised if one day the government could withhold one's tax return to pay your outstanding medical bill.

Another issue is that despite being called a mandate, not everyone will benefit, yet everyone is expected to pay. Sounds kinda like Social Security, which the Supreme Court upheld the idea that you can be forced to pay yet be denied the benefit.

This law is really lame. The biggest thing it's doing is giving the insurance companies more business at the tax payer's expense, and expanding government control [over] your health. While that won't happen overnight, the feds will take [NYC Mayor, Mike] Bloomberg's lead on health initiatives because the tax payer can't afford for you to be fat, or unhealthy. Perhaps we will have mandatory morning exercise in front of our TVs. Yes, that's a 1984 reference, but I thought it would be fitting on our way to the surveillance society.
But won't the deductibles be subsidized, if applicable? Truth be told, I don't mind giving the insurance companies more business if it means they can be closely regulated, ie. not rejecting folks w/pre-existing conditions, dropping people 'cause they got sick and treatment is super expensive, or raising premiums to exorbitant rates, (and at will) etc.

The whole thing regarding the "not everyone will benefit, yet everyone is expected to pay" scenario is that it falls under many other things we do for the benefit of the greater good. (If I'm not mistaken, some of the states that pay the least in federal taxes get the most in federal funds and vice versa.) But after I saw how nastily people at a Tea Party rally treated that pro-health care reform protestor whose son has Parkinson's, I'm convinced that for many, a traditional sense of individuality has taken a turn for the worse and become a selfish, "sink or swim" mentality. In other words, "I don't want ANYONE getting a red cent out of my pocket" is the idea w/these people.

As I've said before, this is how these folks think:
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.

And so on and so forth.
That was the gist of original my post: I feel the vast majority of opponents to health care reform take more issue with what they see as a handout, than the monetary cost of the law. Which is why it would've been better to have the states go about incorporating health care reform/universal health care on their own, with federal subsidies. Fuck 'em if those other states don't want it; this bill could cure cancer and those folks would not appreciate it. But we, here in NY, want it and should have it.

Mr. P also raises a good point about the IRS, but I think they are empowered by the bill more as an opportunity to take advantage of legal loopholes and guarantee its existence as law, rather than to have the IRS' agents become medical bill enforcers, but, who knows? He could be right.