Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Obama Says Drill Baby, Drill?!

Get me off this roller coaster! Obama is starting to confuse me and make me mad at the same time. Is he a Democrat or not? Let's look at some of his major decisions so far...all conservative. He campaigned on health care reform with a strong public option. The HCR bill that just passed was essentially the Republican answer to Bill Clinton's failed bill 16 years ago...or Massachusetts' Romneycare. While the bill does many good things, he never fought for the public option and still didn't get one Republican vote. In the stimulus package, he included tax cuts against the wishes of Democrats to get Republican votes that never came. Against the wishes of his base, 30,000 more troops were sent to Afghanistan instead of winding down military involvement. He's increased unmanned drone attacks in Pakistan where 32% killed are civilians. He's dragging his feet on DADT and DOMA even though he promised his base they would be removed in his first term, yet he supported expanding President Bush's church-based federal assistance program. He even signed a bill allowing loaded guns into national parks!

NOW he's going to do something that he actually campaigned against, probably hoping to get conservative Independents on his side for the mid-term elections which is unlikely to happen. Today, his administration announced that it plans to open vast swaths of the outer continental shelf to offshore oil and gas extraction, making large areas of the eastern seaboard, the Gulf Coast, and Arctic Ocean available for drilling. The Interior Department, estimates that 63 billion barrels of oil will be economically recoverable if the additional exploration is allowed. The U.S. uses 7 billion barrels a year. Is it really worth it just to appease the right wing? I'm starting to feel like this guy is all over the place with policy and for that, I blame Rahm Emanual. That said, it's time to man-up and be the guy we elected or maybe the Democrats need to find a real Democrat to run in 2012. We're watching Obama morph into Bill Clinton, and while Clinton did a lot of good things, I can't forgive him for the right turn he made on many issues. As Rachel Maddow recently said, "Bill Clinton was probably the best Republican president we ever had, if you look at the policies he passed." Oh, and Barack, the right wing still does not like you and never will accept you. Get over it! Perhaps you should focus on people who will actually support you if you do the right thing.

Don't get me wrong, President Obama was still miles better than the alternative in 2008. And maybe his die-hard supporters are correct when they say he's playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers, but so far he's not the tranformational guy I'd hoped for.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Senator Brown, you're lying. Stop it.

Last Wednesday I posted my opinion about the Rachel Maddow v Scott Brown dust up. I updated it over the next couple days and thought it was over. However Scott Brown visited Rachel's home turf in western Massachusetts and claimed she was only discussing the issue for ratings. Tonight, once again Rachel felt she had to set the record straight. Even while my opinion of Maddow is abundantly clear, I have a huge issue of this guy trying to raise money out of state to determine our elections. We are a state with only 12% registered Republican voters. He knows he's got big problems for 2012. Trying to use Maddow as a tool here will not work, we like her. However, by asking for donations in states that think religion trumps science, that homosexuals are devils and that women belong in the kitchen and bedroom with their man making the decisions and you'll likely raise some money against the cool, calm, collected, gay liberal, Ms. Maddow. This man is nothing but a phony pretty boy and it really pisses me off that Martha Coakley was so completely inept as a candidate that she could not beat this lying fraud. That said, give him hell Rachel and do what's best for you!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

What's it Take for Catholic Women to Get Respect?

If you are like me, confused about the answer to this question, please raise your hand….or better yet….ask your Congressperson and Senator. Heck, ask the President. Why is a pedophilia-ridden, pedophilia-hiding, child-abusing Church allowed to write laws controlling women’s reproductive rights...or gay rights for that matter? I am talking about the Catholic Church and the hierarchy….not the people of the Catholic faith. The Church whose leadership has now been proven to have purposefully hidden an epidemic of pedophilia and–to protect priests, not born children–reassigned serial sex offenders to other parishes to offend again. The kind of people who, if they were not priests protected by the Church, would not be allowed by US law to come anywhere near children or schools? Why were these people allowed a major voice in constructing the health care reform bill, especially in regards to women's reproductive rights? Just over a week ago, 60 leaders of religious orders representing 59,000 Catholic nuns sent a letter to federal lawmakers urging them to pass the Senate health care legislation. They decried the “false” information floating around about abortion provisions and said that the bill’s “historic new investments” for pregnant women are the “real pro-life stance.” Conservative Democrat Bart Stupak (MI)who started this sordid mess responded by saying, “When I’m drafting right to life language, I don’t call up the nuns.” He says he confers with other groups including “leading bishops, Focus on the Family, and The National Right to Life Committee.” No, he wouldn't want to "stoop" to asking the nuns who are likely more sympathetic to women's issues.  Instead, Bart listens to the pedophiles and their supporters.  Good luck to his Democratic challenger, Connie Saltonstall.

New revelations about Pope Benedict XVI’s alleged role in covering up accusations of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy have exposed the Vatican to the risk of lawsuits brought by victims around the world. Last week it was alleged that, as head of the Vatican office monitoring priestly misconduct, the Pope, then known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger failed to punish Father Lawrence Murphy, who abused up to 200 boys at a Wisconsin school for the deaf, that's right, a school for the deaf. According to the Times, the Cardinal had been alerted to the accusations and a secret canonical trial authorized by the his deputy was halted after Murphy wrote to Ratzinger begging that the proceedings be stopped, “I simply want to live out the time that I have left in the dignity of my priesthood, I ask your kind assistance in this matter.” Murphy died two years later still a priest. The Pope’s alleged role in the Wisconsin case emerged only when litigants who claim to be victims of abuse obtained internal church documents as part of their lawsuit. The US Catholic Church has already paid out more than $1.1 billion to victims since 2004. I agree with those who insist that financial compensation is not enough and that the church should be forced to explain why so few priests were punished for decades of abuse. Even with all the scandals we currently know, the Catholic Church still has the Bible-waving clout to deny true equality to women and gays. I don't understand it and it angers me to no end.

What if investigation after investigation discovered that the Muslim church had engaged in a decades-long cover-up of massive criminal activity involving the molestation and raping of children? What if it involved countless Muslim religious leaders and others? What if one of the highest Sunni leaders in the world was complicit in hiding sex crimes committed against deaf kids? Do you think for a moment that the outrage would not be so massive as to force mosques to close and for schools to go bankrupt? Many, many people would be justifiably jailed. There would be congressional investigations. Republicans would be calling for any faith-based funds to be banned from going to Muslim organizations because, indeed, some of the money may have been indirectly used to pay off victims and to shuffle the perpetrators from city to city. Hell, there would be death threats, vandalism, if not outright violence, against mosques and people. Yes, Islam in America, if not in the West entirely, would be assaulted from all corners

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Yes We Did! Yes We Did!

With all the vitriol we've witnessed since President Obama's inauguration and more recently over the health care reform debate, it's clear we're a country divided in every single way. With all the attrocities the previous administration pulled off, nothing close to what we're witnessing now ever took place. Sure, there were, and still are anti-war protesters, but the violence and death threats directed at Democratic Congresspeople and Senators for trying to do something to actually help Americans by and large is something this country hasn't seen in a very long time. The day of the HCR vote we watched Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) spit on by a Teabagger. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a hero of the civil rights movement was called a 'ni--er.' And Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was called a "faggot," as protestors shouted at him with deliberately lispy screams. Yeah, those Tea Party activists are real the KKK world. I doubt I'm the only one who gets the feeling that part of their frustration is that amongst their, socialist, marxist, nazi, communist, fascist, Kenyan signs, the one they really want to hold up and scream out towards Obama starts with a "n" and rhymes with bigger...but that would just be wrong. The Republican party has embraced this radical fringe and I hope against hope that they will pay the price on election day. Democrats even seem to enjoy the sense of winning. I hope they hold on to that feeling.

On a much lighter and humorous note, I'd like to share the following video with you. Over 20 million people have watched the Youtube version of that Will.I.Am tribute to Barack Obama. “Yes We Can” gets a remix featuring House Minority Leader John Boehner and “Hell no, you can‘t”. Very funny.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Scott Brown Showing His True Color - Yellow

Seven week Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) has apparently taken an anonymous "tweet" and run amok with fear.  The false rumor is that the Democrats are trying to lure Rachel Maddow into opposing him for the Massachusetts Senate in November of 2012.  Way to be different and get things done Scotty; cast one vote and start running for a new term...against someone not even running who you clearly view as a legitimate threat. Maddow made it clear that she is not running against him in 2012, but he hasn't let that little fact get in his way for fundraising. Rachel used humor on Tuesday evening to dispute his endeavor, but by Wednesday she seemed aggitated by the ongoing lie that Brown won't let die!. In typical Republican cowardice, he won‘t come on her show to talk about this situation and his Senate office is refusing to even return TRMS phone calls. And they are apparently not going to retract the letter that they‘ve sent out all over the country that says saying Rachel would be bad for the country (which I obviously don't think is true) even though it is not factually true. Who wouldn't be genuinely aggitated by someone trying to make money off your name, especially from other states?! Here's the fundraising letter he sent to supporters yesterday:


It’s only been a couple of months since I’ve been in office, and before I’ve even settled into my new job, the political machine in Massachusetts is looking for someone to run against me. And you’re not going to believe who they are supposedly trying to recruit — liberal MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow.

Rachel lives in western Massachusetts, and recently it was reported that the chairman of the state Democratic Party had apparently tried to reach out to her in an attempt to coax her into a race against me. You can read about it here.

The political season never ends, which is why I need your continued support. While my opponents strategize on how to defeat me in 2012, I’m going to continue to speak out against higher taxes, more spending and greater government control in our lives.

I relish being an independent voice in Washington, one that doesn’t march in lockstep with the rest of the Washington crowd. The Democratic Party bosses in Massachusetts disagree. They want a rubberstamp who will vote for their plans to expand government, increase debt and raise taxes. Someone like Rachel Maddow. I’m sure she’s a nice person — I just don’t think America can afford her liberal politics.

Rachel Maddow has a nightly platform to push her far-left agenda. What about you? I’d like to encourage ordinary American citizens concerned about the future of their country to get more involved in our government. I hope you were encouraged by my victory to become more politically active, maybe even become a candidate for office yourself. We can continue to push our movement forward by running for office, joining in rallies and petitions that challenge President Obama and Nancy Pelosi’s healthcare legislation, supporting campaigns against the tax-and-spenders or by donating time and money to office-holders and candidates who will restore the principles of our founders.

I’m grateful you are with me. Thanks again for whatever support you can provide me, and I look forward to joining in further victories with you down the line.


Scott Brown
United States Senator

UPDATE: MARCH 26, 2010
MSNBC took out a full-page ad in the Boston Globe for a letter from Rachel Maddow to her fellow Massachusetts citizens in response to Scott Brown's unfounded claims while trying to raise out-of-state money for his 2012 re-election bid.

UPDATE: MARCH 27, 2010
It didn't take long for Scotty's little independent streak to go away, did it?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Today in Fright Wing World!

I just don't get it. Why is helping out fellow Americans who may have lost a job or were stricken with catastrophic illness such a terrible thing? It could happen to any of us. Why is trying to make insurance companies do the right thing a bad thing? I will never understand the dismantling of basic human decency since Ronald Reagan started destroying social policies and ramping up the military. Here are the 10 most awesomely certifiably insane comments from the fright wing airwaves upon today's historic signing of health care reform.

Rush Limbaugh claimed at the end of the day, our freedom has been assaulted. This is the kind of change that people did not think they were going to get when they voted for Barack Obama. Freedom must win the day.
We didn't expect this? Gee Rush, that was his main campaign promise.

Glenn Beck warned that we're on the cusp of a socialist/fascist takeover on a daily basis comparing HCR to the attack on Pearl Harbor; the St. Valentines massacre ("when the mob stepped in and cleaned things up"); Chamberlain's meeting with Hitler; and the Hindenburg.
Is this guy bi-polar or what?  How anyone can take him seriously!  He makes no sense!

Shock Jock Neal Boortz twittered an equally crazy and offensive comparison; Nancy Pelosi will be grinning and laughing this afternoon. Today will do more damage than 9/11.
Way to stay classy and rile up the ignorant, who would benefit most!

Anti-abortion terrorist Randall Terry is using his influence with the Pope to get Nancy Pelosi excommunicated, because extending health care to more than 30 million uninsured Americans does not obviate her role in unleashing a vast fetus Armageddon.
How do they not understand this bill has made access for poor women more difficult?

Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman says that passing a health care bill in a democratically elected Congress is tantamount to Soviet invasion, and calls for revolution: "March 21 did indeed change life as we knew it ... I won't forget the events of this day and while they heralded a change for the worst, I vow to be part of the revolution to unravel this mess."
OK, you got me...I have no idea how this makes sense to anyone.

Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association also offered a solution: shooting people.
Gotta love those family values.

Sean Hannity wondered if the successful vote was when America turned on the path "completely towards" socialism.
I really want someone to explain to me what's so bad about socialism!  In Denmark for instance, every resident has universal health care, a free college education, six weeks paid vacation and women on maternity leave get one year off!

Matt Drudge splashed this headline across his site: “A day that will live in infirmary!"
I'll bet he thinks he's oh, so clever. simply claimed American goes under the knife.
Evidently they left their heavy lifting to Fox and Fiends and the evening squawkers to handle everything anti-Obama or anti-Democrat. 

John McCain sketched out the most unforseen scenario of all: a lack of GOP cooperation going forward. "There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year,"
Wow, I'm shocked because they have been sooo helpful for the last 14 months. Country First!

Monday, March 22, 2010

If all Americans can get health insurance, life as we know it will never be the same...oh, wait

A funny thing happened this morning...the sun rose like it always has, there was no armegeddon overnight and since the religious zealots haven't mentioned anything, I guess it's pretty safe to say that hell didn't freeze over. Why is this so shocking? Because the Health Care Reform bill passed in the Congress last night with a gavel strike by *gasp* Speaker Nancy Pelosi! I've been mostly quiet about this because it's a very complex issue with complicated language, daily changes and with all the posturing from both sides, I wasn't comfortable putting my thoughts on the blog without complete confidence that all my facts were lined up. One thing I am sure about, when private insurance companies start randomly raising rates by as much as 40%, it was clear that the situation needed to be addressed. Today, a list of the top 18 immediate changes were listed on Huffington Post and I think it's important to point them out since Republicans are already promising to repeal this law once they regain power. After reading these new laws, I hope the GOP really is dumb enough to run on that platform. I think it's a bit misleading for them to keep pointing out that 52% of the country is against this bill. Statistically, that might be true, but at least half of those don't think the bill went far enough, not that we didn't want to see changes to the status quo. And because I've listened with interest to Wendell Potter, the former Cigna executive-turned-whistleblower and Dr. Howard Dean who managed to get universal coverage for children in Vermont under his Governorship, that this at least gets our foot in the door I would say our 26% + the already established support from 48% gives the Dems a 74% to 26% advantage!

  • Health Insurers cannot deny children health insurance because of pre-existing conditions. A ban on the discrimination in adults will take effect in 2014.
  • Businesses with fewer than 50 employees will get tax credits covering up to 50% of employee premiums.
  • Seniors will get a rebate to fill the so-called "donut hole" in Medicare drug coverage, which severely limits prescription medication coverage expenditures over $2,700. As of next year, 50 percent of the donut hole will be filled.
  • The cut-off age for young adults to continue to be covered by their parents' health insurance rises to the age 26.
  • Lifetime caps on the amount of insurance an individual can have will be banned. Annual caps will be limited, and banned in 2014.
  • A temporary high-risk pool will be set up to cover adults with pre-existing conditions. Health care exchanges will eliminate the program in 2014.
  • New plans must cover checkups and other preventative care without co-pays. All plans will be affected by 2018.
  • Insurance companies can no longer cut someone when he or she gets sick.
  • Insurers must now reveal how much money is spent on overhead.
  • Any new plan must now implement an appeals process for coverage determinations and claims.
  • New screening procedures will be implemented to help eliminate health insurance fraud and waste.
  • Medicare payment protections will be extended to small rural hospitals and other health care facilities that have a small number of Medicare patients.
  • Non-profit Blue Cross organizations will be required to maintain a medical loss ratio -- money spent on procedures over money incoming -- of 85 percent or higher to take advantage of IRS tax benefits.
  • Chain restaurants will be required to provide a "nutrient content disclosure statement" alongside their items. Expect to see calories listed both on in-store and drive-through menus of fast-food restaurants sometime soon.
  • The bill establishes a temporary program for companies that provide early retiree health benefits for those ages 55‐64 in order to help reduce the often-expensive cost of that coverage.
  • A two‐year temporary credit (up to a maximum of $1 billion) is in the bill to encourage investment in new therapies for the prevention and treatement of diseases.
  • The Secretary of Health and Human Services will set up a new Web site to make it easy for Americans in any state to seek out affordable health insurance options The site will also include helpful information for small businesses.
  • A ten percent tax will be imposed on indoor tanning services. This tax, which replaced the proposed tax on cosmetic surgery, would be effective for services on or after July 1, 2010.
I'm pretty sure that last one is the one that really makes orange Minority Speaker John Boehners blood boil. The nerve of those sneaky Democrats sneaking this into a health care reform bill just to spite him!

Friday, March 19, 2010

March 19, 2003 - I Want a 'Do Over'

Right now, if you've been watching the news at all, you're probably knee deep in health care and whip counts and wondering if Speaker Pelosi will have 216 votes by Sunday. However, do you remember what happened seven years ago today? The Bush-Cheney regime launched the war in Iraq! For some reason,the majority of the media doesn't seem to care about it anymore. Quick fyi;one broadcaster hasn't forgotten and asked Nancy Pelosi about it last Thursday. The clip is below. Getting back to my point; Remember how the Bushies acted as though the 'mission' would be a cakewalk? They implied marching into Iraq to do as we please would be as easy as it was to free Kuwait twelve years earlier. A funny thing happened on the way to relabeling the oil fields for BP, Chevron, Exxon, Shell and Texaco -- the Iraqi's fought back! To this day, I find the fact that many U.S. leaders were dumbfounded that insurgency developed amazing. What do they think would happen here if another country invaded us?

Think about all our different missions or at least the one's easily remembered. First we were going there to rid Iraq of WMD (oops),  then it was to end a regime, then to develop a free Iraq, on to training the Iraqi's so they can do the fighting, and after stealing a second election, Bush decided he'd advance the ideal of democracy. Since everything was going so splendidly, we moved on to helping secure the population. I still find it ironic that many of them had 20th century services until we bombed them, now they don't even have running water in many places. Remember how another rationale was that we were going to "fight the terrorists in Iraq so that we wouldn't have to fight them here," in America. Nobody has ever explained why we couldn't keep fighting those terrorists in Afghanistan, where they were! This was arguably the worst decision any American leader has ever made. Historians will sort it out, in textbooks being cooked up by McCarthy-loving dipshits in Texas! Bush, Cheney and Rove will be smiling in approval.

Remember this famous Dubya quote while standing on an aircraft carrier: “On Thursday, I visited the USS Abraham Lincoln, now headed home after the longest carrier deployment in recent history. I delivered good news to the men and women who fought in the cause of freedom: Their mission is complete, and major combat operations in Iraq have ended.” [5/3/03] All these years later, this administration still has supporters even though every reason they used to invade and occupy Iraq has been debunked. Nothing will be learned from these grievous mistakes. The fact that the current administration refuses to investigate these crimes gives me every reason to believe it will happen again.

None of us will forget the tragedy of 9/11/01 when 3000 people died on U.S. soil. As of right now, 4385 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq and over 30,000 wounded. And then there's the fact that an estimated 30-40,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed in the fighting. Can anyone explain to me that attacking a country with no ties to that fateful day and the loss of even more lives than occured that day has justified this invasion?

An interesting article I read today: Full El Al flight took off on 9/11 from JFK to Tel Aviv

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hate Speech Now Encouraged by U.S. Churches

These are the kind of stories that really bother me. How can anyone call themselves "Christian" while promoting these kind of "rallies?" There is absolutely nothing in the Bible about God hating homosexuals. Since this often repeated falsehood has always bothered me, a while back I looked up the passage of the infamous famous quote below and read it in it's full context.
"If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them." — Leviticus 20:13
As far as I can interpret, two angels disguised as men came to the town of Sodom one evening. Abraham's nephew Lot met them at the city gate and invited them to stay with him. That night, all the men of Sodom, gathered at Lot's door and demanded that he release the strangers to them so that they could "know" them. Lot, being a good host, refused this request and offered the mob his two virgin daughters instead saying, "do to them whatever you like." What a great dad! Because of the widespread and largely accepted interpretation of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, two cities God allegedly destroyed, the word "sodomy" has made it into our lexicon synonymous with anal intercourse and God's wrath. What I get out of this story is, the Bible teaching that it is ok to rape (including gang rape) and dehumanize women (even your own flesh and blood), but not men - because that would just be wrong! These idiots with their stupid, ignorant, hateful signs have never opened any book, including the Bible. Mahatma Gandhi said it best, "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

One of the Republican radio personalities I respect is Michael Smerconish. He really is a middle-of-the-road kind of guy. Even when I disagree with his points, he's at least made a logical case as to why I should consider those positions. In this instance, he nailed it! Smerconish wrote an Op-Ed about how Albert Snyder, the father of a fallen soldier is suing the Westboro Baptist Church and Fred Phelps for picketing outside his son’s funeral. According to a lower court’s recounting of the facts: “They traveled to Matthew Snyder’s funeral in order to publicize their message of God’s hatred of America for its tolerance of homosexuality.” Oh, and for the record, Synder’s son was not gay! Please take a few minutes to read what these radicals did at his son's funeral: Head Strong Free and hateful speech vs the right to gather Then watch the Smerconish interview on Hardball with added details.

This appalling photo was taken at the Snyder funeral. These kids are not old enough to even understand what the ramifications of these signs are. They won't have a chance to grow up as compassionate human beings. Very sad.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Keith Olbermann's Tribute to his Dad

Re-posted in entirety from Baseball Nerd, the official MLBlog of MSNBC's Keith Olbermann. Since Keith let his viewers into his world and I posted his February 24, 2010 Special Comment about the need of health care reform based on his own experiences, I wanted to share a son's memory of his father.

Theodore C. Olbermann, 1929-2010

My father died, in the city of his birth, New York, at 3:50 EST this afternoon.

Though the financial constraints of his youth made college infeasible, he accomplished the near-impossible, becoming an architect licensed in 40 states. Much of his work was commercial, for a series of shoe store chains and department stores. There was a time in the 1970's when nearly all of the Baskin-Robbins outlets in the country had been built to his design, and under his direction. Through much of my youth and my early adult life, it was almost impossible to be anywhere in this country and not be a short drive to one of "his" stores.

My Dad was predeceased last year by my mother, Marie, his wife of nearly 60 years. He died peacefully after a long fight against the complications that ensued after successful colon surgery last September at the New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center. My sister Jenna and I were at his side, and I was reading him his favorite James Thurber short stories, as he left us.

I can't say enough about Dr. Jeff Milsom and his team at the hospital, and all of those physicians and nurses and staffers in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit who looked after my Dad all this time, and kept him in their hearts. And I feel the same way about all of you who have expressed your best wishes and prayers to him, and to me, and to our family.

My Dad was my biggest booster. A day after I was hired by CNN in the summer of 1981 as a two-week vacation relief sports reporter, I traveled by train to my childhood hometown, and walked from the station towards my folks' house. I was stopped half a dozen times before I got to my Dad's office by people congratulating me on my impending television debut. There was, of course, only one way they could have known. My Dad, the press agent.

Of course it was he and my Mom who took me to my first Yankees games (even though my father nursed a delightful grudge against the team for trading away his favorite players, Steve Souchock and Snuffy Stirnweiss - in 1948 and 1950). But as my interest in the sport began to take the shape of a dreamt-of career, it was my Dad also sacrificed family vacations so we could buy ever more tickets to Yankee games. When we could afford both games and vacations, four times those vacations were to Spring Training.

He was my inspiration, and will always remain so. His bravery these last six months cannot be measured. He is as much my hero now, as he was when I was five years old.

Texas Education Board Approves Curriculum Changes By Far-Right

"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross."
- Sinclair Lewis 1935 novel "It Can't Happen Here". 
"We are on our way!"  Captain - 2010

Will Texas please secede already! This redneck haven for religeous zealots is spear-heading the destruction of America as we knew it. Ultraconservatives wielded their power over hundreds of subjects this week, introducing and rejecting amendments on everything from the civil rights movement to global politics. The far-right faction of the Texas State Board of Education succeeded in injecting conservative ideals into social studies, history and economics lessons that will be taught to millions of students for the next decade. Teachers in Texas will be required to cover the Judeo-Christian influences of the nation's Founding Fathers, but not highlight the philosophical rationale for the separation of church and state. Curriculum standards also will describe the U.S. government as a "constitutional republic," rather than "democratic," and students will be required to study the decline in value of the U.S. dollar, including the abandonment of the gold standard. In addition to learning the Bill of Rights, the board specified a reference to the Second Amendment right to bear arms in a section about citizenship in a U.S. government class.

As the nation’s second-largest textbook market, Texas has enormous leverage over publishers, who often “craft their standard textbooks based on the specs of the biggest buyers.” Indeed, as The Washington Monthly has reported, “when it comes to textbooks, what happens in Texas rarely stays in Texas.”
What the hell is happening to this country? This is a very scary decision. I'm just going to post the link to the article on Think Progress, there's nothing I can add that won't piss me off even more than I already am.

Think Progress

Thomas Jefferson being removed in favor of religious right icon John Calvin? Refusing to require that students learn that the Constitution prevents the U.S. government from promoting one religion over all others? Striking the word “democratic” from the description of the U.S. government, instead terming it a “constitutional republic.”? Every single day, this country is taking a giant step backwards.  The thing that is striking is that all these nutjobs waving their Constitutions in one hand with their Bible in the other won't even see the significance of striking Jefferson from the curriculum. This is how the right wing will re-invent generation of students at a time. Theocracy, here we come...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Utah Governor Signs Law Charging Women With Murder for Miscarriages

Just when you wonder how far the right wing will go in pushing women back to second class citizenry where they feel they belong, something amazing happens...they top even their own dreams. On Monday, a controversial Utah bill that charges pregnant women and girls with murder for having miscarriages caused by "intentional or knowing" acts, was signed into law by Gov. Gary Herbert. I'm clearly not the only one fearing that the law will open up a Pandora's box of legal consequences. Melissa Bird, executive director of the Planned Parenthood Action Council in Utah, said, “I’m thrilled the media have picked this up, but we need to start from the beginning. What happens to women who are in abusive relationships? What happens if a woman threatens to leave the abuser, falls down the stairs and loses the baby? What if the abuser beats the woman and causes a miscarriage? Could he turn her in? Who would the prosecutor believe? What happens if a drug addict who’s trying to get clean loses her baby? Will she be brought up on murder charges?” Rep. Wimmer claims such women would not be prosecuted because they didn’t knowingly act to terminate their pregnancies. But Bird says that is not necessarily the point. “Even if the prosecutor doesn’t take the case, nothing precludes a woman from being brought to the attention of law enforcement in the first place. What we’re doing is driving women underground and preventing them from getting health care and prenatal care. This is extreme. Mark my words. If they can get away with this, they will try to make abortion illegal in the state of Utah. People need to wake up.”

Ironically, three days after Utah’s House and Senate passed Rep. Wimmer’s Criminal Homicide and Abortion Amendments bill, the Senate refused to even debate legislation that would have allowed teachers to provide comprehensive sex education to students who had their parent’s permission. Current state law says teachers can’t advocate or endorse the use of contraceptive methods or devices, according to Bird. “If you teach about chlamydia, you’re allowed to say, ‘This is a condom and this is chlamydia.’ The law would have allowed teachers to say, ‘If you’re having sex, you can use a condom to prevent chlamydia. Abstinence is the best way, but if you’re not abstinent, use a condom.’

A statewide poll conducted in September by Planned Parenthood found that 67 percent of Utahns believe comprehensive sex-ed would "likely reduce the number of unintended teen pregnancies."

I’m not a legal expert, but this law seems to be a direct violation of Roe V. Wade. Unfortunately, with the current Supreme Court makeup, Roe V. Wade could get overturned. Then you can expect to see some real gender based enslavement. Even the most fascist Islamics claim their women are ”free” while forcing them to wear a burka in 100 degree weather and restrict their movements by requiring a male ”escort”. Conservative America has so much in common with those they call the ’enemy of the West' yet they refuse to see it. I'd also like to add that these far right extremists forcing their ideals on the rest of us without taking responsibility for their part in the problem really piss me off. This being the fact that through abstinence only education, they’re not informing young women of their options. How can we hold a young person responsible for their actions when we have not armed them with the information they need to make responsible decisions? Abstinence only is a proven failure! Yes, tell the kids that abstinence is the preferred way if you must, but give them the tools to make better decisions once they become sexually active.

Vigilance is required of us all to stop these Christian End-Timers who believe all women are property, should walk behind men and be silent unless spoken to. They chip away at human rights and all our freedoms to achieve their own vision of the world – not much different than those radical Islamic fundamentalists they so love to denigrate.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thursday Thoughts - 3/11/10

Some headlines from today that I thought I'd Quick Comment on:

Dumb and Dumber: Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann team up for fundraiser. One will be talking about 're-education camps' and the other needs to enroll in one.

House Votes For Ethics Committee To Re-Open Eric Massa Investigation: Yes by all means investigate this nutball, but don't worry about George W. Bush and Dick Cheney's illegalities. What a country! One clown groped a bunch of men and resigned. The other two groped our country leading to 4300 dead Americans and 30,000 wounded. Where the hell has our common sense gone?!

House Dems Will Forge Ahead Without Stupak Language: It's about time! This anti-choice amendment should've never gotten this far. The Hyde Amendment of 1977 is in place restricting federal money for abortion excepting rape, incest or a woman's life.  Stupak's language actually goes further than current law which is why there's such an uprising amongst pro-choicers. This is about stopping women from being able to pay for insurance that covers abortion at all...even when women have paid for their own insurance with their own money. If "Insurer A" gets federal dollars and "Woman A" has a policy with them, she will not get covered because of that! This is another backhanded restriction on women's reproductive rights. I don't want my tax dollars going to Viagra either Bart, what do you think about that?!

If Obama Supports Public Option, It Could Pass Senate:  I'm very sure this is true.  This is the thing that bothers me.  Why has Obama taken every chance he's gotten to say that the public option is not essential to health care reform yet he backs the mandate? I'm very worried about whatever kind of backroom deal may have been worked out with insurance companies. Keeping my fingers crossed that the bill we get helps the uninsured, not the insurers.  Not feeling great at this time although Wendell Scott says this is a start.

God Helps With Personal Decisions, Most Americans Say: Say what? The confusion for me in such statements is that most religious people claim to believe in personal responsibility. So why wouldn't they want to take personal responsibility for their own decisions? Oh that's right, when they do something wrong, they use the "devil made me do it!" Idiots.

Finally, let's hope for full recoveries for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's wife and daughter. They were hospitalized today – after their minivan was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer truck on an interstate highway in suburban Virginia. Reid's wife, Landra, 69 has a broken back and neck and their daughter, Lana Barringer, 49 has a neck injury and facial lacerations.

I really hope some fright-wingnut doesn't say something stupid about this being some kind of karma for Reid's support of HCR. How bad is it, that I feel confidant that one of those losers, whether it's Limbaugh or Beck will go there?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Moore and Maddow Discuss Capitalism, The Stupak Dozen and More

I really enjoyed this segment from "The Rachel Maddow Show" when Oscar award winning documentary filmmaker Michael Moore joined Rachel to talk about a variety of issues upon the DVD release of his latest documentary, Capitalism: A Love Story.  One of the things they discussed was Moore's congressman Bart Stupak (D-MI) flexing his anti-abortion muscles, his continuing deception of his membership with the C Street Family and who exactly was paying his rent since the $600 he claimed at that address was waaay below fair market value. If anyone ever thought Rachel only goes after Republicans, they need to watch several episodes of her reporting about some questionable antics of this Stupak dude! Obviously they also discussed Moore's latest movie, touching on how the Republicans want to continue the proven failed policies of the very recent past. It really is amazing that the near collapse of the economy was directly related to the lack of rules and regulations in place...which still has not been addressed, even now with the Democrats in charge...which was a large reason they got sent there in huge numbers, but most of them don't seem to get it. I also had to chuckle when Moore did an imitation of the wimpy Democrats because I've been saying everything that he did for 14 months, and in fact have done a near identical imitation of them! You really have to wonder what it is that elected Democrats lack that Republicans have waaay too much of. Why can't Dems assert the majority status that they were elected to? It irritates me that they still haven't figured out that they're going to get slaughtered if they continue to act like wimps to please conservatives which still has no upside for them!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pass HCR Now...if only to get rid of Limbaugh!

Hate radio host Rush Limbaugh has been one of health care reform’s most viscious opponents, warning that “human beings will die earlier than normal” under the “freedom killing” and “life threatening” plan, and calling for it to be “aborted.” Yesterday, Limbaugh uttered a few simple words that we could've only dreamed hearing. He said that if health care passes and all his fears are realized, he’ll leave the country. A caller asked him where he would go if health care reform passes and his response was,
"I’ll just tell you this, if this passes and it’s five years from now and all that stuff gets implemented — I am leaving the country. I’ll go to Costa Rica."
If ever there was a rally cry to get a health reform bill passed, that was it! There's something we've got to keep to ourselves though; Costa Rica has universal health care, one of the best health systems in Latin America...don't tell Rush!

The Costa Rican healthcare system is rated very highly on an international level, and the country’s citizens enjoy the health and life expectancy equal to that of more developed nations. These accolades come courtesy of strong, universal health insurance and excellent public and private hospitals.
Costa Rica’s public health insurance system, commonly known as the Caja, is available country-wide to all citizens and legal residents. There are ten major public hospitals – four in San Jose, including the Children’s Hospital – affiliated with the Caja. For non-emergencies and everyday medical care, small clinics, known as EBAIS (pronounced ay-vy-ice), are located in almost every community.
Read more on Huffington Post

While we can't be sure exactly what Limpy is looking for, it's clear he doesn't want to be anywhere with government run health care so Costa Rica is out. When asked where Rush might find his absolute, perfect private sector health plan, Markos Moulitsis (Daily KOS) said, "Well, it wouldn‘t be Costa Rica, but I‘ll tell you, what would probably work—I think Somalia would be great for Rush. I mean, it‘s a libertarian paradise. Everybody has guns. There‘s not much of a government. There sure as heck isn‘t government-run health care. So, I think, if you‘re talking about Rush‘s world view, I can‘t imagine a better place than Somalia—as long as he can find himself a nice $20 million pad in Mogadishu."

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Hurt Locker Bats .667 at the Oscars

With The Hurt Locker winning 6 of the 9 Oscars it was nominated for including Best Picture, I thought I'd share my thoughts. I finally rented it Saturday partially based on the interview with Director Kathryn Bigelow and Screenwriter/Producer Mark Boal that I saw a couple weeks ago on The Rachel Maddow Show. For me, the movie was suspenseful and gave us a look at the human psyche under the strains of war. The movie felt like an intense portrayal of real-life sacrifice with the soul robbing realities of war which kind of explain post-traumatic stress disorder in a personal way. I don't want to say I enjoyed it, it's not that kind of movie. However, I stongly recommend it -- it is excellent. Incidently, Bigelow is the first woman in the 82-year history of the Oscars to win best director.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Leaked Document Confirms Republican Scare Tactics

Yesterday, the RNC accidently confirmed what seemed obvious. An internal fundraising PowerPoint presentation was leaked disclosing that the GOP‘s fund raising plan was a simple one and not at all out of character for their party: raise money by capitalizing on fear of President Barack Obama and by promising to save the country from socialism. According to the letter,the small donors who are the targets of direct marketing are described under the heading “Visceral Giving.” Their motivations are listed as “fear;” “Extreme negative feelings toward existing Administration;” and “Reactionary.” Major donors, by contrast, are treated in a column headed “Calculated Giving.” Their motivations include: “Peer to Peer Pressure”; “access”; and “Ego-Driven.” Here's a surprise -- Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele claimed he was unaware of the document. This guy is either really stupid, thinks everyone else is, or a little of both. It's actually kind of comical, it's not just those of us "on the other side" who think many Republican and/or Conservative voters are reactionary rubes...even the Republican officials think that!  They should all give a big fat thank you to Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly for the nightly propaganda feed, thereby dumbing down and scaring their constituents. Every loyal right-wing voter we see on television is a picture of reactionary.  Frankly, this idea isn't a shock. They've been using fear of the "black guy' since Obama was elected. What is somewhat surprising is that they were careless enough that their tactics were leaked and confirmed on a somewhat "official" RNC fund raising document. Let's see if the Democrats have enough brains to use this against them....but don't hold your breath.

Last night on Countdown (guest hosted by Lawrence O'Donnell), Howard Dean appeared to discuss the obvious lack of respect the party has for its own voters. Later Rachel Maddow also took a look at the Republicans latest dip into the world of bizarre with this latest round of hysteria including how they will save the country from “The Evil Empire” which is apparently President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid. They go on to depict Obama as the Joker from “Batman,” while Pelosi is depicted as Cruella De Ville and Reid as Scooby Doo. What will they come up with next?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Toyota's Continue To Drive Themselves!

Just sitting here wondering what the backlash against GM would've been had they recalled 8 million cars, did cheap half-ass repairs and sent their customers on their merry way?  Toyota's problems are safety issues, not door trim falling off.  People have died and many accidents are attributed to the miscellaneous failures of these cars.  Before these concurrent problems, there was definitely a double-standard in how the media covered failures of the American manufacturers compared to their foreign counterparts. It's pretty clear that Toyota became a victim of their own success, just like the Big 3 did in the 70's when they made mediocre cars and expected customer loyalty.  It wasn't until the mid-90's that the American manufacturers understood what they did wrong, but it took them several more years to put good quality, stylish cars back on the street.  I've not had major issues with my vehicles, but as someone who's had to listen to foreign car owners give me their "expertise" in the errors of my ways of being a lifetime Chevy owner, I'm getting sooo much satisfaction out of this debacle.  Maybe it's time for Toyota owners to take another look at Ford and GM.  Edmunds and even Consumer Reports (in some cases) agree.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wingnuts Prefer a Raygun Over a Grant

ray gun: a gun that can fire bursts of usually destructive or lethal rays
grant: to bestow or confer, esp. by a formal act
That explains it!

Just when you think you've heard it all. Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) wants Congress to tell the U.S Treasury to replace former President Ulysses S. Grant with Ronald Reagan on the $50 bill. McHenry announced his bill Tuesday. Surprise -- he has 13 Republican co-sponsors! Does anyone besides me think there's a little political gamesmanship when a southern Republican wants to remove Grant from the $50? For anyone who was out of class while the Civil War was being taught, Grant was a Union general during the War who led the North to victory and later became the nation's 18th president. McHenry said Reagan transformed the nation's political and economic thinking and argued that "every generation needs its own heroes." The transformation?! Oh, he did that all right! Let's see, he sold arms to Iran to fund the Contras in Nicaragua (which had been specifically outlawed by an act of Congress) in a little thing called Iran-Contra that history wants to forget. He kept American hostages in Iran from being released until he was sworn in. He gave everyone a tax cut in year one, but raised them every single year after that on the middle class. He cut the income tax rates of the top personal tax bracket from 70% to 28% in 7 years while social security and medicare taxes increased. He began taxing unemployment benefits retroactively. Then he deregulated everything he could and pissed on the middle class with his "trickle down" economics experiment that continues to haunt us. He once said,"Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem"...while tripling the size of government! He was against healthcare for veterans provided by the same government that asked to sacrifice their life. He gave us the largest spending increases from any previous administration. He was the originator of "death panels' wanting to eliminate Medicare for our seniors and asking them to go buy private insurance instead (sound familiar?). He gave us a large household tax increase by adding a huge surcharge on gasoline. He increased Cold War related defense spending that caused large budget deficits, the U.S. trade deficit expansion, and contributed to the Savings and Loan crisis. Oh, did I mention he funded and helped Saddam during his chemical warfare against Iran? ...

Given all the neoconservative “outrage” over the financial misdeeds arising from the UN’s socialist oil-for-food program during the 1990s, when the UN embargo was killing untold numbers of Iraqi kids, a non-partisan thinker would believe that there would be an equal amount of outrage over a much more disgraceful scandal — the U.S. delivery of weapons of mass destruction to Saddam Hussein during the Reagan administration in the 1980s. As everyone should know, it was those WMDs that Bush, Cheney and the rest of the war profiteers ultimately used to terrify the American people into supporting the invasion and war of aggression against Iraq, a war that has killed or maimed thousands of innocent people — people who had absolutely nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks in the United States. As we know, WMD's in Iraq were never found.

Yes, every generation does need heroes, but I'd like to think we can do better than a "B" movie actor turned imperial ruler who charmed his way into America's heart only because of the failed presidency of not-ready-for-primetime Jimmy Carter. I for one believe Jimmy Carter was the last truly honorable man who was our president, although I'm still hopeful that Barack Obama will wake up and live up to the man I believe he really is.

One last thing about Jimmy Carter, he was actually right, but nobody listened. If you've got a couple minutes, watch this youtube video. He called it (our current plight) 33 years ago!

Pres. Jimmy Carter Declares End on Foreign Oil Dependence

For more facts about Reagan's true legacy, I highly recommend, Tear Down This Myth: How The Reagan Legacy Has Distorted Our Policies and Haunts Our Future by Will Bunch. Looks like the newest edition has a slight name change.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Anthony Weiner Calls Out Fox News for Lying About HCR

This guys legend is growing! Last week he took on the GOP on the House floor, today Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) took the hosts of "Fox & Friends" to task criticizing the ongoing Fox campaign to "lie" and spread "disinformation" about health care reform. After co-host Steve Doocy asked why Democrats whose districts oppose health reform should vote for it, Weiner turned the question back on the ill-prepared hosts. This is the kind of thing Democrats should've been doing all along. Weiner, along with Rep. Alan Grayson, Senators Al Franken and Sherrod Brown are giving me a little hope for a more progressive Democratic party in the future.

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