Archive for July, 2009

Yo Mama Feelgood

July 30, 2009

Forget about health care reform.  You wanna feel good, view this video.  There is no prescription drug, no medical test in the world that is as healing and envigorating as what you are about to see.  You probably have viewed this already, as it is getting millions of hits on You Tube.  Enjoy!

Be advised though, that I am going to hit you with a new post on health care reform.  So live it up today; tomorrow we continue to learn.

Maine Visions

July 29, 2009

My week in Maine has been rejuvenating, although very wet and soggy.  Here are some of the high points.

And you ask me why I feel so at home here in Maine.........

And you ask me why I feel so at home here in Maine.........

Glow-in-the-dark flowers

Glow-in-the-dark flowers

an old cottage.......

An old cottage.......

A sleek, new cottage

A new cottage.......

Sturdy grace

Sturdy grace........

Too much of a bad thing......

Too much of a bad thing......

012

Too little of a good thing..........

Too little of a good thing..........

And of course, what all of need all of the time....

And of course, what we all need all of the time.

I hope you enjoyed the beauty here in Maine.  Above all, remember that this is OUR country and as hard as they may try, no one, not a Democrat, nor a Republican, nor Bush/Cheney, nor Blue Dog Democrats, NO ONE, can take it away from us.  Please read Roger Cohen’s Op-Ed from the New York Times to savor our culture, our ups, our downs, but certainly our strength and determination to bounce back.  Do not short America.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/27/opinion/27iht-edcohen.html

Force Health Care Down Their Throats

July 28, 2009

I have reading assignments for you on health care.  First of all, Paul Krugman of the N.Y. Times summarizes the real enemies of the Obama Plan, namely his own party’s  Blue Dog Democrats:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/27/opinion/27krugman.html?_r=1

Additionally, even though you might not agree with Charles Krauthammer’s conservative outlook, he hits the nail exactly on the head in this article from the Washington Post.  As I wrote months ago, there can be no real health care reform without tort reform:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/23/AR2009072302723.html

So the Democrats are too entwined with the trial lawyers and insurance companies and the Republicans just want President Obama to fail.   What lofty ideals our elected officials embody!

Now read Robert Reich and GET ON IT.

http://robertreich.blogspot.com/2009/07/future-of-universal-health-care-right.html

Email, twitter, phone or write your representative and let’s get this done.

Muchas grassy ass.

I DID NOT HAVE SEXUAL RELATIONS WITH THAT WOMAN

July 28, 2009

8 YEARS AFTER CLINTON LEFT THE D.C. AREA:

ATT00000

Yo Stupid Mama: Stupidity Versus Ignorance

July 27, 2009

Today is Sunday, July 26, 2009.  Mick Jagger is 66 years old, Sarah Palin has left the office of the Governor of Alaska and Yo Mama has forgiven her own stupidity.  If you have been reading my posts on this site for the last year and a half, you know my intolerance for stupidity.  In reviewing this past week’s racial incident in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I still have no patience with stupidity but have learned that, as long as the offender is aware of his stupidity, admits it, and then tries to make conciliatory amends, all can be forgiven.  Stupidity is the silly side of ignorance, which is more often than not ill-intentioned.  To be deliberate in one’s ignorance is to close out any other alternatives.

Other than the fact that Mick Jagger hit this ripe old age, I just felt his birthday deserved mention.  Mick is one smart cookie.  No stupidity there.  Pushing 70 years old, he still has a full tour schedule.  He knows his talents and stays healthy to continue his trek.

Not so with our Sarah.  She has no insight into her own limitations so therefore she cannot better her outlook and prospective horizons.  Pray tell: how in Heaven and earth can our Sarah aspire to higher elective office when she has quit as Alaska’s governor because, self-admittedly, she could not get done what she wanted to get done?  Does she really think that politics on the national and international level is so much easier than governing Alaska?  Look.  She is 45 years old.  If she has not been able to grasp what the issues are and finesse some solutions, she is NEVER going to be able to understand the intricacies of politics and government.  I think she has had quite a shot at developing and demonstrating her expertise in her chosen field.  She failed and she should just sail off into the sunset.  Not only is she stupid, but she is lazy, a fatal combination in our public world of politics.  No admission of stupidity,  no corrective measures. Therefore no forgiveness.

MY stupidity is astounding.  However, if nothing else, Yo Mama is honest.  As the President said the other day about events in Cambridge, this is a “teachable moment.“  The last time I flew to Maine, I went to the wrong metropolitan Washington, D.C. airport.  This time, I was even more stupid.  The night before my trip, I turned on the computer to print out my boarding pass.  Lo and behold, I realized that I had booked a 9 P.M. flight instead of the A.M. flight.  Alas, alas, what to do?  To change the flight, which cost me $300 round trip, would have added an additional $1300.  Not an option.  So I decided to fly standby.  I arrived at the ticket counter the next morning and admitted my own stupidity to the ticket agent.  Mind you, in my whole life I have never had an airline employee be helpful, much less be kind.  This man was both.  He told me that people make this same mistake all the time.  He then proceeded to assign me a regular seat on the plane and waive the $50 standby fee.  I hugged him.  In thanks, I promise NEVER to badmouth airline employees in general nor attack them specifically for the rules by which they must abide.  Reconciliation, right?

Regarding the incident between Henry Louis Gates Jr. and the Cambridge police, President Obama was correct, as Mo Dowd pointed out in her column today, in both of his meetings with the press.  Police Officer Crowley DID act stupidly when he arrested Gates for his disorderly behavior in refusing to exit his own house.  Also, Gates probably DID overreact to the policeman’s lack of respect for his rightful presence on his own property.  So President Obama, in his second, impromptu press conference, admitted his poor choice of words in describing the Cambridge police as “acting stupidly”.  However, he did use this as an opportunity to reconcile the two sides, hopefully bringing about a dialogue between the parties so that this sort of incident might not happen again, at least not in Cambridge.

Fat chance.  Even our President added at that second public address that he is adamant that racial profiling is a real phenomenon.  Let me tell you a story.  A number of years ago, we were friends with an African-American couple in our neighborhood.  Both of them were highly educated.  He held the number two position with one of the premier African-American charities for over twenty years.  She was an event planner who could count endless, high profile personal and professional contacts as her friends and colleagues.  They, at that time, had one child left at home, a youngster still in elementary school.  One night, their child invited a friend to sleep over and  just as everyday occurrences happen to all of us in the course of raising children, this young guest woke up in the middle of the night crying for her mommy and daddy.  So after speaking with the guest’s parents, the husband offered to drive her home.  Well, walk a mile in his shoes, folks.  All the way on that trip, he was petrified of possibly being pulled over by a policeman and the fear of the consequences, totally manufactured and pre-ordained, forced him to drive at 30 miles per hour, even on the highways.  He related to us his terror of being pulled over and the cop observing a screaming white child in the car with a black man.  Needless to say, this fear that the husband had is something, a reality, he lives with every day of his life.  It is not just a hypothetical, irrational fear on the back burner of his thoughts.  It is with him every waking moment of every day.

So yes, racial profiling IS alive and well and flourishing in this great country of ours.  How ironic, though, that the latest episode involved one of the most prominent African-American men of our time, who, by the way, is married to a white woman and has inter-racial children, so do not talk to me of reverse discrimination.  It is almost as if this event was preordained by the aligning of the moon and stars to prove to us that this horrendous prejudice exists.  If Gates, the mild-mannered, 55 year old, cane-using, Harvard professor is hauled up on charges, can you imagine what the consequences could be for your average, run-of-the-mill African-American or Hispanic male?  I, like my friend driving his child’s playmate home in the middle of the night, shudder to think.

Nevertheless, all three parties, Officer Crowley, Professor Gates and President Obama have agreed to meet over a beer at the White House.  With the mob mentality (on both sides) too long and too often the overriding factor in race relations, perhaps this small meeting could have huge consequences.  In our racial outlook, we must begin on an individual level, one on one.  Perhaps if we familiarized ourselves with one person of another color, ethnicity or sexual preference we could generalize the acceptance, the fact that this person is really not that different from us, certainly not deserving of less human dignity and rights, to others who may be different from us.  So even though Crowley and Gates acted somewhat stupidly in their initial encounter, their willingness to reconcile and consider each other as valuable human beings is somewhat of a happy ending.  And who other than Barack Obama could have engineered this détente?

This time-consuming nonsense must cease mainly because those in the majority, enjoying all the frills that come with that position, may one day find themselves in the minority.  If the majority treat the minority poorly and less than equal, the tables could be turned at some point in the future.  We need only to look at the minority position in which the GOP currently finds itself: they would much prefer the failure to establish health care reform, to have the President meet his “Waterloo”, than pass legislation for the benefit of our citizens.  They consider this possible, losing scenario as a win for their non-dominant party.  This is not productive or progressive thought.  Better to be justly motivated and fair from the get-go.

So here I am in Maine due to the kindness of a stranger.  As angry as I get with right wingers, militant Lefties, and yes, stupid people in general, I was the maddest at myself.  I figure if I could forgive my own stupidity, I probably could forgive stupidity in others.  A prerequisite though, must be the recognition, admission and reversal of that stupidity by the guilty party.

So to Officer Crowley, Professor Gates, Barack Obama, airline employees, even the GOP, let us start over, hopefully on a more peaceful, unified path.  As for our Sarah, not going to happen.  Admittedly, the initial charisma and raw talent she demonstrated upon being thrust on to the national political scene has been overtaken by her lack of interest in developing her mind and her absence of follow-up with hard work. Thus our Sarah is assuredly HER own Waterloo.  Her blindness to her own stupidity, wrapped up in her defensiveness, all but ensures that her ignorance will continue.  She is still in her self-righteous world made up of only herself.  No forgiveness here.   But hey Sarah, in all fairness, prove me wrong.  I am still open to reconciliation.

My lesson of the day: clinging to one’s stupidity is actually worse that the original fault of being stupid, for then our initial silliness enters into the more permanent, ingrained realm of ignorance.

Crime Takes a Holiday

July 23, 2009

Have you heard the news?  We are in a crime recession.  In major U. S. cities, such as San Francisco, New York and Washington, D.C., the overall crime rate has plunged significantly, in some places by 40%.  Here are D.C.’s latest figures:

D.C. Crime Statistics Through July 15

This data was obtained from the Metropolitan Police Department web site using its crime mapping application.

Crime Jan. 1-July 15, 2008 Jan. 1-July 15 2009 Change (#) Change (%)
Homicide 92 76 -16% -17%
Sex Abuse 229 167 -62 -27%
Robbery 2,210 2,273 +163 +3%
Assault 1,579 1,355 -224 -14%
Burglary 2,137 1,838 -299 -14%
Theft 9,226 9,679 +453 +5%
Motor Vehicle Theft 2,875 2,467 -408 -14%
Arson 24 28 +4 +17%
TOTAL 18,367 17,883 -484 -3%

No one is quite sure as to why this phenomenon has occurred.  I have some theories.  Natch.  Could the reason possibly be that we are witnessing so much crime amongst our lawmakers, politicians and business magnates that your run-of-the-mill street crime person  actually is getting his jollies vicariously just by watching all these elite idiots trip over their own criminal actions?  Could be.  After all, there are not enough hours in a day to commit crimes AND take in on the sidelines all the garbage going down in our halls of government, business and other loop-holed structures that make up our great country.

Let’s take on the murderers first.  Why bother to kill anyone and risk incarceration?  Just go out and slay your wife and children.  How many times has that been reported in the last six months?  Really though: a person who is found guilty of killing a child or two, or three, or four, never gets as severe  a sentence that would be handed down if the victim was a bona fide adult.  Could it be because children have no voting rights?  Or could it be that we place no value on our childrens’ lives?  You do realize that, per annum, we spend upwards of four times on each jailed criminal than we do on each child’s public education.  Further, now that we have an influx of white collar criminals in the pokey, are we going to upgrade the facilities to keep them living in the style to which they have become accustomed?  Should taxpayers cover the cost, for example, for a daily Wall Street Journal for Bernie Madoff?  Oops, I forgot.  He didn’t even read that newspaper when he was a free man.  He had no need for investment advice, since he took all the new money flowing into his company and used it to pay off the earlier investors,  plus add a bit more to his stash fund.

Why has sexual offenses declined?  Maybe it is because all a pervert has to do to relieve his “stress” is to plunk his rump down on any street corner and watch the parade of incredibly scantily dressed females — and males.  It dawned on me the other day just how skimpy most Americans dress.  Their tank tops plunge all the way down to their belly buttons, their industrial strength push-up bras elevate their contents up to their foreheads, their low-rise slacks make you think that we have had a crippling earthquake because the exposed cracks are long and wide and then the midriff shirts expose bellies like I have never before seen in public.  Thanks to our educational credo since the 1970’s, i.e. self esteem is the most important lesson we can impart to our kids regardless of educational failure, unhealthy principles of  living and laziness, there is no crisis of modesty here.The phrase “good job” has lost any meaning because it it so inappropriately and over used.  Hey — as long as you feel good about yourself, the outcome does not matter.  So the potential sexual predator has not much of a reason to commit a crime.  He has only to observe a cross-section of our happy, feel good, free-for-all society.

Talking about “feel good”, the drug dealings and offenses are also on the decline.  Hell, there is more profit in contraband cigarettes today than in crack or heroin.  The drug pipeline is now fueled by these cigarettes and also by prescription drugs.  Why would an addict need a drug dealer anymore when he has his own personal doctor or emergency room eager to hand out prescriptions for the cost of a nice, fat office visit fee?  Even many a parent who never met a prescription he didn’t like and finds the need for mood altering drugs just to get through life in general and compete on a par with his colleagues, now has a medicine cabinet filled to the brim with prescription drugs that his kids can tap into for whatever high they so desire.  Nah — no need for drug dealers anymore.

I do not know if automobile accident fatalities have gone up or down in number.  But since we appear loathe to make cell phoning and texting illegal (and I mean TOTALLY illegal, even hands-free cell phone use while driving a car), I bet that rate might increase.  Mo Dowd of the New York Times wrote on this disaster waiting to exponentially explode:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/22/opinion/22dowd.html?_r=1

Shoot: have you read about the scientists at Virginia Tech who have developed a special car so that blind people can drive?  Here is the link:

http://www.timesdispatch.com/rtd/news/state_regional/article/BLINDGAT15_20090715-090602/280058/

Sorry folks: I would rather be at the mercy of a texting teenage driver than a blind person behind the wheel.  Call me silly.  Call me stupid.  Call me irresponsible.

Finally, one area of crime that is increasing is that of hate crimes.  Please read this for an overview and some special statistics:

http://www.civilrights.org/publications/hatecrimes/nature-and-magnitude.html

The recent violation of Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. in his own home speaks volumes not only to the widespread discrimination afflicting our country but also to the individual anger of our civil servants supposedly free from any prejudices in their enforcement the law.  Today in the New York Times, Lawrence Bobo, W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard and colleague of Gates, wrote a powerful article on this incident.  You must read it:

http://www.theroot.com/views/what-do-you-call-black-man-phd

Whether the institutional, generalized fear of African-American males or the personal anger of the police officer is the main cause of this outrageous incident, the part that disgusts me the most is that the police officer, AFTER Gates presented to him his identification showing that indeed he lived at that address and his Harvard University I.D., STILL did not have the common decency and courtesy to apologize or stop the escalation of of the situation.  Moreover, the policeman refused to show Gates his own badge and identification.  Adding insult to injury, the policeman proceeded to arrest Gates for disorderly behavior.  He was then held, in handcuffs, for four hours at the police station.

So even though the overall crime statistics have fallen recently, one crime that is no where near going away is hate.  It is irrelevant if these hate crimes are motivated by race, gender, religion or just a meaningless difference between people; they are all horrible acts.

Yes, crime has taken a holiday of late.  However, there exists the potential for even more heinous crimes to flourish.  Just go and visit Cambridge, Massachusetts for confirmation.

A Mid-Summer Victory Garden

July 21, 2009
Dahlin' Dahlias

Dahlin' Dahlias

Precious Portalucca

Precious Portalucca

Cascading Caladia

Cascading Caladia

Even More Impatient

Even More Impatient

Geronimo Geraniums

Geronimo Geraniums

Do you get the fact that I adore anything REDRED is the new BLACK.

Some Healthcare Answers

July 21, 2009

Regarding my post yesterday, “Nothing New Under the Sun”, my plea for some answers to the health care reform issues was generously rewarded by my readers on the Daily KOS.  Their comments are informative, insightful and stress the importance of getting President Obama’s measure enacted so, at least, we have some sort of national program on the books.  Here is the link to Yo Mama’s Diary.  At the end of the article, you can click on “expand” so that the entirety of all the comments will pop up:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/7/20/755548/-Health-Care:-Nothing-New-Under-the-Sun

Pretty smart people, my commentators!

Nothing New Under the Sun

July 20, 2009

Can you please help me?

I am not understanding President Obama’s health care reforms.  His main reasons for instituting reforms are to provide all Americans with health care at affordable prices and to stop the waste and abuse in our current system that he firmly believes will be the downfall of our entire economy.  I have no clue how his proposals will overcome those obstacles.

Here is what I am absorbing.  Every American will have access to health care, regardless of their employment status and pre-existing medical conditions.  All well and good.  Wait: how are these benefits going to be paid for?  Small business owners will be subject to around an 8% cost to cover these plans.  How will this responsibility not affect our economy?  And supposedly, even if a small business has one or two employees who get very sick and thus, drive up the overall costs for the other employees, the costs to insure them will not rise.  This is a fairy tale.

Any new plan must go to the heart of the matter, i.e. reining in costs.  This will not be possible unless tort reform, or medical malpractice insurance, is similarly confronted and reformed.  To date, President Obama has not dealt with this issue:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/06/15/obama-consider-malpractice-reform-bid-win-doctor-backing-health-care-plan/

How can doctors, hospitals and other health care deliverers bring down the high cost of excessive and wasteful testing when no one has their backs in our incredibly litigious society?  Unless caps are put in place to limit the malpractice awards, the cost of “covering your ass”  medicine will continue to burgeon.  Furthermore, the cost of handling the paperwork by health care providers to the various insurance companies  is economically crippling in and of itself.  Some economists have estimated that the filing and processing of claims can eat up between 10% and 20% of  a medical facility’s budget.  Surely a single payer system would alleviate these unnecessary costs.  Do you have any other answers for me?

I am coming to the conclusion that capitalism and health care do not play well together.  The government, understandably hesitant about moving to a single payer system, thinks that by maintaining “competition” the market will right itself.  Hogwash.  Independent private insurance companies have been calling the shots and bilking the American people for decades.  With some profit estimates upwards of 30%, do not tell me that the insurance companies are not motivated primarily by their ever-increasing bottom lines.  Moreover, there is no other major industry, besides the health care industry, that is regulated by and subject to the whims and profit motives  of another capitalistic sector of the economy.  Like it or not, for-profit regulation of our medical sector will not afford the reforms we need.  Capitalistic profit motives have no place in a truly accessible, non-discriminatory health care system whose main goal is not to bust our economy.

It is not just the Republicans in Congress who are bucking President Obama’s plan; there are many progressive Democrats objecting as well.  I tend to agree with them.  What good is a replacement health care policy that has no caps on costs, no restrictions on soaring  premiums and places the burden of meeting these costs on private businesses?  It is taking from Peter to pay Paul.  To me, it sounds just like the “system” we already have.

Peter Orzag, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, has called these GOP and Democrat health care dissenters “spoilers” of a sort:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/19/orszag-republicans-trying_n_239888.html

Orzag just may be wrong.  With President Obama’s popularity ratings dipping below 60% for the first time since he took office coupled with the historical fact that new legislation has the highest chance of enactment if proposed during a new President’s first year in office, I do understand the urgency to get health care reform done.  But fellas, is a new half-assed plan better than the half-assed plan we already have?  If passed, will this “new” program not crumble beneath our feet because it does not address the true reform we need?  Will this economic devastation bring down our entire economy?  And if that happens, will we finally get the single-payer, universal insurance we so desperately need?

I heard an interesting story on the radio the other day.  An historian was recalling the early days of NASA.  He told of the effort to send a live animal, specifically a pig, in to space to make sure it would be safe for human space travel.  So they designed this cradle, placed the pig on its back and harnessed it in.  Almost immediately, the pig was dead.  One of the observing scientists recalled that, since he grew up on a farm, didn’t everyone know that if you placed a pig on his back he would almost instantaneously die due to suffocation by his belly fat?  Thus, NASA continued their research using monkeys.  The point of this story is that this “new” health care proposal seems to be more of the same, i.e. “belly fat” that will surely kill an already crippled system.

Please feel free to tell me what I am not getting.  Am I missing the big picture or perhaps even the small details?  I need all the explanations you can come up with.  So far, this health care reform bill seems like nothing new under the sun, purely belly fat, that might be the final nail in the coffin of not only true universal health care, but also our economic health.

Wha Hoppened?

July 19, 2009

Wha hoppened?  Mark Sanford is back in the saddle again.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/19/mark-sanford-cheating-sc-_n_239683.html

Wait a minute.  What happened to the God who made you in the first place, Mr Sanford?  He doesn’t count anymore?  Is the only God that matters the one you re-design every time you make a blunder? And then, of course, this new,  morphed God is only forgiving and benevolent to you, not to any other earthly creatures or your constituents and certainly not to any Democrats.  Even though you took up residence at  and sought the astute advice of your roomies at Fellowship House, I am declaring the game, “No fair.”  Why do you think you and your righteous colleagues at that  C Street address think you are the only people who can have the moral, ethical re-design option?  No fair.  I want what you have.  Oh, but wait: I would not be able to live with myself if I did.  I forgot about that one little point.

Frank Rich of the New York Times nails these GOP hypocrites to the wall:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/19/opinion/19rich.html

After living their double (triple? quadruple?) standard of their good and right lives, such notables and co-residents as Mark Sanford, Senator Tom Coburn and Senator John Ensign, may indeed adopt Frank Rich’s description of  their resultant road to tow as simply “white victimization”.  If that ain’t a direct 180 degree turn from reality, shoot me.  Their religious right wing  life code  allows them to question Judge Sonia Sotomayor about her “temperament” (clearly white males embody no such handicap), while at the same time allowing them a clear conscience about their bigoted inquiries.

Frank Rich traces this hypocrisy back to the Senate class of 1994, led by Newt Gingrich and his gang who thrust upon us  the  “Contract With America”.  Have a close look at Rich’s article because it sets out the historical framework for what we now have to put up with from the GOP.  The following is my favorite sentence:

That’s the crux of the ’94 spirit, even more than its constant, whiny refrain of white victimization: Hold others to a standard that you would not think of enforcing on yourself or your peers.

Yes, this sequence of recent events is very funny.  However, the implications are dangerous.  If these elected GOP officials have the gall to pick their “God of the week”, what does that mean for the issues requiring their votes?  Will they be able to apply the same moral policy du jour to such pressing issues as health care, discrimination, the separation of church and state, etc.?  Will the rationalization of their final vote be tailored to fit whatever trendy, self-serving ethiccal code they adopt to see them through any sticky circumstance in which they find themselves?

This God problem, delineated by Mark Sanford, is similar to a menu at a Chinese restaurant: one from column A, two from column B.  The only problem is that we are not talking about impulsive food choices of the moment.  We are facing life-defining issues that demand sober, serious and impartial consideration that will hold up over time and not just satisfy the carnal, ambitious and selfish political and personal agenda of the moment.

If we allow these swine to continue to hold office, we will wake up every day and say, “Wha hoppened?’  We know what happened already, so what are we waiting for?