Archive for February, 2010

Anger Unleashed

February 28, 2010

Frank Rich of the New York Times wrote a pointed article today about the frenzied anger engulfing our country:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/28/opinion/28rich.html

He specifically cites the suicide crash of Joe Stack and his plane into the IRS building in Austin.  Rich was exact today in his choice of words: Stack was on a Kamikaze mission to avenge the tactics of the IRS.  Then, the thinly veiled praise lavished on Stack by various right wing politicians and Teabaggers only added fuel to the fire.

Our nation is spiralling downward, ethically, economically and socially.  We have a vacuum of morals —- not the tightly wound, unforgiving discriminative morals of the far right religious sort mind you, just everyday values of treating human beings like human beings —- which is being propagated into accepted responses of anarchy.  That was exactly what Joe Stack was: an anarchist, a murderer and a coward.  Whether a response to sheer frustration at the paralysis of this country or a deep-seated hatred of government, these people who offer kudos to Stack for his deed are tempting fate.  To rev up the anger right now is not productive and the biggest danger is that someone, somewhere, a person teetering on the edge of insanity, will cross over that line and commit a heinous crime.  Those public figures who nurture their careers and public image by focusing and feeding on the anger are criminals just as much as the lunatics who carry out the actual deeds.

Let me start at the top.  This week, President Obama was criticized for his pedantic, professorial demeanor at the health care summit.  His total grasp of the numbers —- and the amount of information was vast —- , his measured presentation of talking points and his lack of humor in responding to the participants digs was so controlled.  He stayed completely on task.  His goal of providing decent health care for all superceded his personal partisan beliefs.  His strict focus was to stay on the track of “common interests” and to avoid partisan issues.  After all, they were there to offer help to all Americans, and their incessant bickering offered no aid whatsoever toward a beneficial end.  President Obama, over and over again, pleaded with the opposition for compromise to accomplish an admirable and much needed program.  Yet, I do not think the goal was accomplished.

Even though polls show that 70% of Americans want health care reform, the selfish bastards in Washington cannot overcome their own personal career ambitions and use their fear of being thrown out as an excuse not to deliver to the people.  That, coupled with their sole intent of placing failure in the lap of our President, is not going to move our country forward.  What?  The anger spewed from the mouth of Sarah Palin, a totally narcissistic tact meant to line her pockets with speaking fees and possibly reward her with the top elective office in the U.S., is productive?  I think not.  What hubris these politicians demonstrate to think that scalding vituperativeness and vitriolic diatribes will get them popularity.  They stoop to new lows in protecting their own jobs without any consideration for getting the actual job done.

Moving down the food chain in terms of public figures, the Teabaggers disregard all attempts to reconcile this country.  Their motives are purely a nod to the joy of the moment, of getting their jollies by destroying any and all of our societal structures.  They hate all government, but they sure love their Medicare and other entitlements.  Their platform is a perfect outlet for fame-and-power seekers like Palin.  Of course we know that they will eventually turn on her as well.  Be patient, my friends: we all know that Palin does not have much brain matter between her ears.  Even if she did understand the mechanisms of the Tea Party, she would still use them to forward her desires.  How dare she call herself an American?  With patriots like that, who needs enemies?

Last fall, this issue of public outrage —- and its inherent, potential dangers —- came across my horizon.  Paul Krugman wrote about it on 11/09/2009:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/09/opinion/09krugman.html?_r=2

This fueling of the fires of public unrest is not a new concept.  Nevertheless, it is an issue that must be diffused and treated with reason.  And that, according to the haters of Obama, is the man’s perceived downfall.  Where Barack Obama sees compromise for the greater good, his opponents see “socialism” and a lack of engagement.  They use strong words mistakenly to fan an even larger fire of fear in the hearts of Americans.  This is very dangerous for all concerned.  In fact, it could be the demise of our nation.

Our people in power need to take inventory and subjugate their destructive, selfish political goals to the aim of general betterment and  the re-building of our supposedly beloved country.  Make believe I am from Missouri:  SHOW ME your true love for the United States.  Palin and the other empty-headed politicians may be too stupid to realize this, but if this country goes down, they are going down too.  An uncontrolled feeding frenzy of anger has no place in our world.  Those that use such base tactics for ideological reasons deserve to be first in line for entry into the gates of Hell.

Mama Wrath

February 27, 2010

Mama Earth is furious.  Earthquakes, tsunamis and what-have-you.  And she damn well should be stark, raving mad at us.  We haven’t taken good care of her, nor do we take good care of each other.

All the cheating and shenanigans of our corporate and governmental institutions are child’s play compared to the wrath of Mother Nature.  However, allow me to relate a story to you that will reinforce your disgust with our man-made institutions.  Yesterday I lost my cell phone.  Today I trekked over to AT&T to get a new one and the experience was every bit as dreadful as I had anticipated.

Mind you, I have been a customer of AT&T for thirty years: home, office and cells.  The young man waiting on me told me that unfortunately, and yes it is an industry standard, that there is a blackout period during which I cannot upgrade.  Simply put, they wanted me to pay $250 for a new phone.  You got it: I went ballistic.  I asked the man if I could speak with his manager and he said that he is the boss.  I then asked him who signed his pay checks.  He got the message.  To make a long story short, but not less painful, we went up the ladder from customer service to customer relations to finally, resolutions.  I got my phone at no charge, a very convoluted process involving charges on a credit card but a credit on my monthly bill.  At last, darling Erin in Resolutions got the concept of consumer loyalty and SERVICE.

As an aside, there was an elderly woman also in the store trying to cancel her granddaughter’s service.  It seems that her granddaughter had exhibited irresponsible behavior with her phone and the Grandma was putting her money where her mouth was.  She was perfectly willing to pay the $75 cancellation fee.  Know that this woman was appalled at my dramatics and scene-stealing antics.  Then —- the shit hit the fan for her.  The AT&T representative on the phone said that she would have to make the cancellation request from her home phone.  Disbelief engulfed not only this woman, but also the AT&T rep in the store.  Their reason: the customer is more relaxed in their own home and perhaps will decide not to cancel service.  Then this sweet Grandma started mouthing off just like yours truly.  Trust me: it was not a pretty picture in the AT&T store today in Vienna, Virginia.  In fact, the representative waiting on me said he thinks he will be taking the offer for employment from Blackberry.

This experience rivaled the encounters I have had with the airlines, financial companies and basically any organized entity in existence today.  There is no consideration for the loyal customer; in fact, once you are a customer, they write you off.   Service is not a concept that is practiced anymore.  My absolute favorite line is “Don’t get mad at me.  I just work here.”  Gotta love it.  That is precisely the point.  The employee is the face of that company.  The higher-ups are very well aware that their employees take the hits as first responders to an irate public.  They are paid squat and act as a firewall for the angry customers, preventing them from reaching the principals of the company, who save the big bucks for themselves.

So as I sit watching the possibility of a tsunami hit Hawaii, I think we had better clean up our act, environmentally and ethically.  I did have a tough day today, but my woes do not hold a candle to those of the people in Chile.  AT&T might certainly be evil, but their motives are benign when compared to the power of Mama Earth.  And the wrath of this Yo Mama, even though no one in their right mind would want to be exposed to it, is a mere blip on the horizon when placed next to the wrath of Mother Nature.

Oh yeah.  This clip from the movie “Five Easy Pieces” with Jack Nicholson will show you exactly how I feel about AT&T:

POSTSCRIPT:

Listen.  I am fully aware that it was my own stupidity that was responsible for the loss of my phone.  Certainly I was willing to pay the $30, or $50, or whatever AT&T might charge after their purchase concession to new customers and any rebates.  I was even willing to extend my service contract another two years.  What incensed me so was that they implement these random upgrade blackouts that result in treating their current customers like non-entities; they would not extend to me the deals they were offering to brand new customers walking in off the street.  And I have been loyal to At&T for over 30 years.  That’s when my tirade began and there was no turning back.

Giggles Galore

February 26, 2010

It’s been a slow week blogwise for me.  Sorry —- everyone needs a break from the paralysis and nonsense in D.C.

Have a good weekend.  Here’s the best giggles you’ll ever hear:

Thanks to Maribel and CuzKyle for discovery of this video.

Golden Boehner

February 23, 2010

Just couldn’t resist.  Senator Boehner’s tan is sapping his brain power.  That is, if he had a mind to begin with:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/23/john-boehner-is-now-upset_n_473072.html

Tan Man is our perennial Goldilocks.

Doggone Absurd

February 21, 2010

A few absurdities have crossed my path this week.  Funny and ironic, but hypocritical and sad as well.  Too many times in my life I have seen females give credence to the thought “women are their own worst enemy”.

First, read about Sarah Palin’s grandson Tripp:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shannyn-moore/granny-palin-overcomes-he_b_470297.html

Tripp’s parents, Bristol and Levi, do not have a pot to pi** in, so the benefits offered Tripp by the state of Alaska make sense.  Of course, one might ask why Bristol and Levi do not have jobs to support their child.  Another topic for another day.  What does not compute is the G-Momma’s (our very own Sarah) condemnation of government assistance.  Even though our Sarah is in the money now, she has no obligation to purchase health insurance for her grandson.  It is her right, and so much more important for her to invest in designer clothes, super-hot shoes and other right-wing nuts sharing in her philosophy.  You know, her platform that government has no place in the lives of Americans and that Americans should take care of themselves.  Unless, of course, the entitlements are thrown so squarely in one’s face that they just cannot resist.  Platitudes meant to apply to the masses but not to the blessed few who can game the system is just absurd.

Then, all those female voters who say they love Palin because “she is just like us”.  Shame on those dames.  Palin might talk a good line that she is just a hockey mom looking out for her family, but her lifestyle belies that claim.  The Palin children are true orphans.  They fend for themselves, cook their own meals and the older children substitute for the missing parents in the raising of the younger children.  The worst offense is that Palin uses her children as fake political props.  So even though she talks a universal message of family and self-reliance, in no way, shape or form does she live by those rules.  In the process, she is walking all over women everywhere (not to mention her own little orphans).  Unbelievable and absurd.

Talking about the heights of ridiculousness and contemptible farce, how did you like the mistresses of Tiger crying and raging over his omission of an apology to them?  Some of these women hired lawyer-to-the-stars Gloria Allred to help out with the publicity and the blackmail.  It would seem to me, call me crazy, that these poor mistreated women need to apologize to Elin Woods and her children.  However, with their real intention being on catching a financial windfall from Tiger in the form of a payoff, these women-who betray-other-women will settle for an apology, which in turn will keep them in the public spotlight for another fifteen minutes which could lead to an even bigger payday.  Absurd.

Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State, voiced her opinion on women helping women —- honestly and truly.  She said: “There is a special place in hell for women who do not help one another.”  Let me advance that thought one step further.  There is an even hotter place in hell for those women who say they support their fellow females yet behave with more loyalty to their selves, whether it be for designer clothes, fame , mens’ wives, or money.  This place in hell is reserved for those women who not only do not help each other, but also for those who hurt or destroy other women ….  and their children.  They verbalize an admirable stance yet live their lives in a completely different and opposite manner.  Absurd.

Finally, an absurd video for you to watch that will send you off into the new week happy and laughing:

POSTSCRIPT:

Wait.  Wait.  Look what I just found —- in French no less:

Elizabeth Warren: A Voice of Warning

February 20, 2010

Elizabeth Warren is a gem, a national treasure.  Although her credentials are impressive and impeccable, it is her mien that is so powerful in speaking the truth.  In addressing the problems and solutions of our financial disasters, Warren speaks plainly so that the regular everyday Americans, whom she is trying to help, can understand the depth of our folly.  Here is her latest appearance with Bill Maher on his show:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/20/elizabeth-warren-its-bank_n_469939.html

Yes, it is funny.  It is also very, very scary.  Warren has spoken about the coming demise of the American middle class for a few years now.  The videos of her speeches are numerous on You Tube.  If you have some time, have a look at some of them because you will learn a lot from her.

Maher’s analogy of our financial companies with our sports figures are pertinent.  The unfortunate death of the Olympic luger could have been avoided not only if the track had been less severe, but also if the athletes curbed their desire for faster times.  The financial industry has this ongoing need for higher and higher profits, damn to hell whatever the fallout may be to our nation and our people.  The philosophy of “more, more and more” is self-defeating in sports as well as economics.  As the environmentalist Edward Abbey once said, “Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.”

Warren’s explanations of unsavory practices by our financial institutions are as straightforward as can be.  The solutions she offers up are also quite simple.  The disconnect between the problems and solutions seem to be a lack of will (and ethics) of the powers that make policy due to selfish intentions.  No corrupt system can correct itself if its major players are beholden to the insiders who fuel that system.

One teeny, tiny point I must include: Warren speaks of the rape of the middle class by our great financial industry with facts and figures.  I counter her argument, playing Devil’s advocate, by reminding America that no one is forcing Americans to borrow irresponsibly, whether it be usurious mortgages or credit cards.  Individuals in the market for financial services and products must read the contracts in front of them and then have the convictions to say “No”.  Economic competency and fiscal restraint is just as necessary on an individual level as it is on an institutional one.  However, I tend to believe Warren’s warnings of an industry gone “postal” as a much larger factor in our economic demise than the culpability of the average American.  There will always be overextended people, today more than ever due to the rise in living costs, such as health care, but it is criminal for our government and regulatory agencies to sit back while new and even more deceptive practices are thrust on the middle class.  In fact, even as we speak, new and more “creative” financial instruments are being marketed on top of the continuation of the “old” ones, which just about brought this country to its knees.

We are not done yet, either with our foolish, greedy ways or the ominous effect on our economy.  Elizabeth Warren is as plain-spoken as a person can get.  How much more direct correlation do we need to take the bull by its horns and fix what is ailing us?

POSTSCRIPT:

Take a few Saturday hours and expand your horizons.  Elizabeth Warren is very easy to listen to and very hard to forget:

Free (Falling) Markets

February 19, 2010

A society, government, corporate entity or individual cannot use subterfuge against the greater good by claiming an allegiance to “free markets”, a laissez-faire tenet distorted to justify the tyranny of the elite few over the majority of citizens.  Because we are a capitalistic nation, there are varying levels, too often separated by huge gaps between the top and the bottom, of wealth and need.  In order for this system not to implode on itself, it is mandatory that the haves take care of the have-nots.  If not, “free markets” can be defined as a phony economy, an oligarchy where power is determined by wealth.

I thought about this in response to a speech I heard by one of our most important civil rights leader and, though totally unrelated, the suicide crash of Joe Stack’s plane into the IRS building in Austin.  Both events demonstrate a plea for true equality, one social in nature and the other financial.  However, one party handled the anger so much more sanely and effectively than did the other.

I happened to catch that remarkable speech on the radio yesterday.  It was spoken by James Baldwin, author and civil rights activist, on September 25, 1963, only two weeks after the bombing, which killed four little girls, in a Birmingham, Alabama church.  His words were magnificent, direct and timely.  His tone was scholarly, yet definitely imbued with measured anger, although totally dedicated to pacifism and non-violence.  His restraint was just as powerful as his spoken words.  Here is an excerpt.  For the life of me, I could not find the full text or video anywhere.  The impact is so much greater if you could actually hear Baldwin speak, but this is the best I could do.  Amy Goodman of “Democracy Now!” is interviewing Carole Weinstein, Baldwin’s sister-in-law:

AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to a speech that James Baldwin made in New York. It was September 25, 1963, just ten days after the Birmingham church bombing that killed four little girls. This is some of what James Baldwin had to say.

    JAMES BALDWIN: We are not—are we?—at the mercy of our political institutions. If we created them, we are responsible for them. We have the right and the duty to overhaul them, to change them. We are not—are we?—so helpless, to say that the [inaudible] has to stay there forever. Who said so? I dare them to go in any Birmingham barbershop and talk to anybody. I dare them.And I think that commission, the appointment of that commission, the very notion, and the apathy with which the country has greeted it, proves my point. We have no right to allow the death of six children. And our common disaster and our common crisis and our moral crisis to be met in this way, it proves, if anything does, that the terms in negotiation must now be radically changed. One cannot negotiate with the representatives of one’s oppressors.It is time to let the nation know that the death of my child—I, as a black man—and the spiritual death of your child—you, as a white man—cannot be met by sending down a commission to find out what happened. We know what happened. What we have to do is prevent it from happening again. And in order to do that, one doesn’t beg the Birmingham city fathers for a truce; you use whatever weight you have to force them to recognize your presence in that city, in that state, and in this country, as a man, no matter what it costs who.

AMY GOODMAN: James Baldwin, speaking in New York. It was ten days after the Birmingham church bombing—four little girls killed there.

So today, how many Republicans, Democrats and Independents use the term “free market” as a ruse to benefit the highest echelons on financial power, through disastrous de-regulation, tax cuts for the wealthy and an abhorrence for any kind of social safety net for our citizens, in order to take from the poor and give to the rich?  Free market philosophy is a narrow-minded approach to maintaining the status quo, the greediness of which originated (in modern times) under Ronald Reagan and  flourished for the next thirty years.  The middle class has never recuperated from that folly, while the wealthy have become even richer.

I bring up this speech because it hit a chord.  Without intending to belittle, demean or minimize Baldwin’s message for racial equality, I could not help but apply his words to our situation today,  substituting today’s financial and government corruption for the civil rights abuses almost fifty years ago.  The analogy was stunning.  Baldwin called for nothing short of a re-structuring of our society to afford everyone in this country basic civil rights.  Our Black citizens were penalized for the way they looked and not for who they were.  Their children were being murdered as a scare tactic for them to abandon their fight for equality.  The assumption was to leave well enough alone and society would take care of itself.

Sound familiar?  Our industrial/financial complex needs to be re-structured from the ground up.  Our citizens need to adjust to a life where entitlements are not a given.  Fiscal and ethical responsibility needs to experience a rebirth, from the bottom up.  The people must demand it, adhere to those principles and then expect the same from their elected officials.  This process should be accompanied by reason, logic and a ban on violence.  Kind of what President Obama is trying so hard to do.

While Baldwin, undoubtedly angered by the lack of equality for Blacks, controlled his emotions for the sake of non-violence, Joe Stack allowed his frustration and anger with the system, specifically with the IRS, to override his desire for change.  His ultimate sin was to take the lives of others in his mission to seek revenge.  This act is no better than the murders of those four girls in the church in Birmingham.

The following is the Internet letter that Stack left behind.  The first part makes some sense, describing the free-fall of our government, economy and society into the patterns of rewards for the few and deprivation of the many, sacrificing the greater good for the greed of the few at the top.  He should have stopped there.  In his attempts to rightfully debunk the myth of a free economy, he succumbed to irrational anger, punishing innocent people in the process:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/18/joe-stack-statement-alleg_n_467539.html?page=2

Let’s not kid ourselves.  A free market economy, in its purest form as we have witnessed since the times of Reagan, embodies nothing remotely “free”.  It is a form of economic enslavement which we will have to do battle against just as the Blacks had to fend off their racial imprisonment fifty years ago.  James Baldwin though, has left a truly admirable legacy in his fight for equality and justice.  Joe Stack has not.

Stimulus One-Year Speech: Surgical Strike

February 17, 2010

Please know that I know how intelligent and perceptive Rachel Maddow is.  I am no match for her either in brain power or professional, fact-finding staff.  However, I do seem to have the same generalized perceptions as she does.  Perhaps it is simply because we are human beings, truly concerned with bettering our country.  For two years now, I have been railing against the hypocrisy of our politicians and the absence of ethics in our corporate and governmental quarters.  As an exercise in “seeing the whole picture”, I will attempt to cite international as well as national events that scream “hypocrisy”.

One of my readers on DailyKOS made an astute analogy.  He said that Obama’s ascending the Presidency was like buying a fixer-upper house: before one can put their own imprint on an administration or a house, one has to first clean up the mess left behind.  And what a mess was left for President Obama!  Two endless wars in the Middle East, an economy on the verge of collapse, a federal deficit at an all-time high and the bulk of Americans earning less over the last ten-year period than they had before.  President Obama probably has not yet reached the point of finishing the cleaning up.  He is almost there, at the point where he can exert his agenda, but then WHAM!   He has midterm elections with which to contend.  Things are so much more complicated than we wish them to be.  Let me proceed to cite those examples of hypocrisy and fumigating the debris left by the prior administration.

In the international arena, yesterday on the radio, I heard an interview on NPR.  Mark Thiessen (read about his bona fides), a senior Hoover Fellow, put forth the argument that the Obama White House is killing too many terrorists instead of interrogating them, thereby losing an option to find out valuable information.

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/02/08/dead_terrorists_tell_no_tales

I laughed out loud.  What?  Should we continue to house the terrorists at some God-forsaken place like Guantanamo, leaving them to linger in years of limbo, all the while being provided with food, lodging and health care?  Furthermore, Thiessen holds that we indeed should use torture to get whatever information might be available.  Enough.  By collecting terrorists and having no place to put them for an undetermined span of time, we just offer more fodder for criticism and mayhem to flourish.

As an aside, not two minutes ago, Huffington Post announced that the Washington Post has just hired Mark Thiessen to write for their Op-Ed team.  Great: I get to read about the beauty and effectiveness of torture in my local paper:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/17/iwashington-posti-hires-c_n_465804.html

Nonetheless, the hypocrisy here is twofold.  First, the endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were nurtured by the Bush administration.  Loved, coveted and caressed, but without any kind of end strategy.  As if their initial reason for entering these wars was not skeptical enough, Bush held on to these wars like he was hugging his teddy bear for dear life, citing patriotism, as if a country cannot be patriotic unless they have an eternal war to fight.

Then, hypocrisy reared its ugly head again in relation to those terrorists that have been tried.  Not one so-called terrorist has been found guilty in a military trial.  Released and set free.  However, every single “terrorist”, and some carried this title very dubiously, was convicted and given a life sentence in federal, civil court.  It is truly amazing that our “liberal” new President is the leader taking the bull by the horns by taking more aggressive actions in Afghanistan and in trying to bring a terrorist to trial in civil court.  Still and yet, he is being met with constant criticism by the GOP, who is using opposition just for opposition’s sake.  I thought Republicans were the ones who wanted military actions in the war against terror as well as convictions for suspected terrorists.  Now that the President has acted on those policies, the Republicans still have nothing good to say.  Go figure.

Likewise on the domestic front.  Today President Obama gave a speech marking the one year anniversary of the stimulus package.  It was a damn good speech and highlighted some basic facts and figures that we all needed to hear.  The man has all of his marbles, despite the GOP’s highest aim to blockade all of his accomplishments.  This video is about 25 minutes long, with an introduction by Biden (What is that brown mark in the middle of his forehead?).  It is well worth listening to:

http://www.c-span.org/Watch/Media/2010/02/17/HP/R/29663/Obama+Administration+Marks+Stimulus+Bills+First+Anniversary.aspx

There have been definite benefits from the stimulus’  generosity.  If anything, the stimulus funds were not enough.  Today the President cited many examples of the beneficence created by the stimulus.  Don’t forget: he is still cleaning up that fixer-upper and has yet to implement his own agenda.  The Republicans have the gall to cite their favorite platforms of too much government interference, too much debt and their overall capitalistic catch-all stance that the economy will take care of itself.  I am not falling for that self-serving, elitist attitude one iota and today, President Obama addressed many of those accusations and delivered them back to the GOP on a silver platter.  I do think this particular speech could be a turning point for the administration.

Rather than rehash the hypocrisy of the GOP regarding domestic economic matters, read the following article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/16/obama-dispatches-cabinet_n_463602.html

Numerous elected officials condemn the administration’s policies yet take whatever those policies might hand over to them and their special interests.  Make no mistake: the Democrats are just as culpable as the Republicans, citing Mary Landrieu and Ben Nelson as prime examples.  And those dedicated Republicans, who in better times hide behind their platform of “state’s rights” by calling for less government funding and interference, now are screaming bloody murder, “no fair”, (just Google Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger)as they are faced with humongous state deficits.  Of course now they want all the federal help they can muster.

So the hypocrisy abounds.  President Obama is getting the job done, slowly yes, but soon, soon, he will pick up speed.  His speech today was a step in the right direction because he cited specific facts to support items undertaken during the last year.  He communicated well —- and forcibly —- with the American people.  The generalities were gone, replaced by detailed examples of the last year’s accomplishments.

Keep cleaning up, Mr. President.  Your time is almost at hand.

POSTSCRIPT:

As long as we are on the topic of hypocrisy, have a look at the New Kid On Tha Block blog.  Sad that the author, still a twenty-something, has had to face the ravages of hypocrisy so early in her life.  But rewarding too, in that she will be better able to distinguish the phonies from the real mensches.  By the way, New Kid hits the mark in all of her posts; she is a voice of today:

http://newkidonthablog.blogspot.com/2010/02/this-was-on-gawker-and-it-gave-me.html

Small Fry Bayh

February 15, 2010

Despicable dirty dog.  Senator Evan Bayh announced today that he will not be seeking re-election for another six year term come November.  This is absolutely his option to choose.  His reason is that he cannot abide the thought of another six years as a member of this do-nothing Senate.  Bayh has always been a middle-of-the-roader and he has called out his fellow Senators on both the right and the left for preventing anything of substance from getting accomplished.  Well Senator Bayh, join the club.

However, while his intention is understandable, his method was atrocious.  There is no way the Senate as a group can have ethics, concern for their constituents’ needs and a respect for the responsibilities as lawmakers if the individuals that make up that body do not hold such truths.  Our Senate is made up of 100 people.  If those people serve their terms mainly for self-serving reasons, of course we are not going to see any meaningful legislation result.  Each Senator is much more worried and thus, driven, by their own career concerns than the job they were hired to do.  I daresay that Bayh felt a tinge of getting out while the getting was good; he did not want to lose an election.

Over the years, people have raved about Bayh.  I never saw it.  Maybe he had a lot of potential, but that potential never materialized.  He offered no real support for his party, his President and thus, his constituents.  This move might be indicative of the tentativeness he has exhibited during his years in the Senate.  Fine and dandy: he couldn’t stand the heat so he got out of the kitchen.

But his schedule of announcing his retirement has left the Democratic National Committee and the Democrats of Indiana up a tree.  The deadline for a Democrat to enter his name on the ballot for November is this Friday —- only four days away.  Within that time frame, not only must the Democrats find a decent candidate to run but they also have to collect thousands of signatures to enter his name on the ballot.  Thank you Evan Bayh for being so considerate as to the greater picture of politics and policy in your home state.  Once again, another Senator doing what is exactly right for himself.  Don’t believe for a minute his plaint that he still very much cares for the people of Indiana.  No way.  Bayh has brayed like a real horse’s ass and by leaving this decision to the last moment, he has shown no concern for anyone but himself.  No wonder our Senate is paralyzed.  Bayh is just another sad statistic to attest to that fact.

So my dear Evan, you will never get to Heaven making selfish decisions like the one you made today.  Senator Bayh, you are such small fry, a mere tsetse fly in the public’s eye, a wise guy unto only yourself.  You have truly earned the moniker of “Senator”.

Blow-By: Who is Barack?

February 13, 2010

In today’s New York Times, Charles M. Blow wrote a concise, brief, and yet so true Op-Ed on our President:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/13/opinion/13blow.html

President Obama’s patience and naiveté with the opposition has infuriated his own loyalists, especially the liberals.  We saw this during the presidential campaign when Hillary Clinton would dig at Obama over and over again.  Obama’s response typically was to apply reason and rationality to the issue at hand.  That is, when he chose not to ignore the barb, which was usually the case.  But his campaign staff had the votes counted in advance, both in the primaries for the convention and then the votes of the Electoral College in the November presidential election.   Candidate Obama could afford his detached manner.  Moreover, I do believe he hoped that his calmness in the face of  “disaster” would set an example.  If for no other reason than sheer competition, he believed that the opposition would take on his rational behavior and show the American people that they, too, can be as effective as Obama.

But no.  The Republicans stooped to new lows of personal behavior and professional responsibility.  In the absence of any constructive ideas or actions, the GOP has been single-minded in their rejection of anything that President Obama favors.  Can you imagine the GOP now saying “Don’t cut Medicare” when, for the last 45 years, they have been that program’s staunchest foe?  You know something’s up when too many Republican lawmakers, who voted against the stimulus, showed up at their constituents offices to take the credit for those massive relief checks they were holding in their hot little hands.  But enough: we know who and what the GOP is.

What we still do not know is who Barack Obama is. We can clearly see that he is highly intelligent, blessed with a calm yet determined temperament and surely cares about the American people.  In Mr. Blow’s article, President Obama is quoted repeatedly that his hope for rational thought, civility and a real desire “to do the right thing” by the American people will win out at the end.  I do not believe that.  In light of the President’s having his hands tied by the GOP’s singular mission to bring failure to this administration, it is time for Mr. Obama to fight dirty with dirty.

Sometimes the most admirable of men must enter the fray and get their hands soiled somewhat in order to get the job done.  Otherwise, just like Jimmy Carter, certainly one of the most noblest human beings alive today, the goodness will go for naught.  Carter couldn’t run the White House or our government for all the tea in China.  President Obama needs to use any and all of the political/legal maneuvers available to pass his agenda.  Certainly with over 70% of Americans favoring a public option, he should ram that through.  Also, with 75% of our citizens in favor of repealing DADT, that should be a slam-dunk.  Easier said than done.

The other night I watched a PBS re-broadcast of the celebration in honor of Black History Month at the White House.  It was a tribute to the civil rights movement, held in the smallish East Room, and was packed with personally selected invitees: government officials, Congressman, Senators and God knows who else.  The performers, such as Joan Baez, Jennifer Hudson, Yolanda Adams, Smokey Robinson and many others, were inspiring to watch.  Each and every one of them gave their all.  However, the audience was as dead as a door nail.  Can you imagine listening to spirituals from the long-ago past, uplifting civil rights march songs and rock and rolling modern songs about freedom and not moving a muscle?  Zowie!  That audience had a stick up their ass.  The goal of “keeping up appearances” overtook any urge to acknowledge and participate in a moving experience.  As beautiful and meaningful as the music was, the guests’ apathy really put a damper on the evening.  See for yourself; here is the entire hour program on PBS:

http://www.pbs.org/inperformanceatthewhitehouse/

So should President Obama, for the sole sake of civility and rational behavior, go along with the crowd?  Should he abandon his agenda to offer relief to Americans for the sake of political correctness?  Should he be satisfied with a legacy of coolness under pressure or a lasting body of legislation that really leaves its mark?

Get.  Down.  Mr. President.