Archive for August, 2010

Glenn Beck’s Blasphemy

August 28, 2010

Pure blasphemy.  That is what Glenn  Beck’s rally today at the Lincoln Memorial to “restore honor” is touted to be about.  Forgive me: I hadn’t realized that we lost our honor.  Unless of course, one thinks that having Barack Hussein Obama as our President is a loss of honor.  Perhaps a “black mark” (use your imagination to extend that metaphor) on our history?

Enough of this gobbledygook.  The real blasphemy is that I need to go down to the D.C. wharf to buy some beautiful Maryland blue crabs for my dinner tonight with a special guest, and if Beck’s rally and his “peace-loving” participants who will be toting an arsenal of guns prohibit my trek into D. C., there will be hell to pay.  Forget about my Maypo; I want my crabs.

Jon Stewart had a mouthful to say about Beck’s efforts to restore honor:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/27/stewart-beck-rally-civil-rights_n_696758.html

Check back.  I will provide you with an update.

UPDATE:

Just got back home from the wharf.  My mind-set was to barrel through the traffic and confusion in our D.C. metro area, do whatever it takes, to get those crabs.  And I did.  I took a circuitous route to avoid the mayhem and finally the wharf, which is truly one of D.C.’s best spots to visit, was a joy to see.  After haggling with the vendors about whether the crabs were really “jumbo”, “large” or just plain “medium”, after my visit into the refrigerator to hand-pick the crabs, after putting on those rubber gloves so I could determine the heft of each crab and after negotiating the price of the crabs, I am one happy camper.

As for the disruptive Glenn Beck who really, now, is on his own mission (no surprise that Sarah Palin will be “orating” at Beck’s gathering today), I leave these words,  offered up by one of my Daily KOS readers:  “Martin Luther King had a dream.  Glenn Beck has a scheme.”

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A Late Summer’s Garden

August 27, 2010

Still marigolden.

Continuously impatient.

Bats without a cave.

Bat's face still apparent.

Babylon had nothing on these hanging gardens.

Maturity at its best.

And finally, since this site is dedicated to children far and wide, I leave you with this cautionary tale:

MY LIVING WILL:

Last night, my kids and I were sitting in the living room and I said to them , ‘I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug.’

They got up, unplugged the computer, and threw out my wine.

They are SO on my SHIT list !

Know-Nothing Nation

August 26, 2010

There’s an interesting article today by Timothy Egan.   He too, just like Yo Mama, writes of the ignorance of the American people:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/25/building-a-nation-of-know-nothings/?hp

This is a damn good piece and you should take five minutes to read it.  Of course though, Egan makes his points much more serenely than I did.  Thus, his impact is greater.  His conclusion, like mine, says it in a nutshell, when he writes of those destructive, lying and provocative critics of President Obama:

They don’t even have to mention race. The code words do it for them.

I still am having a hard time believing that Rick Scott made it through all the primary contests to wind up running for Florida’s top office.  True, I was late-to-the-party in my realization of just who he is and his dirty history, but at least I did my research to get an answer.  Voters in this country think it an anathema to exercise their minds in the process of vetting an elected official.  They would rather listen to various media personalities who lie, provoke and distort the facts.

Ignorance is NOT bliss.  The seeds of intentional stupidity grow into full-blown destruction, mayhem and in your worst dreams, murder.  The stabbing of the Muslim cabbie in NYC is a clear example of that.  For those factions that promote this aura of fear, I say get a real platform with true substance and stop creating a scenario where disaster is sure to follow.  Is it the ultimate goal of these right-wing provocateurs to roil the pot even further in order to enable an already unstable element to cross the lien of sanity?  Will these instigators encourage and abet a danger to befall our President, just as it has a New York City taxi driver?  Do they want our President so badly out of office that any way, shape or form of his removal is successful as long as it is consummated?

Has anyone said it better than this baby?  With the weekend almost upon us, a little humor is in order.  And humor can sometimes make the truth much more powerful:

POSTSCRIPT

Here’s Bill Maher on the stupidity of the American people.

I Take It Back

August 25, 2010

In my post yesterday, if I expressed any doubt as to the stupidity of the American people, I absolutely take it back.  The general population and specifically, those members who are inclined to vote Republican, are as stupid as a rock and dumber than dirt.

Last night, Rick Scott won the Republican primary for Governor in Florida.  That name kept swirling around in my head; something “dirty” about him in the past?  You betcha.  After doing my research, I discovered that this Rick Scott was one and the same Rick Scott who headed up Hospital Corporation of America, and during his tenure there, the company was charged and found guilty of one of the largest Medicare/Medicaid frauds ever:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Scott

Irony does not even begin to describe his ambitions today.  He is running in a state that must have one of the largest populations of elderly people in the country.  Thus, Florida also has one of the longest lists of Medicare enrollees.  Why can’t these astute voters take that one mental baby step and realize that not only is Scott’s platform less government involvement in health care, but also that he was the ring leader of a company that stole millions, if not billions, from his precious government.  Granted, Scott was not charged with any of these accusations.  Over and above his unproven personal culpability, Scott, as the CEO of Columbia/HCA, certainly bears responsibility for stealing government funds and funneling them into his corporate coffers and his shareholders’ pockets.  If this isn’t a total abuse of public funds used to redistribute America’s wealth and deepen the gap between the classes, I do not know what is.  However, what can one think of him when the company he headed was  fined $1.7 billion for falsifying medical claims to the U.S. government?  Obviously, the answer is: be our governor —- please!!!!

Good on ya’, Florida.  Now all you have to do is elect him to your top post.  Let’s see: the choice is should I vote for Scott or should I keep my Medicare?  Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.  There is an inverse relationship between the lack of even one iota of sense and smarts of the Florida electorate and their plethora of benefits from Medicare.  Stupid is as stupid does.  Can’t wait to see how this one turns out.  The alligator tears, the remorse for stupid acts, are just about to overflow.  It may be too little, too late by then.

But then again, as my mother always said in trying to get me and my sister to stop roughhousing, “When you break both legs, don’t come running to me.”

Another Boehner Boner: Desperate Measures For Desperate Times

August 24, 2010

Talk about desperate measures for desperate times!  Tan Man Boehner chose today, primary day in Arizona, Florida, Alaska, Vermont and Oklahoma, to offer some kind of GOP party statement: fire President Obama’s chief economic advisers Geithner and Summers.

One political analyst I heard on the radio was asked by the interviewer if this request by Tan Man was a coincidence that it was issued today, on primary day.  The analyst responded that it was more calculation than coincidence.  Now tell me something that I don’t know.

Doesn’t the GOP realize the embarrassment that goes along with this silly action?  Aren’t they ashamed to have still and yet not come up with any political salvos or solutions to help our country other than to criticize the administration?  Can they really be that stupid?  Vice President Biden got it right today in his commentary on Tan Man’s strategy:

After months of promising a look at his party agenda for his plans for America,” Biden said, “his chief proposal, when you look at it, apparently was that the president should fire his economic team. Very constructive advice and we thank the leader for that.

….. Mr. Boehner and his party ran the economy and the middle class literally into the ground,” Biden said at one point. “I’m still waiting for what it is that they are for… I know what they are against. What I don’t know, other than a tax cut for the top two percent of the taxpayers in America, I don’t know what they are for.

The only thing that would make me even more disgusted with the GOP would be a victory for them at the polls.  Piled on top of the ignorance and laziness of the GOP, we have to acknowledge the degree of stupidity of the population.  Is this apathetic  malaise justified due to the self-absorbed, corrupt status of our politically elected resulting in an apathetic, hopeless ethos of the general population?  Or is this position of backing the GOP by 50% of our electorate perhaps a real degree of stupidity on the part of those voters?  Whatever the reason, this definite Republican bloc is too accepting of what is handed to them.  Is the true translation of this really  “The hell with doing my homework.  Put a buck in my pocket, cut my tax burden and I will vote Republican”   This is one of the major underlying causes of America’s stagnation.  David Brooks wrote in the New York Times today about this problem.  Read it carefully and weep:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/24/opinion/24brooks.html?hp

In the words of Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the negative void of the GOP platform is a fact that the GOP have chosen not to acknowledge and they are getting away with it:

John Boehner and the Republican leadership wouldn’t know a new idea if they tripped on it,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) told reporters on a Monday conference call organized by the Democratic National Committee.

Tan Man made a huge blunder today.  Will most Americans notice?  Americans need to exert the brains they were endowed with to face the issue of why they are so willing to accept the GOP’s modern version of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”.

Sweet Lou

August 24, 2010

“Sweet Lou” Piniella just retired from a 40-year baseball career.  Even though he might not be one of the absolute “greats” in major league history, I will always have a soft place for him in my heart.

When he played for the Yankees in the early 70’s, I was lucky enough to watch him at Yankee Stadium.  I think that my memories are more nostalgic for my youth than for the actual greatness of Lou.  Nevertheless, I remember being at the stadium and when Lou came up to bat, the crowd would roar “LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOU”.  I turned to my Dad and asked why they were booing Lou.  He said, “They are not booing Lou.   They are cheering him on by chanting his name!”  Silly me.

I think the thing that resonates about Sweet Lou is that he loved the game of baseball so much.  Period.  He was a pleasure to watch as a player, and as a manager, he was even better.  Watch this video of his farewell, and you will see what I mean.

In the great tradition of the New York Yankees, Lou Piniella will rank right up there with the great ones.  Thanks for the ride, Sweet Lou.

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=5484545

A Morning in Maine

August 23, 2010

So let me tell you about a run-in I had early one morning in Maine.  I went to the local general store to get some of their yummy coffee and, as I exited and headed towards my car, an elderly gentleman approached me.  Pointing to the Obama/Biden bumper sticker on my car, he said he just wanted to know how I felt about President Obama now that he has been in office for over a year.

Flashing lights, bells and whistles went off in my head.  My mistake was not to heed them.  I answered the gent that I was even more impressed with Mr. Obama now that he had spent some time in office.  I mentioned his historical health care legislation, financial reform and astute appointments to the Supreme Court.  This man’s only response, as he was chomping at the bit for me to stop talking, was, “Do you like his socialistic policies?”  I fell for his taunting and my ire and dander were activated.  I responded to his accusations of socialism by citing that 60 years ago, many Americans felt that Social Security, Medicare and civil rights were also socialistic.  I went on to tell him that the top  2% of American earners must contribute more to provide a safety net for all.  He then twisted my thoughts by asking if the upper 2% of earners should pay for ALL of America’s needs.  I told him he misconstrued my ideas by his gross exaggeration.

Then he asked me why I was getting upset, as that was not his intention.  I again turned to face him directly and told him that indeed, that WAS in fact his only intention.  His party, the GOP, is totally void of any platform except to instill fear of our President into the hearts and minds of struggling Americans.  This was exactly the tack that the Nazi party instituted: it used the Jews as scapegoats to explain away the dire economic straits in which Germany found itself in the 1920’s and 1930’s.  For this seemingly harmless man to play dumb at my reaction to his calm accusations was just another example of people not willing to help provide a safety net for all Americans, of caving in to their elitism, selfishness and exceptionalism.  Then I said to this supposed sane man, “You lost, we won.  Of course you meant to upset me.  With the GOP’s empty platform, that is the only strategy left to you.”  I turned around, got into my car and left.

Here is what I SHOULD have said to this fear mongering sore loser.  I should have asked him if he was on Medicare.  The answer clearly would have been in the affirmative.  Then,  I should have questioned him if he thought that program was also an example of socialism.  Why should he be entitled to government sponsored health care but other Americans, often children and the poor, are not?  Surely he did not believe that the deductions taken from his paychecks years ago for Medicare and social security were paying his way in his retirement.  He must know that today’s younger generations are footing the bill for his retirement benefits.  That is the way our government works.  That is the practice of a constitutional republic.  I should have stuck to rational policy.  However, a man like him would have found another way to raise my hackles, because that was all he had left.  Desperation, especially economic failure, can lead to unholy ends, such as prejudice and turmoil.

There is no doubt in my mind that the President’s opposition, namely the GOP and even some of his own fellow Democrats, are using the “culture wars” to sabotage his presidency.  That’s all they have.  In so doing though, they are roiling up the masses, based on fear and bigotry, and ignoring our constitutional rights.  The ground zero mosque, which is neither at ground zero nor a mosque, is a classic example of redirecting our country from issues that need immediate attention, such as climate control and immigration reform.  Is every single YMCA vetted as to its geographical placement?  When re-enactments of the Civil War, our deadliest war ever, are totally acceptable (including the “Rebel Yell”) and the placing of a Muslim community center (yes, with a prayer room) is taboo, it becomes obvious that the underlying principles are distorted to promote exclusiveness, not inclusiveness.  That my friends, is against the law of the land, not to mention human rights and humane practices.

The current controversy is whether or not President Obama is behaving appropriately.  He unfailingly tries to absent himself from these cultural issues in order to stay on message about the necessary legislation we need.  His opposition is furious that they cannot actively engage him in these “side” issues.  Nevertheless, they keep on trying to derail him.  Likewise, the liberals and progressives are also frustrated with the President because they feel he has not delivered on the changes he promised.

President Obama’s favorability ratings continue to decline.  Should he be concerned with those numbers?  Should he put his allies’ electability ahead of his long-term plans?  The President is caught between a rock and a hard place.  Above all, know that the race issue permeates all of the debate.  This is not meant as an excuse or a sympathy plea for President Obama; it is just the truth.  Should he heed his mother’s strict upbringing and openly, even gloatingly celebrate his heritage and abilities, or should he bury those personal elements in order to promote a better understanding of his policies?

My cousin wrote this heartfelt response to Jeff Jacoby, a journalist with the Boston Globe, who advised the President to “lighten up”:

Jeff, your editorial today, struck a nerve. I ruminated about your thoughts for hours trying to figure out why I felt you were correct and find a rationale for why it is that our president seems besieged. He seems like the heavy burden of the presidency was not what he envisioned. It seems in his eyes that he is serious, even angry and that he is not free. He is not free? The president of the United States is not FREE? The presidents you mentioned Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Clinton and Reagan had, despite the terrific burdens, an eternal flame in their soul and a twinkle in their eye despite the grueling weight of the office. Why does this man whom I thought fate had determined would save our nation from its national nightmares look weighed down, sad, serious and dare I say scared?

The presidents you mentioned were white. Yes, of course, I will talk about race. I believe while President Obama had that gleam once it became dissolved in a sea of anger, rancid race baiting and an incredulousness at the epithets he hears, sees, and reads about every single day of his life. It has been said he has received more death threats in one week than any other president has received during their entire tenure. Have you seen the signs? Have you seen him portrayed as something less than human, as an animal this man who graduated Harvard Law School? Could it be that this man who attained the highest office in the land by sheer determination and grit to become the first black man to ever occupy the US presidency feels the weight of the office oppressive?

Yet, he is only HALF black but it does not matter that the other half is white. White is not in his presidential description. Have you heard the reports from reputable sources that white supremacist groups are larger now than at any other time in our history with the exception of the Civil War era? Our president is under constant attack. Maybe he is under attack like Lincoln? Did the pictures and descriptions of Lincoln say he was lighthearted? No, I think not. Lincoln looked serious and under siege because he was under siege.

The anger, the hatred, the vitriol and the threat of violence against our president has been of Herculean proportions. He is threatened, black members of Congress are spat upon, his birth is relentlessly challenged and he is hunted by the extremist right like an animal of prey. How would YOU feel if you were he? How would YOU feel if you could jump into his black skin? I suspect you might think it difficult to “lighten up.”

How light would we feel if every minute of every day we had to hear a Jewish epithet hurled at us like a weapon? How did our brethren feel as they were hunted down like dogs because of who they were? I suspect, to a degree, it is how our president feels. He feels hunted, hated, tormented by an economy he did not make or wage wars he did not begin and if that were not enough his words “This is not a black America. This is not a white America. This is the United States of America. We are one people … ” ring hollow. Oh really, we are one America? Tell that to the man who carries a shotgun within yards of the president — this president — this one half black president who after 300 years of racial hatred, I suspect still does not feel free. Lighten up, Mr. President? That’s easy for you to say, Jeff. You are white!

Before anyone criticizes our President for his lack of rhetorical fire, walk a mile in his shoes.  I must admit that I am giggling a bit at the use of the term “lighten up”: probably just an honest use of that idiom, but the double entendre does not escape me.  And if Jacoby thinks the President’s job is such a cake-walk, perhaps he should get his head examined.

Furthermore, I can almost guarantee that should President Obama “lighten up”, he will immediately and summarily be lambasted for not taking his job seriously enough.  When the real, underlying issue is not his performance but his personal make-up, there will be constant assassination of his character.  Look: this is President Obama’s show.  It is his gamble at his own hefty risk, not to mention that of his family.  He has got a huge job description to fill, and if he chooses to keep his own personal history and beliefs out of the formula for the benefit of the greater good, so be it.  He is way too smart, focused and confident to let his personal statistics become the issue.

As for the rabble-rousers who decry any and all of the President’s actions, let them look into themselves to seek and discover their own inadequacies that force them to destroy others.  The problem, America, is not with our President.  The problem lies within each and every one of us.  While Barack Obama is just another fallible human being, he is also a competent and caring leader.  Just as individuals can be inadequate personalities, so too can institutions be ruled by their inadequacies.  President Obama is aware of this aberrant pathology.  He will not take the bait.  He will not play their destructive, empty game.

So my morning in Maine provided much food for thought on the political dynamics of today’s America.  I know I am getting smarter as I age, but damn, there still is so much “woulda, coulda, shoulda”.  So much more to learn.

Macaca Returns

August 21, 2010

Redemption?  Rehabilitation? Atonement?  Acceptance?  Nah.  Former Virginia Governor and senator George Allen is now making a pitch to return to elective office.  What he won’t do to get back into the electorate’s good graces is appalling, but totally expected.  Read this article; it explains everything:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/20/AR2010082005487_2.html?sid=ST2009081303022

If you remember a number of years back in 2006, Allen was running for reelection to the Senate against Jim Webb.  Allen lashed out at a Webb campaign volunteer, a 20-year-old, dark-skinned, all-American kid by calling him “Macaca”.  End of the road for Allen in that campaign.  Furthermore, despite the GOP’s view that Allen was their “Golden Boy”, it was the end of the road for Allen’s presidential aspirations.  During the brouhaha, it became public knowledge that Allen’s family had Jewish roots going back to North Africa (Thus, the origination of the slur Macaca) and the Sephardic sect of the Jewish religion.  Talk about killing two birds with one stone: not only did Allen exhibit his racism, but also he discovered that his ancestry included him in a minority group.  His family knew well their Jewish roots but decided, in all of their prejudice, to cover it up.  Heavens to Betsy.  Talk about a double whammy.

At any rate, Allen is now trying to make a political comeback, and plans to run against Webb in the 2012 senate election.  This past week, Allen showed up at a retreat, his attendance was at his request, of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement in Reston.  The Lubavitchers are a very conservative arm of Judaism with the mission to get non-practicing Jews involved in orthodox Judaism.  Their recruiting prowess is well-known; their of acceptance of Allen is no less offensive than Allen’s attempts to use these Jews to power up his campaign.

Pray tell, even if Allen sincerely wanted to embrace his Jewish heritage, why would he begin his rehabilitation by going to one of the strictest sects?  Redemption?  Atonement?  My toches.  In fact, this kind of showmanship is so empty of any motivation except to garner votes, that one might say that Allen is a “toches -lecker”, an ass-kisser.

And shame on the Lubavitchers for accepting Allen into their fold.  Their intentions are equally odious, their motives just as displaced as those of Allen.  Allen was no more sincere in his efforts to embrace Judaism as the Lubavitchers were in welcoming him into their ranks.  They deserve each other.  Mutual moral masturbation.  A match made in Heaven: zealots and hypocrites alike.

Yet, Allen will probably make a decent showing in the next senate election here in Virginia.  People’s memories are short.  However, as in the case of Sarah Palin, Dr. Laura, Senator Larry Craig, John Edwards —- need I go on?—- you know the drill —- we need to just allow Allen to keep on speaking.  As with all hypocrites, he will eventually shoot himself in the foot.

Will Macaca return?  Only your vote and the resulting election returns will determine that.  As a reminder:

Castine’s Got A Brand New Bag

August 20, 2010

My dog Castine’s got a brand new bag.

One smart cookie.

Yup.  With interest rates so low, it was a good time to use the existing equity from her old house (she is a savvy investor so yes, she had a lot of equity built up) and invest it into new digs.  No way did she borrow against that sacred equity.  She is way too smart to have stripped away all of the equity from her old house in order to leverage her way to bankruptcy.  As a result, she is not “upside down” on the mortgage, although I must say she IS often LITERALLY upside down in her beautiful house.  The light granite gray color is very soothing and the microfiber covering is plush and soft.  Who says that old age is a ship wreck?  Who says the golden years are not so golden?

So my Castine’s got a brand new bag:

And man alive, is she feeling good!

You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught

August 19, 2010

Was it serendipity that I tuned in to PBS’s “South Pacific” on PBS right after I posted my last post?   I am certain that our future lies within the realm of our children.  With all  the insanity encircling us, let us reach back into the basics of humanity and commit to our teachings to our children.  You’ve got to be carefully taught:

You could do a lot worse than sit down and watch “South Pacific'” especially with your children.  Happy talk.