Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Long May She Wave - Hold On A Second

"Republican presidential hopefuls started an inter-party race to offer their somber condolences to the victims. But none of them blamed the country's gun policy."
The Xinhua News Agency

Even the Chinese know that we have a problem with guns in this country. In the week since a domestic terrorist opened fire on a Bible study group at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., a church he had targeted specifically because of its historic role in the fight for racial equality, pressure has come to bear - on a piece of cloth.

The Confederate flag being taken down across the South and being taken out of production at companies in America and in China, was actually one of three flags used throughout the War of Northern Aggression by the losers. The first flag was deemed too close to the design of the American flag. Then, the Army of Northern Virginia adopted a flag that has been described as a "square version" of what would later be adopted by the Army of Tennessee as the oblong Second Confederate Navy Jack. It is this flag - which represents to some Southerners their heritage, their history - that's being taken down throughout the South, well, at least it's starting to.

Typically, when America sustains its mass killing de jour, there's demands on the Left for gun control and a misguided, literally misinterpreted, attempt on the Right to point out that the 2nd Amendment says we can have as many guns as we want. Guns don't kill. People do. Yeah, idiots with guns kill. At what is seen by the rest of the world as an alarming rate.

Data from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and compiled by The Guardian newspaper: our annual homicide rate of 2.97 fatalities per 100,000 people is triple the rate in most other wealthy nations. Triple. Gun ownership in this country is approaching 1 gun per person. Recent surveys have repeatedly shown around 90% of gun owners support increased gun control. But, of course, the National Rifle Association controls the Congress and that's not going anywhere.

So, let's get rid of the Confederate flag. Yeah, that will stop nut jobs from reading lunatic websites like the one of the Council of Conservative Citizens. The successor to the old White Citizens Councils in the South has been a campaign donor to such forward-thinking people as Sen. Rand "The Nut Doesn't Fall Far From The Nut" Paul, Canadian Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Manitoba), former Senator and never President Rick Sanitarium, ex-Rep. Michele Batshit Bachmann, Mitten Romney, the incredibly appropropriately-named Rep. Louis Gohmert, former governor-turned Appalachian Trail hiker-turned Congressman Mark Sanford, super-dooper heroic vet and one-term Congressman Allen West, and famed swine deballer Rep. Joni Ernst. The company we keep.

We need to do both. Take down and burn the Confederate battle flag - and apparently replacements are going to be hard to find, as manufacturers have lined up to stop making them and everybody from Walmart to Amazon have stopped selling them - and have common sense gun laws. Universal background checks. The absolute, permanent, eternal, chiseled-in-stone ban on the manufacture and/or possession of the AK-47 and similar weaponry. A limit on the number of bullets you can buy and a limit on the size of magazines. Closing the gun-show loophole.

And, as the number of African Americans unjustly murdered by American law enforcement officials increases, the demilitarization of town, city, county and state police forces also needs to be done. Today. All these things. These are easy things to do. On his "WTF With Marc Maron" appearance Monday, President Obama lamented his continued disappointment at seemingly constantly having to speak to the nation about a mass murder. He said the closest he's come to losing his "Hawaiian chill" was when, in the aftermath of Sandy Hook, Congress did nothing. We all need to lose our shit over the continued spate of mass murders in this country.

Taking down the flag is almost secondary but it's been turned into the primary response. African Americans in the South drive on streets named for Confederate officers, drive or walk by statues of the same and, as if that's not bad enough, constantly are faced with the flag of their persecution, ownership, suppression, murder. Getting rid of this emblem of the South's heritage - newsflash: the Civil War lasted four days short of 4 years, you lost and this is what you want to celebrate? - has spread like wildfire in the last few days. That's all well and good. But, much as the NRA orchestrates a shift in focus to mental health care in America rather than guns, this time the American people have zeroed in on the Confederate flag. We can use that same focus to demand sensible, logical gun control.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The choice is ours

Two days. It seems these past four years have flown by. A lot has changed during that time.
  • No more wars of choice.
  • No more retribution for putting out a hit on the president's father.
  • No more "nucular."
  • No more vice-president swearing at a Senator on the floor of the Senate.
  • No more slurs by a deputy Secretary of Defense to a comedian.
  • No more "you're either with us or against us" false choices.
  • No more condemning a music act for speaking truth.
  • No more "you're on your own" with healthcare.
  • No more "Axis of Evil."
  • No more Osama bin Laden.
On Tuesday, this nation has a choice to make. It's a very clear choice, actually, despite all the even poll numbers. Forward or backward. The 99% or the 1%. The 100% or the 53%. Simple.

I could run the numbers and give a few dozen reasons for Barack Obama being given another term. I don't want to do that. This choice, this week, will have strong ramifications for decades to come. As President Clinton said at the Democratic National Convention this summer, no president in the history of this country could have turned around the economy in just 4 years. That's how deep the recession truly was.

As I've said many times during these closing months, my biggest fear - other than the manipulating of the ballots themselves, which is already going on in Florida and Ohio - is that too many millions
of Americans can't, or choose not to, realize that this was not an American recession. It was and continues to be a worldwide financial disaster. It's not just a "dinner table" or a Main Street vs. Wall Street issue.

The financial institutions that made the calculated (and way too complicated for me to comprehend) credit default swaps are either out of business or doing very well. No in-between. Kind of like the way that Mitt Romney sees the country. There's the haves, his fellow 1% ers, who provide the financial fuel for the advancement of the economy.  Except they don't. Then there's the other 99% of us who have good times and bad times, but occasionally need help from the governmental safety net. He doesn't care for us, especially the 47% that he denounced with so much hatred for being lazy, dependent upon the government for their everything forever. Just write 'em off. But here's the bizarre thing: those who at this time, this moment, may be in the 47% temporarily, through no fault of their own, will turn out for Romney. The solid, redneck, poor, low information South will give Romney his largest turnout. Amazing.

President Obama inherited an America on January 20, 2009, that in many ways barely resembled the one he had won the presidency of less than three months sooner. He had to learn on the fly. He had to save the American automotive industry. He had to get health care reform passed, something presidents since FDR had been unable to push through. He had to overcome the new rules put in place by Republicans - such as Oklahoma's idiotic pair, James Inhofe, who still believes climate change and, more importantly, man's role in it, is a myth, and Tom Coburn, lovingly referred to as "Dr. No" for his habit of putting a hold on any bill he thinks is unconstitutional - that required 60 votes to pass anything in the Senate, rather than the previous simple majority of 51, or face filibuster.

Obama has accomplished a lot and he knows there is more work to do. Romney doesn't need the job or the headache or the attention. Let him take his magic underwear to his house with the car elevator
and stay out of politics. He's just a rich guy, whose always been rich and wants to help his friends keep their money. He has dodged answering questions on climate change and really anything and the right has let him skate by. This is the last guy left on the island. The GOP went through so many courtships with increasingly insane candidates until only one remained.

On Tuesday, since Romney sees no need to answer questions, I hope that we as a nation are smart enough to answer this one correctly: Obama or Romney?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Back ... With A Vengence

"James: This is extraordinary. Congratulations! Papa."
-- text of an email sent by President Jimmy Carter to his grandson, James Carter, IV

Dear Folks, Sorry I haven't written lately. I've started many a post, only to abort the topic when, frankly, someone on the -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------right would say something more stupid, express support for something more cruel, promise the more impossible, assert as fact something more false and say something even more untrue about President Obama every. Single. Day.

What got me inspired to end this long silence was the ultimate, in many ways, more. More stupid. More mean. More insipid. More desperate. More clueless. More class warfare-baiting comment by the worst presidential candidate in the history of the Republic. It actually shocked me. I knew Mitten was rich and incapable of expressing, let alone having, a position on anything. I did not know that he is just plain stupid.

Now, we've all heard and seen the Mitten production, "The 47% Solution," but who thought he could bottom that? He did:

Yes, it took a very public display of stupidity on Mitten's part to bring me back to the blogosphere. I knew there was rampant stupidly on the part of the extreme right, but somehow I thought that even though he was born with a silver foot in his mouth, Mitten was a sensate human being. But, "you can't find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don't open. I don't know why they don't do that. It's a real problem. So it's very dangerous."

Holy mother of God. I guess Mitten no longer feels the need to think before he speaks. In the most famous video in the country (and I do not give a shit about the Korean dancing clown; these are serious times), triumphantly posted by James Carter, IV, the grandson of one of Mitten's favorite weapons to use against President Obama, Papa Jimmy Carter, Mitten clearly had thought about what he was saying. Because it's what he believes. Because it's who he is.

Because it's what he wants you to believe. Because he wants us all to not only jump on the "47% percent of the country are lazy ne'er-do-wells" bandwagon but to spread the word to our friends, our sisterwives ... I mean sisters, wives, parents, co-workers and brothers that, by all that is holy underwear in his "church" he believes wholeheartedly in only one thing: that the amount of money a person has is their sole defining quality. If you're not rich, get off your lazy ass and get a job. If, as part of the 47%, you are a permanently disabled  Vietnam vet who gets a check every month for your sacrifice of a limb or two for this country, get off your lazy ass and get a job. If you followed Mitten's instructions and borrowed money from your parents or the government to attend college to better yourself, get off your lazy ass and get a job.

Pretty stupid stuff. But, the fact that windows on airplanes don't open is considered by the Republican candidate for the presidency of the United States, i.e. the most powerful man in the world, to be "a real problem" reveals him to be the heir-head to that holy trio of GOP idiots Sarah Palin, Dan Quayle and Rush Limbaugh, surprised me. I had never thought of him as being stupid. But, if you think about the things said, positions taken, promises made by he and his fellow Republican candidates over the past year or so, I guess we all shouldn't have been surprised that the idiocy is systemic.

We should all thank the Republicans for providing such an entertaining opening act. And now, in memoriam, remember these.
  • Forcible rape
  • The resurrection of the scary-but-bogus death panels
  • Colonizing the moon during your first term as president
  • There are 70 avowed Socialists in the Congress
  • Pray away the gay
  • The Islamic Brotherhood has infiltrated the government
  • Polls that show, consistently, that numbers into the mid-teens level (16-18%) believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim
  • Polls showing that a substantial number of Mitten's Fellow Travelers still don't believe that the president was born in Hawaii, or any other state
  • A presidential candidate hosting a religious event (Gov. Rick Perry's Godapalooza)
  • The GOP nominee saying he supports the inane budget submitted by the VP nominee, except now he doesn't, but now he does, doesn't, does ...
  • Them: the 1 per-centers. Us: the 99 per-centers
  • Sarah Palin's political career
  • Calling a birth-control advocate a slut
I could go on but it's getting late. Vote for President Obama in 6 weeks. If you don't, well, the above tells you what THEY believe in.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Vagina Dialog

I haven't posted an entry in quite awhile now, and for a very good reason. It seems that every time I start writing about something frankly inhuman that the GOP comes up with, they top themselves. Or bottom themselves, as it were.

Much of this inhuman behavior/posturing/bloviating revolves around one of God's finest creations. That's right, I'm talking about the vagina. Now, I'm a big fan and it's always been my experience that the woman - i.e. the owner of said vagina - controls approach, entry and all activities. And then along comes the right.

For the uninformed or, in the case of the Republican Party, for those incapable of believing a truth they don't like (climate change, anyone?), Planned Parenthood has become a campaign issue. Here's some facts about the organization that cracker/crackpot legislatures have created as the ultimate boogeyman:

  1. Planned Parenthood Federation of America is the U.S. affiliate of the International Planned Parenthood Federation.
  2. It can trace its history to Margaret Sanger, who opened the American Birth Control League in Brooklyn in 1921. In 1942 it became part of the PPFA.
  3. Planned Parenthood today has in excess of 820 clinic locations in the country, with a budget of a billion dollars.
  4. Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of reproductive health services in the country. Contraception accounts for 35% of their total services, while abortion accounts for only 3% (which by law cannot be funded by tax dollars). By their own reporting, approximately 612,000 unintended pregnancies and 291,000 abortions were prevented.
  5. In 2009, Planned Parenthood performed 332,278 abortions, deriving $164,154,000 (15% of its revenue).
  6. According to the World Health Organization, 42 million women each year, faced with unwanted pregnancies, have abortions. Twenty million of these are unsafe, mostly performed in countries where abortion is illegal, and result in 68,000 deaths annually.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

No Apologies: Andrew, Meet Saddam. Saddam, Meet Andrew

9 hours later I'm still extremely pissed off about something that happened AT LUNCH today. I told a friend that Andrew Breitbart had died. She said "He probably choked on his words." Someone else IN THE ROOM, NOT A PART OF THE CONVERSATION, had her little conservative Republican feelings hurt ... even though she had no idea who he was. I mentioned the 1st three disgusting deeds Breitbart had "accomplished" and she felt it was important for her to stand up STILL DURING LUNCH, WHICH IS MY FREAKIN' TIME, and complain about people in the government that are out to destroy this country, or some stupid shit like that, then had to leave the room crying. Then only because she's management, I apologized for hurting her feelings. I should say I lied and apologized.
Andrew Breitbart departed this world earlier today. Breitbart was a provocateur, to put it nicely. He was a bad man, to put it honestly. To the memory of Molly Ivins, patron saint of this blog, please forgive me for apologizing.
Breitbart is best known for three things: the faux ACORN sting, outing Anthony Weiner's wiener and editing a speech from a Department of Agriculture worker to transform a story about overcoming prejudice to a story supporting it. And so much more.
After Sen. Edward M. Kennedy died in 2009, Breitbart took to Twitter to call Kennedy a "villain" and a "duplicitous bastard." After Breitbart died in 2012, I took to the blogosphere to express how glad I am that the public discourse just got a bit more serious.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

How Do I Email A Book From A Nook To A Schnook?

   Rick "he ought to be in a" Santorum is un-American. There. I said it. He's opposed to non-procreative sex, homosexuality,
 He's also stupid. But, more to that later.
   Today Santorum, who was rejected for re-election in his own state by the highest margin in history just six years ago, insulted the memory of a slain president and the character of a standing one. Where, oh where, do I begin?
   If you remember just two years ago, witch Christine "I'm not a witch" O'Donnell, famously stated - in apparent seriousness - "So you're telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?" Rick was just a baby idiot when John F. Kennedy, in what would unfortunately not be his final attempt to increase support in Texas, spoke before the Greater Houston Ministerial Association. Santorum took exception to this part of the speech:
   "I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute; where no Catholic prelate would tell the President -- should he be Catholic -- how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference, and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him, or the people who might elect him.
   Speaking at the College of Saint Mary Magdalen in New Hampshire last October, Santorum said "earlier in my political career I had opportunity to read the speech, and I almost threw up.” He doubled down on the crazy today, saying on "Meet The Press," "To say that people of faith have no role in the public square, you bet that makes you throw up." Thinking that there is any chance at all that this uninformed, anachronistic throwback might become president is nauseating.
What Santorum takes exception to, specifically, is the opening of the statement. He also completely misunderstands both the Kennedy speech and the First Amendment. I have a copy of the Constitution on my Nook, and I'd love to send it to him. Santorum thinks the speech opposed the First Amendment. Let me say that again: Santorum thinks the speech opposed the First Amendment. You read; you decide:
   "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
   Just what I thought. Senator Kennedy was not saying religious people have no place "in the public square." Quite the opposite, really. His speech included this line that Santorum didn't read. I'm guessing here but I know I'm right: "I would not look with favor upon a President working to subvert the First Amendment's guarantees of religious liberty."
   What a dope. Two months later, Kennedy would win the White House. Three years after that, he would die in Texas. Santorum was a young child when Kennedy was elected. I was in the first-grade when Kennedy was shot. Welcome to the big, mean, nasty outside world. I sat transfixed on the television coverage throughout the weekend. It felt like the walls were closing in, the sky was dropping, the floors were falling away. You know, I don't typically feel insulted by something someone says unless they say it about me, to me. This is an exception.
   If Santorum wants to  be a religious leader, in this country, the path typically goes through divinity school. If he wants to Lord over, pun intended, a theocracy, here's a few places he could go: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen, Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Malaysia and Mauritania. Before he does, he should bone up on Sharia Law. Then again, he seems to understand the Constitution about as well.
   Proving he can be a fool when referring to the living as well as the dead, Santorum also called President Obama "a snob" and his apology for burning the Koran "unacceptable." What is there to accept? You're not now nor will you ever be relevant. Here's his two latest dumbass remarks:
   “Not all folks are gifted in the same way,” Santorum told a crowd of more than 1,000 activists at the Americans for Prosperity forum in Troy, Mich. “Some people have incredible gifts with their hands. Some people have incredible gifts and ... want to work out there making things. President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob.”
 “This is unacceptable,” Santorum said on ABC’s “This Week.” “The idea that a mistake was made — clearly a mistake, which we should not have apologized for — it was a mistake. There was nothing deliberate.. . .Killing Americans in uniform is not a mistake. It was something that deliberate.”
   Maybe it's me, but I don't think a guy with three degrees believes thinking everyone should go to college is a snob. But, I was also shocked to read that only 30% of Americans are college graduates. And that's the highest percentage ever.
   I'll give Census Bureau Director Robert Groves the last word: “For many people, education is a sure path to a prosperous life. The more education people have the more likely they are to have a job and earn more money, particularly for individuals who hold a bachelor's degree.”

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

And This Score Just In, Indiana 1, Oklahoma 1

I'm in a quandary. I can't decide if I'm more embarrassed as a native Hoosier by the comments of State Rep. Bob Moore or as a resident of Oklahoma that Rick Santorum is leading the polling for the upcoming Republican primary. It might be a wash.
To those of you who may not have heard this, Rep. Moore was the only member of the august Indiana Senate not to agree with a proclamation honoring the Girl Scouts of America on their 100th anniversary. Why? Well, this is from his email he sent to his fellow Senators. And I am not making this up:
"After talking to some well-informed constituents, I did a small amount of web-based research, and what I found is disturbing. The Girl Scouts of America and their worldwide partner, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), have entered into a close strategic affiliation with Planned Parenthood. You will not find evidence of this on the GSA/WAGGGS website - in fact, the websites of these two organizations explicitly deny funding Planned Parenthood."
Not knowing when to log off his computer, he unfortunately went on:
"Many parents are abandoning the Girl Scouts because they promote homosexual lifestyles. In fact, the Girl Scouts education seminar girls are directed to study the example of role models. Of the fifty role models listed, only three have a briefly-mentioned religious background – all the rest are feminists, lesbians, or Communists. World Net Daily, in a May 2009 article, states that Girl Scout Troops are no longer allowed to pray or sing traditional Christmas Carols."
Where to begin. First off, the Girl Scouts are not a religious organization. Secondly, according to their 2010 annual report, Planned Parenthood services were broken down this way: STI/STD testing & treatment, 38.0%; contraception, 33.5%; cancer screening and prevention, 14.5%; other women's health services, 10.4%; abortion services, 3%; and other services, 0.6%. Thirdly, I don't agree with his describing President Barrack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama as being "radically pro-abortion." He also has a problem with the First Lady being the honorary leader of the Girl Scouts. And, he forgot to mention that this position has been filled by the First Lady since 1917. And, fourthly, what a dumbass. How did this idiot get elected?
Now, to Santorum. In the past few weeks, Santorum has essentially laid out his personal beliefs as facts rather than his own beliefs. He has attacked Planned Parenthood, told a gay man that he and his partner contributed nothing to society, referred to contraception as something that would allow people to do things "in the sexual realm" that they shouldn't do. According to him.
Now, for these statements to result in a spike in his popularity in Oklahoma is beyond comprehension. I know politically the state is still stuck in the Eisenhower era, what with the worst pair of U.S. Senators to be found anywhere in the country and the belief that oil is the only acceptable means of energy. But, to align oneself with these prehistoric, misogynistic beliefs is incredibly short-sighted. I mean, women do get to vote here, right? Santorum wants to take all the other rights away.