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Sunday, August 29

The Silent Mulla - An Anecdote

Mulla Nasrudin was tired of feeding his donkey. He thought his beloved wife, Fatima, sometimes should feed his donkey. She disagreed. They argued. They fought. They were angry. No resolution seemed possible.

The Mulla suggested that they weren't going to resolve their argument by arguing, so they should resolve it by not arguing. By not speaking. By both being silent. Whoever spoke first lost the argument. Whoever spoke first would have to feed the donkey.

Nasrudin sat in a corner and said nothing. Fatima sat in another room and said nothing. Finally, she had had enough. She walked out and went to a neighbor's house. The Mulla remained in their house.

That evening, a thief broke into the house. The Mulla said nothing. The thief took everything, and the Mulla didn't stop him. He wanted to win the argument. He had to remain silent. The thief even took the Mulla's beloved hat, from right off the top of the Mulla's head. Nasrudin said nothing.

Later that evening, Fatima began to worry. Nasrudin was a man of many talents, but he was useless in a kitchen. She didn't want him to go hungry. Still angry, but not wanting to speak and lose the argument, she indicated that the neighbor's son should take some soup over to her house, so Nasrudin would have something to eat. The neighbor's son did so.

The neighbor's son entered the house and saw the disaster. He was aghast. Nasrudin remained in a corner. The boy didn't know what to say, so he showed Nasrudin the bowl of soup. Nasrudin pointed to his own head. Of all his possessions, he had most prized his hat, and he wanted the boy to commiserate with him.

The boy held out the soup. Nasrudin again pointed to his own head. Never having understood his wise but eccentric neighbor, and now not understanding Nasrudin's gesture, the boy walked over and poured the soup over the Mulla's head. Then, he went home.

Finally, Fatima went home. She saw that the house had been ransacked. She saw Nasrudin sitting in the corner, covered in soup. She stammered out...

"We've... We've been robbed!"

Nasrudin stood up, grinned, and declared- "I win the bet! Now, you have to feed the donkey!"

Tuesday, August 24

bye bye middle class

by blondesense liz


Excerpt from "The Erosion of America's Middle Class" from Spiegel Online



"Two weeks ago, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and 40 other billionaires pledged to donate at least half of their fortunes to philanthropy, either while still alive or after death. Is America a country so blessed with affluence that it can afford to give away billions, just like that?

Growing Resentment

Gates' move could also be interpreted as a PR campaign, in a country where the super-rich sense that although they are profiting from the crisis, as was to be expected, the number of people adversely affected has grown enormously. They also sense that there is growing resentment in American society against those at the top.

For people in the lower income brackets, the recovery already seems to be falling apart. Experts fear that the US economy could remain weak for many years to come. And despite the many government assistance programs, the small amount of hope they engender has yet to be felt by the general public. On the contrary, for many people things are still headed dramatically downward.

According to a recent opinion poll, 70 percent of Americans believe that the recession is still in full swing. And this time it isn't just the poor who are especially hard-hit, as they usually are during recessions.

This time the recession is also affecting well-educated people who had been earning a good living until now. These people, who see themselves as solidly middle-class, now feel more threatened than ever before in the country's history. Four out of 10 Americans who consider themselves part of this class believe that they will be unable to maintain their social status."
Still no jobs here. No such thing as a raise if you have a job. Watching people who worked and paid their mortgages for decades losing ground. You can't have a democracy without a middle class. Obviously the wealthy don't want this to be a democracy.

You Are

Here.


Neat, eh?

This is a duo portrait of the Earth/Moon system, taken from a distance of 114,000,000 miles by the NASA MESSENGER probe, currently making its merry way around the planet Mercury.

It's a beautiful perspective on just how significant we really are in the Universe - a microscopic arrow on a minuscule dot, reading "You Are Here."

Monday, August 23

New York State is Scarier Than Ever

by blondesense liz

God help us. I don't want another second of Paterson, but the GOP candidates are downright scary, illogical and in desperate need of learning how the government works.

A very mean man and wealthy business owner, Carl Paladino, is running for GOP governor in NYS.

Paladino is in favor of converting prisons to dormitories for those who collect welfare or unemployment insurance in order to teach them personal hygiene and job skills.
This teabagger (a huge contradiction) has suggested something that will probably cost more to taxpayers than sending welfare and unemployment checks to those who are down and out.

I wonder if he will get any votes from all the Republicans who happen to be collecting unemployment insurance checks through no fault of their own? Anyway, this *%#$ makes no sense about anything he espouses.

The other GOP scary dude running for Guv is former bank lobbyist and loser to Hillary Clinton in a NY Senate race, Rick Lazio who is just pissing people off with his anti-mosque hysteria. He's behind in the polls. We didn't like this Long Islander when he ran against Hillary, so why should we like him now?

Good heavens. Is this the best the GOP can come up with for NYS? Really?
They offer us hateful, ill informed, selfish men who pander to the lowest of the lows in our state? Wow. They offer us men who can only garner attention by instilling fear and hate in their constituents? Wow.

No wonder New York is the most unhappy state in the union.

A Few of My Favorite Websites (Really, just a few)

by blondesense liz

These are a few of my favorite haunts on the innernets:

Southern Poverty Law Center

Religion Dispatches

Race Talk

A World of Progress

Talk To Action

Alternet

Just wanted to share them with you. Lots of good information and well written opinion pieces that you don't have to agree with, but they get you to think. Obviously I read the big blogs sometimes and of course, the corporately biased news written by corporate shills posing as journalists... oh yes...

Sunday, August 22

It's not hatred, it's righteous indignation

(look it up if you don't know what it is)

by blondesense liz

Yes, we are angry around here at blondesense, but we are not full of hatred and we don't seek vengeance. We don't lose control of ourselves or wish evil on those who are evil or act in an evil, selfish manner. I speak for myself when I describe my passion against injustice as righteous indignation for I wish no revenge but to seek a reversal to injustice that has been done or is being done. I would hope that the return to justice could be tackled in a non-violent manner. I think that this describes the passion of some or most of my co-bloggers here.

I write letters. I make phone calls. I rant on the blog. I am not afraid to confront those who lie and take advantage of the less informed citizens among us. I am not afraid to point out to the lost and misinformed citizens what they might have overlooked when they were being riled up by those mal-intentioned persons who use the airwaves and fiber optic lines to deceive them. Yes, people sometimes get very defensive when they realize that they have been tricked. I'm sorry for that and honestly when I am talking to them in real life, I try very hard to not belittle them or give the impression that I am doing that, because I am really not... unless they attack me and all bets are off, baby.

Those who oppress others and at the same time make the oppressed hate another group who has nothing to do with the issue at hand is despicable. If I get angry with righteous indignation over such an injustice, it is my right and also my moral and civic duty to do so.

Unlike those hateful folks on the conservative right, I have never wished harm to come to anyone on the bush administration or any other administration. I don't use violent rhetoric when I speak about a president past or present. I don't think politicians deserve to be hurt or killed. I only want them to be brought to justice and go to jail or make reparations for their selfish, evil and corporate loving acts. Their deeds need to be brought to light so that those who have been misinformed may see it and join the rest of us in overthrowing the bums in Washington each and every election day.

Most of the liberals I know, true liberals who actually give a shit about others in a manner that would make Jesus proud, would be thrilled to have the teabaggers, the Palinistas, Faux News watchers, etc come over to the light side. Maybe we could simply vote the fuckers out of office without a revolution. Wouldn't that be lovely?

Maybe we could restore religious freedom to the way it's supposed to be, freedom of speech for everyone and who knows, maybe get the free press back and restore journalistic integrity. Imagine that? Or how about defining corporations for what they are- businesses, not people, and holding them to a set of regulations that prevent them from hurting people? Oh I just tingle thinking of the possibilities of living in a world where we look out for each other without fear. I would jump for joy if those who say they are christian in that they followed the teachings of Jesus Christ actually did so.

In the meantime I am filled with righteous indignation. I'm pissed at all the injustice and the lies being spewed 24/7 by the corporate media and corporate owned politicians.

I will not shut up until it becomes impossible for a working, tax paying American citizen to go bankrupt due to medical costs. I will not shut up until the expression, "working poor" is only used when referring to a thing of the past. I will not shut up until corporate lobbyists cease and desist. I will not shut up until a regular, honest, decent man or woman can run for congress without having to sell their souls to the devil in order to do so. I will not shut up until the military industrial complex ceases to exist. I will not shut up until the media does its job and exposes all the untruths spoken by those in leadership positions.

and that's the truth

/rant

Friday, August 20

Which Religion Was the Most Dangerous in United States History?

From Religious Dispatches.org, an opinion piece by Gary Laderman surmises that Anglo-European Protestant men have inflicted more pain and suffering than any other individuals from colonial times until the dawn of the 21st century.
(We're talking about North America here, not Europe)

Who burned hung witches? (edited) Who murdered Native Americans? Who engaged in lynching? Who started the KKK? Who ran the slave trade? Who discriminated against Jews, Catholics, Mormons, etc? Who placed Japanese in interment camps during WWII? (just to name a few atrocities)

He asks if it's fair to use the logic being thrown about against Muslim Americans in order to protest all Anglo-American Protestants from erecting churches near hallowed sites that symbolize the highest American values (freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc)? Of course not. You can't hold all Anglo-American Protestants accountable for what the evil ones did to the rest of us in the name of their god just as you cannot generalize that all Muslims Americans were in cahoots with the terrorists of 9/11.

It's not a long piece and it's very thought provoking. Read it here.

(Ironically, all this "mosque" hoo-ha is not a huge topic of discussion among New Yorkers of any religious persuasion or not in real life. If anyone does talk about it, it is more about the utterly disgusting hypocrisy of the GOP'ers who hate NY anyway... why should they care what happens here?)

PS. ANOTHER INTERESTING OPINION:
Israel and America's Mosque Hysteria

PSS (Sat night) For god's sake, This is not MY opinion piece. It's a piece that asks if it's fair to use the logic many Americans are using against Muslims today against other religious groups that have been known to inflict terror on others- particularly white anglo-saxon protestant males. It is not to indict Protestants and give Catholics a pass... we all know what the RCC did in Europe.

The point is that we should give Muslim Americans the same break that we give other religious groups known to have overzealous followers.

Some people have not read the article and are making ridiculous comments nevertheless. If you don't read it or do read it but don't have reading comprehension skills, please don't comment.

Thanks.

Thursday, August 19

An ironic thing happened to me in Salem, Mass on Sunday

by blondesense liz



My friend and I were in the hotel elevator in Salem, Mass on Sunday afternoon and a gentlemen joined us for the ride. He seemed friendly enough and asked us where we were from.

"New York,"said my friend in his NY accent.

I quickly thought that there was no need to clarify that we were from the NYC metropolitan area part of NY. Neither of us asked where he was from. I don't know why. He didn't sound like he was from the northeast though.

He asked what we thought about the 'mosque going up on Ground Zero.' My friend replied that people are making too much of a big deal about it. The man looked disappointed.

"We still have freedom of religion the last time I looked," I said.

Mind you, this was a quick elevator ride, but the man went into the whole thing about what if the US were to put a monument to the Enola Gay at Hiroshima as we arrived at his floor. I looked at him as if he were crazy to make such an analogy and commented that it wasn't the same thing, but there was no time to go into my whole diatribe that you can't compare a military strike to a terrorist attack, that the Muslim religion didn't attack the WTC... etc etc. I think one of us mentioned that it wasn't a mosque going up either... that being a point people seem to overlook.

My friend and I continued to talk about it on our way to the room, rolling our eyes and commenting on just how ill informed people are. We probably 'god damned' Fox News and the GOP strategists too for turning the citizens of the US into such ill informed idiots.

It struck me a while later that it was so darn ironic we would run into someone like that in Salem, Mass, which is famous for its religious intolerance and hysteria in the late 1600's. We were right smack in the middle of the historical district where everything was geared to this part of history. I wondered if this visitor to the Witch City, as it's called, was saddened by the fact that the hysteria faded almost as quickly as it started and not saddened by the stories of how innocent people were accused of things so ridiculous it makes your head spin. I guess I'll never know.

PS. Salem is a great place to visit for a day or two. It's very pretty, quaint, historic and compact. You can walk to everything. There's a lot to do and the food is very good. Nathaniel Hawthorne's House of Seven Gables is there.

PSS. The witch hunts in North America were nothing compared to the witch hunts in Europe where over one million people were accused and executed for being witches. It went on in Europe for 200 years. Four hundred people were accused and 19 were hung in Salem. The hysteria was short lived.

Monday, August 16

You Say You Have Nothing to Hide?

One of the standard bullshit lines I get from my conservative coworkers is the mantra "I have nothing to hide" when queried about the Surveillance Society measures enacted after 2001. I have found a very interesting argument to use in counterpoint to that rather bland assertion, which I repost here (courtesy of, and many thanks to, paradox at DailyKos).


Dull, Predictable, and in Servitude:

It’s a dismayingly gross loss of privacy to have saved image scans that strip clothing, only to leave a creepy wraith-like image of person left, to be at whatever regressive TSA whim of the moment might possibly be, most likely juvenile leering of women and celebrities. Sexism and objectification run very deep in the United States, most of the images released are of females with the Google images cache prominently showcasing a shapely female with a pistol perched on her perfect ass. Perhaps a lineup of portly males with needledicks to laugh at would have a different impact of the news.

Which was accepted with appalling nonchalance, in our Age of Terror it has horribly creeped on all of us that our email, telephone conversations and messaging are wide open, any official in any number of government agencies can get all of them quickly if desired, along will all our financial information, we no longer have personal lives as little people Americans.

So the fuck what, I have nothing to hide.
A predictable bombastic response from the most confident among us, but even they are comically incorrect, for no human is ever truly sure there is nothing to hide with even your body scan on file. Fear and just the knowledge of being watched will inevitably produce that most awful and terribly dangerous human behavior: conformity. Chilled, but not in a good way.

How ploddingly dull and predictable life would be without souls among us daring to be different, to prod the status quo, to demand change from circumstances that scream actions requiring anything but conformity. Caution, fear and conformity that is clamped irrevocably into the frame of reference for ordinary Americans—your email is being read, they know how you talked about your mother and your scan is in the C cup file at the airport—will not produce a society of rich diversity, bravery is required for change and variety and Americans won’t have it.

We’ll still have music and movies and the arts, of course, but they will seem dimmed, diminished and pale imitations of a more vibrant past (remember when radio was cool and fun, when there was a good movie to see every month?). Much more dangerously, conformity will rob our bravery to the point where we cannot substantively change, we simply won’t have the moxie for it.

Conformity has another insidious, creeping consequence: servitude. Knowledge that all your personal life could be launched publicly at any time smashes into place a citizenship stance of inferiority, of irrevocably being smaller and weaker than his or her government. That precisely flips the entire premise of Democratic daily life, Uncle Sam is supposed to be working for us, government is the people’s instrument of service, not the other way around. When we accept the reality of being passive, pushed-around pawns we should hardly be surprised when our government and leadership more often treats us so.

The new Age of Terror is a confusing, frightening one, but in all the horrendous mess it’s abundantly clear Americans were never hated for their freedoms. Having phone, email, body scans, internet usage and messaging always totally off-limits except under warrant is not the reason our people are being killed in Afghanistan.

Which, tragically and very dangerously, is not the case at all, as Americans we’ve lost our personal privacy in our freedoms list. It’s difficult to believe that as time wears on Americans will continue to accept the stifling, offensive reality of it, and it would be very wise for political leadership of either major Party to fervently embrace personal privacy as an ironclad political principle and vastly visible goal, doing so would surely go a long, long way to ensuring continued political success.

Thursday, August 12

A Review


It's been a busy week for Assholes, dear readers.

We have supposedly sober, non-drug-addled and presumably educated people in this country advocating the repeal of the 14th Amendment. I'm not sure if any of these people have really considered the implications of that, but at first glance higher cognition is not exactly their strongest suit.

Hint, Assholes: If your position is too extreme for Tom Tancredo, Alan Keyes, and Mike Huckabee, you're probably too far gone to save at this point.

The son of Potato(e) Dan Quayle has the nerve to rear up on his hind legs and accuse Obama of being the 'worst President ever.' He needs to expand his horizons a bit, as Obama's poll numbers are not in George W. Bush territory. Yet.

Some of the same educated and mature adults are also supporting repeal of the 17th Amendment. Excuse me, Assholes, but I want the ability to choose the insipid bastard who'll represent me in Washington. Not my state legislature.

Mittens Romney is the presumptive front runner, and he's all against the mandate portion of the health care reform law. Mittens, you can try to twist and squirm all you want, but you pioneered the individual mandate when you were Governor of Massachusetts. It'll be almost like trying to run away from your embrace of gay rights.

Serious People like David Stockman (St. Reagan's budget guru) and Alan Greenspan (the former Holy Man of the Fed) both say that leaving the Bush tax cuts in place will basically destroy the US economy. As a result, Republicans and conservatives have demoted these hard-core conservatives to the ranks of the Dirty Hippies.

I had a guy pissing and moaning about those tax cuts, and I asked him quite reasonably if he made more than $250,000 a year. He said no, and I told him that the change wouldn't affect him at all. Of course, he looked at me as if I were the Antichrist.

(I'm not, of course - I am, however, the Beast Foretold.)

The people who oppose same-gender marriage have had their arguments revealed, in court, for what they truly are: Total and Utter Codswallop. Hey, Assholes, merely saying homosexuality is "icky" won't stand up in court, and a witness stand is a lonely place when you can't back up anything you say under oath.

There are times, dear readers, when I feel like Dark Helmet in Spaceballs:

"I'm surrounded by assholes!"

...and if you act now...



There are lotteries all over the United Social States of America. The most publicized are the “Big Money Mega-Power Games” that promise more money than Glenn Beck’s Yearly Salary but less than Rupert Murdoch’s! But the most popular are probably the scratch-off tickets where you could win $XXXX.00 weekly or monthly for the rest of your life! These are by far the most favorite of the seniors in my area. They are hoping, not for immense wealth, rather just enough extra per week or month to help them get by paying for necessities and incidentals.

Most lottery games have odds where you have as much chance of winning as a wolf getting away from Palin’s helicopters. (The guys who operate the games aren’t doing it out of the kindness of their hearts, ya know)? But you play anyway. Why? Well, someone has to win, so why not you?

Now for a dose of reality. If I told you, you have already won a prize of about $1100 A MONTH FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, just by being an employed citizen of the United Social States of America, would that pique your interest? Would you ask how is that possible? Would you believe me if I told you? And would you take the prize you’ve already won? Well, truth is, nearly all Americans have already “won” a prize of about $1100 a month for the rest of their lives! It’s true and it’s called Social Security. Surprise! You’re a winner!

There are no tickets to buy or to scratch off, no sitting up nights until 11:00 P.M to see if your numbers match those stupid ping pong balls and no checking the newspaper or waiting through commercial after commercial watching the dweebs on your local TV News to see if you won anything. You already have WON! Honest!
You see, you entered and won by working all your life. That’s all there is to it. The prize is already yours! And our Socialist Government has made sure that your winnings are safe, at least until 2037. Problems after that can be corrected easily by making the current “entry price” we all pay percentage-wise, the same for everyone. Right now, people who make more than $106,000 yearly don’t pay any more as an entry fee. But when they are eligible to get their monthly winnings, they get a lot more than you and I. Not too fair, is it, since they get money we paid in that should have been ours? Eliminate the $106,000 cap so they pay their fair share and you will never lose any money after 2037 no matter who tries to lie to you, no matter how much the wealthy earn.

But there is a faction in America that wants you to give up your guaranteed winnings, pass a law and force you to take a chance on losing your $1100 a month for life, your money, to them. It’s just like buying that lottery ticket with the big odds. What if you lose? How many guaranteed winners are there in all the lotteries you play? None or maybe one! How many guaranteed losers? 99% of all the others! But do you want to take a chance on losing out on $1100 a month for life just to satisfy the greed of that faction then ending up with nothing for all your years of hard work ? It just isn’t worth it!

Just who is the faction that wants you to gamble away your $1100 a month for life? It’s the Senators and Representatives of the Republican Party, a number of Senators of the Democratic Party, a good number of Congressional Blue Dog Democrats, the former and current President and Vice-President of our United Social States and their advisors, appointees and relatives, the Wealthy of Wall Street and their Businesses and Bankers, most of the Main Stream Media Newscasters, especially Fox and the Ex-Governor of Alaska and her extremely radical Tea Party. Yep! They want to take away your $1100 a month for life winnings and force you to take a chance that you’ll lose it all...to them!

How about it? Are you willing to give up a sure $1100 a month for life to allow some wealthy political type or Wall Street Shyster, Tea Party Member or even Ex-Governor of Alaska to take money that was yours while you get NOTHING in return?

Maybe you should call your U.S. Representative, Senator and our President and tell them you’ve already played and won and don’t want anyone to make any law to force you to gamble with what is already your winnings…unless you like taking a chance with your money…and your future?

Tuesday, August 10

Shiiiit!

Sorry for the cut and paste but the article below from Americablog sums up the frustration with Obama by those who have their eyes open.

Then take a look at the end of the Internet as we know it here, for those who can afford it. Again, a major decision based on a fleeting, campaign promise is in the hands of a timid president. Will he do the right thing and make the FCC reject the Google/Verizon Pact or will he "compromise", let the public get screwed and then triumphantly announce, "Yes, it'll cost you more, but at least I saved the internet for you who can afford it! And, it was the best we could do for you."

One last item. With all the bufarb coming down from the Republican's hypocrisy about nearly everything they do and have done, the American People, with the lack of help of the Main Stream Media, believe:
IOTBAHIYAAR-BNAD (New acronym - It's ok to be a hypocrite if you are a Republican - But not a Democrat!)



Gibbs: People who are upset with Obama don't live in real America, didn't help get Obama elected



From the Hill:
Gibbs said the professional left is not representative of the progressives who organized, campaigned, raised money and ultimately voted for Obama.

Progressives, Gibbs said, are the liberals outside of Washington “in America,” and they are grateful for what Obama has accomplished in a shattered economy with uniform Republican opposition and a short amount of time.
Let's put aside for a moment Gibb's adoption of a really nasty, and un-American, Sarah Palin talking point in order to smear the Democratic base (has it really come that?). (And heck, even Palin apologized for using that smear.) Let's look instead at the substance of the smear. Gibbs is now claiming, on behalf of the White House, that anyone who is upset with the way President Obama is handling his job clearly did not organize, campaign, or raise money for candidate Obama back in 2008.

Really? That's the latest White House response to Obama voters who are sincerely concerned about the direction this White House is taking on so many issues. To smear everyone and suggest that they didn't lift a finger to get the President elected? Seriously?

Joe and I are upset with Obama, and we, for example, raised nearly $43,000 for the man, According to the White House, our money now doesn't count. Great, would they like to give it back? I for one, would love the $1000 back that I personally donated to the Obama campaign. Joe gave even more. I suspect a lot of our readers wouldn't mind their contributions back too, since apparently they're not appreciated.

Then there's all that work we did for the campaign, all the dirty work they asked us to do - and we did it, gladly, and quietly - none of that counted either, apparently.

This interview with White House spokesman Robert Gibbs is really quite remarkable. Not in its substance - President Obama's staff smears the Democratic base, and our issues, on a regular basis. No, what's remarkable is that a senior White House official has finally gone on the record in order to smear the Democratic base. That's unprecedented. It also puts to the rest the White House's prior defense, whenever a senior unnamed official went after the base, of claiming it was a rogue employee who didn't represent the President. Gibbs clearly does.

More from Gibbs:
The press secretary dismissed the “professional left” in terms very similar to those used by their opponents on the ideological right, saying, “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality.”

Of those who complain that Obama caved to centrists on issues such as healthcare reform, Gibbs said: “They wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president.”
One hopes that Gibbs doesn't truly believe this, otherwise the White House really is in trouble. The left isn't upset with the President because we're just too darned demanding. We're upset with Barack Obama because he never seems to try. He talks a good talk, but when it comes time to actually follow through on his promises, he winces.

Take health care reform. The President was AWOL for a good year while health care reform floundered in the Congress. Rather than get his hands dirty, and spend some political capital actually pushing for what he promised - a public option, which Barack Obama himself had repeatedly said was the best way to increase competition and lower prices - the President, other than a few speeches here and there, disappeared for a year. Finally, when it looked like everything was doomed, Obama got involved, at the very end, and we got a bill that did some nice things, but not nearly as much as he'd promised, and not nearly as much as would have been possible had Obama engaged a year earlier.

And that's the crux of the criticism. Obama supporters are not upset with President Obama because the supporters' own expectations are unrealistically high. We're upset with Obama because we believed his promises, and we thought he'd actually fight for them. Better to have loved and lost, as they say. But if you're not even willing to try, then what's the point?

It's not a transformative presidency when you flinch in the face of every challenge.

Gibbs talks about how difficult it is for the White House to get anything done in the face of a uniform Republican opposition. Except, of course, the GOP wasn't uniform at all in February of 2009, when the White House caved on the stimulus and showed its true colors to the Republican party. If anything, this White House helped unify the Republicans by constantly, and unnecessarily, pandering to them at every turn.

Let's talk about the stimulus. The reason we're suffering from 10% unemployment, with no improvement on the horizon, is because someone at the White House thought it was politically too difficult to ask for the "real" amount that was needed to stimulate the economy and save the country from another Great Depression. So rather than go to the country, and tell the American people what medicine was needed, the President flinched in order to avoid a fight. And then he flinched again, and gave 35% of the already-too-small stimulus away to the GOP in the form of near-useless tax cuts.

And what did the President's approach of negotiating with himself get us? 10% unemployment, approval ratings in the 40s, and the imminent loss of the House. And it's not like this wasn't predicted. Both Stiglitz and Krugman told everyone they could that the stimulus was far too small. But this White House doesn't do liberals. So Stiglitz and Krugman were shoved aside, and a true economic recovery went out the door with them. How smart a move was that?

Let me reiterate. The country was on the verge of economic collapse. We were on the verge of another Great Depression. And rather than fight for the correct amount of medicine that was needed to save our nation, this President decided to opt for less than what was needed to save our nation. And he didn't opt for less at the end of the negotiation, after pushing really hard for the full amount. He opted for less at the beginning, because he didn't want to fight for it. Which is his usual pattern. Cave first, negotiate later, then act surprised when people are upset when the final agreement is so weak, and accuse them of being politically naive and unrealistic.

Who was the only person in the White House to even vaguely understand that we needed a bigger stimulus? Christine Romer. And what's her reward for being right? She's leaving.

Tell us again why we should be proud?

Then there's this:
He’s also added diversity to the Supreme Court by nominating two female justices, including the court’s first Hispanic. Yet some liberal groups have criticized his nominees for not being liberal enough.
Clarence Thomas added diversity to the Supreme Court too. The substance of the nominees' beliefs really don't matter? And yes, of course Kagan and Sotomayor are better than Clarence Thomas. But we didn't vote for Barack Obama to be simply "better than the worst Republicans." That's a rather sorry goal for any president, let alone one who promised he was different. One who promised real "change."

This comment, about the Supreme Court diversity, is illustrative of a larger problem this White House has. They tend to prefer symbolism over substance. Better to appoint a woman to the court than someone who would actually advance the President's worldview (if he has one). Or here's an idea - how about appoint a Latina, or any other woman, who would be a fierce advocate for progressive ideals? No, to this White House it's better to pass a bill that's called "health care reform" than to actually fight for the details of such a bill from the git-go. And better to pass legislation that everyone thinks repeals "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," when it does no such thing, than to actually fight for an actual repeal of the discriminatory law. That might upset one of the President's employees, the Secretary of Defense, and we can't have that when the overarching goal of the administration is to ensure that there is never any drama, regardless of what they have to give up in return.

It's always better to compromise than to fight. It's always better to win on paper than to win in practice.

That's why people are ticked at the President. Not because they're naive. But rather, because they actually believed he would at least try to do what he promised.

Finally, there's this:
Larry Berman, an expert on the presidency and a political science professor at the University of California-Davis, said he has been surprised that liberals aren’t more cognizant of the pragmatism Obama has had to employ to pass landmark reforms.

“The irony, of course, is that Gibbs’s frustration reflects the fact that the conservative opposition has been so effective at undermining the president’s popular approval,” Berman said.

“And from Gibbs’s perspective, and the White House perspective, they ought to be able to catch a break from people who, in their view, should be grateful and appreciative.”
Yes, it's hard work being President.

As I mentioned before, one could argue that the reason the conservative opposition has been so effective is because the President has refused, from day one, to challenge the conservative opposition. The President always felt it was better to strive for bipartisanship than fight for what he promised, fight for what the country needed. In a very real way, this President emboldened conservatives and their opposition. They knew that if they yelled in his face, he'd feel compelled to compromise to make them feel better. Just look at the Joe "You lie!" Wilson fiasco. What was the response? The Senate committee changed the bill language to address Joe Wilson's concerns about immigration. How many votes did that get us? And why not use Wilson's outburst to paint the GOP as obstructionist, and out of touch with the country? Are we really to believe that the White House had no hand in this at all?

The saddest part of this certainly planned outburst from Gibbs is that it must reflect the President's own thinking. He actually believes that he's doing a swell job. He actually believes that his all-nighter, last-minute approach to policy-making has led to stunning successes. And he's so proud of his own success, that he feels comfortable telling other Democrats that they're not real Americans, and that their contributions to his campaign were meaningless.

Heck of away to energize the party three months before a pivotal election.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

by blondesense liz (temporarily back from vacation)

I could barely read this story. There is no such thing as clean coal.

Obama Injects $1B into FutureGen 'Clean Coal' Project

Why do Republicans criticize this president when he is one of them?

Monday, August 9

No, really!

by Father Tyme

I’ve been told I’m controversial. For a response, I guess I could quote Bart Simpson (no relation to Jessica or O.J.) but that might be construed as sarcasm. Since subtlety is wasted on the stupid anyway, I’d hate for anyone who thinks me controversial to add sardonic pleasures to their allegations.
Yep! You betcha! I’m controversial. But that controversy is slathered in a few commenter's responding ignorance.

You see, from 2004 to 2008 I wasn’t controversial on this blog or others I wrote for under more diverse pseudonyms. Why wasn’t I controversial? Well, possibly it had to do with the fact that those who now deride my current disputations of our infallible president, quite agreed with the many apparent apropos articles I penned demeaning the Bush Administration and ridiculing those who unwaveringly, almost Reichishly, defended any and all of that administration's transgressions, lies and deceit.

If you’ll remember, I penned some controversial articles, added some facetious pictures and videos about Bush and his Administration yet vigorously supported one Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton and the McCain/Palin joke.

Now it comes full circle. Those who would have Bush and Company gone, now have the regime they voted for; a regime they believed would lead us away from the duplicity and deception of 8 years of ignorant, public abetted corruption. I believed this also (I guess that makes me controversial?) Sadly, that hasn’t happened and as time passes, it looks more and more as though it won’t happen. Not to say, maybe in a second term if Obama’s re-elected, he may TRY to live up to his campaign rhetoric, but by then it’ll be too late for anyone but Business.

As things are regressing, by the time those currently in power decide to directly help the American People rather than Big Business, there’ll be no sense closing the barn door, the jackasses will be gone along with our money, rights and any semblance of freedoms we believed we ever had will have vanished, probably in the name of National Security or “for the Good of the Country.”

Because I now criticize Obama for all he hasn’t done for the PEOPLE (and remember, I was a staunch supporter of him during his campaign), my recent opinions of him have been questioned. Evidently everything (bad) that has ever happened in the world, since November 2008 is his fault. NO, not everything, just most of it. You see HE IS responsible. It's part of the job description. Whether some flunky makes an asinine comment, whether Congress screws us or helps us, whether actions are taken or not taken is his responsibility. Comes with the territory. Some erroneously think nothing bad he does is his fault because "He can't do everything." No, he can't. But he's still in charge and as such it's his game. As an aside, if your child breaks a window in the neighbors house, guess who pays for it?

I’ve been told time and again that Obama “just needs a little more time.” For what? Bush had many of our rights suspended less than 2 months after 9/11! Obama's unofficial “pardoning” of the criminals and their acts under the Bush Administration, continued rendition of “prisoners”, mysterious conservative appointments to positions of power in his administration, retention of Bush appointees in important legal positions, TARP, the unquestioning gifts to the Banks and Wall Street all didn ’t require “a little more time.” Those should never have happened in the first place especially by one who calls (called?) himself a Democrat. Isn’t it just the most delicious bit of irony that someone can slam me for questioning Obama while they themselves questioned the policies of the Bush Administration in similar fashion yet ignore similar instances of this regime? Good for the goose?

I’m beyond disappointed in these poltroons masquerading as oh-so fair-weather Democrats. I used to think they were simply over-zealous in blindly supporting a new administration they thought would lead them to Candyland . I used to think they would look rationally at the new regime (for that’s what it is) and offer criticism where it was due. But that hasn’t happened. Why it hasn’t is probably for one of two reasons.

The apologists have looked at the debacle that is continuing and won’t accept the fact or admit the man they voted for lead them astray thus making themselves look foolish (Gawd forbid) for continuing to excuse his blatant ignorance, intentional or otherwise, of the ideals he claimed he’d fight for during his campaign. Either that or they’re just as bad as the Bush Apologists and are still willing to overlook Obama's unfulfilled promises, outright lies and pseudo-Democratic actions not even a moderate would take.

It's interesting that those who disagree with this, yet may see the facts for what they are, will react by derogatory comments or worse, because of their own hubris, by refusing to continue to read this blog or any other that is contrary to their stoic beliefs.
The same thing happened at kos because that site had the audacity to support Obama over Clinton!

There’s more that could be said but it would simply be wasted on preconceived opinion as sparse as the breadcrumbs this current administration scattered among those of us responsible for providing its existence.

It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Obama will come to his senses and realize the damage he’s done to the base that made him president but I’m sure Las Vegas would give very long odds for that happening. I’m also pretty sure Fox never lies!

But, to all you Obama apologists, maybe you can answer this:

Provided you are not among the top 2% of the wealthy in this nation, tell us all exactly what he has done that DIRECTLY affects you, and AFFECTS you NOW, not in 2011, or '12 or by 2014 and the actual ways you're better off now because of his agenda. The minuscule tax breaks and refunds for the middle and lower class paled in comparison to what business gleaned from that bill.

I’ve heard many say that “he’s only the president, what can he do without support from Congress?” Are you really that daft? If you’ll remember when Congress was seriously thinking of providing a REAL, decent health plan that looked as though it would easily pass, Obama called the members who supported that idea into his office and, voila! they changed their views. It must have been magic! There’s NO WAY a president doesn’t command immense power, and a lot of it if he wants to. Presidents change minds to what presidents want! That's part of the job, ESPECIALLY in his own party. Simple and factual. This president hasn’t put forth the effort to enact the rhetoric he campaigned on for reasons known only to himself or his advisors to the utter dismay of his base. Rather, he favored actions he claimed he was against, trusted people who shouldn't have been employed and turned a deaf ear on the Democratic Base that supported him in favor of Big Business.

Please don’t use the excuse that bills take time to implement. You well know that is the biggest crock of shit this or any President and Congress can spin. After all, how was it that TARP, stimulus and Bush Tax Cuts went into effect so quickly while what was called health reform won’t be totally effective until 2014 if then, or the Part B Medicare trash (that was going to make it much better for senior prescription coverage) took nearly 2 years to implement? Business gets immediate help and the chance to look for and implement loopholes and we get to “give Obama and Congress a little more time.”

Take a REAL close look at what little HAS been passed. Look at the “additions”, forget the amendment bullshit (they’re additions), to ALL the bills passed and the ways they help Big Business. Any bill this Congress has passed has in one way or another benefited Big Business infinitely more than anything it did for the middle and lower classes. The lone exception may be the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, but give Business time and they'll find a way around that, too!

If you can still believe that this president is looking out for your interests before those of Business, then you are as ignorant as those Bush Apologists we Leftists complained about for 8 years.

If this article makes me controversial in your eyes; if you believe Obama needs more time; if you feel I think everything is Obama's fault; if you believe nothing is Obama’s fault because this mess was just created by George Bush; if you believe Obama is doing everything in his power to primarily help the middle and lower classes yet bills he feigns support for aren’t getting passed, where does the “BLAME” lie? With controversial bloggers who once supported him, or with those too enamored with their precious egos to deny what they won't see?

Thursday, August 5

Administration Overly Optimistic about Fate of Spilled Oil

"Great News, Beav!"

"Gee Wally, What's the great news?"
"Well Beav, the Pres and the Gov say that the vast majority of the oil is gone from the Gulf! Isn't that great?"
"Gee Wally, Does that mean it's gone gone, or has it moved to other places where they aren't looking or maybe it moved deep under water down the coast of Florida toward the Keys and is heading up the East Coast? And...and does that mean there's no more problems with the fish and animals, huh Wally?"
"Gosh Beav. You're so cynical. Here the Pres says that things are getting lots better and you're questioning him? Are you a scientist? No, didn't think so. Leave the analysis to the experts. He says most of the oil is gone from the Gulf. That's good enough for me and should be for you, too!"
"But Wally, isn't that like saying your girlfriend might be a little bit pregnant?"
"Shut up and eat your Wheaties, Beav."



Wanted:


Approximately 600,000 square miles of carpet to cover the Gulf of Mexico.
Shag acceptable!
Please contact the White House, Coast Guard or BP for further information.

Must be able to install without causing public disruption.
Prefer installation at night.
Serious inquires only.

Wednesday, August 4

A Rainbow of Whoopass

A while back, California abruptly legalized marriage between people of the same gender, and 18,000 couples immediately started shoveling money into the state economy (marriage license fees, catering, gifts and so on).

Naturally, this didn't sit well with Certain People, who put forward a ballot initiative called Proposition 8. Prop. 8 basically forced a change to the California Constitution, making it illegal for same-gender couples to wed. Thanks to a tsunami of money and ads from interested groups (like the Mormons), Prop. 8 passed.

Well, the proposition was challenged in Federal Court, the plaintiff's argument being that the law violated their Equal Protection rights under the 14th Amendment (yes, that 14th Amendment) and therefore violated their civil rights under 42 USC 1983.

Today the judge in the case handed down a ruling, which you can read in its entirety here. It's 138 pages long, so I'll simply give you the money shot:

"Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional."

Now, this fight isn't over, and I expect it to go all the way forward to the US Supreme Court. On its face, the Court's argument is compelling, and I can't wait for someone to challenge the Federal Defense of Marriage Act under the Commerce Clause, the Full Faith and Credit Clause, and the Supreme Court decision of Loving v. Virginia.

And I can hear heads exploding, which is always fun to hear.

Uh, it might get kinda cold in Long Island, Liz.

BP Oil Spill Stalls Gulf Loop Current
Oceanographic satellite data now shows that the Loop Current in the Gulf of Mexico has stalled as a consequence of the BP oil spill disaster. This according to Dr. Gianluigi Zangari, an Italian theoretical physicist, and major complex and chaotic systems analyst at the Frascati National Laboratories in Italy.

He further notes that the effects of this stall have also begun to spread to the Gulf Stream. This is because the Loop Current is a crucial element of the Gulf Stream itself and why it is commonly referred to as the “main engine” of the Stream.

The concern now, is whether or not natural processes can re-establish the stalled Loop Current. If not, we could begin to see global crop failures as early as 2011.

More at the link.

R U Ready for some...

Sunrise. August 4th. As I watched the sun slowly coming over the trees, there were faint wisps of nearly invisible, high clouds drifting ever so slowly to the east. I noticed the leaves were still on the trees, a robin was singing while its mate scrounged the damp grass for worms and grubs.
There was not even the slightest tinge of frost on the window. Curious! The back door was open all night so the cats could relax on the screened-in porch. Crickets were chirping. And yet I know Winter is just around the corner.
How do I know?
Because it’s Freakin’ Football Training Camp time and we still have 2 months of Boring Baseball plus the playoffs and World Series to be played out in… November? Ruth, Cobb and company must be spinning in their dugouts!
We wait all Winter for the warm days of Spring but they pass much too quickly. Just about the time we get settled in to comfortably decent, enjoyable weather, Summer comes. But more importantly, before we can even enjoy July 4th, the fools on TV start telling us it’s only so many days until Football Training Camp! Get your Coors Light, foam fingers and stadium seat-warmers. Good Gawd! Got your snow shovels yet? Don’t get caught without them! And make sure you have a supply of rock salt for your walkway!
The solstice occurs late June and that heralds the end! You may think Summer’s just begun but you’d be wrong. Alas! Sol starts his inexorable journey south making way for Old Man Winter. In no time at all, we start seeing hints of what’s coming. Summer isn’t even off to a month's start but the harbinger of Winter is inevitable – Football Training Camp!
Yeah, yeah! Football connotes cool Autumn afternoons, colorful falling leaves and carving pumpkins...for about a month and a half. But it really means Winter is just about here. It’s summer or so they say. If you’re not already getting storm windows cleaned, making sure the snow tires are ready, piling firewood behind the house, buying yarn and books for those nights with your loved one sitting beside a roaring fire, you’re at least thinking about them.
Winter’s many days or months away you say? Phooey! That’s no time at all. Time isn’t absolute. Einstein was right. As we age, time moves faster. The scientists just haven’t released the proof to the public yet. Too traumatic for us oldsters! It’s just that we never noticed it flying so quickly when we were younger.
We all “know” that Winter lasts about 300 days but Spring, Summer and Autumn share only about 20 of what’s left of those precious days (the few extra are holidays).
Football was supposed to be an Autumn sport but adding games has dragged it out nearly to Spring what with the StuporBowl. Ask anyone. They’ll tell you if you mention Football, they'll think of Winter. And Winter comes much too early!
I like Football. I like Autumn. I don’t even mind the season’s first snows, they’re beautiful…until after the holidays, then the stuff gets old real quick! Our Congress can legislate anything (with the help of SCOTUS) so why can’t they make snow after January 1st illegal? An amendment at least?
Then there’s that interminable wait for the first Robin we doubt will ever come while we bitch about long cold nights, heating bills, roads never cleared and Seasonal Affective Disorder!
We rush through life prisoners of the television and newspaper (remember them?) advertising business. Already, Winter clothes are on the shelves. By December, they’re stocking bikinis. One local store has Halloween items out now! It’s Freakin’ August 4th! Next week, they’ll probably stock cornucopias and Currier and Ives prints!
We no longer live for today, we live for the next season or holiday. We’ve been pushed that way by business and we accept it because we’re too dumb to say no...enough…stop and let us take a breath!
You people on the Left Coast, Southwest and Deep South, ignore this (you live in one season that changes only in degree of hot).
For those of us who despise Winter though, Global Warming can’t come soon enough.
Yeah, Football Training Camp means Winter's just around the corner, like it or not.
However, there is ONE redeeming virtue to be found during those cold snowy nights:
HOCKEY! HE SHOOTS…AND SCORES!
Almost makes Winter tolerable!




All Aboard the Train to Crazyville!

Here in sunny Flori-Duh, the Fifth (US) Congressional District seat was held by a Republican, Ms. Ginny Brown-Waite. Ginny was not a bad person, by any stretch of the imagination, and after seeing one of the contenders for her vacated seat I will miss her.

That contender is a fellow named Jason Sager. According to an article in the local paper, Sager is in favor of rewriting part of the 14th Amendment, just to keep illegal immigrants from having babies in our country.

Well, apart from basically invalidating the entire history and foundation of the Republican Party (not to mention saying that the Union was wrong to fight against slavery, and the Dred Scott decision was just fine and dandy), there is an unintended consequence to this idea.

Say for example (and why not?) I am traveling in Sweden with my pregnant wife. She goes into labor, and is delivered of a bouncing baby. Since that child was not born on US soil, he won't be a citizen, and we would have to jump through hoop after bureaucratic, pettifogging hoop in order to not bring the child into the country illegally.

Sager's also in favor of repealing the 17th Amendment. What is that, you might ask? Well, the Mighty 17th changed a bit of the original Constitution - specifically, the election of Senators. Under the original wording of the Constitution, Senators were chosen by the state legislatures, NOT by voters. The 17th changed that.

And Sager wants the pack of venal cretins in Tallahassee deciding who my US Senators should be. Naturally, he has an ulterior motive - the Republicans have solid majorities in the State Legislature, so it'd be a simple matter of enshrining a venal cretin into office without going to the trouble and expense of having the people, you know, actually vote for a guy. Cuius regio, eius religio, anyone?

I'm really not surprised Sager is making these stands. The article states that Sager arrived at his decision to run for office after four days of "prayer and consultation."

You'll notice that he didn't actually think.

Monday, August 2

Pa. unveils 'high risk' health insurance plan

WOW! Isn't it wonderful how much this will mean to those who can least afford it? Hey Obama and the Democrats, take a big "It's the best we could do" out of petty health care. What's really cool is that if your President, Congressperson's or Government Employee's kids are diagnosed with a pre-existing condition, be thankful we taxpayers are footing the huge bill for your loved ones, in addition to paying for our own.


Pennsylvania's Department of Insurance today unveiled the details of a new "high risk" insurance plan, meant to provide health coverage for those deemed uninsurable because of pre-existing conditions.


Monday, August 02, 2010

It's called PA Fair Care, and the program will be administered by Pittsburgh's Highmark Inc.

The department will accept applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. Call 1-888-767-7015 or visit www.PAFairCare.com for details. Applications will be accepted starting Aug 4.

Premiums are $283.20 a month, not including co-pays. The program is initially expected to serve 3,500 people.


Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10214/1077100-100.stm#ixzz0vToSYqYe