Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What We Really Need For The New Year

We don't need a leader whose specialty is passion, not reason (sorry, Maureen). And we don't need ridiculous, arbitrary rules that frustrate democracy, rather than giving it free reign (sorry, Ross).

We need to have faith in the power of reason, freely expressed in an orderly fashion. That doesn't happen in societies where leaders lead by affection (or fear, or both) rather than with votes. And it doesn't happen when rules are put into place (i.e., the filibuster, term limits) that exist solely out of a lack of faith in the power of votes.

I am not making an argument for reason over passion. I believe that reason and passion have somehow become divorced in our society, and that fact goes a long way toward explaining the dysfunctionality of our political system. Let's hope that 2010, and the Teens in general, are a year, and a decade, of kissing and making up. The alternative is something that no one, including me, wants to contemplate.

Don't Think Of Going There, GOP

I expected them to be craven enough to think this way. But they might want to think about this first. (I guess he's still looking for Obama's Waterloo.)

If they really want to be crude about it, how's this: I'll take Obama's first-year body count over theirs, any day.

An Alternative Perspective On A Decade Of Zeros

This article is, in many ways, a refreshing counterbalance to the litany of end-of-the decade articles about how horrible this decade has been. (Strictly speaking, I'm one of those folks who thinks this decade has one more year to go, but I won't press the point. For whatever it's worth, my favorite nickname for this decade is "The Naughts.")

It has been a terrible decade, politically and economically. But when it comes to technology, it's been astounding. Maybe the future really does belong to the intellectuals, after all.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Is Maureen Dowd A Masochist?

Why does she give national media time and space to her idiot right-wing brother? Is she hoping to convert him by being nice? Or does he have some kind of dirt on her?

Then again, are most liberals masochists? They're willing to give all sorts of exposure to their ideological opposite numbers, but you never see the favor returned.

Sometimes, politics in America seems like a horrible choice between fascism and fecklessness. God or Fate help us all.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Few Holiday Thoughts

I shared the following on Facebook today; I'm sharing it here, wishing you and yours the best for the rest of this year and all of next:

Stephen Rourke

appreciates the fact that Christmas, whatever else may be true about it, motivates all of us to reach outside of ourselves and make a difference, even if it is a small one, in the world around us. Whatever your feelings are about the holidays, I wish you all good health, safe travels, and the chance to make a difference. To me, the latter is not simply the spirit of Christmas, but the spirit of life itself.

It's Official: Either God Is Dead ...

... or He/She/They/It is/are on the side of the Democrats. The U.S. Senate passed a health care reform bill today and, despite the sincere entreaties of Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, not a single Senator was smote down so as to be prevented from voting for it.

By their own standards, they are begging for me to tell them to kneel, or suffer eternal wrath. I'm not going there. Eternal wrath is for a Higher Power. But I won't curse myself for sitting back and preparing to enjoy whatever the HP has in store for his "friends" in the GOP.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Lowest Of The Low

I can live with someone who runs as a Republican and serves as a Republican--barely. But cowards like this deserve no respect at all. They run as Democrats because Democrats in their states have stronger party organizations than their Republican counterparts, then jump to the GOP and tell their constituents to "vote for the person, not the party."

Calling this man a person is an insult to all persons everywhere. He only principal is political self-preservation. Rot in hell--in the minority, Mr. Griffith.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

If You Still Think I'm Kidding ...

... about the willingness of the far right to use firearms as a last resort for seizing power, even if it means compromising "free enterprise" to do it, take a look at this.

And then, if you're a liberal, take my advice and buy a gun. It's the only way to give these people something to think about.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Stepping In The Right Direction

My friend and fellow blogger, John Tierney, has posted a link in his blog to a column by Gail Collins in The New York Times, regarding the desirability of liberals supporting the watered-down version of health care reform now likely to at least pass the Senate, now that Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman, the two moths circling the publicity flame, have wrung it enough to deem it worthy of their precious votes.

Well, despite the foregoing sarcasm, I'm forced to agree with her. One of the relatively few advantages of being 53 is that you know a thing or two about how things work, including politics. In America, it always seems to be a choice between one step forward, and ten steps backward.

Given that choice, I vote for one step forward. Even though I think that we need and deserve twenty.

Disclosure: Mr. Tierney is a former student of my father's. But, if you knew my father, you'll know that that fact only recommends him all the more highly!

Friday, December 18, 2009

So, Tell Me, "Lipstick Conservative," Who's REALLY Playing Politics With Our Troops?

One of my favorite theatre-related Web sites, The Clyde Fitch Report, publishes a column by a former NFL cheerleader who calls herself a "Lipstick Conservative." In her most recent attempt at libeling liberals, she accuses Obama of deliberately dawdling in his thinking about Afghanistan, thereby allowing American troops.

We liberals can certainly appreciate your concern, Ms. Lipstick. I mean, it's not as if the folks on your side of the fence would EVER be guilty of playing politics with Americans under fire .... Oh wait!

Oh, well ... guess you'll do better next time (probably not)!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Most Powerful Intersection In America ...

... religion and money. That's the main reason you should care who Oral Roberts was. And, sadly, that's why he'll never lack for successors. Or suckers.

God (or Fate) help us all.

Monday, December 14, 2009

"Smart" Politics?

I'm a regular reader of Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight Web site, but this post really alarmed me ... and not just for what it says about the prospects of health care reform and the public option. Silver discusses at some length how "smart" Lie-berman (as I shall now continue to call him) was in refusing to accept last weekend's compromise proposal to substitute early buy-ins to Medicare for the public option.

I think this speaks volumes, sadly, about how we define the word "smart" as it applies to politics. Lie-berman's position is only "smart" as it relates to his short-term interest in slicing off the hands of the liberals who have fed his career, as well as earning the financial gratitude of his contributors in the health care industry (and just in time for his re-election campaign in 2012).

It's "smart" only in terms of his self-interest. The national interests, including those of the people of Connecticut, don't enter into his calculations at all. For that matter, neither do the interests of his caucus; if his views were really a matter of "conscience," he would not have waited to express them until the perfect moment for skewering the liberals he detests had arrived--at the end of the legislative process, and on the cusp of an election year. The case for throwing him out of the Democratic caucus has never been stronger.

As for the rest of us (and by that I mean Americans, not just Democrats), may God or something save us from that kind of "smartness." If history teaches us anything, it teaches us the folly of only focusing on the next fifteen minutes.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Never Mind Kansas, What's Wrong With Nebraska and Connecticut?

These two men love their TV face time more than there country.

It's time for the Democrats to get this done, even if it means the reconcilation approach, and to stop bargaining with people who don't know the meaning of good faith.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bravo For Life's Little Ironies ...

...with apologies to Garry Trudeau. Once upon a time, crime was a reason for staying away from Times Square. Now, it's a reason to show up.

And to think this happened in front of the Marriott Marquis, a monstrosity for which five Broadway theatres were demolished. The theatres would have been safer and prettier.