Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Just One More Thing ...

... as the late Peter Falk (RIP) used to say on "Columbo" ... well, two more (but they're related).

May all who have suffered Irene's wrath be back on their feet as quickly as possible.

And a related thought for climate-deniers:

Nothing personal, but Mother Nature's not impressed by your hot air.

... And, On The Other Hand ...

... no one should doubt that this country is now a plutocracy.  The proof just keeps rolling in.

A Positive Note For The End Of August ...

... in the form of an article by the Rev. Richard Cizik, on the subject of the war criminal otherwise known as our most recent ex-Vice President.  I have paid tribute to the Rev. Cizik before, and I'm happy to do so again, by way of this post.

Friday, August 26, 2011

But Will He Take The Hint?

Mr. President, if the American people wanted to re-elect Jimmy Carter, they would have done so, but they didn't.  They didn't want him in 1980, and they don't want him now.

But, as this article implies, he can't do it alone.  Too many people sat on the bench in 2010.  They're going to have to quit waiting for perfection, and get off the bench next year.

So THAT'S Why We Had An Earthquake No One Expected

It was Sarah Palin's fault, leading to a disruption from a fault underground.  So, when we say "Drill, baby, drill," the earth responds by saying "Shake, babies, shake"!

Sorry, climate-deniers and oil-enablers.  But I'll only give up my planet when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.  Sadly, it looks like you're prepared to do that.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Tale of Two Countries (Apologies To Dickens)

It is the best of times in Iceland, where the people have remembered that the people are supposed to rule, and done something about it.

It is also the best of times in Libya, as Qaddafi is being shown the door he has deserved for decades.  But, in another sense, it is also the worst of times, as the population slowly but surely comes to terms with the fact that more than four decades of their nation's life, and their individual lives, were wasted through the worship of a false idol.

Which country sounds more like the United States?  You're right (but only if you picked option number two).  In fifty years, we have gone from being all Berliners to all Tripoli residents.  We just all haven't figured it out yet.  I worry that we never will.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Perhaps The Ultimate Proof ...

... that Republicans only stand for power.  For themselves.  And not for lower taxes.

Sic Transit "Fairness Doctrine"

The irony of this, of course, is that this is being done at the behest of conservatives, who were for it before they were against it.  They're only against it, of course, because they now dominate broadcasting.

It's kind of a pathetic triumph, the only kind that bullies are capable of having.  Because, in today's Internet/social media world, everyone's a broadcaster.  And that's something conservatives will never master.

Wonder How Mickey Kaus Feels About This?

I'm talking about his greatest political triumph--otherwise known as one of the two worst thing Bill Clinton ever did (and I'm counting DOMA, not Lewinsky).  Anyone with more than fifteen minutes of foresight could have foreseen this disaster, enacted when the economy was fat and happy.  But no economy is always fat and happy--in our case, the Republicans have made sure of that.

And what is Obama's response?  He just goes on prattling about how well he's working with the underminers in the other party, not about how he's ignoring the people who elected him.

God help us all.  No one else will.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The REAL Texas "Miracle"

Turns out it's a little thing called big government.

Hey Rick, if you have government spending so much, give the $25 billion back!

Barney Frank Was Right

To conservatives, life begins at conception.  And ends at birth.

As I've said before, the so-called "pro-life" movement is neither pro-life, nor really anti-abortion.  It's an anti-sex moment that seeks to channel sexual energy into religion and war.

If you want it to win, do nothing.  Unfortunately, many of you already are.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

We Need Sustainable Capitalism

And, whether you like him or not, Al Gore is right about this.  Perhaps it's an important tipping point in our culture that the WSJ is publishing this.

Barack Obama needs to make this the narrative of his re-election campaign.  And I mean right now.  Everything else--climate change, immigration, union/employment issues and the deficit--can all be folded into it if he has any real political skills at all.

It's time, Mr. President.  Hell, it's past time.  Get going on this.  Now.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Finally, A Truly Modern And Beautiful Skyscraper

And a first rate example of sustainable architecture, too. Take a look at the work of architect Jeanne Gang.

In a world of idiots, there are a few smart people left.  Hopefully, they won't be overwhelmed by the idiots.

You're Absolutely Right, "Senator" Coburn

It is a good thing that you can't do this.  Because then you'd have to show you were really willing to use it.  And then, one way or another, we'd find out once and for all what a gutless coward you are.

It's not smart to be all hat and no cattle, Tom.  Some people out there are the real deal.  And they're not your friends.

I'm Not Surprised By This

"This" being an interview with Frank Schaeffer, the son of Francis Schaeffer, a prominent Evangelical Christian leader back in the day when I was heavily involved in that movement.  What is unsurprising to me is that, like me, he found the ability to walk away from it.  Schaeffer's father styled himself as a philosopher, but he was in fact the most rigid of theocrats, eschewing a real philosopher's openness of mind for a relentless effort to shoehorn facts into a cramped "Christian" view of world history and modern society.

Schaeffer, on the other hand, was much more intelligent and open-minded.  In the 1980's, he wrote a book called "Addicted to Mediocrity," in which he chastised modern evangelical culture for its bland, cliched commercialism, and contrasted it negatively both with Christian art in the Renaissance and Reformation, as well as with non-Christian contemporary culture.  In hindsight, it seems almost too clear that both of us were predestined--ordained, perhaps?--to walk away from a movement that exulted belief and obedience over reason and critical thinking.

Those who are still wrapped up in that movement would do well to ask and answer this question:  If God (or whom/whatever) only wanted us to believe, why did He/She/It/They give us the ability to think?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I'm Not The Only One Who's Warning About This

So are the rich.


Even Democrats, faced with gun-toting Tea Party thugs, had the guts to hold town meetings.  The GOP does things differently.  But with cash, not with backbone.

The Texas Mirage

It's all about population growth, and not Perry.  All Perry knows how to do is shoot his mouth off.  Let's hope that's the only thing he shoots.

The People Have Spoken, Tea-Baggers

And they want to dump you in the nearest harbor.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Is Capitalism Doomed?

To people with brains, it's been doomed for a long time.  The rest of the world is catching up to us.

But the author is off the mark by saying that socialism has been proven to be a failure.  True capitalism--where the workers are the rulers--has never been tried.  But it will be one day.  Because it's better than all of the alternatives?  Not necessarily.  It will, because it'll be all we have left, on a shrinking planet with shrinking resources.

A Good-Looking, Charming Bully ...

... is still a bully.  And a dangerous one.  Here's hoping Obama can handle him.  I have my doubts.

Apparently, To A Conservative, Size Does Matter

Just ask Michele Bachmann.  And her supporters were worried about the Newsweek cover.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

But Will It Be Too Little, Too Late?

If Obama decides to go in this direction on economic policy, it's about time.  Let's be blunt:  it's long overdue.  He's been in a war since he was inaugurated; he's got nothing to lose by facing that fact.  We all might have something to gain if he does.

On the other hand, he could (in the process) reach beyond the taxes-versus-cuts dynamic of our current debate and have everyone face a more fundamental fact:  that we're running out of planet, and we need an entirely different approach to economics:  one based on the renewing and reuse of resources and not just their consumption.  It's a debate that is just beginning, but Obama could do a great deal to advance it.

Provided, of course, that he can get over his concept of himself as the Great Mediator.  We can only hope--and, in some cases, pray.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lies, Damned Lies, And The Manipulation Of Statistics

I normally respect John Crudele of the New York Post.  He usually has good insights into business issues.  But this is a ridiculous attempt to prove that businesses don't have any money.  Using his logic, if you subtracted all of the current jobs in the United States, it would prove that unemployment is really 100 percent.

And, speaking of jobs, Crudele's most insulting and ridiculous comment is this:  "Each worker hired cuts profits just a bit."  It also adds a consumer to the economy, sir.  And, for better or for worse, consumption is the basis for economic growth.

As for his comments about inflation, take a look at this.  Truthfully, worrying about inflation right now is like worrying about whether a corpse has high blood pressure.

So What Changed Your Mind, Mr. Minority Leader?

Twenty-one years ago, you made sense on the subject of taxes.  Is giving that up the price you paid to climb to the top of an exceedingly greasy pole?

She Ought To Be Ashamed Of Herself

Then again, when it comes to shame, the Republicans are all windup and no pitch.

You've never seen a worse Congress, Senator Snowe?  You're part of it.  Even worse, you've been long regarded as one of the last grown-ups in the Romper Room.  You're the one who decided to start taking your marching orders from Mitch McConnell instead of the people of Maine.  Everyone's a loser as a result, including Mitch McConnell (even though his tunnel vision doesn't allow him to see it, yet).

Grow up or get out.  Then I'll give your complaints the time of day.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

And Why Isn't The "Liberal" Media Covering THIS?

Because they're afraid to stand up for the truth, or for anything other than short-term profits.  Otherwise, they wouldn't be trying to help Fox hide the emergence of the left's own Tea Party.

If Conservatives Are REALLY Big On Self-Reliance ...

... then let them end this, so they can stop living off of liberals and practice what they preach.

Think it'll happen?  Me neither.

So Much For Another Right-Wing Stereotype

Being homeless does not mean being worthless.  Just ask this man.

There are far too many like him as it is.

For that matter, there are far to many like this man.

So who are the losers in unfettered capitalism?


If Corruption Can Be Bipartisan ...

... it should be no surprise that terrorism is, too.

Shame on the Democrats, in particular, who are part of this (I expect it from Republicans, unfortunately).

We need a third party.  A liberal party.  An American party.  And, contrary to popular legend, the two are far from mutually exclusive.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Perfect Example Of A Non-Story

A cover photograph of a nut job, proving that she's a nut job.  It's not sexism.  It's journalism.  Why is Newsweek obliged to make her look good?  That attitude, in and of itself, is sexist.

And tell me:  how many of those making the "sexist" argument are going to apologize for their treatment of Hillary?  Women like Hillary made Bachmann's career possible.  Sorry, folks:  it's true.

Is This The First Of Many?

Or are there many more already out there like this one?   Either way, we've got to stop pretending that we're not on the brink of disaster.

We may, in fact, have already gone over the brink.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Republican We Could ALL Be Proud Of

Too bad there aren't more like him today.  R.I.P., Senator. I'm proud to have cast a write-in vote for you as President in 1984.

Who The Hell Are THEY To Downgrade Anything?

They effectively downgraded the economy, by ignoring the Wall Street-real estate bubble.  Now they're downgrading the debt that was run up in the process.

Do you still have any doubt that 1% of the county can run this country without regard to what the other 99% think?  Robert Reich doesn't.

Too Bad We Can't Have Him As President Now

I disagreed with him on abortion.  But, for New York in the 1970s, he was the right man at the right time.

I Wish EVERYONE Would Read This

But Obama most of all.  We didn't elect him to be all things to all people.  We elected him to be the right thing for the nation.  Unfortunately, far from being right, his background has only trained him to cave to the loudest voice.  Which, right now, is not the right, but the extremely right.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sorry, But He's STILL A Crook

If he looks like a lefty in hindsight, it's only because, back in his day, there was a left to push him that way.

Perhaps, one day, there can be again.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Recession? What Recession?

Not for the people who are really running the county.

The Strike That Changed America

Indeed it was.  For the worse

But I don't buy the author's view that the subsequent decline in workers' rights in this country was an accident.  After all, Reagan could have made it clear that this was a specific situation with a specific remedy needed.  The fact that he didn't speaks volumes about how "accidental" the decline has been.

And it will continue, until American workers learn to fight again.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Who Would Have Thought That Coolidge Could Make Sense?

Like Adam Smith, he believed in the value of public works as a way of evening out the economy.

Which puts today's conservatives to the right of Coolidge.  A frightening thought.

If You Want To Celebrate D-Day, You'd Better Be Prepared To Fight The Battle Of The Bulge

I'm speaking to progressives when I say that.  And I'm not alone in feeling that way.  As disappointed as I am in Obama and the Democrats, our current mess is only partly their fault.

If you care about progressive values, show up every day, and not just on Election Day.

Want To Know The Price Of Being Bullied?

Just ask the workers of the FAA.  Obama has given them a change they shouldn't have to believe in.

On The Other Hand, This DOESN'T Sound Too Good To Be True

Actually, it's right on.  And I hope the Democrats DO make the Republicans pay by using it against them.

Meanwhile, let's hope they find a spine somewhere.

The "Confidence Fairy" Is Officially Dead

And Wall Street killed it.

This Sounds Too Good To Be True

If the debt deal is really this good from a Democratic perspective, then why is it generally regarded as a Republican victory?

Probably because it actually is.  I have a hard time believing Congressional Republicans could be made to sign on to something as favorable as the description given in this piece.

What bothers me particularly about the final outcome is that Obama said he was staking his Presidency on getting revenue increases ... and got none.  Perhaps this is his way of saying he's tired of being President.

Hopefully, there will be someone willing to replace him who is also willing to fight for progress and justice.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Oh, They're Not Racist, Are They?

Well, yes, they are.  They just know how to speak in code.  They always have.  And the code is pretty transparent.

Do You Want To Know Which States Will Go Deeper Into Fiscal Holes?

If you read one of my earlier posts, you know it's the ones doing this.

Is It Good Enough To Re-Elect? Or Is It Bad Enough For A Primary Challenge?

You decide.  Personally, I'd like it better with guaranteed tax hikes and Medicare off-limits.

And, equally personally, I think a primary challenge is an option for progressives to support.  Russ Feingold or Elizabeth Warren, anyone?  They're not the only possibilities, of course.

There's Always Hope

I lived in New York City in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  Bushwick, a neighborhood in Brooklyn that was decimated by looting during the 1977 blackout, was thought at the time to be dead, beyond any form of urban renewal.

Now, it appears that is no longer the case.  And, once again, artists are paving the way.  Perhaps they should get the subsidies that oil companies get.  After all, they're really creating value, not just digging it out of the ground until it runs out.

You want to know what it takes to be a real progressive?  Outlasting your opponents.  And remembering that it ultimately depends on all of us, not just one, or 535 of us.  It took more than three decades for Bushwick to come back, but it's coming back.

2008 was our D-Day, and 2010 was our Battle of the Bulge.  Perhaps 2012 can be our V-E Day*

*Pardon the WWII metaphors; I'm just coming off of seeing "Captain America" the other day.  I strongly recommend that you see it, even if you are not a comic-book movie kind of person.