Saturday, March 31, 2012

THIS Type Of Catholic Politics I Like!

But I suspect that this is not popular among Catholics like Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.  So, Rick and Newt, who's a moral relativist now?

Why Isn't THIS Un-Constitutional?

The text of the Constitution allows Congress to protect intellectual property "for a limited time."

For a limited time.  Not forever.  Even a dictionary tells you that this is wrong.

But an imperial economy begets an imperial culture, one in which there are neither new fortunes nor ideas.  Just a society entering a death spiral, thanks to conservatives who know how to tilt the playing field in their favor.

In Fact, Here's A Giant Crack

It's as big as General Motors.

On The Other Hand, Perhaps There Are Cracks Among The Deniers

This gives me some hope along those lines.  Hopefully, he will soon be followed by many others.

Cracks In "The Hoax"

Maybe somebody should fly Rick Santorum down to Antarctica.  It might drag his world view out of the 18th century.

Unfortunately, his ignorance simply reflects the unwillingness of a large number of people who have neither the intellect nor the temperament to face even this level of evidence.  Sadly, this remains a country in which the only "class warfare" that is truly acceptable is warfare against those who are both educated and honest.

Hoax! Hoax! Hoax! Hoax! Hoax! Hoax! Hoax! Hoax!

Keep on chanting, deniers.  Science doesn't care, because neither it nor Mother Nature give a damn.  They don't have to; the facts are on their side, and totally against you.

But, thanks to your success, they're against all of us.

An Urban Fantasy, Thirty-Five Years Ago

But a reality today.  If even the Bronx can stop burning, there may be hope for the rest of America's cities.

Racism: The Next Generation

I would like to think that racism in this country dies a little bit each time one generation passes and a new one emerges.  Perhaps, in fact it does.  But, as the racism found in tweets from "Hunger Games" fans shows, it does not die fast enough.

Shame on them and the families that allow or even encourage this.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Heart Transplant For Dick Cheney?

I didn't know that he had a heart to replace.  In any case, I think it's a waste of a perfectly good heart, considering that Cheney should really be put in a glass booth and shipped off to the Hague for a war-crimes trial.  Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if the heart rejects him.

Sorry to sound unsympathetic, but this is one of those situations where the straight lines can't help but write themselves.  Actually, I'm not sorry.  Dick Cheney deserves our condemnation, not our sympathy.  Just ask anyone killed in the Iraq war.  On either side.

From Gabby Giffords To Treyvon Martin ...

... that's where the 2010 election results have taken us in less than 15 months.  To the best of everyone's knowledge, no jobs were created as a result.

I'll be bipartisan and paraphrase Newt Gingrich on the subject of Susan Smith and her children:  There's a sickness in this country right now, and the only cure for that sickness is to vote Democratic.

More On "The Hunger Games" And The Green Angle

Panem, it turns out, was not only largely created by environmental catastrophe, but thrives in part on furthering it.  And, as the article points out, this is not pure futurism.  It's not uncommon for nations with extraction-based economies to be authoritarian or worse; Saudi Arabia is a prime example.

As are, by the way, red states like Wyoming and West Virginia.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Live By The Sword, Die By The Sword

That's what may happen to Rush Limbaugh.  Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Why The "Etch-A-Sketch" Gaffe Will Stick

I said I would have more to say about this.  But, on second thought, I'll just let Joe Klein do my speaking for me.  Let's just say I think he's spot-on here, and I don't always agree with him.  But he's definitely got Romney's number as a guy who thinks he can talk his way in and out of anything.  Trouble is, to paraphrase Al Pacino in "Godfather III," just when he talks himself out, he talks himself back in. 

Found: Two Honest Men In The Republican Party

Women should donate to Democrats.  And the Solandra investigation is motivated by politics.

Hmm ... maybe this should be Part 2 of "Why I'm Confident That There Will Be A Democratic Landslide."

On A Brighter Note ...

Never let it be said that something that is necessary is impossible.  Here's proof.  We really can solve our problems, even energy-related problems, if we are just willing to face them.

So Much For "Liberal" Hollywood

By now, everyone in America has heard about the book and now-movie, "The Hunger Games," even people like me who never even knew the book existed until TV commercials for the film started popping up a few weeks ago.  What may only be known to readers of the book, however, is that its depiction of futuristic fascism propped up by the slaughter of innocents is, as written, a parable on the consequences of global warming, which (in the book's future history) is largely what led to the chaos that in turn led to the plutocracy called Panem.

Hmm ... global warming leads to fascism.  Just the sort of thing that those supposed "lefties" in Hollywood can't wait to rush to the screen, right?  Just one problem:  the global warming angle is "barely mentioned" in the film.

It may be the case that, post-"Waterworld," studio executives decided that there's no box-office in environmental messages, "An Inconvenient Truth" notwithstanding.  But that's just the point:  Hollywood isn't about promoting anyone's political message.  It's about making money.  Which is why conservatives should take the abject failure at the box office of "Atlas Shrugged" seriously.  In the marketplace of ideas and money, they're two-time losers.

And it's why, one day, there will be films about global warming and its impact.  Because global warming is real.  Whether you like it or not.

They Should Face Worse

Right-to-work laws should face nothing but the dust heap of history, which has a shorter name for the concept:  slavery.

WHAT First Amendment?

From this to this.  My advice:  Everyone should incorporate.  Then your First Amendment rights will be unlimited.

Ignorance Is Not Strength

Why the George Orwell paraphrase?

Because it turns out that the concept of American exceptionalism, which conservatives love, was not a complement from a conservative, but an insult from Big Brother himself.

Why I'm Confident That There Will Be A Democratic Landslide

Because the membership of the current Republican Party can't stop tripping over their tongues.

Here's proof from the Congressional wing.

And here's proof from their would-be Presidential Wing, which serves to confirm my theory that, between Dukakis and Romney, John F. Kennedy will be the last American President from Massachusetts.   And, of course, this occurred before the Etch-A-Sketch fiasco, about which I should have more to say later.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Let My People Go ... To Cuba!

That's what this article says.  And I agree.  The embargo is little more than a propaganda tool for Castro, and a political ploy for the Cuban-American vote that is losing its power, as the pre-revolution generation dies out and a new generation wants to move on.

I've been to Cuba.  It's an amazing country, and an amazing opportunity to show that our way of life works.  Let's stop torturing the Cuban people for the sake of a failed ideology.

And next year in Havana!

Let The Buyer's Remorse Begin!

Especially among women, that is.  I'll never understand how Republicans were able to con women voters in 2010 into thinking that they were on their side against Obama and his evil death-panels of Democrats.  But, apparently, that con has run its course.

Let's hope this is a sign that a new generation of women have learned what previous generations before them have learned:  the elephant is not on their side.

And One More Reason To Have Hope For The Future

We'll run out of oil, sooner or later, but we'll never run out of garbage.  And that's why we should feel good about this.

One Of Many Reasons Why We Can't Just "Drill, Baby, Drill"

Three words:  a dead Gulf.  And I'm not talking about the oil company.  It makes absolutely no sense to destroy our planet for a resource we're going to run out of, and which can now be safely replaced.  Anybody who tells you otherwise has an interest in the oil industry ... the kind of interest that has dollars signs connected to it.

Which is what's passing for the Republican establishment, these days.

And Now, For A Few Thoughts About Mr. Limbaugh ...

As few as possible.  Wow.  Where to begin?  Maybe, more to the point, what can I say that hasn't been more than adequately said elsewhere?

Ultimately, all I can do is be amazed.

Amazed that a man who has abused pain-killers and used Viagra can have the gall to criticize the health insurance needs of anyone, and pretend that taxpayers are inconvenienced by a President who has asked for insurance companies to bear the cost of contraception (something that many of them do in the first place).

Amazed that he can insist that he has some kind of right to watch Sandra Fluke to have sex in return for guaranteed access to contraception.  Perhaps we have a right to see the effect of Viagra on Rush?  Or to get some sort of confirmation regarding his own sexual preferences (a subject I've raised before).

Amazed that George Will, no paragon of consistency himself, has perhaps the best political take on all of this (take a look).

But amazed, in the first and foremost instance, that someone whose popularity has never been reliably verified is as feared and heeded to the extent that Rush Limbaugh has been for the past two decades or more.  He's been spewing this level of venom about women in general and specific women in particular for years.  Why has it taken this long for the unchecked rise of his power to end?

Perhaps its because the Rush Limbaughs of the conservative movement have moved from the rumble seat of the Republican Party to the driver's seat.  They now have more power, so they can't be dismissed as harmless "entertainers" who are nevertheless useful when the base needs to be fired up.

But it isn't just those on the right who have tolerated him for too long.  We on the left have done so, too.  We imagined, as we so often mistakenly do, that someone so obviously repulsive would burn himself out quickly, thanks to the collective wisdom of the American people.  The trouble, however, is that the people simply aren't that wise.  For the most part, politically, they are intellectually lazy, easily bored and impressed only by bluster.

This is why we need to be ready, at all times, to push back.  Hard.  Without regard to consequence.  Before a law student named Sandra Fluke becomes subjected to unconscionable abuse simply for exercising her right to be heard.  And before the Rush Limbaughs of the world destroy the potential for civil discourse that democracy needs to live--or die.

Although, on occasion, God is good.  Rest in peace, Mr. Breitbart.  Not all of your victims will be able to share that peace.

More Involvement By Catholics In Politics?

Fine by me, Cardinal Dolan.  So long as you understand that it's your parishioners, and not your Church, that have First Amendment rights.  Ah, but then you can't control the votes of those Catholics, and then you might want to pressure some of them not to be so active.  This man, if he were still alive, might have a thing or two to say about that.

God bless you, Father Drinan.  And damn the hypocrisy of your church.

Yet Another Story That Speaks For Itself

The sad thing about this guy is that he is yet another example of the ideologues masquerading as jurists that are currently on the Federal bench, thanks to Republicans who think that justice belongs to them alone.  No Democratic appointee would survive such an incident.

But, if they were lucky, they might be spared snarky, behind-the-back comments about their love lives.  Oh, gee, I guess not.

Gun Nuts Don't Love The Second Amendment, Or Even Guns

They love power.  Which is why they're willing to put the lives of police officers at stake, as is happening in Indiana.  And it's why the overwhelming majority of police officers favor gun laws.

Note to so-called strict constructionists:  The police officers are the modern equivalent of the "well-regulated militia" that the Second Amendment was created to protect, before Nino Scalia decided to amend it from the bench.  They have every right to demand better gun laws, and do.  It's the gun nuts who are the anti-Constitutionalists.  I won't make the argument for shooting them all, but I also won't stop anyone else from doing it, either.

And I may just buy a gun of my own one of these days, if for no other reason so that history can record who was the better shot.  I'm not betting on the other guy.

A Civil Right To Unionize?

This author thinks so.  Personally, I think that unionization is embedded in the First Amendment, under "the right of the people to petition for a redress of their grievances."  After all, if a conservative Supreme Court can decide that corporations are people, why can't the Constitution be viewed as protecting the rights of workers to organize, protest, and bargain for better working conditions?

In other words, I think there is already a civil right to unionize.  You can re-write the laws of the land as much as you want--and I think that many of them need to be re-written.  I'm all in favor of passing the EFCA, and even amending the Civil Rights Act to protect and strengthen unions.  But, until we have more workers who are willing to put there personal comfort aside for the betterment of all workers--not to mention their children--the rights of workers will be little more than words, empty monuments to the better intentions of a rougher but more idealistic age.

Before March Slips Away ...

... there are a lot of things to catch up on.  It's been a very busy past few weeks, both personally and politically. 

Let's get started with the possibility that Obama may be the master of Trojan Horse politics.  He's received a lot of criticism from the left for not pushing a health care bill that enshrined single-payer insurance, or at least a "public option," in American life.  But maybe what he was really aiming for was a back-door approach that made single-pay not the law, but an inevitability.  Take a look.

Frankly, I think that the back-door approach may be the only one that works in this political world.  The other side will always have all of the resources to stop a frontal attack.  But they're either too arrogant or stupid (perhaps both) to think about all the other directions from which change can come.  We'll never be able to outspend them, but we can always outthink them.