Friday, October 23, 2009

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) This makes me very sad. Where I grew up, I knew most of the big timers: Sonny Fox, Sandy Becker, was on Bozo The Clown, even dated Bob McAllister's daughter once or twice...but I never met Soupy Sales, even tho he lived a few blocks away from me. I loved his show most of all. Think Pee Wee's Playhouse, but with a LOT more edge to it.

2) Were they sleeping, or drunk?

3) Like Clinton in the Baltic, Obama now has NATO cover for the troops.

4) Why Axelrod bothered meeting with someone who clearly has an agenda that includes lying to the American people under the false heading "news" is beyond me.

5) Interesting. Sarah Palin just gave the 23rd District in NYS to the Democrats.

6) If Patterson pulls this off, either it will save his re-election bid or will be the final graceful act of a lame duck governor.

7) It's ironic that one childhood hero, Soupy Sales, dies as another is brought back to life.

8) Like putting out fire with gasoline (bonus points for identifying the singer)

9) The Ten Worst Food Developments of the past ten years. I dunno...blooming onions are pretty cool. Too bad I can't eat them.

10) Some guys will never learn...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Republicans Ain't Got Balls

This comes as no surprise to liberal men:
Republican men nationwide may have experienced a drop in testosterone levels the night Barack Obama was elected president, according to the results of a small study that found another link between testosterone and men's moods.

I've long known that Republican men have no balls.

But let's take a closer look at this phenomenon. After eight years of balls-to-the-wall international violence, aggression, and bullying, in one night of repudiation, we find that aggressive men have lost a few feet off their fastball (pun intended).

Which raises an interesting question: is man, as a gender, inherently and genetically predisposed to violence?

Perhaps. Testosterone is associated with fear and stress: there seems to be a correlation between aggression and testosterone (so the old wive's tale appears intact). Since testosterone is also closely linked to the genetic drive to reproduce, and since our cave ancestors often had to fight for the right to deposit their seed in a woman, there seems to be some anecdotal association that allows for the equation "violence=sex".

Certainly the crime of rape is about violence, possession, aggression and control, and yet it is undeniable that somewhere in there is an element of sexuality.

Too, it has been demonstrated that the observation of violence and aggression can trigger violence and aggression in men (and women). How else can one explain how a bar fight turns into a brawl?

Now, our friends on the right will come up with reams of anecdotal evidence to, but the simple fact is, cause and effect: they lost, their testosterone dropped. If they had won, their testosterone levels would have remained the same.

This is, of course, good news for John McCain's campaign. All he has to do is just win the 2008 election, and his followers will get erections. He'll be like political Viagra if he can just beat Senator Obama!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Why Americans Are Woefully Uninformed

With all that's going on in the world, with Afghanistan and healthcare reform and wars and famine and global warming, this is the headline of the second largest selling general newspaper in New York City.

And it's owned by FOX, no surprise there!

Day Of Rage

I'm in a real pissy mood, and my attention span is for crap, mostly because I've not slept much these past few weeks, last night being a sort of final straw for my equanimity.

So I'm going to break from my traditional analytic posts and head off into the Eschaton-like world of slam-dunking shit and letting you folks hash it out in comments:

Item 1 -- Skinny baby denied health insurance by company that advised sterilization to woman

Item 2 -- 17-Pound, 4-Month-Old Baby Denied Health Insurance for Being Too Fat

Item 3 -- Why are some middle-class women denied health insurance coverage if they had C-Sections?

Item 4 -- Rape Survivor Denied Coverage for "Pre-existing Condition" Shares Her Story

Pretty disgusting, isn't it? Private insurers prey on the most vulnerable among us, denying coverage to sick people.

Funny, because I thought the whole point of health insurance was to try to prevent you from getting even sicker...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Surviving And Thriving

Not that I thought there was any danger in the brush, but...
It's increasingly possible that we will look back and see that August 2009 was this election cycle's height of Republicans' optimism over their political fortunes, and the depth of Democrats' despair.

By the time the midterm elections reach a fever pitch next year, President Obama may well have passed health-care reform, his signature domestic initiative, if not with overwhelming public support then at least with the backing of a solid majority of voters. The now common criticism that he hasn't accomplished anything will have been blunted. And while a high joblessness rate may persist, the narrative will have taken hold that the economy has either recovered or is well on its way.

The scenario above represents Democrats' best-case scenario, and no element of it is assured. But the new Washington Post-ABC News poll makes it appear a bit more likely. The survey found "that support for a government-run health-care plan to compete with private insurers has rebounded from its summertime lows and wins clear majority support from the public." While ratings for Obama's handling of health care and the overall reform plans remained roughly the same, the president has regained the support of some Independents. The Fix points out that the poll also contained bad news for Republicans, giving the party low marks for its ability to make good decisions and handing Democrats a 12-point lead on the generic Congressional ballot.

And thus the curious silence of the Obama administration in August makes itself apparent.

He figured to ride out the storm as no one was paying attention, with only the lasting echoes being the outrageous behavior of teabaggers at the "town halls" Congresscritters held.

Once September came along, with its swine flu warnings and seasonal flu warnings and just, well, cold weather forcing people inside to watch the news, Obama and his staff could take to the airwaves to promote the sensible options with respect to healthcare reform.

Let the anger flow, the thinking was. It will peter out and exhaust itself long before anything comes to a vote.

Precisely the right course to take, once it became apparent that Democrats needed time to absorb the astroturfed outcry and realize it wasn't going to translate into votes.

By not doing anything, in other words, Obama won the fight. Sort of. It's not perfect, healthcare reform, but its a start.

Likewise on Afghanistan: now that Karzai has been forced to admit that the election was, well, not on the level, Obama has been given a bit of political cover for his Hamlet-like stance on troop increases. If you can't be sure of the palyers going forward, you can afford to wait the play out until the conscience of the king is known.

Indeed, Karzai's admission opens the door to a more palatable environment into which Obama may introduce more troops than many would like to see there. One wonders how much pressure ol' Hamid there was under from State.

There are other obstacles on the horizon, like the banksta bonuses that are about to be announced from banks and investment houses that just ten months ago were hat-in-hand at Obama's door, asking for a bailout. That one could turn ugly, but the sense I get is that people understand how important it was to bail the banks out and oh, yeah...they won't be angry at Obama, but I'm not sure I'd go out and buy a new car if I was president of JP Morgan Chase right now. it might get keyed pretty badly in the parking lot of the "Stop n Shop".

In addition, through the entire summer, the Republicans reveled in the label "The Party of No," taking to it like a drunk frat brother to a keg.

And now that's coming back to haunt them, as people, need...answers to the economy, to jobs, to healthcare, and to their future.

They called Reagan the Teflon Don President. We need to come up with a moniker that covers a guy who slips in shit and comes up smelling like a rose.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Image Dilemma

Lately, I've been giving much thought to old friends and new ones.

Sometimes friendships work out, and sometimes they do not. Now, I'm the first to admit that, as a friend, I'm a handful. I can be irascible, pretty obnoxious, definitely outspoken while remaining reseved and introspective, but not one to keep the peace merely for the sake of keeping the peace.

But I can also be warm, giving to the point of generosity, compassionate and heartfelt once you've gained my trust.

In other words, human. You'll never know which parts of me you'll get, anymore than I'll know which bits of you you'll give me.

Which leads me to this bizarre column: I've been thinking about psychology and jigsaw puzzles.

Each of us has a self-image that is at once clear and muddled. Some of us are clearer than others, but we all have blindspots. Into those blindspots, we seek friends to help us interpret and understand them.

Some friends, a few, fit smoothly like the right jigaw piece. Pretty quickly, you come to the realization that this friend is one who can help nurture you, and help you comprehend yourself.

Some do not. Those friends you keep at arm's length, if you keep them at all. Like the jigsaw piece that is interlocking and you need a tessellating piece, you quickly come to the realization that this relationship is not as vaulable as you had hoped.

Most friends fall in between, on a spectrum of good friends who develop over time to friends you might run into from time to time.

Some of these friends, like some jigsaw pieces, look like they should fit easily, but you discover the puzzle is more complex than you thought. You rotate them around and still, they just don't fit easily where you thought they might.

You have two alternatives: you can put it aside, and hope it fits someplace else when the puzzle of your self-image is further along, or you can take a hammer and try to bang it into place.

Most people have tried the hammer at least once or twice in their lives. It never works.

See, the piece, the friend, looks like it should be a good fit. Maybe it has the right shape, but not exactly. Maybe it has some really bright colours that help offset a dark and dreary, lonely corner of the puzzle and you really really want that piece to fit.

Rather than perhaps admit the piece is wrong, you try to reshape the piece. Worse, maybe the admission you have to make is that the puzzle, your self-image, itself is wrong.

We hang dearly onto our images. We have illusions of who people are, and how they fit in with us. We believe things we have no business believing about someone, or worse, we don't believe in someone when maybe all it takes is a little adjustment of attitude on our part, and then suddenly, the piece fits.

After all, there was some reason we were attracted enough to that piece to even try to fit it in.

The old saw, about experience being the course in which the tests come before the lessons, holds particularly true when it comes to our self-image.

We all want to believe we are something more than we already are, and some of us actually are. For most of us, though, we are already enough to do the things we need to do to survive and thrive. Our self-image is neither complete or unfinished. It really just needs a little filling in.

Like any good puzzle strategy, most of us have laid the framework for filling in the spaces. We just need to hunt down the right pieces.