Friday, October 04, 2013

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) The tragedy in Washington DC is obviously a big topic to ponder this morning. So many questions: Were the cops justified in shooting a mom with a baby in the backseat? (I think yes, but I can be persuaded.) Why did she crack? What pushed her over the edge?
The irony, though, is that DC is shut down over a healthcare package that, had it been in place years ago, may have encouraged her to seek the kind of treatment that may have prevented this tragedy.

2) Also, my thoughts are with her family, especially her daughter.

3) Speaking of the shutdown, please notice that FEMA is recalling a boatload of furloughed workers in anticipation of Hurricane Karen hitting the very states that most staunchly support the shutdown. I wish I wasn’t such a forgiving Christian, so I could say let ‘em drown. But then, that’s what those bastards are relying on.

4) Imagine if a busload of Mexicans were horribly killed trying to sneak across the border. Do you think America would have a day of mourning? This is what civilization looks like.

5) She’s laced up her pink sneakers! Run, Wendy, run! Somewhere, Ann Richards and Molly Ivins are smiling in heaven.

6) Ever wonder what “Siri” looks like?

7) Comet ISON is still on track for a spectacular year-end show.

8) Finally, a commute I can handle and enjoy.

9) Mike Bloomberg, destroyer of cities.


Thursday, October 03, 2013

The Marching Morons

Apocryphal or not, the image of lemmings committing mass suicide is ingrained in our culture, so much so that we may borrow it to describe the Republican caucus in the House of Representatives:

As the shutdown lingers, some Republican moderates are openly frustrated that tea party darling Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas appears to be calling the shots on what House Republicans do next. Cruz was one of the first to suggest passing narrow bills that fund those government agencies or functions that generate any public backlash.

"I think the leadership is committed to play the Cruz strategy all the way out," California Rep. Devin Nunes told reporters, before adding "if you can call it a strategy."

For two days, GOP leaders have pushed through a series of piecemeal spending bills for floor votes that would fund things like veterans affairs, national parks and medical research. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Wednesday they plan to continue doing this.

"We've got ways to ease the pain on people," Cantor said. "We agree on a lot around here. We ought to fund that, and then we ought to sit down and talk about that which we don't."

Apparently, lemmings aren’t blind. They’re just wimps.

Congressman Cantor, you brought this upon yourself. No point in getting weak-kneed now that your own supporters, Teabaggers and fiscal conservatives, are feeling the pain. Hunting season is upon us, yet hunters out west can’t go into national parks legally. Poor children with cancer, many of them who live near toxic waste sites and other highly carcinogenic locales in red states where environmental regulations are “lax” to be polite, are without last hope now that the NIH is closed.

YOU ransomed the American people, the American economy and the American government for a cup of tea. Own that. Live with it.

We ought to find a group of liberals in the DC area – shouldn’t be too hard, should it? – to tape photos of every child who dies, every family who has to skip food for days, every house that gets foreclosed and family evicted, to the door of Weaker Boener and Mr. Can’t-or.

All this, because somewhere, poor people stand a chance of being healthy. Is it too much to ask, given the hardships they have to go through on a daily basis, to allow them this smidge of human kindness? They are humiliated minute by minute in a society where wealth and fame are valued above anything else. As a poor working mom walks past an ad for the latest iPhone ($600), the latest Lexus ($40,000+), the newest condominium ($1,000,000), on her way to a job where she breaks her back to make minimum wage, with no sick pay, and no paid vacations, a half hour for lunch, and an hour long bus ride back to her hovel to feed her kids whatever cheap food she can buy on her budget, supplemented by the (now suspended) SNAP stipend she gets that’s barely enough to provide milk, bread and a carton of eggs for her family.

Are the rich Congressmen and –women of the Republican party that jealous over the fact that Jesus singles out the poor to obtain the inheritance of the earth?

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Day 2 of the Republican temper tantrum, but the end is in sight.

No, there’s no secret backroom negotiations. It’s merely the will of the American people being exercised.

You see, nobody expected the volume of people who wanted – no, needed – to sign up for health insurance. “Needed,” because under the old system insurance was unaffordable, healthcare doubly so.

This is an initiative that is wildly popular, despite polling you may have seen, precious few of which segregate people who don’t like Obamacare because they don’t like Obama from liberals who don’t like Obamacare because it doesn’t go far enough.

Here’s one that approaches the initiative from the perspective of people who really don’t want national health insurance. As you can see, about a third of the nation supports repealing the bill, as flawed as it is. So when you read that “47% of people oppose Obamacare,” keep in mind that about 15% of that wishes it went further. Add them to the consistent 45% that support Obamacare, and you have a grand 58% near-supermajority.

Or about as many people as voted for President Obama in the past two elections.

About a fifth of the House of Representatives is in statistically safe districts, but numbers like these have to be terrifying the more moderate Republicans like, yes, Boehner. This would explain why some unusual suspects from the GOP have pushed back against the extremists, like Peter King of Long Island.

Normally a right-wing crackpot, particularly when it comes to terrorism (unless its initials are “IRA,” of course), King is facing an electorate at home that has seen jobs float off in the breeze of the 2008 fiscal crisis, and pushed farther by the winds of Superstorm Sandy. These folks have to scrape by to feed their families and try to hold onto their houses, and the last thing they need is a $7,000 insurance bill each year.

King is in real trouble at home if he postures on this.

He has to balance this with his announced run for the 2016 Republican nomination. Shades of Rudy Giuliani, but this man is in for a rude awakening.

Still, between the overloaded servers showing the unbridled enthusiasm of the American people – even in states that refused to lift a finger to implement Obamacare – will give Teabaggers pause. And a clear sense of how out of touch they really are. It is settled law, debated in Congress, in elections and in the courts. Eat it raw, suckers!

Welcome to socialism, rightwingers! This is what democracy looks like.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Welcome, Comrades!

Is Obamacare. Vary nice! We are all socialists now, no? After all, that’s what we’ve been warned about since the bill was proposed. And passed. And affirmed by the SCOTUS. So get your little red book of the sayings of Chairman Mao out of the box you stashed it in back in the early 80s, put up your poster of Joe Stalin, and get ready to stand in line for bread and toilet paper!
Oh, and the government is shut down. So yes, really, get ready to stand in lines.
Or to quote John Boehner: "The House has voted to keep the government open but we also want basic fairness for all Americans under Obamacare."
Huh? “Basic fairness”? Isn’t that what healthcare reform provides? A lowering of medical costs? A lowering of premiums as competition is introduced into the marketplace? How is anything other than what we had NOT FAIRER????
By the way, socialism is coming to America, and the red states will be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 20th Century.
Here’s why:

Monday, September 30, 2013


At 12:01 tonight, the government may shut down.

Unless the Teabaggers blink. Personally, I believe they will, because a four year taste of power is far too juicy to risk over the wrath of the nation once people realize that  assistance checks like Social Security will still be mailed, SocSec offices will be shut (so if your check gets lost or screwed up, you won’t be able to correct them right away,) as will parks, monuments, and a whole passel of other things that will just piss people off, even in the deepest red of red states.

What the President and Democrats need to do is to hammer home the message that Teabaggers forced this out of a drunken rage. The more they can paint that wing(nuts) of the Republican party as people way out of touch with an electorate who wants Obamacare, the more likely it is they will have to cave in.

My best guess?

It’s really hard to predict precisely when and how the Teabaggers cave. Part of me believes that, if Boehner can find a way to placate them with some fruitless gesture (I personally thought Ted Cruz’s fauxlibuster was that) then this will never happen.

A larger part of me believes the Teabaggers want an actual shutdown, albeit one of really short duration (like, say, overnight.) This will give them a symbolic gesture to throw down in the 2014 campaign, and even Boehner could claim credit for getting them to give up after the shutdown. This is the most likely scenario, in my book: Boehner is in real danger of losing the Speakership next January, and he comes off looking both sympathetic to Teabaggers and heroic to the mainstream GOP.

But a small part of me believes the Teabaggers have this action-hero-ideal that they will get everything they ask for by extorting the Obama administration as well as the Republican party.

I omitted the Congressional Democrats for a reason. They lose nothing under any scenario. If the government shuts down, it will be the Republicans fault (or Obama’s, if you’re stupid enough to believe the FOX News talking points), and if it doesn’t shut down, Harry Reid will get signal credit for standing tall and calling the Teabaggers bluff.

Either way, be prepared for a Hillary (or other Democrat) presidency for eight years in 2016.