Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year’s Eve

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 31:  Fireworks ex...Image by Getty Images via DaylifeThis is definitely my worst year ever, which would have been true of any year when Darcy died. Thinking I was OK was a bit premature, I think I was just stunned when it all happened and now it’s had a chance to seep in. I’ve started having little moments of panic, scared of facing the world without her, but then I think that over the past 2 years I’m the one who was taking care of everything by myself.

But not only did Darcy pass away last week but this was her worst year, ever since the accident last March 1st, where the van company broke her back, she’s just been desperately ill and unable to bounce back for first time in 15 years. They did her in and they aren’t even going to pay very much for it, but they will pay something. She really suffered pretty badly during that time, so sick she was in bed all the time except to go to dialysis. And I would come home from work and go to bed with her and watch TV, just so we could spend as much time together as possible.

We settled the law suit the Thursday before she died. It’s much smaller than I would have liked but it was all I could get. At least I won’t have to worry about money for a while if I don’t change anything and don’t start buying lots of stuff. I need a couple of new Wacom tablets and maybe the $900 MacBook. But that is it.

I’m thinking of downsizing to a one bedroom apartment and hopefully knock off a few hundred dollars per month. Have to prepare for tough times in the future because things aren’t going to be getting any better.

Last New Year’s I posted how I really hope Darcy makes it to this one but I didn’t think she would. She missed it by 9 days. Today would have been her 61st birthday.

It was an incredible year for politics, though. I became a real political junkie, watching all the TV shows and listening to Air America all day long. America elected it’s first black president, and the economy has collapsed in such a way as to show just how awful Republican economics really is - a total failure in every possible way. Unless you are very rich then you can steal from the government and the middle class.
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Sunday, December 28, 2008

FOOTBALL!

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 10:  Tom Brady #12 of ...Image by Getty Images via DaylifeHooray for football on Sundays, how wonderfully distracting. And next week are the playoffs so there will be 2 games each Saturday and Sunday.

It was good to see LaDainian Tomlinson back to his old self, I'd forgotten how fast he was and was afraid his career was over. Brett Favre's career is probably over, and maybe for Tom Brady as well. That would really be a shame because I think he is likely the best quarterback ever, even better than Joe Montana. They say watch and see if the Patriots let Matt Cassel become a free agent or if they keep him and pay him millions. If they keep him it means they are worried about Brady, or know he will not be able to play.

At least it occupies my mind so I don't think about Darcy too much.
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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bad Day

Best Buy is sometimes called the Image via WikipediaI realized today that I am walking around like I have a great, big, gaping wound and any sudden movement will cause pain and bleeding. Meaning that I’m OK but fragile.

Depression has really set in and I just keep seeing so many things that I want to tell Darcy about only to realize each time I can’t do that ever again. One thing that really got to me was watching the season ending of Dexter. It was one of our favorite shows and she missed the wrap up. Then they were doing a Highlander marathon on sci fi and Darcy would have loved that, too. I keep thinking if only she had lasted another week. How absurd.

I find myself wandering around, losing track of time. I went over to Best Buy today to see if they had any good post-Xmas deals only to spend several hours just wandering the store, looking at things.

Tomorrow is football day so hopefully I can lose myself in that for most of the day. Maybe even do some work.
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Friday, December 26, 2008

The Day After Christmas

Yesterday was a strange day but not an unpleasant one. For the first time in longer than I can remember I was completely alone with absolutely nothing that I had to do and no place I had to be. All great luxuries for me that I enjoyed very much. I spent the day playing computer games, searching all over the web for whatever popped into my head and watching TV. It was also my first stress free day in at least 15 years.

I’m keeping an eye on myself because I’m doing much better than I ever thought I would when Darcy passed on. I’ve had 15 years to think about life AD (After Darcy) and the past year most of all because it was obvious time was running out. Perhaps that prepared me for now. Perhaps I’m just in denial and a full load of grief will suddenly hit me and turn me into jello. I don’t know. I do know that I’m feeling a lot of relief. I know that sounds terrible but when you’ve spent 15 years with a sword over your head to have it over is a relief. Hard to worry about anything when the worst has already happened. I am constantly seeing something where I think I have to tell Darcy about that but I can't do that ever again.

I have been crying a lot, especially when finding something emotional on TV or the Web, like this one; "Please don't divorce us." Photo after photo of families that don’t want to be divorced because Prop 8 passed, and make no mistake the Religious Reich is filing a law suit to have all such marriages done in California annulled. Could there be any better proof that Christianity is a religion of hate?

There were people who had worse Christmases than me. The 6pm news yesterday started out with 2 shootings at Christmas parties with 7 dead and two separate car crashes where the cars flipped over, several dead and several in the hospital in critical condition.

The worst one was Bruce Pardo. He had just gone through a bitter divorce so he went to the house of his ex-inlaws in Covina with 2 guns and a homemade flame thrower and wearing a Santa suit. He knocked on the front door, an eight year old girl opened it and he shot her in the face, then stepped inside shooting everywhere then using the flamethrower, the house eventually burned down. 6 people dead but the 8 year old is expected to survive. His ex and her parents are missing. Bruce then went to his brother’s house and killed himself on the front lawn. Very uncool all around, Brucie. You want to off yourself do it in your own place and don’t take others down with you.

Update: His ex and her parents were found, burnt to a crisp and hard to identify, they had to go by the teeth. Her sister is the only one of the family left. I can understand the kind of despair that brings someone to suicide but I simply can't understand the impulse to take others with you.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas

This is my first Christmas without Darcy since 1985. Back then we were just dating but she moved in at the end of January, after my sister Wendy & Earl’s wedding, which Darcy arranged. She was always the arranger, she got things done & took care of everyone around her.

Wendy died about 5 years ago and we lost touch with Earl after he moved back to New Mexico, but I sent him an email to an old address that I didn’t even know was still good. But it was and he called last night. It was good to talk to him after all this time, really cheered me up.

Probably the best thing to happen was Allan coming over. I called him Tuesday to let him know we were near the end if he wanted to come out and he did. Unfortunately she died just before he got here, but he stayed a while and we drank a six-pack of beer, ate chips and Allan told his stories. Fortunately, not the same stories he told in art school back in 1971 but new ones. For Allan everything is funny and a story, but it felt really good to laugh. I think it’s been 10 years since I had seen him although we talked on the phone a few times. It’s been months since I had a beer, too.

So Allan and Earl really cheered me up when I needed it. Part of why I think I’m taking this much better than I thought I would. I thought I would be a total basket case when she finally passed away but I’m OK.

And I think a lot of it is that I’ve had 15 years of waiting for this, part of it is that it really was time for her to go. All of last week she was just miserable, at night she couldn’t turn herself over if something hurt or she couldn’t breathe. She was so skinny that it hurt to lay on her ribs and several times she said; “Oh, Bear, I don’t know what I’m going to do.” Meaning that her discomfort was so bad as to be unendurable and she couldn’t do anything to relieve it and was getting ready to call the paramedics. I gave her a vicodin for the pain each time and she was able to sleep but we both knew time was running out.

It's a relief that she isn't suffering any more.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Darcy Is Gone

This was a post I always knew I’d make some day but now it is here. I can’t even say I wish she had stayed longer, life had been pretty miserable for her for some time now, but it still hits hard. I keep looking around and finding all the things I won’t do with or for Darcy again. I pet the cats and tell them Mommy is gone but they don’t understand. I think of something and the first thing I want to do is tell Darcy about it then realize I can never do that again.

She had been getting very weak over the past 2 weeks and by Friday she could not stand at all even when being held. That’s when we called the paramedics to come and take her to the hospital. We knew this was the end, she even told me to call a certain nurse over at dialysis who had the name of a hospice service to use.

By Monday Darcy was losing focus and tuning out of conversations, I thought it was because they had kept giving her morphine when both of us told them not to. With no functioning kidneys it builds up in her system until she starts spacing out. Last time they did that she started coming back by the next day. By the end of Monday she was in the nursing home but her unfocused look was getting worse. I told her I wondered if they had still kept giving her morphine instead of just the vicodin they were supposed to be giving her. She shook her head no and I asked if she was just tired and she shook her head yes.

I stayed with her a couple more hours until her son, Phil could get there to relieve me, I had been with her all day at the hospital and was pretty zonked. The next morning, Tuesday, I went over there, expecting her to be more coherent and she wanted to take a ride to the beach for a few hours. But instead I found her completely non-responsive. I couldn’t even get her to blink yes. The hospice nurse said this was very typical, as if the body puts out it’s own morphine before death that keeps the person from suffering. She said she could tell the end was near by her labored breathing and that she wasn’t suffering by her placid face.

She looked terrible, so bad I can’t even hold it in my memory, that wasn’t my Darcy. My Darcy was alive and vibrant, a force to be reckoned with. The nurse also said she could go at any time or last several days. By 2:30 she was gone, two days before Christsmas, and the world is a far lessor place because of it, but few will ever know that. It’s better that she went quickly but I sure would have liked to have given her that last trip to the beach.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bush Matrix

This is just too good not to post, from Printmeister. Wired has all the Bush shoe parodies.

I'm really glad this happened because this is what Bush is going to be remembered for, this is his legacy. And no matter how much Bush, Rove and Cheney try to re-write the terrible truth they will never erase this incident. It will live on for hundreds of years. The Buffoon In Chief.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Senate Seat For Sale

This is Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, probably, like me, you never heard of him before today but now he is infamous in a real life tragic/comedy. This guy is a crook and so over the top you have to laugh or shake your head in disbelief. This is from the Huffington Post:
CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested Tuesday on charges he brazenly conspired to sell or trade President-elect Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder as part of what federal prosecutors called a "political corruption crime spree."
Obama is not implicated as knowing anything about what Blagojevich was doing. He seems as surprised and amazed as anyone. I bet he is rather ticked off too because now his replacement in the senate is up in thin air. No one seems to know if there is any other way to replace Obama's seat nor how long Blagojevich will be in office. One thing everyone agrees with is they aren't going to let him make the selection now. But it could be held up for many months as the wheels of justice grind on.
"We were in the middle of a corruption crime spree, and we wanted to stop it," U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said, calling the charges against Blagojevich "a truly new low." He added: "The conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave."
And Fitzgerald is the guy on the case. He's the one who investigated and prosecuted Scooter Libby and is said to be damn good and damn thorough. Blagojevich is finished for sure. What is really unbelievable is how blatant he was about asking for a payoff for the senate seat even though he knew he was under investigation and there was a good possibility his phones were tapped.
The FBI said in court papers that the governor was intercepted on wiretaps over the last month conspiring to sell the Senate seat for campaign cash or plum jobs for himself or his wife, Patti. He spoke of landing a job with a nonprofit foundation or a union-affiliated group, and even held out the possibility of a Cabinet appointment or ambassadorship for himself.

"I've got this thing and it's fucking golden," he said of his authority to appoint Obama's replacement, "and I'm just not giving it up for fucking nothing. I'm not gonna do it."

Blagojevich also considered appointing himself to the Senate seat, telling his deputy governor that if "they're not going to offer me anything of value, I might as well take it," prosecutors said.
Who talks like that when the FBI might be tapping your phone? Hell, I wouldn't talk like that even though there is very little chance the FBI even knows who I am or has tapped my phones. Nor would my trying to sell the senate seat mean anything since I have no authority to do anything about it. But I still wouldn't talk like that - just in case.

And the guy's a "bleeping" democrat! I hate to see dems act like this, the Republicans are the thugs who think they can get away with anything. One big difference is that the Democrats are not going to rally around him and try to excuse what he's done, unlike how all right wingers will tell the most outrageous lies to defend one of their own caught with his hands in the cookie jar. The only thing they won't do that with is if you're accused of being gay. Just ask Senator Larry Craig.
In court papers, the FBI said Blagojevich expressed frustration at being "stuck" as governor. "I want to make money," the governor, whose salary is $177,412, was quoted as saying in one conversation.

The head of the FBI's office in Chicago said he phoned Blagojevich at 6 a.m., telling him of a warrant for his arrest and that there were two FBI agents at his door of his Chicago home. Blagojevich's first comment was, "Is this a joke?" said agent Robert Grant.

Nothing in the court papers suggested Obama had any part in the discussions or knew of them _ something Fitzgerald repeatedly made clear at Tuesday's news conference.

In fact, Blagojevich was overheard complaining at one that Obama's people are "not going to give me anything except appreciation." He added: "(Expletive) them."

The conversations took place between Election Day and as recently as last week. On the recordings, Blagojevich was clearly aware authorities might be listening, warning one person not to use the phone and saying, "The whole world is listening. You hear me?"

Fucking unbelievable! Somebody is on the phone right now about making a movie of this thing, dontcha think? I would be absolutely ecstatic if I was making $177,412 a year as salary. I can't get over that last line from Blagojevich: "The whole world is listening, You hear me?" As Bugs Bunny would say "What a (expletive) maroon!"

Monday, December 8, 2008

Frost/Sheen and the Magna Carta

Haven't seen the movie but I love the commercial where Frank Langella as Nixon says his most outrageous line: "If the President does it it's not illegal!" Michael Sheen as Frost says, with a look of incredulity on his face; "Excuse me?" Because he can't believe Nixon just said that.

It's a line that has ticked me off for years, it goes against every principle of the Rule of Law in a democratic nation. And to say it to a Brit would be really ridiculous because it is practically burnt into their DNA.

That's because of the Magna Carta. Most people have heard of it but don't really know what it is or what it actually says. Many have heard it was the start of Western Democracy and it is, although no democracy actually existed in it. It did what was first needed in a society before democracy could happen, it established the rule of law as supreme, only from that concept could true democracy grow. It's hard to describe how incredible an idea this was at the time, all over Europe it was a given that Kings were God's representative on Earth and his rule WAS the law, and he could do what he wanted.

To see what happened we need Robin Hood. While Robin never existed the framework of England in the story is reasonably true. Richard the Lionhearted was king of England, but that didn't mean much because in his ten years as king he only set foot in England for a few months. He was raised in Normandy (remember the Norman Invasion?) and spoke French not English. And soon after becoming king he went off to the Crusades where he fought Saladin to a standstill and earned fame as a great military leader.

Because he was so removed from England in many ways he really did not care about it so he left his brother, Prince John, in charge. And yes, he really was evil, or at least an asshole. After Richard left the Middle East he still didn't want to settle down and he was killed when an arrow went through his throat while holding a siege on a German castle 10 years after becoming king. So John inherited the throne.

King John was so bad (no other kings have been named John since then) that all his nobles rebelled. Despite how kings were looked at they really needed their nobles' support, at least some of them, in order to rule. John not only pissed them all off but made them realize that none of them were safe from his arbitrary wrath.

Now it's important to note how everything from this point on was totally unprecedented in Europe of the Middle Ages, these things were not even thought of let alone pursued. Which shows just how bad John was to have pushed his nobles to do this. They got together and wrote the Magna Carta (Great Charter). Here is what Wikipedia says:
Magna Carta required King John of England to proclaim certain rights (mainly of his barons), respect certain legal procedures, and accept that his will could be bound by the law. It explicitly protected certain rights of the King's subjects, whether free or fettered — most notably the writ of habeas corpus, allowing appeal against unlawful imprisonment.
For the first time rights were given to the King's subjects, he couldn't just do anything he wanted to them. He also had to be bound by law. Think of how amazing this is when up until that time Kings had absolute power and could not even be questioned. Even the serfs had rights! Every man, no matter what, had the right to habeas corpus, which means they had a right to know why they were imprisoned and had the right to defend themselves

For the first time in the Western world the Rule of Law was named supreme, even above the power of the king, that the king himself, was subject to the rule of law. Meaning he could not break it and if he did he could be held accountable.

This happened in 1215 and was one of the truly great revolutionary moments in the history of Europe, and in our history since we came from Europe. This is why a Brit would be taken aback by a mere President claiming to have a right not even a king in England could claim in over 7 centuries.

And here we are today, with Bush having said what Nixon said and he successfully demolished habeas corpus, the very foundation of the Rule of Law. If the Rule of Law is gone then we have the Rule of Men and presidents become kings. I doubt that any American would approve of that if they truly understood what it all meant. But for most Americans terms like the Magna Carta, habeas corpus and the rule of law are just things they have heard but aren't quite sure of their meaning or importance.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Requiem for a Maverick

Few reporters can tell it like Matt Taibbi. He is currently my favorite, not only great insights into people and politics, but a truly delightful use of language. Read the whole article here, and it's well worth the time spent. Below is an excerpt:
John McCain ran one of the most incompetent, schizo campaigns in history — and for that we owe him big-time

MATT TAIBBI

Up until this year, McCain had firmly rejected the emotional imperatives implicit in Bush-Rove-Gingrich conservatism, in which the relentless demonizing of liberals and liberalism was even more important than policy. While other Republicans were crusading against gay marriage in 2004, McCain bashed a proposed anti-gay-marriage amendment, calling it "antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans." While the president and other Republicans wrapped their arms around the Falwells of the world, McCain blasted those preachers as "agents of intolerance." He talked of seeing the hand of God when he hiked in the Grand Canyon, but insisted loudly that he believed in evolution. He even, for Christ's sake, supported a ban on commercial whaling. If there's anything that a decent Republican knows without being told, it's that whales are a liberal constituency.

But McCain didn't care. Back then, his political survival didn't depend on keeping voters artificially geeked up on fear and hatred for Mexicans or biology teachers or other such subversives. He was, after all, a war hero, and Sharon Stone's cousin.

In short, McCain entered this election season being the worst thing that anyone can be, in the eyes of the Rove-school Republicans: Different. Independent. His own man. He exited the campaign on his knees, all his dignity gone, having handed the White House to the hated liberals after spending the last months of the race with numb-nuts Sarah Palin on his arm and Karl Rove's cock in his mouth. Even if you wanted to vote for him, you didn't know who you were voting for. The old McCain? The new McCain? Neither? Both?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It's Official

We ARE in a recession and have been since LAST December. Boy, what a relief, now I know I'm not just a whiner.

The Big 3 auto makers are heading back to Washington to beg for money. This time they are going to drive there in hybrid cars. Each taking a private jet to go to Congress, hats in hand to beg for taxpayer money, was such a bad idea you have to wonder why it never occurred to even one of them that they shouldn't do it. It's because the rich live in a bubble and don't have a clue what it is like down in the trenches. I did hear that for one of them part of the plan is for him to take one dollar in annual salary until they are solvent again, guess he got the message.

And the auto workers are not to blame for the dismal state of companies. The idea that the average salary is $75 an hour is a blatant lie spread by Republicans. What they did is take all salaries, all medical benefits, all retirees and THEIR medical benefits, and add them together then divide it by the number of actually worked hours. One guy announced this in the news and everybody took it up and spouted it like it was true without ever checking. The truth is the average auto worker hourly wage is $26. This is only $54,080 a year, not exactly a huge salary. And if they were making $75 per hour that would still be peanuts compared to the millions the top execs take when they are the ones making the decisions that got them into trouble.

Friday, November 21, 2008

RADICAL HOMOSEXUAL ACTIVIST

This was on The Gaytheist Agenda blog. Short and sweet and I felt it should be repeated:
Radical Homosexual Activist:
rad⋅i⋅cal ho⋅mo⋅sex⋅u⋅al ac⋅tiv⋅ist
Am. Eng. Late 20th Cent.

A gay person who has the audacity to demand equal rights from people who shouldn’t have the authority to withhold them in the first place.

Thus ends today’s vocabulary lesson.
I especially like the part about having one's rights taken away by people who should not have the authority to withhold them.

How many of you Catholics, Protestants, Mormons, etc. would sit still while YOUR right to marry was being voted on? Would you think this is something that shouldn't even be put up for a vote? That the very idea that such a freedom can be taken from by a majority of the people shouldn't exist?

Not all that uncommon. Interracial marriage was illegal in many states all the way up through the 70's.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bush and Obama

Obama visited the White House yesterday and he and Michelle were met by George and Laura. Quite a scene, it was as if we saw the emotional transfer of the power of the presidency from the old to the new. I especially liked Obama putting his hand on Bush's back, showing who was in control.

What surprised me is how gracious Bush was reported to have been. There seemed to be genuine respect towards Obama and an acknowledgment of the enormity of Obama's accomplishment.

I think it boils down to two things. The first is that being president is a VERY exclusive club of a very small group of highly exceptional men and Bush has a great deal of respect for that club and the men in it. Only natural he would feel that way since that makes him exceptional too. But Bush is right, it IS a very exclusive club of which he and Obama are two of only five total living membership. And despite what anyone thinks of Bush it really is quite an exceptional thing to be President of the United States.

The second, I think, is that Bush is genuinely choked up at the enormity of the US having the first black president in history. I can think of many bad things to say about Bush but racist isn't one of them, after all, he put Colin Powell and Condi Rice in his cabinet. As choked up and overwhelmed and pleased by this idea as I am, I think Bush's feeling are very close to mine. I also think he felt like it was a great honor for him to be the one to greet our first black president and show him the White House.

Many of my friends have theorized that Bush had never intended to give up power and would declare martial law before leaving office, this goes back to before the 2004 election. There was lots of evidence to support this, including a law Bush signed that made it easier for the president to do that very thing. Creepy.

But it's all gone wrong for him and he now has a 22% approval rating, a new low for any sitting president and he probably feels like he couldn't get away with stealing the presidency under current circumstances. I also think Bush is getting pretty stressed out by it all and really, really wants to be out of the office. Whatever was going on behind the scenes Bush was very gracious yesterday with President-Elect Obama and I think when he does something good he should get credit for it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Olbermann on Prop 8

This is one of his best, and most emotional. He captured my own feeling of horror that this travesty of discrimination has been made into constitutional law:



Saturday, November 8, 2008

The New New Deal

Here is a good article by Paul Krugman on what Obama should do about the economy:
But it would be fair for the new administration to point out how conservative ideology, the belief that greed is always good, helped create this crisis. What F.D.R. said in his second inaugural address — “We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics” — has never rung truer.

And right now happens to be one of those times when the converse is also true, and good morals are good economics. Helping the neediest in a time of crisis, through expanded health and unemployment benefits, is the morally right thing to do; it’s also a far more effective form of economic stimulus than cutting the capital gains tax. Providing aid to beleaguered state and local governments, so that they can sustain essential public services, is important for those who depend on those services; it’s also a way to avoid job losses and limit the depth of the economy’s slump.

So a serious progressive agenda — call it a new New Deal — isn’t just economically possible, it’s exactly what the economy needs.

The bottom line, then, is that Barack Obama shouldn’t listen to the people trying to scare him into being a do-nothing president. He has the political mandate; he has good economics on his side. You might say that the only thing he has to fear is fear itself.
That last line is a good one. Maybe next time Krugman will win the Nobel Prize for literature to go alongside the one for economics.

But it's a very true statement. Nancy Pelosi said they would govern down the middle. Screw that! Obama was elected for change and that is what people want. We certainly don't want cowardice and timidity, this is the time for bold action along the lines of what FDR did in the 30's.

The polls just before the election showed that McCain's cry of "redistribution of the wealth" actually raised Obama's numbers. People want that. Even those who don't know all the details know the rich have been ripping us off for years and we have a collapsing economy to show for it. Obama does have a mandate, let's hope he uses it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Barack Obama WINS!!!!

It hardly seems believable that this has happened, that a black man is now president-elect of the United States of America. I remember so well listening to MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech, which still brings me to tears. "I have a dream of a day when a man is judged by the quality of his character rather than the color of his skin."

We're almost there. How different will it be for children growing up now, to look on TV and see a black man as president, and for that to be perfectly normal, nothing unusual at all? While their grandparents, like me, look on in astonishment and wonder. When I was 7, the age of my granddaughter Ally, the voting rights act had not been signed into law yet, that would happen 6 years later. Blacks in a position of authority almost anywhere in society were non-existent.

This was only 48 years ago, a mere speck of time in geological terms.

When I was a hippie what we were so upset about was the fact that the promise of what America SHOULD be was so at odds with what it actually was. In the past few years we seemed even farther from that promise than ever but today we have moved so much closer than we have ever been.

Too bad the American public is so stupid it takes a near-collapse of our civilization to get them to stop voting for Republicans. Even mules only needed a stick to get their attention.

We stand at a very unique moment in history and I am glad I'm here to see it happen and even participate in it. Hopefully, I'll be able to tell my great-grandkids about it. Unlikely I could live that long but now I have hope. Because a 55 year old with no health insurance is a dead man walking, it's only a matter of time. But if Obama can get some health insurance going that will cover me and that I can pay for the death setence might be removed.

I Voted

And it sure felt good. I never thought I'd get to vote for a black man for president with there being a good possibility of him winning. It really got to me. I voted for Hillary in the primary so I've voted for a woman for president as well. Quite a year.

I also got to vote against prop 8. This is the California proposition that makes gay marriages illegal in the state constitution. That felt really good too.

Go out and vote, this is a historical election and you want to be part of it. You will tell your grandchildren about this election and you will want to tell them you voted. Also, the larger a percentage of the popular vote Obama gets the stronger his mandate for change is.

And if you are in California you want to vote no on 8, that is actually more important than voting for Obama. He has a 25% margin in California so he doesn't need your vote to win, but Prop 8 is running neck and neck and needs all the no votes it can get. It will be a terrible thing to have bigotry made the law of the land in our state constitution.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Campaign Comment

Keith Olbermann nails McCain on something that's been bugging me for quite some time. If Obama had made all the mistakes, gaffes and stupid faces and comments that McCain HAS done we would not take him seriously any more. How has McCain gotten away with this farce? Because he's the white guy or because he's the ex-prisoner of war?

American Tune

A commercial came on playing an old favorite Paul Simon tune so I had to look up to see what it was. Since Darcy is in the ER right now and might be admitted and I'm not sure she has too much more time, the essence of the ad hit me hard. Thoose rich little fuckers in the Republican party have no clue what it's like to be out here in America on your own - often it's life or death.

TV and Teen Pregnancy

There's a new study out linking teen pregnancy to watching TV. Over a certain number of hours of TV watching the rate of pregnancies doubled:
The RAND Corp. study is the first of its kind to identify a link between teenagers’ exposure to sexual content on TV and teen pregnancies. The study, released Monday and published in the November edition of the journal Pediatrics, found that teens exposed to high levels of sexual content on television were twice as likely to be involved in a pregnancy in the following three years as teens with limited exposure.
It looks like they added up the number of hours watched then matched it to teen pregnancy rates and decided there is too much sex on TV.

This is absurd, all they have done is show the two happen at the same time, not that one caused the other. Maybe pregnancy causes more TV watching? Maybe they aren't even watching the shows with lots of sex on it.

I think both are symptoms that result from stupid teens (lets face it some just aren't too bright), uneducated teens (abstinence only sex ed), and lack of parental involvement.

But then, I'm just using my own biases to reach a conclusion, just like the study did.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

McCain's Big Backfire

Just came across this article on Alternet that says all the same things I said in yesterday's post. Just in case anyone thinks I'm making any of this up or have my facts wrong check it out:
Obama has not only maintained a stable lead under the Republican barrage, he has increased his positives in the traditionally Republican territory of taxes. The final national polls before Tuesday all show a national hunger for national wealth redistribution downward. An Ipsos/McClatchy poll finds that likely voters prefer Obama's tax plan to McCain's by 8 points. Pew says Obama added to his edge on taxes and the economy between mid-September and mid-October by 6 points, jumping from 44 to 39 earlier to 50 to 35. On Oct. 30, Gallup released results showing Americans favor Obama's style of wealth spreading by a whopping 58-to-37 margin.

It appears the nation's sanity and sense of fairness has reasserted itself to wipe the floor with condescending GOP red-baiting.
As I said, money has been flowing upward for a long time, in the last 8 years 90% of all the wealth in the nation has gone to the upper 10% of wage earners. Does that seem fair or natural? No, it's greedy asholes trying to steal from the government coffers (your taxes) and getting away with it. Also wiping out the credit card so all of our children and grandchildren have to pay for our exceses. Is that family values or what? It's time to turn it around and start sending that money back down to the rest of us.

If anything Obama's plan to raise the taxes on the top 5% (making over $250,000) from 36% to 39% is much too conservative. It should be raised to 50%.

But I think he didn't want to scare the really wealthy too much. Despite the way I talk about the rich I'm sure that most of them are not too upset by this kind of tax increase. It isn't going to affect their own spending in the least and they realize they've been reaping huge benefits from Bush that they don't really deserve. Some, I think, even realize just how desparate it is getting for the people in the middle class, how close to the edge everyone is. Make a large number of people too desparate and we will have violent revolution. I'm hoping Obama will be the non-violent revolution.

It's not like the middle class is greedy and want something they don't deserve. They simply live in a system created and maintained by the wealthy that make life a difficult proposition for the non-wealthy. All most of us want is to make a decent wage - a liveable wage - for our work, and health care and retirement so no one has to face financial disaster. This doesn't seem like too much to ask, in fact it's merely what the basics SHOULD be in a modern, Democratic society.

And it's not like we are asking any sacrifice of the wealthy, either. So someone makes $10 million after taxes instead of $12. Poor guy! Death can't be far behind! But for those in the middle class who can't afford health insurance and are diagnosed with cancer they really ARE going to die! In 2005 three thousand people died in California alone because of a lack of health insurance. This is a silent holocaust. Add in the other 50 states and we are talking about tens of thousands of preventable deaths every single year in America. This happens in third world countries, not in the wealthiest Democracy on Earth, right?

We just have to ask ourselves what kind of America to we want to live in. One where 95% of us or more are prosperous and happy or one where only %5 of us are and the rest are struggling just to survive and often failing? I have trouble thinking even the richest people think that is a good idea.

Of course, there are lots of very wealthy people who think wealth is a sign of the worth of a person. Those on the lower end simply do not deserve to live if they can't afford to pay for medical treatments. It's a kind of brutal Economic Darwinism, which is truly ironic since most of them don't even believe in evolution.

So McCain's claim of socialism doen't hold much weight. Many don't even know what it is and if they did they would realize they are for quite a number of socialist things. Like Social Security and Medicare, universal health insurance and help for people in natural disasters.

Alexander Zaitchik goes on to say:
Over the last eight years, 90 percent of the new income generated has accrued to the top 10 percent, while average family incomes have dropped $2,000. These numbers have engendered bitterness on top of anxiety that has shifted the economic debate. If Democrats get a chance to seek forceful redress in the coming years, Republicans are sure to call Obama a socialist and much else besides. But that's OK. Tuesday's election is going to show that when people are hurting, they don't mind a little "socialism" -- just as long as it's pointed their way.
The wealth will ALWAYS get re-distributed in a modern society, economics is all about moving money around, it’s just a question of whether you want it flowing up or down. And we already have socialism for the rich and how does that make sense?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Redistribute the Wealth

Many of us were blown away by the McCain camp accusing Obama of socialism, what decade are we in, anyway? I wonder how many people under 30 even know what socialism is? Certainly McCain doesn't. Here is a little article by TOM TEEPEN at the SeattlePI entitled If Obama's a socialist, so is McCain:
As it happens, we have already had a revolution that redistributed the wealth. Bush's big tax overhaul redistributed it to the already rich, so they could be richer yet already.

By 2005, households enjoying the top 1 percent of incomes -- those over $348,000 a year -- were receiving the biggest share of national income since 1928. The income gap between the well off and others has stretched beyond shouting distance. Where middle and lower earners had shared in the 1990s boom, they generally lost income in the meager "Bush recovery" from the brief 2001 recession.

In their rush to make Obama out as a socialist readying tumbrels for the rich, conservatives have sometimes explicitly but for the most part implicitly reverted to the old country-club grumble that the graduated income tax is nothing more than a radical scheme to coddle the undeserving poor with the money of the deserving rich.
It's very important to remember that ever since Reagan became President we have been on a course of redistributing the wealth upwards to the rich people of this country, which W put the final period on, that has helped to bring us to our current financial crisis.

So Obama isn't redistributing the wealth, he's getting back what the Republicans and the rich have stolen from everyone in this country who makes less than $250,000 a year.

We've had a progressive tax rate since Teddy Roosevelt, John McCain's hero, first started it. Progressive means the percentage gets higher the more you make. By the early 60's the very top rate was 90%. The Republicans try to use JFK as an example of a Democrat lowering taxes on the rich as if that would make it OK for us to do. He brought it down to 75%, but also did away with many of the loopholes that allowed those in that bracket to get massive deductions, the end result was that the richest people actually paid MORE when Jack Kennedy's tax bill went into effect.

That's very similar to what is happening today with business taxes. McCain continues to claim we have the second highest tax rate on business in the world, around 34%. This is true BUT (there are always these "buts" in any claim by Republicans) there are so many loopholes that after deductions US businesses end up actually paying the second lowest taxes in the world. Obama doesn't want to increase the tax rate but to decrease the loopholes. Things like a corp getting a tax break to move their production to China. He actually wants such a company to pay MORE taxes if they want to do that. But give them tax breaks if they choose to keep their jobs in this country.

So during the most abundant times in our history, the 50's and 60's, the progressive tax rates for the rich were very, very high. Why, if the Pubs were right that high taxes on the rich depress the economy, were we so prosperous in those decades? I think we've been trickled ON by George Bush and the other Have's and Have More's long enough. Nothing like a collapsing economy to tell us we are on the wrong path. High taxes on the rich are a way of creating prosperity for the entire economy, lowering the rates creates disaster. Current tax rates for the rich are around 36%, and we are all less prosperous than we were 40 and 50 years ago when the rates were at least twice that much.

Obama just wants to bring the taxes of the top 1% of the country back to the levels they were when Clinton was president, and THIS is being a socialist? I'll tell you what being a socialist is; it's Alaska claiming that all of the state's natural resources belong to everyone - collectively - and that everyone should get a share of the profits. So Sarah Palin took money from the rich oil companies and sent every man, woman and child in Alaska a check for around $3200. That's about as socialist as it gets. Are you against that? Is it a terrible thing that the oil companies have to pay the citizens of Alaska for using their resources?

In Washington they do it a little differently; they privatize profits, and when the top people of a corporation have squeezed the company dry then the government steps in and pays for their losses! What could be better than that? Wouldn't you love to be able to spend like crazy, take all kinds of chances and when you go broke have the government give you a couple of billion dollars? Sorry, only the top one percent of the wealthiest Americans can get that kind of socialism.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Darcy

I haven't written much in here lately and it's due to depression, I'm just so far down I can't find the energy to write. The problem is because my wife, Darcy, is not feeling very well.

Since she is very, very sick when she feels worse than normal this is not good. I know she doesn't have a lot of time left but she's been bad enough these past few weeks to make me feel like it could be over at any moment.

I feel like crawling under the covers, into a fetal position and burying myself from the rest of the world.

Unfortunately I have obligations, or perhaps it's fortunate that I have them because a big one is taking care of Darcy. She can get out of bed and walk to the bathroom but getting to the kitchen for food is a little tough for her. To make matters even more fun I seem to be developing arthritis in both my hips, which is making walking very painful. Sometimes it's been so bad that *I* can hardly walk and that is the last thing we need. Pain relievers don't seem to be helping much.

Plus I have to do all the shopping and deal with all the other little things in life that comes up, like $350 I just had to spend on my car. It was actually finding the time to get to the repair shop that was the worst problem.

And I have deadlines to meet that won't go away and that's how I pay my rent, I can't just stop doing it.

But I should write in here more often, it's very therapeutic and I'm actually feeling a bit better right now because of writing this post. I write really fast so each blog entry is only about 15 minutes of my time and it's never difficult because the words just flow. And because this isn't something I get paid for there is no pressure on me to do a good job. Although I do feel an obligation to any regular readers I might have.

I also feel an obligation to get the truth out during this election season but that is one I have to let go of at the end of the day too often. But man, is McCain really pissing me off. I thought Bush was a liar but McCain is simply unbelievable. It's as if he knows most of the people he is talking to won't hear any follow ups to what he says to find out it isn't true so he can say anything he wants.

I'll have to make a couple of posts on the election campaign this weekend.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

True Ignorance and Bigotry

This woman says she won't vote for Obama because she can't stand the idea of the name President Obama, and because he had an atheist mother and a Muslim father, that last REALLY upsets her. What she is really saying is she won't vote for the n----r.
Special thanks to Pharyngula for letting me know about the video.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Elizabeth Dole, Atheist Bigot

Interesting article by vjack at Atheist Revolution. Apparently Elizabeth Dole is campaigning on anti-atheist bigotry:

As bad as it seems that Dole is basing her campaign on bigotry, the far-reaching implications of such a strategy may be far worse. First, Dole has actually singled out atheist blogs, including Daylight Atheism and Friendly Atheist, for attack. Yep, Sen. Dole is actually using atheist blogs to make the case that if we support Hagan, there must be something wrong with her. Second, if Dole's strategy succeeds, it will have a chilling effect on atheist equality, effectively making us toxic to any politician hoping to get elected. Vjack, Atheist Revolution: Elizabeth Dole: Campaigning on Bigotry, Oct 2008

It should be noted that the reason she is doing this is out of desperation because it looks like she is going to lose, and badly.
But I also wanted to post it on my blog to test the little Reblog logo vjack put on his blog posts. I don't recall seeing it before but that doesn't mean it hasn't been there for some time.

If this works well I'll see about putting it on my blog, too.

Update: Wasn't bad, I like how Reblog added quotes, links and names automatically but then it formatted it oddly and I had to fix it.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Bizzarre McCain

This was on Huffington Post and is too good not to circulate:
The Reuters photo wire includes this shot taken after the debate last night, when McCain caught himself walking in the wrong direction on stage:

Rape and Sarah Palin

This needs to be seen by everyone. And also remember McCain in last night's debate sneering about "a woman's health" as if that was something so minor we shouldn't concern ourselves with it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I've Been Polled!!

Everyone always says they have never been polled and wonder how that can be with all the polls that are being conducted these days. Seems like there are a dozen new ones every day covering local and federal issues.

Well, I just got an automated call asking me how I'd vote on Proposition 7 here in California. For those who don't live here (or who do but don't watch TV) Prop 7 is an energy bill that the electric companies are fighting against like mad. They have saturated the airwaves with negative messages about Prop 7, and I mean saturated. You can see one of their commercials 3 times in a half hour show, it's obvious they've spent multi-millions fighting this thing. It's because the bill forces them to do more about clean energy, which will cost them money, even if it might make them money in the long run.

This is clear evidence that the Big Money (BM) interests want very badly to sway voters and they can outspend any grassroots organization. As soon as I realize this is happening I immediately want to vote Yes if the BM's (Big Money) want me to vote no. This seems pretty automatic but history shows us that these kinds of ads work and anything opposed by any BM loses badly on election day. Further proof that the average American is just plain stupid and easily manipulated.

I really liked the call I got, the pre-recorded voice said that Prop 7 was opposed by 2 power companies, which they named, but 3 nobel prize-winning scientists have sent out a signed letter in favor of it. Then they asked me how I would vote and I was very happy to vote Yes.

Now, it just might be possible that the energy companies are right and it's a badly written bill, I plan on getting more info before election day. My local news stations usually give a complete recap of these things and what they really mean, as well as who supports it and who doesn't. But if I don't manage to get the info in time I will vote Yes.

Doesn't really matter, though, since it will lose by a wide margin, even if it was the greatest Proposition ever written and will save the world all by itself. Money rules, and anyone out of a job or complaining about the bills or just generally worried about financial and health matters should just accept those things, because you've all proven you can be coaxed into voting against your own interests if enough money is spent. You've willingly made yourselves sheep so stop complaining that you are living a sheep's life.

The part that always annoys me the most is that these BM's often spend more money on TV ads than such a proposition would cost them if it went into effect. And it's likely something that will be beneficial to everyone in the long run, even them. There is big money to be made in the new green economy that is coming, but some will fight tooth and nail even though it will mean leaving a devastated world to their children and grandchildren. Assholes.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Garrison Keillor

Life is hard; we dig in, and we can spot deceit

That's the start of an article by Keillor that is simply brilliant. He starts out talking about the heart of the American people then moves on the the cynical swindle that is Sarah Palin:
Some Republicans adore her because they are pranksters at heart and love the consternation of grown-ups. The ne'er-do-well son of the old Republican family as president, the idea that you increase government revenue by cutting taxes, the idea that you cut social services and thereby drive the needy into the middle class, the idea that you overthrow a dictator with a show of force and achieve democracy at no cost to yourself -- one stink bomb after another, and now Sarah Palin.
This is only one paragraph, the rest is worth the time.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

October Surprise

The surprise is that McCain still retains at least SOME degree of decency. He was at a town hall meeting, walking around the room with a microphone, when he stopped in front of one woman and handed her the mic. She said she was afraid of Obama because he was, well (she mumbled a bit) he’s an Arab (code for black). McCain shook his head and took back the microphone. He said “No he’s not, Senator Obama is a decent family man and citizen, we just have a fundamental disagreement.”

Shocking!! Apparently there IS a line he won’t cross.

At another town hall a man said he was scared of an America with a President Obama in charge. McCain again said he has no reason to be afraid, that Obama is a decent man. The crowd actually booed him, their own candidate. Boy, has he painted himself in to a corner. He’s been talking all week, along with Palin and TV ads, about how terrible Obama is, making people think he’s actually a terrorist himself. When he’s gotten the crowds worked up there have been calls of “traitor” “terrorist” and “kill him.” Imagine if such things were said at an Obama rally, the press and everyone else would be marching in the streets, burning buildings. But the white candidate’s white supporters says this and hardly anyone knows about it.

But there have been reports that the Secret Service was going to investigate any death threats and several Republican politicians have come out saying that McCain has gone too far. Perhaps yesterday he realized he did cross the line and tried to reign things back, but it got him booed by his own people. For him to do an about face now will make him lose his own supporters. But to keep going with this strategy will tarnish his image forever, even among Republicans, but to try and stop it makes him look like a fool.

Well, that’s OK, he IS a fool.

Ana Marie Cox on Rachel Maddow today said that this time, when she went to talk to the people at the rally after it was over, they were all loonies. She said there was always one or two crazies at McCain rallies but this time every one she and other reporters talked to were crazy, all believed Obama was a terrorist, Muslim and/or traitor.

What should scare McCain the most is just how stupid his followers really are. People like that can turn on you.

Friday, October 10, 2008

In Defense of Dignity

This was a post that had me in tears reading it:
My mother had pulmonary fibrosis, a degenerative lung condition, and we knew enough about the disease to know that dramatic turns for the worse were a possibility. She knew that pulmonary fibrosis would eventually end her life, and she'd done some research into just what sort of an end she could expect. It wasn't going to be pretty. Her lungs were gradually filling with scar tissue. She would, when her time came, slowly and painfully suffocate to death over a period of hours or days.
Darcy has pulmonary fibrosis so this article really hit home. She too, knew she would likely face death painfully gasping for breath. It isn't just painful, your body automatically goes into panic as you struggle more and more air. She got a lung transplant that extended her life and made it considerably better for quite a long time, but 10 years post transplant the medications have destroyed her kidneys and she is now on dialysis 3 days a week. Her liver is failing too and she has to go in about every 6 weeks for them to drain her stomach from the fluid that fills it from the faulty liver. I don't think she has too much more time left.

How she will die has always been a major concern for her. What she is most afraid of is being put on a vent indefinitely and stashed in some nursing home for years, more vegetable than alive. The one good thing about the kidney failure is that if she does want to give up she can just stop the dialysis, after a couple of weeks she will just fall asleep and not wake up.
People must accept death at "the hour chosen by God," according to Pope Benedict XVI, leader of the Catholic Church, which is pouring money into the campaign against I-1000.

The hour chosen by God? What does that even mean? Without the intervention of man—and medical science—my mother would have died years earlier. And at the end, even without assisted suicide as an option, my mother had to make her choices. Two hours with the mask off? Six with the mask on? Another two days hooked up to machines? Once things were hopeless, she chose the quickest, if not the easiest, exit. Mask off, two hours. That was my mother's choice, not God's.
The author of the article, Dan Savage, lives in Washington state and apparently there is a proposition on the ballot to approve physician assisted suicide. The Pope is spending lots of money in the state fighting it. That's the point of his above comment.

The hour chosen by god is ridiculous nonsense. If Darcy hadn't had a lung transplant 10 years she would likely have been dead 9 years ago. There has been more than one chance of her dying over the past 10 years and she didn't thanks to the doctors and medication and her own fighting spirit. It certainly seems to me that the hour chosen by god has come and gone at least half a dozen times already, which makes it meaningless.

For those who think that is important then don't go a doctor when you get sick because you will be interfering with god's desire to have you dead.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Second Debate

I have one word for it - Booooorringggg. If you saw the first debate you pretty much saw the second one, almost word for word. McCain even said the same lies about Obama's tax and medical coverage plans and Obama corrected him in exactly the same way.

McCain tried to be a little more friendly, actually shook Obama's hand and smiled at him. If he made weird old-man faces while Obama was talking I didn't see them because the camera never focused on McCain during those times. What I did notice was McCain wheezing and making other weird old-man noises while he was talking. I can only assume the standing and moving around was a bit hard on him. He was all hunched over and looked really - well - old.

It came down to pretty much the same thing - Obama looked calm, cool and presidential, McCain looked like an annoyed and annoying little old man. The kind that yells at the neighborhood kids when they play on his lawn. Obama was playing on his lawn and he was pissed, called Obama "That one." Sorry old man, time for the next generation to take over. You aren't even the last generation, you are the one before the last one.

Rachel Maddow had an interesting comment, she said Obama won by acting as if McCain wasn't even there. Good one.

Update: Pat Buchanon had a good comment tonight, he said that McCain keeps painting Obama as this scary, radical, liberal, Muslim, but at every one of these debates when 50 million viewers see him, some for the first time, they don't see someone scary. They see a self possessed, cool and calm , intelligent guy, nearly regal in his manner and mien. Which completely undermines McCain's last ditch effort.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Michael Seitzman On The Debate

He writes a very powerful blog post on this one. The guy is fast becoming my second favorite writer after Matt Taibbi. I tend to think I'm a pretty good writer but then I read something like this and it really puts me in my place:
Last night's debate was a David and Goliath match-up. Not because Joe Biden is a towering and formidable foe to a less-prepared civilian. Look again and tell me if you can tell the hero from the monster. Need some help? Goliath is the one who is condescending, arrogant, sarcastic, combative, insulting, childish, patronizing, untruthful and divisive. The monster doesn't lead, it misleads. It doesn't inspire, it frightens. It doesn't protect, it provokes. The monster is what has dominated us for eight long years. Sarah Palin is just the brand new model.

The monster marches and devours and never sleeps and it can only be defeated by its opposite: Hope, Courage, Knowledge, Kindness, and Grace. Those are the traits we saw in Joe Biden last night. They're the traits we see in Barack Obama. But most importantly, those are the traits they see in us.
Do your self a favor and read the rest of the blog.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Veep Debate

Joe Biden was the winner by a HUGE margin, but Sarah Palin did much better than I expected. This was a better format for her, no pesky reporter asking follow up questions and wanting details and actual knowledge, or any other annoying stuff like that.

I got the feeling she was a little windup toy inserted with prerecorded messages, each programmed to go off at the right moment. Any info outside of of those recordings and she would change the subject. No substance to any of what she said, and because she didn't really understand what she was saying she managed to contradict herself a number of times without even realizing it.

And pretty much everything she said was a lie but one can be a very convincing liar when she doesn't know she actually is lying. She's just spouting the talking points she was fed and assumes they didn't program her with lies.

Biden played it a little too low key at first. I think everyone had been telling him he had to take it easy on her or they would get upset at him mistreating a poor, little woman and he over did it. Of course, no one warned him he'd be facing a pit bull with lipstick. Palin went on the attack from the beginning and didn't stop for a breathe until the end.

As the debate went on Biden got angrier and sharper in his answers. I think the attack mode and the constant, blatant lying really got to him.

One really good moment when Joe was talking about his kids, his 2 boys who were badly hurt in the accident that killed his wife and daughter 30 years ago. He said he knew what being a single parent was, and choked up a bit. Very real. And Palin, cold hearted bitch that she was, didn't even acknowledge that bit of emotion and didn't respond to it for even a second.

The polls taken right afterward had Biden winning by a two to one margin. All of Palin's approval numbers improved, but all of Biden's improved by the same amount and he started out WAY higher than she did. Ability to become president on day one if necessary for Biden went from 73% to 94%. For Palin it went from 36% to 55%. Nuff said.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Bernie Sanders

Now here is the one senator who is TRULY the most liberal in the senate, and he is the guy who knows how to say things right on target. In this video he explains why the rich people should pay for this Wall st. debacle since they are the ones who benefited from it. The burden should not fall on the middle-class who have already borne the burden to make the rich REALLY rich during Bush's Reign of Terror. I had already linked to his petition in this earlier post:

Reborn Again

Cute baby, eh? Wrong, it' a doll, called Reborn Dolls. I saw them on TV today and was totally freaked out. I always think to make anything too close to real, but not quite, makes it creepy. For instance, in animated movies when there have been ones that tried to be realistic it didn't do well and gives people the creeps because the characters are almost real but are still wrong. But movies like Shrek or Japanese Anime are very popular because they are too stylized to bring that sense of wrongness. We can except distortion of the human body within a certain context with no problem. As an artist I've long been aware of that feeling of "Wrongness". When most people look at a piece of art they usually don't know enough about art to say why they feel what they do, but they can intuitively sense when something is wrong. I tend to follow that sense of what is wrong rather than what is good when working. These dolls are just wrong.

To add to the creepiness is the fact that most of these dolls are being collected by adult women, who keep the dolls around all day and treat them just like babies, even when going out. That's just weird. In some ways, though, I don't think most of these women are to blame. Just about all women, and a majority of men, experience a release of endorphins as well as other chemicals, and activates the reward centers in the brain. This is entirely involuntary and bred in by evolution. Let's face it, without those chemicals how many babies would survive to adulthood?

When we oooh and aaaah over a baby face, or any cute and cuddly face like a kittens, it happens automatically. I can well imagine young mothers 100,000 years ago who didn't release those chemicals smashing the baby's head against the rocks because it won't stop crying during the night. Those who did that, or who just left their kid somewhere, would not pass on their genes. While the people strongly moved emotionally will take care of that kid no matter what and have more of them who will pass on their genes. So that chemical reaction to "cuteness" is a very powerful survival mechanism. Studies show pretty much all mammals have this kind of reaction.

So it could be these women haven't had those emotions in a while and suddenly they are holding one of these dolls and their brains explode. And the emotion would continue every time she picked up and cuddled the doll, which would just reinforce their desire for the doll. Blame it on evolution. It's still damn creepy, though.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Political Cartoons

Here is a bunch of good ones all on the bailout. Here's a few samples but there is more at the site:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mad Dog Palin

Matt Taibbi is fast becoming my favorite political writer. Not only does he "tell it like it is" about the absurdity that is American politics but the man is nearly a poet in the way he puts together a sentence or paints a scene. Great stuff. See his Mad Dog Palin article, you won't be disappointed:
"She totally reminds me of my cousin!" the delegate screeched. "She's a real woman! The real thing!"

I stared at her open-mouthed. In that moment, the rank cynicism of the whole sorry deal was laid bare. Here's the thing about Americans. You can send their kids off by the thousands to get their balls blown off in foreign lands for no reason at all, saddle them with billions in debt year after congressional year while they spend their winters cheerfully watching game shows and football, pull the rug out from under their mortgages, and leave them living off their credit cards and their Wal-Mart salaries while you move their jobs to China and Bangalore.

And none of it matters, so long as you remember a few months before Election Day to offer them a two-bit caricature culled from some cutting-room-floor episode of Roseanne as part of your presidential ticket. And if she's a good enough likeness of a loudmouthed middle-American archetype, as Sarah Palin is, John Q. Public will drop his giant-size bag of Doritos in gratitude, wipe the Sizzlin' Picante dust from his lips and rush to the booth to vote for her. Not because it makes sense, or because it has a chance of improving his life or anyone else's, but simply because it appeals to the low-humming narcissism that substitutes for his personality, because the image on TV reminds him of the mean, brainless slob he sees in the mirror every morning.

The Debate

I had really been looking forward to the debates because that was when I figured Obama would wipe the floor with McCain and the election would be in the bag.

Lots of good things happened over the last 2 weeks with McCain self-destructing on the economy and pulling what has got to be the stupidest political stunt ever. He said he was suspending his campaign (never happened) and going to Washington to lead congress out of this mess, no talk of a plan - we have to assume he will do this by sheer force of personality - and threatening to cancel the debate. Then he takes 18 hours to get from New York City to Washing DC, canceling an appearance with Letterman because of the rush. When he got there he did nothing and the Republicans rejected a deal they were going to accept because they wanted McCain to get his say first.

So McCain, the Drama Queen, actually screwed up the whole process in a bid to derail the election he was losing. The pundits said he was hitting the reset switch on his campaign, but he ends up looking like a madman. Every news person had to use a sports analogy for McCain’s pathetic ploy but I think a Hail Mary is still the best description. That’s where the quarterback, in sheer desperation, tosses a long ball into the end zone, where both teams gather, and hope his guy will come down with the reception. McCain’s entire campaign has been one Hail Mary after another, and one of them, Sarah Palin, looks like a very bad mistake. Imagine a presidency that is nothing but Hail Mary’s for 4 long years. We’d be in big trouble.

So with all that happening during this week it looked like McCain would come in rattled and off his game and Obama would take him apart.

It didn’t happen. I was actually quite impressed with McCain’s performance because he did far better than I thought he could. He was strong and aggressive and energetic. I kept wondering what kind of drugs and vitamins his campaign shot him up with so he could do that. And only 2 senior moments.

Obama still won, and by a good margin, but there was no knockout punch. Mainly Obama looked more presidential and McCain made several stupid mistakes. The most notable was mispronouncing Ahmadinejad’s name several times in a row, that was one senior moment. The other one was when he repeated his line about never winning Miss Congeniality in the Senate. He also looked like a troll, hunched down over his podium and refusing to even look at Obama. And when Obama was talking he made some really bizarre faces. The man is scary, the thought of him as president is REALLY scary. And when Obama said that Ahmadinejad was not even the top guy in Iran McCain laughed like that was the most ridiculous thing he ever heard. It scared me, though, because I think he really doesn’t know that Ahmadinejad isn’t the top guy in Iran. It’s something he really should know.

Obama was calm and cool and knowledgeable, and forceful, which is a quality he really needs to display more often. McCain’s biggest attack on Obama was that he just didn’t understand, he repeated that over and over. And it fell totally flat because every time Obama opened his mouth he proved very effectively that he understood quite well, he simply didn’t agree with McCain. But this was a debate of foreign policy which is supposed to be McCain’ biggest strength yet Obama not only matched him but exceeded his knowledge, and showing he understood even subtle nuances, which is what McCain didn’t seem to understand.

On the economy McCain seemed to be incredibly ignorant. He felt most of the budget deficit could be solved simply by getting rid of earmarks, which is totally absurd, earmarks only account for about $18 billion of the budget. But McCain had little to push with the economy since his main plan is to lower taxes even further on the rich and corporations which would only increase our debt and lower the value of the dollar.

The polls show that most think Obama won. One poll had 40% for Obama, 22% for McCain and 38% saying it was a tie. But a tie is pretty damn good since McCain had been attacking Obama as too inexperienced to be Commander In Chief, but a tie says most people think he will be just as good if not better. There were a number of places I thought Obama could have landed some real knockout punches but he didn’t go for it.

Still, a good debate, overall. There are 2 more so we can see what happens. And next Friday is the VP debate which should be hysterical. Sarah Palin against Joe Biden. I almost feel sorry for her. She should do so badly that it seals the election right there but the American public really IS stupid, which the last 2 presidential elections have proven beyond a doubt.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Senator Bernie Sanders

Sign the Petition! Normally I don't sign these things, I think it makes people a target for the FBI and these days, in the land of the once-free, that is a very serious worry. But Bernie is my favorite Senator (I wish we could get him to move out here and replace Feinstein) and this issue is too important and too outrageous. How dare they come back and ask the American public to rescue the greedy wall streeters who have caused this but apparently, are not supposed to pay any price for it. They've already ripped us off in any number of ways as Bush and the rich have looted the national coffers over the past 8 years to make themselves richer. Bernie says this:
While the Administration has quickly rallied to help Wall Street, it has ignored the needs of the declining middle class. Since President Bush has been in office the wealthiest people in this country have made out like bandits and have not had it so good since the 1920s. The top one-tenth of one percent now earn more income than the bottom 50 percent of Americans and the top one percent own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. Incredibly, the richest 400 people in our country saw their wealth increase by $670 billion during the Bush presidency.

Having mismanaged the economy for 8 years while continually insisting that, “The fundamentals of our economy are strong,” the Bush Administration, six weeks before an election, wants the middle class of this country to bail out Wall Street to the tune of one trillion dollars. Meanwhile the wealthiest people, those who have benefited most from Bush’s policies and are in the best position to pay, are being asked for no sacrifice at all. This is absurd.
So sign the petition and let's see if we can put a stop to this insanity and not give Bush his final, and biggest, victory.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

John McCain: The New FDR

All McCain can talk about these days is regulation and how great it is and how much he is for it and boy, when he is president he’s going to regulate those greedy Wall Streeters to within an inch of their lives!!

It’s hard to find a concept more absurd when McCain has called himself the DE-regulator for years and said he is always for less regulation. Let the markets find their own balance was his philosophy, echoing the Republican party line. Free markets should be worshipped like an omnipotent and omnibenevolent god. What an embarrassment this latest crisis must be for him - and all Republicans. Now they have all become regulators crying out against those greedy rich people who have brought us to the brink of ruin.

And make no mistake about it, we are on the brink, which means the whole world is on the brink of financial ruin. We might be back on the barter system soon, better gather up some actual products instead of money, because it will soon be worthless. But John McCain, or any Republican, sounding like a socialist calling for more and more regulation is a world turned upside down and inside out. But it’s important to note how easily and nimbly McCain has given up everything he has held dear all his life and done a complete about face and betrayed himself in order to become president. Either that or he’s lying. Take your pick on which is a worse statement on his character. What we can say now is that he IS a character, but he HAS none.

But what choice does he have? His whole life has just been shown to be a lie, that the great Republican philosophy of a free market is pure fiction and instead leads to economic ruin. Isn’t it interesting how little it means to him that his life has been a lie, he just does an about face and puts another mask on. Clearly he never believed his own philosophy, it was just convenient for getting him elected as a Republican. Now that it is no longer convenient (to say the least) he does an easy pivot and changes his basic view of the world and becomes a completely different person.

Actually, he has not become a different person, he was always an empty suit and has only reacted to the crisis in the only way possible. It’s like the old joke of a guy running behind a crowd as fast as he can and saying he has to get in front of them because he is their leader!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

More On The Economy

Paul Krugman is my favorite economist because he is one of the few who doesn't have his head stuck up the rightwing a-hole. And he really is a well known and highly respected economist. Check out his bio at the NY Times from which this is just a small piece:
Paul Krugman joined The New York Times in 1999 as a columnist on the Op-Ed Page and continues as professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University.

Mr. Krugman received his B.A. from Yale University in 1974 and his Ph.D. from MIT in 1977. He has taught at Yale, MIT and Stanford. At MIT he became the Ford International Professor of Economics.
He's a heavyweight in the field. And he said something today on the Rachel Maddow show that scared me and made me realize what I forgot to mention yesterday in my post on the economy; namely, that we could be heading for another Great Depression just as bad, if not worse as in 1932. This is something I've worried about for years because anyone who knows even a little bit about the economy and what the idiot Republicans were doing to it were worried. Another Great Depression is, of course, the worst of all possible outcomes so I always thought it wasn't too likely (I hoped). But Krugman said today that if the Fed hadn't bailed out AIG we might have been only days away for a GD. Days. This from his blog 2 days ago:
And there’s a lesson there for those ready to hear it: government takeovers may be the only way to get the financial system working again.

Some people have been making that argument for some time. Most recently, Paul Volcker, the former Fed chairman, and two other veterans of past financial crises published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal declaring that the only way to avoid “the mother of all credit contractions” is to create a new government agency to “buy up the troubled paper” — that is, to have taxpayers take over the bad assets created by the bursting of the housing and credit bubbles. Coming from Mr. Volcker, that proposal has serious credibility.
If everyone loses faith in the ability of banks to borrow money then the whole system comes crashing down because all credit will end which will bring most business to a halt and put all of us out of work. In 1932 they had an unemployment rate of 24%, we could see that again.

So what do we have going on here? We can now proudly proclaim ourselves a socialist country in the style of Europe. That's what Republicanism has done for us. But we aren't out of the woods yet. Krugman says he wants to know the details of what the the Fed, SEC and Congress are cooking up to see if it will do what it needs to do, and hopefully without the CEO's and stockholders of failed companies walking away with millions.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Economy Stupid

I'd like to say the stupid part goes to Bush, and while he's been the biggest enabler of disastrous economic policies, the fault of this goes way back for decades. In fact, it would be hard to pinpoint where it all started, probably the 1920's is the best place. One article that explains it very nicely starting from the 1920's on up, but written well enough it's easy to understand, is Only a Roosevelt-Scale Counterrevolution Can Prevent Great Depression II By Robert Kuttner.
Free-market extremists brought us this needless economic collapse. Here's a rundown of the mistakes we've made and the reforms we need now.
Free-market extremists, otherwise known as Republicans. And one of the people most at fault is Alan Greenspan. His entire philosophy since he became head of the fed is to do what he could to make the economy business friendly. Here's an article by Digsby on how Greenspan created this current crisis, Digsby quotes Newsweek's Michael Hirsh:
This mess is mostly a titanic failure of regulation. And the largest share of blame goes back to one man: Alan Greenspan. People mainly fault the former Fed chief, who once enjoyed a near-saintly reputation because of his reputed "feel" for market conditions, for ushering in an era of easy credit that accelerated the mortgage mania. But the much bigger problem was Greenspan's Ayn Randian passion for regulatory minimalism. Under the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act enacted by Congress in 1994, the Fed was given the authority to oversee mortgage loans. But Greenspan kept putting off writing any rules. As late as April 2005, when things were seriously beginning to go wrong, he was saying that subprime lending would work out for the common good—without government interference.
There were others responsible, Phil Gramm comes to mind - you know, McCain's economic adviser - but the heart of it all goes back to Reagan's election in 1980. That's when the idea that government was evil and regulations come from government and are evil too. McCain himself is one of those free-market extremists who has supported de-regulation every time he could in his 26 year senate career. But now he likes regulation (hahah).

But not to worry, the government bailout should save us all from collapse, now the Fed is running some major companies, like Fannie Mae and AIG, and actually own all or part of these companies. This means that eventually we all might make a profit from these companies.

A guy on the Today show this morning had a good analogy for it. Think of the hurricane that just wiped out Galvaston. All the people there are screwed because they are individual homeowners with limited resources. But suppose some really rich guy owned it all and could afford to sit back and take big loses for several years, eventually all that property would be rebuilt and he'd make a fortune. The key is being rich enough to get through the financial loses. When it comes to AIG and all the others the Fed has bailed out, only the government is rich enough to do that on the scale needed. Wow, the government as a solution to a major problem, what a concept!

And don't worry, the Fed has money even though the country is in debt. They are the people who print money so they can make as much as they want. But in the modern age of computers actually printing money is not necessary, so the Fed magically created billions of dollars that only exist in computer storage. Isn't that cool? Don't you wish you could make Magic Money?

The main point is that we should be OK, eventually, as long as some strong regulations are enacted to prevent this from happening again. How do we do that? By electing Democrats, especially as president, and throwing out alllthe clowns who want deregulation no matter what. And who are they? Republicans. Republicans should not be allowed to rule and they should never be given moeny to handle, and this has now been proven definitively by the current crisis.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Lipstick on a Bourgeois Pig

I'm really liking Michael Seitzman as a writer, even though I only discovered him a few days ago. He's incredibly succinct yet makes his point better than people who write longer and boring articles. In this post he says pretty much what I said about McCain but better:
Notice that the minute there is a disaster of any sort, Old Man Winter responds in two ways -- the disaster is either not actually happening and you're just whining, or, he's going to make sure it never happens again. And how exactly is he going make sure of that? Well, he says he's going to appoint a commission -- that's right, a GOVERNMENT commission. If that sounds like more of that bureaucracy he's going to shrink, it's because it is. And what do you think that commission's going to recommend? Hold on...wait for it...here it comes....REGULATION. You heard right, Seniletor McCaine and Governor I-Can-See-Russia-From-Here would officially like to change their position. It seems they've awakened to the stunning realization that "government interference" is exactly what's needed to do all that changin' and reformin' they gon' do.
It's amazing to me that McCain can suddenly change the position he's held for 26 years and get away with it. 48 hours ago he was The Deregulator (I keep picturing McCain's face with the skin gone on half of it with the metal robot showing underneath). Now - suddenly - deregulation is the problem and he is going to start regulating as soon as he gets to Washington! Does that mean he's been WRONG for the past 26 years and now - suddenly - sees the light? Perhaps now he will also see the wisdom of raising taxes on the rich and government run health care? Only if he needs to do that to win the election, because all McCain really wants is to be president, I don't think he cares much about what he will do once he's there.

I actually suspect that McCain is sick and is keeping it a secret until he gets elected. I have no direct knowledge of this, just a gut feeling based on his age, the fact that his campaign has refused to let out ALL of his health information, and the fact that Cindy is now traveling with him everywhere at all times. What is she doing for him that only the two fo them know about? Adrenaline shots to keep him going? Pain shots? Maybe a dialysis machine back in the plane? I don't know and I could be wrong but he's old and doesn't look good, which means Palin could be president in a short time if they win. Damn, is that scary.

Anyway, read Michael Seitzman article on Huffington Post, lots more good stuff than what I quoted here and well worth reading.