Sunday, August 30, 2009

Thank You Senator Kennedy

Much has been said and written about the late Senator Edward Kennedy in recent days. Since his death on Tuesday, an outpouring of primarily fond remembrances and tributes have come forward from presidents, colleagues in the congress, members of the Kennedy family, and finally the American people.
It's impossible to say something that hasn't already been said about the Senator in terms of tribute. So, I won't attempt to glorify the man nor point out his faults. I like to think of him at work, where regardless of victory or defeat, he was in the arena making his case for whatever cause was being discussed. The picture on this post is the way I want to remember him; as the people's advocate.
One of the reasons I am a Liberal is Ted Kennedy. Senator Kennedy pushed for programs that would invariably cost himself and people in his wealth level money. The reason he did this was not because he necessarily wanted wealth distribution, he certainly enjoyed the privilege of wealth. I think he did it because he was thunderstruck by the plight of the people in this country who are wanting. Whether he was arguing for civil rights, women's rights (thanks to his efforts and many others, because of Title IX, my daughters can compete in athletics in school and university), and his self proclaimed "Cause Of My Life", national healthcare, Mr. Kennedy seemed to always be on the side of those who were in need. I think Mr. Kennedy had an innate sense of fairness and this showed up time and again as exemplified in 2007 when he was on the floor of the senate roaring his displeasure at the time it was taking to consider an increase in the minimum wage.
A good but flawed man, he worked very hard for his principles, his constituents and honestly, for people he never even knew. I'll close this post with an excerpt of the eulogy he did for his brother Robert. I think it is just as fitting for Teddy.
"My brother need to be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it."
Thank you Senator Kennedy.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cut The Crap Already

I've had it with you "protesters" who are disrupting all the town meetings where health care reform is being discussed. Look at the picture to the left. This moron is holding a picture of our president with a fucking Adolph Hitler mustache. Implication made: Obama = Hitler. Okay, first of all, these dumb asses have been claiming Obama is a socialist. Now you say Obama = Hitler. Idiots. Hitler was not a socialist. He was a fascist who utilized the corporations to fund his maniacal plans. Pure and simply, the analogy doesn't work. You want to use Stalin if you are attempting to paint Obama a socialist, which he clearly isn't. You dumb and moronic people you. Comparing our president with Adolph Hitler is more than insulting. It shows an enormous amount of ignorance on the part of the person who makes the comparison. No president in the history of this country compares to Adolph Hitler. None. For an American to actually make this comparison is reprehensible.

Your bloviating gas bags such as Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and the rest of corrupted gene pool who have a voice on TV or radio fan the flames of fear by using lies to get the rest of our idiotic population terrified of "death panels" and "Government interference in Medicare".

God, how stupid you people are. If you genuinely believe this drivel, you need to get a remedial education in history and governance in this country. You also need to do the background research on Obama and understand this is a man of deep conviction for helping people. How in the world does this translate to Obama being Hitler? The irony here is that Hitler was a devout believer in the "master race". Obama would be an abomination to Hitler in that he is mixed race. Obama likely would have been sent to one of Hitler's camps because of his genealogy.

The Republican members of Congress who are supporting these slack-jawed morons who show up at these events for the sole purpose of disrupting civil discourse and debate are pussies. They hide behind "don't deprive these people of their first amendment rights" as a reason not to criticize a group of stupid, vacuous, ill-mannered, ill-informed, fools who unknowingly are a front to the corporate lobby who is desperately trying to kill health care reform because it would reduce their profits.

It is absurd to think that Obama or anyone would support "death panels" that would deny coverage because of age. Wait. Maybe it's not so absurd. Insurance companies have been doing this for years. However, no where in any of the written legislation does it say anything about "death panels". No where. Not one sentence. Even Newt Gingrich, the saint of the right wing had to walk this back when challenged by George Stephanopolous recently on television. Newt tried to insert his view of what might happen in the legislation. In other words, he made it up! He lied. Not surprising since it seems all the Republican leadership does anymore is lie.

Health care reform has been sorely needed in this country for decades and is consistently killed not by people who have a better way of providing health care but by people who stand to lose profits if health care is reformed. As "Deep Throat" told Woodward and Bernstien in the WaterGate mess.. "Follow The Money". Follow the fact the Health Insurance lobby is spending over $1.4M per DAY to fight reform. Ask yourself why? Why would Health Insurance companies spend so much to fight reform that would provide coverage to everyone? Well, dip-shit, the answer is: They don't want to cover everyone! They want to be able to deny coverage, revoke coverage, raise rates and lower coverage caps. Why, you might ask? You morons. Because it eats into profits.

If any of you mouth breathers who actually support not reforming health care were denied coverage for yourself or a loved one for a pre-existing condition or denied coverage because your insurance company didn't want to pay for the treatment and still believe that health care reform is a bad thing, then fine, say what you want, when you want. But. If you are currently covered with good health care insurance and want to deny it for others because you might think it could impact yours, then Fuck You, you selfish bastards.

You idiotic, horses asses.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

And In The End, The Love You Take is Equal To The Love You Make

With apologies to Sir Paul, It was Forty Years Ago Today....
August 8, 1969, the cover photograph for "Abbey Road", which is my 2nd favorite Beatles album (the first being Revolver) was taken. While this isn't a political post, I think it's important to note the last album of the most important rock and roll group ever assembled. "Let It Be" was released later, in 1970, but it was recorded prior to the Abbey Road sessions which found the four musicians back with their favorite producer, George Martin. According to Martin, he initially refused to work with them again because of all the enmity that had surfaced. Paul cajoled him and the others back to the studio and the result was a terrific album full of variety and new sounds.
The Beatles were probably the most variable of the power-house bands of the 60's and 70's. Their ability to change and set new paths regarding popular music was unrivaled. Yes, Brian Jones messed with the sitar prior to the Beatles, but Harrison took it to places unheard of. Listen to "Love You To" off of the Revolver track or "Within You Without You" on their masterpiece, Sgt. Pepper. This was like nothing that had come out of a rock and roll record ever. That's just one example. The experimentation with reverb, back-tracking, incorporation of orchestral music into classic guitar band songs set the stage for the Pink Floyd's, Led Zeppelin's and U2's yet to come.
Abbey Road is one of my favorite albums because of the unique variety of the tracks on the record. "Something", arguably George Harrison's best song and the first non Lennon-McCartney Beatles song to make number 1, is on the album as is "Here Comes The Sun", another terrific Harrison composition.
The songs on the album range from bluesy "Oh Darling!", to funky "Come Together", to zany "Octopus's Garden", which was Ringo's song on the album. The B-Side of the album starts with the aforementioned Here Comes the Sun and Because, then a 16 minute medley of fast and hard rock, excellent harmony and very bizarre word pictures describing "Mean Mr. Mustard", "Polythene Pam", and some chick who came in through the bathroom window.
The final-full song on the album is fittingly called the "The End". It is at the tail-end of the medley on the B-Side and features some scorching guitar licks from George, Paul and John with a pounding drum solo by Ringo. It seems as if they were telling all of us, "This is It, and we're going out with a bang!".
There are other Rock and Roll albums that are better. Dark Side of the Moon comes to mind as does the Joshua Tree or Led Zeppelin IV, but I think Abbey Road is one for the ages.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

An Example To Consider

Everyone knows the story. Harvard professor, breaks into his own house. Concerned neighbor calls 911 indicating something is going on. 911 dispatches Cambridge police officers to the seen. Cambridge Police officers arrive at scene, question occupants of house where alleged break-in was taking place, controversy ensues and Harvard professor is arrested by Cambridge police Sergeant for disorderly conduct. President of the US is asked at his Health Care press conference about it. President says Cambridge Police acted stupidly. Shit hits the fan. MSM (main stream media) ratchets up the controversy. President backs away from remarks and says he should have calibrated his words better. President invites Police Sergeant and Harvard Professor to the White House for a beer. Harvard Professor and Police Sergeant meet and talk prior to the beer event. President, Vice President, Police Sergeant and Harvard Professor come away with projected attitudes that seem positive and focused on a desire to move forward.
President thanks both men for coming to the White House and having a "thoughtful conversation'.
Conflict resolution in play here folks. Anybody recognize this? Is it not ironic that while Bush was the guy people would "want to have a beer with", Obama is actually the guy who people do have a beer with?
No one is going to solve racial issues over a beer. It is a fairly safe bet no one is going to solve racial issues period over a million beers. This fact of racism is embedded in our collective DNA. Like a corrupted gene or chromosome, it is a condition we have to learn how to manage and live with. We will not eradicate it as long as we have stupid people who believe because someone of another skin color is either superior or deficient (pick your poison). As that great philosopher Forrest Gump said: "Stupid is as Stupid does". So true.
So it falls to people who do not tolerate racism in any form to do the hard work of reasoning, explaining, teaching, and finally if that doesn't work, shouting down the morons who believe because you look different than them you must be inferior.
The President is a fine man and a fine example of someone who will not allow the sins of the past to permeate his world-view. This is not a man who, as Rush or Glenn Beck say, is a racist. He doesn't "hate white people". This is a man (by the way, who is half white), who seems to put that in the past and focus on the path forward. I don't be any means believe he ignores what has happened in our past and neither should we. For over 200 years, we bought and sold human beings like they were cattle or horses. Fact. Terrible, Terrible, Fact.
This fact, like the genocide of the Native American peoples in this country is part of our sad legacy. As Germany has to deal with the rise of National Socialism in the 1930's and 1940's and will always carry Hitler and his ilk along their biographical journey, so must we too carry the scourge of slavery and then a long thread of racism as part of our collective character.
We can't get past this, but can learn from it. What better example of being able to build on the mistakes of the past and focus on building an environment where people are judged as Dr. King said, "Not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character", than a half black, half white president sitting down in the middle of a potentially racial firestorm, and talking about it with a focus on finding common ground and resolution.
To paraphrase Winston Churchill, this is not the ending of racism, this is not the beginning of the end of racism, but perhaps it is the end of the beginning of racism.
I'm proud of my President. I'm proud of Sergeant Crowley and Professor Gates for getting together and talking through this problem. It exemplifies what's good about our country. We move on, we get past things, we heal, we survive...
regards, Dennis