Monday, August 31, 2009

Dick Cheney Can Suck My Ass

Seriously. And while he's at it, he can suck the whole nation's giant, boil-ridden ass too. Twice.

Remember when Jimmy Carter criticized The Idiot and his gang? And pretty mildly too, given the circumstances, if you ask me. (And I know you do.) Okay, so he called them "the worst in history". But really, that just barely scratched the surface.

Anyway, you heard howls about an ex-president criticizing a sitting president. An awful breach of decorum! Spitting on a long-standing unwritten rule! The horror of such disrespect! And anyway, who was he to talk?

Of course, now that he's no longer president (yes, president), Dick has been piling it on. Obama was barely inaugurated when Dick started blaming the next terrorist attack on him. Classy.

It's pretty hilarious to hear the head of the most politicized White House in American history claim that any investigation into their criminal activities must be "intensely partisan" and "politicized". You guys would never do anything like that, would you, Dick?

This is all about deflection. Cheney would just disappear if he weren't going to be implicated in all of this. After all, this did not happen in a vacuum. Everything that happened was ordered by somebody. Rules were re-written and legal "opinions" were ordered. Dick needs to get the word out now so when he gets dragged into court (well, he probably won't be but he knows that he should be, in a country that respects the rule of law) he has some right-wing, and maybe "moderate" opinion on his side.

Even if you survive cancer, it continues to define your life. No matter what we do, these cancers will stay with us until long after we're gone. Thanks a bunch, dick.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Edward M. Kennedy

No biographical details should be necessary here. That's been covered extensively elsewhere, in print and in video. (I'm not even bothering to link. If you're connected, you've seen it all.)

Ted Kennedy was the senator in my home state since before I was born. Think about that. The same man has held that seat for my entire life. But just holding a senate seat is not that difficult. The power of incumbency only grows with time. At some point, unless you do something really horrible like try to pass a bill mandating abortions for every woman due to give birth on a Tuesday, it's a lifetime position like the Supreme Court. But what you do with that position is what makes you.

Teddy was a bit of a goof in his younger days. Not a great student and prone to bad behavior. But, unlike some other children of privilege who were goofs in their younger days and went into politics based on their family name, he worked hard to become a legislator of the top order. And beyond that a fighter, a real and true fighter, for unabashedly liberal causes. When Reaganism was in vogue (and still is, among a certain subset of our brainwashed nation) he defended not just the word "liberal", which had become, and continues to be, a dirty word to some, but the ideals behind it. He was not ashamed to say that compassion meant more than just feeling for others but acting on their behalf. This was the "great work".

No one expected much of Ted. But he ended up being the most consequential of all the Kennedys (Eunice being a possible exception). Even after the scandals of Chappaquiddick and his nephew William Kennedy Smith, he proved that there are second (and third and fourth) acts in American lives. The totality of Ted Kennedy, even with his personal disgraces, was overwhelmingly a net positive. You can thank him if you have a disability, or are a woman, or a child, or care about civil rights, or if you just happen to have a body. His death may re-focus energy on passing some form of useful health care legislation.

In our corporate-controlled government, Ted's example will not be followed by many. But a true government of, by and for the people would be populated by a lot more Ted Kennedys and a lot fewer John Boehners and Mitch McConnells.

Goodbye, senator. And thank you. You will be sorely missed.

Monday, August 24, 2009

PYSBRIoM: Doug Glanville

I was cool to this guy's blog at first. Who needs another ex-jock yapping about a game that he never was a superstar at in the first place? I can be judgmental. This is where I am deficient. To my credit, I did come back and read it every now and then. I like to give people a reasonable opportunity to win me over. This is where I am not deficient. Glad I did.

Doug Glanville knows the game and he knows how to write. Just as importantly, he's the rare smart jock whose intelligence and interests range well outside of the foul lines. I've been watching baseball (and reading about baseball) for many years. But there are very few writers who can hold my interest on the topic. There is the occasional Roger Angell, who isn't really a baseball writer but a writer who happens to write about baseball. Or revolutionary stat geek like Bill James.

But Glanville has won me over with his clear-headed and informative bits about baseball culture and the real struggles and concerns of the human beings that play the game. His current piece is about why players should bother showing up when their team is clearly going nowhere. Believe it or not, they should. And Glanville will tell you why. He gives even longtime fans new things to think about.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Robert Novak

Good riddance, you lying motherfucker.

I'm sure you had family that loved you. To them, I offer my profound condolences.

For the rest of us, you were a smug, deceitful right-wing apologist and propagandist who cared less about the truth and the safety and well-being of everyday Americans than you did about promoting your own ghastly ideology.

It's fitting that you died of a malignant brain tumor because you had the most malignant of brains.

You were the kind of person that makes me dearly wish that I believed in an afterlife, particularly the hot and crispy place, where right about now you would undoubtedly be checking in for an extended stay after a hasty triage to determine your proper infernal stateroom.

The world is a better place without you. You would probably take that as a compliment, as it implies that you "made a difference". Feel free. We'll get on with our lives without you to pollute our air any further.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

You Call This a Debate? Take Out the "t" and Add a "cl".

Hello, people. I haven't been around much lately. I've been thinking about stuff, just not writing about it.

One of the things I've been thinking about is health care. (Really? You're, like, the only one. Nobody's talking about it.)

You know, we all had a lovely series of moments when Obama was elected and took office. Hurray, America. We elected a black man. The Bush/Cheney era was ending. It was cleansing. It was wonderful. A new day was dawning.

Bullshit. Utter fucking bullshit. We are now seeing just how dishonest and depraved this nation really is.

Obama was never a flaming liberal. He was always a pragmatic centrist "liberal". I knew he was in trouble almost immediately upon taking office when the stimulus bill, for which Obama spent a lot of time attempting to get Republican buy-in got, oh, zero Republican votes. The red flag was not that the bill got no Republican votes. I kind of expected that. The red flag was that Republicans and their enablers in the supposedly liberal media howled with fury about how partisan Obama was being. "He never consulted us! This bill was supposed to be bipartisan and it's the most partisan bill ever! He's a fraud!" I knew at this point that nothing would be easy and that there was nothing, literally nothing he could do to get anything worthwhile done. Bipartisanship requires two willing parties. And we were at least one short. Country first? Nuh-uh.

And here we are at health care, a big issue for folks and one for which there is broad support among the American electorate. Here's a lovely New York Times poll showing that 72% of Americans support a government-run health plan. 72%! Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get 72% of Americans to agree on anything? We can't get 72% of Americans to agree that torture is a bad thing. Yes, torture, which is unequivocally and unambiguously illegal under domestic and international law, not to mention immoral and ineffective. But 72% were for a public plan. And 7% had no opinion in the health care poll, which means only 20% of Americans opposed it. That's slightly more than the number that like Dick Cheney. And athlete's foot.

And yet, where are we with the public option (which, by the way, is only a shadow of what we should be moving towards, which is universal single-payer)? Well, it's about to be killed. Why? Because of a few people shouting at town hall meetings, per the direction of a few right-wing and corporate-sponsored groups, and media ass monkeys all around the joint.

I really don't have the strenght to go into the details right now, which you undoubtedly know already, but suffice it to say that every single argument I've heard against a public plan, let alone single-payer, has contained at least one whopping big fat honking lie. Not an untruth, not a stretch, not a minor prevarication, but something grossly, demonstrably false. Death panels! 6-month waits! No choices! Government takeover! Tyranny! All of it patently untrue and promoted relentlessly by the insurance industry and Fox News. Surprise surprise.

For crying out loud, they took out end-of-life care counseling (counseling!) because apparently it was easier to do so than to just explain why the death panel idea was a lie. How low must your opinion of the American people be when you can't debunk something so easily debunked?

Not low enough, apparently. Because now they're talking about taking the public option out of the mix. Why? Because lying works. That's how stupid we are. Congratulations, insurance industry. This is an absolute triumph of propaganda. You've managed to take a topic about which there was broad consensus and make it seem like an apocalyptic gummint nightmare to which the villagers were revolting with the pitchforks and the torches in an inspiring show of democracy in action.

Hey, Congress. If you're thinking of passing a bill that can't even include something so modest, and for which there was such support, for fear of pissing off a few yahoos and the corporations whose bidding they do, don't bother, okay? I can't bear the thought of you and the president congratulating yourselves for doing something worse than doing nothing.

I have officially lost all of the good feelings I had about this country around the turn of last year. My opinion of this country is actually lower than it was during the nightmare that was the Bush administration. And that is really saying something.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Kenya Dig It?

Apparently, the birthers read my blog. Before my comments, they hadn't even bothered to forge a birth certificate for Obama. Situation rectified.

Of course, the thing's an obvious fake, debunkable with just minutes of Google time.

I thought I'd get one too. Here 'tis.

Go here for yours.