Hard to believe that spring is really here. Maybe to stay, maybe not, but I guess I’m ready. Birds are a-chirpin’ and it may hit 80 the next couple of days. Those trees are gonna fill up soon. You may not know it but I’ve been productive; I worry that summer will end that, like it does every year, with so many activities and all that fun. I’ve got some things to finish up first though. Hold off, spring, I’m not there yet.
I am the Tea Party people! Yes, former SNL’er Victoria Jackson isn’t crazy. She’s just been taught well by Glenn Beck. Wow.
As Ireland withstands Rome’s offensive apology while an Irish bishop resigns, I ask Americans to understand why an Irish Catholic woman who survived child abuse would want to rip up the pope’s picture.
I have long wanted Sinead O’Connor to say something more about all that, and maybe she has and I missed it. But this op-ed in the Washington Post answers a lot. At the time, when she ripped up the picture of the pope on SNL, I thought: “awesome.” But not really sure why, just a powerful sign of rebellion. As is usually the case, the more you know… My distaste for Catholicism just grows with knowledge, and so these new revelations are for me no more than another nail in the coffin–what else can there be now? How many nails to seal it?
But it’s not just Catholicism, it’s religion, the man-made concept. So flawed, so very very flawed. And it seems as if the worst men for the job hold the highest positions (ha, women in religion? subservient at best!). Follow the money, follow the power, and you will find them. I watch all of this with interest, but surprisingly little emotion. You’d like to see some justice but then, I don’t really expect it to happen. I don’t really think most people care that much. And I don’t know many people who are/were religious anyway.
To Irish Catholics, Benedict’s implication — Irish sexual abuse is an Irish problem — is both arrogant and blasphemous. The Vatican is acting as though it doesn’t believe in a God who watches. The very people who say they are the keepers of the Holy Spirit are stamping all over everything the Holy Spirit truly is.
Here’s the Hitchens-Maher version (UPDATE: embedding working.) I like this version very much.
I was gonna say this is a glass of Three Buck Chuck but then realized it was actually some fancier kind of wine, the name of which I can’t recall. I’m so used to drinking the cheap stuff… Well, a little red goes a long way, cheers!
Mr. Obama seems to have sincerely believed that he would face a different reception. And he made a real try at bipartisanship, nearly losing his chance at health reform by frittering away months in a vain attempt to get a few Republicans on board. At this point, however, it’s clear that any Democratic president will face total opposition from a Republican Party that is completely dominated by right-wing extremists.
I was all for the attempt at bipartisanship but yeah, it was pretty clear early on that it was not going to work. As I’ve said before and will continue to say, screw ‘em. As we’ve seen, a lot can be accomplished without help from the right–doing just fine, thanks. It’s been quite a week for Obama, with healthcare and now a pact with Russia on nuclear arms. With “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” almost gone, it will have been quite a year or so of achievement for this administration.
Doesn’t work so well for the nightly cable nuts and their daily outrages, but Obama is a marathon man!
Kind of weird to read all the references to polls regarding President Obama and the healthcare bill. Come on, Bush had the worst poll numbers you could have for the majority of his presidency and yet these same folks defended the shit outta him for doing his damage. “Polls don’t matter” is what we heard again and again, from Bush and from his apologists. Whether they do or not, Obama’s numbers aren’t really that bad, they just came down from great heights.
But if poll numbers are so important and should shape a president’s actions, then why did Bush ignore them so grandly? And I wonder, if healthcare begins to turn upwards, as it appears to be doing, and it polls well, then does that mean Obama is no longer thwarting the will of the people? I’m sure these folks will let us know, soon enough.
How do I really feel about the Catholic scandal in which “church leaders chose to protect the church instead of the children” (and when they say “church leaders” I think we all know who they’re talking about)?
Oh, you don’t want to know.
Don’t be surprised when fringe groups act like it. Right-wing terrorism has always been a threat, since the day Obama was elected, and the natural response of people who call themselves “pro-life” is to threaten people with death. Most of them are cowards who jump at every noise in the night and sleep with their guns under their pillow, but there’s always someone who is nutty enough to follow through. A couple have, in fact. So it’s not an exaggeration.
If I called myself a Republican and had these folks on my side I’d be sure as shit embarrassed as hell. But I think that these guys on the right actually think this fringe group can help them win something back in the November elections. Integrity, no, but whatever. We know what matters!
Amazing that they made the healthcare debate into an abortion war. You have to give them credit. Even as 8 years of Bush and 8 years of Reagan failed to do anything for the pro-lifers, they really seem to get invigorated by a Democratic president doing the exact same thing–status quo, all the time. Not a peep from pro-lifers regarding war. Or death penalty issues. You’d almost think that “pro-life” is just another way to keep Republicans in the mix. Without this abortion issue they might be as fringe-y as their followers act. Wait, they are!
Was there ever a bigger over-reaction than the one that Scott Brown’s victory brought? Maybe, but I can’t recall it. I thought it was ridiculous at the time–like the Onion joking about the GOP’s 41-59 majority–but many people seemed to think this was some kind of conservative tidal wave. Scott Brown then voted for the jobs bill and instantly became known as “low-life scum” to some right-wingers. Good times.
But this was never about any Republican. You were guaranteed a “no” from every single one anyway. For Obama to have given up and started over, as many right-wingers demanded, would have been a mockery, a way to extend the debate until closer to the elections. Now, it is March and we have a good 7-8 months before anyone votes again, and I suspect that while the Democrats were never going to be as successful this year as last (political cycles do that) they will not be nearly as demolished as so many have predicted.
But imagine if Obama had listened to his right-wing Democrat friends, the Blue Dogs, the wishy-washy do-nothing’s like Evan Bayh. Imagine if he had decided it wasn’t worth the political risk. Imagine if he had taken the advice of all the status quo generals who voted for him but actually don’t really like change at that much. Change is scary! I know someone who suggested that, in the wake of Brown’s victory, healthcare reform was over and Obama should instead try to improve the economy by reducing governments’ size and spending, lowering taxes, encouraging entrepreneurship and capitalism: “keeping markets free from excess regulation, removing tariffs and barriers to trade, negotiating internationally to do the foregoing.”
This was “advice” from a “centrist” who wanted to help prevent an ugly November for the Democrats. I was incredulous and wondered whether Obama should switch from Democrat to Republican as well. I think it’s fair to say that such advice should be smiled at and rejected out of hand.
But such is the way with folks who are afraid of big change. I voted for it and we’re getting it. The bill isn’t perfect but I suspect it can be improved now that it is here. This is good. This is a start. I’m proud of Obama for bringing it home.
Nice of President Obama to write this email to me tonight. He’s busy, but not too busy to jot down a few words and let me know what he’s thinking:
For the first time in our nation’s history, Congress has passed comprehensive health care reform. America waited a hundred years and fought for decades to reach this moment. Tonight, thanks to you, we are finally here.
Consider the staggering scope of what you have just accomplished:
Because of you, every American will finally be guaranteed high quality, affordable health care coverage.
Every American will be covered under the toughest patient protections in history. Arbitrary premium hikes, insurance cancellations, and discrimination against pre-existing conditions will now be gone forever.
And we’ll finally start reducing the cost of care — creating millions of jobs, preventing families and businesses from plunging into bankruptcy, and removing over a trillion dollars of debt from the backs of our children.
But the victory that matters most tonight goes beyond the laws and far past the numbers.
It is the peace of mind enjoyed by every American, no longer one injury or illness away from catastrophe.
It is the workers and entrepreneurs who are now freed to pursue their slice of the American dream without fear of losing coverage or facing a crippling bill.
And it is the immeasurable joy of families in every part of this great nation, living happier, healthier lives together because they can finally receive the vital care they need.
This is what change looks like.
My gratitude tonight is profound. I am thankful for those in past generations whose heroic efforts brought this great goal within reach for our times. I am thankful for the members of Congress whose months of effort and brave votes made it possible to take this final step. But most of all, I am thankful for you.
This day is not the end of this journey. Much hard work remains, and we have a solemn responsibility to do it right. But we can face that work together with the confidence of those who have moved mountains.
Our journey began three years ago, driven by a shared belief that fundamental change is indeed still possible. We have worked hard together every day since to deliver on that belief.
We have shared moments of tremendous hope, and we’ve faced setbacks and doubt. We have all been forced to ask if our politics had simply become too polarized and too short-sighted to meet the pressing challenges of our time. This struggle became a test of whether the American people could still rally together when the cause was right — and actually create the change we believe in.
Tonight, thanks to your mighty efforts, the answer is indisputable: Yes we can.
President Barack Obama
Here’s Izzy and I enjoying a fine beverage, the label-less bottle of Grolsch. Damn good beer!
I filled out my Census thing and sent it back. That was hard. There were like five questions, and yeah, I’m a white male, born then and what else? Not much. Are people really getting worked about this? Man, I don’t have time for crazies! Prez Obama must have had something to do with this Census thing, right? He’s trying to snoop on our privacy! Aaaaah, nuts.
At home drinking a glass of red on St. Patty’s Day, watching the Blackhawks late on the west coast and reading about the pope. What else is there? Christopher Hitchens really kicks it in this one (title: “The Great Catholic Cover-Up”; sub-header: “The pope’s entire career has a stench of evil about it”). So you can see where this one’s going.
To put in context:
Ratzinger himself may be banal, but his whole career has the stench of evil—a clinging and systematic evil that is beyond the power of exorcism to dispel. What is needed is not medieval incantation but the application of justice—and speedily at that.
The comments are as entertaining as the article, both the supporters and the dissenters.
This is the kind of spam I get sometimes: “I am not good at reading fiction but i like this post.” But fiction is spelled “ficiton.” Mostly Akismet catches it but occasionally I am called upon to make the judgment. Anyway, I have random thoughts and here they are:
Netflix is pissing me off with its very long wait for “Inglorious Basterds.” It’s been like three months. What the hell? Half full: “Up in the Air” is on its way.
No matter is wrong with the healthcare bill, when it is passed I will be very happy. There will be plenty of time to bitch about no public option (really?) and all that caving to right-wing Democrats, but I will be happy anyway. It has to happen.
My new favorite blog: Raymi the Minx (oh yeah, occasionally NSFW)
If a man loves a horse, what is the problem? Can a man not love a horse?
I am not prepared for the Cubs to be on again. I am entering this season at the most skeptical angle ever. Seriously. Look, they’re not gonna win it all this year. Let’s just go in with that premise and it’ll be okay.
Pearl Jam. Uh, I thought “Backspacer” kinda sucked. And so the SNL appearance? Lame.
What’s that? Am I enjoying the Catholic implosion? Oh, thanks for asking. Yeah, I am. Not that it will change anything.
Blog I never thought I’d be reading: Little Green Footballs. I don’t know, it was like some kind of right-wingin’ blog and then it wised up? Whatever, I just started reading it and the guy isn’t crazy. I’m all for people getting smart, so…
If I were still a member of Congress, I would proudly vote for the bill that President Barack Obama is championing and I would urge my colleagues to do the same, not because I don’t believe in fiscal discipline, but because I do.
Easy for this guy to say, he’s not there anymore. But yeah, these Republicans are going to regret not getting behind this, that’s what I’m thinking. And those Democrats, the Blue Dogs, whatever they are, oh I hope they all get nailed. Out. Done. Finished!
So, if the Republican Party wants to go out and say to that child who now has insurance or say to that small business that will get tax credits this year if he signs the bill to help their employees get — get health care, if they want to say to them, you know what, we’re actually going to take that away from you and we don’t think that’s such a good idea, I say let’s have that fight, make my day. I’m ready to have that and every Member of Congress ought to be willing to have that debate as well.