Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Favorites

It's that time of year again, and our favorite scary people are out and about.  Here are my top three, and what to look for:

Dick Cheney comes out from under his rock for all special occasions.

Even creepier when he's happy.

Vader gets angry when mistaken for Cheney.
Lately, in the pot calling the kettle etc. category, he is criticizing President Obama for lying, keeping secrets and wanting lots of control.  He's calling this "European socialism" by which he means "Bush era strategies."  I think he's jealous, misses the good old days.

How do I know that?  Because just one day earlier, he was pissed off at Edward Snowden and called him a traitor, adding that spying is just what the NSA does.

The good news/bad news is that Canada is still trying to arrest him for war crimes but he keeps giving them the slip.  Have no fear; if they get him he will no doubt still be out in time for next Halloween.

Antonin Scalia will be in the scariest costume he can find:

Likes to steal treats from little kids.
Was it just last year that Scalia brought forth his apparent childhood neurosis when he compared the health care mandate to forcing people to buy broccoli?  Antonin does tend to wear his heart on his sleeve, but with such a big sleeve it's often hard to see.  To say he's fearful, of broccoli, of gays getting married, of black people voting would be nothing compared to what he feels about the devil.

Scalia recently talked about his disappointment in the devil, that he is not around so much lately, and then confessed, in whispered tones that that is because he "got wilier."  He reminisced about the days when the devil (which he pronounces with a capital "D") would get pigs to run off cliffs, possess people "and whatnot."

He hopes next year to find a costume that gives proper credit to the devil, like perhaps a Supreme Court robe in red.

Ted Cruz of the scary state of Texas is the most recent addition to the Halloween Halls of Horror:

Pretends to look silly.
Cruz dresses for Halloween in his usual.  He wears silly expressions and tries to act nice so that people won't see what he's up to.  He also was born in Canada, in an attempt to get us to let our guard down by thinking he's ineligible to run for President.  He likes to talk -- for hours -- about his worries about our health care, but he gets confused, like thinking that the reason England has universal health care is because of Hitler.

Jon Stewart later givers a reading of The Bore-Ax.

And he enjoys reading Dr. Seuss, but doesn't get that Sam I Am actually tried Green Eggs and Ham and discovered that he liked them.

Yes that dopey well-meaning look is really the best disguise of them all.  Because Ted Cruz opposes Obamacare, women's reproductive freedom, food stamps, and I believe small children in general.  But who would know?

So this year, in spite of the Red Sox being off the streets sleeping off their hangovers, there will be some truly scary stuff happening.  And the only thing to do if you see any of these characters in your neighborhood is to give them ALL your candy.  And your health insurance.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Seriously Pro-Life? How About Some Gun Control?

Checking the headlines today:

A shooting death, possibly a drive-by, in Mount Pleasant, just reported.

And if that kind of gun violence doesn't bother you anymore, how about the six people shot in what appears to be a murder-suicide in Greenwood County?

For those of us who are truly pro-life, gun violence is the problem, not abortion.  And I'm sure I'm not the only one who has found themselves avoiding the issue out of helplessness and horror.

But we are nearing the holiday season once again, that time of high stress and emotional lows.  We are nearing the anniversary of the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, that on December 14, 2012 resulted in the killing of 20 children and six adults.

Yet our legislators continue to spout nonsense about God and being pro-life, while they have refused to make any but absurd contributions -- like allowing more guns in public places -- to the gun control effort.  They have shook the hands of Newtown parents and promised to do whatever they can to help, and then the majority have gone on to vote against ANY meaningful legislation.

I am writing about this today because despite my desire to ignore the horrific situation of our state and federal legislators helping to put guns in the hands of potential killers, we have to keep the issue alive.

As of yesterday, two more children in South Carolina are dead because an apparently depressed and disturbed individual had a gun.  How many more?

Monday, October 28, 2013

In Charleston, It's In the Air

Once again, Charleston has been voted #1 travel destination.  We are about as happy to have visitors as they are to be here -- it's good for business, and it is just really nice that people love our city.

One of the wonderful things about Charleston is that in spite of the bustle and popularity, it continues to feel like a small town.  No skyscrapers.  Manageable traffic.  And what continues to be a leisurely pace.  People don't tend to honk if you take too long to wake up when a red light turns green, and we're really happy to give directions, and in fact, just keep talking to you for as long as you want.  There are great restaurants and art galleries, and wonderful historic walks around town.

Why would anyone want to change all that?

In fact, if we continue to ignore the increasing congestion and pollution caused by cruise ships in our port, not only will Charleston begin to be less of a desirable tourist attraction, the air quality will endanger ourselves and our children.

Bobbie Rose is running for Charleston City Council for District 8, and she knows that we cannot ignore the risks to our treasured city.  She understands that the best thing we can do for tourism in Charleston is to create regulations that will protect the environment.  She knows that while unregulated, the cruise ship industry has no reason to curb its pollution in our harbor.

We have had too many politicians in Charleston and in South Carolina that refuse to work with businesses in the interests of our families and our environment, scaring us with talk of killing jobs if we establish reasonable rules and limits.

Isn't it time we stood proud here in South Carolina, and work with those businesses who respect and want to maintain (if not improve) our quality of life?

The City Council election is Tuesday, November 5.  To find out which district you are in go to SC Votes.

If you are in District 8, be sure to support the candidate that will work to insure that the quality of life in Charleston doesn't just maintain, but improves.  Bobbie Rose will keep Charleston #1, not just for tourism, but for its residents.

from Charleston City Paper

Bobbie Rose
Charleston City Council
District 8

Vote: Tuesday, November 5

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Killing Democracy, One "Rule" at a Time

Over the last -- I don't know it seems like forever -- couple of years, we've heard a lot of talk about the "Hastert Rule" in the dysfunctional belly of the House of Representatives.  When I hear it, I usually snort derisively and mutter something like, "And who the hell made that a rule?"

The "Hastert Rule" means that a bill can only be introduced in the House if a majority of the majority (read, republican majority) supports it.  This idiocy was the brainchild of the evil Newt Gingrich, who managed to alienate his House and lose the Speakership after he brought the government to a shutdown in 1995.  Hastert was chosen to be Speaker of the House when the other options were too sleazy even for the republicans (I'm sorry, my disgust is showing.)  Hastert was considered more moderate and reasonable.

Enter George W. Bush and his peaceable bunch of thugs.  Next thing, in 2004 Hastert makes this "rule" the official policy of his speakership.  Can you hear Democracy crying?

Well, today's wild bunch could not have wielded the wrecking ball quite so effectively without Boehner's insistence on following this nasty policy.  Except when public pressure got to be too much, like on votes for relief from Hurricane Sandy, the "fiscal cliff" deal, and reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.  I imagine the Tea Party brats were in such a frenzy over not being able to throw their weight around that Boehner had to promise them, "You can have the Hastert Rule again next time."

So last week when the republicans were starting to get the feeling that the American people maybe didn't like them anymore, for example blaming them instead of the president for the shutdown, and the bullies in the backroom were having a good laugh over the wrecking of the government, Boehner caved and let that old Hastert Rule go.

But before that happened, the Speaker changed House rules just a little bit to prevent a Democrat from bringing up a vote to pass the Senate bill that would reopen the government:

This amazing piece of sleaze should make alarms go off throughout the country.  But if Representative Van Hollen had not sent it out on youtube, we probably would have no idea.

We really need to ask ourselves why the media did not pick this up, and why every Democrat (and the occasional patriotic Republican) is not screaming bloody murder about this.

Not only have the republicans gotten away with a gerrymandering that prevents a majority of voters from choosing their representative, and then successfully made laws to limit voting by those groups more likely to vote Democrat, but with the "Hastert Rule" and House Resolution 368, they have taken steps to make certain that elected House Democrats are unable to participate in the workings of the House.

We need to know this is going on, and let others know whenever it happens.  This is the sound of our Democracy getting flushed down the toilet in the interest of power.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Rambling Thoughts about Republican Bullies

I have been somewhat reluctant to write about the criminal idiocy that is controlling our Congress since the shutdown.  There are so many out there who are speaking out far more eloquently than I might.  Turn on C-Span and listen to the testimony about all the government services lost and all the individuals being hurt by the narcissistic cowards in charge.  Or listen to Jon Stewart's nightly rants on the absurdity.

Unfortunately, the media continues to give legitimacy to this asinine process.  I heard someone on a panel ruminate that Obama would have to give something in return for getting something, that something being the end to the government shutdown and raising of the debt ceiling.  You know, in order for the House republicans to be able to save face.

Basically, this is like handing the school bully a couple of dollars if he agrees not to steal lunch money for a couple of weeks.  In fact, the behavior we have witnessed since John Boehner's first "Hell, no!" is no better than middle school tantrums.

And we -- the administration, the American people, the media -- have been treating this bad behavior in a way that has perpetuated it.  We have first of all paid attention to it, with media focusing on every brat-attack by the Tea Party since their bizarre inception.  Then we have rewarded them by voting their loudest and stupidest into office.  And then our ostensible leaders have all been cowed by the idiots, from Boehner fearing for his Speakership to Obama's early attempts to compromise, to Mitch McConnell's recent comical avoidance of expressing an opinion and our own Lindsey Graham's waving his guns around in attempts to ward off that fearsome "challenge from the right."

Meanwhile, the media appears to not have noticed that the tide is turning.  Big business has noted that shutting down the government in order to kill Obamacare has not been good for their health.  Wall Street has woken up to the fact that government spending is an essential force for the good in our economy and their continuing accumulation of riches.  Even the Democrats are aware that the party of greed and fools has gone too far.

And nearly last on the train is the Americans who cheered on the Tea Party, who have finally noticed that cutting all that wasteful government spending could actually affect them as well. 

Typically looking backwards, and fearing that oh-so-2010 challenge from the right, the radical wing-nuts of the republican party haven't noticed, or have no idea what to do with the fact of their increasing unpopularity.  Like the bully, the only possible response in their limited repertoire is to hit harder.

I imagine they might be surprised to find that the challengers that take them down in 2014 are going to be the moderates, you know, the ones that sound like they want to try to make government work.

And the media will probably realize this just about the same time.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

God: the Default Option

October is a scary month, and I mostly revel in it.  I read scary books and watch scary movies.  And when I turned on the TV yesterday, there was the Values Voter Summit.

The strangely named event is brought to us by Tony Perkins -- no, that Tony Perkins...

...was making an honest living.  This Tony Perkins heads the Family Research Council, one of those groups that make you want to shower after you have been exposed to their sick ideas.

They are anti-gay, anti-abortion, and anti-spending their wealth and our tax dollars on the poor.  They bludgeon us with their faith, so that we don't notice their hypocrisy.  And this weekend they are in full wrath of god mode, the wrath being hurled against, naturally, the Affordable Care Act.

And there he was, our own Tim Scott, doing his poor Martin Luther King routine.  I had heard he was a powerful speaker, but I was misinformed.  He was well-rehearsed.  His recitation of the words of the wondrous Amazing Grace in those halls of greed were a shameful manipulation, as was his story -- oft told, I'm sure -- of his rebirth in God.  The twisting of Christian values to the cause of power looked plain old wrong coming from the mouth of a South Carolinian who I believe was raised to believe in good works.

The final twisting was the requisite attack on Obamacare.  And this was impressive, because he was given fake numbers to read, like "three trillion dollars to insure five percent of the population."  Not only were his "facts" twisted lies, but brought home the reality that this is not at all about providing health care to those without.

A comment that was so odd that he may have inserted it himself was in the "if you earn a dollar you spend a dollar" fiscal responsibility segment.  That is, that you should give 10 percent to the church.  Hmm, why would you do that?  I don't think it's to lay gold at the feet of God.  I think maybe it's so that the church can redistribute it to the needy.  

No, that's the old Christianity, the one I grew up with.  The new Christianity says that you lay gold at the feet of the representatives of God so they can build bigger and more awesome churches.  Interesting that while Pope Francis is returning his church to those old values, these guys are still trying to get us to believe that giving a portion of one's wealth to the poor is bad.  And just sad that Scott's point would be that the problem with Obamacare is that it's too much money to spend on too few people.

If you check out the homepage of the Values Voter Summit you will see the button, "Having Issues Viewing the Video?"  And I must reply, "Yes, it is tasteless, full of lies, and truly absent of Christian, or any religious, merit."

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Field Trip

Back when I was a psychologist, there were lots of neat tax-deductible places we could go for "educational purposes."  Like Caribbean cruises.  Throw in a couple of lectures and you're good to go.  Of course, we did have to pay for the trip ourselves.  And in the interest of full disclosure, I never could afford a Caribbean cruise.

Not so with the U.S. House of Representatives.  As much as they squeal when President Obama travels as President of the United States, they were all too happy to accept a trip to Israel, expenses paid for by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.  Why a group of 37 Democrats followed by a group of 26 Republicans needed to take a trip to Israel, rather than have a couple of representatives go is beyond me.  Also, why they needed to go in separate groups, as though if they went together a few ideas might get exchanged, much like middle school boys and girls who are afraid of getting cooties from each other.

And of course they all brought wives, because who would want to go on an educational junket without a spouse.  And of course our own Mark Sanford wouldn't want to feel left out and lonely, so he got special dispensation to bring along his girlfriend, excuse me, fiancee.  I'm absolutely sure since they are not married they had separate rooms....

As the House Republicans fight over taking pennies for the poor out of the budget, and making sure that no one who can't afford it gets heath care, it strikes me as the height of hypocrisy to have the nerve to take massive group vacations on someone -- anyone -- else's dime.  Not to mention the fact that if Israel pays, no one is going to come back complaining about money we spend on Israel.  Can you say "conflict of interest?"  And I thought taking gifts from lobbyists was illegal.

Don't let Mark Sanford, or anyone else who is voting against the poor while getting paid vacations and lobbying junkets, get away with it.  Our Representatives are living high off their corruption, and we need to keep letting them know we know about it.  They have no conscience, so we will have to take that role for ourselves.

Tweet @MarkSanford, go to his Facebook Page, call and email him to let him know what you think of his hypocrisy.