Sunday, December 23, 2012

Turning Blood into Dollars

I didn't think for a minute that the NRA silence last week meant that they were worried.  True to form, they came out from under their rock with balls blazing.

As you've probably heard, NRA's evil spokesperson, Wayne LaPierre, stunned us all on Friday by taking absolutely no responsibility for the shooting of 20 children by assault weapon one week earlier.  Rather, he suggested we keep files on the mentally ill, and arm everybody else.

This is only clever in the sense that it worked.  The NRA was able to not only take back the debate with a vengeance, but round up in support every single paranoid gun wacko in the country.  AND, most important, provide a huge new market for the gun manufacturers that are the NRA's true constituency:  arming the schools.

Gun shops are doing a booming business, and the media isn't waiting to get on board.  The NBC Nightly News was happy to present a segment on how several schools are arming themselves and feeling relieved that their children are now being protected.

The NRA has stated that -- as a public service -- they will be more than happy to advise us on how best to arm our teachers and children.  Yes, they will help us find training programs for our children.

The saddest things about all this is that, the wackos may be far fewer than those of us who want to keep our children safe by outlawing weapons that might kill them, but the wacko faction is far louder.  They will be heard, and, as with the nuts that fell off the trees to attend the Health Care Town Halls a couple of summers ago, they will be showing up to fight for the right to bear arms.  The media will report it back to us, and they will drown out the moderate voices that are trying to find reasonable solutions.

My own local gun store:

is usually a quiet place, but over the past week, the parking lot has been full.  Folks out here aren't even going to wait for the next tax-free gun holiday.

And the NRA?  They're about as tickled as Chick-Fil-A last summer when all the gay bashers lined up to show their support for this good Christian organization.

Me, I just hope there are enough people that can hold onto their rage over our children and their teachers risking their lives so that Bubba can carry his erectile extender around.

All we have is words, BUT WE NEED TO SHOUT THEM OUT.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tim Scott on Gun Control

Good luck trying to find a comment from South Carolina's Tim Scott on gun control since the massacre of six-year-olds in Newtown.  Like his hero, Jim DeMint, and his bedfellows at the NRA, Scott knows when to keep a low profile.

But his pro-gun votes go way back, and there is no grey area in this issue for our Tim.  Like fellow House wacko Louis Gohmert, who "just wish to God (the Sandy Hook Elementary School principal) had an M-4 in her office," Tim can't imagine a situation that wouldn't be improved by a gun.

How does he know?  He prays on it.  And, amazingly, he and God have 100% agreement on this issue, as well as all others.

God doesn't talk to me so much, so I can only assume what the conversation was like.  I imagine God told Tim that our children might get gunned down from time to time, but, as God's buddy DeMint might say, "That's the way FreedomWorks."

And we may see his position on women's reproductive rights as intrusion, but I imagine Tim merely sees it as God giving us more babies to make up for the lives lost in acts of gun violence.  

At least Tim's pro-gun control stance aligns well with his anti-abortion sentiments:  he is 100% pro-life until birth.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Another Cliff

As always, nearly everyone is saying all the right things.  Gun violence is bad, we have to do something about it.  We can't let it happen again.

Of course, there are the wackos who contend that the answer is more guns.  And that we should not go all hot-headed into talking about gun control right now.

Which has worked up till now.  And, I hate to say it, could work again.

The NRA, which is more a lobbying organization for the arms industry than for gun owners, has gone silent.  They know how to wait it out.

And too many gun control advocates are beginning in the middle.  They are talking about "at least" passing laws of which the majority of NRA members approve.  I actually heard someone suggest that if we only allowed guns with magazines half the size of the ones that were used Friday, then only half the children might have died.

I am hearing way too much reason in this debate and far too little outrage.

"Our friends on the other side of the aisle," as people who are not me like to call republicans, have shown more passion over preventing their taxes from going up.  We should be at least as uncompromising over the matter of assault rifles.

In fact, it would be my preference to immediately make private ownership of all guns illegal, and then we can start from scratch figuring out who really needs to own a gun.

Horrified?  Is that a worse solution than having one more innocent victim killed?

Honestly, that is a cliff that I really wouldn't mind seeing the NRA go over.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

No Time for Compromise

I was astonished last night to hear Rachel Maddow suggest that perhaps our debate on gun control should start with what is acceptable to the members of the NRA.  Her point of course was that, unlike the NRA, a majority of its members support a ban on assault weapons and licensing of gun purchases.

I have an alternate suggestion.  How about we start with banning guns and then debate which guns are safe and/or necessary?  How about we approach gun control with the same fervor the right wing brings to "no new taxes?"

For God's sake, we are talking about the fact that yesterday 20 elementary school children were killed.

Our children are locked down in schools, have teachers who are trained in shooter scenarios and these children themselves are drilled for such a potentiality.  Parents and children are searched going in to school, and there are strict rules about visitors.

How about this, folks:  the shooter was the son of one of the school's teachers; how hard to you think it would have been under any circumstance for him to get in?

Or this:  locking down the school and keeping out guns makes it safe only after the children arrive and until they leave.

This horrific incident seals the fact that guns in our culture make our lives -- and those of our children -- unsafe.  There are no amount of rules that will contain gun use to those which are legal.  They kill and they kill easily.   Tuesday's killing in Oregon and yesterday's loss of lives prove that licensing is irrelevant.

It's time to stop avoiding, for sure.  But it's also time to stop offering compromise.  Let's just use Grover Norquist as our model for this fight.  It's just that important. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Killing Our Children

18 elementary school children killed in Connecticut today.  The media says President Obama is "sympathetic."  Believe it or not, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has informed the press that today is probably not the day for debate on gun control.

How many more children will have to die before we have that debate?

I wonder the hold that the NRA has on our government.  To not even allow legislators (!) to bring up the issue.  And our smug Supreme Court justices, who are safe and secure, bringing down decisions that do not allow communities to protect their own.

It is time, Mr. President, for that debate.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Old News

Apparently, there really is not much to say about the shooting at the Clackamas Mall in Oregon on Tuesday afternoon.

A young gunman who everybody liked showed up with an AK-15 that he had stolen from someone and killed two, seriously injured one and then shot himself.

Where is the news in that?

I tried a google search for "Clackamas" and "NRA", and google suggested I may have misspelled NRA, but then offered me:

Search Results

  1. Oregon Firearms Federation - CHL Central
    Located in Clackamas, Oregon Firearms and Personal Protection Training Scott G Edwards, NRA Certified Instructor, RSO NRA Basic and ...
  2. Extreme Products - Home
    Extreme Products is your local NRA recruiter and is offering you $10.00 off on a 1 year... 12310 SE Hwy 212 Clackamas, Oregon 97015 Store: 503-657-4806 ...

before offering me an article by The Examiner.  So apparently even the NRA doesn't see the shooting as something they need worry about.

Let me allow The Onion to sum it up:

Authorities Not Even Going to Bother Looking for Motive Behind Oregon Shooting

Thank you, Onion, for nailing it again.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How Many Deaths Will It Take?

It's after three o'clock, exactly two weeks before Christmas.  You are no doubt at work, which may or may not be at the Mall.  You may be doing some Christmas shopping.  And your older kids may well have headed to the Mall after school as well.

Yesterday in an Oregon mall a 22-year-old opened fire with the semi-automatic rifle he had apparently taken from a friend.  Fortunately, the gun jammed; "fortunately" only two were killed, one seriously injured, before the shooter turned the weapon on himself.

I really need not say that if semi-automatic and automatic guns were illegal, he would have had no one to take the gun from.  Someone's spouse, parent, or grandparent would still be alive.

You may recall the shooting not so many months ago in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, which resulted in the loss of 12 lives.  It would have been more if that shooter's semi-automatic had not jammed -- it had a 100-shot magazine.

Back in July, I watched in shock as our leaders, and the idiots at Fox News, commented that it was too soon to talk about gun control.

They must have been right, because our President, in his comments after that shooting, failed to mention the need for gun control.

In fact, being that irony knows no bounds, Jon Stewart just one day before the shooting, had provided a pretty concise play-by-play of the "when it's not appropriate to talk about gun control" game:

What amazed me most, then, about reaction to this deadly shooting, is that when I turned on MSNBC at noon today assuming the lead would be details about the tragedy, the talk was the same-old same-old bullshit about the damned "fiscal cliff."

What does this mean?  Has the media just decided we've become bored with the details of who's just shot whom?  Is there a minimum-dead rule that has had to go into effect so that viewers are not subjected to 24-7 reports of gun deaths?

I believe it is obvious that the NRA is mad with wealth and power, and that our media and legislators are controlled by the NRA.  This is a terrifying thought.

When a theater shooting ends in debate not of gun control but whether theaters should hold midnight viewings, when purses are searched and pat-downs at "The Sound of Music" are the order of the day, when South Carolina dimwits decide that the solution to crazed shooters in schools is to allow more shooters into schools to fight them off, when Christmas shopping is no longer safe...


Monday, December 10, 2012

Let the Games Begin -- So Soon???

I haven't yet had an anxiety dream over it, but when I left the shelter of Wadmalaw Island today to visit civilization, and read the Post & Courier article speculating about Haley's appointment to DeMint's Senate seat, I felt my little heart start to pound.

Because if Haley does appoint Tim Scott to the Senate seat (and Tim Scott's people are all over that), that would leave his House seat open.  AND there would be no appointment for that seat; we would be back to the voting booths, people.

Now I could name a grunch (i.e., greater than a bunch) of y'all who I would love to see have another go at that House seat.  We dems have no shortage of really good, really smart, really qualified people to run that race.

What worries me is that, in order to have a shot at winning, we would need three things:

1.  Money -- Those super-sized billboards you may have noticed cost bucks.  And for those many voters who get their news from FOX, it is going to take TV and radio ads galore to "inform" those folk.  Not to mention mailings to compete with the last minute quality stuff people like Peter McCoy might be sending out.

2.  Money -- If you've just recently run a campaign in this state, you just might not be able to quit your day job, or put your life on hold to do it again.  Those volunteers who worked their tails off in lieu of a paid campaign committee might really want to do it again, but I guarantee they will lack some of the verve they had not so long ago.

3.  Money -- All those awards officeholders like Tim Scott and Peter McCoy have gotten while in office don't come cheap.  You need to be willing to work for your money, and they have.  That means a nearly unending stream of funds from out-of-state big business lobbying groups with big pockets will be making sure that the republican candidate of their choice won't have to lose sleep over the race.  These are the real "party planners."

So, given that, to all you wonderful Democrats who have probably heard nothing since Thursday but, "Well, are you going to do it?" I would like to say, "So are you?"

Because if you are, I am with you.  Let's WIN THIS THING.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Taking the "Think" Out of "Think Tank"

The Heritage Foundation has pretty much always been more about greed than about smarts.  But yesterday, Jim DeMint announced his plans to dumb down the organization just that much more.

If you've been out of town, or perhaps on a space shuttle back from Mars, you may have missed Jim DeMint's resignation, effective January, from the Senate.  He tells us that his decision to accept the position of president of the Heritage Foundation is because the conservative movement "needs strong ideas."  This is like Big Bird trying to convince ETV that he is leaving to teach omelette making.

I see three reasons for Mr. DeMint's jumping ship.

First of all, he may not be smart, but he is shrewd.  I imagine he started to squirm as the national election results began to come in.  It appears he has decided to leave his Tea Party compatriots blowin' in the wind of the electorate's move to more progressive, less corporate, ideals.

Secondly, DeMint is hardly very smart, but he is greedy.  This move will bring him in many more dollars with which he can continue to fight taxation for the common good.

Finally, DeMint is most decidedly not smart, but he knows what he likes.  He does not like talking to people who will ask him annoying questions, or expect him to be accountable for his decisions.  His last election campaign, Running for Re-Election for Dummies, was aided by anonymous donors who vaulted the mysterious and comedic Alvin Greene into the Democratic nominee position, right over a candidate with brains.

Jim DeMint is right up there with Clarence Thomas when it comes to sulking and refusing to talk.  Both believe that their positions of power should not involve having to rub elbows with the peasants they rule.  Beyond that, they hate, hate, HATE being argued with, much less mocked.  It is my belief that DeMint still has nightmares over being the national laughingstock over his comments about single pregnant women not being allowed to teach.

Never again.  Just as Clarence Thomas will never be required to utter a word to anyone he deems beneath him, Jim DeMint will now be amongst like fellows.

So, I would like to join the Washington Post in saying that I'm tickled that you have decided to leave this august institution, making it just a bit more august than it was while you were there.  As South Carolina's own Representative Jim Clyburn pointed out, you didn't get along all that well with the other members of Congress, even those on your own side of the aisle.

I wonder how long before Heritage Foundation starts to realize just what they got themselves into....

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Proud to Be Tim

Apparently, my soon-to-be-former congressman, Tim Scott, heard that I was going to miss him.  He has been spamming my email since the election.  I can only assume that he is revving up for 2014, and I am willing to bet that he is looking to replace Senator Jim DeMint when DeMint resigns from the Senate to become King of the Tea Party.

Tim always did want to grow up to be Jim DeMint.

Now, when I say Tim Scott is "my" congressman, it is in the sense that I might "have" a bad case of poison ivy.  It is only mine in the sense that I have to deal with it.

In his latest email, South Carolina's reigning African-American Tea Partier leads off with telling me how he is fighting to keep us from getting pushed off that fiscal cliff.  He is of course going to do it without raising taxes on job creators, because that would be "punishing success."


I would think that punishing success has more to do with the low pay we in South Carolina get for our hard work, or the high rate of unemployment for our high school and college graduates.  Or how about trying to make seniors work longer before they can collect social security benefits, and wait longer for Medicare benefits, after a life of contributing to both?  I'm thinking that voting against affordable student loans is pretty much punishing success right there.

Tim Scott is not afraid to brag that he has just received another one of those awards, this time the National Association of Manufacturer's Award for -- hold your hats -- Manufacturing Legislative Excellence!  Now I know the kind of awards our Tim gets, so I looked this bunch up.  Sure enough, they are an industry lobbying group.  You know, the guys who have a lot more money to throw around in D.C. than you or I do.  They want to help convince our legislators that, for example, the Environmental Protection Agency is an evil enterprise.  I guess Tim got the award because he didn't take that much convincing.

Apparently, he also sent holiday greetings to our troops overseas, which means a lot more to him than voting for bills that would improve the way of life of returning veterans.

Our Tim is never one to forget to send a card.

I wish the hypocrisy was funny, but it's not.  We really should be outraged that this fortunate young man pretends to care about the working class people in neighborhoods like the one where he was raised, and then votes repeatedly against those people.  He has thrown his lot in with the moneyed interests, who then give him phony-baloney awards for doing their bidding.

So, once again, shame on you Tim Scott.  

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Dear Lindsey,

Apparently, in the midst of your identity crisis, you have decided to advertise on Daily Kos to get support for your Benghazi rant.  It must have been quite the thrill when you learned of Susan Rice's investment portfolio, which includes the company building the Keystone XL pipeline, and even better, that it was a "liberal" group (RootsAction) that is demanding her immediate divestment of those funds.

Wow.  Just step back and watch the Dems shoot themselves in the foot.  Hasn't happened for awhile.  You must have forgotten how good that feels.

Well, back to Benghazi.  You should step back a bit from those late night bitch sessions with John McCain, and realize just how crazy your paranoia really is.  You know there was nothing for Obama to gain by denying that terrorism was at the root of the attack weeks before the election.  If anything, terrorism would have gained him votes.  Let us not forget just how many free miles W. redeemed by playing the terrorism card.

Pardon me for mixing metaphors.  I am giddy with the insanity of the post-election right-wingnuts.

I have already gone on about how silly it is for you and grumpy old John to attack Rice's statements on the Sunday talk shows.  And then the old coot actually insulted her intelligence!

When I first heard the comment I was sure it had to have come from a Saturday Night Live skit.  But no, that was John McCain at his most irascible.  Don't you just want to grab him by the shoulders sometimes and say, "Look in the mirror, John!"

It is also obvious that the Republican strategy is to move Kerry out of the Senate and make way for Scott Brown, who, if I may remind you, lost the election.  I'm not going to say it's not going to happen because, well, we are Democrats, and we don't like easy goals.  But you can't deny it:  either you are plotting with the republicans so you can get that Massachusetts seat back (and maybe be able to ride around with Scott Brown in his pickup), or you are attacking a qualified African-American woman because you cannot admit that she is a qualified African-American woman.

Either case, Lindsey, I hope that you are smart enough to look to the future, like, two years into the future.  Those guys you've been hanging out with at home in South Carolina don't like you anymore.  You're left with the unpopular out of town kids, like John McCain.  You are very likely to be challenged by the Tea Party, because you will never be crazy enough to be accepted by them.  And while John McCain gives a good rendition of the Mad Hatter, he's going to make it harder for you to be friends with anyone on either side.  

So that leaves, well, just trying to do the right thing.  You have had bouts of that in the past, so I know you can do it. Just ask yourself what would Lindsey Graham do if Mitt was in the White House.  Because I know you wouldn't agree with him all the time either, but chances would be good that the arguments would be a bit more grounded in reality.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

There They Go Again

I see where our own Lindsay Graham and his BFF John McCain are trying to bully poor Susan Rice presumably over comments she made on Meet the Press.  If you have ever watched any of those Sunday talk shows, you will know that they basically display more tap dancing around issues than you'll see on Dancing with the Stars.

Rachel Maddow pointed out yesterday that John McCain's hobby is appearing on Sunday talk shows, no doubt because it eases the loneliness of Sundays without dinner invitations.  And if you've seen John McCain on any Sunday talk show, you will know that the standard he sets is somewhere between lies and crazy.

So can we all agree that the issue is not what Susan Rice said on Meet the Press?  The issue is the same one that we were observing a few months ago when House maniac Darrell Issa led the charge against Attorney General Eric Holder for the made-up conspiracy regarding Fast and Furious.  You remember, the more questions he answered, the more he complied with requests for files, the angrier they got.

Also reminiscent of the witch hunts against Bill and Hillary in the 90's, when the only thing they could turn up for sure was a dress with semen on it.

On the other hand, the more they can toss around the excrement, the more they are hoping to distract us from, oh, raising taxes on the 1 percent (in other words, members of this very governing body).  If we get riled up enough about some Obama conspiracy, maybe we won't notice them trying to raise the social security retirement age.

Unfortunately, the excrement they are tossing around is their own, and they have plenty more where that came from.

The tragedy of course, is that yet another good member of the Obama team is getting dragged through Congress, this time the Senate.  And although I am hearing the hopeful say that Obama is in this for the duration, there are a lot of bodies of strewn nominees that have been laid to waste over the last four years, by a Congress that has no respect for the President or the institution of the Presidency.

I am thinking that it would be good if Obama was ready to stand up to these idiots, and give us four years that we can be proud of.  Signs say this could happen, so stay tuned.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Everybody Panic!

As go Skinnerian rats, so go the corporate CEO's and Wall Street honchos.

Everybody's in a panic over the impending sequestration/disappearing tax cuts.

I'm frankly tired of hearing about how big business (or, as the right wing calls them, small business) and the stock market are reacting to the potential loss of pennies on their billions of dollars.  

We plain old people have been called whiny, lazy, greedy and unimportant for quite long enough.  Since 2008, many of us have lost homes and jobs; since long  before that, we have not been able to afford health care.  Creepy Mitt Romney, who some still believe is a nice guy, figures that Obama won the presidency by offering us unwashed masses goodies like health care and affordable student loans.  His prediction for liberals winning the White House in 2016 is free dental care.


Really.  It's hard to frame a serious rebuttal to a man who builds elevators for his cars, while for years a growing number of Americans have had to choose between the mortgage and medication, car repairs versus clothing.

Mormon or Christian, there is no religion that I know of that scorns people for wanting to be safe and healthy.  And while our friends and neighbors helplessly lost their health and security, we have had to listen to politicians and the media whine about fearful, insecure multi-millionaires.

How could we even conceive of denying bonuses to the Wall Street geniuses that plunged us into recession???  How can we expect corporations to hire people and pay taxes at the same time???


When times are bad, we have been told to suck it up.  Pull your kid out of college, skip those dental appointments, patch up that old car yet again.

I believe it is time for the wealthy to stop the hell whining.  If you want your business to prosper, invest in research and pay a living wage.  If you want the stock market to succeed, then sell stocks that are worth the investment, and not mere quick and dirty trades.  Stop screwing around with the power you hold.

And our politicians need to stop feeding the power machine. Because it is broken.

As for me, I've given up so much financial security over the years as these criminals have continued to plunder our democracy, that raising my taxes doesn't scare me.  I can't afford the dentist or the car repair as it is.  You really can't take that much away from me.

So sequester the hell out of yourselves.  And end those tax cuts.  Lets see how long the cowardly bullies who hold all the cards last when the cards become worthless.

In this country, there have been times when things got so bad that Americans stood up and said, "I am willing to risk my life to make things better."  It's time to do that again, folks.  For ourselves and for our children.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"Playing" with Words

I would like to thank Chris Hayes for pointing out that the phrase du jour, "fiscal cliff" is not at all a "fiscal cliff."  It is another republican word-fuck, pardon my peevishness.

He pointed out that, in fact, if Congress continues to refuse to act on tax cuts and spending bills, what will actually happen will be a combination of increased taxes, a lowering of the deficit, and what we have, up until the republican party got its hands on it, referred to as "austerity."

How will it affect us plain old people?  Our taxes will go up, but not so much that we will fall into despair and bankruptcy.

The rich guys, however, will see a drastic reduction in the income that they stuff in their Cayman Island mattresses.  So much so that they may not be able to buy that new jet; no, actually, it won't be that much.  These gazillionaires will actually be required to increase their tax rates on earnings from today's 35% to the Clinton era's 39.6%.  And don't forget the non-earned income, all that money they use to play with the stock market, and only have to contribute a measly 15% of the profit to taxes.  That would go up to an ungodly 20% for a hard day of not working.

The effect of these tax increases will immediately begin to slow the deficit.

And then there will be the austerity budget.  If that goes on for too long, that could actually hurt us plain old people.  We will lose some programs that we rely on, while the military might actually, if they really wanted to, reduce some of the wasteful spending from their budget.

That's when all that good government bullshit will hit the fan.

Because once those tax cuts go, and the austerity spending cuts happen, there will actually be real pressure on Congress by 98 percent of us, and not just the usual fat-cat lobbying groups, to reinstate the tax cuts for the middle class as well as needed programs.

Won't we be surprised by how much power we actually have in Washington when that happens! 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Using Our Veterans

Tim Scott and Jim DeMint are like your grown-up children who take your money and ignore your advice; you don't hear from them all year and then send you a flowery birthday card telling you all the ways they love you.

It came as no surprise today to find emails from both proclaiming their devotion to our veterans.  I'll admit, I did not read them, because to be honest, whatever they say reeks of hypocrisy; the words never change, and it infuriates me.  So I'll spend my time sharing my thoughts with you rather than reading theirs.

These are two arrogant men who believe they have a special relationship with God.  They use their religion much the way they use our veterans.  Even Jesus had his differences with His Father, but DeMint and Scott have never had an opinion that God did not wholeheartedly endorse.

They both propound that they are fighting for "life" but resoundingly vote "no" to health care for all.  And they are against gun control of any kind; you have as much right to that assault rifle as to that 12-gauge you hunt deer with.

And they both hold two exceptions to how essential it is to reduce our debt.  The first is that no one with wealth should have to contribute a penny more than those without.  The second is that we should pay whatever the cost to arm ourselves.

Which brings me back to our soldiers.  These hypocrites have voted against jobs and training bills for veterans, health care bills for them and their families, help with housing.  They don't give a damn that soldiers who signed on have been sent over and over and over again, while their spouses have struggled alone to raise a family.  They speak of our need for military strength in terms of weapons, while ignoring a country fighting hunger, homelessness, poor education, inadequate health care.  That country, of course, being ours.

Yet they routinely send out the pretentious emails claiming their love of country and of the soldiers and veterans who have defended it.  And those who are fortunate enough to not have to endure the results of their cold-hearted congressional acts will wipe away tears and thank God for Jim DeMint and Tim Scott.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

South Carolina's Idiot of the Month

I found election night depressing.  I thought everybody in the country would be depressed, until I watched the national news the next day.  It seems I had forgotten that I now live in South Carolina.

Here in South Carolina, we are proud that our relationship with God means that we can be ignorant.  And the poster child for that philosophy is re-elected US Representative Jeff Duncan.

He is a proud Tea Party member and fondly helped along by the ever-so-radical FreedomWorks, so right-wing he arm-wrestles Jim DeMint for the title of biggest right-wing-nut in Congress.

His claim to fame nationally was just about a year ago, when he asserted that allowing "illegals" to stay in this country was like letting vagrants and animals into your house, maybe looking for food, or maybe just wanting to do your dishes.

Closer to home, in 2007 Duncan sponsored a bill to allow guns to be carried concealed into any public school.  This was his empathic, God-directed response to the mass killing at Virginia Tech.  His logic of course was that had there been  some good ole' boy carryin' his weapon, that shooter would have been taken down, pronto.  Even in South Carolina, that bill was quietly put to sleep.

Jeff doesn't think up things like that all on his own.  He will tell you ad nauseum that he does pray for God's help in making decisions in Congress.  Amazingly, God has never disagreed with Duncan's view on any proposed legislation.

Jeff Duncan was disappointed in the presidential election outcome.  I doubt that Mitt would have tickled his fancy either -- far too left-wing for our Jeff.

So Congressman Duncan has decided that it's going to just be up to the House of Representatives to carry on the fight for democracy.  That means things like drilling closer to shore, a national sales tax, ridding us of that "job killing and socialistic" Obamacare, and of course getting those nasty illegals out of this great Christian land of ours.

It was with some pleasure, then, that I found five minutes from Duncan on You-Tube from last November:

Our representative was horrified, just horrified, that our President had failed to give thanks to God during his Thanksgiving address to the nation.

The thing that most tickled me about this, and reminded me that South Carolina does not a country make, is that there were about four times as many "dislike" ratings than "likes."  Having lived here for some thirteen years now, I sometimes lose my perspective.  So thank you, the rest of the country, for reaffirming that Jeff Duncan is a jackass.

Also, though, keep an eye on him this month, because November seems to be when his stupidity and arrogance busts out all over, kind of like a reverse spring.  I guarantee he will have lots more to say about what's wrong with everybody but him and those other crazies in Congress, and I for one, will not want to miss it.

So, Jeff Duncan, congratulations on being November's South Carolina's Idiot of the Month

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Boehner's Illogic

I just heard Speaker of the House (sigh) John Boehner address the country.  Here is a picture:

Boehner propositions the President

If it sounds familiar, that's because it is.  When he says we must cut entitlements, folks, he's not talking about entitlements to ExxonMobile or ConAgra.  He's talking about our social security retirement age.

The thing he made clear in the midst of his usual obfuscation is that tax cuts for the wealthy 2% will never be on the table under his watch.

How can he do this?  Because he thinks Congress got a mandate along with the President.

I beg to differ.  I know it's confusing, but I think I understand how this bizarre situation with the Republican House happened.

Voters are pretty much stupid.  I'm talking statistically, since that's what we are doing these days.  If you were to do a study, you would find that most of your family, neighbors and co-workers don't know who their representatives are.  They might be able to give you a senator, especially if he just won or lost.  Today they could tell you the vice president's name, but probably not so much a month from now.  They certainly don't have a clue who Antonin Scalia is.

Because they have been accosted with signs and mailings and phone calls for the past month or more, they might be able to tell you the name of their representative in the US House.  Or maybe not.

Regardless, most voters would tell you they like their representative.  Their representative has been telling them that he is voting to cut their taxes and improve government services, and that sounds like a good deal.  He surely wouldn't lie to them.  So you have name recognition and slogans, and then you have people voting for the guy they remember, that seems to like them.

But most voters hate Congress.  Statistically, most voters approve of the Black Plague more than they approve of the job the 112th US Congress has done.  They hear that the debt is getting higher, and that their congressman is going to cut the debt so their children won't have to pay for it which is nice.  But when it comes down to who is preventing them from getting a better job, well, it's the government, and over the past two years, it seems that it's been "Congress."

So John Boehner, with a head for abstract concepts not much better than Paul Ryan's has turned out to be, has decided that, since there continues to be a republican House, the American people have given them the infamous "mandate," or, "I trust you guys, go for it."  Which means he is going to be continuing to do just what he has been doing, but in a more conciliatory tone of voice and with those sincere sad-dog eyes, and telling us that is what the American people want.

Of course, he adds, they really want Congress to work with President Obama since they gave him a mandate too.

And in Boehner's little head, what that comes down to is that it's time for Obama to agree to give the US House of Representatives what they want.

And so, folks, it's deja vu all over again, for another two years.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Changing the Schools by Changing the School Board

It's never been hard for me to figure out who to vote for when it comes to national or state races.  I figure that's probably true for most of us.  They are the candidates that get the most media and political attention.  But I always felt like an idiot when I got to the part of the ballot for local offices, especially the ones that don't have D's and R's in front of them.

I'm mostly talking about the school board.  And yet the people who hold these positions are critical when it comes down to the welfare of our children.

So I took it seriously this year.  I did some online research, and learned that there wasn't much.  I asked friends who are more politically in the know that I am, and I got some recommendations.  Based on my "research" I had enough to vote, but not enough to make recommendations to others.

I was delighted then to see the article in Wednesday's City Paper. Not only did the article reflect the appropriate Halloween mood, it also spoke volumes about what is at stake, based on the school board of today and of the past.  The editorial staff asks the all-important question:

The analysis of the various possible combinations making up our next school board wasn't just entertaining (much appreciated at the end of a long and tiring election season), but really informative.

Do we want a board where nothing will get done due to infighting?  Or perhaps a board where the things that get done are too terrifying to imagine?

Or do we want the board that is smart, experienced and fearless?

That's what I'm on board for -- the Ghostbusters.

So here is the team recommended by the editorial staff of our City Paper:

Louis Weinstein (Downtown)
John Barter (West Ashley)
Michael Miller (West Ashley)
Tom Ducker (North Charleston)
Mattese Miller Lecque (North Charleston)

Not only does it explain the why's and why-nots, the editors answer all those other questions like, "Who can I vote for?" and "Really?  I can vote for board members in other school districts?" and "But how do I do that?"

You can get a sample ballot at :

Then all you need to do is get out and vote!  And bring your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers, and that person you know that was planning on voting but decided at the last minute that her vote wasn't really that important.

It is JUST that important.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

All In This Together

MSNBC is currently making a big deal out of the fact that Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey has spared no praise for President Obama in his handling of Hurricane Sandy.  People like Christie for that reason; you can count on him to not be afraid to say what is obvious, regardless of possible political outcome.

I would hope that in a similar circumstance, Romney would act in much the same way.  But this is not what you might call "the takeaway" in all this.

The difference between the two is not what they might do in the midst of a disaster.  The critical factor is the groundwork that gets laid -- or destroyed -- prior to a disaster.

Romney and his cut taxes/cut the deficit bunch, Paul Ryan among the ringleaders, would leave us with slashed resources and a decentralized, disorganized disaster relief plan, made worse by privatization (for profit).  First you give over authority to the states.  Then you cut the Federal budget.  Then you cut the Federal staff.  Much as we have been forced to do in the Bush years with Medicaid and education.  The states, already struggling, would never get the same amount of aid if they had to individually create their own disaster relief program.

This morning, I heard one of the owners of the Coast Guard House in Rhode Island give kudos to the Weather Channel for calling this storm so accurately.

Wrong.  It was NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that does the research and provides the incredible and incredibly accurate storm data to the country. Weather Channel and other news centers feed off this free information, paid for by our tax dollars.

These are examples of things entrepreneurs did not build.  Without good centralized emergency management (FEMA) and good national weather forecasting (NOAA), Hurricane Sandy would have left many states fending off floods and blizzards much as the Bush administration left New Orleans during and in the aftermath of Katrina.

So, yes, Governor Christie, President Obama gave you the support you needed.  One could hope that Romney would do the same.  But only if he had the federal funding and well staffed federal programs that we are currently having to fight tooth-and-nail to preserve in the egocentric and short-sighted Congress.

There are some things we just can't do alone.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Not Just About the President

You might think, by watching the "news" that the only important election coming up is that of Obama v. Romney.  And I have to admit, our President could be doing a better job reminding us why those Senate and House races are so important.  Like whenever he is accused of not having done enough in the past four years.

This election season, puppeteers like Karl Rove and the Kochs are busy funneling money into races to defeat those Democrats that have stood the strongest for our democratic values.

But why not?  It's been working for years.

In 2004, Senator Tom Daschle, who was accused by Dick Cheney of being the "chief obstructionist" of the Bush agenda, was up in the polls by 5-7%.  It was reported to be the most expensive Senate race in 2004, and we watched in shock as he was defeated.

This year, Rove's piggybank, Crossroads GPS, has targeted critically important people like Elizabeth Warren, who if elected would surely effect positive change in our financial lives.  Rove, who has gotten away with so many criminal acts, like his part in outing CIA undercover operative Valerie Plame, does not even pretend to fund only "issues ads", which is a requirement of anonymously funded superpacs.

Outspoken and ethical Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio has been targeted by right wing groups which have spent over 17 million to be rid of him.  The radical and powerful Club for Growth is at the top of opponent Josh Mandel's contributors' list, with Senate Conservatives Fund right behind.

We should be hearing more about these Senate races, because they are so important.  Same is true of the House.

Because when it comes down to why the Obama agenda has struggled to succeed, we only need look to Congress.  The Mitch McConnells and John Boehners have twisted and perverted the function of this institution, not just since Obama came to the White House, but since the Democrats won control in 2006.

The proof is in Mitch McConnell's proud goal in the Senate:

where filibusters made it necessary to have 60 votes rather than a mere majority for any bill that reflected the Democratic agenda.

And let's not forget the oft-teary-eyed John Boehner, and his shout-out over the voices of the Democrats in the House over  Obama's health care bill:

Yes, I'm talking about the "jobs, jobs, jobs" John Boehner who began introducing anti-abortion bills to the House on his first day, and only stops to play a few rounds of golf with his moneyed constituents.

If we don't change the composition in our Congress this year, a re-elected Obama will face another four years of frustrated goals.  On the other hand, Romney is getting his rubber stamp warmed up just in case he wins, because, per the king of the tax cut and the Republican Party Grover Norquist, all they will need come November is a president that will sign any bill a Republican Congress will send.

Cut taxes for the rich and cut social services and safety nets for the rest of us.  Gut Medicare, ban birth control, increase spending on defense, and watch the debt rise like we haven't seen since the days of "W".  And send in the Scalia clone to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, because what that Republican Congress wants, is what Romney will give us.

So let's not forget how important all those other people that are running for office on November 6 really are.  Because this is what it really comes down to:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pardon My Cynicism, But I'm Exhausted

I tried watching the third debate last night, I really did.  But let's be honest here, this whole thing has gone on way too long.  We've all heard the same questions, and seen the same tap dances around those questions, way too many times.

It feels like it's been y-e-a-r-s.  Oh, that's right, it has been.

Meanwhile, all those millionaires and billionaires who won't allow a penny to be squeezed out of their tight fists so that a child can get health care have been throwing buckets of cash at -- again, let's be honest -- all the candidates.  Yes, some have been targeted by more of this generosity than others, and we all know who they are.  The Rove's and the Koch's and all those other weasels have been waltzing around tossing hundred dollar bills at candidates like Little Orphan Annie cartoon characters.

Barack Obama has been a good president, probably as good as any we could have gotten in this catastrophic post-W. era.  But he's no 98-percenter, anti-Wall-Street liberal.

And so many of us are supporting candidates who could be heros, if they can only spend enough money to be heard over the sound of all the corporate speech that's going on.  So we give our $5, $25, $100 or more whenever we can and whenever they ask.

And boy do they ask.

Think of all the good things we could have done with that money.  We could have paid down some of our own personal debt.  We maybe could have taken our kids on a vacation.  We could have done a couple of car or house repairs that we can't afford.  We could have had that doctor's visit that we keep putting off.  Or just gotten a haircut.

But we need to keep feeding this god-awful monstrous campaign machine.  How on earth did we get here?  Why do we tolerate this enormous drain on our time, on our wallets, on our country?

And yet, on November 7, those fools in the media are going to start to conjecture on who's going to run in 2016, and damn if it doesn't start all over again.

So last night, after five minutes of same old/same old, I went back to the DVD I had been watching, George Harrison: Living in the Material World, by Martin Scorsese.  I think I made a good choice.

Only one thing might have convinced me to stay tuned to the debate: