Saturday, September 5, 2009

How to Feel Old

In a bar conversation, I said that Obama needs to be "more LBJ", and a young lady who was part of the discussion said "what's an LBJ?'. She thought I meant something like a "PBJ', but with an "L" instead of peanut butter. Maybe "liverwurst".
It made me feel old.

Friday, September 4, 2009

My Congress Waffle

My congresswoman, Ann Kirkpatrick, is a really nice person. I mean that; I've talked with her many times, and she's always warm and genuine. That said, she's also rather useless. Some "highlights" from her town hall in Holbrook (which I didn't attend):

A crowd of about 150 was relatively subdued Thursday night as U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Flagstaff, took questions on health care reform at a Holbrook high school.

Questions about cost remained among the top issues, both for the crowd and for Kirkpatrick, who said she didn't know the proposed cost, but that she couldn't support a proposal that would increase the national debt or add taxes on small businesses.

"Cost is a big concern of mine and we don't have a complete answer," Kirkpatrick said.

In questions after, she declined to give any measures she might support to fund better health care for veterans and children -- two changes she said she wanted.

Kirkpatrick responded that she was "skeptical of government"

-- What about a government-provided insurance option?

Kirkpatrick: She supports it. "It appears that what we need is some sort of baseline and standard to control costs."

Kirkpatrick: Yes. "I think that people should be able to go to the doctor if they want to. What do you think?"

Mostly, Kirkpatrick stuck to some of the same points she made in a telephone conference with the public last month: People with pre-existing conditions should be covered, the reformed health system should be "uniquely American," fraud and abuse in Medicare should be eliminated and there should be no time limit for passing legislation.

"We may not always agree on everything," she said, "but at least you'll know where I stand."

(emphasis mine)
Yes, Ann, I guess we do know where you stand. You support the "marshmallow" plan. And you like puppies.
Here's my basic problem with Ann: she doesn't have a strong position on anything. On health care, she's a typical wishy-washy Democrat, unwilling to fight for real reform. She'll support the "vaguely positive", as long as she doesn't offend anybody by doing so.
Don't get me wrong; she's a big improvement over the corrupt and evil Rick Renzi, who she replaced. But she is a clear example of what is wrong with our Democrats in congress.

September's First Boobie

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Odds or Ends

Stuff in my life:
Arguing with my local "libertarian", who doesn't want government "control". But he does want all those things that government actually does. He actually said "we need a better health care system" and "we don't need government messing with health care" in the same 2 minute conversation. He had no answers, except "no government". He's actually a nice guy, but we don't quite see the same world.
When the last person you had a sexual relationship with calls and says "I may have an STD", and you can't quite remember if you may have forgotten a condom once, it's nice to hear "the test came back negative".
My friends "T" and "S", who I wished a 'Happy Anniversary' last week (I performed the wedding), were celebrating in Cabo San Lucas. Somebody called "Jimena" crashed the party, but they are fine, and having fun by helping the locals (they're like that).
The next person who offers me "holistic" health advice for my shoulder is going to get punched (the left is still solid). I've looked at the MRI. The labrum is inflamed from over work. I need to back off and let it heal. All your herbs and reicki and "healing hands" are very nice. But it's still a matter of time, and me holding myself back.
That's what's on my mind. What's on yours?

Biden States the Obvious

The Vice-President talks about health care (finally):

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Vice President Joe Biden promised Thursday that President Obama will delve into specifics when he tackles health care reform in a highly anticipated speech to a joint session of Congress next week.

"I think the prospects for success are high," he said. "We're going to get something substantial ... [but] it's going to be an awful lot of screaming and hollering before we get there."

(emphasis mine)

Uh, Joe; we've had a lot of "screaming and hollering" already. What we need is a clear, solid plan.
I have been wondering where Biden was in the health care reform effort. The main blockade is the Senate, where Mr. Biden has a long history and a lot of connections. He would seem to be in the best position to act as "arm-twister-in-chief" for the administration. But until now, I'd heard nothing from him. That doesn't mean that he hasn't been active behind the scenes, but I've seen no evidence that he has.
If we're really going to get meaningful health care reform, the administration is going to have to use every tool they have to push it through. A little more "LBJ" and less "Jimmy Carter".

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Justice Stevens Planning to Retire?

Pure speculation, but it looks like Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens may be set to retire after this court term. As the oldest Justice at 89, it wouldn't be that much of a surprise. The cause of the speculation is that Stevens has hired fewer clerks than he usually would:

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has hired fewer law clerks than usual, generating speculation that the leader of the court's liberals will retire next year.

If Stevens does step down, he would give President Barack Obama his second high court opening in two years. Obama chose Justice Sonia Sotomayor for the court when Justice David Souter announced his retirement in May.

Souter's failure to hire clerks was the first signal that he was contemplating leaving the court.

Stevens, 89, joined the court in 1975 and is the second-oldest justice in the court's history, after Oliver Wendell Holmes. He is the seventh-longest-serving justice, with more than 33 years and eight months on the court.

In response to a question from The Associated Press, Stevens confirmed through a court spokeswoman Tuesday that he has hired only one clerk for the term that begins in October 2010. He is among several justices who typically have hired all four clerks for the following year by now. Information about this advance hiring is not released by the court but is regularly published by some legal blogs.

Stevens did not say whether he plans to hire his full allotment of clerks or whether he will leave the court at the conclusion of the term that begins next month. Retired justices are allowed to hire one clerk.

One of the major factors in my support for Obama over McCain was Supreme Court appointments. While Obama's replacement for Stevens wouldn't alter the courts balance (still 5-4 conservative), a McCain appointee would further skew the court to the right. Knowing that there would be openings on the court (although Souter's retirement was less expected) due to Stevens age and Ruth Bader-Ginsburg's cancer (although she's stated her intent to remain on the bench), I saw it as imperative to have a Dem as President. I'm not all that happy with Obama, but I'm much more comfortable with him making appointments than McCain. That would have been scary.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Paucity of Posts

Sorry that I haven't posted much lately. It's because...

Well, I have no good excuse. I haven't been that busy, and there are plenty of issues to rant about.

But I can't figure out what I want to say. The political discourse has become so absurd that a logical response is almost pointless and impossible.

Somehow, providing health care to Americans has become a threat our freedom. The rethugs are protecting our right to die if we're not profitable, because providing treatment to poor people will kill Grandma. Or something like that. (here are the five biggest lies)

Torture is a good solid American value, as long as it's done to Muslims. And prosecuting crimes after the fact (how do you prosecute them before the fact?) must be politically motivated.

Spending trillions on wars is good fiscal policy, but investing in a better America will increase the deficit.

Screaming and waving guns are good Christian acts, but "love your neighbor" doesn't apply if your neighbor loves the wrong way.

Obama is the new "Hitler", whereas shrub and the Cheney never tried to expand government authority (except for our own good).

And on and on...

It was all so much easier during the shrub administration. I knew exactly what I was ranting against. But the Obama administration has acted like a soggy waffle, and the right wing is full blown batshit crazy (but still taken seriously). Common sense is nearing extinction, along with reasoned debate. Facts and logic have become irrelevant.

Lately, when I have the urge to add my 1.5 cents to the discourse, I end up overwhelmed with a sense of "why bother?" The folks who agree with me already know, and the rest aren't going to listen. It's rather frustrating.

Hopefully I'll regain some motivation soon. I still have plenty of opinions. But my current feeling is:

Monday, August 31, 2009

Dan Schorr

Turned 93 today. And he's still working.