Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Reality of Shrub's Legacy

Not that facts seem to matter anymore, but the numbers are out on the impact from shrub's domestic policies, and they're dismal. This is no surprise to those of us who paid attention:
On every major measurement, the Census Bureau report shows that the country lost ground during Bush's two terms. While Bush was in office, the median household income declined, poverty increased, childhood poverty increased even more, and the number of Americans without health insurance spiked. By contrast, the country's condition improved on each of those measures during Bill Clinton's two terms, often substantially.

The Census' final report card on Bush's record presents an intriguing backdrop to today's economic debate. Bush built his economic strategy around tax cuts, passing large reductions both in 2001 and 2003. Congressional Republicans are insisting that a similar agenda focused on tax cuts offers better prospects of reviving the economy than President Obama's combination of some tax cuts with heavy government spending. But the bleak economic results from Bush's two terms, tarnish, to put it mildly, the idea that tax cuts represent an economic silver bullet.

Along with two wars, and assorted other disasters, this is shrub's legacy. This is what Obama is trying to fix. But the media will fixate on Tea-baggers, liars, and the assorted beltway "tut-tutters". The actual economic realities of real people aren't "news".

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday? Have a Boobie

This Friday's Boobie might be a commie. Notice the red feet.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Disney Joke

Stolen fair and square from the aristocrats :
Mickey and Minnie mouse are in court getting a divorce.
The judge asks "Mr Mouse. Do really expect the court to grant you a divorce on the grounds that your wife is crazy?"
Mickey says "Your honor, I never said she was crazy. I said she was fucking Goofy!"

I think it's funny. You?

Driving America to the Left

In a surprise announcement, President Obama called for a change in American driving:
"For far too long, this country has been driven too far to the right, by driving on the right. Because I'm a left-handed leftist, I'm hereby ordering that, beginning next month, America will begin driving on the left side of the road. Now, I know, some folks will not like this. But we have been driven so far to the right that we've driven over a cliff. So, it's time to drive on the left. It's time for America to move further left, driven by the left, by driving on the left. Think how many jobs we can create, just by turning around all those 'one way' signs, and also bailing out the auto-repair industry". The President added "hey, it worked in Samoa, and look how their economy is doing."
Overall reaction was tepid, but all the mainstream pundits agreed that a more "bi-partisan, centrist" plan is needed. David Broder said "I intend to keep driving down the middle of the road, and I hope the rest of America will follow me".
There will, of course, be an exemption for trucks and vehicles over 8,000 lbs. GVW. The 'so-called' "hummer exemption" should cause only minimal problems, as trucks have never followed lane rules, anyway.
(none of this is true)

Speech Reactions, and the Really Bad Analogy

Overall, I thought Obama's speech was pretty good, but not a "game changer". Because I watched it in the company of about 50 local democrats (who were very enthusiastic), plus the usual mix of bar patrons (who were more subdued), the audience reaction I saw skewed to the positive. I'm not sure the overall population reaction will be as upbeat.

While we already knew that Obama is a very strong orator (especially compared to the last guy), he again showed his ability to speak to the public as adults. He didn't shy away from articulating complex issues. That's good.

He did push for the "public option", but no where near as forcefully as I had hoped for. I'm not surprised, but I am disappointed. He's still trying to sound "bi-partisan", but that train left the station a long time ago. I think he was trying to be polite to the repubs.

Which wasn't reciprocated. The outburst by Rep. Wilson (R-S.C.) has garnered a lot of media attention, but the reaction is mostly negative. Wilson is now a prime example of republican obstructionism, and rude to boot. (BTW; his outburst was clearly a violation of House rules on decorum. This isn't the House of Commons.)Added: specific rule: " Refrain from speaking disrespectfully of the Speaker, other Members, the President or Vice President."

But the part that bothered me the most was the really bad analogy: comparing health insurance to car insurance. Simple fact: not everybody has to have a car, but everybody does have to have a body. I've been "car free" for over twelve years, and I have no plans to get a car in the foreseeable future. But I do have a (albeit aging) body, and it requires health care. I choose not to have a car. I didn't 'choose' to break my shoulder, and treatment was not an "option" (unless I wanted to be permanently disabled). Comparing health insurance to car insurance is like comparing apples to lobsters.

Overall, I think Obama's speech moved health care forward, but only by a small step. I'm convinced will get some kind of reform, but at the end of the sausage making process, I'm not sure how significant it will be.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Beer and Health Care

Tonight Obama will give his "really important" health care speech to congress, and the county democratic party is holding a viewing party at my favorite bar. Wednesday is also $2.00 pint special, so this might be an amusing time. The bar regulars include a number of political junkies of various stripes (I'm the one on the far left), and we've already had some great debates on health care. Throw the local democratic activists into the mix, and this could be as entertaining as a football game.
I don't actually expect all that much from Obama's speech, but I really hope he comes out strong on the public option. I fear he's already lost the momentum on health care, and to actually achieve meaningful reform is going to take more back room arm twisting than fancy speeches. But a good speech won't hurt. We'll see what we get.
I'll be getting the $2.00 Lagunitas Hop Stoopid; that much I know.


No special meaning. I just like the symmetry of it.
(Numerologists, please feel free to find any meaning you like).

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Even Ms. Xanax Gets It

The world of politics can be very strange. For example, I never expected Laura "Mrs. Shrub" Bush to be a voice of sanity from the right:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Former first lady Laura Bush is defending President Obama's decision to address the nation's school children, telling CNN Monday that it is "really important for everyone to respect the President of the United States."

"I think that there is a place for the President of the United States to talk to school children and encourage school children, and I think there are a lot of people that should do the same," she told CNN's Zain Verjee, in an interview set to air Monday on The Situation Room. "And that is encourage their own children to stay in school and to study hard and to try to achieve the dream that they have."

The former first lady added that she thought both Obama and her successor, Michelle Obama, had done good jobs since moving into the White House.

Let's face it, Laura was never thought of as an intellectual heavyweight. During her tenure as First Lady she often seemed a walking advertisement for benzodiazepines. But she did always support education, and it's good to see that she still does. It's just a little weird finding her on our side.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Gaining a Bird

Due to multiple twists of fate (trust me; you don't want to know), I've become "the people" for a beautiful female grey cockatiel. She's very friendly, but she's been "lost" and "rescued", so a little traumatized.
I've had many birds in my life, and she seems like a good one.

But I need a good name for her.

Any suggestions?
Added: She seems to think that the 'best perch in the world' is on top of my head. Even when I'm trying to cook. My hair tie fascinates her. We're working on this relationship.
Added added: She likes chicken quesadilla's way too much. Back to the cage with you, until I'm done eating.

Update: We've settled on the name "Griselda", meaning "Grey Maiden Warrior". She seems to respond well to the name.

Happy "Labor Less" Day

The Holiday to honor unions and worker's rights, established in 1884, at a time when the 'American Worker' is in really bad shape. Unemployment near 10%, union membership falling, and real wages in a continuing decline, at least most get the day off. I suppose that's something to celebrate.
The Labor Day weekend also marks the end of "summer" in many ways. Congress returns tomorrow, and we all know how much fun that is. Potential political snark opportunities upcoming.
So enjoy the day. Throw some flesh on the grill, crack a beer, and share a few laughs. Real life shall resume tomorrow.