Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Keith Olbermann beat me to the punch.
I love Keith. As we used to say (many years before today, my 55th birthday), he can put his shoes under my bed anytime.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Monday, August 21, 2006
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Let's see if I have this straight: repealing the Estate Tax, which will cost $670 billion, is OK, but extending death benefits to survivors of soldiers killed while in the service, at a cost of $9 billion, is too expensive. Geez. If we don't change Congress this election cycle we're doomed.
As many as 61,000 military widows whose husbands died of causes relating to
their military service lose out on thousands of dollars a year in survivor
benefits because of a law that dates from the 1970’s.Widows and retirees have
spent decades trying to persuade Congress to change the law, which hits hardest
at the widows of lower-ranking service members and is referred to by many
critics as the “widow’s tax.’’
The Senate passed such a change last year and again this year as part of the military authorization bill. But House Republican leaders oppose the change because of its steep price tag, nearly $9 billion over 10 years, Senate legislative aides from both parties say.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
1. The Nerd Patrol. And by nerd, I mean computer hacker. Much has been written about the ease with which electronic voting machines can be hacked and the results manipulated to achieve the desired outcome. Check out Brad Blog, Black Box Voting, and other blogs. I have to believe that, nerd for nerd, there are more nerd votes for the Democrats running for the House and Senate than for the Republicans. If they haven't changed it, when you go to Google and type in "Failure" the first hit is Dubya's biography on the White House website. So here's what we do: issue a call for a Nerd Patrol to hack into electronic voting machines and manipulate the results in our favor. Actually, we can't do this, because it would be illegal. The idea here is that the Republicans will never know for certain whether we have recruited a Nerd Patrol or we haven't, so they'll have to have a paper trail to verify the results of electronic voting.
2. United Nations Monitoring. If ever there was a fragile democracy in need of protection, IT'S OURS. So let's petition the United Nations to send in Jimmy Carter and company to install teams of international observers to monitor the voting and tabulation in those precincts, expecially in Ohio, with a known history of voter suppression and manipulation.
3. Play the Race Card. Let's face it, the vast majority of the disenfrachised voters are African-Americans, and it's time we recruited someone to call out the racists. We do have the perfect spokesman in Charles Barkley, who recently announced he had switched his party affiliation to the Democratic Party because, "I was a Republican until they lost their minds." He'd be a convincing and compelling point man on this issue, and would guarantee that the issue would get the visibility it deserves.
OK, I'm done now.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
I'm working on a couple of new essays, but my work's been interrupted by a little R and R...a few days in Atlantic City with Grandmother and daughter. Alice has decided to master the game of craps. Gram and I are content just to keep losing at Double Attack Blackjack.
I hope Pennsylvania expands the Gaming Law to include table games. There's money to be made (yeah, I know the moral arguments). Plus slots are so mindless. Except for Video Poker.
In the days before the legislature approved the Gaming Law, I had an idea for bringing casino gambling to the state by Native Americans. The city of Harrisburg was constructing a new parking garage on City Island, and had an archeological team doing a dig to locate and preserve Native American artifacts. I was hoping that the artifacts would establish ownership of the Island by one or more of the tribes who occupied this area prior to the arrival of the Europeans, and that their descendants would then claim owership of the Island and proceed to establish a casino on it. It didn't happen, but I thought it would have been a neat way of getting around the legislature's foot-draggin on approving casino gaming.
As I've often said, the motto of the Pennsylvania General Assembly should be, "You Can't Legislate Morality. Oh Yes, We Can."
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
2. No political will to impeach the bastard? No problem. Canada can capture him and have him join Saddam in the prisoner's dock being tried for crimes against humanity.
3. Gay marriage. Canada has it. We don't. Conquer us and deliver marriage equality. No activist judges needed. No more posturing like this is really a moral issue. The "historical sanctity of marriage" is pure bull. Ask Eleanor of Aquitaine if either of her marriages had anything to do with the sanctity of marriage.
4. Universal health care and lower cost prescription drugs. No need to cross the border to enjoy the savings.
5. Pairs figure skating. We (USA) just can't seem to establish any competence in this discipline, whereas the Canadians have produced a string of Olympic and World medalists.
6. The money. With the staggering amount of debt our country now has, it's only a matter of time before inflation starts to de-value the currency (even more than it already has). Shopping with Canadian dollars always seems to deliver more bang for the buck. Or more loot for the looney.
7. Canadian television. One of the best series I've ever seen (airing on the Sundance Channel) was a Canadian production entitled, "Slings and Arrows." It was so good, I live in fear that some US producer will co-opt the idea and bastardize it (kinda like we've been doing with BBC programming). Put the Canadians in charge of our television programming!
8. It solves the problem of illegal immigation from Mexico. Canada has two official languages: English and French. Having to learn two languages will raise the bar high enough to dissuade illegals. So would making a few well publicized arrests of American businesses who hire illegals, but where's the political will to do that?
9. Legitimizing the American fascination with royalty. Canada recognizes the British royal family as its monarchy. We would no longer have to hide our secret fascination (bordering on addiction) with tabloid stories about the second most dysfunctional family in the world.
10. End the ridiculous debate over whether the Star Spangled Banner should be translated into and sung in Spanish. Sing with me now, Oh Canada.....
When it first debuted, I watched the channel religiously. After the baby came, I rarely watched. In fact, USA for Africa was about the last time I watched until Real World New Orleans, which I watched with my then teen-aged daughter. I was astonished that the music video no longer figured into the network programming. I was also taken aback that MTV hadn't aged along with me. I was firmly out of its target demographic. Some reward for past loyalty!
The whole cult of youth thing really bothers me. Last season's West Wing is a case in point. My politics are as liberal as they've ever been, so I was rooting for Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits) to win (although Arnold Vinick's heart to heart talk with President Bartlett over his falling away from religion really struck a chord with me). Then I heard that the producers, in an attempt to attract younger viewers, had switched their original plan (Vinnick wins) to make Santos the victor. Argh. Does it always have to be about the youngsters? Don't we count any more?