Something Wicked This Way Comes

Loss of innocent lives.  Again.  This time 20 elementary school children were killed by a mad gunman with assault rifles in Newtown, Connecticut.  White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, however, was adamant that today was not the day to talk about gun control.  And I thought, here is another episode about to be swept under the rug.  We seem to be needing larger rugs and bigger brooms.  President Obama talked about these episodes happening too often and promised “meaningful actions” (regardless of politics) as he wiped tears from his eyes.  Will more candlelight vigils and broken hearts lead to strict gun control laws?  Nah. My thumbs continue to prick.

Emergence of a New Breed of Voter

Obama’s win is significant as it celebrates the importance of a new kind of citizen—a global intellectual, who sees himself in relation to his community and environment, recognizing equality of all, and valuing the effort of his fellow human beings. This citizen has distanced himself from the society the Republicans represent that seems utterly male-dominated, with values that are outdated and totally uncompromising, sanctimonious and indifferent to the needs of non-whites. The ethnic composition of the American population is constantly changing; that is what makes this country unique. This is the only President who recognized this fact, judging by the cultural diversity of his campaign volunteers. In fact, nobody who owns a computer these days, conducts business on it, communicates with different parts of the world and exploits the information he receives has any right now to regard himself racially superior or to even claim gender superiority. 

The Republican candidate for the Senate in the State of Missouri, Todd Akin’s comment on “legitimate rape” reveals an appalling ignorance, an inexcusable insensitivity and gross callousness. EMILY’S List, an organization dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women to political office, was spurred into action by this comment.  They supported the rival candidate Claire McCaskill, spending over $255,000 on her campaign, and led her to victory.  The organization’s mission is to “continually make investments to help women develop political skills and cultivate resources so that we can bring more women into politics and elected office. Only then can we build a lasting progressive majority dedicated to social justice, civil rights, diversity, economic reform and compassion—and construct a society that values the contributions of all of its citizens.” The Republican landscape is not palatable any more.  Their priorities do not reflect a changing world. They are stuck on abortion, religion and marriage every election year. People came to this country to practice their religion without fear of persecution. Yet they force Christian values on others, find it hard to separate Church from the State and impose outrageous restrictions on women seeking abortion. Their pro-life arguments are based on religious reasons, namely that killing of the fetus is the killing of a sentient life.  It is hypocritical of them, in that case, to promote guns, and the killing of 90,000 cows every single day. 

Martha C. Nussbaum in her article “Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism” (Boston Review, Oct/Nov, 1994) argues, “The American student must learn to recognize humanity wherever she encounters it and be eager to understand humanity in its ‘strange’ guises.” Since the place of birth is but an accident, “we should not allow differences of nationality or class or ethnic membership or even gender to erect barriers between us and our fellow human beings.  We should recognize humanity wherever it occurs and give its fundamental ingredients, reason and moral capacity, our first allegiance and respect.” This extends to illegal immigrants in this country. Politics and compassion seem strange bedfellows. Arizona’s Republican Governor Jan Brewer denied drivers licenses and other benefits to illegal immigrants who could take advantage of President Obama’s ‘deferred action” immigration policy.  The President won 75% of the Latino vote last night. Elise Foley of The Huffington Post reports that, “Immigration isn’t the top issue for most—jobs and the economy rank higher—but it remains an important one, and for many Latino voters it’s something of a litmus test.  If a politician seems to disrespect immigrants or Latinos overall, or if the party seems uninterested in winning their votes, the support isn’t going to come.  This year, it didn’t.”  Although Romney won the State of Arizona, he faced intense opposition from the Latino voters.  

Presidential candidates must express their concern for social development as much as their concern for economic development.  The nature of the family unit has changed, lifestyles have changed, and gender roles have been redefined. How do we understand these trends without a solid foundation of education?  Mitt Romney has been particularly silent on the subject of educational reform.  NEA(National Education Association) President Dennis Van Roekel told The Huffington Post that, “education is key to the nation’s success and helping us solidify the economic recovery of the last few years.” Van Roekel said, “President Obama gets that, it’s why he’s supported education programs from early childhood through making college more affordable. Mitt Romney just doesn’t get that true education reform takes all stakeholders — educators, parents, and community — working together for students. Being divisive and providing kids with only the education they can afford hurts all of us in the end.”  Recognizing the need for reform is the job of the public service official.  He represents the people, and steps in when there is a pressing need for interference. Instead, Romney saw government intervention as an opportunity for the poor people to behave like victims and not take responsibility for their lives: “These are people who pay no income tax.  Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. So he’ll be there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean, that is what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

What ultimately happened was Romney did not convince them to vote for him.  The thinking man rejected him.  A new breed of voter has emerged.  He is the world citizen who craves economic stability but respects human dignity more.

Yay Governor Christie!

Republicans have finally accepted the role of Government in our daily lives.  At least, the Republican Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie has.  Here he is, grateful to President Obama for his support in the wake of Hurricane Sandy disaster.  Snubbing Fox host Steve Doocy in an interview recently when asked if he would tour the disaster areas with Mitt Romney, Christie declared, “I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested.  I’ve a job to do here in New Jersey that’s much bigger than presidential politics and I could care less about any of that stuff.  I’ve got 2.4 million people out of power.  I’ve got devastation on the Shore. I’ve got floods in the northern part of my state.  If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, then you don’t know me.”


Trees are down, damaging power lines.  There are still 1.7 million homes without power and I have no hope of getting it within the next week. There is also a gas shortage.  However, President Obama has taken steps to provide immediate disaster relief.  Kudos to Governor Christie for putting aside partisan politics and taking care of NJ in distress.  

What Is He Thinking? Or Is He? Mitt Romney on Women’s Health

Women’s health care has become a hot subject of political debate.  It seems that Republicans are not just taking a moral high ground here wagging their finger at some supposed promiscuity, but they are threatening to eliminate every safety net available to women.  Romney shows his concern for the middle class tax payers claiming they should not be burdened with more taxes…but here’s a solution.  The rich could be taxed.  Affordable health care, I would presume, would be popular with citizens? In any case– a poor, unwed, single mother is a bigger burden on the taxpayer.  The taxpayer not only feeds her but her uncared-for children as well, for their lifetime. 
Romney in a speech at Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois launched his “off with their heads” tirade against Planned Parenthood (PP)  and Obamacare. Dressed casually in denims and rolled up sleeves, obviously to represent the common working man and disguise his millionaire status, he very grandly directed women to go elsewhere for their health care–“Well they can go wherever they’d like to go. This is a free society.” Just not PP it seems.  Free society?  Apparently not. 
What’s more, Romney wants to free the nation from debt by making its people go broke.





In the local community college where I work, young women and not so young women struggle with their student loans and the high cost of healthcare. Their part-time jobs do not provide them enough income to buy healthcare.  PP is very important to them. Republicans have to deal with problems realistically–if women get pregnant, usually there is a man behind it. Why are women being specially targeted? Republicans have become little Oliver Cromwells.  They are even squeamish about sex education.

The Tennessee Senate  passed SB 3310, a bill to update the state’s abstinence-based sex education curriculum to define holding hands and kissing as “gateway sexual activities.” Just one senator voted against the legislation; 28 voted in favor. Since the bill specifically bans teachers from “demonstrating gateway sexual activity”, educators would be prohibited from even demonstrating what hand-holding is.                                      (thinkprogress.org)

Maybe they should support the gay marriage cause, no contraceptives or abortions needed. 
Who is to reason with people who believe all women are Jezebels, guns don’t kill people or that when you fall and hurt yourself, the ground came up and attacked you.



A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Supreme Court

Actually, it was a scary thing.  Back in November of 2011, three Justices of the Supreme Court attended a fundraiser dinner sponsored by the Federalist Society, a self-styled association of conservative and libertarian lawyers, that is trying to overturn President Obama’s health care law (Affordable Care Act).  They were Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas  and Justice Samuel Alito.  Makes one wonder how impartial the Supreme Court justices are.  Bob Edgar writes, “This kind of activity by members of our highest court undercuts any claim of impartiality in the health care litigation by the justices involved. Worse yet, it clearly violates the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges, a set of ethical standards the Supreme Court helps enforce on lower federal courts but has refused to impose on itself. The Code warns judges to abstain from speaking or serving as the guest of honor at any fundraising event.” (Huffington Post, 11/14/11)

The Nine Justices of the Supreme Court

As to issues concerning legislation, Supreme Court Justices tend to vote along partisan lines, in favor of the President who appointed them.  After all, we’ve been through this before in the 2000 elections, when recounting in Bush vs. Gore was stopped by the Supreme Court by a partisan vote.  In the case of Obama Care, all eyes are on Justice Kennedy who will cast the “deciding vote”, which means the battle has ended before it began. Where is the blindfold that these Justices are supposed to wear? What steps must we take to preserve the system of checks and balances.  First of all,  I think Supreme Court justices should have a term of service.  They seem to sit like glaciers on our legal system for billions of years.  Next, they should not be political appointees but rather, elected by a legal board comprising representatives from all the states.  Knowing Congressmen and Senators and hobnobbing with them should be considered a disqualification–the judges should don a judicial “purdah”.


Hopefully, the Supreme Court justices will make a decision that promises vision and changes the way people think about health care. A consistent 5-4 split is not justice, it is a mockery of it.  Remember that Brown vs. Board of Education returned a unanimous verdict.  “Today Brown is a nearly universal icon of social progress, while Roe remains an object of great controversy. But, for better or for worse, both cases represented efforts to change the everyday reality of American life. With Brown, the justices were tearing down barriers to racial equality; with Roe, the justices were eliminating laws that prevented access to abortion.”(Cohn, The New Republic, 3/29/2012)
This bipartisan politics is only obstructing the growth of revolutionary ideas. America needs to change the way it conducts business.


Osama is Dead, Long live Obama

Osama bin Laden has been killed by US forces.   It is such a relief to know he is not out there anymore, plotting more deaths.  One thing that really gets my goat is that he has been living in a mansion in the suburbs of Islamabad for the last six years– in luxury– not in caves, not in spider holes!! Well, maybe not in a whole lot of luxury, because the Wall Street Journal reports, ” There were no airconditioning units, meaning bin Laden would have had to suffer through the Pakistan summer. ” (I bet it is hotter where he is now). And what comfort could there be when, “No phone lines or Internet cables ran to the property“?  Ha!

Abbottabad, Pakistan– Osama’s home

The US military must have experienced tense moments when one of the helicopters used in the raid crashed and exploded into flames after it dropped off the Navy SEALs (Navy Sea, Air and Land Team) behind the walls of the compound. But, as we see, it didn’t affect the operation.  Maybe it’s like saying “Break a leg”!

Anyway, that is that. Don’t want to think about the guy.  So many of my neighbors worked in or near the World Trade Center buildings–my husband too.  Kids were in school when planes crashed into those buildings that morning of Sept.11, 2001; some parents came home that night and some didn’t.

What can be said about a man who terrorized the world and hid behind his wife when he was attacked? Life to him was precious then and not so precious when he incited men to suicide bombing.

God Bless America, my home sweet home.  And if, after all this, Obama does not win the 2012 election, I’ll eat those hats in my previous post!!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Thanksgiving is fun for everyone except the turkeys.

Each year, the President of the United States “pardons” two turkeys on Death Row. Here is the story of the first official turkey pardon.

The National Turkey Foundation and the Poultry and Egg National Board, since 1947, have presented the President with a turkey each year at a White House ceremony.  And the Presidents have always eaten it.

JFK was an exception; he said, “Let’s just keep him”. In 1989, the senior Bush started the practice of pardoning turkeys–two a year.  Till 2004, the pardoned turkeys were sent to Kidwell Farm (also ironically called Frying Pan Park),  a petting zoo in Virginia.  But now they go to Disneyland as the honorary grand marshals of the Thanksgiving Day parade. They are even given names.  This year’s chosen ones are Apple and Cider.

I don’t see what difference it makes to pardon two turkeys a year when, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 45 million turkeys are cooked and eaten in the U.S. at Thanksgiving!!


McChrystal the McStupid, McFired, McSurprise!

Gen. Petraeus, left:Gen.  McChrystal, right

Maybe General McChrystal wanted his two seconds of fame; he was certainly not making much headway in Afghanistan. In an interview with the Rolling Stone magazine (to be sold this Friday June 25, 2010), he made inflammatory statements about President Obama and some of his key administration officials.  It is inconceivable that an experienced, 55 year-old  General no less, is unaware of the consequences of such an interview. Or did lack of insubordination in his own military ’empire’ lead to delusions of grandeur?

He is out.  General Petraeus replaces him.

Read the entire interview to be featured in Rolling Stone magazine here.