Monday, January 31, 2011

H.R. 3 - what Congress has been working on instead of focusing on jobs…

Shall we?

The new Congress has presented the America public a bill that is the very definition of government intrusion into people’s lives.

H.R. 3 is "Stupak on Steroids" – it would force us to pay more taxes if our health plan covers abortion, jeopardize abortion coverage in the private market, and make it even more difficult for rape and incest survivors who rely on the government for their health care to access abortion services.

This bill seeks to define what kind of rape is bad enough…“forcible” enough…for the government to grant the survivor the privilege of her reproductive rights.

After spending weeks spouting off about how government needs to focus on the economy and jobs, the House has jumped all up into the lives of women…again.

Would that they could be shamed.


Tell Congress to walk the walk and get about the business of addressing our economic crisis instead of drafting dangerous insults dressed up as legislation that place government in the middle of women’s healthcare decisions and raise taxes while doing it.

Click here, take action…and let Congress know that we the people need them to focus on jobs, not attack access to reproductive healthcare while raising taxes.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"Test, baby...test!" is really "Spend, baby...SPEND!"


Let’s jump right on it!


I’ve pondering the motivation behind this legislation – the GOP says that they are trying to protect taxpayers from financing drug habits, but odds are this has more to do with a general disrespect of welfare recipients and the freakish popularity that can be gained from treating them like shit.

My instinctive resistance to this is fueled by the assumption that welfare recipients are lazy criminals hustling their government.  One would think that the recent economic fubarity would help Americans better understand how someone can reach a financial crisis and require assistance…but one would be wrong.

But the more I ponder this legislation to mandate drug testing for welfare recipients the more I settle on a different argument - that we the people should follow the money as it relates to this fucked up from the floor up bill.  Trust that the money will flow out of the state coffers if this shit passes.

The welfare recipient drug-testing bill is a spending bill.  It’s fiscally irresponsible and the GOP leadership backing it should know that shit, because every year that they’ve introduced it opponents have pointed that shit out. 

The ACLU puts it this way“Drug testing welfare recipients as a condition of eligibility is a policy that is scientifically, fiscally, and constitutionally unsound.”

I’m aware that Missouri GOP lawmakers could give a flying shit about science or the Constitution, but they are supposed to adore fiscal responsibility. Add to that the fact that Missouri is already running so low on funds that our state government is slashing proven programs left and right. 

I don’t expect these fiends to be moved by data that demonstrates that there is no statistical difference for illegal drug use between welfare recipients and non-recipients…or the fact that 70 percent of illegal drug users between the ages of 18 and 49 are employed.

And I’m not holding my breath that the Missouri GOP will grasp the science or accept the testimony of experts who say drug testing programs like this do not help people kick the habit.

But come on, damn it – the average cost of a drug test is around $42 per person!  For the love of all that’s fiscally irresponsible, just proposing this kind of spending bill in the midst of an economic crisis should call down a whole lot of condemnation from budget hawks and struggling Missourians who have seen programs proven to benefit residents defunded to within an inch of their lives!

Sigh.

This legislation stinks to high heaven, is most likely unconstitutional and costs a shit load of money.

The fact that the Missouri GOP is all over it like a hound on a bone says a lot about how wrong their priorities are…and how irresponsible their leadership is.

And don’t sleep on this mess…this is exactly the kind of ignorant legislation that becomes law in this state.

Blink.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A State of the Union pondering…


The State of the Union speech + the GOP response + the Tea Party response = one long ass night.

Shall we?

I thought the State of the Union speech was solid – it lacked hard specifics, but these speeches usually do. 


The President called for a five-year freeze on non-security discretionary spending and said he’d veto any bill that came to his desk with earmarks in it (cue applause).

I paid special attention to the President’s remarks about the healthcare reform law…and how he welcomes input from Republicans on what parts of the law they don’t like and how they’d like to change it.  And I’ll be keeping a close eye on what the GOP tosses back… ‘cause “compromise” tends to be DC code for fucking over the masses.

We shall see, but with Rep. Bachmann calling for an all out repeal in her response to the response to the address it would seem that there isn’t a lot of room for compromise in the House.

Speaking of the Tea Party response…well, um…wow.

Bachmann explained that she’d been invited by the party of tea to speak and wasn’t trying to compete with the GOP response.

She then proceeded to compete with the GOP response.

Wink.

Just kidding – Bachmann actually served as official Tea Party translator for the GOP response.

When Congressman Ryan went on and on about how America is on the brink of total collapse…Rep. Bachmann explained that our exceptionalism is threatened by “Obamacare” and government regulations.

Rep. Bachmann went on to explain to the Tea Party faithful that America is the most indispensable nation in the world and the formation of the nation was a miracle. 

Bachmann then pointed to the battle of Iwo Jima as proof of America’s miraculous exceptionalism. 

She stopped short of calling for the beatification of America…but, as she stared wide-eyed at some random target to the right of the camera, I could tell beatification of the United States of America was on the tip of her forked tongue.

Pause…consider…continue.

Bachmann is trying a risky skill on the political balance beam. Last night introduced her as the GOP Tea Party Whisperer…which means she’s got to demonstrate that she can control and motivate the mob even as she maintains enough anti-establishment street cred to keep the ear of those who adore tea. 

But fuck it - it made for amusing television!

Blink.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

State of the Union Preparedness - 2011…

 
Longtime readers know that this bitch watches the State of the Union address every year…and I sure as shit will be watching tonight!

It’s going to be quite a show.

News reports promise that some members of Congress will take the daring step of sitting with a member from a different party (gasp!) and we are to have a Tea Party response on top of the GOP response to the President’s speech.

Oh my, I can’t wait!

I expect the seating theatre to fall flat.  Members will still clap and smile or not clap and frown.  That’s what they’ve bee trained to do!  Just because those responses will look watered down when dispersed throughout the hall doesn’t mean that they really are. 

United they may sit, but I’m thinking that they’ll still break up into cliques in the lunchroom come tomorrow.

But hey, who am I to piss in the Corn Flakes of a cute Congressional attempt to make nice?

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

I’m far more interested in the addition of a Tea Party response.

Rep. Michelle Bachmann from Minnesota has either been selected or selected her own ass to give it. 

It’ll either be a response to the State of the Union or a response to the response.  If Bachmann responds to the State of the Union with the same shit given in the GOP response it’ll be weird…strange…freakishly redundant and awkward.  But if she veers to the hard right…challenges the GOP “Trust us – we’ve changed!” message to pander to her base of tea…well, then we’ll have ourselves some serious political drama.

This State of the Union is far more than a speech…it’s a test to see how all parties involved plan to move forward toward the 2012 elections. So, I’m looking to see what the President says…how the GOP responds, ‘cause they’ll need to take care not to fall into their usual dour faced Party of No pitch for gridlock as a cure for what ills us…

…and I’ll be listening carefully to the Tea Party response and whether their Congressional spokesperson will present them as a movement within the GOP or publicly announce that the house to the right is divided.

***rubs hands together***

Onward!

Shark-Fu’s List of State of the Union viewage required things…
A notepad and writing instrument - this bitch still writes notes on paper because that’s the right thing to do and the right way to do it, damn it!

Vodka - if you need to ask, you’ve never watched a State of the Union speech (wince).

A tall glass of ice water - to hydrate thyself while drinking vodka.

Drinking game word of the night – “challenges” or “challenge”.

Words to avoid adding as pundit-based drinking game words of the night (for fear you may get seriously fucked up on a school night) – “bi-partisan”, “gridlock” and “shellacking”.

I have a soul food lunch today, so I won’t be munching on sometimes foods for dinner…but I may require chocolate once the dust settles.

Toodles for now!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Some shit I learned from NPR…


A bitch adores National Public Radio (NPR)!  

I listen while driving and almost always learn something new or hear a unique angle on an already known thing.

It came as no surprise…no surprise at all…that NPR dropped some knowledge on economists and ethics the other day!

Pause...sip coffee...continue.

Longtime readers know that economists make my Afro hurt. 
 
They disagree with each other more than a group of sports writers debating which teams will make the NHL Playoffs.  

If economists aren’t arguing with each other, they are at such odds over a happening that a bitch is left thinking they all have no fucking idea what they are talking about.  Beyond that, economists are secretive…they have secret ties and undercover relationships that are only revealed after investor scandals or financial meltdowns.

But...through all the predictions, estimates, and recommendations...a bitch has always assumed that economists were governed by some sort of code of ethics.

You know, so economists won’t just sit around spouting bullshit or keeping secrets for personal gain.

Well, imagine my no exactly shocked surprise when NPR aired a feature that revealed the American Economic Association lacks a code of ethics.

Yes, way!

When 9 out of 10 economists predict blah, blah, blah there is no code of ethics they must adhere to.

And if you think that’s no biggie and are wondering why the fuck that matters…well, I direct you to the economic clusterfuck of recent years and all the economic advice/predictions/analysis that lacked insight into the housing drama we’re still struggling to recover from.

Economists are not required to reveal links to think tanks or politicians...links that may explain their silence on certain issues or their loud as hell urgent voice on others.

NPR reports that, in response to the public's growing distrust of economists, some 300 economists have signed a petition calling for the development of a formal code of ethics.

But few prominent economists are resisting that call.

Makes me wonder what the hell they have to lose.

Blink.

***logs off eager to hear what's what on NPR today***

Friday, January 21, 2011

Blog for Choice – Be encouraged…


  
Shall we?

I have seen the well of reproductive health care drawn damn near empty through continuous legislative efforts to restrict access to everything from birth control to comprehensive sex education to abortion services.

And I am concerned.

When Missouri state legislators draft legislation to protect pharmacists who refuse to fill legal prescriptions…I am concerned.

When abortion restriction bills designed to create hurdles between women and health care become law…I am concerned.

When race-baiting billboards declaring that the most dangerous place for a black baby is in a black woman’s womb are placed in American cities…I am concerned.

When health care reform passes by a slim margin and with unacceptable reproductive health care compromises…I am concerned.

When anti-choice groups distort the history of black people in their quest to rustle up fear and shame women of color…I am concerned.

That is what we have experienced and are experiencing…before the 2010 elections…before anti-choice gains in government.

And so, I have been…I am concerned.

But I am also encouraged.

When young feminists emerge online and in the field to advocate for their rights and demand respect from within the movement and from their government…

I am encouraged.

When women of color gather together to defend our rights and declare, once again, that this nation Trust Black Women…

I am encouraged.

When health care reform, though flawed, finally presents the possibility of access to millions of Americans…I am encouraged.

When I see the youth of my community gather together and demand comprehensive sex education in their schools...

Oh hell yes, I am encouraged!

For all of the assaults on reproductive justice, the response…the amazing empowerment of the people in defense of our rights…encourages the hell out of me.

We will meet all of these challenges together…answer the insult of their lies and misrepresentations with the clarity of truth and the power of justice…and we will march on.

The safest place…the best place…the only place for a woman’s reproductive health care rights and decisions is in her own hands.

Be encouraged.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pondering the state of my state after the State of the State…


Last night Missouri Governor Jay Nixon gave his State of the State speech.

He spoke about jobs and education and so forth and so on, but the real focus of the speech was the budget.  It always is, because programs and projects are fantasy without funding.

On the budget…well, we’ve got some problems.  Federal stimulus money is drying up and Missouri now has to make up the difference or make a ton of cuts.

Gov. Nixon is setting forth a plan to balance the state budget without raising taxes.

Translation – we’re going to have severe cuts in funding…again.

There is far too little talk of what hits the cutting room floor when those elected to govern take out their legislative scissors and get busy.

Even when folks do talk about the programs getting cut, they do so with disdain and disrespect.  They speak of food stamp recipients as if they are all freeloaders, Medicaid recipients as if they are all lazy hustlers and mental health care programs as if they are based on junk science.

In reality, when the state budget director says that the state is going to find savings by downsizing mental health care facilities, he’s speaking about facilities that allow people with the mental health issues to remain in the community and receive treatment…people who were once warehoused in institutions or on the streets…people who have families desperately trying to find a decent placement for them.

When the budget director speaks of cutting 432 jobs from the Department of Mental Health, he’s talking about slashing staff from an agency that is already cut to the bone…about letting go of more case workers and investigators who help ensure loved ones aren’t abused or neglected.

381 jobs cut from social services means that social workers’ case loads will get even larger, investigations into child abuse or neglect…elder abuse or neglect…will take longer and interventions will be delayed, if they happen at all.

Consolidating offices that administer Medicaid translates into making an inefficient process even more so…and people will pay the price.

These “cost savings” have names and biographies and hopes and dreams attached to them…they represent our true values and will place a burden upon communities and families that we will all feel…even if we don’t have a person in our lives who receives services.

Just once...just once, damn it...I'd like for people to ponder whether programs don't work or whether they have been set up to fail due to inadequate funding.

Shit.

Pause...sip coffee...continue.

State budget cuts, and how we react to them, speak to our true values and to who is valued.

So as cheers rose up, as clapping resounded through the hall and those gathered in the audience gave their approval, many Missourians heard another solid “fuck you and yours” from their state government.

When the dust settles, I have no doubt that all lines of the budget will add up as required.

Just as I have no doubt at all that our communities will be left teetering on the edge…underserved and unbalanced as hell.

And I’m bracing for another year of trying to protect my autistic brother from the ramifications of this shit.

This isn’t just someone else’s problem.

It isn’t just my problem.

This is our problem.

Buckle up, y'all…cause it’s gonna be another bumpy ass ride.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lights, camera...action!


Why oh why are four-day work weeks so challenging?

Damn.

Anyhoo, let’s jump in.

Today the House will vote to repeal health care reform.  The GOP majority will gather, speak out against the legislation, and then vote.  Democrats will also gather, likely speak in defense of the reform, and then get their vote on.  When the performances are over, the House will vote to repeal the health care reform law and…

Um, well.

Yeah.

You know and I know that you know and I know that this vote is symbolic.  The repeal will go nowhere in the Senate.  No one thinks a wholesale repeal will happen.  Rather, most of us are waiting to see whether the GOP will starve programs to death and which programs they’ll select as hostages to negotiate for [insert heinous policy here].

Legislators know that shit too…but the people, they do love their theater!

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

If this bitch were advising the minority party, I’d urge them to stage a work-in.

Yep…a work-in.

Democrats would gather in their assigned committees and work on the shit that needs to be worked on. 

I’d hold a press conference on the steps and announce that this show vote is a waste of the people’s time and money…that there are important things that need doing, including real discussions of the problems the GOP has with health care reform, that are being delayed by this theatrical performance.  And then I’d read off the meetings Dems plan for the day and what the fuck they intend to work on during the work-in.

But that’s not how government works. 

Theatrical symbolic votes are met with a defense on the floor and testimonial attempts to make points in favor...points that the opposition ain’t trying to hear right now.

So here we are and there you have it – today the House will present the Great Health Care Reform Repeal Vote of 2011, the press will cover it, and the nation’s bitness will wait another day to allow for it.

Landlords mad and getting madder 
Ain't we got fun? 
Times are so bad and getting badder 
Still we have fun 
There's nothing surer 
The rich get rich and the poor get laid off 
In the meantime, 
In between time... 
 
Ain't we got fun? 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pondering the serf mentality…

 
Happy Tuesday, people!

Shall we?

Last night this bitch watched the first season of The Tudors on my beloved Roku. 

What?

There was nothing else on the telly, damn it.

Anyhoo…The Tudors is chock full of lots of lusty, swaggeristic, lord of the manor based drama.

As I watched each episode, I couldn’t help but notice how the king’s subjects seemed so thrilled to be acknowledged.  Characters bowed and bobbed…others schemed for ways to gain his favor…and even those folks who hated his fucking guts kissed his ass in public.

The same kind of star fucking took place for the nobles...and I woke up this morning pondering the relationship between noble and subject and how it plays out today.

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

I’ve been chewing on the curious happening of regular working folks defending the perks of the rich for some time.  It kicked into high gear here in America during the tax cut scuffle late last year.  Some people tried to make an economic argument in defense of extending tax cuts for the rich.  But a lot of people defended those cuts by asserting that, should we offend the rich by demanding they pay an equal percent in taxes as the rest of us, we ran the risk of losing favor with them and bringing down their wrath.

I’m now on my second cup of coffee…and I’m thinking that many among us suffer from a serf mentality.
Yeah, I know that Henry the VIII did away with serfdoms...but that doesn't mean he did away with the serf mentality.

Those suffering from it fear independence…scoff at independence…think people are fools for speaking of independence.  In true Machiavellian fashion, they are reluctant to challenge the Prince or even seek a less assholic master.

Rather than venture out and try to sell their crops at market their own damn self, these people defend their lord’s right to take the fruits of their labor…they blush with pleasure when the Prince panders to them at a political rally…and they vehemently defend the merits of the system while the wealth of a people continues to be housed in the coffers of so few.

I guess this would sorta make sense if the few actually took care of their subjects.

But the condition of the people speaks volumes about the quality of our modern day nobles...just as the reluctance to get behind a reform of this shit speaks volumes about how hoodwinked and bamboozled many people are.

Pause...consider...continue.

But hey, I suppose it beats being a serf.

Blink.

Friday, January 14, 2011

On comfort...


Lawd, it’s been a week!

I’m spent, y’all…and in need of some comfort, damn it!

Longtime readers know that a bitch is a fan of bitchfirmations.

I’m also big on basic home-based comfort.  Nothing feeds the soul like a good sorta-beagle snuggle in my couch-based lair, a yummy home cooked sometimes food meal or the blessed nostalgia of Girl Scout cookies.

So, to feed my soul and inspire you to fee yours, I offer up some comfort in these times of disturbitude.

Loving on your pets…

If you’ve got a sorta-beagle, odds are you’re used to their need to burrow under the blankets and snuggle.  If you don’t have a dawg companion you may want to consider getting one.  Even on the worst days my dawg friends make me feel better…from the joy they express when I come home (probably related to the fact that I feed them, but fuck it…I’ll project as I wish!) to the peace of watching a sleeping snoring sorta-beagle in the morning before I have to shake it awake and drag it’s reluctant ass outside into the frozen tundra that is our backyard…yeah, there’s nothing like being a dawg parent!

This weekend I plan to get my sorta-beagle snuggle on…big time!

For yummification...

If you don’t know slow cookers…well, you should!  I love to toss shit into my slow cooker this time of year.  I cook on low and start a dish in the morning…and when I come home the house is full of yummy smells and resentful dawgs. 

Sigh.

For carnivores I recommend pot roast or stews.  Toss in a roast, some veggies, lost of spices and onion, some Worcestershire sauce and a glass of red wine…and then cook on low for at least 8 hours.

For veggie eaters…I’ve had this vegetarian chili dish and it is yumtastic! 

Hook up some corn bread and get about the bitness of eating!

Something to look forward to...

Oh, thank the gods.

The Girl Scouts are changing some names, but Thin Mints will be Thin Mints so all is right with the world.

Just the smell of Girl Scout cookies takes me back to when I was a wee bitch trying to convince my father to let me sell those fuckers at his office.

Good times...

Add friends and family to taste.


Anyhoo, whatever you do to seek comfort and warmth…do it!

Be warm, be safe and have a fantabulous weekend…

Thursday, January 13, 2011

For the women in the waiting room...


Sorry I’ve been missing in action for a couple of days.  I had an emotional experience and it took a bit to recover.

Last week my sister had her baseline mammogram.  I was so proud of her for getting is a few months early!  She reported back that it was easier than she thought it would be, didn’t hurt that much and that I should write a post about that.  I planned to post about it this week.  But on Monday I got an email from my sister that set in motion 24 hours of anxiety, worry and concern.

My sister got a call.  They saw something in the film from her right breast and needed her to come back into the Missouri Baptist for more tests.  My sister was alarmed and scheduled an appointment the next day, Tuesday.  Then she sent me an email with the update.  I freaked out, but tried to stay calm for her.

When I got home Monday night we freaked out together…and tried to stay calm for each other.  Suffice it to say I didn’t sleep well.  My mind kept racing and trying to plan for the worst-case scenario even as it rejected the possibility that my sister may be ill…may face treatment…may face a life threatening cancer.

The next day went by in a blur.  I went into work for a bit and then picked my sister up at home (she took the day off) and we went to the hospital together.

First she had another mammogram.

And then we waited.

And waited…and waited.

There was another woman in the waiting room, sitting quietly in that pink hospital gown.  She was alone and I couldn’t help but wonder if she was facing the same situation or a worse situation.

They called my sister back for a sonogram and my blood pressure surged.

As I sat there trying to will the situation to come out well, I struck up a conversation with the woman still waiting in the room with me.  She leaned forward and said she was sorry for not speaking to me sooner but she didn’t want to worry the others. 

She was there to get confirmation on a breast cancer diagnosis.

As we talked I marveled that she was there alone. 

She was so strong…even up beat and positive.  She said that she was grateful for the diagnosis and had already begun to focus on how she was going to beat this cancer.

And as I sat back and sucked in her positive vibes…her energy and empowerment…my sister came back in the room.

I could tell my looking at her face.

She was okay.

She is okay.

My sister does not have breast cancer.

And the world reset itself…for me and mine...for now.

I waved goodbye and wished the woman good luck…and left with my sister to celebrate and calm the hell down.

But I’ll always remember the woman in the waiting room…the women who are there today and the women who will be there tomorrow.

Knowledge is power.   

It can be scary and it isn’t always good news.

But it is powerful…be it a positive conclusion or a starting point for treatment.

Tell someone you know…remind someone you love…to get her mammogram this year.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

…comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.



6 people were killed during a constituent meeting - U.S. District Judge John Roll, 63; Christina Green, 9; Giffords’ aide Gabe Zimmerman, 30; Dorothy Morris, 76; Dorwin Stoddard, 76; and Phyllis Scheck, 79.

13 were wounded and United States Congresswoman Giffords is included in that number.

Officials have said that Congresswoman Giffords was the target of this attack.

As many have said in response to this horrific crime, an attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve.

I will add that an attack on one individual who is meeting in the public square in an expression of their 1st Amendment right is an attack on us all.

As someone who regularly attends constituent meetings, I was particularly moved by the death of Christina Green.  Christina had recently been elected to student government and was invited to attend the constituent meeting by a neighbor who thought she would get a kick out of seeing politics in action.

I’ve often urged my voter education students to do the same…to meet with those elected to represent them in government. 

And it breaks my heart that this 9-year-old girl did indeed see a side of American politics in action at that constituent meeting.

Oh yes, that just breaks my heart.

There is a lot we don’t know about the accused murderer and his motivations.

What we do know is that many of us, upon hearing news of this crime, thought of those crosshairs placed over targeted districts on websites and of the attacks on Congressional district offices during the health care reform debate.

That our minds went there…and that some sought to cleanse their web presence of such images and calls to arms…is telling whether those things turn out to be related to this crime or not.

And so now we should turn inward…examine how we express our frustration and anger and disagreements. 

This crime should not…must not…silence those who gather in the public square.  Nor should it empty the square of the people.

It should inspire all of us to act on the why behind where our minds went when we first heard of this incident…to look inward and take care for, as Congresswoman Giffords said in response to crosshairs being placed over her district during the 2010 election, there are consequences.

Let us begin that work even as we remember those who are struggling for life…even as we mourn those who have been taken from this world through this act of violence.

I will do the same, reflecting first on Senator Robert Kennedy’s speech delivered April 4th of 1968 upon learning of the death by assassination of Martin Luther King earlier that day.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I'm only going to talk to you just for a minute or so this evening, because I have some -- some very sad news for all of you -- Could you lower those signs, please? -- I have some very sad news for all of you, and, I think, sad news for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world; and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight in Memphis, Tennessee.

Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause of that effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it's perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black -- considering the evidence evidently is that there were white people who were responsible -- you can be filled with bitterness, and with hatred, and a desire for revenge.

We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization -- black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand, and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion, and love.

For those of you who are black and are tempted to fill with -- be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man.

But we have to make an effort in the United States. We have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond, or go beyond these rather difficult times.

My favorite poem, my -- my favorite poet was Aeschylus. And he once wrote:

Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.

So I ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King -- yeah, it's true -- but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love -- a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke.

We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times. We've had difficult times in the past, but we -- and we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; and it's not the end of disorder.

But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings that abide in our land.

And let's dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.

May we all seek to gain that wisdom.  

Thursday, January 06, 2011

By request…on autism, vaccines and fraud…

 
Loyal reader Angela S. sent this bitch a request for my thoughts on the news that the study cited as proving vaccines cause autism has been exposed as a fraud.

Here you go!

This news will be received by most with relief, by some with a hearty “I told you so!!”, and by others with skepticism.

Some parents who chose not to vaccinate their children based on the study will continue to believe that they made the right choice…they will point out that vaccine manufacturers are powerful and have lots of allies…and they will ignore any new evidence that discredits the doctor behind the study and the results.

That’s the reality of the situation…a situation exasperated by the amount of media attention paid to the initial claim of a link between vaccines and autism…a situation further exasperated by the fact that the doctor at the heart of this case continues to preach his gospel.

The thing is that Andrew Wakefield can be a doctor who has done legitimate research and also be the doctor who perpetuated this fraud.

That’s a difficult thing for some folks to deal with.


I hope that parents review this news with their child’s doctor. 

I hope that people focus on the facts and not the conspiracy theories.

Meanwhile, someone needs to score an interview with Dr. Andrew Wakefield…big time!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

By request…my thoughts on re-writing Twain…


A certain Robert from Seattle asked this bitch for my thoughts on news that a publisher intends to replace language in Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn.

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

Confession – I haven’t read Huckleberry Finn in years.  Not since grade school, I think.

But I’d be fired up and ready to rumble if someone attempted to censor To Kill a Mockingbird just because they assume young people might get upset over language used in that book!

Shit.

Anyhoo, I disagree with the decision to replace language in the book.

And I also disagree with some school districts’ decision to not offer Huckleberry Finn to students because it contains the “n” word.

Twain’s use of that word offers an opportunity to discuss it, why many find it offensive and to ponder why and how Twain used it.  There is also an opportunity to explore the historical time in which Huckleberry Finn is set…what society was like in Missouri and what America was going through.

This planned censorship is disturbing for many reasons.  My first thought was that the publisher was re-writing Twain based on the false assumption that only children read Huckleberry Finn.  Further pondering made me reject the idea of re-writing Huckleberry Finn even if children are the only people reading it.

Literature allows for the exploration of the good, the bad and the ugly that is all around us and can be a useful tool for stimulating classroom discussions that help young people understand the good, the bad and the ugly.

Don’t get me wrong – I understand the concern over introducing young people to certain language.  I recall an incident from my childhood that involved my class reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin and my fellow students giving me, one of the few black students, absolute hell and using language from the book to mock and tease me.

But that shit had more to do with my teacher failing to put a damn thing about that book into context…and one of my fellow students being a rancid little bigot. 

I say leave Huckleberry Finn alone and offer more useful study guides for teachers, parents and students instead!

Thanks for asking.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

…and they’d replace it with nothing.


The New Year ushered in a bunch of health care reform coverage…and on January 12th House Republicans are likely to vote to repeal the entire health care reform law.

I woke up this morning and tuned in to Good Morning America…because I like to know what the masses are consuming as news…and the repeal was the lead story.

This isn’t a surprise.

They said they would do it…pledged to do it…and, darn tootin', they’re gonna do it!

What I found interesting about the story was something the reported said as he held up the two pages of paper drafted to erase health care reform – he said that the GOP would replace the Obama Administration’s health care reform law with nothing.

Oh my!

Now that’s precious.

My mind immediately rewound to the Great Health Care Reform War of the past couple of years…to all those speeches about how the GOP understood that health care reform needed to happen but disagreed with how President Obama wanted to do it.

They said the bill went too far…that they had a better plan…they even stood before the American people and presented their own plan to reform health care.

But that was then.

This is now.

And they would replace the health care reform law with nothing.

Nothing.

And, if this repeal dies in the Senate, the GOP will seek to starve health care reform to death.

The only question will be what important thing the GOP intends to hold hostage in exchange for Senate approval of a budget that defunds health care reform programs…programs that the GOP plans to replace with nothing.

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

The best part?

They’re using a special exemption so that they can repeal the bill without addressing the fact that repealing the bill will add to the deficit…that same deficit they claimed the bill would add billions to.  This move begs the question – why would they not want to use repeal of the health care reform bill to prove that they are right?

***cue crickets***

Right.

If this is an example of how easy it is for Boehner Republicans to hoodwink and bamboozle the anti-spending, let’s hold government accountable for every dollar, newly elected Tea Partiers…well, it’s gonna be a festival of sorta-undercover pork feasting on the Hill in 2011.

Blink.

Monday, January 03, 2011

The new political reality…


Shall we?

The morning news was all a flutter over how the New Year is ushering in a new political reality in Washington.

Whoops, my bad!
A harsh new political reality.  Gotta have that "harsh" in there!

Blink.

When the new Congress is sworn in, America will have a Republican controlled House and a Democratic controlled Senate.  The House is gearing up to slash health care reform to the bone and/or pass a repeal of the health care reform law.  The Senate is gearing up to…well, to deal with all the legislation that will be tossed over from the House.  And the political press is licking their chops with drool-based anticipation over being able to cover gridlock, conflict and drama.

Hooray.

The GOP will seek to feed the beast it road into power.

They served an extension of tax cuts and the end of earmarks as an appetizer in 2011.  Despite calls from voters to cut back on spending…and oh how politicians love calls to cut spending that lack specificity…both of those dishes are spending heart attacks waiting to happen.  The tax cut extension isn’t paid for and earmarks were about where money goes not how much money goes where. 

Mercy.

What the hell!  When the mob calls for bread but thanks you for Soylent Green only a fool would bother to bake bread.

So here we are.

And there you have it.

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

Time to roll up our sleeves, get Jedi on this shit and take on the Empire!

Happy New Year…