Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thoughts as I get ready to brine my turkey

Health care, .... not so much. More troops in Afghanistan....likely. Turkey for Thanksgiving....very likely. One question before I start cooking....why are we in Afghanistan and for what purpose and what is the end game?

If we can't answer those questions, it's time to come home. And why aren't the troops back from Iraq yet? Oh, wait, I have neighbors who are working for military contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they are making shitloads of money to send their kids to college, I guess. So, it's better to pay civilian contractors (the greedy SOB's who steal my tax dollars) to make money in US war zones....again, for what ultimate purpose? Greed? Power? Sigh. President Eisenhower was right.

Will they brine the turkeys they serve our troops? Will they be served with love or with greed? I vote greed.

Bring our sons, daughters, nephews, nieces, fathers, mothers, etc.home NOW.

I hope our military service members have a lovely Thanksgiving day and I hope to be able to give thanks again, when they are home.

My nephew will be there soon enough, and selfishly we pray for his safety.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Tax Payer's Lament

From John Cole's Balloon Juice:

Some days I honestly think the current Republican party is little more than a long running Second City comedy sketch:

Protesters who attended Saturday’s Tea Party rally in Washington found a new reason to be upset: Apparently they are unhappy with the level of service provided by the subway system.

Rep. Kevin Brady called for a government investigation into whether the government-run subway system adequately prepared for this weekend’s rally to protest government spending and government services.


The Texas Republican on Wednesday released a letter he sent to Washington’s Metro system complaining that the taxpayer-funded subway system was unable to properly transport protesters to the rally to protest government spending and expansion.

The WaPo has more:

Rep. Kevin Brady ( R ) said an 80-year-old woman and her 60-year-old daughter were forced to walk and pay for a cab because the subway system was so crowded. He said he heard many complaints from people who traveled long distances to attend the event, which served to challenge some of President Obama’s signature policies.

Oh. My. God. They had to take a cab? The horror of it all. No doubt those two kids were carrying signs that said “Keep government out of my Medicare!”

While it seems like blogging is easier with the wingnuts going so crazy, it actually is harder than you would think. What can I possibly say that would be clever or funny enough to top these stories?

*** Update ***

It gets even better:

Back in July HR3288, a Transportation and HUD appropriations bill, came up for a vote. It included $150 million for emergency maintenance funding for the DC Metro.

Brady voted against it.

The only appropriate response to people like this is open, mocking laughter.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

This parody is hilarious!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Thoughts on health care

Dearest family and friends,

I attended a rally for health care in Austin, last Saturday, at the First United Methodist Church. Speakers included Rev. Rigby (whose speech is in full below), Congressman Lloyd Doggett, Austin mayor Lee Leffingwell, Dr. Andrew Weary, and more.

I want to share this article because what Rev. Rigby said speaks to me in the voice of my father, the church of my childhood, and the values my parents instilled in me. After all, Jesus taught us to love and care for one another, didn't he? [Matthew 25:31-46]

I don't often get on my soap box and send things out to my family and friends. I accept whatever emails are sent to me as being sent in the spirit of thoughtfulness, even if I don't agree with them, and as I said, I usually don't comment. However, this issue is so important to me, that I had to send this. I believe that we, as a nation, need single payer healthcare.

Please take a few minutes of your time to read Rev. Jim Rigby's speech.


Published on Wednesday, September 2, 2009 by
Why Is Universal Health Care ‘Un-American’?

by Rev. Jim Rigby

Last week supporters of health-care reform gathered around the country, including in Austin, TX, where 2,000 people crowded into a downtown church to hear speakers talk about different aspects of the issue. Asked to speak about the ethical dimensions of health care, I tried to go beyond short-term political strategizing and ask more basic questions. This is an edited version of what I said.

Is anyone else here having trouble with the fact that we are even having this conversation? Is anyone else having trouble believing this topic is really controversial? I have been asked to talk about the ethical dimension of health care. Here's one way to frame such a discussion:

If an infant is born to poor parents, would we be more ethical to give medicine to that child so he or she does not die prematurely of preventable diseases, or would we be more ethical if we let the child die screaming in his or her parent's arms so we can keep more of our money?

Or, let's say someone who worked for Enron, and now is penniless, contracted bone cancer. I've been asked to discuss whether we are more ethical if we provide such people medicine that lessens their pain. Or would we be more ethical to let them scream through the night in unbearable agony so we can pay lower taxes?

I can't believe I am standing today in a Christian church defending the proposition that we should lessen the suffering of those who cannot afford health care in an economic system that often treats the poor as prey for the rich. I cannot believe there are Christians around this nation who are shouting that message down and waving guns in the air because they don't want to hear it. But I learned along time ago that churches are strange places; charity is fine, but speaking of justice is heresy in many churches. The late Brazilian bishop Dom Hélder Câmara said it well: "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a Communist." Too often today in the United States, if you talk about helping the poor, they call you Christian, but if you actually try to do something to help the poor, they call you a socialist.

Some of the other speakers today have been asked to address what is possible in the current political climate. I have been asked to speak of our dreams. Let me ask a question. How many of you get really excited about tweaking the insurance system so we just get robbed a little less? (silence) How many of you want universal health care? (sustained applause) I realize that insurance reform is all that's on the table right now, and it can be important to choose the lesser of evils when that alone is within our power in the moment. But we also need to remember our dream. I believe the American dream is not about material success, not about being having the strongest military. The American dream is that every person might have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It's amazing to hear Christians who talk about the right to life as though it ends at birth. They believe every egg has a right to hatch, but as soon as you're born, it's dog eat dog. We may disagree on when life begins, but if the right to life means anything it means that every person (anyone who has finished the gestation period) has a right to life. And if there is a right to life there must be a right to the necessities of life. Like health care.

I believe the American dream was not about property rights, but human rights. Consider the words of this national hymn:

"O beautiful for patriot's dream that sees beyond the years. Thine alabaster cities gleam, undimmed by human tears."

Doesn't that sound like someone cared about the poor? There are those who consider paying taxes an affront, but listen to these words:

"O Beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife, who more than self their country loved and mercy more than life."

"Mercy more than life" -- have you ever noticed those words before? Supporting universal health care does not make you socialist or even a liberal, it makes you a human being. And it makes you an ambassador for the American dream which, in the mind of Thomas Paine, was a dream for every human being, not just Americans. As we struggle to get health care to all people, we may have to settle for the lesser of two evils, but remember your dream -- the true American dream, a human dream. Whatever we win through reform is just first step toward a day when every human being has a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The Rev. Jim Rigby is pastor of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Austin.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bloomberg Beats Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve lost a Freedom of Information lawsuit brought by Bloomberg News. Now the Reserve must list the companies that received emergency loans during the last year. Or maybe not.

We may not see any lists soon, according to Matthew Goldstein at Reuters:

""Remember, the Fed fought against releasing the names of the banks that got an indirect bailout from the federal government's rescue of American International Group. And the Fed has been less then forthcoming in providing information about the $30 billion in ailing assets it took on from Bear Stearns as part of the forced sale of the failing investment bank to JPMorgan Chase."

I don't know about you, but all those million dollar bonuses that followed were more than annoying to me.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Another False Email From the Right


Would a bill in Congress require looking into possible reparations for slavery?
Please check this out. Thanks

Didn't take long, did it? ---THIS IS A REAL BILL

Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act (Introduced in House)

HR 40 IH

1st Session
H. R. 40

. . . [Message truncated]
Such a bill exists but President Obama has nothing to do with it, contrary to what a chain email implies.

We've had several queries about this claim, starting in early February not long after President Barack Obama was inaugurated. Some versions of the email maintain (falsely) that a bill to investigate possible reparations for slavery was part of the new administration's stimulus legislation. All carry the subject line "It didn't take long, did it?" implying none too subtly that Obama, motivated by race, is somehow behind it. He isn't.

The fact is that Rep. John Conyers, a Detroit Democrat, has introduced a version of this bill in every Congress since 1989. Back then, Obama was a law student. As Conyers noted in remarks he inserted into the Congressional Record when he introduced the measure most recently, "This 111th Congress marks the 20th anniversary of this bill’s introduction." That was Jan. 6, two weeks before Obama was sworn in.

The measure would set up a seven-member commission with an $8-million budget to examine the legacy of slavery and make recommendations to Congress regarding "appropriate remedies." These would specifically include "whether the Government of the United States should offer a formal apology" and whether "any form of compensation to the descendants of African slaves is warranted." The bill would also "acknowledge the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States."

Conyers first introduced the bill not long after Congress in 1988 enacted a law that apologized for the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and provided a $20,000 cash payment to each surviving former internee. He has said the commission he seeks is no different from the one that that led to reparations for Japanese Americans, but he says that the "remedies" mentioned in his bill wouldn't necessarily "equate to monetary compensation" for descendants of slaves.

So far Conyers's bill has gone nowhere. It was referred to a House subcommittee on Feb. 9, and there it still sits with no hearings or votes scheduled. Besides Conyers, it has four co-sponsors.

The high point so far for this legislation came in December 2007, when hearings on the bill took place before the House Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties. It was the first time the bill had received a public hearing. Nevertheless, the measure later died in the subcommittee without advancing to the full House Judiciary Committee, of which Conyers is chair.

Obama's Position

Obama hasn't endorsed the reparations idea. During a presidential primary debate on CNN July 24, 2007, he suggested that he favored spending to improve education instead.
CNN's Anderson Cooper: Senator Obama, your position on reparations?

Obama: I think the reparations we need right here in South Carolina is investment, for example, in our schools. I did a . . .I did a town hall meeting in Florence, South Carolina, in an area called the corridor of shame. They've got buildings that students are trying to learn in that were built right after the Civil War. And we've got teachers who are not trained to teach the subjects they're teaching and high dropout rates.

We've got to understand that there are corridors of shame all across the country. And if we make the investments and understand that those are our children, that's the kind of reparations that are really going to make a difference in America right now.
When Cooper asked all eight of the Democratic presidential candidates whether any of them favored reparations, only Rep. Dennis Kucinich said yes: "I am. The Bible says we shall be and must be repairers of the breach. And a breach has occurred."

-Brooks Jackson

Saturday, April 04, 2009

What did you get at the CIbolo Nature Center plant sale?