Friday, October 30, 2009

Health Care -- A Glass Half Full/Empty: If this country can find a way to ruin things it surely will. I am a glass half empty person. I have a malady called by me Patriapessimistic phobia. (Patria is the Latin word for country.) The way I see it, since the end of WWII our immersion into nearly everything has been more often a disaster than not. Why should health care or anything else be an exception?

Yes, we have a good health care bill (not the best of course, not the best which COULD save the most money but, okay, a semi-good bill which could help.) If there is a way this country can find to ruin something even semi-good I bet it will. If this passes I will get rip roaring inebriated. Since I am not a drinker and probably would get sick you can see I am betting this country kicks itself in its posterior once again.

If you think I'm bad on this topic of health care I won't ruin anyone's day talking about US foreign policy or our economic catastrophe because this blog needs to stay on topic.

Suffice it to say, post World War II we have been on the losing side of most everything. Even Obama with his anemic administration is one of the biggest disappointments I have experienced so far since when he ran initially I caved in and hopped on gleefully to the Obama wagon only now to have one foot off. Well, today, (and just today) I'm leaving the glass half full and letting myself have the audacity of hope! Here's hoping ... but while I'm seeing the glass half full today I know a thirst for water is just around the corner.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Go Goshay: Ms. Goshay's October 27, 2009 editorial in the MDN entitled "Between Dissent and Hatred" link at the bottom, is WONDERFUL. I appreciate when one writes well, succinctly and most importantly correctly on issues. Her editorial was one of the best I have ever read in the Metro West News. She touched every base on this issue.

I have had many of my letters printed and spend hours trying to compose my thoughts in a grammatically precise fashion making sure I am syntactically correct. It is MOST distressing to me to take time to fashion a coherent opinion only to have the mildest comments eviscerated by mostly those on the right who take hatred to a new level. It is astounding to me how mean, often vulgar and insensitive so many are. Some have been so bad that I decided not to write any more only to reverse my once adamant position because I simply cannot suffer right wing politics in silence.

The subject matter on which Ms. Goshay wrote was SO precise and her thoughts so on point that I secretly wished I had written it myself. The insults that our president has suffered, often, I believe, racist in nature, are astounding. Even the most benign thing the president does is harshly reprimanded by some often by stating blatant untruths. It is true that I was often vociferously angry at George W. Bush and still am BUT the issues were more than his taking more vacation than any other president especially in a time of war but included much well deserved criticism of a war he did not need to wage that has taken more lives than were taken on 9/11, lasted longer than World War II, AND a policy that was based on fabrications to boot.

If Obama had been guilty of even one half the number of things George Bush was he would have been pilloried, impeached and, I believe, convicted handily. Thank you, Ms. Goshay, for your wonderful editorial. I hope to be reading more of what you write and often
The Road Not Taken

There are times in everyone's life when a road was not taken or a turn was missed. One looks back and thinks, well, maybe I can do such and such and this will make it better but in reality a certain road not taken or a certain turn missed will permanently affect one's life. It cannot be changed and one either has to live with the consequences or, well, I don't know what.

The US is in such a bind in Afghanistan. The road not taken was the Bush administration's EGREGIOUS lack of focus on the real problem after 9/11 which, of course, was NOT Iraq but getting Bin Laden whom we almost killed in Tora Bora near the Afghan/Pakistan border to try then to ensure Af-Pak (a nuclear armed Pakistan) security. I believe the order NOT to kill Bin Laden came from the highest echelons of the Bush White House despite the fact that, as testimony indicates, the US had Bin Laden in its cross-hairs. Bush/Cheney chose not to get Bin Laden for a reason. Killing Bin Laden would have made Bush's coveted Iraq War unnecessary. So this treasonous and poisonous policy brings us to our present moment as that administration did what it did and now WE, certainly not the cerebrally inept George W. Bush, have to live with its consequences. The US death toll in Afghanistan mounts and there is a reemergence of an insurgency in Iraq which our invasion of it produced.

Iraq and Afghanistan are LOST. Face it, they are LOST because the road was not taken to secure Afghanistan FIRST and not to throw blood, money and time into an Iraq war based on lies. It is amazing how this nation of 300,000,000 consistently elects incompetents to do the most important job -- to protect 300 million people of this nation.

Now, what to do? Good luck, President Obama, no matter WHAT you do failure is at the end of this road because the country MISSED a vital turn eight years ago!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Check out the Sunday Ideas Section K of the Globe. Link below: The Heading: "Islam's Darwin Problem In the Muslim world, creationism is on the rise." Link below.

This article makes STEAM blow out of my ears. If there is anything that is my STRONGEST held belief it is academic excellence and the progression of science. There are some things that are simply SCIENTIFIC FACT that cannot be denied like the earth is round, like it orbits the sun, like gravity exists, like DNA exists and like DNA EVOLUTIONARILY MORPHS OVER TIME. It is NOT hypothetical supposition but it is FACT that humans like all other mammals changed over time and evolved out of Africa from APES our closest DNA mammalian relative. There is NO doubt about it. It is FACT.

This is exactly why orthodox, fundamentalist religions of ANY stripe are an anathema to me because they DENY fundamental truths of science if it does not fit into their fairy tale totally impossible to prove myths of sky gods, angels, and Red Sea splits or life beginning a mere 5000 years ago. If you deny the truth of science then mankind cannot progress in his quest to understand our beginnings and in his efforts against disease to ensure his OWN survival. That is what it is about ... SURVIVAL. This is exactly why the ideas of the west are light years, with all of the west's frailties, better than any other place on earth. The west MUST prevail because any other possibility is out of the question and will mean the demise of homo sapiens which DID, as proven, evolve over 100,000 years ago. The evidence for that mounts every day.

This article makes the top of my head blow off. I wonder if it does to anyone else!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Say it ain't so: I, a Boston Red Sox fan from birth, watched the Yankee/Angels championship games off and on growling every time those damn Yankees made a great play or hit in the clutch. I watched as Johnny Damon stood in left field, made great outfield plays and know he can be counted on for his solid hitting. I know this because once Damon was a part of the Red Sox miracle 2004 World Series win when children visited their parents’ graves to tell their dearly departed that the Red Sox FINALLY won the World Series! My father waited all of his life for it but to no avail.

I notice Johnny Damon’s former Red Sox long locks are shorn into a Steinbrenner fascist like cut. Could this be the same Johnny Damon who was part of the self proclaimed “Idiots” who miraculously broke the Babe Ruth curse, won the greatest play off game ever against the hated Yankees by impossibly sweeping the last four games and miraculously went on to win the 2004 World Series? Was this the same Johnny Damon who hit two home runs (including a grand slam), to lead the Red Sox to that victory over the Yankees? In the World Series he also hit a home run as Boston swept the St. Louis Cardinals. No it cannot be he can it? With his compadres Varitek, Nixon, Millar and others they made up the band of “idiots” whom Red Sox Nation adored … NO worshiped. On December 20, 2005, Damon signed a 4 year, $52 million contract with the New York Yankees as the Red Sox refused to compete with the all-about-the-money pinstripes.

So what’s my point? The nation here in Boston was furious at Damon. How could he betray us? We LOVED him so and could not understand why love did not trump all. We as humans yearn for things to be not ALWAYS about the money. Alas, I am afraid money is what it is all about. It’s true in sports, finance, health care and politics. It’s true in nearly everything. It’s almost never about love or the little guy who makes the big guy run. Money is the bottom line and I suspect we who help them make that money wish so often it were sometimes just about us!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Beauty through the noise: I found a video with an Eva Cassidy song entitled "You Take My Breath Away" put on Utube by mnnorthcountrygirl1. Ms. Cassidy died from cancer at a very young age. She was a wonderful song writer more of whose talent we had not enough time to enjoy.

With the din and the cacophony of so many different strongly held opinions (mine included), as the person posting the Utube says, "it will give you a taste of the beauty to be found during even the harshest of seasons." I think that is a metaphor for the times we have been cast into for decades.

The song is gorgeous and makes one, I think, stop to listen to the music, appreciate the life we have been born into and try to still our anger, give pause and think about what we say, how we say it and what we can do to make it better. Here is the link:
This is a stream of conscious not well written but some thought I had when I first woke up to see some news. Through the fogginess of post sleep I post the following:

This story simply makes me completely not understand about people in the west going to Pakistan and Afghanistan to train. Maybe some are Muslims in Europe but some are not and a few from the US are not Muslim. I don't know I am changing my opinion slightly. Maybe the drone attacks are really seriously cutting into them and this will in fact be a never ending war extending into infinity if this country should last that long certainly beyond our lives. Maybe it truly is east against west.

I wrote a post just off the top of my head to respond to this nuttiness. Who can ever understand why some here would go to terrorist camps and to train with them?:

People will take a good thing like the freedom one has in the US and the west and go and seek out something that will create horrors, discord, killing and ANYTHING but freedom. I do NOT get it. People will do things that will end up killing them and us for nothing absolutely nothing. Are they insane? What do they think will happen? They will become all powerful and there will be Nirvana on earth? No there never will be Nirvana on earth.

Life is so short. You must take the best of what we have here in the US and in the west and run with it and make it work the best you can. It won't be perfect but it will be a heck of a lot better than the radicalism left OR right that they are seeking. It's just plain crazy. I simply do not understand it.

Franklin said we have a Republic if you can keep it. He knew how humans have behaved over millennia. This is the last best hope of mankind to work within a peaceful. free system and avoid chaos and death. Why would someone give this up or not try to work within it for tyranny, and constant war? I have no idea!

I am 61 hope and idealism are fading fast...or maybe they already faded. God I used to be SO hopeful and so inspired...waaht happened?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Exceptional Editorial: Kudos to Neal Gabler for his October 13, 2009 op ed "One nation, under illusion." (See following link for Gabler's editorial It was brilliantly thought out and beautifully written. The sooner this nation expels its ridiculous notion of American exceptionalism the sooner, perhaps, our nation can really do the exceptional and stop its perpetual wars levied against innocents, provide health care to all its citizens and afford to do other humanitarian things such as help advance educational excellence. All these things truly make a nation great.

This country has a lot to learn from other advanced nations. We think we are exceptional? As our income gap becomes wider, as Wall Street criminals get away with all the fraud they have perpetrated, our health deteriorates because of insurance scams and lack of affordability, as our soldiers die in wars without end and our planet melts, think again!

Monday, October 12, 2009

I emailed the writer of an editorial on the series "Mad Men" and David Letterman in Sunday's Globe entitled "Letterman demonstrates 'Mad Men' isn't history." Link to her article below and my short response below that.

Dear Ms. Weiss: I loved your editorial on the series "Mad Men" and the realities of the David Lettermen sexual saga. There are so many sagas involving the rich and famous much too numerous to mention. I have been immersed in "Mad Men" since I am a lover of the 1960's -- pre 1963 and post. I experienced both those tumultuous and contradicting eras. The late 60's was the happiest time of my life bar none but I have politically changed and re-changed and changed again since that controversial period. A discussion, however, I once had at that time with my seventyish aunt (long since deceased), who loved talking about current events with me, lingers. When we talked about the "sexual revolution" of the late 60's which loosened up sexual morality so dramatically she said: "Ah, we had the same thing going on in my day but we just did not talk about it."

I am riveted by "Mad Men" because I think about the early sixties and am thankful for the changes which ensued later. My aunt was perhaps right though. It seems often things have not changed all that much because in 2009 we are STILL talking about it and talking about it and talking and talking .... which brings a reminder of another conversation I had with a rather radical student friend of mine in the LATE 1960's. The discussion was entitled: "Do your gonads rule your head or does your head rule your gonads?" I took the position that your head rules your gonads and that we had control over our biological impulses. He said I was consummately wrong and that gonads trump all. I suspect he was correct. We are STILL talking about it and, in fact, are doing it whether by societal proscription or not. I suspect it has been so since the symbolic Adam shared his tent with Eve and I think we always will. Both my aunt and my friend were right. Our gonads do rule and it is nothing new.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Noble Obama and the Nobel Prize: Obama has an 80% approval rating in Europe. They like his calm and rational intellectual style. We should be thankful since half of the US is anti-intellectual and has the collective intelligence of an incurious 13 year old with an attention span of about 12 minutes. It is why this country has the highest gun violence of any in the industrialized world. Part of this country not only is anti-intellectual but combines that low intellectual sophistication with a love of guns and a belligerence unmatched in modern western culture. It spells out a horribly violent society where VA Tech killings happen with stunning frequency. We are, or at least half of us are, a very violent and stupid nation where little attention is paid to those who win a spelling bee much less to those who are able to write a grammatically correct sentence.

Many who obtain higher education here leave because they do not think the astounding divisions and hatred they encounter would make for a safe place to establish their career. It is to our detriment that we have such a cerebrally diminished and explosive society. I did not grow up thinking this country was anti-intellectual. I grew up thinking it was unbelievably wonderful that I could challenge anything. I was incredulous when my black friend said she could never be secretary of our high school class because she was not white. It took years in college before I learned she was right. She, in that era, would not have been allowed to become secretary of our high school class because she simply did not look like the rest of us. I was too naive then to know what I learned after my college experience, how, indeed, correct she was.

It is Obama's refreshing intellectual refinement, his intelligent curiosity and his rejecting of unilateral cowboy diplomacy so characteristic of the Bush years that the Europeans welcome. In addition, they welcome him as the first half African American president of a country whose founding was enmeshed with the submission of an entire people because they were born with dark skin. For all these reasons it is why I think he was awarded the Nobel Prize. Admittedly, the President’s accomplishments of peace after only nine months in office are thin but it is the essence of his potential and America’s change for the better that, I think, the Europeans laud. They need this country NOT as it was for the past eight years but as it can be for the ensuing years. Europeans know Europe's fate is linked to our own and they hope President Obama can help ensure it.

Friday, October 09, 2009

I posted on a UK web site called The Independent UK about an interview conducted with Gore Vidal. He was asked about his views on many things some of which I agree and others I do not. The interviewer asked Vidal if he thought, although Vidal is in a weakened state at age 84 and in a wheelchair, if he would live another 8 years. Here is the link to the Gore Vidal interview. I think he has always been a fascinating personality. My comments are as follows:

I have loved Gore Vidal ever since I saw his debate with William Buckley in the late 1960's in which Buckley's feathers became riled when Vidal called him a fascist. I loved seeing Buckley's feathers aflutter. Still, I do not always agree with Gore Vidal. I agree with his assessment about the nature of US imperialism but I do not agree that every single thing the US does is motivationally in error.

I most especially do NOT understand how he could become romantic about the essence of Timothy McVeigh, the domestic terrorist who blew up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995 (one day before Hitler's birthday.) Maybe I just do not have the cerebral capacity to understand Vidal's infatuation with McVeigh. McVeigh was, in my opinion, a beast who was a member in good standing of the violent extremist racist right wing. I thought Gore hated the right.

David Koresh, of Waco fame and McVeigh's raison de guerre, was asked to come out of his lair by the FBI and wouldn't after many hours of standoff so the FBI used force hoping Koresh would give himself up. If one does not do as the FBI asks then I believe one must face the consequences. Unfortunately there were children in the Koresh compound and it exploded in flames as Koresh's huge cache of ammunition was struck by FBI fire reducing the dwelling to ashes. Koresh was a right wing religious extremist and most probably a pedophile. This is supposedly why McVeigh blew up a federal building killing children and other innocents? Me thinks Gore's homosexuality, which he denies homosexuality even exists though he has admitted to hundreds of encounters with men, is aroused by McVeigh. I cannot think of one other reason that could account for Vidal waxing sentimental over this murderer. Vidal is enigmatic on that point. He reminded me of Truman Capote's infatuation in his novel "In Cold Blood" with the Clutter family murderer, Perry Smith.

I believe the left, of which I consider myself a part, errs when it thinks the world is filled with tabula razas just waiting to become good. Government is about the management of power and some states manage it better than others. I believe there are situations when war, which should be avoided when possible, is a sad necessity at times and fascism in Europe during the 1930's and 40's was such a time. Whatever this country's faults, and I agree lack of an educated populous in the US is one of them as Vidal suggests, all of its wars were not in error. Japan was an imperialist power, Germany certainly was an imperialist power as was Italy and even the somewhat neutral Franco's Spain. If the US did not act the Axis powers would have certainly obliged. What is Vidal thinking?

Still, I love Gore Vidal and envy his absorbent intellect. I wish I possessed a corner of it. I do hope he lives another eight years and another eight after that.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

I sent this in response to a negative article in by Mike Madden posted as follows ( It was about Olbermann's Special Comment on health care last evening. Olbermann delivered, in my opinion, a wonderful comment. If you did not hear it google Keith Olbermann and listen. It is well worth it.

Olbermann's Genius: I LOVED Olbermann's special comment last night. Going into an explanation of details of the health care bill and why we need it would NOT have captivated an audience but his recent personal experience did. Making the real subject about death, a fact to which everyone can relate, surely made its point emotionally relevant. I was glued and even cried at the end.

Americans LOVE personal experiences and hate the complex minutiae of listening to the nitty gritty of the health care bill. He said some of the things Salon's Olberman crtic Mike Madden mentioned as well but Olbermann made it personal. Nothing wrong with that. It does not have to be the end of his explanation of health care but it was a fabulously delivered speech as only Olbermann can craft. He made the enemy clear and the need for a public option absolute. He knows (and all of especially the choir know) that what we really need is single payer. That won't fly but what is being offered may.

Everybody's got to be a critic. I do not see Salon on the tube doing better. Olbermann and a popular MSNBC show are iterating what needs to be said. Maybe he picked up a viewer or two or three or four hundred whose mind he changed. That's good enough for me. Olbermann is genius. I'm glad he is a progressive genius on our side. The choir says praise the Lord!!