Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Irretrievably Split: The town of East Haven, CT is involved in allegations and a federal investigation against the police department and its chief for discrimination against Latinos. When the Republican Mayor Maturo was asked what he was going to do he made an idiotic, insane, condescending racist comment "I'm going to go home and eat tacos!" What kind of a rotten disparaging Marie Antoinettean comment is that?

I am going to tell you this: You may ask why has the political conversation become SO incendiary, so rancid and so uncivil. I think I can tell you why whether it is in East Haven or Washington against our president. Whites are scared. They are scared to the depths of their genetic code that their power and their majority are slipping away. And guess what? THEY ARE! Deal with it. If white racists mostly in the Republican Party do not get a grip and change the essence of their party geared for implosion they will in one generation be extinct as the minorities of today become the majorities of tomorrow.

The Democratic Party and its basic values, although at times guilty of similar economic disparities, generally speaking, is an infinitely more inclusive party with a much fairer equally fervent political base.

Republicans, get a handle on what is happening in your party. The talk is divisive, it is incendiary and explosive even among your own. Reagan's commandment goes unheeded: "Never speak ill of a fellow Republican." Personally, I could not care less that the Republican Party is probably irredeemably split down the middle geared for implosion. In one more generation or even less the Republican Party will be irrelevant and none to soon for me!

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Vote for All of Us: A fellow Democrat sent me an email today stating that he cast his vote for Barack Obama along with a host of other Democrats for various electoral offices in the Democratic primary to be held in March. I sent him an email in return. It read:

Kudos to you. You cast a vote for ALL of us who are not part of the greedy 1%. You cast a vote so that millions of us and generations that come after us will have a shot at the American Dream allowing us to breathe free. Now use your voice and I will use mine to shout loud and clear that a vote for any Republican is a vote to keep us and our voices down. We vote Democratic because of ALL the other ideals for which the Democratic party stands.

We all must go, throughout the land and proclaim as our president did we are ONE nation. We are not all black, we are not all white, we are not all Christian, we are not all Jewish or Muslim nor are we all straight but we are made up of a tapestry of humanity that deserves a fair shot. Republicans will not do that for us. They will simply keep us dumbed down and in our place allowing Wall Street to get away with literally murder once again. We must NOT let them. With a Democratic House and Senate and the re-election of our president more change for the 99% WILL come to America. I KNOW it will.

Let us go united to every city and town, and speak out against injustice, speak out against the voter ID requirement, speak out about voter suppression,speak out about egregious economic inequality engineered by Wall Street with the help of their Capitol friends and speak out against war. Yet again we are called as the great Martin Luther King pronounced the clarion call to us in my time:

We will speed the day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles,Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing... Free at last, free at last,thank God Almighty, I'm free at last.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Matter of the Utmost Importance: I believe it is never too early to remind people to register to vote. Your vote is the ONLY thing you and we have to grab the power and wrest it from the control of the top 2% wealthiest. As we can see in the Republican primaries the amount of money necessary to compete is beyond obscene it is the most destructive evil our supposedly democratic system has injected by the rancid vote of five unconscionable conservatives on the Supreme Court that inflicted the dastardly Citizens United decision upon this land proclaiming corporations as people. That is NOT what our founders had in mind and if you think it is horrible now you have not seen anything until another Republican is in office. Most of your power will be neutered and the top 1% crony capitalist system will prevail. It will and is now mainly an oligarchy where control of your lives is vested in the ultra wealthy and they do NOT care about you!

I write this so you will know NOT to even think about staying home next November. That would be unacceptable. Reality speaks and the reality is we have a two party system. You may WANT a multiparty system but for the next election at least that is NOT what we have. The choice is crystal clear. Democrats EVERYWHERE not only here in Mass but in EVERY state in the nation must be rounded up and herded into the election booth to vote for President Obama to re-elect him. This is more than imperative it is life sustaining.

If you care about Social Security being saved, Medicare to save the lives of the disabled and elderly, and Medicaid to help the poor, unemployment benefits, a rectification of the weak economy caused by Republicans then voting for a Democratic president is a MUST DO. Beyond that and if you do not care about anything else OR you are angry for what was done or not done by the president then think on this: In the next four years most probably TWO Supreme Court justices will be chosen by a president and perhaps even three will be chosen. The vital questions of the day from marriage to women's control of their own bodies to privacy to most importantly HUMONGOUS money in politics will be decided by the Court. All life sustaining polices will be at risk. The air you breath, the water you drink, the food you eat, the global warming of the planet and science itself is at risk BUT if President Obama is elected none of that will be at risk and he will get to choose the justices of the Supreme Court where it may be possible to overturn the disgustingly malevolent Citizen's United decision.

The Court has created a monster in the land and one that wants to swallow whole all the money and power and keep it in Republican often racist Tea Bagger hands and out of YOUR hands. DO NOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN. If one looks at the sea of white faces at the Republican rally it tells you something. It tells you that that rancid party wants to return to another century with restrictive voting rights, restrictive rights against women, a Nativist mentality of the 19th century and an aggressive foreign policy that could get you and your children killed. DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN. IF we can turn the House blue again, keep the senate and keep President Obama in the oval office you will have made a decision to protect your life and those who come after you. DO NOT FALTER AND DO NOT FAIL to vote and to vote Democratic. By the way tell ALL your relatives and friends here and everywhere to do so as well. My deceased relative to her dying day believed in our president and that he would win in a landslide. I want to see that it happens for her memory and for us and the generations that come after us. But it cannot happen unless you vote and think upon the MANY MANY reasons the President should receive your vote.

He has not done it all as NO president ever has but he HAS done a lot. Beyond that all of that federal judges' positions will be filled by him. So much is riding on your Democratic vote there is no time here to enumerate everything. So we must rely on each other and have the president's back. Tell him you are with him by the number of your votes cast and he will listen. The second term IF he gets congressional support we will see the kind of change we as progressives expect. He will not fail us so let us not fail him.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

"A Cry from the Heart": The writing below was sent to me by a Middle East scholar with whom I sometimes correspond. He is well known for his support of much of the Palestinian cause. He sends me a daily opinion called "Informed Comment." Often he and I do not agree but his scholarship is well beyond the scope of mine. Sometimes I must defer to his views or remain silent as they are based on much more than my capacity to, with veracity, disagree.

He sent to me one of the most beautiful writings I have ever had the pleasure to read. It appeared in the French newspaper Le Monde on January 19, 2012. I would entitle it as the sender did "A Cry from the Heart." Read it and cheer for a Tunisian Jew, a supporter of the Arab spring but haunted by the brutal ever-present chant in Jewish historical memory of "Death to the Jew" uttered yet again this time by a band of Tunisians greeting at the airport a Palestinian leader from Hamas.

No matter which side of the plethora of Middle Eastern issues you fall this brilliant piece written by Hélé Béji captivates in poetic form, the Jewish crucible, the Jewish heart and Jewish history. It is why, in my opinion, the Jew remains skeptical of renewal and rebirth in the Arab world. It is why Never Again, the chant in response to the Holocaust, must never die. The article is attached below.

Hélé Béji, a prominent woman writer from an old notable family in Tunis, was outraged by an incident in early January when a small crowd of religious extremists at the airport in Tunis to greet a visiting Hamas leader chanted “Death to the Jews.” She published this cry of the heart in Le Monde on January 19, and kindly consented for it to be translated and appear at Informed Comment in English

Tunisians do not betray the ideals of your revolution!
by Hélé Béji, writer.

Tunisians, you rose up against tyranny and injustice with true hearts: you were righteousness. You have illumined the world of the flame of your dignity: you were humanity. You made your streets ring with cries of generosity: you were fraternity. You have rekindled the sense of valor of the next generation: you were goodness itself. You have won the esteem of all by your panache: you were pride. You smiled with your million different faces: you were tolerance.

But recently at Tunisia’s Carthage International Airport, you were not fair, or fraternal, or worthy, not great, neither good nor human. By pounding your raised fists and shouting “Death to Jews!”—or worse, “Killing the Jews is a duty”– you offered the spectacle of a crazed phalanx that plunges us into stupor and affliction. Not only have you failed in your endeavor, but you have insulted the Palestinian cause, in deploying slogans as mordant as those used by their enemies. You have betrayed the message of your faith.

What? Within the space of a few months? Your peaceful nature turned fanatic? Within a few months you have changed your character? In the world of feelings, it is only a few seconds. Within seconds, the infectious bite of human wickedness turned you toward low fellowship of racist impulses. Suddenly, your friendly faces took on a gloomy mien. Your bright eyes were draped in black. You are few in number?

A tiny minority, they tell me? Maybe, but I do not want to know, I do not care. You have made possible the unbearable, by voicing the very idea of the mass murder of the Jews of Tunis. This is enough to degrade us all. You have begun to distil a dark poison in the credulous soul of a good-natured and kind people.

I do not recognize you, Tunisians, I do not recognize you. You have frozen in my veins that admiration to which you had given birth, you have spoiled the taste in my mouth of our land of birth, you have rendered me indifferent to its light, you have ruined the image of your heroism, you smothered the music of our nation that had played in my heart. Are you the same, Tunisians? Are you the ones who shouted in chorus: “Muslims, Jews, Christians, we are all Tunisians”?

Between this and that other, joyous crowd, what resemblance? Who are you, lovers of humanity or fundamentalists? Which of these portraits is most accurate? Which one will win? You made the first romantic revolution of the twenty-first century, with the inimitable skill of thwarting violence by playful and tolerant means, you are not Tunisians for nothing. And now you’re trying to glorify violence by obscure undertakings, with the torment of which you have already well acquainted.

Victorious victims

You have caused a regime to fall, guided by an inspiration higher than ethnicity, identity, religion, or tribe. You placed yourselves above chauvinism and prejudice. Your liberty was delivered from narrow identity. Or rather, that was your identity, getting rid of the last vestiges of decolonization. You did not make your revolution against Western culture, against imperialism, against Zionism, against the infidels, against the Jews. No. You revolted against yourselves.

And now what are you doing? Behind the wall of fear that you broke, you erect ferocious sentinels, who chant odious slogans. Have you entered into a reign of dignity, only to make it so undignified? Have you embraced equality, only to better snuff it out? Have you ascended to freedom only to track it down now with a pack? Despotism, formerly concentrated in one person, has now left the head of the body politic to course through all the nerves of that body, giving it frightful shocks. The damage was limited today, but it ramifies through the branches of our being, it is the responsibility of all.

One of two things. Either: you bestow on your minorities rights just as sacred as your own, and you forbid yourselves to inflict on them the sort of exile you suffered. Then you would show that your dreams have not in vain raised the hopes of those who, throughout the world, recognized in you their conscience. Or: your reason is abandoned for the idolatry of racism, sexism and xenophobia, and you ruin your morality with infractions of a sort committed by the crudest members of society, in a primitive cacophony.

I know that victorious victims may one day go over to the executioners. This is the reproach you launch at the Israelis. But you, do not be blinded by the rage of historical revenge. Remain at the heights of the Enlightenment of your revolution. Does not endorse the guilty who are chasing innocents to degrade and persecute. Do not drive the revolution backwards, nor consign your minorities to hell. You who have known the secret police, do not be self-described agents of Heaven armed with the swords of inquisition and punishment to terrify your brothers. Journalists, academics, women, French speakers, the Jews … that’s a lot of people that you blame, denounce, assault, beat, molest. It is too much.

Remember that it only took one pariah, who was among the walking dead, for all Tunisians to be reborn. Now it only takes one Tunisian Jew to be insulted for us all to be insulted, without exception. The offense is collective, the answer is unanimous: “We are all Tunisian Jews.”

Hélé Béji is also the author of “We, the decolonized” (Arlea, 2008) and “Islamic Pride: behind the veil” (Gallimard, 2011)
Article published in the 1/19/12 edition of Le Monde.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

In Memoriam: The blog I sent about my much loved relative who much loved the President reinforces how important it is to vote for him. She was, indeed, the most fervent supporter of our president I have ever known. The only one who supports our president more I think is his wife.

I am posting this because the person who loved President Obama so much is testament to how good the president really is despite the criticisms levied sometimes even from the base. I wrote it not only for the values it expressed but to reiterate that which some of us in our desire to get things done ignore. My relative, friend and fellow blogger, Bonnie, never did. She remained steadfast loyal to our president until the end of her life which life a vicious cancer took in five months.

I believe it is a truth ALL of us should heed to make sure no Republican toxicity and brutality yet again invades our land. If you want to and can support this campaign I enclose a link to re-elect President Obama. http://www.barackobama.com/obama-for-america-2012-campaign?source=OM2012_LB_G_Obama2012-search_bo-reelect_d1c&gclid=CIKOxojy7a0CFULe4AodFnok7A

Feel free to send this to anyone you choose to catapult everyone to the polls November, 2012 to re-elect the president and while you're at it I enclose a link to the Democratic Party to imperatively turn the House of Representatives blue again! http://www.democrats.org/?nosplash=true

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Reflections on the Loss of a Family Member and a Friend--My Ode to HER Immortality: On Saturday, a family member and friend in my life died well before her time. Her name was Bonnie. I am finding it difficult concentrating on things political when the person whom I knew and who loved politics as much as I is not here. She was responsible for much of my analysis as nearly every day we volleyed the various opinions we shared on our respective blogs. She was a strong personality and an equally strong supporter of our president. It was that which brought us even closer within her decades-long marriage to my cousin. I considered her not only related to me by marriage but also a friend by her nature as well. We were very much alike in our strong ethical and humanitarian views as well as in our personality strength. It almost seemed at times as if we were a DNA genomic match.

I have not been able to write since her death because nothing seems that important to me at the moment. I think, though, she would want me to keep writing as I have, getting published at times, becoming a guest on a talk show and posting on my blog. I hope I will continue to do that despite my bereavement. Even when I think there is nothing more about which I want to write yet again some synaptic connections appear. They are today thoughts about her and the realities we all face or will at one time or another.

It brings up to me the many usual feelings of how short life is and how no one knows the way or the hour. It emphasizes that which we often hear – if you love someone tell them now. If you dislike someone forgive them and yes, if possible, turn the other cheek. The regret I have now is that, perhaps, I did not tell her enough that I loved her, that I did not tell her enough how much her views meant to me, that I did not tell her enough how talented she was and, perhaps, I even did not apologize enough when we disagreed.

Perhaps I did not do enough of all of those things so I will do them now publicly and eternally for my blog. I say to her spiritual essence: I love you, Bonnie. I will never forget your thoughts, I will never forget your loyalty to our president, I will never forget your ethical values of honesty, loyalty, passion of purpose and most of all caring about the generations who follow whether your own or those of our nation.

I will miss you, Bonnie, more than I can say and will think about you every day. Your voice will be sitting on my shoulder when I write as you say write but write carefully and ditch the CAPS. I will try to implement much that you have said as a testament and as an honor to your wonderful legacy. It is my ode to your immortality and, perhaps, to my own as well. You have taught me much and as difficult as it will be to write on my tear-stained keyboard I will. I will do it always with you in mind!

All my love,

Friday, January 20, 2012

Discrimination of Gays in Israel?: I offer the link below my relative sent to me which is in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. It is about discrimination of homosexuals in Israel. This is what reinforces my point always that is it is not a specific religion that runs roughshod over this time gay people wanting to eliminate or deprive "the other" in general of their rights and even their life but it is the fundamentalist varieties of religious belief which are the toxic poison.

The positive thing about Israel in this instance is at least they can print a story like this and not be taken down ... yet ... and at least there are more than a few in Israel who deplore and are against this type of discrimination. STILL, it is worrisome that these orthodox groups and extremists are gaining power in Israel.

If so, as much as I love Israel, I will be against those groups and the Israeli policy they engender as forcefully as I am against any other Christian or Islamic fundamentalist belief -- really ALL religious orthodoxies which are cruel, inhuman, just plain irrational and whose adherents are often psychologically pathological if not insane!

As the subtitle of Christopher Hitchen's book says -- "How Religion Poisons Everything!" Never truer words uttered. Orthodox religious fanaticism will kill us all.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Republican Paintball: Romney, Gingrich and all in the Republican presidential primary circus sure are slinging the mud. It is almost what I envision Paintball to be like. It will not kill you but when it hits the spot it makes one feel vulnerable.

The problem with Republicans is that the essence of the Republican Party means that they are utterly in bed with corporate behemoths. The meaningless platitudes they spout fall FAR short of what they practice in their own life. Romney is an example of that getting his money as a corporate raider first venture then vulture capitalist, trimming companies and firing, he says, he simply loves to do. He says he loves to fire insurance companies but I bet that love spills over to people as well. After all he believes corporations are people too. Well, if so then many have had their ears lowered by Willard Mitt Romney. Moreover, he has set up off shore accounts and has been doing, in his illustrious career, the very things from which our economy suffers. Worse still, he does not want to release his taxes. I submit he does not want to release them for a reason. I suspect his tax submission will be Paintball shot with tax loopholes to reveal that the income tax he pays is minimal for the wealth he has acquired and worse far below that which most in the country pay. In sum, the 1% do NOT pay their fair share.

On the other side of the Republican mantra are ethical moral – mostly sexual – values to which few are capable of adhering. However, when it is one of the reasons that separates one party from the other and you do not conform, as many times Gingrich clearly has not, the hammer is lowered and rightfully so. One is Paintball vulnerable yet again.

Republican values are economically middle class dismembering, often unethical and Great Recession inducing. Its social values are humanly impossible to strictly follow. Thus, the Republican Party candidates are mud slinging each other because the Republican Party's platform allows for SO much mud to be slung! Who will win the Paintball game? That is yet to be determined. One thing for sure is that all the Republican candidates will come out looking like one big mess!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Torquemada Torture – the Selection of a President: The American selection of a president is water boarding torture. It goes on and on and on much too long. I am so sickened by it often I turn news about it off even when my favorites like Olbermann, Maddow whom I love, Ed Schultz, Cenk Uygur, and even Ratigan are on. Yes, I tape and watch them all. No wonder my brain, from this Republican clown show circus, is in revolt. I feel like two symbols are being smashed between my ears.

Skip this insane two year torture-on-the-rack extended primary and cut to the chase. Hold primaries on two weekend days to satisfy religious prohibitions (Saturday and Sunday) for all the states.

Too bad if the candidates, before the primaries, must go to the states to campaign in a short time period. They chose to run in the grist mill. The presidential campaign begins TWO YEARS before the election and is torture by Torquemada. Romney is the Republican nominee. Ron Paul, who has a very big following, should get OUT of Republican Party land and run on a third party. Paul may have more chance than one might think.

Romney, although the primary winner, is hated by much of the base and is winning because there are five candidates who are glued to the podium and it appears he is the only one who can beat the president (I doubt he will) because most of the country hates the flip-flopper-in-chief Romney too. A third party Paul candidacy could matter.

Moreover, why should one small Iowa caucus give anyone the influence advantage? Shorten this torture mill primary selection process, vote collectively on two weekend days and maybe someone’s sanity could be saved -- mine!

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Globes: The Golden's were enjoyable. I was a bit disappointed for "The Help." I thought it would get best pic. I did love the Descendants but not as much as The Help. Viola Davis always goes up against difficult competition. She is among the best. Happy for The Help's supporting actress Octavia Spencer who played the character Minny. Meryl Streep is a legend and I will see "Iron Lady" as quickly as possible.

Gervais without the bathroom humor and sex jokes is very entertaining. I say bring him back next year! Oh yes, I am not one to care about fashion BUT the women's gowns were CLASSY and utterly GORGEOUS! Some looked like they were poured into them. UGH I can wish for that in my next life!
AMEN: The evocative headline in the news today -- "Towering legend, flawed man? King's image evolving. Some fear civil rights leader's legacy is lost on many."-- Surprise MLK was a human being. This is the media's way of inflating a story (linked below) that Dr. King smoked, drank and used a swear word or two so it can push its headlines to sensationalist proportions, like a drug lord pushes drugs. Guess why. Answer: Money. Now, that is a shocker!

It won't work. Dr. King's work is done and he has left the shoulders of a giant upon which generations have stood and future generations will stand to take advantage of the wonderful things he said and freedoms we acquired by the legacy he left.

I love Dr. King for creating a movement not only for the African American but for ALL people -- the disabled, the poor, the suffering masses and the unlucky who get kicked to the wayside by a nation that promises otherwise and by a world which STILL has much to learn. He gave us a foundation for good and pointed out the evil among us. He led a people to Olympian Heights, a mountain few thought they could climb. For that, the justice that prevailed because of him and to Dr. King's spirit I say an emphatic AMEN.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Ship of Fools: As the link below indicates Jon Huntsman, the Republican moderate presidential candidate, is quitting the race. He was by far the most intelligent, most qualified and best candidate running for the presidency on the Republican side . But when has that ever been a prerequisite for the Republican nomination for the highest most powerful and, indeed, most dangerous, office in the world? Answer: Never.

Knowing this truth it was the smartest thing for Huntsman to do. It would be a waste of his time not to mention money to continue in a race where Stephen Colbert, the political comic, had higher ratings than he. Huntsman is running in a party that is not deserving of his intelligence, his experience and his wisdom. The field of Republican candidates is pitiful and God pity this nation if they in their infinite wisdom choose to elect anyone from this ship of fools.

Mr. Huntsman, whatever monies you have left from this campaign I suggest you donate to those who have no houses, no food, no clothing and will because of the Wall Street made economic cesspool never get an education and sometimes not even survive.

Colbert for President and Romney the Ripper: Scroll down and listen. Shows you how much money can buy! Great Utube by Stephen Colbert, candidate for president -- why does this remind me of Pat Paulson?

Divine Intervention: I said a prayer for Tom Brady before the game. I guess god was a New England Patriot yesterday. We in New England never were Doubting Thomas's for a minute!!

Awesome is too weak a word for the Patriots victory over the Broncos. The Pat's defense was bone CRUSHING and except for the one measly pass intercepti­on by the Broncos, Tebow would have been held to single digits. I have NEVER seen such a phenomenal­ly solid game from New England in my life. It was one of the most exciting I have ever witnessed. The ENTIRE New England team was Tyrannosau­rus Rex. They took the Denver team and had them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Brady was near perfection.

I am happy for the win but ordinarily I would not care as much if the event did not become more than just a simple game. Tebow is a wonderful person and does laudable things with his life outside the gridiron. I compliment him for that but the political refuse of religious wingnutism follow him and was an element of the pregame insanity. Last week's Bronco win in sudden death overtime was nearly divine for them, Tebow and his fans but offered no "proof" a sky god is using Tebow for his second son. Explanations exist in science. All rational signs point to the fact that if there is a god who created it all he is NOT involved in the day-to-day activities of man most especially in a meaningless football game or really in anything else.

Beyond sports, if a god were involved in man's day-to-day-activities and so many prayers were said for the sick, the dying, the war ravaged people in war torn nations, the hungry and the dispossessed all over the earth an amelioration of those horrific conditions or at least some of them would have happened and there would be repeatable evidence using the scientific method that prayers when said are answered. Earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, Titanic catastrophes would not occur or if they did, at the very least, innocent human beings would not be devastated.

Things happen for verifiable reasons. Science compounded by the psychology of men in a football game gives better rationales for outcomes than does anything else. I repeat my own credo: we are all subject to Newtonesque laws of science for everything and science offers a better explanation for the physical realities of life. Belief is simply belief it is NOT science. Six billion humans inhabiting this planet will have six billion answers to the eternal questions that plague us and which give a foundation for religious often fanatical belief. It allows the fanatical believer to do anything no matter how cruel to impose one belief over another even if they have to kill humanity to do it.

The right wingnut organization Focus on the Family, which loves to deny human rights to innocent others with their alleged Biblical "proof," paid for what probably was a multi-million dollar ad promoting Christianity during this game. Now that is something of which I am sure Jesus would have approved -- NOT!

That is why this game held such enthusiasm. It became a battle between science deniers verses science worshipers. The latter would describe people like ME!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

GREAT video and very well done. Romney, hey if you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen where you cooked up your own negative ads to slam Gingrich. Romney, the flip flopper slime former governor of Mass. whom I loathed because he was an EMPTY suit and still is.

Watch this incredible video!

A Glass Half Full: One of my friends whom I consider a very intelligent man in addition to being one of the nicest sent a very positive email to me about one of my opinions. We share many of the same values but I am sure few of his opinions are as pessimistic as mine. Really, you say? No kidding. In my defense there are reasons for everything. I digress.

In response to one of my diatribes perhaps the one loathing Bain Romney -- or as another friend humorously calls him Mitten or Ron Mitney and whom I call Willard, his first name, -- sorry I digress again with a bit of humor, my friend sent a more positive note. Whatever opinion of mine it was that prompted his response, truthfully, my words are often not happy ones. Admittedly they are words of anger, pessimism and are a cynic's view of our nation.

I would like to quote what he said below to present a different view from the bridge. He is quite right if one takes a broader look at US history one can see the positive changes that have occurred despite great opposition mounted to defeat them. The late Howard Zinn, my favorite historian, used to say to me that change comes from the bottom up and that it is created by millions of people who push for that change sometimes risking their own lives advocating for it.

The always-wise Zinn said it does not matter who is IN the White House but who is in FRONT of it that counts. It is up to us, to hold our leaders accountable and secure those rights our Constitutional contract, I believe, can be interpreted to say, we rightfully deserve. It is the beauty of our American system that has honed a way, over centuries of conflict, to do so. We must utilize maximally our Constitutionally guaranteed rights of free speech and free press and never give up.

In keeping with that thought I offer a more positive view that my friend quite correctly stated. He said:

I share your frustration with the nation, but am reminded of Martin Luther King's comment: "The arc of history is long, but it tends toward justice."

There is still plenty of craziness out there, and we can't let down our guard, but slowly we're making progress. We have finally elected a black man president, and after his second term, maybe a woman; Don't ask don't tell has been repealed and LGBT people are accepted enough to show up in TV shows without causing riots; the Arab Spring is a tinderbox, but could also spread the flame of democracy; occupy is finally challenging tea party; the economy still needs help, but it's not in free fall, in spite of Republicans' efforts to derail everything the president has tried; so there is hope.

I know there IS hope and that it springs eternal. Thank you, my friend, for forcing me to see a glass half full and by that making it a better day!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Field of the American Dream: Again, Paul Krugman writes an insightful NYT article “America’s Unlevel Field” (linked below) and is correct as usual. At the end of the editorial he says: … [Romney and the Republicans] “seem to prefer a society in which your station in life is largely determined by that of your parents — and in which the children of the very rich get to inherit their estates tax-free. Teddy Roosevelt would not have approved.”

It makes a sad me even sadder as I view the US problems as nearly insurmountable and cemented in division. I try to look at the nation’s historical long-view which has often dictated success against the odds. If I were an abolitionist in 1860, which given my values now I surely would have been, I would be despondent that a humanity in our free nation was brought against its will under horrific conditions, stripped of their person hood to labor under the lash and without compensation. Ultimately a war (lost in its beginning) needed to be waged to reverse this evil. I might have given up but justice prevailed.

If I were the Jew that I am in 1941 I would have felt despair that my country, not prepared for war, opened up wars on two fronts first with a militarized honorary Aryan Japan and second with a mighty German war machine dedicated specifically to my elimination. Justice against the odds prevailed yet again.

No matter how dark things look now, no matter the odds of reactionary politics saturated with racist animus I continue to place my faith in the president against Lincolnian odds facing a Republican Congress, dripping with the words of interposition and nullification referenced by Dr. Martin Luther King in 1963, this time potentially reversing decades of civil rights progress and compounding the threat of another economic collapse where the 1% wealthiest control it all. Even worse there is the specter of a clear existential nuclear threat if our foolish nation dares attack again a tinder box Middle East.

America , where is your sanity and where is our field of dreams? The American Dream must not become the American nightmare. This nation must come to grips with its ugly truths, its reactionary politics, its economic frauds, its tepid social safety nets or lack of them and this latest nuclear threat, ultimately, to its very life.


Sunday, January 08, 2012

Romney, the “Bain” of Our Existence: In case you did not get the pun “Bain” was the name of the company Romney, the allegedly expert businessman, ran – Bain Capital. That corporation was in the business of trimming assets of companies facing bankruptcy, buying them, selling the entrails and DESTROYING jobs. Romney became filthy 250 million dollar rich because of it. Romney does not want to release his tax records every other candidate for president has released. Why you ask. Because, as part of the top 1% he probably loop-holed his way out of paying taxes that the middle class has to pay.

The Republican so called "debates" are a joke and an embarrassment. The press has nothing to offer the voters but softball inane questions to the candidates making sure they do not deliver a question the complexity of which would be beyond the candidates' ability to answer. The Republican Party has nothing to offer but racist obstructionism and do nothing politics.

If this country is so unequivocally insane to elect any of these stupendous know nothing Republicans as president then there is no hope. I either need to pull the covers over my head for years or do something more drastic like moving to the North Pole. The thought of four or more years of Republican rule sickens my stomach after suffering through nearly 30 years of Republican acid rain. We cannot endure more never-ending war nor can we survive the 1% billionaires controlling ALL the wealth creating an even bigger bubble to run the country into an even bigger ditch than they did during the first decade of the new millennium.

President Obama did not do everything I wanted but he is infinitely more intellectually astute and, I would argue, more effective handling the cats of Congress in view of the Mount Everest of Republican obstructionism he had to climb.

I am hoping America is wiser than to let the insane of the coo coos nest asylum control the country and run it over another cliff. We have been bleeding since the bursting of the Bush bubble and a Democratic tourniquet had to be applied. It has stopped some of the flow but not all of it. Republicans have a proscription to line their pockets with billionaire bubble bucks and return us to a double dip Greater Recession. Do you REALLY want to go through that economic avalanche yet again? And do you REALLY want your sons and daughters to fight yet another huge Middle East country with nuclear bombs in tow? Go head elect Republicans and have a party but it may be the last party you and your children ever have.

Friday, January 06, 2012

The Epiphany: I sent a letter to a professor who is very pro Palestinian. I reflected on my views about Israel perhaps because I was asked by a friend to attend a Feb. 29 meeting about church/state separation at a mosque. I agreed and I thought about why I am so stuck in my views about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. I thought about my feelings and why my blood runs cold when I think about that issue. I turn my back on most criticism of the Jewish state. I really had to do some soul searching because I am often at odds with the left part of the political spectrum a place where I reside but a place which is particularly harsh on the Jewish state. Again, I ask why. I came up with the following explanation why I have felt the way I have and wondering if I can make a change. I said the following:

I had an epiphany today. I am as I always say a left of center progressive. I am also Jewish. My entire political life and the forming of my belief system as left of center revolved around two major issues: (1) the Holocaust and the rise of Nazism (2) the antiwar years of the late 1960's. My beliefs have wavered a bit over the years but not that much. I want to consider myself a humanitarian and I want to support those things which ensure most especially Constitutional civil liberties. Sitting on the left side of the spectrum those things are, of course, compatible.

My first encounter with Nazism was as a child maybe age 10 or 11 when I saw a newsreel in the movies which were popular at the time shown before the main film. I saw footage for the first time of Jewish people from all walks of life, men, women and children being rounded up, shot or herded into the cattle cars and shipped off to the camps. The newsreel showed me a picture of the camps which was needless to say ghoulish and excruciatingly painful to watch. Then it showed the gas chambers with the Zyklon B and then it, of course, showed the mounds of bodies the Allies encountered when they liberated the camps. I became nauseated and threw up.

My uncle was in the US Army in Europe when he liberated a camp and had the photos to prove it. There is NO event in human history let alone in Jewish history which is parallel to the Holocaust in terms of its inhumanity and brutality. The six million is an unfathomable number. Recently I saw a film "Sarah's Key" based on a book the discussion of which I led at a temple group where even in France -- modern France at that time rounded up Jews in the Vel d' Hiv a little known part of French history because they do not WANT to remember it.

The Holocaust and its aftermath was the single most centrifugal event that solidified my later political beliefs. It has continued to be a surprise to me that the left leaning groups I agree with for the most part are extraordinarily anti-Israel with a huge bit of anti-Semitism mixed in for good measure. It is why I turn a cold shoulder to most all anti-Israel sentiment and why I never did wax supportive of the Palestinian cause. I simply could NOT betray the State of Israel formed by so many after the event that rocked the foundation of the Jewish world.

Why can I not come to the support of those Palestinians who feel so aggrieved and who as they say have been allegedly brutalized by Israelis? That answer is I cannot ADMIT that Israelis would perpetrate inhumane acts purposefully on innocent people. I did not WANT to believe it because for Jews to do that means that the lessons of the Holocaust are not learned and we MUST learn them so it never happens again. I have always held Israel to a higher standard because of this singular event which NO ONE in history has experienced on such a massive and historically continuing and stunning scale.

I have dear Jewish friends, the nicest people, whose daughter (Jewish) married a Palestinian man. He is a darling man but I would simply avoid discussion of the Palestinian situation which usually does not come up anyway. On Feb. 29 (yes it's a leap year) they asked me to attend a local mosque which I have been up until now adverse to do.

For the first time I have decided it is time to visit the mosque no matter what my strong feelings of support are about Israel. It is TIME for NO MORE violence. It is TIME for us to act in a humane fashion. If not now when? We must as Jews be the best human beings we can be even when it is most difficult to be so. The essence, as I see it, is even within Christian teaching -- Matthew 5 says ... "whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. And give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away." One does not have to be Christian to believe in these thoughts. One needs to be empathetically human to understand them.

I still am a Jew and I still support the State of Israel BUT that does not mean I am impervious to suffering. No, to the contrary, BECAUSE of the Holocaust one must ameliorate suffering wherever it exists.

If I could write a book perhaps the title would be: "Enemies No More -- a Way for Jews and Palestinians to Unite!" How much would I love a cessation of hostilities between our two peoples to happen in the New Year? Answer: -- I would give anything. Acting in a more humane and understanding manner on both sides would save Jewish lives, it would save Palestinian lives and perhaps it would even save the world entire as it lurches closer and closer to an apocalypse.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

A Hole to Hide In: Not well written but CORRECT: Iraq civil war beginning and a US war policy of IDIOTIC proportions I posted this on the MSNBC News site.

MSNBC HEADLINES: "Iraq Bombings: Wave Of Explosions In Shiite Area Of Baghdad Kill At Least 27, Wound Dozens"
-- linked below "A wave of explosions struck two Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 27 people and intensifying fears that insurgents are stepping up attacks after the U.S. troop withdrawal that was completed last month..." striking fears of civil war."

And here's why:

This is just a TERRIBLE thing...simply awful. Think about this you misguided death wielding Republicans. We were there FOR NINE...count them NINE years with over 5,000 of our men and women DEAD, thousands wounded, hundreds of thousands Iraqi dead and wounded, and exiled all over the gd place, we destabilized the Middle East but good and here's some worse things to get through your thick heads: Sadam Hussein was a Sunni -- Georgy the Idiot Bush did not even KNOW what Sunni was and the difference and ancient hatred between Sunnis and Shiia. Hussein and the Sunnis were a minority who held power HATED Iran...fought a decade long war with them and kept them in check. NOW LOOK WHAT WE HAVE...just LOOK it's mind BLOWING...Sunnis, the minority under Hussein because of our invasion to get rid of him were obliterated and Shiia took over and are in power with Malaki and NOW they are allies with Iran. IRAN was handed the keys to the kingdom is the power broker there with a nuke-filled Pakistan and Iran is threatening to block world oil by blockading the Strait of Hormuz an act of war.

It was hard enough to get TRILLIONS of bucks for the military and supplies over to fight these wars and Afghanistan is still going. How on god's earth does ANYONE think IF Iran does this or worse that we are going to haul our posteriors over to that HUGE country twice the size of Iraq with difficult terrain and NOW more militarily sophisticated with a spent army. HOW? This is the neo Con IDIOTS revamping of the Middle East? This is what they thought would be so ducky....We could NOT stay in Iraq for another twenty years without going bankrupt nor would the Malaki government guarantee immunity to us so Obama HAD to pull out and Bush stated a pull out by now.

We are in BIG trouble there as Pakistan is angry and blocked supplies getting in to Afghanistan. We cannot be without supplies TO wage war and the Republican STUPIDS want to just bomb Iran?..Guess what you utter stupendous morons ... THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES when you drop bombs on people's heads! Furthermore Israel is at absolute risk without US military ability. We are a DONE empire because of our moronic military excursions from Vietnam to Iraq, et al.

I am NOT a Ron Paul supporter because I cannot stand his other positions BUT on foreign policy he is DEAD (pardon the pun) ON CORRECT.

This is what happens when you have INSANE unstatesmen-like leadership. You get death, destruction on an epic scale and a BIG threat if not to us directly to our economy and WWIII if we bomb Iran. How does a draft sound now? Not so good I bet. The American people are SO united -- NOT. A draft would go just swimmingly. Where is a hole I can hide!


Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Defying Republicans, Obama to Name Cordray as Consumer Agency Chief -- GOOD!! The president with the appointment of Cordray as Consumer Agency Chief (link below) and with any other important policy he deems necessary to the protection of the Republic should do whatever is possible BY ANY MEANS necessary to thwart this mean, vituperative, caustic, racist Tea Party malevolence in the House and Congress that a few Americans in their infinite wisdom saw clear to elect. They are NOT representative of the country as a whole and November, 2012 will show exactly that. The president WILL be re-elected with MASSIVE amounts of people voting for him (maybe even more than 2008) who see the Republican SHAM for what it is.

This president, under the worst racist House imaginable, with the exception of the pre-Civil War era, has managed to get through under the most difficult circumstances legislation which will benefit the entire nation. Even when the Democrats held it all they STILL even then had Democrats in name only obstructionist bought low-life like Lieberman, Nelson, Landrieu and many others who impeded him from creating what he truly desired and what would have help the country. ANYONE on planet earth who thinks that the Republican Party will do one thing for them is sadly mistaken if not delusional.

The Democratic Party should be LASER focused on (1) re-electing this president who has suffered immensely from a virulent obstructionist Congress (2) turn the HOUSE PROGRESSIVE BLUE (3) KEEP the Senate in Democratic hands and win a few more to solidify it. Then the president in his second term will show the true face of his genius!!

A NO vote to Romney: Romney wins by ONLY FOUR votes -- FOUR-- the biggest win is Obama.

The Democratic Party has a LOT to save and MUST turn the Congress blue and get rid of Romney the complete chameleon, and empty suit! These lack of empathy Republicans will gut Social Security and Medicare. People WILL die. Republicans are the true death panels.

Republicans are AGGRESSIVE in foreign policy that means war with Iran and spend more money we do not have. Nor did we "win" in Iraq nor in Afghanistan either. Our army is spent and a draft to fight Iran will ultimately be a must to move an army across vicious terrain with some nations still not allowing American supplies to pass. This would cost billions if not trillions. Do you want your children to fight in World War III with NUKES on the line? If it's bad for Israel now just wait. It will be the end of that nation with America SO weakened by perpetual war and a populous that WILL be in revolt!

If the American people do not see how flawed this party is and how much worse than the Democratic party they are then they get what they deserve. If you want
your children to not make it then vote Republican. They are a rancidly divided party and their ideas are thought by those who do not think, cannot think or who simply do not care about anyone except themselves. If Republicans win there will probably be World War III and nuclear war...yes, I said it ... think about it before you think about casting votes for right wing extremist fundamentalist Republicans.

They are extremist insane.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Eye on Iowa: A University professor, Stephen Bloom, wrote an article for the Atlantic link below, about Iowa, a place he has lived in for twenty years. Brian Williams talked about the unflattering-to-Iowa piece because it has stirred up a hornet's nest of protest from some Iowans and because of it the professor had to go into hiding over the holidays. One of the paragraphs that Williams quoted from the article was the object of much Iowa vitriol. It said:

But relatively few rural Iowans are employed in the business of wind energy. The bulk of jobs here are low-income ones most Iowans don't want. Many have simply packed up and left the state (which helps keep the unemployment rate statewide low). Those who stay in rural Iowa are often the elderly waiting to die, those too timid (or lacking in educated) to peer around the bend for better opportunities, an assortment of waste-toids and meth addicts with pale skin and rotted teeth, or those who quixotically believe, like Little Orphan Annie, that "The sun'll come out tomorrow.

I followed with a blog of my own on the Atlantic site:

I am a Massachusetts Bostonian from my toes to my hair. Some say I am a northeast snob because I rate people not by money but by their academic status, where they attended college and most of all how they write and the grammar they choose to string two sentences together.

I took a trip across country many years ago which included passing through Iowa. The trip was in February and there was no snow on the ground. I remember my first impression was that I was astounded as to how many tractor and feed stores I saw and how flat the ground was. I did not see a tree within sight. I asked the driver if people really lived here as it seemed so empty, gray and lonely. He rejected that assessment and told me how rich the land was and how it was some of the best farmland in the world.

Professor Bloom's assessment, though, rings true. I did not stay overnight in Iowa nor did I chat with many but I rode away from that state missing Massachusetts to my core. Upon return to my great state, I as my grandfather did when he came to America, wanted to kiss every rocky road and tree-lined highway in the state. I could not wait for the beautiful foliage of spring to be followed by even more glorious color in fall. Iowa may be a decent place to visit but I would not want to live there. I love my state, its diversity and its liberalness. I could not imagine living anywhere else! :-)

A Letter to Occupy Wall Street:

I am a left of center progressive and have supported the Occupy Wall Street movement as best I able given my personal circumstances. I love this movement and think it is beyond necessary; it is vital. Forming our mantra as the 99% against the 1% is brilliant. It is something to which people can relate and understand so keep saying it.

Having said that I am old enough to remember the 1968 Democratic convention which ensured the Republican Richard the lawbreaker Nixon the presidency as the electorate saw televised violence perpetrated by radicals on the left at that particular convention which the protesters stupidly, in my opinion, chose to attack. It alienated much of the electorate and drew many into the Republican Party with the selected title of the "Moral Majority." A law and order right wing movement was born and has reshaped party politics for generations. It lives today in the extremist politics of the religious right at the Republican base and brings along with it in side-car tow other very dangerous and racist right wing groups.

I ask you -- no I implore you -- to pass the word to Occupy movements all over the nation not to make the same mistakes that were made in the summer of 1968. Do not give the opposition propaganda to paint false pictures of who we are and what Occupy is about.

This time we have many of those who once were not on our side standing with us because they too have been crushed by the Wall Street banksters and fraudsters. Court union support! Unions can have immense power and those who comprise them are the ones whom Republican state governors like the malevolent Walker, Kasich, Scott, LePage and others, managed to alienate with their poisonous wolf-in-sheep's-clothing politics. Moreover, the egregious things that were done by the banksters on Wall Street have been ruinous to the blue collar masses as they have to most everyone. The Unions are our allies and it is for them and the rest of the 99% we work. Walk in solidarity with them.

There must not be any violence at the Democratic convention or the Republican Convention in the summer. Reality dictates that it is from these two parties that the presidential race will be taken. Whatever our president has done with which progressives find fault it must not be for one second thought that Romney (the apparent Republican nominee to be) or any Republican would be a good thing. The Republican extremist Party is the opposite of a good thing and they vowed before our president did one thing to unseat him. Do not hand the election to these hucksters of malfeasance. Be careful of people from the other side who may incite you to violence. Republicans lie all the time and will stop at nothing to plant treason among you as history has shown. Be smart use the tactics of Gandhi and Martin Luther King. It will serve us much better.

A Republican, if elected, will select two or maybe more justices for the Supreme Court. Additional so called "conservatives" on this right wing tipped court will make things infinitely worse.

Spread the word absolutely no violence at the Democratic convention and no violence at the Republican convention. You do not want to give our opposition any ammunition they can use against us and win power they should not rightly have.

Happy New Year to you all and thank you very much for what you do!

Monday, January 02, 2012

A stream of consciousness plea:

I am a left of center progressive and have supported the Occupy movement as best I can from where I am. I love this movement and think it was so necessary. Forming it as the 99% against the 1% is brilliant. It is a mantra people can understand. Keep pushing it.

Having said that I am old enough to remember the 1968 Democratic convention which got the Republican Richard the lawbreaker Nixon elected due to the violence the country saw. It alienated much of the electorate and drew them into the Republican Party as the "Moral Majority" and a law and order right wing movement was born. It lives today as the radical religious fundamentalists at the base of the Republican Party. There are, of course, some differences in that the politics of that era were generally about the Vietnam War and black civil rights. Much of white America loathed it and loathed what they saw as a lack of patriotism on the left. It is why even today we on the left get painted with that false unpatriotic brush.

I ask you -- no I implore you -- to pass the word around to whomever are with you and Occupy movements all over the country do not make the same mistakes as we did in the late 60's. Do not give the opposition propaganda to paint false pictures of what we are. This time we have many of those who were the moral majority on our side because they too have been crushed by the Wall Street banksters and fraudsters. Court union support! It is from where immense power comes and those who comprise it are the ones whom state governors like the malevolent Walker, Kasich, Scott, LePage and others managed to alienate with their poisonous wool- in-sheep's-clothing politics. This is the opposition's big mistake. The egregious things they did on Wall Street are ruinous to the huge blue collar masses. The Unions are your friends and it is for them and the rest of the 99% that we work. Reach your hand out to unions and walk in solidarity with them.

There must not be any violence especially at the Democratic convention in the summer. Reality dictates that it is from these two parties that the presidential race will be taken. Whatever our president has done with which progressives find fault it must not be for one second thought that Romney (the apparent Republican nominee to be) will be a good thing. He's the opposite of a good thing. Do not hand the election to him and the Republican Party. Much of that party is filled with right wing racist extremists. He, if elected, will pick two or maybe more Supreme Court. appointments. More so called "conservatives" on this rancidly tipped court will end this country as we have known it. Do not be violent to ensure that happens. And be careful of people from the other side who may incite you to violence. Republicans lie all the time and will stop at nothing to plant treason among you as many have shown. Be smart use the tactics of Gandhi and Martin Luther King. It will get you and us so much more.

Spread the word ... No absolutely no violence at the Democratic convention and no violence at the Republican convention either. You do not want to give our opposition any ammunition they can use against us.

Happy New Year to you all and thank you much for what you do!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Suggested Viewing -- I AM: I'll bet you are wondering as I did what is I Am. “I Am” was shown on Oprah’s OWN network this afternoon. It is a documentary by Tom Shadyak former extraordinarily successful comedy writer for the comedic greats such as Jim Carey, Eddie Murphy and Robin Williams. Shadyak’s life was reversed in a nanosecond by a bicycle accident which left him with a severe concussion, fractures and many difficult long-lasting post-concussive aftereffects.

I suspect one could think about the title "I Am" as I did metaphorically. Moses, as the tale is told, confronted God from a burning bush on the mountain of Sinai in the age old from-slavery-to freedom story in the Old Testament book of Exodus. He asked God when he came upon Him "Who shall I tell the people you are and who has sent me?" A voice told him: "Tell them I Am that I Am, tell them I Am has sent you." The film relates to the awe inspiring interconnectedness of all humanity and humanity’s affect on our universe. He uses science to reinforce some of his uncovered truths. This film is a search for that which connects us all which has profound effects on every other living thing and even on the universe itself.

He ultimately asks the questions most of us ask in our lifetime trying to discover the meaning of it all and why so much seemingly has gone so wrong. He went on his own world-wide journey asking those questions of some great sages and also asks them what we can do to fix it.

The conversations he had with a variety of people such as the late Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Desmond Tutu, scientists and many others had a profound impact on even a curmudgeonly skeptic like me. I hope if you view it, it will do the same for you. Perhaps, we can even talk about it some day.

I post the link to it below.

Twitter, Twitter Little NON Star: I strongly agree with Joan Venocchi's Sunday, January 1, 2012 Boston Globe editorial "Twitter, Twitter, on the wall" (linked below.) I tried to get into Twitter several times to understand its concept and its rules. When contemplating an issue I typed over the 140 character limit by about 10,000 characters I knew it was at the top of my list of those things reflecting our culture that drive me berserk.

McDonald's has been, until now, my symbolic prototype for the nation's addiction to instant gratification and a mirror-reflecting example of much that I believe is wrong in our land. Twitter, perhaps, now is taking its place at the apex of my list as the number one detestable computerized example of exactly who we are and how repugnant it is. Twitter is utterly devoid of substance on issues that often need encyclopedic discussion. America, in particular, has no time for that with its attention span lasting at best 10 minutes, its historical memory lasting maybe 20, and its need to watch Kim Kardashian's wedding (or is it divorce) above listening to Yo Yo Ma at Symphony Hall.

How did so many of us get so vapid, vacuous and, well, just plain dumb? When one's life is devoted to not just saying but needing to say "Justin Beber's hair was out of whack and so is mine" instead of reading and discussing in depth the relevance of Dickens's "Hard Times" or Tolstoy's "War and Peace, or the content of Ron Suskind's book "Confidence Men" then I feel blessed that I missed entering this earth in, as Dickens's Tale of Two Cities might contend, the worst of all possible times -- the era of stupid!