Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ah, the Senate Democrats: The Los Angeles Clippers of Politics

Like many of you, I am (or was) addicted to politics. I watch MSNBC, CNN, PBS, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and even FoxNews.

But since the Democrats completely caved in on the Public Option, I honestly have lost interest. Seriously. I'm so jaded and disaffected right now that I couldn't really give a damn what these crooked Senators are up to. The same ones that were rallying so hard and crowing so loud on The Rachel Maddow Show and Countdown with Keith Olbermann about how hard they'll fight for the Public Option and how they'll lay down on the tracks for it have lowered their heads and walked away muttering to themselves...you know, despite having a SUPERMAJORITY.

Such weakness. The inability to pass legislation despite having an overwhelming majority. This addiction to compromise even before you get to the bargaining table. The insurance companies rightly declaring victory as they successfully killed health insurance reform.

Someone please teach the Democrats that compromise comes WAY later in the negotiations. How do you lowball YOURSELF??? The Public Option was a compromise to begin with as many Democrats really wanted single payer. And yet, they stil managed to screw that up too.

It's too much. What's on Sportscenter?

Sports reference. I was all jazzed up with Barack declaring this 'a new time' in Washington but someone forgot to tell Harry Reid. In Obama, it's like the Democrats got a star pitcher but their hitters are the same group of bums that could never make the playoffs.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Poverty In America: Real Policy Solutions For Economic Parity

Don't get me wrong. I know how Capitalism works. Everyone can't be rich. Everyone won't be middle class. But I was wondering:

If you were given complete power by the President and Congress to do whatever it took to revitalize impoverished areas of the United States in 10 years. Blank check. What would you do and why do you think it would work?

Here's what I would do:

I would increase funding for 'self-help' programs such as tuition assistance, job training programs and child care stipends for the working poor. I would drastically reduce the number of people on welfare and the amount of time that a family can receive benefits if it's proven that there are employment opportunities in their area. This would increase the number of educated, skilled workers and entrepreneurs in any given community.

I would take the money that we save from handing out welfare and give tax breaks to companies that open up shop in the poorest neighborhoods and hire the locals. As the unemployment rate drops, so would crime and drug use. That's statistically proven.

Now, people are earning their money, establishing their self-respect, taking ownership of their community and small business gets a break as well. I would also give government preference to companies and corporations that bring manufacturing jobs back to American shores and don't outsource. I would make 'Made in the USA' mean something again.

That's my urban renewal plan.

As far as poor folks out in the suburbs and rural settings, I'm not sure if that would necessarily work as you can't exactly open up a Home Depot and three Starbuck's in the middle of a small town of 2,000. I defer to anyone with more knowledge on the inner workings of farm subsidies and rural economics.

And for those who honestly could care less about lowering the number of folks below the poverty line, think of it this way: the more educated, healthy, skilled workers we have in this country, the more able we are to compete in the global market. Eliminating poverty as much as we can would bring us back to a point of self-sufficiency as a nation. It's right on moral, ethical grounds and a smart investment fiscally.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Is the media obsessed with Sarah Palin? YOU BETCHA!!!

I understand why she's all over FoxNews. She's one of the most charismatic, down-to-Earth conservative figures to come along in a very long time. I totally get why surburban soccer mawms all over the country are in love with her. Gotcha.

But I'm really not understanding CNN, MSNBC, Jon Stewart, Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann's OCD fixation with tearing apart every page of her book and every sentence she utters. I hate to admit it but it's almost like they're scared of her and scared of how popular she is among the right wing base...not realizing that by CONSTANTLY demonizing her, they actually make her MORE of a conservative celebrity by proving that the 'liberal media' IS out to get her...because they are.

In all, you'd think that I would have something against Sarah Palin but I honestly don't. She's conservative. I'm not. But her and her family seem like nice people and the constant casting her as a an attractive dummy is only setting her up to exceed low expectations.

I don't know. Maybe I'm just tired of EVERY lead story on MSNBC being some sort of lame Palin Watch. Report real news already. Enough is enough. We get it.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday's Quick Thought: People who quote from the bible when debating non-biblical issues

I was having a debate/discussion with someone on Facebook a few days ago about gay marriage and society's embrace of its homosexual population in general when the person broke out and started reciting scripture as though this was some sort of evidence of his point.

Why do that?

Let's say that you're eating a turkey sandwich and I say that you shouldn't do that. When you ask me why and I start quoting from the Bhagavad Gita or the Lotus Sutra, you have every right to wonder what MY religion has to do with YOUR turkey sandwich.


What does YOUR religion have to do with some other person's ability to see their partner in the hospital or have the same tax or healthcare benefits that you and your wife enjoy?

"Marriage" is not a Christian invention and it's not a right exclusive to religious folk. If the captain of a ship or a judge can perform a wedding, it's not a religious ceremony.

Marriage is merely a social contract recognized by the state that some may give religious significance....or they may not.

At the end of the day, I have nothing against people of faith who hold themselves to certain rules and standards but please be careful in projecting your own personal beliefs on the larger section of society that may not believe as you do.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Sound of One Hand Clapping: How Barack Obama's push for bipartisanship is beginning to tarnish his Presidency

One of the risks of being proficient in something is that there are folks who look to take advantage of your skill for their own personal gain.

I'll never forget Tyrell Watkins in the 6th grade. He was the slickest kid in the class. Popular. Flashy. Dumb as a rock. But Tyrell had personality, persistence and overwhelming people skills which meant that he never wrote a page of homework in 12 years on the planet. So it was either by pure coincidence or through a shady backroom deal brokered by this pre-teen that he was selected to be my science lab partner for the duration of the semester. Ah...the nerd and the cool kid, forced to work together. One was the Class Science Officer, the other could throw a baseball really hard and bench press twice his weight. It's the stuff of cheesy 80s sitcoms.

That's not quite how it worked.

Our mandatory homework and lab meetings went something like this:

Watkins: Hey, nerd. Do my homework or I'll break your leg.
Me: That's Tyrell with two 'L's, right?

And such was my lot in life for the bulk of the school year. Alone in a room, plagiarising myself and bowing down to a bully even though I had the authority and all the right answers.

As a skinny, bookish kid at P.S. 96 in Spanish Harlem, who knew that I was the physical embodiment of today's Democratic Party.

The role of Tyrell Watkins will be played today by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus who just intimated that while the Democrats control the White House, have a mythical Supermajority in Congress and have infused new life into the Supreme Court, that the prospect for the passage of a public option on healthcare reform is all but dead. What's that you say? Wouldn't it stand to reason that a party who controls most of the upper levels of the federal government should be able to swiftly and easily pass legislation that it wants? Sure. But it's the Multiple Personality Democrats we're talking about here. The ones who march and stomp and protest and get up in arms when out of power only to kowtow, bend, fold and break when they are actually IN power.

President Obama. Please don't follow that legacy and the tendencies of your hand-wringing, second-guessing, ameliorating brethren on the Left. Stand tall. Stand firm. Stand up for the 46 million Americans in this country who are uninsured or underinsured who are one illness away from financial ruin, many of whom actually die from lack of care

Thursday, July 16, 2009

An Independence Day thought...a few days later

We truly live in the one of the most amazing countries in the world.

I was messaging with someone just now about my desire to distinguish myself in my writing and become a political author and journalist and how it was difficult because there are literally a million blogs online and acquiring the bonafides to be a respected, called-upon voice takes time, effort and luck and I stopped myself and wrote the line:

'woe is me, right?...as I type this, some kid just died of starvation in Darfur and some woman is getting her skull cracked in an Iranian torture room for speaking out against her own government and here I am crying because I'm not famous yet.'

And I thought just how much we take for granted in this country. Very few Americans are "poor" by world standards. Our impoverished would honestly be lower middle class in most parts of the world.

A kid from Uganda or Cambodia might very well starve to death if he can't find food. A child in the mountains of Chile or the slums of Palestine that cannot afford higher education simply does not get educated. A woman in need of medical services in war-torn Somalia might just be plain out of luck.

Here in this country, if I took any of those people and plopped them on our shores within a week they would be fed daily, housed, clothed, given medical treatment, spending cash and be well on the path to being able to attend university classes for free and attend no-cost job training.

"Poor" kids in this country don't realize that OPPORTUNITY is wealth. It's not abut how much money the government or the church down the street just put in your pocket. It's about whether or not you have the chance to make it on your own. Are the lights green on your avenue or are they all red. In many parts of the world, they are, and will always be, red unless you pay off that crooked sheriff or you perform an 'act' for that local official.

That's what many folks don't get and don't understand. That simply having the option to go to college or find job training or having a country that has an apparatus by which you may enjoy the basic necessities of life is a TREMENDOUS life advantage and one that is to be recognized and seen as the blessing that it is.

I see this as I watch a kid from the South Bronx grow up to take her place as a trailblazer and a legend of tenacity, will, sacrifice and daring. Nothing in Sonia Sotomayor's early story said 'oh...you're destined to be a Supreme Court Justice one day.' She MADE that happen with her natural intelligence, her family's love and standard and a public education system just begging to be used as a stepping stone.

Sorry for the rah rah patriotic moment...and I'm not saying that we don't need to do more work to further perfect our union because we absolutely do...but we also need to stop, sometimes, and realize just how good we have it here. Many of us that were born and raised here that take these things for granted. Of course, this message doesn't apply to first generation immigrants who saw all these things a long time ago and put action behind will and decided to come to the shining land of opportunity known as America.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

When The Self-Righteous Are Downright Wrong

In light of the Governor Sanford affair, I'm just wondering how so many people still justify their opposition to same-sex marriage and gay adoption based on this notion that heterosexual marriage is superior to homosexual marriage when, in fact, many of these same public, vocal defenders of traditional marriage are screwing everything that crosses their eyeline. Male, female, boys, girls...whatever. But then they get up on a stage or in front of a microphone and call someone else immoral or say that every gay union is wrong and corrupt.

Maybe we just have to wait until EVERY politicians' extramarital affair is exposed and there won't be anyone left to oppose same-sex marriage.

It's a joke.

Britney Spears can run to Las Vegas with a buddy and get married in an Elvis Presley chapel as a joke and THAT was more legal than two women who have loved one another for 20 years and share their entire lives together.


And don't get me started on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'. President Obama needs to do all he can to get that idiotic rule reversed ASAP.