Sunday, September 28, 2008

Paul Newman 1925-2008

Star of Stage, Screen, Race Tracks and Grocery Stores Shelves
I was very sad to hear of the passing of actor/director and legend Paul Newman. I honestly loved this man. I am not ashamed to say that I loved his voice and his eyes and his body and his very cool walk, and his acting and his daring and his intellect and especially his heart.

Paul Newman was much more than a gorgeous Hollywood heartthrob. Like Cary Grant, Paul was an artist who didn't want to rely on his good looks. Grant didn't allow his heartthrob status keep him from from playing comedy and being as silly as can be. Paul enjoyed playing the anti-hero, jerk or loser who was not at all the good guy leading man and who often got his face rearranged by some character's punches.

He won an Oscar for Color of Money in 1986 and was nominated a total of 10 times from 1956 to the 2002 nom for Road to Perdition. Paul won an honorary Oscar in 1986 "in recognition of his many and memorable compelling screen performances and for his personal integrity and dedication to his craft." In 1994, he won a third Oscar, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, for his charitable work.

Newman started in movies in "The Silver Chalice," a 1954 costume film he so despised that he took out an ad in Variety to apologize. OMG that is too funny. I love that.

By 1958, he had won the best actor award at the Cannes Film Festival for the shiftless, fast talking Ben Quick in "The Long Hot Summer." This is one of my favorites, starring Paul and his wife and fellow Oscar winner, Joanne Woodward. Also in 1958 Paul starred with Elizabeth Taylor, Jack Carson, and Burl Ives, in my favorite movie Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The scenes in the basement with Ives as the southern tycoon "Big Daddy" and Newman as his son "Brick" the struggling fallen athlete, get me every single time. And I challenge you to find a scene sexier than Brick telling "Maggie the Cat" (Elizabeth Taylor) to "lock the door." This was movie making, story telling and acting at it's very finest.

While he didn't capitalize on his good looks for roles, Paul did use his celebrity to raise millions for charity. In 1980 Paul, who was said to be always mischievous and up to something, and his friend and neighbor A. E. Hotchner made a big batch of salad dressing, filled bottles and gave it away for Christmas gifts as a lark. In 1982 they founded Newman's Own Food Company. Now of course you can see Newman's handsome face, often in funny costumes on various delicious salad dressings, popcorn and spaghetti sauce labels on grocery shelves. All profits go to charity. All profits. How 'bout that!

In 1988, Paul and Mr. Hotchner founded a different sort of enterprise: the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Ashford, Conn.,(named after the outlaw gang in "Butch Cassidy") a free camp for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. One camp grew into other camps, nationally and globally. Newman's Own has grown into a powerful and lasting expression of Paul Newman's generosity. The Company has generated over $250 million in proceeds that have been donated by Paul Newman and the Newman's Own Foundation to thousands of charities worldwide.

“Paul was an unadorned man. He was simple and direct and honest and off-center and mischievous, and romantic and very handsome. All of these qualities became the generating force behind him.” He added: “He was the same man in 2008 that he was in 1956 — unchanged, despite all the honors and the movie stardom, not a whisper of a change. And that’s something, the constancy of the man.” A. E Hotchner, friend of 50 years.

Civil Rights
Paul and his wife actress Joanne Woodward, have also been civil rights activists since the 1950's. Paul and Joanne have put their feet, money and voices where their convictions are including GLBT rights, anti-war efforts, and backing and campaigning for progressive candidates. When Paul Newman made President Nixon's enemies list he was thrilled and proud.

Paul Newman did not live in Hollywood. He called the glitzy, fast paced movie star life, "rubbish". He and Joanne were married in 1958 and lived in a renovated farmhouse in Westport, Connecticut. He died there surrounded by Joanne and his five daughters.

Paul and Joanne

"Our father was a rare symbol of selfless humility, the last to acknowledge what he was doing was special," his daughters said in a written statement. "Intensely private, he quietly succeeded beyond measure in impacting the lives of so many with his generosity." Statement from Paul Newman's five daughters.

"There is a point where feelings go beyond words," actor Robert Redford said Saturday. "I have lost a real friend. My life — and this country — is better for his being in it."

This is a man who wisely used his gifts and his life. He was truly a Movie Star who found a richness of life far away from the movie star lifestyle.

A few of my favorite Paul Newman movies:
Long Hot Summer 1958.......Cat on a Hot Tin Roof 1958
Hud 1963 Hombre 1967...... Cool hand Luke 1967
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 1969
The Sting 1973 ............Towering Inferno 1974
The Verdict 1982 ..........Color of Money 1986

Saturday, September 27, 2008

John McCain Showed Up

"I agree with you, John", said Barack Obama. The pundits counted how many times he said, I agree, in last nights debate. I'll bet before the weekend is out there will be an ad by McCain with every I agree sound bite. This from a reformer, the new Change McCain. Clean up Washington McCain. Well John, that's exactly what's wrong with Washington. Both you and Sen Obama are running for president of the same country last time I checked. So of course you'd have to agree on many things. How stupid that they aren't allowed to say so. Foolish and dishonest posturing wastes a lot of silly time. Saying, I made a mistake, or I agree, or the situation has changed so I've changed my opinion, are such big No No's in D.C. I hate that. It's disingenuous and boring. Props to any politician who bucks that bullshit.
This is one of the attitudes Obama often speaks of changing.

Both Senators showed up at the debate last night and did their thing well. But, Monica and I both noticed that during the debate, McCain did not ever look at Obama. It really irked the hell out of Monica. It's like he would not acknowledge or honor that Obama was there. That was the debate format they chose and it's downright disrespectful and rude. And, it says a lot about McCain and what kind of president he'll be.

What about showing some mutual respect to a colleague standing a few feet from you? As president, when meeting with a foreign representative or head of state, especially an adversary, showing respect for them or their position, acknowledging them, is the first step to finding common ground and building a report for working out differences. I don't believe John McCain is capable of doing that.

I've always hated when it's America's turn to speak at the United Nations. We're always preachy and condescending and dismissive. The Bush administration raised this to an art form and added some nasty. This same you-don't-count attitude is what I saw from McCain last night.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Get Over It, Bill!

Is it me or is Bill Clinton holding a big ole grudge? After seeing him on "The View" I was amazed at how restrained and almost reluctant he was regarding encouraging voters for Obama.
He said Sen. Obama would win and went on to say, “I genuinely like both of them, I genuinely — I think that we make a terrible mistake believing that we have to find something wrong with the people we can’t vote for.”
That's fine and no we shouldn't have to. But when did he come to that conclusion?

After he was asked who would win, he explained why he thought Obama would win by pointing to several external factors:

* These are difficult economic times, he said (without saying directly that Mr. Obama would benefit from the financial crisis);
* “America is growing more diverse, racially, religiously, culturally _ demographically the country is moving toward Democratic voters in general;”
* Voter registration “is up for Democrats and flat for Republicans in 20 of the most important states.”
Hmmmmmm true but hmmmmmmmmmm.

I also know, because Clinton has said it, that he thinks Obama is not using the relative success of the Clinton administration vs. the total turmoil of the Bush years enough in the campaign. Bill Clinton is talking as fast as he can trying to deflect any blame from his administration for the economic crisis we are in. He is worried about his damn legacy and he should be. He knows that the deregulation of the FCC rules that allowed for the conglomoration and ruination of the media and independent voices, happened on his watch. He knows that he signed Reaganesque legislation that further relaxed banking regulations that allowed bankers to turn into high risk greedy gamblers. He knows that a $700 Billion buck bailout with no oversights or accountability will not fix this problem. He knows America is sitting on a house of flimsy cards. Bill does not want the blame for this horrible crisis.

Yes, that's the reality, but politically, for the campaign, I agree with Bill Clinton that contrasting the two administrations would hit home with folks. Prez Clinton wants to protect his legacy. I get that. Obama needs to win. America needs that.

But the grudge thing is kinda obvious. We are close to election day and he needs to get over Hillary's defeat. There are still huge hurdles to getting away from these horrible people and we need not only a change in the White House but as many democratic legislators as possible. Maybe with a clear majority, a Democratic Congress will have the balls to do what needs to be done to save this nation.
Right now we need Bill Clinton. He is still influential as hell.

Here's Bill Clinton followed by Chris Rock on David Letterman.
Chris makes some good points. What do you think?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

John McCain is NO Patriot

I had always said, after Bush, I hope Sen. John McCain is the GOP candidate because at least he has shown a willingness to reach across the aisle and is not off the chart right wing. If the Dems lose, at least we won't be stuck with another asshole. Although I dislike his militaristic thinking, I thought McCain had integrity and would put country first better than other likely GOP candidates.

Well, that was then and this, is now. I've learned quite a bit more about John McCain since then. He has proven himself via this campaign, to be quite a jerk. Yes, he was a POW and I appreciate his service and sacrafice. But, that doesn't qualify him to be president anymore than it does any of the other thousands of POW's. For me, the worst is the loss of what I thought was his integrity. I have loss respect for him. He is a liar. He does not respect Americans or appeal to their intellect. He has proven himself right up there with the Jerry Springer Show and George W. Bush. McCain is not interested in making us or the USA better. And, I know for a fact that dirty tricks are already in the works for this election. (More on that in later posts.) Lastly, he does not put country first. He is no patriot. He is hell bent on more wars. And he is OK with the prospect of Sarah Palin becoming president.

Paul Slanky's strong no bullshit post below is something we need to acknowledge. We have another man running for president that does not care about this nation. I agree with Slanksy that the GOP has to step up and speak to other Republicans, just as I believe it takes white people talking to white people to affect racism.

Why Does John McCain Hate America So Much?

Paul Slansky

The contempt John McCain has shown for the people of this country by plucking the wildly unqualified Sarah Palin to sit a cancer-prone heartbeat from the presidency leaves only one conclusion. John McCain hates America.

Eight presidents -- or nineteen percent of them ---have died in office. This comes out to roughly one in five, and we've had eight in a row who survived, so we're overdue. Add to that the actuarial tables and the early deaths of McCain's father and grandfather (he's already outlived them both) and it's clear that President Palin is far from a remote possibility.

And yet, the true significance and consequences of this grim prospect seem to be off limits for public dialogue. Our not-just-useless-but-actually-complicit mainstream media would rather spend a day repeating the mantra "lipstick on a pig" than urging the public to really contemplate what it would mean if this vindictive, intolerant woman -- with her five-colleges-in-six-years education -- were to become the most powerful human on the planet. It's like it's unfair to mention the inconvenient truth that Sarah Palin is an authoritarian religious zealot totally unsuited for the position John McCain has recklessly named her to -- a truth so obvious that anyone with eyes and ears who's not blinded or deafened by ideology can see and hear it.

But forget about the media. It's up to our representatives to protect us from this harsh fate. Let's not kid ourselves -- there isn't one respected member of Congress, in either party, who doesn't know how grotesque this situation is. But, because of the nation's bitter partisan divide, it's the Republicans who have to speak up.

Hey, Thad Cochran. You said, "The thought of [McCain] being president sends a cold chill down my spine." Does the thought of Palin being president warm you up any? Hey, Liddy Dole. What does Bob say about this? Hey, John Warner and Pete Domenici. You're leaving office, what have you got to lose by speaking out? Hey, Dick Lugar. Hey, Arlen Specter and Kay Bailey Hutchison. Hey, Chuck Grassley and Mitch McConnell and Olympia Snowe. Hey, Lamar Alexander and Kit Bond and Robert Bennett and Orrin Hatch. Hey, Richard Shelby and Judd Gregg and George Voinovich and Pat Roberts and Susan Collins. Hey, Chuck Hagel!

Hey, all of you. Don't just whisper amongst yourselves how insane this is. Share it with the class. Your silence can only be interpreted as support for this lunacy. Most of you can't stand the guy anyway. Say something! Yes, a Republican revolt would cost McCain the election, but after this insulting move, doesn't he deserve to lose? Hasn't he disqualified himself from the presidency with his mavericky first decision?

The country has just endured the worst leadership in modern history, and no lessons have been learned. Despite what we have witnessed over the past eight years, tens of millions of people are willing to instantly repeat the same mistake and elect another sadistic ignoramus to national office because she's able to hide these qualities behind the deceptive dazzle of charisma. This cannot be allowed to happen.

That John McCain is a shameless panderer who'll do anything to get elected president has become increasingly obvious over the eight years he's spent reversing every principled position he'd ever taken. That John McCain has renounced every shred of honor that ever attached to him is clear to anyone who bears witness to the parade of scummy lies he calls his advertising campaign -- a campaign that no less a bottom feeder than Karl Rove said has gone "one step too far" by "attributing to Obama things that are, you know, beyond the 100-percent truth test." That John McCain has cravenly sold his soul for a prize that he doesn't even seem to want for any reason other than just to have it is undeniable to anyone who looks into his now-dead eyes. He's a walking corpse.

John McCain likes to wrap himself in the flag and call himself a patriot, but foisting this dangerously inappropriate successor-in-waiting on the nation puts him at the opposite end of that spectrum. By disregarding the kind of risk his country will be at if this know-nothing reactionary ascends to the presidency, he reveals himself not as a patriot, but rather as a traitor. If John McCain dies in office, he should be posthumously tried for treason.

With this fuck-you to America, John McCain has proven himself to be -- and I never thought I'd be able to say this about anyone -- as despicable as George W. Bush.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bullwinkle J. Moose 1959-2008

I learned through Pam's House Blend who reported via the New York Times, of the death, excuse me, assassination of Bullwinkle J. Moose. The culprit is none other than, you guessed it, Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin.

The Frostbite Falls Review
Frostbite Falls, MN
Longtime resident, local and international hero, Bullwinkle J. Moose was killed while vacationing and attending a fundraiser in Alaska. He and longtime friend and fellow hero, Rocky (the flying) Squirrel were attempting to assemble a hammock between two trees when shots rang out from a passing helicopter. Rocky reports seeing the Governor laughing and waving her high powered rifle as she dropped these markers near his slain friends body.

Governor Palin reportedly did not realize that it was Bullwinkle. "I just saw antlers and that's fair game in my book." "He'll make a great trophy for my new office in Washington D.C."

Services will be private with a public service being planned by Rocky and His Friends, Mr. Peabody and his boy Sherman. Although they are longtime Rocky and Bullwinkle nemesis', Natashia and Boris Badenov are reportedly coming to the services. "We must come out of respect for Moose and Squirrel" said Mr. Badenov. Natashia mentions that she can see Gov. Palin's Alaskan home from her house in Russia. But that their neighbor the Governor has never ventured across the border. "She would make excellent fearless leader." Natashia remarked.

Bullwinkle J. Moose had traveled the world fighting bad guys. But, here in Frostbite Falls, he will always be known as our friend and community organizer.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Race, Always a Factor

JJ Brock is a compelling and intriguing blogger. Her blog, The Old Black Church (What Happened to the Black Church?), is one of my favorites. Her perspective is a combination of fresh and old school. I feel she is enlightening and keeps us grounded. We don't agree on everything but she is honest and open minded. I like that. Today her post included a letter from her local newspaper. Very Interesting.

What if John McCain were a former president of the Harvard Law Review? What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class? What if McCain were still married to the first woman he said “I do” to? What if Obama were the candidate who left his first wife after she no longer measured up to his standards?

What if Michelle Obama were a wife who not only became addicted to pain killers, but acquired them illegally through her charitable organization? What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard? What if Obama were a member of the “Keating 5”? What if McCain was a charismatic, eloquent speaker?

If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are?

This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.

I can add, what if Obama's teen daughter was pregnant? Would people be so understanding? What if Obama had chosen Bill Richardson for his VP? Would voters accept two non-white candidates? This is all a lot to ponder. Go ahead and start pondering.

Here's some more.

Does It Begin and End with Race?

We have come a long way in this country. Senator Obama broke through some amazing racial barriers. I feel we heeded his challenge to begin opening up discussions on racial attitudes and relations. We have already gone beyond my expectations. I've seen millions of white people move beyond race for the first time in America's history. I pray that Obama becomes president. But, I still have serious doubts that even with all the evidence of the GOP's disastrous failure and betrayal of America, even after the magnitude of last weekend's Wall Street disaster fostered by an economic philosophy based on reckless practices and greed and an astonishing lack of leadership by the current administration, the GOP ticket may still be won because Barack Obama is black.

Brad Puts His Money Down

Brad Pitt announced Wednesday that he's donating $100,000 to fight California's Proposition 8, a November ballot initiative that would eliminate same-sex couples' right to marry.

"Because no one has the right to deny another their life, even though they disagree with it, because everyone has the right to live the life they so desire if it doesn't harm another and because discrimination has no place in America, my vote will be for equality and against Proposition 8," the actor said in a statement.

Pitt's donation marks the largest thus far to the anti-Prop. 8 campaign by an A-list celebrity.

Brad Pitt, said he won't get married until the right extends to everyone.

Brad and Angelina are not the first celebrity couple to have the idea. In 2005 on the television show “Extra,” Charlize Theron said of her relationship with the actor Stuart Townsend, “We said we would get married the day that gays and lesbians can get married, when that right is given to them.”

The financial fight over Prop. 8 has been fierce, with gay marriage supporters taking an early fundraising lead. Last month, a $1-million contribution by the Knights of Columbus, will be used to get yes votes for prop 8 and defeat gay marriage. What gallant knights they are. They couldn't find anything else to do with $1-million dollars.

In service to all? Obviously they don't mean "all" Catholics.
These knights should address Catholic gays about marriage within their church.

This is a civil right.
The Knights spent a million bucks to deny civil rights to people.
With liberty and justice for "all". Equality for "all".
Civil Rights.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Face the Nation

Imagine applying for a job. You walk in and fill out the papers and make it to the interview stage. You have seen a few people and talked yourself up. Now it's time for the potential employer to evaluate you on things not on your resume. Things such as: how you think, your temperament, sincerity, knowledge, attitude, ability to communicate ideas, and problem solving skills.
Every organization has a vision or direction of where it is going supported by a set of values and, now you must show that you fit that criteria.
You get all gussied up and walk in, shake hands, and then inform the interviewer that you are not taking any questions but you will submit to a taped interview or two. Unthinkable?

Have you ever known of a candidate for vice president of these here United States of America who does not Face the Nation or Meet the Press on Sunday morning? I need to quit harping on Palin, she's not the top of the ticket, I know. But, how is she able to escape? Isn't it our right as her potential employer to ask questions for our evaluation?

I can't stand it.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Lynda Wonderful Woman Carter

Gorgeous actress and cabaret performer, Lynda Carter, AKA Wonder Woman, spoke her mind about Gov. Sarah Palin in an interview recently.
Question. I'm sure you've seen all the comparisons in the media and among Republicans of Sarah Palin to Wonder Woman. How do you feel about that?

Lynda Carter.
Don’t get me started. She’s the anti-Wonder Woman. She’s judgmental and dictatorial, telling people how they’ve got to live their lives. And a superior religious self-righteousness ... that’s just not what Wonder Woman is about. Hillary Clinton is a lot more like Wonder Woman than Mrs. Palin. She did it all, didn’t she?

No one has the right to dictate, particularly in this country, to force your own personal views upon the populace — religious views. I think that is suppressive, oppressive, and anti-American. We are the loyal opposition. That’s the whole point of this country: freedom of speech, personal rights, personal freedom. Nor would Wonder Woman be the person to tell people how to live their lives. Worry about your own life! Worry about your own family! Don't be telling me what I want to do with mine.

I like John McCain. But this woman — it's anathema to me what she stands for. I think America should be very afraid. Very afraid. Separation of church and state is the one thing the creators of the Constitution did agree on — that it wasn’t to be a religious government. People should feel free to speak their minds about religion but not dictate it or put it into law.

What I don’t understand, honestly, is how anyone can even begin to say they know the mind of God. Who do they think they are? I think that’s ridiculous. I know what God is in my life. Now I am sure that she’s not all just that. But it’s enough to me. It’s enough for me to have a visceral reaction. And it makes me mad.

People need to speak up. Doesn’t mean that I’m Godless. Doesn’t mean that I am a murderer. What I hate is this demonization of everybody but one position. You’re un-American because you’re against the war. It’s such bullshit. Fear. It’s really such a finite way of thinking about God to think that your measley little mind can know the mind of God. It’s a very little God that way. I think that God’s bigger. I don’t presume to know his mind. Or her mind.

Well said sister.
Believers believe that God is everything and that we are made in Gods image. God created a diverse humanity. I feel when we use God or religion to dehumanize, we belittle and offend God. People need to think. We all have biases but it becomes bigotry when we use it to dehumanize others.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

McCain wears Flip-Flops

In a primary debate with Michigan governor Mitt Romney, Sen. McCain explains why Gov. Romney is not ready to be Commander-in-Chief.

How 'bout that.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

No Time for Silly Season

Lipstick on a pig. The McCain/Palin camp got all indignant. They got all outraged even though they saw the tape of McCain using the exact same phrase. Ooops.
But I say, if Sarah thinks it's her shade..... then hey.

He's getting there. It's about time, huh.

McCain's Despicable Tactics

Barack Obama should demand an apology from McCain/Palin for outright smearing him with the same sleazy tactics that yucky, makes my flesh crawl, Alan Keyes' did in his run for office against Barack in 2004.
In a spot, titled "Education," McCain challenges Obama's accomplishments in education-related goals other than to promote "comprehensive sex education" to kindergartners.

In essence, Obama supported "age appropriate" sex-education for children as a means of teaching them what was proper or improper touching, as well as to protect them against pedophiles.

The Obama campaign quickly came out with a hard hitting response, pointing to a series of education accomplishments made by Obama, and calling McCain "perverse" for the latest attack.

"It is shameful and downright perverse for the McCain campaign to use a bill that was written to protect young children from sexual predators as a recycled and discredited political attack against a father of two young girls - a position that his friend Mitt Romney also holds. Last week, John McCain told Time magazine he couldn't define what honor was. Now we know why," said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton.

John McCain is using, liberals go for gays, pro-choice, evolution, and sex ed even for 5 year olds, strategy. Barack, he's not like you. Look at Sarah, she's like you with her hunting and fishing and kids.

Barack Obama needs to hammer away on this one. Demand they answer for it. Hammer home, how could Palin, with her five kids, including a little girl, sign off on such a sleazy ad?

Barack should tell them, I don't hunt or fish. I play basketball and I'm a lousy bowler. But I'm an American like you that knows you need tax breaks more than the rich do. I know you need your jobs protected from outsourcing and you need health care you can afford and depend on, and you need to be able to send your kids to college. They can understand that.

C'mon Barack, McCain does not share your "Americans are smarter than that" idea. He's appealing to where they are. It should tell you something that they buy Sarah Palin. They bought Bush twice. C'mon Barack these people vote against their own best interests. So you gotta help them understand that. Go where they are.
Barack if you are waiting to hit McCain during the debates, remember these people who McCain is targeting with such ads, don't even watch debates.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Palin's Church Promotes Gay Conversion

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Sept. 8) - Gov. Sarah Palin's church is promoting a conference that promises to convert gays into heterosexuals through the power of prayer.
"You'll be encouraged by the power of God's love and His desire to transform the lives of those impacted by homosexuality," according to the insert in the bulletin of the Wasilla Bible Church, where Palin has prayed for about six years.

Palin's conservative Christian views have energized that part of the GOP electorate, which was lukewarm to John McCain's candidacy before he named her as his vice presidential choice.

She is staunchly anti-abortion (opposing exceptions for rape and incest), and opposes gay marriage and spousal rights for gay couples.
Focus on the Family, a national Christian fundamentalist organization, is conducting the Love Won Out Conference in Anchorage, about 30 miles from Wasilla.

Palin, campaigning with McCain in the Midwest on Friday, has not publicly expressed a view on the so-called "pray away the gay" movement. Larry Kroon, senior pastor at Palin's church, was not available to discuss the matter Friday, said a church worker who declined to give her name.

Gay activists in Alaska said Palin has not worked actively against their interests, but early in her administration she supported a bill to overrule a court decision to block state benefits for gay partners of public employees.

Wellllll, very interesting. Here we go again. George W. Bush used the marriage amendment and McCain is using the Governor to round up the homophobe votes. I guess Bush I's old Willie Horton thing won't go this time round with Obama and all, ya know. It might look bad. But folks are always afraid of the gays. I mean Bush II courted and got the black church votes with the promise to keep the gays in their place. After Katrina, that all went down the tubes.
So now we get Sarah.
Take ten giant steps backwards.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Fed up with the so-called Press

One of the scariest things that ever happened in this country was the change in the FCC laws that allowed mega-ownership of media like TV and radio stations in a single market. That's when free speech and free independent thought was replaced with mass conglamorate control. Sound crazy? You bet it is. And it's silent, stealth like, so you don't notice.

I saw the red flags and started screaming! Screaming! Independent thought is what America is about! I saw it going down the Viacom tubes broadcasting the same stuff all over the land. It's what stirred me to start this blog. I will never get over Bill Clinton letting this begin on his watch. Now, the press is pretty much dead or might as well be. There are no hard hitting reporters. They aren't allowed to hit hard. At least not certain people.
Oh, they're very good at hounding and hiding and chasing and slinging dirt. They are no good at being objective, investigating, conducting challenging interviews, getting to the truth, or reporting it. They no longer have that reporters passion.
They are all to busy protecting and spinning and slanting and self promoting.

Sarah Palin is soon to be in Alaska cramming for her one allowed interview and VP debates. She will get her one interview by Charles Gibson (ABC) over a couple day period so they can OK and splice and dice it all up. Maybe Charlie will fool us and do his job. We'll see.
There are so many questions for the candidates and follow-up questions. But we never get them, all we get is bullshit. The debates could be the decider, if they find someone not to afraid too ask hard questions.

Adam Mcay has an article we should all read and remember when we listen to pundits, who are NOT journalist. I fear for America. I really do.

We're Gonna Frickin' Lose this Thing
Posted September 8, 2008 | 10:41 AM (EST)

"Stop saying that!" my wife says to me. But this is not a high school football game and I'm not a cheerleader with a bad attitude. This is an election and as things stand now, we're gonna frickin' lose this thing. Obama and McCain at best are even in the polls nationally and in a recent Gallup poll McCain is ahead by four points.

Something is not right. We have a terrific candidate and a terrific VP candidate. We're coming off the worst eight years in our country's history. Six of those eight years the Congress, White House and even the Supreme Court were controlled by the Republicans and the last two years the R's have filibustered like tantrum throwing 4-year-olds, yet we're going to elect a Republican who voted with that leadership 90% of the time and a former sportscaster who wants to teach Adam and Eve as science? That's not odd as a difference of opinion, that's logically and mathematically queer.

It reminds me of playing blackjack (a losers game). You make all the right moves, play the right hands but basically the House always wins. I know what you're going to say " But I won twelve hundred dollars last year in Atlantic City!" Of course there are victories. The odds aren't tilted crazy, but there is a 51%-49% advantage. And in the long run, the house has to win. The house will win.

So what is this house advantage the Republicans have? It's the press. There is no more fourth estate. Wait, hold on...I'm not going down some esoteric path with theories on the deregulation of the media and corporate bias and CNN versus Fox...I mean it: there is no more functioning press in this country. And without a real press the corporate and religious Republicans can lie all they want and get away with it. And that's the 51% advantage.

Think this is some opinion being wryly posited to titillate other bloggers and inspire dialogue with Tucker Carlson or Gore Vidal? Fuck that. Four corporations own all the TV channels. All of them. If they don't get ratings they get canceled or fired. All news is about sex, blame and anger, and fear. Exposing lies about amounts of money taken from lobbyists and votes cast for the agenda of the last eight years does not rate. The end.

So one side can lie and get away with it. Now let's throw in one more advantage. Voter caging and other corruption on the local level with voting. Check out the article here on HuffPost about Ohio messing with 600K voters. If only five thousand of those voters don't or can't vote that's a huge advantage in a contest that could be decided by literally dozens of votes. That takes us to about a 52 to 48% advantage.

I'm not even getting into the fact that the religious right teaches closed mindedness so it's almost impossible to gain new voters from their pool because people who disagree with them are agents of the devil. I just want to look at two inarguable realities: A) we have no more press and B) the Repubs are screwing with the voters on the local level.

I'm telling you, we're going to lose this thing. And afterwords we'll blame ourselves the same way we did with Gore and Kerry (two candidates a thousand times more qualified to lead than W Bush.) Just watch.. McCain wins by a point or two and we all walk around saying things like "Obama was too well spoken." "Biden wasn't lovable enough." "I shouldn't have split those eights." "Why did I hit on 16? Why?!"

So what do we do?

1) We give definitive clear speeches like Biden and Obama gave the other day about how no one talked about any issues at the Republican Convention and how they outright lied. But we do them over and over again. 2) We use the one place where it's still a 50-50 game -- the internet -- as much as we can. 3) But most importantly we should bring up re-regulating the media and who owns it and what that conflict of interest is a lot more. By pretending there's no conflict of interest we're failing to alert the public that they're being lied to or given a looking at a coin at the bottom of a pool slanted truth. Every time a pundit or elected official is on any TV news program it should be a polite formality to mention that GE has made such and such billions off the war in Iraq by selling arms or that Murdoch is a right-wing activist with a clear stake in who wins and who taxes his profits the least. Disney, GE, Viacom, and Murdoch -- all want profits and the candidate and agenda that will get in their way the least.

Obama and Biden should also create a "master sound bite sentence" and repeat it hundreds of times. It should be so true that even the corporations can't screw with it when it makes the airwaves. Here's my attempt: "Katrina, four dollar gas, a trillion dollar war, rising unemployment, deregulated housing market, global more."

This race should be about whether the Republican Party is going to be dismantled or not after the borderline treason of the past eight years. But instead it is about making the word "community organizer" a dirty word and a beauty queen who shoots foxes from a plane. Someone is not in any way doing their job and it's the press. Or more specifically, that job no longer exists.

Probably the worst offenders are the pundits who take the position that it's all just a game and say phrases like "getting a post-convention bump" or "playing to the soccer Moms." This isn't a game of Monopoly or Survivor. There are real truths that exist outside of the spin they are given and have an effect on lives. 250,000 Iraqi civilians are dead because we let our reality be distorted by the most effective propaganda machine in fifty years, the corporate American press. Money and jobs are flying out of this country as our currency becomes worthless and we're talking about the fact that McCain is a veteran. If someone busted into your house and robbed you would you then forgive them if you found out they were a veteran? Of course not. So why are we forgiving McCain for selling out his country by supporting the Bush agenda?

This is it folks. If McCain takes power we fade and become Australia in the seventies: a backwoods country with occasional flashes of relevance. Except we've got a way bigger military and we're angrier. People will get hurt and we'll pay the bill for the bullets. I'm telling you, unless we wake up, we're gonna lose this frickin' thing.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Your Social Security Statement

Periodically, the Social Security Administration sends you a statement of your earnings record. Also included is your estimated benefit amount at age 62, 66, 70 and disability amount if you qualify for that benefit. There is info regarding family benefits for your spouse and children.
And, in addition there are estimates for your survivors.

"This Social Security Statement can help you plan for your financial future." It's right there on form SSA-7005-SM-SI.
Monica received her statement recently. A simple SSA form that you should check carefully for mistakes and file away with your important papers.
A simple form that always makes me angry.

Although Monica and I have shared our lives for 29 years, I would not be eligible or entitled to her survivor benefit, nor she to mine. As citizens and tax payers into that system, we didn't pay one cent less than any other couple that could receive this benefit. How is this fair? How is this legal?

The SSA uses the term "loved one" thru out it's publications.
"If a loved one has died, contact the Social Security Administration immediately."
"These benefits are to help relieve financial burdens for your loved ones."
Based on these statements gay couples should are entitled to file for spouse and survivor benefits. Unfortunately, we are not eligible because our government has determined that people like me and Monica do not qualify as "loved ones". It does saves a bundle of money for the SSA at our expense.

As a Federal employee, I paid SSA benefits to families in the railroad industry, and I still have all the benefit requirements cemented in my brain. For example, the SSA even has provisions to pay benefits to ex-spouses, even though they are re-married. So, I could have married some guy 35 years ago and he could show up and have more rights to my earnings than Monica. How's that for fair and equitable treatment of citizens.
It's not just about "married" or a party and a ring and social status, although everyone deserves those things. It's about fairness and survival for people who have built and lived a life together.

It must be nice for those who can take such benefits for granted.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Hypocrisy Now!

Ahhh Jon Stewart. He will always find it. Can't hide from this dude, especially not from yourself.

Now we need Saturday Night Live to get on the case too.

Sarah Palin pulls out the Big Gun

Wow! I wonder who she has in her sites?

McCain's VP pick, Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin, accepted the nomination at the GOP Convention last night. She then delivered a rousing kick butt speech that had the crowd jumping to their feet and cheering. In her cheerful voice, the 2nd woman ever to be a candidate for VP in a major party, proceeded to snipe, and slash, lie about and bash, belittle and take shots at Barack Obama like she was in a helicopter with an automatic rifle hunting some bear.
She covered everything in her speech accept the issues. But, she has being snarky, mocking and snide down pat, yall. She says she's a pit bull AKA a hockey mom. So does that mean the gloves come off and she is game for all comers with questions about "the issues". We'll see.
She says she is a reformer who cut pork from Alaska's budget like her personal jet and family chef. Oh, and she also cut funding for housing for teenage girls who are pregnant. Uh huh. Thanks Barbara Waters for that info.

Making a point about her executive experience, Palin put down community organizers (like Obama) as some little gig with no responsibilities. Perhaps she is not aware that community organizers are the first line of support for people, especially those who are struggling or in crisis. It's where people go when they are losing their homes, jobs, and health care. It's where they go when they can't pay their utilities, secure benefits, get veteran and homeless services. Community organizers have been priceless in the last eight years. She didn't address any of these issues although the policies she and McCain will continue are why community activists and organizers are needed now more than ever.
According to Gov. Palin, the only service really worth a hoot is military service. Trot out Sen. McCain's POW experience and milk, milk, milk. The ordeal Sen. McCain survived should be beyond that shallow political treatment.

Rudy Giuliani's attack on Obama made me laugh.
Rudy said, "He's (Obama) never run a city, never run a state, never run a business.
He's never had to lead people in crisis.
This is not a personal attack ... .it's a statement of fact - Barack Obama has never led anything. Nothing. Nada."
"The choice in this election comes down to substance over style. John has been tested. Barack Obama has not."

Obama who was a virtual unknown outside of Illinois, ran an amazingly successful presidential campaign. A grassroots campaign fueled and paid for by the people. A herculean task of organization and leardership.

Mr. Giuliani was not only mayor of New York City, but he masterfully handled a terrible traumatic American crisis. There was not an American who didn't know and appreciate his leadership at that time. And yet, he couldn't secure the nomination of his party.
And, if Mayor Giuliani knows Barack Obama's story up to yesterday, and if he noticed that Obama is a black man in America, and he thinks Obama hasn't been tested, he is nuts.
I'm just saying.