This Thanksgiving, I reflect on our nation. There is reason to despair, or course. Some dire work is still undone. For example, nearly a year after the Sandy Hook horror, we still have no coherent national plan of action to restrict gun ownership. Also, our Congress is still embarrassingly dysfunctional, as the Republicans recently shut down the government in protest of millions of Americans getting access to health insurance. There is also a lack of meaningful citizen action on climate change, which could be the nullifying factor for all human endeavor a few generations out. Read more
President Obama, Senator Reid and Representative Nancy Pelosi pulled off an epic victory for the American people this week when they held strong against the Tea Party’s best efforts to sabotage our government. After fifteen long days of the government shutdown, it was the strong-minded determination of our Democratic leadership that caused House Republicans to blink. The take-away is simple: good wins out in the end.
Undoubtedly, the Tea party will try to regroup and spin the narrative in their favor, but when the January and February due dates approach to revisit the budget and debt ceiling my bet is on bipartisan communication averting anymore drama. Polling indicates most American voters hate what the Tea Party did. Career politicians like GOP Rep. Herrera Beutler are finding their way to the middle, and hard core Tea Party leaders will be booking tickets home in 2014. When the American people make up their minds on something, it takes decades to change it, and they have now decided good governance makes their lives better. Read more
The nation lost billions of dollars, the GOP lost national respect & the government lost more of the public's faith while Ted Cruz grew his email list.
The global economy held its breath, the American people threw up their hands & even Republicans of good faith rolled their eyes while we learned Boehner can't run his House.
Now the government can serve the people again, the President showed he can be resolute & the US avoided national default -- with no guarantee this won't happen again.
In the meantime, Congress is back on the job of not passing bills for jobs, immigration, climate change, food stamps or gun control while wiretapping & drones continue unimpeded.
We may have maintained our full faith and credit & seen the Tea Party's fool's faith discredited. But to win the full faith of the American public, it will take real work before DC gets any credit.
Come for a night of good faith and good company as we debate, discuss & drink to recent events at your local progressive social club.
DRINKING LIBERALLY Find - or start - a chapter near you.
Want to know where the recent flurry of House Republican bat shit is coming from?
Look no further than right wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh.
Recall that immediately after firing the opening salvo with a 21 hour speech on White Castle burgers and Duck Dynasty, Ted Cruz couldn't wait to join Limbaugh for some mutual back slapping.
Now new audio captured by a Flush Rush activist shows that, although Limbaugh has been marginalized over the past few years, his skill at pulling the puppet strings on large numbers of vocal if misled voters is still alive and well.
Using the overwhelming aversion of Tea Party conservatives to feminists and environmentalists, Limbaugh inserts audio of himself railing against these depraved leftists into news breaks, then follows it up with a deft bait-and-switch call to action, encouraging listeners to use an antiquated device called a telephone to contact their Congressperson and urge they stand firm on the government shutdown. Read more
Free markets and college football. Deeply embedded into the sociocultural fabric of American life, these two time-honored traditions are incompatible. Why is scandalous headline after scandalous headline born from the act of receiving compensation for working hard, an act that is laudable in every other profession? The answer lies in one dogmatic, pious, hypocritical, bloated bureaucracy of a governing body: the National Collegiate Athletic Association. However, with targeted new policies, the NCAA and member schools can enjoy the best of both worlds.
An Environment of Inequity
The collegiate athletic system desperately demands reform. Young men and women are putting in 50-hour workweeks, on top of classes, and all they have to show for it is NCAA President Mark Emmert’s $1.7 million dollar salary. To put it bluntly, the NCAA’s revenues and operating budget thrive off the exploitation and suppression of “student-athletes” with nowhere else to turn for a playing field. Read more
The right-wing shuts down the government slamming our social services as superfluous at the same time that millions of Americans are seeking new government healthcare service.
Conservatives complain about public employees but their shut down has shut out these workers preventing them from doing jobs for the public good.
The GOP shut-down has turned into a shut-storm as they struggle to remember why they did it, yet the more they they bluster and fluster, the less sense -- and less progress- they make.
Meanwhile, the ACA is driving costs down, we're talking to Iran & inspecting Syria. Maybe the Tea Party should shut down a little less and simply shut up a little bit more.
And as long as our government is powered down, couldn't the NSA stop spying for a few days?
Whether you want to toast the health of our people or offer a prayer for the health of our nation, raise a glass with like-minded lefties at your local progressive social club.
DRINKING LIBERALLY Find - or start - a chapter near you.
1. Syria remained subject to a bloody turmoil for over two years in 21st Century which promised highest civilization in the history of our planet. Over a hundred thousand innocent fellow humans killed and over a million Syrian citizens displaced. United Nations remained a silent spectator throughout the Syrian’s massacre and so are all the Global Heads of the States “The Hon’able Members of UNO”. What a tremendous conspiracy against an elected government and UN recognized sovereign state. Who financed, armed and patronized the Opposition Party of Syria! Who is a threat to Syrian’s integrity and their solidarity! Who promoted Civil War in Syria! Who will own & justify the innocuous blood of one hundred thousand Syrians! Read more
Popular topics for political discussions all revolve the question of choice. People are happier when given more options in their decision making but laws still have to be set in order to prevent people from harming each other. The price, however, of living in a nation that allows the beliefs of different cultures and religions to exist is that we often have clashes over what we believe is best and lawful for our citizens. Recently, my home state of Texas signed into law a bill that prevents a woman from having an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Whenever I was asked the question whether I approve of that law my only response was “I don’t know.” Unfortunately, my response when it comes to whether abortion should be legal or not is still being formed. Read more
Michael Stinnett - 9/03/2013: Legal rulings such as Citizens United and lax campaign financing laws have undermined the democratic process allowing wealthy donors to buy elections; so-called Super PACs are a pernicious influence on society and should be abolished. A Super PAC, or independent expenditure-only committee, “may raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations and individuals, then spend unlimited sums to overtly advocate for or against political candidates. Super PACs must, however, report their donors to the Federal Election Commission on a monthly or quarterly basis – the Super PAC's choice – as a traditional PAC would. Unlike traditional PACs, Super PACs are prohibited from donating money directly to political candidates” (Super PACs). The recent ruling protects political spending by corporations in candidate elections, citing the First Amendment's protection of freedom of speech. In justifying the ruling, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote that “'If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech'” (The New York Times). Read more
The subject of Father Scott's homily on Sunday was "tunnel vision," something our local parish priest knows a lot about since it was not until he was in his twenties and well out of high school that Father Scott finally got his driver's license. "Tunnel vision," said the state trooper who flunked him. "Stop focusing on the straight lines in front of you and see everything around you."
But it wasn't to whine about being the only kid in his senior class who still rode a bike to school that Father Scott brought up the subject of "tunnel vision." Instead, it was as a prod to urge the rest of us to stop fixating on the bright lines defining our own narrow prejudices, or tribes, or self-imposed prisons so that we might see the larger world around us.
That is because, as Father Scott explained, "God colors outside the lines."
Mine is a parish, as I have mentioned before, that lies on the outskirts (and mostly under the radar screen) of the larger Boston Archdiocese. It's a town that is predominantly Jewish but which has a protestant church on three of the town square's four corners and also a mosque all our own. Read more
I voted for Bill Clinton in 1992. Then I watched him force Navy Seals into Sensitivity Training and send them from Iraq to Bosnia on a bunch of pocket wars that made no damned sense at all. I watched a brave man’s body dragged through the street in Somalia.
In 2000, Dick Cheney stood before the Republican National Convention and told the U.S. Military that “Help is on the way…” “Thank God”, I thought. “These poor military guys could use a break.” I voted for Bush.
Then 9-11 happened and I watched, in horror, as the bravest and best young people in our nation were ordered to stand around Iraq and Afghanistan and wait to get shot or blown up. I watched them come home with crippling injuries and missing limbs and tried to figure out what the hell we had accomplished for all of this sacrifice.
When Obama was elected (I didn’t vote for him but was willing to give him a shot.)
I had the same thought as when Cheney spoke, in 2000. “Maybe now they’ll get that break.”
I mean come on; Obama said he would end these stupid wars, right? Nope; more deployments, more car bombings, more death. Read more
I spent a little time in California over the summer. It had been awhile. I remember going there as a kid and being so impressed. It seems that the days when everyone in the nation looked up to California, that magical land filled with perfect weather, sandy beaches, gorgeous women, and glamorous movie stars, have gone the way of the VCR and the cassette deck.
The first condition that I noticed was that the check stations, that used to manned by friendly, professional, state officials, who welcomed you to California and asked if you were bringing fruits or vegetables to or from that state, now look like the ruined shacks from Fallout 3. I was waiting to be attacked by "Mole-Rats".
Oh, and the rest areas are all closed so don't bother trying. You have no choice but to pee at truck stop as you're paying $6.02 a gallon for gas. Read more
If one paid attention to MSNBC, Think Progress, or the Daily Kos, and according to the numbers, approximately one does; one would believe that a hurricane of white supremacy is ripping this country to pieces. A vast army of over-weight, red-neck, white men, in Confederate Flag adorned 4-wheel drive trucks are racing around the country side raping, lynching and generally tormenting innocent and terrified minorities.
Dedicated liberals spend their days scouring the internet for video of some poor white slob who is running for city council and happens to be caught on camera giving a poorly worded speech. Hand that video to some leftist jerk at Think Progress and you have recipe for “twisted overt racism”.
What these dedicated liberals don’t want to notice is that day after day, Americans from all races, backgrounds, religions, and creeds work together and get along astonishingly well. People go to restaurants, concerts, sporting events and school functions without a racist incident. Read more
Mickey Edwards steals a page from those early Progressives who believed the cure for democracy was more democracy. Joining a long list of Republican "reformers" who are trying mightily to help the GOP avoid a rendevous with hostile demographics, the one-time Oklahoma Congressman wants to scrap the two-party system altogether in favor of a more participatory "nonpartisan" democracy able to govern itself without party labels.
It's an appealing vision of a restored "civic republicanism" that Edwards offers in his latest book, The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats into Americans. Appealing to me, at any rate, because it reflects my own belief that it is far more important how a party or a country thinks than what it thinks - since, as Edwards says, "democracy is not about policy but about process" and "how we select our leaders, how we deliberate, how we decide" are what really determine whether Americans are fit for self-government. Read more
Think for a moment about the world before Newt Gingrich and the Contract with America. Remember a time when Republicans and Democrats saw things differently, but could have discussions, pass laws, and hold productive legislative sessions together. There was a time when a Conservative could be a pragmatist, like Bob Dole, and not radically different than a moderate Democrat, like Bill Clinton. In the marriage between Republicans and Democrats, there was conflict, but also balance. There was union.
The relationship between the Democrats and Republicans is nothing less than a marriage between one half of the American heart and the other. Right and left joined in the task of creating and maintaining a large and complex government that services a large and complex country. The contrast between the two parties keeps the other in check.
Too much conservative energy causes opportunities to be aborted for the next generation as power for the wealthy few is protected. Too much liberal energy could cause America to slip into a stagnated state where people are not forced to work hard and grow. A balance between these energies is what has historically made us great. Read more