Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mid-Term Elections

The 2010 Congressional elections are arguably the most important of the last 50 years (at least). On one hand, we have the Democrats, whom since 2008 have been trying their hardest to move this country forward through progressive legislation such as health care reform, financial regulation and environmental policies; all of which are intended to protect consumers and make this country a safer, healthier, more prosperous place for everyone. On the other side, we have the Republicans, who have, since Obama took office, attempted to obstruct any and all legislation proposed by Obama, even when Obama included initiatives originally proposed by Republicans.

What is their goal, should they win control of Congress? According to Mitch McConnell, the soul purpose will be to ensure that Obama only serves one term as President, and to guarantee the 2012 Republican Presidential nominee all the support they need. While many of the Republican/Tea Party positions are frightening and extreme, the aforementioned strategy needs no further explanation: Republicans have no plan to create jobs or fix the economy. Their sole purpose is to destroy Barack Obama. Are these the kind of people we want running our country? This is a party who time and again has refused to cooperate, or even come to the table with solutions to the current economic crisis. This is a party whose members have apologized to BP, and who have blocked all efforts to investigate why Deep Water Horizons exploded. This is a party who believes President Obama wants to enforce Muslim Sharia law in the US. This is a political party who's only method of getting votes is fear.

When asked what solutions they have to our society's ills, the Republican answer is, almost always, tax cuts and less government. Of course, they consistently fail to specify how they would shrink government (of course, smaller government= no reproductive rights for women and making gays second-class citizens). Nevermind that tax cuts for the rich do NOT create jobs, as history has shown us, nevermind how Republicans support tax cuts for companies that ship jobs overseas, nevermind how Republicans believe that religion should have an integral part of government. Nevermind the hypocrisy of Republicans who abhor the stimulus money, yet brag about the money their state got and the corporate donations they received from the TARP program that they stood so feverishly against. The overarching message is that Republicans run for office to represent corporate America; unregulated, no such thing as too-big-to-fail Capitalism. The only logical conclusion of how Republicans govern can be summed up as PROFITS OVER PEOPLE.

We can not allow the Republican/Tea Party to win control of our government. Their positions are so extreme, they defy logic. Here are just a FEW examples, with which most of us are familiar. Michele Bachmann wants to bring the Constitution back to "its original purpose," which must mean, logically, what it was in 1789, meaning amongst many things, no voting rights for women and a reinstatement of slavery. Joe Miller wants to end (not privatize... END) Social Security, as well as unemployment insurance. Sharron Angle believes people should consider "Second Amendment Remedies" when the wrong candidates win. She also has slammed Harry Reid for not creating jobs while at the same time saying it's "not her job as Senator to create jobs." Christine O'Donnell believes that separation of church and state is a myth, and has no understanding of our Constitution. Ken Buck believes homosexuality is a choice, and he compared it to alcoholism. Rand Paul believes fundamental aspects of the Civil Rights Act to be unconstitutional.

The Palin-Beck led corporate-sponsored Tea Party is nothing more than a domestic terror group in training. From Second Amendment Remedies to poisonous white powder being sent to the office of Congressman Raul Grijalva, from head-stomping in Kentucky to the arrest of a reporter for asking a question in Alaska, this group prides itself on ignorance and idolizes stupidity. This is a group who nominates candidates who refuse to answer questions by the media (and arrest or threaten to "take out" reporters who ask questions they don't like), who nominates candidates whose tactics are fear, Islamophobia and ignorance, and who do not give a damn about WE THE PEOPLE.

Folks, the most important thing we can do is VOTE. The moderate, responsible Republican party is no more. It does not exist, and while Democrats are FAR from perfect, at least they have the best interests of the people at heart. We, in America, should have single-payer Universal Health Care. We, in America, should be free to marry and love whomever we chose. We, in America, should be able to ask our candidates tough questions and get honest answers.

I would like to reintroduce FDR's Second Bill of Rights. Had he not died from Polio while in office, I believe this country would be a radically different place. Here is his dream from his 1944 State of the Union Address, and I challenge anyone to state one negative aspect of this proposal:

"It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth—is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.

This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.

As our nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.”[2] People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

Americas own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for all our citizens.

For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world."

I, for one, believe this Second Bill of Rights is something toward which we must work in the coming years. We need to start building things again, things like roads, bridges, skyscrapers and dams. We should build high-speed magnetic rail systems that produce no pollution, can get people across the country in a few hours and would create thousands of jobs, not only from construction, but by creating an interconnected system of commerce. We need to invest in sustainable energy, such as solar, wind and geothermal. We need to take-on the challenges of being an innovative society if we are to re-emerge as the global leader in business, technology and innovation. Imagine what we could accomplish if we dared to elect those who have a vision of the future. It could all start now, or, it could all end now. On Tuesday, November 2, vote.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ground Zero Mosque

I'll keep this brief.

The First Amendment to our Constitution opens with, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...". Why then, based on the principles upon which this country was founded, is there any sort of argument against building an Islamic Cultural Center 2 blocks from the World Trade Center? First of all, the term Ground Zero Mosque just doesn't apply here. There already IS an HAS been a mosque at the WTC for years, even before the complex was contructed. Second, the proposed building isn't a mosque... it's a cultural center. Third, it's not at Ground Zero, it's 2 blocks away. Those are the facts.

Muslims died on 9-11; in the planes, in the towers and many gave their lives to rescue people. To say that they can't have a place to worship near this site makes us no better than countries like Iran, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, where many religions are illegal. Comparing this building to a "synagogue in Mecca" is not only asinine, but just plain stupid. First of all, I don't know of anyone who actually wants or needs a synagogue in Mecca. Second, this is a comparison of two vastly different cultures in to very different countries, both of which have different laws and perspectives regarding religion and the free practice thereof. Preventing this cultural center from being built underminds American values and spits in the face of those who died in the attacks, as well as the people fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's astonishing that there are Americans who are willing to support our troops being sent to die to supposedly protect our freedoms, but are unwilling to share these same freedoms with law-abiding, peaceful citizens of this country. The argument that shrine to a religion that kills people is an interesting one, and as such, frankly, means that no religious building should be built anywhere, since all religions are guilty of needless killing for some insane reason. I'd like to see how many white Christians would protest a church being built next to the Murrah Building Memorial in Oklahoma City. My bet is, there wouldn't be any protests, despite McVeigh having been a Christian.

Of course, the Republicans are using this issue to renew the fear of the brown person, just like they did in 2001. How anyone can support a political party whose main platforms are fear and hatred is just beyond my scope of understanding... it actually makes my brain hurt trying to figure out how people can really be this stupid.

The bottom line is, freedom of religion is pretty explicit. Therefore, you so-called defenders of the Constitution, I ask, what's the problem? Don't treat our most important document like you do the Bible, just picking and choosing things that suit your agenda. It won't work.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

14th Amendment Fiasco

If there were ever a prime example of GOP hypocrisy, the latest out of Senators Kyl and Graham would take the crown. They are calling for a full repeal of the 14th Amendment... yes, the same 1868 amendment that guaranteed freed slaves and their kin citizenship in this country. It was the first true civil rights amendment in our country's history. The GOP wants to repeal it to save us from the illegal immigrants... so much for the party of Lincoln and the self-proclaimed defenders of the Constitution.

The wording of the 14th Amendment is quite clear... anyone born in the US, with the exception of the children of foreign dignitaries and enemy soldiers, are automatic US citizens. This amendment sums up the very purpose for which our country was founded... for the persecuted, the poor, the miserable, the whatever, to have a place in which they can raise a family. I've been struggling to find a position on this issue, and my final opinion is that yes, children of illegals deserve their citizenship, based on the founding principles of our country. Our borders need to be open and secure to allow everyone access to the American Dream... isn't that the creed to which the Republicans are supposed to be associated? Mistake me not - I believe that anyone that wants to come to the US should be able to, so long as they do it within the law. This can be difficult, however, when the society into which these people want to enter is closed-minded and as of late, fearful and outright racist.

Let us not make the mistakes Germany made with the Turks, denying Turks born in Germany immediate citizenship. This has led to many people in Germany being stateless, and citizens of nowhere. We are better than that, at least, in theory. Where would it stop, should the 14th Amendment be repealed? Since we are all, in some sense, children of immigrants, would the government then have to sniff out every person that was born of immigrants, or not born on US soil? Should we rescind citizenship of the descendants of freed slaves, and of the freed slaves themselves? This is dangerous path down which to wander, and I believe the purpose behind this proposed legislation is to instill fear and hatred among the American people. There are also other implications, as the 14th Amendment guaranteed for all American citizens equal protection under the Bill of Rights. Should we not have a Bill of Rights?

For a political party, who for years has been screaming about the Constitution and how final it is, this is the ultimate in hypocrisy, and moreover, a straight-up denial of history. It is a slap in the face of the legacy of great presidents like Lincoln and Johnson, who fought for civil rights and equality. The Republican Party is a movement spouting fear, hatred and untruth. Even more frightening, people are buying into it because the Democrats don't seem to have the balls to fight back.

My message to Republicans: be careful what you wish for. My message to Democrats: defend what's right, fight back, or prepare to lose in November. Ignorance is powerful in America, and scary as it is, it actually could prevail.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Unemployment Benefits and Republicans

I'm convinced Republicans have no souls. The sheer hypocrisy they continue to exhibit is sickening, and their lack of human decency is so blatantly apparent that it makes me wonder how in the hell these people have supporters. Republicans are trying to block the extension of unemployment benefits, claiming that it will add too much to the deficit. So let's look at this; millions of people lost their jobs because pathetic Republican leadership and deregulation caused our economy to nearly collapse, and Republicans want to deny them benefits. Where is the decency?

The Republicans preach about cutting the deficit and reducing spending, yet offer no solutions. They claim that extending benefits would add to the deficit, so the extension should be blocked. Here's an idea: pull out of Iraq and stop wasting money on blowing people up. That's a great way to stop wasting money.

What REALLY amazes me, and this really is astonishing, is that Republican voters are primarily from the demographic in the aforementioned paragraphs. It's amazing that Republicans draw on support from the very people they protect the least. It angers me that people with no sense of human decency, no compassion, and no real idea what the real world is like are the ones drawing support from the people to whom they continuously say, "screw you, you're on your own." This political party who supposedly stands for personal responsibility and small government are the first to call upon government to solve the problems of say, oh, business... something from which they would like government to stay away. Logic does not exist within the Republican Party.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

General McChrystal's Comments

This will be brief. Within the chain of military command it is difficult to find those who will speak openly about their superiors. While he is entitled to his opinions, General McChrystal's comments about the Obama administration were callous and disrespectful. Obama isn't one to fire someone critical of him, however. Remember back in the day when Bush fired all the military leaders who told him the truth about the invasion of Iraq? That won't happen again. But what concerns me is the blatant disrespect McChrystal showed for his Commander-In-Chief. Obama has an opportunity to show real political courage by forgiving McChrystal and focusing on his experience and military expertise, and I believe he will.

Anyway, that's my brief opinion on this issue. Frankly, I think it's being blown way out of proportion, but hey, at least we forgot about the oil spill for a good 10 minutes.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Obama's Speech - My Brief Reaction

President Obama gave his first speech from the Oval Office tonight. He had a chance to not only excite the Democratic base with a new energy policy, but a chance to assure all Americans that he was in control of the federal response to the Gulf oil crisis. He failed. His speech was empty, less a few lines about needing to reduce our addiction to oil. He offered no progressive energy policy, no solutions as to how to prevent this sort of catastrophe from happening again and no concrete vision for the future, be it the next 2 years or the next 20. He mentioned we will be capturing 90% of the oil in the coming days, but failed to mention how this will be accomplished or where these numbers originated. He ended the speech suggesting we pray for the Gulf.

Prayer does nothing. We need real action. Yes, Mr. President, we know you'll make BP pay for the damage they caused. There need to be long-term consequences. BP needs to fork over a check, and be done. BP should then be banned from doing business within the United States. Forever. Furthermore, the US Government should control our vast oil reserves. This is the only way to ensure that private corporations will adhere to federal guidelines whilst extracting crude oil. Private oil companies should not control our nation's oil reserves. Yes, Mr. President, the American people deserve to know why companies aren't true to their word regarding safety, and why the MMS has had no oversight for the past decade, at least. Yes, Mr. President, a moratorium on deepwater drilling in order to make sure companies' safety procedures is a good temporary solution, but it's not a cure.

Dear Mr. President,

Why did you approve offshore drilling based on "assurances?" From whom did you get these assurances of safety and standards? We need a comprehensive energy policy to carry us into the future. We can not end our dependence on oil without an attainable, sustainable or enforceable alternative. Sir, you speak of a clean energy future, but the only solution you've offered a Cap and Trade bill which won't pass the Senate. I agree that making our homes more energy efficient and our cars more fuel efficient is a start, but it's too small of one. We need to transform HOW we generate energy and power. New homes should be required to be solar-powered. Small businesses should be encouraged to produce solar panels, wind turbines and other green technologies. These are things we are more than capable of doing, so LET'S FUCKING DO THEM.

Mr. President, I admire you and I respect you. But tonight, you seriously disappointed me and many more of your supporters. You said "we know we'll get there." How? Lead us; be a beacon of innovation and technological enlightenment. You mention how we're giving away $1Billion per year to foreign nations, yet we do nothing here to enhance our energy independence. You need to take control. You need to get mean. You need to lose your cool. Be our leader. Be our lion. Be our warrior into a future of energy independence and innovation. Inform the people of and assert your power as Commander-in-Chief.

Blood Donation

Here is the article: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2010/06/15/us-committee-says-gay-blood-ban-will-stay-in-place/

I know this is a break from my usual banter, but this issue is really the epitome of discrimination in today's age. Gay and straight people get HIV. In fact, it's nearly equal these days. So why are gay people banned from giving blood, while straight people need only wait 12 months? There's only one reason for this: gay people have corrisive acid blood that becomes radioactive upon contact with HIV.

Obviously my above statement is a joke, but it's just about as logical as the ban. So, because gays are clearly considered second-class citizens, I think that the societal debt should be lowered... tax exemptions, etc. It's only fair. Fewer rights, fewer responsibilities.

But this issue stems to something greater; this trend of 'special rights.' Equality isn't something relative, and it isn't something flexible. Either everyone gets the same rights, or no one gets any rights. We need to end this debacle of special rights, such as marriage, which in general is reserved for straight people (and we all know how far the sanctity of that institution goes, what with a 50%+ divorce rate and Britney Spears' 55-hour marriage). The fact is, America one country pretending to be another. We preach to the world about Democracy and equality and human rights, yet we let our own citizens rot on the street (including veterans and people who can't afford medical bills) and deny law-abiding people equal rights because of something as trivial as to whom they are attracted. We invade countries and set up parialimentary systems that allow citizens to vote, yet millions of votes in our elections here at home are thrown away, miscounted or, in some cases, denied to perfectly eligible voters.

When are we going to grow up? When are we going to practice what we preach? Enough with the hypocrisy. Enough with the scapegoating. It comes down to this: equality for everyone, or freedom for no one.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Senate Extends Patriot Act and Tea

Here's the article: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35571223/ns/politics-capitol_hill/

Am I the only teadoffliberal here? The most unconstitutional legislation ever passed by our Congress gets extended due to the Democractic Party (I'm sure the GOP was unanimous in favor of the extension, but that's no shocker). If this isn't an indicated we need to change our elected officials, I don't know what is. These people are voting to restrict our rights... but my bigger question is, where are the Tea Party protests? Where are these self-proclaimed Constitutional crusaders? Why are they not out on the National Mall, picketing and screaming about how their rights are being limited? Oh right, because it keeps the terrorists at bay, and of course, affordable health care is far more frightening than warrentless wiretaps and suspension of Habeus Corpus, to briefly scratch the surface.

To the Democrats: true progressives would never support the Patriot Act. True progressives would fight for the collective goodwill, and be more concerned with energy independence and civil rights than with expanding a piece of legislation that allowed our previous president to authorize and ADMIT to using torture... and get away with it. True progressives would lead this country in innovation and new industry and not sell out to corporate lobbyists. Grow a pair or let someone else have your job.
To the Republicans: you are far too predictable, and you clearly don't care about the American people (ok maybe just the really rich ones with CEO before their names). Your principles are centered around what benefits you financially and what keeps people scared. Stop using religion as a political ploy, it has no place in secular politics. Stop preaching hate and intolerance. Stop treating gay people as sub-citizen to cover your own hidden desires and adulterous behavior. Stop spreading lies... about everything. Do your job to uphold the Constitution or get the hell out of Congress.

I'm not sure which angers me more... the Democrats castrating themselves, or the growing political movement (Tea Party) that prides itself on Constitutional values saying nothing about legislation, enacted by and voted upon by THEIR party, that causes their Constitutional rights to get more and more limited. There is only one conclusion that can be drawn by intelligent members of our species; the Tea Party is a fraudulent, hate and fear-based cult that is being fed by the mainstream media and is being led by elected officials; elected officials who have encouraged violence against our government. Traitors, plain and simple. This group of scared, old and fat white people on Social Security who decry government programs is a sham, and it's really quite sad. It's sad that these people have nothing more to cling to than a sringe of insulin and ugly hats. It's sad that they absorb and thrive upon the insane rhetoric of sociopaths like Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Eric Cantor and Glenn Beck. It's sad that the Bible is their Constitution. But the saddest thing by far is that this group of people, who claim to love their country and fellow citizens, demonstrate nothing but hatred, ignorance, disdain for the US and bold-faced bigotry. Ironically, though, it's satisfying knowing that the bigger the Tea Party movement gets, the more progressives will be elected in the general election.

Friday, June 11, 2010

What Now?

The latest estimates indicate that the mile-deep well in the Gulf is spewing up to 100,000 barrels of oil per day. 100,000 barrels = 4,200,000 gallons... every single day. But this post isn't about BP's Old Fateful. This is about our energy policies... or lack thereof. Here are a couple ideas of my own.

President Obama and Congress have a very unique opportunity here to write and enact green energy policies that they could have take effect immediately. The current crisis is an all-to-obvious reminder of how dangerous and deadly fossil fuels are, and how risky it is to obtain these resources. Never-mind BP's lack of a backup plan, this is President Obama's turn to rile up the Democratic base; not only to ensure victory in the midterms, but to create an energy policy that will wean us off our addiction to oil. Other maddening aspects of this crisis are the attitudes of Republican lawmakers, such as Rep. Scott Brown, who claims reducing our dependency on oil would kill people, or Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi, who claims the oil isn't dangerous. But I digress.

If I were an adviser or better yet an elected official, I would encourage drafting legislation that invests in renewable energy, beginning at local levels. A good place to start would be to change the way we power our homes and businesses, as these could EASILY be "greenified." Solar energy technology has improved dramatically over the past decade, as solar panels have become more efficient and more environmentally friendly to produce. For example, states could offer tax credits for "solarizing" one's home AND a variable tax deduction depending on how much power each solar home saves or is able to sell to energy companies (this is done all the time). Starting at the local level not only makes green energy more attainable, it even might appease Republicans who believe in state sovereignty.

State governments could also offer tax incentives AND investment funds, which would aide in the development of green power companies that provide wind and natural gas power sources. This move would not only help reduce our dependency on oil and dirty coal (there is no CLEAN coal... if it burns, it pollutes), but it would also create more competition within the energy markets, thus encouraging energy companies like PEPCO to invest in renewable sources of energy.

These are just a couple brief ideas... the fact is, we CAN have clean, renewable energy in the US... we just have to DO it. Enough with what oil companies think. Enough with corporations monopolizing markets and influencing legislation. This is Obama's chance to do what's in the best interest of the American people, and I really hope he takes advantage of it.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


This post is for Governor Haley Barbour(R) of Mississippi. We need to discuss some things. First, oil is toxic, and is not comparable to "caramel mousse." Second, it's encroaching upon the shores of your state and for you to encourage people to partake in water activities is not only irresponsible, it's just plain stupid. Third, this oil spill was caused by negligence (or so we currently believe) regarding offshore drilling. Why, on Earth, would you encourage more offshore drilling when you can clearly see the damage it can do and the danger it presents? Additionally, for you to say that liberals are hoping for this to be another Katrina is not only profoundly insulting, ignorant, unintelligent and completely untrue, it shows that you truly have no concept of what is going on in the Gulf and even less of an idea how it was caused and who has tried to prevent such disasters from happening. You were elected to represent the people of Mississippi, not the people of the oil industry.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Education- Briefly, and Some Questions

Note: this is a brief rant, comment and discuss!

One of the most avoided yet most important issues in America is education, and how our education system continues to decline. According to UPI, the US is now 18th among 36 nations for secondary education, with a high school graduation rate of only around 75% (compare that to South Korea's 93%). In Maryland, there are provisions ensuring that no child ever fails, and this includes giving a grade of at least 50% just for submitting an assignment with the kid's name on it. Ask yourself, how is this fair? Why should students get rewarded for doing nothing, while there are others legitimately earning grades? Why are grades permitted and often encouraged to be doctored in order to reflect higher averages? Why should kids who don't try be awarded passing grades, and, should parents be held accountable? Frankly, I don't have the answers to these questions.

It is also becoming ever more apparent that our public education system, well, just plain sucks. More people can recite the Big Mac jingle than recite our Pledge of Allegiance or our Bill of Rights. On a side note, isn't it interesting that most people who claim to be "constitionalist" make it really obvious they have never read the damn thing)? Many people believe that our country was founded upon religious principles (subject of a future post), and that we are meant to be a Christian Nation. Many people refuse to accept Evolution as a valid scientific theory, despite the overwhelming evidence favoring it. But most importantly, the question must be asked, what exactly are schools supposed to teach us? While I am the first to admit that history, language arts, science, liberal arts and math are essential to being a productive citizen, our system fails to create real-world applications for these concepts. Take, for example, the SAT. Many of our futures are based solely on this exam, which tests students' abilities in math, writing and reading comprehension, and is supposed to measure intelligence. Frankly, it doesn't. It measures how well kids can take a test in 3 hours. How is this relevent to anything one experiences outside of high school, and, why should one's college future be so dependent upon it?

Another trend in the US in recent years is to introduce subjects like Creationism as science. While I would have no problem with this being taught as a philosophical topic, it certainly is not science and has no business being taught as science. This week, Arizona sunk to a new low, outlawing ethnic studies classes (which has already been done in Texas). It is now illegal in Arizona to study other cultures, for fear that this could lead to kids wanting to "overthrow the US government" (source: http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2010/0603/The-other-Arizona-battle-A-new-law-makes-ethnic-studies-classes-illegal). Governor Brewer should be removed from office; clearly her support of this law and of the new immigration law demonstrates that her state of mind is anything but sound. Okay, fine, she's nuts... and a racist... but I digress.

How can we be a productive society without being able to learn history, let alone the histories of cultures that have helped shaped our own? What are convervatives so afraid of? What exactly is so threatening about... learning? Every day it seems the far right in this country only want conservative religious doctrine to be taught in public schools (the same people who scream about their First Amendment rights, but clearly don't care about everyone else's). Anyway, discuss.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


The Top Kill plan proposed by BP was a dismal failure. Oil is still spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, and it could very well be unstoppable. It is time for the American people to take action. Boycott BP, contact your representatives and call for the immediate prosecution of Transocean and BP officials responsible for this assault on our planet, as well as a full ban on all BP operations within the US. It's taken over a month for any sort of action by BP, and they need to be held accountable NOW.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


As a supplement to my last post, here are my thoughts on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. British Petroleum needs to be held accountable not only for the loss of life on the rig, but also for the cost of cleaning up this mess. There is currently a $75 million cap on how much oil companies can be forced to pay to clean up an oil spill (thanks to Bush), and it certainly doesn't take Newtonian mathematical skills to know this spill will cost far in excess of $75 million to clean up. While I firmly believe the federal government should step in and assist in the clean up, BP should have to front the cost of all the resources and personnel necessary to get the job done. I also believe that other oil companies should be called in to help because they have resources that can speed up the process. In addition, BP needs to be fined for the damages done and the executives in charge of safety and operation of this oil rig need to be prosecuted for their negligence, and the agents of the Mineral Management Service who are known to be in bed with the oil companies need to be, at the very least, fired and charged with negligence and taking bribes (corruption). Transocean, the company from whom BP leased the rig, needs to enforce their safety standards or terminate their contracts and find lessees who will follow the rules.

But it doesn't end there. Many of us have already pledged to boycott BP, however, this is probably not going to be enough to teach this company a lesson. Because of their history of negligence and lax safety regulations which has lead to massive loss of life on multiple occasions, British Petroleum should no longer be permitted to operate within the United States as a petroleum provider.

We must ask ourselves, as I have previously stated: is offshore drilling worth the risk? This catastrophe could very well be irreversable and unstoppable until the well runs dry, and there is no way to tell how long that could take. This disaster is not only destroying the ecosystem in the gulf, but is also having a huge effect on the economy of the Gulf Coast.

Folks, enough is enough. Unless we eliminate our dependence on oil, we are doomed.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Offshore Drilling

The subject of offshore drilling is heated and controversial. Proponents claim that offshore drilling will lower the price of oil and allow us to sustain our current energy needs without funneling money to foreign countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia. Proponents also claim that offshore drilling is environmentally sound and safe for the men and women who work on the rigs.

Unfortunately, none of these claims are true. Let's briefly analyze each of them.
1) Cheaper oil and energy independence - the price of oil has continued to rise even as domestic drilling has increased. Ten years ago, the average price of a gallon of gas was $1.52, according to the Energy Information Administration, an independent study and analysis group. Today, that price is nearly double at an average of $2.864. As demand has increased, so have prices. Fact: offshore drilling does not lower cost. Additionally, 51% of our foreign oil comes from Canada, with Mexico and Venezuela following just behind it as our second and third largest suppliers. So, while a small fraction of our oil does come from the Middle East, it is not a significant quantity. The Middle East does, however, hold vast untapped sources of oil, which of course is why we must invade and conquer as many countries as we can... which in turn, has caused prices to increase. As far as energy independence goes, oil is not the answer. There is a finite amount of oil out there, and when it's gone, we're in big trouble. We are at a point of no return should we continue down our current path of blissful ignorance and complacency. We need to insist that Congress invests in renewable, sustainable, clean sources of energy; not just for our wallets, but for our planet. Corporations for far too long have held the puppet strings of our country.
2) Environment - the recent events in the Gulf of Mexico have demonstrated that not only is offshore drilling unsafe for workers who end up getting killed because of a lack of oversight, but it is also akin to environmental rape. As we have learned from the recent spill and from past catastrophes such as the Exxon-Valdez incident, oil spills not only cause widespread environmental damage, but also can create massive disruptions in commerce, as is being seen in the south with the seafood industry. If we are to protect and preserve our planet, we need to begin to renew our energy sources. Solar and wind power are the most readily available and easily accessible sources of energy on Earth. It's time we harness them and truly become energy independent.

Because many members of Congress receive financial endorsements from oil companies, and the corporate lobby machine has so much influence, representatives have stood idly by while oil companies bring in record profits, escape accountability for accidents and take advantage of tax loopholes. It is time we hold oil companies accountable for not only damaging the environment, but causing loss of human life. We need a government that is concerned not about corporate well-being and money, but a government which is solely acting on the behalf of consumers and the tax-payers, not the tax-avoiders. Please discuss.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rand Paul

One of the featured guests on the Rachel Maddow Show earlier this week was US Senate nominee and Tea Party favorite Rand Paul (R-KY). He and Rachel were debating his, well, unique stance regarding the Civil Rights Act of 1964, about which he said he support 9 of the 10 main provisions within the law and that he considers any form of discrimination "abhorrent." The provision that he opposes deals with private businesses not being allowed to discriminate against patrons based on race, as well as eliminating segregation within the workplace. So, basically, private businesses should be able to post "no blacks allowed" signs, according to Dr. Paul's frightening position. Even more disturbingly (but not surprising as we constantly learn from the GOP), he opposes marriage equality, yet considers himself to be completely against any type of disrcimination in the "public sector." Oh, and let's not forget the 10-lane super highway that is going to connect Canada to Mexico and eliminate all Mexican, American and Canadian sovereignty in North America.

Within the past few days, Dr. Paul has been attacking the media, asserting that they are twisting his words to fit their agenda. Unfortunately for Dr. Paul, video records of him spewing his insane rhetoric go back years. Sarah Palin has also jumped to his aide (which is even MORE unfortunate for him), claiming that the media loves to use "gotchya" tactics. The tactics to which she is referring including grilling, horribly complex questions like, "which magazine publications do you read," "do you agree with the Bush doctrine" and "which of the Founding Fathers do you most admire." Not only could Palin not answer these questions with anything close to resembling a rational thought (cue Billy Madison's explanation of the Industrial Revolution), but even Glenn Beck called her out and said "BS" to her response of his Founding Fathers question... GLENN BECK!!! Of the many candidates in recent years who have emerged into the race for national offices, Dr. Paul could very well be the most frightening. I have great respect for his father, Ron Paul, but this guy is an embarassment to his father's name.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Brief Overview on Issues

Here is where I stand on major issues:

Abortion - I support women's right to choose, however, I do not believe abortion should be used as a form of birth control.

Budget - I believe the national budget needs to be rewritten from scratch and programs that do not work need to be eliminated. I believe we should be spending more on education and social programs than on weapons.

Civil Rights - I support marriage equality. I believe that Affirmative Action is outdated and that everyone should have equal considerations for job and school placement regardless of race or gender. I support the Second Amendment, however I believe that rigorous background checks should be required in order to purchase any firearm.

Crime - I believe that prisons should be places of rehabilitation and contribution to society. I do not support prison sentences for non-violent offenses. I believe that incarceration should require prisoners to contribute to society. I do not support the dealth penalty. I support the legalization of marijuana, as this would lead to a dramatic decrease in drug-related crimes.

Economy/Business - I believe that small businesses are the backbone of our economy. I do not support tax-payer bailouts of companies that are deemed "too big to fail." I believe that American companies should have to pay workers a fair and equal wage regardless of gender or location operation. I believe that companies that hire illegal immigrants in order to save money should be penalized. I believe that banks and businesses need to be held accountable for any wrongdoing.

Education - I believe our public education system needs to be reformed to ensure that students everywhere get the same quality education regardless of where they live or what their socio-economic status is. I believe that two years of community college should be provided in exchange for community service in order to ensure that every high school graduate has the chance to succeed. I believe that public school teachers should have a national starting salary of $60,000.

Energy/Environment - I believe America needs to regain its energy independence by investing in renewable and sustainable sources of energy, such as solar and wind. I believe in stopping the purchase of all foreign oil, and thus reducing and eliminating our dependency on fossil fuels altogether. I believe in protecting and preserving the environment. I support higher emission standards for all modes of transportation and believe investments in clean sources of fuel need to be better funded.

Government - I support term limits for members of the House and Senate and believe we need to eliminate the opportunity for career politicians to emerge. I believe we should have more than two major political parties. I believe that former members of Congress should be paid a pension after completing their service. I believe that Congress does not deserve annual pay increases while denying American workers an annual increase in the minimum wage.

Gun Control - I support the Second Amendment. Ownership of a handgun should be subject to a background check and psychological evaluation. I would also support the creation of firearm insurance.

Health/Wellness - I believe that our education system should include nutritional instruction as part of the required curriculum. I believe that just as math, reading and writing proficiencies are required to graduate high school, so should a physical fitness test be incorporated. I support tax rebates for individuals who lose weight, quit smoking and/or regularly use fitness facilities. I believe that health insurance should be provided to every American citizen.

Immigration - I support finding a way to end illegal immigration. I believe that legal immigration and the path to citizenship should be readily available to anyone who is willing to put in the work.

National Security - I support reasonable spending on national defense. I believe that every American should have to contribute at least two years of service to their community in order to graduate from high school. I believe that our military should be called into service for defensive reasons only. I believe veterans should be paid a lifetime pension.

Religion - While I believe that everyone has the right to practice whichever religion they so choose, or not practice any religion at all, I believe that these practices should remain private. Despite being raised Jewish, I do not support any major religion. I believe that religion should remain completely separate from politics, and that politicians who use religion as a means to a political end are in violation of the US Constitution. I believe that religious institutions, should they wish to participate in the political process, should be subject to taxation.

Science - I support stem-cell research. I believe funding for organizations like NASA and NIH needs to be increased. I support the theory of evolution.

Taxes - I support ending corporate tax loopholes. I support abolishing the federal income tax and establishing a national sales tax.

General Politics

Are Republicans and Democrats all that different? Interestingly, no. They both stem from the Democratic-Republican party of the early 19th century. Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican President, but by today's standards, he would be a Democrat. Let us not forget that both the most basic American ideal is limited government controlled by the people. Recently, major disagreements have gotten extremely heated, like the issues of socialized medicine and government sactioned morality (gay marriage, abortion, sex ed, etc). It is important to note that people within both parties disagree on these key issues. In my opinion, government has no right to dictate morality, but it DOES have the responsibility to make sure that every American is taken care of.

And then arose the Tea Party (yes, it's time for a brief rant)... an ultra right-wing faction of the Republican party that threatens our government with violence, which began because of health care reform. Here is a group of people protesting legislation that makes health care more affordable and makes it harder for insurance companies to cancel or deny coverage. Here is a group of people, many of whom live off Social Security and medicare, use public transportation to travel to protest in public parks while calling for government to stay out of their lives (yet demanding that abortion and gay marriage be outlawed) and abolish "socialism" and government-run health care. Icons of the Tea Party, including Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Michelle Bachmann and Eric Cantor not only support "taking up arms" against the federal government, but blatantly lie and deceive in order to do nothing more than increase their own publicity and further their careers. The point here is simple: should some extremist within the Tea Party lash out violently against the government (and it probably will happen), what should the consequences be and whom should the American public hold accountable? While I fully support the First Amendment rights of these people, the Tea Party is blurring the line between peaceful assembly and, for lack of a better term, a political cult... and that's without even touching on what I call the "God Factor."

Sadly, many of the ideals of our Founding Fathers have been lost and in some ways, reversed. We have surrendered freedoms in the name of freedom, and as Benjamin Franklin so wisely stated, "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security deserve neither and lose both." We have invaded countries in the name of freedom. We continue to allow persecution of certain groups of people IN the United States: people who are hard working, productive, honest, and kind, and who only want to live their lives in peace. Perhaps one of the most chilling predictions from Benjamin Franklin seems to be unfolding, "This is likely to be administered for a course of years and then end in despotism ... when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other." How true these words are.

I implore you, President Obama, to live up to your promise of true reform. Do not let political climate clout your judgement or force you to abandon your core beliefs. It is time to the end these wars. It is time to reform and improve our education system. It is time to ensure that every American citizen has access to quality, affordable medical care. It is time to stop partisan politics. It is time to stop bailing out banks and multi-national corporations using tax-payer dollars. It is time to reclaim energy independence. It is time, sir, to take care of the people.