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:

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:

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: 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.