Thursday, March 22, 2012

No Comment

I reprint the following without comment. Draw your own conclusions as you prepare to move to Canada...

"It would have been tragic enough if the shooting of an unarmed teenager by a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain in Florida were the first to show the lethal folly of so-called Stand Your Ground laws. But, in fact, these outrageously dangerous laws have been adopted in many states, making it easy for shooters who kill to claim self-defense.

Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old student, was shot last month as he walked home one night with a snack in hand. His killing has stirred national outrage and protests because there is evidence he called out in alarm over his cellphone as the armed stranger closely pursued him. At the same time, George Zimmerman, the shooter, was on the phone with a police dispatcher, who told him, “We don’t need you to do that.”

Mr. Zimmerman, who got out of his car to pursue Mr. Martin, claimed a confrontation occurred that caused him to defend himself because he “reasonably believed” he would be harmed.

The local police in Sanford, Fla., ruled the shooting justifiable under a law that was created to give the benefit of the doubt to people who shoot their guns in public areas and then claim self-defense. This statute goes well beyond the traditional principles of self-defense in homes. In 2005, Florida became the first in the nation to adopt this type of measure, with overwhelming bipartisan approval and the signature of Gov. Jeb Bush.

The Department of Justice and state investigators have opened inquiries into the shooting, along with a county grand jury.

But citizens should not expect much help from lawmakers. A score of other states followed Florida’s lead as politicians eagerly sought the gun lobby’s favor. They threaten public safety by eliminating the longstanding legal requirement that someone sensing a threat has a reasonable “duty to retreat” from perceived danger before resorting to deadly force.

Since the enactment of the law, claims of justifiable homicide tripled in Florida, according to state data. “It’s almost insane what we are having to deal with,” Willie Meggs, the state attorney in Tallahassee, declared this week. Self-defense is being invoked in everything from gang shootings to backyard disputes between neighbors, with prosecutors left to disprove the shooters’ claims.

Stand Your Ground laws are abominations that should be repealed. One obvious flaw among many is that slain victims can never tell their side of the story — an undisputed fact in the tragic slaying of Trayvon Martin."

New York Times Editorial "Shot to Death in Florida" Published: March 21, 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Say Good Night Newtie

You know the guy.

He's the pudgy one in the plaid shirt and striped pants with the bad haircut that no one really likes. He's the unfortunate soul who, no matter how hard he tries, is just not cool enough, and never will be, to be popular with the rest of the kids at school.

Somehow he ends up at parties or at the beach or in the bleachers at the game. There he is sitting there, maybe next to someone who is actually cool, trying desperately to grab some relfected light from the B.M.O.C., the Big Man On Campus.

It works a little bit. A few girls talk to him for a minute. Actually they listen because the guy can't stop talking. He's searching for the right combination of revelatory wisdom and cool so as to maybe, just maybe, wrangle a date with one of these babes.

But after a while the girls get tired of his incessant chatter and turn their attention to someone else, anyone else, so as to not have to listen to Mr. Nobody anymore.

But here he is at the party and no one knows who invited him. Probably nobody did. He heard about it in the boy's room at school and just decided to peddle his Schwinn across town and grab some free Cheetos.

And what makes matters worse for this guy is that he has a really weird name.

But then this guy grows up and becomes a congressman. He's wildly successful and becomes the Speaker of The House. After all he is very smart and a very good orator.

Then he has an extra-marital affair while preaching family values.

Then he is forced to resign.

Then he decides to run for president.

Then no one wants him in that job any more than they wanted him at the party when he was an annoying windbag of a kid.

But he won't get out of the race any more than he would leave the party. He just won't take the hint.

When he looks in the mirror he sees Humphrey Bogart. What everyone else sees is Peter Lorre.

Where is Captain Renault when we need him the most...?

Rush To Judgement

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." - Voltaire

I can't stand Rush Limbaugh. He is a gasbag and hateful man. In an earlier post, entitled "Questioning Authority", I wondered why we take the advice of celebrities in making consumer and political decisions. I wonder, again, why we listen to a man like Limbaugh. Why do we take his word to mean so much, to be the gospel?

There are many reasons for the phenomenon that has kept him on the air and so popular for so many years. He has a relatively large and rabidly devoted fan base of "Dittoheads."

Fine. Those people have chosen to tune him in.

I choose not to.

My perogative. My choice. My freedom of expression.

So the best way to avoid listening to Rush Limbaugh is to decide not to listen to Rush Limbaugh.

Sandra Fluke is not a prostitute nor a slut simply because Rush Limbaugh says so. That's an early childhood lesson. "Sticks and Stones", etc.

Just turn him off...or don't turn him on in the first place.

Free speech is one of our most cherished rights.

We shouldn't allow one loudmouth to bring down the Constitution.

It's worth repeating:

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Call Me Rick

I'm changing my name to Rick.

If I didn't have a lifelong relationship with my last name and so much respect for my father I'd change that too. To Santorum.

I've fallen head over heels, madly, passionately in love with Rick Santorum.

He da MAN!

He whacked Willard and Newtie in 'Bama and Ole Miss. Yippee...!!

It's a two man race now and Rick could go all the way!

Right into the history books as the man who handed Obama the greatest landslide in American political history. Just ahead of Richard Nixon's creaming of George McGovern in '72.

That fact makes me wonder who Willard voted for in that election.
Was he in Massachusetts then? Did he help make that state the only one that voted for McGovern? I doubt it. "Don't blame me. I'm from Massachusetts". Remember those bumper stickers?

But Rick...may I call you Rick?...he, if he gets the nomination, will almost, single-handedly, ensure Obama's return to The White House for four more years.

All of the current buzz about Hillary changing jobs with Biden to help the ticket will be just an undercurrent of white noise if Rick gets the nod. Which will, actually, be better for her because then she'll sail into the Oval Office in '16 giving us, potentially, 16 uninterrupted years of a Democratic president.

Obama will be able to phone it in.

He will be able to devote time to his family and his three point shot. He'll cruise to victory.

Rick Santorum may appeal to the Far Right Hyper Conservative Evangelical voters of the Deep South and elsewhere but when it comes to the general election his views are so far out of the mainstream that he'll be lucky to get his own family to vote for him.

And if he thinks that his sweater vest is going to get the job done he obviously doesn't know very many women...or men for that matter.

I don't know a single female who finds that look sexy or appealing and I, representing the majority of men, as I do, wouldn't be caught dead in one, except on a winter's evening, at a holiday party, sipping egg nog and talking about the outrageous cost of Christmas Trees.

So...keep going Rick, my boy. Move Newtie aside. Knock Willard out. Go to Tampa and kick ass!

Be the standard bearer for the Republican Party in '12.

Be a guest at Obama's Second Inauguration.

But don't forget your sweater. It can get cold on the Capitol steps in January...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Apprentice

Here's a question for ya...

Imagine you are about to have heart surgery. Who would you rather have perform the delicate procedure...a first year medical student or a cardiovascular surgeon with 40 years of hands-on experience in the O.R.?

I'm guessin'...and this is just a guess, mind you...that you said, "THE SURGEON!"

Me too. I want the guy with the most experience opening my chest. I don't think that's unreasonable. I think it's just plain smart.

So when I hear people who are running for national office throw off on career politicians and label them "Washington Insiders", I get a little squirrely, if you know what I mean.

That is exactly who should be running the country. People who have been there and know the system. That's what politicians are good at. Politics.

The idea that someone who has been successful at one thing, or another, say business or sports or acting, would make a good politician is just stupid.

I am fairly good at what I do but I would be a lousy pilot. I actually flew a plane once. A Cessna 150. Over Tulsa back in the 70s. It was a lot of fun (almost collided with a 747 but that's another story...) but that experience in no way qualifies me for elected office.

I may think I know what the problems are and I may think I have the answers but if I can't play the game I'll get crushed.

That is, essentially, what has happened to Obama, by the way. He had practically no experience coming into the Oval Office. And he got whallopped by the "Loyal Opposition." (emphasis on opposition...) Guys like Boehner and McConnell and Cantor know how the game is played and they are very good at playing it.

Obama was a babe in the woods. And please don't bore me with the crap about community organizer and state senator and one term US Senator. That was little league or at best the minors.

Washington, to continue the baseball metaphor, is "The Show." You either can bring heat or you can't and if you ain't got the stuff you'll get sent down to Pawtucket until you prove you can play with the big boys.

So when Willard claims that his experience as a businessman qualifies him for the presidency be careful. I know he was the Governor of Massachusetts. But that was Massachusetts and not Washington. That was the Pawsox and not the Red Sox. And he wasn't a very good governor at that. It was a calculated stepping stone to, what he hoped would be, the White House.

I hope not. We may need the scalpel but after the surgery we want the patient to be better.

Not dead.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hold Your Horses

Ok...wait just a gol durned minute. Slow it down Pard.

Hold yer damned horses...!

Let's just take a New York Minute to rethink this whole election thing.

Suppose, for just one moment, we contemplate electing any one of the four remaining
men currently running for the presidency as Republicans.

Put aside the idea that four more years of Obama could, all things being equal, actually be good for the country.

An easing of gas prices and unemployment, a draw down of troops in Afghanistan and a resurgent economy.

That is possible given current trends.

But if we elect Willard, or The Saint or His Pompousness or The Other Guy we will get, potentially, 8 years of their lunacy instead.

And maybe some good stuff, you never know.

And that would put off the inevitable until 2020.

The inevitable you ask, dear reader? And what might that be you wonder?

Why Jeb Bush, of course.

The sole and only bona fide reason that Jeb ain't runnin' and the GOP is straddled with this field of not-quite-so-exciting candidates is that the powers that be have decided that it would be too soon to run another Bush for president.

It is not that long ago that we were graced with George and Dick and Don and Alberto.

We may have the attention spans of house plants but I really don't think we've quite yet forgotten the Adventures of W, or Shrub as the late, great Molly Ivins called him.

So to put Jeb up for the nomination would have certainly energized the Democrats and even some disaffected Republicans and insured Obama's re-election.

So, why take the chance? They've decided to cut their losses and throw this one to Barry. That way, in 2016 Jeb can run. It will have been 8 years since the Era of Mission Accomplished/WMD/Prosecutorgate/Abu Ghraib/Katrina/TARP/Scooter.

We will have forgotten all of that by then. We will be so sick and tired of Obama that we will do, in '16, exactly what we did in '08...only in reverse.

In 2008 we would have elected Mickey Mouse had he been running. We were fed up with 8 years of Bush/Cheney and we yearned for "Change" we could "Believe in."

We got that change. But it seems as though all that really changed was not the color of the house but the color of its' occupant.

Other than that we continue to have questionable policies and questionable politics.

So...Romney/Santorum/Gingrich/Paul for President. It doesn't really matter. Any one of them will lose to Obama ensuring Jeb in '16...who will win.

The Bushes always win. Maybe not every election.

But make no mistake about it.

Just ask Saddam Hussein. Or Manuel Noriega. Or Al Gore. Or Dan Rather.

They always win.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mr. Personality

Here's an irony for ya...

Typically a presidential candidate is elected, in large part, by virtue of his personality. Is he handsome? Is he funny? Is he charming?

Those are the factors upon which we base our decision to vote for, or against, a given candidate.

We give much less attention to whether or not they have the actual ability to lead us as a nation. And we don't seem to give a damn about their intellectual prowess. They are not judged on their capacity to form a cogent argument or put two big words together in a sentence.

No, we are more concerned with social things like hair cuts, blond trophy wives and plastic, cut-out, smiling, idiot children.

So it will be a supremely ironic twist if this year's Republican nominee, and possibly the "Next President of The United States", is a man with no discernible personality.

Actually, that is not completely true. Willard does have a personality. It's a bit stiff and totally disconnected from the rest of us, but it's still there.

He is, seemingly, a bright man and his ideas are not all stupid but he is so mechanical and ill at ease that the idea of having to listen to him for four years is enough to make me want to go to Canada...on the roof of my own car!

So...Rick Santorum with is firebrand, Neo-Reformation Crusades mentality and snake-oil salesman delivery, Newt Gingrich with his Pontiff-like ARROGANCE and dismissive style and Ron Paul playing the part of Captain Kangaroo on crack...

They won't get the nod. Mr. Polymer will.

Which is really too bad. Medical research has shown that some plastics are carcinogenic.

That's all this country needs. MORE Cancer.

We already feel like throwing up. What's a little more chemo to brighten our future?

Wheatgrass anyone...?