Newsless in Vieques

Posted March 29, 2010 on 9:26 pm | In the category Bush/Cheney, Healthcare, McCain, Palin, Politics, Press, Republican Party | by Jeff

A week on the beaches of Vieques left me anxious for news from the Capitol of the World. So I gather we have a healthcare bill of some sort, that president Obama grew some cojones and that the Republicans are in some kind of shocked disbelief that their Tea Party did not prevail. As for Scott Brown, I guess he stayed true to whatever values he might have hidden away and managed to vote against the bill that replicated the Massachusetts Senate bill that he voted for a couple of years before. Go figure.

And oh Lordy, ABC News told me that Obama had made 15 recess appointments that – again – the Republicans are simply shocked that they were not allowed to hold them up for another year or two. I mean talk about uppity? Who does this black dude think he is? President? Interesting that the white guy on ABC ends the broadcast wondering why Obama has not changed the way Washington works. Cannot make this stuff up.

Thankfully for Congressman Boehner (pronounced “boner”) and Senator Mitch Rhino McConnell, their Tea Party comrades got their collective shit together to spit on black Congressmen, yell “nigger’ at them, call Barney Frank a” faggot”, and all in all bring to the forefront what seems to offend the Boners of the world – the country is going to hell with all these different looking people taking over. Throw in the Mexicans and the Asians and all of a sudden the Tea Party begins to look a lot like the hierarchy of the Catholic Church – white, old, male, totally confused about right and wrong and scared of losing the illusion of power.

And good old Big Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz figured out that lawyers who defend accused people in America are not to be confused with patriots, but rather to be lumped in with Arabs, Terrorists, people of color other than Justice Thomas, and Benedict Arnold. Great to see a former Vice President setting an example.

And then I turn the channel to find Sarah Palin pimping for old geezer McCain in Arizona. Poor old Crash McCain has this deranged smile on his face as Sarah points her fingers here and there after exhorting her people via her website to “reload” and go after the President – that would be her President as well as mine. She then moves on to some little town in Nevada, known mostly for being Harry Reid’s hometown – to lead a group of 6 or 7 thousand tea partiers in a semi-Christian bible meeting aimed at driving old Harry the Antichrist out of office.

Probably the best stories revolved around one of my favorite cities – Rome – with side trips to a Wisconsin School for the Deaf, several Bavarian catholic churches, and the evil New York Times. No need to rehash the story here but it sure did not warm my heart to see the  Catholic  Church excusing itself from accountability for the abuse of thousands of young children on the twin bases of “everyone else was doing it” and “the New York Times is picking on us”.

The Vieques beaches are wonderful, there is no wifi on them, and I recommend them to all.

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Post Olympic News Blues

Posted March 4, 2010 on 3:00 pm | In the category Politics, Press, Sports, Terrorism, U.S. Domestic Policy | by Jeff

The Vancouver Olympics were many things to many people – but for some they were a terrific diversion from the world of American politics. What follows is a quick and by-no-means inclusive review of some of the events driving us to the Olympics coverage:

  • Dick Cheney’s daughter Liz joined with former NY Times Columnist and Palin voyeur Bill Kristol in supporting and ad branding the Department of Justice the “Department of Jihad” and labeling 7 lawyers who had represented Gitmo detainees “The Al Queda 7”.  McCarthyism lives.
  • The South Dakota state legislature passed a bill which would require high school science courses to teach that world weather phenomena (e.g. climate change) are affected by a variety of dynamics including “astrological” dynamics.
  • Thomas Friedman reported in his NY Times column that the town of Tracy, California plans to charge residents $300 and non-residents $400 per 911 call unless they have paid a $40 annual fee. In case of severe chest pains, drive to the next town.
  • Several reports describe Wall Street investment banks’ political donations moving strongly toward Republicans. This is strange punishment of the Democrats for bailing them out of their self-induced collapse but understandable as Republicans circle their wagons to protect the same banks from virtually any serious regulations.
  • In his imitation of Fidel Castro, Glen Beck spoke for nearly an hour at the CPAC 2010 Conference, or Coven, or whatever it was called.  There are hundreds of hilarious quotes in the ramble but one sample is as much as we can stand:  “He chose to use his name, Barack, for a reason. To identify, not with America — you don’t take the name Barack to identify with America. You take the name Barack to identify with what? Your heritage? The heritage, maybe, of your father in Kenya, who is a radical?
  • One U.S. Senator – Shelby of Alabama – tied up 70 of President Obama’s nominations for important federal positions because he wants a defense project built in his state.
  • OJ Simpson offered to donate to the Smithsonian the suit he wore when he was acquitted of two murder charges. In one of the few good news stories of recent weeks the Smithsonian turned him down.
  • Tea Party leader Mark Williams went on CNN and during his meltdown, said that President Obama was “an Indonesian Muslim and a welfare thug”.



les jeux sont finis

Posted March 3, 2010 on 1:37 am | In the category Canada, Sports | by Mackenzie Brothers

Who would have guessed that the Vancouver Winter Olympics would turn into an event of great national unity, and become what many felt was the best of all Olympic Games. After all it had begun with some glitches and lousy weather? John Furlong, the decent, tenacious and ultimately triumphant organizer of it all said he felt that the turning point came when the obnoxious and snobbish British press, representing a country which managed a total of one medal at the games, printed a series of unfair and untruthful articles that only demonstrated their jealousy at the success of their long-ago colony. These unprovoked attacks managed to unite English, French and allophones and, with some reservations, even First Nations, in a public display of defiance of such attiudes by a former colonial occupier. In any case at some point the pent-up pride, even anger, seemed to transfer itself onto the athletes, who quite suddenly began winning so many events that with their 14 gold medals they not only set an Olympic record but easily relegated Germany with 10 and the US with 9 gold medals to the runner-up positions.

This was an extraordinary example of the configuration of politics and sport, and analysts are beavering away on the question of whether it will have lasting consequences in the forming of a national identity. Certainly the culminating sporting event, the gold-medal men’s hockey final between the US and Canada, which apparently was viewed by 85% of the Canadian population, has already achieved something along that line. All you had to do was observe the behaviour of the 150,00 people who poured out onto the streets of Vancouver after Sidney Crosby scored the winning overtime goal. It was the most dramatic example of two weeks of surging crowds that may have displayed too high spirits at times but streamed through the streets of a major city for 17 days without a single serious incident. The next Olympics will be in London. May the power be with them, but don’t count on it.

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