Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mitt, Rick 'n' Jack

"President Obama said he wants everyone in American to go to college! What a snob!!!"

-Rick Santorum, 2/27/12

"Rick Santorum says he is against sending every American child to college! What a asshole!!!"

-Me, 2/29/12

Whoa! It would seem that Mitt Romney was able to avoid a full-tilt, political catastrophe last night by winning his home state of Michigan. Of course he had some unexpected assistance in the form of February's Flavor of the Month - Rick Santorum. The fact that Rick has made it this far is further proof that this still is a white man's world. It's also a testament to where the GOP standard is set these days. Poor old Rick is merely a symptom of a disease that will eventually prove to be fatal for that party. Truth be told, the Mittster's victory last night was really no victory at all. The fact that he only barely squeaked by a knucklehead like Santorum in the place where he is considered a native son is a sad harbinger of things yet-to-be I'm afraid.

Meanwhile, as our hero Rick valiantly struggles to reach the summit of Mount Stupid, he has commenced to do battle with yet another Democratic politician. Here's the punchline: This one has been dead for nearly fifty years.

“We establish no religion in this country, we command no worship, we mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are, and must remain, separate. All are free to believe or not believe, all are free to practice a faith or not, and those who believe are free, and should be free, to speak of and act on their belief.”

- John F. Kennedy
September 12, 1960

That is a direct quote from one of the greatest campaign speeches of the twentieth century. Fifty-two years ago when Jack Kennedy was seeking the office of president of the United States, he felt obliged to address a gathering of Protestant ministers at the Rice Hotel in Houston, Texas. You see, at that moment in history no Catholic had ever been sent to the White House by the American people. It was actually believed in some quarters that JFK would govern - not by the light of the Constitution - but on the orders of Pope John XXIII. Here is former senator Santorum's vomit-inducing interpretation of that 1960 speech by soon-to-be President Kennedy:

"To say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes you throw up. What kind of country do we live that says only people of non-faith can come into the public square and make their case? That makes me throw up and it should make every American….Kennedy for the first time articulated the vision saying, no, ‘faith is not allowed in the public square. I will keep it separate.’ Go on and read the speech ‘I will have nothing to do with faith. I won’t consult with people of faith.’ It was an absolutist doctrine that was foreign at the time of 1960."

-Rick Sant
February 26, 2012

That is from a televised interview he gave to George Stephanopoulis this past Sunday on ABC's "This Week". Not only is Rick a fool, he's a liar. "Go on and read the speech" he goads us. Well, I have read that speech - many, many times. Not only do I have a copy of the transcript in my files, I have a vinyl LP and a videotape of that historic address in my archives. In fact, at the bottom of this piece, I'll provide you with a link so you can see it with your own eyes on You Tube. As Mr. Rick might say, Go on and watch the speech! Kennedy never said that he would have nothing to do with faith. He never said that people who believed in God had no place in the public square. He never even vaguely implied as much.

Not long ago a collection of audio tapes were released by the Kennedy Library. They contain a series of candid conversations that Jacqueline Kennedy had with historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. in March of 1964, four months after the president's assassination. I have listened to the entire batch - which comprises eight compact discs. At one point she reveals that one of the things that impressed her the most about Jack was his faith in God, and that every night before falling asleep, he would get down on his knees to pray. It is an opinion that is held by virtually everyone who knew him personally: John F. Kennedy was a deeply religious man. That he was a deeply flawed man is now part of the historical record. That's okay. All religious people are deeply flawed. All atheists are deeply flawed. I am deeply flawed. So are you. No scoop here. Judge not, Rick. You're pretty flawed yourself, hombre!

I cannot emphasize this enough: Rich Santorum is a fool. Any political party that would allow itself to seep this far down into the ideological cesspool should never again be trusted by reasonable and enlightened people.

"I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials; and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.

-Jack Kennedy

By the way, one of the perks of being Irish Catholic is that we get to refer to the late president as "Jack". It really is pathetic to read his words today and reflect upon how dumbed-down we've become as a country in the half-century since he lived in the White House. I often refer to America as "this once-great nation". Can you understa
nd why?

Happy Leap Year, everybody!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Here's a link to listen to John F. Kennedy's address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association
on September 12, 1960. Go on and throw up I dare you!!!

It's as close to poetry as a political speech can get.


I love this story. At th
e moment JFK was giving that address he was seething with anger. Earlier in the day his aide Dave Powers had sent all of his shoes out to be shined. When the time came to leave for the Rice Hotel where the speech was to be delivered, the only available pair in his luggage were brown. To make matters worse, all but one of his suits - a dark blue one - were out being dry-cleaned. So Jack Kennedy delivered the most memorable address of the campaign of 1960 while committing the ultimate fashion faux pas: brown shoes on a blue suit. Fortunately for the sake of posterity, no color photographs survive of that event. Good thing, too. Needless to say, Dave Powers never made that mistake again. Another good thing.

Here is another YouTube link. John F. Kennedy arguing for universal health care:

And to think that fifty years later we're still having this same, stupid argument. I need a drink....


Jack Kennedy, Elusive Hero
by Chris Matthews

Not only is Matthews one of the smartest sons-of-bitches commenting on politics today, he's also a pretty good writer and historian. Further proof lay between the covers of his latest book. Here's a link to order it off of

And don't forget to watch hardball on MSNBC every weeknight at 7PM EST. He's as good as it gets.


Davy Jones of the Monkees has died of a heart attack in Florida at the age of sixty-six.

For those of us old enough to remember....Some Monkee moments.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The 2012 Clown Car Race

"It was while watching the debates last night that it finally hit me: This is justice. What we have here are chickens coming home to roost. It's as if all of the American public's bad habits and perverse obsessions are all coming back to haunt Republican voters in this race: The lack of attention span, the constant demand for instant gratification, the abject hunger for negativity, the utter lack of backbone or constancy (we change our loyalties at the drop of a hat, all it takes is a clever TV ad): these things are all major factors in the spiraling Republican disaster."

Matt Taibbi
From this week's Rolling Stone

When Hunter Thompson passed away five years ago, I remember saying that no one would ever take his place - and no one has. But Matt Taibbi comes pretty damned close. It rarely gets as good as this guy. Hats off to him.

On the morning of June 6, 2006 I received a nice e-mail from a woman in Missouri whose name I have since lost. Shame on me. I owe her so much. She had been reading my comments for a couple of years on the deliciously subversive website AlterNet.
"You're not a half bad writer" said she, "You should start your own blog." Not being as computer-savvy as my nieces or nephews (I'm still not), I asked her how the heck that would be possible for a non-geek/geek like myself. "Just go to" was her reply, "It's easy. They'll walk you right though it."
It really was easy. So easy, in fact, that within a half hour, not only did I have The Rant up-and-running, I had published my first article. It was a short piece - nothing much, only four paragraphs. But I ended it with somewhat of a bold prediction:

"George W. Bush will be remembered in history, primarily, as the first (pray last) former chief executive to go to federal prison. Sound crazy? Stay tuned."

As we all know by now, that never happened. And it looks as though it never will. The right wing craziness that today runs rampant throughout Washington would probably make such an action politically impossible anyhow. If Dubya is ever to be prosecuted for his crimes against the human race, it won't be in this country. That's why he and Rumsfeld and Cheney don't do too much traveling abroad since they left the White House three years ago. Why risk it? But another eye-opening prophecy I made that morning was in the title of that first piece:
"George W. Bush - The Last Republican President"

At the time I was just thinking wishfully as it were. Now I'm not too sure that it was as bold an idea as I had believed it to be at the time. In fact I am now almost certain that it wasn't. If that party doesn't exorcise from its spirit the kooks, criminals and ha
lfwits who have hijacked it - George W. Bush will be remembered as the last Republican president.

They have s
pent the last thirty years trying to appeal to the kind of people who historically were not too interested in the political process: insanity junkies. And all of their efforts have payed off quite well for them - a little too well as it turns out. The "party of Abraham Lincoln" has devolved into the party of Uncle Fester. That demographic that the political scientists refer to as "moderates" (I call them "purple agitators" myself) have taken a good look at what the GOP has become and they're headin' for the hills. And many of the so-called "Reagan Democrats" are disillusioned to say the least. It's almost as if they got all decked-up for that dream date with Marilyn Monroe, but when the door opened, standing there to greet them was Typhoid Mary in her loveliest party dress.

And now the invisible
movers and shakers within the gland (No, that wasn't a typo) old party are desperate for a moderate who will lead them out of this wilderness and into the Candyland of their most twisted fantasies. Are you ready for the punch line?


I am remin
ded of my old congressman, Benjamin Gilman. For thirty years he represented the district where I reside. A real gent of a man and the picture of moderation - a bit conservative on this issue, a bit liberal on that issue - in other words, the type of Republican that is now extinct. I always voted for Ben in spite of the fact that he would at times drive me crazy with his Hamlet-like indecision. Whenever my fellow Democrats (I used to be a Democrat) would ask me how I could vote for a Republican, my answer was always the same, "As soon as the Dems nominate someone better than Gilman, I'll vote for him." They never did.

Here is yet another example of that idiotic party cutting off their hideous noses to spite their clueless faces. Gilman was never one to tote the extremist, party line. As the 2002 midterms were getting near, the GOP had had enough of the kind of "Republicanism" that was personified in the figure of Ben Gilman. In a move that was cooked up by Dick Cheney and then-New York Governor George Pataki, they arranged for the congressman's congressional seat to be gerrymandered out of existence. The result was the end of Gilman's career - and two new Democratic congressmen! Between the November election and the swearing in of the new congress in January of 2003, the Republicans treated this good and d
ecent man like dirt. They kicked him out of his office and placed him and his staff in a virtual closet in the basement of the capital building. How's that for class?

Ben Gilman was the last Republican I ever cast my ballot for. I will never again trust a political party that would allow itself to seep so far down into the ideological cesspool.

The Republicans

That epitaph is not as farfetched as you might think. The wounds that the Republicans have inflicted upon themselves could very well prove to be mortal. When they created and then embraced the so-called Tea party three years ago, it was akin to French-kissing a viper. The lethal venom has been slowly circulating through their system ever since.
The GOP is now paralyzed and barely clinging to life. It is only a matter of time before it closes its eyes forever and the agony is no more.What we are now in the process of gleefully witnessing are the death throes of the party where Theodore Roosevelt once made his political home. He wouldn't recognize it today - much in the same way that his distant cousin Franklin would not recognize the Democrats. The two-party system in this country needs to be done away with, Not overhauled, mind you - completely destroyed. It's not supposed to be about political parties, boys and girls. It's supposed to be about....

"....government of the people, by the people, for the people."

It's not about the people any longer. It's all about the Republican and Democratic parties. Fuck the parties. Power to the people. That's the way it was meant to be. I'm just sayin'.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Spank the Donkey
by Matt Taibbi


Just for old time's sake, here is a link to the first piece I wrote six years ago on this electronic cesspool of bad taste and commie propaganda:

Those were the days, my friend....Which reminds me!

Love that tune!

Monday, February 20, 2012

The FDR Library Revisited

The author chillin' with the Roosevelts
"Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred. I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it, the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second Administration that in it, these forces met their master."

-Franklin D. Roosevelt, during the 1936 campaign

I've written be
fore on this electronic trash bin of Left Wing propaganda about the occasional pilgrimages I make to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library and Museum in Hyde Park, NY. I find the place therapeutic. Whenever I get to feeling depressed about this country (which is only when I am not sound asleep and not intoxicated) I tell myself that I need to visit there. Fortunately I live slightly less than forty miles from the place so getting there is not as time-consuming a prospect for me as it might be for you. I took yet another of many trips there on Saturday the eleventh of February. This time I brought along my friend Lori DeGeorge. It had the desired effect. When the time came to leave I was feeling much better about America than I was feeling when I walked in.

Here are two brief paragraphs from a piece I wrote in 2007:

"It was said of him at the time of his death on April 12, 1945, 'Although he never regained the use of his legs - much as he wanted to; much as he tried - he taught a crippled nation how to walk again.'

He was the pampered son of privilege from Hyde Park, NY whose battle with polio, begun in the summer of 1921, ingrained into his soul a deep and abiding empathy for the suffering of others that had
previously been somewhat lacking in him. Through the development of a series of radical, revolutionary programs - unparalleled in history - which his administration brought into the main stream of American social engineering, he was able to usher millions of regular people into the ranks of a middle class that had not even existed before he took the oath of office on March 4, 1933. It is now almost a cliche but it is as true as the rising sun: He saved capitalism by 'tempering its excesses.' The people would elect him to an unprecedented four terms. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was - beyond a doubt - the greatest president in American history."

My opinions of the man and his presidency have not altered a molecule since I wrote those words five years ago. If anything they have only been strengthened. He was as good as they get. When he died someone remarked that a century into the future, people would get down on their knees and thank God for Franklin D. Roosevelt. I can't speak for the people of 2045, but sixty-seven years after his passing - two thirds of a century - this person is very grateful indeed. And take into consideration that I didn't even live through that era. When I was born he had been dead for thirteen years.

And he has been gone for a very long time. My mother will be eighty-one on August fifth. On the day Franklin Roosevelt died she was not yet in high school. Maybe that is related to the reason why the legacy of the New Deal is on life support these days. There aren't many people alive today who remember what life was like in the United States before FDR - and those who do remember were mere toddlers when the stock market crashed in October of 1929. It has been said that those who refuse to remember their history are doomed to repeat it. It's so true. Just look out your window onto America's economic landscape. It was never supposed to get like this again. Why did it? What happened?

The people of this country forgot about Franklin Delano Roosevelt. That's what happened. Show most Americans a photograph of his smiling face and they will not even be able to identify him. That's gratitude for you! And if the spin doctors for the plutocracy have their way, his name (and good works) will be eradicated from America's consciousness forever.

They've already started with their onslaught of lies and misinformation. Since there are few left who remember and loved the living, breathing FDR, and who can attest to what he meant to the working people of the United States, now is the perfect time for the far right to commence with the assassination of his character - to demean everything he ever stood for; in other words: progressive policies. It is now a common right wing tactical talking point to preface the term "New Deal" by using words such as "the failure of" or "the disastrous". It's starting to work, too. There are people out there who see President Roosevelt, not as being the architect of a new American social structure, but rather as a contemporary of John Dillinger.

er curious point of emphasis the conservatives love to scream about is the fact that Franklin Roosevelt didn't quite champion the cause of African Americans during the years he lived in the White House - as if Herbert Hoover ever did! While it can't be denied that Roosevelt was fairly passive publicly on the issue of civil rights, privately it was another matter. What should not be forgotten is all of the good work his wife did for the cause of racial understanding during those twelve years. It can be said without a hint of exaggeration that up to that time, Eleanor Roosevelt did more for the rights of black people in this country than any and every president since Abraham Lincoln. And she did it all with her husband's blessings. They each had differing and well-defined roles to play. He was the pragmatic politician. She was America's heart and conscience. Each played their respective role masterfully - if not always to perfection.

Of course, had I been elected president in 1932, I would n
ot have been as passive as Roosevelt was with regard to the equal rights of all Americans. I would have been out in the national spotlight demanding an end to racial segregation everywhere. The only problem is that I would have been a one term president (that's assuming I wouldn't have been impeached - or lynched). Back in those days the Democratic party was chock-full of racist Dixiecrats. A generation later they would flee - like diseased rats - into the loving arms of the GOP.

It's sad to say, but the world Franklin Roosevelt inhabited was not the same one that President Lyndon Johnson encountered thirty years later. The Voting and Civil Rights Acts could not have been passed in the thirties and forties - and it is sheer fo
lly for anyone to suggest (as some have) that he could have done so. He couldn't even get a federal anti-lynching law passed. The proposed bill was killed in the senate. But While Franklin might have appeared passive, with his quiet encouragement Eleanor was helping pave the road to equality in this country. It's a road that still has more-than-a-few miles of paving left to go.

The Civil Rights Movem
ent in America was born on April 9, 1939 - Easter Sunday. That was the day that Mrs. Roosevelt made the arrangements for African American contralto, Marian Anderson, to perform a concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial after the Daughters of the American Revolution denied her the opportunity to sing at Constitution Hall because of the color of her skin. Eleanor Roosevelt, a life-long member of the DAR, resigned in disgust at that moment. I hate to do this to you again but I need to quote something else I wrote a few years ago. Here goes:

"Almost everyone is under the impression that the modern civil rights movement began on that December afternoon in 1955 when an exhausted Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus to a white man. They're off by almost seventeen years. December 1, 1955 merely marked the day the child went out into the world for the very first time. April 9, 1939 was the moment she breathed her first breath."

Damn! Best paragraph I ever wrote! Wasn't that a humdinger?

On that sacred Easter Sunday of 1939 under the statue of the great emancipator, as Marian Anderson sang Schubert's Ave Maria before an integrated audience of seventy-five thousand people - and millions more across the land via the new medium of radio - who among the multitudes gathered would have dared to dream that they were bearing witness to the beginning of a long chain of events that would lead to the inauguration of the first African American president seventy years later?

The next time one of these "spokespersons" for the extreme right tries to co
nvince you that Franklin D. Roosevelt hated black people, recognize it for what it is: a bald-faced lie.
In the years Roosevelt was president there was a massive political migration of African Americans who bolted the "party of Lincoln" for the Democrats. That is no mere coincidence. 

The most obvious stain on the legacy of President Roosevelt is the incarceration of Japanese citizens during the second world war. He didn't instigate what happened but it happened all the same. He could have put a stop to it and yet he caved in. But Roosevelt was just as guilty as the people he led. There was no mass outrage over the imprisonment of Japanese Americans in 1942. That outrage would only make itself known after a half century of historical hindsight.

Still, after all is debated, we're a better country because eighty years ago Franklin Delano Roosevelt sought and won the office of the presidency. As I stated earlier, very few people are alive today who have a conscious memory of what life was like in America for ordinary people before the New Deal ushered in a great new society for this country. Because of FDR, people began to see their government as a partner. It's been one of my missions to make sure that my generation understands this. They've pretty much forgotten that it was Roosevelt's liberal policies that saved America. Today many see the government as their enemy - and in some cases that's the truth. It doesn't have to be that way. We should strive for the perfection of government - not its abolition.

While we were
visiting, Lori and I took a tour of the mansion where Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born on the night of January 29, 1882, the place that he called "home" for all of his sixty-three years. I could definitely feel the "Frankie vibe" as I call it. It is a beautiful old house and it is exactly as it was on the last night he ever slept there - including a glass of milk and a half-eaten tuna sandwich that he left on the dining room table. On our way out, we paused for a moment of reflective meditation in the Rose Garden where Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt today sleep side-by-side. It's one of the most peaceful places on earth; the perfect spot to reflect upon where America has been, where it is, and where it may be heading. I just might pass this way again. In fact, I'm planning on it.

By the way, I was just kidding about the glass of milk and tuna sandwich. That wouldn't be quite sanitary. It's a very clean place.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


The photograph of the author at the top of this nasty, piece of commie diatribe was taken by Lori DeGeorge. The photograph of Lori and that same America-bashing, French-loving "elitist" writer was taken on the South lawn of the R
oosevelt mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The photographer was a very polite tourist from Ireland named Chris. Thank you, Chris.


No Ordinary Time
by Doris Kearns-Goodwin

A compelling look at life inside the White House when Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt lived there.

Here are some links to three additional pieces I've written through the years on the subject of Franklin Roosevelt:

"So first of all let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...."
Aw, hell, y
ou know the rest of it.


Today is the fiftieth anniversary of the day an American astronaut orbited the earth for the first time. It is also the first news event that I have a conscious memory of. The second was the death of Pope John XXIII the following year. I remember quite clearly that I was watching a Yogi Bear cartoon on Channel 5 when it was interrupted to cover the lift off. At that moment in my life, preempting my cartoons was not a wise thing to do. To this day I have never forgiven John Glenn. I never will. On February 20, 1962 he incurred my eternal wrath.


It has just been announced that Bill Murray will be playing the role of Franklin Roosevelt in a film called "Hyde Park on Hudson" that is scheduled to be released on December 7. That's Bill in the photo above in costume as FDR. My all-time favorite comic actor portraying my all-time favorite president? I cannot wait!

For more recent postings on this site, please go to the link below:

"The Rant" by Tom Degan

Progressive political commentary with the bitter pill of satire.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Surge of Mr. Rick

"I don't want to make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money."

Rick Santorum

Thank you, Massah....

To Mr. Rick's credit, he says he was misquoted when he made that remark, and I'm perfectly willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. He claims he didn't say "black people". What he really said was "blah people". Of course he did. Some of my best friends are blah people.

And now on to the freak show....

It's almost i
nconceivable to me how much lower the standards of the GOP manage to fall with each passing year. Their new flavor of the month for February 2012 appears to be Rick Santorum, a man who could be mistaken for George W. Bush's not-too-bright younger brother. He kinda reminds me of Bobby Kennedy with birth defects. Is this yet another passing fad? Just a little over a week ago I was hoping against all odds that he would be The One crowned at the convention this summer. A Santorum candidacy would be bound to bring in a million laughs. I then dismissed the very idea as absurd. Fate has never been as kind to me as that. Now I'm not so sure.

One alm
ost has to feel pity for Mitt Romney. As a genuine conservative, he would have been right at home with the Barry Goldwater crowd of yore. But this new Republican party is something else entirely. Back in the good old days, while they might have been hard to take seriously most of the time, they were essentially a well-meaning - if slightly goofy - lot. It strains the imagination to remember that the legendary New York mayor Fiorello LaGuardia (photo left) once served in congress as a Republican. That era is gone forever and long forgotten. The gauge that records the intellectual substance of the "party of Abraham Lincoln" has flat-lined. They will soon be extincted. Life is beautiful.

As if things weren't bad enough this week for Romney, he's now struggling to win his home state of Michigan - a state his father George once served as governor of a half century ago. He may be a son of that state but it's more-than-apparent he's not the favorite son. It must be a depressing thing to wake up each and every day to the realization that even your own kind detest you. The "base" sees Mitt, not as the kind of guy who will work in their interests, but the interests of the moneyed plutocracy - which is true - but that's true for the entire Republican party. The difference between Santorum and Romney is this: Rick has most of them deceived. Mitt is as transparent as your sitting room window.

This is not to say that the Romney campaign is dead in the water. Anything but. A lot can happen between now and the convention and probably will. It's anyone's guess how Super Tuesday will play out. Rick's disadvantage is that he is disorganized and (when the going gets tough) befuddled. The fact that he has been able to win anything speaks volumes about the ideological condition of that disgusting party - not to mention the mentality of the people who vote in Republican primaries. If the Mittster can hang onto Michigan he still has a shot. If he doesn't he might as well fold up the tent and go home - wherever the hell "home" is. He's never made that quite clear.

My heart is with Mr. Rick. I soooo want him to win the nomination I can't stand it. I know what you're thinking: Be careful what you wish for, Tom Degan! Yeah, I know. President Rick Santorum would be catastrophic for this poor country, I hear you. But look at it from the point-of-view of a progressive blogger. A Santorum administration would be the gift from Heaven that keeps giving. And when your vocation is finding the humor in all things political, Rick's White House would be a virtual gold mine! It was a lot easier siphoning the comedy out of George W. Bush than it is from Barack Obama. Of course this is all wishful speculation on my part. Rick Santorum is never going to be president. But a man can dream, can't he?

And then there's poor old Newt Gingrich....

On second thought, when a person disintegrates to such a miserably pathetic state as Newt has, kicking him is bad form - not to mention in terrible taste. I'd better take a pass here - tempting though it may be.

"Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."

-Lou Gehrig, 1939

t? Read it and weep, Lou! Which brings me to the subject of the man the three stooges of the pluticracy are tripping over themselves trying to defeat - the president of the United States. The gods of happy political accidents have smiled down on Barack Obama throughout his short political career. Fate has always pitted him against people who were either engulfed in scandal, imbeciles, extremists, or crazy as an army of bed bugs. In the case of Sarah Palin it was all of the above. It now appears that in 2012 this run of good luck won't be deserting him. It's irrelevant who gets the nomination in the end. That party has so mortally wounded itself they've effectively reelected Obama. I get miffed whenever someone says that the prez has an uphill fight between now and Election Day. I disagree. The end-result has been etched in granite. It's all downhill from here.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Fire-Breathing Liberal
by Robert Wexler (with David Fisher)


And speaking of Fiorello LaGuardia, here's a clip of "the Little Flower" (as he was known in his day) campaigning for mayor in 1932. He is speaking out against the prohibition of alcohol. One might imagine him saying the same thing today about the prohibition of marijuana. When this film was made, grass was not yet illegal.

They just don't make Republicans like that anymore. It's a shame. La Guardia was as good as they get

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Post #400: Random Observations

"There are no words to describe Tom Degan. I have met him and he is worse in person then in print. He should consider suicide. It may be the only way he could ever be remembered."

-Anonymous posting in the New York Craigslist

Well I never!

I love that quote! I actually sent an e-mail to the person who posted it thanking him. He even answered me. As Artie Shaw once said, "There's no such thing as bad publicity". And what a happy way to begin article number four-hundred on this naughty, left wing blog. Here is a random collection of thoughts and observations that I had either carelessly scribbled in my notebook or posted on other sites. Happy reading, campers!

1. Reassessing Michael Steele

When Barack Obama entered the White House a little over three years ago, the GOP responded by appointing the first African American to chair the Republican National Committee. At the time I remarked that, true to form, they hired the dumbest black guy that was possible to find. My opinion of Michael Steele has changed considerably since then. Since he left the RNC last year, he is no longer bound by their idiotic talking points and he comes across these days as a tad more intelligent. I still disagree with most of his positions, but I must concede that the guy doesn't appear half as nuts as he used to. That's progress - I guess.

2. Democratic Cowardice

The reason the word "liberal" has become a virtual expletive in recent years is because the Democrats - instead of defending liberalism - have turned tail and fled from the term like frightened little puppies. In a pre-Superbowl interview with Bill O'Rielly on Sunday, the president refused to admit he leaned even slightly left-of-center. This being an election year, one can forgive him for playing it safe. But the Dems in general will need to "get with the program" if they know what's good for them. They risk being consigned to historical irrelevance otherwise. A third party is a'brewin'. If the party of Franklin Roosevelt refuses to remember what they're supposed to be about, they risk being left behind.

3. Rick is Moving on Up! (to the big time?)

Having won three key nomination contests yesterday in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri, things are starting to come up roses for Rick Santorum. Certain people are even starting to entertain twisted fantasies of him as the GOP nominee. That would be the answer to my prayers! Of course it ain't gonna happen. My luck has NEVER gotten that good. Oh, but what a nice thought! A campaign as utterly demented as his would produce untold volumes of laughs. Can you imagine the endless possibilities?

4. What About Scott?

My hat is off and my head is bowed to Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. It was his arrogance that inspired the nationwide movement known popularly as "Occupy Wall Street". I've always referred to it as "The Madison Revolution". After all is said and done, it was in that state's capital where the people stood up in disgust against Walker's anti-worker policies. The movement spread worldwide within a matter of months. It won't be going away anytime soon. The sleeping giant of the American Left has awoken and they're pissed! Thank you, Scott.

5. The Idiocy of Deregulation

The Deregulation of the financial marketplace was a jaw-droppingly bad idea. For fifty years Wall Street was strictly regulated and for most of that time we had the best economy in the history of the world. Then in 1981 Ronald Reagan entered our lives. He began the process of dismantling the rules that had been put in place by Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Dealers back in the thirties. We've been sitting on an economic powder keg ever since. It's about to go KABOOM!!!

6. Changing the Subject

The economy is starting to improve. This means that the remaining contenders for the Republican nomination have got to change the subject. And what a subject it is! Are you ready for this???


I swear to you I'm not making this stuff up. And the sad thing is that a lot of Catholics out there are swallowing the propaganda. I really love my religion but some of its practitioners (like Rick Santorum) embarrass the heck out of me. Keep your eye on this story. This may very well turn out to be the non-issue/issue of the campaign of 2012.


This is a campaign year, This is an extremely conservative country. President Obama has an election to win. He's going to piss a lot of us off this year by playing his cards as close to the center/right as he possibly can. You must remember that politically it is crucial that he do this in order to defeat Mitt Romney come November. The very last thing we need to do is stay home in a mass hissy fit. We did that in 2010 and what did it get us? Probably the worst congress since before the Civil War. Be patient.

8. J. Edgar:

With the release this year of the film bio starring Leonardo DiCaprio, I've been thinking a lot about the late director of the FBI. It's rare to find someone in American history as mind-numbingly evil as J. Edgar Hoover most certainly was. Why could he not have just come out of the closet? He and his highest ranking agent Clyde Tolson were homosexual lovers for decades. That's a photograph on the left of the two of them having a cozy breakfast together. Don't they make a cute couple? It is an inarguable fact that Hoover held blackmail information on other gay men - and women. The guy was beyond despicable.

Think of the "criminals" that the FBI spent decades investigating:

Eleanor Roosevelt, Charlie Chaplin, John Lennon, Lenny Bruce, Frank Sinatra, Eartha Kitt, Dick Gregory, Joan Baez, Marilyn Monroe (MARILYN MONROE???)....

And through it all the silly old pervert would deny the existence of organized crime. I only wish J.Edgar could have lived to see a black family living in the White House. Given his unconcealed racism, that would have driven him nuts! He has been placed where he rightfully belongs - in history's trash can. Good riddance.

9. Bernie Sanders:

I never dreamed that anyone could replace Ted Kennedy as the ultimate liberal icon, but Bernie Sanders is on his way to doing it. Bernie doesn't give a damn about political expediency. Lobbyists won't even bother knocking on his door. What would be the point? His lobby is WEEDA PEEPLE. He speaks for us. He's our champion in the senate. His great cause these days is trying to get a constitutional amendment passed that would outlaw the Supreme Court's atrocious "Citizens United" ruling and the ridiculous notion of "corporate personhood". That he has an up-mountain climb in this regard is beyond doubt. But if there's anyone that can make it happen it's Bernie Sanders. He's as good as they get.

I used to vacation in Vermont with my family and friends when I was a kid. The people up there, most of them, always seemed so sweet and reasonable. It's reflected in the persona of the man they have sent to Washington to represent them.

10. Vice President Hillary Clinton?

A terrible idea. When was the last time a vice-president was dumped from the ticket? 1944 when Franklin D. Roosevelt chose Harry Truman over Henry Wallace. FDR was a very popular president. He could get away with that sort of thing. Also, Joe Biden is a popular, well liked veep. The public loathed Henry Wallace. We really need to think this one through, kids.

A black guy and a woman on the same ticket? And a woman named Clinton at that??? As it stands now, the half-witted "base" of the Republican party will not be coming out in droves for the Moderate/Massachusetts/Mexican/Mormon Mitt. Let's not encourage them, okay?

11. And finally....a little prediction:

The second term of the Obama administration (Please, God) will see the Department of Justice commence with the long-overdue prosecutions of of the people who spent years looting America's treasure. I'm beginning to think that to have done so during the first term would have been politically untenable. After next Inauguration Day Obama will have nothing to lose and - as far as his place in history is concerned - everything to gain. A lot of folks will be paying some serious dues in the years to come.

On that happy note, thanks for reading "The Rant" these past six years, folks. As Jed Clampett might say, "I'm much obliged to you."


Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


The photograph at the top of this hideous diatribe was taken on New Year's Eve by my nephew Peter Dermigny. Shameless product placement, I know. See the lovely Christmas lights in the background? Ain't they pretty?


Ayn Rand? My goodness! The anti-Christ has come and gone. It's hard to understand how someone could take the poor gal seriously. It's amazing the source to which some persons will go to justify greed. Here is a link to a televised interview she gave to Mike Wallace in 1959. It's quite amusing:

Everyone should see this. If people could observe with their own eyes the inspirational light of the modern-day GOP, they would be horrified - or, if they happen to be registered Republicans - mortified.


LENNON - The Definitive Life
by Tim Riley


In memory of James Scott "Poppy" Scesa 1930-2012

Jim was the father of my boyhood chum and partner in non-felonious crime, Paul Scesa. He died on the seventh of February having just reached his eighty-second birthday two days earlier. He was a real gem-of-a-man. A truly kind and gentle human being. Soft spoken and wise, it was indeed a fortunate thing to have lived in the same century as Jim Scesa - and I was lucky enough to have shared two with him.

Not too long before he passed away, Jeanne Farley Warren remarked that the quality of beef at "Jim's Meat Market" was always a cut above the competition. No surprise there. He was a quality guy - and a danged fine gee-tar picker if I do say so myself. Sleep well, Mr. Jim.

For every person who goes before me, I fear it less and less.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Mad Hatters and Tea Parties

Dear America,

Unemployment in our country has fallen to 8.2 percent - and it's all because of the hard work that good and decent Republicans in the House and Senate have been doing on your behalf. It had not a thing to do with the Democrats and their leader - that Big Black Bolshevik Boogieman in the White House. This is a great and proud day for the Grand Old Party. I am as pleased as punch! Now if you'll excuse me I need to take my meds.


Napoleon Bonaparte

But seriously, folks....

As utterly disappointing as this administration has turned out to be for a hopeless and unrepentant lefty such as yours truly, I am forced to give a tip of the old fedora to the man at the helm. As president, Barack Obama has made some moronic blunders - no doubt about it. For the most part he has governed as a slightly-right-of-center Republican might have. And yet it should be conceded that, given the economic catastrophe he inherited from the half-wit that proceeded him, the guy must be given credit where credit is due. I am also consoled by the obvious truth that, bad as things are at the present, things could be much, much worse. Sleepy John McCain and Fascist Barbie might have won the election of 2008. Can you even fathom the possibilities? Let us count our little blessings where we find them.

That is not to imply that the jackasses on the extreme right (or the moderate right for that matter) are about to give this president a half-an-ounce of credit for the good news. Oh, perish the thought, good and gentle reader. If we are to believe these nitwits, the economy has improved in spite of the vile efforts of this naughty socialist Kenyan to destroy the United States of America. You've gotta giggle. You've just gotta!

Sometimes I live in the country
Sometimes I live in town
Sometimes I take a great notion
To jump in the river and drown

-Huddie Leadbetter

In spite of everything - including a concerted effort to deny the ballot to traditional Democratic voters in Republican-controlled states all across the country - I'm more confident than ever that 2012 will not turn out to be a banner year for the right wing in this diseased land. That's not to say that I'm ecstatic over the thought of the Democrats in control of the government. Not at all. They're merely the lesser of two evils. Let me put it to you this way: The thought of the Dems controlling things might send me to the nearest tavern to drown my sorrows away. With the GOP in power again, I might very well be tempted to head toward the nearest bridge.

But that's not gonna happen. Not in 2012 anyway. Perhaps not ever again. Three years ago when the Republicans embraced the so-called "Tea party", it effectively pointed a pistol to its head and pulled the trigger. The "party of Abraham Lincoln" (What would I do without quotation marks!) is now a faded and cherished memory. Aren't politics fun?

Assuming Mitt Romney will be this year's nominee, he now finds himself in a Catch 22 situation; the same situation John McCain found himself in four years ago: In order for him to win the White House, he needs the base of his party to come out in droves. That's not gonna be an easy thing to make happen. You see, for reasons that have yet to be explained, your average Tea partier has a bit of a problem with the Massachusetts/Mormon/Mexican/Moderate Mitt. Go figure. In order for these people to come out in great numbers for Romney, he needs to place on the ticket a running mate so extreme, he or she can barely function at public gatherings - much like Sarah Palin. This choice of running mate will so alarm moderate Americans (READ: most Americans) that they will reflexively vote for Obama/Biden.

Poor old Mitt. This just hasn't been his year. And as if he didn't have enough headaches to contend with, there is the Gingrich factor to take into consideration. I looked at the front page of my local paper the morning after the Florida primary and beheld the laughing face of Mitt Romney. I just had to ask myself: Why is this man smiling? Does he not contemplate what a vengeful little thug Newt Gingrich is? Apparently not.

Newt is never going to be president of the United States. Callista is never going to be First Lady (or "Third Lady" as Maureen Dowd put it in her column yesterday). I am never going to win the Super Bow. Nor will I ever get the Academy Award for Best Actress. We may dream all we want - and to our heart's most dreadful content. But there comes a time when we need to wake up to some serious realities. And perhaps Newt has. But that's still not stopping him from bringing Mitt (and the Republican party) crashing down in complete destruction. Newt Gingrich has been out of the public eye for a number of years now. If any of us forgot what a spiteful little twit the man is, we were reminded of it once again this week. Before Newt exits stage right (extreme right) he plans on doing some serious damage to Romney. Is he doing this because he is seriously considering another shot at the nomination in 2016? Don't put it past him. Newt Gingrich is capable of just about anything. He's one devious son-of-a-bitch.

If Newt were somehow ever able to enter the White House - with a GOP-controlled House and Senate - it would mean the end of this country. But as I stated earlier, that's never gonna happen - not in this lifetime or any other. I do hope that this is not mere wishful thinking on my part.

So sit back, fasten your seat belts, and enjoy what promises to be an utter train-wreck of a political year. This is gonna be a hoot!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Did you all have a nice Superbowl Sunday? I certainly did. Unfortunately I have never had much of an interest in sports. While the rest of you were watching the game, I was listening to a spoken word documentary on a vinyl LP regarding the history of the phonograph industry in England. That's life in the live-on-the-razor's-edge, laugh-in-the-face-of-death world of Tom Degan. You envy me. Admit it. Okay, maybe not.


The House of Barrymore
by Margot Peters

A fascinating look into the funny and ultimately tragic lives of actors John, Ethel and Lionel Barrymore.