Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Post #471: Random Thoughts

The world has gone mad today
And good's bad today
And black's white today
And day's night today

-Cole Porter

Here are a handful of miscellaneous observations that have come to mind lately. I have a lot of time on my hands, I know.

The month of February was pretty much consumed by the attention that was wasted on the Chuck Hagel confirmation hearings. He was finally confirmed yesterday after a GOP filibuster that seemed to go on forever. What was their problem with him? He is, after all, a Republican. The problem is simply that his former colleagues are out for revenge. You see, Chuck Hagel, a veteran of the Vietnam war, reversed course on Iraq. Although he initially supported invading that country ten years ago, he eventually came to his senses and reversed his opinion. Better late than never as they say.

Think about that. Chuck Hagel came to understand that the invasion of Iraq was the stupidest military blunder in American history and for that his fellow Republicans tried to force upon him a stringent political price. Kiss that party goodbye.

Melissa Harris-Perry

Her MSNBC program has been on the air for a year now and I'm ashamed to tell you that this is the first time I've plugged it on this site. Every Saturday and Sunday morning from 10AM to 12 noon EST, you can find me glued to the Melissa Harris-Perry Show. Smart, funny and sophisticated (without a smidgen of condescension) she raises issues that are often ignored by the national media.   The legendary CBS News producer Fred Friendly once said that the job of a good journalist is to tell the people - not what they want to hear - but what they need to hear. I always learn something I need to know on Melissa's program. You might not have heard of her before, but this won't be the last time I promise you. Melissa Harris-Perry is here to stay. Oh, and did I mention she's lovely to look at? So sue me. 

3.  The Next Pope

Benedict the Sixteenth is within hours of stepping down - the first time in about six-hundred years that something like this has happened. Speaking as a Catholic (wayward though I may be at times) the Catholic Church is in DESPERATE need of a major transformation. How 'bout a black pope? Better still, an African American pope! That would most definitely transform the Church of Rome. It would also give all of those racist Catholics (there are a lot of them, trust me )  something to ponder. Just a thought. 

A black pope. Can you imagine? Yo, baby!

4. What's the Matter with Chris?

I've gotta tell you that Chris Christie is growing on me. I still think the people of New Jersey made a mistake by electing him - but it's not one/tenth the error I originally presumed it to be.

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) won't be inviting him to speak at their upcoming convention. Genuine headcases like Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum and Alan West will be speaking - but not Chris Christie. Why? He's too "liberal". Of course he is not a progressive by any stretch of the imagination, but by the standards of today's right wing,  he's just a half-step down from being compared to the anti-Christ. That's how weird things have gotten. Having shown respect to Barack Obama when he visited New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy didn't do him much good with that party's "base" either.

CPAC is not affiliated with the GOP- but let's be honest - that's the party they identify with. If the Republicans are smart, Governor Christie will be their standard bearer in 2016. Of course that's never gonna happen.

5. Welcome to Sequester City

The long-dreaded "sequester" is supposed to kick into effect on Friday. Some are predicting economic catastrophe in its wake; others are implying that the fear is much ado about not much. Whatever the results, the debate leading up to this has been an illuminating window into Washington's complete and utter dysfunction. There is a lot of blame that that can be distributed between the two parties - not excluding the Obama White House. But the bulk of the blame belongs with the conservatives. Their stated goal is to sabotage this president's agenda by any means possible; that includes ideas they previously supported. Are you surprised that we are the laughingstock of western civilization? You shouldn't be. You really shouldn't. 

Uber-dingbat Ted Cruz

It would seem to me that freshman Texas senator Ted Cruz has got a Joe McCarthy complex. He even resembles McCarthy in the way he hunches over the microphone. His behavior during Chuck Hagel's confirmation hearing was something else. He actually questioned Hagel's patriotism. Since arriving in DC in January, he has reflexively voted against every proposal and nominee put forward by this administration. Keep your eye on Ted Cruz. He's probably going to be around for some time. Given the retarded political climate of the state of Texas, I imagine there will still be enough people around in 2018 who will cheerfully reelect this clown. That's okay by me. He's such fun to watch.


Sheila Bair
This opinion piece appeared in yesterday's New York Times. The writer is a woman named Sheila Bair. Here's just a taste of it:
"I am a capitalist and a lifelong Republican. I believe that, in a meritocracy, some level of income inequality is both inevitable and desirable, as encouragement to those who contribute most to our economic prosperity. But I fear that government actions, not merit, have fueled these extremes in income distribution through taxpayer bailouts, central-bank-engineered financial asset bubbles and unjustified tax breaks that favor the rich.
"This is not a situation that any freethinking Republican should accept. Skewing income toward the upper, upper class hurts our economy because the rich tend to sit on their money — unlike lower- and middle-income people, who spend a large share of their paychecks, and hence stimulate economic activity.
"But more fundamentally, it cuts against everything our country and my party stand for. Government’s role should not be to rig the game in favor of “the haves” but to make sure “the have-nots” are given a fair shot."

Will the Republicans heed the call Sheila Bair? Don't be silly. That's why they're within less than a decade of disappearing into the sewers of history. See ya!


As I write these words, the Supreme Court is deciding whether or not to repeal Section Five of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. There are those who are arguing that it no longer has a purpose. This at a time when voter suppression in this country is out of control. Can you believe that? How much do you want to bet that Clarence Thomas (of all people) will vote to end it?

Expect more obstruction from the crazies in the House of Reprehensibles in the next two years. President Obama's only real chance to move this country forward will be after 2014 and only if that body is Democratically controlled. Otherwise fasten your seat belts for the downward spiral.

And that's the way it is, Wednesday, February 26, 2013. Cheerio! Pip! Pip!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY  


Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with JFK

In March of 1964, four months after John F. Kennedy's death, his widow, Jackie, sat down with historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. for a marathon series of interviews that were not supposed to be made public until seventy-five years after her death. Fortunately daughter Caroline made the decision that history shouldn't wait that long. A rigorously private and tight-lipped woman with the public for most of her life, these interviews are a revelation. The book comes with eight CD's that cover the entire session. If you're into history this one is essential. Highly recommended.  

Special thanks to my dear friend, Nancy Karlovich, for reminding me what a treasure this one is.


At 11:28 AM, Blogger Dave Dubya said...

My final entry in the previous thread seems applicable to points 1,5,6,7,and 9 of this post.

Americans have the right to be stupid

How else can we explain nearly half of Republican voters thinking ACORN stole last year's election for the death panel building, gun confiscating, 'Muslim Marxist"?

At 11:37 AM, Blogger charles moore said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 2:36 PM, Blogger charles moore said...

Re the inplosion, I think it is nothing more than grandstanding and playing to the peanut gallery. John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz and so on simply want to have the spotlight on them so that they can go home and crow "see how inportant I am in Washington. I can stop the workings of the government".

As for the Pope, I like your idea, but would go you one better. While we are dealing in pipe dreams, what about an African American LESBIAN Pope?

At 8:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thought you might enjoy this Tom, I didn't know Mr. Woodard was a racist, did you?

(Reuters) - Journalist Bob Woodward on Wednesday criticized Barack Obama's handling of the automatic U.S. budget cuts set to take effect this week, calling the president's decision to hold back on military deployments "madness."

His comments continued what has become a running dispute between Woodward, perhaps the country's best-known print journalist, and the Democratic White House over who is responsible for the across-the-board cuts scheduled to begin on Friday."

Business Insider "Bob Woodward said this evening on CNN that a "very senior person" at the White House warned him in an email that he would "regret doing this," the same day he has continued to slam President Barack Obama over the looming forced cuts known as the sequester.

CNN host Wolf Blitzer said that the network invited a White House official to debate Woodward on-air, but the White House declined.

Last week, Woodward published an opinion piece in the Washington Post - where he is an associate editor - saying the administration was "wrong" to blame the cuts on Republicans."

Tom, Bob Woodard a member of the Tea Party?

"The emperor has no clothes."

At 8:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee Tom, I thought only the Koch Brothers bought elections.

Robin Kelly was elected Tuesday as the Democratic nominee in a Chicago-area district to replace former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., forced out in an ethics scandal. She is a strong supporter of gun control, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s political fund poured $2 million into television ads against an opponent who had been highly rated by the National Rifle Association. -

At 8:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

More advise fro the Sage on the Potomac.

BIDEN: Well, the way in which we measure it is—I think most scholars would say—is that as long as you have a weapon sufficient to be able to provide your self-defense,” Biden said. “I did one of these town-hall meetings on the Internet and one guy said, “Well, what happens when the end days come? What happens when there’s the earthquake? I live in California, and I have to protect myself.”

I said, “Well, you know, my shotgun will do better for you than your AR-15, because you want to keep someone away from your house, just fire the shotgun through the door.”

Don't blame me, I didn't vote for him.

At 8:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oscar Pistorius’s New Defense – I Followed Joe Biden’s Advice -

At 9:11 AM, Blogger Harley A. said...

I tend to agree with Ms. Bair.

At 2:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Got to love the most transparent President in our history. Or else your a racist.

WASHINGTON -- Bob Woodward isn't the only person who's received threats for airing the Obama administration's dirty laundry. It seems anyone is a potential target of the White House these days - even former senior members of the Clinton administration.

A day after Woodward's claim that a senior White House official had told him he would "regret" writing a column criticizing President Obama's stance on the sequester, Lanny Davis, a longtime close advisor to President Bill Clinton, told WMAL's Mornings on the Mall Thursday he had received similar threats for newspaper columns he had written about Obama in the Washington Times.

Davis told WMAL that his editor, John Solomon, "received a phone call from a senior Obama White House official who didn't like some of my columns, even though I'm a supporter of Obama. I couldn't imagine why this call was made." Davis says the Obama aide told Solomon, "that if he continued to run my columns, he would lose, or his reporters would lose their White House credentials."

At 2:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Random events about the Obama economy.

J.C. Penney Co. (JCP) slid the most in more than three decades after the department-store chain lost $4.3 billion in sales in the first year of Chief Executive Officer Ron Johnson’s turnaround plan.

Wal-Mart Struggles to Restock Store Shelves as U.S. Sales Slump.

Looking to buy a new car, truck or crossover? You may find it more difficult to stretch the household budget than you expected, according to a new study that finds median-income families in only one major U.S. (Washington D.C) city actually can afford the typical new vehicle.

The U.S. economy grew in the fourth quarter -- but just barely -- .1%.

At 5:49 PM, Blogger Dave Dubya said...

Threats to journalists from the White House?

What a joke.

Lies from the Right?


The Right Wing Outrage Machine is cranking out the BS over corporate media figure Woodward again.

No threat was issued and none taken.

Here it is:

Excerpt From Gene Sperling to Bob Woodward on Feb. 22, 2013

I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today. My bad. I do understand your problems with a couple of our statements in the fall — but feel on the other hand that you focus on a few specific trees that gives a very wrong perception of the forest. But perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here.

But I do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying saying that Potus asking for revenues is moving the goal post. I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim.

....My apologies again for raising my voice on the call with you. Feel bad about that and truly apologize.


From Woodward to Sperling on Feb. 23, 2013

Gene: You do not ever have to apologize to me. You get wound up because you are making your points and you believe them. This is all part of a serious discussion. I for one welcome a little heat; there should more given the importance. I also welcome your personal advice. I am listening. I know you lived all this. My partial advantage is that I talked extensively with all involved. I am traveling and will try to reach you after 3 pm today. Best, Bob

Some “threat”, eh?

But to the Obama Derangement Syndrome sufferers, “Oh, the outrage! The tyranny! Those dirty commie/Nazi/socialists at the White House!”

And cult leader Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s right wing Washington Times is hardly unbiased journalism.

Say was Mother Jones invited to the Bush White House? Ha!

So much for "copy and paste" truth from trolls.

At 9:09 PM, Anonymous James said...

So Conservatives dislike Obama because he is a "Liberal", what would Mitt Romney do differently? How would the country be better off under a Conservative president? Any takers?

At 1:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liberals eat their own, or "the ends justify the means".

Got to love the most transparent President in our history. Or else your a racist.

WASHINGTON -- Bob Woodward isn't the only person who's received threats for airing the Obama administration's dirty laundry. It seems anyone is a potential target of the White House these days - even former senior members of the Clinton administration.

A day after Woodward's claim that a senior White House official had told him he would "regret" writing a column criticizing President Obama's stance on the sequester, Lanny Davis, a longtime close advisor to President Bill Clinton, told WMAL's Mornings on the Mall Thursday he had received similar threats for newspaper columns he had written about Obama in the Washington Times.

Davis told WMAL that his editor, John Solomon, "received a phone call from a senior Obama White House official who didn't like some of my columns, even though I'm a supporter of Obama. I couldn't imagine why this call was made." Davis says the Obama aide told Solomon, "that if he continued to run my columns, he would lose, or his reporters would lose their White House credentials."

At 9:27 AM, Blogger Harley A. said...

James - we'd still be headed for economic problems this decade. That train has left the station. I think all we can do is affect the landing - and I'm not even sure how we do that.

And, as a person, I really don't dislike the guy - like say an Al Gore or a John Kerry - I genuinely disliked those guys.

At 11:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So much for Obama protecting the Middle Class!!

Disposable income, or the money left over after taxes, dropped 4 percent after adjusting for inflation, the biggest plunge since monthly records began in 1959.

"When President Obama put out his "balanced" plan to avoid the automatic sequester cuts, no one noticed. Which is probably just as well for Obama, given how embarrassingly unbalanced it is.

Last week, New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote about how Obama "hasn't actually come up with a proposal to avert sequestration, let alone one that is politically plausible."

Turns out, Obama did have one, although Brooks can be excused for not knowing it, since the administration hasn't exactly been promoting this so-called plan.

That, too, is understandable, since it isn't a plan at all, just a list of numbers with little to back them up.

There are no details, for example, about the $200 billion in cuts to defense and domestic discretionary programs, other than that Obama wants them split evenly.

And while he offers $400 billion in "health savings," 30% are lumped in a bucket labeled "other."

Worse, Obama's "balanced" plan actually counts hundreds of billions of new revenues from taxes, fees and rebates as "spending reductions." Examples:

• His plan to "strengthen" unemployment insurance is labeled as a cut, but it's really a $50 billion tax hike.

• The $35 billion from the federal worker retirement programs involves boosting worker contributions.

• Most of the $35 billion in Medicare savings comes from charging wealthy seniors more.

• The $140 billion in "reduced payments to drug companies" are in fact rebates Obama wants drugmakers to pay Uncle Sam for selling drugs to poor seniors.

• Then there's the $45 billion in spectrum fees and asset sales that Obama lists as spending reductions.

Viewed correctly, it turns out that more than $300 billion — about a third — of Obama's proposed "spending cuts" are actually revenue increases.

As a result, instead of $1.2 trillion in spending cuts called for by the sequester over the next decade, Obama would add more than $1 trillion in revenues, while cutting outlays only about $600 billion. And much of those aren't real cuts, but tiny reductions in projected spending growth over the next decade."

At 4:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


The Obama administration on Friday released more than 700 pages of new regulations to implement portions of the Affordable Care Act.

The four rules, which are scheduled for publication in mid-March, finalize both major and minor parts of the healthcare reform law that Congress passed in 2010.

Three of the regulations are final and roll out the multistate healthcare exchanges and reforms to the insurance market, including provisions to encourage cost-sharing, stabilize health insurance premiums and prevent providers from denying coverage.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said the rules would “help to ensure that every American has access to high-quality, affordable health insurance.”


At 5:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Typical liberal progressive way of handling their debts.

The Democratic National Committee has no plans to repay Duke Energy for an unprecedented $10 million line of credit it guaranteed to help the Democratic convention’s local host committee put on President Obama’s three-day nominating convention in Charlotte, N.C., last September.

A Duke company official said the company was claiming the money as a business expense for tax purposes, meaning shareholders will foot $6 million of the cost, according to a report in the Charlotte Observer.

At 5:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

More Random Thoughts concerning the Democrats thinking about the middle class all the time. ANOTHER BIG LIE!

Obama's Golf Weekend With Tiger Cost As Much As 341 Federal Workers Furloughed
"There is nothing just or virtuous about protecting a stale welfare state that is failing the people it is supposed to help."

"Replacing the sequester would require the President to save $85 billion out of a $3,500 billion federal budget. One would think that any President would leap at the opportunity to make government more effective and responsive.

But what does the President do instead? He says Republicans are ‘cutting vital services for children’ in order to ‘benefit the well-off and well-connected.’ This has been the strategy now for years: block any attempt to reform the government and then relentlessly attack the reformers. Does any lawmaker, reporter, or citizen believe that the only way to save taxpayer dollars is to hurt children, that every government program is effective and helpful and not one penny is wasted?"

"While the White House operatives may think this attack is clever, it betrays an astonishing elitism: the federal government is perfect and requires no reform. That is why they have no plan to make our government leaner and more efficient. The President had 18 months to develop reforms to improve the government, but instead he announced furloughs of federal workers as a political cudgel. Yet, his golf weekend at the yacht club with Tiger Woods cost taxpayers over a million dollars—enough money to save 341 federal workers from furlough."

At 6:05 PM, Anonymous James said...

Hey Anon, I went to a far right website several months ago and the consensus of the posters there thought all Liberals should be rounded up and killed. Do you agree with them?

At 10:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Round them up with what, Biden approved shotguns?

Really don't need guns to round up liberals, just throwing a net around any govt approved hand out station would do the trick.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home