Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Post #487: Random Observations

Ranting in Merrie olde England, 17 May 2010

The following compilation of needless swill is collected from a series of observations that I made in the comments sections of more respectable websites than this one - like the New York Times, the American Journal of Legal History, and Mad Magazine.

1. Goin' Blue

Republican Governors are refusing to allow the Affordable Health Care Act to be implemented in their states. This is merely one more in the thousands of examples you can point to why that party is living at the crack of its own doom. Here's a prediction you can take to the bank: Unless the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is repealed sometime in the next three years (a distinct possibility) the state of Texas will vote Democratic in 2016 for the first time in decades. Don't say I didn't warn you, Governor Rick.

2. Elizabeth Warren

The Dems would be smart to offer her up as the nominee three years from now. Of course that's not going to happen. I love Elizabeth Warren. She is one of the few Democrats who have not forgotten that theirs is the party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She understands that no one is too big to jail and has been going after the "banksters" with every bit of nerve and verve that she possesses. Ironically she is one of the only members of that body that I would apply the label "statesman". If she ever decides to make a run for the Big House, I'll put my life on hold and become a full time activist on her behalf. I'm just crazy 'bout that gal! 

3. The Prez's Legacy

If the Obama presidency were to end tomorrow his tenure would get mixed reviews at best. This much is for certain, though: the blame for most of his failures would not be placed solely at his desk. Let's be honest here, folks. The poor bastard has had a confederacy of dunces allied against him from the moment he entered the White House. The extreme right wing Tea partiers who now literally have Washington at the point of a gun are determined that his ideas - even his very conservative ideas - be rendered ashes in the wind. And don't kid yourselves; it's all about his race. The very idea of a black president is too much for these assholes to deal with. All this will change next year when a lot of Republicans are sent packing in the mid-term elections. Obama's only chances for greatness will be given to him in his final two years. Let's hope like hell that he doesn't blow it.

4. And speaking of "BLACK"

The president gave the commencement address last week at the historically black Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. His speech had such a conservative edge to it in places, parts of it might have been written for him by Pat Robertson! You would think that the right wing scream machine would be beside themselves with glee, wouldn't you? Think again. These racist nitwits are incapable of giving this African American president a molecule of slack. The six words that sent these bigoted freaks into such a nasty tirade were these: 

"As a black man like you...."

Somehow, in their shrinking minds, this is proof that the first African American president hates white people. We surely do live in weird times, do we not? Again, if you are unable to see the racism that has been hurled against this man, you've got your eyes closed. Open 'em up.

5. Honoring Lenny Bruce

The Mark Twain Awards are given every year to American humorists and comedians. I've got a grand idea. This year, why don't they give a posthumous award to Lenny Bruce? Can you think of another person whose vocation it was to make others laugh that paid a higher price for his art than he did? Those who came to Lenny's defense during his all-too-short time on this earth often compared him favorably to Twain. Because he held up a mirror to a sick society for its hypocrisy and corruption they labeled him a "dirty comic". He was anything but. The poor guy was persecuted in a manner usually dished out to your average rapist and murderer. At the end of his life he was banned from performing in every major city in the nation with the exception of San Fransisco. On August 3, 1966 he was found dead in his foreclosed, West Hollywood home, the victim of a drug overdose. He was forty-years-old. Let's finally show Lenny Bruce the respect he deserves. I think Mark Twain would approve. 

6. The Carnage Continues

There have been nearly three-thousand gun-related deaths in this diseased land of ours since the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14 of last year. Three of them occurred one night a couple of weeks ago less than twenty-five miles from where I sit when an unknown gunman entered a house in Newburgh, NY and shot and killed a woman and two men. Although a relatively small city, Newburgh's homicide rate is ridiculously high. That holds true for the rest of the country. As long as the victims are proportionately poor and non-white nothing is going to change. Our "representatives" will see to that. Maybe when a few of their children are sacrificed on the alter of greed and stupidity it'll wake them up. Maybe.

7. Too Weird for Bob 

Do you remember good old Bob Dole? He was the last lovable conservative. Although I cast my ballot against him in the 1996 election, I didn't do so with glee - as I did last year when I voted against Mitt Romney. Although I disagreed with his political philosophy, I liked Bob Dole. I still do.

He made an appearance on Fox Noise Sunday this past weekend. I'm sorry to tell you that this is probably the last time we'll ever see him. He's fading into eternity. He told Chris Wallace that his suggestion to the Republican National Committee would be to shut down for the rest of 2013 and put a sign on the door saying, "Closed for Repairs". An eye-opening statement coming from a man I used to view as a super-hard-line right winger. What a difference a quarter of a century makes, huh? Old Bob's starting to look cuddly compared to the freaks who now control that party. In the interview with Wallace he lamented the disappearance of "Eisenhower Republicans". He said that even someone as conservative as Dick Nixon could not have made it in today's GOP "because he had ideas". Good ol' Bob Dole. Don't you miss him? I miss the guy terribly.


It's going to be a wild ride leading up to the midterm elections next year. This may not be the greatest time to be alive, but at least it's not boring. In fact it's the most interesting period that I can remember. The freak show that American politics has become in the last thirty years never fails to deliver the goods. 

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


by Eileen Whitfield

For some unexplained reason I've been reading a lot of show business biographies lately. This one examines the life of a woman who changed everything. When Mary Pickford entered the movies in 1909 (over a century ago - WOW!) she was just another pretty face among a multitude of pretty faces. A decade later she would be the first woman mogul of the movie industry, being one the founding members of United Artists (along with Charlie Chaplin and her husband, Douglas Fairbanks). When she died on May 29, 1979 she was a sad and bitter recluse. Hers is a captivating and ultimately tragic story. I couldn't put this one down. 

Photo from Thomas Rankin

Hoping you all had a fine 'n' dandy Memorial Day Weekend! I got together for a little reunion of sorts with that old gang of mine from Goshen Central High School's class of 1977. A splendid time was had by all. They were indeed a nice group of kids to greet the dawn of adulthood with. I think that seventy-seven must be a really lucky number. No weed was smoked. Times have changed.

Here's a link to a piece I wrote four years ago about our reunion on the Fourth of July, 2009:


There's a star man waiting in the sky.


At 8:45 AM, Anonymous Jay said...

Good Morning Tom,

I was thinking about Elizabeth Warren the other day also. It was somewhere around the time when I read that Nancy Pelosi was trying to place blame at Bush's feet for the IRS Debacle.

Blaming Bush for this mess, makes as much sense as blaming Obama. Apparently Nancy would have us believe that Bush had some 'clairvoyance' to know about Citizen's United and the Rise of SuperPACs. I think we can agree that Bush wasn't any sort of "mastermind."

As Nancy used the tired "blame Bush" card, I had to cringe. As you note, this Administration has been on the defense prior to entering the White House and I don't know why. Many of the conservative talking points are hypocritical at best.

The new mantra for conservatives is being "persecuted" and having their freedom of speech stifled. Ironic, hypocritical, and unfortunate considering the conservatives own attempt to persecute segments of this country and stifle freedom of speech through their attempts at election rigging.

So it makes me wonder, where the hell did we get Pelosi and Reed from?!? Is it me? Or are these two of the most ineffectual uncharasmatic dunderheads ever to hold a leadership position?

I haven't been 'wowed' by them. I don't see them as especially strong allies of the President and their contributions have been seemingly meek at best.

Personally, I'd like to see a Democratic leader like Warren take control. Democrats need leaders who can 'frame' the arguments a la Bill Clinton. Instead, we have Cruella DeVille and Droopy Dog.

I watch as almost every comedian, late night host, and T.V. pundit is able to dissect and destroy the ridiculous assertions of the GOP--and I have Pelosi out there blaming Bush! It isn't that hard to beat back a conservative talking point! My God--we have Alex Jones planting the Seeds of Doubt that the government has "weather weapon stuff" going on and suggesting our government is responsible for the Moore Tornado.

This stuff gets swept under the rug and ignored, even though the seeds of doubt have been placed. I'd rather see Warren in a leadership role throwing some rational elbows into the national discussion.



At 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHAT, Has Obama become a Bible thumper? A religious fanatic? A bitter clinger??

President Barack Obama traveled on Sunday to Moore, Okla., where a massive tornado caused devastation last Monday. There he told Americans that God has a plan and it is important we recognize we are instruments of His will.

“There was a story that really struck me in the press,” Obama said. “In the rubble was found a Bible, open to the words that read: ‘A man will be as a hiding place from the wind, and a cover from the tempest.’ And it’s a reminder, as Scripture often is, that God has a plan, and it’s important, though, that we also recognize we’re an instrument of His will.”

At 1:39 PM, Blogger Dave Dubya said...

Has Obama become a Bible thumper

EVERY president, and candidate for president, must present himself as a Christian. Not that the Constitution requires it, but we have a de facto religious test nonetheless. Imagine a Jew, Muslim, or God forbid, an atheist seeking the nomination. I know this has been said of blacks and Catholics, but I don't foresee an admitted atheist on the ballot for a loooong time. Maybe after Jesus returns and says its ok.;-)

At 12:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elizabeth Warren, didn't she lie about being a Native American?

What is this about Unions starting to be very up set with the President over his promise in a 2009 speech and the reality now about his Obama Care?

Just a right wing rumor?

At 1:51 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Elizabeth Warren is part native American. And, yes, the unions are upset with Obama - with good reason I'm sure. They would probably be even more upset with Mitt Romney had he been elected. Call it a silly hunch on my part.

At 11:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

till ranting about guns, huh Tom? Upset that an unknown gunman entered a house in Newburgh NY, then shot and killed a woman and two men. And in New York State of all places, proudly proclaimed "the state with the toughest gun control" by your King Cuomo when he snuck another restrictive measure through in the middle of the night. How's that tough gun control working out for you? Do you suppose the "unknown gunman" went through the trouble of being fingerprinted, interviewed, licensed, registered, insured, and safety trained, or did he just consider your "toughest gun control laws in the nation" as mere suggestions to be ignored at will?

As you can probably imagine, I'm one of the "they'll have to pry it from my cold dead hand" types. But just to show you I'm not TOTALLY unreasonable, I'm willing to trade. You give me something, and I'll give up my "assault" weapons, 30 round clips, and "cop killer" ammunition.

Here is what I want: I want to seriously inconvenience anyone possessing a gun while committing a violent crime. I mean SERIOUSLY inconvenience them. Not like it is now, where the gun possession charges are dropped and the perp spends a few years "hanging with the homies" in a prison with exercise centers, cable TV, and free college classes, then is released to inflict himself on society again. I want the perp to be sentenced to prison until he turns 60. I don't care if he is 14 years old at the time, I want him put away where he can't harm the rest of us. I don't want to educate him, rehabilitate him, or make him into a "productive member of society". I don't care if he finds Jesus, Allah, or the cookie monster. I want to age him out. At about 60 years, the piss and vinegar is gone, and we can release him and give him welfare for the rest of his miserable, worthless life, and be pretty confident he will no longer be a danger to society.

Give me this, and I'll submit to all your gun control nonsense. Until then, I will consider the "toughest gun control laws in the nation" as mere suggestions to be disregarded at will, just like the gunman in Newburgh.

Oh, by the way, I totally agree with you about supporting Elizabeth Warren for president. Anyone hated by Wall Street has to be doing something right...

At 11:35 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

But remember, NY's per capita death rate by guns is a lot less than states with lax gun control laws.

We agree on the subject of Liz Warren. To paraphrase Noel Coward, I'm mad about the girl.


At 12:13 PM, Blogger Harley A. said...

Tom, actually the city of Newburg ranked 9th in top 100 dangerous cities in one reference I looked at. Point is, it enjoys the same gun control laws as other NY cities, but apparently there are other factors in play that don't involve gun control laws.

If you look at it by city, the locations are all over the country in states with both strict and more lax gun control.

At 1:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A new record of Amerians were collecting disability in May 2013.
8,877,921 workers
1,939,432 kids of workers
160,432 spouces of workers

Ratio of workers to those on disability
1968 51 workers to every disabled
2013 13 workers to ever disabled
Interesting, with Medicare since 1965 and the average American living longer now than in 1968, why has the number of those collecting disability gone up and the number of workers supporting gone down?

Is this going to be a problem, or is this ok?

Thoughts please.

At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Ebon Krieg said...

He'd like to coma and meet us, but he thinks he'd blow our minds...

At 11:38 PM, Anonymous James said...

If all politicians were like Elizabeth Warren, this country would be in great shape and the people much more prosperous. Unfortunately she is almost the last real Liberal in Congress.
The last 13 years have been mostly Conservative/Corporatist policies dominating and they do not work for the majority of the people.

At 8:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"they do not work for the majority of the people."

Wrong, the majority of the people do not work. Right Tom?

At 8:21 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

"The majority of the people do not work"?

Are you serious?

At 9:45 AM, Anonymous James said...

This guy, Tim Dechristopher, makes me proud to be a Liberal. He disrupted a federal land auction for oil drilling by winning 12 bids in a row.
He stopped some of the most pristine and iconic landscapes in the country from turning into industrial blight.
He willingly served two years in jail to protect the environment, something no Conservative would ever do!
Here is a link to the upcoming movie about him.

At 12:39 PM, Anonymous TJ said...

Tom, your comment about voting gleefully against Mitt Romney perfectly sums up the state of our dysfunctional electoral system in this country. We the people are always left with who to vote against and not who to vote for because in our whacked out two-party system there never ends up being anyone to vote in with truly forward thinking ideas.

At 1:16 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Thanks for that link, James. Looks like essential viewing to me!

And, TK, I think you're onto something. It's either the lesser of two evils or the evil of two lessers.


At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...








At 7:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob Dole ran in the 1996 election not the 1992 election. I know it won't matter to you as liberals are so very often not concerned with facts.....

At 9:58 PM, Anonymous James said...

Congratulations Anonymous on finding a typo! Tom has a long standing policy of awarding people who find and report typos with a cookie, email him your address for your reward.

At 2:02 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

You're right, it was '96. Correction made. Cookie is on the way.

At 8:33 PM, Blogger Cheryl Nelson said...

Jay is absolutely spot on about the conservative persecution complex. Just did that dance today after one trolled my Facebook wall by accusing me of posting hate-filled rhetoric fuelled by pure rage,

(The offending status was a re-post of a meme: Until the Republican Party makes its highest priority fighting tooth and nail for every single American to share the same rights and privileges as the angry rich white men who run it, I'm going to fight tooth and nail against them.)

I got defriended. Whoo-hoo.

With friends like that, who needs enemas? (I mean 'enemies'?)

At 8:56 PM, Blogger Cheryl Nelson said...

Tom, I wish I could agree with your prediction that a lot of Republicans will be sent packing in 2014.

From where I sit, I don't see it. Allied with the newly emerged 'Tea Party' bought and paid for by the Koch Brothers et al, the GOP made a mad dash for votes in 2010 far more successful than even their wildest dreams could have foreseen. They captured offices at every level of government, seizing control of the post-census reapportionment process. My bet is the likelihood they have locked themselves into power for the better part of this decade via gerrymandering.

The Democratic Party's efforts at winning votes in 2010 were among the weakest I can remember. Epic fail all around. They ran away from Obama's record at the federal level and completely lost sight of hitting home the power of reapportionment at the state level. I can't say that for the Dems in every state, but sure feel it rang true in my former home state of Minnesota.

The only Republicans I see leaving office are the few 'moderates' remaining within its ranks.

At 4:26 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

The problem for the Republicans is that the so-called Tea Party sees itself as a separate entity. That's why every year following the State of the Union address they have their own response, as opposed to the GOP's.

It's only a matter of time before they break from the - WAIT FOR IT! - "party of Abraham Lincoln". Just you wait.

All the best,

Tom Degan


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