What will happen in 2014? Will the Tea Party finally gasp its last breath in the midterm elections? Will the GOP find its conscious? Will President Obama be vindicated in health care reform and other policies and positions? What will the next wave of big stories be? Really, I don’t know, but here are my best guesses:
Firstly, I think the midterm elections will be a Saturday night-Sunday morning moment for the GOP. Hung over and still slightly drunk from the intoxication of hatred and fear served up by the Tea Party for five years, the GOP will swear off the hard stuff. The county I live in happens to be an eerily accurate reflection of the national political mood, being deeply purple, and in 2013 our off year elections showed a renewed interest in the middle way. The local Tea Party lost a noticeable amount of ground in city and county races. I think in 2014, we will see this trend out nationally. Read more
Free markets and college football. Deeply embedded into the sociocultural fabric of American life, these two time-honored traditions are incompatible. Why is scandalous headline after scandalous headline born from the act of receiving compensation for working hard, an act that is laudable in every other profession? The answer lies in one dogmatic, pious, hypocritical, bloated bureaucracy of a governing body: the National Collegiate Athletic Association. However, with targeted new policies, the NCAA and member schools can enjoy the best of both worlds.
An Environment of Inequity
The collegiate athletic system desperately demands reform. Young men and women are putting in 50-hour workweeks, on top of classes, and all they have to show for it is NCAA President Mark Emmert’s $1.7 million dollar salary. To put it bluntly, the NCAA’s revenues and operating budget thrive off the exploitation and suppression of “student-athletes” with nowhere else to turn for a playing field. Read more
Now that the government shutdown is a reality, I want to take this opportunity to register my disgust at how this played out. I try and take a reasonable approach to the issue of who is responsible for government problems, and have a rather evenhanded focus, but in this, I am rather upset at the Republicans in the House of Representatives. Read more
My most recent thoughts on politicians (I thought I'd already put this up, but must not have)
Every few years we get the chance,
stroll down the road,
tick another box or two,
decide which toad
will screw us over for the next few,
break promises so easily made,
take junkets too,
raid our wallets with glee,
those well-dressed few
who spew smug platitudes and see
no shame in cat-calls, insults, petty
games – he said, she said. Lice!
You disgust me,
you clowns for whom we pay the price.
(first published in Ink, Sweat & Tears (August 12)
We grieve for those lost in Oklahoma's tragedy, as we did for victims of recent hurricanes and tornadoes, but denial of science keeps us from addressing climate change's role in these unnatural disasters.
We commit to helping Oklahoma rebuild but politicians play games with disaster relief, allow a sequester that weakens our infrastructure & try to starve our ability to rebuild at all.
We mourn loss of life, families, opportunities while we permit drone killings of Americans, let Head Start wither & with it hope for so many & threaten immigrant families of same-sex parents.
We know a tornado is a destructive force. There's no reason that our policies and politics should be destructive as well.
Send relief to Oklahoma and find your own relief in like-minded company & left-leaning conversation at your local progressive social club.
DRINKING LIBERALLY. Find - or start - a chapter near you.
While the NRA pushes a paranoid dystopia, the President proposes common sense steps to calm violence, cool tempers & control guns.
The President will propose a pathway to citizenship
to give many families a sensible, secure standing, but conservatives want to obstruct that path, hurt families & leave immigrants in the shadows.
The Tea Party Congress wants to play games with the debt limit & our country's finances, but the President's refusing to pay ransom as he seeks to reassure & rejuvenate the public.
One side stands still, while the other moves forward. One side stokes fears, the other sparks progress.
The "everything's a crisis" approach to governing has been done & hasn't served us too well. Let's put a little Zen back into Citizen.
Join the rhythms of conversation & good company as you cool down with a drink & warm up with a toast at your local progressive social club.
DRINKING LIBERALLY Find - or start - a chapter near you.
Nothing since 9/11 has affected so many Americans with so much grief and heartache. The horrific mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut reaches most of us — Democrats and Republicans — deep down and on a personal level; we can only imagine what the families of the victims are going through. Our hearts go out to them, through much sorrow and the shedding of many tears.
Personally, the tragedy has made me feel so helpless and I have cried my eyes out too many times to count. Children should never have to face such an awful ordeal.
The mass killing at Sandy Hook elementary school — unlike other tragedies of this type — revealed a common ground between all of us: it is our children — do not hurt our children. Read more
I posted this after Aurora. Unfortunately it fits again.
And so we have another "massacre", this time in Aurora, Colorado, maybe 20 miles from Columbine. Pretty soon we can just start characterizing these barbarities as "incidents".
This one is life imitating art. Apparently the young man colored his hair red and called himself "The Joker"; Batman’s arch nemesis was going to spoil the midnight showing.
Our young man had no trouble at all buying four guns at local gun stores, and chemical weapons, full body armor, a gas mask and some six thousand rounds of ammunition over the internet. He had it all shipped directly to his school dorm and to his apartment - over 60 deliveries by UPS alone. Fifteen thousand dollar’s worth of shit.
Did anyone ever ask why this kid, who wasn’t a cop or in the military needed full body armor?
Naah. This is a free country.
As it turns out our brilliant neuro-scientist was a loner and totally forgettable if you passed him on a street or saw him on a bar stool. No criminal record. No Face Book page; no girl friend; no close buddies apparently.
Forgettable. Read more
It’s Saturday December 8th! Do you know where your podcast is? On this day in history back in 1980, John Lennon was shot and killed in New York City. The late great playwright, James McLure, even wrote a play about it called "The Day They Shot John Lennon". Hmm. John Lennon gets killed, and Dick Cheney gets another heart. Ain’t that some shit?
Of course the day John Lennon was killed is a day worth remembering. But worth even more than the day he was killed, was the day he was born. If that day hadn’t happened, we never would have been blessed with all he had to share with us. It’s the day John Lennon was born that matters most. All too often, our culture chooses to define itself with death by its wars, atrocities, disasters, incidents, events, etc. Seems like most our history is marked by the days and ways we’ve died. We have a macabre fascination with death, and more specifically, killing. This should come as no real surprise to any of us considering that death is a virtue we hold in high regard. We find it “Simply Irresistible” (thank you, Robert Palmer…who is dead). Read more
As someone, who was worked for a homeless shelter for over five years and whose job description sometimes meant signing in walk-ins and staffing the phones for referrals, I have met many homeless people. I can tell you that they are a mixed bunch. However, from my experience, there are four major reasons why someone is homeless: Read more
I don’t know if the rest of y’all have been watching commodities prices lately, but I have, and what I’m seeing is starting to really scare me. A lot.
The Great Drought of 2012 hasn’t yet come to a conclusion, but we already know that its consequences are going to be pretty devastating. With more than one-half of America’s counties designated as drought disaster areas, the 2012 harvest of corn, soybeans, and other food staples is going to fall far short of predictions. This is going to boost food prices, both domestically and abroad, to go through the roof, and it’s going to cause increased misery for farmers and low-income Americans and far greater hardship for poor people in countries that rely on imported U.S. grains. Read more
Today I’m feeling a little envious of someone. That someone is Michael Phelps. It has nothing to do with his gold medals, his good looks or how much more money he probably has than I. What I do envy him for is his mother – what a beautiful woman.
I also know that there are millions of wonderful, loving moms out there, all around the world. Moms are something society and the world hold dear; they are the very life spring of life for our species. Read more
As my parents were divorced since I was two, my dad would pick both me and my younger brother up from my mom and take us every other weekend. He had a super Nintendo with two games that my brother and I spent our lives with: Mario and Duck Hunt. When I was in the first grade, he purchased a Playstation and bought Cabela’s Greatest Hunts. And then, when I was about nine, he bought both me and my brother our own BB guns, which we used outback to shoot birds and pop cans. Every time we went outback we would have to pass by my dad’s gun cabinet, which had five or six different guns. Read more
And so we begin another Olympic Games tonight with all of the pomp and ceremony - marching athletes, flag waving, lighting the caldron, speeches, huzzahs. Hyper-nationalism on display for all to see.
It is probably not what Pierre de Fredy, Baron de Coubertin, founder of the International Olympic Committee had in mind. The Baron, whose nobility went back to King Louis XI, was an idealist of first order. Read more