September 16, 2009 archive

If It Bleeds, It Leads (part 2)

That was the journalism meme; “if it bleeds, it leads”.  It was all about sensationalism, nothing more, nothing less.  Well, in America, there is a sensational story; the crisis that is health care.

Is it being covered?  How is it being covered?  And how is corporate media treating this national crisis?

(Part 1 is here)

“The Demise of America as we Know it”

Got any gold?  It just hit $1016 an ounce.   Sure wish I hadn’t sold mine to pay the rent.  

James Beeland Rogers, Jr. (born October 19, 1942) is an expatriate American investor and financial commentator based in Singapore. He was a co-founder of the Quantum Fund, and is a college professor, author, economic commentator, and creator of the Rogers International Commodities Index (RICI). He considers himself of the Austrian School of economics.[2]

Funny, the Austrian School is also the world of economics Peter Schiff inhabits.  He’s another guy who speaks a lot of common sense.

Ben Bernacke, YOU LIE!  I mean, can you freaking believe that Ben Bernacke actually came out and said the recession is over?   Man, did he ever go all “Baghdad Bob” on us.  

Here’s a popular Youtube video, “Peter Schiff was Right”

And indeed he was. And so is Jim Rogers.

If It Bleeds, It Leads (part 1)

There are many who support Rep. Joe Wilson calling the President a liar.  Unfortunately, these individuals forgot a very important and pertinent person; Rep. Pete Starks.  During a speech given on the floor of the House, Rep. Pete Starks (D-CA), called Republican’s and President Bush a liar.  It wasn’t TO President Bush’s face during an address to Congress he was giving, but, on the House floor.  The conservative blog HotAir noted that Republicans called for a motion of censure of Rep. Pete Starks at the time with him ultimately apologizing on the House floor.  But, the Democrat’s are merely playing politics with the motion of disapproval of Rep. Joe Wilson for his remarks.  And, unlike Rep. Pete Starks, Rep. Joe Wilson refuses to apologize from the House floor.


Not any energy to say anything any more

10:00 Eastern time is the end.  I likely will not be here any more.

Warmest regards,


Overnight Caption Contest

Doctors strongly In Favor of the Public Option, just like the Nation

Poll Finds Most Doctors Support Public Option

by Joseph Shapiro, NPR — September 14, 2009

When polled, “nearly 3/4 of physicians supported some form of a public option, either alone or in combination with private insurance options,”


Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, conducted a random survey, by mail and by phone, of 2,130 doctors. They surveyed them from June right up to early September.

Most doctors – 63 percent – say they favor giving patients a choice that would include both public and private insurance.


another 10 percent of doctors say they favor a public option only; they’d like to see a single-payer health care system. Together, the two groups add up to 73 percent.…

Hmmm? I wonder if Doctors, know anything about our Broken Insurance System?

Ya think!?

Love and War

I was moved by Buhdy’s anniversary essay, 2 Fucking Years that was posted last weekend.  One of the themes of that essay that stood out to me was an affirmation of love in the cause. That was actually a bit shocking to me. In my real life, I make a living as a writer, poet, wordsmith etc. I take words pretty seriously. And I also take honesty most seriously of all. And I have to confess, I am not sure what love even means in the context of my political activism. Is it the love you might find on a postcard? Or on a t-shirt with a peace sign? Is it Jesus love, of the all mankind variety? Or was it just the love of a blog owner towards the people who put their hearts and souls into the community?

I can’t really answer any of those questions, though I feel where Buhdy was coming from. But to be clear, it is not just love that drives me. In fact, I would say there is an equal part of pure hatred.

When I was 15, I had an epiphany. I had been studying the origins of anger for a psychology class. And in a moment of illumination, it dawned on me – all anger, frustration, aggravation etc. pretty much result from one thing: expectations not met. Eliminate expectations and you will eliminate anger and frustration. So I spent the next 4 or 5 years dedicated to eliminating expectations. Or more accurately, I slowly learned to expect frustrating things. Traffic pissing you off? Learn to anticipate it, make time for it, even turn it into valuable time with audio tapes or whatever. Expect people to be bad drivers. Expect people to lie, cheat and steal. Expect the weather to suck. Eventually I became a pretty docile creature (the fact that I was high most of the time didn’t hurt). In fact, I became a fucking pushover. People saw my docility as weakness, and seized on it. I was robbed, wronged, and left out in the cold until I finally realized, some expectations are necessary. And so is some anger.

I expect my friends not to stab me in the back. I expect my daughter not to run out into the street and will react angrily if she does so. And I expect my government, my democratic government of, by, and for the people, not to systematically work to undermine the well being of the people to whom it represents.

I also expect my government to be corruptible and flawed. A utopianist I am not. But I do not expect, nor can I tolerate my government as an enemy of its own people. And that is certainly what it has become. It has been overthrown. Conquered as surely as if tanks were parked on the mall in Washington. But this enemy is far more clever than the sword. It is a silent, subversive enemy. It has taken us by induction. And we have walked into its grip unknowing, without hesitation.

My anger, my rage can only be measured against the atrocities occurring around us and the lack of will to do anything about it. Or most commonly, the lack of will to even notice. This is a picture of a woman I met a couple of months ago at a McDonalds (don’t ask me why I was at a McDonalds). She was 79 years old. You can clearly see scoliosis has set in with the the curvature of her back. I had heard about McDonalds hiring seniors as some sort of good will gesture ;). So in the most tactful way I could, I tried to get out of her why she was working there without embarrassing her. The best I got was a sardonic quip that confirmed her employment was not by choice (she was fully in charge of her faculties and quite a character). I didn’t need to ask her though. It was obvious that this work, which would have been fairly easy for most people, was too much for her. She couldn’t keep up. She knew she couldn’t keep up, and that appeared to scare her. It was one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen in my life.  I asked her if I could take her picture and she obliged.

When I got back to the table, my three year old daughter asked me if I was crying. I lied to her and told her I wasn’t. Then she asked me if I was angry. I lied again. I was enraged. And I’m still enraged – about her and countless other injustices and atrocities I see ever single day.

I refuse to lower my expectations of a society that has so much and allows so many to suffer. It is simply unacceptable.

Is that love? Absolutely. I absolutely love that old woman. But I despise whoever and whatever made it so she, at her age, in this fucking country, found herself needing to get a job. And I would happily see their heads on sticks if I thought it would remedy the situation.

This is war. Our country is under attack as surely as if bombs were dropping on our heads. But it’s not a combat war. The weapon of choice for our enemy is a box with electrons flickering across the screen. But it is war none the less. And I am not Jesus. I do not love my enemy.

But I sure was happy to read Buhdy’s essay.  That is because I don’t believe putting people’s heads on sticks could ever remedy anything (although it just dawned on me that Photoshopping people’s heads on sticks might be amusing). And I need all the reminder I can get that this war must be won with ideas. Ideas of justice, peace, and yes, love.

The Dead of Birmingham

Denise McNair.

Carole Robertson.

Addie Mae Collins.

Cynthia Wesley.

For many of us who came up in the ’60s, these names will always be instantly recognizable, impossible to read or to hear–no matter how long it has been–without a deep emotional pull, an admixture of sorrow and anger and, most of all, a profound sense of loss.

Forty-six years ago today, a bomb planted by Ku Klux Klan murderers took the lives of four young teenage girls as they prepared for the first ever Youth Day at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. I write this to acknowledge their deaths, sacrifices in the long and painful struggle for Black Freedom, burnt offerings in a conflagration that wound up helping to consume the system of Jim Crow segregation in the Black Belt South.

I write also to memorialize two other young African Americans who died in Birmingham that day. Their names do not have the same resonance, but they died at the hands of white supremacy in this country as surely as did the young women in the basement of Sixteenth Baptist, and their deaths are the kind of deaths that the system still deals out to young Black men in this country.

For all the hold that the Civil Rights Movement’s non-violent ideology had in Birmingham, which had been a battleground against segregation, the killings sparked intense fury in the Black community and the area around the church seethed in near-riot all afternoon. The cars of white gawkers coming past had a hard time of it. When sixteen-year-old Johnnie Robinson saw one marked up with slogans like “Negro, Go Back To Africa,” he chucked a rock at it.

Seeing cops, he fled. As Johnnie ran down an alley, Birmingham cop Jack Parker shot him. In the back. With a shotgun. Johnnie was DOA at University Hospital. An all-white grand jury failed to indict Parker for anything.

The final death was that of thirteen-year-old Virgil Ware, “Peanut” to his family. His father and uncles were coal miners, working at the Docena mine, and Virgil and two brothers shared a paper route. Riding home on the handlebars of his brother James’s bicycle, Virgil crossed paths with Larry Joe Sims and Michael Lee Farley, two sixteen-year-old white Eagle Scouts, who had just attended a rabid segregationist rally where an effigy of Attorney General Bobby Kennedy was burned.

Riding with Farley on his red motorbike decorated with a confederate flag picked up at the National States’ Rights Party headquarters and pieced up with Farley’s pearl-handled pistol, Sims fired at the bike twice.

Virgil fell off the bike and James cried, “Get up, Virge. You trimmin’ me.”

“I’m shot,” Virgil replied. He was, through the lung and the aorta. He died, the sixth victim of a racist murder in Birmingham that day.

The Birmingham press treated it as a tragedy–for the killers. “These two raw, grieved untutored boys who have had this unfortunate thing come into their lives at their age,” was how their high-priced lawyer put it. Both were charged with first degree murder. A Birmingham jury convicted Sims of second degree manslaughter and Farley pleaded to the same. Wallace Gibson, a white judge, the only kind on the bench in Alabama at the time, completed the travesty by suspending their sentences in favor of two years probation.

When we remember Addie, Carole, Denise and Cynthia, it behooves us to remember Johnnie and Virgil as well.

Because young African Americans are still being shot in the back by cops, like Oscar Grant in Oakland last year. Because cops still routinely get a slap on the wrist, if that, for outrageous shootings. Because the “criminal justice system” in the US still treats the killing of a young Black man as a lesser crime than other murders. Because today there are racists every bit as rabid, and as desperate, as those who attended the rally on the day of the church bombing, and they too are burning effigies, waving the Confederate flag and hiding behind talk of states’ rights.

Crossposted from Fire on the Mountain.

“You A Spade & I’m An O-Fay. We Got the Same Soul. Let’s Blow ”

Jack Teagarden and Louis Armstrong, “Ole Rocking Chair.”

At the end of the video (courtesy of YouTuber pinkieldred) these words appear … you hear a narrator reading, I believe, something Mr. Louis Armstrong wrote about the time he first met Mr. Jack Teagarden.

One day when I was playing on the riverboat, we put into New Orleans and standing on the levee was this tall white cat named Jack Teagarden who wanted to meet me.  He was from Texas and I never heard of him, but he said, “You a spade, and I’m an o-fay.  We got the same soul.  Let’s blow.”

The rest, as is said, would only be commentary.

Tuesday in America, almost autumn of 2009.  Beat in the USA.

Putting the Vicious Health Insurance Dogs on a Leash

Also available in Orange

From one of my comments in buhddydarma’s most excellent diary:

I’d liken it to a vicious dog behind a fence. Given access to the fence, he will worry it and try to dig under it, or hang out by the gate and eventually get out. Like a group of corporation with massive profits locked behind a regulatory wall, who will eventually find a way to get a loophole put into the wall.

Tie the dog up in the yard so he can’t get at the fence, the combination is more effective than either alone.

A robust public option works like the leash tying the dog up. The corporate insurance companies cannot squeeze too much harder than the public choice without losing market share, so it will be much harder for them to organize to break the regulations in the health care exchanges.

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