Daily Archives: September 30, 2010

Quote of the Day – Garrison Keillor on Michelle Bachman’s Reelection Campaign

“It’s embarrassing to me and a great many Minnesotans that Michele Bachmann, a politician who is so busy grandstanding and giving interviews on Fox News that she doesn’t have time to serve the people who elected her, represents the 6th District in Washington. Minnesota‘s 6th District has some of the highest foreclosure and unemployment rates in the state, but in an interview with the St. Cloud Times, Congresswoman Bachmann was unable to name any “substantive” legislation she had passed.”

– Garrison Keillor of A Prairie Home Companion

Guest Article: Obama Will Triumph — So Will America, By Frank Schaeffer

This appeared in OpEdNews today:

September 30, 2010

Obama Will Triumph — So Will America

By Frank Schaeffer

Before he’d served even one year President Obama lost the support of the easily distracted left and engendered the white hot rage of the hate-filled right. But some of us, from all walks of life and ideological backgrounds — including this white, straight, 57-year-old, former religious right wing agitator, now progressive writer and (given my background as the son of a famous evangelical leader) this unlikely Obama supporter — are sticking with our President. Why?– because he is succeeding.
We faithful Obama supporters still trust our initial impression of him as a great, good and uniquely qualified man to lead us.
Obama’s steady supporters will be proved right. Obama’s critics will be remembered as easily panicked and prematurely discouraged at best and shriveled hate mongers at worst.

The Context of the Obama Presidency

Not since the days of the rise of fascism in Europe, the Second World War and the Depression has any president faced more adversity. Not since the Civil War has any president led a more bitterly divided country. Not since the introduction of racial integration has any president faced a more consistently short-sighted and willfully ignorant opposition from both the right and left.

As the President’s poll numbers have fallen so has his support from some on the left that were hailing him as a Messiah not long ago; all those lefty websites and commentators that were falling all over themselves on behalf of our first black president during the 2008 election.

The left’s lack of faith has become a self-fulfilling “prophecy”– snipe at the President and then watch the poll numbers fall and then pretend you didn’t have anything to do with it!

Here is what Obama faced when he took office– none of which was his fault:

# An ideologically divided country to the point that America was really two countries
# Two wars; one that was mishandled from the start, the other that was unnecessary and immoral
# The worst economic crisis since the depression
# America’s standing in the world at the lowest point in history
# A country that had been misled into accepting the use of torture of prisoners of war
# A health care system in free fall
# An educational system in free fall
# A global environmental crisis of history-altering proportions (about which the Bush administration and the Republicans had done nothing)
# An impasse between culture warriors from the right and left
# A huge financial deficit inherited from the terminally irresponsible Bush administration”
And those were only some of the problems sitting on the President’s desk!

“Help” from the Right?

What did the Republicans and the religious right, libertarians and half-baked conspiracy theorists — that is what the Republicans were reduced to by the time Obama took office — do to “help” our new president (and our country) succeed? They claimed that he wasn’t a real American, didn’t have an American birth certificate, wasn’t born here, was secretly a Muslim, was white-hating “racist”, was secretly a communist, was actually the Anti-Christ, (!) and was a reincarnation of Hitler and wanted “death panels” to kill the elderly!

They not-so-subtly called for his assassination through the not-so-subtle use of vile signs held at their rallies and even a bumper sticker quoting Psalm 109:8. They organized “tea parties” to sound off against imagined insults and all government in general and gathered to howl at the moon. They were led by insurance industry lobbyists and deranged (but well financed) “commentators” from Glenn Beck to Rush Limbaugh.

The utterly discredited Roman Catholic bishops teamed up with the utterly discredited evangelical leaders to denounce a president who was trying to actually do something about the poor, the environment, to diminish the number of abortions through compassionate programs to help women and to care for the sick! And in Congress the Republican leadership only knew one word: “No!”

In other words the reactionary white, rube, uneducated, crazy American far right,combined with the educated but obtuse neoconservative war mongers, religious right shills for big business, libertarian Fed Reserve-hating gold bug, gun-loving crazies, child-molesting acquiescent “bishops”, frontier loons and evangelical gay-hating flakes found one thing to briefly unite them: their desire to stop an uppity black man from succeeding at all costs!

“Help” from the Left?

What did the left do to help their newly elected president? Some of them excoriated the President because they disagreed with the bad choices he was being forced to make regarding a war in Afghanistan that he’d inherited from the worst president in modern history!

Others stood up and bravely proclaimed that the President’s economic policies had “failed” before the President even instituted them! Others said that since all gay rights battles had not been fully won within virtually minuets of the President taking office, they’d been “betrayed”! (Never mind that Obama’s vocal support to the gay community is stronger than any other president’s has been. Never that mind he signed a new hate crimes law!)

Those that had stood in transfixed legions weeping with beatific emotion on election night turned into an angry mob saying how “disappointed” they were that they’d not all immediately been translated to heaven the moment Obama stepped into the White House! Where was the “change”? Contrary to their expectations they were still mere mortals!

And the legion of young new supporters was too busy texting to pay attention for longer than a nanosecond” “Governing”?! What the hell does that world, uh, like mean?”

The President’s critics left and right all had one thing in common: impatience laced with little-to-no sense of history (let alone reality) thrown in for good measure. Then of course there were the white, snide know-it-all commentators/talking heads who just couldn’t imagine that maybe, just maybe they weren’t as smart as they thought they were and certainly not as smart as their president. He hadn’t consulted them, had he? So he must be wrong!

The Obama critics’ ideological ideas defined their idea of reality rather than reality defining their ideas–say, about what is possible in one year in office after the hand that the President had been dealt by fate, or to be exact by the American idiot nation that voted Bush into office” twice!

Meanwhile back in the reality-based community in just 12 short months — President Obama:

#Continued the draw down the misbegotten war in Iraq

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Thoughtfully and decisively picked the best of several bad choices regarding the war in Afghanistan

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Gave a major precedent-setting speech supporting gay rights

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Restored America’s image around the globe

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Banned torture of American prisoners

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Stopped the free fall of the American economy

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Put the USA squarely back in the bilateral international community

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Put the USA squarely into the middle of the international effort to halt global warming

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Stood up for educational reform

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Won a Nobel peace prize

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Moved the trial of terrorists back into the American judicial system of checks and balances

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Did what had to be done to start the slow, torturous and almost impossible process of health care reform that 7 presidents had failed to even begin

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Responded to hatred from the right and left with measured good humor and patience

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Stopped the free fall of job losses

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Showed immense personal courage in the face of an armed and dangerous far right opposition that included the sort of disgusting people that show up at public meetings carrying loaded weapons and carrying Timothy McVeigh-inspired signs about the “blood of tyrants” needing to “water the tree of liberty””

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Showed that he could not only make the tough military choices but explain and defend them brilliantly

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Other than those “disappointing” accomplishments — IN ONE YEAR — President Obama “failed”! Other than that he didn’t “live up to expectations”!

Who actually has failed…

…are the Americans that can’t see the beginning of a miracle of national rebirth right under their jaded noses. Who failed are the smart ass ideologues of the left and right who began rooting for this President to fail so that they could be proved right in their dire and morbid predictions. Who failed are the movers and shakers behind our obscenely dumb news cycles that have turned “news” into just more stupid entertainment for an entertainment-besotted infantile country.

Here’s the good news: President Obama is succeeding without the help of his lefty “supporters” or hate-filled Republican detractors!

The Future Looks Good

After Obama has served two full terms, (and he will), after his wisdom in moving deliberately and cautiously with great subtlety on all fronts — with a canny and calculating eye to the possible succeeds, (it will), after the economy is booming and new industries are burgeoning, (they will be), after the doomsayers are all proved not just wrong but silly: let the record show that not all Americans were panicked into thinking the sky was falling.

Just because we didn’t get everything we wanted in the first short and fraught year Obama was in office not all of us gave up. Some of us stayed the course. And we will be proved right.

Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays, depending on your point of view) to everyone!

PS. if you agree that Obama is shaping up to be a great president please pass this on and hang in there!

And I am happy to pass it on! – Bill T

Author’s Bio: Frank Schaeffer is a New York Times best selling author. He is a survivor of both polio and an evangelical/fundamentalist childhood, an acclaimed writer who overcame severe dyslexia, a home-schooled and self-taught documentary movie director, a feature film director and producer of four low budget Hollywood features Frank has described as “pretty terrible.” Frank’s nonfiction includes “Keeping Faith-A Father-Son Story About Love and the United States Marine Corps” and AWOL-The Unexcused Absence of America’s Upper Classes From Military Service and How It Hurts Our Country.” Frank’s latest book is, “Crazy for God: How I Grew Up As One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back.”

We now enter the age of Tea Party Arrogance…

Joe Miller, who won the Republican nomination in Alaska with the support of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party, isn’t arrogant. Gee, no, not at all. That’s why he cut a bunch of Tweets from his Twitter account. Fortunately, The Mudflats, my favorite Alaskan site, saved a screen dump before he cut them:
So… he’s shopping for office furniture and looking for a House and the election hasn’t happened yet. And Lisa Murkowski has decided to run as a write in… so it’s a 3-way race. And I understand Alaskans don’t like arrogant politicians.

This is one to watch.

The major issues are still there requiring attention… and Congress goes home accomplishing nothing.

This is the kind of job to have. Be elected to maintain and improve our Nation, get swamped by letters and blogs and broadcasters from the great majority of Americans pleading with you to attend to the problems, blame each other for doing nothing, and go home to campaign for office again. On top of that, you get paid pretty well to do all of this.

I am disgusted with Congress, both the people I voted for and trusted and supported and the people I already expected this crap from. As I have said in previous posts, we seem to have no system that works to really keep this political joke from being told. Voters seem to have no real control… that control is granted (and now endorsed by the Supreme Court) to major corporations and foreign countries.

Will questions be raised in the next month of campaigning which will find truth in what a candidate will actually stand for, actually DO? Is honesty too much to ask for? If candidates are prepared to spend outrageous amounts of their own money to shut opponents out of the media (Linda McMahon has pledged to spend $50 Million of her own dough in CT, a state where a Senate election used to find $13 Million as outrageous), will we find out what they would hope to accomplish when (not if) elected?

I doubt it sincerely. And yet, if I decide not to vote, I am paying into the problem. What choices remain? Think back to a country founded by patriots who saw the domination of money (ie: the British Government and The King) and power as a threat to their lives and freedom. What would they say if they saw us today?

‘Ferris Bueller’ Star Jeffrey Jones Pleads Guilty

Findlaw.com, the legal news blo, posted this yesterday…I just found it. Go to Findlaw for the whole article:
clipped from blogs.findlaw.com
Jeffrey Jones is best known for his role as an over the top principal in the cult classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. He also starred in Beetlejuice and Ed Wood. In between his acting jobs, Jones added a new credit to his name: sex offender. Now, ABC News reports that Jeffrey Jones plead guilty to failing to update his sex offender status.
In 2003, Jones plead no contest in a case that charged the actor with “employing a teenage boy to pose for sexual explicit photos.” As part of his sentence, Jones was required to register as a sex offender, and as is the case with every sex offender he was required to keep his information updated every year.
The Los Angeles judge ordered the 64 year-old Jones to 250 hours of community service and three years probation for failing to update his information. The punishment represents the importance of keeping sex offender registration information current, and how seriously courts take the offense.
blog it

Ramona is asking such important questions this morning…

I love reading Ramona’s pieces. This one began:

Fox News and the C of C thank you for voting Republican. But don’t call us, we’ll call you.
So, all you “Mad as Hell” people who idolize Fox “News” and their partners in crime, the Koch Brothers, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Republican Party, let’s hear what you’ve learned from that bunch you’ve been following so religiously. What’s the plan? What’s marvels are in store for you when they take out the government and make it obsolete?”

…and then went on:

clipped from ramonasvoices.blogspot.com

Wait a minute–you haven’t asked?  Okay, then.  Obviously you haven’t been thinking about it, but I have.  I’ve made up a list of questions for you to ask as soon as you’ve put all those constitution-loving patriots back in the cat-bird seat:
How soon will all the jobs be back?
What’s the forecast for a booming housing market?
Can we stop paying taxes now?
When will all wars end?
Can we get the the gays and liberals and non-Christians and brown-skinned people out of our sight ASAP?
Now can we force all kids to pray in school?
How soon before the poor aren’t among us?
Do we have to take our guns to town?
When you outlaw abortions are you going to expect me to take care of those little brats?
When DC is a ghost town will the rents go down?Why is Obamacare bad again?

and last but not least (because this one is very, very, very important):

Do you like me?  Do you really, really like me?
blog it

Thanks, Ramona.

Two more deaths to note: Arthur Penn and Tony Curtis

I’m afraid my obituary list gets longer today, marking the deaths of film director Arthur Penn (88) and actor Tony Curtis (85).

Penn, who directed such great films as Bonnie And Clyde, The Miracle Worker, and  Little Big Man, was one of the most influential directors of our time, changing the way films were made – director-based instead of studio-based. He died one day after his 88th birthday.

From the NY Times bio:

1953, Penn was writing and directing live TV productions for the Philco Playhouse and Playhouse 90. Earning a shot at feature films, Penn combined the Method acting concentration on character psychology with the story of legendary Western outlaw Billy the Kid in The Left-Handed Gun (1958). Starring Paul Newman as Billy and shot in crisp black-and-white, The Left-Handed Gun emphasized ’50s rebel neuroses over pastoral spectacle, becoming more of a character study of youthful revolt spiked with dramatic violence than a typical good vs. bad oater.

Tony Curtis, who died last night, was active as a performer for five decades. Not bad for a Lower East Side Jewish boy. Bernard Schwartz (Tony’s real name) was born on June 3, 1925, to Helen and Emanuel Schwartz, Jewish immigrants from Hungary. Emanuel operated a tailor shop in a poor neighborhood, and the family occupied cramped quarters behind the store, the parents in one room and little Bernard sharing another with his two brothers, Julius and Robert.

In the 1950s Curtis appeared in Some Like It Hot and The Defiant Ones, among many others, with major leads that took him through the 1970s. Later in life he did smaller parts, but never really stopped acting. His final screen appearance was in 2008, when he played a small role in “David & Fatima,” an independent budget film about a romance between an Israeli Jew and a Palestinian Muslim. His character’s name was Mr. Schwartz.

He is survived by his 6th wife and his first daughter (with Janet Leigh), Jamie Lee Curtis.