Blog Archives

Obama’s comments today about Romney and the debate… a GREAT speech.

Obama gave this speech in Denver this morning:

It looks like Obama is putting the Mittster on the rack for a roast. I assume this is a key to what will happen in the next debate.

Thanks to all of you who have called and e-mailed after my accident…

So many of you have wished me well. I am still in some pain in my ribcage (I’m  calling it “airbag shock”), but, in general I’m feeling much better.

Several have asked what caused the the accident and the best I can say is “I don’t know.” Essentially I had a blackout seizure and when I finally realized where I was I was 30 miles down the road having hit two cars and a power line. When I noticed a police car behind me and I pulled over, I had no idea what was going on, or that the whole front of my car was just about gone.

Somewhere in the course of the accident I lost my Superfocus glasses… I terrible loss for me. We don’t know yet of the insurance covers the loss as part of the accident.

Anyway, they’re not likely to let me drive again unless they can figure out what causes the seizures (apparently I’ve had a couple of other ones, not while driving, over the last couple of years. Most of these include lapses of time that I don’t remember, either.)

So my computer and I will continue to travel the world… but I won’t be getting out of the yard unless someone else takes me.

My brain is exploding… put yourself in the (not so distant) future…

As you read this over the internet you realize that you have replaced what we used to exchange in print… or even, for Pete’s sake, by voice over the phone or while having coffee… with interactions by computer on our own time and only when we really want it. And it seems live and it can be interacted with in an eternal present.

But what comes next? What are the situations we can’t even imagine that will be our communication norm in less than a generation… that will make Facebook seem like the telegraph?

English: New York City high school students in...

I just spent an hour and a half listening to a replay of a forum at the World Science Festival called Internet Everywhere. If you remember when we didn’t spend our time with a computer and a mouse or a touchpad and our finger bringing our minds together over the internet… not very long ago… then remember how we didn’t even begin to imagine where we are today.

You’ve got to watch/listen to this:

http://worldsciencefestival.com/webcasts/internet_everywhere.

OK?

You can thank me later.

Quote of the Week from Kate Winslet.

When asked, Kate Winslet replied that the “Titanic” theme song makes her feel “like throwing up.”

“Every time I go into either some kind of a bar in a hotel where there’s a live pianist or into a restaurant where they are changing their music according to who walks in the door … it’s thrilling for people to ‘surprise’ me with the Celine Dion song.” 

I guess this is a particularly bad week for Winslet (hey, does she get royalties?).

Happy St. Paddy’s – I’m over at WSHC for an early start…

Elliot Simon has to leave at 9:15,so I’m covering for his show and then mine at WSHC 89.7 FM (www.897wshc.org). Had to get up earlier than usual to put my show together, but it’s all set and I’m ready.

Elly and I are celebrating St. Patrick’s day by continuing to get stuff out of the old house and move it to the new one. Isn’t that exciting. We have some of the Shepherd U. Boys and a borrowed pickup truck tomorrow and I hope we get most of what’s left out (but I doubt that it is possible!)

Anyway, have a good morning and tune in if you can.

Harold Kepnes still lives and I am thrilled…

Harold and I have been friends for over 50 years, now, and it’s that kind of friendship that goes on whether we see each other regularly or not. We can go several years without speaking with each other, then one of us will pick up the phone and it is like no time has passed. I’m sure everyone has at least one friend like that.

Harold and his Daughter Caroline (the Reel Girl on E!)

Harold and his wife Monica own a furniture store in Hyannis, MA (his big story is that he sold furniture to Teddy Kennedy). As young teens I spent half my Cape Cod summers over at Harold’s house where his parents treated me like another son. It was a great time.

Last year, however, Harold called me telling me he had cancer and was given about 18 months to live… meanwhile he was undergoing chemo and had lost weight (close to 100 lbs… and Harold started out as a chunky like me.)

Sunday, Harold called me to say he was 11 months into the chemo and was in partial remission. They were stopping the chemo because it was no longer working, but he was feeling pretty good. He’s pretty sure he’ll make it past the eighteen month point… I sure hope he does… and we had our regular phone call and discussion about families, basketball, the move Elly and I are making into “farming” (why does everyone say “Green Acres” to me when I talk about it?).

I don’t know what the situation will be the next time we talk, but I sure hope Harold continues to move ahead.

Steve Jobs Leaves CEO position at Apple…

Steve Jobs announced to Apple Computer’s board of directors that he would be resigning as CEO of the company he founded.

In a letter, Jobs stated:

“I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come. I hereby resign as CEO of Apple.”

Jobs “strongly” recommended tapping Tim Cook as CEO of Apple, and asked to continue serving as chairman of the board and Apple employee, “if the board sees fit.” The board then appointed Cook to the position.

Apple went down 5 points on the Bog Board today when the word got out.

Of course, we also hear from Romney this morning…

… and he isn’t thrilled:

Why is this man smiling?

“As president, my plan would have produced a budget that was cut, capped and balanced – not one that opens the door to higher taxes and puts defense cuts on the table. President Obama’s leadership failure has pushed the economy to the brink at the eleventh hour and 59th minute. While I appreciate the extraordinarily difficult situation President Obama’s lack of leadership has placed Republican Members of Congress in, I personally cannot support this deal.”

– Mitt Romney, Republican Presidential Candidate

“Extraordinarily difficult situation” that Republicans have been placed in? Perhaps he doesn’t realize that the Republicans WON here. Then again, maybe his old Massachusetts liberalism is coming out.

Planet Greed is Doomed

A visitor from Planet We Are All One drops in to visit a citizen of Planet Greed. (By  War on Error)

Getting a late start on the blog today…

Bill & Elly Wide Awake

Elly and I had to get up at 6AM today, eat, walk the dogs and head for Baltimore to BWI to pick up our grandson Milo who flew in from Connecticut to visit his Aunt Penny and our other three grandchildren. We had to get to the airport, which is an hour and a half away from us at least, 45 minutes before his plane lands so that one of us (me) can get the consent papers to pick him up, go through the x-ray and search procedures to get down to the gate and then wait for his arrival.

Then we had to reverse direction and get him to Penny’s house for lunch. In all it took about 6 1/2 hours out of our day and now I’m back and can start posting and reading everyone else’s posts.

So give me some time to see what’s going on and I’ll get right back to you.

Eighth Day Accompanied on Dog Walk by Red-Winged Blackbird.

I’m pretty sure it’s the same one since there are several others around but none of them seems concerned with the route we are taking. This one jumps from bush to bush to stay within 5′ to 10′ ahead us as we walk.

I’ve named him Nik-Nik after the sound he makes (which I imitate back to him) between chirps (I fear I am a lousy chirper.)

Now that we’re over a week since the first time he walked with us (I think he really comes out when he sees us walk out of the front door of the house), I’ll be disappointed if he’s not there tomorrow.

Third day and our friend the redwinged blackbird took a walk with my boys and me…

Not our friend - just a sample

I really expected him to be gone today. When we got over to the marshy area by the runoff pond our friend started  flying around us and then went from bush to bush staying just a few feet ahead of us making his clicks and chirps.

I’m getting to expect him and will be disappointed if he’s not there tomorrow. I think my dogs are getting used to him, too… especially Byron who would most likely eat him if he landed within grabbing room. Nestle looks at him and then goes back to sniffing the ground.

Tomorrow at 10AM is the second Under The LobsterScope Podcast…

… and I’m happy to say that my guest will be West Virginia Poet Tom Domlin. Tom and I will get to discuss some of his poetry… he’ll do some reading… and we’ll have a good time.

That’s tomorrow morning from 10:30 to 10:30 AM at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/billtchakirides/2011/05/10/under-the-lobsterscope

Saturday night thoughts as I watch Doc Martin reruns…

Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

I’m getting so tired of listening to the conservative candidates, congressmen and capitalists complain about paying taxes at the level they should be… say, at the rate they were taxed at before George W. Bush lowered them.

As you recall, he lowered the taxes while, at the same time, getting us involved in an Iraq war for dishonest reasons without actually putting the expenses in the reported budget. It is as if bookkeeping and government spending had no relationship.

If a candidate cannot say “Yes, I will have to raise taxes, especially on the rich,” then he (or she) is being completely dishonest. As citizens, we should demand tax increases… and demand military cuts (and demand that we get out of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and just about everywhere else in the Middle East.

So how do we make it happen?

Defining myself politically with the changes that have happened in the last 65 years.

On May 24th I’ll be sixty five and another 1st generation Baby Boomer will be officially “Old” (though, because of our cruddy economy which stands between employment and age, I am already retired and at the mercy of Social Security… which my Congressional leadership wants to do away with).

Most of my adult life I have been a liberal Democrat… in college during the height of the Civil Rights movement and the fiercest part of the anti-Vietnam War campaign, as a working citizen through booms and busts in the economy ending in the major recession we are apparently now out of (except in my house… yours too?)… and I voted as a liberal Dem in the past couple of elections. Now I’m not certain that “liberal Democrat” has meaning anymore.

While I shudder at people who are now called “Originalists” (heard this term on a CATO Institute panel on C-Span, where it was tied as a label on Justice Clarence Thomas),  who think of the Constitution as unchangeable and fixed, I am upset with some lack of adherence to Constitutional regulations which have not been changed in the document, but have certainly been changed in practice.

The power to declare war, for instance, is still Constitutionally the province of Congress, and specifically the House. Yet, from my earliest childhood when Truman got us into the “Korean War” – called a “Police Action” because it was never declared by Congress (and also never ended, btw); to my early adult years when LBJ got us into the “Viet Nam War“, started as a Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG), again, without the declaration by Congress as a war; to the first “Gulf War” that George H. W. Bush got us into without a Congressional Declaration; to the Second “Gulf War”…also known as the “War in Iraq”… which has really not ended since it was followed by a decade of occupation, which spread from George W. Bush through Bill Clinton to Barack Obama and continues, to some extent, today (although the government would have us believe that it is over); to the current “War in Afghanistan” started by Bush 2 a year before the Iraq War, allowed to simmer over a low flame for a dozen years, then refocused and put into first place by Barack Obama; I have seen the Congress give up it’s war declaration responsibilities and the Executive Administration take the freedom to do whatever they want with the Military it commands.

Whew…sorry for the long paragraph above. I had to get it out, however.

Now we are in a conflict in Libya, not yet called a “War”, although as you watch the TV news you can see that label arriving on swift feet. The President didn’t bother doing anything with Congress on this… they were on vacation (from the tedious job where they work from Monday to Thursday, then spend the rest of their week raising money for the next election) after all… but took the excuse of a U.N. Resolution taking precedence over our National Law and all of a sudden we are in our third Middle East conflict, going on simultaneously with the first two. And we’re doing all of them without a supporting economy… the romance of borrowed funds.

Now I read that the Conservatives in Congress are going to come back this week, from the much needed time off they have had, and express opposition to Libyan war. As Representative Roscoe Bartlett (R – Maryland) said last night:

“The United States does not have a King’s army. President Obama’s unilateral choice to use U.S. military force in Libya is an affront to our Constitution.”

Of course, some would say that the Conservative Republican majority in the House, by spending most of their year on voting against anything their more liberal colleagues are in favor of, in areas which have little to do with our current problems, ignoring the unemployment problem the recession has created and deciding to “fix” the economy by defunding most of the services that keep us going, while making sure the rich don’t get taxed, has also been in an affront to our Constitution.

I’m getting more and more upset with both sides of our elected officialdom and with the outrageous empire we have established worldwide with our 200+ military bases and rush to be the “defense” force in countries where there is oil for our insatiable power demands. I am frustrated that, as an individual, there seems to be little or nothing I can do about the situation, with the one exception of pointing the problems out in this blog. Voting doesn’t seem to solve the problem because politicians lie… they run saying they will do one thing…they get elected…and then they become the managers and implementers of the “same old same old.”

The Corporate World eats up the majority of our economic resources. The Corporate world controls the officials their support elects. The Corporate world does not mind that they have allowed our millions of jobs to move to China and India for cheap costs and have wrecked our own economy in the process. Yet they are not a power that is recognized by our Constitution… only by those our Constitution allows us to elect.

I guess I would like to define myself as a “Constitutional Progressive” and no longer as a “Democratic Liberal.” I would like to see us uphold those regulations and responsibilities that the Constitution-as-Amended contains, yet support changes in the Constitution that reflect our current world and the protection of the people in our Nation without depriving them of their rights and input. That means not an “Originalist” viewpoint, but a believer in the social and political equality of citizens and the ability to lead full and meaningful lives in a country that our taxes support.

I don’t know if this is likely, but I will campaign for it as if it is.

Mubarak steps down while Bill at Doctor…

I was at the Neurologist when Mubarak stepped down and I didn’t hear about it until after I got home.

This from HuffPo

Egypt‘s Hosni Mubarak resigned as president and handed control to the military on Friday, bowing down after a historic 18-day wave of pro-democracy demonstrations by hundreds of thousands. “The people ousted the president,” chanted a crowd of tens of thousands outside his presidential palace in Cairo.

So the military is in control. This from the BBC:

“Around Cairo, drivers are honking their horns in celebration and guns are being fired into the air. The huge crowds are rejoicing. However, the army takeover looks very much like a coup. The constitution has been breached. Officially, the speaker of parliament should be taking over. Instead it is the army leadership. Egypt moves into a very uncertain future.”

It took 18 days of protest…but there it is.

This from Marc Lynch in Foreign Policy…

Tomorrow is going to be nasty:
clipped from lynch.foreignpolicy.com
It’s hard to exaggerate how bad Hosni Mubarak‘s speech today was for Egypt.   In the extended runup to his remarks, every sign indicated

SHARM EL SHEIKH/EGYPT, 18MAY08 - Muhammad Hosn...

that he planned to announce his resignation: the military’s announcement that it had taken control, the shift in state television coverage, a steady stream of leaks about the speech.   With the whole world watching, Mubarak instea

 

d offered a meandering, confused speech promising vague Constitutional changes and defiance of foreign pressure.   He offered a vaguely worded delegation of power to Vice President Omar Suleiman, long after everyone in Egypt had stopped listening.  It is virtually impossible to conceive of a more poorly conceived  or executed speech.

Omar Suleiman’s televised address which followed made things even worse, if that’s possible, telling the people to go home and blaming al-Jazeera for the problems.
Things could get ugly tonight — and if things don’t explode now, then the crowds tomorrow will be absolutely massive.
blog it

Quote of the Day – From one Dictator, a Comment on Another…

Mubarak‘s fate is sealed, not even the support of the United States will be able to save his government. The people of Egypt are an intelligent people with a glorious history who left their mark on civilization. ‘From the top of these pyramids, 40 centuries of history are looking down upon us,’ Bonaparte once said in a moment of exaltation when the revolution brought him to this extraordinary crossroads of civilizations.”

– Fidel Castro

That was from Castro’s blog… the 84-year-old Former Cuban Dictator now plays the blogosphere with the rest of us.

A Quote for this Day of Observance…

“A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, “This way of settling differences is not just…   A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

– Dr.  Martin Luther King, Jr.


The Holiday Is Here…

In 1860, American artist and illustrator Winslow Homer did a cover for Harpers Weekly depicting “The Two Great Classes” at Thanksgiving, the Rich and the Poor. This was made when the country was getting over the Depression of 1857 and rolling inevitably toward what would become the Civil War. I’m not sure Homer was very impressed with Thanksgiving where some had “more Dinners than Appetite” and some had “more Appetite than Dinners.” In a way, we are there again.

The History of Religion in America Returns for the Weekend.

I’m re-watching the God In America programs on Public Television today, having watched both nights (4 hours) last week. I find it a fascinating view of American History as it relates to the early congregations that escaped Europe to eventually found our country and the development of Reform movements, both in Christianity and Judaism, and, of course, the parallel rise in the 20th Century of non-belief and how it fits into the religious population of the American continent.

While the program followed the interpretations of biblical scholars, mostly, and not those of scientists or humanitarian thinkers who question the faithful and find solutions beyond holy creation. Getting through the Spaniards trying to convert the Pueblo Indians to Catholicism as their ONLY religion and creating a war because of it, the Puritans leaving England for the freedom to worship in their way and then denying any different method to others, the arrival of Methodists, Baptists (with “rebirth”), Congregationalists and others, we run right into Jefferson who believed that we had the freedom to believe and worship any way we wanted, since this was God’s plan.

The Anglican Church in Virginia is shown as a taxing authority and the new Protestant religions, especially the Baptists, drew converts which pulled government away from the Anglican rich. The licensing of preachers in Virginia was the jailable issue that brought the Baptists into revolutionary fervor. And, finally, the attachment of Thomas Jefferson to the cause of a religiously Free Virginia brought the passage of a bill which allowed this risk to be taken… a year before the Constitution was made in Philadelphia.

I learned a great deal in this program about the creation of Reform Judaism and the Conservative response to it (not to mention the Orthodox response to both Conservatives and Reformers.) There is very little difference here between the actions of Reform Jews and the actions of Reform Christians, other than the Deist interpretation of Christ.

I’ll watch the rest of this… although I wish the series was longer and got much further into non-belief.

Cartoon(s) of the Week – The Big November Show

Ben Sargent in the Austin American-Statesman:

It’s the election season and we’re all invited to The Show…

– and –

Tony Auth in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

One side of The Show has its own Network….

– and –

Stuart Carlson at Universal UClick:

It’s sometimes hard to tell who the sponsors of The Show are…

– and –

Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

…so let’s settle in for the show with a nice cup of Tea.

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.”

If we CAN learn from History, we ought to listen to Krugman…

In his piece in the NY Times this morning, Paul Krugman compared the situation Obama is in now with the situation FDR was in in 1937… and how similar the public response was (and how misdirected.)

Here’s a clip:

The story of 1937, of F.D.R.’s disastrous decision to heed those who said that it was time to slash the deficit, is well known. What’s less well known is the extent to which the public drew the wrong conclusions from the recession that followed: far from calling for a resumption of New Deal programs, voters lost faith in fiscal expansion.

Consider Gallup polling from March 1938. Asked whether government spending should be increased to fight the slump, 63 percent of those polled said no. Asked whether it would be better to increase spending or to cut business taxes, only 15 percent favored spending; 63 percent favored tax cuts. And the 1938 election was a disaster for the Democrats, who lost 70 seats in the House and seven in the Senate.

And then came World War II and the miracle occurred.

From an economic point of view World War II was, above all, a burst of deficit-financed government spending, on a scale that would never have been approved otherwise. Over the course of the war the federal government borrowed an amount equal to roughly twice the value of G.D.P. in 1940 — the equivalent of roughly $30 trillion today.

Had anyone proposed spending even a fraction that much before the war, people would have said the same things they’re saying today. They would have warned about crushing debt and runaway inflation. They would also have said, rightly, that the Depression was in large part caused by excess debt — and then have declared that it was impossible to fix this problem by issuing even more debt.

But guess what? Deficit spending created an economic boom — and the boom laid the foundation for long-run prosperity.

We don’t have a similar miracle waiting in the wings for us. In fact, our military is more than overspent and tired out after the decade of Iraq and Afghanistan. And we are broke!

The odds of the Repiglicans, who will be voted in to Congress by short-sighted middle- and lower-class folks, increasing our expenditures on jobs and government-financed recovery are minimal.

But it turns out that politicians and economists alike have spent decades unlearning the lessons of the 1930s, and are determined to repeat all the old mistakes. And it’s slightly sickening to realize that the big winners in the midterm elections are likely to be the very people who first got us into this mess, then did everything in their power to block action to get us out.

But always remember: this slump can be cured. All it will take is a little bit of intellectual clarity, and a lot of political will. Here’s hoping we find those virtues in the not too distant future.

And here’s hoping it doesn’t take a World War.

Here’s another reason why I think religion needs to be stamped out…

‘Sinner’ singer given 39 lashes by rabbis
By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
08/27/2010 02:45

Punishment for performance in front of “mixed audience.”

clipped from www.jpost.com

RABBI AMNON YITZHAk (left) listens to Rabbi Ben Zion Mutsafi as he speaks of the leather strip with

A singer who performed in front of a “mixed audience” of men and women was lashed 39 times to make him “repent,” after a ruling by a self-described rabbinic court on Wednesday.

Rabbi Amnon Yitzhak, founder of the Shofar organization aimed at bringing Jews “back to religion” (hazara betshuva), has made it his recent mission to fight against musical performances for both men and women.
His “judicial panel,” with Rabbi Ben Zion Mutsafi and another member, sentenced Erez Yechiel to 39 lashes in order to “rid him of his sins.”
In a video clip of the court posted on the Shofar Web site, Ben Zion said that those who make others sin (mahtiei rabim), such as artists who make men and women attend performances or dance together, have no place in the world to come.
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Yechiel, who said, “I accept upon myself the lashing for my sins,” was ordered to stand by a wooden poll with his head facing north (“from whence the evil inclination comes”), his hands tied with a azure-colored rope (“a symbol of mercy”), and served his “sentence.”