Thursday, October 17, 2013


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
        The nation and the world breathed a huge sigh of relief as the Senate and the House took last minute action last night to end the government shut down and to permit the raising of the debt ceiling at least temporarily, by kicking the can down the road.
        The Senate voted 81-18 to end the shut-down by funding the government through January 15, 2014. The bi-partisan bill also allowed the debt ceiling to be raised through February 7, 2014, while leaving the Affordable Health Care Act virtually untouched. The one minor exception was the inclusion of a "no subsidies without verification" provision.
        Republican Senator Ted Cruz and his Tea Party allies were terribly unhappy with the bill and they vowed the fight isn't over.
        The bill was then sent over to the House, which voted 285 to 144 to accept the Senate's compromise. 87 House Republicans sided with 198 House Democrats in favor of the bill, while no Democrats voted against it.
        To their credit Democrats and the President are not gloating over what has to be seen as a major victory for them and for the nation. They are viewing it as a bipartisan effort. At the same time, they are not hesitant to lay the blame for the whole fiasco at the doorstep of the Tea Party, and their supporters.
        The shut down has already cost the country 24 billion dollars, and the nation's credit rating is in jeopardy. Some big questions remain: will the Republicans ever again force a government shutdown in order to attain their legislative agenda, in this case repealing Obamacare, or have they learned their lesson? Their approval rating has never been lower!
        Will moderate Republicans cease to be intimidated by the radical right wing of the Party, or will they move ahead with their own agenda? Will they work with Democrats and the President to correct the flaws in the Affordable Health Care Act, or will they continue to insist that the law must be completely abolished?
        Will the House finally turn their attention to all the other important legislative matters that have been on hold for so long, such as immigration reform, the infrastructure, jobs, gun regulation, and many other important issues. Will John Boehner continue to be the Speaker of the House?
        We'll soon know the answer to these questions.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin reciting the Pledge of  Allegiance
        Tea Party spokesperson Senator Ted Cruz (Rep., Texas) and former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin joined a group of veterans who were protesting the closing of World War II Memorial in Washington yesterday. The boisterous demonstrators broke through the barriers and carried them off to the White House, where they flaunted a Confederate flag, as they denounced President Obama for shutting down the national parks, an action for which Senator Cruz and his party were themselves  responsible when they shut down the entire government! They criticize the park rangers for simply doing their job —without pay!
        That kind of blatant hypocrisy is what infuriates fair-minded Americans and has resulted in the deservedly high disapproval ratings of the Republican party. As a World War II veteran myself, I’m embarrassed and ashamed that some (not all) of my fellow veterans could be so ill-informed about what’s going on, not to mention their being so disrespectful to their commander-in-chief.
        Cruz and Palin were followed at the microphone by Larry Klayman, founder of the ultra conservative political advocacy organization Freedom Watch. Klayman told the crowd that our country is now “ruled by a president who bows down to Allah,” and he called upon his hearers to join him in waging “a second American nonviolent revolution, to use civil disobedience, and to demand that this president leave town, to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come up with his hands out.”  I’m sure he meant to say “come out with his hands up”!
        I don’t know if Senator Cruz was there to hear Klayman’s racist remarks, but when asked for his reaction, Cruz’s response, unlike that of some of his Republican counterparts, was anything but a denunciation.  Republican Scott Rigell of Virginia, for example, emphatically repudiated Klayman’s comments and called them harmful to the country.
        As disgusted as I am with Confederate flag-waving racists, I am even more repulsed by American flag-waving bigots, whose attitudes and actions are a disgrace to our flag and to the country for which it stands.      

Sunday, October 13, 2013


        Here's a nice change of pace. In case you haven't yet seen this video on YouTube, click here to see and hear a father (Benjamin J. Ames) and his four-year-old-daughter sing "Tonight You Belong to Me." Turn the sound up and enlarge your screen, and be sure to watch the entire video. It will warm your heart and brighten your day!

Saturday, October 12, 2013


Rep. Congressman Paul Ryan

        Here's a weird piece of political irony: Who has emerged as the potential spokesperson for the Republican Party? None other than Republican congressman Paul Ryan!
        We remember him well the from the last Presidential campaign, when he was anything but reasonable. But in recent days he has actually sounded like a moderate, to the extent that he is drawing criticism from some Tea Partyites. Imagine that!
        Recalling Ryan's proposed budget and his outlandish comments about Obamacare, it's not easy to imagine it. But I must say, it's a welcome change ---if it's genuine!
        Let's hope it is.          

Thursday, October 10, 2013


        Republicans are glowing because President Obama’s approval rating has hit a new low.  An AP poll yesterday showed it at 37%.
        There are two principle reasons for that, in my opinion. Part of the disfavor is due to the “buck stops here” syndrome. People are tired of the stalemate in Congress, and even though the fault lies with the House Republicans, the frustration and anger of the general public will eventually land on the chief executive’s desk. It is happening under Barack Obama’s watch, and he can’t escape being the target, albeit it unfairly, of some of the public’s dissatisfaction with our dysfunctional Congress.
        Never mind that it has been the House Republicans who have adamantly refused to support any of the President legislative proposals, no matter how helpful and necessary they might be, and despite their having been approved by the Senate. The Republicans have been “the Party of No” from the start of the Obama presidency, and they have obstinately refused to accept even the main piece of legislation that was enacted into law and upheld by the Supreme Court, viz. the Affordable Health Care Act.
        The second and even more influential factor in the decline of the President’s approval rating is, in my view, the persuasive power of negativism. The effectiveness of negative advertising and political rhetoric cannot be dismissed. The consistent and persistent blame-casting by the Republicans and their hate-filled supporters was bound to have its effect. They are experts at the karlrovian tactic of accusing the President of the very thing of which they themselves are guilty. Their false accusations, misrepresentations and outright lies, all of which can easily be refuted by the facts (see The Grand Old Party Is Anything But Grand), were bound to influence the thinking of some Americans, whose frustration with Washington has trumped their objectivity.

Friday, October 4, 2013


        Here’s a helpful household hint of which Lady Macbeth might not have been aware: while cold water and soap will remove most recent blood stains, for tougher and older blood stains try squirting some hydrogen peroxide on the spot or spots. White foam will appear instantly on the blood stains. Then scrub and rinse with cold water.
        This suggestion is nothing new to many homemakers. But what I want to say next might be, and that is, it may take three or four applications of the hydrogen peroxide to get rid of some older stains. So don’t give up if the stains don’t disappear after the first application and rinse. Repeat the process three or four times, if necessary, and even the worst stains should disappear. You have to soak and scrub each time.
        That’s what I learned recently, after I had just about given up on some old blood stains following just two applications. But I kept at it and was amazed when they finally disappeared completely after the fourth rinse and scrub.
        So my message is: don’t give up too quickly.  


    Michele Bachmann commented yesterday that Republicans couldn’t be happier about the Government shut down. “It’s exactly what we wanted, and we got it!”
       Republican Congressman Marlin Stutzman of Indiana told The Washington Examiner: “We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this, and I don’t know what that even is.”
       Another Republican Congressman, Rep. Randy Neugebauer, of  Lubbock, Texas, scolded a National Park Ranger for refusing to allow some World War II veterans to pass beyond the barricade that blocked people from entering the WWII monument in Washington. The National Monuments around the Washington Mall are closed as a result of the government shut down, and she was simply carrying out the orders for which he and his fellow Republicans were responsible!
       Such comments and actions would be ludicrous if they were not so outrageous. The Tea Party fanatics are glowing about their achievement. Some have even commented that the shut down is good for the country! “Think of the money we’re saving!”
        What is especially infuriating is to hear the Republicans blame President Obama for the shut down. There is no way that the President deserves any share of the blame for the current debacle, and many Americans are very upset to hear some “pundits” speak as if both parties are equally to blame. I have signed more than one petition calling upon the network news commentators to stop letting the Republicans off the hook.
        Some G.O.P. leaders are not happy about the way things are going, but because of their fear of the Tea Party, they went along with the government shut down. They’d like to end it, but they don’t know how to do so and save face.
        I wish they’d worry more about saving the country!