Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dear Infant Jesus:

You came into my life at a time that I dearly needed God's love.  My friend Sister LaDonna gave me your statue and chaplet and thanks to your grace I have had a good life and have been able to see my children grow into beautiful young adults. 

I now respectfully ask for your grace again , not for my self, but for my good friend, who along with his wife,  just one month ago, became the proud parents of twins.  Unfortunately my friend now lies in intensive care battling an infection which threatens his life.  Holy Infant of Prague I beseech you to bless my dear friend,  rid him of the infection that threatens his life and mend his body so that he like me before him, can see his two beautiful children grow up to become beautiful young adults.  I ask this in the name of our Lord the Father, his Son Jesus Christ and you the Blessed and Holy Infant of Prague.

Thank you for hearing my prayers,

Humbly Submitted by Your Servant,

Please Join Me in Submitting Your Prayers for Our Friend

Your Petition

It will be placed on the
altar of the Child Jesus.
Send your intention to

In Tough Times, When Things Look Their Bleakest, Who Ya Gonna Call: The Solidarnosc Avengers

I could feel it even before I was fully awake this morning.  There was a palpable heaviness in the air, a brooding sense of evil foreboding what was to become in the east.  I rousted my ever faithful sidekick and life companion, Comrade Sausage, and we headed downstairs to face whatever the day would bring.

After letting my comrade out to make his daily statement on the capitalist system, I opened my front blinds, which face directly east overlooking the park with the famous waterfall.  It was then that I saw it.  A sight I had seen once before a little over one year ago while on a mission.  It all came rushing back to me like a bad acid trip:

"...We could tell we were nearing "Mad Town" from the black smoke on the eastern horizon. We've heard reports of Walker loyalists setting car tires and smudge pots afire. Against this surrealistic, Lord of the Rings war scene backdrop were coming radio updates from what has become known as Madison's Tahrir Square, aka the Capitol grounds, telling a horrific story of Walker loyalists, Tea Party Hooligans, GOP Goons, and conservative mercenaries from surrounding states, many in caravans of freshly washed, dark colored, Buick sedans, a few in BMWs..."

I knew then what was coming next, almost as if on cue my cell phone vibrated then gave off its modernist ring tone:  it was them of course, we had been assigned a new mission:   The Recall Ball   Destination:   Milwaukee.  The 1977 primer grey Chevy Van would soon be on its way to pick me up for what was sure to strike fear in the hearts of all the mamsy pamsy momma boy conformists  aka Walkerites, South Dakotans for Unicorns and Illini pirate wannabes for In Tough Times, When Things Look Their Bleakest, Who Ya Gonna Call: 


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Why Recalling Gov. Walker is Not only Just, But Necessary.

Drunkards, Cheese Heads, Wisconsinites, Lend me your ears;
I come to bury Walker, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
the good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Walker.  The noble Barrett
Hath told you Walker was ambitious;
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Walker answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Barrett and the rest - 
For Barrett is an honorable man;...

To all my next door neighbors who may be on the fence over the issue of whether to recall Governor Walker, please hear me out.  If like me, you feel that the remedy of recall is an extreme and extraordinary one, please let me explain in all earnestness why it is not only just, but necessary in this instance.

Maybe like me you are very wary of recall elections.  This would not be an unusual reaction in light of the fact that the last gubernatorial recall was a fraud perpetrated upon the good people of  California by the likes of those paragons of Republican virtue, the Enron Corporation and Arnold "I sleep with the help" Schwarzenegger.  As you may recall, the State of California was in the gripes of one of the most serious and precarious financial situations which the state Republicans falsely and conveniently blamed on then Democratic Governor Gray Davis and his alleged mishandling of skyrocketing energy prices.  For those of you who have seen the documentary Enron:  The Smartest Guys in the Room, you know the truth of the matter:   that Enron traders manufactured the California energy crisis to reap massive illegal profits for its criminal corporate syndicate.
So why on earth, with a track record like that, should the good citizens of Wisconsin want to follow California's lead and repeat their mistake with only the political parties reversed?
Simply because the current breed of Republicans are practicing what I call Trojan Politics.  Had Scotty Walker been honest and run on a platform of repealing the rights of Wisconsin citizens to collectively bargain, had Mr. Walker honestly said it was his ambition to become the Union busting heroine of the John Birch Society, had the not so great Scott admitted in advance that he and his Republican co-conspirators would rubber stamp legislation by conservative lobbying groups such as ALEC and won an election of full disclosure fair and square that would be one thing.  But since Governor Walker kept his true agenda hidden and sprung it upon the people of Wisconsin as a fait accompli not only is it just that Mr. Walker be subject to a recall election, it is necessary to remove him.

Friday, May 11, 2012

JP Morgan reports $ 2 billion trading loss: Romney's Plan Repeal Dodd Frank

Hey America!  How stupid are you? Anyone who even considers voting Republican this fall will legally qualify as incompetent or insane in light of the fact that the supposed paragon of virtue Wall Street Bank JP Morgan Chase is up to their ears in debt, its stock in free fall and under S.E.C. investigation as a result of its belated and suspicious report that it lost over $2 Billion in credit default swaps in the last two months.  But how could this happen?  If you listen to Romney and the Republicans everything is the government's fault and regulation is unnecessary and harmful.    Let me make this as simple as possible for my lazy and financially unsophisticated friends:  JP Morgan Chase was trying to get in as much risky and financially unsound deals as possible before the Volker Rule, part of Dodd Frank kicks in later this summer.  Dodd Frank would prohibit, through regulation precisely this kind of lunatic speculation with the bank's assets.

So what would Romney and the Republicans do?  They would throw gas on the fire and repeal the safeguards the Democrats put in to stop these corrupt practices.  Think I exaggerate?  Here is the Republican plan taken verbatim from the Romney for President web site:

“Mitt’s Plan
Mitt Romney will treat regulatory costs like other costs: he will establish firm limits for them. A Romney administration will act swiftly to tear down the vast edifice of regulations the Obama administration has imposed on the economy. It will also seek to make structural changes to the federal bureaucracy that ensure economic growth remains front and center when regulatory decisions are made.
Eliminate Undue Economic Burdens
One of the greatest problems with the federal bureaucracy is that each incoming presidential administration leaves in place much of what its predecessor constructed. The result is layer upon layer of often unnecessary or inconsistent regulation. President Obama has compounded this problem with unprecedented federal power grabs over wide swaths of the economy. Obama-era laws and regulations must be rolled back, and pre-existing ones must be carefully scrutinized.
    Repeal Obamacare
    Repeal Dodd-Frank and replace with streamlined, modern regulatory framework”

So just how stupid are you America?

Romney: "I was a Preppy Bully Boy"

Reading like the cheap, dime store, white trash pulp fiction that is the life and times of Mitt Romney, the right wing wannabe presumptive Republican nominee for President has admitted bullying gay classmates while in high school.

Although Mr. Romney could not recall any specifics citing the fact that "these people are not human beings deserving of my acknowledgment of their humanity", his fellow Republicans commended Mr. Romney for his ethics and strong Christian, woops, I mean Mormon values.*

In a Great Roll Call exclusive here is a recording made by one of Mitt's victims:

*"Until 1978, the LDS church banned men of African descent from its priesthood, a position open to nearly all Mormon males and the gateway to sacramental and leadership roles. The church had also barred black men and women from temple ceremonies that promised access in the afterlife to the highest heaven.."

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Long Time Coming

No, I am not referring to the great Ruthie Foster cover of the Crosby Stills and Nash song. As one should probably guess, I am speaking of the story broke by Reuters today that the President has finally acknowledged the obvious, that under our Constitution, same sex couples have the right to marry. 

I was struck by the President's interview today, that he used the exact words that I used to use when discussing the issue.  I too used to be of the belief that civil unions was a reasonable compromise.  I too was attempting to be sensitive to and respectful of the beliefs of religious organizations.  I too am a lawyer and was born in 1961.  The difference between the timing of President's acknowledgement and my own was that my dear oldest brother, not a lawyer, but who worked in the legal industry and was one of the smartest and wisest humans I have ever known, explained to me approximately 10 years ago why nothing but the ability of same sex couples to marry would satisfy the U.S. Constitution.  Like myself, my older brother was not homosexual, but rather intellectually honest.

Today, our President showed the intellectual honesty of a constitutional scholar and the courage of a leader.

Unintended Consequences: The Older I Get the Less I Know

I had some free time today so I went to visit a sick friend in the hospital.  I really did not have a choice in the matter since this was a friend who would give you the shirt off his back or to be literal, open his check book and say how much do you need.  So you would think that, from a transactional perspective, I was doing him a favor, paying back a debt, and/or giving him a gift.  Well, the reality could not be further from the expectation.  My friend, as sick as he is, gave me the biggest gift I have had in a long time if not ever.

My friend taught me courage, perseverance, resilience, stoicism, bravery, moderation and the definition of being a man, without ever opening his mouth.  I do not mean this in some kind of feigned, insecure kind of way, (like myself), but in the adult, intellectual; ideal sense of what it means to be a man.  You know, like in the Bible when it says "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things" 1 Corinthians 13:11.  Well the difference between my friend and I , despite the fact that I am probably 15 years or more older than him, is the difference between a boy and a man, with me being the boy.

I spent the rest of the afternoon appreciating everything I have instead of what I do not.  I was polite to other drivers, I engaged with the elderly customers at my local independent supermarket and even apologized to an elderly man who walked out in front of my motorcycle.  In other words I stopped acting like an a$$hole.  And that is the greatest gift someone can receive.

Cris Carter Seals the Deal: Finally Gets Into Pro Football Hall of Fame

Canton, OH

Breaking news:  Self-ordained man of God and feared by opposing players, little children and women alike and now we know why.  The former Minnesota Viking wide receiver's over sized ego and narcissism has finally got the best of him just about sealing any chance he ever had of getting into the Hall of Fame.

Yesterday the big bully to small children and women candidly admitted he took bounties out on opposing players.  Well knock me over with a feather.  Anybody who knows me has heard the story of this human piece of crap and his behavior at the Eden Prairie Mall his first year as a Viking.

Having heard the story through people who were on the receiving end of Carter's out of control wrath, I was never impressed by his pointing to heaven and taking a Tebow after scoring a touchdown.  I always said anyone who treats women and children the way he reportedly did has a serious character flaw and his attempts at religiosity were nothing more than posing and mockery and highly offensive to anyone of real faith.

So then, how do I explain the headline on today's post?  In light of his recent revelation, how in the world did he finally get into the Hall of Fame?  He paid the admission like all visitors!*

*Henny Youngman would like to give credit to the Prince of Little Mekong for stealing his joke.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution: A Voter's Dilemma? Not Really.

The upcoming election, like all elections is about choices.  The old cliche that "this will be the most important election in our lifetime" really could be true this time.  Why do I say this?  Because America, we are at a tipping point.  A tipping point economically, socially and environmentally.  If we do not pull our collective heads out of the distractions that are modern life and spend the five or ten minutes that it takes to seek out and read up on an issue from a legitimate, credible source rather than form an opinion based upon carefully crafted ideological sound bytes scripted by evil ad men using all the tricks that Madison Avenue and modern psychology has to offer, and disseminated through corporate controlled media outlets, we are truly doomed.

This country was founded by some incredibly smart individuals who had the pragmatism and common sense to construct a form of government that took into consideration human nature and had the respect for individual human dignity.  Oh it was not perfect by a long shot.  At the time of this country's founding, equality and justice did not extend to all citizens, depending upon your gender, race or class, but it has been a work in progress and we have, by and large, as a nation pushed ahead with progressive reforms incrementally recognizing the ideals upon which our great nation was founded.

Unfortunately, something has profoundly changed during my lifetime.  It would be far too easy and simplistic to point to just one or a few things as being to blame for this increasingly dire and stalemated situation.  No, the problem, like modern life itself is far too complicated for there to be a simplistic solution.  But one thing is abundantly clear.  For there to be any improvement over the current situation, if we are to advance as a just and fair society that respects the rights of all citizens, rich and poor alike while at the same time preserving an environmentally stable future for our children and grandchildren and beyond, we have to get over the "I got mine, tough luck if you can't get yours", tax cut for the uber wealthy mentality that is the hallmark of the current split that almost equally divides the country, be it Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservator, Tea Party or Progressive.

Politics after all is about the art of compromise, not the art of deception and one upping your opponent.  But this is precisely the rub.  If one side is not negotiating in good faith.  If one side is just paying lip service and going through the motions while all the time manipulating the woefully deficient corporate controlled mass media coupled with an intellectually lazy and tuned out public, a healthy democracy cannot survive.  Despite what the conservatives would have you believe, even as smart as our founding fathers were, there is no way that the human imagination could have predicted the confluence of influences which have created the current stagnation in the body politic.  That is why the constitution was meant to be a living and breathing document, subject to interpretation, grounded in fundamental principles, but nevertheless flexible enough to account for changing times.

But enough of my abstract palaver, let us look at a few recent examples that I believe support not only my hypothesis but the similar opinion held by countless other persons of good will and who pay attention, and have the interests of all Americans in mind, regardless of  partisan affiliation.  Case in point, health care.  The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), derisively referred to as Obamacare, by the Republicans is, in actuality, a creation of Republicans as a response to the Clinton Administration's attempt at health care reform over twenty years ago.  If the Affordable Care Act were a musical composition instead of a piece of legislation (now law) the Democrats could be sued by the Gingrich era Republicans in Congress for copyright infringement.  

In fact, the most objectionable provision in the law, the one aspect that makes for an easily remembered and manipulative sound byte for the ignorant masses is in fact the hallmark of the Republican's current candidate for President, Mitt Romney, Massachusetts health care reform law that was passed while Romney was Governor of that liberal state.  Despite the fact that it has worked well, in order to get the endorsement of his own, increasing radical party, Mr. Romney has had to fall over himself apologizing for this legislative success and disingenuously trying to distinguish the Massachusetts law as legitimate under state law but unconstitutional under the Tenth Amendment and the Commerce Clause.  Well, "Horse hockey!" as Colonel Potter aka Harry Morgan used to say on M*A*S*H.  

There is no question that if the Affordable Care Act was passed and signed into law by a Republican Administration, the Republicans would all be singing a different tune.  But instead, because this was passed by a Democratic congress and Administration, the Republicans will stop at nothing to repeal the entire legislation, throwing out the good with the bad, much to the danger of the American public.  And this is precisely my point.  Whereas recent history is replete with instances where Democrats have worked compromises with even the most ideologically driven Republican Administrations (e.g. Reagan and GW Bush), the current breed of Republican is more than happy to cut off the noses of the American people to spite their faces.  

Case in point number two:  the Federal deficit, its origin and a reasonable solution.  In perhaps their greatest lie, Republicans constantly scream about the rising Federal deficit and disingenuously point their collective finger at the Obama Administration when in fact the lions share of the approximate 16 trillion dollar Federal deficit rightfully belongs at the feet of the Bush Administration, its tax cuts for the wealthy at a time of war and the unnecessary war in Iraq with utter lack of oversight by the Republican controlled Congress.  Not only is the Obama Administration's contribution to the deficit in actuality a carry over of the Bush Administration policies, it was President Obama, who by executive order upon taking office, made it mandatory that the banks, financial institutions and insurance company, AIG, that received the Bush Administration Wall Street bailout, pay it back.  Before President Obama's executive order, it was merely discretionary that they pay the money back.  Can you say thank you Hank Paulson?  Sure you can.

When it came down to getting serious about the Federal deficit and the Tea Party Republicans ruined this country's A+ credit rating with their reckless political grandstanding, it was the President who called their bluff and along with the Republican, Speaker of the House,  John Boehner, agreed to a "Grand Compromise" which would have reduced the deficit by more than 4 Trillion Dollars including reductions in third rail categories for Democrats like social security and other social or entitlement programs, only to have their agreement ripped up and proverbially thrown back in their faces by the likes of Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan.  Again, another example of the Republicans not agreeing to something that was of its own origin merely because of partisan politics and their highest priority, as candidly admitted to by Senate Majority Leader, the chinless Mitch McConnell, which was "making sure that Obama was an one term president".  Good of the country be damned.  This is a mentality that is shared by virtually all Republicans these days and flies in the face of what is required of an elected official and responsible public servant.

To keep it local, my final case study is the administration of Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton and the Vikings Stadium Saga.  If there is one elected official in the entire country who has reached out and attempted to work with an opposing, majority party more than Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, I do not know who that would be (except possibly fellow Minnesotan, Senator Amy Klobuchar and her party has been in the barest of majorities during most of her tenure in the U.S. Senate).  Governor Dayton has been at times the only adult in the room, has worked with the Minnesota Republicans who control both houses in the state legislature and has signed into law many bills that were opposed by many in his own party, but none the less deserved to become law, regardless of which party sponsored the legislation.  

Perfect case in point, the Vikings Stadium bill.  No matter how you feel about corporate welfare and subsidies for billionaire sports owner, the fact of the matter is that the legislature has been playing politics with this issue since 2006 and the then Governor, Mr. Pawlenty was unwilling or unable to give it serious consideration, due in part to his personal presidential aspirations.  For various reasons, including the expiration of the Vikings lease at the Metrodome, an unworkable revenue stream at said venue and an opening in the most lucrative market in the country Los Angeles (or even Tuscon), the time to sh!t or get off the pot had come.  Despite the fact that it was opposed by many in his own party and that the authors of the legislation in both houses were Republicans, Governor Dayton has risked his own personal political career for what he believes, rightly or wrongly, is good for the state.  There is not a Republican I know of currently in office or active in politics that I can say would take the same risk

Most tellingly, the Republican Speaker of the House, Kurt Zellers, and his counterpart in the Senate, Majority Leader and fellow Republican, Amy Koch, were meeting with the Governor throughout the fall of 2011 and paying lip service to the public and media while at the same time secretly emailing and text messaging their fellow Republican legislative members that they were in essence setting up the Governor and had no real intention of letting the legislation see the light of day.  

Tomorrow, thanks to the incredible hard work and persistence of Governor Dayton along with a handful of legislators, including the bill's Republican sponsors, the Vikings Stadium bill is expected to get a vote in both houses.  I have no doubt in my mind that the Republican House leadership is doing everything in its power to defeat the passage of this bill merely because of the (incorrect) public perception that this is a Democratic piece of legislation and therefore must be defeated for fear of giving their opponents a "victory" regardless of what is in the best interest of the state.  Furthermore, I fully expect the Republican leadership will pull out all the stops to defeat the stadium bill in retaliation for the Governor vetoing yet another tax cut for businesses to be paid for on the backs of the working class (property taxes).

There you have it.  Three concrete examples of one party being the problem and one party trying desperately to do what is in the best interest of the people.  Simply to mouth the untrue and ignorant cop out "that's just politics" and "they both do it" makes me want to grab these people by their throats, back them up against a concrete block wall and slam their heads repeatedly until their senses return.  To be contrary for the sake of contrariness is not cute nor funny, but ignorant.  In a democracy, the people get the government they deserve.