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The Measure of Mourning – Edward Moore Kennedy August 29, 2009

Posted by voolavex in Politics, Politics & Religion, Social Issues.
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My father – from whom my thinking flows to a large and fine degree – was a Boston Irish Catholic – a term I first learned from my BIC late brother-in-law – who was one as well.  I am not sure if this brother in law was a Democrat but my father was – An FDR, HST, JFK Boston Irish Catholic Democrat and proud of it. And my father was flawed in the way that the Irish seem to have canonized the act of being flawed.  I think he knew that the same flaw in JFK and his brothers existed.  I think he understood and accepted it with grace and sadness – in probably the same way people who loved these brothers had to do in order to support them in their endeavors. 
 
For every person who will quickly point out the wrongs and even terrible wrongs these men did in their lives – there are those who will also point out how hard the last brother tried to balance them in his life – his own and those of his family.  How he worked tirelessly to place a light in the shadows each one, sadly,  created and the paths they took in error.  He could not undo those flaws.   But he lived his adult life to try and diminish them – not by ignoring or belittling their existence but by acts of redemption that resulted in 300 laws he wrote and another 700 in which he was instrumental and by 47 years of service to his country and his own home state where I was born and raised for the early part of my life.  I cannot let these acts be darkened in his hour of death and I won’t.
 
Edward Moore Kennedy was father and a brother and a son.  He was a husband.  He was a legislator, a peacemaker and a fellow American – he was a champion of our citizens no matter what they believed and he did not write exclusionary laws.  His laws crossed the aisle.  He was so much like every one of us – he screwed up worse than some and not nearly as badly as others.  He lived past these dark moments and moved on.  He tried to do better when he knew better and he died -not as a cautionary example but as a man who simply donated his life to public service.  He raised his own children and his brother’s lost children – he stood for something.   He reminded me of my own father whom I loved in full.  Remember him as you do those you have lost – with all their strengths and weakness  Mourn Ted Kennedy’s  passing the same way and endeavor to be grateful for the gifts you have been left and the lessons you have learned from the lives each one lived.
 
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Obama, Health Care Reform and the Non-47 Million August 23, 2009

Posted by voolavex in Politics.
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Obama is my president.  He was my choice as a candidate and I am happy he is in the White House.  I am sick of the minute by minute negative commentary on his progress in 8 months as the president.  But what is even more alarming is the dedicated and vocal GOP opposition that appears to think telling lies is far more important  than the running of this country and the welfare of all  its citizens.  Suddenly we find ourselves rolled over by the calculated lies and misinformation being spewed by the GOP and their right of normal adherents.  During the horrifying eight years of George W. Bush and his evil twin Dick Cheney, no one made a peep.  Democrats tried but they were denied voice by Homeland Security rules; rendition, being a traitor, selling out this country, doubting (doubting was as bad as traiting) and daring to accuse the GOP of exactly what it was doing and what could and has been proven.  The incumbents of that era grew very fat and happy.  They became drunk with the sense of entitlement and power they could wield like a club and like it or not we put up with it.  Now that they are not in charge, they have returned to what they do best – obfuscation of truth.  Their champions are Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Anne Coulter and Glenn Beck.  Pop culture demagogues of questionable character who present as absolute truth , lies they want to spread.  Their platform – the over the top strict construction of the Constitution and out of context “intelligence” that isn’t anything but crap.
 
Does it irk people that Mr. Obama (and family) are the very thing they fear?  Not just his racial background, but his education, attitude and willingness to hash out policy by going directly to the people.    Is he doing a great job – not every time – but he isn’t being allowed much latitude in his actions.  Hysterical citizens at Town Hall meetings ready to riot over “death panels” is not quite my idea of civilized  exchanges of opinion and ideas.  This country is bankrupt.  Financially and morally.  The Objectivists dragged that unsound “ism” right straight to Wall Street and suddenly Wall Street has a “road closed” sign.  Too many laws were broken and hidden and no one gave out tickets until it was far too late. 
 
Health care reform?  Oh no you can’t.  A suddenly vociferous section of the population doesn’t care if 47 million of their fellow citizens stay healthy or die.  They are bloodsucking leeches who want YOU to pay for their insurance.  Pay for it yourself – they say.  I would bet they would stop that screed in about two seconds if they lost theirs.  They fail to see that the 47 million paid for many things they didn’t like – war for example.  Gay people paid for things they weren’t even allowed to have.  Black people have been paying since the first boat hit Virginia.  Suddenly the sanctimonious right is on the warpath.  And they are working overtime to undermine and derail the current administration with lies and half truths and it’s time the rest of us spoke up and did something before they get another term in the White House.  If you think it can’t happen – Al Gore will tell you it does.
 
Let Barack Obama and his cabinet do their jobs– get out of your comfort zone and if you have to stoop to the GOP level – then get close to the ground and do it.  Their media personalities quit office, pop pills and sell snake oil.  One of our media spokesmen is a senator now.  A wise Latina sits on the bench with a busload of self-righteous hypocrites.  Buenvenidos Justice Sotomayor.  Their moguls steal bonuses from their stockholders.  Two of our CEO’s have won the Nobel Peace Prize. 
 
I don’t have to walk you through this minefield.  Don’t get smug or complacent because we won the election.  The GOP is still snarling at the door of the Oval Office.
When you hear a rumor go to Factcheck.org or Snopes.  When something sounds made up – make sure it is or isn’t before you spread it and other people get sick.  There are Republicans who are decent and smart and responsible – but they are very, very well-mannered and subdued.  They are being drowned out by their wing nut political partners.  They need to be louder but we need to be louder still.

Natural Born Birthers August 3, 2009

Posted by voolavex in Social Issues.
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I just read a great post by blogger Chris Kelly on the Huffpost about the “birther” cabal and the US Constitution.  This is the link http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-kelly/the-constitution-says-oba_b_249730.html.  This is my reply and these are my very quick thoughts on the subject.

Well, if you’re a strict constructionist you have to construe the document strictly. And while the wording is not very clear, it’s strict & it means what it says & you can’t pick which ones to ignore. It is, after all, the Constitution of the United States, which constitutes the law of the land – even if the land was only 13 colonies at the time. We can’t second guess the framers. So get a gun, think about all the CEO’s of the country – eliminate the ones that didn’t qualify in 1788, erase them & go with what you have left. Do not incriminate yourself while doing this & do kick those soldiers out of your house. Don’t be Shanghaied into service; if you screw up, ask for a trial right away & be careful what your sentence is. Make sure it isn’t cruel & unusual. Say what you want, anywhere you want and defend that right no matter what it does, good or bad.  AND Everyone Bless America – except God.  That’s not allowed.

Town and Gown Antics – Cambridge 2009 August 3, 2009

Posted by voolavex in Social Issues.
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“On July 16, 2009, (Skip) Gates returned home from a trip to China to find the door to his house jammed. His driver attempted to help him gain entrance. Responding to a report of a possible break-in, a Cambridge police officer arrested Gates and charged him with disorderly conduct after a confrontation. Prosecutors later dropped the charges.[10] The incident spurred a politically-charged exchange of views about race relations and law enforcement throughout the United States.[11]”  Wikipedia.
 
I have been following the Skip Gates saga since it started; the many twists to the story are fascinating and while I don’t think any “dialogue” of race has been started I do think it’s worth noting how polarized people have become over this incident and for interesting reasons.  Here’s one:
 
I was born in Boston and have lived in Cambridge.  It is its own city with its own police force.  Having said that- the Cambridge PD are not hired by or from Harvard.  I think there are people that imagine that Cambridge attracts a better,  more educated kind of cop.  In fact,  the City of Cambridge draws their police form the same gene pool that Boston PD does.  Good or bad – these are local folks for whom the idea of being a cop is a good salary, respect (maybe), a nice pension, medical insurance, overtime, camaraderie, better than a gang and you get to carry a gun.  You become the law.  Not everyone should become the law.
 
Skip Gates is a distinguished Harvard professor who lives in a lovely home in Cambridge.  He was disabled at 14 and requires a cane to help him walk.  He has degrees from Yale and Clare College, Cambridge (UK).  He is a Ph.D.  His area of expertise is African American Humanities and related fields.  His list of honors is a long one. 
 
James K. Crowley is a sergeant with the Cambridge Police and is the responder to the call of a possible burglary in progress at an address that happened to be Gates home.  A passer-by called it in.
 
Did I mention it was broad daylight – around lunch time. 
 
I think everyone behaved poorly;  Gates was jet-lagged and Crowley was over zealous.  When Crowley established it was indeed Prof. Gates’ home he should have simply said – “sorry – we have to check every call for service” and left.  Gates should have cooled his jets. Crowley or someone in the CPD instead called for back-up.  He asked Gates to step outside.  Gates got really irate and mentioned Crowley’s “momma”.  Gates was then handcuffed and arrested for DISORDERLY CONDUCT”.
 
Let’s review – Crowley has the gun, Gates has the cane, Crowley is overwrought, Gates is furious.  A crowd has also gathered.  Look at all the police.
 
NB: Black people do not get treated by the police – in general – the same way white people get treated. This is not Black paranoia – this is experience.  Black parents train their kids how to act when pulled over by a cop.  Do you imagine white parents do?  The main idea is not to get hurt or worse and stay out of jail.  We have all heard of Driving While Black.  This is a real thing – not a Dave Chapelle sketch.  DWB embraces every possible experience Black people could have with the law, even when they are the victim.  Deny it, sputter, shake your head.  But I been there. And I am not the Black person in the car or store or house.
 
White folks don’t think this happens at all and Black folks wish it wouldn’t happen so often.
 
So the other day a woman, whom I know from my area,  and I were chatting and the subject of Skip Gates came up and she went off. Like a bottle rocket. And she was specific – she hated Gates; hated his interview on TV with Ethiopian Jews years back when she says he lied about these Jews  and hence he was an asshole , a liar and no good.  (She is a 60-something Jewish lady who says she’s a Democrat and loves the President).  The Cambridge Police, she claimed, were not like other police and were polite and reasonable and they were specially trained to be police in a university area and better than other cops.  And Gates lied and he did it.  And I just stood there. She was so angry and so adamant that I feigned “gotta go” and went.  We were not having what I consider a “chat” at that point.
 
So what have we learned through all this ordeal – including beer at the White House?  Did it become a teachable experience for  all of us who swim in this multicultural ocean?  I don’t know – I jumped in and got bitten by a shark.  I suspect she could have been arrested for disorderly conduct as her voice got louder – but no passerby called 911.  Just as well.