We're Number One! For crazies...
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Oh, who will save the children?!?!?!


"Cuomo and TV host form an unusual power couple"
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From the Associated Press today on SLop and the governor-to-be of New York...

Adding my "Damn you, PBS' to keckler's
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Writer's Block: Film therapy
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Are there any movies you watch when you're feeling anxious or depressed? If so, what are they, and what about them calms you down and/or lifts your spirits?

That would be 'The Dish' or 'Auntie Mame' - both funny, each has gentle teasing of other characters but without meanness. Also, the "I Got Rhythm" dance from 'An American in Paris' - I defy anyone not to break into a grin watching Gene Kelly with those kids!

I think I know what I'll be breaking out this evening - one of those days...

Bob Herbert, NYT, on the absence of class & civility in the GOP
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Was going to just post the link, but it must be read in full...

Op-Ed Columnist
An Absence of Class

Published: March 22, 2010

Some of the images from the run-up to Sunday’s landmark health care vote in the House of Representatives should be seared into the nation’s consciousness. We are so far, in so many ways, from being a class act.

A group of lowlifes at a Tea Party rally in Columbus, Ohio, last week taunted and humiliated a man who was sitting on the ground with a sign that said he had Parkinson’s disease. The disgusting behavior was captured on a widely circulated videotape. One of the Tea Party protesters leaned over the man and sneered: “If you’re looking for a handout, you’re in the wrong end of town.”

Another threw money at the man, first one bill and then another, and said contemptuously, “I’ll pay for this guy. Here you go. Start a pot.”

In Washington on Saturday, opponents of the health care legislation spit on a black congressman and shouted racial slurs at two others, including John Lewis, one of the great heroes of the civil rights movement. Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat who is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, was taunted because he is gay.

At some point, we have to decide as a country that we just can’t have this: We can’t allow ourselves to remain silent as foaming-at-the-mouth protesters scream the vilest of epithets at members of Congress — epithets that The Times will not allow me to repeat here.

It is 2010, which means it is way past time for decent Americans to rise up against this kind of garbage, to fight it aggressively wherever it appears. And it is time for every American of good will to hold the Republican Party accountable for its role in tolerating, shielding and encouraging foul, mean-spirited and bigoted behavior in its ranks and among its strongest supporters.

For decades the G.O.P. has been the party of fear, ignorance and divisiveness. All you have to do is look around to see what it has done to the country. The greatest economic inequality since the Gilded Age was followed by a near-total collapse of the overall economy. As a country, we have a monumental mess on our hands and still the Republicans have nothing to offer in the way of a remedy except more tax cuts for the rich.

This is the party of trickle down and weapons of mass destruction, the party of birthers and death-panel lunatics. This is the party that genuflects at the altar of right-wing talk radio, with its insane, nauseating, nonstop commitment to hatred and bigotry.

Glenn Beck of Fox News has called President Obama a “racist” and asserted that he “has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.”

Mike Huckabee, a former Republican presidential candidate, has said of Mr. Obama’s economic policies: “Lenin and Stalin would love this stuff.”

The G.O.P. poisons the political atmosphere and then has the gall to complain about an absence of bipartisanship.

The toxic clouds that are the inevitable result of the fear and the bitter conflicts so relentlessly stoked by the Republican Party — think blacks against whites, gays versus straights, and a whole range of folks against immigrants — tend to obscure the tremendous damage that the party’s policies have inflicted on the country. If people are arguing over immigrants or abortion or whether gays should be allowed to marry, they’re not calling the G.O.P. to account for (to take just one example) the horribly destructive policy of cutting taxes while the nation was fighting two wars.

If you’re all fired up about Republican-inspired tales of Democrats planning to send grandma to some death chamber, you’ll never get to the G.O.P.’s war against the right of ordinary workers to organize and negotiate in their own best interests — a war that has diminished living standards for working people for decades.

With a freer hand, the Republicans would have done more damage. George W. Bush tried to undermine Social Security. John McCain was willing to put Sarah Palin a heartbeat away from the Oval Office and thought Phil Gramm would have made a crackerjack Treasury secretary. (For those who may not remember, Mr. Gramm was a deregulation zealot who told us during the presidential campaign that we were suffering from a “mental recession.”)

A party that promotes ignorance (“Just say no to global warming”) and provides a safe house for bigotry cannot serve the best interests of our country. Back in the 1960s, John Lewis risked his life and endured savage beatings to secure fundamental rights for black Americans while right-wing Republicans like Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan were lining up with segregationist Democrats to oppose landmark civil rights legislation.

Since then, the right-wingers have taken over the G.O.P. and Mr. Lewis, now a congressman, must still endure the garbage they have wrought.


As Keith Olbermann said last night (and thank goodness he's back on air) about a Congresscritter who defended the epithets hurled as his fellow representatives (and I paraphrase slightly) "You need to resign. You are not fit to tie John Lewis's shoes, let alone sit alongside him in Congress!"

"Payback for Prochoicers"
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By Katha Pollitt in The Nation:


Her lead paragraph:

"If healthcare reform becomes law, you can thank prochoicers. In the end, forced to decide between sacrificing abortion coverage and voting down coverage of everything else for 30 million people, abortion-rights supporters took the hit. Prochoice representatives, who had vowed to vote against any bill that restricted access to abortion more than the infamous Hyde Amendment has already done, will have reversed themselves and voted for it. (Don't kid yourselves, the Senate bill is a major blow to abortion rights. As antichoice evangelical David Gushee told followers stuck on Stupak: "Accept victory while you can get it.") NARAL, Planned Parenthood and NOW stepped back. You can call prochoice leaders hypocritical or cowardly or feeble or excessively deferential to the president's agenda. But one thing you can't call them is selfishly obsessed with their own political purity. That would be the antichoicers--the Catholic bishops, Bart Stupak, Ben Nelson. They were the big evil babies who were willing to let millions suffer and 45,000 people die every year unless they got to deprive women of their reproductive rights."

And finally:

"It's our turn now."

Health care reform
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It passed the House. It isn't perfect, but a decent start. 30 million more people who weren't insured before will be soon. The exchange will allow for some de-linkage of insurance from employment. Children can continue to be covered into young adulthood on their parents' policies. Children can no longer be denied, NOBODY can be denied insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions. With Type II diabetes on the increase in children in this country, that's very good news. Now, to adjust the system to a stronger prevention model...don't let those children develop a preventable disease in the first place...

The president had to make a deal with the anti-abortion minority of Democrats but I was pleased to see that Rep. Stupak actually grew some balls & got up to speak against the second vote of last evening, a last-ditch attempt by Republicans to scupper the bill. He spoke of how only the Democrats could have done this, only Democrats are "pro-life" enough to provide health care for more people. *THAT'S* what "pro-life" should be - birth to death, the best care for every person. OTOH, he's still an anti-abortion whack job, and I don't trust him as far as I could throw him, but he did the right thing on this vote.

So very, very, very proud of Nancy Pelosi, first woman Speaker of the House, first Speaker of the House to move this sort of legislation to a successful passage. Well done, Madame Speaker!!! And as one commentator said yesterday, this is further proof that a woman can lead this country, yet another crack in that glass ceiling.

Still scared that the Congressional "sausage making" will mess things up in the Senate, but hopeful for now.

Why we need to reform the health care system
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Today's NYT column from Paul Krugman:


And a clown in Congress and a television clown say a vote on Sunday is "an affront to God" - God's reply, "These two are an affront to humanity."


Winter Olympics & gender roles
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Interesting Alternet piece on the Vancouver Games & gender roles, female & male:


Rachel Maddow has done a couple of pieces on the prohibition against women ski jumpers - one of the "official" quotes was ridiculously Victorian, something about the negative effect of ski jumping (or gravity, or some such) on the female reproductive organs! Good. Grief.

I only watched a little bit of the NBC coverage of the figure skating, but can attest to the discomfort of listening to the commentators talk about Weir's "sound bites" and flamboyance, without actually using the word "flamboyant" in any way, shape or form.

A love letter to Canada
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From today's NTY, courtesy of Timothy Egan:


A favourite quote:

"The prime minister, Stephen Harper, had to make a similar pitch last week in front of the British Columbia Parliament. He urged Canadians to show “an uncharacteristic outburst of patriotism and pride.”

"Why the prodding? Why the lack of self-esteem? Canada — snap out of it! You’re gorgeous, baby, you’re sophisticated, you live well. No need for an apology."


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