Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Not Forgotten

I haven't forgotten you. I shall be back soon, for sure. My eye is progressing well.

How does one thank such a loyal readership?  In spite of my absence and there being no new posts in quite a while, this past month was one of the highest readerships since I began this blog.

Thank you. You make an old lady feel damn good!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Salute to Ukraine and an Apology to All of You

I salute the good people of Ukraine in their struggle. You are, and always have been, a brave people.

I apologize for the long hiatus. Had to have an eye procedure, sort of like cleaning the windshield. I'll be back soon. So much has happened.

Thanks to all of you who have been faithful through this long break. "I'll be back."

Friday, January 16, 2015

I Shall Return

Still recuperating from the evil illness but hope to be back in the next week or so with a few words or lots. Keep well!

Friday, January 2, 2015

A New Year

Thanks to you who have wished me a good recovery from the near-pneumonia that literally knocked me down on December 15.

I'm recovering well but still need to take it easy. Maybe in the interest of our health we should all turn our heads from the sight of the GOP taking over the Senate and installing an even larger majority in the House.

Let us hope they will do a better job of governance with the specter of 2016 staring at them. But nothing indicates that this is likely no matter how devoutly it is to be wished.

We can, however, rejoice in the excellent work Obama has done through executive orders and for how he handled Sony and North Korea. The  North Korea v. Sony contretemps was on balance a remarkable comedy show by the show biz company and the nutcase country.  If there is anybody who doesn't believe Obama pulled the plug on North Korea's internet connection, I have a bridge I'd be willing to sell.  Mr. President, you are so cool!

Just as 2015 opened its arms to us, one of the great liberals of the 20th Century left us:  Mario Cuomo. He spoke eloquently against Ronald Reagan's "shining city" that was really a heartless ice palace. Cuomo likened America to a wagon train headed into out mythic west, thunderously announcing that we would leave no one behind, not the weak nor the elderly, not the children nor the poor. That was our American creed.

I believe and hope it still is. Let us go forward, but always together.

So farewell to Mario Cuomo and all those who left us in 2014, especially dear old Pete Seeger, who was bard to the best in us.

To you all, a very good New Year.  Make it good for others and it will be good for you.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Good for you,Obama! And good for us!

I'm very sick but I want to say that this day I am extraordinarily proud of our president for tearing down the wall we built between us and Cuba.  Fifty years was a long and stupid mistake.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Riddle Me These: GOP Puzzlements

The GOP in the House yesterday filed a lawsuit against President Obama's health care plan.

Finally.

They have been threatening to do so for the past four years, ever since it passed.  Why has it taken so long? Because they don't have a case. They couldn't get any law firm to accept it for four years.  Two firms originally agreed to but then pulled out.  Finally some law professor has agreed to file the suit. Law professors can always find a case in any set of facts and do so to manufacture exam questions year after year.  I know because I used to be a law professor and even wrote an exam once that centered on Bigfoot.  Law professors get very desperate.

There are at least two odd things about this purported case. First, it argues that President Obama acted illegally by delaying the requirement that large companies provide employee health care coverage.

What?  Say that again.

If they hate the Affordable Care Act so much, why are the Republicans suing because part of it has been delayed?  What are these people eating for breakfast?

A second weird thing about the lawsuit is that it ignores an argument that has just been taken up by the US Supreme Court. That argument maintains that part of the law is being enforced illegally.  Through an apparent drafting error one part of the law limits premium subsidies to those who buy insurance on "state" exchanges.  Until now purchasers have been allowed federal subsidies for buying insurance on the federally created exchanges that were set up because some states refused to create their own. Obviously the intent of the law was to provide subsidies to people who need them.  No rational reason comes to mind for a federal program to be denied to beneficiaries the federal government intended to help by stepping in where the individuals' own states had refused to act.  A basic rule of determining legislative intent is that the result of your interpretation should not be crazy.  The federal government clearly wanted to help people so it's ridiculous to argue that they would deny them access to healthcare subsidies if those people had been forced to use a federal exchange.

If you think there's an argument the other way, I sure would like to hear what it is.

So why didn't the Republicans jump on this argument and use it in their lawsuit? After all, even though the argument is crazy, the US Supreme Court apparently thinks well enough of it to spend time addressing the case.

The House GOP won't use this argument in its suit because it makes the House look incredibly stupid, not just because it's a crazy argument but because it was the House's own drafting mistake that created the superficial confusion.  Yes, I admit it was the House under Democratic rule that made the drafting error but that won't stop the present House leadership from wanting to protect the institution from looking stupid no matter who was to blame.

The House GOP should have realized that it need not worry about a thing like shabby drafting errors.  It already looks so bad because of pushing a lawsuit that no law firm would touch.

But what does the House GOP care?  Their voters won't pay any attention to these matters. The Republican majority in Congress is chiefly there because redistricting has allowed the Republicans to represent a great deal of empty land.  And  -  last I heard  -  cactus and sagebrush, cornfields and cattle just don't give a damn about the law or how it is made.

Well, lots of luck to that law professor who took the case.  He's going to need it.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

War in the Middle WEST?

Forget Afghanistan and Iraq.  Forget war in the Middle East.

Thanks to a vote in the House of Representatives this past week supporting the Keystone XL pipeline, the Lakota Sioux of the Rosebud Reservation have declared war right in our own Middle West.  In Nebraska, to be more precise.

Because the pipeline would cross the Rosebud reservation, one of their leaders has described the House vote as "an act of war".  Luckily the Senate subsequently voted against the oil pipeline, and President Obama would have overridden Congress if the Senate had voted in favor of the project. But the project is a political football for the GOP, and they plan to keep running with it.

The Rosebud Sioux are absolutely correct in believing that this colossally stupid project is an attack on them.  For one thing, it would violate an 1878 treaty regarding their reservation and trample on their sovereignty.  (Yes, my darlings, the tribes still have some sovereignty; witness the fishing treaties, gambling casinos, tax-free tobacco, and tribal courts.)

And it would threaten the water in the region's great underground aquifer which is called, appropriately, "the Lakota aquifer".

This water supply is important even beyond the needs of the Rosebud Lakota Sioux, important as those needs are.  Ranchers and farmers throughout Nebraska and its environs depend on the aquifer. One terrible pipeline spill, and a great American water source is gone.  So is a lot of your food.

All for the sake of Canada being able to tear up its lands to extract filthy stuff known as tar sand oil. This stuff is as filthy as it sounds.  And its oil burns one-third more dirty than ordinary crude. It will be put in the pipeline and flow down to the Gulf of Mexico to get shipped somewhere else. Or maybe get spilled in the Gulf?  In any case, there's no oil coming to America from this project and no jobs except the ephemeral ones of laying a pipeline. We are just Canada's doormat in this.

The project is especially stupid in a world virtually awash in oil.  Gasoline is now less than $3 a gallon here in Oregon, where gasoline prices are usually close to $4 a gallon.  More and more, America is moving away from oil to fracted natural gas and renewable energy sources.  And President Obama this year put a huge hike on required gas mileage for cars and trucks of the immediate future. This is the first time trucks are going to be affected, meaning all those vans and SUVs will be filling up less often.

The last thing the world needs is Canada's filthy tar oil. Surely there must be investors in this proposed project who can see that.

I love that the Sioux are talking about this proposal in terms of war.  Because that's exactly what it is.  Idiots like this Canadian bunch and the climate change deniers and all the polluters are making war on all of us.

Haven't you caught on to that yet?

These people are going to kill us.

Or at least kill our grandchildren and their children.  The planet is going to go through convulsions of war over food that will kill many people now living or make them wish for death. Civilization will collapse in a mad scramble. Beyond the wars for food, the longer-term scenario of global warming ends with Earth spiraling into the furnacy future of a Venus.

It's as if the Canadians and other polluters were about to launch a nuclear war.  The threat is real and it is big-time.  There will be no place to hide.

So what to do?  Support the environmental groups that are prepared to sue.  The Rosebud Lakota Sioux are going to join such legal action, but I don't want to hear any snickering about "the Sioux are gonna sue." This is serious business.  Send money to the Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club, and other groups. Care enough to find them on-line yourself.  This is YOUR war!

Also prod your Democratic office holders with the obvious that they are over-looking.  They can't have it both ways.  They can't have the educated and the young people as voters who show up at the polls and also have Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana get re-elected by obtaining approval for this stupid pipeline. It's sad to lose that seat but we lost a lot more of them earlier this month because the young people stayed home. They had no reason to vote. They face a non-future and heard nothing about that in this election.

The Democratic Party has got to wise up and stop being coy about environmentalism. It's got to do more of what Obama has begun: fighting global warming and other ghastly destruction of our planet.    It also has to have a clear, well-enunciated program for getting people into good-paying jobs.  (This proposal must nowhere include the word "infrastructure".  We lose whole elections because of that word!)  Instead it must be a state by state plan for building specific bridges, roads and schools. Identify the damn things! Be specific!

It doesn't have to be jobs v. the environment.  That's the GOP scenario that's working for the GOP.  We have got to take the initiative in laying out a different ballpark and stop playing on the GOP's home field.  Environment AND jobs!

So, my brother and sister Sioux, where can we sign up to volunteer in this war to save the world?  And thank you for cutting through the crap and saying it like it is: We are under attack and in danger of our lives.