Archive for barack obama

Quick Shots

Posted in brilliance, economics, legal system, politics, randoma, reproductive health, the complete opposite of brilliance, war with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2009 by vagabondsaint

Some insight into my blog-writing process:  every day, I read the Huffington Post, New York Times, and various other internet news sources looking for interesting things to write about.  Once I find something, I bookmark it in a folder called “blog ideas,” to look into later or do more research about – or totally ignore.  Of the things that I find, maybe 20% of them actually do get written about here; for others, I lose interest, the moment’s urgency passes, I just don’t have enough to say on the topic to justify a full entry, or I just never get around to the actual writing part. (I do have a life, and it sometimes gets in the way.)  Sometimes I just don’t know what to say.

Now that my list has grown way too bloody long, I’ve decided to share some of the things I didn’t write about before.  However, since there are so many, I’ll have to limit my comments on each item to just one or two lines and let you read the links.

Basically, this is my bookmark clearing-house.  Ready, set. . .go!

1. Missouri coffee drinkers share the hot, steaming cup of love!

2. Smarter than the average bear?  Maybe.  Smarter than a top-of-the-line bear-proof canister? Definitely!

3. When this guy says he’s “gotta see a man about a horse,” call the police.

4. You know the real estate market is rough when people get violent over Monopoly properties. . .

5. It’s not just Alaska’s problem:  rape victims in many places often have to foot the bill for examinations and rape kits.

6. Something to keep in mind next time you call someone a slut. . .or are called one yourself.

7. When you’re tripping balls, every bush is on fire and can talk – so was Moses just high?

8. Conservative think-tank (they can think?) Heritage Foundation calls a bill pushing for harsher child-rape penalties “overcriminalization.” People, I beg you, do not trust Republicans around your children.

9.  Yes, Dear Canada, America is, in fact, on crack.

10. The Chinese have better political sensibilities than we do; they trust sex workers more than politicians.

11. Proof that God has a sense of humour: A British actor in a swine flu prevention commercial came down with – wait for it – swine flu.

12. What you’ve always suspected is true:  your brain really is working against you. As is the CIA.

13. If you only click one of these links, for the love of all that’s good and holy, make it this one about how and why conservative are always wrong. . .with historical evidence to back it up.  Brilliant!

14. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – and the Photoshop of the photo editor.

15. I don’t know how to fix the obesity problem in this country, but I’m pretty sure that this is the wrong tactic.

16. Looks like freedom of speech only goes so far. . .

17. Why is John McCain the only Republican willing to stand up to conservative nutjobs? There’s gotta be more somewhere. . .

18. When a machete- and gun-wielding convicted killer gets better health care than his surviving victim, something is well and truly fucked up in this country.

19. Who’s really out to kill Grandma? It ain’t who you’d think.

20. “In recognition of your service to this country, we’re going to take away your child custody rights. Thank you!”

21. Welcome to Tennessee, where you can carry guns in bars, parks, and – wait a second, maybe not so much the parks.

22. “‘Round these here parts, you start wavin’ a picture of  Obama with a Hitler ‘stache, you can ‘spect a asswhuppin from an old Armenian man, and that’s how it should be.”

23. If you’re in a POW camp, Monopoly is a great, fun way to pass the time – or, you know, help you break out.

24. So, that high-tech phone you’ve got?  Chances are, if it gets stolen, its makers would rather force you to buy a new one than help you get it back.  The bastards.

25. Last but certainly not least, some sexual assault prevention tips that are guaranteed to work!

Whew!

VS – 09.22.09

Glengarry Glen ‘Bama

Posted in brilliance, economics, politics with tags , , , , on February 6, 2009 by vagabondsaint

(with apologies to David Mamet)

WASHINGTON, DC – (AP)

Speaking today before a group of GOP Senators and Representatives, President Barack Obama gave his most stinging rebuke of their opposition to his stimulus bill.

The remarks left many Republicans feeling ashamed and remorseful.

“I quit,” said newly-elected RNC Chairman Michael Steele.  “Obama made me realize today that, after my struggles to succeed as a young black man in this country, all I did was join the party that fought hardest to oppress me.”

“What have I done?  May MLK forgive me,” Steele added, collapsing in tears and singing “We Shall Overcome In Spite Of All I’ve Done To Set My Race Back 50 Years”.

Several other prominent Republicans were unable to comment, having curled into the fetal position on the floor and able only to sob quietly to themselves.  Others quite fairly labeled themselves as “enemies of America” and demanded they be shipped immediately to Guantanamo Bay.

“Khalid al-Sheik O’Whatever we’ve got down there. . .I’ve done way more to harm this country than he ever could,” said a visibly shaken John Boehner, as Secret Service agents led him away in leg-irons, at his own request.  “Lock me away, please, I’m a monster.”

Other Republicans, like John McCain (R-AZ) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) simply died of shame on the spot.  They will not be missed.

A full transcript of the President’s remarks is below.

[begin transcript]

Thank you, thank you.  I’ll keep my remarks brief; we all have a lot of work to do.

As you all know, you have all been very fiercely opposed to my stimulus package, unless numerous concessions are made to get the package more in line with traditional Republican values, such as tax cuts, more defense spending, and no money allocated for education, infrastructure repair, or family planning for the poor.

I am her today to tell you this:  piss off.  I’m not changing the stimulus package.  If the American people wanted to keep doing things the same way that got us into this mess in the first place, Ted Stevens and Norm Coleman would still be here, I’d still be in the Senate, and you’d be talking to President McCain today.

You’re not.  You’re talking to me, and I say sod your fucking tax cuts.  They don’t work, they never have worked, and they never will.  You’re a one-trick pony party, and we’re all bored of it.  So go ahead and filibuster the stimulus package in the Senate.  You think we can’t wait you out?  Most of you are old and will run out of breath fairly quickly, so no worries there.  For the rest of you, well, we’ll bring in some hookers, and that’s at least David Vitter out of the way right there.  We got ways to handle y’all, is what I’m saying.  You lost the election.  The American people don’t want to do things your way anymore.  If you filibuster this, or you vote against it, you can go back to your constituents and tell them to your faces why you tried to kill a bill that would have fixed their schools, would have helped drug addicts go to rehab, would have prevented unwanted pregnancies, would have brought improved infrastructure, better environmental protections, and new jobs to their areas.  You can tell them how you fought against a change that would have benefited all Americans, conservatives, liberals, and moderates alike, and you’ll have to do it alone. . .Rush Limbaugh ain’t coming to help you.  Try giving a poor, starving family with no home and too many mouths to feed a Bible and Rush Limbaugh’s latest book, then ask ’em what they think of you.  I suggest running before they answer.

Now, you might be saying under your quivering lips – or maybe that’s just old age – “who is this guy?  Who is this Washington outsider to come here and talk to us like this?  Who does he think he is?  What has he done?  What’s his name?”

Fuck you.

That’s my name.

You know why?

Because I ran a campaign on a message of hope, a promise of change, and with a running mate who sticks his foot in his mouth so often he’s come to love the taste of his own toejam.  You ran a Spanish-American War veteran, partnered with a ditz whose IQ is lower than her bra size. . .and I WON.

THAT’S my name.

[end transcript]

****************************************

Please, Obama, let me be your speechwriter? PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE?

VS -2.6.09

On the Inauguration of Barack Obama, Which I Have Just Watched

Posted in politics with tags , on January 20, 2009 by vagabondsaint

Goddamn, he did it.  He really, really did it.

VS – 1.20.09

LGBT: Let’s Give Barack Trouble

Posted in brilliance, media failure, politics, the complete opposite of brilliance with tags , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2008 by vagabondsaint

I know I said I’d try more to stay away from mainstream media-dominating news, but I had to say something about this issue.

Leaders of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (what LGBT really stands for) community are outraged at President-elect Barack Obama already, and he hasn’t even taken office yet.  Why the outrage?  Because he dared invite prominent conservative pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at next year’s can’t-come-soon-enough inauguration.  Why the outrage?  Because Rick Warren opposes gay marriage and supported California’s Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in that state (again).  Never mind that Warren has been trying to shift the church’s focus to the causes of international poverty and disease, especially AIDS; he opposes gay marriage, which President-elect Obama also opposes, and thus the LGBT community feels that Warren should be persona non grata, does not deserve the honor of delivering the invocation, and that Barack Obama has made a huge mistake, possibly even a betrayal of their support, in selecting Warren.

Dear LGBT community, shut up.

Instead of being pissed and bitchy that Obama picked Warren for the invocation, where’s some praise for Obama for inviting Joseph Lowery, a Methodist minister, civil rights leader, and staunch supporter of gay marriage, to deliver the benediction?  I’ve heard and seen none of that so far.

Barack Obama is doing exactly what he said he would do in his campaign:  he’s being inclusive and reaching out to everyone, including conservatives, to work together productively with them, whether he agrees with their positions or not.  He’s not going to make everybody happy with every single decision that he makes, which is impossible to do anyway, and he warned his supporters of that.  He’s focusing on the things people have in common rather than their differences, and despite their differences, Warren and Obama do agree on climate change, foreign assistance, and many other issues.  They can work together, and, to build the inclusive nation moving towards change that he wants to build, Obama will need to include conservatives.  He’s doing fine, he’s doing right.

And for those who say that Warren’s invitation means that Obama is pandering to conservatives and not moving towards change at all?

To those people, I say again, shut up.  And think, before you say anything again.

The man delivering the invocation, the opening prayer,  at the inauguration is a staunch conservative (i.e., the anti-civil rights party) that opposes gay marriage.

The man delivering the benediction, the closing prayer, at the inauguration is an old-school, worked-with-MLK, was-in-the-Selma-To-Mongomery-Marches civil rights hero who supports gay marriage.

With his selection of these two men, and their places in the inauguration ceremonies, Barack Obama has made a statement that is apparently far too subtle for the mainstream media and Obama’s detractors to see:  with his inauguration, America is moving forward from the conservatism and oppression of the past to a future with freedom and opportunity for all.  The inauguration, from beginning to end, is about moving from what has been to what will be.  It is, in essence, about change, which is what Barack Obama has been about from day one of his campaign.

It’s amazing what the larger picture reveals when one doesn’t stay stuck on small perspectives.

VS – 12.21.08

The Best of Times, The Worst Of Times

Posted in politics, war with tags , , , , , , , on November 23, 2008 by vagabondsaint

I’ve been absent from the blog for a while.  A new job that I love has had me adjusting my body clocks in ways that nature probably never intended – but I love the job, so I had to vut back on some other obligations to make more time for my own projects, including this blog.  That’s all done now, though, and I’m back and still alive, and living in a transforming America.

The curious thing about the America-to-come is that it seems to be bringing out, simultaneously, the best and the worst of America.

For example, consider this essay, published in the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman (the newspaper of Wasilia, Alaska), written by Waverli Rainey, a 16-year-old high school student, which probably earned her all kinds of new friends in the Lower 48 but none in the Alaska governor’s office.  (Who is the governor of Alaska, anyway?  I forgot.)  In it, she talks about the racist reactions of the people around her after Barack Obama’s victory, and in talking about how the worst of America proudly displayed itself at her school, she shows the best of America in her words:

Angered, I began to think of the injustice of it all and the ignorance of the students I was surrounded by. I wondered where they learned to be so hateful, and I wondered why the teacher never stepped in – why no adult, no student, including myself, had the guts to cut in and say it was not OK. Because it’s never OK for intolerance. It is never OK to cut someone down and dehumanize them because they do not look like you, or think like you, or talk like you, or worship the way you do.

That’s a major what America is about, isn’t it?  Realizing the concept of freedom and equality for all?  This young lady stated this more eloquently than just about anyone I’ve ever seen, and displays in her attitude and pronouncements against ignorance and hatred what is truly the best side of the American people.

And yet.

Across the nation, there has been a sharp increase in gun sales since Obama’s election.  Across the nation, according to an article in the Christian Science Monitor, hate crimes have increased greatly and white supremacist groups are recruiting fervently; I think they’re seizing upon the fear and intolerance and angered stirred up by John McFail’s disgraceful campaign tactics of division, and the inherent prejudice against a non-white, non-elderly man soon to be sitting in the Oval Office.

It has been said that Obama’s election proves that Americans are truly moderate and want change and progress from the socio-political quagmire that has engulfed us for many years.  But the negative backlash shows that some Americans, in this new millenium, would greatly prefer to cling to the ignorance, violence, prejudice, and fear that cost that have dragged this country down the tubes for far, far too long.  The victory that emboldened those of us who truly love our country and yearned to see America become great again also gave strength to our opposites, who only truly love themselves and live in fear of losing their own greatness (whether or not such greatness actually exists).

Wouldn’t it be nice if we just ignored these people?  If the media didn’t cover Klan rallies or give airtime to their new fliers and recruitment efforts?  If, in covering hate crimes, the press would not mention the names of the perpetrators nor seek interviews with them, therefore denying them even 1 of their proverbially-alloted 15 minutes of fame?  If we all simply stopped talking to or even noting the existence of people who proudly cling to their intolerance and closed-mindedness?

Ignoring the ignorant. . .I have to admit, I like the concept.  Might not work so well in practice, though.

This election truly brought out the best and worst of America. . .but, as I’ve said before, the fight isn’t over.  It’s hardly even started.

VS – 11.23.08

P.S. Yes, I know I have completely ignored the worsening economy, Obama’s cabinet picks, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the latest silliness of The Woman From Wasilia.  One thing at a time, kids.

The End Of The Beginning

Posted in economics, politics, war with tags , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2008 by vagabondsaint

Over past few days, I have seen, both online and in my physical-world travels, various signs, buttons, images, and advertisements all proclaiming the same thing:  “YES WE DID!”

To the people who put those up, I want to say something:  don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back.  The real fight has only just started.

Barack Obama is our President-elect now.  This is beyond good; this is a change in America unlike anything ever seen before.  Don;t get me wrong; I’m over the moon about Obama’s victory.  I just don’t see it as the end of the many, many problems facing America today, and I’m not going to sit back and say “I voted for Obama, I did my part, it’s all up to him now.”  It, by which I mean making this country a better place, is and always has been up to us. . .or should I say “we,” as in, “We, the people.”

And, as always, there are people opposed to the changes that we, the people, spoke out and voted for, in record numbers, last Tuesday.

Let’s not forget that there is stll someone else in the White House, and he’s got two months to finish fucking up America and making it such a huge mess that it will be difficult for the next President to fix things, let alone to know where to start.

What’s Bush been up to while we were all busy watching the election and lost in celebrations afterwards?  Well, he’s reduced the number of outpatient services that will be covered under Medicare, meaning more poor people will be unable to get medical attention, plus hospitals that depend on Medicare will suffer budget shortfalls.  The Bureau of Land Management has announced that it will soon began selling leases to drill for oil. . .in Utah, where the expected amount of oil to be found is barely enough to justify the expense of drilling, but the damage to surrounding parks and natural wonders will be incalculable.  His office has spoken out against the European hope of creating a new international financial regulator, choosing instead to seek better enforcement of current regulations (how have those been working out so far, by the way?).  They’ve launced new attacks on wolves in Yellowstone National Park, according to the Defenders Of Wildlife.  All that, in addition to numerous other offense against civil liberties, the environment, and abortion rights.

So, while you’ve been celebrating, they’ve been quite busy, without having to worry about media scrutiny.

That’s enough to worry about, to me.  But there is, of course, more.

John McCain lost the election, decisively and with no way to claim he was cheated or that the election was stolen.  He’s not a threat anymore.  But his campaign. . .see, in the name of winning at any costs, the McCain campaign, in its final weeks, turned to three things that usually work for the GOP:  stirring up fear, anger, and prejudice against their opponents, promoting an “us against them” mentality and using the tactics of division to propel themselves to victory.

Obviously, that didn’t work this time.

But, once awakened, that three-headed beast of fear, anger, and prejudice doesn’t go back to sleep just because someone lost.  Already, a cross has been burned on the yard of an Obama supporter (in New Jersey, of all places).  The KKK’s national director, Thomas Robb, states that he sees Obama’s election as a great recruitment tool for the struggling Klan, as a reminder that whites “have lost power in this country.”  Given the negative emotions that Mr. McCain’s absolutely disgraceful campaign stirred up (if you watched his concession speech, look at the audience and at the anger they feel. . .that emotion has to go somewhere, after all, and the Thomas Robbs of the world will be waiting to turn that anger towards their own purposes), Mr. Robb may be correct in that his recruitment will increase, but I think it will be just as due to McCain’s negative campaigning as it will Obama’s actual victory.  (Interestingly enough, Robb points out in that interview that Obama is half-black, something that everyone else seems to forget.  Are Thomas Robb and I the only people that want to give credit and recognition to Obama’s entire heritage?  That’s scary.)

So, in addition to all the problems we had before, Bush is using this time to make new ones, and America may have new enemies inside its own borders now, thanks to strongly negative campaigning by the GOP.

YES WE DID get Barack Obama elected.  But NO WE DIDN’T instantly fix America.  That’s going to take a lot of time, thinking, sacrifice, and work on the part of all Americans, not just our new President-Elect and his cabinet.

I can not help but recall the words of Winston Churchill after the defeat of the Germans in North Africa in 1942, a major turning point of World War II:

Now, this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

For all those that seek change, our war is just beginning, too.

VS – 11.9.08

The Ugly Genie Ain’t Goin’ Back In The Bottle

Posted in politics, racism with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2008 by vagabondsaint

I’ll just say it:  the McCain Campaign is a f***ing disgrace.  (Bill Kristol agrees, though he put it in better terms.)  Losing on the issues, the campaign made a decision to put out negative attacks ads and have Palin and other supporters give speeches that are divisive when we need unity, and were obviously intended to direct anger at the state of America towards Obama, even though the Republicans are the ones that supported the deregulation and irresponsible tax programs that led to the current state of the economy.  While I must give McCain credit for repudiating the nastiness stirred up by his campaign, I have to subtract that credit from him because he let his campaign get this way in the first place.  (How nasty and divisive has this campaign been?  Check out this video from, of all sources, Middle Eastern network Al-Jazeera, doing what American media can’t or won’t do:  talking to people at rallies and exposing their ignorance and racism.)

So just how successful has McCain been in tamping down the nastiness that his own damn campaign has stirred up?  Well, let’s see. . .

This morning, a reporter was physically attacked at a Sarah Palin speech.  These people love America so much, you’d think they’d know to respect the rights of free speech, a free media, and the right to not get kicked for doing your bloody job, eh?

Speaking of free speech, it’s a given in election years that some political signage will be stolen or vandalized.  It’s reached epic proportions this year, though, and the (Democratic) victims of these crimes are fighting back. . .with YouTube!  All it takes is a surveillance camera and a computer, and any free-speech-hating, win-by-cheating, property-stealing McCainnonite can find themselves the latest YouTube star! (And a bizarre community has grown, with people worldwide watching surveillance cameras, trained on an Obama sign, to make sure that nothing happens to it.)

In California, the Sacramento County Republicans had material on their website that tried to link Obama to Osama and suggested that the Democratic presidential nominee should be waterboarded!  This is ridiculous!  What has Barack Obama done to deserve this sort of hate?  Nothing, other than be a black guy running for the Presidency.  Unfortunately, he’s running against a campaign willing to appeal to the lowest elements of American society in order to win, and that acts surprised and claims innocence when the hatred they stirred up starts boiling over and out of their control.

And. . .oh, I saved the best of the worst for last. . .

From the southern California newspaper The Press-Enterprise:

The October newsletter by the Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated says if Obama is elected his image will appear on food stamps — instead of dollar bills like other presidents. The statement is followed by an illustration of “Obama Bucks” — a phony $10 bill featuring Obama’s face on a donkey’s body, labeled “United States Food Stamps.”

The GOP newsletter, which was sent to about 200 members and associates of the group by e-mail and regular mail last week, is drawing harsh criticism from members of the political group, elected leaders, party officials and others as racist.

I debated long and hard about putting the image in question in this blog, and have for now decided to do so. . .if only so that my reader(s) can be as sickened and angry as I am.

California GOP group offers this as eveidence that they can out-racist any Southern state.

California GOP group offers this as eveidence that they can out-racist any Southern state.

John McCain, listen up:  this is the result of your negative, divisive, insubstantive, ego-driven, issue-ignoring, win-by-any-means-necessary campaign tactics.  This is what you’ve done to America; you’ve provided a voice and a platform for the ugliest, most ignorant elements of America’s population.  Given your repudiation of these tactics, you show that you disagree and are even angered by such tactics, which speaks well of you.  However, that things even got to this point shows that you, if you are indeed as honourable as you purport, are not in control of your campaign or your party.  If you can’t control those two things, you sure as f*** can’t control the country, and you should not by any means become President.

VS – 10.17.08