Monday, December 21, 2009

Too Important To Ignore

Health care reform has been watered down to nearly uselessness in my opinion, but there's hope. Kaiser Health News examines the costs for an average family if the bill doesn't pass versus if it doesn't pass. Look at their chart that breaks the costs down for average earners.

So, no, the reform is definitely not what I, and many others, wanted. But it's better than nothing.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Regressive Taxing?

Sales taxes apparently punish the poor far more than an income tax. Who knew? I like not having to do a state income tax, but when you consider what it's doing to us... well. I'd support replacing our sales tax with an income tax, but only if the state constitution is amended to outlaw sales tax as long as there is a state income tax. One or the other, never both. Because if we have both the structure will get abused.

Via HA.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Dear Nobel Committee

Although Obama is no doubt a great guy, and has made a lot of promises, he hasn't actually had time to do anything yet. Your decision to give him the Nobel Peace Prize is incomprehensible. You have not done him any favors with this honor, and in fact may have damaged his ability to accomplish what you want him to do.

I understand that the Nobel Peace Prize is all about Hope and not reality, but seriously, Obama has been in office less than a year.

Someday I hope Obama lives up to your award, but I think giving it to him now was premature. The man is trying to nudge a behemoth. Giving him more controversy just isn't going to help.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Olbermann On His Father and Health Care

Transcript and Video (first of five parts).

If you don't know, Olbermann has been missing a LOT of his shows recently. It's been due to his father's illness, and so he's been in the hospital pretty much constantly for the last couple of months.

Now, I don't agree with Olbermann on everything, and think he can be terribly shrill at times, but when he speaks from the heart he's worth listening to. And this was a full episode of him speaking from the heart about health care and his father.

I recommend the transcript, but if you've never seen Olbermann in his from-the-heart mode I suggest watching at least a few moments of the videos.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Olympics Cheers and Jeers

Ok, I admit I was rooting for Rio to win the Olympic games, mostly because South America has never had the Olympics before. But I would not have been upset if Chicago had gotten the Games. So when I learned that Chicago was out of the running I was a little disappointed, but when Rio won the bid I was happy.

What I don't understand is these morons on the political right who literally cheered when Chicago lost. Why do they hate America so much?

Oh, I know they think they are cheering because they tie the Olympics in with Obama, despite the fact that every other head of state from the countries with a bid also showed up, but they are still CHEERING AGAINST AMERICA. And Obama had very little to do with the bid. It was started during the Bush administration, with his blessings. So they are also cheering against Bush. I just don't understand these people. Seriously, why do they hate their own country so much?

Friday, September 25, 2009

SNL Opening

The bit right up to the "Live from New York" announcement is the fun part. I particularly like the Food Network interview. Although the Glenn Beck parody was so spot on it was scary. (If you can't view it here, you should be able to click and view it at NBC's site).

Mild Pet Peeve

I've been seeing these ads against a tax on soda pop. An actress playing a concerned mother tells the audience how hard it is to feed her family, and that we should contact Congress to tell them not to tax juice and soda.

Here's the peeve. Soda is a luxury item. It is not healthy, and a person trying to feed their family with "pennies" would not buy it. They would drink water instead. To argue against this tax from that angle strikes me as utterly stupid.

Not that I think a soda tax is a good idea. I think there are a few million better ways to raise money. But I get really peeved at the idea that soda pop is something that a responsible mom would be buying for her children as a necessity.

If she'd stuck to talking about fruit juice, the ad wouldn't bother me so much... but soda? Totally not needed for a healthy family. Frankly, the ad makes me think that maybe the tax is a good idea after all.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Free Speech Means Responsibility

This is from a speech. Before you look at the date, try to figure out who is talking and when:
In this country we cherish and guard the right of free speech. We know we love it when we put up with people saying things we absolutely deplore. And we must always be willing to defend their right to say things we deplore to the ultimate degree. But we hear so many loud and angry voices in America today whose sole goal seems to be to try to keep some people as paranoid as possible and the rest of us all torn up and upset with each other. They spread hate. They leave the impression that, by their very words, that violence is acceptable. You ought to see -- I'm sure you are now seeing the reports of some things that are regularly said over the airwaves in America today.

Well, people like that who want to share our freedoms must know that their bitter words can have consequences and that freedom has endured in this country for more than two centuries because it was coupled with an enormous sense of responsibility on the part of the American people.

If we are to have freedom to speak, freedom to assemble, and, yes, the freedom to bear arms, we must have responsibility as well. And to those of us who do not agree with the purveyors of hatred and division, with the promoters of paranoia, I remind you that we have freedom of speech, too, and we have responsibilities, too. And some of us have not discharged our responsibilities. It is time we all stood up and spoke against that kind of reckless speech and behavior.

If they insist on being irresponsible with our common liberties, then we must be all the more responsible with our liberties. When they talk of hatred, we must stand against them. When they talk of violence, we must stand against them. When they say things that are irresponsible, that may have egregious consequences, we must call them on it. The exercise of their freedom of speech makes our silence all the more unforgivable. So exercise yours, my fellow Americans. Our country, our future, our way of life is at stake.
-William J Clinton, April 24, 1995

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Beck's Teabaggers complain about DC Metro. The Tea-Beckers, who claim they went to Washington DC to complain about being taxed to pay for healthcare, are complaining that the DC Metro wasn't good enough for them. These people, who don't want any social services, are complaining because some of them had to take a *gasp* taxi to the protest! They had to pay for PRIVATE service. The government didn't just automatically take care of them! How horrible that the government that they hate and are protesting against (with their incredibly racist and often misspelled signs) isn't giving them a ride to their protest against the government!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

If You Are Rude, You Get Pwned

Rep Wilson, who shouted a provable falsehood at Obama during Obama's speech, has an opponent waiting in SC. Rob Miller is an Iraq War Veteran who almost defeated Wilson last time despite having 1/4 of the money. He decided to run again, and after Wilson's outburst people decided to donate to Miller to get Wilson out of office. As of this writing, Rob Miller has gotten over $400,000 in on-line contributions since Wilson's rudeness.

We're talking about nearly a half million dollars in campaign contributions in less than a day.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

My Health Care Reform Plan

My plan is simple, which is why it will never be adopted. It's also by a person who understand the whole issue as a regular person, which is why it probably wouldn't work.

1) Allow anyone to buy into Medicare. Set prices based on costs, and use the clout of Medicare to keep costs reasonable (but not artificially low). Do not force anyone into Medicare, but make it a choice for everyone.

2) Don't force everyone to buy insurance. With one caveat. If you are able to afford insurance but choose not to buy it, you must pay for any and all health care you need by yourself. So if you refuse to buy catastrophic insurance (even though you can afford it) because you think you are invincible, then you darn well better be invincible. If you go into debt to pay off health care bills after you refused health care insurance you could afford, tough luck.

3) Pass a law that if a person dies due to insurance companies refusing coverage (and this needs to be well documented by more than one doctor, not based on a single opinion) then the insurance company is fined $1,000,000,000 with the majority of that going to the survivors. A petty sum for a priceless life, but maybe after paying a few billion for negligence, insurance companies won't deny critical coverage any more. As an alternative, I would favor murder charges against the person/people who made the decision to deny coverage.

I can see lots of flaw with my plan, but I bet any politician worth their salt could fix the loopholes and make it work. The crucial part of my plan is point 1, I could give up 2 & 3 if I had to.

The key is allowing people to have a choice between a single-payer system (Medicare) and private insurance. People will vote with their feet, and move from Medicare if it is crappy, or to Medicare if private insurance is crappy.

Right now, most people have the choice between an over-priced private insurance that will drop them like a hot potato if they actually get sick and... an over-priced private insurance that will deny them coverage based on loopholes and fine print if they get sick.

Monday, August 10, 2009

We Already Have 'Death Panels'

As Crooks and Liars points out:
You have no idea what it’s like to be called into a sterile conference room with a hospital administrator you’ve never met before and be told that your mother’s insurance policy will only pay for 30 days in ICU. You can't imagine what it's like to be advised that you need to “make some decisions,” like whether your mother should be released “HTD” which is hospital parlance for “home to die,” or if you want to pay out of pocket to keep her in the ICU another week. And when you ask how much that would cost you are given a number so impossibly large that you realize there really are no decisions to make. The decision has been made for you. "Living will" or no, it doesn't matter. The bank account and the insurance policy have trumped any legal document.

If this isn’t a “death panel” I don’t know what is.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Insurance Industry

The insurance industry is spending over $1.4M each DAY to defeat the public option.

Imagine if they spent that money on actually healing people.

And now you know why we need a public option.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Senator Franken

I think David Horsey hit the nail right on the head with this cartoon about the new junior senator from Minnesota (and frankly, that could be just about any two colleagues flanking him...)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Do You Think Our Health Care System Isn't Broken?

If you are so naive, read this. If you can still tell me it isn't broken after reading all the stories about people losing health care just when they need it most, then you are either a complete moron or a heartless psychopath.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

More on Health Care

TPM notes that Health-Care Market Characterized By Consolidation, Not Competition. The short summary is that in many places one or two large health-care companies control the market in effective monopolies.

These companies would be damaged severely from getting their huge profits if there was a public option to compete against. As a result, such companies are pouring tons of bribes campaign dollars into Congress to convince them to not allow a public option.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


So let me see if I get this straight: the United States national soccer team actually beat Spain, the top ranked team in the world? And are now in the finals of the Confederations Cup?

Isn't that as unlikely as Tampa Bay beating both Boston and the Yankees and playing in the World Series?

Oh, right...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Health Care

So, you can have:

a) A footsoldier of a greedy corporation that benefits if it can deny you coverage for your health care.


b) An apathetic government bureaucrat who isn't actively trying to kill you but has little motivation to get you well.


c) A choice between the two.

I choose b or c, because that way I'm less likely to end up with someone who gets bonuses if I don't get the coverage I need. I'm 100% for a single-payer system, aka "The Public Option". Frankly, at this point I'd even rather have "socialized medicine" (which is NOT what single-payer is) than the current for-profit insurance companies that are vying harder and harder to kill their customers for the short-term profit. The current system only works if you are already healthy. If you are sick or will get sick in the future, the system is broken and the companies benefit from your suffering, not your cure.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I don't have an opinion on who should win the election. I don't think one hard-liner is much better than another. I do, however, feel for the people who think the election was stolen from them. As an American, I felt the same in 2000 and 2004. Unfortunately, my concerns about those elections were never addressed (although more proof that fraud happened surfaces every day). It appears the same will happen in Iran. The only question now is how the people of Iran will react to the election fraud.

I wish them well, but this is entirely an internal Iranian problem. Anything the US government can say will only make the situation worse. Obama's choice to leave the whole thing alone is certainly the best choice at the moment. He can criticize the violent reaction to the protests, but he cannot take sides.

The Republicans who are criticizing the President's decision to leave it alone are idiots. But then, most of the current Republicans in office are idiots.

Friday, June 19, 2009


So... tasers can be fatal. In fact, they have resulted in enough deaths that many police have been told not to use them unless they would be willing to use their regular gun in the same situation.

So how exactly is this situation one in which the use of a taser is justified? The officer was bigger and stronger than the 72-year-old. Did he need to pull his gun to control the situation? She deserved to be arrested, maybe. To be tasered? NO WAY.

This officer deserves demotion, retraining, and a few years of the worst jobs possible until he proves his judgement has improved. At the very least. Had the woman died, he should have been charged with murder, so maybe some jail time for assault and loss of his job would be appropriate.

The wanton abuse of tasers needs to be stopped. Tasers are NOT "stun guns". They often kill. Cops should have as much paperwork for pulling a taser as for pulling a gun, and every single use of a taser should require detailed justification and an explanation from the officer of when he lost control of the situation so badly to require the use of potentially deadly force.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Torture Time

Tiller's murderer claims to know of more plans of violence. So, if you are one of those scumbags who believes torture actually works, this is clearly a case of a "ticking time bomb scenario" and therefore we should be torturing this guy to find out what he knows, right?


I mean, he's a domestic terrorist, who knows of more terrorist attacks that have been planned, therefore he should go through "enhanced interrogation" to determine what he knows. That's exactly the situation you morons who supported Bush's torture program always argued that torture was for, right? Why aren't you all yelling at the top of your lungs for this guy to be tortured?

I'm waiting. Silence only confirms your hypocrisy.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Anti-Abortion, Pro-Choice, Completely Disgusted

I do not approve of what Doctor George Tiller did for a living. But I do not believe he deserved to be murdered for it. The way to stop abortion is through education, not legislation, intimidation, and terror.

This is an act of terrorism, and I hope the killer is convicted under the most dire of those laws. The coward deserves to rot in Gitmo for his action. If the murderer had the courage of his convictions he would have worked to end abortion through legal means.

Update and Note: Tiller performed late-term abortions on fetuses that were either not viable or barely viable. His services helped women like the one in this story, who desperately wanted children but had a complication that forced them to choose between having a child who might die soon after birth anyway, or if the child lived, might be mentally and physically disabled so severely that "life" would be miserable and short. While I still do not condone abortion, the acts of this doctor are in that grey area of my moral compass, where I only pray I never have to deal with myself. I take back the first sentence of this post.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Prop 8

The court upholds the ban. And, as much as I disagree with Prop 8, I think the court made the best possible ruling at this time. They upheld the thing while allowing marriages that had already taken place to stand. If the courts had overturned it, then idiot Republicans would have whined about "legislating from the bench!" and made a fuss over their efforts to force their own morality on everyone being taken out by the privileged few.

Now the folks in California need to get busy overturning Prop 8 legally. Since Prop 8 was promoted via falsehoods and fear, they need to educate the public on how the Prop 8 supporters scammed them with outright lies. The obscene insult to freedom that is Prop 8 needs to be overturned by the people of California. And this time, they should not let a well-funded campaign of lies fool them into legislating morality.

Interrogation Without Torture

Torture is not an effective method to get reliable information. What does work?

The Bush Administration's crimes of torture have damaged this nation more than any terrorist attack, and have led to the deaths of more Americans than were murdered on 9/11.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Torture: Immoral, Illegal, Ineffective, and A Reason to Kill Americans

Torture? It probably killed more Americans than 9/11.
"The reason why foreign fighters joined al-Qa'ida in Iraq was overwhelmingly because of abuses at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and not Islamic ideology," says Major Matthew Alexander, who personally conducted 300 interrogations of prisoners in Iraq. It was the team led by Major Alexander [a named assumed for security reasons] that obtained the information that led to the US military being able to locate Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of al-Qa'ida in Iraq. Zarqawi was then killed by bombs dropped by two US aircraft on the farm where he was hiding outside Baghdad on 7 June 2006. Major Alexander said that he learnt where Zarqawi was during a six-hour interrogation of a prisoner with whom he established relations of trust.

Monday, April 27, 2009

War Crimes

Anyone who was involved in torture should be prosecuted. Period. Torture is a war crime.

To prosecute war criminals is justice, not political pandering.

To NOT prosecute war criminals is political pandering. Obama is political pandering, protecting Republican war criminals in the hopes of uniting the country. Obama is wrong.

War crimes should be prosecuted and punished. Not ignored as politically inconvenient.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Rich versus Poor

Reading this article angered me a lot. The people described in the article are well and truly rich. They aren't super-rich, but they are rich. They have no notion of what being poor is. If you can afford a second home, you are rich. And frankly, every single person profiled in that first article can afford another $500 a month year in taxes (although they could afford it monthly as well), just give up one luxury item and they've got it. That they think they can't is pathetic. Via FilkerTom.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Teabaggers prep for fight. Apparently these jokers actually think that people want to show up at their rallies and watch them teabag each other. Eeeuwwww.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Health Care Now.

Principles of the Republican Party American Cargo Cult.

Why We Immunize. Even if you don't read the rest, READ THIS. And then, if you have time, read this comprehensive overview of the entire antivaccination movement that pretty much demolishes their arguments from top to bottom. As I've said before, I have no problem with people choosing to not vaccinate their children. However, if they are unvaccinated, they should be kept apart from vaccinated children so they cannot damage herd immunity. If they catch polio or measles or whatever, the unvaccinated should die alone, not risk children who were vaccinated but for whom the vaccines didn't work.

Comic book fan on gun common sense.

Legalize and tax pot in California? I'm not keen on anything that makes drugs more attractive, but if the taxes would bring in that much money, it might be worth the downsides. Then again, pot is expensive because it's illegal. Making it legal would lower the price, then lower the taxes. Blah.

Google can track flu outbreaks as they happen, faster than the CDC.

Do You Have Biblical Morals? I quickly figured out what the "correct" answers would be from my own Bible studies, but I still got 0% because I'd never do any of them.

When a thing is forbidden, people desire it more.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Note to Republicans

Tax cuts do not help people who cannot find a job. Tax cuts are pretty much the OPPOSITE of stimulus at this point. The only way the economy is going to recover is if people are put to work. The "pork" in the stimulus bill is filled with JOBS. Those jobs will translate into paychecks, which will stimulate the economy.

And yet you idiot Republicans oppose it because it doesn't give more tax breaks to the rich and to corporations.

Look, we spent the last eight years giving tax cuts to the rich and the corporations, and see where it got us. It's time for real stimulus instead of "let's make the rich richer and screw the working class!" Roll over Republicans. You tried and failed.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land - a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America - they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions - that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day - because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control - and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart - not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort - even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment - a moment that will define a generation - it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence - the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed - why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

-President Barack Obama

Monday, January 19, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I want to stay silent, because I really don't think I can contribute anything to the discussion at this point. But silence means consent, and I cannot stay silent any longer. Please keep that in mind if you read any further.

Israel is murdering massive numbers of civilians in retaliation for Hamas murdering civilians. Neither side is "in the right", but Israel is making themselves into true monsters with their willingness to kill innocents to get at the guilty.

It's like putting a bunch of sheep into a pen with wolves, then killing the sheep any time a keeper gets bitten by a wolf through the fence. Yes, the sheep are protecting the wolves... they'll get eaten if they don't!

I don't have any solutions. I don't even have any suggestions. But Israel HAS to stop killing civilians. They lost whatever moral authority they once had when the world learned that half the murdered were women and children. Yes, Hamas has a lot to answer for. Yes, Hamas should be punished somehow. But indiscriminate killing is never the answer. And that's what Israel is doing.

There has to be a solution to this. I just wish people could figure it out.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Dear World...

Dear World:

The United States of America, your quality supplier of ideals of liberty and democracy, would like to apologize for its 2001-2008 service outage.

The technical fault that led to this eight-year service interruption has been located, and the parts responsible for it were replaced Tuesday night, November 4. Early tests of the newly-installed equipment indicate that it is functioning correctly, and we expect it to be fully operational by mid-January.

We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the outage, and we look forward to resuming full service --- and hopefully even to improving it in years to come.

Thank you for your patience and understanding,