Thursday, May 28, 2009

It’s Gotta Be a Nefarious Plot by the Dems

Rush Limbaugh and a couple of publications on the far-right are muttering darkly about a brand-new conspiracy being perpetrated, they say, by President Obama and the Democrats.

How is it, they ask, that the vast majority of Chrysler dealership being closed are owned by … people who have contributed to the Republican Party?

During my professional career, I had several car dealers as clients. They were all Republicans … rabid Republicans. One had a portrait of Ronald Reagan on his wall. Another was fund raising chairman for a relative who became governor of our state! In fact, by survey, well over 90% of car dealers across the entire country are Republicans and contribute to GOP candidates.

So doesn’t it follow that most of the dealerships being closed are owned by Republicans?


But don’t let that stop you, Rush.


Monday, May 25, 2009

TSA People on Maui Recklessly Cross the Line

The Maui News, our local daily newspaper, has a policy of printing all letters-to-the-editor and, as a result, readers are treated to an eclectic mix of opinion and ideas from what is already a very diverse population. The one thing they all have in common is a passionate belief in whatever ideology or cause has stirred them to write, but after a while you do get to notice some recurring patterns.

Vitriolic anti-Obama diatribes always seem to come from a haole (Caucasian) living in Kihei or over on the West Side. I always picture those folks as wealthy Republicans who divide their time between a Maui condo and their other home in someplace like Orange County.

Rants against genetic modification of plants or odes in praise of aroma therapy seem to originate from someone with a name like “Starlight” who lives in Huelo, or some other area of the island populated with folks who are hippy throwbacks.

A few days back, we were treated to a letter-to-the-editor in which the writer was enraged because three containers of poi were confiscated by the TSA people as she was passing through security at the Maui airport before boarding a flight to the mainland.

Scary! Try take one Hawaiian’s poi away and you axing for big trouble, bruddah!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tokyo Rose, Axis Sally, Lord Haw-Haw and now ...

I confess that I listened to Rush Limbaugh this morning. By accident.

I was taking bottles and cans and cardboard to be recycled, snapped on the radio, and there he was. I caught him just as he was saying that the "Democrat union auto workers are responsible for the mess we're in."

What?? It wasn't the the union workers who designed the gas guzzlers no one wants. Or flew to Washington in private jets to beg for bailout money. Or gave multi-million dollar severance pakages to the executives who made all those lousy decisions.

What the union workers did do was accept cuts in pay and benefits that have taken them down to the same range as non-union auto workers in the Toyota and Nissan and Volkswagen plants ... who have also made concessions.

Rush Limbaugh is a blowhard and a liar. Worse, he's a cynical manipulator who raves at the hopelessly biased and the uninformed in order to maintain the ratings on which his paycheck is based.

Rush is in it for Rush. And he doesn't give a damn about anything or anyone else, including this country.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What’s Happening to the “Main Stream Media”?

Pick one: As Americans, we should be more outraged at …

A. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, who may have known we were torturing people suspected of being terrorists, or

B. Dick Cheney, former Vice President, who may have ordered the torturing of people suspected of being terrorists.

Sure seems pretty clear to me. But somehow the Republicans have managed to shift the media’s focus and the big brouhaha for several days now has been about Pelosi.

Gee … if this keeps up, the right will have to stop their infernal whining about the “Main Stream Media” that always toes the liberal line, acts as apologist for all Democrats and never has a good word to say about Republicans.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

They found a problem … but don't want to fix it.

We’ve all read numerous stories over the past 8-10 years about DNA tests that have proven the innocence of people previously – and mistakenly – convicted of crimes. Some of these people had spend many years in jail for crimes they did not commit. It’s hard to imagine what it must have been like for them.

And now, in a recent story in the New York Times, we learn that in many of those cases, the prosecutors tried to prevent the DNA tests from being administered. Quoting from the story …

A recent analysis of 225 DNA exonerations by Brandon L. Garrett, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, found that prosecutors opposed DNA testing in almost one out of five cases. In many of the others, they initially opposed testing but ultimately agreed to it. In 98 of those 225 cases, the DNA test identified the real culprit.

Putting it another way, prosecutors who got the wrong guy 44 percent of the time, objected to a test that will make sure innocent people don’t go to jail.

What kind of justice is that?

And – here’s a thought – what about places like execution-happy Texas where some 400 inmates are sitting on Death Row?


Sunday, May 17, 2009

One More Perspective on Health Care

A couple of weeks ago, as I was returning home from a two-week trip to the mainland, I found myself sitting next to an attractive 30ish woman on the Hawaiian Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Maui.

Just before we took off, this attractive lady made a cell phone call and I noted she was speaking a foreign language. It was Portuguese, leading me to guess correctly that she was Brazilian because, as it happens, there is quite a little enclave of Brazilians here on Maui.

Maria has been living on Maui for almost 20 years and now holds both a U.S. and a Brazilian passport. She was returning to Maui after visiting her mother in Rio de Janeiro and remarked that she makes the grueling trip – something like 20 hours in the air each way – twice a year.

I remarked that it was nice that she could see her family that often. “Yes,” Maria said, “but I also go so I can see my doctors.”

At first I was concerned that she had some kind of serious medical problem. “Not at all,” she said, “In Brazil the focus is on preventative medicine. Health care there is much more thorough that it is here, the doctors are excellent, and it is much less expensive … even with the cost of travel.”

How’s that for a commentary on the state of health care in the U.S.?

Friday, May 15, 2009

They are out there and they are among us!

Let me say at the outset that I used to have a small collection of old guns. My favorite was a Model 1861 Springfield rifle. Firing it was an adventure: First I poured what I recall as about a thimble-full of black powder down the barrel, shoved a round lead ball down after it with a ramrod, stuck a copper percussion cap on the hollow nipple protruding from the chamber, pulled the hammer back, aimed and … BLAM!

I will tell you honestly that it was a helluva lot of fun. And I actually got pretty good with the thing … could put two out of four balls into an 8-inch fencepost at 70 or 80 yards. At the time, we lived in rural Connecticut and couldn’t see our closest neighbor. In other words, it was a reasonably safe hobby that was of no danger to anyone but, possible, myself.

But times have changed. The National Rifle Association is meeting right now in Phoenix and the paranoids and the loonies are out in force. Some of the locals there have had the temerity to express the thought via letters-to-the-editor that their town might be better of if the NRA met elsewhere. Here is a sample of the comments that thought elicited from the gun nuts:

You mentally bankrupt, driveling, woefully ignorant and unbearably simpleminded, liberal boor.

I am fed up with this double-standard stereotyping and liberal Leninist bigotry.

[We’ll see] the open invasion of our country by 20-30 million law breakers soon to be handed Democrat voters cards who being criminals lead lives of crime while sending the booty back to Mexico.

[Use cash for] some more ammo, because you never know when OBAMANATION is going confiscate all of our stash (knock, knock in the middle of the night).

And John McCain and Mitt Romney and Michael Steele and a host of other Republican politicians are right there in Phoenix sucking up to all those folks.

Is that pathetic … or what!


Monday, May 11, 2009

The View Is Awfully Clear from Over Here on the Left!

In the current ideological flap going on within the Republican Party, we have Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh on one side attacking Colin Powell on the other side.

Boy, that’s really a tough choice, isn’t it! Republicans are having to decide between ideological loony on one hand, or pragmatic rational on the other.

Seriously now ... are you folks actually having trouble with that??

Friday, May 8, 2009

All In Favor of Waving Buh-Bye to the Bubbas …

A recent poll conducted by Research 2000, a market research firm in Olney, Maryland, came up with some interesting results.

One of the questions put to registered voters was, “Would your state be better off as an independent nation?”

Of course almost everywhere in the country, voters trashed the idea. Ah, but not in the great state of Texas, where 35% of voters surveyed and almost half of registered Republicans (48%) thought going off on their own would be just peachy.*

Say! Isn’t this the same crowd that was waving those “Country First” signs at all the McCain-Palin rallies last year? By golly, it is!

*Kindly leave stimulus dollars behind. Thanks … and alo-o-o-o-ha!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Unfair and Way, Way Out-of-Balance

Conservatives love to wail about the MSM – their shorthand for “main stream media” – and claim all of the major networks and almost all of the country’s finest newspapers slant their news coverage to push the “liberal agenda.”

Horse pucky!

But if you want a host of examples of a news outlet that shamelessly and deliberately distorts the news to suit their political biases, take an objective look at Fox News.

Just one example: On a recent broadcast, a Fox host claimed Al Gore personally profits from his efforts to promote environmental awareness. To support this accusation, they ran a video clip of Gore’s testimony before Congress in which he acknowledged that money is generated by his activities.

What Fox did NOT show was Gore’s statement, coming just minutes later during that same testimony, that he donates all the money raised from his activities to a non-profit organization that works to develop solutions to climate-change.

Much of today’s media produces superficial and often slip-shod work that is embarrassing to serious journalists.

But Fox News is a disgrace.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Sky is Falling ... and It's All Obama's Fault!


Well, that’s all we need: A bunch of gun nuts running around in a panic because they think the gummint is gonna take away their AK-47s.

Gee, maybe if the NRA tried to calm things down ... Nah, that's not what they do.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Train Travel Offers A Look at Another America

I recently retuned home after a two-week trip to the mainland and, as usual, it included several overnight train rides.

I’ve mentioned this before, but traveling around the country by train offers some wonderful insights into the real America. We may still be “the greatest nation on earth,” but you have to be completely insensitive not to come away from a cross country train trip without realizing that there are a helluva lot of poor people in this country.

Granted, Amtrak trains don’t roll through the wealthy suburbs, but you do see that millions of people are living in marginal conditions … or worse.

In big cities, people are crammed into tenements, many run-down and in need of repair. (These, just outside of Chicago, are newer and a lot better than most.)

You see lots of manufactured homes, set up in tight rows and crowded together in small towns or sitting forlorn in the middle of a pasture in rural areas.

And you pass a great many weathered old homes that have long since seen better days.

But a long-distance train trip is a study in contrasts. Just after leaving Fort Worth on an overcast day, Amtrak's Texas Eagle passes the Hyatt Regency hotel which stands within sight of a good deal of low-income housing.

Somehow ... as a society ... we need to find a way to improve the lives of a huge number of our fellow Americans. Perhaps if Members of Congress took a few cross country train trips and could see how most people are living, we could make a little more progress!