Thankful and Thoughtful

The Winbush Family

Thanksgiving 1970 with the Winbush Family (L-to-R: Jeff, Truman Jr., Sheryl, Patricia, Michael and Estella Winbush with Truman Sr. taking the photo)

Happy Thanksgiving.   Unless you’re a Native American.  Then you have a reason to have mixed emotions about today.

I don’t have any deep pronouncements or thoughts about this day.   I sleep by day, work by night and in between I’ll watch football games with teams I don’t care about until it’s time to dine with my family and try not to overeat.

I’m thankful for the health of my wife and kids who aren’t kids anymore.   I’m thankful for having a roof over our heads and jobs that enable us to keep it there.

I’m thankful for having health insurance when I got sick and I’m hopeful that while the Obamacare roll-out has been a mess that things will get fixed and those millions of Americans without healthcare coverage will be able to buy some.

I’m thankful I live in a country where though I have government agencies playing like The Police and  watching every breath Americans take and every move we make,  we’re still free to complain about it, raise hell about it and if we’re pushed too far, do something about it.

I’m thankful President Obama isn’t as cruel, selfish, and stupid as many of his critics are.  I’m not sure Obama will go down in history as a great president,  but I’m certain he will be considered one of the thoughtful and smart ones we’ve ever had.

I’m thankful I still have my old music collection because I don’t hear much new music worth adding to it.

I’m thankful that while we have to scuffle and scrape sometimes to make the ends meet, they meet enough that we’re able to give something to charity and enable others not as fortunate to have a Thanksgiving dinner.

I’m thankful there are more good people in the world than bad even if the bad people get all the attention.

I’m thankful for every day I have had and as many as I have left.   I’ve got things left to do and I’m not working on a bucket list yet.

I’m thankful for every chance to get right tomorrow what I got wrong today.

I’m thankful for those that like me because of something I’ve said, done or written as well as those that dislike me for the same reason because if you have no critics, you’ve had no success.

I’m thankful because there was a time this year I wasn’t sure I’d even be here for Thanksgiving.

I’m thankful because I have more reasons to be thankful than not to be.

If this guy can be thankful after the last few weeks he’s had, how can I not be?

Ben Carson is Still Saying Stupid Things.

Even I don't know what crazy-ass thing I'll say next.

Even I don’t know what crazy-ass thing I’ll say next.

At this week’s Values Voters Summit, Dr. Ben Carson, a renowned surgeon who has become a rising star in conservative circles, had to work hard to compete with some of the hyperbolic, alarmist and crazy rhetoric coming out of the gathering, but he found a way:

    Speaking at the Values Voter Summit this morning, Ben Carson told the audience that Obamacare is “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.”

    In fact, Carson said, “it is slavery in a way because it is making all of us subservient to the government.” Claiming that the passage of health care reform was all about control, Carson said the entire push for the legislation originated with Vladimir Lenin, who knew that “socialized medicine is the keystone to the establishment of a socialist state.”

Please Massa! Don’t make me sign up for Obamacare!

I remember when Ben Carson was a brilliant surgeon, an American success story and a role model. Whatever happened to THAT guy?  Did his scalpel slip and he gave himself a lobotomy? Carson used to keep his beliefs to himself, but since rudely showing up President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast, he has parlayed that classless act into a new gig as a Fox News contributor and is toying with the idea of running for president (but only if he’s asked to).

Some on the right seem to delight in casually comparing Obamacare to slavery as if there was no difference between the two.  Rachel Maddow pointed out this phenomenon on her blog.

…what’s up with Republicans’ preoccupation with slavery and health care?

This week, George Will drew a parallel between the Affordable Care Act the Fugitive Slave Act. Last month, a New Hampshire Republican drew the same comparison.

Fox’s Hugh Hewitt compared defunding the Affordable Care Act to repealing slavery on the air earlier this week. Two weeks ago, Rush Limbaugh also equated “Obamacare” and slavery.

I don’t imagine the right will appreciate this, but let’s make this plain: don’t compare slavery to anything but slavery.

I remember when Ben Carson was a brilliant surgeon, an American success story and a role model. Whatever happened to THAT guy?   Carson used to keep his beliefs to himself, but since showing up President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast, he has parlayed that classless act into a new gig as a Fox News contributor and is toying with the idea of running for president (but only if he’s asked to).

There is something VERY MUCH WRONG comparing healthcare reform with slavery and if anybody needs an explanation about why it is, please don’t ask me because I have no patience or time for your stupidity.   Google “slavery” or go to Wikipedia if you need a history lesson.

If Dr. Carson wants to be taken seriously, stop pandering to White conservatives and try to help make the ACA work better and more efficiently. Any asshole can complain and most do. That’s not fixing a damn thing.   Comparisons of policies you don’t like to slavery or the Holocaust goes beyond being indelicate and headlong into straight-up ignorant and Carson’s overheated language is straight up ignorant.

Doc Carson is a narcissistic egotist who has made the unwise career move from a respected surgeon to just another Colored Conservative carrying the water of the White Right and proving them political cover so they can feel good about their racially motivated hatred for All Things Obama.

Carson joins his fellow stooges Allen West, Herman Cain, Jesse Lee Peterson and the other Good Negroes Fox News keeps on standby when they need a Black face to repeat White Right talking points.   In return, they pat Benny on the butt, scratch him behind the ears, and offer him a Milk-Bone that if he keeps being a good Toby they might even let him run for president one day.  Won’t that be nice!

Let’s make it plain:  Carson is a fame whore of Miley Cyrus dimensions and his nauseating sucking up to White conservatives and the lack of pride, dignity and common sense displayed by  the Black right makes me physically ill.

Benny C. has become a useful idiot for the Right and useless for anything else.

“Kill Obamacare or the Country Gets It!”


Welcome to October. The government is closed and Obamacare is open.

We are here because John Boehner is an impotent, ineffectual, coward with no heart, no brains and no balls.  Boehner is intimidated by the rabid right-wing of his caucus who have planned shutting down the government for two years.   This week they revealed their extortion demands.  Kill off Obamacare or they’ll kill off the government.

The Republicans have calculated can win by waging war against the government their constituents benefit from.   It’s an insane strategy but these are conservatives that gone rogue and damn the consequences,  “SHUT IT DOWN!”

If the American people take the bullet aimed at Obamacare, that’s a sacrifice the Republican Taliban is willing to make.  It’s not like they are giving up their paychecks.  That could change when the phone lines are tied up, people are calling, tweeting, yelling and cursing out their Congresscritter to cut the shit and get the government back open.

I would imagine if I had plane tickets paid for and a hotel room reserved that I can’t get a refund for a trip to a national park that is now closed, I’d be pretty pissed off right about now. The sort of pain these extremists are inflicting it the type that isn’t  forgotten or forgiven.    It defies political sense for the House to pick this fight, but these Republicans are jumping off a cliff  with suicide vests and the ones hurt most by their own mad extremism will be ordinary people.

“It’s about fairness for the American people.” — John Boehner

Everything old…

Boehner, shut your lying ass mouth!   You didn’t bow down to the anarchists of your caucus to be “fair” to the American people.  You did it because you’re  you are afraid to lose your leadership position which is funny since you’re not a leader but a pathetic figurehead.

Whenever a Republicans uses the words “fairness” and “the American people” in the same sentence put on your wading boots on because the b.s. is knee deep and rising.

Even conservative Republicans know they are waging war against the radical Republicans as Peter King (R-NY) told Fox News.

“We have too many people in our party, it’s a minority, who are following Ted Cruz, and they are tying up the entire Republican party,” King said. “The overwhelming majority of House members would vote to keep the government open. I’m tired of having Ted Cruz call the shots for the House Republicans.”

The Republican Party abdicated the role of “the loyal opposition” to become the angry obstructionists.   They want to roll back, overturn, repeal, defund, remove, take away, cut, slash and burn the country back to a time when Blacks knew their place, gays stayed in the closet as by day women wore high heels and make-up as they made Dad’s martini and by night they were barefoot and pregnant.

The Republicans refuse to send to the Senate a “clean” continuing resolution that funds the government without inserting a poison pill that defunds the Affordable Care Act.    If Boehner had control of his caucus, he could avoided all of this brinkmanship, but he doesn’t and he didn’t.

…is new again.

A negotiation usually means there’s something both sides want. What do the Republicans have that the President wants? He got his signature domestic achievement without their help and he’s got no reason to give them a damn thing now. The President and the Democrats have no reason to negotiate with themselves. Give in to the Tea Party Republicans now and they’ll be back on October 15th when the debt ceiling has to be raised with a whole new Xmas list of right-wing goodies they want.

There’s nothing for the President to negotiate. The Affordable Care Act is a settled issue. It’s gone through Congress, it’s gone through the federal courts, it’s gone through the Supreme Court, it’s gone through a presidential election and survived every attempt of the Tea Party, the GOP, the right-wing noise machine, Mittens and every other right-winger trying to kill it off.  It will survive ambitious morons like Ted “The Canadian” Cruz and the caveman caucus of John “Crybaby” Boehner too.

It’s not good for the GOP brand when a small contingent of ultra-conservatives mostly from safe districts and an overly ambitious first-term Senator with presidential ambitions overrun a spectacularly weak Speaker of the House and shut down the government while threatening to create even greater chaos when the debt ceiling deadline arrives in less than two weeks.  But as bad as it is for the Republicans it’s worse for the country.

People get tired of lurching from crisis-to-crisis and especially manufactured ones such as this doomed plot by Cruz and his House best buddies to defund Obamacare despite having no clear plan on how to do it besides hoping the president and the Democrats would do it for them.

They thought Obama and Harry Reid would cave. They didn’t, but  now they will. The Republicans are wishing in one hand and crapping in the other and one will fill up before the other.

Give a bully your candy one day and the next he’s back for your lunch money too.   You have to stop them before they break into your house and rape your sister.  That’s the mentality of bullies and the House Republican caucus is lousy with bullies.

In 13 months voters will go to the polls to choose every member of the House of Representatives and it’s way past time to vote Boehner and his caveman caucus off the island.

Just say “no” to the Party of No.

A man more in need of a heart, a brain and courage than anyone in Washington.

Cancel The Ted Cruz Show!

“You want me to stick this microphone WHERE?”

This was the week the new fall season of television got underway. Did you catch The Ted Cruz Show this week?

Limited production values.  Lousy acting.  Boring script.  If there ever was a program that deserved cancellation before the debut, Senator Cruz’s phony filibuster to defund Obamacare was definitely it.

Terrible Ted hopes he call bullshit the American people into believing he has the votes to repeal President Obama signature domestic accomplishment (he doesn’t) and that he isn’t operating out of craven calculation and cynically pandering to the GOP wing-nuts in hopes of winning the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 (he won’t).

What makes me sick is how some purer-than-thou liberals actually sided with Cruz when he came out against bombing Syria in retaliation for Bashir al-Assad using chemical weapons against civilians.   All of sudden Cruz was being called “principled.”  That’s what I can’t stand about some liberals is how they will deep French kiss their worst enemies if they happen to agree with them on something.

If Cruz endorsed motherhood, the flag and apple pie, I’d be opposed to all three. I don’t want to on the same side as Cruz on anything.   I can’t believe a principled liberal like a Paul Wellstone, Howard Metzenbaum or Ted Kennedy would crawl in bed with a rattlesnake like Cruz and expect him not to bite, but such is the sorry state of contemporary liberalism.

Normally, there would be an issue or two where I could find common ground with Cruz, but my distaste for the smug bastard makes it impossible for me to even WANT to find common ground.

The TED talk by Cruz lasted 21 hours and 19 minutes.   He talked about how terrible/awful/no good Obamacare was.  He said most senators have bad haircuts and wear cheap suits.  He professed his fondness for White Castle hamburgers.  He read from Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham.”

Showing my age here, but I remember when the Senate was once dubbed “the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body.”   Reading Dr. Seuss does not seem to rise to that level of debate  Cruz missed the point of the story.  By the end , the protagonist ends up liking green eggs and ham.   Does that mean Cruz really likes Obamacare?

When his time expired the Senate voted 100-0 to move to consider the legislation from the House to keep the government open and paying its bills with Democrats vowing to strip the defunding poison pill out of it.

That’s right. One hundred to zip. When he was through showing off and wee-weeing in his Depends, Cruz voted to go ahead and proceed with the legislation he claimed he’d talk about until he dropped.

Which only made this particular bit of political theater more of a pointless farce than it already was. The only purpose it accomplished was to give a first-term, junior Senator a spotlight.   Cruz delights in being abrasive and pushing his mug into every passing camera even if it means he doesn’t actually get much done in the Senate.

Mission accomplished.

The Cat in the Hat responds to Senator Cruz invoking “green eggs and ham.”

The Cruz style of politics as a contact sport is where you piss into a glass, toss in an ice cube, declare it to be lemonade and roll your eyes in shocked disbelief as to why everyone isn’t lining up for a swig.

Because no matter whether you’re pulling for the Duluth Democrats or the Rockford Republicans, most Americans don’t care which side wins as much as they care about stuff getting done. Simply calling attention to yourself by being the loudest and rudest a-hole standing on a table and pounding on your chest doesn’t do dick but annoy everyone in earshot.

Cruz wouldn’t be the first newbie to the Senate who gambled the best way to the top is not by the long slog of building a legislative record of accomplishments (Obama sure didn’t) and in Washington, even exhibitions of unbridled ambition this naked aren’t unusual.

What is unusual is how bound and determined Cruz is to sharpen his elbows and jab in the ribs either Democratic foe or Republican ally as if neither one of them can respond with an act of payback that chops him off at the ankles.   If being the darling of right-wing radio and blogs is all it took to win the Republican presidential nomination, Cruz would have it locked up and Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and all the other potentials could skip 2016. However, just being the darling of right-wing radio and blogs is not the same thing as being the darling of the party elders and the big shots who write the checks and Cruz is not that guy.

Washington is a small town with big egos and long, ugly memories. Cruz hasn’t been there long enough to know this, but 2016 is still far enough away for him to learn

“Damn. I think that Negro and the cop spotted me!”

Roberts and Obama: The Best of Frenemies

The future Chief Justice meets the future Commander-in-Chief in 2005.

When The Most Powerful Man in the World woke up the morning of June 28, he knew one thing for certain: the Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder would be cited for contempt of Congress by a partisan, Tea Party controlled House of Representatives.

He also knew his most important accomplishment of his political career was on the verge of being undone and possibly signal the end of it.

What President Obama didn’t know is how the Supreme Court would rule on the constitutionality of his signature domestic policy accomplishment, healthcare reform, or “Obamacare.”

When the Court is about to hand down a critical decision, the president does not get any advance notification on which way the Supremes are going. He learns the same time the rest of us do. Obama knew the vote would probably go 5-4, but which way? Would the Court strike down the entire law or the individual mandate, the thread which once pulled would cause the entire plan to unravel.

Or would they throw out other provisions and let the rest stay intact. There were also better than even odds the justices would uphold the law. The question was who had the fifth vote? Otherwise know as TIME magazine’s “The Decider,” Anthony Kennedy who was on the majority side over 90 percent. Would he side with the four hardcore conservatives, Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito or had Kennedy joined the Court’s moderates (there are no liberals on this Supreme Court) , Ginsberg, Kagan, Breyer and Sotomayor?

The Court would announce its decision at 10:00 a.m. as the press and their legion of experts stood ready to offer instant analysis. The Republicans had dispatched several members to pronounce the eulogy for Obamacare despite House Speaker John Boehner declaring there would be no “spiking of the football” if the Court slapped down the president. Democrats had begun to send out fundraising appeals the day before fully expecting the Roberts Court would hand them a devastating defeat.

The future looks a bit brighter for Obamacare.

After all, it was a forgone conclusion that Scalia, Thomas and Alito wouldn’t give the president the sweat off their balls if he were in the desert dying of thirst. As for Chief John Roberts, why should he feel inclined to do Obama any favors? Hadn’t Senator Obama been one of the 22 who voted against his confirmation in 2005? Three years later, Roberts embarrassed himself (and noticeably irked Obama) by botching the oath of office while swearing-in the new president thus forcing a “do over” ceremony the next day.

Relations between the Supreme Court and President Obama got even worse when after the Citizens United ruling that opened the door for corporations and wealthy individuals to spend however much they like on political campaigns, the president broke Washington protocol by directly chiding the decision while members of the Court were in attendance at the State of the Union address.

When Obama writes his autobiography of his presidential years, he may reveal what was going through his mind while he stood in the White House watching four televisions announcing the ruling. Initially, CNN and Fox News reported the individual mandate had been struck down. but a White House attorney cleared up the confusion with a thumbs-up to the president that the mandate had survived and the Affordable Care Act was still the law of the land.

The surprise came when it was learned the fifth vote to uphold had come not from Kennedy as expected, but Roberts. As it turns out Kennedy made it clear in the dissenting opinion he authored for Scalia, Thomas and Alito, he was firmly opposed to Obamacare writing, “in our view, the entire Act before us is invalid in its entirety.”

So much for the media myth of Tony Kennedy the closet moderate.  This might be the moment to recall it was TIME that also called Jon Huntsman the Republican candidate Obama most feared.

“So you’re ‘The Decider’, huh? That’s pretty funny.”

Supreme Court watchers who were speculating how the justices would rule and which one would save Obamacare or sink it, have now turned to wondering aloud, why Roberts saved the president from a humiliating defeat in June that could have been the catalyst for a total meltdown in November.   Some theorize Roberts did not want a repeat of the scorn and contempt heaped on the Court as it was in 2000 when they stopped the recount in Florida and appointed George W. Bush as the president.   Others believe the Chief was looking down the road to the fall when Obama faces the voters for a second term.   If the Republicans are triumphant they may get the chance to gut healthcare reform themselves and spare the court from criticism of being right-wing  judicial activists (which by the way, they are).

It’s too soon to tell when Inauguration Day comes in January 2013 if it will be Barack Obama raising his right arm to take the oath of office for a second time or Willard Romney for the first, but regardless of which of the two it is, John Roberts will be there to administer it and that insincere smile he wears will be in part because how he ruled on Obamacare weighed heavily in reelecting the incumbent or electing his challenger.