Maiello: Human Rights and the Stock Market
Doc Cleveland: Fear Itself: Ukraine Edition
And on a Lighter Note, CPAC Starts Today!
Workers are repairing the facade of the building where we rent our winter apartment. They started on the 17th floor on January 2 and today they've finally made it to the fourth floor, and right now they're drilling and chiseling and scraping away the old finish right outside the window next to my desk.
So yesterday was the day Hillary Clinton finally testified on the Benghazi tragedy at hearings in both the House and the Senate. The Republicans have been after her for months now to get it done, but things happened, including Influenza and her fall and subsequent hospitalization for a concussion in late December. (A clear stall, wicked lady. Hmmpph!)
No surprise, was it, that if the Republicans pushed that hard to get her on the stand, it would be theater less like Shakespeare's Globe and more like Gonzo Gaiety. Satisfying, isn't it, that they didn't disappoint?
Monday, January 21, 2013 - 7 AM:
As I'm about to begin the fifth year of my blog on this morning of Barack Obama's second Inauguration (held on the anniversary of Martin Luther King's birth, a most appropriate and fitting confluence), I feel I should write something so powerful, so moving, so wise, nothing anyone ever writes about this day will even come close.
For weeks now, since the tragic murders of 20 sweet children and six dedicated educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, (one month ago today, and that is some sad anniversary) we've been in the middle of some serious, long overdue gun control arguments. The gun nuts see any form of gun control as "an infringement of their right to bear arms". (Oh my God, I can barely type that one more time. It's so stupid. Even in quotes, it's stupid. But I must go on.)
Just two weeks from today, on the 21th of January, 2013, Barack Obama will be inaugurated for the second time as president of these United States.
Obama, as you may remember, is our first half-black president and the man so loathed by his political archenemies, for four full years jillions of dollars destined for desperately needed domestic growth have been held hostage while those jackals were busy working at destroying his presidency. All so that he would never, ever get a second chance at under-privatizing America.
Wishing you all a merry Christmas season, and all the joys it brings. Happy holidays and peace to all, including those who wanted a war so badly they made one up.
Will it spoil everything if I pass along this gentle reminder? Christmas is a time of joy and good will for everyone; all ages, all regions, all religions. Those scrooges who want to pretend there's a war going on over it, have, sadly, forgotten what it was like to be a child.
After every major gun-inflicted tragedy we're told by the pro-everything-that-shoots bunch that it's too soon to be talking about gun control. We hear again that guns don't kill people, it's the people misusing the guns who kill people. We hear that they could just as well be using knives or garrotes or box cutters or poison or 3,000 pound vehicles.
It's Saturday, the day after what will forever be known as the Sandy Hook School murders. Yesterday Adam Lanza, a 20-year-old man, broke into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and shot to death six adults and 20 small children.
We're all in shock and looking for answers. We're crying, grieving, mourning, and we want answers. We want gun control that actually controls guns. We want people not to blame the guns but the shooter. We want to know the names of the victims, and, as I write this, all news stations are on alert, awaiting a press conference where those names will finally be announced.
So it has happened. Remember the other day when I wrote that Michigan had become a Right-to-Work state? It's not that I'm prescient or anything, announcing a done deal on Saturday when it didn't actually become law until yesterday (Tuesday), when Govnerd Ricky signed the two "Hasta la Vista, Union" bills hustled through the Republican-led legislature in a dazzling demonstration of warp speed. No, it's just that I've come to know those guys. No amount of talking, cajoling, coercing or begging was going to change the course of that bloody action, no matter what. [Read more]
Last week Michigan's Republican-majority legislature, with no committee meetings, no floor debate, in a rush to get this done before January when their control lessens, voted to add my beautiful state to a growing number of states--23 of them so far--that have been downgraded to what some have been led to believe is an assurance of a "Right-to-Work".
Something has gone seriously haywire with the Republican Party. Once it was the party of pragmatic Main Street businessmen in steel-rimmed spectacles who decried profligacy and waste, were devoted to their communities and supported the sort of prosperity that raises all ships. They were good-hearted people who vanquished the gnarlier elements of their party, the paranoid Roosevelt-haters, the Earthers and Prohibitionists, the antipapist antiforeigner element. The genial Eisenhower was their man, a genuine American hero of D-Day, who made it OK for reasonable people to vote Republican. He brought the Korean War to a stalemate, produced the Interstate Highway System, declined to rescue the Frenc [Read more]
Ever since Rick Snyder soft-talked his way into the governorship in Michigan, throwing the doors wide open for his biggest donors, the Mackinac Center, ALEC and the Koch Brothers (All for One and One for All against the Rest of Us), I've grown used to reading the craziest stuff imaginable about my beautiful state.
I mean, it's been special.
So, Luke, remember your dad, Tim Russert? Let's say he's sitting in a press room where House minority leader Nancy Pelosi is taking questions after announcing that she's staying put and is really excited about the next term, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Let's say he notices that she isn't alone up there on that podium; he sees there are maybe a dozen women who hold seats in the House of Representatives. They're standing behind her.
President Obama won a second term last night and it wasn't even a squeaker. The Senate and the House stayed pretty much the same, but Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Baldwin and Tammy Duckworth are going to Washington.
Joe Walsh, Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin will wander off into an oblivion they so richly deserve.
Karl Rove was seen on Fox howling foul over Ohio with such naked grief his election night companions could only look on, astonished.
Donald Trump threw such an incomprehensible hissy fit on Twitter you just had to know the little guy was not happy. [Read more]
5 AM EST.
I'm up and already nervous about what this election night will bring. I want the Democrats to win everything. I want the Republicans to lose in numbers large enough to show them the error of their ways. I'm so biased that way there's no pretending otherwise. I know it won't happen, but if I were wishing upon a star it's what I would be wishing for.
I'm an old-style liberal--a dreamer, an optimist, a pie-in-the-sky Pollyanna. There aren't many of us left, mainly because that kind of nonsense has been knocked out of the more sensible of us. With me it's still there, and at this late stage I have a feeling it's here to stay.
Okay, I'm breathing again--raggedly, to be honest, but I'm seeing clearly and whatever fun writing I was so longing for last week will just have to wait. Mitt Romney is closing in on the home stretch and I can't stand it. What can I say that will change that? We all know there is nothing I can say that will change anything this monumental and incomprehensible. But I repeat: I can't stand it.
I had a bout with bronchial pneumonia this week, which left me breathless enough to now be able to cross "ambulance ride" off of my bucket list. I spent two days in the hospital and, while I feel almost human again, a strange thing has happened. When I sit down to write, I'm finding that the last thing I want to write about is the current political situation.
WARNING: Cheers for Obama here, at least until Tuesday, November 6. Don't come looking for relief from Obama luv. You won't find it on these pages. I'm getting ready to panic and, if past history is any indication, it's not going to be pretty.
Romney/Ryan have a chance to win this thing. That revelation is so shocking we should be calling for a congressional investigation into how right wing billionaires and clueless teapartiers were able to pull that off. (Right. . .that'll happen) [Read more]
At the easternmost edge of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, where I live, the land is low. In the deep south it would be called the low country. Here it's called the cedar swamp. Where there isn't swamp there is rock, where thin sheaths of earth allow only the shallow-rooted trees to thrive--the quaking aspen, white birch and the Michigan cottonwood known as Balm-of-Gilead. The weed trees.
NOTE: This is a repeat of a blog post from October, 2010, the year the Democrats lost the edge by losing the House to the Tea Party and the Right Wing. If it looks like I'm nagging, what you're reading is pure desperation. If the lines in bold-face look like I'm gloating because I was right, look more closely. They're covered in bitter tears.
I'm repeating this because we're at that place again and if we couldn't afford to lose in 2010 we really, truly can't afford to lose in 2012. [Read more]