Sunday, February 1, 2009

New digs again

Some folks still stop by here. Hi all. Don't mind the cobwebs. I left for Wordpress for a while and now I'm back at Blogger at ZenYenta 2.0. So why not just take up residence back at this blog? You might well ask. Well, because sometimes it's easier to build than to renovate. This one's still got a lot of posts from before we had labels. That doesn't really matter but it drives me crazy. The blogroll is populated with quite a number of blogs that don't exist anymore. OK, I could fix that easily, but I like the idea of starting fresh. Blank canvas. This one, of course, will stay here so any referenced posts will remain up.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Trying Wordpress

I love Google and Blogger. Really. But I think I need a change of scene to get things going again. Trying it over here for now.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Coming down to earth

Last Tuesday's primary in NH demonstrated that Barack Obama is possibly only a human being after all. On top of this, it turns out that Hillary Clinton is not an automaton, as some people seem to have suspected. It looks as if we're going to have to choose our candidate from a field of mere mortals. I find all this very discouraging, because frankly, humans don't have a great track record when it comes to grappling with the problems of the world lately. I was hoping for something better.

New Hampshire also provided a platform where some of our favorite pundits could prove that they are really talking out of their posteriors most of the time. We knew that, but it's kind of fun when they really can't puff up and brazen it out. The polls are another matter. The Democratic race in New Hampshire did represent a crushing defeat for the lot of them, but is just giving up the answer? Well, maybe.

I don't think that any camp has acquitted themselves very well in all this, except maybe Bill Richardson, who got the hell out of Dodge. Bill Clinton sure seems to have been disingenuous, at best, about what exactly Senator Obama said and what he meant regarding the war in Iraq.

On the other hand, Jesse Jackson Jr's statement about Senator Clinton's moment of near emotion was a study in true idiocy. Of course, he wasn't the only idiot. He was one of so very many. If there's one thing in the world that most men don't understand it's a woman's tears or close encounters with said tears. They should never, ever, talk about them. They don't understand what brings them on, what stops them, or the fact that the Senator's facial expression said, "OMG, I might cry. I can't cry now. I won't cry now." And she didn't. Most women know what those facial muscles were doing. We've all been there and if Hillary was that good an actress she would have no "likability" issues to deal with at all.

While we're at it, I was extremely irritated by Jackson referring to "Mrs. Clinton" in his statement. It's "Senator" Clinton, is it not? Same goes for Elizabeth Edwards, whom I otherwise adore, but she used "Mrs. Clinton" over and over in a NH speech that was carried on C-Span. It's disrespectful and, at least for me, it's a turn-off. I have no problem with "Hillary". Bill is just "Bill" to many. Using a first name might be condescending, it might be friendly, it might be overly familiar, but it isn't denying a person a title to which she is entitled.

It looks like things are going to be getting pretty ugly all around from here on out. And it doesn't look like it's going to be fun for us or even a very good idea for anyone invovled.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


It's been a remarkable few days, eh? Obama's explosion is THE political story. Everything else is all filler. Little fixes for the political junkies until the ship comes in on Tuesday. He's Elvis and the Beatles, JFK and some RFK thrown in. I know he's not big on dwelling on the past, but if present trends continue someday in the future, he himself will become a frame of reference by which phenomena are measured.

There's just one thing that should have him worried now. When asked if Obama would win the Democratic nomination, the Matthews Meter returned a 12-0 verdict that indeed, he would. Could that manyTV pundits be right? If so, that would be another development of historic proportions. Some of these were the same people who predicted Gephardt if not Lieberman in 2004 if memory serves. Senator Clinton can take some comfort there, but the road ahead of her is starting to look rocky and steep.

All in all, I think that Obamamania is a good thing. People need something - someone - to get excited about. Everyone who is firmly in one camp or another is excited by his or her candidate of choice, but Obama seems to have an IT factor that's bigger than that. I'm one of those Democrats who could be happy with almost any of our original candidates in the role of president. I'm pretty confident that any of them could do a very fine job. Nonetheless, I have to admit that it's a lot of fun watching this thing happen.

By the way, have you noticed that when a Democratic candidate has charisma it doesn't interfere with having brains as well. Doesn't seem to be as true on the other side, by and large.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Undocumented workers could cause obesity and other immigration issues

A letter to the editor, published in Newsday today, took issue with an opinion by Bishop William Murphy. Murphy had spoken at the Nassau County and Latino Immigration Forum and an excerpt of his remarks was run as an op-ed in Newsday.

The first half of the letter was devoted to making the argument that there are too many undocumented aliens on Long Island. Fair enough. There are too many people
in general on Long Island as far as I can see. I wouldn't be inclined to single out any particular group as putting us over the top, but that argument at least made sense if you accept the the premise. The second half, however, seemed to provide a pretty good argument to pro-immigration advocates if it did anything at all:
Bishop Murphy also falls back on the argument that they are indispensable to the labor force. In his words, "to date there is no reasonable alternative."

Well, here is my alternative: We can all get off our butts. Twenty-five years ago only the wealthy had landscapers; the rest of us mowed our own lawns.
This is so true. Thing is, most people didn't like it. If you were a teenage boy and willing to mow lawns for money you were in demand in those days. There were never enough teenage boys to go around. Also, the window of time in which a kid was old enough to do a decent job of mowing and the time when he lost interest in doing any such thing was maybe one full mowing season. Tops. There were exceptions, but they were rare. And forget edging. Wasn't going to happen. When those trailers full of lawn care equipment and laborers who could operate it arrived in neighborhoods they were pretty much greeted with open arms and wallets.

The best argument a pro-immigration advocate or beleaguered Democrat can make is, "OK, we deport all illegals, you go back to whacking your own weeds." That'll quiet down a reasonable percentage of anti-immigration voices right there.

A further point that our letter writer wished to make seems to be that we should also take responsibility for our own Big Macs.
The same may be said of [our reliance on] fast-food workers, busboys, health aides, etc. These were entry-level or unskilled jobs, but they got done. Perhaps the cheap labor created its own market; and if it was to vanish, there would be a readjustment, but not a collapse of the "American Way of Life" as we are led to believe. Indeed, if we all had to do our own gardening, and teens had to work instead of hanging out surfing the net and sending IMs, maybe we could reverse the growing problem of obesity and its accompanying health problems.
I'll give thim that the American Way of Life isn't going to collapse because of a crackdown on immigration. That's already happening - with or without immigration. But what I want to know here is, has Wendy's has instituted the draft? Because if not, teens who are currently hanging out surfing the net and sending IMs most likely aren't going to show up there in order to fill a labor shortage. All that's neither here nor there, though. For anyone wishing to reach the hearts and minds of conservative middle class Americans with a pro-immigration message should just remember this - It's the lawn mowing, stupid.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Planting questions

Do you find it hard to believe that there are members of the right wing who would even address the question of Hillary's planted questions? George Bush and Dick Cheney have to plant their entire audiences. And Hillary, and all the Democratic candidates, seem to be able to discuss the issues without the use of an audio feed. If I were a member of the radical right, I'd stay away from the whole issue.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Living on faith

Fred Barnes must be a true believer. He thinks that once the GOP is able to make it clear to every Republican voter that the SCHIP controversy is really about expanding the program to people who count as middle class the whole boondoggle will be a plus for the GOP. He believes that the scales will fall from Republican eyes and they'll see that their party is just being fiscally responsible, holding the line on government spending.

What's wrong with that picture, outside of the bitterly ironic premise of fiscal repsonsibility that starts and ends with refusing to provide more children with access to healthcare? Well, what's wrong is that not being able to afford or, in some cases, qualify for private health insurance is not a partisan problem. We're not talking a couple of hundred a month. We're not even talking $500 a month. A thousand a month is modest. It's less than what the organization I work for pays for family converage for each employee on their goup plan. With more and more businesses opting out of providing any health coverage, or only contributing toward coverage for the employee and not for the family this is a problem that's just going to grow. It's not going away and it's not only Democrats who are vulnerable.

A barrage of talking points may cause some ripples in public opinion, but the demand for a real solution to this real world problem will continue to gather steam and an increasing number of middle class Republicans of modest means will come to believe that their party has abandoned them. To fail to see that is blind faith, and blind faith and political ideology don't mix well and political ideology doesn't trump material reality.