Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pledge to America? 3

And what spending would they freeze? They don't offer any specifics, but their candidates (Notably, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) -- the Republican budget chief who has released a full plan for privatizing Social Security and Medicare -- and who was absent from the unveiling of the Pledge, confirming that many in the Republican leadership are reluctant to embrace his proposals), especially the Tea Baggers, are running on the old privatization of Social Security, and Medicare (and even the Veteran's Administration), you know, what President Bush tried to do during his second term for which he got spanked by the American people, and rightly so. McCain lost the election behind it. Just imagine an unregulated Wall Street given our social security payroll tax dollars. No I can't think about it, it gives me a headache.
Is there anything wrong with Social Security, Medicare or the VA? Ask vets if they would like their health care regulated to a for profit insurance corporation rather than the VA and you'll receive a characteristically vehement and salty reply. Ask Social Security or Medicare recipients the same question and you'll get spanked like Bush did, and if you're running for President of the United States you'll lose (and unleash the Palin!). Is there anything intrinsically wrong, or unsound with these institutions that Americans rely on for their exitance. Why no, there isn't (despite the BS "Social Security Crisis"), but Republicans want to tear them apart anyway. They want everything privatized. Our military, our jails, our health care. Most often these experiments have been disastrous, but the Republicans only know one trick, and keep pushing, and pushing for it anyway.
Why that is the very definition of insanity!
The American people have demonstrated time and again they are not interested in their social security retirement, disability, and social safety net dollars to be funneled to financial institutions that are only concerned with making profits for their top executives and shareholders, and who were responsible for the devastating financial meltdown this country and the world in 2007. The Republicans however are so committed to the ideology of unrestricted free market Miltonian economics which have proven a failure almost every time they've been attempted. But they are so committed to their corporate masters, that they keep on trying. Trying, trying, trying. I say one thing for the stupid bastards, they're persistent.
What else do they promise to do?
They don't bother to mention our military occupying Iraq and Afghanistan, so we don't know what they want to do with one of the most important issues facing the country. They probably don't mention it because they don't want to leave those countries (that would take away money from their military industrial complex, and contractor friends), and they figure rightly the American people, who are providing their sons and daughters in these conflicts, may disagree with the Republican stance on this particular subject, and that would not bode well for the Republicans during an election.
They also want to help small businesses by allowing them to take a tax deduction equal to 20 percent of their income. This is interesting because the same day the Republican leadership at the hardware store (a small family owned business) presented this in their pledge, they rushed back to Washington to vote against the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010 (a Democratic proposal) which would create a $30 billion fund to provide small banks (those with assets under $10 million) access to capital earmarked for small-business lending. Why would they vote against it? Because it's a Democratic proposal (and by extension, an Obama proposal) which may just help the economy just before an election. All of those who were at the unveiling ceremony for the "Pledge," voted against this bill, even though a provision in the pledge sought to help small businesses. If it were not for two Republican Senators, George Voinovich of Ohio and George LeMieux of Florida, who broke ranks (Voinovich tellingly stated that this was no time for political posturing, and that the country and economy needed help, and it needed it now. It is important to note that Senator Voinovich is retiring after this session of Congress, and Senator LeMieux is not seeking re-election, which seemingly freed both men to vote in accordance with their own conscious rather than adhering to party lines), the bill still would not have passed (it did pass 61-38, has since been passed by the House, and has been sent to President Obama for his signature).
What else?
Establish strict budget caps to limit federal spending going forward, and cancel all future TARP payments and reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Well we've already talked about this sort of. The Republicans wish to restrict spending while giving away billions to the rich, and continuing the military occupations of two foreign countries, which costs a lot of money. Republicans always say they'll resrict spending with budget caps, but they never do (neither do Democrats for that matter). As far as I know all TARP payments have already been made, and cessation of government spending to create jobs is exactly what the country does not need during an economic downturn. Stopping spending may be the reason the country will enter a second recession.
What else?
Will require that every bill have a citation of constitutional authority. So what. Adding a sentence onto every proposed bill is not a big deal.
Give members at least 3 days to read bills before a vote. That's not a big deal either.
Provide resources to troops. No shit! Well I'm glad that's in there somewhere. I was worried.
And enforce sanctions on Iran, among other things. We're already enforcing sanctions on Iran.
You can see a full version of the "Pledge" here:
with pictures and everything.
For the Republicans, who usually like to bring to the forefront of their campaigns social issues that stir up their base, in the year of the Tea Baggers they've shown remarkable restraint. They hardly mention them at all in the pledge. Just a commitment to protect the institution of marriage (which I didn't know was under attack), and no federal money going to fund abortions, which is pretty much the case already except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the woman is endangered.
A lot of Republicans, especially from the Tea Bagger component, are upset with the pledge because it doesn't go far enough, or is not as far right as they would like it to be. I agree with them and wish it was more right wing wacko, for the sake of the upcoming election. Candidates Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell would ban abortion all together, if they could, even in cases of rape, incest, or if the life of the mother was at risk. Fortunately, even if they were to win a Senate seat they would be unable to do that.
The Republican pledge would stop investments in clean energy made under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and block new safety, health and environmental rules. "Rather than listening to the American people, the pledge listens to polluter lobbyists," says Center for American Progress Action Fund senior fellow Daniel J. Weiss.
Global warming is nowhere to be found, even though this is the hottest year in recorded history, and the artic and Greenland ice caps are disappearing at an alarming rate.
There's nothing about stopping the outsourcing of American jobs because that would penalize companies that outsource American jobs.
"The Pledge to America should have been called the Scam on America, because it does nothing to help Americans," states freelance economics writer Maryann Tobin, "unless of course they are CEOs of big oil companies, drug companies, or Wall Street bankers."
Howard Gleckman of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has done the math. As he points out, the only way to balance the budget by 2020, while making the Bush tax cuts permanent, and protecting all the programs Republicans say they won’t stop funding, is to completely get rid of the remainder of the federal government: “No more national parks, no more Small Business Administration loans, no more export subsidies, no more N.I.H. No more Medicaid (one-third of its budget pays for long-term care for our parents and others with disabilities). No more child health or child nutrition programs. No more highway construction. No more homeland security. Oh, and no more Congress.”
The President has also weighed in on the pledge: "The Republicans who want to take over Congress offered their own ideas the other day. Many were the very same policies that led to the economic crisis in the first place, which isn't surprising, since many of their leaders were among the architects of that failed policy," Obama said. "It is grounded in same worn-out philosophy: cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires; cut the rules for Wall Street and the special interests; and cut the middle class loose to fend for itself. That's not a prescription for a better future."
All in all it becomes quite clear that the Republicans are not looking after the welfare of the majority of the American people, and if that is the criteria for patriotism, the Republicans are traitors. They don't care about the welfare of this country. They will stop progress at every turn if that is in the their political interests. They've already demonstrated that repeatedly. They are for the wealthiest of us, and large corporations who they want to work for after they leave the government. They want to steal as much money as possible from the public coffers, then they will be able to shield themselves from the disastrous effects their policies have wrecked upon the rest of the country. Party above country. That is what they stand for. They will never say that, but they lie. I don't think they're even capable of telling the truth. They hide behind God, country, family values, responsibility, and cruelty, and they only really care about and display the last. They are sick. They are sociopaths. They do not deserve our pity. And they certainly do not deserve our vote.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Stephanie (Miller)!

Liberal, and proud of it

Jim, Stephanie, & Chris save on the rent

Jesus H Christ!

Young & beautiful

What a cutie!

Happy birthday wishes go out this morning for one of my favorite comedians and radio personalities, a lady I hear almost every freaking day from six in the morning until nine, Ms. Stephanie Miller!
Stephanie Catherine Miller (Chris Lavoie, one of the Mooks, on Stepahnie's morning program, and it's producer and board operator, calls her "Stephanie Louise Miller," when she does something outrageous... no one ones why) was born in Washington D.C., as a small child. One might even say an infant. Appropriately enough she was born into a political family, her dad being U.S. Representative William (Bill) Miller, a former Chairman of the Republican National Committee (a spot now held by the enigmatic and beleaguered Michael Steele), and Vice Presidential nominee in 1964, running with Barry Goldwater. They lost to the incumbent, Lyndon Baines Johnson.
She was raised in Lockport, New York, near Niagara Falls, and which is the birthplace of William G. Morgan, the inventor of volleyball. She attended Catholic Schools and was ruined for life at an early age because of it.
Eventually she came to Southern California, where I live, and earned a degree in theater at the University of Southern California, just down the street from my box, and where case manager Paul is now attending school.
Like many former Catholic schoolgirls, Stephanie wanted to become a stand up comedian, and started out here in L.A. at the Laugh Factory, and worked in other clubs in New York and Los Angeles (the "Itchy Kitty" in Reseda). She got several small acting jobs, appearing as a nun in 1984's "Shattered Vows," a made for T.V. movie.
Stephie got her start in radio back in Lockport, and in 1985 she went to WCMF, 96.5 on your FM dial, in Rochester NY as "Sister Sleaze" on the Brother Wease Show. She went on to larger markets, working in Chicago, and New York. In 1993 Stephanie was hired by KFI here in L.A. and was successful with her very own weeknight show. In late 1995 Stephanie was one of the few women to host her own late night talk show, "The Stephanie Miller show," which had an entire 13 week run.
I guess she was always into politics, but veered away from her families conservative bent and became a voice for the liberal cause in 1997 as the counter point to conservative Bay Buchanan (former Treasurer of the United States under Reagan, and Pat's sister) on the CNBC television show, "Equal Time." In 2000 she hosted the Oxygen networks revival of the game show "I've Got a Secret."
Then, just before the catastrophic 2004 elections, "The Stephanie Miller Show" premiered here in Los Angeles live on KTLK, L.A.s progressive talk radio channel. The show was nationally syndicated and appeared in markets such as San Francisco, Chicago, and Seattle, and on XM's Satellite Radio America Left channel 167.
She was broadcasting from nearby Burbank, and I remember the first show well. She started off by saying how she ran into Ryan Seacrest in the elevator on her way to the studio. She worked with aforementioned Chris Lavoie, and "voice extraordinaire" Jim Ward, actor and impersonator. Having a comedic background, "The Stephanie Miller Show," was a welcome break from the sometimes exhausting nonstop commentary provided by other radio programs, seamlessly mixing comedy and satire with the current political news, favoring a progressive agenda. I didn't have cable T.V. at the time, so listening to the radio was a major part of my day. I forget who proceeded Steph in the mornings, and I may have been listening to NPR until 6:00 AM when she came on, but Al Franken, now Senator Al Franken, followed her program, and Ed Schultz after Al. When Al quit Air America and radio to run for the Senate he was replaced by Thom Hartmann who still retains that spot, and is considered like the number 1 progressive program in the country now.
During the time Bush was in office Stephanie began each hour of her program playing Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It," a symbol of the left's determination to keep fighting until he was out of office. After Obama won the election the shows theme song was changed to Katrina and the Wave's "Walking on Sunshine."
The show features segments such as "Right Wing World" ("we listen so you don't have to"), where the previous day's lies and follies of the conservative wacko's are examined and properly ridiculed, favorite targets being Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, and any and all Republican politicians who opened their trap. And "Celebrity Stack," where Hollywood news and gossip are discussed, all replete with sound effects and fart jokes.
I've mentioned before that I've seen Stephanie live at a march here in downtown L.A. She looked over her shoulder at me as if I were a crazed ax murderer. I don't know why (I should leave my ax at home when I go to these things), and she has even read one of my Emails to her over the air when I defended her when the Mooks were giving her a hard time and being disrespectful. I think I offered to beat them up.
There was no further trouble from those two.
Stephanie lives by herself here in Los Angeles (excluding a brief, misguided stint in New York, when the show was "bi-coastal" for a couple of months. I don't know why. No one does), at least she doesn't live with other humans, but owns and coexists with some of the biggest freaking dogs I've ever seen (picture above). What is she trying to compensate for?
Just a couple of weeks ago she "came out," and stated she was a lesbian (damn it! All the good ones turn out to be lesbians. Well, I guess I can't blame her. If I were a girl I'd be a lesbian too).
A link to the show's web-site is just to the left.
All of us here at Joyce's Take love her and wish her continued good luck (she hasn't had a great deal lately, tripping over herself and breaking her foot), and a very happy birthday.
Happy Birthday Stephanie!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Janeane (Garofalo)!

Happy birthday wishes go out this morning for one of my favorite actresses, comedians, and people in general, a true American treasure, Ms. Janeane Garofalo!
Janeane was born in New Jersey, just like my lovely case manager, Erin (perhaps they know each other). Her parents both worked for the oil industry, her mom of Irish decent, and her dad Italian. Apparently the family traveled a lot, and she grew up in Ontario, California (due east of Los Angeles), Madison, New Jersey, and Katy (no relation to Perry), Texas, where she graduated from high school. She studied history at Providence College in Rhode Island, and while there entered a comedy talent show sponsored by the Showtime cable television network, and became a stand up comic after graduating with degrees in history and American studies.
Janeane continued her stand up work throughout the late 80s, often appearing "disheveled with thick black glasses and unkempt hair," making fun of herself, woman's role in society, and body image. She's stated that she really doesn't tell jokes per se, but relates observations that are funny (similar to the way I write, I believe). I can remember one routine of hers where she couldn't understand, "Why guys always say they're after a piece of ass? A piece. Why don't they ever want the whole thing?"
Good question.
She says she sort of has a pessimistic outlook, stating, "I guess I just prefer to see the dark side of things. The glass is always half empty. And cracked. And I just cut my lip on it. And chipped a tooth."
She moved on to acting, and appeared in the cast of her friend Ben Stiller's "The Ben Stiller Show," in 1992. In 94 she broke into movies in "Reality Bites," with Winona Ryder. That year she joined the cast of Saturday Night Live for just six months, coming away from the experience "anxious and depressed," stating the show had sexist overtones, and that she had been "largely stuck in dull, secondary wife and girlfriend roles," and that the stint was "the most miserable experience of [her] life."
That year she scored a starring role alongside Uma Thurman in the film "The Truth about Cats & Dogs," which she didn't care for either, but the film was enough of a success that the writer/director Cameron Crowe offered her the female lead in "Jerry McGuire," opposite Tom Cruse. After losing weight for the part, however, she learned the part had gone to Renee Zellweger (screw you Crowe!). She turned down the role of Marla Singer in "Fight Club," as she was uncomfortable with some of the sexual content (to be quite honest with you I don't remember a whole lot of sexual content in "Fight Club").
She kept busy in television as well, appearing throughout the years in shows like "Mad About You," "Sienfeld," News Radio," "The West Wing,"Two and a Half Men," "Law and Order," and will start next year on "Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior."
Some of my favorite films she has been in are," Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion," "Dogma," "Mystery Men," and "Big Trouble." Hell, she's been on everything, and wonderful in them all.
Quite often she plays women who are smart enough to be disgusted and frustrated with the reality in which they find themselves, knowing things should be different. Check out the scene below (a favorite of Erins) compliments of Funny or Die:
Janeane is an outspoken liberal political activist, who clearly articulates her point of view regarding Right wingers, and I paraphrase: "They are selfish, self loathing, repressed, materialistic, scum." She would go on and on about it, and I would agree with her wholeheartedly, adding of course that they are sociopathic as well.
Anyway, I at one time, before I had cable television connected to my box (between 2004 and 2006), would spend my nights listening to her and Sam Seder on Air America's "The Minority Report," and I must say I miss hearing her melodious voice over the airwaves pointing out the lunacy of the Republicans, Right wing Evangelicals, Tea Baggers (they weren't around then, but if they were she would have talked about them), and everything else on a daily basis, and I have to admit that I'm secretly in love with this intelligent, witty, beautiful, sexy, right on woman, although the last I heard she likes living alone with her dogs.
In any case, all of us here at Joyce's Take have a special place in our hearts for Ms. Janeane Garofalo, and wish her continued good fortune, and an especially happy birthday (with many more!).
Happy Birthday Janeane!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pledge to America? 2

Republican Health Care

Star Wars

Because we spend hundreds of billions in two unnecessary wars, have given away billions to Wall Street without demanding real reform, and provide tax give aways to the rich who have gamed the system to their advantage, money for social and education programs have steadily diminished. Arianna Huffington lists a few of those programs in her new book, "Third World America."
California is eliminating CalWORKS, a financial assistance program for families in need, a cut that will affect 1.4 million people, two-thirds of which are children. This plan would also cut state subsidies for child care, affecting 142,000 children.
Minnesota has eliminated a program that provides health care to 21,500 low-income employed adults with no children.
Rhode Island has cut health insurance for 1,000 low-income families.
Maine has cut education grants and funding for homeless shelters.
Utah has cut Medicaid for physical and occupational therapies, as well as for speech and hearing services.
Michigan, Nevada, California, and Utah have eliminated coverage of dental and vision services for those receiving Medicaid.
Alabama has canceled services that allow 1,100 seniors to stay in their homes instead of being sent to nursing facilities.
Georgia has cut $112 million from an initiative designed to reduce the gap in funding between wealthy and poor school districts.
Arizona has cut cash assistance grants for 38,500 low-income families.
Virginia has decreased payments for people with mental retardation, mental health issues, and problems with substance abuse.
Illinois has cut funding for child welfare and youth services programs.
Connecticut has cut programs that help prevent child abuse and provide legal services for foster children.
Massachusetts is making cuts in Head Start, universal pre-K programs, and services to prepare special needs children for school.
Hell, my own library here in Los Angeles is now closed two days a week (Sunday and Monday) due to state budget cuts.
So given the choice of keeping all of these programs alive and funded, and giving money to Wall St. executives and the highest paid 2% of the country, I'll take the social programs almost every time.
The Republicans however are brilliant at framing issues in such ways that their low information constituents actually believe what they're spewing, and vote against their own best interests, hence that 38% who wants to keep those cuts in place.
A favorite gimmick of Fox News "hosts" when talking to guests about the inequality of wealth distribution in the country, and programs that would tax those who make more money proportionally to their income level, is to brand them as trying to stir up "class warfare." That's their defense for not paying their fair share in taxes... some kind of misguided notion of discrimination towards those who have a lot of money. As the second richest man in the country has stated, "There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. [Warren} Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." I agree, and it's high time we fought back!
But I digress. What else does the pledge promise to get rid of?
Health care, specifically, President Obama's new Health Care Reform laws of which many provisions went into effect ironically enough on the same day this pledge was presented. Well the Republicans want to end it. We've already discussed what went into effect on the 23rd, provisions barring insurance companies from denying care to sick children and those with pre-existing conditions, insurers cannot limit annual and lifetime limits on coverage, preventive care,and cracking down on fraud... the Republicans belive these things will ruin the country by... well I'm not sure how it will ruin the country. Republicans say higher taxes will result because of the law, jobs will be lost, and other such nonsense that has no basis in reality but which the Republican base believe in because they are constantly lied to.
So they want to repeal the overhaul of the health care system and replace it with... a lot of the very same elements of Obama's health care reform. Yeah, that's right.
The Affordable Care Act "Allows for the creation of State Health Insurance Compacts – permits states to enter into agreements to allow for the sale of insurance across state lines." The Republican want to repeal, or end that, and replace it with, "We will allow individuals to buy health care coverage outside of the state in which they live." That's right, the very same freaking thing worded a little differently. The ACA: "A health insurer cannot impose lifetime limits and will be prohibited from placing annual limits on plans beginning in 2014." The Pledge: "[E]liminate annual and lifetime spending caps." The ACA: "A health insurance issuer cannot rescind a policy except for in cases of fraud." The Pledge: "[P]revent insurers from dropping your coverage just because you get sick." On and on. One might think the Republicans just want to repeal Obama's plan simply because it's Obama's plan, then replace it with many of the same provisions of Obama's plan and take credit for it when it works.
One might think that.
They cover the nation's energy policy in one sentence: "We will fight to increase access to domestic energy sources and oppose attempts to impose a national “cap and trade” energy tax." Which means they want more drilling of oil and reliance on fossil fuels, give lip service to green technology and clean energy, and ignore environmental concerns. Is that what most Americans want?
Nope. A Rasmussen poll last June shows that 73 percent of Americans believe it's important for the United States to cut its dependency on fossil fuels. That would include our dwindling supply of domestic oil. The same company a month later showed "that Fifty-six percent (56%) of Americans say they are not willing to pay more in taxes and utility costs to generate cleaner energy and fight global warming," which just goes to show how silly our electorate is. They want things, but don't want to pay for them. Like little kids.
What else is in there that the majority of Americans want. Why the rebirth of the Missile Defense Program apparently. What Ronald Reagan called "Star Wars." A program that has never, let me repeat that, never been technically viable, has rarely passed a test successfully (if ever), and is easier then hell to circumnavigate (get around), all the while pumping billions (billions) of tax payer money into the military industrial complex. We've given them billions. They've never given us a system that works. Why bother with the pretense, and just start shoveling cash over to Boeing and Lockheed Martin!
Gosh, by the look of it you'd think the Republican's Pledge to America was written by corporate lobbyists. No, it was just put together under some guy named Brian Wild, who works for Boehner, who until recently worked for the firm the Nickles Group, during which he "was paid $740,000 in lobbying contracts from AIG, the former insurance company at the heart of the financial collapse; $800,000 from energy giant Andarko Petroleum; more than $1.1 million from Comcast, more than $1.3 million from Exxon Mobil; and $625,000 from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc." But he's not a lobbyist now, by golly. He works for John Boehner.
Oh yeah, they also want to cut federal spending to 2008 levels, which Boehner says, "What we intend to do is take first steps, and those first steps would be to reduce spending to 2008 levels, saving $100 billion a year, our commitment to put ourselves on a course to balance the budget and to pay down the debt."
Huumm, 100 billion a year, while extending the tax cuts for the rich which cost 400 billion a year. That's Republican deficit reduction for you.

To be continued.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pledge to America?

On September 27th, 1994, just six weeks before that years mid-term election, the Republican Party released what they called a "Contract with America," sponsored by the likes of Newt (Newt) Gingrich, Richard (DICK) Armey, Tom Delay, and John Boehner. The "contract" specified ten items the Republicans promised to "bring to the House Floor the following bills, each to be given full and open debate, each to be given a clear and fair vote and each to be immediately available this day for public inspection and scrutiny." Please notice that they did not promise to pass into law or implement any of the contracts provisions, just that they be brought to the House floor, debated, voted, and available for inspection by the public (as if they could keep normal House business from the public). The "contract" promised what Republicans normally promise, tax cuts for everybody while increasing spending for defense and balancing the national budget. It promised to begin term limits for members of Congress at twelve years (but only for new members, since some of the sponsors had already passed that mark, like Newt Gingrich), and welfare reform (always with the welfare reform).
All ten items came to a vote in the House of Representatives within one hundred days, and the House passed nine of the ten measures. Yet the Senate was cool to the set of measures and progress for them slowed. President Clinton promised to veto certain provisions he deemed as unsound, calling the Republican ploy a "Contract on America."
In the end only three of the least controversial measures had become law by the end of 1995.
Read all about it here: Contract with America
Last Thursday, Republican House members, sans jackets and ties (because they're just like good old plain working stiffs like the rest of us) met at the Tart Lumber Company in Sterling, Virginia. No one knows why. They were led by the House Minority Leader, Rep John Boehner (R-OH, who of course also helped sponsor the "Contract with America"), who introduced to the nation their 21 page "Pledge to America."
Now that folks have had a chance to look it over, no one knows why they did that too.
When announcing this pledge they made a point of stating that they were following the wishes of the majority of Americans. They can do that on almost any issue because they have that majority of Americans in their back pocket where they can pull them out any time they want to agree with everything they say. So let's see how their pledge helps the majority of Americans:
Hey, guess what, they want to keep the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy from expiring, even though it will add 4 trillion to the deficit over ten years, because as everyone knows you don't increase taxes on anybody "in the middle" of a recession. It doesn't seem to matter to them that the National Bureau of Economic Research has concluded the recession ended in June of last year. Oh my, that would take away their big argument for keeping those tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 to 3 per cent of Americans. Oh wait a minute, they still claim rescinding the cuts would hurt small businesses. All 2 to 3 per cent of all small businesses. And that would affect those 2 to 3 per cent because those businesses were large enough to surpass the income specified in law, over $250,000. So is that in the best interest of the majority of Americans? Not according to the real majority of Americans where 53% want them rescinded (38% do not, 9% are sitting around with their thumbs up their butts. CBS News/ New York Times poll conducted Sept. 10-14). If I remember my high school math correctly, or was it algebra... 53% is more than half of 100%, which would make the 53% the majority position. If I were the Republican leadership I'd check my back pocket to see who they have in there, because it's not who they claim them to be.
Am I being too sarcastic? To smug. To harsh on our Republican friends, who after all are only trying to do what's best for the country according to their perverted little world view? Am I?
Yes! And delightedly so!
Let me extrapolate a moment. The Republicans want to keep these tax breaks for the wealthy, make them permanent in fact. They don't say how they're going to pay for them, which means they'll have an excuse to further cut social programs, which in turn increases the poverty level because a lot of people rely on some of those social programs to continue working, like child care. Then they'll want to cut welfare and unemployment benefits for those who are out of work because of Republican policies, while at the same time vilifying the unemployed for being too lazy to get jobs (or like Senator Orin Hatch of Utah who wants those on welfare to be drug tested), spreading throughout the nation the lie that those who have been screwed due to Republican policies or lack of oversight (deregulation) are somehow responsible for the dire circumstances they find themselves in, trying to convince the American people who through some miracle still have jobs that those who don't are undeserving of help. All of that just to keep giving away money to the richest of us, who certainly don't need it.
Check this out dear readers, from our friend Bill Maher: "New Rule: Rich People Who Complain About Being Vilified Should be Vilified."

To be continued.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Cindi (Wood)!

Happy Birthday wishes go out today for one of my very favorite models and actresses, Ms. Cynthia Wood!
A Los Angeles girl, she was born in Burbank, in the southeast corner of the famous San Fernando Valley. I used to live in Burbank, and remember it as being very hot. NBC has their studios in Burbank, and that is where The Tonight Show, with Jay Leno is taped. Johnny Carson coined the phrase "Beautiful Downtown Burbank."
Well I don't know how beautiful downtown Burbank is (it's not really that beautiful at all), but I do know how beautiful Cyndi is, and she is my absolute favorite model ever from Playboy magazine. I'm not sure why, but she is, and always will be.
Others, probably men, seemed to appreciate her as well, as she not only became a Playmate, but was Playmate of the Year for 1974, which is quite an honer I'm told.
I don't know much about Cyndi, but I do know this:
She likes to sew, design clothes, write and sing tunes in her spare time. I like to sing!
She likes spaghetti and stew. Hey, so do I!
She's honest, sincere, and loyal (at least she was a long time ago. She's probably smartened up by now). She's also completely trusting, and looks for the good in everyone she meets.
And she tends to believe in people who turn out not to be sincere (bet she's smartened up on that one too).
Cyndi is a wonderful actress as well, and has appeared in the Warren Beatty film, "Shampoo," "Van Nuys Boulevard" (which I lived near for more than 20, 25 years), and a touching performance in Francis Ford Coppola's epic, "Apocalypse Now" (she sure knew how to use those six shooters!), and "Apocalypse Now Redux."
I hear she is Doctor Cyndi Woods these days, having earned a Ph.D. in psychology, which was my lovely case manager, Erin's, major in college.
We all have so much in common!
Anyway, all of us here at Joyce's Take wish Ms. Woods the best of luck in whatever she continues to do, and a very happy birthday!
Happy Birthday Cyndi!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Jackie (Guerrido)!



Happy birthday wishes go out today for my very favorite weatherperson (not just one of my favorites, but my very favorite... I don't know why) Ms. Jackie Guerrido! The amazing thing is I can say that knowing that I've never understood a single word she's ever said!
Jackie was born in Municipio de la Ciudad Capital San Juan Bautista, better know as San Juan on the unincorporated island territory of Puerto Rico, which is a United States unincorporated territory, so she was born an American citizen, in case you were wondering. She grew up there as well, and after finishing high school she moved with her family to the Bronx, of all places, in New York.
Jackie tried out acting before becoming a journalist and getting interested in the weather, and was one of several thousand girls who auditioned for the part of Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, in the movie "Selena," which eventually went to Jennifer Lopez.
She was offered a job on a morning radio show called El Vacilon de la Mañana ("Good times in the morning"), in New York, by a producer who heard her doing voice over work, and soon was offered another radio job in Miami where she settled down. After about a year she got a job at HBC Radio Company, where she reported news and traffic, and she did so well at that she soon got her own music program.
I don't know if you noticed, dear readers, but Jackie is quite lovely... for a girl, and producers apparently thought she would transmit well onto television, and soon got a job on Spanish language T.V. doing traffic, so at this point she was doing both radio and T.V., just like Glen Beck.
Another big time national Spanish language television company called Univision, got Jackie to work for them as a weatherperson on the show Al Amanacer de Noticias 23 ("Morning News at Channel 23"). Now Jackie's a bright and industrious girl, and since she was working as a weatherperson, she thought she might as well study meteorology, which she did at the University of Miami (she also studied journalism at the University of Florida).
Now I used to watch the Univision morning show Despierta America ("Wake Up America"), in the late 1990s, even though I couldn't understand what they were saying because they kept speaking freaking Spanish all of the time (no consideration for their gringo viewers whatsoever)! I kept watching though. Why? Well, I was secretly in love with one of the hostesses, a Giselle Blondet to be precise, but that's a whole other story (my love has gone unrequited all of these years). But this is where I first became acquainted with Jackie's wonderful expressive form of weather forecasting, the freaking best weather forecasting I've ever seen. I have no idea if she was accurate or not, but it was the best weather forecasting I've ever seen.
Jackie has since moved on (as well as Giselle) and is now the weather reporter for Univison's evening show, Primer Impacto ("First Impact," for you gringos).
I know it's hard to believe but Jackie is the mother of two teenage daughters, recently (2008) married some kind of foreign singer type dude, was named the "Good Will Ambassador" of the Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City, and all of us here at Joyce's Take wish her and her family continued good fortune (Giselle too), and a very happy birthday!
Happy Birthday Jackie!

A Harvest Moon, and Jupiter in the Sky's of L.A.

Harvest Moon



Jupiter & Uranus

"Oh, Shine on, shine on harvest moon
Up in the sky;
I ain't had no lovin'
Since January, February, June or July.

- Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth

I didn't mean to do it, but I saw it and it was done.
Yesterday morning.
At a twidge before 4:00AM my alarm clock sounded. As is my custom, I leaped (leaped) out of bed, rushed across my expansive box and shut it off. I then proceeded with my usual morning activities. I let out Herkimer, my six foot three and three quarter inch tall invisible orange tabby cat, turned "The Bill Press Show," on my radio, made myself an Expresso Royale Caffe (because I'm an elitist) to get the old juices flowing, posted the day's post "Health Care in Autumn" ("Well written Rick." "Why thank you."), showered, worked through a mixture of calisthenics and yoga (including 2000 rapid no hands sit-ups to keep my washboard six-pack rock hard abs in tip top shape. You never know when you're going to need them), meditated for 400 breaths, took another shower, let Herkimer back in, checked my Email to see any emergency messages that may have arrived during the night (there never are any), dressed, put on my galoshes, then headed out for a morning stroll over the famous 6th Street Bridge.
It was still very dark outside as I left my hotel, it being a little after 5:30. Trucks were busy loading and unloading their goods across the street. Traffic was light. The air crisp but not too chilly. I wore a light jacket which was enough considering I'd be generating a considerable amount of body heat while walking.
It takes anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour to walk over the bridge, all the way to the east side into the Boyle Heights section of East Los Angeles (where Cheech Marin came from) and back to my nice warm box. There was nothing different about the morning. I walked, looking around as I usually do, noting those people who had already began their work day below me, walking and working around large and small factory like buildings on the east side of the Los Angeles River. A Metro Link train rushed past on its way to Union Station. I stopped once to look back at the L.A. skyline... beautiful. Cars and trucks zipped past where the Hollywood, San Bernardino, and Santa Ana Freeways merge, everybody rushing to work it seemed.
Beyond my conscious observations of what was transpiring around me, I absent mindedly thought about what I should write about during the day. The Millennium Development Goals, or the Republicans "Contract on America" (term coined by Randi Rhodes) that had leaked out the day before. I got off the bridge, passed the automated Laundromat and donut shop, crossed the street, and headed back to Los Angeles.
I made it about half way over the bridge before looking at the sky directly in front of me.
"Ahhh, that's Jupiter," I said to myself, with not a small amount of awe.
And indeed it was Jupiter.
In front of me, low in the early morning sky was a huge, orange full moon. Just below it and to the left from my position, looked to be a very bright star, but I knew it wasn't a star. I wouldn't be able to see a star so low in the sky (it was just above my visible horizon) just before sunrise. And I knew Jupiter was at it's closest distance to the Earth at this time, because I can sense when it's near to me.
I also knew that it could be seen near the moon's position, because the Internets machine had told me so. But I hadn't thought about it before leaving for my walk, so the sight of the two astronomical bodies was somewhat of a pleasant surprise, to say the least.
What I didn't know at the time was this was a very special sight... a once in a lifetime thing to see.
And you know what that sight is, dear readers, because the post that precedes this one was a short notice explaining the rare celestial vision so you could see it yourselves last night, which I hope you had the opportunity to do. I had to send my lovely case manger, Erin, a special Email with this information because she rarely reads the blog anymore because she's so busy and all, and I didn't want her to miss it.
"Thanks rick," she replied, being too busy to use her "shift" key when typing my name.
But I digress.
What I was looking at is referred to as a Harvest Moon (or some call it a Wine Moon, or Singing Moon and an Elk Call Moon. I don't know why). A Harvest Moon is the first full moon closest to the Autumn Equinox, which we've already learned in the post, "Health Care in Autumn," is when "the tilt of the Earth's axis matched that of the Sun's center, or our equator aligned itself with the orbital plane our planet travels in around the sun, which means both hemispheres, the northern and southern, were receiving the same amount of energy from our star, and the days and nights are about the same length of time." This happens twice a year. The Vernal Equinox marks the passage of Winter to Spring, and the Autumn Equinox, which occurred Wednesday night at 8:09PM my time, marks the passage of Summer into Autumn, or the Fall.
Now Wednesday night/Thursday morning's full moon appeared just 5 1/2 hours after the equinox, which made that full moon a Harvest Moon which occurred on the same night as the equinox, which hadn't happened since 1991, and won't happen again until 2029, which was pretty cool in itself.
The moon looked really bright and big. That's due to two factors. First the reflected white light that bounces off the Moon's surface and arrives in my eyeball has to travel through thicker layers of the Earth's atmosphere when it is low in the sky near the horizon, which it was when I saw it on the bridge. The atmosphere scatters the blue part of the sunlight while allowing the red part to travel in a straighter line to my eye, so I see it as being rather orange in color.
It looked really big in the sky directly above 6th Street apparently due to an optical illusion which happens whenever a celestial object is viewed when it is low in the sky, or near the horizon. No one knows why. Our brains are just silly that way.
Now Jupiter was making it's closest approach to the Earth in the last 47 years. It was a mere 390,682,810 miles away (it can be as far as 576,682,810 miles). It hasn't been closer since 1963, and won't be this close again until 2022. It will be shining brightly in our sky, and can be seen until the third week of October.
Between now and December Jupiter and the planet Uranus are traveling close together as seen from the Earth. Now the distance from the Earth to Uranus is much greater. On average Uranus is about 1.78 billion miles away from us. Accordingly, and due to it's current position in it's orbit, Uranus is much harder to see than Jupiter is. You would need some binoculars to see it. But it's there!
Now what made my sighting a once in a lifetime event, as I explained in yesterday's post, is that three things happened that will not happen again in mine, or your lifetime (unless death is cured in the next 30 or 40 years). The full Harvest Moon will shine all night long. The planet Jupiter will also. And lastly, they are doing it on the equinox. September 2010 presents the only time in our lifetime that we will be able to witness the moon and Jupiter’s simultaneous all-night appearance on the equinox. (I'm trying to find out when this will happen again, and when I do I'll be sure to let you know).
I don't know about you dear readers, but any once in a lifetime event to me is pretty darn cool.
And much better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.
Here's to all of us making it to the next Harvest Moon on the equinox! See you in 2029!
You too Erin.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Check it out. Once in a lifetime!

Go out tonight after sunset and take a look at that big full moon. See that bright light nearby. No it's not the International Space Station because it's not moving. Very fast that is. What it is is the planet Jupiter (and if you have binoculars you can see the planet Uranus close to Jupiter), the largest planet in our solar system. The moon you'll be looking at is called a Harvest Moon, as it is the first full moon closest to the Autumn Equinox which occurred last night.
A Harvest Moon that has occurred on the equinox has not happened since 1991, and won't happen again until 2029. But right now Jupiter is in opposition, which means it is on the same orbital plane as the Earth's, and will be in the night sky from sunset to sunrise.
What is special about tonight, is that for the only time during our lifetimes, Jupiter and a Harvest Moon will appear simultaneously throughout the entire night on the equinox.
So go out and take a once in a lifetime look. It's free.

Health Care in Autumn

"September" artist Judith Tager

At 8:09PM my time (PST) last night the Autumnal equinox occurred, which means the the tilt of the Earth's axis matched that of the Sun's center, or our equator aligned itself with the orbital plane our planet travels in around the sun, which means both hemispheres, the northern and southern, were receiving the same amount of energy from our star, and the days and nights are about the same length of time.
This only happens for a little while, and only twice a year. In last night's instance the equinox marked the end of summer and the beginning of autumn in the northern hemisphere. And not a moment too soon as far as me and my dear sister are concerned (she lives in the desert and needs it to start cooling down real bad).
It was a painless transition. I happened to be in my box, kicking back, watching "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome," and didn't feel a thing.
For our Republican friends however, it was, and will remain an excruciating experience. And when the Republicans are in pain you can be certain that something good is happening for the middle class of America, and those who hope to be in the middle class someday (44 million Americans in poverty in 2009. Thank you President Bush! Yes, I said Bush, not Obama. We'll be cleaning up Bush's mess for a long time to come, unless of course we're dumb enough to put the Republicans back in power, which would just make everything worse)
Provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and related Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, enacted by Congress in March 2010 go into effect today, September 23, 2010. What does that mean?
It means that health care in the United States of America changes in the following ways:
1. Children under 19 can no longer be rejected from health care plans due to pre-existing conditions.
"No Discrimination Against Children With Pre-Existing Conditions. The new law includes new rules to prevent insurance companies from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions." -
2. New plans cannot exclude anyone from coverage for a pre-existing condition.
"Prohibits Insurance Companies from Dropping Coverage. In the past, insurance companies could search for an error on a customer's application or other technical mistake and use this error to stop covering the person when he or she got sick. The new law makes this illegal and after media reports cited incidents of breast cancer patients losing coverage, insurance companies agreed to end this practice immediately." -
3. Young adults can stay on their parents' health plan until age 26.
"Extending Coverage for Young Adults. Under the new law, young adults will be allowed to stay on their parents' plan until they turn 26 years old unless they are offered insurance at work. While the provision takes effect in September, most insurance companies have already implemented this new practice. Check with your insurance company or employer to see if you qualify."
4. Insurers can no longer limit the amount of coverage someone can receive over their lifetime.
"Eliminating Lifetime Limits on Insurance Coverage. Under the new law, insurance companies will be prohibited from imposing lifetime dollar limits on essential benefits, like hospital stays." (Note: This only includes new plans, not those already in effect when the healthcare reform law passed.)
5. "Regulating Annual Limits on Insurance Coverage. Under the new law, insurance companies' use of annual dollar limits on the amount of insurance coverage a patient may receive is sharply restricted. In 2014, the use of annual dollar limits on essential benefits like hospital stays will be banned for new plans in the individual market and all group plans."
6. "Appealing Insurance Company Decisions: Consumers will have two ways to appeal coverage decisions or claims: through their insurer or through an independent decision-maker." (Note: This only includes new plans, not those already in effect when the healthcare reform law passed.) -Medscape Today
7. "Free Preventive Care. All new plans must cover certain preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies without charging a deductible, co-pay or coinsurance." (Note: This only includes new plans, not those already in effect when the healthcare reform law passed.) _
8. Cracking Down on Health Care Fraud. Current efforts to fight fraud have returned more than $2.5 billion to the Medicare Trust Fund in FY 2009 alone. The new law invests new resources and requires new screening procedures for health care providers to boost these efforts and reduce fraud and waste in Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP.
Other provisions will kick in automatically beginning on New Years Day 2011, through 2018, with the majority taking effect on the first of January, 2014.
It seems to me that these measures are badly needed in this country, and that practically everyone benefits from their implementation, except the insurance companies.
Why am I writing about this? Because the Democrats are like me, they don't self promote! Unlike me they are running for reelection in a little more than a month, an election with drastic consequences for the nation if they should lose their majority positions in either the House or the Senate. These guys, including the folks at the White House, should be in front of TV cameras 24/7 until November 2nd, shouting out the many accomplishments, the historical accomplishments, of the Obama administration, and not letting the Republicans dominate the airwaves and cable networks as is currently the case ("More than half of Americans mistakenly believe the [health care] overhaul will raise taxes for most people this year, an Associated Press poll finds. But that would be true only if most people were devoted to indoor tanning, which got hit with a sales tax.. Many who wanted the health care system to be overhauled don't realize that some provisions they cared about actually did make it in. And about a quarter of supporters don't understand that something hardly anyone wanted didn't make it: They mistakenly say the law will set up panels of bureaucrats to make decisions about people's care — what critics labeled "death panels." -Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar & Trevor Tompson of AP) Why is the Democratic base supposedly so unenthusiastic? Because the Democrats are not getting them excited, that's why. Watching the Democrats on TV is like watching freaking paint dry. The Democrats who voted for health reform are acting as is they are ashamed of that vote, and not mentioning it in their re-election campaigns, when they should be shouting from the rooftops, defending the law and their vote, extolling the virtues and benefits of this new health care (for that matter, why aren't the Democrats pointing out the fact that the Republicans have refused to allow a vote on a bill funding our troops during a time of war, as was the case Tuesday when they shot down the Defense Appropriations Bill (the first time in 48 years) which included a provision lifting a ban on gays in the military? Why aren't the Dems shouting out "Why do the Republicans hate our troops?!" You can bet your buttons that The Republicans would be if the positions were reversed). But they are letting the Republicans frame the debate, again and again they do this with the same disastrous results. They lose elections. Republicans are using the health care law as a bludgeon to crash over the heads of their opponents, when the opposite should be happening. They aren't stupid people, so I don't see why the DNC doesn't hire some freaking PR people who will get their clients out there where they can be seen, so the Democrats can frame the debate, so the Democrats can tell the people what is really happening, and so the Democrats can point out in no uncertain terms what will happen if the Republicans get back in power.
Hey America! You all upset about unemployment now, about federal spending, and the economy? Just wait until the Republicans take over the House to see how much worse it can get!
And health care? The Republicans position on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is that it will ruin the country some how. They don't say how, or if they do they lie about it. And they offer no alternatives of their own, but their position is based on repealing the law at any cost. They liked it just the way it was, with the big insurance interests able to rip us off at will, deny coverage to those who need it, and increase premiums any time they wanted to, while calling the system "the best health care in the world." They lie and lie and lie. It makes me want to vomit!
Good thing I now have health care!
The Republican dream of repealing the health care reform laws are unlikely to come to fruition since President Obama can veto any attempt they may make if they regain one or both Houses of Congress (and not only the health care laws. They want to get rid of all of the Obama accomplishments, like financial reform. From Thom Hartmann's blog: "Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) has announced that if Republicans regain control over Congress, they will destroy the sweeping Wall Street reform and shred the newly created consumer protection bureau. Shelby said, 'The bill is so sweeping and such a game changer in many ways that it's incumbent upon us to revisit it.' Translation to English: 'if Republicans get power they're going to hand our economy and our money back to their Wall Street masters.'), so they openly state they'll attempt to defund any and every part of it they can, which amounts to further obstructionism, which has been their entire game plan since Obama took office.
See some of the other things the Republicans will do if we let them back at the site below:
It's time for Democrats, progressives, and the left wing base to quit crying about how bad things are and realize how bad things could have been if John McCain had won they election. Instead of standing in an unemployment line trying to get a job while receiving unemployment benefits, they'd probably be in a bread line trying to get a scrap to eat. As the President said a few days ago, it took Bush eight years to screw things up to the point that he did when he left office. Despite our country's Internet and cable TV attention deficit disorder, and spoiled attitudes of "I want it, and I want it now, and if I can't get it now I'm going to have a tantrum and screw things up even worse," it will still take time to repair the damage. That's reality. It isn't always easy, lord knows, but that is all we have to work with.

Line for free dinner. 1932

President Obama is not perfect. He's made mistakes. He needs to spend more federal money to stimulate the economy and increase employment opportunities, not less like the Republicans would have it.
So we need to give him more time, we need to give him more tools, and we need to try to understand his vision for this country.
For he's the best chance we have. We put him in office. Let's let him do the job he was elected to do.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Everybody's On Acid! 3

Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush were definitely partaking of the old French Tic-Tacs when they cuts taxes for the wealthiest among us to such a degree that we're still paying through the nose for their largess, not to mention a contributor to the recession we just pulled ourselves out of (many economists agree that the recession which began in December of 2007, and according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, an entity charged with officially dating the beginning and ending of recessions, ended in June of last year). The Republicans still claim that we're "in the middle" of a recession currently to explain their unwillingness to let the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire at the end of the year (and as yet I've heard no one call them on this). It is unclear that we will not return to a recession (double dip) due to austerity measures (now prevalent in Ireland, for example) and lack of federal spending in a large part caused by Republican deficit fear mongering. I blame the Reagan and Bush tax cuts, unnecessary wars, free trade (Clinton), and deregulation on the fact that 1 in 7 Americans (approximately 44 million) are now below the poverty level of income according to information gathered from the last census (a true national disgrace). "For the first time in memory, [an] entire decade has produced essentially no economic growth for the typical American household," states Harvard economist Lawrence Katz. Median family incomes in 2009 were 5 percent lower than in 1999. The number of US residents without health insurance climbed to 51 million in 2009, and the Republican's plan of action, why repeal health care of course. The net worth of households and non-profit organizations dropped $1.52 trillion during the period from April 1 to June 30 of this year. 35.7 percent of African-American children currently live in poverty. That number is just a little lower for Hispanic children at 33.1 percent.
The Republican response, keep the 700 to 830 billion in tax giveaways to the top 2% of income earners, and freeze, cut, or do away with social assistance programs... oh yeah, and make cuts in Social Security, even though it doesn't add a penny to the national deficit, and actually could be expanded with benefit increases for all:
Thanks President Bush. Do we miss you yet?
Glad you're gone.
Obama is looking into tampering with Social Security as well, with his so-called "Deficit Reduction Commission." He may have been chugging a few Rainbow Skittles too since August saw more Americans lose their homes to foreclosure than any other month on record, RealtyTrac reported last week. Banks repossessed a total of 95,364 properties in August. It's a good thing we bailed them out.
But I bitch and bitch and bitch. I better slip down a Wacky Ticky Tacky myself and calm down. Ooohhh, the colors!
There are some good things in the news. It's not all Republican dominated.
Masturbation has been deemed unholy by the new Republican Senatorial candidate from Delaware (I guess the news is still Republican dominated), Tea Partier and Palin clone, Christine O'Donnell. As Woody Allen once said, and I paraphrase: "Masturbation? But that's my favorite hobby!"
Well I think it's a sin as well, and it's about high time Christine called us out on it. Thank you. I would go even further in fact and go ahead and prohibit sex altogether. You didn't see Jesus Christ going around screwing all over the place now did you? No, I'm almost positive you didn't. Stop having disgusting, ungodly sex if your a Christian I say. If we want kids we can always adopt!
Ha, ha, ha, ha, on the traitor Karl Rove. He was very unhappy about poor Christine's unexpected win, so upset that he broke down and actually told the truth (or ate too much Purple Haze, one of the two) and said, and I paraphrase, that she was a crazy, irresponsible bitch who didn't have a chance in the November general election. And he's right, unless of course the Democrats stay true to form and manage to muck up this race as well as they did in Massachusetts with Teddy Kennedy's old seat. Karl said that right on the old Fox News air, with Sean "Bigger Head than Keith Olbermann" Hannity, who was reduced to a sputtering, mumbling response. Rush Limbaugh spanked him the very next day and he had to recant, getting back to his old self by saying he had been endorsing her all along. You go Karl!
Speaking of Sarah "Momma Grizzly" Palin, she had some advice for her clone mate, Ms. O'Donnell. Don't talk to anybody in the media unless they're from Fox News, presumably because, as obviously even Sarah knows, Chistine's views are crazier than bat shit and can't stand up to scrutiny by the general public, and by that I mean the voting public.
Sarah, shhhhhhhuuusssshhhh! You're letting the cat out of the bag. Keep making those kind of remarks and folks might figure out that Fox News is the propaganda arm of the Republican Party and Tea Party movement! Better tell Ms. O'Donnell to just keep a stiff upper lip, and to "re-load," like you always do.
In Alaska and parts of Canada the grizzly is still legally shot for sport. How interesting.
Here's some more good news Sarah. Chris Matthews of MSNBC's "Hardball," thinks you are a viable candidate for the next President of the United States because you're a "protestor," and you're pretty (by that criteria Jane Fonda should have been President in 1972). I think so to girl, so please, please run.
Just remember, don't talk to anybody unless they're from Fox.
Oh, you're already doing that.
What else is happening due to drug induced behavior?
Last Saturday, near midnight local time, BP was able to finally seal the Deep Horizon well, with only spilling an estimated total of approximately 206 million gallons of oil (at 1.26 million gallons a day) into the Gulf of Mexico as of June 11, which is about 12 to 13 times more than the Exxon Valdez in 1989. Over 2 million gallons of toxic dispersants have been dumped into the Gulf as well to help hide the oil.
They must be on uppers over there.
The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," policy of discrimination, actually the cessation of that policy, was brought before the Senate Tuesday, and filibustered by the Republicans, headed by John (do anything to get re-elected) McCain. The Democrats stuck it into a defense appropriations bill to make it harder for the Republicans to obstruct because of course they are against its repeal, as they're against everything that's good and true. This was the first time a defense appropriates bill has not passed in 48 years, which is a testament to how brazen the Republicans have become trying to placate their far right base.
They'll try again when Congress comes back from upcoming election recess. But don't get all happy and start hitting the magic mushrooms yet. The military top brass say they aren't ready to implement a repeal yet, and the President himself may veto the whole bill due to some provisions concerning our base in Guantánamo Bay, and pork barrel defense expenditures in it that the Defense Department doesn't want, and doesn't need.
Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert of the Daily Show and Colbert Report, respectively, have obviously been huffing the PCP, announcing competing marches on the nation's capital for October 30th, a Saturday. Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity," and Colbert's "March to Keep Fear Alive" counter-rally are sure to clash and should be an interesting sight to see.

All of us here at Joyce's Take sincerely hope violence is kept to a minimum.
And last but not least, dear readers, my lovely case manager, Erin, after much persuasive effort and prodding on my part, has finally registered to vote in the state of California. It was a big step for her, and I hope that you along with me will continue to support her in every way possible as she figures out who to vote for in the upcoming election.
It is unclear if she has been dropping acid. Her sitting alone in her office, with a dreamy smile upon her pretty face while waving her hands and arms in the air directly in front of her, and humming "The Star Spangled Banner," may... or may not be an indication.
We shall see.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Everybody's On Acid! 2

As we've discussed previously (see, The Day Democracy Died 1 & 2, from January), the Supreme Court has elevated campaign contributions by anonymous business interests to the level of free speech in it's Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision. And I mean anonymous, we won't even be able to tell if those giving unlimited amounts of money to selected candidates are from within the country, which means foreign interests have the means to influence our elections in ways heretofore unheard of (why would Iran need a nuclear weapon if it could simply pave the way for their own candidate, sympathetic above all else to their cause, with all of that oil money at their disposal).
"It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans," President Obama said in a statement on the day the decision was handed down.
I've stated before that the major problem this country faces, above all others, is money in the political process, whether it's the federal government, state, or local. As long as elections are not publicly financed, and professional lobbyists are allowed to run rampant through the halls of Congress, government will remain dysfunctional, corrupt, and grid locked, unable to do the work of the people because it's too concerned with doing the business of it's corporate masters who own it through campaign contributions which are nothing but a form of bribery. This goes for Democrats as well as Republicans. The Supreme Court's decision opens the flood gates allowing an infinite amount of money into the process, exactly the opposite of what is needed for the government to actually work.
The Republicans are the corporate party, so they like the Citizens United verdict just fine, figuring that their corporate masters will pour more money into the campaigns of Republican candidates than those of their opponents. And I bet they will.
The Disclose Act (Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act), introduced in the House by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) would do a whole bunch of things to help mitigate the disastrous consequences of the Supreme Court's decision by making CEO's of corporations responsible for the ads they produce, prevent those foreign interests from determining the outcome of our elections, allow shareholders of corporations to know where their money is being spent, prevent tax payer money from being spent on election campaigns by government contractors, and keep corporations from "sponsoring" political candidates (can you imagine, dear readers, Senator John McCain during the last Presidential election with a sign promoting "Viagra" strapped to his back? I can), among other things, all in the name of making elections more transparent, fair and equitable (not to mention shoring up the national security aspect by blocking foreign entities from influencing our elections).
The President said as much himself in his weekly radio address: "What's at stake is not just an election, it's our democracy itself."
But making elections transparent, fair and equitable is not what the Republicans are about, at least when they think they have the advantage, so they keep filibustering the bill, not even allowing it to come to the Senate floor for an up and down vote, something they claim they like to do all of time (when it's to their advantage). Mr. Turtle Head...I'm so sorry. I'm very immature and shouldn't be calling opposition members silly names just because they physically resemble amphibious reptiles... the honorable Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) claims that the president is trying to fix the November election by promoting the Disclose Act, and in doing so admitting that Citizens United will unduly benefit the Republicans, or so they hope. Mitch and his buddies claim the Democrats are only advancing the Disclose Act to maintain their majorities in the House and Senate. Well, duh! Yeah they're trying to maintain their majorities by keeping the election transparent, fair and equitable. But as I've said earlier, the Republicans aren't in to that.
What does all of this election business and campaign finance reform have to do with lysergic acid diethylamide? Just take a look at Turtle Head's... I mean McConnell's eyes... he's got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll's eyes. When he comes at ya, doesn't seem to be living... until he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then... ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin... well, you just know he's gotta be tripping.

And all of those freaks at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce too!

Other notable drug related items in the news:
Those happy go lucky folks on the Texas School Board of Education are at it again. They're tired of all of the Muslim infiltration of our children's textbooks, making them appear all nice and all, nicer than Christians. Seriously. They contend that "Middle Easterners," are buying into the nation's textbook businesses hoping to turn our kids into little Osama's, and have issued a resolution for them to stop doing it. These are the same sick idiots who recently voted to amend the books used in their classrooms to a decidedly right wing bent, such as pulling Thomas Jefferson from a list of figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century, replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone (because he coined the term "separation between church and state," which the conservative majority of the board does not believe exists). They also wish to add the same old stuff right wingers are always promoting, Darwin's theory of evolution is questionable, and the countries founders were guided by Christian principles... like the ownership of slaves.
Clearly these guys and gals have been passing around the Orange Sunshine.
The GOP in Montana of all places, want to make homosexuality illegal. "We support the clear will of the people of Montana expressed by legislation to keep homosexual acts illegal." So if your born gay in Montana, through no fault of your own, I don't know, you'd have to go to jail I guess. They should enforce the laws prohibiting glue sniffing and slugging down hits of windowpane instead.
Someone in the Obama Administration thinks it's a good idea to sell Saudi Arabia about 60 billion dollars worth of weapons and military hardware. Obviously on acid. That's just what this world needs... more weapons in the Middle East. Well that will certainly show those Iranians for standing up for themselves by refusing to stop enriching uranium because the Republican neo-cons are making it a wedge issue of it in the states, won't it?
As Colin (Colin) Powell said just Sunday morning on "Meet the Press," and I paraphrase, "Iran wants to survive. They know what would happen to them if they were to use a nuclear weapon in the area." I agree, it's unlikely Iran would use a nuclear weapon if it had one. So let's sober up all you Bill Kristols and John McCains out there, and put down the Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

To be continued:

Monday, September 20, 2010

Happy Birthday Erin!!

Ms. Erin

Erin A! What a cutie!

"Well I'm just outa school
Like I'm real real cool
Gotta dance like a fool
Got the message that I gotta be
A wild one
Ooh yeah
I'm a wild one
Gotta break it loose
Gonna keep 'em movin' wild
Gonna keep a swingin' baby
I'm a real wild child"

"Wild One," Johnny Greenan, Johnny O'Keefe, and Dave Owens

Happy birthday wishes go out this morning for one of my favorite case managers here at SRHT, the lovely Ms. Erin A!
Yes, I know, another lovely Erin! How lucky am I to have so many lovely Erins close by. I bet you I've got more than you do, dear readers! What have you got to say about that? Not talking, huh. I don't blame you. If I were as deficient in lovely Erins as you are I'd be quiet about it too.
Be that as it may, this is not the first time we've come across my friend Erin A. on Joyce's Take. Her first appearance was in the post entitled "Celebrate... The Shocking Conclusion," from last December, which can be found here:
I'm happy to report that Erin has fully recovered from that unfortunate incident and is happily back working diligently for the welfare of her clients.
Erin A. is a vibrant, beautiful redhead (as can be evidenced in the pictures above). Very vivacious and open, with the type of personality that I find instantly appealing. Quite often I have to warm up to people before I even start talking to them, but not Erin. We got along very quickly and easily.
You may wonder why I choose to open this post with some of the lyrics from the popular song "Wild One." That should become clear very soon.
She is quite young, just a little older than our Erin, dear readers, and today celebrates the beginning of her 28th trip around the Sun (which means she's 27).
As related in that earlier post, I first met Erin when she came to the Las Americas as an intern, with another older lady. This was back when Marisella was my case manager, and Demitri, was her partner.
As an intern Erin came from her college program on certain days to observe, learn, and participate in some of the daily activities in several of the SRHT hotels. Which she did. I remember her sitting in with us during a few of the support groups, but mostly out back in the garden, which she would help us tend.
Now I think Marisella thought the role of the intern was a bit different. I believe she thought that Erin was there to help her with her duties, help with filing and tedious stuff like that, and accordingly would send Erin and her colleague out to the garden so she could stay in her office and hide out, doing the important work (looking up pictures of Christian Bale on the Internet). Which was fine with me. Erin was fun to talk to and seemed genuinely interested in everything going on, but I think after a while she got a tad rebellious of they way she was being used and soon stopped coming altogther... where she went I don't know.
Oh yes, she told me she read one of my holiday plays that Marisella and Demitri asked me to write, and said she liked it, which makes her my friend forever.
In any case, after Marisella took off to Australia, and my Erin arrived in November of 2008, and we began the Yoga Class, I met Erin A. again and learned that she had herself become a case manager in November as well at a different hotel. I met her at a yoga session, and haven't seen her since. Why? Simply because SHE NEVER COMES TO FREAKING YOGA CLASS ANYMORE! That's why.
So we really don't keep in touch, and to tell you the truth I don't know that much about her.
But I do know the following... the following information that she herself has provided to a certain set of questions, so it must be true. So let's briefly explore my friend Erin A. (figuratively speaking that is), on her birthday.
We have a few things in common, young Erin and I do, which I find intensely fascinating. When asked what her political views are she labels herself a socialist, like me. I've never met a socialist woman before so this is very exciting. I would stipulate for myself that I am rather a democratic socialist, to differentiate myself from a commie pinko, but that's just me.
We both tend not to associate ourselves with organized religion, or at least have a humanistic approach toward it. I flat out state that I'm an atheist. When asked she provided this reply:
"God's work isn't done by God it's done by people."
Very good.
We both like music from The Beatles and Tom Petty.
Her Drag Queen name is Smokey Dallas. My porn star name is Licky Willowcreast.
We both studied sociology. She did at San Francisco State University. I studied it inside multiple stripper joints in San Diego.
She lives in nearby Long Beach. I once spent a week in the brig in Long Beach.
When asked what her favorite movies are, she states: "I like movie[s] with blood guts and boobs, I also like all other movies in all other categories and even if they suck I'll probably watch them a second time just to make sure. The Bork."
Well who can't agree with that. ("The Bork," seems to be a reference to an Independent feature horror film from director/writter David Molinari.)
Her favorite T.V. shows: "Carnivale, I don't have cable, Dexter." (Somebody get this girl cable! "Carnivàle," refers to an HBO show that ran for two seasons, kind of a mystic/Stephen Kingish "Grapes of Wrath." "Dexter," well that's a show about a serial killer who kills other serial killers. Kinky!).
And we both enjoy watching teams of everyday people who have built homemade, human-powered flying machines pilot them off a 30-foot high deck in hopes of achieving flight but smashing into a watery grave below. Now I call that fun!
She lists her favorite quote as being "Trying to make a dollar out of fifteen cents." Now that's optimism if I ever heard it.
And when asked to provide some biographical info she wrote the following: "PeOpLe DOnT CaRE HoW mUCh yoU KnOw UNtiL tHeY kNoW HoW MucH YOU CaRe."
Obviously she has a faulty "Caps Lock" button on her computer. (Somebody get that girl a new computer!)
And last but by no means least, she provides this as "Other," or general information:
"The 415, Everyone I know is getting married or pregnant, I'm just getting drunk, American Beauty tattoo, Dani Elle Photography, We Love Long Beach Arts!, you!, Peets Coffee & Tea, I'm single - You're going to have to be pretty amazing to change that..[Oh, a challenge! I'd be after her myself if she were just a couple of years younger], Ooooooooh, That sounds a bit harsh, I better put "lol" on the end of it, MY SISTER SAID IF I GET ONE MILLION FANS SHE WILL NAME HER BABY MEGATRON, Lindsay Cahill Photography, South Coast Shingle & A-! Building Materials, Los Desperados Art Banditos, When I was a kid I thought Cal Worthington said "Pussycow" not "Go see Cal" and 16 more."
16 more what I ask? I NEED TO KNOW!
This woman is clearly disturbed. Yet her job description is to, "case manage homeless mentally ill adults."
Now I strongly take exception to this. Her job, like my Erin's, is to provide case management services to clients (whether they like it or not) like me, and I live in a very comfortable box, and have done so for eight years, which could hardly be called being homeless.
In any case, myself, my invisible cat Herkimer, and everybody here at Joyce's Take wish her the very best luck continuing on in her life, and a very happy birthday!
Happy Birthday Erin!

*And now a birthday picture of Erin A. being abducted by space aliens... just for the pure sweet hell of it! (she seems to be liking it)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Everybody's On Acid!

As I related... as I confessed, in the birthday tribute for Cassandra Peterson recently, I once experimented with lysergic acid diethylamide, commonly known as "acid." Despite the bad reputation the government and law enforcement agencies tried to hang on it (like it causes genetic damage and birth defects), in reality it is one of the most innocuous recreational drugs that exist. It is not addictive. It is less habit forming than marijuana. A tolerance for the drug develops quite quickly, which means you can only use it sporadically to gain it's greatest effect.
However it is debilitating for a few hours, more so if the user is unfamiliar with the effects it does produce. A true hallucinogen, the wavy, multicolored forms and shapes that manifest themselves, and the light headed, erethral state of mind can lead to some fairly outrageous behavior based on some fairly outrageous conclusions that have no basis whatsoever in reality.
I used the drug primarily in the 70s, and had thought it's wide use had been discontinued, or at least curtailed to such an extent that it was almost totally eradicated.
But reading of current events in the news lately I've come to the conclusion that LSD has made a triumphant comeback, and that almost everyone in this country is tripping their freaking heads off.
The current political atmosphere in the United States is such that the extreme right wing of the GOP, which includes Sarah Palin and her Tea Baggers, seem to believe that it is entirely appropriate to let lose and air their deepest bigoted fears and aspirations, and be applauded for it, or any other half baked idea that may by accident pop into the pea brained heads (Friday night I saw a Internet video with some red necked moron in a cowboy hat proclaiming that MSNBC has hired a gay vampire to propagandize to the nations children, in the personification of dear sweet Rachel Maddow who happens to have two small round birth marks on her neck, a true indication of her vampireness).
And in order to feed the cable 24/7 news cycle, the corporate media is constantly putting these loonies in front of a camera and on television. So it seems the crazier you are, or appear to be, the more publicity you are most likely to get, such as this so-called "Reverend" Terry Jones, who doesn't appear to be crazy, rather he seems to be a run of the mill ignorant bigot. This guy, the head of a whole 50 member church (if you can call it that), gained world wide attention by threatening to burn some books, which happened to the Islamic holy text, the Koran, last week on the anniversary of 9/11. He had everybody from President Obama, to Hillary Clinton and General Petraeus, to thousands of Muslims around the world, all worked up due to the publicity he got through the media. He eventually recanted after a huge amount of pressure was put upon him, but I remain surprised there aren't about a hundred others guys out there doing the same thing.
This week all I see on TV, and I'm talking about my favorite cable news source here, MSNBC, the only cable network that provides some semblance of a progressive point of view, is coverage of the likes of Palin, Mike Huckabee, Mitt (Mitt) Romney, and their like, at this Voter Values Summit (the political arm of the Family Research Council), or at some other venue, stirring up the fringe base with absurd, but provocative claims and admonitions. They'll say anything to get in the limelight, and try to get their hopped up, Fox brain-washed base behind them.
And let's make no mistake about this Tea Party which is constantly in the news. Tea Party this, Tea Party that. Well it turns out that the Tea Partiers are a tiny fraction of the GOP, if they even wish to identify them selves with the Republican Party. They aren't black. They aren't Hispanic. They aren't gay, and they aren't young. Studies show the Tea Party consists mainly of disgruntled older Americans seeking to shake up the nation in a decidedly rightward direction, which means as they die off they'll be replaced by their younger deluded right wingers, who hopefully will be a tad more tolerant of the others who live in society with them, and who actually study, or at least become casually aware of subjects before they begin rallying against them. And it would appear that the Republican presidential front runners, such as Palin, Huckabee, and Romney are bending over backwards to appease and placate this tiny fraction of voters, thanks in large part to the publicity they are constantly receiving from the corporate media.
Hey wait a minute, that sounds like a good thing for us Democrats come the general election in November... way to go Tea Partiers! Way to go corporate media! Got any extra tabs or some blotter?
Anyway, that same corporate media assures us that the Republicans are going to win big in November, at least regaining the House of Representatives, and possibly the Senate. I see it all of the freaking time. I see it from the New York Times, I see it on the Internet. I hear it on the radio. I see it on television. Why have a an election if NBC and Fox and all the others have figured out how to travel in the future and tell us who has already won? It would certainly be a lot cheaper and less bothersome than having to go out and find all of those dirty polling places and actually cast a vote, when according to the media it doesn't matter anyway, because they already know who has won! Just let corporations tell us in advance who our next Congress will be so we won't have to go through all of that bother.
Well as it turns out... that's exactly what they'd like to do, and will continue doing with a great deal of success if we keep on letting them.

To be continued: