I've been a bad blogger - over a week without a post. But that doesn't mean my mind was not fomenting opinionated polemics about various subjects all week. Just not enough to spur me to sit down at the computer and write about them.
As you know, Baxter tries to keep a relatively objective point of view when he reports the news; in fact, thanks go to Dave Dubya for kindly comparing him to Walter Cronkite! Baxter was "Very Pleased." He also thanks everyone else for their comments as well.
Unlike Baxter, I am more apt to let my feelings show about the news and so I'll subject you all to a short barrage of opinions on a bunch of different things that I've been reacting to this past week. So here goes:
The Birthers: I am sick to death of mainstream news outlets actually giving any air time to the ridiculous accusation that President Obama was not born in Hawaii on this date in 1961 or that he is not eligible to be President. It's just one more example of the right trying to distract from real issues and de-legitimize the President. This kind of thing has been going on since Bill Clinton was elected and this is just one more example of the kind of wing-nuttery this country has become prey to. At least when the Democrats claimed George W. Bush was illegitimately elected by the Supreme Court they had a reason to feel that way, since the Court overstepped its bounds.
But our whole country needs to get a grip and understand that "it is what it is" - once a President is sworn in, he's the President and that's that. Get over it and get a life. Also, stop saying he's the AntiChrist. It's just silly. Who ARE these people anyway? And why are we talking about them?
Michael Vick: NFL Commissioner Goodell reinstated Vick conditionally after Vick finished serving his sentence for running the horrific dogfighting operation, Bad Newz Kennels. (And he didn't just sponsor the ring monetarily - he participated in the abuse of innocent dogs. "Vick pleaded guilty after his three co-defendants had already done so. They told of how Vick participated in the killing of dogs that didn't perform well in test fights by shooting, hanging, drowning or slamming them to the ground.")
According to the conditions of Goodell's reinstatement of Vick, Vick "agreed to undergo psychiatric testing, which determined that he was capable of returning to the NFL but needed continuing counseling." In addition, Vick said he had matured as an individual, has re-evaluated his life and fully understands "the terrible mistakes I have made in the past and what type of life I must lead moving forward." He also happens to be bankrupt so has a great self-interest in being able to play again.
So far no NFL team has offered him a job since the reinstatement - but I'm sure it's only a matter of time. Some people feel the world should forgive Vick for his crimes and let him make a new start. Some have said there are guys playing who have done "worse" things than hurting and killing dogs (spouse abuse, drugs, DUI manslaughter, etc.) and are still playing. Well, maybe so. But maybe they shouldn't be playing either.
I am not convinced of Vick's remorse. I want to see him pledge to give an ongoing percentage of his future salary to pitbull rescue organizations or to help break up dogfight operations - or even go work for an animal rescue organization to truly make up for what he has done. I'm as forgiving as the next person but when it comes to exploiting and torturing an animal that is only trying to please its owners, or a child who is at the mercy of his torturer, these crimes I can't forgive. Why should Michael Vick go on with his high-paid career after what he has done? I know many will disagree but I can't help but feel this way.
Thankfully almost all of the dogs rescued from Vick's operation are doing well and will probably eventually find homes. Here is a video from the rescue organization BAD RAP, which has participated in rehabilitating some of the Vick dogs.
Healthcare Reform: So far the House Energy and Commerce Commission has passed one version of a healthcare reform bill and the Senate has another one in the works that is different. Neither of them will make everyone happy. According to the linked article, President Obama stated, "'The bill that they have passed will strengthen consumer protections and choice, while lowering costs and improving care, underscoring the broad consensus among all of the bills that have emerged in Congress,' he said.
The bill would make more low-income people eligible for Medicaid, the federal healthcare program; provide health insurance subsidies for middle class Americans; and offer a government-sponsored plan as an alternative to private insurance."
Of course, the concern on the left is that the public option will be stripped out in the final legislation once the rest of Congress has a go at this after the August recess. On the right there is continued fearmongering regarding "Socialism" and "government run healthcare," while on the left there is fear of a watered-down version of reform that just makes things worse without solving the real problems.
We don't know yet how this will turn out but my feeling is, it is likely at least some good will come out of it. We on the left may not get everything we want, but there will be improvements. Even President Bush's Medicare Part D prescription coverage, flawed though it is, was an improvement over no coverage at all. The "doughnut hole" system at least allows a good amount of prescriptions to be covered before the "hole" kicks in - and then picks up again when the expenses become more catastrophic. It's not perfect. But it's better than not having it. "The best (or perfect) is the enemy of the good" is one of my favorite sayings. Often good is accomplished in an incremental way. By holding out for the perfect, sometimes we don't get any good at all.
When these healthcare reforms get closer to final, let's all take a good look at what is truly being proposed and ask ourselves, "Is it better than what we have?" If the answer is yes, then it is worth doing.
Plaxico Burress: The former NFL player for the NY Giants was indicted for gun possession stemming from an incident in a nightclub last year when he accidentally shot himself in the leg with an unlicensed gun. According to the linked article, "Burress was at the Latin Quarter nightclub Nov. 29 when a gun tucked into his waistband slipped down his leg and fired, shooting him in the right thigh." On the radio I had also heard this, and that he was wearing sweatpants at the time. Sweatpants. Not even a real pair of pants with a belt that might have held the gun in place. Someone could have been killed and he's lucky he wasn't more badly wounded himself. My main reaction to this story, however, was WTF? Who goes into a nightclub with a gun loosely stuck in their sweatpants WITH THE SAFETY OFF? Hello?! How stupid is that? This is the reason people shouldn't be allowed to carry concealed weapons. Because some of these people don't have the common sense the good Lord, if there is one, gave them.
OK, I'm done now. I'll be back with any further diatribes if the mood strikes!