Tuesday, August 04, 2009

What I've Been Thinking About While I Was Too Busy to Blog

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!


Christopher said...


The Birthers are whack. They're just making shit up and yet according to Markos' poll over at DailyKos, more than 40% of southerners think President Obama was born in a hospital in Mombasa, Kenya!

Lou Dobbs
Sean Hannity
Bill O'Reilly
Glenn Beck
Michelle Malkin
Sarah Palin

They're kooks and I'm up to my balls with their crazy town antics.

Michael Vick. Girl, don't even get me going on this scumbag!

Snave said...

Wow, those are some heavy subjects to be contemplating! Heh!

Dobbs ought to move to FOX. It's where he belongs.

Some people are so desperate they will do and say ANYTHING... John Bolton is even criticizing Bill Clinton's trip to N. Korea to win the release of the imprisoned journalists, saying it amounts to rewarding N. Korea for its bad behavior...

I think the worst part of all this probably-orchestrated crap is that the mainstream media seems to willingly report what these people are saying in a fairly non-critical way, lending credence to them.

We are only 6 1/2 months into Obama's term. He is still less than 15% of the way through his term. Can you imagine what kind of dirty tricks they will pull over the remaining 85%? I don't think we have seen anything yet.

Kvatch said...

The birthers are such tools.

Bee said...

Michael Vick. What a POS. I always wondered why the commonwealth's attorney couldn't get him on any of the drug/gun running that normally goes hand in hand with the dogfighting. But then, our State Attorneys aren't all that great, usually.

Annette said...

Vick should still be in jail and would be if I had my way... I think he is lower than dirt..but I guess we are in the minority.

The Health Care, I think will be fine.. if not, I really hope they pass nothing. Then we can come back and try again.

Plaxico is done.. gone bye bye...and he should be..

The Birthers and their Ilk..I don't know..I am of two minds with them, I for a while thought we should ignore them, and they did last year to a certain extent and they haven't gone away.. in fact they have gotten stronger and larger.. so I think now it is time to do as Bill Maher said and fight them.. If not it could be just like what happened to Bill Clinton that ended up with him getting impeached and with Kerry and the Swiftboaters.. Now they are trying to use the fact that there is a Rassmussen poll saying that I forget home many people believed that Bush and the CIA/FBI had knowledge of or was involved with the 9/11 attack.. well I don't and didn't ever think he was involved so to speak..but it was proven that he was warned an attack was coming and he did nothing.. so how would you answer that when asked 3 years after the fact? So I think that is a bad comparison.

Those are my thoughts anyway...

D.K. Raed said...

Agree with you 100% about Vick. Can't state strongly enough, a person who would that to dogs is a menace to everyone. Sociopaths all start out hurting animals first. Thinking of how he & so many other cruel people treat animals keeps me awake at night.

Been meaning to tell you how much I enjoyed seeing your cabin progress (posted by Baxter)! To make good use of space while achieving a nice rustic look is not easily done, but you did it. Baxter needs to see it in person!

themom said...

As for Vick, I find it hard to forgive, when i believe his words are just pandering to the masses to get his job back. Whatever team may "pick him up" - will have to bear the wrath of the fans. That's where the money comes from to pay these over-priced athletes.

Health care: I'm amazed at all the BS coming from the right...not really. This group of idiots do not care about the 50 million uninsured people in this country. they want to sit comfortably in the pockets of these healthcare lobbyists.

Burress: I like him when he was with the Steelers, then he got the swelled head and said some awful things about the team that paid him big bucks. Michael Bloomberg, said he would use him (Burress) to "set an example." I feel he will be doing some time on this one.

Birthers: IDIOTS!!!!

Baxter: The best!

Tom Harper said...

Moderate Republicans (if there still is such a thing) claim the Birthers don't speak for them. But like Christopher said, huge percentages of Republicans (and not just in the south) believe Obama was born outside of the U.S. I think the media should play it up even more, and hang the Birthers around the neck of the Republican Party. Let them stand there and squirm and try to pull off that albatross.

If there's a such thing as Karma, Michael Vick will get attacked by a roving raging pitbull (or several of them).

Randal Graves said...

On Vick, I don't know how much fan wrath there will be. Most sports fans willingly put the blinders on. Winning is all that matters. If Vick was the final piece between the Browns and a world championship, I'd say try it without him. Thankfully, I don't have to worry about that because I don't know how much he'll be able to help a team.

I want to see everyone's birth certificate.

Anonymous said...

Agreed with everything, but the birthers thing. I say give them all the press they crave. Exposing them as the wingnuttery bunch they are just locks the Rethugs to them, and works as gold for the next congressional election. I love it. Let them scream, for in their screams we know they for who they are!

LeftLeaningLady said...

I finally broke down and posted on the birthers. Do you think it is mass hysteria? Or mass psychosis? I had this discussion with a co-worker yesterday about the difference between a birth certificate and a certificate of live birth. I think SOMETHING is certifiable and it isn't my President.

I have heard rumors about Vick going to the Vikings. I am not a Vikings fan, but my main man, WR Percy Harvin, member of the 2006 & 2008 National Champions UF Gator Teams, was drafted in April by the Vikings and I was planning to watch him play on Sundays. NOT.IF.MICHAEL.VICK.IS.ON.THE.TEAM. I don't care if he plays or not.

Plaxico Burress is a dipshit of the highest order, but they are talking a minimum of 3 year sentence, maybe more. He should be charged, but he shot himself. No one else was harmed. How can anyone forgive Vick and hate on Burress?

Glad you are back, but I know how the urge to post comes and goes. Living is more important.

Comrade Kevin said...

I have yet to stumble on what the media's real agenda for giving so much ink and screen time for the Birthers, unless they are trying to further damage the Republican party.

I don't think Michael Vick should ever play again. Period.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

The number of whackos in this country makes me despair, so I try not to think about it too much.

I hope something passes on health care. But I'm not holding my breath.

I guess I'm cranky tonight.

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