Sunday, June 28, 2009

Michael Jackson...Rest in Peace?

I grew up with Michael Jackson. From the time I was little, I loved the Jackson 5, and even remember the Saturday morning cartoon. Throughout the years, I liked a lot of Michael Jackson's music. He was enormously talented - an incredibly gifted dancer and good singer. His music was catchy and his videos broke old boundaries on MTV.

When I turned on the news this afternoon, however, it seemed to be way over the top. All I could get was Michael Jackson. Not just stories about him, but mindless interviews with people in the streets...and theatrical meltdowns. Some of these people seem to have
lost their damn minds, and the news stations cover it like there is no other news at all - when we know there is. Of course, twenty-four hour news stations love it when something big happens that they can use to fill in time.

Perhaps it is about perspective. I have a good friend in the hospital who is very seriously ill. It was a very difficult couple of weeks until he was finally declared stable two days ago. I got emotional, I cried, I worried. And it was heartbreaking watching his girlfriend go through her pain, waiting and hoping for him to recover. Even though he has still not opened his eyes, we know he will soon. Point is, that no matter how famous a person was, or
how wonderful of a performer, he was not a close friend.

I guess it just shows the effect of memories and the influence of pop culture. And
I mean no disrespect. My sympathies go out to his family. But, he grew to be a very strange, spoiled, eccentric man whose lifestyle, numerous plastic surgeries to the point of freakishness, unhealthy addictions, and anorexic-like stature probably just took its toll. It shows, once again, that money doesn't take care of everything. And I guess everyone reacts to things in their own way.

But...again, let's keep it in perspective. The man was a pop star. This isn't the second coming of Christ.

I guess it is my hope that a very gifted - but tormented - individual can finally just be at peace, and rest in peace. This is, of course, if the media will let him.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cheating Republicans and Rush Limbaugh

As yet another politician is in the limelight for not being able to keep it in his pants, they seem to be the same ones who pointed their critical fingers at someone else. It is not only hypocritical, but sickening.

With the latest scandal, Mark Sanford, the bigger deal is that he simply disappeared from office for five days and didn't let anyone know where he was. Apparently he also was in Argentina with his mistress on the state's dime. It's all a bit ridiculous.

Even more ridiculous is, once again, Rush Limbaugh. When a Democrat cheats on his wife, we never hear the end of it.
They are not only condemned by their own party, they are used as examples of immorality in the conservative media repeatedly. When Republicans do it, they seem to be met by applause and excuses. The latest takes the cake though, even for Limbaugh. According to Chattahbox:
“[Sanford] had just tried to fight the stimulus money coming to South Carolina. He didn’t want any part of it; he lost the battle. He said, what the hell. I mean, the federal government’s taking over…what the hell, I want to enjoy life.”So, let’s recap. Because of President Obama’s economic policies implemented to prevent the complete collapse of our economy, mostly due to eight years of damaging Republican policies under the Bush administration, Republicans like Gov. Sanford are saying to themselves, “To hell with it,” “I just want to get away…” “What the hell, I want to enjoy life.”

According to Limbaugh’s reasoning, Gov. Sanford then cheated on his wife, abandoned his four children and his constituents, despondent, muttering under his breath “…I don’t even want to fight this anymore…” “To hell with it,” and then in a Zombie-like state boarded a plane to Argentina to be in the loving arms of his South American “exotic” mistress.

And all of this behavior can be attributed to Democrats ruining the country and Obama’s economic stimulus.

Is this man still high on his prescription painkillers? I can't understand how anyone can listen to Limbaugh - especially women. His sexist, downright piggish, comments over and over again - backed up by his hypocritical conservative rationalizations - just keep getting more asinine. He is taking his reputation of an overpaid windbag to a whole new level. One of these days, I'm just hoping his microphone doesn't work anymore.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

On Health Care

As the debates continue on health care, it becomes more and more obvious that we need something. If, as debated, Canada's model is not good, let's look at France's model. But, we have to do something.

If a person is employed full-time in this country, chances are they are offered something for health care. If they are not, or they lose their jobs - as many have - they have nothing. Going to the emergency room is not preventative health care - it is emergency care.

Working in social and human services, I see funds in this field cut continuously. Every time our governor, Tim Pawlenty, needs money for the state, he cuts human services. He hits the people with nothing to begin with - and the ones who have the weakest voices. His latest is to cut all single people off of general medical care (GMAC). He is also planning on cutting paraplegic's personal care attendants, and education - just to name a few. Isn't this special? This includes not only clients, but friends of mine. I can tell you that if this man runs for president, he will have no fans in Minnesota. He is brutal and what he is doing is not only immoral, but illegal. But, of course, he has found some sort of a loophole. Wouldn't it be great if he could also find some compassion?

Recently a friend, that I think the world of, was diagnosed with a pituitary adenoma - a benign tumor of the brain. It was discovered after his vision started to go blurry. He can no longer read or drive. The size of a golf ball, the tumor was to be removed in a supposedly easy procedure - in which they pulled it through his nose. The procedure was NOT easy and because of the size of the tumor (his is considered to be "giant"), an additional surgery is needed to get the rest of the tumor. This surgery will be even more serious. As the neurosurgeon said, even benign tumors can wreck havoc.

This man has worked his entire life. He is well-educated, bright, and has always been extremely healthy. After being one of the many who was laid off recently, he could not afford the ridiculous price of Cobra and his insurance lapsed. Now, he will have two major surgeries on his brain, numerous appointments, numerous MRI's, and a long recovery period. He is fine with this, as long as it is gone out of his head and he can see again. He will probably be given a hospital bill that easily goes above $100,000.

If we had a good national health care system, this would be taken care of. In his case, my friend had the smarts to know that if he went to a large county hospital with one of the best trauma centers in the country, they would treat him. What else could he do? I was trying to help him by getting him on GMAC. But now, our ever-so-caring governor, is cutting that too.

So, for all the politicians with their great preventative health care, that is top-notch, and always there - could you at least try to have some heart? Or in Tim Pawlenty's case, maybe grow one? There are good people out there who need this vital service - and, in the case of my friend and all the others, it is not only needed, but deserved.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Enough Already on the Letterman Joke

It seems a small group of Sarah Palin supporters started a "Fire David Letterman" campaign. After his joke and two apologies, we saw that - once again - Sarah Palin just likes to be in the spotlight. She is much more of a candidate for the cover of the National Enquirer than a political figure of any sort. Now at least she seems to have accepted his last apology - of course this is after she's made a massive deal out of a joke, exaggerated it to the max, and fired up her fan base.

But, after Letterman's two apologies, I had to laugh when I read this from Entertainment Weekly. Seems the comedian is back to his old self:

"I want to get through this quickly so you can get to the 'Fire Dave' rally," he said, referring to the demonstration being held by Gov. Sarah Palin supporters, a gathering that one news source said numbered three dozen, while put the number closer to 15. Wow, what a show of outrage. Do you get the feeling that even the people who are angry at Letterman are beginning to feel it's time to live and let live?

The theme of the nightly Top 10 List was the "Top 10 Things Overheard at the Fire David Letterman Rally." It included "When does Cheney arrive with the waterboarding gear?" "Well, it was nice of CBS to provide the catering," and "Isn't there always a crowd demanding Letterman be fired?"

As I said in an earlier post, Palen is the one who paraded her kids out like props, not Letterman. And Palen is the one who has brought all this up about her fourteen year old. It's all just plain stupid. So now, let it go already. He's a comedian who makes his living out of being inappropriate at times. And for the couple dozen or so people who showed up for the "Fire David Letterman" rally - get a life.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Shooting at the Holocaust Museum

It is difficult to understand how anyone can deny the Holocaust. Where did all those people go? And what about all the facts and pictures and videos? I would be hard to convince my Uncle Bill, a soldier with some of the first American troops who marched into Dacau concentration camp to liberate the prisoners there. The scene was so horrific that even now, sixty-four years later, he still won't talk about it.

When a maniacal James von Brunn went to the Holocaust Museum last week and shot a guard, with the intention of shooting more - one has to wonder how a person can be so consumed with hatred. The thirty-nine year old guard simply opened the door for the man. The other guards opened fire on von Brunn before he could hurt or kill anyone else. James von Brunn's son, Erik, issued a heart felt statement that was reported on Daily News, saying his father's actions were "unforgiveable:"

Erik von Brunn said father James von Brunn's racist and anti-Semitic views had tormented his family.

"His views consumed him, and in doing so, not only destroyed his life, but destroyed our family and ruined our lives as well," he wrote in a statement obtained by ABC News.

"For a long time, I believed this was our family's cross to bear. Now, it is not only my families' lives that are in shambles, but those who were directly affected by his actions, especially the family of Mr. Johns, who bravely sacrificed his life to stop my father."

The son had a message for those who sympathize with his dad: "What he did was an act of cowardice."

"To physically force your beliefs onto others with violence is not brave, but bullying. Doing so only serves to prove how weak those beliefs are. It is simply desperation, reminiscent of a temper tantrum when a child cannot get his way."

I thank Erik for his thoughtful statement condemning his father's actions. It is sad that there are people like his father who are so bigoted, so angry. It is a pathetic way to live your life. Even sadder is that he then went out and did something that destroyed another family. My thoughts and prayers go out to Stephen Johns' family.

To deny something as harrowing as the Holocaust and to take a gun into a memorial of the Holocaust is so beyond cruel and evil. To deny something that is such a devastating part of history that murdered millions of people is not only an insult to the Jewish population, but to all humanity. As James von Brunn lays in critical condition, I realize and respect the fact that doctors have to try and save everyone - but in this case, one has to wonder why.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Letterman, Palin & Her Continued Parade

Ah, Sarah Palin. The gift that keeps on giving...or the one that just won't go away? In her current "feud" with David Letterman, she is back in the spotlight right where she likes to be.

When the campaign was over, many of us were really hoping that Palin would just slink into the vast wilderness of Alaska as a not-so-happy loser. She would change back into her hunting clothes, make that weird stew of hers, and shut up. We should have known she liked the spotlight too much.

So David Letterman made an inappropriate comment. The joke was made and then he apologized. He has made his career on making inappropriate jokes. If he was worried about offending people all the time, he wouldn't be a comedian. Like Saturday Night Live, he targets everyone.

I am a feminist. Always have been. Most women I know are. Women don't like sexist comments. But, come on. This was funny. It WASN'T about a fourteen year old girl (the Palins made it about that), and the simple apology should have ended it. But, in true Sarah fashion she has turned it into some windstorm when it was never anything but a joke.

In reality, it was a joke that was advertised for months when a mother paraded her unmarried, pregnant daughter around the stage throughout the entire campaign, along with her then boyfriend, while they preached abstinence. They went everywhere with her. This was along with her other children who were pulled out of school and used like props throughout the campaign. So now she is complaining that they are in the limelight? Ms. Palin needs to ask herself - WHO PUT THEM THERE? Or as Margaret Carlson states, so much better:
"Letterman's joke was indeed tasteless—he even owed A-Rod an apology. But I doubt there was another soul in the world who didn’t understand the joke to be about the older Palin daughter, who lapped Jamie Lynn Spears as the most famous pregnant teen in the world once she was trotted out at the Republican National Convention in August. Not that Bristol should have been left at home in the dark, but if you want a “zone of privacy” around your daughter, do you have her appear on stage with her then-fiancé hinting at prospects of a White House wedding waving to the crowd like Charles and Diana of the Klondike?

And exploiting Bristol as an unwed teen mother didn’t stop with the campaign. Back in Wasilla, where Bristol could have been sheltered and given space to rebuild her life, the Palins arranged to send her out like a vaudeville act, traveling the country to talk about teenage pregnancy under the sponsorship of Candie’s, a clothing company known for sexually provocative outfits for tweens.

The Bristol “do as I say tour” had a rocky start once she admitted that abstinence was not “realistic”—apparently she was against it before she was for it. Note to mom: When you become the ambivalent poster child for unwed motherhood, you attract off-color jokes."

The truth is, the people who are really exploiting their children is, once again, Todd and Sarah Palin. Accept Letterman's apology for being inappropriate and move on - and quit blowing things way out of proportion. And while you're at it, Ms. Palin, quit talking about President Obama with disrespectful comments like:
"It’s the double standard that’s been applied here. One, let’s talk politically the double standard here. First, remember in the campaign, Barack Obama said “Family’s off limits. You don’t talk about my family….and….”the candidate who must be obeyed”….everybody adhered to that, and they did leave his family alone, and they haven’t done that on the other side of the ticket, and it has continued to this day. So that’s a political double standard."
For Palin to say it is a "double standard" because the Obama girls are not picked on like her family is ridiculous. They did not parade their daughters around. The Obama girls were on the stage with their father and mother at the Democratic convention and then one more time when he won the presidency. The rest of the time they were in school and out of the camera's range. When a recent interview by Brian Williams at the White House scoured the entire staff and followed them around - the girls, once again, were NOT in front of the cameras. The Obamas clearly know to keep their children as sheltered as they possibly can and didn't and won't use them as props.

And, news flash: You lost, he's way smarter than you, way more liked than you, and has more class than you will ever even imagine to have. Quit being so very green and jealous and just go back to Alaska and be red - in neck that is. And remember that it is not Obama, but President Obama, honey. Show some respect. And maybe stop and listen and you might actually learn a few things.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Trials, Jails & NIMBY

As the trial starts today for Ahmed Ghailani the reaction is, once again, one of an irrational fear. The old NIMBY ("Not in my backyard") principle seems to be active here as President Obama plans to close Guantanamo Bay and move the trials and the prisoners to maximum security prisons within the United States. According to Radio Free Europe:
Obama has encountered stiff opposition to that plan from both Republicans and Democrats in Congress, who say that transferring terrorist suspects to U.S. soil poses a threat to public safety.

Last month, Obama addressed his critics and argued that the U.S. court system has proven it is capable of trying and convicting terrorists.

“Some have derided our federal courts as incapable of handling the trials of terrorists. They are wrong. Our courts and our juries, our citizens, are tough enough to convict terrorists," Obama said. "The record makes that clear. Ramsey Yusef tried to blow up the World Trade Center. He was convicted in our courts and is serving a life sentence in U.S. prisons.”
Do people really think these prisoners are going to suddenly be living in their neighborhood or working at the local gas station? Do they not realize the level of security that maximum security prisons have? According to Robert Gates:

"The truth is there's a lot of fear-mongering about this. We've never had an escape from a super-max prison. And that's where these guys will go, and if not one of the existing ones, we'll create a new one," he said.

The defense secretary also criticized plans by some members of Congress to try to prohibit the transfer of detainees in Guantanamo to the United States.

Let's one, repeat, no one has ever escaped from these maximum security prisons. But, we can't have them nearer than Guantanamo Bay? Please. So, we can imprison other terrorists like Ramsey Yusef - or how about some really hard core murderers like Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer (who didn't last long), and Timothy McVeigh (an American terrorist)? But, we can't jail a terrorist from the Middle East? And we can't do it without torturing them? Or how about our latest terrorist, Scott Roeder, charged with murdering Dr. George Tiller in a church - who "said from his jail cell that similar attacks were planned around the nation for as long as abortion is legal."

That being said, leaving someone in prison for years without a trial isn't right either. Everyone, no matter who they are or what they did, has a right to a fair trial. And moving them out of a prison that is a huge dark spot on the United States (that's putting it lightly) is the right thing to do.

Besides, just because something is far away from the United States - and hidden to many people - does not mean that the activity there wasn't real, or blatantly wrong.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Old, Delusional White Guys

With the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor, there is talk about "reverse racism" after hearing some of her comments. Coming from white men, this is actually quite humorous.

First off, they sound ridiculous - especially Pat Buchanan. For him to say something silly is not new, of course. But, I never thought I would hear old, white men claim they were experiencing racism. They are the one part of our population who have not only always had the advantage over women and people of color, but generally had control of most things.

I am a woman, but I am a white woman. I face sexism and, unfortunately, probably always will. But, I do not face racism. I am not a minority and it would be stupid for me to say that. I most certainly don't have any problem with Sotomayor's comments. Her experience IS different. As an Hispanic woman she has had to deal with things I have not. That is just a fact.

But, come on guys. White guys have had the upper hand for....forever. They are the only sex and race who HAVEN'T had to deal with some type of "ism" their whole lives. To hear the likes of Pat Buchanan and Rush Limbaugh whine about this is funny. Really, get over it! And get a reality check while you're at it. If you are born a white male in America and things didn't turn out the way you wanted them too - well, you probably have yourself to blame. Of course, as always, there are always exceptions to this - but I'm pretty sure that Buchanan and Limbaugh are hardly the exceptions.

The cool part about all of this is that as our nation progresses and our population becomes more and more diverse, things will change. Now, most of us think this is great. America is, after all, people from everywhere else, and that makes things interesting. Down the road these whiners might actually have to deal with the reality they think they are in now. Won't it be funny when the white male actually is the minority?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

An Eye for An Eye?

Too many people pick and choose what they like out of the Bible. As a Christian, I find it downright embarrassing the way radical Christians act. Of course, they are "radical." There are people in that category in every belief system...

Too many Christians are so close-minded and judgmental. Too many are downright mean. Where are the Christian attributes? The treating others with love and kindness, having respect for others - and leaving the judgment to God?

The killing of Dr. Tiller is one such example. Abortion is a subject that is pretty hard to talk about without getting emotional, on either side. Which side I'm on is not all that relevant at this point (and could go on and on). What I do believe is you don't say "Thou shalt not kill" to someone and then kill them yourself. That is the main point.

To defend such an act - well, you've got to be kidding me. For a radical, such as Randall Terry, to come out and say it is perfectly justifiable to kill this doctor - in church no less - is beyond sick:
"We must not fear, we must not flinch, we must not retreat a single inch. George Tiller was a mass murderer, and we must continue to say so in his death just as we did in his life."
Whether you agree with something or not, no matter how awful you think it is, it does not give you the right to go out and take the matter into your own hands. To do the same thing by assassinating a man, destroying his family - and to do it in a peaceful, loving Christian church service? Great message of love! This act should be condemned, not congratulated. Something is really off here.