Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Republicans Declare War against Democracy
Jason Chaffetz, Republican "Representative" of Utah, is making very loud, very public noises about trying to impeach President Obama. Other members of the Radical Right are also trying to magnify trivia into "high crimes and misdemeanors" sufficient to warrant impeachment, in a war of harrying and exaggerating tiny, insignificant matters that, for the most part, had nothing to do with the President.
In short, President Obama is (as I anticipated early in his first term) experiencing the exact same thing that happened to President Clinton. Clinton bent over backwards to win over the Republican Party to cooperative behavior for the Nation's best interests, and was rewarded for his betrayal of Democratic principles by an attempt to remove him from office by impeachment. Obama too bent over backward, endlessly betraying his base and the entire Liberal/Progressive movement to try to win cooperation from Republicans, and they are intent on removing him by impeachment too!
Obama has got to STOP caving in to Republicans, but declare war on neo-Confederate, racist slime, take no prisoners, make no more compromises, hold the neo-Confederates accountable for ALL of the gridlock in Washington, and CRUSH them under hobnail boots.
They do not feel the slitest accountable to the voters, as was shown in their refusal to approve background checks for gun purchases. David Letterman created a feature that has run in recent days, "Stooge of the Night", in which he shows a picture of one of these 'people' — including even a few "Democrats" (in name only: DINO's) — who felt free to defy their own people, with no fear of being held to account, because tribalism will win out over principle every time in the disloyal, racist, anti-American Radical Right.
Obama wouldn't demand obedience from Democrats, so they defied him, knowing he could do nothing because they hold office by virtue of the same vicious tribalism as every single member of the Radical Right. And Republicans knew that it didn't matter that some 91% of the people in their home state wanted background checks, because, again, the Radical Right has no principles, only tribe, and the voters who put them into office will ALWAYS vote for them as long as they remain dues-paying members of the tribe.
Obama is roundly despised by Liberals for his endless, fawning surrenders to the Radical Right. At first, we felt pity for him because his entire personal history is about trying desperately to get over the blind, racial hatred that kept him from being accepted fully by either his mother's race or his father's. He needed to be loved by everybody, not rejected by everybody — heck, not rejected by ANYbody.
But nobody is loved by everybody unless they stand for nothing, and the President of the United States must stand for something.
Will Obama finally "get it"? Will he finally understand that there is absolutely nothing he can do to win over the Republican enemy? He can't change his race, and that is the only thing that matters to neo-Confederates. Republicans have declared all-out war against Obama, the Democrats, Liberals/"Progressives" (that pussyfooted, gutless euphemism), and every principle of American government and history. They are a Radical-Right Kremlin that cannot be won over but must be encircled, defeated, crushed, humiliated, and broken up. Does Obama have the guts to do that? We shall see.
Working in his defense, of course, are two powerful facts: (1) the Senate, which would have to try him if the House should, insanely, defy the public and impeach him, has a Democratic majority, so is extremely unlikely to convict him; and (2) Joe Biden is next in line to become President if anything happens to remove Obama from the Presidency. Biden is white, but the Radical-Right tribe hates him for being a member of the Liberal tribe, almost as much as it hates Obama for being black. Almost.
Friday, April 05, 2013
44 Years of Gay Militancy, Success and Failure
(This is copied from my "Newark USA" fotoblog of April 4th, 2013.)
44 years ago, on April 1st, 1969 (no fooling) I founded Homosexuals Intransigent! as a student organization at the City College of New York. (That was then the preferred name. There have since been attempts to replace that with "City College/CUNY", but that effort was not, last I knew, wholly successful.)
In that I have no fotos on point for today's major topic, and want to alert readers to an art exhibit that closes soon, I show today fotos of the current art show at City Without Walls, "Diptych, Triptych, & Multiples", with most of the information about those fotos being conveyed by captions rather than the main text. That show remains on view thru April 13th. Be there or be rectilinear.
Tho I was born (Bergen County) and raised (Monmouth County) in New Jersey, I felt, as a young gay man, that I did not have a future in New Jersey, so moved to Manhattan in June 1965. Within a reasonably short time I volunteered at a gay organization I had heard about while in NJ, in a television documentary broadcast on WNET (Newark's TV station that was later moved lock, stock, and barrel to New York): the Mattachine Society. I answered fones, to give out information about gay bars to locals, and about gay organizations to men more distant from NY.
In August 1968 I refused an unlawful police order to "break it up and move on" when I was talking with (gay) friends on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, and was arrested and carted away in handcuffs behind my back in a taxi commandeered by a cop. I spent the nite in jail, then went to court, pled not guilty by virtue of a constitutional right of peaceable assembly, and was acquitted. Mattachine mentioned my successful challenge to the law in its newsletter, but around the same time, NY's (beautiful) Mayor Lindsay issued an order ending police harassment of gay men on the streets of the city. Whether my successful challenge to the law played any part in that change of policy is an entirely moot point in gay history that I have never seen anyone consider. The end result was, fortunately, the same: NY police stopped harassing gay men on the street. Had they just accepted that order and extended it rationally, things might have developed very differently.
Far and away the most dominent artwork in the show is Gwyneth Leech's wonderful "Cup Cascade Installed in the Flatiron Prow, NYC", installed here in cWOW instead. (More info below.) Matt Gosser mentioned to me that it was anchored in exactly the same spot as his large-scale hanging sculpture in a prior cWOW exhibition. He also said that he had the pieces of pipe from that assemblage in the back of his truck when he went to an art event in Jersey City, but when he came out from that event, they had all been stolen! That confirmed what I had long believed, that Jersey City is dangerous and filled with crime, and Matt agreed that Jersey City is, in his experience, far worse than Newark. My friend Jerry, who lived in Jersey City for a number of months, agreed too, warning me that aside from the Newport Area, near the Hudson River frontage, much of Jersey City is very dangerous. I'll stay in Newark, thank you very much.
The NYPD did not generalize Mayor Lindsay's prohibition on harassing gay men. At the end of June 1969, less than a year later, the stupid cops raided the Stonewall Inn, a bar at which I had been a regular, with, for the police, disastrous consequences, and for gay men, terrific consequences. I wasn't there, however, because I had gone to California to visit my two sisters, take a couple of summer-session classes at Cal State/Long Beach, then San Francisco State, and try to establish chapters of Homosexuals Intransigent! at both campuses. It wasn't until I had been at San Francisco State for over a week, where I almost got expelled from the dorm for trying to form a chapter of HI!, that I heard about the Stonewall Riots.
All I accomplished at Long Beach State was an article in the student newspaper. At San Francisco State, I didn't get even that much done, but mere weeks after I returned to NYC, a gay student organization was established by, among others, Charles Thorpe (whom I did not meet, in that he attended the regular fall semester, whereas I attended only a summer session). Thorpe came to the brilliant realization that if you mix red, white, and blue (the patriotic colors of the United States), you come up with lavender, then a badge of the gay-rights movement.
Once I got back to Manhattan, I resumed my place (as president of the gay organization in perhaps the largest college in the city) in the most important gay-rights movement on the planet, that of NYC.
In late 1969, many gay organizations met in the Eastern Regional Conference of Homophile Organizations ("ERCHO"), in Philadelphia, where the Student Homophile League of NYU (a heterosexually organized group (men-and-women-together-now!), thru its female head, Ellen Broidy) proposed an annual march in commemoration of the Stonewall Riots. I offered an amendment to bar a dress code, since prior 'homophile' demonstrations had required jacket-and-tie for men and skirts-and-sweaters for women, but my student organization definitely would not go for that.
Alas, none of us who voted immediately and without discussion to bar a dress code realized that some freaks would use the absence of a dress code to justify going entirely naked, or cross-dressing, or wearing codpieces and nothing else, as to cause the movement, which intended a dignified march that would bring honor and dignity to gay people, to be instead humiliated year after year by freaks who attracted the TV cameras to their freakishness, tainting the entire event.
I don't know that we of ERCHO should accept any blame for that development. We didn't anticipate it, to be sure, but there is probably no reason to think that if we had established a dress code that forbade such behavior, the freaks would have abided by it.
In anticipation of the first March, which was to be held in late June 1970, we of the organizing committee (the "Christopher Street Liberation Day [Umbrella] Committee"; "Umbrella" was deleted from the title after a couple of months) decided to ask all local organizations in the host city, NY, to offer events during the Friday and Saturday before Sunday's noon stepoff to bring in as many people from out of town as we could. We decided as well to call the weekend of events leading up to the March by a single, unifying name. The first thought was "Gay Power Weekend". I didn't like that, so offered instead "Gay Pride Weekend". That was seconded by Jerry Hoose of the Gay Liberation Front, and approved immediately, again without discussion.
That is how the term "Gay Pride" attached to the annual commemoration of Stonewall, then spread out to all things gay — because I wanted people who could not possibly achieve power because they didn't live in a gay mecca, to feel included in events that could nonetheless give them pride. My thought was that power is external; pride is internal. And the internal is much more important than the external.
"Gay Pride" was the perfect antidote to the shame that was then nearly universal among gay people. Every time "pride" was mentioned, it made a tiny bit of difference. Repeated thousands and then tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands, then millions and tens of millions of times, across the entire civilized world, "Gay Pride" eroded the shame and replaced it with self-respect and self-assertion, which at least bordered on actual pride. And that made all the difference in the world as to social attitudes toward homosexuals, not just as regards attitudes on the part of gay people toward themselves and each other.
The artists, gathered together by the curator.
Mere days ago, however, and just one day after the 44th anniversary of my founding Homosexuals Intransigent!, videos emerged of outrageous behavior by a coach of the Rutgers University basketball program here in NJ, in which not only did he abuse players by throwing basketballs at them, getting in their face, shouting at them, and pushing them, but he also called some of them antigay slurs, including the ever-popular "fairy" and "faggot" — this in the university that was stunned and appalled in 2010, when a shame-dominated student (for whom "Gay Pride" didn't do it), Tyler Clementi, was so horrified at being revealed as homosexual to what he regarded as the whole world, that he threw himself off the George Washington Bridge, my very most favorite bridge in the world, a stunning achievement of mankind, and died. The coach in question lives in Little Silver, where my family lived for one year. I know it's silly to feel ashamed of that, but I am still embarrassed by the coincidence.
Chilean artist Rodolfo Edwards.
That evil coach was not immediately fired, which should have been automatic — a "no-brainer". Instead, there were 'discussions' and 'consideration' of whether he should be fired. It took some 20 hours for the powers that be at Rutgers to terminate the bastard.
Artist La Thoriel Badenhausen. Both the foreground and background works here are hers. Newark artist Spencer Frohwirth introduced me to her. His mother and she belong to the same club, but he had not himself as yet met her. So when he introduced me to her, he was as well introducing himself to her, and she was delited to meet the son of her friend.
On what planet would that coach's behavior have been acceptable? In what RED State would it have been acceptable? (to call a straight kid, a gay slur?; I can easily imagine a Red State approving calling a gay kid by an antigay slur.)
Here we are in a True-Blue State, but the slimeball wasn't fired for almost 24 hours after his absolutely inexcusable behavior was revealed to the entire planet. Has he even been blackballed from coaching ANY team of players younger than, say, 30?
Artist Bernard Klevickas by his piece, Six Pack, which he said came to him when he saw a yellow pickup truck somewhere in his wanderings. I hadn't appreciated why there was a side mirror at far right, which I carelessly did not fully include in my view above. And he might not fully have appreciated why he included a reflective, chrome-like square at lower right, like a bumper or chrome trim, until I asked if that is what it was. This is probably my single favorite piece in the show. It's understated and abstract but, to my mind, beautiful.
There is a defeatist expression that "The more things change, the more they stay the same." (In the original French, "Plus ça change, plus çést la meme chose.") It takes a long time for a culture to renounce core values. In the United States, for instance, racism is resilient, even tho a black President was elected to a second term. Antigay bigotry is widely denounced, but keeps bouncing back. The human creature is an ugly, despicable beast, which is why the world is filled with crime and violence, be it personal or communal. I have seen all this over and over throughout my 68 years, and I'm disgusted that the human race is, at end, slime. People have to be stopped and corrected thousands of times before they finally change bad habits. And some never will.
Artist Gwyneth Leech by her major artwork, Cup Cascade.
In the basketball-coach issue, virtue triumphed, at end, but how could that coach have even THOUGHT that what he was doing was acceptable? It is only the deeply ingrained antigay prejudice of this culture that empowered him to think he could call college kids antigay slurs and get away with it. Now he knows better. But how many kids did he injure with his hurtful words? I'm not even suggesting that the straight athletes he attacked with antigay slurs took them personally, tho some might have thought their "masculinity" or "manhood" was thrown into doubt. Mind you, such concepts are themselves antigay.
Close view of part of Gwyneth Leech's major (master?) work, "Cup Cascade". The brochure published by cWOW quoted her saying of this work, "My drawing surface of choice since 2008 is the paper take-out coffee cup. Its sturdy matte surface is a wonder and delight, taking beautifully the jet-black and the earthy colors of the Faber and Castell India ink brush pens that I favor. [paragraph] I save the cups from the hot drinks I buy and occasionally collect them from other artists with whom I meet for tea or coffee around town. I wash and dry them and record on the bottom the date, place and occasion, as well as the drink that was consumed, thus capturing the social moment just passed." How absolutely wonderful. I am very impressed by the combination or artistic, social, and historical themes in her work.
A gay man is not one whit less masculine or manly than a straight man. In fact, many gay men see themselves as superior in masculinity and manliness because they don't have to compromise their manhood to accommodate women. We have no pink bathrooms, with pantyhose drying over the shower bar; no ten little cushions on the bed, dust ruffle underneath it, or duvet over it. In fact, many gay men have no idea whatsoever what a "duvet" is.
Ms. Leech further explained to me that every single cup in her (brilliant) hanging was individually painted, in some medium, one per day for a whole year, of 365 cups. Tho she is not from NJ, she pointed out to me one cup in particular that was inspired by the Jersey Shore, at upper left in this foto.
And of what value will that coach's empty apologies be, to anyone? (Note that I leave him literally nameless in this discussion, because he is to my mind literally not worth mentioning. He is a type, not an individual.) Today I heard a news report that the bastard is to get $100,000 in a kind of severance payment for his 'good service'! WT...Heck? NO! No severance payment / reward! No $100K. Nothing, nothing, NOTHING!
Before I heard about that insane $100K payment, I thought that New Jersey had vindicated itself, sort of, after an inexplicable day or so of hanging back. Still, I wondered, what the heck was the hangup? And who, higher in the chain of command, also needs to go? The overall athletic director? The President of the University? Whoever has to go, has to go. And the sooner the better.
Maybe someday we can say,"The more things change, the more they continue to change." Not yet. Even our loathsome Governor Christie condemned that coach's bad behavior. But Christie still opposes gay marriage. When will he see the inconsistencies in his own behavior, in which he at once condemned the ugly words and hostility that his own legislative behavior has encouraged? Ever? Oust him too.
Monday, January 14, 2013
I've spent more time speaking to Liberal perspectives on Yahoo News stories in comments areas. These various comments set out, over time, a number of ideas I don't have time to develop in major essays.
In regard to the article "U.S. states flirt with major tax changes":
Republicans are plainly not just foolish but also inexcusably and monstrously VICIOUS. Taxing the poor and rich at the same rate is profoundly regressive. It crushes the poor so they can never rise, because every dollar they spend on everything is taxed, whereas the rich spend very little of their income, so pay almost nothing. Among the taxes currently in place, only the progressive income tax is truly fair, tho there are ways of taxing WEALTH (that is, accumulated, unspent income), not just income. The rich, who are proposing these "trickle-down", "voodoo economics" measures, do not seem to understand that the more outrageously unfair the distribution of wealth becomes, the more the Nation is set up for a REVOLUTIONARY situation, in which the rich will be cut down as they were in the French Revolution. Heads might LITERALLY roll, by the tens of thousands. We should erect a supersized sculpture of a GUILLOTINE on the Washington Mall and in a comparably prominent place in every state capital to remind politicians and their masters, the rich, that if they crush the little guy too badly, they will find themselves suffering the ultimate "redistribution": execution, and having their bodies chopped up for parts for decent working people (no transplants for the rich).At article "No Labels enters new era by shedding ‘centrist’ image":
[Re suggestion that Congress shouldn't be paid until they resolve budget issues:] Would you work for free? They can play ruf too: "You don't pay us? We don't work. We pass NO budget; the Government shuts down; the economy goes into freefall, and -- guess what? We're RICH. We're not going to be hurt by the shutdown of the Govt for MONTHS. How about you?"In response to a 'joke' at an article about freezing temperatures in California, about Californians having to move their pot plants indoors because of freezing temperatures:
So funny, these endless drug jokes. Never mind that 39,000 Americans die each and every year from illegal drugs, and 60,000 Mexicans have died in violence fueled by U.S. drug users. Isn't that FUNNY?Dozens of slimy commenters voted thumbs-down on that remark, because, presumably, they think drug joke ARE funny, and the massive death produced by drugs here and in Mexico is unimportant. There are an awful lot of awful, evil people online.
At article "Report: House GOP 'Seriously Entertaining' Debt Default Idea":
How very dishonest. The Republican Reagan TRIPLED the national debt. The Republican Bush I added another third, so after the Reagan-Bush years, the national debt had QUADRUPLED. Then the Democrat Clinton reined in the debt and produced a surplus. Then Bush II DOUBLED the national debt AGAIN. So under Republicans, the national debt OCTUPLED.And:
If the Federal Government would take away redistricting of FEDERAL districts from the states and let COMPUTERS draw nongerrymandered districts, there would be a lot fewer crazies elected to Congress.And:
Immigration policy is not intended to steal educated people from Third World countries. U.S. education is supposed to help the Third World DEVELOP. It is not to parasitize and subvert the development of poor countries.And:
The problem is not the Tea Party loons. It is the refusal of the 'mainstream' Republicans to stand UP to them and tell them that they are taking the Republican Party to the verge of extinction as a national force.And:
Cheaters consume NO significant portion of the national budget. Illegals and cheats are insignificant distractions from the real costs entailed in governing a country.And:
Foreign aid is 1% of the Federal budget. Do some research on the FACTS before spewing nonsense.And:
Would those Medicare cuts be MEANS-TESTED? Or should poor people's assistance be cut equally with benefits for the rich? -- who shouldn't get ANY Govt benefits.And:
Drivel. Taxes are DUES for being allowed to live in a wonderful, rich country in which infrastructure, education, technology, and other SOCIAL expenditures, many of them Governmental, enable people to do and live well. Without those things produced by OTHER people, you couldn't make a dime. Indeed, there wouldn't BE a dime, a Federal coin, without the Federal Government. It's NOT 'your' money. It has OUR name on it: "United States of America". Without the United States of America, all 'your' money would be decorative paper or engraved metal, but nothing more. Be grateful, or begone. Go to some country more to your liking. But there ISN'T any, is there? So let's add a third option: be grateful, begone, or be QUIET.And:
Any budget has two elements: income and expense. If you increase income, you don't have to cut expenses.And:
That [a government default] would be fine if only Republicans were hurt. Alas, EVERYONE would be hurt -- even the rich, the only people the Republicans care about. If a stock-market crash results, the rich will have capital LOSSES, not capital gains. But they don't believe the Democrats will really allow that to happen. They expect Obama to cave, as he always does.And:
President Eisenhower -- five-star GENERAL Eisenhower -- warned us almost exactly 52 years ago about the "military-industrial complex". Why haven't we YET wised up to these merchants of death?And:
I just love the way people pretend that the money we have spent and continue to spend does not benefit today's children and grandchildren. Of COURSE it does.And:
[Re remark about unhappy Liberals:] Liberals are unhappy because society is so unfair. Conservatives don't care about fairness, and can always make excuses for unfairness -- as long as THEY are not the ones being treated unfairly.And:
[Re suggestion that the people do the voting on bills, not Congress:] Do YOU have thousands of hours a year to devote to reading and researching bills, holding hearings, and otherwise doing the deliberative job that members of Congress do on legislation? Of course not. There have been many ballot initiatives that have gone very seriously awry, because of simplistic thinking like yours.And:
You are confused, or a very poor propagandist. The REPUBLICAN President George W. Bush was in office EIGHT years [not six], 2001-2009 [not 2001-2006], during which time the national debt went from $5.8 trillion to $11.9 trillion, a difference of $6.1 trillion greater. On a base of $5.8T when Bush entered office, that means the Republicans DOUBLED the national debt in his Administration. (Search for the U.S. Treasury webpage "Historical Debt Outstanding - Annual 2000 - 2010" to see the truth.) [The $11.9T figure is for the last budget year of the Bush Administration, as at 9/30/2009.]And:
You know nothing about finance. The Bush Administration DOUBLED the national debt, in part by putting TWO wars on a credit card.And:
How are you going to [both shut down the Government and] seal the borders if there is no Government to do that?And:
You people have regaled us with this insane paranoia against that 'un-American' black man in the White House for four years, and the Nation REPUDIATED your crap. You LOST. Go away and be quiet. And seek professional help if you REALLY believe Obama is trying to destroy the United States and become dictator. But you DON'T really believe any such thing, do you? You are just a troublemaker lying to annoy your betters.And:
Under the Fourteenth Amendment, Congress would have to affirmatively renounce debts -- or pay them.And:
Pls stop pretending that the Government serves only SOME people, and that other people are victimized. That's not the way things work. Government activities keep society working. If you think we don't need Government, but things will just run themselves fine, you need to be in a mental institution.And:
Reminder: when the stock market crashes, so do pension funds and the holdings of the rich. Nobody gets off scott-free.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
More Short Comments at Yahoo News Stories
I don't always address significant topics in essays, but sometimes offer short opinion pieces in the form of comments at the end of Yahoo News stories. Here are some.
In response to issues raised by the story "Californians brace for nights of freezing temps", January 12, 2013:
Yes, Prv8eye, a lot of people were misled by crazy propaganda about "imprisoning" people for being "sick", as tho mental "illness" is equivalent to a cold - rather than tuberculosis, typhoid, or something else that required quarantine. What enabled naive people's delusions about insanity, to advocate closing mental hospitals was psychoactive medications. What they forgot is that when crazy people became moderately better while taking their meds, they stopped taking their meds!, and then returned to madness. The cure to "deinstitutionalization" is obvious: "reinstitutionalization", and, in the case of people released from mental institutions with medications they HAVE to take to stay reasonably sane, FOLLOWUP by nurses and social workers to make sure they keep taking their meds. If they stop, it should be right back to the mental hospital for them. Perhaps science can create a device, like a breathalyzer linked to a house-arrest leg collar, that detects whether a released lunatic has taken his/her meds, and if not. sends out a signal to the authorities to send someone to compel them to take their meds or force them back into custody. Instead, we have just consented to live with the consequences of a failed policy of deinstitutionalization, and consigned tens or hundreds of thousands of insane people to life on their own, hopeless and miserable on the streets. Then decent people are made to feel that we are a heartless society, when we are the opposite: a society with more sympathy than common sense. We need "tuf luv" for crazy people, not empty-headed concern for their "civil rights". We also need anti-parasitization statutes that forbid people to panhandle, and make arrests for panhandling a way to bring lunatics into a diagnostic setting in which they can be helped, whether, in their deluded state, they want to be helped or not. A humane society does not let people live on the streets in freezing weather.And:
Man-made "global warming" is plainly NOT happening. The substituted term, "climate change", is so vague as to be meaningless, and seems to cover both warming AND cooling!, as tho both could be happening at the same time from the same cause. Tellingly, the greatest changes have been at the poles, where NOBODY LIVES. In the Arctic and Antarctic circles put together reside only about 2 MILLION of the planet's 7 BILLION people. If human activity were responsible for "climate change"/"global warming", one should expect to see greater effects where there are a great many people, and much smaller effects where there are no people. Exactly the opposite is the case. The poles are where the greatest changes are seen, and there are essentially no people there. What distinguishes the poles from other regions is the magnetic field that intercepts solar radiation from mid-latitudes and redirects it to high latitudes (the poles). Desertification is one way in which human activity might have LOCAL effects, but not planet-wide effects. And there are natural limits to global warming from anything but long-term solar variations (such as the Ice Ages, which people had nothing to do with). Warmer temperatures mean more evaporation from the oceans, lakes, etc., and what goes up must come down, as rain and snow over not just the oceans and lakes, but also lands long dry, which cools them. And the more clouds there are in the atmosphere, the more solar radiation is reflected back into space.In response to an article about Scott Brown's contemplating a run for the Senate to fill John Kerry's spot if Kerry is confirmed as Secretary of State:
It's interesting to see that, once again, a vast inpouring of Rightwing money FAILED to win in Massachusetts. Scott Brown should be a spokesmodel. He's beautiful, but that's not enuf to justify a place in the U.S. Senate. It might do to sell us clothing, electronics, or other products or services, however.In response to an article about the White House answering a moronic petition to build a Star Wars-like "Death Star":
Petitions that cannot be taken seriously should be answered uniformly: "The White House will not waste taxpayer money answering nonsense."And:
High-tech firms are shoveling b.s. to get Congress to import cheap labor. There is NO shortage of good people in the United States, just a shortage of good people who will work for bad wages and few benefits.And:
I hope whoever wrote that White House response did it on his own time. No way should paid employees waste taxpayer money on NONSENSE.In response to an article about a Federal judge ruling that Moslem prisoners should be allowed to congregate five times a day for group prayers, outside their cells:
Prisoners should NOT be wandering around unsupervised, for ANY activity. They are supposed to lose their freedom, and be rehabilitated. They should be in educational programs, psychological programs, etc., to rework their minds to positive behavior, not engaging in rote prayers of no substance, to a nonexistent 'God'.In response to the article "'Zombie' Planet's Rogue Orbit Around Star Shocks Scientists", January 12, 2013:
When will astronomers admit that they have NO actual images for these asserted phenomena? When will media stop publishing internally self-confuting NONSENSE from astronomers? First the planet is said to be only a dust cloud; now it's supposed to be an actual planet, 3x the size of Jupiter, and there's supposed to be a dust cloud only 10,000 years old. Why does anybody BELIEVE such nonsense? There is NO WAY anyone could know the age of a dust cloud. Stop reporting FICTION as fact.
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Remarks on Yahoo News Stories
I offered some comments at several stories on Yahoo News today.
In response to an article about a Texas gun-'rights' advocate ranting on the Piers Morgan show:
That Texas gun nut knows NOTHING about the origins of the Second Amendment. It had NOTHING to do with fending off tyranny on the part of our OWN government, or protecting against crime. NOTHING. It had to do with defending against, still, the British Empire, which was inciting INDIANS to violence against Americans, and the possibility that other European empires would try to break up the Nation and annex it piecemeal to their empires. The Framers of the Constitution NEVER thought the Government they created would become tyrannical, because they built in checks and balances to prevent tyranny. And ONLY members of a well-regulated militia were to have a right to guns. The Framers could not even BEGIN to conceive of the lethality of today's weapons. When they wrote the Second Amendment, it took the best gunners something like 30 seconds to fire and reload a MUSKET. Had the Framers known about semi-automatic and fully automatic MACHINE GUNS, they would NEVER have written gun rights into the Constitution.In response to other people's comments at the article, "6 Career Myths You Shouldn't Fall For":
Lots of bad advice there. The article is completely right. The idea that everybody can start their own business is BULL. There are many skills involved in a business that YOU have to master, or pay for: bookkeeping, publicity, client/customer contact, manufacturing or purchasing, legal matters (contracts, warranties), insurance, and on and on and on. And if you have a physically or mentally challenging full-time job you cannot take on a second, esp. if you also have family responsibilities. You CANNOT "have it all" unless you are independently wealthy, usually from inheritance. There aren't enuf hours in the day to do justice to all the demands if you have a full-time job, a part-time career, and a partner and kids you MUST NOT neglect.And:
Cut the Radical Right CRAP. The problems in starting a business have NOTHING to do with Government regulation. Most small businesses fail within 5 years, because they are undercapitalized, the people who start them don't have sufficient expertise in the field, and/or they are unable to distinguish themselves from better-capitalized and better-run businesses, large or small. Some also fail because they exhaust the principals, who tire of ramming their head against a brick wall every day for 12 hours a day.In response to an article about New Jersey State Senate President Steve Sweeney clumsily saying that Chris Christie "prayed" for Superstorm Sandy to strike in order to distract people from Christie's failures and produce jobs in cleanup:
I find it bizarre that Sweeney, a very prominent sellout to Christie's program, the top "Christicrat" in the Legislature, would dare to position himself to run for Governor. One Christie is much more than enuf. We don't need a Democratic version too. Richard Codey is probably the Dems' best hope for Governor. He had a highly successful run as Acting Governor when Gov. McGreevey resigned. McGreevey should never have resigned just because he is gay — and maybe it's time for him to return to Drumthwacket (the official residence of NJ's Governor). Cory Booker, the mayor of my city, Newark, has declined to run against Christie, holding out for U.S. Senate when our very-old Senator, Frank Lautenberg, should retire (tho he has suggested he won't) in 2014. Dems have got to stop fawning over Christie. Of course, nature may take its course and strike down our very morbidly obese present Governor, and save us from the disaster of his re-election. But ONE DAY'S actions with regard to President Obama, and another day's criticism of the U.S. House of Representatives' Republicans in no way makes up for a course of years of criminally irresponsible favoritism to the rich at the expense of everybody else. Christie must go. But Sweeney should not even THINK of running against him.In response to an article about where to build a new FBI HQ:
The dollar figures [$1.2B just for land!] are PREPOSTEROUS, esp. in a lingering Great Recession. And why is a building built in the 1970s crumbling now? Surely there is cheap office space already available in DC, for being vacant now. As for the location, NOTHING should go to Maryland or Virginia. The Framers of the Constitution created the District of Columbia to house the Federal Govt, and that's where all HQ buildings belong.In reply to an article about British unhappiness with the European Union:
Britain and Ireland are both in the wrong Union. They should leave the EU and join the United States, as several states.See http://expansionistparty.tripod.com/Britbounds.html.
Monday, January 07, 2013
Potassium and Birch Beer
I generally, in this blog, speak to political issues. But I have discovered what are plainly NOT generally-understood realities about health issues. Let me now speak to two such issues.
(1) I did mention, on December 27, 2011, that a potassium deficiency could explain muscle aches or pains in many elderly people.
I also drink a lot of juices, mainly for the potassium to fite muscle pains that old people (esp. but not exclusively old people) can get from a potassium deficiency. I mix carrot juice with the store-brand mix of vegetable juices that approximates V8, for a richer flavor, and hopefully for some help with eyesight, tho I now admit that I must get distance glasses. ... Both Pathmark and ShopRite have a good house-brand vegetable-juice mix. Orange juice is also rich in potassium. But even with these vegetable and fruit juices, I still sometimes have debilitating muscle aches (pains, really) in my upper arms unless I also eat a banana or some dried apricots in a given day, and take a potassium-supplement tablet. The potassium gluconate carried by, say, Walgreens, is a really feeble supplement, providing only 3% of the daily requirement for people in general. Old people may need much more than younger people, to fite awful muscle pains, inasmuch as utilization of potassium by older people may be inefficient. 8 ounces of carrot juice, v8 (in my notation, lowercase-v indicates store brand), or orange juice supplies 13%. Other sources of potassium include lentils and kidney beans.I think, however, that I grossly understated how common and oppressive such potassium-deficiency-related physical consequences might be.
If I get enuf potassium, my muscle pains entirely vanish. By contrast, massage won't do a bit of good with muscle aches or pains that result from a deficiency of potassium (or magnesium; less frequently consequential). My brother Brian read somewhere that vitamin D can help the body make the most of ingested potassium, but only if the vitamin D is in higher concentrations than is found in the typical multivitamin. So I might also have to take two multis a day to get enuf vitamin D to make best use of my potassium intake.
Younger people who can't get rid of muscle pains thru hot showers, baths, or massage, might try boosting their potassium. It might work wonders.
A couple of days ago, I was in a Pathmark supermarket in South Orange, NJ, to deposit a money order at the Bank of America branch within that supermarket (which branch, alas, is to close on February 22nd). I then walked some 15 feet to ask the pharmacists there "Do you have a potassium supplement greater than 3% of daily requirement?" (3% is the 'strength' of the potassium gluconate supplement available over-the-counter). One of the two women there plainly did not know, so deferred to the other, who said she didn't think so, because it is possible to take in too much potassium, so you'd have to have a prescription from a doctor, who would then monitor your potassium level. I mentioned that I had a friend who had a potassium excess, once, but he's dead now — from another cause (heart attack). I was being playful, and made them smile, if ill-at-ease. The death of my BEST friend at the time, however, was nothing like funny, and too much potassium in his blood may have contributed to his death from a heart attack. But he was very overweight, and I mentioned his morbid obesity to him on more than one occasion.
His response was, "I'm going to be dead a lot longer than I am alive." And so he died, before his 49th birthday. I cannot, right now, even check when that was, because I culled out the dead from my electronic address book. I am now sorry I did that, and may, if I find the necessary data, restore dates of death to friends and family in that word-processing file. In any case, my best friend, Jay Friend, died years and years ago, and I miss him still. (He had no one in his family to miss him, unfortunately, because he had become estranged from his immediate family, something I told him, at the time I heard of it, that I did not understand. My remaining family is frequently in touch, more than once a week by email. I suspect that even as he lay dying in his bed, from a heart attack, he didn't think that he had not reconciled with his brother, Sandy. That strikes me as unspeakably sad.)
In any case, I want to pass on to other people things that few will have heard of thru friends, doctors, or even the Internet.
Potassium is an indispensable nutrient to prevent muscle pains, at least in older people. I do not know why this is, for all practical purposes, a profound and carefully kept secret. But if you have muscle pains or aches that no other measure, be it hot showers or topical lotions or massages relieve, you may just have a potassium deficiency. And if you up your potassium intake enuf, those pains may disappear entirely, so that within two days you will not even remember having had such muscle pains. And they will not recur as long as you continue to take in a healthy measure of potassium.
What IS a healthy measure of potassium? Potassium is expected, by health professionals, to be one of the most commonly, and heavily, ingested nutrients anyone will, in the ordinary course of a day, take in. That would explain why NO manufacturer of dietary supplements offers a potassium supplement of greater strength than 3% of daily requirement. My multivitamin's potassium content is 2% of the daily requirement. Absurd, at least for old people.
Unfortunately, many people need MUCH more than a 3% supplement of daily requirement to stave off muscle pains. But almost nobody talks about this, in person or online. Yes, you can get this information, but only if you know to search for it. A potassium deficiency is called "hypokalemia", and it can be serious, not just hurtful in terms of pains to muscles of the back and shoulders. I do not know why this is very well hidden information, such that people in general do not know to try eating or drinking foods high in potassium (e.g., dried apricots or salmon). There is, in any case, almost certainly no need for (old) people to suffer truly debilitating muscle pains, such that they cannot pick up anything heavy, if their problem is only insufficient potassium.
(2) I also discovered, absolutely inadvertently, that BIRCH BEER soda may have medicinal qualities. The area of the (older, male) body on which birch beer may have medicinal effects is the prostate. But studies and folk medicine suggest that things present in birch beer soda may fite other common problems in the health of older men. I started drinking birch beer again recently after several years when it was not available in my local supermarket. The Pathmark chain had a great, store-brand birch-beer soda during my first couple of years in Newark, NJ, but stopped offering it in, perhaps, 2004. I don't know why.
Recently, I noticed that Pathmark offered "Pennsylvania Dutch" brand birch beer, at a higher price than Pathmark had offered for its own. I tried it, first, only when it was on sale, and loved it. After drinking some for several days (give it some time, and perhaps a few liters' consumption, if you try this), I noticed a change in my bodily functions. I am now, as of late December, 68 years old. I have had trouble with my prostate. But since I have been drinking birch beer, those problems have subsided. Am I the only one on Earth to have noticed this correlation?
"Correlation is not causation" is advice worth heeding. But that does NOT mean that one should ignore a physical effect you notice that you have not seen confirmed elsewhere. Even if no medical website, or doctor you consult, tells you that birch beer has helpful effects as to reducing the size and obstructiveness of your prostate, you nonetheless experience improvement in your life from drinking birch beer, ignore the naysayers and reap the benefits of birch beer. If your results are truly noteworthy, tell your doctor. Despite what you may believe, doctors know only what they're told, be it by medical schools or patients. And if the real world tells them things that med school had not, SOME doctors will heed their patients, and even report their feedback to med schools.
Monday, December 31, 2012
Dems: Don't give a cent nor inch!
I sent the following message to President Obama, V.P. Biden, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, December 31, 2012 (3:10am).
DO NOT SELL US OUT to the rich. If Republicans demand a higher income limit than $250,000, counter-offer LOWER: $200,000 is plenty rich enuf. Be a man. [Except in text for Ms. Pelosi] Stand tall and crush the Republicans. Remind them, over and over, that they LOST the election and have been repudiated by the public, and if they insist on defending the rich at the cost of raising everyone's taxes, Democrats will DESTROY the Republican Party in 2014. Warn Boehner that the Republicans can go the way of the Whigs, which the Republican Party replaced. Stomp him and McConnell under hobnail boots. You have all the power. Give NOTHING to the Republicans. They regard any token of respect not as a desire for bipartisanhip or graciousness but as weakness. Don't give them any out. Rub their nose in it. Crush them, humiliate them, put them in their place for good. Do not enable them to continue their obstructionist ways. Make Boehner cry out loud and in public. Crush the redneck Radical Right and make plain that their stranglehold on the Nation's culture and politics is OVER. They must get with the program or be run over by the great majority and crushed into the dust of history. Warn them that if they don't budge, you will introduce legislation to initiate COMPULSORY VOTING in Federal elections, so their ONLY chance at winning any election ever again, low turnout of Democrats, will be destroyed, because turnout will always be 95%, and Republicans cannot ever win more than 40%. Go further: take away redistricting from the states, which should have NO SAY over Federal districts, and let computers draw geometrically compact districts, starting in one corner of a state and proceeding to the other end of the state making districts as close to square as possible. Minority rule must END. Warn the Republicans that they have to RENOUNCE minority rule and racism, or end as a force of any consequence in American public policy FOREVER.