Saturday, January 31, 2009


Tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday. My team is not playing, so I really don't care that much about the outcome. However, I usually pick a team to root for to make watching the game interesting. This year, I am absolutely torn.

I want to root for the Arizona Cardinals to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. I am a San Francisco 49ers fan, and there are three teams that are tied for the most Super Bowl wins at five: the Niners, the Steelers and the Cowboys. If the Steelers win, then the Niners will no longer be at the top of the heap.

On the other hand, I have now heard that the Pittsburgh Steelers owner, Dan Rooney, endorsed Barack Obama early and campaigned for him in Pennsylvania, while the Cardinals ownership donated lots of money to John McCain's campaign. And both Barack Obama and Joe Biden are rooting for the Steelers.

What to do, what to do...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Same Old Shit

Well, the Republicans are pulling the same old shit. Not one House Republican voted for the economic stimulus package. Even after President Obama (I LOVE writing that!) reached out to Republicans and even after Democrats took out what seemed to be the parts of the bill that the Republicans hated the most (family planning and the Washington mall work), the Republicans did what they always do. They are obstructionist and sheep. Not one could think or act on their own to do what's right for the country. Most economists agree that swift and bold action needs to be taken to help this economy that is in a steep downturn. But the Republicans keep harping on tax cuts as being the only solution. Isn't that what was done under the Bush administration? It didn't work so well, did it? It's about job creation so that people have jobs so that people can spend money so that businesses can do well. Connect the dots, people!

I think what the Democrats should take away from this is there is no point to attempting compromise or bi-partisanship. They have the votes in the House and should just do what they want and not worry about appeasing these soulless Republicans, who in the words of Rush Limbaugh, probably want Obama to fail so that they can win elections in 2010.

Same. Old. Shit.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Immediate Change - Rescinding the Global Gag Rule

I am still gathering my thoughts on the inauguration of President Barack Obama (I love saying that!), but I wanted to post this news item right away. According to Reuters:

U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday will lift restrictions on U.S. government funding for groups that provide abortion services or counselling abroad, reversing a policy of his Republican predecessor George W. Bush, an administration official said. "It will be today. He's going to make an executive order (lifting the global gag rule)," the official said.

The so-called global gag rule policy, started by Ronald Reagan, is disgusting. It uses a wedge issue to basically restrict and limit health care for poor women around the world on the chance that some minute percentage of U.S. government funds will be used to even advise women about abortion. How much harm is done? And how galling that this can be done when abortion is legal in this country?

Here at home, there was an article in the USA Today last month that profiled two women who have worked in an impoverished Appalachian area for years, promoting education and trying to better the lives of women and the entire area. The key was introducing birth control so that these women could work and bring in more income. As the article states:

Looking back, Kemner and Gall say it was birth control, as much as anything, that changed the fate of Stinking Creek. The daughters of women who had 14 or 15 children in the 1950s and 1960s grew up and had three or four. Their daughters and granddaughters now have one or two, or none.

If we really want to reduce poverty and improve lives around the world, we cannot let religious views overshadow medical care and family planning.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Inaugural Eve

On the eve of the historic inauguration of Barack Obama, I would like to plead with Democrats to unite in full support of our new President. There may be disagreements on issues, but as hard as it may be, we must give Obama our full support. The situation is too dire to waylay him with small differences. I am speaking to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and progressive talk radio hosts and liberal bloggers and those analyzing every move he has made so far and myself. Stop jockeying for position. Stop highlighting our differences. Let's focus on our shared views and shared concerns and let him fight the Republicans if necessary, not us.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Righting the Wrongs of the Bush Administration

As Inaugural Day approaches, I have faith that Barack Obama will work hard to undo much of the disastrous policy of the Bush Administration, from torture to family planning to building diplomacy abroad. However, I am not so sure whether the new administration will hold anyone accountable for the unconstitutional activities, and I think this is a shame. Barack Obama said in an interview that "“I don’t believe that anybody is above the law,” but “we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.”

Isn't he the one who said that a President needs to do many things at once? Isn't it critical that those who broke the law are held accountable? How can we just move while knowing that people were tortured? When there are no consequences for actions, then people are above the law. We must restore our good reputation and our pride here at home. Performing a thorough investigation and bringing people to justice for the abuses that have taken place the last eight years is critical.

Read a great New York Times op-ed on this here.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Corruption - The Difference Between Democrats and Republicans

While expressing my disappointment and disgust regarding the recent scandal involving Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, my husband asked me if I was naive enough to think that no Democrats are corrupt. Of course, I know that corruption is not limited to the Republican party (although my perception is that Republicans are more frequently embroiled in scandals...could be bias...I don't know). I would like to offer two difference between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to scandal and corruption:
  • First, the Republican party touts itself as the part of morals and values. Therefore, when a scandal hits a Republican, especially a sex scandal (of which there have been many!), there is an added element of extreme hypocrisy.
  • Second, it seems to me that Republicans defend their own to the bitter end, while Democrats respond appropriately when a fellow Democrat is found to be corrupt. Blagojevich has been promptly impeached, and I can't think of any who have defended him. Meanwhile, Ted Steven was applauded in the Senate and almost re-elected even though he is a convicted felon.

Power breeds corruption, but when we encounter corruption, let's respond appropriately.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


During the presidential campaign, the term "socialism" was constantly used by the right wing in their attempt to demonize Barack Obama and portray him as un-American. Somehow, the concept of rolling back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest while cutting taxes for the rest of us was equated to "socialism". Rather than going into Obama's tax plan and how it is simply a progressive income tax which has always been how taxes have worked in the U.S., I would rather set the record straight on socialism.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of socialism is:
1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2 a: a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
3: a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, socialism is:
social and economic doctrine that calls for public rather than private ownership or control of property and natural resources. According to the socialist view, individuals do not live or work in isolation but live in cooperation with one another. Furthermore, everything that people produce is in some sense a social product, and everyone who contributes to the production of a good is entitled to a share in it. Society as a whole, therefore, should own or at least control property for the benefit of all its members.

Those on the right have so distorted the meaning of this word that you now hear callers into radio shows claiming that any government taxation of citizens and use of the funds in any manner (for example police, fire, schools) is a form of socialism. This is simply not true. In fact, the only recent more accurate example of socialism in this country is the recent bailout of the financial industry where the government actually took a stake in banks. And this was perpetrated by the Republican Bush Administration.

So, let's remember the true definition of socialism as President Obama takes office and begins the effort to get us out of this huge mess the Bush Administration is leaving and counter any claims by the right that tax cuts or tax increases or investment in this country's infrastructure or investment in green technology is socialism.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Holiday Political Discussions Part I - Executive Compensation

The holidays are a time for families to gather. Inevitably (at least in my family), spirited political discussions take place. Here is the Christmas Day "Debate of the Democrats".

A discussion of executive compensation highlighted the wide spectrum of die-hard Democrats in our family, ranging from a self-proclaimed "bleeding-heart liberal" to the socially liberal, fiscally conservative centrist. On the one hand, the out-of-hand compensation packages for CEOs was decried as wrong and a result of the insular world of Board members and CEOs rewarding each other at the expense of shareholders, customers and employees. On the other hand, it was argued that these CEO compensation packages are simply driven by the market and are the result of the negotiation that takes place when attracting and hiring the person determined to be the right person to run a company.

I am somewhere in the middle. I feel that the Democrats tend to demonize corporations and the CEOs that run them. I am an employee of a large corporation. I may be naive, but I believe that the leaders of the company I work for have integrity and are not just out for themselves. Yes, they make a lot of money, but I don't begrudge them that. Compare a CEO who makes $1,000,000 in base salary and their responsibilities to an athlete or movie star and the millions they make. I understand that there will always be the Enrons in the world, and the recent behavior of executives in the financial industry is absolutely despicable, but I just don't think it helps the Democrats to portray all CEOs to be the villains and all corporations as big, bad profit-hungry conglomerates. The fact is, large corporations employ a lot of people in this country, and in today's global economy, the U.S. can't take them for granted.