Atlantis Alumni

Monday, March 31, 2008

A Socialized Bailout For The Rich

Knee-jerk conservatives and their Republican heros are dead set against just about any form of universal health care for all Americans. They consider "single-payer" systems along the lines of the models in Canada and Europe to be "socialized medicine." However, they have no problem with socialized bailout of the bad boy big financial firms on Wall Street. When one of the big private investment banks gets sick, the Republicans rush in with taxpayer money to help make it well. Socialized financial medicine for the wealthy is fine, but socialized health care for Americans is not.

Bush and company won't even more closely regulate these private banks. The Times Paul Krugman notes today in is column:

" a draft of a speech to be delivered on Monday, Henry Paulson, the
Treasury secretary, declares, “I do not believe it is fair or accurate to blame
our regulatory structure for the current turmoil.”
And sure enough,
according to the executive summary of the new administration plan, regulation
will be limited to institutions that receive explicit federal guarantees — that
is, institutions that are already regulated, and have not been the source of
today’s problems. As for the rest, it blithely declares that “market discipline
is the most effective tool to limit systemic risk.”
The administration,
then, has learned nothing from the current crisis. Yet it needs, as a political
matter, to pretend to be doing something."

When will American wise up to this stuff, if ever?


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hillary Can't Spin What's On YouTube

Poor Hillary. She got caught in the big lie about dodging bullets in Bosnia and she couldn't bring Obama down playing the Rev. Wright race card. YouTube got her - claims Frank Rich in today's New York Times:

Last week Mrs. Clinton learned the hard way that Iraq, racial gamesmanship
and viral video can destroy a Democrat, too.


Friday, March 28, 2008

Casablanca Misinformed

Enjoy Bogie and the remarkable Claude Rains in this snippet from Casablanca. Probably my single most favorite clever exchange of dialogue in the movie. "I was misinformed," says Bogie. Great Stuff!

Krugman Sums Up The Candidates On Domestic Issues

NY Times columnist Paul Krugman, who is a noted economist, has been a Hillary backer. In today's Times he sums up his feelings about her, McCain and Obama when it comes to domestic policy:

Mr. McCain, we’re told, is a straight-talking maverick. But on domestic policy,
he offers neither straight talk nor originality; instead, he panders shamelessly
to right-wing ideologues.
Mrs. Clinton, we’re assured by sources right and
left, tortures puppies and eats babies. But her policy proposals continue to be
surprisingly bold and progressive.
Finally, Mr. Obama is widely portrayed,
not least by himself, as a transformational figure who will usher in a new era.
But his actual policy proposals, though liberal, tend to be cautious and
relatively orthodox.

You can tell who he favors. I'm still anti-Clinton myself. I would NEVER vote for another Clinton, ever again, after what Slick Willy did to gay people. But it is interesting to read different people's take on the positions of the candidates.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

What Obama Cannot Say - Sam Harris

Author and free thinker Sam Harris over at HuffPo focuses on something else that Obama cannot tackle openly (in addition to the residual racism and pervasive stupidity of many Americans):

Despite all that he does not and cannot say, Obama's candidacy is genuinely thrilling: his heart
is clearly in the right place; he is an order of magnitude more intelligent than
the current occupant of the Oval Office; and he still stands a decent chance of
becoming the next President of the United States. His election in November
really would be a triumph of hope.
But Obama's candidacy is also depressing, for it
demonstrates that even a person of the greatest candor and eloquence must still
claim to believe the unbelievable in order to have a political career in this
country. We may be ready for the audacity of hope. Will we ever be ready for the
audacity of reason?

Harris is rightly critical of the role of organized religion in the oppression of the the black community, and the corrosive and corrupting effect that it has on American politics. Harris is right: no serious candidate for public office can acknowledge such a thing. But it is there.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Obama's Speech And Bigoted, Stupid America

The speech was great, in a word. But it won't make much difference, I'm afraid. Barak can't do what many white Americans want him to do, to deny the truth implicit in the incendiary statements of his Reverend friend. There is a lot of anger and resentment among black Americans. Why shouldn't there be -they've been dumped on for centuries in America. This may well take down the Obama candidacy which is too bad - for America. As the Jack Nicholson character in "A Few Good Men" said: " You Can't Handle The Truth!" America can't handle the truth about race, and Obama can't paper over it no matter how terrific a speech he gives. Nicholas Kristof in the Times notes:

"What’s happening, I think, is that the Obama campaign has led many white Americans to listen
in for the first time to some of the black conversation — and they are

Maybe this whole incident will wake up he stupefied American public, but I doubt it. It's too easy to remain bigoted and stupid.


Monday, March 17, 2008

It's The Economy, Stupid! (Failing!)

Economist Paul Krugman on the US economy in today's New Yrok Times:

"...things are falling apart as you read this."

George Bush, of course, merrily plods along in the last year of his eight year reign of incompetence while Wall Street sinks and our economy is in danger of tanking big time. Sure, extend those tax cuts for the wealthy...let Rome burn.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Obama And Pastor Wright

Well, Barak has done the politically necessary thing in repudiating the comments of his pastor, but the pastor was onto something with his comments. America has indeed brought upon itself much misery by our warmongering policies of the last four decades. Joseph Palermo at Huffpo nails it:

"We should recall that the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., who is honored
with a national holiday and politicians including George W. Bush and John McCain
have paid homage to his memory, in April 1967 called the United States "the
greatest purveyor of violence in the world today." In my opinion, Reverend
Wright says nothing in the taped vignettes I've seen on TV that is untrue about
America, despite the "tut-tutting" of liberals and conservatives among the
chattering class. Obama showed that he is nimble in taking care of
potential pitfalls in his campaign and that shows he would be a great candidate
in the general election against the Republican smear-meisters."


Friday, March 14, 2008

Democrats Are Destroying Each Other

My friend Cindy told me the other night that she thought that McCain would be elected. I was skeptical, but I'm not skeptical any more in light of the race and gender ugliness that we see now every day between the Clinton and Obama campaigns. Recent events seem to point to the self-destruction of the Democrats' 2008 chances in November.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ellen Gets Political

Twice now, in the past few weeks, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has used her show as a forum to address, first the hat crime killing of a young gay boy and now the hate speech of an Oklahoma Republican politician. Goo for her! I had been disappointed that Ellen seemed to have suppressed her gayness on the show, but if she had that's over now. Keep up the good work Ellen!


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Hillary's Vote For The War

Alec Baldwin over at Huffington nails it:

Mrs. Clinton has been quoted as saying, "If the most important thing to any
of you is choosing someone who did not cast that vote or has said his vote was a
mistake, then there are others to chose from."
I want Mrs.
Clinton to apologize. Until she does, I encourage Democrats to focus their
attention, and their money, on illuminating what is good about Barack Obama.

Yes, and her vote to authorize junior to go to war is not the only major sin. last Fall she voted to authorize war criminals Bush and Cheney to bomb Iran. After she gets done apologizing for the Iraq vote then she'll have to apologize for the Iran vote. But she won't.


Friday, March 7, 2008

Obama's Open Letter To Gays - Full Text

Equality is a Moral Imperative
Barack Obama

barackobama. com

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I’m running for President to build an America that lives up to our founding promise of equality for all – a promise that extends to our gay brothers and sisters. It’s wrong to have millions of Americans living as second-class citizens in this nation. And I ask for your support in this election so that together we can bring about real change for all LGBT Americans.Equality is a moral imperative. That’s why throughout my career, I have fought to eliminate discrimination against LGBT Americans. In Illinois, I co-sponsored a fully inclusive bill that prohibited discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity, extending protection to the workplace, housing, and places of public accommodation. In the U.S. Senate, I have co-sponsored bills that would equalize tax treatment for same-sex couples and provide benefits to domestic partners of federal employees. And as president, I will place the weight of my administration behind the enactment of the Matthew Shepard Act to outlaw hate crimes and a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act to outlaw workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.As your President, I will use the bully pulpit to urge states to treat same-sex couples with full equality in their family and adoption laws. I personally believe that civil unions represent the best way to secure that equal treatment. But I also believe that the federal government should not stand in the way of states that want to decide on their own how best to pursue equality for gay and lesbian couples — whether that means a domestic partnership, a civil union, or a civil marriage. Unlike Senator Clinton, I support the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) – a position I have held since before arriving in the U.S. Senate. While some say we should repeal only part of the law, I believe we should get rid of that statute altogether. Federal law should not discriminate in any way against gay and lesbian couples, which is precisely what DOMA does. I have also called for us to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and I have worked to improve the Uniting American Families Act so we can afford same-sex couples the same rights and obligations as married couples in our immigration system.The next president must also address the HIV/AIDS epidemic. When it comes to prevention, we do not have to choose between values and science. While abstinence education should be part of any strategy, we also need to use common sense. We should have age-appropriate sex education that includes information about contraception. We should pass the JUSTICE Act to combat infection within our prison population. And we should lift the federal ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates of infection among drug users. In addition, local governments can protect public health by distributing contraceptives.We also need a president who’s willing to confront the stigma – too often tied to homophobia – that continues to surround HIV/AIDS. I confronted this stigma directly in a speech to evangelicals at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, and will continue to speak out as president. That is where I stand on the major issues of the day. But having the right positions on the issues is only half the battle. The other half is to win broad support for those positions. And winning broad support will require stepping outside our comfort zone. If we want to repeal DOMA, repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and implement fully inclusive laws outlawing hate crimes and discrimination in the workplace, we need to bring the message of LGBT equality to skeptical audiences as well as friendly ones – and that’s what I’ve done throughout my career. I brought this message of inclusiveness to all of America in my keynote address at the 2004 Democratic convention. I talked about the need to fight homophobia when I announced my candidacy for President, and I have been talking about LGBT equality to a number of groups during this campaign – from local LGBT activists to rural farmers to parishioners at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Dr. Martin Luther King once preached.Just as important, I have been listening to what all Americans have to say. I will never compromise on my commitment to equal rights for all LGBT Americans. But neither will I close my ears to the voices of those who still need to be convinced. That is the work we must do to move forward together. It is difficult. It is challenging. And it is necessary.Americans are yearning for leadership that can empower us to reach for what we know is possible. I believe that we can achieve the goal of full equality for the millions of LGBT people in this country. To do that, we need leadership that can appeal to the best parts of the human spirit. Join with me, and I will provide that leadership. Together, we will achieve real equality for all Americans, gay and straight alike.

Barack Obama

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

What Happened To Obama?

Hillary won big yesterday. All bets are off. It seems to me that this means the Democrats have a BIG problem: two strong candidates but only one can win. To me it looks like the scenario for a "Unity" ticket, meaning that they both run - either Clinton-Obama, or Obama-Clinton. Any other outcome will tear the party apart and pave the way for a McCain victory. Let's see if the Party elite coalesce around this idea and make it happen.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

What Happened To Hillary?

New York Times columnist David Brooks on why Hillary's campaign is losing: she defines herself as a "fighter," but...

"...this is a country in the midst of a crisis of authority, a country that
has become disillusioned not only with one president, but with a whole system of
politics. It’s a country that has lost faith not only with one institution, but
with the entire set of leadership institutions. The cultural context, in other
words, allowed for a much broader critique, a much more audacious
And Barack Obama leapt right in. "

Brooks makes the point that people are looking for something other than the same old partisan bickering, and that's what Obama promises. Whether or not he'll be able to deliver on that promise if elected is another matter entirely.


Sunday, March 2, 2008

Stop The Christian Fanatics

Bush and Rove have made the Republican Party into a Christian organization. Republicans are trying to Christianize the country - to make the U.S. a Christian nation. This we have to stop. On March 26 a coalition of organizations is sponsoring a free event at theaters across the country to call attention to the need to prevent Christian fanatics from destroying our secular republic. More info is available at the First Freedom First web site.


Jack and Hill

Jack weighs in on Hillary's side!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

My Compromise....

I post this beautiful car to the left to indicate one thing. If it were a presidential candidate it definitely would not be in this race.

The two cars I get to pick from are more like a Republican Hugo or a Democratic Nano car. Ok, so the Tata Nano might be newer and have a more hopeful engine but it still isn't what I wanted.

Unfortunately, as I said in my last post, I'll have to compromise with presidential candidates. I have to assume the Democrat can't possibly fuck up any worse than our current administration has (somehow, that would be just too hard to believe).

The one thing I can't get away from is how voting has become more like gambling. In gambling, the odds are always in favor of the house. If I look at the Obama Campaign vs. McCain, neither of them really walks away a loser. Both have great Senate jobs and will always be powerful state players (if they choose to avoid the lobbying circuit). And even the lobbying circuit is like a slot machine. They can put in coins from tax payers and eventually they'll get a huge payout.

But there's always a loser and in this case, it will probably be me. See, I am the middle class butthead that's been financing GW's tax cuts and will probably finance any McCain or Obama recovery package. My tax bill this year was stratospheric. Really, it was beyond ridiculous. Again, who loses and who wins with either candidate?