Saturday, December 25, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Rachel Maddow thinks the repeal of DADT is Obama's victory. He may get credit but I think he did very little to help us out. I give credit to: Nancy Pelosi, Senators Lieberman, Gillibrand and Collins, and to all the brave GLBT service members and our brave activists who fought so hard to end this policy. As for Obama...let's see how quickly he actually ends the discrtimination. Lt. Dan Choi puts Mr. Presidnt O on the spot:
President Obama, you are not off the hook. The compromise bill passed today puts the moral imperative squarely on your desk. Sign an executive order instituting a full non-discrimination policy throughout the military. If you do not, if you drag your feet and politicize this with your theoretical calculations as you have these past two years, you will be guilty of abetting those who loudly proclaim homophobia from their platforms and pulpits. Provide them no shelter or safe haven. Institute justice now.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Richard g\Grenell (US UN Spokesperson) writes over at Huffington:
It is painfully obvious that the national gay leaders have promoted their own partisan agendas and careers within the Democratic Party instead of working to ensure passage of civil rights.
Grenell calls for the HRC's Solomonese and others to resign. Pam Spaulding also called for Solomonese to resign. Heought to go. He can get work with the DNC.
Friday, December 10, 2010
This president had two years of a Democrat Party controlled congress, plenty of time to repeal DADT. But he exercised no leadership, and no leadership on the issue came from congressional Dems. Our biggest gay rights group, the HRC, told us to be patient and it would happen, rather than mobilizing the community and pressuring the White House. They all are to blame.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Photo: Flag hanging from our cabin railing on board the Celebrity Equinox docked in Naples
Obama's new tax compromise is not only bad economics; it's also disastrous from the standpoint of educating the public about what has happened and what needs to happen in the future. It reinforces the Republican story and makes mincemeat out of the truthful one Democrats should be telling.
This giveaway to the wealthy should be defeated. If Obama cannot lead better then this he should step aside and let some other Democrat run for president.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Johann Hari in the London Independent:
...we will never unlearn or unknow the great truths Julian Assange has brought us. The hysterical state-power hacks saying he is "a terrorist" should go tell it to all the tortured Iraqis, all the terrorized Honduran democrats, and all the bombed Yemenis whose story he has -- at last -- brought out from the sealed-away world of top secret cables.
Hari acknolwedges that Assange may be a rapist, but also that the rape chrges could be trumped up by the CIA.
Monday, December 6, 2010
The pursuit of the war in Afghanistan in support of a certifiably corrupt Afghan government and the apparent willingness to retreat from his campaign commitment of no further tax cuts for the rich, his equivocal and foot dragging leadership to end DADT, his TARP for Wall Street, but, equivocal insufficient attention to the unemployment and housing foreclosures of Main Street, suggest that the template of the 1968 challenge to the reelection of President Lyndon Johnson now must be thoughtfully considered for Obama in 2012.
- Clarance B Jones
Photo: The harbor in Naples, Italy
Robert Kuttner (Huffington Post) writes:
Let's stop pretending. Barack Obama is a disaster as a crisis president. He has taken an economic collapse that was the result of Republican ideology and Republican policies, and made it the Democrats' fault. And the more that he is pummeled, the more he bends over.
Robert Kuttner thinks Obama may become the Democrat's Herbert Hoover, presiding over a fully Republican congress after 2012, provided he wins re-election at all. He raises the possibility of a Democratic Party challenger from the progressive left to Obama in 2012. We shall see.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Photo: Orvieto, Italy
Frank Rich's column in the New York Times today is a must read. He describes Obama as:
A chief executive who repeatedly presents himself as a conciliator, forever searching for the “good side” of all adversaries and convening summits, in the end comes across as weightless, if not AWOL
Rich warns that three of the last four sitting presidents with high unemployment rates lost their bids for re-election. When will Obama wake up?
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Photo: Civitavecchia, Italy (the port for Rome)
Howard Fineman on Obama:
..."Obama in fact has allowed himself to be trapped, with a few notable exceptions (health care and food safety being two), in a slightly more bland rendition of a third Bush term."
Great. Just what we didn't need: Bush Light.
Friday, December 3, 2010
Photo: Taormina, Sicily
Paul Krugman throws in the towel on Obama:
It’s hard to escape the impression that Republicans have taken Mr. Obama’s measure — that they’re calling his bluff in the belief that he can be counted on to fold. And it’s also hard to escape the impression that they’re right... Whatever is going on inside the White House, from the outside it looks like moral collapse — a complete failure of purpose and loss of direction...all indications are that the party will have to look elsewhere for the leadership it needs.
Hopefully, there will be a Democratic Party challenger to Obama in 2012, or a third party progressive candidate with guts. One thing is clear: Obama is a failure. We might as well get rid of him ASAP, and hope for a real leader with progressive values to emerge.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
This is "Doma" located in the Logan Square section of Philadelphia, not too far from where we live. Although not brand new (it apparently ope4ned last Spring) the food was great when we made our first visit Sunday evening. Who is up for joining us?
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Photo: Taormina, Sicily
James Carville on Obama:
"If Hillary gave up one of her balls and gave it to Obama, he'd have two," Carville said at a "Christian Science Monitor" breakfast discussion.
It would be funnier if it wasn't so sad and true.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Photo: Taormina, Sicily
The President's Commission on deficit reduction will have a lot of gifts for the wealthy in its report. The recommendations on tax reform, e.g., lowering the top marginal rate on the wealthiest Americans, will, if enacted, complete the return of this country (started by Saint Ronald Reagan) to the Age of the Robber Barons, before progressive taxation was first enacted. The gap between the wealthy and the rest of us will get bigger. I doubt that we can depend on Barak to reject the backward recommendations of his own commission.
Meanwhile, another commission, chaired by former Republican fat cat senator Pete Domenici, will recommend, among other things, cutting Medicare benefits and making seniors pay more out of pocket for medical care. So the wealthy will see their taxes cut and those least able to afford it will have to pay more for medical benefits. This country is sure headed down the shit tubes.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Obama talks a good game on gay rights, then does nothing, or worse yet, defends DOMA and DADT.
R. Clarke Cooper, Executive Director of the Log Cabin Republicans:
R. Clarke Cooper, Executive Director of the Log Cabin Republicans:
"It is unfortunate the Obama Justice Department has forced the Log Cabin Republicans to go to the Supreme Court to halt this failed policy. At the same time, President Obama remains far from the front lines of the fight for legislative repeal while commanding his lawyers to zealously defend 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' in court. This week Log Cabin Republicans have conducted meetings with numerous Republican senators potentially in favor of repeal, all of whom are waiting for the President's call. The White House has been missing in action on Capitol Hill, undermining efforts to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' in the final session of this Congress, potentially leaving the judiciary as the only solution for our brave men and women in uniform."
Photo: The Roman Theater at Taormina, Sicily
There is a lot of bazz currently to the effect that Obama and the Democrats are ready to drop the effort to repeal DADT through the defense authorization bill. This would kill repeal for years. Here is a sample of the comments I am seeing in the blogosphere:
I'm now 45 and I'm GODDAMNED SICK AND TIRED of being "patient." I'm an American citizen and all I want are the same rights that straight people take for granted from the day they are born. And until the Democrats demonstrate through actions that they believe all that sanctimonious bullshit they always spout during election season, I don't care whether they win or not. When I get equality, they can have my vote again.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Photo: Taormina, Sicily
Drew Westin at Huffington sums up the way I feel about Obama:
Like most Americans I talk to, when I see the president on television, I now change the channel the same way I did with Bush. With Bush, I couldn't stand his speeches because I knew he meant what he said. I knew he was going to follow through with one ignorant, dangerous, or misguided policy after another. With Obama, I can't stand them because I realize he doesn't mean what he says -- or if he does, he just doesn't have the fire in his belly to follow through. He can't seem to muster the passion to fight for any of what he believes in, whatever that is. He'd make a great queen -- his ceremonial addresses are magnificent -- but he prefers to fly Air Force One at 60,000 feet and "stay above the fray."
...and he wrote this amost a year ago!
Friday, November 5, 2010
Photo: Taormina, Sicily, August 2010
The LGBT struggle for civil rights is not an appendage of any political party. Freedom has no Party. Our national organizations must remember that they do not work for the President or the Democratic Party. Our LGBT leaders work for and are accountable to us and no one else.
I've been saying this for years. Unfortunately, our major gay rights group the Human Rights Campaign, is little more than a Democrat Party appendage. The inaction on gay rights issues over the past two years should finally shine a bright light on the waste of gay money that goes to HRC.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Photo: Another photo of the Fire Island Pines in Autumn
Harvard lecturer Marshall Ganz in the Los Angeles Times:
Obama and his team made three crucial choices that undermined the president's transformational mission. First, he abandoned the bully pulpit of moral argument and public education. Next, he chose to lead with a politics of compromise rather than advocacy. And finally, he chose to demobilize the movement that elected him president. By shifting focus from a public ready to drive change — as in "yes we can" — he shifted the focus to himself and attempted to negotiate change from the inside, as in "yes I can."
Basically, what we have here is a total failure of leadership. As I have noted on this blog previously, Obama actually does not have the temperament to be president. He is total;ly deferential to his adversaries, while neglecting his base. We're lucky the senate didn't go Republican.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Photo: Autumn in the Fire Island Pines
The New York Times gets it right: the blame for the massive Republican gains yesterday rests squarely with Barak Obama and his lack of leadership:
Mr. Obama, and his party, have to do a far better job of explaining their vision and their policies. Mr. Obama needs to break his habits of neglecting his base voters and of sitting on the sidelines and allowing others to shape the debate. He needs to do a much better job of stiffening the spines of his own party’s leaders.
He has made it far too easy for his opponents to spin and distort what Americans should see as genuine progress in very tough times: a historic health care reform, a stimulus that headed off an even deeper recession, financial reform to avoid another meltdown.
Mr. Obama has a lot of difficult work ahead of him. The politics in Washington will likely get even nastier. Before he can hope to build the minimal bipartisan consensus needed to move ahead, Mr. Obama will have to rally more Americans to the logic of his policies.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Photo: Bradley enjoys an Autumn walk on Fire Island.
It's pretty simple, really. All I require is a president, a political party, and candidates to be clear and unequivocal in their support for equality. Is that so much to ask? Apparently so. Well then, what will have to happen in this country is that the fanatics will have to get in and destroy what is left of America. Maybe then we can rebuild something out of the rubble.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Photo: Fall on Fire Island
If the Democrats get their collective rear ends kicked tomorrow, part of the reason will be that too many of them are emmulating their leader Obama in trying to have it both ways on gay issues.
This is from PA. senatorial candidate Joe Sestak's web site:
SUPPORTS REPEAL OF THE DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT (DOMA)
DOMA prevented interstate and federal recognition of same sex marriage by mandating that no state be required to acknowledge same sex marriages that are officiated in other states and that the federal government may not recognize or officiate same sex marriages. Joe supports civil unions and believes that they are the providence of the states. He believes that marriage is a church issue. If states decide to allow same sex marriages, he believes that to be the right of that state. He opposes federal and state constitutional amendments against same sex marriage because he does not believe the decision should be forced upon any religious institution -- as it is a church’s right to exercise beliefs.
Joe supports "civil unions"...that is not marriage equality. Marriage is a church issue? That is exactly backwards. Civil marriage is a basic civil right. Since when is marriage a church issue? Does that mean that marriage in front of a Justice of the Peace is invalid or less valid than a church marriage?
I am disappointed in Sestak, and not likely to vote on Tuesday or perhaps not until I can vote for a candidate that has the courage to stand up squarely for what is right.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Photo: Messina, Italy
So why doesn't Obama say that he believes Don't Ask, Don't Tell is unconstitutional? Analysts I've read say that if he told this to the courts even while defending the law, that this would go a long way toward ending it. This is important bcause it appears that congress will not repeal DADT any time soon. The only way to end DADT any time soon is through the courts. But Obama has to state that his administration believes it is unconstitutional. Can't he even take this baby step to help fulfill his promise to end this discriminatory law?
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Photo: Dan, on board the Celebrity Equinox dockled at Messina, Italy
Robert Riech fears for American democracy (as if we actually have real democracy which we don't:)
The perfect storm: An unprecedented concentration of income and wealth at the top; a record amount of secret money flooding our democracy; and a public becoming increasingly angry and cynical about a government that's raising its taxes, reducing its services, and unable to get it back to work.
We're losing our democracy to a different system. It's called plutocracy.
Haw! We've been a plutocracy for a long time now. Ronnie Reagan cemented that reality when he gutted what was left of the progressive taxation system we had before he got elected. Only millionaires can become senators and it has been that way for a long time. Once they are elected they take care of business, literally. Wake up America!
Monday, October 18, 2010
Photo: Messina, Italy
Blogger John Aravosis sums up the problem with the way Obama does business as president:
The President starts a negotiation by looking for the lowest common denominator, the thing least likely to make waves with the opposition, and then, after a comfortable period of time doing next to nothing, rallies around whatever is left.
This is what happened with his signature accomplishment so far, health care reform, which was a sellout to the health care corporations and big pharma.
Somehow this president, a professor of constitutional law came to misunderstand the constitution he used to teach. There are three co-equal branches of government under our Constitution, not merely an all powerful congress being the only branch capable of making or changing policy. Since when does the executive branch totally defer to the congress? The president needs a refresher course on his own powers under the Constitution!
Sunday, October 17, 2010
This weekend there is an installation at Schuylkill Banks entitled "Light Drift." It's an...
"interactive RFID Lighting installation which creates a field of responsive and occupiable lighting elements along the edge of the Schuylkill River. The lighting elements are shaped like orbs and are equipped with electronics that allow them to respond to the public and to communicate with each other. The orbs on land use sensors to detect the presence of a person and relay a radio signal to the corresponding orbs in the water, allowing visitors to create and choreograph patterns of light in the river. As viewers engage the orbs, the grid of lights in the water becomes an index of the activities on land. Light Drift brings people together through their interaction with the orbs, creating new connections along the river's edge."The exhibit is really beautiful. Unfortunately it ends today.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Photo: Masada, Israel
Fierce Gay advocate Obama has refused for almost two years to halt the disgraceful discharges of decent patriotic gay and lesbian service members, even though it is within his power to do so by executive order. Now a federal judge has issued an order that does exactly that. Obama should not allow the Department Of Justice to appeal this decision or ask for a temporary stay of the judge's order. That would be the right thing to do, but Obama does not have a good record so far of doing the right thing, just what is politically expedient.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Now I actually hate this man Obama. It has something to do with the fact the he is now defending a clearly unconstitutional and purely hateful act that directly hurts me and my partner of 27 years.
With the good news that Judge Virginia Phillips ruled Don't Ask, Don't Tell unconstitutional comes the bad news that the Obama Administration has filed appeals against another judge's decisions to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.
U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Tauro of Boston ruled in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Commonwealth of Massachusetts vs. Department of Health and Human Services earlier this year that DOMA violates the Fifth Amendment and impedes the state of Massachusetts's ability to define marriage.
While the Justice Department's appeal comes as no surprise, it will do nothing to endear the President to liberals and progressives offended by broken campaign promises.
Michael Brenner at Huffington nails it:
So long as General David Petraeus is allowed to call the shots with his legend on the line, and other senior administration officials are off on their own ego trips, costly miscalculations, as we've seen of late, will recur.
Photo: Masada, Israel
How did Obama get elected? An enthusiastic base including many young first time voters provided the core support for Obama's election, combined with the "middle" (moderates.) However, if you look at the polling now, Obama has lost the moderates, and alienated much of his base, thus the so called "enthusiasm gap." One thing Bush Jr did right from the standpoint of politics is that he always played to his base. Obama has abandoned his base. The so called "professional liberals" that the White House so often criticizes represent the very people that provided the enthusiasm that got him elected. Obama's strategy now seems to be trying not to lose the middle...we used to call it "triangulation" when Clinton was in office. But it is not going to work for Obama. It's a losing strategy now because things are different, e.g. recession and high unempolyment vs. prosperity. His and the Democrats only hope lies with a solid and enthusiastic base, but he doesn't have that anymore.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Photo: Loki says: "Being a kitten is exhausting! You constantly have to keep the humans amused."
Nut job NY gubernatorial candidate Paladino's rabidly homophobic remarks over the weekend are just the latest evidence that gays and lesbians are in a battle for our very existence in this country. Yet whom do we turn to for help? Who will champion our cause? Not Obama, who has failed to keep his promises to us and failed to use the bully pulpit of the presidency to oppose anti-gay laws and violence directed at us. Make no mistake about it: we're in very serious trouble and the situation is likely to get much worse after the elections sweep Tea Party crackpots and other backward Republicans into office. Can we get asylum somewhere sane?
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Photo: Bryn Terfel as Wotan
Yesterday we travelled to New York City to see the new production of Wagner's Das Reingold. I enjoyed the production and of course the music was wonderful. The Met orchestra is just so excellent always. It was an exhausting 12 hour day, though. I guess we'll never get used to not living in New York City.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Photo: Masada, Israel. An interior showing the level of the original ruins. Above the black line are reconstructed areas.
Our family physician has asked us once again to provide him with copies of our medical power of attorney and living will forms. He is concerned that if one of us is hospitalized the other might not be able to even get in let alone make decisions. This is all because we can't get legally married. Our 27 years together has no legal impact in medical situations, apparently.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Photo: Masada, Israel
Obama's own presidential commission nails him on the BP oil spill. From the New York Times:
The Obama administration failed to act upon or fully inform the public of its own worst-case estimates of the amount of oil gushing from the blown-out BP well, slowing response efforts and keeping the American people in the dark for weeks about the size of the disaster, according to preliminary reports from the presidential commission investigating the accident.
Obama makes the argument that he is at least better than the Republicns. Really? Not when it comes to the BP spill!
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010
On this beautiful Autumn day here on Fire Island, our friend Stephen held a touching memorial for Ken, his partner of 19 years who died in August. After a service at their beach house, Stephen spread Ken's ashes on the dunes near the beach and ocean that Ken enjoyed every day that he could. I read my blog entry of September 12 about Ken, and after his ashes were placed into the dunes, I threw a flower into the waves in rememberance of Ken...