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...
Friday, October 1, 2010
Photo: Masada, Israel
Jane Hamsher (FireDogLake) sums up the reason for Barak Obama's problems with parts of his own base:
What Obama is facing, which other presidents have not, is moment-by-moment online documentation of the distance between his words and his actions by issue advocates on his own side...Most of these criticisms have been leveled not because change is happening "too slowly," as Obama would have people believe, but rather because he appears to have completely reversed many of the positions he took on the campaign trail. Obama's own words have been the most powerful tool against him in the battle for LGBT rights, civil liberties, health care or Social Security.