Friday, November 14, 2014

The American people are America's biggest threat

This post has been marinating in my head ever since the mid-terms.

We saw many dedicated legislators tossed aside by a seemingly insurmountable wave of conservative anger.

The message of the Democrats was drowned out by the well-funded and intensely noisy Republican hate machine.

"We are being taxed too much!"
"Congress isn't doing anything, and it's the Democrat's fault!"
"Obama hates America and wants us to fail!"


Jesus...

How fucking GOOD do people need to have it in this country before they actually feel happy about their representation? Over the last six years things have gotten significantly better for a large portion of our population, and that included ALL socio-economic strata to some extant. Excepting, of course, areas where GOP lawmakers have prevailed in choking off funding for social programs.

Sure, it's not paradise, but we really have it pretty good here in America.

And it took a Canadian to make that argument clear for everyone!

This is an image of a letter to the editor at the Detroit Free Press.


The text of the letter is here:
Many of us Canadians are confused by the U.S. midterm elections. Consider, right now in America, corporate proficts are at record highs, the country's adding 200,000 jobs per month, unemployment is under 6%, U.S. GNP growth is the best of the OECD countries.

The dollar is at its strongest levels in years, the stock market is near record highs, gas prices are falling, there's no inflation, interest rates are the lowest in 30 years, U.S. oil imports are declining, U.S. oil production is rapidly increasing, the deficit is rapidly declining, and the wealthy are still making astonishing amounts of money.

America is leading the world once again and respected internationally - in sharp contrast to the Bush years. Obama brought soldiers home from Iraq and killed Osama bin Laden.

So, Americans vote for the party that got you into the mess that Obama just dug you out of? This defies reason.

When you are done with Obama, could you send him this way?

Richard Blunt
Victoria, British Columbia
This really strikes at the heart of the GOP argument. It's very simple...

WE ARE DOING BETTER THAN WE WERE SIX YEARS AGO WHEN OBAMA TOOK OFFICE.


America ain't perfect, not by a long shot, and it obviously never will be. But we are striving, as a nation, to achieve the very best we can!

So why the fuck are there so many idiots out there who refuse to see this simple fact, even at their own peril?

Yup, it's true. We ARE our own worst enemy.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Sunday Night Music Club v.37

I was thinking of a song that most identifies with Kevin Smith's "Clerks", seeing as this is the 37th installment of the Sunday Night Music Club. But I really can't think of any one song that resonates with Clerks, other than a few snippets of (then) current bands.

And, of course, Beserker...



So, here's Aerosmith and Run DMC with an historic rendition of "Walk The Way":

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Lessons from Connecticut's win

I came across an interesting article from Salon.com this morning, and decided to quote some of it here because it seems to get to the root of the reason why the Governor won so convincingly this year.
Running against a multimillionaire opponent who paid only $673 in federal taxes in 2013, Malloy naturally lobbed plenty of populist rhetorical barbs at Foley. But Malloy also boasted something many Democrats who lost Tuesday night did not — an actual track record of economic populist accomplishments. Malloy could point to specific policies he’d signed into law — most notably, mandatory paid sick leave and the nation’s first-ever state-level minimum wage increase to $10.10 an hour — that benefited Connecticut families but would be jeopardized if Foley, who opposed those policies, won the governorship.
Basically, it boiled down to the fact that when a Democrat puts economic issues at the forefront, people tend to respond well.

Malloy and the rest of the state's Democrats did well because things are actually improving in Connecticut, albeit more slowly than most would like. Jobs are being created, people are receiving vital social services, and there is significant growth of business here.

These are the things people like to see.
The lesson for Democrats? Progressive economic measures are “not just good policies,” Lindsay Farrell, Connecticut director of the Working Families Party said. “They’re good politics. Things that give people economic security and tackle economic inequality in this country are popular with voters,” she added.
So, I hope other Democrats are listening, and do what they can to improve the economic lives of their constituents, despite whatever resistance they encounter.

It's a winning strategy.

(The Salon link borrowed from @EpathiaLitmer's Twitter feed. Follow her for great news links that much of the MSM tends to overlook)

Friday, November 07, 2014

Congrats to my Congresswoman

Just wanted to mention that one of the bright spots on an otherwise mostly dismal Election Day was that Rosa DeLauro easily won another term in Congress. Congrats Rosa!

Thursday, November 06, 2014

We won and we lost

Well, no surprises here.

Everyone expected a national bloodbath for the Dems this year. The mid-terms during the second term of a president tend to favor the other party, and this was no different. We expected a slaughter, and we pretty much got one.
The good news is that we won in Connecticut. Gov. Dan Malloy won by a larger margin this time over Tom Foley than in 2010. All our Congressional Representatives are in. The closest race in the executive branch was for Treasurer, with Denise Nappier barely edging out Trumbull's First Selectman Tim Herbst. I would imagine we'll see more of him in the future, especially if Nappier runs her campaign as rough-shod as she did this time around. Her unsettling style of campaigning left many Democrats scratching their heads.

The bad news is that the Republicans bulldozed their way to a solid majority in the US Senate, which means that pretty much every bill that crosses the President's desk over the next two years are going to contain toxic bits and pieces that will likely punish and injure the very same deluded voters that put them in the majority in the first place.

I won't list all the negative things that may happen because of this shift in power, because I'm tired and somewhat disappointed. Besides, I just returned from three days in DC with Joyce, where we stayed at a lovely studio apartment in Foggy Bottom, via Airbnb. This was our first time using this alternative housing service, and we're very pleased with it. For less than what the crappiest downtown DC hotel would charge for a very minimal room, we got a well-equipped studio apartment that was a 5-minute walk to the Metro, and a 10-minute walk to the great restaurants and shops of Georgetown.
We watched the returns come in at Shelly's Backroom, a top-notch cigar bar on F St. about three blocks from the White House. Over cigars, IPAs and sparkling wine, and a chocolate/peanut butter cheesecake, Joyce and I watched CNN slowly proclaim the loss of the Democratic Senate. It seems Republicans were in the majority at the bar, because every time they reported that another Democratic senator bit the dust, there were cheers. After 11PM or so when the GOP hit 52 seats, we decided to walk the 1.5 miles back to our apartment.

We walked by the White House on Pennsylvania Ave. and took a few photos. But our view was not perfect because the police had put in additional crowd barriers about 20 feet out from the fence, so I couldn't walk up and put my camera through the bars to get an unobstructed shot. Thanks alot Fence Jumpers!
The weather was unseasonably warm, so we enjoyed the walk and discussed what we may be faced with in the next two years. Basically, we agreed that so little had been accomplished lately anyway, there probably won't be much different. The Democrats still possess over 40 seats in the Senate, and as the Republicans taught us, 40 is a filibuster's majority! So yay, you guys won another two years of next to nothing happening!

The next night we had the pleasure of seeing our dear friends Maura Keaney, Pete and Hugh, and Melissa Ryan and Michael at Maura's house. We feasted on Dixie Bones BBQ and traded stories about past elections and present events. It was a very fun time and it ended all too early.

One thing about election night that distressed me was how long it took this year to get the returns tabulated in Connecticut. I'd like to hear why it took so long for the numbers to come in, when in 2010 it seemed like everyone made their victory speeches not much later than 11PM on election night.

And another thing is that every online CT news outlet seemed to do a piss-poor job of accurately updating the returns. The Courant even posted vote totals for the major races but neglected to include the percentage of precincts reporting! Rookie mistake, and I'd bet that's because they have rookies in charge of updating and formatting these stats. It wouldn't surprise me if it was because the competent people they had doing this in the past have been "downsized".

Just because it looks simple doesn't mean it is simple.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

The President's Bridgeport visit boils down to 2 words


(image from the Connecticut Post)

Yes, make sure you do that. You have 14 hours on Tuesday to find the time to get to the polls and do your civic duty. So GO VOTE!

CT Dem State Central misteps with mailers

Image via CT News Junkie

Democratic State Central recently sent out a couple of mailers that address the recipient's recent voting record, in what was called "tone deaf" and "creepy" by some. "Big Brother" was mentioned in reference to the mailers.

It turns out that while everyone's actual VOTE is a secret matter, the fact of whether you voted or not is listed on publicly available voting records.

It means that anyone can find out if their friends or relatives or political rivals have done their civic duty by voting, or if they're hypocritical idiots who complain endlessly about their elected representatives yet do nothing to change anything.

I was aware of this for many years, after a dear friend who shall remain nameless chided me on missing several local elections in previous years. Since that moment, I've been very good about voting, even to the point of voting early when I knew I was going to be traveling on election day.

But many Democrats are somewhat shocked and offended by the tone of the mailings.

I understand that in a close election you need to do as much as possible to get people to show up at the polls. Using voting records to guilt people into voting probably isn't the most effective way of doing it.

It was a mistake, probably a bit embarrassing for State Central and the person who was responsible for it. But will it negatively affect the results of Tuesday's election? Very doubtful.

Read the article on CT News Junkie for a very in-depth examination of this relatively minor controversy.

And be sure to get out and VOTE on Tuesday...

Or we'll all know!

Monday, October 27, 2014

I voted Yes on Question #1

(Doing my part to keep the Working Families Party line on the ballot!)

​​​CT Bob: I already voted absentee because I'm out of town on Election Day, but there are ways to make it easier for people who, for whatever reason, can't get away to the polls during that relatively brief 14-hour window on Election Day. I voted YES on the amendment, because I'm all in favor of ANY change that makes it easier for eligible citizens to participate in our representative democracy.

I dream that I will one day see a 100% turnout for our elections. THAT'S the very definition of a participatory democracy!

---------------------------------------------------------------------

MEDIA ADVISORY
For Immediate Release: Monday, October 27th, 2014
Contact: Jimmy Tickey 203-520-1910 DeLauro
Mike Smith 203-450-4579 Merrill​​
​​
DeLauro​ & Secretary of the State Denise Merrill Hold Press Conference on Constitutional Amendment
​​
New Haven – Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro will join Connecticut's Secretary of the State Denise Merrill tomorrow, Tuesday, October 28, 2014 t​o call for passage of ​the constitutional amendment question on the ballot this November. The press conference will be held at the Tower One/Tower East apartment and assisted living community.

WHO: Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill

WHAT: Constitutional amendment question on the ballot this Nov​.​ 4th

WHEN: Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 2:00pm

WHERE: Tower One/Tower East, 18 Tower Lane, New Haven, CT 06519

If passed, the constitutional amendment would give the Connecticut General Assembly the ability to enact early voting. Thirty-five states already have some form of early voting.

The question on the ballot reads “Shall the Constitution of the State be amended to remove restrictions concerning absentee ballots and to permit a person to vote without appearing at a polling place on the day of an election?”

DeLauro said, "If passed, the constitutional amendment proposed in Question 1 will remove decades’ old limitations that can make it difficult for people to vote in elections. Whether you are a working parent, commuting to work and trying to balance job and family responsibilities, a senior who is dependent on others to get to the polls​ or​ a student managing classes -- removing these restrictions will make voting easier for everyone."

"Being able to vote on a day other than Election Day will make it easier for Connecticut residents to exercise their fundamental right to vote," Merrill added.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hey Tom Foley, this is why we need paid sick leave!

Tom Foley has stated that he's against paid sick leave. Gov. Dan Malloy helped push through the legislation that gave Connecticut the Paid Sick Leave law.

I would imagine someone like Tom Foley doesn't ever have to fly commercial airlines. Because if he did, he would expose himself to employees like a flight attendant who obviously couldn't afford to take the day off to nurse her cold/flu/ebola/smallpox...

Tom Foley can afford to fly on private jets, he can boat on private yachts, and he can have his personal chef make gourmet meals for him. All the while having the ability to be safe from ill employees.

The vast majority of Connecticut residents don't have that option.

So imagine how you'd feel if you were trapped on a six-hour flight in an airtight tube with a sick person who handles your food/drink/life during the trip.

Click on the link below to this SoundCloud recording by Sarah Silverman from a recent flight she took.

SoundCloud: Sick Flight Attendant

And follow @SarahKSilverman on Twitter, because she's so damned funny!

PS: Being filthy rich is just SO MUCH FUN!!!!


Friday, October 10, 2014

Would you want a governor who paid no taxes?

I mean, really!

This is just crazy that Tom Foley is SO bloody rich that he DOESN'T HAVE TO PAY INCOME TAX!

I wish I was that rich.

I'd be able to afford a new car for me and my wife. Both our cars were made in the 90s, and we have over a quarter million miles between them! Oh, and we both work full-time and we pay our fair share in taxes.

Besides new cars, having a five million dollar yacht like Foley's would be fun, too!

Watch this video called "Yacht", and decide if you want a governor who views our state from that perspective: