30 June 2008

Cornyn Sells-Out Seniors - Loses Major Backer!

Consider this.

In the Senate on Thursday night, supporters of SB-6331, the "Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008," fell one vote short of the 60 needed to close debate and bring the measure up for a vote.

On Tuesday, the U.S. House had voted 355-59 in favor of the bill, which would have helped more seniors qualify for help paying Medicare premiums by fixing the current personal assets test. In addition, the bill would havestopped scheduled payment cuts to doctors who treat Medicare patients and improved Medicare's preventive benefits, by eliminating several co-payments and bringing mental health parity to Medicare benefits. The final vote was 58-40, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) changing his vote to "No"to preserve the right to bring up the legislation again later.

Once again, our Texas senators, Cornyn and Hutchison, voted against older Texans and working families in favor of the HMOs and insurance oligarchs. Their “nay” votes were a direct attack on financially hard-strapped older Texans and working families who rely on Medicare.

On Friday, the politically powerful, 43,000-member Texas Medical Association withdrew its support from Senator Cornyn. In its letter notifying Cornyn of its decision to withdraw its support, the association wrote that it was outraged that he decided to vote with the Bush administration in the Medicare vote. The group said the vote would hurt senior citizens, people with disabilities and military families.

Rick Noriega spokesperson, Holly Shulman, said Cornyn is choosing to vote with special interests over Texas families and cited his votes rejecting healthcare for children, cutting veteran’s benefits and Medicare votes that prioritize big insurance companies over families, doctors and seniors.

The complete results of the Senate vote are available. There you will learn that Obama voted "YEA", and McCain? Well, McCain did not show up for the vote. Copy & Paste URL below for the details:


27 June 2008

Convergence of Events Show Texas is "In Play"

Texas may not have arrived as a “swing” state, but, we’re in play and the pols are paying attention.

Consider the convergence of these factors.

Yesterday the 56-union, 10-million member AFL/CIO announced its endorsement of Obama. In the press release it was noted that it would gin up some 250,000 volunteers and $50-million dollars for the campaign. Jot that down, we’re coming back to it in a moment.

Also yesterday, it was announced that the Texas Lyceum poll puts democratic senatorial candidate, Rick Noriega, within two points of republican freshman incumbent, John Cornyn. More telling than that, 24 % of the electorate is undecided. In play, I reckon!

As these two releases made their way to me, I got a feverishly panting e-mail from a friend in Van Zandt County saying that Noriega had “won” a contest for funding from Barbara Boxer’s "Pac For A Change" with 30% of the vote. The contest was based on constituents from a number of nationwide races voting for their candidate to receive the pac’s donation. The closest to Noriega was Al Franken, with 24%.

“Well hell,” I say to my cat Tucker, “that means this ole boy is for sure real and the deal might just for sure go down.” So, I pick up the phone and call a friend in D.C., and begin my usual yammering about Texas being treated like a red-haired step-child and it being way past time for the AFL/CIO to put some of that $50-million into Texas now that we have a viable candidate. See, I said we’d get back around to that.

His response was, “...I do know the AFL-CIO is putting a full-time political staff into Texas now.”

What I'm saying here is that you don’t have to have a big old ivy-league degree and swank Austin office with a coffee bar to figure it out. Texas is in play, and at the very least, we’ll have turned Red Texas just a tad purple come November.

Now, put down that can of beer, get up off the couch, slip something on over your underwear, and get out here with the rest of us and be a part of it. It is going to take some honest to goodness, old-time, block-walking, door-knocking, envelope stuffing, phone-call making, grassroots work to make it happen.

Now is the time!

25 June 2008

Friends & Enemies & Politics

I have always considered a person’s enemies as part of deciding whether or not that person would make a good friend. Right now, I’m thinking maybe Barack Obama and I could “be tight”; “ponyos”, “buds”, “running mates”, or even, that he could be my “main man”.

All that is to say that some of Obama’s enemies certainly endear him to me. Wouldn’t you want to hang with a guy that is on the hit list of carnival side-show attractions, contemptibles, and irrelevant piss-ants such as James Dobson, Karl Rove and Ralph Nader?

In the space of twenty-four hours we’ve heard Dobson (dog beater) tell the world that Obama is not the right sort of Christian, and Rove (serial self-abuser) claim that Obama is too arrogant, and Nader (obsessive/compulsive media geek) assert that Obama is not talking “black” enough. With enemies like that, I’m prepared to hang with the dude and even pop for the first round.

Bush lick-spit hanger-on, Dobson, was immediately attacked by neo-evangelicals who have, in the recent past, repudiated his hate mongering and archaic world views. One Texas minister, who used to support Bush, has helped create an anti-Dobson website. It seems that many evangelicals concerned about stewardship of God’s creation and the implications of human-caused global warming, and who no longer wish to be seen as hate-motivated, social conservatives, are moving toward acceptance of Obama’s holistic Christianity as a viable alternative.

The contemptible, Karl Rove, driven by his man-crush on Dubya, asserted to that festering human pustule on the unwashed prat of conservatism, Bill O’Reilly, that Obama’s downfall would be that he was too arrogant. Now, you’d have had to have been with me in Mississippi in the ‘60s to understand what that really meant. In the code of the time, and in today’s climate of political correctness, it is the middle-aged, southern white-guy way of calling Obama an “uppity nigger”. Did I say contemptible? Ok, I see I did. That will suffice for the nonce.

Which brings us to Ralph (“Where’s the cameras”) Nader. His comment was that Obama was talking too “white” and overlooking the problems besetting African-Americans in the ghetto. This incredibly insensitive, race-baiting, stereotyping of African-Americans as ghetto-locked, payday-loan addicted, victims of corporate America served no purpose other than to draw some attention to the every-four-year, side-show “geek-pit” he works licking snake bellies, biting the heads off live chickens, drooling and mouthing incoherencies.

You just have to admire a man who can acquire enemies such as these.

23 June 2008

Cranky? Curmudgeon? Forgetful?

How about irked? Just generally annoyed? No, no, no...in the vernacular of the present; I'm pissed!

Here's what it is. A few days ago, I was participating, ok I was engaged in an online version of a fire-fight, in a forum where I'm outnumbered by conservatives about 20-gazillion to one and I broke bad on one of them. I mean, I seriously ambushed and machine-gunned some joker and his neo-conservative B.S. (today's vernacular). Before an hour or so had passed, another participant posted some insipid comment my way asking if I was, "Feeling cranky and curmudgeonly today". I wasn't before, but, got there pretty quickly after reading that.

The history of that is simple. Awhile back, I had mentioned to this group that my first vote had been for JFK by absentee ballot while bobbing around in the South China Sea during the early stages of the All South East Asia tournament we so adroitly, incorrectly, and dismissively refer to as Vietnam. Immediately, several posters informed me that I must be really old!

Understand, I'm not the sensitive type, but admit that I have never completely recovered from the day when pretty cashiers first stopped flirting with me and began calling me sir. So, I do admit, that I've been a tad irritable since that dark, evil day. But, one learns to move on.

Moving on. Shortly after I was informed that I was old, one of the regulars (conservative) at the site informed me that my assertion of the moment was incorrect and that was probably because I had "lost touch" and "forgot" because of my age. My response was to point out the wrongfulness of his comment and that he would not dare to make such a generalized, assumptive and stereotypical comment about women, minorities or gays and why in the name of hell did he think it was ok to...and so forth!

Maybe I am sensitive. But, I've had a gut full of these "funny' jokes, greeting cards, over-the-hill coffee cups, and assumptions about older adults. I do not need people to speak loudly or enunciate in that syrupy tone used with children. And the next "little blue pill" comment gets someone gut shot and tossed in a wayside ditch to slowly die.

Yeah, sometimes I'm a bit slower recalling some fact or name, but that is only because my database is full of facts, figures and details and I'm experienced enough to want to be certain I'm pulling up the right file. There's some overlap in there. I offer no apologies, and if you must fidget, heave sighs, and tap your fingers during the recall process, too damned bad.

So, there you are, the curmudgeon and cranky descriptions are used to unfairly characterize older adults, and, I have no doubt that it would never occur to anyone to describe a thirty-something as cranky or curmudgeonly. Or irritable. Or precious. Or any other damned thing that we have to put up with as we become older.

There is some solace in the notion that these callous brats will, in the future, be called sir or ma'am by an attractive member of the opposite sex when they least expect it, asked if they need to sit, and spoken to as one talks to a child, or yelled at as though they were deaf, or given a black, "Over The Hill" coffee mug. When that day comes, it is my bet that they will become a bit cranky and curmudgeonly.

You think?

20 June 2008

Mobilizing Seniors Critical to Victory!

Today, from the Alliance for Retired American's "Friday Alert".

Results of the first Washington Post-ABC News poll since theDemocratic nomination contest ended, published on Tuesday,showed Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) leading Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL)among all seniors.

Among all voters, Sen. Obama is running aheadof Sen. McCain, 48% - 42%.

In contrast to the WashingtonPost-ABC numbers, a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday had the two candidates essentially tied among voters over the age of 65.

According to CNN political analyst Bill Schneider, "We'regoing to see an age division in this election bigger than wehave usually seen. Older voters have been trending moreRepublican ever since 1992." Like many of the current polls show, Sen. Obama also did better with younger voters than with seniors during the Democratic primaries.

Combined exit polls from the primaries plus the Iowa and Nevada caucuses found that Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) won 59% of voters age 65 and older,compared with 34% for Sen. Obama. "Older voters will be crucial in November," said Edward Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans. "If Sen. Obama were to capture the older vote in addition to the other demographics that he currently carries, it would be very difficult for Sen. McCain to catch him."

I would add that no smart candidate, from school board to the White House can win any election without the Senior vote. And, would also add that if seniors want to save Social Security, preserve and improve Medicare, ensure that their children and grandchildren have quality, affordable healthcare and look forward to a safe, financially secure and meaningful retirement they would do well to support progressive candidates in this election cycle.

We've had a dose of what lies in store with John McCain. A continuation of the treasury busting occupation of Iraq, more efforts to turn Social Scurity over to Wall Street and Medicare to HMOs and the Insurance Oligarchs. We've watched for eight years as the Republicans have attempted to cut holes in and destroy the safety nets of the new deal. Our parents fought for those programs and because of them the middle class flourished, we got good educations at public schools, there were pensions, and our own generation gave us Medicare--and when we asked for affordable drug coverage as part of that, we got a doughnut hole and high premiums from McCain and his Republican cohorts.

Despite stereotypical jokes to the contrary, our memories are good!

Look around you now, is this the country you envisioned leaving your kids and grandkids? No?

Then make a difference.

Don't just vote, join progressive oganizations and help educate, organize and mobilize others to support progressive candidates.

19 June 2008

We the People!

I wanted my first blog entry to be meaningful, to have resonance, to cause people (you) to put down their can of beer, leave their couches, slip some threads over their near-naked, clad in underwear only carcasses (See! I know my Texans) and take to the streets to denounce arrogance and perfidy in government and to demand that our representatives read, at the very least, the preamble to the Constitution of the United States. I'm not saying they should make it a weekend project and read the whole thing.

But at least the Preamble, don’t you think? You know, that bit about We the People! You know! That whole shtick about a more perfect union, establishment of justice, common defense, general welfare, and blessings of liberty for all of us, and our kids, and grandkids to follow. Riiiiight! That one.

The one that does not say one danged thing about the oil companies, defense industries, insurance oligarchs, or other stateless, international corporations who now own our politicians, from city hall to the White House, and who effectively use our military to advance their world-wide goals and increase their profits.

The one that does not tell us how we’re supposed to comprehend how it is that, as of this moment, 4106 of our valiant military have already died in the sands of Iraq in order that the major oil companies can return to the concessions that Saddam threw them out of over three decades ago. Bad move there Saddam—them there old boys in the "ahl bidness" don’t let go of stuff like that! Acceptance is not part of their vernacular. Though, now they’re getting close to closure.

I would have ragged about those deaths being sanitized by a compliant corporate media that never shows us the coffins or the mangled bodies from the combat. And, I would have really scaled to heights of dudgeon and outrage when I informed you that our fine Senators, Cornyn and Hutchison have, over the past eight years, accepted $1,211,475 and $903,989 respectively from the oil companies, who are now getting ready to cash in on that invasion and occupation of Iraq. My own congressman, Hensarling, has dipped into that pot for only $175,850---but, give him a break. He's been at it for half as long.

Oh yeah, they each voted for oil company interests 100%, during that time span. Hensarling only 82% of the time. But, c'mon...he's new to the gme. He'll catch up.

So, that was the direction I was going to go with things, but decided people just hate to get preached at, so I decided to go in a different direction. Anyway, I think people get weary of hearing about how our nation has become known for its ability to torture “suspects” and redefine that torture as an “alternative set of procedures” or “refined interrogation techniques”.

And, aren’t some of us just sick to death of being told that our president lied us into Iraq, and that we are now engaged in an occupation of a country at war with its self. I mean, that’s the sort of thing that only a dry-drunk sociopath would do, right? No one wants to really believe that the leader of the United States is so spiritually crippled and morally deformed that he would do such, now do they?

I might have thrown in some of my personal outrage at this administration’s war against seniors with its pincher movement of twin fronts of attack: Handing Social Security over to Wall Street and Medicare over to the HMOs, Drug Companies and Insurance Oligarchs.

But, I changed my mind and decided to talk about the Astros instead. This way you get to stay in your underwear, pop another cool one, and never leave the couch.

Getting them to the World Series is as close to the pursuit of happiness as I can bring myself right now.

So whatcha think? It’s the pitching ain’t it?