A Stinging and Absolutely Correct Assessment of The Dems

24 01 2010

It’s time to fight – not retreat.  This should be required reading for anyone supporting Progressive principles.

Never With A Fuller Purpose.

Huzzah!

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Government Soccer?

23 01 2010
"Best Buy" - seems so appropriate

"Best Buy"? Seems Appropriate.

Disclaimer: I haven’t had a chance yet to read the Supreme Court’s Citizens United case yet – holding that corporations enjoy First Amendment rights, such that campaign laws limiting political contributions from corporations are now unconstitutional.  But the gist I get from the media coverage I’ve seen so far is troubling.  Politicians are already too beholden to money and spend too much time courting contributions as it is.

Now corporations are going to be unleashed to support anyone they want for as much as they want?  Seems absolutely corrupting to me.

I’m worried that future choices will be from among a selection of corporate sell-outs, both in future local and, especially, in national elections.  Whatever they’re saying, corporate money and backing will direct their voting.

So in our new political world, how does a lonely voter decide?   How can voters determine if corporate sell-out candidate #1 is better than corporate sell-out candidate #2?

Well, since their corporate sponsors probably will be the best bellwether of their future voting, how about we require candidates to wear the labels of their corporate sponsors on their suit coats, ala soccer teams?

I can see it now:

Corporate sell-out candidate #1?  Hey, he’s got Haliburton on his chest!  Drill baby drill!  He’s my guy!

Corporate sell-out candidate #2?  Supported by the Teamsters?  Pinko Commie!





Mission Accomplished Redux?

21 01 2010

Just being snarky here…

So, now that the Repubs are in charge, they can be blamed for everything that goes wrong from here on in, right?  🙂





Meet Jake Wood (Haiti relief)

18 01 2010

It’s long about time I introduced people I know and who read my musings to Jake Wood.  A true hero and someone I think you might be interested in following.  Moreover, he’s someone I hope you’ll contribute to and assist the good work he and his team are doing down in Haiti – but first, about Jake:

I first met Jake about ten years ago.  At that time, Jake was a senior in high school and he and his dad, Jeff, joined up at a tailgate party outside Camp Randall that I was at with a bunch of my University of Wisconsin alumni friends.  Jake had recently committed to play football with the Wisconsin Badgers.  Aside from being a pretty massive kid (6’6″ and just a sandwich under 300 lbs.), I was struck by how polite he was.  Everything was “yes Sir” and “thank you Sir”.

Jake at Wisconsin (far left)

Well, Jake’s career at Wisconsin was limited.  He saw some playing time, but mostly watched from the sidelines – due to injuries and sitting behind Joe Thomas, who is now an All-Pro Tackle with the Cleveland Browns (and perhaps the most dominant tackle in Wisconsin football history – heck, maybe in college football history).

Nevertheless, rather than mope about not playing, Jake earned academic awards and graduated from the university with a double major in real estate / urban land economics and political science.

Corporate finance and a good living followed, right?  Wrong.

In between, 9/11 happened.  With several options, Jake did the surprising.  Rather than use his last year of eligibility to play football as a 5th year senior, he immediately sought out the Marines.  While they had him pegged for Officer Candidate School, he refused.  He wanted to serve in the front and not sit back calling the shots.  So he went into Infantry and served as boots on the ground in Iraq (a great article from 2007 on why he enlisted and comments about Jake by Joe Thomas and others is here).

Jake in Iraq

During his service in Iraq, Jake started a blog.  Jake’s Blog.

(http://badgerjake.blogspot.com/).

It started out as a way for Jake to communicate with his family, but given his Wisconsin football connections, it spread and became something more.  Much more.

Within months, Wisconsin football fans learned of the blog and readership of his musings on the daily life of Marines in Iraq, his often stinging criticisms of situations there and general musings about life as a Marine, surged into the tens of thousands – especially following some press reports about the blog and Jake’s service.  Various press agencies, both in Wisconsin and elsewhere – even New York, wrote of Jake’s blog and his story.

During this time, I was among the avid readers of Jake’s writings. Always interesting, always pertinent, and often very funny.  More importantly, it gave me a way to follow the safety of the polite high schooler I had met just 5-6 years before.

Jake in Afghanistan

Anyway, Jake completed his stint in Iraq and came home.  But he wasn’t done.  Rather than remain in the States and serve out his enlistment, he “re-upped” for another tour of duty with the Marines, applied for and completed the Marine’s Sniper school – with the connected request to go to Afghanistan.

Readers of his blog at this time got to follow the trials of the course (very few make it through).  Whatever the obstacles, he beat them and was on his way to Afghanistan.

Readers at this time immediately noted Jake’s “absence” on his blog.  He never posted much about it, other than making clear that he was in Afghanistan doing what Marine Snipers do.

Through the time he was in Afghanistan, reports were few.  He was in areas he couldn’t mention, without the luxury of internet connections available to troops in Iraq, and doing work that he couldn’t write about.

Nevertheless, I and his growing legion of followers welcomed every short note or picture sent back, just to know he was safe.

So, Jake eventually made it home.  He had a bit of time left in the Marines that he spent teaching at the Sniper school, but his postings mainly centered on his desire to go back to a “normal life” and continue his schooling – graduate business school and the riches that would follow awaited, right? Wrong.

Indeed, his stint in the Marines ended earlier this past fall.  Short of a few posts about his travels – he’d met a nice girl in California and was spending his time traveling when he wasn’t applying to grad schools.  It looked like he was starting to live the “good life” – something he’d certainly earned with his service.

He recently even “retired” from his blog, musing that his life was no longer “as interesting” as it had been and he didn’t have much to write about.  He was happy, was going to travel and, other than grad school, seemed uncertain what was next in his life.

Well, that changed recently. Immediately after the news of the terrible earthquake devastation in Haiti spread, Jake sprang to action.  He organized a quick response team of former Marines, fire fighters, doctors and others – and at last count raised over $15,000 in donations (more is coming in), donations of thousands of dollars in medical supplies and is already on the ground in Haiti providing care to the people so badly hurt in the earthquake.

As a follower of Jake’s writings, I had no choice but to respond when a note went out on Jake’s Facebook page looking for someone to ferry a bunch of medical supplies up to Milwaukee late this past Friday night, in order that the supplies could go with members of his team leaving from Milwaukee’s Mitchell Field early the following morning for the Dominican Republic.

Jake in Haiti

Driving up, my thoughts were with this young man, who continually does so much and can marshal such a following with his words and deeds.  I was following his lead – following the lead of someone 20 years younger that I met one time – with the only regret that joining his team down in Haiti was not a possibility (and, really, there’s little need for a lawyer down there, right?)

In any event, Jake’s a leader in the true sense of the word.  I’m happy to follow his lead and help where possible.  He’s someone I dare say is “too good” for politics, but someone I would vote for in a minute.

Anyway, Jake needs our help now.  Despite the great contributions he’s collected to date, many on his team are financing their travel, rescue efforts and supplies with their own credit cards.  They’ve been in Haiti for two days now, and are doing good works while military and other mainline relief services are still getting their people organized and into the country.  Medical care has been provided to some very seriously hurt people and they’ve actually been tasked with scouting staging locations for active Special Forces troops being sent to Haiti to assist with the recovery.  Once again, Jake’s leading the way – think about that, an ad hoc team he set up is scouting locations for our active military!

Whether you can forward a few bucks or not, I highly suggest you follow Jake.  His life is unfolding like an amazing story.  Where the story goes, I haven’t a clue – but I expect big things.  I truly expect some day I will be proudly telling people “I knew him when.”  Heck, I’m doing it now, and I’m proud to make the introduction.

To contribute, go to Jake’s Blog – or send your payment via PayPal to jacobawood@gmail.com.

[UPDATE 1/20/10: The media’s starting to recognize Jake and his team’s good work.  Here’s a couple videos from KABC-Los Angeles:





Mark McGwire Looking Back

11 01 2010

Mark McGwire admits steroid use – MLB – SI.com.

My first thought, I don’t care.  Watching McGwire and Sammy Sosa going at it that one season was a blast.  Did we all know they were cheating?  Of course we did.  Didn’t matter – it was still a blast (pardon the pun) to watch.

Anyway, in order to protect my normal level of snark, I guess it was about time you fessed up, huh Mark?  So can we talk about the past now?

During his testimony on March 17, 2005, McGwire declined to answer questions under oath when he appeared before the House Government Reform Committee. In a tearful opening statement McGwire said,

Asking me or any other player to answer questions about who took steroids in front of television cameras will not solve the problem. If a player answers ‘No,’ he simply will not be believed; if he answers ‘Yes,’ he risks public scorn and endless government investigations…. My lawyers have advised me that I cannot answer these questions without jeopardizing my friends, my family, and myself. I will say, however, that it remains a fact in this country that a man, any man, should be regarded as innocent unless proven guilty.”[16]

When asked by Representative Elijah Cummings if he was asserting his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself, McGwire once again responded:

I’m not here to talk about the past. I’m here to be positive about this subject.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_McGwire





Sarah Palin: FOX News Contributor

11 01 2010

Sarah Palin: FOX News contributor: The Swamp.

Oh my…  And just when I thought there was not going to be anything funny to write about in politics for the foreseeable future!

I also wonder if, like being selected as McCain’s running mate, Palin will see this as being “in God’s plan.”

By the way, is there a way to buy stock in Saturday Night Live and Tina Fey – separate from GE stock?  Cause if there’s anything in God’s plan for this latest development, it’s hilarity and high ratings!  🙂





Why Cheney’s Really Upset At the KSM Trial

1 01 2010

So, many Right winger’s are pissed that Kalid Sheik Mohammed is going to be tried in a New York Federal Court – rather than in some off-limits Military Tribunal or, better yet, just never tried at all and kept in a small cell in Guantanamo.  Chief among the critics has been Dick Cheney, bloviating on how Obama doesn’t understand we are at war and all that (look it up, he’s been all over that before and since the Underwear Bomber tried to take down the plane in Detroit), well, now we’re starting to see why Cheney is so opposed to the idea of our court processes and civil rights being applied to KSM:

For those too busy to watch the video, I’ll sum it up: Mounting evidence is building that Bush and Cheney – and particular Cheney and Rumsfeld – improperly ordered waterboarding and torture of detainees in order to try to justify the war on Iraq and their belief of some connection between Iraq and al Quaida.  Indeed, this torture was ordered even though the long-discredited John Yoo Justice Department legal memo authorizing torture was only based on the idea that torture could be sanctioned on the belief that it would prevent imminent attack.  So, in the rush to justify their rush to war, Cheney even went beyond the authority provided by the Justice Department.

Doing things like torture without legal justification is a big thing.  It’s a criminal thing.  So far, it looks like Cheney and the gang are not going to be prosecuted for this possible criminal thing – something that always seems to percolate up to the surface to those who are paying attention. So, it seems the true context of Cheney’s opposition to letting KSM have his day in court – where his attorneys can cross-examine and highlight the treatment their client received – is not that Obama does not understand that we are at war, rather it is that Cheney does not want us to understand what he did in a completely failed effort to justify why we went to war in the first place.

Seems to me that, rather than being a hypocritical and constant irritant and critic of Obama, Cheney really should be thanking his lucky stars that Obama has withheld mounting cries that Cheney be tried as a war criminal.