Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hollow Men

Today John 'Oompa Loompa' Boehner stepped in front a room full of reporters at a press conference House Republicans invited said reporters to, in response to Obama's challenge to present their own Republican budget. Unsurprisingly, hilarity ensued.

When a stunned reporter asked why the numbers and facts that would normally be an essential component of what anyone with half a brain would call a budget, were missing; His Orangeness was forced to spin the five page document that, remember they invited the press to report on, as 'a 'blueprint' for a budget. Are you kidding me?

So the House Republicans made a huge public event out of showing everyone their plan for their plan. Really. This is how elected Republican representatives answer a challenge posed by a Democratic President of The United States. Isn't that kind of like calling the dean and your profs together to present your thesis and then handing them your outline? Frankly I'm not surprised. The Republicans don't like legislating, it's hard work.

Of course what Republicans did present was what any college prof would call plagiarism, you know copying an old well published idea and presenting it as new? Gee, I wonder how a struggling nation so disgusted by wealthy Wall Streeters gaming the system and getting bonuses for failing would view a big tax cut for those bastards? Because there are soooo many of us still buying their 'trickle-down' nonsense. It's almost as if they are itching for a pitchfork up the ass.

Instead of coming up with a real budget or working with the President to repair the damage their lack of real leadership wrought on this nation for 8 years, what is the ever unravelling right wing doing? Calling him fascist and 'uppity'. Fomenting ridiculous rumours. Attacking his wife and presenting legislation to track her activities. Oh no! That radical Michelle Obama actually planted a White House kitchen garden!!! How long will it be before we are all forced to work on government farms for rubles?

What all of this tells us is....the party that prides itself on ideology have no real ideas themselves. They rediscovered their dubious claim to Fiscal Responsibility well after they took the country from billions in surplus to trillions in deficit. But, only because the people took away their power. While 'their leader' was in office, Republicans passed whatever he wanted. They wouldn't even include the illegal unnecessary war he started in the budget in an effort to hide how badly they were screwing the pooch.

What's funny is that even their insults and conspiracy theories are unoriginal. Bush has been called a fascist, so they call Obama a fascist. They've taken the Bush concentration camp rumour and recycled into the Obama Fema concentration camp rumour. Haven't they heard that Bush was the Anti-Christ waaaaay before Obama could have been? You can't have two Antichrists as far as I know, that would be overkill...the whole idea of an Antichrist is that it's one scary dude...if he has a brother or cousin or That means there's family involved and don't we all have one relative we think might be the Antichrist? I know I do.

I'm sure a lot of liberals and Dems are out there very outraged at the GOP for all of the crazy crap they're flinging at the wall...especially because some of this stuff is beyond the pale. And frightening. But just remember, they're doing it because they have nothing of any real value to offer anyone, and the American people realize this.

The GOP is an archaic group, addicted to oligarchy, immune to the repercussions of their bent towards sending the poor to war to make them money masked in their 'strong national security platform', apathetic towards the plight of the less fortunate, a party organized around the entitlement of wealth that uses the age old tactic of divide and conquer to grab and maintain power. other words they are Hollow Men. And their time is up, at least for now. It's up to us to keep it that way.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Green Is Good

Hat tip to Mr. Madoff and Gordon Gecko for the inspiration for this week's post title. I just decided to put a different spin on it...I hope the financial jack-offs that have destroyed our system don't mind. Or as Jon Stewart would say to them "F**k You!".

I have a confession to make fellow Cleveland Liberal Drinkers, not only am I a liberal...I'm one of those tree-huggin kind. Environmentalist whacko member of the NRDC and Defenders of Wildlife? Check. Granola for breakfast? Check. Community gardener? Check. And finally... Birkenstock wearer? Check. What? They're reaaallly comfortable and have cork soles which are a renewable resource! Sheesh!

Anyway, my love of the green life really took hold when I started gardening for the first time in my life, the year Mr. Drinking Liberally and I decided to buy a house and take root ourselves. Prior to, I lived in apartments for 8 years and there wasn't a houseplant that had a prayer if I got my mitts on it. But, then I inherited this little plot of land in front of my house. I had never mowed a lawn in all my years either and wasn't about to start that lame never-ending exercise, so I made my whole front yard nothing but garden. Much to my neighbors' chagrin I suppose but they're used to it now.

My life changing epiphany occurred that first spring when I glimpsed the plump pointy tops of the tulips and daffodils I had planted the previous fall poking out of the soil in my garden....'It's ALIVE!' I exclaimed. I felt like God. And that's huge for an ex-Catholic. I created life...well, Gales Garden Center helped a little bit. But I stuck them in the ground, fed them yummy organic fertilizer and mulched the little darlings so they'd burst forth and join nature in all it's glory.

Two years after my Frankensteinesque epiphany over tulips and daffodils, I joined a community garden. I read every book I could find on the subject of gardening, subscribed to magazines, started growing my own food and became a pathetic slave to the indescribably delicious taste of the first ripe homegrown heirloom beefsteak tomato from my own plant. Today, I'm like Gollum and his elusive ring with that first ripe's sooo precious sliced thinly and layed lovingly upon lightly toasted white bread with a thin layer of real mayo, salt and pepper. Mr. DL can't come near me when I make my first tomato sandwich of the summer or he'll lose a digit.

I guess what I'm trying to accomplish with my tempting anecdote is to convince all of you out there in CDL Land to grow your own food or if you're not able to, at least buy your vegetables at a local CSA or farmers market.

Growing your own has a different meaning these days. It doesn't mean 15-25 in the Big House but access to affordable healthy food that didn't need to travel 1000 miles on fossil fuels or was harvested by slave labor. Buying local isn't 'protectionist', it's smart. By supporting small local and urban farming, you not only reduce the amount of fossil fuels the industry uses but you help create jobs in your own neighborhood and a vibrant local economy.

If every country grew their own food to feed their own populations, there would be no for need huge factory farms here in America that pollute our air, water and soil. Or trade laws in other countries that force poor farmers to grow commodity crops instead of food their people desperately need. There is a wonderful organization called Oxfam that helps people third world countries do just that....unfortunately those places have to fight the same big companies like ADM, Dow and Monsanto that we do. The best way to counter Big Ag is to get involved in the local food movement.

The local food movement here in Cleveland is vibrant and growing. We have over 200 community gardens around the city. Urban farms are popping up everywhere and the Cleveland City Council even passed an ordinance making it easier for folks to keep chickens and bees. Since the foreclosure madness swept North East Ohio, municipalities are razing abandoned condemned houses and letting the land be used as gardens and small farms. An empty abandoned lot can become a productive local resource with some raised beds...or a beautiful orchard. Nothing is impossible because we have the land and imagination to remake our landscape. We have the opportunity to feed each other in every aspect..mind, body and soul.

Food and nature are themes in our lives that have the singular ability to bring people together and create lasting bonds. All of us have a favorite memory of meals with loved ones or taking refuge in the shade of a tree on a hot summer day. We remember picking stawberries at a local farm as children or having to weed to get an allowance. Some of us may have tended vegetable gardens with our parents or grandparents and remember that time we shared with fondness.

For those of us who love to garden, there is nothing more Zen than weeding early in the morning on a summer day before the wasps and bees wake up to get in our way...sitting still on occasion so as not to scare the robin less than two feet from you who is picking a bug from the soil you've just turned over; watching his/her careful deliberation in finding the bug, amazed in the trust they have you won't harm them or the risk they're taking to get food for their young.

Maybe I'm romanticizing the work of gardening a is hard, I've been laid up on the couch or a day or two after spreading 2 yards of humus on the community garden. I've gotten the dreaded 'wore the wrong t-shirt' sunburns that don't fade until six months later. Running a farm in the city has to have it's challenges as well.

But, what little pain there is in growing your own food, running an urban farm or searching out local resources we experience pales in comparison to the damage relying on Big Agriculture for food, something so essential to our survival, wreaks on our society as a whole.

So Cleveland DL'ers...this summer, think about finding a spot to grow your own or at least finding a connection to some great local food. Green is good.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

When People Show You Who They Are...Believe Them

While I expected the GOP to resist Obama's plan to save us from the brink of the destructive path they put us on well more than 8 years ago, I never dreamed of the absolutely mentally deranged reaction they are exhibiting now. Normal intellectual opposition is fine. We need folks to look at all angles and provide constructive criticism, but that's not what we're seeing.

What we are seeing reminds me of the time I accidentally came upon a potentially rabid possum cornered in my garage in the middle of the day. A scavenging creature used to skulking around in the dark; it was sick, scared and pissed, it had nasty teeth, claws and made the most gawdawful noises I've ever heard in my life.

So, of course that nightmarish episode reminded me of Michelle Bachmann (R-Stalker), a frightened sick scavenging angry creature who is really worried that we'll run out of rich people and Obama is going to make us a socialist country. My favorite Bachmann Crazy Overdrive quote comes when she discusses energy and healthcare: "And as the Democrats are about to nationalize cartels"...implying that our energy and healthcare industries are cartels...which would mean they'd be operating illegally. That's probably the first truthful utterance that's ever made it's way out of her psychotic Botoxed pie-hole, albeit accidentally.

Then there's the 'We Hope He Fails Crowd' following like rats entranced by the syphillitic rantings of their overly pie'd piper, the ginormous impotent college drop out, failed sportscaster and former(?) drug addict Rush 'Women Don't Like Me? Really?" Limbaugh.

I love how they say it's not that they hope "he" meaning Obama fails, but they hope what they call his liberal socialist plan to save the country fails. Because that would mean everything they believe in might be wrong and they won't control government if the United States has to become a third world country mired in conflict, poverty, starvation, and genocide like say, be it. At least their principles will be intact.

Wasn't this the party that used the tag-line "Country First" in their bid to beat Obama? I guess they don't get the connection or irony. I'm hardly surprised seeing they thought we'd all embrace a corrupt hate-baiting shallow bloodthirsty Hockey Mom for VP.

Next, we have the ground-breaking new RNC leader, Michael Steele. A political cross-dresser who made and distributed campaign signs and literature calling himself a Democrat so he could get elected in Maryland. He's ready to bring the hip-hop to fat white rich guys who yell at their kids for listening to Kanye West. He hates Rush. He loves Rush. Whatever, somebody puuuhhhleeez just tell him what to do so he can keep his plum job as RNC chair. If Mike loses this job, how can he be a loyal Republican who looks down on other people who don't have jobs? The universe would explode.

But my favorite Republican Idealogue of the week goes to another accidentally honest Republican who revealed his core belief that healthcare is indeed a privilege of class rather than a basic human right. To put this in perspective, this elected representative is from Tennessee, a state with more letters in it's moniker than people with jobs that provide said privileged healthcare.

What Zach Wamp (Sorry, but what a great porn name...dude really missed his calling) is telling Americans who work two or three low-wage jobs at companies that don't offer health insurance because they weren't born into privilege and couldn't afford college or running for Congress is: Sorry you poor healthcare for you. Meanwhile, taxpayers foot the bill for Zach Wamp and his family's very comprehensive government provided health care.

Never mind the fact that if we had universal healthcare we could save billions in administrative costs alone, not to mention the ability to negotiate drug prices like they do in those scary socialist nations in Europe who pay one fifth what we pay for prescription drugs.

So Zach "The Pizza Delivery Man With An Extra Large Pepperoni" Wamp wants to maintain the status quo where the poor can't afford healthcare so they are forced to use the Emergency room, which is subsized by the dwindling tax dollars the middle-class pays who are currently struggling with high co-pays and premiums..all the while the rich/government officials enjoy their birthright of free/affordable healthcare. Well, at least we now know where another Rush Republican stands.

The title of this post is one of my favorite quotes (by the inimitable Maya Angelou), it's simple and honest and true. Here we are in the most difficult time this country has faced in 60 years and we see a group of people acting selfish beyond belief, not willing to spend money on the people, their constituents..only the corporations and/or banks they view as patrons that keep them in power. They'll let families in their districts go hungry and lose their homes. They'll let their constituents who can't afford the exhorbitant cost of health insurance struggle with ill health or die because they don't have the money, rather than do the smart moral and honorable thing by reforming our system to make it fair, cost effective and universal.

When people show you who they are, like: Michelle Bachmann, Rush Limbaugh, Zach Wamp, Larry Kudlow, Rick Santelli, Mike Pence, Eric Cantor, Tom Delay, and so on...believe them. Who they are is a group of people who couldn't give a shit who you are. I think it's time we returned the sentiment and fought for what's right. Healthcare for