politics

All That Needs to be Said About Health Care Now

I still love him.

Rebranding the Filibuster

So, the senate is broken. Long gone are the days of Jimmy Stewart valiantly seizing the floor of the Senate to oppose corruption in Mr. Smith goes to washington. The fact of the matter is that the filibuster is a bad rule, it has always been a bad rule, and it is time for it to die. The House of Representatives gets by just fine without a filibuster. The history of the filibuster is rife with abuses, such as Strom Thurmond and the Dixiecrats famously reading the contents of a DC phone book into the congressional record in order to block civil rights legislation aimed at ending Jim Crow. Rachel Maddow thinks that what the campaign to kill the filibuster really needs is a rebranding. I tend to agree. It's a complex parliamentary rule that the Senate can change if it wants to quite easily, but nobody really understands it and it sounds weird.

I think the British have the right idea here. Their parliament can use what's called a "guillotine motion" to cut off a debate when opponents to legislation that will pass an up or down vote resort to the kind of delaying tactics currently being abused by the Republicans in the US Senate. Rather than talking about ending the filibuster, it's time we gave the Senate a sharper guillotine to cut of the heads of Republican obstruction tactics.

Go vote for my suggestion here:

http://msnbc.newsvine.com/_question/2010/02/12/3888141-the-filibuster-challenge?pc=20&sp=2620#c12346439

Republicans Right Now Do Not Care About Policy

Maddow lays out Republican hypocrisy.

Breaking Up With Obama

I gave money to Barack Obama for his campaign. I stood up for him to Hillary Clinton supporters who were insistent that his presidency was going to be disastrous and that it was better to elect John McCain than Barack Obama. I voted for him and I used my voice to encourage others to vote for him. As of right now, I'm planning on looking very closely at the entire field of potential Democratic challengers to his candidacy in 2012, because frankly I think that Barack Obama has let me and every one who worked so hard to get him elected down.

I say this for three reasons; the failure to push for meaningful healthcare reform in the face of the health care mandate, his failure to follow through on his promises to repeal don't ask don't tell; and his failure to understand that the people opposed to him are not dealing in good faith and as such he needs to do everything he can to minimize their impact rather than pretending he is working with adults who actually care about anything other than playing a petty game of political one upsmanship.

If he's playing a long game that I don't yet see, he can still win me back.

As of right now, I'm skeptical that he deserves a second term.

Less than a year into his first term, that's a bad sign.

New York Runoff Election Today

New Yorkers don't forget -- there's a runoff election today! Vote Bill De Blasio for Public Advocate and David Yassky for Comptroller!

Starfuckers Inc.

On the issue of Roman Polanksi:

First off, let me just say that this post is inspired primarily by the gaggle of idiot starfuckers defending Roman Polanski on the usually much more sane Huffington Post. I wouldn't feel so compelled to say something about this if it wasn't becoming quite clear that there is a sizable and perhaps growing constituency of starfuckers in the wider world who are willing to accept all manner of innuendo and half truth in the defense of Polanski. As best I can tell there are three basic arguments that are being advanced to excuse Polanski:

1.) He had a hard life/He's Paid his Debt/The Victim Has Forgiven Him/Time to Move on

2.) He's made some great movies and doesn't that count for something.

and most pernicious of all

3.) The girl lied about her age, her mom put her up to it, didn't you see what she was wearing, she totally was asking for it

I intend to take each argument in turn and demonstrate why it's ridiculous. In so doing, I hope to show that all of this ultimately just boils down to the cancerous crypto-starfuckery that plagues American culture.

The Facts
In 1977, Roman Polanski plied a thirteen year old girl with drugs and alcohol, photographed her in the nude, committed an oral sex act on her without her consent, then repeatedly raped her vaginally and anally. These are the facts entered into evidence by the prosecution against him as can be read in the victim's deposition taken at the time. Smokinggun.com has done the public service of posting the relevant portion of the grand jury testimony as a PDF here.

Oh, and This is Horrifying

NYC Primary Election

Today is a primary election day, so get to your polling places (in New York City, anyway, not sure about anywhere else).

I don't have time this year to whip up one of my usual voter guides, but I will say that I'm voting for William Thompson for Mayor, Bill de Blasio for Public Advocate (anyone but Mark Green) and David Yassky for Comptroller (he was my city councilman and is a stand-up guy). For my voting district (33) I'm voting for Evan Thies for City Council.

For more information about the candidates go to: http://www.nyccfb.info/public/voter-guide/primary_2009

Happy voting!

Caster Semenya is a Woman and Sports are Dumb

The question of whether or not Caster Semenya is a woman is moot. She is clearly a woman. She was raised as a woman, she has been identified as a woman from birth. She feels she is a woman. End of story.

The question that the world body of track and field jack asses is trying to assess is whether she has more testosterone than most women which gives her an unfair competitive edge.

I challenge the notion of unfairness at play here.

Most top athletes have genetic dispositions that make them superior to the rest of us in their physicality. It takes much more than hard work and dedication to get to the levels of peak performance that world class athletes achieve. Michael Jordan would not be Michael Jordan if he had been born with Danny Devitos body.

Caster Semenya is gifted. If her body is capable of greater performance because of its chemical makeup she is no different from any other gifted athlete whether that athlete be Michael Phelps or Florence Joyner.

The notion of unfairness at play here, frankly, is wrong, it's discriminatory and the officials in question who think this matter warrants investigation should be ashamed of themselves.

But then, we're talking about sports here, and the people who run sports are, frankly, idiots. They always have been.

Sport when it is pure competition, purely an effort at testing the physical and an attempt to be the best that one can be, that has merit.

In the first world, however, sport has become an industrialized enterprise wherein the values at play are much more cynical and much less engaged with notions of pure human achievement.

Instead there are issues of nationalism, of state pride, of money and performance enhancement, of technological advancement and superiority. All of this has nothing to do with whether or not an 18 year old girl has a right to not have her identity challenged simply because she is extraordinarily gifted in some way.

The Minority View

Just for the record, on 9-11-2001, eight years ago today, a bunch of religious nuts flew airplanes into buildings in the united states and crashed one plane in a field somewhere in pennsylvania.

Today, eight years later, the world is the same as it was on september 10th 2001 with the following exceptions:

1.) Air Travel is a much bigger pain in the ass than it used to be

2.) roughly 10,000 americans have died who might not have otherwise.

3.) The US has further pissed off the folks in the middle east by waging a war in Iraq for going on six years now, and has still failed to put down the dogs who supported the attackers 8 years ago in Afghanistan.

4.) roughly a million iraqis and afghans have died who might not have otherwise.

5.) lots of assholes are using the eleventh of september and the deaths of all those people to advance their political cause

6.) we all have to spend the eleventh of september talking about how we felt about it.

I remember how I felt about it. It was horrifying. It was beautiful. I couldn't look away. The attack was an act that was awesome, revolting, compelling, brutal, despicable, unfathomable, moving, and many other things.

I remember how I felt afterward, as we got done mourning the loss of innocent life as all around me came a rising tide of jingoism.

I remember how disgusting it was to see the terror my fellow citizens felt turn them into mindless flagwaving drones of an overreaching government hell bent on turning the tragedy of September 11th into a vehicle for it's own twisted political agenda.

Now, finally, I think we're back to normal.

In two years it will be the tenth anniversary.

After that I hope we don't have to talk about it again for a good long while.