Working: Hazardous to your health

May 27, 2008 at 8:55 am | Posted in Bush Administration, Congress | 1 Comment

An Op-Ed piece in the New York Times says it better than I could: the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) laws need major revisions, now. I urge you to read the article—which produced no comments indicating disagreement—and write your elected representatives. (There’s a link to Congress.org, a nonpartisan, free organization that makes it easy for you to write your elected representatives under Blogroll on the right side of the page.)

Here’s the link to the NY Times article:

Op-Ed Contributor:  The Working Wounded

Memorial Day: Support the Troops

May 26, 2008 at 3:44 pm | Posted in Bush Administration, Iraq, Politics | 2 Comments

I have two family members in the service, one of whom is home for R & R before going back to Iraq. The other is in danger of being deployed, but for now is in California. I earnestly pray that both survive this unnecessary and evil war with neither physical nor emotional damage. I want all of our troops to return as quickly as is safe and reasonable.

The Iraq war is notable in that it is being waged at a time when taxes, especially for the rich, have been reduced. We as a nation have not been asked to make any real sacrifices, although about 4,000 of our young folks have been killed and more than 25,000 have been injured. I was happy, therefore, to hear that Warlord George W. Bush has made the ultimate sacrifice: he’s given up golf.

In a May 13th interview with Politico magazine and Yahoo, Bush said he gave up golf in [August] 2003 out of respect for U.S. soldiers killed in the war. “I didn’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf,” he said. “I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.”

Well…he didn’t actually give it up. He kind of tapered off, playing his last game on October 13, 2003. And it’s likely that he had to stop playing golf because he had leg problems. He had a minor muscle tear in his right calf, and aching knees, so in addition to giving up golf, he had an MRI in December on the advice of his physician.

‘Way to support the troops, W!

Of course Bush won’t be able to serve another term, knees or no. But the Republicans evidently have a replacement all lined up. Viet Nam veteran and former prisoner of war John McCain is the presumptive nominee, and he is (I am quite serious about this) a true American hero. That makes it all the more sad that he didn’t make it to the Senate to vote on the new GI Bill. The bill, which Bush has threatened to veto, would pay tuition and other expenses at a four-year public university for anyone who has served at least three years since the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The bill passed anyway, by a 75-22 majority, so McCain’s vote wasn’t really needed. But if I were a veteran running for President on a support-the-troops platform I’d have been there and voted Yes—very loudly. Senator McCain was on the West Coast at a fund raiser. Got to keep your priorities straight, huh?  Oh yeah:  McCain opposes the bill.

By the way, in case you hadn’t noticed, McCain has changed his mind (I won’t say flip-flopped) about how long we’re going to have troops in Iraq. He used to say we’d be there for a hundred years if necessary. Now he says we won’t be there after 2012.

‘Way to support the troops, John!

Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton were in the Senate for the vote, and they both voted for the GI Bill. They have similar plans for getting the troops home: both would bring back one or two brigades a month for, says Obama, sixteen months. Clinton says a year.

You decide: who is supporting the troops?

Political Correctness Defined

May 24, 2008 at 8:41 am | Posted in Humor | 2 Comments

The following is the winning entry in an annual contest at Texas A&M University calling for the most appropriate definition of a contemporary term. This year’s term was Political Correctness.

The winner wrote:

“Political Correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.”

Let’s Talk It Over

May 18, 2008 at 8:37 pm | Posted in Bush Administration, Politics | 3 Comments

The Bush administration and its water-carriers are upset because Obama (and Clinton) would engage with our enemies as well as with our friends. This is a marked departure from the failed policies of the Bush administration that have put us in the mess we’re now in.

 It is also a return to the policies of virtually every administration this country has had. With the exception of the Bush administration, every administration that I can remember (the first president I can remember was FDR) has had diplomatic contacts and “summit” meetings with enemies as well as friends. So have most of if not all of the administrations since George Washington. So have virtually all of the major nations of the world, and before there were nations, every tribe, city, or whatever talked with its friends and enemies.

 Diplomatic contacts, including meetings between heads of state, are a major way of finding solutions to problems—solutions that in many cases avoid armed conflict, and can change a nation’s behavior. In fact a major premise for the United Nations is that when you’re talking you’re not fighting. I don’t know about you, but when I think about my grandson (who is very likely to be deployed to Iraq) and my nephew (who is deployed to Iraq) I don’t want any more military conflicts.

 I suspect that if the Bush administration (which, by the way, is talking with North Korea) had engaged with Iraq, Iran, and Syria, the Middle East would be a far better place than it is, and we wouldn’t be paying $4/gallon for gas.

Think before you Vote

May 13, 2008 at 6:55 pm | Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

On Mother’s Day I sat on the porch at our local Cracker Barrel talking with the woman in the chair next to mine. She was, I suppose, in her fifties, and she’d had a hard life, if you believe her face. She was tough, uneducated, divorced, and (it turned out) a lifetime resident of the area.

She was pretty negative about everything, but that seems to be the tone such conversations take. She thinks the country is screwed up—she specifically mentioned FEMA’s response to Katrina—but she doesn’t like any of the candidates. She doesn’t like Obama because, she said, he’s a racist. That set me back for a moment, but she explained she knew he was a racist because of the Reverend Wright. She doesn’t like Hillary Clinton because she took Bill back after the scandal. She doesn’t much like McCain, either, but she’s going to vote for him because he’s the Republican.

She had negative opinions on the economy, on health care, and on Iraq—but no opinions (or, apparently, any interest) in what the candidates proposed to do about these problems.

She personifies a major problem we have in this country. She doesn’t understand the issues, and doesn’t want to; she’s going to vote her prejudices and party labels.

For the first time in many years we have a clear choice: do we want to continue the policies of the Bush administration, or do we want to drastically change the way the country does business?

If we are to make a good decision we must choose based on the solutions the candidates and their parties espouse—not based on things (like Wright’s racism, Clinton’s marriage, or McCain’s party affiliation) that don’t really matter.

If we are to make a good decision we must think—and vote the issues, not the trivialities.

The Curmudgeon is Back

May 12, 2008 at 6:31 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sorry. I haven’t been around for a pitifully long time. There are a number of reasons, none of which matter, so I’ll simply apologize and vow to try to do better. You can help by responding to the gems of wisdom I post here, either by agreeing or by disagreeing.

In the words of Hillary Clinton (from the beginning of her campaign), “Let’s have a conversation.”

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