Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Kicking-Off A Convention

by Dick Mac

The Republican National Convention is kicking-off in Tampa, this week.

We are going to hear about Obama's health care program being "European" although it almost perfectly mimics the health care program implemented by the presumptive Republican nominee, while governor of Massachusetts.

We are going to hear about the sanctity of marriage.

We are going to hear that unborn babies must be protected.

We are going to hear that abortion must be prevented.

We are going to hear that Obama's policies are socialist, even though they consistently and effectively ensure the health and safety of the capitalistic system Republicans have promoted for thirty years.

We are not going to hear anything about tax relief for the middle class.

We are not going to hear about debt-relief for the middle class.

We are not going to hear anything abut the market being at an all-time high, after being driven to an all-time low by the Republicans.

Smart people will not tune in.

This is an event strictly for tea-baggers, political analysts, and Republican apologists.  People desperate to find a way to vote Republican and still say they believe in America and personal freedom.  These are sad, otherwise intelligent people, who have had their party hijacked and now must reconcile abridging the rights of taxpayers and highlighting the dangers of a medical system they signed into law just a few years ago, as representative of their core beliefs and values.

I actually feel sorry for Republican voters.  It must be difficult to know that the Party is fabricating myths to re-take the White House, and plan to hurt your friends and family in order to do it.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Psalm 107:25-33

by Dick Mac

When it's convenient for Republicans to embrace the christian-right, they are very happy to be seen hugging and kissing them and raising their arms together in victory. When right-wing ministers discuss the evils of socialism and the demise of constitutional freedoms, the Republicans are right there beside them. However, when those same ministers start condemning homosexuals, unwed mothers, and progress, the Republicans are strangely absent, pretending they are not aligned with such extremism. Republicans will always distance themselves from their own, when expedient.

When the movement of 'small government' and 'lower taxes' advocated by the Hunt brothers of Texas finally gained traction in California, the GOP embraced the whole package, including the social conservatism that would lead to the removal of civil rights for taxpayers, based solely on their sexual orientation.

Howard Javis, as the representative of those who would demand that taxes be reduced, and Jerry Falwell, as the representative of those who would demand that all social problems are related to liberalism, both attacked the success of post-War America. New institutions such as civil rights and social welfare were put on the firing line as the causes for all that was ailing America.

Citizens lined-up to blame anyone but themselves for the problems of the country, and the Hunt brothers found a poster boy to lead the charge.

Shortly after Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Anita Bryant and the rest of the christian-right began espousing the evil of homosexuality, so-called "conservatives" in California pushed the passage of Proposition 13, which would greatly restrict the ability of the state to tax property.

These two movements joined hands, the Texans made headway in the GOP and pushed the nomination of Ronald Reagan for president. The success of the movement was so amazing that people like Jerry Falwell became mainstream cultural icons.

It didn't take long for the poison of the religious-right to become part of the GOP platform, where it remains today.
"AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals," [Jerry Falwell] once said. "It is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals." As late as 1997 he thundered, "If we do not act now, homosexuals will 'own' America! If you and I do not speak up now, this homosexual steamroller will literally crush all decent men, women, and children . . . and our nation will pay a terrible price!"

The Legacy of Falwell’s Bully Pulpit, By Hans Johnson and William Eskridge ’78 
This insanity has carried over into the following century when Republicans declared that Hurricane Katrina was also divine retribution for America's liberalism:
Psalm 107:25-33 says, "He raiseth the stormy wind which lifted up the waves of the sea...He turns rivers into a desert, and springs of water into a thirsty ground; a fruitful land into a salt waste, because of the wickedness of those who dwell in it."
Was there wickedness in New Orleans, Alabama and Mississippi?

Well, let's see. There was the burgeoning Gulf Coast gambling industry, with a new casino that was to open on Labor Day weekend. But of course, what is a little gambling if it supports 'education' and brings revenue into government coffers?

And then there was the 34th Annual gay, lesbian and transgender "Southern Decadence" Labor Day gala to be held from August 31st to September 5th. Welcomed by the last three mayors and City Council, this socially and politically acceptable flaunting of depravity--that has grown each year--was expected to draw 100,000 visitors and millions of dollars to the New Orleans business community and local government. But what is a little sodomy and immorality if it brings in money to the temple and gives everyone a little fun?

Katrina: God's Judgment on America, by David Crowe 

The success of using right-wing christian dogma to frighten Americans into voting against their own best interests is one of the most remarkable stories of marketing in the history of Western civilization.

You will meet Republicans who tell you that the insane, hateful demands of the right-wing are separate and distinct from the platform of the Republicans Party. Those people would either be mistaken or lying. The GOP uses the fear-mongering of the right-wing to disguise an economic agenda that for thirty years has been crippling America.

I wonder what Jerry Falwell and David Crowe would think about God sending Hurricane Issac to disrupt the 2012 Republican Convention?

Is this God's punishment for the hate-mongering of the Republican Party? Or, is this just weather?

Monday, August 06, 2012

Did It Kill The Cat?

by Dick Mac

The scary part was: "When the rover's wheels were planted firmly on the ground, the cords were cut and the sky crane flew a safe distance away and crashed."

Damn! How do they do this stuff?!?!?

I was born in the late-1950s, so the space program was a huge part of my childhood. I carried a lunchbox with NASA pictures back and forth to school from 1963 to 1966, I watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon, I was shocked and sad when Apollo 1 caught fire and all inside perished and then again when Space Shuttle Challenger exploded after take-off.

The missions to Mars have been less engaging, probably because there have been no manned flights. All of our exploration has been by "rovers" dropped onto the surface, that then roam around and send pictures back.

I'm still amazed at the feat. I am still awed by the notion that something hurtles thirty thousand miles through space, plummets to the surface of an alien planet, and begins to function as if it was rolling around Central Park.

In the early hours of August 6, 2012, I sat with my eyes fixed to the television, awaiting confirmation that Mars rover Curiosity had landed and was safe.

It did.

It is.

Above is the first image of itself sent to Earth by Curiosity.

NASA rover Curiosity makes historic Mars landing, beams back photos at Yahoo!

Curiosity's Mars landing on track, say scientists at Christian Science Monitor

Friday, August 03, 2012

Earth Angel, Sexy, and Tiptoe by Tiny Tim

by Dick Mac

When the LP "God Bless Tiny Tim" appeared in my mother's record collection in 1968, it was a life-altering experience.

I had thought of comedy and vinyl as being simple recordings of radio broadcasts, like "The Bickersons" or elaborate hoaxes like "The First Family."  Yet, I wasn't sure if Tiny Tim was a comedian or not.

It was the 1960s.  Everything was changing.  Was Tiny Tim a Bobby Vinton or a Bill Cosby?  Quickly, it didn't matter.

Tiny Tim was appearing on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, The Tonight Show, The Mike Douglas Show and seemingly everywhere a camera was recording.

I watched his wedding to Miss Vicki on the Tonight Show.

I was thrilled years later when he recorded Stairway To Heaven with the equally engaging Brave Combo.

Born Herbert Khaury, on April 12, 1932, in Manhattan, his first break was in an underground movie in which he sang "Be My Baby" and "I Got You Babe."  I learned recently that these cuts were recorded with Robbie Robertson, later of The Band.  New York City is a small place.

Tiny Tim suffered a heart attack while performing in Montague, Massachusetts, in September, 1996.  He succumbed to a second heart attack on November 30, 1996, in Minneapolis.

Below are Tiny Tim singing "Earth Angel" on The Mike Douglas Show, a music video for "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" and the original footage of Tiny Tim singing "Tiptoe Through The Tulips" on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

Tiny Tim Official (Memorial) site

The Tiny Tim Videos Blog

Information was taken from the Tiny Tim article at wikipedia.org.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Gore Vidal (1925 - 2012)

by Dick Mac

Born:  Eugene Luther Gore Vidal, October 3, 1925, West Point, New York.

Died:  July 31, 2012, Hollywood Hills, California.

Vidal was predeceased by his partner of 55 years, Howard Austen (d.2005).


Image nicked from Wikipedia's Gore Vidal page.