Wednesday, February 24, 2010

To the Senate: Health care NOW!

On health-care reform, the strategy of President Obama and Democratic congressional leaders is psychologically understandable -- as well as delusional.

Obama's health reform gamble raises questions of judgment
By Michael Gerson
Washington Post
Wednesday, February 24, 2010

That's the least fervid of the opposition. Listen to talk show hosts such as Mark Levin and you'll hear accusations that Obama (and me, by association) is attemprting to subvert the nationa and the 'American' way.

Knowing that they might lose this fight (at least the first round), the opposition grows more shrill. The opportunity seems more self-evident: it's time for rational health care, and it's time now. The Senate must vote on Obama's health care plan, and rely on a simple majority. There is no Constitutional requirement for 60 votes for the measure to pass. Those Republicans who are crying foul conveniently forget that members of their own party have done so for important legislation in the past.

Obama needs to lead now. Explain to the American people that this bill will improve access to health care. Explain that reform will be an ongoing process to rein in costs that are more and more preventing access to health care.

As to the 51 vote in the Senate:
Explain to the American people you understand their impatience. The Constitution does not require 60 votes in the Senate to pass legislation. A majority will do. That’s called democracy.

It's Time To Enact Health Care With 51 Senate Votes
Robert Reich
February 21, 2010

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Day Decorum Died

The 'Honorable' Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina shouted "You lie" at the President of the United States while Obama was delivering a speech about health care to a joint session of Congress.
As President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night, the nation's rapidly deteriorating discourse hit yet another low.

It happened at 8:40 pm, just after the president vowed to lawmakers that his health-care reform proposals would not provide benefits to illegal immigrants. As millions of Americans watched from home, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) shouted at the president from his fifth-row seat: "You lie!"

Murmurs of "ooh" filled the stunned chamber. Nancy Pelosi's chin dropped. Obama moved on to the next sentence in his speech, about how no federal money would be used to fund abortion. "Not true!" came another shout.

The Republican Response, Arriving a Little Early
By Dana Milbank
Washington Post
Thursday, September 10, 20
Obama at Congress
This wasn't a political rally; this wasn't a vitriol-filled town hall session. These were the halls of Congress.

No matter that I think Wilson is wrong or no matter that you may think I am wrong. Wake the kids. Tell them: this is the day decorum died.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

It's socialism to study hard?

As have others, LJBC has been catching a breath since Barack Obama's inauguration.

One blogger who has not been quiescent, remaining vigilant, is Jack Curtin at I Have Heard the Mermaids Singing. Here he comments on the ridiculous yet atrocious attacks on the occasion of the President of the United States speaking to the nation's schoolchildren.

As incomprehensible as it might seem, some folk on the political right have equated Obama's upcoming talk on studying hard to a screed on socialism. Many of these are the same folk who had questioned the patriotism of any American who dared question the wisdom and legality of the past President's actions.

This time, however, there may be something else at work; if so, it would be ugly and shameful.
You, I, anyone can disagree with anyone. That’s not the point here. Listen to what’s being said, look at the desperate faces of those who have been taken by the whole concerted campaign of lies, listen to what they say, read the signs they carry. Then try to imagine such lunacy directed at any of the recent presidents. The closest we came were the “The Clintons murder people” and “George W. Bush knew about 911 in advance” stuff and it was nothing like this. When all else has been logically eliminated, what remains is likely the truth.

The “how dare the President speak to my child” controversy has brought into sharp focus what had been only strongly indicated before: the constant & vicious attacks on Barack Obama from the right are based in large part on race. We always knew there was still a large & dangerous strain of racial hatred in the US; what we never expected is that it would be embraced by one of the two major parties & its media cohort.
Is it any wonder that civics is moribund when American parents forbid their children from watching the President of THEIR United States?
  • Political cartoon courtesy of Chan Lowe at www.gocomics.som/chanlowe
  • There are, of course, many other bloggers who have not ceased from fighting the good fight.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"This campaign came to an end"

In 1980, at the Democratic Convention, Senator Edward Kennedy said this:
And may it be said of us, both in dark passages and in bright days, in the words of Tennyson that my brothers quoted and loved, and that have special meaning for me now:

"I am a part of all that I have met
To [Tho] much is taken, much abides
That which we are, we are --
One equal temper of heroic hearts
Strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end.

For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.

It was an ideal greater than the man, but it was an ideal grasped by that man.

His legacy has become our work now. Ted Kennedy died this morning, 26 August 2009.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

233 years ago

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

— That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it,and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

Hear a reading of the Declaration of Indpendence. Better yet, read the entire Declaration.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tiananmen Square and me

In meager solidarity with the Chinese people, I noticed that on the 20th anniversary of the massacre at Tiananmen Square, this blog (and my other —beer— blog) was blocked from viewing in China by the communist government.

Of course, I should mention that all of (the hosting server for my blog, provided by Google) was blocked, as was Twitter (my account: Cizauskas), and some other sites and service.

Photo courtesy wikipedia

The Chinese government continues to deny its complicity in the massacre and the subsequent political jailing of thousands.

Never forget.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sonia Sotomayor is a reverse racist ... NOT

Sonia Sotomayor is a reverse racist, Rush Limbaugh said on his radio program last week. Actually, he dramatically WHISPERED it, basing his incorrect reading on only one case, while ignoring ninety-five others.
Of the 96 cases, Judge Sotomayor and the panel rejected the claim of discrimination roughly 78 times and agreed with the claim of discrimination 10 times; the remaining 8 involved other kinds of claims or dispositions. Of the 10 cases favoring claims of discrimination, 9 were unanimous. (Many, by the way, were procedural victories rather than judgments that discrimination had occurred.) Of those 9, in 7, the unanimous panel included at least one Republican-appointed judge. In the one divided panel opinion, the dissent’s point dealt only with the technical question of whether the criminal defendant in that case had forfeited his challenge to the jury selection in his case. So Judge Sotomayor rejected discrimination-related claims by a margin of roughly 8 to 1.

Dissenting Justice
Saturday, May 30, 2009

Of course, why should Judge Sotomayor's actual record stand in the way of a right-wing fact-deficient jeremiad?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

For this weekend: Truth and Vigilance

Forget torture for a moment.
Vice-President Dick Cheney is verbally attacking President Obama as putting the nation in harm's way.The most ludicrous of all the arguments used to try and salvage at least some portion of George W. Bush’s reputation and legacy has always been “he kept us safe.” To even begin to accept that, you have to pretend that 9/11 never happened and that his flawed and failed administration took office on September 12, 2001.
Read the rest of this concise reubttal of Cheny's self-serving amnesia at
I Have Heard the Mermaids Singing: Life in a Post-Rational World
23 May 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Baltimore due for a Lithuanian Dynamo Hum

With my surname of Cizauskas, this story of cultural convergence piqued my interest.
Musician and composer Frank Zappa (1940-1993) was born in Baltimore, and spent boyhood years in a Park Heights Avenue row house and at nearby Edgewood Arsenal. His family moved to California in 1952, but Charm City plans to honor its native son with a statute from Lithuania, which will be placed somewhere in Fell’s Point.

Why Zappa? Why Lithuania? Mike Licht at NotionsCapital has the rest of the story.