Tuesday, November 11, 2008
This is a map from the NY Times showing the shift in voting between 2004 & 2008. The redder the county, the greater the gain in Republican votes between 2004 & 2008. As usual, we here in LA insist on being 5 minutes and 500 years behind the rest of the nation. Here, things like progressive thought and a greater concern for making sure one's own kids graduate high school as opposed to worrying about whether Joe the Plumber and Joe Six Pack should be allowed to marry are viewed as tools of the liberal elites and Hollywood to destroy America. Funny, I was under the belief that it was the Republicans who slashed levee funding and who rendered FEMA ineffective by placing it within the bureaucratic black hole of the Department of Homeland Security who literally destroyed this part of America. And isn't it still the case that nearly a billion dollars of your Road Home money is going to the Bush administration buddies over at IFC, whilst you remain relegated to a life of toxic trailer trash? And isn't it true that the people most disgusted by "the gays" probably spend the most time thinking about disgusting gay sex? (Tip: If you don't think about it, it won't disgust you! Why ARE you thinking about it so much anyway?)
But I doth digresseth.
A few days ago, some local bloggers were bouncing around idears for turning LA more blue. Not to piss in anyone's cornflakes, but Louisianians haven't been progressive and open to change, even change that benefits us, since France ran this show. An educated populace would help, but that's not a short-term strategy unless you absolutely blitz them with media about particular issues in any given election (e.g., None of your broke asses will ever make $250,000 so chill out with the Obama will raise my taxes hysteria...[or something to that effect]). Judging from the map, it's not just LA. Most of the south, Appalachia, and the midwest are dying to remain about 20 years behind "big city coastal elites." The us-versus-them schema has been so drilled into people's psyche that cultural issues and fear tactics will drive regional politics for several years to come. Democrat strategists yearning for change would be trying to change the minds of people that still will not vote for a Landrieu because Moon hired blacks to work in N.O. City Hall in the 1970s and who have voted Republican (except for Clinton & Carter - two Southern white men) since LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act and forced them to integrate. Umm...yah, good luck with that one.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
In case you missed the last couple of weeks trying to decipher the transcript of Sarah Palin's interview with Katie Couric, you may have heard tidbits about some sort of $700 billion bail out for Wall Street. You see, that's where the American people's wealth was spread to billion-dollar corporations who fell short of their original goal of spreading our personal wealth to themselves using bad mortgages as their drive-thru-bank-cannister-vacuum-chute-like-thingy vehicle of choice. My fellow Americans, you may have also noticed that you've been spreading a bit more of your wealth to oil companies and then to credit card companies in the form of higher interest rates & late charges when you couldn't afford to pay them on account of having spent your bill money on gas for your automobile.
If you live along the coast, you'll definitely recall spreading pretty much all of your wealth to insurance companies that were already quite wealthy:
When insurers sharply boost premiums on the coasts, increase deductibles, refuse to renew policies or otherwise cut back coverage, policymakers often accept these steps as necessary to help the property/casualty insurance business meet the huge challenges it faces in a risky world filled with dangers that it cannot adequately measure...And remember when you made the decision to allocate your wealth for the worthy, moral cause of helping your countrymen and countrywomen rebuild their hurricane shattered lives? Well, our Republican leaders faithfully doled your wealth out in a heartily fashion -- to their already superwealthy pals.
...The financial reality of the property/casualty insurance industry couldn’t be more different than the carefully cultivated perception fostered by insurers. Insurers are paying out lower claims, charging higher premiums, reaping greater profits, and are more financially solid than at almost any time in history.
So you see, America is all about spreading the wealth! I mean we love us some fuckin' wealth distribution!! Politicians love to talk about "sharing in the American dream." Remember to remind them -- and most importantly, remind yourselves -- that sharing in that dream requires sharing some of your own damn wealth back to you.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Dennis frickin' Kucinich? what the --?
Sadly, it reflects my abysmal performance in the voting booth in this last election. Only one of the candidates I voted for made it into the runoff. The others all lost. (I'm not including the Lt. Gov.'s race in these stats; that'd be like including flood insurance claim payouts in the federal figure of hurricane aid sent down here).
Just goes to show, this country continues to be screwed up because people can't make sensible choices like I can! Seriously though, there's not a chance in Hades I'll be endorsing Kucin --
-- wait a sec.
Maybe "not a chance in Hades" was a bit over the top.
WASHINGTON, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich on Tuesday mockingly questioned President George W. Bush's mental health for saying Iran's nuclear ambitions might trigger World War III.
"I seriously believe we have to start asking questions about his mental health," Kucinich, a quirky, long-shot candidate in the race for his party's presidential nomination in the November, 2008 election. "There's something wrong. He does not seem to understand his words have real impact."
Kucinich spoke to the editorial board of The Philadelphia Inquirer ahead of a Democratic debate in Philadelphia.
Bush told a news conference two weeks ago: "I've told people that if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interes4ed in preventing them (Iran) from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon."
Kucinich, a member of the U.S. Congress from Ohio, has tried in the past to convince his colleagues to impeach both Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, to no avail.
He told The Inquirer he did not believe his remarks about Bush's mental stability were irresponsible.
"You cannot be a president of the United States who's wanton in his expression of violence," Kucinich said. "There's a lot of people who need care. He might be one of them. If there isn't something wrong with him, then there's something wrong with us. This, to me, is a very serious question."
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Unfortunately, I don't think Californians need more hot air right now, and I know that those of us sweating to rebuild the Gulf Coast without much help from conservatives at the federal level don't need more of it.
It makes me ill to even give attention to their efforts to -- yet again -- politicize the destruction and death of fellow human beings. Nevertheless, I feel it my patriotic duty to point out -- yet again -- that the feds fucked up. Funny how the party of personal responsibility can't seem to own up to its own responsibilities. Louisiana's state and local officials could have supplied every survivor with handheld electric fans, frozen daiquiris and daily meals from Antoine's whilst they, our fellow Americans, waited for Lords Bush and Chertoff to decide whether the levees had been breached or merely overtopped before sending help (FYI: It makes no fucking difference!!!). REGARDLESS OF THE (IN)COMPETENCY OF BLANCO, NAGIN, JUNIOR RODRIGUEZ, WALTER MAESTRI, and even AARON "WOLFMAN" BROUSSARD, the simple fact remains that THE FEDS DROPPED THE BALL, THEN DRAGGED THEIR FEET PICKING IT UP WHEN IT CAME TO FULFILLING THE ROLE THEY HAD SET FORTH FOR THEMSELVES in the aftermath of Katrina... (that bitch, I might add).
It so happens that I am finishing a disturbingly eye-opening book called Disaster: Hurricane Katrina and the Failure of Homeland Security (by Christopher Cooper & Robert Block)*, which highlights that Louisiana officials "excelled" in the areas of the FEMA-coordinated emergency plan that had been completed pre-Katrina. My friends at Hot Breath or whatever marvel at the wonder of a state enormously larger than Louisiana evacuating 250,000 people...over the course of a few days. Contrary to popular misbelief, you don't always get DAYS of warning that a hurricane will strike. About 1.2 million people left Greater New Orleans in less than 40 hours (less than 2 days in non-fuzzy math terms), without a fraction of the problems Texas had with evacuations only weeks later before Rita struck, AND there are really only 3 or 4 routes off this island commonly known as New Orleans.
*recently purchased copy at local Barnes&Noble for $5.98*
It took FEMA 5 days to get a communications truck to N.O. from Baton Rouge when the roads were clear heading into New Orleans, and 2 days to transport ice that was sitting only 40 miles away to Biloxi. The governors of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama literally picked up the feds' slack and orchestrated their own disaster plans, not because us po' Suh-thunahs cain't do fo' us-selves, but because the feds said for years had told them "Oh, don't worry about that. FEMA will do that," etc., etc.
There are tons more reasons you can't compare Katrina with the CA wildfires, as nicely laid out in Sunday's T-P feature, par exemple:
Katrina's scale of devastation and its impact on humanity, however, was far greater. The number of homes destroyed or still threatened in California is about 10 percent of the roughly 200,000 left uninhabitable by Katrina and the often overlooked Hurricane Rita, which struck three weeks later.
In New Orleans alone, 140 of 180 square miles flooded, -- rendering uninhabitable a residential zone seven times the size of Manhattan. Across the region, its winds and rains wreaked havoc to a 90,000-square-mile swath of the Gulf Coast, an area twice the size of the entire state of New York.
Katrina forced the evacuation of 1.2 million people -- 500,000 remained displaced after four months. Almost 2,000 people died in Katrina.
The death toll from the fires stood at seven as of Saturday.
But hey, facts schmacts -- the folks at Hot Ass Breath got some GREAT talking points out there, and what's more important and American than that?
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
If you didn't make noise over the tax cuts which decimated the Treasury, if you didn't pitch a fit when the 3 states hardest hit by Katrina & Rita received only 16% of the billions Congress allocated for recovery, then maybe it's time you call folks like Sen. Vitter, who says he will not vote to override this veto and remind them we put them there to actually be of HELP! (I think "Vitty Cent" done really lost his damn mind as of late.)
My first ever guest blogger, Jill, is not pleased; and she is back to have a word with some of you (you know who you are):
It's on, people! PLEASE MAKE YOURSELVES HEARD ON THIS ISSUE! There are tools all over the web for you to write letters and send emails to your congressmen and women; there will be rallies held all over the country tomorrow as well. Also, now is as good a time as any to check your voter registration -- if you're not registered, get registered; if you need to update, do it.
At the risk of calling folks out, I'll go ahead and make it plain -- I got about a hundred emails from people about that ignorant Don Imus some months ago. I got a ton about the "Read a *&^%^ Book" video. Some folks even sent messages expressing outrage at PepsiCo for taking "in God we trust" off of their marketing materials or some similar foolishness. If y'all have time and energy to engage that madness -- you've certainly got time and energy enough to stand up for the health and wellness of our poor and near poor children. Let your reps know in no uncertain terms that this is a priority issue, and their vote gets yours. Let's go!All the best,Jill
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Fratto said Bush might be amenable to increasing the funding level above his suggested $5 billion over five years if the expansion of eligibility was limited. Fratto said, "This should not be an issue where you decide what the funding is, and then (set) the policy," adding, "We should decide what the policy is and let the funding land where it lands." However, Fratto said that once a government program subsidizes children in families with annual incomes above 300% of the federal poverty level, "you are talking about people who are solidly within the middle class of America, and you are extending another unfunded entitlement to the middle class" (Alonso-Zaldivar, Los Angeles Times, 9/28).
Okay, the reauthorization and expansion is good news. The vote tallies below put a veto override vote barely within reach in the Senate and slightly out of reach in the House, if my math is correct. Promising attainability; however, it is REALLY disheartening that there should be any scramble for veto override votes, or support of any kind for this measure!What's really got my blood boiling is the highlighted text, though. The words "unfunded entitlement to the middle class" make me want to shake somebody! Even if the allegation that this compromise measure would provide some unintended support for "middle class" families by extending coverage to families earning 300% above the federal poverty level, SO WHAT?! First, consider that the 2007 federal poverty guideline for the "American Dream" family (2 parents, 2.5 kids) is right around $24,000. That's right a family of FIVE is not considered poor within the federal guidelines until there income rock bottoms to $24,130. (http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty
/07poverty.shtml.) Three-hundred percent of $24,000 is $72,000 for a FIVE-PERSON HOUSEHOLD! That family needs some help!Next, consider that one of the leading causes of bankruptcies in the United States is non-covered medical expenses. Finally, consider that the bankrutpcy code amendments that took effect in 2005 make it more difficult to fully discharge debts in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. One of the considerations used to determine eligibility for Chapter 7 discharge is a "means" test, whereby if a family's income is above the median income level for their particular state (based on family size / # earners, I believe), then guess what? That family might not be able to fully discharge their debts in Chapter 7 bankruptcy! Sure, sure, other provisions apply, and I'm no bankruptcy lawyer, but dangit, common sense says that that puts full discharge out of reach for a greater number of "middle class" families -- particularly if earnings of 300% over the federal poverty level puts you "solidly within the middle class.""Unfunded entitlement to the middle class," indeed! The only spot-on word in that phrase is "entitlement." We are entitled to have kids that are healthy without worrying about whether we're going to have to sell our blood, organs, houses, etc. in order to pay for care that ensures their health.Grrrrr.... I'll stop seething and get back to work so that I won't be staring down that poverty level income figure in my personal economy, but it's gonna be a while before I stop cursing in my head about this one!You probably got my message a couple of days ago (blank subject line -- sorry -- typing fast): CONTACT YOUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES AND MAKE YOUR VOICES HEARD ON THIS!Be well (evidently you can't afford not to),Jill"Whenever I hear anything described as a heartless assault on our children I tend to think it's a good idea."
Saturday, September 29, 2007
If Bush vetoes the legislation and Congress cannot override the veto, Democrats said that they will reintroduce the bill every six weeks to three months until Bush signs the bill or Republicans vote to override a veto. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said, "If the president refuses to sign the bill, if he says, with a veto, 'I forbid 10 million children in America to have health care,' this legislation will haunt him again and again and again" (Washington Post, 9/28). -Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report
Sunday, September 02, 2007
I'd be remiss, however, if I didn't share at least one thought I had about Bush and his visit.
Come to think of it, that pretty much sums it up for me.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
What upsets me more than the White House's callousness is that I'm still shocked by it.
Hanging on for Dear Life: Katrina Survivors" Daily Struggle to Live
- The representative of the neighborhood "Lakeview" (an upper middle class mostly white neighborhood of NOLA) just told a story that will stay with me for the rest of my life. She told the story of 2 volunteers from Boston, a mother and a 9 year old daughter. After a week of working, the daughter turned to the mother and asked her when they would be returning to America. The lady representative broke down into tears and asked the senate panel the same question. When will we be returning to America?
- 2005 homeowners insurance: $1926... 2006 homeowners insurance: $2343... 2007 homeowners insurance bill: $4599
- That ain't shit. 2005 Farmers: $2400 / 2006 Farmers: $4000 / 2007 Farmers: $11,000
- "I hope the levees break again and kill you."
- The average cost for a 2,000-square-foot home has jumped, probably, to the $80,000 range just for foundation work