Sunday, December 21, 2014

Ohio as role model

On Wednesday the Ohio House approved a bill to draw state legislative district boundaries using a bipartisan process designed to make the districts more competitive.  

In 2012 Obama won Ohio, but the state legislature is overwhelmingly Republican, and Republicans hold 12 out of the 16 Congressional seats.

Since the Republicans have a majority, why would they support such a bill?  Two reasons.  First, some Republicans realized they may not always have a majority, and the Democrats could gerrymander when they get into power.  Secondly, the Republicans were worried about a proposed referendum that could have gone even further.  The current bill applies only to state legislative districts, not Congressional districts. 

Nonetheless, it’s a start.  Now if we could only get the Pennsylvania legislature to see the light.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The National Film Registry

In the middle of all the gloom and bad news, a small ray of sunshine peeks through.  “The Big Lebowski” has been added to the National Film Registry.  

The dude abides.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Cuomo bans fracking in New York

Just think of that.  No toxic chemicals pumped into the subsoil.  No pads in state forests and parks.  No wells polluted.  No rivers running with toxic chemicals.  No pipelines tearing up the environment.  No fires.  No explosions.

New York had a moratorium on fracking until it was proven that the risks could be managed.  No proof has been forthcoming.  (In PA we don’t worry about such things.)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Kim Jong-un, Movie Critic

Actually, the dude is half-right.  Seth Rogan has never made a decent movie.  

On the other hand, we need to change that slogan, “Home of the Brave, Land of the Free” to “Home of the Scared, Land of the Fraidy Cats.”

We went through this before when the Ayatollah issued a Fatwa against Salman Rushdie for the Satanic Verses.  Bookstores all over the U.S., including the Campus Bookstore at San Jose State, pulled the book, fearing reprisals.  I wrote a scathing letter to the bookstore, but like so many of my scathing letters, I don’t remember it having an effect.  

I did find a bookstore that stocked Satanic Verses, and I bought it in solidarity with Rushdie, although I never read it.  If “The Interview” is ever released, I’ll have to see it to just to thumb my nose at North Korea, but that’s the only reason I’ll go. 

Explanation for posting gaps:

Yesterday I had a pacemaker implanted.  I’ve been having a slow heartbeat, which caused a certain amount of breathlessness and fatigue.  Now if my heartbeat goes below 60 beats per minute, the pacemaker kicks in.  I’m not supposed to keep a cell phone near it; evidently the phone can mess up the signal.  That won’t be a problem.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

White Rhinos

The world’s population stands at about 7.2 billion people.  The white rhinoceros population stands at five.  There were six, but one died yesterday.  The remaining five are in zoos, but not of reproductive age.

Rhinos are killed for their horns, thought to be an aphrodisiac by many people in the Far East.  

The rhino news was buried in the back pages of the Morning Call.  I would have run it on the front page with a very large headline.  We really need to wake up to what we are doing both to this planet and to each other.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dick Cheney

If Dick Cheney had been Japanese, and if he had survived the Pacific War, and if he had been captured by the Americans, do you realize he would have been hung for supervising the kind of torture he is now defending?  

Cheney received all kinds of deferments to avoid Vietnam.  He lied about the reasons to invade Iraq, he said we would be greeted as liberators in Iraq, and he continues to poison the American political system with his defense of torture.

He doesn’t even have the old Nazi excuse of “I was only following orders.”  As Vice President he was helping to give the orders.  What a disgusting and evil man.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Matt Cartwright does the right thing

A few days ago the House of Representatives passed a very bad bill.  The 1600-page bill funds the government throughout the middle of next year.  

It also loosens the banking regulations that were put in place to prevent crises like the one in 2008.  How is it that Congress can kiss up to Wall Street but not extend unemployment benefits?  How is it that Citibank gets a break, but not Wal-Mart workers?  Why would House Democrats vote for a bill will allow individuals to donate more millions in campaign contributions?

The bill was touted as a compromise.  Here is what compromise means in Washington.  The Democrats roll over.

I am pleased to say that my Congressman, Matt Cartwright, did not roll over.  He voted against the bill.  Thank you, Rep. Cartwright.