Are You Sick of the Debate Over the Public Option?

I was hoping not to have to write about this anymore, but, quite frankly, I’m sick and tired of the vacillating, equivocal maneuvering on the public option. And that’s from lawmakers we believe to be our friends, including the current occupant of the White House.

There are published reports that President Obama is more interested in the politics of the public option than actually getting a strong one done.

If it’s true, this is hardly change we can believe in. Senator Harry Reid is to be commended for at least trying to get a bill with the public option to the Senate floor.

Senator Harry Reid
Senator Harry Reid

Joe Lieberman, if he’s ready to support a filibuster on any bill containing a public option ought to be summarily stripped of his committee chair, and sent packing to the GOP caucus (that idea comes from my good friend Brent Budowsky). Even the House has caved, somewhat, with Nancy Pelosi now saying she’ll bring a bill to the floor with a public option that’s not pegged to Medicare rates.

Joe Lieberman
Joe Lieberman

That means not so robust as the one people were talking about just days ago. Then in the Senate there’s talk of opt outs and triggers (reportedly the one the President favors).

And what does all this mean when taken together? OUR LAWMAKERS ARE PUNKS!!!

There’s no other way to put it. And this cowardice is from the TOP DOWN! The public wants the public option (and that may not count people like my and my friend Sanda Aronson who want single payer). Four out of five congressional committees passed bills containing the public option.

So why is Joe Lieberman and his fellow travelers such a large roadblock?

I hate to say this, but it’s the President. Barack Obama thinks he needs bipartisan healthcare reform. He hasn’t sent those people in his administration whose job it is to twist arms to go out and do what they’re paid for. Somebody ought to be saying that the Joe Liebermans of the current Congress aren’t acting in  the best interest of their constituents. They’re pimping Americans with pre-existing conditions for the dollars that come from big insurance and big pharma.

I shouldn’t have to say this. Neither should Brent Budowsky, Ed Schultze, Randi Rhodes, Rachel Maddow or the others who have kept the fight going through all the nonsense the public has been exposed to.

Would these same jackals who bleat about government run health care prefer to leave national security to the bindlestiffs at Blackwater? Oh, sorry, they already did.

Sorry to vent, but I’m sick and tired. How about you?
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Is Apology Enough for Larry Johnson’s Gay Slur?

Larry Johnson is a running back for the Kansas City Chiefs. He’s 30 years old, which for an NFL running back is when your career is on the downside. All the more reason for him not to do what he did not once, but twice, starting Sunday night.

On his Twitter account, he questioned the credentials of his coach. Then, in an exchange with one of his Twitter followers, he used an anti gay slur. He did it again Monday, brushing off reporters when asked to comment.

A 30-year-old athlete ought to know better. Hell, a 15-year-old athlete ought to know better. He’s apologized as follows: “I regret my actions. The words were used by me in frustration, and they were not appropriate,” he said through a spokesman. “I did not intend to offend anyone, but that is no excuse for what I said.”

Larry Johnson, Kansas City Chiefs
Larry Johnson, Kansas City Chiefs

Notice he didn’t apologize to the gay community.

The sporting press has noticed this mea culpa sounds a lot like the one he issued last year when he pled guilty to two counts of disturbing the peace.

Two separate and distinct memories crossed my mind when I read this story.

The first involved a guy I worked with in the post office in Manhattan. It seemed that every other word out of his mouth was an anti gay slur. “Sissy, homo, f@#&t” he would spit out, and often acted like it was funny. Not that my co-workers were particularly enlightened, but they avoided this guy at every turn. One night (I worked the night shift) I asked one of my co-workers what was wrong with this guy, why he seemed so casually homophobic.

He looked at me like I had three heads. “You don’t know?”, he asked. I shook my head. He said the homophobe was gay himself. I was dumbfounded.

Ever since then, I’ve questioned the agenda of people who use hate slurs.

The other incident involved a friend of mine who lived openly gay. His name was Donzell, and he’s since passed away. He was an ex-Marine drill sergeant, but not everyone we hung out with knew this of his career history. One guy in particular used to constantly ride him about his sexual preference.

We were on a long bus ride, and finally, Donzell snapped. He called the guy out, told him if he thought he was such a f@#^%t, how about they settle it with their hands.

The bully hadn’t counted on that. He tried to back down telling Donzell he had only been kidding, but for Donzell it was too little too late. He humiliated this guy with a string of expletives I won’t use here, to the point that he cowered to his seat, sat down meekly, and we didn’t hear another word from him on that bus trip. Afterwords, Donzell said “watch who you’re calling a f@#^%T, ’cause that f%^&#t may kick your a%$”.

Back to Larry Johnson. He’s been told to stay away from the Kansas City Chiefs while this whole thing is being investigated.

Do you buy his apology? If not, what should be his punishment?
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What’s So Special About NY-23?

For those of you who aren’t political junkies, NY-23 is New York’s 23rd Congressional District. Until Recently, it was represented by John McHugh (R).

President Barack Obama chose him for a post at the Pentagon, setting up one of two races for congressional seats this fall (the other is California’s 10th District). Yet NY-23 has begun to capture the attention of the nation’s celebrity conservatives and Republicans like no other race in a long time.

NY-23 is a three way race, pitting Democrat Bill Owens against Republican Dede Scozzafava and Conservative Party candidate  Doug Hoffman.

Doug Hoffman

Right wing Republicans like Sarah Palin, Fred Thompson, Michelle Bachman, Steve Forbes, Tim Pawlenty, Dick Armey, and Rick Santorum have flocked to back…..Hoffman the Conservative! Oh yeah, and Congressmen John Linder of Georgia and Todd Tiahrt of Kansas have also jumped on the Hoffman bandwagon.

Newt Gingrich must feel awfully lonely. He’s about the only well known Republican retread backing Scozzafava.

What’s so important about a three way race in upstate New York? Why all this right wing firepower? I’ll hazard a guess.

For Palin and Pawlenty, it’s a chance to burnish their credentials with the conservative base both think they’ll need to run for president in 2012. For the others, it’s a test of conservative strength. It’s a chance to say all is not lost in Barack Obama’s America (you know, the one they want back). They’re banking that voters in upstate New York care about the Bachmans, the Forbes, the Thompsons, the who???

NY-23 is the right on what they hope is the comeback trail. How else top explain why this race threatens to eclipse both the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial contests?  Of course, the stakes are high. If all this right wing heft is brought to bear and their guy loses (Owens is currently leading in a couple of polls), what does it say about the true gravitas of the tea party wing of the GOP? Then, on the other side, maybe Doug Hoffman wins. That makes all these right wing Republicans kingmakers in a district most couldn’t find with a GPS. It’s also interesting to hear John Linder in particular bleat about backing Hoffman to end bipartisanship in Washington.

Hey genius, how do you think the seat opened up in the first place? John McHugh, tapped to be Army Secretary, is a Republican! If Owens wins, it will be the first time a Democrat has won the seat in 100 years. No matter what happens, this race has exposed a steel cage match for the soul of the Republican Party.

Do you think it’s worth the trouble, and if so, who will win?
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