Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hillary The Movie: Free Speech

Today, I listened to a story on NPR that had me at the edge of my seat. The link to the story is here: Hillary: The Movie Opens At the Supreme Court.

On the one hand, I hate the idea that political speech can be limited in any way (even when it's a movie made by Right-Wingnuts.) If Hillary The Movie looses, then I could see that the right wing could use similar arguments to stop people I agree with.

On the other hand, I can't stand the idea that corporations can fund political speech without being limited and without being forced to reveal who they are.

While I, as a private citizen, may be able to make a tiny You-Tube movie about, say, George Bush...I would have a hard time even securing the rights to the pictures I needed to make my point. Not to mention the ability to travel around the country to get interviews, film on location, etc.

All these things make for powerful story telling-

A large corporation, however, would have no problem doing these things and many more- and paying for a platform and advertising for their movie as well...their speech would be SO much louder than mine that there would be no hope of a fair exchange of ideas....

This is a story worth following.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hemorrhaging Money: The Latest Spending Bill

Just listening to NPR's report on the latest spending bill...chock full of earmarks...which the President will sign.

I wish he wouldn't. For both reasons of style and substance, I wish he would send this bill back to the hill and say: "Try again. Fast. We can't wait."

I've written before about the massive American Debt and why it frightens me. We need to begin rebuilding- slowly, carefully, and strongly...so that the Republicans can not pull the American Government to the ground again for a long, long time.

Back in the late 1990s, Bill Clinton went toe to toe with a Republican Congress over spending and won. He also balanced the budget and began to make progress toward reducing our national dept to manageable levels.

In those moments, a subtle shift began in the minds of the American people: Perhaps the Democrats were NOT the party of "Tax and Spend" - perhaps it was the Radical Republicans who were doing the most harm by trying to "drown the American Government in a bathtub."

This shift was only partial, it will take more work to fix it firmly in American minds. As the poorly built edifice of the Bush Era comes crashing down around our ears, the American people again saw the Democratic Party as responsible enough to reverse the nation's downhill course...

That positive image of us as Democrats will NOT stay fixed in the minds of the American people if we are seen to be using this opportunity to shunt funding off to isolated groups and pet projects at a time when the entire American public stands in economic peril.

This morning, I heard another story on NPR...(It's not posted yet, so you'll have to find it yourself...I may not have all the details right, either)...one of the items in this bill is $1.5 MILLION Dollars to hire 8 people to change road signs on an Arizona interstate from metric back into the Imperial system...

$1.5 MILLION DOLLARS! To employ only 8 people.

Sorry, my fellow Democrats- but this kind of foolishness is doing the GOP's work for them.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Breakfast in London

Going down to breakfast this morning, I realized how much I’d missed the British Press. Pouring a cup of coffee and tucking in to a Full English Breakfast (Eggs, Bacon, Sausage, Baked Beans, Mushrooms and – I skipped it- a fried tomato ) I also burrowed into the Daily Telegraph.

In just a few minutes, I got a snap shot of the British Economy and view of the world:

In hard times, skinny ties are back in.

The Queen is rolling out the Red Carpet for an “informal visit” with President Obama this month. (The President is flying into Standsted, rather than Heathrow- it seems our LAST President brought the whole airport to a stop when he flew into London in June…gumming up the works with “extravagant” demands.)

Gordon Brown returns to the UK after his visit to the United States. No one here is impressed, despite his calls for a “Global New Deal” from President Obama.

The Bank of England is getting out it’s paper and magic markers to draw some new money (which, in reality, may turn out to be even more worthless than I’ve made it sound.)

23 Percent of Britons are saving nothing…the fall in interest rates have made it almost useless to put money in the bank…as there is very little to get in return.

Russia just passed a law making it a criminal offence to criticize Joseph Stalin’s conduct of World War 2.

British commuter trains are slower now than they were before the war. (“The” war here is WW2.)

Men are suffering more stress than women in these hard times.

The Princess Royal visited the British outpost of Gibraltar – this made the Spanish angry (the lost the “rock” by treaty in 1713.), but the people of Gibraltar defended their right to a visit from their Sovereign and her family…Rip and Read says: Hear! Hear!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Burning the History Books- The Right Wing and FDR

In the past couple of days, I've been browsing my bookshelves, revisiting the New Deal.

It seemed important right now to go back and take a look at what happened, particularly since the Right wing in this country has been vigorously spreading the lies that FDR's New Deal, perhaps the most successful reform in history, was, in fact, a failure.

The purpose of this misinformation campaign is to trip up President Obama in his attempts to restore prosperity to the American people...and return this country to the right track.

The Right-Wingnuts have worked long and hard (Since Reagan's victory in 1980) to strip this country of the prosperity and protection put in place by FDR.

As I continue to read about this, I find that Chris Miller, who's blog, Smart Remarks, I discovered a couple of days ago has written a nice piece on this debate...I recommend it.

It can be found here: http://blog.smartmemes.com/2009/02/a-dose-of-history/