Friday, September 2, 2011

Summer. Wanting Fall

I want to see color upon a grey canvass.
I want to need to wear a jacket outside.
I want to feel that bite upon waking.
I want to hear the rustle of leaves.
I want to use my pockets.
I want to want heat.
I want fall.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Law & Order Ripped From The Headlines

Well this isn't possible for one because Jerry Orbach is dead and secondly because Law & Order was cancelled, but what follows is my rendition of the opening scene to an episode that would have occurred based on recent events.

Open to a shot of a maid being consoled by a coworker while the manager dials 911.
911 Operator: 911 may I have the nature of your emergency?
Manager: I would like to report a rape.

Cut to Jerry Orbach, Cop sidekick and Port Authority officers approaching the front desk of a distinctly French airline.

Jerry Orbach while holding up a warrant: Ma'am, sorry for the inconvenience but we are going to have to take a look at your plane, it will only take a second.

Cut to Jerry Orbach and sidekick boarding plane, flight attendant points to a worried looking Frenchman in the third row.

Orbach and sidekick stride towards him, Orbach lifts him up and shoves him over a seat to cuff him. Frenchman starts yelling and cursing in French. Sidekick reads him his rights.

Orbach as he walks the Frenchman down the aisle: Pardon his French.

End Scene, Cue Credits

Monday, May 9, 2011

Public Service Announcement

Let it be known that all things to do with the news, policy, politics and the like can now be found here:

Think of it as a spin off of a TV show, except its a TV show that has an audience of 5 people. Posts of a more Underling nature will continue to show up here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

On Government Shutdowns

I am fuming right now and have been since I learned that Speaker Boehner received an ovation after telling his caucus to prepare for a government shutdown.

Looking past the outright childishness of applauding the shutdown of the federal government, what really gets me about this is that the GOP has gotten what it wants all ready. The House leadership asked for $32 billion in fiscal year 2011 cuts and what do the Democrats give them? $33 billion, and that's in comparison to the billions they wanted to spend on infrastructure projects and extra stimulus. But they realized, as President Obama once said, that "elections have consequences" and that they have to compromise in order to govern (a more liberal man would say capitulate because they gave the GOP everything they want and more but I choose to go with the $60 billion as the new GOP number and be the bigger man).

One would think the Republicans would have taken the deal, declared victory, and moved on to fight the debt limit fight (more on that in a future post) and the Fiscal Year 2012 fight (ditto) with some momentum. Sadly logic and political ability escape the GOP freshman, and instead they decided to go whole hog on this one. They decided, with a shutdown on the line, to pick up their ball and go home instead of stick around and play with the other 192 participants in the game.

Now I don't profess to know anything about anything but if I were given dictatorial powers for an unspecified amount of time (powers I would relinquish upon completion of my goals of course), I might be likely to do some or all of the following:
  • Set up a bipartisan group to curb the long term debt and give them legislative powers (Simpson-Bowles, but with actual bite). They would have a fixed term that coincides with the next congress and would expire the day congress adjourns. Any recommendations would take at least 6 years to take effect, giving the American public the chance to vote out of office each elected official in office at the time of passage. All recommendations would be subject to bills passed by congress and signed by the president, that is to say if the congress and the president want to pass a bill to stop its implementation then it is their constitutional right to do so. Lacking a countermanding law then the recommendations themselves would become law.
  • After the term of this group has expired there would be boards for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Discretionary spending that would also have legislative authority to find redundancies and cost saving techniques and propose new taxes or cuts to pay for them (sort of like oh I don't the Independent Payment Advisory Board set up by the ACA). Again it would take 6 years for anything to be enacted and could be countermanded by the normal legislative process.
  • Debt increases would become something you have to vote down not vote for.
  • And possibly more if I put more than 30 minutes of thought into it.
The goal here is to take the politics out of the process so we dont have months like the one past and dont find ourselves in a political crisis. While at the same time giving our elected officials the final say (and do they ever say).

Who knows maybe the events of the past two days are a huge ruse being run by the GOP leadership in order to get the Tea Party to eventually vote for the compromise. I don't know but man do I hope so.

At the end of the day the only solace I can take away from this is that somewhere out there, there is a frustrated and fuming 20 something GOPer who is furiously pecking away at the keyboard about how the Democrats are shutting down the government.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

RE: The Lady On The Orange Line Platform

While exiting a sardine level crowded Orange Line train at North Station today I heard a woman extol "This is just unacceptable! How many days of crowded cars has it been like this?" Now I agree with this woman, but in the same way that a Massachusetts liberal can disapprove of the way President Obama is running the country, we can be greedy like that.

I'm no expert of the cost benefit analysis of public transit nor do I claim to understand the financial problems that plague the US public transportation sector but I do know that I can leave my house at 7:25 AM and arrive at my office at 8:05 AM for less $1.50  (plus whatever percentage of my taxes go to the MBTA) and I don't have to pay attention. If on bad weather days that takes a bit longer and its more crowded due to higher ridership then so be it. It's a fucking bargain at double the price.

I would gladly pay more money per trip if it meant faster trains, a more expansive system, extra tracks for express service, enclosed stations, expanded platforms for more cars per train, etc. But people like this woman, who hate higher taxes but love exceptional service, are not going to allow it.

Now I don't know this woman, but that wont stop me from pretending to know this woman. My guess is when she thinks of public transportation she thinks of something a little less of the quality than what you get for a hired car and at a fraction of the price. There is a reason why it costs me $40 to take a Taxi to Logan Airport and $1.70 (plus whatever percentage of my taxes go to the MBTA) to go by public transit. And that reason does not stem from a lack of effort by the MBTA its stems from the bizarre way we value the service.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cable News

Now I don't like cable news, we'll get to why in a moment but on days when I lose hope in the American Public's ability to make the correct choice (in my oh-so humble opinion) I find myself watching election night coverage on MSNBC. I know when I tune in I will not be getting impartial observers commenting academically on what the day's events mean for America. No, I'm getting exactly what I came for, no holds barred, unequivical conservative hating, tea-bagger bashing commentary.

Let's face it, like a sad fat guy needs ice cream and a depressed alcoholic needs a stiff drink, I need Rachel Maddow frothing at the mouth, Chris Matthews berating Michelle Bachman like an old man does a kid on his lawn & Keith Olberman telling me it's going to be ok because eventually America will realize John Boehner spends more time crying in a tanning booth than he does legislating.

That is what got me through the worst Democrat beatdown in my lifetime.

Am I proud of it? No. Am I ashamed? No, not really.

Why? Because I know they are entertaining me. I know this is opinion. I know facts are missing and more than likely will never materialize. It's along the same lines as finding yourself enjoying Enrique Iglesias sing "Tonight" but realizing at the same time that he is no Bob Dylan or John Lennon. But you know there is someone out there who would argue against that, or that Lady Gaga is the best female singer of her generation. Why? Who knows, but they believe it and you know it to be ridiculous.

To bring this around full circle, people think commentators like Keith Olberman & Glenn Beck are the modern day equivalent's of Walter Cronkite & Edward R Murrow by bringing sanity and reality to a very insane world. While the truth is Glenn Beck is closer to Joe McCarthy than Edward R Murrow and Mr. Olberman is simply the rabid propagandist of liberal Democrats and not the even handed and widely respected Walter Cronkite.

To be fair both men are admittedly over the top, strong personalities who espouse factually lacking soundbites in order to attract specific viewers. Are they journalists? Not even close, but tying them into the day to day journalistic workings of a news network is a no brainer, its just how TV works.

The problem with this is that it is deceiving and misleading to the viewers. Fact based reporting followed by factless opinion with no delineation other than a commercial or two is criminal. It leads to people regurgitating sound bites as if they were peer reviewed reports. It's harmful to true debate and contributes to the escalation of pigheadedness found on both sides of the spectrum.

But yet we (the viewers) continue to flock to cable news shows simply to have our radical opinion certified as "truth" by a pseudo news organizations bombastic opinion personality. A "truth" that is devoid of reality and fact.

And we are all the happier because of it.