Friday, March 16, 2012

The Vagina Idealogues

As I stand near the river's edge, matches and gasoline in hand, it hits me that we have reached a point in political discourse very much like a fork in the road. Down one way lies capitulation. Down the other, gunfire, battle, no turning back. Both sides are in the fray. All in? Or just auditing the class?

People will often say, "there's no difference between the two political parties." On many issues that's true. Both swim, like spawning salmon, up the stream of unholy political effluence. Both seek favor from those with favor to bestow; those with their hands on Capitalism's master switch; those with the money, the dough, the sine qua non of our political system.

Yet one of our political parties seeks to do what most decent people used to shy away from. One political party operates from the scorched-earth play book. One political party stands astride the fork in the road and, like the Black Knight in Monty Python's "Holy Grail", dares anyone to pass who has not met the measure of its occlusive edicts.

Once there was a man named Lincoln. He stood for immutable principles. He believed in government "of the people, by the people, for the people." He believed in a nation which would rise to meet the expectations of its "better angels." He was a Republican. I am a Democrat. I have felt nothing like reverence for our country more than those evenings when I have stood before the Great Emancipator's statue and read his immortal words, "with malice toward none...". Yet today, his party, the Republican Party, has evidently thrown its lot in with those who wish to take this nation down a dangerous, intolerant, theocratic road.

Today the cudgel is women's' rights; specifically their health care rights, their rights to control their participation in the birth process. In states across the land, Republican after Republican have raised high their hands in salute to the efforts of their fellow party operatives in curtailing women's' health care choices.

In the last couple of days, a state legislator in Arizona put forth inane legislation which would require women using birth-control pills to enunciate the reason why they are using birth control pills. Apparently in this human's vision of Arizona, and presumably the United States of America, it's acceptable for the government to determine which female citizens have a legal right to birth-control pills. In this human's view, those who do not want the pills to control pregnancy have a right to the pills. Those who do wish to control pregnancy do not. Wouldn't Lincoln be proud of his progeny?

Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Mississippi and other states have, in response to Republican playbooks, (perhaps written by the Koch Brothers?) laid down the gauntlet for women across the land: cede control of your bodies to the State, or become an enemy OF the State.

Is this the United States of America as we have known it to be? Who are these radical Republicans? The most famous mouthpiece of the radical Republican Party is Rush Limbaugh. This sociopathic huckster has peed in the punch bowl of political discourse for nearly three decades. Is it not time for someone of the adult persuasion within the Republican Party to muzzle this incendiary boob? Need we rehash his "slut" and "prostitute" brayings?

In most of my writings on this blog I have stressed the difference between RADICAL Republicans and those who simply, through ancestry, identify themselves, and vote, Republican. I have in mind a picture of a sweet woman who was a dear friend of my Mother. She was, and presumably is, a Republican--I accept such membership in the Party of Lincoln. But, I can no longer give a pass to those who actively participate in the hateful, divisive, anti-American activities of the RADICAL Republican Party.

The leaders of this movement are engaged in a campaign to destroy the cohesion of our the nation. Decent members of the G.O.P. owe it to their nation and to their own sense of humanity to disavow membership in this party of intolerance and hate so long as it dances to the tune of the current agenda-setters of that party.
Recall that once your party answered the clarion call of OUR "better angels". Today it has become a shill for corporate masters and peddlers of intolerance.

From time to time we all lose our way.

E Pluribus Unum.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I'll Take Door Number Three

The results are in. Those with a say, say it's time to toll bridge traffic. The deliberative process surrounding the question of how to pay for the Two Bridge Solution yielded the answer which can surprise no one.

So, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. That's why I'm suggesting that when tolls are introduced, they should be imposed on all bridges, those built, as well as those only dreamed of.

The swaggering Mitch Daniels ,in high braggadocio, offered his take on the tolling plan, "We'll be using-as I often say-our favorite revenue source...other people's money." Following the Governor's lead,I suggest that any vehicle licensed in Floyd or Clark Counties in Indiana, and Jefferson County, Kentucky be exempt from tolls. And, rather than relying on electronic gizmos, such as transponders to winnow out the locals, I think we should use good old fashioned toll takers, members of the United Brotherhood of Ticket Takers, Turnstile Operators and Gatemen, since at least one side of the bridge will not land in a right-to-work state.

Drivers with local registrations would affix a sticker to their vehicles which would be plainly visible to the toll taker. A quick calculation yields the finding that, (assuming 30 toll booths staffed 24/7/365) about 180 people, including supervisors and maintenance, would need to be hired. At $16 per hour, the workers would earn about $8 million per year. Since this would all be paid by non-local drivers, that would represent growth to our local economy, and it would only equal about a week and a half of the gate, the handle, the action.

Another reason to toll all bridges is to even out the traffic flow. If only new bridges and The Kennedy bridge are tolled, a disproportionate share of bargain-hunting drivers would clog the Sherman Minton Bridge and bring all of the attendant problems of heavy traffic, such as smog and noise, to New Albany.

Since the current plan assumes a forty year duration for tolling, with local drivers included, the Pass-The-Buck tolling plan I propose would simply be a permanent fixture of our region. Learn to live with it.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


My wife's friend, who suffers from ALS, sent this to her and asked that she take a few moments to relax and enjoy it.

In light of today's devastation in our region, I am struck again by the fragility of life on this earth, the miracle of it, and our responsibility in protecting it.