Saturday, November 12, 2005

Political Backpedaling: The Weekly Rewind

It’s the weekend, time to look back at the past week and say ‘hey, hi and howdy’ to those trying to do the right thing, and a ‘what the hell are you smoking?’ to those who are just plain stupid. For those of you playing along with the home version this is a spot we like to call ‘Applaud and Heckle’…

And away we go….

HECKLE: to President Bush for forcing his people in the White House to take a class in "ethics." The first 30 minutes are spent learning how to spell the word. To little, to late guys.

APPLAUD: to California voters for NOT following the rest of the herd off the cliff. They came out in droves to defeat all the ballot initiatives that Governor Schwarzenneggar was pushing.

HECKLE: to the same old, same old. FEMA is still fouling things up as it turns out they've only delivered 15 percent of the trailer homes they purchased for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

APPLAUD: to universal loathing. Matching other polls, Fox News (you know them: the 'fair and balanced' people) has new numbers that have President Bush's approval rating at a paltry 36 percent, with only 72% of Republicans and 26% of independents support him. Ouch, that could scar you might want to put a bigger band-aid on that….

HECKLE: to cowardess. Once again the group of ‘thugs’ known as Al Qaeda have decided to reduce their number of followers by having 4 of them blow themselves up, this time at 3 different hotels in Amman, Jordan. Fortunately 1 of the ‘bombers’ survived as her belt of explosives failed to detonate and is being questioned and will be tried. Unfortunately 57 innocent people were killed in the blasts, including many at a wedding reception.

APPLAUD: to standing up for what is right. Jordan’ King Abdullah II made a statement following the bombings and the arrest of the failed bomber. “Obviously, the tragedies that happened in Jordan have happened in many parts of the world, from Asia to Georgia to all Muslim Arab countries to Europe and America. This is a phenomenon that brings us closer together, because we know this is the only way that we will be able to overcome these extremists, is if we are united and one.”

HECKLE: to dishonor. Instead of simply honoring our nations veterans on a day of remembrance, President Bush used Veterans Day Ceremonies to try and once again put a spin on the war in Iraq. Ok, we are there fighting, we all know that we need to win and we support our troops, but stop trying to justify the questionable reasons for sending our sons and daughters there in the first place.

APPLAUD: to hitting the brakes. On Thursday, after moderate Republicans decided they could not get behind it, voting was called off on a bill that would have trimmed $50 billion in federal spending from a range of social programs including Medicaid, Student Loans and Food Stamps.

HECKLE: to failing miserably. The Bush administration has failed to act to resolve the issues surrounding the medical and mental health care needs of our soldiers returning from duty in the Middle East. Retired Marine Corp General Joseph P. Hoar, former U.S. Military Commander in the Middle East stated that he has seen first hand the needs of our men and women serving in the Middle East, and regarding the federal budget in relation to veterans affairs, “President Bush has consistently refused to provide enough money for veteran’s health care.”

APPLAUD: to common sense. (Dare we use that term??) On Wednesday night, House Leaders bowed to pressure from two dozen moderate Republicans and removed from the above noted spending bill a provision that would have allowed oil drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Two dozen, hmmm we did say that there appeared to be a change in the wind.

HECKLE: to being in denial. In a speech before the Federalist Society (that group is a whole story in itself) Karl (Heir Rove) Rove stated that conservatives ‘are winning the battle of ideas on almost every front”. Ok, Karl evidently does not get out much, or watch the news, read newspapers, or even talk to people.

APPLAUD: to the hope of better things to come. Democrats won the Governorship’s of New Jersey and Virginia this past week, and ALL of the propositions in California that were backed by Governor Schwarzenneggar were soundly defeated.

HECKLE: for confusing seniors. With the upcoming official launch of the sign-up period for the new Medicare Prescription Drug plan, a survey of seniors by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health found that only 2 in 10 seniors were planning on signing up for the benefit. Why only a 1/5 participation? For most seniors it can be summed up very simply, it’s too complicated. Most say that they would have preferred a single plan similar to the current Medicare Plans medical benefit. Instead, depending on where they live there can be as many as 50 different plans offered by 15 or more different plan providers. And which plan do they choose? Seniors also complain that the information is too hard to get and if you can get it, it is too difficult to understand. (I seem to remember Kemp and I saying this a month or so ago..) Seniors can call an automated help line set up by Medicare, which many seniors find confusing, or they can go online, which also presents confusion. We tend to forget that having computers in the home is still a relatively recent concept and many seniors retired before computers were a household necessity like a refrigerator. The survey showed that 76% of the responding seniors have NEVER been online. My grandparents are in their 80’s and the do not own a computer, nor would they have the first idea how to even use one.

(Sorry folks, but we did tell you this was going to happen!)

HECKLE: to President Bush. As usual, on general principles alone. (Although there are a lot of substantive issues to Heckle him for)

HECKLE: to a potentially good idea backfiring. In another stroke of genius the President visited Howard University, a traditionally black university, on the same day that the Congress paid tribute to Rosa Parks. Now this visit would be a good move by Bush, however as usual, someone thought this through part way and then stopped. Bush’s visit shut down the Blackburn Center, which is where the dining hall is located, and it was on one of the most popular dining hall meal days of the year, Soul Food day. So on a day when Rosa Parks was being honored for being one of the most important figures in the Civil Rights movement black students were being told to go to the back of the kitchen for their food.

As if we have to say it, noticing more heckles than applauds, we still live in the Twilight Zone, aka: Bush’s America….

Be good, stay informed……Later.

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