Last night on NBC News there was a story about Chemo Brain. It explained a lot. During Chemo I noticed that I couldn’t always get the name of a person out of my brain. Sometimes I couldn’t think of the word I needed to describe something. In part that was why I didn’t blog much—my brain just wasn’t clear enough to express my observations. I suspected that it was because of all the chemicals rolling around in my brain, and that was confirmed in the story last night.
Now I’m wondering if aging does something similar to one’s brain. The two examples that come to mind as I ask that question are John McCain and Alan Simpson.
John McCain is having trouble thinking about Susan Rice becoming our Secretary of State. His elderly, addled brain has made him say some really dumb things. The most recent was in reference to comments made by Rice on Sunday shows: “Under what circumstances? Why was reference to al Qaeda left out? There are so many things that have happened. The interesting things finally, we knew in hours of all the details when we got Bin Laden, they making a movie out of it and we are ten weeks later and finally our ambassador
to the united nations who appeared on every national Sunday show is now saying that she gave false information concerning how this tragedy happened as far as the spontaneous demonstration triggered by a hateful video.”
So, an elderly, addled brain can’t figure out that 1) we planned the raid on Bin Laden’s compound, so we knew a lot about it from the very beginning; 2) the attack on our embassy was planned by someone else, it happened in the dark, so we needed to investigate before we knew what actually happened. Of course, Rachel Maddow has an alternative theory about McCain. Her theory is that the GOP wants one more seat in the Senate, and if John Kerry were appointed Secretary of State, his Senate seat would be open and filled by the governor until an election was held. The Democratic governor would presumably appoint another Democrat, but recently defeated Scott Brown could run in the mandated special election and win that seat back for the GOP. I don’t believe that Maddow has had chemo-therapy recently, nor is she old enough to have an elderly, addled brain, although she is fond of cocktails.
Alan Simpson’s elderly, addled brain has taken a more sinister approach to governing. In the days following the recent election, many GOP legislators have broken up with Grover Norquist by saying that they will violate their pledge to not raise taxes. Simpson went further: “So how do you deal with someone who comes to stop government? … Grover wandering the earth in his white robe saying he wants to drown government in the bathtub. I hope he slips in there with it.” Simpson went on to say that the reason it is called the Simpson Bowles plan is because the acronym if it were reversed is a bit racy.
Of course there may be another explanation for an elderly, addled brain. With age comes a new found freedom to say what one actually thinks without concern for how the comments may be received. Alan Simpson created quite a stir when he spoke at CMU in February of this year. Quotes from a Gary Harmon Story at the Sentinel from that time: “We legalized alcohol and now we have 12 million alcoholics.” “These young people will be sucking canal water when they’re 65.” “[Abortion is] an intimate and deeply personal decision. I don’t think men legislators should even vote on it.” “You’re on the cover of Time one week and six months later you’re doing it.” Refering to Rachel Maddow and Rush Limbaugh: “They’re entertainers and you just swallow that stuff. They just bitch, bitch, bitch.” “I know Newt and Santorum. Those guys creep me out,” “[The media] initiates conflict, confusion and controversy, but not clarity.” “Everything I’ve done is called lightning hitting the outhouse.” “We should treat ourselves with a lighter touch. We should speak well of a pretty damn fine experiment which is called “America.” “God bless you and go forth and multiply.”
Homework: NBC Story About Chemo Brain Rachel Maddow Details Theory Simpson Interview Gary Harmon Story About Simpson
I’ve been reading about fights breaking out at GOP conventions and thinking that the GOP needs to sign up for anger management therapy.
Most of the fighting seems to be between Ron Paul supporters and Mitch Romney supporters. According to the Daily Paul website, “In Oklahoma, in a scene that has been called "contention at the convention", a Romney supporter (believed to be almost 80-years-old) punched a Ron Paul supporter in the head. Police were called after the punch was thrown over a disagreement on a vote.”
Grand Junction isn’t immune. I was told that a fight broke out at a recent Grand Junction Republican meeting (May 9.) Evidently two factions of the party were fighting over who would be the spokesperson for the Romney campaign locally. According to my source, Grand Junction police were called to break up a fist fight between Jerry Huntsinger (author and civil war re-enactor) and Garry Brewer (husband of Barbara Brewer, Mesa County Assessor). Evidently Marjorie Haun and Jennifer Baily were witnesses to the fisticuffs.
I filed a Colorado Open Records Act request to get the police report with the Grand Junction police department. The response I received was that the altercation took place outside of the city limits, so I would have to file a request with the county sheriff. I’ll eventually get around to doing that, but it may be a while.
I’ve been getting whiffs of anger within the local GOP membership from responses to comments I’ve made at the Sentinel’s online edition. There are a couple of names that keep showing up in the E-mail letters to the editor: Kevin McCarney and Marjorie Haun, and they also frequently dispute anything I have to say in my comments. From what I’ve figured out, the main-stream Republicans want to claim ownership of the Tea Party. The Mesa County GOP and Western Slope Conservative Alliance (WSCA) have inter-locking boards. Many of the executives of the GOP are also executives of WSCA, which is claiming to be the local Tea Party. GJResult/Tea Party, claims to be the original Tea Party and is accusing WSCA of identity theft.
So, from what I’ve pieced together so far, there are four groups within the local GOP—the camp that includes Brewer, the camp that includes Huntsinger, the camp that controls WSCA, and members of GJResult/Tea Party who have not yet renounced their GOP affiliation. For the record, I am officially a member of GJResult, by virtue of signing up to receive information from them at their website. That caused a bit of a dust up between the GJResult president and bully Kevin McCarney, 2nd Vice Chair of the local GOP and officer of WSCA. McCarney doesn’t think that liberals should be allowed to talk to conservatives. I’ve met McCarney—he seems the type to result to fisticuffs.
In the meanwhile I have a report due at the Secretary of State’s office for the Mesa County Democratic Party. DEMS don’t always agree, but I’ve yet to see anybody throw a punch, even when it comes to money!
HomeworkDaily Paul BlogLink to Video of OK News ReportLink to GJResult websiteLink to WSCA websiteLink to Mesa County Republicans Website
First the GOP supports a bunch of dotty old men who know nothing about human sexuality because of an obscene vow of chastity, often resulting in pedophilia. Now they don’t care if women are victims of violence. I swear the GOP has fallen off a cliff!
Even though I am a Democrat, I think it is important for minority voices to be heard. I think it is important for all views of an issue to be aired in the public forum. We need more than one political party for that to happen. I want the GOP to be a worthy adversary, not the clown show it is rapidly becoming.
The latest suicide attempt by the GOP was to allow the extension of the Violence Against Women to pass out of the Senate Judiciary committee without any GOP support. This bill has enjoyed bipartisan support since it was first introduced by now Vice President Joe Biden .
A quote from the linked article: “The Republican-led objections are starting to sound a lot like those swirling around the birth-control mandate. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) is leading the charge against reauthorization over provisions that offer protections to domestic abuse victims that happen to be LGBT or undocumented immigrants.”
So now they are pissing away the votes of women, Latinos, and the LGBT community. I guess only uneducated, illiterate, angry white men need apply to be members of the GOP.
Homework:GOP Oppose Violence Against Women ActThey Are Against Protecting Native American Women TooWikipedia History of the Act
The most important thing on the minds of Colorado’s GOP is repealing the Affordable Care Act. That was their first order of business yesterday, according to a report by Charles Ashby. The vote passed along party lines, evidently for the purpose of getting Sal Pace on record as supporting Obama Care. (Please note that Obama said he didn’t mind having his name associated with caring.)
Then in a bizarre statement Pace went on to say, “ We look a little bit too much like Washington, D.C., and I’m reconsidering my future plans if this is what it’s going to be like.” So what does that mean? Pace hasn’t even been elected in one of the most watched races in the nation, and already he’s having second thoughts? Geez that gives me a lot of confidence.
Just to make this story even juicer, Laura Bradford was the only Republican who voted against the bill. She later said that it was a mistake. We have a Representative who doesn’t know the difference between yes and no on a resolution? Oh, she said she was “distracted.” That makes me feel better! Not good.
But get this: the resolution went even further than calling for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. They want to hold a constitutional convention in order to repeal it. The last constitutional convention was in 1787 and we need another one now because a bill passed that was designed to stop abuses by the health insurance industry, and make health care more affordable for all? Or do we need a constitutional convention just in case Sal Pace figures out whether he wants to run against Scott Tipton?
We’ve got the picture. GOP politicians don’t like the Affordable Care Act. The constitutionality of the bill is already making its way through the courts, with Colorado signed on to the side that is claiming it is unconstitutional. We can’t wait for a court ruling, instead we want to throw out the U.S. Constitution and write a new one?
HomeworkGrand Junction Sentinel Story About GOP & Health CareDenver Post Story About GOP & Health CareConstitutional Convention
It has been interesting to watch the Middle East, and now Russia, protesting rigged votes and/or lack of access to the polls or the ability to vote for someone to truly represent the interests of the people. While that is going on in the rest of the world, Americans can’t seem to find any passion about voting, as evidenced by their failure to vote. Since 1960 in non-presidential election years, slightly less than 40% of registered voters actually vote. The result is slightly higher in presidential election years with a little more than 50% of registered voters turn out.
Given that background, it is probably no surprise that most of America is blissfully unaware of the frontal attack on voting rights that has been waged in 2011 by ALEC, GOP controlled state legislators and GOP governors. A couple of weeks ago, Erich Holder finally decided to lead a counter attack. It is interesting that his opening attack occurred in Austin, Texas—a state noted for playing fast and loose with voting rights.
In that speech, Holder made these comments (The entire speech is linked below, bold added by this blogger):In 1965, when President Johnson signed the landmark Voting Rights Act into law, he proclaimed that, “the right to vote is the basic right, without which all others are meaningless.”…despite our nation’s long tradition of extending voting rights - to non-property owners and women, to people of color and Native Americans, and to younger Americans - today, a growing number of our fellow citizens are worried about the same disparities, divisions, and problems that - nearly five decades ago - LBJ devoted his Presidency to addressing.As Congressman John Lewis described it, in a speech on the House floor this summer, the voting rights that he worked throughout his life - and nearly gave his life - to ensure are, “under attack… [by] a deliberate and systematic attempt to prevent millions of elderly voters, young voters, students, [and] minority and low-income voters from exercising their constitutional right to engage in the democratic process.”Since January, more than a dozen states have advanced new voting measures. Some of these new laws are currently under review by the Justice Department, based on our obligations under the Voting Rights Act.…in October, the Justice Department objected to a redistricting plan in East Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, where the map-drawer began the process by meeting exclusively with white officeholders - and never consulted black officeholders.…in Texas, just two months ago, the Department argued in court filings that proposed redistricting plans for both the State House and the Texas Congressional delegation are impermissible, because the state has failed to show the absence of discrimination.We need election systems that are free from fraud, discrimination, and partisan influence - and that are more, not less, accessible to the citizens of this country.…we filed two statewide lawsuits to enforce the requirement that voter registration opportunities be made available at a wider variety of government offices - beyond just the local department of motor vehicles.We’re also working to ensure that the protections for language minorities included in the Voting Rights Act are aggressively enforced. These protections now apply to more than 19 million voting-age citizens.I’d like to highlight three areas where public support will be crucial in driving progress - and advancing much-needed reforms. The first involves deceptive election practices - and dishonest efforts to prevent certain voters from casting their ballots.…we’ve seen all sorts of attempts to gain partisan advantage by keeping people away from the polls - from literacy tests and poll taxes, to misinformation campaigns telling people that Election Day has been moved, or that only one adult per household can cast a ballot. …during his first year in the U.S. Senate, President Obama introduced legislation that would establish tough criminal penalties for those who engage in fraudulent voting practices - and would help to ensure that citizens have complete and accurate information about where and when to vote… Senators Charles Schumer and Ben Cardin will re-introduce this legislation…The second area for reform is the need for neutrality in redistricting efforts.One final area for reform that merits our strongest support … All eligible citizens can and should be automatically registered to vote. … modern technology provides a straightforward fix for these problems … It should be the government’s responsibility to automatically register citizens to vote, by compiling - from databases that already exist - a list of all eligible residents in each jurisdiction.…Election officials should work together to establish a program of permanent, portable registration - so that voters who move can vote at their new polling place on Election Day.Let me be clear: voter fraud is not acceptable … making voter registration easier is simply not likely, by itself, to make our elections more susceptible to fraud. Indeed, those on all sides of this debate have acknowledged that in-person voting fraud is uncommon …
HomeworkVoter Turn Out from 1960 thru 2010Eric Holder's Speech on Voting RightsVoting Rights Act of 1965ALEC ExposedACLU on Voting Rights
Even though my Grandpa Konola’s birthday was December 15, I always remember him around the Winter Solstice. That’s because he was the first person to explain to me how the stars move in the sky, depending on what time of year it is, and how the earth revolves around the sun. I like remembering him when I celebrate the fact that we are rushing headlong into spring.
My grandfather was a very formal man. I don’t ever remember seeing him without a fedora hat, dress shirt, khaki pants, cardigan sweater and bolo tie, unless he was getting ready to go to work. He worked the same job for 50 years—running a hoist at the Homestake Mine in Lead, South Dakota. The chair that he worked from was a lot like the command post occupied by Captain Kirk on the Spaceship Enterprise. The chair was larger than most chairs, sat on a pedestal, and was surrounded by controls.
But Grandpa didn’t spend his whole life in Lead. He was in the Navy, on a submarine in World War I. I was an adult before I gave much thought to that. Submarines were little more than floating tin cans during World War I. What was a man from South Dakota doing in the Navy in the first place, and what was he doing on such a dangerous ship? I never asked him that. But I do know that he was a navigator, which means that I should have listened a lot more closely to his lectures about the stars.Douglas Bruce, Criminal
The father of the TABOR amendment was convicted yesterday of failing to pay taxes. I spent lots of time blogging about Bruce when he spent 30 days trying to avoid a summons from the court. It is no secret that Bruce hates paying taxes—that’s what his passion for the TABOR amendment was all about. He owns rundown rental properties in Colorado Springs that he doesn’t like spending any money on—whether it is for maintenance or for taxes. Aparently he has equal contempt for our judicial system.
The prosecutor in this case, Assistant Attorney General Robert Shapiro had this to say, “"If he persists in his contempt for the court system, we'll ask for the proper sentence... Mr. Bruce, for personal, selfish and narcissistic reasons, took advantage of our charitable-giving process. He was able to cheat Colorado for the better part of a decade."
Bruce, who could be sentenced to many years in jail, has said that he will appeal his conviction. Evidently he represented himself in the case, and jurors said that he might have been better served if he had sought legal counsel. He didn’t seem to know Colorado’s procedural rules, and frequently irritated the judge with his arguments. Legal mistakes on the part of the prosecutor are legitimate grounds for appeal; I’m not sure that contempt for law is.Republicans Get Spanked by the Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal, now owned by Rupert Murdoch, wrote an editorial chastising the GOP for their stance on the extension of the payroll tax holiday. I never thought I’d live long enough to see that day. Murdoch also owns Fox News, and is known for his anything goes style of journalism—in fact he’s in a lot of hot water in England over some of the practices at his papers.
The Winter Solstice is bringing a lot of joy to me! I have fond memories of my grandfather. Douglas Bruce is a convicted felon, who can’t vote while he is in jail. The Wall Street Journal thinks the GOP has been taken over by the Ringling Brother’s Circus. Quite a day!
HomeworkWinter Solstice 2011Douglas BruceWall Street Journal EditorialMurdoch's Legal Problems
When I ran for office I ran on a platform of creating jobs. It was something I had some experience with while working for Community Reinvestment Fund. Sitting from the sidelines, I confess that I am frustrated to see bills that would actually help to create jobs either flounder in the legislature or be absent altogether. Even more frustrating is the firmly held beliefs of local voters, especially of the Tea Party persuasion.
One of them commented right here, on this blog, that regulation killed the economy in Western Colorado. This belief is widely held because it is what local in-the-pocket-of-the-oil-and-gas-industry officials and chamber of commerce has told them. The belief is so strong that nothing can cause the true believer to look at other factors. It is a religion. Just have faith. Believe.
Except the belief is absolutely wrong. For starters, other states have even tougher regulations, and they still have an oil and gas industry. The industry discovered that they could make more money in the Marcellus Shale play a bit to the east of here. They also found it difficult to attract investors for their exploration wells when the market crashed in 2008. Believe me, regulation of the oil and gas industry did not cause the market crash—a housing bubble and some questionable lending practices did.
So long as we drive automobiles and put a week’s worth of groceries in a refrigerator, we are going to need to produce oil and gas, and coal, and electricity. The industry is going to be around for a long time. It is the most profitable industry in the history of the world. They could put people back to work in Western Colorado tomorrow if they wanted to—but there is no incentive for them to do so.
One year after the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, BP posted record profits of $7.12 billion for the first quarter of 2011, which is up 17% from the same quarter a year ago. Assuming that profits continue at that pace, they are on track to have profits of $28.48 billion for the year. That’s PROFIT, after paying all of their expenses, including regulatory, Gulf clean-up, and litigation expenses. This company is not suffering because of regulations.
Exxon Mobile did even better. Their profits soared 69% in the first quarter of 2011 to $10.65 billion. That is $42.6 billion in annualized profits. This company is not suffering because of regulations.
All of the suffering is happening to American families. Why the local officials continue to suck up to the Koch Brothers through their Tea Party flavored Americans for Prosperity, and Grover Norquist through his pledge of no new taxes and drowning government in the bathtub is beyond me. The Koch Brothers aren’t suffering. Nobody in the oil and gas industry is suffering. It is time for them to show their patriotism and invest in America and American workers. Stop the suffering.
Homework Community Reinvestment Fund BP Profits Exxon Profits David Koch, Americans for Prosperity, Tea Party GOP, a Wholly Owned Subsidiary of Koch Industries? Koch Industries Makes Billions