The purpose of my blog entry today is first to share an observation about movie-going in America today and then to make some observations about the exceptional movie we saw last night — “The Help”.

The fact is, we rarely go to movie theaters anymore.  It’s just too easy to wait a few months and rent movies on DVD for much less money.  With Blue Ray, surround sound and large screen televisions, it just makes sense to wait.  Add another reason after our experience at the theater last night.

From the moment we walked in, we were assaulted – that is the word – with a barrage of noise and visual images in rapid succession.  It was pure cacophony.  With the exception of one trailer for an upcoming Steven Spielberg film entitled “War Horse”, every movie seemed to think it necessary to assault our senses with sound and rapid fire images.  It didn’t work for me.  In fact, I felt so assaulted that I wanted to get up and walk out of the theater.  I’ve certainly decided to limit future movie-going to the local art theater.  I have no interest in subjecting myself to such a barrage again.  Is this really what sells movies these days?

The movie we went to see was ‘The Help” and it was marvelous.  It could well win “Best Picture” this year; it will certainly be one of the nominees.  This movie had everything I look for in a movie:  great acting, fine screenplay, outstanding production values and importantly, meaning.  I’ve rarely seen a more meaningful and powerful movie.

There can be little doubt that America still has deep wounds from the legacy of slavery and the oppression of African Americans by white America, wounds that still throb in the American psyche.  How could an injustice so profound and so great not still throb?   I can only hope that in educating all Americans about the dark side of the country’s history that movies such as this expand the national consciousness with the promise of a better and more just America in the future.  One can only hope.  See the movie if you haven’t.  It is a true gem.

It is hard for me to understand how anyone can seriously blame President Obama for our current economic mess.  We are still living out the consequences of Bush era foreign and economic policy.  The real folly, however, is in thinking that the Republican Party is the party to extract us from our mess.  With a few notable exceptions, like the weaker-than-it should-have-been Democratic stimulus bill, the failure of Obama policies to work can be largely blamed on the Republican Party which at every turn has said “NO” to anything proposed by the President.  You see, the reality of American politics today is that the interest of your political party comes before country.  President Obama succeeding with economy would decrease the Republican Party’s chance of winning the next election.  The calculus is that simple.

Along these lines, there’s good opinion piece in the Washington Post today contrasting the disconnect between voters support for Obama economic initiatives and their blaming of Obama for our economy’s ills.   The real blame lies with the Republican Party, past, present and future.  America needs to wake up, before it’s too late.

The piece by Greg Sargent is entitled: The big disconnect: Strong disapproval of Obama on economy, solid support for his actual policies.



I wasn’t able to watch the Republican debate last night from Florida, but in following it on Twitter and reading about it this morning, I continue to be struck by how few chords this new GOP strikes with me.  It just isn’t my Republican Party any more.  On so many fronts the party and its leading candidates for President are truly in wacko land.  The audience in Florida last night wasn’t any better, worse in fact, when it loudly supported Ron Paul stating that the government should not help a hypothetical 30-year-old because he didn’t have health insurance.  Video of this segment of the debate can be watched here. This follows up the audience last week in California that enthusiastically applauded capital punishment.  Yea, go death.

Finally, let me close by referencing, and recommending, a Steven Perlstein piece that was published on the Washington Post website on Saturday (September 10, 2011).  It enunciates a number of the reasons I no longer consider myself Republican.  The piece is entitled The magical world of voodoo “economists”,

It’s clear that one path to a more functional government in America is electoral reform.  Former Congressman and once independent Presidential candidate John Anderson had authored an Op-Ed in the Christian Science Monitor (September 1, 2011) that is worth a read.  It’s entitled “Tired of partisan gridlock? Reforming electoral rules gives voters real choice.”   Thanks to the blog Poli-tea for bringing it to my attention.  The blog posting on the article can be found here.



As a Republican who has all but left the cult already, I recommend the following article from Truthout author Mike Lofgren, a former GOP professional staff member on Capitol Hill.  While I don’t agree with everything Mr. Lofgren says in the article, I agree with much of what he has to say.  It is entitled Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult. This article was also my first introduction to Truthout.

Five years ago when I started this blog it was with the conviction that the American political system is broken.  I am more convinced of this than ever and heartened that more Americans every day are finally understanding the degree which our government has become disfunctional.  I recommend highly an excellent piece in the July/August Atlantic Magazine by former Congressman Micky Edwards entitled How to Turn Republicans and Democrats Into Americans.

It contains some excellent ideas for reforming the system.  If we want to see a government that works again, it is time Americans take reform of the system seriously.  Mr. Edwards provides us with some excellent ideas.

I’ve been a Republican all of my life.  While still registered as such, it is clear I have ceased to belong in the party.  Once a party I respected deeply for it’s common sense on economic, energy, labor, foreign policy and national defense issues, it is now the party of make believe, especially when it comes to tax and economic issues.  The “compromise” it forced over the weekend was no compromise, it was “our way or we destroy the economy”.  Unfortunately, it looks like the bill that finally passed will do great damage to the economy anyway — the compromise being about as non stimulatory as it could possible have been to an economy teetering on the edge of another recession.  Congratulations GOP.  I personally hope you see a loss in November of 2012 of stunning proportions.  You deserve it.  You deserve it badly.  I will work hard to make it happen.

Also, for those of you on Facebook, please consider “liking” both my “What Should Be” page and my “Just Say No to Republicans” page.

As the year draws to a close, there’s a video I highly recommend watching.  It shows that mankind is truly making great progress in terms of lifespan and income.  I had no idea that things are really getting that much better around the globe.  Take a look at this outstanding and informative presentation.  It is entitled Hans Rosling’s 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes – The Joy of Stats – BBC Four.

The point of this is not to pat ourselves on the back.  It’s to redouble our efforts to address both the inequality and monstrous poverty that still grips many millions around the globe.  We can do much better.

Best wishes for healthy and prosperous 2011.

In the week since the No Labels roll out in New York City, there has been no shortage of critics.  That’s being interpreted by most of us involved in the movement as being a good thing.  No Labels is obviously ruffling a few feathers in both ideological extremes.

I’ve already commented upon the critique by Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne Jr. in my blog posting of December 16 entitled Finding a Home in the Political Center.  His piece was entitled Where the ‘No Labels’ movement falls short.

Also weighing in from the left, from last weekend in the New York Times, was Frank Rich in an Op-ed entitled The Bipartisanship Racket.

On the right, perspectives were offered by both Rush Limbaugh on his radio show and George F. Will in an Op-ed in the Washington Post entitled The Political Fantasyland of the ‘No Labels’ movement.  It is clear that No Labels has managed to push a few buttons.  I’m glad we are.

The extremes don’t really believe we have a “dysfunctional” government in America.  Each side is only too pleased to be engaged in rugged combat with their opposite ideological enemy, firmly convinced that they are right and that their side will ultimately prevail.  It’s nonsense of course.  In the meantime, serious crises facing the country go unaddressed and Americans lose faith in their government by the day.  This can’t continue.

While No Labels may not in the end solve anything, I think we owe it a chance to work – to change the game enough to break the current deadlock.  If No Labels can indeed mobilize the “silent majority” to actively involve itself in the next few election cycles, there is every reason to believe we can halt the trend toward hyper-partisanship in both parties.  Time will tell, of course.  Count me among those that are willing to make this effort.  We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

America took a grand step forward a few minutes ago with the Senate’s action repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT). All we need is a presidential signature. My deepest appreciation to so many who worked so hard! This is historic.  Hallelujah!

Republicans stepping up to the plate today:

– Senator Richard Burrr (R-NC)
– Senator Scott Brown (R-MA)
– Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)
– Senator John Ensign (R-NV)
– Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL)
– Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
– Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
– Senator George Voinovich (R-OH)

But it leaves me wondering why Dick Lugar wasn’t on this list today.  Running scared I can only presume given the threat from the right that he will undoubtedly face in his re-election bid in two years.  This is sad on so many levels.  And I won’t even begin to speculate about Lindsey Graham’s vote.  He was certainly neither courageous nor principled in his DADT vote today.   A bridge to far.

Next Page »