Thursday, March 25, 2010

Walrus Wonders: NFL "Off" Season

With all the recent signings of released NFL players, it seems there are still many top tier prospects left to be signed or traded. So I ask you: where do you think the following players will end up?

Donovan McNabb


Brandon Marshall

My hopes: Either player lands in San Francisco with my 49ers!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Today's Post

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Reiteration of the Tom

Define Irony. Tom is currently seeking medical attention after his 4+ hour long erection for the signing of the new Health Care Reform Bill. Will his treatment be covered? You bet it will.

Actually, Tom is right. This is a pretty big deal. Vice President Joe Biden thinks so too.

This is a big deal. A big fucking deal.

Was it a gaffe? Or was it just a bit of over excitement in the proximity of microphones? I actually think Joe should have just stated it plainly into the mic.

Happy Tuesday! It's LOST day, motorcycle-weather day, Health Care day, and whatever else is exciting today.

Tom's Too Busy to Post Right Now . . .

But here's a link to The Story of the Day.

Walrus Watch: UFC Live in "Denver"

Ohr Ohr!

Hello all! It's been a while, but I am back and ready to post!

My first order of business? UFC--Live--Versus Network--Broomfield, CO. The event as a whole was something else. From the scantily clad women and testosterone fights in the stands, to the dudes jacked up on steroids, I could have easily spent my time people-watching without seeing a single fight and the night would've still been awesome. I didn't buy ringside seats (which sold for a hefty $300), but my seats were definitely worth the $75 I paid. Just being in the same arena as the fighters I watch every month was pure joy.

And now, on to the fights!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Thank You: Part Two

Last night, I noticed something more emphatically than ever regarding the Republicans' political philosophy. The Republican Party truly has become the "Party of No." Of all the votes taken in committees and in both chambers regarding health care reform, only two Republicans ever voted in its favor. I understand that Republicans will likely run their campaigns this year on the basis that health care reform ought to be repealed, but they have to understand that it's impossible. Social legislation, such as the House passed last night, becomes engrained in the political and economic framework of America once enacted. Case in point: Medicare.

Thank You: Part One

Over the last year, we've all seen and learned a lot during the healthcare debate: that tea baggers really are bigots and racists; what the CBO is; and finally, that our government can effect a lasting change.

The legislation passed by the House last night is the first major social legislation to pass in over 50 years. It will provide insurance coverage to more than 30 million Americans, end the corrupt and immoral practices of health insurance companies, and lower the deficit. The bill (now law) may not be perfect, but it's a start.

Today I will be writing a three part entry to cover the wide range of feelings I am having toward this closing chapter.

I would first like to focus on President Obama. Many of you know that I am a staunch Obama supporter (some of you have even said I "drank the Kool-Aid" -- I did. It was refreshing), but even I was beginning to waver. But Obama ultimately displayed what it is a President needs in this polarizing political environment: patience. It may have taken a year, but President Obama has managed to convince Congress to pass two major pieces of legislation: economic recovery and health care reform. Now include among these accomplishments a jobs bill and future job creation bills, and President Obama might, and I stress might, go down as one the most successful first-term presidents in U.S. History. While he may not have changed the political environment in Washington, I don't think one man can. But he did put everything on the line last night and won. Thank you President Obama.

Edited by John O'Connor

Friday, March 19, 2010

TV Thoughts

Maybe I'm lazy. Or maybe I have too much free time during the evenings, as I wait for the weather to get warm enough for me to ride my Harley-Davidson regularly. Or, maybe I just like TV.

Alright, I admit that I tend to watch TV quite a bit. But, I'm not just a channel-surfer. Actually, I am "in to" a number of shows. Or, rather, I may just be a fan of the line-ups of ABC's Wednesday nights and NBC's Thursday nights. Either way, the shows are kind of like motion-picture books to me, where I enjoy finding out what happens next. (I'll stay away from the root of all this, which is my obsession with LOST [which shall always be in full caps], a show - nay, event - that cannot be experienced without keeping up with it)

Ok, what's my point? That there is a LOT of good TV programming right now. Once big-time hits like Scrubs and The Office are a bit past their prime but are still chugging along. 30 Rock seems to get better every week, and ABC's Wednesday line-up is all fairly new, but American Family and The Middle are at least catchy takes on family sit-coms. To me, it seems like the game shows and reality shows on the major networks are starting to take a back seat (again) to the half-hour sit-coms, the hour long suspense series like 24, and The Forgotten, and celebrity talent shows like Dancing With the Stars. Yes, there is still the Bachelor, but does anyone still watch Survivor? Is it still on? And what about Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? Last I heard was that it may make a comeback, but still, the majority of the popular reality shows are on cable networks like Discovery, History, Bravo and the Travel and Food Networks.

Before I ramble on any further, I just wanted to say that this is all just a little interesting to me. It seems like the half-hour comedies (Office, 30-Rock) and hour-long events (LOST, 24) are beginning to regain popularity over the likes of reality shows or depictions (Survivor, Apprentice, Top Chef) and especially the likes of game shows (Millionaire, Deal or No Deal).

Or, maybe it's just me and my demographic, and the networks know exactly how to suck me in.

Vote No?

Why as a Democrat would you vote no against the bill? 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bye Bye CNN

As I have stated before I rarely watch cable news. Thankfully, these news corporations keep reinforcing it with actions like these.  How and why is this guy on TV?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Massa Problem

I have to admit I have not followed the Rep. Eric Massa saga, but it seems main stream media has taken a liking to it.  Understanding that new details emerge daily on Massa, he can offer no credible evidence back up his claim that he was forced out.  What disheartens me is the need for the media to create a story here.  Massa began the media frenzy by claiming outrageous lies, which of course the media felt compelled to report on. 

I would ask the media why is Massa so important but there are two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq barely getting any reporting.  Just look at CNN and their Department of Jihad, that is news right?  This is why I stopped watching on all news stations awhile back.  They are not in the business of reporting credible stories just creating them.

Comment to the Comment

I received a great comment to my Supreme Court post and would love to comment on what was said, so here I go.

1 - Your post only proves your ignorance to the authority of the Court. The Court is essentially powerless. But you act as though its decision in Citizens United has somehow already been enforced in a manner that harms you.

To assume the court is powerless is also ignorant. Yes, it is true Congress and the President can ignore the court but to point because it is not absolute. Court decisions such as Roe v Wade and Brown vs. the Board of Education clearly show the power of the court. Through its decisions, the court challenges Congress and occasionally can win.

Jack's makes my point about the power of the court in referring to "Republicans alike stand to benefit from the implications of the Court's holdings in this case." Congress is going to ignore this decision because it is helpless to fight against it. Assuming that the court is helpless implies you have a fully functioning legislative branch, which we do not.

The point that I stated was yes the court has lost some of its authority but it may not be in "law." It is rare for the executive branch to challenge the court in modern times and it clearly shows that the courts authority has weaken in its backwards decisions.

2 - Did you actually read the court's decision in Citizens United? I'm happy to admit that at this time, I haven't. But before you go criticizing the court's decision, I suggest you read the full opinion, and consider the fact that a 5-4 decision (although common), is not indicative that every justice agrees that this holding is proper.

Now I can also say that I have not read the decision but of course have read many briefs and reviews of the decision. One of the main points in the decision was the inability to distinguish free speech from a person and company, thus you should not limit political contributions. Yes, the vote is 5-4 but what does that matter? It shows the majority of our justices believe in the ruling and the minority do not. Now my point in the decision was 5 conservatives, 4 liberals. For a body that clearly wants to get away from politics it uses politics in every decision it makes.

3 - Alexis de Tocqueville said it best when he stated that America is unique in that major political issues always make their way into the courts (paraphrasing). Don't for a second think that the Court is an apolitical body. Look back into history, and you'll see all the landmark decisions which we still debate today have dealt with political issues framed as legal questions. Whether it's abortion, equal rights, or election law, the Supreme Court has weighed in on these issues, for good or for bad. I understand your frustration with the Court's decision in Citizens United, but if you truly want the court to be an apolitical body, you'd have to take away Court decisions that I'm certain you support. Brown v. Board of Education is certainly a decision I'd guess you agree with. And I'm also fairly certain you don't want to see Roe v. Wade struck down any time soon. The point is, you can't have your cake and eat it, too, Tom. You have to take the good with the bad.

First, I love cake. Second, my point is that the decisions that were cited in this point are progressive changes, many of them freeing the rights of individuals. The decision by the court in the Citizens ruling was not freeing the rights of individuals but freeing companies at the expense of individual rights.

I would like to make one more comment clear, these companies are not just American, but foreign. Imagine Iran saying we want Candidate a elected, here is 300 million dollars. Now that candidate may not win, but he for sure will have a great shot and we all know how susceptible our political system is to corruption and donations.

Jack makes solid points, but I believe he misses the power of the courts as well. The Supreme Court may not have direct power that is written down in a document, but it has indirect power on many political decisions. However, when the court begins to make decisions that turn back the clock or along political lines, they should be called out on it.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thirsty Thursday

Good news for us in Iowa this week. Iowa micro-breweries can now brew higher alcohol-containing beer - up to 12% alcohol per volume. Awesome. This also means that imported beers will be more available, as local retailers will be able to purchase higher-aclcohol beers on their own, rather than from a state retailer.

Also, don't look at this if you are hungry. I dare you not to.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hot Seat (Or How I Finally Came to Recognize the Importance of the Court)

The recent spat between the Supreme Court and the White House has identified an emerging issue -- the gradual destruction of the aura of the Court.

It has been a long-held belief that the Court ought to be insulated from politics, and remain free from political vices. In principle, I agree with this. but this doesn't mean the Court should be protected like a baby. The world we live in is much too complex for that type of mindset, and decisions of the Supreme Court arguably have a larger political impact than any other branch. Moreover, the fact that Supreme Court Justices and lower level federal judges are nominated in a mostly partisan fashion means they are always bound to hold partisan viewpoints.

For example, take the Court's recent ruling in Citizens United, where the Court upheld corporate campaign donations without a cap on the amount of money a corporation may spend in support of a candidate. in effect, the Court is allowing corporations even more control over the political process than they already possess, stripping individual voters of their ability to make a real impact during election cycles.
I for one am glad President Obama castigated the Supreme Court during the State of the Union this year. The Citizens United decision has shown that the Court has lost some of its myth and authority. When a court makes blatantly political decisions, based not on constitutional authority, but the political process (5-4 decision, thank you Republicans), it should be treated as a joke.

My question now is this: how is my right to engage in political speech upheld when a bank (including foreign corporations) is now allowed to buy an election?

Edited by John O'Connor

Wednesday's Poll: FEAR

This may or may not be a new edition to Wednesday's programming. Either way, if so, or if not, here is a fun poll* to ponder on your Wednesday.

*This is actually not a poll. Since I don't know how to actually create a poll yet, or if it is possible on this blog, this is merely a list of things from which your selection should be posted in the comments section with, hopefully, your reasons for selection.

Which of these things do you fear the most?

1. The state of Health Care in the U.S. (also accepted: falling into a coma as a result of having a discussion with Tom regarding Health Care)

2. Bees

3. Losing your job in the the current economy

4. Being killed by an accelerator-malfunctioning Toyota (that you are not a passenger of)

5. Being forced to drive an accelerator-malfunctioning Toyota

6. Being diagnosed with cancer

7. Fear of the dark (not the 1992 British heavy metal song by Iron Maiden)

8. Having to go without your cell phone for one whole week

9. Accidental flatulence at inappropriate times

10. Fear itself

Monday, March 8, 2010

Burnt Out

I have to say, I'm a little burnt out on the healthcare reform fight.  I've been sending emails and calling members of Congress for more than a year now.  I consistently receive emails from Moveon.Org, or Organizing for America, telling us to stand up and fight, but my legs are just too tired.  Fatigue has become the inevitable consequence of Congress dragging its feet through this process.  For now, I rest, because I just can't keep up this level of energy.

Grrrrr (21st Century McCarthyism)


I'm back from my travels to the innermost parts of Missouri (shiver). And while I was gone, I'm sure  you thought that Senator Bunning's (R - Kentucky) actions in the Senate had me upset, but honestly, to me the Republican Party is always about one-upsmanship. 

More interestingly to me is a story which broke in Politico discussing the "super secret" strategy the Republican party will be using in the 2010 Midterm Elections. And what might that strategy be? Fear.

The "Party of No," will now become the party of "Let's Make You Wet Your Pants."  When a party's core strategy is fear, how does it help our country?  It can't.  This strategy is absolutely reminiscent of 2004, when President Bush's platform was that a vote for  John Kerry was a vote in favor of terrorism.

Honest policy debates help the government find the right compromises for the majority of the people.  Nevertheless, the Republicans have decided to throw out any real policy argument for the coming elections and simply claim that every liberal candidate is a socialist. And the last time I checked, I was not a socialist, but who knows? Maybe, according to the Political Right, I am?

Edited by John O'Connor

Walrus Watch: The End at Vancouver

Ohr Ohr!

The Olympics have been over for about a week, and I'm left with many different thoughts about this year's games as a whole. Here's a peek into my psyche:

1- I don't think NBC could have screwed up its Olympic coverage anymore than it did this year. From skipping between events and cutting to commercials to being SOOOO flipping Pro-U.S.A., NBC's coverage annoyed the hell out of me. (For the record, let me state that I have no problem being pro-U.S.A. But please, show or highlight at least a few events where the U.S. isn't favored).

2- This is another jab at NBC: Please inform your viewers of the rules, mechanics, strategies, etc. of the lesser-known games. There have to be some former professionals who can provide commentary so we know WTF is going on.

3- Finally, NBC: please, please, please get rid of Bob Costas. He needs to be cut. For me, Costas's only shining moment during the games was his ability to say "Giant Inflatable Beaver."

4- Americans are annoying when we lose. All I heard the week after we beat Canada in the hockey prelims, were friends on facebook were chanting "USA, USA, USA."  But come just a week later, after we lost the gold to Canada, I found the very same people stating how much they didn't care about hockey . . . REALLY?!? this is ridiculous. We really shouldn't wonder why the world can't stand us, and attitudes like this piss me off. Show some damn respect for the better team graciously accept defeat.
5- I want to visit Vancouver. Screw the rain, everything about it looked beautiful. I say Canada did a great job hosting the games, and I hope to visit soon.

Edited by John O'Connor

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Reading Assignments

Tom's still out of town.  Which means you're in luck!  Check out a few links today on your lunch break:
Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Reading Assignments: When the Lead Author's Away . . . .

Good Morning one and all!

Tom is travelling on business today, and has left me in charge of today's posts.  Ever the vigilant soul, I shall not let you down.  Here are a few links sure to keep you busy for a while.

  • Need a custom car horn?