The American Experiment

Sven Andréas Wallin

by Sven Andréas Wallin

America has always been an edgy experiment that’s brilliantly diverse. Forces try to tear it apart, of course. The current “evangelical” politicians are nothing more than a Christian CALIPHATE, but I believe that their silly approach to government will shred itself before becoming ubiquitous.

I support Bernie Sanders for President, but I’d also be okay with Hillary Clinton. Martin O’Malley too.

Compare any of them to the Republican candidates, and the difference is amazing. The GOP sees a country with a tiny government that’s run “like a business.” The land is surrounded by walls and barbed wire.

When I close my eyes, that’s not the country I see. I see Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. I see the Rocky and Smoky Mountains. We have been given so much to begin with: fields and growable resources. We have minable resources: dig under Lake Erie or the city of Detroit, and you’ll find the largest salt basin in the world.

yellowstone
grand canyon

We have unprecedented resources entrusted to our care. They belong to our kids, not to ourselves. We’re supposed to use what we’ve been given, but we have to protect and conserve.

What we do as a country is organized by the American government. It isn’t like a business, where the most important decisions are made in the secrecy of a covert board of directors. We have a government that discusses all sides of issues. Our decisions are made in a public forum.

The Eisenhower Interstate Highway System

The Eisenhower Interstate Highway System

When I close my eyes, I see the Hoover Dam and the Interstate Highway system. Both were started during Republican administrations (Herbert Hoover, Ike Eisenhower), and they are grand creations that benefit lots of people and businesses.

I see the tiny computer chips that power everything from cars to cell phones. We have tiny technology because of NASA. They had to make everything tiny and low powered so they could send explorers to the moon.

The American government gave us the Internet. It was started as a reliable way for defense and military groups to communicate. Because it was governmental, the Internet belonged to all of us, and we shared it with the world.

When we get together to do massive projects, we employee thousands of workers. Infrastructure is good for business, tourists, workers.

obama-hoover-dam

Pres Barack Obama at the Hoover Dam

All of those achievements happened before Ronald Reagan, who changed our national conversation. Pres Reagan said government was the problem. In a nutshell, his approach made grand dams impossible. His legacy is a nation of rusting bridges and potholes because maintaining infrastructure requires feeding the evil government. He wanted to make government tiny and run like a business. Corporations had their foothold in Washington DC, and corporations got busy doing the only thing they’re really good at: making money for the owners. Screw the employees.

Mr Reagan changed the conversation back in the 1980s, and little has changed since his administration. America crumbles as corporations have fed fat-cat wallets instead of infrastructure.

a NASA computer chip

a NASA computer chip

Here’s the bottom line: when our presidential candidates close their eyes, only Bernie Sanders sees the same things I see. Is there a way to twitch a witch’s nose and make wholesale changes to the US? Yes there absolutely is. The first step can happen on the first day of a Sanders administration. He will immediately change the conversation, and that’s the only way to start remembering the real strength of the grand experiment I call home.

Dallas County Computers

Dallas County SheriffBack in October, I got pulled over by a Dallas County constable who said that I ran a stop sign. I don’t think that I did, but Rik says it was borderline. Okay. Whatever. The constable wrote and did punchy things to his handheld thingy. He eventually presented me with a pink sheet of paper. I stuffed it in the center console. The constable said I had 10 days to appear in court.

When I got home, I found that there wasn’t a single word that was readable. Mine was on the bottom of a stack of copies. (NFC? Whatever carbonless carbon copies are called these days). So I called the county. A nice lady said she’d look me up by driver’s license number. I wasn’t there. She said to call back. Fine. Whatever. I waited to call back. Same result: I’m not there. Finally one county staffer told me that it could take 2 months to get me into the system. I asked if I was supposed to wait to be arrested to find out how to pay.

Finally. Today. Paper mail came from the county. It said that I owe $175. It also included a citation number. I went to the Dallas County Online Citation Payments website. It had no idea who I am. I said there was no citation number like mine in the system.

And then I saw the fine print:

The Dallas County Online Ticket Payments & JP Courts Online Payment Center is available Monday through Sunday from 7:00 A.M. – 10:00 P.M.

<b>It went on to say that payments can only be made then.</b>

In other words, the county government computers have office hours.

It’s official then: the computers at Dallas County were programmed by 3rd graders.

No wonder we have potholes everywhere.

Best 150 Words on Marriage Equality

Fresno, CA, was frothy with wild Armageddon talk after the Supreme Court ruled the Constitution applies to gay folk on marriage. The sky over Fresno was crashing with locusts, singing devils, and slavery. Carol Fleisig, a resident of Fresno, finally had enough. Her letter is short — about 150 words — but she blew apart all the frothers with class. Here’s her Letter to the Fresno Bee Editor……

What a tempest in a teapot! The recent Supreme Court ruling allowing gay marriage has no impact on anyone who is not gay: no impact on Christians or those of any other belief system that disapproves of homosexuality.

Let us be reminded that the Jewish religion tells its followers to circumcise their sons. Does that belief preclude other people from not circumcising their sons? Of course not! Is there any public outcry against allowing Jewish people to circumcise their sons? Of course not! There is not public outcry because people recognize that Jewish circumcision is none of their business. Each family is free to circumcise or not circumcise their sons as they choose.

Likewise, gay marriage is none of our business if our belief system prohibits it. If you are against the practice of something, simply do not practice it. Isn’t their biblical scripture about not judging others?

 

It’s over. It’s complete. We won.

I am okay with the US for the first time in about 60 years. I did Gay-Lib in the early 1960s and anti-war in the late 60s. In the 70s, I tried to strike a balance between gay rights in the workplace and being a journalist at ABC and several Texas radio stations. And so forth.

The White House; Washington DC. Lit on June 26, 2015, to honor marriage equality ruling from SCOTUS.

The White House; Washington DC. Lit on June 26, 2015, to honor marriage equality ruling from SCOTUS.

Then came the most amazing two days in my lifetime. The Supreme Court of the United States handed down two opinions that changed everything. For a second time, the court said that ACA (Obamacare) is the law of the land. America has health insurance… not perfect and certainly not the “Medicare for all” that every socialist bone in my body asserts is best… but it’s healthcare. Most Americans can afford to have health insurance. That’s completely amazing to me. Some (mainly Republicans) have done everything they could think of to kill Obamacare, and they have completely failed. The Supreme Court says ACA lives. It is the law of the United States. There’s nothing ambiguous or vague in the 6-to-3 ruling.

If Republicans sweep both houses of congress and win the White House next year, ACA may have problems. It might already be too late because gobs of people now rely on ACA (rightly so).

The other thing out of the court: marriage equality. Years ago, a boss asked me why I was always a pain in the ass on LGBT employment issues. That ruling last week: that’s why. Imagine a 15 or 16 year old gay kid who’s already trying to figure out hormone spikes will no longer have anti-marriage hate laws. America has a baseline standard of behavior, as laid out by the Supreme Court. If there aren’t any nurturing adults handy, the kid can always go to the source: Justice Anthony Kennedy.

The court says…

Justice Anthony Kennedy, author of the majority opinion in

Justice Anthony Kennedy, author of the majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, the marriage equality case.

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.

It is so ordered.

Obergefell v. Hodges
Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority

I don’t recall any prose from the court that has so much oomph. Justice Kennedy is a wonderful wordsmith. What’s more, he laid out precedent clearly and decisively. It will be a bit difficult to misunderstand the ruling!

So now, it’s over. This phase is complete. The court stole most (but not all) of my raisons de l’angoisse. I’m in my mid-60s… too late to come up with a whole new map of reality for rebranded seditionsedition
➤ (n) an illegal action inciting resistance to lawful authority and tending to cause the disruption or overthrow of the government
…by BeeDictionary.com
and lobbying.

I will always watch for people who will try to weaken the LGBT alignment with American society. That part never ends. I will fight so we have no Weimar Republic.

But as a whole (for me, at least), it’s over. We won.
 

Tom Cassidy — journalist

October 19, 1987 was such a bad day on Wall Street that we call it “Black Monday.” It started in Hong Kong, where their stock market shredded 45% of its value, and it slowly followed the sun to frontiers of Wall Street. The US market went down 22.7%, the largest one day crash in the history of our stock market. By comparison, the first day of the Great Depression of 1929 showed a loss of only 11%.

Tom Cassidy (1950-1991)

Tom Cassidy (1950-1991)

Enter TOM CASSIDY of CNN. He was their business and financial anchor. On Black Monday, Cassidy stuck to facts, rejecting OMG/Chicken-Little stories. Other news outlets went bonkers, but Tom Cassidy kept CNN calm. Journalistic.

What most people don’t realize is that Tom Cassidy got news from his doctors that he was HIV positive. He was diagnosed with AIDS on Black Monday, the same day the country needed him to be calm on the air.

In fact, the disease had already progressed to AIDS before he was diagnosed. In 1987, having full-blown AIDS was a death sentence.

Tom Cassidy, hosting Pinnacle on CNN

Tom Cassidy, hosting Pinnacle on CNN

So Tom Cassidy anchored Black Monday on the very day he found out he was dying of AIDS, and he anchored coverage calmly and factually.

He died on May 26, 1991.

Everyone would say Rest in Peace, with feelings of gratitude on his coverage of a scariest day ever on Wall Street.

Not so much on CNN.



CNN

If one of my employees covered Black Monday with the class Cassidy showed, I’d be screaming his praise as loudly as I could. To CNN, it’s like Tom Cassidy never existed.

I don’t understand what was (and continues to be) CNN’s failure to acknowledge. AIDS fears? Homophobia (Cassidy died when DADT and DOMA were being formulated by so-called gay “friend” Bill Clinton. Why haven’t Anderson Cooper or Don Lemon done anything? The whole thing continues to be weird.

Rest in peace, Tom. Thank you for being a real journalist.

RIP Jim Wright

U.S. Speaker of the House, Jim Wright of Texas

U.S. Speaker of the House, Jim Wright of Texas

My friend Jim Wright died today. He was old (92), and I know he was tired of fighting health issues like the cancer that popped up from time to time.

He and I drifted apart slowly and quietly lately. We didn’t even exchange our Christmas letters this year.

Jim Wright was a member of Congress, absolutely a Democrat of the Yella-Dawg ilk. That said, he was always ready to schmoozedress code. and horse trade with anybody, even GOPs, to get stuff done.

He was aware of the guy who adopted me, Mr Republican. Dad would drag me out to Ridglea Ciuntry Club for Sunday buffet. No, I am basically the opposite of a country club belle. Often as not, the club would have to lend me a sport jacket to bring me up to the dress code.

And Jim Wright would see us. The plot was set. He’d sauntersaunter
➤ (n) a careless leisurely gait
➤ (n) a leisurely walk (usually in some public place)
➤ (v) walk leisurely and with no apparent aim
…by BeeDictionary.com
over — along with the eyebrows that always needed to be braided — and after some preliminary greetings, he’d want to talk politics, as dad’s comfort level sunk lower and lower.

Watching the old man squirm inside the country club was more fun than you’re supposed to have on Sunday in Texas.

Jim Wright was in Congress for more than 30 years. He was also Speaker of the House… until Newt Gingrich figured out some weird ethics charges. I heard Jim beat himself up for resigning. He should have stayed and made Newt famous as the sociopathsociopath
➤ (n) someone with a sociopathic personality; a person with an antisocial personality disorder (`psychopath' was once widely used but has now been superseded by `sociopath')
…by BeeDictionary.com
he really is.

Fort Worth and the US lost a good one. Please keep Jim and Betty (wife) in your prayers.

When a riot metastasizes

Sven Andreas Wallin

Sven Andreas Wallin

Violence in Baltimore. Some are there because it’s cool or because looting gets you loot. But some are there because they can’t take the crap anymore. It’s a bad idea, but I understand it.

The people in charge shut down every discussion to work on Baltimore’s riots. Those who want changes in society aren’t getting it. Violence never works. It just doesn’t.

  • Trayvon Martin was killed because he was a black kid in a hoodie. George Zimmerman got away with it.
  • Michael Brown was killed for being black while jaywalking. Rightly or wrongly, officer Darren Wilson got away with it.
  • Eric Garner was killed in a choke hold on Staten Island. None of the NYPD officers involved will ever be charged. They got away with it.
  • Tamir Rice, age 12, was killed by police for carrying a toy gun while black. So far, nobody’s charged the police shooter, Timothy Loehmann.
  • Eric Harris was shot because Tulsa gave a gun to a guy who couldn’t tell the difference between a taser and a pistol.
  • Akai Gurley (Brooklyn)
  • John Crawford (Dayton)

I could argue that some (or most) of these guys were doing shady things when they were killed. That said, this is a brutal list. Jaywalking and carrying a toy gun are not capital offenses. If there’s some kind of excuse that makes it okay, we need to look at police training and technique.

Whether the cases on this partial list are brutality or justified, I can imagine how furious I’d be if these were all gay or transgender. I would be banging on the door of every hate-filled douche nozzle in the Texas or federal capitols.

— — — — —

I’m worried about the implication in the gay community. LGBTQ folks are tired of the insane screaming from religious nuts. What they’re doing in Texas is shameful. There are more than 20 hate bills before the Texas legislature. You have all the transgender bathroom bills. And there are a few so-called “religious freedom” bills (your religion gets no freedom if it’s MCC or Wiccan).

Politicians aren’t happy unless they’ve beaten the sanctimonioussanctimonious
➤ (s) excessively or hypocritically pious
…by BeeDictionary.com
crap out of some drag queens. At some point, said queens are going to get their fill.

I will completely understand when dykes and their bikes take to the street. If violence breaks out, I will understand because I’ve been downwind of legislative stench.

The solution is to stay on top of things. We have to keep the Austin mean-a-saurus cage in check. The problem won’t be when they go too far once too often. That will just be the tipping point. Family and friends elected these bullies. Maybe family and friends need to experience post fartum depression.

What I want is peace, and that’s a simple formula.

If you want peace, work for justice.

Pope Paul VI, speech at United Nations

Net Neutralty

cartoonThe FCC issued a strong consumer-friendly ruling on the internet. ATT hates it because it’s ATT (which is Southwestern Bell). Verizon (Bell Atlantic) hates the ruling so much, it issued a press release in Morse Code. Seriously.

The pop explanation of “Net Neutrality” is that no internet provider can offer a faster internet for the provider’s buddies or for those who pay more.

This is where the popular story bogs down. The net all moves at the same speed: 299,792,458 meters per second. It’s,the speed of light. Electrons really love that tempo. You can send light through thick glass and get something slower, but that isn’t commercially viable. Verizon could make your email bounce between earth and a satellite a dozen times before sending it down an under-ocean copper cable that leaks. They have to go out of their way to keep all your pitiful electrons in a penalty box while letting the big-budget electrons truck along.

bondageBut the FCC has ruled in favor of you and me. Verzon, ATT, and the others can’t play the “speed” game. They can control capacity but not throughput.  You can go rent yourself a great big hose or stay with your measly straw, but what’s inside all moves at the same speed.

That’s today’s FCC ruling. The internet is a utility, like water and electricity. There are rules about how a company can limit your access to services of a utility.

Some years ago, I did a speech at a conference in Las Vegas. Responding to a question about how serious I thought the Net could be in the long run. I said it’s a thing, but I don’t know if it’s,going to be a thing like CB radio… or a thing like fire.

Today we got the FCC’s answer.

Texas’s Loonier-than-Thou Politician

Rep Joe Barton (R-TX)Joe Barton is the US Rep for Arlington (home of the original Six Flags and Cowboys stadium) and some territory south of Dallas. The Christian folk there like him so much, they’ve kept him in Washington for over 30 years.

Citizens in the district don’t see him as the one who makes us look the stupidest constituents in the count Joe Barton is a fine, Christian (Methodist), anti-Obama tea party representative. They want him in Washington to vote against wind energy and autism victims. Most of all they want him lining the pockets of Big Oil.

He is one of the most corrupt representatives in Congress (2011 CREW). He’s the oil consultant congressman who apologized to BP oil for their treatment after their well spewed crap into the Gulf of Mexico. He thought BP should get no blow-back over their blowout.

Barton is the anti-gay pro-family guy who’s divorced and remarried. The Bible-thumpers here don’t mind that, for some reason. Barton blocked federal money to help autism victims. The ex-oilman is totally against wind energy because all those turbines will slow the earth’s rotation. I don’t make up or embellish.

Rep  Joe Barton (R-TX)

Rep Joe Barton (R-TX)

This tea party loon has just done something weird, even by Barton standards. He withdrew a bill, supporting his oil baron buddies. It would allow exports of crude. The trouble is that the automatic numbering system said his proposed law is “666.” Obviously unacceptable, so Barton pulled the proposal. Don’t worry though. Joe Barton can still funnel favors to the oil industry. He refiled his bill, and the system gave it a less-Satanic number.

Barton has your back. He is on a holy crusade to protect you from superstitious numbers. You’re welcome, America.

Texas 6th District

Texas Idiots

Heaven can’t help you if you get cross with the congressional from Texas. There was a hearing this week, and Rep. Alcee Hastings got everybyody’s panties in a wad. If you haven’t seen Louie Gomert… okay, put some cat poop on a marble floor. Then stand back at a safe distance, watching the cat try to cover it. It’s more entertainment than should be legal.

In a hearing, Hastings called Texas crazy. I’m a native, and I have no problem with that. We herd together the worst of the worst. We they seek calm enough to transport, we ship them north.

The Texas crowd didn’t like anything Hastings said. The Florida representative mentioned the famous law that is to protect us from the ravages of the dildo. They are illegal here (even thoug Amazon sells them now). Hastings thinks it’s a silly law. It ISN’T silly… it’s the stupidest law ever to be out on paper. I get embarassed at what the loons have done to my state.

The committee aring where the arguing happened was on Obamacare. The dementeddemented
➤ (s) affected with madness or insanity
…by BeeDictionary.com
Lone Star delegation was part of the House group trying to appeal Obamacare for the’zillionth time. They have found millions to have vote after vote, but they can’t find money to repair rusting bridges.

So they voted again. If at first you don’t succeed, duct tape. There’s no repealrepeal
➤ (n) the act of abrogating; an official or legal cancellation
➤ (v) cancel officially
…by BeeDictionary.com
for the law… nothing but duct tape.