Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Assessment of Blame: In Bush Versus Obama, The Villain is Clear

A new poll by the Associated Press reveals that 51% of Americans now believe that President George Bush is primarily responsible for the current dicey economic situation in the United States. The balance of the poll shows that 31% of polled individuals believe that President Barack Obama is responsible for the current states of affairs.

As noted in the name of this blog, I am liberal to my core and generally devote myself to the democratic and liberal framework. At the same time, I am a realist who likes to think that I approach all things political with an open mind. I have to say, however, that that I do not agree in the least with these poll numbers. The blame is clearly Bush’s alone.

What republicans fail to understand when it comes to our current economic landscape are two essential concepts:  “what might have been” and responsibility at inception of the crisis. Perhaps it is because they are overly rigid in their thinking or maybe it is because they cannot think in any manner that will defy their own cause. In any case, their failure to understand these concepts mean that they will never really understand what has happened over the last 10 years.  

Concept number one as listed above is “what might have been”. When Obama took office in January of 2009, he fairly quickly drafted the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (which was actually signed into law in the spring of 2010).  Not only was this act widely decried by republicans at the time of signature, but its efficacy continues to be doubted by them today. This act, also commonly referred to as The Stimulus Plan,  has actually been proven by leading economists to have been effective in stemming the tide of economic disaster. The key to their assessment is the theory that sans the stimulus plan, the actual effects of the downward fiscal pattern (e.g., unemployment, foreclosure rates, loan defaults) would have been much more serious without this measure.

Imagine a patient that has cancer and the doctor prescribes chemotherapy and radiation as treatment. The patient undergoes this line of treatment and is generally well for 36 months. At that time, things take a turn for the worse and the patient ends up dying as a result of the cancer. The question is this: Did the treatment work? Yes, it did. It worked because for three years the patient was primarily healthy and functioning. Was it a cure-all? Obviously not. However, without the treatment the patient would have likely died within the first 6 to 9 months. Just because the ARRA did not leave us all employed millionaires with robust portfolios does not mean that it did not work.

The second piece that republicans fail to understand is that the fact of the matter is that George Bush was behind the wheel of this bus as it veered off course and headed straight towards a fiscal cliff. Chief bipartisan economists directly point to the timeline of this crisis which began under the watch of Bush and seemed to have started with the bursting of the housing bubble. That was due to the rise of sub-prime mortgages, which began in the mid 2000s.

This, my friends, was under the watch of George Bush and was a result of deregulation. Who was behind that? Ronald Reagan and varying other republicans through the decades. They put in place an economic house of cards that was doomed to collapse and that occurred while Bush was in office. He did nothing to stop this, even as his advisers warned of impending fiscal doom.

The fact that Obama was elected in the middle of a disaster does not make him responsible for the debacle. Republicans continue to want to pin this on him and as we approach Election 2012 we need to keep reminding voters of the truth of the matter. We need to not allow their hysteria and sound bites and revision of history changed the facts of the matter.  

This topic will definitely be at the forefront of attacks on Obama over the course of the next 15 months. Vigilant liberals need to make sure that the responsibility for this economic nightmare is place squarely where it belongs: On the shoulders of George Bush. Further, they need to be reminded that without the stimulus package the results would have been even more devastating. The bottom line is that the stimulus worked and another round would do our economy a world of good.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Limmerick Tribute to Republican Crazies

Sarah Palin plays it coy,
Treating presidential candidacy as a toy.

A meandering bus tour,
To pull her ratings out of the sewer,

Perchance simply a Perry decoy.

Michele Bachman and facts,
With the truth she is simply lax.

Can’t seem to get much straight,
Which of course includes her mate,

Methinks Marcus is gay to the max.

Rick Perry is a king hypocrite,
A crown of mighty fools is most befit.

Writes Fed Up in 2010,
Now he is just one of those men,

Who denounces his past much like Mitt.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bill O'Reilly, You Are Dead Ass Wrong

I have a confession to make: I watch Fox News. Now, before you snatch away my liberal card, tear the Obama 2012 shirt off my back and thrust a poorly crafted Tea Party sign into my hand, let me explain a bit further. I do not by any means watch Fox on a regular basis and, honestly, I only watch until my retinas begin to burn and I can sense my IQ dropping point by point. There have been moments, though, where I have watched long enough and become enraged enough that my husband actually has to pry the remote from my hand and gently steer me towards the Food Network or perhaps a rerun of Hoarders.

I watch Fox news for three distinct purposes. First, I think it is hypocritical to critique something you have no first-hand knowledge of. Second, I watch to get some insight into what the other side is up to (something of a recon mission). And finally, I watch because I suffer from dangerously low blood pressure and a bit of Hannity always does the trick by raising my B/P a good dozen points. Okay, I am kidding about the third reason…kinda.

Which leads me to this blog and what my newest plan is for you, my dedicated readers. I am volunteering, kind lady that I am, to take a bullet for you and let you know what is happening over in the world of Fox. And every so often I will distill what I have learned and will share it with you, again via this blog, in a segment now known as “(Fill in moronic person on Fox), You Are Dead Ass Wrong”.   Methinks I will have a wealth of material and this river of un-knowledge will never run dry. Talk about blog security!

First up: Bill O’Reilly

Last week I watch a segment with Bill O’Reilly, Alan Colmes and an un-named, but kind of cute, brunette and bespectacled Ann Coulter wannabe. The topic of discussion was the legislation that mandates that health insurance carriers now cover birth control. This topic immediately piqued my interest as I am a former health insurance administrator and thus have a bit of inside information that Bill O’Reilly and his pack of fools may be lacking.
BOR immediately started flapping his arms like a crazed pigeon in Times Square and squawking about this outrage. I am paraphrasing, but this is essentially what he was saying: “This is ridiculous! This is more government oppression! This means that every single one of us, including my fat cat ass, will have to pay more in insurance premiums! Squawk! Squawk!”.

Poor Bill. Poor idiotic, ill informed, needs-to-buy-a-calculator (to replace his abacus) Bill O’Reilly. Allow me to crunch some numbers for you…

Cost of a healthy yet unplanned pregnancy: $10,000
Cost of birth control pills: $20/month
Therefore, for every one unplanned pregnancy you can purchase 500 months of pills…or, 42 years. Of course, this does not include the expense of a less than healthy pregnancy, neonatology expenses, the medical cost of the child itself and all related costs for an “unwanted” child (read: Medicaid, reduced lunch program, WIC, etc).

You seem like intelligent and thoughtful readers, so you tell me: Which is more cost effective? The obvious answer is the birth control pills.

But let me also let you in on a little secret, Bill O’Reilly and similar morons…You are already paying for the birth control pills. You see, for many decades most health insurance carriers did not pay for birth control pills when they were prescribed for contraceptive purposes. However, they would pay for them if the physician listed as a diagnosis something along the lines of Dysmenorrhea, Polycystic Ovaries, or some other related gynecological issue. Yes, as a courtesy to their female patients physicians would game the system in order to make sure that birth control pills were covered by women who wanted them. These physicians knew that offering someone birth control is always much wiser than risking an unintended pregnancy.

Here is another little tidbit for you about the expense of birth control pills. Health insurance carriers have cooperative agreements with both pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies. This means that what may cost an uninsured individual $20 at the local pharmacy will cost Humana, Aetna or Anthem only $7. However, the average copay for medications is $20-30. Therefore, not only has the member themselves actually paid for the full cost of the medication, but your local Walgreens or Rite-Aid is making a fair profit as well and plays into the aforementioned cooperative agreement.

Of course, I don’t expect Bill O’Reilly to know this. Frankly, I am shocked he knows anything including how to tie his own shoes. But I assume that he has interns or assistants or some other helpful staff in order to educate him so that he does not appear foolish to viewers. My only explanation for why this does not occur is that (a) These staff members are actually, ha ha ha, staunch liberals or (b) They are just as dim at BOR himself (I am leaning towards the second option).

In any case, I conclude with only these seven words: Bill O’Reilly, You Are Dead Ass Wrong

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday Morning Programing: Get Informed, Stay Informed

Fellow liberals, do you know what separates us from "them"? Our ability to think rationally, educate ourselves, differentiate fact from fiction and always remain well informed. Okay, we also have opposable thumbs, our houses do not have wheels and we do not consider pork rinds a major food group.

In an effort to remain constantly informed, following is a listing of Sunday morning programming for today 8/14/11. Yes, many of the names listen herein cause vomit to creep up the back of your throat, but do stay the course and do not let that frighten you.

Meet the Press: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN); Roundtable: Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R), Republican Strategist Mike Murphy, Eugene Robinson (Washington Post), Jonathan Martin (Politico) and Chuck Todd (NBC News).

Face the Nation: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN); DNC Chair/Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL).

This Week: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN); Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R); Roundtable: George Will (Washington Post), Republican Strategist Matthew Dowd, Amy Walter (ABC News), Radio Host Laura Ingraham and Kay Henderson (Radio Iowa).

Fox News Sunday: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN); Roundtable: Bret Baier (Fox News), Steve Hayes (Weekly Standard) and Chair of the Iowa GOP Matt Strawn.

State of the Union: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN); Pizza Mogul Herman Cain; Rep. Steve King (R-IA); Neil King (Wall Street Journal); Philip Rucker (Washington Post); Reliable Sources: Jackie Kucinich (USA Today); Roger Simon (Politico); Jennifer Rubin (Washington Post); Radio Host Stephanie Miller; Wayne Slater (Dallas Morning News); Felix Salmon (Reuters); David Bohrman (Current TV).

The Chris Matthews Show: Nia-Malika Henderson (Washington Post); Howard Fineman (Huffington Post); David Ignatius (Washington Post); Jamie Tarabay (National Journal).

Fareed Zakaria GPS: Paul Krugman (New York Times); Harvard University Professor Kenneth Rogoff, PhD; Author Dr. Theodore Dalrymple; British Journalist David Goodhart; Author Ahmed Rashid.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ode To Herman Cain

Fellow liberals,  this project has been going fairly well thus far and I certainly do appreciate your collective input. In case you missed the Michele Bachmann deadline, you can send your correspondence directly to her at:

103 Cannon HOB
 Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2331
Fax: (202) 225-6475

I am confident, lovely lady that she is, that should would be delighted to hear what her fellow Americans have to say about her. You betcha!

Next up ==> Herman Cain

I know, there is so much to say to our fave loony pizza dude. And you fellow liberals have such a great way of getting your message across in an effective, pointed and clear manner. As opposed, of course, to the jibber jabber that we often get from....well, Herman Cain himself!

You know the drill (and if you don't, see the prior posts) -- finish this thought:

Dear Herman Cain:

Friday, August 5, 2011

Dear Michelle Bachmann


Folks, today we will be sending our letters to Michelle Bachmann. Thank you so much for your response yesterday regarding Allen West -- I am sending the comments from this page, Facebook (Left Leaning Liberal Ladies) and Twitter (@theliberallady) to his office at 2108 North Federal Highway, Boca Raton, Florida 33432 (no kidding, I used to live just a few miles away from this address before I moved back to the Chicago area). He will get a letter from me, with all of the comments printed up in a nice tidy format for him to review.

Please see the instructions for this little project on my post yesterday entitled, Republicans Take Note.

Thank you for participating and let's work together to get our collective voices heard in Washington.

Now....finish this thought... ==>>

Dear Michelle Bachmann:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Republicans, Take Note

In all likelihood, you are viewing this blog because you are left leaning yourself and would like very much to see a significant change to the political direction of this great country. You are unwilling to sit silently while the likes of Michelle Bachmann, Eric Cantor, Mitt Romney, Mitch McConnell and others try to hold us hostage while relaying to their base a message that is warped at best and criminal at worst. You are concerned not just with the re-election of President Barack Obama, but want to ensure that a democratic congress is elected in 2012 and that the American dreams remains alive and well for all Americans....not simply select Americans.

You may, however, feel limited in what you can do and where to place your enthusiasm, energy and focus.  While volunteering for a political campaign is obviously the most productive thing to do, many people do not have the time to do so or are not comfortable doing this. Donating money is another superb way to help out, but that is not doable for many individuals in this dicey economy.

What I am now launching on my site is something called "Republicans, Take Note". Each day (yes, every day) I will be posting the name of a republican politician and I am asking you to give me a message that you would like delivered to that individual. I will gather all the comments,  remarks and sentiments and commit them to paper. Then, I will mail them to their offices and get our collective message across to them.

You may relay your message to me here on this blog, via my Facebook page at "Left Leaning Liberal Ladies" or via Twitter @theliberallady. I would like to respectfully ask that you do not use profanity during the course of your communication. I know, this will be super hard with some republican politicians who strike us as particularly vile. However, I think this is important in getting our message across in the most effective manner possible.

When you leave your comment please also let me know your initials and where you live. You do not need to provide a full name, unless you would like to. I am committed to doing this whether I receive 3 responses per day or 300 or 3,000.

There will also be some days that I may ask that you direct your comments to democrats as well. Not only do we occasionally needs to give these heroes an "Atta Boy", but we also may need to hold their feet to the fire and make sure that they take our vision of a perfected America to Washington and make it a reality.

Thank you for listening and I look forward to your comments.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Complete List of Koch Products to Boycott

Following is a list outlining Koch products that should be boycotted.  A detailed blog concerning the justification for this boycott is forthcoming. If you find that this list is incomplete or unclear, feel free to post a comment.

Angel Soft toilet paper
Brawny paper towels
Dixie plates, bowls, napkins and cups
Mardi Gras napkins and towels
Quilted Northern toilet paper
Soft 'n Gentle toilet paper
Sparkle napkins
Vanity fair napkins
Zee napkins
Georgia-Pacific paper products and envelopes
Stainmaster Carpet
Dense Armor Drywall and Decking
ToughArmor Gypsum board
Georgia pacific Plytanium Plywood
Densglass sheathing
G/P Industrial plasters (some products used by a lot of crafters)-
FibreStrong Rim board
G/P Lam board
Blue Ribbon OSB Rated Sheathing
Blue Ribbon Sub-floor
DryGuard Enhanced OSB
Nautilus Wall Sheathing
Thermostat OSB Radiant Barrier Sheathing
Broadspan Engineered Wood Products
XJ 85 I-Joists
FireDefender Banded Cores
FireDefender FS
FireDefender Mineral Core
Hardboard and Thin MDF including Auto Hardboard,
Perforated Hardboard and Thin MDF
Wood Fiberboard -
Commercial Roof Fiberboard
Hushboard Sound Deadening Board
Regular Fiberboard Sheathing
Structural Fiberboard Sheathing
COMFOREL® fiberfill
COOLMAX® fabric
CORDURA® fabric
DACRON® fiber
SOLARMAX® fabric
SOMERELLE® bedding products
SUPPLEX® fabric
TACTEL® fiber
TACTESSE® carpet fiber
TERATE® polyols
TERATHANE® polyether glycol
PHENREZ® resin
POLARGUARD® fiber and
LYCRA® fiber

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Curse of Silence

I am embarrassed to admit this, but there have been times in my life when I have remained silent when I should have been speaking my mind and defending the defenseless. It is one of the curses of being a lady, this compulsion to keep the peace and make sure that no one’s feelings get hurt even at the risk of your own silent dismay. However, the older I get the more that this entire concept seems nonsensical to me. Still, there are moments when I am torn between silence and speaking.  And as I try to discuss this with my husband, he looks at me as though I am a speaking a foreign language. It appears that men just do not have this same dilemma. If they have something to say, it generally just comes flying out of their mouths and they deal with the repercussions at a later time.

I was fairly shy as a young lady, yet I yearned desperately to speak up when I knew that what I was hearing with my ears did not resonate with my heart and mind. I would have intricate debates only in my brain, but was saddened that I could not lend language to these great thoughts. As a matter of fact, this is probably one of the greatest regrets of my life: Remaining mute when assertive dialogue was warranted.

This is something that woman all around the world struggle with and it speaks to the way that girls are just raised differently than boys. I would like to think that the tide has turned through the years, but I still know women who keep their most assertive selves silent. I see it in their eyes at coffee houses, in their body language at family reunions, and in the way that sink a bit deeper in their chair at a cocktail party as their gaze drops downward. It is a shame and it needs to stop. Through the support of other women, and men for that matter, who cheer her own with cries of, “You have a right to be heard” we can bring all of our sisters out of their silence and into a world a civil assertiveness and even debate.

When I finally was able to speak out I was in my 20s and it was as though a verbal and emotional tiger had been let out of a cage. When at last I summoned the nerve to speak out in support of gay rights, in favor reproductive rights or against domestic, I was like a verbal Tasmanian devil…a whirling dervish of rapid fire thoughts spewing from my mouth and wild hand gestures. Lady-like? I think not. Still, I was on the right pathway.

Through the years I learned to slowly gather my thoughts, speak in a language that my audience would understand and communicate with utter conviction.  Women often have a way of asserting themselves with a question mark at the end. As in, “Gee, I think the death penalty is just wrong…?” or “Gosh, in some cases abortion is just warranted…?”.  It is a skill that many of us cultivate through the years and once it is mastered, we can handle most anyone in a conversation regarding controversial topics.

As the challenges of our world become more immense, as those on the far right begin utilizing absurd scare tactics, and as the political issues hit closer to home, we all need to find our voice and speak out on these issues. This is where the power of sisterhood becomes integral as we boost the confidence of each other and come together with a common, cohesive message. It is just the lady-like thing to do.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Evil Of Grover Norquist

If you do not know who Grover Norquist is, then chances are that you have been ... (a) Living under a rock for the last month; (b) Watch Fox News exclusively; or (c) Been in a coma since spring (in which case, I cannot help but welcome you back to the world and hope that the current state of affairs do not cause a relapse of your symptoms).

Grover Norquist is a hostage taker and a blackmailer. It truly is just that simple. The sad part of the story is that Republicans actually gladly sign up to be held hostage by this loon. Grover Norquist decided decades ago that taxes are bad. Period. No qualifier, no exception, no wiggle room. Sound extreme? To quote the Barbie Of The Right -- "You Betcha!!" (wink, wink).

Grover Norquist is the founder and president of a group called Americans For Tax Reform. While the name may sound benign, it is clearly misleading. This group believes that government is too big and that no new taxes should be levied on the American people. None. Ever. No matter what the circumstance, no matter what happens in the future, no matter how befitting taxation is for the current climate -- no means no, to Grover Norquist.

To this end, he asks (read: coerces) republicans to sign  piece of garbage entitled the Taxpayer Protection Pledge indicating that they will never vote for any piece of legislation that would allow for new taxes. Insanely enough, this even includes not allow the Bush tax cuts to expire since this would net an actual, and much needed, increase in governmental revenue.  In fact, he is opposed to the ending of any tax breaks at all, including those for big business. The republicans that sign this pledge do so under duress and do it to ensure their continued electability. If they fail to sign it, Grover Norquist and his gang of thugs run a republicans opponent in the non-signers race and ensure, via campaign funding, that The Defiant One loses the election. Talk about holding one by the...well....private parts.

Norquist is coy in saying that the pledge is not made to him, but is made to the American people. But the fact of the matter is that Norquist created the pledge, he threw it in the face of republicans and failure to sign has negative repercussions that he and his group will be sure to enact. How is this different than any other blackmail scenario? Better yet, how is this good for the country?

There is no doubt that tax reform is greatly needed in this country. However, blackmail and barely veiled threats is no way to accomplish anything in the US government. Republicans need to gather their troops and decide, as a whole, to walk away from Grover Norquist and his pledge. In doing do, the tiger will then have no teeth and real tax reform can actually occur.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

All Aboard The Political Bandwagon

I am a lot of things. I am a mother, a wife, a writer, a daughter, a neighbor and a friend. I am right-handed, love chocolate, am addicted to Diet Coke and adore traveling. I have a marriage that rocks, a dog that sleeps all day and two brothers who drive me insane. I am, also, a liberal.

I have been keenly interested in politics from as far back as I can remember. As a matter of fact, I recall sitting with my father watching "60 Minutes" and the evening news when I was still in elementary school. I asked questions, he patiently responded and I knew that politics had a strong hold on my family. No matter how old, how young, whatever your stage in life politics had meaning. As a matter of fact, my father seemed much more concerned that you had an active interest in politics as opposed to where you actually fall on the political spectrum.

I find that I am very much like my father in that regard. My tolerance for apathy is just about nil and I continue to be amazed when people feel that politics is so very distant from their day-to-day lives. The fact of the matter is that you are knee deep in politics all day, every day, whether you like it or not. And given that this is a fact, it is best to jump on board and at the very least educate yourself about the latest political news.

When you have a minute, ponder the impact that politics plays in your own life. Think about your job, the taxes you pay, your retirement plan, your property taxes, your child's ability to attend college, the interest rate on your credit card or your access to quality health care. It is there, a substantial force dictating big pieces of your existence.

As an American, it is your duty to stay on top of all things political. It is a responsibility that those around the world would love to have and we, selfish and self-absorbed residents of this great nation, take for granted on a daily basis. Your politics do not need to be my politics, but I do respectfully ask that you do jump into the political pool and swim the rest of us political nerds.