Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Audacity of Deception!

Unlike many right-wing Republicans, I as a Progressive Democrat will not hesitate to point out the flaws and deceptions of my own Democratic President.  I was shocked to learn that president Obama in an interview with the Washington Post today declared and I quote,  "I didn't campaign on the public option" - This I'm sorry to say is a boldface lie.

As most major media, including the Washington Post and the New York Times have already pointed out, President Obama not only campaigned for the public option, but he debated for it as well.  It was on his campaign website and even in his professionally produced campaign advertising.

It's also worth noting that while he campaigned for a public option he also debated and campaigned against a public mandate.  Let's go to the videotape...


There can obviously be no disputing that the president did in fact campaign for the public option. Instead of admitting that however, and acknowledging that the Senate health care bill is flawed and not even remotely similar to what was promised.  The President has chosen the typical political ploy of attempting to rewrite history.  Needless to say I'm very dismayed and disappointed.

The truth is that the health care bill about to pass the Senate does not contain a public option, and therefore does nothing to provide cost-cutting competition to the big insurance companies. It does however provide a mandate that we all buy private insurance whether we like it or not.  This plan therefore is effectively giving the insurance industry over 30 million new customers. If that's not a gift to big insurance,  I don't know what is.  - Just Thinking...

Please feel free to comment below or e-mail me direct at and your comment will be posted.

The Senate Is about to Pass Health Care! Should We Be Saying Merry Christmas or Bah Humbug?

Due to some last minute changes in the Senate health care bill, most Progressive Democrats, including Howard Dean, (see my previous post " Howard Dean Says Kill the Bill! " )  have reversed their position and decided to reluctantly support the new Senate health care legislation.  I must admit however, I'm still a bit skeptical and as reports there are still many unresolved issues. 

The Senate bill would:

#1—Deny Americans the choice of a public option. In contrast, the House bill contains a national public option, the key to real competition, greater choice, and lower costs.

#2—Leave insurance unaffordable for some lower income and working people. Both bills require virtually all Americans to buy insurance. But even with the subsidies provided, some families could have to pay up to 20% of their income on health care expenses.

#3—Impose dangerous restrictions on women's reproductive health care. Unfortunately, both bills do this and the House provision is worse. Both versions would be a dangerous step and neither should be in the final bill.

#4—Tax American workers' health coverage to pay for reform. The Senate would pay for part of reform by taxing the hard-won benefits packages of some working Americans. The House, on the other hand, pays for reform with a small surcharge on only the wealthiest Americans—a far better approach I think.

#5—Allow insurance companies to remain exempt from anti-trust laws. Under current law, insurance companies are actually exempt from laws designed to prevent monopolies and price-gouging. The House bill would fix this, but the Senate bill leaves it in place.

Of course, these aren't the only problems with the bill. Most glaringly, both the Senate and House bill would leave millions uninsured,  a far cry from the vision of universal coverage so many of us have fought for.

Additionally, this latest version of the bill does nothing to rectify the "Health Factor" (a.k.a. previous existing conditions) issue as well as some of the other problems I've addressed previously. When the bill goes to committee, hopefully the House and Senate leadership, as well as the White House will get the message and rectify these key outstanding issues immediately.  But I'm not counting on it. As I said before, I'm unfortunately, still very skeptical of this bill.

As far as Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska is concerned,  making  "Backroom Deals"  is not the kind of  "Change " I was hoping for.  Nor is it the kind of   "Change"  I can believe in.

                                    And as far as Senator Joe Lieberman is concerned...

Democrats should have called his bluff and let him filibuster!

 - Just Thinking...

Please feel free to comment below or email me direct at and your comment will be posted.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Howard Dean Says Kill the Bill!

Giving Seniors 55 to 64 the option of  "Buying In"  (at their own expense, of course)  to the already very popular and successful Medicare program was an excellent idea. This was obviously not the Universal Health-Care Public Option I had hoped for, but it was a start.  Now, absent both the public option and the Medicare buy-in, this new health care bill is useless.  In fact, it's a ripoff!  As Howard Dean and others have stated, this is nothing but a Christmas Present to Big Insurance Companies!

With the possible exception of the late Ted Kennedy, there are few leading Democrats that have been stronger proponents of health care reform than Howard Dean. A Licensed Medical Doctor and former Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, former Governor Dean is a highly motivated Health-Care Reformer and is certainly well qualified to address this issue. If he says kill the bill, there must be a reason why.

Many Democrats, including the President still want the bill to pass however, the feeling is that something is better than nothing. But is it really? This new bill claims to eliminate (by 2012) the pre-existing conditions clause currently used by insurance companies. But closer scrutiny reveals It's merely a change in rhetoric.

While it's true that insurance companies will now be forced to accept all applicants they will still be able to raise rates and charge significantly more to people that have what will now be called "Health Factors". You know "Factors" such as high blood pressure or a history of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and so on. Sounds like a "Pre-Existing Conditions Clause" to me.

In addition, they can even charge more for other "Factors" such as age and to people who are overweight, smoke, drink alcohol or engage in so-called "Poor Lifestyle Choices".

The bill further claims to extend and ensure Medicare for years to come by cutting the program of some $313 billion in funding.  Talk about your convoluted logic and political doublespeak.

Oh - and get this, if you are among the uninsured, like it or not, you will be forced to buy one of these policies or face a financial penalty (i.e. you'll be fined). Effectively guaranteeing private insurance companies at least 30 MILLION new customers.

Now requiring full participation in a competitively priced, public health plan is understandable. But forcing us to buy overpriced private insurance is indeed a real gift to the big insurance companies.

I'm sorry to say, but in its current form, I have to agree with Howard Dean on this one. It's time To Kill the Bill!

 - Just Thinking...

Please feel free to comment below or email me direct at  and your comment will be posted.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Senator Joseph Lieberman Is a Schmuck!

Everyone knows it would be impossible to have real health care reform without a public option. I'm disgusted at this point with President Obama's lack of leadership and the Democrats in general for failing to be more aggressive on this issue. I personally campaigned tirelessly for Obama and other Democratic candidates in 2008. My priorities were to end the Bush Wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan and concentrate those resources on domestic issues here at home. My number one motivation and priority was health care reform with a public option.

Now, 11 months into his presidency.  Obama still has 135,000 troops in Iraq and has announced a new expansion of the war in Afghanistan.

As far as the health care  "Public Option" is concerned, well needless to say that got thrown under the bus real quick. Other than some polite lip service early on, My New President hardly made the "Public Option" one of his priorities.

Democrats tried to placate us, by expanding Medicare. Seniors 55 to 64 would be given the option of "Buying In" (at their own expense, of course) to the already very popular and successful Medicare program. This was obviously not the public option we had been promised, but it was a start I thought. Besides, so the theory went, this would get Senator Joe Lieberman on board, since everybody knows he has been supporting the expansion of Medicare for years. As he states in this video.  Just three short months ago...

Well guess what?  Surprise, Surprise!  Joe Lieberman states on  "Face the Nation"  Sunday morning that he can no longer support the expansion of Medicare Provision and if it's included in the bill he will join Republicans and filibuster against it.

You see Joe Lieberman has never really supported Health Care Reform.  The truth is he's firmly in bed, financially and otherwise, with Big Insurance and Big Pharma.  He has continually done their bidding by undermining true health care reform every chance he gets.

Senator Joseph Lieberman should be stripped of his chairmanship and no longer seated with the Democratic Caucus.  He's a Traitor and yes indeed,  He's a Schmuck!

 - Just Thinking...

Please feel free to comment below or email me direct at  and your comment will be posted.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sharpton Blasts Woods for Lack of Mistress Diversity‏

Can't tell you how many times I've found this kind of deceitful, misleading propaganda in my e-mail inbox. In case you haven't seen this email or one of the many similar to it, I'll present it here in its entirety before I comment further.

Sharpton Blasts Woods for Not Having a Black Mistress!

The Rev. Al Sharpton held a press conference today to blast Tiger Woods for the lack of diversity among his mistresses. Sharpton claims that the lack of African-American women among Woods’ harem will have a negative affect on the black community, specifically poor young black girls.

“Why is it that a man who calls himself black can’t bring himself to cheat on his wife with a black woman?” said Sharpton, speaking to a group of supporters in Harlem . “What does it say to young black girls everywhere, when you pass them over? Shame on you Tiger Woods! What would your daddy say?”

Sharpton, who has long championed taking black women as mistresses, said that today’s black athletes need to stop neglecting black women when it comes to extramarital affairs, and should follow the examples of positive black role models such as Jesse Jackson and Martin Luther King, Jr., both of whom cheated on their wives with black women. Sharpton also stressed that cheating with African-American women would help the black community financially by giving black girls the chance to sell their stories to tabloids and gossip magazines.

(Now if all that wasn't enough ~ wait until you read this next quote.)

Added Sharpton, “I’m not asking you to not cheat on your wives, I’m just asking you to give back to your own community.”

Needless to say this e-mail is a complete and utter fabrication.  A Hoax!  Oh why am I being so polite?  It's a F*cking Lie!!

As near as I can tell, it originated from a spoof website known as Celeb Jihad.  Since then it's been picked up by a dozen or more websites.  Most of which present it as a joke, but wouldn't you know, there are a few right-wing political websites that try to pass it off as fact.  Now of course it's become a viral e-mail.  An e-mail that is actually being taken seriously by some. (Granted these are usually people with a Sarah Palen type mentality, but that unfortunately seems to be about 23% of the population ~ scary isn't it?) 

The real question here is why are so many people readily embracing and believing this story?  Why are some people, always ready to believe anything negative or disparaging they read or hear about the African-American Community? And why do they so eagerly and gleefully send this e-mail to everyone they know?

I can't help but think it's because it reinforces their own prejudices and stereotypes.  Perhaps it's a way for them to justify and rationalize the hate they harbor in their hearts.

The irony here, of course, is that so many of these people claim to be Christians and isn't this supposed to be the Christian Season that celebrates Peace on Earth and Goodwill Towards Men?

  - Just Thinking...

Please feel free to comment below or email me direct at  and your comment will be posted.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"Letting Go of God"

Julia Sweeney's "Letting Go of God" airs this month on Showtime.

Perhaps best known for her performances on Saturday Night Live (1990-1994) Julia Sweeney is a successful American Actress, Comedian and Author. Here she chronicles her journey of faith from a lapsed Catholic recommitting to the church, to Buddhist, to New Age Mystic, and finally agnostic/atheist whose philosophical transformation upsets her family and friends. This is a lighthearted (sometimes hysterical) look at a very serious subject. It's a fascinating and extremely entertaining one-woman stage show that follows up her critically acclaimed "God said Ha".
The remaining December schedule includes...

On Showtime Showcase: Thursday, December 10 at 7:55 AM Eastern.
and also at 8 PM Eastern that same night.

On regular Showtime: Saturday, December 12 at 10 AM Eastern.
and again on Wednesday, December 16 at 10:15 AM Eastern.

On Showtime 2: Thursday, December 17 at 1:40 PM.

If you're unable to catch it on Showtime may I strongly suggest you rent or buy the video. This show gives new meaning to the words "Must See".

Here's a 17 minute excerpt...

Please feel free to comment and thanks for reading.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Photo Blogs for Newborns - What a Wonderful Idea!

My Niece Sara and her Husband Michael have created a photo blog for their newborn baby Emily Anne . It's a very clever idea, they post once a week with lots of photos and updates about Emily's progress. Baby Emily is now 39 weeks old, and so far, every week of her young life has been documented. It's really quite beautiful. I don't know if they'll have the time or energy to keep this up, but I hope they do. Because one day, this will become a remarkable and cherished keepsake. Here's a link if you want to check it out...

Please feel free to comment below or email me direct at  and your comment will be posted.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Religious Absurdities

When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down an animal cruality ordinance for the City of Hialeah Florida, in 1993, Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah , the Court legalized the practice of Animal Sacrifice for religious purposes.

The Afro-Cuban/Caribbean religion known as Santeria, who was the Plaintiff in the case, rejoiced as animal rights activists despaired.

Contemporary mainstream Religions (Catholics, Christians, Jews and the like) renounced the Court's decision, lest they risk being associated with such barbaric practices. The fact is though, ever since animal sacrifices (for religious purposes) were made legal some 16 years ago, more and more mainstream religious sects have been returning to there ancient rituals.

Here we have Rabbi Shea Hecht from a synagogue in Queens, N.Y., who demonstrates to an NPR news reporter how to swing a chicken.

"You take it by the wing," explains the Rabbi "You put one wing over the other wing. See? And you swing it over your head like this."

Hecht holds the bird, waves it three times above his head, and says the prayer of Kapparot aka Kapparos, depending on heritage.

He prays that his sins will be transferred to the bird and he will escape the divine punishment that he deserves. The prayer is centuries old, and countless Orthodox Jews recite it every year in the days before Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement.

Hecht says waving the chicken isn't the point of this ritual. "The main part of the service," he says, "is handing the chicken to the slaughterer and watching the chicken being slaughtered. Because that is where you have an emotional moment, where you say, (preferably in a New York, Jackie Mason style dialect) 'Oops, you know what? That could have been me'."

While the hands of the authorities may be tied when it comes to religious sacrifice, New York City has given fines for leaving public places a mess and looking like a slaughterhouse, with blood and dead chickens all over the place.

You see the sacrifice of animals is nothing new. It's occurred throughout history in nearly every religion and every culture around the world. From Europe to Africa, from Asia to the Americas.

Most sacrifices were performed to appease angry Gods or to ensure prosperity. Sacrifices were also used to predict the future and of course to wash away sins.

The whole concept is very much supported by "The Holy Book of Hear Say" (a/k/a The Bible). Some of you might be familiar with the story of "Legions". It seems there was this man who lived near a cemetery and as a result had "Legions" of Evil Demons possessing him. God cast out the demons into a nearby herd of pigs. Those pigs, wild with demons, ran off a cliff and killed themselves therefore shedding blood and resolving the man of his sins.

This is very much the same way that Christians believe it was necessary for Jesus to die and shed his blood for their sins to be resolved.

Just Thinking...

Please feel free to comment below or email me direct at and your comment will be posted.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rita's Special Day

On this day I think of Mom - Rita T - My Mother Dear.
My biological Mom - without whom, I would not be here!

When all is said and done - she's the one who did me right!
Always there to care for me - Morning, Noon and Night.

It wasn't always easy, since I was one of four.
But one way or another we never were ignored.

Love that's true, and unconditional - is what it's all about.
When it came to My Mother's love - there never was a doubt.

My dad although he meant well, seldom could provide.
So Mother always had to work - if we were to survive.

Sometimes things got pretty rough, but she knew just what to do.
Mom was really pretty tough - and she always - saw us through.

Forever putting family first - as her own needs were set aside.
Making any, and every sacrifice, so the rest of us could thrive.

Unaware of her own heritage and not knowing who she was;
Mom was surely ever mindful - being adopted has its flaws.

She didn't let it get her though, her courage was forthright.
Facing down every challenge - so determined - yet polite.

Whether at the Wool Bureau - or in Fashion and Design;
Mom took over mid-town, and in Manhattan was sublime.

Already in her 60's, when she studied marketing at night.
At Bergen Community College. She was really quite a sight.

Always there to nurture me - mentor and support.
My mom never failed me. She never came up short.

Mom didn't try to smother me. She let me test my wings.
She trusted and believed in me, and let try new things.

When it came to my being gay? It's true, she shed a tear.
But then she said she loved me, - and told me not to fear.

How very insightful and perceptive, - My Mom turned out to be.
Explaining she had always known - and was waiting just for me.

You see Mothers are the first to know, - they have very little doubt.
But, they wait for you to tell them so, - they wait till you come out.

So Thank You Mom, for your Love, Support and Generosity.
And know that I won't soon forget, all you have done for me.

So now that the ides of of October - once again are here,
may I say Happy Birthday Mom and Have a Wonderful Year!

Please feel free to comment below or email me direct at and your comment will be posted.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I'm leaving on a "Road Trip" tomorrow. I'm driving up to the Garden State and New York areas.

"Garden State" - Somehow that sounds so much better than saying "New Jersey". I don't know why New Jersey has such a bad reputation, parts of New Jersey are actually quite beautiful. And, the garden grown tomatoes are some of the best in the world.

But if you've never lived there, the only thing most people know of New Jersey is the City of Newark. And the only thing most people See of New Jersey, is the trip from Newark Airport to midtown Manhattan. A brief section of the New Jersey Turnpike, that is littered with oil refineries, processing plants and power companies. It's definitely a "Sight" and a "Smell" to behold!

Anyway, I'm planning on seeing both family and friends up there. I'll be away for a few weeks, but I will have my laptop with me. So I'll be in touch via e-mail and my blog. Not sure how much time I'll have, but I'll try and keep posting.

Please feel free to comment below or email me direct at and your comment will be posted.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Tara's Special Day

Today's the day - Tara's Day.
I wouldn't have it any other way.

My other mother Tara and my very special friend.
She was always right there for me and ready to defend.

She made it look so easy. You know she really did.
So nurturing, loving and caring, always ready to forgive.

An inspirational influence - a force not to be denied.
Her enlightened humanist values, on which I still rely.

How can I hope to explain, or even possibly impart,
how Tara welcomed me in - and opened up her heart.

She loved me as her own - and treated me as such.
Now I'm forever grateful and love her back so much.

My Other Mother Tara and Matt my Special Dad.
Plus my Other Brother Gary. I was indeed a lucky lad.

The World's Fair and Freedom Land, Coney Island and Jones Beach.
Cherished youthful experiences that were well beyond my reach!

A parachute jump, a fun house romp and a roller coaster thrill.
A true "Cyclone"[1] experience - that lived up to its bill.

The Rockettes at Radio City and the great shows on Broadway,
Christmas in Rockefeller Center, with everything on display.

Shopping days in midtown, something I'll never forget.
We were great friends to Mr. Macy and the 11 Jewish Vets[2]

And then there was 1400[3] - and the Highbridge Neighborhood
a loving and unique experience that only we understood.

This boy was in a wonderland, that Tara helped provide.
Good friends, times and memories; We hoped would not subside.

So with overwhelming joy and love. I remember in this way.
My Other Mother Tara - who was born upon this day.

Please feel free to comment below or email me direct at and your comment will be posted.

[1] The "Cyclone" is the most famous attraction in all of Coney Island, and one of the most famous wooden roller coasters in all the world.

[2] E.J. Korvettes was a popular discount department store located on Fifth Avenue and 47th Street in midtown Mahattan. Urban legend had it that E.J. Korvettes stood for 11 Jewish, Korean Veterans.

[3] 1400 University Avenue in the Bronx, was a five-story walk-up, where we all lived, worked and played.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Just Thinking About Abortion...

I actually wrote most of this as a comment to a recent "Pro-Choice" blog post by KAYLA

I thought I would share it here as well...

If Men Could Get Pregnant - Argument Done!

No doubt about it, if men were having the babies, abortion would not only be legal; It would be a "Religious Rite"!

The male-dominated religions of the world would create special prayers and rituals for the "Holy Sacrament of Abortion"! Priests, Rabbis, Ministers and Muslin Clerics would be performing abortions (for a fee of course) on a daily basis.

And, if women were to dare challenge a man's Sacred and God given right to an Abortion, - Well! isn't there something in the "Holy Book of Hear Say" (a/k/a The Bible) about Stoning Insolent Females? :)

Now please don't misunderstand. I'm not saying I'm in favor of abortion. No, not at all! In fact, the whole idea of it makes me rather uncomfortable; but who am I to say, what a woman can or can't do with her own body?

Or any of us for that matter. I'm not real fond of tattoos either ( Callif ) but it's not like I want them outlawed or something, in fact (I'm loath to admit this) sometimes, on occasion, they can actually look kind of sexy.
Please feel free to comment below or email me direct at and your comment will be posted.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Thomas Jefferson Quotes...

I recently received one of those viral e-mails.

This particular e-mail, by using selective quotes, tried to imply that if Thomas Jefferson were alive today, he would be aligned with contemporary neocons and right-wing fundamentalist christian conservatives. Needless to say, I couldn't help but respond.

So, I thought I would share that response, as a new blog post...


While I admit to being surprised, I am also pleased that you sent me this e-mail featuring quotes by Thomas Jefferson. A man whose scholarly intellect I have long admired. Even if some of his best ideas may have come from the Magna Carta circa 1215, he and his colleagues showed the wisdom to adopt and embrace them.
Which is not to say that I'm completely on board with all of his thoughts, teachings and philosophies, but I do have a great deal of respect for the man.

I was especially happy to see one of my favorite quotes...
"It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on, would save one-half the wars of the world." -- Thomas Jefferson

I remember reflecting on the wisdom of that quote when George W. Bush led us into two wars and yet insisted on lowering taxes not once, not twice, but three times. The only President in the history of our Republic to lower taxes while committing us to war. The consequence of which was to spend the entire budget surplus he inherited and turn it into a massive new deficit.
Yet Republicans still claim, with a straight face no less, to be Fiscally Conservative.

The fact is, true health care reform, with a public option, could be paid for a few times over with
what we spend on unnecessary wars.
The irony of this, of course, escapes them. (much like Bin Laden did)
It seems to me, the choice is clear...

Health Care or Warfare,
The Common Good or The Common Destruction?

Anyway, I digress. (as usual)

So back to Jefferson.

As anyone who has ever read the Jefferson version of the Bible, or "The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth" as it is formally titled can tell you, Jefferson was a bit of an agnostic, if not an atheist, as well as a pacifist. Jefferson believed Christ to be a peace loving man, and a wise & moral teacher. He saw no evidence however to support the notion, that Jesus was the son of God.
Now, please permit me to share some of my favorite Jefferson quotes.
Thomas Jefferson on war...
"I abhor war and view it as the greatest scourge of mankind." -- Thomas Jefferson
"Conquest and or war with other nations is not in our principles. It is inconsistent with our government." -- Thomas Jefferson
"If there is one principle more deeply rooted in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest." -- Thomas Jefferson
"I have seen enough of one war never to wish to see another." -- Thomas Jefferson
"The most successful war seldom pays for its losses." -- Thomas Jefferson
"The spirit of this country is totally adverse to a large military force." -- Thomas Jefferson
"War as an instrument, is entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong; and multiplies, instead of indemnifying losses." -- Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson on poverty and the distribution of wealth...

"Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." -- Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson on God, religion and such...
"Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, 'if there be one', he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear." -- Thomas Jefferson
"Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion and question the existence of a God." -- Thomas Jefferson
"I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition ,Christianity, one redeeming feature. They are all alike, founded on fables and mythology." --Thomas Jefferson
"It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God." -- Thomas Jefferson
"In every country and every age, the priest had been hostile to Liberty." -- Thomas Jefferson
"If God is just, I tremble for my country." -- Thomas Jefferson
"Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced 1 inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half of the world fools and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and terror all over the earth." -- Thomas Jefferson

"I'm for freedom of religion, and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one religion over another." -- Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson on books and reading...

"I cannot live without books." -- Thomas Jefferson
"Books constitute capital. A library book lasts as long as a house, for hundreds of years. It is not, then, an article of mere consumption but fairly of capital, and often in the case of professional men, setting out in life, it is their only capital." -- Thomas Jefferson
This - as opposed to George W. Bush who once famously said "I don't really like books, I guess that's because I hate reading".

Thomas Jefferson on the censorship of books... (Sarah Palin, please take note)
"I am mortified to be told that, in the United States of America, the sale of a book can become a subject of inquiry, and of criminal inquiry too." -- Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson on big corporations...
"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." -- Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson on hate, intolerance, individual freedoms, homosexuality, and what we now call alternative lifestyles...
"I never will, by any act, word or deed bow to the religious shrine of intolerance." -- Thomas Jefferson
"Taste cannot be controlled by law. We must resist at all costs any attempt to regulate our individual freedoms and to legislate our personal moralities." -- Thomas Jefferson

And, of course, then there's this...
"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." -- Thomas Jefferson

It's perhaps worth noting , I have installed "Quote of the Day" gadgets on my Google home page.
So that every day I'm greeted with quotes from, among others, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein.
I also, as you may have noticed, have installed an "Atheist Quote of The Day" gadget on this blog page.
What fascinates me is how often The quote here is from, among others, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein.
Just Thinking...

Please feel free to comment below or email me direct at and your comment will be posted.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hate, in The Name of God!

The President speaks to children and says work hard and stay in school.
So this is controversial, what's the next controversy - the golden rule?
Apparently so, for weeks now Pastor Steven L. Anderson of the "Faithful Word Baptist Church", in Phoenix Arizona has been leading his congregation in prayer. Each Sunday they pray for the death of President Obama. As he explained to CNN he doesn't really care how the president dies, it could be of natural causes or however the Lord sees fit. "Read your Bible", he commands "The Lord is a Vengeful God".

A week or so ago Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) told a town hall meeting that the GOP still needs to find a "GREAT WHITE HOPE". ( Seriously, she really said that!)

"Republicans are struggling right now to find the great white hope," said Jenkins. "I suggest to any of you who are concerned about that, who are Republican, there are some great young Republican minds in Washington." As examples, Jenkins mentioned Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)

Then of course we have, "The Birthers" a thriving birth obsessed fringe of very "White" mostly Fundamentalist Christian Psychos who still insist that Obama is not an American Citizen. Even though Courts across the land including the Supreme Court of the United States have repeatedly, summarily and unanimously rejected the movement's theory.

There can be no denying it, these people are Hateful Racist Bigots who are desperately seeking a way to get the "Black Man" out of the "White House".

So is it any wonder that when all else fails, they will gather in their White Anglo Christian Church's and pray to a Non-Anglo Semitic Jew Named Jesus, that The President Should Die!!!

And people ask me why I'm not religious.

 - Just Thinking...

Please feel free to comment below or email me direct at and your comment will be posted.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Few More Thoughts About The Kennedy Boys

My friend Billy sent me an email today. It was a kind and gentle reminder that I've been neglecting my blogging. He's right of course, I haven't posted recently. His email and the fact that someone even bothered to notice my absence was perhaps just the inspiration and motivation I needed.
"Haven’t heard from you in days!", Billy wrote, "You haven’t updated your Ted Kennedy blog yet. His death was a real blow, even though it was expected, it really was the end of an era, an empire, an age of optimism and naïveté."

- Yes indeed it was Billy, indeed it really was. The end of an era and the loss of innocence. Or did we still have innocence left to lose?

Forgive me please, but once again - I do feel so inclined
to express some thoughts in meter and of course, in rhyme.

Was our Innocence ours to lose, or was it long since gone
way back when we first lost Bobby and Dear Brother John?

I don't know why it is and I don't know how to explain,
but ever since then, nothing seems to be quite the same.

Have I just gotten cynical, grouchy, cantankerous and old,
or is something palpable happening, that really needs to be told.

It was to a hopeful generation that the torch had been passed,
but what happened to our optimism? - Why didn't it last?

The "Edmundian" Forensics were my High School Forté,
when I wrote and delivered speeches that I remember 'til this day.

The competition was fierce - Oratory and Debate.
My pinnacle achievement - First Place in New York State.

"The Prospects For My Generation" is what I then spoke of,
So full of Piss and Vinegar; and Peace and Hope and Love!

Is it just my imagination and fond memories that persuade,
or were the sixties truly special and a uniquely confident decade.

We went to the Moon on July 20th, nineteen sixty nine,
but it wasn't Alice Kramden's foot that stepped out so sublime.

An Astronaut named Armstrong, fulfilled the Kennedy Pledge,
and it was his "Giant Leap for Mankind" that then gave us the edge.

Anything seemed possible and perhaps it truly was,
we seemed to work together and have a common cause.

Yes we had some hard times and we often disagreed
but we cared about each other and one another's needs.
So we created Medicare and then even Medicaid
it truly was remarkable, a benevolent decade.
The Kennedy's believed that health care was Not a privilege but a right,

so Ted diligently pursued this - working hard both day and night.

Now that they've all left us, does not their legacy implore,
that we find a way to do this - and give a little more.

Limbaugh, Beck and O'Reilly would surely disagree

but Limbaugh, Beck and Bill O' don't care about you and me.

Greed has taken over, you see it everywhere
let's all look out for # 1 and never, ever share.

You say that it's the deficit and we simply can't afford
but one way or another - we can always afford a War.

Maybe it's time we got our priorities in order people.
Just Thinking...

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ted Kennedy is Dead!

Knowing that I have a busy day planned for tomorrow (Wednesday) I tried to go to bed early tonight, well early for me anyway.

So I'm lying there, trying to drift off to sleep while listening to the radio softly playing in the background. It's late night Tuesday or actually early Wednesday August 26, 2009 at about 1:30 a.m. when I hear the news. "This is just in, and as yet unconfirmed, but ABC NEWS is reporting that Senator Edward Kennedy is Dead at the age of 77. "

I immediately sat up with a start. I felt a surprising sense of Shock and Overwhelming Grief. I say surprising because it's not like we didn't know this was coming. We all knew he had "Inoperable" (aka Terminal) Brain Cancer but Wow what a sense of Sorrow and Loss I'm feeling right now.

Truly the end of an era, the last, of the Kennedy Boys Is Dead!

I'm sure I'll have more to say about this in the days to come, but I'm going to try and go back to sleep right now. I just wanted to post something in the meantime.

Sometimes - lately, it seems like the world is changing to fast for me.

    Just Thinking...

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Apple Annie's Special Day!

My Own Tia Anna, Celebrates This Day.
A landmark year, that I won't giveaway.

Not that Anne would care, I'm willing to bet;
age is Not something, Apple-Annie does fret.

Unlike me who panics - with each passing year.
she takes it in stride, with apparent good cheer.

I don't know how she stays - so young, fit and spry,
and can seemingly ignore - the passing of each July.

Ponce De Leon would be jealous - I tell you the truth,
for Anne must have discovered his Fountain of Youth.

She surfs the world web with ease and delight,
and sends emails aplenty, almost every night.

Her collection of Lions, for "Leo" - her Zodiac Sign,
is second to none, with every shape, style & design.

Perhaps it's Sinatra's, steadfast and tuneful advice,
that keeps her "Young at Heart" and so full of life.

I remember as a kid on a hot summers day,
she'd pack up sandwiches and take us away.

We'd board, if I recall, on bus twenty seven.
It was just Orchard Beach, but to us it was heaven.

So patient, so pleasant, so kind and so nice,
Anne was always there, to relieve pain and strife.

Her youthful exuberance is as evident today,
as it was years ago, to this young child at play.

So a Very Happy Birthday, I'm Sending Anna's Way;
and May the Best Things in Life, by Her Side, Always Stay!

    Just Thinking

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Remembering Cronkite...

Walter Cronkite
1916 - 2009

Long before The Networks, would tell us what to think.
There was a man named Cronkite, who was truly distinct.

Back when there was still real news, and not just sensation.
There was a voice in America, that narrated the nation.

A true journalist he was, fact finder, and truth teller.
An honest reporter of news, and never, an opinionated yeller.
He blinked back a tear when Kennedy died.
But still we could see, how he cried deep inside.

From JFK, to MLK, and RFK too.
Cronkite was there, to help get us through.

Through triumphs and tragedies, he would hold our hand.
From the man on the moon, to that damn Viet Nam.
So unique was he, that no words could describe.
So they coined a new phrase, by which he would abide.
As he steadied our ship, through each stormy tide,
He became the "Anchor Man" on whom we relied.
It was his great love of history, he attempted to share
When he re-created it for us, in the show "You Are There".
He explained the "Twentieth Century" as only he could.
And, I don't know how he did it, but we all understood.
From Einstein to Atoms and DNA Recombinant,
he mastered it all, no topic was too abundant.
A generation has passed, since he first left the air.
Yet still we remember, and we will always care.
"And that's the way it was", what else can I say,
As I remember this great man, who just passed away.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

"My Sister's Keeper" - The Ultimate Tearjerker Chick Flick?? (In theaters now)

Trust me, as Esther and I looked around the theater to find descent seats, the fact that I was going to be the one and only guy in this audience was not lost on me. Now, Dear Essie-Mae has dragged me to many a "Chick-Flick" over the years but this had never happened before. The only guy in the theater, "Wow, this is awkward" I thought to myself. I could also tell by some of the looks I was getting, that my presence was not particularly welcome either. It was as if I was invading on their turf or detracting from their women only time. Some of them tried to conceal from my view the big boxes of Kleenex they had come prepared with. ( This movies reputation for being a tearjerker was obviously being heeded.) An audience filled with women, ladies and yes, lots of young teenage girls; and apparently all made a bit uncomfortable by my presence.

I can remember thinking, maybe if I swish it up a little bit, it will put them more at ease. Perhaps Esther and I could break into a "Will & Grace" routine and then my presence might be more tolerable. (Strange isn't it, the plight of the male homosexual, always having to either "Butch it up" or "Swish it up" just to have their presence tolerated.) Anyway, I looked to Esther for some guidance in this but she seemed oblivious to my predicament. She was far more concerned that a group of young giggling girls was already occupying our favorite seats. She shook her head in utter disgust and gave them one of those disapproving school teacher looks. Esther too, can be very territorial. (It occurred to me that Esther would've made a great Nun, save the fact that she's Jewish, of course.)

The worst part of all this, was that I couldn't figure out a way to blame my discomfort and feelings of vicissitude on Esther. After-all, I was the one who chose this film. You see, we take turns picking movies from week to week, and this was my week, my pick, and therefore all my fault. Fact is, Esther didn't seem to thrilled about my selection from the get go. But trust me, had it turned out to be a complete disaster, I'm sure I would've found an angle. (It's a guy thing, you know.)

Anyway in defense of my choice, I can only say that I had just seen a fascinating Cameron Diaz interview with Bill Maher and I was further intrigued when I heard about plot changes between the book and the movie.

As it turns out, "My Sister's Keeper" proved to be an excellent film with an absolutely brilliant cast. No, this is not a weepy, predictable, manipulating tearjerker, as some critics have stated. True, it is an emotional movie that deals with some sensitive issues like "Death" (& dying) and "Life" (& living), but it's hardly one of those silly "Lifetime" tearjerkers that attempts to make you cry on cue, every chance it gets. In fact, if there were such cues, I must have missed them.

Not that I have anything against tearjerkers, like Bette Davis "I Adore Cheap Sentiment". It's just that this - wasn't that. I never reached for my hankie (popcorn napkin), not even once.

I actually found the film to be more serious than emotional. A poignant piece, maybe, but one that deals with timely topics. Genetic engineering for example, like it or not it's here and it's here to stay. The movie opens for discussion the many legal, ethical and moral issues that will no doubt become more relevant and common place, as time and science progress. Granted the film fails to explore these topics with any great depth, but the fact that it raises them at all, is in my book, a good thing.

Speaking of books, a word of caution here. If you were a fan of the best selling novel by Jodi Picoult you may be very disappointed with this film. My best advice is to forget about the book, it's story line and plot. There are many changes here, especially the ending. While I won't spoil the film for anyone by exposing those differences. I will say that the books ending had an unexpected twist which was a bit more powerful and maybe even shocking. The movie's ending, on the other hand, was a bit more predictable, less contrived and perhaps therefore, more appropriate; but that's not really a debate I wish to engage in, here.

So try and watch the movie anew, free of any preconceived notions and or expectations. If you can do that, a tall order I know, I think you'll be a fan of both the movie and novel, in their own right.

Both Essie-Mae and I agreed on this one - 3and 3/4 Stars (if not 4) out of 5 - with stunning and powerful performances by Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, Alec Baldwin and Joan Cusack. Honorable mention to Sofia Vassilieva, Evan Ellingson, Jason Patric, Thomas Dekker and Heather Wahlquist. Direction: Nick Cassavetes; Screenplay: Jeremy Leven and N. Cassavetes; Based (loosely) on the book by Jodi Picoult.

    Just Thinking...

For a preview of "My Sister's Keeper" click on link...

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Saturday, July 11, 2009


Religulous, Now on DVD - Think about the word Religion and it's synonym Ridiculous and you'll completely understand why I really liked this movie!

Written by and Starring the ever controversial and outspoken comedian Bill Maher and Directed by Larry Charles of "Borat" fame, Religulous takes us 'round the world exposing the absurdities, peculiarities and ridiculous foolishness that is organized religion.

Now granted, some of these are really easy targets, like the Creationist Museum in Hebron Kentucky where they believe and teach that the earth is only about 5,000 years old and that man actually coexisted with dinosaurs.

He also shows us a scene from a 2008 Republican Presidential Debate where a majority of the panel expresses a belief in Creationism. (Yeah just what I want, one of those guys with their finger on the button.)

Maher further skewers the absurd ludicrousness of Scientology and the equally ludicrous and racist teachings of the Mormons. Yes, easy targets all, but he also goes on to expose the superstitious underbelly of mainstream religions as well. Including but not limited to, Catholics, Muslims and Jews.

As an Atheist, I naturally found all of this to be very gratifying but at the same time, somehow sadly insufficient. That was until the closing monologue where Bill Maher explains why religion is not only holding us back but actually endangering the future of all mankind and the planet we live on. It's at this point where the movie becomes more than just a clever, witty and satirical expose but rather a meaningful documentary with serious food for thought.

The DVD with it's extra features, additional monologues, deleted scenes and commentaries continues this enlightening theme. It turns what was an acceptably good theater going experience into a masterpiece at home.

3 and 1/2 stars for the movie as seen in theaters.

5 Awesome Stars for the Complete DVD. By all means rent it or perhaps even buy it. This is a film you can watch repeatedly and still discover something new each time.

   Just Thinking

For a preview of "Religulous" click on link...

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Curious Case of Michael Jackson

August 29, 1958 - June 25, 2009

Thursday, June Twenty Fifth, Two Thousand Nine,
A day that will be marked in time.

'Cause something Iconic, happened this day,
Michael Joseph Jackson, passed away.

Impromptu vigils everywhere,
from the streets of L. A. to Washington Square.

Hong Kong, Vegas, London, Madrid,
the world all knew him, since he was a kid.

There was an audible moan, in New York's Times Square,
when on the big screen, the news was declared.

A Musical Genius, A Late Night Joke,
His Mesmerizing Dance, left a lump in our throat.

Tabloid Caricature, Provocateur,
Legendary Oddity, and so much more.

Was he the King of Pop, or the King of Sleaze?
That all depends, on what you believe.

You see something Ironic, happened this day,
Michael Joseph Jackson, passed away.

Rest in Peace Michael, - Rest in Peace.

  Just Thinking 

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Movies and Me, & Essie-Mae Makes Three. (I don't even know what that means)

I've always been a bit of a movie buff and or addict or shall we say devotee. Anyway, I like movies. So does my friend Esther, in fact we go out to see a new film together on average about once a week. Usually on Wednesdays after school.

Esther or Essie-Mae, as I'm sometimes wont to call her, is an Educator and The Miami-Dade Public Schools let out early on Wednesdays so it's convenient. Esther is one of my dearest, closest and oldest friends. We've known each other since college, so she's obviously pretty old, in fact, she's a year older than me. I've always liked that about her. :)

We're just friends of course, you know how it is, every fag needs a hag. Esther's married, her husband Clay's a great guy, also a friend since college days and they have a daughter named Elizabeth. Liz just recently finished her Masters. Great timing, I know, with this economy and all. But, she's a bright kid, I'm sure she'll be just fine. We're all pretty close and that's kind of nice.

Anyway, between the films I see first run with Essie-Mae, Cable TV, NetFlix DVDs, Blu-Ray and the ones recommended to me by my other BFFL Lucy (Billy Buns from San Francisco), I've watched a lot of Movies. So it seems appropriate, that from time to time, I share with you some of my Favorite and Least Favorite Films.

So Coming Soon! - To a Blog Near You! My thoughts on film.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Koogle - The Kosher Search Engine

Koogle an obvious play on the word Google and the Jewish noodle pudding of the same pronunciation.

Koogle is the new Hebrew language search engine which was unveiled on June 15, 2009. It's specifically designed for the religiously observant Orthodox Jew. It permits the Orthodox to search the Web without accidentally or inadvertently encountering any sexually explicit or otherwise undesirable material. The site was developed at the encouragement of Rabbis seeking a way for Orthodox Jews to safely browse the Web.

To experience Koogle simply go to...
or for English translation...

But, Beware The Wrath Of God. Never attempt to use Koogle after sundown on Fridays or all day Saturday (The Jewish Sabbath). Surfing on Shabbat explains developer Yossi Altman will cause your computer to crash!

You can't make this stuff up! Religions are so strange.

     Just Thinking

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Remembering Dad... (Father's Day 2009)

I called my Mom for Father's Day.
Not that I had anything special to say.

Now that he's dead and long since gone,
I sometimes remember his lack of charm.

My Mom shares these thoughts, as well I know.
Since she never fails to tell me so.

I'm getting better though, this is true.
Don't resent him near so much as I tended to.

As I get older wouldn't you know,
he wasn't so bad, when all gets told.

The more I walk life's lonely path
I understand better his constant wrath.

How disturbed and troubled he must have been,
to treat us the way he did back then.

How disturbed and troubled he obviously was
and how I did nothing to help his cause.

Sometimes, I really miss you, Dad.

     Just Thinking

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My First Holy Communion!

I was having one of those "Religion" Vs. "Reason" discussions on line the other day. When, this Frustrated, Sacrosanct "Theist" finally ran out of Rational Defenses for his Superstitious Beliefs, he came up with the following...

"You know what? - The only reason you're an Atheist, is because you're a Gay."

Needless to say, not all gays are Atheists. In fact there's a multitude of Gay Religious Groups, Churches, Synagogues, Temples even Mosques, (on the DL of course) but his statement did get me to thinking.

Even though I was raised in the Catholic Church, Parochial Schools and all, was it easier for me to resist Indoctrination because I was Gay? You see I always knew I was gay from my earliest recollections (about age 3). I always thought boys were cuter and more interesting than girls. Except, of course, when girls were talking about boys, that - I must admit, could be pretty interesting too. I didn't like sports much as a kid, but Barbie's Dream House always fascinated me a bit. Now granted, at age three I didn't know what it was called, but let's just say I knew I was different.

Now don't get me wrong, it's not like I was a big Swish or anything. I knew how to "Pass". Growing up in The Bronx, going to Catholic School, and dealing with Nuns, Brothers and Priests everyday, I kind of had to. After all, we all know how Straight the Clergy is. Right? Well at least so I thought at the time.

I not only had to "Pass" as Straight growing up, but I had to "Pass" as a Catholic as well. You know, pretend like I actually Believed all this crap they were teaching me. Trust me, it wasn't always easy. You see, I was a skeptic and a bit of a cynic, pretty much from the start.

Granted, when I was very young I did sort of reluctantly embrace the Jesus Story, but I kind of believed in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, as well! (although, I still believe in fairies - just not the same kind.) But, When I found out the Truth about the Santa Dude and the Bunny Guy, I just naturally figured the whole Jesus thing was Bullshit too.

I remember in second grade we were preparing for our "First Holy Communion", Sister Mary Whatshername told us we must never, ever bite into the "Host".

(For those of you unfamiliar with Catholic Absurdity, The Host, The Holy Eucharist, is an unleavened wafer that Catholics Believe is the body of Christ. Not that represents the body of Christ, like many other Christians believe, but actually is The Body of Christ. They even have a word for it, it's called the "Transubstantiation". Don't believe me? Look it up on the Vatican Website or any Catholic Encyclopedia for that matter. It's there, it really is!)

Anyway, when Sister told us we must never bite the Host, but rather, let it dissolve slowly in our mouth, and then swallow, I raised my hand and asked, why? Innocent enough question, I thought. I wasn't trying to be a smart ass, really. I was only seven, after-all. Well, She looked at me sternly, with her eyes ablaze and shouted...

"Because It Will Bleed In Your Mouth and You Will Burn In The Fires of Hell For All Eternity. That, Young Man, Is What Happens When You Violate The Body of Christ!" Ah, come on Sister I said, "You don't really believe that, do you?" With that, Sister raced down the aisle to where I was and vigorously slapped me across the face several times. (no easy feat for a 200 lb, 4 ft. 11 in. Nun)

        Typical Second Grade Class at Sacred Heart - Highbridge - The Bronx, New York City

Latter that month, when we made our "First Holy Communion" the first thing I did was Bite into the Host, as Hard as I could. You Know What? No Blood, Not a Drop! So I just kind of Grinned! I grinned as I solemnly walked back to my pew with my hands clasped in prayer. I did just as Sister taught me and just as we had been rehearsing for weeks. And that grin on my face. Believe it or not? No one saw it as sarcasm. In fact, Sister latter commented, "I could tell by the look on your face Edward, that you were finally filled with the Sanctifying Grace of the Holy Spirit". She kissed me on the forehead as she gleefully exclaimed how proud she was. It was all I could do not to burst out laughing, but I didn't.

You see, even at the age of seven, I was learning how to "Pass". How to survive, in this spiritually strange, and superstitious alien environment. I was learning how to be what Sister called, "A Perfect Little Angel". I was indeed, the Perfect Little "Straight Boy" and the Perfect Little "Catholic"!

     Just Thinking

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