Monday, December 21, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Today, Senator Joseph Lieberman admitted that he essentially played an ideologically based hand in this Congressional poker game by, in a mere 48 hours, single-handedly ending the last possibility of a government health insurance alternative for American health consumers. He might have necessitated the Senate and President Obama finding the reset button on health care reform. The information in this reform process has become jarred and the integrity of Congressional health reform, that aligns with the spirit of true Modern Progressivism, has been lost if this course is maintained by the U.S. Senate.
I am not necessarily for a single-payer health care system. I do not believe that a forced market is an appropriate means to both control cost and access fairly and efficiently. I am a firm believer, however that in order for any marketplace to provide consumers with the most information and fair access to a good, while maintaining relative equality in quality and price, that marketplace must continue to grow have as many alternatives as possible.
Ironically, this is not fundamental departure from principles of conservative socio-political economics. It was the Gipper himself who once said that, "Freedom is the right to question and change the established way of doing things. It is the continuous revolution of the marketplace. It is the understanding that allows to recognize shortcomings and seek solutions." Our progression as a nation, and as a national economy is dependent upon our ability to question the economic marketplace we maintain as consumers and producers and investors, supporting its integrity, while nurturing its growth and evolution. Evolution, or continuous revolution, occurs through an introduction of new alternatives, new elements, that move that which is evolving into a new stage, a more productive and secure stage. Survival is dependent on the successful adoption and integration of those new alternatives.
Our health care system will not survive if the correct elements are not put into place, forcing its evolution. I was dismayed with the Senate Democrat's willingness to concede on many critical points of a healthcare reform bill that their House counterparts did not. A large part of it is due to the Senate's nature, so it is to be expected. In the end, I found that they made a great concession, moving to expand Medicare coverage for 55-64 year olds. Unfortunately, this has now been moved to the legislative chopping block because it is "one step closer to a single payer system," according to Mr. Lierberman. In reality, it would be, just as a public option would be, another alternative within the health care marketplace. In fact, it would expand the ability to that alternative to exact a degree of buying power and consumer advocacy impact. In itself, an expansion of Medicare as a publicly supported option would be a cost-control mechanism as well as an efficient manner to ensure access.
Somehow, the idea of expanding health care through providing an alternative within a market has been framed as a disadvantage to all taxpaying Americans. Rhetorically it makes no sense to me, and economically it is a clear lie. Our entire economic system, in every industry, has relied solely on the power of American consumers to speak effectively and collectively with their resources. When no one bought the Delorean, the Delorean failed and had to leave the marketplace. When no one bought HD DVD's, they ceased being made. The critical point that spelled defeat for these two goods that were made in completely different eras, but both suffered from high costs and poor relative quality (much like modern american health care as a whole), was the presence of alternatives within the marketplace that consumers could use instead. An alternative that is of better quality and is not as cost-prohibitive (i.e.--Ford Mustang, Blu-Ray DVDs). No such alternative exists within our health system, and that is the system's fundamental fault. It's now also what this so-called reform is moving towards NOT addressing head on.
The reset button is on the right-hand side Senators.
Reset - Big Boi, from the monmentally, life affirming and changing "Speakerboxxx". This song used to ride in my Powder Blue Astro Van through Illinois' cornfields with Love and Hope.
Monday, December 14, 2009
[Aside: Reality is defined as:
Daydreaming may be someone's only saving reality in fact. If the current state of being that is THE only influencing factor in the above-mentioned "state of things as they are or appear to be", at least the only influencing factor in that very milli-minute moment, is too harsh or limiting, why would a person not elect to daydream instead.
So I've been daydreaming these past couple of days. Hence my lack of writing, and my abundance of suckiness within my blogging sphere of my reality, my existence. Some ideas and feelings are too abstract and too drawn out to be captured in mere tactile Standard American English words.
But I am back. And I am in the holiday spirit even when I have not partaken of any spirits. That is a beautiful thing.
The holidays are always an interesting time to observe oneself and one's contemporaries, friends, compadres, compatraiates, fellow daydreamers. It is the one time of year that Daydreaming is not only encouraged, it is almost enforced. The magnificent alternative realities we humans create around the holiday season (I've just recently visited New York's Manhattan Island and my perception of the holiday is still framed within Fifth and Madison Avenues) can be very moving and influential. Like a drug (like chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, etc.) the creations can bring out different emotions and actions in different people, all depending on their state prior to consumption. The sad souls may become sadder. The rich souls may flaunt their riches more than usual. The rich people may flaunt their riches more than usual. The sad people, may drink more.
The holidays always remind me to be truly thankful for the sky. For one, the daylight is shorter thanks to Daylight Savings (among other things a mechanism to hide the detrimental effects of non-naturally renewing sources of energy) so the little daylight I have has to be taken advantage of in creative ways in conjunction with a Modern Day Dandy's Buppie 9-5. Most importantly though, the sky is where I knew my psyche, my soul, as well as the head I could carry it in, was safe in my dreams even during the daylight.
So I keep on daydreaming, especially in this time of year when the daylit sky, where they've made it seem dreams don't belong, is shortened. The sky is a safe harbor for dreams. This time of year and all times of the year. Many moons have passed and many dreams have become "reality". Some of those dreams were thumping about in the night, some were running through the sunlit sky.
I am decorating my apartment for Christmas. Gotta have some Christmas cheer. That I definitely get from my Grandparents.
There are two songs I just heard after a long time. They both were really instrumental in my childhood. They both also were really inspirational, and remain so. Especially in times like these. Whoda thought at the onset of this Millennium, this quickly ending decade, that we would be thrust in a zeitgeist of war, poverty, economic strain and political strife. It definitely makes it harder for me to argue with my Pentecostally minded mother on abortion, birth control and marriage equality + freedom as the necessary future of our world, thus our national society. I keep my head in the clouds with my daydreams nonetheless.
Sounds Of Blackness - Optimistic
Earth, Wind, + Fire (One of The Greatest Bands to ever LIVE and play music) Keep Your Head to the Sky - Keep Your Head to the Sky
We live, We love, and We learn. We're daydreamers.
Monday, November 23, 2009
I'm not sure why this quote got me today. I think the stresses of life are starting to mentally pull me into fighter mode. Sorry if you cross my path at this time.
Someone told me that it's all a game. I disagreed then, and I pretty much still do. For the most part.
It's gotta be a war. Not just any war, but a fight to the death. Those hyper-amped kung-fu fight films I used to watch with my dad in the basement. Just when it seemed like the evil opponent had approached the point of absolutely demolishing our chosen hero, this divinely equipped protagonist seeking their revenge, reward or reconciliation, that hero found some other amulet or tool to keep fighting. And ultimately win. To keep fighting.
The stakes seem too high and my first instinct is to fight back with whatever I can grab. So yeah, it's gotta be a war. Living, learning, loving, politicking, planning.
Cause if it were a game, there would be rules. Right? Or are there rules? Is there a right and a wrong way to engage? Are the rules etched in stone, or do I have my own erasable tablet to write and rewrite them as I go along?
It's a crazy road we travel, with sharp turns and bumps we often do not see, let alone are able to plan for accordingly. We do a lot of things in our lives to find some semblance of happiness, a measurement always based upon the lack of happiness or abundance we have experienced in memorable (and possibly unmemorable) past.
I've lost a lot of friends this year to the pursuit of happiness. In many different ways.
Some lost sight of the road. Some lost their trust in the road.
Lesson #1. You can't love if you can't trust.
I only want to do the right thing and spread love. First, I've got to get back to a place where I love the road myself. Where I trust The Road again.
There are days that come to answer, and days that come to question.
Does our life experiences shape us into fighters or gamers? Warriors vs. jesters? Is one way better? Or is it about balancing the two? It is always hard to forget the past, especially the parts that singed you. What is a game to some, is a fight to others.
That's enough of that. My **new vocabulary alert** "bestie" (aka - homie, best friend, ace boon coon, etc.) told me tonight that I think too much. I'm too damn smart. So true, so true. That's my weapon though. Always has been.
Everything in life is relative. One person's dilemma is another person's salvation. At the end of the day, we all want to be happy and free, and we're all willing to fight with whatever weapons we know to win the fight and have that.
I'm listening to The Road from Zero 7's latest album, Yeah Ghost. Check it out. Zero 7 might be the best musicians in the game right now. Hands down. Transcendental music.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
So here's my catch-up. It is most importantly a happy shoutout to my fellow blogger + friend + former roommate + neighbor + co-conspirator and rabble-rouser, Ms. Abbigail S. Cawley.
This shout-out is not just any shout-out though. It is also a response to her challenge for a Mario Kart Style "Battle Mode" bloggin war.
A war which I will win, of course. ;)
Check out her blog, Attempted Domestication.
Today in the House Financial Services Committee, the members of the Congressional Black Caucus used their caucus power (novel!) to stop the committee vote on a bill that is a major priority of both the Obama administration and House Democratic leadership (Frank + Pelosi). Their objective was to draw attention to the issue most important to their voting constituents.
Dude, where the f*ck is my job?!
I am glad someone [namely the someones elected to do so] finally stood up to the well intentioned, but easily misguided Democratic leadership of the House. In this equation, they are the only variable that can address the realities that Representative Waters and her CBC colleagues brought to the Committee's attention today. The realities that the current recession poses systemic risks to poor and middle class African-Americans.
In no way am I supporting this statement as an undermining of the overall impact our economic recession is having on all communities within the US. The reality however, is that communities that have historically been economically vulnerable are uniquely challenged in surviving the direction we're continuing in. The overall impact of rising costs of living (basic living! why is milk so expensive?!) combined with already limited collective resources, limited economic growth and limited political empowerment can make recovery dangerously limited if not impossible, and harder hitting at the same time.
Essentially, what is our recession is a lot of folks' depression, and a lot of them folks are African-Americans. Today some of their reps finally stood up, and did just that. Repped. Hopefully they will continue to represent, and be received. Hopefully, Barney Frank will recognize the opportunity he has been given to use his policymaking role to stimulate the creation and recirculation of wealth in the areas represented by the dissenting members of his Committee, and for similarly urban and rural poor constituents, through supporting and encouraging community banks. While the financial regulatory landscape for large financial service institutions such as Bank of America, Chase and Goldman Sachs (that's all we got left, right?....hmmmm...) is it's own systemic risk to address, it is time to get to solving the problems among the people, and the systems they are finding the gravest challenges and setbacks in. It's time to invest our collective resources towards our collective needs, and remove the mask that depicts the multi-billion dollar financial industry's political-economic dominance as a collective benefit.
Today, I remembered this portion of a Malcolm X speech. He delivered his "Message To The Grassroots" Address in Detroit, MI., my hometown, and currently the metropolitan area (w/ 1 million + population) suffering from the highest unemployment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is the portion of his address that sticks out the most to me, especially these days:
"It’s like when you go to the dentist, and the man’s going to take your tooth. You’re going to fight him when he starts pulling. So he squirts some stuff in your jaw called novocaine, to make you think they’re not doing anything to you. So you sit there and ’cause you’ve got all of that novocaine in your jaw, you suffer peacefully. Blood running all down your jaw, and you don’t know what’s happening. ’Cause someone has taught you to suffer —— peacefully." (Message to Grassroots, Malcolm X, October 10, 1963; Detroit, MI)
With this Novocaine running through our systems, we might not feel those systems (economic system, social security system, education and social welfare, etc.) break down until it's too late. **Note, I mean social security and social welfare in the most lower case senses possible. In the broadest sense of the definitions of those two concepts. As broad as the tent of the grandest circus. Not the "tent" of the Republican party. Although, these days it's hard to tell the difference between the circus and the GOP. I wonder, why?
Sarah Palin's a f*cking clown, that's why.
I love my job. We spent the whole day in a conference room analyzing every, minute action of a group of individuals. Me and two other people. Just for the three of us to tell hundreds of other people what they do and how to do it better.
I love my job?
I love my life, so I tolerate my job. I love my job because my job is now the biggest part of securing my life, which I love. By default I guess this means I love my job. Or does this mean I love what my job does for me? That sounds like a question for someone in a shitty relationship. Except my job's not shitty. I sat and analyzed all day. C'est ma vie.
I have never in my life been more excited about getting this leg of the trip over, and getting to Friday. Are we there yet?
I have not watched Conan O'Brien since he started hosting The Tonight Show. He has won me over. He's been ripping on Kirstie Alley with no apologies. I don't condone bullying, but I am firmly pro-hilarity. Now he's interviewing Spencer and Heidi from some show about some rich, white benefactor kids from some town in Southern California full of other rich, white kids who don't have much else to do in their life but be rich and white (and somehow get famous for it). "I feel like every president just gets as much hating as Spencer Pratt so that's the next level of haterness." --Spencer Pratt, famous for...being an asshole.
Thankfully I have instituted Wednesday Night Football courtesy of my Wii and procurement of Madden 10.
My Project Manager used the term "hard-on" in regular conversation with me and a woman on our team. The context? Don't remember. He's only the second person this week to use it during a meeting, albeit in a non-sexual way. Totally within a professional context. All for the client. Which makes it even more awkward. I remember the awkwardness following the dropping of a hard H "Hard-on" much more than I could ever remember what he said before or after that. In my head I interjected with "What, you have no more ideas, but your still talking? I'm sorry. Huh?" At first I thought it was an intentional "that's what she said" type of joke, so out loud I laughed. He's no Michael J. Scott though. Michael J. Scott has couth. Just no common sense.
I love my job.
Sammy Sosa, wtf?! I'll need more time to think on this one.
I guess he should get a cut of Spencer and Heidi's career earnings.
Let's sleep on that one.
The idea of incorruptible glory found me today. Randomly. Of course.
So, I royally jacked up something today. Something I do every now and then. "Hey, playas mess up too! (Friday After Next)"
In truth it won't be as big of a deal in the world as it actually is to me. While it's not earth shattering what I did, or the response I received, I did think about it much of the day within the context of this quote. How easy is it to lose sight of just how small we really are in this world? I guess just as easily as it is to lose sight that, at the same time we, and our actions, can be widely significant.
Except when it comes to life. Perhaps this inability to corrupt life and it's glory is why it [Life] can continue to go on.
There's nothing we've done to live and bask in the glory that is Life. It is a free gift, given to each of us, and renewed in each of us, from day-to-day.
Knowing this, it makes sense that since it is by nothing I have done to receive it [it being Life], there is nothing I can do to corrupt it at its essence. Things may seem corrupted, discorded, even completely destroyed at times. Looking deeper though, those are static conditions of life that are only at the surface level. Those times when it seems like you are in a corner, up against a wall or guilt or shame ridden. Nothing is as big in the grand scheme as we can make it in the present. Life, its glory, is bigger than we can fully comprehend, let alone tarnish beyond its surface, no matter how seemingly grave our actions or resulting circumstances may be.
I guess this might also mean that Sarah Palin is not as big of a threat to American progress and evolution as my gut tells me she is when I see her speak. She was on Oprah today and it took every fiber of my being not to book a one-way off this rock for the sake of my future sanity and national pride. Sarah Palin is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but she is sharp. Definitely not the brightest bulb in the marquee, but she hasn't been replaced yet. Her inability, while being interviewed by Katie Couric, to name a major news publication that she has read shows she's not the most well-read either. They covered this during the Oprah interview. When questioned about it, Palin somehow figured out how to deflect responsibility for her inability to answer a simple and pointed question while running for Vice-President of the United States.
More than any of her inabilities (and there are plenty to choose from), this ability of responsibility-deflection is why I am most afraid of Sarah Palin. She should be a non-entity, seeing as though she has no relevant place in national politics any longer. Unfortunately, she won't go away, and no one seems to be interested in making her go away. How has a living moot point become a self-appointed "spokesperson" for "the real America" (a phrase she uses in different iterations quite frequently while being interviewed by Oprah), and now a national bestseller? Guttenberg must be pissed. The ancient Egyptians too. From hieroglyphics to THIS?!
America, I remain in awe. Your glory seems to be easily corruptible.
"Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth." (V for Vendetta)
Let's sleep on that.
I am always impressed by just how lazy I can be sometimes. This is commonly on a Sunday. Today probably set a record. I like to think that it was well deserved, however. I haven't been in my apartment, on my couch, with endless football on TV in a while.
In fact, this day of laziness has not yet ended. This posting is just my response to the Bud Light Tailgate Approved 3-in-1 Condiment Gun. "Have you ever had problems putting on a condiment?" Wow. Thanks for that. NFL, NBC, and of course Anheiser-Busch. You all are the true problem-solvers. Almost as good as the funcooker.
Someone please stop this world!
Except for the Colts. Please don't stop them, because I'd like them to stop the Patriots.
This quote from Frantz Fanon was the first thing I read this morning, and it ended up shaping everything else I faced throughout the day.
There are in every part of the world men who search.
I am not a prisoner of history. I should not seek there for the meaning of my destiny.
I should constantly remind myself that the real leap consists in introduction invention into existence.
In the world through which I travel, I am endlessly creating myself." (Frantz Fanon)
Everything is a search, really.
That's all to say.
That, and "go Colts."
I'm on a pursuit to continue being happy. That's what I wake up for, it's what I go to sleep thinking about, and it's what I dream about during the in-between time. While the moon is hung high on a string, it's whispering for me to be happy.
One of the most critical components of happiness for me is freedom. Freedom to feel. Freedom to play. Freedom to think. Freedom to believe. All of that. Most important though, to my own happiness, is the Freedom to express.
So this is a challenge, and an opportunity for me, myself and I. For all three of us ;) to come together, sit down and take the time to exercise a new freedom of expression.
I remember one of the first times I found happiness after a long period of seeming to only be surrounded by its antithesis. I was about eleven or twelve. There had been nothing but tumult all around, up until this one Fall day. I was starting at a new school, in a new district, in a whole new city, for the first time. I had a brand new set of classmates and potential friends to meet. I was also emotionally, mentally and physically out of touch with myself. I mean, completely disconnected. No glue. Dried up.
Yet it was brilliantly clear to me that somewhere, something was happening especially for me. It was the assurance of fulfillment that you experience when you're heading home, knowing someone is already there cooking up something just for you. Your favorite cook (my favorite cook of the moment would be Chef Chris Rossi, Chef-owner of Citron in Rockridge, Oakland, CA. 510 holla!) preparing your favorite meal, all according to your expectations and needs for achieving happiness.
Right, happiness. So, I remember beginning this one Fall day with the manifestations of the above mentioned state of disconnected being, and ending it feeling very happy, almost the complete opposite. All it took was someone recognizing me from my writing, and not only recognizing, but listening. Or hearing. Whichever one is actually listening, and feeling, and responding. Responding with teachings, support and someone to really believe in. This person, and many others like them (I've had a string of really impactful teachers that still play a big role in my life), will come up again I'm sure, so I will spare the details and minutiae.
All in all, this teacher guided me onto a path of expression that has remained, and in fact grown. They showed me the power of writing and speaking as a means of strength and survival. The idea that what I thought, what I felt, had value and should be shared was novel to me. We may act on that principle early on in our lives, but, maybe because I had never heard it actually spoken, it hit me and keeps hitting me. So I've carried that ideal on with me, rarely being afraid to say what I feel, or what I'm thinking.
This challenge for me is in part to push my writing into equal balance with my speaking. I need to be able to sit down and write out my thoughts as easily as I could speak them.
I should probably mention the challenge.
I co-opted this from a good friend. It fits perfectly with one of my goals, which is to be more active in developing my writing.
The challenge is to write daily for 30 days. I am pushing myself to a little longer of a period and challenging myself to write daily until the end of the year.
If you read, please comment.
Actually, first, please read. I'll be sharing lots of different stories and perspectives on here and hope to have it be more of a dialogue with like minds and kindred souls out there. Although my soul is Black, high and flighty, and loves the feeling of the color blue, my soul also loves other souls of all color, source, ideal and social stations.
Random Point #2: Please DO NOT go see "The Blind Side", unless you go with a critical mind. More to come regarding this point, cause thoughts about this are boiling over in my head nonstop.
Here's a song that got me through to my happiness. I think I might have been playing it on repeat around that fateful Fall day.
Peace and Joy.