Very little room to work

Obama’s conference at the House Republican Retreat today.


A few excerpts:

“Although that’s one of the points that I made earlier. I mean, we’ve got to be careful about what we say about each other sometimes, because it boxes us in in ways that makes it difficult for us to work together, because our constituents start believing us. They don’t know sometimes this is just politics what you guys — or folks on my side do sometimes.

“So just a tone of civility instead of slash and burn would be helpful. The problem we have sometimes is a media that responds only to slash-and-burn-style politics. …

“… I’ve just got to take this last question as an example of how it’s very hard to have the kind of bipartisan work that we’re going to do, because the whole question was structured as a talking point for running a campaign.

“That’s why I say if we’re going to frame these debates in ways that allow us to solve them, then we can’t start off by figuring out, A, who’s to blame; B, how can we make the American people afraid of the other side. And unfortunately, that’s how our politics works right now. …

“And so the question is, at what point can we have a serious conversation about Medicare and its long-term liability, or a serious question about — a serious conversation about Social Security, or a serious conversation about budget and debt in which we’re not simply trying to position ourselves politically. That’s what I’m committed to doing. We won’t agree all the time in getting it done, but I’m committed to doing it.”

His speech and comments reminded me of Stephen Colbert’s interview with Tom Brokaw a few weeks ago in which Brokaw said, “We can’t get through these profound challenges…if everything becomes a food fight.”

Good luck to Obama in convincing Congress to govern instead of spending their time in office planning their next campaign. It will probably only happen if their constituents demand it, and that is unlikely when so many of those constituents are forming their opinions based on polarized and polarizing media.

People v. Corporations

Maybe the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is just what the U.S. needs. For a moment individuals can stop arguing about global warming and gay marriage rights, and unite against pseudo-citizens; i.e. corporations.

Sign the motion “to amend our Constitution to: Firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights…”

Why I’m vegan

The abuse of these infant calves is merciless. There is no excuse for skinning animals alive and shocking them time after time with electric prods when it’s obvious they are too weak to stand.

Veganism for me started when I was in Vermont stuck in road construction beside a veal lot. I didn’t become vegan overnight, but immediately reduced my intake of dairy products, including Ben & Jerry’s, whose headquarters ironically, was just a few miles down the road from that veal lot.

“Operations at Bushway Packing, Inc., a veal slaughterhouse in Vermont, have been shut down by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vislack, pending further investigation. The footage that an undercover investigator from the Humane Society of the United States obtained was truly shocking, showing calves only days-old being shocked and prodded, and live calves being left in piles of dead calves.” —VegNewsletter

I’d hoped I could read more about the shutdown of the slaughterhouse without seeing any photos. I couldn’t bring myself to click play on the video on the HSUS website. The still image is almost too horrifying to bear.