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GreyHawk
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Joined: 10/11/2007

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Rachel's Reality-Check for Republicans

This is what we need to repeat for everyone.This is Reality. Share it. Repeat it ad infinitum.

Make sure this reality - ~actual~ reality - is propagated everywhere. Help quench the pseudo-reality that the GOP, Tea Party, Libertarians & conservative "media" have been living in for the past 4 years.

We need to wake them up. We need this term to be the defining one - the one where our nation actually, truly begins recovery.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Update: Here's the transcript -

Ohio really did go to President Obama last night.

And he really did win.

And he really was born in Hawaii.

And he really is legitimately President of the United States, again.

And the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make up a fake unemployment rate last month.

And the Congressional Research Service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy.

And the polls were not screwed to oversample Democrats.

And Nate Silver was not making up fake projections about the election to make conservatives feel bad. Nate Silver was doing math.

And climate change is real.

And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes.

And evolution is a thing.

And Benghazi was an attack on us, it was not a scandal by us.

And nobody is taking away anyone's guns.

And taxes have not gone up.

And the deficit is dropping, actually.

And Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction.

And the moon landing was real.

And FEMA is not building concentration camps.

And U.N. election observers are not taking over Texas.

And moderate reforms of the regulations on the insurance industry and the financial services industry in this country are not the same thing as communism.

Listen, last night was a good night for liberals and for Democrats for very obvious reasons, but it was also, possibly, a good night for this country as a whole. Because in this country, we have a two- party system in government. And the idea is supposed to be that the two sides, both come up with ways to confront and fix the real problems facing our country. They both propose possible solutions to our real problems. and we debate between those possible solutions. And by the process of debate, we pick the best idea.

That competition between good ideas from both sides about real problems in the real country should result in our country having better choices, better options, than if only one side is really working on the hard stuff.

And the if the republican party and the conservative movement and the conservative media is stuck in a vacuum-sealed door-locked spin cycle of telling each other what makes them feel good and denying the factual, lived truth of the world, then we are all deprived as a nation of the constructive debate about competing feasible ideas about real problems.

Last night the republicans got shellacked, and they had no idea it was coming. And we saw them in realtime, in real humiliating time, not believe it, even as it was happening to them. And unless they are going to is secede, they are going to have to pop the factual bubble they have been so happy living inside if they do not want to get shellacked again, and that will be a painful process for them, but it will be good for the whole country, left, right, and center.

You guys, we're counting on you. wake up. There are real problems in the world. There are real, knowable facts in the world. Let's accept those and talk about how we might approach our problems differently. Let's move on from there.

If the republican party and the conservative movement and conservative media are forced to do that by the humiliation they were dealt last night, we will all be better off as a nation. and in that spirit, congratulations.

This is our opportunity to clearly, succinctly & competently set the record straight, wash the crap from the walls & floors & challenge any remaining denialists to step forward into the light of reason to begin anew as clear-thinking, reasonable adults.

Thank you.

Namaste. Make the jump»

So let me get this straight...

So, let me get this straight - any time a disaster occurs that the Religious Right can possibly use to claim that "God is angry with the nation because of gays / abortion / marriage" etc., they go nuts making those claims. Make the jump»

Delusional & Deceptive: Artificially Created "Issues" Causing Real Problems

Originally posted as a note on my Facebook page.

The long & short of the ongoing "fiscal crisis" is that it is, at this point, an artificially manufactured crisis that is causing serious real-world issues. The delusion & deceptive "national conversation" that the traditional media insists on promoting isn't helping.

Case in point: a piece from the Washington Post1 makes the following statement:

Ideally, the budget environment for weather and climate research wouldn’t be an either/or situation. State of the art computing resources should be available to both areas.But during a time when our nation faces a fiscal crisis and the government is having to make tough choices about what the highest priorities are - leadership within NOAA and Congress should take a close look at the balance of resources...

There are a couple of things wrong with that. The first one that leaps out and grabs my face like one of the creatures from Alien is "during a time when our nation faces a fiscal crisis" - really? Simply letting the Bush-era tax cuts for the rich expire would substantially resolve that, but the fiscally feral Republican, Tea Party & Libertarian extremists keep pushing for more tax breaks for the wealthy...hoping, apparently, that the rest of the nation is either too pre-occupied or distracted to notice just how much damage that those tax cuts have done, or who has benefited. Make the jump»

The GSA scandal -- a personal perspective [Reprinted with Permission]

The article below was written by a friend of mine who has a background working in the government. He has given his permission for me to reprint this on Daily Kos and ePluribus Media. The original article was posted on Gather.com as The GSA scandal -- a personal perspective. If you are so inclined, please send some traffic to the original article to help give it the bump & notice it deserves. Thank you. -- GreyHawk

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The GSA scandal -- a personal perspective


by John S.
First posted April 07, 2012 10:49 AM EDT

I used to work for the General Services Administration (GSA) before transferring to USDOJ.

The scandal which has been hitting the news is so different from the GSA I knew that it is like finding your sainted grandmother arrested by the police for having an orgy in front of the local courthouse on Sunday afternoon.

GSA had always been very strict on following government guidelines, and pinched every penny. No flying first class. No gifts. Everyone got training on how to avoid problems with the ethics rules. This was so much a part of the agency's culture it is hard to see how such a major change could take place.

I then found this article: Make the jump»

A Spark to Digital Tinder: 'Kindling" To Light A Fire [Shameless self-promotion]

Adapted from my post on Daily Kos.

On Sunday, 18 March 2012, we're offering a free promotional download of Her Final Year: A Care-Giving Memoir. (It's also available in print form through Amazon, but we're just running the free promo for the downloadable Kindle version.)

And the best part of this? You don't need to own a Kindle to download & read it.

Join me below the fold if you would...

  Make the jump»

Idiots, Assholes & The Borg Hive Mind

For those of you who are familiar with Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager, you'll recognize the character Q as played by John de Lancie. The Borg served as a foil in the form of a nearly unstoppable enemy, one that had a shared hive-mind and assimilated every being & technology in their path, making themselves stronger as they went.

In a way, the Borg is like a social & intellectual living viral colony - a virulent disease, a cancerous tumor that exists solely to feed itself & grow...very much like the right-wing loonies that have infested our political process and begun to tear apart not only the Republican party but also the nation & the world.

There's one notable scene that comes from an episode of Star Trek: Voyager which ties together Q & the Borg in a rather amusing way: Q admonishes his son not to provoke the Borg in the episode 7x19 ("Q2").* You can see the clip here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-X1zY5KvV0

I can't help feeling that the GOP & Koch brothers are a bit like Q in this way, and that the TeaBaggers are embodied by the character of Q Junior - out of control and in serious need of an intercession.

Niceties & chuckles aside, it's also very interesting to note that the "activists" on the Right appear unable to discern fiction from reality, public from private...and completely fail to recognize their own penchant for both intellectual dishonesty & hypocrisy. Make the jump»

A bump in the road...

For those following this year's Presidential election festivities (as well as keeping tabs on the GOP's ongoing record-breaking race to obstruct, deconstruct, vilify & destroy all possible progress in the United States), there's a possible minor news item that may be seized upon by the Right to try and take the wind out of the sails of President Obama's re-election bid.

The President is running on job creation, saving the auto industry, rebuilding the economy & creating new energy initiatives (among other things), and up to now his record hasn't been bad. Recent news from GM, however, may give some of the opposition party something to grab onto:

GM Will Stop Building Volt Plug-In to Cut Inventory

General Motors Co. said it will halt production of its Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid car for five weeks in an effort to control its inventory. The car maker had a stock of about 6,300 Volts on hand at the end of February.

[...more...]

Apparently, this will lead to the layoff of 1,300 workers. Make the jump»

The Tea Party & GOP Jihadists will have a field day with this...

Oh holy crap - the nutbars of the GOP & Tea Party (& associated Santorum-coated Gingriches) will have a field day with this one: Muslims Declare Jihad on Dogs in Europe, by Soeren Kern of StonegateInstitute.org

Of course, they don't realize that the "Sharia Law" call-outs they make against Muslims - and the back-and-forth justifications of each side, per the article - sound JUST LIKE their own b.s. when promoting their "Christian values" agenda. But that won't stop 'em making laws against "Sharia law" in the US...they don't see the disconnect between such idiocy & their own Talibanesque encroachment upon the Constitution with their "Christian values" (values they loudly promote to garner religious support, but consistently & resolutely fail to uphold in their own lives & dealings).

Make the jump»

A Matter of Perspective - The Overton Window, Reservation Life and a Chain of Sorrow

Crossposted from Native American Netroots and Daily Kos.

Cross Posted at Native American Netroots

An ongoing series sponsored by the Native American Netroots team focusing on the current issues faced by American Indian Tribes and current solutions to those issues.

I'm not a Native American. I did not grow up on a Reservation. For the longest time, I had only been dimly aware of the extent and level to which Native Americans have been exploited, abused, repressed & discriminated against.

Even now, my awareness likely only begins to scratch the surface, and yet what I've learned over the past few years has brought anger, grief & frustration as my awareness of both past and present bureaucratic b.s. and institutionalized standards of cultural genocide has grown.

Recently, NPR put out a 3 part series called Native Survivors of Foster Care Return Home. (You can watch all three which are linked in the title.) Not too long ago, Metro Times posted a story called Chain of Sorrow that also speaks of the impact and legacy of Indian Boarding Schools.

It's a legacy of pain and sorrow that our nation should be ashamed of.

While reading the latter piece, a paragraph jumped out at me which can be read more than one way. The first way it occurred to me is likely due to my less-informed perspective - but, because of that, it may also be a reflection of a more wide-spread misunderstanding.

Here's the paragraph, with the emphasis on the phrase that stuck out for me:

"It wasn't just the boarding schools that brought this about. From the time Columbus landed in the New World, the assault on Indians, their culture and their religious ways has been relentless. Their sacred lands taken, the people murdered, the women raped and, at times, subjected to forced sterilizations, the deprivation of reservation life, the scourge of alcohol — all these had combined to cause his people to lose so much."

When I first read the paragraph, it didn't sit right - I couldn't understand what was meant by "the deprivation of reservation life" - it first processed in my mind as "children removed from the rez would be deprived of the quality of life on the rez"...which, in the article, was cited as being the reason ~why~ some parents let their children be taken in first place. So, my initial reaction/interpretation was - I hope - incorrect. It wasn't that a child was being deprived of life among their people on the reservation - it was the fact that conditions on the reservation itself were usually harsh and oppressive, becoming yet another aspect of the type of harm done to Native Americans as part of an ongoing (if not always externally recognized) way to continue the same cultural genocide that had begun so many years before.

In either interpretation, however, the paragraph itself was both damning and dismal.

What dismayed me and prompted me to write this article was the thought that immediately followed: what if my first reading of the phrase was the intended interpretation?

That would be pretty sad - for it would present an unchallenged view of the reservation as false equivalent of a way to preserve cultures and traditions.

Sure, there is some of that in reservation life - but, for peoples who were forcibly relocated to unwanted expanses of real estate and who previously harbored little concept of "personal property" the way the settlers conceived of it - how much of their cultural heritage was already compromised? And how much was destroyed in the process of "re-settling" them, or in the subsequent efforts to get them to conform & integrate?

It may be the only current place where the traditions are able to be upheld, but if the belief that it's "good" (versus a way to avoid total cultural extinction) is prevalent, then efforts to improve any relations or conditions are doomed...if not to failure, then to any sort of substantial reform without an awful lot of effort.

Efforts to undo (and prevent further) the whitewashing of our national history with regard to the treatment of Native Americans already have a tough row to hoe. If perspectives - and the associated Overton Window that helps frame them - are still predominantly akin to what my first reading of that paragraph came away with, then there's a very long way to go before beneficial change (for Native Americans, in their perspective) can occur.

A parting thought, also from the Metro Times piece:

"The realization of just how much was stolen from these people begins to set in. It wasn't just their land, or even their way of life. What was taken was their sense of self, leaving them spiritually wounded.

And it was done, in no small part, by taking their children."

Help spread the word & increase awareness: share the links to the Metro Times & NPR pieces. And share a link to Native American Netroots, too: there, people can find a great deal of information - both historical and current - about cultures, customs and ongoing issues.

Thank you.

A Sobering Look At History Through Ancestry: Owned v. Pwned

From Brandon Friedman (@BrandonF) via Twitter, about 11:30 pm EST:

If you watch the Ancestry.com TV ads, you always see people who find wonderful, redeeming stories about their families.What they don’t prepare you for is that you also find the names and dollar values of the people your family used to own.

Warren 24 years old, yellow color, $1,500; Mease a man 28 yrs old, black color, $1,400;Nettie 20 yrs old, black color, and her children, $1,700; Sarah 17 yrs old and her children, $750; India 52 yrs old black color, $350.

No idea what became of them.

Those are sobering thoughts that harken back to a darker part of our national heritage - a part that we have not left fully behind, when slavery and indentured servitude were used to build the nation on the backs of others. Make the jump»

Testing a Widget: Amazon.com's Music widget and the HFY "A Life's Worth of Memories" Playlist

A while back, I'd written a piece called "
Stir of Echoes: Haunted Hearts and Healing Memories" where I listed a set of music tracks that reminded me of Mumsie, of her life and of my care-giving experience, and of her life with my wife. Make the jump»

The Problem with Alzheimer's Disease

Originally posted to Her Final Year on August 24, 2011 by John
Reprinted with permission, with a few small adjustments.

Alzheimer's Disease isn't fickle. It doesn't target just one demographic: it doesn't care how well you're doing financially, or if you're popular, or what color you paint your toe nails or if you're hairy or hairless. Anyone may find themselves either a victim or a potential care-giver.1

Ronald Reagan had Alzheimer's Disease; now WaPo is reporting that Pat Summitt has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia:2

Three months ago, Summitt, 59, the blaze-eyed, clench-fisted University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach who has won more games than any other college coach ever, men’s or women’s, visited the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. seeking an explanation for a troubling series of memory lapses over the past year. A woman who was always highly organized had to ask repeatedly what time a team meeting was scheduled for. "She lost her keys three times a day instead of once," her son Tyler says. She was late to practice. On occasion, she simply stayed in bed.

There are tests which help doctors determine the type - and stage - of dementia. For some folks, these tests make sense. For others, they may be misleading. Such was the case with Summitt, according to her son. Per the WaPo piece:

Next, she was asked, “Do you know today’s date?” She has never known the date. She deals with dates strictly on a need to know basis. Frequently, she doesn’t even known the name of her hotel — there have been so many of them, and they all look the same, and they are all called Radisson or Clarion or Hyatt or Hilton.

This has always been Summitt. She has always mislaid her car keys and forgotten where she put her cellphone. She has always juggled too many responsibilities, and obligations. For this reason, the numbers from her test results are somewhat misleading, according to her son.

When I was the primary care-giver for my mother-in-law, I also noted that the tests (sometimes as simple as asking someone if they remembered a person's name only a few minutes after being introduced) were not fool-proof:3

Part and parcel with spending more time with Georgia by her on the occasional consulting appointment and running errands with her was that we established a better understanding of each other. One of the perks of this was helping her cope with her memory and mental lapses. I encouraged Georgia with clues and triggers to help her remember things like names. The neurologist's name -- "Dr. Penny" -- was one example. I placed a penny in Georgia's hand while we waited for him, after the second time she asked me his name. A minute or so later, I asked her the doctor's name. She looked at the penny in her hand and smiled. "Dr. Penny," she replied with a grin. When he entered, she didn't need to look at her hand. In fact, I think she'd pocketed the penny by that point. But she did remember his name.

This was one of those doubled-edged sword things. The blade cuts both ways -- my helpful "hint" to Georgia to help her alleviate the stress of not remembering the doctor's name and help her feel more at ease likely factored into the doctor's evaluation, as from his perspective Georgia was able to recall his name w/o assistance.

I didn't really think of that at the time.

Continuation of this thought... Folks suffering from dementia, particularly in the early stages, do a lot to try and compensate as well as hide their affliction. Caregivers, in spite of the best of intentions, may be enabling a form of denial in some ways -- that was the thought I was trying to articulate above, wondering if my assistance to Georgia to help her with the doctor's name was just one way of potentially helping her hide her symptoms, even though it was also a positive reinforcement of my role / relationship with her as caregiver/protector/assistant etc.

Sometimes, in our efforts to be helpful, we may thwart some of the simpler yet rudimentary tests that doctors use to establish the parameters necessary for a diagnosis.

It's one of the additionally frustrating things about finding oneself in a care-giving role: can your efforts to help the loved one also impact - possibly negatively - the ability of doctors to develop an accurate medical picture in order to make a proper diagnosis?

A crucial factor that goes hand-in-hand with this is the issue of communication. Not just between doctors and care-givers, but also doctors and patients, patients and care-givers, and all of the preceding in various combinations as they need to communicate with family, friends, legal assistance and social workers or state & federal employees. Make the jump»

Book Marketing: Participation 101

Crossposted from Daily Kos.

As many of you know, Shadan7 and I co-authored a book called Her Final Year: A Care-Giving Memoir along with our wives. It contained many excerpts and elements of the care-giving process as we'd related it here in addition to a great deal more information taken from various & sundry other sources (emails to family, online LiveJournal posts, other blog posts and personal journal entries). After writing the book, we then had to figure out how to get it to market: the traditional way (find an agent or publisher via query letter) or the "new" traditional way (self-publishing, utilizing some form of e-book and/or POD publisher). Here's a brief overview of what we have done to date, the decision process involved and our current status.

In addition, we've also got a way for those of you who'd like to get a free copy of the book to take a shot at winning a copy for yourself and a friend.

Follow me over the squiggly thing for more information. Make the jump»

Tom Coburn & The GOP Target The Elderly

Via Think Progress,

Last week, ThinkProgress reported that Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) believes that Medicare and Social Security are unconstitutional. Turns out, he’s not he only one. At a town hall in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) appeared to embrace Perry’s claim that providing for America’s seniors is unconstitutional:

QUESTION: With more and more cuts in Medicare and Medicaid on the horizon, I’m really worried about protecting our frail elderly in the Medicare and Medicaid facilities. So I would like to know how Congress proposes to balance the budget and still make sure our frail elderly in these facilities are protected and have trained care staff.

COBURN: That’s a great question. The first question I have for you is if you look in the Constitution, where is it the federal government’s role to do that? That’s number one. Number two is the way I was brought up that’s a family responsibility, not a government responsibility.

The video is embedded below.

Think Progress provided a good rebuttal - check it out at their link.

And treat this as an Open Thread.

 

 

Rick Perry: The Real-World Incarnation of Greg Stillson from Stephen King's "The Dead Zone"

YouTube: 

Note: Please do not front-page this. This is my own opinion, and shouldn't be FP'd as it might set the stage for potentially painting a default perspective of ePM's board and editors. This piece does ~not~ necessarily reflect the stance of ePluribus Media, her board or directors. It's the sole opinion of a jaded cyber-avatar. Thank you. -- GH

 

We've got a lot to worry about. Not only are the Republicans at war with reality, but we've also got a real-world incarnation of a corrupt religious nut gone politic in the form of Rick Perry, who appears to be the targeted potential presidential candidate that the GOP & its sycophants are hoping will rise to the top of the barrel of rotten choices and give them a clear shot at regaining the absolute power they lost when BushCo went belly-up.

Don't do it, folks. Rick Perry is bad mojo. The GOP & Tea Party have obstructed any and all attempts to fix the mess that the GOP made when it had both Congress & the Presidency. Throw the bums out face-first and stop letting them stab our nation in the back while gutting it from the front.

Please.

 

If you agree with this sentiment, by all means pass it along. Thank you. - GH

 

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