Friday, November 04, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Fast and The Furriest

Another story published by Yahoo.
Fur and Loathing was just the beginning....

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The importance of Being Right.

There is this conservative, relatively young, webcaster that I've had the pleasure to argue with on a webcast --- Josh Kropkof, that posed an interesting question on his Facebook recently. It was after they found Casey's mom not guilty of the most heinous counts. He said “I'm kind of sick of hearing the media coverage about the Casey Anthony case at this point..but hearing it gave me two ironic questions. 1. Since when does the liberal media favor the death penalty? This was a death penalty case and they have been outraged by the verdict and apparently want this woman burned at the stake.” I found this interesting. Although I consider myself a rather independent voice and have no problem criticizing Democrats as well as Republicans, I know that some of my very conservative family and friends consider me liberal. I'm not a big fan of the death penalty but as you can see from this link I have advocated for it before, right here on this blog: sadly, there is a case in the news right now that is of the same heinous nature.
So I thought about what Josh said and I wondered is it liberal to be against the death penalty? There are several arguments against the death penalty but they don't seem to be particularly partisan to me. Of the two that seem the most relevant to me, if anything one is often associated with a group that votes conservatively, and the other should be associated with anybody who is intelligent and worries about justice. The first argument is made by those who consider themselves religious people. It's not our place to take another's life. Besides lowering ourselves to the level of the killers; “Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord”. Now a lot of people who consider themselves particularly religious in American vote conservatively. Sure, a lot of them don't, but a lot do, so if anything this could be considered a conservative viewpoint.
My view on the issue is more pragmatic. There have been 272 post-conviction DNA exoneration in the United States. The first DNA exoneration took place in 1989. Exoneration have been won in 34 states; since 2000, there have been 205 exoneration. 17 of the 272 people exonerated through DNA served time on death row. Besides DNA, there have been well over 100 additional other evidence or confession based DEATH ROW exoneration---35 of those just between Florida and Texas; two states so anxious to remove bad people from this Earth--- that they don't always make sure they're bad first!*
In cases where the evidence is incontrovertible an argument can be made on either side of the death penalty. There is something to be said about the cognitive and moral discomfort associated with murdering murderers. There is something to be said about the religious implications and I'm not the one to have that theological debate. On the other hand, we can argue that these most vile of criminals must remain imprisoned for life and therefore that will cost the state a lot of money and then we always have to worry that they will be freed somehow in the future, possibly by escape. Execution means we never have to worry about them or spend another dime on them again. In cases of incontrovertible proof I think there are many good arguments to be made and I think that each community must make its own decisions based on its own faith and feelings of morality. However, there has been enough exoneration utilizing DNA evidence as well as simple good detective work after the fact that we have shown that our legal system is not perfect--- and---after all--- you just can't take back an execution!
Josh, being in his 20’s, when the average age of those exonerated is 27, should take solace in the fact that not everyone pushes the death penalty, because, heaven forbid, should he or his friends ever be traveling late at night and get picked out by mistake and railroaded in a less-than-perfect legal system, he may be grateful for the time to pursue exoneration. I remember coming home late one night and as I walked through the streets of Brooklyn I was stopped by several police officers who made me stand in front of their car, bathed in the headlights, because I matched the description given by somebody who had just been attacked. They were now sitting in that police vehicle. I realized then and there that at the very least, if the victim thought I looked familiar, I could be spending the night in jail--- and only the night if I was lucky! Sure, I had been with a friend earlier and had an alibi, but I also had driven back to Brooklyn and taken up almost an hour to find a parking space. That might've been enough unverifiable time to have committed the crime! Clearly, one of the strongest things I had going in my favor, besides the fact that I was not actually involved in the incident, was that I was in Brooklyn and not Florida or Texas! (The victim did not recognize me as the perpetrator and I was free to go).
Anyway , I started this piece by talking about the conservative webcaster Josh Kropkof and I should mention that right now while I wanted to provide info for those readers who are interested in the conservative view, Josh's show is on hiatus, but here is a link to it so you can be updated: However, separate from his webcast I happen to personally know from actual experience that Josh is a fine and entertaining magician. If you are in the Northeast, or if it's worth it to you to provide travel expenses for a very special show for corporate purposes, or your nonprofit fundraising, or just to celebrate a personal occasion for you or your family, you might want to check out his website:
you can get in contact with him through his website and then you can always request that he update you should he bring his show back to the net. Let Josh know you heard about him from this blog. I know this blog had been quiet for a while and the viewers had fallen low because of it. I am pleased to say because of the work that has been published by Yahoo that has links on this blog and has this blog attributed on the author profile, views of Here’s-to-your-health-America are back up! We have more new views than we have in years. The Yahoo content links and profile link can be found on various posts as well as on the sidebar of this blog.

*Info gathered from The Innocence Project and the ACLU.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Women of the GOP!

Truth and Politics: Can those words ever learn to get along?

Friday, July 08, 2011

The End is Near....

Make no mistake, if the Republicans force the unprecedented need for drastic spending cuts because they wont raise the debt ceiling, they will pay for it at the polls. The talk is that since the economy apparently stalled with the bad jobs report today, that the Republicans should just stand firm because they don't need to give anything to Obama because he's the one who's going to get blamed anyway. Although the public does not seem to be happy with Obama trying to fix the recession, polls clearly show that the public clearly remembers the economy tanked and the recession dug in under the Republicans and President Bush. From the time of Reagan through today spending and stimulus has been the biggest motivator of economic recovery. While Reagan also had tax cuts, and during the recovery saw tax revenue rise, he also saw deficits climb eightfold. The reason was all the spending the government had to do to stimulate the economy out of that recession. It is not a surprise that this recession has been more stubborn because it is the worst recession since the Great Depression. Every objective economic body has stated that the stimulus stopped this recession from having much greater unemployment levels that could have possibly spiraled down into a depression. It took all of this just to move us a bit forward. Now we need to do more not less. In the recovery revenues would rise and the need for some of the government spending would shrink and we would see deficits quickly shrink like they did during Clinton in the 90s. That's because his tax cuts were much more targeted towards encouraging investment and business expansion. The Republicans got that tax cuts under Bush and kept them under Obama and it did not stimulate the economy under Bush, it did not stop us from spiraling into deep recession under Bush and it has not added much to the recovery for Obama. If tax cuts are the answer would've worked for Bush. If worrying about overspending was the issue for the Republicans they should've said something when Bush was creating all these gigantic deficits. To complain about deficits now when we need to be spending to get ourselves out of the worst recession since the depression clearly shows how the Republicans are out of touch with mainstream America, the needs of the middle class and the actual workings of the economy. If they slash spending now and stop stimulating the economy what do they think they will be preserving if we go into a double dip recession and head towards depression? Just as lax conservative policies have allowed earnings and jobs to go offshore reducing the ranks of the middle class, a devastating double dip recession now would diminish those ranks much further. If the middle class goes, so goes the wealthy. Who does the daily work, who spends the money and buys the products and services? The middle class. We need a compromise now from the government that continues to stimulate the economy while making real inroads into reining in spending. Corporate earnings have been good, productivity is good and the rich are doing very well. Corporations and the wealthiest are sitting on these are earnings and seem to be riding out the rocky economy instead of trying to do their part to invigorate it. This is a mistake because if the economy falters, business will find itself back in the mess they were experiencing two years ago. The American people are not stupid. They don't have blinders on. They may get frustrated easily and polls may show they are not happy that Obama hasn't been able to do more for the economy, but those same polls show they still know where the roots of all this trouble began. The Republicans are trying to push the same failed policies that created this mess. If we don't have cooperation and a government that is working together to move the people and the economy ahead, the Republicans should not for a minute think that Obama will bear all the blame! The end is near...but will it be the end of the weak economy as we move forward, or the end of the weak recovery as we fall back into recession?

Friday, June 24, 2011

And a homicidal groundhog....

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hey---conversations with Satan!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Barack Obama and Israel.

Let me begin by saying that I don't write this post as a staunch supporter of all things Israel. Not to say that I am a detractor. It is simply not an area that I feel I know enough about, nor that I think about when ruminating about politics, healthcare and the country. I admit to having some conflicting opinions over the years. I am not here to discuss the merits of the formation of Israel or the biblical or historical precedents for Israel. I don't usually sit around and discuss these things about Israel, or any other country. What this is, is a post about a democratic ally of America sitting in a very volatile spot in the world and how our country chooses to treat them and work with them. I keep trying to find a way to understand how the president and I can be so far apart on this issue, and that the president in my opinion could have been so wrong minded about this issue. This isn't even only about whether he made the right or wrong decision when he recently announced, while making statements about the current independence movement in Arab nations, that he felt that peace would be achieved between Israel and the Palestinians only when Israel relented and went back to its 1967 borders. While I think he is wrong about this, or even to give him the benefit of the doubt, way too premature in the process. It is more the way he chose to handle this. The way he chose to do it and about the way you should treat your allies. Although I find I am able to agree with this president much more often than the last president, I cannot support him on this position at this time. So what to make of Obama's position? Is it naïve or is it arrogant? Israel has made many land concessions, and as I have noted in comments on other blogs, it will need to no doubt make more when it comes to its settlements. However, telling another nation that occupied those pieces of land from the nations that attacked it in an unprovoked war meant to ensure its total annihilation, is another matter. Israel perceived that those lands, based on the declared war against it, were necessary for its continued security and survival. America, which has taken many actions from the dawn of our nation through today that have purchased or annexed land from other nations, angered other nations and impugned their sovereignty, such as our invading Pakistan with our weaponry and soldiers to kill Osama bin Laden, should not be casting stones on an issue like this. Don't get me wrong, I think our going into Pakistan for bin Laden was the right thing to do, had to be done, and was a bold, decisive an necessary risk to take. It is an unfortunate fact of life in these times that nations must do unpopular things at times to maintain their own safety and integrity. That president Obama would try to turn the current state of Israeli-Palestinian affairs into an issue of Israeli failings by making this public decree, instead of voicing his opinions privately in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, is remarkable and uncalled for. We can tell our allies what we think but we really should not be trying to turn public opinion against our allies, or to put outside pressure on them, especially when they have valid concerns about their safety and future security if they were to give in to our suggestions. This looks like a flat out Obama push for votes from---at best---Americans tired of hearing about the Middle East and at worst--- American anti-Semites, which he might rightfully believe actually outnumber the Jews living in this country. Nevertheless, to try to get those votes at the expense of an ally who is routinely treated unfairly during UN meeting after meeting, where the actions of terrorists are ignored, but any difficult choices made by Israel are condemned, is unconscionable. I keep trying to figure out some brilliant plan that Obama has; whereby he is going to convince the world that he is more cognizant of the rights of the Palestinians than any president before him so that he can garner their trust and turn it into a real and meaningful peace. But it just seems hard to believe. The President is painting himself into a corner, and doing his best to take Israel there with him. He will not be able to turn in midstride. He will not be able to broker on issues where he has clearly already chosen a side. Why should the Arabs agree to any Obama backtracking? Why should Israel and their supporters believe the President is worried about their sovereignty and security? And where are the hard choices for the Palestinians and the entire Arab world? Where is Obama saying there will be no peace until all Arab countries and the Palestinians acknowledge the rights of Israel to exist, form a lasting cessation of terrorist acts and unprovoked rocket fire into Israel, and allow a peaceful and secure daily life in Israel as most other nations of the free world enjoy?
Now Obama has attempted to ‘clarify ‘his statements by explaining that his points have been the unspoken policy and belief of the US for years and he felt it was better to bring it out into the open. He also points out that he said this should be negotiated swaps as part of this proposal. But maybe this “unspoken American policy” was not made public before because rather than a belief or policy it was a fear or belief that there would not be peace short of these borders, but why should anyone believe these borders will bring peace when they led to war the first time? And the Palestinians, who would be Israel's extremely close neighbors, not only refuse to acknowledge its right to exist but have recently formed a coalition government with a Hamas, an organization designated as a terrorist group that has declared its goal is to seek the destruction of Israel. And what of these proposed swaps Obama mentioned? You can put it on the table but it doesn't mean the parties can agree. There are clearly some differences of opinion that it will be very hard to understand how they are ever going to be worked out---such as Jerusalem. I am not claiming to be qualified in these matters. If you want to know more about these issues, there is a blog, Bruce's MidEast Soundbites,, that has done a good job of trying to be very informative on these issues. I'm not trying to sway your opinions about the Mideast situation. I am speaking about fair treatment for one of our allies, and the only Democratic ally with a proven track record in the region. I am talking about handling things appropriately even when you disagree with an ally. I'm talking about viewing the situation realistically and realizing that even if you think you have a good point, you don't bring it up prematurely. Before we ask an ally to shrink its borders back to ones that left it much less defensible, we’d better demand proof that the other interested parties will ensure the safety of our ally. Amidst the hatred, statements against the rights of Israel and the continued rocket attacks, the other parties in this drama have not demonstrated their readiness and willingness to make the hard choices and do the hard tasks that they must do to bring peace to the table. There may or may not yet be peace in the Middle East. It doesn't look like it's coming very soon. And unless he changes his stance, President Obama will not be the arbitrator of that peace. The question now is, is there even a chance for him to change his stance, and can he ever be relevant in this process again? Sadly, I suspect not.

Back again…and looking to the Future!

It has been a difficult year and a busy year in a lot of ways and I have been involved in a lot of projects that kept me from my blog. I got a particularly stinging comment recently, that most of you would not see even if you are still reading parts of the blog or were just checking in, because it was written as a comment to an old post. The person basically said that I had abdicated my role in social discourse so that my readers had better look elsewhere. It was actually a compliment because obviously this person found my writing important but had become dismayed that the break in writing had been so long this time. I am sorry about that and I hope that I'll be able to regain my readership and bring in many new interested parties. I hope to also find the time now to get back to commenting on other blogs which is always a help to stimulate my own ideas as well as general discourse.