Obama's plan: Another corporate bailout?

Representative Kucinich makes good points.

We need to keep standing behind progressives to make sure that the bill reported out includes real reform, not a mere windfall for the insurers and drug companies. As Rep Kucinich says, it’s not yet time to say he’ll vote “no” on the final bill. But he’s not very optimistic.

I do take to heart the advice of my Wetmachine colleague Harold Feld, who constantly reminds us that whining and hand-wringing don’t help. What really matters is getting involved and supporting the people who are doing the right things. As soon as I post this I’m going to call Rep. Delahunt’s office. He’s signed the Progressives letter to President Obama saying he won’t vote for a bill that doesn’t have the American Option (AKA “public option”), and in general I’m very happy with his voting recordd. But his name doesn’t appear on the Progressive Caucus letterhead, so I’m not sure if he’s in danger of “backslidin’”. Now’s the time to dig in, sez I.

Hanging out on Martha’s Vineyard with Barack & Michelle

As all six of my regular readers know, I live on Martha’s Vineyard, where, among other things, I’m a volunteer firefighter. So today, on facebook, I put up a tweet about the Tisbury Firefighter’s Association Dinner last night.

Almost immediately I got a private message from my pen pal the Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam, who distilled the hard-won wisdom of his decades in the journalistic trenches into two pithy sentences:

Be posting on Obama, bro!

that’s what the people want

Well that made me laugh. What the hell do I have to say about Obama? That my wife saw three helicopters flying over our house on the day the “First Family” arrived? That I know where Blue Heron Farm is, where Nancy’s is? Other than that I got nuttin, Honey, I wrote back to Mr. Beam. I suggested that maybe I should go interview Cindy Sheehan instead. But Beam was having none of it.

let me rpt: all obama, all the time.

Well, it’s not every day that a distinguished professional curmudgeon like Alex Beam swoops into my life to give me free wisdom bits, and upon reflection I realized that Beam was right: since I have been hanging out with Barack & Michelle I do have a story to tell, and The People not only want to hear it, The People have a Right to hear it. They are, after all, The People.

And so, below the fold, the true story of my recent time with Mr. & Mrs. President on the little bit of Paradise that I call home: Martha’s Vineyard.

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Happy Birthday, Pete!

Sunday afternoon I went to a celebratory sing-along at the Featherstone Art Center in honor of Pete Seeger on the occasion of his 90th birthday. Pete himself was evidently in New York City at a big concert hosted by Bruce Springsteen, peace be upon him, but I am glad that I was where I was.

I’m generally not the sing-along type, but heck, this was a celebration for Pete Seeger! The man’s not only a great champion of liberty, equality, and democracy; he’s also the driving force behind Sing Out!, and who the hell am I to disrespect that? When Pete Seeger says “Sing!”, I sing. I sang as loudly and as well as I was able. Everybody sang. We sounded really good.

The United States of America skated very close to fascism in the 1950’s and 60’s. When most of country was denying or avoiding or hiding in fear from this simple, ugly truth, Pete Seeger was there singing it out to us, standing up to the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, accompanying himself on 5-string banjo and smiling like the risen Christ.

It’s not at all clear that we’ve skated away from that hideous “ism” even now. Rather than rant about that, however, (it occurred to me as I was sitting on the floor Sunday, singing like a schoolchild, laughing or crying, or both), maybe I should try to learn a thing or two from the old woodchopping folk singer.

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When the Money Gods fall silent, what will become of their priests?

Over on Reality Sandwich, Charles Eisentein has an essay called Money and the Turning of the Age. Its premise is that money is based on a consensus story and only has value so long as the people believe the story. The story of money, he argues, is based on:

— infinite expansion of stuff produced;
— theft and monetization of cultural wealth, and
— arbitrary and ever-growing differences in power between the haves and have-nots.

“Money is merely a social agreement,” Eisentein says. “A story that assigns meaning and roles.”

But what happens when people stop believing the story? What happens when they refuse to play their assigned roles?

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