• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    William on Throwback Thursday: Corey the…
    William on Is “Balance of Nature…
    thewizardofroz on Is “Balance of Nature…
    Beata on Is “Balance of Nature…
    William on Is “Balance of Nature…
    Beata on Is “Balance of Nature…
    seagrl on Why is something so easy so di…
    Propertius on Is “Balance of Nature…
    jmac on Is “Balance of Nature…
    William on Is “Balance of Nature…
    Beata on Is “Balance of Nature…
    Beata on Is “Balance of Nature…
    William on Is “Balance of Nature…
    Propertius on Is “Balance of Nature…
    William on Is “Balance of Nature…
  • Categories

  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    January 2010
    S M T W T F S
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • God As Idea, By Eric Anderson
      I woke up last night feeling like I was suffocating, because in my dream I was. It began in a church, or an old university lecture hall. Antique. And everyone in attendance was being asked to say little prayers honoring Jesus. Everyone was reciting little prayers that are common among the devout. But when it was my turn, I stood and exclaimed: Jesus was a ph […]
  • Top Posts

HCR Senate Bill: Epic Fail

It turns out there is a Goddess.  The Democrats have decided to put a halt on Health Reform.

The gear shifting by Democrats underscored how the health care effort had been derailed by the Republican victory in the Massachusetts special election last week, which effectively denied Democrats the 60th vote they need to overcome a Republican filibuster in the Senate. Originally, Mr. Reid wanted to finish a bill early last August.

The lawmakers’ comments also served to lower expectations for the president’s State of the Union address on Wednesday. Lawmakers said they did not expect Mr. Obama to lay out a specific strategy.

No one needs to elaborate on what a complete joke Obama and the Senate Democrats Health Care Reform effort has been.

But John at Liberal Rapture says what we’re all thinking:

For those of us who wanted a real overhaul and a public option this battle was lost last summer. I’m glad the Senate bill is probably dead. It was a bad, retrograde bill. Obama should be glad too. If he wants to salvage this year, he needs the Senate bill disposed of quickly. He may not know it or accept it but this is best for him politically. Democrats can now spend time on issues that matter to people. They may even govern, which might, in fact, save their majorities in the fall.


Regardless, this needs to be stated clearly: Health care reform failed because of Obama. (Major reform has failed. Minor adjustments might still be made.) He was an anti-leader through out the process. He gave away the most important bargaining chips at the start. Then, as deadlines slipped by, he allowed awful deals to define the bill. He squandered an opportunity that comes along once a generation. What could have been a truly transformative bill became a soulless lump of corruption. His actions on health care became the perfect example of the inexperience and arrogance that so many warned about. The community organizer failed to organize his own party and his own thoughts on the matter.

Comparisons to LBJ and FDR are obvious. Both those men used the bully pulpit to change the American landscape. Obama used it to preen. Hundreds of speeches and TV appearances and still no one knew his core beliefs on health care. (Does he have any?) No one had a cogent narrative. (Was there one?) No one felt invested in his central initiative of 2009. (There was no reason for personal investment.)

He failed. Miserably.

So much for the President’s arrogant proclamation the other day: that his Health Reform effort would succeed where the Big Dawg’s failed because “You’ve got me.”

This is a tragedy, because if Obama were half the President Bill was, he would have learned from the Big Dawg’s mistakes. Health Care Reform failed in 1994 because the Clintons allowed hostile and uncooperative Democrats in Congress to derail their efforts.

Obama had an opportunity here to create a transformative bill that would have truly reformed our health care system. He had a supermajority in Congress and an MSM that would have wiped his butt for him if he’d asked. The wind was at his back and he squandered this opportunity. Now millions of Americans will continue their lives without Health Insurance.

What a class act, Mr. President. What a class act.

Something to add to your Bucket List

Denali National Park, Alaska

I am a National Park fan.  My love of these great parks has grown however since viewing the Ken Burns documentary, “National Parks: America’s Best Idea.”  Ken, and his co-collaborator Dayton Duncan, bring you not only a cinematic and pictorial collage of these magnificent sights, they also bring to you the story of the heart and soul of America the Beautiful, as manifested through the lands that have been set aside for our enjoyment.  You are introduced to the individuals who made the National Parks a reality, and who today carry on the tradition of preserving these important areas of our nation.

Burns’ and Dayton’s masterpiece of both historical storytelling and breathtaking cinematography take the viewer on a trip from the first moment the idea was conceived to the present, all the while transferring through their mastery the intoxicating and spiritual experience of being in those wonderful places. Take a moment and enjoy park ranger Shelton Johnson’s reflection on one of his own spiritual awakenings in the heart of Yellowstone (actually the full clip is worth a watch):

The entire documentary is as enchanting as this clip and once you’ve begun the journey with Burns and Dayton you will find it difficult to turn back.  You will be hooked.  Don’t miss the bears of Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska at around 17:10 on the above clip.

As part of this journey you will meet several very pivotal figures in the establishment and progress of the National Park system.  Burns describes the story of the National Parks as

“…A bottom up story, of people who just happened to have fallen in love with a place and were willing to devote in some cases their lives and their fortune, their sacred honor, to creating a wonderful place that we now get to enjoy.”

While most people credit Teddy Roosevelt with creating the bulk of the park system, our citizen-owned majestic vistas would not have come about without the individual efforts of such people as John Muir, who traveled through and wrote extensively of Yosemite.  He found his own spiritual awakening in this “tabernacle” as he often described it, and shared that idea with anyone who came across him in the park or who may have read his books and papers on the subject. Muir also visited and fought for preservation of many other areas and became the first president of the Sierra Club.

There are countless others who have impacted our lives through the establishment of the park system and, but for Burns and Dayton’s film, we may never have come to appreciate their efforts.  Steven Mather, the first Director of the National Park Service who dedicated his life and fortune to seeing that the parks would always have an official government system to protect their beauty; George Dorr, who expended a life’s fortune to purchase the land that is now Acadia National Park in Maine;  Lancelot Jones, who refused to sell his land to developers but instead to the National Park Service so that it would be protected for all time as the Key Biscayne National Monument.  There are so many more, and you will be introduced to most of them for the first time through this film.

As a spiritual experience, I too have discovered by visiting these parks what John Muir wrote of on many occasions:

We are now in the mountains, and they are in us. Kindling enthusiasm; making every nerve quiver; filling every pore and cell of us. Our flesh and bone tabernacle seems transparent as glass to the beauty about us. Neither old nor young; sick nor well; but immortal.

But even more unexpectedly, I’ve experienced a reinvigoration of my love for our Democracy.  This film revealed how our National Park system stands as one of the greatest examples of democracy, illustrating what our government can do when it establishes a program that is truly “of the people, by the people” and most importantly “for the people.”  All Americans, regardless of race, creed, economic status, gender, age, or religious belief, own these places of natural splendour and can enter them and be amazed.  Everyone is equal there; it is the land that reigns supreme.

As Dayton notes, the National Park system is “an American invention” and Juanita Greene, a journalist profiled in the film, observes how the parks represent “a symbol of democracy when it works well, at it’s best.”  Shelton captures this feeling in a recollection of his first moment in Yellowstone as he approached the stone arch that bears the words: “For the benefit of enjoyment of the people.”

The documentary “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” lays out a history of these sacred spaces; places that are right in our backyards.  It also tells the story of great people who sacrificed much to bestow this priceless gift upon us and our children.  They are the people who fought back against those seeking to exploit these areas for profit and cared not that destruction of these lands would be a result.  Through this film you will meet these men and women who dedicated their lives and their fortunes so that we and our children, and our childrens’ children may enjoy the natural wonders of our nation.  This documentary is a must watch for all Americans.  I hope you take the opportunity.

Beginning this Wednesday, January 27, 2009, PBS will be running this great series once again.  You can watch it on TV, or online — Information on when and how can be found HERE.  I highly recommend it. (For more information about the National Parks visit http://www.nps.gov.)

Traveling to Acadia National Park this summer, and we hope to soon visit Glacier National Park and gaze across the magnificence of Crater Lake.  We also long to see the majestic mountains of Zion and Rocky Mountain National parks, the brilliant colored “hoodoos” of Bryce Canyon and the layers of water-cut earth that is the Grand Canyon in the next several years.  These are wonderful places — and always remember that they belong to all of us.  They are both our heritage and our legacy.

So, “Which National Park(s) will you add to *your* Bucket List?”  Here is a video montage of all 58 parks to help you decide; and please share your own fond memories of visits to National Parks.  It is only in a National Park that you can experience…

The view from Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park
The breathtaking falls of Yosemite
Yellowstone Falls
One of Yellowstone’s many prismatic pool springs
The big beautiful sky of Yellowstone
Imagine the experience of being this close to such a magnificent animal — and then actually live it at Yellowstone
And captivating views of the Madison River that greet you as you enter Yellowstone