Friday, March 5, 2010

Some Thoughts on DADT

I read this stupid op-ed piece this morning, but it got me thinking about DADT. I don't know how else to say this, but these guys just don't get it. The flaw in his thinking is that male bonding can only occur among straight men, when, in fact, people bond through shared experience. Women and men can bond as a team, and I have experienced this in my line of work.

There already are gays in the military, everyone in the military knows someone who is gay, and yet, we continue to form tightly knit groups.

Just as with the racial and gender integration of the military, the burden is with the majority to accept the minority. The problem is not gays (or blacks or women). The problem is with the people who are in a position to accept the changes, but refuse to do so.

And, let's be honest. This whole debate about "unit cohesion" is just a euphimism for homophobia. If it weren't, what, exactly, could a homosexual do to undermine said unit cohesion? This is all about straight men who are afraid of being on the receiving end of some wayward homosexual advance. It's absurd. Especially when you consider how many of these men have acted inappropriately with straight women.

As for whether or not we're "sissifying" our military, I think the point has been demonstrated repeatedly that heroism and bravery are not exclusive to hyper-masculine men. Women continue to serve in very trying roles and have not detracted from our ability to wage warfare.

I have to ask honestly, are these people afraid that we're going to start wearing rainbow camouflage? That the military is going to become fabulous and fierce?? It's ridiculous. And, if they're going to stereotype gay men as sissies, what about the other stereotype of lesbians as masculine? Wouldn't that, in theory, be better for the military? The military attracts certain types of people, gay or straight. I find it hard to believe that if homosexuals were allowed to serve openly, then the military would attract a different type of person.

Finally, McPeak wrongly equates homosexuality with disability in his discussion of civil rights. Again, just as with racial and gender integration, if a homosexual meets the physical and educational guidelines set forth, there is no reason to exclude them.

If we are to continue to operate as a volunteer-based force, we must be open to accepting the best and the brightest. Period. Gay or straight, man or woman, black, white or brown, these should not be the deciding factors. The mililtary does not need to be a place of caveman-like behavior. The more professionalism we show, the better our fighting force is. Through the racial and gender integration process, our military has only increased in the levels of professionalism expected and demanded. This is another test of our commitment to equality and justice for all, and the only way we can succeed as a nation is to live the values that we preach and repeal DADT.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Free Health Clinics...not so funny

This piece aired on November 16, 2009 on Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Say what you will about the show, but this truly moved me. Every day I see people standing at the Upper Cardozo Health Clinic waiting for care. Every day, millions of people around this country go without care. Even health care workers cannot get care themselves. It's sickening. Literally.

These volunteers are saving lives and until we have health care for all, I will volunteer with them. I'm not a doctor or a nurse, but I can give my time.

Please visit:

In the small bit of good news, I went to the site immediately after Olbermann's piece aired and it was down due to overwhelming traffic. I only hope that others were as moved as I was.

Don't forget to call your Senators and tell them to support Health Care Reform. Or at least tell them not to obstruct health care for the millions who need it (and majority who support it).

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

9/12 Teabaggers: Hypocrisy In Action

So, the Million Moron March went off without a hitch?

Oh joy.

You’ll have to pardon my lack of enthusiasm because, well, it’s really hard to see past all the hypocrisy and discern what, exactly, these people are protesting. I just have to ask, if they’re so hell-bent on “defending” principles of American Democracy, where were they for the past eight years?

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? The Teabaggers get their name from the idea that they’re “Taxed Enough Already.” Ok, fine, I’ll grant them the fact that even though they want a strong military, they don’t want to pay for it, but are they protesting the tax cut they’re getting under Obama’s plan? Or are they protesting the 4% tax increase that their CEO might get?

Do you really want to go there, lady??

Yea, well I don't want Bush's either. How 'bout you take it, m'kay?

Then there’s the deficit issue (DEFECITS R EIVL!!! OMGLOLWTF!!?!??!1111). They burden future generations with debt that can never be repaid. Uh, yup. This is what “libruls” were saying about the years of deficit spending to fund the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Where were the teabaggers then? The national debt more than doubled under W and they were cheering his war efforts on (but, it’s not like the troops saw the benefits).

At least, that's what Glenn Beck tells me...

While we’re here, let’s talk about Iraq for a second. If the teabaggers wanted an opportunity to demand Presidential truth-telling, the lead-up to the war in Iraq was a prime opportunity. Bush and Co told almost 1000 documented lies about starting a war with Iraq. And, where were the teabaggers? Unfortunately, they’re in the group that still believes Saddam had something to do with 9/11 (which is absurd considering even Cheney admitted it’s not true).

You lost one election. Get a fucking grip...

This person should definitely be in therapy (covered by private insurance, of course)

Speaking of Cheney, let’s talk about freedoms. Apparently, Obama is going to take the teabaggers’ freedom (which one(s), they don’t say), but Cheney (along with Bush) succeeded in actually demolishing the Constitution (you know, that piece of paper). Freedoms like the right to be free from unlawful search and seizure, the right to be free from unlawful punishment and the right to know why you’re being detained. The PATRIOT Act and the Military Commissions Act were two of the greatest affronts to American freedoms and the teabaggers wholeheartedly supported their enactment (Remember "if you're not a terrorist, you don't have to worry?") . And, teabaggers today continue to work against the freedoms of individual choice that truly define America.

So, they don’t really understand taxes, don’t truly care about deficits, aren’t actually concerned with the truth, definitely not interested in freedom. Oh, yea, this was supposed to be about health care ("supposed to" being the key phrase). There was surprisingly little mention of health care. It was mostly an after thought:

I wonder what poignant thought could possibly be on the front of this sign.

They’re concerned that somehow the government is going to take over health care by proposing a competitive alternative to private insurance, and simultaneously be so ineffective as to cause long waits and poor care, yet also be so effective as to cause private insurance to go out of business? Is something like that even possible? But, I guess it makes sense to people who believe Obama can be both a socialist and fascist at the same time...

Call this kid's World History/Civics teacher. Retroactive FAIL.

Yea, I'm trying to add that all up and it comes out to,'re a dumbass

Maybe they’re concerned about the cost. But, were they concerned about the cost of Medicare Part D, which will probably be more expensive as comprehensive health insurance reform (ten year cost estimated at $1.2 trillion), yet all taxpayer dollars go directly to PhARMA? No, no they weren’t.

Ah, nothing like people on Medicare protesting government health care:

I understand that people may be wary of so much government action, but eight years of improper, unjustifiable and sometimes illegal action cheered on by these teabaggers have brought America to the breaking point. The fact is, all these people are complicit in the real destruction that has been wrought.

So, here is my message to all the sometimes-patriots out there: You lost an election because of the failure of your leaders. You are intellectually and politically bankrupt, and generally have no legs to stand on in this debate. You didn’t show up when it mattered most, instead choosing to cheer on heinous and extreme behavior. Everyone noticed and said “No More.” If you want to have a legitimate, policy-based debate, we’re here to listen. But know this: your demagoguery of villainous characters is actually what is tearing at the fabric of our democracy. Your hateful ways will be your undoing.

But, let's be honest, hate is the real reason you came to Washington.

And they say it's not about race...

Just because?

I'm sure whoever made this sign is absolutely gorgeous

But, really, it's not about race

Friday, September 11, 2009

Where Do We Go From Here (a 9/11 reflection)

When I talk to people casually I use words like “college” and “my job,” but on this anniversary of 9/11, I think about the reality of attending a service academy and deploying. I know I am not the first, nor have I sacrificed the most, but we have all answered the call.

Nine years ago, I decided to attend the Naval Academy. Visions of world travel and exciting port visits danced through my head. Eight years ago, I stood at the end of a hallway with a dull bayonet and wondered if I really could kill someone with my bare hands. I had just turned 18 three weeks prior and had been focused on getting good grades and learning to shine shoes. I thought about leaving. This was not what I signed up for.

I made up my mind on September 12, 2001. This doesn’t have anything to do with Glenn Beck and his stupid 9/12 project because, frankly, he’ll never understand how I felt that day. No, on that day, instead of cowering, instead of shutting down and hunkering in, we returned to class. We redoubled our efforts because now we had a purpose. I could feel the energy in the air. I’d never seen so many people at the gym. The whole world was watching and urging us to be faster and stronger. I felt connected.

So I stayed. And the days turned to weeks turned to months. No one can maintain that level of intensity forever. It’s draining. And it’s overwhelming. People tuned out. And Afghanistan turned into Iraq.

There was surprisingly little discussion about this. The desire for revenge was strong. Afghanistan was complicated and the politics seemed slow and boring. As a lifelong liberal, I was horrified, but even worse, I was disconnected. I didn’t feel this bloodlust. It seemed that we were abandoning a legitimate effort in Afghanistan to do (what, exactly, I could never tell) in Iraq.

And the talk turned to death. The guy who sat next to me in French class? IED. The kid down the hall who was always yelling? Sniper. And that officer who was always there to help people who struggled with PT? Double amputee. The administration decided they needed more Marines and more Navy SEALs, and people volunteered instantly.

The years have gone by, and more Americans have died in Iraq than in the attacks eight years ago. There are more questions than answers. But, more important than the location of Osama bin Laden or the strength and breadth of Al Qaeda is this: Where do we go from here? We’ve travelled so far yet made so little progress. We’ve long since been lead off the path, and I believe we’re further from success today than we were on September 12, 2001. Of course, that would be if there was a definition of success.

In my current position, I prepare information for the President to write the personal condolence letters of all Sailors and Marines killed in combat. Every day my inbox has gruesome information about people, some who were just 10 years old when this all began, and I wonder how much longer this will go on.

There is a fact that I fear politicians fail to fully grasp and appreciate. There are people, natural born and immigrants, who are willing to lay down their lives not for Democrats or Republicans, but for the idea that is America. They do this because they believe in the ideals of this country not because they care about politics, but because they are asked. It is that simple. And it is this image of America that has been twisted, warped and manipulated by politicians, and it is why we must demand more respect from politicians.

The people fighting, some dying, most going back for more, they aren’t just numbers, troop increases or drawdowns. They more than people with families and lives and histories. They’re volunteers. These wars wouldn’t be possible without them, but shouldn’t be fought simply because we have them.

On this day, we must decide where we will be in another eight years. The goodwill of Americans toward this nation can never be exhausted, but we’re not here for the political whims of deranged politicians. If America stands for things that are right and good, then it must be right and good. If mistakes were made in the past, they must be addressed, corrected, and protected against in the future.

I see signs all around today that proclaim “We Will Never Forget,” but I fear we already have. Not the dead or missing, they will never be forgotten. We have already forgotten the message: We are not perfect, but we can be better. If we charge boldly into the future without reflecting on the past, we are doomed to failure. So I ask, where do we go from here?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Teh Irony, It Hurtz...

Checking the news on the interwebs this morning, I came across this little gem: College Republicans to identify liberal professors. Apparently, UT College Republicans feel that their grades were affected more by their political affiliation than, say, their crappy work and (apparent) whining.

I have to say, this is ironic on way too many levels. And, somehow, irony is always lost on Republicans.

First, in the context of the health care "debate," Republicans are the ones accusing Obama of being a fascist-socialest-Hitler-meanie. Yet, wasn't it Hitler and the Nazis (or Stalin and the Communists) who made lists targeting people with different views?

Second, and more importantly, this goes completely against all the stated "ideals" of the Republican Party. I mean, after all, aren't they the people always preaching "personal responsibility" and "independence?" Shouldn't they be overcoming whatever situation life presents without complaining?

Instead, in typical Republican fashion, they commence the victim act. They're never to blame. The "bad" things in their life are always someone else's fault. It couldn't be possible that they earned a lower grade. No, they deserve an A+++, but the evil liberal professors consipired against them. It couldn't be that they used made-up "facts" and failed to adequately defend an argument or idea. Oh no, they were TARGETED.

I'm sick of this BS. If they want to preach personal responsiblity, let them be responsible for their situation. If they want to call politicians and political parties names, they should have their facts about who did what when correct. But, people accept this stupid Republican behavior across the country. The media does the mental gymnastics that allow the perpetrator to cry "victim!" Why would the UT College Republicans expect any different??

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I've had my fill of Dick

In case you haven't noticed, Dick Cheney has been touring the conservative media, engaging in a hate-fueled circle jerk as they fantasize about what the Bush era wasn't. And the media, even the mainstream media is just eating this up. But no one is talking about the obvious: Cheney is so fucking wrong, there's almost no words to describe. Seriously, I looked up "wrong" in a thesaurus and I think we have to use all of them just to get close to his level.

The thing that's really bothering me is that Cheney even has any credibility to discuss anything. Let's check it out:

1) Saddam Hussein was tied to Al Qaeda and 9/11. Wrong.

2) Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. Wrong.

3) We will be greeted as liberators. Wrong.

4) The insurgency is in its last throes. Wrong.

And that's just some of the stuff dealing with Iraq. We won't even get into the rest of his "policies." The point is, not only was he wrong, he lied. He knew the facts didn't support his point of view, so he pressured analysts, waged a media war, and lied to the American people. We know this now.

The question remains, what credibility does he have left? Why would we listen when we know he had a "detainees" file in his office? When we know he purposely obscured and delayed the information provided to Congress? What legs does a man who started an unnecessary war for profit, while abandoning a legitimate mission directly related to 9/11, causing it to devolve and spread into neighboring countries, even stand on?

The answer: None. Dick Cheney is nothing but a crazy old man who's scared shitless about being prosecuted. For someone who was so wrong about so many things, it's shocking that people would even give any of his delusions credence. As if he knows what policies make and keep a country safe. More Americans have died in Iraq than they did in 9/11 and what does America have to show for it? A war in Pakistan, too? Super.

No, we don't want his opinion on what the Obama administration is doing wrong, considering his track record. We don't care if he doesn't like the closing of Guantanamo. Frankly, if he doesn't like it, we do. In fact, 63% of people still have an unfavorable view of Cheney. Compare that to the fact that 66% of people approve of Obama.

Seriously, I've had my fill of Dick, so stop trying to cram more down my throat.

And, Dick, I have a news flash for you, 9/11 happened in 2001. You don't get a pass for that. You were in office for eight years, so stop talking about the last seven and a half.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Some thoughts on socialism and health care

Ok, I'm going to ask a question.

Is it more expensive and less efficient for Americans to:

a) pay for national defense on their own?


b) pay into a common system that takes that money and applies it to a defense system that covers all Americans?

If you chose A, you're right. In fact, it would be impossible for an individual to provide for national defense on a personal level. It's fair to say that what we receive in return is more valuable than what we pay into the system. But how does this apply to health care?

The point is, the same ideas apply to universal (single payer) health care. If we all put in, what we received in return (preventative care that leads to a healthier, more productive society) is more valuable than what we initially give. And, unlike national defense, which can be intangible at best and contentious at worst, health care is something that we can all see a return on in our personal lives.

It just makes sense, so why don't we do it?