Resolutions for everyone else for 2010!

No, I won’t make a New Year’s Resolution this year.  Over the last few years, I’ve vowed to cure my addiction to reruns of “Law and Order,” the original and all of its offsprings, but alas, I seem to violate it on the very next “Law and Order” marathon day.  I’ve concluded I can’t be cured!

So let’s make resolutions for everyone else:

For President Barack Obama:  To free himself from being captive of Wall Street by firing Rahm Emanuel, Ted Geithner, and the other capitalist cronies who seem to be governing his decision-making on matters such as the economy, health care reform and labor union rights.

For Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.): To reinstall into the debate a single-payer health insurance plan as the only real reform for our sick health care system.

For Roger Ailes, the Fox Network boss, and Rupert Murdock, the media mogul: To gain an epiphany that their mind-numbing, totally biased, capitalistic news coverage is causing irreparable harm to the nation, by feeding divisive fodder to spur mindless, fact-empty behaviors, such as “tea parties” and “town hall meetings.”  And, therefore, to realize that they can use their considerable media power base to develop true, fact-filled news.  What a step to help return the nation to begin to embrace some common goals of fair play, decency and compassion!

For Brett Favre: To put the Minnesota Vikings management and fans through the same off-again, on-again retirement game that he did to Packers fans and the State of Wisconsin.

For Tiger Woods: To resolve never to leave his golf clubs within the grabbing distance of an angered wife!  But, better yet, to never give a wife an excuse to use the clubs.

For Governor Jim Doyle (Wisconsin): To use his last year in office to continue and strengthen support for strong prevention programs in the areas of juvenile justice, family violence, child abuse and neglect and basic health.

For Mayor Tom Barrett (Milwaukee): To show the same guts and courage he demonstrated in coming to the rescue of a West Allis woman facing an angered violent young man last summer, so that he can to fend-off well-financed and certain-to-be nasty campaigning by his Republican opponent, the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce bunch, talk-show nuts and assorted rightwing goofs.  If you do, Tom, you’ll disprove Leo Durocher’s famous quote that “Nice Guys finish last.” *See note below.

For friends, families and everyone: To overcome a tendency to become disgusted with the matters of the world and therefore to become “turned off” and become a recluse to resolving our problems.  Let us continue to be committed to an appreciation that common decency and intelligence can help to steer us all to making for a better community in 2010 and the years to come.

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Now, my friends, maybe you have some resolutions you’d like to propose for others, or maybe you’d like to argue with mine.  Let’s hear from you by commenting here.

Enough of making resolutions for everyone else.  I see “Law and Order: Criminal Intent” is due on TNT in five minutes.  Gotta go!

Happy New Year!

*  Baseball manager Leo Durocher’s actual quote was:  “”The nice guys are all over there. In seventh place.”  Click here for more information.

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Holiday Greetings: With Hope

Take time this holiday season to enjoy memories of friends,
Some old and some new, fondly remembered for moments
Of joy and of enlightenment and of caring and of sweetness,
And let those memories brighten and freshen your spirit.

Oh the sadness that has permeated these years of the 21st,
The unnecessary wars, the loss of jobs, the greed of the wealthy,
The duplicity of our leaders, the rancor and emptiness of arguments,
All while peoples find suffering and little to kindle a spark of hope.

Except for you, my friend, and for you, and you, and you!
And for all the caring and marvelous folks in the world
In whose spirit and strength we find much hope in the New Year!
Warmest season’s greetings!

‘Fair and Balanced’ My Eye!

Praise must go to Wisconsin State AFL-CIO President David Newby for braving the “Fair and Balanced” segment of Fox News on Thursday, Dec. 17.

Governor Jim Doyle’s signing of the bill to call for the state’s education standards to include labor history and collective bargaining has gathered some national attention; it may indeed be the first law of its type in any state.

Thus, it has become national news and Newby accepted an invitation to appear on the “Fox and Friends” morning show for a brief 4-minute session along with a misinformed opponent of the law, Michael Dean, of a rightwing group called First Freedoms. Newby knew it would be a gamble.

Needless to say, even the promo to the session framed the issue in a one-sided way. It asked, in effect: Do you want your tax dollars going to build propaganda on behalf of labor unions? Hardly an honest question.

The interviewer asked two questions, giving Dean the opportunity to answer first in each one, and in each case he permitted Dean to prattle on with his propaganda line using up minutes far beyond any “fair and balanced” measure would support. Each question misstated the facts, calling the law “a mandate” on schools (which it is not, since it calls for the state standards to included labor history but does not dictate how to teach it). Dean repeatedly called it a mandate, too.

After Dean’s one-sided, and totally fact-challenged tirade ended, Newby was given only 15 seconds to answer. All totalled, Dean had 127 seconds of time, more than twice as much as Newby had with 53 seconds. Such is “Fair and Balanced” as Fox sees it!

Given his limited time, Newby did an excellent job in summarizing the need to provide “balance” (real balance, that is, not the Fox kind) in the teaching about workers and their unions in the schools.

Great job, David! Perhaps there may be some “fair and balanced” listeners who will take time to learn about the issue more completely.

*****
My only personal regret: in awaiting David’s appearance, I had to listen to about 10 minutes of Fox News. Even that was too much torture to bear.

I like to think I look at issues fairly (and truly do want to hear both sides), but Fox is so over the top in misstatements and lies and obvious bias, it’s just too much to handle before breakfast.

Judge for yourself if this interview was “Fair and Balanced,” by clicking here

If war is vital, why not all-out commitment?

As a teenager during World War II, I recall vividly how the entire population was involved in the War: my uncle who lived with us was drafted in 1940, my dad was air raid warden on our block, we contributed valuable pennies and dimes to War Stamps and Bonds. There was no escape from the War; even a trip to the movies brought a halt midway through a film while ushers passed buckets to collect our few coins for the “war effort.”

Every family was affected by the draft, including my high school friends who turned 18 and were snatched out of school for the service; they would receive diplomas in spite of failing to complete studies. Some were sent posthumously.

The draft continued after the War; it got me during the Korean War (Navy) and by the time of Vietnam young men studied like all hell to keep their student deferments. By the 1970s, we turned to an all volunteer army, navy air force and marine corps.

There was a war profits tax during World War II; wages were frozen and unions resisted striking. Harry Truman made his fame heading a Senate investigation on fraud committed by contractors during the War. In short, World War II required an all-out commitment.

Now we are told, the “war” in Afghanistan is critical to our nation’s safety. I’m wondering, if this war is so valuable, should we all not PAY for it, with a tax on high income, a war profits tax, and (regretfully) a draft?

When businesses find they can’t profit on war, when draft-dodging demagogic politicians can no longer wave the flag of patriotism, when young men (and in the 21st Century, women, too) are facing going into service, maybe our country won’t let itself be dragged into such unnecessary (in my view) conflicts.

Tell me if I’m wrong about this!

Read what the New York Times” Bob Herbert has to say.