Archive for the political Category

The death of civilization as I know it

Posted in art, personal, political with tags , , , , , , on January 25, 2010 by barryshapiro

Went to the mall yesterday to catch a movie and buy a book. The movie (Up In The Air with George Clooney) about a guy who flies across America to fire people from their jobs is a terrific film. But the view of our society as a corporate dominated, uncaring, cold cruel world inhabited by lonely, disconnected people adrift in a sea of hopelessness. OK, it was also funny and clever but the message was clear, the country is in bad shape.

Then things got worse. Entering the mall we made a bee line for Waldenbooks. This is a customary stop for Patricia and myself. Since moving to Florida we have spent more time at the mall than I spent cumulatively my entire life. There are no book stores in Sebastian so we have to head south to Vero or north to Melbourne for a little culture and browsing a bookstore is always a pleasure. Nothing like spending an hour or two in the stacks. But this time something was tragically different. Waldenbooks was closing, all sales final.

In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal,  Waldenbooks, which is part of the Borders Group chain of bookstores, closed around 200 stores nationwide laying off over 1500 workers. The sign in the window said: “See you on the Internet!” I am certain that Barnes & Noble will be shuttering doors around the country very soon.

We are witnessing a seismic shift in the way our consumer society functions. As corporations gain more and more control over our choices and processes, individualism will die. Some think there will be a reaction and a backlash bringing about a new spirit of entrepreneurism and individuality but I see little evidence to support that theory. I see downsizing and a people desperate to do anything to make ends meet.

Bookstores are disappearing and next it will be libraries (not profitable). Literary magazines will die off (not profitable). People and Us magazines will be considered examples of classic literature (profitable and popular in doctors offices).  More people will self publish but there will be fewer and fewer readers to buy their books. Many of these optimistic writers are one book wonders and just love the fact that they have copies to give the relatives at Christmas. As my friend Francine Worth says “The world is upside down. We are progressing in technology but we are losing ground every second in humanity, understanding and love for our fellow man, our arts and our culture.”

Art too, or at least perceptions of what constitutes art, is going through a radical shift. As art becomes more and more affected by digital media it becomes more accessible and more mass-produced. Therefore it becomes an outlet for just about anyone. Everyone is an artist! Talent, the ability to draw, paint, sculpt, becomes less important than the ability to conceive.  Masterpieces of art like the Pietà or the woodcuts of Albrecht Durer become a manufacture-able item created in a digital environment as opposed to a live environment by the artists hand. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? You don’t have to be able to draw the Mona Lisa, just be able to conceive it and a computer will do the rest. I have no doubt that artists of the future will create their art by telling a program what they want to see, feel or hear. The rest will be a digital process. “Hal, can you make her mouth a little more pouty?” “Yes Dave!”

When you combine that with the news about the Supreme Courts decision of this last week affecting political campaign contributions from corporations I can easily forsee a future where people’s opinions and tastes are completely watered down and dictated by corporate selection. We’ll  get our news from Jon Stewart and our idea of a great novel will be something culled from a movie based on a cable TV show inspired by a video game. Oh, gee, isn’t that the way it is now???

I decided to re-read Thomas Friedman’s “The World is Flat” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) a book the bought on back in ’05 when it was first published. I thought it would be informative. Instead it’s a bummer. As the world changes faster and faster I want to believe that I have some control over my destiny, over my life. I may be kidding myself. I remembered that when I read his book the first time a had several “ah-ha!” moments of clarity. Perhaps that will happen again but after reading just the first chapter I am afraid my head is getting more muddled.

Perhaps it’s a generational thing but I want to get the technology out of my life and just read books and draw pictures all day and never have to read another blog.

A piece from the Art Basel exhibition in Miami 2009

Hot Mona


Mark MaGwire and other liars

Posted in personal, political with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2010 by barryshapiro

So Mark McGwire finally comes clean about his steroid use. Ho hum. Like this is some big shock? Is there actually anyone on the planet who follows the sport of baseball who didn’t think McGwire used steroids when he was playing? Especially after his unbelievably lame 2005 testimony before Congress. What a clown. This guy has to be the dumbest guy in baseball. Makes Ricky Henderson look like a rocket scientist.

What really irks me is not that he used the stuff. And not the tired apology – hell haven’t we heard all this before (Giambi, Rodriguez, et al). One more of these clowns steps forward to apologize and I think they should go to jail for bad acting!!!!
But McGwire really gets my dander up. This lying sack of shit, and make no mistake – that’s exactly what he is – has the balls to go on national TV and tear up for the cameras and lie through his teeth. He’s either the stupidest schmuck on the planet or the sleaziest – maybe both. He thinks anyone is buying this bull? And don’t think for one minute he was being sincere. This bum hired none other than former White House Press Secretary and media consultant Ari Fleischer to script his way through the media circus. This is all for show and the timing is so obvious. The guy desperately wants back into baseball and he is going to be the Cardinals hitting coach and so the Cards made sure that he came clean for the media well before Spring Training so that they could minimize the distractions. And let’s not forget that the number of votes he got in the Hall of Fame balloting recently showed clearly that this bogus home run king will never ever make it into the Hall. So poor misunderstood Mark does a 2-day media whirl, cries for the cameras and Bob Costas and thinks that it will all blow over.

And with the help of idiots like Bud Selig, that joke of a Commissioner, press patsies like Tim Kurtchin on ESPN, Ari Fleischer and his consulting firm and the short-term memory of the baseball loving public, he may just be right. McGwire should be in jail.

Look, the steroid era in baseball is not over no matter what Selig announces to the media. The drugs will get more sophisticated and as long as there are millions at stake players will find ways to cheat. They’ve done it since the spitball was invented. If baseball and the players were smart, and they aren’t, they’d find a way to come to grips with reality. It may be too late for that. As ESPN’s Brian Kenny suggests, given what’s at stake and the advances in technology, why not come up with a smart approach to medical science. If a player is hurt why shouldn’t he be using HGH under supervision to speed up his recovery? It only makes sense. But because MLB and the pin heads at the Players Union stonewalled and denied for so long it will probably never happen.

But back to MaGwire. This guy is a liar. And he’s abusing the privilege now by continuing to lie and deny. Jose Canseco nailed his butt (in the bathroom stall and in his book) and the guy just can’t come clean. He doesn’t know what he took? Bullshit! He did it to stay healthy, not for performance? Bullshit!

And his manager and excuser Tony LaRussa should be investigated. He knew plenty, he lied and he demeaned others who told the truth and he’s still making excuses. He’s an ass and the fans of St. Louis, great fans that they are, deserve better. Look, you can wipe out the records at this point but I think that they should do something to declare Roger Maris as the all time home run record holder for a season and Aaron for a career. Those guys did the right thing. McGwire’s excuse that he only did it to stay healthy is even a bigger embarrassment. Injury is part of the game. Look at the careers of guys that were short circuited by injury who could have broken so many records. In fact, in 1961 when Maris hit his 61 to break Babe Ruth’s long-standing record, it was widely assumed that Mickey mantle would be the one to do it. Mantle was the Golden Boy and the famous slugger in centerfield. The home run race between the M&M Boys, as Mantle and Maris were known, captivated baseball fans around the country that year, just as did the MaGwire – Sosa race. But Mantle had a hip infection that shortened his season and that left the home run title to Maris alone. If Mickey had taken steroids or HGH who knows, perhaps he too would have passed the Babe. 

Why am I so pissed about this? For one thing I love baseball. I am not a purist. I am OK with the DH. I know that records are made to be broken. But there is more to it than that. We have evolved or devolved into a celebrity driven, media controlled, consumer society that has a very hard time telling truth from lies, remembering what someone said on TV last week that contradicts what they said today and is led by the nose by media personalities, be they political pundits or sports analysts. It’s all out of control and out of whack.

Sarah Palin may not know why we have a North and South Korea but she sure is qualified to be a commentator on Fox News. Meanwhile her running mate John McCain (not the 2012 running mate, the last one) says that he doesn’t really know what the vetting process was to select his Vice Presidential choice. Either he’s lying (and for the life of me I can’t figure out why) or he’s a stupid jerk. I mean it was the Vice President for Christ’s sake!!!!

And the circus just goes on and on. We keep dumbing down. Oprahfied. Tyrasized. Obama hasn’t been President for one year and yet no one seems to remember that the financial crisis that has enveloped us and is destroying our livelihoods started back when a guy named Bush was in office. People actually think that Obama was in office when all this shit happened. Bush? Who’s Bush? Short term memory is what it’s all about. We seem to have lost the ability to remember who lied to us last week. It’s going to get worse.

We need to stop and change course or we’re going to be living an existence beyond anything that Orwell could have imagined. Let’s start with mark MaGwire. That’s as good a place as any. Let’s make sure he gets booed every time he shows his millionaire puss at the ball park. Let’s write letters and blogs demanding that the Cardinals dump him. Let’s make him pay until he tells the truth. I think we’ll know it when we hear it. I haven’t heard it yet.

Down with all the liars.

By the way, I’m coming down on the side of Conan. NBC is the worst network on the dial and their management should be fired. Jeff Zucker is a moron. Jay Leno is a nice guy (I worked with the man once and I know this to be a fact) but his time is up. Not his fault – NBC blew it for him but he should wake up and smell the coffee. Go Conan!

Things I’d like to know

Posted in art, personal, political with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2009 by barryshapiro

Tonight I saw a shooting star zip through the sky. It quickly cut through the stars in front of the almost-full moon and then seemed to break up and disappear. It happened so fast. I wonder if it was a meteorite or a satellite trying to return home? These days I often feel as if I am trying to find my way home. I feel as if I took a wrong turn somewhere and wound up on some strange asteroid.

Where do pelicans sleep at night? At 2 AM the beach is incredibly quiet. Hardly a sound except for the crash of the waves and a wisp of the wind. It occurred to me that there were no birds anywhere. During the day there are thousands of them: terns, gulls, sandpipers, plovers and pelicans. Where do they sleep at night? Is there some kind of pelican hotel? The encyclopedia says that pelicans often sleep under docks and piers but I cannot see anything under the only pier in the area. Where do they go?

Speaking of wild animals, why does Tiger Woods have to tell the world the reason he had a car accident? No one else was hurt, it wasn’t a crime scene and the police determined that alcohol was not a factor. So why is every media outlet screaming that he must step forward to save his reputation? Could it be because they want a juicy story to feast upon? Really, who cares? I don’t hear people on the street too concerned about what really happened. It seems that the media, which has created and feeds the cult of celebrity just has to have its expose of the week, leveling Woods to the level of Danny Bonaducci. They never really liked him anyway: too, “uppity”, too arrogant, too independent. I don’t think the guy has to answer to anyone except his wife and kids and the corporate sponsors that pay him zillions, and he can do that in private. Someone yesterday told me that Tiger  HAD to fess up and speculated that he caught his wife in a lesbian affair. Now that’s something I would like to know. Are their forbidden Polaroids somewhere? Still, if I were Woods, with his money, his prestige, his golf swing – I would just say it’s nobody elses business and leave it at that.

I’d like to know why State Troopers think they are so bad. I was pulled over for speeding last week and the guy was a complete dick. Here’s the kicker – I wasn’t speeding (I know that everyone says that but I have no reason to lie here – I had the car on cruise control so I know exactly how fast I was going) and the cop was coming from the other direction. If he had clocked someone speeding it could have been anyone of the several cars that had passed me in the left lane and he was crossing the median to pull up behind me. I think that once he saw out-of-state plates he just figured he’d have an easy day and nail my ass. I was so surprised when he pulled up behind me with his blue flashers going off like Grucci fireworks that I almost slammed on the brakes. I thought he was kidding when he said I was speeding but when he said he clocked me doing 85 I knew it was bullshit and that I was just a notch on his quota belt. I will go to court on this one but I wonder if it’s worth the effort or the stress. I don’t think I deserve a $235 ticket for something I didn’t do but I have to question the sanity for taking a day off to have my day in court. In America you are innocent until proven guilty – except in traffic court. And this cop was such a dickhead I question my sanity in wanting to confront him, even in a court of law – afterall, this jerk carries a gun.

I want to know when Obama is going to close Guantanamo and when we will have a truly decent health care bill in Congress or when the rich, smarmy, self-aggrandized, butt-lickers in Congress will ever do the right thing by the working man. Is that too much to ask?

I hate reality TV – except the news which is really reality TV and I wonder what Vince Manze is doing these days. He was majorly responsible for much of the way we view TV today from his days as a VP at NBC, back when NBC was a network that people actually watched. Grant Tinker must really hate watching NBC and wonder what the hell ever happened. I know I do. Vince, my old buddy, are you kicking back on a tropical island laughing at the world you left behind or are you sitting in a desk in Hollywood creating evil reality shows that rot peoples minds? Just curious.

Oyster Catcher - crayon on paper

So where do the oystercatchers go at night? Do you think they ever worry about how to pay the rent?


What happened to us?

Posted in personal, political with tags , , , , on November 20, 2009 by barryshapiro

The other day I received one of those emails that you get from friends that you are supposed to pass along but never do. At least I never do, unless it’s pornographic which means it came from my friend Chris and I’m passing it along to my friend David. This one had a simple quiz published by the Pew Research Center. It was titled a News IQ Quiz. I thought I take the quiz and see how up I was on my current events. It turned out to be a very simple quiz: 12 questions all multiple choice about topics pulled right from today’s headlines. The first question asked who was the most recent appointment to the Supreme Court. Pretty simple stuff. The second asked if I knew who Glenn Beck was. Again, a no brainer. And there was not one question much harder than those two. I got to the end of the quiz and learned that I had scored a perfect 12 out of 12. Given the simplicity of the questions I would have been shocked if I had not aced it but I left open the possibility that I might have missed one.

What freaked me out was that when my score was calculated they informed me that I was in a group that included only 2% of the public. 2%!!!!!!! What the hell is that all about. The largest group, at 24% got only 3 or 4 answers correct. Only 10% of the population got it half right.

Have we really become a nation of stupid people? Are we so damn ignorant that we cannot answer a few simple questions about the most pressing issues of the day? Or is it that way too many of us are getting our news and information from people like the aforementioned Mr. Beck, who I suspect is either an evil genius or just a loud mouthed horses ass with the IQ of a toad? No that’s really demeaning to toads. I apologize to toads everywhere.

This is really pathetic. It makes me sad and embarrassed. We live in a country where so much is possible and yet it seems that we as a people get dimmer all the time. Can our schools be this awful? Can so many of us just not care?

Take the quiz yourself at If you don’t get at least 10 out of 12 then you should be ashamed and immediately get a subscription to the New York Times. And stop watching Fox News!

Just tell the truth

Posted in personal, political with tags , , , , on November 9, 2009 by barryshapiro

I hear a lot of people say that they really want to hear the truth – just the truth and nothing but the truth. I’ve heard that said by many women in all the relationships I have ever been in. The truth seems to be a much sought after commodity but I wonder why does it seem to be so scarce? There is even a movie that was recently released, a comedy about telling the truth. I didn’t see it but I am sure that the truth was stretched to make some very funny points.

I think that one big problem is that people do not really want to hear the truth. They’d rather hear something that is comforting or agrees with their point of view. Otherwise it’s an argument in the making and who wants to argue all the time. I also think that most people assume that because they don’t want to hear the truth that means that no one else really wants to hear the truth either. So lying and exaggeration have become just our natural way of communicating with each other. No one tells it like it is, although we often use that phrase (“Come on, man, tell it like it is” or “I’m tellin’ you the way it is…”).

The other day I was watching some news program – news programs hardly ever really tell you the way it really is, they give you the corporate advertiser friendly version when ever possible – and someone was interviewing some bureaucrat from the Obama administration. She was this chubby, pale-faced, blonde haired, windbag who was on one of the President’s economic advisory committees and she was there to answer questions about the banking industryand the economy. The interviewer asked her a very direct question about executive compensation, TARP money and the health of the now robust banking industry in light of the huge unemployment numbers just released. Now I realize that these people have all been trained to NEVER answer a direct question with a direct answer. Nothing scares these people more than an honest, direct question. But this woman was so totally living in the land of bullshit I just had to turn the TV off before she could pollute my airwaves anymore than necessary. Instead of answering a direct question with a direct answer she smiled her perky smile and said something to the effect of “Well, you know that everything we’ve done in this administration and in the previous administration as it pertains to the banks has been with one goal in mind and that is to put America back to work!” Excuse me? Did I just hear that? Unemployment is in double digits, the banks are making record profits and she expects anyone to buy that crap?

And the interviewer didn’t press her on it, not one bit of pushback. He could have simply said “Hey, how about answering the question?” but he wasn’t really interested in a truthful answer, just an answer that wold sound good.

Politicians and those in the media have mastered the art of truth evasion and  one way that they do this is by constantly saying that they are sorry. They apologize for everything and it seems that if they just make a public apology than everything is OK. All if forgiven! Just say I’m sorry.

Got caught soliciting a policeman in the airport bathroom? Just say “I’m sorry” and no one will demand you step down. Used anabolic steroids when you were playing in the World Series? No problemo, just say your sorry. Beat your wife with a broomstick? Oops, I am so sorry about that. Does anyone really believe these people are sorry? They are only sorry that they got caught! No one calls a press conference and says “I made a mistake and broke the law and I got away with it because no one knows it happened but I am sorry so i am turning myself in and paying all fines and penalties and intend to dedicate my life from now on to only honest good works.” No one does that. But when they get caught with their dick in the wife’s girlfriend or their hands in the till or whatever the first thing to do is call a press conference and say “I’m sorry!” Screw that, who really cares? Who really believes them? Nobody. It’s all for show. It’s all a lie.

Yesterday I went to the ATT store cause I was having a problem with my iPhone. When I bought it I was given a business card by the sales person and told I could call anytime during business hours and reach her directly and that I could send her email too. Well, that was bull because the store never answers the phone and it takes at least 24 hours to return messages to the voicemail or else you get connected to the general info line. So after a day of trying to get in touch with this sales person I just went back to the store. And what was the first thing out of the person’s mouth? You got it… “I’m sorry!” It’s become an automatic, knee jerk reaction in corporate America. Nothing works, no one can really communicate but just say your sorry and all is forgiven.

I asked her to stop saying she was sorry because I knew that she really wasn’t. How did I know that? Because I was not the first person to have that experience.  If they were truly sorry they’d do something about it. But they never do. That would take too much effort, maybe cost the company a few pennies and besides why bother when you can just say “Sorry!”

I would have been much happier if she had just said when she gave me the card that she might not get back to me and so I’d be better off just going to the 800 number and getting a tech guy from Bangalore to answer my questions.

The Right is Wrong

Posted in personal, political on August 8, 2009 by barryshapiro

The world can’t be all bad if the Yankees can beat the Red Sox in 15 innings on a beautiful summer night in the Bronx. And there are other things that make it great to be alive like the sun coming up this morning over the Indian River here in Sebastian or my neighbor Sam casting a line off his boat and pulling up some mullet. Yes, it’s a wonderful life and the world can be such a beautiful place. So why than must we ruin it by being hateful and violent?

Last night I saw on the news a photo of a teenager wearing a T-shirt with a picture of Obama that says “Hitler gave good speeches too.” I was appalled. Who could possibly be so stupid and twisted that they could not only equate Obama to the worst mass murderer in modern history but wear it on a T-shirt? It wasn’t an isolated incident. Another clip showed a man holding a poster of Obama with a Hitler-like moustache. And there was a video  of a man speaking to a crowd making direct comparisons of Hitler to Obama. When I hear other right wingers using the Hitler comparison and I watch morons like Glenn Beck or Michael Savage promote this kind of psychotic behavior I wonder what has happened to the people in this country. Where is our decency? Have we put Kool-Aid in the water? Has all the high fructose corn sweetener we consume started to turn our brains into head cheese?

I haven’t got a beef with talk radio, I believe in freedom of speech. I don’t much care for the system in Washington where “money talks and nobody walks” but I understand that money is the driver in this country. I believe in freedom of religious belief (but also in the seperation of church and state). But when you put all of that together and mix in hate speech, lies, deception and downright incivility, and then mix in a lot of money, it truly is a bad blend and someone is going to wind up getting killed.

The right has got it wrong. It is healthy to disagree and debate and compromise and you can’t always have your way. But the neocon attitude of “your either with us or your a terrorist” is dangerous and as un-American as it gets. What seems like a bunch of disgruntled old white guys is turning into a mass hysteria with the aid of some powerful, well financed right wing corporate backed lobbying groups. It is frightening.

The healthcare debate is becoming a last stand referendum on racism and, as we have seen in the Sotomayor confirmation hearings, the right is willing to stoop about as far as they can to get their point across. those same Senators who called Sotomayor a ‘racist’ are themselves using race as a divide. They are of the same group who from the floor of Congress, equate the healthcare bill will murder.

It’s time to tone down the rhetoric and start acting like Americans. Americans are a nation of immigrants. We are a people of diversity. We make mistakes but we learn from them and grow stronger. With the exception of the Amer-Indians who were here when our predecessors arrived we all came from somewhere else. We all have proud family heritages we’d like to pass along to our children. We are industrious and innovative. We are accepting and we stand up for the underdog, the little guy. We are generous to a fault and we pull together in times of crisis.

This is a time of crisis. Families are suffering, people are out of work in numbers not seen since the Great Depression, companies are going out of business, people are losingtheir life savings, there is a war going on abroad that can explode in our faces at any time, global warming is a reality that threatens not just our children’s children but is impacting us right now, problems with our food and water supply must be addressed. We have issues! But they won’t be solved by shouting and calling the opposition a bunch of Nazis. That in fact is exactly the kind of behavior that the Nazi’s used in the first place. We need level headed people to come up with level headed solutions.


It’s Gotten Ugly

Posted in personal, political on August 5, 2009 by barryshapiro

I haven’t been on the blog for a while. First, I lost my day job, then my hard drive crashed (I was very neglectful at backing up and lost a lot of important data) and then I started working on a short story which I hope to publish. I’ve written many stories and screenplays but this time I feel I’m on a roll and I write every morning and evening so I haven’t had a lot of time. Usually after dinner I sit for an hour or two and watch the tube. Most nights it’s Rachael Maddow. Being a lefty at heart, I like her smarts and her point of view. But mostly I like that she’s not rude. She’s not a shouter, nor is she full of righteous indignation like Olbermann or the blowhards on the right (you know who I mean). She makes her points but in a witty and sincere way. And she let’s her guests talk, unlike Chris Matthews or Lou Dobbs.

I believe that there is room for all points of view in America but I am clever enough to realize that there will be many people who are radicalized on both sides of any issue. Some people just don’t like the other side no matter what they advocate. Other people are at least open to discussion. But it seems that recently the Republican party has taken organized dissent to a new all time low. While everyone in America is concerned about the rising costs and lessening services in the health-care industry and a majority of Americans agree that the current system doesn’t work and must change, a minority coalition of angry old people, lobbyists for the Insurance and Pharma industries and the recalcitrant Republican leadership has decided that if they can’t win the debate or the vote then what they will do is shout it down. Organized groups have been attending Democratic organized Town Hall meetings and disrupting them by shouting as loud as possible and not allowing the representatives leading the meetings to speak. This is not just a minor disruption, it’s gotten disgusting. There have been effigies of Congressmen being hung and signs saying that they are murderers – probably relating to the unfounded rumors that the new health care bill has a clause that will ‘kill’ old people.

Watching the news footage I was supremely disappointed but not surprised. This kind of behavior, though not limited to Republicans, is kind of their MO. Remember the “grassroots” protesters that showed up in Florida to disrupt the Bush – Gore recount? They were all Republican operatives who had been sent down there to stop the proceedings. Not one of them was even from Florida. But they made the news and the media reported it as a ‘local’ grassroots protest. Now, of course, we know better.

The Republicans have been doing this for as long as I can remember. Remember Watergate? Nixon was the king of dirty tricks. How about the Muskie “Cannuck” letter? But these shout downs, organized not by local leaders but mostly by Washington Conservative Lobbyists, have sunk to an all-time low. Because the health care system really does suck and not just for those who don’t have insurance. I pay through the nose for health insurance and I’ve recently experienced just how big a rip off it really is, as I was turned down for emergency room services performed. And to keep my premiums “low” I have a very high deductible which means I wind up paying for my meds and most of my medical needs myself anyway. It’s really gotten out of hand.

And that is why these people, these screaming idiots, are so screwed up. We need honest debate on healthcare. We need a public alternative. If the conservatives are so concerned about government interference in healthcare decisions, well how about insurance company interference?

Healthcare in this country is an insurance game, not a medical game. We need to have intelligent debate. I am sure that the current bill is nowhere near perfect and we need to hear all sides of the issues. But we need to be able to HEAR them.

It’s gotten to the point where even rational Republicans are getting caught up in the spirit of meanness. Today, a person I consider a friend who happens to be a Republican and someone who I enjoy debating with got so heated in an on-line health care discussion that he started to “shout” and called me (and another debater) retarded. He did later apologize but the point is that this was so out of character for him that I believe he has just been caught up in the organized right wing shout down.

It’s time for reasonable people to prevail. This kind of abhorant behavior has been promoted and modeled after the Rush Limbaughs, Sean Hannitys and Michael Savages of the talk world and it really sucks. It’s time for real debate and real discussion and some compassion and understanding. Can’t we all just learn to get along?