Thinking of John Lennon

The diary below was originally posted in my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal and adapted for MyDD.

Allow me to digress from the usual politics and current events topics of my blog writing to acknowledge the anniversary of John Lennon's death. I was only eleven in 1980 and watching Monday Night Football when Howard Cosell delivered the news. I had recently learned all the lyrics to the Beatles, Rubber Soul album and was especially moved by the lyrics to "In My Life."

Personally I've never been a great believer in icons. Lennon himself delivers a stirring rebuke to the myth of icons with his classic composition God early in his solo career. Yet Lennon to me was different. Lennon was an artistic genius and international statesman.

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Memo To Democrats: Repeal Bush's 2005 Bankruptcy Law

The diary below was originally posted in my blog the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 was arguably the most odious piece of domestic legislation the previous congress passed. President Bush and his party typically cited it as among their "accomplishments" and the media seldom questioned whether it was a good idea.

This "accomplishment" amounted to nothing less than class warfare waged on behalf of the super rich against the little guy. Indeed, it illustrated the sheer indecency of the Republican Party machine and pervasive influence of banks, credit card companies and the financial services industry as a whole.

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Bob Higgins Returns

The diary below was orginally posted in my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

The progressive blogosphere resembles an extended family. It's remarkable how we interact and become acquainted with personalities from around the globe. Between blogrolls and soapblox community sites we come across so many and relationships form. Yet even as we bond over shared values it's easy to forget that behind our cocksure Internet personas reside flesh and blood human beings.

One such blogger is Bob Higgins. Bob's Worldwide Sawdust blog was surging as of late August. He had established a niche as a poignant and irreverent voice championing working people, justice and peace. There is a lot of talent in the blogosphere but for me Bob is a cut above. Bob is a rare gem that can make you laugh and think simultaneously.

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Wanted: An Atheist Candidate For President

The diary below was originally posted in my blog the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

I was raised Jewish but my personal beliefs are agnostic. I'm not so arrogant to reject the concept of a higher power. I don't claim to know what the divine truth is and reserve the right to have a deathbed conversion when I reach old age.

For the time being I'm inclined to believe a higher power is really a more evolved life form that doesn't respond to prayer or monitor my personal morality meter. In my opinion John Lennon put it best:

"God is a concept by which we measure our pain."

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Tears For the Once and Future King

The diary below was originally posted in my blog the Intrepid Liberal Journal

Saturday night I saw Emilio Estevez's movie "Bobby" at the Brooklyn Heights Cinema. The movie timed with Robert Kennedy's 81st birthday on November 20th has focused attention on his life, values and the times he lived. Also one can't help but compare the turbulence RFK tried to heal with our lives today.

The movie itself is effective because the focus is not on Kennedy specifically. Instead it captures the sensibilities of numerous intersecting characters at the Ambassador Hotel that fateful day. Hence the movie provides viewers with a snapshot of our country at that time and closes with a sentimental montage of RFK footage. I was teary eyed along with the other patrons.

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Inside John McCain's Brain (satire)

The diary below was originally posted in my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

Anyone have the feeling John McCain's political star is declining but nobody has caught on yet? Certainly not the mainstream media or the Republican Party establishment. So I thought I would have some satirical fun and take a peak between his ears.

This is my time. I'll be damned if that crew of chickenhawks in the White House is going to screw it up for me. If I had my way, 4 million troops would land in Iraq tomorrow. What's the big deal? Bunch of sissies in that White House!

I'm older than dirt and nobody is going to stop me. Who else in the Republican Party can pander to conservative nuts but still appeal to the vital center of bipartisanship?

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Capitalism's Redeemer: A Podcast Interview With Author Peter Barnes

The diary below was originally posted earlier today in my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

Is capitalism salvageable? Can it be a vehicle for improving the human condition? Is it possible for free markets to preserve our environment and adapt to the realities of global warming? Or is capitalism an instrument of profit for a few and nothing more? Can government regulation effectively balance the public interest with corporate power? Peter Barnes, the author of <u>Capitalism 3.0: A Guide To Reclaiming the Commons</u&gt (Berrett-Kohler Publications, Inc.) has pondered such questions for three decades. CLICK HERE to download his book for free in PDF format.

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Turning On the Janes and Phone Banking

The diary below was originally posted in my blog the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

My spare time is consumed by phone banking after work and weekends. Blogging has taken a back seat - true of many progressive bloggers as the campaign winds down. I live in Brooklyn, New York and almost every office I can vote for is not in doubt. In the `90s I earned a living largely by telemarketing. Hence, phone banking to help get out the vote in other states is the most sensible use of my time and skills prior to Election Day.

A conversation I had with a woman from Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Friday evening especially illustrates the challenges we face in getting out the vote this Tuesday. As with numerous others I've spoken to in recent days she was cynical and resistant to the idea of voting at all. We'll call her Jane.

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Reminiscing About the Future: Barack Obama's Inauguration Speech

The diary below was originally posted in my blog the Intrepid Liberal Journal

Truthfully I'm not sure how I feel about Barack Obama. His charisma, intelligence and life story definitely intrigue me. I appreciated his firm unwavering opposition to the Iraq war from the onset. Too many Democrats did not share his resoluteness. But there are moments when he sounds too willing to castigate secularists for being "hostile" to religion and ready to compromise core progressive values. It also remains to be seen whether he can withstand the intense scrutiny and gold fish bowl of presidential politics. So, while Obama intrigues me I'm not ready to jump on the bandwagon just yet. But for whatever its worth I thought I'd have some fun and try writing a hypothetical inaugural speech in his voice.

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FDR and the Holocaust: A Podcast Interview With Author Robert N. Rosen

The diary below was originally posted in my blog the Intrepid Liberal Journal on October 14th.

FDR was singularly responsible for defeating Nazi Germany's brutal anti-Semitic regime. Yet sixty-one years after his death, FDR's legacy is entwined with allegations he was anti-Semitic and disinterested in the Holocaust.

As a liberal Jewish American I was always conditioned to regard FDR with an asterisk. Many times I've heard my predominantly liberal family say, "FDR was a great President, but ..." And they proceed to indict him for being unsympathetic to European Jewry during the Holocaust. In particular, FDR's critics cite the SS St. Louis, which arrived in Havana Harbor on May 27, 1939 with 936 European Jews seeking asylum, but were turned away. There was also FDR's failure to fire Breckinridge Long. While serving in FDR's State Department, Long obstructed and delayed visas, causing the deaths of Jews desperate to escape Europe.

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