Thursday, February 26, 2009

advice to Republicans

There was a time in the mid-90's when it was embarrassing to be a Democrat. Republicans took over Congress and Bill Clinton was caught in a sex scandal.

Now it is embarrassing to be Republican. Democrats took Congress and the White House. And to add insult to injury the best that the Republicans have to offer in terms of leadership is uber-conservative Tina Fey look-alike Sarah Palin and the Mr. Rogers meets Barney Fife-like Bobby Jindal.

The only respectable Republicans out there seem to be Senator John McCain and House Minority leader John Boehner.

What would be good for Republicans to do is to keep their mouths shut for a few years and just see what happens. If President Obama's policies fail, they will naturally have a good argument to make. If his policies succeed, the Republicans will have been a part of helping America. Republicans win either way. But this is only true if they keep their mouths shut.

Republicans lose the more they speak up. They end up just making themselves look bad. My advice to Republicans is this: just sit tight and wait out the storm of Democratic policy. It is the Democrats turn to accept responsibility for the direction of this country.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

military mental health

Did you know that over 1 million of our brave men and women have served in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Did you also know that it is estimated by the military that over 1/6th of those soldiers return home from battle with psychological traumas such as depression, combat stress and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)?

If you do the math, that means that we now have over 167,000 soldiers who are in desperate need of counseling and mental recovery. Some of these soldiers are even being asked to return for a second and third tour of duty even after they have been diagnosed with a psychological trauma.

It is time for the military and the V.A. to step up and serve those who are serving this nation. It is time for the military to reward, not punish, those who seek the mental help they need. It is time to end the secrecy that shames the hundreds of thousands of our soldiers who are struggling with their mental health.

They stepped up to fight our nation's battles. It is time that our nation fight for them.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Antisemitism is a virus that needs a host to survive.

In the ancient world the host was the Imperial rule of the Roman Empire. Jews were strange because of their customs and their monotheism. The belief in one invisible God amounted to atheism in a polytheistic world. Jews were persecuted in the same way Christians were in ancient Rome.

In medieval Europe the host was fear. Europeans were afraid of the plague and needed a scapegoat to blame. The church prohibition of Christians from loaning money created a niche market for Jewish bankers. Antisemitism grew in this fertile soil of epidemic and economic fear.

In the Reformation, Martin Luther didn't help the situation by reminding the world that Jews were involved in Jesus' murder. And wouldn't you know, the new host became Christianity itself.

This, of course, led to antisemitism finding one of its favorite hosts in the German National Socialist movement. Nazism was born.

In post-WWII America, this favored host got a face lift. The virus of antisemitism found a host that was uniquely American. Freedom of Speech became a petree dish for this social contagion. This gave birth to the Neo-Nazi movement.

And now we see yet another host for this virus. Extremists in Fundamentalist Islam breed antisemitism better and faster than post-Katrina Golf coast homes breed mold. This host organism of terrorism is the latest in a long line of hosts who have caught this illness.

Every stage in history has seen a new host spreading this ancient virus. And every stage has also seen a new antiretrovirual drug which tries to stamp out its nemesis. But like all viruses, antisemitism keeps evolving, morphing and multiplying.