Thoughtful & Timely Political Discourse Thru Blue Colored Lenses

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Keith Olbermann Resigns: A Huge Loss

by Emily Steinberg

Stunning news last night as Keith Olbermann signed off from Countdown, his MSBNC news and commentary show on air since 2003, in real time. Whatever the reasons for this occuring, it is a huge loss for the progressive community. Mr. Olbermann is one of the smartest voices in broadcasting and he has been silenced. His commentary will be sorely missed in coverage of the 112th Congress and the upcoming 2012 Presidential election. Most of all, he will be missed on a daily basis. Read this excellant Huffington Post article, Corporate Media Loses A Progressive Voice, by Joseph A. Palermo.

Sign this petition that says: I Stand With Keith Olbermann

A very sad day indeed.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

E. Steinberg

Dateline- Washington, D.C. - The GOP is now hard at work, rolling up their sleeves trying to repeal the Job-Killing, or as they are calling it now, in the wake of the Tucson shooting...... the Job-Crushing, Health Reform Law. I'm sorry, but I just don't get it. Congress finally succeeded in passing health reform, something this country has been trying to do since Roosevelt, and the GOP knee jerk reaction is to rail against the socialist, commie takeover of healthcare.

C'mon! America is the only first world country who holds it's citizens health hostage to their employers. Other countries look at us with contempt and incredulity. Stop the nonsense. A country is only as healthy as the health of it's people. This is includes, the mental health of it's people. Neglect of our citizen's mental health will only cause more tragic scenes like Tucson.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mental Health IS the Issue

E. Steinberg

by Emily Steinberg

Lax guns laws and easy access to guns are a huge problem in the United States and are a major part of the equation of why our country suffers from the violence that we saw explode last Saturday in Tucson, Arizona.

Another piece of the puzzle is our indifferent and sometimes condescending attitude to the mental health needs of our citizens. For a majority of Americans, an understanding of mental health borders on nonexistent. They still view seeing a therapist as weak and antithetical to the American way. Depression and other diseases of the mind are not viewed on the same level of seriousness as cancer or HIV AIDS, but as we saw last weekend, the consequences of such diseases can be just as deadly. Sadly most people don't understand that the intricate and delicate mechanisms of the brain, our most complex organ, can malfunction as readily as a cell can multiply abnormally and become cancerous.

Try buying individual health insurance that covers Mental Health. First of all, you will be charged more for your pre-existing condition. Secondly, if the company does agree to take you on, they refuse any coverage for in-patient therapy, outpatient therapy or medication. In other words, if a citizen wants to be helped, and their insurance won't cover therapy, they are forced to pay, out of pocket, for a life saving treatment. The wealthy can afford this, but most Americans cannot. If they don't want to be helped, our laissez-faire attitude of hands off the individual, will eventually lead to a break down and potentially to a blood bath.

It is an absurd way of treating the health of human beings. We desperately need mental health parity in our health care system. Until we as a country commit to caring for the well being of the entire person, including their mental health, we can expect to see more of these angry and unbalanced rampages.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Guns ARE the Issue

E. Steinberg

By Emily Steinberg

The tragic mass shooting in Arizona last weekend is the result of a three headed problem which plagues our country. If Americans, as a united whole, do not address the issues of gun control, mental health and hate filled political discourse, then we can expect more and more of these macabre and devastating events.

The proliferation of weapons in our country continues unabated. Sadly, the GOP will not move forward on gun control. It is as easy to buy a gun in America as to get a driver's license. The absurdity of some talk show hosts to say they wish there had been more guns on the scene in Arizona, so the shooter could have been taken out, is beyond belief. We need less guns, not more. This isn't the Wild West, or is it?

The 2004 repeal of the Assault Weapon Law, a federal law in the United States enacted in 1994 by the Clinton Administration, that included a ban on the sale to civilians of certain semi-automatic firearms, or so called "assault weapons", can be directly tied to the Arizona shooting. The perpetrator would have been unable to procure his weapon had the law stood. We need stronger Gun Control Laws now more than ever. With the new Republican led 112thCongress however, we can sadly expect more of the same obstructionist rhetoric on gun control about the sanctity of the 2nd Amendment.

Bob Herbert's writes in today's New York Times editorial Helpless in the Face of Madness, "...this week gave us some insight into just how sick our society has become...What is the matter with us? Are we really helpless in the face of the astounding toll that guns take on this society? More than 30,000 people die from gunfire every year. Another 66,000 or so are wounded, which means that nearly 100,000 men, women and children are shot in the United States annually. Have we really become so impotent as a society, so pathetically fearful in the face of the extremists, that we can’t even take the most modest of steps to begin curbing this horror? Where is the leadership? We know who’s on the side of the gun crazies. Where is the leadership on the side of sanity? For starters, assault weapons should be banned. Their raison d’ĂȘtre is to kill the maximum number of people — people, not animals — in the shortest amount of time."

Tomorrow, Mental Health.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Joe Scarbourgh - A Unique Conservative

Joe Scarbourgh, Glenn Beck/Wikipedia

by Emily Steinberg

Joe Scarbourgh continues to impress me as one of today's most grown up and responsible Republicans. He has called out Sarah Palin for her noxious running political commentary and now he has taken Glenn Beck to task for spreading fear and loathing.

Scarbourgh said: "I have a lot of family members that listen to him (Beck) and watch him and are frightened by the things that he says every night with his mom and a lot of other people like her that watch him every day start to believe if they hear every day, every day, that there's this guy in Washington D.C., this black guy that hates all white people and he wants to take your money . . . and he wants to destroy the country you grew up in. You feed that vile message to Americans every day, it's going to have an impact."

Now I'm just waiting for him to take on the Big Cahuna, El Rushbo, who continues to blithely dribble out lies and innuendo for three hours a day. Check out Rush's website and see for yourself the geyser of twisted rhetoric that spews daily from his lips and pen. It's both disturbing and very important to keep an eye on.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Arizona Shooting and Hate Speech

Gabrielle Giffords/Wikipedia

By Emily Steinberg

On Saturday, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-AZ, was outside a supermarket, meeting with her constituents, when she was brutally gunned down. The shooter, a 22 year old armed with a Glock, shot 20 people before he was wrestled to the ground and disarmed. Among the dead are a nine year old girl and a Federal Judge. Rep. Giffords remains in critical condition. There are many complex issues and questions arising from this senseless tragedy. Why was an unhinged 22 year old carrying a Glock semiautomatic pistol? Was the shooter ever identified as a mental health risk? If so, because of the penurious way mental health is meted out by the insurance companies, was he able to get treatment?

But the main culprit, as I see it, is the pervasiveness of hate speech on the airwaves that has permeated our country since the 2008 election. Paul Krugman's editorial, Climate of Hate, in today's New York Times, addresses this issue spot on. The unrelenting geyser of hate and vitriol has been spewing forth unchecked for two years. Tea Party leaders, misusing and misunderstanding a Thomas Jefferson quote, urge their followers to water the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants. In this case, the tyrants were a 40 year old congresswoman, a nine year old girl and four others. Is it any wonder that some of it seeped into the psyche of this mad gunman?

The Sheriff of Pima County, Clarence Dupnik, was right when he called on the media to cut it out. Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, is it really necessary to ratchet up the fear and loathing that you peddle on a daily basis? And let's not forget Sarah Palin's infamous Tweet, "Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: 'Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOCK and RELOAD!", or her equally repulsive target map of congressional Democrats. This country needs some serious introspection right about now. It's way past time for us to grow up. A moment of silence for the dead and restoratoration for the wounded.

Read David Brock's entreaty to Rupert Murdoch: Your Network Must Take a Stand, at MediaMatters for America.