Saturday, September 13, 2008

Blog Junkie

There are good, bad and awful, but I love checking out the blogs!
by Charlie Leck

In absolute truth, I’m a blog junkie. I find more truth on the blogs than I do in the newspapers, which, in this day and age, are owned and controlled by massive, profit-seeking corporations. The Alternative News supplied by blogs get much closer to the truth. Here’s a little report on my morning reading of the blogs today (Friday, 12 September 2008).

David Letterman, in an opening monologue this week pretty much set to rest the question about whether Sarah Palin is ready to be President, revealing to us again that comedy often strikes deep at the heart of truth.

“I don’t think we need to worry about that because Bush has
lowered the bar so tremendously, I mean, I’m ready to be President.”
Now, in truth, that’s not funny! It’s a tragic truth.

David Zetland was a guest blogger on Freakonomics, one of my favorite blogs, writing about water and its future and the future shortages of water we can expect – in a nation that treats water so casually that “we water our sidewalk.” I urge you to read both of these blogs if you care. Part I. And, Part II.

A few days ago, I republished one of my blogs here at the request of a friend. The blog displays the incredible embassy that the U.S. is soon to move into in Iraq. The compound pretty much indicated the U.S. has very long term plans in Iraq. Now comes an Amy Goodman report about a “recently leaked draft of an Iraqui-U.S. agreement that outlines the long-term status of U.S. forces in Iraq.”

If you don’t read (or listen to) Amy Goodman regularly at Democracy Now, you’re missing one of the most important, insightful news writers in America.

A long time ago I wrote in disgust about the hundreds of millions of dollars that William McGuire made as the head of United Health Group. Need I emphasize the word health? While we wonder why health care and health insurance is so expensive in America, fat-assed executives skim nearly a billion dollars right off the top to pad their personal wealth. Now, legal settlements between McGuire and a host of government entities sound like it will cost the ex-executive nearly a billion dollars. [Here’s a story in our local paper about the settlement!]

Good! But, believe me, this is only the tip of the iceberg in the industry and it’s the American public that gets screwed!

Rachel Maddow has just launched a new show on MSNBC. That’s great. She’s wonderful and I enjoy her commentary. The problem is, just as it is in the case of Keith Olbermann, the only people who listen to them are the people who agree with them. Oh well, maybe the two of them can make us angry enough that we’ll get up off our lazy butts and join the fight to get rid of the right-wing, religious freaks who are taking control of our nation.

If you are a person of faith, but can’t stand the religious puke the right-wingers throw around – and you want something more rational and thoughtful, you really ought to spend some time every few days catching up with things at God’s Politics with Jim Wallis. You read some sensible and thoughtful commentary on the place of faith in our nation’s political struggles.

I also go to a blog called Healing Iraq regularly. I find it a pretty balanced read. They try to look at Iraq and what’s happening there in a very fair and accurate way. The state of the nation (Iraq) was a recent subject. It has been placed at the bottom of the scale in almost every category. Only Sudan is rated in more desperate condition.

“The height of the U.S. military surge in Iraq was a key factor in this year’s analysis of that country. And though Iraq’s score improved slightly, the gains that one might hope for—those that reflect fundamental, long-term changes—did not occur. The desperate predicament of nearly 4 million people driven from their homes, the abysmal state of public services, and the discord among sectarian factions have shown no real improvement. The incremental security and economic progress that has occurred are dependent on tenuous, short-term factors that could unravel at any time. Eager to cobble together a fragile peace, the U.S. military has armed dozens of new Sunni militia groups that could later turn their guns on the Iraqi government, their Shiite rivals, or the Americans many still regard as occupiers. Similarly, Iraq’s economy has improved only moderately, thanks largely to the spike in global oil prices, not Iraqi production. In short, progress in Iraq last year was negligible at best and deeply susceptible to reversal should the country suffer the kind of shock—a food shortage, a high-level assassination, an attack that unleashes ethnic hatreds—that has exposed so many states’ deep vulnerabilities in recent months.”
This is the mess that yet needs cleaning up. The cost to the U.S. is going to be staggering – even while we leave our own infrastructure and educational system without attention. Is this really the political party you want to vote for – to give them another 4 years to mess us up?

Andrew Sullivan, who blogs at The Atlantic, is another very balanced blogger. One can't accuse him of being to the left or to the right. He wrote yesterday about an Obama speech in which the Senator raised one of the issues that interests me most in these awful days – habeus corpus!

If you really have a strong theological bent, or want to, Our of Ur (by Christianity Today) might be a blog you’d like to visit and read. This thought comes from an essay posted there by Brandon O’Brien. It’s something we ought to really keep in mind.

“If we find our authenticity and identity in Christ, we’ll have to be prepared to stop judging our effectiveness by how people respond to us. We’ll no doubt be misunderstood by some. But we won’t, as some people fear, be disregarded or discredited for speaking or acting in each given situation according to the need. That doesn’t make us hypocrites. In fact, people are more likely to question your motives if you’re always affirming, always in-your-face, always cool and groovy.”
I’ll let you put your own interpretations on that and I won’t comment further.

For pure entertainment and reading pleasure I always find my way to Dick Cavett and The Talk Show. He posts about once a week and the reading is just wonderful. In his most recent blog he muses about how he would like time to ask Sarah Palin a question or two -- one being:

"I’d love to have the chance to ask her how being able to see Russia from parts of her state apparently qualifies her to deal with that vastly complex country more effectively than those scholars and diplomats who find themselves less proximate to its shores."
Enough! I hope you enjoyed this little tour around the blogs!

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