After Massachusetts Voting, My Thoughts Are About Senator Ted Kennedy

Over the past weeks I have thought a lot about Senator Ted Kennedy.  That should not be a surprise as it was his senate seat that was up for a special election Tuesday.  On top of that Kennedy was a political hero of mine.  While Scott Brown and Martha Coakley were slashing with heated rhetoric in Massachusetts, I was thinking about the Kennedy family and all that they gave to this nation.  It still seems unreal that the ‘Lion of the Senate’ is not gearing up for battle as the health care bill comes down to the final wire.  Lord knows the nation needs him now. Even folks like his political opponent and long-time friend, Senator Hatch, has acknowledged that things would have been smoother in the Senate had Kennedy been there to grind heads together.  The brain cancer that took Kennedy’s life right when the nation needed him most seems like a Greek tragedy.  It still makes me very sad, and leaves me thinking about the timing of events, and how things might have been different.

It seems even more unbelievable that a Republican would be elected to the Senate seat that President Jack Kennedy once held.  Ted Kennedy would hold that seat for 46 years starting in 1962, and win nine elections.  While I am sure that Kennedy would have enjoyed the political theatre of what has taken place these past weeks, I also know that he would be dismayed that the national hope for health care is now in jeopardy based on a sluggish and sloppy campaign. 

Ted Kennedy never ran weak races, but was always fully engaged and welcomed the contest that was brewing.  He knew how to meet and greet the voters, shaking hands, and making contacts that paid off on election day.  He was rich and from a  well-known family, but Kennedy knew how to mingle and talk with the average voter.

In 1962 when Ted first ran for the senate he was confronted with a charge by his primary opponent, Edward McCormack, that he was not one of the common folks who had to trudge off to work every day.  After the charge had been leveled there was concern in the Kennedy camp until the next day when the average citizens on the street swept away any concerns.  The story goes that a man with an outstretched hand told Ted, ” They say you haven’t worked a day in your life.  Lemme me tell you.  You haven’t missed a thing.”  It was Kennedy’s ability to meet the issues of the day be they national matters or campaign related ones head-on that made him the national politician so many loved.  He knew how to fight in the trenches for a victory be they at the ballot box, or on the Senate floor.

Tonight the goal of health care reform that Ted Kennedy worked decades for is in limbo.  The tireless efforts Kennedy gave for all of us must not be lost due to a lousy Democratic candidate named Martha Coakley.    We have come too far, and endured too much not to see this health care battle concluded with a victory.

Teddy would be sad about tonight’s election results.  But than tomorrow morning he would get up, and set his mind on working with the conditions that existed, and start the fight anew.  He lived his life that way every day, right up to the end.

And so must we.   The words of Ted Kennedy still lead us in our common purpose.

For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.

How Does Jeff Zucker Keep His Job?

Excellent article.

The bad guys are the NBC executives who botched things up not just once but now twice, clumsily and foolishly. Their initial mistake was saying “yes” to O’Brien in the first place, to being coldly logical about it, back when O’Brien wrested a contractual guarantee that he would become “Tonight Show” host within five years, no matter how successful Leno might have been in the role.

And as it turns out, he was very successful, and it is absurd that he be asked to take a hike.

The feeble-brained executives should have heeded the “I don’t care” rule propounded by the great CBS News President Bill Leonard when he had to decide whether Dan Rather or Roger Mudd would succeed Walter Cronkite in the anchor chair of “The CBS Evening News,” another vaunted secular pulpit. Leonard had to deal with the reality that whichever one didn’t get the job would go to a competing network.

Leonard thought and considered and decided: He didn’t care if Roger Mudd went to another network because the damage to CBS ratings would likely be minimal, at least in comparison with the damage that the more glamorous and telegenic Rather could do. So Rather, you might recall, got the job.

One mystery of the Leno-O’Brien story is how such executives as Zucker keep their jobs and get the kind of fabulous promotions that normally reward not failure but success. In his defense, Zucker could always say, “Hey, it’s not like I’m a Wall Street banker” — though somehow, the difference seems slight.

US Military Promotes Jesus As We Fight In Islamic Nations

There are some lines that should never be crossed.  The United States military has allowed  for coded bible passages about Jesus to be placed on rifle scopes. 

First that is not something that should be permitted by the government that seeks to observe separation of church and state.  It should be common sense that at a time when our government is engaged in wars in nations such as Iraq and Afghanistan where Islam is observed, that we not have bible passages that promote the notion that religion has any basis for what we are doing.  After all, some in the Arab world like to further the argument that the United States has unleashed the newest version of the Crusades.  Why would that argument not gain currency when 2COR4:6 is encoded on a rifle sight?

The verse above is “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”   Which leads me to my second point.

There is nothing farther from the message that Christ delivered than war and killing.  His very hope for mankind was based on love and mercy.  To have his message placed on the scope of a rifle meant to kill is one of the most bizarre things I have heard in some time.  That my government would do this is absolutely maddening!  That our taxes pay for this is #######!

While we have every right to state it is wrong for the Islamic radicals to bastardize the Koran and Islam in pursuit of their tortured reasoning, it is also equally wrong for the US miliary to bastardize the words of Christ.  That is exactly what happens when those with religious goals set out on an agenda.  Be it here or there, it is wrong!  It places our soldiers in harm, and undermines our larger and more important foreign policy initiatives.

And this must stop.

The US military must not allow the maker of the sights, Trijicon, to continue this outrage.  The company has a $660 million multi-year contract to provide up to 800,000 sights to the Marine Corps, and additional contracts to provide sights to the U.S. Army.  That deal must either end, or the practice of placing bible verses must end.  One thing is clear.  The practice can’t continue.

We Must Have Health Care Passed This Year In Spite Of Scott Brown

As of today about 17% of our gross national product is spent on health care.  Without meaningful government control that number will grow.  It is also a number that is not sustainable.  The economic drain from our health care costs inflicts the economy in staggering ways.  The ‘little guy’ who buys into the GOP rants against  health care legislation is the same one that does not get a pay raise due to the employer needing to take money and put it into the health care plans at the workplace.  Ever increasing health care costs limit purchasing dollars to every aspect of the economy.  For those who do not have health care and require expensive emergency room care the ‘little guy’ also picks up the costs through higher premiums.  The lack of preventive care for everyone creates a huge fiscal mess as more costly and time-consuming procedures will take place due to a lack of essential primary services.  The current health care system is one that covers too few at too high of a cost.

The fact we have an employer based system is nothing short of absurd in 2010.  While the current bill in Congress does not address that problem in the way that many progressives had hoped, and what the economy requires, there are still enough positive parts to the current legislation passed in the Senate version to qualify it as needing President Obama’s signature.  For some to now suggest, based on what happens in the Senate race in Massachusetts, that we stop this bill and start over is nothing short of immoral and indecent.  Instead I am behind the mood and words of Speaker Pelosi.  As I have stated before we need to get the door opened with this bill so future sessions of Congress can improve it and add onto the foundation that is contained in it.  Slow for sure, but right now we have no other alternative.

“Let’s remove all doubt, we will have healthcare one way or another,” Pelosi said during an event in San Francisco on Monday. “Certainly the dynamic would change depending on what happens in Massachusetts. Just the question about how we would proceed. But it doesn’t mean we won’t have a health care bill.”

There is one way to pass the bill, even without 60 votes in the Senate, that’s getting a lot of attention now. But Pelosi probably won’t like it, and neither will a fair amount of her members.

The procedure in question would involve simply having the House vote on the bill that the Senate has already passed. That would mean avoiding yet another cloture vote in the Senate, one Democrats would be likely to lose if their caucus is down to 59 members after the special election in Massachusetts on Tuesday.

House liberals will be upset about this idea, and progressive activists would likely be angry as well, but it may well be the only option left, and Democrats are reportedly leaning towards it. On Monday night, the New York Times reported: “The White House and Democratic Congressional leaders, scrambling for a backup plan to rescue their health care legislation if Republicans win the special election in Massachusetts on Tuesday, are preparing to ask House Democrats to approve the Senate version of the bill, which would send the measure directly to President Obama for his signature.”