Friday, June 29, 2012

Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare -- Upside down GOP yells foul

GOP: Inversion of politics
In probably the most ironic twist of the political season, yesterday,  SCOTUS upheld president Obama's landmark Healthcare overhaul as constitutional, with the help of Chief Justice, and former conservative darling, John Roberts.

In a stunning move, Chief Justice Roberts abandoned the conservative bloc of the Supreme Court to ally with the liberal wing when he opined that the Healthcare Individual Mandate clause was constitutional.

Needless to say the Fox Nation wing of the GOP is calling Roberts a traitor:

In his majority 5-4 opinion on Thursday, Chief Justice John Roberts upheld the constitutionality of the signature domestic policy achievement of President Barack Obama's administration, the Affordable Care Act. In doing so, he and his court earned the ire of conservatives.
"This was an activist court that you saw today," Tea Party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) told reporters. "Anytime the Supreme Court renders something constitutional that is clearly unconstitutional, that undermines the credibility of the Supreme Court. I do believe the court's credibility was undermined severely today," she said, later adding that Congress could now force you to buy Ikea furniture.
"The Supreme Court has abandoned us," Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) said.
"Today’s decision by the Supreme Court of the United States is simply disappointing," Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) said. "I stand with Justice Kennedy that the entire act should have been held invalid."
Outrage over Roberts' decision also blew up online. Former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer tweeted, "I miss Justice Harriet Miers," referring to the nominee who withdrew after being questioned by conservatives. Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) tweeted that he was "truly disappointed in Justice Roberts and others who allowed this assault on the Republic stand" -- and later deleted the tweet. Conservative writer Ben Shapiro tweeted, "Chief Justice Roberts was the worst part of the Bush legacy."

The politics of inversion or perversion marches on unabated in the GOP. For instance:

  • The party hates government investing in health care for the working class, middle-class and poor, yet they are strangely mute regarding government spending trillions of unaccounted dollars on unnecessary war.
  • They hate big government, unless it is telling women what to do with their reproductive bodies and regulating who can marry whom.
  • They fight an income payroll tax cut for the middle-class, yet they vigorously fight for unpaid Bush tax breaks for the uber rich.
  • They obstruct any legislation to bail out Main Street, yet they facilitate the bail out of Wall Street.
When I think about the flawed politics of this party, I can only recall an old school nursery rhyme:
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
          Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. 
All the king's horses and all the king's men
          Couldn't put Humpty together again.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Texas Pastor and Wife Indicted for Allegedly Gambling Away $430K of Church Funds

Big money baby needs new SUV
As a teenager, I remember attending a church, in hindsight, that seemed like collecting money was their mission. 

We had multiple offerings throughout the service -- almost like commercial sponsor breaks on TV.

And they prepared folks to give up the loot just like a commercial. They preceded the offerings with a jingle -- you know, a gospel feel good song that had a nice hook: 

This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine ohhh let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

I mean these folks passed the plate for: the building fund, mission offering, love offering. And after all these collections, the church leadership still expected the congregation to tithe an additional 10% of all your income. And they publicly displayed, on the door of the trustees' office, a chart of who gave what among the church members.

So, quite naturally when I continue to hear stories about misappropriation of church funds, I think about that church and where did all that loot go...

Read on:
A former pastor and his wife were indicted last week by a grand jury in Harris County, Texas for allegedly gambling away nearly $430,000 in church funds. The pair was charged with aggregate theft and "misapplication of fiduciary property."
Charles and Adriane Gilford, who were pastor and first lady of Bethel Institutional Missionary Baptist Church (BIMBC) in Houston, allegedly spent the money at the Coushatta Casino near Lake Charles between 2004 and 2007, before leaving the congregation five years ago.
Neither the Gilfords nor the Bethel Institutional Missionary Baptist Church have publicly commented on the charges, but former church members who went to church while Gilfords served there expressed their shock at the story and found it difficult to believe that a couple who had been so helpful to the community could have wasted so much of the congregation's money.
"And when I tell you impeccable people, outstanding people willing to help, I just, this is a little bit too much for me," expressed Regina Davis to KHOU-TV when she was informed of the couple's arrest.
"It doesn't make sense," added her son, Freddie Davis. "As far as I know, they are really genuine people, both Pastor Gilford and sister Gilford. They have been courteous and amazing over the years."
The charges, which were based on extensive financial records, could carry a sentence of anywhere between five years to life in prison. Adriane Gilford has a previous arrest from 2010 on a felony charge of writing bad checks in Calcasieu Parish, La. The Gilfords were each being held on $800,000 bail in the Harris County Jail, and are due in court on Monday. source
Don't you just love how after getting fleeced, church folk just swear up and down that these jack-legged minister were the salt of the earth?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Romney and his 33 Billionaire Supporters

The conservative Supreme Court decision to allow unlimited corporate campaign contribution is having the predictable effect. The very rich and wealthy are spending obscene amounts of money to purchase what little political power they do not already possess.

Ergo, we have Romney -- corporations are people -- running to be their Puppet-In-Chief. The super PAC of billionaires is called Restore our future. This information was collected by a web site call Pinterest:

Pinterest, the huge image-sharing community, has just gotten more political. A Pinterest board called “Mitt Romney’s Billionaire Backers” tracks how much money the former Massachusetts governor has collected for the PAC Restore Our Future, a pro-Romney organization.
The two or three month old board has pinned 33 rich people, including Wal-Mart heir Jim Walton (worth $23.7 billion), Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman (worth $1.4 billion), and businessman Sam Zell (worth $4.9 billion). Each of these donors has given more than $120,000 to PAC Restore Our Future.  source

Two boys, ages 7 and 8, shot in Southeast D.C.: Where's Jesse, Rev Al and the black social media?

I read the following story in the Washington Post yesterday. After my first read, I continue on, unfazed, to the next item in the paper.

But then I caught myself and internally inquired: have I become so immune to these types of stories that I am unmoved -- I accept it without outrage?

Are these stories more or less the normalcy for urban black America? Are we as a people and community only pissed off when the shooters are from another ethnic group? And, do we realize when we are not alarmed at these crimes, we signal the low value of black urban life?

Where is the outrage? Where is the rally? Where is Rev Al Sharpton? Where is Jesse Jackson? And, where are you and I?

Our urban communities are killing fields more deadly than many war zones. The mentality is kill or be killed.

Two young boys waiting in line for a summertime lunch program were shot Monday afternoon in Southeast D.C. by a gunman who was aiming at another man, police said.
A counselor, a man in his 40s who was with the boys — who were ages 7 and 8 — was also shot, police said. None of their injuries are considered life-threatening. Police were still seeking both men Monday evening.
Joel Maupin, commander of the Metropolitan Police Department’s 7th District, said the boys were in a group of about 30 children lined up for the program near the intersection of Savannah and 19th Streets about 12:30 p.m.
About 50 yards away, on a grassy hill in front of an apartment building, one male began firing shots at another male, Maupin said. The target fled in the direction of the children, Maupin said.
Maupin said the 7-year-old was struck in the back of his right shoulder and was in serious condition. The 8-year-old was hit in his right ankle, and the counselor was struck in his left thigh.
Police said that as the incident was unfolding, someone ushered the children into an apartment building across the street.source

Monday, June 25, 2012

2011 NBA finals vs. 2012 finals: A tale of two bars

I watched the 2011 and 2012 NBA finals at the same sports bar in Silver Spring, MD -- a suburban county only a stone throw away from Washington, DC.

Same spot, same sport and yet the ambiance could not have been any different.

Last  year in game 6 the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat and there was an unmistakable atmosphere of excitement.

I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord 
And I've been waiting for this moment for all my life, oh Lord 
Can you feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord, oh Lord 

The suburban crowd was overwhelmingly rooting for the Mavs; not because they were pro-Mavs: they enthusiastically embraced Dallas because they were anti-Heat. Or to be more precise, the crowd was rabidly anti-Lebron James.

How could I tell?

That night I did not see one Dallas T-shirt, jersey or cap in the crowd. In fact, I mainly saw Wizzards, Nationals, Knicks, Phillies, and University of Maryland sports paraphernalia worn.

The Mavs had the big Mo (momentum) on their side and it looked as if they were going to win the title. When the final clock read zero, the crowd organically erupted in sheer joy -- high fives and hugs were plentiful. LBJ and the Heat lost so all was right with the universe. 

The 2012 NBA finals contrast.

This year's final game was quite different, to say the least. The crowd was sparse and the mood was funeral like austere. The volume of the game was muted -- only music from the bar stereo broke the silence. The Heat had the big Mo and LBJ was performing on a Magic/Bird/Jordan/Kobe level. However, the patrons could not have been anymore indifferent.

As I was enthusiastically cheering the Heat on -- I am a Philly fan but got fam in South Beach -- I was sarcastically asked by the bartender: Do you think your cheering and clapping is helping them play better?

Of course, the Heat won the championship that night and LBJ was crowned NBA finals MVP. And this is my Tale of Two Bars.