Brendan Skwire says you can't trust the Dems.
What a week. It began with the president making what I see as a really bad decision on Afghanistan and continued with the erosion of health care reform to whatever lump of coal it's become. I've found myself trying -- unsuccessfully -- to block it all out by paying more attention to renovating my bathroom than anything else.
Take Thursday night for example: the BBC rebroadcast Barack Obama's "war is peace" speech as he accepted his Nobel while I was attacking the bathroom cabinets with a sledgehammer. "The concept of a 'just war' emerged, suggesting that war is justified only when certain conditions were met..." BANG!! "...mechanisms to govern the waging of war, treaties to protect human rights, prevent genocide, restrict the most dangerous weapons..." SLAM!! "There will be times when nations -- acting individually or in concert -- will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified. I make this statement mindful of what Martin Luther King Jr. said..." CRASH SLAM BANG BANG BANG!!!!!!
After getting out my aggression and ripping apart the last chunk of countertop, I went down to the bar, where a friend and reader who saw last week's column on Joe Sestak (whose indefatigable campaign team has a doozy of a video slamming Specter for his long history as a Republican stooge) asked me, "Why the hell are you always picking on the Democrats?"
I took a gulp of my beer, and said, "I guess because I think the Republicans are completely irrelevant at this point. They don't have the numbers to really stop anything... unless the Democrats let them.
"I'm not talking about Philadelphia's vestigial GOP," I continued. "The fact that those guys are basically a permanent minority pretty much means they HAVE to cut deals and act reasonably to stay in the loop. I'm talking about the the crazies in DC. And you know, it is COMPLETELY FUCKED UP that the only people that don't seem to realize the GOP has lost its collective mind are the Democrats." I took another swallow of beer and shook my head. "You think YOU have troubles. I have to write about these schmucks every week. I mean, just look at the landscape here in Pennsyltucky." I gestured to the barmaid for another couple of beers.
"We have the Specter-Sestak face-off, with the establishment Democrats backing the grizzled old Republican, and the so-called 'progressive' challenger backing escalation in Afghanistan and giving the phone companies a break for illegally tapping our phones. I suppose the saving grace is that they've both come out strongly for a public option (whatever that is anymore), but other than that? BLECCH." I shook my head.
"Oh and speaking of health care, how's about Pennsylvania's own little Bart Stupak, Bob Casey? Did you see people flipping out about Nebraska senator Ben Nelson's decision to try to tie anti-abortion legislation into the health bill? Betcha didn't know the co-sponsor was Bob? So much for that plank of the party platform where they say 'The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.' Look, it's shitty when enough when the Republicans treat women like children who can't be trusted with their own genitals, but when it's a Democrat it's outrageous!"
By this time I was starting to get loud. "You wanna know what's even more outrageous? Remember John Yoo, that smug little criminal from the Bush administration who started us down the road to torture and national shame, and was rewarded with a column at the Inky? Well guess who’s demanding that a lawsuit alleging the little weasel authorized torture should be dropped? President Changey McHopesalot, that's who!."
I took a long swig from my beer. “So THAT’S why I’m always picking on Democrats: they’re the ones running the show, and they own these decisions.”
I sighed audibly. "And then you have Dawn Stensland, the Fox news anchor with the philandering husband... she's thinking running for what? As a what?"
My buddy patted me on the back. "I think you need to get back to demolishing your bathroom, Brendan, or you're gonna wind up having a rage stroke."
ADDENDUM: One piece of good news that shouldn't go unremarked is the city's apparent decision to make the Spruce Street and Pine Street bike lanes permanent (speaking of rage strokes, someone send an ambulance to Stu Bykofsky's house, stat). This is great news for bicyclists, good news for our air quality, and it goes a long way toward the mayor's goal of making Philadelphia the greenest city in America.
I'd also like to give a shout-out to our competitors at the City Paper: Brian Howard cut through the hysteria surrounding bikes, stop signs, and stop lights in his weekly Editor's Letter. Unlike Councilmen DiCicco and Kenney, who clearly haven't been on a bike since they were children, Brian pointed to a law that's been on the books in Idaho since the early 1980s, known by bikers as "the Idaho Stop". Brian wrote, "What it says is that bicyclists, while governed by all other rules that apply to motor vehicles, may treat stop signs as yield signs and stop lights as stop signs. Which is to say that they must yield or stop when they do not have the right of way, but may proceed if they do."
To me, implementing an Idaho Stop law in Philly makes far more sense than any of the proposals coming out of council or the ravings published on the pages of the Daily News and the Inquirer.
Bikes are not cars, and shouldn't be subject to the same rules which were written to prevent vehicles weighing thousands of pounds from slamming into each other and crushing pedestrians.
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