The World According to Keitho

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Archive for January, 2010

The Dog Days of Winter

Posted by keithosaunders on January 31, 2010

What a terrible weekend this is.  All of the football momentum of the previous three playoff weeks has come to a grinding halt and an anxious nation turns its attention to the Pro Bowl, the first ever held before the end of the football season.  Of course this means that Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, and Drew Brees will be absent, but the NFL never let a competitive game get in the way of their all-star festivities.

Looming large is the barren sports wasteland that is February and the first two weeks of March.  Six weeks of monotony worthy of a Masterpiece Theatre Victorian era mini-series.  This span of shame is made all the more arduous for us New York hoops fans, whose local teams, the Knicks and Nets have combined for 22 wins.  The winter Olympics might offer a brief respite from the tedium, at least in regards to hockey, but let’s face it, until the NCAA tournament begins it’s best to avoid the TV entirely.

[edit] My God, did I just make a case for watching the winter Olympics?!

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Posted in basketball, Jets, sports | Leave a Comment »

For an hour I forgot that Obama was a Democrat

Posted by keithosaunders on January 28, 2010

The revealing thing about the comments by Harry Reid’s and Chris [I forgot he was Black] Matthews is that people are conscious of race ALL THE TIME.  We don’t live in a post-racial society, but a hyper-racial one.  These are Obama’s friends.!  We can only imagine what the real racists are saying.

For me, the take-away from last night was that the Democrats, as the majority party, are as impotent as they were as the minority party.  Health care reform is all but dead, and even over-turning “don’t ask, don’t tell,”  seems like too tall an order for these yutzes.  I don’t believe, given all the outsourcing of our nation’s manufacturing sector, and the failed state of the auto industry, that it is possible to create enough jobs to stave off an economic disaster — not unless we invest heavily in green technology, and with the all-powerful minority Republican party standing in the way, this is next to impossible.  Though Obama paid lip service to green technology I do not  believe he has the drive to follow through. 

Glenn Greenwald at Salon wrote about the Alito breach of protocol, where he mouthed the words “Not true” during Obama’s criticism of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on corporations contributing to campaigns. 

  “Recall all of the lip-pursed worrying from The New Republic’s Jeffrey Rosen and his secret, nameless friends over the so-called “judicial temperament” of Sonia Sotomayor.  Alito’s conduct is the precise antithesis of what “judicial temperament” is supposed to produce. ”

This, rather than Matthew’s ignorant gaffe, is the real travesty of last night.  Whether one attain a success as a Supreme Court Justice, or an influential media personality, it is clear to me that intelligence and morality is not a deciding factor.

Posted in Obama, Politics, State of the Union | 1 Comment »

State of the Union: Depressing.

Posted by keithosaunders on January 28, 2010

I defy any Republican to label Obama as a liberal.  After this long-winded, occasionally glib tribute to bi-partisanship, I was left with a sinking feeling that we, as a nation, are running on empty.  True, Obama made pains to attribute our enormous deficit to the tax cuts and war-funding by the Bush administration, but rather than cut military spending he offers a freeze on government spending.  This freeze will account for 1 of the 9 trillion of our debt.  It begs the question, what will it take to erase the entire debt.  Tax increases anyone? 

Health care reform received lip service, but it is clear that Obama’s main priority in 2010 will be job creation.  This is a noble endeavor, but offers little consolation to the hundreds of thousands that will lose their insurance in the near future.

The highlight of the evening for me was Chris Mathewspost-speech analysis.  He gleefully stated that he managed to forget that Obama was Black for one hour, and in the next breath said that the Democrats should go ‘all Clemenza’ [the hit man from The Godfather] on Mitch McConnell.  Amazing.

Posted in Obama, Politics, State of the Union, war | Leave a Comment »

No hope, and you can keep the change.

Posted by keithosaunders on January 27, 2010

This year’s State of the Union Address stands in stark contrast to last year, in which optimism reigned.  Back then we were welcoming a new president who had Democratic majority in Congress and, seemingly, a mandate from the American people to effect a new course in government. 

One year later Barack Obama has proven himself to be a corporatist in the Clintonian tradition.  Rather then ending our two [illegal] wars in the mideast, he has escalated our forces in Afghanistan, increasing our military budget while freezing spending on necessary domestic programs.  To my horror he has codified many of the civil rights abuses of the Bush-era, in particular denying prisoners their right to due process.

During the campaign Obama’s ‘hope and change’ bit felt a little contrived.  I desperately wanted to believe that real change was possible so I gave him a pass on the lack of specificity in his policies.  This SOTU is all the more depressing due to the fact the Democrats are in power.  I expected so much more.

Posted in Obama, Politics, State of the Union, war | 1 Comment »

Mike Francesa and the Jets

Posted by keithosaunders on January 27, 2010

For the past month, WFAN sports radio host Mike Francesa has carried out an on-air vendetta against the Jets and their coach, Rex Ryan.  Mike’s point is that the Jets were handed a break when the Colts rested Peyton Manning in the 2nd half of their December 27th regular season game.  The Jet fans, naturally, were elated and Mike felt it his duty to remind them that the Jets were ultimately a mediocre team.  I agreed with Francesa that the Jets had a bit of luck to get into the playoffs.  That being said he has been miserable to the Jet fans, almost pathologically so. It’s as if there is something personal in his ranting — as if he feels the need to inflict pain.

It’s not like Mets/Yankees — I have lived in New York for 26 years and have never noticed much animosity between Jets and Giants fans. I am a Giants fan yet I really wanted the Jets to win this year. I especially wanted them to win after Francesa was such a jerk.

The Jets have had such a miserable existence and so many heartbreaking losses. How can he deny their fans one of their few moments to feel pride?  Mike either pulled this stunt to gin up ratings or he really is a miserable bastard. Or both.

Posted in Jets, sports | Leave a Comment »

Meet the New Boss

Posted by keithosaunders on January 22, 2010

I can appreciate that the right wing  might pine for the days when our president spoke in monosyllabic sentences, but I do not understand how they can look at Obama as an extreme left-wing ideologue.  The left wing, under Obama has gotten little or nothing of what they had hoped to achieve. I’m quoting Salon’s Glenn Greenwald here:
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“The Left wanted a single-payer system, then settled for a public option, then an opt-out public option, then Medicare expansion — only to get none of it, instead being handed a bill that forces every American to buy health insurance from the private insurance industry.  Nor was it “the Left” — but rather corporatist Democrats like Evan Bayh and Lanny Davis — who cheered for the hated Wall Street bailout; blocked drug re-importation; are stopping genuine reform of the financial industry; prevented a larger stimulus package to lower unemployment; refuse to allow programs to help Americans with foreclosures; supported escalation in Afghanistan (twice); and favor the same Bush/Cheney terrorism policies of indefinite detention, military commissions, and state secrets.”

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Combine this with the news that Obama will detain 50 terrorists without due process and I really do not think that they have much to complain about.  On the contrary, Republicans should be elated with the way events are shaping up.  Obama is literally codifying the illegalities of the Bush administration.  This will make it even easier for the next (inevitable) Republican administration to support and further these policies.

Posted in health care, Obama, Politics, war | Leave a Comment »

Health Care for Some

Posted by keithosaunders on January 20, 2010

Republicans view government as an anathema in regards to universal health care, but when it comes to the military they can’t fund it enough.  It is utterly depressing. Way back in the summer I was actually optimistic that some genuine  health care reform would be enacted.   I (naïvely) thought that the Republicans would not be able to morally rationalize against it. I underestimated the hatred and racism inherent in this country.

The party of Lincoln cannot offer any alternative to the current system other than tort reform and free market health care.  They deride a public option as big government; according to them this will bankrupt the nation.  This idea has no credibility whatsoever.  The U.S. has all the money in the world to fight needless, illegal wars in the mideast, yet when it comes to keeping our populace healthy we must be ‘fiscally’ responsible. 

The Huffington Post says that 77% of the American people support a public option.  An ABC News poll, for those of you who would like a more conservative source, states that 62% of Americans prefer universal health care over current employer based system.  Something is not adding up.    

 The Democrats, as flawed as they are, at least attempting to make health care affordable. What have the Republicans done along these lines?  Trickle down?  In the end we  will get what we deserve —  mass poverty and rioting in the streets.

Posted in health care, Obama, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Night at the Office

Posted by keithosaunders on January 18, 2010

Last night’s gig was an affair at Lincoln Center playing for a group of Cornell University alums at their annual gala.  My criteria for a successful gig begins and ends with parking.  After securing a spot on 70th street I realized that I was about to have the sickest fuckin’ gig ever.  Why did I drive into Manhattan when a subway ride would have saved time, as well as facilitated a drunken end to the evening at Smalls?  I had to bring my keyboard.  You would have thought that a spare piano could have been located at Alice Tully Hall but I guess they were all in the shop.  

It was a good band — good musicians, nice guys, and very easy-going.  We were doing our thing as only professionals of our caliber can:  A little Gershwin, a little Rodgers & Hart, Irving Berlin…you get the picture.  People were enjoying the music, dancing, drinking, and conversing, until the band leader called Take the A Train.   During the middle of the song this old Cornell guy sidled up and began lecturing me on why “A Train” was a terrible dance number.  According to him the song had no beat and it was putting a damper on the party.  Being an Ivy Leaguer you can imagine what a strong connection to rhythm this man must possess.  Indeed, I was lucky to receive his pearls of wisdom, even if they did interfere with my concentration, since we were, in fact, in the MIDDLE OF THE GODDAMN SONG. 

Can you imagine if I had the gall to show up at the Cornell beat-meister’s investment banking office and began doling out advice on CDOs and IPOs?  What if I barged into his office and interrupted his conference call to suggest a walk-through in fixed income offerings?  Something tells me he would not be amused.

 But I’m a pro.  I smiled, nodded, and asked him what he would like to hear.  He requested “Manhattan,” which we obliged with a businessman’s-bouncy two-beat.  He was as happy as a pig in shit.  It made his night, the old bastard.  In his mind he had effected positive change, much like Obama promised us.  But that’s for another post.

Posted in jazz, music | 1 Comment »

The Obama hatred

Posted by keithosaunders on January 15, 2010

I am puzzled by vehement hatred directed towards Barak Obama by the Republicans.  This across-the-board dismissal does not add up.  Obama campaigned as a centrist, and if anything his administration has bent over backwards to work with, and accomodate the Republicans.

While it is true Obama has made tepid attempts to bring home the troops from Iraq, he has upped the ante in Afghanistan in the form of a surge which most analysts predict will fail.  We continue to pay for our folly with American,Afghani, and Iraqi lives.  In this way his foreign policy has mimicked the Bush administration.  Although Obama’s rhetoric is more elegant, his implementation of policy is the same — force before diplomacy.

We continue to deny prisoners their right to a trial and we continue to eavesdrop on our own citizenry via the NSA’s monitoring of international telephone calls coming into the U.S.   The Patriot act will soon be up for renewal and there is little to make us believe that it will be struck down.

So I ask those on the right:  How is Obama that different from Bush?  Health care will be enacted without a public option.  The taxes that will be imposed will not undue the harm to the deficit that Bush created by squandering our surplus nine years ago.

I believe that partisan politics is largely at fault for this negativity, but I can’t help but think racism is playing a part as well.  There is a large group of the population that still cannot tolerate a  Black president.  To them, a Black man is inferior. and to see Obama in the Whitehouse refutes their credo. 

It would be one thing if Obama offered a truly different vision of our country, but he hasn’t.  It is the left that has more of a reason to be disillusioned.  If I was a Republican I would breath a sigh of relief.

Posted in health care, Obama, Politics, war | Leave a Comment »

Harry Reid and stupid white people

Posted by keithosaunders on January 12, 2010

It never ceases to amaze me how politicians are able to gain office while retaining large amounts of ignorance.   Harry Reid may, or may not be racist — I would like to believe that he is not.  His ignorance, however, cannot be questioned.  Reid, who in a private conversation during the 2008 campaign described Obama as a “light-skinned African-American with no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one,” is now under pressure from Republicans to resign.  That’s a nice trick, isn’t it — giving the Republicans the high road on race relations.

By a long shot this is not the most racist thing ever said.  It certainly pales next to Dodger General Manager Al Campanis’ remarks about “Blacks not having the makeup to be executives in baseball,” or Jimmy the Greek’s musings on race, for that matter.   Still, at the very least this reveals a train of thought — that a “Negro dialect’ is inferior to that of a white man. 

It’s disheartening on many levels.  This is a man who has risen to be among the top in his field to become the Senate Majority leader.  I would expect him to have enough intelligence to be able to refrain from uttering disparaging remarks such as this.

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments »