Tom Degan

Tom Degan
Goshen, New York, United States
August 16
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: TOM DEGAN is a former video artist who in 2006 became so thoroughly disgusted at the state of America's national political dialogue, he decided to take time off to become a freaking civics teacher. He was born in Goshen, NY in 1958 and, after living all over the United States and Canada, moved back there in 1992. He is a high school dropout who in 1977 received an equivalency diploma (HEY, IT'S LEGAL!) He attended SUNY in Middletown, NY and in 1986 studied journalism at the New School in New York City. He is the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and has worked as a truck driver, a radio DJ, and a metal worker... OK, he didn't ACTUALLY receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, but he DID get some kind of ribbon of sorts when he was in the Cub Scouts. He is the inventor of Cheez Whiz and lives off the royalties on the sales of that fine product. He loves children and little baby duckies. FULL DISCLOSURE: He didn't really invent Cheez Whiz. His address is: 2590 Rte 17M (PO BOX 611) Goshen, NY 10924 (845) 294-5714


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FEBRUARY 28, 2013 6:56AM

Random Rants

Rate: 1 Flag

The world has gone mad today
And good's bad today
And black's white today
And day's night today

-Cole Porter

Here are a handful of miscellaneous observations that have come to mind lately. I have a lot of time on my hands, I know.

The month of February was pretty much consumed by the attention that was wasted on the Chuck Hagel confirmation hearings. He was finally confirmed yesterday after a GOP filibuster that seemed to go on forever. What was their problem with him? He is, after all, a Republican. The problem is simply that his former colleagues are out for revenge. You see, Chuck Hagel, a veteran of the Vietnam war, reversed course on Iraq. Although he initially supported invading that country ten years ago, he eventually came to his senses and reversed his opinion. Better late than never as they say.

Think about that. Chuck Hagel came to understand that the invasion of Iraq was the stupidest military blunder in American history and for that his fellow Republicans tried to force upon him a stringent political price. Kiss that party goodbye.

Melissa Harris-Perry2. MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY

Her MSNBC program has been on the air for a year now and I'm ashamed to tell you that this is the first time I've plugged it on this site. Every Saturday and Sunday morning from 9 to 11 AM EST, you can find me glued to the Melissa Harris-Perry Show. Smart, funny and sophisticated (without a smidgen of condescension) she raises issues that are often ignored by the national media.   The legendary CBS News producer Fred Friendly once said that the job of a good journalist is not to tell people what they want to hear but what they need to hear. I always learn something I need to know on Melissa's program. You might not have heard of her before, but this won't be the last time I promise you. Melissa Harris-Perry is here to stay. Oh, and did I mention she's lovely to look at? So sue me. 

3.  The Next Pope

Benedict the Sixteenth is within hours of stepping down - the first time in about six-hundred years that something like this has happened. Speaking as a Catholic (wayward though I may be at times) the Catholic Church is in DESPERATE need of a major transformation. How 'bout a black pope? Better still, an African American pope! That would most definitely transform the Church of Rome. It would also give all of those racist Catholics (there are a lot of them, trust me )  something to ponder. Just a thought. 

A black pope. Can you imagine? Yo, baby!

4. What's the Matter with Chris?

I've gotta tell you that Chris Christie is growing on me. I still think the people of New Jersey made a mistake by electing him - but it's not one/tenth the error I originally presumed it to be.

The Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) won't be inviting him to speak at their upcoming convention. Genuine headcases like Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum and Alan West will be speaking - but not Chris Christie. Why? He's too "liberal". Of course he is not a progressive by any stretch of the imagination, but by the standards of today's right wing,  he's just a half-step down from being compared to the anti-Christ. That's how weird things have gotten. Having shown respect to Barack Obama when he visited New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy didn't do him much good with that party's "base" either.

CPAC is not affiliated with the GOP- but let's be honest - that's the party they identify with. If the Republicans are smart, Governor Christie will be their standard bearer in 2016. Of course that's never gonna happen.

5. Welcome to Sequester City

The long-dreaded "sequester" is supposed to kick into effect on Friday. Some are predicting economic catastrophe in its wake; others are implying that the fear is much ado about not much. Whatever the results, the debate leading up to this has been an illuminating window into Washington's complete and utter dysfunction. There is a lot of blame that that can be distributed between the two parties - not excluding the Obama White House. But the bulk of the blame belongs with the conservatives. Their stated goal is to sabotage this president's agenda by any means possible; that includes ideas they previously supported. Are you surprised that we are the laughingstock of western civilization? You shouldn't be. You really shouldn't. 

Uber-dingbat Ted Cruz6. CRUZ CONTROL

It would seem to me that freshman Texas senator Ted Cruz has got a Joe McCarthy complex. He even resembles McCarthy in the way he hunches over the microphone. His behavior during Chuck Hagel's confirmation hearing was something else. He actually questioned Hagel's patriotism. Since arriving in DC in January, he has reflexively voted against every proposal and nominee put forward by this administration. Keep your eye on Ted Cruz. He's probably going to be around for sometime. Given the retarded political climate of the state of Texas, I imagine there will still be enough people around in 2018 who will cheerfully reelect this clown. That's okay by me. He's such fun to watch.


Sheila BairThis opinion piece appeared in yesterday's New York Times. The writer is a woman named Sheila Bair. Here's just a taste of it:
"I am a capitalist and a lifelong Republican. I believe that, in a meritocracy, some level of income inequality is both inevitable and desirable, as encouragement to those who contribute most to our economic prosperity. But I fear that government actions, not merit, have fueled these extremes in income distribution through taxpayer bailouts, central-bank-engineered financial asset bubbles and unjustified tax breaks that favor the rich.
"This is not a situation that any freethinking Republican should accept. Skewing income toward the upper, upper class hurts our economy because the rich tend to sit on their money — unlike lower- and middle-income people, who spend a large share of their paychecks, and hence stimulate economic activity.
"But more fundamentally, it cuts against everything our country and my party stand for. Government’s role should not be to rig the game in favor of “the haves” but to make sure “the have-nots” are given a fair shot."

Will the Republicans heed the call Sheila Bair? Don't be silly. That's why they're within less than a decade of disappearing into the sewers of history. See ya!


As I write these words, the Supreme Court is deciding whether or not to repeal Section Five of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. There are those who are arguing that it no longer has a purpose. This at a time when voter suppression in this country is out of control. Can you believe that? How much do you want to bet that Clarence Thomas (of all people) will vote to end it?

Expect more obstruction from the crazies in the House of Reprehensibles in the next two years. President Obama's only real chance to move this country forward will be after 2014 and only if that body is Democratically controlled. Otherwise fasten your seat belts for the downward spiral.

And that's the way it is, Wednesday, February 26, 2013. Cheerio! Pip! Pip!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with JFK

In March of 1964, four months after John F. Kennedy's death, his widow, Jackie, sat down with historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. for a marathon series of interviews that were not supposed to be made public until seventy-five years after her death. Fortunately daughter Caroline made the decision that history shouldn't wait that long. A rigorously private and tight-lipped woman with the public for most of her life, these interviews are a revelation. The book comes with eight CD's that cover the entire session. If you're into history this one is essential. Highly recommended.  

Special thanks to my dear friend, Nancy Karlovich, for reminding me what a treasure this one is.

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