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Monday, October 16, 2017

Constitution Daily: NCC Staff- Looking Back: George Carlin & The U.S. Supreme Court

Source: Constitution Daily-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

The blog writes a lot about political correctness and fascism, because we write a lot about comedy and write comedy ourselves and without free speech which is what political correctness and fascism tries to restrict (obviously, duh, you don't say!) there would't be any comedy and even political satire. Which is why I'm always amused if not confused when so-called left-wing comedians and other entertainers make calls for political correctness because they think some material is offensive.

Because without free speech there wouldn't be any comedy. I mean, if political correctness ran this country instead of the First Amendment, comedians wouldn't be able to crack jokes about anybody. Especially the people who deserve to be made fun of. Like our politicians, just to use as an example. Entertainers attacking free speech is very ironic. Because speech is what fuels comedy, as well as self-awareness and what's going on around you in life. Even comedians have stood up for political correctness against free speech, like Michael Moore and others. Even John Oliver, Stephanie Miller, John Fugelsang, would be other examples.

A comedian attacking free speech, is like a race car driver saying oil and gas are bad for the environment and therefor should be outlawed. Oil and gas literally fuel that race car driver's career. Without it, he might be flipping burgers or selling lemonade. Or a pro football player saying football is too violent and therefor tackling should be outlawed. Who would go watch professional flag football? As the great comedian Mel Brooks has said political correctness is destroying comedy because comedians are worried about offending oversensitive tight asses, who think they're the only perfect human beings on the face of the Earth who don't deserve to be made fun of. Brooks has said political correctness is destroying comedy. The second part is my line.

George Carlin is not the first victim of political correctness when it comes to comedy. You could argue at least that Lenny Bruce back in the 1950s and 60s has that uthonorable title. But George and Lenny, are from the same generation. Lenny would literally go on stage using cuss words as part of his act and I'm not talking about hell or damn, but he would talk about sex and talk about how people would have sex with each other and put it bluntly. And then would literally be arrested on stage for using foul language. George has  a similar but different story.

George would go on stage and literally use words like shit, fuck, mother fucker, mother fucking fucking, and others and these were part of the so-called seven dirty words that comedians weren't supposed to use in Phyllis Schlafly's 1950s America, where you weren't even allowed to say God, Jesus, and hell, at least not on TV.

Liberal democracy which has a practically guaranteed right for free speech in America under are First Amendment. The only exceptions having to do with falsely libeling, inciting violence, or harassment, like leaving obscene message on someone's voice mail, to use as an example. This is not the place for oversensitive tight asses who look at the mirror and only see perfection. Or have a glass jaw for an ego and can't take the smallest bit of criticism without breaking out in tears and flooding their homes from all of their perspiration. I don't know, maybe Canada is a country for people like that.

If you don't like offensive material, then don't watch it or listen to it! Only watch PBS and C-SPAN if you can't handle criticism about yourself and groups you believe have constitutional protection not to be criticized that no one else has. With liberal democracy comes a lot of individual freedom, but with that comes responsibility and the fact that you're not the only one who lives here and you have the same freedom and responsibility that everyone else has. And might from time to time hear and see things that you disapprove of. But so will everyone else.
Source: Foundation Interviews 

Foundation Interviews: George Carlin- On His Supreme Court Seven Dirty Words Case

Monday, October 9, 2017

Brookings Institution: Fix-Gov- Vanessa Williamson: Back Without Popular Demand- Tax Cuts For The Wealthy & Tax Hikes For The Middle Class

Source: Brookings Institution-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat 

If you're going to talk about tax reform especially if you're saying you're proposing it which is what President Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans are saying that they're doing, you should at the very least know what tax reform is. When you're talking about tax reform you're at least implying that there's something that is currently wrong with the current system. Otherwise why would you want to reform it? Why fix what ain't broken, to use a cliche.

What the Congressional GOP Leadership led by House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, as well as President Trump are proposing, are tax cuts primarily if not exclusively for high-earners and business's. While lower-end middle class tax payers would actually get a tax increase. If you're lets say a teacher making 40 thousand-dollars a year, you're paying the 10 percent tax rate right now. Under the Trump-Ryan-McConnell plan you would pay 12 percent instead. So instead of paying 4,000 dollars a year to Uncle Sam in Federal income taxes (before deductions) plus 2,400 dollars in payroll taxes where there are no deductions, under Trump-Ryan-McConnell, you pay an additional 800 dollars in Federal income taxes and still have to pay that 2,400 in payroll taxes.

Call me crazy and maybe this just sounds like commonsense here, but I'm thinking if you were going to cut taxes that it might be a smart thing to do to cut taxes for people who could actually use the extra money in their pay checks who would then spend that money to help them pay their bills better and enjoy life more. Instead of cutting taxes for people who already have more than enough money to live out the rest of their lives comfortably and don't need an extra million-dollars in tax relief. But that is just me speaking off-the-cuff here.

What the Trump-Ryan-McConnell plan says to middle class taxpayers is essentially this. "Those hard-working middle class fools who've never made enough money to join our country clubs. Who have to worry about paying mortgages, who only own one home and perhaps not even a luxury car, let alone have their own driver. Who probably bowl during the week and drink beer and eat chicken wings. Can you believe these people voted for billionaire Donald Trump to be President? I know what we'll do, we'll raise their taxes so we can cut our own taxes and the people who keep us in office. They'll never know anyway, at least until they start filling out their income taxes next spring. And when they see less money in their paychecks, we'll just blame the Democrats. Those greedy working class Americans who struggle just to pay their bills and current tax bills, pay too little in taxes anyway. The only reason why the rich pay any taxes at all is because of our low rates on middle class workers. Why should the rich have to pay taxes when they're already so successful?"

Isn't the Republican Party supposed to be the party that never votes for tax increases on anyone? They're supposed to be the anti-tax party, at least when it comes to tax increases. Maybe the only reason why you still have any Conservative-Libertarians at all still in the Republican Party is because they're supposed to be the anti-tax and anti-regulation of business party. Senator Rand Paul who is a Conservative-Libertarian Republican, has come out against the GOP tax plan because its a middle class tax increase.

I don't see this plan passing at all even if Congressional Republican are somehow able to pass a Federal budget and be able to pass a tax plan with just 50 Senators and Vice President Mike Pence voting in favor of it. Again because you have a middle class tax increase in it with all 48 Democrats including Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders voting against it and probably 5-10 Senate Republicans. Especially if they're up for reelection next year, or not running for office again, or are true to their conservative economic principles of never being in favor of tax increases. Senator's like Rand Paul, John McCain, Bob Corker, Jeff Flake, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, plus the so-called moderates like Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, name a few. And they would have to pass this plan in the House as well with 190 plus House Democrats all voting against and perhaps 25-30 House Republicans or more, who are all up for reelection next year voting against the plan as well.

If you want to talk about tax cuts and tax reform as well even if the GOP plan fails, Congressional Democrats would be smart both in the House and Senate to have their alternative led by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. That instead of raising the bottom 10 percent tax rate, you cut it to 7 or even 5 percent. The 15 percent tax rate take that down to 12 or 10. That would be a huge middle class tax cut that would benefit most of the country who tend to pay those first two rates in the tax code. And we would see a new demand in consumer spending as well.

And Democrats would have another issue next year to go along with ObamaCare repeal. Which is to say Democrats are the party of middle class tax cuts. The Republican Party is the party of middle class tax increases and believe that the rich shouldn't have to pay any taxes at all and the middle class are undertaxed. But then Congressional Democrats should also offer their hands to Congressional Republicans and President Trump on real tax reform. That says our business tax rates are too high, so lets cut them. But do it in a smart and fiscally responsible manner. And say you want lower business taxes, get rid of corporate welfare in exchange.

Democrats could say that everyone and every business that invests in America will pay a low tax rate, but get no subsidy to go along with their lower taxes. Democrats could say we don't think businesses should be overtaxed in America, but we're also against corporate welfare and pro-middle class.
Source: Associated Press

Associated Press: Josh Boak- GOP Tax Plan Would Cut Rates For Many

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Onion: Revelations From Hillary Clinton's New Memoir- What Happened

Source: The Onion-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

What happened? Hillary Clinton might be the only person asking that question as far as how she's the first American presidential candidate to ever lose to a reality TV star who for the last 35 years in Donald Trump's case is mostly famous simply for being a New York celebrity. A career public servant in Hillary Clinton who has serious foreign policy, national security, and domestic policy experience and knowledge, versus a professional reality TV star who was a reality TV star before that term was ever invented.

Hillary Clinton losing to Donald Trump in a presidential election, would be like George H.W. Bush or Lyndon Johnson, losing a presidential election to Paris Hilton or any Kardashian you want to name. Its one of those I don't believe what I just saw moments and I just saw that. (To paraphrase the great sportscaster Jack Buck) Or the New England Patriots losing the Super Bowl to an expansion team.

I mean, would it have killed Hillary Clinton to eat a cheeseburger in Pittsburgh at any point between September and November last year. Stop for some chill in Cincinnati, have a steak in Columbus. Stop in Milwaukee or Madison, Green Bay and have some bratwurst and beer, even take in a football game. Sure! She probably would have eaten a few pounds and perhaps not have as much wine and cheese and caviar, or whatever fancy yuppie meals she's accustomed to having in New York, but it would have been for a good cause. Which is trying to get votes that you need when you're running for President of the United States.

There simply not enough yuppies people who hang out in coffee houses and work in new-tech, or as college professors for a Democrat to be elected President of the United States. And trying to rely on people who generally don't vote unless they see a candidate who uses the same smartphone as they do, watches the same reality show, shares the same coffee drink as their favorite coffee drink, listens to the same music, (referring to college students and other young adults) there not enough voters there to make up for average Americans who take voting seriously and want to feel a real connection with the people they're considering voting for. Talking about blue-collar and other middle class Democrats who voted for Donald Trump. As hard as it is to believe.

There's nothing average and working class about Donald Trump. Except for qualifications to be President of the United States. To say Donald Trump is an average Joe, or a blue-collar billionaire as he calls himself, is like saying that Tori Spelling and Paris Hilton are famous because of their great talents as entertainers. And not because of who their father's are. I mean, how many truck drivers do you know who own a golf club in Florida, as well as a vacation home and live in a penthouse in New York?

To try to sound serious for a minute (and that might be only a minute) the reasons why Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 are the same reasons she lost the Democratic presidential primary in 2008. It really gets down to one person which is the person that she sees in the mirror when she's the only one there. To put it bluntly she comes off as an actress and not a real person. Someone playing a part instead of a real person. People in Pennsylvania had more trust and faith in a guy selling Brooklyn bridges and South Dakota beach homes (in Donald Trump) than a woman who might very well be the most qualified presidential candidate we've ever seen.

And that has nothing to do with Russia, or the fact that Hillary is obviously a woman, especially when you consider that less than half of Caucasian women voted for her for president. American votes like to know who they're voting for generally and decided as much as I disagree with this, but that Donald Trump even with his never-ending list of faults that probably deserve multiple great books and documentaries to cover all of them (CNN has produced most of them) that he was a better suited to be President than she was. Even though they overwhelmingly believed that Hillary was more qualified to be President than Donald.

The last and most important reason why Hillary Clinton was appointed Secretary of State in 2009 instead of being sworn in as President of the United States or spending 2017 writing a book on why she lost the 2016 presidential election, instead of being too busy to write a book like that because she has an administration to run as President, has to do with entitlement. Being a Democrat and the first female major presidential candidate, is not enough reason for Americans in at least the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin for them to vote for her to be President.

American voters are kind of stubborn and even prickly and actually expect their presidential candidates to offer them little annoying things like vision and reasons for voting for them. Other than the candidates saying, "hey, you might not like me, but you should hate my opponent more, because of these reasons." Not being Donald Trump in 2016 was not enough reason for Americans to elect Hillary Clinton as President. That is why she's not President Hillary Clinton right now. She didn't introduce the real Hillary Clinton to enough voters and give enough for them reasons to vote for her and not just against Donald Trump.
Source: The Onion

The Onion: Highlights of The First 2016 Presidential Debate

Monday, September 25, 2017

Brookings Institution: FixGov- Dana Goldman: Why Bernie Sander's Plan For Universal Health Care Is Only Half Right

Source: Brookings Institution-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

Actually, I believe Dana Goldman is being generous here and giving Senator Bernie Sanders too much credit here. I don't believe Senator Sanders is even half right and is selling his supporters a Mercedes for the cost of a Ford Escort and telling them that he'll get back to them as far as how much the Mercedes really cost later on. Leaving his supporters with hopes of buying a Mercedes with only the budget of an Escort.

The problem with a Mercedes health care plan is that is cost as much as a Mercedes. If you're looking at a Mercedes SEL or sports car, you're talking about eighty thousand dollars or more. If you're a young public school teacher just starting out, you might only be able to afford the Ford Escort economy car. Luxury cars are expensive for most Americans and so are great health care plans. Even Senator Sanders is now acknowledging that his so-called free universal Medicare For All health care plan is not free.

Why? Because it would be run by government. Who funds government? The taxpayers that consume its services. How do taxpayers pay for government services? Through taxation and that includes from their annual income, as well as payroll taxes that comes out of their paychecks. Whether you're new public school teacher making 25-30 thousand dollars a year, driving a Ford Escort or another economy car. Or corporate lawyer or crooked politician making 500 hundred thousand dollars a year driving a Mercedes SEL or perhaps a Jaguar, or another great luxury car. The Sanders's Medicare For All plan comes with deep costs and they have no idea to pay for it.

And you would be talking about a Medicare For All budget assuming you're completely eliminating all private health insurance companies, as well as Medicaid, Tri-Care, the Federal civil service health insurance program, and all state health insurance programs, you would be talking about an annual Medicare budget of over three-trillion-dollars, to go on top of the already four-trillion-dollar U.S. Government budget. There's no free health care for anyone who pays taxes. Which means the Medicare For All supporters would have to come up with the finances to pay for it.

And if that is not depressing enough I only covered the costs of a Medicare For All plan and the fact that their supporters don't have a damn clue how to pay for it. Other than saying, "well, if we can borrow trillions of dollars to pay for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, we can do that to guarantee health care for everyone." Which at best is a sophomoric answer. Which is like saying, "hey if Billy can skip cool and shoplift, how come I can't and have to go to go to school everyday?." Not exactly an example that you want to teach people.

But how about the other big problem dealing with completely eliminating competition in the health insurance system and completely putting the U.S. Government in charge of the health insurance for 320 million Americans. We've already seen the problem with the Veteran Affairs Administration when you put the one agency in charge of not just the health insurance for everyone, but their complete health care as well.

Which is military veterans not able to get needed health care because their hospitals are overcrowded or live hundreds of miles from the nearest VA hospital. Which is why Congress and the Obama Administration reformed the VA in 2014 and now veterans can get health care at private hospitals at least, leaving taxpayers to pick up the costs of their health care that these veterans have earned by serving their country.

The VA example is really the only example you need to know why government shouldn't be in complete control of the health insurance for a country of 320 million people at least. Socialism is just not the answer here because government is no bureaucratic and moves so slowly with the executive not being able to reform themselves quickly and keep up with the times without the approval of Congress. And Congress which always has their eye on the next election and always keeping their eyes on their donors and making sure they're pleasing them and only being able to move when it helps them politically.

The U.S. Government doesn't respond to competition because it doesn't have any in America. In theory they can do whatever they want and don't even have to meet a budget. Private organizations obviously don't have have that luxury and have to stay within their budgets and be able to adapt and deliver the best and most affordable services that they can. Or they'll lose to the competition. Which is why you want competition in the health insurance market and you want to keep that market and if anything expand that market and give people other options to pay for their health insurance.

Like Medicare option and not just having Medicare for our oldest and unhealthiest Americans. That could be run by the states and not adding to the Federal budget. As well as health savings accounts including for low-income workers which would add even more competition to the health insurance market.

So, other than the costs of a Medicare For All plan other than their supporters seeming to believe that we can borrow three-trillion-dollars a years and put it on the national debt, which would actually be more expensive than what we borrowed for Afghanistan and Iraq, at least annually. Or than having rich people not only fund their own health care and health insurance, but forcing them to pay for everyone else's even for people who can afford health insurance and health care and that the U.S. Government would be in complete control of everyone's health insurance in a country of three-hundred and twenty-million people, without the money to pay for it other than deep borrowing and expecting wealthy people to cover the other costs and forgetting that rich people can simply escape taxes by moving their money to other countries, you might actually have to like the Sanders's Medicare For All Plan. At least the idealistic romance novel side of it. Free health care for everyone. Who would be against that. But again, so such thing as a free lunch for people who buy that food. No such thing as free health care for people who consume that health care.
Source: TYT


The Young Turks: Ana Kasparian, Jimmy Dore & Ron Placone

Monday, September 18, 2017

Inside Edition: Bonnie Strauss- 1992 Feature on Jayne Mansfield

Source: Inside Edition-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

The man anchoring this show might look familiar to all you political and news junkies out there. Especially cable news junkies, because before Bill O'Reilly got his big gig The O'Reilly Factor at Fox News Channel in the mid 1990s, he was anchor of the syndicated tabloid/news magazine show Inside Edition. I remember watching him on that show in the mid 1990s after work. But enough about The O'Reilly Factor, or as I prefer to call him The O'Reilly Finger and give him my middle finger to show how I feel about him.

Jayne Mansfield died in a horrible car crash in 1967 and she wasn't drunk or even driving the car. The two men in front that were supposed to protect her were simply too tired to work and drive that night and should have never been on that trip. Especially with other people with them and in back of the car. So that is why Inside Edition did this story about Jayne in 1992. Because even though she did make a brief impact in Hollywood in the mid 1950s, it was sort of like that talented QB who has a couple big years early in his career and perhaps even wins the Super Bowl, but gets hurt or thinks too much of himself and stops doing the work and finds himself even playing for bad teams, or completely out of the NFL. The fall ends up being as dramatic as the rise to the top floor in Hollywood. That was Jayne Mansfield's short Hollywood adventure.

 I disagree with James Bacon that Jayne wasn't a good actress though and was only famous because of her, lets say measurements. She was a good actress, but more importantly a very good entertainer. Who was also a very good singer and comedian and had she realized that early on and just took with that instead of trying to move to doing drama and serious roles, we might be talking about one of the best comedic actresses and comedians at least of her generation. Which is how Carol Burnett and Mary Tyler Moore are remembered today. Not as great dramatic actresses, but great comedians as they should be. But Jayne got bored with comedy and tried to move away from what made her great in Hollywood.
Inside Edition: Bonnie Strauss- 1992 Feature on Jayne Mansfield

Monday, September 11, 2017

The New Republic: Opinion- John Judis: The Socialism America Needs Now

Source: The New Republic-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

To give you an idea of what I believe socialism is and what it isn't, I agree with John Judis at TNR that socialism has a couple layers, three if you include Chinese communism. But before that I want to talk about a discussion I had on Quora last week. (Of all places) Before that discussion I had absolutely no use for Quora and would even tweet or post on Google+, "why is someone following me on Quora, I'm never on Quora!" Which is true! When I would pick up a new follower. Except for last week when I responded to a question posed on Quora about socialism by someone who will go nameless simply because I don't remember their name. And this person asked are Liberals, Socialists?

To put it simply Liberals are not since liberal democracy is very different from social democracy or communism. But I went further and said that there three separate political ideologies in this discussion. Liberalism that I believe in as a Liberal. Marxism which is essentially communism today. Which is the Un-democratic form of socialism. And social democracy/democratic socialism. The third layer of socialism would be Chinese communism.

China certainly still qualifies as a Marxist-Communist State as it relates to social policy with no free press and legal political opposition in the country. No guaranteed ability for people to speak out and express themselves, certainly about the central government. No right to privacy and people could lose their homes easily to the state if the state simply decides to take that property from them. No guaranteed right of religion and for people to make that choice to practice or not practice religion themselves.

But economically the only reason why China has boomed in the last lost forty years now is because of the privatization of their economy. You have big cities in China now like Shanghai that look like big cities in Japan, Europe, or even America. Highly developed with all sorts of private companies and business's, with large middle classes and even rich people. That is because they've now become a capitalist economy with a large welfare state and still have some state-run enterprises from their previous communist regimes.

What I was trying to get through to the person on Quora I was talking to with his point being that so-called Liberals aren't socialists because they haven't called for economic nationalization with the state owning and running the entire economy, is that there are layers of socialism. And none of them are part of liberalism.

Yes, there are still Marxist-Communists who are Un-Democratic Socialists who do believe there should be no private sector and private ownership in the economy. But other than North Korea and someone might find some small country in Africa where this philosophy is still practiced, Marxism is a dying governing philosophy in the world. Even Cuba has opened their economy to so some private ownership and capitalism. Other than maybe Eugene Debbs (Socialist Party presidential candidate in the early 20th Century) there are really no Democratic Socialists who believe in complete state-control of the economy in society.

The mainstream wing of socialism is social democracy/democratic socialism. Which includes private ownership of the economy and even allowing for people to own their own property. But where private industry is heavily regulated for the good of society. As Democratic Socialists would put it) Highly taxed to prevent income inequality and to provide a large welfare state to provide the public services to people that Socialists believe shouldn't be in private for-profit hands. Services like health care, health insurance, education, pensions, child care, perhaps a few other social services.

But even this wing of socialism would considered Far-Left in America, (except for Millennial's and aging Baby Boomers like Bernie Sanders) because of the high taxation, regulation, over centralization of government especially in a federal republic like America where we tend not to trust big centralized government and like to see more power with the states, localities, and individuals themselves. But still a very mainstream not just political philosophy, but governing philosophy in Europe. Especially in Scandinavia.

I disagree with John Judis and his TNR column about another thing. I don't believe America needs any form of socialism. You would almost have to rewrite or at least seriously reform our U.S. Constitution and take away our federal form of government for any socialist model of government to be put in place in America. Or have some political revolution where Communists come into power through violent  military means and eventually take over the U.S. Government and throw out our form of government. And start nationalizing state and local government's and replacing them with Marxist-Socialists or Communists. (I guess ANTIFA is working on that right now)

So in this sense at least socialism simply wouldn't be a practical governing philosophy in America. Our form of government is simply too decentralized and would require again reforming the U.S. Constitution through all sorts of amendments, or rewriting it which would require amendments. But for socialism in the democratic form to become an alternative philosophy to Center-Right conservatism and Center-Left liberalism, Socialists in America and that starts with their leaders Senator Bernie Sanders and Dr. Jill Stein, need to start being real with their followers.

Stop promising free candy, cookies, sodas, to their followers that they want Uncle Sam to take care of. Explain to them why democratic socialism is the best governing philosophy, but also be realistic and honest with that. Stop promising free stuff! Like health care, health insurance, college, pensions, child care, etc. And tell them that government services have to paid for and be paid for by the people who consume them who are taxpayers. And tell them that if government is going to provide these services to people that taxes are going to have to be raised on everyone who consumes these government services.

And then we'll really see how popular socialism is in America and if Americans really want to pay for this government-run Socialist Utopia that Socialists keep promising. Especially as more Baby Boomers die off and Millennial's get older and hopefully finally grow up.
Source: The Young Turks- U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, Democratic Socialist, Socialist Republic of Vermont


The Young Turks: John Iadarola, Ana Kasparian & Ben Mankiewicz- Bernie Sanders Speech on Democratic Socialism

Monday, September 4, 2017

Jerry Skinner: What Happened To Jayne Mansfield?

Source: Jerry Skinner-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

What happened to Jayne Mansfield? Well as far as her death, she died in a car accident in June, 1967. She was a passenger and not driving and was headed to New Orleans from Biloxi, Mississippi just after midnight because Jayne had an interview that next day on a local New Orleans news show. They probably should have waited until the next morning to leave because as we know now the driver of the car was working and driving literally on no sleep.

And to make things worst they were trying to make an 87 mile trip in about an hour or so and were in a real rush. So you got a tired driver driving past midnight and in a hurry to get from Biloxi to Mississippi and you also had a lot of traffic on the road as well and two men who died in the accident in front of Jayne's car who were real impatient.

But I believe the better question as far as what really happened to Jayne Mansfield is not so much about how she died in the end. But why was she performing in nightclubs in Biloxi, Mississippi in 1967 when she was still only 34 years old. Instead of New York or Los Angeles making movies, or doing TV shows, performing comedy, perhaps putting her own music album together. Because she had real talent to do all these things as a versatile entertainer, but wasn't doing them by 1967.

One thing that I agree with the narrator in this video is that Jayne Mansfield wasn't a dumb blonde. The woman had a college degree and came from a successful family in Pennsylvania and later Texas. The daughter of a layer and teacher. She could act, she had a comedic wit, and a singer's voice. But she played the dumb sexy blonde as a career move in order to make money and bring publicity to herself.

But to go back to the fact that she was actually a good actress who could act. She played the dumb sexy blonde so well that people took her seriously as the dumb sexy blonde and didn't see her as anything else. Both her fans and studios, movie and TV executives. She voluntarily left Hollywood in the 1960s because she was tired of playing the dumb sexy blonde and wanted serious roles as an actress. She could have stayed in Hollywood and continued to play the dumb sexy blonde and had very successful career as a comedic actress and comedian in general.

But Jayne was no longer interested in those roles. I believe she would have made a great soap actress in the 1970s and 80s even on prime time had she lived a normal life in years, because of a great comedic timing and wit and she had real dramatic affect as well. But of course we'll never know that. I believe Saturday Night Live in the 1970s and 80s would have been a great place for her too, but we'll never know that either. By the early and mid 1960s Jayne's Hollywood career was basically over.

Not because Jayne was kicked out, but because she was tired of the roles that she was getting. As the comedy relief in movies and TV appearances and wanted to go further as an actress. And was left to doing b-movies and and even some pornographic film and even films of her simply traveling around the country and going to Europe simply to stay busy as an actress. Marilyn Monroe is famous for saying that it takes a smart woman to play the dumb blonde. Jayne played the dumb blonde so well that she had too many people fooled. Which is why she's always been known as the dumb sexy blonde and not much else even though she had so much else going for her as an entertainer and person.
Jerry Skinner: What Happened To Jayne Mansfield?

Monday, August 28, 2017

Brookings Institution: Governance Studies- Molly Reynolds: Limitations of The Senate Filibuster

Source: Brookings Institution-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat 

Warning! This article is only for truly hard-core political and Congressional junkies and people who haven't slept in days and need to fall asleep real quick. Great bedtime reading for your hard-core insomniacs. Because this is not just about Congress, but the Senate in particular and not just the Senate, but Senate rules and not just Senate rules, but a rule called the filibuster. One of those inside Washington words that people from outside of the beltway might think is from a different language. Let alone able to explain what that word is and what it means.

For people who need to fall asleep real quick I'll give you a little background and history about the Senate filibuster to explain the current limitations of it today and for those people who see this they might be able to sleep for weeks after reading this.

Before then Senate Leader Harry Read and about 52 or so of his Senate Democratic colleagues nuked the filibuster as it has to do with executive nominations and judicial nominations in the fall of 2013 in the 113th Congress. The Senate Minority Leader (the person who leads the minority party in the Senate) and his party colleagues in the Senate could block almost every piece of legislation on their own. If they had at least 41 seats and votes in the Senate.

The only exceptions having to with the budget and what's called reconciliation. Which is a Congressional term that has to do with the budget. Meaning that any bill that has to do with spending tax dollars like tax cuts and reforms and expansions of entitlement programs like Medicare, would only need 51 votes including the Vice President to break a tie to pass the Senate.  Now for someone who is a Congressional junky like myself and loves studying and reading about Congress especially the history of it, the Senate filibuster and Senate rules in general are fascinating to me and learning any information about it like that would make me so charge up it might keep me awake until the next solar eclipse. But for your average insomniac this kind of material might send them into a coma.

Thanks to former Senate Leader Harry Reid and his Senate Democratic colleagues in the Senate, the majority party only needs 51 votes to not only move to voting on presidential nominations for both the executive and judiciary, but for final passage on those nominations. During the spring this year Senate Democrats lead by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, blocked President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch with the filibuster rule. I think Senate Joe Manchin, Senate Joe Donnelly, and Senate Heidi Heitkamp, were the only three Senate Democrats who voted to cut off any filibuster of then Judge Gorsuch.

And when Senate Democrats blocked Gorsuch, current Senate Leader Mitch McConnell moved to eliminate all filibusters of Supreme Court nominees which passed on a party-line vote. Which means almost everyone in one party votes one way and almost everyone in the other party votes the other way. Not people standing in line to go to some party.

So under current Senate rules the majority party can only eliminate filibusters on legislation if they have 60 votes. Meaning they either have 60 seats in the Senate (which rarely happens) or they get a compromise with the minority party generally the Minority Leader or the minority manager of the bill that is on the floor. And that compromise leads to at least enough minority members of the Senate to cut off any potential filibuster of the current bill.

Or to get back to that crazy arcane word of reconciliation and the Senate majority party brings up some legislation that has to do with the budget. Something that they want as part of the budget that has to be passed that year. And if they're able to do that they pass tax dollar related legislation with just 51 votes including the Vice President of the United States.

But even reconciliation has it's limits because that rule has to be passed first and the time for that is limited if a budget is not passed during that year in Congress, then bills can only be passed through reconciliation through September. And then if a budget is still not passed every piece of legislation that is considered in the Senate is subjected to the cloture rule (meaning the filibuster) and needs 60 votes to pass for the rest of that year. Which means again unless the Senate majority party has 60 seats (which rarely happens) the majority party needs cooperation and votes from the minority party to move legislation in the Senate.

I hope these explanations of the Senate filibuster and it's usage and limitations help people who are interested in learning about Congress, especially the upper chamber which is the Senate. Or at the very least helps people who are in badly need of sleep finally get the sleep that they deserve.

I realize reading about Congressional rules or perhaps reading about anything outside of new technology and celeb culture especially in today's world reality TV world and overdose of celebrity culture and smartphones which of course is far more important (to too many people) can seem intrusive and time consuming. And reading about how legislation that affects over three-hundred-million Americans as far as what laws we have to do live under and will our civil liberties, property rights, civil rights, will be protected or expanded. Will any of our relatives be sent to war, how much we're going to have to pay in taxes, or in interest on the national debt and budget deficit. Just to show some examples of how Congress and the Federal Government in general can and does affect our lives.

But it's worth learning and knowing about any institution in America that can have that much power  over how any of us live in America. Because we all pay for the government that we get whether we think that government is interesting and worth our time knowing about it or not. Whether we like it or not.
Source: Discerning History 

Discerning History: History of The Filibuster

Monday, August 21, 2017

BBC: 1999 Jayne Mansfield Documentary

Source: BBC- Jayne Mansfield-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

I guess in one way Jayne Mansfield was a great actress and not just a great comedic actress and comedian, but a real great actress at least in the sense that she had so many people fooled. She wanted to be seen as the dumb blonde who needed her hot adorable sexy image to pay her bills. But in actuality she always knew what she was doing. An intelligent woman who wanted to be viewed as a bimbo and was such a great actress that she pulled that off. She had people thinking she was exactly as she came off which was as a bimbo.

Marilyn Monroe had the famous quote that it takes a smart woman to play the dumb blonde. Well that was Jayne Mansfield, the smart woman who played the dumb blonde. She knew what Hollywood was and how she could be successful in it and played her talents to the hilt. A hot adorable woman with a great body, but who also had a great sense of humor and comedic timing, who was also an accomplished singer. But knew exactly what people in Hollywood and what the fans noticed first and what they wanted.

Which was to see hot this adorable woman with the great curve appeal and then you add to that which was she was a great entertainer. Someone who should exchange wisecracks with funny people like Tom Ewell, Edmond O'Brien, Merv Griffin, Jack Benny, Cary Grant, and many others. She was better than Marilyn Monroe at least in this sense that Jayne knew she was really good and had made it and deserved what she accomplished. Unlike Marilyn who was battling mental illness and depression and was heavily medicated for a lot of her adult life and had even attempted suicide and been committed at one point.

Jayne had a plan from day one and knew what she needed to do to make it in Hollywood. But unfortunately Jayne Mansfield falls in the class of what could've happened if only and ends up dying at 34 in 1967 because of a car crash where she wasn't even driving because her and her crew were in a big hurry to meet a big appointment that they had in New Orleans the next morning.

By the time Jayne died in 1967 she was woking the nightclub circuit as a singer because her Hollywood career at burned out because the major studios no longer wanted to work with her. Jayne mentally in many ways was just as adorable as she was physically. She came off a little girl both physically and personally. And was fairly immature and developed bad habits like drinking heavily and not able to take criticism very well and work to expand her image so she could get better and bigger parts. Which is why she fell out of Hollywood and down to the nightclub circuit just to pay the bills and keep working.
BBC: 1999 Jayne Mansfield Documentary

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Baseline Scenario: Opinion- James Kwak- The Importance Of Fairness: A New Vision For The Democratic Party

Source: James Parks- Congressional Democrats-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

Economic fairness and social justice even is a good debate in the Democratic Party and it seems to becoming from two wings in it.

From the Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren social democratic wing that believes the problem with the American economy is that rich people have too much money and everyone else simply struggles just to survive and in many cases can’t survive on their own and in some cases don’t even have a job. And are complete dependent on public assistance for their survival. Well, they’re half right about too many Americans simply not having enough in society to live well. And argue that what we should be doing is taking from the rich in high taxes to support the middle class and poor with bigger current Federal social insurance programs and new social insurance programs for the middle class and poor.

And then you have this Cory Booker/Martin O’Malley wing that believes there are too many Americans who struggle and there should be something done about it, but it becomes a question about what should be done. The Center-Left liberal wing of the party that’s still in existent today that John F. Kennedy and many other Democrats did a lot to build don’t take a class warfare approach. And blame rich people for everyone else’s struggles in life. And say the problem is not that there rich people in America but the problem is that there aren’t enough successful people in America. You have very few at the very top. And then you have a lot of Americans who struggle to get by but generally do. And then you have a lot of people at the bottom who simply live in poverty.

I come down with Center-Left of the Democratic Party. If we want to remain a major political party in America we’re going to need to connect to more blue-collar Americans particularly in the Midwest who believe and in many cases are accurate in this belief that they’re already taxed too high. And aren’t looking for more government welfare but instead for an opportunity for them to do well in America. For good jobs and more economic development to return to their communities. Government even the Federal Government can help in seeing that these things happen with more and better infrastructure investment in these communities. Including inner cities and underdeveloped rural communities. As well as tax credits to increase job training and education for adults who simply don’t have enough education to get a good job right now even if the new economic development happens in their communities.

But at the end of the day if you want more economic and job growth, you want wages to increase in America, an expanding workforce where most of the jobs that are created are good middle class full-time jobs instead of part-time jobs and you want less poverty in America, then Americans have to continue to be encouraged to do well in America. And that means not taxing everyone so high including the wealthy to the point that they’re wondering why are they working so hard and being so productive when Uncle Sam just takes most of their money from them in taxes and gives it people who aren’t doing well economically.

If you want a definition for economic fairness, I’ll give you one anyway but the same definition for economic fairness is the same definition I have for social justice. And it’s about equality of opportunity. That every American has a quality opportunity to do well in life no matter their race, ethnicity or gender, or where they’re born and how they start off in life. That every kid in America has an opportunity to go to a good school no matter where they live. And aren’t sent to school based on where they live, but instead sent to school based on what’s the best school for them.

And even for adults who didn’t take advantage of that opportunity to go to a good school as a kid and are now a low-skilled adult working multiple jobs and still living in poverty or perhaps not working at all and completely dependent on public assistance, that they are given the opportunity to finish and further their education so they can get themselves a good job and do well in life as well.

The same economic debate in the Democratic Party about what our vision should be what type of party we should be on economic policy I believe gets down to one question. Do we as Democrats believe in equality of opportunity which is where the Democratic Leadership is where every American as an opportunity to do well in life, but what they make of that opportunity is completely up to them. Or are we going to become a party that believes in equality of results which is what Sweden essentially practices as a country. Where the national government essentially collects all the resources of the country and then gives them back equally to everyone in the country in the form of welfare state payments.

Again I come down with the Center-Left wing of the party and I’ll paraphrase Senator Cory Booker here and say we should be a country where we all rise. Where everyone has a quality opportunity to do well in America. But how they do will be based on those quality opportunities. The old cliche that you make the bed that you sleep in. And for people who take advantage of those opportunities those Americans will do very well in America. And get to live of their production and enjoy the fruits of their labor even if they’re very wealthy, but obtain that wealth by getting a good education and being very good at their job and with their investments.

And for the Americans who didn’t take advantage of those quality opportunities they had they won’t do very well. But not because of where they were born, or maybe they only had one parent, or because of their race, ethnicity, gender, or any other circumstances that they couldn’t control. But their lack of success in life will because they didn’t finish their education and perhaps made other mistakes early in life that has weaken their economic outlook.

You need government to see that everyone can do well in life, but not to babysit us and try to take care of us from cradle to grave. But to see that there’s an environment where everyone can do well.

Where everyone is treated equally under law and not denied opportunities in life, because of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or religion. But to see that everyone can go to a good school.

Where the infrastructure system is modernize so everyone can get around and where economic development can be done and good jobs are created.

Where you have  tax system where people and business’s are encouraged to do well and aren’t taxed out of business.

A regulatory state to see that consumers and workers are protected from predators but not to try run business’s in a way that big government would run them.

And a safety net for people who truly need it but not to babysit them and instead tries to lift them up so they can rise in America as well.

That will be the debate going into next year when the Congressional mid-terms take place and Democrats fight to win back the House and perhaps the Senate as well. And into the 2020 presidential election and Democrats pick their next party leader. What kind of party are we going to be on economic policy. And it will be between people who want to see more Americans do well and be empowered to create their own freedom and life independently. And Democrats who believe our economic problem is that government is too small and Americans at all levels are undertaxed and that we have rich people at all.
James Parks: House and Senate Democrats on Economic Agenda

Monday, August 7, 2017

TV Fanatic: The Jayne Mansfield Story 1980- CBS Wednesday Night Movie

Source: TV Fanatic-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

At risk of sounding old here, when I was growing up in the 1980s and even when I was in high school in the early 1990s. network original movies that were made and produced by the networks, were actually worth watching. CBS, NBC, and ABC, all had their own movie companies that were part of their entertainment divisions and had one night a week and sometimes multiple nights if they were showing a mini-series where they should show two-hour movie and sometimes longer than that. The networks would produce their own movies and of course would show movies that were from Hollywood and perhaps had been out for a year or so, or longer.

Very similar to what HBO, Showtime and others do on cable. Probably watched 5-6 of  James Bond series of movies  in the summer of 1992 alone on ABC. The networks did this because they were good at it and knew what movies to pick and how to promote them and what kind of cast they could put together and so-forth. But also because cable wasn't as dominant in the 1980s as it became in the 1990s. CBS, NBC, and ABC, were worried about each other. And not so much what HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, TNT, USA, etc, were doing on cable. Because the cable networks simply didn't have the resources that the broadcast networks had back then. And to certain extent today as well, but cable networks are much powerful and influential today than they were back then.

I only mention all of this because I'm trying to bore you into a coma. Especially if you weren't even born yet in the 1980s. Actually, because the Jayne Mansfield Story was a TV network movie that CBS put together with the producers, directors, creators, and writers of the movie. And The Jayne Mansfield Story and I'm only 4 years old when it came out in October, 1980 so I didn't see it and only finally heard about it a year or so ago and saw a video for it on YouTube and the finally got to see the whole movie on cable (of course) on Get-TV last February and saw it again a few months after that.

And this was a network movie where you have Loni Anderson as the lead actress playing Jayne Mansfield and Arnold Schwarzenegger playing her husband and long time lover Mickey Hargitay.  (The father of Mariska Hargitay) Loni was already a star at this point with her guest appearances on Threes Company in the late 1970s playing Jack Tripper's love interest. And then she lands WKRP in Cincinnati in 1978. (One of the best sitcoms of all-time) Arnold wasn't a star as an actor yet, but he was a superstar professional bodybuilder and already well-known at this point. Mickey Hargitay ws a superstar bodybuilder before become an actor as well.

This is a very good and funny movie and a lot of that has to do with Loni Anderson. Who has great comedic ability and one of the top comedic actresses of her generation at least. And she happens to playing a very funny woman in Jayne Mansfield who was very funny in real-life both intentionally and unintentionally, because she was so adorable and very immature and then add her comedic timing and you had a very funny woman who might still be working today had it not had been for her tragic car accident in 1967.

The movie covers Jayne's life from when she became star in the early 1950s looking for work and basically forcing herself on her future agent Bob Garrett (played by Ray Buktenica) and he tells her if he's going to represent Jayne that she's going to have to change her hair and a few other things. But sees potential in her as a comedian. And the movie goes from Jayne being discovered in the early 1950s where Hollywood wasn't ready for her alway up to her fall and struggling to find work in the early and mid 1960s, to her tragic death in 1967.

Loni Anderson is just plain hot, sexy, adorable and funny as Jayne Mansfield. She's as cute as a little girl with personality to match, but with body of a goddess with those legs, curves, chest and everything else, as well as the face. Arnold playing Jayne's wife is also great as a very loving and caring husband of Jayne who tries to look out for her best interests and tries to manage her immatureness and irresponsible behavior, but fails at both and they split up in the movie.

I believe Jayne Mansfield in real-life would have been proud for how Loni played her and at least give her credit for doing such a great and accurate job. Because I think knew herself real well and didn't try to be anyone other than herself even if she seemed overly adorable and even childish to even the people who loved and cared about her like Mickey Hargitay and her business people. This is a very entertaining movie that covers the struggles as Jayne making it as a great comedic actress, but someone who also wanted to be taken seriously in Hollywood and get serious parts with more meaning.
TV Fanatic: The Jayne Mansfield Story 1980- CBS Wednesday Night Movie

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Washington Post: Opinion- Sheri Berman- "Some Argue That The West Should Limit Democracy To Save Liberalism: Here's Why They're Wrong"

Source: The Washington Post-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

America and to a certain extent Europe, has a long history of subsidizing authoritarian regimes in the Middle East and Africa (specifically) for their own national interests. The thinking being that if they don't subsidize these authoritarians whether they're monarchs, theocrats, or Nationalists and let those regimes collapse with democracy taking over, that the opposition would be worst for Western interests than the current regime. The thinking being that the current regime is the best that they can do as far as the West. And at least the West would be able to work with these authoritarians on issues relating to terrorisms and combating other states where they share mutual enemies.

Well, anyone familiar with the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis and what led up to that Iranian authoritarian monarchy under the Shah of Iran knows that subsidizing dictators and authoritarians has it's limits. The 1979 takeover of the American embassy in Tehran was partially to the American and British subsidization of an unpopular authoritarian regime in Iran.

Democracy has it's limits and everyone familiar with democracy knows that. Which is why democracy in itself is not a strong form of government, because it would always be held hostage to the popular will of the time and people would have a very hard time governing and making tough decisions for fear of losing their jobs. Which is why I don't believe in majoritarian or social democracy, with no set constitutional rights that can be thrown out simply because one person no longer believes in them or supports one of them, more than the people who do support those constitutional rights.

Which is why I'm instead a Liberal Democrat who of course believes in free and fair democracy to choose our leaders, but that goes along with the rule of law and checks and balances that protects our liberal individual rights and liberty in general. Liberal democracy and social democracy, are not the same thing. Once you put basic constitutional and individual rights at the will of the current majority, is when those rights can be put in jeopardy. Especially when there's a rise of populism from either the Far-Left with Socialists who do don't believe in the rule of law and checks and balances, because it limits their big government agenda. Or Nationalists who don't believe in the rule of law either and oppose individuals rights and the ability for people to protest their politics and policies.

The rise of right-wing authoritarian nationalism whether it's the Donald Trump movement in America , or with Vladimir Putin in Russia and other nationalist government's in Eastern Europe like in Hungary and Poland, doesn't mean that liberal democracy and liberalism in general is failing. Or with the Neo-Communist rule in Venezuela and the liberal democratic opposition there just goes to show you that liberalism and liberal democracy is still strong and people still want it. Especially after watching the illiberal Socialists there destroy the economy in Venezuela. A country that is energy independent by the way.

What America should being doing instead is taking a stand against authoritarianism, whether it comes from the Far-Left or Far-Right and stand with the people in those countries that simply want their freedom, as well as check and balances and the rule of law. Instead of having a strongman and regime with most of the power in the country and be held accountable. With the nationalist Donald Trump Administration in Washington, don't expect America to do that anytime soon. But that is what America and Europe could be doing to expand liberal democracy and liberalism. And not watch leftist and rightist populist Nationalists, try to takeover once democratic Western countries.

Back to the old argument of who America should be backing with the choice being the devil that we know as far as authoritarian regimes that can work with us on national security issues and help us against terrorists and other authoritarian states, or the people on the ground who want the current regime out-of-power and a chance to form a democratic government.

America is supposed to be the beacon on the hill that stands up for individual rights and liberal democratic values. "The city on the shining hill', to paraphrase Ronald Reagan. And I'm not a Neoconservative looking to replace every authoritarian regime that I don't like. And again democracy has limits and you could literally end up replacing one authoritarian regime with another, which is what happened in Iran in 1979.

But once you go down the road of subsidizing authoritarians over the people that have to live under that form of authoritarianism, you put yourself at the mercy of those people there. And then they rise up and perhaps replace the authoritarian regime that you're backing.

Which is why America should be pushing for democracy, but pushing for liberal democracy that comes with rule of law, checks and balances, and individual rights. And backing oppositions and government's that believe in those liberal democratic values as well.
Salvester: 11 Aspects of Liberal Democracy