Bill Scher's LiberalOasis

Home of the This Is Not Normal podcast, Bill Scher columns and other liberal commentary

Month: January 2010

The LiberalOasis Radio Show: After The Speech Edition

The LiberalOasis Radio Show was broadcast Saturday at 12 noon on WHMP in Western MA, featuring analysis of what policy impacts will be there be after the State of the Union address, “The Optimist” Tom Pappalardo brings the nation together, Glenn Johnson defends Martha Coakley’s baseball ignorance and Sarah Buttenwieser takes on Heidi Montag.
You can download the podcast at these links: (iTunes / XML feed / MP3).

The Week In Blog: SOTU Edition

The latest edition of The Week In Blog is up on Bloggingheads.tv featuring The Heritage Foundation’s Conn Carroll and myself discussing blog reaction to the State of the Union address, and the James O’Keefe arrest. <a href="“>Watch it below.
http://static.bloggingheads.tv/maulik/offsite/offsite_flvplayer.swf

The LiberalOasis Radio Show: That Week Sucked Edition

The LiberalOasis Radio Show was broadcast Saturday at 12 noon on WHMP in Western MA. How do we recover from the Scott Brown-Supreme Court double whammy? Plus, Traci Olsen schools the Democrats, John Sheier gets inside the Scott Brown campaign, plus, Poetry on the Radio with Sarah Lariviere.
You can download the podcast at these links: (iTunes / XML feed / MP3).

The Week In Blog: Man Was I Completely Wrong Edition

The latest edition of The Week In Blog is up at Bloggingheads.tv featuring Matt Lewis and myself discussing blog reaction to the Massachusetts debacle and the Supreme Court travesty. Watch it below.
http://static.bloggingheads.tv/maulik/offsite/offsite_flvplayer.swf

On Martin Luther King Day: what is your dream?

Everyone is familiar with Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech. Whether you love him or you hate him or you’re indifferent to his existence on this earth, you’re still aware of the speech.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-up2xyRvN2U&hl=en_US&fs=1&]
If you’re sitting in front of your computers at home, at work or anywhere in between, I would like to ask you a question — what is your dream? Do you dream of being able to send your kids college? Do you dream that simple dream of being able to pay off your bills and have some money left over at the end of the month? Do you dream of being able to go to your doctor without having to worry about how much the prescriptions, the diagnostic tests and other procedures may cost? Do you dream of getting paid a living wage? What is your dream?

When I look at the life of Martin Luther King, I look at someone who was focused on justice and equal opportunity for all. Every now and then I think we get lost, as progressives and lose our focus. Every time we open our mouths, conservative will stand up and say, “I object.” So, sometimes, we get caught up in the back and forth with conservatives. Sometimes, we forget that our goal is to accomplish something. Our goal is to stand up for justice and equal opportunity. Our goal is not to combat every single, silly utterance of the Right. (See Pat Robertson, Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh for starters)

To combat the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, we were told we had to bail out Wall Street. Others have said that we should let Wall Street flounder and bailed out MainStreet. Wall Street is now rolling in record profits because of our money. Main Street is hurting. Where’s the justice? Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and Congress need to enact legislation that is going to seriously help MainStreet. Main Street is the engine that will create jobs for the rest of us. The goal of this legislation should not be to hand out money to a couple of fat cats but instead to enact legislation that will help revitalize MainStreet. As MainStreet returns to its former glory, it will begin to hire.

I’m not sure where the idea of Green Jobs came from. I’m not sure why it has been pushed to the back burner or even taken off the stove of ideas. It is time for Ross Feingold, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer to figure out a way to enact a series of bills which are targeted to help our environment and create millions of new jobs. We need to be able build large wind farms. We need to figure out how to build a smarter electrical grid that will easily transfer the power created by these wind farms in the Midwest to our large urban centers which need the energy. We need to give small, medium and large companies opportunities that these contracts. This legislation should include language that prevents jobs are being shipped overseas. Everything should be made here in America. This will give everybody an equal opportunity in an industry that should be around for a good while. (BTW, why hasn’t we poured money into Telsa cars? An electric car that really works and is ready to drive today? I’m just asking?) Why is this so hard?

There are hundreds if not thousands of infrastructure projects that are sitting idle across the country today. Congress, along with local and state governments (that’s right, everybody needs to work together) needs to get these projects kick started with the stimulus money that has not been spent as of yet. Almost all of our schools need to be redesigned, rebuilt, repaired and updated. Money needs to be poured into education. For the most part, we are teaching students approximately the way we taught students 100 years ago. Isn’t there a better method? What is the role of computers in the classroom? Can’t learning be fun and interactive? Where are all of the new ideas for teachers and teaching? This is where justice starts. This is where opportunity starts.
When I close my eyes, I dream of a country where my grandson and your grandchild can go to a public or private school anywhere in the country and still get a solid education. I dream of a country where we are not all slaves to big corporations. I dream of a country where we all have equal access to affordable, efficient and cost-effective healthcare. Finally, I dream of a country that has figured out that we have great because of our compassion and love for humanity and not because of our military might. These are my dreams as a progressive. What are yours?

The LiberalOasis Radio Show: Vote Coakley Edition

The LiberalOasis Radio Show was broadcast Saturday at 12 noon on WHMP in Western MA. (And will be re-broadcast at 8 PM on Tuesday.) Leading off the show is my breakdown why a Martha Coakley victory is essential for the success of the Obama presidency. Also on the show, “The Optimist” Tom Pappalardo gets cranky and Diane Bilyak on the perils of writing.
You can download the podcast at these links: (iTunes / XML feed / MP3).

The Week In Blog: Mass. Hysteria Edition

The latest edition of The Week In Blog is up at Bloggingheads.tv featuring Matt Lewis and myself discussing blog reaction to the Massachusetts Senate special election, the brewing New York Senate Dem primary and the Haiti earthquake response. Watch it below.
http://static.bloggingheads.tv/maulik/offsite/offsite_flvplayer.swf

The LiberalOasis Radio Show: Lentil Soup Edition

The LiberalOasis Radio Show was broadcast Saturday at 12 noon on WHMP in Western MA. (And will be re-broadcast at 8 PM on Tuesday.) This week featured Jennifer Nix on the need to accept what is politically possible on health care, Sarah Buttenwieser on how a community can come together when faced with tragedy and terror, “Momtroversies” essayist Traci Olsen on how parents should not act like their parents and learn to love “Twilight” and Tina McElmoyl on how our relationship with food shifted in 2009.
For those interested in Tina’s lentil soup recipe, here it is:

1/8 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion finely chopped
2 cups of dried lentils
2 cloves of garlic chopped and crushed
1 cup whole, peeled tomatoes (preferrably those tomatoes you canned last summer at the peak of their tastiness)
1 cup of tomato juice
6 cups of your favorite vegetable stock

Dump it all in a pot and, after it comes to a boil, simmer it , partially covered for 45 minutes. Before serving, I like to mash about 1/2 of the lentils with a potato masher, for texture.

You can download the podcast at these links: (iTunes / XML feed / MP3).

Profiling with Courage

By Anne L. Thompson
In the wake of the failed terrorist attack aboard Northwest Airlines flight 253 on Christmas day, conservatives are once again calling on the U.S. government to engage profiling in counterterrorism efforts.
Radio host Mike Gallagher told listeners, ‘There should be a separate line to scrutinize anybody with the name Abdul or Ahmed or Mohammed.’ On Twitter and The Today Show, Newt Gingrich and Rep. Peter King (R-NY) have suggested that U.S. authorities should target individuals based on their ethnic and religious backgrounds.
These ideas suffer from terrible tunnel vision that fails to correctly isolate the terrorist threat.
Gallager’s approach would let terrorists named Osama, Khalid, or Nidal slide by without increased inspection. And profiling on ethnicity or religion would have missed shoe-bomber Richard Reid, an American, and the alleged Anthrax killer Edward Ivins, a catholic. The recommendations of Gallager, Gingrich and King are clearly too close-minded and fail to appreciate the full scope of the threat facing America.
Re-examining the facts, what is the one characteristic that distinguishes the aforementioned terrorists, plus all of the September 11th hijackers and the 775 individuals who have been detained at Guantanamo Bay?
The answer: They are all men. It’s not race, ethnicity, nor creed that is the best predictor of whether you will commit violent acts against innocent civilians. No, the best proxy is genitalia.
If there is any group that has earned increased scrutiny in the age of terrorism, it is the male population.
So what can we do to prevent the world’s men from blowing up things?
As the recent case of Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab demonstrates, putting them all on the America’s basic terrorist watch list– the intelligence community’s first level of surveillance– does not offer enough protection. Yet placing 3.4 billion men on the No Fly List would be a preposterously extreme response. Instead, we are looking for an effective — but moderated — response that will both protect the American people and live up to our democratic principles.
An appropriate middle ground would require all men to be strip-searched before any domestic flight or international flight destined for the U.S. While full body scanners have received a lot of attention for being able to reveal explosives hidden under clothes, these devices cannot detect devices stowed within critical body orifices.
Now, I know you’re thinking this is a great idea– except for one thing. Just because men have carried out the vast majority of the history of terrorist acts, this doesn’t mean women can’t embark on global jihad.
It is true that last month the wife of bin-Laden’s top deputy Ayman Zawahri called on women to join al-Qaeda’s ranks. But from what we’ve seen in the past, we can’t expect them to be as skilled at warfare as men. Remember the woman affiliated with al-Qaeda in Iraq who couldn’t even get her explosives to go off at the hotel bombing in Jordan? This is not a group we have to take too seriously.
As Gingrich wrote in his recent op-ed in Human Events, if we want to address the threat of terrorism, we will have to stop being constrained by political correctness. We must target the population that is the source of the problem instead of creating a new slew of flight regulations that disproportionately affect everyday people. If we are going to win the war on terror, we must refocus our resources on the single group that provides the greatest threat: men.

The LiberalOasis Radio Show: Pop Culture Decade in Review

The LiberalOasis Radio Show was broadcast Saturday at 12 noon on WHMP in Western MA. (And will be re-broadcast at 8 PM on Tuesday.) This week we bring together our Culture Roundtable of Traci Olsen, Tom Pappalardo and Jaz Tupelo to review the decade in pop culture.
You can download the podcast at these links: (iTunes / XML feed / MP3).