Hal Brown

Obama’s school speech: What the president can learn from me

(Columnist’s caution This contains unabashed self-promotion. HB) President Obama might have thought an innocuous back-to-school speech aimed at school children wouldn’t cause a furor among his enemies. Florida Republican Party chairman said "as the father of four children, I am absolutely appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama’s socialist ideology.” 

Obama has moved into the old George W. Bush bubble if he was surprised by this. His experience with virtually everything else he’s done has led to a hue and cry of outrage and insults from those who would attack him for wearing mismatched socks. I’m quite used to this because I have become a lightening rod for vitriolic rude and sometimes crude online attacks in my hometown.

Reconciliation, an odd name for using the nuclear option on the Republican Party

Reconciliation is a rarely used parliamentary procedure which can be used in the Senate to pass health care reform with a simple majority. This is being called "the nuclear option" and supposedly is a declaration of war against the Republican Party. That is ridiculous. The Republican Party has already declared war against the Democrats. This is self defense.

On Kennedy passing: sadness will be the view from my beach today

Updated with photo. We can see Cape Cod from the beach we go to on the mainland. Yesterday our sky was clear bright blue while over Cape Cod there were beautiful talk white puffy clouds. I noticed they weren’t moving in the still air. They were the kinds of clouds you often see faces in. Cape Cod is where many old timers tell stories about "the Kennedy" boys, Jack, Robert and Teddy out and about. (The oldest, Joe Jr., was killed In World War II so few alive now remember him.) Ted went on to carry the torch for his fallen older brothers. Now he is gone. We’ll be at the beach today. We’ll watch the sky over The Cape. It will look different.
Update – photo added

Teddy Kennedy playing politics

Like almost every Democrat in Massachusetts I admire Senator Kennedy. However that doesn’t alter the fact that he’s trying to play the same old partisan politics Democrats scream bloody murder over when played by Republicans. 
When Senator Kerry was running for president and we had a Republican, Mitt Romney, as governor, our Democratic Party controlled legislature passed a law requiring a special election to replace senators who died or left office before the end of their terms. 

Was the nonprofit cooperative health plan Obama’s exit strategy all along?

Bush allowed us to invade Iraq without an exit strategy. Could Obama have been just as reckless in proposing a public option health plan to compete with private insurance? A really savvy politician would have known this could have been shot down by the right wing all along and would have had the cooperative plan as an "exit strategy".

From the grassroots to poor Americans: Don’t mess with my lawn

In the battle over health care reform one thing has been made clear. A majority of Americans don’t want to pay for a public option that will assure quality health care for those who don’t have a nice lawn, let alone any lawn at all. Liberal leaning Democrats want to assure that we stitch together one of the largest holes in our social safety net for our least fortunate citizens. Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats seem to believe that if you slip through the health care hole it’s because you’re too lazy to get a job with insurance or perhaps because you’ve offended God.

Washington, District of Contrasts (A photo essay)

My wife and I took a four day trip to Washington where I was struck by how it was truly a city of stark contrasts. Not that there are more homeless people than other cities its size, but seeing them encamped on benches in a little grove of trees near the Washington Monument or in front of Union Station seemed to me to shout out "for shame".
(Featured: M4 carbine totting Capitol Police Officer R. Doyo (or Doto) giving me the finger and a photo of one famous person)

The Henry Gates arrest: A different perspective

 I was an auxiliary police officer for 20 years, 11 in Michigan where a wise chief told us never, under any circumstances, were we to arrest someone for disorderly conduct. He said that if we couldn’t find a more serious charge it was up to us to calm the person down. Otherwise he told us that using this charge was just an easy way to end a situation with a disruptive citizen without using the skill we were supposed to have to de-escalate.

Liz Cheney or Sarah Palin: Deft vs. ditzy for president

I don’t agree with her. I find her defense of her father exasperating not because it’s convoluted but because it makes a certain kind of sense. As a psychotherapist the word "Oedipal" keeps coming to mind.  She’s a very smart, highly educated, physically attractive, politically conservative woman who held her own with Mika Brzezinski and Eugene Robinson on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe" today.