While Blogger blocks spam on blogs, it does not stop spam comments from coming into my EMAIL INBOX. These spam emails have increased at a rate I can no longer handle - some 50 this morning.

They are, I'm sure, part of some VAST RIGHT-WING CONSPIRACY.  :-)

I have disabled comments temporarily on DemWit and permanently on my archived blog, "I See My Dreams," in hopes of stopping this nonsense.

Do these twits really think I would want to buy anything they have to sell?

When a new DemWit post is published, I will engage commment capability again.

Thanks! BJ


Tough time in The Big Easy

Way down yonder in New Orleans, Southern governors Haley Barbour and Bobby Jindal pleaded for focus and sanity without taking into consideration they were addressing what Jonathan Swift called “a confederacy of dunces.”

That Swift quote, in my opinion, sums up the three-day gathering of the GOP leadershipt this week in the Crescent City:

"When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him."

Despite the governors’ advice, the gathering turned into an Obama-bashing free-for-all. And strangely ended with Texas Republican and libertarian Congressman Ron Paul continuing his straw poll winning streak as the Party’s primary hopeful for 2012.

DemWit offers the following ARTICLE because it’s just chock-full of evidence that the GOP is like a fish out of water in its frantic efforts to retake the White House:

GOP tensions on display at Republican Leadership Conference

By Peter Hamby, CNN Political Reporter
June 18, 2011 10:05 p.m. EDT

New Orleans (CNN) -- Conservative after conservative took the stage and railed against President Barack Obama at this week's Republican Leadership Conference, a three-day gathering of presidential candidates, party activists and political operatives in New Orleans.

But their sharp attacks were interrupted by stern warnings from party leaders to remain focused on winning in November 2012 instead of becoming preoccupied with ideology, litmus tests or silly distractions.

The starkest admonition came from Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a respected party elder and political tactician, who told the conference that "purity is a loser" in politics.

He urged Republican voters to concentrate on a pocketbook-oriented economic message, and to pick a candidate who offers "plain-spoken, common-sense solutions" instead of an ideology-driven agenda.

"We are not going to have a perfect candidate," Barbour said. "There has only been one perfect person that has ever walked on this Earth, and there's not going to be one who runs for president in 2012."

Barbour's pragmatic message was well received by the roughly 2,000 delegates who came to New Orleans for the conference, which was organized by the Louisiana Republican Party.

But in the end, it was wave after wave of pointed attacks -- the very rhetoric that Barbour cautioned against -- that earned the rowdiest applause at the conference.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich labeled Obama a "national secular European socialist."

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota gave the president a "big F on his economic report card" and claimed, without corroboration, that Obama wants to bankrupt Medicare in order to force seniors to enroll in his new national health care program.

And just 24 hours after Barbour's speech, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Republicans should never back down from their core principles in order to score points with the electorate.

"Our party cannot be all things to all people," thundered Perry, who has emerged in recent weeks as another potential presidential candidate. "It can't be. Our loudest opponents on the left are never going to like us, so let's stop trying to curry favor with them."

Conference organizers also invited an Obama impersonator, Reggie Brown, who delivered a comedy routine peppered with jokes about President Obama's birth certificate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's Mormon faith.

The appearance drew applause and raucous laughter but was hardly in keeping with Barbour's plea to stay focused on defeating Obama rather than being distracted by political sideshows.

Organizers eventually grew uncomfortable with the off-color humor and pulled the comedian off the stage.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who may run for president himself in 2016, echoed his neighboring governor and reminded Republicans that winning back the White House is the ultimate prize.

He said conservatives should not stoop to the level of liberals who savaged George W. Bush during the previous administration.

"We must not mimic their shallow approach," Jindal warned.

"Hating President Obama is foolish, but defeating President Obama is absolutely crucial," he said.

If the results of a presidential straw poll conducted at the conference were any indication, Republicans may be ready to put aside some elements of party dogma this primary season.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul, a hero to libertarians, won the 2012 straw poll in dominating fashion.

But it was former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman's surprising second-place finish that attracted the most attention.

Huntsman did not attend the conference, but his strong showing was surprising given his moderate stances on climate change and same-sex civil unions, positions that put him at odds with conservative activists who hold major sway in the key early caucus and primary states.

Even Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, told CNN "there's a good possibility" he could support any of the current crop of Republican candidates in a general election against Obama.

"Most of them are pretty good," Perkins said.

Perkins said he agrees with Barbour's anti-purity approach, but only to a point.

"If you've got the core principles, where you are strong on national security, if you understand the idea of economic freedom as well as traditional values, but then within those parameters there are degrees of difference of opinions, yeah, that's OK," he said.

But, he added, "If you are saying we are going to take a third of these issues, and we are not going to deal with them, then that ain't going to work."


Gingrich's 'Obama depression'

Never a TV around when you need one. I have saved the CNN transcript of last night's GOP presidential debate in New Hampshire and will try to read it along. In the opening segments, the participating candidates briefly introduced themselves, mentioning their accomplishments and family members.

Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the U.S. House, stuck to that old GOP stand-by, “If you can’t say something good about yourself, say something bad about Obama.”

“I'm Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House. And when 14 million Americans are out of work, we need a new president to end the Obama depression.”

Obama depression?

Mr. Gingrich, if you would take a little time to focus on your campaign, you can easily Google "comparing economy in Republican and Democratic administrations." You will find all sorts of data and graphs showing this economic mess began in Dubya's administration.

And, that's pretty much been the case with every Republican administration since FDR.

With only a few clicks, sir, you can find out under which party’s administrations paychecks grew. You can even find out how much you would have today if you had invested $10,000 under one administration or the other.

I've gotta tell you I am amused by one Web site's claim that statistical proof is "unfair to Republicans, because most wars are started under Republican administrations, and wars cost money." Yep, and the tab is still running on two of them.

You simply cannot dispute the facts. Of course, you have to examine them first.

Here’s a start:

The Washington Monthly: “There’s just no way around it, Democratic administrations are better for the economy than Republican administrations.” LINK

The Idea Blog, The New York Times: “The Census Bureau has tracked the economic fortunes of affluent, middle-class and poor American families for six decades. According to my analysis, these tabulations reveal a wide partisan disparity in income growth. The real incomes of middle-class families grew more than twice as fast under Democratic presidents as they did under Republican presidents. Even more remarkable, the real incomes of working-poor families (at the 20th percentile of the income distribution) grew six times as fast when Democrats held the White House.” LINK


Something you don't want

Never one to talk about ailments, always one to count the blessing of good health, I have been reluctant to explain my recent inattentiveness to DemWit.

(Yes, I often mention my vision problem, because it’s something I live with and something which often requires explaining.)

Over the last few weeks I’ve dealt with a physical problem which my son assures me should not be considered “an old folks’ condition” – the pain of pleurisy. (One of his college buddies, he recalled, likened it to "being kicked by a horse.")

Before being diagnosed with pleurisy I always grouped it with terms like lumbago and bursitis and thought it was the result of a bad chest cold. I haven’t had a cold in 20 years. So, here’s what I've learned about this condition:

“Pleurisy is an inflammation of the pleura, which is the moist, double-layered membrane that surrounds the lungs and lines the rib cage. The condition can make breathing extremely painful. The double-layered pleura protects and lubricates the surface of the lungs as they inflate and deflate within the rib cage. Normally, a thin, fluid-filled gap - the pleural space - allows the two layers of the pleural membrane to slide gently past each other. But when these layers become inflamed, their roughened surfaces rub painfully together like two pieces of sandpaper.”

Or maybe something like two plates of the Earth’s crust rubbing together in the “Ring of Fire.”

"Pleurisy can be caused by viral infections, any number of serious diseases, drug reactions, chest injury or simply movement and causes stabbing pain in the rib casge area." (Source of quotes: WebMd.com)

In my case, the pain is exacerbated by sitting for any length of time in my fancy ergonomics computer chair.

I have a friend who lives with chronic pain every day of her life, yet maintains a cheerful and loving nature. I, on the other hand, cry over a stumped toe.

The doc says it could take six more weeks of anti-inflammatory drugs. For someone who hasn’t been “on medication,” this is a bitter pill to swallow. Oh, there’s also a bottle of pain pills, but I’ve tried to tough it out and have only reached for it twice. Narcotic is a scary word.

Other than the pain, I feel great! No kidding. Temperature: normal. Blood pressure: normal. Chest X-ray shows lungs clear.

Let me sign off for a while before you start yelling “TMI” (“too much information” for the acronym challenged). In short, pleurisy is something you don’t want.