The Ostroy Report

The Ostroy Report is a fresh, aggressive voice for Democrats and a watchdog of the GOP/Tea Party. We support President Obama and the Democratic agenda and seek to preserve the Senate majority while taking back the House. But we're also not afraid to criticize the left when necessary.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Obama/Democrats: Stop Kissing Republicans' Asses and Just Pass the Dang Health Care Bill Already!


For an incredible, unprecedented six hours Thursday President Obama presided over a much ballyhooed health-care forum with Republican rivals who have as much intention of helping him pass his reform bill as I have of slicing off my own lips with a box-cutter. So why the effort then? Because for some apparently deeply-psychologically-rooted reason, Obama and the Democrats are on an embarrassing, futile quest for bi-partisanship that's starting to make them look about as emotionally needy as an insecure 5-year-old relentlessly seeking parental adulation and approval. But with Republicans, it's never going to come. Ever. Period. The only thing they are going to help him do is fail. So to the president and Democratic leaders I have three words: stop...kissing...ass. Just drop the nuclear option--reconciliation--on 'em and get this damned health-care bill passed already. Enough's enough.

Reconciliation is a parliamentary tactic which in essence allows the majority party to pass certain legislation--that which impacts the federal budget--with just 51 Senate votes instead of the filibuster-proof 60. With Democrats in control and threatening to use this weapon to ultimately pass reform, Republicans are outraged and crying foul. Yet 16 of the 22 bills passed this way since its adoption in 1974 came under Republican majorities, including former President Bush's tax cuts. Reconciliation is so popular among Republicans that New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg said in 2005, "Is there something wrong with 'majority rules'? I don't think so." He was referring to his support of the GOP using reconciliation to pass legislation allowing drilling in Alaska's Arctic Wildlife Refuge.

But Sen. Gregg now sings a different tune over health-care reform: "The purpose of the Senate on something this complex and this comprehensive is to be a place where you have debate and you have amendments. And if you have a decent bill you shouldn’t fear them." Sorry pal, can't have it both ways. If reconciliation was acceptable under Republican majorities, then so shall it be under Harry Reid's Democratic Senate. Can you say, colossal hypocrite?

Obama needs to stop pussyfooting around with The Party of No. He needs to stop seeking the Republicans' approval on everything he campaigned on and believes in. He needs to stop wasting precious time trying to convince the unconvincable that they should partner with him on his historic health-care legislation. He needs to grow some balls, quite frankly, and just get the job done, one way or another.


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

Monday, February 08, 2010

The Wasilla Wonder Wows Tea Baggers with Lies and Deception



Oh what a night! It was everything a bunch of grass-roots revolutionaries looking for a better (or is it tax-free?) America could have hoped for. Intense excitement filled the air as "The Future," former Alaska blink-of-an-eye Governor Sarah Palin, took center-stage at the cultish Tea Bag Party Convention in Nashville Saturday (haven't these poor people yet realized they've named themselves after a nadsack on the chin?).

There was absolute joy among Palin's ever-shrinking far-right-wing base when she bragged "0-for-3," referring to the three key Republican victories in recent months in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts. "How's that hope-y, change-y stuff workin' out for you?," she obnoxiously asked in that painfully annoying fake-cutesy voice.

Now I'm no math whiz, but I do know that "0" means zero. And that would mean that Democrats have not won any key special elections this past year. But wait...didn't Bill Owens defeat Republican Doug Hoffman in New York's 23rd Congressional district, where a Democrat hadn't won that House seat in 140 years? Or how about Scott Murphy's upset victory over Republican Jim Tedisco in New York's solidly GOP 20th District? How about California Democratic Lt. Gov. John Garamendi's defeat of Republican David Harmer in California's 10th Congressional District? Or Kirsten Running-Marquardt's landslide win over Republican rival Josh Thurson? Or Democrat Terry Mills' special election victory in Kentucky's 24th State House district, where Republicans had held court since 2003? We could keep counting, but already that flips Palin's tally to 5-3 for Democrats. Seems like the moose-shootin' Wasilla Wonder with the irritating accent has as big a problem with math as she does geography, current events and grammar.

But math seems to be a huge problem for other prominent Republicans as well, as demonstrated by Rudy Giuliani's bold declaration following the recent underwear-bomber terror attempt that "We had no domestic attacks under Bush; we've had one under Obama." The only problem with this score is that it leaves out the biggest fucking terror attack in the history of mankind, which occurred nine months into George W. Bush's presidency. But what's 3000 dead Americans when you're puking up propaganda, right?



During her 45-minute blabberfest, Palin blasted President Obama for being weak on terror, shouting "We need a Commander in Chief, not a professor of law," to her 1100 ravenous groupies. Perhaps she's forgetting that Obama's ordered 40 drone missile attacks into Pakistan since taking office, more than Bush fired in the last three years of his presidency. Or that Obama recently ordered an additional 30,000 troops into Afghanistan. Sounds pretty Commander-in-Chief-y to me.

And here's one for the hypocrisy file: In talking about the Tea Bag movement's leadership needs, Palin took a cheap shot at Obama's presentation skills: "This is about the people. It's a lot bigger than any charismatic guy with a teleprompter." This coming from an airhead who literally wrote crib notes to herself on her hand.

"Run, Sarah, run," chanted the kool-aid drunken crowd, as Ms. Golly Gee made her exit at the Nadsack convention. And maybe they'll get their wish, as the very next morning Fox News aired a taped interview from Saturday where Palin hinted she'd run for president in 2012.

I'm sorry, but Sarah Palin is a moron and, quite frankly, anyone who would vote for her for president is an even bigger moron. Which is why, as Hardball's Chris Matthews often demonstrates when putting leading Republicans on the hotseat, none of them are willing to say publicly that she's qualified to be president.

The truth is, Palin can read all the prepared speeches and palms she wants in an effort to make her look presidential, but I'd bet $10,000 that if she spent another 5 minutes with Katie Couric she'd once again reveal her true dimwitted self.


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

"New York and Cali and Jersey, Oh My!" Punch-Drunk Republicans Predict a Revolution in November


In the wake of Scott Brown's surprise victory in the Massachusetts special election for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, Republicans have been whipping themselves into an orgasmic frenzy over their prospects for a sweeping victory in the November midterms.

Whether it's GOP head Michael Steele, Washington pols, pundits or right wing media spinheads, conservatives have been giddily regurgitating ad nauseum about how the "country is undergoing a massive shift to the right," as radio host Sean Hannity disingenuously boasts. On his program Friday, Hannity and his smarmy guest Dick Morris were about as high as a couple of glue-sniffing teens as they predicted Senate victories practically everywhere in the country. "In California and New York even," Hannity gushed with delusion. "And the prospects in the House are even better," Morris assessed, adding a layer of icing to Hannity's fantasycake, predicting a possible 50 seat pickup there. And the Easter Bunny's coming too.

Unfortunately for these two crafty soothsayers, as well as Steele, Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the blood-smelling lot, there's eight months between now and the election. And eight months in politics is an eternity. By November it is more than likely we'll have seen several straight months of job creation; appreciable growth in the manufacturing sector; another two quarters of GDP growth; a precipitous drop in the unemployment rate; much higher consumer confidence and spending; a significant improvement in the right track/wrong track numbers; continued growth in the housing, financial and retail sectors; increased credit availability; and another year of appreciable stock market gains. So the GOP's chances of taking back the House and Senate, as Hannity and Morris arrogantly predict, will be about as likely as Steele getting re-elected. It's more likely, given Republicans' low Congressional approval ratings and how polls show that Americans view them as the Party of No, that Democrats will gain even more control in both houses.

To be sure, Hannity & Co know damned well that this is the case, which is why they must continue to lie and deceive their listeners. Case in point: a caller to Hannity Friday ignorantly declared that "we are still in a recession, and manufacturing continues to lose jobs." But did Hannity correct her by pointing to the two most recent quarters of GDP growth as well as the January jobs report showing 11,000 manufacturing jobs added (the first monthly increase since November '07)? Fat chance. He just shrieked, "Of course it is!" and continued to bash President Obama and Democrats as if the economy was stuck in reverse, and not experiencing a steady and solid recovery.

The simple truth is, Hannity and other shameless propagandists can spin like tarantulas all they want, but come November if more Americans are working and feeling good about the economy, Republicans will still be outside the Beltway looking in, right where they belong.

As an aside, how ironic is it that Hannity, who's railed on for years now about the "radical" Barack Obama and his "radical associations", has as one of his most frequent guests the scandal-plagued $200-an-hour-prostitute-payin'-toes-suckin'-philanderin' Morris? That sure sounds like a pretty radical guy to me, and one who the self-righteous, sanctimonious, hypocritical Hannity ought not to be "associatin'" with. I guess it's just more of that good 'ole Republican "do as I say not as I do."


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Black NBC Cook's Menu is Racist, Implies Black Drummer QuestLove. And I Thought White People Were Crazy


Poor Leslie Calhoun, chef at NBC's 30 Rock headquarters. The black foodie thought she was paying homage to her race by hanging a sign up that read: "In Honor of Black History Month," followed by a yummy menu of fried chicken, collard Greens w/smoked turkey, white rice w/black eyed peas, and jalapeno cornbread. Seems pretty innocent and festive, right? Well, not according to musician Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, the 70's-era-afro'd drummer for the band The Roots and the Jimmy Fallon show, who apparently equates fried chicken with the "N" word.

According to Calhoun, Questlove ordered up some of that finger-lickin' good chicken, a little neckbone mixed with some black eyed peas (perhaps Fergie should be the one pissed off?) and then, incredulous, stepped off the line to post a picture of the controversial menu to his 1.2 million Twitter followers...causing a stir both in cyberspace and in NBC-commissaryspace.

Personally, I'm not sure what the fuss was/is about. Would Jews claim anti-Semitism if there was a sign honoring Jewish History Month with a menu of brisket, latkes and chicken soup? Would Hispanics think it racist to honor Hispanic History Month with paella, refried beans and guacamole? I mean, is this really something Questlove or anyone else should be wasting time on? Has America become so sensitive and politically correct that a black cook cannot feature an ethnic menu and celebrate her people without being hit with the racist label....and by a self-righteous, rabble-rousing, self-soul-food-Loathing twittering black man, no less? Well, NBC executives decided to remove the allegedly racist menu sign, so judge for yourselves.

Perhaps Questlove should stick to playing drums and leave the social commentary to folks like Jon Stewart and Prof. Cornell West.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Toyota's Gift to Detroit


As if Toyota's recent recall of 9-million cars worldwide due to an accelerator defect wasn't enough of a disaster for the company, the Japanese automaker announced Thursday that it was now also investigating its hybrid-electric model, Prius, for breaking problems. The Prius is also the subject of a U.S. investigation.

The Prius is Toyota's wildly popular "green car," which has been a huge hit with environmentalists and eco-friendly Americans. 1.2 million have been sold worldwide since 1997, about half in the United States. The company said the new Priuses experienced “a slight unresponsiveness” of the brakes, a glitch caused by car's unique dual-braking system which can result in difficult transitioning between the two.

Toyota overall has always earned among the highest safety and maintenance ratings, becoming the engineering, productivity and financial envy of the troubled Detroit-based American auto industry. So to be recalling 9-million cars for faulty gas pedals, and drawing the Prius into the automaker's woes over braking problems, is indeed a crisis of epic proportions. Toyota's once-stellar reputation is at stake, and for the first time it's become incredibly vulnerable to the competition.

Adding to the company's troubles, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood urged owners of recalled Toyotas to stop driving their cars immediately, but when pressed by reporters he claimed his statement was misinterpreted.

To be sure, Toyota's crisis is the biggest gift to American automakers since the government's bailout almost eighteen months ago. If Detroit is smart, we'll be hearing a lot of "Buy American" very soon. And, the industry must pounce on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to kick a hybrid when it's down, and use this rare window to accelerate production and marketing on its own hybrid vehicles and grab some much-needed market-share. Maybe even take the lead someday in the green-car space. But does Detroit have the savvy, resources and resolve to fully capitalize on this unprecedented gift? Only time will tell.


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.