This will probably be the least substantive thing I ever post in this blog.
The following was the front page of Huffingtonpost.com for a good chunk of the afternoon…
I get it.
No no, really. I get it.
June 9th, 2010. Major events impacting America that day were led by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill – in its 49th day by that point. Dark clouds were looming over policy for the 2nd half of the year as more economic indicators have begun to turn negative, hinting at the chance that America could slip back into recession. Bankstas are still roaming the highest perches of American business society, and are still making more in an hour than many make in a year. With a full and chaotic plate served up, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) stepped up and got right on down to the business of the country.
Mr. President, as a little sidenote, because we have 5 months to campaign all over the country, including Nevada, I want to take a pause and think about some of the things going on in the country.
What was Mr. Reid about to unload upon the Senate? What matter of importance was he about to lead off with? Issues are happening left, right, and center – not to mention it’s a good time to look good with an election campaign looming for this year. Now is the time to be serious, be concise, and do some good.
One of the things going on in the Nation’s Capital is tremendously interesting to me…
Things going on in the nation’s capital? Well there’s been protests here and there – people protesting against BP, tea partiers protesting against the existence of government, the few anti-war people that still hang around in front of the White House, and so on. Maybe he’s referring to one of those…
One of the things going on in the Nation’s Capital is tremendously interesting to me, and that is baseball.
Be warned, rolling of eyes is about to occur.
You’ve got to hand it to the Tea Party people – they know how to get organized and get things done when it comes to trying to put their people in places for getting elected. It’s a smaller version of the ground game that Howard Dean had the DNC run before Obama’s ’08 election, matched with the cherry-picking-primaries-that-can-be-won talents of the people behind movements like Ron Paul for President.
With each fresh effort to push one of their ideology out into the light, in hopes of getting elected to offices, the effort is challenged by reality – the way things are and the way things need to be. Ideology that is so single minded and touts one means to one end can only fly into so many walls before it is left for dead. The fact that a campaign for someone like Ron Paul couldn’t really ever get off the ground – aside from convincing libertarians to empty their wallets for him before the real ’08 campaign began – I hoped would be the end of this new lust with libertarianism without acceptance of what it actually means. Turns out, thanks to the influence of some Tea Party enthusiasm, we’re going to have this mindset to kick around for quite a bit longer.
This all, of course, leads us to the recent primary victory by the now official Republican nominee for Senate this fall – Rand Paul, son of Ron Paul, and one of the new darlings of the Tea Party movement.
TheDailyBeast brings us an interesting set of poll data from Harris, giving us an interesting insight into the mind of the average member of the opposition to the Obama administration. Actually it would be interesting if its implications were not downright frightening. The tale of the tape:
|Number who think…|
|Category||all of Americans||Republicans|
|…Obama is a socialist||40%||67%|
|…Obama is a Muslim||32%||57%|
|…Obama is not an American
|…Obama is “doing many of the
same things Hitler did”
|…Obama “may be the Antichrist”||14%||24%|
If only this poll was a one-off outlier.
On January 12th of this year, a 7.0 earthquake all but destroyed the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, killing an estimated 230,000 people and left an additional million homeless. Aid from around the world was announced and has since begun to pour into the devastated island nation. Amongst all the aid pledged was a promise of some $379 million from the United States. As has occurred in response to countless disasters in the past, the United States has offered to put its immense resources and wealth to work for those who are less fortunate because in the end (in addition to any medium or long term political goals it may also accomplish) it is the right thing to do.
A little more than six weeks later, an 8.8 earthquake struck the Pacific Rim nation of Chile. Being centered further under ground, much further away from a multi-million-populated urban center, and occurring in a country that actually had building codes, the death toll was much lower – perhaps under 500 people. As the first images from the quake region were being broadcast internationally, President Obama was once again front and center at the cameras, pledging that America would respond in whatever way it could, depending on the need. With the absence of a devastating death toll or a flattened capital city, as of the current writing the largest American commitment to the area has been the setting up of a field hospital in Angol, Chile.
Somewhere between the initial impact of the Haitian earthquake and the Chilean quake (as whatever ‘it’ is, ‘it’ was in full swing by then) a curious attitude toward aid to disaster-effected regions began to rise, almost a Oh no, we have to spend more money now to help out poor people? from certain segments of American society. Ironically enough, the segments that it arose from were that of the conservative wings of America, and they had once again formulated and came up with arguments that would defy logic and boggle the mind because, in the event anyone had yet to figure this out by now, everything – every last little thing in the world – is a fair-game political football. Even helping out your fellow human.
“My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed,” Bauer said, according to the Greenville News. “You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better.”
This impressive early entry for “Worst Political Quote of 2010″ comes from South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer. The gem was uttered at a town hall meeting addressing subsidized school lunches for the children of poorer families. Mr. Bauer started out by suggesting that parents of the students who need the help should attend parent-teacher conferences, or else their children should go without food. How grade reviews equate to the permission to be able to eat food or not is another argument for another day that shouldn’t come, but after taking that walk down the intellectual plank he followed it up with a flourish, comparing government assistance programs to “feeding stray animals”, resulting in the quote that you see above.
Bauer, who is involved in a campaign for governor by the by, found himself on the defensive over the remarks.
School begins today for a vast majority of students in this country. The President has decided to mark this occasion by releasing a speech with some words of encouragement to the nation’s children, along the lines of stay in school and try hard. This, of course, portends an impending socialist indoctrination of the country’s students to obey the President. No, really:
But this speech has roused controversy among some conservatives, who have said he is trying to indoctrinate their children with a “socialist” political agenda. Some parents have said they would keep their children home from school rather than allow them to watch the president. The controversy, stoked by conservative talk-radio hosts and some politicians, took White House officials by surprise, and marked a new low in the deteriorating relationship between Mr. Obama and a right wing he had pledged to work with in a postpartisan presidency.
I feel deeply sorry for any children out there who are being raised in such an upbringing where the political beliefs of their parents are forcibly projected onto them in the form of keeping them out of school. I’m sure the kids don’t mind. I know if I was dreading going back to grade school I’d take any excuse my parents would offer up to extend summer vacation just one more day. Of course, that’s why kids don’t get to decide these sorts of things and that’s why they have to go to school – it’s a part of the whole learning process. If only the parents had been raised the same way.
I could see the cause for anger if the speech was, say, some sort of campaign speech designed to… make children influence the votes of their parents? Well anyway, I could see the cause for anger if there was anything to be really angry about – but the whole thing is basically a positive stay in school type of message:
“I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education — and to do everything you can to meet them,” Mr. Obama will say in a televised speech from a Virginia high school, according to a transcript released Monday by the White House.
“At the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents and the best schools in the world — and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools, pay attention to those teachers, listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults and put in the hard work it takes to succeed,” he will say.
With the talking about individual responsibility and the need to instill a core ethic of hard work, you would think that conservatives of all people would love this speech. Somehow a request to try harder in school and to live up to one’s potential turns into some sort of socialist suggestion that everyone must unite under the banner of Obama… or something along those lines.
The truth is, of course, that the meme on the right is one of “call everything Obama does socialist – no exceptions”. Lord help this guy if there’s a picture of him taken eating French toast, that’s all I have to say. It’s the same sort of anger that has simmered throughout the man’s presidency from the birth certificate to health care to death panels and now here… to a stay-in-school speech.
You know you might have gone a bit too far if Laura Bush of all people feels like she has to chime in to support the current President:
Former first lady Laura Bush on Monday expressed support for President Barack Obama’s decision to speak to the nation’s school children, saying it is “really important for everyone to respect the president of the United States.”In an interview with CNN, Mrs. Bush, a former school teacher, said, “There’s a place for the president of the United States to talk to school children and encourage school children” to stay in school. And she said parents and others also need to send that message.
For anyone who would like to read the whole of what will be spoken today, word for word, I invite you to check the already released transcript. For the socialist-hunters out there, I dare any of you to find any sort of indoctrination hints at all in that speech. I suppose Obama is trying to indoctrinate people into being productive members of the future society, but other than that – find me something that is actually wrong.
It’s another facepalm moment, another in a lengthy series that we seem to be having these days. I suppose we all missed the part where the hopes of “post-partisanship” wound up translating to “we’re just not going to talk to you”. I guarantee that even though the text of the speech was released the day before it is to be given, some parents will think they are fair and just when they keep their kids out of school to avoid the president and his suggestions – all because the shouting man on the television or the radio told them to do so.
For the children who are old enough to realize what is going on, I am hoping that they can see through it. For those who are not, I hope they aren’t raised to be the ignorant-class of the future.
In today’s edition: health care passage, why you shouldn’t use the company e-mail for bad things, and a very brave woman.
Conservative Democrats in the House, known as “Blue Dogs”, have graciously decided to stop holding up health care reform in the chamber and move the discussion along further toward a vote. They believe that they are doing the work of the people by putting off what the people – a vast majority of them – want: health care reform. They have managed to stall the actual vote until September, past Obama’s first deadline of early August. This was, for some reason, cause for celebration:
“We have successfully pushed a floor vote to September,” Mike Ross (D-Ark.) told reporters Wednesday afternoon. “The American people want us to slow down, and that’s what we’re doing here.”
The Blue Dogs wrestled some concessions out of Waxman (D-Calif.), particularly related to a public health care option and employer mandates. The committee’s current version of the public option now more closely resembles that of the health committee in the Senate.
There is a bit of weasel language in here, so allow me to parse. By “slow down” they mean “delay”, and by “delay” they mean “kill”. The ultimate thought process behind delaying the bill’s vote is to ultimately kill it, as will be put on vivid display in the month of August, with the Republican National Comittee planing to spend upwards of $1 million in advertising meant to turn public opinion against a national health care plan. In the event that doesn’t work, the “compromise” the Blue Dogs have struck make this entire process all but not worth it:
For instance, rather than linking the public option to the rates enjoyed by Medicare, the new language would require a separate agreement without Medicare’s bargaining power, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said.
In our hyper-capitalistic society, far too many members of Congress have reasoned – beyond logic – that taking care of the people of this country should some how be a for-profit industry. What they are trying to do right now will solidify that for decades to come.
Here’s something that can become a regular feature at this blog: Why you don’t use your company e-mail to send incredibly stupid e-mails!, with this month’s edition coming from the Boston Herald:
An officer in the Boston Police Department was suspended yesterday for allegedly writing a racially charged e-mail about Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. to colleagues at the National Guard, a law enforcement official said. …
The law enforcement official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Officer Justin Barrett referred to the black scholar as a ” jungle monkey” in the letter, written in reaction to media coverage of Gates’s arrest July 16.
E-mail at work is not, and never will be private. If you’re going to be an ignorant, bigoted, racist asshole, do it on your gmail account. (and just when you might think the fire from this story was starting to die down…)
Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein is a female journalist in the Sudan. This would be the same Sudan that still brings us the Darfur conflict, and is one of many countries where concepts like gender equality are a long, long way off from being widely implemented – mainly thanks to religion (in this case, Islam). Like any movement against a seemingly all powerful establishment though, there are people willing to stand up and willing to accept the harsh consequences:
A Sudanese court on Wednesday adjourned the case of a woman journalist facing 40 lashes for wearing “indecent” trousers, with 10 women already whipped for similar offences against Islamic law.The judge deferred the case to Tuesday after Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein, who works for the left-wing Al-Sahafa newspaper and for the media department of the United Nations Mission in Sudan, waived the immunity given to UN workers.
Religion: holding back progress since the dawn of time. Here’s the kicker, however…
She wore the same clothes to court as when she was arrested — moss-green slacks with a loose floral top and green headscarf.
She waved defiantly to crowds as she left the court.
One stand by one stand, in most cases, even the toughest regimes can crack with enough time.
Short followup to my most recent posting follows.
A progressive blogger (wish I had a link to his actual blog) decided to attend one of the awesomely-named Tea Bag parties where a small segment of middle and lower income workers protested the burden of tax being shifted off of them and onto the rich.
Entertainingly enough they didn’t see it that way, but this guy sure did. Enter the video:
Nothing quite works like a little bit of honesty.
In the event it seems like years since the 2008 election’s results have come to fruition, namely the transition of power to the newly elected government, a reminder is needed that it has been exactly all of 12 weeks (as of Tuesday). While that translates to a relatively short time, say a time measured in months as opposed to years, to hear the voices of the loyal opposition – or whomever is currently standing in for it – you would think we are in the 7th year of a terrible dictatorship that threatens the concept of the free world, and quite possibly even the removal of the word “freedom” from your very own copy of the dictionary – in all the newspeakin lore that such a thing would entail.
So how to fight back against the end of western civilization as we know it? By massive amounts of teabagging of course. No, really. Teabagging. What the world needs now is not love, sweet love but massive amounts of teabagging on all fronts, teabagging like there is no tomorrow because if the first twelve weeks of the Obama Administration haven’t destroyed the planet, then surely the next 180 weeks of it will! So get ready! Man your teabags, and get to teabagging in the name of freedom!
(of course there’s more.)
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