Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sometime Competency is more important than ideology


President Buchanan or President Perot might have promoted policies that protected American industry and manufacturing.
President Gore might have kept the top tax rate at 39%, appointed liberal justices, read the August 6 2001 President's Daily Briefing Memo, avoided war in Iraq and Afghanistan, or paid attention to the Hurricane Katrina Aug. 28, 2005 Video Conference.
President Paul might have avoided giving Wall Street and Big Banks exactly what they wanted with no obligations.
We'll never know.



Friday, January 28, 2011

Patriotism


While I was trolling a few right wing blogs, I noticed that most of the bloggers referred to themselves as "patriots." I think of the quote about patriotism being the last refuge of the scoundrel in some of these cases. Who was the patriot in Afghanistan in 1980-the soldier from a superpower fighting to keep the Afghan government in power, or the Islamic "freedom fighter" using terrorist tactics to repel the foreign infidels? Who are the patriots in Afghanistan now?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Good News for Outer Space

On the planet Selsisogt, the prophet Plogvt of the thick slime clan received divine revelations from the archangel Ysplfsk. Plogvt admonished the dominant slug species for their lack of charity towards their fellow mollusc races. After several generations, Plogvtianity had become accepted all over Selsisogt. Since all the mollusks of Selsisogt were hermaphrodites, laid eggs and could change sexual roles, there were no moral imperatives about adultery or honoring parents. The orbit of Selsisogt was considerably different than Earth's, so there was no special day belonging to the Lord. There were no commandments regarding false worship or taking the Lord's name in vain, since there were no other teachings or religious beliefs on Selsisogt. The sentient slugs of Selsisogt were simply commanded to not steal, lie, murder, or eat their neighbors. There were also some laws regarding mucous and the consumption of certain kinds of fungus, but they aren't comprehensible by humans. Missionaries from the Intergalactic Church of Christ contacted the Thick Slime Clan through holographic telepathy. The Church Council reviewed the chief tenants of Plogvtianity and were uncertain as to whether Plogvt had been a true prophet, or was a follower of Satan and presenting false teaching. The Intergalactic Church of Christ maintained that the only way to God was through Jesus Christ, and there was no record of anyone resembling Jesus or Mary in the holiest of archives on Selsisogt.

On the planet F'r'z, the dominant marine mammals sing songs of praise to the First Swimmer. They are peaceful creatures with no rivals or predators. They are long lived and reproduce seldomly. They live by the motto Do justice, love mercy, glide humbly with the Great Swimmer Beyond the Sky, but have no other religious doctrine. They marine mammals have no crime to speak of, and are widely considered to be the friendliest species in the known universe. The Church Council ruled that since man was made in God's image, it was obvious that "the Great Swimmer" was primitive nonsense. The swimmers of F'r'z would burn in Hell.

The Intergalactic Church of Christ had now reviewed over a dozen such rellgions belonging to all manner of creatures. It was tragic, but no other planet had sentient beings who knew Jesus. Perhaps it was the grand design for Christians to spread the message of Jesus throughout the universe, just as it had done to the primitive peoples on Earth.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

We're number 9

http://www.heritage.org/index/
Hong Kong , the special administrative region of communist China, is number one according to the Heritage Foundation's 2011 Index of Economic Freedom. The United States came in 9th, behind Canada and Denmark, countries with socialistic health care and fascistic regulation of firearms.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Countdown comes to an End

How many other talking/shouting heads would dare to read literature regularly on their news programs? Good night and good luck.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Original Intent

The Constitution was originally biased towards older, wealthy white male land owners.It seems a few conservatives yearn for the good old days before women's sufferage and child labor laws.

ThinkProgress reports that Senator Mike Lee claims that federal child labor laws are

unconstitutional


Mike Lee Suggests FEMA, Federal Poverty And Food Safety Programs Are All Unconstitutional

One constitutional issue I've enjoyed arguing with a conservative friend is the interpretation of the second amendment. The activist Supreme Court delighted my friend and many other NRA members with its overturning previous decisons and making gun ownership unconnected to service in a militia a few years ago. Still my friend and I each read the same sentence:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed

and we each have a different interpretation of what the sentence should mean. I place more emphasis on the first half, and he sees the second half as being more important. If one believes the original intent of the founding fathers is the deciding factor, there is still room for both interpretations. If one strictly construes what our 18th Century forefathers meant, consider the following quote from the

Militia Act of 1792

Second Congress, Session I. Chapter XXVIII

Passed May 2, 1792,

http://www.constitution.org/mil/mil_act_1792.htm

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia...That every citizen, so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch, with a box therein, to contain not less than twenty four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball...


There's nothing about various kinds of armor piercing bullets or assault rifles. Just white males, muskets and compulsory service in a well regulated militia.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Those Depraved UnAmerican Liberal Socialists Threatening Civilization are Paranoid!

How could liberals believe that hate rhetoric could have anything to do with violence? Maybe because they pay attention to the news.
The Great yet humble State of Arkansas wished all of her citizens a very happy Dr. Martin Luther King/General Robert E. Lee Day today on her Facebook page. The comments that followed stretched the entire political spectrum. Some argue that the Confederate cause was just and had nothing to do with slavery, others are offended by the pairing of a fallen civil rights leader and a Confederate general. It's obvious that the battle to spin history has never ended, even 150 years after the "War of Northern Aggression." You can find a day by day history of the war here.

I was never especially interested in the Civil War in my social studies classes in the seventies. I remember during one class discussion being surprised when one of my classmates complained about "white niggers" and the teacher said nothing. In another class, I remember one of my favorite instructors guiding the class through a textbook, pointing at a bucolic illustration of the Antebellum South, saying "the slaves didn't have it that bad. Look at that character on the wagon!" Another favorite teacher remarked that the Indians were a defeated people and that he had no time for liberal hand-wringing over their near genocide.

The tradition of minimizing the history of non-white males lives on in Tennessee, where the local tea parties held a news conference urging state legislators to educate students about "the truth about America.” The "truth" apparently is highlighting the experiences of white males and ignoring the more negative experiences of everyone else. Fayette County attorney Hal Rounds said the group wants to address “an awful lot of made-up criticism about, for instance, the founders intruding on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another."

The group demands that no "portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens, including those who reached positions of leadership.”

In other words, historical events that do not match the right wing spin of the tea party should not be taught or appear in textbooks, even if they "actually occurred."

The full article can be found here.

The Political Environment

The following map shows how John Sidney McCain III swept the 2008 election by territory. Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. carried the areas in blue.
Source: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mejn/election/2008/

In this cold weather, I think of how our friends in Wisconsin are better prepared for a lengthy power outage or crisis. They have a wood burning stove, oil lamps, and lots of stored food and supplies. They hunt, grow their own food and receive extra fish or deer from their neighbors regularly-they just have to butcher the meat.

Our friends were back to nature progressives in the nineties, but by the time of our last visit in 2008, I noticed a few changes. The husband had been completely immersed in gun culture. They were not and are still not racists, but have grown used to the all white community where they live and a little de-sensitized to the less than charitable remarks made by some members in their rural community. We've invited our friends to visit us in Chicago, but they would prefer not to. The husband now especially regards big cities with distaste.

Urban living doesn't allow for as much independence or self-reliance as in the country. You get used to hearing several languages at the store or interacting with people from different cultures at the local school. You rely on a "nanny state" to keep the electricity going and keep the streets clear. Guns in the hands of people out in the street are a cause for concern, not sport. Rather than dealing with people whose families have been in the same area for generations, city dwellers move from place to place and often have never spoken more than a few sentences to the dozens of people on their block. In some areas, kids aren't sent outside to play and the houses have bars on the windows. Is it any wonder that red and blue areas have different priorities and prefer different political rhetoric?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hatebook


Rush Limbaugh and numerous conservative blogs have expressed righteous indignation over a mean-spirited Facebook page:
I hate it when I wake up and Sarah Palin is still alive which has over 2,000 fans. Reactions included:
And there is more. Just search "hate Palin" on Facebook and you'll see well over a dozen hateful pages. Of course, the left is not alone in posting insensitive garbage on Facebook.
Search "hate Obama" and you'll find twice as many pages dedicated to hating on the President, including one with over 800,000 members.




Monday, January 10, 2011

The Political Tragedy of the Tragedy


Glenn Reynolds expresses his outrage over the Arizona shootings in the Wall Street Journal today:

I understand the desperation that Democrats must feel after taking a historic beating in the midterm elections and seeing the popularity of ObamaCare plummet while voters flee the party in droves. But those who purport to care about the health of our political community demonstrate precious little actual concernfor America's political well-being when they seize on any pretext, however flimsy, to call their political opponents accomplices to murder.

In other words, the far right is trying a jiu jitsu move to take their opponents' movement and use it against them.

The focus of the story on far right blogs now is not on the the actual shooting, it's that that the left is supposedly trying to use this tragedy as an excuse to take away our guns and freedom of speech. It is "The Progressive Climate of Hate" that has ruined political discourse they contend, and it was a crazy leftist who committed the murders. Michelle Malkin writes about the "Tuscon massacre ghouls who are now trying to criminalize conservativism." While her writing is as looney as always, Malkin does score a hit on her blog by reproducing numerous images from the left that are just as mean-spirited and violent as those on the right we liberals are complaining about.
So what will be the result of this tragedy? This quote from last year should be the final word:

I think it’s important for all leaders, not just leaders of the Republican Party or the Democratic Party … community leaders, figures in our community to say, ‘Look, we can’t stand for this.’ I mean, this is a situation where people really need to realize that the rhetoric, and firing people up, and even things … For example, we’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list, but the thing is, the way she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gunsight over our district. And when people do that, they’ve gotta realize there’s consequences to that action.

In the years that some of my colleagues have served, twenty, thirty years, they’ve never seen it like this. We have to work out our problems by negotiating, working together, hopefully Democrats and Republicans.

–Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, March 25, 2010.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Fighting for Liberty

While the Tea Party spouts rhetoric of starting a revolt to take their country back from the country's first black president, January 8 marked the 200th anniversary of the largest slave rebellion in the US. You can read about it here. It was bloody business. The slaves used hoes, knives, and axes. When the rebellion failed, the survivors were tortured, executed and had their heads displayed on pikes.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

American Royalty


I watched seven kids play Rapunzel today. The girls assigned a third grade boy the role of prince. "But I'm not a prince!" he protested. "I'm only a rich Republican...who wears jeans."

Friday, January 7, 2011

Mind the Gaffe


Even before he was elected, Michelle Malkin called candidate Obama "a walking talking gaffe machine." The president's detractors have also maintained that he can't speak in public without a teleprompter. There's even a blog devoted to supposed gaffes:
http://obamasgaffes.blogspot.com/
The most recent attack on President Obama's alleged frequent tendency to committ gaffes comes from historian Victor Davis Hanson, who wrote:
There is little presidential stature left. When Barack Obama addresses the Sen. minority leader as “Mike” McConnell or claims the US motto is e pluribus unum rather than “In God We Trust,” this is by now a non-news story — not after “57 states” or “corpse-men” or Austrian-speaking Austrians. Proclaiming that at some point individuals have made enough money raises no eyebrows either — not after “spread the wealth,” “redistributive change,” and claiming that the purpose of capital gains tax hikes was not to increase federal revenue but to ensure “fairness.”
Hanson believes Obama's gaffes and positions have created the "caricature" of a presidency. Perhaps Professor Hanson is experiencing memory loss. Both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush had their struggles putting a coherent sentence together. And then there was President Reagan. Can you imagine the Right's reaction if President Obama were to fall asleep while meeting one on one with the Pope? Or if his administration secretly sold arms to Iran?
It's obvious that we forgive the misstatements of people we like and ridicule the same sort of gaffes by those we dislike. To pretend otherwise is sheer partisanship, and any historian should know better.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Where to start cutting

Balancing the budget and cutting spending are the goals of the new Tea Party inspired Republican party.

If the Republicans are serious about cutting the budget, they should start by ending the tragedies playing out in Iraq and Afghanistan. Last summer marked $1 trillion dollars flushed away in Iraq-not counting the hundreds of billions spent on the pentagon budget.

In Afghanistan, like Iraq, billions of dollars cannot be accounted for. Nor can the human costs. This year saw headlines like:

Saturday, January 1, 2011

...there's also no voice for the mass of Christians out there who actually treat Christianity like a spiritual journey rather than " I just got born again! Now I have super powers. I'm right all the time!" There's nothing scarier.

-Patton Oswalt