Archive for February, 2011

Oh, now business is going to pick up!  Alabama’s Dale Peterson has announced that he is running for President as a write-in candidate.  Who is Dale Peterson you may ask? He is a man you just this past year ran for state agriculture commissioner.  But you may know him from his campaign advertisements:

Naturally, after achieving a 3rd place finish in the Alabama agriculture commissioner Republican primary, the next obvious step in one’s political career is President of the United States!  He has yet to announce his platform, but unconfirmed sources state that his primary plank will be the promise to pass the “Get Away From That Sign Act”.  He is also expected to take strong positions in support of getting off his lawn and making it mandatory for children to walk to school uphill both ways barefoot in the snow.

I must admit, I do somewhat respect a man who can say, “To be honest, I don’t even know what I’m doing.”  And this, “I think if Mitt Romney and Donald Trump both run, they would suck all the hairspray out of America.”  Now that’s just funny!

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Poll from the Pew Research Center

Really, that’s the only conclusion I can reach.  Look at the poll.  Americans say cut the budget.  But ask them what to cut?  There’s not majority support for cutting anything really.  We might be OK with cutting global poverty assistance, because that’s for folks who are both poor AND foreign.  Screw those guys!  But otherwise, Americans support spending cuts generally, but not specific cuts.  Unfortunately, you can’t make non-specific cuts in a budget.  And since Americans don’t much care for tax hikes either, I don’t see where we are suppose to go.  Maybe next time Obama decides to have a summit, maybe he should have it with Penn & Teller, Criss Angel, and David Blaine.  Does anyone know any mathmagicians? 🙂

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  1. If you think being disruptive in a classroom setting warrants police intervention and ultimately charges filed and a fine. A high school senior in Texas faces $637 in fines.  Her crime?  She blurted out a curse word in the classroom.  Now I’m not saying that cursing in class should be acceptable.  But couldn’t we just start with just a warning?  Or maybe detention hall?  Seems a bit trivial for the criminal justice system, doesn’t it?
  2. If you take your politics so seriously that you think it’s okay to make light of sexual assault. Or was it professional jealousy?  Liberal journalist and now former NYU professor Nir Rosen decided to comment on fellow journalist Lara Logan’s assault in Egypt on the Twitter.  His posts show he is obviously upset….at all the attention she is going to get?  That she is going to be “martyr”?   Then he started cracking the jokes, because sexual assault is hilarious!  As he put it, you have “to find humor in the small things.”  Um, one “small thing” Nir….sexual assault is not funny.  At all.  And disagreeing with your world viewpoint is not a punishable offense.  It’s not an offense at all as a matter of fact.    OK, so maybe Nir might also be a bit of a male chauvinist.  So what is female conservative commentator Debbie Schlussel’s excuse?  Debbie, you may think it would be cool to be just like Ann Coulter.  But it’s not.
  3. If you place more importance on political posturing than doing your job. Looks like Republicans are all set to force a government shutdown under the guise of promoting fiscal responsibility.  That said, had Democrats not punted on passing a budget last year, we wouldn’t have this situation of needing to pass continuing resolutions just to keep funding going.  Of course, all this talk of being fiscally responsible is just utter B.S.  Realistically, you can’t balance the budget by only considering cuts in 12% of the budget, leaving the other 88% completely untouched.  Realistically you also can’t balance the budget without raising revenue.  Not passing a budget at all is a complete legislative failure on all sides.  And while some may think that a government shutdown would be a pretty great thing, such action has actual real world consequences.
  4. If you think that in 2011, a woman’s place is in the home. Apparently that is the case in Frederick County, Maryland.  Two county commissioners, in defending cuts to the county’s Head Start program, proclaim that their wives needed to stay home with their kids to educate them.  That’s what they described as “ideal”.  I’m guessing that their kids were named Wally and Theodore “Beaver”. Of course, regardless of whether or not we have moved beyond the Cleaver family ideal, let’s think about this in practical terms.  Head Start is designed specifically for low-income families.  Are these families in any position for either parent not to work?  What about single moms?  They are supposed to stay home and also make ends meet how?  Why is it during budget crunches, it seems like it is the poor that has to make the sacrifices?
  5. If you think that a football rivalry is so important that you need to poison a whole park. That’s what University of Alabama fan (just a wild guess, since his kids are reportedly actually named “Bear” and “Crimson” ) Harvey Almorn Updyke decided to do, when he decided to take a little Spike 80DF (and by a little, I mean a lot) to kill two historical 130 year-old oak trees in a place known as Toomer’s Corner which is of traditional importance to Auburn University.  See, in his mind, a prankster placing a Cam Newton jersey on a Bear Bryant statue was so egregious, he had no choice but to take the trees out.  Of course, since this was some old pathetic beer drinking country bumpkin, he had no clue what he was doing and used up to 65 times the amount required just to kill these two trees, placing the whole park at risk.  Apparently the water supply is safe, but not because this guy knew any better.  Somehow police were able to capture this criminal mastermind mostly because he called a popular local radio show to tell everyone what he did under the name “Al from Dadeville”.  Turns out, he actually lives in Dadeville, so police were able to crack the code pretty quickly.  You are not exactly the Zodiac, are you buddy?

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You know, what is happening in Egypt is pretty amazing when you think about it.  This guy Mubarak has ruled over Egypt for nearly 30 years under “emergency law” (you know, one of those 45 year emergencies that are so commonplace) and the people of Egypt force him out WITHOUT FIRING A SINGLE SHOT!  It would have been easy for that situation to become really ugly; it says a lot about the Egyptian people that this whole event stayed as peaceful as it did.  Now it is way too early to know what kind of government Egypt will end up with, but I will say whatever develops there has a lot better chance of success because this is strictly a grassroots effort by the Egyptian people.  You know, sort of like how another certain nation was born.  I can’t remember its name, but the folks there sure like to chant “U.S.A.” a lot at international sporting events.

I sure like the chances  of a better government there than, say, Afghanistan.  I recently watched the documentary Restrepo in which a couple of journalists document a year embedded with an army platoon in the Korengal valley.  Now I have a feeling that this is one of those films that is going to reinforce your opinions about that conflict regardless of what those opinions may be.  That said, watching that film, it was just very hard for me to understand how any good is going to come out of this.

We had military leaders speaking with the Afghan people in a way that military leaders talk to their subordinates.  Now I don’t think that is really surprising for people used to the military culture to speak that way, but they need to understand that the Afghans don’t have to ask “how high?” when they say “jump”.  We had our folks promising the Afghan elders big money if only we could get the chance to build this road for them.  The elders just appeared bewildered and confused.  We had the U.S. army arresting people because they gave one of our guys a “bad feeling”.  We had a bombing that killed and injured children.  Then we had our military heads attempt to apologize for that, but instead it comes out in the most backhanded way possible (we are SO sorry that because you hang out near bad guys, you made us kill your kids).

We killed one of their cows (during the credits it was revealed that this claim was legit).  The elders simply asked to be reimbursed for the fair market value for the cow.  Not an unreasonable request, right?  So the amount they ask for is about the equivalent of $500 U.S. dollars.  Once again, not unreasonable at all, right?  But somehow in a war that has cost the U.S. over $377 billion dollars, the upper leadership (the on-the-ground leader did call this one up for authorization) did not think we could afford to pay these men $500 for a cow.  So what was the counter offer?  Beans.  That’s right.  Not money.  Beans.  For some reason, the elders didn’t find this acceptable.  And this is how we are going to win “hearts and minds”?

We had grown men with pure fear on their face.  We had grown men bawling like babies.  And we had people die.  I watch this film and I can’t believe we have allowed ourselves to get into such a no-win position.  I can’t believe Obama is keeping us there.  If the Afghan people want a democracy (and I’m not sure they do), then they are going to have to do it.  It can’t be done for them by an invader.

At least that’s my uneducated opinion.

(Note:  PoliticalMonkey 2010 currently resides in Egypt.  Visit her blog for a first-hand account of what’s going on during this historic event.)

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Today, many conservatives are celebrating the birthday of the late President Ronald Reagan.  It’s been made into kind of a big deal because he would have been 100 years-old today.  Also many conservative politicians and media pundits have made Reagan into a sort of a pioneer or hero for their movement.  For some, it even goes as far as being a litmus test.  If you don’t claim to love you some Reagan, then you can’t truly call yourself a conservative in some people’s eyes.  Personally I think Reagan was a decent President.  But the differences between how Reagan is portrayed by the right and how he actually was during his Presidency make me chuckle.

Today’s Reagan is definitely a mythical character.  I’m pretty sure the actual Ronald Reagan would not be revered by the true Tea Party believers.  I can think of three ways off the top of my head where Ronald Reagan the President differs from Ronald Reagan the mythical hero:

  • “Low Tax” Reagan – Yes, if you were rich, Reagan was very good to you on tax day.   The top marginal tax rate was 70% when Reagan took office, and only 28% by the time he left.  However, Reagan certainly signed plenty of bills with tax increases while he was in office.  Heck, the same day the highest marginal rates was lowered to 28%, the lowest bracket was increased from 11% to 15%.  Also, there was a “bubble rate” that effectively meant that after you reached a certain income threshold, you no longer benefitted from the 15% bracket, instead the rate went to a 28% flat rate on all of your taxable income.  So Reagan lowered taxes for the rich while raising taxes on the poor and middle class literally at the same time.  Reagan would pass 11 tax increases during his time in office.  (To be fair, he passed the largest corporate tax increase in history, something today right-wingers would totally rule out for being a “job-killer”.)
  • “Small Government” Reagan – Um, no.  The federal budget was around $590 billion when Reagan took office.  By the time he left, the federal budget was over $1 trillion.  Reagan’s definition of “small government” was just things he didn’t want to spend money on (certain social programs).  He had no problem spending money on things he liked (ie the military).  Also, there’s this:

Hmm, something changes around 1981 or so.

  • “Ass-kicker” Reagan – Reagan didn’t go off invading countries in response to terrorism.  He did bomb Libya, but there’s a big difference between a targeted military attack and an outright military invasion of a whole country.  Reagan called the death of civilians in anti-terrorism campaigns “terrorism itself” according to his biographer.  Reagan’s staff supported civilian trials for terrorists.  Reagan even signed the United Nations agreement which forbids torture for ANY reason.  I’m not saying that Reagan was all ‘peace and love dude’.  But the contrast of these positions against the terrorism policies supported by many Republicans today is interesting.

It all makes me wonder.  Would Reagan (the real one, not the mythical one) be labeled a “RINO” by the Tea Party if he was around today?

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