Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Republicans Start Talking Sense

The party of no is starting to say yes -- at least to Internet users who might have an actual platform for them. Rather than telling us what they stand for, the party has largely been telling America what it's against -- essentially anything Obama wants. This includes the bailout that started the economy back on track to growth, a healthcare bill to deal with one of the fastest rising costs for working families in America (it has gone from 8% to 18% of income in the past 30 years), finance reform to try and ensure that bankers and investment firms are held partially accoutable for their risky behavior, regulations on anything, environmental policy to address global warming or even a Supreme Court justice that appears pretty moderate. Now they realize they have to be for something as well, and they have turned to the Internet to get input from Americans on what they want:

Here are some sensible ideas on how to fix the country:

"End Child Labor Laws," suggests one helpful participant. "We coddle children too much. They need to spend their youth in the factories."

"How about if Congress actually do thier job and VET or Usurper in Chief, Obama is NOT a Natural Born Citizen in any way," recommends another. "That fake so called birth certificate is useless."

"A 'teacher' told my child in class that dolphins were mammals and not fish!" a third complains. "And the same thing about whales! We need TRADITIONAL VALUES in all areas of education. If it swims in the water, it is a FISH. Period! End of Story."

"Build a castle-style wall along the border, there is plenty of stone laying around about there." That was in the "national security" section of the new site.

"Legalize Marijuana, cause, like, alcohol is legal. Man. Also." That was in the "traditional values" section.

"I say, repeal all the amendments to the Constitution." ("American prosperity" section.)

"Don't let the illegals run out of Arizona and hide. . . . I think that we should do something to identify them in case they try to come back over. Like maybe tattoo a big scarlet 'I' on their chests -- for 'illegal'!!!" (Filed under "job creation.")

Creative solutions to fixing America! Maybe the Tea Party is too moderate for Republicans these days . . .

Friday, May 21, 2010

Media Malaise

I have been absent from my blog the past month or so with an end of semester rush, but wanted to start it up again now. I have talked often about the media abrogating their responsibility in recent years and wanted to start offering specific examples as they become available.

One of the most obvious ways in which the media has lost its critical touch is by failing to fact check claims made by politicians. In this relatively minor example, we witness a writer from the Omaha World Herlad who appears too lazy to check a simple fact:

"The Iowa senator has questioned why people should be charged upwards of $5 to withdraw their own money. He said the cost of an ATM transaction is only about 36 cents, yet people often are charged $2 or $3 to take out $20." (

This is a common and infuriating trend that reaches from the smallest local papers all the way up to the Washinton Post, New York Times and LA Times. Rather than tell us who is closer to the facts, they tend to just report what each side says and leave it up to the reader to chose which one to believe -- which I imagine would tend to be the side they are aligned with. Luckily we do have the Internet and a series of organizations and bloggers doing that fact checking for us, but unfortunately they tend to reach people who agree with their general political positions. When media becomes mere entertainment, we all lose -- but most of all those who believe it plays an integral role in democracy.