Wednesday, July 28, 2010

To Fight Racists or Not to Fight Racists

The U.S. Commision on Civil Rigths appears to think racism is a thing of the past, and have instead spent most of their time and resources researching the conservative pet project: "reverse racism:" Rather than look at the fact that racism appears to have again moved to the forefront of American life since the Obama election, or look at the income/wage differentials, disproporationate cost of the mortgage and larger financial crisis on Black Americans or explore the increase in Anti-Semitism in America today (,0,3140086,print.story), the group has relentlessly pursued charges that the Black Panthers intimidated voters in the 2008 election; even as these charges appear to be largely baseless. As I wrote about a few days ago, the politically expedient strategy will probably play dividends, as working class, middle class and even highly educated upper class White males seem to increasingly buy the story that Blacks and other minorities (and women) are given unfair advantages in education, jobs and life in general. While the numbers tell a different story, when groups charged with protecting the civil rights of all citizens focus exclusively on perceived white slights, the future looks bleak for ever reaching the Martin Luther King dream.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Teabaggers are like the founding fathers . . .

and apparently Jesus Christ: This according to conservative activist David Barton. Barton has long been making the comparison to the founding fathers, apparently confusing limiting government power with ceding power completely to corporations and the church. The quote from a radio broadcast:

"[T]he media has decided to take on the Tea Party and whack 'em because really, the Tea Party, if they have their way, the liberal left is going to be on the outside in this thing. So the best you can do is try to villainize these guys. You know, when Jesus got a really big following, they started saying 'oh, he's a wine-bibber, he's a glutton,' they started all the name-calling and finger-pointing; you know, he's trying to install himself as king and he's going to kick out Caesar, trying to get the Romans stirred up. So they used all these ridiculous charges and so this is nothing new."

At it's heart, this follows the sine qua non of the conservative movement -- victimhood at the hands of insidious liberals, who are seeking to make America a gay, godless country dominated by foreigners, where individuals have no freedom. Of course, they want to limit freedom in countless ways -- from ensuring that all people follow their blind faith in markets and corporations, ignore racism, sexism and every other ism except jingoism and don't bother with pollution, corporate malfeasance, annoying workplace safety rules, etc. Fear and victimhood really define their entire discourse, and in a country that celebrates victimhood like no other. The fact that the victims of the left are really the victims of the very forces that prop up these activists or capitalize on their radical agenda, is an irony that escapes their somber, angry tongues. Really it is proof of the Dunny-Kruger effect, where people you don't know much tend not to recognize their ignorance and so fail to seek better information. Let mindful stupidity ring!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Billionaire Blues

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geitner announced that the Obama administration will allow the Bush tax cuts to expire yesterday, setting up a battle with Republicans and a few Democrats. Billionaires could lose millions, but the very same group that is talking about closing the deficit knows that these tax cuts helped allow the deficit to balloon, together with the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the very necessary stimulus: The argument goes that tax cuts will make matters worse for the economy just when we are hoping to see a recovery. But is this necessarily true. As the Wall Street Journal argues, the top five percent account for 30 percent of consumption. But shouldn't this be troubling? Don't we need to build an economy where spending is more equitably allocated among the population?

And an article last month in Vanity Fair only strengthens the argument ( It details the work of pop artist and millionaire Peter Max, who "paints" rather banal pictures of the famous for charity then sells them a triptych based on that original painting. The article starts with what I find a rather prescient argument "A sure sign of imminent collapse is when the obscene becomes normal. And it is clear that Wall Street has become obscene. Just a few points from the article should highlight the level of obscenity -- in the very year when this financial crisis started, 2007, five hedge fund managers made over $1,000,000,000. Not in net worth, in one year. How did they do it? Not by really adding value to the economy -- but by taking advantage of market imperfections and looming disaster, most obviously in the case of John Paulson, who made a fortune on CDOs and other instruments betting against bad mortgages. The top 100 earners had a combined take of $30 billion, or $300 million each (on average). The sum pales in comparison to how it was made though, as many with poor performance still pull in their 2 percent management fee and 20 percent on anything they make. That's the base, though, some charge as much as 5-44 (SAC Capital's Steven Cohn). But even former cab driver Bruce Kovner (who manages $12 billion), made $200 million for a flat performance. Infamous Liar's Poker star John Meriwether made $100 million for making 0%. The point is that these men add little to the economy, in fact leading the economy toward disaster as they control over $2 trillion in assets. Wall Street is a necessary evil that provides money to companies to grow, while helping scoot those who fail out of the market all together. The men in charge need to be well-paid to do their jobs well, ensuring the market functions properly. Yet it has been clear for some time that their added value, outside their personal wealth, has been going down for some time. Is taxing those who make obscene salaries really going to destroy the economy? Is regulating them so their are limitations on what they can accomplish really going to destroy America? As I've written about before, a society that disavows the relationship between success and performance stands in great danger of selling itself out, just as Peter Max seemed to do a long time ago. Art reflects life here in a way that should give us pause.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Media Malaise

The Sherrod story shows the nature of a news cycle that, unlike say the Watergate scandal, does not wait for anything pesky like fact checking or even an interview with the person being charged. Instead the instantaneous nature of news today ensures that we will act first and then ask questions later. It highlights the major problems and potential advantages of media today. The first thing to say is the power of bloggers to actually influence policy, something that should theoretically lead to a stronger democracy where we do not have to count on the mainstream media to dominate the political discourse. On the other hand, it continues to show how effective conservative media personalities are at scewing the news and dominating the "liberal press" through scare campaigns, emotionally charged reporting, the spreading of half-truths and outright lies and by framing debates in their own terms. In a broader sense, it highlights the problems with the mainstream media today. As their staffs are cut, the profit motive comes to increasingly dominate decisions on what and how they present news and the elite nature of the top institutions moves further away from the muckrackers of yore, the major outlets in both print and on television have increasingly followed the model of Fox News and its many offshoots. Rather than actually fact-check, they just report what is said by others and hope for the best. Given that so many of these others are ideologically-infused in their reporting, they fall prey to the charge that he said-she said coverage merely gives credence to whoever speaks the loudest. And conservatives will probably always win this game. The media still has the power to serve as the fourth estate of government, checking the power of the elites inside and outside government. But they must go beyond the surface and discourses of the two parties and more radical fringe to actually report what is true and untrue in ongoing debates. This is particularly true regarding the question of race, where we continue to debate the absurd notion of "reverse racism" much more than we look at the actual numbers, which show lower wages and wealth, higher unemployment, lower academic achievement (in schools that are quantitatively and qualitatively worse in significant ways), lower life expectancy and a whole host of indicators that show that Blacks in America are not given an equal opportunity to succeed in a country that prides itself on the promises of the "American Dream." What's possibly the most surprisingly is how little soul searching appears to be occurring within the ranks of the mainstream media, who seem to be more interested in maintaining their withering power to frame the debate.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Will She Stay or Will She Go

The right wing looney tunes are at it again, and the administration seemed to be listening to them this time -- at least the head of the USDA. After firing Shirley Sherrod for reverse racism, the head of the department is backpeddaling, realizing he is the latest victim of the "spin zone." ( Apparently a video that showed her admitting "reverse racism" at a recent NACACP event turned out to be cleverly recut to eliminate important details, including the fact she later helped the white farmers she oringinally spurned and that the event took place years ago. On top of this, it appears that she is still friends with the family. The head of the USDA and White House have now offered her her job back and openly apologizized, arguing they acted rashly in their fast-paced discussion of Sherrod's speech. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said mistakes were made because of a "frenzied culture where everything happens so quickly." ( What's fascinating about the story is both how conservatives continue to dominate the race debate in America today and the fact that reverse racism is always big news while rampant racism, often among these same conservatives, too often goes unreported. Is a reasonable debate on race possible in contemporary politics? Events since the election of the first Black president make the answer appear less sanguine than we might have dreamed in 2008.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Race to the Bottom

One of the most commonly agreed upon elements in academic success for k-12 students in class size. Smaller classes lead to better outcomes for students for a number of reasons. Among these is the ability of teachers to get to know their students, work with them individually and offer extra help to those in need. Smaller classes also allow for more skill level variation and even better planning of heterogenous groupings. Smaller classes often allow good teachers to create "communities of learning" where students and teachers work collectively to ensure success for all. Fewer students fall through the cracks. Yet cash strapped cities and states continue to cut funding to schools, and recently have instituted major layoffs in most major metropolitan areas in the U.S. What is the cost? The future of too many children and ultimately the ability of these students and the country as a whole to compete in the global economy. We are essentially holding our future hostage to the interests of corporations and a party that never saw a progressive tax they didn't want to reduce and flatten. Can we as a society really afford to allow this trend to continue? Can we allow the continued dumbing down of America, exacerbated by popular culture and its celebration of stupidity? Can we really throw away the future of so many children? As Congress continues to be bogged down in a disfunctional abyss, the calls for increased funding for education to states goes largely unheeded: One wonders how long bad policy will continue to dominate educational policy, and at what cost.                                           

Monday, July 19, 2010

Racism Rampant in Tea Party Ranks

A few months ago a poll came out that showed those in the Tea Party were disproportionately white, older, more affluent and held more radical views regarding race in America than the public at large. Now another of their leaders has fallen, after it became clear that his racism went a little over a line they often feel comfortable crossing. Mark Williams, a conservative radio talk show host and spokesman for the Tea Party Express, who earlier this week called the NAACP a racist organization, has been expelled from the group after a "satirical" letter included calling slavery a "great gig." The letter started as follows:

"Dear Mr. Lincoln, We Coloreds have taken a vote and decided that we don't cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us Colored People and we demand that it stop!" (

Williams has also reportedly called President Obama an "Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug." Beyond the obvious question of what exactly a "welfare thug" is, is the increasing ugliness of the American right today. In their bid to keep America white and Christian, they have mercilously attacked the President, Pelosi, "illegal immigrants," gays and have now moved on to relatively overt attacks on Blacks we hoped had gone the way of the Jim Crow laws almost 50 years ago. It is becoming increasingly clear that the party of no is willing to employ these racist extremists in their bid to regain power, with the assumption that they can then reign in the "out of control government" that they really built over the past 40 years in power (with the help of their economic surrogate Bill Clinton). Corporations and banks are laughing all the way to the, well, polls I guess. Hate has always been one of the great motivators, and together with fear again defines essentially all the party stands for today. I have never been a fan of the Netroots and their "win at any cost using the strategies of conservatives against them" but I think if Dems are to rescue themselves in the mid-term election, they might have to get a little muddy. Let's hope their not afraid of a little dirt.

P.S. In a rather fitting postscript, I looked down at my counter just now and saw that this post comes as my counter hits 666.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Obama Gets Some Balls

Obama is speaking up about Republican obstructivism, trying to reframe the nature of politics today. Will it work? One of the problems Democrats have faced for years is framing the debate in a way that resonates with a tone deaf America. Global warming, the war in Iraq, somehow being responsible for the financial crisis and oil spill in the Gulf, a vote for change that doesn't want change. Democrats think reason can win the war of words, but it is emotion that wins elections in America. Axelrod and Obama recognized this and used his oratory skills to get people in America back toward reason. The only way they can win this battle is to again find the words and tone that awaken that old desire for change. They must break through the cynicism that infects the country and makes change all but impossible. Will speeches like this do the job? I'm a little cynical on the prospects (actually pessimistic) . . .

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Filibuster Follies

Republicans continue to play the "make changes and we won't support the bill anyway," as the Disclosure Bill now seems destined for a premature death: The party was courting Scott Brown to again defect and support a sensible bill, to at least partially offset the terrible Campaign Finance decision from the Supreme Court, but he appears to have decided against supporting the bill. This follows a strategy that they hope to take to election glory in November, undermining economic recovery, financial regulation, environmental policy, judge nominations and anything else that might help democrats hold the line in the midterm elections. But what is the cost to the country? Continued unemployment, the real risk of falling back into recession, or if we are to believe Krugman depression, more foreclosures (already over 1,000,000 this year), families that fall into disarray and dissolve under acute financial distress and failure to deal with problems across the social and political landscape. They are still blocking unemployment benefit extensions and are calling for, you guessed it, more tax cuts for the rich (who, by the way, can now spend as much as they want through corporations to make sure the cuts keep coming). The idea of American democracy was to create a balance and separation of powers to ensure that tyranny never returned to America. Republicans have confused this with having a weak Federal government that can't do anything -- except support the interests of corporations and the wealthy. That was not what our forefathers had in mind. Representative democracy depends on the representatives actually representing the interests of their constituencies. Not merely the most powerful members of their constituency, but the will of the majority and the interests of all, including those who lack a voice and those suffering under the tyranny of that majority. It is time for democracy to fight back and reclaim its most important function, beyond protecting the population, which is to cultivate and support the common good.  

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Kids will be Kids

. . . and rioters too. Riots throughout Belfast the past three nights have included kids as young as 9 years old, fighting for the nationalists against the loyalists and police. The pre-teens have been seen by a priest throwing rocks at police, "Recreational rioting is the term that's used, but it was a bit like a Euro Disney theme park for rioting. It was ludicrous." Recreational rioting? Even more troubling, young girls are lining up on the streets in their best dresses to watch along and then, when the young rioters go home, they are posting pictures on Facebook or videos on You Tube ( While the nationalists see it as a proud moment in their long-running struggle for independence, the President was less sanguine, and one wonders what will happen if one of these young tikes is actually hurt. Technology brings these moments to us in a way that the press often refuses to, but one wonders if some aren't on the streets just to add to their online constructed identities.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fucking Hell!

This message is brought to you by the New York Federal Appeals court that just struck down the 2003 obscenity policy of the FCC: Citing the irreperable harm that the law imposes on the first amendment and free speech and press, the court decided that obscenity will, in some cases, be allowed. It is a record decision for those of us that think swearing is just a part of life. The victory was one for Fox, CBS and ABC who argued fleeting expletives are impossible to control, and the law thus "arbitrary and capricious." It was also a win for Bono, who upon winning the Golden Globe said, ""This is really, really [expletive] brilliant. Really, really, great." (the irony is that the Washington Post actually dropped the "f-bomb" in the piece). So, while people can now swear by mistake during live broadcasts, we still have to live with the absurd hypocrisy of allowing violence on television and constant hints of sexuality, while making nudity and swearing verboten. Fuck all.

Monday, July 12, 2010

McCain Completing Faustian Deal

The devil is in the details, they say. Who "they" are is often unclear, but that's besides the point. It appears John McCain still owes Beezelbub for his Republican presidential nomination in 2008, even as he lost the election. Since then, he has moved even further to the right, paying off the contract by turning against immigrants, gays in the military, climate control legislation and Elena Kagan. He even went as far as claiming he was never a "renegade," a center point of his political career until he became Bush's best friend. It is hard for many ex-supporters to believe this is the same Senator who once supported campaign finance reform, opposed Bush's tax cuts, argued against torture and denounced Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson as "agents of intolerance." Satan was unavailable for comment, but clues abound that he has signed McCain up for active duty. It is also rumored that Dick Cheney, a key spokesman for the Dark Prince, will campaign for the Senator in his primary battle in Arizona.

Limbaugh Sells NYC Condo, New Yorkers Say Good Riddance!

Rush Limbaugh has sold the Upper East Side condo he has owned since 1994, fulfilling a promise he made last year after complaining about tax increases in the city: The ever magmanimous Limbaugh claimed that he only comes to the city to escape hurricanes in his home state of Florida or to visit his "overrated" staff. It sounds like working for Limbaugh is even more unbearable than listening to the blowhard, drug addict, Clinton-obsessed conservative talk show host. Sensible New Yorkers rejoiced at the exodus of the fat cat Republican cheerleader. The article notes that Rush had also claimed he would escape to Costa Rico if healthcare reform passes. Let's hope he keeps that promsie as well.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The "Beautiful" Game

So the World Cup is over and Spain has won, playing sometimes lovely football, though their finishing skills have been suspect throughout. But the final ended on an up note with a beautiful goal my Iniesta, just as it looked like penalty kicks would again decide the most important sports tournament in the world. Immediate reaction from the press and fans was that the Netherlands played an ugly game, fouling relentlessly, attacking causiously and infrequently and turning a much anticipated game into a rather dull and brutish spectacle. But the Dutch's initial response to their play was to say, who cares? They feel winning at any cost trumps the "silly" calls for making the game engaging. "I'm a little sick of that entire discussion," standout goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg said after rolling his eyes when asked about his team's opting for wins over beauty. "It's really just about results at a tournament like this. You can play beautifully and … then you get bounced in the first knockout phase. We made the final. So beautiful soccer you can set on fire for all I care."

This might make sense to many -- particularly in America, where winning is everything. But missing is a rather obvious counterpoint: the reason so many people are interested in the game is more the style of play than the wins alone. Winning at any cost often comes at the expense of those very fans -- who, by the way, indirectly pay the salaries of the superstars, and everyone else on the pitch. It is probably true that no other sport puts such a premium on victory for teams, with fights or deaths occasionally following losses (or wins for that matter). But as someone who loves the beautiful game, I think the game should be played beautifully. The ghost dives (Cristiano Ronaldo was the worst this cup), the hard, unnecessary fouls, the rather cynical, though understandable hand ball by Sanchez, constant arguing with referees (though often completely understable in this year's cup) and stacking on the defensive end, simply looking for counterattacks, really cheapen the game. I understand the desire to win, particularly when so much is at stake, but watching the rather meaningless third-place game between Uruguay and Germany, or most premier club matches in Spain and England, show us what is possible and I can only hope that Spain's win (and Brazil's early exit with a more defensive style than I ever remember) will make teams consider that their defensive strategies don't really pay off in the end. Viva Espana!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Republican Chasms

Two things that have defined the Republican Party since their rise to power in the early 80s, are a disciplned union and consistency of message. As popular discontent with Obama rose, Republicans saw an opportunity to quickly turn the tide after four years of Democratic rule. Yet as their moment arrives, the radical elements of the party led by Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin is causing dramatic internal strife, challenging their greatest strengths. That pressure is starting to show, as Steele continues his self-destructive behavior, many Americans begin to show hate and fear fatigue and they might lose an easy win in Nevada and many other races based on the "populist" uprising of the Tea Party. Two representatives have stepped into the fray, contemplating the chasm within.

Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC), who lost a primary race last month, has come out arguing the party is "acquiescing to a poisonous demagoguery that threatens their long term credibility." (

And Senator Bob Bennet (R-NV) compalined about losses the party might suffer at the hand of extremists, including in his home state of Nevada -- as Sharron Angle seems to put her foot in her mouth almost every time she speaks, most recently with the turning lemons into lemonaid comment about 13-year old girls raped by their fathers:

The party of fear might have to start fearing all the fear they are spreading, including "death panels," the notion that fighting global warming will somehow destroy America (apparently by limiting oil spills, reducing our dependence on the Middle East and making sure childhood cases of asthma continue to rise), the idea that any tax increase is bad (sales of third homes in Europe could go down) and that regulation will destroy corporate America (by reducing pollution, on the job injuries and premature death). Radicalism generally has a short shelf life in American politics and it is possible that the fiscal conservatives use of social conservatives might continue to backfire, as it largely has since 2006.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Defense of Marriage Act Unconstitutional

Good news should be reported, and social justice advocates got a positive ruling from the courts today. A federal court in Boston argued that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, under the equal protection clause of the constitution: Judge Joseph L. Tauro used the history of marriage laws that go back before the revolution to argue, "This court has determined that it is clearly within the authority of the Commonwealth to recognize same-sex marriages among its residents, and to afford those individuals in same-sex marriages any benefits, rights, and privileges to which they are entitled by virtue of their marital status," Tauro wrote. "The federal government, by enacting and enforcing DOMA, plainly encroaches upon the firmly entrenched province of the state."

While the tyranny of the majority have weighed in heavily on this issue for several years, the courts have the power to turn the tide, arguing that the 14th amendment extends to marriage rights and that everyone should have equal rights to this legal institution that has defined society for most of civilized human history; and the 10th amendment prevents the national government from intervening on this issue. Conservatives will probably argue that an activist judge has overstepped his bounds and that marriage in America is now in jeopardy, but the first argument seems to fail under the scrutiny of the very documents they hold so dear (the constitution and declaration of independence) and the second has always seemed disengenous to me. Let's hope all soon have the right to get married.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Russians are Going, the Russians are Going

So the inept spies that made Boris and Natasha seem like geniuses are on their way home: Newspapers and comedians across the country are mourning. Among them, now infamous Daily Show contributor Olivia Munn:, who has gained notoriety for posing in Playboy and Maxim (in neither case nude) and for being an attractive comedian, from what I can gather. The feminist site Jezebel ( has turned this into a hubub about the boy's club nature of comedy and the Daily Show, though seemingly annoyed as much by Munn's attractiveness as the lack of female contributors to the show. In other news, women complain that they are underrepresented in the NBA and PGA. Oh wait . . .

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Technophilia High

Two interesting articles today highlight the ways technology continues to infiltrate every aspect of our lives -- for good and bad. The first explores a new project form Central Florida's College of Education to use avatar-infused instruction to get future teachers "teaching" in the classroom: Essentially the program creates a series of avatars linked to one or more real people that then interact with the teacher trainee who is in a separate room with a projector screen seeing these avatars in action. Some elements of the virtual classroom are automated, but the real life actors are used to make the simulation more realistic. The question to me, then becomes why use the technology at all, but I digress.

The second article relates to young women 18 to 34 who are increasingly becoming addicted to Facebook and other social networking sites, even logging on before they hit the bathroom or eat breakfast upon waking up in the morning: The study from Oxygen Media and Lightspeed Research (of 1,600 adults over a two-month period) found that 57% of women talk online more than face to face, that 39% declare themselves addicted to Facebook and many check it in the middle of the night. As one researcher reports, "Our habits are changing due to social media technology, particularly Facebook. It's not just a connection tool for many women, but a research tool, a dating network, and a way to keep tabs on both boyfriends and enemies."

I know I have mentioned this before, but Marshall McLuhan once argued that after a period of negotiation with a new technology, we start to be defined by it as much as we define its use. It is not that this exists in stasis, as people change with technology and then change technology and readapt it to new uses or stop using it over time. Ultimately, we are conditioned but not determined. Yet it is clear that repetition and daily usage of technology change patterns of quotidian life in profound ways. Some do not succumb to the allure of a new technology, but many more do and it alters the nature of our lives. The question to ask is whether the time spent on Facebook is really productive. Sure maybe you can find someone to date there, but spying on boyfriends, friends and enemies, keeping the world updated on your daily activities or playing with their growing list of interesting but largely useless apps simply wastes time, doesn't it? In a deeper sense, what troubles me the most is the thought that we have created a generation of youth who assume that they should be engaged (or entertained) in every waking second of their lives. Lost then would be time to actually contemplate those lives, to use boredom as the fount to search out a hobby or interest, to read a book or, gasp, to think creatively about the world we live in and how to improve it. Of course, I type this online . . .

Friday, July 02, 2010

Technology Gone Crazy!

In the 20th century, the idea that technological advancement and progress were synonymous became the norm. While many challenged this claim (including Max Weber (instrumental rationality), Critical Theoriest like Adorno and Horkheimer (Dialectics of Enlightenment) and Deleuze and Guattari (indirectly, with the idea of the body without organs and desiring machines)), the majority of people appeared to assume that the flatter and better picture we get from the television, the smaller and cooler the phone, the better musical quality (even though most ears can't discern those differences), etc. always meant an improvement in quality of life. After World War II, and the death camps, fire bombing of Dresden and flight of the Enola Gay, led many to start questioning the logic of technology and science always pushing humans forward, yet positivism soon became the norm in the United States and few outside academia questioned the notion (except, of course, the countercultural 60s hippies).

In any case, since the 80s, most have come to fully embrace the connection between technology and quality of life. While the aging populations always decry the breakdown of the family or community, kids keep on embracing new technology with vigor, and even those old curmudgeons end up with Facebook pages and texting their way through a movie or lunch date. Yet what is happening with technology today? Beyond the oil spill in the Gulf, we have Toyota with seemingly endless recalls (, Dell knowingly selling faulty computers (, Apple launching the new I-Phone before its ready ( and "smart bombs" that never seemed to have as high an IQ as we pretend. Could a neoLuddhite movement be in the offing?

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Even Republicans Are Wondering . . .

what the hell the party stands for; at least according to outgoing Utah Republican Senator Bob Bennett. Quoting Talking Points Memo from a speech he gave to the Ripon Society, his words speak for themselves:

"The pendulum will swing. And we will take control of the House—I think that's going to happen—and frankly, with the death of Robert Byrd there's a chance we will take control of the Senate as well," he said. But he said Republicans' emphasis on ideological fidelity over innovative thinking will hamper their ability to accomplish anything of substance. "As I look out at the political landscape now, I find plenty of slogans on the Republican side, but not very many ideas," Bennett said. "And indeed, if you raise specific ideas and solutions, as I tried to do on health care with Ron Wyden, you are attacked with the same vigor as we've seen in American politics all the way back to the arguments over slavery and polygamy. You are attacked as being a wimp, insufficiently pure, and unreliable." That sort of savagery may help an out-of-party win elections, but it won't help them govern after they're in office. Once you win, Bennett says, "it's 'thank you for the slogans' and 'thank you for the election.' But in the immortal words of Robert Redford in the movie, The Candidate, 'What do we do now?' .