Also, check out the slideshow White Whine put together.
Thanks to White Wine, I will begin a new series dedicated to tweets, Facebook statuses, and other gripes by the priviledged few. Enjoy!
Got to love it.
A reader responded via Facebook to the question(s) of the weekend:
It always seems like they like to take some industry currently heavily restricted by government regulation, find some way that it’s flawed, and mark it off as a failure of the free market, and evidence that the industry needs more government intervention. Postal Service, Education, Hospitals, Banks, Automobiles, Health Insurance. These are things that started out private, and became crippled by regulation. Then they swooped in and said “oh look, it’s not functioning. The free market could never provide that functionality, so let’s have the gov’t provide it” usually shortly accompanied by entirely outlawing private industry in that sector.
I just was chatting with a colleague and the upcoming religious holidays were brought up. I said I wanted to give up coffee for lent but she said now that I am teaching I really need it (ha!). Giving up Facebook now comes to mind:
However, this experiment taught me about the need to be in touch with what’s happening offline, so that my reporting can reflect what’s actually happening on the ground. In a virtual world like Facebook, some self-appointed authors and speakers strut their spiritual stuff as though they are the ultimate faith fashionistas. Hence, one can easily get the false impression that these holy hipsters have a far greater sphere of influence than they really do in the real world.
In Jesus Died for This? I reflected on the need for us to connect with each other, not only virtually, but also face-to-face. The televangelists might claim that they can cure for cash through the TV, but all throughout his ministry, Jesus healed people one touch at a time (Matthew 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 9:41-56). No matter how plugged-in we get, I can’t hug my laptop. And the ritual partaking of the Last Supper entails that we feed each other actual bread and wine.
Google Chrome now offers an extension that disallows you from clicking ‘like” at the bottom of any article or item on the internet. This option at the bottom of over 1 million websites notifies Facebook when you go to a certain website. It basically has in a type of connection between Facebook and say a New York Times article. Use Google Chrome and stop those connections with this extension.
Big ups to Michael Drane for posting this on his Facebook. Tim Wise ends the Tea Party:
In evaluating the Tea Party phenomenon, those of us who insist white racial resentment is at the heart of the movement are often attacked for besmirching the high minded, non-racial motivations of those who identify with this insurgency. So, for instance, we are told that the real concerns of the TP are: deficit spending and big government. Prejudice and bigotry have no part in their efforts, or so we’re told.
And yet, if this were true, the conservatives in the Tea Party would have been screaming at George W. Bush when he was president (and certainly wouldn’t have voted for his re-election, since he eliminated the government surplus that had been created in the Clinton years). They would have called for the resignation of Dick Cheney for saying, famously, that “deficits don’t matter.” They would have supported Al Gore in 2000, since he was a member of the surplus-creating Clinton Administration. They would detest, rather than revere, the legacy of the Reagan years, which boosted the deficit and debt to before-then unheard of proportions.
Wise, in his very short treatise, demolishes each and every pillar of the TP. This is an accessible, worthwhile read. Give it a shot, even if you are a TP backer and read it in full. Shoot me a rebuttal – vgiordano at gmail dot com. I am willing to tango.
So says Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie, Mayor of Newark Cory Booker and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. This is an alliance, funded by a $100 million start up grant from Zuck, to tackle Jersey’s education woes (1 in 2 students in Newark do not graduate from high school) and should be a lodestar for “this generations civil rights issue”: education.
H/T: The Corner
The Grand Old Party is anticipating itself controlling the House of Representatives after the midterm elections. In that case, they have a list of demands. I wish I could download it. It sent me through some scam Facebook application. If someone can get a direct link to download this .pdf, shoot me a copy via email.
There are no details of who wrote this document. It is rather short (21 pages), but that is the practicalness of the GOP; they hated that the Dems had 1,000+ page documents that they and their three lawyers still couldn’t fully read or “understand”.
After reading it, I believe that it has the same tone as the rest of the Tea Party / fringe conservatives. I will fas forward to the National Security page (pg 19 and on). Lets begin with noting their tone:
And we will never apologize for advancing the cause of freedom and democracy around the world, nor will we abandon our historic role in lifting up those who struggle to receive the blessings of liberty.
American Exceptionalism at any cost, no matter what. The Dems have their larger government and the GOP has their larger military. The latter seems to forget that.
Here are their promises:
Pass Clean Troop Funding Bills: When asked to provide our troops with the resources they need, we will do so without delay. That means no more troop funding bills held up by unrelated policy changes, or extraneous domestic spending and pork-barrel projects.
Is that really really possible? To me, it sounds of the chant, “Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war.” The military gets anything they want, even if there is question of whether we can execute and “win” a war, find WMDs, or repeating the quagmire in Vietnam.
Demand an Overarching Detention Policy: Foreign terrorists do not have the same rights as American citizens, nor do they have more rights than U.S. military personnel.We will work to ensure foreign terrorists, such as the 9/11 conspirators, are tried in military, not civilian, court.We will oppose all efforts
to force our military, intelligence, and law enforcement personnel operating overseas to extend “Miranda Rights” to foreign terrorists.
Rich right wing hubris is dripping from the above paragraph. Lets try them in military courts that have convicted far far far fewer terrorists than civilian courts. Where is the love that Jesus talked about in this document?
The next were proposed for Congress:
We will fight to ensure transparency and accountability in Congress and throughout government.
You didn’t do this with the torturing of enemy combattents in Gitmo, nor were you transparent with the growth of the security state.
We will continue to fight the growth of government and oppose new stimulus spending that only puts our nation further into debt.
Under George W. Bush, your party began the stimulus bail out that you so loath.
We will fight efforts to fund the costly new health care law.
Between 1995 and 2007, the GOP had control of two houses. Where was your plan then?
We will fight efforts to use a national crisis for political gain.
Iraq war, oil, and the Bush family?
Now for more of their proposed spending cuts.
With common-sense exceptions for seniors, veterans, and our troops, we will roll back government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels, saving us at least $100 billion in the first year alone and putting us on a path to balance the budget and pay down the debt. We will also establish strict budget caps to limit federal spending from this point forward. We will launch a sustained effort to stem the relentless growth in government that has occurred over the past decade.By cutting Congress’ budget, imposing a net hiring freeze on non-security federal employees, and reviewing every current government program to eliminate wasteful and duplicative programs, we can curb Washington’s irresponsible spending habits and reduce the size of government, while still fulfilling our necessary obligations.
As Andrew Sullivan notes, “without tackling entitlements, none of this matters a jot.” Here are some final reactions that sum up my thoughts and others on this document:
Given the gravity of the debt crisis, this is the most fiscally irresponsible document ever offered by the GOP. It is to the far right of Reagan, who raised taxes and eventually cut defense, and helped reform social security to ensure its longterm viability. It is an act of vandalism against the fiscal balance of the US, and in this global economic climate, a recipe for a double-dip recession and default. It is the opposite of responsible conservatism.
1. For much of, oh, the past decade, the GOP has been staggeringly incompetent in defining themselves as the party of small government. Their standard-bearer, George W. Bush, managed to jack up total federal outlays 104 percent over his predecessor in eight short years, and he either signed off on or strong-armed all sorts of big-government projects through both Republican and Democratic majorities (No Child Left Behind, Medicare Prescription Drugs, McCain-Feingold, Sarbanes-Oxley, endless war supplemental spending bills, TARP, auto bailouts, etc.).
Adhering to the Constitution: This is another one that’s popular among the Tea Party crowd, but which is also pretty much meaningless. A rule requiring Congress to cite the Constitutional authority for an specific bill isn’t going to stop Congress from acting. For most legislation, all they’ll have to do it cite to the Commerce Clause, the General Welfare Clause, or theNecessary and Proper Clause and their job is done. Thanks to a century or more of Supreme Court jurisprudence, there is very little that the Congress wants to do that it can’t do under the Constitution as that document is currently interpreted.
Yes, yes, it is full of mom tested, kid approved pablum that will make certain hearts on the right sing in solidarity. But like a diet full of sugar, it will actually do nothing but keep making Washington fatter before we crash from the sugar high. It is dreck — dreck with some stuff I like, but like Brussels sprouts in butter… Overall, this grand illusion of an agenda that will never happen is best spoken of today and then never again as if it did not happen. It is best forgotten.
[W]hat really struck me as I went through it the first time was the foreign policy section, which is…how should I say this…amateurish and pathetic. What’s the current Republican foreign policy? Stripping out the immigration stuff from that section of the document, what remains is (1) Gitmo; (2) Missile defense; and (3) threatening Iran. That’s it. Iraq and Afghanistan are referred to once, in passing. There’s nothing at all about what the United States should do in those nations. Nothing about Pakistan. Nothing about Russia, or China (China at least gets one mention, in the context of the deficit). Nothing about Europe. The rest of the world? Obviously not.
[W]ith all of the huffing and puffing we have heard – and indeed continue to hear – from conservatives about Obama’s “appeasement” of Iran, are these same critics thus satisfied by a short and simple pledge to enforce “tough sanctions against Iran”? I believe this demonstrates just how easy it is to be one of the two main political party on the outs in the United States. Ideological rigidity, or, in the specific case of Iran, radical statements about preparing for a regime change, make for good soundbites and exchanges on the Sunday morning shows, but they don’t resemble, as far as I can tell, the actual Republican plan for governance regarding the Islamic Republic – and that’s a good thing. All this could change, of course, in 2012 …
There’s one bright spot in the GOP’s “pledge.” No where are their any promises, euphemistic or otherwise, to ensure that torturous “enhanced interrogation techniques” are used again. Although having attacked Obama for months over ending torture, it begs the question of why, if torture is so important to national security, Republicans haven’t put it in their policy platform. It’s almost as if they were willing to lionize torture just to make the administration look bad.
To be honest, this document is designed to make GOP base voters happy, which is fine as far as that goes. It is, after all, a campaign pamphlet (granted, a long one). It is not, however, a real blueprint for policy. Instead it amounts to pledges for themes popular with the base: tax cuts, vague spending cuts, repeal of health care reform, and symbolic (not to mention bogus) promises to read bills and ensure their constitutionality.