That's "Campana-stan" or ''Land of Campana." It reflects the Weltanschauung of Michael E. Campana, President-for-Life of the Republic of Campanastan. Welcome to Campanastan - no passports or visas required!
The Way of Water Oregon State University Geography PhD Student, Jennifer Veilleux, records her fieldwork, research, and thoughts about transboundary water resources development in the Nile River and Mekong River basins. Particular attention is given to Ethiopia's Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and Laos' Xayaburi Dam projects.
Thirsty in Suburbia Gayle Leonard documents things from the world of water that make us smile: particularly funny, amusing and weird items on bottled water, water towers, water marketing, recycling, the art-water nexus and working.
This Day in Water History Michael J. 'Mike' McGuire, engineer extraordinaire, NAE member, and author of 'The Chlorine Revolution', blogs about historical happenings in the fields of drinking water and wastewater keyed to calendar dates.
WaSH Resources New publications, web sites and multi-media on water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH).
Water 50/50 From Jay Famiglietti at UC-Irvine. Fifty lectures in fifty weeks: The 2012 Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Lectureship. A global lecture tour delivering the message about our changing water cycle, groundwater depletion, and the future of freshwater availability.
Water For The Ages Abby, another PNWer, writes about global water issues with passion and concern.
Watering the Desert Aptly-titled blog by CJ Brooks, a lawyer-hydrologist-geologist from Tucson, AZ.
Watershed Moments: Thoughts from the Hydrosphere From Sarah Boon - rediscovering her writing and editing roots after 13 years, primarily as an environmental scientist. Her writing centres around creative non-fiction, specifically memoir and nature writing. The landscapes of western Canada are her main inspiration.
WaterWired All things fresh water: news, comment, and analysis from hydrogeologist Michael E. Campana, Professor at Oregon State University.
Watery Foundation Tom Swihart, formerly of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, tells all about water management in the Sunshine State.
Western Water Blog The 'mystery blog' about Western USA water issues. What more can I say?
Reid Wilson offers a quick synopsis in his Washington Postblog post:
Yankeedom: Founded by Puritans, residents in Northeastern states and the industrial Midwest tend to be more comfortable with government regulation. They value education and the common good more than other regions.
New Netherland: The Netherlands was the most sophisticated society in the Western world when New York was founded, Woodard writes, so it’s no wonder that the region has been a hub of global commerce. It’s also the region most accepting of historically persecuted populations.
The Midlands: Stretching from Quaker territory west through Iowa and into more populated areas of the Midwest, the Midlands are “pluralistic and organized around the middle class.” Government intrusion is unwelcome, and ethnic and ideological purity isn’t a priority.
Tidewater: The coastal regions in the English colonies of Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and Delaware tend to respect authority and value tradition. Once the most powerful American nation, it began to decline during Westward expansion.
Greater Appalachia: Extending from West Virginia through the Great Smoky Mountains and into Northwest Texas, the descendants of Irish, English and Scottish settlers value individual liberty. Residents are “intensely suspicious of lowland aristocrats and Yankee social engineers.”
Deep South: Dixie still traces its roots to the caste system established by masters who tried to duplicate West Indies-style slave society, Woodard writes. The Old South values states’ rights and local control and fights the expansion of federal powers.
El Norte: Southwest Texas and the border region is the oldest, and most linguistically different, nation in the Americas. Hard work and self-sufficiency are prized values.
The Left Coast: A hybrid, Woodard says, of Appalachian independence and Yankee utopianism loosely defined by the Pacific Ocean on one side and coastal mountain ranges like the Cascades and the Sierra Nevadas on the other. The independence and innovation required of early explorers continues to manifest in places like Silicon Valley and the tech companies around Seattle.
The Far West:The Great Plains and the Mountain West were built by industry, made necessary by harsh, sometimes inhospitable climates. Far Westerners are intensely libertarian and deeply distrustful of big institutions, whether they are railroads and monopolies or the federal government.
New France: Former French colonies in and around New Orleans and Quebec tend toward consensus and egalitarian, “among the most liberal on the continent, with unusually tolerant attitudes toward gays and people of all races and a ready acceptance of government involvement in the economy,” Woodard writes.
First Nation:The few First Nation peoples left — Native Americans who never gave up their land to white settlers — are mainly in the harshly Arctic north of Canada and Alaska. They have sovereignty over their lands, but their population is only around 300,000.
"With such sharp regional differences, the idea that the United States would ever reach consensus on any issue having to do with violence seems far-fetched. The cultural gulf between Appalachia and Yankeedom, Deep South and New Netherland is simply too large. But it’s conceivable that some new alliance could form to tip the balance." - Colin Woodard
This week's New Yorkerhas another wonderful cover by Barry Blitt: 'Reboot'.
“We’re going to do a challenge. I’m going to try and download every movie ever made and you are going to try to sign up for Obamacare — and we’ll see which happens first.” — Jon Stewart to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on The Daily Show, Oct. 7
"Why would the heathcare.gov website be designed in such a way by an outside contractor? Because coders often price jobs by the number of lines of code they will have to write." -Daryl Rowland, after learning that the number of lines of code in the website is around 5x that of a large bank's.
Honduras, a Central American nation of 7.9 million people, has had close
ties with the United States over many years. The country served as a base for U.S. operations in Central America during the 1980s, and it continues to host a U.S. military presence and cooperate on anti-drug efforts today. Trade and investment linkages are also long-standing, and have grown
stronger in recent years through the implementation of the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). Migration is another central concern in bilateral relations; over 702,000 Hispanics of Honduran origin live in the United States—nearly two-thirds of whom are foreign born. Although the U.S.-Honduras relationship was somewhat strained as a result of the 2009 political crisis in Honduras, close cooperation quickly resumed in 2010. Since then, broad U.S. policy goals in Honduras have included a strengthened democracy with an effective justice system that protects human rights and enforces the rule of law, and the promotion of sustainable economic growth with a more open economy and improved living conditions.
Porfirio Lobo, who was inaugurated president of Honduras in January 2010, is now in the final six months of his term. Lobo assumed power after seven months of domestic political crisis and international isolation that had resulted from the June 2009 ouster of President Manuel Zelaya. While the strength of Lobo’s conservative National Party in the legislature has enabled his administration to pass much of its policy agenda, Lobo has had limited success in resolving the many challenges facing Honduras. His efforts to lead the country out of political crisis, for example, have helped Honduras secure international recognition but have done little to rebuild confidence in the country’s political system. Lobo is constitutionally ineligible for another term, and presidential, legislative, and municipal elections are scheduled for November 24, 2013. Several new parties have been established to contest the elections and early polling suggests that Honduras’ traditional two-party system is fracturing.
Security and Human Rights
The poor security and human rights situation in Honduras has continued to
deteriorate under President Lobo. Honduras has one of the highest homicide rates in the world, and common crime remains widespread. Moreover, human rights abuses—which increased significantly in the aftermath of Zelaya’s ouster—have persisted. A number of inter-related factors have likely contributed to this situation, including the increasing presence of organized crime, weak government institutions, and widespread corruption. Although the Honduran government has adopted a number of policy reforms designed to address these challenges, conditions have yet to improve.
President Lobo also inherited a weak economy with high levels of poverty and inequality. Honduras suffered an economic contraction of 2.4% in 2009 as a result of the combined impact of the global financial crisis and domestic political crisis. Although the economy has partially recovered, with estimated growth of 3.3% in 2012, the Honduran government continues to face serious fiscal challenges. The central government’s deficit has been growing in recent years. As it has struggled to obtain financing for the budget, public employees and contractors occasionally have gone unpaid and basic government services have been interrupted. Honduras also continues to face significant social disparities, with over two-thirds of the population living in poverty.
Members of Congress have expressed considerable interest in Honduras since the 2009 political crisis, focusing in particular on the state of the country’s democratic institutions as well as the significant security and human rights challenges that have plagued the country in recent years. These issues have continued to attract interest in the 113th Congress. Members of both houses have sent letters to the State Department expressing concerns about human rights abuses, and Congress chose to maintain human rights restrictions on aid to Honduras in the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013 (P.L. 113-6).
This report examines current conditions in Honduras as well as issues in U.S-Honduras relations.
Something exciting is brewing in Honduras, and it's not coffee! In an effort to 'refresh' the political system, a new (2011) political party, El Partido Anti Corrupción(PAC), is fielding candiates for national and local offices at the end of November 2013.
Friend and colleague Ari Michelsen (an economist) sent me this item from Mike Whitney. I am posting it 'as is'. Comments are welcomed!
Why was Adolph Hitler able to lift Germany out of the Great Depression, when
policymakers in the US–particularly the Fed–have failed so miserably?
Let’s look at the facts: When Hitler came to power in 1933, the German
economy was in a shambles. Millions of people were out of work, a number of
large banks had collapsed, the market for German exports had dried up
overnight, and a US-led lending freeze (withdrawal of credits under the Young
Plan) had thrust German industry and finance into a severe slump. By 1932,
German industrial production was nearly half of what it had been a year
earlier. Unemployment soared from 1.5 million in 1929 to more than 6 million in
Enter Hitler, who had been sworn in as chancellor under President Paul von
Hindenburg in January, 1933. Hitler appointed German economist and banker,
Hjalmar Schacht, as President of the Reichsbank and Minister of Economics.
Schacht, in turn, launched a groundbreaking fiscal stimulus program that rebuilt
the nation’s worn infrastructure and put millions of people back to work. At
the same time, Schacht took steps to strengthen the currency, jettison the gold
standard, and impose capital controls, all of which served to reinforce
Germany’s economic independence. Here’s a little background from C.K.Liu’s Asia
Times article “Nazism and the German Economic Miracle”:
The Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, at a time when its economy was
in total collapse, with ruinous war-reparation obligations and zero prospects
for foreign investment or credit. Yet through an independent monetary policy of
sovereign credit and a full-employment public-works program, the Third Reich
was able to turn a bankrupt Germany, stripped of overseas colonies it could
exploit, into the strongest economy in Europe within four years, even before
armament spending began.” (“Nazism and the German Economic Miracle,” Henry C.
K. Liu, Asia Times)
Clearly, “Depression expert” Bernanke’s performance pales in comparison to
and for obvious reasons. While zero rates and bond purchases (QE)
have been good for risk assets, (Stocks are up more than 140 percent since
their March 2009 lows.) unemployment is still above 7 percent, real wages are
trending lower, GDP has shriveled to below 2 percent, 47 million people are on
food stamps, and inequality is greater than anytime since the Gilded Era. The
facts speak for themselves; Bernanke’s policies have only benefited the
investor class. The real economy is still flat on its back.
That’s not to say that Hitler was not a murderous psychopath. He was, but
there’s also reason why his policies have been applauded by leftist
intellectuals, like Counterpunch co-editor Alexander Cockburn, who spoke
admiringly of Hitler’s “progressive economic policies.” Here’s a quote from
Hitler, genocidal monster that he was, was also the first practicing
Keynesian leader. … There were vast public works, such as the autobahns. He
paid little attention to the deficit or to the protests of the bankers about
his policies. … By 1936, unemployment had sunk to 1 percent. (Alexander
Cockburn is not alone in his admiration for Hitler’s (or should we say
Schacht’s) fiscal policies. Keynes himself praised the policies although he
despised Hitler and Nazism. Writing in the foreword of the German edition his
magnum opus The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, Keynes said:
The theory of output as a whole, which is what the following book purports to
provide, is much more easily adapted to the conditions of a totalitarian state,
than is the theory of production and distribution of a given output produced
under the conditions of free competition and a large measure of laissez-faire.
This doesn’t mean that Keynes supported autocratic government. He didn’t. He
was merely acknowledging that “demand management” (which is essential for
minimizing the negative effects of the business cycle) is more easily achieved
with a strong central government, since government spending is required to take
up the slack in aggregate demand during a slump. Government has an important
role to play when demand is weak and the economy slumps. The government can
(and should) use deficit spending to increase activity, put idle resources to
work, boost output, lower unemployment, and put the economy back on a solid
growth-path. Hitler may not have grasped this, but surely Schacht did. Here’s
more from Liu’s article:
From the very outset of his rule, Hitler, whose main short-term goal was
the economic revival of Germany with the help of German nationalist bankers and
industrialists, won popular support of the nation. Hitler adopted an aggressive
full-employment campaign. Between January 1933 and July 1935 the number of
employed Germans rose by a half, from 11.7 million to 16.9 million. More than 5
million new jobs paying living wages were created. Unemployment was banished
from the German economy and the entire nation was productively engaged in
reconstruction. Inflation was brought under control by wage freeze and price
control. Besides this, taking into account the lessons learned during 1914-18,
Hitler aimed at creating an economy that would be independent from foreign
capital and supply, and be well protected from another blockade and economic
war. For Germans, all of the above was proof that Hitler was the one who had
not only brought Germany out of economic depression but would take it directly
to prosperity with new pride. German popular trust in the Fuehrer rose
dramatically.” (“Nazism and the German Economic Miracle,” Henry C. K. Liu, Asia
Hitler was no friend of labor, but he knew that full employment would widen
his base of popular support. In contrast, Bernanke and his colleagues at the
Fed could care less about popularity or jobs. What they want is to slash critical
safetynet programs that protect the old, the sick and the needy. That’s what QE
is really all about; it’s a way of redistributing wealth upwards (through
rising stock prices) while Congress and the Obama administration “starve the
beast” via budget cuts. Reactionary elites have created a bogus deficit crisis
so they can impose their neoliberal agenda of deregulation, privatization, low
taxes, and austerity on working people.
Hitler garnered support for militarization through labor intensive public works
projects that transformed the nation in an economic powerhouse. Schacht played
a crucial role in the recovery. Along with strict capital controls and other
protectionist policies, Schacht stopped the private issuance of money and
“launched a new land-backed currency”. Here’s how author Ellen Brown sums it up
in a passage from her masterpiece Web of Debt:
Hitler began his national credit program by devising a plan of public
works. Projects earmarked for funding included flood control, repair of public
buildings and private residences, and construction of new buildings, roads,
bridges, canals, and port facilities. The projected cost of the various
programs was fixed at one billion units of the national currency. One billion
non-inflationary bills of exchange, called Labor Treasury Certificates, were
then issued against this cost. Millions of people were put to work on these
projects, and the workers were paid with the Treasury Certificates. This
government-issued money wasn’t backed by gold, but it was backed by something
of real value. It was essentially a receipt for labor and materials delivered
to the government.
Hitler said, “for every mark that was issued we required the equivalent of a
mark’s worth of work done or goods produced.” The workers then spent the
Certificates on other goods and services, creating more jobs for more people…
Within two years, the unemployment problem had been solved and the country
was back on its feet. It had a solid, stable currency, no debt, and no
inflation, at a time when millions of people in the United States and other
Western countries were still out of work and living on welfare. (“Thinking
Outside the Box: How a Bankrupt Germany solved its Infrastructure Problems”,
Ellen Brown, Web of Debt, Third Millennium Press)
This is the largely unknown story of Hitler’s rise to power, an ascent that
depended on “an independent monetary policy of sovereign credit” rather than
the issuance of loans by privately-owned banks. (Public money vs private money)
Hitler took the bankers out of the equation and rebuilt Germany in just four
Why doesn’t Bernanke do the same thing? Why doesn’t Bernanke purchase
Infrastructure bonds or Education bonds instead of Mortgage Backed Securities
(MBS) which only benefit the bankers. Why doesn’t Bernanke practice what he
preached to the bigwigs at the Japan Society of Monetary Economics, in May 2003
when he outlined steps for monetizing tax cuts. Here’s what he said:
The Bank of Japan should consider increasing still further its purchases of
government debt, preferably in explicit conjunction with a program of tax cuts
or other fiscal stimulus… Consider for example a tax cut for households and
businesses that is explicitly coupled with incremental BOJ purchases of
government debt–so that the tax cut is in effect financed by money creation.
Now there’s a novel idea; printing money to help the average working stiff.
That ought to increase activity and boost growth, don’t you think? So why is
Bernanke still dumping $85 billion per month into a black-hole financial system
instead of following his own advice and using his power to put people back to
work and get the economy back on track?
The economy is in the doldrums because that’s where Bernanke and Co. want it
I am enjoying the Republicans' efforts to portray themselves as being more inclusive. Unfortunately, it's not working too well, at least if they are seeking to recruit gays, Latinos, and women.
1) Check out this item from Politico about Dave Agema, Republican National Committeeman fron Michigan:
Dave Agema, who served as a state representative from 2007 until December posted an excerpt from an article titled "Everyone Should Know These Statistics On Homosexuals" on his Facebook page Wednesday. A group of 21 Michigan Republicans, including local precinct delegates and members of the University of Michigan College Republicans, has called it "deplorable."
But Agema told The Associated Press he maintains his belief that marriage is between a man and a woman, and said he will "absolutely not" resign. Agema said he posted the excerpt in light of the arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court this week on California's Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Among the claims in the article by Dr. Frank Joseph is that gay people "account for half the murders in large cities." The article, which cites studies from the 1980s for many of its claims, also attributes high medical insurance rates to caring for AIDS patients.
The article includes the statement that “part of the homosexual agenda is to get the public to affirm their filthy lifestyle.”
2) Then there's Rep. Don Young (R-AK), cut from the Ted Stevens mold. From NPR:
"My father had a ranch. We used to hire 50 or 60 wetbacks and — to pick tomatoes," Young said. "You know, it takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It's all done by machine."
3) Now there is a bill being introduced by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) that would ban Federal documents from using any language other than English. You go, guys!
”I would hope that when a woman goes in to a physician with a rape issue, that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage or was it truly caused by a rape. I assume that’s part of the counseling that goes on.” -State Senator Chuck Winder (R-ID), March 2012
“I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you… rape victims should make the best of a bad situation.” - Rick Santorum, January 2012
I’m allergic to cats—even pictures of cats make me wheeze. But I like the expression “herding cats” to describe organizing uncoöperative characters, and it’s also a nice metaphor for this President dealing with this particular Congress over the so-called fiscal cliff (among other things). So I took one for the team.
"Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a function." - Garrison Keillor
"Was it a good idea to spend taxpayer dollars on electric cars in Finland, or on windmills in China? Was it a good idea to borrow all this money from countries like China and spend it on all these various different interest groups?"-- Paul Ryan
"We can’t expect entrepreneurs and businesses large and small to take their life savings or their companies’ money and invest in America if they think we’re headed to the road to Greece. And that’s where we’re going right now unless we finally get off this spending and borrowing binge." - Mitt Romney
CANTON, OH—According to eyewitnesses at the scene, an unkempt and thoroughly disheveled Mitt Romney gave an impassioned campaign speech Monday to a group of bewildered shoppers inside a local Safeway.
Sources confirmed the filth-covered former presidential candidate walked into the store unannounced early yesterday evening, went to the store’s cereal aisle, and started to play Kid Rock’s “Born Free” on a portable boom box, enthusiastically waving and pointing to no one in particular.
"As president, I will create 12 million new jobs." - Mitt Romney, during the second presidential debate "Government does not create jobs. Government does not create jobs." - Mitt Romney, 45 minutes later (Oct. 16, 2012)
Got this from Joe Dellapenna's Facebook page, written by Dianne Self Wing.
If only it were true....
“To secede from the Union and set up another government would cause war. If you go to war with the United States, you will never conquer her, as she has the money and the men. If she does not whip you by guns, powder, and steel, she will starve you too.” -Sam Houston
"The ads they run are not generic party ads or issue ads—they are 'Bill-Clinton-is-the-best-thing-since-twist-off-caps' ads and 'Bob-Dole-is-the-cause-of-halitosis-and-genital-warts' ads... (I personally doubt the genital wart claim, but...) — Jim Hightower,If God Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates
Check out this bizarre video of Mitt Romney at a campaign rally talking about superstorm Sandy and its aftermath. Climate activist Ted Glick (a sometime Grist contributor) interrupts by yelling, “What about climate? What about climate? That’s what caused this monster storm,” and holding up a sign that says, “End climate silence.” See what happens next:
Mary Frances' friend in Albuquerque sent this to her. Here is the original link.
From the site:
Women constitute more than half of the population. In 2008, 60% of voters were women. It is estimated that 10 million more women than men will vote in this election. Despite this, women make up only 16% of Congress. Women earn only 70 cents to each dollar men make. Women of color and undocumented women make less than white citizens. Mitt Romney and the Republican Party are determined to overturn Roe V. Wade. Romney has not supported equal pay for women (The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act). Romney has vowed to defund Planned Parenthood. Romney has vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Romney doesn't want health care to cover birth control. Romney says same sex marriage should be banned with a Constitutional Amendment.
Women, let's rise up. Our vote alone can win this election. A vote for Obama is a vote for your health and your right to choose. It is a vote for equal pay and equal rights. A vote for Obama is a vote for our families. It is a vote to marry who you choose. It's a vote to start a family when you choose. A vote for Obama says that we won't stand for violence against women and that rape is rape. Our vote ensures that our daughters will grow up with the same rights that we've had. A vote for Obama sends a message: This war on women must end. We will not go backwards.
This election is shockingly close. Our safety is at stake. Our silence is consent and our vote is our voice. Let’s get active. Let’s get out every vote we can. Let’s make this election a mandate. A mandate to finally ensure women the respect, dignity and equality we all deserve! This is now. This is our call to action. Once and for all, let's take back the power that is so inherently and naturally ours!
Lesley Gore recorded this in 1964 - a feminist anthem before its time. It went to #2 in the USA, kept from #1 by The Beatles.
But just like Lesley, I sometimes think this is 1964 all over again.
'Don't tell me what to do Don't tell me what to say' 'You Don't Own Me' by John Madara and David White
At least those of us in the other states aren't subjected to the inane political ads for president.
"I should tell my story. I'm also unemployed." —GOP presidential candidate and former MassachusettsGov. Mitt Romney (R), speaking in 2011 to unemployed people in Florida. Romney's net worth is over $200 million.
Someone - a 'private family foundation' - has been paying for these billboards in predominanatly student, Latino, and African-American neighborhoods in the 'battleground state' cities of Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Columbus.
Must be the Obama campaign, urging its supporters to be careful. Uh-huh...
Clear Channel Communications, which owns the billboards, isn't saying. A spokesman wrote in an email to NPR that the advertiser asked to be anonymous. That goes against company policy, but he said the contract was signed by mistake and the company does not plan to take the billboards down.
"We will do all we can to ensure it does not happen again," the spokesman said.
He didn't respond to questions about why the company allowed almost identical billboards to go up anonymously in Milwaukee in 2010. They were also funded by a "private family foundation."
Right, Clear Channel!
"My impression and understanding is that they simply state what the law is in the state of Wisconsin." -Nathan Conrad, Republican Party of Wisconsin (from the story)
The title of today's post is a quote by a long-forgotten journalist upon the death of Virginia's iconic Sen. Harry F. Byrd, Sr. in October 1966. It's been etched on my brain since I first read it as a callow youth beginning college in Virginia. The quote recalls Byrd's massive resistance to civil rights for African-Americans and integration of Virginia's public schools.
Byrd was a dinosaur, but cedes nothing to today's subject. So from iconic we now regress to moronic...
A description of the book from the Amazon.com site:
America is truly unique, so diametrically different from any other nation conceived. But many people don't understand and appreciate America's distinctive qualities. In Letters to the Editor, author Jon Michael Hubbard questions whether all of those who reside in the United States are capable of being Americans; he contends that America cannot be all things to all people. In this collection of letters written to newspaper editors, along with other related articles, the author shares his personal feelings and fears about an array of topics important in today's world, including: liberals, patriotism, the military, politics, government, education, race relations, immigration and Christianity. Providing a provocative and informative discussion, he also delves into other related topics such as national security, energy issues, American industry, the mortgage crisis, and a woman's right to choose. In Letters to the Editor, Hubbard, a Vietnam era veteran with a deep love for this country, describes what it's like to be a true American who understands and appreciates what this land offers. The mindset of a true American is fueled by ambition and a burning desire to succeed. Being an American is definitely not to be taken for granted.
“… the institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise. The blacks who could endure those conditions and circumstances would someday be rewarded with citizenship in the greatest nation ever established upon the face of the Earth.” (Pages 183-89)
“… one of the stated purposes of school integration was to bring black students up to a level close to that of white students. But, to the great disappointment of everyone, the results of this theory worked exactly in reverse of its intended purpose, and instead of black students rising to the educational levels previously attained by white students, the white students dropped to the level of black students. To make matters worse the lack of discipline and ambition of black students soon became shared by their white classmates, and our educational system has been in a steady decline ever since.” (Page 27)
African Americans must “understand that even while in the throes of slavery, their lives as Americans are likely much better than they ever would have enjoyed living in sub-Saharan Africa.”
“Knowing what we know today about life on the African continent, would an existence spent in slavery have been any crueler than a life spent in sub-Saharan Africa?” (Pages 93 and 189)
“Both are antichrist in that they both deny that Jesus is God in the flesh of man, and the savior of mankind. They both also hold that their cause should take over the entire world through violent, bloody, revolution.” - Charlie Fuqua, referring to liberals and Muslims.
I pulled this from Mark Boslough's Facebook page. Just before this banner was the 'Missouri Women for Todd Akin' one.
"I love the fact that there are also women out there that don't have a choice and they must go to work and they still have to raise the kids. Thank goodness that we value those people too." - Ann Romney
Now that Republicans have demonstrated how self-sufficent they are and how capable they are of great things without government help:
they have decided to adopt the Starship anthem, We Built This City, as the official 2012 campaign song. That's an appropriate move, since the song makes about as much sense as the Republicans' platform; it has made its way onto a number of 'worst songs' list.
"Who counts the money underneath the bar Who rides the wrecking ball in to our rock guitars Don't tell us you need us, 'cos we're the ship of fools Looking for America, coming through your schools." - We Built This Cityby Martin Page, Bernie Taupin, Dennis Lambert, and Peter Wolf
This is why political parties like scripted conventions. You'd think a famous film director would understand that. Then again, he was acting.
Thanks to Mark Boslough for this one.
Click to enlarge.
"I'm not really conservative. I'm conservative on certain things. I believe in less government. I believe in fiscal responsibility and all those things that maybe Republicans used to believe in but don't any more." -Clint Eastwood
"I mean, I've always been a libertarian. Leave everybody alone. Let everybody else do what they want. Just stay out of everybody else's hair." - Clint Eastwood
We've all had a good time (see photo below) pillorying Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) for his ill-advised use of the adjective 'legitimate' to describe abortion. I personally found his views on abortion abhorrent but unsurprising because he's a conservative, evangelical Christian Republican.
But, as a scientist, what I really found pathetic and frightening was his understanding of how the female reproductive system works - his belief that the system could shut down to prevent contraception:
"It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
I wonder which doctors Akin has been consulting. Maybe Romneycare will fix that.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologistssaidthat a woman who is raped
"...has no control over ovulation, fertilization or implantation of a fertilized egg. ... To suggest otherwise contradicts basic biological truths."
What frightens me is Akin's apparent lack of scientific understanding. Wonder if he believes in evolution? How about plate tectonics? And the age of Earth is....? How AIDS is transmitted? I shudder to think what Akin's opinions on climate change and global warming are.
I suspect his knowledge of basic science, math, and technology is pitiful.
Fact is, Akin is no different from a lot of Americans, and to boot, he's in a position of power - a member of the House of Representatives. I can imagine that he shines among many of his colleagues.
And you know, I didn't hear many of critics decrying his poor knowledge of biology. Either they didn't know Akin was wrong, or else they didn't want to appear 'too smart'.
We have two Harvard Law School grads running for President. You'd think we would have a more intelligent discussion of the compelling issues facing the USA. Instead, it's name-calling, vitriol, and vituperations.
But we get what we deserve.
I really don't care a whole lot about Romney's wealth as long as nothing illegal or unethical was done to obtain all or part of it. I am upper middle class; like Romney, I have legal tax avoidance strategies unavailable to someone whose family income is a lot less. Should we both avail ourselves of those advantages? Is it somehow wrong or unethical if we do?
That said, Romney should release more tax returns. Perception is reality; it appears he is hiding something, if only inconsistencies between his publicly-stated positions and his private life. And those returns might just provide an impetus for discussion on what's wrong (let me count the ways...) with our tax code.
I do care about Romney's foreign policy, environmental positions, tax reform (desperately needed) platform, and plans to bolster the economy, among many other things. I want to hear more of his plans, and Obama's as well, and have each critique the other's ideas.
Someday we will have thoughtful, forthright, intelligent candidates who debate each other vigorously but respectfully on the important issues before an engaged, informed, civil electorate.
"Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve." -George Bernard Shaw
It’s not a shock that the Republican Party of Texas’ official platform, announced and adopted this month, is a seething morass of racism and homophobia. Republicans: That’s how we do! Nor is it surprising that the platform comes out in favor of employee discrimination and corporal punishment in schools, and opposed to comprehensive sex education, environmental protections, affirmative action, and the Voting Rights Act. Yawn, really. But get ready to hand your $10 to Nick Fury, because they actually managed to pull out something so blatant that it surprised even jaded old me: The Texas GOP’s platform is explicitly opposed to critical thinking skills.
Zimmerman then lists the relevant text:
"We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority."
Zimmerman goes on to mention:
According to Talking Points Memo, the party is now backpedaling the whole “brain thoughts are for homogays” approach, claiming that it was “not the intent of the subcommittee” to come out against critical thinking and that they “regret” the oversight. But they don’t regret it all that damn much, apparently, because they also say what’s done is done: The convention approved the platform, so it can’t be changed until the next state convention in 2014. By which time, if Texas Republicans had their druthers, there would be nobody left who even knew how to read the thing.
Speth is one of our foremost environmental lawyers and advocates.
These two passages struck me:
It is simply unimaginable that American politics as we know it today will deliver the transformative changes needed. Political reform and building a new and powerful progressive movement in America must be priority number one. Above all else, we must build a new democratic reality—a government truly of, by, and for the people.
The most important prodemocracy reform is to undermine the power of money in our elections and in lobbying. The emphasis of campaign finance reform should be on encouraging small donor contributions and public funding of elections—the democratization of campaign finance itself.
Looks like a book worth reading.
Be thankful that I did not title this post 'Also Sprach Speth'.
"In America, anyone can become president. That’s the problem." -George Carlin
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