Archive for August, 2012

Who built that?

August 31, 2012

Mitt Romney doesn’t even acknowledge the $30 million Federal bailout that keep Bain Equity from going bankrupt, or the $10 million that taxpayers had to make up for when Bain Equity wriggled out of paying it back.

John Green gracefully acknowledges that without government roads his books would have a harder time getting to the much smaller market of literate people that would exist without public education.

I would say the main differences here are that the types of work John Green does has proven benefits, unlike that of Bain Capital, and that John Green has an awareness of the world that goes beyond base self interest. Oh, and that John Green has an admirable quality that Mitt Romney lacks: human decency.

John Green says it best in the last paragraph of his post:

Over the years, I’ve encountered a few successful people who believe they did it all themselves and achieved success because they are just better than their fellow human beings. Some were bankers; some were writers; some were lawyers. Some male, some female. Some rich, some not. Some were born into privilege, some weren’t. I guess they’re a pretty diverse crowd. They only have one thing in common, really: They’re all assholes.

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Mitt Romney’s Financial Exploits

August 31, 2012

And never was there a more fitting use of the word exploit.

Mitt Romney doesn’t acknowledge the $30 million Federal bailout that kept Bain Capital from going bankrupt. Or the $10 million which never got paid back for which taxpayers had to foot the bill.

And that is only one example of Mitt Romney profiting, as Matt Taibbi puts it, “by borrowing vast sums of money that other people were forced to pay back.”

Or to put it another way:

Gawker has more information on Romney’s financial exploits.

Who must give up identity politics?

August 30, 2012

Joe Klein says Democrats must give up identity politics. Excuse me?

Was Todd Akin a Democrat when he attacked women’s right to bodily autonomy?

Was Alan Clemmons a Democrat when he wrote a law which would suppress the voting rights of minorities?

Was Jan Brewer a Democrat when she denied public benefits to young immigrants working in and to the benefit of this country?

Was Peter King a Democrat when he created a panel to persecute American Muslims?

And was the Republican Party Platform somehow hijacked by Democrats where it calls for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman?

No. Those were all Republicans playing to their monochromatic base of male Christians.

Those were Republicans treating women’s bodies as their property, deciding that the voting rights of poor people, dark people, elderly people and students were not as important as winning an election, deciding that working to make a life in the land of the free should be as hard as the government can make it for immigrants, pissing on the First Amendment by trying to create classes of citizen where Christians are above suspicion while those other religions are the focus of hate and fear, and deciding that the genitalia of an individual matters more than the relationship between two people.

And the same things that motivate those Republicans would motivate those who come after, to come after contraception once abortion was illegal. They would further reduce the number of people who have the right to vote until it is only a few white males with enormous pots of money, own land, and have the good sense to be of the majority denomination. They would profit off of the labor of immigrants while paying them pennies and blaming them for anything wrong in a community. It wouldn’t be enough for it to be a Christian Theocracy after a time: you would have to be the right type of Christian. Which denomination of Protestant are you? Lutheran? You are too quiet for the American Christendom. Better to have been Baptist. And as for gays? Have you noticed that when Christian Republicans quote Leviticus, it always seems to be the same verse?

Who needs to give up identity politics?

Hell, nobody on the side of equality until the actions in the list above are political poison.

Immigration as economic driver (And why aren’t more Republicans like Jon Huntsman?)

August 29, 2012

Jon Huntsman, the token sane Republican presidential candidate who I previously hoped would be the Republican nominee, points out that we should be considering immigration for its economic benefits rather than as a security issue alone. He sensibly points out that supporting an aging population with young newcomers would be a benefit, as would the businesses started by immigrants.

Meanwhile, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer reacts spitefully towards children of immigrants who get work authorizations under Obama’s executive order.

Why can’t more Republicans be like Jon Huntsman?

Todd Akin has pissed off the musically talented.

August 29, 2012

I can’t decide which I like better, but I nearly laughed myself to tears when I recognized the second tune.

 

First video found through Greta Christina’s Blog, second video found through Allison’s comment on the same page.

Science, for Women and Guy(s)

August 28, 2012

A Rallying Point for Progressive Atheism

August 27, 2012

It seems pretty straightforward to me: once we dispense with systems designed to prop up existing power structures in the guise of “serving god”…

Then we can serve as friends and allies to each other without consideration for what a mythical man might mandate. We can work towards equal rights and equal pay, we can work to improve education and opportunity, we can work to lift humans to the stars rather than bombing each other back to the stone age where the beliefs of religious patriarchs are more at home.

But even within atheism, many people question religion without questioning the host of biases and prejudices that are packaged with it. And so we need A+. We need a rallying place for atheists to not just reject god, but to reject all that “god” was made to champion by self interested “prophets,” politicians and other swindlers.

We need a place for atheists to rally to support and fight for women’s right to bodily autonomy and to equal pay as well.

We need a place for atheists to come together to oppose xenophobia and racism, and to dismantle the biblical teaching of “Cain’s Mark.”

We need a place for atheists to show their support for and work towards equal marriage rights.

We need a place for atheists to work towards a more sensible mental health system that doesn’t have roots in a belief that you can prayer your neurochemisty better.

We need a place for atheists to discuss issues of disability or gender in a way that doesn’t reflect the larger religiously-inspired discomfort with and blame for any deviation from (socially created) norms.

We need a place for people to teach and learn about privilege and oppression and organize to fight the systems that perpetuate them.

And thanks to Jen McCreight, we have one: Atheism Plus.

Mike Huckabee describes the political debate I want to see.

August 26, 2012

“This could be a Mount Carmel moment. You know, you bring your gods. We’ll bring ours. We’ll see whose God answers the prayers and brings fire from heaven. That’s kind of where I’m praying: that there will be fire from heaven, and we’ll see it clearly, and everyone else will too.”

Mike Huckabee, rallying Southern Baptists to support Representative Todd Akin (R-MO) in his campaign.

This is very interesting to me even aside from the implication that “good Christians” should believe like Romney, Ryan, or Akin – and the Republican Party Platform – that abortion should never be legal, and like Akin and Romney that rape somehow isn’t rape if it results in pregnancy.


I mean, look at that quote: I am sold. I want to have these charlatans who claim to know the mind of god stand before the world and have a miracle competition. As the judges we can get The Amazing Randi, Penn and Teller and any other stage magicians willing to watch for fraud. To enter the competition, contracts must be signed saying that anybody who tries but can’t perform a miracle has to tithe to the National Center for Science Education for the rest of their lives.

Anybody who actually performs a miracle before all the world suddenly has a much greater reach and audience.

I can see no possible downside… except to charlatans.

 

Mike Huckabee quote found through Political Wire.

Corn should not dominate our agriculture and economy.

August 25, 2012

I know this is going to seem radical, but:

Corn is a food. Corn is a food for humans, and quite good as such.

However, without the huge government subsidies it currently receives, it would not be a competitive way to sweeten drinks, feed livestock, or fuel cars. On that last point, the ethanol we get from biowaste- meaning all the stuff we don’t eat that goes in the trash- is not only cheaper, it is a way to get good value out of stuff we’d otherwise pay to dispose.

I’m not suggesting we hang farmers out to dry, I’m suggesting we go back to our old system of guarantees for years when the price falls. The government would say: If you want to plant corn for next year’s harvest, and can’t sell it for more than x, we will buy it for x and store it in silos in case of famine. That would be sensible.

Instead, what we are now saying is: if you grow corn, we will give you money. Not for the corn. Hell, you can let it rot in the fields and we will pay you for that, too. This is not sensible.

Is it news if it’s not reported?

August 24, 2012

 

 

 

Since corporate profits keep going up- showing that corporations are benefiting from the many services that our government offers- the fact that corporate tax revenue is decreasing seems relevant and necessary to our political discussions.

Does the very idea of those discussions happening strike anyone else as extremely unlikely?

Apparently so. (Note the third panel especially)

 

Chart found through Wonkwire. Comic through Political Irony.