Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Independent Republic of Wyoming

The great state of Wyoming has been in the funny papers recently.

At some point, the people of Wyoming will stop laughing at their own elected representatives long enough to come to an informed decision. A reordering of their legislature is probably coming, and soon. If you follow the link and read the comments, there is one fellow calling himself "gladiator" and using the image of Gerard Butler from 300 as his avatar--he's pretty much the sole supporter of the idea of the bill that was just defeated and I would imagine that not everyone lurking over there thinks he's nuts.

What possessed 27 individuals to consider a bill that would have made provisions for Wyoming to procure an aircraft carrier should the need arise? Talk about being obsessed with war porn.

There are many distressed gentlefolk in Wyoming; people who are dealing with agricultural issues and with rural flight. I would think that a responsible legislature would be working to cut costs, improve government, and deal with the issues faced by Wyoming's population. The fact that they had the time to consider the implications of needing their own force projection flotilla concerns me.

Everyone knows you need three aircraft carriers, and not just one. You have to have one in port, one on the way, and one on station. Perhaps they just want their own Lego version of an aircraft carrier.

The currency of Wyoming is, of course, a buffalo chip.
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Monday, February 20, 2012

Lifestyles of the Permanently Unemployed

Kudos to CBS News for actually trying to understand the demographic shifts that have occurred in this country since the economic catastrophe of 2008. A number of Americans fell out of the Middle Class and are trying to get back in; this piece shows you what that has meant for these people and why it matters.

This gets to the heart of the matter:

These are not the statements of a hippie, or an Occupy Wall Street protester or a Democrat pretending to care about poor people while a Republican tells them to pull themselves up by the bootstraps of their trust fund. This is coming from a man trying to help thousands of people get back into the workforce.

The lack of focus on why this happened and what continues to happen in America is troubling. That is why there is a powerful disconnect out there between what politicians are saying and what is truly driving people to the end of their resources. This disconnect is why the American dream is disappearing.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Americans Will Not Accept a Catholic Theocracy

I think what John Cole is saying here touches on something that has escaped a lot of the strategists and pundits so far.

Catholicism really isn't very popular in the United States of America, and it has never been popular. Our popular media has avoided this subject in order to appear unbiased. But, the fact of the matter is, the teachings of the Catholic Church have largely been rejected by most of the American people, and by most American Catholics.

Now, is that solely because of religious bias? I'm willing to grant someone the point that there is, and probably always will be, a bias against Catholics. But there is a bias against virtually every powerful religion in the world. And when it comes to the American bias against Catholicism, it stems mostly from the fact that the church is run by a hierarchy in Rome that has nation/state ambitions that are rarely acknowledged.

This battle may be fought in the punditocracy right now, but it will emerge as a battlefield in Latin America before all is said and done. It has been a battlefield going back over forty years. Contraception and the Catholic Church are issues that are going to reach critical mass in places like Brazil and Mexico if this insistence on absolute opposition continues to be the focus of Rome. Throughout the region, there are examples of how a polite coexistence have been achieved, most notably in Guatemala. Could it lead to a violent schism? Could we end up with one Catholic Church for the world and one that is specifically for Latin America, where half the world's Catholics are moving towards the same position that American Catholics have had for decades?

It's fairly clear to me that the actions of America's Catholic hierarchy is now bordering on being anti-American. Will it come to registering bishops as agents of a foreign power?

Well, if the stupidity, the overreach, and the absolutism are any indication, why not? Americans don't want theocracy. If they're not going to accept the born again version, why would they accept the Catholic version?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Republicans Love to Talk About Lady Parts

Rather than try to wade through all of the nonsense contained in this piece, I'd just like to point out that this obsession with lady parts is a standard thing when you look at what Republicans say and do. Democrats don't have this problem. Republicans have lady parts on the brain; it informs everything they do.

Here you have a conservative attacking Ann Coulter in the most sexist way possible by ascribing to her male testicles for all of the "brave" and "bold" things that she has written. And yet, he fails to note that she is merely a shill whose writings and opinions have been bought and paid for. The actual answer to his question can be found by simply asking the question, "who is funneling money or the promise of money to Coulter in exchange for her support?"

Coulter's books are not selling anymore. She's desperate for attention. Her "testicles" were not removed; her price was paid.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Don't Mess With the Sugar Industry in Florida

The chart that you see above shows that the Florida sugar industry is thriving; in terms of agricultural success stories, this is either a public health disaster or an example of thriving on the turbulence of the markets. Take your pick.

I mention this because it would appear that the Republican Party in Florida has decided to go after the sugar industry indirectly. Banning poor people from eating refined sugar is akin to banning beer in Munich:

Has the sugar industry down in Florida stopped giving money to Republicans? No way this bill gets passed. No way does it survive for very long. Anything that hurts the sugar growers, either directly or indirectly, results in the targeting of anyone who votes for it. I find it hard to believe that this woman who sponsored the bill would get re-elected or survive the onslaught of the sugar industry. It just sounds like a crazy piece of legislation for the craziest state in the Union, bar non.

Granted, it achieves one of the things Republicans love to achieve--the ritual humiliation and denigration of anyone who accepts public assistance. Republicans hate poor people now, and cutting them off from sugar in the name of "nutrition" and "education" is ludicrous.

If they were really concerned about those things, they wouldn't be giving them a pittance of a benefit for buying food in the first place. Families regularly go hungry til the first of the month; how does cutting them off from sugar achieve anything? Kids can't have a treat now?

I mean, really. Does the Republican Party want to make sure that a kid can't have a cup of Jello now?
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Friday, February 3, 2012

This Does Not Conform to the Narrative

These numbers are no where near good enough; there is a lot of ground to make up. But what's nice to know is that they are headed in the right direction. And that means that the Republican Party's narrative about President Obama is going to look pretty silly and thin once summer arrives. If unemployment drops to 7%, Obama walks to re-election.