Thursday, September 30, 2004

Why I Like Democrats, Part I

My brother says that we inherited from our father the tendency to be "knee-jerk Democrats". In my circles we like to think for ourselves and vote/support based on who we agree with most. But, overall, I like Democrats the best.

One of the biggest reasons is Jimmy Carter.
In January, 1977, James Earl Carter, Jr. became the 39th President of the United States. During his unsullied tenure, amidst the greatest fight in the history of the Congress, the Panama Canal Treaty was signed. The Camp David Accords signalled a new era of hope in the Middle East. Israel and Egypt became partners in peace. The SALT II treaty was signed with the Soviet Union, and the U.S. established diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China.

Then, following his four years, unlike most ex-politicos who content themselves with rounds of golf, Jimmy Carter has become a traveling ambassador of peace, going to hot spots around the world to open dialogue between adversaries.

And at home, President Carter's active participation in things like the Carter Center, the Atlanta Project, and Habitat for Humanity prove that he is just as committed to helping the poor and disenfranchised here in the United States as he is to advancing the cause of global unity. You can find him building a house for a family in the inner-city, in the company of the most powerful leaders in the world, or back home teaching Sunday school at the Maranatha Baptist Church. The man from Plains, Georgia is still providing the moral leadership he promised nearly two decades ago. In 2002, his commitment to nonviolent conflict resolution was recognized with the Nobel Peace Prize.
Everyone wish Jimmy a big happy birthday tomorrow, October 1!

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Gone But Not Forgotten

So I'm not the only one who remembers that the Republican Party used to be different. Heck, I'm not even all that old. Dwight Eisenhower's son wrote a nice piece that I found on Rox Populi. My favorite parts are:

To me, the word “Republican” has always been synonymous with the word “responsibility,” which has meant limiting our governmental obligations to those we can afford in human and financial terms... Responsibility used to be observed in foreign affairs. That has meant respect for others... Leadership involves setting a direction and building consensus, not viewing other countries as practically devoid of significance. Recent developments indicate that the current Republican Party leadership has confused confident leadership with hubris and arrogance.
And, to put this in Ike's own words:

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

President Dwight D. Eisenhower
April 16, 1953

Monday, September 27, 2004

Who's Zooming Who?

Thanks to Shari at An Old Soul, I found this nice little interview with George Lakoff and the homepage for the Rockridge Institute. Between Rockridge and Democracy for America I'm starting to have some freaking hope.

To give you a taste of Lakoff from the interview:
...the progressive worldview is modeled on a nurturant parent family. Briefly, it assumes that the world is basically good and can be made better and that one must work toward that. Children are born good; parents can make them better. Nurturing involves empathy, and the responsibility to take care of oneself and others for whom we are responsible. On a larger scale, specific policies follow, such as governmental protection in form of a social safety net and government regulation, universal education (to ensure competence, fairness), civil liberties and equal treatment (fairness and freedom), accountability (derived from trust), public service (from responsibility), open government (from open communication), and the promotion of an economy that benefits all and functions to promote these values, which are traditional progressive values in American politics.

The conservative worldview, the strict father model, assumes that the world is dangerous and difficult and that children are born bad and must be made good. The strict father is the moral authority who supports and defends the family, tells his wife what to do, and teaches his kids right from wrong. The only way to do that is through painful discipline — physical punishment that by adulthood will become internal discipline. The good people are the disciplined people. Once grown, the self-reliant, disciplined children are on their own. Those children who remain dependent (who were spoiled, overly willful, or recalcitrant) should be forced to undergo further discipline or be cut free with no support to face the discipline of the outside world.

So, project this onto the nation and you see that to the right wing, the good citizens are the disciplined ones — those who have already become wealthy or at least self-reliant — and those who are on the way. Social programs, meanwhile, "spoil" people by giving them things they haven't earned and keeping them dependent. The government is there only to protect the nation, maintain order, administer justice (punishment), and to provide for the promotion and orderly conduct of business. In this way, disciplined people become self-reliant. Wealth is a measure of discipline. Taxes beyond the minimum needed for such government take away from the good, disciplined people rewards that they have earned and spend it on those who have not earned it.
Ok, now check THIS out from TaxProf Blog:

The Tax Foundation has released a fascinating report showing which states benefit from federal tax and spending policies, and which states foot the bill.

US 50 States MapThe report shows that of the 32 states (and the District of Columbia) that are "winners" -- receiving more in federal spending than they pay in federal taxes -- 76% are Red States that voted for George Bush in 2000. Indeed, 17 of the 20 (85%) states receiving the most federal spending per dollar of federal taxes paid are Red States. Here are the Top 10 states that feed at the federal trough (with Red States highlighted in bold):

States Receiving Most in Federal Spending Per Dollar of Federal Taxes Paid:

1. D.C. ($6.17)
2. North Dakota ($2.03)
3. New Mexico ($1.89)
4. Mississippi ($1.84)
5. Alaska ($1.82)
6. West Virginia ($1.74)
7. Montana ($1.64)
8. Alabama ($1.61)
9. South Dakota ($1.59)
10. Arkansas ($1.53)

In contrast, of the 16 states that are "losers" -- receiving less in federal spending than they pay in federal taxes -- 69% are Blue States that voted for Al Gore in 2000. Indeed, 11 of the 14 (79%) of the states receiving the least federal spending per dollar of federal taxes paid are Blue States. Here are the Top 10 states that supply feed for the federal trough (with Blue States highlighted in bold):

States Receiving Least in Federal Spending Per Dollar of Federal Taxes Paid:

1. New Jersey ($0.62)
2. Connecticut ($0.64)
3. New Hampshire ($0.68)
4. Nevada ($0.73)
5. Illinois ($0.77)
6. Minnesota ($0.77)
7. Colorado ($0.79)
8. Massachusetts ($0.79)
9. California ($0.81)
10. New York ($0.81)
Two states -- Florida and Oregon (coincidentally, the two closest states in the 2000 Presidential election) -- received $1.00 in federal spending for each $1.00 in federal taxes paid.

Things That Make Me Laugh

"John Kerry said that you can't have fair and free elections in a place where there's no rule of law. President Bush said, 'Oh yeah, what if your brother's governor of that state?'" --Jay Leno

"Republicans are now saying that Dan Rather should lose his job because he misled the country with bogus information. Which is odd because the Democrats are saying the exact same thing about President Bush." --Jay Leno

"Bush bragged that more Iraqis say their country is on the right track than American say our country is on the right track. Boy, there’s a campaign slogan for you -- 'America: More F*cked Up Than Fallujah!'" -–Bill Maher

"Oh, so Iraqis are more optimistic about their country than Americans are about ours? I don't think that helps you." --Jon Stewart, after President Bush touted a poll showing that the right track/wrong track in Iraq was better than in America

"Bad times over at CBS news. They are getting a ton of heat over these phony documents that allege President Bush loafed through the National Guard. Turns out they weren’t even really documents – just photocopies from a Kinko’s in Texas. Very embarrassing for CBS News. This is a network that has three CSIs, and nobody investigated this?" --Jimmy Kimmel

"There are rumors that Dan Rather could lose his job over this. Wouldn't that be ironic? Another American losing his job due to President Bush!" --Jay Leno

You Know You're a Republican When...

  • You think "proletariat" is a type of cheese.
  • You've named your kids "Deduction one" and "Deduction two"
  • You've tried to argue that poverty could be abolished if people were just allowed to keep more of their minimum wage.
  • You've ever referred to someone as "my (insert racial or ethnic minority here) friend"
  • You've ever tried to prove Jesus was a capitalist and opposed to welfare.
  • You're a pro-lifer, but support the death penalty.
  • You think Huey Newton is a cookie.
  • The only union you support is the Baseball Players, because heck, they're richer than you.
  • You think you might remember laughing once as a kid.

Nature vs. Nurture

Psychologists and psychoanalysts have long believed that Republicans' unnatural and frequently unconstitutional tendencies result from unhealthy family life--a remarkably high percentage of Republicans had authoritarian, domineering fathers and emotionally distant mothers who didn't teach them how to be kind and gentle. But biologists have long suspected that conservatism is inherited. "After all" said one author of the Nurture article, "It's quite common for a Republican to have a brother or sister who is a Republican."
Read the rest.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Not Getting It

I can be such a lucky duck. As you've seen, the whole issue of basic disagreements between left and right has been bothering me. So I was down in the basement opening all those boxes of books we've had packed up for so long, and fell across one that spoke directly to my dilemma.

"Not getting it" occurs when people hold conflicting opinions or desires regarding the same value. It has three elements: misunderstanding, self-hugging, and everyday tyranny.
  1. Misunderstanding refers to the confusion people experience when they try to understand ow another person experiences, likes, or dislikes something much different than they do themselves. For example, some people have a hard time understanding why a workaholic spends so much time on the job.
  2. Self-hugging refers to people's automatic assumption that their goals and values are best, not just for themselves, but also for other people as well. A good example of this is the heterosexual parent who keeps encouraging a homosexual son to date women.
  3. Everyday tyranny refers to the use of pressure tactics to try to get someone to change his or her basic goals, values, or lifestyle. One example is a parent who refuses to pay for college for a child who chooses a career against the parent's wishes.
...self-huggers misread what other people want from life. They never get it - other people pursue different goals in life, not because they have settled for inferior pleasure, but because they have different natures....

Who Am I? The 16 Basic Desires That Motivate Our Actions and Define Our Personalities by Steven Reiss, Ph.D.

"Water is necessary, and then generators, and then food, and then clothes."

How can we read the same things and have such a different reaction?

USA Today reported:

NEW YORK (AP) — Teresa Heinz Kerry, encouraging volunteers as they busily packed supplies Wednesday for hurricane relief efforts in the Caribbean, said she was concerned the effort was too focused on sending clothes instead of essentials like water and electric generators.

"Clothing is wonderful, but let them go naked for a while, at least the kids," said Heinz Kerry, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. "Water is necessary, and then generators, and then food, and then clothes."

Heinz Kerry stopped by a market in the heart of Brooklyn's Caribbean community, where she spoke French with Haitian vendors and shook hands with volunteers busy packing food, clothes and other relief supplies to be shipped to several Carribean islands hit by Hurricane Ivan. Her husband's campaign donated water, blankets and first aid kits.

"I think it's important we help all the kids we can," Heinz Kerry said.

I had to dig up this article. I did so because someone had told me that Heinz-Kerry had made some horrible and stupid comments about Haiti. When I read this I think that she's practical. Today it was reported (scroll to the bottom) "U.N. troops from Argentina fired smoke grenades Friday to disperse a crowd when about 500 men, women and children tried to break into a schoolyard where a relief agency hands out grain and water." I'm sure those in the crowd would have felt so much better doing it in a pair of used Calvin Klines.

When my friend had originally mentioned the Heinz-Kerry quote his stance was that "she's rich, she should just take care of Haiti". Really? I said. And what portion of your income to YOU give to charity? I asked. We're the richest country in the world. Give up a couple of latte for world hunger. He looked appalled that I was inquiring as to his charitable contributions (which I would bet money range far, far below even 2% of income). Why hold someone else to a higher standard than you hold yourself? You don't HAVE to have a nice apartment any more than the Kerry's HAVE to have whatever it is they've got. Funny how we can all expand our personal 'demand' to exceed our personal 'supply' here in America.

Oh, his response was, "I'm not running for office. I think they should be held to a higher standard. They want to represent us."

Well, hell, the definition of represent is "to substitute in some capacity for : act the part of, in place of, or for (as another person) usually by legal right: as to serve esp. in a legislative body by delegated authority usually resulting from an election".

So, in effect, he doesn't want someone to represent him (act in place of) but of an ideal VERSION of him. How he thinks the world SHOULD be.

I've got some bad news for you. Life is the ultimate Do-It-Yourself project. You're either part of the problem or part of the solution. Quit bitching about what everyone else should be doing and show me what YOU can do.

Am I the only one turning into my parents?

I thought that this was an interesting read.

Why I look at you funny

I've posted the definitions I use for liberal and liberalism in my header so that you'll know why I look at you funny when you call me a liberal like it's a dirty word.

And, just so you know, this is what I use for conservative/conservatism. Thus why I won't apply it to many of the Far Right idiots who do not display these sterling qualities.

Conservative:Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change. Tending to conserve; preservative

Conservativism: A political or theological orientation advocating the preservation of the best in society and opposing radical changes

Friday, September 24, 2004

Maybe It's Insanity?

I figure a conversation with a crazy person goes something like this: You're sitting there having a nice chat when suddenly they say with authority, "... and that's why the aliens came to my house and took me to their homeworld where I was beaten with fish." After a few moments when they haven't laughed you realize that they are completely serious and start to develop your exit plan.

To me, this bears a similarity to conversations between the Left and the Right. (I almost typed Liberals and Conservatives - but no one who spends money or wastes resources like our current Far Right should be called a conservative.) The really, really weird part is that in the Left/Right conversation BOTH OF THEM THINK THE OTHER IS THE CRAZY ONE. How can this be? Are we all stuck in some sort of National asylum? Does each side leave the table muttering under their breath: "...thinks he was abducted by aliens..." "...thinks he's Hitler..."

Since I can't go to my parent's house until after the election because of this sort of disconnect I'm interested in why it's happening.

Monday, September 20, 2004

So THIS is What They're Thinking...

I pledge allegiance to and wrap myself in the flag of the United States Against Anything Un-American and to the Republicans for which it stands, two nations, under Jesus, rich against poor, with curtailed liberty and justice for all except blacks, homosexuals, women who want abortions, Communists, welfare queens, treehuggers, feminazis, illegal immigrants, children of illegal immigrants, and you if you don't watch your step.

By Matt Groening, "Life in Hell", 16 Dec 94
Thanks to Norbizness for posting this in one of the comments on Blondesense.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

When All Else Fails, Declare Victory

A great sentiment from Pissed Off Patricia at Blondesense.

Here's what Senator Kerry should say the next time someone asks him what he would do about the war in Iraq if he were president. He should say, "About fifty percent of the American people still believe that there was WMD in Iraq and that Saddam had something to do with 9-11. When I'm the president I will tell that same fifty percent of gullible assholes that we won the war and then I'll bring our soldiers home. Shit, this bunch of idiots will believe anything they're told so this'll be a piece of cake, especially if I tell them that god said we won too. Lemons and lemonade ya know."

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Sweet Home on the Gulf Coast

Hey, ya'll. I spent a good bit of my life living at points between Grand Isle (Fisherman's Paradise) and Mobile (the Golden Buckle of the Bible Belt). My prayers are with the people in Ivan's path. I found a blog that is tracking the Hurricane.

If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice

Remember that every vote is important. And - hopefully - every vote will count. The first step is to cast the vote.

On Nov. 2 we will have a national shareholders meeting. On the ballot will be the choice to continue with President Bush's policies or return to the fiscal sanity and pro-growth polices that proved so successful in the 1990s. You will choose. ~ John Kerry, printed in the Wall Street Journal

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

And Now in Entertainment News - Dennis Storhoi

We are big movie buffs in our house and one movie that we can't get enough of is The 13th Warrior. I keep waiting for the actor who plays my favorite character - Herger the Joyous - to be in another big-screen movie because he is soooooo cool. He's Norwegian and it looks like if I want to see him in anything it will be with English subtitles for awhile. Via FilmForce I got a link to his website, though, so I thought I would share. In case there are any other Herger the Joyous fans out there.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Crimes Against Nature

Hopefully our fellow Americans will wake up and start judging Bush on his actual record instead of... well, whatever it is they can possibly judge him on that gives him decent poll numbers.

The Sierra Club gives us this handy list of over 300 Crimes Against Nature by the Bush Administration. If you run into someone who thinks that environmental concerns are a bunch of tree-hugging hippy crap then make sure to give the George Carlin spin to your argument. Don't worry about "Saving the Earth" - the Earth couldn't care less about what we're doing. Worry about saving the place where you live. Would you fill your house with nasty air and water? Would you risk throwing things so out of balance that your house could be destroyed - by diggin under it, covering it in litter, and changing the temperature so that it's unlivable? Sounds pretty stupid, doesn't it? Then say, "Put that in your pipe and smoke it, you little self-interested *bleep*." Maybe it will give them something to think about while they drive around in their SUVs.

Thursday, September 9, 2004

Follow the Money

When I worked in DC the Deputy CFO of our organization had a great poster in her office. It said, "It took an accountant to catch Al Capone" and had a big picture of Capone himself. When I tell people that my degree is in accounting they figure that my job is *yawn* boooooring. But the investigative side of finance is juicy stuff. The FBI hires accountants all the time.

So I found this article about how Kerry was involved in breaking a corrupt bank very interesting. Why hasn't this information been trumpeted from the rooftops?

Kerry developed a very different record of accomplishment--one often as vital, if not more so, than passage of bills. Kerry's probe didn't create any popular new governmental programs, reform the tax code, or eliminate bureaucratic waste and fraud. Instead, he shrewdly used the Senate's oversight powers to address the threat of terrorism well before it was in vogue, and dismantled a key terrorist weapon. In the process, observers saw a senator with tremendous fortitude, and a willingness to put the public good ahead of his own career. Those qualities might be hard to communicate to voters via one-line sound bites, but they would surely aid Kerry as president in his attempts to battle the threat of terrorism.

Life is tough

Life is tough.
It takes a lot of your time,
all your weekends,
and what do you get at the end of it?
Death, a great reward.
I think that the life cycle is all backwards.
You should die first, get it out of the way.
Then you live twenty years in an old-age home.
You are kicked out when you are too young.
You get a gold watch, you go to work.
You work forty years until you’re
young enough to enjoy your retirement.
You go to college,
you party until you’re ready for high school.
You become a little kid, you play,
you have no responsibilities,
you become a little boy or girl,
you go back into the womb,
you spend your last nine months floating.
And you finish off as a gleam in someone’s eye.

    Quoted in "After The Ecstasy, The Laundry" by Jack

Wednesday, September 8, 2004

The Resident Blonde

Oooo, got this great Blonde Sense link from An Old Soul. On name tag joke day (back in those halcyon days when I worked at the mall) I always used "The Resident Blonde", so this is really my kind of place. Blondes with brains.

When you call yourself "The Resident Blonde" you hear a lot of blonde jokes. So go ahead, feel free to leave your contribution in the comments. I'd be surprised if you cough up one I haven't heard. I'll even start you off:
How do you know which computer the blonde is using? It's the one with white-out on the screen...

Monday, September 6, 2004

How did I miss this? (Not that there's anything WRONG with that....)

U.S. Rep. Edward L. Schrock announced his retirement amid allegations that he is gay... Schrock, a retired Navy officer and Vietnam veteran, would not comment further on his decision, nor did he comment specifically on the allegations.... Allegations that Schrock is gay were posted on a Web log Aug. 19 by Michael Rogers, who said his blog is aimed at exposing "hypocrites" in Congress....Schrock is married and a conservative who has voted for legislation to ban gay marriages. ~Associated Press on ABCNews

1) How did I miss this in the news? I live in the freaking state! I found a reference to it on my favorite Late Night Political Joke Archive and had to look it up.
2) How about that for the power of the (virtual)press? Bloggers are really stepping into ye olde pamphleteer role.