Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Con-Con Dance of Steve King

"Full-Spectrum Constitutional Conservative" Rep. Steve King of Iowa has an idea about the Judicial Branch of government as designated by the Constitution of these here United States: Fuck'em.  The little courts and the big courts, and all their activist, Constitution-reading heirs and assigns. Make'em irrelevant--

Until they finally come around to understanding which party in this country is actually in charge of stuff. So that they would always come to the "politically correct" decisions.

I'd recommend he watch Judgment at Nuremburg, as an example of why courts ought not be politicized because of the damage that could be done to the very fabric of what anyone would consider justice.

But I am not convinced that Rep. Steve King would get that point. But for what it's worth, I've determined that Constitutional Conservatives strike me as neither Constitutional nor Conservative.

Ted Cruz Wants to Have Cake and Eat it, Too?

I think it's kind of interesting that Senator Cruz met with two gay businessmen and how the framing is that they are possible donors. (I kind of also question how quickly people are going to Defcon One over the possibility that they might be considering donating anything to Cruz. Really? Does meeting with an anti-gay candidate actually give someone anti-gay cooties? Even a gay person?) Isn't whether Cruz is courting the gay vote at all an issue? A, um, Cruz-problem, not a gay businessmen problem?

Let's be real--nobody is questioning where Ted Cruz really stands on gay marriage, because he is against it. When he says he might love his daughter anyway if one of them were gay, I don't doubt it, but I do think his stance would be really rough on his future possible daughter-in-law. And let's give him the benefit of the doubt: he can hear out what gay people have to say, if he thinks they can pony up the price of admission. Whether he takes away anything from it is anyone's guess.

Is he courting the gay business dollar because the pro-business dollar is a good dollar? Why sure! Do we think he might be pretending to be just a little less-anti-gay in the hopes of getting that dollar? Well, yeah, but are even Weiderpass and Reisner buying it? (I don't know--are they? I don't.)

Those Oregon bakers could have learned from Cruz' example though. Cake, but antagonism. The cake, but go ahead and disapprove of gays, too.  Does anyone really think their options are just...cake or death? (I'll take cake, thanks!)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Know Your Class War: Eating in Capitol City and Elsewhere

For context, please read this column from a person who works as a chef for a government contractor--who happens to use food stamps.

Businesses who contract to do services for the US Government should pay a living wage. That much should be readily understood. How should anyone who goes to Washington believing that work should pay and that Americans should be able to get successful, good-paying jobs, and thinks this is okay, would be beyond me. But we know that people are on food stamps--and here is an interesting point--more people are going on them, not because the economy is getting worse, but because they are becoming aware that benefits are available.

Not everyone would see this as a success, but I do, because it means that people who might have been underfed or unduly struggling before because they were not aware that benefits were available, are now getting the nutrition they need to do better. Everyone should keep in mind that diet is the first medicine. People can't get well and do well without food in their stomachs. And eating is what leads to work, and not the other way about. It would just be better if people made enough to live, and eat well, on.

Unmitigated Socialism and the Modern-Day Red-Baiter

The one thing that would, I'd like to think, harsh the confidence of a modern-day red-baiter, is the actual lack of anything like a world socialism. When the Berlin Wall fell, if capitalists were keeping score on that day, Communism took a beating from which it was not to recover. With the impending normalization of relations with Cuba, I think it's safe to say that the US, as the leader of the free world in terms of buying missiles and giving shits, won the Cold War. We make the stuff the world wants dollars to buy.  Don't ask me how I feel about that.

Just chuckle with me when I notice that PK and all-around PITA TX Senator Ted Cruz called President Obama an "unmitigated socialist".

Oh, Ted, you slay me with this 1950's flavored performance art you do. Please do tell me about the industries our Red Diaper Dandy three-pointered into nationalization.  None? Look at that. None. And it seems like Obamacare is at any rate more of a free market private company thingamajig than the Medicare that Cruz thinks is now totally acceptable.

Could it just be because President Obama went to Harvard? Because Cruz totally believes there were Communists at Harvard. 

Cruz also went to Harvard--and so did Tom Cotton! I'm feeling menaced by Reds, you guys. I think I'll read the business pages of the newspaper until I feel better.  Because we weirdly are still not in a socialist workers paradise. But maybe people with money are doing okay? Could the senator from the Texas branch of Goldman Sachs cool his jets, already?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day, If You Want It

It makes sense that President Obama gave an address about global warming on Earth Day in the Everglades National Park, because this sensitive region has dozens of species of plant and animal life that would be impacted by sea level rise. But let's make no mistake: even if we discount the loss of irreplaceable habitat, the advance of climate change will have significant impact on the livelihood of people living in regions like Florida, with impacts to fishing, tourism, agriculture and real estate.

Addressing climate change isn't the job-killer--climate change is.

It also makes me a little happy to see the President take a message about climate change to Florida in light of word that "climate change" is forbidden as a topic of conversation for officials in that state. That strikes me as nonsensical, and even a little chilling. (Really? Recommending someone seek a mental health evaluation for indulging in a little "politically incorrect" truth-telling? That seems like some kind of Soviet tactic, to me.)  I hope the whole affair gave Governor Scott the vapors.

In other news, WI Governor and likely 2016 GOP Presidential Primary contestant Scott Walker decided Earth Day is exactly when you propose to cut 57 employees from the Department of Natural Resources. (Gov. Walker does not seem especially sentimental regarding his state's natural resources or popular input regarding them.) Wisconsin is another state where discussion of climate change has been, well, chilled. Which is a damn shame, because ground water is at risk in case of climate-change related drought even if WI is a land of lakes and streams--and as dairy country, watering and having lush grazing land for livestock is at a premium. I am a bit of a cheese fan. I would like my supply guaranteed, please.

One might take a moment to reflect that, while climate change is global, all politics is local. Responsible conservation begins with people electing responsible state government to act as stewards of the people's resources. Making the Earth cleaner, safer, less-polluted, and less at-risk of large-scale awfulness seems remote, but in many ways involves managing what you can--like not having people who regard your state as so many saleable resources to unload, as opposed to a precious place to sustain for your family and future generations to enjoy, as your governor.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Five Years Since the BP Gulf Oil Spill

A BP spokesperson says that by now, the stuff that washes up is probably safe and they just don't think the spill is what made the oyster yield go away, but I have my suspicions that they might be putting a spin on things. At four years out, several species were determined to be seriously impacted by the spill. The region hasn't really recovered.

I can't help comparing it to the Exxon Valdez spill. The area stayed a mess and the health of the people who were involved in the cleanup suffered over the long term. I worry what will be facing people exposed to the oil and the chemicals like Corexit in the future. And I don't really trust the industry to do all they should to make sure disasters like this don't happen again, not just because of the damage to the environment and the impact of the cleanup, but because of the safety of workers like those who lost their lives when the rig blew.

Five years later, the events still make me sad and angry.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Very Short White History Lesson

The sign on the left was a signifier in segregated America that a place of business catered to white people only, because at the time, it was considered acceptable for white people to deny spaces for people of color in their places of business, in certain schools, hospitals, voting booths, areas of public transportation, and so on.

The sign on the right was put up by a business owner who had no idea that for many people, the sign he put up would in a way remind people of the sign on the left. There are many people alive today who remember signs like the one on the left. I'm not sure how the business owner in question missed it when he put his sign on the front of his business where he earned the money he lived on.  Past tense, because for some reason, people just stopped coming to his business. It was as if there was a sign on the front that drove his clientele away.

But he was bewildered:
“I had to take the sign down for various reasons. It was only supposed to be a white thing, but people read more into it than that,” he wrote on GoFundMe. “I don’t think I deserve this just because I wanted to be proud of being white and be able to celebrate my heritage like everyone else does.”
Exactly. Sometimes the best way to celebrate history is to learn it.