Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The People’s History

I admit it. I didn’t post for two weeks and it gnawed at my sense of responsibility to my reader.

So my newest obsession is Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. OK, it only came out 27 years ago, and I’ve always been meaning to read it but just never did. Oh my god. What a revelation. It explains so much about our world.

Did you know there were war contractors during the Civil War that supplied boots with cardboard soles for soldiers? Shipped sand in place of sugar? That poor and oppressed people rose up in rebellion time and time again? That there was a big bond company called Kidder Peabody a century and a half ago?

I’m going to be posting some of the highlights from this book as I come across them. Stay tuned.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Bush’s brain free from Rove

I picked up this quote from Dick Polman’s American Debate blog:

“Because the - all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be - or closer delivered to what has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the - like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate - the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those - if that growth is affected, it will help on the red. Okay, better? I'll keep working on it.”

The Decider was attempting to convince a skeptical retiree in Tampa about why privatizing Social Security was a good idea.


Monday, August 06, 2007

Six years ago today

Yes, it’s been six years and I guess he figures we’ve forgotten he received a certain memo. Blue Girl in Red State observes,
This stupid, stupid, quintessentially moronic madman ignored this warning, (dismissing it with a flippant "Okay, you've covered your ass now.")

We all know what happened thirty-six days later.


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Friday, August 03, 2007

Newt? Making sense?

As I read through stories on the Web about the Minneapolis bridge collapse this morning, a tiring and predictable thread emerged in the comments following the articles: Democrats and Republicans bickering about whose fault it was. There were posts about how Republicans just want tax breaks and how Bush has spent the money we need for infrastructure improvement to line Halliburton’s pockets. These were followed up by Republicans saying all liberals want to do is blame everything on GWB and how liberals never met a tax they didn’t like and are Al Qaeda sympathizers, yadda, yadda, yadda. So tiresome, so unproductive, so ugly.

Then I encounter a post on Salon’s War Room about Newt Gingrich’s address to a gathering of young conservatives. “My God,” I thought, ”another Republican starting to make sense!” Why is Newt making sense to me now? Because he told his audience to stop thinking like Republicans. Read what follows and be amazed:

He began benignly enough, using an anecdote about going to Disney World with his grandchildren to explain an epiphany he'd had about the value of not "thinking like a Republican." From there Gingrich moved into waters the students surely did not expect. He cited the Detroit school system, where a black male is more likely to go to prison than graduate from high school.

"How can we tolerate systems more likely to send young Americans to prison than college?" asked Gingrich. "Republicans have this maniacally dumb idea of red versus blue. They say Detroit is a blue place, so we're not going to go there."

And he was just getting started.

"Republican political doctrine has been a failure," Gingrich said. "Look at New Orleans. How can you say that was a success? Look at Baghdad ... We've been in charge for six years and I don't think you can look around and say that was a great success.

"We have got to get beyond this political bologna. I'm not allowed to say anything positive about Hillary Clinton because then I'm not a loyal Republican, and she's not allowed to say anything positive about me because then she's not a loyal Democrat. What a stupid way to run a country." This last line he nearly spat out, expressing what seemed like genuine outrage.

The post goes on to say that the audience response was lukewarm. Too bad.