Category Archives: Politics & Economics

Musing for the Fun of It

Speaker of the House, John Boehner, would become the most popular and reelectable politician in modern American history if he were to walk up to president Obama, clutch him in a tight embrace, kiss him square on the lips and then say, “Lets you and I cast aside all political considerations and worries about getting reelected and together come up with a plan to do something meaningful and decent for those Americans who can’t find a job.”

A majority in both parties and both chambers of the US Congress would instantly see the political danger of not going along with this love pact and instantly fall in line delivering their full support. A thankful nation would bestow upon all who gave their support the blessings of appreciation and job security.  Continue reading Musing for the Fun of It

I Was Nineteen and the Movie was Exodus

When I was nineteen I didn’t know much about Israel, Palestine, the Mid-East, where oil came from, and many other things. What I first learned about Israel came from sitting through the 1961 screening of Otto Preminger’s film, Exodus in Copenhagen, Denmark.

To keep it brief, the story is about Jewish survivors of the Nazi holocaust seeking their own nation in what was then Palestine, a place already occupied by people calling themselves Palestinians. Palestine was under the control of Great Britain as mandated by one of the treaties ending World War One and directions of the old League of Nations.

Emigration to Palestine by European Jews, being frowned upon by the British, made the central characters illegal immigrants seeking to force the newly formed United Nations into partitioning Palestine into two nations, one Arab, one Jewish.

With the backing and manipulation of the United States the UN did partition Palestine in 1947 thus immediately setting off a war between Continue reading I Was Nineteen and the Movie was Exodus

The Cynical Generation

Crates of Thebes, thought to be the greatest cynic of his age.

You may remember the end of John Steinbeck’s stage adaptation of, Of Mice and Men.  After accidentally killing a young woman, Lennie escapes from the men hunting him and hides near a small river, waiting for George to come and save him.  George arrives, but understanding that he can no longer protect Lennie, he makes the difficult decision to shoot him. He kills Lennie so that he will be saved from the cruelty of his pursuers.

It’s a difficult ending for a modern audience.  Killing a developmentally disabled man is complicated enough, but adding the fact that the killer is his best friend and caregiver makes an already hard to grasp ending that much more complex.  Every time I teach the play the discussion concerning the moral and ethical dilemma presented by the ending consumes most of the available class time.

But last week I was confronted by a response that I had never heard.  When I asked for opinions on what the Steinbeck was trying to say to us through the ending one normally quiet freshman offered his unique thoughts.  With some surprising degree of confidence this student said that George killed Lennie because he wanted his freedom.  George was tired of taking care of Lennie and now he could spend his money on whatever he wanted.

It was quite possibly the worst interpretation of classic literature I have ever encountered.  It was this student’s conclusion that Steinbeck wanted us Continue reading The Cynical Generation

Gerrymandering – Recipe for Uncivil Behavior in the Beltway

We all remember when Joe Wilson, Republican from South Carolina’s 2nd district, shouted “You lie” during President Obama’s 2009 health care address to Congress. And now, at a recent jobs summit in Inglewood, California, Maxine Waters, Democrat from California’s 35Th district, said “the Tea Party can go straight to hell”. Is this the way Americans want their congressmen and women to act?

Surely this type of uncivil behavior would result in the offending congressmen getting booted out of office. Not exactly, Maxine Waters carried her district by a 79% margin and Joe Wilson carried his by 54% in the 2010 elections. Unfortunately, these congressmen represent districts of homogenous views and generally are elected year after year, as long as they don’t commit a felony. Continue reading Gerrymandering – Recipe for Uncivil Behavior in the Beltway

Nothing New About the Tea Party

Speaking at a luncheon prior to the dedication of the MLK, Jr. monument in Washington, DC, Jessie Jackson made the statement that the Tea Party was nothing new, “It’s just a new name for an old game.”

The old game Jackson referenced is the argument for state’s rights. When historians examine the causes of the American Civil War they often cite issues involving state’s rights as a major reason Continue reading Nothing New About the Tea Party

There’s Not a Republican in America Who Shouldn’t Read This

The following column by David Brooks appeared in the September 2, 2011 edition of the New York Times. While I as a Democrat don’t agree with all Brooks has to say, he really isn’t speaking to me so much as he is speaking to his own political party. As a moderate Republican, Brooks is having the discussion all Republicans need to be having but is being avoided by the party’s elected politicians and leaders.

There’s a specter haunting American politics: national decline. Is America on the way down, and, if so, what can be done about it?

The Republicans, and Rick Perry in particular, have a reasonably strong story to tell about decline. America became great, they explain, because its citizens possessed certain vigorous virtues: self-reliance, personal responsibility, industriousness and a passion for freedom. Continue reading There’s Not a Republican in America Who Shouldn’t Read This

As You Drink a Cold One on Monday

America has been taking the first Monday in September off since the late 1800s. The holiday rose from the labor violence of that era as a reaction to the growth of the unionism and collective bargaining. It is a day whose purpose is to honor the efforts of those who fought so hard to attain better conditions for the nation’s working classes.

In the decades that followed, the day has come more to mark the end of summer rather than a day to acknowledge the reason for the holiday itself. Labor Day is a day Continue reading As You Drink a Cold One on Monday

Companies Pay More to CEOs than Uncle Sam

Just when you think you can’t get more upset you pick up a cyber newspaper and in the words of Emeril “BAM,” you get smacked between the eyes. This morning’s draw dropping headline screamed that at least 25 American corporations paid their Chief Executive Officers more in salary than they paid Uncle Sam in taxes.

On the list were such luminaries as Boeing, eBay, Verizon and General Electric. Of the 25 companies the average CEO salary was $16.8 million in 2010 while receiving tax refunds from the federal government. Continue reading Companies Pay More to CEOs than Uncle Sam

Ron Paul, Consistently Consistent

There are more things than not in which I disagree with presidential candidate, Ron Paul. Just this morning I read a headline about him having said we would be better off without the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). I thought to myself, wonder what song Paul would sing if his district got slammed by some major natural disaster? Certainly he would cave and be the first to the FEMA Calvary to the rescue.

Well, good thing I read the remainder of the story. When his home district, Continue reading Ron Paul, Consistently Consistent

Maybe Not Warfare But Certainly Disparity

Frequently when discussing the distribution of wealth in America a conservative will employ the phrase, “class warfare.” They argue that liberals and the liberal media are trying to drive a wedge between the haves and have-nots that will somehow lead to a forced redistribution of wealth at the hands of government.

I don’t think anyone is advocating real “class warfare” but, there Continue reading Maybe Not Warfare But Certainly Disparity

Kinky is Kinky for Perry

Several years ago, before Don Imus got his tit caught in a public relations wringer and was canned from MSNBC, I was a devout fan of his morning program. It was just edgy enough to sate my irreverent sense of humor and bring forth a few laugh out loud moments most mornings.

Through Imus I was introduced to several people I’ve come to greatly admire and enjoy. That list includes Delbert McClinton, Continue reading Kinky is Kinky for Perry

Past History – Present Reality

Trivia fact: did you know that most presidents were lawyers? (27 out of 44)

Of the 10 presidents I have seen since high school, five were Republican, five were Democrats (who seemed to a better job).

When I was in high school, Democrat John F. Kennedy was president. Kennedy was born in Massachusetts, of Irish descent, a Harvard graduate, a Navy veteran, and the first Roman Catholic president. Continue reading Past History – Present Reality

The Business of Government is Now Business

About a year ago a bill became law in the United States. A law whose purpose was to reform Wall Street, banks that were “too big to fail,” and better protect the American consumers from the abuses that rained upon their heads following the 2008 collapse of the economy.

If you recall, a major cause of the Great Recession was the failure of governments, state and federal, to regulate Wall Street and the banking industry. Continue reading The Business of Government is Now Business

Kosher Congress

Kosher is generally defined as (1) pure (in food), (2) proper, genuine, authentic, or legitimate.

As a senior citizen and in my opinion, we do not have a Kosher Congress in Washington right now. We have almost total gridlock in our national legislative body, strangling debt, and America is fast going into a sinkhole. Continue reading Kosher Congress

What Big Donors Get in Texas

There’s been a lot of discussion lately concerning the power and influence of the wealthy in America. One of many old sayings is, “It takes money to make money.” There are several ways in which this is true and one of them is money can buy you political favors that could easily result in you making even more money.

That seems to be the case with the major political donors of Texas Governor, Rick Perry. The Daily Beast and the Los Angeles Times are both Continue reading What Big Donors Get in Texas