What We’re Watching: May 25, 2018 - Good morning and happy Friday. Here’s what we have our eyes on today. Stories We’re Following President Trump gives a...
47 minutes ago
I can’t control what people think this was. I can only tell you my intentions. This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith or people of activism or to look down our noses at the heartland or passionate argument or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear. They are and we do. But we live now in hard times, not end times. And we can have animus and not be enemies.
But unfortunately one of our main tools in delineating the two broke. The country’s 24 hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator did not cause our problems but its existence makes solving them that much harder. The press can hold its magnifying up to our problems bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous flaming ant epidemic.
If we amplify everything we hear nothing. There are terrorists and racists and Stalinists and theocrats but those are titles that must be earned. You must have the resume. Not being able to distinguish between real racists and Tea Partiers or real bigots and Juan Williams and Rick Sanchez is an insult, not only to those people but to the racists themselves who have put in the exhausting effort it takes to hate--just as the inability to distinguish terrorists from Muslims makes us less safe not more. The press is our immune system. If we overreact to everything we actually get sicker--and perhaps eczema.
And yet, with that being said, I feel good—strangely, calmly good. Because the image of Americans that is reflected back to us by our political and media process is false.
But beyond the goofiness, the rally seemed to be channeling something deep — a craving to be heard and a frustration with the lack of leadership, less by President Obama than by a Democratic Party that many participants described as timid, fearful, and failing to stand up for what they see as the president’s accomplishments.
“I’m proud of Obama, but the Democrats in Congress, they’re just running for cover,” said Ron Harris, a lawyer from Laguna Beach, Calif., who came to celebrate his 64th birthday. “They couldn’t sell bread to a starving mother if God was standing next to them.”
Let's sum up the economic situation. Unemployment is high, and average Americans are in a desperate, fearful situation. Meanwhile, corporate profits are at record levels:
Profits have surged 62 percent from the start of 2009 to mid-2010, according to the Commerce Department. That is faster than any other year and a half in the Fabulous ’50s, the Go-Go ’60s or the booms under Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.Meanwhile, the most popular analysis of our economic troubles -- not just among furious, self-interested business tycoons but more moderate elements of the political elite as well -- holds that the primary problem is that the Obama administration is too hostile to business. It's quite remarkable.
Meanwhile, the Democrats have the worst of both worlds. A top-heavy economy is causing them massive grief among suffering voters, and the only people who are actually doing well are lambasting them as socialists.
The Obama administration cut taxes for middle-class Americans, expects to make a profit on the hundreds of billions of dollars spent to rescue Wall Street banks and has overseen an economy that has grown for the past five quarters.
Most voters don’t believe it.
A Bloomberg National Poll conducted Oct. 24-26 finds that by a two-to-one margin, likely voters in the Nov. 2 midterm elections think taxes have gone up, the economy has shrunk, and the billions lent to banks as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program won’t be recovered.
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Conceding almost certain Republican gains in next month's crucial midterm elections, Democratic lawmakers vowed Tuesday not to give up without making one final push to ensure their party runs away from every major legislative victory of the past two years.
Party leaders told reporters that regardless of the ultimate outcome, they would do everything in their power from now until the polls closed to distance themselves from their hard-won passage of a historic health care overhaul, the toughest financial regulations since the 1930s, and a stimulus package most economists now credit with preventing a second Great Depression.
"There's a great deal on the line, and we know it isn't going to be easy for us," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), speaking from the steps of the Capitol. "But if we suffer defeat, we will do so knowing we cowered away from absolutely anything we produced that was even remotely progressive or valuable in any way."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) acknowledged the task would be difficult, but said Democrats would remain steadfast in permitting their opponents to deride the accomplishments of the $787 billion Recovery Act, even as the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reports that the 2009 measure has created millions of jobs.
"While the stimulus isn't a cure-all, we owe it to the voters to scatter like pigeons whenever the Republicans grossly mischaracterize it as a wasteful giveaway," Pelosi said. "Their sleazy, cynical distortions may win them votes in the end, but we will not let that happen without doing whatever it takes to sit idly by and let them get away with it."
According to party leaders, the Democrats are putting their sweeping new health care law at the top of the list of accomplishments to back away from, mainly by allowing its most popular provisions—federal subsidies to make health care more affordable; allowing children to stay on their parents' insurance until age 26; and rules that prevent sick people from being denied coverage—to be summarily dismissed as "Obamacare."
"It's the ninth inning now, and Democrats are finally getting serious about hiding in the weeds at the slightest mention of last year's credit-card legislation, which put an end to predatory lending schemes that are universally considered repugnant," [James] Carville said. "Now that's smart politics, right there. The chips may be down, but they're still finding a way to curl up like a bunch of pathetic little hedgehogs and piss all over themselves the moment any sort of challenge is mounted."
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This blog post originally stated that one in three black men who have sex with me is HIV positive. In fact, the statistic applies to black men who have sex with men.
I really hope that correction went up before her parents read the original item. And I don't mean that they'd necessarily worry about the race of her sexual partners. I'm just saying that if you have enough sexual partners to break them into sub-categories about which you can draw meaningful statistical inferences, you're probably not living the kind of lifestyle your parents prefer.
Republican congressional candidate Stephen Broden stunned his party Thursday, saying he would not rule out violent overthrow of the government if elections did not produce a change in leadership.
In a rambling exchange during a TV interview, Broden, a South Dallas pastor, said a violent uprising "is not the first option," but it is "on the table." That drew a quick denunciation from the head of the Dallas County GOP, who called the remarks "inappropriate."
Have you ever seen a half-monkey, half-person? No? Well neither has Glenn Beck, which is how he knows evolution doesn't exist.
On his radio show today, Beck wondered how many people in the country believe in evolution, and said he doesn't: "I don't think we came from monkeys. I think that's ridiculous. I haven't seen a half-monkey, half-person yet."
Of one thing we may be sure. The future will never have to ask, with misgiving, what could the Nazis have said in their favor. History will know that whatever could be said, they were allowed to say. They have been given the kind of a Trial which they, in the days of their pomp and power, never gave to any man.
But fairness is not weakness. The extraordinary fairness of these hearings is an attribute of our strength. The Prosecution’s case, at its close, seemed inherently unassailable because it rested so heavily on German documents of unquestioned authenticity. But it was the weeks upon weeks of pecking at this case, by one after another of the defendants, that has demonstrated its true strength. The fact is that the testimony of the defendants has removed any doubt of guilt which, because of the extraordinary nature and magnitude of these crimes, may have existed before they spoke. They have helped write their own judgment of condemnation.…
He had to be smart enough first to figure Machigi accurately and then to get a self-interested and arrogant young lord to do a complete turnaround in his objectives, his allegiances, and his—
Well, Machigi's character was probably beyond redemption. He would be no better than he had ever been. The question was, in self interest, could he act in a way compatible with the interests of the aishidi'tat?
In all the huffing and puffing from the extreme conservative wrong wing, I still haven't heard what they would've done constructively to fix the country in 2008 and 2009, not that I really want to. Hindsight is not only 20/20, it's cheap and cowardly. Real wisdom is demonstrated in the moment. The Republicans were on President Obama's case from the day after he was elected, yet they offered no alternative other than to do nothing and let the country's financial system collapse.
It's like the old joke, "What do you call alternative medicines that have been shown to work? Medicine." What I'm asking here is what should you call supernatural explanations that actually work and lead to deeper understanding of the universe…and the answer is science.
The ones who made it into the Concord Monitor, anyway, are sad crackpots. "The fact that there are documents about it is meaningless," one told the paper.
The most amazing voice from the anti-tyranny forces, though, belonged to a woman named Amanda Biondolillo, from Concord:
"The family should be left to resolve it on their own," Biondolillo said. "Or private enterprise - private companies can contact the family and say, 'We heard you were hitting your kids. Can you stop that?' "Is Amanda Biondolillo a prankster who shows up at protests to say things to make libertarians look like morons? Her online presence looks sincere. But: really? Private enterprise! The solution to domestic violence is for there to be private companies that will go around telling people to please stop hitting their kids. Oh, the parents will say, we hadn't thought of that. We will stop hitting the children now.
John Haught says, in God and the New Atheism, that gnu atheists get faith all wrong, at least from the point of view of theology, which
thinks of faith as a state of self-surrender in which one’s whole being, and not just the intellect, is experienced as being carried away into a dimension of reality that is much deeper and more real than anything that can be grasped by science and reason. [p 13]You know…there’s a problem here. I would like to say something sober and restrained about that; I would like to give a cool, sarcasm-free account of what I think is wrong with it, for once; but I find it very hard to do that, because it seems so babyish. I can’t get past the babyish quality, because if I do, there’s nothing left. It’s babyish all the way down. And that’s typical of Haught, at least in this book. It’s just packed with baby talk.
But I’ll give it a shot. The trouble is (obviously) that “a state of self-surrender” is indistinguishable from a state of self-deception, and is the sort of state to invite self-deception. An experience of being carried away into a gurgle-gurgle sounds just like either a hallucination or a powerful daydream. Period. There’s nothing else to say about it. That’s what’s so babyish – Haught has dressed it up in the usual boring purple language to make it look significant and meaningful and maybe even true, and that’s just silly.
...gay people were like this giant INVISIBLE group that was right there amongst us all along, but everybody was pretending they weren't. This worked out nicely for straight people who didn't want to have to think about what they didn't want to have to think about. Well, what do you know, gay people got tired of pretending, because a) nobody likes pretending and b) it occurred to them that they might like the same legal and social rights as heterosexuals. Conservatives promptly labeled equal rights for gay people "special rights", meaning rights for somebody who wasn't them.
The good news is that progress has been, by historic standards, fairly swift. What may be the strangest residue of that progress is Don't Ask, Don't Tell. While you can argue that it served a bridging function while a tradition-oriented establishment came to terms with a new reality, history will look back with blinking incomprehension at a policy that will seem to have been thought up by a preschooler, along the lines of "If I cover my eyes, can you see me?"
So straight people have had to think a few thoughts that make them squeamish in coming to terms with all this. Sorry about that. But now that you've had those thoughts, you can stop thinking about it now! If you KEEP thinking about it, maybe you have other issues.
I was in the middle of eating a kosher pastrami sandwich. While I was eating it, they come running and they say, ‘Paladino became gay!’ I said, ‘What?’ And then they showed me the statement. I almost choked on the kosher salami.