Thursday, November 4, 2010

The truth about the tea party

From the Matt Taibbi article in Rolling Stone:

"The individuals in the Tea Party may come from very different walks of life, but most of them have a few things in common. After nearly a year of talking with Tea Party members from Nevada to New Jersey, I can count on one hand the key elements I expect to hear in nearly every interview. One: Every single one of them was that exceptional Republican who did protest the spending in the Bush years, and not one of them is the hypocrite who only took to the streets when a black Democratic president launched an emergency stimulus program. ("Not me — I was protesting!" is a common exclamation.) Two: Each and every one of them is the only person in America who has ever read the Constitution or watched Schoolhouse Rock. (Here they have guidance from Armey, who explains that the problem with "people who do not cherish America the way we do" is that "they did not read the Federalist Papers.") Three: They are all furious at the implication that race is a factor in their political views — despite the fact that they blame the financial crisis on poor black homeowners, spend months on end engrossed by reports about how the New Black Panthers want to kill "cracker babies," support politicians who think the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was an overreach of government power, tried to enact South African-style immigration laws in Arizona and obsess over Charlie Rangel, ACORN and Barack Obama's birth certificate. Four: In fact, some of their best friends are black! (Reporters in Kentucky invented a game called "White Male Liberty Patriot Bingo," checking off a box every time a Tea Partier mentions a black friend.) And five: Everyone who disagrees with them is a radical leftist who hates America."

Go read the whole article. Very eye opening.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Moving Sucks

Really, not much more need be said. We recently had to move. Our landlord decided to sell the house we were living in and gave us 30 days to find a new place. All of this occurred conveniently right at the beginning of the school year. Sadly, since the college students had sucked up most of the houses, we ended up having to move from a 3 bedroom house with basement to a 2 bedroom apartment with very little storage space. Talk about stuffing a 5 pound cat in a 1 pound bag! We're out of the old place and into the new, but we're still trying to find places for everything.

I can't imagine much that I like less than moving. Packing sucks, carting stuff from place to place sucks. Putting stuff away is slightly better, because it's kind of fun to put the new place together. But still, I'd rather stay put.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Bad blogger!

So, I get these emails telling me how many people come to this site every week. My numbers are not high, but there's usually at least one person who checks in. They are usually disappointed, because I just don't blog very much. I feel bad every time I get that email, because it means that someone out there popped their head in to, once again, find me absent. For this I apologize. I have said it before, but I'll endeavor to have more to say.

That said, a big thank you to my landlord who informed us that she sold the house we live in on the first day of classes for the university, meaning that all the housing in town had been snatched up by students. And now we had thirty days to find a new place for our family, including our dog. Easy! We did find a place, but it's a compromise. Better price, smaller space. We will make do. Now we have a week to pack our whole house and figure out where we are going to put everything. A daunting task for a pack-rat such as I. This has given me the impetus to purge, which is a good thing, and I'm getting rid of stuff I've had since I was a toddler, so maybe this is the universe's way of telling me I have too much crap. Ah, well.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Please explain it to me. Seriously.

It's been difficult lately to get my mind around all the crazy, stupid things going on in this country. It's been hard to even articulate why I'm upset, because I just don't get it.

Why is Sarah Palin still relevent? Don't her supporters realize that she QUIT her job and should not then be trusted with another? When she says something like, "How's that hopey-changey stuff workin' for ya?", don't people realize that what she's really saying is, "See? Republicans can prevent anything good from happening in this country, isn't that great!" How is stagnation and death a good thing?

Why is the media giving such a large amount of coverage to the Teabaggers? They're really not a very big group, numbers-wise, but the disproportionate amount of screen time they get is making people believe the "movement" is bigger than it is.

Speaking of that, why has only John Stewart called out Fox News about their blatant lies about what's going on? They used a picture from a gathering from years ago and labeled it as a current event. Why wasn't THIS a bigger story?

How have the Republicans managed to convince so many people that they really don't want health care? I know people can be easily led, but come on! These are basic human needs that people are being convinced they don't have a right to have.

I have lots smaller things that infuriate me, but I'm starting to sound like Andy Rooney.

Seriously, if anyone has an explanation for any of this, let me know.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Book recommendation and general beef with the world

A while back, Jon Stewart interviewed the author Sarah Vowell. She appeared to be very funny and informative, which is important when reading a history book. I finally got around to reading "The Wordy Shipmates," and I thought it was fabulous. Lots of humor, great insight into the subject (Puritan founders of Boston), and you could tell she really did her homework.

I'd like to share with you one of my favorite sections. She is talking about the rift between the ruling powers, led by John Winthrop, and the upstart Anne Hutchinson. Hutchinson is what we would call "born-again," in that she believes that belief and religious authority comes from an immediate, personal relationship with God, rather than formal Biblical interpretation by church elders. This is in direct contrast with the status quo; hence, the rift. Vowell also talks about how this move forward in Protestanism is the guiding hand in developing self-government. The quote then:

"On the other hand, Protestantism's shedding away of authority, as evidenced by my mother's proclamation that I needn't go to church or listen to a preacher to achieve salvation, inspires self-reliance -- along with a dangerous disregard for expertise. So the impulse that leads to democracy can also be the downside of democracy -- namely, a suspicion of people who know what they're talking about. It's why in U.S. presidential elections the American people will elect a wisecracking good ol' boy who's fun in a malt shop instead of a serious thinker who actually knows some of the pompous, brainy stuff that might actually get fewer people laid off or killed." --Vowell, The Wordy Shipmates, pgs 214-5

This says a lot, I think. This distrust of the knowledgable is rampant in this country right now. And sure, a lot of that has to do with the above-mentioned Protestant ethic that you should be able to worship in your own way without heeding the rules and laws of a religious governing body. To a point, that's a great sentiment. But taken too far, as I think it has been, this idea creates a population that doesn't want to listen to anyone who might know better. About anything.

This goes hand-in-hand with Faith. The definition of faith is "believing without seeing." To my mind, it has (d)evolved into "believing in spite of seeing," considering that no amount of evidence to the contrary will sway these people from their beliefs. It stands to reason that if they've been brought up to think of this as a noble ideal, then they will also devalue anyone who requires facts to support an opinion. They've been conditioned, through religion, to believe all sorts of made-up crap and poo-poo the science on the side of the opposition, so that they soon distrust anything that smacks of science or fact. They'll hold onto what they believe, thankyouverymuch, and you can keep your education.

It deeply saddens me that this faction of our population seem to be much more vocal and organized than the thinkers. This is why Massachusetts just voted, essentially, to kill the health care bill. Somehow, the people who believe that everyone deserves health care weren't passionate enough about it to get out to the polls. On the other hand, those who've been convinced that "the guvmint ain't gonna tell them where to git their doctorin" managed to cast their votes. The Republican leadership managed to convince a lot of blue-collar citizens that they shouldn't have health care. Pretty amazing, until you realize that these are the same people that believe the Bible is the infallible word of God. Apparently, they'll believe anything, as long as it doesn't contradict what they already believe and plays into their fervent desire to remain as ignorant as possible.