Tuesday, April 24, 2012

David Brooks: Not One Whit Wiser

The New York Times has been gradually lowering
its standards for years, a recent proof being
allowing David Brooks to continue as a regular
columnist. He recently gave Playboy an interview,
wherein he blithely stated an impossibility
as a certainty. I found this nugget yesterday in
The Chicago Sun-Times, (April 23): according
to Michael Sneed, David Brooks claims "Dubya"
is 60 IQ points smarter in private than in public.
Bush II never wants anyone to think he's smarter
than someone else, hence the "dumb Texan" routine.

It's impossible for Brooks to know, or even make an
educated guess about Bush's IQ.(--Did he test him?)
This is the admiring, uncritical blind loyalty of a friend
talking. Objectivity's out the window here, evidently.

Even more troubling, if true, is any accurate description
of guile by Bush. He didn't want people to know how
smart he is? I for one have always wanted a U.S.
President to be smarter than me, and smarter than most
of the rest of us as well. The idea of electing a president
because he'd be fun to have a beer with is just too stupid
for words, but I'll try anyway. We need a highly intelligent,
very good, very caring, knowledgeable and effortful person
to effectively run a large nation like the U.S. (That's the best
prescription for any country's leader as well.)

Just when I thought David Brooks was moderating his
conservatism, I see this quote. After all the needless
sturm und drang of Bush II's eight years, the policy flaws,
foreign and domestic, failed to illuminate him.

David Brooks, not one whit wiser.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What Ailes Roger??

Tsk, tsk, Mr. Ailes. Ignorance was not bliss when
he commented on Soledad O'Brien's name during a
question and answer session with journalism students
at the University of North Carolina. --Named after
California's Soledad Prison? Roger's not as swift as
an average rabbit, certainly. "Soledad" is a Spanish
word meaning solitude. It is part of Spanish Catholics'
name for Virgin Mary, also a fairly common first and
last name in the U.S., Mexico and other Hispanic countries.

This person currently heads Fox News. (-?) Informed
and tactful he is not. I'll have to look up other gaffes
he has surely generated over time, some are bound to
be howlers. The "name blame" he attempted to smear
Ms. O with merely garnered Mr. A further opprobrium.

What Ailes Roger? Only those closest to him can say.
He hasn't enough introspection to answer such a

Monday, April 16, 2012

Our Founding Fathers, the Nation's First Community Activists

There are several justified reasons to
criticize the current president (and all
the others as well), but his history of
community activism, scornfully mentioned
by his opponents in 2008, is not one of
them. Those same strident voices often
profess to be patriotic, yet fail miserably:
ignorant of our founding history, they don't
realize what made us great--our FIRST patriots,
Benjamin Franklin, 2nd President John Adams
and other Founders from the 1700s WERE
community activists, our first.

Being political and being community-active
are related, of course, but there are subtle
differences. It is possible to be political
without attempting to politically activate
the general populace, for example. Founders
Franklin, Adams and others had actual clubs
like the Junto which were intellectual
cross-fertilizations of political thought
without which we would not have these United
States. A large part of those recurring agendas
was devoted to deciding methods to try to
arouse their fellow British subjects.

The next time anyone hears Saul Alinsky and
Barack Obama denigrated as rabble rousers
or "community activists", please remember
(and remonstrate):

Our Founders were community activists and
organizers too.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Exercising One's First Amendment Privileges: Not Always A Good Idea

Neither Mr. Romney nor Mr. Obama have distinguished
themselves lately with sensible verbiage. Come November
2012, I MAY just write myself in as a presidential
candidate; at least I can manage to be a bit more
circumspect and mindful of law and history when
speaking for publication.

Ordinarily I have favored Mr. Obama, had voted for
him, donated a tiny amount of money to his campaign,
etc. But his jejune anti-Supreme Court high-handed
high-hat "threat" proved he's no competent constitutional
scholar, his assistant professorship at the University
of Chicago notwithstanding. An unimpeachable truth:
the Supreme Court IS the court of last resort. No
president, unless and until our system is changed by
amendment under Article 5 of the Constitution, can
overrule the Supreme Court. Only a subsequent court
decision can achieve such reversals.

This is not to say that I side with/like the current
composition of the Supreme Court. These courts have
swung between uncaring right wing decisions and much
more humane judicial philosophy over the decades.
(For an eye-opening history of the court, read
The People's Court by Peter Irons, available at
most libraries.)

Mr. Obama is hurt and concerned that his healthcare
law overhaul, due to take effect in 2014, well may be
struck down in June 2012 by the court....just in time,
very possibly, to dent his prospects for reelection.
But I must ask, how could he mandate all Americans must
purchase health insurance coverage? No, that is NOT the
same thing as requiring auto insurance--at least there,
one can decide not to own/operate a car. (Try "operating"
without a body!)

The hubris and high elation of becoming this nation's
first black president skewed his judgement, to say
nothing of his inner circle's; the exigencies of economic
catastrophe should have been the ONLY focus of Mr.
Obama's first term. Yes, the White House dealt with the
Great Recession of 2008 (which continues), but even
more effective measures might have been enacted
without the distraction of promoting the healthcare
package. If Mr. Obama wanted to help America obtain
some justice from insurance companies, he should
have proposed only one change: abolish pre-existing
conditions as coverage disqualification by the insurance

Amendments 9 and 10 don't authorize forcing millions
of people to buy anything; harking back to the Dred Scott
decision from 1857 (-?) is really reaching. Meanwhile,
the obstreperously lengthy healthcare overhaul which few
have read, fewer understand, and even fewer support, is
with us, at least 'til June.

During this presidential election season, many
major candidates should be washing out their
mouths with soap after they've extricated their
feet therefrom: free speech doesn't always betray
intelligent insight.

Exercising one's First Amendment privileges: not
always a good idea.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Untied vs. United Republicans, 2012

--And an unfortunate typo on a political blog made my
day! In attempting to boost Gingrich and Santorum, the
male poster transposed two letters in united, unintentionally
undercutting his argument but describing the opposition
party of the moment. (Moderate republicans, my critiques
do not include you.)

I MAY tear all my remaining hair out, and rend my garments
as well for good measure--for heaven sakes! Why are so many
commenters (NOT you who visit here, thankfully!) such poor
spellers, devoid of knowledge, not possessing considered
judgement? NEITHER the extreme right NOR the extreme left
has any practicable programs to offer the general electorate,
period. I enjoy/support moderates in both parties, they seem
to be the moral workhorses of the nation, what we all actually

Also at Politico, commenters praising Gingrich raised my ire;
firing back, I reminded them that not every product of Georgia
Tech is brilliant; he's brilliant because certain people say so,
much like those who are famous because they are famous. (Newt
Gingrich, the Paris Hilton of politics?) Neither sort has many
other solid redeeming talents and qualities. Mr. Gingrich, when
castigated as grandiose, failed to realize the pejorative meaning
of the word, instead wrapped himself in the U.S. flag, claiming
America is grandiose, etc. (I had to laugh.)
Now Newt produced another unfortunate pronouncement:
This election is the most important since 1860?
Unaware racism, anybody?

Meanwhile, gotta love that typo...."untied" republicans giving
Mr. Obama a second term, and the media most colorful commentary.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Time for "Oracle" Orrin to Retire?

Orrin Hatch, desperately consulting his crystal
ball for the U.S. November 2012 presidential vote
outcome, sees an unwanted win--by Mr. Obama. So
the seven term U.S. Senator from Utah, a moderate
Mormon, has decided to inject partisan pejorative
prognosticating into an already sharply divided,
disaffected electorate. He's "predicting" the
President will introduce Romney's Mormon faith
into the general election.--Whew! How wrong was this?

(1) He's forgotten the First Amendment (re: separation
of church and state) even though Mr. Obama HASN'T.

(2) He's forgotten the ugly religious slurs spewed
out by his republican colleagues about Mr. Obama,
but I and others HAVEN'T.

(3) He didn't realize how such forecasting makes him
appear--foolish, down and dirty, just plain wrong.

After an (apparently) unnerving served seven terms in
Washington D.C., equaling an astounding FORTY TWO years
in that fractious,"taxing" body, perhaps looking toward
retirement might actually BE the far-sighted view.

After all, Orrin is neither the Oracle at Delphi nor
the Oracle of Omaha.