An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Posts tagged ‘Rick Perry’

Can our government please grow up?

There is a story in the news right now about a girl named Jessica Ahlquist.  She is a 16 year old high school student in Rhode Island.  She joined with the ACLU and got a prayer banner removed from her high school.  She did this amidst endless amount of bullying, taunts and threats from not only students, but parents too.  She’s a brave kid, standing up for the Constitution.  But the really sad part is that Ahlquist has been getting flak not just from her high school, but also from people in government.

No joke, a Representative from Rhode Island was quoted saying that Ahlquist is “an evil little thing.”  He went on to say “she is being coerced by evil people.”  The idea is that all atheists are evil, or at least the ones who endorse the idea of keeping a public school from endorsing religion.

When will our government grow up?  Can we please have a moment where people who lead this nation don’t appear to be angry children?  Between all the bigotry coming out of Rick Santorum’s mouth, and all the insanity from Rick Perry, it is getting so hard to see where the grown-ups are.  We need a grown-ups right now.  America needs some adults to be in the room and actually lead this country, rather than do their usual routine of blaming other people for what is wrong.

That’s all.  It’s a short post, but it needed to be said.  America, we need some grown-ups to run for office.  Any ideas?

Peace out,

Lefty

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Is there a war on Christmas?

It seems like every year, the pundits get rolling about how there is this huge war on Christmas.  Rick Perry’s latest (and hopefully last) campaign ad showed this quite well, where he talks about how we are letting “gay people serve in the military,” but apparently, little Tommy and Billy can’t celebrate Christmas.  So the question is, where did this come from?

Cracked.com made a very funny article about this pointing out that it must have happened at some store, at some point in time, when a bunch of people came together and said – “say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas.”  From there, the race was on against the “War on Christmas.”  It has been a convenient talking point of comedians like Stephen Colbert to make fun of.  Fox News is a brilliant testiment to how far good marketing can go, especially when the base that you are marketing to has the intellectual capacity of a toadstool.

In a link above, the Fox News site has an entire page dedicated to how there is a war on Christmas.  Here are some titles from some of the links on that site –

School Play Turns Political in ‘Occupy North Pole

Apparently, kids are turning Christmas into politics.  Wow, that’s interesting.

 Postal Service Tells Workers to Stop Dressing as Santa

They offer not proof that that claim, by the way.  They just have a brief tidbit, a tiny blurb of talk, and that’s it.

U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Pays Homage to Obama—But Not Jesus

Don’t you miss the days when the First Amendment actually meant something?  A person cannot get elected into public office in this country unless they believe in these people’s God.  Over 80% of Republicans and over 50% of Democrats say that religion is very important to them.  These numbers are telling a story – that there is no way that religion doesn’t have a very firm grasp in this country.  It’s also worth mentioning that this claim is barely anything more than a blurb too.  It is just talking.

The fact is that there is no war on Christmas.  Fox News can talk all the want about how fire fighters aren’t allowed to dress up like Santa and give gifts to the kids, but they don’t stop and check to see that they are getting the wrong facts.  It is a cycle that never stops, ever.

Meanwhile, those of us in the real world say Merry Christmas to each other, and nobody attacks us for it.  One can leave Target and hear them say Merry Christmas, and nobody gets upset.  And there has never been an instance in my lifetime where a kid go suspended for wearing a Santa hat to school.  This is just another lovely form of made-up problems that Fox News is so famous for having on their network.

There are people who make this a problem, but these people are trying to be trouble, and everybody who is aware knows it.

Merry Christmas, everybody, and have a lovely holiday season.

Peace out,

Lefty

Amanda Knox and the Failure of the Media

It is getting a little bit too annoying, really.  When we are in a societal calamity.  The EU is in real economic trouble.  America’s economy is heading in the wrong direction again.  The Middle East is still in chaos.  There are problems that are everywhere.  The vote on Pebble Mine is just around the corner.  The Alaskan economy isn’t all that great right now either.  All of this is going on, and what does the media see fit to either have as “Breaking News” or as the “Top Story” is the story of Amanda Knox coming back to America.

The story goes that there is a girl named Amanda Knox.  She was an exchange student in Italy.  Her roommate, Meredith Kercher, was found with her throat slit.  Knox and her boyfriend at the time, were charged and found guilty for the crime.  That was four years ago.  The rest is history, until recently.  The verdict of her appeal acquitted her, and now she has returned home.  And what has the news seen fit to do – talk about it to death!  I am starting to agree with Jon Stewart about what 24-hour news networks are designed to do

24 hour news networks are built for one thing, and that’s 9/11, and the type of gigantic news event that the type of apparatus that exists in this building and exists at the other 24-hour are perfectly suited to cover.  In the absence of that, they’re not just gonna say, ‘there’s not that much that’s urgent or important or conflicted happening today, so we are going to gin up, we are going to bring forth more conflict and more sensationalism because we want you to continue watching us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even when the news doesn’t necessarily warrant that type of behavior.'”

Really, this whole event how shined a spotlight, to me anyway, of something that really does need to be examined in the world of professional journalism – where the priorities are.  Stewart is absolutely right.  These networks won’t just admit that they don’t have anything that is worthwhile to talk about.  Thankfully, NPR, PBS, BBC, and the alternative media sources are doing the smart thing and giving this issue the attention that it deserves.  But really, when one examines this issue critically, it has to be pointed out that what does this matter?

What possibly contributions does this event give society.  What’s more, why does everybody care so much?  There is a greater societal problem that is displayed here – that the people of this country are starting to look less like an informed populace and more like Mike Judge’s creation, Idiocrisy.  When one examines what gets in the news anymore, and where the people tend to focus their attention, it is easy to see why the socially aware are starting to lose hope in the human race and their ability to make any productive change anymore.  This is not a key issue in this debate.  In fact, Amanda Knox is nothing more than a symptom, or even less than that, but a skin mark, on the problem that is the massive ball of corpses that is America and the priorities that this country has.  She is just a sign of what is to come in the media that has grown up around the corporations of this country.

Fox News may be the great white whale of journalism, but MSNBC and CNN are not innocent of what plagues Fox News – bad journalism that is intentionally made to seem much more important than it actually is.  Does anybody remember the Casey Anthony trial?  Or maybe you remember the example that Stewart gave in his article above, about how there was the press conference after Anthony Weiner was found out for having shown his weiner to a girl.  How when Pelosi said that she wasn’t going to talk about Weiner, but rather about jobs and the economy, everybody left.  These are just a few of the many examples of how these news networks are all completely ignoring the important issues.

There is another issue that seems to have been completely ignored by the media – Rick Perry and his massive political project/blunder – the Trans-Texas Corridor.  Put simply, it was a giant complex that was intended to route all major traffic to heavy population centers of Texas.  Costly, disruptive to private property, and just a giant waste, not to mention a very big bit of ugly business.  While it looks like Perry is losing some of the clout that he had, this issue has not been raised at all in any significant way.

See, this is the problem with the news – they seem to have a hard time reporting the news.  They seem to have it all mixed up that when you are charged with reporting the news to people, which means things that are of consequence happening in the local, state, national, or worldwide level.  Something like this Corridor would be a huge thing to talk about, especially with a candidate who bashes the federal government, but then goes around and does things like this.  Call it what you like, Perry, but government by any other name is still government.  That goes for the Ron Paul fans too.

But there is hope on the horizon.  The alternative media seems to be gaining traction.  More and more people are seeking out places where they can get the news and not have it be a corporate machine.  It used to be that just the eggheads were watching shows like FRONTLINE and listening to NPR.  It used to be that the corporate machine believed that nobody cared what those on the internet had to say.  But that isn’t true, not anymore.  Now, with YouTube, journalists having blogs, and several other blogs and vlogs being watched, the world of social commentary and journalism is growing.  This is a good thing.

In a world where the economy is heading in the wrong direction again, we need to have some voices who are above the sensationalist maw and are able to take the bag of snakes and lay them out straight.

Peace out,

Lefty

Texas Sets a New Low

There comes a time in the life of every political commentator when one is forced to sit back and to rethink one’s position on the major issues surrounding the world.  Then there are other times when they are forced to wonder something even more important – how can I make fun of this?  Certain events that happen in this world are so hopelessly stupid that it’s just beyond the ability to be satirized.  It is beyond the possibility of being parodied in any significant way.  Some events are so ridiculous that to even try and make fun of them makes you look stupid for your efforts, because they are that dumb.

Governor Rick Perry, of the state of Texas, has finally decided to completely abandon rational thought of any kind, and go off the train of crazy into a different universe where humanity has even less sense.  He has announced an event that is going to happen on August 6, 2011, in Houston, Texas, where people will gather in a massive stadium and all pray for America’s problems to be solved.  He has said that these problems are just “too big” for people to solve, so he wants as many people as he can get, to come to the Reliant Stadium, to pray for America’s problems to go away.  He is basically saying that we should just abandon our human efforts to fix things, and instead just hope some supreme being does it.

Forget the fact that this flies in the face of the First Amendment of the Constitution of this country.  Forget that this is not the first time that he has done something like this (does anybody remember the Pray for Rain days?).  Forget that this is insulting to all the people of this country who aren’t Christian, who could be Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, you name it.  Forget all the very good logical arguments against this for a moment.  Instead, think about this – how stupid is this?!  How ridiculously stupid is this plan and everything that it represents?

The GOP, or as Politicususa calls them, “God’s Own Party,” has been morea nd more embracing the radical Christian fundamentalist right-wing of this country.  It is no surprise that they are against women’s reproductive rights, for the military, or for having this country be recognized as  a “Christian nation.”  These things are all perfectly understandable.  They are ridiculous and unintelligible, but they at least make sense.  But this little day-long event is just the icing on the cake of the intellectually void nature that Texas seems to want to pass on.

I mean, read for yourself what Perry said about his event –

We believe that America is in a state of crisis. Not just politically, financially or morally, but because we are a nation that has not honored God in our successes or humbly called on Him in our struggles. According to the Bible, the answer to a nation in such crisis is to gather in humility and repentance and ask God to intervene. The Response will be a historic gathering of people from across the nation to pray and fast for America

Does that seem like that statement of a rational person?  Since most of America is Christian, they probably agree.  But for those of the religious community who have some sense, this should be viewed as madness.  Perry isn’t just calling on the people of Texas to come together and pray for our problems to magically disappear, he wants all of America to come as well.  He wants the entire country, or as much as he can fit into his stadium, to be there to canonize giving the finger to the Constitution!

Honestly, one can’t be funny about this.  One cannot sit in a place and try and rationalize this kind of thing, because this is beyond any kind of humor.  Not only is this unConstitutional and annoying, it is just sad.  There are real problems facing this country right now.  And saying that we should just stop trying to make human effort and simply put all of this in the hands of a some invisible supreme being is just madness!  I’m not dogging on people who have faith, I am dogging on abandoning sense, and reason, and rationality, and the drive to make the world a better place.

Texas has a really bad history of having some really bad laws go down.  They have had laws making sodomy a felony, along with gay marriage.  Something so stupid and so bigoted that it hurts.  They have made repeated threats of seceding from the Union (if only they would.   Anybody want to take bets on how long before they came crawling back?).  As Bill Maher put it, “they wanted to be their own country, and perhaps they should have been.”  What else can you say?

What people believe in is their business.  That is a right given to this country that should never be contested.  As much as I have a problem with people who say that just because something is in the Constitution, that immediately makes it right, this is an area that I think should never be contested.  However, we also must recognize that coming out openly and saying that America is a Christian nation, and that God, the Christian God, is the only way our problems will be solved is insulting to everybody who has a different opinion.  And honestly, that is what the First Amendment was made to protect – the different opinions.

The mob has never needed protection.  The majority doesn’t need an Amendment to protect them.  The minority does.  The minority needs to be protected from craziness.  But people are ignoring the idea that people should be left alone if they believe differently.  If they believe in a different god than you do, leave them alone.  Telling the rest of the world that we are of one mind about things is a slap in the face of what this country was founded for – tolerance and acceptance.  Of course, don’t say that in Texas.  You’d probably get hanged.

Peace out,

Eli

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