The Speech

Tomorrow, President Obama will take the stage in front of congress and the American people to propose a plan to create jobs. The plan, as of now, is largely unknown. There has been speculation about the size of the plan ($300b-$400b by most accounts), and there has been speculation about what the plan will contain (an infrastructure bank, education spending, and a payroll tax cut extension are all being reported as part of the plan).

While we can not yet know what President Obama will propose, it is clear how he must propose it. The President Obama that we see tomorrow night must be the Candidate Obama that we saw in 2008. He must be both optimistic and serious, specific and big-pictured. He must talk of creating jobs in both the short term and the long term.

Above all, he must be audacious, and his plan must be audacious. Americans do not want a plan that “incentives” job creation. We’ve seen with the stimulus what works and what doesn’t work. The part of the stimulus that created jobs was infrastructure spending, aid to states and municipalities, and investments in innovation. The part that did not create jobs was the $250b in tax cuts.

Finally, Americans do not want to sacrifice the audacity of direct job creation in a compromise with Republicans. If Republicans want to vote against a jobs bill, let them do it. If the bill doesn’t pass because of them, let the American people turn the 2012 election into a referendum on that vote. There is no more room for compromise when it comes to creating jobs for Americans.

It’s time for President Obama to test Republicans, instead of trying to work with them. Whatever Obama proposes tomorrow will be universally opposed by the right. Let them say no to a jobs bill, and let’s see if the American people will turn around and say no to them.

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Citation Obamination: Focus on Family Twists Gay Marriage Study Definition and Gets Caught

If Thomas Minnery were in my Poli Sci 101 class in college, he would have a lot of explaining to do to the T.A. on this one.

Minnery, head of the evangelical Christian organization Focus on Family, apparently failed to read his textbooks before taking a trip to Capital Hill for a hearing on same sex marriage. The testimony, which argued the ill effects of gay marriage on child development, included a study done by the Department of Health and Human Services that outlines the emotional and health benefits nuclear families have over other parental situations. Gay marriage, Minnery argued, fell outside the realm of a traditional “nuclear family”, and therefore aided in the degradation of children across the country.

What Senator Al Franken picked up on during the hearing, however, was the true definition of “nuclear family” derived from the study . According to the study, a nuclear family “consists of one or more children living with two parents who are married to one another and are biological or adoptive parents to all children in the family.”

 

The study intentionally deviates from the Merriam-Webster’s definition, which specifies “father, mother, and children.” In addition to the changing of the definition, Health and Human Service’s Debra Blackwell told Politico ““Sen. Franken is right,” the lead author of the study told POLITICO. The survey did not exclude same-sex couples…nor did it exclude them from the “nuclear family” category provided their family met the study’s definition.

In Mr. Minnery’s defense, he probably waited the night before the big hearing and skimmed over the cliff-notes a little too fast. Either that, or he fell asleep in the middle of studying because he couldn’t get any sleep knowing that maybe, just maybe, gay couples could be as caring and loving of parents as anyone else.

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An Ironic Correction

This morning, NPR ran a segment correcting an error in a segment that was ran yesterday. Two days ago, columnist David Cay Johnston wrote an article for Reuters exposing the fact that News Corp did not have to pay any federal taxes for several years. Yesterday, he was on NPR to discuss the fact that News Corp did not have to pay any federal taxes for several years. Last night, he found out that the fact that News Corp did not have to pay any federal taxes for several years was actually not a fact at all. It was completely wrong.

Johnston’s mistake came when reading through some very complicated financial documents. The mistake has to do with mixing up tax deferrals and combining years, or something along those lines. You can read his explanation of events here: http://blogs.reuters.com/mediafile/2011/07/14/how-i-misread-news-corps-taxes/ Regardless of how it happened, NPR had Johnston on this morning to explain the mistake, because as it turns out, NPRs policy is to give corrections as much time and attention as was spent on the initial mistake.

The irony of this situation is that had the situation been reversed and Fox News (owned by Newscorp) had made a factual error about Johnston, it would have never been corrected. Maybe, just maybe, it would have gotten a line or a blurb at the end of a segment.  There lies an underappreciated problem with Fox News. It is not only a constant source of misinformation, but it is a constant source of misinformation that is never corrected.

When an organization has the word “News” in its name, it creates a natural association with journalism. Journalism, like the kind done by Johnston & NPR, corrects its factual mistakes. Journalism is fair & balanced. Newscorp and Fox News simply aren’t.

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How To Be A Politician

So you want to be a politician?

First of all, congratulations! You’ve made the wonderful decision to subject yourself to intense public scrutiny for the rest of your life! In exchange, you’ll have the honor and privilege of being the person that everyone complains to, and complains about, whenever anything whatsoever goes wrong. Mazel Tov! Before you get to that point, however, there are a few steps you need to take to ensure your success.

STEP ONE: CHOOSE A PARTY

The first step to becoming a politician is choosing a party. In the United States of America, we have two major political parties: Democrats and Republicans. “But wait,” you might say, “America is a wildly complicated and huge country. How can everyone in the country be grouped in to only two parties?” Well, let me tell you, it’s more simple than you think: Are you a pompous asshole who can’t understand anyone who isn’t exactly like you and doesn’t believe in helping others? If yes, then you are a Republican. Are you a constant whiner who constantly allows yourself to be bullied and thinks George W. Bush is a product of Satan’s semen? If yes, then you are a Democrat.

Still want to be a politician? Okay, then we can proceed to step two.

STEP TWO: BE INCREDIBLY WEALTHY

What’s that you say? You’re not incredibly wealthy? Aw, shucks. I guess we’ll have to take a look at STEP TWO-A instead.

STEP TWO-A: PANDER TO PEOPLE WHO ARE INCREDIBLY WEALTHY

Unfortunately, being a politician is really expensive. So, if you’re not incredibly wealthy, then you have to convince a lot of incredibly wealthy people to give you some of their money. This is also called “campaign fundraising”. It’s what you do before you start “campaigning”. Basically this involves trading whatever neutrality you may have had for a mountain of future political debt to all sorts of corporations and special interest groups that literally pay you to support laws that benefit them. Aaaaand don’t forget, you have to do this all again in 2, 4, or 6 years. So, don’t think those corporations and special interest groups are just going to forget if you don’t uphold your end of the bargain.

STEP THREE: CAMPAIGN

Now that you’ve raised all that money, it’s time to spend it. For the next several months, you’re going to buy all the television advertisements that you can afford. Now, it may seem like a good idea to talk about some of your accomplishments during your 30 seconds of fame. But let’s be honest, no one really cares. Instead, it’s better to just say bad things about your political opponent. I know, I know, he or she is probably a nice person, so just make something up. No one will find out if it’s not true, and even if they do, they won’t really care.

STEP FOUR: GOVERN

If you’ve followed all of my steps up to this point, you’ve undoubtedly won your election. Congratulations! Now, it’s time to make some laws. Well, since this is your first time getting elected, you won’t really be making any laws, just voting on them. So, when casting your vote, it’s always important to remember two things: First, always vote for whatever everyone else in your party is voting for. Second, always vote for whatever those corporations and special interest groups who paid for your campaign tell you to vote for. Usually, those two things are one in the same anyway. Lastly, remember that you are always being judged and anything you say can be used against you in the future. So, it’s generally be to just stick to generic talking points like “small government”, “lower taxes”, “job creation”, and “family values” without getting into any specifics on policies or ideas.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Wait a minute, that sounds really easy. Couldn’t almost anyone do that?” The answer, is of course, yes. You don’t need to be a lawyer or a constitutional scholar to be a politician. All you need to do is follow my four steps. So, what are you waiting for?

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TPM Article

Talking Points Memo, one of the most popular progressive websites in the country, wrote an article about PACmen on Thursday. See an exerpt below, and read the full version HERE.

Turns out a there’s a political action committee that fights against the influence of political action committees and doesn’t rake in the corporate donations.

PACMEN, or “People Against the Corporate Manipulation of Elections and News,” was started earlier this year by Massachusetts residents Jeromie Whalen and Scott Bloomberg, the duo behind the website WhatTheFuckHaveUnionsDoneSoFar.com.

 

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No Time.

I don’t have time for wasting, I don’t have time for lies.

I don’t have time for Afghanistan, where we’ve lost too many lives.

I don’t have time for taxes, being cut for millionaires.

I’m standing here with a flag in my hand, and Republicans just don’t care.

 

Cus they don’t have time for the environment, they don’t have time for green.

They don’t have time for your health care, and they don’t have time for me.

I don’t know how else to say this, any other way.

A proud American ashamed by Bush, God Bless the USA.

 

I don’t have time for wasting, I don’t have time for lies.

I don’t have time for Iraq, where we’ve lost too many lives.

I don’t have time for Reagan, if you do you must be rich.

Cus the trickle down didn’t trickle down, on the poor and the sick.

 

They try to blame Obama, the economy’s in the tank.

They must not remember anything before 2008.

Now their tent’s getting smaller, cus they’re stuck in the past.

Cus they’ve got no solutions, so who has time for that?

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Constitutional Convenience

Republicans have claimed, again and again, to be strict constitutionalists.

  • They have made themselves out to be the party of the constitution, holding “lessons” on the constitution on the floor of the house, and constantly referencing our founding fathers like they were demigods whose words and moral were perfect.
  • Republicans have gone so far as to claim that the Constitution protects a corporation’s right to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections.
  • Republicans see any form of gun control as an attack on the second amendment.

Yet, what Republican’s practice is not constitutionalism, it is convenient constitutionalism. They reference the constitution when it is convenient to do so, and ignore it when it is not (quick tangent: The same thing applies to referencing the bible.). That is why the Republican response to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s invocation of the 14th amendment as a tool to overcome a debt deal impasse is so laughable. The 14th amendment states, “the debt of the United States shall not be questioned”. This reality takes a lot of leverage away from the far-right wingers in their negotiations with President Obama and the Democrats on a debt deal. So, it is in inconvenience to them. Therefore, they have chosen to rebut the constitution.

They are trying to have their constitution, and eat it too. This is far from the first time this has happened (even this year! “Natural born citizens” anyone?), it is merely the most recently example of GOP constitutional convenience.  

 

 

 

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