I opine

Words of Advice from President Bartlet

Posted in ethics, politics by jaeminuf on September 22, 2008

What if Barack Obama turned to former President Jed Bartlet of the “West Wing” for some fatherly wisdom?

OBAMA What would you do?

BARTLET GET ANGRIER! Call them liars, because that’s what they are. Sarah Palin didn’t say “thanks but no thanks” to the Bridge to Nowhere. She just said “Thanks.” You were raised by a single mother on food stamps — where does a guy with eight houses who was legacied into Annapolis get off calling you an elitist? And by the way, if you do nothing else, take that word back. Elite is a good word, it means well above average. I’d ask them what their problem is with excellence. While you’re at it, I want the word “patriot” back. McCain can say that the transcendent issue of our time is the spread of Islamic fanaticism or he can choose a running mate who doesn’t know the Bush doctrine from the Monroe Doctrine, but he can’t do both at the same time and call it patriotic. They have to lie — the truth isn’t their friend right now. Get angry. Mock them mercilessly; they’ve earned it. McCain decried agents of intolerance, then chose a running mate who had to ask if she was allowed to ban books from a public library. It’s not bad enough she thinks the planet Earth was created in six days 6,000 years ago complete with a man, a woman and a talking snake, she wants schools to teach the rest of our kids to deny geology, anthropology, archaeology and common sense too? It’s not bad enough she’s forcing her own daughter into a loveless marriage to a teenage hood, she wants the rest of us to guide our daughters in that direction too? It’s not enough that a woman shouldn’t have the right to choose, it should be the law of the land that she has to carry and deliver her rapist’s baby too? I don’t know whether or not Governor Palin has the tenacity of a pit bull, but I know for sure she’s got the qualifications of one. And you’re worried about seeming angry? You could eat their lunch, make them cry and tell their mamas about it and God himself would call it restrained. There are times when you are simply required to be impolite. There are times when condescension is called for!

Aaron Sorkin Conjures a Meeting of Obama and Bartlet
Maureen DowdThe New York Times

Oh my god, my god (note, I used “god” in lower caps) is Aaron Sorkin! I love Aaron Sorkin. I LLLUUUUUUUUUV Aaron Sorkin. And I love President Bartlet. And oh my god, let righteous anger speak!

I loved that Biden said it would be patriotic for the wealthy to do their part at this time. Thank you, Biden, for having balls

Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves!

Posted in gender, politics by jaeminuf on September 16, 2008

I chanced upon this firsthand account of the Alaskan women’s rally against Palin’s nomination. It was heartening.

Never, have I seen anything like it in my 17 and a half years living in Anchorage.  The organizers had someone walk the rally with a counter, and they clicked off well over 1400 people (not including the 90 counter-demonstrators).  This was the biggest political rally ever, in the history of the state.  I was absolutely stunned.  The second most amazing thing is how many people honked and gave the thumbs up as they drove by.  And even those that didn’t honk looked wide-eyed and awe-struck at the huge crowd that was growing by the minute.  This just doesn’t happen here. – ‘Alaska Women Reject Palin’ Rally is HUGE!

Alaska Women Say She Be Failin’

Posted in gender, politics by jaeminuf on September 16, 2008

Born Again But Not For Palin

A couple of hours after Gov. Sarah Palin returned to the Outside, as Alaskans call the Lower 48, her local critics swarmed an Anchorage intersection to correct the widespread impression that the whole of the Last Frontier endorses her candidacy.

“The whole thing grew out of frustration,” said Charla Sterne, one of the organizers, who like several people at the rally declined to say where they worked (several said they were state employees and feared retribution). – In Anchorage, an Anti-Palin ProtestWashington Post

I couldn’t resist including a sample of the signs:

  • Bush In A Skirt
  • Palin: She Be Failin’
  • Jesus Was a Community Organizer
  • Palin: Thanks But No Thanks
  • Smearing Alaska’s Good Name One Scandal @ a Time
  • Candidate To Nowhere
  • Rape Kits Should Be Free
  • Voted For Her Once: Never Again!
  • Community Organizers are the Real Patriots
  • Barbies for War
  • I Shall Not Be Pandered To
  • Give Palin Your Vote AND Your Draft Age Child
  • Sarah Palin: So Far Right She’s Wrong
  • Coat Hangers for McCain
  • Sarah Palin, Undoing 150 Years of American Feminism
  • Hockey Mama for Obama (on a hockey stick)

 

Socialization of Wall Street

Posted in Uncategorized by jaeminuf on September 16, 2008

For the past decade, much brouhaha has been made of privatizing social security, formally known as the federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program. That private individuals will better manage their own retirement funds than the federal government can. That it doesn’t perform as well as private pension funds do. That, all in all, it is in the best interest of the individual to invest directly into the financial markets than to turn over that money for the government to safekeep until due time.

The present Bush administration has been a strong proponent of the privatization of social security. In general, they extol the virtues of the free market. That deregulation can only be a good thing.

Fast forward to September 2008

Treasury chief Paulson unveils historic government takeover of twin mortgage buyers. Top executives are out. – U.S. seizes Fannie and FreddieCNN.com

and

A.I.G., The New York Times

Acting to avert a possible financial crisis worldwide, the Federal Reserve reversed course on Tuesday and agreed to an $85 billion bailout that would give the government an ownership stake in troubled insurance giant American International Group. – Fed to Loan A.I.G. $85 Billion in RescueThe New York Times

I’m really confused…
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Fear and Loathing – Let Us Not Indulge

Posted in politics by jaeminuf on September 16, 2008

I hadn’t realized until yesterday that some Obama supporters have been regarding HRC to be conspicuously absent from the campaign because, in large part, my political radar had been tuned to pick up Obama‘s presence. Although now I can’t find the specific Salon.com article through which I became aware of this acrimony, the eagerness and vehemence with which some Salon.com‘s readers thrashed HRC with charges of being a selfish saboteur and traitor were alarming. Especially in light of the fact that HRC has been out there campaigning on Obama‘s behalf:

While I too share the anxieties resulting from the past two weeks’ surreality, it does no good to to cast unfounded aspersions on HRC, insisting she isn’t doing enough to win it for Obama. Besides the fact that winning this election is the responsibility of Obama, his campaign, and his supporters (by which I mean me and you, that is if you want to see Obama in the office), we can do better. We can start by stepping back so that we can get a better view of what actually is happening and what needs to happen.
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Alternate Reality

Posted in ethics, politics by jaeminuf on September 13, 2008

I’ve been very gloom and doom. Fretting over the election. Fretting about many things. Doesn’t help that I’m reading text after text on neo-Confucian ethics, including the memoirs of a Korean noblewoman whose husband, the crown prince, was sealed into a rice chest by his father, the king, and left to die: The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyŏng, translated by JaHyun Kim Haboush. So, yes, I’ve been fretting about the moral/ethical failings of our world.

Then, I read this article.

The Year of the Cloned Candidates

By GAIL COLLINS
Published: September 13, 2008

We have been approaching this presidential race the wrong way. It’s not political science. It’s science fiction. Something is amiss in the space-time continuum.

The presidential candidates running now are not the same ones we started out with. It’s “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” all over again. We’re watching the clash of the pod people. – The New York Times

 

Theyre here already! Youre next!

They're here already! You're next!

 

And I laughed. Lots. Gaffawing laughter.

Methinks I need to schedule in regular doses of the Daily Show with John Stewart.

If this were indeed a sci-fi horror flick, the kicker I’d like to add is this: the final scene takes us to a facility where the Republicans, unbeknownst to the American public, have been conducting secretly cloning experiments from stem cell lines. The final shot pans across glass pods of clones and zooms in slowly on the pod containing the protagonist’s clone. Mwahahahahahah.

 

A break from politics, sort of

Posted in gender by jaeminuf on September 10, 2008

I say sort of because Hanisch, nearly forty years ago now, cogently made the case that the personal is political.

Though it may not readily appear so, what I set out to write about is entangled in a thicket of weighty concerns, including first and foremost the 2008 Presidential Election, the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailouts, the mortgage crisis, the credit crunch, Sarah Palin’s nomination as VP candidate, the necessity for women to remain economically self-sufficient…

Yesterday, as I was taking a break at my favorite…

Well, actually nevermind yesterday. Literally just this moment, at 2:32am, I received a call from a restricted number. I didn’t think it could be a telemarketing solicitation, although I would not put it past them these days. But it wasn’t a telemarketing firm. It could, nonetheless, be construed as a kind of a solicitation.
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David Frum on Equality – “Never Can Be or Should Be a Conservative Goal.”

Posted in class, economy, education, ethics, politics by jaeminuf on September 8, 2008

Question to David Frum. Do you really want to assert the following on record?

Equality in itself never can be or should be a conservative goal.

The Vanishing Republican Voter: Why income inequality is destroying the G.O.P. base.
– David Frum,
The New York Times

WTF?

I reread it and the surrounding passage repeatedly to make sure I hadn’t misunderstood that the author was asserting that conservatives should not prioritize equality in itself as a worthwhile objective. I didn’t misread it.

Wow, really? Somebody needs to brush up on his civics lessons:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal…”

The Declaration of Independence, 2nd paragraph

 

Collective Consuming Power! Dangling the Carrot…

Posted in economy by jaeminuf on September 8, 2008

(For the full, funnier 10 minute version, go to Carrotmob Makes It Rain from carrotmob on Vimeo.)

Environmental activism via consumerism: Carrotmob mobilizes the good people of San Francisco to shop en masse at a convenience store that agrees to spend 22% of the generated revenue on energy efficient retrofits to the store.

Wildly successful would be an understatement.

CBS5 Eye Witness News’s segment on the event.
(Note the lazy journalism.
Nearly all of the footage featured is from Carrotmob‘s youtube video.)

I raised my eyebrow at Carrotmob’s presentation of environmental activism via consumerism as if it were some radically new notion. Anyone older than a Millennial certainly remembers the impact had by The Body Shop and the environmental consumerist activism of the late 80s and early 90s. The really nice part about this Carrotmob effort, however, is that the impact was immediately evident and local. As they say, it’s a win-win situation.

 

Well-Intentioned But Manipulated

Posted in ethics, gender, politics by jaeminuf on September 7, 2008

In “The Mirrored Ceiling,” the latest post in her New York Times blog Domestic Disturbances, Judith Warner articulates incisively the gross insult and danger that is Palin’s nomination.

Palin sounded, at times, like she was speaking a foreign language as she gave voice to the beautifully crafted words that had been prepared for her on Wednesday night.

But that wasn’t held against her. Thanks to the level of general esteem that greeted her ascent to the podium, it seems we’ve all got to celebrate the fact that America’s Hottest Governor (Princess of the Fur Rendezvous 1983, Miss Wasilla 1984) could speak at all.

Could there be a more thoroughgoing humiliation for America’s women?

One of the worst poisons of the American political climate right now, the thing that time and again in recent years has led us to disaster, is the need people feel for leaders they can “relate” to. … it brought us after all, two terms of George W. Bush. And it isn’t new; Americans have always needed to feel that their leaders were, on some level, people like them. …But never before George W. Bush did it quite reach the beer-drinking level of familiarity… There’s a fine line between likability and demagoguery. Both thrive upon manipulation and least-common-denominator politics.”

Some of the comments to this Blog post were especially worthwhile. In particular, I appreciated Elizabeth Fuller’s comments (#5 and #387 ), as did so many others who commented, and Bill’s comment #363. They were gems. I just hope that the populace is made up of such thoughtful people who do discern the dissimulation being waged by Steve Schmidt, John McCain, Sarah Palin, and the Republican Party who, in order to put themselves in the White House, would do everything but put the country first and in fact would soil and undermine the very values upon which this nation was founded. I hope they are able to see that Sarah Palin is none other than a lipstick wearing, Alaskan iteration of George W. Bush: just as ill-prepared because they are not curious about the world in which they live, they have not dedicated themselves to challenging themselves, their hubris allows them to believe they possess all the wherewithal that could possibly be necessary to be (V)POTUS, and they lack respect for the Constitution and would violate that foundational belief in the separation of church and state.