Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Yearning to Unlearn? Watch Fox News.

Rolling Stone has done an outstanding piece on Fox News. Here’s what they say about the people who watch Fox News. It’s probably to most significant quote in the story … and it’s sure as hell the most distressing:

“According to recent polls, Fox News viewers are the most misinformed of all news consumers. They are 12 percentage points more likely to believe the stimulus package caused job losses, 17 points more likely to believe Muslims want to establish Shariah law in America, 30 points more likely to say that scientists dispute global warming, and 31 points more likely to doubt President Obama’s citizenship.”

Hear the loud whirring noise? It’s Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, Edward R. Murrow, William L. Shirer and a host of other great and principled reporters of the past … spinning in their graves.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Grand Old Party’s Grand Old Tradition: Getting It Wrong.

Sometimes, when the Republican rhetoric gets shrill and begins to drown out everything else, it’s a good idea to take a step back and remember that the GOP track record ain’t so hot. There are more, but here are a few that I can recall without dragging out some reference books:

* Republicans opposed the right to vote for women.

* Republicans opposed the creation of Social Security.

* Republicans opposed lend lease which sent military equipment to Great Britain when they stood along against Hitler and the Nazis.

* Republicans opposed the Marshall Plan which send food and essential supplies to a starving Europe after World War II, and is now credited for preventing a Communist take-over of many countries.

* Republicans opposed the creation of Medicare.

Clearly, the GOP has been on the wrong side of history more often than not over the years and it would be a good idea to bear that in mind as we debate the big issues of today.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

In his blog today, Ian Lind, former reporter and still a journalist of the first order, provides an interesting look at three major issues now facing the U.S. Allow me to summarize his summaries:

* The U.S. has anywhere from five to eight times more of its citizens in prison than any other western industrialized nation.

* The U.S. spends more on health care than any other country in the world, but has poorer results than most of those same countries.

* The U.S. spends more on “defense” than all the rest of the world combined.

And still the politicians blather about the U.S. being the greatest country in the world and are outraged at any candidate for office who dares to suggest that some other country may have found a better way to deal with some of these issues.

Propose health care reform and you’re a socialist. Propose more gun control or prison reform and you’re siding with the criminals. Propose a cut in military spending and you’re soft on terrorism.

What’s maddening is that most of those pompous, blowhard politicians know better, but are pandering to (and thereby willfully perpetuating) ignorance and arrogance among the electorate … and all in the name of patriotism.

We’ve got a helluva lot of waking up to do. And we’d damn well better get started on it.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Exactly when does The End actually begin?

Harold Camping, the 89-year-old pastor from California and founder of Family Radio Worldwide, has prophesied that the world will end today. It's early morning here in Hawaii as I write this, so we've still got the entire day ahead us us to sweat it out.

Of course, I've just taken a look on line at some of the newspaper headlines from Europe. They're saying it looks like the old guy was wrong because May 21st is about to end over there. In fact, it's already the 22nd in China, so I guess they're off the hook.

But all that does seem to beg the question of just how a world-ending event would happen if it's pegged to a specific calendar date.

If it's to occur simultaneously at the one split second when it's May 21st around the entire globe, I suppose that would have been last night, precisely at midnight in Great Britain, Greenwich Mean Time.

The only other option would be something that works like a cataclysmic rolling blackout. Since I'm in Hawaii, and we're 11 hours behind GMT, I won't know for sure what may or may not happen until the calendar clicks over to May 22 in Greenwich. That's a little more than five hours from now, as I write this.

Just in case, because there's no sense starting in on my shed-painting project until we know for sure, I might as well wait until 1:00 p.m. our time. Of course, the Red Sox-Cubs game starts at 1:00, so I guess I'll put off the shed 'til tomorrow. Assuming there will be one.


UPDATE: According to filings with the IRS, Family Radio Worldwide received $18 million in contributions in 2009. (No comment ... because I'm speechless!)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Today’s column by political pundit and columnist Mark Shields has some quotes which highlight the chasm that exists between left and right in this country … or, at the very least, it highlights the different attitudes of the two men that liberals and conservatives most admire. Here are the comparative quotes.

“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.' ”

“The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would hire them away.”

“Let public service be a proud and lively career. And let every man and woman who works in any area of our national government, in any branch, at any level, be able to say with pride and with honor in future years, ‘I served the United States government in that hour of our nation’s need’”

Shields concludes his column by noting that the members of U.S. Navy SEAL Team 6 are all public servants.

They sure as hell are!