Maiello: Where Your Tax Dollars Go
Doc Cleveland: Copyright vs. Truth
Ramona used to write nice feature pieces for newspapers and magazines, along with columns that, yes, got testy once in a while (Ronald Reagan was president. What could she do?) but were basically and overall nice.
But then. . .
. . .then came the hanky-panky and subsequent impeachment of Bill Clinton! Then Bush v. Gore! Hanging Chads! Katherine Harris! Supreme Court busy bodies! 9/11! War with Iraq! (Iraq??) The right wing! The religious right! The TEA PARTY, for God's sake!
Whatever she is today is the fault of all of the above. She is not to blame.
If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch you must first invent the universe. Carl Sagan
The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. Dorothy Parker
"Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow ... money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands" - Abraham Lincoln
It has always seemed strange to me... the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second. - John Steinbeck
I don't know God personally, of course, but it's a good bet He isn't looking kindly upon His follower, Tristan Emmanuel, who was out there defending His Good Name by calling for the flogging or hanging of a comedian (a comedian) because this "pugnacious degenerate" made some jokes about God and the proven nature of His wrath. (Proven, I should mention, because the Old Testament is full of stories about a God who is just scary angry. It's all in there.)
Working for someone else, fingers to the bone with no expectation of decent wages or a foothold on the ladder, is back in vogue here in America. Even your big deal congresspersons will tell you that. There are no greater patriots than the country's laborers, and the very, very finest--the finest patriots of all--are those who have no use for unions. The best patriot/workers understand that in America it's All for One and None for All.
Paul Ryan took to the podium at CPAC on Thursday and did not disappoint those of us waiting to pick at the lies this duly elected government official must tell in order to remind us all that our government --the very same government he volunteered to be a part of; the very same government that pays him a handsome salary and will give him lifelong perks--has been infiltrated so thoroughly by the socialists (that's us) huge chunks of it must be eradicated and the spoils turned over immediately to the only saviors who have our best interests at heart--the privateers. (Why does Paul Ryan lie? Because he's Paul Ryan and that's what Paul Ryan does and does and does.)
Here's a portion of what he said:
"The way I see it, let the other side be the party of personalities. We’ll be the party of ideas. And I’m optimistic about our chances—because the Left? The Left isn’t just out of ideas. It’s out of touch. Take Obamacare. We now know that this law will discourage millions of people from working. [We do?] And the Left thinks this is a good thing. [They do?] They say, “Hey, this is a new freedom—the freedom not to work.” [Who says that? Lemme at em!] But I don’t think the problem is too many people are working—I think the problem is not enough people can find work. [ Now you're talking] And if people leave the workforce, our economy will shrink—there will be less opportunity, not more. [Yeah, that's what we've been saying ever since you guys came up with that crazy outsourcing idea] So the Left is making a big mistake here. [They are?] What they’re offering people is a full stomach—and an empty soul. [Okay, now--what?] The American people want more than that."
So then he went on to explain that remark about the full stomach and the empty soul:
"This reminds me of a story I heard from Eloise Anderson. She serves in the cabinet of my friend Governor Scott Walker. She once met a young boy from a poor family. And every day at school, he would get a free lunch from a government program. But he told Eloise he didn’t want a free lunch. He wanted his own lunch—one in a brown-paper bag just like the other kids’. He wanted one, he said, because he knew a kid with a brown-paper bag had someone who cared for him."
Now, I know I'm not the only one to sit up and take notice over that one. It's been all over the place. But the emphasis from most corners has been on Paul Ryan's misuse of an anecdote that was lifted initially by Eloise Anderson, Scott Walker's appointee to the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, who skewed the story to serve her own purposes after apparently finding something somewhat similar in Laura Schroff's book, An Invisible Thread.
I don't care where it came from. I don't care that Paul Ryan was careless about the source. What grinds me most about this are these words out of Paul Ryan's mouth:
She once met a young boy from a poor family. And every day at school, he would get a free lunch from a government program. But he told Eloise he didn’t want a free lunch. He wanted his own lunch—one in a brown-paper bag just like the other kids’. He wanted one, he said, because he knew a kid with a brown-paper bag had someone who cared for him.
This is a representative of our government shaming poor people. This is a man of privilege--a man who never hesitates to vote against safety-net programs designed to pull underprivileged people up and out and on their own; a man who, through his own "Ryan Budget", offered up huge cuts to the safety nets in order to give more to the rich and to the military--shaming poor parents by telling them their own children don't want a free lunch.
He told a crowd--and the rest of us by extension via TV cameras--that poor kids are ashamed of their parents, that poor parents who accept government aid ought to be ashamed, and that we on the left are guilty of encouraging that kind of behavior:
"That’s what the Left just doesn’t understand. We don’t want people to leave the workforce; we want them to share their skills and talents with the rest of us. And people don’t just want a life of comfort; they want a life of dignity—of self-determination. A life of equal outcomes is not nearly as enriching as a life of equal opportunity."
This is what Paul Ryan does, and why he is so dangerous. A quick reading of that quote above has everybody nodding their heads. Skills! Talents! Dignity! Self-determination! Equal opportunity!
But what he's really doing is equating essential programs like welfare and SNAP to "a life of comfort". He's suggesting poor people are poor because they like it that way. A "life of dignity" means getting out from under the government wing and going it alone. "Self-determination" means you brought this on yourself.
The "Brown bag" story means stop using your kids as pawns in order to get people to feel sorry for you and give you stuff.
And, oh, by the way, get a job. (But good luck with that, since the dreaded Obamacare just killed that avenue for you, too. The theory goes that employers hate the idea of Obamacare so much they're cutting their workforce in order to show how much they hate it. The insurance companies thank them very much.)
This is Paul Ryan. He is wildly successful. We pay him, but it's a drop in the bucket compared to his other income sources. We will give him health and retirement benefits for the rest of his life--not that he needs us to pay for them. We've given him the power, as a representative of the people, to use this public platform and he uses it to screw the least of us.
If there's a lesson to be learned here, it's this: Live with it.
Every writer is jealous of other writers. Whether it’s fame or fortune or talent, we can’t help but snivel a little when they become Them and we’re still just us.
Most of us do it in silence or in the midst of a narrow group of co-commiserators. Not many (Okay, a few, but they’re gone now) do it as publicly as a writer named Lynn Shepherd did recently when she wrote a blog post on HuffPo UK telling J.K. Rowling she’s had her turn and if she had any decency at all she’d hang it up and give someone else a chance. [Read more]
For days now, since I heard about the death of Jamie Coots, the snake-handling preacher from Middlesboro, Kentucky, I've been struggling with my own thoughts about it. There is no reason in the world why I should be involved in any of it. I didn't know him. I had never before heard of his church. And I didn't know before this weekend, when I read about his death, that he had been the star of a National Geographic Channel series called "Snake Salvation".
Here’s the thing about self-help: If you’re reading a book or an article about how to fix your current miserable existence, or listening to a self-described “expert” tell you and hordes of others how to fix it, it’s not even close to being self-help.
It’s not that these folks don’t want to help you. They do! They really, really do! The goal is to help you to let go and try their tactics on your own. (But not to such a degree that you won’t be buying their next book or watching their next program.) [Read more]
At a Town Hall meeting held last week in Oklahoma, an audience member raised her hand and said to Jim Bridenstine, a congressman from the First District, “Obama is not president as far as I’m concerned. He should be executed as an enemy combatant.”
Read that again: "Obama is not president as far as I'm concerned. He should be executed as an enemy combatant." (Video here.)