Tag Archives | America

Help Wanted, Now Hiring – Leader of the United States

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I view America like this: 70 to 80% [are] pretty reasonable people that truthfully, if they sat down, even on contentious issues, would get along.
And the other 20 percent of the country run it. ”

— Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

On the heels of President Obama’s and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s on-going food fight, Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails and foreign contributions to her foundation, more shootings in Ferguson, and Congressional gridlock over budgets – we will hire a new President next year. Our recent hires have struggled: President Obama’s job approval averaged 42.6 percent for 2014 and former President Bush averaged 37 percent his second term. Congress approval in 2014 averaged a historic low of 15 percent. Americans now tell Gallup that government is our number one problem – even surpassing the economy.

Here is the rub: We get the leadership we select. If we want better leaders we must upgrade our selection criteria.

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A Frightful Prospect: Hillary vs. Jeb

"Jeb Bush by Gage Skidmore 2" by Gage Skidmore. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Jeb Bush by Gage Skidmore 2” by Gage Skidmore. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Andrew Levine via CounterPunch:

Around the world, elections happen; they are scheduled or called and then they are over and done with – all in short order. America is “exceptional.” Even before 2015’s April showers, 2016’s November election is taking shape.

The good news is that the first six months are usually low key. There is no reason to expect that this year will be different.

There is therefore plenty of time to stock up on anti-emetics. If, as seems likely, Hillary and Jeb become the candidates, the need for them will be acute.

There is time too to pray to a merciful God that we will not have to endure that nightmarish scenario, and that neither of those miscreants will ever see the inside of the Oval Office again.

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“Zero Tolerance” Policies in Schools Are Not the Answer

Marie (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Marie (CC BY-SA 2.0)

“Zero Tolerance,” modeled after the “broken windows” theory, has become common place in American school districts. Different infractions of varying degrees: possessing a weapon, smoking a cigarette in the bathroom, continual tardiness, and “willful defiance,” can result in suspension. These policies began to take hold during the Bloomberg years in high-poverty, urban school systems. Of course, this harsh attitude leads to higher suspension rates, which puts students at risk of “failing a grade, dropping out, or becoming incarcerated.”

Nonetheless, some school districts are wising up to the failures of zero tolerance policing. The suspension rate for LA schools fell by 53% after they banned suspensions “for subjective offenses such as ‘willful defiance.'” In contrast, LA graduation rates rose by 12%.

Carly Berwick at The Atlantic writes:

It turns out that there are plenty of options, and that’s where progressive education steps in. Indeed, many of these options hark back to the era of early 20th-century schooling, when educators pushed back against the teaching philosophies typical of the 1800s: an emphasis on rote memorization and physical obedience, for one.

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American democracy is doomed

Via Vox

Via Vox.

Via Matthew Yglesias at Vox:

America’s constitutional democracy is going to collapse.

Some day — not tomorrow, not next year, but probably sometime before runaway climate change forces us to seek a new life in outer-space colonies — there is going to be a collapse of the legal and political order and its replacement by something else. If we’re lucky, it won’t be violent. If we’re very lucky, it will lead us to tackle the underlying problems and result in a better, more robust, political system. If we’re less lucky, well, then, something worse will happen.

Very few people agree with me about this, of course. When I say it, people generally think that I’m kidding. America is the richest, most successful country on earth. The basic structure of its government has survived contested elections and Great Depressions and civil rights movements and world wars and terrorist attacks and global pandemics.

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‘The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one’

thierry ehrmann (CC BY 2.0)

thierry ehrmann (CC BY 2.0)

Robert Frisk writes at The Independent:

Uri Avnery is without doubt the most intellectual, philosophical, prescient leftist Israeli seer I have ever met. Like TS Eliot, he has a habit of using the fewest words to tell the greatest truth. Every essay he writes, this reader always says the same thing: Exactly! Yet, for the first time in 40 years, I disagree with the great man.

He has just suggested that Benjamin Netanyahu’s agreement to address the US Congress at the invitation of Republicans tomorrow– two weeks before an Israeli general election – and Barack Obama’s decision not to see the old rogue, has destroyed Israel’s bipartisan support in America. For the first time, says Uri, Democratic politicians are allowed to criticise Israel.

Absolute Tosh.

Congressmen of both parties have grovelled and fainted and shrieked their support for Bibi and his predecessors with more enthusiasm than the Roman hordes in the Colosseum.

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Get a Liberal Out of America

Max Hertz is a liberal, college professor, and artist — and he wants out of America. To do so, he’s set up a crowdfunding campaign. Hertz explains that he’s asking conservatives to put their money where their mouths are, as they are known to say things like: “If you don’t like America, you should just leave.”

Hertz explains, “I am worried about the growing anti-liberal, anti-art and anti-intellectual trends in America and I am actually concerned for my well being and safety.” A little melodramatic, maybe, but he seems hellbent on getting the hell out of here. By donating to his campaign, you will receive hate filled, right wing bumper stickers.

“I would like to leave America before the next scheduled installment of a right-wing president takes place.” Hertz explains.

You can check out his website/donate here.

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Reptilians: A Breakdown of the Political Conspiracy

ReptiliansObama-2

Alex Abad-Santos at Vox explores one of the more interesting conspiracy theories: reptilians. “The idea of shape-shifting lizards taking human forms in a plot to rule America and the world has become one of the most majestic and marvelous conspiracy theories created by mankind (or lizardkind, if you will).”

Alex Abad-Santos via Vox:

Last November, the political fate of America was once again put to a vote. But for the millions of Americans who believe in lizard people, this vote had bigger implications — like thwarting an ongoing plot of world domination.

The idea of shape-shifting lizards taking human forms in a plot to rule America and the world has become one of the most majestic and marvelous conspiracy theories created by mankind (or lizardkind, if you will). In 2008, “lizard people” found its way onto the Minnesota’s midterm ballot with some controversy.

As pundits continue to extrapolate on what the Republican win in the midterms means for the country, there are people around this country who hope their votes did something crucial — kept the country safe from lizard people for the next few years.

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David Barton’s Plan for Biblical Slavery for America

fusion-of-horizons (CC BY 2.0)

fusion-of-horizons (CC BY 2.0)

From 2011, Hrafnkell Haraldsson writing at PoliticusUSA:

On the WallBuilders website, home of David Barton, ideological advisor to both Glenn Beck and Mike Huckabee, you will find an article by Stephen McDowell, a colleague of his, explaining the joys of biblical slavery. As Bruce Wilson writes on Talk To Action,

Christian Reconstructionism endorses “Biblical slavery” and founder of the movement R.J. Rushdoony expressed the sentiment that African-Americans were lucky to be slaves, writing, “Granted that some Negroes were mistreated as slaves, the fact still remains that nowhere in all history or in the world today has the Negro been better off.”.

It wasn’t that the Southern system was wrong, you see, for endorsing slavery; it was wrong because it wasn’t biblical slavery. And America awake!: R.J. Rushdoony asserts that what was permissible according to Biblical scripture is permissible now: including slavery.

As Wilson writes,

McDowell’s article cites R.J.

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Why ghosts haunt Britain at Christmas but steer clear of America

Disney’s 2009 animated version of ‘A Christmas Carol,’ with actor Jim Carrey voicing several of the characters including Scrooge and the three ghosts. WALT DISNEY PICTURE

Disney’s 2009 animated version of ‘A Christmas Carol,’ with actor Jim Carrey voicing several of the characters including Scrooge and the three ghosts.
WALT DISNEY PICTURE

via The State:

— A few years ago, the “Downton Abbey” Christmas special featured a ouija board that communicated a message from a dead character. American reviewers were extremely puzzled by this incursion of the supernatural, while British reviewers found it unexceptional. Indeed, few bothered even to mention it. Why?

The answer lies with the long tradition of Christmas ghost stories, the most famous of which is probably Dickens’ “Christmas Carol” (subtitled “Being a Ghost Story of Christmas”). Dickens was a strong supporter of the Christmas ghost story, reminiscing in his 1850 essay “A Christmas Tree” about childhood Christmases spent “telling Winter Stories – Ghost Stories, or more shame for us – round the Christmas fire.” Dickens also encouraged other writers to produce Christmas ghost stories for the annual festive editions of his magazines Household Words and All the Year Round.

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