Li: ritual, propriety, etiquette. Hsiao: love within the family (parents for children and children for parents. Yi: righteousness--the noblest way to act in a situation. Xin: honesty and trustworthiness. Jen: benevolence, humaneness towards others. Chung: loyalty to the state and authority. --Confucius (Kong Fuzi)

All articles appear in reverse chronological order [newest first].

Post from FaceBook may not be viewable if not signed into FaceBook.
I believe the past is relevant, sometimes more than others of course. In most cases we are seeing history being repeated, so it is most relevant.

Monday, July 26, 2010

An Inspirational Story: Shirley Sherrod, the full video.

A truly inspirational story of self awareness and transformation is turned into a hateful weapon that could have destroyed the reputation of the speaker and others. Watch the video and then click the link at the bottom of the page to see a breakdown of the smear.

To introduce the full video let me quote Star Editor Dennis Ryerson of the [conservative] Indianapolis Star [7-25-10] “All of us need to check facts before leaping to conclusions

“If you missed the story, here’s a re­cap: A blogger, eager to portray the Obama White House as being insen­sitive to whites, and wanting to get back at the NAACP for its criticism of the tea party movement as racist, posted remarks made by Shirley Sherrod at an NAACP dinner. Sher­rod recounted how, while working for a nonprofit agency years ago, she rejected a white farmer’s plea for help in saving his farm from foreclo­sure and instead turned the case over to a white lawyer.
You almost could hear the ma­chine-gun rapidity of the criticism: Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad.
The NAACP, eager to avoid any charge of reverse discrimination, quickly condemned the remarks. Vil­sack, anxious to fend off similar alle­gations from the right, just as quickly fired Sherrod.
Then the truth emerged.
The post on the blogosphere, in a reckless rush to prove a point, was only a snippet of what she said. Her full remarks were a plea for recon­ciliation, not racism. The truth is that she didn’t like how the white lawyer handled the case, took it back herself and helped save the farm.
The farmer credited her for her work.”

To read: “Maligning What Should Have Been An Inspirational Story” click here.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Who Gets US Out of the Hole We Are In?

Robert L. Borosage: President, Institute for America’s Future

…This election, the president said, will offer a choice: "It's a choice between the policies that led us into this mess and the policies that are leading us out of this mess. It's a choice between falling backwards or moving forward."

His critique of Republicans has the advantage of being true. With unparalleled discipline, Republicans voted with virtual unanimity to obstruct every major reform offered by the president, breaking all records on filibusters along the way. To the extent that they offer any program, it is a retread of the very policies that drove us off the cliff -- top end tax cuts, deregulation, drill, baby drill, ardent defense of corporate subsidies and multinational trade accords. Their solution to health care, as Rep. Alan Grayson gibed, is don't get sick. Their solution to unemployment, as Republican Sen. Kyl and others have argued, is starve or work. (Kyl opposes extending unemployment benefits, so people will be desperate enough to take jobs that pay far less, assuming they exist.)

Will voters vote for party of no -- or as John Boehner ranted, in a health care
screed immortalized in a YouTube video, the party of "hell no, you can't?"

Well polls suggest that they just might. Off-year, low-turnout elections are the occasion to cast a protest vote. Voters aren't really voting for an opposition candidate or her or his policies, they are voting against. And that clearly is what Republicans are counting on.

Can a compelling choice be posed in midterm elections held in a bad economy?

The president would really like to campaign for credit for one of the most productive congressional sessions in decades. Against Republican obstruction, the White House and Democrats in Congress have passed the largest recovery act in history, the largest increase in student aid since the GI Bill, the most significant health care reform since Medicare, the greatest expansion of community service since Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, the biggest investment in renewable energy ever. This week the Congress will pass, again, over virtually unified Republican opposition, the largest reform of finance since the 1930s. The White House will roll out studies on the benefits of the health care bill, the millions of jobs created by the stimulus, the consumer protections in financial reform. They'd like a little credit. If only people understood what we've done, they strongly believe, they'd reward us at the polls.

These statements are true but largely irrelevant... As dramatic as the reforms have been, they have not been sufficient to the crisis. And, at the end of the day, what matters is jobs and the economy. House Minority leader John Boehner's response to Obama's argument is simply "Where are the jobs?" Many Americans may think the real choice is between those advocating the policies that got us into the mess and those advocating policies that have failed to get us out.

George W. Bush survived a jobless midterm, but only because of 9/11. In 1994, the economy was actually beginning to generate jobs, but Clinton and Democrats were punished, and the Gingrich Congress was elected. The last president to survive a bad economy in an off-year, first term election was Ronald Reagan. He cut taxes, ran up military spending and exploded the deficit. Despite a deep recession, Reagan got Republicans to unite on a message of "stay the course." He pounded relentlessly from the first day of his administration on the failure of liberalism, on government as the "problem, not the solution," blaming Democrats constantly for the downturn. Democrats made gains, but Reagan survived to go on to re-election.

Obama's message parallels Reagan's. We've begun to create jobs, stay with the policies that "are getting us out of the mess," rather than going back to those "that got us into the mess..."

From the Huffington Post: view the entire article.

Links:

Get Your Free Checks Here!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Get Your Free Checks Here!

by Glenn Littrell

Let’s see:

  • a paycheck or an Unemployment benefits check?
  • security or an Unemployment benefits check?
  • the ability to pay bills or an Unemployment benefits check?
  • the possibility to sustain or return to their normal standard of living or an Unemployment benefits check?
  • living above the poverty level or an Unemployment benefits check?
  • All the above or an Unemployment benefits check?

How can it be so easy to characterize people who have been working for a living as so lazy and lacking of a work ethic that they [and family] would be willing to exchange all of the above for a paltry unemployment check which, even with extensions, is still a short term existence.

It just doesn’t make since to so often portray people who need help as lazy slackers. Does the pitiful UI check make poverty attractive?

image
5 unemployed workers for every job.

Links:

Republicans To Unemployed: Why Won't You All Just Get Some Jobs Already?

Does Unemployment Money Help or Hurt?
Some Real Questions for Chamber’s ‘Jobs Summit’
Lack of Jobs, Not ‘Generous’ UI Benefits, Keep Unemployed Jobless
Progressive Breakfast: Address Unemployment Pain, Or Make It Worse
Who Gets Us Out Of The Hole We Are In?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Who Gets US Out of the Hole We Are In?

Will voters vote for party of no -- or as John Boehner ranted, in a health care screed immortalized in a YouTube video, the party of "hell no, you can't?"

Links:

Get Your Free Checks Here!

Who Gets US Out of the Hole We Are In?

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Whole Hand Over His Heart Debacle:

by Glenn Littrell

In response to a comment on a FaceBook post(from 2010):

In regards to President Obama putting his hand over his heart ‘all the time’, I too wish he would. Everyone should do so for a variety of reasons, but to not do so on occasion is neither criminal or proof of a lack of respect for this country. If it is then there is a lot of disrespect going around all over this country at sporting events, public meetings and assemblies. Out of the majority of people who do put their hand over their heart how many of them are doing it, as you put it, in reference to ‘public opinion’ around them? As members of military families you and I probably look at this from a more intense perspective than many, but what bothers me is the increasing level of Americans who make patriotism into a series of chest beating and loud-shouting clich├ęs and rituals. How many chain emails and talking head pundits do I have to hear criticize people for exercising the rights that others have sacrificed and fought for. Those who fought for those rights were fighting for everyone's rights, not just yours and not just mine. Along with rights comes a responsibility to exercise them. To suppress someone's rights is more injurious to those who sacrificed than to exercise those rights in opposition to something some of us may approve of.

Personally when I consider what might constitute or define patriotism the anthem, the flag and the pledge are not at the top of the list as these are just symbols and rituals that are used to demonstrate ones outward claims. What comes to the top of my list are things such as sacrifice, commitment, service, support of justice and equality, the willingness to defend your neighbors rights as much as your own, especially when they are in conflict, etc. The presidents reaction to the first few notes of the National Anthem may not be to automatically raise his hand to his heart, but is the automatic response anymore reverent? image
You say if this wasn’t an isolated incident it would be no big deal. Come on now! This is probably one of the most circulated political videos around and it is always accompanied by statements that it is unequivocal proof of his disrespect! Its usually titled “Barack Hussein Obama refuses to salute US flag” which is obviously a biased conclusion. You then state that further proof is that

“…he has went around the world and apologized for us to other countries when he should be proud of our country and not be apologizing. He says we are often arrogant as a country, etc,”.

What is the correlation between an apology and patriotism? I can understand that you may not agree with the apology. I can understand that you don’t think he should be apologizing, but what you see as unpatriotic others see as humility, and if your saying our country should not show humility when it has done wrong, or that this country has never done wrong, then aren’t you proving his statement that we are often arrogant?  You correctly point out many of the fine attributes and accomplishments of this great country but you ignore the darker and often hidden side of our history. I would point to slavery, genocide of native Americans, Jim Crow, segregation, etc. When you say we have “…overthrown the treacherous dictators, freed the people…” you overlook the fact that we have also supported dictators and corrupt regimes, as well as undercut or removed governments [some elected] that we have had the ‘arrogance’ to deem ‘not in our best interest’. The attitude that other peoples hate us only out of jealousy is also arrogant as it isolates all of those people we have differences with as not having valid grievances or the ability to reason and formulate actions. There are some whose dislike for us is rooted in unrealistic or unfounded perceptions but many have real or imagined grievances that could be addressed. I too am proud of this country. In spite of our transgressions I recognize the many great accomplishments, but pride without humility IS arrogance.

Is it that an apology is seen as a criticism of our country? I can see the logic of that, but is criticism of our country unpatriotic? I remember when criticism of our President was portrayed as unpatriotic and unsupportive of our troops [Bush and Iraq]. I remember when criticism of invading Iraq was portrayed as unpatriotic. But if criticism of our government and/or President is unpatriotic then where is the indignation over the criticism of this President? Where is the indignation of the Tea Parties portrayal of this country and government? I’m being sarcastic here because criticism is not unpatriotic, its as American as apple pie. That is, unless you are located on the wrong side of the political map.

As far as your statement that Obama ridicules America, I don’t see it, you have to show me what you mean.

In regards to:

“…yet to hear Obama tell it and to watch his actions, we are all heathens who need forgiveness for being so evil…”

this is your assessment and opinion. I disagree with it but your welcome to it. Also:

“…I don’t understand where this mentality comes from and it is shared by the liberal crowd…”,

again that is your assessment. I’m perceived as a liberal and I don’t believe that, but then as a liberal I am always subjected to right-wing explanations of what I’m supposed to believe.

The statement:

“I sure wish these same people would have been so quick to make excuses for Bush when he was president and Bush didn’t do anything that this president does yet he was called an imbecile and a racist and a monkey and the list goes on and on.”

First of all, to be sure. I didn’t call Bush a racist, never heard him called a monkey, and never questioned his intelligence. I just didn’t always see evidence of it. To say that Bush didn’t do anything this President does implies either this President didn’t do anything right or Bush didn’t do anything wrong. During Bush’s pre-911 months he was also making world stops like Obama, the difference was where Obama was apologizing Bush was offending. Not the same thing, but not really different either. Both could be seen as embarrassing. As far as wishing ‘these people’ would make excuses for Bush why is that necessary? He had and still has FOX news and conservative radio constantly doing that. If you want followers of Obama to make excuses for Bush then how about the reverse? If what you are saying is you wish we were more tolerant and less partisan then I can agree with that, but the video that started this conversation does not fit with that wish. It is meant to be divisive and inflammatory.

I tell you what… I’ll make a deal with you along these lines. I’ll defend Bush on something he was criticized for and you defend something that Obama was criticized for. You can choose what I defend and I’ll give you a heads up on what I would like you to defend, Obama’s Memorial Day agenda this year [2010]. It should be easy since the original portrayal of the FOX coverage of that agenda was totally rebuked before Memorial Day arrived. Once the facts as laid out by FOX concerning the agenda’s of past presidents was found to be false and misleading there shouldn’t be to much work in defending his agenda. People may find your defense unbelievable though if all they watch is FOX  since they never, as usual, retracted their misrepresentations.

In terms of people saying we should support the current President, shouldn’t we? Weren’t we supposed to support the previous one and the ones before that? I remember on numerous times when criticism of Bush was categorized as unpatriotic, against the troops, or traitorous there were some less inflammatory defenders of Bush saying support the office, if not the man. Support doesn’t mean we have to agree or vote for his ideals, but it should at least mean we don’t hope he fails or pray for his assassination.

by Glenn Littrell

Sunday, July 11, 2010

In Anticipation of a Future Chain E-Mail:

by Glenn Littrell

unemploymentorigA chart has begun popping up all over the place and will probably be showing up in emails soon, you know the ones, chain mail which will make some asinine unfounded  political claims implying the chart proves some anti-lib or anti-Obama point. It’s frustrating because in a country with such an open and free press there are enough facts floating around at any one time to provide valid criticism and debate without making stuff up. In this case the original chart only draws attention to limited facts [which party controlled congress] leaving people to draw a view based on limited data and no explanations.

Fine, but here's a version of the chart with a little more info.unemployment

So does our new version of the chart support or dispute the suggestions of the original chart?

The original excluded information on who was in the Presidency at the time as if their was no relative impact. It also doesn’t reflect any events that may of had a short or long term effect on the economy. The original figures presented in the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which were credited as the source of the original chart, are raw figures. Does overlaying one timeline [who controlled congress] prove a correlation by itself? Its like those election year comparison between who wins the world series and the which party wins the presidency. If there is a visual correlation does that mean there is a real connection between the world series and the presidency? Its not my suggestion here that who controls congress is not relevant. My point is that by itself it is suggestive more than it is conclusive. The original and this updated chart do not go back before 95, the obvious intent being to 'cherry pick' the info, so if you extend the chart back to before 1995 you will probably see that during all presidencies and shifts in congress, the most conclusive pattern is that no term has resulted in a graph line that is one directional. Even the Obama/Democratic line is starting to curve, so why don’t we give it a minute before we draw our doomsday conclusions.

You can go to the BLS website [ http://data.bls.gov/PDQ/servlet/SurveyOutputServlet ] and enter your own parameters and then draw your own conclusions.

Additional point: If I were to point out that the origin of the current high unemployment rates were the result of a excessive spending and deregulation under Bush we would find ourselves being chastised for continuing to "BIOB" [Blame It On Bush]. So even though Republicans blamed [and still do] Clinton for everything throughout the Bush administration we'll leave it up to others to decide whose recession it is.

by Glenn Littrell