A Word on Mother’s Day

I’ve never been one for ceremony. I normally eschew holidays such as Mother’s day or Valentine’s day as attempts to sell greeting cards or flowers. But I caught the tail end of Reverend Al Sharpton’s show on MSNBC the other day and he made a point that seems, well, poigniant. And it echoes an axiom to which my mother has always adhered: there are three things certain in life; death, taxes, and the love of one’s mother.

Reverend Sharpton said that we should acknowledge our mothers on this day as having helped us get through life and if our mothers had already passed we should honour them by doing something that would show that their contribution to the planet was worthwhile. In short, we should honour them by being good examples and living a full and purposeful life. I thought that was good advice. Continue reading


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It’s Florida All Over Again: Why Rubio Will be the VP Nominee

Official portrait of US Senator Marco Rubio of...

Official portrait of US Senator Marco Rubio of Florida

(Update: 6/15/12 Following President Obama’s policy of granting protection from deportation of illegal immigrants who were born or brought here as children, Rubio as a VP choice is once again called into question. The Obama administration’s actions caught the Romney camp flat-footed on the issue leaving Romney left to either backtrack on his previous position on immigration or to take a bold step such as nominate Rubio.)

It’s Florida, again. Mitt Romney has but a few ways to beat President Obama in November. One of them involves swing states; or states with undecided or independent voters. Florida is one of the most crucial. No one needs to be reminded of the year 2000 as an example.

Yet how does Mitt Romney win Florida? Well, he did pretty good in the primary although he lost the northern panhandle to Newt Gingrich. Even so, he stands to gain Gingrich’s votes in the general election. But Romney has a Latino problem. Declaring that he would vote against the Dream Act that would allow Latinos already living in the country to get an education or serve in the military has not really endeared Romney to the ever growing Latino population. Continue reading

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The Politics of Distraction

RMS Titanic

This is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. It’s kind of an appropriate political metaphor. Let’s say your ship is doomed. You want to be rescued. But as Captain, you don’t necessarily want to be perceived as incompetent.

So, politically, if you don’t have a message, be certain to delegitimize your opponent’s message while your ship is sinking. Because if you can’t win then neither should they. And that’s what this is really about these days.

The Republican party is the Titanic. There are only a few hours left in political parlance. Everybody is scrambling for a place in the last lifeboat at this point. The Republicans are desperately trying to win the extreme Tea Party vote at the expense of losing the moderates and undecideds. They’ve pretty much made up their minds by now. Latinos, African Americans, Women; if they haven’t decided to vote for Obama or decided not to vote at all, they will soon enough. Continue reading

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The Mitt Romney Drinking Game

Mitt Romney at one of his presidential campaig...

Mitt Romney at one of his presidential campaign rallies. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you noticed it? Republicans routinely and willfully lie. It’s not just ‘mis-speaking’ or inaccurate; it’s wanton, reckless, intentional, and knowingly lying. And people applaud when the lies are spoken. Take Mitt Romney, for example: The multiple mendacity that comes from his mouth is glaring. Sure, some of it is just ill-informed opinion but most of his accusations against President Obama are demonstrably wrong and yet Romney continues to do it even when the media point out that he’s wrong. He just keeps doing it and he even lies about doing it.

Perhaps Governor Romney doesn’t understand today’s modern media. There are plenty of former Republicans and Democrats who have fallen prey to the Twitter feeds. Most have TV shows now. Maybe he actually believes what he’s saying is true. Still, when pointed out that it’s not true it seems like Romney ignores it as if he’s hoping it will go away. It’s more likely that he’s following the old dictum that if you repeat something often enough then it will eventually be reality. Or at least the perception of reality. And really, that’s all you need to win an election: the perception amongst the majority that these things must be true, ergo it’s the reason you’re the better candidate.

We could turn the Mitten’s Mendacity into a drinking game but we’d all be passed out on the lawn on election day. Maybe that’s what Mitt is hoping for.

Continue reading

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What if Bush Had Caught bin Laden?

Osama bin Laden interviewed for Daily Pakistan...

Osama bin Laden interviewed for Daily Pakistan in 1997; behind him on the wall is an AK-47 carbine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of course George W. Bush never actually caught bin Laden. President Obama did. In fact, Bush made it a point to not to capture or kill America’s number one enemy. He went out of his way to avoid going after Osama bin Laden and even used his fugitive status as an excuse to invade Iraq. In point of fact he publicly jested about his invasion of Iraq under false pretenses, lifting up the tablecloth at a banquet to mockingly say, “Nope, no weapons of Mass Destruction here”. It actually benefited Bush politically to have bin Laden at large.

Bush even went on TV to say he had no intention of looking for bin Laden. It just wasn’t a priority to bring the mastermind for 9-11 to justice. One can only presume that there was a legitimate reason for this. Maybe he didn’t want to appear to be intimidated by bin Laden’s at large status. Perhaps he didn’t actually know how or where to look for America’s number one enemy. Maybe he wanted us to buy into the military industrial complex he’d set up in Iraq as a legitimate way to make us feel safe. Continue reading

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Red Right Returning…The End of the Republican Primary

(Red Right Returning, a nautical mnemonic for the side of the buoy or marker on which to pilot a ship in order to stay in the channel, is a look back at the activity of the past week of the Republican candidates in the 2012 primary. Feel free to voice your opinions in the comment section.)

Rick Santorum bowed out of the Republican primary campaign paving the way for Mitt Romney’s eventual nomination of the GOP party’s challenge to Barack Obama for president of the United States. Sure, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul are still in the race but despite Newt’s bleating for Rick’s delegates, neither has a chance of obtaining the requisite number of delegates necessary to achieve the nomination for Republican challenger. Santorum was the last legitimate challenger. The general election begins now.

Santorum had several reasons to bow out. There was the illness with his daughter. No one can blame him for that and no one will. She takes priority. We can and should only hope that she gets better.

Next, Santorum was looking at losing in his home state to Romney. He had already been ousted from his Senate seat in Pennsylvania and polls show Romney was closing the gap. Losing in his home state would have been insulting and a career ender.

Finally, Santorum’s campaign had already shown signs of unpreparedness to take on the race for nomination. The math just wasn’t with him. He failed to place on the ballots in several states. Romney had already had practice at running from 2008. If anything, Santorum was showing signs of prepping for 2016. Same with Ron Paul: only Paul could be clearing the ground for a libertarian run for his son, Rand.

Rick Santorum may have taken one for the party. The writing was on the wall. Gingrich was just being obstinate. Ron Paul was being…well, Ron Paul. With Santorum’s exit it becomes clear that Romney is the Republican nominee. Let the games begin. The general election starts now.

(Editors note: this also possibly means the end of the Red Right Returning segment of this blog as well)

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Free Forum Friday…March 30th Edition

(Free Forum Fridays are an open discussion where readers are invited to bring up topics that may not have been covered in the previous week. Got something on your mind? Throw your opinion out there.)

In other news this week, the hot topic is still the backlash from the shooting of a teenager in Florida in what appears to be a case of vigilante justice gone wrong. This was followed by a level of suspected ineptitude of the Sanford Florida police force’s investigation into a matter which has sparked national outrage. As of this writing, no arrest has been made of the man responsible for shooting Trayvon Martin.

The other big item is the Supreme court’s consideration of the validity of the Affordable Health Care Act. So far the representative arguing in defense of the act doesn’t appear to be doing so well. Will the individual mandate be struck down as unconstitutional? Can the rest of health care reform stand without it? Once again, will this come down to moderate Justice Anthony Kennedy’s vote?

Got an opinion? Post away.

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Spectre of the Gun

Glock 9mm with ectended magazine. The kind used to shoot multiple citezens at Gabrielle Gifford’s political rally.

We have become the culture of the gun. Violence is an acceptable solution to our problems.

It’s difficult for me to write about this since I am a gun owner. Most of my guns are inherited. My handgun was purchased intentionally after a robbery in the nineties. It felt like I needed protection. My 30.06 was a result of backlash from 9/11. I figured I needed to be ready to go all Rambo, claim some public lands, and get self-sufficient just in case the world fell apart. I’ve never actually used the guns for any specific purpose. I don’t hunt and no one has ever threatened me directly. I’m such a wuss that I’m not even sure I cold gut a deer or clean a fish. I guess I keep guns around as an insurance policy.

But other people actually use guns. Mostly for law enforcement but usually for much more nefarious purposes.

I was surprised last year when no action was taken after the tragic shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords occurred. The shooter used an extended clip designed for the sole purpose of inflicting as much damage as possible on as many targets that were available. It was only after he expended his ammunition clip that he was able to be subdued. Let’s not candy-coat this: he wanted to kill as many people as possible. And he succeeded. Could we have avoided this? Continue reading

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Red Right Returning…The Big Easy and the Land of Lincoln

(Red Right Returning, a nautical mnemonic for the side of the buoy or marker on which to pilot a ship in order to stay in the channel, is a look back at the activity of the past week of the Republican candidates in the 2012 primary. Feel free to voice your opinions in the comment section.)

Mitt Romney predictably won the Illinois primary. Or rather he won Chicago over a bunch of surrounding cornfields. This was not surprising as Chicago is not known for voting conservative even by Republican standards. The nation is beginning to accept that Romney is a moderate despite what his campaign would have us believe.

Louisiana, on the other hand, holds its primary today. Rick Santorum is favoured to win in Cajun country. It’s a similar set of circumstances. New Orleans is like Chicago only in Louisiana it means the evangelicals will prevail. Newt Gingrich might have a chance at third place but we’re getting close to Texas where Ron Paul has reign. Plus, this is where Buddy Roemer hails. Could Roemer get enough votes to place instead of Gingrich or Paul? Polling tends to leave him out of their results so we could see a surprise in that regard.

With most of the primaries/caucuses in the bag, 538Refugees has already called the nomination for Mitt Romney but with Santorum’s rising notoriety, Romney’s failure to close the deal, Gingrich’s obstinate refusal to get out of the race, and the ever-present spectacle of Ron Paul, it’s easy to see any number of outcomes.

Unless there is a surprise, Rick Santorum wins Louisiana. But the delegates are proportionally allocated so it won’t help him much in the big picture.

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Silver Foot-in-Mouth Disease

Good time to buy stock in Etch-a-Sketch

It didn’t take long for the political gaffe sound bite uttered by the Romney campaign’s lead political strategist, Eric Fehrnstrom, to hit the airwaves. Fehrnstrom made a comment that the Romney campaign was like an Etch-a-Sketch, the popular toy originally called L’Ecran Magique by it’s French inventor and manufactured in Ohio until 2001 when its manufacturing was (ironically and appropriately in Mr. Bain Capital‘s case) shipped to China. The meaning of the statement was that the campaign would reboot its strategy for the general election but critics and opponents picked up the sound bite and turned it into an internet meme for Romney’s lack of positions on any particular policy. Both Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich subsequently showed up at events with an Etch-a-Sketch in hand to criticize Romney’s political positions(s).

Nor did it take long for illustrations like the one above right to pop up on every internet political blog. And why not? The comedic and political material of the Republican nomination practically writes itself. Has there ever been a more entertaining comedy of errors?

Case in point: look at all the Mitt Romney gaffes. Continue reading

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