Saturday, January 21, 2012

Haiku Saturday

Well, here it is, the day of the South Carolina primary. It is amazing to me that in such a short time, Newt Gringrich has surged to the point he may actually beat Romney despite all his morality-challenged past actions.

And it's not all because Rick Perry dropped out; it seems as if people down there just seem more excited about Newt than about Mitt. As columnist Paul Mulshine says in the linked article, "An excess of emotion trumps a lack of emotion every time in the Deep South. That might explain why Romney’s in so much trouble in a race he was expected to win in a walk."

It probably isn't helping Mitt much that Stephen Colbert is down there campaigning with former candidate Herman Cain, further confusing the voters, some of whom may not even realize he's a satirist.

And of course, in the meantime, Romney is still reeling from finding out he apparently didn't win the Iowa caucuses after all; Santorum apparently beat him by 34 votes.

It will be very interesting to see what happens today. Since I have no real news to talk about until after the vote, I thought it would be a good time for some haiku. And the first one I am going to post is by Jeremy over at Chew the Fat - and I'll send you over to his place to read it. Hint: It's about Newt and it is very good!

Now here are mine...

First snow of winter
Drapes cotton over the cars
And makes my feet slip.

The dogs aren't walking
We drove to get the paper
We are pathetic.

This is the Northeast
Snow is a normal event
But we were so spoiled.

One snowstorm in Fall
Nothing but good weather since
What do you expect?

It's warmer down South
Where things are getting hotter
Newt may beat Romney.

Running neck and neck
Santorum and Paul behind
But they're still trying.

After tomorrow
The race may get more narrow
We will wait and see.

That's all I've got today! Tomorrow is another day and will provide plenty of entertainment, I'm sure. In the meantime I'll post this highly amusing and very pertinent song by the Austin Lounge Lizards, "Gingrich the Newt." The ironic thing is, this song is from Newt's FIRST era in politics and is still true today. I love the reference to orphanages; apparently Newt said back in the 90s that kids would do better in orphanages than in the welfare system. Now he thinks poor kids should be janitors. Really, the more he changes the more he remains the same! (If I've posted it before, apologies for repetition, but it is definitely worth repeating. There isn't really any video to this but do listen to the words!)

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Cat's Eye View - of Ron Paul

Baxter here. Sorry to have been Silent for so Long but I am at the Mercy of the Humans in terms of when I can Blog or not. Luckily my Female Human has taken it into her Head to get back to the Business of Blogging again and is giving me the Access I deserve to expound on My Opinions here. It's not that I can't Type, but I am not Very Good at the management of Software and I don't know HTML so my Human has to help a little when I want to do things like make things bold or whatever. And I have Strong Opinions so I need some bold now and then!

OK, so where was I? Oh yes, Ron Paul. The so-called Libertarian among the GOP field. As a Cat, I am sure you would understand that I like the idea of being a Libertarian. There is no one more Libertarian than Cats. Dogs are certainly NOT Libertarians. They do whatever their Masters want, or at least they try to. Sometimes their Brains are Too Relaxed to understand what is Wanted. But if they figure it out, they'll do it. Well, maybe except That Dog they call Diva. She tends to do what SHE wants. But the New One, Angel, she tries to Please; except for one thing - she still wants to chase Me and Bark. But I digress.

Many Humans who usually think Progressively tend to kind of like the idea of Ron Paul. Not Ron Paul himself, mind you, but their IDEA of Ron Paul. They think of him as Someone who would get Government out of their Hair and Leave them Alone. They also know that, unlike front-runner Romney, he thinks legalization of Marijuana should be left to the states and there should not be a federal law against it, which they think is kind of Cool - and that he was against the War in Iraq, also a Good Thing in many People's Eyes. But they may not have read the Details of his other ideas on the issues. If they did, they would be Much More Concerned about Mr. Paul. For instance:

He is "Pro-Life," saying he believes Life begins at Conception and Roe vs. Wade should be reversed. In addition, he opposes any Government Funding for Things People Don't Believe in - which in this case means:

"Ron Paul will also protect the American people’s freedom of conscience by working to prohibit taxpayer funds from being used for abortions, Planned Parenthood, or any other so-called “family planning” program."

Now, as a Neutered Cat, issues of Contraception have No Interest to Me. But I'm sure there are Many Progressive Female Humans who would find these Ideas Alarming. I also wonder, if Conservatives think the "American People" should not have to have their Taxes go toward Things they Don't Believe In, why does that only apply to Things Conservatives Don't Believe In? Shouldn't Liberals and Progressives have the Right to refuse having their Taxes go toward Things They Don't Believe In either? Like, for instance, My Humans would Choose not to have their Taxes go toward Wars and Military Spending. Why should the Consciences of Conservatives be the Federal Government's only Concern?

Ron Paul has More Ideas. Lots of them. For instance, he wants to Abolish the Income Tax, the "Death" Tax, the Capital Gains Tax, and the Federal Gas Tax. Oh, but he also wants to Balance the Budget. I Wonder how he would Do That? Sounds Confusing to Me; but of course, I am Only a Cat.

As for Energy, Paul is of the Drill, Baby, Drill! mindset. More Oil! More Gas! Nuclear Power! Coal! Oh, and Abolish the EPA - that's just a Lot of Troublemakers Ruining the Economy and keeping our Energy Prices up!
"As President, Ron Paul will lead the fight to:

* Remove restrictions on drilling, so companies can tap into the vast amount of oil we have here at home.

* Repeal the federal tax on gasoline. Eliminating the federal gas tax would result in an 18 cents savings per gallon for American consumers.

* Lift government roadblocks to the use of coal and nuclear power.

* Eliminate the ineffective EPA. Polluters should answer directly to property owners in court for the damages they create – not to Washington."

I particularly Love the idea that Property Owners would have to Go to Court to get Polluters to pay for the Damages they create. How would that work, exactly? My Humans would have to sue the owner of the local Gas Station or the nearby Industrial Brownfield for the contamination of the Groundwater? And wouldn't that Clog up the Courts indefinitely? Or better yet, for Mr. Paul, I guess he figures People would get Tired of having to Sue to get anything or wouldn't be able to Afford the Lawyer Fees and Big Polluters would just Get Away With It.

Home-Schooling? He's all for it.

"Ron Paul believes no nation can remain free when the state has greater influence over the knowledge and values transmitted to children than the family does.

And the truth is, no big government spending program can or will solve our nation’s education problems."

Personally, I would rather the Human Children be Taught by Professionals and not a bunch of Evolution-Denying, Anti-Intellectual Parents who will Brainwash the Kids to grow up thinking Just Like Them. And the More People who Homeschool, the fewer People will be paying for Public Education (Mr. Paul, of course, wants these Parents to get a Tax Credit for Homeschooling their Kids) and Public Education will Continue to Go Downhill.

What about Guns and the Second Amendment, you may ask. Well, of course, Ron Paul is all Pro-Second Amendment and Pro-Gun!

"With our gun rights under constant attack from our own government and the anti-gun United Nations, as well as the threat of rising crime due to our country’s economic woes, Congressman Paul believes it has never been more important that our President be 100% committed to defending our God-given right to keep and bear arms."

(Of course we All Know how much God likes us to have Guns; that's why it is our God-Given Right to have them!)

True, some Progressives and Liberals will like some of his Ideas on the Military. After all, who Among Us would argue that there is a lot of Waste in the Military Budget, and that we probably don't need to give Money to "Rich Dictators." And it probably IS a Good Idea to follow the Constitution and have Congress Declare War before actually going to War.

But to Me, as a Liberal Cat, his other Ideas are Just Too Dangerous. I hope my Fellow Liberals and Progressives will read Mr. Paul's positions Very Carefully.

So that's It from Me today. I hope you Enjoy Your Weekend and Have Enough Catnip to Get Through this Election Season. It's only going to Get Worse before it Gets Better!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Haiku Monday

January is
Such a long and dreary month
But so far no snow.

It's global warming
I venture to speculate;
No complaints from me. 

The Republicans
Have converged on New Hampshire
Tomorrow's the vote.

Mitt Romney screwed up;
Said he likes to fire people
Poor choice of wording.

Newt Gingrich cancelled
Because protesters showed up
He can't take the heat.

And Rick Santorum
Isn't faring much better
In the Granite State.

He heard the booing 
Due to views on gay marriage 
Over in Concord.

After tomorrow
The whole circus moves onward
Let's hope it ends soon.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

"Santorum? Really?!"

Well, the much-touted Iowa caucuses are over, thankfully, but the Republicans still haven't managed to admit they have to choose Romney. Sure, Romney won Iowa by a whopping 8 votes, but the fact that Rick Santorum nearly tied him should give all sane people pause. When I first heard that Santorum was even running, I couldn't take it seriously. The man was voted out of office in Pennsylvania by 18 percentage points in 2006 for a lot of good reasons (see link for a number of lapses in integrity and episodes of crass hypocrisy) and his history of homophobia was (and still is) so rabid that his opponents, led by Dan Savage, actually made his name a definition for an unsavory type of substance, which shows up pretty close to the top of any Google search you do on his name. (No, I won't link it here, but feel free to Google if you are one of the few who has not already heard about it).

So I may be forgiven if I thought we'd seen the last of him. But strangely, he's baaaack! Santorum is running for President and has managed to promote himself as the sole keeper of family values competing for the Republican nomination, thus siphoning off all of the hardcore right-wing evangelical Republicans in Iowa and managing to nearly topple Romney. You almost have to feel sorry for Romney; he's doing everything right and yet the GOP voters still don't want him.
Just in case anyone has forgotten what a nutjob Santorum really is, let's revisit a few of his positions. This link will take you to a site that lists a number of quotes by Santorum on various subjects. A few choice examples:
  • “The reason Social Security is in big trouble is we don’t have enough workers to support the retirees. A third of all the young people in America are not in America today because of abortion, because one in three pregnancies end in abortion.” - Rick Santorum on how abortion is responsible for Social Security’s problems, 3/29/11
  • “I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say ‘now we are going to decide who are people and who are not people’.” - Rick Santorum on President Obama’s race and pro-choice beliefs, 1/19/2011 
  • “Is anyone saying same-sex couples can’t love each other? I love my children. I love my friends, my brother. Heck, I even love my mother-in-law. Should we call these relationships marriage, too?" - Rick Santorum comparing his love for his mother-in-law to the love that same-sex couples share, 5/22/2008
In case you wonder whether he really believes some of the things he says, you can see his beliefs on his own website, where he states he will do the following things, among others:
  • "Repeal Clinton-era Title X family planning regulations, and will direct HHS to restore the separation of Title X family planning from abortion practices and restore a ban on referrals for abortion 
  • Reinstitute the Mexico City Policy to stop tax-payer funding or promotion of abortion overseas
  • Ban federal funding for embryonic stem cell research 
  • Restore conscience clause protections for health care workers 
  • Defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court 
  • Ban military chaplains from performing same sex marriage ceremonies on military bases or other Federal properties
  • Repeal Obamacare mandate for contraceptive services in healthcare plans... 
  • Veto any bill or budget that funds abortion or funds any organization that performs abortions including Planned Parenthood 
  • Call on Congress to abolish the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals 
  • Advocate for a Personhood Amendment to the Constitution... 
  • Advocate for a Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution 
  • Call on Congress to reinstitute Don't Ask/Don't Tell 
  • Call on Congress to pass the Workplace Religious Freedom Act 
  • Call on Congress to reinstitute 2008-level funding for the Community Based Abstinence Education program 
  • Advocate for a federal law permitting schools to allow prayer at graduations, football games and other school functions." 
Anyone who cares about a woman's right to choose - including the choice of using birth control - should be very afraid if Santorum ever got elected. And forget separation of church and state - such as it is - this guy would love to see a theocracy.

On last night's Daily Show, Jon Stewart used a great analogy to point out that in the end, the Republicans just have to pick Romney. I'm just hoping he's right, for the sake of the country. While I do feel that Romney may have the best chance of beating Obama, which is not good from my perspective, on the other hand, the voters in this country are just crazy enough that they might actually elect a Santorum or some other equally unsuitable person as president, and that would be so much worse than having a President Romney that I can't even think about it.  Of course, there are a lot of reasons Romney should not be the next president.  We can get into that next time!

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Sunday, January 01, 2012

Another Year, Another Opportunity to Change

Well, here it is 2012, and once again it is time for the New Year's Resolutions.

As you can guess, my first one is going to be to blog again! I had really been feeling distant from the whole political scene during the past year or so, and it was hard to get up any enthusiasm for writing about much of anything. Even with the heating up of the Republican race, it was hard to get interested in the competition when the competitors were so totally lame and none were really pulling ahead. Now it seems to be coming down to Romney, with Newt Gingrich and even Ron Paul still surprisingly strong. But in the end I think it will be Romney. We will see what happens after the first few contests, starting with Iowa this week. Once the competitor is identified it will be a lot easier to analyze the differences between the Republican contender and President Obama, and writing about them will be much more interesting!

Of course, I also have the usual resolutions to lose weight, exercise, eat at home more, and so on. But let's face it, those are boring, since I make them every year and usually don't stick with them. But I'll give it a try anyway.

I also need to resolve to earn some money - unemployment is running out in February and I need to be more diligent about getting freelance proofreading jobs; or even finding myself a real job. (Hopefully part time!)

Baxter also has a resolution. Here it is:

"I want to tame the New Dog, Angel, who still tries to chase Me if she gets upstairs past the Gate at the top of the Steps. My Humans have brought Angel upstairs on her Leash a few times and managed to get her to stop barking and sit while looking at Me while I make Scary Siren Noises and Loud Hissing to keep her in her Place. Over time I hope this will Subdue Her and maybe I will be able to come back downstairs and join the Family again. I like Sleeping on the Bed at Night but it's not the Same as having Full Run of the House."

So that's it for now, but I will be back again tomorrow and actually write something worthwhile.

In the meantime, Happy 2012 to all my blogging friends and I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season!