The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Posts Tagged ‘Politics

Gov. Huckabee Decides God No Longer Omnipresent

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Poor little god!

Gov. Huckabee says God has been “systematically . . . removed from our schools.” (You know, as in: “should we be surprised that our schools become places of carnage?”)

I have seen people removed from schools.  A police officer – usually large – escorts away a scrawny 7th grader who’d done something along the lines of smoking dope in the bathroom. The kid vanishes, last seen as a pair of small eyes barely elevated enough to peer solemnly out the cruiser’s back door window. Removed.

Apparently, something similar happened to Gov. Huckabee’s god.

Too bad. Some kind of law enforcer that must’ve been, stronger than god and all. Some pathetic little god that was, too, that heavies could just toss him into the back seat and whisk him away.

I wonder what god it was.  Does it sound like the same one who spoke to Job:

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?

On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
while the morning stars sang together
and all the angelsshouted for joy?”

And

“Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades?
Can you loosen Orion’s belt?
32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons[c]
or lead out the Bearwith its cubs?
33 Do you know the laws of the heavens?
Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth?

Has that God ever been small enough to be “systematically removed” from any place in the cosmos?

See, I know students and teachers and administrators and bus drivers and secretaries and custodians and para-professionals who pray their way through every day of their public school careers. They’re pretty convinced that “the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him . . . ” Right there. In school. They don’t pray “on street corners” “to be seen by others,” (as Matthew describes – and that kind, when commanded by staff people, is illegal, thank God.) They pray, instead, secretly, to a God who is unseen, believing that he hears and responds.

That kind of prayer in school is protected by every court in America.

Wouldn’t that kind of God have to be present now, right now, everywhere, no matter what people do? And, as far as that God being “systematically removed,” well, LOL.

 

 

 

Myths about Canadian health care

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Are taxes high? Is bureaucracy huge? Author has used both US and Canadian systems, and finds the Canadian better.
clipped from http://www.boingboing.net

Almost all developed countries have government...

Image via Wikipedia

Myth: Taxes in Canada are extremely high, mostly because of national health care.

In actuality, taxes are nearly equal on both sides of the border. Overall, Canada’s taxes are slightly higher than those in the U.S. However, Canadians are afforded many benefits for their tax dollars, even beyond health care (e.g., tax credits, family allowance, cheaper higher education), so the end result is a wash. At the end of the day, the average after-tax income of Canadian workers is equal to about 82 percent of their gross pay. In the U.S., that average is 81.9 percent.

Myth: Canada’s health care system is a cumbersome bureaucracy.

The U.S. has the most bureaucratic health care system in the world. More than 31 percent of every dollar spent on health care in the U.S. goes to paperwork, overhead, CEO salaries, profits, etc. The provincial single-payer system in Canada operates with just a 1 percent overhead

Debunking Canadian health care myths
(via Digg)
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Written by Monte

June 28, 2009 at 10:00 am

Robt Reich: What you can do

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Excellent advice!
clipped from tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com

“What Can I Do?”

Someone recently approached me … asking “what can I do?” [...]
I soon realized the question was … what can I do about the way things are going in Washington?
People who voted for Barack Obama tend to fall into one of two camps: Trusters … and cynics [...]
In my view, both positions are wrong. A new president — even one as talented and well-motivated as Obama — can’t get a thing done in Washington unless the public is actively behind him.
As FDR said … “Maam, I want to do those things, but you must make me.”
We must make Obama do the right things. Email, write, and phone the White House. Do the same with your members of Congress. Round up others to do so. Also: Find friends and family members in red states who agree with you, and get them fired up to do the same. For example, if you happen to have a good friend or family member in Montana, you might ask him or her to write Max Baucus and tell him they want a public option included in any healthcare bill.
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Just to the right of these words, under the heading “Contact” are links that will take you to your Members of Congress and the President. Go for it.

Yes, we can.

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Khatami’s statement of June 21, translated by Naj

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DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 25JAN07 - captured during t...
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Naj writes: (please forgive typos and grammatical errors, in RUSH before running to work, feel free to edit and cross post)

In the name of God, the kind and the merciful,
People’s participation is one of the grand achievements of the Islamic Revolution, which must be guarded and expanded. This magnificent presence, from all sectors and all ages and all professions, has a clear message that the people are the rightful owners of the country and the revolution. This message must be heard today; their silent protest and civil manners during these protests is an evidence of their maturity, vigilance and responsibility and it also reflects this unequivocal fact that the people are entitled to basic and specific rights that any government is obliged to respect. Provocative and insulting propaganda against a people who have always acted independently, and blaming their rightful movement to foreigners is in itself a sign of implementing wrong politics that cause further alienation of the people from the government. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

June 21, 2009 at 12:16 pm

London Times pokes “unreconstructed underbelly” of GOP

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photo by wonkette.com

photo by wonkette.com

Racism in “sections” of the GOP grabs international attention. Examples accumulate, highlighted here by the London Times:
clipped from www.timesonline.co.uk
An e-mail sent by a Republican aide, entitled Historical Keepsake Photo, features portraits of the first 43 American presidents in a variety of dignified and statesmanlike poses … the final and 44th panel … displays just a pair of cartoon eyeballs set against an entirely dark background [..]

Diann Jones, a vice-chairman of the Collin County Republican Party in Texas … denounced [bogus] plans for a tax on guns as “another terrific idea from the black house and its minions” [...]

Dean Grose, the mayor of Los Alamitos … sent an e-mail to a black businesswoman depicting the White House lawn planted with watermelons [...]

[A] member of Florida’s state Republican committee … said. “How can 2,000,000 blacks get into Washington, DC in one day in sub zero temps when 200,000 couldn’t get out of New Orleans in 85 degree temps with four days notice?”

Chip Saltsman, the former Tennessee Republican chairman [and candidate for the RNC chair]  sent friends a Christmas gift of songs by the satirist Paul Shanklin, including the track: “Barack the Magic Negro”.

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The Times goes on to quote Michael Steele, the recently-elected RNC chairman, who sees the problem as GOP officials who “don’t give a damn”.

To them, he said, “outreach means let’s throw a cocktail party, find some black folks and Hispanics and women, wrap our arms around them — ‘See, look at us’. And then we go back to the same old, same old.”

And “same old, same old” means “these things don’t really matter:” Read the rest of this entry »

Gunmen prove Homeland Security right

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The Department of Homeland Security is formed ...

On April 7, the Dept of Homeland Security issued a report warning of the dangers of domestic terrorism from right-wing extremists.

Outraged, some leading conservatives demanded apologies and terminations.

A month later, the assassinations began.

Follow the story:

clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com
April 7, 2009: The Department of Homeland Security releases a nine-page assessment document entitled “Rightwing Extremism [...] [It] warned of “a heightened level of extremist paranoia” and “lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.”
April 14, 2009: Former Speaker Newt Gingrich:

The person who drafted the outrageous homeland security memo smearing veterans and conservatives should be fired [...]

April 14, 2009: Conservative commentator Sean Hannity intentionally misrepresents the focus of the assessment as targetting “people who have pro-life bumper stickers.”
April 14, 2009: Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin:

The “report” … was one of the most embarrassingly shoddy pieces of propaganda I’d ever read out of DHS. I couldn’t believe it was real. …By contrast, the piece of crap report issued on April 7 is a sweeping indictment of conservatives.

April 15, 2009: House Republican leader John Boehner demands an apology from the Department of Homeland Security for the report.

May 31, 2009: Dr. George Tiller [killed in Wichita church] … suspect apprehended is a right-wing extremist [...]

June 10, 2009: [Lone gunman opens fire at] U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum … suspected shooter is a right-wing extremist [...]

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Far-right speakers have continually pooh-poohed the idea that their over-blown exaggerations could stimulate some to actual violence.
The evidence is on the table.

Enough. Time to stop crying “socialism” (Sarah Palin) andif somebody doesn’t stop him, America will cease to exist… and Obama is “the focus of evil” (Alan Keyes) and “… the tree of liberty will be fed with the blood of tyrants and patriots. You are the patriots.” (Rep. Michael McCaul). Time for Republicans to utterly reject demagogues and their hyperbole – for what right-winger would believe a Democrat’s plea?

Just as the world waited to hear from reasonable Muslims after 9/11, our nation should hear now from reasonable conservatives, who should be vigorous in their denunciations of the irresponsible, emotional, and self-serving claims of Limbaugh, Hannity, Gingrich, Palin, Malkin, Boehner and the lot.

Stop it. Tragedy has begun.

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The environmental inverted pyramid in public perception

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Here’s an interesting “least, first”-related observation by Nate Silver at the excellent FiveThirtyEight.

We (Americans generally) believe the environment is in danger from global warming. But we don’t particularly believe that danger threatens us:

clipped from www.fivethirtyeight.com

The survey (.pdf), conducted by George Mason University‘s Center for Climate Change Communication, reveals that Americans are concerned about global warming in the abstract — but perhaps only in the abstract. Just 32 percent of Americans think global warming will harm them “a great deal” or a “a moderate amount” personally [...]

These beliefs are not necessarily irrational. Climate change probably will have more impact on the developing world than the developed one, and it almost certainly will have more impact on our children than it does on ourselves. [...]

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Without taking the time to question whether the perception of invincibility is correct, let’s observe that it raises the perennial least-first question: Will we have the courage and grace to act on behalf of others?

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