Monday, February 28, 2011

We tell the truth in our jests

From a friend of a friend:

A public union employee, a tea party activist, and a CEO are sitting at a table with a plate of a dozen cookies in the middle of it. The CEO takes 11 of the cookies, turns to the tea partier and says, "Watch out for that union guy. He wants a piece of your cookie."

Last American veteran of WWI dies

Frank Buckles, the last surviving American veteran of WWI, has died at age 110.

He must have been some guy. He enlisted at 16, by lying about his age. He served in France, although behind the lines. He came to Washington for the 90th anniversary of Armistice Day, November 11, 2008, to be at a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. He was back in Washington a year later--he must have been 108--to testify before Congress on a proposal to designate a National WWI Memorial on the National Mall.

Oh, and he also survived being a POW in the Philippines during WWII.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Where'd they get the flags?

If you've been watching the news from Libya--and how can you not be?--you've seen the opposition (or should we call them rebels, or just the people?) flying black, red and green flags with a crescent and star. That was the Libyan flag under the monarchy that Qaddafi overthrew in 1969.
So, where did they get all the flags? There seem to be too many for them to have been made in the past couple of weeks. Have people been saving them all these years, dreaming of the day when the dictator would fall? Has there been an underground movement making flags as a means of resisting tyranny?

If you know, or have an idea, let us know.

If ya can't join 'em, beat 'em

Note: This is a re-write of an earlier post

As fervor to bust unions rises among Rebuplicans (and, sadly, some independents), we've been seeing the MSM interview working people who voice anger at public-employee unions. Polls suggest that the anger is not as widespread as the media--most of which has surrendered to the easy path of mistaking the presentation of opposing views (however fringe) as fairness--implies.

Worse, none of the reports I have seen ask this question: Why aren't more people in unions? More specifically, If people in unions are better-paid, have more benefits and enjoy more job security than unorganized workers, wouldn't it be a good thing for more people to join unions?

Questions like these may seem obvious, but they must not be. Or, they are ignored and obscured by those who don't like the answers? (Part of it is certainly short budgets, short deadlines and shortsightedness by reporters and editors.) Unfortunately, not enough speakers who are on the side of working people are asking questions like these, and when they are asked it is not done often enough or at sufficient volume.

Again, we see progressives getting beaten down, objecting but not really digging in for a long struggle to change minds clouded by sustained, well-funded barrages from the plutocrats. The Right was willing to spend decades taking its foolish ideas from the realm of derision and fantasy to the center of the national stage. Progressives--who, after all, have truth (that's small "t" truth, not large "T" truth) on their side, must be willing to fight as hard. Perhaps what's happening in Wisconsin will wake us up, finally.

Speak up!


Readers may have noticed that this page has been referring to Rebuplicans lately. Readers may also know that for the past few decades--or longer, an article in Wikipedia puts its origin in 1940--members of that party have consistently referred to my party, the Democratic Party, as "the Democrat Party." That is a slur. It is meant to convey disrespect: Members of the GOP cannot be bothered to learn the true name of their political opponents' party.

The other night, Lawrence O'Donnell interviewed Scott Fitzgerald (yes, that is said to be his real name), the majority leader of the Wisconsin State Senate. O'Donnell went out of his way to be polite to Sen. Fitzpatrick, but the senator repeatedly referred to his colleagues across the aisle as "Democrat senators." Unfortunately, although understandably, O'Donnell did not correct Mr. Fitzhugh. The governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, shows a less subtle condescension and contempt for the opposing party.

On this page, anyway, members of the other party will be known henceforth as Rebuplicans until they learn to call our party the Democratic Party. Feel free to join us and get others to do the same. Who knows, if it spreads, maybe the Rebuplicans will learn some respect. Not a small thing. It is, after all, one of the keys to democracy.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

More wisdom

I recently found a terrific blog on politics and life by DEK Rivers, and it's based in Wisconsin! (I happened upon it before the recent blow up). I much recommend Caffeinated Politics.

Here's a small sample:

"Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by really smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it."

Mark Twain

What would Twain have made of America today?

Knowledge vs. Wisdom

Thanks to Ron Dean and Barry Roseman, plaintiffs' employment lawyers, for this quotation:

"Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad."

The Rebuplian DOMA problem

As you have no doubt heard, the Obama administration has declared that the fraudulently named Defense of Marriage Act is so patently unconstitutional that the Justice Department will no longer defend it.

Rebuplicans are predictably outraged. But they have a problem here. DOMA declares marriage to be the union of a man and a woman. But GOPhers are resolutely anti-union these days.

So where does that leave them?

(If you respond that the GOP must have become the party of divorce, you're right. Divorced from reality, at any rate.)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Words for these times

Proof that history does repeat itself, that the same battles need fighting, over and over again.

Come all you good workers
Good news to you I'll tell,
Of how the good old union
Has come in here to dwell.

Which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?

My daddy was a miner
And I'm a miner's son.
I'll stick with the union
Til every battle's won.

Which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?

They say in Harlan County,
No neutrals are there there.
You'll either be a union man,
Or a thug for J.H. Claire.

Which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?

Oh, workers can you stand it?
Oh, tell me how you can.
Will you be a lowdown scab,
Or will you be a man?

Which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?

Don't scab for the bosses,
Don't listen to their lies.
Us poor folk hasn't got a chance,
Unless we organize.

Which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?

(later verse)

They say down in Hinds County,
No neutrals have we met.
You'll either be for Meredith,
Or a Tom for Ross Barnett.

Which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on, boys?
Which side are you on?

Florence Reece (except last verse)

Evolutionary question

Your editor has no more doubt about evolution than he does that the Sun will rise tomorrow. Well, no more than he would have if he believed that the Sun actually rises.

But here's a challenge for proponents of Darwin's theory: Why don't earthworms sleep late?