Illicit pressure

I’m essentially OK with the generic, feel good pass this along stuff that comes by on Facebook. What I’m not OK with is the unwarranted pressure.

Look at these two examples, the first arriving from someone I know and love and who has sincere and deep feelings about the effects of cancer on others we both know and love.

May I ask a personal favor…. only some of you will do it, and I know who you are, if you know someone who fought cancer and passed away, or someone who is still fighting… please add this to your status for 1 hour as a mark of respect and remembrance, I hope I was right about the people who will.

Here’s a rewrite lacking the onerous pressure to perform or else “I know who you are!”

May I ask a personal favor? If you know someone who fought cancer and passed away, or someone who is still fighting, please add this to your status for 1 hour as a mark of remembrance and respect.

Unfortunately, neither led to anyplace that would do any good, other than perhaps a moment of satisfaction in thinking a good thought about cancer victims. So, here’s a link where you can put your money where your smug is.

(The link is the obvious pick. Of course, many other worthy organizations would benefit from your largesse.)

Thinking about the thin state of democracy. Here’s what Paul Weyrich* told a meeting of the religious right in Dallas in 1980 about the power of suppressin­­g voter turnouts:

Many of our Christians have what I call the Goo Goo Syndrome: Good Government­­. They want everybody to vote. I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been, from the beginning of our country, and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections goes up as the voting populace goes down.

*Weyrich founded the Heritage Foundation and ALEC, where Republican legislator­s learn to write laws to benefit their corporate benefactor­s like the private prison industry.

Expecting inconsistency

In 2004 Eric Cantor voted against an amendment to a supplemental disaster relief bill that would require offsetting cuts in other federal discretionary accounts.

Today, he threatens to hold up funding for disaster recovery from Irene, the tornadoes in Joplin and Alabama in pursuit of an obviously new-found ideological purity since it couldn’t be, could it, that there’s another party sitting in the White House.

Give him and the Grand Old Tea Party another inch and we can all earn our way through life with a tin cup in hand.


Is it insecurity in their own relationships that drives some people to deny compassion, intimacy and love between others?



On a Facebook thread with teacher extraordinaire Sandy Simonis (retired) and the discussion noting her “teacher language” veered to reading and a debate between sight reading and phonics. No expertise so I won’t comment other than to point to the link that seems a legit educational source. Suffice it that sight reading is learning to recognize the words.

Sandy sagely suggests reading to your child. Reading to yourself to show reading is a valuable activity. Turn of the electronics.

Then the subject turned from reading to spelling. One of Sandy’s friends wrote that she’s aghast at papers from students rife with spellings that look like stunted texting notes.

Spelling is both tyranny and freedom: Tyranny to be precise and freedom to communicate. And, I think Sandy’s right that great teaching begins with mom and dad.

(Boy, I hope the spell checker worked on this post!)

A delusional shakedown

Imagine if you will that you have been harmed by another person; say a rear-end accident.

You were stopped innocently at a red light when it happened. Boom.

But, instead of having to sue and go to court and wait to be compensated, a settlement is reached.

That is the course of law today, every day, in which settling and avoiding court does no damage to our legal system.

But, by some strained reasoning, by recognizing its egregious failures and agreeing to a settlement quickly, BP is being “shaken down.” This talking point was dropped into the blogsosphere by Republican leadership (no, not just Rep. Barton but the Republican Study Committee and despite contradictions from Republican leaders Boehner and Cantor) where the delusional chant it mindlessly. The shakedown chant feeds the frenzied tea party over government “taking” and thus provides some sort of stretched validation of the “socialisms” threatening our nation.

Perhaps, it’s just a settlement. One party agreeing it was at fault and providing compensation.

Be an active verb

Words are nutrition. Each day I receive a word of the day from Today’s was “asseverate,” which I’m cautious of using because it could easily go very wrong.

But, tagging along with “asseverate” was the following quote from Terry Tempest Williams:

This is my living faith, an active faith, a faith of verbs: to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, argue, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek. To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.

The thought of being an active verb compels.  I like the last  phrase, as too many answers, particularly in political speech today, are too easy, too sharply reduced to the black and white. Easy answers should always be suspect.

But let’s have a little fun with this:


No, Again

If you “want to participate,” I’m not sure I understand how denying debate works.

If you want transparency, I’m not sure how “secret negotiations” works.

The Republican tactics today baffle me. Secret negotiations likely translates to “what the lobbyists tell us to do.”

Americans widely want tighter regulations on Wall Street and the megabanks. Getting it doesn’t seem likely. Simon Johnson, co-author of 13 Bankers, writes today about Sen. Dodd’s maneuverings that favor Wall Street’s lobbyists.

So, now I have Johnson’s book in my hands. If the story is half the deceit, greed and fraud of Michael Lewis’ The Big Short then I’m in for another deep round of pissed off this weekend.

But, I think that’s what we need: pissed off folk. Not Tea Party misled pissed off. Pissed off and focused on breaking the bankers’ grip on our economy.