Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bristol to go Dancing with the Stars

Courtesy that bastion of hard news, E! Online, via the reliable breakingTVnews:

We can report to you exclusively that Sarah Palin's 19-year-old daughter Bristol Palin has been cast on the 11th season of DWTS, set to premiere Sept. 20.

For those who care, and I occasionally do, the casting is set to be announced this coming Monday during some ABC show that I will never, ever watch, but this seems to be set.

Already the comments on the article are slamming Bristol Palin (along with, of course, a few shots at Sarah Palin for, from what I can tell, existing) for doing a reality show when everyone was badmouthing ex-fiancĂ© Levi Johnston's forays in reality television (when he wasn't forming half of a creepy couple with noted Palin-hater Kathy Griffin or making really awkward passes at Sandra Bullock*).  
But in my mind, these are two different things.  Levi Johnston (and I know I'm violating my own previously stated hopes of never again having to write about him for at least the second time) sold out the Palin family for the hopes of fame and fortune.  He has bad-mouthed Sarah Palin whenever possible in the hopes that liberal Hollywood would love him, and some did, I suppose.  His celebrity was based entirely on antipathy toward someone else.  And, given his current run for mayor of Wasilla, I suppose it still is, though at this point I'd just call it a shtick.

What Bristol Palin is doing is far different.  She's not selling anyone out in taking this gig.  It may be that this will allow her to spread the message of abstinence, about which she has been speaking for some time.  But even if that doesn't happen, it's still a way to support the son she had with Mr. Johnston.

Oh, and I know some people are saying "she's not a celebrity!!!1!"  Ask yourself this:  who makes a better celebrity:  a 19-year-old woman who has owned up to her behavior and is raising the child who came from this behavior, or, say, a 24-year-old woman who has spiraled out of control for years, culminating in a hearing in which she ought to have been charged with contempt of court?  Me, I'll be happy to watch Bristol dancing.

And I hope she wins.  You betcha.

*It should be noted that this blog is not above dropping names to get hits.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sarah smacks down the Ewoks

Apparently the Emily's List video about which I blogged earlier today got the attention of its target, one Sarah Palin.  I think she was amused more than anything else by the ad.  And wasn't that the point of the Ewoks:  to be cute and amusing, and to worship C-3PO?  The Ewoks certainly cared little about political statements.  They were much more into the basics, such as defending their homeland (they might be 2nd Amendment fans--who knew?) and eating Luke and Han.  But I digress.

No, Governor Palin, in the midst of a Facebook post celebrating the 90th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment (giving the right to vote to women, for those of you who haven't read the Constitution recently), had a little bit of advice for the Ewoks:

On this anniversary of women’s suffrage, let’s take a moment to be grateful for the diversity of the debate. Women don’t walk in lockstep with each other in politics, any more than men do. We should be proud of our ability to engage in a civil discussion and healthy debate. I know I am. Unfortunately, I’ve recently come under attack for speaking up for sisters who seek to serve in public office. The sad part is that the attack comes from other sisters who happen to be on the other side of an issue that has been of great importance to American women from the time of our feminist foremothers, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, down to today. I’m speaking of the issue of life. I feel compelled to offer some advice to our sisters who like to throw stones at those of us who respectfully disagree with them on this issue (and they sometimes refuse to even countenance the fact that some of us can call ourselves feminists and disagree with those who claim the mantle of “real feminists”). First, ladies, it’s hard to take a critic seriously when they lecture you wearing a bear suit. So, it’s difficult for me to drum up much outrage at this latest ad. But, really, lying about a sister while wearing an Ewok outfit is no way to honor our foremothers on the eve of the 90th anniversary of their victory. But, that aside, I’d love to know where you got those get-ups. Halloween is just around the corner, and Piper and Trig would look adorable as little grizzly bears.

Governor, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for either a good-natured reply or a shopping tip. But in offering a dialogue where the other side has offered none, you have shown yourself to be on the classy side of this debate.

Palin's opponents get bizarre

By now, those who follow Sarah Palin in the news have heard about the current Emily's List campaign specifically against the former governor, but for the benefit of those who haven't, or those who don't know what Emily's List is (and I envy those folks), I'll give a quick summary:

Sarah Palin, you may have heard, issued a video praising what she calls "Mama Grizzlies":

Seems pretty innocuous, doesn't it?

Well, Emily's List, which is a political action committee dedicated to raising money for, and electing, pro-choice women to public office, apparently decided that it did not like Sarah Palin or her politics or her Mama Grizzlies video.  (Some have speculated* that Sarah Palin is disliked partially because she did not exercise her own right to choose in the way people like Emily's List would have liked because she chose to carry Trig to term and give birth to him despite his Down Syndrome.)

And so, they came up with what has to be one of the worst political ads I've seen in a long time.  Watch, and laugh:

Wow.  I know you're just in awe from seeing a bunch (I counted four total during the one and only time I will ever watch this video...they couldn't find more people willing to put on that ridiculous costume?) of women dressed, as Tammy Bruce correctly puts it, like Ewoks.  Boy, if that doesn't put Sarah Palin in her place (and where is that, anyway?  Why is it that the libs are the ones saying Sarah Palin should be at home taking care of her kids?  Which, it's my understanding, she does anyway, on top of everything else she does, which, thankfully, doesn't include making videos of people wearing dorky outfits.), I don't know what will.

And, since I'm late to this party, I missed making this point as well:  Ace of Spades has already pointed out that these people, in addition to looking nothing like Mama Grizzlies, do, unfortunately, look like Furries.  (If you don't know what that means, be grateful.)

And, lest one think that all I am doing with this video is making fun of it (though I certainly am doing that), there are a couple of salient points worth making about what is being said in the ad.  Unfortunately, Ed Morrissey of Hot Air made them before I could.  For example, Mr. Morrissey points out:

Palin and her “Mama Grizzlies” don’t hold the ridiculous positions that these masquerading moms claim, as anyone with an ounce of sense and the ability to read can quickly determine for themselves. Republicans wanted to pay for an extension of unemployment benefits through previously allocated funds rather than incur more debt on grizzly cubs, or the cubs of the cubs and then their cubs as well, as Democrats ended up demanding.

As far as eliminating “health care,” as Emily’s List’s fuzzy logic claims, one would have to believe that “health care” was nonexistent in the US before Barack Obama took office.

You know, I thought it was Sarah Palin who was supposed to be the ignorant person whom no one was to take seriously.  And yet, the narrative (and yes, the costumes) of this video shows me that, for the moment, Emily's List is not worth taking seriously.  At all.

*Yeah, I know this exact language always gets flagged in Wikipedia with "(who?)", but I truly don't care in this case.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tea Party revisited

Funny, I thought by now everyone understood what the Tea Party stood for, and what policies it supports.  But recent events have convinced me that this is not the case.

I cross-post many of my articles at the Austin Post (such as this one, which I totally expect to be rated about (-3) within 24 hours of its approval...this is Austin, after all), and that site has featured, in the last couple of months, multiple articles about the Tea Party.  But as I have not written for the site lately, I thought it might be good to have an article at the Austin Post about the Tea Party by someone who actually knows what he is talking about.

For example, a recent article on the Post's site made the following assertion in its very first paragraph:

The NAACP made a good stab at defining the values of the Tea Party by calling them racists. It’s a simplistic judgment but fair, considering that the Tea Party’s main activities are 1.) opposing every issue supported by a black president, and 2.) hating immigrants of color.

Do you see the logical fallacies at work here?

Let's start with point 1.  "I oppose President Obama's policy stances, ergo, I am a racist."  No, I'm sorry, it doesn't work that way.  (But then, we've heard this argument since before the presidential election.  Somebody ought to write about that particular issue.  Oh, wait:  someone did.)   Yes, I definitely oppose President Obama's policies; they represent an unprecedented-in-peacetime grab of power by the federal government.  But that certainly does not mean I am racist, or that I would not support any black president.  (I hear some people are trying to convince Herman Cain to run in 2012; having heard him talk about policy before, I could get behind his ideas.)  I would have been just as opposed to these policies if they had been implemented by Hillary Clinton, for example.  (But that would have made me a misogynist, wouldn't it, though of course all the people who so virulently hate Sarah Palin are never called that, except by conservatives, who of course have no standing to speak on anything.)

No, these policies include a quadrupling of our budget deficit (with similar deficit numbers over the next ten years) via countless stimulus packages that do not appear to have stemmed the tide of unemployment.  Remember when the unemployment wouldn't go above 8% if the first stimulus package were passed?  Neither do I.  But with unemployment firmly entrenched above 9%, our government continues to spend as if there is no tomorrow.  Since the federal government apparently hasn't the will to cut any government spending (except, of course, for defense), the only other way, in the minds of many, to raise federal revenue is to raise taxes.  A lot.  More on that momentarily.

The policies I oppose also include a healthcare plan that tells my employer exactly what has to be included in our health insurance plan, regardless of whether we want all of it or not.  It keeps people who have been using health savings accounts for years from using them for certain items.  It also does a bunch of other things that burden individuals and employers, including small employers in many cases; see here for more information.

Our president's policies also include, though it hasn't been passed yet, a cap-and-trade (referred to by many, including me, as "cap-and-tax") plan that would drive utility rates up quite a bit.  Don't believe me?  Maybe this will convince you:

And since we're talking about costs to the consumer, let's add taxes into this discussion.  Now, we could debate the Laffer curve all day and try to determine where the midpoint is for balancing tax rates and revenue growth, but the fact is that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts (referred to by most as the "Bush tax cuts") spurred growth and job creation in what was becoming a economic slowdown.  Let's see...we're in something a little greater than just a "slowdown" now; what do you think allowing these tax cuts to expire (in effect, raising taxes) will have on job creation?  Hmmm...

(Yes, there's still time for Congress to attend to the issue of whether they want to raise everyone's taxes...a few people have spoken about where we currently stand, including one Sarah Palin.)

Oh, and before you get the impression that I'm just a selfish so-and-so who doesn't want to help anyone, let me say two things:  1) I worked, and continue to work, very hard to get myself out of the debt I've run up, following (for the most part) the fairly simple ideas put forth by Dave Ramsey; and 2) I've addressed in a previous post (which did not appear on the Austin Post) what I believe my responsibilities as a Christian are to others.

Then there's the incredible government intrusion into the car industry under the guise of "saving" GM and Chrysler.  Word to the wise:  they weren't too big to fail.  If it had come to it, parts, or all, of the companies would have been sold to more profitable automakers, many of whom probably could have done a better job of running them.

And, of course, there is the federal government's stubborn refusal to do one job specifically given it in the Constitution:  to protect our borders.  Per Article IV, Section 4:

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.

But instead of protecting our borders against illegal immigration, the federal government has sued a state that tried to solve their own problem.

And this brings us to the other main assertion made about the Tea Party:  that we "hat[e] immigrants of color".  Personally, I don't hate anyone, and I don't think anyone has a problem with immigration--as long as it is legal.  The author of this Austin Post piece, in saying that the Tea Party hates immigrants in toto, has made us into a bunch of white supremacists.  Far from it.  But there is a proper way to enter this country, just as there is a proper way to follow every law in this country.  How would the author of these defamatory accusations like it if I and, say, 12 million of my best friends all decided not to pay our taxes for, oh, ten years or so, and then we all held rallies to demand that our tax liability be totally forgiven?  No?  Then why should others be allowed to break existing laws with impunity?

And since the person in question also wondered why "the Tea Party can’t formulate a convincing argument why immigration is harmful" (I will assume he meant to say illegal immigration), I'll answer.  First of all, I'll refer this person to the article I wrote three months ago in which I pointed out the following:
  • Phoenix is the "number two kidnapping capital of the world" (Mexico City is #1).
  • Suspected human traffickers shot a deputy in Arizona.  Just the shooting is bad enough, but human trafficking is reprehensible.
  • Some other stuff.  Read the article.
What wasn't in that article was that I know someone whose family was affected by a kidnapping relating to a Mexican cartel.  Thankfully, the kidnappers in that case were totally inept, and so the person affected is fine now, albeit a bit shaken up, I would imagine.

I'm not gonna say any of the stuff that has been said for years such as "they're taking our jobs!!!!11!" because I'm all for people working.  But there is a correct way to do it.

In closing, I welcome discussion about these topics.  To borrow a phrase from the person who wrote the previous Austin Post article, get to know some tea partiers; they're great folks.

Or keep calling us names.  But just realize that it says a whole lot more about you than it does about us.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Palin fact-checks PolitiFact

It certainly seems, at times, as if there are a lot of people who have a desperate need to show that Sarah Palin is wrong about something, regardless of whether she is actually wrong about whatever topic these people choose to mention, or not.

Today's case in point is PolitiFact, which, generally, appears to be fair in its analyses, at least as far as I have seen in the past.  What they were thinking when they classified a recent statement by Governor Palin as "pants on fire" (that means they're calling it a lie, for those of you who never had a childhood), I don't know.  That statement appears during her appearance on Fox News Sunday four days ago:

To those wondering:  yes, this is the "cojones" interview.  It is also the interview in which Governor Palin addressed the image presented of her by a lot of media outlets, and the unfavorability that she has among many:

As for the unfavorable, you know, I don't blame people for not really knowing what it is, in some instances -- what I stand for or what my record is because if I believed everything that I read or heard in the media, I wouldn't like me either.

But let's get back to the statement that she made while discussing the impending expiration of the 2001/2003 Bush tax cuts on January 1, 2011.  The statement that raised PolitiFact's dander was the following:

But Democrats are poised now to cause this largest tax increase in U.S. history. It's a tax increase of $3.8 trillion over the next 10 years, and it will have an effect on every single American who pays an income tax.

I won't devote a lot of space to PolitiFact's argument; you can see it for yourself here and make the call.  But I will call attention to the following statement:

So Palin is confusing the issue here by using numbers that assume all the tax cuts are going away. That is not the Democratic plan nor is it President Obama's plan.

Well, that sounds better, doesn't it?  So what's the problem?  Sarah Palin explains exactly what the problem is in her response to the PolitiFact post:

Plan? What plan? There is no plan. All we have is smoke and mirrors based on an old Obama campaign pledge that if elected, he would exempt families making less than $250,000 a year from “any form of tax increases.” But this pledge was already watered before he was even elected. First vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden lowered it to $150,000. Then campaign surrogate Gov. Bill Richardson lowered it even further to $120,000.

A few months after the inauguration, even that last promise disappeared in a puff of smoke. When asked to reaffirm the White House’s commitment to the campaign promise of no tax increases for families earning less than $250,000, Obama’s spin doctor David Axelrod declared the President had “no interest in drawing lines in the sand.”

The truth is that as of today, Democrats haven’t taken any action to extend any part of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for any income group – and in this case doing nothing equals hitting American taxpayers with a massive $3.8 trillion tax increase.

What we do know for certain is that the White House is more than willing to raise taxes on families with incomes of less than $250,000. Democrat Senator Max Baucus admitted as much during the debate about Obamacare when he stated that “One other point that I think it’s very important to make is that it is true that in certain cases, the taxes will go up for some Americans who might be making less than $200,000.” 

Who's right?  At this point, until something hits the House floor addressing the tax cuts, Governor Palin is.  But she leaves the door open for further discussion:

[...] it would be helpful if the White House and the Democratic Congressional leadership finally mustered the courage to table their plans to let the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire. Mr. President, publish your proposals, and we’ll duke it out. You can argue in favor of a multi-trillion dollar tax hike in an age of economic uncertainty and mass unemployment, and we’ll argue for fiscal sanity combined with serious spending cuts. I for one look forward to such a debate.

Somehow I doubt such a debate will take place, given the seeming inclination of so many, including people at PolitiFact, to try to spread misinformation.  In the meantime, however, you could see all of Sarah Palin's response to PolitiFact here.