Madrone sunrise, Point Lobos

Friday, October 3, 2014

Paws de deuce

South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham says that Florida compatriot Marco Rubio isn't quite ready to be President but suggests that the country might actually be ready for one Lindsay Graham. Are you sure, Lindsay? You saw how poorly some sectors reacted to a black president…


"American execptionalism (sic)"

In Colorado, protests continue over changes to the A.P, history curriculum, with conservative school board members claiming that the standards stress too much of the "icky" negative stuff and not enough about "noble" American exceptionalism. They floated a proposal calling for promoting "patriotism" and downplaying "civil disorder," basically a rerun of what recently went down in Texas.

Pam Mazanec, elected to represent Colorado's 4th Congressional district on the state school board, stated recently on Facebook that we Americans deserve some credit for voluntarily stopping the practice of slavery.

Uh, Pam, voluntary? You ever hear about the little skirmish called the Civil War?  A lot like the Nazis voluntarily deciding to stop gassing the jews after they ran out of any left to kill. The problem with being stupid is that you have no ability to know the difference.

Speaking of education, Wisconsin House Member Paul Ryan wants to use some of that fancy "new math" in order to justify continued tax cutting. The name of this arithmetical pixie dust Ryan is peddling is "dynamic scoring."

Dynamic scoring says that you can fudge all sorts of economic positives by presupposing that tax cuts generate economic growth and make up for lost revenue. I suggest that any proponents of this style of chicanery look into what has happened to the state of Kansas since Brownback lowered taxes and cut revenue. Be forewarned, it ain't pretty.
"In practice, dynamic scoring is just another way for Republicans to enact tax cuts and block tax increases. It is not about honest revenue-estimating; it's about using smoke and mirrors to institutionalize Republican ideology into the budget process." Economist Bruce Bartlett

Supreme Court Justice Scalia says that the constitution allows the United States to favor religion over non religion. And if you don't like his view, tough, he's got life tenure.
“What can they do to me? I have life tenure,” Justice Scalia said. “It’s even better than academic tenure.”

I don't want to belabor this but I can't go a day or two without reading some conservative spout about the "Alinsky playbook." The right has created a bogeyman named Saul Alinsky, a man that few on the left have ever heard of.

I consider myself a pretty "with it" guy. I grew up in a household with Ramparts and Evergreen on the coffee table. My sister was in SDS, my mother active in civil rights. I read the Voice when it meant something, the East Village Other, all sorts of leftist tracts. Never once did I hear about any Saul Alinsky guy.

So who was Saul Alinsky, that schmendrick from Pinsky? A Chicago community organizer, whose seminal work Rules for Radicals is given out by the Freedom Works and the Tea Party, both right wing groups. A guy who wanted to improve conditions in black urban ghettos and refused to join a political party. A man whose work was praised by none other than William F. Buckley.

Hillary Clinton wrote him a letter as a college student so suddenly he is the devil incarnate. Conservatives have succeeded in making a hero and folk legend of a fellow who was largely unknown and who lived a fairly uncredited life.

The rules

•RULE 1: “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.” Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood.

•RULE 2: “Never go outside the expertise of your people.” It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone.

•RULE 3: “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty.

•RULE 4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules.

•RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.

•RULE 6: “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones.

•RULE 7: “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.” Don’t become old news.

•RULE 8: “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new.

•RULE 9: “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist.

•RULE 10: “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.” Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog.

•RULE 11: “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.” Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem.

•RULE 12: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.


Kudos to San Diego State University's Men's Basketball coach Steve Fisher for winning the John Wooden Legends of Coaching award. The accolade is long overdue for this outstanding coach and even better human being. Wooden and Fisher are a lot alike, my two favorite coaches. Bravo, coach!


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