On most issues facing this country, I’m a centrist. On a few issues like health care, I’m a “Crazy Bernie” lefty. On issues like religious extremism, I’m a right-wing lunatic hawk. But, mostly, I’m a centrist … which means no party in D.C. is working for me.
Then again, I don’t have the riches to buy myself a politician the way Big Pharma, Big Banks, Big Oil and Big Everything Else can. They don’t seem interested in Big Broke. (Coincidentally, U.S. health care is working to keep me Big Broke, which is why I’m big on Bernie.)
Beyond the money controlling politics, the partisan divide with our two-party system has become extreme. From the day they take office, politicians are worried about the next election instead of governing. And the problem has become so fine-tuned that 51-49 is considered a mandate. Even when you lose a popular election by 3 million votes, you can claim a mandate.
So, once either party has control, governing takes a backseat to pushing hard-line agendas through “mandates.” When the two parties have divided power, we get gridlock. Sometimes we even get gridlock when there is division within a party as we see now with the GOP-led Congress. Continue reading
There have been some truly remarkable inventions over the past couple of centuries — the automobile, the airplane, the microwave, the television, the computer and the Weeble Wobble, just to name a handful.
But I think we can all agree that the greatest invention of the past 100 years — perhaps even the last millennium or two — clearly is the snooze button.
Sure, an awful lot of us drive cars, too many of us watch TV and only a handful of disturbed people do not love Weeble Wobbles, but all of us use the snooze button. Those extra nine minutes of sleep — and another nine minutes, and another nine minutes, and “Oh, God! How did it get to be 7:30? I’m late!” — make you truly appreciate how wonderful sleep is.
I know some folks like to brag about how they don’t need much sleep. When I hear of doctors or nurses pulling long shifts without sleep, I’m not impressed but worried.
“Um, would you mind getting someone who’s not shaking from 10 cups of coffee to put that needle in my arm?”
Presidents Clinton, Obama and Trump have all claimed to operate on four to six hours of sleep while in office. This allows the leader of the free world more time to chase interns, pick NCAA brackets or tweet — whichever is the most pressing issue of the moment for that particular administration. Continue reading
President Jimmy Carter made waves this week when he told New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, “I think the media have been harder on Trump than any other president certainly that I’ve known about.”
This, naturally, made right-wingers jump up and yell, “See! Totally unfair! Fake news! Banana, banana, BANANA!”
To this, I say, “APPLE!” Um, I mean of course the media treats Trump differently. Trump is different. Trump ran on being different. He also ran on being tough, which makes me wonder why he’s so whiny and snowflakey.
Granted, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News all have devolved from news outlets into punditry platforms. They don’t cover important issues like the tax plan and health care the way they dwell on middle school playground issues like, “Ooo, did you hear what he said about you? He called you a dodo head! What you got to say about that?!”
But real journalists — most of them coming from or still at print-based organizations — are covering the issues and that makes them seem harder on Trump. When they seem hardest on Trump is when they use his exact, harsh words — mostly in the form of Tweets.
But while we’re comparing the treatment of Trump to the treatment of other presidents. let’s be sure to remember that: Continue reading
In case you haven’t heard, so-called Christian numerologist David Meade says that September 23, 2017 (OMG, that’s this Saturday!) marks the beginning of the end of the world. Again.
Meade claims that a constellation will appear over the skies of Jerusalem on Saturday marking the beginning of the end as the planet Nibiru — which you’ve never heard of because it doesn’t exist — hurtles toward Earth, a rendezvous that will bring all kinds of end-times disasters like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and new Rascal Flatts albums.
You might not have heard about it because the world has ended so much in the last few decades that it’s hardly even news anymore. (Although, the Washington Post did see fit to report on it here.) I thought when end-times nut Harold Camping died after a couple of failed predictions that maybe folks would take a break from predicting the end times. Myself, I don’t want the surprise ruined, so I wish they’d keep their Biblical mathematics to themselves.
I do have a couple of questions about Saturday’s beginning-of-the-end:
(1) This won’t interfere with the Mississippi State at Georgia game on Saturday, will it? This is a huge SEC showdown, and I’ll bet anyone a million dollars that the Bulldogs will win.
(2) What time should I start making margaritas? I’m not going through the apocalypse sober.
The only sure thing about predicting the end of the world is that someday someone will be correct. It happened with the predictions of Brangelina’s breakup, and it’ll happen with this, too. I’m not going to worry, though, until Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un release a joint Tweet predicting the end of the world. When that happens, I’m running for the tequila.
I’ve seen a lot of words used to lump a whole lot of folks into one category in America based upon their political views or cultural leanings.
A popular one with right-wingers is “lib-tard” to describe anyone who views are anywhere to the left of Ann Coulter — which would include everyone from Bernie Sanders to Jesus to Richard Nixon, none of whom are conservative enough in today’s America. (See chart below)
Folks on the left like to throw out words like fascist to describe today’s right-wingers who seem anti-immigrant, ultra-nationalist and OK with discrediting the media if it counters the propaganda their regime prefers, now even cheering physically attacking the media. And while a lot of fascist principles may apply — including giving so much power to corporations and adoration for a single leader — we haven’t quite followed in Hitler’s footsteps.
But there’s a new term that both sides — and those seven of us left in America’s middle — like to throw around: snowflake. It doesn’t sound so menacing. I mean, it takes an awful lot of snowflakes to cause a problem unless you’re an Atlantan trying to drive in an accumulation of more than two snowflakes.
Unfortunately, when you hear the term snowflake today, you don’t think of Frosty the Snowman, snowball fights or Bing Crosby singing holiday songs. You now equate the term snowflake with whiny people who melt when confronted with opposing viewpoints.
Folks on the right’s favorite target to call snowflakes are college students — or as their foes likely refer to them, “kollege stoodents.” They are convinced that if you walk onto a campus of 25,000 students, 24,998 of them are huddled in some safe room where they don’t have to hear conservative viewpoints, while the other two students are falsely accusing some poor drunken frat boy of assault. Continue reading
There once was a despot named Putin
For Donald Trump he clearly was rootin’
So he assembled a team
And hatched up a scheme
To fool the fools who were doin’ the choosin’
We’ll invent a few stories to start
Even try to make him look smart
If he appears to be bruised
We’ll call it “fake news”
And summon our friends at Breitbart
Alex Jones will lie with impunity
And El Rushbo will scare the community
We’ll feed the insanity
With the aid of Sean Hannity
And make sure that Mike Flynn has immunity
With the help of Devin Nunes
Who sits on the lap of the prez
We’ll keep on disputin’
Any connection to Putin
And deny anything the New York Times says
Without Hillary life is much sweeter
That’s why I had to defeat her
I needed no spies
Just had to spread lies
To those who believe in a Tweeter
With them in an ignorant haze
Their demise is a matter of days
It won’t be from fake news
But the starvation they choose
After tossing all their microwaves.
Whether you chant “Build the wall!,” support sanctuary cities or lie anywhere in between on the issue of illegal immigration, you have to know that there’s no simple fix or magic bullet that solves most problems, especially one this complicated.
But no matter where you stand on this issue, here’s something we likely can all agree on: If folks are perfectly happy at home — wherever that may be — they probably will not want to leave. They certainly wouldn’t want to embark upon a treacherous journey full of unknowns to sneak into the United States if their home is safe and they enjoy a comfortable life with security and hope for their children.
Time and time again, I’ve seen families move from shacks to decent homes through my work with The Fuller Center for Housing. And I’ve met people like my friend Ana (pictured above), who discovered a world of new opportunities and joy at home after partnering to build a decent house. In fact, my assistant Jessica (who speaks Spanish, while I merely know how to order in a Mexican restaurant) talked with a woman in El Salvador who completely scrapped her plans to sneak into the U.S. after getting a decent home. You can read about it here.
Years ago, Ana was moving from various rented rooms to another, battling crooked landlords and selling school supplies on the streets of Lima, Peru, while trying to raise her three children. On a hope and a prayer, she boarded a bus for La Florida, Peru, where The Fuller Center is building a healthy, thriving community. Not only did she wind up partnering with us to build a home for her children, but she began working for The Fuller Center and then was elected mayor of the town. Now, she is a government official working nonstop to better the lives of Peruvians. Continue reading