Claxons sounding from the navigation room: Titanic Republicans plunge full speed ahead to that iceberg

September 5, 2011

A veteran Republican Congressional insider wrote:

To those millions of Americans who have finally begun paying attention to politics and watched with exasperation the tragicomedy of the debt ceiling extension, it may have come as a shock that the Republican Party is so full of lunatics. To be sure, the party, like any political party on earth, has always had its share of crackpots, like Robert K. Dornan or William E. Dannemeyer. But the crackpot outliers of two decades ago have become the vital center today: Steve King, Michele Bachman (now a leading presidential candidate as well), Paul Broun, Patrick McHenry, Virginia Foxx, Louie Gohmert, Allen West. The Congressional directory now reads like a casebook of lunacy.

It was this cast of characters and the pernicious ideas they represent that impelled me to end a nearly 30-​year career as a professional staff member on Capitol Hill. A couple of months ago, I retired; but I could see as early as last November that the Republican Party would use the debt limit vote, an otherwise routine legislative procedure that has been used 87 times since the end of World War II, in order to concoct an entirely artificial fiscal crisis. Then, they would use that fiscal crisis to get what they wanted, by literally holding the US and global economies as hostages.

The debt ceiling extension is not the only example of this sort of political terrorism. Republicans were willing to lay off 4,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employees, 70,000 private construction workers and let FAA safety inspectors work without pay, in fact, forcing them to pay for their own work-​related travel — how prudent is that? — in order to strong arm some union-​busting provisions into the FAA reauthorization.

Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult
Saturday 3 September 2011
by: Mike Lofgren, Truthout | News Analysis

Sheesh!  And I thought they were crazy in 1985!

David Badash analyzed Lofgren’s article, at the New Civil Rights Movement:

GOP veteran Congressional staffer of 28 years, Mike Lofgren, who retired in June, just published a 6114 word attack on today’s Republican party, classifying them as “an apocalyptic cult” “full of lunatics.” Unsurprisingly, it’s gone viral. Included within Lofrgren’s 28 years in Congress is his “16 years as a professional staff member on the Republican side of both the House and Senate Budget Committees,” according to his bio. James Fallows, a national correspondent for The Atlantic, calls Lofgren “a familiar and highly esteemed figure.” Lofgren likens today’s Republican Party to the Reichstag of the Weimar Republic, and observes that “legislating has now become war minus the shooting, something one could have observed 80 years ago in the Reichstag of the Weimar Republic. As Hannah Arendt observed, a disciplined minority of totalitarians can use the instruments of democratic government to undermine democracy itself.”

Also unsurprisingly, Lofgren talks about the GOP’s attacks on same-​sex marriage, several times.

And almost exactly like we at The New Civil Rights Movement have been doing, Lofgren particularly targets Steve King, Michele BachmanPaul BrounVirginia Foxx, Louie Gohmert, and Allen West. (Good to know we’re on the right track!)

Tip of the old scrub brush to Tony Sidaway.

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While you’re celebrating Labor Day . . .

September 5, 2011

Remember that the weekend was a Crazy Liberal Idea™, and that union men and women died for the right to have them.

See this and more at PoliticalLoudmouth.com

Text of the poster:  “The weekend was a crazy liberal idea.  In 1886, 7 union members in Wisconsin died fighting for the 5-day work week, and 8-hour work day.”

Source:  PoliticalLoudmouth.com

 


Should parents take their kids out of the education testing race?

September 5, 2011

Bunch of opposite-editorial page articles say states ought to get off the testing treadmill, do some real walking instead.  Is it a national movement?

One of these pieces explained:

For example, Tim Slekar, a professor of education in Pennsylvania, opted his son Luke out of his state’s tests last school year to “make my community aware and to try and enlighten them of the real issues.” This parent and professor’s plea is simple and forceful: “Stop treating my child as data! He’s a great kid who loves to learn. He is not a politician’s pawn in a chess game designed to prove the inadequacy of his teachers and school.”

If it’s not a national movement, should it be?

List of Op-Eds which support opting out of the state test in order to save the public schools:

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-school-testing-20110825,0,7660909.story

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/timothy-d-slekar/public-schools-are-not-ne_b_943803.html

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/08/28/1011377/-Empty-Test-Chair-by-Empty-Test-Chair

http://www.examiner.com/education-reform-in-baltimore/opt-out-or-give-up-resistance-shades-of-grey

http://pegwithpen.blogspot.com/2011/09/why-opt-out-of-state-test-better.html

http://www.realhartford.org/2011/08/31/back-to-school-guide-reclaiming-your-childs-education-22/

http://liukarama.typepad.com/empowermagazine/2011/08/back-to-school-advice-opt-out-of-standardized-tests.html

http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/03/20/pennsylvania.school.testing/index.html

http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teacher_in_a_strange_land/2011/09/opting_out.html

http://www.marionbrady.com/articles/Orlando_Sentinel_Column/arts.html

http://www.newdemocracyworld.org/old/shove.htm

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/08/28/1011377/-Empty-Test-Chair-by-Empty-Test-Chair

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/timothy-d-slekar/i-am-more-than-a-test-sco_b_921279.html

http://www.edubiquity.org/?p=110

When parents choose to get their kids out of the test, do the kids know why, and do they develop any greater love for learning?  If so, I’m for it.

But, parents, don’t take your kid out, so your kid can sit in my class wasting his time, my time, and other students’ time, saying “I don’t have to learn this stuff.”

_____________

Much more detail on the issue and events at Real Hartford.


Honor American labor: Fly your flag today, Labor Day 2011

September 5, 2011

Probably more important in 2011 than before:  Fly your flag for American labor today.

Free Labor Will Win, poster from 1942, (Library of Congress)

Poster from the Office of War Information, 1942

It’s Labor Day 2011 in the United States, a federal holiday, and one of those days Americans are urged to fly the U.S. flag.

The poster was issued by the Office of War Information in 1942, in full color. A black-and-white version at the Library of Congress provides a few details for the time:

Labor Day poster. Labor Day poster distributed to war plants and labor organizations. The original is twenty-eight and one-half inches by forty inches and is printed in full color. It was designed by the Office of War Information (OWI) from a photograph especially arranged by Anton Bruehl, well-known photographer. Copies may be obtained by writing the Distribution Section, Office of War Information [alas, you can’t get a copy from the Office of War Information in 2011]

Even down here in deepest, darkest-right-to-work Texas, patriots fly their flags to honor Labor today. It’s heartening.


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