Category Archives: The American Experience

Political Thought of the Day

I encourage all my fellow Tea Partiers to join Occupy Wall Street protesters in their non-violent, peaceful protests and together demand that the Government be returned to the people.   After all, this is precisely what the Tea Party was intended to be before it was taken over and marginalized by the establishment politicians.

FedUpUSA.org

Fascinating. What will the 2012 elections look like if elements of the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street actually converge? The established political parties have had their chance at trying to define a new American consensus, and failed miserably, even with a grave crisis at their back to justify action and compromise. Could a confrontation between Tea Party and OWS factions succeed where the established parties have failed? Is this precisely the populist door many have been waiting years to open?

Political Thought of the Day

Photo by Columbia Tristar/Getty Images

There’s lots of reasons to keep Rick Perry out the “country club,” but Barack Obama, only one.

Jeb Bush is just another demagogue blowhard

Why is this man an “expert” on education?

Appearing alongside Cory Booker on the “Education Nation” special edition of this morning’s Morning Joe, former governor Bush jumped in when Booker was asked why teachers make less in Newark than they do in affluent school districts.

“Simple,” Bush said. “It’s collective bargaining agreements.”
 
Now, aside from being ridiculous on its face — really, teachers’ collective bargaining rights are the reason Newark teachers’ salaries are 1/3 as much as Scarsdale teachers? — Local 481 really wants to stick it to its rank and file, eh? — notice the change in meme here. It’s no longer “teacher unions are corrupt” or “teacher unions are too powerful.” No, now it’s “collective bargaining rights” themselves that are the problem. Take away teachers’ collective bargaining rights, and all of a sudden everything’s going to be right with American education?
 
Alongside Laura Bush’s push for the MBA-ification of school principals, one can see these “reformers” education agenda for what it is: a program for the corporatization of the public school system, with at-will employee teachers, little or no room for job security or workers’ rights, power concentrated at the top, and the bulk of resources committed to “solutions-oriented” third-party vendors like the Educational Testing Service and Microsoft. It’s a program for turning the public school system into another teat in the already grotesque corporate welfare system.
 
In the aftermath of Ohio and Wisconsin, the Republican showdown with America’s workers and working class is being framed as a great victory. Alongside efforts nationwide to suppress minority and youth voting — oh, please argue that Republican politicians lay awake at night worrying about the “epidemic” of voter fraud — and the Republican agenda for the near future of the United States is achingly clear.
  • No taxes
  • No collective bargaining
  • No voting rights

This reactionary program, adopted wholesale and nationally, should be called what it is: Reactionary. There’s nothing conservative about it. And through one, powerful wing of the so-called “education reform” movement, today’s reactionary Republicans are busy — very busy — making public schools the next front line in their crusade — their very own “children’s crusade” — to preserve and protect the privileges and assets of America’s new have-it classes, against all the rest of us.

“America is in Decline” — if you don’t believe me, will you believe Harold Bloom?

“Twenty-first century America is in a state of decline. It is scary to reread the final volume of Gibbon these days because the fate of the Roman Empire seems an outline that the imperial presidency of George W. Bush retraced and that continues even now. We have approached bankruptcy, fought wars we cannot pay for, and defrauded our urban and rural poor. Our troops include felons, and mercenaries of many nations are among our ‘contractors,’ fighting on their own rules or none at all. Dark influences from the American past congregate among us still. It we are a democracy, what are we to make of the palpable elements of plutocracy, oligarchy, and mounting theocracy that rule our state? How do we address the self-inflicted catastrophes that devastate our natural environment? So large is our malaise that no single writer can encompass it. We have no Emerson or Whitman among us. An institutionalized counterculture condemns individuality as archaic and deprecates intellectual values, even in the universities.”

– Harold Bloom, The Anatomy of Influence (2011).

A Moment of Zen–In Honor of Wisconsin’s Public Employees

Left photo: Wisconsin Tourism Board; Right photo: unknown.

Please click below:

America the Beautiful, performed by Katherine Lee Bates and Adesso: http://www.alcorngallery.com/adesso//

Egypt liberato

Egypt meets hope. We Americans can take pride in a new foreign policy vision that is truly democratic, historically informed, mindful of unintended consequences and less willing to suffer the explicit abridgment of human rights in the name of our own, narrow national interests.

“There is something in the soul that cries out for freedom,” the President quotes Martin Luther King to remind us how today’s Egyptians’ struggles are so like our own. And the soul rejoices, too, in the measured, grown-up, forward looking response of our grown-up, measured President. He offers nothing less than a new hope that the events of the past weeks suggest that America’s conflict with the Muslim world has been the historical abberation, and not a cultural or historical inevitability. And he inspires the hope that Americans may yet come to better understand our most basic commonality not just with the Egyptians of Tahrir Square, but with the common peoples of the whole world: our common yearning to be free.

A brilliant speech, well worth watching in full:

The New “Arab Street”?

Although history is full of unintended consequences, I think we should give thanks that the “Arab Street” has finally turned its wrath on their real oppressors, the autocratic, quasi-monarchical and religio-demagogic oligarchs and dictators who rule their own countries.

Let’s just hope that the United States doesn’t reflexively come out in support of these reprehensible Middle Eatern regimes, as we have more often than not in the past, merely in the name of “stability.”

“Newt-anasia”

Speaker of the House John Boner. (Photomontage: thinkprogress.org.)

N. Def. Act of political suicide that  John Boner and the 112th Congress are going to commit by shutting down the Federal government, not raising the debt ceiling, and seeking meaningless impeachment indictments against President Obama.

As the saying goes, first time as tragedy…

116th Street

Height of summer, and
the creative class is out
out walking their
children as they’d
walk their dogs.

Some have hired help.
Others not. Some
have grandparents. Or
at least they look
like grandparents.
But who’s to tell
in this day and
age of lively sperm
and wombs for rent?

The pigeons thought
I’d brought a snack.
This, too, is predictable.
To want, for anything,
for water, a notion
antique as the
nonexistent fountains.

The New Endeavor — “The New York Diary”

Walt Whitman. Sketch by unknown artist in Whitman Notebook. (c) The Smithsonian Institution.

In the spirit of the Master (Whitman, not James), we are pleased to announce our New York Diary, a series of occasional prose poems.

This is a bit of a departure from our political and financial emphasis that’s dominated this blog the last few years. Well, man can’t live on bile alone, can he? And something along these lines was always intended to be part of this site, but after the reception of the one prose poem, on David Beckham in his underwear in springtime and other things, it kind of fell away. We’ll give it another go here.