David Rodeback's Blog

Local Politics and Culture, National Politics,
Life Among the Mormons, and Other Stuff

Previous Post          Printer-Friendly Version          Next Post


Saturday, November 3, 2012
Scattered Thoughts

Here are scattered thoughts which have accumulated for so long that I had to purge half the list to keep its length only slightly unreasonable. They're not all about the election or even politics. They include some impassioned excerpts from one of my favorite Democrats, Orson Scott Card.

Without further ado . . .

Katrina II: I've been watching news stories about storm aftermath in New York and New Jersey. I won't belabor the point, but we see again why it is folly to rely on the federal government for disaster relief and responsible preparations for it. And it doesn't matter which party holds the White House when the trouble hits; in a sense, where disaster relief is concerned, the only difference between recent presidents of the two parties is style.

No Seal Left Behind?: The other day, in the context of post-Stormageddon disaster relief, President Obama said that Americans don't leave anyone behind. I guess we could debate whether National Command Authority's despicable conduct during the Benghazi attack is un-American, by that definition. But if what happened is anything like what now appears to have happened, even if you don't count the clumsy cover-up, Benghazi is grounds for impeachment, in the unlikely event that President Obama wins the election. I'm no friend of Barack Obama, but I don't speak of impeachment lightly. The offense is far beyond Bill Clinton's perjured testimony, and the cover-up is far beyond Watergate. The partial timetable lately released by the CIA is too late, offers only a partial picture at best, and already is drawing fire from people who were on the ground in Libya (actually drawing fire). If a Republican administration had done this, reelection would be a virtual impossibility -- and impeachment would rightly be on the table.

On the Big Screen: I saw Won't Back Down the other day. Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis play parents whose children are betrayed by the local public school in Pittsburgh. For biographical reasons, I like Pittsburgh movies. (The City of Pittsburgh is my favorite character in the first few minutes of Groundhog Day, too.) Yes, it was schmaltzy. Yes, it was upbeat and optimistic, and it underestimated, if anything, the herculean task of taking control of a school. I enjoyed it too much to be able to judge whether it's a good movie or not. But I left the theater thinking it's a dangerous movie, if it helps a couple of great ideas to catch on: that parents really can do something about failing public schools, and that teachers unions are the arch-enemy of school reform. (For more, read Andrew J. Rotherham and Glenn Garvin.) The unions take issue with the film's claim to be "inspired by true events," because no one yet has successfully taken over a school using "parent trigger laws," which exist in several states. On the other hand, it is based on millions of true events, or millions of variations on a single event: parents discovering that a failing school is chronically unresponsive to the needs of a student.

I Love Defense: I love great defense, on a basketball floor or a football field. So I loved these lines in a recent Daily Herald article about BYU's football's excellent defense this season:

"There was a time in the Utah State game that they had made a stop and they knew they had to go back out again," said Cougar head coach Bronco Mendenhall. "They had water bottles on the sideline and Kyle Van Noy and Brandon Ogletree were spraying guys down like it was champagne bottles after they won the pennant or something.

"Our coaches are then trying to calm them down, saying, 'hey, you have to go back out.' They said, 'that’s why we are celebrating.' They were celebrating not the stop but the fact that they get to go back out and play again.”

It warms the heart.

The Author Probably Didn't Write the Headline: It's important to realize that the people who write news articles and op/ed columns usually are not the people who choose the headlines. Here's a reminder, in an article critical of Mitt Romney from The New Republic. More noteworthy than the content is the headline. Amy Sullivan here talks about the unfortunate appearance of "Mitt the Man" in the second presidential debate. She doesn't like Mitt the Man at all, but she never once calls him a jerk. Nevertheless, whoever wrote the headline decided to juice it up a little: "Mitt the Jerk: A Woman's View of the Debate." (Often TNR offers sound thought from the left, but sometimes it's just cheap.)

The Battle, not the War: There's a Facebook meme out there with this text: "I apologize if my caring about the direction of our Country is getting in the way of other mindless status updates. Don't worry, after November 6th we can go back to talking about vital issues like Pop-Tart recipes, Katy Perry, and whether Crocs qualify as 'shoes'." Whoever wins the presidency, the people's vigilance and involvement will continue to be absolutely crucial.

A News Division's Purpose, Left Version: The Left's despair after President Obama more or less phoned it in the first debate, and got his clock cleaned by an intelligent, articulate, human Mitt Romney, was something I enjoyed more than I probably should have. One piece of the Left's response sticks in memory as an indication of how they expect these things to work. You'll recall that Jim Lehrer of PBS was the moderator. I appreciated how he let the candidates address and respond to each other; it was closer to a real debate than most such events in recent years. But afterward, a couple of the talking heads criticized Lehrer for "letting Romney win." You see, in their view the moderator is supposed to insure that the Democrat wins. This is the proper role both of the Big Media Acronyms and media stars chosen to moderate debates.

You Can't Make This Stuff Up: (Or "Nothing is Too Mediocre for the Children," or "How to Give Fairness an Even Blacker Name," or "How Combating Quality Promotes Equality.") To promote fairness, a Swedish lunch lady was ordered to stop serving good food. Here's an excerpt from Daniel J. Mitchell's recent column:

Annika Eriksson, a lunch lady at a school in Falun, was told that her cooking is just too good. Pupils at the school have become accustomed to feasting on newly baked bread and an assortment of 15 vegetables at lunchtime, but now the good times are over. The municipality has ordered Eriksson to bring it down a notch since other schools do not receive the same calibre of food -- and that is "unfair." . . . "A menu has been developed . . . It is about making a collective effort on quality, to improve school meals overall and to try and ensure everyone does the same," Katarina Lindberg, head of the unit responsible for the school diet scheme, told the local Falukuriren newspaper. . . . From now on, the school's vegetable buffet will be halved in size and Eriksson's handmade loafs will be replaced with store-bought bread. Her traditional Easter and Christmas smörgåsbords may also be under threat.

Speaking of education, see also the French President's desire to abolish homework in public schools. You see, it's not fair that some children have parents who expect their children to do their homework, and some don't.

Closed circuit to my friends in the Alpine School District: When you see this sort of foolishness here, don't bother labeling it socialism or communism. Call it stupidity or idiocy and leave it at that. You'll be more persuasive.

Speaking of, Ahem, Socialism: In all the Republican hand-wringing and rabble-rousing about so-called Death Panels (example here), which will make care and cost decisions under ObamaCare, very few Republicans are discussing the fact that Death Panels are perfectly logical, when government is footing the bill for health care. We'd all prefer it to be loved ones making the difficult decisions, with sound medical advice, but it makes sense that it would be the entity which is paying the bill. What doesn't make sense is for the government (that is, taxpayers) to be paying the bill. Even our present, pre-ObamaCare system radically increases costs by the degree to which medical decisions and payments for medical care are made by different people or entities.

Still Watching: I'm still watching for widespread stories of people finally snapping under the barrage of political ads and assaulting their televisions. It seems inevitable. I thought us to be on the verge a few days ago.

Finally, I Play the Card Card: Orson Scott Card is one of the smart Democrats -- politically smart, I mean. Democrats smart in other subjects are a dime a dozen (but worth much more). Sometimes I fantasize about how productive our political debates might be if Democrats like Card were debating smart and reasonable Republicans (of which I consider Mitt Romney one, provisionally) within the policy process. His blog posts tend to be even longer than mine, but I find them gripping for two reasons. First, it's that smart Democrat thing. Second, this is Orson Scott Card, and he can really turn a phrase. I suggest you work your way (before the election, if possible) through four recent blog posts, for the substance as well as the passion and the art: "What This Election Is Really About," "'Barrage of Lies'," "Let's Unlose This War," and "Obama Dithered, Americans Died, And Then Obama Lied and Lied." Here are excerpts.

From "What This Election Is Really About" (original emphasis):

[The academic/media elite] don't like America. They're ashamed of America. And Obama is their creature. . .

They think of America as a horrible cruel bully that pushes around other nations, which is why they thought Obama's "apology tour" of the world after his election was completely appropriate.

But they feel this way only because they remain, as Obama is, completely ignorant of world history.

America, a big bully? Compared to what powerful nation, ever? . . .

There is no nation they can compare us with which has had comparable power, and behaved as well as, let alone better than, we did.

From "Let's Unlose This War," after a point by point comparisons of Barack Obama with Neville Chamberlain, and Islamists with Hitler (my emphasis):

The reelection of Barack Obama is the most terrible thing that could happen to us, because he is Neville Chamberlain, and like Chamberlain, he is exposing us and all our friends to the most evil, ambitious, insane force loose in the world right now.

The man who sneers at Americans who turn to "guns and religion" -- and the professoriate and mediacrats who are ashamed of "patriotism" and the values of Western Civilization -- are not fit to lead the nation which, like it or not, constitutes our civilization's entire defense against enemies who wage relentless war against us and, if we do not stop them, can bring down all freedom in the world.

From "'Barrage of Lies'":

Remember that there's an alternative. Democrats in general and Obama in particular could follow the only script open to Republicans: Admit your mistake at once, open up your records to show the full extent of the mistake, then apologize and don't do it again.

Still waiting for Obama and other Democrats to do that, ever, about anything. Wrong again and again, caught again and again in cover-ups and deceptions and, yes, outright lies -- but still no admission, no apology, and no change.

Do you really think anything will be different in a second Obama term?

From "Obama Dithered, Americans Died, And Then Obama Lied and Lied":

The single most important task of the American President is not health care. It is not economic "fairness."

The single most important task of the American President is protecting America from its enemies, and Obama is a complete failure -- by his own choice, and as a matter of policy.

He ends that piece with a list of things we can do about the problem, which I commend to you.

Closing Heresy: We Republicans, even the smart ones, aren't enough to accomplish what we must do, both on and after Election Day. We need and should welcome my "smart Democrats." We should welcome them in droves.

Previous Post          Printer-Friendly Version          Next Post


Bookmark and Share