Saturday, January 31, 2015

Mirrored Ideologies: Why Huckabee's Recent Remarks Should Make You Worry

by Nomad

HuckabeeMike Huckabee's recent remarks sound vaguely familiar.

The other day on his Christian television show, former Arkansas governor and possible presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee made an attention-grabbing statement. He said that he feared for the nation. 
"We cannot survive as a republic if we do not become, once again, a God-centered nation that understands that our laws do not come from man, they come from God.
He was not, he hastened to add, demanding a theocracy. No way, no how. The problem, he said, was our secularism.

His critics would say that Huckabee's statement is yet another sign - as if we needed any more- that this man is unsuitable for political office and probably always was.

Searching For Intelligent Life

 by Nomad

Friday, January 30, 2015

Here's What the GOP Should Expect If They Dare Cut Social Security Benefits

by Nomad

When it comes to cutting Social Security, the Republicans are playing with fire. As usual, the GOP appears to be heading towards a showdown it cannot win. 

As Reagan famously said,"There you go again." And the Tea Party Republicans are at it again, trying to find a way to cut Social Security. Another crusade bound to end in tears. 

From opposition to same-sex marriage to the rapprochement to Cuba, from criminalizing abortion to immigration, it's staggering how many unpopular positions the Republicans have decided to take up.
Now they are itching to get their hands on Social Security despite the fact that seventy-six percent of all Americans think Social Security is worth the costs to taxpayers, according to a poll in 2012. 

Attempting to slice and dice Social Security by labeling it a “big-ticket entitlement program” is surely going to blow up in the conservative faces. It's practically guaranteed.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

How Boehner's Phony Search for Common Ground has Led the GOP Absolutely Nowhere

by Nomad

Since Obama took office, Speaker of the House, John Boehner has been searching for "common ground." Through crisis after crisis, the same phrase has emerged from his lips. Meanwhile the President has single-handedly pulled the economy out of its swamp.
No wonder his approval ratings are climbing and Congress remains at all time lows.

 Still struggling with his own narrative, Speaker John Boehner this week made some astonishing statements. The remarks probably won't sit well with Tea Party Republicans either. 
In a Wednesday interview on Fox News (where else?) when he was asked if he could hold the GOP together, Speaker of the House John Boehner said "I was the Tea Party before there was a Tea Party."
He sympathized with them to a degree... but not much.
“I understand their concerns, I understand their frustrations. But we have a Constitution that we abide by and we’re going to live by it. And that means we have separate, equal branches of government. And whether people like it or not, Barack Obama is going to be the president for the next two years.”
In other words, Boehner was telling the Tea Party Congress that he was their master and to "suck it up." Get used to it.
He also added that he had no plans to leave his position anytime soon. This wasn't going to be his last term. He said 
“No, no, no. I'll be here for a while,"
The Tea Party have very little choice but to endure Boehner's arrogance, having lost any opportunity to replace him.

In Remembrance of John Martyn

by Nomad

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the death of British singer and musician John Martyn. Here's May You Never, which comes from his 1973 album, Solid Air.

His biography reads:
In a world that lacks compassion, John Martyn and his music, is a breath of fresh air. John was an incurable romantic who sang from his heart; no other artist sang with such commitment and emotion. People have fallen in and out of love listening to the most enduring and magical songs of deep sensitivity that have been sung over his forty year plus career.  

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Detained and Cuffed Traveler Takes on TSA Overreach and Wins 25K Settlement

by Nomad

A five-year legal battle ended last month over the suspicious airport security agents handling of a passenger.  At the heart of the issue: Can there ever be a balance between our security and our civil liberties?

Nick George must feel the sweet satisfaction of closure after a settlement was reached last month  related to an August 2009 incident at a Philadelphia airport. While traveling from Pennsylvania to California George found himself in as absurd and frightening  situation as anything Kafka could have imagined.

Suspicious Minds
On his way to begin his senior year at Pomona College, George caught the attention of security agents at Philadelphia International Airport. As he  passed through the routine screening for his cross-country flight, Transportation Security Authority (TSA) agents asked him to empty his pockets. He was carrying a set of English-Arabic flashcards.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Leftovers: Hard Times for Syrian Refugee Children in Turkey

by Nomad

An unfortunate incident in an Istanbul fast food restaurant highlights the plight of refugee children in Turkey.

Last week, Turkish newspapers reported on an incident in Istanbul which you might not have heard about. It was pushed as one of those sign of the times stories.
According to one article, a young Syrian boy was assaulted by a manager at a branch of Burger King in an Istanbul neighborhood. Why?
The hungry child was seen eating french fries left over by a previous patron.
Eyewitnesses said the boy, who was apparently homeless, was eating french fries from discarded trays and collecting leftovers when the manager of a Burger King in Şirinevler on Istanbul's European side approached him and started slapping him before throwing him out.
Customers at the fast food restaurant were appalled by manager's reaction. They immediately recorded the details and used social media to publicize them. The photos showed the child with a bloody nose, sitting outside the establishment.  

Monday, January 26, 2015

How To Destroy A Perfectly Fine Planet

by Nomad

Happy Birthday, Paul Newman

by Nomad

 Had he lived. Paul Newman would be 90 years old today.
An American actor, film director, entrepreneur, professional racing driver, auto racing team owner, environmentalist, social activist, and philanthropist; All in all, it was a pretty incredible and worthwhile life. .

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Disloyalty of a Republican Rising Star: Should Joni Ernst be Court-martialed?

by Nomad

Joni Ernst's comments during her Senate campaign were extreme by any measure but as an officer in the Iowa National Guard,  she should, some think, be prosecuted.

Back in October of last year, The Des Moines Register had an interesting op-ed piece about the Republican party's newest rising star, Joni Ernst. Ernst as you know, gave the rebuttal to the President's State of the Union speech last week,

The author, Vietnam veteran Steve Wikert, said that he, along with other vets, was troubled by candidate Ernst's behavior campaign rhetoric during her Iowa run for Senate.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Boehner, Netanyahu and George Washington's Farewell Warning

by Nomad

Without consulting the White House or the State Department, House Speaker Boehner has invited Israeli PM Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress in less than a month.
George Washington in his last official statement had a thing or two to say about allowing our allies from too much interference in US foreign policy.

Time of Challenge
As most of you have heard, House Speaker John Boehner has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before Congress next month. Presumably Netanyahu will attempt to scuttle extremely negotiations with Iran on its nuclear weapons/energy program. In a statement Boehner explained his reasoning.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu is a great friend of our country, and this invitation carries with it our unwavering commitment to the security and well-being of his people. In this time of challenge, I am asking the prime minister to address Congress on the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life.”
The statement should be read very carefully. It seems to be speaking on behalf of the US government. The term "unwavering commitment" might sound great on paper but it can sound very different to the people to whom it applies.

In any case, the White House wasn't impressed. Press Secretary Josh Earnest described it as a breach of typical protocol since the White House wasn't consulted or involved in the decision. Said Earnest, it has been standard procedure for a nation's leader to contact the White House before planning a visit to the United States. 
In this case, however, the White House heard about the invitation  not from the Israelis but from Boehner's office,. Some would call that breach a sign of disrespect for the president and the executive office in general.
Earnest said the White House is reserving judgment about the invite until U.S. officials talk to their Israeli counterparts. Boehner's office confirmed that Netanyahu has accepted, and will give a speech to a joint session of Congress on Feb. 11. The date is significant: It's the 36th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution.
Boehner said in a statement that he had invited Netanyahu to speak on "the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life." Yet, critics would counter that there were plenty of other experts available, with much more unbiased sources, to speak on such matters.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Taboo You: How Islamic Pakistan is the Christian Right Wing's Dream for America

by Nomad

When it comes to the reproductive rights of women, the ultra-conservative Christian Far Right in the US and the Islamic theocratic republic of Pakistan have a lot more in common than they are willing to admit.

In an ideal world, every baby born should be a wanted child, not stigmatized for being born from a mother out of wedlock and not a burden to parents too poor to feed their family.
Yet, in this day and age, it is still not an unattainable goal for most of humanity. Although we already have all of the resources we need, such as cheap, easy to use contraceptives, and the means for their distribution , we as a species continue to over-populate the planet.
To understand the reasons, we need to take a closer look at Pakistan.

Pakistan: The Land of Taboos
Pakistan is one nation where the population growth rate is high; it is in fact higher than average growth rate of all other South Asian countries. With over 180 million people, Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world, .  

But why should a country be so crowded and so poverty-stricken and yet unable to do anything about it? For that you need to look at the majority-Muslim Pakistan's ultra-conservative social policies. Especially when it comes to attitudes to sexuality and women's rights.   

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Zombies of the New Millennium: Are Cell Phones Killing Genuine Social Contact?

by Nomad

cell phonesWe live in an incredible age of communication. Keeping in touch with family and friends has never been easier. And yet, how much contact do we need before we lose focus.
Should we be thinking more about prioritizing our social interactions?

Don't get me wrong. Cell phones are wonderful tools. Sometimes I can't imagine how we ever existed without them. Finding somebody in a crowd, for example, or reaching somebody in an emergency. 
What did I use to do when I got lost on the way to a club or on the way to a house party? I can't even remember. It seems so long ago. I suppose I threw myself on the ground and wept until some kind stranger took pity on me. 

With a cell phone, all those annoying dilemmas are in the past. Yet these days, a new problem has cropped up. 
Cell phone zombie-ism.
I suppose most of us at one time or another have experienced this. Not long ago, I watched in disgust when I found myself among my friends and suddenly realizing that I was the only one in the group that wasn't staring at a cell phone and silently finger-pushing their screens. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Here's How The Obamas Marked Martin Luther King Federal Holiday

by Nomad

Open Season for Intolerance: How Russia's Anti-Gay Propaganda Laws are Destroying Lives

by Nomad

Gay Laws RussiaA Russian newspaper article provides an example of how discriminatory anti-gay propaganda laws have become for Russia's gay citizens. In fact, it has become a tool for hunting down individuals and destroying their careers. 

Last month a music teacher at a school for disabled children in Saint Petersburg was fired for "an amoral action."
The crime? 
Her identity. Her sexual orientation.

According to the news report, the teacher was outed by an anti-gay crusader, Timur Bulatov, who then wrote a letter of complaint to the school authorities.  In a private meeting, the administrators told her that because she was a lesbian, she would no longer be allowed to work with students.  For a dedicated teacher, this decision was heart-breaking. 
She told one reporter:
"During all the years of my work at the school I gave all I had to my favorite profession, developing a love for arts, music among the children. ..Considering the capabilities of our children with moderate to severe developmental disabilities, I tried to make every lesson interesting, educational and fun."
What's important to understand here is that the teacher was not openly gay to her students. The anti-propaganda laws do not, it would seem, apply in this case. The incident shows the predictable outcome of the Russian duma's 2013 passage of new laws banning the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships to minors.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Believe It Can Be Done

by Nomad

Believe Inspiration

At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope that it can be done, then they see that it can be done--then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago. – Francis Eliza Hodgson Burnett

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Vancouver Restaurant Offers Free Meals to 50 Needy Residents

by Nomad

Matthew Robinson, reporter for the Vancouver Sun, tells us how the owner of one waterfront restaurant has decided to open his doors to the most needy in the community.
Now he is encouraging other restaurants to do the same.

Last Wednesday, Derek Oelmann and his staff at Vancouver's False Creek restaurant, Ten Ten Tapas,  hosted 50 low income and homeless people who live in the neighborhood. It was not the first time. Oelmann opened his doors twice since last December. 

In an interview, Oelmann said:
“What I’d like to see is this replicated by other restaurants...We did this relatively easily and inexpensively and could you (restaurateurs), once a month, open up your doors to the community?”
The idea is the flip side to new laws in the US against private citizens feeding the homeless.  Oelmann admits that there were some residents who were not exactly pleased. Homeless shelters have also had some of the locals upset apparently. However, other restaurant owners and private citizens have offered to help.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Tragic Murder of Yoav Hattab and The Chain of Sorrow

by Nomad

A look at one of the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks and how his life connects three cultures.

The name, Yoav Hattab, might not be familiar to you. He happened to be one of the four murdered hostages at the kosher supermarket, Hyper Cacher, (The other victims were Yohan Cohen, Philippe Braham, and François-Michel Saada.)

That attack was connected with earlier carnage on the offices of a satirical magazine which left 12 people dead and 11 others wounded. 

When terrorist Amedy Coulibaly stormed into the suburban market, he knew only that it was a Jewish-owned. That was enough of a target as far as he was concerned. In his mind, as in the minds of all terrorists, his victims had no families, no friends, and no histories. 
So. like the priest in The Bridge of San Louis Rey, I wanted to take a moment to look at the life and the death of this stranger who became a victim. 

The most tragic aspect of the supermarket attacks- as with terrorism in general- was its random nature. The fact that location was a target was random. The victims too were random. The only real linkage, from the attackers' point of view, was that the workers and the customers were most likely to be Jewish. 

In Hattab's case, that's only half of the story. This 21-year-old man was not French but from the predominantly Muslim Tunisia. He had been living in Paris while completing his graduate degree in international business studies. He was clearly not afraid of life and was preparing himself for an interesting productive life.

Moshe Uzan, a 25-year-old friend, told one reporter that Yoav's character set him apart."There are those who stand back and watch their lives. But he, he played an active role."

UK Publisher to Writers: Please Don't Talk about the Pigs!

by Nomad

According to one report from the UK Standard, a top academic publisher, the Oxford University Press (OUP), has issued guidelines which prohibit the mention of pigs and pork in children's schoolbooks. 
The ban is apparently an effort not to offend Muslims and Jews.

Though it isn't clear whether or not the rule is new, the subject of cultural sensitivity comes at a time of heightened tensions. Last week, Paris was rocked by attacks on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, in which twelve staff members were massacred by an terrorists in the name of Islam. Their excuse for the slaughter was payback for insulting the Islamic prophet.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Phyllis Schlafly: the Queen of Conservatism Who Made Women Second-Class Citizens

by Nomad

At ninety years old, Phyllis Schlafly is still actively spreading her own gospel, persuading a younger generation of women that being second-class citizens is just Nature's way.  

It has been said that half of the work done in this world is to make things appear as they are not.

One of those who has spent her decades in this pursuit is Ms. Phyllis Schlafly. Here's a woman who has spend a good part of her life trying to convince people that equality for women is a dangerous thing. All in all, her mission. much to the dismay of feminists and progressives, has been surprisingly successful. 
To some, Schlafly is an annoying fossil from the apex of the Reagan era that should have been forgotten a long time ago.  

Schlafly and the ERA

Although she might these days be just another crackpot on the Far Right, Schlafly will always be famous (infamous) for the part she played in defeating the proposed amendment to the Constitution. The Equal Rights Amendment  (ERA) aimed at specifically protecting the rights of all women.
The 1868 14th amendment, which gave equal protection to all citizens, should have offered enough civil protections, but  women were not always thought of a specific class or a minority in need of protection.

However, this attitude began changing in America around the 1920s. Since that time, specific legislation had been debated whether women by virtue of their gender, needed specific protections. 
That debate lasted a full half century.

When the 1964 Civil Act became law protecting the civil rights of minorities, progressives and feminists demanded a new look at equality for women as well. When the   ERA passed both houses, it looked as though it was a sure thing.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Limited Tolerance for Intolerance: Westboro Church Protest in Oregon Ends Abruptly

by Nomad

Westboro Baptist Church is famous for its controversial protests aimed at attracting the maximum amount of attention. In Portland, Oregon, the demonstration didn't turn out quite as they had planned.  

According to the law, Westboro Baptist Church has as much right to free speech- no matter how abhorrent and mean-spirited- as anyone else. However, when members of the extremist Church showed up at a sporting event in Portland Oregon to protest gay marriage, they got a little taste of the free speech of other people. 
Several hundred angry people, actually.

Counter protesters showed little tolerance to the inflammatory Westboro message and a scuffle reportedly broke out between the two groups. After twenty minutes, the Westboro members made a hasty retreat.
The counter-protesters celebrated with dance party "complete with stage lights and speakers." 
A good time was had by (nearly) all.

Elliot Njus, writing for The Oregonian has the full story here.

If You Want to Understand the Basic Premise behind Fox News, Read this!

by Nomad

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Benghazi 2.0 and The Republican Party in Action!

by Nomad

Nothing means success to the Congressional Republicans like last year's failure. They've just declared the wild goose chase known as Benghazi will re-commence and taxpayers can expect more time and money to be wasted.

Despite a definitive report which found absolutely no validity to any of the wild allegations made by Republicans, the GOP in House has decided to reconvene the Select Committee on Benghazi later this year. 
Using their majority, the Republican procedurally dismissed Democrat's rejections, by preventing any debate on the continuation of the special panel. Furthermore the panel was given an open budget and no limits for its work. 

As Yahoo points out, this one panel alone (there were at one time five ongoing committee investigations on this one event) cost "upwards of $1 million to operate last Congress, when the House voted to establish it."

Saturday, January 10, 2015

How the Reactions to Charlie Hebdo Events Reveal Fault Lines in Turkey

by Nomad

Charlie Hebdo Attack Cartoon Reactions to the Paris attacks on Charlie Hebdo underscore deep divisions in Turkish society where some say freedom of the press and freedom to mock are under attack.

A cartoonist for a Turkish newspaper Daily HürriyetLatif Demirci, cartoonist  gives his own take on the deadly Jan. 7 attack on Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine.

When it came to the events in Paris. the Turkish reactions revealed hidden fault lines.  Officially, there was widespread condemnation for the attack. Yet a certain minority of the 99% Muslim nation seemed to suggest that the cartoonists had brought it upon themselves for mocking the prophet Mohammed. 
According to an earlier Hürriyet article:
Two Islamist newspapers in Turkey have drawn ire on social media with their headlines that “justified” the deadly attack on a French satirical newspaper.
Facebook pages for one of the two newspapers had supportive comments from its readers. One particular comment expressed the hope the attackers would "continue [to kill] infidels" and gave "thanks to those who did it.”
Türkiye, another newspaper close to the Turkish government, chose the headline: “Attack on the magazine that insulted our Prophet.”
The headlines provoked a wave of public condemnation on Twitter. Many Turks accused the editors of the newspapers of “justifying a terror attack,”

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Winter without Hope: Why Time Has Just Run Out for Syrian Refugees

 by Nomad

Child Syria Refugee
As you read this, the refugees of the Syrian civil war are facing yet another challenge in the wake of an intense snowstorm that hit the region this week. Resources of aid agencies are dwindling fast and time is running out for families who have been left without food and heat.

Back in early October, we reported in a blog post how things were going to get worse for Syrians who fled their country and who now live in refugee camps in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, and Iraq.
At that time, an official at the UN warned that As things stand at the moment. The World Food Programme (WFP) would no longer be able to distribute food and water to Syrian refugees.  Without new funding, officials warned, the program could remain operational for only the next two months. After that, the refugees would be on their own.
That was three months ago.

The Storm 
This week the situation has gone from miserable to catastrophic. Having faced the loss of everything they own, faced with life in a tent and having endured a brutally hot summer, Syrian families might have thought that things could not get much worse.
They were absolutely wrong.

An unusually intense winter storm has swept across the region, with temperatures well below freezing, winds up to 55 miles an hour. For people reduced to living in the most primitive of shelters, a heavy blanket of snow threatened to destroy what little they have now.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Crimean Chess: The Six Unintended Effects of Putin's Ukrainian Miscalculation

by Nomad

Vladimir Putin
By miscalculation, Russian President Vladimir Putin seems to have painted himself into a corner since his decision to back the Ukrainian separatists.
At least that's what one expert on the Russian economy and foreign policy believes. 

The Crimean Move
In the chess game  of international diplomacy, Putin's decisions in Ukraine have been more blunderful than wonderful. His supporters have said it was a bold act of defiance to the West but others say it reflects that the Soviet mentality is still very much alive in Mother Russia.

In a recent article, Chatham House's John Lough observes that Vladimir Putin and his advisers may have been correct about how easy it was to undermine Kiev’s control of the strategically important area, Putin seems to have "gravely underestimated the consequences."

Lough is a associate fellow of the Russia and Eurasia program and vice president with BGR Gabara Ltd, a public affairs and strategic consulting company. 
The Crimean move, Lough implies, was not Putin's finest hour.
 He writes:
An easy tactical victory has triggered the prospect of long-term confrontation with the West that spells potential strategic disaster.
It is easy to mistake Putin's decision in Ukraine as an offensive strategy. However, it's probably a misreading of the Russian pyche. One of Russia's historical fears has always been its border security.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Other Side of Discrimination: Why Understanding White Privilege is So Important

by Nomad

It was a phrase I heard my father whenever I complained about something. "Who ever told you life would be fair?" As a child, that blunt defense of injustice was usually enough to shut me up like a clam. 
It was true that I couldn't actually recall any person  saying that life was going to always be fair.
The idea was, however, constantly implied and consistently drummed into my trusting mind. 

How would you like to be treated like that? was something I heard often enough. That is the essence of fairness. 

The Sunday school taught us the Golden Rule as a fundamental principle of the Christian faith. One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.
It was so simple and yet things were still not fair.

Privilege and the Advantage of Being White
Despite our egalitarian pretensions, American society is, like most societies, often unfair. It is based less on merit but on privilege and status.

Once upon a time, our forefathers might have dreamed of a classless society in which opportunities were not limited to a certain group. How serious they were is of course debatable, since many of them owned slaves.

Today. we might talk about equality for minorities, but, in reality, we tend to accept that some people have it better than others. The reason for this is based on nothing more than inborn privileges.
More and more, we watch as people with very limited talent, some not particularly intellectually-gifted people, are able to advance in life with the minimum of effort. (Based only on a brand name, people like this can even be elected president.)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Belgian Court Approves Killer's Request for Euthanasia over Life without Parole

by Nomad

After 30 years in prison in Belgium, Frank Van Den Bleeken will take his own life with the blessing of the court. The unusual use of the euthanasia laws has opened up a lot of important questions, such as the purpose of incarceration without parole.

The case of Frank Van Den Bleeken has not attracted too much attention in the American press. The serial killer and rapist has spent that last 30 years of his life behind bars in Belgium. In September, Bleeken applied for and won permission by the state to be euthanized

This unusual application of the 2002 euthanasia laws was based on the convict's claim that his incarceration constituted “unbearable” psychological suffering. 

Three decades ago, Van Den Bleeken was convicted of a series of rapes and the rape and murder of a teenage girl including the assault on an 11 year old girl. In a documentary, he told Belgian TV
"I am danger to society. What am I supposed to do? What’s the point in sitting here until the end of time and rotting away? I’d rather be euthanized."
  He went on to say:
“If people commit a sexual crime, help them deal with it. Just locking them up helps no one: not the person, not society and not the victims. I am a human being, and regardless of what I’ve done, I remain a human being. So yes, give me euthanasia.”
End of the Fight
The court decision to grant Van Den Bleeken's wish marks the end a long battle which began in 2011 when the prisoner made his first request. He alleged that he had been denied psychiatric help and was suffering unbearably.
At that time, his plea was rejected by the Federal Euthanasia Commission on the grounds that every possible treatment had to be considered first. 

Jeb Bush, the Family Brand and a Bad Case of Political Amnesia

by Nomad

In what many have seen as clear evidence that John Ellis "Jeb" Bush actually plans to throw his hat in the ring for the  2016 presidential race, last week, the former governor of Florida resigned from all of his corporate and non-profit board member positions. That's as subtle a signal as a cannon blast. 

Back in 2008, as his older brother was slinking out of Oval office, many a journalist was commenting how George Bush had dashed ahead of his brother Jeb and effectively blew up the bridge. Rebuilding that bridge was utterly unthinkable given the mess. It was implied that Americans would never ever forget the chaos that eight years of Bush.
 (As we have reported in the past, Jeb's problem has a few major problems that have nothing to do with his brother's incompetence.)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Distorted Priorities: Ad for Moms Demand Action Makes Good Point About Guns

by Nomad

I saw this brilliant ad. Just another example of how powerful special interests have warped our sense of perspective.

The fine print at the bottom reads:
We keep "Little Red Riding Hood" out of schools because of the bottle of wine in her basket."
Here's a little information about the organization, Moms Demand Action. It was founded by Shannon Watts in Indianapolis, on December 15, 2012, the day after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. By the beginning of this year, the advocacy group had grown to 130,000 members and now has chapters in all 50 states.

Friday, January 2, 2015

A New World View: Why Americans Really Need to Get Out More Often

by Nomad

Surveys tell us that fewer Americans are traveling abroad anymore. There are, of course, a good reasons why people would prefer to stay home, However, as country with a record of intervening in other nations, it is strange how incurious and uninformed so Americans have become about the rest of the planet.

How does our stay-at-home attitude influence our ideas about the rest of the world? Has it made us more arrogant and more ignorant?

Mark Twain, the travel writer, once said
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” 
For citizens of a nation with so many imperial ambitions, it amazes me how few Americans actually have ever been abroad.
That's a kind of a pity too. In comparison to a lot of other nationalities, average Americans are not bad ambassadors for their country.

In fact, 35 per cent of all Americans admit that they do not even own a passport and more than half - 54% - have never traveled outside the U.S.

According to one survey of over 2000 citizens,  41 per cent of travelers who have never been abroad feel that everything worth visiting is in the U.S.
About half of the respondents said that if they had the money, they would like to travel to other countries while about 26% said they would rather not go abroad.