An Ugly Yard Sign

I recently saw a yard sign that said, “Fire Obama.” It made me wonder:

If the homeowner is that angry with a president who has done nothing to destroy American life, he/she must have been livid with the Bush administration’s intelligence failures leading up to 9/11, thousands of dead and wounded American soldiers in Iraq, and the economic collapse of 2008.

The yard sign must have been REALLY ugly back in 2008.


Fool me once, twice, three times?

Those who want me to vote for Mitt Romney purchased a billboard in our area that refers to the presidency of Barack Obama this way: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”  Republicans must think I can’t remember 2008, when it was apparent that we were already fooled twice — in 2000 and 2004.

Their billboard says we were fooled in 2008, but not even the staunchest Republican knows that for sure, since we are still trying to dig our way out of near economic collapse. We all know for sure, however, that the 8-year administration of George W. Bush brought us to the brink of economic collapse.  That is beyond dispute.  A Republican President was handed a surplus in 2000; and in January, 2009, he handed President Obama an economy in free fall.  The billboard sponsors must think I have forgotten that history.

Thanks to their attempt at being clever, I ask who should be ashamed if we are fooled a third time?  I love irony.


Do you think we are THAT stupid?

I have written about political rhetoric before.  In one blog I described the difference between liberal and conservative media this way:

The liberal media use the actual words of conservatives (sometimes out of context, sometimes not) to ridicule their ideas and philosophy. The right-wing media distorts the words (and beliefs) of liberals, and then ridicules them. . . In the language of debate competitions, they “prop up a straw man and knock it down.”

Here is the Romney campaign reaction to President Obama explaining the biggest mistake of his first term: Continue reading →

Bill Bradley needs a new example

Bill Bradley’s The Journey from Here (2000), has a beautiful irony on page 96. (I am sure Bill was struck by it, too, when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa could not deny using steroids.) He wrote:

In the 1998 baseball season, we witnessed a great battle between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa for the home-run record. Each pushed the other to be better and better, and an incredible record was set.  As I watched the race, I wondered why American politics couldn’t be like that.

Dear Bill,

American politics is like that. Of all the examples you could have used to contrast with American politics, you chose one that perfectly describes American politics — both Democrats and Republicans trying to win at all costs, even if it means cheating (gerrymandering comes to mind).

I love irony — even if it’s accidental.

Democrats and Republicans agree!

This morning I learned two things.

CBS Sunday Morning (May 27) reported that our interstate highways are badly in need of repair. FDR and Ike created an infrastructure that provides enormous economic benefits. Unfortunately for both businesses and customers, it has been poorly maintained since the early 1990s, the last time the federal gas tax was increased.

Second, an Asheville Citizen-Times (AC-T, May 27, p. A1) article described the city council’s process for selling the land across from the U.S. Cellular Center and St. Lawrence Basilica — an historic landmark and city treasure.  A hotel developer wants to purchase the land and so does the Diocese of Charlotte.  The first wants to build a 3-story hotel and public plaza.  The second wants to better preserve the view of the Basilica with a plaza and smaller building. The article described the complexity of the decision — explaining a timeline and a 2008 agreement with the hotel developer.

Continue reading →

“Cut the Crap” Category Kick-off — Ben Stein’s Crap

Blogs in this category cite language that obscures the truth. Then they “cut the crap.”

This first one takes issue with Ben Stein’s commentary on CBS Sunday Morning. Here is the link:;contentAux

Let’s look at how Ben’s language obscures the truth more than it enlightens.

Ben: “I am about to have my taxes raised dramatically.”

Let’s cut the crap: “Dramatically,” Ben? What is the actual amount? Using “dramatically,” instead of the actual amount, obscures the fact that the number may be large (in the thousands), but it is small, compared to all the thousands you make over $250,000.

Ben: “There is no known economic theory under which raising my taxes in the midst of a severe recession will help the economy recover. It isn’t part of any well known monetarist or Keynesian theory.”

Let’s cut the crap: Ben, we don’t need economic theories here. It is a simple idea, one I am sure you learned from your frugal parents–don’t spend money you don’t have. Your taxes are being raised so the government can cover more of its expenses. No fancy economic theories needed here, just the need to get out from under a crushing debt. Those of us with houses “under water” are a metaphor for the American government’s situation. We understand, so “cut the crap.”

Ben: “I tried to be successful, which is what I thought I was supposed to do. When did it turn out that was a crime to be punished?”

Let’s cut the crap: Punished for success, Ben? Again — bad choice of words, and this crap is real stinky. Evidently all those “unsuccessful” people who recently lost jobs are sneaky — getting laid off to avoid the “punishment” you are left to endure. This is not punishment. It is how an imperfect system works. We are all taxed at different levels. It is not punishment for you to be taxed at a certain rate any more than it is punishment for me to be taxed at my rate. Punishment? What crap!

Furthermore, Ben, a commentator who obscures the truth is not successful. If you are being punished (as you claim), it must be for something other than being “successful.”

Two Final Notes

Bill Maher took issue with Ben Stein’s commentary for these same reasons in his September 24 New Rules.

Readers should go to the transcript link to read other thoughtful responses to Ben. Evidently, many Americans want to “cut the crap” that came from Ben Stein’s commentary.