Saturday, September 15, 2012

Wrongway Corrigan/Brownback

Who is Douglas Corrigan, and what does he have to do with Sam Brownback? Corrigan earned the  nickname "Wrongway Corrigan" when he flew his single engine plane solo over the Atlantic in 1938, after filing a flight plan to go from New York to Los Angeles.. This was before radar. He claimed that he had a broken compass, and that's why he flew for 28 hours in the wrong direction, crossing the Atlantic ocean instead of the American continent.

     He was heralded by a depression weary American population for his “wrong way” flight, and even feted with ticker tape parades in New York and Chicago. Truth be known, he simply lied about it. He had  been denied the right by aviation authorities to cross the Atlantic in his single engine plane because aviation officials deemed it unsafe to fly. They told him he couldn’t do it, so he figured a way around them, leaving in the pre- dawn hours from Long Island, and heading out to sea. Despite his filed flight plan, which said he was heading west…he headed east.  He actually developed a leak in his gas tank while flying, which caused gas to spill into the cockpit, so  he poked a hole in the cockpit  floor to let the gas drip out to the ocean below,  instead of accumulating and causing an explosion.  In short  he knew what he was doing,, and he was hell bent for leather to do it.       So ,  Why the comparison?  Governor Sam Brownback and Wrong way  Corrigan have a lot in common. Damn the torpedoes...full speed ahead!  And so it is with Governor Sam Brownback.

     When historians come to judge the Kansas Governor's stewardship at the helm of state, it may be written of him that,  like  Corrigan,  he was a fierce pilot who flew his plane  with lots of guts and gusto, but in the wrong direction.  They both thought they were aiming correctly.   While the initial result for Corrigan was a ticker tape parade,  he became an historical footnote,  and poster child for bullheaded reversity.  Corrigan was literally flying blind  across the Atlantic. He could not see out of the front of the plane because of the gas tanks that obfuscated his vision, but that didn’t matter, because they fueled his journey, and buoyed his grit and determination to do what no one else, save Lindbergh, had ever done. And so it is with Sam Brownback.  Anyone who is standing in the way of his vision of a Kansas without an Income tax, which he believes will reverse the fortunes of and bolster the economy of the state, is to be ignored, or to be end run arounded.

     Corrigan’s zealotry for  crossing the Atlantic in a plane that was not ever fit to do so, earned him initial public plaudits but eventual  retrospective ridicule. The end result for Brownback may be similar, in that he may be feted at  conservative conventions in Wichita and  Topeka for now, but he may be  less than revered by future historians.  Unfortunately, the real consequences of his studied actions may be to set Kansas back for decades, instead of propelling it forward to economic hegemony.  So convinced is he of the rectitude of trickledownomics that he has literally bet the ranch, his entire state, on it.  True zealots like him never fade away. They are either vaulted to the forefront by virtue of the success of their wild and speculative ways, or catapulted to the dung heap of history by the odiferous scents of their failed gambits that won't go away. Their  ideas may die, but the scent of their experiments hang ‘round for a long, long time. And so it may be with Brownback. He will either be lionized by future generations as a hero, or considered a bum who messed up Kansas' entire governmental and educational structure.

I hope it is the former, but my bet is on the latter.

So, move over "Wrong Way Corrigan"… Governor Sam Brownback is about to outdistance you in the Guinness Book of foolhardy records.  The problem is, the joke may be on Kansas,  and it’s people.

Friday, September 14, 2012

 Facts Matter..Ads shouldn't

The number of new jobs created last month again disappoints. And, yes, there is a reason for this disappointment.

Who to blame? President Barack Obama?
How about blaming the Republicans in Congress?

They continue to refuse to pass Obama's jobs bill which would have created hundreds of thousands of new jobs. The bill would build roads and bridges that are badly needed, and create enough jobs to bring the unemployment rate down by a full percentage point.

But wait. We can't have that before the election, so the Republicans are just saying no — and then criticizing the President for not creating jobs fast enough.
Gotcha! The way to play the game is to stick your foot out and trip your opponent, and then blame him for falling down.
Will the American people buy this bullying tactic and reward the Republican opposition for their obstructionism? Only if they don't connect the dots as a result of a great fog machine being sent into overdrive by unlimited Super PAC advertising, fueled by the donations of an oligarchic group of billionaires.

How can Mitt Romney's campaign be so dismissive of the truth? The answer is that it has the money to help defy the truth.
The fog will be so thick with 30-second negative advertising spots that by November, most Americans — at least those living in the swing states like Missouri, where I teach — will be crying, "I want my TV back!" The barrage of ads will be nearly unbearable.

Still, before you fling open the shutters and say you're mad as hell, and can't take it anymore, just take a deep breath, and join me in this vow: "I refuse to allow any 30-second TV ad to affect my judgment. I will pay attention only to the debates, to the news, and to the fact checkers."
Facts really do matter, despite what Mitt Romney's pollster Neil Newhouse says to the contrary.
If people ignore these Super PAC and partisan ads entirely, from both sides, and vote based upon the merits of the positions taken by both parties, we will all be better off. The platforms of the two major national parties are pretty clear in terms of the choices they are offering the American people. Read the platforms, stay informed on the issues through the news, and vote accordingly. You can make intelligent choices in so doing, and vote your own value system.

Tell these Super Pacs, enough already! I won't be bought. I am not as stupid as you think.
I think. I actually do think. And considering the magnitude of the issues this country faces, thinking before voting is critical to the preservation of our democracy. Thomas Jefferson perhaps said it best:
"A people who believe they can be both free and ignorant, believe that which never has been, and never can be."

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

     The Edge of the Waters

When I was growing up and taking citizenship classes in school, we were always taught that "Politics stops at the water's edge", and that "We only have one President at a time".

      I guess all of that went out the window on Wednesday morning when Mitt Romney, with less than cautious abandonment, dove into the precarious political waters of middle eastern uncertainty to heap scorn on the President of the United States at a time when unity of purpose , resolve, and response, would have made much more sense.

      Clearly, for whatever reason, Mitt Romney jumped the gun to inject himself into an ongoing crisis, when prudence would have dictated that he hold his fire, and shut his mouth, in the face of the death of an American diplomat, at least until the dust settles, and it becomes clear what has happened, and is still happening.

       Romney sounded almost as if he were the pseudo President, speaking in a manner as if he represented America, and attempting to undercut the credibility of our one and only President at a time when standing together in the face of attacks against our embassies and our personnel should be soundly, and roundly condemned. He is not elected to any office, and has no right to speak on behalf of the American people. He is simply a candidate for office. Nothing more...nothing less. Nor does  he "represent" us, or anyone, at least not yet, and with this type of performance, hopefully he never will.

      This move by Romney is nothing short of a knee jerk reaction, and a bone headed attempt to cash in and capitalize on a very volatile situation which should call for a demonstration of American resolve, and unity in the face of a common enemy: Intolerance, ignorance, and extremism in the guise of religious zealotry.

      If Romney had simply said, "We stand by the President and Secretary of State in this hour of peril, and are united in support of their efforts to see that justice is done, and that American values will be protected and defended." it would have better served him. Instead, he showed himself to be much smaller a man than his opponent, the President of the United States.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Presiden's acceptance speech.

Ok. Obama was poised, proud, confident, in charge, and in command. The Republicans will say he was cocky. Maybe he was a bit, but after four years of disrespect, doubt and just dumb and delusional pummeling by his Republican opposition, can you blame him for saying, "Hey, i'm in charge, we're turning the. corner, so don't go soft on me now. Let's finish what we started. I know how to do this job. And I get it. I am one of you. " 
     I think he set the right tone. He did a good, if not great job, and the convention, all of the speakers, and the entire cast of characters in Charlotte was more compelling, more telling, more convincing than the crowd in Tampa...and more real. I always knew who I was voting for this year. Now I know why!