TSW #3

“In last week’s budget duel, the president was outgunned by Republicans in the House and outclassed by Paul Ryan, who offered seriousness and substance as a unique approach to solving our fiscal problems.”

- Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal, April 14

Friday Talking Points [163] -- The Ads Just Write Themselves

Happy It’s Supposed To Be Tax Day, everyone!

By a strange quirk in scheduling, your income taxes won’t be due until Monday, but what I’m wondering is: where are the Tea Partiers? This is, after all, the Glorious Second Anniversary of the formation of what some called the “Taxed Enough Already” movement (“TEA” — get it?), and yet I’ve heard of no plans for huge Tea Party rallies across America. The last time the Tea Partiers tried to turn out their numbers in force, a few weeks ago during the budget fights, they only managed a few hundred people (and even that’s being generous) at the U.S. Capitol. From every shot I’ve seen of their rally, it seemed like there were more press in attendance than actual protesters. So perhaps the media is a bit shy about getting burned twice, which may be why I’m unaware of any plans this year for large demonstrations.

Which leads one to wonder: Has the Tea Party movement (to provide a horrendous metaphor mixup) jumped the shark? Time will tell, of course, but there are so many other newsworthy items crowding the past week that we’ve simply got to ask the question briefly, and then move on.

Something the media largely missed in the midst of multiple budgetary battles this week was the fact that this is what bipartisanship looks like. The media, at least the “serious” ones, residing either inside the Beltway or in lower Manhattan, have long made much sport out of decrying “partisanship” — at least, when Democrats act like Democrats, at any rate. Politicians are supposed to “work together” in some Utopian dreamland, to “get serious things done.” It sounds great in an editorial, and all of that.

But then, when it actually happens, the media doesn’t even deign to notice it, because of the double game they love to play. Partisanship raises the emotion level. It gets people angry at each other. Conflict! And conflict is so much more entertaining to put on television than bipartisanship in any form. This allows the media to spout pious drivel (“Can’t all the politicians just get along?“) while at the same time they book the most partisan hacks they can, knowing they can be relied upon to scream at each other and (as a result) make it easier to sell lots of ad space. Continue reading Friday Talking Points [163] — The Ads Just Write Themselves

Take Five (governor-free edition)

ONE: Silent treatment.

Years ago I heard a (probably apocryphal) story about the only two cars in Pennsylvania colliding with each other in the very early years of the 20th century.

In an odd sort of inverse version of the tale, it seems the last two remaining speakers of the Ayapaneco language are not on speaking terms:

The language of Ayapaneco has been spoken in the land now known as Mexico for centuries. It has survived the Spanish conquest, seen off wars, revolutions, famines and floods. But now, like so many other indigenous languages, it’s at risk of extinction.

There are just two people left who can speak it fluently – but they refuse to talk to each other. Manuel Segovia, 75, and Isidro Velazquez, 69, live 500 metres apart in the village of Ayapa in the tropical lowlands of the southern state of Tabasco. It is not clear whether there is a long-buried argument behind their mutual avoidance, but people who know them say they have never really enjoyed each other’s company.

A last-ditch effort to preserve something of the language has thus become a battle against not only mortality, but stubborn human nature.

“They don’t have a lot in common,” says Daniel Suslak, a linguistic anthropologist from Indiana University, who is involved with a project to produce a dictionary of Ayapaneco. Segovia, he says, can be “a little prickly” and Velazquez, who is “more stoic,” rarely likes to leave his home.

As a registered Democrat, I can sympathize with Professor Suslak. Nineteen months out from the next election, Democrats can’t seem to resist shunning each other. When they’re not colliding, that is. Continue reading Take Five (governor-free edition)

TSW #2

“Did we stir things up? Absolutely.”

- Scott Walker, WISN Milwaukee, April 12, 2011

Lincoln vs Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney and Donald Trump

An Agenda For Anthony Weiner

Just after the budget deal was announced and promptly trounced by Rep Weiner, he quickly tweeted: “Our fights can’t just be just to stop their horrible ideas. Don’t we need to have our own agenda?”

Well, first, Mr. Weiner, perhaps if you’d done more to support Speaker Pelosi’s agenda in 2009 and 2010, you wouldn’t be in a position to have to worry about stopping “their horrible ideas.” Instead, you and many Democratic Representatives like you decided to try to stop the “horrible ideas” of the Democratic President. Now, isn’t the biggest “horrible idea” you’re trying to stop the repeal of all of the President’s policies that you used to call horrible?

What’s truly horrible, Mr. Weiner, is that you have a national audience that you could use to advance an agenda, any agenda, and yet you choose to shoot spitballs at the President instead.

But since you want an agenda, how about trying this one on for size? How about every time you get on the air or on your Twitter page, you get excited about the Energy Revolution? Don’t think we’re having one because it wasn’t called the Al Gore Eco-Green-Carbon-Free-Utopia Initiative?

Well, think again.

One of the first acts of this President was to support California’s air quality standards, which was followed by an increase in federal fuel efficiency standards directing Detroit to produce cars that can achieve 35 miles per gallon by 2020, along with a massive investment in energy programs through the ARRA. This was all in just four months. Continue reading An Agenda For Anthony Weiner

TSW #1

“I don’t hear them talking about Mr. Pawlenty or anybody else. They’re talking only about Trump. And I can tell you, I’m their worst nightmare. I am not the person that they want to run against. And they . . . → Read More: TSW #1

Republicans Obsess about China but Ignore Education's role in Competition