Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fortune, that liberal rag, investigates Fast and Furious

The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal - Fortune Features

The long and short of it is that most of what's being said, especially on conservative blogs, newspapers, radio and TV is flat-out wrong. If you're interested you really need to read the whole article.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Is the rest of the GOP as reactionary as Texas?

I saw some posts on Twitter about how reactionary the Texas GOP Party Platform was and thought they had to be exaggerating. They weren't. You can find the platform here. The emphasis below is mine.

Consider where they get their ideas on strengthening the economy.

We support the principles regarding the public economy as stated in the Republican Party Platform of 1932 to wit: 
Resolution Regarding the Public Economy  
Whereas, constructive plans for financial stabilization cannot be completely organized until our national, State and municipal governments not only balance their budgets but curtail their current expenses as well to a level which can be steadily and economically maintained for some years to come.We urge prompt and drastic reduction of public expenditure and resistance to every appropriation not demonstrably necessary to the performance of government, national or local.The Republican Party established and will continue to uphold the gold standard and will oppose any measure which will undermine the government’s credit or impair the integrity of our national currency. Relief by currency inflation is unsound in principle and dishonest in results. The dollar is impregnable in the marts of the world today and must remain so. An ailing body cannot be cured by quack remedies. This is no time to experiment upon the body politic or financial. 
Source: Republican Party Platform of 1932
Then there's their ideas on teaching critical thinking skills.

We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.
Under the heading "PROMOTING INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM AND PERSONAL SAFETY" you'll find gems like this.

We oppose the monitoring of gun ownership, and the taxation and regulation of guns and ammunition.  We collectively urge the legislature to pass “constitutional carry” legislation whereby law-abiding citizens that possess firearms can legally exercise their God-given right to carry that firearm as well.  Until such time we urge the state to re-introduce and pass legislation easing current restrictions on firearms such as open carry and campus carry. 

State MilitiaWe support the establishment and maintenance of a volunteer Constitutional State Militia with assistance from County Sheriffs.
Militia versus Paid Army – We recognize that the original meaning of the word “militia” in the Constitution refers to an armed citizenry, not the formal paid professional military.
Freedom of Access ActWe urge repeal of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Law. Those who assault peaceful protesters acting under the Constitution should be vigorously prosecuted. Picketing and literature distribution do not fall under the RICO Act.
Judeo-Christian Nation – As America is a nation under God founded on Judeo-Christian principles, we affirm the constitutional right of all individuals to worship in the religion of their choice.
Safeguarding Our Religious Liberties – We affirm that the public acknowledgement of God is undeniable in our history and is vital to our freedom, prosperity and strength. We pledge our influence toward a return to the original intent of the First Amendment and toward dispelling the myth of separation of church and state. We urge the Legislature to increase the ability of faith-based institutions and other organizations to assist the needy and to reduce regulation of such organizations. 
That isn't all, of course. But how typical is this extremely reactionary belief system in the GOP? How many state parties would agree with these desires to roll back the clock? 

Friday, June 8, 2012

R.I.P., Ray Bradbury

One of the great things about being an "active" science fiction fan is that you get to meet the writers whose works you read. I did get to meet Ray Bradbury at an Archon one year and he was one of the really big names in the field that most would be at least a bit intimidated by the idea of getting to meet. But if that did happen to you, he would be pretty effective at taking care of that. He was a great writer and a good man. He was blessed by an amazing talent and the strong drive to write that enabled him to do what he loved for almost his entire life.    Good for him. Rest in peace, Mr. Bradbury.

EconoSpeak: The Long-Term Budget Outlook - It's not what the GOP claims.

EconoSpeak: The Long-Term Budget Outlook

The actual long term outlook assuming current law stands, including the expiration of the Bush era tax cuts and the Affordable Care Act isn't overturned by the Supreme Court or repealed by a President Romney and his fellow Republicans has been improving lately. That having been said, there are way too many factors that can't be foreseen for it to hold up. It's still interesting given the opposing claims being made.