Various thoughts on current events with an emphasis on politics, legal issues, books, movies and whatever is on my mind. Emails can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org; please put "blog comments" in the subject line.
First, the fairly trivial. One of my pet peeves is litter, particularly in my residential neighborhood, often in eye sight of a garbage pail.* This is both ugly and shows a lack of respect for your environment. It also is a small thing that can be done. It seems to me that doing something beneficial and not taking much effort in the process is doubly useful.
Second, the not so trivial. The two year anniversary of the BP oil spill has arrived and various MSNBC shows (Rachel, Chris, Melissa) covered various angles of the issue. Chris Hayes had Antonia Juhasz on, who has long covered oil issues in various progressive publications. She wrote a book on the spill and a quick search found various audio and video of her talking about it and other related issues.
Like Katrina (which in effect put Rachel Maddow on the map, her excellent reporting for about a week filling in for Al Franken on Air America showing her abilities), this was a short term way for the coutnry to be upset, but long term solutions less so. We have not had an EPA moment. Apparently, hoping for environmental friendly presidents like Richard Nixon, too much to hope for. I can and will note that I think one side is much worse at the moment (like with birth control, the other party used to be more credible), but blame can and should be spread around. Not enough pressure is put by various people, including let's say Dems who help big business with tax breaks and other things. Quid pro quo?
Chris Hayes has noted that global warming and related issues is perhaps his biggest concern, something he sees -- like Al Gore -- has ultimately a moral matter. The inability of some sort of real bipartisan effort in this respect in the last decade or so is telling. I personally think this is a "Nixon goes to China" thing. Health care is a telling example there: even using a Republican model as a linchpin was not enough for ANY Republicans to vote for the f-ing thing (though for some amendments, which watered it down). This is one of those moments where I simply do not respect the other party. Your party has various things to answer for in recent years. When will more members show some willingness to govern? This includes compromise and showing some respect for something that took a more conservative path even when each political branch was controlled by one party (if one with many conservative members). Republicans do not want to do this. Until they are, they (I'm sure they are pissing in their boots now) will not be respected by me.
Anyway, the chance for major change here, other than some sort of major disaster (or a bigger one, apparently), might come when a Huntsman type is in power, or even a Romney type if the Democrats have the votes in Congress to force his hand. Too much water under the bridge really to offer much respect for Romney himself, and I continue to wonder really why anyone other than a true believer would vote for him in November. I'm sure reasons can be made here or there, but writ large, why exactly? Seems like a sad safe choice, yet again Kerry comes to mind, while at least there the current occupant could hardly been seen as a moderate type. Realize that politics has changed some, but still find it hard objectively to compare Obama and Bush on the "not moderate" spectrum.
I tire myself by bringing that up again, but it is no less true now. Actual hope for winning comes from a fresh new voice, even if one might not personally like the person for some reason. Even when the opening is there, such as in '80 and '92, such a voice was key. Romney is a dull safe choice that sends an overall depressing message. I might not like who we get (see Reagan), but my hope is for more of a game changer (yeah, the Palin movie does come to mind, but there, the winner was Obama). Environmentalism is a pretty safe issue there, ways possible to (like with the PPACA) to help out big business along the way. It has a religious angle as some evangelicals make clear. The ultimate hope might be a union of diverse people with a common goal, like small government types who pressure conservatives not to invade their privacy in various ways not involving the wrong type of sex or such (not the only way to do it). Even there, changes in places like Iowa are hopeful.
It is a way to do good while finding something that unites different groups. It also is essential. Keep fighting Antonia et. al.
* The word "litter" interests my word nerd side too. Where does it come from? This is a useful way to think things through and do a bit of research, tools more people should have.
Another pet peeve (I have no pets; I have a lot of pet peeves) is those who don't seem to have even a rudimentary form of this skill though lack of role models means the ultimate blame is elsewhere. I don't recall critical thinking being pushed much in my schooling as a separate matter. It is really important to teach this early on.
The first definition in the online dictionary seems to me the least used term these days, though perhaps so found because it is the earliest use -- "a covered and curtained couch provided with shafts and used for carrying a single passenger." Then, comes the stuff for cats, than the kittens ("runt of the litter"), finally trash. The etymology in effect comes from the fact the stuff lies around, like you "lie" on a "litter." A litter of kittens seems to come from the fact the cat is "lying in" or something, which is sometimes used in human contexts too.