Are You Smarter Than Your Congress? Prove It!

January 14, 2011


Looks like our elected officials are failing at all sorts of things. Latest on the FAIL list is knowledge of the Constitution. Since many are required to swear (or affirm) an oath to uphold that document, you’d think that they’d know a bit about it. But then again, you might also think that most U.S. citizens would know at least a bit about what’s in the Constitution, right?

But you’d be wrong on both counts, of course. As HotAir reports:

“The bad news: the general public gets an F, with just a 49% average on the 33-question civics test.  The worse news: those who identified themselves as public officeholders scored an average of five points worse than the general public…”

But before you scoff too hard at our officials, here’s a warning: it’s actually a challenging quiz! I zoomed through and expected to get 33 out of 33 correct. To my mortification, I missed three questions!

Here’s the link. You take the quiz and then see how smart you feel. On the other hand, you’re sure to do better than our elected officials.

You could hardly do worse.



I Went to Tucson…

January 13, 2011


And all I got was this lousy tee shirt.

Yes, yes, The Speech was fine. Full of rainbows and unicorns and signifying nothing. But did the whole thing have to be turned into a campagin rally? Were the names of the victims listed on the back, like a rock band’s tour schedule? Faugh! This is appalling.

Do you remember anything like this happening at the memorial for the victims of the Virginia Tech shooting? Nope. Columbine?  The Amish West Nickel Mines School shooting? Nope.

Sure wish my great grandmother had grabbed one of these when she went to Gettysburg.


H/T: Althouse commenter DustBunny Queen

Civil Political Discourse? Riiiight!

January 12, 2011

Oh yes, please, let’s adopt legislation outlawing the use of bullseyes on maps. And while we’re at it, let’s tone down the inflammatory rhetoric, shall we? Because that will help bring us all back to a golden time when discourse, even political discourse, was civil and dignified. Right?

So say goodbye to terms like riding shotgun, bullet points, killer apps, not by a long shot, whipping into shape, battleground states, targeting your opponent, in the crosshairs, death panels, campaign strategy, and whatever else you can imagine as potentially deadly invective which would contribute to a climate of hate.

Don’t you see? The world will be safer if we all if all you wingnut redneck gun-totin’ Bible-clingin’ inbred hillbilly stump-jumpers would just tone it down a bit.

Of course, the problem with that attitude is that our discourse has never been terribly civil, or for that matter, free from bluster, ferocity, and vehemence. As far back as the founding of our nation, Thomas Jefferson famously wrote: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants.” (And notice which group’s blood is mentioned first.)

Even today on shows as innocuous as the morning show “Fox and Friends”, NJ Governor Chris Christie was introduced in a segment with phrases like, “leading the charge” and “slash[ing] state budgets”.

Face it; our language–any language–is rife with turbulence. And because politics is so very personal, our political discourse is littered with fightin’ words, military metaphors, and just plain old violence. A quick look at a history of presidential campaign slogans (see? military term!) gives us the following:

  • 54″ 40″ or Fight
  • We Polked you in ’44, We shall Pierce you in ’52
  • Vote as You Shot
  • Tilden or Blood!
  • Rum, Romanism and Rebellion
  • Sunflowers die in November
  • Give ‘Em Hell, Harry

The world has, and probably always will have its share of crazy people and evil people; people who don’t require a reason to harm or maim or murder; and who aren’t set off by rhetoric of any kind. Like Jared Loughner, who as Ace at AOSHQ says:

“…The only thing I can rule out is that a “climate of hate” caused this– because I know for a fact, based on his writings and testimony of those who knew him, that he was not animated by right-wing politics at all…”

The violence inherent in language is part of life, and each of us learns how to deal with it in our own way. The very vast majority of us do just fine. That almost vanishingly small percentage who are truly evil or are hopelessly mentally ill are not swayed one way or the other by the language used around them. They are what they are, and society deals with them as best it can.

So don’t tell me what I can or can’t say, either in political discourse or in any conversation.

Them’s fightin’ words.


Ted Williams’ Redemption Metaphor: People, Not Government, Make America Work

January 10, 2011


Is there anyone among us who, by now, hasn’t seen or heard of the miraculous turn of events for radio voice-over artists Ted Williams? Williams, who was raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, NY, had worked in Radio as a disc-jockey and voice-over artist until (by his own admission) cocaine, crack, and alcohol took over and cost him his career and home leading to 10 years of homelessness and his eventual redemption recently.

For those who have somehow not seen or heard  his story, the below video will bring you up to date…

But there’s a second, even more significant story that is, perhaps being overshadowed by Williams’ own story. And while it is directly related, it could well-define the future of this country.

Read the rest of this entry »