Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Vices high and low

Here’s a common complaint I get when canvassing.  “Why should we pay for welfare for these bums when they can afford tattoos and cigarettes and walk down the street gabbing on their cell phones?”  

It annoys me also.  I am well aware that much poverty in this country is cultural.  The idea of delayed gratification is foreign to many of our citizens, and middle class values of thrift and hard work are not shared by a large portion of the population.

How does a liberal Democrat answer the complaint?  By pointing out that people at the top are also getting all kinds of “welfare,” are cheating the government out of needed revenues, and are costing us far more than those “bums” we see on the street, many of whom really can’t work, or are children, or are developmentally disabled, or are simply unable to find a job.

The problem is that we see the bum with his tattoos and his cigarettes and his cell phone, but we don’t see the fat cat at the top donating to Corbett and getting his tax cuts.

Now I will do something totally pompous and quote a relevant passage from “King Lear.”
Through totter’d rags small vices do appear;
Robes and furr’d gowns hide all.  Plate sin with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks;

Arm it in rags, a pigmy’s straw does pierce it.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Doyle Heffley campaigning on our dime

Last week we received an official looking and taxpayer-funded newsletter from our state representative Doyle Heffley.  It contained many pictures of Rep. Heffley along with articles touting his legislative accomplishments.

Last night I received a phone call telling me that Rep. Heffley was holding a town meeting on the phone, and I could participate.  I would have, but I had already planned to clean out the chicken coop.  One load a night is enough.

Then I read in the Times News that Heffley is opening a satellite office in Weatherly to help his constituents.  This will also be at our expense.

It may be just coincidence, but on November 4 we will be holding an election for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.  Mr. Heffley is running.  He seems to be campaigning on our dime.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The "crisis of confidence" speech

Near the end of his term Jimmy Carter addressed the American people from the Oval Office on inflation, energy, and what he called a “crisis of confidence.”

In a book review in the New Yorker, George Packer writes, “the level of honesty is shocking and deflating.  No President has ever spoken that way since.  The lesson he [Carter] taught all his successors was not to tell the American people hard truths.”

Actually, I think President Obama has tried to tell us some hard truths.  America can’t be the policeman of the world.  We can’t bomb every country we don’t like.  We have problems with race relations.  Our schools aren’t doing well.  Global climate change is a problem.

Nevertheless, the Carter lesson is still valid.  If you don’t believe that, look at Obama’s approval ratings.  Obama should have learned lessons from Reagan.  Be optimistic.  Smile.  Lie.  Talk about “morning in America.”

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Is summer different now?

That was the title of an article in a feature of the Sunday Times named “The Upshot.”  The article included looks at consumption of ice cream, summer travel, and camps.  It also talked about how kids are spending less and less time out of doors.  It quoted a Kaiser Family Foundation study that found that kids were watching videos, playing computer games, and listening to music up to eight hours a day,

About a month ago I was visiting a friend who has two young boys.  My friend lives in the country, the day was lovely, and both boys were in the house playing computer games.

I know I sound like an old fart, but I don’t think this is a good thing.  A few years ago a book entitled The Last Child in the Woods noted that almost all environmentalists spent a good deal of time out-of-doors when they were kids.  If kids today don’t spend time outside, they will not be worried about saving snakes and frogs and all the rest of the flora and fauna.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Ski masks

A front page photo in today’s Times shows Hamas members about to execute some alleged spies.  The executioners are all wearing ski masks.  

Here’s what I’ve noticed.  You can always tell when a group knows it is behaving in an evil way because its members cover their faces.  In the Ukraine, in Northern Ireland, in Syria, in Gaza—the people with the ski masks are terrorists.  They know they are doing wrong, and just like bank robbers or Ku Klux Klan members, they hide their faces.

Friday, August 22, 2014

As seen on TV

Tonight in a canvass in East Jim Thorpe a guy told me he wasn’t going to vote for Tom Wolf because “Wolf wants to raise taxes.”  Corbett has been running ads that show Wolf testifying before a legislative committee when he was Revenue Secretary under Gov. Rendell.

I didn’t argue with the guy, but I told him I just wanted to say one thing:  “Don’t believe everything you see on TV.”  

He said something to the effect of, “You have a point,” but I have a feeling he still will vote for Corbett. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Republican hypocrisy

It does get to you after a time.

Saying that doctors who are willing to terminate pregnancies must have hospital admitting privileges in order to protect women’s health when we all know it is to satisfy anti-abortion groups.

Implementing restrictive election laws to suppress Democratic votes and saying it is to prevent voter fraud.

Claiming that the legislators should determine what is an endangered species when we all know it is to aid fracking companies.

Saying that kids who cross the border are bringing disease when we know the real agenda is bigotry and hatred.

Claiming that gay marriage will undermine the family structure when we know it is simply homophobia.

I’m really tired of this crap.