Weekly Musing 12-15-13
“We must never remain silent in the face of bigotry. We must condemn those who seek to divide us. In all quarters and at all times, we must teach tolerance and denounce racism, anti-Semitism, and all ethnic or religious bigotry wherever they exist as unacceptable evils. We have no place for haters in America — none, whatsoever.”
Ronald Reagan’s Remarks to Members of the Congregation of Temple Hillel and Jewish Community Leaders in Valley Stream, New York October 26, 1984
“And let me say there is no place in the Republican Party for those who would exhibit prejudice against anyone. There’s no place in our party for the kind of bigotry and ugly rhetoric that we’ve been hearing outside our party recently. We have no room for hate here, and we have no place for the haters.”
Ronald Reagan’s Remarks at a Question-and-Answer Session with Elected Republican Women Officials, June 29, 1984
Interesting Article: Why Tone in American Politics Matters
The willingness to fight for a cause is often an admirable thing, and many of us were drawn to politics in large part because of a desire to advance a set of convictions. That effort elicits opposition, which in turn leads to clashes. That is the nature of politics in a republic and something that can’t (and shouldn’t) be avoided. Politics ain’t beanbag.
But in choosing to fight, one needs to pick the most favorable terrain possible–and even then (and whenever possible) to wage battles with affability, a touch of grace, and in a manner that projects steadiness and reasonableness. Winsomeness, equanimity, and a moderate temperament (which is different than moderate policies) are what most voters are looking for in candidates–especially from people who have strong philosophical convictions. It’s a mistake to assume that in order to be principled one has to be alienating and agitated.
… We all know from our own experiences that in human interaction, tone and countenance matter, and not simply for stylistic or superficial reasons. They in fact manifest one’s attitude toward life and toward others. They reveal an orientation of the heart. And that can matter more than what you believe the top corporate tax rate ought to be.
Divisive politics only hurt GOP
Sadly, my own Republican Party is not free from racial pandering or stooping to group identity politics. Agema has repeatedly demonized our gay family members, friends, co-workers and neighbors by lumping them together into a group and publicly accusing them of being diseased, prone to murder, cheaters, and other outlandish disparagements. To Agema, gay people are a group -a singular “lifestyle” — to vilify for political gain. Agema points to the Republican platform’s opposition to gay marriage as cover for his propaganda, as if believing marriage should be a religious institution reserved for a man and a woman somehow justifies name calling, spreading falsehoods and vilifying people who are gay.
…The policies of government-favored races and separate treatment based on our ethnicity or gender are a deeply embarrassing part of our country’s history. Proponents of affirmative action preference policies, however well-intended, continue to sow the seeds of identity group politics that divide us, as do agitators who see monolithic “gay agendas.”
Fortunately, America has a better tradition of valuing people as individuals worthy of being judged on their unique character and merit. This is the noble tradition the Republican Party can and should embrace.
Obama’s “keep your plan” promise labeled “Lie of the Year”
President Obama’s assurance that “If you like your health plan, you can keep it” was named the “Lie of the Year” on Thursday by PolitiFact, a fact-checking organization spun off of the Tampa Bay Times.
Mr. Obama’s promise, repeated ad infinitum during and after the health care bill’s passage through Congress, was a “catchy political pitch and a chance to calm nerves about his dramatic and complicated plan” to overhaul the country’s health care system, PolitiFact argued. “But the promise was impossible to keep.”
“So this fall, as cancellation letters were going out to approximately 4 million Americans, the public realized Obama’s breezy assurances were wrong,” PolitiFact explained. “Boiling down the complicated health care law to a soundbite proved treacherous, even for its promoter-in-chief. Obama and his team made matters worse, suggesting they had been misunderstood all along. The stunning political uproar led to this: a rare presidential apology.”
The GOP’s 2014 strategy: Attract minority votes, reinforce red state strongholds
Republicans plan to target Hispanics and other minorities for votes while building stronger state parties to turn swing states red, The Daily Caller has learned.
GOP operatives and political staffers gathered in Washington, D.C. from Monday to Wednesday for the Republican National Committee’s political staff training conference, “The New GOP Model For Campaigns,” to hash out a winning strategy for the upcoming elections. The GOP plans to entrench grassroots organizers in Democratic-leaning communities to cultivate support from blacks and Hispanics, and buttress red state strongholds, which are key to not only maintaining a majority in the House, but retaking the Senate and presidency as well.
First on CNN: Republicans moving to overhaul 2016 primary process
A handful of Republican Party officials is quietly advancing a new batch of rules aimed at streamlining a chaotic presidential nominating process that many party insiders viewed as damaging to the their campaign for the White House in 2012, multiple GOP sources told CNN.
In a series of closed-door meetings since August, handpicked members of the Republican National Committee have been meeting with party Chairman Reince Priebus in Washington to hash out details of a sweeping plan to condense the nominating calendar, severely punish primary and caucus states that upend the agreed-upon voting order and potentially move the party’s national convention to earlier in the summer, with late June emerging as the ideal target date.
Pope Francis, The People’s Pope
He took the name of a humble saint and then called for a church of healing. The first non-European pope in 1,200 years is poised to transform a place that measures change by the century
On the edge of Buenos Aires is a nothing little street called Pasaje C, a shot of dried mud leading into a slum from what passes for a main road, the garbage-strewn Mariano Acosta. There is a church, the Immaculate Virgin, toward the end of the pasaje—Spanish for passage—where, on one occasion, the local priest and a number of frightened residents took refuge deep in the sanctuary when rival drug gangs opened fire. Beyond the church, Pasaje C branches into the rest of the parish: more rutted mud and cracked concrete form Pasajes A to K. Brick chips from the hasty construction of squatter housing coagulate along what ought to be sidewalks. The word asesino—murderer—is scrawled in spray-paint on the sooty wall of a burned-out house, which was torched just days before in retaliation for yet another shooting. Packs of dogs sprawl beneath wrecked cars. Children wander heedless of traffic, because nothing can gather speed on these jagged roads. But even Pasaje C can lead to Rome.
As Cardinal and Archbishop of Buenos Aires, a metropolis of some 13.5 million souls, Jorge Mario Bergoglio made room in his schedule every year for a pastoral visit to this place of squalor and sorrow. He would walk to the subway station nearest to the Metropolitan Cathedral, whose pillars and dome fit easily into the center of Argentine power. Traveling alone, he would transfer onto a graffiti-blasted tram to Mariano Acosta, reaching where the subways do not go. He finished the journey on foot, moving heavily in his bulky black orthopedic shoes along Pasaje C. On other days, there were other journeys to barrios throughout the city—so many in need of so much, but none too poor or too filthy for a visit from this itinerant prince of the church. Reza por mí, he asked almost everyone he met. Pray for me.
When, on March 13, Bergoglio inherited the throne of St. Peter—keeper of the keys to the kingdom of heaven—he made the same request of the world. Pray for me. His letter of retirement, a requirement of all bishops 75 and older, was already on file in a Vatican office, awaiting approval. Friends in Argentina had perceived him to be slowing down, like a spent force. In an instant, he was a new man, calling himself Francis after the humble saint from Assisi. As Pope, he was suddenly the sovereign of Vatican City and head of an institution so sprawling—with about enough followers to populate China—so steeped in order, so snarled by bureaucracy, so vast in its charity, so weighted by its scandals, so polarizing to those who study its teachings, so mysterious to those who don’t, that the gap between him and the daily miseries of the world’s poor might finally have seemed unbridgeable. Until the 266th Supreme Pontiff walked off in those clunky shoes to pay his hotel bill.
The papacy is mysterious and magical: it turns a septuagenarian into a superstar while revealing almost nothing about the man himself. And it raises hopes in every corner of the world—hopes that can never be fulfilled, for they are irreconcilable. The elderly traditionalist who pines for the old Latin Mass and the devout young woman who wishes she could be a priest both have hopes. The ambitious monsignor in the Vatican Curia and the evangelizing deacon in a remote Filipino village both have hopes. No Pope can make them all happy at once.
Don’t ask, don’t tell – ask me no question, I’ll tell you no lies
With all the many lies and obfuscations perpetrated by this White House the one about whether the president knew or had met his “Uncle Omar” was a relatively minor one. Still it speaks volumes about how this administration — which obsesses in public about “transparency” — really operates.
…When you can’t even get a straight answer on the little stuff for two years, is it any wonder no one believes this gang any more about the big stuff?
Twisting the truth till you cry uncle – The Obama “spin” machine.
And so it was that the White House finally admitted to another, uh, misstatement — despite previous denials, Barack/Barry did sleep on his beloved Uncle Omar’s couch in Cambridge when he first moved here to attend Harvard Law School (speaking of which, we’re still waiting to see the president’s grades and his LSAT scores).
There’s A Brewing Democratic Civil War, And Elizabeth Warren Is Leading The Charge
It doesn’t yet have the panache and organization of the Republican Party’s internal split, but some liberal groups think that the divisions among the Democratic Party — its own “civil war” — will embroil the party through the next two big election cycles in 2014 and 2016.
The divisions have sprung up over a period of several months, dating back to New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s wildly successful run here and the “Rise of the New New Left,” as The Daily Beast’s Peter Beinart put it in September.
In the Democratic Party, populism is on the rise. Warren’s ideas and beliefs — frustration with Wall Street, stagnating middle-class wages, and rising income inequality, among others — are at the forefront of that ideology.
Exercise ‘significant role’ in reducing risk of dementia, long-term study finds
Exercise throughout a person’s life plays a significant role in reducing the risk of developing dementia, a study spanning 35 years has found.
The Cardiff University study following 2,235 men from Caerphilly, south Wales, found factors including diet and not smoking had an impact on preventing illnesses developing in older age.
However exercise had the single biggest influence on dementia levels.
Researchers stressed an overall healthy lifestyle was key to cutting disease.
Chinese Naval Vessel Tries to Force U.S. Warship to Stop in International Waters
A Chinese naval vessel tried to force a U.S. guided missile warship to stop in international waters recently, causing a tense military standoff in the latest case of Chinese maritime harassment, according to defense officials.
The guided missile cruiser USS Cowpens, which recently took part in disaster relief operations in the Philippines, was confronted by Chinese warships in the South China Sea near Beijing’s new aircraft carrier Liaoning, according to officials familiar with the incident.
OTHER Options for Lincoln Day Dinners
Former MI State Senator Cameron Brown prepared Relevance of Abraham Lincoln, which can easily be a stand-alone piece for Lincoln Day Dinners. Senator Brown’s original intent was to put Lincoln back into Lincoln Dinners. A great video we can use, add to any program.
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