Too much time on my hands…

I’m home from work for the second day due to laryngitis. I never realized how much time I spend trying to communicate via telephone, but since my firm is multi-location nearly all meetings are via conference call, so work is out until my voice starts to come back. Hopefully soon.

Although my lack of speech is probably a welcome break for my team and my co-workers, it may not be for anyone else. Since I’m home, not very focused on work, I’ve had time to focus on the world at large. And my hasn’t it been a busy couple of weeks. So busy, that I’m not saving it all for Sunday.

First off, to add to the assortment of ‘unlikely to be elected’ set of previously declared candidates from our major parties, we now also have:

  • Bernie Sanders, Democratic Senator from Vermont – I love Bernie – seriously. I agree with most of what he says & he really does have the best interests of the country at heart. He is not going to come to close to beating Hilary Clinton in the primaries, and he is highly unlikely to win a national election if he somehow manages to pull off the nomination after the primaries. Moderation, compromise, and progressive financial views? From the Northeast? Not likely.
  • Carly Fiorina, most notably the miserable former-CEO of Hewlett-Packard, and failed candidate for Senate in California. The woman, who nearly drove HP under, even after laying off thousands of people, and managed to get herself a huge package when forced out, that same woman, has the audacity to claim that she would make a good President because she understands how economics works. Seriously? No, her record really does stand on its own – she is totally unqualified to be CEO of anything – let alone an entire country.
  • Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas, minister, and long-time conservative radio and television pundit. Ah, Mike. I actually kind of like him, in a strange way, or at least I did. In this last couple of years, he seems to have become stranger (or perhaps I’m just older and more tired of political bullshit). His views on most social issues, like the rest of the pool, are largely out of step with the rest of the country, if polls are to be believed (and in this case, there are many). I’m afraid that I also think he’s become a victim of the ‘new normal’ need to suck up to the big money donors, and so he is failing to differentiate himself from the crowd (and the field is certainly started to get crowded). I think perhaps what I used to like – or at least appreciate – about him was that he seemed to be mostly real. He doesn’t give off that vibe anymore. And his views, even the sincerely held ones, will keep him from surviving the primaries.
  • Ben Carson, retired pediatric neurosurgeon now popular conservative pundit. Well, once again, like his competition, his views make him unelectable on a national level. Even at the primary level, his tendency to say completely off-the-wall things, like prisons turn people gay, and the ACA is akin to slavery, are actually going to hurt him. Unfortunately, the other thing that will hurt him is Race. It shouldn’t, but I think it will. I’m still seeing too many ‘Put the WHITE back in the Whitehouse’ bumper stickers for comfort. But don’t worry, racism is a non-issue. So I must be confused.

And then, in the land of the spurious lawsuit, we have the lovely woman in Nebraska – and I’m sure she really is quite nice once you get to know her if you attend the correct church and are will to accept that she alone is entitled to speak on God’s behalf – who self-filed a handwritten suit in federal court, acting as an ambassador for “God, and His Son, Jesus Christ” against ALL homosexuals, petitioning the Court to determine whether homosexuality is a sin. Not too surprising, given the purpose of the courts, our judicial system, and the rule of law, the case was dismissed by the judge yesterday because a) the woman bringing the suit had no legal standing, or legal argument, b) you cannot sue an entire class of unidentified individuals, and c) to quote the judge – “The United States Federal Courts were created to resolve actual cases and controversies arising under the Constitution and the laws of the United States. A federal court is not a forum for debate or discourse on theological matters.”  It’s nice to know that sanity can, occasionally, prevail.

And perhaps one of the more fascinating pieces of news came from our esteemed House of Representatives, where the perhaps poorly named House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, which is chaired by Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican not known for his deep respect for science, or scientists, voted last week to cut approximately $300 million from NASA’s budget, in order to cut their spend on earth science. Apparently because climate science falls into that realm. Big oil money donors? Nah, couldn’t be. This one particularly pisses me off, and worries me a great deal, because it is a side effect of our national case of willful ignorance. We elected these people, knowing they were largely clueless, totally fixated on their own personal views, and beholden to large donors. We gave them power, because we wanted to see ‘change’ in Washington. Change may be necessary, but change for the better is not going to be accomplished this way. Intractability, a refusal to compromise, a sustained focus on things that are not moving the country’s economy forward – like jobs, infrastructure repair, or anything else that has genuine meaning. We can, instead, spend more time, and money, on yet another Benghazi investigation, because they don’t want to believe their own findings . Or we can waste time pretending that climate change is not real, or if it is man certainly has nothing to do with it, And we can refuse to clean up the tax code so that major corporations, like Exxon & GE, aren’t receiving refunds on the taxes that they don’t pay in the first place.

“I weep for the liberty of my country when I see at this early day of its successful experiment that corruption has been imputed to many members of the House of Representatives, and the rights of the people have been bartered for promises of office.”

— Andrew Jackson


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