Ohio is evil

I was born there. I graduated from college there. I can say it’s evil.

Especially because of this:

An Ohio mother of two was sentenced to 10 days in jail and placed on three years probation after sending her kids to a school district in which they did not live. Kelly Williams-Bolar was sentenced by Judge Patricia Cosgrove on Tuesday and will begin serving her sentence immediately.

She’s a poor black single mother, working her way through college. She sent her kids to a school in a predominantly white neighborhood (that’s where her father lives). The state of Ohio has made it a crime to want to send your children to a better school than one that’s located in the projects.

Separate but equal. Isn’t that what this is all about?

Tea Party history 101: Bachmann begins

I finally figured out why Michelle Bachmann has her great grasp on history! She was probably one of the students in this class.

You don’t think so? What about this?

Where do I begin?

It wasn’t the Hoot-Smalley act. It was the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, named for Senator Reed Smoot from Utah and Representative Willis Hawley from Oregon. They weren’t Democrats, they were Republicans. The bill had overwhelming GOP support: It passed the Republican led House in by a margin of 264 to 147 (244 GOP congressmen voted in favor) in 1929 and made it through the Senate the next year in a 44-42 vote (39 Republicans in favor). The GOP was the majority party in both Houses in 1929 and 1930. You can’t blame the bill on Franklin Roosevelt because everyone knows Republicans hated him and did everything they could against everything he wanted. Republicans still hate FDR!

And — stop me before my head explodes — FDR WASN’T PRESIDENT when the law passed. Herbert Hoover, a Republican, was president in 1930. Franklin Roosevelt ran against the act in his 1932 presidential campaign. He didn’t become president until 1933! I’ve got to say this since I’m getting dragged into the historical swamp that is Bachmann land: FDR never met any of the founding fathers.

Let this sink in. This woman is seriously considering running for PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES! There are living, breathing people who actually think Palin and Bachmann would be a great ticket for the Republican Party in 2012.

Could she at least watch “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and get some of her historical references right?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

State of the Union

Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...

Image via Wikipedia

President Obama gave his State of the Union speech tonight. Here’s the text.

I listened to it this year. The television was on, but the cutaways bothered me more this year than last, so I just turned my back to the screen.

The applause definitely wasn’t as raucous as in past years. The mixed seating had something to do with that. People restrain themselves when they know they’re sitting next to someone who might disagree with them. They tend to be more obnoxious when they’re with their own pack.

That was good, because Obama did say some things that normally would put one side or the other in a frenzy … let’s get the oil companies … don’t increase domestic spending … the rich need to pay more taxes … get rid of bad teachers … Muslims are Americans … stop frivolous lawsuits … gays in the military=good … no ROTC on campus=bad.

No one yelled out, “You lie!” The opposition was probably surrounding that guy, waiting to pounce.

Took forever for him to say, “The state of the union is strong.” That was almost the penultimate line of the speech. (It now always ends, “God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.”)

Seating will probably go back to normal next year. Then everyone can pretend they’re at a football match in the U.K. and yell at the other side.

The thinner blue line

I was looking at various AP pictures today, and they struck me as extremely odd, because there was an ugly theme running through them. People are shooting cops.

In just 24 hours, at least 11 officers were shot. The shootings included Sunday attacks at traffic stops in Indiana and Oregon, a Detroit police station shooting that wounded four officers, and a shootout at a Port Orchard, Wash., Wal-Mart that injured two deputies. On Monday morning, two officers were shot dead and a U.S. Marshal was wounded by a gunman in St. Petersburg, Fla.

On Thursday, two Miami-Dade, Fla., detectives were killed by a murder suspect they were trying to arrest.

What’s going on? Why is this happening?

Things are now tougher for police than ever. State and local governments are slashing budgets, and their police and fire departments,  because people are whining about taxes. Second-amendment zealots want bigger and better guns. Cops are being attacked because nuts think they’re part of a government conspiracy to take away their weapons. And as the Tucson shooting showed, there are crazy people out there with guns … literally.

These are dangerous times for American police officers. And if the cops are in danger, we are not safe.


Here is the status of the police shooting investigations on Monday:

  • Indianapolis police say they arrested Thomas Hardy in the shooting of Officer David Moore, who was shot in the face and body and remained in a coma.
  • A manhunt continued in the Oregon beach town of Waldport for a gunman who shot officer Steven Dodds, 45, a six-year veteran of the Lincoln City Police Department. Police were looking for the owner of a 1984 Dodge truck that fled the shooting scene.
  • In Detroit, four officers shot inside their precinct were recovering, police said. Investigators said Lamar Moore, 38, of Detroit entered the 6th Precinct on the city’s northwest side about 4:30 p.m. Sunday and shot Cmdr. Brian Davis, Officer David Anderson; Sgt. Ray Saati; and Sgt. Carrie Schulz. Officers returned fire and killed Moore, who was scheduled to be sentenced Monday for his role in a double homicide, they said.
  • One of two deputies wounded in Port Orchard, Wash., was released from the hospital while another remained in satisfactory condition after being wounded Sunday in a gunfight. A suspect and a female victim who came running to his aid were killed. Police were investigating how the female victim was shot. The gunman was identified as Anthony A. Martinez, 31, of Salt Lake City. The Deseret News said police had issued an endangered persons advisory for a 13-year-old runaway believed to be traveling with Martinez.
  • In St. Petersburg, Fla., a suspected gunman was found dead after two police officers were shot to death and a U.S. marshal was injured as they tried to make an arrest. Suncoast Benevolent Association President Mark Marland identified the fallen officers as Tom Baitinger and Jeffrey Yaslowitz.
  • In Miami, thousands of law enforcement officers gathered at a funeral service in American Airlines Arena to honor Roger Castillo, 41, Amanda Haworth, 44, who were killed on Thursday while serving a warrant on a suspected killer. The suspect, 22-year-old Johnny Simms, was killed by another officer.

Tea Party history 101

Rep. Michelle Bachmann, the Minnesota Republican who’s planning to run for president under the Tea Party banner (trust me, it’s gonna happen), had this to say about the founding fathers and slavery, according to Talking Points Memo:

Speaking at an Iowans For Tax Relief event, Bachmann (R-MN) also noted how slavery was a “scourge” on American history, but added that “we also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.”

“And,” she continued, “I think it is high time that we recognize the contribution of our forbearers who worked tirelessly — men like John Quincy Adams, who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country.”

Where do I begin?

The founding fathers wrote the Constitution. They put slavery in it. A black person counted as three-fifths of a white person. George Washington had slaves. Thomas Jefferson had slaves. Thomas Jefferson got his slaves pregnant. The founding fathers didn’t work “tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.” The Civil War ended slavery. The founding fathers weren’t alive when slavery ended. (You remember any speeches by Washington and Jefferson in 1860? No, because they were dead.)

It’s true, John Quincy Adams worked tirelessly against slavery (I saw “Amistad,” too), but he wasn’t a founding father. He was the son of a founding father. If anything, that makes him a founding son. Does that count? And he died in 1848. He didn’t make any speeches during the Civil War either. He was dead. Abraham Lincoln ended slavery. He wasn’t a founding father. I’m not a history expert, but I don’t think he ever met a founding father.

Back to Bachmann: This is the person that CNN is putting on the air tonight to give a speech rebutting President Obama’s State of the Union address. Her journeys into history represent a typical Tea Party tactic. Make crap up about how idyllic things were in the days of the founding fathers, when everyone was equal and there was no discrimination and everyone had “certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” And that isn’t in the Constitution. That’s in the Declaration of Independence, which was also written by the founding fathers. The same guys who put in slavery, left out the rights of non landowners and didn’t even bother with anything on women’s rights. The document that pseudo-patriotic Tea Party advocates say we should go back to and follow its original intentions.

Oh, and Bachmann also said this in her Tea Party speech in Iowa:

America’s first European settlers … “had different cultures, different backgrounds, different traditions.”

“How unique in all of the world, that one nation that was the resting point from people groups all across the world,” she said. “It didn’t matter the color of their skin, it didn’t matter their language, it didn’t matter their economic status.”

“Once you got here, we were all the same. Isn’t that remarkable?” she asked.

OK, class. Does anyone have anything to say about this?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

(That last part, I stole from reading Brad DeLong. But Ferris would say: Not that I condone fascism, or any -ism for that matter. -Ism’s in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, “I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.” Good point there. After all, he was the walrus.)

Muscle men

This is a bad thing to say, but when I read today that Jack LaLanne had died, my first thought was that he had gone to the big gym in the sky a while ago. I’m not trying to be funny, or snide or mean. I really thought he had died already.

His exercise show seemed to be on every day a long time ago. Strange to  say, but the shows were somewhat inspirational. The guy kept telling us that all we had to do was exercise, and we would be strong.

Those were the days when skinny kids would read the Charles Atlas “Hero of the Beach” ads on the inside pages of comic books. (Why did that jerk kick sand in the guy’s face, anyway?)

When you couldn’t pull enough money together to pay for dynamic muscle tension, Jack was always there on your TV, every morning, free of charge. Maybe when Charles Atlas died, I thought it was Jack LaLanne. But I can’t imagine Jack socking a guy in the chin. He seemed like a nice guy.

Jack LaLanne died at the age of 95.  Charles Atlas, whose family had a history of heart disease, died in 1972 at the age of 80. Heart attack.

You know, there must be something to this exercise stuff.