Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert using humor to point out the ridiculousness of American conservatism...the perfect antidote for the lies and hate coming from the right.
On a Thanksgiving weekend, what better topic than to post what you’re thankful for. To stay on topic with the blog focus, here are some things I’m thankful for, from the birding, environment, and political world.
- Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert – In a world where half the U.S. thinks Fox is a real source of news, in a world where right-wing, hate-mongering wackos like Rush Limbaugh and Anne Coulter spew lies and use hate to pit American against American, Jon Stewart and the Daily Show, and Stephen Colbert and the Colbert Report are the perfect antidote to the ever increasingly radical conservative agenda. SOMEONE needs to point out how incredibly ridiculous the right sounds, SOMEONE needs to call out the right for their take-no-prisoners, our-way-or-the-highway, hate-mongering approach to politics and America’s social structure, and the Daily Show and the Colbert Report are perfect for putting the right’s own soundbites in perspective.
SkepticalScience.com – SkepticalScience.com is a site that focuses on debunking climate change skepticism, and the lies perpetuated by those attempting to undermine climate change science. Scientists often aren’t very effective at communicating with the general public, and using the mainstream media as the primary pathway to communicate with the public simply isn’t effective, not when the media often seems more interested in generating controversy than focusing on the facts. I’m specifically highlighting Skeptical Science, but I’m thankful for ANY website, ANY blogger, or ANY news organization that recognizes the science behind climate change and vehemently counter industry-sponsored groups that have attempted to politicize and undermine that science.
National Public Radio - It can be depressing to go online and read what passes as news on most websites. Money makes the world go around, and since Americans seem more interested in the latest pop culture icon than they do in real issues, “news” seems to sometimes focus more on entertainment or cultural fluff pieces than on the real news of the day. The other trend in U.S. news that REALLY bothers me is a pervasive slant to news stories that focuses on the negative or controversial side of a story. There always needs to be someone to blame, there always needs to be a target that stokes anger, there always seems to be a need to pit American against American, right against left, etc. With politics AND the media both taking that same approach, it’s no wonder we often seem to be a divided America. Against that pervasive, negative, and biased news background, it is SO refreshing to get in the car in the morning and hear REAL news stories on NPR while driving to work. You want “fair and balanced” reporting, you go to NPR. While those on the right launch unfair attacks on NPR as being too liberal, it only takes a few minutes of listening to realize that NPR bends over backwards to try to provide “both” sides of the story, particularly on sensitive political issues.
Pathetic GOP Presidential Candidates - I’m not all that thrilled with many of the decisions Obama has made in his first term. He’s proven to be a very poor negotiator with a GOP that refuses to compromise, and he’s been much less effective than hoped for with regarding to environmental issues. However, given the incredibly difficult hand he’s been dealt, I think he’s been able to do some nice things. There’s VERY little Obama can do to turn the economy around, given the situation in Europe and a GOP-controlled House that automatically is against ANYTHING Obama proposes. The GOP is heavily counting on that poor economy to drive Obama out of office, and given that poor economy, normally, Obama wouldn’t have much of a chance to win a 2nd term. This isn’t a normal situation though, in that the best and the brightest the GOP has to offer include a dimwit like Rick Perry, a sleazy Hermann Cain who also has absolutely no clue about politics, the economy, or world affairs, a set of wackos in Bachmann, Santorum, and Paul, an admittedly intelligent Newt Gingrich with a lot of skeletons in his closet, and the bland politician in Mitt Romney that nobody seems to want to support except by default. It’s damned scary to think where America would be headed if Republicans controlled the House, Senate, and had the presidency. I thank god that Republicans have fielded the most laughable slate of presidential candidates America has ever seen.
South Dakota Winter – A wonderful South Dakota winter is here! Reason to celebrate? Well, uh…no. I HATE winter. I HATE the cold. I HATE the snow. I HATE leaving work and pretty much only seeing the sun on weekends. But one thing I treasure about South Dakota winters…birding and taking photos on the grasslands in the central part of the state. Gyrfalcons!! Prairie Falcons!! Snowy Owls!! SCADS of Rough-legged Hawks! Ferruginous Hawks!! Golden Eagles!! Bald Eagles!! A single day of birding and photography in the central part of the state typically provides dozens and dozens of raptors, and quite often, some good views at birds that are typically very rare in the conterminous U.S. Given the otherwise bleakness of a South Dakota winter, the explosion of life on the grasslands in the winter, with raptors “dripping” off telephone poles and fence posts, is a very welcome sight.