Tag Archives: loss

Why “reality-challenged” Republicans are destined to repeat 2012

Six days after the election, and Republicans are still trying to figure out what went wrong.  From a liberal perspective, it’s simultaneously entertaining, disturbing, and rather pathetic to see Republicans continue to grasp at straws, making up a number of excuses for the election that are so detached from reality that I’m convinced the 2012 election will be repeated many times over, until Republicans join the same world the rest of us are living in.

The  Washington Post ran one such story today, describing bewildered Republican campaign workers and they’re coping (or not coping)with the loss. To far too many clueless Repubs, it’s not just an election loss, it’s practically a sign of the apocalypse, the start of America’s impending doom.  From the Washington Post story, one reaction for losing Colorado was worded as follows:

  • “Colorado? Who the heck lives in Colorado? Do they want drugs, dependence, and indulgence? Don’t they remember what this country is about?”

This seems to be one of the ways that “reality-challenged” Republicans are coping with their election disaster…labeling all Americans who voted for Obama as lazy, corrupt people who want government to take care of them.  The idiot-master himself, Bill O’Reilly, said the people who voted for Obama voted for him simply because they “want stuff”, as if the entire electorate who voted for Obama are welfare recipients who live off all those fine, upstanding, hard-working Republicans.  The same line of thinking has been picked up by a vast array of Republican pundits, politicians, and Republican voters. 

I’m sorry, Republicans, but YOUR PARTY is the one that is completely out of touch with American values.  Americans spoke last Tuesday, and Americans voted for what America is REALLY all about.  Americans voted for EQUALITY, where your treatment under the law isn’t dictated by race, sexual orientation, or religion.   Americans voted for COMPASSION, where access to medical treatment isn’t dictated by the size of your bank account.  Americans voted for FAIRNESS, where the most fortunate and richest of Americans are asked to contribute their fair share to society, and help the less fortunate.  America chose REASON, where science and fact, not ideology or religion, are the basis for how we live and how we govern.  Americans voted for EMPATHY, where those Americans most in need of assistance are supported by their fellow citizens.

The Republican fantasy world they’ve been living in the last 15 years or so?  In the Republican version of America, HATE and INTOLERANCE are used as tools to intimidate and to govern.  For reality-challenged Republicans, America is a place where COOPERATION and COMPROMISE are dirty words, where every American must accept Republican ideology.  For reality-challenged Republicans, GREED is the overarching driving force of how we live and how we govern, where the acquisition of personal wealth is more important than even the world we leave behind for our children.  For reality-challenged Republicans, SELFISHNESS is what drives our behavior, where we would rather let the uninsured or poor die and suffer, rather than lend a helping hand.

Americans spoke on Tuesday, and Americans chose to RESPECT AND HONOR what America stands for.  The very fact that Republicans are bewildered by the election speaks for how very small the Republican party has become.  Given the reaction of Republican pundits, politicians, and voters over the last week, it should be painfully obvious why Republicans have only ONCE won the popular vote for president over the last 20 years.  As a liberal, even a cynical liberal, the election was affirmation that America isn’t lost, that we are headed in the right direction.  As a liberal, the election, the voice of the people, gives me hope.

For Republicans who feel the election is a sign of America’s doom? Your bewilderment, your disillusionment, and your bitterness are proof that the fate of your party in 2012 is bound to be repeated.  Until your party sheds the ideological “leadership” provided from the likes of Ryan, McConnell, O’Reilly, Limbaugh, and Rove, until your party embraces true American ideals, until your party FACES REALITY, 2012 will be a recurring nightmare for Republicans.

Obama Proposes (BAD!) Changes in Endangered Species Policy

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle in South Dakota, where you now see them quite often. Under Obama's new "interpretation" of the Endangered Species Act, the Bald Eagle may have never been listed as Endangered in the lower 48 states, given that populations in Alaska were always strong.

I have to laugh whenever I see fear-mongers like Newt Gingrich or Rush Limbaugh refer to Obama as the “most liberal president in the history of the United States”.  Since taking office, Obama has been about as much the “most  liberal” president as, oh, Mitt Romney is really “severely” conservative.  They’re both actually relatively moderate, and I don’t think that overall that’s a bad thing at all.  Given the extreme political polarization in the United States, we NEED more moderate leadership.   With that said, there are some things that Obama has done on the environmental front that have been really disappointing.  Add another issue to that list.

The Obama administration is proposing signficant changes to policies that dictate when species are considered for protection under the Endangered Species Act.  In effect, it would make it much more difficult for a species to be listed for protection.  They are attempting to redefine what is meant by a species being threatened in a “significant” portion of its range.  Under the proposed changes, a species could be threatened with extirpation from a given portion of its range, but not be considered for protection under the ESA because it has a population stronghold in some other location.  Unless a local or regional extirpation threat is noted to potentially threaten the entire species as a whole, it will no likely no longer be considered for protection.  In addition, the new interpretation provides NO mechanism for protection or restoration of habitat in an area where the species was once found.

This reinterpretation of the ESA could have PROFOUND effects on the listing of species.  The story cited above notes one example, the Bald Eagle.  Bald Eagle populations were always very high in Alaska and parts of Canada, it was in the lower 48 states where populations plummeted in the 20th century.  Under the new Obama ESA interpretation?  Chances are the Bald Eagle would have NEVER been placed on the ESA, as local extirpation in the mainland USA wouldn’t have threatened extinction for the species overall, given that so many eagles were present in Alaska.

The rule change opens up the likelihood that species’ home ranges could continually be nibbled away at…as long as there’s SOME population, SOMEWHERE in the world where numbers remain stable.  Losing some species in the entire eastern U.S. due to habitat loss?  Under the new interpretation…IRRELEVANT!  As long as there’s some population in the western U.S. or elsewhere where the species isn’t under threat of extinction!! 

In effect, developers, oil and gas companies, mining companies, and others who fight against environmental protections offered under the ESA would now have the opportunity to continually nibble away at habitats…one chunk at a time…without threat of legal protection, as long as a developer or oil company could demonstrate that a species under review has a viable population somewhere ELSE.  It’s the same completely misguided policy that has allowed for wetland destruction for urban development, as long as the developer “restores” a wetland somewhere else…even though studies show that “new”, created wetlands aren’t nearly as ecologically functional as natural wetlands. 

Historical range of a species?  No longer important under the new Obama interpretation!! Once a species is wiped out from an area, there’s no longer any concern about protecting or restoring habitat in that area, no matter how much of a stronghold it may have once been for a species.

This is a truly disgusting move.  I really wish we had the ability to look behind the curtain and see all the back-room negotiating that goes on in politics.  What did Obama get in return from industry for proposing this change?

Cure for Taking Sports too Seriously

Nebraska Cornhuskers

A life lesson from my 8-year old son, while bringing him to his first Nebraska Cornhuskers football game.

I’m Nebraska born and bred, got my bachelor’s and master’s at Nebraska, and met my wife in college at Nebraska.  As most Nebraskans, I’m a HUGE Huskers fan.  And, I take it too seriously some times.   My wife doesn’t appreciate my, uh, colorful language that sometimes slips out of my mouth when Nebraska is on TV, and they’re not doing well.  When Nebraska loses, well, I’m often not in much of a social mood for several hours. (Days?  Weeks?  Months?   ;-)

Well, my 8-year old son is definitely NOT a sports fan.  He doesn’t know (or care about) all the rules for football, much less care about the Huskers.  But in something I was looking forward to for a long time, I took him to his first Huskers game this weekend.   What a WONDERFUL weekend!!  We were playing Northwestern, in a game that started at 2:30.  My son and I drove down from South Dakota yesterday morning, and got to Lincoln around 11:30.  For a couple of hours, we walked around campus, eating lunch, visiting the University Bookstore and student union, going past many of the buildings where I had classes…a very nice time, and my son seemed to genuinely enjoy it, and all the people dressed in red that were walking around.

We went to the stadium and sat down about 45 minutes before the game.  We had very good seats, only three rows from the field, down on around the 10-yard line.   The band played their pregame, the national anthem played and a giant Air Force tanker plane flew over the stadium, the famed “Tunnel Walk” played the Alan Parson’s Project’s ”Sirus” while famous Husker moments played on the big screen, and then came the moment when the Husker team roared out onto the field, right from the very corner of the field where we sat.  While the stadium roared and clapped, my son stood on the seat to see over the crowd, and cheered right along with everybody else. 

The game began, and for the first half, my son stayed very interested.  He really didn’t understand why people cheered, or groaned, at certain parts of the game, but I kept explaining things, and he started to catch on.  When the other side of the stadium started the “HUSKER!!!” cheer, our side of the stadium responded with the proper “POWER!!!!” cheer, back-and-forth, back-and-forth, with my son yelling “POWER!!” at the top of his lungs!  Nebraska was playing horribly, and was behind Northwestern when halftime came, even though Northwestern was a huge underdog.

The band came on the field, and my son’s interest in the happenings took a temporary dive.  By the time halftime ended and the second half kickoff sailed into the sky, my son was curled across my lap, fully asleep!! For the first 10 minutes of the second half, I didn’t dare stand up to cheer, or to see the game when the other fans stood, as I didn’t want to wake him up.  But he did wake up after his short little nap, and again started to show interest in the game. 

I’m not sure he really understood why I was groaning occasionally, such as when Nebraska failed time and time again to be able to run effectively against what had been a very bad Northwestern defense, or when a Northwestern receiver was (again) seemingly running completely free as he grabbed a pass and raced towards the end zone.  My son continued to cheer when I cheered, and even started to groan a bit when I would groan.  Picking up what I or the other fans were saying, late in the game he started looking at me and saying “our defense isn’t very good!!”.  I had to agree!!!  From the perspective of a hard-core Nebraska fan, it was a HORRIBLE game.  Nebraska, the 9th ranked team in the country, lost on our home field to a Northwestern team that was down to its backup quarterback and had already lost 5 games this year. 

And you know what?  I had a WONDERFUL time!!  Sure, it would have been better if Nebraska had won, but I loved sitting there with my son.  I loved his goofiness, when he would occasionally totally forget about the game, such as the 15-minutes when he kept playing with the elastic cord on my jacket and trying to tie me up with it.  I loved his little heart, when the fans were all standing and clapping to the band playing “There is No Place Like Nebraska” and my son was standing and clapping along for all he was worth.   I loved hearing his little giggles late in the game, when the rest of the stadium seemed lost in despair.   And I loved walking out of the stadium with him, hand-in-hand, with him jabbering away as happily as if nothing bad had happened.

And HAD something “bad” happened?  I guarantee that if I were at home watching that god-awful game on TV, I would have been a mess, and would have been in a very bad mood.  Instead, as we walked out of the stadium, my son asked if we could come to games more often, and I was already looking forward to next year, the next time when I’ll be able to take him.   Yes, Nebraska lost.  Yes, as a Nebraska fan, that hurts, especially when it’s such a shocking loss on your home field.  But it really wasn’t until today when we got back home that I really even thought about the outcome of the game.  It was a great weekend, one where my son taught me there’s one HELL of a lot more to life than who wins when a bunch of guys mix it up on the football field.

Perusin’ and Musin’

Perusing and MusingSome random thoughts from perusin’ the web…

Obama’s accomplishments – I saw an article today comparing Obama to Jimmy Carter, with the point being that both are supposedly incredibly ineffective presidents.  Pardon my language, but bullshit.  And pardon the language here, but check out whatthefuckhasobamadonesofar.com.   As a card-carryin’, tree-huggin’, liberal wacko, I recognize some disappointments in the Obama administration, but I also recognize 1) the cards he’s been dealt, including an impossible to work with Congress, and 2) the remarkable accomplishments he HAS achieved that seem to get little press.  Even Bin Laden’s capture is hardly ever mentioned (and is also why Republicans seem scared to touch Obama much on foreign policy any more, except in a really shallow and meaningless way). 

Slovakia’s Parliament Rejects Euro Bailout – GOD DAMN IT OBAMA!!  Yet another indication of the bumbling Obama administration’s poor handling of the economy!!  Well, OK, Obama can’t control the Slovakian parliament, but that’s my point.  Obama, and government in general, get WAY too much credit or blame for economic issues.  Look at U.S. markets over the past several months.  They react almost daily to the latest news regarding a Greek bailout, austerity measures in Spain or Italy, etc.   In a globally integrated economy, there’s only so much one government can do to try and improve economic conditions.  And that’s in a BEST case scenario, where the government isn’t so hopelessly partisan and unproductive as ours.

Rick Perry Refuses to Condemn Anti-Morman Rant – Rick Perry said he will not repudiate a Texas pastor who last week called Mormonism “a cult”, something which voters should take into account when considering Mitt Romney.   Perry says he won’t repudiate it because it’s just “a distraction” that Romney is trying to capitalize on.  My thought…Perry will make up every excuse he can not to repudiate it, because he knows that the “Christian Right” (aka, bible-thumpin’, hate-mongerin’ wackos) agree with the Texas pastor, and he can score political points with them if Romney’s faith stays in the headlines.

Kim Kardashian Wedding draws 10.5 million on E! – Over 10 million viewers watched part one of the Kim Kardashian wedding on E!.  I honestly don’t know a single thing that Kim Kardashian has ever done in her life.  But yet, I wonder how many people in America know more about her than they do about the Republicans debating tonight?  As I noted in a post a few days ago, 46% of Americans can’t even name ONE of the Republican candidates.  I wonder if a higher percentage of Americans know about this “star’s” wedding, even though there’s not a single real accomplisment of any importance that I think you could attribute to Kardashian.

Ice Loss in Greenland Continues to Accelerate – The Greenland ice sheet is rapidly losing mass, and the rate of decline has been accelerating.  If you are a climate change idiot skeptic, PLEASE take the time to check out SkepticalScience.com and educate yourself.  Be it there or elsewhere, I could literally post a story like this just about every day.  But of course, climate change is all one very well-executed conspiracy by we scientists, right?

Senate Republicans Block Jobs Bill – Thanks to the mechanics of the Senate and the wonderful filibuster, 46 Republicans voted against continuing debate on Obama’s jobs bill, effectively tabling it.  I LOVE this last line of the article…”Republicans opposed the measure over its spending to stimulate the economy and its tax surcharge on millionaires“.  That pretty much sums up the Republican stance right now…keep the economy as weak as possible before next year’s election, and protect their sugar-daddies deep financial pockets.