My Country Tis of Thee?

I received an interesting survey from the office of Congressman Todd Akin today.  I’m pretty stunned by what now passes as discourse although I probably shouldn’t be given the current state of governance.  Take a look and tell me if you think I’m wrong.  As for me, I’m fully expecting next year’s survey to have the “right” answers pre-filled or new questions akin to, “Would you rather have a hole in your head or a whole lot of money?”

Question 1:

What steps should Congress take to improve and reduce unemployment?

  1. Spend more taxpayer money in another “stimulus” bill.  (Yes/No)
  2. Empower the private sector by cutting taxes and reducing government spending. (Yes/No) Continue reading

Job Creation Needs More Attention from Washington

I’m back in the old college town trying to recapture a bit of past glory on the soccer pitch this weekend.  Having received my undergrad degree from the University of Missouri, I always heard about the great School of Journalism, but it didn’t mean much to me back then.  The school, and the free press in general,  means something to me now.  The following opinion piece from William E. Robertson, professor emeritus at MU, was featured in today’s Columbia Missourian. It was a nice welcome for my personal old home week.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and that you and that the sentiment strikes a chord.


LETTER: Job creation needs more attention from Washington

Thursday, July 28, 2011 | 5:20 p.m. CDT

It’s time to have a march on Washington for jobs. Large numbers of recent veterans and African-Americans are unemployed, probably more than three in 10 including those not in the official statistics. Many more people in the Rust Belt and Appalachia are also without jobs. Many private-sector employees have lost work. Public-sector employees are next.

The focus of attention by the administration and Congress appears to be on jobs as only an afterthought. Such issues as Wall Street, budget ceilings, budget deficits, health care, taxes and defense spending dominate Washington’s attention.

Meanwhile, voters at home are feeling the loss of jobs, future losses and all of the effects of unemployment on housing education, health and our local economies. Unemployed and potentially unemployed people cannot delay having their interests heard and addressed. If there is not more dynamic participation by voters, the administration and Congress will continue to only give token lip service to our priority for jobs.

There is a need to develop and plan policy and to create programs that will address our unemployment situation before it’s too late. A dynamic march for jobs would enable us to communicate and elevate our priority for job development. It would also enable us to build coalitions of advocates around the needs of the jobless and underemployed.  We don’t have much time. Let’s march for jobs.

William E. “Gene” Robertson is a Columbia resident and professor emeritus at MU.

Image by: Clyde Bentley

Robert Reich Lays It Down (Video)

Berkeley prof and former labor secretary, Robert Reich, says the U.S. is letting itself go.  He cuts to the chase in this short video.

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Al Gore’s Beautiful Polemic (Call to Action)

Image by: simone.brunozzi

Many of you will have already read Al Gore’s latest piece for the Rolling Stone, but I thought it was worth calling attention to the following passage.  (For those who haven’t had the chance yet, the full article is available here: “Climate of Denial“)

Finally, and above all, don’t give up on the political system. Even though it is rigged by special interests, it is not so far gone that candidates and elected officials don’t have to pay attention to persistent, engaged and committed individuals. President Franklin Roosevelt once told civil rights leaders who were pressing him for change that he agreed with them about the need for greater equality for black Americans. Then, as the story goes, he added with a wry smile, “Now go out and make me do it.”

To make our elected leaders take action to solve the climate crisis, we must forcefully communicate the following message: “I care a lot about global warming; I am paying very careful attention to the way you vote and what you say about it; if you are on the wrong side, I am not only going to vote against you, I will work hard to defeat you — regardless of party. If you are on the right side, I will work hard to elect you.”

You have to take notice when a former vice president suggests an issue has become bigger than party.  I’m with him.  It’s time to get serious about protecting the planet.  From a climate change perspective it wouldn’t matter which party won future elections.  Wouldn’t that shake things up a bit?

Here’s another passage which speaks to the paradigm shift which has to take place.  Scientific knowledge has progressed to the point where it has proven that the norm has changed.

But in this case, the President has reality on his side. The scientific consensus is far stronger today than at any time in the past. Here is the truth: The Earth is round; Saddam Hussein did not attack us on 9/11; Elvis is dead; Obama was born in the United States; and the climate crisis is real. It is time to act.

The whole climate change argument reminds of Mahatma Ghandi’s famous quote on social change.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

We’re firmly rooted in stage three of that process.  It’s time to go for the win.

Image by: davew.wilson

If you liked this post, you might want to check out a stunning video I recently shared:

Visual Representation of Atmospheric CO2

Noam Chomsky on the Death Knell for the Species (Video)

Another lazy effort today?  Well, when a venerated professor like Noam Chomsky is there to do the talking for you, you cede the floor.   Continue reading