Thoughts from a Yellow Dog Democrat living in Olympia, in the great BLUE state of Washington

I am a liberal because it is the political philosophy of freedom and equality. And I am a progressive because it is the political path to a better future. And I am a Democrat because it is the political party that believes in freedom, equality and progress. -- Digby

Friday, April 30, 2010

Terminating Teachers Who Have Accents

Arizona isn't satisfied with rounding up Brown people and asking for papers,

the Arizona Department of Education recently began telling

school districts that teachers whose spoken English it

deems to be heavily accented or ungrammatical must be

removed from classes for students still learning English.

Using this standard all of these teachers would have lost their jobs.

(From the top: Prof Tony Blair, Yale, English accent; Dr. Shelby Foote, Southern accent; Teacher Frank McCourt, Irish accent; Dr. Ashley Morris, PhD, Cajun accent; Dr. Wernher von Braun, German accent.)


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Adult Republithugs??

Steve Benen over at The Washington Monthly has a great take on Congressman Eric Cantor's response to Obama's weekly address.

...The frequently-confused Republican leader said that if voters backed the GOP in November, his party would offer "responsible, adult leadership."

Now, of all the things Republicans have to offer the electorate, perhaps no three words in the English language are less appropriate than "responsible, adult leadership." As should be abundantly clear by now, today's GOP officials approach their responsibilities and substantive discourse with all the maturity of a child. A young child. A young, slow child. A medicated, young, slow child who's easily distracted and hasn't learned social norms about honesty...

I would add petulant. They remind me of the character Max Braverman on Parenthood on TV. The kid has Asperger's Disorder and gets fixated something and cannot be denied it. Max possesses normal intelligence and language development traits but experiences challenges with social and communication skills -- same as the Republithugs! Max has to be the center of attention and his needs are priority -- same as the Republithugs! Max sometimes doesn't make any sense in what he says and likes to dress up in a costume -- in Max's case it's a pirate costume, in the Republithug's case they dress in tri-corner hats with tea bags stapled on them.

Steve Benen is a little kinder than me:
In 2010, Republicans choose not to know anything about public policy, can't engage in an honest debate, reflexively oppose anything Democrats support (including GOP ideas), and reject responsibility for the spectacular failures they created while in the majority.

Cantor is promising "responsible, adult leadership"? From whom, exactly? When was the last time a Republican leader said something intelligent and accurate about any area of public policy? When was the last time the GOP acted in a responsible fashion during a substantive debate? When was the last time the nation saw so much as a glimmer of maturity from any member of the party leadership?

Heather over at Crooks and Liars has a good take on this too:
The Republicans are simply not a serious political party right now. They have nothing to offer other than attacking the Democrats at every turn and they are more than willing to use every means at their disposal to assure they get back into power.

We continue to hope, against the odds, that responsible Republicans will escape extinction and one day provide partners for us again. But Cantor can't promise this at this point. Adults compromise. Responsible legislators work for the greater good, not just their own re-election prospects. Leaders lead, encourage others to lead, and move forward -- not obstruct and try to undo progress. Cantor can't point to any evidence that today's Republithugs can reach that bar.


Friday, April 16, 2010

What is a financial institution?

Senator Bob Corker had a good exchange with Ezra Klein on the financial reform bill this week. Basically he is uncomfortable with all the hyperbole his fellow Republithugs are throwing around trying to kill the financial reform bill. Corker says that the issue here is not philosophical disputes between the two parties, but technical changes to make sure the language of the law accords with its intent. Sounds very reasonable.

But then he says:
The way the language is written right now, the resolution process could be used on an auto company. We want this clearly, solely to apply to financial institutions. That's just one example of a definition type of thing that has to be dealt with.

Here's the problem -- auto companies are financial institutions. Many companies, from Nordstrom to Sears to General Motors, have bank and thrift charters or hybrid Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.-insured industrial loan companies (ILCS). Walmart is currently aggressively working to become a financial institution. I don't want to add to Walmart's bottom line but I also don't want them offering financial services without oversight and the only way to exercise oversight is through regulation and the threat of our ability to revoke their charter.

So what is he talking about? I'm going to be very interested to see how Senator Corker threads this needle.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Honoring the Confederacy

Full disclosure: My family is from the South. I have a relative who died fighting for the Confederacy and is buried in a Confederate cemetery.

Mississippi Republican Governor Haley Barbour told CNN's Candy Crowley this weekend that it's no big deal that Virginia Republican Governor Bob McDonnell is celebrating the confederacy. Of course Crowley pushed back on the slavery omission as the big issue.

Why is it when legally elected Democrats pass legislation and a legally elected President signs it - they want to call it "treason" but when politicians want to have a month designated to celebrate traitors and persons who committed sedition, this is OK? The confederacy was sedition, plain and simple. It should not be celebrated. The flag of traitors should not be honored and protected. It is wrong.

I agree with Haley Barbour and Bob McDonnell that it has little to do with slavery -- but they were traitors. Next thing you know they'll want to host a parade for Timothy McVeigh!