Archive | August 2015

Less Government Is Apparently Less Great When It Is Your Home That Is about to Burn Down


The progressive blog Daily Kos has distributed this photo in their daily e-mail of “Recommended” stories. It is a photo of a man thanking firefighters for saving his home from the massive wildfires in Washington State, and they titled the item that includes the photo “This One Weird Pic Destroys Ayn Rand.”

Thanking Firefighters

If you cannot read the t-shirt, here is a slightly different version of it:

Image result for Less Government T-Shirt

And here is a version that I can get half behind:

And what is the point of cutting off the model’s head in the photograph if his face is apparently going to be on the t-shirt?

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Is Something Understood Metaphorically Always More Preferable and More Palatable than Its Literal Alternative? Or Could the King of America Abolish Teachers’ Lounges?


Earlier today, I did a post on very clever political messaging from the Kasich presidential campaign. I closed that post with this observation: “Whatever limitations he may have as a speaker or as a campaigner, he has managed to offset them with a great deal of political experience and political savvy.”

In this post, I would like to address the introductory, dependent clause in that sentence.

In early July, as Governor Kasich was about the announce the launch of his presidential campaign, Stephen Koff, the Washington Bureau Chief for the Ohio Media Group, wrote a piece published on titled “John Kasich Addresses the Jerk Characterization.” The article opens:

“John Kasich has been called “brash” and “a jerk.” He’s direct, willing to insult at times and unwilling to suffer those he views as fools. It’s a trait Ohioans know and largely accept, and the second-term governor balances it with occasional…

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A Lesson in Political Messaging from the Kasich Presidential Campaign


Yesterday I received the following e-mail from the Governor Kasich’s presidential campaign:

“Martin, Governor Kasich has a strong pro-life record and now anti-life groups are attacking him. Can you chip in and help John fight back?

Kasich on Abortion

“No Governor in Ohio history has signed more pro-life legislation than Governor Kasich. The governor signed a ban on late-term abortions; began defunding Planned Parenthood; banned funding for abortions in taxpayer-funded public employee health plans; and banned elective abortions in public, taxpayer-funded hospitals.

“As a result, abortions are at historic lows in Ohio and the number of clinics has been cut almost in half.

“Now anti-life groups are attacking Governor Kasich for what he believes. Can you help John fight back?

“Mary Taylor
Lt. Governor of Ohio”

It is true that the Ohio Democratic party has distributed materials that have been critical of Governor Kasich for his positions on a number of issues, including women’s rights, and…

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Remembering Julian Bond


The following article was disseminated by the Campaign for America’s Future in its Progressive Breakfast daily newsletter. A link to a companion article is provided at the end of this post. The article is reprinted here with the permission of Roger Hickey who, with Robert Borsage, co-directs this progressive center and effort. Its website is available at:


In Praise of Julian Bond

August 17, 2015

Robert Borosage

America lost a giant this weekend when Julian Bond left us at 75. And CAF lost a friend, a founder, a mentor and a guide. Julian lived a large life, devoted to making America better. And we all are beneficiaries of his work and his wisdom.

He came to his calling naturally, part of what he loved to say were “six generations” of college educated leaders. His grandfather was born a slave in 1863; freedom came only when the Civil…

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“Aspirational Incapacitation” May Account for Much of Donald Trump’s Appeal


“Joe the Plumber” came to national attention during the 2008 presidential election because he was very willing to denounce the economic “safety net” programs from which he was then actually benefiting in order to argue for the lowest possible taxes on the wealth that he was certain that he would eventually earn. The last that I heard, he had taken a job in a Jeep plant, and although the U.S. can certainly use more high-end manufacturing jobs such as those in our auto plants, no one has ever claimed that working in a plant is an easy way–or any way–to become a millionaire.

I think that Joe the Plumber’s delusions about his possibilities for joining the ranks of the wealthy may provide an explanation for the surprising appeal of Donald Trump that most political commentators have missed. It may be less that the voters who support Trump admire him for achieving a…

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The Funniest Observation to Date about the Presidential Campaign


Bill Maher responded to Scott Walker’s performance in the first Republican debate by asking, “Scott Walker! What’s wrong with your face? You look like the kid who is carrying a dead bird in his pocket!”

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Reflections on a Core Conundrum of Progressive Politics


Today The Hill ran an article Julian Hattem titled “Fury of the Left Falls on Schumer.”

Here are the opening paragraphs:

“Liberals are livid at Sen. Charles Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) decision to oppose the White House’s nuclear deal with Iran, and have threatened to launch a full-scale war as retribution.

“Activists and former top officials within the Obama administration are openly contemplating whether Schumer’s stance disqualifies him from serving as the next Senate Democratic leader—which he is primed to do—and seeking to temporarily cut off money to Democrats in the upper chamber.

“It’s unclear whether Schumer’s announcement will have a devastating effect on the White House’s efforts to prevent Democrats from killing the deal when it comes up for a vote in Congress next month.

“But it’s clear that he will be Public Enemy No. 1 for liberal activists throughout the August recess, as they aim to rally support from Democrats…

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Donald Trump and Higher Education


The title of this post is, of course, a misleading tease if you, the reader are expecting some sort of summary of Donald Trump’s positions on higher-education issues. The Trump campaign’s website includes no “issues” section indicating the candidate’s positions on higher education or on anything else.

So, what is the point of this post?

Well, a recent article written by Libby Nelson for Vox reminded me of a topic now buried in one of the idea folders that I keep for my contributions to this blog. In 2013, shortly after I had begun contributing to this blog, I had come across a news item about a lawsuit that had been filed against Donald Trump for falsely representing what students enrolled in “Trump University” could expect to receive for their tuition. The phrase “Trump University” was enough provoke me into doing a Google search.

According to Libby Nelson, several class-action…

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Evidence That There Is Still a Place for Satiric Political Folk Songs


Yesterday, my wife and I drove to Columbus, Ohio, for the annual Dublin Irish Festival held in the suburb at the northwest corner of the I-270 beltway around the Columbus metro area. It is a festival that lives up to its advertising, with all sorts of great Celtic music and great food (Irish and otherwise)—as well as all sorts of other attractions from Irish-themed arts and crafts to dog shows.

One of the musical headliners at this year’s festival was the prolific songwriter and acclaimed guitarist Richard Thompson. After first coming to international attention with the Scottish folk group Fairport Convention, Thompson performed for more than a decade as a duo with his wife Linda until they became professionally as well as personally estranged. Thompson’s songs have been recorded by dozens of well-known artists—from David Gilmour and Elvis Costello to R.E.M. and David Byrne, from Bonnie Raitt to Nanci Griffith…

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