Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “Sarah PAlin”

Under The Mistletoe – Bay Area Style

Only in the Bay Area can we truly leverage technology and tradition so unpretentiously and flawlessly. Check out when two guys flew a mistletoe drone over Union Square in San Francisco.

Reactions:

Press Release from the White House: No American citizen was targeted on American soil for this initiative.

Dick Cheney responded that we have just spoilt his holiday fantasies.

Fox News: Highlights this as another example of the war on Christmas – no explanation is forthcoming, though it is rumored that Sarah Palin will explain in her new sequel.

Whatever spiritual path you follow, may you always have someone to smooch or platonically hug! Drone or no drone. Happy Holidays.

Original article – http://feedly.com/e/UWgmEkC2 .

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 Alon Shalev is the author of the 2013 Eric Hoffer YA Book Award winner, At The Walls of GalbriethThe First Decree, and Ashbar – Wycaan Master Book 3 – all released by Tourmaline Books. Shalev is also the author of three social justice-themed novels including Unwanted Heroes. He swears there is a connection. More at http://www.alonshalev.com and on Twitter (@elfwriter). Hang out with Alon on Google+

Left-Right Nihilism – Tom Rossi

There’s something in the way politics is discussed on TV, online, and even in person with many people that I find really aggravating. It’s the “left-right” thing.

A little too vague? which left-right thing, Tom??? You’re right. There are thousands of ways that could be taken, but I think this is the Emperor of them all. What I’m talking about is the way that the positioning of a person or an issue on the left-right spectrum completely dominates not only any political discussion on the matter, but that it seems to have taken over many people’s (and the entire media’s) thinking on the person or issue.

People often seem to care not about the workings of an issue, nor the meaning of a politician’s position on an issue, but only where they are told the issue or the person falls on the left-right spectrum.

Sometimes there are direct contradictions in people’s opinions, based on this left-right weirdness. A case in point is Elizabeth Warren. Many conservatives, like most liberals, want Wall Street masterminds held accountable, that is they want them to face criminal charges, for the decisions and actions that led to the decimation of the U.S. economy that started to become apparent in 2007. And yet, even though that is exactly Elizabeth Warren’s mission on this Earth, conservatives show little except hatred for her.

This is because the now well-known conservative “echo-chamber” tells its followers, over and over, that Elizabeth Warren is a “liberal”, and therefore worthy of contempt. The reason that the conservative power structure wants people to have this opinion is clear – they are really afraid of her. That’s okay, but what bothers me is that people are so willing to buy into this line of thinking.

This phenomenon is certainly not limited to the United States, either. Some woman actually phoned in a message of support for the “Crack-Smoking Mayor of Toronto”, Rob Ford, essentially excusing him for whatever he had done because he “deals with those liberals on the city council”. Yikes.

The same kind of thinking leads people to think that Sarah Palin should be president. These people only care that she’s conservative and they don’t care that she’s hardly educated and shows many signs of being an epsilon minus, semi-moron. But then, I suppose it’s not all that different from people supporting Hillary Clinton because they want “a” woman to be president. I wonder if those people would vote for Palin if she ended up being the only woman in the race?

Back to Elizabeth Warren… She is one of my heroes, and I’m not sure why it would be any different for anyone who isn’t the CEO of a Wall Street investment/banking firm. She’s not a hero for what she’s accomplished; she’s a hero for what she fights for. At least find out what she stands for before you go trashing her. Please.

Automatic, robotic thinking won’t get this country anywhere but into a permanent state of recession/depression. These days, there’s no excuse for failing to even do a quick internet search and here’s a hint… you have to go beyond your favorite, partisan site. Find out what the person actually says. Find out what’s actually at stake with an issue. Think. Please.

-Tom Rossi

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Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

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Not Ready for Hillary, and Other Basic Laws of Nature – Tom Rossi

It’s been a while since I copycatted one of Roger’s ideas. So here we go with a collection of mini-rants on things that seem obvious to me…

I’m not ready for Hillary. I know her people went through a lot of trouble to come up with that cute little piece of wit, but Hillary Clinton is a hawk and she’s also an unquestioning believer in the brand of economics that lead to disaster and is basically a system of justification for chasmic separation between the “haves” and have-nots.” Being a hawk, she is pro-war. That means that she has supported war as a “solution” where it was not even close to appropriate.

Ready for Hillary bumper stickers

I’m going to come into disagreement with a lot of liberals on this one, and maybe even some of my co-writers, here, but I just don’t get it. Hillary is your standard issue politician, unremarkable in any way whatsoever. People can’t tell me why they support Hillary, only that they do. People have told me that they are “fans” of Hillary. Yuck. Before the 2008 election, other people told me they were “fans” of Sarah Palin. That statement kept me awake at night for weeks.

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And why? Why, why, why, can you not buy a can of soup anymore that doesn’t have celery in it? I hate celery! I know some people like it, but it takes over the taste of a soup like putting a bunch of garlic in there would. Leave it out, people! It’s basically a cheap filler that makes it seem like there’s something other than broth in the soup. I’d rather have broth.

Another thing: It seems that, lately, the amount of time that television shows of all types spend at commercial has finally equaled the airtime of the show, itself. I’m at the point where I keep a list of things I see in commercials just so I can avoid those products.commimage I’m sick of hearing how my life will be a big dance party if I buy a friggin’ Toyota or how cool and macho I’ll be if I buy a Pontiac or what a unique individual I would be if I bought an Infinity. Is anybody really still stupid enough to think that their car defines or changes who they are? Really???? Save some money, go on a vacation to someplace cool. The end.

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And why do I keep seeing Dick Cheney on television?!?!? The GOP must pay TV stations directly to give us fake “stories” about his fake heart. The GOP doesn’t realize that, if you look really closely, you can see the spots where he shaves down the horns, every day. But hey, keep it up. He is about as effective a spokesman as Sarah Palin was. He’s so thoroughly un-charismatic that people naturally want to think the opposite of whatever he says. Keep it up.

-Tom Rossi

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Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

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Top Ten Banned Books for Banned Books Week – Tom Rossi

Here are my top ten choices for Banned Books Week:

10. The Kid is not My Son by Arnold Schwarzenegger and John Edwards, with an introduction by Michael Jackson

9. Faithfully Yours by Bill Clinton

8. Uhhhh… What? by John Boehner

7. Face of a Bunny, Heart of a Hart by Newt Gingrich

6. How To Not Put Your Mouth in Your Foot by Joe Biden

5. Dumb? Who Screwed, and Who GOT Screwed? by George W. Bush

4. Liberals: Ha Ha! Suckers! by Barack Obama

3. Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee by Mitt “Shifty” Romney

2. Idiot? You Betcha! by Sarah Palin

1. Meowch! Paul Ryan Shows There’s More Than One Way To Screw a Cat by Paul Ryan, with Michael Crichton

OK, OK… I kiiiid, I kiiiid.

Banned books week just ended (sorry, I was distracted last week) and is actually a really important event. From the Banned Books Week website: “Banned Books Week is the national book community’s annual celebration of the freedom to read. Hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events.”

Here is the list of the most often “challenged” (attempts to ban them by various state and local governments or other bodies) books of the year 2011:

1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle

Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

2. The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa

Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

3. The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins

Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence

4. My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler

Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

Reasons: offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

6. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Reasons: nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint

7. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

Reasons: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit

8. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones

Reasons: nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit

9. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar

Reasons: drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit

10. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

Reasons: offensive language; racism

The list of books that have been banned or challenged at least somewhere in America at some time in the past is shocking and includes such titles as, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and… I’m not kidding about this one – the American Heritage Dictionary.

I implore you not to succumb to fear – fear of knowledge or fear of education, especially. Don’t listen when Republicans argue for technical training over real education. As the UNCF says, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

Buy these books from the banned and challenged list. Give them to your kids. Have conversations. Let the gears of your and your kids’ minds churn. Not everything every author writes is an endorsement, nor a recommendation. Books make you think. Books are food for the brain.

Feed!

-Tom Rossi

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Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

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Political Anagrams by Roger Ingalls

Let’s put the serious blogging aside and make some smiles. Today I want to poke fun at conservative politicians by anagramming their names.

What is an anagram? It is a rearrangement of the letters of one word or phrase to form another word or phrase. A very simple example is rearranging the letters of “Evil” to get “Vile”.

Warning, these anagrams may not be politically correct and some may be a little crude!

Michele Bachmann (Rep. from Minnesota and Presidential Candidate)

Anagram: “Michele Bachmann” becomes “A Calm Bi-Henchmen”. Ironic since she and her husband believe a gay can be prayed straight.

Hench-men: n., a person who supports a political figure chiefly out of selfish interests.

Bi: slang n., a bisexual person.

George W. Bush (43rd President of the United States)

Anagram: “George W. Bush” becomes “Whose Bugger”. The story goes something like this; Little George got caught stealing funds from the church’s collection plate so the preacher held him up by the collar and asked the congregation, “whose bugger?” George’s mother, Barbara Bush, was too embarrassed to claim her own son.

Bug-ger: slang n., a contemptible or disreputable person.

Bug-ger: vulgar slang n., a sodomite.

Ronald Reagan (40th President of the United States)

Anagram 1: “Ronald Reagan” becomes “Adrenal Groan”. An adrenal groan is something Nancy Reagan never experienced while married to President Reagan.

Anagram 2: “Ronald Reagan” becomes “A Granola Nerd”. The President probably didn’t eat granola but his son, Ron Reagan, may have while practicing ballet.

Anagram 3: “Ronald Reagan” becomes “Anal Anger Rod”. An anal anger rod is something President Reagan gave to Mikhail Gorbachev during the USA-USSR Cold War summit meetings. I can see Ronny saying, “take this you communist bastard”.

James “Rick” Perry (Texas Governor and Presidential Candidate)

Anagram: “James Rick Perry” becomes “Scary Prime Jerk”. Rick Perry ignores the separation of church and state, and brings religious prejudice to politics. It is a scary thought that this prime jerk could become president.

Prime: adj., first in degree or rank; chief.

John Boehner (Rep. from Ohio)

Anagram 1: “Rep. John Boehner” becomes “John Horn Beeper”.

Anagram 2: “Rep. John Boehner” becomes “Be Her Prone John”. What a pimp says to his hooker’s client, “lie down and be her prone john”.

Prone: adj., lying downward.

John: n., a prostitute’s client.

Scott Walker (Wisconsin Governor)

Anagram: “Scott Walker” becomes “We Lost Track”. Before flushing him to Hell, Saint Peter asked Gov Walker, “why did you suck up to Big Biz instead of protecting the people of Wisconsin?” A slobbering Walker cried, “we lost track of our constitutional duty.”

Willard “Mitt” Romney (Former Governor and Presidential Candidate)

Anagram: “Willard Romney” becomes “Really Din Worm”. Mitt is a loud mouth squirmy worm.

Din: a jumble of loud, usually discordant sounds.

Eric Cantor (Rep. from Virginia)

Anagram 1: “Eric Cantor” becomes “Erratic Con”. Needs no explanation.

Anagram 2: “Eric Cantor” becomes “Cancer Trio”. Michele Bachmann, John Boehner and Eric Cantor are the Cancer Trio of American Politics.

Sarah Palin (Former Governor and Former Vice Presidential Candidate)

Anagram 1: “Sarah Palin” becomes “Las Piranha”. An Alaskan fish taco.

Anagram 2: “Sarah Palin” becomes “A Plain Rash”. A plain rash is what many Americans get when Sarah speaks.

Anagram 3: “Sarah Palin” becomes “Ah Anal Rips”. What Todd Palin says after passing gas from Sarah’s moose and bean stew, “ah….anal rips.”

Tea Party Nation

Anagram: “Tea Party Nation” becomes “A Potty Inane Rat”. 

Potty: adj., having a muddled confused mind, silly, foolish, illogical, crazy or addlebrained.

Inane: adj., lacks sense or substance.

The “Tea Party Nation” anagram is descriptively on target and a perfect closing to this post. They truly are a senseless addlebrained movement.

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Roger Ingalls is well travelled and has seen the good and bad of many foreign governments. He hopes his blogging will encourage readers to think more deeply about the American political system and its impact on US citizens and the international community.

California Leadership: Real Health Care Reform

Is the adage, “As California goes, so goes the Nation” still true? Obviously, there’s a lot of truth in that saying, just look at these trends: anti-smoking laws, car emissions and mileage standards, civil rights and medical cannabis. These were considered radical in their day but are now widely accepted ideas. And don’t forget California’s pop culture: skateboarding, drag racing, valley girls, car-hops, and plastic boobs.

This year California will have the opportunity to spread her leadership wings again by passing Senate Bill 810, Single Payer Universal Health Care.

You may be asking: why do we need a State health care program when we just passed a Federal Health Care Reform package? Well, the Federal reform does have some good elements but it is a watered down piece of crap. By the time the conservatives and lobbyists got through with it, the insurance companies were laughing all the way to the bank. The old dog Republican leaders are still screaming repeal but that’s just positioning propaganda for the lemming followship. These leaders know it’s a sweet honey-hole for the ones that grease their palms.

Can California afford Single Payer Universal Health Care? The short answer is yes. The State is the seventh largest world economy.

Let’s compare the economic power of California with two countries that have great universal health care, Canada and the United Kingdom. California has 37 million people and a GDP of ~$2.0 Trillion. Canada has 34 million people and a GDP of ~$1.6 Trillion while the UK has 67 million people and a GDP of ~$2.3 Trillion. Revenue per capita for California, Canada and the UK is $54K, $46K and $37K respectively. These numbers easily show that California is, by far, richer than many countries that offer universal health care.

The United States is the only modern industrialized country that does not have universal health care. Compared to other countries, the US health care system is ranked 37th, pathetic considering we are the richest country is the world. Big Business should not be allowed to profit from healthcare insurance while having the power to also deny the protection. It’s like the fox guarding the hen house. For profit health insurance is a moronic notion.

Excessive “Hollywood antics” are now prevalent in politics but Californians are wise to this over-the-top acting. They are not fooled by Sarah Palin “death panel” rhetoric and understand that separating the financial component from the actual medical care is beneficial. Life, death and health decisions will be made by doctors and not by Wall Street’s paper-pushing financial executives.

California will lead the nation by passing SB 810.

-Roger Ingalls

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Roger Ingalls is well travelled and has seen the good and bad of many foreign governments. He hopes his blogging will encourage readers to think more deeply about the American political system and its impact on US citizens and the international community.

Facebook R.I.P – The End of The World As We Know It

Okay, so this is probably more apt for April 1st, but it is soooooo funny. Frank Lake over at Weekly World News reports that Facebook is closing, like tomorrow.

Mark Zuckerberg, the site claims, wants his old life back, and live like a normal person. Now I’ve read the book (The Accidental Billionaires) and seen The Social Network, and am unclear about how a normal life would be defined.

Now I assume that between the last paragraph and this one, you have checked your Facebook status and are only reading on because it is still there. Phew! That was a close one. This could have been you.

“Man up, dude!” I’m imagining Sarah Palin on a national broadcast trying to arrest the rising panic in the streets.

And if you haven’t had enough (and I hope you haven’t), check out this YouTube from Stephen Steel, the purveyor of such news.

But since this is usually a serious blog, I have to ask: what if… no I can’t do that to you.

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/

 

Amy Chua – A Lesson in…

So it is well known that if you want to sell a book, get attention for a blog or an article, then you do or say something controversial. Some do this intentionally, others by mistake (we often call the latter – politicians). Hey, I even blogged about one yesterday.

Now Amy Chua is a Yale law professor, having studied at an impressive number of other Ivy League schools. We can assume she is smart. She is also from the Bay Area, so there is no problem with her credibility.

We can also assume that when she published her book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” which essentially states that Chinese mothers are better than American mothers, then she knew that she just might strike a cord with a large and rather proud section of the population. In case you think I jest, read this – the title is “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior.” Need I say more?

Now given that 70% of those who buy books are women and many of those possibly mothers, you can’t help but be impressed that her book sits atop most bestselling lists.

I haven’t read the book, but I hope it is as entertaining as the arguments and accusations that are flying around the Internet and even in those more serious newspapers.

I suspect there is a lot more behind how and why Chinese mothers (and fathers) bring up their children that is a reflection of their society. A friend of mine is US born and married to a Chinese woman. They have raised a daughter who, from what he tells me, is an example of achievement and excellence. You can read his responses at his blog: I Look China.

Without making any claim to having knowledge on the subject, I suspect we are a product of our society and our religion. My parents molded me with a hybrid of English/Jewish. I therefore eat chips – that’s freedom fries here -with a fork and am losing a battle to get my boys not to use their fingers. However, since I was also raised by Jewish parents, at least I still have the guilt up my sleeve.

Actually, I believe Amy Chua is married to a Jewish man, so her kids have challenges of their own. Two parents who are Ivy League professors and lawyers to boot, one Jewish, the other Chinese American – well I ain’t rooting for the Chinese or American moms.

I’m rooting for the kids. ——————————————————————————————————

Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at www.alonshalev.com

In Defense of the Grizzly Mom

The terrible attack that left Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords fighting for her life and six others dead is tragic, senseless, and should serve as a wake up call to American society. My prayers are with the families of Ms. Giffords and the victims at this sad time.

We, as a society, should focus on discussing violent political rhetoric, gun control, and other such issues. We should also be talking about unity, respect, and legitimate debate, So I was stunned to see that people have the audacity to try to pin the blame on Sarah Palin for her Facebook target list.

Now in case it is not clear: LEFT Coast Voices is the domain of a rather leftist and ‘progressive’ author.  It would take a lot for me to come out and defend Sarah Palin. We have nothing in common other than a fascination with grizzlies and a love for fishing.

But there are two topics that have me springing to her defense. The first is the disgusting way that some pundits have made fun of her family. There is no excuse for such gutter tactics.

The second is that Palin could, in any way, be implicated for promoting the environment that led to this tragic event. Now I have never met Ms. Palin and so clearly know everything about her views as well as the next person who trolls the blogosphere and watches The Daily Show. Like Ms. Griffords, she is a public figure, a leader, a woman, and a mother. Like the rest of reasonable society, she is, I am sure, shocked and praying for Ms. Grifford’s recovery.

I would like to think that we all will now think twice before using violent analogies. More than this, however, I would like to think we will think twice about how we allow people to carry arms. But somehow, throwing mud at other people seems to be the more obvious response. Sad – lessons are not being learned, or even considered.

I heard someone on NPR suggest that we all make an effort to reach out to the stranger in the elevator, on the bus, or in line at the store. By saying hello and smiling, could we prevent the level of alienation and marginalization of people who perpetrate terrible crimes against their fellow person and society. I don’t know. But isn’t it worth a try? And perhaps it should start with respect for our political opponents.

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at www.alonshalev.com

 

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