Author: The BPI Squirrel

Furthermore! – DNC Day One: Of Hard Work, Pain, and Progress

Watching the speakers last night at the Democratic National Convention was like diving into a big bowl of macadamias. Except it was less fattening. (More) I’ve been good about my diet since Mrs. Squirrel and Chef noticed that I’d put on a couple of ounces. Between not eating just to soothe my grumpies and all the exercise I get with our twin girls Nancy and Michelle, I’m maintaining a trim and sleek 11 ounces. Or at least I was until last night. I think I may have gained a half-ounce when my chest swelled with pride. For the past couple of years Republicans have been talking as if they’re the party of hard work. Never mind that they’ve done nothing to help hardworking Americans, or that they promise more pain for those hardworking Americans. They won’t specify who they’re going to hurt, or how much. They just say it can’t be the billionaires or big corporations, who are already suffering enough with record-high profits and record-low taxes. Oh, and we don’t thank them enough. Last night Democrats got their turn to talk about hard work and pain. The kind of hard work done by water pump operators like First Lady Michelle Obama’s father despite his struggle with multiple sclerosis, or maids like San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro’s grandmother while she taught herself to read and write in both Spanish...

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Furthermore! – Chris Christie and Mitt Romney’s “Hard Truths”

Last night New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said Mitt Rommey would tell voters the “hard truths.” He got that half-right. (More) I wasn’t in the hall last night when a Republican convention attendee threw nuts at a black CNN camerawoman and said “This is how we feed animals.” I was outside, in a tree, following the proceedings on my Blewberry. I’m sorry for the camerawoman, but I can’t say I’m surprised. Alas, his party’s bigotry is not one of the “hard truths” Mitt Romney will tell voters about. In fact, when I heard New Jersy Governor Chris Christie say Mitt Romney will tell voters “hard truths,” I almost dropped my Blewberry. That came right after he rejected Ann Romney’s talk about love and said he’d rather be respected. Then he said this: Our problems are big and the solutions will not be painless. We all must share in the sacrifice. Any leader that tells us differently is simply not telling the truth. And any Republican politician who says “we all must share in the sacrifice” – as if they or the billionaires and big corporations they represent will share in that suffering – is also “simply not telling the truth.” He least he got the “hard” part fight. He bragged about reforming his state’s budget, when he’d said “We tried to spread the pain as evenly as we could.”...

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Furthermore! – Mitt Romney, Working Class White Men, and Cookies

The media finally noticed that Mitt Romney is pitching to working class whites. But the media haven’t yet told the rest of that story. (More) The Republican National Convention is only a few miles down the road from the BPI main campus, so the resident faculty said I should cover it. They thought I’d be grateful because I wouldn’t have to travel, and anyone who has seen my Twitter profile knows my dislikes are travel and wingnuts. But being grateful for not having to travel to the wingnuts is a bit like being grateful because someone only stepped on one of your feet. Well sure, but…. The wingnuts seem wingnuttier than usual this year. Or maybe they’re just being more blatant about their wingnuttitude. Just in the past few weeks, Republican Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin said women can’t get pregnant from “legitimate rape” and then ‘clarified’ that he meant to say women lie about rape to get abortions. Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan discussed rape as a “method of conception” and this past weekend Pennsylvania Senate Candidate Tom Smith likened rape to consensual sex “out-of-wedlock.” The 2012 Republican platform calls for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion with no exceptions: not for rape, not for incest, not even to safe the mother’s life. But Mitt Romney says that issue is not on the ballot and a GOP...

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Furthermore! – What Is ‘Serfdom?’

Regis invited several squirrels over for a surf party … and that’s as close to serfdom as what John Stossel thinks the word means. (More) Regis got some tongue depressors from the BPI clinic, and he and his friends used them to surf the waves in the hot tub faculty lounge squirrel bath. That’s next to Árbol Squirrel, so of course the twins had to join in. Nancy and Michelle got less drenched than Regis and his friends, perhaps because the girls were smart enough to lie down and paddle. The boys kept trying to stand up, but the bubble-driven waves weren’t stable enough to ride. They weren’t surfing so much as sputtering and swimming … … but they were as close to surfing as John Stossel’s understanding is to serfdom. In his syndicated column today, Stossel worries that Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan isn’t radical enough. Here he discusses his interview with Rep. Ryan from 2010: But in your ideal world, should government have bailed out the auto company? “No.” Whew. I wish he had voted against those bills, but the political class was in near panic, and Ryan is a politician. It’s a reason I don’t like politicians. But at least Ryan speaks against bailouts now. “We’re reaching a tipping point in this country where a majority of Americans are getting their benefits and livelihoods from...

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Furthermore! – Blackouts, Layoffs, Health Care, and ‘Murder’

Annual maintenance at Árbol Squirrel reminded me of the Northeast Blackout and Mitt Romney’s Bain layoffs. (More) “Daddy, why are they cutting down our tree?” my daughter Nancy chittered as she and Michelle watched the men work on Árbol Squirrel. “They’re not cutting down our tree,” I assured the twins. “They’re trimming some dead branches that could break off and fly around in a storm. It’s safer for us and everyone else, and it keeps our tree healthier too.” The girls were satisfied and scampered off to play, so I headed for the BPI kitchen for breakfast and then to the mail room to read today’s Campus Chatter. There I found a mention of the 2003 Northeast Blackout that cut off power to an estimated 55 million people in the U.S. and Canada. The failure started just after 2pm when a sagging power line in northeast Ohio brushed against a tree branch. The short-circuit should have tripped an alarm at the power company, but their equipment failed. Over the next two hours, as technicians in three different companies’ control rooms tried to figure out what was happening without talking enough to each other, continued high power demand and fewer trunk lines available led to higher line temperatures and more sagging lines. By just after 4pm, three more lines had shorted out, setting off a cascading failure that spread across...

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