Author: The BPI Squirrel

Furthermore! – Just Ask Someone Else

Squirrels are very clever problem solvers. For example, give us a peanut butter smoothie in a glass too tall for us to dip into, and we’ll learn to drink through a straw. So I shouldn’t have been surprised when Nancy and Michelle, our twin five-month-olds, came into my office yesterday to ask if they could go play in the grass beneath Árbol Squirrel. They had already asked Mrs. Squirrel, and she said no as she was busy and could not go along to watch them. “Your mother already said no,” I replied. “I know,” Nancy cheerfully chittered. “So we’re asking you,” Michelle added. I laughed and replied, “You sound like pollsters.” It seems the Republican narratives about President Obama’s failure to stop rising gas prices were not making a dent in public polling. Most Americans seemed to know the president can’t do much to affect gas prices. With the economy growing enough jobs to absorb a quarter-million new and returning workers last month and Republicans paying a hefty political price for their War on Women, the GOP was fishing around for an economic argument. Gas prices seemed like a good cudgel. But voters weren’t buying that argument. No problem. Just ask someone else! Two new polls, one by the New York Times/CBS News and another by ABC News/Washington Post – show President Obama’s support plummeting in the past month....

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Furthermore! – Who Accepts Limbaugh’s Apology?

Regis is quite the class clown. One of his classmates petitioned a professor to cancel a class next week, which itself was surprising as BPI has no scheduled classes. Regardless, the petition cast the professor in the role of judge, so the professor said one of the students should advocate on behalf of the faculty. Regis volunteered and announced: “The faculty have no objection to the petition.” Once everyone stopped laughing, the professor agreed to cancel the class. Regis’ response was good for a class joke, but such antics rarely work in Realworldia. For example, two people have now accepted Rush Limbaugh’s apology. Conservative religious activist and Republican political strategist Ralph Reed tweeted: Rush: apology accepted. Let’s move on and talk about the issues. We’re with you. But Reed was not alone. Mitt Romney also accepted Limbaugh’s apology yesterday on Sean Hannity’s radio program, then joined Limbaugh in blaming the incident on progressives and women. Small wonder that Sandra Fluke – the Georgetown law student whom Limbaugh slandered so viciously that advertisers are dumping his show – rejected his apology yesterday in an appearance on ABC’s The View: I agree with Ms. Fluke: Limbaugh’s statement doesn’t change anything. Limbaugh did not acknowledge misunderstanding the role of contraception in women’s health care, or how he trivialized women’s health care needs, slandered women’s moral propriety, and even proposed that women who...

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Furthermore! – The Smell of Schadenfreude

Regis rubbed the sleep from his eyes as he peeked into my office nook. Moments later, Mrs. Squirrel and the twins – Nancy and Michelle – were there too. I didn’t see them at first, as I was too busy laughing. “He’s lost it,” Regis said. Mrs. Squirrel and the twins nodded. “Nah,” I said, after catching my breath. “I’m just love the smell of Schadenfreude in the morning.” No, I don’t mean the tragic death of Andrew Breitbart yesterday. However much I disagreed with his politics and his media tactics, he was also a husband and the father of four children. His death brought me no joy. Upon learning of it, I tweeted “R.I.P Andrew Breitbart. May the hereafter bring you compassion, not justice.” That wish was not specific to Breitbart. We are all flawed, and we all should hope for compassion rather than justice in the hereafter. Nor did I mean Maricopa, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s unhinged press conference yesterday. Arpaio said he has “probable cause” to believe President Obama’s birth certificate was forged, although the evidence he cited has been repeatedly debunked. Arpaio’s media stunt may play well for birther conspiracy believers, but it will not slow the Department of Justice civil rights case against him. He says his investigation of the president’s birth certificate was not politically motivated, but the DOJ’s report on widespread racial...

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Furthermore! – Breaking the Overton Window

“Dear Dad,” the email from Regis began. “Having a great time at college, except for last month when I fell off a branch and sprained my tail. But there’s good news. I met a ferret at the campus health center. She’s very cute and also very sweet. You and mom will love her. We hope to visit in the next couple of weeks, after she has the babies. Love, Regis. “P.S.: None of that is true, but I did get a D in Freshman Comp and I thought you should keep that in perspective.” Mrs. Squirrel and I enjoyed the laugh. We might have been shocked, but we caught on too quickly. Regis is, after all, attending BPI and living here at home. BPI has no classes or tests, so we’re not worried about his grades. We knew it was a joke. Alas, Republicans aren’t joking. In state legislatures across the country, they’re proposing bills that require trans-vaginal ultrasounds for women who want to end a pregnancy. Then, once the outcry against forcing women to be penetrated builds, they “back off” and pass bills that require abdominal ultrasounds instead. The entire process is, as TPM‘s Jillian Rayfield reports, a “smokescreen.” Elizabeth Nash, a Public Policy Associate for the Guttmacher Institute, told TPM that there’s “definitely concern” that “the huge outcry around vaginal ultrasound is masking other provisions in the...

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Furthermore! – Hard Cases, Once And For All

I chittered with the toddlers, Nancy and Michelle, about winterbanyan’s thoughtful Midday Matinee yesterday. Hawks and other predators are a daily risk for squirrels. We love our children and try to protect them as best we can. We teach them safety rules such as looking very carefully before crossing an open area. Mrs. Squirrel and I haven’t lost any of our children, but we know squirrels who have. It’s both natural and good to try to learn from tragedies. Sometimes we learn good lessons, what we shouldn’t have done or could have done better. But sometimes we learn the wrong lessons, and that’s especially common when we try to generalize a lesson from one exceptionally horrific event. Consider the Caylee’s Law petition and bills now being proposed in state legislatures around the U.S. These are a well-intentioned response to the tragedy of Caylee Anthony, a two-year-old girl who died in Florida in 2008. Although the medical examiner ruled her death a homicide, doctors could not determine the cause or circumstances of her death, in part because Caylee was not reported missing for nearly a month after her disappearance. Caylee’s Laws would make it a crime for parents to not report a missing child within 12 to 48 hours, depending on the state, and/or to intentionally give police false information about a child who disappears, is seriously injured, or dies....

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