Author: The BPI Squirrel

Furthermore! – House Passes Poison Pill Bill

One of the nice parts of life at Árbol Squirrel is having a safe diet. We don’t rely entirely on the macadamia stash in Chef’s pantry, but the BPI main campus uses no chemical pesticides so Mrs. Squirrel and I know we can trust the food we gather for the family. Still, we’re already teaching Nancy and Michelle not to taste food that smells funny. We hope President Obama learned that same lesson from his mom, because last night the House Republicans passed a very stinky pile. They agreed to extend the payroll tax cut holiday, but only after they stuffed the bill with poison pills: * means-testing Medicare for seniors with incomes over $80,000 * blocking environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline extension * stripping the EPA’s authority to regulate incinerators and boilers * cutting $8 billion in preventative care and public health funding * requiring mandatory drug testing to receive unemployment benefits * requiring GED classes or employment training to receive unemployment benefits * cutting unemployment benefits by 40 weeks in states with the highest unemployment rates * requiring immigrants to provide their children’s social security numbers to receive benefits * prohibiting the use of TANF electronic benefits cards in strip clubs (a non-problem) Not surprisingly, President Obama has threatened to veto the bill if it reaches his desk. He should, although the bill will likely...

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Furthermore! – Fun-De-Mental Newt

The girls, Nancy and Michelle, have mastered the fundamentals of walking and climbing, at least on large branches. Smaller branches are still a challenge, as they’re still learning to use their tails for balance. Regis, fresh from his class at the BPI Fizzix Department, tried to illustrate the fundamental vectors of moment of inertia, until Mrs. Squirrel reminded him that was fundamentally premature. At least that’s how Newt Gingrich would explain it. Gingrich is, to quote Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, “a stupid man’s idea of what a smart person sounds like.” Gingrich is a man of Big Ideas. Well, that’s not quite true. As Dan Amira explained in this week’s New Yorker, Gingrich is a man of Profoundly, Deeply, and most of all Fundamentally Big Ideas. He speaks in adverbially adjectival puffery, and his favorites are “fundamental” and “fundamentally.” In one 2008 speech for the American Enterprise Institute, Gingrich used those words 418 times, in such contexts as: “fundamental assault on the core values of the American Constitution and a fundamental assault on the core values of the Founding Fathers” “fundamentally destroying jobs and fundamentally weakening our economic future” “fundamentally misleading about the nature of reality and fundamentally misleading about the world” “fundamentally out of touch with the reality of the real world” “fundamentally, profoundly, ignorantly anti-American the current judicial model is” Gingrich used the phrases “fundamental difference” or...

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Furthermore! – Special Rights?

Nancy and Michelle have begun sleeping through the night. That’s a major achievement for the babies, and for Mrs. Squirrel and me. It’s nice to finally get some sleep again, although now that I won’t be as active all night I’ll have to be more careful with my diet. I thought that would be easier yesterday, after I read President Obama’s speech in Kansas. Then I read Secretary of State Clinton’s speech in Geneva, and I was positive I wouldn’t need extra macadamias. Winning Progressive summarized President Obama’s remarks wonderfully today in Morning Feature. Lest her equally brilliant speech get lost in the shuffle, here are some highlights from Secretary Clinton’s address on LGBT rights: At three o’clock in the morning on December 10th, 1948, after nearly two years of drafting and one last long night of debate, the president of the UN General Assembly called for a vote on the final text. Forty-eight nations voted in favor; eight abstained; none dissented. And the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted. It proclaims a simple, powerful idea: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. And with the declaration, it was made clear that rights are not conferred by government; they are the birthright of all people. It does not matter what country we live in, who our leaders are, or even who we are....

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Furthermore! – Gingrich Immigration Policy Is “Humane?”

There are no windows in Árbol Squirrel. Our tree is our home, and Mrs. Squirrel and I have made a cozy nest over the years. We have a bed nook for Regis and his video games, and a bed nook for ourselves. The babies, Nancy and Michelle, still sleep with us. We have a living nook and a pantry, and the office nook Mrs. Squirrel asked me to add so I wouldn’t disturb the family while researching 21st Century Political Nuttitude. We have an open door policy, because we have no doors. Or windows. Except for one, in my office nook, and it’s not a real window. The Overton Window is a political science concept that proposes a movable frame of reference for public policy ideas. A radical idea may seem acceptable – and come to be seen as sensible and even popular – if you offer a related idea that is completely unthinkable. And only when seen through the radically shifted Overton Window frame can Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s immigration proposal be called “humane.” In a GOP debate last week, Gingrich proposed what seemed like an amnesty policy for undocumented immigrants who have been in the U.S. for several years. His Republican opponents quickly pounced, but Gingrich insisted that government must be “humane” in enforcing immigration law. The media picked up on that word, and headline after...

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Furthermore! – Republicans’ Secret Plan to End Elections

I have long maintained that, as BPI’s roving reporter, “I don’t break the news; it was already broken.” However, my internet search turned up no reference to the memorandum I found tucked under my garden gnome this morning. So I think this might actually be breaking news: From: Plutocrats United To: Republican Presidential Candidates Subj: Operation SHUT UP Just a quick note to congratulate most of you on your excellent work in the debates. Last night you outdid yourselves, with some of the most ridiculous statements yet. Special congratulations go to Rep. Bachmann for saying President Obama lets the ACLU handle terrorist interrogations, and to Gov. Perry for raising the specter of Islamic militants infiltrating Latin America. Those are exactly the kind of head-shaking-jaw-dropping-did-I-really-just-hear-that statements we asked for in Operation SHUT UP. We’d also like to thank Rick Santorum and Herman Cain for the discussion of profiling radical Muslims at airports. Neither of you took the bait when questioned on how TSA employees could identify radical Muslims, or Muslims in general, leaving viewers properly confused. Also a nod to Wolf Blitzer for calling Cain “Congressman,” and to Cain for calling Blitzer “Blitz.” That said, there were some mistakes. Jon Huntsman, you sounded entirely too rational. Remember, the objective of Operation SHUT UP, per our original instruction memo, is: “to hold so many debates – with so many statements that...

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