Author: The BPI Squirrel

Furthermore! – What’s at Stake

We got the good news last week. Regis was cast in BPI’s spring theatre production of The Gardener’s Lament. He’s already begun to prepare for his role as a squirrel who raids a local garden, seemingly looking for food but actually … well, I won’t spoil the ending. The director asked the actors to prepare for their roles by reading the script, writing diaries that fill in their characters’ life histories, and spending a few minutes each day talking to themselves in-character. The babies, Nancy and Michelle, are fascinated by that last bit. Alas, they asked him what he was talking about, breaking his train of thought, at which point he huffed and scampered off to the privacy of his bed nook. The girls were sad until Mrs. Squirrel explained that Regis is just scared. “And that’s okay,” I explained. “I get scared too.” The girls gave me blank looks in reply, so I began to explain some of my research in 21st Century Political Nuttitude, including a TPM story about Republicans campaigning in Iowa, where Mitt Romney told voters: [President Obama] sees the European welfare state as perhaps being the more appropriate model. An entitlement society, where the role of government is increasingly to take from someone to give to others. That would deaden the American spirit. That would substitute envy for ambition. It would poison the very...

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Furthermore! – Ron Paul in the Spotlight

Regis is nervous. He auditioned for a role in a BPI campus theatre spring show titled The Gardener’s Lament. It’s a student-written comedy about a warmhearted man whose vegetable garden amazes and delights his friends and neighbors, including a family of squirrels. If he is cast, Regis will have a starring role: dashing onto the stage to carry off first seeds, then a cherry tomato, then an ear of corn, and then a watermelon. Near the end of the play, he borrows the gardener’s tractor and … well, I shouldn’t spoil the ending. I asked Regis why he’s so nervous, as he’s an expert at carrying away food. I swept a paw around his room to prove the point. “But dad,” he chittered, “there’ll be a spotlight on me!” Okay, that can be a problem. Just ask Texas congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. For months, his supporters have complained that Paul didn’t get enough media attention. Now they’re complaining that he is. It seems Paul published some newsletters back in the early 1990s that included some disgustingly racist comments. Or “innocuous” comments, if you believe the U.S. needs “an explicitly pro-White party.” With supporters like that…. Paul says he didn’t write those newsletters and did not approve of their content. He says the fact that racists endorse him doesn’t mean he endorses racism. Or sexism. Or homophobia....

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Furthermore! – My Second Anniversary

It’s hard to believe I’ve been known around BPI for two years. So much has changed. The hot tub faculty lounge squirrel bath was put in beside my tree. I modeled for the campus logo and many of the category logos. I became BPI’s roving reporter, to pay my tuition while I work on my thesis in 21st Century Political Nuttitude. (That seems like an odd deal because BPI doesn’t charge tuition, but I’m used to it.) They found my garden gnome. My roving reporter duties took me to conservative conferences, union protests, and even the U.S. Open golf tournament (after a side trip to cover a presidential golf outing). The baby was Regis and now he’s in college. I became BPI’s class war correspondent and covered the Occupy Wall Street movement for a few weeks. Then I took personal leave and got home just in time for the birth of our new babies, Nancy and Michelle. And you wouldn’t know about any of that except the resident faculty, staff, and students held a Solstice Party…. +++++ On the first day of Solstice, a squirrel said to me: Come dance around my tree. +++++ On the second day of Solstice, a squirrel said to me: Watch out for my nuts, but Come dance around my tree. +++++ On the third day of Solstice, a squirrel said to me: Don’t...

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Furthermore! – This Is Reform?

I suppose it’s my own fault. I enjoy the BPI staff poker game on Sunday mornings. The game is fun, and I sometimes learn innovative ways to express grumpiness as the mail room clerk sifts through the week’s correspondence. But yesterday I returned to my tree to find Mrs. Squirrel and Regis discussing how to rearrange our living nook for the holidays. “I thought we’d try something different,” Mrs. Squirrel explained. I should mention that, although Árbol Squirrel is a large tree, we don’t have a large home. Having one might attract large visitors of the sort who say “Let’s get together for dinner!” and intend their hosts to be on the menu. So there isn’t a lot of space in the living nook, and rearranging it means hauling all the stuff out and hauling it all back and when we’re done it looks pretty much just like it did before we started. Or maybe I’m biased from my research in 21st Century Political Nuttitude. For example, lots of people want to start new political parties which will, they insist, be better than the existing parties. One of those is the Reform Party, whose core principles are a mix the sensible (e.g.: public campaign financing), the senseless (e.g.: Balanced Budget Amendment), and the silly (e.g.: opposing the North American Union and NAFTA Superhighway). I call the last two silly...

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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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