Palin out of control as a face in the crowd and me as the world’s worst customer…

May 31, 2011

I usually stick to one topic in my blog posts, but I want to, for wont of time, quickly address two separate issues.

One, which I should just leave alone, but can’t, is Sarah Palin. I have come to not only dislike her, but in fact detest her. She makes a mockery out of presidential politics, which should be pretty serious stuff (okay Trump and others do that too). There is no evidence so far that she stands for anything and that she in fact knows anything of public policy and American history and even world geography, or politics, really.

What she does know about is how to capitalize on near accidental fame. Ever since John McCain pulled her out of nowhere to run as his vice presidential running mate in his bid for the White House she has turned a political loss into a financial gold mine for herself, doing the speaker tour and book thing and raising money thing. Some would say that shows she is one smart lady. Well a prostitute can make a lot of money, but that does not say much for her (and I did not call Palin a wh…, directly anyway; I just made an anology of sorts).

For those who would not like to see the Republicans retake the White House, Palin may be the best thing that could happen. Even if she is unsuccessful she messes things up for the whole party, siphoning off support others would need.

(But, God forbid, what if, by some quirk, she made it to the White House!?)

There is at least one book out on her by a former staff member of hers that I understand describes her as terribly selfish and vindictive and as basically a phony, whether it be in her devotion to the conservative cause or religion. I don’t know about all that for sure, although the indications seem to be there for anyone who has even glanced at the news since she came on the scene. I doubt I will take time to read the book, but I may.

She reminds me of the character Andy Griffith played in a movie called “A Face in the Crowd” where some TV producers pick a country bumpkin out of nowhere and make him famous. He starts out as a seemingly good guy, but once the fame goes to his head, he gets out of control and rather ugly.

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The second topic: well it is probably not worth mentioning, but I will anyway. I am probably the world’s worst customer. I hate shopping (generally) and I hate going in to get my computer serviced or looked at. But I was having trouble using my computer in its mobile mode. I went to the place where it was bought — everything, the computer and the air card and programs and programming was all done and/or bought there. I spent maybe an hour or two there and talked to three different people at least and was led from station to station and in the end accomplished nothing and left, to say the least, a dissatisfied customer, and of course I told them so.

As it turned out I should have gone directly to the AT&T store (although I spoke to purported AT&T representatives in the afore-mentioned store).

But even there I had to call the AT&T customer service line first (I had done so before I went, at the advice, I admit, from the afore-mentioned computer store — so maybe I did get something accomplished there after all, in a way).

I got a new air card, which I was told would be free, but it cost $20, but I was made to feel good because it is supposed to cost $300.

Remember when all we had were the old-fashioned telephones that the phone company installed themselves? What if we would have had to pay $300 at any given time if the phone went bad?

I did not mention the name of the computer store. It is a well-known chain. But they are good at some things and I am probably the world’s worst customer anyway.

I’m not all that big on the whole computer thing, but when they work they sure are handy and it does allow me to do this blog, which I enjoy.


Sarah Palin: you have a right to free speech, but have you no shame?

January 13, 2011

It’s too bad someone could not stand up to Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity and Rush Limburger Cheese and their ilk and say to them what that Army counsel said to Sen. Joseph McCarthy all those years ago: “… Have you no shame? Have you no sense of decency?…”

(Okay, I’ve now read the actual quote was, in part: “… Have you no sense of decency…? At long last have you no sense of decency?”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_N._Welch )

Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, whose head was made a symbolic target by Palin, darling of the Tea Party set, is critically wounded, a federal judge and several others, six in all, dead and some 20 people in all shot and all they can think to do is circle the wagons around their constant inflammatory rhetoric — and it is just that, rhetoric with little to no substance — and use the whole tragic event to continue to charge that people want to take guns away from American citizens, violating their Second Amendment rights, and to prevent Tea Partiers and others from exercising free speech.

It is not Sarah Palin’s fault that a deranged young man who had reportedly spouted off incomprehensible statements and posted disturbing stuff online took it upon himself to be an assassin. But certainly if she had any decency she would be contrite and publicly express some contrition (or at least shut up) about her own actions.

As everyone who follows such stuff knows, Palin had before the last election posted maps of various congressional districts with the cross hairs of gun sights overlaying the heads of various office holders, including Giffords, she felt the Republicans and Tea Party should go after (bring down in electoral defeat).

Because the issue of gun rights is such a hot button and such a draw, particularly among the far right, she used the analogy of the target range or hunting or war in her call for political victory over said opponents.

In a most tragic irony, the gravely wounded Tucson, Arizona area congresswoman, Giffords, was one of those with the Palin target on her head.

Then last Saturday (Jan. 8, 2011) one Jared Lee Loughner, 22, of Tucson, without warning, shot Congresswoman Giffords and the others in a shopping mall parking lot near a Safeway store while the congresswoman was meeting with constituents.

So does Palin lay low or offer quiet and circumspect apology? Well, she did lay low for a few days, but then in the modern, and particularly Palin style, she posted a video response where she can talk and not have to respond in person to any troubling questions.

I watched the video (as much as I could stomach). She seemed to be charging that her opponents were using the incident to stifle her — and to a limited extent she might be correct.

(In a New York Times article and elsewhere she was sniped at for using the term “blood libel” (you can look that one up), which she claimed described what she was being subjected to. On that I just felt she or her script writers were just using a little acceptable license in a kind of analogistic word play. But the disturbing thing is the fact either Palin or her detractors might see it appropriate to dwell on the ongoing political tug of war rather than the tragedy itself and how to prevent such things from happening, to the extent they can be prevented in a free and gun-toting society.

I think she could have defended her free speech rights and at the same time expressed sorrow that she had ever used the device of the targets, while assuring everyone she in no way meant it literally.

While I doubt Palin’s actions, or her actions alone at least, are what incited the nut case to act, it’s those type of actions that create an atmosphere in which certain nutcases are prompted to act. And it sets an evil, ugly tone in society that we would not want the younger and future generations to emulate or adopt. (And even though the nut case seemed to have been following  Palin’s right-wing-driven lead, some have described his rantings as left wing — but really there is not much difference between rants from the extremes.

P.s.

In a bizarre twist to this whole thing, the suspect in last Saturday’s shooting tragedy in Tucson had been pulled over for running a red light, I understand, just before the incident. Kind of similar to the Oklahoma federal building bomber being pulled over for a traffic violation after the fact with no immediate connection made by law enforcement, which is all meaningless, except that it goes to show the police are not all-knowing — would you want them to be? We don’t want the police state.

On one extreme all would carry guns and be shooting it out with each other and in the other extreme the black helicopters would be circling and all citizens would be stripped of their weapons and personal rights. It’s extremism from all the political angles that is the danger.


When outlaws become heroes watch out — the U.S. could go the way of Mexico

December 13, 2010

Power is ever-present in society and when it sees a vacuum it fills it.

Take the demonstrations that have just occurred in Morelia, Mexico in support of a drug cartel kingpin reportedly killed in a shootout with government forces. While the drug wars have killed and injured thousands over the past several years, including rivals in the drug gangs, police and soldiers, government officials , and innocent citizens, some of the people, apparently, are in sympathy with the outlaws. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/lt_drug_war_mexico

(Kind of a modern-day version of the Bonnie and Clyde fable, but much more threatening.)

In one way this seems crazy or topsy-turvy, but when one realizes that society seeks order, some type of order, and that people seek support and services, and when the existing elite and the government fail to offer it, some other source of power will take over, maybe there is some logic here.

(Apparently, the drug gang in question had been giving out free bibles and offering some help to locals in some crazy crime-ridden version of Christianity.)

This may be what is happening in Mexico, that is the outlaws have supplanted the role of the government. I do not pretend to know.

While my sympathy remains with law-abiding citizens down there who only want to live out their lives in peace, I think we have to let them down there figure out how to do that.

But when the troubles spill over the border, and they have to a degree, at least, then it becomes our problem up here in North America, the United States of America, to be exact.

We up here cannot escape the fact that there is a major illegal drug market on our side of the border — a vast demand, and that there is also a large illegal weapons or gun-running industry in the U.S. which supplies the cartels south of the border. We have to do what we can to dampen the demand and to stop the gun running.

I think the so-called War on Drugs, though, is for the most part a boondoggle that eats up a lot of tax money that could be better used elsewhere. What probably is needed more are programs that go more to the soul of society and counteract the feeling of hopelessness that seems to pervade much of our population. I’m not sure how you do that, but the fact that much of society is left idle with the at least perceived notion that there is little opportunity for a better life does not help. And the fact that our whole culture nowadays seems to glorify nothingness and shallowness and the quick buck, and sex for the sake of sex without any thought to humanity, does not help either. A lot of what we need to change on our side of the border does not involve money or the changing of hands of money, it’s more along the lines of attitude adjustment.

We are losing or have lost for the most part, the leadership and the elite in society who are moral and who are respected and looked up to.

That’s why we see the likes of the seemingly shallow and even ignorant Sarah Palin talked about now seriously as a candidate for president. It’s not that I think that Mrs. Palin is a bad human being — I don’t know about that. But c’mon can anyone with a straight face say that she has ever demonstrated having any substance or any real knowledge of world or even national affairs beyond cheap sound bites? Would you want her to have her hand on the nuclear trigger? Would you want to see some as yet unknown dark force take advantage of her ignorance and secretly run the country (such as Cheney to George W., that was bad enough).

And I am only using Palin as an example. Much of the reason that the seamier side of the Tea Party has had so much success is that there is a power vacuum because the elite in the nation have lost much of the trust of the vast majority or at least of a whole lot of the public.

Maybe all of what I have just written is a poor analogy, but I will go on with it, nonetheless. I see some connection.

At the least we risk being led by ill-prepared politicians, at the worst we risk being led by outlaws.

Let’s don’t go the way of Mexico!


Yes, Sarah Palin is apparently in it for the money, even if she tries to keep her feeding from the public trough secret — and oh that “niggardly” word….

April 1, 2010

A clue to what kind of political leader (president?) Sarah Palin would make is in the fact that she keeps secret how much money she makes for public speaking. She seems to be in this thing more for the money than any sense of public duty or altruism. You know she complains that the status quo in politics worry more about fattening up their own pocket books along with those of the special interests who fund them than representing the citizens at large.

I bring this up because Palin is lined up to speak at the state-run university in Turlock, California and it is reported she may be paid as much as $100,000 to do so. Tickets to hear her speak are being sold for $500 each. And this thing is at least partly supported by public funds because the California State University Stanislaus Foundation, the non-profit group sponsoring the event, gets administrative support from public funds and there presumably will be public-funded security —  how much public funding no one knows, because such foundations are not subject to public disclosure laws. 

And for all I know this is the usual thing — public figures getting big bucks for talking to the public at public venues.

But it is wrong, no matter who does it. The very idea that political aspirants or spokespeople, or even has-beens, would charge the public to speak to them is absurd and shameful and just plain wrong. Worse yet, university officials refuse to disclose how much public funds are to be spent. Gee, I thought Ms. Palin would want more transparency in the evil government she rails against.

ADD 1:

And to be clear here, I don’t begrudge Palin profiteering from on her extended 15 minutes of fame — I just don’t think it ought in any way to be at the public expense.

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And now to another subject, that strange word “niggardly”. It is not a form of the dreaded “N” word but it is often confused with it.

And sometimes, or at least in one case close to where I live (a town south of where I live), the confusion is apparently the whole idea — a despicable play on words.

A sign was posted on a local business that was going under. It claimed President Obama (our first black president), is “niggardly” and is hurting small businesses.

Niggardly means stingy (you can look it up). But it is a relatively obscure word not often used in every-day conversation or even every-day writing in the mass media.

There have been several controversies over the word’s use over the years, but in most of them the use was innocent, clearly not intended to be a double meaning.

While I object strongly to the implication of the local use of the word, I do not agree with those who are suggesting its use should be prosecuted as a hate crime. I don’t think I even agree in the concept of prosecuting hate crimes. While I believe in going after anyone who harms someone else, we don’t want to impinge on free speech or make even thoughts illegal. But we can consider the source of some of these things and judge accordingly.

P.s.

You can call up the “niggardly sign” story on the internet and see the photo of the sign. Actually it does not make sense to me, except for the obvious excuse to pretend to innocently use a word that sounds and looks like “nigger”, and thus pander to the ignorant and bigots (and ignorant bigots) among us. It just seems to say Obama is stingy and hurts small business. I thought the complaint against Obama was that he was anything but stingy in that he was handing out too many public dollars. Whether he hurts small businesses, I could not really say.