Fandango’s Flashback Friday — September 17th

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 17th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.

This was originally posted on September 17, 2009 on my old blog. I read this old post, which was written just eight months after Barack Obama was sworn in as President, for the first time since I wrote it a dozen years ago and was amazed how little, politically speaking, has changed. Actually that’s not true. It’s gotten even worse!

Fractured American Psyche

It seems that our national psyche is so fractured today that no matter what one side does, proposes, promotes, or suggests, the other side reacts vocally and violently against it. While this antipathy is not exclusively the domain of the Republicans and conservatives, they are the most vocal and organized in their opposition to any initiatives that promote progressive changes of any sort to the status quo. I guess that’s why they’re called conservatives.

As I think back at landmark social legislation of the 20th century, I wonder how many such programs would have succeeded if the technology we have today existed back then. Would FDR have been able to get the Social Security Act approved by Congress back in 1935 had the blogosphere existed?

Would Social Security be there for America’s retirees if conservative talk radio pundits filled the airwaves, and if 24-hour cable news channels provided a national soap box for anyone with a high Q-Score (high IQ score optional) from which to spew his or her partisan venom? I doubt it. After all, the Social Security Act is the very definition of socialism, is it not?

What about LBJ’s landmark Medicare/Medicaid legislation from 1965? Or how about the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Would Congress have been able to enact 1974’s Employee Retirement and Income Security Act (ERISA), or even the more recent Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 (COBRA) and 1996’s Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)?

No, I don’t believe any of these programs could have stood the onslaught of instant analysis and intense partisan scrutiny available through the Internet and the plethora of talk-radio shows and cable news networks.

I believe that our nation’s political and legislative system is functionally disabled. There is so much acrimony emanating from each side of the aisle toward the other that little to nothing of real value can be accomplished from either the Executive Branch or Congress.

Our health care delivery system is in dire need of a major overhaul, but real reform won’t happen because of the special interests and self-serving ideological differences that get in the way of progress. If anything does come out of this, it will be a watered-down, toothless compromise that doesn’t effectively address any of the underlying issues that plague the health care system in this country.

Conservative politicians and pundits are using misinformation and scare tactics as they preach their gospel from their 24×7, technologically enhanced pulpits and stand in the way of needed reforms and societal progress.

And now these obstructionists are organizing efforts and encouraging parents to keep their children out of school on the day of Obama’s video cast so that they don’t even have the opportunity to hear the President encourage them, our children, to work hard and stay in school.


One-Liner Wednesday — $276 Million

“Imagine what could be accomplished if Republicans decided to work within the democratic process rather than against it.”

Pat Rudebusch

Never heard of Pat Rudebusch? Neither have I. But the quote above was how Pat ended her letter to the editor that was published in yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle.

The context of Pat’s letter was the recall election of California governor Gavin Newsom coming up on September 14th. $276 million is the cost of the gubernatorial recall election, according to the California Department of Finance. A cost that is being borne by California taxpayers.

Pat argues that the recall effort to unseat California’s sitting governor is “a case study irresponsibility. Absent any legitimate reasons to remove an elected official from office, the Republican Party has embarked upon a sinister effort to undo the decision of the vast majority of voters — a larger percentage of voters, in fact, than any governor has earned in California history.”

We are facing unprecedented challenges from climate change, a crumbling infrastructure, and a global pandemic. Surely there are far better ways to focus our attention and to spend our tax dollars than on this ridiculous, purely partisan recall election.

Trump Republicans in red states across the country have been attacking election results and passing laws to subvert our Constitutional right to vote. Now they’re trying to grab power in California, abusing the recall process and costing taxpayers millions of dollars.

As Pat Rudebusch wrote in her letter, “Imagine what could be accomplished if Republicans decided to work within the democratic process rather than against it.”

Written for Linda G. Hill’s One-Liner Wednesday prompt. Sorry that I wrote more than one line, but Pat Rudebusch and I are pissed.

Government Overreach Hypocrisy

On Wednesday, after deliberate inaction on the part of the conservative U.S. Supreme Court, the “heartbeat bill” took effect in the state of Texas. It bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. Considering that most women don’t learn that they’re pregnant until just around that time, abortion has essentially just been outlawed in Texas.

And, of course, other Republican-led states are now falling all over themselves to enact restrictive abortion laws patterned after the Texas law.

I find it ironic that Republican law makers in Texas (and in other “red states”) decry government overreach when it comes to “personal liberties” such as mask mandates, COVID vaccinations, common sense gun laws, and federal oversight on virtual anything, but they’re quite comfortable with government overreach when it comes to a woman’s uterus and interfering with her ability to make sensitive reproductive health decisions privately with her medical provider.

Fandango’s Provocative Question #131


Welcome once again to Fandango’s Provocative Question. Each week I will pose what I think is a provocative question for your consideration.

By provocative, I don’t mean a question that will cause annoyance or anger. Nor do I mean a question intended to arouse sexual desire or interest.

What I do mean is a question that is likely to get you to think, to be creative, and to provoke a response. Hopefully a positive response.

I recently read some interesting statistics regarding how Americans perceive climate change. In a poll by The Economist/YouGov, 72% of Democrats believe governments can take actions to slow climate change, compared with only 24% of Republicans.

More than 80% of Democrats, half of independents, and less than a third of Republicans believe that human activity is warming the planet. Two-thirds of Republicans say massive wildfires, prolonged droughts, and severe hurricanes are events that “just happen from time to time.”

So with this in mind, my provocative question this week is this…

Do you believe that human activity is a significant contributor to climate change or do you concur with those who believe that changes to the climate naturally occur from time to time?

If you choose to participate, write a post with your response to the question. Once you are done, tag your post with #FPQ and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments. But remember to check to confirm that your pingback or your link shows up in the comments.