An Open Letter to Al Franken

Dear Senator Franken,

I received your appeal for assistance regarding the changes you are recommending in student loan funding. I suspect you and I come from similar education backgrounds, so please accept this advice with the knowledge that I, too, am a liberal arts college graduate.

The country does not need any more historians, lawyers, musicians, cooks and chefs, truck drivers, writers, self-study experts, actors, dancers, psychologists or sociologists, MBAs and accountants. The nation is overstuffed with the skills provided by all of those "disciplines." The country needs to be able to sustain itself and its economy. Hobbies glorified by academia as "fields of study" aren't going to provide the talents or industry to support 300 million people. Doing actual work, providing practical value, is the only thing that can save us.

If the public is going to be asked to foot the bill to educate the generation of children who were handicapped by "No Child Left Untested," I think we should get our money's worth. Instead of shoveling money into the wasteland of worthless activity's, I'd like to see some focus to student loans. Engineering, science, and medicine are all worthwhile and practical fields of study and all of those will produce the skills necessary for the next century. Consider putting the nation's money where it's values are; where a return on the investment is likely instead of impossible. At this point, the disipline provided by a serious education is critical to the nation's success. It's time for the federal government to make value judgements and serious decisions with taxpayer's money. Stop funding hobbies and start reforming higher education in this country.


Who are they, really?

The more I listen to the rantings of the crazies who represent the Teabaggers, the more I worry about where this country is going. Where ever they raise their vicious heads, the wingnuts always have the world's corporations backing them. No matter how often they try to portray themselves as being the "little guy," the right is doing the bidding of the real "Powers that Be." You can't find a single Teabagger position that doesn't parrot exactly what large corporations are saying. Not a one.

Now, Palin is asking her angry band of nutcases to put their gun sights on elected officials and "target" them for elimination. "Don't Retreat, instead - RELOAD!" If you ever questioned who our government works for, that is answered when this vicious hate monger can get away with telling packs of crazies to kill elected officials without penalty. These people killed Kennedy and they will do their best to kill Obama and anyone who stands between them and their New World Order, to quote one of the Teabaggers' sponsors; George Bush.

When a war protestor can be removed from the cameras' eye for wearing a tee-shirt during Little George's rein of terror but a Teabagger can proudly strap on a pistol and shoulder-up an assault rifle and join a march of similar nutcases in front of a building where Obama is speaking, you know who the Secret Service is protecting and who it is pretending to protect. As the song said, "This is not America." This is not a democracy. This is a scary place full of crazy people.

Palin's Bush-whipped ex-running mate, McCain, said, "that rhetoric and kind of language is just part of the political lexicon." The more McCain tries to appeal to the crazies, the more he exposes himself to be about as "independent" as a cartoon commercial character. Palin and McCain are poster-children for a career in becoming a corporate shill. Their yak about "death panels" and bureaucratic medical decision terror is a distraction from the fact that our current health-care system is all about bottom-line optimization for the wrong people.

We have death panels; they are called "insurance companies." We have health-care decisions made by ignorant bureaucrats; they are called "medical directors" and they act exclusively in the interests of the corporations they serve. The Teabaggers are a racist, anti-democratic, pack of clowns who would overthrow 225 years of democracy to serve their corporate masters and we should all be afraid of them and put them on notice that we're not going to stand for their idiocy in our towns and cities. They should be labeled as what they are; corporate brown shirts. They should be ridiculed and monitored like the pack if wild dogs they represent. They are not Palin's "real America," they represent the worst of that which America has tolerated in the last two centuries: lynch mobs, corporate goons, corrupt government officials, fascists, and fools. They dishonor our democracy and the ideals for which our Constitution stands.


A Battle of Words, Not Ideas

Conservatives, properly named for their timidity and loyalty to the existing powers and authority, decided about 30 years ago to go on the attack to redefine their opponents. Somehow, that idiotic tactic worked, so they are sticking with it. With boatloads of crazy talk and completely idiotic "reasoning," they successfully redefined (for idiots and illiterates) the definition of "liberal."

"Conservative: of or relating to a philosophy of conservatism b capitalized : of or constituting a political party professing the principles of conservatism: as (1) : of or constituting a party of the United Kingdom advocating support of established institutions (2) : progressive conservative 3 a : tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions : traditional b : marked by moderation or caution c : marked by or relating to traditional norms of taste, elegance, style, or manners"

As defined by the Merriam Webster Dictionary

Any idiot with a 3rd grade education knows that "liberal" is a complimentary term and "conservative" is another word for "coward" or "rich asshole." Not anymore. There is an entire television network, Faux News, dedicated to convincing the rest of us that being a lilly-livered, gutless wimp is a "good thing." Of course, they've done a pretty good job of it. Amazing. A political party and a network solely dedicated to protecting the interests of international corporations, trust fund babies, and corporate criminals defining their enemies and convincing people who are regularly violated by exactly these conservative interests to worry about the "rights" of their natural and constant enemies. Somewhere, "stupid" ought to be in the definition of conservative, too.

"Liberal: 1 a : of, relating to, or based on the liberal arts education> b archaic : of or befitting a man of free birth2 a : marked by generosity : openhanded b : given or provided in a generous and openhanded way c : ample, full3 obsolete : lacking moral restraint : licentious4 : not literal or strict : loose 5 : broad-minded; especially : not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or traditional forms6 a : of, favoring, or based upon the principles of liberalism b capitalized : of or constituting a political party advocating or associated with the principles of political liberalism; especially : of or constituting a political party in the United Kingdom associated with ideals of individual especially economic freedom, greater individual participation in government, and constitutional, political, and administrative reforms designed to secure these objectives"

As defined by the Merriam Webster Dictionary

Not being satisfied with defaming "liberal," the propaganda machine is now going after the word "progressive." Again, any idiot would know the antonym of "progressive" is "regressive," which is exactly what a modern conservative typlifies as is demonstrated by the Teabaggers and every elected Republican in the nation. So, how do you get the uneducated, unwashed, unintelligent public to buy into this foolishness? Check out this synopsis from the Media Matters Institute.


Who Cares about Idiocracy?

For a large part of my life, I've carried around a few books and one notebook full of short stories clipped from a variety of magazines. One of those short stories is "Marching Morons" by C.M. Kornbluth. The movie Idiocracy was ripped from the pages of "Marching Morons" and dumbed-down into something a pack of marching Hollywood morons could comprehend. Still, the basic premise--the dumb keep breeding like rabbits while the best minds of our species take a pass on reproduction--held together for the first 1/4 of Idiocracy. The conclusion of the movie was that the incredibly stupid would figure out how to feed themselves. The conclusion of "Marching Morons" was that the microscopic percentage of remaining intellects would find a way to jettison the stupid. Either scenario is depressing and unrealistic.

This morning, it struck me that the problem is a non-starter; unless you are under the delusion that humanity is somehow precious to the universe. Let's take it as a given that humanity will never brighten up enough to stop killing itself. Most likely we face a terrible future, regardless of what a few pitiful humans do to try and avert it. Humans will doing stupid destructive things, keep electing greedy idiots who will aggravate every problem, the incredibly corrupt will keep inventing crazy religions (ie. capitalism, communism, Christianity, Islam, etc.) that distract the foolish and waste valuable resources, and the dumbest will out reproduce the intelligent in exponentially greater numbers.

The sad part of this hurtle to oblivion is that some good people will most likely go down with the overwhelming majority of idiots. The upside, which came to me this morning, is that the number of intelligent humans on the planet will be declining exponentially over the next couple of generations and that minimizes the tragedy. In fact, after watching a few moments of Faux News, I'm sort of looking forward to an end to the species. Between the Teabagger Ladies and corporate scumbags, my tolerance for my own fauna has fallen to a new low.


Creating Power, Creating Community

My wife and I attended an event at a small St. Paul Library last night. This was an old Carnegie library building in one of the older parts of the city, so it's one of the many libraries on the Ramsey Country Library Board's chopping block. This old library reminded me of the primary purpose of public libraries; creating communities.

This local library has been, obviously, starved for resources, but it still keeps attracting neighbors and serving the local community. In fact, the only way to stop a library like this from being used is to close its doors.

This community-building value is a purpose that modern politicians have either forgotten or one that they oppose. It's hard to tell which. For example, our local library politicians are creating a monolith of a library that will be a monument to government excess and community consolidation. When it's finished, the new Roseville Library will suck resources from every other Ramsey County Library until the library board begins to close those small libraries to make room in the budget for the one-and-only-library the country will be able to afford to keep open. Ramsey County is following the incompetent example of Minneapolis, because that's what mismanagement does. One mistake deserves another.

All of this is a good thing for the overpaid, underworked, completely useless bureaucrats who mismanage the country's resources. A giant building means giant management salaries, which means larger salaries for the politicians who mismanage the bureaucrats, which means higher taxes, which means a more stressed, less connected community, which continues the cycle of abuse and incompetence.

As in the business world, the word "leadership" has lost all meaning in government. Conservative characters like Pawlenty gabber about "responsible government" while building monuments to bureaucratic incompetence as fast as they can borrow the money to do so. Their only concern is packing the pockets of their supporters and themselves, while doing as much damage to communities as possible. The weaker, the less informed, the less educated the voters are, the easier they are to mislead. Shredding the value of public libraries to local communities is just part of this tactic.

In a few years, when the United States becomes a minor world power, broke and stagnate and paralyzed by incompetence and politics, the rest of the world will study how we came to such a low state and wonder how anyone could have not anticipated this future. The route from superpower to disaster zone is one of history's most repeated stories. Here we go again.