An admission: for a quick glance at the political news of the day, I generally turn to a small handful of places; one of my favorites is Reddit, especially the Politics subreddit. It is admittedly very left-leaning, as is most of Reddit, but still does a good job of skewering bad moves from either side. Today’s post will be a look at the current top five headlines, and my thoughts thereon (next week, we return to the Survival Questions).
1. “Every four years, the U.S. holds a presidential election, and every four years, musicians ask Republican candidates to stop playing their songs at rallies.” While the rest of the article goes on to describe the “official” Obama Album (for use at Democratic rallies), the first few paragraphs dwell on the above statement. I’ll admit, I’ve thought it, as well. Cease-and-desists have come from the authors/singers of: “Eye of the Tiger,” “Wavin’ Flag,” “American Girl,” “Barracuda,” “Brand New Day,” “Road to Nowhere,” “Running on Empty,” “Little Pink Houses,” and others. For at least the last three Presidential election cycles, the Republicans have been pinged for using songs without authorization (and in some cases, without giving real thought to what the lyrics are about). These are the people that roughly half of the electorate wants as the national leader? Folks who (repeatedly!) can’t be bothered to contact the authors of these songs, to ask if they can use them? Isn’t that a copyright issue–something that most of these same candidates want strengthened?
2. “Obama fights to retain warrantless wiretapping.” The headline makes this look a bit more ominous than it would seem to be, reading the article. The warrantless wiretap program was started under G.W. Bush, to much consternation. The ACLU has a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the 2008 law allowing the wiretaps; the “fight” mentioned in the headline is a Justice Department request that the Supreme Court squelch the lawsuit. The vast majority of the (fairly short) article is on the history of the wiretaps; this looks to me like “typical” legal wrangling, and not a big “fight.” The point of interest is that it’s the Obama administration doing the wrangling, despite running on a campaign decrying this sort of wrangling from the Bush administration… Just backs up the old adage that it doesn’t matter who you vote for; the government still gets elected.
3. “Santorum: Liberals are the “anti-science” ones.” Wow. Just, wow. Where to begin, here? I think the money quote is this:
He continued: “Whereas, we all know that man has a responsibility of stewards of the Earth, that we are good stewards and we have a responsibility to be good stewards. Why? Because unlike the Earth, we’re intelligent and we can actually manage things.”
“It’s so funny that this party that criticizes the right for being anti-science, but when it comes to the management of the Earth, they are the anti-science ones!” the candidate declared. “We’re the ones who stand for science and technology and using the resources we have to make sure we have a quality of life in this country and maintain a good and stable environment.”
Um. Actually, if you’ll listen to them, the scientists and technologists are overwhelmingly saying that we can’t keep using the resources we have in the way we have, maintaining our current quality of life *and* maintaining a good and stable environment. See: peak oil, climate change. Also, the Earth has been doing fine managing things for several hundred million years, at least; there’s this thing called the “biosphere,” with inherent checks and balances. Things only went awry when us supposedly “intelligent” people started trying to “manage” things…
4. “Pat Robertson: “Iceland punished the people who created their financial crisis, and I think we could teach our children moral values by doing the same to American bankers. They lied to everyone; their lies should be punished.”” Ah, the ever-popular self-linked post (it goes straight to the comments, not to an article). Loathe though I am to agree with Robertson, in this particular point, I believe he has the right of it, so to speak. The Right-wing endlessly declares their love of Capitalism; wouldn’t the Capitalist philosophy have denied the possibility of “too big to fail,” and let the banks crash? If these bankers, through their drive to make more money, recklessly endangered the entire American economy (possibly even the global economy), shouldn’t they have been brought to heel? …The original post has some added commentary about Santorum, and how theology is irrelevant to politics. Well, color me shocked–I’ve agreed with Robertson twice, in one day!
5. “PayPal founder gives $1.7 million to Ron Paul super PAC.” Oddly, this isn’t the headline of the article. It’s not even in the first half of the article. (Apparently, it *was* the headline of the article, but was changed.) I don’t really see the particular outrage, beyond the generic “the Rich are buying the election!” meme. The entirety of the article is basically a list of which of the mega-wealthy are donating how much to which campaign’s super PAC. It’s really a surprisingly large sum of money, all told, and a surprisingly small field of donors. I, for one, will
welcome our new robot overlords be glad when Citizens United is overturned, if ever…