Dumbest (uncorrected) Choices in American History: Shortlist

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My list of REALLY STUPID CHOICES made in American history; just a short-list I am afraid:

Diet Food” that is more chemicals than food

Having the Soviet Union an “ally” in WWII – better to have let them go it alone; email for full argument

The Electoral College in the Age of Communication; direct election of all offices should be the norm; Political Parties are OBSOLETE and COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE

Public Sector Unions

Adding “under God” to the Pledge making it a point of division instead of unity

Lotus and Apple’s Patent-the-Universe Syndrome making the courts accept patents on things never meant for patent

Failing to live up to Dr. King’s vision and refusing to stop being prejudiced regarding race

Private campaign donations of any kind other than labor

Campaign donations by businesses

Supreme Court deciding that money= a right to a louder voice for YOUR ‘free speech

Dropping the no-partisanship requirements for radio talk-shows and ‘interview’ programs

Letting Lawyers advertise

Supreme Court declaring that nothing of value is earned by the recipient of a military award or decoration

Women’s, Chicano, Black “Studies” propping up people selected, distorted and lionized with blatant prejudice; taking away self-respect while pretending to help by ‘giving the poor things a hand’, and White Studies designed to rip on Western Culture for the same purpose – removing its self-respect – it seems non-whites are too dumb or clueless to run their own lives or stand up to whites and that whites are just intrinsically demonic – welcome to the enlightened world of PC education

Failing to settle on the point in a pregnancy where a woman’s choice is MADE and she must be held responsible for an infant rather than a piece of owned tissue. (6 month preemies regularly survive today and the Radical Right’s agenda on abortion would make women all but chattel)

Worrying more about which consenting adults, what age, color or how many may legally get ‘married’; ignoring the concept of duty, honor and responsibility anyone brings to their marriages

Bilingual Education as a policy

Helmets, knee and elbow-pads for tricycle riders

Peer promotion in school

Affirmative Action after 1990 – where was the transition to color-blind government?

Worrying more about what actual people have DONE with their guns than trying to get law-abiding folk to not have any at all

Electing Andrew Jackson, Jimmy Carter, George W., and Obama

Forgetting that ALL countries do best with immigrants if they pick from the TOP of the pile instead of the bottom

Paying a private group to print/coin money like a product to be bought forgetting that money has no ‘intrinsic’ value’; dollars are just counters for the economic game; increasing or decreasing the supply by fiat to ACCURATELY reflect the production/wealth of a nation is the ONLY reason when deciding when or if to print more money, or let the cash pool contract

Deciding that political consensus and no working model or scientific theory that has been tested is sufficient when making decisions in haste that could wreck the world’s entire economy/infrastructure; in the 70’s it was the next Ice Age that was imminent… no models then either

Making an “eco-friendly” light-bulb containing hazardous amounts of mercury

Adults stealing Halloween from the children and making it another grown-ups party holiday

The Writer’s Strike

ANY serious university or college that “emphasized” sports to make money and enabled ‘tails’ that can wag Great Danes with ease

Do Americans Feel Proud of Winning What They Do Not Deserve?

Sometimes when you least expect it Life gets good. I had such a moment this week when I opened an email from an editor at David Horowitz’s NewsRealBlog.com
Making a short story shorter I will now be a contributor to NewsReal Blog.

Between that and seeing a pair of articles cause quite a stir around D.C. from the Senate and House to The Library of Congress I would have to say that this week hasn’t sucked.

Here is my first article for NewsRealBlog.com

One Third of Americans Proud to Win What They Don’t Deserve
2009 October 21

Are Americans asleep, not paying attention, or simply stoned out of their minds? Has the zero-sum mentality become so prevalent that unearned triumphs are something to take pride in? Does seeing “Our Team” wearing medals, while the real winner of the race stands in the shadows, feel good to more than one third of Americans?

Anderson Cooper 360 yesterday discussed recent polls regarding public approval ratings of President Obama. The polls revealed some rather startling information that, if true, shows a significant portion of the population to be uninterested in fair play:

“Most Americans, 56 percent, don’t approve of the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama, and only a third believe that Obama has done enough to deserve the prize. But seven in 10 are proud that a U.S. president won the prestigious award.”

Now, my math is not in the rocket science class, but those numbers say a lot to me. Only one-third of Americans think Obama deserved the Nobel Peace Prize but more than two-thirds are proud “our guy” won it. Doesn’t that add up to about one-third of the country being proud to win something undeserved?

READ IT ALL AT NEWSREALBLOG.COM

I asked for a witness and one appeared!


A case for ‘civil religion’
What unites those in this new-fangled progressive faith? A belief in America — whether one is Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheist or fill-in-the-blank. Welcome to Norman Lear’s world, a place where the nation’s ideals are embraced with a ‘religious’ intensity.

By Tom Krattenmaker

(Illustration by Web Bryant / USA TODAY)
Upon first impression, you’d think it was another patriotic country song and video: A man in a cowboy hat sits on the stairs of the Jefferson Memorial, singing earnestly about hard times. Guitars twang in the background. The refrain swells with lyrics about liberty and the Bible. But the scenes shift, and suddenly there’s an Asian-American woman playing a cello in front of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Then: an all-black gospel choir belting out the song with New York’s skyline for a backdrop, and then a man in a Muslim robe with Mount Rushmore just behind him and a woman in the prayer shawl of a Jewish cantor right beside him. Together they sing, “I’m a born-again American.”

It’s Garth Brooks-meets-We Are the World, and it’s not the product of Nashville, but straight out of Hollywood and the imagination of Norman Lear. That’s right — the TV-mogul-turned-activist Norman Lear who brought you All in the Family, The Jeffersons and the separation-of-church-and-state advocacy group People for the American Way.

That a secular Jewish liberal like Lear would put himself on the line with a song extolling “my Bible and the Bill of Rights” signals a growing openness to religion on the part of progressive America. But more than that, Lear and his Born Again American initiative point the way to an inclusive, unifying form of public faith that will serve the country better than the divide-and-conquer religiosity of the old evangelical politics, and the no-religion-allowed excesses of modern liberalism.

It might seem odd that Lear, of all people, would be urging progressive Americans past their inhibitions about patriotism and faith. This is the man once dubbed the No. 1 enemy of the American family by Jerry Falwell, the late Christian right leader, and castigated as “anti-American” and “anti-patriotic” by right-wing groups such as the National Prayer Network.

But those acquainted with the creator of Archie and Edith Bunker know that Lear has always had a spiritual side. At last year’s Take Back America conference — a gathering of progressive leaders and activists — Lear spoke unabashedly of God and gratitude, of religion and reverence; and he called on the assembled to stop ceding the faith territory to outspoken conservatives.

As the 86-year-old Lear often puts it, religion and the larger search for meaning “are the greatest conversation going — and I want in.” He doesn’t mean a “conversation” like the one we’ve been having, in which one side acts repulsed by any mention of the divine in the public square, while the other claims God as its mascot and wields religion like a political weapon. As progressive evangelical spokesman Jim Wallis of Sojourners puts it, the solution to “bad religion” is not secularism, but “better religion.”

Asked about his vision of constructively applied faith in public life, Lear gets downright lyrical. “I love the metaphor of a 1,500-mile-long river,” he says. “The weather changes along the way. The trees and plants continually change. But it’s the same water, nourishing all the trees, all the vegetation, in all its variations. That’s the way I think about religion. I think of it as reverence. It transcends any dogma. Whether it’s Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist or anything else, it’s all that same river of reverence.”

In his work to bring forward religion’s nourishing and inclusive qualities, Lear has an ally in the loftiest of “pulpits” now. At the prayer-filled festivities around Barack Obama’s inauguration, the 44th president made sure that respects were paid to a wide array of faith traditions. “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus,” Obama said, “and non-believers.”

What, then, unites us?

Belief in the USA, answers Lear — belief in a Constitution that has brilliantly stood the test of time; belief in shared history, holidays and rituals; belief in the Founding Fathers and the founding documents.

Lear is describing what academics call “civil religion” — a national creed of sorts that unites people across sectarian, ethnic and other divides, and calls them to revere the nation’s ideals with something approaching “religious” intensity.

….

(HH here: I don’t really agree here. I thik that what is beinig held up are basic principals that many ideologies can share as opposed to holding up the State itself for glorification. It is that we ACT like Americans that matters, not that where we are born.)
Is Lear dipping our toes into troublesome waters with his Born Again American campaign? At least a few think so.

So much for inter-religious respect. Day’s response reminds us of what has been wrong with our approach to religious and other disagreements, and of what is so promising about Lear’s inclusive vision. After decades of culture wars fueled by religious differences, we could be entering a new era in which Americans place more emphasis on what unites us and the rest of the world, and on ways that religion can serve more consistently as a source of unity and uplift.

Allegiance to ethics

The cautions about civil religion are worth heeding, of course. Even so, humility goes a long way toward curbing the potential for abuse and excess. Lear clearly gets this. Being a born-again American, he says, is not about national self-worship but about allegiance to the ethical principles upon which the nation was founded and a commitment to acting on those principles in pursuit of the common good.

As part of his campaign, Lear and his Declare Yourself organization are asking Americans to sign a pledge to become their “country’s keeper” and recommit themselves to active and thoughtful citizenship.

If that’s what it means to be a born-again American, start handing out the pens. And let the conversions begin.

Tom Krattenmaker, who lives in Portland, Ore., specializes in religion in public life and is a member of USA TODAY’s board of contributors. His book on Christianity in professional sports will be published in the spring.

Posted at 12:16 AM/ET, February 23, 2009 in On religion column, Religion – Forum | Permalink