The Broad is Back!

September 30, 2017

Heading for a Fall of Massive Proportions

In 1858, Abraham Lincoln quoted the synoptic Gospels when he stated, “A house divided against itself will fall”. At the time, the Abolitioist Movement was growing, Dred Scott had been implemented, and the nation faced a decision: would slavery be outlawed everywhere or nowhere? It had to be one or the other.

His contemporaries were not happy with the speech or him. It was too radical, not good politics. It lost him the election to the US Senate, too.

In hindsight we see the speech as political prophecy. Three years later, America was in the midst of a bitter, violent civil war, the repercussions of which are still being felt today. We like to pretend it’s all over, done, settled, but one look at America today, and I think we can see it’s not.

So here we are, 152 years after the end of that war, 151 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, and pretty much we’re still seeing a house divided.

I have never seen the US this polarized in my entire life. Granted, I’m not ancient, but I remember my Republican grandfather swearing that Kennedy stole the election. I remember the Civil Rights Movement, Watergate, assorted Clintongates, the GWB election, the start of the Iraqi War. Those were pretty rough times in the US.

Although I very much remember the anger and the hatred spewed by the non-Left members of my family and our neighbors, I don’t remember severed friendships, threats of violence. I heard about violence, but not around us.

Perhaps we were just as polarized, but the Internet and the 24/7 news cycle has changed the world. We hear about everything moments after it happens. It’s not that we’re more polarized; it’s just that we know how bad it is.

Forty years of poor education in large parts of the US has also lead to a nation that is unable to critically think. That’s not me being elitist (though when did elite become a bad word?). That’s from a career college professor. Much of my teaching has been in urban community or four year colleges. Currently, I’m teaching the exact same demographic I started teaching in 1988.

My students today are as bright, as talented, as lovely as the students I had then. Not all are wonderful to be around, but on the whole, I teach good people. But the students today are far less prepared to be in college. Their math, reading and writing skills are hovering somewhere between 8th grade and 10th grade. I’m a writing teacher, but if you need to figure out your grade, you need to know math.

They are ill prepared for college and ill prepared for life. And they know it after about the first three weeks of college. The plaintive cry of “why didn’t I learn this in high school” is heard almost every week. I tell them they might have just forgotten, but anyone in education can tell you just how poorly American secondary schools doing.

I don’t want to make this about education–it’s about polarization and our house being divided–but I also see daily proof that education is a major part of our problem. People can’t think. People won’t think.

They also have lost the ability to listen, to reason, and to have civil debates. This is also a topic I’ve written about in the past. Slap my face and call me Cassandra. No one listens to me.

The current president is not popular, especially here in New York City where I live. But it wasn’t too long ago that I was living in Tennessee, surrounded by his supporters. There are many who do not think his actions are racist or bad for America. We can say “that’s because they are racist” but that’s not the whole story.

He’s also called an illegitimate president because he lost the popular vote. He’s not the first, and until the Constitution is changed, he probably won’t be the last. To those who argue that he lost, I say, by three million votes. The final popular vote for the top two candidates was 62,980,160 to 65,845,063. But that translated into 304 electoral college votes to 227. We all know the numbers.

Three million sounds like a lot of votes, but according to the US Census Bureau, the US population in 2016 was 323.1 million, so that’s a less than 1% margin of the population. Of total votes cast it was about a 2.1% difference.

That’s almost half a nation’s voters supporting him. Sure, we can say sexism or Russian influence (and they are valid, Russia seeming more valid by the day), but we also have to address the fact that we are a nation ruled by fear mongering, hatred, and hysteria.

So right now, two sides of the country are at each other’s throat. I know young people who won’t even discuss politics anymore because it’s become dogmatic, intolerant, and personal.

Every day my twitter feed and even the news sources are full of ad hominem attacks against anyone who makes a point or an opinion known. If one of my freshmen tried that, I’d send the paper back with  “take this out–poor logic” in red letters. Actually, many of my freshmen do try this, because it’s what they see around them daily.

Many of the people I know are only able to do the same. I’m not claiming I’m better, but I do think I try harder to listen to people. When they spew hate, I’m more apt to ask why they think that then to spew back.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s teachings are so deeply ingrained in me that I find it repulsive when I respond with hate. I’m human. I think bad things. I’ve said bad things. But at least I know what I’ve done.

Most people on earth are not horrible, soul less, evil, inhumane. In fact, they are very human. We’re not a very nice species. Racism is evil, but if they knew better, they’d do better. So let’s teach instead of firing back hate and insults. Education doesn’t always change minds, but hate doesn’t ever change a mind. Love can change minds. Love can open doors. Oh, I’ll just say it: love can move mountains.

I am, by nature, a Pollyanna, a Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, a person who is going to believe the best will happen. But I’m also a student of human nature and of history.

We are on a collision course in this country, and we’re pretty much split down the middle. There are nuances, of course, but the polarization is stretched pretty far and pretty tight. It is read to snap.

I do not want to see civil war, violent revolution, or an armed civil rights battle.

But I see it coming.

January 13, 2017

Fasten Your Seatbelts…

It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged about politics, so I have to start today’s post with some backstory. Sit back and relax. This one’s been brewing for about a year. I’m gonna be wordy here.

The first time I came back to America to live it was 2007, and the country was gearing up for the 2008 election. I blogged quite a bit back then about that race. I was a Kucinich supporter, saw him speak on the campaign trail, spoke to the man myself and really believed in him. Didn’t think he had a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the party nomination, but I’m a self-avowed idealist. The good thing about the primary elections in America is that we don’t have to vote strategically.

How the press marginalized that candidate showed me a lot about how things worked. When he finally quit the race, I moved on, reluctantly, to support Obama. His inexperience and relative youth (I’m 6 months older and knew I was too young to run America), were the major problems I had with him as a candidate. But I am much more left than right, as impossible as these labels are, so most times I’m gonna vote Blue on the national level.

I blogged those first four years, but by the time of the 2012 election, I was jaded. I don’t always agree with President Obama’s policies and choices, which is to be expected, and frankly, it is politics as usual in Washington. Gotta play the game. He did it well, but faced incredible racism and obstructionism. Anyone who says race wasn’t an issue must live in white bubble of ignorance about race and privilege. That’s not meant to be an insult. I geographically live in one now. There are so few people of color here that race issues aren’t “real” for most folks. Coming, as I do, from a large, multicultural city, I have a different perspective.

I’ve taught in poor New York City community colleges for many years. I’ve seen systematic, entrenched racism up close and personal, thanks. Those students are mine. I love them and want the best for them. The obstacles that are built in to block their success are things I take personally as well see as insults toward what I think my great country stands for. So to see it at the highest levels, while unsurprising, was enervating in a way.

I left the country again during Obama’s second term, and was thrilled that I wouldn’t have to be here for the 2016 election. I really didn’t see anyone I wanted to support, and being half a world away makes it a lot easier to avoid American politics. Unfortunately, I had to come back to the US to live. I love my country, but love being an ex-pat. And I was here for the worst political campaign in my memory.

Trillions of pixels have been spent talking about the divide in our country this past election exposed. My candidate didn’t win the nomination, but I switched over to HRC for expediency’s sake. She wasn’t who I wanted. Sorry, fellow feminists, but I don’t support women because they are women. HRC has done a lot for women, and she’ll go down in history, which I hope will be kinder to her than America has been, but she’s politically coming from a different place than I am.

But the prevailing Republican candidate made me wonder what had happened to my country. This was worse than 1980 when Reagan got the nomination. People joked that a bad actor had gotten the nomination, but at least the man had political experience—he’d been governor of one of our largest and richest states, one with a diverse population and warring needs. He had some experience, and while not a genius, he was no idiot. He had principles and morals and loved America with a strong patriotism. No one ever thought otherwise.

But this one? Our new POETUS? As a New Yorker, I’d been subjected to tabloid headlines about this man’s self-centeredness for the past 30 years. He’s shown himself to be sexist, racist and morally corrupt for decades.

He’s a master showman and an expert in smoke and mirrors, I’ll give him that. As good at creating a national fantasy as he was in creating the worlds designed in his casinos, places purposely constructed to keep reality at bay and fleece the suckers. No one ever beats the House. That’s a maxim as old as gambling dens themselves. He sells a dream and gives enough of a taste to build a need.

His promises to America will be as hollow as his promises to Atlantic City. He will suck out the life, destroy the middle class, make the poor poorer and increase crime. Don’t believe me? Look at Atlantic City today. Ask people from there. The casinos promised prosperity. They created it, too, and it was sucked out by the owners who lived anywhere but Atlantic City. Organized crime moved in with its drugs and its prostitution, its corruption. But today, organized crime is the least of America’s worries.

This is a man who has never shown the smallest amount of compassion for his fellow humans, who calls heroes stupid, and glorifies the worst traits of this nation: ignorance, self-glorification, anti-intellectualism, false piety and self-aggrandization.

I don’t actually hate him, though. I pity him. Because while he’s a master showman, he doesn’t run this circus. I truly believe he’s the tool of masterminds, people much better at the game of manipulation than he is. He’s so out of his depth, he even looks lost. He’s not the first US president to have “handlers,” or even a power behind the throne. But I do believe he’s the first to be handled by a foreign power. He’s a puppet. A bold, brash, self-serving puppet, but a puppet in the hands of people so much smarter, so much more in control of themselves and their actions, that our country is in the worst danger it’s been in years.

Rumors about sexual peccadillos and pettiness? Smoke and mirrors. Thirty years of poor education has created an American voting populace with no critical thinking skills. If you’ve read my writing, you know I’ve been singing this song for the past 10 years. A large percentage of American college graduates cannot tell the difference between a fact and an opinion. And they are the “educated” ones. Many Americans don’t know how to find reliable information on the internet. 

Another problem is that our press is no longer free. It’s in the hands of too few controllers.  On top of that problem, reporters too often see themselves as the shapers of news narratives instead of the people tasked with reporting it. The job title kind of says it all.  In Journalism 101, I learned rule one of writing a news story: get verification. Have none of today’s reporters even watched All the President’s Men much less read it? Woodstein went to great lengths to verify, verify, verify. Ben Bradlee, where are you when we need you?

The salacious bits become the focus, comedians mock the politicians (which is part of their job) then the reporters pick up the jokes as news. It’s an endless cycle that leaves many Americans morally outraged or entertained depending on their worldview yet unaware of what’s really happening. The American press has been a weapon of mass distraction for going on two decades now.

Sadly, over three years ago, I wrote about how the American people had to rise up and take control again.  And someone else sensed this need, this anger, this frustration, and tapped into it. An “outsider” who was relatively new to politics, though he had run for president before. A showman, quite literally, who is an expert at “give the people what they want.” But this time, unlike his 2000 run, he had expert backing. Millions and millions of angry, frightened people flocked to his campaign.

Folks who decried the “softening” of America enjoyed his taunts, his violence, his hate, his pettiness. Here was a tough man who put women in their place, knew that “retarded” was an all-purpose taunt, and didn’t take shit from no one. And he was a TV star! He made them laugh and always gave a good show. He didn’t rely on boring facts to make a point. He echoed their desires with his pithy soundbites.

He probably wouldn’t have won if it weren’t for some help from people who needed a puppet in the White House. This man’s narcissism played into their hands perfectly. There were plenty of other, more qualified Republican candidates—one of them surely should have gotten the nod. Ted Cruz was more experienced. And he also had the “angry outsider” schtick down pat.  Marco Rubio was more photogenic and appealed to many of my students. Why not them? Was it just the will of the American people? How long has outside influence been at work? Frankly, I didn’t think the poor Republicans had much of a choice going in, but their ultimate choice surprised many.

So now, instead of healing, the crack is getting wider.  Over 65 million Americans out of 200 million registered voters are terrified about what will happen next week. Another 63 million are mostly jubilant (though like Brexit voters last year, there’s a lot of buyer’s remorse being reported). And 80 million registered voters didn’t bother to vote, so who knows what’s up with them.

We’re in for a bumpy ride. I do believe there are ethics violations already in place. The word treason is also not too strong for me. Others, with more powerful voices, agree with me. We wonder what will be done.

Unfortunately, I’m a scholar, far too familiar with history not to have some uncomfortable moments. Things I see happening in my nation’s capital have me deeply concerned and writing my representatives. As I live in a Red State, I know this is like spitting into the wind, but like I said, I’m an idealist.

I will be blogging in the future. Change is coming. Real change. Often terrible change. I tell my students I want them to use their voices. I have one to use, and I will.

October 16, 2013

Good Question

Filed under: New Broads,patriotism,Voting — by maggiec @ 6:31 pm
Tags: , , ,

What do you do

When democracy fails you?

What do you do

When the rest can’t see it’s true?


What do you do

When democracy is through?

~ from “What Do You Do” by Charles Stobo Reid & Craig Morris Reid

These are words from a song by a Scottish duo, The Proclaimers. Heard it on the radio today and almost wept.  The song is about Scotland and its desire for independence, but you know what? This is perfect for America right now.

I voted in a special senate race today. Why? Because even though I’m sure the system is broken, that the Legislature is so corrupted by corporate influence that my vote means very little, I still have to participate in the charade in the hopes, the barest hope, that I’m wrong.

The one “good” thing about the government shut down is that people are becoming much more vocal in their disgust with the government. I used to be singing alone. Now I’m part of a chorus.

I felt very daring a few months ago saying that we needed revolution. I am serious. This country needs a revolution to overthrow the corruption in Washington.  I am calling for a bloodless revolution. They have happened in history before (England 1688), but they are rare.

Am I afraid? Yes and no. Revolutions are never comfortable. But neither is the state of my nation. Change is scary, so in that sense, yes, I’m afraid. I don’t want to see people die. I don’t. But people in this country are not known for being shy of violence. I don’t agree with it, but there it is.

Bleak thoughts, I know, but honest.

So glad I came home for the last days of America.

November 1, 2012

Voter ennui

When I came back to America mid-2007, within months I was smack in the middle of a presidential election. It started with primaries, building to a fever pitch in November. I had been away for three elections, it had been a strange 12 years, and I was raring to be involved. This blog on being an expat got temporarily hijacked as I wrote about watching and participating in the process after so long. This year? Not a peep. And I’ve decided it’s ennui.

There’s a lot said in the country about voter apathy. I am not apathetic. I do care; I care far too much, and as a result I am experiencing “a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety.”  And not satiety in a good way. It’s the surfeit of politicking that has done me in.

America has become so polarized, so mean-spirited, that there are very few people I care to discuss politics with. Make that dare to. Vitriol, hate, venom and absolutes are the order of the day. It’s disgusting.

Sometimes I agree with ideas on both sides. Sometimes I want to say, “I agree, but…” but there is never time to finish the thought. As soon as I start “I agree” the fireworks start.

A lot of the talk is disrespectful and downright childish. So many times I want to say, “what are you? Eight?”  I don’t, but I’m thinking it.  So instead, I am just quiet.

I’ve become completely convinced that the system needs a complete overhaul. A Constitutional Amendment level overhaul. The days of the two-party system have got to end.  There are over 300 million people in this country and around 220 million of them are eligible to vote.  Two parties–two people–representing that many people is just impossible.  Oh, sure, there are small parties. Good old Wikipedia lists five major parties: Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Greens, Constitution.  It also lists 33 minor parties.  So that’s 38 parties in the US, and for 220 million, that’s better.  But we all know there are only two viable parties.  And if I were to cast my presidential vote for even one of the “major” party candidates who was not Obama or Romney, I’d be “wasting” my vote.

If I even said the names Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, or Virgil Goode, who would recognize them? (I had to google for Goode’s name!)  I’ve explored Johnson and Stein’s candidacies, but I’ve realized, I need to play it safe.  As a New Yorker, I’m probably “okay” voting my conscience but I probably won’t.  I’m still up in the air about it.  I’ll see how I feel Tuesday.

Oh, I will vote. I always vote. It was drummed into my head as a child that we vote.  And I’m paying attention.  I just don’t want to talk about it, and I don’t want to hear about it, either.

But I am calling for an end of the two party system, an end to the antiquated Electoral College and more intellect and less emotion in American politics.  The first two can happen through Constitutional Amendments.  The last? An act of God, perhaps.

November 5, 2008

President Obama–the audacity to hope?

Filed under: American culture,New Broads,patriotism,politics,Voting — by maggiec @ 12:30 am

Wow.  It happened.  Didn’t think it would.  I’m thrilled.  I’m shocked.  I’m not going to believe it till I hear the concession speech.

Hope.  I really, really want to feel hope.  I am sitting here tonight remembering the election of ’92 when Clinton was elected.  Flash forward to January ’93, watching the inauguration.  I was so full of hope.  That hope too quickly turned to disappointment.  I’m afraid to feel either emotion again.

President Obama–how good that sounds–President Obama is my age.  My generation has come of age.  A man who is my age is now going to be leader of a very powerful country.  I know full well what it was like to be a child in the sixties.  It was scary sometimes–things were changing fast and people didn’t understand what was happening all of the time.  The war in Vietnam kept going and going, and the death tolls were on the nightly news.  At eight and nine, this was sometimes hard to understand.  The picture of the little girl on fire, the man being executed by a soldier.  I still remember seeing them for the first time, and sometimes I really worried about things.  My friend and I would talk about what we would do if we heard “The Bomb” was coming.  The good little Catholic girls that we were, we decided that the best place to run was Our Lady of the Lake Church.  If we were going to die, we should spend our last minutes praying to Our Lady.

Not just idle memories.  I was an Irish-Catholic girl living in the New York City suburbs.  I wasn’t a mixed race kid of a single mother.  My dad died when I was 11, and I always felt different because of it.  I was one of the few kids of a single mom back then, and my mom was a widow.  Today’s kids are unfortunately more used to single parent homes than we were.  Obama’s experience of the 60s must have been so different from mine.  But I know, deep in my heart, I still very pathetically believe that all of the change we longed for in the 60s, when I was an impressionable kid, could still happen.  I like to think I’m cynical or at least realistic, but it’s not true.  I’m the same idealist I was when I was seven and eight.

I think President Obama and I, for all our differences growing up, share an idealism.  So yes, I guess that is a little hope bubbling up inside of me.  It’s scary–but a good scary.  Change is always a little frightening, but at this point, change is what we need.


Just listened to the victory speech.  Amazing.  We do sound alike.  It’s hard to write just at this moment because I’m sobbing.  Happy tears, definitely.  The democracy that I believe in with all my heart worked.  The good about my country that I so desperately wanted to believe in, that I need to believe in, has been justified.

November 4, 2008

Done my duty…so please do yours!

Filed under: American culture,New Broads,patriotism,politics,Voting — by maggiec @ 11:00 am

Went out and voted today, so I’m feeling virtuous.  I wanted to take a picture of my ballot before I cast it, but I was afraid the flash would have the cops in there invalidating my vote.  Better to err on the side of caution, especially since I do think I live in a Republican neighborhood!

If you’re an American, please vote today.  I don’t care who you vote for, just get out there and vote.

But if you need another reason to vote for Obama, I saw this in the, a great round up of news.  It’s originally from the New York Post.

Asked by MTV about laws aimed at fashion victims who think its cool to wear their pants round their knees, showing their knickers and often a lot more, Obama said they were “a waste of time.” But he added a reprimand to African-Americans who have led this fashion. “Having said that, brothers should pull up their pants,” he declared. “You are walking by your mother, your grandmother, your underwear is showing. What’s wrong with that? Come on. Some people might not want to see your underwear. I’m one of them.”

Thank you, Mr. PRESIDENT.  If they don’t listen to me, and they don’t, maybe they will listen to you.

November 3, 2008

One day and counting

Is it me or has this been the longest election season in the history of the world?  And it all ends tomorrow.  I hope.  Please, no 2000 election redux.

There has been much going on, and unfortunately, this has been a crazy time for me at work, so I’ve had little time to write lately.  There’s certainly been a lot happening that has been blog-worthy.  One thing that has been exciting me is the level of interest I’ve been seeing in my students, most of whom are young people who have never voted, either because they were underage or because they just didn’t care.  A number of them are having their first visit to the polls this year.  Yes, there’s been a lot of excitement, but will it last?

This year’s election has raised many questions and has gotten people talking, but will the conversation, will the action, still happen after November 10th?  I give us a week to calm down after the hoopla and then what?

Will we still discuss things like the electoral college?  Every presidential election people complain about it, and then nothing is done for another four years.

Will the politicians keep a focus on the young people in this country?  They’ve certainly courted them in record number, but will they drop  interest in them once the election is over?

Will the young people keep pressure on their elected officials?  Yes, they will do as we say, but only as long as we keep saying it.  Make them keep the promises.

Will the media ever give up control of the elections?  When will we have truly open debates?  In a land that cherishes freedom of speech and freedom of choice, why do we limit which candidates get to participate?  Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul, and Bob Barr are among the candidates shunted aside.  This isn’t fair to the candidates, but more, it’s not fair to the American people.

One message that has been repeated time after time in this election is the power of the Internet.  Obama’s campaign has taken the lead on this issue, but with the Internet giving access to so many, why does television news have a stranglehold on people’s minds?  Why are people allowing themselves to be muzzled?  Tell the  television stations what you think about their decisions about limiting coverage.

And will the people harness the power of the internet?  Things are changing, but we must embrace the change.

I think that for the first time, my students are feeling the possibility that they can have some measure of power in their society.  Hopefully it will not all  be illusion.  Hopefully a wellspring will bubble up that the conventional powers that be will not be able to stop.

After tomorrow, will things really change?  Both sides have promised change, but will it happen?  We can only hope.

October 15, 2008

Notes on watching a debate

Filed under: economy,media,New Broads,patriotism,politics,students,Voting — by maggiec @ 10:06 pm

For me, for the first time there was a clear winner to one of this year’s presidential debates. Barack Obama blew John McCain out of the water. McCain promised to “whip” Obama’s “you-know-what” tonight, but I don’t think he did. And I’m feeling marginally better about what might happen in November.

But watching CNN, a panel of undecided voters in the Ohio, 10 people actually thought McCain won. I spend most of my life not seeing things the way everyone else does, and I guess I missed the boat on this one.

The debate was the only interesting one of the three we’ve had this year. But now it’s over, and the first pundit is a Republican saying McCain was great tonight. Even the Democrat is saying McCain was strong. Did we watch the same debate? I was annoyed at him earlier than 30 minutes. My first comment was that he was smirking! The pundits keep calling Obama “professorial” like that’s a bad thing. I think I’m taking umbrage. What’s wrong with being a professor? I swear, it isn’t easy being a professor in this society, but that’s a soapbox for another time.

This time, I don’t really have anything solid and thematic to say tonight—no unified essay with a thesis statement like I’m always pounding my students for. So I’m just going to share some of my thoughts with you. Don’t worry. I’ve edited them. I actually wrote a lot more than you’ll see!

So without further ado, notes on watching a debate:

9:02, watching CNN

Mc Cain is smirking. I am so sick of smirking.

I’m sitting here, listening to McCain, and I can tell he’s twisting words. And “class warfare”? What’s that about? He’s taking things out of context. And he’s not looking good in this matching.

Candidates are “ignoring reality”. Good point, Mr. Schieffer. Obama won on that one. McCain is being inarticulate. I like how Schieffer is getting in there and asking “which programs are you going to cut?” McCain’s just repeating his “I’m gonna fight pork barrel spending”. He’s repeating himself from earlier debates.

Just realized that CNN has a delay on the debate. Watching it on the internet is a few beats ahead.

Oh, Obama is laughing at him. And there’s a good reason for that. Things the CNN fact checkers said are false at the last debate McCain is repeating again.

Oh good! He just got called on it with Obama making a funny aside about FOX.

Oh, I love this man, Obama. He’s so smart. He’s so sharp. I love intelligence. Senator McCain is looking terrible. He is so losing this debate.

OH! Mudslinging is being brought up! I LOVE Schieffer! First person with gonads to be moderator. OH YOU ARE A LIAR! You will run a truthful campaign my arse. [Later note: guess who I was talking to?]

I don’t like the fact that neither one of them are apologizing, if not to one another, to the American public. Both sides are doing slinging mud.

I AM SO ANGRY! How can that man sit there smirking when Obama is talking about people threatening to kill him at Palin rallies? Such an inappropriate response. Military Wives for McCain, veterans for McCain. Hey Mister! You are clouding the issue with emotionalism.  Do you think Americans are that dumb? [Of course, too many are, so these ploys work.]

He doesn’t get it. He just doesn’t get it. OK, I’m obviously prejudiced, but I think Obama is just so much more presidential in his aspect. I’m loving his laugh. I’m loving his smile. McCain is so obviously grasping at straws. And he’s ignoring facts. He’s beating a dead horse, and he’s making his campaign and himself look stupid.

That’s what I was watching for, to see if they’d pay attention to the elephant in the room. They did, or were forced to, and I’m sorry McCain, you just did not come across like a president. You came across as a petulant child.

What I like about Schieffer is that he asks specific questions. I like that because I want to hear the answers, too. But I also like that because McCain does a lousy job of answering them. OK, so Obama’s not doing so well on this, either. He’s repeating things he’s said before and I’m tired of hearing the of the same thing over and over. But I do like the points he made about NAFTA.

So my mind is starting to wander. I’m watching the debate on line because my TV was starting to black out. There’s an ad on the site that says “Obama’s IQ is 130! Are you smarter than Barack?” How do they know that’s his IQ? I don’t think I like that ad. I know my IQ is higher than his. Not by much, but I certainly don’t feel smarter. Where’d those points get me? He’s running for president of the US. I’m sitting in my living room blogging about it to an audience of what, 40 or 50 if I’m really lucky? I’m a part time teacher.  So IQ is certainly no measurement, eh?

Oh, there’s that Hoover reference again! A student reminded me of Hoovervilles. I’d forgotten that subtext.

Health insurance. That’s something that I care about. Here’s an e-mail I wrote to my mother last week: “just went and double-checked what insurance would cost me.  The cheapest I could get that covered doctors was an HMO plan at $887.85 PER MONTH.

“That’s a grand total of $10,654.20 a year.

“There was a hospital plan for about 127/month, but that ONLY covered hospitalization, so what’s the point?    Can you believe it?  PER MONTH!  If I could afford that, I could afford medical care.  I could put it in a savings account each month and STILL come out ahead each year.”

McCain’s not saying anything that’s going to impress me. And as you can see above, $5000 isn’t helping me.  I can’t afford the premiums even if they were $5000 less.  So, no health care for me yet.

Spread the wealth could also mean that Joe is getting some of the money that the really wealthy companies, though of course, I’m pretty sick of Joe Plumber.  Is he the cleaned up Joe Sixpack?

How can McCain put cosmetic surgery and transplants in the same sentence? I’m sorry, that is just plain upsetting. I have a good friend who had a transplant. I had a dear cousin die because she didn’t have a transplant. Oh, you are getting me mad.  Face lifts and transplants are fru fru?

THANK YOU! Someone is finally saying something about preventing unwanted pregnancy. No one is pro-abortion. Health of the mother, so that’s just a loophole for women who want abortions? I’m starting to broil.

Education—you’re singing my song. I want to hear the words parental responsibility. I want to hear the words higher pay. I did. I don’t hear responsibility. I like the community service. PARENTS. I LOVE THIS MAN. YES, YES, YES!!!

Equal access my arse. I spend my summers teaching AOP students. Bright kids, wonderful kids, kids I love who did not have equal access. My students at BMCC did not all have equal access.  Come talk to my kids about equal access.  They will hoot you down in a New York minute!  And I love them, too.

Don’t tell me he just said NO certification for teachers? I will have to check the transcript.  We need higher standards for teachers.  Believe me, I teach future teachers.  They need standardized exams!

We don’t have a TRADITION of schools being local. We have a Constitutional requirement to that end. According the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, anything not specifically addressed as the federal government’s responsibility is a responsibility that belongs to the state. The Federal government should be less involved in education. No Child Left Behind was unconstitutional. It should not be reauthorized.

Dragging out the autistic children as the puppies to get people to “open their wallets” is just sickening.

Invoking a “long line of McCain’s” oh Lordy! I liked Obama’s closing statements. And the boys made nice and shook hands and McCain went out of his way to make nice with Michelle Obama.

I am happy.

So that’s it.  Not my best piece of writing, I admit, but lately I am speechless.

October 12, 2008

Palin for Alaskan Independence? Tell me more!

Filed under: media,New Broads,Palin,politics,protest,Voting — by maggiec @ 1:03 pm
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As the election comes closer, the dirt gets nastier and nastier.  Palin has accused Senator Obama of being a friend of terrorists because someone he knows casually was a member of the group The Weather Underground back when the senator was a child of eight.  Oh my!  Of course, this is something that Hillary Clinton brought up back during the primaries.  It was laid to rest then, so why should Palin bring it back up?

Does the phrase “desperate times call for desparate measures” come to mind for any one else?

The Washington Post has a great fact checking section on the Obama-Weatherman connection, finding it specious.  Just another time waster, to distract us from the real issues.

But someone just called my attention to a blog by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr that was originally on the Huffington Post but is now on  It is political dynamite, and I’m trying to spread the word as best I can.

In a nutshell, Todd Palin was a member of the Alaskan Indepence Party from 1995 – 2002.  OK, husband and wives don’t have to agree.  But, Sarah Palin attended the party’s 1994 convention, its 2000 convention, gave a keynote speech at its 2006 convention and sent a taped greeting  to the 2008 convention.

I can understand the desire for succession.  I can understand exploring the option.  But, let me quote Kennedy here:

AIP’s charter commits the party “to the ultimate independence of Alaska,” from the United States which it refers to as “the colonial bureaucracy in Washington.” It proclaims Alaska’s 1959 induction as a state “as illegal and in violation of the United Nations charter and international law.”

AIP’s creation was inspired by the rabidly violent anti-Americanism of its founding father Joe Vogler, “I’m an Alaskan, not an American,” reads a favorite Vogler quote on AIP’s current website, “I’ve got no use for America or her damned institutions.” According to Vogler AIP’s central purpose was to drive Alaska’s secession from the United States. Alaska, says current Chairwoman Lynette Clark, “should be an independent nation.”

Vogler was murdered in 1993 during an illegal sale of plastic explosives that went bad. The prior year, he had renounced his allegiance to the United States explaining that, “The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government.” He cursed the stars and stripes, promising, “I won’t be buried under their damned flag…when Alaska is an independent nation they can bring my bones home.” Palin has never denounced Vogler or his detestable anti-Americanism.

As Kennedy goes on to say, ” this is not something that happened when she was eight”

According to posters on both blogs, this is “old news” to many people.  I consider myself relatively aware, and I didn’t hear about it till now.

On the one hand, I realize that this is just more mud slinging.  But on the other hand, this is a matter of Constitutional issues.  I already have concerns about Palin’s ability to uphold the Constitution.  Didn’t we fight a Civil War on the issue of succession once before?  Isn’t that considered one of the darkest periods of our history?  A woman one heart beat away from the presidency who is willing to ignore the Constitution scares me more than the economic crisis.  Economies can be fixed with work and sacrifice.  So can democracies, but in most cases, the sacrifice to fix them includes lives.

October 10, 2008

Get yourself registered!

Filed under: New Broads,politics,students,Voting — by maggiec @ 9:49 am

Today is the last day to register to vote in the elections if you live in NYS.  If you live in other states, you still might have time, but get out there!

I had a young man in class today tell me that he wasn’t going to vote since it doesn’t make any difference.  I told him that’s just what those who would manipulate our democracy would have him think.  They don’t want him voting, and he’s playing in their hands.

Who are they?  The power elite.  If all the possible voters got out there and registered and then voted, there would be a groundswell that could turn into a flood.  My students are mostly people of color, almost uniformly working class people.  They are exactly who the power elite wants disenfranchised.  Don’t let them win that easily.

Get yourself registered and then vote.  I don’t care who you vote for.  Vote Democrat, Republican, Green, Independent, Socialist.  Just vote.

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