How the Government Stole Christmas November 22, 2011Posted by Matt in poetry, politics.
Tags: Congress, deficit, Democrats, Grinch, ineffectiveness, politics, President Obama, Republicans, taxes, US government
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(With apologies to Dr. Seuss)
Liked their lifestyles a lot
But the Congress
On the extremes of America
They fought over things both in and out of season.
Standing in gridlock for no particular reason
In anger they yelled and they screamed at one other
Taking shots across the room one after another
Maybe it was their head or perhaps their shoes
Or the inordinate time spent watching cable news
Whatever the reason
Olbermann or O’Reilly
They stood at odds, plotting downfalls quite slyly
“Tax Cuts for the rich!” cried Republicans loud
Expecting a little to perhaps trickle down.
“It’s time to raise taxes on the top two percent!”
Yelled Democrats with a self-righteous bent.
With the deficit ballooning and no end in sight
The two sides stood firm with all of their might
The tea party and occupiers pushing from both directions
Ensuring the failure of every election
Compromise is not an option
Shouted opposing sides with glee
Unless you give up your convictions
And agree solely with me.
So as the country moves closer and closer to falling
It’s becoming clear we need someone who hears the calling
Someone looking for that missing middle ground
That is oh so elusive, but must be sought out and found
Some look to the President to stand tall, relieving fear
But they call him a Communist Muslim, you hear.
Others are chosen on the long campaign trail
But scandal always follows, and will likely derail
Who will take the reigns, to the challenge arise?
Will Congress’s heads and hearts increase in size?
Who will preside over the feast?
And be the reformed Grinch who carves the roast beast.
Good Job, Mississippi November 9, 2011Posted by Matt in politics.
Tags: Initiative 26, Mississippi, rational thinking
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I’m often quick to decry the state we’ve called home for nearly 8 years, a place where common rationality often takes a back seat to the loudest voices in the room, but I must say that this time Mississippi has done the right thing.
Yesterday, after all of the balltos were cast and votes were counted, Mississippians shot down initiative 26, the so-called “personhood” amendment by a wide margin. It was a surprising turn of events because it seemed that, from the polling data I had looked at earlier and the vast amounts of support seen around me, it was a sure thing it would past. Fortunately, clearer heads prevailed.
It’s a good day to be a Mississippian.
Say No to Amendment 26 November 3, 2011Posted by Matt in politics.
Tags: Amendment 26, Duncan Gray, Mississippi, personhood, Southaven, unintended consequences
I haven’t written anything seriously politically motivated in a long time, having grown tired of the nonstop squabbling, but I hope you’ll bear with me for a few moments while I tell of something that truly bothers me.
Those of you in other locations around the country, or for that matter, around the world may not be in tune with the political controversy currently engulfing that in which we live, Mississippi. The hot button issue of the day is Amendment 26, i.e. the Personhood Amendment, a proposed addition to our state constitution with ramifications that could be huge. The amendment itself reads:
The term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof.”
As you might guess, the stated purpose of the amendment is to end the practice of abortion, which in itself is controversial enough, but the wording of this sentence could go far, far beyond that.
If fully followed through, this amendment would end birth control methods such as the “morning after pill” and IUDs, but it could even affect the legality of the pill, for even though the birth control pill primarily prevents ovulation, it may also prevent implantation following fertilization. Thus, this bill could make the pill illegal in the state of Mississippi.
There are also the ramifications that this piece of legislation holds for the practice of in vitro fertilization, where several eggs are fertilized and the unused ones are either frozen or discarded. If followed through, this amendment could then cause this practice to cease entirely.
Then there are the concerns of the physicians who wonder about their own liability when having to make life-and-death decisions involving a woman and her unborn child. Could they save the mother if it meant the termination of the embryo, or would they be held criminally liable?
And then there is also the issue of miscarriages. Would every miscarriage then be subject to a criminal investigation to ensure that the woman did nothing to cause it, and if she did, could she be charged with a felony?
In a state that already has the highest infant mortality rate in the nation and one of the highest teen pregnancy rates, so it seems to this Mississippian, with two daughters of his own, that perhaps the focus is misplaced.
Driving around Southaven, the town where we live, you see the “Vote Yes on 26” signs adorning yards on every street. They leap out a drivers from churches and businesses and seemingly everywhere one looks. Even the Church of Christ, the denomination I grew up in and one that is historically apolitical, near our house is proclaiming their stance in favor of the initiative.
And though it seems the passing of this amendment is immanent, not everyone is in favor of it. I was quite happy to see that our Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Duncan Gray, spoke out publically against it, and it is interesting to see that even many Roman Catholic bishops have voiced their opposition.
So, I will be voting against Initiative 26 and I hope that those of you living in Mississippi will as well.
In a related note, the local Fox 13 station interviewed our priest Patrick yesterday. He told us what he said to them, a measured and reasoned response that took no firm stand on the controversy, instead referring to the dangers of certainty (see why I like him so much?). Naturally, the news show cut his part down to just a few seconds and prefaced it with, “But some local pastors are not in favor of the Amendment.” That’s Fox for you.
Ranching with Rick October 5, 2011Posted by Matt in humor, politics.
Tags: Hank Williams Jr., Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann, racism, ranch, Rick Perry, ted nugent, Texas
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(Dixie plays in the background as the camera pans around the green plains. Cows and horses graze about under the bright sun.)
Rick Perry steps out in chaps and a cowboy hat, holding a revolver in one hand.
Perry: Hey y’all, I’m Rick Perry. Welcome to N*****Head Ranch. (He fires the gun into the air)
The camera begins a tour around the campgrounds.
Perry (voiceover): Here at N*****Head Ranch you’ll find all kinds of amenities to make your stay a pleasant one. Got a hankerin’ for shootin’? Come see our firing range with resident expert Ted Nugent.
Nugent stands up holding a high powered rifle and strums it like a guitar.
Nugent: Down here at N*****Head you can match your skill against the likes of me in a game of shoot the illegals.
Nugent (raising the gun and firing it off the screen): Hell yeah, I got another one! (Catch Scratch Fever blasts out in t he background)
Perry (voiceover): Or perhaps you have a need to display your artistic talents. Here at N*****Head we take great pride in our dedication to the arts. Just visit Ol’ Hank’s Art Emporium.
Hank Williams Jr. (sitting in front of an easel with a smile on his face and a bottle of Jack Daniels sitting next to him): At N*****Head ranch we have a wide variety of canvases to choose from.
Hank (unveiling a portrait of Obama on the easel): With just a little bit of paint you can make a Hitler moustache on any of them Democrats. Watch this.
He paints the small square moustache on the president and laughs out loud.
Hank: See? Don’t that beat all? And after this we can take turns spittin’ Beech Nut in his eye.
Perry (voiceover): Or maybe you’d like to visit our one-of-a-kind Michelle Bachmann information center.
Bachmann (sitting a table with a smile on her face): You wanna know what I heard? Somebody just told me that President Obama is going to allow space aliens to take over America and institute intergalactic sharia law. I know it sounds crazy, but it must be true because some guy I just met told me so. Here at N*****Head you can learn all kinds of things like that.
The camera zooms back around again to the front gate of the ranch, with the name N*****Head written in large letters across the top. Perry steps back in front of the camera.
Perry: Well, friends, it’s been nice visitin’ ya, but we’re about to have to say goodbye for now. I sure hope you’ll consider comin’ down here to see us at N*****Head.
A voice from off camera suddenly yells out: Hey, wait a minute, Rick. What do you think you’re doing?
Perry (looking stunned and unsure): Um, I uh, um
Herman Cain (stepping in front of the camera): What do you call this? N*****Head? What the hell’s wrong with you?
Perry: Hey, Herman. I um….didn’t expect you to come by.
Cain: Yeah, well I did come by! What do you have to say for yourself?
Just then Hank, Nugent, and Bachmann step out and flank either side of Perry, all of them smiling.
Perry: Herman, my man. Wanna go shooting?
Cartoons are for Communists August 4, 2011Posted by Matt in politics, television.
Tags: cartoons, Fox and Friends, Fox News, insanity, liberal bias, Spongebob
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Fox News and other conservative media have developed a penchant for spotting purported, and oftentimes obviously nonexistent, biases in the media, whether it be in the music we listen to, our unfair and unbalanced nightly news choices, on in the shows that populate our nightly television viewing. But, did you know that there is also leftist propaganda running wild and free through the cartoons your children watch?
Yesterday, the brave folks on Fox & Friends sought to point out this travesty, claiming that Nickelodean’s “Spongebob Squarepants” is pushing a nefarious pro-global warming.
Fox & Friends cohost Grechen Carlson goes on to say that “Spongebob is talking a lot about global warming, and he’s only looking at it from one point of view.”
The ever-insightful Steve Doocey takes it a step further, stating that, “Clearly Nickelodean is pushing a global warming agenda.”
Of course this isn’t the first time that cartoons have caused a stir in conservative circles. Everyone probably remembers the manufactured 1999 uproar over the character Tinky Winky on Teletubbies, who Jerry Falwell called a “gay role madel.” And how can we forget Sesame Street, a show whose crazed liberal ideas included the rumored same-sex relationship between Bert and Ernie. Then there is the Communist idea of sharing that transforms Mr. Rogers into an American version of Castro.
I mean, it must be true if we heard it on Fox, right? What other instances of leftist propaganda can you think of in cartoons? Dora the Explorer is obviously an illegal immigrant trafficking hallucinogenic drugs that cause her to see talking monkeys. And don’t even get me started on Yo Gabba Gabba!
Then again, in the same segment Carlson said that she finds Spongebob “hard to follow,” so maybe we should take her words with a grain of salt.
Riding to Freedom May 17, 2011Posted by Matt in politics, race, television.
Tags: Freedom Riders, Jim Crow, Little Rock Central High School, nonviolence, PBS, racism
Last night proved to be one more reason why I love public television. In case you missed it, PBS aired their latest American Experience documentary, this one celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders, a truly heroic movement of the 1960’s in the struggle for Civil Rights.
The movement was comprised of young people (as most movements tend to be), both black and white, who joined together to challenge the Jim Crow laws of the Deep South. Together they rode public transportation and used public facilities, purposefully and nonviolently flouting the unjust segregationist laws, and for their trouble they were beaten and jailed, many of them on numerous occasions, as they brought national attention to the prevalent racist attitudes of the South.
In many ways, this level of hatred seems so foreign to those of us who were born years after these events took place, as if it couldn’t have possibly happened here. It’s particularly heinous now when I consider that some of our closest friends are black and how just 50 years ago that could not have happened – at least not without severe repercussions.
It was a very moving program, perhaps even more so when I consider the words my mom said to me a few weeks ago, one of the greatest compliments I’ve ever received in my life. She had just seen the Freedom Riders on Oprah and called me to let me know about the upcoming documentary and that was when she said this to me, “Matt, it’s the kind of thing you would have done. I don’t think any of the rest of us could have done it, but I know you could have.”
That means a lot.
P.S. I also want to give a shout-out to Brian Schwieger, a former classmate of mine at Harding University who is helping to put on an event later this month marking the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders at Little Rock Central High School. Those of you who are in central Arkansas should check it out.
Earth to America… April 27, 2011Posted by Matt in Obama, politics.
Tags: birth certificate, Birthers, Obama, poll
Ok, Donald Trump and the reported 47% of hate-filled, mentally unbalanced, delusional Republicans who believe Obama was not born in the US, does today’s release of his long form birth certificate do anything to change your mind? Can we finally move on to things are actually important?
Then again, you may be having a reaction like these people…
Wired Differently April 11, 2011Posted by Matt in politics, science.
Tags: Conservatives, liberals, neurological studies
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According to researchers at University College London, the brains of self-described liberals and conservatives actually work differently from each other.
Using MRI scan data, researchers discovered that Liberals have a larger anterior cingulate cortex, a part of the brain associated with understanding complexity. Conservatives have a larger amygdala, which is associated with fear and anxiety.
It’s interesting to think that someone’s political leanings may be based to a large extent on biology rather than on experience. What do you think?
Fear Not the News March 7, 2011Posted by Matt in Lent, politics.
Tags: anxiety, destructive forces, fear, Fox News, Lenten fast, MSNBC
Is there a more destructive force in America today than fear?
Every day we face the imminent bombardment of our minds with images and reports of disaster and mayhem, of crime and death. From the food we eat to the cars we drive to the miniscule wording of laws passed hundreds of miles away, we are told to remain in fear, to erase all trust in others and assume the worst of our neighbors for our own protection.
So what is the cause and solution for this paralyzing anxiety holding us back with its firm grasp, whispering words of dread and despair in our ears?
Yesterday my good friend Patrick the priest spoke about this very thing and challenged us as a collective group to give up one of the many destructive forces in today’s society: the 24 hour news network.
These networks are a cancer on our society today, sowing seeds of discord without reason other than to destroy those who think differently. Hours upon hours of hyperbole-driven orators instruct you how to feel and what to think, destroying the mind and even the soul with hate filled diatribes. And their plan has succeeded, in a sense, particularly in the way we view others, placing all people into easily definable and ill-conceived boxes – liberal, neocon, Socialist, Marxist, and on and on – which then sets them apart as the “other” who must be feared and fought.
I was once a semi-regular viewer of some of the commentary shows on MSNBC, but gave it up some time ago when I grew tired of the unabashed vitriol, and just that small change did wonders to change my outlook. Today, through this change as well as others we have recently made, I feel as though I am more tolerant and accepting than ever before.
So, I challenge you to give up 24 hours news channels as well, whether it be the aforementioned MSNBC, Fox News, or even seemingly the more benign CNN, at least for a time. Perhaps you could make it a Lenten fast of sorts. Of course this does not mean one must give up political news altogether, just those sources that feed upon prejudices and work to set people against each other. I think you will find that this small bit of abstinence will serve your mind and your soul for the better. Thoughts?
In the words of the great prophet Bob Marley, “Don’t worry about a thing / ‘Cause every little thing is gonna be alright.”
P.S. If I do this, can I still write the funny Mike Huckabee post I’ve been thinking about all weekend? Are jokes at the expense of public figures still cool?
Oh, Iowa… February 9, 2011Posted by Matt in politics.
Tags: Barack Obama, delusional conservatives, Iowa is full of morons, Neville Chamberlain
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Following President Obama’s “interview” with Bill O’Reilly on Super Bowl Sunday, the people of Fox News went to a focus group of Republican caucus voters in Iowa to get a view from conservative America.
Their assessment? Obama is a secret Muslim and/or the next Neville Chamberlain.
Wow. There is just nothing else that can be said.