Friday, July 24, 2009

A Culture of Effort

I'm reading Susan Jacoby's The Age of American Unreason (and mentally rebutting her about every two pages) when I came across a phrase that I really like. Here's the phrase in context.

The larger edifice of middlebrow culture, which once encompassed Americans of many social classes as well as ethnic and racial backgrounds, has collapsed. The disintegration and denigration of the middlebrow are closely linked to the political and class polarization that distinguishes the current wave of anti-intellectualism from the popular suspicion of highbrows nad eggheads that has always, to a greater or lesser degree, been a part of the American psyche. What has been lost is an alternative to mass popular culture, imbibed unconsciously and effortlessly through the audio and video portals that surround us all. What has been lost is the culture of effort.

Maybe our culture of vapid celebrities is what we deserve, considering how little effort most of us put into bettering ourselves these days.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Embarrassed Empire

Is it possible that the United States of America is the first empire in history to be embarrassed by what it is, rather than embrace greatness?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Natives Are Restless

Gallup's new survey has a very interesting figure.

From January 21st to July 7th, President Obama's disapproval rating has tripled, from 12% to 36%. At the same time, his approval rating has fallen from 68% to 56%.

Rasmussen's new poll suggests that more people now strongly disapprove of the President's peformance than strongly approve.

Disapproval has grown enormously, and the President's soft support has grown to account for more than half of his overall support. At the same time, most of those who are opposed to the President are strongly opposed. That's never a good sign.

In short, the natives are restless. Do these numbers suggest a tipping point in the not-too-distant future?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

No Representation Until You Read the Legislation

We're hearing talk of a new stimulus plan being offered. Obviously, I don't think many of you elected officials would be so foolish as to actually support this, but I also realize that even if the GOP were to oppose such legislation with unanimity, it would still pass.

I think Representative Boehner and the rest of the House GOP did a magnificant job of pointing out that a vote on legislation was going to take place without anyone having read the actual bill. That resonates with me, and it resonates with a lot of other Americans as well. If you're not even reading the legislation you're voting on, this country has a problem.

So here's my request: Have every Republican representative pledge that they will not vote for any stimulus bill or amendments until they, and the American people, have been able to read and study the legislation for some period of time. If the first stimulus wasn't enough, then we can wait a few weeks to debate another one in an informed manner. If Democrats try to hold a vote without elected officials and the American public having had a chance to pore over that bill and examine it closely, then it's time for the GOP to walk out of that chamber. An easy way for the GOP to reclaim its position as the party of grown-ups is to start acting like it. You won't be taking your ball and going home (as critics will allege), you will be refusing to be party to an act that your constituents have told you they find unacceptable. You can't vote on legislation that you haven't read and think that you're representing me. I can assure you, I wouldn't cast a vote on an enormous spending package without having read even the finest of print. I'm fairly certain I'm not the only one that feels that way. How can you claim to represent us until you've read the legislation and know what you're voting for or against?

Which means, of course, that we have to start telling our Republican representatives that we don't want a vote on this legislation until we know what's in the bill. I'm even sending a letter to my Democratic congressman, even though I doubt he'll pay it a second look. Hey, it just means I'll cough up another Andrew Jackson for his opponent.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The National Anthem of the Amehricans

It's all right/It's all right./You can't be forever blessed./Still tomorrow's gonna be another working day/and I'm trying to get some rest./That's all, I'm trying to get some rest.

Let the Amehricans get their rest. For those who want to save the nation, it's time to get to work.

A-meh-rica Rising

The new column is here. Also, Roger L. Simon's latest column might say 90% of what I wanted to say 100% better. It's a tough thing for someone to admit, but it's true.

The main disagreement I have with Mr. Simon's piece is this: I don't think Obama's over; not by a long shot. Someone so familiar with Saul Alinsky's teachings, and someone who so clearly subscribes to them, will not easily or readily cede power. Conversely, the GOP seems to be unable at the current time to mount a serious challenge to Obama's power.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Notes for a Holiday Weekend

I should have a new piece going up at Pajamas Media later today. This was easily the hardest time I've had with writing anything of substance, and I think it was because there was just so much to say. Even reading over the piece now, I wish that I had made it a little longer. Oh the perils of being a verbose kind of guy in a Twitter world!

I do want to thank Roger L. Simon for providing me with the kick in the pants that got me to finish the piece. When I saw him use the phrase dying nation, it affirmed to me that I was on the right track with my own essay.

Tomorrow I'm off to my first Tea Party. I'll be attending one of the smaller events in northern Virginia rather than attempting to head into D.C. I'm hoping to come back full of praise, but regardless of how it turns out, I plan on a full accounting at some point over the weekend.

In the meantime, enjoy your Independence Day. I hope everyone will take a few moments to reflect on the men and women who made it all possible.