Q: Hitler – Ripe for comedy or still taboo?
A: What is the answer? Is there one? You tell me.
An article on Huffington Post writes that House Republicans just voted down the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act of 2010. Almost everything you need to know about the bill is in the title. The major “problem” Republicans had with the bill (even those who initially supported it) is that it uses taxpayer money for abortion. Yep, once again a largely male congress is trying to legislate against a women’s uterus. The disappointing thing? (Other then the bills defeat?) Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson (the former president of Ireland) both wrote Op-Ed columns supporting America’s finally speaking out against such marriages. Wow. Once again I am OH SO PROUD to be an American.
I’m not a fan of pilfering information from other people’s blogs or websites, but this is good. Good enough that I think it should be shared.
This is a quote from the Nov. 2010 editorial by Jim Nelson, editor of GQ:
What I want to know from Tea Partiers RE their hot simmering rage is, Where was it before? When it was called for—when your country needed it. Why weren’t you fired up and out in the streets in your colonial britches when President Bush drunk-drove the country into the hell of the Iraq war, which not only put our troops in harm’s way but has cost us—and here’s where I thought you might relate—possibly $900 billion (!) of your tax money? (More if you count the cost of caring for our soldiers, and please do.) Tea Partiers! Compatriots! We could have used your rage, your rabid hatred of taxation, and your Magic Markers in that fight. But you were nowhere to be found, because your anger had not yet been funded by corporate interests.
I was invited to join a group called the UAF Campus Democrats. As a liberal individual I heartily accepted. I was excited. For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while now, you know with what frequency I engaged this blog into the political fray. I wanted more. I wanted to do more. I wanted to both comment on politics and help influence them.
Except that I have a problem. Not with the clubs members, the club, or it’s principles. The problem is me.
As a journalist I feel being affiliated with any political organization is seen as a bias. As a matter of fact, I am an Undeclared voter. Just like 37 percent of all Alaskans.
And let me tell you something. It sucks. As one of my oldest friends used to say: “this sucks large unpleasant things.” Attempting to maintain objectivity is exhausting and impossible. I have my own opinions…I have my own bias. The real challenge is being aware of them and acknowledging them. However, acknowledging them and limiting them is not the same as indulging them. As a news writer there has to be some ethical line that cannot be crossed. This is that line. Stepping over it may only be seen as a breach of ethics to myself, but I am my toughest critic and I expect perfection.
So, to my friends in the club-that-I-cannot-participate-in-due-to-that-pesky-thing-called-“ethics”: I apologize. I wanted to join you so much that I almost compromised my ethics to accompany you. Take that as a compliment. My philosophical inclinations support you but my sense of journalistic neutrality stops me dead in my tracks. Go on with out me and know that I’m rooting you on from the sidelines.
“So, what SHOULD we be doing now?”
Midterm Election season is over and gone are the campaign ads and annoying robocalls, at least for now. What this election really meant and how it will shape the nation remains to be seen and there is plenty of speculation and attempts at precognition out there amongst the professional pundits, so I will spare you my analysis. The real question that comes to my mind in the wake of this topsy-turvy anything goes election cycle is “So, what SHOULD we be doing now?”
For many people, the answer is simple. They will slip back into the shadows, content that they have won the day for/against such and such ideology. Others are already looking to the next election, trying to figure out what went wrong and what was done right, and what moves are needed for the future. And yet others will continue to sit out of the whole process, convinced that neither party represents their interests. In my time of working behind the scenes in party politics, this is the most frustrating mindset to encounter. There’s no denying that both parties have their flaws, but in my experience the greatest flaw of the party system is one that is so easily fixed. It’s called “participation”. You see, any organization, be it political party, local church, Boy Scout troop, or book club, is only as good as the people who participate in it.
So if you want to make an impact on Alaskan or American politics, get involved! It’s a great way to be informed about what’s going on, who the candidates and elected officials are and what they really stand for, and to ensure that the two party system works effectively. If you are a student at UA-Fairbanks, there are groups for both college Republicans and Democrats, as well as regional party affiliates to the state party organizations. I won’t lie, it’s not always easy or rewarding, but in my opinion it beats sitting on the sidelines. To quote Theodore Roosevelt, “It is not the critic who counts… The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings…” So I encourage young people to take up the fight, be the change you want to see in the world, and contribute to the political discussion in the state, because it’s your future too.
Disclosure: James Shewmake is the Vice President of the Alaska Young Democrats and student leader of the UAF Campus Democrats club. He has been active in party politics since 2002.
It may be a wild guess, but I am estimating that 62% of those eligible to vote in the Alaska will do so.
Edit: I was wrong. Voter turn out was around 50%. So, hey, only 12%. Damn fine turn out though, considering it’s a midterm election.
I am going to come right out and say it: I am going to be more opinionated in this post than I usually allow myself to get.
For those out of the loop: The Hays Research Group published a poll that was first picked up (if I am not mistaken) by Jeanne Devon, aka “AKMuckraker” over at her Mudflats blog.
The essentials of the poll are this: Scott McAdams (D) is at 29%, Joe Miller (R) is at 23% and Some Mysertious Write-in Candidate is at 34%. Oh, and 13% of those polled were undecided. That’s still a lot of undecided voters.
It’s been interesting to watch the Huffington Post’s Pollster page change it’s color code for Alaska. It had bounced back and forth between light red (Lean Rep.) and a sort of malarial yellow (Toss Up). Now it’s at beige (Leaning Ind.). I’ll confess, for someone who likes bright alternating colors it’s kind of cool.
For someone who likes seeing things change right before his eyes, it is even cooler. Which leads me to another point: No one knows what the fuck is going to happen in Alaska on November 2. If a lot of Democrats and Independents vote their conscience, McAdams definitely has a shot. A real, actual “OMG ‘2 Dems 1 Senate'” shot. If some Democrats and most independents get frightened about Joe Miller (and who simultaneously buy into the notion that Murkowski is Alaska’s only hope) and vote “Write-in”, then it’s going to be a toss-up between shades of red.
Believe me when I say (or don’t) that Murkowski and Miller are not that far apart politically. Yes, Miller talked an extremist game before the primary but Miller is simply pure gold: valuable to whoever controls him and as equally malleable. His back-and-forth wavering has been well documented.
Murkowski, IMO, is perhaps more willing to think for herself, and can, but will she? She’s cowtowed to the GOP during her term-and-a-half and is rated as a Hard Core Conservative on ontheissues.org. (Scroll to the bottom of the page).
Oh, and this idea that a candidate needs experience to be in the senate suffers from one gigantic flaw: How can you gain senate experience unless you actually work in the senate? Was Lisa Murkowski experienced in the senate when her father, former Governor Frank Murkowski, appointed her to replace him? No. Did Frank Murkowski himself have senate experience prior to being in the senate? No.
No one is born knowing how to do any job, and to think otherwise is a failure to think at all.
So, you know, go vote…and do your civic duty.
This just in: As it says in the title, the documents pertaining to Joe Miller’s resignation have been released. The release came about after Judge Winston Burbank stated that Miller’s records were of public interest and that said interest outweighed any right-to-privacy Miller has/had.
I suppose that is the price you pay when seeking an elected office.
Those documents can be found here. It’s a link to the PDF made available by the Anchorage Daily News. There appears to be some duplication of material and the first email (in chronological order) begins on the last page of the PDF, as an FYI.
I am re-posting the link made available to me by my editor Andrew Sheeler of the UAF Sun Star (the paper I write for).
No word yet on how Democratic candidate Scott McAdams or write-in candidate Lisa Murkowsi are incorporating the information into their campaign but one can easily guess.
To be honest, I have the feeling that this will be the next-to-last, if not the last “October Surprise” of this election year. Not only that, but I have the melancholic notion that very little people will care about this information. On that note, au revoir.
This is Day 6. Two more day’s until T.R.’s birthday. His 152nd birthday to be exact.
There are good men and bad men of all nationalities, creeds and colors; and if this world of ours is ever to become what we hope some day it may become, it must be by the general recognition that the man’s heart and soul, the man’s worth and actions, determine his standing.
This quote ties in well to yesterday’s in that both deal with merit. This line, however, also brings to the table the notion of equality and how we should “judge” an individuals worth by their actions, ideas and personality. This is a powerful notion well worth striving for, especially in an election year where we go about the business of deciding who to best represent our interests. We judge those candidates not only on their ideas, but on their personality, intellect and practical actions.
Or at least we should, anyways.
In case any readers were curious all of the quotes I have used come from the Theodore Roosevelt Association. They have a nice little section called “In His Own Words” which has been very helpful during these blog posts.