Tag Archives: Hurricane Irene

Wednesday Word of the Week, September 14: Veracity

14 Sep

Useful equipment for candidate speeches.

This week’s word is: VERACITY

conforming to the truth or fact; accuracy – Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

Lately this seems to be not just a problem for some of our nation’s political figures, but an intentional option. Why bother with facts or the truth if you can just adjust your comments on the fly?

The most blatant example is Senator Jon Kyl (R – AZ), who attacked Planned Parenthood in April. Kyl said on the Senate floor that 90% of Planned Parenthood’s business was providing abortions, an error of 3000%. When he was caught in this lie, he responded through a spokesperson that the comment

was not intended to be a factual statement.

What? He makes a specific claim clearly intended to affect public policy that was never meant to be true? I suppose that we should, somewhat ironically, appreciate his transparency about the comment, but why did he make it? What possible purpose did he have in lying to his colleagues and the American people other than to promote his personal agenda over provable reality?

Sadly, this kind of dodge has grown more artful as the Republican presidential hopefuls have begun their campaigning in earnest. There are many examples, but two stand out, especially since they come from the winner of the Ames Straw Poll (Bachmann) and the current front-runner in the pre-primary polls (Perry).

Michele Bachmann took advantage of natural disasters, displaying her typical crass lack of sympathy with the American people, to maintain that Hurricane Irene and the east coast earthquake were signs of God’s wrath.

I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’

Apparently, God was angry at the size of the U.S. budget deficit (a nice change from His more typical wrath at the gay community à la Pat Robertson). When called out on her gross insensitivity, Bachmann took a Kyl and said that her words were simply a METAPHOR

a word or phrase that means one thing and is used for referring to another thing in order to emphasize their similar qualities – Macmillan Dictionary Online

Let’s be generous for a moment and assume that Bachmann actually knows what a metaphor is. In that case, she meant to say that lethal devastation was similar to God’s wrath, not the real thing. How does that differ in principle? She’s still saying that innocent people should suffer because the Congress of which she is a member can’t balance a budget. Culpability, insult, and ignorance all in one backpedal, that’s pretty amazing. Of course, we could skip the metaphor excuse and go with her other, contradictory explanation, that she was simply being HUMOROUS

full of or characterized by humor; funny – Macmillan Dictionary Online

Which is it, Michele? A bad analogy or a tasteless joke? Do you know the difference?

Just when the separation of truth and state seemed to reach its peak, enter Rick Perry. Perry has famously maintained that Social Security is unconstitutional, not just in speeches but in his book, Fed Up. During his first debate performance, he referred to this vital program as a “Ponzi scheme” and a “monstrous lie.” When (surprise, surprise) such comments polled very badly with most Americans, Perry took a Kyl as well.

Suddenly, he issued statements maintaining that anyone currently on Social Security should not fear for its viability, nor should anyone about to enter eligibility. What does that mean, Rick? That those people should be comfortable living a monstrous lie? That your presidency would do nothing to end an unconstitutional practice? That you support bankrupting future generations with a scheme you loathe just to get a few more votes?

Mitt Romney is famous for his flip-flops, trying to hide from his past by reinventing his positions. As venal and manipulative as he may be, Bachmann and Perry have lowered the game to a whole new level. What a travesty when Romney rises to the top of the ethical heap.

Americans must pay attention. In this cynical age, most people have come to expect their political leaders to delivery carefully crafted messages to each demographic, to make promises that garner votes regardless of their political viability. What an horrific shift if we let people vying for our highest office simply retract or recast their statements. Candidates, stand by your policies and we will vote accordingly. You’re only human, you’re allowed to make mistakes; when you do, say “I was wrong.” If that doesn’t happen very often you’ll gain credibility and we’ll know where you stand. Own your words. That’s

the quality of behaving according to the rules and standards of your job or profession – Macmillan Dictionary Online

INTEGRITY, a principle of leadership.

Wednesday Word of the Week, August 31

31 Aug

Hurricanes in Vermont, what will they think of next?

This week’s Word is: STABILITY

a situation in which things happen as they should and there are no harmful changes – Macmillan Dictionary Online

For those of us in New England, recent climatic events have led us to question many assumptions about this concept. Storm winds and rain from HURRICANE

a severe tropical cyclone usually with heavy rains and winds moving a 73-136 knots – Macmillan Dictionary Online

Irene have wrought substantial havoc in my home state of Vermont and jarred my adopted state of Massachusetts. Dear Irene, please refer to the definition above. Vermont is not TROPICAL!

relating to or situated in or characteristic of the tropics (the region on either side of the equator) – Macmillan Dictionary Online

Flooding and power outages exceed anything most Vermonters have seen, certainly ranging beyond my nearly 30 years of experience. Fortunately, my family was 100 miles away, visiting my aunt in Amherst, Massachusetts, where the storm was felt but hardly damaging. Mom’s return to Vermont may be delayed a bit until the power is back on, but the neighbors say the family home is safe. That, at least seems to be stable.

I have had a number of reasons to think about stability recently. As I noted in May, I recently uprooted my HOME. This has been a very positive experience and has helped me move forward with my life and nascent career, but it is a tumultuous thing nonetheless.

Far more jarring was having one of the central pillars of my life shaken hard. In mid-July, my grandfather suffered a massive stroke. While he is recovering well, having this great oak of a man enfeebled by a tiny clot was a humbling experience. Granddad has been the one steady constant in my life, and I am not ready to lose that element of stability. Ironically, his need for better access to medical care is what brought him, Mom, and me to my aunt’s home in Amherst and spared us Irene’s peripatetic thundering.

As I get my career on track, I am working three different jobs (not uncommon for my generation). My sudden need to be in Braintree, Amherst, and Reading alternately for unpredictable stretches of time caused one new employer to unceremoniously jettison me as “unreliable” despite my best efforts to communicate at least daily and carry as much work with me as possible. I understand the need to run a business soundly, but a lack of compassion is a hallmark of bad business to me. Once again, stability was undermined.

As I make the most of my other two wonderfully supportive and engaging jobs, as Granddad recovers faster than he was supposed to, as we breathe a sigh of relief that our home and our neighbors weathered the storm reasonably well, I feel very lucky. I also recognize that an element of stability about which I have previously written bolsters me throughout this turmoil. I have a support system a FAMILY, upon which I can draw. Let the weather turn bizarre, let the employer have no heart, I have a stability which is steadfast and reliable.

Regular readers will not be surprised that such a turn of thought led me to ponder the great buffoons of Teabaggistan and their CANDIDATES. Ron Paul just finished assuring the nation that we didn’t need a Federal Emergency Management Agency. (Kudos to President Obama for his visit to FEMA and his vocal support of their work, now under effective management.) Rick Perry tells us that Medicaid is unconstitutional. Michele Bachmann wants to cut the minimum wage and reduce unemployment benefits, all while assuring us that earthquakes and hurricanes are God’s way of asking for a smaller Federal budget.

How dare they! The role of government is to make things better for the citizens. Huge military budgets and ghastly corporate tax loopholes don’t do that. Logjams over ideology when Americans need jobs programs don’t do that. Wasting precious revenue persecuting the LGBT community doesn’t do that. Plotting ways to remove women’s control over their own health care doesn’t do that. The programs these men and women are targeting very clearly do provide care and support.

Given my life events of the past four months, each one of those absurd claims and cuts is deeply personal, and the personal is political. Any American who believes that these Republican candidates would be a President who would look out for their best interests is seriously lacking in

a condition in which someone’s mind or emotional state is healthy – Macmillan Dictionary Online

STABILITY.

Bigot of the Week Award: August 26, Rabbi Yehuda Levin

26 Aug

Bigot of the Week

What a sad week.  There was no shortage of bigots to be found.  I need to thank friend and fellow blogger, True Confessions of a Female Motorcyclist, for inspiring me to write about this week’s BWA.  Apparently, the LGBT community is far more powerful than I even knew. I shall have to write the President of the Gay Agenda and let him know of our super powers.

Rabbi Yehuda Levin has now created a youtube video blaming gays for the earthquake on the east coast this week.  Apparently, we have also used our super powers to cause hurricane Irene.  His statements scapegoating gays certainly earns him the BWA.  The Bigot Levin was quoted as saying: “You have shaken your male member in a place where it doesn’t belong. I too will shake the earth.”  Is it me, or does he seem obsessed with what men are doing with our “members?”   While I hate to direct anyone to his youtube viedo, here it is if you feel compelled to witness his hate speech.

Because his comments are not only bigoted but completely insane, I am not even going to dignify them with a direct response.  My hope is that he and Mark Bachmann find each other and one day celebrate their love openly.

I also feel compelled to offer a dishonorable mention to this week’s BWA.  Thank you to my friend Jen Lockett for inspiring me to share this. Unfortunately, the homophobic bigot, Jerry Buell from Florida, was reinstated after posting hateful anti-gay comments on Facebook. While I certainly support his right to Free Speech and “will defend to the death to protect it,” I do not believe he should be in a classroom around students who would be guided by his views.  He is in a position of power and he is abusing that power.  His syllabus says:

I teach God’s truth, I make very few compromises. If you believe you may have a problem with that, get your schedule changed, ’cause I ain’t changing!

Buell has also said that his classroom is his “mission field.”  I think it is safe to say he will not be protecting LGBT students from bullying at his school.  As someone who was an educator for over 20 years, all I can say is that I’m disgusted with Buell and the Superintendent for reinstating him–I would not feel my child was safe near this bigot.

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