The Danger of Mixing Wealth With America’s “Me” Mentality

Photo credit: 401(k) 2012/flickr. Use does not represent endorsement by the photographer.

“I want everybody in America to be rich,” was the answer given by Mitt Romney during the GOP Presidential debates in 2011. This is the same line that Presidential candidate John McCain dropped on us in 2008. If you are unable to locate the geyser of cash, then you must not be using the Work Harder Treasure Map, or so we were told by Paul Ryan during his speech at last week’s GOP convention. These men are smart enough to know that wealth is not an ever-flowing fountain from which everyone can drink to their heart’s content, because in the most simplistic terms, currency, resources, and goods are finite. But this beloved tale isn’t concerned with the facts, and it’s not limited to the GOP.

America’s me-centric worldview is growing exponentially thanks to a blend of post-9/11 anxiety, economic uncertainty, the doldrums of postmodernity, and unbridled capitalism. As this continues, the mainstream mindset is starting to resemble those green alien squeeze toys in ‘Toy Story,’ caught staring upwards with a punch-drunk gaze, waiting for the arcade machine’s claw to pluck us out of the group, so that we might leave behind the mundane others as we’re whisked off to our own personal paradise. Our politics and religion become customized vehicles for legitimizing a preoccupation of the self, all at a great cost to ourselves and the community around us.

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Reconciling Tim Tebow’s Ability to Inspire With His Public Demonstrations of Faith

Photo credit: flickr/Jeffrey Beall

Tim Tebow has stepped in to replace time zones as the thing most likely to divide the nation. Say “Tebow” to someone, and you find one of two reactions- a fond smile, or a severe grimace. Only a few who know his name appear to view the NFL quarterback with any level of neutrality. And the reason for all of the divided opinions (aside from his unique and disputable style of play, and recent headline-making victories with the Denver Broncos) rests on Tebow’s decision to wear his faith in Jesus on his sleeve. Is Tim Tebow catching flack for no good reason, or are the calls for spiritual moderation warranted? I think there’s a bit of both.

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The Communists Are Here!

9-12 March in DC-63photo © 2009 Andrew Aliferis | more info (via: Wylio)
by Guest Contributor Brian Robinson

I don’t know if you noticed, but ‘The Russkies’ are back! Not the ones who have been trying their hands at a capitalistic society for the past twenty years, but those old fashioned hammer and sickle Communists! Didn’t you know that they have finally done what Lenin and Marx tasked them to do…take over the American government?! EEEKK!! They have wormed their way into every facet of our government and are here to eat your children. At least that’s what the loudest mouths on TV and radio are telling me. Isn’t it true that the louder they are the more right they are? Or at least, more ‘truthy‘?

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David Simon: The Truth is Vanishing As Newspapers Die

David Simon (The Wire) talks to Mark Lawsonphoto © 2009 CompletelyNovel | more info (via: Wylio)
 
David Simon is one of my heroes. With his partner Ed Burns, he wrote and produced the best piece of entertainment I have ever experienced with HBO’s The Wire. If you haven’t seen this series from start to finish (which is the only way to appreciate what the show actually is), then get to your Netflix queue immediately and start adding discs. The Wire is art: a snapshot of America in decline that is tough, complex, poetic and educational, and is filled with brilliant storytelling and a cast of characters so delicately constructed- they feel like family after five seasons. 

Simon served for years as a journalist with the Baltimore Sun. Now he churns out masterpieces like The Wire and Generation Kill, and is ramping up another series to be set in post-Katrina New Orleans. Simon continues to write columns for venues like the Washington Post. And his latest is a doozy.

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Fear! Its All the (Ratings) Rage

Photo credit: valleywag.com

by Guest Contributor Brian Robinson

There is no doubt that Americans are feeling the economic pinch these days. As evidence of this in my life, I am spending more time at home at my lunch hour. I am mostly in my car moving around during the day, and while its easier to just grab a bite out and about, these days its more economical for me to swing back by home or take a sack lunch with me. The other day, while eating lunch at home, I was watching MSNBC. Like all 24 hour “news” stations they are getting laughably ridiculous in their efforts to make sure they have “content” to fill the day. But, lately, I have noticed a marked reliance on including an element of fear in as many stories as possible.

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How Serious Is The Electronic Voting Machine Threat?

 

 Photo Credit: The New York Times

We’re just a week away from the Presidential Election, and the noise about electronic voting machines is getting loud once again. This issue is a rock star on the Internet, and receives lots of attention in magazines and newspapers, too. People are freaked out about the integrity of the upcoming election, and perhaps rightly so. Ohio in 2004 and Florida in 2000 have a lot of question marks surrounding them.

I want to examine some different opinions on this issue and see where that leads. I’m hoping to hear from you about it. But before we go too far, know that I’m not trying to plant seeds of doubt in people’s minds just for some extra website traffic. Clearly- anything can be alleged (and in this Country, usually is). The correct response is research, moderation and honest reasoning.

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Want Poison? Just Mix God With Nationalism

Photo Credit: AntiWarPosters.com

This year, the Republican National Convention adopted an unforgettable slogan, and I’m not paying them a compliment. As the TV cameras revealed the sprawling sign hanging inside the convention arena, I had one of those  “am I really seeing this” moments. The message printed across the face of the banner:  “Country First.” Country first? I thought this nation prioritized liberty, The Constitution and peace before some dutiful sense of submission to The Country (or Homeland as we’ve been trained to say, just to ratchet the nationalism dial up to  “absolutely creepy”).

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Advisor Sees Future Terrorist Attack As “Big Advantage” For McCain

 
Photo credit: The Boston Herald

One of John McCain’s top advisors has something unusual in mind when it comes to the possibility of another terrorist attack on U.S. soil: a campaign victory. During a recent interview with Fortune Magazine, Chief Strategist Charlie Black revealed that such an attack “certainly would be a big advantage” for the presidential hopeful. 

The quote detonated in Black’s face shortly after it surfaced. He issued a public apology, McCain distanced himself and Obama released a typical rebuttal. But I’m not over it.

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Losing An Understanding of the International World

How much do we really know about the world that lives outside of our nation?

I like this quick presentation by Alisa Miller, who serves as the head of Public Radio International. In the video clip below, she speaks to why Americans know less than we used to about the international community. Miller comes off a little snotty and I don’t care for her inclusion of the IPCC, but the video remains an eye opener. Here it is:

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This Can Get You Fired: Questioning Bill O’ Reilly

We'll do it live!

Bill ‘O Reilly has been chosen to receive the Governor’s Award at this year’s Emmys. Did you know that? I had no idea. This award is the highest honor given out by the committee. One journalist found a more subtle way to share his dissent with others in his field. He then got fired for it. (more…)