Ribbie on Evolution, Student Loan Debt, Women in Politics and Other Issues

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Ribbie recently appeared on the Joel Hibernia show, a fictional radio broadcast featuring obscure bloggers.

JH: What do you think about income inequality?

Rib: I’m not a fan.  The government should increase the tax rates on the wealthiest, close corporate loopholes, raise the minimum wage, allow the IRS to do the filer’s taxes for free if the filer so pleases and allow people to pay higher taxes if they wish.  Last, I would cut military spending significantly even beyond the scheduled sequester cuts.

JH: Students are drowning in student loan debt.

Rib: This is true. Some of those loans should be forgiven if a student enters the field of public service upon graduation. This would include teachers, social workers, government workers, counselors, librarians, musicologists, ethnographers, anthropologists, bloggers, writers, birders, wine critics, environmentalists and all English majors.

JH: English majors?

Rib: Sure.  They should be drowning in literature, not debt.

JH: Is climate change a hoax?

Rib: Only to those who don’t believe in science. I happen to believe in science.

JH: What are your thoughts on the polar vortex?

Rib: I like it actually.  I have a coat made out of polar vortex and I tell you it’s much warmer than goose down or thinsulate.

JH: On the issue of science and religion, should creationism be taught alongside evolution?

Rib: Creationism is a religious question, so I would say that only evolution should be taught in science class.  I think creationism should be discussed in Sunday school or in an elective course on creation myths.  In high school, I would recommend that the play, “Inherit the Wind” be taught in English class and the questions of religion and science be critically discussed and debated.

JH: Is America ready for a woman to be president?

Rib: Well, we should be.  And I don’t know why it has taken so long.  As we speak, 19 women are presidents or prime ministers of countries, countries such as Germany, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Bangladesh, South Korea, Norway, Jamaica, Malawi, Denmark and Thailand.  And many more countries in the past have elected or appointed women as heads of state like Panama, England, Iceland, Ireland, Nicaragua, Switzerland, India, Indonesia, and Liberia, to name a few.

JH: What would you do about Vladimir Putin?

Rib: I would broker a deal so that Russia would withdraw from Ukraine in exchange for its pledge not to join NATO.  And Putin would be invited to be a guest host of Saturday Night Live with special musical guests, the band, Pussy Riot.

JH:  That would be a riot.

Rib: And that was a joke.

JH:  Putin doesn’t like jokes.

Rib: True, in his way of thinking, jokes are a sign of weakness and designed to disarm, something he is not likely to do anytime soon.

JH:  What do you think about the world cup?

Rib:  Not much.  A sport in which hands are not permitted strikes me as odd.

JH:  Well, it is called football.

Rib: It is true to its name, except that you can also use your head.

JH: Good point.

O’Donnell vs Coons

Did you see the debate between Christine O’Donnell and Chris Coons?  Oh my.  It reminded me a little of the debate between Biden, then a senator from Delaware and Sarah Palin.  Christine O’Donnell even looks like Sarah Palin.  No winking though in this debate, but there were some eye-popping moments, like when O’Donnell told Coons that his time was up and when she skirted the question of her beliefs on evolution. She said her beliefs didn’t matter – that the teaching of creationism as an equal theory to evolution should be a local decision, which means of course she doesn’t believe in science.

She says, “it is the constitution that I will defend  and it is by the constitution that I will make all of my decisions, and that will be the standard-bearer for every piece of legislation that I will vote on.”  Where in the constitution does it say that local school districts have the right to teach a religious creation myth alongside a scientific theory in public schools?  It doesn’t.  However, the constitution does prohibit laws that establish religion – known as the establishment clause which was clarified by Jefferson to mean that government and religion should not mix – that they should remain separate.

Allowing creationism to be taught in public schools is not only unconstitutional, it creates a slippery slope.  If you teach the Judeo-Christian creation myth from the bible, you would need to give equal time to the thousands of creation myths the world over.  And who is qualified to teach them?  The science teacher?

O’Donnell called Coons a Marxist for an article he wrote where he jokingly referred to himself as a bearded Marxist.  He replied that he had never been anything other than a “clean shaven Capitalist”.  I am no Marxist, but clean shaven Capitalist does not inspire trust.  I would have liked to hear him say “clean shaven Capitalist with a social conscience.”  But you know, if he had, people would have construed that – or Fox News anyway – would have used that to fear monger.  They’d label him a Socialist.  And the terms Marxism, Socialism, Capitalism, Nihilism, Fascism have lost their meaning because they’ve been bandied about so recklessly in the media and used in propagandistic ways;  hallow rhetoric to steal a phrase from Ms. O’Donnell.

One of the better moments in the debate came when Wolfe Blitzer asked her to be specific about the cuts she would make and to please not just say waste, fraud and abuse.  She said she would “cancel the unspent stimulus bill and put a freeze on non-discretionary – on discretionary spending and put a hiring freeze on nonsecurity personnel and then of course, when we talk about government spending, we’ve got to talk about waste, fraud and abuse”.  She talked a little about Medicaid waste and “schoolhouse pork” and then attacked Coons for raising taxes and cutting policemen pay.  She dodged the question, spoke in very general terms and attacked Coons.

Poor Coons kept saying things like – “there’s so much to respond to” and “one minute may not be enough” to try to deal with O’Donnell’s spread strategy which is a debaters term for making many rapid fire arguments to try to overwhelm the opponent and keep him on the defensive.  The problem was that she was not terribly coherent.  She had the talking points memorized but fell flat when off script.

Winner:  Coons

The Politics of Distraction – Are We Stupid?

Are we so stupid that we’ll let lipstick talk occupy our thoughts when we have so many important issues facing our country?  Senator Obama labeled the hype “phony outrage” on the part of the McCain campaign.  The suggestion here is that Barak Obama is sexist.  The very Obama who voted for equal pay for equal work.  What would you call McCain who refused to vote at all on the same bill?  Would you call him a maverick?  And his glass ceiling shattering, gun toting, lipstick wearing hockey mom of a running mate?  A feminist?  The name calling is utter nonsense, but it is effective at distracting our attention.  Brilliant Republican strategy?  Cynical to be sure.  If you have something to hide – let’s say the record – create a diversion.  You know the Republicans are ecstatic that CNN has devoted two entire days to lipstick on a pig.  At this rate Obama’s message will never take hold because it won’t be heard.  He’ll be on the defensive – no way to run a campaign.

Boycott the networks if they refuse to cover substance.  Flip the channel the next time you hear the phrase lipstick on a pig, or any other sensationalized tidbit.  If a newspaper runs trash talking headlines on the front page, don’t buy it.  Cancel your subscription.  We have a right to hear what the candidates have to say about the issues.

Actually, you don’t even need to listen to the candidates anymore.  Their views are a matter of public record. You can google McCain and Obama’s voting record.  We know all there is to know about Palin – which is to say not much or maybe too much, but whatever; I do know enough to know that she was tapped to get the Republicans re-elected.  She is no more qualified to run the country than I am – and trust me, I am not qualified – actually, I was on the student council in high school and an off-campus rep in College.  Maybe I am more qualified than her.  I passed legislation.  I did – legislation to provide more off campus bus stops.  Damnit I am qualified.  Ribbie for President!  Sorry I got a little carried away.  Ok, a lot carried away.  It’s late.  I’m tired.  And it doesn’t matter what I write, because no one will read this post anyway, nor will anyone comment.  Watch.

Are we stupid?  Are you stupid? – ok, maybe you are just lazy or too busy to think, so I’ll make it easy for you to decide who to vote for in November.

Do you like guns, want more of them – maybe a handgun…and not ever have to unload it – vote Republican, even though McCain doesn’t own a gun.  If you don’t like to hunt, but want a gun anyway, vote Democrat – Obama’s not big on guns, but he believes you have a right to yours.

Religious?  Tired of the separation of church and state?  Want prayer and creationism in schools? Fine.  McCain’s your guy.  But remember, you’d have to give equal time to all religions including atheism because we do live in a religiously diverse country.  Now a disclaimer; McCain believes in evolution – I don’t think Palin does, God had a plan in her view – but McCain would leave the creationism or intelligent design debate to the states.

Health Care?  The plans are fairly complex.  If you don’t have health care insurance, you are probably a Democrat.  If you’re not, maybe you should be.

Economy?  Taxes – if you earn less than 5 million, vote Democrat.

Energy?  Now everyone is for drilling, even the Dems.  We went to war for oil – well, I didn’t – I have always been opposed to war –  anyway, if we have been so victorious, as Palin suggests, and the surge so effective as McCain suggests, why are we paying $3.50 US at the pump and 10 billion a month in Iraq or is it 40? How about this – just don’t buy oil or gas? Go electric, go hybrid.  Lighten your carbon footprint. Bike, Subway, Bus it.  Walk baby walk!

Whatever you decide, take a real look at the issues and make an informed choice.  And do vote.  Don’t let the bastages get you down.  We’re better than that!

Barack Obama’s Speech – One for the Ages

Invesco Field at Mile High stadium has never been so energized.  80,000 Americans from diverse backgrounds came together to witness history in the making.  What a party.  A grand and authentic show of Unity to the sounds of Stevie Wonder, Michael McDonald, Will.i.Am and John Legend.  And there were some fabulous orations. Al Gore gave a rousing Green speech reminding us all of the fragile nature of our planet and the consequences of ignoring Global warming.

Interestingly, McCain announced Sarah Palin as his VP choice, a woman who believes that global warming claims are overstated.  Like many in the Republican party (certainly not all to be fair) she does not believe in Science.  Skeptical of the theory of evolution, she is a proponent of teaching Creationism in the schools.  I’m not making this up!

Finally, the moment came that 38 million Americans watched all across the country – Barack Obama, the first African American accepting the nomination of a major political party.  His speech was one for the ages and should remove all doubt as to his beliefs and plans.  He effectively linked the suffering of the middle class to failed Republican policies that put the interest of the wealthy and big business over the interest of the people.  He defined what he means by change, giving detailed proposals on the issues that people care about:  job creation, education, energy, the environment, health care, tax relief and ending the war.  He explained how he would pay for his plans by “closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don’t help America grow” and by eliminating programs that “don’t work” and “making the ones we do need work better and cost less”.

“…the change we need is coming” and that change is Barack Obama.

Barack Obama’s Acceptance Speech