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'Unconstitutional' Scream du Jour

OLATHE, Kan. - Well, they're at it again. The "unconstitutional" crowd. Mike Huckabee is the latest demagogue to find something unconstitutional. (Do you ever get the feeling that these "unconstitutionalists" are former communist hunters who've lost their enemy and are creating a new one out of whole cloth? Don't they have lives? Don't they have anything better to do?)

Now Huckabee is ranting about the TSA's mandatory full-body scan or alternative enhanced pat down. Challenging President Obama to have his immediate family go through the procedure, Huckabee says,

"If it's OK for your wife, your daughters, and your mother-in-law, then maybe the rest of us won't feel so bad when our wives, our daughters and our mothers are being put through this humiliating and degrading, totally unconstitutional, intrusion of their privacy."

I fly a lot. I don't like the scanners and I don't like the pat downs. But this isn't a constitutional issue.

books-line-drawing.gifOLATHE, Kan. - As the Brownback administration prepares to do battle with the citizens of Kansas, it's time to look again at the arguments that corporations and religious conservatives will be using to promote school vouchers and other privatization schemes.

In her now-aging-but-still-relevant article, Why The Right Hates Public Education, Barbara Miner lists the following as a few reasons:

  • Education is a multibillion dollar market, and the private sector is eager to get its hands on those dollars.
  • Conservatives are devoted to the free market and believe that private is inherently superior to public.
  • Shrinking public education furthers the Republican Party goal of drastically reducing the public sector.
  • Privatization undermines teacher unions, a key base of support for the Democratic Party.
  • Privatization rhetoric can be used to woo African American and Latino voters to the Republican Party.
  • I'd like to offer a few additional reasons that corporate and right-wing religious interests have in killing public education ...

    OLATHE, Kan. - David Stockman, Ronald Reagan's budget director, uttered these words during a 60 Minutes interview on October 31, "...the Republican Party... should be ashamed of themselves." He was referring to the Republicans' insistence on tax cuts. Worse, he called their incessant chant "rank demagoguery."

    In his Nov.8-14 Business Week article, John Meacham hearkens back to Daniel Patrick Moynihan's concern about crazies on both sides of the political spectrum, and the lack of a cool-headed center that respects all sides.

    In the November 15 issue of Time magazine, Fareed Zakaria makes the point that the Republicans have another chance to show that they're not just a party of white, southern men -- a demographic cohort that is shrinking rapidly amid ever-increasing "minority" voters who lean heavily Democratic.

    5-4 Decision Cuts Many Ways

    OLATHE, Kan. - The United States Supreme Court's 5-4 decision on Wednesday to allow unrestricted corporate funding of political messaging would seem to be a real blow to what most of us in the progressive community deem to be fair and just. But, with a little time to step back and analyze the situation, this could provide some fabulous opportunities for us.

    Here's a case in point: this morning on the way to work I was listening to KCMO Talk Radio 710, a local Fox affiliate. Their drive-time entertainer and professional blatherer is a guy named Chris Stigall. He came up with what he thought was a brilliant two-pronged idea, the gist of which is the following:

    Liberal? Conservative? On What Issue?

    OLATHE, Kan. - One of the things that has always fascinated me about politics--and in our everyday discussions with each other--is the way we tend to categorize and generalize people. And what I find really curious are the words "Conservative" and "Liberal," or even "Progressive." When someone says that so-and-so is one of those words, my first question is, "On what issue?" They look at me with a blank stare, and I ask again, "Liberal on what issues?" "Conservative on what issues?"

    I use myself as an example. I consider myself reasonably "progressive" on many issues: Gay marriage? Sure. A woman's right to choose? Absolutely. Corporations paying too little income tax? Definitely. Universal health care? I've been arguing for that since the 1970s. When it comes to other issues such as illegal immigration or gun control, then I have to disagree with many of my "progressive" friends whose opinions are different.

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