Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Pope, Chickens, ICBMs & "Papers, Please": This Crazy Week at A Glance

Honestly, Kids, there has been such crackpot craziness in the news this week that I hardly know where to begin. Each could have been its own post if I'd had the time. So here are some of the highlights lowlights for your consideration:

"Is The Pope Catholic?" Not A Good One, According to Sinead O'Connor
Remember when Sinead O'Connor appeared on SNL and tore up a picture of PopeJohn Paul II? She seemed at the time, pre-Church sex scandals, to be a bit of a reactionary at the time. But looking back over the last 15-20 years of the Church's history, both here in the U.S. and worldwide, she seems to be more the wise sage than anything else. At the time, she was seen as anti-Catholic, but has stuck to her guns regarding abuse in the Church and returns as one of the strongest defenders of the faith, Church be damned:

I am a Roman Catholic, born and raised. With twelve and a half years of Catholic School under my belt to prove it. Perhaps that's a poor turn of phrase in regards to the recent turn of events. Along with other Catholics, I am appalled by my Church's denial, lack of accountability and worldwide cover of the reprehensible abuse of children by members of the clergy. I was never witness to more than the occasional ruler smack and the typical belittlement and intimidation thought to be "appropriate discipline" at that time. But I am aware, as are most American Catholics, of the immoral sexual actions by clergy upon the children in their charge. And now, finally, those who have suffered the same abuses worldwide are going public with their own stories. The Netherlands, Sweden, Ireland, the world over the stories are the same.

Sinead O'Connor made a comment during the Maddow interview about being a strong believer in the faith of our Church. And truly, she has become a defender of the faith in my eyes. Her statement about ridding the Church of priests that committed these acts, and those who had knowledge or covered up such events to protect the interests of the Church, and giving the Church back to those who believe and do right by it - that cuts right to the core of the matter. I have said before in this blog, over the past two years, that I believe in the tenets of my faith, but I have many disagreements with the Church, primarily political (surprise, surprise...), over issues like celibacy in the clergy, gay rights, birth control and abortion. But I couldn't have said it better than Sinead. Give us back our Church and do right by all the wrongs that have been committed. 'Nuff said.

The Republican Health Care Plan...Finally: Chicken Soup Is Good For What Ails You!
So, now that the GOP has figured out how to cut health care costs by paying our physicians in, yes, you heard them right, chickens, we will all need to start learning how to do the currency exchange of what a procedure costs in the number of chickens needed for treatment. But never fear, the trusty folks at The Lowden Plan Medical Chicken Converter have a simple calculator to take the hassle out of knowing how many chickens to bring to the doctor for say, an MRI, a car accident or your yearly ob/gyn checkup. Give it a shot and see what you'll need to pack in the trunk your next visit. Of course, even the Sue Lowden admits there are some bugs to work out (...worms, maybe?), so here's the disclaimer from the site, which is almost the best part of all:
This site makes no guarantees regarding the correct number of chickens for your procedure.Your doctor may require more chickens than specified. For your convenience, we recommend bringing at least 20% more chickens than specified to any doctor's appointment. For that matter, you should have at least 1500 chickens per passenger in your car in the event of an accident, so you could just use those if you're a little short on chickens, but then be extra careful driving home from the doctor because you will have used up some of your accident chickens. Do not mail your medical chickens as payment. Please barter medical chickens in person. Chickens should be secured in your trunk or truckbed if possible. Any chickens riding in the passenger compartment on the way to the doctor must wear seat belts. Chickens should not drive you to the doctor, if you are unable to drive you should dial 911 for an ambulance. Ambulances may not accept chickens for payment, you should have at least 4 goats or an adult pig for such cases. Your healthcare provider may not accept chickens for payment, but many accept other livestock. The Chicken Calculator can not convert medical procedures to sheep, goats, pigs, ducks, cows, llamas, ostriches, etc. Check with your local livestock association for current exchange rates and providers.Chicken count is an estimate only based on current market value of typical live chickens and average costs of medical procedures gathered from multiple sources.
So, obviously, they've done their homework. Too bad the GOP didn't. Seriously, Kids, we couldn't make this kind of bizarro story sure to stop by the calculator and pick up helpful tips on how to store and transport your payment, uh, chickens, as well.

Let's Play "Musical Warheads," or "Name That ICBM!"

As you know, I am extremely proud of President Obama for bringing everyone to the table and coming up with a plan to eliminate "loose nukes" and keep them out of the hands of terrorists. The Summit was also a huge step in the right direction for global diplomacy and restoring the U.S. in the eyes of the world

And then, in a Friday news dump, where I'm sure the Administration hoped that no one would notice, a story surfaces regarding replacing nuclear warheads on ICBMs for conventional warheads. Sounds like a good thing, huh? Except for one little detail. Let's say you're sitting in the Kremlin one night, and someone shouts,  "входящий!" Okay, so you might not know what the Hell that means, but the rest of the room would realize that there's an incoming missile, which they'd recognize as an American ICBM.
So, what do you and your comrades do? Here are your choices:
a) Relax and trust it's a conventional warhead in sheep's clothing.
b) Have a cup of кофе and wait it out, knowing that when it hits, you'll know in a Moscow minute whether it's nuclear or conventional by the blast zone, or
c) Call the red phone and let 'em know you're fighting fire with fire and shoot off your own Soviet version of the ICBM, including a nuclear warhead, just in case...

Yeah, I'd bet that most of us, if we thought a nuclear missile was headed toward our country, would shoot first and ask questions later, thus starting and ending WWIII and our mutually assured destruction. The weirdest part of this story is that even the Bush administration got the logic here and deemed it a bad idea. My question? What genius resurrected this concept? Yes, Boys & Girls, looks like we still need to remember to "Duck and Cover."

And the topper of the week..."Your Papers, Please"  
Man, that phrase sounds sooooo familiar...oh, that's right. "Ihre papiere, bitte." the phrase used by the Nazis during WWII to identify who was a true German and who was an undesireable: a Jew, a Catholic, a Gay...They looked like this: 

Notice the big red "J" stamp for Jew ("Juden") on the little kindergartener's paperwork. It was a time in which you knew better than to ever be without your papers. Terrifying.

The GOP have decided that since denying health care didn't work out for them, and fighting financial regulation 'ain't going so hot in the polls, that it was time to find a new wedge issue: immigration. So they found themselves a state sharing a border with Mexico, with a pawn an interim governor, and decided to use her to stir up their base and drive an emotionally-charged wedge between people. Arizona just passed a law that requires anyone in Arizona, just like in Nazi Germany, to show their citizenship papers to police at any time they are requested:

Granted, Rachel wasn't the only one who covered this story, thank goodness, but I think she hit most of the salient points well. Beside the fact that the law is so poorly written that there is no doubt it is based on racial profiling (um, illegal), even though it usurps federal statutes regarding immigration status and despite the fact that the governor cannot even give the reporters at the bill signing press conference an answer to the query, "What does an illegal alien look like," let's think about the big issue here: granting unlimited power to the police to detain individuals has historically proven to be a  dangerous, slippery slope toward eliminating all civil rights for particular groups of people.

From Arizona Senate Bill 1070:

The attorney general or county attorney shall not investigate complaints that are based solely on race, color or national origin.
But hey, race and color, or race and origin, or color and origin? A-OK! No racial profiling at all...add that to the idiot who stated last week that you could "tell 'em by their shoes..." and there ya go...all you need to know about apprehending illegal aliens. Yeah, Arizona's got it aaaaallll figured out.

Yet, mark my words, the GOP response will be that this law does not go far enough. They will very soon tout the National Identity Cards agenda, pulling it out of the dusty little racist closet the RNC keeps for just such wedge-issue occasions. Because what is to stop an officer in Arizona to stop me for my papers because I look like I might be an illegal German or Swede? Blond hair, blue eyes, German maiden name, driving a Volvo or a VW with out of state plates? Hey, what a great way to "prove" they're not really racial profiling (read: looking for Mexicans to jail)! "See? She doesn't look like a Mexican, and we picked her up, too, right? Maybe that'll make it all stand up in court!" No matter what your race, this should fly a big, red flag (probably with a swastika in the middle). Because if one group can be targeted, then so can any other. "Can't happen here," you say? Yeah, that's what Germans and Austrians and Italians said, too. "They won't stop me, I'm a citizen." Prove it. Because if you can't prove it, on the spot, then you can be hauled off to jail, too. Even if your papers are at home.This law obligates all people passing through Arizona to carry papers proving citizenship. And, Hell, they don't even believe the President's birth certificate!

Dear God, has our country really come to this??? This is partisan divisiveness, pure race-baiting at its most base and blatent form. Whether you are an Arizonan or reside in any state in our nation, this should be a call to action, a reason to speak out against bigotry and hatred. Tell the President to speak up and prove that this law violates federal statutes. Email Arizona's Governor and tell her how idiotic this is and that you will twitter and blog about it to everyone that follows you. Point out this bigoted, fear-monging to your friends and family and get them involved. This is an anti-American statute and goes against the fabric of our great nation, and we must speak out.

Do we have immigration issues? Yes. Absolutely. Is this the answer? No. Want a list of concrete action that Congress can take? Listen to Bill Richardson in the clip above. If he doesn't get picked up for not carrying his papers at the next D-Backs game he attends, he might be the voice to lead us out of this quagmire of ignorance encoded into law.

Like I said, fellow Politicos, this was one crazy week. What struck you as most absurd? Most insane? Can't wait to hear your comments here at Momma Politico!