acorn and the sport of foot shooting, misleading, charm deflects from faults

It was dreary day much like any other, but on this day Conservatives and a few Democrats ( the ones afraid of their own shadow) decided to collectively shoot themselves in the foot. It is probably not the biggest self mutilation event in human history, but the Pandora’s Box that it opened might get very interesting, Could ACORN defunding bill strike military-industrial complex?

“The congressional legislation intended to defund ACORN, passed with broad bipartisan support, is written so broadly that it applies to ‘any organization’ that has been charged with breaking federal or state election laws, lobbying disclosure laws, campaign finance laws or filing fraudulent paperwork with any federal or state agency. It also applies to any of the employees, contractors or other folks affiliated with a group charged with any of those things,” wrote Huffington Post reporter Ryan Grimm.

[  ]...Grayson’s list is now online and growing, and he’s soliciting the Internet’s help to add firms which have committed fraud against the government.

The congressman continued: “Please nominate organizations and show me that they need to be in the record. To help, send me the name of the organization and proof in the form of a link to evidence that this organization should be in the Congressional record. I will also need your email address so I can follow-up with you if necessary. The proof you send needs to be easily verifiable, as in credible media reports, legal documents, government data, or otherwise.”

The as-of-yet unverified list reads like a who’s who list of the most influential American corporations, including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Electric, Raytheon, L-3 Communications, Blackwater Worldwide (now known as Xe Services, LLC), Kellogg Brown & Root, Bank of America, IBM, Halliburton, AT&T, Hewlett-Packard Company, DynCorp International Inc., CACI International, Inc., Dell, Inc., Exxon Mobil and many, many more.

I’m not expert but Republicans may be able to weasel their way out. Constitution wonk Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) thinks that if the bill is interpretively narrowly enough it could be considered a “bill of attainder”. Its Unconstitutional to single out a organization or person for special punishment. On the other hand Rep. Grayson, by inviting whistle-blowers to report wrong doing by companies like Exxon Mobil and Xe(Blackwater) may establish the wider parameters of the law. Parameters that seem to have be over looked by Republicans blinded by their zeal. What conservatives were successful at doing was using the alleged wrong doing of a few employees to cut off some of the funds from an entire group that worked on behalf of poor and working class Americans. Said cons may have also ended up screwing over some of their special interests friends.


Mad Men Week 6: Do Viewers Really Hate Betty?

I feel obliged to point out, though, that saying Betty is a bad mother is not the same thing as saying she’s a bad person, an evil cipher whom we can’t possibly hope to comprehend. Her selfishness is absolutely intended as a commentary on (and product of) the isolation of suburban housewives at the time. I’m struck by how many people who watch Mad Men tell me they hate Betty; they can’t stand her; they wish Don would just up and leave. To the modern viewer, Betty’s sins (being a bad mom) far outweigh Don’s (being an absent dad, cheating on his wife, stealing a man’s identity, driving his brother to suicide, lying to his wife and nearly everyone he knows about who he actually is).

I mentioned in another post about the dangers of charm. Because of it people can shift into high rationalization mode. A laundry list of Don’s faults would hardly make a dent in the alternate reality some have created for him. Even I like Don, but I’m always aware of his cloudy moral compass. Under the magnifying glass of TV, where words and actions resonate in a dramatized way, espeially this season, Betty does seem cold and detached from her children at times. Not a good thing, but I can’t hate her for it. I do see her through my personal history, growing up around a lot of people that were abusive in different ways. Some were cold, some were physicallyor emotionally abusive. Betty’s a lightweight in the bad parenting competition.

Mad Men’s producers/writers use some little details in every episode to establish the culture of the time. One of my favorite little details in the last episode was, not the new lawn tractor bit, but when Betty uses a church-key to open Don’s beer.