Saturday, 19 March 2011

Newt Gingrich explains it all for you

I'm one of the biggest news junkies I know - but lately I can't seem to bring myself to watch or read much news. It feels like the End of Days with the devastation in Japan especially unbearable to watch. And Libya - goodness gracious, Libya! Yesterday my husband wanted to engage me in conversation about the new UN sanctioned no-fly zones there: "what was the military strategy? Didn't it seem like this was too late to be effective? What is the long term strategy?"

I found myself staring at him, and thinking: "I'm lack the strength to form an intelligent opinion about this." (Fortunately, Matthew Yglesias has some good ones to keep you going.)

But it's all become a bit too much. When I have these moments, I give myself leave to cocoon into "comfort thinking" for a little while - I re-read Jane Austen novels, have a bath. With lavendar bath gel. Play my guitar. Slowly, and badly.

And in these moments, it's sometimes nice to revisit a trashy old classic from your youth - you know, the kind of thing that you didn't really like at the time, and you still think is pretty crappy, but you have a certain fondness for it that is born of remembering that when you first heard it you were young, and that you survived the things that worried you then (and they didn't turn out to be such a big deal) and isn't it nice that you're older and wiser now?

So it's in that spirit, that somehow Newt Gingrich's comments yesterday really made me smile. Asked about the situation in Libya, the conversation went as follows:
QUESTION: What would have been the steps you would have taken early on?
GINGRICH: I would have studied Eisenhower and Reagan and studied the things they did. I mean there are lots of -- there are lots of ways to not necessarily use American troops and have an enormous impact on a country the size of Libya.
STAFFER: We have to go.
QUESTION: Can you list one or two?
GINGRICH: Take -- take a look at Eisenhower and Reagan.

Aww.... bless. Newt Gingrich randomly shouting out Reagan's name as if he has Tourettes. Republicans threatening to shut down the government. It's like 1995 all over again!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Confidential to Michele Bachmann:

Dear Michele Bachmann,

Recently, you mistakenly declared that the opening shots of the American Revolution were fired at Lexington and Concord... in New Hampshire.

Um. Michelle? Lexington and Concord are in Massachusetts. I'm from Massachusetts. We're a fine state. We're famous for outstanding higher education, unbeatable clam chowder, cranberry bogs, baked beans, and much more.

But mostly - we're proud of our role in the American revolution. Tediously proud of it. Nobody gets through primary school in the US without a mandatory trek through Boston's "freedom trail" - the battle of Bunker Hill, the Boston Tea party, and yes... the Shot Heard Round the World in Lexington and Concord. Take away Lexington and Concord and you lose half our school curriculum.

So, Michelle, I give you fair warning. Don't mess with Massachusetts.

But while we're on the subject, a lot of people get a lot wrong about my home state, so it's probably worth reminding you as well that, while conservatives have for some reason long enjoyed insulting my state, in fact Massachusetts proudly boasts:
Lord, save me from this distopian nightmare!

Yes, we also have legal gay marriage, universal healthcare for all, a relatively high investment in public education. And, yes, it is one of the most politically liberal states in the country. My point is that it WORKS for us. Applying liberal policies has made Massachusetts a pretty nice place to live. Everyone is better off because we care about education, and butt out of other strangers' marriages (while supporting those of our friends and family), and try to ensure that no one who gets sick has to do without care - it helps make us healthier, wealthier, and happier.

You should try it, Michele.