Test-taking time 1

JISHOU, HUNAN — I gave my last test of the term today. Now I will spend the next few days reading 90 Western Culture exam papers. Here’s one to keep you busy: the US Citizenship Test, which applicants must pass in order to get US citizenship. Can you pass it? **No cheating.** The Christian Science Monitor website has the test online. There are 96 multiple choice questions. The vast majority of applicants pass it on the first go. So, if you’re already a citizen and fail it, sorry, you have to leave the country. Or at least feel very, very ashamed. They should administer it to politicians as a qualification for office, too. Some seem rather civics-challenged.

It was about slavery 1

JISHOU, HUNAN — A century and a half ago on Dec. 24, South Carolina seceded from the USA, the first act of rebellion in what became the American Civil War. From what I’ve read in the US news lately, it seems some people have forgotten why South Carolina and the other Confederate states withdrew from the Union. Teabaggers and revisionists would like us all to believe the War was all about State’s Rights, and a tyrannical federal government, led by the Yankee scum. They avoid the unpleasant reality that the main issue was slavery. There were of course many factors that led to the Civil War, but the catalyst for it was the issue of slavery. The South did not want to give it up, and the Union was making it more and more difficult for the South to conduct its slave-dependent business. So, yeah, at a certain level, the issue of state’s rights was a major cause of the Civil War, but they weren’t talking about general issues of interstate commerce or interstate laws. The specific issue was slavery, and no amount of whitewashing (pun intended) by today’s neo-confederates can conceal that truth. South Carolina, on Dec. 24, 1860, ...

Sharpshooter Sarah is neither sharp nor a shooter 3

JISHOU, HUNAN — “Sarah’s got a gun. Sarah’s got a gun. Her new show’s just begun. Not looking for Russians. What ’bout the caribou? What did it fail to do?” (With apologies to Aerosmith) It failed to drop on her first shot, because Sarah can’t shoot. As a frontierwoman, she would starved to death on her first Alaskan winter. Watch, then read the article (link after the video). Here’s the article fisking this obviously staged hunt. Sarah Palin the Fake Hunter Will people actually believe that Palin bagged this hapless animal all by herself, thereby proving what a rough-and-tough Mama Grizzly she is? Sad to say, the answer is probably yes. Her adoring fans have absolutely no abilities at discernment. She and Dick Cheney ought to go hunting together. Ahem.

Tom Tomorrow sums up American politics, 2010-style 1

How the “socialist Marxist Muslim” saved our financial a$$es

[Rescued from hacker oblivion, thanks to Facebook Notes.] JISHOU, HUNAN — To listen to the right wingers, President Barack Obama has done nothing but spend, spend, spend, ruin health care, trample their rights (to do what, I have no idea), and lead the USA down the path of socialism. Except he really hasn’t. According to Timothy Egan of The New York Times, Obama managed to save capitalism in the USA, at the price of losing his party’s majority after the midterm elections. Suppose you had $100,000 to invest on the day Barack Obama was inaugurated. Why bet on a liberal Democrat? Here’s why: the presidency of George W. Bush produced the worst stock market decline of any president in history. The net worth of American households collapsed as Bush slipped away. And if you needed a loan to buy a house or stay in business, private sector borrowing was dead when he handed over power. As of election day, Nov. 2, 2010, your $100,000 was worth about $177,000 if invested strictly in the NASDAQ average for the entirety of the Obama administration, and $148,000 if bet on the Standard & Poors 500 major companies. This works out to returns of ...

Repeating falsehoods does not make them come true 2

[Another rescued post, thanks to Facebook Notes. Yay, redundancy!] JISHOU, HUNAN — I spent a couple of hours tonight trying to catch up on the post-election aftermath. It seems President Obama is going to visit India. According to the right wing echo chamber, the trip will cost somewhere around $200 million a day! Such intellectual heavyweights as Sean Hannity of Faux News, Rush Limbaugh of the AM (blowhard) airwaves, and Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) of the Crazy People have been repeating this dubious figure like it was the gospel truth. Don’t people fact-check anymore? My editors years ago would have put a big CQ in a red circle if I reported such a ridiculous amount of money. According to the mother of all fact-checkers, snopes.com, the estimate came from provincial official in India who clearly doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the wall. Our entire military presence in Afghanistan costs the USA less money each day than this fictionalized mega-junket to India! (Actually, traveling in India is pretty cheap, I hear, but of course the people I know don’t fly in their own personal jetliner with an entourage of aides and Secret Service agents in tow. Still, $200 ...

Good luck, Kentucky!

[Rescued from hacker oblivion, thanks to Facebook Notes.] JISHOU, HUNAN — We’ll see how that Rand-y Paul-y thing is working out for ya. At least, 56% for Rand Paul and 44% for Jack Conway is not the overwhelming landslide Paul had been hoping for, but it does put him in the Senate. Keep on eye on him, to see which way he votes. Will Mr Tea Party abandon his populist, libertarian platform and play with the big boys like Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), or will he stick to his guns and be the maverick-y kind of guy he said he was during his campaign? On the bright side, some other Tea Party candidates, like Sharron Angle in Nevada and Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, failed in their election bids by closer margins than the Paul-Conway split. This tells me there are lot of other crazy people in Nevada and Delaware beside Angle and O’Donnell, but at least they haven’t taken over yet. Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN) kept his seat. No big surprise. And big spender Margaret Whitman failed (54% for former Gov. Jerry Brown to her 41% ) to buy her way into win the governorship of California. So it’s a ...

I voted. Will you? 2

[Post rescued from hacker oblivion, thanks to Facebook Notes.] JISHOU, HUNAN — Yeah, I’m several thousand miles away from my polling place in Floyd County, Indiana, but I still voted. So, you’d better not have lame excuse about not being to get your butt out to vote. Just sayin’. I’ve been watching the political polls closely for the races in Indiana and Kentucky (and California, for entirely different reasons), and I’m worried. Let’s say you’re dissatisfied with the Obama administration. I know I am, and I voted for the guy. But look it at this, most of Obama’s problems in getting the things done that he promised to get done have originated in the Party of No — the Republicans. It makes no difference what Obama proposes, the GOP will just say no. Bipartisanship has been officially dead in Washington for so long I’ve forgotten when Democrats and Republicans actually worked together on something to benefit the entire nation, and not just their own party’s chances of re-election. So, you’re disappointed with Obama. Voting for a Republican will only make Obama’s job even harder, since none of the Repubs running for office have even remotely suggested they will work with ...
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