Monday, August 19, 2013

The Macrologician Strikes Back!


Thanks to those who passed along kind words about the whole "Golden Pen" thing.  Below, is the "director's cut" of the letter, restored from the violence done to it by those enemies of macrologia over at the Journal Gazette! :-)

In the recent congressional debate about the farm bill, Republicans proposed slashing $20 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) over ten years. Some holier-than-thou advocates for children call this “cruel.”  Luckily, Indiana’s own Representative Marlin Stutzman sees that the only problem with these cuts is that they don’t go far enough. He suggested upping the amount to $30 billion.

You can guess what the “reality-based” crowd will say to this.  They’ll point out Marlin has taken over $200,000 from the government for his own farming operations over the last 15 years.  They’ll remind us Marlin has claimed he was “forced” to take these government handouts when, in fact, he wasn’t.  They might even use the word “hypocrite” to describe Marlin.

But Marlin understands that huge operations like Stutzman Farms need such handouts (more kindly called “crop insurance”) as protection from the consequences of economic forces beyond their control.  To those who claim the kids of the working poor don’t deserve to suffer because of the disastrous fiscal policies of Wall Street either, folks like Marlin have a ready answer: how do you know those little blighters didn’t cause the subprime mortgage crisis in the first place?

All of us in Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District should be thankful that when not being frog-marched to the bank by government thugs and forced to cash those five-digit checks he didn’t even ask for, Marlin has devoted time to sorting out the real culprits behind our economic woes: hungry kids.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Gayest Games Ever!

Like a lot of folks, I’ve been hearing a lot recently about the human-rights-defying anti-gay laws passed in Russia, particularly in the context of the upcoming Winter Olympics.  British comedian Stephen Fry just wrote an open letter to Prime MinisterDavid Cameron suggesting a boycott or relocation of the games from Russia.  On the other side of the issue, Johnny Weir (American figure skater, openly gay man, and sequin aficionado) has spoken out against an Olympic boycott, saying it would just hurt people who had nothing to do with the laws.

What are civilized people supposed to do?  On one hand, going ahead with the games and hiding behind the shibboleth that “the majesty of sport transcends political issues” isn’t an option.  It amounts to tacit approval of gross immorality.  But would a boycott really do anything constructive? Is it even possible to change the location of the games at this late date? Is punishing the athletes (the folks the games are ultimately about) to “send a message” a just thing to do?

I’ve been trying to think of what an approach of creative, constructive nonviolence might look like as a solution to this issue, based on the reading and coursework I’ve done in this area.  And I might just have come up with a solution.

Four words: The Gayest Games Ever!