9:00 AM, October 27, 2013
St. Mark's United Methodist Church
314 Graham Rd
Florissant, MO 63031
|We hear a still small voice|
|telling us that we are valued, that we are loved.|
|And we believe.|
|In our belief, we pray|
|that we may find God’s living spirit within us,|
|that we may see all God’s children in a new light.|
|And so we love.|
|In our love, we hear the sounds of desperation|
|as God brings to us the voice of the needy,|
|of those living on the edge of despair.|
|And so we speak, and so we act.|
|In our words and actions and beliefs and prayers,|
|we live our faith, we walk with Jesus.|
|We are led on a way to our home,|
|on a path back to God.|
Found on Line:
Where He Leads Me
West Coast Mennonite Chamber Choir, 1991
News Corpse tracks Fox so you don't have to. Latest is the fainting conspiracy. Was a woman who fainted at an Obama speech part of a Presidential conspiracy to make Obama look good? After all, President Obama helped catch her. And we know that could never actually happen.
Last Of The Millenniums finds another explainer who takes Obamacare into easy to understand terms as he smacks down a Republican demagogue. My own effort Mediaite documents an extraordinarily selective account by a CNN reporter. The report focused on difficulties some low income residents have in signing up for Obamacare. But the reporter seems to have left out those parts of interviews that contradicted the thrust of her story.
Vincent is back for the moment (Yayyy!) at A wayfarer’s notes. He has writing a book. He relates his own version of a common experience of exceptional writers, when a book and its characters acquire self-determination of a sort.
- Nancy Hanks at The Hankster is a little irritated at the personal cost the Independent candidate for NYC Mayor has paid a personal cost for daring to become non-partisan.
We all remember filling out those forms. It seems like busywork, like something for the file in case someone makes some outrageous claim later on. You tell the very pleasant clerk that you are there for a medical appointment, and you sit for a while filling out forms.
It's like those annual exercises at tax time. The substitute teacher of our younger days, now in the form of the US government, assigns you a test complete with essay. Grading is a bit challenging. If you guess too much you are out of pocket the difference. If you guess too low, you are out of pocket the penalty. Or, if you guess real wrong, prison. If you get the wrong answer on the low side, it had better not be deliberate.
In the doctor's office, the form is number nine or eight or something in the sheaf of paper. Medical questions predominate, but the HIPAA form is the CYA one that kind of stands out. You give the doctor permission to hand out your medical information, but only in specialized situations. Like if another doctor wants it, or legal authorities, or insurance companies, or medical prescription providers, and so on.
HIPAA, for the record, stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, something you're better off not memorizing. It tends to crowd out more relevant facts from the brain, for example that the capital of Montana is still not Hannah. And that your employer does not provide you with French benefits. And you have never in life recited the Pledge of the Legions.
Just remember that HIPAA means a bunch of patient rights, one of which is privacy. Privacy actually means they have to tell you that you give up part of it when you sign.
HIPAA restricts insurance companies as well. When you fill out the medical forms to get health insurance and life insurance, you answer a lot of medical type questions so they know not to cover any pre-existing conditions. If they think you'll get sick, they don't want to cover you.
They can't sell that information to vendors and online Viagra scammers. They can ask doctors for information, just to make sure you're telling the preexisting truth, and doctors usually give it. At least they do if you signed a limited HIPAA privacy release before you got your checkup. Insurance companies get you to sign a form for that information as well.
Corporate entities can do lots of things that don't seem right. They can try to buy elections. They can funnel money through lobbyists that pay for trips and such for members of Congress - thinly disguised bribes. Some folks are asking the Supreme Court to rule that corporations can instruct employees on what birth control they can use, to keep them from violating the corporate conscience. So, presumably, companies can pray. The theory behind all this is that they have the same rights as individual people.
Okay, not every right. There are some things people can do that corporations can't do. Like a company can't marry your daughter, at least not yet.
And .... if a corporation, like an insurance company, violates the HIPAA law, it is a big, big deal. Imagine an insurance company going to prison, maybe even serving time in solitary. You know ... like an individual person?
So the Republican charge yesterday was startling. President Obama's minions were violating the HIPAA laws on patient privacy.
The Congressional hearing was supposedly about why people are having trouble using the internet to get into Obamacare. But that seems to be a hard turn for some Republicans who have always argued that people should never get into Obamacare in the first place. At. All. We demand to know why those folks can't get into the program that we all know will kill them and their grandmothers. No. that is a hard contrast to sell.
So Representative Joe Barton (R-TX) made his charge. Obamacare is not HIPPA compliant. And he had proof in writing. Well ... in printing, actually. It was right there in the source code.
"You have no reasonable expectation of privacy regarding any communication or data transiting or stored on this information system."
Yup. There it was.
Representative Barton hammered the point relentlessly. "We're telling every American if you sign up for this, or you even attempt to sign up, you have no reasonable expectation of privacy. That is a direct contradiction of HIPAA, and you know it."
Only two problems.
First, there is no HIPAA privacy in Obamacare to violate.
There is no medical information involved with enrolling in Obamacare. That's because you are not disqualified for pre-existing conditions, so there is nothing to ask medical questions about. You want to enroll? Sign up. If you can get to the right screen.
Second, the incriminating words about privacy are commented out. In programming school, we used to call that "internal documentation." Programmers put lots of stuff in the code for programmers, only programmers, to read. It makes it easier to correct any bugs if little explanations can be left. "The next 7 lines link to the alternate data table" or some such.
Those comments are invisible to users. Only programmers (or those who know how to look into hidden code) can see them.
Sometimes it is for entertainment or to express a program related opinion. "The next section is kludgy but I couldn't do it any other way" or "This is dumb but that's what the suits say they want".
Every once in a while a programmer might leave a temporary note. "Wanna go for lunch on Wednesday, 12/1/9999" or "Vote for Clinton" or "Leave the Building, Nuclear meltdown is imminent - - Ha Ha" or even "You have no reasonable expectation of privacy..."
Figuring whether something is commented out is not a matter of subjective judgment. It's easy to tell by looking at the code.
Depending on the language, an invisible comment is produced by putting something in front of it, or around it. Like:
/*This code is commented out in SQL*/
-- So is this
-- and this
' This is a comment in VB6
' as is this
<-- This is a comment in HTML
And so is this -->
That last, the commenting in HTML, is what makes invisible what Joe Barton (R-Clueless) was angry about.
This shouldn't have been some obscure technical complexity beyond the reach of Congressional understanding. These guys write the laws and don't understand HIPAA?
Couldn't Republicans have at least gotten one or more of their grandchildren to explain source code to them? They could have put the kids under oath.
Tell the truth or you can't have your daily fix of Oreo Cookies.
Complaining about invisible code is a little like examining Republican integrity these days.
Look as hard as you want. You can't see it.
Science is a wonderfully obscure field of thought to most of us. The cliche has one scientist examining the complex equations presented by another. "I was with your distributive equation down to the point of 'Miracle happens here.'"
But one natural phenomenon may enlighten us about what is sometimes said to be an internecine war within the Republican Party.
Orbits are a common thing in the cosmos. We can see why. When two large bodies come close enough, they either hit or they start to circle.
Sometimes the circle never completes. The wanderers are not quite near enough to go into orbit. A sort of slingshot effect happens. They change direction, then separate, destined never to meet.
Sometimes the tendency to go in a straight line, centrifugal force, matches nearly enough with the force of gravity to get the two to circle each other for a long time. Nearly even match ups in size and mass are rare, and those involve a sort of mutual orbit around a central point.
More often, a smaller body goes around a larger one. Both pull on each other, but the central point is actually more than close. It puts into the cosmos the old Groucho joke. "If I was holding you any closer, I'd be behind you." The central point of the mutual revolution is actually inside the large body. That is what happens to the earth and the moon. The moon swings and the Earth wobbles in itchy response. We get tides and mood swings.
Orbits don't last forever. Being random, these encounters are inexact. The bodies either drift apart until they divorce and continue without each other, or they drift ever closer into an orbit decay.
When the bodies are the size of planets or moons, their orbits never ever get so close they actually touch. Before they get that close, the smaller one disintegrates. Here's why:
The orbit represents an uneasy almost equilibrium between gravity and centrifugal force. Centrifugal force is not actually a force, but what the heck. Life is hard enough as it is, right? When the smaller body gets closer. One side of a moon is closer to a planet than the other side. So the force of gravity becomes much greater on the closer side than on the farther side. Centrifugal force gets greater on the far side than the near side. The near side is more pulled inward. The far side is more pulled outward.
At some point before they merge, the competing forces pulling the far side outward and gravity pulling the near side inward reach what is called the Roche Limit. The strain is too much. The back of one hand goes to the forehead and the other clutches the pearls. Some humans have fainting couches. Moons just disintegrate.
And that, members of the jury, is what is happening to the Republican Party as it spirals inward toward a black hole.
It is a sort of a definitional pounding of a square peg into a round hole to describe what is occurring as a party war. If it was religious, it would not be between differing faiths or even between denominations, where my Father in Heaven can lick your Father in Heaven. It would be more akin to a war between occupants of adjoining pews, witnessed by an amazed Pastor and astonished choir.
It's not so much like the Hatfields against the McCoys. It's more like McCoys shooting McCoys for not using a nuclear bomb against the Hatfields across the street. "You want me explode a nuclear bomb across the street? Are you nuts?" Oh don't be such a hand fluttering RINO.
It looks like Dumb and Dumber in a feud, with dumb angry at dumber for not being dumb enough for suicidal attacks.
But appearance is not everything. What is happening now is not a strategy. It is a symptom.
Those nearest the center of orbital gravity are pulled inward by a desire for ideological statements and a consciousness of party primaries. They look in furious wonderment at those who are slightly outward from them. Why don't they get it?
Those farther from the center of orbital gravity are also pulled inward, but the outward pull is a desire for ideological victory and a consciousness of general elections. They look to those a little nearer in befuddled anger. What is wrong with them?
Truth is, there is not much light between Ted Cruz and those he considers the Republican establishment. They both share a common commitment that is a galaxy away from what most Americans want. When Republicans are tired of talking about Obamacare, they express hostility against the most vulnerable of our fellow citizens.
Most recently, the side that could see Obamacare as a temporarily lost cause wanted to release hostages in exchange for slashes to Social Security. The other side, the side that clung to the anti-Obamacare cause like a stray puppy clinging to the bumper of a car he just caught, wanted to hold onto hostages in the belief that debt prioritization would force government to pay creditors by holding back Social Security checks.
They all join hands and sing their unending hymn of hate for Obama, loathing for Obamacare, and hostility toward those who depend on "entitlements" like Social Security. Both sides continue the inward spiral toward singularity.
This is not a Republican civil war.
Before they all slip past the event horizon and wink out of sight, conservative extremists are simply approaching their own Republican Roche Limit.
From Consumer Reports:
Pundits opposed to the new health care law and some media outlets have tried to suggest that our coverage of the troubled HealthCare.gov site means that Consumer Reports has turned against the Affordable Care Act.
Not true. Consistent with our mission to inform and protect consumers, particularly in this complicated health care market, our advice remains the same: The best place to buy coverage on your own is through the Health Insurance Marketplace in your state. That guarantees you will get comprehensive coverage, and it’s the only way you can lower the cost of your premiums and possibly even your deductibles and copayments.
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Although many pundits describe Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) as on the fringes of the Republican Party, a new Democracy Corps poll finds he's actually right in the ideological middle.
Tea Party and evangelical segments of the party make up over half of all Republicans, and these groups think very highly of Cruz.
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The staff meeting was somber. The team leader was faced with multiple software issues. He addressed the small gathering. He cautioned us. This must not leave the room. Before we discussed solutions, we had to devise a way to present information to top management, the suits, that would minimize the difficulties.
I raised my hand. Why not deliver the news bluntly and honestly? They would be making important decisions on production scheduling. A lot depended on the suits having accurate information. Besides, the truth would get to them eventually, and it would enhance the reputation of the team leader if it came from him.
Within moments, the amazed staff witnessed an angry shouting match, with the team leader sternly emphasizing the need for team loyalty.
The company eventually failed. Decades now separate me from that experience. I will never understand why the guy was never fired.
Defining with precision the online troubles of Obamacare enrollment is an illusive venture. Hard data is unavailable except on a predetermined schedule. The actual evidence is in the experience available to any individual who wants to try enrolling. It is a universally frustrating experience.
Reports from disparate sources tell us officials were stunned at the scope of the difficulties. Speculation is somewhat varied, but seems to cover all of a limited number of possibilities. With some variation, all reasonable explanations reduce to three: Top officials were remarkably incurious, or they were woefully misled, or both.
Harold Geneen, head of ITT for a generation, is sometimes credited with the axiom "Delegate, Don't Abdicate." A hands off but eyes on approach strikes me as basic.
Somewhere along the way, that did not happen with the development of the computer matrix that was to have handled Obamacare enrollment.
There are a number of circumstances that seem to conspire to minimize the political damage.
The roll out was set for months before enrollment becomes effective, a very smart move in a story that is not notable for smart moves.
All damage, at the moment, is in the eye of the beholder. That beholder's eye is seeing a lot right now. But there is time before January to set things right.
The political damage has been mitigated by pure anger at Republicans.
On-the-other-hand reporting had given low-information voters a pox-on-all-houses view of obstructionism. In the zero sum world of politics, Republicans did not need to care that both houses of the national legislature were declining in popularity. "Senate Fails to Act" or "Progress Blocked in House" fueled a sort of fact free irritation.
Threats to the pocketbook tend to fixate the mind into a powerful focus. As government shutdown and debt default became highlighted, the villains of the drama did not need black hats and evil sneers to draw the wrath of the electorate. Republican officeholders are currently supported by their children, their spouses, and their mamas.
Everyone wants to see good guys win. Even more, audiences like to see bad guys lose. New polls should not be surprising. Obamacare remains a divisive issue, with those opposed and those favoring stabilizing into parity. Those fer and those agin are about equal.
But it is not a real standoff. Half of those opposed to the Health Care law also oppose abolishing it. They seem to want to give it a chance. So half of those who think it won't work still want it to succeed. Ted Cruz has become God's gift to Obamacare.
Even more fundamentally, the debate has shifted. Those who had declared Obamacare a failure, because it would harm anyone so foolish as to participate, now declare the new glitches to be horrible because potential participants are having problems enrolling.
Read that last sentence again, and join me in saying "Huh?"
It is not an anti-Obamacare argument that most Americans seem to find compelling. Did I mention that half of those who don't think the law will work want to be proven wrong?
Even that glitches-show-the-law-is-wrong argument will fade to obscurity if technical issues are resolved. Obama officials need to establish interim, measurable milestones, and they need to find within themselves an insatiable curiosity about progress.
Above all: Delegate, don't abdicate.
One other thing. It concerns honesty in reporting to the suits.
If my one-time team leader is there, he and those with a similar ethic should be - um - encouraged toward a new career path.
Ted Cruz has failed in his Sampson-like cause aimed at collapsing the US government and the American economy. But the vulnerable pillars of the Republican Temple do remain.
In actuality, the Ted Cruz cause is more a symptom than a cause.
The near term vanishing of the Republican Party as a nationally significant institution involves six logical steps, which can be found here.
Three of those items involve the separate world views of the party from the rest of the American electorate, the enforcement of those views through the primary process, and the continuing trend toward extremism. Three new pieces of evidence, all Cruz related, support those propositions.
The argument for the continuation of the downward spiral does not flow from the recent debacle of the government shutdown and the attempted refusal to pay America's bills. In fact, those lemming-like Republican actions were not so much causes, as results. But those results are revealing.
First, the acceleration of the party faithful toward the cliff continues, at least for now.
One hope is that moderate Republicans will, at last, stage a counter-coup and wrest back the party from extremists. Senator John McCain has spoken out against self-destruction. Peter King is a voice on the House side who criticizes the deadenders. And a cadre of media personalities have spoken out.
The proposition is that the shock of public anger toward Republicans forced the Congressional wing of the party, at long last, to turn against conservative radicals. This may offer a portend of future Republican resistance to extremism.
The vote that ended the crisis, or at least pushed it a few months away offers a firm contradiction to that hope. Almost half of the Republican contingent in the Senate voted against resolving the crisis. An overwhelming majority of the House voted for continuing the shutdown and for defaulting on our bills. The lemming parade continues.
The hard core of extreme lawmakers are joined by those who make up in timidity what they lack in glassy eyed commitment. The reason is simple. Those who stray, or who appear to stray, or who are suspected of thinking of straying, are subject to harsh penalties in Republican primaries.
Second, extremism will continue to be enforced through Republican primaries. Senator Ted Cruz modifies his promise not to participate in primary challenges to other officeholders. He now says he will "likely" not interfere. He added this in an interview with the National Review:
But every elected official has to make the case to the grassroots in his or her state on why he or she is effectively fighting for them.
- Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), October 19, 2013
In fact, conservative groups have already targeted extreme conservatives for insufficiently backing the recent shutdown/default Republican stands. The targets are extreme, but insufficiently extreme.
Third, the Republican universe remains quite separate from that of the rest of the electorate. Poll after poll shows that separation, on a variety of issues and values. The latest implies a remarkable party future for Senator Ted Cruz. The most conservative voters of the Republican party see Ted Cruz as a bit of a rock star, with 72% favorability. The American public at large is about 75% against the leader of the shutdown/default effort.
Bits of data do not represent proof. The logic of Republican demise may yet prove flawed.
It hasn't happened yet.
Why Republicans Held America Hostage for So Long (4:13) - Click for Podcast
For Original Text
Speaker John Boehner's Knife Fight with Tony Curtis (5:21) - Click for Podcast
For Original Text
One Man with a Flag - the Future of a Political Party (5:06) - Click for Podcast
For Original Text
Republican Constitutional Argument for Shutdown (6:38) - Click for Podcast
For Original Text
9:00 AM, October 20, 2013
St. Mark's United Methodist Church
314 Graham Rd
Florissant, MO 63031
|Before we knew of God, we needed God.|
|Before we learned to love, we were loved.|
|Before we chose, we were chosen.|
|We are sheltered as if by an ageless rock,|
|until the voice that calmed the sea|
|calms the wind and rain around us,|
|the storm that rages within.|
|In our ignorance,|
|in our fear and selfishness,|
|when we are lost in the darkness,|
|there is a light on our path.|
|We are ready to turn toward God,|
|the God who never turned away from us.|
|We are not alone,|
|as we begin the journey to our home.|
Found on Line:
in many languages
A project with singers and musicians from around the world who are a part of the International Churches of Christ (ICOC)
Shown at the 2012 World Discipleship Summit in San Antonio Texas
Nancy Hanks at The Hankster is angry with unfair network bias in ignoring independent candidates, unconnected with any political party. In New York City, ABC excluded the top non-partisan candidate from a major debate before the recent election for Mayor.
Tommy Christopher of Mediaite notices an understated duel about whether references to a medical device tax during talks between the White House and Congress represented the negotiation President obama vowed not to have. Strikes me as word parsing, but maybe it was a slow day.
Wow. It pays to pay attention. News Corpse watches Fox and learns of Obamacare's newest threat to an unsuspecting public. Newscorpse seems skeptical.
Michael J. Scott at Mad Mike's America learns by listening. For example, radio provides wonderful education. It seems Obamacare is worse than anyone had thought. It actually is a program devised by Satan and sent from Hell. Wow.
Why do we have to do this, Sir? looks at the Gospels for the relationship between Jesus and a group of lepers. The contrast is between the reactions of nine and that of one. Seems there is a lesson for today.
PZ Myers, writing for Pharyngula, would laugh if he was less angry at the flimsiest evidence current hawked that Noah's flood was a scientifically verified event. It does provide a lesson to those of us who worship. Proofs that don't prove are apt to be taken as disproof. And faith really is not subject to proof.
Not all suspect science is biblically based. A new study says Oreo cookies are as addictive as cocaine. Conservative James Wigderson seems unconvinced. I dunno. Has he actually tried both? Frankly, I've always been suspicious of those creme fillings. And there must be something that can explain Republican shutdowns.
- Conservative Julian Sanchez considers - in some detail - the latest argument for NSA's expanded telephone spying, that it might have prevented 9/11. He is finds the argument unpersuasive.
So let's work together to make government work better, instead of treating it like an enemy or purposely making it work worse. That’s not what the founders of this nation envisioned when they gave us the gift of self-government.
You don’t like a particular policy or a particular president, then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election. Push to change it. But don’t break it. Don’t break what our predecessors spent over two centuries building.
That's not being faithful to what this country is about.
- President Barack Obama, October 17, 2013
I have written a basic tenet more than once. I am perpetually surprised when I stumble across firm evidence that others do not firmly share it:
I am more than willing to put my ideas up for a vote in periodic elections. The one with the most votes wins. If that's the other side, I'm willing to try again next time.
That is why I am naively dumbfounded by those who try to keep power by preventing legitimate voters from participating. Everything from trickery to fine print to closing registration offices tends to leave me slack jawed. It is a secular sort of profane blasphemy, a mortal sin against democracy.
I am perpetually amazed by those who seek power through structural manipulation. From Governor Elbridge Gerry's gerrymandering in 1812 to Strom Thurmond's filibustering in 1957 to voter suppression in today's conservative morality. I am especially amazed by this last failed attempt to hold America hostage with a demand that the policies rejected in the previous election be put into place.
I suppose I ought to give up childhood illusions and simply embrace the fact of evil in the political world. But I remain stubbornly surprised that the innocuous and obvious bromides uttered by the President would be considered at all controversial.
A talk radio host in Ohio:
Whoa. Really? Go out and win an election?
In the NFL, that's called taunting. In polite company, it's called being ungracious. And no where is it called consensus building.
Cybercast News Service, a well funded conservative site:
The president suggested that the system of checks and balances invoked by tea party Republicans in an attempt to defund Obamacare is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind.
A headline on a Republican website:
Obama: Founding Fathers Would Not Have Approved Of The Republican Party
And, of course, a call for violent overthrow from the usual suspects.
Why is a call to respect elections seen as anything other than bedrock democratic morality? The insistence is for free competition in the marketplace of ideas. The notion is that a fair fight in a fair election is a better forum than economic brinkmanship or government shutdown. Why is the basic concept, taught to me in the fifth grade many, many years ago, rejected by so many conservatives?
I suggest the most plausible answer can be gotten from our dependable friend, Captain Obvious. Republicans are not confident about their own ideas. They are sure Americans will reject them and the ideology they represent.
It is the lesson many in my generation learned every Saturday morning from cowboy movies on black and white television.
Those who fight dirty do not believe they can win any other way.
American voters occasionally do suffer short term amnesia. That is one hope Republican politicians have to harbor these days. A hard core group has insisted they are fiscal conservatives. They say no to requiring the extremely wealthy to shoulder the same proportionate tax burden as their secretaries. They insist that their policies, and the motivation for those policies, are to expand economic growth.
Those very people just pulled out of the American economy an estimated 58 billion dollars, and publicly burned it, in order to show they want to cut debt.
Perhaps enough Americans will forget what happened over the last couple of weeks, joined by the arsonist side of the Republican electorate, to keep Republicans in office next year.
For over 80 years, economists have told us that the primary method of getting the country, any country, out of harsh economic times, is a flood of deficit spending.
They have also been trying to educate us about the flip side of the coin. Balancing budgets, retiring government debt should be done during prosperous times.
- Borrow and spend during recessions and depressions.
- Pay it back and then some when you have caught the wave and are riding high.
Those of us with longer term memories may recall that Republicans, when they have been in power, have done pretty much the opposite.
In the beginning days of the presidency of George W. Bush, times were great. The Clinton economic upsurge was paying off the National Debt. Democrats urged the new President to continue retiring the debt. Instead, Republicans pushed through mammoth tax cuts. The surplus disappeared. A huge military invasion with no strategic end compounded the financial issue.
Now that times are hard, Republicans want to suck money out of a still shaky recovery with cuts to programs like Social Security and Medicare, programs they derisively call "entitlements."
As Republicans have now delivered to America an economic crisis costing billions, they tell each other it was to save America from debt. They are a wolf in deficit hawk's feathers.
A friend draws a line to cinema. Frank Abagnale is still with us, advising the FBI on financial fraud. He was portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio several years ago in the movie Catch Me if You Can. He assumed one false identity after another, leading authorities on a merry chase around the world until he was finally caught.
The connection is applied this way: Republicans had long convinced voters they were the party of capable governance and fiscal responsibility. They are now revealed, at least for a while, as the party united only by their hatreds, especially by their loathing of the current occupant of the White House.
I appreciate the theory, although there are limits to any analogy. It does provide a justifiably cynical perspective on how this artificial crisis began.
A similar analogy might provide a clue about what ended, or at least postponed, the crisis. I look to another imposter from over half a century ago. In fact, Ferdinand Demara was also portrayed in a movie way back when. Tony Curtis played him in The Great Imposter.
President Obama did achieve what he wanted. By all accounts, his private reasoning in demanding unconditional surrender was identical to what he said in public. He could not tolerate, and he would not put future Presidents in a position of having to accept, any small group of lawmakers putting the government and the economy at risk whenever they didn't get their way in free and fair elections. A Hubble like clarity needed to be created for all time. Such tactics would never again succeed. Ever. Not by any group. Not with any President.
It is apparent that Speaker of the House John Boehner was flattened by President Obama. His public press release was defiant. The fight will go on. But what he said less formally was closer to reality from a conservative perspective. It was a noble fight that led to a noble loss. "We fought the good fight, we just didn't win."
But I wonder if, in some way, the final minutes were somehow choreographed by the White House to help out their adversary.
The character from the Tony Curtis movie who reminds me of Representative Boehner is prison inmate Thompson, played by actor Mike Kellin. Thompson gets himself into a desperate situation, holding a knife in confrontation against the smaller DeMara, who is posing as a warden. Speaking softly, DeMara tries coaxing the prisoner into giving up the knife.
Looking around him at the audience of tough inmates, Thompson whispers back. He can't just give up his weapon.
DeMara catches on. "How about if I take it from you?" The prisoner nods. That would be okay.
The fight is brief. It is clear to the movie audience that the prisoner wants the warden to win. The inmate loses the knife to DeMara. But it is the fight itself that allows him to save face with the other prisoners.
Speaker Boehner has reportedly won the support of conservative lawmakers. It seems the leader of House Republicans may not have needed the win.
He needed the fight.
From the Tampa Bay Times:
ST. PETERSBURG — As soon as they pulled into the church lot, Davion changed his mind.
"Miss! Hey, Miss!" he called to his caseworker, who was driving. "I don't want to do this anymore."
In the back seat, he hugged the Bible someone had given him at the foster home. "You're going to be great," Connie Going said.
Outside St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church, she straightened his tie. Like his too-big black suit, the white tie had been donated. It zipped up around the neck, which helped. No one had ever taught Davion, 15, how to tie one.
"Are you ready?" Going asked. Hanging his head, he followed her into the sanctuary.
This had been his idea. He'd heard something about God helping people who help themselves. So here he was, on a Sunday in September, surrounded by strangers, taking his future into his sweaty hands.
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