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Rick the Pontiff

Recently, the prophet Rick Santorum observed that Europeans “have nothing to fight for…nothing to live for.”  However, I think he is wrong.  There is at least one goal common to Europe and that is avoid becoming the supercilious and sanctimonious political embarrassment personified by Santorum et al.  Pronouncements so pontifical seems particularly disconcerting from someone who professes to be the embodiment of Christian virtue and compassion, yet more often than not his favorite gospel seems to be the gnostic Gospel of Rick.   I suggest he reads James before he inflames and speak through the filter of humility that transcends partisan politics and that is true basis of Christian faith.

The Tragedy of Mitt

Mitt Romney is an enigma.  On paper, he is slam-dunk.  He has a business record envied by the current capitalist system that America endorses (or at least, has endorsed for that last thirty years).  He is a faithful and devoted (single) family man.  He is a Christian (yes, Mormonism is a branch of Christianity).  Although he is richer than some countries, he eschews the rivaling ostentatiousness of the corporate elite (except for a few extra homes).  He is impeccably dressed and has hair ordained by God.  So the question is, why hasn’t he been able to put a lid on the campaign?  He has been at it for five years and should be choosing the color of the bow and practicing his acceptance speech.  But no; history, it appears, is having the last laugh (or a good teaser chuckle) and the prize he covets seems to be slipping, at least for the moment, from his twitching fingers.  

I, like everyone else, don’t have an answer, just an observation.  Mitt has become the epitome of the Teflon candidate in a way that trumps the typical issue gymnastics.  This new brand of Teflon permits Mitt to deftly claim different personas to catch the prevailing winds of politics.  Like Proteus, he can change shapes and can even deny his own history such as disavowing any knowledge of his actions as governor as he exhorts the American people to believe that he has the answers to our numbing problems.  The problem with this scenario is that he actually did Massachusetts good, particularly tackling the complex, divisive issue of health care.  Although the solution was not perfect, it did successively establish as basis to solve in a relevant and comprehensive way a problem that the rest of the country has shamelessly avoided. The other success story was the way he addressed the state’s deficits by making corporations be accountable for their accounts and pay what they legally owed.  In short, he at least tried to be a consensus builder and now as candidate, is willing to cast his record aside.  His disavowal of his record seems so complete it is as thought that Mitt never existed or has been dispatched Dexter style.  Was he really teary in his debate against Ted Kennedy or just faking it?  Was the illegal abortion in question really not so bad that he would allow the practice to proliferate under his new-found revulsion of Planned Parenthood?  His candidacy brings into question his integrity and the essential ingredient of every successful political leader (which is not the same as a corporate CEO) – possessing the confidence to humbly admit mistakes so that a stronger vision of leadership is continually reshape and improved.  With every flip, every flop, virtually every re-articulation of political stance, Mitt is demonstrating the nauseating disconnect between the leader he promises and the leader he is capable of being.

The tragedy of Mitt is that he comes across as something he is probably not – smug.  But his brand is of a different kind. It is not the type born from an unbridled ego infecting such characters as Dick Cheney, Darryl Issa or Grover Norquist, whose hubris deludes them into believing that the principles of the country should conform to their ideas alone.  Nor does Mitt possess the corrosive obnoxiousness of their personalities.  Mitt’s apparent smugness stems from a lack of courage that manifests itself in the cynical policy flip-flops that have come to define his political persona and is exacerbated every time he needs to test his own record with the quixotic and often irrational demands of party and its radical minority.  His conformity is confirmation of his lack of conviction and his lack of conviction is shielded by an obligatory self-righteousness.  His fear of failure will be his failure to lead effectively a diverse, conflicted nation..  His inability to shape a vision for himself is testimony that he will be unable to forge one for the rest of us.  Maybe Mitt is not as complacent as so many in the Republican Party; but he is complaisant.  The corporate CEO has become the political sycophant.  How then can he expect the American people to trust the voice of this mercurial mind? 

Prince Albert

Now that Pujols will be taking his talents to the west coast, I was wondering if he could take some of his new found millions and give St. Louis back one of the great treasures that he helped steal from the city - KFUO, its award-winning classical music station.  While I am thinking of it, he can also take with him the vapid Christian rock station that replaced it.  That would be the perfect parting gift.

This footage from a recent harvest shoot was taken with GoPro cameras.  Danny Hommes of Pixelography is branching out and becoming a GoPro Specialist.  On this portion of the job was in charge of gathering the footage and did a great job!

This footage from a recent harvest shoot was taken with GoPro cameras.  Danny Hommes of Pixelography is branching out and becoming a GoPro Specialist.  On this portion of the job was in charge of gathering the footage and did a great job!

The Mind [sic] of Newt

What a great description from Maureen Dowd yesterday about Newt Gingrich’s mind.  She wrote, it is “in love with itself.  It has persuaded itself that it is brilliant when it is merely promiscuous…to put it mildly, (he) is not a systematic thinker.  His mind is a jumble, an amateurish mess lacking impulse control.  He plays air guitar with ideas, producing air ideas.  He ejaculates concepts, notions and theories that are as inconsistent as his behavior.”  What eloquence, what perception!  And sadly, what truth.  Sad because the drivel he expends somehow, somewhere finds resonance in the American body, although I am at a loss as to which organ is responding.  Given Gingrich’s predilection for serial adultery, among other moral contradictions, it can’t be the heart of the right, religious or otherwise.  And certainly it cannot be the brain of the conservative American body because the most cursory of examination of his profundity betrays the pundit to be a pud, a hypocrite whose “brilliance” is a consistent repackaging of worn, failed and accessible political platitudes.  His ideas shimmer with all the expectation and accuracy of a Cialis ad, and his solutions to this country’s myriad problems, as epitomized by his newly revealed cliché of a slogan, consciously reminiscent of Reagan’s Morning in America – “working together we can rebuild the America we love” – is as vacuous as the notion that all a relationship needs to be happy and healthy is a pill.  While sadly this thought might reflect the America we have witness these past 30+ years, now we need and should demand more, especially since this is not the America of 1984.  It is no longer morning but the twilight of that long, withering day that broke thirty years ago that permitted Newt and his gang to promiscuously vilify government and bully the American people all the while taking full advantage of the incest between the public and private sectors and inoculate themselves from their own failures.  The question I would like to ask Newt is two-fold; to what version of America are you referring and if it is Newt’s America 1.0, why in the world would we want to suffer Newt’s America 2.0? 

America needs to do its homework.  Gingrich’s elasticity does not reflect a character of strength and vision but an electoral process that is rotting before our eyes and It is time that we revoke the candidates’ license to spew before decomposition becomes systemic.  It is time to hold them and most importantly, what they champion and promise accountable.  Gingrich is a loser who envisions himself a Messiah.  We neither can expect nor do we need a Messiah but at least we can ask for a candidate who is bold enough to offer to the American people a vision that doesn’t revolve around him.

"Democracy is like a muscle; if you don’t use it, you will lose it"

Margaret Atwood

Swat Team

Newt the Chameleon

I must admit one needs to give Newt credit for possessing a superabundance of chutzpah.  Here is a man who was hoisted by the same petard that he used to cut the legs of Jim Wright; who in a shining moment of Christian love and fellowship leaves his wife in her time of need; who masquerades as a voice of the common man except that most common men cannot afford the blue box much less the baubles of Tiffany; who believes that the best way to launch a presidential campaign, with the theme no less of “transformational change”, is to take a cruise; and now, who amid his own edicts to crucify Barney Frank, et al over Freddie and Fannie (aka Raggedy Andy and Raggedy Anne), finds himself scrambling to explain his consulting largesse from the those same vilified  institutions.  Never mind that the agenda of one consultation stint was to sell Bush’s home ownership ideology to the merry men of his own party or that his clarion call for change includes the dismantling of the insidious and incestuous relationship of lobbyists and politicians (and here I make careful distinction between the institution and the cronies that infect it).  Whether by genetic design or the honing of our hijacked governmental system, here is the paradigm of the political chameleon, who, because he lacks a hypocrisy thermostat, can flip and spew, with the dexterity of a ballroom dancer but with all the credibility of snake oil salesman.  What is pathetic about Washington is that he is not the exception but the archetype of our current elected officials.  What so many of them seem to have lost sight of is without humility there is no integrity and without integrity there can be no democratic vision that transcends the hypocritical self-interest of partisan politics.  I have a suggestion for Newt…be accountable to your contradictions before you claim to be able to be accountable to the American people.  Better yet, first practice transformational change on yourself first before you try it out on us.

Perils of Simplicity

Of the many travesties about the American campaign trail, one of the most glaring has to be how simplistic are the candidates solutions to this country problems. As I read a recent quote of Mr. Romney - ” I will keep American strong.  I will keep us prosperous.  I can’t wait to get into the White House to be able to return America to the people of America” - I found myself, yet once again, struck by the annoying inanity of declarations such as these that roll out so effortlessly out of the mouths of the candidates.  I guess they simply expect the American people to accept such sophomoric platitudes as divine truth without question, without dissection.  Maybe that is who we as a society have become, expecting the answers to be packaged like a Hersey kiss, or a pill or yet another comforting sound bite.  However, I cannot believe it true.  Last time I checked, no candidate in the history of American has ever stated, “I will make American weak!  I will willingly and wantonly bankrupt this country!  I will turn this country over to corporations and interests that do not represent the democratic will and values of the majority”.  (I must say though, it does strangely familiar, even if not historically accurate).  Of course Americans can identify with those goals.  The challenge for Mr. Romney and all the other in the campaign herd, is that they need to address the “How” and not the “When” of proposed solutions.  As Obama can testify, predictions are easy; actual results are far more difficult.   When a republican candidate says so confidently that he/she will create jobs once in office, how about a suggestion of how that will occur, especially in light of the prevailing conservative (with small ‘c’) mantra that government cannot create jobs, only business can.  Fine, but the historic truth is that business cannot exist without the intelligent hand of government to provide the infrastructure for business to flourish (did GM build the highways?…I forget; did Cisco invent the internet?…I forget; don’t pharmaceutical giants depend on the research funded by grants to universities and associated governmental agencies…I forget).  This symbiosis between government and private enterprise is our historical legacy, be it in transportation, science and technology, education, and on and on.  No one, including the founding fathers, proclaim it would be easy, and like every organic organization it needs and relies on a fluid set of checks and balances to survive.  But do the American people a favor, Mr. Romney et al (and this request includes the putative democratic candidate), share with us a vision of how it can be made whole and healthy, once again.  Over-anything is deleterious, whether it is over-eating, over-exercising, over-regulating, over-underregulating; but maybe the worst of all, is over-simplifying, especially in this current political environment that has rewritten history to purge all shades of gray in a debate, leaving only the rancorous but convenient extremes of black and white, and the senseless chasm in between.

Rick the Pontiff

Recently, the prophet Rick Santorum observed that Europeans “have nothing to fight for…nothing to live for.”  However, I think he is wrong.  There is at least one goal common to Europe and that is avoid becoming the supercilious and sanctimonious political embarrassment personified by Santorum et al.  Pronouncements so pontifical seems particularly disconcerting from someone who professes to be the embodiment of Christian virtue and compassion, yet more often than not his favorite gospel seems to be the gnostic Gospel of Rick.   I suggest he reads James before he inflames and speak through the filter of humility that transcends partisan politics and that is true basis of Christian faith.

The Tragedy of Mitt

Mitt Romney is an enigma.  On paper, he is slam-dunk.  He has a business record envied by the current capitalist system that America endorses (or at least, has endorsed for that last thirty years).  He is a faithful and devoted (single) family man.  He is a Christian (yes, Mormonism is a branch of Christianity).  Although he is richer than some countries, he eschews the rivaling ostentatiousness of the corporate elite (except for a few extra homes).  He is impeccably dressed and has hair ordained by God.  So the question is, why hasn’t he been able to put a lid on the campaign?  He has been at it for five years and should be choosing the color of the bow and practicing his acceptance speech.  But no; history, it appears, is having the last laugh (or a good teaser chuckle) and the prize he covets seems to be slipping, at least for the moment, from his twitching fingers.  

I, like everyone else, don’t have an answer, just an observation.  Mitt has become the epitome of the Teflon candidate in a way that trumps the typical issue gymnastics.  This new brand of Teflon permits Mitt to deftly claim different personas to catch the prevailing winds of politics.  Like Proteus, he can change shapes and can even deny his own history such as disavowing any knowledge of his actions as governor as he exhorts the American people to believe that he has the answers to our numbing problems.  The problem with this scenario is that he actually did Massachusetts good, particularly tackling the complex, divisive issue of health care.  Although the solution was not perfect, it did successively establish as basis to solve in a relevant and comprehensive way a problem that the rest of the country has shamelessly avoided. The other success story was the way he addressed the state’s deficits by making corporations be accountable for their accounts and pay what they legally owed.  In short, he at least tried to be a consensus builder and now as candidate, is willing to cast his record aside.  His disavowal of his record seems so complete it is as thought that Mitt never existed or has been dispatched Dexter style.  Was he really teary in his debate against Ted Kennedy or just faking it?  Was the illegal abortion in question really not so bad that he would allow the practice to proliferate under his new-found revulsion of Planned Parenthood?  His candidacy brings into question his integrity and the essential ingredient of every successful political leader (which is not the same as a corporate CEO) – possessing the confidence to humbly admit mistakes so that a stronger vision of leadership is continually reshape and improved.  With every flip, every flop, virtually every re-articulation of political stance, Mitt is demonstrating the nauseating disconnect between the leader he promises and the leader he is capable of being.

The tragedy of Mitt is that he comes across as something he is probably not – smug.  But his brand is of a different kind. It is not the type born from an unbridled ego infecting such characters as Dick Cheney, Darryl Issa or Grover Norquist, whose hubris deludes them into believing that the principles of the country should conform to their ideas alone.  Nor does Mitt possess the corrosive obnoxiousness of their personalities.  Mitt’s apparent smugness stems from a lack of courage that manifests itself in the cynical policy flip-flops that have come to define his political persona and is exacerbated every time he needs to test his own record with the quixotic and often irrational demands of party and its radical minority.  His conformity is confirmation of his lack of conviction and his lack of conviction is shielded by an obligatory self-righteousness.  His fear of failure will be his failure to lead effectively a diverse, conflicted nation..  His inability to shape a vision for himself is testimony that he will be unable to forge one for the rest of us.  Maybe Mitt is not as complacent as so many in the Republican Party; but he is complaisant.  The corporate CEO has become the political sycophant.  How then can he expect the American people to trust the voice of this mercurial mind? 

Prince Albert

Now that Pujols will be taking his talents to the west coast, I was wondering if he could take some of his new found millions and give St. Louis back one of the great treasures that he helped steal from the city - KFUO, its award-winning classical music station.  While I am thinking of it, he can also take with him the vapid Christian rock station that replaced it.  That would be the perfect parting gift.

This footage from a recent harvest shoot was taken with GoPro cameras.  Danny Hommes of Pixelography is branching out and becoming a GoPro Specialist.  On this portion of the job was in charge of gathering the footage and did a great job!

This footage from a recent harvest shoot was taken with GoPro cameras.  Danny Hommes of Pixelography is branching out and becoming a GoPro Specialist.  On this portion of the job was in charge of gathering the footage and did a great job!

Chinese Paint

Chinese Paint

The Mind [sic] of Newt

What a great description from Maureen Dowd yesterday about Newt Gingrich’s mind.  She wrote, it is “in love with itself.  It has persuaded itself that it is brilliant when it is merely promiscuous…to put it mildly, (he) is not a systematic thinker.  His mind is a jumble, an amateurish mess lacking impulse control.  He plays air guitar with ideas, producing air ideas.  He ejaculates concepts, notions and theories that are as inconsistent as his behavior.”  What eloquence, what perception!  And sadly, what truth.  Sad because the drivel he expends somehow, somewhere finds resonance in the American body, although I am at a loss as to which organ is responding.  Given Gingrich’s predilection for serial adultery, among other moral contradictions, it can’t be the heart of the right, religious or otherwise.  And certainly it cannot be the brain of the conservative American body because the most cursory of examination of his profundity betrays the pundit to be a pud, a hypocrite whose “brilliance” is a consistent repackaging of worn, failed and accessible political platitudes.  His ideas shimmer with all the expectation and accuracy of a Cialis ad, and his solutions to this country’s myriad problems, as epitomized by his newly revealed cliché of a slogan, consciously reminiscent of Reagan’s Morning in America – “working together we can rebuild the America we love” – is as vacuous as the notion that all a relationship needs to be happy and healthy is a pill.  While sadly this thought might reflect the America we have witness these past 30+ years, now we need and should demand more, especially since this is not the America of 1984.  It is no longer morning but the twilight of that long, withering day that broke thirty years ago that permitted Newt and his gang to promiscuously vilify government and bully the American people all the while taking full advantage of the incest between the public and private sectors and inoculate themselves from their own failures.  The question I would like to ask Newt is two-fold; to what version of America are you referring and if it is Newt’s America 1.0, why in the world would we want to suffer Newt’s America 2.0? 

America needs to do its homework.  Gingrich’s elasticity does not reflect a character of strength and vision but an electoral process that is rotting before our eyes and It is time that we revoke the candidates’ license to spew before decomposition becomes systemic.  It is time to hold them and most importantly, what they champion and promise accountable.  Gingrich is a loser who envisions himself a Messiah.  We neither can expect nor do we need a Messiah but at least we can ask for a candidate who is bold enough to offer to the American people a vision that doesn’t revolve around him.

"Democracy is like a muscle; if you don’t use it, you will lose it"

Margaret Atwood

Swat Team

Newt the Chameleon

I must admit one needs to give Newt credit for possessing a superabundance of chutzpah.  Here is a man who was hoisted by the same petard that he used to cut the legs of Jim Wright; who in a shining moment of Christian love and fellowship leaves his wife in her time of need; who masquerades as a voice of the common man except that most common men cannot afford the blue box much less the baubles of Tiffany; who believes that the best way to launch a presidential campaign, with the theme no less of “transformational change”, is to take a cruise; and now, who amid his own edicts to crucify Barney Frank, et al over Freddie and Fannie (aka Raggedy Andy and Raggedy Anne), finds himself scrambling to explain his consulting largesse from the those same vilified  institutions.  Never mind that the agenda of one consultation stint was to sell Bush’s home ownership ideology to the merry men of his own party or that his clarion call for change includes the dismantling of the insidious and incestuous relationship of lobbyists and politicians (and here I make careful distinction between the institution and the cronies that infect it).  Whether by genetic design or the honing of our hijacked governmental system, here is the paradigm of the political chameleon, who, because he lacks a hypocrisy thermostat, can flip and spew, with the dexterity of a ballroom dancer but with all the credibility of snake oil salesman.  What is pathetic about Washington is that he is not the exception but the archetype of our current elected officials.  What so many of them seem to have lost sight of is without humility there is no integrity and without integrity there can be no democratic vision that transcends the hypocritical self-interest of partisan politics.  I have a suggestion for Newt…be accountable to your contradictions before you claim to be able to be accountable to the American people.  Better yet, first practice transformational change on yourself first before you try it out on us.

Perils of Simplicity

Of the many travesties about the American campaign trail, one of the most glaring has to be how simplistic are the candidates solutions to this country problems. As I read a recent quote of Mr. Romney - ” I will keep American strong.  I will keep us prosperous.  I can’t wait to get into the White House to be able to return America to the people of America” - I found myself, yet once again, struck by the annoying inanity of declarations such as these that roll out so effortlessly out of the mouths of the candidates.  I guess they simply expect the American people to accept such sophomoric platitudes as divine truth without question, without dissection.  Maybe that is who we as a society have become, expecting the answers to be packaged like a Hersey kiss, or a pill or yet another comforting sound bite.  However, I cannot believe it true.  Last time I checked, no candidate in the history of American has ever stated, “I will make American weak!  I will willingly and wantonly bankrupt this country!  I will turn this country over to corporations and interests that do not represent the democratic will and values of the majority”.  (I must say though, it does strangely familiar, even if not historically accurate).  Of course Americans can identify with those goals.  The challenge for Mr. Romney and all the other in the campaign herd, is that they need to address the “How” and not the “When” of proposed solutions.  As Obama can testify, predictions are easy; actual results are far more difficult.   When a republican candidate says so confidently that he/she will create jobs once in office, how about a suggestion of how that will occur, especially in light of the prevailing conservative (with small ‘c’) mantra that government cannot create jobs, only business can.  Fine, but the historic truth is that business cannot exist without the intelligent hand of government to provide the infrastructure for business to flourish (did GM build the highways?…I forget; did Cisco invent the internet?…I forget; don’t pharmaceutical giants depend on the research funded by grants to universities and associated governmental agencies…I forget).  This symbiosis between government and private enterprise is our historical legacy, be it in transportation, science and technology, education, and on and on.  No one, including the founding fathers, proclaim it would be easy, and like every organic organization it needs and relies on a fluid set of checks and balances to survive.  But do the American people a favor, Mr. Romney et al (and this request includes the putative democratic candidate), share with us a vision of how it can be made whole and healthy, once again.  Over-anything is deleterious, whether it is over-eating, over-exercising, over-regulating, over-underregulating; but maybe the worst of all, is over-simplifying, especially in this current political environment that has rewritten history to purge all shades of gray in a debate, leaving only the rancorous but convenient extremes of black and white, and the senseless chasm in between.

Rick the Pontiff
The Tragedy of Mitt
Prince Albert
The Mind [sic] of Newt
"

"Democracy is like a muscle; if you don’t use it, you will lose it"

Margaret Atwood

"
Newt the Chameleon
Perils of Simplicity

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