Stuff I’ve been thinking about the last week

I do think sometimes, you know. With my luck it will send a few of you off to find a new DSM-IV diagnosis, but here goes:

1) America and space travel

I have mentioned inconsistencies in America’s thinking, particularly conservative thinking, before. One such disconnect in my mind over the last week has been the conservative reaction to the end of NASA’s shuttle program.

Resist the urge, please, to argue that because Obama pulled the plug, he’s spiraling America into scientific doom. I’ve argued on this blog before that subsidies, particularly energy subsidies, can hinder innovation instead of help. We tend to sink big money into something and then marry it for years. That kind of thinking lets other technologies leapfrog ours. (An easy way to think of this concept is how prevalent cell phones are in developing nations who don’t have an enormous infrastructure for landlines.) Well, I think that pulling the plug on the shuttle program and trips to the space station is about three years too late. When the only news you get out of those trips is the latest celebrity making a phone call, you might be tossing money in the wrong direction.

Sure America needs to be science productive. Now that government is out of the way, just watch it happen.

2) The clenched fist and solidarity

Ok, I never got to it, so I’ll do the quickie version and maybe come back to it later, but that closed fist thing that the union left is doing makes me nuts. Go read this thoroughly, and then come back.

There. You see, that stupid fist bugs me.

Blogging Blue does it:

Uppity Wisconsin does it:

This kind of trash makes me want to cry.

And this is plain offensive:

Cognitive Dissidence uses clasped hands, which I actually find less offensive, but it also says “Solidarity.”

Listen, the concept of solidarity was revered when we watched Poland step out from under Communist rule in the 80’s. I saw it as a move towards capitalism. (Do you think maybe they did, too?) Now that Wisconsin union workers are so fond of the phrase I see it as a step alright – away from capitalism and towards communism. (Hence near communist as written earlier this week.)

I really don’t want anything to do with “solidarity.” I can still honor the concept of a trade union who will spend time developing talent within a craft and then represent a group of those tradesmen(women), but when you start shouting “solidarity” at me and your pansy ass sits behind a computer all day? No way.

3) Few thinking Democrats outside the union?

Hey, while I’m on this roll, have you noticed how many of Wisconsin’s left-leaning bloggers are also public union diehards? Almost makes me respect someone like Tom Foley for making the effort.

4) Why the fight in Wisconsin is so crucial for the left

I’ve alluded to this in the last couple of weeks, but Democrats around here are a dying breed. They’ve tied themselves entirely to the unions in Wisconsin and lost an identity without them. What happened to the Democrat because my dad was always one? What happened to the Catholic Democrat? What happened to the legacy of Fighting Bob LaFollette? Where’s the anti-war stance? Heck I don’t even hear that term social justice anymore unless it’s tied to a public union pay issue.

You’ve got yourselves one massive identity crisis, Wisconsin Democrats. Heck, you’ve even elected a multi-millionaire to save Milwaukee County that’s giving you voter’s remorse. That’s because you can’t look in the mirror and find anything besides a Wisconsin public union worker.

Time to expand your horizons. Don’t expect much in the way of victory until you do.

Whew! I’m done. If you’ve lasted this long, congratulations and thank you. I sure feel better. 🙂


  1. Randy in Richmond says:

    I know you feel better. Is that big timber structure with the fist at a public park or some public facility, or a public welcome sign on a highway ?

  2. It’s only on the ‘net. Someone took one of the Welcome to Wisconsin signs and redid it digitally.

  3. Randy in Richmond says:

    Don’t I feel stupid. Fooled me.

  4. Cindy, guess i am not up to date on the latest pol slogans. please advise what is a “catholic democrat” and a “near communist”. one of the problems in our great society is sterotyping of people, thus making them somewhat different or maybe unique. some people are insulted when called another one of those….i grew up on 20th and W. State St., Milw. where people were Bill, Tom, Mary, Jean. is the idea that once tabbed a person is marked as just one of those ? thus shutting that person out of the elite world of Oz.

  5. I sent an email to BB about the clenched fist and expressed my concern about its meaning a few week ago before the template change.
    I have a visceral reaction to a clenched fist. It signals to me that someone is outraged enough to commit physical harm. I did not like the Black Panther salute, the use of a clenched fist in Les Miserable, or the raised fist of socialists in their literature.

    I recognize the difference that once existed between Socialists and Democrats and cringe that there are those who now wish to define them as one and the same. Being pro-labor (Democrats) is not the same as being anti-wealth and pro-economic equality (Socialists). Unfortunately, words continue to be corrupted by those with an agenda and images are now like sticky notes on ideology.

  6. Tax Hell says:

    As a self employed person of 20+ years I find it amusing that you have found a simple minded way of lumping all of us Lefties together. When you realize the real tag should be progressive then you might find less blow back from those who have differing opinions than yours. As for the photoshopped welcome to WI sign, it is kind of funny as well as reflective of the long history of labor and unions in the state. The clenched fist is a powerful symbol the human struggle to overcome those powerful and elite members of society who have one goal. Taking advantage of those with less power and money to ingratiate themselves at the expense of everyone else. Bravo!

  7. Oh, so sorry. You can’t possibly be a Democrat because you are a Progressive. When will I ever figure that out! I mean you have your own party and everything and you never end up voting Democrat. Why, if there’s a spectrum, you don’t even belong left of center. (I’ll end the sarcasm here.)

    It’s not simple minded. It is. We have a two party system. Put Progressives on that list of people who can’t bear to be identified as left or Democrat. And Dems wonder why their base is collapsing.

  8. Tax Hell says:

    Uh I think the word is evolving, Big word I know ( and not a regularly used one by righties). I am a Democrat and proud of it. The term “Liberal” suggests that one might be a little loose with money, liberties and and lifestyle choices. I am only loose with my tongue. Progressive to me means we all work together to push the rock up the hill. This means helping those who may not have the same opportunities, skills or genetic background as some. Sorry to say it was Nixon who ruined it for me and Reagan locked it in for life. BTW & FYI Reagan’s two terms increased our debt 20%.

  9. Oh, kind of like Republicans are evolving (your word) into Conservatives. No doubt you’ll argue with that; claim it’s not the same; think your way is better, etc.

    Still two parties representing us in Congress. Maybe you could legitimately argue you are Independent, but until you prove otherwise, you’re stuck being a Democrat the same way I’m stuck being a Republican.

  10. John Foust says:

    It could mean that your own ideological blinders are too tight. There’s still plenty of people in the center, or center-left, or center-right. There’s plenty of Republicans who are eager to stereotype and lump anyone to the left of themselves as Marxists. That helps how?

  11. Right Foust. Because you are closer to the center than I am. If you intended to be laughable, congratulations; it worked.

  12. It will be interesting in the MPS situation of polling the union members as to whether or not the contract negotiations should be re-opened if solidarity means that the laid off teachers need to stay that way for the glory of the union or if solidarity means that the contract will be re-opened to save their comrade’s jobs.

  13. John Foust says:

    I’m sure the Wisconsin Democrats are grateful for your centrist non-blindered advice, Cindy. And as always, thank you for mentioning Tom Foley.

  14. Wait. You’re a Democrat now? I thought you were one of those “I’m a Progressive” guys. Gotta say. You keep me going.

  15. Jeff Simpson is the “progressive” who “finally became” a Democrat. John Foust is simply the answer to the question nobody asked.

  16. John Foust says:

    Wait, you’re a Democratic advisor now? I thought you were Fairly Conservative yet smart enough to recognize Dad29’s misogyny when you saw it.

  17. No, you just aren’t bright enough to understand that one can measure distance from the center from either side of the spectrum.

  18. John Foust says:

    There you go again, assuming that politics is only a 2D spectrum. We can see why you like the Republicans.

  19. Oh, ye disbeliever. Still not resigned to our two party system, are you?