Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – November 11, 2011

Rodeo Rick Perry suffered through the mother of all meltdowns during the latest G.O.Tea Party debate. Unfortunately his brain freeze has distracted attention from the mindless policies that he incoherently articulated. In College Station, Pennsylvania Penn State students actually rioted because the football coach was fired for being implicated in a child sex abuse scandal. Question – where have these students been? Finally, today being Veterans Day, we would do well to remember the service rendered by so many millions of men and women over the years. It is simply too bad that Senator Jim DeMint actually went on the floor of the Senate to say that veterans are not worthy of special recognition.

In Search of Rodeo Rick Perry’s Brain

During the most recent Republican debate, Rodeo Rick Perry suffered a 53 second brain freeze right in the middle of his rant about the government agencies that he would close down if he was elected president. Predictably, most of the news media focused on the sheer absurdity of the seeming disappearance of all conscious thought experienced by the Texas governor.

It was painful to watch as Rodeo Rick desperately searched the clearly empty corners of his mind for some kind of answer. Mitt Romney, acting like the smarmy smart kid in high school who teases his slower classmate, even gave Rodeo Rick the wrong answer.

Lost in the post-debate autopsy is the fact that what Rick Perry was trying to say was that as President of the United States he would dismantle the departments of Education, Commerce and Energy. Really?

Currently this country is ranked 26th globally with respect to the academic achievement of its K-12 students. International competition is greater than at any point in history. Could this really be the time to shut down the United States Department of Education and its efforts to establish an effective national education policy?

It is estimated that over 60% of all jobs in this country are provided by small businesses. The Small Business Administration resides in the United States Department of Commerce.

Most economists agree that increasing international business opportunities is a great strategy for improving this country’s economy. That effort is led by the — you guessed it – United States Department of Commerce. Could this possibly be the right time to shutter that department?

The lack of a coherent energy policy will plague this country until it descends to second rate global status. The United States Department of Energy is the vehicle by which such a policy can be developed, articulated and implemented. Only a fool would think that shutting down this department at this time would make sense.
In the Koch-funded, lemming-like stampede to “reduce government”, the G.O.Tea Party is proposing national suicide. Hopefully, the clownish behavior of its proponents will not distract from the dangerous reality of their proposals.

Who is Penn State?

Pennsylvania State University has been a great educational institution for a very long time. Its academic and athletic achievements are historic and worthy of praise. Its students and alumni proudly proclaim, “We are Penn State!”

It is doubly mystifying that during the past week thousands of Penn State students rioted because legendary football coach Joe Paterno was fired. That he was fired for being implicated in a horrific pedophile scandal that allegedly took place on the Penn State campus for over a decade didn’t seem to matter to the rioting students.

Aside from the shameful disregard for the child victims, the Penn State students invite the question, where have they been? During the past decade a presidential election was stolen with the Supreme Court of the United States driving the getaway car. During the past decade this country has been engaged in two misguided wars, one of which was based upon outright lies. During this past decade corporate greed has created economic disparities unseen in over a century.

And during this past decade Penn State students, and college students all over the country, have been incredibly silent. Swathed in the cocoon of academia and safe in the knowledge that there is no draft to bring them into the bloody maw of war, college students across the country have seemingly lost the will to protest – unless it is in support of a football coach.


This item is not about a new iteration of Herman Cain’s tax plan. Today is Veterans Day and we would do well to remember the men and women who have served this country. The United States Senate passed a bill that would provide tax credits to employers who hire veterans in recognition of the fact that the unemployment rate for veterans who have served in the misbegotten wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is 12%

Only Senator Jim DeMint, a Tea Party demi-god, voted against this legislation. He stated that he did not believe that any American should be given advantages over any other American.

This is only a glimpse into the G.O.Tea Party mindset and the vision for this country that it embraces.

Have a great weekend!