America Needs Jimmy Stewart

Yesterday, the Christian Science Monitor asked “If we can require driver’s ed for teens, then why not voter’s ed?” It’s a good question, but it unravels when you start to ask what would be taught in that class. If you try to educate would-be voters on any of the actual issues involved in the current polls, you’ll be accused instantly of having an agenda: talk about the truth on Social Security and you’ll be called a liberal, if not an outright socialist, for example.

This Christmas, we decided to go ahead and watch the classic movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. You probably know the story: George Bailey runs a small bank in a small town in an honest and community-responsible way, and continually butts heads with the owner of the big, regional bank. Mr. Potter — unlike modern bankers — never actually does anything illegal, but he sure does some things that aren’t entirely *ahem* Christian. Thanks to the help of a friendly Angel, George gets to see what a mess the world would be without him.

At some point it occurred to me that It’s a Wonderful Life probably ought to be required viewing for Americans. Now, granted some people in the FBI thought it was communist propaganda. They thought everything was communist propaganda. But who can watch Bedford Falls transform into Pottersville and think that they are totally alone in the world? Who can watch the mess that unregulated monopolies [accidentally] create without thinking there is some necessary reigning in of big business? Who can really say it’s a bad thing for people to look out for one another in times of need?

Then I thought a little deeper, and realized that to balance out this movie’s religious overtones you really need more Jimmy Stewart. First, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, another Frank Capra directed film, featuring a naive new Senator coming up against The Way Washington Works. Not only does this demonstrate unfortunate truths about politics, it shows a genuine filibuster, and the power of pressure from voters.

Finish out the film festival with a much later Jimmy Stewart film, Strategic Air Command — and I don’t just say that because I have a soft spot for Carswell AFB in Fort Worth. It’s another great movie with strong themes of service to country and family, showing us what our Armed Forces are supposed to be about (hint: it’s not about blowing up brown people on the other side of the globe).

There you have it: 6 hours of classic movie viewing that every American should see on an annual basis.

In Closing: the Cult of Rand; the Germans think we’re insane; scientists disagree, so let’s throw them out of the discussion; everything’s illegal; reconsidering triclosan; look what the TARP covered up (interesting picture, and interesting banner in the background); economics of contempt; on personal responsibility; on job creation and the economy (I hope this is right); great patent; come on, the guy’s got a Nobel Prize; and a laugh.

The Girl who Played with Shorties

And They Wonder Why the Peasants are Revolting: Even the market news pundits at Marketwatch get it: “In one America, one in 10 of those able to work are unemployed. In the other, Wall Street’s America, bonuses are set to increase.”

Social Security Round Up: I thought about doing a Social Security post, but so many people have already said what needs saying. To whit, most of us have small enough “savings,” “home equity,” and/or “market gains” that we expect to depend at least partly on Social Security (some people depended on it before they even fully appreciated what it was). Social Security needs to be the issue in November, because “saving,” “privatizing,” and all those other words mean nothing more than “destroy.” All those people talking about how “broke” Social Security don’t understand how it works and have an ulterior motive for “reforming” (again, synonym for “destroying”) it. Don’t look at Chile without seeing the whole picture.

Speaking of the Reid vs. Angle race: If this weren’t a race with truly nationwide implications, I wouldn’t spend so much time on elections in an entire state with a population lower than the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. But Senator Reid is the Majority Leader, and Sharron Angle is one of the highest profile teabaggers running. The press is rightfully all over it. Anyway, it’s a tight race.

The Party of Personal Responsibility: Oh! And our other Senator is blaming a “liberal organization” for his woes: namely that he had an adulterous affair and then tried to cover it up by making sure his mistress’s husband was, ahem, taken care of monetarily. Right. ‘Cause his “can’t keep it in his pants” problem? That’s totally the fault of liberals.

Everybody has seen this by now, right?: How dare unemployed people not accept low paying jobs or opportunities that require them to move halfway around the world, ungrateful wretches. Meanwhile, first time unemployment insurance claims are up.

China Knows Better: They know they can’t make do with a Latte Economy. There’s more to a vibrant economy than egg rolls and laundromats. They build stuff, and when they don’t know how to build it they make the West teach them how.

Chuck is Right: Seriously, he’s just a tweak more conservative than I, but this is spot on: “If the number of illegal aliens in this country is something like 20M, you can be real sure that drugs and other criminal activities isn’t what needs addressed. The job picture is what needs [to be] addressed. Enforcement of the pissant employment laws is virtually non-existent, employers know that the chance of getting caught out is tiny and the fines small enough to cover with their illegal hire profits.” Fewer fences, more crackdowns on employers who like workers that don’t stand up for any rights.

They like to call it an “Emergency Department” now: At least there are fewer uninsured people showing up in the ER.

Oh just come out and call Abe Lincoln a damn Liberal: “The genius of Lincoln — and it’s really the greatest historical legacy of the Republican Party — is that all individuals were to be treated based who they are, not who their parents were.” The 14th Amendment is brilliant in its simplicity. It does not need to be repealed, revised, or “interpreted“. Speaking of which, screaming over Anderson Cooper on national television is not a way to be taken seriously.

Priorities: when you think Jimmy Carter outranks Tim McVeigh, the Rosenbergs, John Wilkes Booth, and Benedict Freaking Arnold as worst person in American History, you have some truly messed up ways of thinking. Where’s Lee Harvey Oswald? Oh right, he killed a liberal so that makes him a hero I guess. I’m guessing the criteria included that they be American, which is why Osama and Emperor Hirohito are left out.

This one’s for you, JP: Hal Turner is guilty.

Popularity Counts: Over 25 most popular things. Take it for what it’s worth. I’m glad my car isn’t a “popular” color. I had a devil of a time finding that silver Civic on a parking lot!

I don’t intend to discuss Ground Zero again: Barbara lays it out.

What were they thinking?: No, you can’t legally prevent people from talking to one another at the mall.

Listen up, Ladies: a new “morning after” contraceptive is now approved by the FDA, and is good up to 5 days later.

Things are tough all over: Kroger is expanding their selection of store brand beauty products.

Blame the GOP: So says a Reagan Insider!

Are… Are World Leaders Supposed to Look Like That?: The caption makes the image even stranger.