Thursday, February 2, 2012

Stevie Joe's GOP Problem

As you know, the GOP primary battles are well under way, and I've been itching to write about them. The gang down at the Junebug Café has been asking me about it as well. However, it's a trap.

See, most of the good folks around the Holler are fairly conservative, some to the point of lunacy (I'm looking at you, Dickie Jensen). On the other hand, I'm well-known as a damned member of the liberal elite. So, I've been a little skeptical of the encouragement offered by the denizens of the Republican persuasion. I figure there are three possibilities here:

1) The gang expects me to write positively about their favorite candidates thus making them feel all warm inside. While intellectual fortitude is not one of the local traits promoted by the Chamber of Commerce, I don't think that anyone here is that dumb.

2) They expect me to highlight the negative qualities of the Republican candidates that they don't favor thus making their fellow look better in comparison. Of course, this assumes that I don't impugn the characters of the entire field (which is likely).

Which leaves us with #3:

3) They expect me to attack the whole field and then will use this to torment me for months to come. Of course, this is exactly what will happen. They know me, and I know them. It's always helpful in the course of political debate to have your opponent's arguments staked out beforehand. If I write any such post, it will just allow them to research and gear up for future political battle at the Café.

I'll probably write it anyway.

"Arguments are to be avoided: they are always vulgar and often convincing." - O. Wilde

Stevie Joe Parker

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Stevie Joe and Loud Music

Dear mp3/iPod/headphone/ear bud/portable music thingy manufacturers,

It's not loud enough. I've read all the baloney about protecting the hearing of the consumer, blah, blah, blah. IT'S NOT LOUD ENOUGH. I will sign a liability waiver stating that I actually wish to have permanent hearing loss if you make it louder. I want a setting called "liquify." I don't really need to hear anything else anyway. What? Am I going sit and listen to Junior and Dickie Jensen all day? MAKE IT LOUDER.

Stevie Joe Parker

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Stevie Joe and the Great Shoe Polish Caper

So, this morning down at the Junebug Cafe, the gathered citizenry decided that yesterday's post on Bubba Clinton's new book was the most boring ever. Now, saving the world is not always going to be fun and games, guys. Sometimes, the grownups have serious business to do.

I believe the real reason for the dissent is the desire for this here blog to carry more local gossip. That's fun, but it doesn't always advance democracy. Over New Year's Eve there was an interesting story here in town that folks want to see me delve into. However, I am not going to be identifying any participants, assuming for the moment that I know who they are, out of concern for their safety and well-being.

Come the morning of January 1, the groggy citizens of this burg found evidence of certain drunken excesses the night before. Someone had apparently gone through town with some white shoe polish and proceeded to vandalize store, car, and home windows with various graffiti. Much of it, as you might imagine, was vulgar. Almost all of it was misspelled. The word "doodyhead" was written across the windshield of Jimmy's Camaro. Now, the offender might have been under the belief that his restraint from the use of profanity would prevent Jimmy from seeking retribution. Well, Jimmy loves that Camaro, and said offender would be wrong.

The most disturbing aspect of this particular crime spree was the frequent and prominent examples of what appears to be nekkid, white butt prints. It would appear that someone coated their own rear end with the shoe polish and proceeded to press ham around town. Dickie Jensen was not available for comment.

Reporting from Junebug Holler, I'm
Stevie Joe Parker

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Stevie Joe and Bill Clinton Ponder the Future

Long before Barack Obama used "hope" as a campaign slogan, there was "The Man From Hope," Bill Clinton. Some argued that coming from a poor Southern background, Bubba was the first "black" president. Whatever the case, he's pretty darned smart. I don't always agree, but like Christopher Hitchens, I'd hate to face him in a public debate.

I just finished Clinton's latest book, Back to Work. He spends quite a few pages in the book defending his record as president and comparing it presidents both before and after him. Honestly, he comes off pretty good. Which, frankly, is a bit surprising. You'd be hard-pressed to find a guy who did more to torpedo his own administration.

Clinton's first act in office was an attempt to remove the ban on gays serving in the military. An immediate and fierce backlash wound up with the compromise that nobody liked: Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Bubba followed that up with his attempt to create a single payer health care system. Geez, talk about biting off more than you can chew! He and Hillary spent a lot of time and capital on that project and walked away with nothing. It seemed that the Clintons took some time to adjust to how to govern at the federal level. Starting out with two controversial topics may not have been the best way to bring critics over to their side.

Of course, the most damaging thing ol' Slick Willy did was his failure to keep his libido in check. That created such a distraction that many of his young, eager staff quit in disgust. Much of his second term was spent dealing with Ken Starr and the pending impeachment.

So, when you look back at the record he left, it really is impressive that he was able to govern at all. Of course, he concedes that he was the beneficiary of some fortunate timing, but Bubba is going to let all the credit slip away that easily. As he likes to do, Clinton overwhelms you in this book with statistics and examples proving his point. It is a mountain of evidence that makes it difficult to disagree.

However, the point of the book is not to defend his reputation but to argue for a way to the country to move forward. In contrast with his own policies, he describes the anti-government policies of the conservative Right. Again, he piles on the statistics to demonstrate that government isn't always a bad thing. He also compares our progress as a nation against our industrialized competition, and we don't come off looking so hot.

Despite being a loyal Democrat, he argues for bipartisanship and the desire to find ideas that work regardless of their origin. So, he borrows some policies from cities, states, Republicans (even Newt Gingrich), Democrats, and countries around the world. He puts these together into a vision of how the US can catch up and regain our leadership position.

It's a compelling argument. Let's face it, whether you like the dude or not, Bubba's pretty smart. He is willing to acknowledge the smart folks on the other side of the aisle and gets a little concerned about those folks who stick so strongly to their own ideology that they are unwilling to listen to anyone else.

Anywho, Bill Clinton is not my own personal favorite politician, but this book is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in where the US is today and how we can be better. It provides some encouragement to us folks who feel like the system is forever broken. Bubba holds out some hope that we can all work together again.

I give it 4-and-a-half stars,
Stevie Joe Parker