Personally, I feel more optimistic this year than last.
Washington (CNN) - Americans are looking forward to the new year with much more optimism about the state of the world than they did a year ago, according to a new national poll. But a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Friday also indicates Americans' optimism regarding their own personal lives is down a bit from last year.
Sixty-three percent of people questioned in the poll say they are hopeful about what the new year holds in store for the world in general, up 12 points from last December, with 35 percent saying they are fearful, down 13 points.
"On the home front, Americans are just as optimistic, with 64 percent saying they are hopeful about their own personal lives in the new year," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But that number is down from 69 percent who felt that way 12 months ago."
The survey indicates a gender gap, with seven out of ten men saying they are optimistic about the state of the world in 2011, 11 points higher than the 59 percent of women who say they feel optimistic. And according to the poll, Democrats and Republicans are more positive about the state of the world in the new year than independent voters.
Guest posted by Muddy Politics.
Republicans take control of the lower branch of Congress on January 5th. On January 6th, members of the new Republican-controlled House will do what no Congress member has done in the entire history of the country: they will read the United States Constitution from start to finish.
If it sounds like a new age of honor and accountability in politics is on the horizon, don’t be fooled.
Republican leaders plan to emphasize their vigor in carrying the water for this nouveau wave of patriotism by instituting a mandatory practice of attaching a citation of constitutional authority to every piece of legislation presented in the 112th Congress. But that too should be taken with a grain – or possibly an entire box – of salt.
Tea Partiers across the country are howling a victory song over these surface-level gestures, and I’m beginning to feel that unpleasantly familiar tingle in the back of my throat that usually precedes the uncontrollable outpouring of vomit from my mouth.
“It appears that the Republicans have been listening,” Jeff Luecke, a Tea Party organizer in Dubuque, Iowa, told The Washington Post. “We’re so far away from our founding principles that, absolutely, this is the very, very tip of the iceberg. We need to talk about and learn about the Constitution daily.”
No one could argue against learning. Education is the backbone of American enterprise, the foundation of individual liberty, the necessary prerequisite for responsible media consumption and informed voting.
This is not that. This is the GOP wrapping a bow around a cheap, as-seen-on-TV gimmick. This is an embarrassment to all who are capable of distinguishing between real progress and mere shadows dancing nude in front of a perpetually digressing and intellectually devolving populace. This is entertainment broadcast for the masses at the expense of actual, measurable enlightenment.
And, sadly but not surprisingly, no one seems to notice.
A wise man once told me that extremism is borne of ignorance, while intelligence is necessarily cultivated, instructed, and nurtured over time.
“Whenever we wish to understand something other than ourselves, we must remember that we never really escape ourselves, our place and time, saturated as they are with a multitude of experiences and assumptions.”
The subject of this quotation was Islam, but the core of this man’s statement is a timeless and universal maxim for approaching education in general.
Knowledge is not innate, but particularly during the learning process itself, an individual’s perceptions, stereotypes, experiences and assumptions undoubtedly influence the way new information is absorbed and understood.
Do you know what Muslim terrorists read in order to get justify blowing up buildings, planes and marketplaces? (Hint: It’s the same book that billions of moderate, peace-loving Muslims read daily.)
Do you know what extremist Christians read before hosting book-burning parties, protesting the funerals of U.S. military service members, and murdering abortion doctors? (Hint: It’s the same “good news” that billions of moderate, peace-loving Christians read daily.)
Hearing verbatim recitations of the Constitution isn’t akin to terrorism. To claim such would be idiotic beyond measure. But exactly what purpose is served by the GOP’s bright idea to have story time with the American people?
Is it possible that reading the U.S. Constitution will prove only to reinforce the radical ideas of a group of revolutionists suffering from intellectual retardation (per its actual definition: delayed, slow, inhibited, hampered)?
Considering that the Tea Party believes that anything not specifically mentioned in the Constitution is therefore unconstitutional, then yes.
Healthcare reform, for example, isn’t in the Constitution.
The Internal Revenue Service isn’t in the Constitution.
Public schools, specifically, are not in the Constitution, and neither are unemployment benefits, antidiscrimination laws or women’s rights.
There are millions of reams of case law defining and interpreting probably every sentence of this historic document. Without the context provided by centuries of interpretation, analysis and application, reading the Constitution and/or citing the Constitution will do nothing to bring America back around to what the Founding Fathers intended (assuming we’re so far off base that such a revolution is necessary at all).
Republicans are planning a reality show for the ages, and it’s sure to be full of the same sensational, headline-grabbing theatrics that helped rally the base in the 2010 midterm election. But it won’t mean anything. It won’t change anything. And it won’t fix any of the problems we’re faced with as a nation.
Like many of the Republican Party’s tactics, it’s good politics, as it appeals to the masses who believe America is straying from the intentions of its Founding Fathers. But in practice, such histrionic displays of alleged patriotism will only further enrage the blindly faithful and context-averse followers of the GOP by giving Republicans a seemingly legitimate reason to block Democrat-sponsored legislation in the 112th Congress.
That is what this nouveau wave of patriotism is all about – not education, not enlightenment, just more smoke, mirrors and entertaining shadows on the wall.
Skidamarink a dinky dink, Skidamarink a doo. Welcome to the Elephant Show.
I never understood hurting living people to "pardon" dead ones.
SANTA FE, N.M. • Gov. Bill Richardson has declined to pardoned Old West outlaw Billy the Kid, who was shot to death in 1881 after escaping jail where he awaited hanging in the killing of a sheriff.
The prospect of a pardon for the notorious frontier figure drew international attention to New Mexico, centering on whether Billy the Kid had been promised a pardon from New Mexico’s territorial governor in return for testimony in killings he had witnessed.
The facts of the case didn’t support a pardon, Richardson said Friday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
The proposed pardon covered the 1878 killing of Lincoln County Sheriff William Brady. Billy the Kid was shot to death by Sheriff Pat Garrett in 1881, a few months after escaping from the jail.
According to legend, Billy the Kid killed 21 people, one for each year of his life. But the New Mexico Tourism Department puts the total closer to nine.
Richardson, the former U.N. ambassador and Democratic presidential candidate, waited until the last minute to announce his decision. His term ends at midnight Friday.
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