Friday, April 30, 2010

This Was the Week That Was

Sing, it Dinah! Sing, "See the U.S.A. . . . ."

See the offshore drilling platform catch fire, blow up, sink, killing 11 workers and creating the worst oil spill we've ever had. See them call in the Navy, the Coast Guard, the robot subs, the shrimp boats; see them actually set the ocean afire. How's that make you feel about more offshore drilling on the Atlantic Coast, and up in Alaska? Swell idea, eh? Gotta keep those Hummers humming.

"America is asking you to call. . ."

Call on Arizona -- if your skin is very white, and you've got a passport, a driver's license and six other forms of picture ID to verify that you are, by God, a red white and blue-blooded citizen of the Yew-Nited-States of Murrica. If you look the slightest bit Mexican, Guatamalan, Haitian, Dominican, Puerto Rican, Chinese, West Indian or such -- maybe even if you look sort of like the President himself -- you'd better be ready for a set of pink drawers and some hard time in Shurf Joe Arpaio's canvas jail, where dawgs get better treatment than prisoners.

"See the U.S.A. . . ."

See the Goldman Sachs guys in the thousand-dollar suits try to explain why Wall Street's "heads I win, tails you lose" way of doing business is really just good old American free enterprise. See the Senate Republicans refuse to allow a vote on legislation that would regulate Goldman and the other banks that are too big to fail, because Republicans believe in free enterprise. See some of the country's richest men struggle to spell F-R-A-U-D.

See two even richer men -- Pete Peterson and Bob Rubin, both former financial policy-makers for the federal government -- tell pensioners that they have to learn to sacrifice more. Everybody's got to pitch in, you know, so the economy can recover from the mistakes of the financial policy-makers for the federal government. At your age, Mort, you don't really need three meals a day.

"America's the greatest land of all . . ."

Yes, the greatest -- if you're Exxon Mobil, the most profitable company in the history of profit, whose first quarter earnings were up 38 per cent over the year before. Drill, baby, drill!

The greatest -- unless you work in a coal mine. Thirty-one miners in West Virginia and Kentucky are dead in mines with long records of safety violations. Even Rush Limbaugh decried unsafe conditions. "Where was the union," he demanded after the West Virginia tragedy that killed 29. "Why didn't their union do something about those conditions?" But there was no union. Workers tried three times to get a certification election, but the mine owners managed to stiff them every time. Legally.

The greatest -- provided you speak English. Tim James, an Alabama gubernatorial candidate vows to put an end to driver’s license tests being conducted in any language but English. “This is Alabama. We speak English,” he tells voters in a campaign ad. (Have you ever tried to translate a pure Alabamian dialect into English?)

The greatest -- unless you're a woman in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Legislature this week overrode Gov. Brad Henry’s veto of two anti-choice bills, one of which gives doctors immunity from being sued if they conceal information about a fetus’s possible birth defects from a pregnant patient.

The greatest -- unless you're one of the six in every ten Americans who live in places where the air you breathe is dangerous to your health, according to new report from the American Lung Association.

All of this in a single week. Sing it again, Dinah!

"America's the greatest land of all . . ."

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