A Daunting Challenge

The Rational Middle has, for some weeks now, been quite literally under water. (My basement had four feet of the stuff in it, and there I was with all of my swimsuits still in mothballs.) I have endeavored to write, but the task has been beyond my grasp…when faced with a mess of this size, where does one start? For the next few days, I will work through the following subjects that have attracted my attention, peaked my curiosity, or just ticked me off.

  1. Benghazi– Now and forever known as the “worst disaster” in Dick Cheney’s lifetime (his words), in any other time (or with a Republican in the White House) it would have been just a normal, if tragic, cost of doing business. The United States believes in an international presence, a presence that asks us to routinely deploy good people in dangerous places. Dozens (yes conservative friends, dozens) of diplomatic targets have been attacked by various forces regardless of the party affiliation of the White House during the last three decades. Many of these diplomatic targets were CIA fronts which demanded both secrecy and deniability. So where again is the scandal?
  2. IRSGate– When it is a person with an appearance that speaks to a Middle Eastern decent, and that person is hand-searched at the airport, it is useful and moral profiling. When it is the agency tasked with collecting all of the taxes which are legally and morally due, and they are targeting groups that openly state their intention to avoid said taxes, it is a massive scandal. (These “scandals” really are Republican’s following the Rambo Doctrine…fire enough bullets at a target and you will eventually find the mark…even with Hollywood bullets.) PS…President Obama’s statement condemning this action represents one of the great caves of all time, and a terrible tactical blunder.
  3. Corporate Welfare (NFL-style)– When lawmakers refused to vote on a tax which would have set aside hundreds of millions of dollars to renovate the Miami Dolphins’ (the private, for-profit Miami Dolphins) stadium, Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a back-handed threat; “We want the Dolphins to stay in Miami.” Why wouldn’t they? Better question; why don’t the various states pass laws in parallel banning the use of any public funding for private sports franchises?
  4. Jumping The Shark (NFL-style)– NFL.com has officially replaced all reporting with editorializing.
  5. Tebow– The story that won’t die, fueled by the single most ridiculous argument in the history of sports; that Tebow’s religion is a cause for teams to “blackball” him (as if most coaches on most teams don’t pray before games, and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes isn’t the most ubiquitous player organization not called the NFLPA.)
  6. Falling deficits, job-challenged recoveries, and the nonsense of fiscal austerity– Six years after the economy started to unravel, the United States of America is more committed than ever to reaching the goal of returning our education and commercial infrastructure to Third World status. Apparently, the “job-creators” demand the freedoms that lucky entrepreneurs in business havens like Mexico and Somalia enjoy.

Tune in for these stories and more, coming soon to The Rational Middle.




An Inconvenient Meme

At some point in the last year I realized that age had caught up with me in the most superficially hurtful way; I left the key demographic. What I value, like, want, and need is no longer relevant to mass marketers. All of the music I like is relegated to classical and oldies stations. A solid majority of the people I interact with on a daily basis aren’t completely sure what I mean when I say “roll up the window.” A frighteningly large minority of the people I interact with believe that “dial up” is a charming relic of my (long ago) early years.

Worse, the knowledge deficit is bilateral. It wasn’t long ago (perhaps yesterday, or maybe last week) that I thought my father slow because he didn’t know what “bad” or “cool” meant. But it was only yesterday (perhaps a month ago, or maybe last year) that I learned what the term meme described. And now, firmly entrenched in the social networks as I am, the concept of meme is painfully unavoidable. A meme is a concept that goes viral, meaning that the number of people the concept is reaching is growing at an exponential rate (like an infectious virus). It is immediately evident that such growth is very good indeed if one (like a blogger) is trying to get their idea into the public consciousness.

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Memo To All Good Christians

To follow on the enlightened views of the supporters of California Proposition 8, and the Godly statements of Focus on the Family, the following memo has been written to ensure that no good Christians burn for their ignorance of the consequences of sex.

Marriage is for procreation only…so all good Christians widowed or divorced who have either passed the age for child-bearing or have no Godly intention to mate, must immediately stop any and all activities relating to dating or courtship, as these actions can only lead to an unholy union.

Also, as marriage is the only appropriate state for sexual union, all good Christians fitting the above description must immediately accept lifelong abstinence. If you are currently, or have in the past violated these rules…seek pastoral intervention immediately or risk burning in Hell.

The Rational Middle hopes this clarifies a difficult spiritual issue, that has obviously been clouded by Godless atheists and homosexuals. Good day.

Liberal…It’s Not Just A Curse Word

Since the founding of this blog, a little less than four years ago now, the term liberal has been both major theme and point of contention. The fact that I chose to call the site The Rational Middle and be a liberal at the same time has drawn fire from conservatives and centrists (in today’s definition of that term) who have felt somehow tricked or trapped by the moniker. This I have grown accustomed to; I wanted to establish a site built more on original source reporting, and less on name-calling than other destinations in either the blogosphere or mainstream. I wanted to build a rational middle ground…thus the name.

Lately however, many in the liberal community have begun to attack the site and its themes, and the attack has a familiar pattern. For several years now, the conservative movement in general, and the Republican Party in particular, have waged “purity” wars. In Republican primary circles, to be called a RINO (Republican in name only) is to see the end of your public service career. On the surface, the notion of ideological purity carries a certain cache; it is, “those people” would say, the reason that conservatives have so successfully pushed the political standards of we the people so far to the right (whether the actual standards have followed suit is a matter of debate.) But what of reality? Why have so many items deemed important by voters been excised over the last thirty years? Why have so many bought the brand “center-right nation”, and installed it as believable?

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