Thursday, July 7, 2011

If Social Security's on the Table, What's under it?

I was listening to NPR a week or two ago and Tavis Smiley was on promoting an American history exhibit at a local museum. Not surprisingly, he said something compelling that has stayed with me. I'll paraphrase from memory:

"First, we must respect him, which we do. Then we must protect him. But, finally, we must correct him."

Neither Tavis nor colleague Cornel West shies from the latter part, to be sure.

But who is Tavis addressing?

As you might have guessed, it's U.S. President Barack Obama.

On this tumultuous Thursday, as so many thoughts and tirades and trends tug at our attention, I'd like to ask that you bear that statement in mind.

Whether Medicare and Social Security are "on the table" in the D & D talks--and, no, I don't mean Dungeons & Dragons, fellow 1970s/1980s geeks--or not, the day is coming, I fear, when America will even more sharply divide into the have-it-alls and the have-it-nots.

What are your thoughts, dear reader? I know politics is not supposed to be discussed in polite company, but those are old mores, to my mind. We can be rational and thoughtful and still face issues that affect us all without devolving into fistfights or baseless ad-hominems.

And now, some pertinent reading for today and tomorrow as we await further economic and world news here at Views on News:

"In debt talks, Obama offers Social Security cuts." Come on! Be the Commander in Chief, not the Caver in Chief!

Fox News' Rupert "Howling Mad" Murdoch [yes, I bestowed this nickname] is on the hot seat for hacking scandal involving potential cover-up of murdered woman's messages, breaking into dead soldiers' relatives communiques, and more heinous stuff. What did you expect from somebody who runs a so-called media company calling a rape accuser a "prostitute"? See "Grieving relatives of British soldiers may also have been hacked." Another view is available via Reuters.

"Six months of The Fact-Checker -- An accounting." Let's just say that Obama beat Romney in terms of having fewer Pinocchios, with 1.8 and 2.0 averages, respectively, and the wackiest of the wackjob Republican 2012 contenders will need nose jobs in the near future--and perhaps, someday, one might hope, "real" jobs like the rest of us [note: independently wealthy, old money or new doesn't necessarily qualify you as being employed].

"Ex-national security advisor warns [income] inequality could lead to unrest." A sad but familiar refrain.

Will it or won't it? What's the latest on the last historic mission of the United States' Space Shuttle program (aka let's get ready to hitch a ride with Russia, comrades). Da and perestroika! For Twitter updates, MSNBC science writer Alan Boyle is attending the NASA tweetup for Atlantis' launch and provides great science coverage overall. Follow him at @b0yle. As of 11 am CST, 7 July, Boyle was MT'ing via @SpaceflightNow, "Lightning warning at #shuttle pad. No firm estimate on when wether wil allow gantry roll," with a link to Stay tuned, for you might even seen kiddie celebs at and around the time of the tweetup and final launch, such as Sesame Street's Elmo. Tee-hee-hee, ha-ha-ha! Hashtag is #NASATweetup

And, finally, there's still time to sign Sen. Bernie Sanders' petition to President Obama, noting that we won't balance the budget on the backs of children, the sick, the elderly, and middle- and low-income families. Almost 123,000 signatures on it as of this writing. We can do better than that, c'mon Americans!

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