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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#18001 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-March-11, 19:46

View Postkenberg, on 2021-March-11, 17:14, said:

I'll go out on a limb and guess that this adequately answers your question as to whether I stand behind everything that the US does.



That's completely reasonable, and I agree with all you say.
Because of my easy online access to multiple sources - and well-honed skills at finding information, synthesising and writing about it - my interests are slightly different.

What I enjoy when I'm not stuck trying to figure out a Bridge Master problem or trying to add a new arrow to my limited quiver is trying to make sense of the world around me.

Outside the United States, many people have looked at the rise of ultra-nationalism as terrifying. I'm one of them.
I am disturbed by the fact that people as overtly racist as Bobert and Greene, as stupid as Gohmert or Johnson or as devious and self-serving as Cruz and Hawley can be elected to any national legislature.
Don't get me wrong. There are equally self-serving people on all sides of the political spectrum and everywhere in life.
Unlike some, I know that there is no point trying to reason with people who have no literacy in rational thinking. I empathise. I just spent two hours on Bridge Master level 3 A-7 getting nowhere.
Sometimes if you don't know something how do you figure it out?
You simply have to keep looking for clues and learning more until you understand.
As you know, just pressing the enter button or playing the cards isn't going to work.


But my anxieties are not restricted to the USA.
There is a saying in Australia that when times are tough (politically), people turn to the non-conservative option to guide them out of it.
When things seem to be stable they revert to conservatism.
Slime moulds do the same thing. During periods of need they aggregate into a slug, but during times of plenty, they all do their own thing.
That's what European colonisation is all about, looking for times of plenty - usually at someone else's expense.

What about "conservatism". To me, conservatism as a political creed seems to about allowing individuals to disturb the equilibrium to their advantage with no concern for the other people that may be damaged.
As a creed, modern conservatism seems to me to be the political philosophy of the slime mould in times of plenty, with little or no regard for the plight of others.

Sure, we all want things to be a little better for ourselves and our families, but I do not regard the amount of wealth that I have as a way of keeping score.
When Bunker Hunt and his brothers cornered the silver market (e.g. http://bit.ly/BunkerHunt) and nearly caused a financial apocalypse, they got away with it.
I recall (it may be apocryphal - but it sounds good enough to be true) that when Hunt was asked why he kept acquiring so much money he replied that (approximately) "the money isn't important, it's just a way of keeping score".

Well, while people like Hunt, Buffett and Trump are keeping score many thousands of people are starving and suffering because of their devotion to a political creed.

On a personal note, I was born in 1958, I went to more schools than I can count in four different cities in Africa, Europe and Australia.
I spent around 15 years at Universities training before I felt ready to strike out on my own. This is not an unusual experience for some on this forum, but in the real world, it's unheard of.
So now that I have retired, I feel like Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange land".

I speak English fluently in 3 different accents but have lost almost all of the >8 different languages that my Father and Grandfather could speak.
I think this upbringing gives me a very different world view. Not better, but different.

So, bye and large I think we are mostly in agreement. I do not hate Americans as a whole - that would be racism. There are individual Americans I find pretty distasteful (see above for 6 examples), and sometimes I disagree with individual Americans that I otherwise like.
In the end, it has nothing to do with whether or not a person identifies themselves as "American" or Jewish or anything else.
I despise Stephen Miller for example. The fact that he is an American Jew has nothing to do with it.
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek; les règles sont le jeu même.
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#18002 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-March-11, 21:00

David Brooks at NYT said:

This has been one of the most quietly consequential weeks in recent American politics.

The Covid-19 relief law that was just enacted is one of the most important pieces of legislation of our lifetimes. As Eric Levitz writes in New York magazine, the poorest fifth of households will see their income rise by 20 percent; a family of four with one working and one unemployed parent will receive $12,460 in benefits. Child poverty will be cut in half.

The law stretches far beyond Covid-19 relief. There’s a billion for national service programs. Black farmers will receive over $4 billion in what looks like a step toward reparations. There’s a huge expansion of health insurance subsidies. Many of these changes, like the child tax credit, may well become permanent.

As Michael Hendrix of the Manhattan Institute notes, America spent $4.8 trillion in today’s dollars fighting World War II. Over the past year, America has spent over $5.5 trillion fighting the pandemic.

In a polarized era, the legislation is widely popular. Three-quarters of Americans support the law, including 60 percent of Republicans, according to a Morning Consult survey. The Republican members of Congress voted against it, but the G.O.P. shows no interest in turning this into a great partisan battle. As I began to write this on Thursday morning, the Fox News home page had only two stories on the Covid relief bill and dozens on things like the royal family and cancel culture.

Somehow low-key Joe Biden gets yawns when he promotes progressive policies that would generate howls if promoted by a President Sanders or a President Warren.

This moment is like 1981, the dawn of the Reagan Revolution, except in reverse. It’s not just that government is heading in a new direction, it’s that the whole paradigm of the role of government in American life is shifting. Biden is not causing these tectonic plates to shift, but he is riding them.

Reaganism was the right response to the stagflation of the 1970s, but Bidenism is a sensible response to a very different set of economic problems. Let one set of statistics stand in for hundreds: According to a team of researchers led by Raj Chetty, in 1970, 90 percent of 30-year-olds were making more than their parents had at that age. By 2010, only 50 percent were.

There was a premise through American history that if you worked hard you would earn economic security. That’s not as true for millennials and Gen-Z, or many other people across America.

These realities have created a different emotional climate that the pandemic has magnified — a climate of insecurity and precarity. These realities have also produced an intellectual revolution.

It was assumed, even only a decade ago, that the Fed could not just print money with abandon. It was assumed that the government could not rack up huge debt without spurring inflation and crippling debt payment costs. Both of these concerns have been thrown out the window by large numbers of thinkers. We’ve seen years of high debt and loose monetary policy, but inflation has not come.

So the restraints have been cast aside. We are now experiencing monetary and fiscal policies that would have been unimaginable a decade ago. This is like the moment when the G.O.P. abandoned fiscal conservatism for the go-go excitement of supply-side economics — which eventually devolved into mindless tax cuts for the rich.

The role of government is being redefined. There is now an assumption that government should step in to reduce economic insecurity and inequality. Even Republicans like Tom Cotton and Mitt Romney, for example, are cooking up a plan to actively boost wages for American workers.

This is not socialism. This is not the federal government taking control of the commanding heights of the economy. This is not a bunch of programs to restrain corporate power. Americans’ trust in government is still low. This is the Transfer State: government redistributing massive amounts of money by cutting checks to people, and having faith that they spend it in the right ways.

Both parties are adjusting to the new paradigm. With the wind at their backs, Democrats are concluding that Biden’s decision to eschew bipartisanship to pass a relief package is better than Barack Obama’s attempts to attract it. I don’t know if the filibuster will go away, but it certainly looks like it will be watered down.

Poor economic conditions pushed the G.O.P. away from Milton Friedman libertarianism and toward Donald Trump populism. Republicans have learned that in this new era it’s foolish to fight Democrats on redistribution policy, but they can win elections by fighting culture wars. As Yuval Levin of the American Enterprise Institute observes, we may see a policy realignment without a partisan realignment because Republicans have found so many cultural ways to attract votes.

I’m worried about a world in which we spend borrowed money with abandon. The skeptical headline on the final preretirement column of the great Washington Post economics columnist Steven Pearlstein resonated with me: “In Democrats’ progressive paradise, borrowing is free, spending pays for itself and interest rates never rise.”

But income inequality, widespread child poverty and economic precarity are the problems of our time. It’s worth taking a risk to tackle all this. At first Biden seemed like the third chapter of the Clinton/Obama center-left era. But this is something new.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#18003 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-March-12, 00:27

Good news everyone the last person to occupy the white house is fading from public view.
https://www.axios.co...de0f41d7c0.html
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek; les règles sont le jeu même.
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#18004 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2021-March-12, 02:31

pilowsky, on 2021-March-11, 19:46, said:

So, bye and large I think we are mostly in agreement. I do not hate Americans as a whole - that would be racism. There are individual Americans I find pretty distasteful (see above for 6 examples), and sometimes I disagree with individual Americans that I otherwise like.
In the end, it has nothing to do with whether or not a person identifies themselves as "American" or Jewish or anything else.
I despise Stephen Miller for example. The fact that he is an American Jew has nothing to do with it.

Don’t worry, we (American Jews) mostly despise Stephen Miller too. For most of us the experience of being part of a sometimes-oppressed minority gives us empathy for members of other minorities who suffer similar (or in some cases worse) treatment. Somehow this completely missed on Stephen Miller.

While I certainly don’t agree with all Americans or with everything the US government does (in fact I moved to Switzerland out of disgust with the US when Trump was elected), I do tend to push back on the idea that Americans are uniquely stupid or racist or uneducated. I believe there are many such people all over the world! The difference is more around media and government, where the US has some antiquated laws that make it easier for lies to propagate as news and for a small “far right” group to wield disproportionate power in government. There is also a thread of “worship of wealth” that’s a bit of a poison and seems not as prevalent elsewhere.
Adam W. Meyerson
a.k.a. Appeal Without Merit
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#18005 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-March-12, 03:03

View Postawm, on 2021-March-12, 02:31, said:

Don't worry, we (American Jews) mostly despise Stephen Miller too. For most of us the experience of being part of a sometimes-oppressed minority gives us empathy for members of other minorities who suffer similar (or in some cases worse) treatment. Somehow this completely missed on Stephen Miller.

While I certainly don't agree with all Americans or with everything the US government does (in fact I moved to Switzerland out of disgust with the US when Trump was elected), I do tend to push back on the idea that Americans are uniquely stupid or racist or uneducated. I believe there are many such people all over the world! The difference is more around media and government, where the US has some antiquated laws that make it easier for lies to propagate as news and for a small "far right" group to wield disproportionate power in government. There is also a thread of "worship of wealth" that's a bit of a poison and seems not as prevalent elsewhere.


Absolutely agree. There is nothing unique about the stupidity of some people in America. I would know, I was born in Capetown. There are some pretty unique people there too.
Some of them come to Australia where they complain
"Ag man it's so terrible heer".
"Ah carnt find a plaice to pork ma coor in the coor pork."
"Ag shame, ah know".
etc.

As far as Miller goes the biggest disappointment of my young game-playing 'career' was that Bobby Fischer turned out to have such 'unusual' views.
Of course, that isn't the only reason I prefer Bridge to Chess.
Could be worse I guess. He could have joined Jews for Jesus.
Still - his style of play does inform my Bridge-playing. Nothing wasted, clinical and neutral, but with brilliancies where appropriate. I just wish I could get within a mile of that level.

Also agree about the media, just can't apologise enough for the Murdoch press.
In Australia, we have been trying to contain them for over 100 years.

All of us 'Labor stalwarts' have been blasting away at Murdoch since I joined the party in 1972. Here is a link to our 26th Prime Minister Kevin ('07) Rudd from the National Press Club recently. http://bit.ly/RuddNPC

Rudd was a career diplomat who speaks fluent Chinese. I quite liked him and was sorry to see him go. But he was supplanted by one of my sister's school friends who used to play at our home. Her older sister was in my class.
My mother once said to her "Julia what do you want to do when you leave school?" "be a teacher" she replied. My mother convinced her to do law instead because she was A) Smart and B) good at debating. It's a true story, it's in her Biography.

My mother used to do that sort of thing. "Mum, I want to be a Film Director". "Sure Paul, anything you want as soon as you finish Medicine." - no messing with my mum.
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek; les règles sont le jeu même.
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#18006 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-March-13, 12:51

Neil Irwin at NYT Upshot said:

The 21st-century economy has been a two-decade series of punches in the gut.

The century began in economic triumphalism in the United States, with a sense that business cycles had been vanquished and prosperity secured for a blindingly bright future. Instead, a mild recession was followed by a weak recovery followed by a financial crisis followed by another weak recovery followed by a pandemic-induced collapse. A couple of good years right before the pandemic aside, it has been two decades of overwhelming inequality and underwhelming growth — an economy in which a persistently weak job market has left vast human potential untapped, helping fuel social and political dysfunction.

Those two decades coincide almost precisely with my career as an economics writer. It is the reason, among my colleagues, I have a reputation for writing stories that run the gamut from ominous to gloomy to terrifying.

But strange as it may seem in this time of pandemic, I’m starting to get optimistic. It’s an odd feeling, because so many people are suffering — and because for so much of my career, a gloomy outlook has been the correct one.

Predictions are a hard business, of course, and much could go wrong that makes the decades ahead as bad as, or worse than, the recent past. But this optimism is not just about the details of the new pandemic relief legislation or the politics of the moment. Rather, it stems from a diagnosis of three problematic mega-trends, all related.

There has been a dearth of economy-altering innovation, the kind that fuels rapid growth in the economy’s productive potential. There has been a global glut of labor because of a period of rapid globalization and technological change that reduced workers’ bargaining power in rich countries. And there has been persistently inadequate demand for goods and services that government policy has unable to fix.

There is not one reason, however, to think that these negative trends have run their course. There are 17.

1. The ketchup might be ready to flow
2. 2020s battery technology looks kind of like 1990s microprocessors
3. Emerging innovations can combine in unexpected ways
4. The pandemic has taught us how to work remotely
5. Even Robert Gordon is (a little) more optimistic!
6. Crises spur innovation
7. Tight labor markets spur innovation, too
8. There’s only one China
9. There’s only one Mexico
10. The offshoring revolution is mostly played out
11. Baby boomers can’t work forever
12. The millennials are entering their prime
13. Everybody likes it hot
14. Joe Biden wants to let it rip
15. Jay Powell wants to let it rip
16. Republicans are getting away from austerity politics
17. The post-pandemic era could start with a bang

More: https://www.nytimes....imism-boom.html

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#18007 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-March-14, 21:12

Matt Yglesias said:

Love to see it

James Pethokoukis said:

GOLDMAN SACHS: "We have raised our GDP forecast to reflect the latest fiscal policy news and now expect 8% growth in 2021 (Q4/Q4) and an unemployment rate of 4% at end-2021—the lowest among consensus forecasts—that falls to 3.5% in 2022 and 3.2% in 2023."

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#18008 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-March-15, 08:16

Let's hope this optimism is at least somewhat realistic and, if that happens, we can also hope the wealth gets spread around some.
Ken
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#18009 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-March-15, 11:49

Trump voters wary of covid shots said:

We want to be educated, not indoctrinated.

Why do you think we watch Fox News?

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#18010 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-March-15, 13:11

Quote

Trump voters wary of covid shots said:

We want to be educated, not indoctrinated.

Why do you think we watch Fox News?



I confess that there are times that I think we should accept their refusal, then just isolate them and let them die off. One of those win-win things.
I try to restrain such thoughts.
Ken
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#18011 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-March-17, 09:57

View Postkenberg, on 2021-March-15, 13:11, said:

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I confess that there are times that I think we should accept their refusal, then just isolate them and let them die off. One of those win-win things.
I try to restrain such thoughts.


Posted ImageHrothberg?
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#18012 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-March-17, 18:22

Erik Wasson at Bloomberg said:

House Republicans voted to allow their members to request dedicated-spending projects, known as earmarks, following that same move by Democrats, in a positive sign for President Joe Biden’s hopes for a bipartisan infrastructure bill.

The House GOP caucus on Wednesday voted by secret ballot to approve earmarks, according to people familiar with the matter.

Senate Republicans still have to decide on whether to participate in earmarking, which both parties banned in 2011 after years of their association with wasteful projects and with corruption. Advocates say new transparency rules will help address those issues, and encourage the kind of deal-making essential to bipartisan agreements.

“There’s a real concern about the administration directing where money goes; this doesn’t add one more dollar,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said, while not specifying how he voted. “Members here know what’s most important about what’s going on in their district, not Biden.”

Maintaining the ban would have limited the ability of GOP lawmakers winning inclusion of projects important to their constituencies in the infrastructure bill Congress is now poised to debate. Republicans have divided over the issue, however, with some saying earmarks contribute to excess federal spending, at a time that government debt is soaring.

‘Serious Mistake’

“This is a serious mistake, and it’s unfortunate -- earmarks played a major role in the out-of-control spending we have in Washington,” said GOP Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. Banning them “was a major step towards limiting the power of the swamp, and today House Republicans turned their backs on that problem.”

One group of House GOP members, including Chip Roy of Texas, pledged not to use them.

The House GOP move will allow Republican lawmakers to request project-level funding in their districts for appropriations bills for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, as well as in transportation and water infrastructure bills. It also allows limited tax benefits and tariff exemptions. House Democrats, who hold a majority in the chamber, have already announced they will set up a process to request such a earmarks for the coming year.

Infrastructure-related stocks such as Vulcan Materials Co. and Martin Marietta Materials Inc. outperformed broader U.S. stock indexes in trading Wednesday.

Senate Side

Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, the top Republican on the Appropriations Committee, said GOP members of his panel discussed earmarks this week, but there was no timeline for the chamber’s full caucus to make a decision.

“We have to be very careful what we do,” said Shelby, adding that he hasn’t signed off on the transparency procedures developed by House Democrats yet and may want stronger ones. “I do worry about widespread, frivolous earmarks which could lead to problems.”

Derided by opponents as pork-barrel politics, earmarks were especially tarnished by a bribery scandal and an Alaskan “bridge to nowhere” in the early 2000s. Republicans led the way in banning them in 2011 after they took over the House.

The rule adopted Thursday requires that members disclose their dedicated requests -- including an explanation for why they’d be an “appropriate” use of taxpayer funds -- and that they and their “immediate” family members have no financial interest in the project. Representative Mike Rogers of Alabama put the proposal to the caucus.

Democrats had predicted that Republicans would go along with the return of earmarks once they saw the billions of dollars set to flow to Democratic districts.

Bipartisan Sharing

“I’m perfectly willing to divide it equally between Republicans and Democrats, and so it will be up to them if they want it. If they don’t, we’ll just have it on the Democratic side,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy. “But I think enough of them would like to have it on both sides.”

House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat, said after the GOP vote, “I look forward to working with my colleagues on fiscal-year 2022 appropriations bills that meet our nation’s needs, including with community project funding that puts members’ first-hand knowledge of their districts to work.”

Infrastructure is set to be a key component of Biden’s next, longer-term economic program, in the wake of the $1.9 trillion pandemic-relief bill he signed last week. Whether it will be wrapped together with other priorities, including addressing climate change and expanding help for lower-income Americans, isn’t clear.

The White House is aiming to use tax-increases to help pay for a portion of its longer-term plans -- something that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that Republicans would not support. But a GOP endorsement of earmarks could boost the chance of infrastructure getting split from the rest of Biden’s agenda, with tax hikes and other spending wrapped together in a Democrat-only package.

Would hate to see this become a wedge issue among principled R's.
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#18013 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-March-17, 20:10

View Posty66, on 2021-March-17, 18:22, said:

Would hate to see this become a wedge issue among principled R's.


principled R's = oxymoron

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#18014 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-March-18, 08:20

Speaking of principled republicans, 12 in the House voted against giving gold medals to the police who protected them from insurrectionists

Quote

A dozen House Republicans voted against a resolution to award three Congressional Gold Medals to the Capitol Police, the D.C. police and the Smithsonian Institution in recognition of those who protected the U.S. Capitol when it was attacked by a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6

The GOP lawmakers, who said they objected to the use of the term “insurrectionists” in the resolution, are: Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Thomas Massie (Ky.), Andy Harris (Md.), Lance Gooden (Tex.), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Louie Gohmert (Tex.), Michael Cloud (Tex.), Andrew S. Clyde (Ga.), Greg Steube (Fla.), Bob Good (Va.)



"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#18015 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-March-18, 10:22

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-March-18, 08:20, said:

Speaking of principled republicans, 12 in the House voted against giving gold medals to the police who protected them from insurrectionists


I always knew that 4G was bad for my brain: Now it looks like 5G will be worse.
btw, judging by their State affiliations it seems that the appropriate appellation is "Confederates".
As that famous Harvard mathematician Tom Lehrer wrote a few years ago.


I wanna go back to Dixie
Take me back to dear ol' Dixie
That's the only li'l ol' place for li'l ol' me
Ol' times there are not forgotten
Whuppin' slaves and sellin' cotton
And waitin' for the Robert E. Lee
(It was never there on time)
I'll go back to the Swanee
Where pellagra makes you scrawny
And the Honeysuckle clutters up the vine
I really am a-fixin'
To go home and start a-mixin'
Down below that Mason-Dixon line

Oh, poll tax, how I love ya, how I love ya
My dear old poll tax

Won'tcha come with me to Alabammy
Back to the arms of my dear ol' Mammy
Her cookin's lousy and her hands are clammy
But what the hell, it's home
Yes, for paradise the Southland is my nominee
Jes' give me a ham hock and a grit of hominy

I wanna go back to Dixie
I wanna be a dixie pixie
And eat cornpone 'til it's comin' outta my ears
I wanna talk with Southern gentlemen
And put my white sheet on again
I ain't seen one good lynchin' in years
The land of the boll weevil
Where the laws are medieval
Is callin' me to come and nevermore roam
I wanna go back to the Southland
That "y'all" and "shet-ma-mouth" land
Be it ever so decadent
There's no place like home

https://archive.org/...o-back-to-dixieReleased into the public domain by Tom Lehrer in 2020.Addeddate 2020-10-20 20:52:20Identifier lehrer_i-wanna-go-back-to-dixieIdentifier-ark ark:/13960/t6c34dv4hOcr ABBYY FineReader 11.0 (Extended OCR)Ppi 300Scanner Internet Archive Python library 1.9.4
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#18016 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-March-18, 11:35

I miss the Tom Lehrer humor. I see that he is 92.

The world divides into those who like him and others. Becky, my wife, is one of the others. But she hasn't filed for an incompatibility divorce. Yet.

As the judge remarked the day that he acquitted my Aunt Hortense
To be smut
it must be ut
terly
without redeeming social importance

What's not to love about that?

Or

Be sure to keep the reefers hid where they cannot be found
And be careful not to smoke them when the scoutmaster's around
For he only will insist that they be shared
Be prepared.

The happy days of my youth.
Ken
1

#18017 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-March-18, 14:24

View Postkenberg, on 2021-March-18, 11:35, said:

I miss the Tom Lehrer humor. I see that he is 92.

The world divides into those who like him and others. Becky, my wife, is one of the others. But she hasn't filed for an incompatibility divorce. Yet.

As the judge remarked the day that he acquitted my Aunt Hortense
To be smut
it must be ut
terly
without redeeming social importance

What's not to love about that?

Or

Be sure to keep the reefers hid where they cannot be found
And be careful not to smoke them when the scoutmaster's around
For he only will insist that they be shared
Be prepared.

The happy days of my youth.


I hope you didn't inhale Ken!
And remember - "Don't solicit for your sister - that's not nice - unless you get a fair percentage of her price."


I seem to recall that Lehrer said that he gave up political satire when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
I can't imagine what he would be thinking now.


non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek; les règles sont le jeu même.
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#18018 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2021-March-19, 23:56

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-March-18, 14:24, said:

I seem to recall that Lehrer said that he gave up political satire when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
I can't imagine what he would be thinking now.

While I doubt we'll ever get another Lehrer, the Capital Steps have done a reasonable job of filling his void.

But as I was checking their website to get the above link, I saw the announcement that they're shutting down. They couldn't handle a year without live performances. Sad.

#18019 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-March-20, 07:11

View Postbarmar, on 2021-March-19, 23:56, said:

While I doubt we'll ever get another Lehrer, the Capital Steps have done a reasonable job of filling his void.

But as I was checking their website to get the above link, I saw the announcement that they're shutting down. They couldn't handle a year without live performances. Sad.


I saw the Capitol Steps some years back. One of their songs was 401-K, done to the tune of the Village People's YMCA. But YMCA was in 1978 and it was not that far back when I saw them. They also had a song Hannukah With Monica. That was more around the time that I saw them.

Humor has become more weaponized. I have no idea of none, or some, or all of the CS group were Jewish but it didn't matter because it wasn't the point. I saw it as bringing a date home to a family gathering, how will that go if the date has been on the front page of newspapers?

Similarly, take Lehrer's song about the Boy Scouts. I was a Scout for about three years. I loved the camping and the Merit Badges were a good idea. I got a badge for some library research and then a write-up about the history of St. Paul (I grew up there). Our troop took a tour of a water treatment facility and I believe I wrote up something about what I had learned. It's true that when I was camping a tornado hit, they were a little slow about evacuating us, and lightning struck a tree five feet from our tent before they got us out. I loved it, but yes, I also had no trouble with the Lehrer song.

Lehrer had a song about Werhner von Braun including "Once the rockets go up, who cares where they come down. That's not my department says Wernher von Braun". I think von Braun sued him for this or other lyrics but I thought it was funny.

And, of course, 401-K had no political point, or any point, to make. It was clever, and setting it to the tune of YMCA with the singers in costumes resembling the Village People was brilliant.

Humor is less of a pleasure when scoring a political point takes precedence over being funny. Lehrer got it right, as did the Steps.



Ken
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#18020 User is offline   PassedOut 

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Posted 2021-March-20, 09:11

View Postkenberg, on 2021-March-20, 07:11, said:

I saw the Capitol Steps some years back. One of their songs was 401-K, done to the tune of the Village People's YMCA. But YMCA was in 1978 and it was not that far back when I saw them. They also had a song Hannukah With Monica. That was more around the time that I saw them.

We liked to see them on the Rozsa stage at Michigan Tech, a fairly short boat ride across the lake from our place. One of the funny pieces I remember was a song by the Clinton impersonator -- Unzippin' My Doo Dah. Nice to think back to a time when I could laugh about politics.
The growth of wisdom may be gauged exactly by the diminution of ill temper. — Friedrich Nietzsche
The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists — that is why they invented hell. — Bertrand Russell
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