Tag Archives: New York Times

Congress Approval Rating and National Unemployment Rate at 9%

President Barack Obama speaks to a joint sessi...

Image via Wikipedia

A New York Times/CBS News poll broke the news this week that Congress’s approval rating is 9%.  Coincidentally, 9% is also our national unemployment rate for September and most of October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment figure seems almost eerily connected to our do-nothing-for-jobs Congress and their bottom-feeder ratings as they spent this week in session, once again doing nothing for jobs or the economy. It’s like some weird “here is a nine for you too Congress since you won’t recognize and do anything about ours.” Of course, 9% is only the national average jobless rate, some states like Nevada, have a 23% unemployment rate.

They did however, pass a really important bill in the House that would issue commemorative coins for Baseball Hall of Fame. Also, just so you don’t get the idea that they can’t accomplish anything at all together in a big way, the commemorative coins issue was passed overwhelmingly.  See, when the chips-er coins are down and the issue has nothing to do with Obama or jobs or the economy, Republicans can unite and really make a difference.

Remember that old saying about getting out of something what you put into it?  I think our Congress is actually reaping the rewards of what they have, in fact, done for the American people, our jobs and the economic situation.  I think 9% is actually pretty high but of course who knows how many friends, relatives, lobbyists, insurance companies, banks, other corporations etc. were included in the poll (oh wait, corporations aren’t people I hope they didn’t get polled).

Even though the House is a Republican strong hold right now, many polls are showing that the majority of American people, regardless of party affiliation have made it crystal clear they support President Obama’s Job Act, temporary band-aid or not, because it is at least a plan for doing something for jobs and the economy and they feel he is trying.  But, the Republicans are blocking it in Congress and have yet to come up with their own plan other than a big NO because they can’t possibly vote on an Obama plan, even if it will help the American people. Their plan seems to be politics first, people last. I wonder how low their rating can go?

Since the Republicans now seem to represent everything the American People hate about the economy, it is only a matter of minutes before they will represent everything the American People hate. When you become a politician for all the wrong reasons and you vote as a block not to help your own constituents and the American People, you will not only end up humiliated by a 9% approval rating but sooner rather than later–no job.

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Let’s Whitewash Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer and Wipe Out History

Cover of "The Adventures of Huckleberry F...

Cover via Amazon

I love books. I have too many (if that’s possible) and  I particularly like the classics, like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and the Adventures of Tom Sawyer. My very old copies of these books among others, sit behind glass in an old barrister bookcase in a place of honor. The reason I like the classics is because they give us a glimpse into what was.

So, it was with great sadness and shock that I read recently in the New York Times and Publishers Weekly that an editor, Alan Gribben, a reported Mark Twain scholar at Auburn University took it upon himself to change the written word of Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain).  He struck all mention of the word “nigger” and “injun Joe” in the books and replaced them with the words slave and indian. Why any “scholar” would think that these words are interchangeable is beyond my comprehension. Sometime in February the new politically correct, whitewashed version of these books will be published by NewSouth Books for student/classroom use.

Gribben said he felt a need for this change because many teachers felt “uncomfortable” teaching this book to students because of the words “nigger” and “injun”. Well, we should all feel uncomfortable with these words but the teachers are missing the boat on making it a teachable moment in explaining to kids just what it was like over 100 years ago. It was not a pretty time in our history of how blacks were treated, whitewashing the words does not wipeout what was done. This is not like the re-make of an old movie, this is distorting history to make things look better than they really were. This is falsifying  Mark Twain’s words so the teachers of today can feel more comfortable. Here is a passage from the forward page of my old Huckleberry Finn book written by the author:

“In this book a number of dialects are used, to wit: the Missouri negro dialect; the extremest form of the backwoods. South-Western dialect; the ordinary Pike County dialect; and four modified varieties of this last. The shadings have not been done in a haphazard fashion, or by guesswork; but pains-takingly, and with the trustworthy guidance and support of personal familiarity with these several forms of speech. I make this explanation for the reason that without it many readers would suppose that all these characters were trying to talk alike and not succeeding.  The Author.”

Since both books are in the public domain and long past their copyright, Gribben can make changes and the publisher, NewSouth, can print tons of copies and make big bucks distributing to schools where the books have been banned or simply not taught because of fear of reality. In the mean time, kids everywhere will still want to gets their hands on the original because it has been “banned” or changed,  just like I did as a kid with Lolita and Lady Chatterley’s Lover.  And of course, maybe they won’t understand it as well as if a teacher had taken the time to explain the history, culture and vernacular of 1884 and how far we have come.

But, I’m sure for NewSouth Books this is just the tip of the iceberg. I can see them with dollar signs in their eyes now,  going after Uncle Tom’s Cabin and turning it into a condo.

 

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