Hey, Red AND Blue States, Listen Up!

This is a response to the internet letters from the Blue States to the Red States, and vice versa. The letters, meant to be humorous, are raising hackles and petty arguments in the current political atmosphere.

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Hey Red States and Blue States,

Hold it right there. I have something to say before you start breaking up this country. My name is Unknown and my remains are in a marble tomb near the center of Arlington National Cemetery. There are four of us in this tomb. We died in two World Wars, in Korea, and in Vietnam. We gave our lives for the land we loved and we each came home in a casket draped with the flag of this nation.

Our tomb is in Virginia. The marble for our memorial comes from Colorado, from the same mine that produced the marble for the Lincoln Memorial. We’re in good company here. This is the final resting place for more than 300,000 Americans including soldiers from the Battle of the Little Big Horn, the Civil War and just about every war since.  An eternal flame marks the final resting place of our 35th president John F. Kennedy.  Two astronauts who perished aboard the space shuttle Challenger, Richard Scobee (Washington) and Michael Smith (North Carolina), were laid to rest here. You’ll find the grave of Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, the American writer and activist who was born on a Yankton Sioux reservation. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes is buried here. He was born in Boston and he taught at Harvard. We share this place with innocents who died at the Pentagon and on American Flight 77 on 9/11. You’ll also find a memorial to the 259 American men, women and children from many states who died aboard PanAm flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

If you guys split up…who gets Arlington?

Blue States, are you really so ready to give up Ole Miss? That’s a 160 year-old institution. It was one of the South’s first universities to admit women, and the first to hire a female faculty member. James Meredith, a native of Mississippi, courageously endured a great deal of hateful treatment to become the university’s first black student. And what’s wrong with Alabama? It’s the birthplace of Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Harper Lee, Hank Aaron, Mia Hamm and Hank Williams. The folks down in Huntsville built the first rocket that put humans on the Moon.

Red States, what have you got against Rhode Island? If it wasn’t for that tiny state you might be having tea and crumpets every afternoon. It was the first of the thirteen original American colonies to declare independence from British rule. Providence is home to the First Baptist Church in America and the first NFL night game! It’s also the home state of George M. Cohan, H. P. Lovecraft, Eileen Farrell and Nelson Eddy.

Let’s be fair about big cities. They have some tough issues, but they are also famous for museums and parks, music, the arts and great sports teams. Miami is home to the Adrienne Arsht Center (the second-largest performing arts center in the nation) and Dolphin Stadium. Atlanta boasts Zoo Atlanta (which is helping to save some of the world’s most endangered species). Don’t forget that St Louis is the home of Anheuser-Busch Breweries (for that frosty mug of brew you talked about Red States). You’ll also find one of those elitist universities in St. Louis. The Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital operate the Siteman Cancer Center and the Genome Sequencing Center. In fact, universities in cities around the nation do cutting edge research in cancer, diabetes, heart disease, birth defects, nerve disorders and much more. And yes, stem cell research is incredibly promising in many of these areas. Think of how you might feel if your doctor were to say, “It’s malignant…but don’t worry. There’s an excellent new treatment from Stanford that can triple your chances of survival.” And for Blue Staters with rheumatoid arthritis…it was a guy from Alabama who first synthesized cortisone.

Why the rush to divvy up this land that includes Big Sur, Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Everglades, the Channel Islands, the Grand Canyon and so much more? Why can’t we all share and enjoy the country that gave us B. B. King, Muddy Waters, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Marian Anderson, Motown, Carnegie Hall, the Grand Ole Opry, Lincoln Center, the Hollywood Bowl, and yes, Streisand? Who wouldn’t want a Philly cheese steak, a Maryland boiled crab dinner, Tex-Mex, gumbo or a slice of Boston cream pie?

In dark times we have always come through as a nation. Remember that after 9/11 Americans gathered from every corner of this land to help New York City. Firefighters from as far away as Montana trekked to California to fight huge blazes that threatened lives and property there. Rescue dog teams from California have mobilized in hours to help Midwestern victims of tornadoes and floods. After Katrina, as the government dropped the ball, trucks loaded with emergency supplies, and cars loaded with volunteers rolled out of San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and yes, Detroit. We are a nation of heroes ready to help our neighbors. We are a nation of liberal, conservative, and moderate soccer moms, doctors and chefs. Dedicated teachers, caring police officers, honest city officials and schools that achieve academic miracles are not unique to small towns or to big cities. And that volunteer military? The men and women who march into harm’s way to defend this country are from every corner of every state.

So before you start carving up these United States, remember that the spoils will have to include Arlington, and Lexington, Yorktown, Gettysburg, Wounded Knee, Pearl Harbor and every other inch of soil upon which American blood has been shed in our shared history. You’ll have to explain to the spirits of those who died why we can’t seem to muster the courage, the commitment and the respect for our fellow citizens to make this nation work.

Or can we?

Sincerely,

Unknown

The original  internet letters:

Dear Red States

Dear Blue States

Exclusive/original to Political Bunko

Please pass along or repost.

Science vs Sarah

The borders are slippery between Knowledge and Palintology

SCIENCE

Biologists Note Polar Bear Cannibalism

Andrew C. Revkin: Published: June 13, 2006

www.nytimes.com/2006/06/13/us/13brfs-006.html

“Providing hints that a reduction in coastal sea ice may make life difficult for polar bears, government biologists from Canada and the United States say they observed three instances of cannibalism among polar bears in a three-month stretch in 2004 along Alaskan and Yukon coasts. In the journal Polar Biology, the researchers said that no previous examples had been observed in the region in at least 24 years. Computer simulations project that the Arctic Ocean could become largely free of sea ice later in the century in summers if global warming intensifies.”

Global Warming Pushes Polar Bears To Cannibalism

by Mira Oberman Chicago (AFP): Published  Jun 16, 2006

http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Global_Warming_Pushes_Polar_Bears_To_Cannibalism.html

While bears will kill and then eat other bears in fights over territory or females it is extremely rare for them to hunt other bears as prey, Armstrup said. In nearly 40 years of studying polar bears in northern Alaska and Canada, researchers had never observed such behavior.

Agency Proposes to List Polar Bears as Threatened

By Felicity Barringer and Andrew C. Revkin: Published: December 28, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/28/science/28polar.html?_r=1&fta=y&oref=slogin

The International Conservation Union, in its latest red list of endangered wildlife, gave polar bears threatened status in May, projecting a decline of 30 percent by midcentury from current populations, mainly due to projected losses of sea ice in a warming world.

Polar bears are dependent on sea ice as a platform for hunting seals, and as a pathway to coastal areas. The ice shrinkage has meant that polar bears, which are strong swimmers, have had to cover longer distances between ice and land.

They have survived previous Arctic warming periods, including the last warm stretch between ice ages some 130,000 years ago, but some climate experts project that nothing in the species’ history is likely to match the pace and extent of warming and ice retreats projected in this century and beyond, should emissions of heat-trapping gases continue unabated.

SARAH

Palin loves bears

Palin loves bears

Gov. Sarah Palin on polar bears, climate change, and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/index.php/csw/details/palin_polarbear_climate_anwr/

Posted on Friday, August 29, 2008

In September 2007 Governor Palin formed the Alaska Climate Change Sub-Cabinet and charged it with preparing and implementing an Alaska Climate Change Strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and responding to the effects of climate change.  But Palin opposed listing the polar bear as threatened by global warming and loss of sea ice habitat, in spite of the findings of a scientifically based status assessment put together by the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Marine Mammals Management Office in Alaska and the clear requirements of the Endangered Species Act.

“Alaska’s marine mammal scientists agreed last year with federal researchers who concluded polar bears are threatened with extinction because of a shrinking ice cap,” the Anchorage Daily News reported on May 25.  “The state’s in-house dispute seems to refute later statements by Gov. Sarah Palin that a ‘comprehensive review’ of the federal science by state wildlife officials found no reason to support an endangered-species listing for the northern bears.”

SCIENCE

CNN.com/Technology

http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/09/23/arctic.ice/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

The best known consequence of disappearing sea ice in the Arctic is the loss of the polar bear habitat.  Learn more about polar bears and their habitat.

“The Arctic sea ice melt is a disaster for the polar bears,” according to Kassie Siegel, staff attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity. “They are dependent on the Arctic sea ice for all of their essential behaviors, and as the ice melts and global warming transforms the Arctic, polar bears are starving, drowning, even resorting to cannibalism because they don’t have access to their usual food sources.”

In May, the U.S. Department of Interior listed the polar bear as a “threatened” species under the Endangered Species Act. In a news release, U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne stated, “loss of sea ice threatens and will likely continue to threaten polar bear habitat. This loss of habitat puts polar bears at risk of becoming endangered in the foreseeable future, the standard established by the ESA for designating a threatened species.”

SARAH

OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

By SARAH PALIN

Published: January 5, 2008

Juneau, Alaska

ABOUT the closest most Americans will ever get to a polar bear are those cute, cuddly animated images that smiled at us while dancing around, pitching soft drinks on TV and movie screens this holiday season.

This is unfortunate, because polar bears are magnificent animals, not cartoon characters. They are worthy of our utmost efforts to protect them and their Arctic habitat. But adding polar bears to the nation’s list of endangered species, as some are now proposing, should not be part of those efforts.

Read more here   http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/05/opinion/05palin.html

SCIENCE

Gov. Sarah Palin on polar bears, climate change, and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/index.php/csw/details/palin_polarbear_climate_anwr/

Posted on Friday, August 29, 2008

In September 2007 Governor Palin formed the Alaska Climate Change Sub-Cabinet and charged it with preparing and implementing an Alaska Climate Change Strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and responding to the effects of climate change.  But Palin opposed listing the polar bear as threatened by global warming and loss of sea ice habitat, in spite of the findings of a scientifically based status assessment put

Palin endangers wildlife

Palin endangers wildlife

together by the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Marine Mammals Management Office in Alaska and the clear requirements of the Endangered Species Act.

“Alaska’s marine mammal scientists agreed last year with federal researchers who concluded polar bears are threatened with extinction because of a shrinking ice cap,” the Anchorage Daily News reported on May 25.  “The state’s in-house dispute seems to refute later statements by Gov. Sarah Palin that a ‘comprehensive review’ of the federal science by state wildlife officials found no reason to support an endangered-species listing for the northern bears.”

SARAH vs SCIENCE

E-mail reveals state dispute over polar bear listing

POLAR BEAR LISTING: Biologists disagreed with administration.

By TOM KIZZIA

tkizzia@adn.com

Published: May 25th, 2008 01:54 AM

http://www.adn.com/news/environment/story/416432.html

A newly released e-mail from last fall shows that the state’s own biologists were at odds with the Palin administration, which has consistently opposed any new federal protections for polar bears under the Endangered Species Act….The e-mail was released…to a University of Alaska scientist who had filed a public records request seeking information on the state’s polar bear decision-making.  Rick Steiner, the university Marine Advisory Program professor who obtained the memo, said it undermines the Palin administration’s scientific defense as well as its claims to being an open government….

“Even the petroleum-loving Bush administration couldn’t find a way around the science on this issue,” Steiner said. “This perpetual denial of environmental harm posture is what gives Alaska a very bad image nationally and globally.”

In its final response to Steiner this month, the state generally withheld all substantive in-house comments on the bears, saying these were private policy discussions among executive officials, a category exempt from release under state public records laws.

Why would someone who doesn’t care about the survival of the polar bear wear a pin in it’s image? It may be a coincidence, but the polar bear happens to be the logo for the Alaskan Independence Party.

Palin's pin
Alaska Independence Party

Alaska Independence Party

My Daily Rant – October 17

McCarthy Redux

by the Tall Twin

Okay. I’ve really come to the point where, if this were a manuscript, I would get out my red pen and strike out the plot turns that are just too hard to believe. Instead I must rant. In fact, I have a lot to catch up on, so my daily rant may turn into two or ten rants.

Let’s start with a general statement. Governor Palin announced at a rally that she loved visiting the Pro-America areas of the country. Short of one or two secessionist pockets that have recently come to the attention of the media, can we just agree that all areas of the country are Pro-American. In California, Alaska, Nebraska, Florida, Hawaii, New York, or any other state, our ideas and opinions may vary, but from sea to shining sea, we are Americans. Whether we chug beer or sip Chardonnay…we are Americans.

Nonetheless, on the Chris Matthews show, Hardball, Representative Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota said that she thinks the media should take a probing look at the views of people in Congress to determine who harbors anti-American views. Is the Representative a conservative or a liberal? Doesn’t matter. Where’s the line between acceptable American views and those that are anti-American? Are protestors bad guys? If you work to save a plot of land that has been marked for development, are you anti-American? How about if you march for better job benefits? Smaller cars? To save the polar bears?

If you believe in universal health care, free trade, Buddhism, flat tax, global warming, school vouchers, gay marriage, gas-powered lawn mowers, pro-choice, or evolution does that make you anti-American?

If you’re a hunter, a nurse, a creationist, pro-life, a college professor, a real estate developer, a CEO, a Wiccan, a liberal, a conservative, a vegetarian, or a belly dancer, does that make you anti-American?

How do you know? Who decides? Should we be more careful about what we say out loud? What we write? Once we start this kind of labeling, where does it lead?

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out –
because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out –
because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out –
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.”

(Inscribed at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.)

“Sit Down, Boy!” — Sarah Palin, Bottom Feeder

by
The Tall Twin
In recent speeches, Governor Sarah Palin said about Senator Barack Obama, “This is not a man who sees America as you see it and how I see America.” She adds that he, “sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.”

She used the comments to attack Obama for his association with William Ayers, former member of an anti-war group known for domestic terrorism in the sixties and seventies (when Obama was a child).

Palin Supporters

Palin Supporters

Here’s the background on the Ayers – Obama connection. Ayers, now in his sixties, is a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education. Obama met him when they lived in the same neighborhood. Ayres was one of three authors of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge grant proposal for public school reform. In 1995 the project was given nearly fifty million dollars for public school grants. Obama was named to the Board of Directors that oversaw the distribution of grants in Chicago.

In 1995, Ayers hosted a “coffee” in his home so that State Senator Alice Palmer could introduce Obama to her supporters as he began his first run for office. In 1997, Ayers was named Chicago’s Citizen of the Year for his work on the Annenberg project.

From 2000 to 2002, Ayers and Obama both served on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago, a community anti-poverty group. In April 2001, Ayers contributed $200 to Obama’s re-election fund to the Illinois State Senate.

Since 2002, there has been little linking Obama and Ayers, and Senator Obama has condemned the actions that Ayers took as a young man. Seriously, if Sarah Palin sees this as “palling around with terrorists” then she will have to accuse dozens of Chicago’s most prominent educators and philanthropists of the same thing.

Sit down, boy!

Now back to Palin’s recent speeches (and one given by McCain as well). During the speeches, some of the responses from the crowd were frightening. When McCain asked in a speech, “Who is Obama?” a member of the crowd yelled out “terrorist!” At a Florida rally a man yelled “kill him!” as Ms. Palin delivered her accusations about Obama. When Palin complained about the press, the crowd grew surly toward a nearby camera crew. Some shouted epithets at an African-American member of the crew as one man snarled, “Sit down, Boy.”

It is true that campaign rallies are meant to energize the crowd. It is also true that politicians use talking points that are less than accurate to sway opinion, but Palin is stepping over a very dangerous line. By saying that Obama is not a man who sees America as you see it and how I see it, she is carelessly characterizing Senator Obama as “not us” but rather as “one of them.” This is a slippery slope that can lead to serious consequences if one crazy person with a warped view of “patriotism” takes this as a “call to act.”

Voltaire said, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” This reckless and shameful brand of rhetoric has no place in American politics and Governor Palin should know that.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/06/AR2008100602935.html