Politics & Society — November 21, 2011 at 9:45 am

Republicans & Riots [Weekly Binge]

by

Last Friday we exited the week noting that Mitt Romney need simply sit it out

quietly and wait for the rest of the primary candidates to self-implode, which they
have been doing quite splendidly.

Despite our keen advice, Romney made headlines this weekend – but unlike his
competitors, it was for a good reason. Senator Kelly Ayotte, a high-profile freshman
senator, officially endorsed Romney. While our ratings-hungry media sometimes
overstates the importance of endorsements, this suggests that Romney’s already
substantial lead in New Hampshire is only growing.  If you follow primary
politics, this is kind of a big deal.

While Romney was off in New Hampshire, the other six republican hopefuls were in
Iowa
trying to secure the state’s Christian vote. The event, a roundtable discussion
at a Thanksgiving themed table, was an opportunity for each candidate to express
how faith has played a part of their life.

A good part of the early conversation was sentimental and heartfelt; with Cain
commenting on his over-commitment to work, Gingrich on his missteps in his
personal life and Perry on the oath “so help me God.”

Much of the rest of the conversation was a chorus of table-wide agreement as they discussed abortion and same-sex marriage (also known as “OMG SINS” among the republican faithful). All the candidates, except the media-absent Ron Paul, supported federal laws defining the institution of marriage – despite their insistence on the importance of the 10th amendment.

Romney’s absence was described as “a family member staying away for
Thanksgiving”
by one audience member (other observers might call this, separating
himself from the crazy).

In the world of government protestspolice in Cairo burned tents, fired tear gas,
killed seven and injured hundreds as they sought to break up on-going protests
demanding that the military hand over power to civilian government. Elections are
scheduled for November 28th, and the military generals currently in charge have
promised that they will proceed as planned. Let’s all hope this is the case, because
militaries throughout history don’t have an overwhelmingly positive record in
conceding power once it is acquired.

Back home, non-violent protestors at UC Davis were pepper sprayed point-blank by
police. I would describe the event in words, but this video – which has been viewed
over half a million times – is far more adequate. The first minute or so is the most
relevant.

In a complete 180, two university police officers have been placed on administrative
leave and the Chancellor has pressed the issue of an independent board review.
She has also accepted accountability for the actions of the police, following her
discussions with students and faculty.

I’m not sure why it would take the students and faculty telling her that the point
blank spraying of a group of non-violent student protestors is unacceptable – but
whatever gets the point across I suppose.

Despite the two stories of police doing all the wrong things, they did the right
thing
in NYC when they were able to place under arrest a 27-year old resident,
Jose Pimentel, on numerous terrorism related charges. Most notably, he plotted
bombings on post offices and police. He was classified as a ‘lone-wolf’ terrorist,
which are some of the hardest terrorists to catch due to their non-existent ties
within a larger organization and thereby fewer, if any, people’s ability to provide information.

In unsurprising news, despite the passing of another spending measure, the
congressional super-committee seems poised to fail as Republicans blame
Democrats and Democrats blame Republicans. One is too reluctant to give up
social-welfare services, and the other is too stubborn to start taxing wealthy people.
Clearly it is everyone’s fault, which means it is nobody’s fault.

I propose that we pass a law that, if the debt surpasses a certain amount and the
deficit grows to a certain size, congressional leaders lose their benefits and half of
their salaries. We’d have a solution in less than a week.

Lastly, in a silver-lining feel good sort of way, there is still hope for nice things to
happen to regular people. Mila Kunis – perhaps one of the most attractive women in
Hollywood – made good on her promise to attend a Marine Corps Ball with Sgt. Scott
Moore who asked for her company through this YouTube video.

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