California Budget Deficit? What California Budget Deficit?

The Gubernator announced his last May Revise  this past Friday.  It was greeted with the usual rending of garments and gnashing of teeth now a customary part of the California budget blowout.   To close an almost $20 billion deficit His Arnoldness is now proposing freezes on local education, more slashing of government workers’ numbers and pay and huge cuts in social welfare and state medical care, including the complete termination of Calworks. Take that , you million mooching kids living off of state handouts.

But what are you going to do when the state is running almost 25% in the red?

And Our Last Action-Hero Governor can’t even depend on a last minute uber-dramatic rescue from Obi Wan Obama.  Washington’s response to  the Governor’s January request for $7 billion in reimbursements for Federal programs?  Drop dead.  Washington’s likely response to his new $3.4 billion beg?  Ditto.

Our Term(Limited)inator in Chief shouldn’t be  asking for a paltry $3.4 billion, anyway.  If the Feds have the audacity to insult the Golden State with such brass tribute he should throw it back in their faces.

No, what  one of the most successful businessmen in Hollywood History should demand is $70 billion.  That’s BILLION, with a big “B”. $70 billion is how much more California pays the Feds then the Feds give back in services and spending.

Californians get back about 78¢ for every dollar collected here by the Feds That means for the $313 billion  per year Californians pay the Federal government the Feds put back around $224 billion  in services and payments.  Which leaves California with that magic $70 billion deficit vis-à-vis  D.C.

Rather than running a $20 billion dollar budget deficit  in terms of revenues and spending  California actually has a $50 billion surplus. That is, if the Golden State got to keep all the gold it ships off to Washington.  Who then ships it off Red States like Mississippi, Alabama and all the others who get more back than they put in to the Federal slot machine.

I heard a commentator on the Dennis Prager show today compare Germany bailing out Greece to Texas bailing out  California .  Sorry but that’s the wrong comparison.  Texas gets back 94$ per dollar it sends.  Alaska gets back  a whopping $1.84.

So it’s Germany is to Greece as California is to Alaska, SAT fans.

Note to Feds: pay us our $70 billion, please.  We’ll take it in gold, if possible.

Note to Sarah Palin:  Shuttup already.  Your state takes more federal money per dollar sent than any other and you have the nerve to cry at your own Tea Party?  How about  you send us Californians—Real Americans who pay a lot more in shouldering the burden of being Americans than you and your mooching Alaskans—the $3.6 billion more you get back from that hated American government than you send in?

Consider it a down payment on monies owed California by a grateful nation.

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Lights, Camera, Revolution!

I was listening to that incredibly talented entertainer Ricky “Don’t Start the Revolution Without Me” Roberts this morning  and got to hear one of  Bobbo “Its Common Sense Because I Say So” Basso’s Tom Paine takeoffs which inspires the following vignette:

INT STUDIO CHIEF’S OFFICE—DAY

THE SCENE: A standard Studio Mogul’s lair, self-aggrandizing celeb photos on the wall, lots of chrome and gleam and an acre-size executive desk.   The MOGUL, sits feet up behind the desk, requisite stogy clenched in teeth.  The WRITER stands before the desk, schoolboy at attention, making his pitch.

WRITER: I’m tellin’s ya, man, this story has it all.  It’s Mister Smith Goes to Washington meets BraveheartMeet John Doe meets Pulp Fiction….

MOGUL: (intrigued) Tell me more….

WRITER: Okay – Act One:  the handsome charismatic prince sweeps the country off its feet, wowing them with his repertoire of multi-syllabic sweet nothings…

MOGUL: Who you thinking’?  Pitt?  Clooney?

WRITER: No, no, here’s the twist.  The guy’s black .

MOGUL: Oh, Freeman.

WRITER: No, younger and hipper.  More a Don Cheadle or  a Denzel. So anyway, Act One he wins the country and sweeps into the White House

MOGUL: Black guy president?  So what, the world ends?  World always ends when a black guy’s president.

WRITER: No, no, that’s too cliche. I mean America as we know it almost ends.  But the American people come to their senses and save it.  So in Act Two  the country turns on him like a woman scorned!

MOGUL: Classic! Boy meets girl, loses girl.  So what brings him down?  Sex Scandal?  Corruption?  Corrupt sex scandal—I really like those? Bloody controversial war?

WRITER: No, bigger ‘n that.  The dude pushes through—are you ready for this—a healthcare reform.

MOGUL:  In America?  Get real.  Adolescent wizards and vampires are more believable.

WRITER: I didn’t  say comprehensive reform. Naw, just a little reform. You know, kinda a watered down Massachusetts thing that that guy with the really  good hair did before he ran for president.  Nothing as radical as that Nixon dude or Truman  talked about, for godsakes.  I’m not talkin’ fantasy here.   So, anyway, it gets it past and then all these mobs take to the streets screaming about how he’s a dictator bringin’ godless communism to America.

MOGUL: Serves the commie bastard right.  So in Act III he sees the error of his ways, begs America for forgiveness, repeals his ill fated reform and wins the girl—I mean the people—back!

WRITER: No, no.  Too obvious. The twist is in Act III the people, now driven  absolutely insane by this guy giving healthcare to millions of people rebel.  They take to the streets and storm the capitol.  When they’re done a new Republican congress populated by really good looking white people with really nice teeth (thanks to the dental plan their corporate employers provided them as top rank executives)  takes over.  They impeach the young, brash prince—and his trusty old F-bombing sidekick and make their handsome white Speaker with really good hair the new Prez.  Then the guy gets rid of the healthcare reform (and Medicare, social security, welfare, all environmental laws, meat inspection and the like). As the people rejoice in the streets (of course, a lot of them are living there by then) the music comes up – something really patriotic and uplifting…

MOGUL: How about Dixie?  That’s a catchy tune!

WRITER: Love it!  So the music comes up and we fade to black. Whadda ya think?

MOGUL: Love it, man, love it.  One thing—you think maybe you can tweak it so the healthcare reform turns out to have unleashed a virus or something that turns normal, rational people into invective-spitting deranged anti-government zombies?  Or even better, Libertarian Vampires ready to feed on the body politic? You know, Advise and Consent meets 27 Days Later.

WRITER: Don’t see why not.

MOGUL: Outstanding.  Only one problem though…

WRITER: What’s that boss?

MOGUL: We make fiction at this studio, not documentaries.  Whadda think we are—the History Channel?

FADE OUT

Are You Listening, Mr. Prager?

 

One of the fascinating aspects of blogging to me is the way discussion threads can pick up and continue months (or more than a year, in this case) after the original post and thread were generated.  Such is the case with my post from March, 2009, taking AM talk jock Dennis Prager to task for stating that racism played no role in the incarceration of Americans of Japanese descent during  WWII.  I’ve had two recent comments to the post (which already has received more comments than most posts to my humble blog typically do) in as many months.  The latest  comment came in last week:  I’ve included it below.

As it turns out, Mr. P was on the radio again today as it happens, stating that anti-Hispanic racism in America, in his experience, simply doesn’t exist.  My only conclusion is that his experience with American Hispanics is limited, at best.  True story:  years ago when we moved into our new house my wife called the Chula Vista Penny’s to see about having a salesperson come out to the house to give us a bid on draperies we needed installed.  The clerk asked her what her  name was:  Jeanne Luna.  The clerk was silent for a moment, then proceeded to tell my wife how expensive window treatments could be and asked several times did she think she could actually afford them.  The clerk refused to make an appointment to send someone out to our house at that point, telling my wife to call back when she had thought about it more.   My wife was puzzled by the treatment until she connected the dots.  Last name “Luna.”  Calling from the Southbay.  Lightbulb goes on.  The clerk thought my wife must have been a Latina. (What else could a person in San Diego named “Luna” be?  Oh, that’s right.  Italian, in this case.)  Therefore she must be poor.  (What else would a Latina be?  Oh, that’s right, maybe middle class.)  My wife got really steamed, not at being confused with being Latina but with the treatment she got—or any person would have gotten–for being presumed to be a Latina.  She called the Penny’s manager, described the situation and got a vigorous apology and an offer of compensation for her treatment—discount coupons.  She thanked him but declined.  Penny’s lost our business that day.  That, Mr. Prager, was anti-Hispanic racism in practice.  Perhaps if Dennis’ last name was Martinez he would have a broader depth of experience on this matter.  But I digress.)

My point in my post was not that Prager was wrong in his macro-assertion that the US is one of the least racist countries in human history.  Indeed, given the amount of racial diversity in America, the  ability of this country to surmount its racial divisions is perhaps unmatched by any other society in the modern age.  My beef was (and is) that, in denying the role of racism in the treatment of Japanese Americans,  Prager basically was saying (and keeps saying) that there is no real racism in America at all.  That  argument does a gross injustice to those who have experienced real racism in American history, who continue to experience the consequences of racism today, and who have struggled and sacrificed  past and present to eliminate racism from American society.  JB, who posted her comment below, apparently agrees:

To accurately participate in this dialogue, I must tell you a story — a true story:
My father, a very young white male, marched out of Indiana and into Europe in August of 1944 — in October of 1944, he was surrounded in the Vosges Mountains of Eastern France. Trapped for almost a week, they had run out of ALL supplies and their situation was desperate. Several prior unsuccessful attempts at rescue had failed when the men of the 442nd “Go For Broke” Regiment were sent in to rescue them. These men refused to give up until they had successfully rescued my father and 210 other men — it took almost a week of vicious fighting, some of it hand-to-hand, in bitter winter weather —- their casualties (KIA and wounded) would surpass the number of men they rescued. They accomplished what two other units of “white” soldiers had not been able to achieve —– why —- because they refused to give-up until their mission was completed —- because as one veteran told me: “They were fellow American soldiers and we were their last hope” Another 442nd Veteran told me that as they walked up into the mountains to rescue my Dad, they passed other soldiers walking down from the mountain who told them: “Don’t go up there — you will get killed” But, they marched on and because of their stoic dedication and bravery, my sister and I were able to know and love our Dad —- we still carry memories of him in our hearts —- memories that would not have been but for the bravery of the 442nd. The enormity of the gift that these men gave to our family still resonates some 65 years later. The moral of this story is this: Many of the men of the 442nd that rescued my Dad came from the concentration camps that you are discussing — yes — concentration camps — let’s call them what they were — it is important to do that — let’s not sanitize the word — they walked out of those camps to serve the very country that had turned it’s back on them. Shame. Shame. Shame on us and thank God for them. Today, these same men speak very little of their experiences — (they are dedicated to remembering those friends they left behind laying under the marble crosses in the Military Cemeteries in Europe) — these men came home, reclaimed their families from the afore-mentioned concentration camps, surveyed what little property and businesses they had left, and set about rebuilding their lives — over the past 65 years, their contributions to this country have continued as they have served all of us as lawyers, doctors, businessmen, farmers, teachers, artists, and, politicians and, above all esle, loyal American citizens —- the latter the title is the one that they covet above all else — they raised families without a hint or moment of bitterness — their stories left untold until just recently — stories that are difficult to tell and even more difficult to absorb —- such gallant men — so gentle — so honorable —- could we have done the same — would we have served so well? Let’s not devalue their contributions to this nation by sanitizing the words we use to discuss their situation — they were racially discriminated against — Period —— but, as a community they can teach us all a lesson in humility and loyalty — that is, for those of us willing to listen ——- Are you listening, Mr. Nolan —– Mr. Prager ???

I thank JB for her personal story.  And I must ask, are you listening, Mr. Prager?  Or the Pragerites who commented on this post?

Go Fish

fish-in-newspaperFish left such a thoughtful comment to my last post that I had to take the time to address in an illustrious fashion.

Dear Fish,

You smell like a three-day-left-in-the-sun-real-world-version-of-your-online-avatar.

Sincerely,

Lunacy

No, no. that’s not what I really meant to say.  As far as I know Mr. Fish (who should really pal around with Mr. Chips) is a paragon of hygiene and Body Shop botanical splendor, the mental images of sub par dentistry and grimy fingernails his less than genteel online manor suggests notwithstanding.   A serious statement (or as close to one as Fish seems capable of tapping out with a solitary finger) deserves serious response.

What did then Candidate Obama mean –and his supporters hope for—when promising change?   That would be Change from the worst economy produced by any two term president in modern history?  (And no, this is not the Obama recession any more than the first two years of the Gipper’s Administration are called the Reagan Recession.)  This is not the verdict of left wing hippy type intellectuals.  Check out former Bush speech writer David Frum’s comments last week in which he pointed out:

In terms of income growth and poverty reduction, Bush performed worse than any two-term president of the modern era. Even in the best year of his presidency, 2007, the typical American household still earned less after inflation than in the year 2000. The next year, 2008, American households suffered the worst income drop since record-keeping began six decades ago.

Or maybe it’s change from a litany of some of the biggest mistakes made by any modern administration as summarized  by Craig Newmark, a list which includes:

• Going to war on false premises;

• The greatest disaster relief failure in American history;

• Controversial (and, one might add, potentially dangerous and often unconstitutional assertions of Executive Power;

• Becoming the first administration in modern US history to overtly condone torture;

• Unprecedented politicization of the departments of the Executive Branch (can you say Justice) and political patronage appointments of demonstrably incompetents (see number 2 above) ;

• Fiddling while Wall Street burned and then putting out the fire with a trillion dollars in public money; and

• Gutting environmental policy while exposing millions of Americans to increased health and quality of life risks.

Or how about change in simply ending what an overwhelming numbers of professional historians (more than any other president at this point in the post-presidency) call one of the worst administrations in history.

Of course my own personal favorite bit of change:  having a president who can now use the language of Shakespeare without making the Bard want to switch to French.

Fish,  read a book.  Read history.  Read SOMETHING other than right wing blogs perused while listening to right wing talk radio.  Obama is not the best thing since sliced bread.  He is not the Messiah.  He is making plenty of what I consider to be significant mistakes which all into question his ability to produce the change his supporters hoped for.  But by any objective standard he is so far performing better than his predecessor.  That is a good thing.  Democracy worked.  The people spoke and maybe things improve.

So Fish, I sign off with YAJSCIIYLKJARRWTIJWTDYIMY.EHOC.*

Best, Lunacy

(*You are just so cute in your little knee-jerk and rude reactionary ways that I just want to dip you in my coffee.  Extra hot, of course.)

I

Dennis Praeger Was Still Wrong. (Sorry, Mike)

Got this blast from columns past the other day and thought it worthy of response.

 Mike recently wrote:   I know this is an old post but it seems to have an omission in it that is important. Some Italians were placed in custody in the US during WWII. This makes your argument the way you posed it a lot weaker.

So, my response to you, Mike:

Mike,

I fear you are making the logical misstep of arguing from the particular to the general–a tactic common in the world of AM talk and shock politics.  This is where, because you can find a few cases of something, you can argue they represent the general population of the same.  A classic recent example of this was Rush Limbaugh’s assertion that,, because one white kid was beaten up on a bus by one group of black kids, all white kids on busses are at risk being beaten up by all black kids. (Limbaugh gave us a double whammy of fallacy in this one,  basically arguing that the white kid was beaten up because the black kids saw him as racist which, in the structure of his argument, was then taken to mean that all white kids will be seen as racists by all black kids and, therefore, will be beaten up.) 

Yo Rush.  Go ride a bus.

Comparing the domestic treatment of Italian Americans to Japanese Americans during WWII isn’t exactly comparing apples to oranges but it is at least comparing apples to pears.    On November 7, 2000, Congress passed Public Law 106-451 which stated that:

“The story of the treatment of Italian Americans during World War II needs to be told in order to acknowledge that these events happened, to remember those whose lives were unjustly disrupted and whose freedoms were violated, to help repair the damage to the Italian American community, and to discourage the occurrence of similar injustices and violations of civil liberties in the future.”  

The act apologizes for the treatment of Italian immigrants and Italian Americans during the war, describing their treatment.  About 600,000 Italian resident aliens — non US citizens and actually citizens of a country we were at war with–were considered “Enemy Aliens” and subjected to profiling, review and restrictions.  They were not, however, rounded up in mass and sent to isolated detention facilities.  According to the  New York’s John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, which hosted an exhibit entitled “When America’s Italians Were America’s Enemies”

“In New York City, home to the nation’s largest Italian American population and led by Italian American Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, Italian immigrants were photographed, fingerprinted and registered with the Department of Justice and the FBI.  The government told Italian resident aliens to stay off the streets after dark. Daytime travel was restricted. To walk the streets or subway to work, Italian resident aliens in New York City carried bright pink enemy alien passbooks, with photo ID and fingerprint.  Failure to produce the passbook upon demand of a government agent often resulted in arrest. Spoken Italian in public places was officially discouraged by the Federal government.  In Washington, D.C. the attorney general decreed that an Italian resident alien’s  “enemy alien” status alone was tantamount to probable cause, effectively suspending the Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable search and seizure. Under this decree, search warrants could be obtained without any showing of suspicious activity or evidence of a crime.  Authorities in New York City and elsewhere raided more than 2,900 homes of Italian immigrants who did not hold American citizenship.  They seized flashlights, cameras, binoculars, firearms and short wave radios.”

Indeed, as both the exhibit and the public act report, up to 2,100 immigrants were detained for months or even the duration of the war, in some cases.  About 10,000 Italian-American families were relocated from sensitive areas on the west coast.   In this a portion of the Italian-American community had experiences comparable to those of the Nisei (where pretty much the entire community of west coast Japanese Americans – 120,000 people – were interned in government camps.) 

So, first, you are in error comparing the scope and content  of the treatment of Italian immigrants and Italian Americans citizens to that of Japanese American citizens.  What happened to the Nissei was an order of magnitude greater.  More importantly, though, the treatment of Italian Americans only underscores the racial nature of the security measures adopted after Pearl Harbor.  Today, when our kids check those dumb “race” boxes on their school forms, they check “white” if they are French-American, German-American, Italian-American, Luxembourgian-American, etc.  After a twentieth century of suburban churning, the differences between different European nationalities has been bleached out to simply white. Sixty years ago this was hardly the case.  My dad, may he rest in peace,  used to tell a joke about an Italian American (which he was) going down to the deep south to train for the Army (which he did) during the war (in which he fought):

“A swarthy Italian-American GI gets on a bus in Biloxi in 1942.  Bus driver looks at his dark skin and gestures with his thumb, saying ‘back of the bus, back of the bus.’  The fellow protests, ‘I’m not black, I’m Italian!”  The bus driver looks at him, thinks for a moment and says, ‘Off the bus.  Off the bus.” 

In 1942 being Italian—whether American or Immigrant, was to be a garlic eater, a dago,  a wop – in other words, an Other—to many “real Americans” and Italian-Americans suffered indignities and inequalities for decades.  All based on their Italian heritage (e.g., their race.)  Please let us not forget that the term “race” not to long ago didn’t just apply to issues white, black, brown and yellow.  The English thought the Irish were an inferior “race”.  The Nazi government thought every race other than German was inferior.  What we now call ethnic identities used to be considered racial identities. (This shift, in some ways, is actually a sign of progress, twisted though it might seem.)

In short,  the  treatment of Italian Americans and Japanese Americans was driven, ultimately, by racial distinction.  Now it is true that several thousand http://www.traces.org/germaninternees.htmlhttp://www.traces.org/germaninternees.html#mce_temp_url#were also interned during the war, and that their families were allowed to accompany them into internment whose members included US citizens.  Yet these German-American citizens entered internment by choice—as twisted and forced as the choice might have been.  Most of the Italian Americans and all of the Japanese Americans interred had no such choice. 

So, I stick by my original argument.  Dennis Praeger says more sensible things per syllable than any of the other AM talk jocks.  On the issue of Japanese American internment not being racist, he’s full of hooey.

Summer Song

 Broke my long hiatus from punditry today with an article on the city’s faux-budget. Read it, hot from the pages from CityBeat Analog, here. Haven’t written since my last, aptly named entry, “Last Hurrah” back in April. Don’t really plan to write any more until the end of August. I’m not teaching this summer, for the first time in around 20 years, so I’m taking the summer off from my usual concerns–teaching, administrating, teaching, punditrying and, of course, teaching–to pursue other pursuits (beach, patio, other writing projects, beach, patio and, above all, five o’clock proseco time in the gazebo. I’m not kidding. We have a freakin’ gazebo and, every summer day at 5, adjourn there for a glass of cold proseco. It’s a good life.)

In any event, what is there to say right now that’s worth saying? At the local level things in June, 2009 are not really all that different than in June, 2000 or 2001. The city continues to muddle along with the usual mediocre municipal mundanity: precarious finances, feckless leadership and a gentle diminishment of America’s finest city to just another over-extended, under-repaired American town. Frye will be off the council soon, Jerry will be off to gentlemanly retirement and DeMaio will be Mayor—so it has been written, it seems, so it will be done. The Tribe of Five Old White People will continue to dominate the County. The Airport Authority will continue to plan billions of dollars in new projects that will never be spent for an airport that will never be adequate or replaced. The Chargers will continue to lobby for their new stadium which will inevitably be built with public monies (my suggestion, alas, that they build it beneath a three trillion dollar convention center expansion—which, I think, around the amount the convention center really dreams of spending) whether it takes another year or ten. Only the decline of the UT and the tantalizing possibility that the new owners might realize that if Kittle and Kompany continue to dictate editorial viewpoint the paper’s circulation will continue to shrink to the sixty-five and older north of Mira Mesa Boulevard crowd offers some hope for a break in the local monotony. Who knows – by fall the UT may have a new crowd (albeit probably a bunch of twenty-somethings paid minimum wage) flogging the pagewaves. Couldn’t hurt.

Of course, things have changed dramatically in Sacramento. Six years ago we had an unpopular second-term governor disowned even by his own party presiding over massive state deficits, declining services, increasing taxes, unrestrained partisan warfare with absolutely no realistic solutions being offered by the legislative leadership lugs. Oh, how times have changed. (Dramatic pause for sarcastic effect.)

And, at the national level, we have our Obama moment, Act One. Tobacco has been regulated. Some form of healthcare reform is on the way. The economy is no longer sinking. Yay. Except that the tobacco reform is about two generations too late to really matter, the healthcare reform is going to be delightfully watered down and any leveling off of economy we’re currently seeing is actually a consequence of actions taken last fall before Obama came into office. It takes around six months or more for policy decisions in DC to trickle into the real economy—the Obama stimulus won’t really begin to be felt until late summer and, by then, will be revealed, I fear, to be too little. Unemployment continues to rise – my bet is it eventually hits 11%-12%. Foreclosures continue to mount and the other shoe of the real estate debacle—the commercial side of the house—is caving. (Count empty storefronts and commercial “For Rent” signs next time you’re out.) At some point Obama’s love affair with Wall Street and Wall Street types has got to end and more aggressive Keynesian tactics aimed at homeowners and consumers have got kick in. According to retail experts, it’s going to take ten years, at this point, to get back to consumer spending levels in 2007. If everything starts turning around now. Obama keeps going the path he’s going and he runs the risk of becoming the American Kiichi Miiyazawa, (the Japanese Prime Minister who helped keep Japan from falling into depression back in 1990-1991 but, instead, ushered in a decade plus of stagnation.) The world can—and did—survive a stagnant Japan. It won’t survive, with any stability, a stagnant United States. Meanwhile national discourse has degenerated to a nasty level that simultaneously makes dock workers blush and insults the intelligence of second graders. I’m taking the summer off from Fox, MSBNC and the entire AM dial. I haven’t heard one original thing said (Obama is a radical, communist-socialist-muslim-American-hater and Republicans are Rush Limbaugh) in months by any of my brethren (albeit it far more lucratively compensated kin) in punditry. My bet is, come September 1, I turn on Sean Hannity and Chris Matthews after a two-month hiatus and I won’t have missed a beat. Maybe, by end of summer, democracy will have come to Iran. (Which I doubt. Erstwhile president Ahmadinukejihad will emerge from this ultimately stronger, probably having co-opted the authority of the religious clerics and, thereby, regressing Iran back to a standard authoritarian model.) If democracy does triumph, however, people are going to (oh, it gives me gout right down to my little toe to write this) reassess the Bush-Cheney theory of viral democracy. Look at Lebanon. But that’s a debate for another month.

In short, I go into the summer feeling crotchety and persnickety about all things political. By summers end, though, batteries recharged, feelings reinvigorated, I’ll be back to pound the punditry pages. Hopefully in a reformatted format—one of my summer projects is to try and upgrade and integrate this blog into more comprehensive website that can be useful to both my students and you, my faithful reader. (If there are any of you left – alas, even poor Mlaiuppa has bailed on me given my niggardly natterings. ) As such, a bid you summer time adieu. Look for me when the dog days are over, if you care to.

Fractackular

lil-frack-you

I’ve been watching  the final season of the Sci Fi channel’s resurrected 1970s Sci Fic hoke-classic, Battlestar Galactica.  The current incarnation of this human-made-machines-out-to-destroy-humankind  saga is far better acted, has far better effects and a much more commanding dramtic plotline than did the original.  (In which Loren Greene, fresh from 200 years on Bonanza, played essentially Ben Cartwright in command of a Battlestar rather than the Ponderosa.  But we sci fi buffs found it cool because a) it was the only real sci fi on TV; b) it’s pre Star Wars effects were awesome for their time; and c) we were twelve  years old.)   And, being on cable, the show’s writers can take certain liberties with plot and language which a network couldn’t back in the 1970s.  A result of which is that, in watching the show these past weeks,  I’ve finally decoded the ultimate message of the Republican party.

And, no, it’s not that Republicans remind me of Cylons, the race of evil human-looking machines  that never eat or sleep, like to nuke puppies and toddlers and  wreak havoc  across the galaxy in their quest to pursue their Cylon-god driven destiny. I mean,  Dick Cheney, liked to eat, after all,   They have that on tape.  And I think he slept (though that “man-sized safe” in the VP’s office Jon Stewart used to joke about might have actually been a coffin).  But Dick Cheney did share a taste for diction with the Colonial soldiers and sailors who battled the Cylons, as does the Republican party in general.   Whenever Starbuck, the sexy and brooding tomboy ace fighter pilot, or Admiral Odama (played memorably by Edward James Olmos) is angered past propriety or the Colonial President is sick of the political squabbling or any other member of the human refugee community is caught in a moment of anger, panic or surprise they all have the same thing to say:

“Frack!”

Yes, the Sci Fi channel let the writers of Battlestar Galatica drop the “F-bomb” but, being basic access cable, it’s a watered-down,  kinder, gentler “F-bomb” than the one heard on premium cable. 

Which is just like the Republicans’ basic message to the American people (you remember the American people–that “bunch of whiners” as McCain economic guru  and former senator “Dr. Phil” Graham labeled them) .   Now Dick “F-Man” Cheney, wasn’t  above dropping the ‘F-Bomb” in full mega-tonnage on the  floor of the Senate itself.  And Rush is just DYING to drop it.  (And if he’s not careful one of these days he’s going to slip during one of his “Screw Them” rants and end up jostling for satellite bandwidth with  potty-mouth Howard Stern.  Oh to dream…)

 Most Republicans though try to water their F-bombing down,  wrapping it in clichés and pontifications just like the Battlestar writers had to replace a vowel and add a consonant.  But it all comes down to the same sentiment:

Republicans to America:  “Frack You.”

Detroit is burning to the financial ground last semester?  Congressional Republicans to the backbone US Industry:  Frack You.  America’s economy is burning to the ground right now. Congressional Republicans response to the stimulus package and the American people its supposed to help: “Frack You.” And a good Frack You to you too, Mr. “Just elected by the American  People by a clear popular majority as a rebuke to the last 8 years of GOP mismanagement & misjudgment  and still enjoys extraordinarily-High Approval-ratings of the level that should make the outgoing GOP president weep in shame and yet still stretched out a bipartisan hand which Congressional Republican’s partisanly spit in” President.

And its not just the current Congressional Republicans who’ve embraced the Battlestar battle cry.  It’s been the basic message of  Reagan Republicans to Americans for the last generation.  You’re a woman dumb enough to get pregnant? Frack You and your right to an abortion, prenatal care,  post-natal care,  paid maternity leave, child care and family health care.  And Frack your right to affordable and available contraception.   And Frack your kids, too.  If they don’t like being born in a country with the highest infant mortality rates of any developed society, they shouldn’t have been born here.   And your Asthma sufferering, peanut-allergic kids? They don’t want to breathe my second hand smoke or risk accidentally swapping sandwiches with my Peter Pan munching rug rat?  Frack them.

You want me to give up my SUV to help avoid environmental meltdown?  Give up my unlicensed gun, my high-powered convertible semi automatic or my thirty-eight handgun?  Frack you. And frack Mother Earth  and homicide victims,  respectively.   

Indeed, the GOP’s answer to just about any request that one modifies any personal behavior or bear any cost to in any way promote any notion or action intended to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, or secure any  blessing of liberty for anyone but themselves is simple,  clear and resounding.

Frack you, America.

So, American people, get onboard with the Republican universal response mantra. November,  2010,  American People’s response to Republican candidates:

Frack you, GOP.