THE REAL SAINT PATRICK
He may be the most renowned of all Irishmen, but he was actually born in Britain. He probably ate corned beef, might have eaten cabbage, but never a potato, nor drunk a Guinness or a Bushmill’s. ‘St Patrick ‘ may actual be a blend of two men, Palladius who was in Ireland earlier and the later St Patrick. Regardless, by the time he got to Ireland Christianity was already there. As for the quaint serpent story, Ireland never did have any snakes.
But it doesn’t matter. Because it is a great story and no other figure does as much to unite Americans, at least for one day. Slainte!
THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU (CFPB)
With the cavalier attitude of the financial industry to its customers – expressed so well by an ex-Goldman Sachs employee in a letter to the NY Times in which he revealed that the venerable company dumped poor performing products on its own clients or, as they called them, ‘Muppets’ – you would have thought that the CFPB would be welcomed.
But Republicans, staying consistent to their ‘corporate-rights-over-individual-rights’ philosophy have resisted the CFBP since the onset. They claimed that it would dry up credit; cost financial companies too much; was unneeded and just another example of government intrusion into the sacred realm of unfettered capitalism. So how’s it going so far?
The CFBP’s first target was ‘payday lenders’ the financial companies that charge credit-damaged, generally poor and unsophisticated borrowers, an effective interest rate of up to 521% to borrow small amounts in the short term. The CFPB wasn’t trying to shut them down, just ensure they were obeying the law. Who could object to that?
SEN. INHOFE KNOWS HIS GEOGRAPHY
James Inhofi was being taken to task on the ‘Rachel Maddow Show’ for his ties to an organization lobbying for gays to receive the death penalty in Uganda. He replied:
“Are you saying, are you suggesting, Rachel — and, I mean, I want to make sure that everyone understands this — that I am for executing gays? That I somehow knew something about what their philosophy is or whether what they’re doing legislatively… I know Uganda. I know Ethiopia. I know Ghana. I know Benin. I know Africa probably better than anyone else, certainly in the United States Senate”.
In his rambling non-sequitor of an answer he doesn’t actually deny he is against executing gays; although I am sure he is. But what of his claim that he knows more about Africa than any other Senator? By Inhofe’s own estimation that is not a high bar. As he goes on to say:
“And when 9/11 happened, since I was the only member of the Armed Services Committee who knew where Africa was….” God I hope he was joking.
SEX, RELIGION AND MARRIAGE
In Morocco 16 year old Amina Filali killed herself with rat poison. Her life had become unbearable after she was pressured to marry the man who raped her. Religious tradition and the law in Morocco allows the rapist of a minor to dodge punishment by marrying the victim. While the marriage is supposed to be voluntary, family pressure to preserve its “honor” often forces the girl into the arrangement.
We have a less drastic approach to sex before marriage, but in our religious conservatives we can still hear an echo of this misogyny.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT
Republicans are supposed to be the better politicians. But this Presidential campaign has seen the candidates make unforced error after unforced error. Congressional Republicans have not done better. They had an opportunity to make contraception about religious freedom. Instead remarks about aspirin between the knees and slut/prostitute characterizations have cast them as woman-haters.
Now in the Senate a new “Violence Against Women Act” made it out of committee with all 8 Republicans – all men – voting against it. Their problem with it is that it extends protection and services to gay women and illegal immigratants.
In an attempt to avoid appearing ‘weak’ on gays and illegals, they are setting themselves up to appear as condoning violence against some women.
GAY MARRIAGE IN THE UK
The British government is going to have a 12-week consultation to determine if gay marriage should be permitted in England and Wales. Two thing should be noted. First, it is the Conservative Party that is promoting gay marriage and second, only 12 weeks? Just repealing ”Don’t ask don’t tell” alone, took 19 months.