I enjoyed this:

Frank Rich – 10 April 2010
No One is to Blame for Anything

We live in a culture where accountability and responsibility are forgotten values. When “mistakes are made” they are always made by someone else.

That’s Rich, posting about Alan Greenspan’s odd 70/30 split on how accurate he was in his job.  Rich looks at Greenspan’s refusal to take the blame, and ties it to the current tendency to shift responsibility in more than a few areas of government and business.  He also points to a few hopefuls, where someone actually steps up to the plate and shoulders the blame.

This syndrome is hardly limited to the financial sector. The Vatican hierarchy and its American apologists blame the press, anti-Catholic bigots and “petty gossip” for a decades-long failure to police the church’s widespread criminal culture of child molestation. Michael Steele, the G.O.P. chairman, has tried to duck criticism for his blunders by talking about his “slimmer margin” of error as a black man. New York’s dynamic Democratic duo of political scandal, David Paterson and Charles Rangel, have both attributed their woes to newspapers like The Times, not their own misbehavior.

Such is our current state of national fecklessness that the gold medal for prompt contrition by anyone on the public stage belongs, by default, to David Letterman. He wasted little time in telling a national audience point blank that he had done “something stupid,” hurt those he loved and had a “responsibility” to “try to fix it.” In the land of Rod Blagojevich and Tiger Woods, the candid late-night talk show star is king.


Next? Unbelievable! I was alarmed by this week’s story about an employer who joyfully fired an Obama-voter because … well, because he could, apparently.

Steve Benen – 9 April 2010
The Right’s New Approach to Employment Discrimination

Apparently, someone posted on a Texas A&M message board,

Laid off my first Obama voting employee today. Our reimbursement rates are spiraling downward, taxes are projected to go up with Obamacare, so I did it.

Ummmm, this makes sense… how?  Benen’s take on the situation, as usual, frames it against the big picture:

there’s also the larger context to consider — in 2010, we’re reaching a point in which a right-wing doctor doesn’t want to treat Democratic patients, and right-wing employer doesn’t want to keep Democratic workers on the payroll.

The Republican culture is taking on a vaguely repressive, totalitarian worldview.

Yes indeedy, it does seem to be true.



On a completely different note,

Bob Cesca – 7 April 2010
Exposing Glenn Beck as a Dangerous Fraud

A close look at Glenn Beck reveals more shifting of responsibility.  I can hardly stomach the guy (I did try to watch a few times when I still had the complete cable channel array) but I admit, when something he’s said or done draws media attention, I try to seek out a full clip, not a chopped one.  He continues to live up to my horrific expectations.  Sometimes I think he’s sort of a Stephen Colbert style spoof, and he does describe himself as a performer.  But he’s certainly willing to make a living off a fair number of people who don’t view him as a spoof whatsoever.

Still, I don’t understand the appeal.  The blackboard antics alone…  Sheesh…

Some souls are braver than I:

So here goes. Beginning with this post, I intend to expose Glenn Beck as a fraud. A dangerous faker who deliberately manipulates his audience by appealing to their basest instincts. As a man who only embraces conservatism and the tea party movement as a means to furthering his significant personal wealth and career as a successful TV goon.

My theory is as follows. Glenn Beck is engaged in a carefully orchestrated performance that, if taken to its logical end, can only end up in tragedy — a tragedy, not in the name of some great political or social or religious cause, as too many of his viewers might believe, but rather in the name of pure careerism and greed. A tragedy in the name of Glenn Beck’s personal drive for fame and fortune, not to mention the similar motivations of Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch.

Turning still a different direction,

Harry Moroz – 7 April 2010
Renters Be Damned!

It’s been a bad couple of years for homeowners. Home prices are way down, one in four mortgages is underwater, and foreclosures continue apace. But homeowners should take solace: at least their difficulties have caught Congress’s wandering eye.


Meanwhile, renters have been forgotten. Federal rental assistance programs, have reached a breaking point, as insufficient federal support, increased demand, and lower incomes have meant fewer available vouchers and lower levels of assistance. In perhaps the worst example, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the nation’s largest housing authority that administers both public housing and housing voucher programs, has announced that underfunding by the federal government might force it to cut 10,000 low-income tenants from its Section 8 rental assistance programs.

I suppose us renters have been forgotten in the financial crisis in a number of ways.  Hadn’t really given it a ton of thought over the last few months, but now that I think about it…  Now, my own rent is stable, reasonable, and flexible if I need it – the joy of renting from friends.  But while I’m not unique, my experience is certainly not the common one.  For those who have no one to fall back on, no one to understand when things are tight, housing assistance is crucial.