Well Looky here…

The Military’s internal survey regarding DADT was released today and guess what.

Like African American integration, like integrating women in the military, the Pentagon’s study has determined that overturning DADT and allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly “might cause some disruption at first but would not create widespread or long-lasting problems”.

Seems the young people serving in today’s military are more tolerate the the older folks running the country.

The biggest issue is with the Marines, and while I have a great deal of respect for the Marines as a fighting force, that mindset doesn’t surprise me. Although I must say that from my time in the military I can say for a fact that what a Marine says publicly and what he does privately behind a closed door are, very often, 2 entirely different things. ‘Nuff said.

So there it is, the military says DADT is, for the most part, a non-issue. Gates says DADT should be repealed. The only thing standing in the way are uber-conservative oldies in the GOP who just can’t stomach the gays (unless they are in airport bathrooms or pursuing Congressional pages…oooo did I say that out loud?  I am sorry.)

Come on guys…time to realize that your prejudice  against gays comes from an old mindset. The world has moved on and while you may be conservative, conservative doesn’t have to mean stuck in the past or unchanging.

Repeal DADT and allow patriotic gay men and women to proudly serve their country with honor and without having to lie.

DADT is unAmerican and now we all know it’s a non-issue.

America At A Crossroads

As the official Deficit Commission report awaits release tomorrow America is at a crossroads created by the nation’s rich and super rich to impose an austerity program.  What we need is a jobs program not a job killing program.  The future of the country, whether we move forward and establish economic growth or continue the downward spiral of the past thirty years is under debate.  Forwards or backwards?  

It really is this important.  While the official report does call for some cuts which are sensible the overall policy proposal is bad economics and imposes unneeded austerity which will destroy an economy largely based on consumer spending.  This type of economy is dependent upon people’s discretionary income.  That is what is left after the essentials are funded (food, clothing and shelter).  Without income people cannot spend and 70% of our economy shuts down.

This is what we’ve seen as the financial meltdown caused by unbridled Wall Street greed and a feverish push by radical elements to deregulate crashed the global economy.  It spread to middle class people who thus lost their jobs then their homes.  The mess created by securitization of mortgages, mortgage fraud and other types of illegal activities created a massive job loss nationally.  

Job creation is the number 1 issue facing America, NOT the deficit.  In severe economic times basic economics (anyone taking Econ 101 learns this) demands government deficits to create jobs and kick start a sagging system.  The stimulus bill was designed to do just this and was successful on the small scale attempted to do obstructionism by Republicans and corporate Democrats.  The TARP program under President Bush saved millions more jobs while costing a mere $25 billion.  That is about what it costs to fund unemployment compensation for six months.  Had there been no TARP the long term cost to taxpayers would have been hundreds of billions based on the long term unemployment problems facing Americans.

Social Security adds not one cent to the deficit but the Cat Food Commission would cut those benefits and send millions of American seniors to the pet food aisle for their grocery shopping.  Why?  This isn’t a deficit issue its an issue of morality.  The immoral types bent on impoverishing America for their personal benefit are attempting to impose such austerity that they can achieve complete political control.  Without money even for food how would seniors, the poor, the undereducated ever be able to contribute to candidates who would vouch for them and their interests?

Thus America is at a crossroads.  The Deficit Commission plan which has resulted from hysteria created by the super rich (Koch brothers and others) through the Tea Party will kill millions more jobs.  As much as I’d like to see the bloated Defense budget slashed, for example, that would destroy jobs in the defense industry.  That must be done but not right now.  We can slash welfare for corporate agribusiness however.  Corporate America is enjoying record profits at the expense of workers producing unprecedented productivity.  These riches are nbot being shared with those who are creating them however.  Instead the austerity budget would throw more of them onto the streets.

This entire controversy is manufactured to benefit the rich.  Cutting the deficit by rolling back the Bush tax cuts, all of them, would eliminate $1 trillion of the deficit.  Instead Republicans would eliminate unemployment compensation further killing our consumer economy.  We must create manufacturing jobs which will sustain middle class lifestyles.  We can do so by investing in desperately needed infrastructure, clean energy and education.  The biggest single thing we can do to reduce the deficit is to pass a single payer health care system.  Every other civilized nation does this at half the cost we spend with better outcomes.  Socialized medicine does work.  We are spending ourselves towards national bankruptcy due to health care.  This madness must stop.

Scrapping the cap for Social Security, eliminating agribusiness welfare and establishing sane, rational and effective national health care while allowing the tax cuts for the rich to expire solves most of the deficit issue.  More than that however, we must spend our way to prosperity.  Believe it or not that is the only solution which has ever worked in such hard economic times.  Business doesn’t expand and hire during such times and this is what we’re currently witnessing.  Corporate America is accumulating massive cash reserves yet refusing to hire workers and expand.  In such times it is incumbent upon government to be the job producer.  Don’t believe the myth that government cannot create jobs, they do every day.

You will be bombarded by misinformation over the coming months.  Use your head and ask if any such proposals will create jobs or destroy them.  Cutting the budget instead of passing new, aggressive job expansion programs will set us on the path to poverty for all excepting the richest.  Do we really want to continue this slide towards serfdom?  Establishing growth through job creation is the only path to follow yet one the right wing has purposely sabotaged.  This sabotage of the American economy was strangely rewarded at the polls by idiots this month.  The amount of such activity is going to increase drastically as these economic obstructionists feel they received a mandate.

America is at a crossroads, which direction will we go, up or down?

News & Notes November 29, 2010

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, did some shopping and enjoyed the variety of good football over four days.  Well, except for Eagles fans and us Nittany Lion alumni.  

My high school class met Saturday evening for our 40th reunion.  I was on the committee planning the event (which is why I was really busy the past few weeks) and reconnecting with old friends and having a wonderful time in the process all year was enormously satisfying.  I hadn’t been to a reunion in thirty years due to my medical issues so this was extra special.  Thanks to everyone who attended, especially those who traveled distances.  

Wednesday the President’s Deficit Commission releases its final report if they can come to a super consensus.  That isn’t likely.  These are, for the most part, draconian solutions.  I’ll have more on this over the course of the week.

I must mention how confident I am that the FBI is able to thwart terror attacks of their own making.  How impressive!

Today launches Pennsylvania’s deer hunting season so be aware of frantic does jumping out of the woods if you live in a rural area as I do.  The number of hunters is declining rapidly and soon schools may have to rethink closing the Monday after Thanksgiving.

I began seeing TV commercials from some of the TBTF (too big to fail) banks taking credit for working with homeowners.  What a joke, these institutions aren’t doing much at all.  Millions of homeowners have complained that these leeches won’t work with them all the while they’re creating and submitting fraudulent court documents to evict millions.  Why brag about saving 200,000 when you’ve thrown millions out of their homes?  Meanwhile now these huge financial institutions are attempting to collect on the $200 million they pumped into the year’s elections.  Lobbyists in Washington are working to convince Congress to legalize the MERS system which defrauded homeowners, investors and taxpayers.  I asked Congressman Paul Kanjorski about this at an event shortly before election day:

I got an iPhone a few weeks ago, what are some cool and useful apps?

Gov. Rendell vetoed the radical “castle doctrine” bill over the weekend.  I’m not sure how effective this action will be with Republicans taking over complete control of state government in January but, at least, the legalization of murder will be delayed somewhat.  Under the proposed law a person could shoot anyone they felt threatened by if they were on their property.  Under historic law you could not shoot to kill unless there were no other options available, no means of escape.  This castle doctrine is simply an extension of our national policy of “shoot first, ask questions later” which has made America a rogue nation.  So much for a “civilized” society.  Thank you Governor.

Two months after lightning hit the house and fried my desktop computer we still await settlement of the claim from Erie Insurance.  For some reason they keep delaying paying this claim.  We’re certainly fortunate the house didn’t burn down because its getting awfully cold outside.  Rethink your coverage if you’re with Erie.

The Quest for Quality Education

By Lorenzo A. Canizares

Finland is the world’s shining example in education. Its test scores are by far the best in the world. Davis Guggenheim in “Waiting for Superman” made a point of using the Finnish system as an example for us to follow. Fair enough. It’s also fair to mention that in Finland almost all the teachers are unionized, and this experience concurs with our experience in America where students best performance in standardized tests correlates with their teachers being in strong teachers union.

Nonetheless, Guggenheim zeroes his film into an indictment of teachers unions as the villains in the struggle to close the achievement gap, despite the unions’ long history of advocating for more school funding, smaller class sizes and better school resources and facilities. It is also fair to say that “Waiting for Superman” has generated some concerns that could lead to positive results. Amongst them is the recommendation made by Dennis Van Roekel, President of America’s largest teachers union the National Education Association (NEA), of launching a “Commission on Quality Teaching” made up of “Teachers of the Year” with the idea of accentuating teachers’ voices in the debate about the future of the profession.

But, we have a very different economic situation in comparison to that of the Finnish people. The teachers in Finland, in the main, are teachers that do not have to deal with the deep levels of poverty that are found in many American cities. Teachers in Finland do not have to deal with teaching millions of kids that are considered racial minorities, many of them segregated in their own communities, coming from communities and households that perceive themselves to be victims of racial discrimination, already starting the education process in a defensive posture. Recognizing this reality has led Alex Caputo-Pearl, an eighteen year veteran of the Los Angeles public school system in an interview with Dana Goldstein published in her excellent article in The Nation 10/11/10, to conclude “If teachers unions don’t make a turn toward the social justice union model, along with fighting for more funding, it’s going to mean not just a fundamental weakening of the union but frankly a real possibility of unions passing into history, it’s a necessity to fight with and for a broad sector of society that includes teachers, but also the families and the kids we serve. Otherwise, unions, and more significantly, truly public, accessible and equitable education, will go out of existence.” To emphasize the point that Caputo-Pearl is focusing on, it is important to note that according to the former U.S. Census Bureau Chief, Steve Murdock, by 2023 over 50% of children in America will be Non-Anglo, and by 2050, one half of the labor force will be so-called minorities.

Caputo-Pearl sees unionization as key to his work as a teacher. He is a member of the Progressive Educators for Action (PEAC), an organization that works for education reform within the United Teachers of Los Angeles. Caputo-Pearl says “What we are promoting is the idea that teachers unions need to become social justice unions. There certainly are parts of the union leadership and bureaucracy across the country that would argue the public schools are basically doing what they need to do right now and there’s not a need for basic reform within the system, other than more funding. PEAC has never believed that is the case, especially in the communities of color, and has been in the lead of trying to promote reform models, whether it be around small learning communities or around schools partnering with trusted outside organizations to have more autonomy.”

Going back to “Waiting for Superman,” Dana Goldstein adds the film doesn’t acknowledge that Bill Gates, who began his philanthropic career deeply skeptical of teachers unions, has lately embraced them as essential players in the fight for school improvement. Gates’ foundation finances a program in Boston called “Turnaround Teacher Teams,” which works with the District and its teacher union to move cohorts of experienced, highly rated instructors into high-needs schools, while giving them extra training and support. In July, Gates spoke at the American Federation of Teachers convention in Seattle, and he said, “If reforms aren’t shaped by teachers’ knowledge and experience, they’re not going to succeed.”He received several standing ovations.

Amongst other examples of management labor-cooperation mentioned by Dana Goldstein they are in Memphis, where the teachers union there has worked alongside the New Teacher Project to move some of the best teachers into the highest-poverty schools. In the small city of Evansville, Indiana, the local affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA) worked with the superintendent to craft a turnaround model for three low-performing schools that includes a longer school year and a professional development academy for teachers working with high poverty kids.

There are high hopes in the horizon. On 10/14/10 Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education and the presidents of the national teachers unions announced 10/14/10 that they will hold a summit to embark in a cooperative agreement between unions and managers to help our kids. The event will take place early next year, and will be called the National Education Reform Conference on labor-management collaboration. As per Alyson Klein, from Education Week, it will showcase examples of collective bargaining agreements that show that unions and districts can collaborate on education redesign.

My experience as a Labor Community Organizer for the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) has shown that the net can be thrown wide in regards to Quality Education. Who can be against Quality Education? The need is to recognize the importance of all major stakeholders (students, parents, teachers, administrators, community at-large, support staff); what they respectively bring to the table, and the benefit of them all working together to educate our children in this most difficult of times.

Lorenzo A. Canizares

Labor Community Organizer

Board of Directors Keystone Progress

Boosting the Economy- One Big Screen TV at a Time

by Walter Brasch

           Even the most casual observers would believe that the U.S. is making an economic recovery if they saw the hordes descend upon retail stores on Black Friday.

           Americans began lining up four hours before the stores opened as early as midnight. And they weren’t shopping just for necessities. Sale of large-screen TVs and video games were up significantly from two years ago. The consumer Electronics Association predicts a 4.1 percent increase in sales over a year ago.

           About a third of all American adults shopped on Black Friday, up from slightly more than one-fourth of all Americans a year ago, according to analysts from Goldman Sachs.

           These Americans spent about $10.7 billion in retail stores, slightly more than last year, according to research analysts at ShopperTrak. Sales for the four-day weekend, beginning Thanksgiving, were about $45 billion, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). But, overall sales were pushed by online purchases. PayPal reports that online sales increased 27 percent on Black Friday from a year ago. Overall, retail and cyber sales are expected to increase 2.3 percent from 2009, to $688.9 billion this year, according to data from the NRF.

           But, Black Friday spending isn’t the only indicator of a recovering economy. The non-partisan and impartial Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports that the Recession that began in 2007 probably ended late last year.

           Overall, the economy is up 2.8 percent in 2010, according to the CBO. Bloomberg, Wells Fargo, and Morgan Stanley, plus dozens of others who track the economy also show at least a 2 percent increase this year, with at least a 3 percent increase next year. Even the conservative Wall Street Journal points out the economy is up 2.5 percent, with a 2.8 percent increase predicted for 2011. The National Association for Business Economics, analyzing data collected by 51 professional economists, notes the gross domestic product grew about 2.7 percent this year, and will rise 2.6 percent next year.

           In related data, the Dow Jones average, which plunged at the end of the Bush-Cheney years, is up about 10.5 percent in the past six months.  The CBO reports that although unemployment is hovering at 9.6 percent, without the Obama Administration’s stimulus plan, unemployment would be between 10.4 and 11.6 percent.  By the end of 2011, unemployment is expected to drop to 8.7 to 9 percent, according to several major analysts, including the Wall Street Journal.

           Since December 2009, employment in the private sector has risen

by 1.1 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. About 2.5 million jobs are expected to be added in 2011, according to the American Bankers Association’s Economic Advisory Committee  Unemployment, according to the ABA, should decline to about 8.5 percent.

           But, there are still almost 15 million unemployed, most of whom saw their companies downsize or send jobs overseas. At the same time that Congressional Republicans blocked extending unemployment benefits, they have protected the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. Under the Obama plan, individuals earning less than $200,000 a year would continue to receive the Bush-era tax cuts. The cost to protect the rich would be more than $3 trillion over 10 years. It appears that President Obama, under heavy political fire, will yield to the Republicans, who campaigned heavily on a promise to cut spending-except for their own special interests, of course.

           Related to the unemployment problem, more than a million Americans, will lose their homes to foreclosures. The sub-prime mortgage crisis began when government regulators and the Bush-Cheney Administration disregarded numerous warnings and then fell asleep while financial institutions became even more greedy between 2006 and 2009, and lured millions into a false sense of security.

           Overall, America is slowly on the path to recovery. But, to those who lost their jobs and then their homes, it just doesn’t seem that way.

[You may reach Dr. Brasch at brasch@bloomu.edu. Check out his latest books at www.walterbrasch.com]

 

Wikileaks

WikiLeaks, famous for releasing information from around the world (not just the U.S. Military and Sarah Palin’s Yahoo email) is set to make another release. This time the suspicion is that State Department cables with assessments of world leaders are about to be released.

The potential for embarrassment is fairly high and so the question presents itself fairly clearly. Is what WikiLeaks does helpful or hurtful? Do they undermine governments (not just ours, by the way) or do they shine a light on governments doing what they ought not be doing? Or is it more gray than that.

Are the people who supply information to WikiLeaks patriots, whistle-blowers or traitors? Or is it more gray than that?

On one hand the government is supposed to work for the people so one could make an argument that the people have a certain right to know whatever they like.

On the other hand, governments’ ability to conduct sensitive negotiations, military operations and legitimate covert operations require secrecy.

For example, if the upcoming leak embarrasses the State Department because a cable says something negative about a leader chances are it’s only because the State Department is being two-faced to that leader. Telling a foreign leader that we support them while secretly undermining them behind their back is not very ethical. So the embarrassment is caused by our own duplicity. I’m not inclined to feel very sorry of the State Department in that particular scenario.

Naturally every government and department decries the publication of any information almost universally citing “National Security”, a somewhat catchall citation that requires no explanation…very convenient that.

One could liken this to the Valerie Plame situation in which her identity was released. However, the difference in the Plame case was that the release was (allegedly) done as retaliation and therefore was done with malice or malicious intent and the WikiLeaks publications are not done with malicious intent.

WikiLeaks says it simply “shines a light” and that, despite the fact it’s run by a computer hacker, it doesn’t actively hack any information or break any laws and isn’t doing anything worse than the New York Times did in 1971 with the Pentagon Papers.

Personally I think if governments are embarrassed by leaked information perhaps they shouldn’t be doing that which might embarrass them should it become known.

So where do you, our readers, believe WikiLeaks fall on the spectrum that runs from traitor to whistle-blower?

UPDATE:

Wikileaks has released their data and the major points were immediately PUBLISHED by:

The New York Times

The Guardian (in the UK)

Le Monde (In France)

Der Speigel (in Germany)

Other less well known newspapers in other parts of the world.

The Obama administration condemned WikiLeaks for the release…they said nothing about the newspapers republishing the data.

I haven’t read the entire release yet but it’s all very interesting so far.

A Thanksgiving message from Hugh Giordano of the Philadelphia Green Party

Hugh Giordano, the Philadelphia Green Party’s 2010 candidate for state representative in the 194th and local union organizer, wrote the following on his facebook:

I hope everyone had a safe and happy Thanksgiving. We must remember that there are many out in this city and state that did not have such a happy Thanksgiving. Families who who can’t pay their bills, have no healthcare, bad jobs or no jobs, poor education – Or live in the street and shelters. Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks, but we must remember to care for others besides just family and friends.  If we all showed even half the love to human kind as we do our primary family, the world would be a better place.?

Happiness is more than just “material” wealth. Happiness comes when you can bring it to those around you, even strangers. It is a life that is fulfilled when you make changes in human kind for the better, not just making lots of money to buy “stuff.”

It’s not a fight of who can sit at the lunch table anymore, but a fight of who can actually buy the lunch.

Working people must stick together. We are all friends in the same fight for equality.

Giordano ran a strong campaign in 2010, getting 18% of the vote in his first time ever running for office.  He is planning on running again in 2012 and is currently working to build the Philadelphia Green Party as a voice for clean politics and the workers and poor of the city.

Black Friday

Today is Black Friday so how many of you got up before dawn to find bargains?  Not me, I was warm in bed.  I had one black week with one of my horrendous cluster headaches.  Others also had black weeks.  State Senator Raphael Musto was indicted by the feds for corruption.  He is alleged to have sold his office for personal profit then failing to disclose the money on his financial disclaimer forms.  Then he is accused of lying about it all to the FBI.

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was hammered by a jury for money laundering after claiming his innocence for years.  The exterminator was accused of laundering illegal corporate funds to Republican candidates in Texas.  He faces a possible life term.

Thanksgiving was a nice low key day for us.  We dined on turkey, ham, scalloped potatoes and the obligatory green bean casserole.  A bit of football and some watching of old Modern Family episodes finished the day.  I’d never seen the series and was shocked at all the gay stereotypes packed into each episode.  It was a funny show in spite of that though.

Fox News began a war on Thanksgiving this holiday season claiming falsely that Pilgrims almost starved because they were socialists.  As usual Fox has its facts backwards.  In historical reality the Mayflower Compact was a corporation and the Plymouth Colony a business enterprise.  There was nothing socialistic about the way Pilgrims came to America or set up their operations.  In fact the American colonies were financed and exploited by British corporations.  You might recall one East India Company.

There was established socialism in America at the time however.  The Native American tribes all practiced a sophisticated form of socialism.  There existed no concept of “private property.”  No one owned anything, everything was shared for the good of all.  Indians lived this way for hundreds of years and thrived until Europeans arrived and almost starved because of their capitalism.

Many native tribes were maternal in that their leaders were the women.  These maternalistic nations were very peaceful and thrived even in the harsh environments of the southwest desert.  White people starved for glory, power and wealth destroyed them in a campaign of genocide in the name of their gods.  Greed destroyed a lush, vibrant and peaceful continent.  Tell that story Fox.

What if you threw a protest and nobody came.

Aside from a few signs, a bikini or two and a couple of kilts the “Opt Out” protest was pretty much ado about nothing.

First off, only 60 of America’s 450+ airports even have the scanners and the pat down procedure in place so if you didn’t fly out of one of them there was nothing to ‘opt out’ of.

The Pro opt-out folks are claiming success because of the publicity the event drew and I suppose that’s true but in actual fact it seems very few people opted out.

All in all a big yawn.

NOW can we get back to more important things?

Fairness and the Bristol Stomp

by Walter Brasch

           Almost all children hear a set of conflicting statements from their parents, relatives, and friends. They’re told if they study hard, if they work hard, they can achieve whatever they want. It’s the “American Dream.” But they’re also told that life isn’t always fair.

           Looking for internships or jobs, America’s children learn that no matter how much they studied or worked, it was the boss’s niece or a boss’s friend’s son who was hired. Sometimes, the reason for rejection could be as simple as the boss thought the best candidate was intellectually superior or that the applicant had curly black hair and he liked only blondes.

           Later, on another job, while the boss bought yet another vacation home, the worker was one of dozens laid off, their jobs going to Mexico, China, or Pakistan.

           It’s not fair that reality TV “stars” and pro athletes make 10 to more than 100 times the salaries of social workers and firefighters. But Americans seldom protest.

           The owner of a mid-sized carpentry shop loses a contract to a large corporation, not because of a lack of quality work but because the corporation cut deals with suppliers. It’s not fair; it’s just reality.

           One person driving 65 m.p.h. in a 55 m.p.h. zone is stopped by police; another, doing 80, speeds along. It’s not fair. But it happens.

           It probably wasn’t fair that Bristol Palin, 20-year-old unwed mother with no discernible job skills, was selected over thousands of other celebrities for ABC-TV’s “Dancing With the Stars.” It had nothing to do with fairness or her ability; it had everything to do with a reality that Palin’s presence on DWTS would bring in ratings, and ratings bring in advertising income. The first show brought in 21 million viewers who watched 30-second commercials from companies that paid almost $190,000 each, among the highest on all television-broadcast or cable.

           To assure that Palin had  a chance to stay on the show for at least a couple of weeks, the producers gave her a special advantage-her professional dance partner was Mark Ballas, DWTS champion twice in the previous 10 seasons.

           Even with one of the best professional ballroom dancers as her partner and coach, Palin was still at the bottom of the judges’ ranking four times, and near the bottom most of the other times. According to the scoring system, each of three judges give each contestant pair-a celebrity and a professional-a score of 1 to 10. A perfect score is 30. But, viewers can vote by phone, website, or by texting. Their vote is worth half the total score. Neither Sarah nor Bristol Palin made any special requests of the viewers that we know about. They didn’t have to. Hundreds of conservative blogs and talk show hosts did it for them, urging their flocks to vote. Many may have even scammed the system. At least one viewer told the Washington Post he not only had used fake emails to vote hundreds of times, he also told others how to do it.

           Willing accomplices and accessories, of course, were the producers who made sure that Mama Palin was seen on several shows-sometimes with speaking roles, sometimes with as many as nine cutaway shots. The audience did as they were told. For nine weeks, Bristol Palin, one of the weakest dancers in the show’s 11-season history, defeated celebrity teams who had near-perfect and perfect scores.

           The week before the finals, it finally seemed destined that Bristol Palin would be off the show, having again placed at the bottom of the judges’ scores. But, it was Brandy and professional dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who had done near-perfect routines, who were voted off. Shocked, the audience began booing. It didn’t matter. Palin was now one of three celebrity finalists.

           The first of a two-part final the following week drew an audience of 23.7 million, highest for any entertainment program this season. However, this time, it was Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough, who had finished at the top of the judges’ lists several times, who finally won. Second were actor Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer; Palin and Ballas finished third.

           It makes little difference if numerous celebrities weren’t selected for Dancing With the Stars because the producers gave the slot to the less talented Bristol Palin. It doesn’t even matter that more talented celebrities were eliminated from the show because a cult of the home audience voted for Bristol Palin. In the American election system, the best candidate, for any of a thousand reasons, including blatant lies and distortion by the opposition, often doesn’t win an election.

           It doesn’t seem fair. It’s just the way it is.