Are Republican Candidates Good Businessmen?

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Steve Hochstadt: The Republican candidates for President often say that government should be run like a business. Yet businesses take a very different attitude toward the science of global warming than Republican politicians.

One Week in Polite and Egalitarian Japan

Bonsai Tree Nature Environment

Steve Hochstadt: If the US enters a long period of stagnation, our stark social inequalities may become less tolerable, as both the rise of the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations already show. More egalitarian Japanese society may be better placed to deal with lack of growth.

Can Republicans Cure the Jobs Crisis?

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Steve Hochstadt: Republicans believe that continuing high unemployment will bring Obama down, so they want to preserve what they feel is their winning card: a bad economy.

Are Republican Politicians Good for Jews?

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Steve Hochstadt: Romney’s clumsy attempt campaign to use alleged Jewish gullibility to knock his opponent isn’t about Jews at all. It is part of a larger effort by conservative Republicans to use Jews to win Christian votes.

Ranters Run Rampant

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Steve Hochstadt: Angry ranters are all over the web. The anonymity of virtual communication encourages their vituperation. The racist, know-nothing, jingoist language of online political commentators would be shocking if expressed in person.

The Texas Economic Model

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Steve Hochstadt: Republicans don’t mention poverty, because they don’t plan to do anything about it. The millions of poor Americans are invisible to Republican politicians. They pretend that trickle-down economics will reach the poor, but it hasn’t and won’t.

What Do Republican Politicians Believe?

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Steve Hochstadt: Displaying scientific illiteracy or telling disaster victims that their suffering is God’s punishment won’t create one new job. Scaring Americans about Social Security, the most successful social program in American history, won’t improve economic confidence.

American Exceptionalism

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Steve Hochstadt: American exceptionalism is dangerous. The desire to proclaim superiority leads to stupidity, such as Perry’s claim in “Fed Up” that the US has “the best health care system in the world.”

Libertarians, Watch Out!

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Steve Hochstadt: The Republican dream is a libertarian nightmare – the “free market” is free to watch you all the time. Big Brother isn’t a government camera. It’s a corporate cookie right in your computer.

Congratulations Republicans!

Chart prepared by Rick Seaman of Portland, Oregon source: Rachel Maddow Blog

Steve Hochstadt: In 2011, the Republican strategy has been crowned with total success. They have managed to make the US government into a laughing stock, a global symbol of incompetence. Public confidence in government is at an all-time low.

The Place Where Family Happens

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Steve Hochstadt: Family is not just a sum of people. It’s a continuing chemical reaction among all the molecules, each person evolving through life by observing, copying, listening to, and sometimes even avoiding the others. In this family these reactions are multiplied and stimulated by the crucible of this place.

Real Crises and Fake Ones

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Steve Hochstadt: Our economic disaster is not about national debt, but about national poverty. America cannot be a great country, if we do not alleviate the critical economic problems gripping our poorest families.

Can the Bible Be Taken Literally?

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Steve Hochstadt: So-called literalists choose which passages they want to take literally on the basis of principles which are very modern, far from the ideas and attitudes of Jews and Christians thousands of years ago.

Traditions at the County Fair: Judging Little Girls

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Steve Hochstadt: The Princess Pageant brings up questions for me. Is this what we want to teach 5-year-olds about how they will be judged in the world? Are these the only useful qualities that the fair organizers think 5- to 7-year-olds have? Why should 5-year-olds be sexy?

Second-Class Citizens

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Steve Hochstadt: I don’t understand why people who paid a commercial airline for a first-class ticket get their own line through official TSA security. Does TSA get more from them? Or are they better people, deserving of better treatment, by everyone, private or public, like other privileges of access that the rich get

More Riches for the Rich

Rich-and-Poor

Steve Hochstadt: But neither party has tried very hard to protect the poorest Americans from the outsized greed of the wealthy. About half of all members of Congress are millionaires, and all of them are beholden to the very wealthy for donations to their constant campaigning.

Clean Water and Good Government

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Steve Hochstadt: Supplying pure water is just one of many essential functions of governments that we all must fund with our taxes. Governments, representing all citizens, were created for just such common purposes.

Saving Lives, Preserving Life

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Steve Hochstadt: Whether cities and states are ruled by Democrats or Republicans, self-identified as “pro-life” or not, too much human life is lost across America, in birthing rooms and in the years of childhood.

Doctors and Science

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Steve Hochstadt: When it comes to global warming, thus far the public is like a teenager who hears that tanning booths will produce skin cancer much later in life: I’ll worry about that later.

The Science of Cicadas

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Steve Hochstadt: In some desert regions, people fry cicadas up and consider them a delicacy. Those people are not playing “Survivor” games. Where food is scarce, any local source of nutrition is valuable.

Sports Without Money?

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Steve Hochstadt: Without money and coaches promoting seriousness, the players are able to indulge a sense of fun. The play is hard, but silliness is everywhere else, beginning with team names

I Have Faith in My Doctors

Steve Hochstadt: The delivery of health care in the US is being transformed in my lifetime from individual practice to corporate medicine. It can be difficult to find a family physician who will take on a new patient.

Mother Nature’s Day

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Steve Hochstadt: My whole gardening effort is unnatural. Without constant human intervention to develop these artificial arrangements of plants, very different processes would take over.

The Death of Public Service

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Steve Hochstadt: Republican governors across the country argue that teachers and police and all the other employees of local and state governments make much too much money.

Saying ‘I’m Not a Racist’ — Honestly

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Steve Hochstadt: I was born into this American racist consensus and I have lived to see its demise. The greatest proof that we are nearing the end of this idea is the constantly repeated claim, “I am not a racist.”

Would a Birth Certificate Matter?

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Steve Hochstadt: These opportunist birthers don’t believe in anything, except that they can promote conservative causes and their own public profile by doubting the facts.

Academic Freedom and What I Write

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Steve Hochstadt: The recent effort of Wisconsin Republicans to silence Professor Bill Cronon, historian at the University of Wisconsin, because he was critical of the legislation to remove collective bargaining rights from Wisconsin state employees, shows how easy it is for politicians to try to punish political speech they don’t like.

How to Boil a Frog

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Steve Hochstadt: If you are in the broad American middle class, though, don’t worry. The disintegration of the public school system will take many years, as classes get bigger, skilled teachers leave the profession, and buildings crumble.

Being Right or Being Good

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Steve Hochstadt: The ability to offer anonymous and uncensored opinions to the world, that is now offered for free by the internet, has greatly increased the forcefulness with which more and more people assert their superior knowledge and everyone else’s confusion.

Finding the Correct History to Celebrate

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Steve Hochstadt: Honoring “great men” is often made possible only by ignoring the ambiguities which made them human, but not so great.

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