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We Surf So You Don’t Have To, Memorial Day Edition

May25

memorialdayMemorial Day Mystery: Limbering up for some rigorous holiday chillin’, Calbuzz made a quick online check to find the origin of Memorial Day, figuring we’d just casually…drop it in…to the barbecue conversation; as with most things political, however, the answer came neither quickly nor clearly, as it turns out bragging rights are in dispute and break down along red state-blue state lines.

Newsweek reports that the holiday formerly known as Decoration Day was started by freed slaves in celebration of Union soldiers who died in prison camps, but a Purdue history professor in a new book traces it to Southern ladies honoring Confederate troops. The official, establishment version, promulgated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has it both ways, stating that Yankees and Rebs alike got flowers on their graves at Decoration Day I in 1868. Maybe we won’t mention it after all.

Stroke, stroke, bail, bail: Although both Obama and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner have rejected the notion of the feds providing California with a bail-out – apparently the government just can’t afford to divert taxpayer money away from the banks – the issue is not likely to disappear soon, given the magnitude of the Capitol’s fiscal mess.

With that in mind, both the Washington Post and the New York Times weighed in on Sunday with editorials about the wisdom of Washington coming to the rescue of Sacramento.

While unkind to California, the Post edit at least had the virtue of being clear what it was arguing (one word synopsis – NO!!!) while the Times propounded a total Miss Scarlett With The Rope In The Study head-scratcher that verged on the incoherent.

As far we can tell, the Times’ position is as follows: a) Obama’s right not to offer a bailout; b) failing to give California money could be an economic “fiasco”; c) California must fix its problem with spending cuts or tax increases, or both; d) spending cuts and tax increases are both bad during a recession; e) when Obama intervenes eventually, he should do so in a way that forces California not to adopt spending cuts or tax increases but; f) still causes a lot of pain so other states don’t line up for bailouts.

One free Calbuzzer button to the reader who best summarizes the Times editorial in 15 words or less. Bring back Gail Collins!

Pelosi and the P-word: Weirdest political yarn of recent days is Politico’s report on a new Republican National Committee ad that compares Speaker Nancy Pelosi to James Bond nemesis Pussy Galore:

“She’s the 69-year-old speaker of the House of Representatives, second in the line of succession and the most powerful woman in U.S. history. But when you see Nancy Pelosi, the Republican National Committee wants you to think “Pussy Galore.” At least that’s the takeaway from a video released by the committee this week – a video that puts Pelosi side-by-side with the aforementioned villainess from the 1964 James Bond film “Goldfinger.”

The full story, and a link to the ad, are here.

What’s up next: While Sacramento’s abattoir act advances this week, there are a couple other big political stories to watch for. The state Supreme Court is scheduled to issue its long-awaited ruling about the constitutionality of Proposition 8 on Tuesday, and with Republicans already threatening a filibuster, Obama allies say he’s likely to name his pick for the U.S. Supreme Court this week as well.


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  1. avatar Bill Orton says:

    In May 1865, just a month after the end of the war, the General in command of Union forces, ordered that May 30th would be a day for families to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers on both sides. That date — May 30th — stood as Decoration Day until after the horrific loss of life in the Great War, later known as WWI, when the Congress designated the last Monday in May as Memorial Day, to honor the nation’s war dead. How do basic facts of American history and life become lost like this?

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