Monday, October 29, 2012

Bend me, shape me


Sure, something like this could be created for any candidate who has gone through a contested primary race,  but the underlying theme of shape-shifting is undeniable. I don't think any of us know what we're going to get with a President Romney.

And now, of course, half these characters are flip-flopping, too, as they are out there talking up Gov. Romney as their guy.

Good thing principles are only for the little people.

Friday, October 12, 2012

It's a black fly in your chardonnay

A rush of concern for manners and decorum from people who were apparently fine with Mitt Romney's lies and rudeness to the moderator in the first Presidential debate.

I don't know, irony doesn't seem like a strong enough word here.

Monday, September 17, 2012

For the thoughtful

I paraphrase Mark Twain.

It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are an asshole than to open it and remove all doubt.

If you want to join Mitt in griping about all those layabouts who don't pay federal income taxes, please don't leave a comment until you've read this.

And for more giggles.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Put away your money, it means nothing here

As if I needed more reasons to support campaign finance reform, by which I mean publicly-funded elections in the United States. No private money. No lobbyists bearing gifts. Because we know those gifts are not necessarily from wise men. And somehow those who put together the governmental gift baskets stopped reading the text at the word gold.

It's a pity really. Washington and most of our state capitols have become sewers of corruption. We could use a little frankincense and myrrh.

The Chick Fil A nonsense highlighted once again why we need to get money - corporate and personal - out of politics. Why can't I just eat a damn waffle fry dipped in a chocolate milkshake? Why does it have to mean something other than a hastening of death by the clogging of my arteries and the slow destruction of my pancreas?

We've seen this over and over. I can't shop at Target for the same reasons I can't have an overpriced chicken sandwich Monday through Saturday. It started with business practices. I loathed going to Wal-Mart because they were destroying the main streets of our small towns. Then we learned that they weren't doing right by their employees through sketchy business practices. Then we discovered that they were adding to their profits by pushing their employees off onto the taxpayer to cover their health care expenses. By paying their employees so little, they created a whole new category of the working poor who, without health benefits, had limited choices - no insurance, Medicaid, or struggle to pay for private insurance.

That was bad enough. But now we learn that with something as simple as a drive-thru visit to a place charmingly advertised by cows who can't spell but do okay with a paint brush, we're funding hate groups that work all over the globe to promote their version of Christianity which leans much more heavily on what they define a sin and appeals less to the better angels among us.

I highly doubt that Jesus, when he was a man who walked the Earth, spent much time fretting over genitals. He was busy teaching people how to fish and turning water into wine. Oh, and healing the sick and comforting the miserable.

So add the Chick Fil A brouhaha to the list of reasons why we should have shortened campaigns, a set amount of money for each candidate to spend on their campaign, a set amount of time for debates and television coverage, and a stricter time limit on when a legislator and their staff can pass through the revolving door between legislative offices and lobbying firms. And an elimination of the Electoral College.

There's a reason that most of the nation's wealthiest counties are near Washington, D.C. Contrary to that old conservative trope, government does, in fact, create jobs. Lots of high-paying jobs. If you insist on quibbling, fine - they aren't exactly government jobs. They're just jobs paid for by tax dollars. You say potato, I say there's very little difference between a job created by the government and one paid for by it.

No one -  not corporations, individuals, unions, trade groups - should be able to purchase our politicians by financing their elections. The only gifts lobbyists should be able to deliver to legislators and candidates are votes. Influencing our elections with a compelling message that spurs people to come out and vote is what we need. We don't need more semi-truthful manipulative sounds bites in the form of thirty second television advertisements.

Imagine a system where the law makers govern based on their constituents wants, needs and convictions.

Imagine a system where the words of each individual carry the same weight. No checks heavy with zeroes required to make your voice heard.

Imagine a system where the very wealthy don't have an incentive to buy politicians.

Imagine if our legislators actually spent their time working on legislation  instead of hustling for campaign donations. (Okay, that could be scary, but would it be worse?)

Imagine no longer getting an email inbox full of donation requests.

Imagine your vote meaning something again. Even if you're an ideological minority.

Imagine a reduction in campaign advertisements that tell you nothing and yet are dissected tortuously by political pundits.

Imagine elections being about policies instead of religion and birth certificates and dressage horses and dogs on the roofs of cars.

Imagine what could get done if our politicians were focused on outcomes other than their own self-preservation.

Can I get an Amen?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Proof seeking

Question: When and where has Republican ideology worked to benefit the majority of a population? The Republican ideology of low taxation, minimal regulation, small government, privatization.

What I mean is when has this actually been proven to work? In what country? How did it improve things for the general population and lead to growth that helped improve the living conditions of the many?

Here in the United States, has it worked? When?

I'm sincere here. I'm not creating an opportunity to bash. I really want to know. I want examples of how this has worked in the past.

Tomorrow's question - If Republicans were to have their way, how would that work? What would it look like? What would be the results of a November election putting Republicans in charge of the House, the Senate and the White House?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Old pleasures revisited

Well, that inhabitant of the White House has gone and done it now. He's committed act number 37 on the list of One Hundred Ways to Be More Like George W. Bush.

I'm grappling here for something. Anything. All I come up with is a question. What's the point anymore? Was there ever a point?

Oh yes, those convictions. You know, like how I believe to my core that while the Democrats will mentally abuse us and cheat on us and end up impregnating their mistresses, we can also be just as sure that the Republicans are going to more or less kill us.

And being more or less dead is like his mistress being more or less pregnant.

Tricky stuff that will likely give you migraines and a drinking problem. If you don't already have one.

I once blogged like any of this shit matters. Here's what I had to say about Executive Orders back in my old idealistic, lacy black bra days.
UPDATE: TPM Muckraker covers the concerns about this Executive Order here and here.
AND how about the timing of the E.O. with this from Jill at Brilliant at Breakfast.
The Pentagon told Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton that her questions about how the U.S. plans to eventually withdraw from Iraq boosts enemy propaganda.
Learn more about Executive Orders here.
I don't have time to go through this carefully, but read it. (Thom Hartmann opened his show with this and it immediately got my attention.)
Executive Order: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq
Pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, as amended (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.)(IEEPA), I hereby report that I have issued an Executive Order blocking property of persons determined to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq or undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people. I issued this order to take additional steps with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13303 of May 22, 2003, and expanded in Executive Order 13315 of August 28, 2003, and relied upon for additional steps taken in Executive Order 13350 of July 29, 2004, and Executive Order 13364 of November 29, 2004. In these previous Executive Orders, I ordered various measures to address the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by obstacles to the orderly reconstruction of Iraq, the restoration and maintenance of peace and security in that country, and the development of political, administrative, and economic institutions in Iraq.
My new order takes additional steps with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13303 and expanded in Executive Order 13315 by blocking the property and interests in property of persons determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq or undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people. The order further authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, to designate for blocking those persons determined to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, logistical, or technical support for, or goods or services in support of, such an act or acts of violence or any person designated pursuant to this order, or to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.

I delegated to the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, the authority to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of my order. I am enclosing a copy of the Executive Order I have issued.

The White House, July 17, 2007.

And this...

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, as amended (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.)(IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.)(NEA), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,
I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, find that, due to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by acts of violence threatening the peace and stability of Iraq and undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq and to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people, it is in the interests of the United States to take additional steps with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13303 of May 22, 2003, and expanded in Executive Order 13315 of August 28, 2003, and relied upon for additional steps taken in Executive Order 13350 of July 29, 2004, and Executive Order 13364 of November 29, 2004. I hereby order:
 Section 1. (a) Except to the extent provided in section 203(b)(1), (3), and (4) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(1), (3), and (4)), or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the date of this order, all property and interests in property of the following persons, that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of United States persons, are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in: any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, read the rest.
Even people on the right are discussing how dangerous this Administration is. Read this from Paul Craig Roberts.

The best thing about that old post was its title:  He issues Executive Orders. We yawn, scratch our asses and check the TV Guide for tonight's entertainment options

I miss the good old days with its transparency and lack of corruption. 


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

That's what she said

After the Michigan Pee Pee Wee Wee fiasco, I feel it necessary to say something about the absurd level to which our politics have sunk. Which made me want very much to write intelligently about the Republican War on Women by highlighting the number of newly-enacted laws having to do with limiting reproductive rights and other anti-female legislation versus laws meant to spur job growth.

After a few moments of googling, I gave up the idea of something intelligent and fact-based. Instead, I would do a very short post on the theme "It's not a war on women, you silly creatures, it's a police action."

I wanted to title it Hey, laaaaady! and add a clip of Jerry Lewis doing his Hey, Laaaaadeeeeee bit. That's how I ended up watching this and snorting with laughter.

While I might not have said what Representative Lisa Brown (D) said on the floor of any state assembly, I think the Republican decision to silence her was more than an overreaction. It was, quite frankly, ridiculous.

 Let me clarify - I wouldn't say what she said for two reasons. First  - I don't trust myself to know when to engage my filter. It's the same reason I've never been violent with my children. What if, once I've started, I can't stop. What would happen if I were to begin with vagina and proceed through pussy, pink taco, twat and beyond to the C word of infamy and whatever comes after?

I'll tell you what. My mother would die of shame - right there in her chair, her Inspector Lynley novel clutched in her hand. Her last words would be a declaration of ignorance. She had no idea where I learned such filth. My father would stand around looking somewhat annoyed and confused. My children would be ostracized from civil society. People would unfriend me on Facebook. I'd lose Twitter followers. Publix would never take another check from me. My doctor would refer me to someone else. I'd have a wikipedia page where people scrawled hideous things about me. Of his own good judgment and at the behest of his family, MathMan would insist that I give him back his last name, and the remaining cats would ask to be dropped at the Humane Society as I'm run out of our little village on a splintery rail.

Georgia would slam the door at the state line and lock it behind me.

The other clarification is a quibble for sure, but it matters nonetheless. While we all know what Representative Brown meant, she would have been more accurate to have said "Finally, Mr. Speaker, I'm flattered that you are all so interested in my vagina uterus, but 'no' means 'no.'" Because what these many pieces of legislation actually deal with isn't le vagin, but rather the uterus where the precious babies are grown.  The organ where, if the anti-choice crowd has its way, the sanctity of life will remain swaddled in the assurance that it will have a chance to grow and be born and become personally responsible for all its own actions and profitable for any and all who see a way to part it with its money forever and ever amen.

Aside from the technical inaccuracy, the problem with the word vagina is that it is too connected with s-e-x. It's one thing to refer to a vagina in the abstract. Most adults can deal with that, even if it makes the feel all squidgy and giggly. But when you put the possessive in front of it - my, her, their - well, now you're forcing people to make a further connection. It's no longer a sanitized cartoonish vagina like you see in an anatomy cross-section drawing.

Nope, now we're talking about a vagina  that belongs to someone. To her. Or her or her. To them. To me. (Not really! I'm like a Barbie doll. Ask MathMan.)

I know men. When it's a vagina in the possessive- it's labia and clitoris, hair and skin. It's a palette of pinks, reds, purples.

It's loaded with meaning. It's curiosity bound with shame. It's lover and mother. Chaste or not. Unreachable or inviting. It's both fantasy and very, very real. It's utterly female. It's power, possession, pleasure, pain, hatred, fear, worship, disgust, and reverence. It's scent and taste.

Representative Brown made them think of her vagina and the men in that room blanched. They reacted not because half of them haven't at least once pictured her naked, but because they refuse to admit it. It may have been a passing thought during a tedious discussion about some piece of doomed legislation, but for just a second,  it wasn't just a vagina, it was her vagina.

And that, according to the male Republican leadership of the Michigan State Assembly, is not up for public discussion.

Case and legs closed.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Simple idea

Can we all agree that it's ridiculous to stand open-mouthed and aghast when a politician does something for political reasons?

It's an argument that has run its course.

Now, of course, if you're a person who does things exclusively for political reasons, you should check your morals in the mirror. But since we've got many elected officials driven mostly by the almighty campaign contribution, I don't see doing something purely for the purpose of making political points nearly the pearl-clutching offense it could be.

Over to you, my friends...... what political arguments would you like to see put out to pasture?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

And now a word from our sponsors

The setting: Four smart people sitting at a shiny table on a TV set. At least two of them are wearing glasses.
They are discussing poverty in the United States.

Many things are said. Near the end of the segment, one of them identifies perhaps the most devastating reason for this growing poverty.

Too many working poor. It's simple. The burden of poverty belongs to many people who work one, two, maybe more jobs. The patchwork isn't enough to pay for the essentials. What their employers won't pay in exchange for their labor and productivity, the taxpayers must supplement if we're going to be a civilized society.

The not-quite-living-wage is a growing problem. Corporations large and small have funded laws to help them shift responsibility to the taxpayer for food, housing, and health care. Things that a living wage used to pay for. But that was before unions were eroded and trade agreements made it far more lucrative to employ people over seas.

The entire panel, even the token Republican, agree. Even if they'll never agree on who is to blame for this problem, they all agree the problem exists and things must change.

The devil always appears in the details. The question of how we can change things mires us in the quicksand of inaction.

Heads nod. The host touches the tiny speaker in his ear. Time for a break.

Cut to commercial.

The first advertisement announces how Walmart is helping to fight hunger.

Irony lives.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Color of Greed

Someone recently said something to me about school districts in a certain city. The districts had been recently taken over the state because the local school boards were failing their mission.  You know, blacks enriching themselves at the expense of other blacks.

As if that's somehow unique to African Americans.

Huh. That's interesting. Because....

Bernie Madoff. White.
Enron. The smartest guys in the room. Remember them? Mostly pasty white.

Source (2006)

Jack Abramoff. Just because I have a crush on him, doesn't mean he isn't  slime.

The Robber Barons. They look pretty white. And look how gleeful all the money made them.

And the biggest whiner.

Enriching himself at the expense of all ethnic groups and his god.

I'm sure these two need no introduction. Pay no attention to  Trump's tanning goggle lines.

Nor these two.
And lest you think I believe it's all on one side of the political spectrum....

James Traficant and his Hair of Corruption.

Good old Rostenkowski. What?
In case you wonder how it's done.

Or these fellas look happy. Wonder why?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Hey, watch where you stick that thing

Why am I happy about the current focus on social issues? Doesn't this kind of thing usually send me over the edge trailing a stream of curse words behind me?

I've been thinking about what happened last week with the all male testimony to the Congressional committee and the GOP's reaction to the contraception provisions in the Health Care Reform Bill and how that, combined with the Komen debacle and the rise of Rick Santorum as a serious potential Republican nominee. It's interesting how all of these things coming together have shed a bright light on something that hasn't received nearly as much scrutiny as it should have.

Republicans have been running a systematic campaign to repeal, reduce and revise reproductive rights, particularly in regard to women. Yikes! Like many of our state legislatures, that's R overload.

It's not just one thing, it's many things. We'd be wrong to ignore a trend, a death by a thousand cuts.

Geoffrey has some marvelous ideas to help protect the Y contributor. Includes Oedipal Balls and the Sack of the Future.

Averil illustrates what it feels like to be a woman in this unhinged world

Jim H. puts President Santorum on the psychotherapist's couch.

How far will they go?

It starts with a v and ends with an a.  I mean, what's the big deal anyway?

Thankfully, women are learning to fight back.

And finally, "If Rod Serling were alive today, he'd write a Twilight Zone episode in which all the Religious Right zealots wake up pregnant in a world run by fundamentalist women."  - Dan, a Facebook friend of Jaynea fabulous writer (she's got TV credits and is published!)

What has your attention? And where do you  plan to put that?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Please don't pee in our uterus, we don't swim in your church

Why do Republicans hate for other people to have sex?

Do Republicans really want to take on the contraception fight? Have they lost their ever-lovin minds? They insist that this is about religious liberty not contraception. I, like so many others, disagree.

When the religious right showed its true intent by focusing more of their political power on issues having to do with sexual behavior instead of economic justice and human rights, it became clear that their fight against a woman's right to choose would not stop at abortion. As they chipped away at reproductive rights, they  began to work on their plan to attack the affordability and accessibility of contraception.

Because even I, with my limited knowledge of Christianity and Jesus' teachings, know he spent way more time talking about charity, kindness, peace, love and forgiveness than he did about pee pees and wee wees. But hey, sex sells. It stokes something in our lizard brain. If you're talking sex, even if you're railing against it, people are more likely to listen.

When the story about Catholics being upset about the provision requiring employer-provided health insurance to cover contraception exploded, I understood how the issue could be framed as an affront to religious liberties, but my question was what if you live in a place where the only medical services provided are through Catholic-affiliated health care facilities?

Well, it turns out that you would be without options. Your personal liberties take a back seat to the institution's beliefs.

It's not all bad news. People are fighting back. Including governors.

I'm not anti-religion. What you do in your home, your head, and your church concerns me not one bit. But if you're going to take federal and state money to provide health care services, you should have to operate as a health institution first, not as a religious institution.

With the growing movement from the right to limit the rights of women, it's time for all of us to take a good look at their aims. What is it about us and our innie reproductive parts that frighten them so?

Monday, February 13, 2012

I, Masochist

I can't stop peeking through my fingers at the carnage, the aftermath, the bruised and bloodied form of our society stretched out among the shards of glass on the side of the road. We could see the collision as it unfolded because history, that repetitious asshole, has shown us what happens when you concentrate wealth, gut regulation, and poke your tax code full of holes.

Americans from sea to shining sea want to know who is going to fix this mess? Answers come from all sides. We pick and choose that which suits us. A Chinese menu of solutions.

A young man on the right toys with his drink, places his order. Um, I'll have the tax cuts with more deregulation on the side. Oh, and hold the entitlements.

There they were on the television. Angry white people sneering into microphones. Angrier white people trying to hook up with each other made up the audience. The CPAC turned C-SPAN into one hellacious hate fest. Rage against the machine that is government, liberals, elites, taxes, regulation, teleprompters, pro-abortion atheists, Democrats, welfare queens, entitlements, poor people, lovers of European-style Socialism, practitioners of Chicago-style politics, Massachusetts, New York and California, the lamestream media, Occupiers, gun control freaks, homosexuals and people who refuse to learn English. Those haters of all things America. The blame America first crowd. The apologizers and appeasers.

There was no mention of drowning government bureaucrats in bathtubs, but there were lots of references to Obama. Please do take note. Obama. Not President Obama.

Grover Norquist wants to rule the world without taxes. Sarah Palin wants to deliver real Americans from progressive evil and into the welcoming arms of free market capitalism. Her mean mouth formed sharp words with which to stab at crony capitalism. Without the slightest hint of irony, her scorn for those who would use their political positions to gain wealth was palpable. You could see it coming off her in waves.

The crowd was hungry for this kind of lovin'. Cameras flashed. I held my hand to my forehead, was I flushed? Was this the equivalent of a good mental spanking? Would this scratch my itch, my need for a little punishment for my loose morals and liberal ideology? But that's redundant, isn't it?

I closed my eyes and soaked in their fury, marinated in the blood of their Christ who railed about sex and preached the gospel of prosperity. I could smell the green ink of the dollar bill. A vision of Ronald Reagan swaddled in red, white and blue bunting came to me as I moved closer to the television. I had to see the fire in their eyes, the exact curve of their lips where the spittle of righteousness gathered, their pores a thousand points of light, I'm sure, if only we had high def.

The crowd roared its approval. I drew back to see the big picture. Sarah Palin in her perfectly-fitted red suit body surfing the crowd, the young disciples passing her, smiling and waving, over their heads. A country singer crooned over the rapturous noise "She's not just a pretty face......."

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Stuck in Reverse

December Sunrise with Plant Bowen 5 This One

We can't go on together
with suspicious minds.
Or our insatiable thirst for fossil fuels.

An interesting conversation about how we could reduce our consumption and dependence.

Gas Pump Color

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Language Lesson from the Math Guy

If I want to get my husband MathMan, the high school teacher, bent out of shape about something, all I have to do is talk about some big, blanket education policy. For example, the mere mention of No Child Left Behind is enough to make him apoplectic.

During the State of the Union address, President Obama proposed that all states pass a law requiring students to stay in school until they graduate or until the age of eighteen, I immediately tweeted that to @MathMan6293. I couldn't see his face because he and Nate were driving home from work and I was at home, cozy, nibbling on a clementine the same shade as Speaker Boehner, but I bet MathMan made that face he makes when I say things like "Chloe called. She needs money." or "When are we going to clean out the garage?" or "How about we watch another Republican debate!"

That, of course, was not the end of the conversation. This is MathMan's take on not just that proposal (which he does not support unless we provide a wider array of options for students within the public school system), but as he puts it, is the primary problem with how we Americans process our policy information.

Oversimplification is the problem. Paraphrasing now:

When our media and elected officials speak in broad terms, they oversimplify the problems and the solutions. They reduce the issues to generalizations. All students. All poor people. All rich people. All business. All old people, all soccer moms, all veterans, all working class, all all all....

What happens is the individual is removed the conversation making it easier to think in terms of the nameless, faceless other. We talk in the abstract about education instead of understanding that we're really talking about the education of millions of children ranging in age from preschool to college, from all sorts of backgrounds, socio-economic situations and with as many needs as there are students.

One-size-fits-all solutions are rarely the answer. They are politically expedient and, I suppose, necessary at times if only to get the conversation started, but if we don't delve deeper, don't put a human face on it, if we don't bring the conversation to the level where the individual is addressed, then we get nowhere. Or worse, we get policies full of unintended consequences like No Child Left Behind.

All of which is to say that I suppose MathMan doesn't want us to reduce our important conversations to the lowest common denominator because once we do, we find that the transitive properties multiply exponentially. Or something.

What oversimplifications work your nerves? For example, I get annoyed by the generalization that the foreclosure crisis was caused by people who wanted big fancy houses they couldn't afford. That is only one segment of the problem and hardly the most influential factor, but when that oversimplification is repeated by the media, the pundits and politicians, it becomes accepted knowledge, facts be damned.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Elephant Shit

Question posed to an Wall Street Occupier:  Do you know who Saul Alinsky is?
Answer:  Does he have a deli on the Lower East Side?

Question posed to Bob Grainger, Chair of the Lake County Democratic Committee: Do you know how Saul Alinsky is?
Answer: Al who?

Question posed to MathMan, a native of Chicago:  Do you know Saul Alinsky is?
Answer:  No. Why?
Me: Newt Gingrich is talking about him in relation to the President and he's trending on Twitter.
MathMan: Oh. Here, look at this graph of the x^2cos(1/x)

Question posed to a regular consumer of Fox News and right wing radio:  Who is Saul Alinsky?
Answer: He's the guy from Chicago who wrote Rules for Radicals which influenced the radical methods of Obama when he was a community organizer and who is now taking our country in the wrong direction with his radical ideas and trying to turn us into a radical European style socialist version of Europe. With its radical ideas. I think he was a communist.

Ah. And, of course, only radical liberals use Alinsky's principals for organizing.

Alinky's main message for organizing: Pick the target (Big Government), freeze it (Do Nothing Congress), personalize it (Gov't wants to take away YOUR rights), polarize it (We're going to take OUR country back). Don’t try to attack abstract corporations or bureaucracies. Identify a responsible individual (Obama) . Ignore attempts to shift or spread the blame (Stop blaming Bush, this is YOUR mess, Obama!).

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I believe in the power of redemption

 An intervention may be in order.

I've gotten sucked into the cesspool of election year tomfoolery and non-stop coverage of what Tengrain calls the Goat Rodeo.

Evidence that it's a become a real problem:

1. My politics/media twitter feed is enormous and growing. It's a fine blend of snark, bawdy humor and info links that could keep me reading all the ding dong day.

2. While I wouldn't have recognized a quarter of the celebrities on the red carpet at the recent Golden Globe Awards, when I click twitpic links posted by political reporters, I recognize about half the people in the photos. I repeat political reporters.

3. I've been having erotic dreams about a three-way with Dylan Ratigan and Melissa Harris Perry.

4. I followed Jonathan Capehart aka Mr. Butters' vacation to the Virgin Islands via Facebook.
4.1 I know that Jonathan Capehart is also Mr. Butters and when he gets his haircut. And when he goes to McDonald's or not after his haircuts.

5. I can tell the following people apart:
Ari Melber / Ezra Klein / Sam Stein
Chuck Todd / That guy from the bookstore
Thomas A. Roberts / Peter Alexander
Luke Russert / Jeff Spicoli
Ron Allen / Ron Christie / Ron Mott
Gov. Rick Perry / Fmr. President George W. Bush
Mike Taibbi / Matt Taibbi
Chris Mathews / Lawrence O'Donnell
Fmr. Gov. Mitt Romney / Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney
David Gregory / A jar of paste
Chris Hayes / Rachel Maddow

6. Confession: In my weaker moments, I yearn to run my fingers through Howard Fineman's gray hair while talking music with Jon Heilman and drinking shots with Willie Geist.

7. I know more about NY Times columnist Charles Blow's daughter's fencing career than I know about what's going on with my parents. Of course, my parents could fix that if they got a computer and had Twitter accounts. Slackers.

8. While MathMan likes to impress me by being able to identify a piece of classical music within a few notes, i.e. Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4, 5th movement, I like to turn him on with my ability to identify some pundit or other by their voice. It's awesome foreplay. "Oh, baby. You be Monica and I'll be Bill. Where's your blue dress?" It's so much fun resurrecting an old role-playing theme.

9. My little "problem" is affecting the kids. Sophie and I chat about the afternoon MSNBC personalities like they're family. "Did you see that exchange between Martin Bashir and that asshole from the South Carolina Republican Party?" I'll say to which Sophie will respond, "I almost threw my Cheez-its at the TV I was so disgusted so I changed the channel to iCarly. I know how angry you get when I make a mess in the living room."

We also worry about Mika Brzezenski's unresolved father issues because we can't help ourselves. We like her.

9.1 The cats and I are involved in a co-dependent relationship which now stretches beyond food. They insist I leave the TV on so they can watch Andrea Mitchell and speculate what it must be like to sleep with Alan Greenspan. They really have a mean streak, those cats.

10. And most disturbing of all, even though I've written about the many reasons for which I could never run for office, it's becoming increasingly clear with all the Republican hypocrisy shenanigans coming to light, I could indeed run for office as long as I'm willing to run as a Republican with a one hand on the Bible and a compelling redemption narrative.

I'm thinking there's really no downside here. I win and that's cool. I can be a public servant and support the policies I think will make this nation better for all of us. I lose and I can make some money on speaking fees. I mean $365,000 isn't a lot, but I could manage on that. Hell, one speaking gig at $40,000 would be twice as much as I made in 2011.

It's time for the Pussies for Peace and Income Equality (PfPIE) to get busy raising money for that Superpac. I just need to remind them not to put the money into investments in the Cayman Islands.

Monday, January 16, 2012

I don't like that dark stuff

I wheeled my semi-full grocery cart into the check out line. In front of me was a woman of maybe eighty, her hair newly done, makeup just right, a hearing aid implanted in her ear. Her cart remained unloaded while she leaned across it studying the cover of the National Inquirer or The Star.

The checker spoke. "Ma'am, are you ready?"

The woman snapped to and began loading her items onto the belt. I waited until she was finished and reached over for the black plastic separator to put between her order and mine. The cover of the tabloid that had so captivated the elderly woman caught my eye. "Obama Divorce" it screeched in bold yellow across unflattering photos of the President and First Lady.

I busied myself with unloading my cart in my usual OCD fashion.

"Oh, I forgot my coffee," the woman in front of me yelled.

The checker offered to hold her order while the bagger offered to fetch the coffee. The woman gestured toward me. "I don't want to make her wait."'

I appreciated that, but I wasn't in a hurry. "Thanks, but don't worry about it. I'm not in a hurry. Get your coffee."

She shrugged at the bagger who asked what kind of coffee to get. "The one on sale for eight dollars and something. But not that dark stuff. I don't like the dark coffee."

I went back to unloading my cart while the woman fussed at the checker for not ringing her up and letting her go get the coffee after she paid. The checker explained how she needed the bar code, but quickly gave up. The customer wasn't interested in explanations.

Another shopper pulled in behind me and noticed the hold up. I gave her a quick smile with an eyebrow raise. She craned her neck to see the other lines, looked back at me and shrugged. "Might as well stay put."

I smiled and pulled the checkbook out of my purse to fill it out while I waited. The bagger still hadn't returned and the woman tugged the sleeve of my jacket.

"Did you see that about that Obama?" she said pointing at the tabloid.

I looked at the tabloid and nodded.

"You know, her parents paid for him to win. That black son of a bitch was educated in Saudi Arabia," she said conspiratorially, incapable of a whisper.

I took a deep breath and turned to slip my checkbook back into my purse to give myself a chance to count ten and not react.

The woman behind me met my eyes and gave me the one eyebrow raise back. Her arms were crossed as she shifted her gaze from me to the woman tugging on my sleeve again. "Those blacks in Chicago rigged the election to put Obama in the White House. He didn't get all those votes."

I glanced at the checker who was clearly alarmed. The checker the next aisle over, a young African American woman had obviously overheard.


The bagger finally returned from Tennessee with three containers of coffee. "I brought you some choices."

The woman made her choice, paid her bill and continued to complain loudly that the checker wouldn't ring her up sooner, that she was unhappy that the Food Lion is closing stores in Georgia (we weren't in a Food Lion at the time), and, how much she hated Obama. Not once did she refer to him as President Obama.

The desire for her to leave was palpable. The checker, the bagger, the woman behind me, the checker across the way and I - we were all aghast. And then the last straw came. The woman tugged her pocketbook up onto her shoulder and turned to me.

"There aren't enough black people in America to elect him. That's how I know the vote was rigged."

I handed my stack of coupons to the checker and smiled. "I voted for him," I said.

"What did she say?"

I turned to the woman who was fiddling with her hearing aid. "I voted for him and I will vote for him again," I said with a smile.

"Ahhh, you're putting me on."


"I never met anyone who voted for him. You're kidding me."

"I'm not. I voted for him."

She drew back and eyed me. "What's wrong with you? Why would you vote for that --? All he does is give away the money of hardworking Americans to no accounts. People who won't get jobs on unemployment, food stamps. Just a bunch of lazy..."

The bagger interrupted. "Can I help you with this?" She gestured toward the woman's shopping cart.

I hoped she'd take the hint. I had no stomach for this pointless conversation. She ignored the bagger. "So what are you? One of them lazy people who won't get a job?"

"I'm one of those hardworking Americans who can't find a job," I said still smiling. I was surprised that I wasn't getting a surge of adrenaline, my heart wasn't racing, my palms weren't sweating and my voice didn't crack. I'd realize later that the medication I'm taking really does work well.

"Uh huh. That's what I thought. You're on welfare," she spat out.

The woman behind me shifted and bumped into my cart. When I turned to see what the problem was, she was glaring at the old woman.

"Actually, I'm not on welfare, not that it's any of your business. I was getting unemployment, but that's run out," I don't know why I felt compelled to keep talking, but I did. "Let me ask you this - do you get Social Security? Medicare?"

"Hey, my husband worked his whole life and paid for those things," she snapped.

"Well, that's true, but you're probably taking out more than he paid in. And what's more, I - me - I worked for twenty-five years paying into unemployment in case I needed it. So before you go fussing about what other people are getting, you should consider that you're part of the system, too."

"Well, it ain't welfare."

"No, it's not. But you know how you're upset that the Food Lion is closing stores? I can guarantee you if people didn't have food stamps, you'd see a lot more stores closing. And I don't know what kind of world you want to live in, but I don't want to live in one where people go hungry."

She opened her mouth to speak, but said nothing. I made an apologetic gesture to the checker as the old lady marched away hollering at the bagger about how rude I was.

I filled out my check and marveled at the fact that my hands weren't shaking. I felt so calm.

"You handled that well," the checker said to me.

I took the receipt from her. "Thanks. I really hate to talk politics. I know my views aren't very popular around here."

"Well, maybe she learned something from you. I know I did," she said with a smile.

The woman behind me cleared her throat. "I'm glad you were the one dealing with her because I would have whipped out my EBT card and shoved it down her throat."

Damn it.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Politics of Envy


Mitt Romney, the man who has finally gotten to the head of the line, thinks we envy him and those of his stratospheric ilk.

Let's not lie to him or ourselves. We do envy him. But it's not for the reason he thinks.

Since it's rude for me to speak for you, I'll stick to why I am envious. My envy of Mitt Romney is specifically because he's never known what it's like to be financially insecure and it has nothing to do with his superior skills, hard work, or intelligence. By virtue of his birth, Romney has never had to worry about a lack of money. No, his only money worries have been about the accumulation of more wealth.

So that's the basis for my envy. What's at the root of my dislike for Romney is the fact that he seems unwilling to even imagine for a second what it's like for most Americans who have worked hard for the last thirty years and are still just running in place.

His refusal to acknowledge that there might be valid reasons for people to be pissed off tells us what we need to know about Mitt. He has no interest in understanding the plight of the middle and working classes, the poor. He subscribes to the idea that, unlike his situation of being born to wealth setting his destiny, if you're not rich like him, it's because you're not smart enough, you don't work hard enough. The fact that American socio-economic mobility is pretty much a myth and getting worse holds no sway with Romney.

I would say that by virtue of that same solid gold birth, perhaps Mitt Romney is incapable of empathy for the less fortunate, but then how do you explain wealthy families that breed bleeding heart liberals? Does it really come down to how the brain is wired?

Mitt Romney wants to run on his record as a businessman. Fine. Look at his record at Bain Capital where he was far more comfortable dealing with profits and numbers and data. People who lost their jobs were merely collateral damage. No, that's too generous. They were the cost of doing business and they were expendable.

Running a government is far different from running a business. The missions are different. Romney isn't smart enough to know that. As President, he would do just as he did at Bain. He would increase profits for the shareholders by any means just this side of legal while cutting out the waste and inefficiency.

What Americans need to understand is that unless you're a top investor, you are waste and inefficiency.

Read Bob Lefsetz on this.