Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy freakin' New year!

Actually, your curmudgeon is in an uncharacterisically good mood here in the last hours of the year and decade.
The fact that 2009 and this decade are actually, finally, ending has something to do with it.
Foolishly, I always expect the next year to be better.
Well, sometimes it is, just enough times for me to keep up the expectation. But really, I'm getting to the age where any year in which I am still alive is pretty much a good year.
I had all my children here for Christmas. (Seems funny to call them children, they are all in their thirties)
Also my son-in-law and his mother, a delightful woman. Her husband is a doctor and had emergency room duty all Christmas, so she came up here rather than sit home alone. We all had a good time and ate copious amounts of food, most of which son-in-law Jerome and children cooked. There were presents exchanged, but that was the least part, nice as it was, of the holiday.
There was a very nice Christmas eve candle light service at the church, and this past Sunday we had our 45th annual Messiah Sing. Getting this thing on is one of my biggest responsibilities of the year. I put in some sweat and worry, but it seems to all work out. I have people who love to come to be soloists, a good organist, a great conductor/friend, and a lovely woman who takes care of refreshments for the crowd afterwards. All chorus and orchestra are volunteers, many who come year after year for this. When the music starts I am just about as happy as I get.
Here is a little video my daughter shot of the "For unto us" chorus.

video

I love this piece. It's nice to have a remembrance of the performance.

Sooo,
I wish a happier and more satisfying new year to both my readers, and hope they find something more constructive to do than read my meandering wailings. And a happy and better new year to all those out there who are struggling with disease, joblessness, and worry; and to all those making an effort to make this world a better place than it is.
God bless everyone—with no exceptions.
Cheers.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Year-end Round-up

I’ve let this go quite a while.
It’s a combination of being busy, being tired and being ill. Ill on two levels: one is the common cold, and a cough that wouldn’t give up for three freakin’ weeks. Thank God for codeine and brandy.
The other level of illness is the behavior of Congress over the health care bill.
Boy, I’m sick of this.
I’m sick of feckless Democrats not having the fortitude to use reconciliation to get that damn bill passed WITH the public option.
And why hasn’t Obama been out there kicking ass?
I’m beginning to think he’s just too nice a guy. To be president.
But he’s still better than McCain so I better shut up.

This end of the year time is a time for lists and awards, so here’s mine:

Top weasels of the year—
Joe Lieberman. He is the most top weasel, the weasel extraordinaire, the weasel nonpareil. He leads the country this year in hypocrisy, perfidy, ego-tripping at the expense of Americans, and probably corruption, tho I have no proof of that.
This is a guy who in the 90’s co-sponsored a bill to GET RID OF the filibuster. He had all kinds of mean, nasty things to say about the filibuster back then. But NOW—now he uses it as a threat to get all the things out of the health bill he doesn’t like. Which just happens to be things which would help the common American (as opposed to the political and health insurer type Americans) like the public option and the medicare buy-in. The medicare buy-in which he favored just months ago. I really think the insurance companies have their hooks into him. How else could he be like this? Like Mitch McConnell, it looks like corruption, whether monetary or spiritual, has just taken over his bearing and appearance. They are pod people—health insurer pod people.
A pox on you, Joe Lieberman.

Weasels in no particular order of malefaction—
the aforementioned Mitch McConnell, DeMint, Stupid Stupak and all “just say no for the sake of saying no no matter who it hurts” Republicans.
These guys represent the big business, insurance company and medical equipment companies, not the people of their districts.

It’s possible that someone could make a principled case against health care reform, tho I can’t imagine what it would be. But I’ll concede the possibility. But these guys, and gals, lets not leave out the women of the GOP, did not do that. They supported the lies put out by the radical right and the insurance providers, the “death panels” the equating of Obama with Hitler etc. There were no principles on exhibit amongst the Republicans this year.

Idiots of the year:
This is a crowded field. For simplicity I’ll divide the honors:
Political idiocy—
the Republicans of course, but even more so—
the tea-baggers with their phony populism (supported by health insurers and Dick Armey’s lobbying organization), their signs with Obama wearing a Hitler mustache. The fools who adopted a name with a sexual connotation we don’t want to discuss here.
Rolling up in third place—feckless Democrats who just wouldn’t roll up their sleeves and do what needed to be done. Where are the “Damn the torpedoes” guys?
Everyone was worrying about bi-partisanship and sixty votes no matter what the cost.

Sexual idiocy—
Governor Sanford of South Carolina (South Carolina was the gift that just kept giving this year) with his Argentine mistress and his coining of a new euphemism for marital infidelity— “hiking in Appalachia.” Thanks, gov, for that one. He also gave an object lesson in how NOT to do a press conference.
Runner up— John Ensign. Not only did he cheat, he put his mistress’s husband and son on the Republican Party payroll. And he got his Mom and Dad to put out $96,000 to the mistress and her hubby, as consolation perhaps. Nice parents!
There were others, but, you know, it gets hard to keep track of them all. Funny how so many of them belong to those “family values” religious sects.

Professional Liars of the year award to:
Fox News. Not only did they create the news, as in starting the “teabagging” protests, they also exhibited a remarkably traitorous attitude to this country and its president. Sample of that, and also their stupidity—their delight at the Olympics going to Rio de Janiero not Chicago. They saw it as a personal failing of the Pres, didn’t care about the dollars it would bring to this country, and just wallowed in their hate. I don’t know who the foolish woman was that I saw in a clip from their station, but she was saying how nice a city Rio was. Apparently she hadn’t visited the gangster-run favelas or met any of the police assassination squads. I hope she gets a REAL look at the city on her next visit.

Professional Idiot “News” man of the year:
Glenn “Mr. Tears” Beck. May your tear ducts dry up.
Traitor of the Year Award:
Rush Limbaugh, who wants Obama to fail. May you trip in your studio, Rush, and end up with a boom mike up your butt.

Religious wackos of the year award— to the “C” Street “Family,” whose “power theology” would have Jesus spinning in his grave, if He hadn’t been resurrected. This is the group supporting John Ensign and other miscreants who actually live there on the premises. These guys are also supporting the Ugandan “kill the gays” legislation which is pending in that country. Good work, guys. I hope there really is a hell so you can rot in it.

Hey, it’s not all bad, there are some heroes.
The “not afraid to speak out award” goes to Barney Frank, who told that wingnut libertarian with the “Obama as Hitler” poster that arguing with her is like arguing with a dining room table. The Democrat with the most balls is the openly gay one.
I originally said "Bernie Sanders," who tho he didn't make that remark, is also a principled member of congress and fighter for the right.

The “I ain’t taking any of this shit anymore” award goes to Jenny Sanford, who, unlike other wives of political adulterers, did not stand by her hubby as he made his public confessions and apologies. She wasn’t playing by the old “political wife” rules, and rightly so. I hear she’s recently filed for divorce. Take him for all he’s worth dear, but leave him a little for giving us the “hiking in Appalachia” thing.

The “Exhibiting Real Class” award goes to—Michelle Obama. For everything. The Curmudgeon loves her.

Anybody knows of any other heroes of 2009, or any of the oughts, let me know. I’ll be glad to celebrate deserving people.
I’ll turn over a new leaf for 2010—optimism and joy, that’s the ticket.

Should last a week or two, just like other resolutions.

Anyhoo, I sincerely wish both of my regular readers a happy holiday season and new year, whatever your beliefs or lack thereof.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Berlin Wall is falling down, falling down…

I need to stop and commemorate this anniversary. 20 years ago tonight the Berlin Wall started to crumble. Those of you, amongst my three or four (on a good night) readers who were young or not yet born may not realize what that means to those of us "of a certain age."

And I have to go back a ways. (It's what we old farts do when we tell a story, we go back a ways.) When I was in grade school thru high school, back in the fifties and early sixties, people all over the globe lived with the idea that there could conceivably be a nuclear war. As a grade schooler, I remember being marched down to the basement floor of the school with my class and told to lean against the wall with my arms over the back of my head. All I remember about it was that it was for "emergencies." What did I know of nuclear war? Of course this pathetic activity would not have saved any of us from incineration. But it gave adults something to do.

People built bomb shelters, stored up supplies. Most of us went on our way, saying to ourselves, "nah, it won't happen" and keeping our fingers crossed. 1961 was a particularly anxious year, with President Kennedy's ill-advised attempt to start an anti-Castro revolution in Cuba in April—I was with my high school choir in Niagra Falls singing for some kind of Welsh convention ( really, it's true) when we got the news, and we thought that things were going to be getting pretty hot pretty soon. Happily they didn't.

Then in August the East Germans built their miserable wall, because too many of their citizens were realizing the limitations of Communism and fleeing to the west. Many of us thought that that might be the start of something, but geopolitical realities prevented a war from starting, though that was no consolation to the East Germans.

Thereafter, several times a year, we would hear in the news of someone being shot trying to get over the wall, or captured trying to sneak through the gates. Occasionally there was a happy story of a successful escape, but there were many deaths. It seemed like the ugly thing would be there forever, and it was a symbol of the Iron Curtain itself, the wall of arms and might separating the West from the East.

Then Mr. Gorbachev became premier of the Soviets, and he knew the times were a'changing. He's a personal hero of mine. He started the process which led to the eventual dissolution of the Soviet empire. By 1989, there was so much pressure from its people for more freedom, the East German government was unraveling. Even they couldn't stomach shooting that many people. And Russia was no help—Gorbachev had already told the East Germans it was time to swim with the tide.

So one day in November of 1989, the ninth, it was announced that the government would allow East Germans to go wherever they pleased. The details were unclear, and the government certainly didn't mean to have happen what did happen, but suddenly thousands of East Berliners were at the gates demanding to be let thru for a stroll in the Western part of the city.

At the Bornholmer Strasse crossing, there were so many people making demands, and so little direction from the government, that someone in charge just said to himself, "Shit, we can't keep this up," and opened the gates. When guards at other crossing points got the news, they also opened their gates. Within days, pieces of the Berlin Wall became a coveted souvenir of a closed period of history.

And nobody got nuked.

I remember driving to work through Pittsfield early the next day, hearing the news with mouth agape, and tears streaming down my face. I knew this was the end for Communism in Eastern Europe. I knew that shortly Czechoslovakia, birthplace of my parents and home of my forebears, would follow suit. By the end of November, President Husák had resigned, and by the end of December Alexander Dubček, another personal hero, was speaker of the parliament and Vaclav Havel was President of Czechoslovakia.

Why this means so much to me:
My father left Slovakia (there was no Czechoslovakia at the time) to avoid serving in the Austro-Hungarian army and to seek his fortune in the United States. Later he went back and married my mother and brought her over too. So I have family back there. Back in the sixties, my mother's sister wanted to see her again so she came to see us. She came alone—her husband had to stay behind so they wouldn't defect together. And it's not like he was some big deal with a lot of state secrets. He was a train engineer for pete's sake. What, were they afraid he'd reveal the schedule of the Bratislava—Sered express to Western spies? But that's the way the paranoid mind works. He came the next year, without his wife. One of my cousins is a nuclear physicist, and her husband one too. They could not travel abroad together. One always had to stay behind under the thumb of the state so that the other would return.

By New Year's Day, 1990, that was all over.

I have never known that kind of oppression personally, but the experience runs in my family. We know from oppression. Somewhere back at the old homestead, there is a picture of my mother's father, in New York City. When I asked what he was doing there, my mother replied, "He had to leave the country for a while, the police were after him for agitating for Slovak independence from Hungary." When I hear people nattering on about Obama being a dictator, trying to start a "socialist" or "communist" state, I know they are idiots. They don't know anything about it. They never had the oppression, they have no clue.
Bad cess to them.

Me, I feel better knowing that being a pain in the ass runs in the family.
Good night all.
Be grateful for where you are and when you live.
Here are a couple of videos showing the fall of the Wall. Be prepared to shed tears.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_eCVhCGYwE&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MM2qq5J5A1s&feature=related


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLS17dCidEI

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Election time again?

The biggest problem with not posting regularly is that so damn much happens it's hard to keep up. Like I said last time, I'm n0t as young as I used to be.

So the elections yesterday, Nov. 3, produced mixed results. In Maine the ballot to disallow gay marriages was voted in, as was an initiative to expand medical marijuana usage. This may be the first concrete proof of the idea that marijuana damages brain cells. Even if I get sick, I'll vacation somewhere else.

Republicans won govenorships in New Jersey and Virginia. From what I heard prior to the elections those were not big surprises. Some people think they were. The Republicans (what's left of them) are hoping these off-off year elections will give them momentum in 2010. Good luck with that.
The Democrats are saying it proves that voters want things to get done and point to their victory in New York's 23rd district and say it proves their agenda must move forward. Good luck with that. Senate majority leader Harry Reid is unsure that there will be a health care bill by the end of the year. One wonders what the use of a majority is if it takes so long to get done something most of the country wants done.

About the 23rd district elections—it was a satisfying pie in the face for conservatives who have taken the Republican party hostage. All the big stars and would be stars came there to kneel at the altar of right-wing wingnuttery (Gov. Pawlenty of Minn., where will you go for votes now?). Pawlenty, Sarah of the sexy boots and half-term governorship Palin, Dick Armey (a major mover behind the "tea-baggers") all came to support Doug Hoffman, a carpet-bagger who doesn't even live in the district, over the Republican party nominee, Ms. Scozzafava. In a remarkable and delightful turn of events, after withdrawing from the race because of the outside blitz for Mr. Hoffman, she threw her support to the Democrat, Mr. Owens, who finally won.

Upstaters know a pig in the poke when they see one. And kudos to Ms. Scozzafava for recognizing that the Republican Party she thought she was a part of, is essentially dead. I remember when the Republicans were a respectable party.
I'm showing my age, but back in the day there were people one could admire and respect, even if one wouldn't vote for them. Eisenhower, Margaret Chase Smith, Henry Cabot Lodge, Prescott Bush (grandpa of our George). There is probably a lot of rotational velocity happening in their graves right now.

Back to Maine. That was a real disappointment. It is taking so long for people to recognize that the 14th amendment applies to everyone, not just those with officially approved love partners. It's time for people like me, straight people who do recognize those rights, to get up and do more to get rid of these hypocritical laws which deny people the right to celebrate their love in a legal marriage. With the divorce rate and co-habitation without benefit of clergy rising so rapidly among heterosexuals in this country, you'd think conservatives would be glad anyone is willing to marry. We have to recognize that the money for these anti-gay campaigns only comes from a few sources, mostly very rich conservative businessmen who want to exercise their power without going thru the messy business of running for office themselves. And the Catholic Church, the church of "priests were always meant to be men and the sexual-abuse thing has nothing to do with that". I read that there were second offerings taken is some churches for funds to support the anti-gay marriage vote. Isn't that illegal?
Of course the Church has never shied away from telling it's parishioners that they would be liable for hell-fire if they didn't vote the Catholic way. I know, I used to be Catholic, and I remember.

I didn't mean this to be a diatribe against the church. One doesn't expect anything different from that quarter so why dwell on it? And I do recognize that the Church has very often done a lot of good in the world. But I am more concerned with the way certain individuals and other organizations flow money into a state where they don't even have any, or a large, presence, to influence the general vote, especially when they use lies and fear to get their way.

This is a subversion of democracy.

I live in Massachusetts, which has allowed same-sex marriage for some years now, and last time I looked out the window, the state was still there. Heterosexuals were still getting married as well as same-sex couples—the world has not ended for us.

It must be a real stone in the throat for conservatives to see that the state is not falling apart. Too bad.
I'm done.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Drones

I gotta start posting more. There's too much to fulminate about. I get distracted, lose my notes, start rolling my eyes about something else—it's tough trying to keep up.
And I'm not as young as I used to be.

So there is an interesting article in this week's New Yorker about the use of drone planes against enemies in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Especially in Pakistan. There is a so-called "secret" war waged by the CIA (Rachel Maddow called this "the worst kept secret since Elton John came out") going on there, using drones to spot and then shoot missiles at Al-Queda leaders. Sounds good. Except in tribal areas of Pakistan, a country with which we are not at war (yet?) we have killed upwards of 700 (estimated—it's a no-news area) people to off about 2 dozen terrorist leaders. So is this good or not? Is it worth 700 "collateral" damage deaths to kill a few Al-Queda guys? Do you suppose that maybe those collateral deaths might NOT be raising two or five or more dedicated revenge seekers to fight against us?

There has been a problem in Afghanistan, where we actually are waging war, with innocent people getting picked off by drones, and it is causing trouble for our troops and the politicians we support there. And this is a place where we (mostly) know what is going on. Some wedding party gets wiped out by a misguided rocket, at least people have a chance to get queasy about it. Although a stronger reaction is hoped for.

Anyway, when the CIA operates, and this is without any oversight or accountability (the CIA is, after all, a secret organization) how do we know the operations are effective? And don't you think it's a little dangerous to have non-military personnel deciding who lives and dies in a country we aren't at war with?

Apparently Obama has approved more more drone attacks in 9 months than George Bush did in the last three years. I don't know who is giving this guy advice, but I think he might want to bring other voices into the conversation. The American halo is already tarnished by torture—shouldn't we be just a leetle bit more cautious about killing operations in a country we'd like to be on our side?

Back in the seventies the public and Congress were justifiably upset about CIA freedom to assassinate or abet assassination, so we passed laws. Now it's against the law for an agent to slit an Al-Queda leader's throat, but okay for an agent in Virginia or California or wherever to guide a drone (possibly by information provided by an informant who may have a personal stake in the removal of the intended victim) and shoot a Hell-fire Missile at a house which contains the target, his children, his in-laws, his friends, his baby-sitter, whomever.

I don't like killing, even if I sometimes feel mad enough to think I could, but I'd be more comfortable with the single throat-slitting, especially if it were vetted by a panel of military personnel (not spooks) as being useful. At least if there was a mistake only one person would suffer, not his extended family and friends.

It's a bitch to have to think about stuff like this. I don't even like what I said in the last paragraph. I don't like that it's true.

But most people don't think about this. And it's understandable. Hell, I don't think about it much of the time, being involved with problems of my own survival (and sometimes of my own making). There are drones in the air and there are drone voters on the ground. I would like for enough of us to be concerned enough of the time so that we can get out elected representatives to do their jobs and deal with this stuff properly. And they won't do it properly unless they know we are properly concerned.

And this brings me to drones in the Congress. Specifically Repubicans droning on with the party line of "no."
30 Republicans voted against a bill that would forbid the military from using contractors which forced their employees to sign agreements they wouldn't sue if raped or discriminated against. This was an Al Franken bill which was inspired, if that's the right word, by an incident in which Jamie Lee Jones was drugged and gang raped and imprisoned in a shipping container by Halliburton employees.
Why am I not surprised?
Actually, I am not so much surprised at the actions of Halliburton employees, they have the former VP Cheney on their side, as I am, still, by the feckless perfidy of the 30 Repubicans who voted against the Franken bill. These people really believe that corporations are more important than people. Halliburton is so important that it doesn't matter if one of their employees is raped. Repubicans voted against a Consumer Protection Agency. Is their thinking "why protect consumers?" Who do they think "consumers" are? Not the peoiple who voted them into office, certainly. Consumers are some sort of low-level life form which corporations are allowed to feed on like Morlocks fed on the Eloi in H.G. Wells' time travellor story.
Consistently Repubicans side with corporations against their own constituents. Of course, corporations give them more money. Corporations are better than the average American citizen because they have more money.
Hell, you all know this. Corporations are the embodiment of capitalism which is the bedrock of the American way. That's why you and I don't matter.
Okay, I've got more—haven't even got to the state of the art world yet.
Another night.
In the meantime, get a job and do something more useful than reading me.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Didn't see THIS coming department

Obama gets the Nobel Prize for Peace.
Who'd a thunk?
I'm conflicted. I'm always happy to hear some American has gotten a Nobel prize for something—in spite of conservative opinion, I do have pride in this country—and I have to admit a certain swelling of the chest on hearing of Obama's award.

But I have to ask: the guy has been president for 9 months, tops. Sure he has the ability to inspire people (those who aren't being ruined by health and energy industry flacks and their lies) and he has lofty goals. But has he done anything yet?

This has got to be the mother of all expectations—how would you like a Nobel prize when you were just getting started? This is worse than the most prototypical Jewish mother. Or Slovak mother. Or—your nationality/religion here—mother.

The pressure is on, Obama—you better produce. I bet he woke up this morning and heard the news and said "Oh, shit."
It's not like the guy has enough on his plate.

He can live up to it if he starts fighting and gives up the "oh we can be bi-partisan and love each other" crap.

Some reporters have suggested that this was as much a slap at the Bush administration as an acknowledgment of the greatness of the Obama administration. It's easy to see it that way, especially when the Nobel committee mentions the way Obama has reached out to the rest of the world, and suggested that we (America) are ready to work with, as opposed to, well, opposing, the rest of the world. So he's given a prestigious award for being a good citizen.

I hope it inspires him to really get out there and kick butt for health care, repeal of "don't ask, don't tell", Palestinian/Israeli peace, add your particular obsession here.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The right, so desperate, cheers America losing the Olympics

So the Olympics are going to Rio, not Chicago.
Full disclosure, this decision doesn't affect me one way or the other. I understand that this is important to people that many regard it as an honor to host the Olympics, and I know that different people who would be affected had legitimate arguments for their positions either for or against. I myself wondered why Obama was going to Copenhagen to argue the case for Chicago. I have since learned that leaders from all the contesting cities also showed up, so it wasn't just a personal, quixotic gesture of Obama's. I stand corrected (well, I'm sitting down actually).
Now, the other leaders of losing countries went home and people in their countries were sad, but as far as I know, did not consider the Olympic Committee's rejection as a referendum on their leader's abilities.

Not here, however. The Wretched Right, the conservative wingnuts, so dismayed that their policies were roundly defeated in the last election, so upset at that liberal NEEGROW having won, are desperately clutching at the straw of Obama's failure to get the Olympics to Chicago. Finally, that sonovabitch failed at something, they exult. It doesn't matter to them that they are slapping Chicago in the face. They probably figure that Chicago deserves it, for giving us Obama. It doesn't matter to them that they are slapping America in the face. As long as they can get Obama while they do it…

It goes to show how desperate and pathetic Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the rest of that unpatriotic, weasel crew—I'm sorry, I just maligned weasels—the rest of that unpatriotic, asshat crew are and how ineffectual. They would rather see America thrown in the dust than see Obama accomplish anything good for the country, even if it's just getting an expensive, though entertaining, sports spectacle to come here. And that's all they got. So sad.

I think I remember a time, way back in my youth, when conservatism actually stood for something, as opposed to just being against anything. But it was in the foggy distance of my youth (I did have one) so I might misremember.

Closer to home, John Ensign is getting into deeper water, his affair, his hiring of his mistress's son, his payoff to the mistress's family, are getting the legal attention they deserve. It'd be nice to see one of these philanderers and his vagabond pecker get thrown in the hoosegow. (Did I really just say that?)
I'm still waiting for both he and Mark Sanford to resign, they being so adamant that philanderers should resign, if the philanderers happened to be Bill Clinton.

Ya know, just writing about these guys makes me want to go wash my hands.

If you want to have fun, watch friday night's (Oct. 2) Rachel Maddow show and see her lose it over the Moment of Geek—when someone "gets shagged by a rare bird."
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#33148607

That's it for now.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Public Option?

Well, the senate Finance Committee has shot down the public option, for now. Senator (Gr)assley of Iowa has shown his asshattery again. Not long ago I saw a video where a woman told him that the Lewin Group, from which he had been getting info on health care, was actually an organization wholly owned by United Health Care, a health Industry member.
Apparently Sen. Grassley didn't care enough to check up on this because he referenced the Lewin Group again during the Finance Committee discussion, repeating the same industry lies.
Where is that man's brain? In some health industry lobbyist's pocket?
Just asking.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A couple more things…

Just want to note the passing of my favorite conservative, William Safire. I disagreed politically with him on just about everything, but he was a gentleman. And you have to give props to him for coming up with "nattering nabobs of negativism." I'd say Safire made VP Spiro Agnew what he was with the stuff he wrote for him.
And I always looked at his word usage column in the NYT. That, I really respected him for. We need more defenders of the language and it's usage in this world, not less.
Bye, Bill, thanks for the memories.

I don't like to dump on Obama, but sometimes he just deserves it. What is it with this bullfeather trip to Denmark he is making? To advance the cause of nuclear non-proliferation? Uh-uh. It's to put in his two cents for Chicago getting the Olympics for, oh, whatever year, it doesn'tmatter, the Pres of the USA has more important things to do. There's this health care issue…

He should be here putting all his weight behind the health care issue all the time until he gets what he wants. No one is going to die if Chicago doesn't get the Olympics, fer pete's sake. People are dying now because of insurance company greed. Check your priorities, Barack. Get Barack on track and pay attention to the real issues.

Besides he's going to look like a real doofus if the Olympic Committee, not known for either intelligence or integrity, gives the nod to some other city. He better hope those guys like him.

That's it.
I'm outa here.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Doggone…

…I'm too mellow to be really bitchy tonight.
I had a good friend stay with me the past ten days. He does the butter sculpture at the "Big E", Eastern states Exposition, and comes here for that. Nice to have an old buddy around, I don't have to drink alone.

Still…
Repubicans don't have a lock on stupidity. One Democratic Senator, Kent Conrad, of North Dakota, said in the Senate Finance Committee that "Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and other European states have managed to contain costs and provide good health care without government-run systems." Except, those countries DO have government-run health care systems. You know, those "socialist" health-care systems.
C'mon, North Dakota, I know there aren't that many of you, but surely you can do better than this.
Unless it's the accepting of health care industry money that makes one stupid.

Maybe the Surgeon General should look into this.
And why is there a "Surgeon" General and not a "General Practitioner" General?
Which kind of doctor do YOU see more often?
I digress. Seems to happen fairly often.

I saw in the New York Times today about how the Dutch are working on preventing illegal shipments of trash from leaving Rotterdam, which they said was one of the biggest ports in Europe.
This trash goes anywhere in the world where it can be dumped. Which means, of course, poor third world countries where officials can be bought and people have no voice. Not too much trash gets dumped in Monaco, or near any Club Med-worthy locations. Of course, I understand that we have a fine old tradition in this country of putting waste in areas where people are essentially disenfranchised, either by ignorance or political malfeasance. Pretty hard for us to throw stones.

Some trash shipments make sense, like if a lot of plastic products are imported from China, say, it makes sense to send the broken, outdated and unwanted detritus back to China where it can be recycled into more plastic stuff. At least it's not being dumped near some village in Guinea Bissau or a similar location.

I think about trash and recycling a lot. I live in a town where this is fairly important, our dump fees depend on the efficiency of our recycling efforts. I feel guilty if I throw tinfoil into the waste basket instead of the recycling container and God forbid I should just throw away a plastic bag—and why do I have any anyway?
Six and a half billion people on this planet can generate a lot of waste. But isn't it funny that it is only the developed nations that have a problem with waste disposal? There aren't any illegal dumps in the US of A that I know of with waste from Guinea Bissau or Cameroon.
Just where do they put all THEIR used toasters and broken radios and ipods and out-of-style decorator lamps? We should ask.
Could learn something.

Alright. That's enough.
Good night.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I'm a conservative

Yes folks, (both of you) I have arrived at the logical conclusion that I must be a conservative. What has led me to this rather startling conclusion is the Rachel Maddow Show's coverage of the "Values Voter Summit." This is an event organized by the Family Research Council which attracts all the Repubicans who want to ingratiate themselves with the tin hat fringe of the right. Many leading lights of the Repubican party will show up at some point, like Romney (he of the haircut) and Tim Pawlenty and Mitch McConnell and Eric Cantor.
They have some kind of workshops called "breakout sessions" where they discuss topics such as "True Tolerance—countering the Homosexual Influence in Public Schools" and "Global Warming Hysteria—the new face of the 'death agenda'("if people are the problem, what is the Final Solution")."

So—if 'True Tolerance' means opposing homosexuality, and if trying to save the environment is a 'death agenda', then, ipso facto, being liberal must mean being a conservative.

And here I thought it was just "Talk like a Pirate" day. It's also "Opposites day."
Aarrr, I am a conservative, matey, an' if ye don't believe it ye'll have to walk the plank. The Repubican plank.
So if I am a conservative, then politicians like Mitch McConnell and Eric Cantor must be liberals. They are certainly liberal in their condemnation of those who don't think like them, who dare to differ from their white male anglo-saxon protestant self image and heritage.
They are liberal in their asshattery.

I am proud to be a conservative conserving the freedoms listed in the Constitution and Amendments, and protecting them from yahoos who want to deprive freedom from those they fear and hate.

I'm getting pretty sick of those malcontents and their butchering of the English language and their hate-filled and fearful little minds. The Repubican leadership won't acknowledge that the rhetoric of hate they are ignoring/encouraging can lead to danger and violence. They don't realize that the ones who are energized by this talk, once all the "liberal" enemies are gone, will come after they themselves. Hate and fear, once unleashed, cannot be brought back to heel easily.

Okay, now here's a weird little news tidbit— Public Policy Reporting says that 18% of New Jersey conservatives think that Obama is the Anti-Christ, and 17% are not sure. Is this weird and wild or just dispiriting?

Just goes to show you how stupid people are. Actually, I, I AM the anti-Christ, it's just not public knowledge yet.

It will be, you heard it here first.
Soon, my minions will be living in your condominiums and enjoying those time-shares in Cozumel.
Live (or not) with it.

Isn't the internet wonderful? In one short posting I have gone from a conservative to the anti-Christ. (some would argue there is no difference).
Talk about self-promotion. I love the world we are living in.
good night all (two of you)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Speech

I heard on NPR that the Repubicans are upset that Obama said the distortions they've been promulgating all summer are lies.
They just hate the truth.
I missed most of the speech, alas. I was involved with something else and logged on late. I was trying to listen to NPR's live feed but there were gaps, dead air, and I was missing things. I tried CNN to no avail, then I remembered—"Hey, I have a radio!"
Remember radios?
I'm so pathetically computer-oriented anymore. I need to find a twelve-step program.

I did hear the big O be very firm about getting this thing done, and it seems, with a public option also. Good.
'Bout time.

I also heard the Repubican response by Rep. Charles Boustany, the Louisiana doctor. He said the Repubes were willing to work on a bi-partisan plan. Horsefeathers. "GOP Chairman Michael Steele and House Minority Leader John Boehner …have said they would oppose any plan put forth by the president, with or without the controversial public option." This from NPR. I believe I also heard earlier this summer that GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell also said that. Some bipartisanship.
Why should I believe that anything else in the response was truthful?

Nah, the Repubicans won't play because it isn't their ball. They'd rather incite wingnuts to shout down Representatives in town hall meetings and to show up with their guns strapped to their hips and to call Obama a Nazi.
Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

But hey, if weren't for them and those other minority white males, who would we have to laugh at?
Well, Michelle Backman isn't male but anything she says is risible, or would be if she wasn't so sadly serious about it.

Okay, I've bitched enough for the night. I'm glad to see the world hasn't gotten any better, otherwise I'd have to shut down this blog.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Wacky Wackenhut, Alberto Gonzales, other fun stuff

I'm back after a short hiatus to celebrate my birthday.
Not saying how old I am but there is a Beatles song about it—"will you still need me, will you still feed me, etc."
Actually the Beatles didn't sing "etc."

Well, there was news last week about our intrepid American contractors, the ones guarding our embassy in Afghanistan. Those wacky Wackenhut boys, drinking and running around naked and doing lewd things. Reporters have called it "deviant behavior."
On behalf of all you deviants out there, I will protest this insult.

It's just amazing the lack of quality in our contracted foreign service employees. Why aren't our embassies being protected by Marines anymore? Those guys were proud and took their job and their dignity seriously. I may be a conscientious objector, but I thought they looked great and fitting in front of our embassies back in the day. Kinda made you proud, no matter what your position on war.

Now we have yahoos being paid by you and me but with no accountability to you and me for their behavior. They are only accountable to their employers, and you know how corporations cover their asses no matter how bad they've been. One of my biggest gripes is hearing how some corporation has paid a big fine for some malfeasance but allowed to get away with not admitting any culpability.
Who started that shit?
Make the bastards get down on their knees and beg, i say.

Anyway, I wonder whose pockets got greased to allow Wackenhut to keep its contract despite many complaints about its incompetence.

On a lighter note, someone, one Melissa Dunphy, has written an opera the libretto of which is the records of the hearing of Alberto Gonzales before Congress. The appearance where he couldn't remember anything. It is, in the little I heard on the web site, quite accomplished, listenable and rather charming.
Also I'm developing a crush on the woman who sings the Alberto part, but that's neither here nor there. I develop a lot of crushes. A few drinks and a good look in the mirror and it goes away.
I digress.

One of the neat things about this production is that the composer, being a little pissed that there was only one woman on the committee questioning him, has switched genders on all the participants. All the male senators' parts are sung by women, and the lone female, who was Senator Feinstein, is sung by a male. It's a delicious conceit.
You can hear segments here:
http://www.gonzalescantata.com/

I can't wait for the original cast recording.
I hope Ms. Dunphy does more of this.

Actually I think Philip Glass should also take up the idea. it wouldn't be as engaging as Ms. Dunphy no doubt would be, but it would actually reflect the atmosphere of a Senate committee hearing more accurately. I'd love it if he did the Sotomajor hearings.

I can already hear the three note turn on "wise Latina woman." He couldn't repeat it more than the Repubicans did.

Oh, latest right wing wacko upset—fear that Obama will indoctrinate school children into socialism with his speech to them this week.
What a bunch of wingnuts. This is all racism at its core. Bill Clinton, even in his unzippered peccadilloes, wasn't treated like this. There are just too many people who are upset that that NEEEGROW is running the country.
The socialism thing is just a camouflage to hide the underlying racism.
So far what I've heard of the speech is basically the usual boilerplate "study hard and be good etc" stuff.
Definitely a hidden socialist message there.

That's as much as i can manage tonight. Both of you, my readers, go find something useful to do.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Kennedy

It's taking me some time to wrap my head around the death of Ted Kennedy.
My political awareness started with John F. Kennedy and the Vietnam War. I still wonder how the Vietnam situation would have gone had John F. lived. But he didn't. And I came into political awareness in the middle of one huge mother of a national conflict. And with the emergence of a Kennedy on the national scene.
So John was killed. Then his brother Bob was taken out by another wacko. Doubly sad because Bobby could have done more to resolve (if that's possible) the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that Sirhan Sirhan was "protesting" by killing him than Nixon did. Ted was there, I didn't think much about him. One got tired of thinking that you NEEDED a Kennedy in government.
And of course he had his problems and was certainly responsible, whether thru confusion or cowardice or drunkenness or a combination thereof, for the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. I think it was only his name that kept him from at least a manslaughter charge.
But surprise. Though he didn't get the wildness under control for another decade, he was all effective politician from the start. Whatever demons drove him early on, he worked hard to dispel their power later. He had a name and position that made him almost invulnerable. He used it to help the most vulnerable. He helped defend the civil rights of all of us, rich or poor. No one in recent memory was as effective as he in bringing sides together and effecting a compromise. And whatever he gave up today, he was back after tomorrow.

I'm remembering another Boston Irish politician of large appetite and girth, who also was an effective leader of his time—Tip O'Neil. And i imagine that political cartoonists feel as deeply the passing of Ted Kennedy as they did the retirement of Mr. O'Neil. Both were lions in the Congress, both were large in appetite, and both fought for the underdog.
What is it about Boston Irish anyway?

Anyway, I bet old Tip passed on good advice and was a role model for Teddy. Ted kennedy will be sorely missed.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Daily Show—health care

Last night's Daily Show (August 20, 2009), had Betsy McCaughey, a woman who works for a medical instrument company of some kind, and who has a vested interest in keeping things the way they are—that is, profitable to the insurance and medical supply companies—and she is the one who has been charged with starting the "death panels" rumor. Of course she never called them death panels—but I haven't heard that she has spoken up to object to that.

Anyway, Stewart fairly eviscerated her. She was reduced to frantically rifling thru the massive volume of the written bill she brought with her to try to find support for her arguments.
It was fruitless. Jon Stewart was able to point out every one of her misconceptions, if that's what they were. Clearly, being a hack for a medical supply company has a negative effect on one's logical capabilities.

I guess I should give her props for having the nerve to come to his show, but that decision may just be a result of the deterioration of the aforementioned logical capabilities. If she really believed what she was saying, she was deluded and ignorant. If she didn't, she was mendacious to an incredible degree.

Speaking of mendacious, let's consider Senator Grassley of Iowa. He may vote against any health care plan because of the feedback he is getting from town meetings. The same town meetings that are being defiled by insurance company hacks who incite people with false rumors so that they forget what America is all about and shout down and refuse to allow serious debate. Also, he has been getting information from the Lewin Group, supposedly a "non-partisan" think tank which is studying health care. The Lewin Group is a wholly-owned subsidiary of United Health Care, 2nd largest health care provider in the US, and of course, a company which profits greatly from the way things are.

In a video clip on the Rachel Maddow show, Sen Grassley, in response to an elderly constituent who confronted him with this information, said "I wasn't aware of that."

Iowans do not have a reputation for stupidity. Sen Grassley is an Iowan. Presumably, then, he is not stupid, especially since he has reached the political position he has. So how could he NOT be aware of what the Lewin group is and whence the information it provides? I'm afraid the only answer is that he is dishonest.

And yet, this is one of the people Barack Obama says is working toward a "bipartisan" resolution of the health care bill situation. I don't figure ol' Barack anymore. He may be a political "idiot savant," counting votes in Congress like Dustin Hoffman counting cards in the casino in "Rain Man," and knowing what he's got at any one moment, or he has some dirt on all those suckers and knows they will toe his line, or he is so desperate for bi-partisan support he is willing to overlook any evidence to the contrary of his desires.

Perhaps he is making a lot of bi-partisan talk now, and ready when the crunch comes, to say the hell with it and get the Democratic majority to get their act together and pass that gddm bill already and hell with the Repubicans.
I hope so.

Have you paid any attention to the expressions on the faces of the Fox news commentators and reporters? In all the clips I have seen, it just looks like they know they are being dishonest and delighting in it. Especially Hannity, the way he sits and tries to look casual.

What weasels.

that's it for tonight.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Not all Democrats roll over and play dead

So I hope everyone could see the link I posted in the previous entry. Barney Frank telling it like it is to a deluded "Obama is a Nazi" character.

Also, 60 democrats in the House said to Obama, "Hey, no public option, no health care bill."

Somebody is finally figuring out that the Repubicans are not going to get all warm and fuzzy and go bi-partisan on us.

They would sooner go bisexual, and given the recent spate of Repubican pubic adventures, that may already have happened.
Not that there is anything wrong with being bisexual, but one shouldn't be a hypocrite about it. THAT is the wrong part.

Democrats have a majority in both houses, they should just go ahead and take care of business. But we still have those so called "Blue Dog" types who are acting like Repubicans, or like Repubicans should act. I suspect they are getting a leetle bit too much campaign money from the health industry. They should wake up and get with the program.

The majority of people in this country are not tin-hatted birthers, and they want affordable health care. Let's go and get it and let the insurance companies sink back into the hell they came from.

Isn't it just amazing how quickly politicians sell themselves out to stay in power? Alas, it's also so predictable.

Barney frank—gotta love him.

This needs no commentary. it's just lovely.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYlZiWK2Iy8

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Un-American Republicans

The latest perfidious Repubican tricks to subvert the elections they cannot win:
Organized disruption of Congressmens' town meetings. There's a script for this which traces back to Bob MacGuffie, a lobbyist associated with "Freedom Works" (irony isn't dead), a lobby with Dick Armey at its head. This plan calls for people to disrupt by shouting out questions, not letting the congressman speak, in general trying to rattle him.

This is not freedom of speech. It is fascism. Brown shirt tactics. It's also an indication of the bankruptcy of Repubican ideals and policies. They want to pretend that they are with the mainstream, this against all evidence to the contrary, and since they can't get legitimate voices to speak for them, they create mobs out of the disaffected, the "birthers', teabaggers and other tin-hatters. This is un-American behavior, and should be condemned as such far and wide.

This is a deep shame and pitiful. Civil discourse doesn't work for them because they have wrong-headed ideas, so they just try to shout down the people who are actually trying to do something.

The whole idea that the health care bill will force the elderly to an earlier death was started by a woman who works for a medical equipment company. In Virginia, Dem. Congressman Tom Perriello got letters from a Hispanic organization and the NAACP which urged him to vote against the "cap and trade" legislation. Problem is they were fake, written by Bonner and Associates, a Republican lobbying firm. Big surprise there.

I can't believe that Republican senators and congressmen are ignorant of all this. Why aren't they speaking out against this perversion and destruction of American democracy?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

"Racist"

I'm still thinking and aggravated by the Sotomayor hearings. All those wingnut Republicans worrying about whether she is a "racist" because she thinks a "wise Latina" can add something to the country's judicial discourse.

And this comes from many in that crowd who were racist themselves long time ago. Hey Jeff Sessions, still think white lawyers are a disgrace to their race for having black clients? Some of these people are influenced by the space cadets over at "C" Street (see Rachel Maddow's shows of the week of July 13th in particular for details) who think that if one of them has been elected to Congress and a position of leadership, it's because God wanted them there and they can do whatever they want. The voters apparently had little to do with it.

The rules the rest of us follow don't apply to them.
Sen. Tom Coburn is one of them. He's been advising John Ensign and the other famous Republican adulterer, Mark Sanborn.
Sen. Coburn, in talking to Sotomayor, responded to something she said with "You got some 'splainin' to do." Quoting Ricky Ricardo of "I Love Lucy" fame. Apparently he doesn't realize there is a difference between a Puerto Rican and a Cuban.
This is typical of the level of ignorance of these people. Anything that falls out of the purview of the Powerful White Male is just incomprehensible to them. They can't figure out why they are being picked on.
"It's discrimination!" they shout. Excuse me. White males controlling finances, wars goods and services—at the expense of everyone else in the country, including other white males who are just trying to make a living but who don't have the power or connections—they are feeling picked on? And they try to make this a rallying cry for white males everywhere.

This unemployed white male ain't buying it.
Really, the middle and lower class white male is just another minority to be used as far as these Powerful White Males are concerned. Those industrialists, senators, bankers etc. They don't really give a sh!te about me or any other person, white, black, male , female, other who isn't part of their privileged world.

I hope Sotomayor kicks ass when she's on the Supreme Court.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Senate on Parade

So the so -called Sonia Sotomayor confirmation hearings are in progress. I say so-called because it seems so far that most of the procedure is to allow Senators the opportunity to ramble on, possibly (or probably) make fools of themselves, to let them show their constituents what they believe, and, incidentally, confirm a new Supreme Court justice.

Rachel Maddow said it was looking like the Jeff Sessions show. Ol' Jeff is a treat. he is really concerned that Sotomayor is a "racist." This from a guy who was denied a judicial appointment years ago because he said a white lawyer was a "disgrace to his race" for having black clients. Also, he was accused of calling a black lawyer "boy." You can see why racism is a particular concern of his. He wants to restrict it to white men, apparently.

Now, yours truly hasn't been watching the whole hearings. They pay people to suffer through these things, nobody pays me. I see the clips and hear the comments, no doubt slanted according to the presenter's racial or social background. Some of them may even be "wise Latina women." God I hope so.

It's almost alarming how foolish the Republicans are looking. I say "almost alarming" because lately it's just a given that Republicans will look foolish. In the absence of anything substantive to criticize Sotomayor over, the Repubes are grabbing onto any statement anywhere that she might have said, in the hope that in her off-the-cuff statements there might be gold. Gold for them to use to deny her a seat on the Court.

So they rattle on about the "wise Latina woman thing" and wonder if her "life experiences" will influence her decisions on the court (no one seems to have gone thru her 17 years of decisions as an appellate court justice to see if there is any evidence of this.) You know, I don't recall if the Repubes were concerned about John Robert's life experiences having an influence on his decisions. I suspect not.

I have had a running joke, a stupid running joke (not that that has ever stopped me) about calling Republicans "Repubicans." Drop the "L" and one has a reference to our "nether regions" as they might have once been called. That's basically where the republicans do their thinking, it seems. Certainly John Ensign and Mark Sanford have exposed the factual underpinnings of my little wordplay.
That's all for now.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Various Irks

Hmm. Seven Democrats from the House Intelligence Committee (there's an oxymoron for you) wrote a letter accusing Leon Panetta of lying when he said the CIA doesn't mislead Congress.

On the one hand, if true, this should be pursued and steps taken to punish people appropriately, even tho this letter-writing smacks of politics as much as it does moral outrage.

On the other hand—what? Are these guys surprised? Of course the CIA lied. It's part of their job. It's no surprise that once you encourage lies, cover-up and deception in one area, like foreign entanglements, that behavior slips over into other areas, like reporting truthfully to those who theoretically are monitoring the behavior.
A practice performed often enough becomes a habit, and the habit becomes hard to break.

Rep. Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania, Iraq war veteran, has started a movement in Congress to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." I saw him on yesterday's Rachel Maddow show
(http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#31808171) and he was quite impressive. He's fairly conservative and straight, if that matters, and he's determined to get this passed. He made a good case for Obama NOT making an executive order to stop "Don't Ask", saying Congress passed the law and it was the responsibility of Congress to repeal it.
He also said that when you're patrolling an Iraqi street, you don't care about the people with you being straight or gay. You care about if they can shoot their weapons and act accordingly under fire.

Even tho he wants Congress, not Obama, to put a stop to "Don't ask," I still wish that Obama would say more than just he'd sign the bill if it came to his desk. I'd like to hear him being more forceful in speaking to Congress and the nation about it.

And what's with the continuation of Bush policies around secrecy? Transparent government? Only in selected areas it seems. Most be some kind of virus or mold there in the White house that causes Presidents to turn away from openness to secrecy. Yeah, you need some, but it seems like President Obama is being more like George Bush and less like Candidate Obama around this issue.
And don't let me get started on Guantanamo and military commissions to judge prisoners there.

There is a pertinent and thoughtful article by Jennifer Pozner on the NPR site about Sarah Palin and how the media treats her.
(http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=106384060)
She's referring to the comments relating to her femaleness, not ethics or politics. All the talk about clothes, her attractiveness, is she going thru post-partum depression, yadda yadda. The usual guy talk about an "uppity" woman.
And there were and are so many substantive political issues one could go after her about. Of course that would be treating her (giving her the same respect) like a man.

I think I'm a little sorry about this resignation. I think her tenure in office would not have helped her political aspirations, and been a further drag on Republican efforts to regain the White House.
Now she's free from the possibility of doing a bad job as governor. Her quitting in itself will be an issue, of course, but she does learn a little from mistakes. No more posing in front of the turkey slaughter. Now she's in waders and going fishing, and looking competent and pretty much "one-of us"ish. Even I was thinking yeah I'd like to be there too. But then maybe that was my love of fishing clouding my judgement.
Positive images. If she can keep that up for another three years…

Nah. She'd still lose.

I'm outa here, bye.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The madness continues

Gov. Mark Sanford now has the distinction of adding a new phrase to the American language. "Hiking in Appalachia" in now officially a synonym for cheating on one's spouse, according to the Urban Dictionary.
His original embarrassing news conference was bad enough, but then he went on to do more interviews (WHAT is that man smoking?) and talked about his "soul mate" and the "love story."
Too often a guy gets a stirring in his crotch and thinks its a stirring in his heart.
I spared myself listening to the whole thing. Just the excerpts were bad enough. The man is having a serious mental crisis.
His wife is looking good. She's not having anything to do with the usual "wife standing by philandering politician husband" routine. Didn't see her at the news conference. She had the guts to throw the bum out even before he went "to Appalachia." She's standing on her beliefs. The Repubs ought to look to her for their standard-bearer in 2012. She's got to be better than the other female possibility. You know who I mean.

The other possibility, dear Sarah Palin, has decided to resign her governorship. What is she up to? all the pundits are wondering. Has she had it with the ridicule, and wants to just hang out with the family? Is she going to go around drumming up support for a presidential bid in 2012? If she really has presidential ambitions this doesn't look like a good way to realize them.

Perhaps she just wants to catch up on her reading of all those publications, you know, "all of them, any that were put in front of me." Then she could go back to Katie Couric and say "Newsweek! Time! Utne Reader!" (well, maybe not that one) and prove she really does read.

Maybe she's been "hiking in Appalachia" (or maybe Todd has) and wants to get out before the media firestorm hits. Or the strain of running for VP is finally getting to her. All that traveling with the sneers of the McCain operatives, the interviews, the 100,000 (or was it 300,000) dollar wardrobe (o Sarah, I still remember you in those boots—mmmm), the pressure.

Stay tuned.

In the meantime—HEY OBAMA— when are you going to end "don't ask, don't tell" already?
We're waaaiiiting.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

When will they learn?

When oh when, sweet Jesus, will politicians learn that their power and influence is supposed to be for the good of the people, and not for the satisfaction of their lusts? Now comes Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, following Senator John Ensign down the "follow your Willie" trail. It's starting to really get sad watching all these stalwart "family values" guys sink in the morass of their own hypocrisy. Of course they deserve it, but the disgrace they bring to my sex overrides any pleasure I could get from seeing right-wing Republicans crash and burn.

John Ensign not only had an affair, he had his mistress and her son on the party payroll. Surely there are criminal charges which should be applied here.

Mark Sanford wasn't home on Father's Day, he was in Argentina doing the horizontal tango with his girlfriend. I was all shocked that he wasn't home for his kids until I found out his wife kicked him out two weeks ago. So at least he has an excuse for not being there on Father's day, tho it is a really crappy excuse.

He doesn't have an excuse for adultery, and especially he doesn't have an excuse for abandoning his duties without putting anyone in charge, without letting anyone have a way to reach him if there was an emergency. And he tried to lie about it when he got home. If someone hadn't sent some emails which he'd written (he has a real romantic streak)to the newspaper, he'd have kept on lying. If I were a resident of South Carolina I'd be gathering signatures for impeachment, and maybe agitating for some kind of criminal charge for his dereliction of duty .

And you know, he didn't look so hot at that press conference. Granted it was a stressful time, but he rambled on in a way which suggest a different kind of mental turmoil beyond the shock of being found out, especially in light of his weird disappearance. He might want to spend some time taking a rest in a special "home."

It's gotta be hard for those moralistic right-wing Christians who tout vigorously their so-called "family values." I hope so. Ensign and Sanford have done more damage to the institution of marriage than a legion of gay and lesbian marrieds could ever do.

The wingnut Fox commentators are already trying damage control, pathetic as it is. Rush Limbaugh already said that Sanford's problems were Obama's fault. Apparently, according to ol' Rush, because Sanford was depressed at having federal stimulus money forced on him (Sanford only wanted a particular kind of South American"stimulus.") so that's why he acted so erratically. Oy vey. Is there no idiocy Limbaugh will not stoop to? Geez, I'm waiting and praying for the gov't. to force some stimulus funds on me. Please, Obama, make me take some money and depress me!

If I had some of that U.S.A. stimulus then maybe I, too, could afford some of the Argentinian kind.

Good night.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Revolution

I saw a very touching video segment on the Rachel Maddow Show. People in Iran yelling from one rooftop to another, at night, "Allah Akbar—"God is Great") to show their opposition to the phony Iranian election.

The video, I think a cell phone movie, of course was smuggled out via the internet, as the authorities have done everything they can to keep information from escaping, not only to the outside, but to other Iranians.
At last the internet is actually providing a significant service to human development—as opposed to being a vehicle for computer games, pron, illicit music downloads and my cat photos.

The old radical in me is really stirred by this example of resistance to the ruling class.

So what's the biggest problem in your life tonight, eh?

Oh, if we could have had something like this in this country in 2000, how different the world would be today.

In the meantime, the Obamarama is still waffling on the "Don't ask, don't tell" thing. Now, the GLBT spouses, or significant others, of federal employees are eligible for the same benefits as federal heterosexual significant others. An advancement in human evolution, but not the biggest one that could be taken.
Getting relocation allowances is not the same as having your marriage recognized as legitimate.

Where is the repeal of "Don't ask, don't tell" we were expecting? Why is the Obama Justice Department defending the so-called "marriage protection" law?
What is this "marriage protection"?

I was just at my daughter's marriage. She didn't need any protection for her marriage. The ability of gay people in massachusetts to marry didn't disuade her from taking the vows with her BOYfriend. I didn't see that she needed any "protection."

This whole foofaraw around marriage is just annoying and I wish I could ignore it. But people I love are involved. I have a good gay male friend, someone whose presence made working in a place I didn't really like bearable, and a wonderful lesbian minister and friend who has meant a lot to my life in the last few years.
I will defend their right to live their lives as they see fit without interference from obsessional, deluded people who feel that they have the only way to truth and to God.

I've said before, it's funny (as in "odd" not as in humorous) that the biggest concern of right-wing Christians is with sexual issues, while Jesus himself said so little about that, but boy, did he talk about the evils of riches. Ask your local evangelist if he (it most likely will be a "he") preaches more about sex or about riches and see what answer you get.

My reading of the New Testament suggests that Jesus was concerned about people's attachment to worldly things, and certainly an obsession with sex would fall into that category, but he saw that the biggest obstacle to humanity was it's attachment to worldly wealth.

As John Ensign, John Edwards and Elliot Spitzer can attest, sex is more likely to bring you down than illicit monetary gain, or political chicanery, at least in this country.
And the reason for that is that we, the collective "we" of the US of A, feel that you should be loyal to your spouse, and to your constituents (if you can't be good sexually how can you be good governmentally?)

Geez, so much hypocrisy and so little time to complain about it. I'm not getting any younger…



Jesus was a Socialist.
Get over it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Twitter, the ever-ripe Republicans, Sotomayor and torture

Ah humanity. The variety and richness of your idiocy.
God, WHAT were you THINKING?—
when you created us. Are we your comic relief on those days of rest?
Are we a "beta" version?
Humanity 1.1?
I eagerly await version 2.0.
You got something more important going on in some other part of the universe?
Or what?

I'll have questions for Him, you betcha.

Anyway…

All kinds of upheaval going on in Iran. And the usual news organizations have been warned to keep their reporters away. So how are we going to find out what is going on there?
The answer, God help us, is Twitter!
Someone said "the revolution will come in 140 characters or less."
I wish it had been me.
As it turns out, all those internet activities which are so much fun to satirize and laugh at, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, are providing a window into the activities in Iran. Real news is coming to the world thru these vehicles. Who'da thunk it?
When the State Department asks Twitter to delay scheduled maintenance so they can keep getting news from Iran, you know something is happening here, don't you Mr. jones?

This is my official apology for my disdain.
I still don't think I need a lot of "friends" on Facebook or to have people "following" me on Twitter. But I will admit to the utility of those services.
And cell phones with cameras. Isn't it amazing? One wonders how the American revolution would have gone with those vehicles available at that time?
Somebody who actually knows how to write could make a novel out of this. Philip K. Dick, where are you?

And Republicans, ever ripe for mockery, ever ready to look foolish. Where do these people come from? Where to start?
Sotomajor. Ohh, this Latina is really screwing with the Repubs minds. Is she mean? Dear God, we can't have a mean Supreme Court Justice. Lindsy Graham of South Carolina is really concerned about this. Oh, but we don't want someone who is too "empathetic." Can't have someone who is soft on criminals, but she shouldn't be mean, either.

She's been making the rounds at the Senate, meeting with Senators so they can see she doesn't have horns and a forked tail. Only thing, I see a photo of her meeting with Senator Michael Crapo (now there's a name to conjure with), R-Idaho.
And she's wearing pants.
Omigod, she's wearing pants in an Idaho Republican's office? Doesn't she know she should look like a "lady?" He may think she really is mean, wearing pants and all.

There's been so much FUD (fear, uncertainty and disinformation) coming from the Repubs about this—she's mean, she's empathetic, she'll have a "Latina" perspective on the law (like Scalia doesn't have a Catholic perspective? He is Catholic, after all).And she has so many decisions to analyze for those devilish details that the Republicans need more time to read them all.
Oh, and she belongs to a "females only" judicial group. Horrors. This is disturbing news to the "Skull and Bones" crowd.

And more torture mems and other documents have been released, without the redactions of previous releases. I love that word "redacted." So much nicer than "censored."
Anyway, it seems that Khalid Sheikh Muhammed had said (redacted in an earlier released version) that he made up stories under torture. He said he didn't know where Osama was, they tortured him a while, and he made up somewhere where Osama could be. Of course one has to ask if he was lying under torture or lying for this deposition, but it still knocks a hole in Mr. Darth Cheney's assertion that torture got us useful information. Ol' Khalid, by the gov'ts. own admission, was waterboarded 6 times a day for a month. I already said somewhere on this blog that I would have implicated everyone I know under that kind of treatment—probably by the second waterboarding of the first day. Sorry friends, relatives, minister—you'd all be toast.

Fear, uncertainty and doubt. Those who use these means of control inevitably fall victim to them.

Oy.
It's quarter past midnight. I'm going to bed.
Hopefully, I won't have Republican nightmares.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Where was I?

I've been on hiatus.
Actually, my older daughter got married, on the island of Vieques no less, and from the build-up to the event to the aftermath of the event, I have been in a cloud of anticipation, joy, and let-down at having to return to normal life.

It doesn't matter if one has come of age in the 60's when "free love" was where it was at, and it doesn't matter that one's daughter has been living with the groom for the last 9 years and "friends" with him for 14—when one walks said daughter down the aisle to the ceremony all the usual and wonderful feelings of something special happening come washing in and overwhelming one.
It was a joyous ceremony and I had a wonderful time on Vieques. It's hard to get back to the everyday ordinary gripe and angst one usually lives with. There were warm seas, sunny beaches, beautiful women (alas all too young for me) good food, great climate and dancing.
What's a curmudgeon to do?
I'm not used to being so happy.
Best vacation I ever had.

But then I come back and what do I find?
MORE IDIOCY!

Mostly Republican idiocy.
But, sadly, the Obamarama is also making a contribution to this category. I don't know what it is with him. So bold during his campaign, now he looks like Bush dark.
(OK, bad joke.)
I think Obama is going to be a great president, eventually, but he is really not looking all that good lately.

Guantamano? Still open, and geez, we can't have those terrorists in the US. Just ignore those guys who bombed the US embassy in Kenya, who were tried and convicted in the US and currently reside at taxpayer expense in one of our better prisons. Doesn't seem to be a problem so far.

But the Repubs don't want them in their neighborhood correctional institutions. Could be a danger.
And then there are those who are innocent, like the Uigurs. What to do? The Uigur community in the US wants them, but the Gov't. can't bring themselves to let innocent victims of the Bush Inquisition into the country. So it seems like we're giving money to the nation of Palau (where? who?) to take them. There any Uigurs in Palau?

Then we have "Don't ask, don't tell." 15 guys fluent in middle eastern languages are dumped from the service for open gayness. Brave and useful soldiers are kicked out of the service and what is the Obama doing about it? So far the defender of gay soldiers has been silent. And he's not overturned Bush secretiveness in spite of a pledge to do so. Actually being in charge is a little different from being on the outside and criticizing, isn't it?
"Uh, maybe we ought not to release those photos. they could be inflammatory …and… etc."
"Uh, maybe ought not to releaes those Uigurs in the US…and…we need to find prisons somewhere else to take the guilty guys." Etcetery, etcetery, etcetery.
C'mon Barack! Lead already!
Stop throwing money around and get down to business!

Then the Repubicans.
Actually I enjoyed bitching about Obama for a while. It was different. The Repubicans are getting boring. Same old, same old.
Mitch McConnell is still making a fool of himself publicly. Lately it's "the Dems are rushing the nomination of Sotomajor." Baloney. As Rachel Maddow pointed out, 45 days from nomination to Senate consideration is about average.
Doesn't stop the Republican obfuscation and obstruction. Still kowtowing to the Limburger. I mean, Limbaugh. Either way, smells.
Still opposing everything the Obama does. No matter how trivial.

And Cheney still going around the country fear mongering. And his daughter (the straight one, not the gay one) with him. He thinks he can talk his legacy into legitimacy.
I don't think it's going to work.

The Repubicans are so pathetic.
Bad cess to them.

I'm going to bed.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Various rants

Oh, that torture thing just won't go away.
Dick "the dick" Cheney is going all over the place (North Dakota! He really wants all 156 people who still live there on his side.) (Yes, I know more than 156 people live in North Dakota. There are probably several hundred in Fargo, alone. Really alone.)

Though he doesn't mention this specifically, he's still maintaining that waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed 183 times led to important information. More than if they'd only tortured him, say, 97 times. Must be one tough somabitch to last 183 waterboardings before spilling his guts.
Me, I would have implicated my sister, nephews and nieces and minister and best friends after, oh, maybe fifty or so.
More likely three or so.
And Abu Zubayduh, 83 times.
Ol' Khalid and Abu are not exemplarary human beings by any measure—unless you think planning the deaths of thousands is exemplarary. But is what we have been doing really the way we want to act as Americans? And as the Conservatives maintain, a "Christian" nation. Christian indeed.
I guess it's a good thing for those money-changers in the temple that Jesus didn't know about waterboarding, or they would really have been in for a world of hurt.

Which, incidentally, brings me to Dan Choi, an Iraq vet, West Point graduate Arabic speaking soldier and platoon leader, who is being kicked out of the Army Nat'l. Guard because he spoke up about being gay. Maybe no one asked, but he told.
Gasp.
The man clearly has the qualifications needed to be one of the best soldiers and officers that can be, yet he is being kicked out for being open about his sexual identity. We have so many Arabic speaking soldiers I guess we can lose a few.
Quote of the day, yesterday, from Jon Stewart, speaking of how Dan Choi, one of 54 Arabic speaking gay service people, was kicked out of the service—"It was okay to waterboard someone over 80 times but God forbid the guy who could understand what that prick was saying should have a boyfriend."

What else?—the Pope went to the middle east to promote peace. Still waiting to see if it worked. I suspect he's found out that no matter what you do there you're doing something wrong. What a mess that place is, and the West has had a big hand in contributing to mess, with it's colonialism and anti-Semitism (which extended to all Semites, not just the Jewish ones.) Jerusalem— three major religions have a claim on the place and none of them want to let the others have any. I'd like to clear everyone out and turn it over to the Buddhists. Or maybe level it and let the Disney people build a theme park on the site. It would be the first time in centuries the place brought happiness to people.
Shallow happiness, but still…

Speaking of religion, NOT. "Angels and Demons" is in the theaters. I haven't seen it yet. I like what A.O. Scott said in the New York Times about "The Da Vinci Code" offending his faith—in the English language. I'm not the only one who thinks Dan Brown is an execrable writer. I only read the "Code" all the way thru to see how he was going to wrap up that mess he started, wincing on every page at the quality (not) of his writing. Anyway Scott said he enjoyed "Angels and Demons" more because he hadn't read the book. Still, it isn't that good, except as mindless entertainment.
But so much of our manufactured life is mindless entertainment.

Whoops. Started to inflict some pop-philosophy on you there. Sorry.
Guess it's time to log off.
Go be useful somewhere.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I'm collecting stuff

Stuff like this quote from George Carlin: "The best thing about getting old is you're not responsible for remembering things anymore."

Works for me.

Also took this screen shot from the Rachel Maddow Show:









"the Dick" Cheney as Darth Vader.
An old joke by now but ever relevant.
This guy is something else. He is definitely the supreme example of someone who never will admit, or even consider, that he was, and is, wrong.

He seems to be taking his traveling Medicine Show around the country to friendly venues anywhere, (North Dakota?) where he might find some sympathetic response.

Waterboarding? Well, we only did it a little bit (183 times in one month to one guy).
And Obama is making the country less safe by not being the hard ass we were.
I mean, he's acting like a real American, with values and all that weak-kneed stuff.

Mr. Silence is now "Mr. Can't Shut Up." Go back to your underground bunker, Dick, we don't need you. Even Repubicans don't need you—you just remind everyone of the terrible botch-up your administration was.

Not that the Obama administration has been an unbridled joy—there is the problem of those pesky military tribunals, among others—but it is a model of probity and sanity in comparison to the recent past. And besides, we don't really want anyone to be perfect.

God knows what I'd do with my time if I didn't have someone in the Government to bitch about…

Besides, as a rule we humans don't really go for perfection all that much. It's one reason we keep God (and Jesus and Buddha and Allah and the rest of that deity crowd) at arm's length. To emulate them we'd have to give up too much. Being perfect is hard work—I'm here to tell you. It's a struggle every day, and I don't get no sympathy.

Now I got myself all depressed. I'm going to go cry myself to sleep.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I'm mad as hell and I'm gonna secede!

The Repubicans are SUCH sore losers. Can you believe it? Now a poll shows that 24% think their state would be better off not being part of America.
Geez.
Just when you think you've seen the nadir of stupidity already, something new comes up. Surely the variety of stupidities in this world is inexhaustible. Secede? What are they thinking? We went through this already about a hundred and fifty years ago.
I'm getting (non-drug induced) flashbacks to the sixties when many of my age group left the country rather than go to Vietnam. Of course they were facing going to risk their lives for something in which they did not believe. Still, they left, and I wish they hadn't.

But these disaffected Republicans aren't being asked to do anything any more onerous than living in a country where the President is from another party—something many of us have been doing for the last eight years, without thinking about secession.

I live in Massachusetts, a state which is essentially the epitome of and the very touchstone of the liberal way of thought, the Holy Grail home of left-leaning socialist commie knee-jerkers (ever have your knee jerked? It's painful), the veritable Elysian Fields of liberalism—and we never said we wanted to leave the US of A. Not 24% of us anyway.
But hey, you can always find malcontents if you look hard enough.

No, we didn't want to cut and run like those lily-livered Repubicans. Leave the country? Secede? Not in our DNA.

We wanted to stay and PLAN OUR REVENGE! BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA!


And now we have it.
It's imperfect,but it is here.

We still have to get Obama off this "don't look back" thing he's got going. I know he thinks it's somehow more honorable to not go after his predecessor and minions for war crimes and general malfeasance, but he's wrong. We need some closure here, and it won't come from letting "the Dick" Cheney run his mouth in his strip-mall office.

As long as I'm on a roll here—did you know this was the "National Day of Prayer?"

Somewhere along the line the idea of separation for state and church got muddled. Our forefathers, those guys the Repubicans and conservative "Christians" like to bring up all the time, definitely wanted to KEEP THE GOVERNMENT OUT OF THE RELIGION BUSINESS.
Most of them were Deists, which means they believed in a God who may have set the ball rolling but was staying out of the way as we tried to avoid getting run over by said ball.
They didn't want anyone forcing anyone else to believe in a certain vision of God or a certain church, or a certain way of avoiding that ball of inexorable history.

But there are always people who don't get it. There are people who live in fear of going to hell if they don't do things just right, believe in the right way, and also do their best to make others believe the same way they do. And some of them don't have any problems throwing insults into their demands.
One Wendy Wright of the (so-called) "Concerned Women for America," said tha Barack Obama should have done more to commemorate this day even tho he himself "may have problems believing in the Christian faith."
What an asshat. Bringing up surreptitiously the "Obama is a secret Muslim" slander.
So much for Christian charity.

I have more but it's getting late.
Goodnight, you two, or three.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Aren't Repubicans fun?

Ah life—so many occasions for humor.
The so-called "moderate" Republicans had a pizza party in one of their efforts to try to become "more relevant." I hear the pizza, at least, was good. The "National Council for a New America"
led by Jeb "brother of U-No-Hu" Bush, George "Haircut" Romney, and Eric "Mad Dog" Cantor.
New America indeed.
A pizza party. How the mighty have fallen.
And this is the wing of the Repubican party (for some reason I keep leaving off the "L") which considers itself moderate and a hope for the future.
Now i really don't have a jones against Jeb Bush, supposedly the smarter brother, or Eric Cantor (just doing his job, ma'am) or even, well, maybe a little bit, against George Romney. He does have an impressive haircut.

But these guys are going nowhere with people like Mitch McConnell running the Repubican side of the Senate. He is leading the defense of the corporations who are evading taxes by setting up phony headquarters in the places like the Cayman Islands. He says any action to force these scofflaws to pay taxes is "a significant tax increase on companies."
He means actually making them pay what they owe is an increase?
Well, we can't expect much better from McConnell. He is a lying s.o.b. who is whoring for the business interests of this country. You can see it in his face at news conferences. He may actually believe what he says, but the untruths are eating him away inside anyway.

What really gets me, is, that after seeing photos of the Cayman Islands and the seven-mile-long beach, etc., I can't figure out why companies don't actually set up their headquarters there. I mean, really, a tropical island where you can live and work without the pain of winter in Chicago, Boston, New York, or any season in Houston, Texas—and these asshats just use it for a post-office box address?
Gimmee a break.

I guaranteee you, if I were CEO of a company that made enough money that it needed to set up a phony address in the Cayman Islands to pay taxes, I damn well would turn it into a legitimate address. Really. Beaches, tropical weather, distance from all the a-holes who want to make life difficult for you—WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?

Go figure.

And if anyone wonders why I dare call McConnell a lying s.o.b.—
first—I don't think he can risk defending himself in a court of law
second—who am I for him to care about
third—man, if he went after me wouldn't it be a boost for my blog?
I mean, now, my only readers are a comic book artist, a crazy poetess in the Berkshires, and an obsessive-compulsive-disorder computer geek in the Albany area—maybe.
There may be a Lesbian minister in the mix somewhere.
These people read me once in a while.
Sometimes.
On occasion.
Like the way I blog.
I have aspirations for the big time. Also, I never say anything I don't believe, unless it's clearly in humor.
And I am ready to sell out. Procter and Gamble, Toyota, Hersheys—give me a call. My people (i.e. me) are ready to talk to your people.

Good night all.
Aren't you sorry you weren't doing something more productive?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Torture

Torture for me is finding out how much our former administration has sullied the American image with their secrecy and "advanced interrogation techniques."
Actually America's image is the least of it. Real harm was caused to people who may actually be innocent. Are they innocent? At this point it may be too late to actually discover the truth. I think I would be tempted to join Al Qaeda if I had been waterboarded, even if I had no interest in the organization previously. That would make me guilty, wouldn't it?

And now there are declassified memos which show just how far we have sunk, how far people who should know better have betrayed their own humanity. John Woo, are you listening?

During the Bush administration, Dick Cheney (maybe we should call him "the Dick") was so close-mouthed you couldn't even get a "Good morning" out of him. Oh he might admit it was morning because the sun was shining on everyone, but he sure wouldn't say "good," because that would let you know what he was thinking.

That was when he was Vice-President.

Now, however, you can't get the guy to shut up (no matter how much you may want it.)
He is criticizing the Obama administration right and left, and recently called for the declassification of memos he says will show we actually got good info out of the torture we committed.
How many times did they waterboard Khalib Sheikh Muhammed? 183 in a month? At least 6 times a day? The first 182, nada, but the 183rd?—golden! Right. I really believe that.
So probably around, oh, 103, he actually said something that was more than falsely betraying his mother, father, sister, pet lamb and best friend as terrorists, just to try to stop the torture. What could it have been? Could it really have been something which was useful in any concrete way? The mention of a safehouse? A revelation of some plan still in the "hey, wouldn't it be a good idea" stage? I wanna know. And when I find out I will still say it wasn't worth it.
I'm doubting Thomas. You want me to believe torture works? Show me the nail holes and the spear wound in the side. Jesus convinced Thomas but I don't think Cheney is going to convince me, nor will he convince a lot of other people.
He's trying to protect his own sorry ass from prosecution. He is also just goddam sure he is right and the Constitution, International Law, and the opinion of Jesus Christ don't matter.
Now, I know some people who don't pay much attention to the opinion of JC, but they do believe in the Constitution and International Law (which, ironically, are informed by the preachings of the aforementioned JC).
Dick Cheney believes in the law of Dick Cheney.
It's not very Christian or forgiving of me, but I want to see that mthrfkr tried, convicted, jailed and humiliated. And I wouldn't mind seeing his puppet President in the cell along with him.

One of Obama's failings is that he is so concerned with moving forward that he feels that paying due attention to the past will be counterproductive. He's wrong. I don't really want to see our nation's former leaders in jail—what I wrote above is just raw anger unmitigated by reason—but I do want them to see that the majority of their fellow citizens condemn their philosophy and actions. I want to see an end to their "History will vindicate us" fantasy.

I would really like to see them on their knees begging for forgiveness, but I'm not thinking I'll be living that long.

Rachel Maddow had a Col. lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Colin Powell for a period of time, on her program last week. He opined that Dick Cheney is a man who "frightens easily" "lives on fear, and he is a fearful man." Col. Wilkerson said that other countries have had to go thru proportionately worse incidences of terrorism than us, as bad as 9/11 was, and the level of fear in those countries was not as great as the level created by our own administration.

The Pentagon had been told that torture was not a reliable method to get good information, that what you get is someone who is just trying to stop the pain. The USA had prosecuted Japanese officials after World War II, who approved and used waterboarding, as being "torturers."

Excuse me, if those furriner slant-eyes do it it's torture, but if upstanding white Americans with "straight eyes" do it, it's a legal method of getting information?

Is there a bucket I can throw up in?

On that cheerful note I will end. I'll not mention the swine flu and the failure of our elected representatives to provide funding for pandemic preparation.
I don't want to drive anyone to drink. I can take care of that for you.
Just one of the services I provide.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Beauty good, homely bad.

Everyone is agog lately over the Susan Boyle video on YouTube. This dowdy, unmade up, steel wool hairdo, 47 yr old in her (British equivalent of) Sears Roebuck dress comes out to a sneering audience and unbowed and unafraid knocks their socks off with her wonderful voice and singing talent (they don't always go together.)

The first link I saw was on my Macintosh forum and the post was entitled "A grown man cried." And I have heard over and over again at how emotional people got at seeing this nobody come out and show the world her stuff to such great acclaim.
The incredulity of the judges, the sneers of the audience, the seeming ridiculousness of her desire—all swept away with a sudden "Wow! This is great!" realization.
It is truly inspiring. Even your curmudgeon got a little damp around the eyeballs and had to put aside his natural cynicism while watching that video—for a while at least. No cynicism for Ms. Boyle—she has got the goods and can deliver. But I wonder at what our reactions show about us, about our inability to separate appearance from reality. I have questions.

Honestly now, if it had been that blond judge (I didn't get her name but if anybody knows her phone number…) who came out and sang like that, would we have reacted the same way? Sure we'd applaud talent, but would those great fuzzy warm feelings from seeing someone defy expectations successfully have been there?
And doesn't this all show how we are all in thrall to the idea of visual beauty and its inherent superiority to plainness? That we still expect frumpy to be frumpy to the core and have no redeeming values? Why did everyone in that audience have this "Oh, god now what?" reaction to her appearance and desire to be a professional singer? Now I didn't, but then I was forewarned by the post and the article it linked to before I saw the video, so I cannot claim any superiority of vision here (darn it). Would they have greeted the blond with that same skepticism?
The feeling I noticed in myself, which I find a little discomfiting, was that somehow the approval of the blond judge made it all seem so much better. There she was with her beauty, decolletage and shiny cheeks (flushed with excitement or perhaps a stray tear of joy?) smiling and surprised and approving. And I wonder, did it all make the whole thing seem so much cooler because the cool dame loved the uncool dame? Would the video (and it was well-constructed for maximum effect) have been as effective if that woman looked like, oh, Eleanor Roosevelt for instance? I'm speaking as a male, I mean. I won't speak for the females among my readership.

Such as it is.

One of the two of you.

This event has a lot for people to think about in terms of their expectations, world view and prejudices. I like that the good-looking judge said "It was the biggest wake-up call ever."
That was true, but it shouldn't have been needed, for all of us.
But for the moment, for her, there was revelation. I hope it lasts.