Friday, February 26, 2010

Rush, Racism and the Really Toxic Stuff

Another day, another glaring example of the shameless racism of Rush Limbaugh. I had a whole blogpost in mind when I read this. I was going to write about how Rush and the other glorious leaders of the right have these narrow definitions of how black people are supposed to behave and they are happy to point out where black people disappoint and when you object to their arrogance and privilege then it's YOU who's race baiting. There are, not for nothing, similar rules for women. I was going to bloviate a bit on how it doesn't seem like there's a single elected Republican official out there with the stones to call Rush out on it (the dems my have earned their reputation as pussies, but at least they don't bow done before the alter of someone as vile as Rush Limbaugh).

But then today I was driving home from work and listening to EJ Dionne and David Brooks talking about Health Care Summit 2010! The Musical! At the end of their discussion, the moderator asks David Brooks to sort of sum up his thoughts and he says that he thinks it's going to end up well for the Republicans since blah blah blah they'll probably take the house back in 2012. And it hit me that Rush's retarded racism isn't what really matters. The only people who take his race baiting nonsense seriously are other racist retards and they'd rally around a dirty sock if it validated their own racism. So, who cares?

What's really the problem is that the "serious" journalists out there are only interested in the horse race. David Brooks feels no compunction to talk about the policy proposals, the truths and lies of the opposing sides. He takes no responsibility to weigh in honestly on what's been said. To him, ALL that matters is who wins.

And so here we are, Us vs, Them. Which leaves Representative Tanny Boehner and Senator McConnell free to spew their lies about nuclear options and tyranny and socialism because to David Brooks, et al, "Hey! Who are We to Argue with a Winning Strategy."

There's stuff to complain about with Barack Obama. But, sheesh, at least he's got the smarts to swat down their nonsense since we can't expect a pundit to.

By the way, guess who's going to be on Meet the Press on Sunday? All by himself? For the whole show? President John McCain!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Filled With Rage

Look, I know that rage is overrated and counterproductive. But I can't help it. This ACORN thing has filled me with rage and if I don't write it down, I might quite possible explode.

Driving home tonight, listening to NPR, I heard a story about how ACORN was disbanding after "controversial videos that showed ACORN workers advising a couple who were posing as a pimp and a prostitute." I suppose it is too much to ask that NPR note that the videos were doctored, that that ruthless little cuss James O'Keefe NEVER entered an ACORN office in that ridiculous outfit and that the makers of that little wingnut porno weren't even above dubbing in voice-overs.

And now, ACORN, an organization whose mission was to organize low-to-moderate income people because they shockingly believe that those people are the best advocates for their own communities, has been run out of business. And now, thanks to that rotten liar Andrew Breitbart and his nasty little minion James O'Keefe, ACORN now stands for "shiftless negroes who are taking your stuff away;" a toxic little pot that people have been stirring in this country since 1865.

And how did this happen? How did a video so obviously amateurishly doctored, so ludicrous and nonsensical make it onto CNN and the New York Times without a single responsible journalist saying "hmmmm, this looks fishy, perhaps we should engage in that quaint thing we used to do... whaddya call it? Reporting?" It happened because of all the scores of successful dishonest branding coups of the right wing, the most insidious, pervasive and flat out dangerous is that of the "liberal media." And yet, no matter how obviously false the branding is, this doesn't stop the media sources that should know better from flailing their arms and screaming, "Hey, Rush! Glen! Lookit! I PINKY SWEAR PROMISE we're not liberal. Watch! Watch me punch a hippie!"

And what happens? The silly, stupid purveyors of this right-wing crap sit their lately unemployed asses back and decide that the reason they don't have a job and healthcare costs eat up what little money they have and they're scared and worried about the future is because of ACORN. And while they're whining about czars and socialism and tyranny (tyranny, for god's sake), the banks and the health insurance companies suck the last pennies out of their pockets.

And ACORN, an organization that may have been poorly managed but which, nevertheless, did good and important work folds.

So, yeah, I'm filled with rage.

If you have a mind, and aren't worried about how filled with rage you'll be, I suggest you read this which outlines exactly how just shitty the behavior of James O'Keefe was. Alternatively, this is a somewhat less rage-inducing (but still depressing) overview of what happened.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Public Option Pitch

Do you guys know what the term "public option" means? It's not exactly the kind of labeling that'll set the world on fire. If Republicans were for it, they'd call it the "Freedom Option." I'm not even kidding about that. In a year or so I bet the RNC tries to trademark the word.

If you want to watch 2 minute video, here's a nice explanation:

If you're like me and you'd rather read something, I googled around and I think this guy explains it pretty well:

[It's] a government-run health insurance plan, like Medicare, that would compete along side private insurers in a new Health Insurance Exchange that the bill would set up. The exchange is basically a place where people who aren’t on Medicare or Medicaid and don’t have insurance through their employers would go to comparison shop for a health plan. One of the plans available on the exchange would be the public option. Like all plans on the exchange, the public plan would have to meet certain minimum standards for care – minimum services that must be covered, mental health benefits parity, a fair grievance and appeals mechanism, etc.

So, the public option was dead. Killed by politicking. And somehow it's come roaring back to life. And, at the risk of going all liberal blogger on you, you have a choice: get involved or bitch about do nothing democrats over cocktails. But the thing is, if healthcare reform goes tits up, and you couldn't even be bothered to pick up a phone and make a call (and this is coming from a woman who HATES the telephone) you don't get to pin the blame on Barack Obama or Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi. We all share the blame.

So, sack up, join the Million Voices Virtual March on Feb 24th. Call your goddamn senator and when the staffer picks up the phone say "I'm one of Senator Fartypants constituents and I'm calling to strongly urge him to fix healthcare reform through reconciliation. I am in full support of the public option." Senator Fartypants staffer may go so far as to ask for your zip code, but will probably just say "I'll let him know."

This. Shit. Works. It's a lot of fun to sit around over cocktails and bitch about ineffective government. And it's a lot of fun to write blogposts about it that four people read. But all four of you can spare 3 minutes out of your busy day on Feb. 24th to make the call.

And if you don't, well, you deserve Senator Fartypants, don't you?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Why It's Not Pitiful To Spend Your Whole Day Looking Forward to Watching Lost on Hulu

Oh, you guys, it's getting to the point where I'm spending most of my days looking forward to the last waking hour and a half of the day because that's when I have a drink and watch Lost. This makes it sound like I have a really miserable life. Like, I'm walking around, groaning, thinking "8 hours to bourbon and Lost!" Which, well, sometimes, I am. But, that doesn't mean I'm not a generally cheery person. Like, at work, I'm getting BEAT UP with support requests. Every hour something else pops into my in box. But one of the benefits of doing the same job for ten years is that I can handle almost all of them, and the ones I can't I know who to ask. Besides almost all my customers know how much I hate the phone now so it almost never rings anymore. (me and Patrick Stewart both hate the phone - we should be best friends).

And, sure, my Wii Fit Plus still claims I'm old and fat, but on two different occasions on two different days two different men said to me "Girl, you're pretty" and it was only creepy once.

And, yeah, I did hit a bad patch this afternoon while working on my book (which is set in 1991) because I realized that 1991 is to 1965 what 2010 is to 1984 and that did more to make me feel old than any bullshit Wii Fit Plus body test because in 1991, 1965 was a loooooong time ago. But 1984 was just a few years back. That said, the book is still coming along nicely.

Of course, f I do have this wretched horrible commute. But it gives me time to have deep conversations with Laney like the one we had on the way home tonight. We'd just got done singing that Shel Silverstein song about Noah and the Unicorn (green alligators and long necked geese...) and...

She said: What's that song about?
And I said: Noah. Have I never told you about Noah?
And she said: No
[so I told her]
And she said: is that true?
And I said: No, it's like a folk story
And she said: Oh, you're just saying that because you don't believe in God.
And I said: Nuh uh!
And she said: Uh huh!
And I said: Look, tons of people who DO believe in God don't think the story of Noah really happened.
And she said: Really?
And I said: Yes, they accept it as something that has meaning outside literal truth
And she said: Well, how do you know it's not true?
And I said: Well, one boat couldn't hold two of all the animals in the world. I mean, think of the dogs alone! You've got beagles and labradors and chihuahuas and great danes
And she said: I like beagles and labradors and chihuahuas
And I said: What about the great danes?
And she said: What if there was more than one boat?
And I said: Like an armada of arks?
And she said: What's an armada?

But I didn't answer because i was too busy thinking that Ark Armada is the GREATEST BAND NAME EVER.

Anyway, Laney's asleep dreaming of an Ark Armada and I'm regretting that I never got the band together and should be watching Lost and having a drink, but instead I'm having a drink and writing on this little bloggity. And I'm going to stop that now. And watch Lost. And, dammit, I'm not going to forget about the four toed collapsed statue. Or the damn polar bears.


Namaste and good luck.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Signs You Are Watching Too Much Lost, 1

On Saturdays, I drop Laney off at her Mandarin class and then head over to Panera Bread where I work on my book. I love this time, since it's about the most uninterrupted I can expect to be throughout the week and get most of my quality writing done here.

This morning, I went to the bathroom before ordering and into the stall with the baby changing station. This is the one I usually use, because I can pull the changing table down and set my laptop on it, which strikes me as a better alternative than the floor. So, I pulled the table down and rested my purse and laptop on it and commenced the process of peeing. I looked up at the changing table. Someone had written "The information you requested..." on the side of the changing station in a position that only someone using the toilet would be able to see it.

This struck me as WILDLY portentous.

And then I went to buy my bagel and diet coke and the guy who waited on me was named... (dun dun duuuuuun)... Sayid!

Because I have watched at least two episodes of Lost a night, almost every night, for the past two weeks, I'm now pretty sure that this either means something significant or I am a player in Hurley's twisted catatonic dreams.

Or that I'm watching too much Lost.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Morning Commute Conversations

Me: Laney, have you ever noticed how women in commercials always marry really dumb men?
Laney: Uhhhhhhhhh.... I think they're really stupid men.
Me: But I don't get that. Daddy's not stupid.
Laney: Well, he's not in a commercial

And thus the student passes the master.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I've had this on my mind a lot lately. Some time ago, I read this book by a writer named Jen Lancaster called Such a Pretty Fat in which she details her struggle with losing weight, not losing weight and getting healthy despite not losing weight. It's a good lesson - skinny does not equal healthy. But she ended the book with a story about a confrontation she had on the street with a homeless junkie who'd been buttering her up to try and get money. In short, Lancaster shits all over the homeless person and then uses that anecdote to express the liberty and achievement of her newfound unskinny fitness.

Then a couple of days ago, I read about this Paul Shirley fellow who writes this of Haiti:

I haven’t donated to the Haitian relief effort for the same reason that I don’t give money to homeless men on the street. Based on past experiences, I don’t think the guy with the sign that reads “Need You’re Help” is going to do anything constructive with the dollar I might give him. If I use history as my guide, I don’t think the people of Haiti will do much with my money either.

These are just two examples of a trend I've noticed where somehow flouting perceived political correctness equals being all mavericky braveness. But it's not courageous to shit all over someone who has nothing. It's just being a bully. And if I could channel Seth Bullock in all his clenchy awesomeness, if there's anything I can't fucking stand it's a bully.

A few weeks ago, I went to Subway to have a diet coke and a cookie and write a little. As I stood in line to pay, a homeless man wandered past asking for someone to buy him a sandwich. Since I had some extra cash (I almost never have cash), when I got my change I gave him five dollars. He said "thanks" without looking at the bill. I was filling my cup up with the sweet, sweet diet coke when he came over and said "I'm going over to McDonalds instead because I can get..." and he proceeded to explain how he could buy more with his five dollars at McDonalds than he could at Subway. Now, I have this policy: if I give you money, I gave you money It's your money. It's no longer my place to tell you how to spend it (this policy does not apply to my child). So, I just kind of gave him a "that's OK." And then he looked me right in the eye, and it felt like all the guile and self-defense went out of him and he said, "Things have been hard for me lately." I touched his arm and said "I bet they have." And then he said, "I got raped last night in the shelter." And, here's where I get to feel super proud of myself, I said, "I'm sorry but I have to do some work."

So he just nodded, gave me a "god bless you" and went away.

Now, you guys, this isn't my first time at the rodeo. I know he wasn't taking that five dollars to McDonalds and I couldn't possibly care less about that. But I also know that he wasn't giving me some story to try and convince me to give him more money. We had a moment and then I got scared, accessed urban self defense mode and retreated. But before I did, I got a glimmer of how crushingly lonely that man's life must be. How totally isolated and afraid he must feel all the time. And I wish I could go back in time and not be so quick to get away from his sad story.

And I feel so grateful for all the people in my life that lighten my load.

Look, here's what I'm trying to say: if you think that the only thing that separates us folks who enjoy home and hearth from the homeless is that we made good decisions and they didn't, then you're nuts. And if you think the only thing that separates us as a nation from a place like Haiti is what? Protestant work ethic? Yankee know how? Sticktutiveness? Then you're delusional to the point of wacakadoodle.

Pity is free. Charity is cheap. And if you think you're a tough guy because you don't mind acting like an asshole to a person (or a country) that has nothing then, not to beat this horse too much, you're a bully which is a thing I cannot fucking stand.

A brave person would have let that man tell his story. I might not have been brave, but at least I wasn't a fucking bully.