Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Laney Gets Her History a Little Confused... But, Unlike Glenn Beck She Accepts Corrections

In the car on the way home after dinner, out of the clear blue sky, Laney says... no, she pronounces as though she's speechifying in front of a classroom:

Martin Luther King, back in slave times, told black people to stop riding the bus.

Don't worry - I clarified and explained where she'd gotten her facts a little mixed up. We talked about how Martin Luther King didn't live in slave times and what Jim Crow laws were and how deeply messed up the rules were back then. It was, as the Prez would say, a teachable moment.

Still, I thought the way she strung those words together was kind of hilarious.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Statues and Marriage

I love statues. I wish we still lived in a world where people built statues of great leaders. The problem is that we seem to have lost our ability to see leadership since we can't look without the lens of politics. But that's depressing and not really what I wanted to write about.

This here is a statue I love. I pass it every morning, and Laney and I say "Good morning, General Grant."

One morning recently, Don was driving in with us. And it was winter and snowy and when we passed (and greeted) General Grant, I remarked to Don how lonely and sad I thought he looked up there. I told him that I thought that statues of great men like that underscore how lonely it must have been to be General Grant.

Don replied that he didn't see anything sad at all; that, instead, he thought it looked like General Grant was up there protecting us and looking out for us. He finds statues like that really comforting.

You know, I think that might sum up a lot about how we work as a married couple. We have a lot in common. We agree a lot about how we want to raise our daughter. We have remarkably similar political proclivities (y'all, if anything, Don is even more liberal than me... I swear). We like baseball but not as much as we used to. And we both find ourselves re-developing a passion for the Bulls. But we often see the world in strikingly different ways.

I think this works well for us, because we each help the other one to see the world in a slightly different way. It keeps us on our toes. And, you know, one of our vows was to stay interested in each other. It helps that we see things differently.

Other times, though, it's annoying. Like when we get into bed at night and decide we want to watch TV. Don likes to put horrifying war documentaries from the military channel on because he finds the boring voices of the people talking about whatever atrocity is being discussed soothing. I, on other hand, prefer mindless TV shows about vampires or forensic anthropologists. It all comes down to tone vs. content for late night TV for us.

We should probably just read books before bed instead.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I just watched a clip on Rachel Maddow where the new Ohio governor (a Fox News Tea Party darling) kept referring to a trooper who pulled him over as an "idiot." And he did it with this voice just dripping with contempt.

I've been pulled over a lot for speeding. And every time I was pissed. But you know what else? I was speeding.

I've often wondered how I'd feel being married to a cop. And I think I'd be scared and nervous a lot. And I think one of the scariest thing that this cop would be doing would be walking up to cars on the side of a highway.

I've seen some cops do some shitty things in my life. But when you break a law and get pulled over? Even if you didn't see the emergency vehicle? Hell, I didn't know I was speeding at least twice when I got speeding tickets. But, irritated and annoyed as I might be, silly as I might find a 65 MPH speed limit to be, the cop is just doing his job.

And cops have a hard, dangerous and vitally important job to do.

I suspect if the same trooper pulled someone over on suspicion of something (like being Mexican in Arizona or paying dues to a teacher's union or something), Kasich probably wouldn't have been so quick to cry "idiots!"

I'm starting to kind of enjoy America getting a glimpse of what a Tea Party GOP really means. I'm starting to smell a hippie pinko feminazi homo juggernaut.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


A while back I was following some of the happenings at CPAC, which is this big event where conservatives get together and lay out their plans. One of the things I noted with some happiness was the presence of libertarians. Now, I'm of the school of thought that thinks libertarianism is hopelessly naive and, as such, a pretty dangerous political proposal.

To wit: if it weren't for a USDA, I'm pretty confident mad cow steaks would be on sale for .49 cents a pound at Dominicks right now; I'd be willing to wager that unless I lived in a posher zip code, my water would come flavored with sewage; I'd bet that cars with glass that shatters and front ends that crumple would be the purview of folks who could afford them

The purpose of business is profit. And there's not a damn thing wrong with that. Contra the unfairly earned reputation of liberals, I'm all for businesses running a profit. I love rich people. I'd really love to be one.

But, libertarians believe that civil rights would happen eventually because they would. They believe that cars would meet basic safety standards because more people would want to buy them. But there's a large swath of people that'd be happy to keep black folks out of the restaurants they frequent. And car manufacturers would be happy to sell deathtrap cars on the cheap.

And so government, which does not function to run a profit and which can withstand debt far more easily than any family or business can, has a worthwhile and valuable role in civilized society.

So why am I happy to see the libertarians with a voice at CPAC? Because they're not the tribalistic motherfuckers who've taken over modern politics. I say tribalistic, because it's a real us vs. them thing out there. Hatfield vs. McCoy. Capulet vs. Montague. Sharks vs. Jets. And no unholy alliances like the one between Lizardman Carville and Mary Matalan will put an end to it.

Libertarians actually have a platform, silly as I might think it is.

Which brings me to the George Will column that was so roundly mocked today. The quote:

...the real reason for progressives’ passion for trains is their goal of diminishing Americans’ individualism in order to make them more amenable to collectivism.

There are layers and layers of why this is dumb. The main one, of course, is that most of us have a hard-on for trains so we can stop taking airplanes and what, sweet Oprah, makes you feel more like chained up chattel than modern air travel?

But George Will is probably not actually a dumb guy. But he's happily laying aside the libertarian banner to reach out to the tribe. He's making shit up, yanking rationales out of his fevered imagination, because he wants to feed into the desperate dimwittedness of tribalism - these other folks want trains because they want to strip you of your freedoms! Ignore that implementing high speed rail infrastructure would create a lot of jobs, would make travel far easier, and would just, again I cry out to Dear Oprah, be so cool! Ignore it all, because it makes for a convenient way to reach out to the tribe.

Sadly, Libertarians won't get the liberal back on high speed rail because that'd be government spending and all government is bad (another glass of poop-flavored water please! Can I get mine with a soupcon of arsenic?).

I wonder if ask the Libertarian brethren to consult their bible and they rediscover about how Atlas Shrugged was totes about railroad barons, maybe they'd jump on board...