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September 29, 2009

Civil discourse

According to The Onion last week, Friday, 9/25, was supposed to mark the nadir of western civilization. A few sources identified in the article agreed with me that there's probably lower yet to go.... I don't say this because I'm hopeful for humanity, but rather because I believe we have farther to fall into complete and utter disgrace. I think today's "Cornered" nails this sentiment:

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September 4, 2009

Political Rant

It's probably because most of the media I pay attention to has some kind of left-lean to it, but I'm going absolutely crazy reading or hearing about all of the nut-jobs in this country. Oh. My. Dog!!!

Of course almost everyone has heard about Obama's plan to address the nation's school kids. And the right wing has once again lost their minds! "Oh, no!" they cry. "He's going to turn them into little socialists."

Can we please just sit down, shut up, and realize the world hasn't ended since Obama took office in January or was elected last November? Can we? Please? For my sanity?

I was listening to an older "Wait, Wait" episode over lunch. Peter described some of the antics at town halls regarding health care. While these crazies are entertaining, I couldn't laugh because they scare me so much. WHO really believes that Obama will turn the U.S. into just-post-WWII Russia? (It's in the "Who's Carl this time" section at the very beginning of the August 15 episode.)

I'm just so sickened, disgusted, and downright scared of these people that it can get hard to even leave the house. I liked Motherreader's response today, but again, preaching to the choir. I'll show you "Death Panels," dear crazies of America, oh, just wait until I get those death panels in place. Trust me...you'll be the first to know.

UPDATE: Just read David Sirota's "editor's pick" Open Salon blog post from yesterday. I think he puts my concern into even better words. These are scary times, and while the crazies are amusing for their very craziness, those of us who still have some sanity left may become an ever-dwindling minority....

February 16, 2009

And exactly what direction is that?

I'm getting "pre-election furious" all over again. Salon has an interview with Alexandra Pelosi, a film-maker (and yes, Nancy's daughter) who documented Shrub's 2000 power grab, then again McCain's run in 2008. This particular question/answer has been haunting me:

You met so many people. Were there interviewees who have given you feedback after the election? What are they saying?

They're really unhappy that Obama won. And they're really having a hard time dealing with this whole economic stimulus package. They're totally opposed to that kind of government. I talked to people who had bad holidays, who had a hard time getting through the inauguration, are disappointed in their country, are sad about the direction this country is going. And it's not getting better, it's getting worse. They're looking at this, "We're all socialists now," and they're not laughing. The Newsweek cover, “We're all Socialists Now?, I got like literally a dozen calls the day that Newsweek came out. I don't know what Newsweek's intentions were, but that is terrifying to a lot of people.

I remember Elaine Tornero in Reynoldsburg, Ohio: She called me and said, "I drive through downtown Columbus, Ohio, and I see these iconic, artistic images of Barack Obama with the word 'Hope' under it, and I feel like I'm living in Castro's Cuba." I live in Union Square in Manhattan, and I walk out my front door and there are just lines of buttons, lines of T-shirt salesmen selling these artistic images of Barack Obama. I've been to Cuba. That's exactly what it looks like. There are some things that they see that make them uncomfortable. And I think we have to respect that and understand that. Not say, "Oh, they're just extremists. Oh, they're just freaks. Oh, they're just racists." They're not. They just don't agree with us on, like, moral and cultural and political issues. They don't agree with us on anything, really.

This part of the response is particularly galling to me: "I talked to people who had bad holidays, who had a hard time getting through the inauguration, are disappointed in their country, are sad about the direction this country is going. And it's not getting better, it's getting worse."

I can't understand the disconnect these people have between BS and reality. Obama has had nothing to do with the situation around the country/world getting worse. Even if we don't agree with everything he does/proposes/attempts, can't we just accept that he is truly trying to make things better and try to participate in the clean-up effort? This is the worst time to have become president, and I admire anyone willing to take on the mess that the previous 8 years have helped create.

There are still people who believe Obama is the anti-christ and is ringing the death knell for a righteous civilization. It just makes me want to .... grrr.... argh!!!

January 30, 2009

Just what century is this?

Um, really? A 15 year old girl in Oklahoma has been accused (by her school) of hexing a teacher and causing the teacher to become ill. Needless to say, the ACLU is involved now.

Between that and the mother of 6 children already between 2 and 7 giving birth to octuplets, I'm just ready to find a cave to live in for the rest of my life.

January 21, 2009

Blue Dogs

I first heard the term "Blue Dogs" on a Season 5 West Wing episode. The intern, Pierce (Pearce?), asked Josh, who had recently been grounded from legislative affairs due to losing an Idaho Democrat, why certain members of Congress were called Blue Dogs. Unfortunately, Josh never answered the question in the episode.

My curiousity did what it has frequently been doing recently, i.e., just languished, until I heard the phrase again in some of the post-inauguration commentary yesterday. And then I remembered an earlier post where I linked to a website of dog metaphors. Which eventually led me to the actual website for the Blue Dog Coalition.

The home page for the coalition says that they want to show that common sense, economic conservation, and compassion are not mutually exclusive. It's amazing what the internet has done; 10 years ago, I'd probably still just be wondering what "blue dogs" meant in a political context. However, while their website seems reasonable enough, I think I need to do more research to see if they really do what they claim. Back to the tubes I go.... If I'm not back in a few years, send out a search party.

November 6, 2008

Mixed bag

I'm thrilled beyond my greatest hope at the result of the presidential election. I spent the days leading up to Tuesday angry at all of the downright ignorant quotations I saw from people who genuinely believe that Obama is Muslim/terrorist/out to change everything we know and love/pick your favorite stupid belief. I was afraid that ignorance and racism would win out over rational thought. While I don't think McCain would have been quite the embarrassment that Shrub has been, I'm overjoyed that I will now actually be able to listen to soundbites of the president speaking without cringing. Obama has an incredibly difficult road ahead of him, and I do not envy him or Michelle one little bit. But at least we have the chance to move in the right direction now.

But...and with me, there's almost always a "but"...Minnesota disappointed me in a big way. District 6 sent Michele Bachmann back to congress, even after her "drill here, drill now" tour and her anti-American shenanigans. Unfortunately, this proves that she can do anything and still be unbeatable.

And, apparently, the larger "we" of Minnesotans sent Norm Coleman back instead of Al Franken. Many people were turned off by Franken's apparent lack of political experience and his background as a humorist. What kind of boggles my mind is that, in a state that swung overwhelmingly for Obama, apparently "we" weren't turned off by Coleman's "Shrub-boy" voting record. Heaven forbid you are a smart comic, cause that means you probably aren't ready for congress; but if you had a record of voting with someone we rejected, that makes you suitable. Granted, the race was extremely close, close enough that Coleman needs to step back and realize that he was barely re-elected. I also don't feel like the independent votes stole the election from the dems the way they have in the past...it really could have gone either way.

So, thank goodness for Obama, but MN has a lot of work to do in the state. (Congressional votes weren't all bad--we also re-elected Keith Ellison, the first Muslim in congress--maybe he'll try running for president some day?)

October 11, 2008

In a state of ignorance

It's getting to the point that whenever I listen to the MPR news channel, my blood pressure rises to near eruption levels. A couple days ago, it was the McLiar town hall meeting in Wisconsin, where his audience was "angry, really, really angry" about the "socialists like Obama and Pelosi" that are taking over the country. I want to know what universe this guy was living in for the last 8 years, cause if Congress has been taken over by socialists, well, then, it had to have been better than what we've had.

But this morning's news about the town hall in Lakeville, MN, (one of the southernmost Mpls suburbs) just sent me over the edge. One man was very scared of raising his children in a country led by someone with close ties to terrorists like Ayers. Excuse me? Haven't you been paying attention to the whole "I was 8" denouncement from Obama, that the press (oh, right, the "liberal media") has explored from every possible angle? I'm sure we can find several less than charming people with whom McLiar has been on even closer terms, sir.

Then there was the woman who was terrified of an Obama presidency because, "well, he's...he's just an Arab." No wonder MN recently started requiring a geography course as part of the high school graduation standards.

But, for practically the first time in this race, McLiar showed some decency and integrity, telling his audience (and getting booed in the process) that Obama is a decent family man, a Christian, and America has nothing to fear if he is elected. McLiar thinks he can do better, but that Obama is not scary.

UPDATE: Here's a cartoonfrom Salon that makes my point exactly.

September 19, 2008

Understanding White Privilege

Here's a link to a great article for understanding what "white privilege" means. While the examples are political in nature, and there is an undertone of "liberal bias," the points the author, Tim Wise, makes are still valid.

http://www.zcommunications.org/zspace/viewCommentary/3618/1

Because I don't know the longevity of the link, the text is included below the jump.

Continue reading "Understanding White Privilege" »

September 16, 2008

The Regulars or the Elite

Why is it a bad thing for a smart, Harvard educated person to be president?

There's a saying that 1 out of every 3 people is insane. Look to your left, then to your right. If both of them seem "normal," what does that say about you?

Now rephrase that idea. Look to the neighbors to your left, then to the neighbors to your right. Do you want either of them running the country? Do you think you should run the country? I really like my next door neighbors, but Dog knows I don't want them running the country, and I'm even more convinced that I shouldn't do it either. So why does everyone seem to want a "regular" instead of an "elite?"

Americans are sssoooo excited about the "normal." About Bush being a regular guy you could have a beer with. About the P-woman being a true "representative" of America.

You know what? I think I could have a beer with Obama, and actually enjoy the conversation. I don't want a leader who believes that when something happens, it's god's will. I want someone who thinks about the issues from multiple perspectives, and who has advisers other than god to make important decisions such as going to war or despoiling our natural resources.

September 11, 2008

An Open Letter to the Obama Campaign

DO SOMETHING!!! You have GOT to win this election. The race is already close, and it really shouldn't be. You should have this thing wrapped up.

I'll admit that I am not the most up-to-date person with the national news. But everything I'm reading and seeing is all Palin all the time. It's as though she is running for president, and the even scarier thing is that she may very well win. Who cares about McCain these days, let alone Obama.

Since the RNC, I haven't heard anything about Barack Obama, the candidate who would truly represent change in the country. I'm not sure I understand how anyone could be a swing voter at this point, but assuming there are swing voters, is Obama's campaign targeting them in any way? I sincerely hope the campaign has been very active, convincing voters to support the only candidate who can actually help the country (we all know that McCain and Obama are the only candidates at this point), or even to convince them that a vote for McCain would simply be more of same if not worse. Perhaps my lack of information is simply that I'm not reading the right articles.

But if this is true, why aren't Obama's numbers dominating? Why has Palin been allowed to take Obama virtually out of the picture?

What is going on in this country?!?!?????

September 4, 2008

Difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull?

Pit bulls don't deserve the bad rap.

Can we please, please, please move beyond the demonization of certain breeds? John Woestendiek gives us several famous examples of rhetoric that simply must go.

I only caught a bit of Palin's speech before I couldn't take any more. I'm the eternal pessimist, and I hope to Dog I'm wrong, but I'm afraid McCain's choice was a brilliant move. How can anyone not support her? She's a working mother who fired the Alaska governor's house chef so she could prepare her own meals, she's a special-needs-children's advocate, she's against waste and corruption, she's for ethics, and heck, as an Alaska governor she's well-versed in international politics, particularly with Canada and Russia. And that list doesn't even cover all of her redeeming qualities for a VP option. I'd even be willing to bet she'll do better in debates against Biden than many are willing to credit her.

I mean, how bad can it really be to fire people who don't agree with you or do what you tell them? Don't they serve at the pleasure of the mayor/governor anyway? And a pregnant 17-year old? Well, she's "chosen" (like there was actually a choice in her case) to keep the baby and is going to marry the father. "Yes, we have dirty laundry," Palin is saying, "but we are acting within a family values framework given the circumstances."

September 3, 2008

My American Prayer

I'll admit that I'm a sucker for patriotism. Not the BS "if you criticize the president you are a traitor to America" patriotism we've been seeing for the past 8 years, but the real patriotism of "America really is a good place to be." I want to be proud of my country again; I want to want to live here, rather than wishing I were somewhere else because the government is not what I want it to be. So, yeah, I teared up when I first heard Lee Greenwood's "Proud to Be an American."

And here's another one, another song that gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, I can get out from under the shell of cynicism I've erected. Hope that maybe politicians aren't all bad, and that maybe someone can do something to reverse the damages our current administration has created.

July 31, 2008

Planned Parenthood Votes

I'll probably get some hateful comments from this one, just based on the title, but I think this is an important enough issue to risk that:

July 22, 2008

"If I don't see it, it's not there"

Birdchick just posted some very disturbing news: members of Congress went to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and didn't see any wildlife. Apparently, if you don't see any wildlife (specifically trees and caribou), it's not there, so drilling for oil won't cause any environmental hardships. I really despise congress people (and I'm not calling them congress critters because that's an insult to critters) this round.

Here's the final passage from Birdchick's entry that sums everything up:

So, any blog readers been to this area of Alaska? Would you care to let Ms. Bachmann know about the wildlife you have seen (202-225-2331)? I don't see this as a republican vs democrat issue. I don't even see this as a do we drill there or do we not drill there issue. I see this as an issue of--Did you actually have your eyes open while you were there issue. Don't tell the country that there's no wildlife just because it's flat and there's no caribou. That's like calling the prairie boring. There's more to wildlife than what is big and obvious and easy to see.

It's almost tempting to start a campaign of birders mailing her a copy of Sibley with Alaska birds highlighted.

Here's a list of all who went in case you want to check on your state's rep and their report.

John Boehner (R-OH)
Michelle Bachmann (R-MN)
Gus Bilirakis (R-FL)
Mary Fallin (R-OK)
Dean Heller (R-NV)
Jim Jordan (R-OH)
Doug Lamborn (R-CO)
Robert Latta (R-OH)
Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)
Steve Scalise (R-LA)
Adrian Smith (R-NE)

Just in case anyone missed it, here is the link to Bachman's report. And here's another (pro-environment) summary of the topic. According to John Boehner, the GOP trip leader, ANWR is a "desolate coastal plain." Gee, as Born Again Birdwatcher noted, preconceptions anyone?

July 15, 2008

Presidential Pooches

The word on the street is that Barack Obama has promised his family a dog after the election, whether they will be living in the White House or not. The AKC immediately jumped in with potential suggestions. I'm going to encourage everyone to join with Best Friends to sign a petition recommending that the Obama family adopt a shelter or rescue dog. As one comment I read put it, "if he is truly dedicated to making a change, why not start with the family dog?"

I generally do not believe in internet petitions, and I'm not necessarily claiming that I believe in this one. But I believe in Best Friends, and I believe in rescue and shelter adoptions, so I signed.

June 4, 2008

Mining and Destruction

Please visit Julie Zickefoose's entry from Monday and spread the word. She has a follow-up post on Tuesday to explain more. Julie says what needs to be said far more eloquently than I ever could.

May 1, 2008

Get Fuzzy gets political

This one elicited a guffaw from me:

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(you know the drill: click = bigger)

December 21, 2007

Sad Commentary on the State of the World

I wasn't planning to linger on the "Science Friday" podcast I listened to last night discussing the impending demise of the world's coral reefs. But today's "Fast Track" is too similar to ignore:

On the Fast Track by Bill Holbrook 12/21/07
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The podcast was especially depressing because the predictions are that even if every country/continent adopts the current environmental treaties like the Kyoto Treaty, the coral reefs will not be able to sustain themselves in the oceans. They'll die, and while their skeletons will slowly erode away, new corals won't be able to compete with the sea grasses that can live in the current state of the waters. This is a prediction for the middle of the century. Within 40 years. The only hope the corals have, the Stanford research guest says, is to completely revamp the way we look at how we live in the world, and adopt measures such as no gas-using automotives within the next two decades. Like that will happen.

The scariest part of the show was his analogy of the coral reefs being like the canary in the coal mine. While the reefs themselves are worthy of protection, they are providing an indicator of danger and a significant need for change.

I'm still looking for a mountain cave in which to hibernate and hermitize. Please let me know of any likely candidates. ;-)

September 26, 2007

"On the internet, they know you're a dog"

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One of the earliest (and perhaps funniest) internet-themed comic is becoming less and less true. This article from Wired indicates that we might all be idenitifiable by our writing skills and styles. I particularly like the quote at the end of the article explaining that terrorist websites "10 times more effective [than government websites] in creating a community. Terrorist sites are quick to provide answers and instruction when their users ask questions."

I'm tempted to start including sections from the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights, with all of my blog entries. After all, didn't the Colonies act much like terrorists leading up to the War for Independence?

"When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

Take that, Dark Web!

September 24, 2007

Funny + Wrong = Naked Penguins

Had to chuckle at today's "Mother Goose and Grimm":

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March 29, 2007

The Gut the Endangered Species Act Act"

Anyone who even remotely knows me should be able to guess my reaction to the new proposals for the Endangered Species Act. See Salon's article for more information. But if even one of these two items are passed, the world is extra-special doomed: 1) limit the numbers of animals that can be covered; 2) limit the amount of acreage for habitat preservation.

I'm going to go out in the snow and eat worms. Oh wait. It doesn't snow here anymore.

March 1, 2007

Art, Dirty Words, and Censorship

Blogger Maud Newton has an excerpt from what might be a very interesting book: Dirt for Art's Sake: Books on Trial from Madame Bovary to Lolita

The excerpt Maud provides discussed Eudora's "Moodwatch" option and the author's attempts to swear while telling friends about email/technological travails. Do you suppose it would flag "WTF"? Lame attempts at humor aside, I am particularly troubled by her account of the Google SafeSearch function at the end of her entry. Apparently just searching for "lolita" raises red flags for Google. Though this could be a good thing to keep students from finding internet sources about the novel (or am I forgetting that they shouldn't be reading that "trash" in the first place? :-) )

October 9, 2006

Literary Elections

Defective Yeti is sponsoring a contest that I might be tempted to participate in: Encyclopedia Brown for District Attorney. The idea is that you choose some sort of fictional character/historical personae and make an election sign for that person. One example on the site is having Matthew Harrison Brady run on an intelligent design platform. Toad of Toad Hall would be an obvious candidate for Traffic Commissioner. Peter Pan for School Board.

March 28, 2006

Appalling

I really shouldn't be surprised by Bush administration stupidity, but how can I help it when I see quotes like this?

"President Bush has appointed crusading opponents of the ESA [Endangered Species Act] to key positions, including Craig Manson, the assistant Interior Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, who told the Los Angeles Times in an interview: "If we are saying that the loss of species in and of itself is inherently bad, I don't think we know enough about how the world works to say that."[8] "

Read the full article at BushGreenwatch.

January 24, 2005

I Pledge Allegiance...

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This is my version of the Pledge of Allegiance. I'll just be blunt, open mouth, insert feet, and say that I am opposed to requiring it in schools. I particularly abhor the whole "one nation under god" line that was inserted by congress sometime in the 40s or 50s.

I remember as a child repeating the pledge by rote, one hand over my heart, supposedly looking at the flag, but in reality looking around at everyone else, wondering why we were doing this, but not really thinking about what we were unknowingly saying.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag, and to the republic for which it stands" strikes me in some ways as slightly idolatrous. While I respect the flag, and when flown in appropriate circumstances, it can bring tears of joy to my eyes, I dislike the idea of pledging allegiance to a symbol. And these days, I don't even know if I CAN pledge allegiance to the republic for which it stands, as that republic seems to be going in directions that are contradictory to my own hopes for our country.

"One country, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all" is just outright hypocritical. Obviously, we're talking about a christian god, if we are truly one country under a god. In principle, yes, I can go along with this, but in practice, there are too many religious faiths here. Does this line blur the boundary between church and state? Probably not legally, but it is a little too much of a slippery slope for my tastes. "Indivisible?" One need look no further than our most recent election to see how untrue that line is...Bush received the most votes of any sitting president ever; Kerry received the second highest number of votes. And I really don't even feel like commenting on the "liberty and justice for all" part. I'll just get too upset.

So there is my rant for the day.

End.

November 11, 2004

Veterans' Day

Other types of public schools have today off, but not universities. Darn. Who knows what kinds of trouble we'd get into with another "bank holiday" vacation.

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This comic pretty much says it all for me. I tend to cringe when I see people plastering their cars/homes/bodies with the American flag. In many cases, these people turn out to be the ultra-conservative right-wingers that annoy me so much. I've also noticed that people who put flags and christian "fish" images on their cars are those with whom I have the least in common.

Veterans' Day should really be about the veterans, and what they've fought for, including the freedom of speech and other principles of the Bill of Rights. And now, more than ever, it seems, we should be making our voices heard in continuing to protect these ideals, particularly, in my case, Article I: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Or, we should just move to Canada. :-)

November 10, 2004

Defining Marriage

I always enjoy Ambrose Bierce. If the "ideal" marriage is between one man and one woman, it might be defined as such:

"MARRIAGE, n. The state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress and two slaves, making in all, two."
--Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

November 9, 2004

The Great Divide

I used to live near the Great Divide, a beautiful place in the Rocky Mountains that is the point at which rivers determine to which coast they will flow. I like that sentence, because it gives control back to the rivers/nature/environment/"grand design", rather than relying on human constructions that attempt to make water flow uphill or time move backwards.

I feel like we're moving backwards in time right now with politics and "moral values." The great divide now seems to be focused on the division of church and state, with the religious right controlling the "ideal":

"If we want to have a hopeful and decent society, we ought to aim for the ideal. And the ideal is that marriage ought to be, and should be, a union of a man and a woman," Rove said.

Does anyone else think that marriage (whether civil or religious) really is more than the gender of the two people? Isn't the ideal marriage a union based on love, respect, mutual goals, etc.? Despite his campaign rhetoric, Bush will indeed be pushing for an amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman. Bleah, I say. Get religion out of government, get government out of religion, and just let people get on with their lives.

UPDATE: Just saw this little nugget of over-whelming wisdom on Stacie's blog. "Let's just pretend that none of the bad stuff happens and teach our children that everyone is as bigoted as we are."

Continue reading "The Great Divide" »

November 5, 2004

Ugly

Scott, 5 colleagues from work, and I were verbally assaulted last night on our way to a going-away party for a dear colleague. Our "crime"? Still wearing Kerry stickers and commenting that the "loser won the election."

As this was something akin to the straw that broke the camel's back, Scott engaged him, mostly just repeating the same thing the kid said back. No real argument, just language for the most part.

I get very, very discouraged when I'm confronted by conservatives on a public university campus. One would think that the students are here because they value education. Do they not realize that they may not have financial aid for much longer? or that tuition won't continue to increase as federal and state funding for higher ed becomes a negative rather than a dwindling number? Some of these people (and now I'm talking about conservatives/republicans at large, not simply students at a university) are only concerned that abortions become illegal and gay marriage remain illegal. Two things about which no one but the one or two people involved has any reason/right/responsibility/choose-your-favorite-word to say a damn thing about! Or, even worse, they do understand all of these things, and just don't care.

But simply calling the president a loser, and still displaying Kerry stickers meant, to this 19 to 22 year old that we were unpatriotic, shouldn't live in America, and were uneducated (at one point he asked why we hadn't graduated yet!--I mean, we'd been at the U for how long and hadn't finished?).

The audacity that this kid showed, to confront seven people, seems to be one of the uglier sides the republicans show these days. I'm reading a lot of commentary right now about the so-called "moral values" upon which many people voted, even if it wasn't in their economic best-interest. People voted for Bush based on "moral values" even if Bush's policies had cost them their jobs, possibly loved ones in various wars, their ability to finance a college education (or even a high school education), and caused them any number of other problems. I find this conservative moral movement profoundly distressing, and I'm not necessarily alone on this: the Ornery Liberal; Confessions of an Errant Mind twice; A Softer World in today's comic; Underblog Rides Again all speak about the "moral values" phenomenon of this election. Of course, in completely separate incidents, I've heard some people comment that others voted for Bush/publicans because they felt that Bush/publicans should clean up their own mess.

Continue reading "Ugly" »

November 3, 2004

National Day of Mourning

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Bush jr. did what is father was unable to achieve: another four years in the white house. But Bush Sr. would have been far better than his son. W will be able to appoint at least 2 supreme court justices because of the GOP controlled congress. These appointees will be conservative, leading to the possibility of overturning Roe v. Wade, and further discriminating against gay rights. And there won't be anything to stop them until 2008. At least W can't run for term 3 (though I've wondered about the possibility that since he wasn't really elected for his first term, does this election count as term 1?).

But there may be some bright spots in all of this murkiness.

1) W can't run again. Whatever else happens, he will not be in office beyond 2008.

2) The dems have a chance to really groom someone who can win--maybe Hillary? As much as I was opposed to a 2nd Bush term, I wasn't terribly excited about Kerry. And if he had won, chances are he would have run for re-election, posing the possibility of 8 bad-ish years under Kerry. Now at least the playing field is a little more open again.

2-a) Don't get me wrong, though. I don't think Hillary is the 2008 candidate. America is not ready to consider the possibility of a female commander in chief, particularly if we are still at "non-war" with Iraq, et al. Americans have proven themselves time and time again that they are not smart enough to look beyond race, class, gender, sexuality.

3) The GOP may once again have been given enough rope with which to hang themselves (remember the 1992 election following our friend Newt's "Contract with America?"). It blows my mind that American people don't remember what happened last time there were no checks and balances in government, but maybe if we go through this again (*big sigh of frustration and much rolling of eyes*), they'll finally get it.

All that aside, I'm still in favor of moving to Canada. or Australia. or Italy. or anywhere else. Even Antarctica... Bright spots or not, it will be a rough 4 years, not counting the number of years it will take to restore everything that will be destroyed:

the environment
women's rights
gay rights
civil liberties
the U.S. Constitution
America's place in world politics (at least what's left of it)

September 17, 2004

Why I try to ignore political discussions

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This comic refers to a recent Salon article about the "Ask the President" rallies. You have to suscribe to Salon (for a fee) to read the entire article, but I've attached the text below. Apparently, the Bush camp is screening attendees and their questions, forcing everyone to sign an oath of loyalty to Bush & the GOP. How many things are wrong with this picture?

Continue reading "Why I try to ignore political discussions" »

August 6, 2004

What happens to the children of famous people?

Apparently Ronald Reagan's son, Ron, has written an essay for Esquire denouncing Bush and his politics.

I can't quite tell what Ron's relationship to his father might have been from this article. He seems put out at comparisons of W. to Reagan, which is to be expected, though he doesn't seem to admit that, at least as far as the economy goes, they are enacting similar fiscal policies.

This paragraph, though, I do find particularly interesting:

"And chances are your America and George W. Bush's America are not the same place. If you are dead center on the earning scale in real-world twenty-first-century America, you make a bit less than $32,000 a year, and $32,000 is not a sum that Mr. Bush has ever associated with getting by in his world. Bush, who has always managed to fail upwards in his various careers, has never had a job the way you have a jobwhere not showing up one morning gets you fired, costing you your health benefits. He may find it difficult to relate personally to any of the nearly two million citizens who've lost their jobs under his administration, the first administration since Herbert Hoover's to post a net loss of jobs. Mr. Bush has never had to worry that he couldn't afford the best available health care for his children. For him, forty-three million people without health insurance may be no more than a politically inconvenient abstraction. When Mr. Bush talks about the economy, he is not talking about your economy. His economy is filled with pals called Kenny-boy who fly around in their own airplanes. In Bush's economy, his world, friends relocate offshore to avoid paying taxes. Taxes are for chumps like you. You are not a friend. You're the help. When the party Mr. Bush is hosting in his world ends, you'll be left picking shrimp toast out of the carpet. "

How many of our former presidents have been part of the same America as "normal" citizens? Certainly Reagan's America wasn't my parents' America. And I'm not so sure that Clinton's American was my America.

But can a person realistically become president from "our" America? Has the American perspective that "anyone can become president" become another of our hidden shams (like the "classless" society we believe in; or the separation of church & state, as long as we all agree that the state follow "Christian" rules)? Can you become president if you've had to work your way up and aren't blessed with a family fortune of some variety?

July 19, 2004

That's Unpatriotic!!

Need I say more? I often really appreciate the subtle (?) humor of Non-Sequitur, and this one is just too good. We seem to be in a cultural/political/social climate wherein any type of dissent or questioning of authority presumes social and civic unrest, not to mention un-patriotism of the worst kind.

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