Even More to Talk About

COB (colleague of blogger), wants to write for the Alternate View (see prior blog entries).  He thinks Blogger and SNOBFOB (my awesomely funny friend who isn’t so sure she wants to be associated with blogger on-line) should try a YouTube video first, one that is a “parody” of The View.
Here are his ideas for the guests:
  1. Someone from the “Iced” Tea Party [blogger comment:  or The Latte League, truly effete, New York liberal intellectuals]
  2. A 10 year-old who has ideas for running government more efficiently [blogger comment: or Christine O’Donnell, who has the IQ of a ten year-old and is a witch to boot]
  3. A gay/lesbian person who is against same sex marriage [blogger comment: or Mr. Michele Bachmann, who thinks he cured himself]
  4. A person who is now an actor/actress since they can’t get a different job in this economy [blogger comment: because everyone assumes actors and actresses, especially the most talented ones, are unemployed]
  5. A crazy person (COB thinks I could fill that role.) [blogger comment: I think COB could audition for this role.]
Not a bad start.

Where do we go from here?

I have this terrible feeling that I, along with everyone else in this country, am being sacrificed at the altar of hubris and zealotry.

“Take no prisoners” is a way of waging war.  It is not a way of governing.  True believers and purists on both sides of the aisles are important counterbalances, but they cannot dictate the future of our nation.  Even Grover Norquist said letting the Bush tax cuts (which affect me) expire and closing tax loopholes are not “new” taxes (phew, because if repealing subsidies for corporate jets is so problematic in these times of George W. Bush deficits, then let’s all join hands and drown ourselves).  Shouldn’t the true believers be swayed?  I guess it is a new, virulent strain of true believer.  One that speaks to God directly.  It must be a local call because the long distance charges alone could bankrupt a person.

For those who invoke G-d and destiny in the argument surrounding the raising of the debt ceiling, I send this quote:

“Do Justice, Love Mercy and Walk Humbly with your God.”

This is the answer to two questions posed in Micah, Chap. 6:8: “What does the Lord require of you? What are you supposed to do to live faithfully with your God?”

Why am  quoting scripture?  Because I am that desperate for the extremists to take pity on us and our nation and make some hard and dare I say, PRACTICAL, decisions.

I understand taking a hard line in the abortion debate, in the capital punishment debate and in the war debates.  These are about potential life, actual life and the taking of life.  But, in the money debate?  I think you can tell what God thinks about money by who has the most.  So, let’s not bring God into this.  Let’s be honest.  It is about political gain and power. And that is about as un-God-like as you can get.

You know the world is tilted in the wrong direction when I am trying to “protect” God’s good name from God’s self-proclaimed followers.  As far as I can tell, they are frauds.


Weiner, Whiner, Weenie

And another one bites the dust.

It is all so stupid.  I don’t care about Weiner’s weiner.  I don’t care about for Sen. Craig’s gay liaisons.  I don’t care about Gov. Sanford’s Argentinian fiasco or Schwarzenneger’s love child(ren).  I don’t care about Bill Clinton’s dalliances. Or Al Gore’s ooky come-on lines with the spa masseuse. And Dominique Strauss-Kahn can have all les liaisons dangereuses possible.  Those are PRIVATE matters until:

  • Sen. Craig, who was virulently anti-gay until his actions showed himself a hypocrite and in serious need of counseling.
  • The governor of South Carolina was unreachable for a time without transferring power to the lieutenant governor (even if that guy is a psycho right wing nut).
  • Bill Clinton lied under oath when he was president, and therefore head of the executive wing that includes the Department of Justice.  It was just about sex until he committed perjury.
  • Al Gore just showed himself to be gross and awkward in an alleged encounter with a masseuse that makes even the words “suave” and “debonair” cringe.
  • DSK allegedly did not have non-consensual sex.  (It is a crime.  Whether or not he was set up, “no” is “no” assuming the housekeeper said, “no” (ou “non”).)
  • GOP representative Mark Foley sent inappropriate emails to underage senate pages and should have been jailed.

The list goes on and on.

Anthony Weiner is a hypocrite.  He also said something really scary: he did not know the ages of the females with whom he was corresponding.  THAT reckless behavior together with his self-righteous attitude toward anyone who doesn’t share his Progressive political perspective and his inability to accept responsibility from the outset bears on his fitness as a leader.

Weiner has been hoisted on his own petard and burnt.  He should slink away and get counseling.

I don’t hate men (and I love POB (partner of blogger) who is a woman) but I just don’t get it.  Is it a power thing?

I teach my son, “You do it, you live with it.  You own up to what you’ve done. Try to make it right and learn from it.” But I can’t compete with these idiots who show that you have a 50-50 shot at holding onto power and prestige if you deny, deny and deny.

The one guy who deserves re-election?  The GOP representative who showed his bare chest to someone on email or some chat room and became the GOP sacrificial lamb.


Hitting the roof

Ok, ok, ok, ok, ok, even the Republicans, Boehner himself, have acknowledged the catastrophic nature of our nation’s defaulting on its obligations. Yet, lawmakers are trying to leverage our need to raise the debt ceiling to exact political points.

Yes, lawmakers think they can play brinksmanship with our future.  The mere fact that our politicians would keep the world — and us — in suspense until August will erode our creditworthiness abroad and the global confidence in our economy.  We think of us as a society where our word is our bond.  Well, look in the mirror.  It isn’t pretty.

Imagine how you would view a country so divided in their “parliament” that one side is willing to risk ruin to have its way — slash and burn tactics.  So, just because we are the United States of America, you think we can mess with this stuff, without ramifications?  If you do, you are arrogant AND crazy.

Am I good with so much debt? No way.  I pay my credit cards on time.  I can afford my mortgage and could pay it off tomorrow. I believe that a person, a family, a country must live within its means.  If we need to spend more, then someone needs a second (part-time) job.  We didn’t do that and fought two wars and gave tax cuts to people like me who never asked for one, didn’t need one and didn’t want one.  So, now we have to live with the consequences. And I am willing to pay more in taxes to clean up George Bush’s and Trent Lott’s and Bill Frist’s nightmare.

It is important to note that the GOP — under whose governance drove us into this debt hole — is the party that is playing it to the bone.  Not because they are arrogant; but because they are hypocrites.   And the hypocrisy is so galling that it makes me want to go to the Congress and shout: “WORRY ABOUT US AND NOT YOUR POLL NUMBERS, YOUR JOBS AND YOUR POWER!!!!!!! FIX IT NOW.” If there is a report of a middle-aged lunatic screaming in the House of Representatives, you’ll know that I may be off-line for a while, in federal custody.

I think we have to raise the debt ceiling, not only because the credit of our great nation is at stake, but because it makes sense.  And, although I am an unabashed and unapologetic liberal, I am conservative in my investments and my rationale for raising the debt ceiling is, to my mind, steeped in the rudiments of getting out of debt and on a sustainable course.

It is, perhaps, counter-intuitive that a shirt-maker in bankruptcy should be allowed to borrow MORE in order to pay workers to stitch together the pieces of cloth so that they become shirts.  Scraps of cloth are worthless; however, a completed shirt sells for something.  That differential is presumably more than the amount borrowed.  The net effect is that there is a meaningful exit from bankruptcy where the assets of the company are maximized to pay off debts and re-emerge on sounder footing.

We have many fights ahead about just how we re-emerge from this mess a stronger nation, indivisible, with liberty, FAIRNESS and justice for all.  Let’s give ourselves some breathing room, for our sakes and the future of our country.

You may disagree with me on principle (IFOB (Italian friend of blogger) and JR (old friend from Camp Wingate/Camp Kirkland): go at me) but you can’t disagree with the necessity and exigencies of the circumstances — with a no-win choice, you must choose to raise the roof.


Dear Paul

Dear Paul:

I am not a Ryan, but I know members of your extended family. 

I know you come from such a good family, with strong community values based in religious precepts, like the one about taking care of the poor and the stranger.  Or the other one about not putting a stone in the way of a blind person.  And even though Rabbi Hillel said, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” that is totally in sync with the Christian Bible.

Here’s the big problem with your budget:

No amount of spending cuts is going to get us out of the hole caused by waging war in Iraq, Afghanistan and, now, Libya. 

Paying for these requires tax increases.   (Remember when the GOP just put the Iraq and Afghanistan tabs on the credit card and, oops, forgot to put these line items in the budget??????) 

Cut all you want from social programs, etc.  Go on.  

But one year from now, when the deficit is still essentially as large as it now, there will need to be a tax increase on all Americans. 

All you will have done is gutted the social compact that each generation has with another:  we will not leave those vulnerable in our society — the young and the old — to fend for themselves.   The very social compact that makes America great.

What are you thinking?

Tragedy on so many levels

In Tucson, many are dead and injured as a result of a deranged man with a deranged message.

Let’s put aside the left blaming the right and whether it is foreseeable that a lunatic would do this.  That conversation will get us nowhere and misses the point.

I think it is more worthwhile to wonder why politics is a bloodsport these days in a way that we haven’t seen since in perhaps a century.

Let’s think instead about how our politician are so invested in being right that they vilify the oppositional view and the integrity of its proponents.  In 2008, when Michele Bachmann said that then candidate Barack Obama and Michele Obama were “anti-American” because they hold views different from hers, that is a code that our country is being infiltrated by enemies.  Think about it, she said that the likely 44th President was the Manchurian Candidate of the movies.  And in the movies, a lone gunman (the good guy) kills the Manchurian Candidate.

Then Sarah Palin has a website that has a target on Rep. Giffords’ district (“in the cross-hairs”) for some reason or other.  Or the famous, Palinism: “don’t back down, just reload” or something like that.  Words have meaning, even if you try afterward to refudiate them.

This is war-speak.  And in war, enemies are killed, and our soldiers come home to heroes’ welcomes (ideally).  But war produces body-bags, brutality, starvation, desperation and carnage.

Is that the fevered pitch we want in our national discourse?  So, let us speak gently and with respect when we debate.  Even if we have to fake it.

Let’s set some ground rules:

  1. A socialist and tea-party member can love this country and protect the very institutions of government that make us strong.
  2. It isn’t about being right; it is about building a consensus and keeping this country great.
  3. Political defeat is hard to take but you can’t take your marbles and go home or start threatening people.
  4. The media does more to stoke the divisions than provide any useful information.
  5. If our nation tacks to the left or right, some people will not be pleased, but they must always remain the loyal opposition. (It is hard; I know. I had to endure the policies of George Bush and Dick Cheney and even some of President Obama’s policies I don’t like).
  6. Exemplifying and practicing the principles of this nation are essential for this country to move forward in one piece and in peace.

No pulse

Dick Cheney has no pulse.   Another fact that points to his being Satan.

He had a new procedure (read about it in the Huffington Post — Dick Cheney’s procedure) that inserted a pump that essentially overrides the heart.  As if he had one to begin with.

Let’s set aside whether he should be eligible for a heart transplant at his age and physical condition and whether it is right of the living to go hunting and shoot his friends.

Who in America can afford this procedure without insurance?  He had a pre-existing condition.  Luckily, he is wealthy and has a government health plan that will pay for him.  What about a 69 year-old factory worker? 

The health care overhaul is designed so that we don’t have to choose whose life is more valuable.  So, health care reform is the exact opposite of the “death panel” lies and propaganda. 

In fact, those who oppose health care reform don’t want to kill the Grandpa who is rich like Dick Cheney but they will let the Grandpa who is a retired factory worker die.

Sometimes it is fun to stoop to “their” level

Ok, since I hate most all of which Senator McConnell stands for, I can’t help but revel in a little meanspiritedness.

In the photo, he is addressing reporters about holding up all legislation unless the Bush tax cuts are extended (and thus impliedly shutting down the government and allowing unemployment benefits to expire).

But what he is really saying, as he points to his colleague Senator John Cornyn, is, “listen to me, but look at John Cornyn’s strong chin while I squawk like a chicken.”

Yes, it is mean.  But the rabid GOPers do it all the time, with impunity.

Ok, I feel really bad.  He cannot control how he looks.  But I probably wouldn’t notice that he looks like Thanksgiving dinner if he weren’t soooo venal.

I really feel bad.  I am tormented.  I’ll take it down tomorrow.  Maybe.  It doesn’t feel so good after all, this meanspiritedness.  Mitch, you can keep the gutter politics.  I am only sitting in the muck with you this one time.

Thank you, Bristol


Dear Bristol:

I was having a really bad few days.  But your trials and tributions on “Dancing With the Stars” made me realize that I take life and politics too seriously. 
I have never seen the show but popular culture has a way of seeping into my protected sanctuary.
And we learned again that good looks and popularity only get you so far.  And not always to the winner’s circle. 
And, Bristol, dear, no one hates you.  We don’t conflate you and your mom.  We hate HER. 
Most teen moms don’t have the resources you have, so they couldn’t be away from their little ones to go on, let’s say, for example, a television contest show.  Maybe, that will be the focus of your energies — bringing opportunities to young mothers. 
Use your fame for good, not for your mother.
Anyway, thanks for the levity. 
~ Blogger

Dinner on a Saturday night in the big city.

It is Saturday night and POB (partner of blogger) and I have a babysitter, so we can have dinner out.

We take a long walk and happen upon a new-ish Italian place.  It is a double store-front sized space, with tables too close together to meet fire safety standards.  We know it will get crowded at prime time which is within the half hour.  But we are in the patch on the West Side that is a restaurant wasteland.

So we squeeze in between two tables and are close enough to share their food and, unfortunately, their conversations.

POB and I focus on each other and our conversation but the random bits and pieces of the surrounding conversations threaten to enthrall me in the way that bad movies are so horrible that they become intriguing.  Just a flavor of the conversations:

The guy at the table to my right, who cannot afford school or dinner (prior soupçon), says to his date, “I am trying to diversify myself,” in trying to explain why he can’t finish any particular course of study.  (I, of course, want to suggest remedial English because using big words in the wrong way is not really a career advancement technique.)  He goes on to talk about how netting $1million after taxes each year is barely enough to cover living expenses and school for your kids.  Hence his self-diversification because he is thinking really, really, really big.  Makes me wonder whether dinner will stay in my tummy.  But enough scatological musings.

A woman to my left is discussing a terrible tragedy about a family.  However, her point is that she is so personally affected by it (and so her friend should soothe her) because her cousin’s best friend’s sister lives in the same town.  Ok, somehow the tragedy is all about her.  I am staring at this woman a little too long with this gobsmacked look on my face, so much so that POB has to say, “Eyes on me.  Bring the focus back.”  In this instance, she is not out of line.

But, I digress . . . .

Back to the freakish restaurant. The food is quite tasty and the service staff is earnestly incompetent.  So earnest, in fact, that you think they are trying to get everything wrong. For comparison purposes, service staff needs more experience to reach the level of practiced, aggressive incompetence that would qualify for a job at Duane Reade, Rite Aid or CVS.

Luckily we are not in a hurry.  In fact we are taking our time because we need to make sure our son is in bed and falling asleep before we come home, or we lose one of the perks of a night out — no bedtime drama, etc. So, the earliest we can get home is 9:30.  If the service were not so head-shakingly bad, we might have stayed for dessert.

When we try to ask for the check, we end up pleading for someone to ring up our bill.  We couldn’t get anyone’s attention for twelve or so minutes.  I am handed someone else’s bill, for about 1/3 of what our bill ought to be.  It takes me another seven or so minutes to get someone’s attention to get me the right bill.  After ten minutes, I am given the right bill.  I pay cash but I need some change.  We wait, and wait and wait and wait — ten minutes.  I cannot imagine that in their earnest incompetence, any of them expected a 25% tip (if I didn’t get change).

I am finally able to flag down someone in this small (did I mention tiny?) restaurant to ask for my change.  The service person nods, and five minutes pass, and — viola! — I am handed the first bill again.  AAAAAaaargh.  The service person tries to dash away.  At this point, I yell in an annoyed, commanding tone, “WAIT!! STOP!! COME BACK!! I want my change.  I do not want another person’s bill AGAIN!!”

Then three people come over, each wanting to handle the problem.  All of sudden, everyone wants to pay attention.  I tell everyone to go away and designate someone to bring the change.  Finally, the change comes.  Another five or so minutes have passed.

Then I start to calm down and feel bad that they are so inexperienced at their incompetence that maybe they need the bigger tip to take some classes to perfect their art.  Really, I feel bad.  I turn to POB and ask, should I leave 20%?  She laughs at me.  She wonders if I have reached the tipping point of dementia.  She reminds me that we have spent more time waiting for and paying the bill than ordering and eating.  I remind her that we couldn’t go home anyway because our son is not yet asleep. So, they did us a favor by forcing us to stay and giving us a bloggable moment.

I still say the bigger tip was in order.