Messylaneous

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Could Ebola Teach US Americans Geography?

The late journalist Ambrose Bierce commented that “War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.” Yeah. As if Americans ever learn geography. Truth of the matter is, that picture to the left probably is where a disturbing number of Americans (well, nortemericanos, anyway) stand with respects to understanding our planet and how she is laid out. (More knucklehead geography is on view at Buzzfeed.)

Basically, even our most elite Americans are totally having Caitlin Upton moments—but particularly about the whole Africa and ebola thing.

No, really:

For instance, at a school in New Burlington, New Jersey, two Rwandan students are staying at home due to other parents’ fear that they will infect other children with Ebola. Rwanda is as close to the Ebola outbreak as New York City is to Seattle.
In Hazlehurst, Mississippi, a school principal’s recent visit to Zambia has led to a lot of parents choosing to keep their kids at home. But Zambia is in Southern Africa, over 3,000 miles away from the Ebola outbreak — the same distance between New Hampshire and Los Angeles. 

A school bus driver in Poplarville, Mississippi who recently visited Ghana is being prevented from returning to work. Meanwhile, in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, some parents kept their kids home when their school hosted two visitors from Uganda.

Seriously? People aren’t even Google-mapping where people are from? Can’t even do the most basic Wiki research into where folks are and how ebola works and then front that they are concerned? They have the maps—because they have the cell phones. Maps are even on cell phones, now. They have the gateway to non-stupid in their pockets.

So I am thinking the answer is “Nope.” Americans will learn geography when the stupid is pried from their cold, dead hands. Or possibly in the case of zombie apocalypse.

(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 10/21/14 at 11:19 PM
Comments (2) • Permalink

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Say “Yes” to This Mess?

The above ad from the College Republican National Committee kind of looks like an attempt at outreach to women, doesn’t it? The actors in the ad are all women. It covers things women really care about, like the budget and pretty dresses!

Seriously? The Rick Scott “dress” wanted to piss-test welfare recipients at a cost to the taxpayers of a bunch of money that companies he was associated with would collect on.  Dresses are very rarely associated with Medicare fraud.  If Rick Scott were a dress, he might not look all that pretty. Particularly not to women voters. But let’s just be silly and ask—why is a gender essentialist and condescending ad like this the way the College Republicans decided to support their guy? Is this one of those tone-deaf deals like the “Diversity Bake Sales” where they kind of thought more people would be in on the joke?

I just think it’s dickish. You wear a wedding dress one time on one special day. The policies of a governor can last for a long time. A politician isn’t a “brand” or a “pricetag”, and the analogy is insultingly reductionist.

But this kind of “relating to women via women things” instead of actually boasting policies that women can feel good about isn’t startling or new. Just recently, a Florida politician tried to explain away his decision to hold a men’s only fundraiser by likening it to “women stuff”—a lingerie party! (Goodness knows I would only wear underwires and itchy lace to bed just for me because it feels so good—how I am not incorporating babydoll teddies into my day-to-day regime is beyond me—you know how us hens do get together and just for some reason select to spend large money on small garments that seem to have been put together by a team of engineers with cleavage rehabilitation in mind because sisterhood and chardonnay. I challenge all of his assumptions, I do!)

Another brilliant mind in the women’s outreach vein did an ad that likened Obama to a very bad boyfriend because us sisters have all been there, haven’t we? (Everything about that message is kind of lying and wrong, on so, so many levels.)  So been there and done with that “boyfriend thing” though, GOP.

Honestly, maybe the GOP should just try and outreach caterpillars. They could hardly do worse than they have been doing with women.

But in case you were confused—the Republican Party is still made up of a diverse bunch of stock photo people. Of which some are even women. Because they care.

(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 10/01/14 at 10:27 PM
Permalink

Categories: MessylaneousPoliticsElection '14NuttersWar On Women

Friday, September 19, 2014

One Rather Expected More—Or Not

Josh Marshall says “You kind of have to see this video.” And he’s exactly right. James O’Keefe has, I am afraid to say, completely descended into farce. And there were such hopes for him, too, weren’t there? But anyhow:

You know, when young James took it upon himself to manufacture an essentially fallacious narrative about ACORN that ultimately resulted in the disbanding of the group, I thought he’d got his foot in the door for star treatment on the wingnut welfare circuit but would need to up his game to remain viable for long. His output since has been hit or miss, mostly miss. Probably because he makes things up. And then there are the occasional civil prices paid. He’s a damn liability to any credible journalism outfit, and even conservative media seems a little tired of him. That why I guess he’s on this topical tip—one could hope for his sake he’s trolling to fund some bigger project, but it looks mostly like performance art and bottom-feeding.

So what’s a boy to do?

It would be neat if he applied himself to knowing the details that make foreign ISIL fighters crossing our borders nearly irrelevant, like the way that ISIL uses propaganda to recruit people right here in the west—even the US. O’Keefe must know how dangerous propaganda can be by now, certainly? He could even bother looking into how threats that ISIL makes regarding potential attacks here are aspirational and reflect the mixed messages ISIL keeps trying to make to project strength. Or even ask what kind of wall would have protected Australia (get a map, if you like, Jimmy) from terror plans. Porous border much?

He’s a disappointment. One wants better targets of one’s loathing, don’t you think?

(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)

 

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 09/19/14 at 10:52 PM
Permalink

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Body’s Story and A Burning Town

Just moments after my Twitter feed advised me that the Ferguson PD elected to crack down on the curfewed protesters and journalists about two hours early, I got a good idea about why—

The independent autopsy of Michael Brown’s body had been released (and where is the autopsy from the local ME? one might well ask, as well as ask why another federal one might be requested before this young man’s bones are put to rest). And the wounds tell a story. They can’t not.

“People have been asking: How many times was he shot? This information could have been released on Day 1,” Dr. Baden said in an interview after performing the autopsy. “They don’t do that, even as feelings built up among the citizenry that there was a cover-up. We are hoping to alleviate that.”

Dr. Baden said that while Mr. Brown was shot at least six times, only three bullets were recovered from his body. But he has not yet seen the X-rays showing where the bullets were found, which would clarify the autopsy results. Nor has he had access to witness and police statements.

But the entry wounds to the arms and head of Michael Brown from a distance suggest to me shots not to incapacitate but kill—two to the head? I think he was down and his hands may have been up to shield himself—a totally submissive posture and not out of line with what eyewitnesses have indicated.  And I don’t really have time to argue why this is not what anyone does with a suspect picked up for walking in the street who may meet the description of an unarmed person who boosted some ‘rellos from a convenience store.

read the whole post »

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 08/18/14 at 12:12 AM
Permalink

Categories: MessylaneousPoliticsNuttersSkull Hampers

Monday, May 12, 2014

George Will Just Seems Extra-Insufferable Lately

I’ve commented on George Will before, but usually having to do with climate change—his denialism, for a supposedly smart person, is tiresome in its sheer repetitive belief that science somehow works like politics does. But to be pretty honest, on any forum he’s been on, he has a habit of talking down as if he’s a guy who knows things, so listen to his plausible bullshit, okay?

I think of it as “Willsplaining” for obvious reasons.

So I shrugged off his kind of “Hey, kid president, get off my White House lawn”  column of a few weeks back because—why yes, I did think it was pretty insulting to basically call the president childish, but on the other hand, I don’t yet know what it’s like to have a president who is younger than me, and I guess that might feel weird, huh? I mean, if Marco Rubio became president, he’d still be a whole year and a half older than me.  Maybe that is kind of a mindscrew. Who is this punk who uses the slang and has smoked the marijuana and thinks he is the boss of the country anyway, the whippersnapper? It’s a generation gap thing. Maybe Will can’t, like, relate.

But this thing here about putting down hashtag activism is pretty awkward in more than a few ways:

CHRIS WALLACE: I want to turn back to the kidnapping, the terrible kidnapping of these Nigerian schoolgirls in the little bit of time we have left in this segment. Because this week Michelle Obama and Malala Yousafzai joined the Bring Back Our Girls movement. More than 2 million people have now tweeted the hash tag. And George, I’m just curious. Because I’m not saying I was that familiar with this phenomenon. It’s even got a name, #activism. And I’m curious what you make of it. Do you think that this is significant and helpful? And can make progress? Or do you think it’s really about helping the people who tweet the hash tag feel better about themselves?

GEORGE WILL: Exactly that. It’s an exercise in self-esteem. I do not know how adults stand there facing a camera and say, bring back our girls. Are these barbarians in the wild of Nigeria are supposed to check their Twitter accounts and say, oh, Michelle Obama is very crossed with us, we better change our behavior.

WALLACE: It’s trending on Twitter.

WILL: Power is the ability to achieve intended effects. And this is not intended to have any effect on the real world. It’s a little bit like environmentalism has become. But the incandescent light bulb becomes the enemy. It has no effect whatever on the planet, but it makes people feel good about themselves.

I’m just going to start with “barbarians in the wilds of Nigeria” if you don’t mind—WTF?  I get that he is calling Boko Haram barbarians and not the average Nigerian, but, I hate to break it to Will, over the last two decades, the cell phone has kind of become a thing. It’s internet-capable and people all over the world have used them to stage demonstrations and plan things. Yes, I think they are aware of Twitter. No, I don’t think hashtag activism necessarily influences what they will do, but it might inspire heads of state and legislators who do have power to act. Because in a functioning democracy, citizens petition their representatives with their concerns. It isn’t about “feeling good”—activism doesn’t always get one the desired goal and there are only so many things regular people can do. But is is better than nothing. And what does he think about “letters to the editor” or “writing one’s congressperson” or “signing a petition” (many of which are basically about mailing-list trolling anyway)? Could it be hashtag activism is such a waste of time in his estimation because he has no concept of the technology, and maybe it’s about “self-esteem” because (shaking fist) “these kids these days think they’re so hot”?

But comparing sympathizing and wanting to do something about these children who are in a terrifying situation and light bulbs is a special kind of assholery. Okay, we get it. Old Grumpy Grampy Wills doesn’t care for the tree-hugging hippies who are trying to take his old reliable Edison-era volt-hogs away. And there is probably some overlap between folks who love the new-fangled lower-energy devices and also think girls should not be stolen from their families and sold. But I would very much like to think the default setting on our morality should be that we do not like the idea of girls being kidnapped and sold and whether we care for new-fangled things like the Twitter-box or those swirly-bulbs is besides the point. Because pompously putting people down for giving a basic human shit about other people is kind of awful.

So I’m saying George Will is awful, and I do not know how one as an adult gets in front of a camera and compares kidnapped children to light bulbs.

(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 05/12/14 at 11:37 PM
Permalink

Categories: MessylaneousPoliticsEditorialsOur Stupid Media

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Nope-Got No Sole

Okay—that title is lifted from a tweet from Jonathan Capehart, who documents the silliness of the “Shoe Truthers” with a trace of the exasperation any sane person might feel when examining the actual serious thought processes of people who might be a wee bit paranoid a lot.

I’m kind of an uptight thinker who seldom strays into the fanciful except to atomize a yet-more out-there notion—so let me boringly put a damper on this thing: there is obviously no way for any person to aim a shoe that they were wearing at a public figure and then hobble off scot-free. They are certain to be apprehended—any fancy of flight would prove, well, bootless.  Any collusion to plant a person in an audience to launch a shoe would involve some connecting factor, because once charged with a federal offense (and a savvy lawyer like Hillary Clinton would have known this much) any stooge paid off to, for some kind of reason, launch a shoe at her, would roll like the mighty Mississippi. Who would bargain away their freedom for X-untraceable amount of funds for a PR scheme? The sane folks who’d go for that are few and far between, and there are many limiting factors involved in employing someone who would not be classified as mentally fit.

And let’s consider the PR downsides, which are numerous. Getting smacked upside the old bean with a sneaker would be ungraceful, so one might study to avoid head to tennie contact. Ducking is, itself, a kind of submissive posture. The actual fact of anyone launching an athletic shoe at one implies unpopularity—there is no good reason anyone would want to portray that level of unpopularity. A “lone shoe-er” is a poor representative of anything like a “vast, right-wing conspiracy”, so activating sympathetic historical memes is out…leaving what exactly? A footwear fetish?

So fine, you are left with the spectacle of a former First Lady, US Senator, and Secretary of State ducking and covering from a podalic projectile because that’s the way she likes it. Uh huh? Uh huh. That is some serious stupid.  I do not know what to make of anyone who would stupid that hard.

(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 04/15/14 at 11:37 PM
Permalink

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Ben Stein Likes Indoor Plumbing, Dislikes Poor People

Visine pitchman, former Comedy Central gameshow host, and ex-presidential speechwriter Ben Stein really wouldn’t hack me off, what, a couple times every five-six years or so? If he just wasn’t a pious hypocritical ivory tower word-weaseling douche canoe.

It isn’t the highest standard in the world. Many people have avoided being a hypocritical ivory tower word-weaseling douche canoe. He just isn’t living up to that standard, and I despair of his regular attempts at self-sabotage.

So, I point to an interview, which kind of turns on a thin dime so subtly that you might have to think a minute to realize that Stein is weaseling.

“Yes, the government designates many tens of millions as poor, but they almost always have indoor plumbing (which my mother did not have in her small town in the Catskills) and they are super nourished as opposed to mal-nourished,” he said. “They get food stamps. They get free medical care. They get vouchers for many of the needs of life.”

While he pities their plight, Stein pointed out that poverty was greatly reduced in scope and severity in the past century.

“In olden times, poverty was the common human condition,” Stein said. “In the USA, as recently as the Great Depression, poverty was commonplace. FDR might have exaggerated when he described one-third of the nation as ‘ill housed, ill fed and ill clad…’ But surely he was not far off.”

And his mother would be how old?  I bet nobody had color tv’s in her day either. And his solution is?

“Maybe, just maybe, if we let God back into the public forum it would help. I have seen spiritual solutions work miracles.”

And in his mother’s day, way back when, when the poor folks were really poor, and not the kind of fake-ass poor we have today—is he saying things were less religious then? Because, unless I’m really mistaken, most conservatives envision the past as being a little less secularized and hippieficated , and way more squared-away, God-fearing, and role-knowing. And yet the really poor folks were back in the day, he says. And his momma did not have indoor plumbing, he also adds.

Thinking about that: Are you saying your momma was godless and self-sabotaging, then, Ben? Because I do not think that proves your point, and you shouldn’t even be talking that smack about your momma. That isn’t decent.

(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 04/09/14 at 11:27 PM
Permalink

Categories: Knee SlappersMessylaneousPoliticsBqhatevwrNuttersPolisnarkRelijun

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

SCOTUS Shows Love for the Rainmakers and Buckrakers

In the home of the brave, free speech comes with a price tag, as the Supreme Court decided in a 5-4 (No! Really?) decision in the McCutcheon v. FEC case, which basically gives rich folks the license to print ballots.

Maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but here’s the deal—if putting your money where your mouth is, is a form of free speech, then some animals on this farm are obviously more equal than others, if laws that try to keep the rich from drowning out the voices of the not-so-much are seen as onerously violating the rights of the people who can afford to pay for this here microphone and mean to use it.

It kind of says, if you can’t afford to pay for the good sound system, you might as well shut up.

There was some dancing around in that decision about whether campaign financing was about quid pro quo—look, I get it. The decision for letting our politicians be bought outright was centered on not making it for each trick they turn out, but letting them perform on a retainer basis.  And that’s sweet, but let’s call it what it is. And let’s not pretend that our transactional political system isn’t about quid pro quo because the paymasters don’t give direction when our little dears can figure out what they are supposed to do to please Daddy without all that much direction.

Now, there might be an antidote to the influence of money in the form of a critical, tough, independent media who can cut through the “talk” of money and see to it that “bullshit” hits the road. A lot of our mainstream media might not necessarily recognize that cutting through the bull is their job, though. That’s kind of why I see blogging as important. Maybe this cosa nostra can strike a little bit back at the pezzanovantes that want to make peasants out of us. But otherwise, I encourage everybody to vote the fuck out of the GOP, because, let’s be honest, they are the most boughten and paidest-for. I’m all for kicking the Koch-machine—how’bout you?

(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 04/02/14 at 10:08 PM
Permalink

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Brats in the Frat: A Perfectly Reasonable Political Theory

The previous post reminded me of a political theory that I can not for the life of me figure out where I read about it—it can’t be original to myself. It is the idea that, in any college movie involving fraternities—the “bad guy frat” is obviously the Republicans. It seems to be true. Take Animal House, in part the brain child of the late and lamented Harold Ramis, as an example—Neidermeyer could not possibly be a Kennedy supporter. And the same holds true with Revenge of the Nerds: in one installment, Morton Downey Jr. was even allied with the Alpha Betas against the Tri-Lams at Adams College. And in the somewhat less impactful Jeremy Piven vehicle, PCU which allegedly sends-up “political correctness” and “anti-frat” culture, come on. The David Spade (Rand McPherson?) frat is pretty seriously a bunch of up-tighty whitey righties.

I’m sure there are other examples that drive this home. But in any event, the theory might explain why I’d rather have a coffee with Pajama Boy than get ironically duck-fupped on PBR with Scott. YMMV.

This is a late-night open thread.

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 03/23/14 at 11:35 PM
Permalink

Categories: MessylaneousMoviesPoliticsBqhatevwrFanserviceYouTubidity

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Not the Least, and Not the Last

Yesterday marked some new changes in the battle of LGBT equality, with AZ Gov.Jan Brewer vetoing Senate bill 1062, finding that there was no evidence that people of faith were being unduly burdened and that allowing this bill to become law would have unintended consequences, and with a federal judge ruling the Texas gay marriage ban unconstitutional.

It’s not unalloyed good news, because although I am optimistic (just see my last blog entry) I was not found in a cabbage patch nor was I raised on sunshine and good vibes. The response of some social conservatives definitely reminds me that nothing is over—if anything, the desire of a handful of retrograde culture warriors to wrap themselves in the mantle of faith and claim special privilege as a marginalized group seems to have grown. It’s what you might call a smaller, but more motivated group. Look at it this way, if it’s right that the SCOTUS Windsor ruling has literally made all further argument on gay marriage moot, what the hell is Brian Brown gonna do now? Get a real job? Even Fox News might stop inviting Tony Perkins on, and everyone knows Bryan Fischer is worried that if folks are freely getting gay-married…well, he’s on his own thing and I think he’s more scared of turning into a vulva than turning gay, but my point is, that rear-guard money is catch as catch can and they gotta hustle now. So they will hustle.

The thing with prejudice is, the people with it like to feel justified. Of course they are fine upstanding better people. They wouldn’t even have the prejudices they do if they weren’t! This “religious freedom” gambit seemed like a nice way to co-opt the language of the persecuted to sound like maybe they were the ones all victimized and wronged by liberal fascism. Which is the very worst kind of fascism because of the PBS programming and organic produce, not to mention the whole meaningful chats about “tone”. But the problem is political correctness, don’t you know.

Conservatism won at least one argument with me. I hate political correctness. I will call these professional victims and family values pimps what they are. And for what it’s worth, if they want to talk about respecting religion, I have some reservations about your garden-variety haters deciding it’s totally okay to rip out pages of Leviticus and use them as a fig leaf to cover up their rage-boners over any class of people…being treated totally the same as anyone else.

But here is something to ponder that I don’t think conservatives are taking into account:

This kissing of theocratic ass is costing them—let’s talk about CPAC.

I love CPAC. I pretend I’m appalled because I’m a proper liberal with all the right credentials but as theater? I was a choir geek in high school—I love theater! And who doesn’t like to watch a hot mess of theater sometimes? But anyway, CPAC has engendered drama because they could never let GOProud in the fold. They were out, and never in. The sucking up around the edges to try and pacify the theocrat powers that be apparently cheesed Chris Barron off enough to quit them, hard enough. Is he not a conservative and a brother?

Nope. Moving on, CPAC isn’t having any with atheists either.  Wow. If “none of the above” is a big religious choice of the millennial generation, aren’t they making a big mistake right here? Especially given that 1/3 of millennials left religion specifically over how gay people are treated by their faith?


This wedge issue that used to be good for the GOP circa 2004, is not a great issue about now.  But if they think they look spiffy in albatross, who am I to try and stop them? You go, GOP-ers! Wrap yourself in the flag and the Bible and take all of your guns at once and….

I dunno. Write a very serious letter to editor of the Washington Times. If they have one. I guess.

(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged)

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 02/27/14 at 11:51 PM
Permalink

Return to Cork Haven

Because I watch the silly post-Edwardian soap opera known as Downton Abbey, in which all the opulent grand estates and posh London residences have names, it occurred to me the other day that my family’s home should have a name. It’s an unremarkable concrete block 3/2 that was built in 1977, but why shouldn’t it have a name?

I shared this thought with the mister, and without hesitation, he said, “Cork Haven,” which is perfect. So henceforth, I will refer to my home by its proper appellation. Just so you know.

I am back at Cork Haven after living out of a suitcase for a month while attending to my mom during her final illness. I just wanted to say how incredibly touched I was and continue to be by your kind condolences and the wisdom you shared here and here the other day. It comforted me when I sorely needed comforting, and I am more grateful than I can express.

With that said, please share the name of your abode, or create one now to share. The 1% may have all the money and grand estates, but names are free, so there’s no reason they should get to bogart that too.

Or talk about whatever, open-thread style.

[X-posted at Balloon Juice]

Posted by Betty Cracker on 02/27/14 at 12:04 PM
Permalink

Categories: BoozeMessylaneous

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Rest in Peace, Betty’s Mom

My mom died a few hours ago. I’m an atheist, and I don’t believe in an afterlife, but if there is one, Mom is probably pissed at me for putting her personal business out on the Internet, even if I don’t use her actual name or mine. “Why?” she’d ask. “What the hell is the point?”

But I want to tell you about her, because she was a character. I almost completely fucked up her life by being conceived when she was in high school and becoming the proximate cause of a shotgun wedding between two wildly ill-suited mates. By the time she was 18, Mom had two pain-in-the-ass daughters, a failing marriage and no money.

But she had an escape plan: When she was in her early 20s, she left my father and moved herself and us kids to the nearest sizable town and worked her way through nursing school. She became a cardiac care nurse, a teacher and a leader, but always someone who pushed back against what she perceived as the stupidity of institutional thinking.

For example, when some of the “suits” at her hospital pushed the staff to come up with snappy acronyms for processes, she made sure hers were near-profanities such as “TERD” and “SHYT.” She was 100% serious about patient care, but she had a strict no-bullshit policy about schemes hatched by administrators.

She would eventually try marriage again, but it wouldn’t last. She got a son out of the deal, though, so she considered the relationship a qualified success. Her boy grew up loved, harassed and scolded by a mom and two older sisters. And while matrimony never quite took with my fiercely independent mom, motherhood sure did. She loved each of us ferociously.

Mom was a witty woman, with a tendency toward sarcasm and irony. My sister followed in Mom’s footsteps and became a nurse. When she graduated from nursing school, she went for a job up in Savannah. So Mom, sis, little brother and I made a family trip of it to take my sister to her first real job interview.

After the interview, we were in our crappy little hotel near the waterfront (a “fleabag,” Mom called it), watching the local news. The announcer mentioned that a Coast Guard cutter was docking at the waterfront that evening. Without missing a beat, Mom reached into her purse, handed my sister and me five dollars apiece and said, “If you can’t drink all night on that you’re no daughters of mine.” And we did. And we are.

Some years later, after my sister had returned to Florida, my little brother decided to steal the family van at age 14, sell baseball cards along the way for gas money and go look up a girl in Virginia whom he’d met at the beach. He and a friend got as far as Savannah when they ran out of gas and could find no takers for their baseball card collections.

Naturally, Mom was frantic about the missing son and vehicle. She’d contacted my brother’s friend’s parents, and they figured the boys were somewhere together in the van, but since they’d left in the middle of the night, no one knew how far they’d gone. My brother finally broke down and called Mom. He said, “Mom, I’m in Savannah.” Mom said, “Savannah better be a girl, you little shit!”

Mom and the other boy’s father rode up together to fetch the miscreants. On the way home in the van, Mom played the soundtrack of “Cats” on an endless loop at high volume to punish my brother. Twenty years later, he still can’t hear it without involuntary retching.

The women in my family tend to live long enough to seriously flirt with or surpass the century mark. Mom’s own mother is alive and in tolerably good health for a very old lady, though I suspect the news of Mom’s death will kill her. We dread telling her tomorrow, but we must.

Given what we thought were fortunate genes, we used to jokingly conjecture that Mom, my sister and I would end up living together again someday as three cranky old ladies, and that our much-younger brother would be obliged to have a stiff drink before visiting us each week to clean the cat box and pluck our chin hairs.

But as it turns out, Mom, the cardiac nurse with a fiercely loving heart, was born with a bad aortic valve. And that’s what took her from us decades too soon.

All during the last month that was consumed by her health crisis, I kept finding myself wanting to text her or call her to tell her about some stupid thing someone did or said that would have amused her. I miss her so much already, and this mom-shaped hole will be in my heart for the rest of my life.

Goddamn it, it’s not fair, I keep thinking. There was so much more fun to be had, more trouble to get into. But life’s not fair, as Mom often reminded us. You get to be alive, and then you’re gone, so make it count, she would have said. And demonstrated.

Posted by Betty Cracker on 02/25/14 at 08:59 AM
Permalink

Categories: Messylaneous

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Tom Perkins Makes Some Interesting Points

I have the feeling that Tom Perkins and I don’t have considerable overlap in our personal views or experiences regarding money. It’s okay, and I judge, but, like, I don’t judge, man.  He’s made a living knowing things about money, while for me, economics is a neat hobby, but I read poetry in college because my folks wanted me to be a useful citizen and iambs kept me off the pipe and the pole. Kind of. So I am taking his pronouncements with a grain of salt and a spoonful of sugar.

It’s hard to not look at a claim that people should earn votes based on their tax dollars as a form of elitism where wealthy people have more value in a system based on their proportionate capacity to pay more in tax dollars because they have those dollars to pay. I could envision a system where, by virtue of greed and the complicity of the hoi polloi, the wealthy could become disenfranchised by a tax law exempting the 1%-ers from all taxation. Followed by a brief and satisfying reign of terror in the exact year they lose all the votes. But I have long dipped my toes in speculative fiction where justice often follows narrative ends.

I do not suggest that such a future is practical nor probable. But I do note that our popular elections are so run that money does have sway in the ability of candidates, or whole movements, such as the Tea Party, to gain offices. The ability to create issues, generate turn-out, attract donations (by that old black magic called “It takes money to make money”), run ads that popularize a candidate’s name and visage, and so on, are greatly aided by money.

Why, let me introduce you to the Koch Brothers, if you haven’t been introduced! They’ve got a system.  They are two guys who can fund a remarkable number of think tanks (thought tanks, I think, because the thinks were already pre-thunk, no?), action groups, and whatever you might call them. This is several different ways to funnel money to campaigns, really. Many ways to soften up voter minds or harden positions for the gullible faithful inclined to seeing things their way. Billionaires can even buy or build whole news networks. They are even owning whole states, in their unpleasant way.  With the Citizen’s United decision, dollars pretty well convert to votes. Perkins’ dream is about here.

I think this is why folks of limited resources need to take advantage of voting while we can, because it is regularly being screwed with. (Nope, even today.) And let’s make sure our votes don’t get bought out from under us.

(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 02/15/14 at 12:46 AM
Permalink

Categories: MessylaneousPoliticsBarack ObamaBedwettersNuttersTeabaggerySkull Hampers

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Disappointed in Dinesh D’Souza

The situation may well be dire for Dinesh D’Souza, conservative public intellectual, film-maker, and Christmas tree salesman.  His recent indictment for charges of campaign finance fraud, for allegedly filtering $20K in campaign contributions to a long-time friend, Wendy Long, through “straw contributors”, could very well result in mandated jail time if he is found guilty. As in the picture above, you could say he’s up the creek on this one, but it’s a very odd thing, if you ask me.

Now, I don’t care for D’Souza, as might be evident by how I’ve written about him in the past. His claim that there is something un-American about being opposed to British colonialism, and selling that idea to people in tricorn hats waving stars and stripes, struck me as a tad incongruous and not without some racialist undertones when I first heard it, and I pretty much determined where his head was at when he quite recently made a tasteless tweet  using a dead youth to malign the current president. His sensationalization of Barack Obama’s “hidden” life and times in his wingnut welfare hit (job) movie aimed low and didn’t miss hitting a low bar and stumbling right over, failing to actually be in any way a meaningful criticism of the President, even if a meaningful criticism based on policy from a conservative point of view could have potentially been made—but might not have been “sexy” enough for the president of a smallish Christian college who did not realize that not even being divorced from his current wife would look bad if he was kinda shacking up with some other lady.

But if anything, senationalist hot-button books and movies at least have some lucrative value, even if they don’t live up to what an actual intellectual dissection of the target might mean in actual effect. But this indictment is talking about a mere $20k (is that—“That they can prove” or what?) laundered (to use a term of art) through straw contributors (they had to have consented, yes?) to a campaign that lost so very, very considerably.  I mean it wasn’t even close. Twenty large would have barely closed the deal on enough media time to make it remotely competitive. Not disrespecting whether he and the former Wendy Stone went way back—but what makes a guy risk jail time and at least four other suckers unindicted co-conspirators go in for the thing? Sheer ignorance of the FEC and laws thereabout? This is neither brain science nor rocket surgery, friends.

I get that some conspiracy-minded folks are saying this is a biased charge, but I find it hard to think there would be motion on this without any evidence at all.  I’m thinking this is out there because the Feds are dead-to-rights on the 20G’s they know about. Anything they shake out besides that is gravy. I just can’t figure out why.

That’s disappointing. What did he think he was doing there? For a public intellectual, he could be more smart.

(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 01/25/14 at 01:23 AM
Permalink

Monday, January 06, 2014

Come For the Carpetbagging, Stay for the Fishing

Sadly, it appears that the bid for US senator from Wyoming of torture apologist and nattering nabob of nepotism, Liz Cheney, may be drawing to a close.  It’s really quite unfortunate that a campaign that featured a massive rift between herself and her sister and sister-in-law over the validity of their marriage, an apparent break in the friendship between Darth Former Vice-President Dick Cheney and Senator Mike Enzi,  the payment of a fine over a fraudulently-completed application for a fishing license, and the revelation that Mr. Liz Cheney was registered to vote in two, count them, two states, (which is certainly the sort of thing that can happen if you are a resident of… wherever you say you are)—was all for naught.

But let’s look for silver linings, shall we? Now that Liz Cheney has settled in the lovely state of Wyoming, she can spend time getting to know people and making herself some friends, possibly bonding over casting lines and hoisting brewskis. It might just be that she is what we would call an “acquired taste” and the good folks of Wyoming haven’t had ample enough opportunity to, um, acquire a taste for her. (I know I never have.)

Now admittedly, they might never warm to her (although pitchforks and torches may be involved at some point down the line) and taking up full-time residence in Wyoming may cut into her television appearances shilling for neoconservative foreign policy ideas she learned at daddy’s knee. I don’t see a downside there.

(X-posted at Strangely Blogged. )

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 01/06/14 at 12:33 AM
Permalink

Categories: Knee SlappersMessylaneousPoliticsBqhatevwrElection '14NuttersTeabaggery

Page 1 of 34 pages  1 2 3 >  Last »