Friday, February 29, 2008

CALL AND RESPONSE: The Right Choice

HILLARY CLINTON'S CALL:



BARACK OBAMA'S RESPONSE:

"The question is not about picking up the phone. The question is: What kind of judgment will you make when you answer? We've had a red phone moment. It was the decision to invade Iraq. And Senator Clinton gave the wrong answer. George Bush gave the wrong answer. John McCain gave the wrong answer."

You said it, pal.

And while we're on the subject, it looks like Senator Clinton has started looking to other sources than Mark Penn for advice on campaign strategy. Sadly, the person she's chosen to listen to instead is NY Times neo-con columnist Bill Kristol.

~C~

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Equal-Opportunity Idiocy

Apparently, there's some kind of kerfuffle about John McCain being ineligible for the Presidency because his birth in the Panama Canal zone makes him not a "natural-born citizen." I'm going to address today's blog post to the people trying to fan the flames under this roasting turkey. The rest of you feel free to read a magazine, file your nails or lay your heads down on your desks until we're done. Thanks.

Okay, morons. Because you apparently dozed off in 7th grade World History class, let's take this slowly. I don't want to tax your already feable brain cells, which seem to be pushed to the maximum just trying to keep your hearts pumping and your lungs flexing.

John McCain was born in 1936, to a Air Force officer and his American wife, in the Panama Canal Zone at the base hospital at Coco Solo Air Base. In 1936, the Panama Canal Zone was considered a U.S. Territory. Furthermore, all United States Armed Forces bases abroad are considered to be United States territory. The same holds true for embassies, by the way, in case you geniuses ever find yourselves on Jeopardy and the topic arises.

So, in every respect of the word, John McCain, whom I would never even think of voting for even if he were running against a gerbil, is, in fact, a natural-born citizen.

Nothing, but nothing, bothers me more than ignorance of history and the law. I hate it, hate it, hate it! Why? Because of all the things that are NOT left to the imagination, history and the law are two of them. PEOPLE! IT'S WRITTEN DOWN!!!

Q:"When was the Panama Canal Zone a United States territory?"
A: "Well, among other times, in 1936, when John McCain was born."
Q: "What facilities on foreign soil constitute United States territory?"
A: "Golly, let's look it up in the book -- why, that would be military bases and embassies."

Morons. Idiots. I'm surrounded by them. Can we please focus on the issues at hand and stop with the triflin' bullshit, please? We have work to do and your little plates are full, and so is mine. I don't want to have to keep stopping and explaining it to you because you were busy playing tic-tac-toe in Social Studies.

~C~

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pride and Prejudice

"For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country,
because it feels like hope is making a comeback."

~Michelle Obama~

Apparently, rich white folk all over America are up in arms over this statement. This was an abomination. How could anybody not have been proud of America before now? I mean, really, this is America -- the greatest country in the world. Who wouldn't be proud of this country?

Well, let's examine this, shall we? Michelle Robinson Obama, a black woman in the United States of America, was born in 1964, in Chicago, Illinois, into a household that was extremely politically aware and active. Both of her parents worked, both had high school diplomas, both were active in the local politics and their community. The Robinsons, including Michelle and her brother, lived in a one-bedroom apartment. Michelle and her brother slept in the living room.

In 1982, Michelle turned 18. Ronald Reagan was president.

In 1985, she graduated with a BA in Sociology from Princeton. Reagan was still President.

In 1988, she graduated from Harvard Law with her JD. The President? Ronald Reagan.

In 1999, her daughter, Malia, was born. The impeachment hearings for President Bill Clinton had just come to a close. Monica Lewinsky was interviewed by Barbara Walters, and every lurid detail of her tryst with the President was revealed.

In 2001, Michelle Obama became a mother for the second time, to daughter Natasha. George W. Bush was President. The planes hit the towers the following September.

Since then, Michelle Obama, this daughter of very liberal, politically active parents from Chicago, who has spent the last ten years of her working life in either the academic or non-profit sector, has seen the passage of the Patriot Act -- not once, mind you, but twice, "No Child Left Behind," the passage of HJR 114, the subsequent invasion of Iraq, the outing of Valerie Plame, the wiretapping and invasive surveillance of American citizens without the benefit of warrant, the obliteration of the Geneva Convention by the imprisonment of uncharged, unrepresented foreigners at Guantanamo Bay and the embracing of torture as an acceptable means of securing intelligence (when most intelligence experts will tell you it's a really horrendous way of acquiring reliable information), the infamous "935*," the Walter Reed hospital scandal, the Jena Six, and the continuing implicit threats that the United States is amping up for an invasion of Iran.

Now, can you think of any reason... I mean, ANY reason... why Michelle Obama might have given up hope on hope during her adulthood?

Anybody?

Bueller?

~C~

*According to studies from two different non-profit journalism organizations, 935 separate statements, now proven to be false, were made by the White House in the months and weeks leading up to the invasion of Iraq. These statements persisted (and for the criminally and steadfastly ignorant, still persist) in being the primary reasons given for continued support of the war, though they have been proven to be lies.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

"Screw You, Anna Frank!"

"In spite of everything," Anna Frank scribbled in her diary, "I still believe that people are good at heart." The mitigating factor being, of course, that she wrote this while hiding in a tiny attic with seven other people, eluding Nazis hellbent on destroying her. Perhaps she would have revised or redacted that diary entry once the Nazis found her and whisked her off to Bergen-Belsen, where she later died of typhus. We'll never know.

We do know one thing though. There are people in the world who are not good at heart. Truly not. And one of them, Charlette Marshall-Jones, 44, is currently suspended without pay from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Detention Center pending the investigation into why, for the love of Pete, she dumped quadraplegic Brian Sterner,32, from a wheelchair to the floor during his booking last month on traffic charges.

Some other people who are possibly not good at heart might be Sgt. Gary Hinson, 51, Cpl. Steven Dickey, 45 and Cpl. Decondra Williams, Marshall-Jones acting supervisors on the day of the incident, who were all put on administrative leave with pay during the investigation. We might be willing to give the supervisors a pass, depending on what they did or did not witness directly while the incident was occurring, and what they did or did not do once it was over and they were (or were not, as the case may be) made aware of it. In any case, every person seen in the video below who watched it happen and didn't flinch needs to be fired, de-pensioned, and given extensive mental health intervention.

But Deputy Marshall-Jones was, unfortunately for her sorry ass, caught on videotape, intentionally up-ending the back of the wheelchair Sterner was sitting in and dumping him to the ground. Imagine her surprise when Sterner didn't simply leap from the wheelchair, yelling, "Ha ha... you got me, Deputy! I was just joshin' ya!" No, instead Sterner (pretty predictably, considering his obviously atrophied lower limbs) collapsed to the floor in a heap, with what I would imagine was a pretty audible "ka-thunk". The video below is the local Tampa Bay newsstation coverage of the incident, for your viewing... uhhh... pleasure(?).



I'm sure that Deputy Marshall-Jones had what she thought was a really, really good reason for dumping Sterner, and I'm sure her lawyers will be more than happy to spin that tale for us in a couple of weeks. They'll be telling us, a la the Rodney King beating video, that what we saw really wasn't what we saw, that law enforcement is a brutal game requiring brutal tactics, and that those para- and quadripalegics can be the most dangerous form of hardened criminal. I mean, there is no audio on the surveillance tape. We don't know how Sterner taunted and tormented the Deputy. Maybe he called her "Deputy Fatty McFattButt" and it made her cry and not feel so good about herself. Maybe he said something unrepeatable about the Buckaneers or the Marlins or whatever sports teams she worships. Sadly, I think the real reason Deputy Marshall-Jones did what she did was because, well, frankly, deep down, she's kind of just not very nice. Yeah, I know. Maybe she was once and the job soured her. Maybe she still is at home, with her husband and kids. Hell, Hitler loved his dogs. So did Leona Helmsley. Kenneth Lay was a helluva family man, I hear. That still didn't make them good, decent people in the grand scheme of things.

So, here's a big shout out to the suspended deputies for this exhibition of rampant inhumanity. It just goes to show you that for every fervent believer, like Anna Frank, in audacious hope and optimism with regard to the goodness of humanity at large, there are a bunch of other losers out there willing and anxious to prove her a little idiot for daring to believe.

~C~

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Something Horrible Happened Today.

No. Really. It's so horrible, it's almost unspeakable. (Almost, otherwise, why would I be bothering to blog about it?) It's a nightmare of gargantuan proportions. HUGE. MASSIVELY, MONUMENTALLY, OUTRAGEOUSLY CATACLYSMICALLY HUGE.

Glenn Beck and I agreed on something today.

Okay, so you might be thinking, "How could this be so bad, Amanda? Every now and again, people with vastly different political and cultural philosophies are bound to overlap every now and then." To those of you who say that, let me just tell you that you have no idea how this has shaken me to my core.

Glenn Beck is part of a small cache of conservative "journalists" (and I mean in the broadest, most ironic sense of the word) that I can count on being on the complete opposite side of the fence on virtually every issue. When they either lose their neo-con, corporate butt-kissing roadmaps and wind up on my side of the fence, or I happen to lose my footing and slip over to theirs, it shakes the very foundation of my world.
I've never agreed with Glenn Beck on ANYTHING. ANYTHING, do you hear!!! I was comforted by that. That gave me a kind of moral compass, a star by which I could faithfully steer my intrepid little socio-political skooner. "Wait," I'd say to myself. "Perhaps I'm being too hasty. Maybe I should give this idea which I've embraced (or to which I'm being completely resistant, as the case my be) a second look." Then I'd read Glenn Beck, and he'd invariably bring up some point (as he does in this article, espousing that yet MORE tax cuts for the corporate rich would be more stimulating for the economy -- because apparently that's worked so well in the last seven years), and I'd think, "Glenn Beck is for/against it, because it does/doesn't benefit the 'rich, white boy club' he aspires to," and I'd be able to calibrate accordingly.

But the majority of this article is Beck saying that he believes that, by and large, the tax refund stimulus package is a really shitty idea. And I have to say, I think he's absolutely right. (Ugh... that just leaves the nastiest aftertaste, I have to tell you.)

People, this idea is so rotten, it has maggots. While I can think of about a million fun things I can do with either $300 or $600 dollars, this entire idea just smacks of a bribe to keep us quiet. I feel a little like a wife who, after she's been consistently beaten by her abusive husband, is presented with an expensive piece of jewelry so she'll keep her mouth shut to the neighbors.

We don't have the money for this. We are fighting a war. We are in the middle of the biggest banking crisis since the early 80s, when savings and loans (remember those?) began closing by the thousands across the nation (and that was during the Reagan era, another famous Republican administration that people are now viewing through the rose-colored glasses of time and a dead president). We're in trouble here, and I, for one -- and, God help me, Glenn Beck, for another -- think that dishing out checks is NOT the way to solve it.

What are we thinking? Are we really so easily purchase that the prospect of a few hundred dollars makes us get all hot and wet and dreamy? Haven't we burdened the next generation of Americans sufficiently with a five-year debacle of bloodshed and expense, without adding the additional onus of paying for our "hush money," too? And let me make this clear here. I hold Democrats JUST as responsible for this mess as Republicans. The Democrats have had two years to do something useful with their Congressional majority, and they've pussy-footed around with it from the very beginning. That Nancy Pelosi can spare me her talk of Republicans barring the way -- she couldn't even keep her own side of the aisle in line.

I also believe -- as (oh, please don't make me say it again) Beck does -- that, if the government is so hellbent on doing this stupid thing, then debit cards would be the only way to go on this. If you hand people a check or cash, they will be spending it to pay bills, which in this particular case is NOT what the government has in mind. They want you to take the money and go to Disneyland. They want you to buy that iPod, or better still, an iPhone. They want you to splurge on a new pair of Jimmy Chus or a plane ticket to the vacation spot of your choice. This is what they say will stimulate the economy. A debit card is the way to ensure that the money will be spent purchasing things, rather than paying bills (which will not stimulate the economy one bit). I hate this stimulus package -- possibly even more than I hate Glenn Beck. Who apparently is my new BFF. (Please shoot me, thanks.)

I just wish the Congress and the White House would stop the charade of pretending they're trying to "help" us, and just deliver the money in the customary, old-fashioned way -- by leaving it on the nightstand when they're done with us.

~A~

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Old Dogs, Old Tricks?

Not to sound too paranoid or anything but...

(Thus begins the paranoid portion of our blog post.)

When I went to my polling place to vote -- my first time in Northridge since my move a year ago -- I was on the books, but instead of being listed as a Democrat, I was classified as "NP" -- Non-partisan. I think we all know me well enough to know that I'm in no way "non-partisan." Fortunately, the one benefit of being non-partisan is that you get to pick which ballot you'll be voting at the polling place. So I was able to vote with little issue (other than those damn Indian gaming amendments, which had me stumped until I punched the holes in the booth).

But while I was at the polling place, another woman was also listed as "NP" who claimed she ought to be registered as a Democrat, and a third woman was listed as a Republican when she swore she registered as a Democrat. She was pretty much screwed. If you're registered as a partisan, you get the ballot for which you're registered.

When I got to the dentist office after voting, the parking attendant who took my car keys saw my "I voted" sticker and mentioned that his absentee ballot only showed up in his mailbox yesterday. He had to take it into his local polling place physically. Fortunately, he was able to do this with very little trouble, as his wife votes in person and had the polling location at hand.

When I got to work, I went online and tried to find anything I could about California voting or registration irregularities, and this is what I found. It's a little-publicized story about tens of thousands of California voters falling off the rolls at the last minute, most of them without any notification or warning whatsoever.

So, now my curiosity is piqued. If you live in one of the Super Tuesday states, and had trouble voting or know someone who had an issue voting, post a comment. I'd love to hear from you.

Not that I'm paranoid, mind you. I'm sure the state government wouldn't intentionally be messing with voter registration to tweak the upcoming election. I mean, c'mon... how likely is that?

~C~

Rocking the Vote.

Today's a big day, people. If you haven't made the time to vote, make it. If you haven't made up your mind, decide.

Vote.

Now.

(Don't make me come over there.)

~C~

Friday, February 01, 2008

SINCE THE WAR BEGAN

Since the war began (in near chronological order):

** I fell in love.

** I went back to school.

** I got engaged.

** My daughter had her sweet sixteen party.

** I broke my engagement and said good-bye.

** My daughter learned to drive.

** My daughter graduated from high school.

** Dad got sick.

** I got my bachelor's degree.

** I gave up my home.

** My daughter got a car.

** I made a couple of awesome new friends.

** My daughter wrecked her car.

** The cat got killed.

** My daughter got a new car.

** We got a new cat.

** I got a new home.

** Dad died.

** I lost a couple of slightly less awesome friends.

** I began training for a triathlon.

** I got my master's degree.

** I started constructing a brand new life.

And, finally, and most importantly, as of today.... 3,943 men and women have died, and will never get a chance to do or experience the things I have.

Since the war began.

(Can they come home now?)

~C~