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Posts Tagged ‘Be nice’

I think I know why you like that picture.

March 11, 2012 4 comments

Dear Jaffner,

I think I know why you like this picture. It reminds you of the time you set the gutter on fire, doesn’t it? Big flames, satisfied smirk. Was the other weird sister was there, too? It was practically in her yard, at any rate.

Recently, you must have told my own kids about this one. They refuse to believe I didn’t participate in those pyrotechnics. They tell me, as if citing from a rule book, “Well, did you do anything to try to stop it?”

I admit it. I loved that felt beanie.

Or maybe the picture reminds you of our own experience in Girl Scouts. Until recently, I thought we were atypical. How many times did we even make it in the door after our moms dropped us off? On at least one occasion, I remember smoking cigarettes behind the building. I have a vague memory of blaming it on the ugly uniforms, which I suddenly hated after doting on those cute Brownie clothes. Our moms tried to keep us from quitting. Good luck with that.

Now I know that it was Girl Scouting itself that set us on this dark path of independent thinking. I’m sure it’s why our collective closets are packed full of gay and lesbian friends. We’re only fruit flies, after all.

Liberty and justice for all in the land of the free.

Which brings me back to my own boys, who on occasion over the years begged me to let them be Boy Scouts. Each time, I patiently explained to them why they couldn’t. In fact, I think this was probably the opener for their ongoing indoctrination into civil rights for homosexual people. Which, sadly, has now deteriorated into “Not that there’s anything wrong with that!” on cue.

We should’ve stuck with that Cub Scout pack we enjoyed so much. In hindsight, my mom probably knew the Boy Scouts wouldn’t let us play once we aged out of her backyard den, Or maybe she sensed that budding feminists, latent Communists like us would never fit in with the more military (would that be Fascist, then?) agenda of boys who had outgrown pine-cone crafts and pond fishing.

Probably a good thing. Those Boy Scout shorts would have made our butts look big.

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If There Were Such A Thing As Liberal Teabaggers, They Might Look Like This

August 2, 2011 3 comments

This is how the mayor of Vilnius deals with rich d-bags who illegally park their luxury autos in the bike lanes used by the proles:

Extremism in the practice of asshole intervention is no vice.

Now, if we could just get a little of that sweet, sweet action ’round these parts…

h/t to commenter Loneoak in comments at BalloonJuice.

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Step Aside, Jimmy Carter…History Has a New Greatest Monster

June 30, 2011 16 comments

Step aside, Jimmy Carter…your many misdeeds, including all those houses you’ve built for Habitat for Humanity and the almost-completed initiative to eradicate the horrifying scourge of the guinea worm have been overshadowed by the malevolent designs of our current president.

This least of God's creatures will soon be extinct, thanks to the evil machinations of Jimmy Carter

President Obama, in a an attempt to show gays & lesbians once and for all how much he hates them, yesterday held an event at the White House to ridicule and demean LGBT Pride Month.  Taunting the assembled activists by refusing to make an unequivocal statement in support of legalizing gay marriage nationwide, the president went on to enumerate his many offenses against the gay community – and how they do add up.  There’s the hate crimes law, named after Matthew Sheppard to diminish and exculpate the suffering he endured at the hands of homophobic bigots.  There’s the executive order Obama issued prohibiting any hospital accepting Medicaid or Medicare funds from keeping gay partners from the bedsides of ill loved ones.  Then there’s the end of the HIV travel ban and the first-ever national strategy for fighting HIV/AIDS.  Last but not least, there are the biggest slaps to the face to the LGBT community – the repeal of DADT and his refusal to order the Justice Department to vigorously defend DOMA.

Clearly, the man is hell-bent on the destruction of our gay and lesbian friends, and must be stopped.  Just watch this clip, and note the hatred emanating from his every pore:

We have no choice but to primary his black ass if he does not give in to our demands to say what we must hear if we are to believe his intentions are anything other than sinister.

I am reminded of this

Ok, enough sarcasm.

 My ass is chapped a bright red today thanks to being lectured on my lack of “morality” and my “bigotry” and my desire to “blame gays and lesbians” for any electoral loss the president may suffer in 2012 if he comes out in full-throated support for same-sex marriage legalization.  I was given quite the dressing down on how “principles are paramount” and how, apparently, the principles an individual subscribes to can best be gauged by their words rather than their actions.  And you know – it REALLY pissed me off.
 
There’s a faction on the left that doesn’t know how to disagree with people who share their goals, without impugning their motives or morals, when they have a difference of opinion on how best to reach those goals.  Because this discussion took place on someone else’s blog, I restrained myself from responding in kind, instead just asking in the hypothetical, “would it be FAIR for me to assert that YOU are actively trying to derail marriage equality in states like mine for the next several decades with your demands that the president’s words are more important than his actions, and that if he doesn’t say what you want to hear, then he shouldn’t be re-elected?”  Because the simple fact is, same-sex marriage is not going to be legal for a long time to come in places like Arkansas, Texas, Georgia, Alabama, etc. if we don’t secure a majority on the Supreme Court.  You just aren’t going to get a referendum passed in a state that 7 years ago amended its constitution to outlaw gay marriage with a 75% majority vote.  You also aren’t going to get a law through a legislature in a state where opposition is running that high.  The only way equality is going to come to these states any time soon is through a friendly court.  And the only way we’re going to get a friendly court is with a second term for President Obama.
 
So if your insistence is that ONLY a statement of support by the president will suffice, and said statement leads to 1% or 2% of the voters in a place like OH, IN, VA, CO, NC deciding to vote against you or stay home on election day, causing you to lose the state and, as a result, the election, you can kiss the Supreme Court goodbye for the next decade at least – and any chance for marriage equality in most of the red states along with it.  And for what gain?  So you can feel good, or be reassured that your “principles” are being upheld?  Because there’s no gain in the gamble if you win it, but there’s a hell of a lot to lose if you don’t.
 
Perhaps the social climate where some of these folks live is so different that they can’t conceive of an election turning on this one issue.  I’d advise them to think back to 2004, when the Republicans used anti-gay marriage referenda in a number of states to drive turnout and drag their already-a-loser-of-a-president over the finish line.  Demanding that Obama make a supportive statement – right now, this instant – is the same thing as demanding that he hand the Republicans everything they need to get out the vote.  If you’re sitting in the northeast or on the west coast, maybe that’s not that big of a deal to you, because it’s not impossible where you live that your state will address this issue on its own within the next several years, should Republicans re-take the White House.  But it’s a very big deal to your comrades in places where that’s not an option.  Their right to equality comes before your desire to hear pretty words.  This is not the hill upon which anyone should choose to die.  Suck it up, and stop being such assholes to people who are on your side.
 
P.S.  There was one amusing point in the conversation, which came when I demanded that one of the purists tell me HOW she planned to get marriage equality passed in Texas if we lost the election, and with it, the court.  Her plan?  Obama should do “arm-twisting” like LBJ did on the Civil Rights Act.  Yes, that’s right – the plan B was for Obama to go twist the arms of a bunch of reactionary yahoos elected to office by teabaggers, and…voila!!…they would all get on board.  Even though opposition is running at 70% or more in their states.  It’s almost like a twist on the Underpants Gnomes formula:
Step 1:  Twist arms!!!
Step 2:  ????
Step 3:  Victory!!!

It would be funny if the rights of real people weren’t at stake.

Update 7/2:  Ok, this cuts it.  I was willing to overlook all of Obama’s other hateful actions against the gay community, but this…this cuts it:  “Today, the Department of Justice filed a brief in federal court employee Karen Golinski’s federal court challenge, supporting her lawsuit seeking access to equal health benefits for her wife and arguing strongly that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional in terms unparalleled in previous administration statements.”  Why won’t Obama just make a big speech about how he supports gay marriage instead of all this pussy-footing around?  HUH?

Caption contest

October 19, 2010 15 comments

Consumed with unblogging things. So cut loose with some backstory here.

And Another Thing…

July 23, 2010 1 comment

…and then I’ll be done with this whole Shirley Sherrod business.  Someone noted in comments over at Sadly, No! that the whole thing made the White House look like a bunch of weak sisters.  I don’t completely agree with that, because I think making a mistake, owning up to it, and moving to redress it immediately takes a lot more strength of character than never admitting a mistake.  But you know, when your mistake resulted from the ratfuckery of your opponents, a little more is called for in a response than “we were wrong.”  Below is my reply to how such ratfuckery should be addressed, to the assembled press corps, in this and all other similar situations:

 Regardless of the blowback he will no doubt suffer, the White House’s idiotic, knee jerk, owned bitch response can’t be undone.

No, it can’t be undone. But I can imagine hearing, say, Gibbs say the following:

“A few months back Fox News was complaining because someone here at the White House said that we don’t consider them a legitimate news organization. So we gave them the benefit of the doubt, acted on information they presented, and look what happened. That’s our fault for believing that Fox would put accuracy ahead of agenda and fully look into the stories they promote as we expect any legitimate news organization to do. Clearly, we were wrong. We won’t be making the same mistake again, and we hope none of you will, either.”

This is the type of “measured” response due Fox News.  I know a lot of people on “our side” don’t like to play this type of hardball; some will point out that this kind of thing would only inflame Fox to turn it into the next Scandal of the Month.

But let’s be real here.  Fox is going to turn “Obama is BLACK!!!” into the scandal of EVERY month, from now until he’s out of office.  They aren’t going to stop lying and suddenly start saying nice things just because no one hits back.

That’s the beauty of the type of response I outlined above.  Because to flog it, Fox would have to show the clip…over, and over, and over again.  And they really don’t want to do that; they strive to ensure that this kind of home truth never penetrates the consciousness of their viewers.

See, the secret of a well-engineered Epic Reverse Bitch-Slap is not just that it hits the other party hard enough to knock out some teeth, which causes them to pause at least long enough to consider whether hitting back is really all that good of an idea – it’s that it’s also brutally honest, so brutally honest that the party on the receiving end would like nothing more than to forget it ever happened and be left alone as they pick up their teeth.

I used this tactic all the time when I lobbied the state legislature.  It used to make the people I worked with nervous as hell, because let’s face it:  it’s uncomfortable for everyone when someone stands up in a public meeting, points to the turd in the punchbowl sitting in the middle of the table, and says, “Hey!!!  Look at that!  That’s a TURD!  What the hell is THAT thing doing in here?  Are all of you going to pretend you can’t SMELL it either?  That thing’s DISGUSTING and it needs to go.”  I pulled this on a poultry lobbyist who slithered into a meeting uninvited one time to try to intimidate the farmers who showed up to meet with their representatives.*  He shouted curses at me in the hall of the Capitol loud enough that they echoed off the rotunda – probably not a wise move, since most of the good ol’ boys making up the legislature weren’t really keen on seeing a guy behave that way with a woman.  The gender thing can cut both ways. (*edit – this should be clearer.  I never pointed at the poultry lobbyist in public and said, “hey, look at that turd!,” although it would have been an accurate description, because that really would have been quite uncivil.  But I did quietly sidle up next to him and ask him to leave.  He then got up and threw a tantrum on the way out the door – and beyond it.  When several legislators mentioned to me later how “upset” he was about it, I said, “I’m sure it hurt his feelings – probably no one has ever asked him to leave before.  But it wasn’t his meeting – and if I had showed up uninvited at one of his meetings, do you think he would have been nearly as polite as I was in asking me to leave?”  The point being, this guy was used to throwing his weight around, but that didn’t require me to make it easy for him to do it.)

Another time a lobbyist for the state’s electric utility showed up to concern-troll a committee on the unbearable burden that would be placed upon them if they had to credit people sending electricity back to the grid (via solar or other generation) by the same amount they charged them when pulling power off the grid.  This was during the brief window between the time the state had passed deregulation of electric utilities and when they went back and rescinded dereg in the wake of the Enron price-gouging in California.  So when it was my turn to speak, I said:  “I seem to recall these guys coming up here less than a year ago and selling you all on the benefits of deregulation – how it was gonna spur competition, lower prices, all that good stuff.  Now it appears they’re telling you that their understanding of what you passed a few months back was a deregulated monopoly, since the idea of someone else producing even a miniscule amount of energy is just TOO burdensome for them to deal with.  Was it your intention to set up a deregulated monopoly for them?  Because if we aren’t going to allow competition even on this level, that’s what you did.  If it wasn’t, you need to pass this bill.”

Well, we got it passed, and that utility lobbyist never spoke to me again.  Wah.  But I guarantee it wouldn’t have made it out of committee if I hadn’t said something to the effect of “Really?  You’re going to admit right here in public that you’re their bitches?”

Another time there were some shenanigans involving our at that time newly-formed Ethics Commission.  The law that established it called for equal party representation, with appointment powers rotating among various elected officials.  What this meant was that sometimes a Republican slot would be open when it was a Democratic official’s turn to make the appointment, and vice-versa.  So a Democratic House Speaker decided to get cute and appoint a Democrat when he was supposed to appoint a Republican.  The Republican Party predictably went into full frenzy mode, depicting the event as History’s Greatest Injustice, which was kind of funny because they had filed a lawsuit just prior to the bungled appointment trying to declare the entire Commission unconstitutional.

There was a meeting to try to hash it all out.  I sat there for an hour as all the assembled parties, both Democrat and Republican, tiptoed around the elephant crap in the room.  Finally I could take no more; when it was my turn to speak I addressed the Republican spokesmodel and said, “It seems to me there’s a real disconnect here.  I mean, I agree that the Speaker’s actions were provocative and do not comport with the law establishing the commission.  But you’re up here acting like this is the worst injustice ever committed that you didn’t get this seat on a commission that according to the lawsuit filed by your party, SHOULD NOT EVEN EXIST.  Either your party believes that there’s enough value in the Commission that they should be allowed to participate, or they believe there’s no value there and it shouldn’t exist – you can’t really have it BOTH ways, can you?”

My boss at the time, when I related back to him the events of the meeting, said, “you didn’t really say that, did you?”  Well, yes.  Yes, I did.  Although initially a bit appalled, he soon realized that it opened up a way forward – we negotiated a fix with a friendly Democratic attorney general, who agreed that he would appoint the Republican member of the committee instead of the Democrat he would have appointed according to the appointment rotation – but he’d only do it if the Republicans dropped their lawsuit.

The reason these things work is that they are TRUE.  When someone is peddling a load of bullshit, the last thing they want is a quote that boils the whole thing down to its essential truth being played over and over again in the media.  And the only quotes that get played over and over again in the media are the ones that hit hard.

Mr. Gibbs, Mr. President, take note.  This may be the very best opportunity you’ll ever have to bitch-slap Fox News and the whole right-wing media machine in the way they so richly deserve.  It won’t have one iota of impact in the way they cover you in the future.  Do it now, because you CAN.

Periodic Table of Swearing

July 10, 2010 3 comments

For Jaffner, who corrupted me with potty talk before grade school, desensitized me to cuss words by the time we moved on to middle school, and continues to shock me with the pleasures of new badwords. (Click for larger graphic via BoingBoing.)

Happy Centennial to Us

July 9, 2010 2 comments

I’ve spent a few days now trying to decide what to put up for this, our 100th post.  I thought it should be something light-hearted, joyful or inspiring, if not a combination of all three, and since if you haven’t noticed I’m not exactly Little Miss Mary Sunshine, that was a real stumper.  I mean, I once stayed at the DisneyWorld resort on a trip for a business meeting, and while my colleagues spent the day off visiting the Magic Kingdom, or Epcot, or doing something else appropriately Disney-themed, I spent my day puttering around the shopping area close to the hotel and making observations.  What I came away with was this:  DisneyWorld is like the former Soviet Union, only with better weather and brighter colors.  Everywhere I went, there were long lines of tired, unhappy people waiting to purchase overpriced, shoddily-constructed merchandise they neither wanted nor needed, and looming over it all, wherever I looked, was the larger-than-life-sized portrait of one Mickey Mouse.  He’s the Vladimir Lenin of DisneyWorld.

Don’t think I didn’t enjoy myself – I did, completely.  It’s just that what I find enjoyable and what the vast majority of the human race finds enjoyable are two very different things.  I’m not a pessimist so much as I am an incorrigible cynic; pointing out the dark cloud around the silver lining is my default setting and as much as it irritates everyone else, it’s what makes me happy.  If it wasn’t for cranks like me keeping you tethered, all you happy campers out there would OD on your own dopamine.  You need us, dammit!

So finding something appropriately uplifting for our centennial blogpost was particularly challenging for me.  But thanks to Tbogg’s link to Lance Mannion’s blog, where this was posted:

… I was reminded of this video from several years ago:

It still makes me smile – most especially the New Guineans and the crabs on Christmas Island, but also the lemurs on Lemur Island, the dog who danced with him in Kuwait, and the guy in gay leather bondage gear in London.

Even a hard-core malcontent like me can’t find anything bad to say about either of these – other than to admit I’m pissed that I went to college in the pre-YouTube era, and so it never would have occured to me to find a corporate sponsor to underwrite a year-long vacation – not to mention that I’m a much better dancer than Matt is.  So yeah, there’s your black cloud.

Happy Centennial to us!

Now, where the hell is Lyta, and when is Beth going to get back from her umpteenth trip this year to pick up the slack here?

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