Saturday, December 19, 2009

What Ta-Nehisi Coates said


Whatever benefit of the doubt you may be entitled to, whatever raw deal you may be have caught, exchanging the defensive crouch for some self-examination is never a bad idea. It may be true that the ref may well be bias. But it may also be true that your jump-shot sucks. This is what it means to "Man Up."

This has been another addition of "What Ta-Nehisi Coates said".

Thursday, December 17, 2009

One more Health Care post and then I'm done. Maybe.

Nate Silver over at argues why this health care bill needs to be supported even if it's not ideal. Way too much information to quote there, so hop on over and read it yourself.

I'm not a huge fan of the bill as it stands right now. I thought the whole point was to control costs, and I just don't see it doing that. Instead, we are just going to subsidize those costs, which the deficit hawks will have a field day with. A mandate without a public option that forces prices down is a train wreck. It's a big win for health insurance companies though, millions of new customers forced to purchase their insurance for the small exchange of not denying people based on pre-existing conditions (although that's not a huge concern anymore being that they will still be able to put an annual cap on their coverage).

With that said, I do think we have have little option but to support the bill. It's really a no win situation at this point, Democrats can either pass a crappy bill and get blamed for the crappy, or they can sink the bill and get blamed for the survival of the status quo. Republicans are probably laughing their asses off at us right now, have you noticed how they kind of faded into the background when the liberal circular firing squad began? After screaming and tea bagging for months... silence. It's the smartest thing they've done in years. They are perfectly content to let the Democrats fall on their swords.

Some have suggested reconciliation or just starting over. I don't think there's a starting over point now. Obama, unique enough in that he did have a great level of support in the beginning, has wasted his political capital. Unpopular presidents don't pass huge reforms. It just doesn't happen. So we aren't going to get another opportunity to pass any sort of health care reform in the next decade or longer if it doesn't happen now. And I'm not sure I trust reconciliation in light of some of the Democratic leadership's decisions. Allowing annual caps came from Senator Reid. The deal that protects the pharmaceutical companies came from the White House. And there was really no way around all the obstructionism coming up with the "moderates". Congress isn't going to be any less in the pockets of the insurance companies the next time around.

I never had any illusions that the perfect plan would be passed. I just feel like we could have taken it a little bit further. And I throw that failure completely on Obama, and still can't figure out what the White House was thinking. It's almost painful to watch them stand by while King Joe Lieberman tanks the last, tiny compromise liberals asked for, but they can intervene instantly and press Senators to vote down the amendment that would have violated their little sweetheart deal with the Pharmaceutical industry. People are going to remember this in 2010 and 2012.

I'd love to tell the Democrats to fuck off and sit out some elections. But sadly, we have no credible opposition party, as the Republican party, lest some forget, is insane right now. But I'm a strategic voter, I'll look at the larger picture like that. Many other voters will not. And that the White House couldn't see that coming is a massive failure on their part.

Dude writes like a lady

Anecdotal, but interesting:

But I was still having a hard time landing jobs. I was being turned down for gigs I should've gotten, for reasons I couldn't put a finger on.

My pay rate had hit a plateau, too. I knew I should be earning more. Others were, and I soaked up everything they could teach me, but still, there was something strange about it . . .

It wasn't my skills, it wasn't my work. So what were those others doing that I wasn't?

One day, I tossed out a pen name, because I didn't want to be associated with my current business, the one that was still struggling to grow. I picked a name that sounded to me like it might convey a good business image. Like it might command respect.


Taking a man's name opened up a new world. It helped me earn double and triple the income of my true name, with the same work and service.

Women are treated differently on the internet. This has been a point of much debate, although I'm never really sure why. You are essentially wearing a huge target on your back in a land where one's true self can be expressed under the cover of anonymity, without the worry of being admonished by twisted viewpoints they hold. And there are many that hold certain negative views and expectations on women's behavior, we know this to be true in the world at large, I'm not sure why we would argue that it doesn't transfer over and magnify itself ten-fold on the internet. I've seen male colleagues given begrudging respect for stating viewpoints while I myself was thought of as shrill for stating the same thing, in the same tone. I've had nasty things said to me without consequence, until I responded in a like manner, at which the manners police came to scold me for my uncivilly. My personal favorite though, is when I'm told I'm being hysterical or irrational for calmly stating something controversial while someone nearby is screaming their fool head off at the damned clouds.

It happens more then you'd think. People judge my intent based on who they assume me to be, any information that contradicts that assumption is thrown out rather quickly. If I'm thought of as hysterical, everything said by me will be filtered through that lens. So when we have a prevailing stereotype that women are emotional and rarely logical, and I identify as female, I've already had expectations regarding my behavior assigned to me the minute I walk in the door.

I don't think it's a reason to throw in the towel and declare failure on unequal grounds. But it is there. And you adjust your behavior accordingly. I couldn't write a truly angry, emotional screed at this point even if I wanted to, because I know what's coming if I do.

With that said, I can't really say if using my real name in my writing has an effect, I've always used it so I have nothing to compare it to. In some respects, I think it's helped me. I figure that the audience I had when I was writing for the site that shall not be named was made up of people that were (1) drawn to the feminist aspect of my regular column, as it was a niche issue that created quite a firestorm when I wanted it to or (2) liked to watch me destroy my opponents in the comments sections. I've wondered sometimes if that last bit was a tad gendered, however. I have a reputation for ruthlessly and coldly crushing egos and can easily take what I dish out, and did so in a relatively calm and unemotional manner, all of which are associated with stereotypical masculine traits. So was it that I was actually quite successful when I would debate the topics of the day, or was it that my being female and doing so made me somewhat of an amusing oddity in some readers' eyes? It's not really a question that can ever be answered.

But back to "James" here, what I find most interesting here isn't so much about the name, as it is about her taking on of what she perceived to be the male identity, manifesting itself into complaining about bitches:

Whether you think Chartrand's choice to adopt a male name was anti-feminist or illuminating, you should know that adopting a male name is not all Chartrand did.

* She also adopted a male persona—her biography refers to her repeatedly as "he."

* She also named her company "Men With Pens."

* She also crafted a company logo (above) that looks like it was directed by Michael Bay.

* She also slipped this line into the bio of one of her employees, copywriter Taylor Lindstrom: "She's the team's rogue woman who wowed us until our desire for her talents exceeded our desire for a good ol' boys club."

* She also introduced Lindstrom to the blog as "perky," "adorable," and capable of cooking and cleaning. (In introducing a male employee to the blog, Chartrand described their relationship as "bromantic," one in which the Men With Pens "could be laid back together, chink beers and not argue over the remote control").

* She also regularly used photos of naked women to illustrate her posts.

* She also occasionally essentialized women—"all the women" loved Jerry McGuire, Chartland wrote—while conveniently placing herself outside of the gender categories she set for them.

* She also used a photograph of a man silencing a woman with his hand as the logo for a "Men With Pens" role-playing game. When a few commenters noted that the photographed failed to create an "inviting community for women," Chartrand replied: "Photography is very subjective. You see a woman being terrorized. I see a man helping a woman stay quiet so he can save her life."

* She also penned this post—amazing, in hindsight!—which instructed "mommy bloggers" to stop "whin[ing] about being stereotyped" and begin welcoming male commenters in their spaces.

She seems to feel that her male identity wasn't complete without this, something that I don't find all that uncommon with those that rely on such strict gender division. Many of the "reclaiming masculinity" movements also stress the idea that they are "not female", having their roots in the play on fears that femininity is taking over men in general. And if it's something to be abhorred, it's not surprising that they play "not female" to the point where the female must be despised in order to show how "not female" one is. But it's a rather strange way to define a gender once you think about it.

But I don't know, at this point, if this was the game she was playing, she might as well used her real name. She may have been even more popular. Women hating on women are a pretty valued commodity in some circles.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Whatever King Joe wants, King Joe gets.

Medicare buy-in dropped from Senate Health Care bill.

Health Care Joementum!

Looks like Lieberman might have pushed Reid too far with his filibuster threat, and now that Reid's been made to look the fool and his feelings are hurt, he doesn't want to compromise away the Medicare buy-in just to appease Joe. Luckily we finally have the White House stepping in to twist some arms:

The White House is encouraging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to cut a deal with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), which would mean eliminating the proposed Medicare expansion in the health reform bill, according to an official close to the negotiations.

Yes, we have to make sure we don't upset our little obstructionists. They might go on Meet the Press and accuse Obama of socialism or something. Let's just repeatedly kick our own party in the face instead.

The White House is honestly just fine with whatever crap bill ends up coming across the President's signing desk, just so long as they can sign it and crow about passing "historical" Health Care reform. We are going to own the consequences of this one for a long time.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday Mara Blogging

We've pretty much abandoned all hope of ever keeping her off the couch. Could you say no to that face? Didn't think so.

The Health Care debate makes me stabby.

So this fall I apparently decided that I wasn't frustrated with politics enough, and as such had to torture myself by following up-to-the-minute blog posts regarding the health care reform debate in congress. I'm kind of a masochist like that. The nausea-inducing roller coaster ride that passes as "debate" in our country, in case you missed it, went a little something like this:

Hey, Obama is going to bring us health care reform! Yay! He gives pretty speeches about it. Yay! While cutting sweetheart deals with Big Pharma on the downlow. Boo! Maybe we can have single payer! OMFG TEABAGGERS! Hitler Hilter, Socialism and whatnot. Seem to have an effect on public's perception of health care reform. Boo! White House and congressional Democrats seem content to let that perception go unchallenged. Boo! Oh, no single payer, let's not even bother bringing that to the table as a place to compromise down from. Boo! Oh no, the progressives are pissed about that. STFU, progressives. Yay! Polls indicate that the majority of the public does not support the health care reform bill. Boo! But wait, they seem to favor a public option. Yay! All hail Queen Snowe and her White House endorsed trigger option! Boo. But it's okay, we can have an "opt-out" plan instead, now everybody happy. Yay! But that's not enough to appease "moderate" Democrats (What about Republicans? There are Republicans in this debate?) And speaking of which, where's Obama? Well, House democrats are saying "fuck all" to that, Pelosi and her posse went straight for the public option instead. Yay! Who the hell is Bart Stupak and why does he desire an increase in septic abortions? Boo! Oh no, the liberal women are pissed. STFU, liberal women. Yay! The bill passes the house, anyone not needing reproductive care say Yay! Onto the Senate, where Harry Reid is going to play hardball because his poll numbers are down. Yay! Except when it comes to the public option, oh obstructionists, we can haz our Medicare buy-in instead? Sounds workable. Yay! Bill Nelson is jealous of all the attention Stupak got for his "fuck women" amendment, proposes one of his own. Boo! It fails, Nelson says he won't filibuster over it. Yay!

I'm sure I've left stuff out, as following this shit is exhausting, but let's keep it at that and say that brings us to about the current go-around. Which is starting to get more teeth-gnashingly irritating by the minute, as it is starting to now even make sense anymore. So it turns out Reid, with the full backing of the White House, wants to keep the sweetheart deal that the pharmaceutical companies have already by blocking an amendment proposed by Bryon Dorgan (D-ND) that would allow us to import drugs from other countries, hence, lower our collective costs on health care. Reid has also slipped back in the allowance of annual caps, something that Obama explicitly promised would end under his health care plan:

"They will no longer be able to place some arbitrary cap on the amount of coverage you can receive in a given year or in a lifetime. And we will place a limit on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses. No one in America should go broke because they get sick."

Yeah, he said that.

And to top it off, Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Joe Lieberman (I-Liebermanville) have decided that they haven't quite received enough air time on the cable news networks and as such, must obstruct the fuck out of health care reform, as the villagers just adore those hippie-punchers and will shower them with affection for their "moderate" views. Just don't ask them why they are actually threatening to filibuster, because they don't have an actual answer for that.

So what do all of these things have in common? If you guessed that they make absolutely no sense and are nothing more then a sell-out to insurance agencies, give yourself a cookie. Look, as much as I hate it, I understand the rationale behind the Stupak amendment. I understand the rationale about the "opt-out" prevision. But to allow Big Pharma to continue price gouging customers in a bill that was sold as saving us money? To give away the public option (for nothing in return), which would make many of the oligarchies that make up the private health insurance sector compete on an affordable level, not to mention is very popular with Americans (that aren't housed neatly in the little village of the Washington elite)? The White House going back on one of it's main promises, one that we were lectured to sacrifice our other health care ideals for? What is frustrating now is not that it's not my ideal health care plan. It's that these last few changes before we go into committee (if we even have one, that is) make little sense in the context of the plan they were selling.

I understand the logic, if self-serving as hell, behind Lieberman and Nelson's complaints. The more hippies they punch, the more airtime they get from the Very Serious political venues. Nelson I'm not too familiar with, but Lieberman has been a self-promoting whore for a while now. It is typical sociopathic behavior, from a couple of kids that know by now they have nothing to lose, and all the attention to gain. Lieberman's an asshole and should be kicked to the curb, no doubt. But can you really blame him for trying after he campaigned for the Republican candidate during the last presidential election and got not even a slight slap on the shoulder? Of course he's going to run with this.

It's more the White House and the other congressional Democrats that I'm not quite understanding here. Health care is a very direct issue in our lives. We will notice if the premiums go up (which, per Health Insurance company threats, they most certainly will). We will know if ourselves or our neighbors are still paying too much for prescription medications, or are dropped under annual caps. Obama can't just give a pretty speech and wipe this all away. Are they worried about a 60s-era cultural backlash? News flash: We are going to get the backlash anyway no matter what is passed and who supports it. Health care is a liberal issue, there's not slapping a bright red conservative bow on it. Maybe, if we are going to have that backlash anyway, we should get something good with it?

If they continue to water down and compromise on this bill, and do not craft the best health care legislation they can (and really, keep everything in and let the obstructionist assholes filibuster it, because at that point, it's on them, isn't it?), they will be the ones held accountable for it. Them. The White House. The Congressional Democrats. Not Republicans. Not Joe Lieberman. There is no one left to blame for their own naivety with caving to people that sought only to obstruction in the first place. Do they really think that demoralizing their own base and pissing everyone else off is the path to re-election? If so, welcome President Bachmann, people. I'm serious.

The stupid makes me want to claw my own eyes out. Good thing I couldn't afford to do so.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Cat Blogging and Random Top Ten

I've no idea why she has that look on her face. Maybe she's contemplating debating Sarah Palin about climate change.

No big news around the house. Jim is bottling his honey wheat beer tonight, in hopes it will be ready by Christmas eve. We have some Best Buy drama going on, but really, it's the holidays and Best Buy, so who doesn't have that type of drama? I just want my damn free PS3. I've got a couple of actual blogs posts in the mix, but snarking on the news is just so much more easy (and fun). And there are people on Facebook that I'm seriously considering trolling the fuck out of, because they need it. Aside from that, it should be a quiet weekend, being that I have to work tomorrow.

~ Cheers!

Random Ipod Ten (in which one puts their current music player on shuffle and lists the first ten songs):

01: Jorge Ben - Fio Maravilla
02: Erica Badu: Sometimes
03: Sunny Day Real Estate: Pheurton Skeurto
04: Depeche Mode: Halo
05: Exposition: Down with Us
06: Ramona Falls: Salt Sack
07: Q-Tip: Life is Better
08: The Pixies: Velouria (My ipod has a serious Pixies obsession)
09: The Twilight Singers: That's Just How That Bird Sings
10: The Pixies: Ana (See?)

Also, ACORN. Also too.

I'm absolutely shocked that a conservative sting operation against ACORN would turn out to have some major, malicious flaws. That right-wing activists would deliberately tweek their video "evidence" by dubbing over the audio to smear an organization they'd had it out for almost over a year now is unheard of. They seemed like such nice upper-class kids, who bravely decided their energy is best spent on targeting an organization that helps out the less fortunate in our society (I mean, if these privileged kids won't take on such an atrocious organization whose demise wouldn't affect them and theirs in the slightest, who will?) Such a shame. But it's time to pay the piper as I'm sure the ever vigilant media that was pushing this smear story for weeks will get right on this correction.

Right after CNN reports on the "12 mistresses of Tiger" complete with Christmas-y jingle by the similar name. Trenchant as hell.

All I want for Christmas...


INGRAHAM: Would you agree to a debate with Al Gore on this issue?

PALIN: Oh my goodness. You know, it depends on what the venue would be, what the forum. Because Laura, as you know, if it would be some kind of conventional, traditional debate with his friends setting it up or being the commentators I'll get clobbered because, you know, they don't want to listen to the facts. They don't want to listen to some reasonable voices in this. And that was proven with the publication of this op-ed, where they kind of got all we-weed up about it and wanted to call me and others deniers of changing weather patterns and climate conditions. Trying to make the issue into something that it is not.

Pure entertainment, what with all the winking and disgusted sighing and whatnot.

One thing you can say about wingnuts is that they are awesome at derailing a debate right off the bat by just putting as much inane pseudo-intellectualism in their first declaration. Which in turn sends you scrambling to correct it in good faith as they ignore you and move on to the next inane declaration. So poor Gore would be still be earnestly trying to debunk Palin's first rebuttal ("It totally snowed today, ergo, HOAX!!111!!eleventyone!11) while Palin has moved on to how this is some sort of Kenyan conspiracy to destroy America. Also, ACORN.

They go on to agree that Al Gore's snobby ass would never take on Palin's aw shucks I'm jus' regular folks ass. Not that they have any rationale behind that claim, but they just know, like all folksy folks know. It's because of the elitism. And they are probably right in a sense, being that any logical person would see that it's a lost cause, as you just can't cut through bullshit quick enough in a timed debate like that. And then we'd be subject to Palin whining for the next few weeks about how pointing out that the Arctic cap is melting is totally sexism. Because the wicked witch melted too, and she was a woman like Palin is a woman, are you calling Palin a witch? And then the Very Serious pundits on the cable news networks would take on the major debate about whether climate change is real or if Palin is really a witch (and being that Palin isn't a witch, she's a good Christian woman, climate change must be a hoax and by the way, did you see it snowed last night?), because it would be irresponsible not to speculate if Al Gore was elitist-ly using "climate change"and "science" as a front for his raging hatred towards Real Americans.

On a side note, check the amount of major projection in that paragraph of Palin's. It's just stunning.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Looks like Reid forgot the "This is excellent news for Republicans" rule.

Oh hey, Republicans are pissed off about something.

Much like the incessant whining over being judged negatively for their votes against Frankin's recent proposed amendment, current conservatives remind us once again that everything is good news for Republicans, so it's unspeakably cruel - vulgar, even - to remind everyone that their party is made up of the kind of assholes that are consistently on the wrong side of history.

This kind of reminds me of the "the first amendment protects my right to have no one call out my bullshit if I decide to spew it" rationale. The over-arching theme of the refusal for the GOP to be held accountable for their words and actions is really something Democrats should play on.

Which means, of course, Harry Reid will probably apologize tomorrow.

Oh noes! Please don't throw us in that briar patch!

Five AIG Execs Say May Quit Over Pay

AIG executives continue the whiny pattern of threatening to quit if their paycheck is compromised. Naturally, instead of calling their bluff, we'll fall all over ourselves to keep them, because... they are the best and brightest in the business and their uncle totally has connections, or some other nonsense. Why this warrants nothing more then a "Don't let the door hit you..." is beyond me, I'd think there are many qualified folks, that didn't need a government handout, that could probably do these jobs. Heck, they'd probably kill for these jobs right about now.

I just wish these assholes with major entitlement issues just go Galt like they've been promising for over a year, already. 

You mean to say that Chuck D doesn't have a time machine for the sole purpose of hating on future events?

Quite possibly my favorite newspaper correction ever.

Blog Hiatus Over?

All right, let's do this.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Meme is Born

I should really start collecting material for a book documenting the hilarious pattern of the right wing's incredible fumbling of modern technology. They really are clueless when it comes to the internets. But no matter how funny the scrambling was before, from Ted "series of tubes" Stevens to Norm "Ethernet" Coleman, Twitter has become the social networking site most notable for paving a solid path to the glittering gold mine of right wing idiocy.

The latest? Well, congressman Eric Hoekstra (R-MI) thought it would be a good idea to get a double in by wowing the kids with his mad knowledge of all things Twitter while showing his solidarity with the protesters in Iran (who have been utilizing Twitter to communicate with the rest of the world about the recent events there). Tweeted Hoekstra:

"Iranian twitter activity similar to what we did in House last year when Republicans were shut down in the House."

Yes Pete, it's totally similar.

Which naturally, caused endless mocking from the rest of the Twitter community to the joy of everyone everywhere:
ArjunJaikumar @petehoekstra i spilled some lukewarm coffee on myself just now, which is somewhat analogous to being boiled in oil
But as those of us that are aware of all internet traditions know, no internet meme is complete until we bust out the LOLHoekstras.

Funny stuff.

(via The Agitator)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Media FAIL

So I've been scanning my blogs and news sources this weekend to find out what is happening in the aftermath of the Iranian elections, which are looking more and more to be completely rigged (Hilzoy over at Obsidian Wings has the worst case scenario, that this was nothing more then a coup with a pretty faux-democracy bow slapped on top). As a result, post-election riots erupted in Iran this Saturday, but you probably wouldn't know this if you are just watching your local and cable news networks. Part of this is because it appears that a lot of commnications, particularly online ones, have been shut down by the government. But part of it is also because American media is a complete joke.

Tuning into MSNBC yesterday morning, to check on the results and riots, I got maybe a five to ten minute blurb. And then they moved onto other things. Because sure, Iranian citizens in Tehran might be getting the shit beat out of them by the police this weekend, but more importantly, did you know that it's the one-year anniversary of Tim Russert's death? Let's just sit around and watch MSNBC masterbate over that for a while instead.

The coverage of Iran rest of this weekend has been no better. Sullivan has pretty much gone into a "screw the media" mode and has just started asking readers with ties to Iran to help translate and contact people in order to get a better picture of what is happening over there. But I suppose you really can't expect much better from our media anymore.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Congratulations, Norm Coleman...

You have officially made it into the Urban Dictionary. This is your legacy:

"The dogged pursuit of a hopeless goal, with utter disregard for a preponderance of contradicting evidence and mounting public distain."

I hope the GOP's donations are worth it.

I was understanding at first. Yes, let's have a recount. Sure, let's have an election contest. But I've tired of you, because at this point, everyone knows that you can't win without some corrupt judg... er, "miracle" on your side. You won't win in the State Supreme Court, and your attempt to drag that out by claiming that you need time to prepare (despite the admittance that you were preparing for it since the beginning) shows pretty clearly that it's not about winning now, it's about keeping a Democrat from being seated. You are the the perfect example of the sleazy, petty, ridiculously-partisan obstructionism that this state abhors (well, with the exception of Bachmann's district).

And, when you inevitably appeal to the Federal Supreme Court, the only thing you will accomplish is showing Minnesotans how much you truly despise them when you whine about how shitty our state is because those bipartisan committees and election judges were just soooo biased and corrupted, and that's totally why you didn't win. It has nothing to do with the fact that Minnesotans dislike you so much that you lost against a third-party wrestler in 1998, only could get close to a tie where there was a well-liked third party candidate in 2008, and only could win when your opponent was dead in 2004. Quite a track record. That should tell you something.

Stop disenfranchising Minnesotans, Normie. It's time to take your ball and go home. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Oh yeah, I have a blog! Imagine that.

So, I’ve decided that this Spring is officially the stupidest Spring evar. Please allow me to indulge in some self-pitying rants.

First, about four weeks ago, Mara cut up her paw really bad. She was trying to kill another dog through our backyard fence, because god knows, dogs are not allowed to walk on the sidewalk by our house without being given a stern talking to by the queen of Nordeast. So she’s running up and down the length of the fence barking her fool head off, and she managed to ram a piece of the bottom of our chain link fence, which the previous owners didn’t feel a need to, you know, secure to the ground or anything, and sliced her paw wide open. We took her in, and she got stitches.

She had such a look of betrayal when they led her away from us for the procedure. It was just supposed to be a fun car ride!

Obviously, stitches in paws means obsessive licking sprees on Mara’s behalf. So the vet gave us a cone to keep her away from it. Which didn’t work, because Mara is large enough so that the small dogs cones allow her to get to her paw, but petite enough so that the large dog cones are too big to fit around her neck properly. What the hell is that dog mixed with, anyway? So we started putting her away at night and during the day while we are at work with not just a cone, but her muzzle as well so that she couldn’t lick. And what a sad puppy that made her! To alleviate some of the suffering, I hired a recently unemployed friend to baby-sit her for a few days, and took long lunches from work for a while to come home to be with her, but either way, for the most part she sat like Hannibal Lector in her office cell miserably for a good three weeks. And because the dog was so needy, the ever-faithful Zoey, banished to the upstairs do to our homicidal dog, has been pretty neglected as a result. I really have to get some fish or a bird feeder for her to watch.

And apparently, all for nothing.

Two weeks ago, as the paw was seemingly healing up nicely, she started limping. A few days later, she became a three legged-dog, hopping along everywhere. Which is very cute, but also pretty troubling, being that she didn’t limp at all during the first month. I took her into the vet, who told me pretty much nothing, but hey, they are willing to sell us an X-Ray! I took some pain meds home with me and went from there, hoping it was just the healing process, the uncomfortable scar tissue forming under her skin (it was a very deep laceration). No luck, she was still a three-legged dog. So we took her back in yesterday, and was informed that despite keeping her in a Hannibal Lector getup for three weeks, dutifully putting on her dog booties every time we took her outside, and washing out the paw with the ointment they gave us, her paw is now infected.

Right now, we are hoping it’s just the tissue, and she’s back on the antibiotics. We get to bring her in on Friday to hear the verdict – whether or not we will have to get an X-Ray to see if the infection has gotten into her bones, which my husband has assured me means that one of her toes would have to be lopped off. This poor pooch! We haven’t been able to walk her for over a month, which sucks for both her and myself, and her behavior is terrible. She’s bored, and we haven’t been as strict with her as we usually are, which means she feels she’s in charge. Which has led, thanks to the miracle of technology that allows us to videotape the dog, to the realization that when we leave for work, she howls – literally howls – for a good hour after we leave for the day. Her separation anxiety is back in full force thanks to our lack of dominance. It’s pretty heartbreaking to see her cry like that. It’s like watching the kid that just can’t hold back his sobs no matter how hard he tries, they just escape uncontrollably from his throat and fill the air with sadness.

Add this doggie drama to the fact that I caught the plague at the beginning of March and haven’t been able to shake it, leading to an absence from the gym, leading to a pretty miserably depressed and lethargic Stacy. I’m amazed at how much a lack of physical exercise affects my mood. I knew from friends that are physical fitness nuts that it works that way often, but to actually experience what a difference it makes is pretty intense. I started going back this past week, after a on-again-off-again weeks long hiatus, and I almost died on the elliptical. It’s tough to start over again. Oh, and did I mention I think my over-pruning self killed the beautiful Clematis that grows in my backyard? And that my lawn is pretty much a dirt pit, leading to a major financial investment in its repair that may not even work? So yes, even my joy in gardening has been taken down a notch. Oh, and NBC might be canceling Chuck. Which depresses me more then it probably should. And that pretty much sums up what I’ve been doing lately.

Seriously, people, I hate to whine, but I think I’m allowed a thousand words to vent here. Stupidest. Spring. Ever.

But, it wouldn’t be right if I left it at that. So on a few positive side notes – I have discovered Kombucha, thanks to my newly-graduated dietitian friend Molly, and it is awesome. I caught a cheap flight to Boulder at the beginning of March to see my dear friend Cara Jo and her family, which was awesome, aside from that day I was really hung over. I miss them so much! My job is still secure, which is awesome. My buddy Silas used our home for a movie location this past weekend, and it was really neat to watch him work, even if it was a long day. So that was pretty awesome, or at least was until our neighbors decided to have a bat-wielding brawl in front of their home in the middle of filming (which I have to admit, was a little bit awesome. Yeah, I really am that horrible with my obsessive neighborhood nosiness). Oh! And I’ve been playing the new Zelda on Wii, and that’s pretty awesome as well.

And hopefully that’s all I’ll have for the me me me me me ME blogging for a while. With the hilarious wingnut antics lately, such as the tea-bagging parties (AKA “Whiny bitches pissed off that the country doesn’t revolve around their childish demands that they never elect Democrats into office no matter how badly Republicans screwed up” parties) last week and the pretty devastating torture memos just released that confirm the worst of our fears about what the Bush administration was doing, there’s other things to talk about, no?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Quick Links

Anyone up for going to Boston this summer? Sun County has now added that city to their destinations, which is most awesomeness for those of us that despise Northwest Airlines.

Jim was asking the other day what the term "The Villagers", commonly used by liberal bloggers (and yours truly) means. Ask the liberal blogs and yee shall receive.

Caught this a while back and meant to do a post about it but never got around to it. The New York Times has a fascinating piece on the impact children have on marital satisfaction - Till Children Do Us Part. A lot of what is in this piece was a no-brainer for me (unplanned children can be stressors, one partner just giving into their significant other's desire for children can cause resentment, as can a switch to more traditional gender roles when it comes to child-care, etc), but conventional wisdom has always suggested that children are good for marriages. It's actually something that has made me think twice about breeding, as I value my relationship and have a concern about getting into a situation where the bulk of it is placed on me because I'm female. I felt this way when I was planning my wedding, and grew a bit resentful of my husband to be because I needed somewhere to place my stress. I doubt my relationship could last through 18 years of that same feeling. On the bright side, it looks like if both partners have the same amount of enthusiasm for a child and don't fall into the gender role trap, marital satisfaction can actually increase.

Why is there no love for Paul Douglas? Leave Paul alone!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Only Thing I Can Smell is Spackle

I've been a bit lax at the blogging lately. Jim and I (well, okay, just "I") have been redoing the home office this week. Pictures to come soon. I started on Sunday, and have tried to do a little bit each day since. As it is with my house, some of the walls are in bad shape (the lack of care the former home owners had for this house will be a rant for another time), and it's taken a lot of patching and re-patching (which my wonderful mother helped me with a bit on Sunday). I think I'm at a point where I can start priming for painting tomorrow. I've been covered with spackling paste powder every single night from all the sanding and probably have a tumor growing somewhere.

It will be nice to have this done, the office was a very ugly room, the wallpaper almost gave one a headache. But other activities have to suffer for this, not only have I not been blogging or writing on Newsvine, but I haven't been to the gym *once* this week. Going back is going to be hell.

In other news, I took the puppy to the vet today for her yearly. She did very well, comparing her behavior last year in the vet's office to her behavior this year, it's like she was a different dog. She was still very distracted and nervous, but I could get her to respond to me, which was nice. I decided to be a bad dog owner on the way back and let her sit in the front seat of the car. Which was fun, until she tried to cuddle with me while I was driving!

It was strange driving through Downtown St Paul (where the vet is), I haven't been there since the RNC. Brought back a lot of memories, more on that later.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Senate Race Hilarity Continues

Apparently doing a complete 180° on whether or not you want rejected absentee ballots counted depending on how much they think they favor you, putting up witnesses that have to be reminded they voted absentee instead of at the polls or can't testify about injustice of not having their vote counted without fully admitting they committed voter fraud, or not quite understanding how exactly a recount works isn't enough stupidity on behalf of the Coleman campaign.

They've just been busted for trying to make supportive "traffic" to their website seem overwhelming (BECAUSE OF THE LUV FOR NORM AND GOOD AMERICANS) by... intentionally shutting down the site and hoping no one would catch on.

It's also nice that the only page they allowed people to get to was the page that contained confidential donor information.



Is for suckers, apparently.

Yes, as predicted by many, despite cowing and putting in useless tax cuts (that helped us so much in the past eight years while the GOP was spending like mad) and taking out contraception (because every knows that the way to increase a family's spending power is help them have unplanned pregnancies), President Obama's stimulus plan passed the house without one Republican vote.

Many bloggers are speculating that Obama should learn from this, and understand that the Republicans are not acting in good faith. After eight years of a spending free-for-all, Republicans suddenly claim they are the party of fiscal responsiblity. And those "Main-Street-real-heartland" Americans the GOP loves so much? Helping them out instead of giving tax cuts to the wealthy during a financial crisis is socialism, even though they were more then willing to help out those poor Wall Street investors. These are also the same Republicans that were screaming about there not being enough to "create jobs" in the stimulus, right on the tail of screaming that we have to let the big three auto companies fail even if it means massive job loss, because they wanted union employees to be fucked over. Rush Limbaugh has publicly come out and stated he wants Obama to fail (even if it means he has to sacrifice buying only a few cases of imported cigars a month instead of many), and Republicans that dared speak out against that statement have now cowed and admitted that Limbaugh rules their world. And as for claiming to be the party of the true American people, they have a funny way of showing it, being that they honestly think birth control and bipartisanship are the most important things about this bill, rather then, you know, a financial crisis that has millions of Americans facing job losses or foreclosed homes.

But despite the fact that the Republicans are playing games while we are teetering at the edge of a depression, it's a good thing Obama catered to them put in those tax cuts and took out contraception, because otherwise the Republicans wouldn't have voted for the bill. Oh, wait.

But actually, I agree with Nate Silver over at FiveThirtyEight (who is rarely wrong) that this could actually work out really bad for the Republicans. And I agree with him. Polling indicates that the majority of Americans support the stimulus. And someone losing their home or job probably doesn't actually give a flying fuck about women not being punished enough for having sex.

Republicans have always been very good at pulling the bi-partisan card, and defining it as "agree with everything the Republicans do". Democrats just can't get a leg up on this one, if they cave, they are spineless, if they fight, they are obstructionists. But this might turn the tables on that, because it is now on record that despite Obama accommodating some of the Republicans' demands, they still opposed the bill unanimously. And like Silver points out, that it was unanimous portrays a complete lack of bipartisanship on behalf of the Republicans. If even a couple of Republicans had voted for the bill, the status quo would have been maintained. But the unanimous vote shows the same partisanship and groupthink mentality that people voted to get rid of in the past election.

So this could work out well for Obama. He can now say that he tried to reach out to Republicans, only to be "slapped in the face". And so the next time, with the next bill the Democrats try to pass, they can fall back on the argument that they tried the bi-partisan road, and it failed, leading to no obligation to try again in the future. The Republicans have outed themselves as a party that can't play nicely, and that puts ideology ahead of the welfare of the American people and economy. It will be hard for Republicans to keep up their "we are the ones that really care about "real" Americans" shtick when the public sees them actively screwing them over and refusing to work on a bill that would "real" Americans out, particularly after watching them attack the auto unions and bail out the banks so that they can try to buy luxury limited edition jets (which Obama wisely called them on) - and yes, Republicans, that is on you. That was your president's plan, complete with the lack of regulations and oversight that would of kept the frivolous spending in check.

Every time the GOP marches in lockstep, listens to the wingnuts, and puts themselves and their pride above the country, it works out bad for them. The Terri Schiavo debacle left a bad taste in the mouths of many moderate Republicans and Independents. It showed the county just how far these guys will go regardless of what the public actually thinks, showing how out of touch they are with the public. This could work out the same way. The country now knows now where the Republicans stand, thanks to this unanimous vote, Limbaugh's statements and those Republicans in congress licking his boots and declaring him their mouthpiece, they know that Republicans would rather see the country fail then see Obama and the Democrats in congress accomplish anything.

Which probably isn't going to work out well for them.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's a Brand New, Bright Obama Day!

I was lucky enough to get to watch the inauguration speech at my parents' place today. I thought it was a good speech, Obama managed to get across the idea that we need to move forwards and put aside some of the divisiveness that has been poisoning the country for the past eight years, yet made it very clear that the irresponsible policies and the lack of transparency and accountability that defined the past administration are indeed coming to an end.

There were a couple of things nestled within the speech that gave me hope that this was the beginning of something different. It wasn't really the predicted and bold statements that made me want to cheer, as they are part of any presidential speech, but the little things that were mentioned in passing but which spoke volumes. For example, Obama's assurance that "We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost" is a fairly bold statement after the repeated demonization of science for political gain that we saw so much of the past eight years. As is the assurance that we need to move past the same tired old talking points that mean so little:

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them — that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.

The most important part of the speech for me was probably Obama's statement about reclaiming America's core ideals in the face of wartime or danger: 

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

And not just because of the deserved slam at an administration that ran drunk on it's own entitlement issues when it came to abusing military power, but also because of the assertion that it is in our best interest to work with the rest of the world, instead of telling all other countries to bascially fuck off.

The nod to people that don't embrace faith was a nice touch as well, not something you'd usually see in an inauguration speech:

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

In fact, I don't think I've ever seen it. And I know that the inauguration was layered pretty thick with religion (the Christian one), that small shout-out seems huge to me. And I think the above statement here is also noteworthy because it seems to indicate that, despite some of the rhetoric to the contrary that was around everywhere during the Bush administration, we can indeed criticize America's misdeeds to achieve the ideal that we hold for America, and that in the end, doing so made us stronger.

All in all, it's a good speech. I don't believe that Obama is going to become the progressive or liberal messiah, and it could be argued that it's better that he doesn't. But I still do have the "hope" bug, as I do believe that Obama is sincere, intelligent, and that he will make a tremendous change in this country for the better. In my opinion, he already has, even before he took the oath.

But on a snarky note, I rather liked this comment on the inauguration from Sadly, No!:

I'm disappointed that Obama rejected the first draft of my inauguration speech, which involved him torching the Bible, lifting up a Koran and yelling, "WHITE PEOPLE, YOU BE FUCKED NOW!!!! AAAAAH-HAAAAAA-HAAAAA-HAAAAAAA!!!!"

Yeah, that would of been good, too. 


Bush pardons two border patrol agents who shot an unarmed drug suspect in the back and then lied about it to cover it up.

Edit: The border patrol agents were actually granted clemency. My bad.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Gold-Digging Gene is Directly Linked to the X Chromosome

"Evolutionary Psychology", well known for trying it's damnedest to reinforce sexist stereotypes, is at it again:

Scientists have found that the pleasure women get from making love is directly linked to the size of their partner’s bank balance. They found that the wealthier a man is, the more frequently his partner has orgasms.

“Women’s orgasm frequency increases with the income of their partner,” said Dr Thomas Pollet, the Newcastle University psychologist behind the research. He believes the phenomenon is an “evolutionary adaptation” that is hard-wired into women, driving them to select men on the basis of their perceived quality.

The study is certain to prove controversial, suggesting that women are inherently programmed to be gold-diggers.

Gee, controversial? You think? I mean, why would anyone be upset about a "study" that claims that gold-digging is "hard-wired" yet refuses to publish it's methodology to back it up?

And golly, it couldn't be that people that are wealthy may have more time to have sex, or may be more relaxed because they don't have to worry about, you know, money. It's not like a lack of time or stress has ever dampened a sex life, amirite?

No, it must be that "gold-digging" is totally not a completely made-up sexist stereotype and instead is HARD-WIRED into women. And across the country, many misogynists squeal with glee over having their worst assumptions about all women, like the idea they are all gold-digging whores, "proven" through the magic that is evolutionary "psychology".

On a side note, I find this statement kind of interesting:

David Buss, professor of psychology at the University of Texas, Austin, who raised this question in his book The Evolution of Desire believes female orgasms have several possible purposes.

“They could promote emotional bonding with a high-quality male or they could serve as a signal that women are highly sexually satisfied, and hence unlikely to seek sex with other men,” he said. “What those orgasms are saying is ‘I'm extremely loyal, so you should invest in me and my children’."

Because women, who we all know have no other purpose then to please men at every waking moment, apparently even have biological responses like orgasms not for themselves, of course ( I mean, they are women, not human or anything), but only to send messages to men.

Without even looking at the study, that statement alone pretty much tells you all you need to know about it's validity, doesn't it?

via Echidne of the Snakes, patron saint of tearing down bullshit sexist studies.

Monday Mara Blogging

Please Take Treat Out of This Contraption

Mara with her treat ball. Hopefully I'll have time to post something today other then pictures!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Cat Blogging

Playtime Now?

"(I)n three words, the world changed as far as I’m concerned"

I didn't really pay attention to the confirmation hearings of Eric Holder. But on Think Progress, I caught this notable exchange between Holder and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), in which Holder is asked about a "hypothetical" about the "ticking-time bomb" scenario with only waterboarding as a means of interrogation.

Now, the proper response here, is I've learned anything from the past five years, is to quake in one's boots and agree that waterboarding is totally not torture (but only when Americans do it) and necessary to protect America (despite all the evidence otherwise). After all, YOU DON'T WANT INNOCENT AMERICAN BABIES TO BE BLOWN UP BY FOREIGN TERRORISTS, do you?

Refreshingly, Holder is having none of it:

HOLDER: I think your hypothetical assumes a premise that I'm not willing to concede.

CORNYN: I know you don't like my hypothetical.

HOLDER: No, the hypothetical's fine; the premise that underlies it I'm not willing to accept, and that is that waterboarding is the only way that I could get that information from those people.

CORNYN: Assume that it was.

HOLDER: [Laughs] Given the knowledge that I have about other techniques and what I've heard from retired admirals and generals and FBI agents, there are other ways in a timely fashion that you can get information out of people that is accurate and will produce useable intelligence And so it's hard for me to accept or to answer your hypothetical without accepting your premise. And in fact, I don't think I can do that.

But it's Dick Dubin (D-IL) for the win:

DURBIN: I listened to your opening statement and in three words, in three words, the world changed as far as I'm concerned, because you stated without hesitation that waterboarding is torture. I can't tell you how many times Senator Whitehouse and I asked that of the current Attorney General and we could never, ever get a straight declarative sentence. I think it's important — important for our country, important for our position in the world. And I understand Senator Cornyn's questions. They are questions that anyone who watches Jack Bauer on "24″ would ask.

This gives me hope. It's going to take a long time to erase the ugliness that the Bush Administration painted over America with their human rights violations. But this is a step in the right direction. In the long run, I think it's very important that we never let this happen again, and I don't see how we can achieve that if we don't hold those responsible accountable. But I can take comfort that at the very least, these shameful acts appear to be coming to an end. For now.

Who Needs the 4th Amendment Anyway?

Bad news:

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that evidence obtained from an unlawful arrest based on careless record keeping by the police may be used against a criminal defendant.

The 5-to-4 decision revealed competing conceptions of the exclusionary rule, which requires the suppression of some evidence obtained through police misconduct, and suggested that the court's commitment to the rule was fragile.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority, said that the exclusion of evidence should be a last resort and that judges should use a sliding scale in deciding whether particular misconduct by the police warranted suppressing the evidence they had found.

This ruling pretty much removes all incentives for following proper law enforcement procedures. I guess it justs assumes that the police never act in bad faith, so they need no deterrent to keep them from violating civil liberties. The consequences of this aren't going to be pretty.

Bush may be leaving us, but his "legacy" (such as actively appointing judges like Roberts and Alito that will make the constitution obsolete) will haunt the country for years to come.

But hey, no problem. After all, if you aren't doing anything wrong, you have no reason to worry, right?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

And While The GOP Was Screaming About Gay Abortions...

This is so much awesome:

The Republicans—who had just finally won control of the State House for the first time in 40+ years – were suppose to elect their Speaker of the House today. And failed!

The Tennessee State House has 50 Republicans and 49 Democrats. Well, Rep. Kent Williams (R-TN) got the support of all 49 Democrats plus his own vote to put himself in the Speaker's chair.

In the last election, a bunch of belligerent right-wing radicals tried to bully Rep. Williams (a moderate) into taking far-right stands—going so far as to threaten boycotts on his family business, etc.

Well, Rep. Williams had had enough of bullies and blowhards destroying the Republican Party from within. And the Democrats knew it. So the Democrats approached Rep. Williams about being the new House Speaker.

Rep. Williams said, "yes," and history was made, just minutes ago.

The GOP was promising all sorts of abortion votes, 2nd amendment votes, anti-immigrant votes, anti-gay votes, etc. – your basic nightmare right-wing nutjobs run amuck scenario. Not so fast!!

The local news has more:

As the vote took place, the House chamber at moments erupted into near bedlam, with spectators raining down boos, hisses and angry shouts, all of which was quickly quieted when Naifeh threatened to have unruly audience members removed from the chamber.

Williams has been administered the oath of office, and speaking from the well, says "it's time to end the infighting and the bickering." Boos came from the gallery.

Republicans appeared shaken in the aftermath of the vote, and sat in stunned, stony-faced silence.

And to top it off:

The official Republican nominee, Jason Mumpower (a wingnut from Bristol in Sullivan County) was left speechless, clutching the family bible that he had brought in preparation for taking the Speaker's oath of office. 

More of this, please. Seriously, good for them. I'm still amazed that the wingnuts don't seem to realize just how out of touch they are these days with moderate America. They just keep screaming about the "us vs them" culture war while the economy tanks and pissing everyone off with their entitlement issues. And as expected, the country is tired of them. I actually feel kind of bad for conservatives like Williams sometimes, who have to be very pissed off at how embarrassing the current GOP is on a daily basis. If this keeps up, I think we are going to see a long stretch of Democratic majorities in state and federal office (probably until the Democrats inevitably become corrupt after getting drunk off their own power, which will happen).

Literally Stifling the First Amendment

This is rather awesome. Guy paints a mural on the side of his bait shop depicting fish, city claims it's billboard advertising and is fining him for it. So the guy covers the mural with a banner containing... the First Amendment.

Which amusingly leads to the city "looking to see what, if anything, it can do about the First Amendment banner."

via The Agitator.

Update on Oscar Grant

The police office that basically executed Oscar Grant has been arrested on suspicion of murder after refusing to provide an explanation for pulling out his gun and shooting Grant after he was subdued by police. 

ColorOfChange (via Pam Spaulding) notes that this isn't the first time the BART cops have used lethal force on a non-threatening civilian.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday Mara Blogging


I actually was trying to get a shot of her playing with her treat ball, but by the time I got the camera out she already had gotten the treat out already.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

No Shame

So apparently, after eight years of a spending free-for-all, and on the heels of a massive 700 billion giveaway to Wall Street's elite courtesy of President Bush, the Republicans in congress have decided that the most importantest thing evar right now is not to invest in the country to fend of a looming depression, but to be the stoic guardians of the taxpayer's dollar.

Say what you will about Republicans, but man, have they got some balls on them. We all knew that eventually, the revisionist history and alternate reality would begin. But it takes an incredible amount of chutzpah for them to begin the attempt to erase the past decade when Bush isn't even out of office yet.

One begins to think they are living in a parallel universe when they read op/eds arguing for limited executive power by Bush administration figures John Bolton and John Yoo. Yes, that John Yoo, who only a few short years ago was bending over backwards to justify the abuses of executive privilege by the Bush administration.

Not that this is unique to Republicans. Just as Republicans have no shame with being big old hypocrites if it will make the Democrats look bad, Democrats also have no shame with being being big old hypocrites... if it will make the Democrats look bad.

I state this with a bit of tongue-in-cheek. It's healthy and necessary to have a chuckle at the absurdity of the Republican's attempt to hide their history and completely contradict themselves. For anyone that's paying attention, the attempt to convince the public to not believe their lying eyes and instead believe Republicans are genuine about limiting government and spending merely because they claim to be is almost parody.

But the problem is not everyone is paying attention, and instead often rely on intellectual shortcuts, like sound bytes or talking points, when it comes to their political views. And we cannot deny that the right has been very successful in making their themes convincing to the public. But when the country is in dire straits, and meaningful debate on how to fix it's ills is replaced by talking points, the result can be disastrous.

This problem is only compounded when it's an issue that is seen as the Republican's turf, like spending and taxation. Despite the pattern of excessive Republican spending followed by periods where the Democrats clean up the budget messes, the idea that it is the Republicans that are the fiscally responsible, and not the Democrats, is dogma in this country. And when it's accepted without question that the government is always bad and intrusive, the "fiscally responsible" Republicans floating what would normally be seen as horrible, failed ideas can be accepted as legitimate, and as such, dangerous.

This idea that we have no obligation to jump-start our economy, or that what is needed is even more tax cuts for the wealthy, trickle-down economics, less spending for the public good and every other idea that has failed miserably every time it's trotted out, can be harmful when in reality, our periods of greatness and economic recovery have come when we invested in the country. And the idea that because America is full of so much awesome that another great depression could never happen here is incredibly naive. It most definitely can, and if the Republicans have their way, it probably will.

Even by the Obama's team's own estimates, the current stimulus package, due to it's being watered down to appease the Republicans, may not be enough to lift the county out of economic danger. Now, if there were any evidence that some of these Republican staples like tax cuts worked, I'd be fine with them in the stimulus bill. But as we've seen time and time again, when trying to stimulate the economy, tax cuts just don't work.

It may not be all doom and gloom. Some folks, realizing what is at stake here, are calling out the flaws. While everyone is talking about "bi-partisan" tax cuts, Senators like John Kerry (D-Mass) are encouraging more infrastructure spending instead, which at the very least, will help the debate by placing a liberal point to begin a compromise with the far right on (rather then a moderate one). And the public probably has not forgotten the increased spending during the Bush years, so attempts by Republicans to paint themselves as trustworthy may be premature, and backfire on them. And although I'm uncomfortable with the pandering to Republican interests, Obama has laid out the issues with the economy as transparently as possible, which will not only boost confidence in his plans, but also put the Republicans at odds with the public should they decide to dissent against the stimulus plan that most Americans believe is necessary.

I think this is key here, if we can present the actual situation as simply and honestly as possible, then the talking points and right-wing obstructionism may fail. It's rather hard to convince the public that the country needs to go down in flames for the sake of Republican ideology.

All the same, we should probably cross our fingers. Or, more productively, contact our representatives.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Start the Police-State Acceptance Training Early...

With your very own Playmobil Security Check Point!

Via The Agitator, who's right - the reviews on the Amazon page are hilarious.

Upset About the Oscar Grant Shooting? Here's What You Can Do About It.

Via Racewire - 5 Things You Can Do Right Now About The Oscar Grant Shooting:

1. Digg the story so that the national media can pick up on it

2. Contact BART Director Carole Ward Allen and demand that 1) the officers involved be taken off duty without pay and charged and fully prosecuted; 2) there be an independent investigation of the shooting that includes a review of training and hiring practices; and 3) BART establish an independent residents’ review board for the police Call her at 510-464-6095 or email the BART Directors at

3. Call the BART police to complain about the officers’ conduct and demand immediate action: Internal Affairs: Sergeant David Chlebowski 510.464.7029,; Chief of Police: Gary Gee 510.464.7022,

Call them toll free at 877.679.7000 and press the last four digits of the phone number you wish to reach.

4. Talk it up on your blogs, networks and talk radio shows (call Michael Baisden 877-6BADBOY or Rev. Al, etc. to get this on the national radar)

5. Stay tuned for other actions, protests, etc., especially if you are in the Bay.

What troubles me the most is the attempt to prevent the onlookers from filming and taking pictures with their various hand-held media devices. If this hadn't been captured by the onlookers, we probably either would have never heard about it, or we would have been given a version of the story that painted Grant as the perpetrator instead of the victim.

It happens all the time.

h/t: A Slant Truth

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Breaking up with Norm isn't all that hard to do

Norm Coleman handed local and liberal bloggers some great schedenfrude yesterday when he declared that a lawsuit contesting the recount results would be filed, naturally after the finished recount put Al Franken ahead by 225 votes. Which is precisely the opposite of what he indicated he'd do on November 5th when he claimed that if he were Franken, he'd just let it go. Guess it's easier to do the supposed right thing when it's at no cost to your own political career.

Seriously, did anyone really think that statement wasn’t going to come back to bite him in the ass in the near future? I knew the second those words left his mouth that we’d have a good old time making him eat them.

Not that I begrudge Normie for filing his suit. If there are issues that need to be brought up, he should do so. And it would be dishonest to claim that if the Frankin campaign was behind, they wouldn’t of had the same attempt to cherry pick ballots like the Coleman campaign is attempting to now.

But honestly, I just don’t think Normie can win this one without some major sleezy moves (or, sleezy moves from his supporters at the Moonie Times who have no problem just making shit up in order to paint Minnesota as the new Florida in order to discredit any outcome that doesn't end with Coleman as the winner). Luckily, Coleman has never been opposed to using the court to compensate for his own misfortune, no matter how stupid the charge. But this time there’s a lot of national attention, from political junkies and curious onlookers alike, and it’s not as easy to get away with such things, particularly with allegations of corruption lurking in the background.

I predict that he’s either going to drop the suit, or, if his RNC overlords won’t let him do so, end up looking pretty bad in the public eye for being the one that drew out the election. The odds are not in his favor. A lot of the challenges seem to be merely a re-hashing of issues that were already worked out during the general campaign. Prominent Minnesota politicians like Walter Mondale and Arnie Carlson have requested he step down. There is no mandatory requirements he can lean back on like Frankin was able to, so if the election is stalled, the public will look at Coleman as the cause. Minnesotans might not be too pleased that the new congressional session is starting minus one Minnesota senator. And even the wing-nut-o-sphere may already be gearing up to make Frankin the new leftist boogeyman that is magically persecuting with his lefty-leftness.

Add that to the fact that Minnesotans, a stubbornly prideful bunch, don’t really like it when their representatives shit all over their state. Which sadly for Norm, may be the only tactic the Coleman camp has left. Pre-emptive attacks on election officials earlier in the recount meant to build up a framework in which Coleman could declare himself victim of evil liberals that have time and time again been pronounced as bogus, even by Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty. And if Norm sells out his state to win one election, his political career in Minnesota is over.

And as the last nail in the coffin, “the Facebook” is on the case, and your ass is just screwed when a bunch of people that have nothing better to do then spend all day long on the internets poking friends, commenting on thong pictures, and posting flash animations decide to get together and mobilize. For reals.

But if all this isn't enough, we can address it on a personal level as well, from me to you, former Senator Coleman. Let’s just look at this realistically, shall we? Even if you were to manage to squeak out a few votes ahead by counting ballots that were already thrown out by a bi-partisan committee, the fact is that you couldn’t gain a significant lead in a race between you and an egotistical New Yorker responsible for “Stuart Saves His Family”. And when something like that happens, it’s time to fact the facts, and if I have to be the one to break it to you, so be it.

Minnesota… is just not that into you. Don’t be sad. It’s not you, it’s us.

Actually no, we’re just trying to be nice. It’s all you.

Brookdale Woes

Macy’s just announced that they were closing 11 stores nation-wide today.

And yes, of course one of them is the one located in Brookdale.

Poor Brookdale. It was my old stomping grounds, I used to hang out there as a kid, I had my first kiss there, my husband worked there for a while, I even had my first indiscretion with the law there, good times, good times. So there was always a part of me that was kind of rooting for it to make a comeback. But with Macy’s pulling out, I just don’t think Sears, with its inventory halved already, can hold it.

My husband and I stopped at Sears this past holiday season, the weekend before Christmas, to pick something up. It was the only place there were customers. We walked through the rest of the mall a bit for a trip down memory lane, and it was a ghost town, almost eerie. There was just an article in the Star Tribune that documented Brookdale’s new status as a ghost town as well, and captured it pretty accurately. And somewhat by accident, because the Star Tribune comment section is the cesspool of humanity, we also get an accurate picture of the racist mentality that started the ball rolling on Brookdale’s.

It’s probably silly to make an issue out of this. I know it’s just a mall. But it was my mall.
Eventually I will figure out how to post to this blog via email. Until then, you will just get a cluster of posts around 6pm (or later) about things that you probably already read about this morning and are already board with.


Saturday, January 3, 2009


Could this be the year of the Super Volcano? Yellowstone National Park is seeing an increase in earthquakes this week, and apparently it is long overdue.

Fascinating stuff, if not a wee bit unnerving.