Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day After Saturday Links

So I'm eleven days deep into this whole non-smoking thing, which I'm assured will turn out awesome for me in the long run, but in the meantime I find it just makes me irritable, sweaty, stupid and unable to concentrate on anything for more then 30 seconds, which doesn't bode well for this whole existing thing, let alone this whole blogging thing. But I thought maybe I should give it a shot, so here's some links:

Hawaii finally throws up its hands in frustration and decides to troll the fuck out of birthers for profit instead. Sure, why not? I've long thought that if I have to sit back and watch the stupid destroy the country, I may has well try to make a small profit off of that stupid before it all goes down. If Glenn Beck can do it, whey the hell can't Hawaii? (via Pandagon)

Oh great, Katherine Kersten is writing about sex again, and it's predictably as gross and uncomfortable as you'd imagine it to be. The big giveaway here is that Kersten apparently considers being fucked hard and being raped as equal offenses to women - which tells me her overall concern isn't an atmosphere that leads to a disregard for meaningful consent, but instead that people might be having all sorts of awesome, freaky, non-catholic-church sanctioned fuck-marathons without Kersten's approval. And filming it! Because ironically enough, if we are going to talk about where to place the blame for dismissive attitudes regarding rape, I'd say an article that condones pro-rape attitudes by arguing it's understandable that men might be dismissive towards rape because women wear lingerie and it just confuses men so gosh-darn-much that they can't be held responsible for their actions is a great place to start.

I can't wait for the inevitable backpedal on this one. Or maybe Bachmann should just go full-blown Tea-Party on it instead? Hey, maybe if you didn't want to be bankrupted by your medical bills for military-related injuries, you shouldn't of joined the military. Why should I have to pay for your desire to sacrifice yourself for the country? God. I am so sick of people looking for a handout all the time!

Palin Jr. gets booted from a speaking gig at an abstinence event due to her "lack of expertise" in regards to that subject. Okay, there's a little more to it then that, but that line cracked me up. (via Balloon Juice)

It's been pointed out before that libertarians of the Randian stripe seem to only dig libertarianism because they automatically assume *they* will be the ones going all Galt and banging Dagny Tagart. I think this is a pretty good example of this mentality. I just don't think having "...a job for life, with a decent paycheck and good benefits and the occasional promotion" is really something most people would turn their nose up at, or are willing to trade for "booms and busts" or the "widespread embrace of risk taking" that, as Roy Edroso points out, pretty much fucked over those that decided to achieve the American Dream by honest, hard work instead of just dipping their hands into someone else's pocket and gambling on their future. If you feel like you would never be one of the ones that are screwed over, and instead the one making the profit off of the screwing, I suppose you would mock the little people that merely want a simple and sustainable life.

This is all kinds of fucked up. Apparently if you are a pharmacist in Idaho you can refuse to prescribe a drug called Methylergometrine under "conscious clause" laws, because this drug halts uterine bleeding, which happens in cases of abortion. Oh, it also happens during childbirth. And, you know, miscarriage. It really is amazing what we will let people get away with if we just attach the knee-jerk "abortion is bad!" sentiment to a cause. If some hippy vegan pharmacist refused to fill insulin prescriptions to diabetes patients because they believed that ailment should be regulated by diet and exercise instead of meds they would be shut down in a day. But denying medication because of personal moral judgements on the assumed devious sexual activity of women? No worries, you can put them in their place and put their health in danger, and the government won't do a damn thing to stop your crazy ass from doing so. (via Echidne)

I know it's a shitty thing to say, but I kind of wish Balko would just stick to the subjects he does best (abuse by authority issues) and stay away from the political commentary. I can't really decide what annoys me more about this little blurb. Is it the assumption that even though the teacher that was actually wronged by discrimination never got her job back, one rich dude was upset about the whole deal so yay! and therefore this situation applies to all other discrimination cases because hey, isn't there always an angry rich dude that can sorta/not really save the day? Or is it the dismissive "Hey, I think anti-discrimination laws were okay in the past but today we don't need them" word salad he tacks on at the end? Say what you will about Rand Paul's statements regarding the civil rights act (I sure did), at the very least he was consistent.

As for the elephants in the room:

- Yes, I'm aware of the GOP plan to redefine rape in order to ensure you earn that abortion by being beaten within an inch of your life first. Yes, I'll have something to say about that, after I clean out all of the caps-locked enhanced rage-filled rambling, veiled threats and obscenities and/or hexes.

- No, I don't have anything meaningful to say about Egypt, simply because I don't feel I'm informed enough to do so. Juan Cole, however, is.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Maybe it's time to let go...

So hey, remember a few weeks ago when I was like "I'm totally going to post tunes!" and then I didn't? Actually, you probably don't, because I totally deleted that shit. But hey - I'm totally going to post tunes. Every Saturday. Because I like tunes.*

No, really. I'm doing this. And yes, I realize that every "weekly" trend I pick up on I abandon after about a month, but... let's just see how long this one lasts.

Hey, wanna know about a song I like? Here's one:

I know, I know, they all old and shit. Get used to it. I'm old.

Carissa's Wierd was around in the mid-nineties and disbanded in the mid-aughts.** I found them right before they disbanded. But I always loved this band, even if they were a bit... sad most of the time. Their last album was called "Songs About Leaving". Chock full of songs about leaving. Great album, and solidly advertised. So yeah, you get their vibe. But, if you can handle it, and I won't lie, there will be times you can't, it's still one of the prettiest violin-based bands I've heard, their violinist has a very signature sound. And now, just for you, they have a "Best Of" out, which has the most emo name ever. Which is just perfect, for them. And although I have the full albums, I'll vouch that this best of is a good collection if you are unfamiliar with them.

This is the song that really got me into them:

I really miss them. And yes, I believe that lion on the cover is vomiting blood. Because he's sad, y'all.

Carissa's Wierd - They'll Only Miss You When You Leave on Amazon.

Carissa's Wierd - Songs About Leaving on Amazon

Carissa's Wierd - You Should Be At Home Here on Amazon

*And that's it. I'm not an insufferable music snob (although I adore those that are), so you will be hit with Roxette at some point. You've been forewarned.

**Hate this term. Someone give me a substitute?

Monday, January 17, 2011

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I don't think I actually have a point to this post. I tried, but lost it somewhere.

There's been a lot of discussion centered around Obama's speech at the Tuscon Memorial Wednesday night, some of it interesting in terms of the impact it will or won't have or the nit-picky linguistics of it, and some of it of the useless "Ha ha he told your side off/nuh-uh he told your side off" variety.

Some is more of the "Hey, there's that guy I voted for" angle. tristero over at hullaballo does this, looking at the speech and realizing that he this was the same Obama s/he recognized from the presidential campaign, the same Obama that has an uncanny yet masterful ability to make his opponents look petty and immature:

I also noticed these things during the campaign, and until I understood what was going on, it drove me (not to mention many other people) almost crazy with despair. But I think it ultimately played a central, if usually unheralded, role in Obama's spectacular victory. I’m talking about Obama's uncanny skill at setting traps for his political opponents, traps in which they themselves - ie, not Obama - act foolishly or so otherwise poorly that they disqualify themselves as serious opponents, who emerges from these fiascos looking not only like the only rational choice but, more emotionally, as the only conceivable choice.

I caught on to this during his campaign as well, and found it pretty impressive. Every time I'd get a bit nervous back in 2008, or think that this was it, this was going to be the next right-wing "scandal" freshly pulled from their collective asses that puts McCain in the White House, Obama was not only able to bounce back immediately, but turn it around on it's head so that it played badly for his political opponents instead. The "scandal" with Pastor Wright turned into one of Obama's best moments of the 2008 election, his "A More Perfect Union" speech. When it came out that this was actually something Obama himself had written, only the night before, it cast him in an even more impressive light and made his detractors come off as even more irrational and bitter. (What I see) as the biggest threat to his campaign, in other words, turned out to be his strongest moment.

tristero continues:

Exactly how Obama does it is unclear to me. I know that his timing is very unusual, radically so within the current political context. He responds slowly to crises, and very, very calmly. This was, and is, very unnerving to me as an observer; I can only imagine how it struck a hothead like McCain who was directly affected by it. But surely there are other things he does to help bait and spring traps to hoist enemies on their own petard.

I've puzzled over this as well, but for different reasons. Mainly, this guy was a powerhouse during the campaign. And then he took office, and fell flat. It seemed very inconsistent with what I saw on the campaign trail. But I think tristero answers his own question here - what is consistent is Obama's calm approach to these events. Of course, I rather think it overall describes a major difference between the two parties as well. "Go with the gut" has long been preferred to rational decision making ever since we decided as a country to turn our backs on intellectual pursuits. And instead go with feelings.

So I think that is all there is to it. And I don't really think it's a calculated ploy. It's just who the President is. Most Republicans (or at the very least, Movement Conservatives) don't seem to have this same disposition when it comes to politics. Instead, there's a tendency to appeal to and rely on emotional reactions in everything instead of logic. As a result, we don't get a conversation that is actually useful to the country, we get some nasty snips of attack fodder to throw at those we dislike. In the health care debate, for example, the main sticking point against it wasn't exactly based in controlling costs, but instead whether or not Nancy Pelosi wanted to strangle your grandmother.

With our current media, that emotional grab can be beneficial. It's about winning news cycles, something that the Republicans have been very successful at. If you have the best sounding soundbite, that's what people are going to remember - advertisement figured this out eons ago. Americans often seem to have the attention span and memory of a goldfish when it comes to politics, and as such, the slower, thought-out approach doesn't always work; People just don't have the time or patience to listen to someone explain the complexities of hospice care or default credit swaps. Particularly if they don't feel it has a direct connection to their own lives. But it is an immature way to deal with the country's issues, and I feel that when the public thinks something really matters, it's not going to appeal to them as much as a solid, rational voice will.

Because when these news cycles stick around for longer then a few days, that is when those that are relying on the inattention of the public get into trouble. People that don't follow politics as obsessively as someone like myself still tune in every four years for the presidential election; even if it is somewhat of a sick reality show the public is still invested in the characters. And obviously, everyone was paying attention to what happened in Arizona last weekend, because if there is a national crisis, people start to tune in.

Republicans, while very good at creating fake crises out of thin air, aren't as adept at confronting real crises. This was most striking to me during the protests in Iran during 2009. While McCain was running around screaming his fool head off about how Obama has to say something, stick up for the protesters, Obama did nothing of the sort. He couldn't, you see. The second Obama said something like "America stands with the protesters", what did you reasonably expect would happen to those protesters? That Iran would suddenly say, "Oh, our bad, America!" and embrace their cause? Not at all. They would have been killed. Because at that point, once Obama connected the protesters (which the Iranians were sympathetic to) with America (which Iranians are most definitely not sympathetic to), it's all over for them. It's not the people of Iran against the government of Iran anymore, it's the government of the United States against the government of Iran. It was probably difficult, because really, how could you not feel for those protesters?

But the truth is, it would of only served to make us feel better to go all cowboy tough-guy on Iran's ass. We like simplicity. We like having bad guys that we can point fingers at. We like screaming FUCK YOU as a cathartic release when the frustration becomes too much. These things, irrational as they are, are enjoyable for us personally. They feel good to do. But beneficial as a whole? Not so much. Obama, being not a reactive but more of a reflective person, was able to see this for what it was. I've had many "man, we dodged a bullet" moments since Obama took office. This was the strongest one. I truly believe that had that election gone differently, we would be at war with Iran.

Unfortunately, the talking points to discredit a more rational approach have already been set in stone for decades now, that the more rational approach is the bad approach. The pussified approach. The snobby approach. That Obama is able to have success in taking the rational approach is promising, but I think its just that his approach is more effective depending on the situation. I doubt it will have an impact beyond his own presidency.

And I'm just rambling at this point. I had a point, I think I had like five, but whatever. At any rate - it's not a surprise that Obama is able to make his political opponents sound foolish when he chooses to do so. It's just how the different ideologies are set up to be sold, and depending on the situation, sadly either can be successful.

"The Founding Fathers would've hated your guts"

I'm not normally a fan of Bill Maher, but this is pretty good:

This is probably something that needs to be repeated on a regular basis before it becomes yet another piece of right-wing dogma. That the Tea Party seems to think they own the Constitution now is absurd on it's face, being that they don't even really seem to like Democracy itself most of the time (that whole bill of rights thing would be perfect if we just got rid of the 4th and 14th amendments, allowed the 10th to take precedence over stupid things like civil rights, and added more to the 1st so that it would be illegal for bloggers to hurt Sarah Palin's feelings, amrite?).

Ever notice that they always rely on the supposed opinions of the dead to back up their arguments? They don't argue back, I suppose.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Because it was only a matter of time before someone got hurt

No snark this week, sorry.

Those that know me know that I've had a passing interest in the increasing pattern of violent and eliminationist rhetoric coming out of the political sphere in the past few years, and concern over the dangerous effect it may have within our political culture. Part of it is my background in the reproductive rights debate. When you deal with extreme anti-choicers on a daily basis, you learn that people just aren't as rational and decent as we really want to believe. You learn that people that feel they are justified in their violent fantasies will do things. Part of it is my background in psyche, in which I know that we aren't actually the unique wonderful snowflakes we pretend to be, but are instead a horribly boring, predictable species that is easily led astray. And part of it is that I probably read to much Dave Neiwert, whose been doing the yeoman's work on political extremism in this country since the 90s.

Which is why, in the ramp-up to the 2008 election, I had some concerns about the path that the right wing political machine would take. When the footage from the McCain/Palin rallies started making the rounds, I grew even more nervous. And when no one seemed to bother with pointing out that maybe it's not cool to joke about killing your political opponents, I grew even more wary, because this couldn't possibly end well. And this was why I was able to predict how this would end up playing out back in 2008.

I was told by a colleague that I should elaborate on the point. I never did, because I wasn't sure how to without being guilty of what I was condemning. How do you point out that a faction of American politics is ripe for violent acts without tarring them with the same brush you are attempting to wipe clean? Logically, we know that the majority of people would not resort to extreme violence, so it would be unfair to say something like, "The Tea Party are a bunch of violent motherfuckers". It's just not accurate. But I think what's being missed is that it doesn't take the majority. It just takes a few psychos to that feel they've been given a justification. So I'd just point out what I have continuously done in the past, that the problem isn't that crazy people exist. The problem is that they are being given a justification for violence against their fellow Americans. And I'm sorry, guys, but it's not the left-wing of the country that has mainstreamed this sort of rhetoric this time.

And as we saw yesterday, another "isolated" incident has occurred in Arizona, which Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head, along with thirteen other people. As of this posting, five are dead. And the assumptions begin, starting with a book list that includes Ayn Rand, Adolf Hitler, and The Communist Manifesto, and ideals that include flag-burning and a refusal to adhere to anything but a gold standard. In short, perfect fodder for pretty much any political assumption one really wants to attach to it, we are warned. So already the serious people are urging not to turn this into a political event.

As if it can be discussed as anything else.

It's only about the psycho that carried out the act, they tell me. We can't know for sure what his political leanings are. We can't know for sure what the actual motivation was. This was more then likely a random act of violence that has no bearing on the country at large; to point out otherwise is nothing more then a cynical political ploy. But you know what? I can't take their advice this time.

Because it was the same thing they told me when Joseph Stack crashed his plane into a federal building in Texas after composing a screed against the government.

Because it was the same thing they told me when Jim Adkisson shot up the Knoxville Unitarian Church because of his "hatred of the liberal movement".

Because it was the same thing they told me when Scott Roeder shot Dr. George Tiller in the head after years of harassment egged on by those that called him a murderer of children.

Because it was the same thing they told me when Bryon Williams was caught on the way to shoot up the Tides foundation, which few had heard of until it was promoted by a pundit on Fox as being dangerous to America.

Because it was the same thing they told me when Tom Perriello's brother had the gas lines to his house cut after his address (assumed to be the congressman's) was posted on the local Tea Party website over anger regarding Health Care reform.

Because it was the same thing they told me when Richard Poplawski ambushed and fatally shot police officers because of the fear of an upcoming gun ban by the Obama adminstration.

Because it was the same thing told to me when they shot up and mailed fake anthrax to Congressman Raul Grijalva's headquarters, when Lauren Valle was curb stomped at a Rand Paul rally, when they were faxing pictures of nooses to Congressman James Clyburn, when they threw bricks through the windows of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter's headquarters and warned of waiting snipers.

And I'm sure it's the same thing they told Gabrielle Giffords when they vandalized her offices last March, or when she was included in Sarah Palin's "political crosshairs" map, or when her opponent Jesse Kelly encouraged supporters to come on down and shoot guns with him as part of a "get on target" event to "remove" Giffords from office.

And all the after-the-fact pleas for prayers for victims, all the half-hearted suggestions to not partake in political violence after explaining (wink wink) how liberals are the number one threat to America, all the assurances that these are merely lone wolves and not part of some larger pattern do nothing to for the dead. Nothing. But perhaps a commitment to discontinuing the all out support for those that preach this type of rhetoric will allow these tragedies to be rarer in the future.

And I'm not talking about legal band-aids that merely hide and never address the actual undercurrent of these acts. The problem isn't that pundit X can say what he wants, the problem is that for some reason Republicans react as if it is right and true, and maybe we should give him a talk show or a book deal: Sure, he may go to far sometimes, but he agrees with me politically that Obama is trying to destroy America, and his extreme hostility is so understandable - he's just reflecting the legitimate anger the populace currently has. And we will tell you where to direct that understandable and legitimate hostility you carry around - it's them. The Democrats. The liberals. The gays. The Mexicans. The Muslims. The blacks. They are to blame for your lost job, your lost home, your economic uncertainty - it's their fault. Them.

And with that, a hundred nutjobs get their wings. It's not just me. It's everyone, and only the brave ones are telling it like it is or doing something about it. Sure, it might be extreme, but it's understandable. In the name of liberty, sometimes extremism is warranted.

This is what needs to change. But this is not a job for over-reactive censorship or the violation of civil liberties for political dissidents. It can only be accomplished by the willful decision to be a decent person, for once, and do what is right for your country, not what is right for your fund-raising efforts, your book sales, or the ratings for your radio show. This is something the public has to step up on and hold politicians and pundits accountable for. Maybe it means that you don't vote for the guy even though you agree with his views on progressive taxation. Maybe it means you don't buy that book. Maybe it means you pull your advertising. Or maybe it means that you just speak up and call it out for what it is.

During the 1960s and 70s the newly minted "age of liberalism" crumbled to the ground thanks to the acceptance and embrace of left-wing radicals and extremists that took it too far, and thought of it as the opportunity to push for a revolution of their own desire. The public turned against the liberal movement, even if they had similar goals (namely, the ending of the Vietnam War). This in turn allowed the Republican party to play off of the fear and uncertainty of this seemingly anti-American movement during the 80s (and well into today), and caused liberals to not only run from the radicals themselves, in order to not be seen as condoning it, but to run from liberalism as a whole, because the brand had all but been destroyed by extremists. We are currently seeing a parallel to that history, the overbearing conservatism of the 80s has in return, created a faction of the right-wing that cannot accept a rule by any other, and once again, their own radicals and extremists in the movement are pushing that envelope to create a revolution of their own desire. It is well past time to own up to these elements in their own party, even if the damage done is irreparable in the near future. It will be.

But so far, the alternative of embracing the radicalism has proven to be very beneficial to Republicans in recent years. They've managed to tap into populist anger and direct it at their political foes, and are rewarded with votes and fund-raising opportunities. We're already seeing a hell of a back-lash from right-wing pundits that are taking outrageous offense at the mere suggestion that maybe the rhetoric should be toned down. That this is nothing more then a hit job on Palin (because obviously, she's the real victim here). That this is an attempt to squelch the voices of conservatives. That "both sides do it". So odds are, this will continue until the public itself reacts against it and it becomes a liability, much like it did with the Democrats in the past. Is this assassination attempt the spark that wakes people up?

I'm not optimistic. But then again, I never am. I implore you to prove me wrong this time.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Nothing to fear but pretty much everything.

This is a fun one:

Scientists have found that people with conservative views have brains with larger amygdalas, almond shaped areas in the centre of the brain often associated with anxiety and emotions.

On the otherhand, they have a smaller anterior cingulate, an area at the front of the brain associated with courage and looking on the bright side of life.

Naturally, the actual study isn't available online yet, so until it can be picked apart (which I assure you, it will be), let's just have some fun with it. Ha! Republicans all scared and shit. That's hilarious.

In regards to pop psychology, it just makes so much sense, you know? I can fall asleep at night without worrying that terrorists or Black Panthers are hiding out under my bed. I don't know if some right-wingers can say the same, based on some of the shit I've read by them. Wasn't there an actual children's book put out a while back about liberals hiding under the bed? I think there was, but I'm too lazy to look for it.

And yes, that's all a bit hyperbolic. But the actual examples aren't any better. Think of the hullabaloo over trying terror suspects in civilian courts, for example. It's odd that the same group that preaches American exceptionalism on a regular basis would piddle themselves at the thought of actually having our institutions tested. I mean, is there really anything that shows that we are the United Fucking States more putting these terror suspects through our own justice system, because goddammit, this is America, and we do that shit right? But no, the critics cried, trying them in our courts and putting them in our prison systems might lead to exposure to their radical world-view, either by recruitment of convicts or allowing them to testify on the stand, and apparently we can't handle such things, because we are so fragile. But you know, America! Fuck Yeah! and all. Makes no sense.

Now, as interesting as it may be, it should be said first and foremost that any study that is promoted as showing something "hard-wired" into the brain should send up a red flag instantly. It could be that the "hard-wired" conclusion may not actually be featured in the study (this is often an assumed conclusion that over-zealous publications will tack on because they feel it makes for a more interesting read). But even if this is so, a study is still pretty worthless if you can't go in and look at the methodology used. So I can't really delve into the merits of the study itself at this point. I'd just caution that most of these things are for entertainment value only.

But still, it did make me pause, because it fits nicely in with a pattern I've picked up on in regards to conservatives (or probably more accurately, Republicans). It's this idea that punishing the wicked takes precedence over protecting the innocent. Have you noticed it? It's a theme running through most of their arguments. For instance:

~ We must do everything we can to make voting as difficult as possible - harassing people we find questionable at the polls, pushing for ID requirements, etc. That this actually leads to massive voter suppression is an unfortunate yet necessary effect, but it is still more important to catch those that might be defrauding the system than to ensure that every American can exercise one of their most fundamental rights in our society.

~ Courts are not perfect, societal biases can influence cases and sentencing, and sometimes innocent people are put to death by the state. But it's better to have a few innocent people wrongly executed then to have one actual murderer get life in prison instead of the death penalty. You can also apply this to due process objections as well, even though protections are in existence for the sole reason of preventing abuse and fraud by the justice system, they can also lead to "technicalities" which may let a guilty person go free, which is why we need to do away with them.

~ Even though the majority of women that seek out late-trimester abortions have a really damn good reason for doing so, there may be a few that don't have a reason that we've agreed is acceptable, therefore the whole procedure must be banned; tough luck if you are one of the women that are desperately in need of those services.

~ Sure, it sucks when law enforcement shoots people that are protecting their families when the door of their home is busted down by gun-wielding strangers during to a no-knock raid. But sometimes when you knock first, drug dealers can flush drugs down the toilet, which means they might get away with it. And drugs are bad, okay? Sorry about having the wrong house address, though.

~ Hardship in life is inevitable. There will be times when families are desperate for funds to put food on the table so their children can eat. But sometimes, some people abuse the welfare system. Better to get rid of the social safety net entirely.

And so on. I think it comes down to what we consider to be the worst-case scenario. I've always held the opinion that it is better to let a few bad people get away with things rather then risk punishing the truly innocent. But I hear a lot of arguments that are willing to sacrifice the innocent to get the bad people, and we see this idea play out time and time again. Maybe it's due to fear. Maybe it's due to empathy, or a lack thereof. Maybe it's due to perfect-world syndrome. Or maybe it's merely the politics of ressentiment. But there are definitely patterns.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Obligatory New Year Blogging

I really wanted to play the "top-ten [blank] of 2010" game this year, because everybody's doing it and all I really want in life is just to be cool. Other obligations got in the way, unfortunately, like the frantic process of obtaining my bitchin' new ride after my Olds decided to straight-up die on me (being a one-car household sucks sometimes) and naturally, the holiday frenzy.

So here I am on New Year's Day cursing other blogs for totally reading my mind and stealing all my ideas, like reminiscing about the decade (ten years ago I was putting the final touches on my backpacking trip around Europe while unaware that I was about to be fired laid-off from my job, still went, ended up in debt, but totally worth it), posting clips from C-Span (THE GENTLEMAN WILL SIT! THE GENTLEMAN IS CORRECT IN SITTING! is still one of my favorites, but how the hell does Maddy the Anti-Socialist Baby not make that list?) or just being all fucking meta about the whole deal just to show how aware of all internet traditions I am. But alas, this is all said and done (better) by others.

So should I go into resolutions? I think I have the same general ones that will never be accomplished like most people (quit smoking, drink less, exercise more, become a chef, etc) and always some that are just personal to me (stop snarking about how much politics sucks and figure out some resolutions for the problem, start putting your writing out there again, get back into the social justice debate, contact your goddamn friends and family more, don't fear the break room, that piano isn't going to play itself you know, finish "Nixonland" for fuck's sake). But I never saw the point in stacking all these life changes up for one day and yelling "GO!", I feel like that just dooms you to failure*.

So it comes down to this: I started 2011 the same way I ended 2010 - Pushing some random dude's car down the street (this one happened to be out of gas). And maybe that's really all there is to it.

Or, as my husband just walked into the room and cheerfully said, "New Year, new toothbrush". I suppose I'll leave it at that.

Have a great year, everyone. Be excellent to each other.

*Had to include a link to this, by far my favorite comic of the year.