Monday, December 1, 2008

"To teach is to touch the heart and impel it to action."

The quote I used as title of this post is by Louis Sullivan, architect, mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright, from "Kindergarten Chats and Other Writings". The man was considered the "Father of Modernism" and the skyscraper. He inspired the group of Chicago architects known as the Prairie School. And unlike the legions of so-called reformers of American Education, he understood the very essence of what it is to teach.

I just read an article in the Wall Street Journal (go figure?) on education reform by Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. The man is a senior advisor of the Carlyle Group, and was its chairman until he stepped down in October 2008. Now normally, someone in such close association with the Bush Crime Family is not a man whose opinions I would read, let alone, consider. In his 1995 book, "Reinventing Education: Entrepreneurship in America's Public Schools", he wrote, "techniques and disciplines of business have much to offer in the field of education."

Haha...bullshit. Kids are not inventory, and how, and what they learn is not a product. That he now laments the "corporate governance" of the public schools when that was what he pushed for 13 years ago, to run them more like a business, irritates me.

He has come to recognize the one point in which I am of total agreement with him. The structure of education is "unbelievably unwieldy ".

"Abolish all local school districts, save 70 (50 states; 20 largest cities). Some states may choose to leave some of the rest as community service organizations, but they would have no direct involvement in the critical task of establishing standards, selecting teachers, and developing curricula."

Gerstner does not go far enough. There should be no local school districts, and a national license. Local school districts are unbelievably political. School boards often elect or appoint any old fool who is politically connected. I worked under an AP who failed her Principal's exam 5 times-never passed but was given a job, because her uncle who is a principal, got a place for her. She NEVER passed.

Principals are in a different union, and on a different tenure track than teachers. What this means is an experienced teacher will not take the Principal's exam. He or she is opened up to firing-because there is no protection of tenure as an principal. Also there is often a loss of 10,000 or more for a teacher who switches career tracks and becomes a principal. Why? One's years of teaching are not taken into account, and a new principal is on step one. So most newer principals (anyone under 60) are people who were failing teachers who took the test before they were denied tenure. The least experienced are running our schools, hiring teachers, and evaluating them.

Teachers who move from their district lose their tenure. This is why so many teachers travel long distances to their jobs. They are rooted in place. It is a huge gamble to move. If a teacher, leaves the state, he or she must be re-certified in that state. A costly, time-consuming and maddening process. Then if the teacher does not know somebody, make influential friends a job is not guaranteed. Or if there is one the school will likely be not a good, safe place to teach.

This has to end. End all the impediments to recruiting and keeping teachers who want and know how to "...touch the heart and impel it to action."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Please Stupid People Stop Breeding!

Sarah has fans. Fans who are thankful for turkeys.

The Turkey Visiting The Turkey Farm

Come on, she knew what was going on behind her. This woman has become addicted to being in the public eye and feels any attention is good attention. She also thinks she appeals to "real" Americans like herself who believe that man was given dominion over all the creatures of the Earth and find slaughterhouses not simply fun, but God's will.

Go away, bitch.

Thank God!

Yeah, I know it's late. Been a busy month. And now at least we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ultraconservative Parents Just Don't Understand

I have an aversion to writing anything too personal, or revealing the details of the lives of people close to me. The way I was raised, and what I believe to be correct as an adult, is that respect is shown in many ways, discussing someone's most intimate secrets, and identifying them by name-or God Forbid, posting their pictures is wrong in more ways than I can begin to express. So I'm going to tell you a story, however, certain details will be purposely vague.

With that caveat, I have a very close, old friend, my best friend, who yesterday made me want to reach through the phone and throttle her. I am very close to her husband as well,and I often want to choke him. We have a long,long history, we all met in college. I'm her sorority sister, she pledged under me, and I was in their wedding. These two are very Catholic, family-oriented, America-First type patriots, who live in semi-rural South Jersey. She is white, and he pretends that he is-most people don't know his father was Asian. He sees embracing conservatism as his ultimate identification as white. Except he's not-though nobody knows that.

I have always known they were on the conservative side of the political spectrum, so-called values voters, who voted Republican largely because of their opposition to abortion. While I find single-issue voters maddening, I understood how much their religious convictions mean to them. Fine. Didn't like it, didn't agree with it, but, well, that's their worldview, their core belief system. I was not going to hector them about their views, especially since they pretty much left me alone about mine. We rarely discussed politics.

That was then, this is now.

Perhaps I have changed has she, and he has certainly become so much harsher, more authoritarian in his views. Something very strange seems to have happened to them during the Bush years.

They have two children, and one is having difficulties in school. From what my friend says, it sounds like an ADD problem, and a severe one at that. But they don't really know. Whatever it is, her son is not comprehending, not processing information at a normal speed. It seems she noticed this a while ago, but they were reluctant to have him labeled, and assumed the school would step in, and have him tested if it was really a problem. She had no idea until his teacher told her, that he will only be tested quickly if the parents demand it.

In an angry rant, she said she couldn't believe that the teacher told her if she asked for it the testing would be done in a year, but if his parents make the request it will be done in a timely fashion, maybe in a week or so. And when she asked why, she was told No Child Left Behind. She couldn't believe it, and I told her of course it was true. And, I couldn't help myself, I reminded her I had been telling her about the effect NCLB would have on public education for years to come.

Apparently, she disregarded what I had to say as more of my misguided liberal ideas, not as a fact. Schools are much less likely to spend the money to test a child these days. NCLB is unfunded, and the constant standardized testing is expensive. And schools will be expected to have ALL students at a "proficient" level by 2014. Special Ed kids are a liability to their schools who will lose funding if they have too many, because the standards are the same for them as for a "normal" child. So if these kids are removed from these schools, in order for the normal kids to keep their scores are we returning to "separate but equal" for students with disabilities? I seem to recall that Brown v. Board of Education said that was not possible.

My friend didn't like that answer, and babbled that it wasn't meant to hurt her son. (Just to marginalize other people's kids, huh?) Just to improve the failing schools and make the US even better, and more competitive with all those Asian countries, and besides that's recent, it hasn't been in effect that long!

Nope. Signed by Bush January 8, 2002.

Signed by the man she voted for twice. I did not say this but she knew what I was thinking. And she didn't want to hear it. She is frustrated that the teachers had not noticed more about how he was learning, or rather, not learning. I told her to lay off, because when teachers are required to only teach to the test they aren't able to truly bond with their students, and recognize that the child is only regurgitating what he or she needs to know for the damn test.

I worked for a private teaching/tutoring company part-time for a while when I first came to NY. I saw so many children with comprehension problems that it could be termed an epidemic. They can read the words all right, but have no idea what it all means, no critical thinking is involved in the school work they are given. And unfortunately, no one really has the time to recognize this until they are at middle school level.

I have told her this all before...and yet my conservative friend still fails to see how non-educators are making education policy that has schools run on a business model. She got angry that her son's situation is all connected to how she chooses to vote. She is so busy, and rarely keeps up with current events properly. She told me Sarah Palin really can see Russia from her home. That Fox isn't any more biased than the rest of the news organizations out there. And that Obama is influenced by his Muslim values, and by the Anti-American hate at his church. And that if you don't like it here you should just leave.

And yet...she feels qualified to vote because it is her right, though she is not a political person, and thinks no one listens to each other and everyone is wrong. I can't fathom this disconnect between Republican fantasies, and actual reality. Even when the reality is damaging to one's own child. When life got tough for me I became more liberal. And yet the more they struggle, the more right-wing this couple becomes.

What was that Malcolm X said about chickens coming home to roost?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I Understand Now What Made My Grandma Communist in the 1930s

I stumbled across this diary on Kos discussing this column by the New York Times' Chris Hedges. It is called The Idiots That Rule America. I immediately clicked to the site, and my jaw dropped. Especially when I got to this part.

Andrew Lahde, the Santa Monica, Calif., hedge fund manager who made an 870 percent gain last year by betting on the subprime mortgage collapse, has abruptly shut down his fund, citing the risk of trading with faltering banks. In his farewell letter to his investors he excoriated the elites who run our investment houses, banks and government.

“The low-hanging fruit, i.e. idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale, and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking,” he said of our oligarchic class. “These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government. All of this behavior supporting the Aristocracy only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other side of my trades. God bless America.”

In short, Democracy as we know it has morphed into Oligarchy thanks to the Industrial Revolution, and the dearth of American Intellectual Curiosity. There's a sucker born every minute, and two to take 'em should not be the secret governing philosophy of any government, and certainly not one born of revolution. A revolution sparked by economic and legislative tyranny, by people who were tired of being over taxed second-class citizens. There should be no power behind the throne in a country without one. And isn't the man behind the curtain always a fake wizard?

The underlying truth in this well-written and quite angry column is that it is an indictment of both American education and American parenting. The oligarchs running our financial institutions into the ground had the benefit of a very expensive education, but was it actually a good one? Were they taught the concept of the Social Contract and the Public Good? Were they taught that economics are not an abstract science but something that has an impact on the lives of real people? Do they know that Mussolini originally wanted to call Fascism, Corporatism? Do they understand what Fascism actually was, or how dangerous a populist backlash can be? An uneducated and clueless mob of common people is no better than an uneducated and clueless elite driving a country into a ditch.

America has always fallen short of it's promise. My grandfather's family fought in the American Revolution, Askins, Latimores, Morrisons, Newmans fill colonial graveyards all across upstate NY and, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. I am sure they would be horrified to know the noble cause they gave the ultimate sacrifice for turned out like this.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Bill the Cat, oops, I mean McCain...

Call me shallow, but I never want to see pictures like this from a potential President of The United States again. After eight years of Bush, I want some dignity restored to the office.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Left Behind (American Education-Not that Rapture Crap)

I was a teacher for several years. My late mother was a teacher, and because of her I grew up around them, and absorbed their complaints and concerns, but also their love of the job itself. For some of these women, and 95% of them were women, it was a calling, a vocation. But frankly, it's not a job I can do any more.

Teaching is no longer the profession it was when my mom began in 1959, or when I was in school in the 70's and 80's, or even when I first taught in the mid-nineties. So what, one might ask, happened? Well, there's so many factors, I'm not totally sure where to begin. And I'm certain I'll revisit this topic in the weeks to come.

Frustration with the system is a BIG reason for the decline of the education system. Good teachers leave because they aren't free to just teach. It was one of my reasons for quitting. Not to be arrogant, but I was a good teacher. Modern teaching has been tortured, castrated and is on its way to being drawn and quartered by No Child Left Behind. No one actually likes it. Its often referred to a No Child's Behind Left, or simply Left Behind. Any educator who tells you it is a good idea is lying. You know that word so rarely used by the mainstream media? Telling a deliberate falsehood is called a lie.

Testing schoolchildren is not a bad idea, nor is trying to pinpoint areas of deficiency, or failing schools. But NCLB is a Trojan Horse meant to destroy the Public School System of the United States and to push some students into charter and private schools, others in home schooling, leaving what they would consider the dregs at schools that were so useless, no learning would go on there at all.

Why do Conservatives hate America?

Check out these figures on teacher attrition from 1992

6.3.8 Among college graduates in 1992–93 who became public school teachers, 84 percent of those teachers who scored in the bottom quartile on their college entrance exams were still teaching five years later. In contrast, only 68 percent who scored in the top quartile on their college entrance exams were still teaching after five years (U.S. Department of Education, 2003b). The disproportionate departure of academically able teachers is salient because a consistent body of research shows that teachers’ verbal ability, a measure of teachers’ general academic ability, has more of an impact on student achievement than any other measurable teacher attribute (Whitehurst, 2002, citing Greenwald et al. 1996; Ferguson and Ladd, 1996; Kain and Singleton, 1996; Ehrenberg and Brewer, 1994).

So even back then, if you are smarter, you quickly get the hell out??

Starting in the mid-to-late 90's teachers who were...a bit deficient, were advised by their mentors to take the Principal's test. So after 2 years, (now it's 3 years when you get tenure in most states) failing teachers can take an exam and become an administrator, with in many districts, the power to hire, deny tenure, train and supervise teachers, and evaluate the staff of their school. Those evaluations follow a teacher, social worker, school psychologist, or aide, and become part of their permanent records with the board of education. If someone dislikes you, you may have to leave the school, or system. And if someone decides to save money by denying tenure, and not renewing contracts for the teachers up for tenure, and hiring cheap fresh out of school teachers, they can. In short, people with the least experience and little constraints on their behavior, now run the schools.

Say you can jump these hurdles, then comes No Child Left Behind. Let me make this clear-No one goes through all that schooling, and training, and aggravation involved with getting a teaching position in order to teach to the damned test. No one likes moving on to the next subject because of time limits, no matter if their students comprehend or not. If they fill in the correct bubble because they have memorized the answers-job done. This is not learning, nor is it proper teaching. Unfortunately, it is where we are now...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ebert Pans Palin

I don't always agree with his film reviews-and for God's Sake, the man actually wrote a Valley of the Dolls Sequel. WTF?? But he totally nails stupid Snow Bunny here.

Roger Ebert on Sarah Palin: The American Idol candidate
Recommend (163) Comments

September 11, 2008

BY ROGER EBERT Sun-Times Movie Critic
I think I might be able to explain some of Sarah Palin's appeal. She's the "American Idol" candidate. Consider. What defines an "American Idol" finalist? They're good-looking, work well on television, have a sunny personality, are fierce competitors, and so talented, why, they're darned near the real thing. There's a reason "American Idol" gets such high ratings. People identify with the contestants. They think, Hey, that could be me up there on that show!

My problem is, I don't want to be up there. I don't want a vice president who is darned near good enough. I want a vice president who is better, wiser, well-traveled, has met world leaders, who three months ago had an opinion on Iraq. Someone who doesn't repeat bald- faced lies about earmarks and the Bridge to Nowhere. Someone who doesn't appoint Alaskan politicians to "study" global warming, because, hello! It has been studied. The returns are convincing enough that John McCain and Barack Obama are darned near in agreement.

I would also want someone who didn't make a teeny little sneer when referring to "people who go to the Ivy League." When I was a teen I dreamed of going to Harvard, but my dad, an electrician, told me, "Boy, we don't have the money. Thank your lucky stars you were born in Urbana and can go to the University of Illinois right here in town." So I did, very happily. Although Palin gets laughs when she mentions the "elite" Ivy League, she sure did attend the heck out of college.

Five different schools in six years. What was that about?

And how can a politician her age have never have gone to Europe? My dad had died, my mom was working as a book-keeper and I had a job at the local newspaper when, at 19, I scraped together $240 for a charter flight to Europe. I had Arthur Frommer's $5 a Day under my arm, started in London, even rented a Vespa and drove in the traffic of Rome. A few years later, I was able to send my mom, along with the $15 a Day book.

You don't need to be a pointy-headed elitist to travel abroad. You need curiosity and a hunger to see the world. What kind of a person (who has the money) arrives at the age of 44 and has only been out of the country once, on an official tour to Iraq? Sarah Palin's travel record is that of a provincial, not someone who is equipped to deal with global issues.

But some people like that. She's never traveled to Europe, Asia, Africa, South America or Down Under? That makes her like them. She didn't go to Harvard? Good for her! There a lot of hockey moms who haven't seen London, but most of them would probably love to, if they had the dough. And they'd be proud if one of their kids won a scholarship to Harvard.

I trust the American people will see through Palin, and save the Republic in November. The most damning indictment against her is that she considered herself a good choice to be a heartbeat away. That shows bad judgment.

Republicans Hijacked 9/11

I can't say it any better than Keith does here.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Time To Stop Fuming Over the RNC, and Write About It

"I cried, I am livid, I did not need to be upset like this today. I cannot believe they showed that video to aid ANY political agenda. And to hear the clapping and happy crowd afterwards was enough to make me sick to my stomach. What the hell has happened to America???"

That was a quote from Independent Means on HuffPost regarding the 9/11 "Tribute" played at the Republican National Convention before McCain spoke.

And I thought allowing Rudy Giuliani was to speak was in poor taste. By now, we all know he parrots 9/11 like he has Tourette's. Keith Olbermann was incensed, and shocked, but I have to say after the pageant of ignorance, bigotry, self-righteousness, and selfishness displayed in the previous days...who can really be shocked that they chose to whip out the trump card of Chutzpah, and exploit Sept 11th for all its' worth.

I lived in Hoboken, NJ then. I had just moved from the suburbs of Essex County after my parents deaths, and had the typical suburban New Jerseyian's desire to be near New York City, coupled with the fear of actually living there. (Needless to say, I got over it.) I was exhausted, traumatized and needed a fresh start. I watched the towers fall from the tip of Hoboken, a park near the PATH train station standing in my pajamas, having chased my cat there. He smelled smoke, and thought he had to get to the water, perhaps he thought the entire town was on fire. He won't tell me. I walked back, clutching my struggling animal-who was now certain we were all going to die, in a daze, and did what I had done in times of extreme stress since I was a small child. I sat in my bedroom closet, and closed the door.

I didn't think the footage was as graphic as Olbermann, but I think I was as offended. Using an event as tragic and traumatic as this for political gain is beyond classless, beyond tasteless, beyond vulgar. And when the political party doing this is the party that was in power during the event...that's truly vile.

Friday, August 29, 2008

This Is What We Have Been Missing.

This was the best political speech so far in my lifetime. Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, John Kennedy, Malcolm X, the orators of the Sixties were all dead before I made my appearance in the world. This is what has been missing since then: an orator who can deliver both enduring prose and red-meat. Someone who can inspire a country with an unfortunately large streak of apathy. Thank you, Barack.

Northern Exposure?

I hate to be snarky...well, no I don't, I'm lying. But is this a joke??? Has McCain gone mad? An ex-beauty queen who thinks it's cool to decorate with full bear pelts? A woman who had a disabled child only four months ago? The former mayor of a town of 9,000, who has only been governor for two years, and is only 44 years old? Someone who is being investigated for vindictively trying to fire her ex-brother-in-law from his state trooper position? Who thinks creationism should be taught in public schools? And then there's this...

I guess she's now happy with being a historic token. What did Obama say about John McCain's judgment last night?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Want to Stay Home Today...

I don't write very often about intensely personal experiences here...for reasons I've expressed before, because I was raised to be private, and I don't feel it is appropriate, or dignified to display one's entire private life for public consumption. With me, a PDA comes from a swell of genuine emotion, when I forget where I am, and the world fades into the background. It means I can't resist your charms. I'm an extrovert, but that does not mean everyone should know, or see everything I do, or think, or feel. Sometimes, though, I can break my own rules...rebelling against myself now, it had to happen sooner or later.

I work for a not-for-profit health care organization...I work in intake so I have the chance to speak with providers who thanks to HIPAA can't discuss their cases with anyone other than people like us who are also bound by its provisions. So I'll say what I can.


What was enacted to protect the privacy rights of patients has now been perverted to be something that gags medical professionals from speaking out about the abuses of this illegitimate administrations handling of the VA, and undisclosed numbers of wounded veterans. I have a memory that is nearly photographic, and has been described as cyborglike (still unsure if I'm insulted by that). I'm also quite good at critical thinking, and deductive reasoning. So simply put, what I see sticks with me, and I can connect the dots. Some bright staffer saw this little known-outside of the health industry law, as both a shield, and a cloak of invisibility.

It's been made stronger, and stronger, to where leaving copies on the printer too long is a violation. We all know the maintenance staff has that sideline in selling stolen medical records. Very, very few are like that of the celebrity who had a ________ , and _______stuck up his ________, by his ______. Now I know why he was walking that way on the Tonight Show!

What has shocked me...are the crying doctors. I had never experienced doctors with real feelings for the plight of their patients until they began calling me. Scary. I'm scared by our health care system: the PCPs are in agony over it. These people are trained to be dispassionate, to project authority. What is even more gut-wrenching are the families...these days though, both are in the same rudderless boat, both feel powerless and adrift.

I have been dealing with some sort of critical health situation since I was around ten. My Uncle Frank was a huge smoker...forty years of it caught up with him abruptly. He spoiled me. I was the only child in both sides of my family until I was nine. My first and second cousins are eighteen to twenty-five years older than me. They could be my parents. I was, as I've said before, precocious. I knew he liked kids, but I also realized that one of the reasons he doted on me, was because he had none of his own. Frank had been my father's best man, and was the sole person alive who could make my father's sister, my evil Aunt Gloria, behave properly. Well, somewhat. I digress. Smoking caught up with him.

This was the first time I was routinely dragged along to hospitals by my parents. In the early eighties, they were a lot less designed, a lot less colorful, stark-looking and clinical. Scary. Especially the floors that my uncle was on. Several times, my dad sweet-talked the nurses, he was tall, and quite handsome, and had what my mom called a line of bullshit big enough to circle the equator.

My first real impression of doctors, and their bedside manner, came as I listened from the hall. They were so different from the comforting MD's on TV. As they spoke to my uncle, and the family fluttered in states ranging from thinly veiled anxiety, to full-out Daffy Duck fit. The latter was my Aunt Gloria, though she has Daffy Duck fits in the supermarket, so I wasn't exactly fazed. Scared by her routinely, as a small girl, but by ten or eleven tuning her out. The men in the white coats seemed so...cold, I could make out the words "little chance of recovery."

Frank turned his face quickly away, towards the windows, as they spoke. Ten years later, I would see my father make the exact same head movement, only then, the doctors' prognosis was incorrect. None of the adults had noticed I had crept close enough to see, and hear a bit. I only moved away, when my uncle sent them out to talk to the family.

You would have thought they were giving a lecture...or reading the evening news. Then they just left, very casually. The adults then proceeded to convince each other that everything was really all right. They calmed down. But none of them entered the hospital room where the patient sat...alone.

Why weren't they going in there? Didn't they hear what I had heard?

I grew very angry, but I didn't say anything. I just turned and quickly slipped in the room. Then they noticed me, trying to get me to leave as I sat in the chair next to my uncle. I pretended I didn't hear them beckoning from the stark white hall. I took out the cards I had in my purse and started to play with him. He smiled, and unsteadily picked up his hand, and I pretended I didn't see that too. He wanted to know if my batting was improving, and if I was still gambling at recess in Lincoln Park, and fighting after school.

"Yeah...I guess."

"Do you win?"


"Good. Always try to win."

"I promise."

" What do you do when you cook the pasta?" Frank was born in Naples.

" Put oil in the water."

" Just a little."

" Just a little..."

I don't know how long I stayed, but it seemed, and still does a long time. No one else came in. Nobody dragged me one dared. I was what one might call willful. I knew somebody had to do it. Sometimes the kindest thing one can do for someone is to listen to them, and let them know you really hear them.

I had a really hard day yesterday...I hate a lot about the chaos of my job. I hate the stupidity of a few people I work with. Yesterday, I had the workload of three people, and wanted to burst into tears when I was still there at 9:30. I cry when I'm intensely angry. I barely controlled my temper. I can give a long list privately if asked. I really would like to stay in bed today.

I won't.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Streets of Fire

The geeks over at Ain't it Cool are freaking out over a potential sequel to Streets of Fire. I have to say I agree with them. This is one of my favorite ridiculous movies of all time.

I was a sophmore in High School when I saw this with my best friend, her boyfriend-future ex fiance, and her first cousin, the one who looked like Vince Neil, back when he was hot. My parents were away and they didn't know we went up the mountain to West Orange on the the cousins' dad's Harleys. I would have been punished for a decade I think.

I can recall doing the dance from this scene in the parking lot, and goofing around in the cafeteria at long as the nuns would allow it.

What woman wouldn't like a man who tells her " if you ever need me for something...I'll be there."

I will be quite angry if they really screw with my little cult movie...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Old Wine in Pretty New Bottles is Still Vinegar

I'm home sick today, either from one of my 500 food allergies, or some bad food in Little Italy. Ugh. So that means after I begin to feel a bit better I'll be in bed on my laptop ALL day. I read a WAPO article an old friend e-mailed me about the withering (I superstitiously refuse to say it is dead-yet) of the Conservative Movement in America. While I didn't quite like the I-told-you-so tone of the article, I have to admit that there seems a change in the wind.

The writer, Greg Annis is doing a bit of crowing, and stating in a nutshell that America is finally waking up after thirty years to the fact that "...those ideas have all failed to deliver on the promises the conservatives made, and in many instances, the dogma has actually created new problems. Particularly after Hurricane Katrina, when Americans saw how hapless the Federal Emergency Management Agency was, the public has begun to realize that the right's hostility toward government has produced only ineffective government."

This is simply common sense. It stands to reason that people whose governing ideology is that government is such a terrible evil that it should be rendered powerless, and drowned in the bathtub, will not govern well, or at all when they are placed in charge of the government. They were advocating yet another variation of the anarchist movement. The writings of Gingrich, and Norquist and Buckley, and all those other conservative tools in think-tanks like the Heritage Foundation were variations on the Anarchist's Cookbook, minus overtly violent language.

Over at the Heritage site, they are claiming job losses aren't so very bad, and asking what Reagan would do about economic problems. They want guidance from a dead actor who had Alzheimer's most likely throughout his second term? This is what these great minds come up with after all that money thrown their way?

The messages of modern conservatism were in code. Racist, classist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic code. Blow it all up, tear it all down, build a Utopia just for you...or people like you. Riots, have never made sense-destroying out of rage? (if you're that angry go take on your oppressors, don't steal a TV) Anarchy in most of it's many, many forms, has never really made sense either. How exactly do you know that destroying everything will make what comes after better? Propaganda of the Deed? Using violence against your political enemies really advances society-ask any Iraqi.

The problems now biting the GOP in the ass were a long time coming in part due to an uninformed electorate, one not taught civics, and ethics, and that being a citizen requires one take some responsibility for how one's society functions. The other component is they appealed to people's Dark Sides, the selfish, bigoted, brutish parts of human nature. Perhaps American society is evolving, perhaps it has simply suffered so much it now sees the emperor has no clothes. Now, in response, some young conservative authors are floating the idea of (gasp!) change! They want a pretty new bottle for their vinegary swill.

Evolution, (which they don't believe in) is just a fancy word for change. All life changes, it is the only constant in life...a being that does not evolve goes extinct.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Radio is dead (Part Two)

This is one of my favorite EC songs. Will you hear this on a radio station? Hell, no. On MTV? Umm, they still play music?

I've met him twice, seen him in concert three times...he remembered me as the teacher who exposed her 6th grade students to him, and Nirvana, and The Cure. Take a listen.

Friday, August 1, 2008


Some things that have crossed my hyper-active since birth mind today...

How the fuck did Mummy III get greenlighted? A terra-cotta clay coated evil emperor is not a mummy. Aforementioned emperor requested eternal life from a witch who grants him eternal life as a statue. Obviously this evil emperor did not comprehend the phrase, caveat emptor. Probably because he was an ancient Chinese emperor and not a Roman one. The wonderful Michelle Yeoh is forced to say lines like "The Yetis will help!" The Abominable Snowman in a Mummy movie?!

Mummy review in Ain't it Cool News.

How the hell did this happen? A man was decapitated on a Greyhound bus traveling across the Canadian Prairies. Now people this batshit crazy usually give some indication of their state before they start eviscerating their fellow humans on public transportation. Didn't this guy have concerned teachers? Worried parents? Terrified and scarred for life siblings, cousins, classmates? I knew my godbrother was a budding sociopath when I was six, and he tortured animals. He still frightens me. I was certain of it when I caught him going through my mother's lingerie drawers when I was around nine, and he was twelve, and rubbing her undergarments on his face. I fully expect to turn on the news and see Fat Bastard frogmarched into a waiting police van someday as the horrified cops try not to get too close while they are doing it. He lives with my godmother-his mother, and she caters to his every whim, and well...sort of watches him, all the while never admitting her first-born is not right. Is denial the common denominator of all families of the criminally insane?

Why are the sexual assault stats in the military
so HIGH?

Why is it that Bridezillas get some of the best men? Why do they get a man at all? These women only really want the big show, not the marriage. People who get maniacally into the details of an event that lasts an average of six hours have a problem. I have never wanted a big showy, over-the-top wedding...cheapens something that should be personal and treasured. All my grandparents eloped, and perhaps eighty percent of my friends who have healthy relationships. I like the way Quakers marry. I love the Scots tradition of handfasting. Hold my hand, looking into my eyes, make your commitment to me in an intimate way.

Why does chocolate taste so good when you have your period?

Why are German tourists so rude?

Why the hell would anyone want vaginal plastic surgery? Why would anyone go to this doctor to have their vaginas get "personal training"?

When are the children named Indiana and Dow Jones going to turn shotguns on their parents?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Will Wonders Never Cease?

I'm floored. I'm stunned. Joe Klein grows a SPINE, and ADMITS gross errors of judgement in the past. Check this out in Time's Swampland Blog.

July 29, 2008 4:58
When Extremists Attack
Posted by Joe Klein | Comments (173) | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) | Email This
I have now been called antisemitic and intellectually unstable and a whole bunch of other silly things by the folks over at the Commentary blog. They want Time Magazine to fire or silence me. This is happening because I said something that is palpably true, but unspoken in polite society: There is a small group of Jewish neoconservatives who unsuccessfully tried to get Benjamin Netanyahu to attack Saddam Hussein in the 1990s, and then successfully helped provide the intellectual rationale for George Bush to do it in 2003. Their motivations involve a confused conflation of what they think are Israel's best interests with those of the United States. They are now leading the charge for war with Iran.

Happily, these people represent a very small sliver of the Jewish population in this country. Unhappily, their views have had an impact in the highest reaches of the Bush Administration--and seem to have an influence on John McCain's campaign as well. Happily, the Bush Administration seems more interested in talking to the Iranians than in launching on them--and, according to my Israeli friends, the Israelis are not going to do anything foolish, either. I remain proud of my Jewish heritage, a strong supporter of Israel and a realist about the slim chance of finding some common ground with the Iranians. But I am not willing to grant these ideologues the anonymity they seek.

In early 2003, during my first weeks as a Time Magazine columnist, I wrote a handful of skeptical columns about the coming war in Iraq, including this one about Israel's security as a hidden casus belli. Then, with the troops in place and the war about to begin, I said something stupid on Tim Russert's cable TV show--reluctantly saying ok, we should proceed with the attack. It was the only statement I made in favor of the war and I quickly came to my senses--but that's no excuse. We have lost more than 4000 Americans, tens of thousands have come home grievously injured, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed and wounded, and we are weaker, palpably and morally, as a result.

I am not going to make the same mistake twice. I don't think a war with Iran is coming, thank God, but this time I am not going to pull any punches. My voice isn't very important in the grand scheme of things, but I'm going to do my job--and that means letting you know exactly where I stand and what I believe. I believe there are a small group of Jewish neoconservatives who are pushing for war with Iran because they believe it is in America's long-term interests and because they believe Israel's existence is at stake. They are wrong and recent history tells us they are dangerous. They are also bullies and I'm not going to be intimidated by them.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Doctor Fish

I used to work in the cosmetics industry. Nutty narcissism is a necessary component to keep the business going. I was blessed by the skin goddess with an epidermis that is smooth, soft and clear. I am also a spa freak, and have often had my hands or weirdly, even feet, caressed and been told they were soft and graceful. Ummm. An embarrassed thank you is usually all I can manage. So perhaps this is why I can't fathom anyone being willing to let fish eat the calluses off their feet...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Is McCain Stupid, High, or Simply Shameless?

I have to admit that is a harsh question, but I do wonder this as I read more of his remarks, ones such as this: "it seems to me that Senator Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign."

Eh? First of all, what exactly would we be "winning" in Iraq? Removal of Saddam? Oops, done that already. Finding WMDs? Please...there's a better chance of finding Jimmy Hoffa, he's under the Meadowlands. Everyone from North Jersey knows that. Establish a new Iraqi government? Dysfunctional and impotent though it may be, there is one there now, Senator McCain. Stop the sectarian violence? Pandora's box has been opened, unfortunately by America, and if one recalls the myth all that is left at the bottom is the injured, and delicate creature called Hope. I hope the Sunnis and Shites come to their senses and stop killing each other over something as ridiculous as differing religious practices within the same fucking religion, but thinking that stationing our troops there will ameliorate the situation is nothing short of delusional.

Note to warmongers: guns and planes and tanks make people fear you, they do not win hearts and minds.

What else? Osama? Not there-try Pakistan? Taliban? The place where that group of lunatics reside is called...Afghanistan. Remember that Bush removed all the troops from Afghanistan so they could go to Iraq?

This is not a game of Risk, you fake war hero fuck. You are not Eisenhower, or Grant or Washington. Hell, you're not even Colin Powell. You finished 894 of 899 in Annapolis. Did you even attend classes? Perhaps this explains why you twice crashed your plane into power lines? You became a POW because you were shot down (crashed yet again?) into Truc Bach Lake in Hanoi, and nearly drowned before the Vietnamese got to you, and put you in the Hanoi Hilton.

I find it unbelievably offensive that a man who endured five and a half years in a prison camp as the result of an illegitimate war wants to keeps our troops in a conflict that makes even less sense than the one he himself was so badly injured in that he can no longer raise his arms above his head, and made numerous suicide attempts while a POW.

There is no winning in Iraq.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sick Humor? Poor Taste? Assholery?

I believe we have all heard about the damned ape joke. If told by a 21 year old frat boy half-tanked in a bar...tasteless. If you were drinking along with him: possibly funny. The kid told a shocking joke, big deal. When told by a US senator in his 50's, a man with power over the lives of women: sick, tasteless, and in no way amusing. When twenty-two years later, that man with a long history of mean-spirited misogynistic behavior, and a voting record that shows he clearly thinks women are second-class citizens, and is now running for president...horrifying.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

My Secret Shame...My Misspent Youth...

I was reading-here during a rare lull at work (shhh!) the Feministing site, and they had a post all about the resurgence of debutante balls. I had hoped this insulting tradition had gone the way of wearing hats and white gloves, and slips. I hate slips. Though full slips make me think of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, so they are kind of sexy, but only if that's all one is wearing.

I digress. Debutante balls seem stubbornly resistant to social change, and are still largely segregated, class-based affairs that are meant to put adolescent girls on the marriage market.

All right...let's all shudder and gag. EWWWW. Marriage and market, two words that should never, ever, be paired.

Despite having a rather forward-thinking set of parents, I, um, kinda, participated in one of these extra special events as a junior deb-a yellow dressed, hoop-skirted, silk-flower crowned attendant to one of the debutantes when I was thirteen. It remains one of the top ten most humiliating experiences of my life thus far. My mother loaned me out-yes, I said LOANED ME OUT! Me, her precious only daughter, to one of her closest friends who was childless, and wished to participate in the damned thing her sorority was partially sponsoring. It meant so much to her my mother couldn't say no. I had a very bad feeling about this. But what could I do? My mother had already committed me. I would look like a rude brat throwing a tantrum if I refused now. My mom knew I wouldn't like to give that impression. Trapped, trapped...

The experience actually met...and surpassed my incredibly low expectations. There were classes, practice sessions, to prepare one for ridiculous, regressive, sexist public humiliation. It was somewhere around the ninth level of Hell, the one Dante claimed was circling Satan's scrotum. Yeah, that sounds like the place. The old women, and very queeny old men who fussed over us, and dressed us...I didn't know people like this even existed. My pediatrician had looked at my body with less scrutiny. They turned us around like we were little deaf things, never registering what they were saying as they clucked over everything. I was apparently too tall for most of the boys, but if I wore flats my feet would look too big, and duck-like. They thought I had webbed toes?? Apparently, I frowned too much as well, that was going to cause deep wrinkles in the future. (Well, fuck you, it didn't.)

I held my tongue, it was difficult, but I did it. I was a child who had been on the whole, approved of, and told that I was special, and wonderful and beautiful. No one had ever spoken to me, or about me where I could overhear in this manner. Thank God, I'm of a temperament where I get angry about stuff like this and consider the source, and do not absorb it.

The waltz lessons, and posture, curtsying, and fucking white gloves! I came home after one of these sessions and told my mother she had earned a place in Hell for putting me through this. At least Purgatory.

I like attention as much as the next extroverted Leo, but there was something creepy about this focus on our adolescent sexuality, and dressing us up like china dolls, watching us dance with equally uncomfortable boys. After it was all over, and I managed not to trip down the curving staircase into the ballroom, though I did mess up a couple of dance steps. I found my parents. My dad took the crown of flowers off my head, and mussed my hair, looking at my mother like she was Lucy Ricardo. I was not doing this again when I was old enough to wear the white dress. She nodded, and was uncharacteristically quiet the whole ride home.

This is no rite of passage. I can't imagine the reasoning that goes into putting your children through this. Girls are bombarded with so many images that give them the message that their looks and sexuality are what advance them in life...shame on Gen X for continuing this so-called tradition.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008



In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.

Main Entry:
in·ex·cus·able Listen to the pronunciation of inexcusable
Middle English, from Latin inexcusabilis, from in- + excusabilis excusable
15th century

: impossible to excuse or justify
— in·ex·cus·able·ness noun
— in·ex·cus·ably Listen to the pronunciation of inexcusably \-blē\ adverb

Geraldo Rivera, little gutter rat that he is, and Fox News, orgy of propaganda and yellow journalism that it is, have sunk so disgustingly low in the coverage of the death of model Ruslana Korshunova. The poor girl was only twenty, and died Saturday in a fall from her 9th floor apt in NYC. The circumstances of her death are admittedly, somewhat odd-women, especially beautiful ones, rarely commit suicide in ways that destroy their bodies. And no one seemed to think she was depressed or unstable.

Covering her death was expected, however, the repeated references to her being Russian, the emphasis on her foreignness, as if Americans don't kill themselves, crossed the line. That line was obliterated, as Geraldo at Large actually showed Korshunova's body, blood running out the side of her mouth. It used to be that Fox's journalistic standards were low, and their taste it seems there are no standards at all. Fines are levied for Janet Jackson's frigging nipple, but not for something like this?

May you find peace in your next life, Ruslana.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

You fell victim to one of the classic blunders. The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia...

The Princess Bride quote is apt. Iran is not an Arab country, it is in Southwest Asia as designated by the U.N., the former Persian Empire. It is the 18th largest country in the world with a population of more than 70 million people, and an area of 636,372 square miles. It is one of the oldest continuous civilizations, dating back to before 4,000 B.C.

Iraq, in comparison, is a country of Western Asia-Mesopotamia, the place where Abraham and Sarah came from, the cradle of civilization, and the birthplace of writing. There are over 29 million people in Iraq, with an area of 169,234 square miles. Also a very, very old civilization, and the former Babylonian Empire. Both former rainforests that became tremendous dinosaur graveyards.

The US took on the smaller country. The US took on the weaker country. Five years out, the smaller, weaker country has been draining America of funds, troops, and self-respect. Unlike many Progressives, I haven't been very worried that Bush and his ilk will steal another election, but that they will do what Seymour Hersh is outlining here in this New Yorker article: in their final days they push through war with Iran.

Monday, June 23, 2008

People Not Worth The Price of the Gunpowder to Blow them To Hell!

I realize that title may just confuse a few people. Those who knew my late father, will have heard him use this unique phrase many, many times, and would only laugh at hearing it again. I suppose I should have written something in this vein on Father's Day, but just didn't feel like doing anything. And since George Carlin was still alive then-it would have seemed a bit weird, maybe.

I saw the obits for Carlin last night, and suddenly felt like crying. George Carlin was one of my father's favorite comedians, along with Redd Foxx, Lenny Bruce, and Richard Pryor. I associate memories of childhood mischief with this man. I saw an HBO special he did, when I was 10-11 years old. Mom was out and my father had won the battle over who got to keep the kid for the day.

Hell, she was going out with my Evil Aunt G. and I wanted no part of that! Evil Aunt G was, and still is, I imagine, since I have refused to speak to her since my father's funeral when she accused my mother of killing him because she no longer wanted to care for him, and nearly gave the young priest (a family friend of a good friend) his own fatal heart attack-was the kind of woman who gave men cancer. Another well-loved phrase of Daddy's-and he ought to know; he was her little brother. I chose to stay with him, and Uncle F., her husband, who had, apparently not coincidentally, cancer.

Uncle F. knew he was dying, as did I, though all the adults in the family refused to face this fact. He had lung cancer-forty plus years of heavy smoking. His breath had that smell, that smell like he was rotting from the inside. I knew that anyone who smelled dead while they still lived, obviously had a serious health problem, and could not fathom why the family all behaved, even when F. was resting, and G. was not in the room, as though it was no worse than when I impaled my arm on a broken chain link fence on the Fourth of July. I brought the BBQ, and parental Anniversary celebration to an abrupt end-though once I was removed from the fence, and it from me, everyone concluded that I would live to injure myself yet another day leading a whole new group of mostly boys through the woods. (Boys always did whatever I told them-it was girls I had to fight. You incapacitate one boy the rest get real cooperative, real fast.) I still have the scar-it went down to the elbow-I'll show it if you ask nicely.

So, I stayed with the men. And when I grew tired of sewing fur coats for my Barbies, painting cells in my graphic novel about six-legged atomic dogs who take over the world with the WWII Naval Base in Bayonne, NJ as their base of operations, disorganizing the color coding system in my mother's shoe closet just to hear her scream, and trying to get my German Shepard to obey telepathic commands in German...I went to go see what the adults were finding so funny.

Laughter like this had been in short supply in recent months, especially from my father and Uncle F. I poked my head around the corner of my parent's bedroom, and suddenly they froze. So of course, I walked right in, and stood in front of the TV. They had a really large bottle of Chivas Regal open on the floor, and both seemed to be deciding if they should make me leave. I looked at my dad, and suddenly he got that expression that preceded his saying something he shouldn't, doing something he shouldn't, or carefully teaching me to do all the things he was punished for in his childhood.

"Come watch. Do not tell, Mommy."

So here's my tribute to them both, in the vein of People Who Need To Be Killed.

People Not Worth The Price of The Gunpowder to Blow Them to Hell.

People who still like George Bush. Dead-enders should be dead. Period.

Nascar fans. Driving in a circle like a gerbil on a treadmill. Not a sport.

Grown women who use baby talk. It sounds bad, looks bad, is bad. You are a woman-not a cartoon character. Hear that Evil Aunt G?

E.D. Hill. Terrorist fist bump? Secret handshake? Does this dumb bitch think they signal attacks with sign language? Should the deaf be sent to Guantanamo?

Britney Spears and anyone related to her.

Carville and Mary Matlin. Two people that obnoxious, irksome and ugly should not have sex! They have bred!!

James Dobson, Pat Robertson, John Hagee...The Handmaid's Tale was a novel not an instructional manual.

People who tan themselves brown, and beach their hair white. EWWW!

Artists who use personal family details in their so-called art. Boundaries? Respect? Know those words?

Competitive eaters? Why? Gluttony is not a sport either.

Parents who use their baby carriages like battering rams. Is this why you fuckers had a child? So you can barrel down the street, and run over pedestrians.

Cheap rich people. Learn manners. Learn consideration. Learn where your wallet is!

The entire congress. Stop them before the white horse becomes a senator.

The bastards who stole 57,000 lbs of chicken from the FoodBank in Delaware.

People with "Empathy Deficit Disorder"? Being a selfish ass is not a disorder.

The geniuses who thought re-making The Day the Earth Stood Still with Keanu, and changing the plot was a good idea. Recall the Anne Heche/Vince Vaughn version of Psycho?

Geraldo Rivera.

(I'm sure I'll think of more...)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Resilience, and Regaining the Will to Paint

Usually, I'm blogging about some national/international political event, or something cultural...but this weekend...that just isn't what I want to do. Now for something completely different. Seems like the time for rambling meditations on life.

We humans certainly are mysterious creatures. Our innate Primate sense of self-preservation, is routinely warring with our desire to self-destruct as spectacularly as possible. I took a tremendous amount of psych in college, though it had nothing to do with my major, which was fine arts, graphic design, illustration and cartooning. I was the only art major in my sorority; most of the girls were hotel-restaurant (a department our school was renown for, after Johnson & Wales), accounting, or nursing. So anything artistic, theatrical, or musical fell to me. Meaning, I was in charge.

Now normally, I like the idea of being in charge. I freely admit it. Except...when I have no choice in the matter, and already have more than enough on my plate.'s a burden. So I permanently became Skit Chair as well. I was also taking playwriting, and they knew it, so at exec. board meetings they would throw out uninspired ideas for rush, or Greek Weekend, for whatever came up. And I was expected-when I wasn't doing my school work, or being the philanthropy chair to come up with something cool. Then I'd bust my ass attempting to accomplish everything. My father always told me I could do anything, that no child of his gives up or turns down a challenge. Translation: don't fail, or I'll be deeply ashamed.

Seems I took this to heart and took on more, and more, and more. Gradually, as my father got sicker and sicker, my mom ceased to cope with reality, my job grew more demanding, and my boyfriend's mental health self-destructive primate that I am, of course I wanted to marry him. (Don't worry I didn't.)

This was not challenging myself. I had no time to myself. I had responsibilities. I ceased to paint. I have painted since I was 3 1/2 years old.

I have been agonizing whether or not to post this...I was afraid it may be too personal. I have been thinking about privacy, and respect and boundaries. I have been writing a manuscript about my family for a while. My old therapist recommended that I do this to regain the creativity that has been a part of me since I could first hold a brush or pencil. I am an artist. I am a writer, a storyteller. Putting intimate facts on public display cheapens the relationship. It is disrespectful. These people are dead now, most of them, but it is wrong to not let some things be private. Yes, no. Back and forth. I'm going to tell my story...but just not in a way that exploits what should be held close.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

"We Are Always Americans First!"

I'm still digesting the Obama speech tonight. It was presidential. It articulated the Progressive view of the world as common sense and fairness and a balm for the wounds of the Bush years. Wow...

Hillary's complete and utter narcissism just disgusted me. When you lose, just be gracious and concede.

Hmm...I guess this means New Zealand's Rugby Players are the Most Virile Men on Earth!!

I was about to go back to sleep when I came across this in the Daily Mail. Seems British doctors are claiming that pelvic exercises are as effective in combating impotence in some men as Viagra! Watch out UK medical professionals! The drug company hit squads are on the way.

The moves they say are most beneficial in combating ED are similar to the Maori War Dance the Haka, done by the NZ Rugby team the All Blacks. Squatting, slapping, and funny faces. Well now...laughter always gets us women in bed, does it not?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Nobody Has Said it Better

Yes, I'm back. Been a little busy, been rather ill. Long story.

Keith Olbermann's special comment said what so many people were feeling when Hillary dared raise the spectre of political assassination. She should be ashamed.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Can a Feminist Love Sex and the City?


Can she find the legions of grown-up girls who think it's so true to life, and see it as a guide for single women surviving in NY utterly ridiculous? Hell, yes. Ladies, it's not a cute slice of life, or farce, but a cautionary tale. A cautionary tale for women who grew up in the Reagan years, in the time when Feminism became a dirty word like Liberal, and we were magically sucked back to the 1950's. When the battle became vaguely embarrassing to young women, who either forgot, or were never told in the first place, how bad things once were for the "weaker sex", and chose to step away because of this lack of historical knowledge, and because, well if they were really aggressive, or strident, or angry...they might not get a man, and would be alone forever.

I attended all-female schools both elementary school, and high school. I pledged my sorority second semester freshman year. I have no siblings, but have obviously spent a great deal of time with others of my gender. I have known at least 20 women who have turned their lives upside down, and inside out for a man. Let me make this clear-to keep a man. Moved repeatedly, converted, dropped all their friends and family, stopped working, allowed him to choose all her clothing, became vegan, changed political affiliations...a reason I always wanted to shake sense into Charlotte. Someone who truly loves you does not reject you if you are not just like him, or don't give into his every demand. He does not choose his dead mother's wishes over you. Fuck him.

My parents are dead. They gave me morals, values, raised me to be a good liberal. They were also obsessive, possessive, controlling,and highly eccentric. Mother's and Father's Days, their birthdays, and wedding anniversary are still agonizing...I no longer go fetal, under the covers for the day, though I'm fragile most of that week. However, I feel no obligation to live as though they are haunting me. I'm free. This story line made me want to go Elvis on the TV. Good thing I no longer have a gun.

Carrie. Unfortunately, I have known a few of her type too. Fun to laugh at her misadventures, until you talk to her on a day she's being honest, drunk enough to be honest, or heartbroken enough to be candid. I have a friend who goes through a man every month or two. In the beginning, every guy is the One, and she's dancing on air.

By week two, she has picked three fights, and found every fault that will doom their relationship ten years in the future, and she will be raising their abandoned children alone. By the next month, she has torpedoed the relationship completely, and is devastated that he has suddenly stopped calling her, or taking her calls. There she has it-proof that all men are unworthy. Every man is secretly her ogre of a father. All the good ones are taken. She is a brilliant and accomplished woman, but without an ounce of common sense, and blind as a bat when it comes to reading people. She's almost thirty-eight years old. I have bitten my tongue often to keep from telling her to grow the fuck up. Wouldn't work, and would hurt her too much.

When Miranda tried to tough talk some sense into Carrie, and keep her from uprooting herself for a man who really only loved himself, she nearly lost the friendship, and Carrie went to Paris in part to spite her. I've found in real life Carrie wouldn't have come back. She wouldn't have been able to admit to her friends or herself that they were right. Or to be the only one in the group without a stable relationship.

I admired Miranda's courage for confronting her friend. For much of the show, she was a complete coward, pushing away love, being so rigid, and critical. She never knew how to make an emotional connection until Steve, and then when he got in she looked at degrees and economics and decided she was too good for him. Only when he became a success, and other women wanted him, did she need him back. I, at times, have been guilty of thinking things to death, and letting good ones slip away.

Samantha was the sex freak-twin to Miranda, reveling in the freedom of her lack of emotional attachments, and her obnoxious, hyper-aggressive style in business. Have sex like a man? Men fall in love too, dummy. How many did she hurt because she-not unlike a male sexist's skewed view of women, saw men as erection machines, as giant walking dildos, and not thinking, feeling real people. She did not understand that attachment was normal bi-product when you continually have sex with the same person. Emulating the worst of traditionally male behaviors did not make one a feminist hero, an independent woman of the world, but just another asshole. Women aping shitty male behavior is missing the point of the push for equality. So many Second-Wave Boomer Women did not get this.

So many, I think, missed the point. One prime example is HRC. And no, I'm not calling her slutty, don't be silly. Tucker Carlson joked at the event I saw him at on Monday-I can't use the name again it's too insane-that Hillary was the toughest person who ever lived. I think that's a part of this once admirable now crazy/selfish tenacity is that she is gonna show 'em! She is going to be a woman tougher than all the boys, and beat them at their own crooked game. This resonates with the older women who didn't get that the women's movement was not about being just like asshole men, but gaining the same rights as men. If a man showed this much stubborn pride, and disregard for the party and country, he would be reviled too.

Don't get me wrong, I want a woman president, just not her, and not like this. I want it clean. I want her to be Thatcher, not Bhutto, meaning I don't want her to an ex-president's wife or daughter. I want her to rise just the way the men have. I want her to feel comfortable in her own skin. I want her to be a feminist...who gets the cautionary message of Sex and the City.

Monday, April 21, 2008

I just want to slap James Carville sometimes!

Explanation needed, I guess. It seems Arianna Huffington feels that way too, judging by the expression on her face as the man used up all the oxygen in the room. Tonight, I attended "The Minds That Move The World: The first annual Radio City Music Hall Speaker Series, a timely and important series of events that will provide attendees with a unique framework for understanding America's current political landscape."

Maybe men really are dogs after all: I got to see James Carville bark loudly and snap a lot, Tucker Carlson roll over, and Anderson Cooper play dead.

First, Tucker...well, now, seems somebody does not like being a Conservative Republican these days. He twice made reference to himself as a Libertarian, made fun of Bush's wrong-headedness on everything having to do with Iraq, said he disliked the fact that he had never been overseas before he became President and that his lack of intellectual curiosity sent chills down his spine. In fact, it was the most reasonable I have ever seen him. His biggest, though brief moments of old Tucker bullshit came when he tried to declare McCain a true MAVERICK. Hecklers in the crowd, called bullshit on him as he started in on this, telling a story of how McCain had the chutzpah to tell farmers in Iowa that he really hated Ethanol. Wow, Tucker that was the best you could come up with? Though later, and the cry of bullshit was yet again heard echoing around Radio City, he made a point about the future General Election campaign against McNasty is going to have a heavy element of ageism. God, I hate it when he makes me agree with him. Damn the man!

Have you seen this? Proves Tucker's point.

I'm unsure if Anderson Cooper stayed awake the entire time. I think it was nap time for Gloria's little boy. Either that or he was terrified of Carville in pit bull on a rampage mode. Whatever. The result was that he asked some perfunctory questions then stepped back and let them have at each other.

Though I have to say, I can't blame him for being freaked out by being placed in close proximity of James Carville. One should have to wear a special protective suit, like a beekeeper, or the bomb squad. Several years ago, I was an audience member at a taping of the Carson Daly show, when it was still in New York and only sucked half as much as it does now-how is he still on the air? The guest that night was Mike Tyson. After the face tattoo. He brought his pigeons. And nearly crushed one to death in his hand as he ranted maniacally about something that made sense only to him.

I was reminded of this watching Carville on stage tonight. He fidgeted like he had parasites in his shorts, and was basically a sixty-three year old man behaving like a disturbed and bratty six year old. He must have been hell to teach. He actually got angry when Ariana tried to finish speaking and kept interrupting her, then claimed she was interrupting him. The most import thing learned from his little performance was that the Clinton campaign is finally realizing that as he put it winning is "still possible but not probable." And that the rifts have to be healed for the good of the party. He kept repeating " ...If Obama is the nominee I will support him 1000%!" None of the panelists believed that the people who claim they would vote McNasty if their candidate loses will actually follow through on their threats. But Carville clearly showed that it is dawning on the HRC people that their fellow democrats are very disturbed by the actions and style of her campaign. He was walking a weird fine line of aggressive tenaciousness and conciliatory gestures. He knows they've lost and mistakes were made...but let's talk about how great the Clinton years were! Don't forget your history! Painful to watch someone as facile as Carville attempt to rationalize HRC's actions to people suffering from Tucker's phrase "Clinton Fatigue".

Arianna was the only one who sounded consistently rational, and spin-free, though she did slip in a plug for her new book. She tried to talk more about the part the main stream media has played in destroying our democracy, but the 2 former and 1 current CNN employees were not going to go there.

Over all, an interesting evening but no big surprises. As Carville kept repeating we have to wait 24 hours for something new to talk about.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bitter Voters

Check this out. Apparently the only people truly offended by this are the millionaire pundits whose job it is to tell the American public how they should feel.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Karma is A Bitch

Ouch. Wal-mart strikes again, suddenly firing the small company Flager Productions that has recorded the company's internal meetings since the 70's. This move instantly eliminated 95% of their business, so what do they do? Open the archives, fire sale of tapes. (evil laughter on my part) And guess who is on them since she was a board member for 6 long years?

When you eat with the devil sup with a long spoon.

Why Romney was doomed from the start

Because this is what most Americans think Mormons are...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Reason 2,335,001 NOT to vote for this man

McCain was called McNasty in High School. High School. He went to Episcopal High School, what was then an all-boys boarding school. In single sex schools, the kids tend to be a bit tougher, in part because of the fierce competition, in part because the absence of the opposite sex frees them from having to adhere to good manners, civility-in short nobody around to impress. So the fact that he managed to hurt or offend enough of his classmates that they nicknamed him McNasty...well, we now know neither old age, infirmity, the military, losing to Bush and spending eight years kissing his monkey ass, or the five years in the Hanoi Hilton gave him his simply delightful personality. I found this over at Wonkette, and traced it to the original at Raw Story.

Apparently, McNasty, which is what I intend to keep calling the old bastard for as long as it pleases me, it makes him sound like a member of 2 Live Crew, used a word for a woman, or a part her anatomy that makes most women want to beat the user of this word with a aluminum baseball bat. He called his wife this word, and said it in front of aides and reporters! Presumably some lobbyists too.

The Real McCain: Why Conservatives Don't Trust Him and Why Independents Shouldn't by Cliff Schecter seems like it will give the Dems plenty of ammunition for the rest of the campaign.

Three reporters from Arizona, on the condition of anonymity, also let me in on another incident involving McCain's intemperateness. In his 1992 Senate bid, McCain was joined on the campaign trail by his wife, Cindy, as well as campaign aide Doug Cole and consultant Wes Gullett. At one point, Cindy playfully twirled McCain's hair and said, "You're getting a little thin up there." McCain's face reddened, and he responded, "At least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt." McCain's excuse was that it had been a long day. If elected president of the United States, McCain would have many long days.

I think much of the unease many Republicans have with this man is not that he is secretly liberal, he's not, but that's he's a crazy loose cannon who will make their party look as bad as Bush does-having the GOP standard bearer going from an idiot to a maniac does not help their public image at all. They are already losing seats. Shining a light on McNasty? That will certainly restore faith in Repuplican judgment and common sense.

Can't you see how a guy who does this:
Perhaps the most remarkable story of McCain's temper involved Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi. Two former reporters covering McCain, one who witnessed the following events and one who confirmed the facts provided by the first, relayed it to me as follows: In 2006, the Arizona Republican congressional delegation had a strategy meeting. McCain repeatedly addressed two new members, congressmen Trent Franks and Rick Renzi, as 'boy.' Finally, Renzi, a former college linebacker, rose from his chair and said to McCain, "You call me that one more time and I'll kick your old ass." McCain lunged at Renzi, punches were thrown, and the two had to be physically separated. After they went to their separate offices, McCain called Renzi and demanded an apology. Renzi refused. Apparently this posture made McCain admire him, as they became fast friends.

...will handle delicate international diplomacy? I bet sometime soon they will all be wishing they had collectively been a bit less prejudiced, and gone with the plastic Mormon dog-torturer.

This also demonstrates how much the press really does love McNasty...or fears his wrath.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Male rock fans likely to vote Republican

I came across this story on yahoo a couple of days ago, ( I actually have been outside my apt. blogging for once) and I've been digesting it ever since.

The survey found women and fans of alternative radio, featuring '80s and '90s rock, tend to be Democratic, while men and classic rockers lean Republican.

Very interesting...what would you like to bet these conservative classic rock fans are all people who weren't around when the music was new and controversial? Come on you know the "Dirty Fucking Hippies" are not voting for McCain. He likely lost a few Beach Boys fans as well singing "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran."

Friday, March 28, 2008

I don't see a link for a Mr. Himbo anywhere. (Or Taking Barbie Seriously)

Just click on it...ugh.

I grew up with Barbie. Most little girls did, though I also had train sets and Hess Trucks, anything that had lights and moved of its own accord was big fun to me. Barbie was fun too, but even as a child, I knew she was not a depiction of reality, that she was hardly an inspirational toy for me, and my friends as future women. Real people do not look like Barbie dolls, nor should they aspire to be impossibly proportioned plastic women only capable of wearing sky-high heels. I liked all her costumes. What shocked and amazed me, as I grew older was that not every girl got that simple fact of life-Don't take Barbie Seriously.

I was born very pretty, but have never been, nor did I try to be that unhealthy thin girl the fashion world promotes as a beauty ideal. I never assumed my entire value as a human being centered around being attractive. Now don't get me wrong, I'm vain. I have beautiful skin, and I have pampered it since I was 12. When I look good to myself I'm quite pleased, however it is certainly not the center of my life. Not even when I worked in the fashion or cosmetics industry. I never had the drive to be perfect, whatever that might be, or the fear that I would be nothing if I refused to conform to a societal norm.

Somehow, though when we women were supposed to be gaining more and more rights, our girl children began to think less and less of themselves. They began to admire, and emulate women-girls really, known not for their accomplishments, or intelligence, or true beauty, but for snotty attitudes, and dressing like millionaire streetwalkers while racking up DWIs and Casanova levels of lovers.

If Miss Bimbo, or Ma Bimbo (the French site) were some joke set up by Maxim, just juvenile guy humor, a silly Paris Hilton joke, it would irritate me, but I would not find it so incredibly revolting. This is aimed at kids, little girls who are still playing with Barbie are invited to take a trip into a world where one wins by becoming the biggest bimbo around. Surgery, diet drugs, whatever it takes.

Good looks are in some hands, a currency, in others a truncheon. It all depends on what is going on behind those luminous eyes. Sexiness should not be a focus for girls under 10. Sexiness as a competitive sport? All this will only fuel future insecurity, and benefit the bank accounts of therapists everywhere.

Insecurity is a cancer in female society.

Internet Miss Bimbo game for girls attacked by parents

* Karen McVeigh

Parents' groups have condemned a new internet game in which girls as young as nine are encouraged to "buy" their virtual dolls breast operations and facelifts.

The aim of the Miss Bimbo beauty contest game, which was launched in Britain last month, is to become the "hottest, coolest, most famous bimbo in the whole world", and contestants who compete against each other are told to "stop at nothing", even "meds or plastic surgery", to ensure their dolls win.

Children are given a naked virtual character to look after. They compete against other players to earn "bimbo" dollars so they can dress her in sexy outfits and take her clubbing. They are given missions, including securing plastic surgery at the game's clinic to give their dolls bigger breasts, and they have to keep her at her target weight with diet pills.

Although it is free to play, when the contestants run out of virtual cash they have to send text messages costing £1.50 each or use PayPal to top up their accounts.

Bill Hibberd, of parents' rights group Parentkind, said the game sent a dangerous message to young girls.

He said: "It is one thing if a child recognises it as a silly and stupid game.

"But the danger is that a nine-year-old fails to appreciate the irony and sees the bimbo as a cool role model. Then the game becomes a hazard and a menace.

"Children's innocence should be protected as far as possible. It depends on the background and mindset of the child but the danger is that after playing the game some will then aspire to have breast operations and take diet pills."

He added that the game also posed a financial danger for parents if they did not keep an eye on the texts that were sent.

In France, where Miss Bimbo's sister website was condemned by dieticians and parents when it began last year, one parent threatened the creators with legal action after his daughter ran up a £100 mobile bill sending texts without his knowledge.

The British version already has nearly 200,000 players, most of whom are girls aged between 9 and 16. There are 1.2 million players in France.

One parent said the website's creators were irresponsible. Nick Williams, from Shrewsbury, Shropshire, said he was appalled when he saw his daughters Katie, nine, and Sarah, 14, playing the game.

Williams, 42, an accountant, said: "I noticed them looking at possible breast operations and facelifts for their bimbos at the game's plastic surgery clinic.

"Katie is far too young for that kind of thing and it is irresponsible of the site's creators to be leading young girls astray. They are easily influenced at that age as to what is cool."

The creators of Miss Bimbo insist it is "harmless fun". Nicolas Jacquart, the 23-year-old web designer from Tooting, south London, who created it, said: "It is not a bad influence for young children. They learn to take care of their bimbos. The missions and goals are morally sound and teach children about the real world.

"If they eat too much chocolate in the game it is bad for their bimbos' bodies and their happiness levels compared to if they eat fruit and vegetables, which reinforces positive healthy eating messages.

"If they are having problems with boyfriends or at work, the bimbos can talk through them with a psychiatrist.

"The breast operations are just one part of the game and we are not encouraging young girls to have them, just reflecting real life."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What the...? Did the Wolves Raise Hillary as well?

Has 2008 become the year of the ridiculous lie? Hillary's Bosnia story is as far-fetched a lie as Mischa's wolfy childhood. (sigh) At least the media, caught on to this whopper pretty quickly.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A More Perfect Union...

We may just have witnessed the return of oratory to American politics. Obama actually wrote this speech himself. I was an Edwards supporter, and I've always been skeptical of anyone around whom a cult of personality grows. I worried about the possibility that he didn't have enough experience. However, one can grow up in a political family, with a senator for a grandfather, a president for a father, and still be an incurious fool whose reverse Midas Touch turns everything to shit. Anyone who has a character this thoughtful to respond to Hillary and her surrogates race-baiting in this manner deserves my vote.

This is a speech about race, and that even more ignored problem of American Society...class. The Land of Social Mobility. Horatio Alger. One of the greatest and most enduring myths of America is that we are a classless society. We carry the mutated vestiges of our Puritan Founders ideas, and their worship of Calvinist Predestination. Simply put, rich people are good, and poor bad, because God rewarded the rich by making them rich, and punished the poor by making them poor. God wants you to side with the rich, good people. Pretty damned stupid, and I think Jesus would beg to differ, but still this is an undercurrent in the racial and class divisions we see today. Anybody can get ahead in America, if they don't there must obviously be something wrong with them.

Oh, wait there's angry Black people? Still? Why? That this needs to be explained to a good portion of this country is astounding.

African Americans as a group have tended to be poorer than Whites. Why? Because of the policies of the American government plain and simple.

"A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one's family, contributed to the erosion of black families – a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods – parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement – all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us."

I'll write more about this later. I'm just so glad that he is talking about healing wounds instead of opening them wider.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy Birthday, Daddy.

These were some of my late father's favorite movies...I can't count how many times we watched them together.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Oy Vey, THIS is actually getting Air Play.

Although I'm loath to discuss very soon to be ex- Governor Spitzer's Big Fat Indiscretion again. There are still a few things left to say.

1. Interest in the hooker is at best nosiness, at worse journalistic filler in order to avoid doing real reporting. Do we really need to know everything about a 22 year old whore from South Jersey. Come on, she was simply doing her job, although an illegal, and skanky one. Stop camping outside of her building, haunting her hometown, no story here-move on people.

2. Radio stations are actually PLAYING this shit?!!! Notoriety is used to great monetary advantage all the time, and I don't begrudge someone having their 15 minutes. However, the radio stations playing her music-have you heard her? All the musicians who can't get a second of air time and Ashley's third-rate club music is what you chose to promote?? It's derivative. It's run-of the-mill. It's like dance music heard in Guido clubs in 89, 90, 91, 92...well, you get the drift. Check out her collaborators on Olbermann and Dan Abrams. True artists all of them.

And to all the chowderheads paying for her songs on Amie wouldn't have bought it before she fucked a Governor so why are you now?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Some People more Vile than Spitzer

When I was in college and my twenties, I loved HRC. She wasn't this little woman attached to this Great Man, as many First Ladies seem to be, she had ambition and drive, and great intelligence. She had a career of her own. Her husband, the Great Man, admired her. They were partners like John and Abigail, and Franklin and Eleanor.

Long before I could vote, there was Geri Ferraro. I was so proud that finally a woman, and a Catholic woman at that was being given the chance to be on a Democratic Presidential ticket. This was big stuff to someone who had spent ten years of her young life in a Catholic girls prep school...

You both should be ashamed of yourselves.

Keith says it far more eloquently than I have the heart to...