Category Archives: Politics

Bobo’s World

I don’t write much about David Brooks of Bobo-hood fame, mostly because his schtick about how people from the Midwest are the only true Americans is tiring and need not be commented on week in and week out.

However, as he is Atrios’ Wanker of the Day, I clicked through to see why the immoral, effete left was giving him the vapors this week. It turns out that (*HORROR*) more and more married couples have separate bank accounts for husband and wife.

Some of the reasons for separate accounts are entirely reasonable. People who marry at older ages or who are forming second families may already have complicated financial arrangements that would be hard to pool. Some couples have found after long and bitter experience that they have different spending philosophies; instead of fighting, it’s easier to give each spouse a little personal space.

But some of the people quoted in Shellenbarger’s article seem unaware that there may be a distinction between the individualistic ethos of the market and the communal ethos of the home. A Texas woman celebrated her family’s separate accounts, remarking, “It’s so freeing to be your own person, and not feel like someone is looking over your shoulder.” It’s not clear whether she’s talking about a marriage or a real estate partnership.

I went to the local bookstore and was startled to see how many personal finance gurus insist on separate accounts.

As so often is the case, the hair-splitting and meally-mouthedness of the screed is unbelievable. Sometimes they’re ok, if you consider yourselves real estate partners. The sniveling rejoinder is part and parcel of Brooks’ Midwest Minstrel Show. Of course, no Real American (tm, GOP) in Kansas would have separate accounts. Except for all the ones that do. Continuing on:

I’m not saying that people with separate accounts have marriages that are less healthy than anybody else’s. I’m saying we should pause before this becomes the social norm. Private property is the basis for our market democracy. But private property in the home is an altogether trickier proposition.

For one thing, separate accounts can easily turn into secret accounts. A person’s status and resources inside the home shouldn’t be based on how much he or she is making outside it. A union based on love can easily turn into a merger based on self-interest, where the main criterion for continuing becomes: Am I getting a good return on my investment, psychic or otherwise?

See, he’s not saying that couples with separate accounts have worse marriages, except that it’s going to tear down society if it goes any further. Liberal Ethics force me to point out the hyperbole in that last statement, if only because I wouldn’t want Jonah Goldberg accusing me of dissembling while Rome burns.

Truly, a Wanker of the Day.

On The Wings Of Hate

As usual, Digby gets right to the core of right-wing hypocrisy. This time it’s in relation to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) where all the heavyweights of the right wing come to rub shoulders with their ardent lovers, the rabble.

For those who think that this intemperate liberal baiting is confined to the internets or talk radio, however, it might be worthwhile to pay attention to the CPAC conference that begins today. This is the real Republican convention where the good folks on the right really let their hair down. If past conferences are any guide, this one shouldn’t disappoint even the staunchest eliminationist.

Here’s a report from 2003:

Before Vice President Dick Cheney gave the opening address at the Conservative Political Action Conference, a three-day gathering of the right-wing faithful outside of Washington, D.C., organizers asked vendor Gene McDonald to put away his “No Muslims = No Terrorists” bumper stickers.

McDonald complied, and for the rest of the conference the jolly white-haired Floridian peddled his popular anti-Islam wares from under a table.

[…]

Tim Weigel, who was manning the Free Republic booth, described compassionate conservative initiatives like Bush’s plan to address AIDS in Africa as, “throwaways, put out there to keep the left quiet while he takes care of Iraq.” Behind him hung a picture of Hillary Clinton’s head Photoshopped onto the body of a pig.

[…]

…Sheldon, a plump, pink man with pale blue eyes, wasn’t out celebrating the Bush presidency. Instead, the man who has pledged “open warfare” against all things gay, stood in the exhibitors hall before a makeshift carnival game called “Tip a Troll,” in which players were invited to throw gray beanbags at toy trolls with the heads of Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Hillary Clinton and Tom Daschle, or trolls holding signs saying, “The Homosexual Agenda,” “Roe V. Wade” and “The Liberal Media.”

[…]

I wonder if Instapundit and others would find it the least bit necessary for these elected leaders to disavow the outrageous “fun” described in the article above as they thundered that the left should do with regard to Ward Churchill and Michael Moore. If I were Dick Cheney I might actually be concerned that some of my own followers were handing out bumper stickers that say “No Muslims = No Terrorists” because, you know, that kind of thing isn’t exactly Bush boilerplate and people might just get confused about what our foreign policy is. The Iraqis we just “liberated” are Muslims last I heard. And I surely would worry that someone might take it the wrong way when the most powerful members of the Republican party appear on the same bill as a woman who says liberals should be beaten over the head with a baseball bat.

In our party we have top opinion leaders actively repudiating the flamethrowers of our party because they fear being tainted by their alleged intemperate partisanship. The Republicans, on the other hand, hold a convention where the highest most exalted members of the party mingle shoulder to shoulder with those who think that liberals should be killed. It’s an interesting juxtaposition isn’t it?

Why should they care? The so-called liberal media would never do an explosive piece on right-wing nutjobs; they might get branded as having a liberal bias. But you have to remember that they get tarred with that old canard whether they are dunking Reagan’s picture in a bathtub of lamb’s blood or reporting that Snuggles Fabric Sheets increased in price by a tenth of a cent. Why not go with what’s good for the country then (and believe me, it is in the country’s interest that the world doesn’t think we’re populated with anti-Islamic crusaders)?

–whazz on

Fisticuffs

Footnotes are glorious constructs, seemingly invented to further the evolution of Humor. Even in a staid text on Kansan politics, hilarious footnotes can ride out onto the plains in glorious, hilarious battle. I’ll first quote the original graf, as it contains several… shall we say entertaining and informative nuggets itself. Then I’ll get to the footnote.

The bitterness persists today, poisoning political activity right down to the roots of the grass. Republican precinct committee positions, the lowliest offices in the political hierarchy, are often hotly contested in Kansas. Primary elections for state legislature seats and even school board positions often find the defeated Republican, whether Mod[erate] or Con[servative], refusing to concede and instead battling on as a write-in candidate in the general election. There are squabbles over yard signs, and homemade slander campaigns startling in their barbarity; during the weeks leading up to the Republican primary of 2002, I saw hand-scrawled placards reading, “Help Homosexuals/Vote Candidate X” planted along a busy street in the outer-ring Kansas City suburb of Olathe. The candidate thus impugned, a man who would be considered a stalwart conservative anywhere else in the country,explained to me that he had alienated the suburb’s leading Cons ten years previously by supporting the availability of AIDS literature in the public library. A short while later, he caught up with the gentleman planting the DIY signs and discussed the matter with him over fisticuffs.[15]

For the hilarious ending to this drama, click through the jump…
Continue reading Fisticuffs

A New Era? Probably Not

The pro-choice/pro-birth tussle is one of the most bitter divides in American culture. Moseying around the ol’ internet today, it appears that the pro-choicers are attempting to reach out to the pro-birthers with peace offering.

Thumbnail of NARAL open letter to pro-birth activists.

While pro-birth zealots like to believe that pro-choicers eat fetuses and bath in their stem cells, it is more true to say that pro-choicers are enthusiastically anti-unwanted pregnancy. It can be presumed that the pro-birthers are as well. If both sides could unite behind the primary cause of reducing unwanted pregnancy while secondarily supporting their existing causes, perhaps we could get to a point where there aren’t many abortions period. Any maybe I’ll be elected the King of China.

Historical Perspectives

I recently received the copy of What’s The Matter With Kansas that I ordered from Amazon.com last week. I had been hearing about it for awhile and decided to pick it up. I was pleasantly surprised to find the second chapter full of historical information on how Kansas was the premier progressive capitol in the late 1800’s. Much that liberals now defend (and red-meat wingers try to destroy) was born out of the working class in rural Kansas. And in reading the historical perspective, I realized that much political discussion today would be well served to address the past. I’m not extremely far into the book yet, but already I can see the value in learning how (and more importantly, why) America’s late 19th and early 20th century’s most radical progressive hotbed turned into a group who vote against their economic self-interest to keep the gays from marrying. Indeed, to hear the pundits screech about it (David Brooks, I’m looking squarely at you,) those “average folks” in the “Heartland” don’t care a whit about such things as money and living comfortably. They supposedly cherish the hard-scrabble life they lead. Definitely a recommedation to all those interested in how “The Heartland” was bamboozled by the Right.

–whazz on

Buy Blue!

(Just sent this email to a few people — figured I’d copy the contents to a post as well. Send this on via email to any interested parties.)

There’s a great website that catalogues the political donations made by corporations this last year. I’m trying to tailor my holiday shopping to its results as closely as I can (for example, I won’t be buying my father any Home Depot gift cards this year). Many companies donate approximately 50-50 to both parties, but some large corps give 80, 90, or 100% of their political donations to Republicans! Why do these companies hate democracy?

Example: where do you buy your gas? According to this, many oil companies are unsurprisingly backing a government full of corruption. Given a choice of four stations at the same intersection, I’m going to start filling up at Shell Oil stations myself.

From the Choose The Blue website home page:

  • Corporations are as important as politicians in American Politics.
  • You know what party a politician supports. Do you know which political party a company supports?
  • ChooseTheBlue tells you what political donations were made by a company and its employees.
  • If each American who voted Blue in 2004 spends $100 in 2005 on a Blue company instead of a Red company, we can move $5 Billion away from Red companies and add $5 Billion to the income of companies who donate to Democrats.
  • This will be noticed! Choose where you buy … and make a difference!!!

As the Republicans like to point out constantly, we are a solidly captialist country. The one right we have as consumers is to TAKE OUR BUSINESS ELSEWHERE. Let’s show Home Depot (94% Republican), Circuit City (94% Republican), and Coors (82% Republican) that THEY can’t take OUR money and give to politicians who HATE US.

–whazz on

Corporate Political Donations

With the holidays upon us I was delighted to find a post over at Donkey Rising that one could use as a signpost when deciding where to spend one’s money this time of year. The bad news: a lot of retail and restaurant companies hate democracy. The good news: Costco and Arby’s are with us.

While policitians will rarely, if ever, change their ideology to suit critics (even constiuents), corporations are a different animal. All they care about are profits, and they contribute to the GOP because it’s the land of Big Business. If all freedom-loving Democrats reacted the way the Republicans do whenever they get a bug in their ass about boycotting Disney because it doesn’t sufficiently hate gay people, perhaps it would affect profits enough that the opportunistic corporations wouldn’t feed the Anti-Thought Machine that is the Republican Party.

WITH US:

  • Price Club/Costco donated $225K, of which 99% went to democrats
  • Rite Aid, $517K, 60% to democrats
  • Magla Products (Stanley tools, Mr. Clean), $22K, 100% to democrats
  • Warnaco (undergarments), $55K, 73% to democrats
  • Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, $153K, 99% to democrats
  • Estee Lauder, $448K, 95% to democrats
  • Guess ? Inc., $145K, 98% to democrats
  • Calvin Klein, $78K, 100% to democrats
  • Liz Claiborne, Inc., $34K, 97% to democrats
  • Levi Straus, $26K, 97% to democrats
  • Olan Mills, $175K, 99% to democrats
  • Gallo Winery, $337K, 95% to democrats
  • Southern Wine & Spirits, $213K, 73% to democrats
  • Joseph E. Seagrams & Sons (includes beverage business, plus considerable media interests), $2M+, 67% democrats
  • Sonic Corporation, $83K, 98% democrat
  • Triarc Companies (Arby’s, T.J. Cinnamon’s, Pasta Connections), $112K, 96% Democrats
  • Hyatt Corporation, $187K, 80% to democrats

AGAINST US:

  • WalMart, $467K, 97% to republicans
  • K-Mart, $524K, 86% to republicans
  • Home Depot, $298K, 89% to republicans
  • Target, $226K, 70% to republicans
  • Circuit City Stores, $261K, 95% to republicans
  • 3M Co., $281K, 87% to republicans
  • Hallmark Cards, $319K, 92% to republicans
  • Amway, $391K, 100% republican
  • Kohler Co. (plumbing fixtures), $283K, 100% republicans
  • B.F. Goodrich (tires), $215K, 97% to republicans
  • Proctor & Gamble, $243K, 79% to republicans
  • Coors, $174K, 92% to republicans; (also Budweiser – sd)
  • Brown-Forman Corp. (Southern Comfort, Jack Daniels, Bushmills, Korbel wines – as well as Lennox China, Dansk, Gorham Silver), $644, 80% to republicans
  • Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. (chicken), $366K, 100% republican
  • Outback Steakhouse, $641K, 95% republican
  • Tricon Global Restaurants (KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell), $133K, 87% republican
  • Brinker International (Maggiano’s, Brinker Cafe, Chili’s, On the
    Border, Macaroni Grill, Crazymel’s, Corner Baker, EatZis), $242K, 83% republican
  • Waffle House, $279K, 100% republican
  • McDonald’s Corp., $197K, 86% republican
  • Darden Restaurants (Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Smokey Bones, Bahama Breeze), $121K, 89% republican;
    Mariott International, $323K, 81% to republicans
  • Holiday Inns, $38K, 71% to republicans

–whazz on

No Value Judgements This Time

This guy wants 38 states to support a Declaration of Expulsion that would rid the United States of America of 12 states. He suggests that we get rid of– well, I guess I’ll let him tell you in his own words:

Yet, there are 38 states today that may be inclined to adopt, let us call it, a “Declaration of Expulsion,” that is, a specific constitutional amendment to kick out the systemically troublesome states and those trending rapidly toward anti-American, if not outright subversive, behavior. The 12 states that must go: California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maryland, and Delaware. Only the remaining 38 states would retain the name, “United States of America.” The 12 expelled mobs could call themselves the “Dirty Dozen,” or individually keep their identity and go their separate ways, probably straight to Hell.

[…]

The demographics revealed by the two most recent presidential elections are radically different and have resulted in “Two Americas” (but not the simplistic “Two Americas” [one rich, one poor] envisioned by Kerry’sMarxist-tongued running mate, John Edwards):

  • BUSH USA is predominantly white; devoutly Christian (mostly Protestant); openly, vigorously heterosexual; an open land of single-family homes and ranches; economically sound (except for a few farms), but not drunk with cyberworld business development, and mainly English-speaking, with a predilection for respectfully uttering “yes, ma’am” and “yes, sir.”
  • GORE/KERRY USA is ethnically diverse; multi-religious, irreligious or nastily antireligious; more sexually liberated (if not in actual practice, certainly in attitude); awash with condo canyons and other high-end real estate bordered by sprawling, squalid public housing or neglected private homes, decidedly short of middle-class neighborhoods; both high tech and oddly primitive in its commerce; very artsy, and Babelesque, with abnormally loud speakers.

Formatting preserved from original article. Wheeeee!

I’m not endorsing this or condemning it, but since I thought it was fucking hilarious I thought I’d give you guys a taste. See? I’m improving as a person. I’m not taking this seriously; I’m just saying that this guy is Grade A wackjob. He nailed the audition. He doesn’t even need an understudy.

–Perhaps whazz will get picked up by “socialist Canada” if we’re expelled from the Union!

RE: You are all a bunch of assholes

From wirkus in comments regarding the previous post:

You are all a bunch of assholes. No kidding, you really are. You dont know shit about the south. To group folks into “red state/blue state” and make religion out to be only mind control makes me sick. So did fuckface’s rant. Like only fucking liberals can make art or serve wine. Dumb, man. Really fucking dumb.

Look man, I have nothing against any particular person. I have family in red states. I don’t think of them as evil. However, I think it’s common knowledge that once a group of people obtain mob mentality it DOES become hard to define the group as a collection of individuals. You have to start identifying the group by it’s group mindthink. SOMEONE voted this monster and what he represents back into office. A great many someones, in fact. And what did these people cite as the fact that they voted for George “Abu Ghraib” Bush? Moral values. And what do they listen to? Rush Limbaugh? And what do they watch? Fox News. And who tells them who to vote for? Their pastor. Again, these are generalizations of the group.

Is it unfair to make these generalizations? Of course.

Do I want the east coast, west coast, and industrial midwest to secede? No.

Can someone in Tenessee serve wine? Can they paint a picture? Yes.

Is it hard to accept defeat by a group of people suckered in by hucksters and power-mad shams? Is it difficult to be on the side that spent the last century campaigning for better rights for everyone; only to be spat upon because we may not believe in the Ghost in the Clouds, or simply because we live in close proximity to salt water? YES. It fucking is. So I apologize if I offended the delicate sensibilities of the south. I suppose I should scrape and beg for forgiveness if I’m ever to be afforded a mint julip again.

The linked and quoted story was presented cleary, though perhaps not clearly enough: it was cathartic for me, after being attacked for my geopolitical location and non Christ-worshipping ways, to read about someone who put to paper what I FELT was a response in kind. Does it help patch things up between me and “them”? No, it most certainly does not.

Let me make this entirely clear: I had a lot of emotional investment in this election. I DO NOT LIE when I say that I felt like I did on the morning of 9/11 the morning after the election. I do not make that statement lightly. It took me many hours to settle on that description of my mood. I needed closure; this post provided it. So maybe I’m a pussy. Maybe I shouldn’t become so involved. Maybe a lot of things. I’m willing to agree to them all and move on, but not before I made my final statement.

To wit, I believe that this country can be better than it is. I believe that we can move our country forward; that we can aspire not towards a utopian ideal, but towards a time when there is true equality and a chance for everyone who wants it to get a leg up in society. I believe that the President of the United States should not be chosen from one of a dozen politically powerful families. I believe all this and more because that’s what the people who started this thing believed. It’s not yet time to give up on that, and every time we take a step backwards, every time we regress rights and liberties rather than progress, the pit of my stomach will feel just as it did November 2nd, 2004.

So where are we? I found my closure this morning, and posted it without, apparently, sufficient personal reasons for doing so. Am I still an asshole? Am I a fuckface? Maybe… I just don’t know anymore.

–fuck a signature, someone call “first!”, then someone sign in as TinyRobot and post about how your balls are in a “blue state”. have fun.

The Mother of All Cathartic Rants

Since last Tuesday I’ve done a lot of soul searching about a liberal’s place in society. My first attempt at a cathartic rant (penned late Tuesday evening) would have gotten me nowhere in the larger scheme of things. So I spent Wednesday rationalizing things to myself. I had an extremely interesting conversation with someone at work, who I found out just on Wednesday was an enormous Democratic supporter. However, I found my closure for the election this morning, via First Draft. Steve Gilliard has an email up on his blog from mg_65 that is The Mother of All Cathartic Rants. It is long, and it is Good. If you know me personally, and want to know why this election pained me so and either can’t or won’t discuss it with me face-to-face, please read this. It describes, with wit and facts, everything that I have felt since Tuesday.

We (blue states) are populated by liberal people. Not the demonized liberals of GOP spin points, but of people who genuinely want better lives for people that aren’t us. People that are downtrodden. People that have had bad luck in life. People who didn’t have the resources we had growing up. Yet we “bi-coastal elites” and hedonists are vilified by the red state “majority.” But here is the ugly, ugly truth for our friends in Wyoming, Oklahoma, Texas, and everywhere else in the “heartland”. I’ll let Steve’s mystery contributor tell you him(her)self:

We don’t need them. They need us. Time to make them realize it.

Take me, for example: I can write a sonnet. I can design and install a security system. I can sew. I know how to change a baby’s diapers.

I keep my household clean and comfortable. I am fiscally responsible. I can take care of animals. I know Photoshop and Quark and MS Word and Excel and Filemaker and Outlook and I can build and maintain a database and I can write ad copy and send a fax and build a bookcase and change the locks. I know how to research. I can quickly and clearly explain quantum mechanics and Jungian theory and then I’ll fix the wiring. I know sales, too–how to sell stupid people things they don’t want, don’t need and can’t afford. I can teach difficult technical material to exhausted adult ESL students at the end of a long day. I can successfully waiter in a busy NYC restaurant and I know how to plant and care for a garden. I can ride a bicycle.

I can beat your ass in Scrabble. I make really, really good coffee. I know how to throw a party that’s actually fun. I am capable of smiling in the face of cruelty for a bigger tip so I can pay my bills. I know first aid.

You can say, “OK, Moira, if you’re so smart, how come you’re not rich?” And I’ll tell you two things: first, my ideal of happiness and comfort is not rooted in grubbing after money. And second, because I’m an artist and that means I have spent my life providing service, entertainment and comfort to right-wing fucks who then spit on me, revile and mock me, call me a traitor and a terrorist sympathizer and a communist and a “Massachusetts Liberal” like that’s an insult, call me childish and na├»ve and blah blah fucking blah. Who kick me when I’m down. Who will beat me and jail me as soon as they think they can get away with it.

But they still come whining and crying to me when they need something done. When they need comfort. When they need to know something. When they need my tax dollars to pay them to sit on their fat red state asses and shiver in mortal fear of terrorists who aren’t even interested in them anyway.

Fuck them.

And I know you, my fellow lefties, are the same. You know how to write books, while you’re raising a family. You know how to cook, you know how to nurse someone you love through an ugly death. I’ve seen you do it. You know how to fix motors and do groundbreaking science and ride a horse and deal with heartbreak. You know how to clean, load, shoot and safely store a gun. You know how to make beautiful art and smile when your feet hurt.

You know how to hide behind trees and shoot Redcoats. You know how to run an underground railway and get women the right to vote and you know how to boycott cotton and sit at a lunch counter in Alabama. You know this: you’ve marched and protested and been beaten and you’ve gone hungry and sent money and you gave us everything we have.

But they don’t want any of it. They hate you for it. They feel oppressed by it.

Read the rest of it!

update: I read by the intro so quickly I didn’t notice that the content was from an email Steve received and not by him personally. I’ve updated the entry to reflect that.

— I can whazz, but can some hick in Alabama?