Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Jingle Bells On

Burbank, California is a bit of a redneck town. People tend to think of California as entirely peopled by liberals, be it of the tie-dyed, or the latte-swilling, variety. But look, it’s a big state. We can’t all be organic hemp entrepreneurs. Somebody’s got to work at the hardware store.

My hardware store is in Burbank, which is a town adjacent to, but separate from, Los Angeles. I tend to shop in Burbank even though I live in the NoHo neighborhood of LA, because the stores are nicer. Unlike at the North Hollywood Ralph’s, homeless dudes don’t rifle through the bagel bins of my Burbank grocery store. Vacant lots are kept clean of garbage. Police officers pull you over to issue you a warning that one of your brake lights looks a little dim.

And for that reason, Burbank tends to be a magnet for those drawn to the advantages of living in a large metro area, but who don’t necessarily want to share in the whole cultural melting pot thing. In other words, if you want good Mexican, don’t go to Burbank.

The employees of my Burbank hardware store are not the same as those you see working for the larger chains. They’re older. Quite a bit older, in fact. And they’ve been there forever. And I am not necessarily above the impulse to unconsciously judge employers by their ability to retain white employees – who, unlike their Latino counterparts, and in spite of what Fox News might tell you, can pretty much work wherever they want in Los Angeles.

In my store, mostly the men work the floor, and mostly the women work the registers. That’s no surprise. You’ll find that anywhere. In fact, I once had a friend who was a DIY goddess. Not having a garage, she converted a large closet in her condo into a workshop complete with a full-size table saw. She had every power tool known to man. She routed her own moulding. She could install ceramic tile in her sleep. And when she applied for a job at Home Depot, where did they put her? That’s right, behind a cash register. Meanwhile, the teenage boy working in the tool corral couldn’t identify a drill press in a lineup with a circular saw and a palm sander.

Unlike my friend, the register ladies at my hardware store seem content with their lot. And when they’re not busy, they keep up a steady stream of gossip about who always takes two extra minutes on their cigarette break, who didn’t finish stocking the items from Tuesday’s delivery, and who always pretends to be helping customers in order to avoid breaking down the pallets.

Which reminds me of another friend of mine, who worked one summer for a large Midwestern chain of hardware stores. Toward the end of the summer, he received his acceptance into Harvard Law School. When he gave notice, he asked the manager not to mention it to any of the other employees, who had given him no end of shit over the past couple of months because he was, ah, well, maybe not quite as committed to, and respectful of, a life devoted to retail as they thought he should have been. As luck would have it, the manager scheduled an all-staff meeting on my friend’s last day, and he could not resist announcing, proudly, my friend’s latest achievement, as if, without the manager’s expert bagging and stocking guidance, my friend would never have been accepted at such a prestigious institution.

As my friend expected, the announcement was met with much eye-rolling and groaning from his coworkers. One of them protested loudly “He’s going to Harvard? He don’t even know how to work the box baler!”


As I look around my own hardware store, especially at those denizens who count “toothpick” as an acceptable uniform accessory, I can well imagine that a similar scene might take place there. About a week ago, I was in the store picking up some drawer organizers, because that’s what I do when I get a couple of days off, and as I finished paying and had turned away from the cashier, she assaulted me with a fairly aggressive “Merry Christmas!” It was so insistently intoned that it made me stop in my tracks and look back at her.

She was one of those older ladies who dyes her hair that color that kind of splits the difference between grey and blonde, know what I mean? She wore a Santa pin on her uniform vest, and glasses on a chain around her neck. Her name tag placed her squarely in that set of women whose names are no longer in favor in this country: like Bertha, and Marjorie, and Eunice. Her jaw was set at a defiant angle, and her eyes narrowed their gaze at me. In the instant while I considered my reply, I imagined a meeting between workers and management wherein the employees were ordered to end each transaction during the month of December with a generic and inclusive “Happy Holidays.” I also imagined conversations among those who expressed, in between puffs on Pall Malls out on the loading dock, their determination to defy the directive, and their conviction that Christians, especially the English-speaking ones, you know, are the beleaguered martyrs of this country who love the USA while asking for not one thing in return.

And I wondered why she had picked me. As a middle-aged white woman, did she figure me for a friendly? Was her salutation an invitation to respond in kind, a sort of Burbank hardware store version of “geese fly south at midnight”? Or did she take in my ironic mirrored aviators and my Loteria jewelry and decide that I was part of the problem, and thus deserving of her loaded xmas greeting bomb?

I considered a variety of replies, from “Fuck you!” to “Happy Hanukkah!” and I suppose several in between. But at that moment, what struck me as sad, and sort of regrettable about the whole situation was that she was not only kind of missing the point of Christmas, but in fact even missing the point of wishing anybody a merry anything.

I squelched a sincere desire to retort “Christmas is not a weapon, bitch.” And then instead I smiled at her and said “Merry Christmas to you!”

And I meant it.

Because I may not be a Christian, but I believe in Christmas. Peace on earth, good will toward mankind, and all that. It’s a good idea, Christmas, and we’re living in a world sorely in need of some good ideas. So let’s all keep Christmas, all of us, and when we choose to defy the bone-headed so-called “politically correct” middle managers of the world, let’s defy them with love in our hearts and in our voices, not vindictiveness.

And merry Christmas, hardware store lady. For Christ’s sake, merry Christmas to you. Always. Always.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Blue Christmas!

Happy Holidays to everyone. Peace on earth and all that jazz.

I'll be out for the next week or so. Until then, here are some subjects you can stew over in my absence:

- Rick Warren
- Is the South out to destroy the UAW and steal the American auto industry just like they destroyed the garment workers unions and stole the Northern textile industry?
- BushCo's pardon list. Extra credit: Will Cheney be pardoned preemptively?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fuck Wall Street

One part of my job requires that I keep abreast of financial stories, mostly so that I can make an informed comment or two when the guys at work start in with the “market” talk. To that end, I dutifully listen to Marketplace every morning and every evening on the drive to and from the office. Well, almost every evening. Some evenings, I am so stressed out from the rodent race that I have to turn off the program and crank up Kanye West’s Stronger and break that shit down as I inch along on the 134W. Yeah, screw NPR and informed citizenry! When do I get to be the Louis Vuitton Don???

Believe it or not, middle-aged white women blasting KW out the sunroofs of their sensible Volvo wagons is not as uncommon a sight in LA as one might think.

But back to the financial news, which is never good anymore. Even if there is some kind of moderate gain in the Dow, it’s offset with word that foreclosures are up, or that job numbers are down. And speaking of foreclosures, it’s now known that that piece of shit bankruptcy bill passed by our genius Republican congress in 2005 is responsible for about 32,000 foreclosures each quarter. How so? Well, under previous rules, individuals in bankruptcy were allowed to take money out for their mortgage first, and pay credit card debt second. The bill reversed the order of priority. And that 32k figure is only reflecting people who actually file for bankruptcy. Probably many more don’t bother to file, knowing that it cannot erase their credit card debt, or enable them to stay in their homes anymore.

I know, it’s hard to believe that a Republican congress would pass a bill that was essentially a big sloppy valentine to MBNA and the other credit card companies, but guess who predicted that it would have exactly that consequence? Me! Okay, it was on an older, now-deleted blog and I can’t prove it, but I did predict it. And guess what? I WAS NOT THE ONLY ONE.*

Because when you take downward economy, + rising insurance and healthcare costs + decreases in insurance coverage, what does that equal? It equals fully ½ of the people that are going bankrupt, doing so because of medical bills. Medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy, people. And that fucking bill did our fucking joke healthcare industry one better and not only ruined their finances, but kicked them out of their homes, too. Because I guess we don’t need a lot of weak invalid pansies trying to live our American dream of home ownership. If only they’d pulled themselves up by their bootstraps instead of getting surgeries and chemotherapy and things, this wouldn’t have happened. Perhaps they should think about getting their weak-ass selves and families into some government housing next time. Or better yet, perhaps they should all just die, and decrease the surplus population.

You know what that fucking Orwellian-named Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 did not “reform”? Chapter 11 bankruptcy. You know who files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy? Businesses. Apparently businesses are not abusing anything, and so do not require the altruistic reforming efforts of the 2005 heart-full-of-unwashed-socks 2005 Republican Congress.

And apparently, businesses also do not require regulation when they play with credit default swaps, and hedge their bets that other businesses unrelated to their business will fail. For those not familiar with the practice, those bets that companies make against the success of other companies are so huge, that when the bet-upon company does fail, all the companies that placed bets upon that company can fail too, because they are now required to pay out billions of dollars for their bad bets that they will not be able to pay if only one other company fails to pay them.

Sound ill-advised? It is. And the effect is what we have just seen and will no doubt continue to see: one company fails and brings down another, and then that one brings down four more, and so on. It’s basically entirely unregulated gambling, and it’s enormously lucrative when it works, and completely fucking devastating when it fails.

To say nothing of that motherfucker Madoff’s hedge fund antics and the fact that although numerous complaints have been lodged against him over the last nine years, the SEC never investigated him once. Martha Stewart, they got. Madoff, on the other hand, ran completely amok, and may have done more than 50 BILLION dollars of damage, and, well, hell, you know it’s bad when they’re thinking of renaming the Ponzi scheme after this dude instead.

Look, readers, I go back and forth on the whole bailout thing. I do. I weigh the price against the good. Somedays I’m all “Let them dangle.” And somedays I think the cost in human lives of seeing these guys go under is too high.

One thing I do know is that I am sick to death of those fucking pansy-ass motherfuckers on Wall Street, and their fucking arbitrary speculating, and their fucking squirrely dumping of stocks. I am sick of hearing about how buyers are “spooked,” and about how they can be swayed to buy or sell by a single word from some scared shitless government dude who’s probably flipping a coin over what he’s going to say anyway. I am sick of this guy, who no longer even has a straight face to attempt to say things with, claiming that his love of Wall Street is based upon “principle.” I am sick of all those guys and I am sick of the hand-wringing that goes on about what they do, and I am sick of seeing my 401k go down because of them, and I am sick of 401ks and the bullshit choices for investment that they offer, and I am really, really sick of hearing Marketplace playing “Stormy Weather” when they talk about the Dow every morning.

Those assholes should all go fuck themselves. And then when they're finished, they should go out and get a real fucking job, for fuck’s sake. Try making something for a living, or help someone besides another rich asshole get richer. Yeah, instead of speculating on the price of wheat, why don’t you try going out and fucking growing some?

Or at the very least, try this on for size: Country First. Yeah, you guys were all McCain supporters, weren’t you? All hopped up that patriotic claptrap, right? Well, why don’t you try walking the fucking walk just a tiny little bit? Huh? Heaven help this country when I become an example, but I’m not dumping my pitifully small amount of stock, and you know why? Because then I would be part of the problem.

Did that ever occur to you? Could it? Or is the part of your wiring that considers the collective good completely bypassed by now?

C’mon, write me and tell me I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about, and that my grasp of economic issues is weak, and that I don’t understand the potential of market forces blah blah blah. Do it. I want you to. Defend it. Please. I’ve got my response all ready for you, and it’s very economical.

It’s only two words. Care to speculate what they might be?

*Barack Obama voted against the bill, as did both CA senators, Kennedy, Kerry, Dodd, and holy shit…Lieberman! Senator Clinton…was the only senator who did not vote. See? This is why I always had a problem with her. Joe Biden voted for the bill, which pretty much sums up my problems with Joe Biden as well.

**Thanks to Josh P for the tip.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hannity needs to look into both the taking and the making of jokes

So on the Daily Show last night, tribute was paid to departing Fox News doormat Alan Colmes, so-called "co-host" of Hannity and Colmes.

Yes, it's a semi-amusing re-make of the very smooth Hall & Oates hit "She's Gone."

One might have wished that they had rehearsed it a little more. Or once, even.

In any event, today, Hannity had a response. Now, I don't usually post about the Hannitys and Coulters of this world, because, well, it's what they want. You know, the ole' "never wrestle a pig" rule. But I absolutely LOVE this response:
"I was actually thinking of Jon [Stewart] as a co-host but I needed someone who could be smart and funny without 50 writers and two has-been rockers who are badly in need of Botox."
Oh, sn-- wait a minute. Huh?

Dude, that's your put down? Seriously?

Because, okay, well, shit. There's so much.

First of all, you're making fun of Hall and Oates for NOT having their faces injected with vanity-fueled neurotoxin? I mean, they actually look pretty good for their ages. They're not bloated, their skin isn't stretched tighter than their underwear, and aside from Oates being in full black shoe polish mode, they have full heads of what appears to be their own hair. There's suprisingly little fuel for ridicule. Kudos to the H&O.

And secondly, the thesis of your Jon Stewart joke is that he's not FUNNY?

Sean, baby, let me explain how jokes work. See, what you do is, when you want to put someone down, is you pinpoint a weakness of theirs, and you make fun of it in some way. Like, if I were to make fun of you, I might say something about how your hairline appears to be advancing down your forehead in a suspiciously Shatnerian manner. See? Like that. Or that your full, rounded neck and jowls suggest that you might be storing nuts there until the next Republican administration. Or, hell, that you don't seem capable of grasping the idea that when you say something on a news program, it's better if it's true.

How you don't make a joke, see, is by taking an attribute that someone clearly has, and just say that they don't have it. I mean, what are you, in the 3rd grade? You're going to go at one of the most popular and topical and intelligent and finger-on-the-pulsey comedians of this or any generation with the comedic equivalent of "I know you are but what am I?"

Well, okay. But guess what? Stewart's going to come back at you, and when he does, it's going to be funny.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Once I ran to you, now I'll run from you

Obama: Dude, you did not!
Daley: I did!
Obama: You taped an "impeach me" sign on his back?
Daley: Hee hee hee.
Obama: Dude, that is some funny shit.
Daley: Right?
Blagojevich: Hey guys, what's so funny?
Obama: Oh, nothing.
Daley: Yeah, you'll find out soon enough.

If you’re not still hibernating following the election, you’ve no doubt noticed that the media is speculating on whether the Blagojevich scandal will taint Obama. Everywhere you look, it’s “Can Obama Escape the Taint of Blagojevich?” and “Will Blagojevich Taint Obama?” and even, dear god, “The Tainting of the President Elect.”

I haven’t heard this much talk about taint since Britney forgot what underwear was.

Having been a close observer of Chicago politics for many years before moving to LA, it’s amusing to me to see the talking heads from out of town try to speculate on the relationship between Obama and Blago. For one thing, the same people who, before the election, went apoplectic at the suggestion that Senator Ted Stevens’s corruption might somehow be a reflection on Governor Palin’s ethics, are now very willing to suggest that the mere fact that Senator Obama worked in the same state as Governor Blagojevich is proof of an impending criminal indictment.

For another thing, Blago is on tape calling Obama a motherfucker. Not to put too fine a point on it, but in Chicagoese, that’s what you call people who aren’t playing fucking ball. For further proof, let’s take a look at Blago’s reaction when a consultant suggested that he should man up and appoint the person (Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett) that Obama was pushing for: “Fuck him. For nothing? Fuck him.”

Obviously the governor…wait a minute, he’s not done: “They're not willing to give me anything except appreciation. Fuck them.”

Okay. I don’t know about you, but that response kinda suggests to me that Obama definitely was not smelling what the Blago was cooking.

But I don’t expect the speculation to end anytime soon, even though dreamy US Attorney Patrick “Untouchable” Fitzgerald suggested it should not even begin when he said “there's no reference in the complaint to any conversation involving the president-elect or indicating that the president-elect was aware of it,” and that the complaint “makes no allegations about the president-elect whatsoever,” and that the press shouldn’t “cast aspersions on people for being named or being discussed.”

But hey, let’s not listen to Fitzgerald. He’s only the guy who brought down Scooter Libby. Okay, W brought him back up again, but still. Fitzgerald also had a hand in bringing down Illinois’ previous governor, Republican George Ryan, who is still in jail for several pay-to-play schemes, including one in which companies bribed officials to give commercial truck driving licenses to dangerously unqualified individuals and/or illegal immigrants, including one who directly caused the death of six children in a highway accident. Don’t worry about Ryan, though, because he’s also in line for a pardon from W.

Ryan chose the non-Ted-Stevens route and decided to leave office before he was brought down. Before he left, he declared a much-needed moratorium on the death penalty in Illinois after it was discovered that there might be more innocent men on death row than guilty ones. It was likely a desperate career move to resuscitate his image and to NOT be remembered as the worst governor in the history of Illinois.

Seeing as how Blagojevich not only tried to sell a Senate seat to the highest bidder, but also to strong-arm the Chicago Trib into firing editorial page critics (did he not think the newspaper might, um, take the story to the press?), and shakedown an organization advocating health care for poor children, I don’t think Ryan has anything to worry about.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Drysies©

Grant Miller was one of the first people from teh internets to find my blog and read it, and as such, he will always be okay in my book, even though when I met him in person he was kind of a dick and didn't even say hi to me - although later he did buy me a drink and so then he was okay again in my book. Although...did you guys know that Grant is only about three feet tall? He's really tiny, like a small kitten, or one of those statues of the Virgin Mary that you put on your lawn in a bathtub planted with petunias. But still, still okay in my book.

But then, I have a really crappy book.

I'm serious. My book sucks. It's really long, and kinda boring, except for the last couple of chapters when I start to overshare in a semi-public forum and spew bilious clouds of political fluff. Several really cool people picked up my book and started reading near the end and actually think it's a good book, and I've decided not to disposess them of that notion.

To that end, please go to Grant Miller Media and vote for me for this year's Drysdale Awards. I am self-nominated in 2 categories:

Least Influential Political Blogger - I have won this award every year since the beginning of the Drysies© in 2006. Please do not let this hallowed tradition end.

Least Logical Political Argument in a Single Post - In my recent post "Nacho Marriage," I argue that the Mormon male experience is so homoerotic that the LDS opposition and support of Prop 8 was motivated by - get this - self-loathing! Seriously! That was the thesis of my post! So vote for me in this category too, because my weak-ass shit deserves it.

"Drysies" is a copyrighted term and may not be used without the express written permission of Bells On© Media.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Total Recall

People of Illinois, you have my sympathies.

Sort of. I mean, you had a chance to dump Blagojevich in 2006, when a great candidate, former regional administrator of HUD and reformer of the Chicago Housing Authority Edwin Eisendrath ran against Blago in the Democratic primary.

Blago won, even though he was already embroiled in numerous scandals.

Why, for chrissakes?

I used to live in Chicago, and let me tell you that although many people are tired of the pervasive corruption of city and state government, many more would just as soon take advantage of it.

To put it another way, the half of Illinois residents who voted to re-elect Blago are the same people whose cousin's brother-in-law has a business partner married to a friend of Blagovich's father-in-law. And someday, by god, that connection is going to put them in the fabled cat bird seat, and award them that plum concession, or that overpriced contract, or that cushy no-show job.

Meanwhile, the scandals, and the investigation of the governor by Plame prosecutor Patrick "untouchable" Fitzgerald seemed to go on and on.

Until today, when the governor of Illinois was arrested by Fitzgerald for attempting to sell Obama's empty US Senate seat to the highest bidder. The hot rumor is that Obama's bulldog Rahm "Rahmbo" Emanuel is the one who blew the whistle.

Yes, it's hard to believe that a man whose every move was being watched, and possibly electronically monitored, by the most feared US Attorney in modern history, would attempt something so audacious and so transparent. But that's Blagojevich for you. The list of possible appointees for the seat that he attempted to shake down is already mostly publicly known, and the best part is that he INCLUDED HIMSELF on the list, because he apparently felt "stuck" in the governor's office, and wanted to move to post where he could position himself as a presidential candidate in 2016.

I know, it's fucking gloriously unhinged, isnt' it?

If Blagojevich could just acquire a goofier accent, and a get a few bad action movies under his belt, he might be able stand toe-to-toe in self-delusion with our own dear governator:

How you like me now?

Ha ha, bang, bitches!

Rumsfeld's old nemesis, General Eric "we'll be needing more troops in Iraq" Shinseki, has been named to Obama's cabinet as Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Shinseki was one of the numerous tragedies of the BushCo years: a intelligent military commander who was not afraid to speak truth to power, and who was forced into early retirement when he didn't toe the Rumsfeld line. I remember thinking at the time, "so much for letting 'commanders on the ground' guide our strategy."

Look at him. He's loving the smell of vindication in the morning.

Maybe he should call Colin Powell and describe to him how sweet it smells.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Secundus , ignarus primum ut is est incommodus

Just when my hatred of the reign of King George II has begun to mellow in anticipation of its end, W is proceeding with one of his most heinous moves ever.

BushCo plans on implementing a rule prior to its departure, and it comes to us courtesy of the Health and Human Services Department and the Secretary of HHS, Mike Leavitt.

Who is a Mormon.

I’m telling you just in case that knowledge should fill you with a not insignificant sense of foreboding, which it certainly does me. Really, hearing that some highly-placed government official is a Mormon is kinda like hearing da-dum…da-dum… when you’re watching Jaws. You know nothing good is going to follow.

Likewise, the rule is being championed by the Christian Medical Association, and the League of Catholic Bishops, two groups whom I’m sure have your personal freedom, and the best interests of women, very close to their hearts.

So, the rule would forbid any entity that receives federal funds from taking action against an employee who refuses to perform, or even take part in, any medical service that they morally object to.

So first of all, try to think of a hospital, or pharmacy, or doctor’s office that doesn’t receive federal funds. To be clear, it doesn’t have to be entirely, or even significantly, federally funded, it just has to receive federal funds. The LA Times estimates that nearly 600,000 entities would be affected, nation-wide.

Secondly, you might think that this rule is designed to protect doctors who don’t want to perform abortions, and you might think “Hey, I can live with that. Doctors shouldn’t be forced to perform abortions.”

You’d be wrong. Doctors are already protected from performing abortions.

This rule, while being written broadly enough to have many fucked-up consequences that we’ll explore in a sec, is aimed specifically at one event, and that event is the availability to women of the so-called “morning after pill,” one of a class of drugs known as Emergency Contraceptive Pills, which is what women take, for instance, after a sexual assault, in order to prevent pregnancy. Please bear in mind as we proceed that the pill also, by preventing pregnancy, prevents abortions.

Wait, how do I know that that’s why this rule is being forced down our throats at 5 minutes until midnight on the last day in the life of this farkakteh administration? Because they admit it freely. Yes, they have absolutely no problem in the least admitting that they are just fine with keeping women from preventing unwanted pregnancies, even when those pregnancies are the result of rape.

And people wonder why I am not a big fan of Christianity. Look, Christianity may be fine in theory, but in practice…not so much.

So, who’s against the new rule? Oh, only the American Medical Association, and the American Hospital Association, and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Yeah, those stuck-up old fuddy duddies at the AMA, AHA, and ACOG, with their concern for the patient, and the health of the patient, and that whole crackpot patient-centered approach to medicine. When are those cranks going to get with it, and realize that medicine is really all about doctors and their feelings about things?

And not just how doctors feel about things. Because even if you do get a doctor’s prescription for ECP, the pharmacist could feel like he doesn’t want to fill it. The clerk could feel like he doesn’t want to stock it on the shelves. And under the broad language of the rule, physicians would be protected from, for example, assisting gay people with artificial insemination, or in-vitro fertilization, and the only reason they need to give is that they feel, um, conflicted about gay people. The lab tech at a fertility clinic could refuse to perform any part of the process as well. Not only that, but if you were dying, and the medicine they were going to give you for the pain might also suppress your ability to breathe, no matter how okay you and your doctor were with that, the nurse could refuse to give it to you. Just refuse. Because he has issues.

And under this proposed rule, the government would protect those people.

Okay, I know I took a cheap shot earlier when I said that Christianity sucks in practice. I should apologize. I should, although I don’t feel like apologizing. I feel like saying that "sucks" is a nice word for what Christianity does. I also feel like saying that although I don’t believe that Jesus ever existed, I am willing to concede that, not unlike Yoda or Frasier Crane, Jesus gave some good advice from time to time, although of course I must also point out that the words of Jesus are pretty much summarily ignored by the church organizations and by most Christians as well.

If you read what Jesus said, he’s mostly interested in people treating each other better than they were. More compassionately. He wanted to make life more kind, and for rich and poor to be treated more equally, and he pretty much said that’s what God is interested in, too.

So if there is a Heaven, it’s clear that what’s going to get your ticket punched is helping those in need, not refusing to give aid to a woman who’s been raped, or to a couple who desperately want children, or to a 19-year-old woman with a life-threatening pulmonary embolism who requires an emergency abortion.

Remember when white hospitals refused even emergency treatment to black people? I think that if you look back, you find out that when they did that, it wasn’t a copy of the Constitution they were waving in everyone’s faces. It was the Bible. The Bible has been used to justify more mean and evil deeds than the whole of do-gooding Christianity has ever been able to prevent or mitigate. That’s a net loss, Christians. You might want to think about declaring bankruptcy. Or on second thought, just apply to the U.S. Government for a bailout. I’m pretty sure W could hook you up.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wild Turkey couldn't drag me away

I suspect that on this day, everyone’s writing posts about those things for which they are thankful. Being a frequently childish potty-mouthed contrarian, I have of course decided to tell you what I am NOT thankful for:

Idiots like Jonah Goldberg, who HAS HIS OWN SYNDICATED COLUMN in which he argues trivial nonsense such as: Obama is a hypocrite for sending his children to private school. Now, according to Goldberg, Republicans who send their children to private school are not hypocrites, because they support giving themselves a tax credit for doing so. Obama, on the other hand, is a hypocrite, because he does not support having the federal government subsidize what his family can well afford on their own.

The last time I heard logic that tortured, it was standing on the deck of an aircraft carrier with a big banner behind it that said “Mission Accomplished.”

More than the fact that I don’t see why I should subsidize private education when I already subsidize public education, there is a more important issue at stake here, and that is that many private schools are also religious schools.

So, by using government funds to support religious education, we would be violating that pesky separation of church and state bit of our constitution, yes, but we would also be funding the subjugation of women, gays, atheists, etc., much of which is preached, perpetuated & supported by organized religion.

And I’m against that. I have the temerity to believe it to be anti-American.

Funny, thing, though, about that whole church/state separation deal. We have largely evangelical Christians to thank for it.

Yes, contrary to popular belief, the US did not adopt the separation because Franklin was a randy old atheist with a beef against Puritans (he was not an atheist), or because Jefferson was a minor deity with a gift of foresight so powerful that he could predict the rise of secret Muslim presidential candidates. We adopted the separation because for over a hundred years, we’d tried our hand at official state religion, and had failed miserably at it.

As the colonies were established, official religions were established for that colony. Congregationalists flourished in the north (think Pilgrims), and the Anglican church in the southern colonies. Residents of those colonies who preached other than officially sanctioned religious beliefs were persecuted, banished, and even executed. Mary Dyer, one of many condemned for her religion, was put to death right on Boston Common for the crime of being a Quaker. A Quaker! What have Quakers ever done to anyone, ever, except shill for nutritious hot breakfast cereals, and found a state known chiefly for its fascistic approach to steak sandwiches? Quakers are the winners of the Miss Congeniality Award for Christian sects for, like, the last two hundred years straight.

Those colonial religious affiliations survived the transition to statehood, and became the bane of American upstart sects like the Baptists and Evangelicals. Those sects then backed political candidates like James Madison, who promised that they would support a Bill of Rights in our Constitution with a giant “no government support of religion” written in Founding Father Condensed Extra Bold right across the top.

But the best part was, it wasn’t merely self-preservation that motivated them. The Evangelicals also believed – get this! – that everyone has a personal relationship to the Almighty, and that God does not speak primarily through the clergy, but through everyone, and he most certainly did not require the support of a government to flourish; in fact, quite the opposite. The Evangelicals believed that the separation of church and state would, encourage, yes, I said encourage religion in the United States.

And apparently, they were correct. Because we are, collectively, one giant God-fearing mamajamma up in here. So, congratulations on your foresight, oh Jesus freaks, otherwise, without the separation, Kennedy would’ve had us all worshiping the guy in the beanie who thinks that pro-choice voters should be excommunicated, while child molesters get the get out of hell free card. Without your wisdom, President-elect Obama would right now no doubt be planning the massive conversion of public schools to madrasahs, churches to mosques, and the Washington Monument into the world’s most phallic minaret. And that’s saying something.

But I don’t understand why you have abandoned your past wise counsel, and now seek to establish yourselves as a state-sanctioned set of beliefs. Unless…could it be…that you forsee your own eventual demise, à la Old Europe, by forcing your dogma upon the populace by taking over government and passing legislation that curtails freedoms but conforms to church teachings? And that you predict that you will fade in power, and become governmentally irrelevant, like the Church of England, and that you wish to force your hand in order to hasten your own dwindling influence?

If that’s the case, man, bring it, as they say, on. If we’re going to pick an official religion for the United States, I want something hard core. No Lutherans or Presbyterians allowed; I demand a far-right inflexible hate-based exclusionary LDS or Evangelical Pentacostal religion, man, because I am SO down for the shitstorm of world rebuke and internal rebellion that would then be visited upon us. I am so ready to be a full-on William Ayersian soldier in that fight. I am so ready to have it out man, and let’s once and for all establish, without a doubt, what a bunch of fucking childish and pathetic idiots we all truly are.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Nacho Marriage

I have a vision of hell, and in it, I am one of the "single ladies" being addressed by Beyonce in her new video:

Yes, the dancing is cool. And yes she’s very pretty. I mean, except for the creepy baby-sized teeth. And the metal hand-robot-jewelry-thing. Is Beyonce Michael Jackson now, btw? Because I heard she has a whole different personality, the Tyra Banksian-named Sasha Fierce, and that she assumes that personality on stage in order to feel free to, oh, I don’t know, bust a more awesome dance move than her normal personality would allow? Shit, I don’t know. You tell me.

Which is not unlike that alter ego Garth Brooks had when he was so popular that he thought he could fling poo in a brown wig and the public would still think he was a genius. Wow, you know, come to think of it, Garth Brooks may have been the first person ever to lose money by underestimating the intelligence of country music fans.

But, so anyway. Look. I’m not one of those feminists who’s constantly taking the culture’s temperature and pronouncing it sicker than it’s ever been, but…If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it…????

Really? Ladies, is this what we’re doing now, really?

I mean, well…fuck it, really?

First off, I got to say that as a two-time loser, I’m the last one who should sit in judgment of the institution of marriage. I take that back. I’m the second to last one. The last one, I’m pretty sure, has got a title that ends in “of Latter Day Saints.”

I suck at marriage. But you know what? I’m never going to do it again. I love Spooney, and I hope we’re still hanging out when the seas rise and engulf us all in about twelve years, but I’m not going to marry him. Because I suck at it. And it hurts to do something so important and to fail at it. It hurts a lot. And it’s hard to admit that I am really not good at something that I wanted so badly to be good at, but better to face the facts than to continue to delude myself, right? Because isn’t that worse?

Marriage isn’t for everyone. I admire people that do it well, don’t get me wrong. Let nothing in this post even begin to suggest that I don’t admire the hell out of you well-married people. Hell, I tried to BE you people. Twice.

And I swear, I will gladly live and die according to my own good or atrocious judgment. I swear to that. Because I just don’t compromise well. I balk. I recoil. It doesn’t fit. DO NOT WANT. And yes, I’m sure someday I will wonder if my stubborn independence was really worth it. But now, when I think about how I can buy all the shoes and books and music I want, and stay up until 4 a.m. smoking and drinking gin whilst burning through successive DVDs of my complete box set of Sex and the City - and have only to answer to myself, I marvel that I ever wanted it any other way.

You know what’s a good thing? A good thing, is that I live in a country that doesn’t force me to get married. And do that whole “obey” thing. Because, again, I love you Spooney, but I would rather stick needles in my eyes than obey you. Unless, you know, I was in the market for an amp, and then I have to admit that I would pretty much do whatever you told me.

You know what’s another good thing? That I don’t live in Afghanistan, where girls on their way to school are blinded with acid thrown by men who have fashioned themselves a god who apparently approves of such things. In such a world, a little forced marriage seems like a walk in the park. Well, a walk in the park whilst covered from head to toe in a black fabric jail. Whee.

And yet, it’s possible to be an American and still be unlucky in birth. There’s a young woman who works at my office-adjacent Starbucks who wears a head scarf, and I mean the religious kind of head scarf with the wee opening for her face, not the health-department kind of head scarf, and every time I see her, I thank my lucky fucking stars that I was not raised in a philosophy so warped that I am forced to feel pride for honoring a belief that declares even the hairs covering my head to be proof of the sins of my sex made manifest.

And I know I’ve been harping on this for a while, but what does it say about the Church of LDS that since Marie Osmond went off Dancing with the Stars, the most famous Mormon woman in the world is the one who took the worst Mexican restaurant in LA, the one with the awful food and the margaritas made with Everclear and Pixy Stix, and turned it into the most reviled Mexican restaurant in the history of, like, ever?

But see, all along, I believed that Mormons are really good at marriage, you know, or at least really efficient at it, but in fact now that I’ve considered it, I don’t really think they are.

When do most Mormon men get married? After they come back from their mission. Yes, approximately 80-90% of 19-year-old Mormon men go off, two by two, to strange and foreign lands for two year “missions.” These young men sleep, eat, pedal their little bikes and preach the LDS gospel to whoever will listen, day in and day out, with only each other to rely upon for two long years. Think about what that life must be like, especially in places like China, and in the more remote areas of Africa and the Middle East. During that time, as they pass the lonely nights in their barren rooms, a certain portion of them, being young men, must, you know, seek the comfort of one another. C’mon, it’s a statistical inevitability. And as they seek that comfort, they must feel as well the pain of knowing that that which brings them their only solace is also that which, if known, would bring down upon them the most passionate rebuke from that world to which they must someday ultimately return.

And then when they do return, they are married off – and quickly! Good-bye to the intimacy and camaraderie of their little mission for two, and hello to some teenage, conservatively-dressed bit of inexperienced virgin girl flesh. Go forth and plow yon fertile field, young man. Soon there will be little Mormons to support!

Christ, is it any wonder that Mormons revile homosexuality? Hello, it’s called PROJECTION!

Okay, I know that sometimes I can get a bit mean, but all I really want is for everyone, everywhere, to be able to live how they want. With remembering that bit about not hurting anyone else, you know. That’s it. And so even though I think, for example, that it’s ridiculous that Beyonce can put on a measly ten pounds and be pronounced fit to portray the lusciously zaftig Etta James, I wish her well, I do. I wonder why the scores of wonderful black actresses who actually resemble Ms. James physically were not cast, but you know, I’m willing to let it go. And if it makes Beyonce feel better to sing that damn Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It) song, and to try to turn a symbol of acquiescence into a spunky anthem of defining your worth according to your highest bidder, well, then more power to her. I hope she’s doing okay, especially since she’s married to that Jay-Z, who always seems to be eyeing her as if she’s a nice piece of jewelry that he almost owns. If you think about it, probably one quarter of the world would gladly give up their own lives to step into hers, and yet, if Beyonce has to invent an alter ego to feel really free, what hope do the rest of us have?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lest ye be judged

It was 1992, and I was a waitress in Chicago. Bill Clinton was campaigning for president, and finally, people like me were beginning to feel like our long national Reaganomic nightmare might soon be over. Most of the people I worked with were excited about the idea of giving Bush the Elder the heave-ho, after all, waiters are, by and large, very sensitive to the injustices of the world. We’re like the princess and the pea, only the pea is some douchebag in an Armani suit who snaps his fingers at us and leaves 8%.

One woman I worked with, however, missed no opportunities to rail against the politics of helping those less fortunate. She grew up in Hawaii, and had only recently moved to the city of the big shoulders. She wasn’t native Hawaiian, she was Hawaiian sort of like Bette Midler is Hawaiian. And she was a tiny thing, maybe 4’10’’, or 4’11”? I’m 5’9”, so it’s sometimes hard for me to gauge the height of people who don’t clear my bra straps. The restaurant where I worked was known for its outdoor patio, and there was a homeless couple who would stand on the sidewalk on the other side of our prep station and beg for bread. We called them George and Martha, since they were prone to very nasty public spats about which one of them should be getting up off their ass and procuring them some alcohol. Still, the waiters developed an affection for them, and once a night, one of us would toss them a bag with a small loaf of bread and a few pats of butter.

The managers were well aware that we did this, and offered no objections. Even if they weren’t crazy about giving away product, they realized that the sooner you got rid of the couple, the sooner you got rid of their smell – a significant factor when trying to encourage the appetites of customers. Also, in those days, in the wake of trickle-down, the streets of Chicago were swarming with homeless people. They were everywhere. Everywhere. We considered ourselves lucky to have only taken on two of them.

But the little chick from Hawaii would never give them bread. She would yell at them to leave, which would trigger George, and especially Martha, whom I’m pretty sure suffered from Tourette, to yell back, causing huge scenes and once, necessitating the presence of the Chicago PD to move them along. You’d think that after causing a completely unnecessary ruckus like that, little Hawaii would’ve learned her lesson, but she didn’t. She continued to be surly to our adopted homeless.

One day, I came in for my lunch shift and found the guys in the kitchen talking excitedly in Spanish and laughing. I asked them what was going on, and they told me that the Hawaiian chick had come in through the back gate, and had surprised George in the rear courtyard stealing a cantaloupe from the crates of produce that had just been delivered. They told me that she grabbed the cantaloupe and tried to wrestle it away from him. He fought just as hard to hang on to his stolen booty, and Hawaii started screaming, which caused the guys in the kitchen to come running out the back door, thus scaring George away. Needless to say, the kitchen guys thought the whole incident nothing short of hysterical.

Later, at the waiter meeting, the manager told us that we should never confront a thief in that manner. That it was dangerous. Ms. Hawaii was unrepentant, however, and announced after the manager had left that she would do it again if the opportunity presented itself.

“Why do you care?” I said to her, “It’s not your cantaloupe.”

“He was stealing,” she replied, “I’m not going to stand by and let someone steal.”

“He’s homeless. He was stealing food. He’s hungry.”

“I don’t care, he should get a job then.”

“Are you serious? He’s sixty years old, at least. He’s got half his teeth. He’s covered in sores. He’s addicted to alcohol. He’s barely coherent. What kind of job should he get?”

“90% of homeless people are homeless because they want to be.”

“What? Where’d you hear that? Convenient Theories for Republicans Weekly?

That made her mad.

“People choose to be homeless. They don’t have to be.”

I had just read an article in the Trib about Chicago’s homeless, so I knew she was full of shit. “Sixty per cent of the homeless on the streets of Chicago right now are from downstate, and are here to find work because the farm economy is collapsing. Many of these people are trying to make it off the streets. Many of them are on the streets because they’re mentally ill and cannot get treatment.”

“Yeah, well, most of them just don’t want to work. They’re lazy.”

“Really? Tell me, do you have any original ideas about this issue at all? Or are they all your daddy’s?”

I remember she turned beet red and stomped off. Even though I felt like I was picking on someone half my size, I didn’t feel bad about it at all. Look, I don’t care if someone’s a conservative, as long as they can speak intelligently about why they feel that way. And if someone is old enough to be out of college and in the working world, they are old enough to be able to see that world for themselves and formulate their own opinions, instead of spewing whatever pre-fab hate their parents had filled them with before setting them loose on the rest of us.

After that day, whenever I worked with Ms. Hawaii in the indoor dining room, I would arrive for my shift early and move all our supplies to the very highest shelves in the station. So every time she would need a creamer, or a sugar ramekin, or tea, or extra napkins, or bread plates, or coffee, she would have to ask me for it. I would walk into the station, and she would have this fake-friendly smile plastered on her face, and she would ask me to please get something down from the high shelf for her.

And here’s the best part: I was never anything but completely accommodating and gracious about helping her out. Never was there one hint of gloating nor any bitching about being asked so many times during my shift to assist her. I was so nice to her, I don’t think she ever had any idea that I was also her tormentor. I was positively charitable.

Yeah, it was fun, but it accomplished nothing, save for inflating my already healthy sense of self-satisfaction. Because as unpleasant as it was for her to have to constantly ask for help from someone whom she knew full-on loathed her, I don’t think it made her a more humble or compassionate person.

I don’t know. I could be wrong.

I thought about the Hawaiian chick today, as I heard one of the owners of LA hangout El Coyote plead with gay activists not to boycott her restaurant. I don't know, it was something about the way she spoke, like she could not even believe that her tidy little world might not be exactly as she saw it.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

See, this woman from El Coyote had given money to Prop 8. She had done it because she’s a Mormon, and her church asked her to give money, and the way she expressed it, was what the church asks, you do. Whether that answer is honest, or merely self-serving, I have no idea. Apparently, she didn’t know her donation would be made public. In any case, she was found out, and now, now that she’s been found out, now she’s sorry about it. Now she is pleading with her gay clientele to excuse her and to continue to come to her restaurant and give her their hard-earned dollars, even though she has given her hard-earned dollars to the stripping of their rights.

She wants forgiveness. She wants it badly, although not badly enough to promise a contribution to the anti-8 movement. Because, again, her church would not approve. But above all, she doesn’t understand what she did wrong. She doesn’t understand why everyone is looking at her that way. All she did was what she was told to do. She says she loves the gay people who are her employees and her clientele. And she says she is following her faith when she helped to take rights away from those same people. What’s the problem?

She doesn’t understand what the problem is.

And she’s not alone. More and more people on the list of donors are finding themselves and the companies they work for being scrutinized due to their support of 8. Boycotts have been threatened against their businesses by gay people. They have been called bigots by gay people. It seems that gay people think themselves fit to stand in judgment of them.

Can I hear a “how dare they,” anyone?


I didn’t think so.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Time to rend

Mormon temples and other church property in California and in Utah have been vandalized as part of the backlash against the passage of Prop 8 in California.

I would like to say to my readers that I don’t think that it’s appropriate to vandalize churches, and that not all Mormons agree with the actions of their church, and there is nothing to be gained by attempting to terrorize anyone. And I would like to say to those Mormons that are upset about these recent events –

How’s it feel?

How’s it fucking feel?

Do you feel sad? Misunderstood? Do you feel like people are against you for no good reason? Do you feel like people hate you, even though they don’t know you?

How’s it feel?

The LDS church has released a statement (emphasis mine) saying: "No one on either side of the question should be vilified, harassed or subject to erroneous information."

Oh, now they tell us! Prior to this, they seemed quite comfortable indeed with vilification and erroneous information. In fact, the LDS pro-8 website still contains the videos wherein they say that gay marriage will endanger freedom of speech!

What, huh?

Yeah, I’m not kidding. They say gay marriage will endanger freedom of speech and freedom of religion. They say that parents won’t be able to teach their own values to their kids anymore. They say that the passage will not take any existing rights away from gay couples, and, to top it off, they proclaim that the issue of the happiness of gay people is a “diversion.”

But I’m glad they’re so concerned now about erroneous information. Douchebags.

In their statement, the LDS also said that we should "act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility towards each other."

To which I say: you first.

Friday, November 07, 2008


Readers, words really can’t express my frustration over the passage of Proposition 8 in California.

For those of you that have been trapped in a closet somewhere, Prop 8 is the biggest, hatingest, vilest prop ever in the state of California, and that’s saying a lot. Because we’ve had some crazy-ass props, y’all.

Unfortunately, the high voter turnout for Barack Obama in African-American communities may have contributed to the success of Prop 8, since approximately 70% of black voters favored 8, compared to roughly 50% in other demographics.

Yeah, I know. Nothing like the achievement of a civil rights milestone to inspire people to…deny others their civil rights. It’s so full-on ironic that even Alanis Morissette couldn’t miss it.

I am completely stumped as to why, in a town full of the most creative, savvy, politically active, and – hello! – richest gay people on the face of the earth, why did the “Yes on 8” side so completely outspend, outcreate and outexecute us? What the fuck happened, people? Was the election too close to Halloween? Were you distracted? Did the acquisition of that snowmachine for your First Dude costume take up way more time than you thought it would? Why did I see 15 thousand “Yes” commercials on television, but never this commercial, which is fucking brilliant and makes one of the most politically marketable arguments there is for the “No” side, which is, if you don’t care about the rights of gay people, and many douchebags don’t, then perhaps you care that the Mormon church, which financed and organized the “Yes” campaign, is now dictating policy to us!

Dude, we’re Califuckinfornia! We don’t let the squares tell us what to do! We should be kicking their ass, see, because California is like Dee Snider, and the Mormons are like that uptight asshole in the video who gets blown out the window by our awesomeness.

Fucking Mormons. You know, they do have a whole state of their own to fuck up and hate people in, why do they have to come here and start this shit with us? Well, apparently, their big motivation for backing the measure was to earn street cred from the other Jesus freaks, so that the evangelicals and Catholics will see how effective they are at oppressing gays, and stop ostracizing Mormons from their gay hating parties.

I tried to think of some way to get revenge on them, but all I could think of was for the HBO series “Big Love” to continue to present Bill Paxton as the ultimate expression of Mormon manhood. I mean, that’s pretty humiliating, right?

Okay, I’ve heard so many stupifyingly nonsensical arguments from the “Yes” side that my brain has a tendency to lock and freeze whenever I get around this topic. I mean, what do you say to someone who keeps insisting that they have nothing against gay people, and of course some of their best friends blah blah blah, and yet they insist that it’s God’s will that gay people do not deserve the rights that they themselves possess? What do you say when that same person is black, or Latina? Look, you cannot respect gays and also disenfranchise them. You just can’t. How exactly do you convey that their position is perhaps the most idiotic one taken in the entire history of idiotic positions?

The commercials for Prop 8 all entreated the voters to “restore” traditional marriage.

Restore? Restore? Is it gone? Did it go away? If you believe it did, perhaps you should look inside your own heart, and your own head, and leave the rest of us alone. The sanctity of your marriage, whatever the fuck that means, is determined by you and your spouse, and gay people got fuck all to do with it.

Not only that, but the biblical support for a ban on gay rights is scant and vague, and if you’ve ever bothered to look it up, you know what I’m saying is true. If anything, the Bible recommends treating others as you would have yourself treated, and it says so pretty plainly, so don’t come to me with your “I’m a Christian!” arguments, because they’re horseshit, and we both know it. If the thought of gays marrying invokes revulsion in you, examine yourself. Disgust of gays, and fear of gays and hatred of gays is a weakness. It is a weakness within you. It is self-delusion. It is a failure of character, and I pity anyone who suffers from it, because it cripples you, it makes you mean and small and not worthy of the respect of your fellow humans, let alone the love of that God that you pretend to care so much about.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

With hope, good morning.

In the end, it fell easily into our laps like leaves falling off a changing tree.

Of course, I can say it all seemed so easy because I wasn’t out there in a swing state knocking on doors and telling people to get their asses to the polls. I appreciate that Obama’s campaign was probably one of the most difficult political accomplishments since Henry VIII basically overnight changed everyone in England from Catholic to Church of Hot New Wives. But once the returns began to roll in, it became quickly apparent that this was not 2000, nor 2004. There were too many of us, and we could not be denied.

So what’s the difference? Why so comparatively easy this time?

How about this: the difference was the guy.

As much as I love Al Gore, and still have hot sex dreams about him wherein he shows me a PowerPoint presentation about all the different ways he’d like to raise my core temperature, and as much as we all now of course realize that he would’ve made a kick-ass president, Al didn’t inspire voters to stand in line for 8 hours at the polls. Oh no, not American voters. Yes, we want policies that we can believe in, but we also want to be on our couches by 6 p.m. with a beer in our hand.

And Kerry – well…Christ. Who wasn’t holding their nose on that one? The guy would have made a serviceable president, and it goes without saying that he was about 25 gazillion times more capable than the alternative, but still. You’d think the guy could’ve managed to go one day in his campaign without acting like an asshole. And his wife! She made Cindy McCain look like Mother fucking Theresa.

Last night, one of pundits said something that made me realize that part of the reason I ended up loving Obama was that he was ice cold, baby. Nothing phased him. McCain would lie to his face, and he would smile and raise his hand to the moderator to refute. And as much as people praised his gift of elevated oratory, Obama’s victory was a victory of logic over emotional appeal, of Spock over Kirk, as we all collectively realized that the fat, bald, old warrior playboy so wasn’t capable of saving us anymore.

So the Obama campaign got it right. They let Obama be Obama, and trust that we would eventually all come along for the ride. They didn’t goad him into phony expressions of emotion like Hillary’s fakey laughter and Gore’s exaggerated eye-rolling. The McCampaign can not claim the same kind of foresight, as they sought desperately to reinvent their candidates at least once a week. After experiencing one of the biggest “OH SHIT” moments in the history of presidential races, the McCain camp sought at first to hide Palin from a skeptical press, and, when that didn’t work, and after numerous calls from within their own party to “free Sarah Palin,” they finally unleashed her onto a mostly receptive public. However, that public soon discovered that, contrary to how she had been described to us by the toady scribes on the right, Palin was not curious, not intelligent, not witty, and did not possess a talent for campaigning.

What she could do, was honk out pre-fab lines in a voice that would embarrass the average cartoon character, wink, and look good in expensive clothes. She was nothing less than an base insult to serious female public servants everywhere. In short order, most Americans went from expecting to be delighted & charmed by this new breed of VP pick, to wondering why she would apparently eat a big hot steaming bowl of ignorance for breakfast each and every morning. Believe me, nothing about this campaign gives me greater pleasure than the thought of her packing up her suitcase full of ambition and disappearing into the Alaskan wilderness for the next four years, and hopefully forever. And if she’s ever lost in that wilderness, I sorely hope that the wildlife of her home state shows the same compassion and mercy to her that she has shown to them.

And of course, I have to give big ups to BushCo. Without the complete pillaging of the American economy, it would’ve been difficult for this flawed nation of ours to imagine electing the black dude with the scary name.

Last night, when it became apparent that the imminent closing of the polls on the West Coast would bring a momentous announcement from the networks, I quietly pulled a bottle of Moët from the liquor cabinet and slid it into the freezer to chill. I am, as I have said before, a big believer in the rule of not mentioning a no-hitter to a pitcher, but I thought that if Spooney and my friends didn’t notice me, then the gods of jinx would spare me from their wrath. The champagne had barely chilled at all when I popped the cork on the final word of McCain’s quite gracious concession speech, but no one seemed to care. After all the times I have lamented, over the past eight years, our dismal tendency to repeat and repeat and repeat the same sad mistakes of governance, with the same pitiable and often deadly results, I suddenly felt the weight of inevitability lift from my shoulders. Yes, I thought, as I cast my glad eyes upon the faces of my beyond joyous friends, history will repeat itself. Except when you show courage, and then it can be writ anew.