Sunday, January 29, 2006

Liberal or Conservative? Sex v. Death

(disclaimer: these are only generalizations, and are my opinion only, backed up by no research whatsoever other than my own observations and extrapolation, so don't come whining to me about how that's not you. You're right. It's not you. You're completely different. I know, I know.)

One marked difference I have noticed between people who consider themselves 'liberal' and people who consider themselves 'conservative' concerns the definition of pornography. Liberals traditionally are more laissez-faire about sex, while conservatives seem to be more easy-going about death.

As a liberal, I object much more strenuously to a shoot-'em-up movie than I do to a movie with two people enjoying themselves together. My young children are allowed to watch neither, but they don't watch movies with sex because it's developmentally inappropriate, not because sex is inherently bad. To my way of thinking, though (I know - call me crazy), killing is inherently bad. There is nothing 'family values' to me about a movie with random killing in it. Yet Republicans champion Arnold Schwarzenegger, who made his not-inconsiderable fortune making grotesquely violent movies, and on the back of that 'success', propelled himself into the Governor's office. He's always on about 'family values' and chiding the Democrats for not having any. Yet mowing down hordes of people with machine-gun fire is perfectly OK. Why? Because you're only shooting at 'bad guys'? Well, who decides who the 'bad guys' are? Are they commies? Indians? Japs? Drug dealers? Mafia? Aliens? Evil scientists? Gang-bangers? Androids? Perverts? As long as they 'deserve to die', it's fine to kill 'em. Yay. Goodness wins, badness loses. One problem that comes to mind, though, is - what happens if you and I become 'bad guys'?

To me, the really horrible part of it is how people (children especially) are desensitized to violence by being inundated with faux-violence - that is, violence without consequences. You get the neuron rush, the high that comes with violence, without the result of that violence - no pain, no blood, no guilt, no anguish. What's scary is that violence isn't scary. If your big brother hits you too hard, you howl and cry. But let someone on TV blow a drug-dealer's head off, and it's cool.

We see the results of this twisted thinking in front of us, thanks to the Kowboy Koward of Krawford. I don't think he or the rest of his neo-con chickenhawk puppetmeisters grasp the concept that these are real, flesh-and-blood human beings who are dying by the thousands every day. Remember the song 'One Tin Soldier'? It seems that the KKofK thinks of the military as his personal tin soldiers, to play with and make fight with each other, with cool accompanying sound effects (Pow! Doozh! RRrrroar!! Take that!! Augh! You got me!!) then leave lying in the dirt when it's nap-time.

But sex, on the other hand, is the high road to hell. I'm not mad at Clinton for lying about a blow job, because he was illegally put into a position that no one had a right to put him in. The 'Troopergate' article that spawned the Paula Jones debacle was a fraud, so any investigation arising out of that is of necessity fraudulent. What I'm mad at Clinton about was the Telecommunications Act of 1996. That has contributed to the demise of the media, and I'm pissed as hell about that. But a consensual act between two people that was nobody else's business? Please. Grow up. These people go into conniptions over 'Desperate Housewives', or Spongebob Squarepants, for God's sake. I wonder what they'd say if they were shown a video of two people having sex, then find out that they're married to each other, were in their own home and were virgins on their wedding day. Would that still be pornography? Why?

And then you find that the people who are the most rigid and repressed about sex are the ones who become child molesters or are in the grip of other perversions. Catholic priests come to mind (I'm Catholic). Human beings who are unable to express their sexuality naturally become twisted. I believe in monogamy because it's good for me and my husband emotionally, not because I'll go to hell if I'm not monogamous. What children you must be if you have to be shamed and punished into doing the right thing.

It's time to get a grip on what real pornography is. What's really offensive. What real 'family values' are. As far as I'm concerned, two people enjoying each other is not pornography. People killing each other is.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Hilarity Ensues

at this link from Crabbi over at A Curmudgeonly Crab. Mark Fiore is just the bomb. You'll laugh, you'll cry - do yourself a favor and check him out.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Hello, Al!

I love you, Al, but I'm afraid you'll break my heart.

I listened to your speech yesterday with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. There you were, standing up and saying the words I've been waiting to hear for five years. By all that's holy, you should have been in the White House instead of that simian usurper, the Kowboy Koward of Krawford. It's hard not to think about what could have, what should have been if you were where you belonged. How different things would be now. Just imagining an America with friends and allies, an America with a Casey Sheehan still alive and a Cindy Sheehan that no one would ever hear of, an America at peace, a prosperous America, a sane America, a balanced America, hurts my heart when I realize what a pipe dream that is.

I struggle every day to deal with the nightmare that America has become, and at the same time struggle to have the will to keep trying, in whatever way available to me, to keep working towards a change; to hold onto the dream when it seems hopeless.

And here you show up, sweep me off my feet, say the words I long to hear, make me all swoony and googly and fluttery with hope and, yes, with lust. I lust in my heart for the country the way it could have been if you had occupied the office you won. It's a physical, palpable yearning that I deliberately don't let myself think about.

I want you, but I can't have you.

Al, I beg you, don't tease me. Don't break my heart. Don't give me a taste, and then leave me hanging. Don't get my hopes up, and then dash them to bits.

Please, Al, - reclaim your office in '08.

Maryscott O'Connor at My Left Wing
has a great post about this.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Goodbye, Tommi?

(cross-posted at I Love Tom DeLay and Blognonymous)

 "I Love Tom DeLay!" Yes, I said it. And I'm not ashamed. While others abandon him in his darkest hours like rats from a sinking ship, my heart will follow him wherever he goes. You can keep your boy-toys and your girly-men; I'll take a real man like my Sugar Land Sugar Daddy any day of the week. His jowly, blow-dried manliness makes my knees weak. How can you resist a man who will let nothing get in the way of his relentless and ruthless climb to the top of the heap; a man who sees what he wants and just...reaches out and takes it! A man who laughs in the face of persecution by the small-minded liberal snivelers. And yet, my Tom has a softer side, too - his love for the long-brain-dead Terri Schiavo was so inspirational and spiritual, I still get goosebumps just thinking about it.

And now they're trying to take away Tommi's feeding tube, too. Well, I won't have it, do you hear? They'll have to go through me first, Tommi! I'm here for you, Tommi! And I'll be here when you get out of prison! They can't keep us apart, darling - I'll wait forever if I have to!

I begged him not to go.

"Darling," I cried, "If you only knew how much I need you! "

"I know, my sweet li'l ol' butterbean," he replied gently, brushing a stray blob of grease (or was it a tear?) from the corner of my quivering lower lip.

We met for lunch - perhaps for the last time? - at Hogswallow's Hot Links, an out-of-the-way bar and barbecue joint tucked in between a pawn shop and a check-cashing store down by the railroad tracks. It was dilapidated and foul-smelling, and the food was indifferent at best, but I always thought of it as 'our place'. How many lunch hours had we spent here together, gnawing on gristly porkchops that resembled nothing so much as shoe leather, gazing into each others' eyes and talking about our hopes and dreams? And now my world was falling apart. The man I loved - no, worshiped - was telling me that it was over; that the good times we had shared were about to come to an end.

"Tommi," I sobbed, clutching at his shirt front, already stained with barbecue sauce and snot, "Please say it isn't true!"

"Aw, now, honey, don't you go to cryin' like that," he said as he disengaged my hands from his shirt and took a swig of his Lone Star - his 9th since we sat down. (And if the truth be told, I think he'd had a few before he got there.)

"But I can't help it, Tommi! I'm so afraid! Everyone's saying the most awful things about you! That you're a...a...swindler and a thief,'ve been doing all kinds of illegal things...and that you're going to jail forever and ever and ever!" Overcome, I put my greasy napkin to my face and burst into a torrent of tears.

For a moment all was silent save for the sound of my sobs and the braying of Toby Keith blasting from the jukebox, exhorting us to "Get Drunk and Be Somebody" - a request that Tommi was obviously eager to fulfill. Then, to my surprise, Tommi leaned back in his chair and began to laugh. He guffawed until the tears began to roll down his face as well. Then he'd chug another swig of Lone Star and laugh some more.

"What's so funny?" I sniffed, unsuccessfully trying to wipe away the black streaks of Great Lash that had mixed with the grease and tears.

"Oh, cupcake," he said at last, gasping for breath, "I thought you were talkin' about somethin' serious there for a minute!"

"I was, Tommi! This is the end, isn't it? After all, bribery, strong-arming and corruption are serious charges! They'll lock you up and throw away the key! What will I do without you? And it's not just me who needs you, Tommi - what will the Republican Party do without you? They're already falling apart without you there to coerce - I mean, guide them with your wisdom!"

"Now, sweetcakes," he said, his eyes glistening if not exactly focusing, "do you honestly think there's anyone out there that can take on the Hammer and not get their head bashed in? I've already shut down those scurrilous and completely untrue advertisements that some liberal weenies tried to get on the air. Let that other fella - what's his name? Abra - uh, Abra-ham - Abra-cadabra?"

"Abramoff," I whispered. "Jackie-boy, you used to call him."

"I did? Can't say I recall that. Well, anyhoo, like I was sayin', that Abrahoff fella can take the heat for this one. I got too many good friends to ever get in any real trouble. After all, honey, I'm just a bidnessman. Ain't nothin' wrong with bein' a good bidnessman, now, is there? Course not. That's what America is all about. They're just jealous cause I'm so successful. When you're at the top, there's allus sumbody tryin' to take you down. But the Hammer don't swing that way, baby girl."

"You're right," I said softly, feeling ashamed. "I never should have doubted you, Tommi. It's just..."

"It's only for a little while, doll face. Just gotta lay low till this all blows over." He leaned over towards me. "Hey, hon, you gonna drink that beer?" He reached for the Lone Star untouched in front of me.

"N-no, Tommi," I said. "You can have it." Somehow my stomach was feeling a little queasy.

He swilled it down in one long gulp, then smacked his lips appreciatively. "Hoo wee! Hair o' the dog! Hey, Jimmie Sue," he called to the tobacco-chewing slattern behind the bar, "How 'bout a coupla Lone Stars for the road?"

"Sure, Tommi," she drawled. As she set them down on the table along with the check, he picked up his beer, flashed that toothy grin, and blew me a kiss as he ambled out the door into the noon sunshine.

"Call me," I cried as he walked away. I had a feeling it would be a long time before I saw my darling Tommi again.

"Hey, are you going to pay that check or you gonna sit here all day staring out the window?"

I sighed as I reached for my wallet, knowing that somehow, some way, Tommi would be all right.

But would I?

Would I?

Friday, January 06, 2006

Dichotomy - Government Secrecy, Public Intrusion

Has anyone else noticed that the most secretive and unaccountable Administration in history has no problem with completely dismantling the right to privacy for the rest of us?

What was one of the first Executive Orders that George W. Bush issued? Why,
Two months after taking office, Bush’s White House counsel, Alberto Gonzales, issued an order delaying the release of 68,000 pages of records from Ronald Reagan’s administration that archivists at the Reagan library had already confirmed did not threaten national security or violate personal privacy. The release of records (including those pertaining to the Iran-Contra scandal) from the Reagan administration could have proven a profound embarrassment to many officials in George W. Bush’s administration as well as to his father (who was vice president under Reagan).
Then, in Nov. of 2001,
President Bush issued an executive order entitled “Further Implementation of the Presidential Records Act.” His order effectively overturned an act of Congress and a Supreme Court decision and could make it far more difficult for Americans to learn of government abuses. Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor, declared that the executive order “effectively rewrote the Presidential Records Act, converting it from a measure guaranteeing public access to one that blocks it.
Am I the only one who is connecting these particular dots? Can't people see that all of these things have been planned from the get-go of this thuggish Administration? Even before he was selected, George W. Bush talked about being a 'war president', and the unlimited power ('political capital') inherent in being one. Rather odd, since at the time there was no whiff of war on the horizon. Then, after stealing an election (without so much as a peep from the sheep, who were fast asleep), he issues a gag order on the releasing of presidential papers. That made my antennae go up, I can tell you. I remember, even then, thinking that there had to be something up for that to be rushed out. But it was treated as a blip on the radar - it was mentioned, then hastily dropped; kicked under the bed and left there.

Well, you sure can't be a 'War President' without a war, so the next thing you know - surprise! We're at war! Not with anyone who actually attacked us, of course, but at war nevertheless. To use a Watergate reference (something that is more and more apt as the facts emerge), "Deep Throat" told us to 'follow the money' - if you want to know who is behind something, find out who's making money from it. Who benefits? The American people have been sold out, our young men and women are dying by the thousands - to benefit the oil industry, companies like Halliburton and its subsidiaries, defense contractors, etc. And, best of all, there's no accountability! Our country's coffers are emptied into the bottomless, drooling maw of the war machine, and Bush's answer is - tax cuts! So, the richest of us, the ones benefiting from this bloodbath - don't even have to pay for it! And the rest of us pay for the deaths of our own children! Let's connect these dots: War is paid for with - taxpayer money! And taxes are rolled back primarily for who? So if the rich are paying less in taxes, who's making up the shortfall? The middle class and the poor - anyone not making over $300,000 a year. (Someone asked me who the 'rich' were - with the cost of living so badly outstripping the rise of real wages, I think you can be considered middle class with an income of $250,000, at least in places like New York, San Francisco and L.A.) Okay. Now, what else is war paid for with besides tax money, kiddies? That's right - blood. Young blood. Soldiers. And here's an extra-credit question - what socio-economic group is most likely to be in the military? Bingo! You're a genius! Yes, it's the middle-class and poor, who have the most need for a good job and an education, and often look to the military for that. Wanna get out of the projects? Join the military! Want to go to college, but are too poor to afford it, and too rich for financial aid? Join the military! Be all that you can be - dead! So, we are, in effect, subsidizing the murder of our own children. And I'm sorry, but murder it is.

But I digress.

Back to my point, which is that all of this has been laid out, brick by brick, with a specific purpose in mind. And this purpose is unlimited and unaccountable power for the Executive Branch, of which George W. Bush is a pathetic, feeble-minded puppet. A mean-spirited, cruel and petulant puppet, but a puppet nonetheless. It's Dick Cheney who, ever since the Nixon era, when the dangers of an unchecked President were made obvious by Watergate and subjected to proper oversight, has sought to dismantle these checks and balances and install an imperial presidency, answerable to no one. Sidney Blumenthal has written extensively about Dick Cheney, and in, he wrote
Nixon's resignation in the Watergate scandal thwarted his designs for an unchecked imperial presidency. It was in that White House that Cheney gained his formative experience as the assistant to Nixon's counselor, Donald Rumsfeld. When Gerald Ford acceded to the presidency, he summoned Rumsfeld from his posting as NATO ambassador to become his chief of staff. Rumsfeld, in turn, brought back his former deputy, Cheney.

From Nixon, they learned the application of ruthlessness and the harsh lesson of failure.
Big Dick wants to succeed where Nixon failed.

And he is succeeding remarkably well, it seems.

He began, of course, by insinuating himself into the running-mate selection process when Governor Dubya was planning to run for president. And who, after an exhaustive search for the right candidate, did he recommend? Why, amazingly enough - Dick Cheney! In the same article quoted above, Blumenthal writes
In 2000, Cheney surfaced in the role of party elder, above the fray, willing to serve as the man who would help Gov. George W. Bush determine who should be his running mate. Prospective candidates turned over to him all sensitive material about themselves, financial, political and personal. Once he had collected it, he decided that he should be the vice presidential candidate himself. Bush said he had previously thought of the idea and happily accepted. Asked who vetted Cheney's records, Bush's then aide Karen Hughes explained, "Just as with other candidates, Secretary Cheney is the one who handled that."
And, after somehow the Supreme Court decided that counting votes would cause irreparable harm to one person only - George W. Bush - and decided to install him in the White House, practically the first official act of Dick-in-the-Bush was to convene a secret 'Energy Task Force', which we lowly peons were not permitted to know the details of. Didn't that raise any eyebrows? Didn't that pretty much spell out the direction this Aministration was going to go in?

And so, in review:

This Administration wants to operate in total secrecy and impunity, in blatant disregard of the most important part of our Constitution, the separation of powers. If there is anything that is supposed to differentiate a democracy from a monarchy (or oligarchy, dictatorship, you name it), it is the separation of powers, which this batch of con-artists and thieves has shown itself to reject completely.


while it objects to any oversight whatsoever of its own activities, past, present or future, at the same time it wants to be able to have complete (and totally secret) access to the most private information of ordinary American citizens!

And yet, we are not rising up in fury against this.

I am beginning to think there is nothing so heinous that this criminal gang can perpetrate against us that we will not agreeably lie down and take it. Can it be that we are so - what? Afraid? Apathetic? Gullible? Wilfully ignorant? When, day after day, the revelations of corruption, of death, of lies, of incompetence, of cronyism, of fraud, of the gutting of everything that America once stood for, float over the heads of the somnolent American people, it is difficult to believe that anything could be horrible enough to rouse us - as a nation - from our complacent, childish slumbers.

I shudder in fear to think of what that could be.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Adieu or Au Revoir? - the Saga of Tom DeLay

"Melva Jean! How long is it going to take you to comb out my hair? I told you I have a lunch date, and I just can't be late!" I looked at my watch - the minute hand was inching toward twelve, and I was supposed to be meeting Tommi at Hogswallow's Hot Links at noon! My weekly set-and-comb-out at Melva Jean's Curl Up and Dye seemed to be taking forever today, but I wanted to look my best for Tommi.

Melva Jean sighed and exhaled a bitter cloud of Tareyton smoke. "I'm almost done, honey. Now hold still, or I'm gonna get Aqua-Net all in your eyes."

"Make sure you spray it good, Melva Jean, and don't forget to tease it extra-high the way Tommi likes it!"

"Tommi, Tommi, Tommi - that's all I hear you talk about anymore! When you gonna learn that man's no good?"

"No good? That's fine talk coming from you - speaking of which, when's Billy Earl coming back from Amarillo? I heard he's got him a hot little number stashed away in a motel over there," I said, mentally taking back the tip I usually left under the ashtray.

"Never you mind about Billy Earl. That man loves me to death. A truck driver just has to spend a lot of time on the road. Besides, at least he got him a honest job."

There was an awkward silence as Melva Jean finished ratting and spraying my hairdo. As I got up from the chair and paid the bill (twelve dollars and not a penny extra) Melva Jean said, "Aw, honey, I'm sorry. I didn't mean it. I know how much you love him. I just don't wanna see you get hurt again, that's all."

"That's okay, Melva," I said, but I still didn't give her a tip as I walked out the door. I clattered down the street to my car. If I put the pedal to the metal, I could still be on time for Tommi.

He told me, when he called me last night at 3:30 AM from the Lucky 7 Lounge, that he had "somethin' real import'nt" to talk to me about. At least I think that's what he said, but it was hard to understand his slurred words. He told me to meet him at noon at 'our place'.

I couldn't sleep the rest of that night. My head was whirling, spinning fantasies like so much cotton candy. What could he want to talk to me about? Was he finally going to 'pop the question'? Whisk me away to the Marianas? Whatever it was, it sure had to be important for him to call me in the middle of the night. Lately I hadn't heard much from him, and I was distraught. What had I done, or not done - said or not said? But now, in retrospect, I knew he was staying away because he was planning a surprise for us! Visions of orange blossoms and wedding gowns danced in my head. What would Melva Jean say when I sashayed into the Curl Up and Dye with a big rock on my finger? "That's Mrs. Tom DeLay to you, Melva!" I'd say haughtily. They'd all stop laughing then. That'd put an end to the snide remarks made just loud enough for me to hear in line at the Piggly Wiggly. They'd all find out soon enough. I couldn't wait to wipe the smirks and the pitying looks off their faces.

I burst through the door of Hogswallow's, smoothing my hair and trying to still my wildly-beating heart as my eyes adjusted to the dim light. I deliberately slowed down, trying to appear casual as I glanced around the deserted room for Tommi. True to form, he was there early, sitting at the far end of the bar, a row of dead soldiers already lined up in front of him. For some unknown reason, we were the only patrons there.

"Gotcha a Lone Star," he said by way of greeting. "Siddown." He gestured to the dirty naugahyde barstool beside him. I spread a couple of bar napkins on it and gingerly seated myself on the wobbly stool. Jimmi Sue, the slatternly barmaid, glared at me as she slopped grimy water onto the bar with an elderly gray dishrag. I glared back. She, like all the others, would soon be singing a different tune. Ignoring her stink-eye, I turned to Tommi.

"What is it, darling?" I gazed into his wide-set yet fish-like eyes. He looked away, then cleared his throat loudly.

"You know I like ya a lot, don'cha, Butterbean?" Here it comes, I thought, the moment every girl dreams of.

"Y-yes, Tommi," I stammered, my heart pounding like, well, a hammer. I held my breath and willed my hands to stop trembling.

"You're a nice li'l ol' gal, I always said. But tell me, honeybunch, do you like me too?"

"Oh, Tommi, you know I do!" I gasped. "More than anything!"

"And folks that like each other do each other li'l favors sometimes, don't they?"

"Just name it, Tommi - it's yours!"

"We-ell," he began. I was beginning to palpitate.

"I don't know quite how to say it..."

"Go on," I urged him. He took a swallow of his Lone Star and ahemmed again.

"Well, the thing is, I was thinkin' about takin' a little trip."

"A trip, Tommi?" I visualized it - Scotland, Cancun, maybe Paris? A honeymoon in Paris! What would I wear? But of course Tommi would buy me a lovely trousseau. I made up my mind that we'd get married on top of the Eiffel Tower.

"Tha's right, sugar beet. I been thinking about making a change."

"A change, Tommi?"

"Yeah, doll baby. I think I might like to move. It's getting a little warm here in Sugar Land."

"I know what you mean, Tommi. It's awfully hot here, especially in the summertime." I was thinking now, maybe Switzerland! I imagined Tommi and I in cute matching ski outfits, schussing our little hearts out together in the Alps. I'd never skied before, but I'd sure learn!

"But what about your important work?"

"Uh huh. The thing is, I'm retiring from the guv'mint."

"Retiring?" I exclaimed.

"They begged me to stay in Washington, o' course, but I insisted."

"So what will you do now, Tommi?"

"Well, I sure would like to take a nice trip to someplace cool", he said.

"Oh yes," I breathed.

"So, darlin', what I wanted to ask you..."

"Go on..."

"What I wanted to ask you, since we like each other so much..."


" how much money you got in the bank?"

"Why, Tommi!" I blurted. "About ten thousand or so, that I've been saving up ever since I was a little girl, for..." I blushed, too embarrassed to go on.

"So, my li'l banana fritter, how'd you like to take a nice trip?"

"Oh, Tommi!" I squealed, flinging my arms around him and nearly knocking over his latest Lone Star, "yes, yes, yes, yes, YES!"

"Easy there, cupcake! Now here's what I want you to do. Go to the bank and take out that ten grand. Then bring it all back here, and I'll go and get a ticket - uh, I mean a couple of tickets!"

"Where to, Tommi?"

He winked and said, "It's a surprise, darlin."

"As long as we're together, I don't care where we go!"

"Uh, yeah," he said uncomfortably. "Hurry back, now!"

At last! All my dreams were coming true! I was so ecstatic that I couldn't even manage to be mad at slutty ol' Jimmie Sue as she shoved the bill for Tommi's 16 beers at me. I hurriedly paid it (no tip for Jimmie Sue) and raced out the door, headed for my car, the bank, all my money and my new life with Tommi!

As I ran, in my head I practiced the only French I knew. "Au revoir, Melva Jean!"

Who'll have the last laugh now?