Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ba-Rocking the Vote (by absentee ballot)

Actually, I think I’m gonna walk this down to the polls on election day. After 8 years of watching helplessly from the sidelines while America (and the world) took it up the touchas from our elected officials, I want to be at Ground Zero for the regime change… I need to be there when America starts working for us again, instead of just working us over without so much as the courtesy of a reach-around.

So far, the word from the early voting states is promising, as in the following I’ve-CCed-everyone-in-my-address-book email I received from my Conservative uncle down Florida way a few days ago:
OK, it’s over as far as I’m concerned. We voted today. So PLEEEZZZE I don’t want to read another word about ‘BO’ or Big John, or Sarah or that BOOB Biden. It didn’t look good at the Polling Booth - there were more blacks than I’ve ever seen at the booth and I heard one guy say “It was slower this morning” - Oh, Oh!
Uh-oh indeed! Black people at the polling place instead of strung up on light poles? This isn’t the deep south he remembers!

Yes, this is one election day I want to experience first-hand. It’s not often I hanker to come together with anyone to be part of a community of anything, but in this case, I want to be able to say I was there, and that I fully participated in the day we began to take our country back from the flat-out scoundrels and sociopaths (and formerly-smug, racist relatives) who have dragged America’s occasionally good name through the cow patties for the better part of the last decade.

Then, and only then, will I retreat back to my richly-deserved, self-imposed social exile.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Schadenfreude Today: Ted Stevens convicted

Another Republican seat up for grabs... The GOP’s evil plan to place all three branches of the government in Democratic hands is coming closer to nefarious fruition! Boy, will democracy be sorry...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Real-life adjacent CNN.com headlines:

Taliban fighters kill bus passengers
Can Bible help you budget?

One of these things is just like the other.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

This is what 8 dolts look like:

From a Palin rally in Bangor, Maine, also courtesy of our friends at the New York Times, atop an article titled “Among Rock-Ribbed Fans of Palin, Dudes Rule.”

According to the article, the Alaskan GILF’s most ardent fan base are white, male knuckleheads who like body paint (see photo, above), beer and voting with their dicks.

I promised myself I wouldn’t give this honking lipsticked hyena any more unearned exposure than she already was enjoying, but this photo, coupled with her stiff, awkward appearance tonight on “Saturday Night Live,” pushed me over the edge. What harm are a couple more paragraphs of snark from me going to do?

Getting back to Sarah’s new BFFs:

Usually stupid people resent being talked down to – they pick up on it right away and are sensitive as hell about it – but apparently different rules apply when they’re being talked down to by one of their own. Or by somebody, you know, they’d like to fuck. Who knew how much the mouth-breathing masses would enjoy hearing their ugliest prejudices and most baseless fears bleated back at them in the sing-song cadence of a kindergarten teacher admonishing her charges not to eat bubblegum off the sidewalk?

A kindergarten teacher they’d like to fuck, of course.

Reasoned deep-thinker and former truck driver Larry Hawkins to the Times reporter, “They bear us children, they risk their lives to give us birth, so maybe it’s time we let a woman lead us.” As long as she’s someone we can masturbate to, he added to himself.

That is one hell of a brand of patriotism they practice in the ‘pro-America’ hinterlands.

This is what 100,000 people look like:

From an Obama Rally in St. Louis today, courtesy of the New York Times.

Forming a more perfect union (a work-in-progress)

Out here on Christmas Island, we have a proposition on the November ballot to allow gay people to get married. To each other (gasp)!

As we do every election, The Missus and I have my most excellent friend and dedicated right-winger The Last Boy Scout run down and sum up the various obtusely-worded ballot propositions and initiatives for us, then usually vote the opposite of what he advocates. He’s one of them old-school conservatives – isn’t looking to take over the world or shove Democracy down the throats of people in far-off lands who haven’t asked for our help. Usually his ethos is centered around not liking to pay taxes; he’s a proper fiscal conservative. So we were a little surprised (well, I wasn’t but The Missus was) when he recommended against the gay marriage proposition.

Here’s part of what he wrote:

Gay Marriage Proposition
Personally, as much as I believe in equal treatment under the law, I have problems with government treating two dudes getting married the same as a man and woman getting married. I'm cool with existing bans on marrying your progeny, marrying underage kids, and that sort of thing because some laws are actually needed to keep society running in an orderly and upright manner. And I know that the gay teachers and activists will insist on full inclusion of "Heather Has Two Mommies" stuff in the curriculum, and they already are taking kids on field trips to see gay weddings. Everywhere marriage is mentioned, there will be a little propaganda about how great it is that two hairy guys can get married, like it's as normal as anything. I have trouble seeing it that way.

The Missus expressed her disappointment to me, and I responded as follows:

Yeah, but read his text carefully. He’s right. Two dudes (or chicks) getting married isn’t “as normal as everything.” Not yet.

Also note, again carefully studying the text, The Last Boy Scout seems to have a bigger problem with gay dudes getting married than gay chicks. I think this comes from the same cultural whatever-it-is that gives me the willies when I see a couple of dudes swapping spit on the street. It doesn’t even matter if it’s a couple of really good-looking guys. It was built into The Last Boy Scout and me and our whole pan-generation of young males (both our dads were born in the nineteen-teens) to become unhinged by gay-guy PDAs (and turned on by two chicks, no matter how good-looking or not). Being a left-winger by nature, I identified my aversion as a shortcoming on my end to be addressed, but The Last Boy Scout aligning himself with the right on this cultural issue is just a predictable result of his overall rightward tilt.

Plus, if you’ve ever been the little boy who’s not as good at sports as your peers in the playground and had your sexuality questioned before you had even begun to give the idea any thought, and have been the victim of gay epithets hurled at you, as I was and The Last Boy Scout probably was too – you’re probably going to be drawn to overcompensating to prove it ain’t so. I’m disappointed too that The Last Boy Scout didn’t rise above his programming and take a more progressive view, but for me it falls into the “Expected To Happen” category. It’s the easier, safer choice for his demographic and (this is me, imagining the GOP thought process) who cares, the fucking liberals are going to ram it through anyhow. This is Christmas Island, after all! Massachusetts and us, we can become safe havens for all the pole-smokers and carpet munchers in the country! It would be awesome for our tax base… (Back to me again) That’s actually a fiscally-sound argument. Hmmm... Perhaps I should pitch it to TLBS that way.

Anyhow, it is what it is. Social change always comes about in America, albeit incrementally. It never slides backwards. It’s one of the things I love about this country. And most of the time, ground-zero for social change is the state I live in. I can’t wait to vote for gay marriage. A few years after it becomes accepted practice, it’ll be a windfall for divorce lawyers if gay marriages turn out to have same batting average as hetero ones. More moolah for the tax base! Everybody wins, even fiscal conservatives.

As for the die-hard social conservatives, once they lose the gay marriage battle, they’ll turn to some other vestigial injustice from the past and spend a couple of decades trying and failing to codify it. I wonder what it’ll be once women, minorities and gays have gotten their civil rights? Maybe they’ll circle back in time and try to run the Native Americans off their reservations and into the sea.

So I wrote my friend back, thanking him for his input. I’m actually going to vote along the lines of a couple of his (reliably fiscally tight-fisted) recommendations. I told him that The Missus was disappointed in his anti-gay marriage vote and that I had defended his opposition by putting it into a broader social context.

I told him: Gay Marriage – it’s the new interracial dating. Some day, our kids (maybe our grandkids, but I think sooner) will shake their heads and wonder what the big deal was.

We’re dinosaurs, dude, and rightly so. We’re potentially at the precipice of electing our first black president. When I was born, Jim Crow effectively kept lots of African-Americans from even voting. The times, they are indeed a-changing.

Wonder what little boys will call each other on the playground when the day comes that “FAG!!” has lost its currency. Or maybe, like “nigger,” it’ll still have the power to raise hackles and provoke hostility long after the issues that brought it to prominence have been laid to rest.

If our goals remain true to the Founding Fathers’ vision (as we agree they should), America will always have work to do perfecting our Union. And securing equal rights for all, regardless of race, class, creed or gender will remain a cornerstone of that endeavor.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Disenabling Evil

Oh my lower-case god, I just got off the phone with my Mom (upper-case!) and she reports that one of her TV evangelists announced today there is a general agreement among their ilk that “Sarah Palin has the mantle of Esther upon her.” Like, Esther from the Bible. As in, she’s the prophesied one. The anointed. And my Mom, bless her heart, is buying it. Her view is that all the reports of hatred and racism happening at Palin’s rallies are contemptible – that people would say such nasty things about Sarah! Her enemies in the media are distorting everything. I mention the miracle of videotape and she brushes it aside. At this point, the part of her brain allocated to independent thought is shut down and the workers have been sent home.

According to a description of a book I found for sale online (at Christianbook.com) called “The Mantle of Esther,” the story of Esther “shows readers how to present themselves before the awesome sovereignty of God and pattern a strategy for confronting evil.”

I’m guessing it turns out that the proper way to present oneself before God is with checkbook in hand. And regarding the intimation that Gov. Palin is blessed with supernatural insight into strategies for confronting evil… If her supporters’ behavior at her rallies is any indication, she doesn’t confront evil, she sends it an engraved invitation then meets it at the door dressed in a French Maid uniform and knee pads.

Sarah Palin represents the power of evil for fuck’s sake, she personifies it, she doesn’t stand against it! She sends it out, that power of evil, and rednecks and racists respond in droves. They flock to her rallies like vacant-eyed, pus-oozing zombies in the last hundred pages of a Stephen King novel. My Mom remains lucid and relatively clear-headed on most other stuff, but if they tell it to her on one of her religious channels, it’s gospel and facts cease to become even pesky things, they’re downright inconsequential.

Now I’ve tried to sit out the Palin-bashing because a) her performances are already an unconscious self-parody and it seemed redundant to me to poke fun, and b) the poking of fun is already well seen-to. But learning that the charlatans of television evangelism are selling this vile snake oil of Palin’s alleged anointment by upper-case God to susceptible senior citizens and the housebound via TBN, GodTV and Fox News the same way they sold them the Iraq War, I must say, really pushes my buttons. I went to a service during the run-up to the Iraq War at my Mom’s church, and the entire sermon – lengthy and repetitious as one might expect – was devoted to the impending crusade in the holy land (I swear they used that language, I sat slack-jawed). Turns it was only one of a consecutive series of similarly-themed homilies that lasted a month.

The geezers and the fringies bought it that time, and so far they seem to be lapping it up again. Sad, sad, sad. But preventable? Perhaps, depending upon how one feels about civil disobedience...

I say, if you have a crazy relative or friend who’s planning to vote based on deliberate lies and misinformation – like for instance that Sarah Palin is the new prophesied one after George Bush; you know, something quantifiably crazy – you have a duty to, at a minimum, be unavailable when they need a ride to the polls. Because you can’t talk the crazy out of crazy, but you don’t have to enable it either. Slip a “Matlock” DVD in and tell them it’s a marathon. Get really loaded and tell them you’re too drunk to drive them; hard for even a crazy mom to argue with that. You know damned well democracy will be better served by their lack of participation.

Pick up the mantle and do your duty. Confront evil. Keep a redneck or a born-again Christian you love from voting this year.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

First Photo!

A quick “Daddy Blog” in the midst of this most fascinating political season…

The above shot of his Superman punching bag is officially my son’s first photo. I showed him how to aim and what button to press to click, but the subject matter and composition is 100% the work of The Boy (formerly known as The Man Cub).

Some day, this blog entry will be worth millions!!

Kudos to McCain!

Finally saw a glimmer of the halfway decent guy who ran for President in 2000 when he admonished a couple of supporters who voiced their ignorance and hatred of his opponent to his face at campaign rallies yesterday.

The first clip, you can see McCain’s face getting set tighter and tighter (wish I could find a pic of it online to steal, oh wait, here it is on The YouTube...) as the redneck rambles on about his ill-informed fear of bringing up his kid in a country run by Obama. Said redneck was stumbling and stammering around, dredging up every code-word and phrase he had been fed by talk radio and Fox News and trying to put them together to form one coherent thought. Uh, it was very much like watching a Sarah Palin performance, actually. At the end, McCain thanks the man and takes the mic back, but then does a little stuttering and stammering himself before saying that Barack Obama was a “decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared of as president of the United States.”

At the other rally, the crazy old coot in the photo above who insisted Obama was a Muslim had the microphone plucked away from her by McCain before being repudiated.

Fucken a! What took McCain so long? I’m trying to convince myself this return to decency wasn’t just the latest Hail Mary pass cooked up by his team of geniuses to stop his poll numbers from plunging (I’m looking at you, J-in-B!) but in the end, I don’t care. I hope if they told him tomorrow to go back to his former fear-mongering tactics, he’d have gotten enough of a rush out of doing the right thing the day before, he’d tell them to go fuck themselves.

I just went looking for links to put in here, and came across this bullet-point on cnn.com:
NEW: McCain urges his supporters to be respectful of Obama

The “New!” being in red and all, it just cracked me up.

Here’s MSNBC’s headline: McCain booed for calling Obama 'decent'

Just for laughs, let’s see how Fox spins it. I just love Fox News. They make me laugh on the outside and weep for the depths of human depravity on the inside. I usually go there for the laughs. Let’s see… Oh, again, that’s too funny. I got an error message: [an error occurred while processing this directive]

Let’s try again… Well, okay, pretty close to MSNBCs. Geez rednecks, when you lose Fox News, you’re stepping too far out of the closet. Perhaps it would be better for your candidate if you stayed home the next time he’s in town. Oh yeah, the Fox headline was:
• McCain Booed After Calling Obama 'A Decent Person'

Anyhow, even if we never see that McCain again in this campaign, and even though others will, perhaps correctly, ascribe less-than-heroic motivations to this change of face, I always feel like if I’m gonna stand up and call somebody out when I think they’re fucking up – like I have McCain – I have a responsibility to slap them on the back if I think they’ve done something good.

And whatever his motivations, those moments were good for America.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Come on up!

Dream of life...

October 4, 2008

"Hello Philly,

"I am glad to be here today for this voter registration drive and for Barack Obama, the next President of the United States.

"I've spent 35 years writing about America, its people, and the meaning of the American Promise. The Promise that was handed down to us, right here in this city from our founding fathers, with one instruction: Do your best to make these things real. Opportunity, equality, social and economic justice, a fair shake for all of our citizens, the American idea, as a positive influence, around the world for a more just and peaceful existence. These are the things that give our lives hope, shape, and meaning. They are the ties that bind us together and give us faith in our contract with one another.

"I've spent most of my creative life measuring the distance between that American promise and American reality. For many Americans, who are today losing their jobs, their homes, seeing their retirement funds disappear, who have no healthcare, or who have been abandoned in our inner cities. The distance between that promise and that reality has never been greater or more painful.

"I believe Senator Obama has taken the measure of that distance in his own life and in his work. I believe he understands, in his heart, the cost of that distance, in blood and suffering, in the lives of everyday Americans. I believe as president, he would work to restore that promise to so many of our fellow citizens who have justifiably lost faith in its meaning. After the disastrous administration of the past 8 years, we need someone to lead us in an American reclamation project. In my job, I travel the world, and occasionally play big stadiums, just like Senator Obama. I've continued to find, wherever I go, America remains a repository of people's hopes, possibilities, and desires, and that despite the terrible erosion to our standing around the world, accomplished by our recent administration, we remain, for many, a house of dreams. One thousand George Bushes and one thousand Dick Cheneys will never be able to tear that house down.

"They will, however, be leaving office, dropping the national tragedies of Katrina, Iraq, and our financial crisis in our laps. Our sacred house of dreams has been abused, looted, and left in a terrible state of disrepair. It needs care; it needs saving, it needs defending against those who would sell it down the river for power or a quick buck. It needs strong arms, hearts, and minds. It needs someone with Senator Obama's understanding, temperateness, deliberativeness, maturity, compassion, toughness, and faith, to help us rebuild our house once again. But most importantly, it needs us. You and me. To build that house with the generosity that is at the heart of the American spirit. A house that is truer and big enough to contain the hopes and dreams of all of our fellow citizens. That is where our future lies. We will rise or fall as a people by our ability to accomplish this task. Now I don't know about you, but I want that dream back, I want my America back, I want my country back.

"So now is the time to stand with Barack Obama and Joe Biden, roll up our sleeves, and come on up for the rising."

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Johnny Cash essay: The Messenger

So it’s no secret I’m all about Johnny Cash. I think whatever answers you’re looking for in life can be found in Johnny Cash songs. I have practically everything he ever recorded and a lot of other stuff he never officially recorded.

Every once in a while, somebody finds me online with The Google, and writes me proposing a trade of some rare Cash recordings. In the last few years, nobody writing me for a trade had anything to offer that I didn’t already have, so I started telling them, since you don’t have anything to trade that I need, if you write me an essay entitled “What Johnny Cash Means To Me,” I’ll send you whatever you want.

Well, I got a great essay from a new e-friend today, and his discs will be on their way to him shortly. Since I didn’t ask his permission to post this here, we shall call him Anonymous:

lol, I'll make an essay, sure, I know exactly what to say.

What Johnny Cash Means to Me:
Johnny Cash to me is the muscle and brain of the Music Industry. With every song, came a song of Love, the Working Man, the depressed, the prisoner, everything that has emotion to it, John sang it. He made sure that problems like those were brought out and made damn sure to try to fix them as well. He was a good man, was very generous, so generous, it almost made him go bankrupt in the late 80's. He treated people the same everywhere, from Kenya all the way to New York City. He did so many benefit concerts and generous donations and such that it'd take a whole book to list them all. He loved everybody no matter what they did or how they were. He wasn't held down by the Industry either, for Music, he did what he wanted to do. Many times was he asked on the Johnny Cash show for example to not sing this, or take out this, but he wouldn't listen. In short, John to me is the Messenger, he made sure to bring out the good and bad of America, and even the world, and he did it all the way to his death.


Friday, October 03, 2008

“There you go again, looking backwards…”

I think that was my favorite moment from what turned out to be an anti-climactic VP debate. The above quote is Sarah Palin, reprising a line that worked so well for Ronald Reagan in a debate some 20 years ago and using it to accuse Biden of looking backwards. Again, more unintended, existential comedy from the irony-impaired governor of Alaska.

Sadly, last night’s event was not the GOP train wreck that Palin’s week of interviews with Katie Couric led us to expect it would be. I’m truly puzzled at how the inarticulate, ill-informed boob from the serialized CBS interview showed up and comported herself as an effective, efficient politico when the chips were down. My hat is off to Gov. Palin and her handlers. I mean, really, swinging and missing at Couric softballs like “What newspapers do you read?” led me to expect 90 minutes full of “You’re no JFK” moments, and instead she deflected, parried, obfuscated and aw-shucksed herself to a draw with a much more seasoned political pro.

Seriously, the debate I imagined beforehand was much more entertaining than the one that actually occurred.

ADDENDUM: Here’s something hilarious my sis just sent. It made me laugh out loud; kudos to the author.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Coolest new t-shirt I've bought all year:

(non Johnny Cash variety)

Apparently you can buy one online here, although I found mine at the local comic book shop. The artist is Alex Ross.