Category Archives: Elections

One Good Thing I Can Say

Today, I rise in support of the Gentleman from Missouri.

This morning, when I received a challenge from my friend Mark of Exile on Pain Street, well, I wasn’t sure I was up to it.  I tried, really i did.  But I just didn’t think I had it in me to answer his challenge:

I defy you to say something positive about the GOP. One thing.

When I look at today’s GOP, well, I don’t see anything positive.  I see a lot of hate.  I see a lot of stupidity.  I see a lot of folks in office that, well, really should just go back to where they came from.

And I feel compelled to write about it.  To shout from the rooftops, actually.  To get one more person out to vote against the folks who really should not be in positions to impact our lives.

But, you know, I felt bad when I realized that Mark is right.  Because I didn’t always feel this way.  I wasn’t always anti-GOP.  In fact, under the right circumstances, I might have become a Republican.  And today, a Republican showed me exactly why I might have joined the GOP.

Then I found my one positive thing!

Have you heard the news out of Missouri?

A leading contender for the GOP ticket for Missouri governor died last week.  Of course, that’s sad news.  It’s sad when anybody dies.

But of course there’s more to the story.  Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich (R) killed himself.  And suicide is a whole different ball game.

Mr. Schweich had believed himself to be the victim of a whispering campaign, by state GOP chairman John Hancock who was “off-handedly” spreading the word that Mr. Schweich was Jewish.  [It’s a sad statement of life here in America that that should be seen as a problem.]  There was also a nasty radio ad.  And Mr. Schweich was, by reports, a sensitive man.

These tactics have become part and parcel of our political “debates.”

But today, somebody stood up against it.  Against what politics has become.

Former Senator John Danforth was that man.  REPUBLICAN of Missouri.  Senator Danforth is part of the old school of Republicans.  Honorable men — they were all men.  Men who stood up for what was right and what was good.  Men who believed in their country and what we as a nation could do.

In his eulogy for Mr. Schweich, Senator Danforth called out all of us on what we’ve let politics become.  Anything Goes.

I have never experienced an anti-Semitic campaign. Anti-Semitism is always wrong and we can never let it creep into politics.

As for the radio commercial, making fun of someone’s physical appearance, calling him a “little bug”, there is one word to describe it: “bullying.” And there is one word to describe the person behind it: “bully.”

[…]

Indeed, if this is what politics has become, what decent person would want to get into it? We should encourage normal people — yes, sensitive people — to seek public office, not drive them away.

Senator Danforth continued:

We often hear that words can’t hurt you. But that’s simply not true. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said just the opposite. Words for Jesus could be the moral equivalent of murder. He said if we insult a brother or sister we will be liable. He said if we call someone a fool we will be liable to hell. Well how about anti-Semitic whispers? And how about a radio ad that calls someone a “little bug,” and that is run anonymously over and over again?

Words do hurt. Words can kill. That has been proven right here in our home state.

He explained why it happens:

There is no mystery as to why politicians conduct themselves this way. It works. They test how well it works in focus groups and opinion polls. It wins elections, and that is their objective. It’s hard to call holding office public service, because the day after the election it’s off to the next election, and there’s no interlude for service. It’s all about winning, winning at any cost to the opponent or to any sense of common decency.

And then an idea, a promise.  A pledge:

Let’s decide that what may have been clever politics last week will work no longer. It will backfire. It will lose elections, not win them.

Let’s pledge that we will not put up with any whisper of anti-Semitism. We will stand against it as Americans and because our own faith demands it. We will take the battle Tom wanted to fight as our own cause.

We will see bullies for who they are. We will no longer let them hide behind their anonymous pseudo-committees. We will not accept their way as the way of politics. We will stand up to them and we will defeat them.

This will be our memorial to Tom: that politics as it now exists must end, and we will end it. And we will get in the face of our politicians, and we will tell them that we are fed up, and that we are not going to take this anymore.

When Senator Danforth was in the U.S. Senate, it was an institution filled, more or less, with people of principle.  Some of the members I respected the most were Republicans.  They believed in cooperation and compromise.  The loyalty was to America, not to the GOP.

*     *     *

It is vital to have people in office who hold different ideas, different principles.  But it is time that we elect folks who have principles.  Wouldn’t that be great?

* If you are unfamiliar with Mark’s blog — run, don’t walk over to his blog. He’s a gifted writer.

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Out of this World Facepalm

Sometimes, even a die-hard Democrat and respecter of smart people everywhere like me can’t believe what I hear Republicans say.  But, of course, with YouTube, I get to See and Hear all kinds of things.  I can replay them in case I missed something.  I can marvel that, yup, they did, in fact say something as stupid as that.  Or this.  Yup.  There’s proof.

Oregon State Representative Bill Post eulogized the passing of Leonard Nimoy on the floor of the legislature.

As Addicting Info stated:

Of course, neither Spock nor Nimoy were Republicans. Star Trek is pro-science and about a big government in search of a utopian society. Its themes were equality (although the original Star Trek was sexist) and peace. There was no money on the Starship Enterprise. There were no rich or poor. All basic needs were provided for, including health care.

One of Spock’s most famous quotes was, “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

Don’t these folks ever listen to themselves?
*     *     *
I learned about this through Dailykos.com which directed me to Wonkette and ultimately to Addicting Info.

 

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TRIFECTA!

When I studied humor writing, I was taught something called “The Rule of Three.”

As the second deity in my holy research trinity, Wikipedia, says:

The rule of three is a writing principle that suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things.[citation needed]

That is the only reason there are Three Stooges. Because two just wouldn’t be funny. Come to think of it, THREE haven’t been funny since I hit puberty. But still.

Anyway, the Rule of Three works. Three is funny.

So I was delighted this week to learn that the GOP has adopted the Rule of Three! Yes, It’s true. They are pushing the envelope for legislative giggles. Ba Da DUMB!

Google, Natch!

Google, Natch!

Have you been paying attention? Because here’s what happened just this week:

In the Ring on the Right, we have Michele Fiore, Majority Leader of the Nevada State Assembly who has a whole new take on cancer, cancer treatment and what is apparently cancer of her own mouth:

“If you have cancer, which I believe is a fungus, and we can put a pic line into your body and we’re flushing, let’s say, salt water, sodium cardonate [sic], through that line, and flushing out the fungus… These are some procedures that are not FDA-approved in America that are very inexpensive, cost-effective.”

Photo from Crooks and Liars.com

Michele standing up for freedom with Cliven Bundy’s gang. Yeh Haw! Photo from Crooks and Liars.com

It really is amazing just how inexpensive death can be — there aren’t even any copays!

As my Dad would have said, “There’s a fungus among us.” That line is the only thing I could think of to say in light of this previously unknown cancer disclosure. Thanks, Michele.

Deja vu!

Deja vu!

 

In the Other Right Hand Ring is Idaho Rep. Vito Barbieri (R) who showed once again how the GOP really, truly has no fucking clue about women – literally or figuratively.  Or anatomically.

It all happened at a hearing on Tele-medicine – there is a bill in the Idaho Legislature that would prohibit doctors from prescribing medications that can induce a miscarriage — an abortion — from doing so via telemedicine – an online consultation.   Have you seen how fucking BIG Idaho is?  Or how it is somewhat phallic looking?

As stated in the AP Article:

Dr. Julie Madsen, a physician who said she has provided various telemedicine services in Idaho, was testifying in opposition to the bill. She said some colonoscopy patients may swallow a small device to give doctors a closer look at parts of their colon.

Now wait for it.  Here it comes … Your turn, Rep Barbieri!:

“Can this same procedure then be done in a pregnancy? Swallowing a camera and helping the doctor determine what the situation is?” Barbieri asked.

Madsen replied that would be impossible because swallowed pills do not end up in the vagina.

Allow me to rephrase this:

A man who has been duly elected to office – in the United States of America which office grants him a certain measure of control over many things including women’s reproductive rights, does not understand that there is no direct link from the mouth to the uterus.

The AP article went on to state:

Barbieri later said that the question was rhetorical and intended to make a point.

I’m pretty sure that Rep Barbieri made THREE points:

  1. That he doesn’t know shit from shinola,
  2. That he should just dig a hole and crawl inside for the remainder of his life.
  3. He should try stand-up comedy because I have had too few good belly/vagina laughs lately. Until I read this.
You know where I got the stupid photo, already.

You know where I got the stupid photo, already.

Now you know how there is always a serious guy in the comedic trio? This circus of GOPers is no exception.

In the Other Other Right Ring:  Here is the MO of this trio: Idaho GOP state Rep. Christy Perry!

Christy, is (of course) a good Christian. Being a good Christian, she is “pro-life.” Well, as long as that life isn’t breathing oxygen on its own, anyway.

Because Ms. Perry is apparently pro-life only until a baby is born. Apparently she finds it perfectly OK for parents to deny their children medical care in the name of the Lord. For Religious Reasons. And, you know, for FREEDOM!

Remember at this point in the movie, they are removing his intestinal organs.  There is no camera inside there. No vagina either, come to think of it.

 

*     *     *

 

So you see, our GOP reps really have the world of comedy all figured out. Ain’t it a shame though, that they only know slapstick.

And ain’t it also a shame that we as a nation are always the ones who slip on that damn banana peel?  Because we are down on our asses until we get these folks out o’ Dodge.  And DC.  And out of your statehouse and mine.

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No “Thank You”?

It was in 2002 when I first heard it, and even that first time, it made me feel somewhat uncomfortable.

John, Jacob and I had just recently returned to the US from our European adventure, when we attended a wedding of long-time family friends. The groom was in the active military, as were a number of the guests. Ed, the father of the bride, raised his glass and gave a toast; he enthusiastically wished them every happiness.

Then Ed raised his glass a little bit higher and said: “Thank you for your service.”

Huh? I thought. I’d never heard anyone do that before.

Now I’d known Ed for decades – since he was protesting the Vietnam War, as a matter of fact. So it seemed a bit odd to hear him say it, even though it was genuine and it was heartfelt. He meant it.

In those early post-9-11 days, Americans had started to understand that there are folks who make big sacrifices in their lives to serve in the military, that we as a country need a strong military. And that they should be acknowledged and appreciated..

Since that day, though, I’ve heard hundreds of people thank service men and women for their service. My old office was just down the road from a military base, so service people were all over all the time. People would thank them in line at Chipotle, at the bank, at the grocery store. They always looked uncomfortable; they were always polite. It’s also done at baseball games and other sporting events, where the announcer highlights a few members of the armed forces in the audience and then thanks all our service men and women.

I’ve always thought that if I were a member of the military, I would be uncomfortable hearing it. And I’d DIE if someone did that to me at a baseball game. Or if some random stranger just came up to me and thanked me for my service.

Because it often seemed like a hollow gesture. To say “Thank You for Your Service” has become another throwaway phrase – something said to a person in uniform instead of “Have A Nice Day!” With the notable exception of this old friend of mine at his daughter’s wedding, it has never really felt genuine. And it makes me feel uncomfortable.

Maybe it is just because of the people I’ve met who do it. They seem terribly insincere – like Mary Grace – a woman I met at a dinner party who was so sanctimonious about her good deeds and her patriotism, that I was compelled to take her down verbally.

So today when I read an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times entitled

Please Don’t Thank Me for My Service

well, I felt somewhat vindicated in my discomfort.

Matt Richtel told a bit of the story of Hunter Garth, a former Marine, but the focus of the article was on how many present and former military folks feel when someone thanks them for their service.

I did know he was a vet and so I did what seemed natural: I thanked him for his service.

“No problem,” he said.

It wasn’t true. There was a problem. I could see it from the way he looked down. And I could see it on the faces of some of the other vets who work with Mr. Garth when I thanked them too.

Everybody does like to be appreciated, don’t they?

But I read in the article that my instincts were right – that many service people don’t want to be appreciated in this particular way.  And to many others, it brings back thoughts that they might not want to think at that particular moment.

The idea of giving thanks while not participating themselves is one of the core vet quibbles, said Mr. Freedman, the Green Beret. The joke has become so prevalent, he said, that servicemen and women sometimes walk up to one another pretending to be “misty-eyed” and mockingly say “Thanks for your service.”

To these vets, thanking soldiers for their service symbolizes the ease of sending a volunteer army to wage war at great distance — physically, spiritually, economically. It raises questions of the meaning of patriotism, shared purpose and, pointedly, what you’re supposed to say to those who put their lives on the line and are uncomfortable about being thanked for it.

Mr. Garth, 26, said that when he gets thanked it can feel self-serving for the thankers, suggesting that he did it for them, and that they somehow understand the sacrifice, night terrors, feelings of loss and bewilderment. Or don’t think about it at all.

I think that we all want to somehow say thanks, because truly, what they do is vital to our country. And it’s dangerous. And pretty thankless.  But maybe we need to do just a little bit more than hollow gestures.  Just look at the difference between how we treat veterans today and how they were treated after WWII. Then they got jobs and the GI Bill. Now? Not so much.

Naturally, one line in the article jumped out at me, as something that you and I can all do for our vets. To thank them.

So what to say to a vet? Maybe promise to vote next time.

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Where’s MY ‘Panic Button’?

Wednesday, the Texas legislature’s House voted to allow their members to install “Panic” buttons in their office.  Isn’t that special?

The reason they might just need these panic buttons is because some folks are just getting out of hand.  And in their hands, they want deadly weapons.  Just about wherever they go.

The Texas Lege is voting on whether to allow “Open Carry” of guns.  Texas would join 22 states where Open Carry is already legal.  [For the record, I am astonished that that bastion of gun rights, Texas, does not currently allow folks to carry guns wherever they choose.  Shocked, in fact.]

The vote to allow House members to install “Panic Buttons” all came about because of a group of folks, ummmm, lobbying for open carry rights.  This group went to the office of a House member, Pancho Nevarez, who had the audacity to plan to vote “No” on open carry.  And while these “lobbyists” believe strongly in the Second Amendment, they apparently haven’t read about the FIRST Amendment.   They were aggressive.  They were intimidating.  They were, in a word, assholes.

But the thing is, rather than doing anything to prevent assholes and crazy folks from carrying guns, intimidating people and killing them, the Texas House voted to allow their members to install “Panic Buttons” to alert security.

You will be surprised to know this action just doesn’t sit well with me.

Perhaps I should be used to it.  After all, there have been security measures in Congress and most Executive Branch departments for nearly 30 years.

Folks cannot bring their weapons into the State or Defense or Homeland Security Department.  You can’t even bring it into the Air and Space Museum.

And, really, that’s OK by me.  I don’t want government officials to be shot at their desks.  It’s so messy.

But you know what?  I don’t think anybody should be shot at a Walmart.  Or at a movie theater.  Or at an elementary school.

So why should we provide an extra level of protection for the very same folks who vote to put the rest of us at risk?

The folks who decide on the gun laws are voting to keep themselves safe.  If they’re going to do that, they should damn well vote to make me safe.  And you.  And our kids.

What is wrong with this picture?

 

 

 

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Pretty Please?

Until this morning, I’ve been dreading 2016.

Politics, to me, is a spectator sport.  And so the idea of Hilary (ho hum) v. Jeb (ho ho ho) sounded like it was going to be about as much fun as cribbage.  Watching cribbage.

But this morning, I read that we may have some entertainment value to our next presidential race after all.  Whooeeeee!!!

Mitt Wants to Run Again!!!

And you know what idea he plans to run on?

POVERTY!

Yup.  According to this article in the Huffington Post, Mitt is going to tackle poverty:

Romney, who made a fortune in the financial sector and was cast by Democrats in 2012 as a heartless businessman, wants to make tackling poverty — a key issue for his 2012 vice presidential running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan — one of the three pillars of his campaign.

Tell us another one! (Google image)

Tell us another one!
(Google image)

I wonder if Ann Romney knows she might have to eat tuna and pasta again.

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Longing for Dick

It was while commenting on Doobster’s post, Art Imitating Life or Life Imitating Art, that I realized that the unthinkable had happened.   It’s true.

Doobster made me look back, and I thought of the men in my past.

George.

And George.

And Ronnie.

Now I find myself looking back fondly. Longing for Dick.*

I'm gonna be sick.  Google, why'd you do this to me?

I’m gonna be sick. Google, why’d you do this to me?

 

I wish I were kidding.

Often, I’ve realized that if the GOP hadn’t gone completely over the edge into fanaticism, that I’d be a Republican.

Google Me This

Google Me This

Because, you see, I remember when Republicans were not crazy. When they were a valuable part of the strong government that built our country into the envy of the world.

When they were not out only to protect their rich buddies. When they knew how to govern.

When they could compromise. More importantly, when compromise was the goal, because they knew that THAT is how government works. And good government works for everybody.

I remember the wonderful things that were done in the 1970s — Environmental laws, highways funded, bridges built.  Government FUCKING WORKED.

But starting with Reagan, the image makers changed the face of government – remember:

Reagan put folks into Cabinet positions who didn’t believe in government.  The Energy and Education Departments were led by folks whose job was to destroy the agencies.  The Environmental Protection Administration was led by Anne Gorsuch who didn’t promulgate the regulations that she had to — by law — promulgate.  People were put into levels of responsibility to thwart the laws they were supposed to administer.

So yes, I am sitting here looking back through history and realizing that the GOP has, in leaps and bounds, ensured that government doesn’t work. [I’ve said for years, why do people want to elect folks to government who don’t’ believe in government? What is the fucking point of that?]

It was compounded by George H.W. and then by George W. who put more and more jokers in positions of power.

And what a surprise, the government doesn’t work any more.

 

So now I find myself looking back fondly to Richard Nixon.  My, ummm, hero.

Google, natch.

Google, natch.

Is there no limit to what these Republican will do to me?

 

 

 

 

* Yeah, I know I skipped Jerry. But he served on a naval ship with my Dad in WWII during a typhoon and Gerald Ford saved the ship. So I cut Jerry some serious slack. Sue me.

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