Tag Archives: Pushing Buttons

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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Heads Up!

As a woman with Crohn’s disease, knowing where the nearest toilet is is something I have to think about a lot.  Sometimes it cramps my style, makes me avoid activities I might otherwise enjoy.

So imagine my relief when I learned that, in spite of the possibility of having to “go,” I can now help out outside.

Yeah, it’s true!  You can read about it here.  Someone has invented just the thing for folks like me — A special pooper scooper the inventor calls “Loo-cy.”

A motorized combination snowplow and toilet.

Me, I am flushed with excitement over this gadget; because everybody needs to do their civic doo-ty.

*    *     *

There is a conspiracy afoot to have me think about nothing but toilets.

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A Love (?) Story — Revisited

When I tell this story, I always have to put in a disclaimer.  Sort of like Dickens at the beginning of A Christmas Carol, when he says

“It must be understood that Marley was dead, otherwise nothing strange and wonderful could have happened.”

In this case, this fact must be understood:

I was really, really nice to everyone

Promise me you’ll remember that.

Once upon a time, I had a job at a law school.  The most fun job I’ve ever had.  I was the administrative assistant to a student organization, the BSA.  Pretty much the Boy Scouts of America, law school chapter.  The BSA members were 2nd and 3rd year students who did a lot to make the first year students happier during their (relatively miserable and difficult) first year.  They did orientation, taught legal writing, answered questions on where to go, what to do.  The office was large, with comfy chairs and a couch, a full free coffee pot.  A good, friendly place to hang out.  The members did, and so did a core of 1st years who, naturally, tried to become members for their 2nd and 3rd years.

It was a wonderful job.  Basically I answered questions and was nice to people.  Always.  A smile on my face, a laugh, a soft shoulder when needed.  It was easy to be nice in such a fun job.

Substantively, I had to know what was going on with the members’ various activities, because I was the one in the office when the 1st year students had questions.  I had to know what was going on to give the  answers.  Because that was my job.  The BSA members were all nice.  Except Monte.  He wasn’t.  He was a jerk.  Totally uncooperative.  He deserved that name.

Monte was in charge of a very important program that was one of two mandatory moot court programs for all 1st year students.  Essentially, it’s where they learned how to present and argue a case.  A whole case.  They write the briefs and argued the case in front of a panel of judges.  The students had a million questions, and they were also apprehensive, because it was an important part of their first year.  They asked ME all of those questions.

But Monte was in charge and wouldn’t let me know what was going on.  He wouldn’t answer my questions.  He wouldn’t keep me informed or involved.  I invariably had no answer to give to the poor student who really needed one.

Now, it might surprise you to know this, but I really hate to look stupid.  So one day I’d had enough of being unable to help, unable to answer questions I was supposed to answer.  Unable to do my job.  So I took Monte into the back room and politely explained in the nicest possible way, why he had to do things my way.

He responded, and I quote:

“Don’t worry your pretty little head about it.”  And he left.

Me, except I’m blond. And in color.

To this very day I have never been so mad at anyone.

I went back to my desk fuming, steam coming out of my ears, angry tears, the works.  As I stood there, shaking mad, a tall, blond 1st year student entered the office, came up to me and said – oh I don’t remember what he said.  But it was a question about that program.  Monte’s program.

“I DON’T KNOW.  YOU WILL HAVE TO ASK MONTE WHO IS A COMPLETE JERK!” I screamed at the tall, completely innocent blond guy.

He stood there, put his hands on his hips, shook his head and left the office.  He never returned.

I remember it clearly.  Well, except all I can see in my memory is the outline of a tall, faceless blond guy.  Standing there, hands on his hips, shaking his head and clearly thinking “what a bitch she is not very helpful.”

John did not propose then and there.

In fact, we didn’t even cross paths again that we know about during the two years we were there together.  We met again in DC through a guy I was dating who worked with John.  Years after I broke up with the other guy, John asked me out after we met up again at a party.

Whenever someone asks us the “how did you two meet?” question, well, I make sure I tell the story.  Because John claims I fired nuclear weapons at him, which is a slight exaggeration.  And it makes me look bad.

Really, I didn’t shoot at him.

But hey, my husband can never claim that he didn’t know I could be a bitch.  And that has been worth its weight in gold (or nukes) for almost 30 years.

*    *    *

This is an old piece that I’m replaying for Valentine’s Day because, well, it’s one of my favorite “love” stories.  And because there are lots of new followers who didn’t read it.  If you already read it, you can stop here.  See?  I told you I was nice!

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Married People

Married people are screwed.

That didn’t sound right.

Married people don’t get any.

Closer.  But no cigar (which is good; cigars are disgusting).

There are no good songs about married people who have been together longer than dirt.

Yeah!  That’s it!!

This morning I was happily singing away in the shower, belting out one song after another when I came to a realization.  Songs, at least the ones that are in my vocal range (2 notes) are all either about the beginning of love or the end of love.  If it’s a country song there is a dead dog in there as a bonus.

I’ve been married to John since 1986, living with him since 1985.  Thirty years Where are the songs to describe that kind of love?

Well, there aren’t any that I could think of.  (That’ll probably happen as soon as I hit “publish.”)

So, I decided that I have to write one.

It’s a challenge in that I can’t read or write music.  And I hate poetry.  And, well, I long ago stopped singing publicly — I don’t drink that much any more.  But still, I’m gonna draft the lyrics of a song for all of us old married folks.

The Second Half

Because I love you,

Let me snuggle up with you on the couch

while I write a bit on my blog

🎼

***

Because I love you

We’ll spend some time tonight

Just hanging out together

For you, I’ll only watch the second half.

🎼

On second thought, I guess there’s a reason there aren’t any songs about old, fat, bald, married folks.  My bad.

But I wouldn’t change a thing.  Well, maybe a few things.  I have a list, in fact …

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Got History?

There is a restaurant I just keep going back to.  Sweetwater Tavern in Sterling, Virginia.  I don’t know why I keep going back, exactly because it was the scene of one of my most embarrassing moments evah.

Still, I return. Went there just a few days ago, as a matter of fact.  They have terrific food and good beer. So I guess that explains it.  Plus, it keeps me humble.  Humbler.  Yeah.  Humble-est.  Or at least quiet.

Nevertheless, if you go with me, I’ll tell you the story. Unless John’s with us. Because last time, when I tried to tell Jacob the story, John hushed me up. Imagine! Now why would he do that?  He looked around the room and kept saying “keep your voice down!”

Actually, if it weren’t for my husband, it would never have happened. Not at all.  So it’s his fault.

And, if it weren’t for our friend Rob, who was visiting us from Geneva, well, it absolutely wouldn’t have happened.  So it’s Rob’s fault, too.

Me?  I’m innocent.

You see, both John and Rob are Civil War buffs. When Rob was visiting a couple of years back on Martin Luther King Day and it was a beautiful, warm, sunny winter day, well, what else was there for us to do but visit a Civil War battlefield?

Luckily for us, we live in Virginia. Civil War battlefields are a dime a dozen, ’round here. [Fortunately, the fears I wrote about in Great Balls of Fire have not materialized. Yet.]

Anyway, the three of us decided that we would head off to visit the Manassas Battlefield. For those not living in Dixie (Civil War – Land for the non-initiated) I’ll just let you know that Manassas was the very first battle of the Civil War, on July 16, 1861. Folks from Washington made a day of it – they packed picnics and took carriage rides out there from the Capitol to see the Yankees whup the Rebs. They called it the Battle of Bull Run.*

Only it didn’t happen quite that way.

The Rebs won. And when they had a do-over  the next year  on August 28–30, 1862, well, the Rebs whupped us again.

Of course, that’s not how the whole war went, though, was it.  Nope.  The NORTH won the Civil War!

Actually, Google Wins

Actually, Google Wins

But when you wander around Virginia, and probably other parts of the Old South, well, you don’t really get that impression.  Nope. Not at all.

As it was, John, Rob and I should have been prepared for what we found when we arrived at the Manassas Battlefield that morning. Cars with Confederate Flags were everywhere. Mostly pickups and cars that were auditioning for the Dukes of Hazard.

 

There are more cars around here like this than you can shake a stick at. Google Image, Natch.

There are more cars around here like this than you can shake a stick at.
Google Image, Natch.

 

Because, unbeknownst to us at the time, here in Virginia, the weekend of Martin Luther King Day also includes a Virginia State Holiday:  Lee-Jackson Day. Yup. Nothing says “We Lost” more than having a holiday to honor the vanquished generals.  And one that just happens to coincides with the National Holiday honoring slain black civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr!  Folks can get up to all kinds of merriment!

All morning long, there were whoops all around us of “The South Shall Rise Again!”  Men sporting Confederate Flags on their jackets, their cars.  And they were there to honor Stonewall Jackson whose birthday (January 21, 1824) was nearing.  Oh boy!

You see, it was at the First Battle of Manassas, that General Thomas Jonathan Jackson became “Stonewall.” It’s where he earned his famous nickname when as put by Wikipedia:

[Confederate] Brig. Gen. Barnard Elliott Bee, Jr., exhorted his own troops to re-form by shouting, “There is Jackson standing like a stone wall. Let us determine to die here, and we will conquer. Rally behind the Virginians!”

John, Rob and I had a nice time touring the battlefield. I’ve often said that we Americans do great battlefields. There are maps and audio buttons, knowledgeable park officials wandering around to answer your questions. Demonstrations of the firearms used, the uniforms. The works.  But it was clear from their words (and their bumperstickers) that folks around us, well, they didn’t really know their history.

 

My Picture. Take that, Google Images!

The answer, based on what we were hearing around us was: NOPE. My Picture.
Take that, Google Images!

 

As we wandered, and as we left, the three of us shook our heads constantly. Because you see evidence everywhere, not just at the battlefield, that Virginians haven’t heard the news yet — that that they’d lost the war.

Afterwards went for a late lunch at the Sweetwater Tavern. It’s a big, fun restaurant and bar, with great food and a terrific atmosphere.   We drove to the restaurant, crossing Lee Highway, John Mosby Highway. We passed the Sully Plantation, and took a wrong turn leading us towards Leesburg. The names of the Confederate heroes of the Civil War were everywhere. There is no Lincoln Highway as far as I’ve seen.  No Grantsburg.  No Sherman Boulevard.  Nope.

“Whoever said ‘History is told by the victors,’ has never been to Virginia,” John quipped.  You’d really never know that they lost, that they surrendered right there in Virginia, at Appomattox.  Because, really, they haven’t given up.

So how did that lead to my most embarrassing restaurant experience ever?

Well, we continued our conversation after we got to our table. We asked for a round of beers, placed our lunch orders, and continued commenting on all of the things in Virginia that, well, that you’d expect would be named differently. To be named by the Victors – The Yankees. Named by ME in fact.  Well, my ancestors.  Who were still in Ireland during the war.  But still …

Anyway, we talked about how, even today, folks in the states of the former Confederacy, don’t accept that they lost and are still fighting the Civil War. I mean, the War Between the States.

Our beers arrived, and, shaking my head at the bizarre attitude of folks in my adopted state, I raised my glass in irony:

“The South Shall Rise Again!” I said, my voice dripping with sarcasm.  With Irony.  With my superior knowledge of history.

And I said it, just as our African-American waiter placed a basket of bread on the table right next to me.

I stammered, shuddered, tried to evaporate.  I wished a cannon ball would fall on me – from either side, it didn’t matter.  I sincerely hoped that someone, anyone would run at me with their bayonet at the ready.  I wanted a quick death, not to be left dangling in my humiliation.

Because, really, what could I do?  I considered explaining myself to the poor waiter, but I knew it wouldn’t matter. That really, even a Connecticut Yankee like me couldn’t make reparations.

I stayed pretty quiet for the remainder of the meal.

We did leave a ridiculously large tip, though.

 

*     *     *

* For some reason nobody seems to know, streams and creeks in Virginia are called runs. I presume that’s because they run to the rivers and then to the sea. But still, if anybody knows why they are called that, I’d love to know. Because nobody I’ve ever known knows. It’s a mystery.

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