Daily Archives: June 20, 2004

Women Blog, Too!

This week’s featured female blogger is ‘Wanda’ of Words on a Page. Wanda has, like a lot of others lately (what is it? something in the water?), totally re-designed her site; now it mimics the look of a small-town newspaper. She has even designated herself ‘Editor-in-Chief’, so I guess it’s a one-woman operation. She changed her handle, too, to ‘an independent woman’, which may be a statement of some kind, I’m not sure.

The only things that haven’t changed are her wide-ranging interests and the character in her writing. Wanda writes more from the heart than the head–not that she doesn’t have ‘a good head on her shoulders’, as my mother used to say, only that what matters to her is what the information she’s passing along does to your living soul as you punch your way through every day. In ‘Shades of Gray’, for example, she starts with the Bushian slogan, ‘You are either with us and against the terrorists, or you are on the side of the terrorists’, and slams straight to the heart of the dichotomy in its assumptions.

I worry that there are so many who do not spot the flaw in this pseudo-logic. Why do so few understand that it is possible to not be on the side of the terrorists, and also not subscribe to the Bush Administration’s foreign (or even domestic) policy?

Why do so many forget that we live in a technicolor world, where black and white are only the beginning? There are so many shades of gray. Grays stained with the red, red blood of those who are forced to fight the wars of fanatics.

After watching an HBO special on Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, she writes:

As I watched this documentary tonight, there were times when I almost cried. There were moments when I felt my blood run cold.
For the first time in my life I truely [sic] understood McCarthyism and all that it encompassed.

Neo-conservatives across the country are following in McCarthy’s footsteps. They are calling Liberals and Democrats every vile, hateful name they can think of. Implying that by not supporting the President and his administration you are a traitor, that you are un-patriotic, un-American. They condem[n] genuine war veterans. Question their service to their country. When they themselves did not have the will nor the courage to make the sacrifice required by volunteering to go and fight. Their hate for all things not conservative or Republican spews forth and infects all they come into contact with.
One only has to look at the days of McCarthyism to know what we have to fear if these people are allowed to continue to control the Congress, and the Presidentcy [sic] of this country.

What Wanda seems to want to do is remind us that the consequences of our behaviour aren’t just moral or legal or technical but that the price we pay, we pay with the stunting of our emotions and the shriveling of our humanity.

Whenever I get lost in a tunnel of intellectual anger and cynicism, I go read Wanda and get reminded of what this is really all about: a sneaking, snaking desolation of the heart perpetrated by forces that want us to be smaller and meaner than we really are. She’s like an anti-toxin to the poison of small, selfish minds, and we all need a dose of somebody like Wanda every once in a while. A couple times a week, at least.

Today’s Poem

Obviously, on he sails,
with marks not quite as good as Quayle’s.

–Calvin Trillin

Outsourced Daddy

Well, why not? It makes as much sense as destroying an economy. If profitable corporations–and don’t kid yourselves; the companies doing the outsourcing aren’t companies on the edge of bankruptcy, they’re companies who were doing quite well, thank you very much, but ‘quite well’ wasn’t good enough–feel no compunction about destroying the economy of their home country in order to raise their stock price a few points, why should we feel any more compunction about destroying our families in the name of ‘efficiency’? Bruce Stockler explains.

Dear A., J., B. & H.:Thank you for the book, DVD and James Gandolfini beach blanket, but I will forward them to Mr. Gupta, your new father, who lives in Bangalore, India (see attached map).

Please don’t cry or throw tantrums — I don’t want Mr. Gupta to take over the family under the wrong paradigm. I will always love each of you with all my heart, but it just isn’t practical for me to continue the work of being your daddy in today’s global economy.

Every organization must adapt to changes in the marketplace, and our family is no exception. To remove the unfair tax burden on Daddy’s domestic middle-class income, I will be generating offshore revenue streams that will provide all of you a higher standard of living. This is not to say that I expect you to grow up and sidestep any of your economic responsibilities, only that hard work does not always yield the intended reward.

Many Daddy-intensive activities, like jumping on the bed, disgusting-noise marathons and string-cheese spitting won’t be possible anymore. On the other hand, Mr. Gupta and his staff will be available 24/7 for technical and moral support.

Mr. Gupta will read bedtime stories over the family intranet. Even though you will be sitting alone in your beds, listening to the disembodied voice of a near total stranger, remember that you are lucky to live in America, home of Ben Franklin and Willie Mays and Hilary Duff, and that you could be growing up in France, where you’d have no father either, and be forced to listen to Édith Piaf, smoke cigarettes and make excuses for terrorism. So bedtime won’t be the same, but, then again, you always complained that bedtime was boring.

I’d say this sounds like a profitable idea for everyone and will help improve our quality of life by removing at least one irritant from it–Father’s Day. Let’s face it, fathers have been inefficient, redundant, and unncessary except as cash spigots for at least twenty years. We’re obsolete technology, and we have no place in modern society; there is no job we have left that cannot be done better over the internet from Indonesia or Kuala Lumpur. Our only previous function–fatherhood, not to bang this thing over the head any harder–has been, is being, and can be turned over to fertility and insemination clinics much more cheaply and with none of the messy and negative side effects of the old method–namely, having to deal with us.

Face it, women. You never much liked us anyway. We’re dirty, we smell, we have unholy and unexplainable attachments to watching other men in candy-colored uniforms pushing a ball across a painted line–or through a hoop or into a net or, worst and most useless of all, into a hole in the ground (what’s that about anyway? Is that some kind of sick metaphor?)–and we revere not sanctified womanhood (your natural preference) but powertools with handy attachments, especially powertools we will never in a million years actually use but which look stunning on the workbench and lend the basement an aura of cool, old-fashioned-male-like invincibility.

You don’t care for much of anything about us, in fact, and have made this abundantly clear over the centuries. In the last half of the last century, when technology and social changes removed everything for which you had previously needed us, you were only too happy to dump us without so much as a moment’s hesitation for vibrators and somebody you could hire to take the garbage out and set the clock on the VCR–we heard your audible sigh of relief on our way out the door to find a divorce lawyer who would turn out to be on your side.

So by all means, let’s improve the economy and our personal tax structure by adopting corporate methods. We have nothing to lose, after all. We’ve already lost it.

Clean Elections Under Attack

Now there’s a surprise.

Right-wing corporate interests are trying to repeal Clean Elections laws in Arizona. Molly Ivins has the skinny.

AUSTIN, Texas — No sooner do we win a long struggle to clean up politics and restore democracy in this country than we find the whole thing under attack, and we have to go out and re-fight the same battle all over again. Good thing we’re not easily discouraged.This is what’s happening in Arizona, where the successful Clean Elections law is now under attack by the big special interests and national conservatives with ties that run from Tom DeLay (surprise!) to Bush’s fund-raising machine.

Micah Sifry of Public Campaign reports, “They’ve raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to put a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that doesn’t mention anywhere its true intent, to de-fund the Clean Elections system.” This charming endeavor is masquerading under the misnomer “No Taxpayer Money for Politicians,” a misleading moniker right up there with Bush’s “Clear Skies” and “Healthy Forests” initiatives. What a shame they couldn’t figure out a way to call it the Patriot Amendment.

The bad news for the bad guys is that evidence continues to accumulate that Clean Elections work — they are actually reviving democracy. In Arizona and Maine, where Clean Elections have been in effect for a couple of years, more candidates are running and competitiveness has increased. According to a study done by political scientists at the University of Wisconsin in May of this year: “There is no question that public funding programs have increased the pool of candidates willing and able to run for state legislative office. This effect is most pronounced for challengers, who are far more likely than incumbents to accept public funding. In Arizona, the likelihood that an incumbent will have a competitive race more than doubled from 22 percent of all races in 1998 to 45 percent in 2002.”

Of course they work, that’s why the corporatists are so up-in-arms about them–laws like that make politicians and elections harder to buy, impossible in some cases. They can’t let these laws stand because they risk losing control of the govt and therefore of the goodies they make govt give them. So they’re using their usual tactics–lies, evasion, misdirection, and mischaracterization–to try to bring them down.

The question is, ‘Are Arizonans sufficiently stupified by the bullshit to let them get away with it?’ Let’s hope not.