Thursday, June 30, 2011

Responsibility Ends Where Profits Begin

This is the problem with government.  They take on responsibility for big business.  Stop complaining (you know who I'm talking to) about how the government takes care of us.  The government has left us to hang while it takes care of big business, because big business has convinced government that we can't let it fail.  Not that it's too big, which it is, but that it's too important.  Apple pie and all that.  Except, instead of saying government is taking care of big business, they say they are helping small businesses.

What I'm really here to talk about today is the airline industry.  I'm sick to death of hearing what all the problem is with the TSA.  The TSA needs to hand the reigns over to the airlines to take care of their own damned security.  They need to be responsible for screwing up who gets on a plane, not the government.  Because when paying customers get on a plane, the airlines don't give an extra dime to the government for the security.

That's how the government is dumber than the Mafia.  When the Mafia gives you protection, you pay for it.

You have probably noticed that, as the TSA took over airline security, the airlines went all gangbusters over cutting personnel at the check-ins.  Just when you might think they would be required to be on guard for "suspicious characters", or at least be there to check to make sure their ID's matched their boarding passes (and that they had boarding passes), they were now insisting that we all use "self-check-in".  Common sense would have it, in the stupid age, when you need to submit to having your purse poked to get into a concert, there would at least be airline personnel at essential checkpoints to keep an eye out for "suspicious characters".  You know, instead of the irritating recorded message that instructs us, at no additional cost to the airlines, to report suspicious persons... 

...not to the airlines, but to the TSA.  Because the airlines have washed their hands of this responsibility.

I do hate the TSA.  It is government bureaucracy at its finest. But let's all remind ourselves that the government is just doing what we all have come to expect it to do:  use our tax dollars to protect big business.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Et Tu, AARP?

When our democratic President began his health care fight by inviting the industry to the table and not including advocates of single payer, we knew there was trouble ahead.

When, in December, the President supported caving on letting tax cuts for the wealthy sunset, in trade for the smallest of tax cuts for the rest of us, he claimed it was because we Americans were being held hostage.  If only we were being held on a ship by pirates, he might have shown some courage and conviction, and fought for us instead of giving us up.

The message of this administration is, and has been from day one in office, that you can't beat them, we might as well join them.  He is them.  And he has let us know that we are powerless against the moneyed and corporate interests that own him as well as Congress and our courts.

So who was surprised to learn that AARP is caving in its defense of Social Security?  AARP has not, for a very long time, been about the average American.  With its increased lobbying power, AARP, like President Obama, grew away from the people who, in retirement, try to juggle expenses as the cost of living rises faster than Social Security benefits.

AARP will no longer defend those who work too many hours on their feet, teachers and Wal-Mart cashiers, police and construction workers, those who by age 62 will opt for partial benefits because they physically can no longer handle the stress of the workplace.  They have joined the chorus of those who chant, "Don't worry, it won't affect you."  They propose to let the coming generations, our children and grandchildren pay with their old age.

And they are counting on the greed and insecurity that has bred in this country to sell us out.  That we will allow the next generations to suffer more years of hard work for less benefit.

Because it is not the AARP executive or the lawmaker that will suffer those extra years in the workplace.  It is those people who are worn and tired, wishing they had time to spend with loved ones before they die, hoping they are not too sick to be able to eventually enjoy retirement.


Because we refuse to tax the wealthy and powerful, refuse to compel the greedy corporations to care for the country that feeds them.  The corporate powers that brought us Tea Party health care reform rhetoric about killing grandma is not only seeking to block the health care reform that would care for grandma, but is controlling the debate on a budget deficit they care not a fig about, and convincing our leaders, and the powerful organization that once claimed to support us, that our children should pay for their wealth with their old age.

This is why, today, I am quitting AARP.  They no longer speak for me.

I suggest you follow suit, and let them know when you do, that it is because they no longer support middle class Americans in our fight against the wealthy and powerful.

Rather, give your support to organizations like the Alliance for  Retired Americans, and other organizations made up of people like us, who still speak for us.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Another Thing Women Are Better At...

The "Weiner thing", and you know the pun is intended, has got me thinking way too much about what's wrong with men.  And then I heard a panel of women on This Week discussing whether women aren't just better than men at most things.

Of course we are.

I could end there, but the women on the panel, who of course were powerful and successful, went on to overachieve at being in this discussion.  So it was brought up that in studies, women in corporate positions of power made more money for the company than did men, and there is absolutely no doubt in anyone's mind that more of that weiner thing goes on with men than with women at the helm, and I'm sure there's also a pun in there somewhere.

I would like to analyze that a bit.  Why is it that women in power are more successful?  Why don't they fool around and get into all kinds of trouble sexually?

Are you nuts?

A woman in a powerful position, first of all, was raised by a mother.  A mother who did not bring her up to aspire to be a doctor, but a doctor and a mother.  A mother who taught her that it is reprehensible to allow someone else to raise one's children, bake one's children's brownies for their school parties, clean up the sick when one's child has the flu.  And get a graduate degree and a career before you even think about all that motherhood thing, so you can get on that corporate ladder while baby is learning to climb stairs.

The mother of a son, on the other hand, is just as proud if he can get out of bed and shower on the day he aces his SAT's.

And then there's sex.  Given all that maternal upbringing, a women certainly is too exhausted to have the desire.  Not only that, a girl is taught that sex is slutty and/or needy, a boy that sex is just one more achievement.

One of the suggestions made by a member of the panel is that in order for more women to attain positions of power and thus save the world, it is necessary to make life easier for women.  This would never work.

The reason there are fewer shenanigans with women than men is that there aren't even enough hours in a woman's day to play a round of golf much less engage in sexual hijinks.  This is the secret to remaining focused and successful.

We all know that busier people are more efficient, and keeping that carrot just out of reach will keep us women chasing it.  Meanwhile, we end up improving the world at bargain rates, and without the free time to get into trouble.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

On Throwing Stones

Well, here we are, Puritan America.  It's not as though we are actually pure, though.  We are always happy to dwell on a bit of dirt, pursing our lips as though it is ever-so-distasteful the whole time we are hearing about it.

Many of us watch dirty movies, listen to dirty song lyrics, tell dirty jokes.

Those of us who do not engage in the above are perfectly willing to obsess about those of us who do.  And while they are spending all that time thinking about us, they feel free to judge us as they assume God meant us to be judged.

I once spoke with a library patron who was looking for murder mysteries that didn't have dirty words in them.  You are reading for pleasure about murder, but you are offended by bad words???

In my younger days I hung around with people of foul-mouth, laughed at dirty jokes, was, you might say, indiscreet, myself.  As I grew older my life became more conservative (in the Webster dictionary sense of the word).  Sometimes, I might add, to the point where it is surreal in its pretense of purity.

I now live in a world in which people believe only bad people have affairs, curse and drink to excess.  I have of late had to learn to keep my salty words to myself.  An old acquaintance was appalled that I actually used the word "cuss" rather than "curse", and I am ashamed to say that that is the world in which I live.

The Daily Show thankfully wakes me back to reality, although the reality I am watching has censors that will not allow me to hear bad words, even after 11 p.m.  Sponsors of the NBC Nightly News at 6:30 p.m. might sell medication to allow you men to have erections, but it would be dirty to call it fucking.  And if Brian Williams said the word, pressure from the sponsors would require that it be censored.  Ironically, if we could call it fucking, we might not need the meds.

In this land of bullshit, in which Rachel Maddow has to call it "bullpuckey" or some such horseshit, I believe many of her viewers would be shocked if they were to learn that she curses.  (Don't faint, I'm not saying she does, just that someone might learn that she does.)

The thing is, we have allowed ourselves to become so led by our own conflicting prurience and prudery, that we are spending weeks learning the "sordid" details of Anthony Weiner's dirty pics, and ignoring the fact that Clarence Thomas, whose wife lobbies for the health insurance industry, is about to hear cases involving ObamaCare.

A few short summers ago we were so in thrall with stories of our own South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's  adventures down his mistress's Appalachian Trail that the fact that no one in the state knew how to reach him in an emergency for a week was pretty much an afterthought.

And then there are the blowhards who are forcing their religious dogma down our Constitution, only to end up with their own personal scandal.  They are the ones who are using our tax dollars to ban abortion, even birth control, because of their reverence for life, and then in the same pious breath vote down funding for health care for all.

I don't think Anthony Weiner's dirty pictures are as immoral as a media that spends its time focused on his private life rather than on his legislation.  The impeachment of Bill Clinton was far more shameful than his sexual antics.

And when we talk about all those tight-assed religious fanatics on C Street, including our own former Governor Sanford, we should be looking at the threats that they pose to our individual freedoms by virtue of their own presumed virtue, and not who they are boinking.

Finally, finally, I am sick of hearing about whether or not dirty emails were sent on government computers.  To paraphrase:

Let him who has not sent a personal email from work cast the first stone.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Rally God for DeMint

I was disappointed to learn that, after praying on whether he should take his turn at this Republican primary season's game of Whack-a-Mole, our own Senator Jim DeMint has decided he can defend the wealthy and righteous better by remaining in the U.S. Senate.

I would think that God would certainly want DeMint to at least initiate a run in the presidential primaries, although not necessary for the reasons DeMint might imagine.  I doubt very much that God sees Jim Demint as the American hero he himself sees in the mirror.  God being partial to modesty, for one thing.

Senator DeMint is just too happy living in the shadows, surrounded by his stacks of money, and his stacks of wealthy friends and gullible Tea Partiers.  I believe God may just be feeling a bit left behind by Jim about now.  God may be wishing, as are many of his constituents, that he actually stepped out where we could actually have a good look at him, and announcing that he is considering a presidential run would be just the thing to bring that about.

If you recall, not so long ago, after The Donald was the flavor of the week, all that sunlight began to turn up some not so sweet odors, like his foul mouth, bad business deals, and decidedly undiplomatic plans for China.  I would truly like to hear more from Jim DeMint than what he himself has scripted.  And I believe God has the same desire.

So, if you want to take a moment to appeal to God to knock some sense into Senator DeMint, maybe he'll decide to run after all, and we can all get a good look at him.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wow, They Did It Again

I have nothing but admiration for Anthony Weiner, one of the Congressional representatives (which I can count using the fingers of one hand) that will always speak honestly, regardless of hounding by the media, and regardless of popular opinion.

Hah, you thought I was talking about the Twitter thing that is the media's obsession of the week.

What I am referring to, however, is Weiner's letter requesting that Justice Clarence Thomas recuse himself from any cases regarding the constitutionality of the Obama Health Care Act.  It appears that Ginny Thomas has her hands in all kinds of lobbying against ObamaCare, and that, although Thomas is typically steamed about having to admit to this source of income, he indeed benefits financially from his wife's political activities.

I quite accidentally learned of this as I caught up on my week's worth of The Rachel Maddow Show, working backwards, nearly missing the Friday interview with Anthony Weiner before the Twitter business hit.  On that show, Weiner appeared and explained his House petition asking Thomas to recuse himself.

The thing is, not having time during the week to catch much news, what I heard ad nauseum was about Weiner's hacked Twitter account.  I saw the lewd photo, heard all the bad jokes, and the back and forth about why Weiner wasn't giving the drooling media the meat (no pun intended, really) it was craving.  The last straw was Luke Russert insisting on finding out whether the picture was really of Anthony Weiner.

This is absurd and tragic for us Americans.  We are so easily led by a shallow and lazy media, which we have allowed to exercise this dirty journalism.  It is upsetting to think that we are being denied, in this time of failing schools and health, lost jobs and homes, and neverending war, accurate representation of the real issues.

So let me just thank Rachel Maddow for committing real journalism.

Oh, I would also like to thank Jon Stewart for his astute journalistic observations on whether the photo could really have been Anthony Weiner.  Good to have a laugh at all this nonsense.