Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Right to Choose


The greatest gift democracy has to give us is the freedom of choice.

We choose who governs, we choose the laws, we choose the consequences. We choose where to go to church, we choose where to get a job, we choose where to go to school, what to learn, what music to listen to, what to wear everyday, what to throw away and what to recycle.

We the people have a right to choose, and that right is inalienable and it must be protected.

I will fight to the death for my neighbor's right to choose, even if his choice is different than mine and here's why: the minute I allow somebody else's right to choose to be taken away, I open the door for my OWN right to choose to be taken away.

When one person's right to choose is taken away, it automatically paves the way for other's right to choose to be taken away.

I don't care what you choose, so long as it doesn't impede MY right to choose.

You can go to church, and you can believe what you want to believe, but when you make a decision about a law in this land that inhibits another's right to choose, you are doing yourself, this country, and democracy as a principle an utter and complete disservice.

The first amendment states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, etc. are all welcome, but they are all equal in that they are meaningless when it comes to the law.

When it comes to civil rights, history shows that the tide moves in one direction and one direction only - forward. So vote how you will, but understand that a step backward for one, is a step backward for all.

The Politics of "Someone Else"

I was taken aback by a conversation I had yesterday with someone close to me who mentioned that he thought Sarah Palin was exactly what this country needed.

It really opened my eyes about something that I should have already known, but never really took the time to understand. I thought it was obvious that she was so incredibly unversed and unsophisticated enough about the important issues in this election - namely the economy (and alll that entails) and foreign policy (and subsequently homeland security, which makes me cringe to use that terminology.) To her credit, I do think she is a champion of conservative social issues and therefore, if you subscribe to them, she could be your gal.

But here it was before me: "I think Sarah Pain is exactly what this country needs." She's unconnected to the system, she's a small-town person, she's as corny as Kansas in August, she's as normal as blueberry pie.

This person was concerned with politicians. Said he doesn't trust them, never did. They make everything complicated and they're more concerned with getting elected than the well-being of the country.

Now, I must remind him and everyone else that, new to the game as she is, Sarah Palin's job depends on whether or not she is holding public office. It is in her greatest personal interest that she get elected.

But to move on from that, the point he brought up was more than valid. Politicians make everything complicated and they're more concerned with getting elected than the well-being of the country. How can that not be true? We ask so much of our elected officials, and the minute it became a job, and not a volunteer position, we gave up most all hope of someone acting for an interest beyond their own well-being.

But that's the point - WE did it. And there's a reason. It's the same reason we take our car to the mechanic, or the same reason we have maids clean our homes. It's the idea of "Let Someone Else Do It." I will make a smaller sacrifice (carpooling to work for a week, allowing a stranger into my home while I'm gone) in order for me to forego a bigger sacrifice (having to fix my own car, clean my own house).

So we elect people to do the dirty work for us. But then, on top of that, we expect that the dirty work we didn't want to do will ultimately be something we could have done ourselves.

When I go to the mechanic and he points out all the bells and whistles that are wrong with my car, I get angry. I get angry because I think he's trying to confuse me in order to rip me off. It can't be THAT complicated I think! It was just a "whrrring" noise. Just fix the "whrrring" noise!

And when the cleaning lady puts things in the wrong places and I think she stole them, but really they were just misplaced, I get angry. I get angry because if I'd done it, I'd know exactly where they were. Not that I have the time to do it.

And the same with our politicians.

But the thing is this: our world is increasingly complicated.

It bears repeating.

Our World Is Increasingly Complicated.

And if you want Someone Else to make it easy to swallow, someone who takes the complication, the gray, and turns it into straight-talking black-or-white, I understand. And I understand why that person would think Sarah Palin is exactly what this country needs.

But you also should understand that it isn't that simple, and in making it seem that way, she's leaving a lot of important things out.

And it's tough, but YOU are going to have to sit down and look at the facts and bone up on basic economics and figure out how Russia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan are all related if you want things to be done right.

Because you can't just leave it to Someone Else. Because like you said - someone else doesn't care about you as much as you do.

Monday, September 15, 2008


You knew it the minute she walked up and stood next to McCain the Friday after the DNC. She was a smart ass with a sexy business skirt, a flirty hair bun, and...those glasses.
You knew it was going to be everything you wanted it to be.

You knew this because...she looked just like Tina Fey.

And then...it came....

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Those Sexy Feminists

As I listen to NPR and watch CNN, I often think about the well-balanced nature of my media. Of course, I believe that both of those outlets are giving me many sides of the issues and that the anchors are never bullying their own opinions on me.

But lately, especially in the wake of Sarah-"I don't come from no monkey"-Palin, I can't help but feel that ALL the media is liberally-bent. But then I wonder if we don't just have logic on our side.

Another very liberal source of information is of course the LA Times. On Sept. 4th, it posted an opinion article by everyone's favorite feminist Gloria Steinem. The article, chock full of logic, is just too damn good to not post in its entirety, so here's the link, and here's the article:

Palin: Wrong Woman, Wrong Message
Sarah Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Hillary Clinton. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.

By Gloria Steinem
September 4, 2008
(Links and italics added by BT)

Here's the good news: Women have become so politically powerful that even the anti-feminist right wing -- the folks with a headlock on the Republican Party -- are trying to appease the gender gap with a first-ever female vice president. We owe this to women -- and to many men too -- who have picketed, gone on hunger strikes or confronted violence at the polls so women can vote. We owe it to Shirley Chisholm, who first took the "white-male-only" sign off the White House, and to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who hung in there through ridicule and misogyny to win 18 million votes.

But here is even better news: It won't work. This isn't the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need. Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for women everywhere. It's not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It's about baking a new pie.

Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton's candidacy stood for -- and that Barack Obama's still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, "Somebody stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs."

This is not to beat up on Palin. I defend her right to be wrong, even on issues that matter most to me. I regret that people say she can't do the job because she has children in need of care, especially if they wouldn't say the same about a father. I get no pleasure from imagining her in the spotlight on national and foreign policy issues about which she has zero background, with one month to learn to compete with Sen. Joe Biden's 37 years' experience.

Palin has been honest about what she doesn't know. When asked last month about the vice presidency, she said, "I still can't answer that question until someone answers for me: What is it exactly that the VP does every day?" When asked about Iraq, she said, "I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq."

She was elected governor largely because the incumbent was unpopular, and she's won over Alaskans mostly by using unprecedented oil wealth to give a $1,200 rebate to every resident. Now she is being praised by McCain's campaign as a tax cutter, despite the fact that Alaska has no state income or sales tax. Perhaps McCain has opposed affirmative action for so long that he doesn't know it's about inviting more people to meet standards, not lowering them. Or perhaps McCain is following the Bush administration habit, as in the Justice Department, of putting a job candidate's views on "God, guns and gays" ahead of competence. The difference is that McCain is filling a job one 72-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency.

So let's be clear: The culprit is John McCain. He may have chosen Palin out of change-envy, or a belief that women can't tell the difference between form and content, but the main motive was to please right-wing ideologues; the same ones who nixed anyone who is now or ever has been a supporter of reproductive freedom. If that were not the case, McCain could have chosen a woman who knows what a vice president does and who has thought about Iraq; someone like Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison or Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine. McCain could have taken a baby step away from right-wing patriarchs who determine his actions, right down to opposing the Violence Against Women Act.

Palin's value to those patriarchs is clear: She opposes just about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality. She believes that creationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women's wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves "abstinence-only" programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions; she tried to use taxpayers' millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air but didn't spend enough money to fix a state school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.

I don't doubt her sincerity. As a lifetime member of the National Rifle Assn., she doesn't just support killing animals from helicopters, she does it herself. She doesn't just talk about increasing the use of fossil fuels but puts a coal-burning power plant in her own small town. She doesn't just echo McCain's pledge to criminalize abortion by overturning Roe vs. Wade, she says that if one of her daughters were impregnated by rape or incest, she should bear the child. She not only opposes reproductive freedom as a human right but implies that it dictates abortion, without saying that it also protects the right to have a child.

So far, the major new McCain supporter that Palin has attracted is James Dobson of Focus on the Family. Of course, for Dobson, "women are merely waiting for their husbands to assume leadership," so he may be voting for Palin's husband.

Being a hope-a-holic, however, I can see two long-term bipartisan gains from this contest.
Republicans may learn they can't appeal to right-wing patriarchs and most women at the same time. A loss in November could cause the centrist majority of Republicans to take back their party, which was the first to support the Equal Rights Amendment and should be the last to want to invite government into the wombs of women.

And American women, who suffer more because of having two full-time jobs than from any other single injustice, finally have support on a national stage from male leaders who know that women can't be equal outside the home until men are equal in it. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are campaigning on their belief that men should be, can be and want to be at home for their children.

This could be huge.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

America's Funny!

I grew up buying the tapes (yes, cassette tapes) of stand-up comedians. Robin Williams, Jerry Seinfeld, later on Mitch Hedburg, Dane Cook (those were CDs, thank god.) I would memorize their routines. Funny stuff!

But the one, two, knock-em outs that Comedy Headliner Sarah Palin is laying on the American people truly can't be beat. Just watch her routine on Community Organizers! How DOES she come up with this stuff? Actual responsibilities! Haha...who needs a detailed explanation of what those responsibilities are with a punchline like that! ::wiping tear from eye::

I must have been laughing too hard, because I missed one of her best jabs at - get this - the American Constitution!

"Al-Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America and [Obama's] worried that someone won't read them their rights."

Hahahahaha! Their RIGHTS? LOSERS!

Of course that truly un-funny Obama had to go and squelch all the fun:

"If the government grabs you, then you have the right to at least ask, 'Why was I grabbed?' And say, 'Maybe you've got the wrong person.' We don't always catch the right person. We may think it's Mohammed the terrorist, but it might be Mohammed the cab driver. You might think it's Barack the bomb-thrower, but it might be Barack the guy running for president."

Is that last line supposed to be some kind of joke?? Keep trying! You've got ways to go before you're laying em in the aisles like Punchy-Palin!

And really...where does Obama get off talking about Constitutional law?? His only experience is as a community organizer. It's not like he taught Constitutional Law for over a decade at The University of Chicago!

Ahh....I'm laughing so hard it hurts.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Faster, Stronger, Federer

Today will decide who wins the US Open Men's Final when Tennis superstar, and once GQ man-of-the-year, Roger Federer,

plays prop-comedy's stand-up king, Carrot Top.


I mean, young, Scotsman Andy Murray.

I'm new to the game of Tennis, which, to me, has too many numbers (40 points, per each game, 6 games per set, winning by two, deuces, 3 out of 5 sets to win the match...).
But watching Federer play tennis is like watching ballet - the strength, the grace, the seeming unpredictability and yet the obvious craft and skill.

Whereas watching Murray play is often like watching ME dance ballet - sometimes I get it right, but you'd never know how I pulled it off.
That isn't to say that Murray doesn't have clear skills, they just appear a bit erratic.

And I must admit I was hoping for a Rafa v. Roger match so that Federer could take revenge for Wimbledon. And also so that I could once again see those massive guns.

But with the hint of huge upset in the air, it's bound to be an exciting match. Almost as exciting as last night's when Serena became the #1 player in the world...again.


Apparently lipstick covers a lot of things these days.

It's the witty, sarcastic answer to the question: "What's the difference between a Hockey Mom and a Pit Bull?", but also the answer to "What's the difference between Sarah Palin and George Bush?"

Lipstick is also a sneaky way to mask the supposed transparency of one of the allegedly most transparent governors in our nation. The Huffington Post reports that according to "Nicole Wallace of the McCain campaign, the American people don't care whether Sarah Palin can answer specific questions about foreign and domestic policy."

What do you think, American People?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Stewart Says

I was pleased to see that Jon Stewart agrees with my on the issue of Palin's Baby Blues.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Baby Blues

Much has been made over Bristol Palin's soon-to-be-born baby.

Having just had a birth in my family, I know the feeling.

Some people are suggesting that this type of issue is not a public concern. Even opposing candidate Barack Obama says "that's off-limits." "How a family deals with issues and teenage children, that shouldn't be the topic of our politics."

But what about when your policies include things that are promoted as being designed to curb things like teenage pregnancies? What about when your party's platform includes (Judeo-Christian) Family Values? This suggests something very crucial about the follow-through not only of Palin's policies, but also of Palin's leadership abilities.

The Palins, for their part, are "proud of Bristol's decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents." And about her decision to have an unwanted pregnancy? How do they feel about that?

My parents are both teachers. When delinquency happens in children, they are often apt to ask, "Where are the parents??" The (proud) parent, in this case, also happens to be a Vice Presidential nominee. What happens the next time we find ourselves asking, "Where was the Vice Presidential nominee?"

Much has also been made about Bristol's "decision" to keep the baby.
"The McCain aide emphasized that Bristol decided to keep the baby, a decision 'supported by her parents.'"

This fascinates me.
She decided to keep the baby.
So...there was a choice?

Monday, September 1, 2008

It All Adds Up

Adamantly opposing pre-marital sex
Supporting abstinence-only education
Opposing sexual education in schools
Pregnant, unmarried 17 year-old daughter?