Monthly Archives: July 2009

Tell Congress to Go to Hell

fuck-youWednesday’s Democrat victory / compromise / cave-in is a harbinger. A public option won’t be able to negotiate for lower costs. Hmmm. Who benefits. Hospitals? Check. Big pharma? Check. Insurance companies? Check. People, sick or otherwise? Wonnnnnk. The smart money on Wall Street has been betting we’d be screwed and they’d get richer. Enough to make me hope nothing passes.

Not. Can’t go there. This is the most important thing this Congress and this President can do for about a hundred million of us who duck doctors and hospital bill collectors while we wince in pain. Not the most important thing this year … they’ve already shafted us on that — the stimulus (aka: bailout for the gloriously happy rich). No, this is life and death and they have chosen profits and to pretend (CNN wants you to believe that, too) that Wall Street mirrors America.

All to save a hundred billion over ten years? Sure. There is not a human being on the planet that believes any of it. Many trillions to make sure Ben Bernanke’s friends stay super-wealthy and the US government needs to screw me and my hundred million peers? F-them..

As God is my witness (oops, God left on the last train to the coast and is now on a slow-boat to China where they bailed-out people instead of banks), I will spend every moment I can afford (Hah! When this is passed, I won’t afford anything) working to defeat every single-sniveling-cowardly-corrupt-lobby-sucking-dickhead-congress-person I can find. I’ll march. I’ll picket. I’ll write. Email. You-tube. Twitter those [expletive deleted by editor] assholes the rest of my life. (Note to the Secret Service: strictly metaphorical threats.)

Folks, this ain’t over, but it will be soon.

I know. I know. I know. We just need to pass health care reform and will fix it in post (a video and audio production term that allows you to record something really badly and use various computer techniques — like Photoshop —  to make it seem better when people see it). Not this time. We’ll be dead broke and mostly dead before they take the power out of the cold live hands of the lobbyists.

I don’t have any power except to write you. If you can reach out and touch one, just one of the cretins we called leaders, please do it for me — or for one of the hundred million others who are more likeable.

The Maine difference

  • whoopie_pieThey call their “moon pies,” “whoopie pies.”
  • They have at least as many mosquitoes and no-see-’ems as we do, but their bugs just don’t live as long.
  • They have as many pickup trucks as we do.
  • Domino’s Pizza delivers in 4-wheel drive vehicles.
  • They sell liquor in the supermarket.
  • They don’t ban the sale of anything (even booze and hand tools) during Sunday church services.
  • They have banned all billboards along highways. Hallelujah!
  • They wear blue uniforms in their war reenactments*.
  • Most everyone either wears a cap with the letter “B” on it, or a shirt with “Red Sox” emblazoned across the front, which is for a team that isn’t college, doesn’t play football and is in a whole ‘nother state.
  • You are more likely to see a sign warning of a moose or snowmobile crossing than an alligator or deer.
  • You won’t see grits on a breakfast menu, but you are likely to see baked beans.
  • IMG_4618They don’t seem to have any Baptist churches, but do have a lot of Congregational churches, although their steeples aren’t as nearly as tall as we have in the South.
  • Even in the summer, the trees don’t have Kudzu growing on them.
  • Instead of boiled peanuts or peaches, they sell berries along the roadside.
  • Their charity shops don’t have any cold weather clothes – perhaps we could work out a trade since Southern charity stores are filled with them?
  • Walmart seems the same, but carries snow blowers and hockey sticks.
  • McDonald’s and Wendy’s sell “Southern Biscuits” and are introducing, “Sweetened Ice Tea.”
  • They have a better selection of rice in their grocery stores (they call them Shaws), than we do.
  • The sand on their beaches are the size of boulders – in fact, I think they are boulders.
  • Their town of Rockland compares favorably to Rock City or Stone Mountain.
  • They also have cities named Ashland, Athens, Augusta, Burlington, Brunswick, Camden, Charleston, Columbia, Dallas, etc.
  • The senators in Maine are all women. One is an independent and they both voted with the Dems on the stimulus. Really.
  • Contrary to popular belief, there are a few snakes in Maine, though I’ve never seen one there.
  • Their wild flowers actually grow wild and do not require prisoners to plant them along the highway.
  • IMG_4646For a couple of months each year, the grass is actually greener there. Then it turns white.
  • You are more likely to hear a French TV network than a Spanish TV network.
  • Their shovel-ready highway stimulus spending largesse will “Mainely” go to adding a few quarter-mile long passing lanes on their wimpy little two-lane highways.
  • You can’t find a Krispy Kreme donut anywhere in Maine. They sell something the same shape called a “Dunkin’ Donut.”
  • The dirt under their grass isn’t red or clay-like.
  • If you don’t know where you are going, the direction signs on the roads won’t help a bit.
  • They still offer welfare as we used to know it. I even heard stories of women who had babies just to get more of it.
  • You’ll hear loud music you don’t want to hear blaring from cars driven by young people just like we have in the South.
  • I was told that it “rained 35 days in June.”
  • Based on what’s playing in the bars, they do love Nascar and country music.
  • Their young people can’t find jobs, either.
  • They also have a lot of businesses that have gone under and more houses for sale than buyers.
  • They pronounce “er” as “ah” sorta like we tend to do, ‘cept they say it real fast. In fact, they say everything so fast it hardly sounds like Southern at all.
  • Worlds_Largest_LobsterTheir idea of fishing is to put a bag of chicken parts in a little bag, tying it inside a cage and tossing it in the water – when they pull it back up, it is filled with these big red bugs that have large claws. Then they sell them for below what it costs to gas their boats to people who turn them into lobster rolls (I kid you not, lobster and mayonnaise on a hot dog bun), which are offered on just about every street corner. BBQ is nowhere to be found.
  • They don’t have air conditioning – with global warming, they’ll need that.

I noticed these differences last week while visiting my son. He’s a reverse carpetbagger, lives on the Maine coast with his wife and my granddaughter. True to his heritage, he wears shorts and flip flops year-round – even to shovel the snow. He wanted a white Christmas so badly the first year he was up there, that he bought a snow gun like they have on the ski slopes, but he didn’t end up needing it.

Bubbas_Hair_SignAll to say, the Maine differences between the North and South don’t seem so great and can probably be overcome in the centuries to come if they’ll just learn the language.

_________________
*Revolutionary war – the one against the British.

Note: Terri Evans contributed to this story with what I’m sure she’d acknowledge were all the good ideas and the better photos. She did plan to proof it, but didn’t get around to it, so please let her know about the missing words, poor grammar, etc., so she can remind me of how she always makes me look smarter than I really am.

A sermon for the choir

Listen up you godless, spineless, irrational, sushi-eating, America-blaming, terrorist-coddling, morally superior, Hollywood-humping, liberal, defeatocrat, progressive, elitist, Marxist, business-bashing, whining, pinko, tree-hugging, vegan-exalting, crackpot, sanctimonious, stem-cell-sucking, tofu-chomping, out-of-touch, pantywaist, tax-hiking, Obamaton snobs*. This is a defining moment. A tipping point. A chance such as we have never had before. A chance that we, the world, will never have again.perfect_storm

This is the moment. It will define the future of our children and generations to come. Forever. This is a planet-changing moment. Life and death serious. We have a narrow window and it will close. I fear we are going to blow it. Grab a beer and watch it on TV. Cheat this chance to make our brief moments here matter. I fear, we are going to damn ourselves to an eventual, perhaps, inevitable oblivion and take everyone with us.

You know the litany. The talking points. Stop. Think about them. This is real. A storm more perfect than facts know or fiction dreamed.  We should be in the streets.

Say these things out loud:

  • Rapid climate change is occurring; the ice caps are melting; the oceans are rising, our planet is warming.
  • The world is in a great recession – a world where more than 80% already live on less than $10 a day.
  • People are starving all over the planet.
  • More than a billion people don’t have clean drinking water; almost as many can’t read or write.
  • We have a global pandemic.
  • Iran, Pakistan and North Korea have nuclear weapons.
  • Fundamentalism, ethnic sovereignty and terrorism have made many of the world’s governments unstable.
  • Recipes for bio-weapons are on the internet.
  • Even per capita, there are more guns in the world than ever before.
  • Pollution and over-fishing have 80% of our fish stocks in danger of collapse.
  • Industrial pollution, the overuse of pesticides, antibiotics and fertilizer runoff have all species at risk.
  • Global drilling and mining cartels, most controlled by dictators, hold the world’s economy hostage – while our natural resources dwindle.
  • In the US:
    • We are in two wars – weapons spending continues to increase.
    • Our deficit will be almost $2 trillion this year and will get worse.
    • Medical care gobbles one of every five dollars and will eat more – 1 out of 3 have no health insurance.
    • Most lost half the value of their retirement and investments last year.
    • Half of us have an unemployed family member who won’t find a job this year – it is getting worse.
    • We have record numbers of bankruptcies, mortgage foreclosures and people in prison.
    • Lobbyists and campaign funds continue to control our government.
    • Our farm subsidies have destroyed small farms around the world.
    • 39 states cut 2009 spending for Medicaid, schools and other services for families (12 Southern states out of 16) – more cuts will come for years to come.
    • Our government now insures most mortgages, business and investments around the world.
    • We bailed out Wall Street.

Yet, we have the audacity of hope. A new, smart, charismatic and popular president with a majority in both houses.  Will we have the dramatic change he promised and the world needs? No reason to think so.

More troops are on their way to Afghanistan with no talk of an exit strategy.

  • CIA-guided bombings and other incursions into Pakistan are now routine.
  • Record lobby spending has regulation for Wall Street languishing as Goldman Sachs reports billions of profits on high risk investments.
  • The stimulus bill passed, but is just a band-aid to state budgets, builds too many roads we don’t need, extends some unsustainable benefits for too small a percentage of the unemployed and suffering, does little to create consumption or re-start business, and will rollout so slowly, most of us won’t notice.
  • The energy bill that passed the House and is in the Senate is an insult to all of us who wish to breath and have hope for our future – the Senate is sure to make it worse.
  • The heath care bill has been introduced in the House, but don’t expect much or soon – something is likely to pass this year, but it surely will be a another Congressional camel that sustains all that is bad (private insurance, for instance) while helping some, but not nearly enough.

liberalsearchingfor

It isn’t too late, but our leaders don’t think we care. They don’t believe many of us are paying attention to what they do, only to what talk TV and talk radio say about what they do. They also know our attention span is greater for Michael Jackson than for debate on Capital Hill. They know we won’t hold them accountable in the next election. They know we aren’t organized. That we are too busy worrying about having a place to live, feeding our families, updating our Facebook and ducking calls from credit card companies. They know the generation who took to the streets in the 60’s are in their 60’s. The rest of us are too busy, too lazy, too fearful, too preoccupied.


Bully Pulpit

Brother and sisters, I come before you today a shaken man. I fear our dream will turn into a nightmare. I fear the sinners on Wall Street and K Street will not repent. That the sick and suffering among us will be turned away. That the little children will continue to gather in the refugee camps to pick through the garbage. That the best and brightest will continue to die in service alongside the powerless and innocent collateral damage. I fear the new President will accept the lukewarm bills in Congress – neither hot nor cold, and not spit them out. I fear that sound from the corporate boardrooms, from the sheiks and dictators, from the oil wells to the new car show rooms, will be, “Hallelujah, we did it to them again. Praise greed almighty.”

I have seen the promised land and it is only on TV. Can I please not get an “amen”?

__________________
* Apologies for borrowing “liberally” from the Liberal Insult Generator

Don't bank on that job

bank-vault-door-366x274I actually know someone who is hiring. A solid, non-TARP bank has openings for mid-level employees. Good jobs. Great benefits. But they have a problem. Six of the ten candidates who were recruited, interviewed and chosen, flunked the credit check. Getting behind on credit cards during unemployment is keeping them from getting a job.

Talk about a vicious circle. Get a good job at a bank. The bank pays you well then takes some crazy wild-ass risks and, bam. You’re on the street at time when banks are laying off everywhere. Not much of a safety net for the upwardly mobile seeking to max their mortgage and buying into the everything-will-go-up-forever-scam. Watch your house value circle in the toilet and your credit lines dry up. Flush. You are now collateral damage in the war on the middle class.

Running credit checks is legal most everywhere. More than half of employers use them, including the US government. Now that banks have found Jesus and are spinning conservative business decisions, it makes perfect sense to run a credit check on prospective employees. Can’t have anybody hungry or needy at a bank. No sir. Unnecessary risk. Can’t afford it. Their problems might hurt our stock price. Shoot, they might have to take time out to deal with their problems. It makes sense. Only people who don’t need a job should be worth hiring.

On the flip side, of course, is the fact that there is no research that says the incredibly motivated unemployed will actually do harm. It is not like these people committed crimes. They just got laid off. By a bank. At time when the banks caused all the problems.

According to Tiffany Hsu of the Los Angeles Times, it takes only $7,500 in past-due debt to keep you from some government jobs. Factor that one-third of all credit reports have inaccuracies, and, well, we might not be able to create all those jobs, Mr. Obama has promised us.

Irony can suck. Reality bites.