Monday, December 18, 2006

Haul out the Holly

Haul out the holly, put up the tree before my spirits fall again...
Mom: When are you all putting up the lights and the tree?
Me: About 15 seconds before Christmas.
Mom: I used to do it the day after Thanksgiving.
Me: Sigh
Ye Old Matey: No.
Mom: OK. Whenever you get around to it...(translation: there better be some Christmas around here soon sucka or it's gonna get ugly.)

Fill up the stockings, I may be rushing things but deck the halls again now
Me (a few days after Halloween): Arabella I need your Christmas list.
Me (after Thanksgiving dinner): Arabella I need your Christmas list.
Me (yesterday with a Christmas a week a away): You're getting whatever the hell I get you. I asked you for your Christmas list ages ago. Tough.

For we need a little Christmas, right this very minute...
Ye Old Matey: OK, we've got the lights up and your mom is happy right?
Me: Yep she loves them.
Ye Old Matey: Good. If no one is too tired this evening we'll finally put up the tree.
Me: You're not getting me anything this year are you. We said we weren't going to...
Ye Old Matey: Nah, let's just focus on the family (Translation: I still haven't decided which I like better, Sirius or XML but Snoop dog just got a show on XML and that may be the deciding vote.)
Both of us: agreed, we're not exchanging gifts this year, just the family.
(Both of us thinking: Yeah, right....)

Candles in the window, carols at the spinnet:
Little Arabella: My Christmas band concert is tomorrow.
Grandma: And don't forget about the church concert.
Little Arabella: I forgot to tell you about my best friends party. Mo-om, I have to be there.
Ye Old Matey: Can you wrap this S'more maker for my office gift exchange?
Guy at Church: Will you be stage manager for the kid's Christmas musical?
Little Arabella: Oh and my boyfriend is having a dinner party Sunday and his family wants all of us to come.
All of us: WHAT BOYFRIEND???!!!!!

Yes, we need a little Christmas, right this very minute. We need a little Christmas now!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Blessings

I wake up at 6 a.m.

"Old Tom" has been thawed since yesterday evening and for once I won't have to put him the bathtub at the last second. I only need to brave the giblet packs, wash him, season him and wake up Ye Old Matey to put him on our new rotisserie.


I gather together the ingredients for my corn pudding only to realize that all the sugar has gone. The last of it must have gone into the baked beans. I'm dreading a trek to Kroger and before I head for my jacket I look out the kitchen window into the backyards of the houses on the street behind us.

Every kitchen light is on.

I grab a clean Country Crock container, slip on a jacket over my pajamas and head out into the frosty dawn. A squirrel runs past and stops short when he sees me. Squirrels that have lived in our neighborhood for any length of time have long lost their fear of humans and cars, more's the pity. We brake for them like we would for children, honking impatiently when they get in our way and even adults wave at them, just like I did this morning.

What is this need in humans to gain animal trust?

I'm surprised by the brief flick of his tail before he runs off and I take this to be his greeting.

I tap on my neighbor's door. There is no need for my reticence. She has been up for two hours; her husband sits in the living room reading the Thanksgiving morning paper.

Happy Thanksgiving, we say. She notes my bowl. Flour or sugar? she asks kindly.

Sugar, just half a cup.

We laugh over how rare this age old ritual has become. Neighbor helping neighbor, a cup of sugar, an egg or two. We chat for a while but the work must go on. Her children are coming. I'm expecting company. It's early but we both know that it will only be moments before Old Tom will be done and the friends and family will arrive.

As I tiptoe back across the quiet street to my sleepy home stuffed with family, food and love, the squirrel comes back. I wave at him and this time I am sure his tail waves back.

It just doesn't get much better than this.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Michael Richards and the N Word

So, Michael Richard's got mad at some black hecklers and called them "nigger".

A couple of months ago, I probably would have done a long angry rant about it, but it's interesting how a few months of getting called "nigger" at least once a week by white people can change your perspective.

I play Yahoo Hearts sometimes. When I'm mad at my kid or just need a quick escape from my ever-present nemesis, The Laundry, I take it out on the servers at Yahoo and play Hearts. I use this icon:




You would be surprised at how that little icon inspires such hatred, epithets, and full out racial tirades. Yahoo has an option that allows you to filter out curse words and other non-desirable words so that instead of "stupid nigger bitch" what you would see is "stupid @@@@@@ @@@@@". However people go out of their way to defeat the filter by typing things such as "stupid "ni99er beach" and the like.

You also have the option to "ignore" other players once they say something stupid. However even though you can put players on ignore and you will not see another thing they say afterwards, it does not quite mute the initial shock and hurt.

Yes, even from perfect strangers who I will never see or play a game with again, these words are shocking and hurtful. Most days I am able to laugh it off and simply use the filter and ignore options. Other days I ask a simple question to which I have never gotten a good answer:

Why would you say such a thing?

The fact that white people still say and use the word nigger does not shock or surprise me, however much there seems to be a broad campaign to convince black folks otherwise; that white people who use the word nigger are the exception not the rule.

I beg to differ. And not because of how many times I've been called nigger on Yahoo. But because inevitably, the other two players stay conspicuously silent during these times. Not once has another person ever spoken up and said, hey, that's not right. Hey, let's not use language like that. Hey, you should apologize.

Not ever once.

These are the people who worry me. Because like their real life counterparts, these are the ones who silently consent to seeing a fellow member of humanity humiliated even if just for a moment in a games chat. All my life it's been the same way. It's never been the folks who called me nigger that hurt my feelings as bad as all the white folks who called themselves my friend, yet stood by and said nothing when such things have happened.

A quote in this article already claims that this will be the end of Michael Richards career.
"I've never seen anything like this in my life," [publicist, Michael]Levine said Monday. "I think it's a career ruiner for him. . . . It's going to be a long road back for him, if at all."
The media is already setting him up for a drubbing that no amount of apologies and explanations will suffice. A local newscast wouldn't play more than 30 seconds of the clip explaining that it was "too offensive." I find this extreme political correctness amusing because anyone who's seen a rerun of "The Jeffersons" on TV Land knows that the FCC doesn't care and most people don't either.

I've heard it explained to me again and again that white folks are afraid of addressing racial issues for fear of "saying something wrong". And I'm always asked the question, "If I do say something wrong, then what do I do?"

Richards and other white folks who find themselves in this position shouldn't try to explain why they said whatever they said. Explanations are moot and only make things worse because at the base of this word lies so much ill will and plain nastiness that it makes my heart heavy and my mind ache. Such breaches may never be filled or healed and certainly cannot be explained away.

The only thing to do is apologize. If it's rejected, you have to apologize again for goodbye and live with it unless you can do something that will convince someone to forgive you. Richards has apologized and he should let his apology suffice then wait for the whole thing to die down. He lost his temper, said something ugly in the extreme and there is no excuse for it. Period.

An apology and a lifetime of never saying such a thing again - and speaking up when other folks make the same misstep - will do.

How bad was it? You decide.

Michael Richards and the N Word

Monday, November 20, 2006

Who Dey Heck is Ethan Kilmer?

[08/2008: DebLite update on Ethan Kilmer here.]

Everyone has their favorite Bengal. Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Rudy Johnson and Shayne Graham top the list of the most pupular players. Hometown favorites also include Tory James, Kevin Kaesvehorn, Justin Smith, Willie Gaethers and Chris Henry (wild child or no, he's ours and he's good).

Some teams have only one or two standout players. The Bengals have a roster full of stellar players and although the offense produces, our defense, God love 'em, makes us want to tear out our hair at times.

And then along comes a guy, who not only picks off the ball but scores and even though the number on the jersey was clear you could hear the announcers trying to cover while they scrambled for the roster and everyone at home asked, "Who is that?"

Meet Ethan Kilmer, #43, who made his mark Sunday and no one will ever forget it. A rookie hailing from Penn State who didn't even start out as a football player no less. And here he is making his first NFL touchdown and rocking the casbah by bringing the Bengals Back to the winning side of the game. Before all the crowds left the stadium his Wikipedia page had been updated to include his accomplishment today.

Housh, Carson, Rudi joined in as all the Bengals congratulated Kilmer. Chad offered him a sip of a sports bottle and slapped him heartily on the back. Marvin Lewis grinning from ear to ear walked over and said a word. It's been a long time since I've seen a moment of pure joy on the Bengal's sideline and today Kilmer put a smile on everyone's face.

Our defense has worked hard, I know, but they were holding on by their fingernails in those first four games we won. Since then, we've lost so many players on defense to injury that everyone's been wondering if we'll ever have a solid defense again. Well fear not, because if the rest of the rookies are anything like Ethan Kilmer then we know exacty where to find the best defensive players.

On the Bengals Bench.

That's where Ethan Kilmer was until today but I have an inkling that today was Kilmer's Any Given Sunday. And if this guy was a gem hidden on the Bengals Treasure Bench then who else praytell is Marvin Lewis holding on to?

Naufahu Tahi, not seen since the Bengals long forgotten promising pre-season is languishing on the practice squad. However those of us who watched the games like a hawk and predicted cuts with precision new that Tahi would be around for a while after watching him drag three huge players for about 15 yards before they stopped him. Yes, stopped him. They were able to stop him but they never brought him down.

I seem to also remember Eric Henderson making quite a sack in the preseason and his Bengals roster page shows my memory is correct. What it actually says is, "...Played in all four preseason games, recording 5 total tackles, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble." Sounds like a man who can get things done.

Now I'm just a girl with a passing interest in the game, so I'm not even going to pretend to be an expert or even the ultimate sports nut.

I'm just damn proud of Ethan Kilmer and all our guys who made it happen today. I was proud of them through the games they lost the past few weeks as well. They played some fine ball but hey, turf happens.

However with players like Kilmer waiting in the wings, maybe there's hope for this season yet.

Who Dey!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Singing a Different Tune



On Election Day, I filled in the little box on my ballot that said 'NO' on Issue 12, regarding building a new jail in Hamilton County.

Before Election Day, I read up on all the candidates and issues that would be on the ballot, including Issue 12. I read the information on the League of Women Voters Smart Voter website, which not only gives the actual verbage of the issue, but also outlines the issue and gives the most popular arguments for and against the issue. I had listened to reports about Issue 12, commonly known as “The Jail Tax issue,” on the news and I had read articles about it in the local newpapers and on several blogs. I also discussed it with family, friends, a co-worker or two and some strangers on a bus. I concluded that there were far more good reasons not to build a new jail than there were reasons to build one.

To me, this is the process of becoming an informed, active voter. Finding out the issues, doing some background work, discussing the issues with fellow citizens and then actually going to the polls and voting.

So I voted 'NO'on Issue 12. As it turned out, 151,973 other people agreed with me and Issue 12 was defeated.

Imagine my shock and anger, upon reading this article at the Cincinnati Beacon, to find that the peoples’ "No" vote doesn't amount to a hill of beans with certain members of our City Council, County Commission, and City and County governments. Instead of listening to the people they are supposed to serve, they are determined to build the jail anyway. They aloswant to close our pools, half our recreation center starting in poor neighborhoods first, and cut the Human Services budget (I guess to make up for the millions of dollars we have to pay back) but hey, to make up for it all, we must have a new jail.

One Council Member, Chris Bortz, has attempted to justify the logic of "The Voter is Wrong When The Powers that Be Don't Agree".
"We need a jail now. Leadership means recognizing when the polls are wrong. Leadership is standing up and pushing for what is right and what is needed even when it is unpopular to do so. The jail tax failed because it had become overly charged politically. Nevertheless, I hope the county focuses on what is needed and gets the jail built ASAP."
Nate Livingston at Cincinnati Black Blog says that this statement is basically a big F-You to the voters and I happen to agree. However, in a follow-up post, Chris took issue with this saying he would ""never present a cavalier or disrespectful tone to the citizens."

Whether he means to or not, Chris Bortz needs to wake up and recognize that it is an insult to me and every other person who voted against the jail every time he opens his mouth to support this issue.

We, the same 151,974 people who defeated the jail tax issue, are a lot of people to alienate by claiming that you know better than they do simply because you're on council. Bortz and others like him were put there to represent us, not dictate to us. Leadership is one thing. Deliberately doing an end run around the voters is quite another.

Even the generally clueless Enquirer has stated that the jail issue was divided clearly along socioeconomic lines. Despite their pre-election predictable fear-mongering endorsement of Issue 12 and despite the tactless title of this post-election article even they seem to realize why it failed.

People who live in wealthy neighborhoods supported the jail issue. They’ve got theirs and locking up the great unwashed is preferable to dealing with whatever problems poor people have.

People in middle class and poor neighborhoods voted against the jail. Considering that most of these folks are Black and that it is our people and families who get locked up first, last and foremost, we voted no. Do our neighborhoods have problems with crime? Yes, but a lot of those problems simply cannot be locked away.

Building a jail will not solve our County or City problems with crime. You and the rest of your elite co-workers and their power-hungry buddies need to spend more time trying to figure out how to better help Black folks, Hispanic folks, poor folks, and folks with physical and mental disabilities.

Citizens tell City Council and County Commission again and again that past and planned cuts to the Cincinnati and Hamilton County budget are devestating to real people not statistics. These changes affect our neighborhoods and families. We need help but not your version of it. You have convinced the wealthy neighborhoods that they need protection from dark skinned violent criminals yet you neglect to actually protect us from white-collar criminals who steal our tax dollars.

Yet the best you can do is say that we have to put up with more waste and money that seems to disappear. When we turn to you for help, the very folks we voted into office, you respond by saying more of us need to be locked up.

You are dangerously wrong when you say that the defeat of the Jail Tax was not a mandate from the people and it shows just how cluelesly out of touch you really are.

Issue 12 was a mandate from the people, by the people, for the people. It was a mandate that you listen. A mandate that you cannot and should not attempt to turn our city and county into a police state. A mandate that tax dollar waste and the lack of accountability for that waste will no longer be tolertated.

Stop listening to other people who go to bed with full bellies every night and start listening to folks who are doing without to make your life possible. Then maybe you'll understand how better to help folks than putting them down and backhandedly calling them ignorant for not going along with a plan that will not help them.

Keep yammering away about how we need a new jail and next year I will be singing a new song.

We’re taking no shorts
We’re taking no shorts
We don’t need a new jail
So don’t vote for Bortz

Friday, November 10, 2006

Howard Dean is Dead Wrong

Howard Dean stated to Jon Stewart that the Dems won't be seeking George Bush's impeachment.

My response: Why the hell not? What the heck else did we vote for all those Dems for if not to get rid of King George?

The Dems swept the election. Immediatey after Rumsfeld finally got fired (quite my a... eye). Tony Blair is being ousted. Sadaam and his trial-mates are going to hang. As far as I'm concerned, Bush Jr., Bush Sr., Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Karl Rove should be right in line with Sadaam and Co. (Over 2000 Dead American Soldies and Over 100,000 Iraquis dead) but since they will never be tried, let alone condemned for their war crimes, I would settle for a nice healthy impeachment and a boot out of office to live in infamy if not prision for the remainder of their days.

The Bush Administration does not deserve another two seconds in office let alone another two years. If Howard Dean as DNC Chairman does not understand this simple fact, hopefully Senator Harry Reid and Representative Nancy Pelosi do.

The Dems need to not only find out what the voters want but they need to actually carry out the will of the people.

Our priorities should be ending the war and bringing the troops home. We should be about helping the middle class out of the slide to assured poverty. However somewhere in all of that, part of the order of business should be ousting Bush and anyone left who supports his hideously wrong agenda.

This guy at Huffington Post disagrees with me about impeachment and makes a some great points doing so. His arguments notwithsanding, impeachment should not be set aside as an option.

Update 12/17/2006: OK. He's wrong about impeachment, right about everything else. I have to give the man props for his 50 state strategy.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

It was a year ago at the beginning of October, I joined the general blog explosion of 2005. It seems that anyone who didn't already have a blog got one last year, including me.

Sometimes news, political and current events can seem so far away or they don't seem to touch our own lives. I thought I would have to travel far and wide, well at least across my city, and interview tons of people to get decent posts. However the best stories I published here - the ones that were most pertinent to current issues and hot debates were literally right outside my front door.

I only had to open my eyes to my neighborhood and the folks around me to find my favorite sports hero, mistrust of the police, denial of birth control, politics, biometrics - not bad for year one.

I'm glad you stopped by. I hope you've enjoyed reading here.

Ya'll come back now, ya here.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Watching Democracy Die




Tuesday, while I was blogging about pop culture idiocy with a side of bigotry, what is already the ghost of our Democratic Republic took yet another, and possibly the final step toward dictatorship when George Bush signed into law what is being commonly called “Torture Legislation” and formally as the "Military Commissions Act of 2006"
"The president can now -- with the approval of Congress -- indefinitely hold people without charge, take away protections against horrific abuse, put people on trial on hearsay evidence, authorize trials that can sentence people to death based on testimony literally beaten out of witnesses," ACLU executive director Anthony Romero said in a statement.
We’ve become accustomed to thinking that whatever laws and statutes George W. Bush signs into law, from the old school Patriot Act to this new school “Torture Legislation”, that these laws only apply to “terrorists” and that we must have all these new laws to capture and kill the bad guys.

We can no longer stand idly by with our heads buried in the sand. We must be aware that these laws apply to you, me and every single citizen of the United States. These laws are not meant to capture terrorist. These laws are meant to oppress the American people while squashing any means of dissent or revolution. These laws are meant to establish America not only as a superpower but as world sovereign.

We are no longer a nation fighting the good fight for freedom, democracy, peace and end to poverty. We are a nation of people who are turning a blind eye to our government while destroy the very foundations of American Liberty for the sole purpose of keeping power, money and global resources in the hands of a privileged few. What's more we are allowing our government for the first time ever to sanction detention without trial, torture and even murder with the blessing of Congress and by association, the American People.

I no longer have faith in our government or the election process. I never wanted George Bush to be president and he and the GOP have run America into the ground while lining their own pockets.

Millions are suffering in America and across the globe. Thousands have been mercilessly slaughtered in Iraq. Our troops are still fighting and dying a needless and shameful war while America actually interferes with the peace process. The Republicans explain and explain that it’s all for our own good to protect us from the terrorists. They swear up and down on a stack of bibles that if it weren’t for them, the terrorists would have attacked us again and what’s more, we’d have war here, on our own soil. We’re killing thousands overseas so we don’t have to face war at home, remember?

We must return to being a nation that has nothing to fear but fear itself. We must again, learn how to speak softly and carry a big stick. We must learn anew the language of diplomacy and understanding.

Because never has America been so clueless while the outlook was so bleak. If George Bush can suspend the right of habeas corpus because we are at war (I know Lincoln did it to and it was wrong then and it's just as wrong now), then what if he determines that we don't need a 2008 election because the country is at war and America can't afford to fight the war without him at the helm?

No, before that happens, George Bush, Dick Cheney and the entire line of succession down past Dennis Hastert must be impeached. Hastert, thank god, may be taken down by his knowledge of the Foley scandal, but the rest must be removed from office as soon as humanly possible.

If you plan on voting for any Republican candidates this fall, in the name of God, why?

UPDATE

These are the scum sucking, cowardly Senators who voted for this atrocity and don't deserve the office they hold.

YEAs ---65
Alexander (R-TN)
Allard (R-CO)
Allen (R-VA)
Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burns (R-MT)
Burr (R-NC)
Carper (D-DE)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Coleman (R-MN)
Collins (R-ME)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Craig (R-ID)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
DeWine (R-OH)
Dole (R-NC)
Domenici (R-NM)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Frist (R-TN)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hagel (R-NE)
Hatch (R-UT)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Lott (R-MS)
Lugar (R-IN)
Martinez (R-FL)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Pryor (D-AR)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Salazar (D-CO)
Santorum (R-PA)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Smith (R-OR)
Specter (R-PA)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Stevens (R-AK)
Sununu (R-NH)
Talent (R-MO)
Thomas (R-WY)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Warner (R-VA)


The following Senators are the last of the patriots left in the Senate who voted against this:

Akaka (D-HI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bayh (D-IN)
Biden (D-DE)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Byrd (D-WV)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Chafee (R-RI)
Clinton (D-NY)
Conrad (D-ND)
Dayton (D-MN)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Harkin (D-IA)
Inouye (D-HI)
Jeffords (I-VT)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Kohl (D-WI)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murray (D-WA)
Obama (D-IL)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Sarbanes (D-MD)
Schumer (D-NY)
Wyden (D-OR)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Goodbye Desperate Housewives




I’m done watching “Desperate Housewives.”

First they did an awful job with Alfre Woodard’s story line. Mrs. Applewhite spent several weeks simply listening to the thumping in her basement before even I finally figured out that the DH writers had no idea what to do with a black family in white suburbia. I also thought that the writers had probably gotten a clue as things seemed to heat up for the Applewhites and they did more than eat dinner while ignoring the loud noise in their basement; I thought maybe they would eventually find their niche on Wisteria Lane.

However the DH writers failed miserably. By moving in the Applewhites to Wisteria Lane, they were well aware of the lack of color on Wisteria Lane. Not so unusual, even in this day and age, however at least they were going to give integration a try.

However it soon became apparent that the folks at DH didn’t know much about black people, black family life or how black folks manage to fit into white suburban neighborhoods and it certainly isn’t by being mysterious and having loud thumping noises coming from your house. Eventually they fell back to playing on white folks stereotypical worst fears. A “large black male” -mentally disabled of course (didn’t see any mental-health professionals up at arms over this portrayal)- locked in a basement, being hidden away because he was an accused rapist and murderer.

Even I nearly missed the forest of stereotyping waiting and hoping for storyline trees to take root and actually develop. However the Applewhites never really developed beyond “Whoa. See those mysterious black people…hmmm…must be something wrong with them” for a storyline. Of course the black guy did actually go on a rampage and hurt a young white girl (shocking!) and before you can say “U-Haul," they were moving out, never to be heard of again on Wisteria Lane.

OK. So they screwed up. Yet two weeks ago, they pulled a stunt even more racist and bigoted than the Applewhite storyline monstrosity. I actually turned off the T.V. mid-episode and simply decided that I wouldn’t be tuning back in.

It was bad enough that the one “minority” couple on the show are the ones to actually abuse their immigrant housekeeper and eventually turn her into became their virtual “slave” surrogate mother. But then they had to pull the old, “that baby can’t be mine because it’s black,” joke which, if such a thing is possible, was already done more tastefully, in the very first episode of, My Name is Earl. At least on Earl, there was no implication that the baby wasn’t wanted because it was black, but on “Desperate Housewives,” I’m pretty sure that’s where they’re headed. (Went back and did a little bit of searching and found a discussion about this very episode here and the final comment here mirrors my sentiments exactly only with a bit more pissitivity mixed in on my end.)

Yet when I realized that what I’d tacitly accepted on one, I’d gotten angry about on the other, I just said goodbye to both shows. I watch too much TV anyway and quite frankly, I encounter enough racism in my daily life that subjecting myself to it while watching television shows that are supposed to be fun is, to put it lightly, a bit much. Actually, I don't think it's so much the black baby joke on My Name is Earl so much as that lately, I don't get to watch it anyway and secondly, it's not as good as it was the first couple of seasons. So I may as well, cross it off my list as well.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Saying No to Norbit

Call me prudish or hypercritical, whatever - but I do not find bodily function/ body part jokes in movies amusing. From the fart jokes on every day to tv and the ubiquitous PG-13 movies up to and including the vomiting walrus in "50 First Dates", and all the boob shots, crotch kicks and endless crap in between, I just don't find any of it funny. I am always disgusted and frankly, offended. I am well aware that it's just not fashionable to be genuinely "offended" by anything these days nonetheless, these are gut reactions, and I don't choose my response to this idiocy. Most times I'm prepared to laugh along just because the word "comedy" is a part of the movie description, however sometimes, I am caught by surprise when my laughter stops short and I am appalled into silence

Last night, I watched the trailer for a new Eddie Murphy movie called "Norbit" (a synopsis can be found here at Worst Previews. Trust me, the trailer more than earned it's spot on this site.). Again, I watched the trailer prepared to laugh simply because it mentioned Eddie Murphy and who doesn't know the name Eddie Murphy means comedy? I was quickly let down as it seems Eddie is up to his old tricks from the Nutty Professor, but instead of playing an enormously fat man, he's playing an enourmously fat woman, forgetting that Martin Lawrence and Tyler Perry have already run that lame joke into the ground and it wasn't funny the first time. OK, Medea isn't as bad as Big Mama but as far as I'm concerned, Perry treads a thin line at times. The morals and feel good endings don't always justify the cheap laugh means in Perry's movies either.

But back to Norbit (link goes to the official site for the movie, MeetNorbit.com.) The trailer alone is so hideously disrespectful of black people in general (I'm tired of "black" movies playing to the lowest common denominator) and particularly large black women -please note: I'm a large, black woman- so I was distinctly not amused. After watching the trailer I only had one question.

Me to Ye Old Matey: Eddie Murphy's wife divorced him, didn't she?
Ye Old Matey: Yes.
Me: Now I know why.
Ye Old Matey: Why?
Me: Have you seen the trailer for his new movie?
Ye Old Matey: No. Why?
Me: When you see it you'll understand.

If you haven't seen the trailer, you're lucky. I'm sure it will be everywhere soon. I feel sorry for the parent who has to explain this one to their preschooler and for the squick factor coming for any multi-generational family who winds up viewing this trailer together.

If you find this sort of thing funny, then more power to your funny bone. To each his own, live and let live, yet my opinion stands. Sight unseen, I feel more than comfortable saying Eddie Murphy has done, could have done and should have done better than this latest monstrosity.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Civil Parameters - The Decision

Part II
Well, I made my decision and it wasn't easy.

My last post entitled Civil Parameters describes a situation I found myself in this past week. I was confronted with, what I felt was an odd choice. I could either submit to having my hand photographed and measured for a "hand print" and have a job, or I could see myself to the door and find another place to work.

I started the road to my final decision by asking a few of the people who's opinions matter to me most. Ye Old Matey, my mother, my daughter, a family friend and finally, I wrote a blog entry opening this query up to wider circle of friends and blog pals. My mother and her friend were of the opinion that "it's just a part of modern technology." Both of them are in their 50's and although they can use PC's, they both come to me for computer and tech help. My daughter's response was, "Like in the movies? Way cool!" I gave her a mini-lecture on civil liberties and she thought for a moment. "Well, it's not like they keep your information forever." When I informed that they did, she advised against it. Anyone I asked in the 24- 40 age group immediately recoiled. It was too bad, they said, but you should find another job, seemed to be the group consensus.

The responses from my friends and family noted, I did what I do best. I started researching the internet for more information.

I started out with a Google search for "hand scan." I found this website for Peninsula Time Clock, Inc. It shows a model of the machine that looks closest to what I was asked to use.
From the website:
This scalable hand geometry reader is the future. Eliminate the headache of badges and add the security of biometrics with our HP. Employees simply enter an ID number then place their hand on the reader, once verified the system handles the rest.

This reader virtually eliminates "Buddy Punching" and "Employee Time Theft" Never worry about your employees losing their ID Cards again!
I can see why employers would want to jump on the bandwagon. But why would every day people accept this. It was this article, presented in Q&A format that really creeped me out. The main focus of the article seemed to be how best to convince reasonably skeptical human beings to accept this technology with as few questions as possible.
[Biometric scanning] must be instantaneous, undiscriminating, and non-intrusive.
In other words, as long it's fast, doesn't hurt anyone physically, and encompasses everyone regardless of race, color or creed, then humans will have no problem with it. I find the fact that humans are seen as so easy to please, and the fact that it may just be true, frightening. However the article did end on this cheery note:
[R]egardless of your personal views on this subject, biometrics is due to become a large and integral part of our lives. It will take years for widespread use (look how long DVDs have taken) but will eventually become commonplace.
I couldn't help but notice that this article and others like it take great pains to detail how biometrics can be used for your convenience or protection but gloss over privacy and civil liberties issues as unimportant. The tone tries to assure you that"your government and corporations know best" and makes sure to remind us that it's a certainty, coming to a town near you. I found several articles that take this same tone, however this was the first I found to go from glorifying biometric identification to stating an outright lie:
Critics, even the ACLU, are not opposed to using biometrics for identification purposes providing that the information and technology remains strictly controlled and regulated.
I repeat, this is false. The ACLU has spoken out vehemently against the use of biometrics to the point of tesifying before Congress and consistently opposing various biometrics applications. There have also been various other protests by civil liberties groups across the globe against the use of biometrics and other human tracking devices such as RFID. RFID tags are usually used in stores to track and prevent theft of products. Recently thought, it's been proposed that they should be used to track products from their creation to how they are used inside your home.

After the first few articles it was obvious which same two groups that want to use these measures the most: governments and corporations. They are bound and determined to have complete control over not only your information but you, personally. They want to know everyhing. Who you are and where you are every moment of your life. What you buy, what you eat, and how often; how much you make, who your friends are, what you read and where you work, travel and live. Your facial dimensions and retinal scans; your fingerprints and hand dimensions; your gait, foot dimensions and footprint; even your DNA.

The United States is mandated by the controversial Patriot Act to "develop a technological standard for biometric identification." How sad they must be that at least 100 other countries have already implemented biometric data into a national identity card. Despite national protest, Australia has mandated that everyone have the biometrics card by 2010.

The articles I read that were pro-biometrics also made it a point to assure me that although the occasional slip may occur it was certain whoever wanted my data would do the utmost to make sure it was safe. The idea is to make identity theft a thing of the past. However they fail to mention that lots of information in huge databases only make cases of identity theft easier to commit. Not to mention, once security is breached, the hackers haul is much grander than if they had stolen a purse or wallet. Instead of one or two people being affected, thousands or even millions must now take steps to re-secure themselves.

There have been so many data loss scandals that Robert Ellis Smith, a writer for Forbes.com, suggests 2005 should be dubbed "The Year of the Stolen Laptop." Unfortunately 2006 doesn't show any sign of being much better. The long list of data loss scandals in his article only scratches the surface.

Attrition.org, a site dedicated to documenting computer security issues has an entire section devoted to data loss issues. Privacy Rights Clearing House.org maintains a chronological list of data loss scandals from ChoicePoint to the Veterans Administration and a few less publicized incidents in between and beyond. The lists on both sites site have some very big names indeed. On every list or in every article linked, you are sure to find companies that you have heard of and do business with that have had massive leaks of confidential data.

The saddest part about all this is Congress merely quibbled over, but never got around to passing a bill that would have made it mandatory for corporations to let you know that your information has been compromised and to see what information they have collected. Furthermore, there are no real penalties or compensation a company must provide to you if your data is mishandled. Maybe if companies had to pay out, say, $1,000 per person per incident and $5,000 plus related costs if the information is actually used fraudently, companies (and the government) might start spending their money on securing their data.

I suppose it's much easier to administer innacurate and intrusive personality tests to potential than it is to check references. It must also be easier to enforce draconian and demeaning measures on existing employees than it is to provide true security against data loss. I say easier but since it's all a matter of costs you would think it must be cheaper to treat people like objects. However it's been proven again and again that our government and employers are shelling out big dollars for the illusion of security while exacting more and more control over our daily lives. The fact that securing our data isn't really a factor, especially when it's so easily bought and sold legally, albeit without our permission, is quite telling in regards to where the true priorities for these entitites lie.

No entity deserves that much control or knowledge over any living person. Corporations, despite their legal status as such (which should be revoked mind you) are not people.

Lastly, before I made my final decision, I thought of the words of Ben Franklin:
Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
And so, with all this in mind, I made up my mind not to go back. I made my 8:00 a.m. call and made my apologies. They agreed to try to reassign me on Monday.

I don't have a job but they don't have my handscan. I need a job, but they don't need to know that much about me. I can always get a job, but I would never have been able to get that piece of myself back.

Meanwhile, I not only have the prospect of another temp job on Monday, but I also have an interview on Wednesday for a "permanent" job.

Wish me luck.


(This post has been edited for typing errors and to add pertinent links. The overall content has not been changed. Deborah 09/10/2006)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Civil Parameters



I quit my job at the beginning of August after working there for five weeks.

When I interviewed there, the place seemed pleasant enough. It was a clean, safe working environment. The people seemed personable, friendly and professional. The work would be challenging and rewarding.

It became apparent that a bit of a show had been put on while I was touring during my interview. After the first day some unofficial office rules became apparent. The moratorium on open toed shoes was livable but the first time someone finally told me that talking to fellow co-workers was verboten; that I was being too friendly and chatty, I was appalled. Apparently stopping to ask a coworker about a book on her desk during lunch break was unacceptable because it wasn't work related. I had also clocked in five minutes early two days in a row instead of the requisite fifteen minutes. Although the employee handbook simply stated that I was supposed to be in my seat and ready to work, and I had never failed at this, the "unofficial rule" was that everyone had to be there fifteen minutes early. An unpaid fifteen minutes early.

There were dozens more rules like this and it wasn't long before I broke a rule of my own. I quit the job before I had another job. I decided I could do temp work for a while. I've fallen back on temping a few times between jobs. It's a way to keep your skills current and learn new ones; get fresh ideas and new work experiences; and it’s a way to keep the dreaded “gap” from your resume and still get paid. It's a way to make contacts and more times than not, will lead to a full time job. Temping would also allow me keep my time flexible because I would need some time off. My mother was having surgery and I was to be her recovery nurse. This was something I had made arrangements for at the job I quit but something a new employer wouldn't be likely to be able to give.

With my mother's recovery now behind me, I’ve been taking longer temp assignments while still searching for a “permanent” full time gig. Today was the first day of a two-week data entry assignment. Everything was going very well. The environment was again clean and safe. The coworkers and supervisor were genuinely friendly and I was able to catch on to my assigned tasks within the first hour. Data entry is not brain surgery but I have a geeky knack for it and it's not a bad temp gig if you can get it.

The temp agency informed me that the start time may have been 8:00 or 8:30 and to make sure to ask what time I was to be there the next day. This is something usually covered by the agency but they have other temps working there and the shifts are flexible. I caught the supervisor as she was walking by and we confirmed an 8:30 start time.

"Oh," she mentioned as though she'd forgotten, "tomorrow we'll go to H.R. and get some pictures of your hand so you can use the hand scanner to clock in and out."

My professional demeanor broke and I must have looked as shocked as I felt because she immediately assured me that, "It's no big deal."

"It's no big deal," she repeated as I finally remembered to close my mouth. I went from being shocked to appalled as she explained how the machine worked.

"You just put your hand on the machine and then it beeps and then your name and the time you clocked in shows up on the screen. That's all there is to it. That's how all our employees do it. It's no big deal, is it?" she queried cheerily to the two employees sitting closest to me.

They both nodded their agreement. She continued her cheery stare and under her gaze the young lady sitting next to me quietly stated, "No, it's not a big deal anymore."

The supervisor walked away and into her office. I stared at the girl next to me and she broke into a wry grin that had no trace of humor.

"I know exactly what you're thinking. I didn't like it at first either. No, when I first started, I didn't like it at all. I was very uncomfortable with it. I was the last person in the building to actually sign up. She (the supervisor) was real mad too and kept on me until I did sign up."

The woman sitting directly across from us chimed in, "I didn't like it either but no one asked me. If we didn't do it, then what?"

"Well it's not as if you'd quit your job, especially if you've been here for a while," I said, quietly but angrily. "But it seems to me it's tantamount to blackmail. ‘We get to use a piece of your body for our time clock or you don't work here anymore?’ That's horrible."

The two women nearest me obviously didn't like it much. But they were accustomed to it after two years and they didn't think much about it anymore. They both admitted that it bothered them sometimes, but their attitudes asked the question, ‘What else could you do?’

I waited until 15 minutes before the end of the day before I went to the supervisor.

"I wanted to talk to you about the hand scanner?"

"What about it?"

"Well, frankly, I find it…distasteful and appalling?"

"Really? You're the first person who's ever objected to it," she said. I thought she had to be lying. I had just heard two of her employees tell me abjectly that they hadn't like it, with everyone else in our row of half cubicles nodding their agreement. It wasn’t until later that it dawned on me, of course no one ever objected in her hearing. I probably was the first person who’d been bold enough (read stupid enough) to actually say anything negative directly to her.

I thought maybe, because I was temp it wouldn’t be necessary. Maybe she had made a mistake or maybe the agency would intercede on my behalf. I couldn’t just accept this without at least asking to use a regular agency timesheet.

"Well, this is going to be such a short assignment. It's not like I'm a permanent employee. Since I'll only be here two weeks, is this really necessary?"

"Yes, even our temp workers have to use the system. It's just the way we do it. H.R. won't waive the system for temps."

"I'm sorry but I just don't know…I wasn't told about this at the agency, and if they had I probably wouldn't have accepted the assignment. As it is, I’m obligated to finish the assignment."

Temp Agency 101: Abandoning an assignment is unforgivable unless you were in a car wreck or died. You are forever termed "unreliable" and will not be reassigned. They have to pay you for time already worked, even if you abandon the assignment; but most will also bust you down to minimum wage.

"Well it's your choice but there isn't a way around it. Either you do [the hand scan] and you work here or you don't work here." Her voice was kind but her smile was frozen into place at this point.

I finished the day. My two co-workers were sympathetic with my ambivalence about returning and we said end of assignment goodbyes then.

"Well if I don't see you again, it was nice knowing you, but we'll understand why," the girl next to me said as I walked away.

I called the agency. They told me that because of the circumstances and the fact that I was not informed first, I am not obligated to finish the assignment. If this makes me uncomfortable enough not to want work there, they will not treat it as an abandoned assignment. I will be reassigned as soon as possible, no harm no foul. I have tonight to make up my mind. If I'm not going back, I have to call them at 8 a.m. to let them know.

Like everyone else, I have bills to pay. I was counting on this two weeks worth of work and although the agency may make an honest attempt to reassign me, they truly may not have an assignment for a week or so. I'm registered elsewhere but it's nice to know where and when you're going for a two-week stretch.

Still, I can't help but feel betrayed. The agency knew about this before they sent me and they didn't tell me. What's more, the employer really couldn't care less. If they treat their regular employees in this manner then, as a temp, I am plankton on the food chain.

Before I left, the supervisor made a last ditch effort to assure me that the hand scanner was ‘no big deal’. She took me to see the hand scanner and showed me how it worked using her own dainty hand. She explained that it does not read your fingerprint. It measures the parameters of your hand. You put in your code, put your hand down and voila, no one else can clock in for you.

I asked her if they would delete my information after my two-week assignment is up, but no, they have to keep the information on file with HR for "legal purposes" and then if it's not used for a long period of time it is archived. Besides, what if I temp for them again? I wouldn't have to reenter my info, I'd be all set up.

How convenient for them, I thought dryly.

Funny how they have all my information; name, address, telephone number, cell phone number, social security number, my previous job information, my professional and personal references and even my credit report but that's not enough to prove I'm trust worthy or even job worthy. Legally they can even demand my pee if they want it. Yet I can keep my urine to myself for this one job. They only want my hand scan and if I'm not willing to give up this last bit of myself, then tough luck. All else I've given is null and void. Yet I'm supposed to trust them with all this information including my hand "parameters" just for the privilege of doing their data entry work for two weeks.

My hesitation and distaste must have still shown plainly on my face because she repeated her earlier mantra.

"Really, it's no big deal." She then showed me how they even keep a bottle of hand sanitizer nearby with a brief demonstration of said Purel with Aloe. In addition to every day germs I suppose it's also handy to cleanse away the dirty feeling of being raped of your civil liberties and self-respect.

This situation reminds me of a quote from Barbara Ehrenreich's book, Nickel and Dimed.
When you enter the low-wage workplace--and many of the medium-wage workplaces as well-- you check your civil liberties at the door, leave America and all it supposedly stands for behind, and learn to zip your lips for the duration of the shift. The consequences of this routine surrender go beyond the issues of wages and poverty. We can hardly pride ourselves on being the world's preeminent democracy, after all, if large numbers of citizens spend half their waking hours in what amounts, in plain terms, to dictatorship.
So, I have a choice to make, surrender or move on. Hope for something better or accept the good and button my own lip. I mean at least I'm free to talk and wear open toed shoes again; but how long can I continue to espouse my blatantly liberal ideals if I’m not willing to live up to them.

How far do I compromise my own values? Is it worth it for such a short assignment? Is it worth it for anyone just trying to keep a job?



(This post has been edited for typing errors. The overall content has not been changed. Deborah 09/10/2006)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Soft Lob


In a ball game, a soft lob is an easy pitch. When politicians do press conferences, reporters who are friendly to the interviewee will toss out a "soft lob" question. Something easy to answer or something that will make their friend look good.

Other times, politicians need a way to try out an idea. They may toss out a "soft lob" question on something like, oh, lets just say, "Hey, maybe George Bush should have a third term as President," and see if folks laugh themselves silly. However should anyone not laugh themselves silly and actually think the idea deserves some merit, then maybe, just maybe, where there's a will, there's a way.

No, I'm not just whistling Dixie folks. I think we have been soft lobbed. How successful the pitch was, still remains to be seen.

Now mind you this "Continuity Presidency" issue started out as a hoax published by "The Register" on April Fool's day this year so I know after a few Google searches you'll be saying that Deborah's off her gourd and taking a hoax way to seriously. The premise of the articles hoax is that Bush prepared a special memo and somehow secretly had passed into a law a measure that circumvents the 22nd Amendment and allows a President to serve more than two terms.

To make matters worse, some folks mixed this up with some legislation that did actually get passed which is fondly called by our fear mongering press the "Doomsday Bill". The Doomsday Legislation only re-orders the House of Representatives should another 9/11 type event come along and take out at least 100 members of the house. However as far as we know, this does not effect the Presidential Line of Succession or elections in progress in time of disaster or attack.

So since this is a proven hoax, why should we care about it?

Well, I laughed it off as well, until Rockey Vaccarella came along. Rockey Rockey is the guy who drove his "FEMA" trailer from Louisiana to D.C. to tell George Bush what a great job he and FEMA have done so far helping the Katrina Victims. Rockey not only thinks they did a great job but he has another wish for George Bush as well:
You know, I wish you had another four years, man. If we had this President for another four years, I think we'd be great. But we're going to move on.
It was not the mainstream media mind you but the bloggers they disavow as unreliable who asked the real deal questions: Why would a guy still broke from the hurricane and living in a trailer spend a ton of money on gas to drive his FEMA trailer to Washington. Also, isn't it illegal to move a FEMA trailer and most of them are said to be too flimsy to be lived in, let alone driven that far. Also, how did he actually get to meet George Bush and why was W suddenly at the White House when he was supposed to be at his ranch in Crawford, Texas doing his annual hide out from Cindy Sheehan?

After a bit of digging it was a blogger who found out that Rockey Vaccarella is more than likely a GOP plant. He's definitely a registered Republican and has run for state office as such. Vacacarella had a trip agenda that just happened to have his "spontaneous" meeting with W penciled in before he ever started out on his "landmark" journey in his FEMA trailer "replica". It's an "honorary" FEMA trailer because the trailer, like Rockey is not the real deal. Mr. Rockey Grassroots supporter of Bush was really an Astroturf planned and staged photo-op just like the aircraft carrier landing, the fake Thanksgiving Turkey, and the Jackson Square speech after Hurricane Katrina.

And that brings me back to the soft lob. Did they go to all this trouble just for a Katrina Anniversary photo-op? Nah, that's gravy on the potatoes but I think the soft lob was really an attempt to see if there is anyone out there who will entertain the notion of George W. Bush as President for another term should a "national emergency" unfold. I'm pretty sure that this article from April 3 is a bit of hysteria from the Register Article, it does make a great point that a third, even fourth term is not unprecedented in U.S. History.

I know I'm hard on King George and Co. on this blog. The fact that I don't like W much should be apparent. However when his administration goes to these lengths to purposely deceive us, how can we possibly support them? Why should we believe them when the Bush admin says they wouldn't even think of pursuing a third term?

Friday, August 25, 2006

Let's (Not) Do the Time Warp Again

I believe this article says all that needs to be said. Please note that the date of the article is 2006 not 1956.

Damn. Just damn.


Black students ordered to give up seats to whites
Status of Red River Parish bus driver is unknown
August 24, 2006

By Vickie Welborn
vwelborn@gannett.com

COUSHATTA -- Nine black children attending Red River Elementary School were directed last week to the back of the school bus by a white driver who designated the front seats for white children. Click here to read the full article.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Last Broken Promise

OK, folks hang onto your hats and while you're at it, grab your sons, brothers, husbands, uncles, nephews and male cousins, especially if they're 35 or under. According to this post at the Carpetbagger Report, it seems the possibility of the draft again looms it's ugly head.

During the 2004 Presidential Election Debates, George W. Bush was asked about the draft. The question and a portion of his answer are below (the full text of his answer can be read here).

Mr. President, since we continue to police the world, how do you intend to maintain our military presence without reinstituting a draft?

I hear there's rumors on the Internets (sic) that we're going to have a draft. We're not going to have a draft, period. The all- volunteer army works. It works particularly when we pay our troops well. It works when we make sure they've got housing, like we have done in the last military budgets.

An all-volunteer army is best suited to fight the new wars of the 21st century, which is to be specialized and to find these people as they hide around the world.

Now, forget all this talk about a draft. We're not going to have a draft so long as I am the president.


Well, like father like son. W's Daddy, George H. W. Bush, stood before the American people during and trumpeted his now famous line: Read my lips - No new taxes. Of course he went on to break his promise and raise taxes anyhow. And folks were still pretty mad about come election time which explains how he only ended up serving one term and why we ended up with Bill & Monica doing their thang in the oval office. People were ready for the President to lighten up a bit (but I don't think that much.

I'm pretty sure there were several million people hanging onto W's every word when he made his promise about the draft. I'm sure there were many mothers and fathers who breathed a sigh of relief and went ahead and spent the emergency "Send Our Kid to Canada" money because at the time of re-election between folks getting blown up and even the stop losses getting, well, stopped, they're just weren't that many folks wanting to go to Iraq or Afghanistan.

But now, according to this section of the ABC News Website, The Blotter, it seems that he may be just about to break that promise. The official quote from Cheney (who is the voice and backbone of the Bush Administration) leaves a lot to be desired for anyone hanging on to hopes that a draft is impossible and as they put it "unlikely".

"We keep the provisions for the draft in case circumstances should arise where it might be needed," he said, "but I don't foresee the development of those kinds of conditions any time in the future."


Considering the many broken promises of this President and his Chickenhawk Administration, how are we supposed to believe that the draft, which Bush/Cheney assures us is "unlikely" has always been a near certainty? Especially when the military encourages stunts like this.

How many lies will the American People tolerate before we realize that Impeachment shouldn't just be a debate anymore?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Back to School




A mother sitting on the bench outside the fitting room, looking sad, dejected and angry.

A girl inside one of the fitting room cubicles, crying and angrily trying on mini-skirts.

"What do you think?"

"I don't care."

Yep, it's back to school shopping again.

*************************

Today, I take her to her school's back-to-school picnic. No sooner than Arabella gets her Freshman Schedule and a ticket to get her drink and hot dog, she ditches me to go find her friends.

I stand there and eat my hot dog and drink my drink, standing near some people I almost know but not sitting down because they don't invite me to. After I finish my Ohana Raspberry Lemonade and eat my hot dog, plain because who wants to fumble with ketchup and mustard while juggling a purse and a drink with no plate and no place to sit. I stand in the half shade for a while, walk into the school and try to spot her. I recognize one girl with burgundy streaked hair and ask her where Cynthia is but I must sound as exasperated as I feel because she just shrugs. I walk around for another second or two and decide screw this. She doesn't really miss me and I'm sick of getting parentally dissed and I'm really not looking forward to hanging around like a dejected wall-flower for the next four years because she doesn't want to be the uncool one with her mom when in reality, since it was a back-to-school event, everyone was there with at least one parent in tow.

But I get the clueless kid who thinks it's ok to ditch her mom. Screw it. So I came home and decided to catch up on my blog. She'll figure out I'm gone eventually and if it's dark when she calls, I'll go get her. If it's still daylight, she'll have to walk.

**************************

I never thought that this would be my relationship with my kid. Most days it's not. But I see the pangs of adole....

Ah, the phone rang. It was her asking me why I left her. The nerve! I left her? She ditches me, does the tour of her classes by herself (and I really would have liked to have met her teachers maybe we'll do the whole thing again since I said I'd come get her even though it's daylight) and supposedly, I left her.

I've got four more years of this kid pretending that I'm not really her mother, just her chauffeur.

No matter how much you try to prepare yourself for that, no many how many times you read it in a book or see it in a sitcom, and even if you know that your kid won’t be any different than the millions of other kids…

It still hurts.

**************

So I went back. And she very graciously and kindly asked if I would like to meet her teachers. We walked around the school, met the teachers, she showed me where her new locker would be.

She can be very kind when she wants to be and she was in a very light and determined way doing her best to be a good hostess on our little tour this time around.

As we were leaving I asked her outright, "Am I going to spend the next four years suffering from "Chauffeur Syndrome"?

"What's that."

"Where you walk around pretending I'm not really your mother, just your "ride".

She had the grace to look sheepish for a moment and even at that she still had to think about it for a moment or two.

"No."

Ok then.

And the rest of the evening was all right. We ordered Chinese.

Tomorrow school begins.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Judge Anna Diggs Taylor Rocks!


"No More King, Part II"

It takes a woman all powdered and pink
To joyously clean out the drain in the sink
And it takes an angel with long golden lashes
And soft dresden fingers
For dumping the ashes

Yes it takes a woman
A dainty woman
A sweetheart, a mistress, a wife
O yes it takes a woman
A fragile woman
To bring you the sweet things in life


Except instead of the pale, pink lady described above, picture a strong and wise, brown and beautiful, intelligent African American woman of a youthful 73 (Cheney & Bush's worst nightmare, Condoleeza notwithstanding, and as long as she continues to relentlessly toe the party line).

Either way, it definitely takes a woman to bring us the sweet things in life...like new hope for liberty and a shot at getting our Democratic Republic back instead of the Gothardite Envangelical Conservative Land we've been living in since September 11, 2001.

Well, The Dixie Chicks, Rev. Joseph Lowery, Cindy Sheehan, and Stephen Colbert can all take a bow. They're a few of the people who have been quitte willing to tell George Bush for a while now that he's getting entirely to big for his diminutive, executive britches and it seems as though they are right on the mark.

By now everybody and their grandmama should know that U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor has pointedly and strongly ruled that in her judicial opinion (where it actually counts folks) the wiretapping that King George said he could do anytime he wanted was actually illegal, unconstitutional and should be stopped per her injunction. Of course we knew the President didn't have the right to spy on us ad infinitum but it sure is nice to have a bona fide judge back us up.

Of course the Republicans are already howling and their bigotry is all but showing. They're crying foul saying Judge Diggs is an activist judge and a "terrorist sympathiser" who "just doesn't get it". They've explained in 100 different ways why the president can do what he wants, when he wants, inside and outside the law and they're really tired of explaining it but they're going to appeal the decision anyhow and maybe some friendly Republicans up the judicial appeals chain may see things their way. Of course there's no need stop the wiretapping program, judicial injunction or no. No uppity Black woman who's a terrorist sympathiser to boot is going to tell them what to do. Judge Diggs can just take her judicial robes and go home because her opinion doesn't really matter. She's not a white guy anyway.

Don't get me wrong but this whole appeal thing (and the Bush Administrations attitude of "we can do no wrong") makes me so mad. I know, I know, it's all a part of the process but it seems that the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals is chock full of Republicans who will do nothing but overturn this. Not to mention, by the time this thing makes it through the courts Bush could be out of office and I'd really like to see the dictatorial midget and his minions tossed out on their ear long before that.

I'm talking the big "I" word. Yep, Impeachment, baby. And not just Bush. If he goes, we cannot afford to have to Cheney take his place. Cheney and a few others down the line of succession need to go as well. I don't even know if that's possible, but Dick Cheney and Karl Rove running this country together is a match made in hell if I ever saw one.

Well, if Impeachment doesn't work there's always the R word. Yep, I'm talking Revolution, baby.

1776 was over less and I say it's long past due. Too bad most Americans have been talked out of owning firearms because of the myth that "you'll more than likely shoot a family member, someone you know, or yourself than an intruder" which is a bunch of crap.

We don't have a constitutional right to own firearms. We have a constitutional DUTY to own firearms. There's a big difference and we need to learn that difference, head down to the nearest firing range and police classes for firearms safety and then we need to stock up. We need to quit glorifying gun culture and stop giving our kids guns for toys. We need to slap the piss out of the next rapper wearing any kind of blinged out gun at the end of a gold chain (which is a little last Thursday but I swear I saw it in a video this morning as I passed MTV).

We need to remember that the constitution gives us the right to not just vote but to openly protest our government. Despite what we've been told since 2000, dissent does not mean you're with the terrorists; dissent is the citizen version of tough love for our public servants and we need to remind them that just because they're from our hometowns and we like them and all and they have shiny smiles and kids and puppies and kittens on a campaign poster doesn't mean they won't get booted out of office and have to pay the piper if they should betray our trust.

Judge Anna Diggs Taylor has reminded us that we do not have a Constitution that can be circumvented at will and that not one of us, including our President, is above or beyond its sacred guidelines.

If you would like to read Judge Anna Diggs Taylor's decision click here to download the PDF file (you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open it). It's a bit long and what you'd expect a legal decision to be. But it's in plain English, it's worth reading and like the Constitution it upholds, it's the stuff that dreams are made of.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Cincinnati City Council Gives Away Fountain Square in 7-2 Vote

Under ordinary circumstances, you would think that a headline anywhere that says "Cincinnati Gives Away Fountain Square" would be a hoax or some sort of joke headline.

I wish that this headline were some kind of hoax or joke but it is NOT. As it stands, seven members of City Council voted in an "emergency session" to put Foutain Square in the hands of a private entity, 3CDC.

As a part of this vote giving 3CDC there is also an ordinance which states that Fountain Square is now CLOSED from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. like a playground.

Appalling. And you still think I must be joking, right? As appalling as this may sound, I am not joking.

Jason Haap, commonly known as the Dean of Cincinnati has done two posts about this. Here are the links and they are must reads:

Is 3CDC Taking Over Fountain Square’s Permitting Procedure?
In this post The Dean explains that it looks like council was trying to hide this from the people of Cincinnati by passing this through in ONE DAY by calling it an emergency (see the Dean's reference to Councilman Jeff Berdings "Hurry Up Offense" here).

City of Cincinnati: Say Goodbye to Fountain Square
Here he shows how they actually did it and why the People of Cincinnati now not only have no say over Fountain Square (actually as of the last renovation, we didn't anway but at least the perception was there) and how we now don't even have access to Fountain Square during certain hours on pain of trespassing!

This affects us all and it's about time we let our leaders know that when we elect them it's to REPRESENT US not dictate to us and sell our public spaces to the highest bidder.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Been a Hell of a Summer

When I last left you, Kim Jong Il was happily testing missles over the sea. We don't hear much about North Korea these days, expescially since Hezbollah and Israel seem intent on bombing the hell out of each other; waxing on and on at length about who's right and who's wrong while patently ignoring the suffering they are inflicting on the people within their borders.

The other "world leaders" sit back and in public wag their heads sadly over the "misfortunes" of the people who cringe while bombs fly overhead and in the meantime, keep meeting to see if they can all get on the same page and if it's safe to finally chuck the US and their ever-loving support in our game of whatever Israel wants, Israel gets.

I really don't know who's at fault and I really don't much care. OK, Israel pissed off Hezbollah who captured two soldiers so Israel bombed them and Hezbollah keeps firing back and on and on and damnit there are innocent people dying but that's not a good enough reason for these folks to get their shit together.

On the homefront, in the past few weeks, I've spent arranging the busy part of Arabella's summer. She went from spending lazy days reading and hanging at the pool and doing a few chores at home to theater camp, then pre-band camp and theater camp, then to away band camp, and she turned 14. She also came back from band camp with a crush on a the scrawniest, homliest looking boy you ever wanted to see. I thought it was a one-way kind of thing but he's called a lot and been camped practically on our doorstep every day.

I must get rid of this kid before school starts. That's what I keep telling myself, but he's just so god-awful nice and he's skipped a grade so he's a braniac math geek with big brown eyes and I may just keep him around as Arabella barely scraped a B in Algebra last year. She has her reasons, I have mine. Besides, if they're around here all the time, I can keep an eye on them.

Did I mention she's starting high school this year? I can barely breath. It's all so terribly grown up an childish all at once.

Is it just me but is anyone else worried about the lack of civil liberties, the looming police state, the possible collapse of the American dollar and how to turn their own children into decent people?

I'm sorry that there's been so little segue between my homelife and world events but that's how my entire summer has been. Trying to keep my focus on local and world events but also trying to keep tabs on my family and homelife. Every day I've thought of something spectactular to blog about and the next minute the last idea is crushed in the breaking of new events (the Seattle shootings) and the latest on Hezbollah and Israel. My mother may actually live long enough get the benefit of a new miracle cure for MS and beat this horrifying disease yet. My daughter came back from camp with what looks like her first boyfriend, I quit my job because they were just too bitchy and did I mention that we had a pregnancy scare this month and I'm just not ready to repeat last year's tragedy?

By the bye, it seems the easiest way to get foreign currency is to buy travelers checques in the currency you desire. Right now I'm thinking Euros, Yen, and Canadian dollars.

Wake up folks. Our government is about to take us on a hell of a ride.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Hot Potato


Well, North Korea's testing missles, ain't that a bitch? It must be really bad if the media is actually saying somethign about it. Really, how could they not, even thought they've already retreated to their fall back position that the White House says everything is hunky dory, nothing to see here. I mean someone had to see the missles and could not have possibly mistaken them for fireworks even if it was the Fourth of July in the US and bad ass kids (and adults) everywhere were keeping us awake with pops and booms, supposedly to remind us of the Spirit of '76 and really just keeping you awake and pissing you off if you had to go back to work on the 5th.

I must admit I only vaguely remember the first North Korean issue. I remember Jimmy Carter running off over there and some murmurs about Clinton getting ready to kick ass if need be but using Carter as his unwelcome diplomat (this article refutes this scenario quite well and that alone makes it a must-read).

This article, written in 1994 by one Fred Kaplan writing for the Washington Monthly is a great bit of backstory on the whole shebang-a-bang. It's long but I kid you not, it reads like a Tom Clancy novel in brief. After reading it I felt several emotions. First I was pissed off at George Bush (but that's usual) because it seems the only thing keeping him from dealing with this head on is own arrogance and unwillingness to actually be the friggin President.

It also left me with a shred of hope that maybe we can head off nuclear war or at least a nuclear stand-off or at least proliferation. However considering this article was written two years ago and even then, the author claims things had gone to far, I can't help worry a tiny bit that America has yet again, completely fucked up yet another diplomatic situation and let it escalate into impending war.

And with our troops already stretched to the breaking point, we may just have let our mouths write a check our asses can't cash. Whatever happened to "Speak softly and carry a big stick"? This President, talks big and randomly destroys the country without the nukes and dangerously ignores the country that DOES have the nukes and is like "yeah, we have 'em, so what?"

Ah, well. I'm not the President, so what the hell do I know right?

Rolling Blunder: How the Bush administration let North Korea get nukes.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

No More King

Back in 1776 we were trying to get rid of King George. It's 230 years later to the day and now we're back where we started from, still trying to do the same thing.

I did not write the following however I agree with every word from beginning to end; in it's totality, I completely concur. I would only like to add a few comments to this.

First: Regardless of how you feel about the NRA or crime or how much you've been indoctrinated with propaganda against personally owning weapons, go out and buy a gun or two. Learn how to use them safely and keep them safe from children. Not only is this your constitutional right it is also your constitutional duty as a citizen.

Second: Now is the time to seriously consider revolution. Now is the time to seriously consider the fact that our government has abandoned every principle our nation was founded upon and the fact that:

That the boundries set by the people in all Constitutions are the only limits within which any Officer can lawfully exercise authority"

Sec 3 "That when ever these Bounds are exceeded, the People have a right to reassume the exercise of that authority which by Nature they had, before they delegated it to individuals"


It is long past time that we, the people, realized our government has overstepped the bounds of authority we have granted to them not to rule over us, but to represent us. Having abused that privilege to the hilt it's also long past time we took that authority back.

Call me when the revolution starts. You may not have to. I'll probably call you on my cell from the front lines.

That being said, you can find this post here at a blog called "The Jeffersionian Libertarian". If reading this doesn't make you want to sign up for the revolution, I don't know what will.

It's the stuff that dreams are made of. Dreams of Liberty, Freedom, and Independence.

Happy Fourth of July.


Crimes of the Bush Regime, and the End of Liberty

In this essay I am going to deviate from some of my earlier political history of our country and focus on what I believe are the crimes of the Bush regime and the consquences that will follow. The largest and most frightening consequence is the end of American liberty and the slow, steady implementation of a police state. This growing police state is supported by so-called "conservatives", religious fanatics, leftist polticians, and unfortunately many average American citizens.


A List of Anti-Liberty Laws and Actions

Let us start with a list of some of the anti-liberty laws that have been proposed and implemented by the Bush regime and supported by both leftists and rightists across the spectrum. After the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the American Imperial regime went into full tilt against liberty. Liberty became the focal point as to why people ( all foreigners) were able to attack the United States. Lax security, lax immigration, lax and inept law enforcement and military incompetence, were all used as weapons to create and cultivate a mindset against personal liberty. This mindset, best shown with lunatics like Sean Hannity and Michael Savage, is a fanatical and phony 500% patriotism. It is a patriotism based, not upon the principles of liberty or the American Revolution, but upon nationalistic fascism. After the attacks we saw the following laws or policies enacted:


The USA PatriotAct

The use of Secret Evidence against non citizens ( soon to be used against citizens)
The imprisonment of foreigners without due process
The imprisonment of American citizens ( like Jose Padilla) without due process or the right to habeus corpus, and defined as an "enemy combatant"
A massive increase in the national debt, through astronomical deficit spending
The abolition of privacy in attorney-client conversations in federal correctional facilities
Gun confiscation in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina
The creation of "free speech zones" like the ones outside the Democratic and Republican National Conventions
The creation of a "faith based" office in the executive branch, in violation of the First Amendment
An Undeclared, Unconstitutional War based on falsehoods

These are just a few of the successful assaults on the liberties and lives of Americans by the conservative-fascist coalition. More are coming. Let's review the recent Jose Padilla decision.This decision is the most frightening since it completey overturns the 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments to the US Constitution, and violates the Constitution by denying Padilla a right to habeus corpus. Padilla the supposed "dirty bomber" was arrested at Chicago's O'Hare airport in June 2002. After a writ of habeus corpus was filed on his behalf to secure his release, he was transfered to the custody of military authorities in Virginia. The administration then declared Padilla an "enemy combatant" with no rights as provided in the US Bill of Rights. This doctrine, new in the USA, is a terrifiying and despotic measure that all freedom loving people should be aware of. The precedent and it's reprucussions are devastating. This "star chamber" type process denies Americans their constitutional and natural rights of liberty and due process. It is only a matter of time before this new doctrine will be applied to other Americans, more than likely in domestic cases. The expansion of this arbitrary process is inevitable. Liberty is lost by the silent encroachments of government, slowly but surely, until there is little or no liberty left. What is left is a truncated and modified form of false liberty, a liberty that requires government permission to live outside of prison.


The Corporate Government-Media Complex and The Doctrine of Passive Obedience

American media today is not the vibrant free and partisan press it was in the era of our nation's beginning. Today the media, through FCC rulings and deregulation of monopolies, is a large centralized propaganda arm for the federal government. FOX, CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC are all part of the same structure. Conservatives and liberals both whine incessantly about a "liberal" or "conservative" media when in reality it is nothing more than a corporate-government media monopoly. Through mergers, tax breaks, and government infiltration our once robust press has become a fraud. This fraud is an illusion of objectivity and "fairness" when in reality it is nothing but mere propaganda. This propaganda censors vital news stories, places government spin on the story, and in many cases through ommission or outright lying distorts the truth or substance of the news. Blowhards and fascists like Bill O' Reilly, Sean Hannity and Michael Savage engage in ad hominem attack, anti-intellectualism, and attempt to prop up government power through religion, militarism, and 500% patriotism.

Part and parcel of this propaganda perpetrated by the corporate media is the ancient doctrine of passive obedience. This doctrine has been used by despots for centuries. The Divine Right of Kings ( as propped up by the Biblical Romans 13), Marxist and Fascist states, feudal societies, etc all crow about obeying "legitimate authorities" and "constituted government". This doctrine is a doctine of slavery. When you hear Sean Hannity or Bill O'Reilly talk about "your President", "our Commander in Chief" susbstitute king in it's place. What they are doing is using the doctrine of passive obedience to keep the people from rebelling and starting a revolution against their power. This doctrine is embraced by both extreme leftists and rightists who see government as supreme and the people as cattle to be farmed for the aristocracy that is in possession of government. Compare this to the statement of the town of New London, Connecticut in their resolve against the Stamp Act in 1765:

Sec 1 " That every form of government, rightfully founded, originates from the consent of the people"

Sec 2 " That the boundries set by the people in all Constitutions are the only limits within which any Officer can lawfully exercise authority"

Sec 3 "That when ever these Bounds are exceeded, the People have a right to reassume the exercise of that authority which by Nature they had, before they delegated it to individuals"

And finally one of the last sections: " It is presumed that no Person will publically, in the Pulpit or otherwise, inculcate the Doctrine of Passive Obedience, or any other Doctrine tending to quiet the Minds of the People in a tame Submission to any unjust Impositions."

Many fascistic conservatives would consider such comments as treasonous or seditious, just like their forebearers in the English monarchy. We must be vigilent in our fight for liberty. Right now we still have some semblence of liberty: elections, right to protest and petition, etc but conservatives like Hannity, O'Reilly and Savage along with the Charles Schumers, Hillary Clintons, and Charles Rangels are salivating for their chance to abolish all speech they dislike.


The Bush Regime and the Art of Lying

George Bush is a liar. He lied about the reasons for the Iraq War. He lied about many of the details and circumstances surrounding 9/11, he has lied about believing in "freedom" while at the same time propping up the doctrine of "enemy combatants". These lies are, in my opinion, impeachable offenses and criminal in nature. If this sounds too harsh, hang on there's much more. Bush has also created the largest deficit in the history of the US, next year being projected at 717 billion dollars! Now that's conservative, huh? The federal government is now larger than it was under FDR, and LBJ put together! Another conservative ideal, I guess. Of course Bush is rabidly supported by Establishment sycophants in the media like George Will, Rush Limbaugh and other big government so called "conservatives". George Will, an arrogant big government statist, is always pontificating on the good ole' days of statist Teddy Roosevelt, Alexander Hamilton and recently John Marshall. Marshall is a particular hero to Will since he expanded the power of the unelected lifetime tenured court, only something a conservative would love. Will recently wrote an article praising Marshall and his expansion of government against state rights and powers. Will, like most conservatives, loves John Adams also, and is fond of denigrating men like Jefferson and other Anti Federalists, ridiculing them as being unrealistic about government. Government, you see for the Wills, Bushes, Cheneys, Clintons, etc is one of power. Men are sinful, stupid, tumultuous and need a strong government and ruler to keep them in line. This Hobbsian view is a total refutation of the principles of the American Revolution and is instead an embrace of European aristocratical views.


Bush's War on Liberty

With the advent of 9/11, the dry drunk we call President Bush has proposed and supported more inroads on the liberties of the people than any other President in recent memory. His creation of the Department of Homeland Security and his use of Communist advisors, East German Markus Wolff ( head of the dreaded Stasi), and Yegarny Primakov ( head of the KGB) should be a dire warning to Americans. Some "conservative", using Communist despots and murderers to help us with "security". Bush and his then Attorney General, religious fanatic John Ashcroft supported the abolition of attorney-client privilege for federal prisoners, and supported the use of torture for "terrorist" suspects. This of course violates the 8th Amendment to the US Constitution, but the Consitution is irrelevent to this administration.Under Bush's radical fascist doctrine of defining criminal suspects as "enemy combatants" they are to be held incommunicado, and indefinately. These "enemy combatants"are not only foreigners as evidenced by the Jose Padilla case. Now American citizens can be defined by this unconstitutional and immoral doctrine.

Bush's support and signing of the USA Patriot Act is one of his most egregious acts. This "law" violates the 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments to the Constitution. It allows the use of "sneak and peek" warrantless searches, monitoring of emails without a warrant, and places a gag order on attorneys, and defendants during a civil suit or criminal case. These laws are worthy of a state of slavery, not one of freemen and women. Conservatives have abandoned their "small government" ideals. Now to be a conservative means supporting unlimited war, unlimited power, and invasions on the rights and liberties of Americans. Statists like O'Reilly and Hannity frequently denounce people who oppose the President as "traitors" and accuse them of "aiding the enemy". Some so-called conservatives like Ex-Communist David Horowitz never lose their love of total power. Horowitz may call himself a conservative, but deep down he is still a Marxist-Leninist. He advocates shutting down newspapers, arresting anti-war protesters, and jailing Bush opponents indefinately.

Bush has not once denounced these calls for tyranny, and he counts these men among his strongest supporters.The President and his minions want nothing less than total control over the population of the United States. Many neoconservatives are calling for the creation of a domestic spy agency like M15 in Great Britian to spy on suspected "terrorists" in the United States. Bush, of course supports such a plan. Morton Halperin, a CFR elitist, has just called for the federal government to create this agency. This type of centralized government is not an American ideal. The United States is one of the few, if not the only nation, to not have a national police force or domestic spy agency. This step, if implemented, would cause America to slide further down the road of despotism and tyranny and would turn this great republic into a state worse than the Soviet Union or Communist China. What would become of American Liberty if such a creation were born? American Liberty would perish and America would plunge into a world of darkness and dictatorship like never seen before.


Right Wing Class Struggles, The Aristocracy vs the People

As Peter Brow has pointed out on his excellent revolutionary libertarian website, the Nation of Liberty, there are two forms of "class struggle" theory, one leftist and one rightist. Both are evil and hateful, but here we will deal only with the right wing version, better known as "snobbery"as Mr. Brow calls it.

This right wing theory is a theory of the love of the wealthy and powerful. All who are not among the elitist rich are considered the "rabble" and "lazy" by the right wing class warrior. President Bush is a avid supporter of this theory by his very actions, if not his words. His connections to oil, gas and defense industries and the massive wealth accumulated by these special interests cause men like him to see wealth as the driving force behind life. Once this mindset is in place every thing in political life is geared towards supporting the aristocracy. Now I am a supporter of abolishing all taxes in favor of lotteries and user fees, but we must examine the motivations behind the massive tax cuts of the Bush regime.

As Libertarians we tend to see things like the abolition of the estate tax, corporate taxes and taxes in commerce as good ideas. Partially, this is true since the theft of taxation destroys the wealth of individuals and businesses, but we must be careful to not to miss the aristocrats motivations. First and foremost their reasons are to further enrich the aristocracy and dilute the savings and economic power of the middle class. We must realize that corporations are NOT persons, but artificial creations of the state with no true consitutional rights. Only human beings have rights, not THINGS. Secondly, if Republicans and Bush in particular wanted to help working people he would abolish paycheck witholding taxes, taxes on social security checks, unemploment checks, and total abolition of the income tax. Instead we have a massive increase in government spending, tax cuts for the elite and more poverty for the rest of us.Most aristocrats like Bush care more about maintaining the corporate-goverment aristocratical oligarchy, as the middle and lower classes sink further into poverty. Massive spending in conjunction with no revenue and no government reduction of spending is a recipe for disaster. This is right wing class warfare where the privileges of the wealthy and their connections with government must be maintained at all costs. These are not the principles of the American Revolution.

Bush, is in league with corporate criminals and scoundrels in the defense industries ( Haliburton, Enron, , the Carlyle Group, etc) to fleece American taxpayers of their hard earned money for power and profit.
Right wing class warfare proposes the idea that people that are poor "deserve" it, and that they are simply losers and deadbeats. Interestingly these same right wingers never propose to reduce taxes on the poor and middle class, or reduce the massive amount of regulations that small businesses and workers deal with. Here lies the hypocrisy; crow about individual responsibility, laziness and welfare mothers, yet continue to keep the welfare state alive and well, keep taxes up and continue to support the massive federal bureaucracy and subsidize big business interests. These "free enterprisers" "donate" money to politicians: ie bribes, and then get those same polticians to pass laws regulating their competitors. Corporations are not freedom enhancing organizations. Corporations are whores. Look at Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. Ellison is a huge proponent of a National ID Card and RFID implementation. He is not a freedom lover, and his corporation, Oracle, is a huge beneficiary of government largesse and contracts. As seen throughout history corporations are not the defenders of freedom, free markets or liberty, but are instead defenders of the status quo and their government benefactors. Bush, et al, are those benefactors.


Total Control Surveilence Society

The America of 2005 is a state that is rapidly approaching a surveilence/ command and control society. Republicans, like Bush, are nothing more than intolerant and fanatical collectivists leading us down the road to despotism and slavery. Here are a few items on the federal level leading to the Control State:

The Creation of the Department of Homeland Security ( ie Fatherland)
The Creation of the Transportation Security Agency ( illegal searches, intrusions, etc) " No Fly" lists kept by TSA are a step toward limiting the movements of citizens.
Proposals to use cameras to monitor Americans on public thoroughfaires ( airports, buses, trains)
Use of military propaganda to create an atmosphere of miltarism and phony patriotism
The use of FEMA to move whole populations, forcibly, and seize lawfully owned firearms in violation of the Second Amendment, under the guise of a "disaster", ie: Katrina
Provisions of the Patriot Act violating our most sacred rights under the 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments.
"Sneak and Peek" searches without a warrant
Abolition of attorney-client privilege at federal prisons
The passage of the National ID Act, requiring states to all have the sme basic information on their CDLS

Those are just a few on the federal level, and there is more to come. Now let's examine how this "government creep" stretches out to state and local governments, who are sometimes more tyrannical.

Building Code Enforcement with no protection from illegal search and seizure. It is redfined as an "inspection" therefore, no violation of rights exists!
Cameras at intersections and street corners to enforce traffic laws. I believe these lights in violation of the law since an infraction must be committed in the presence of a peace officer. The use of these cameras is twofold, to generate revenue for greedy city governments and most importantly to create a precedent for surveilence in public without probable cause.

The enactment of municipal codes which begin to regulate neighborhoods like a tyrannical homeowners association

Use of Emminent Domain for non-public uses ( roads, bridges, dams, aquaducts, etc) and instead using it to steal the private property of one person to give it to another ( always wealthier or more powerful), usually a corporation that has a contract with the city or county.

The use of environmental laws to destroy the value or condemn the property of individuals. Uusually these laws, advocated by environmental fanatics and leftists, is an attempt to destroy the the ability of the property owner to use his property as he sees fit.

The implementation of laws requiring people to purchase insurance policies such as vehicle, homeowners, or flood. Since a lender does not have to lend to people without such insurance, why is a law needed when these items can easily be purchased by anyone with common sense? These laws exist to back up bad investments by corporations who know that normally they wouldn't lend the money, but if the government ( the taxpayers) back it, why not?

The use of criminal informants in drug and other criminal cases against defendants. These informants are normally liars, theives and other dregs of society willing to lie, cheat and steal their way out of a conviction.

The use of 5th Amendment stealing asset forfeiture law as depriving people never even convicted of a crime of their property and forcing them to prove to the government why they should have it back! Most are not even charged with a crime.


Conservative Collectivism

Modern Bush style conservatism has turned into a form of tyrannical, heartless collectivism. Hatred of anything "left" like antiwar protesters, Cindy Sheehan, non-religious or people of non-fundementalist faiths, opponents of American foreign policy toward Isreal, etc all bring out the worst in these freedom destroying individuals. Hatred of liberty, and the harshness of police state measures seems to be the grand ideal among these folks. Liberty is always seen as license, libertinism, and "whining" by the collectivist conservative. Bush is elevated to God like status where criticism dare not fear to tread. Remember, the king is above any criticism. He is exalted and to be trusted, no matter what. Collectivist conservatives are not proponents of limited government, they are proponents of what Jefferson called "unlimited government". Calls by Bush and other collectivists to "regulate" the internet ( meaning censorship) to "protect morals", is a grave danger to liberty. A free man or woman does not need someone to "regulate" their "morals".

Let's be clear government is a collection of individuals in positions of power who are obstensively are sent there to protect and defend the liberties of the people, never to take it away. Never. Now whether right or left, the seizure and devouring of power on a daily basis becomes an addiction for some ignorant or sociopathic individuals, and sadly, what we would think of as "normal" people also fall for this mental outlook when in power. The Collectivist conservative wants government to rule over people and impose traditional religion, the "opiate of the masses" as Marx called it. Also on the agenda is the imposition of the warfare/welfare state, military conscription in the guise of "serving your country", complusory national service, and near worship of political "leaders" or as in Colonial America, "betters".


Reject Collectivism, and Support Freedom

All polticians, left and right, should be rejected as intolerant collectivists. If one chooses to vote, vote for a Libertarian candidate or some other independent freedom fighter, but do not, not ever, support the "two party system" which is nothing more than two gangs fighting over the spoils of the people's hard earned liberty and livelihoods

REJECT COLLECTIVISM, REJECT BUSH, AND SUPPORT FREEDOM.

Your life might depend on it.