Saturday, August 25, 2007

Black Bush for Prez

Monday, August 20, 2007

Nostalgia, playground of the emotionally distant

I checked myself in at 6 a.m. I was alone, wearing a fluid dress that hugged the contours of my round belly, overnight case in hand. I sensed that the woman behind the desk felt concern for me. She looked at me and showed visible relief that my left hand bore a diamond ring.

"When will your husband arrive?"

"Pardon me? Oh, I'm not sure. Soon, I imagine," was my bright reply.

At 4 p.m., having walked the halls alone for hours, pushing my IV cart, I was finally ready to deliver. Dave showed up in the nick of time to witness the birth of his namesake, and promptly fell asleep in the father-to-be chair. The baby's umbilical cord was wrapped tightly around his neck. I watched my doctor's face as he strained to move the restrictive cord, to allow my little David James to fill his lungs. Ironically, the only sound in the room, as we held our collective breath, was the sound of Dave's snoring.

After my sweet baby was safely delivered, the nurses woke Dave and asked him if he'd like to cut the cord. Groggily he replied, "Ah, no thanks. You can take care of that." More sympathetic looks my way.

Well, you know what? I didn't care. I don't care. I experienced the joy and pain of bringing David into the world. I remember every minute of it. I was there, fully connected, acutely aware. I have no need to live it again. I'm happy he is here with me every day, playing his trumpet, running cross country, reading books, listening to his iPod, challenging me with his edgy sense of humor.

If you ask Dave about his experience, he will relate to you a similar story. You'll hear about the endless hallways, the escape to the lunchroom, the scary epidural, the last-minute name change, the cord incident. He can probably tell you the Apgar scores...the struggle over the decision whether to circumcise or not. His face will likely be covered with tears as he "relives" the pain and beauty of David's birth.

He wasn't there. My companions were the nurses, my doctor, my parents and siblings. Nostalgia is often synonymous with absence. With unknowing. A lost chance to experience life and love.

But it most definitely makes the heart grow fonder.....

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A few good men

We know we can't trust our government to tell us the truth about the war in Iraq, or anything else. Nor can we trust the corporate-controlled media. But an opinion piece in today's New York Times, written by 7 non-commissioned military men just returning from a 15-month tour of duty, provides some insight into America's noble fight against the nation of Iraq.
Let's hope that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Madness of King George

Sailing to the New World to escape tyranny was a temporary fix. We are living with the ghost of King George.

In the past six years, George Bush has sought to accumulate all governing powers into one place, his grubby hands. He has repeatedly violated the Constitution's command that the President "shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed," by breaking many and refusing to enforce others. The Constitution grants Congress the power to make laws; after both houses pass a bill, the President can only sign it or veto it. Bush, however, takes a different tack. He has vetoed just three bills, then quietly attached "signing statements" to more than 1,000 congressional laws, indicating his intent to follow only those parts with which he agrees. He flouts the law every chance he gets. Usually with a stupid grin.

The King's latest blatant power grab, the Police America Act 2007 (PAA), revises the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). FISA was passed in 1978 in response to Tricky Dick and the FBI's unlawful surveillance of critics of national policy and other political enemies. FISA required that a panel of judges grant permission to an administration to spy on individuals within the U.S. Surveillance would only be allowed if the judges could be convinced that the communications to be monitored were exclusively those of foreign powers and that there was no substantial likelihood that an American would be overheard. FISA was designed to protect us from the government, not the other way around.

Not surprisingly, this new act takes the power to approve spying out of the hands of the judges and gives it the the Attorney General. Currently the highly esteemed Alberto Gonzales. An old friend of the King's. A known lackey. It also requires telephone companies to collect data and turn it over to the Feds. And, of course, grants them immunity from lawsuits. Our brave and noble Congress passed this bullshit legislation with nary a whimper. Behavior we've come to expect from our "representatives."

Protect America, my ass. To say that this shocking theft of our freedom is to save us from terrorists, from Al Qaeda, is a frank lie. Terrorists are well-trained. They move with stealth. They have face-to-face meetings. They don't call each other's cell phones and chitchat about the latest and greatest plans. Our government is well aware of this. No, PAA is directed at us. The American public. Especially those of us who slander the dictator.

King George is simply a tyrant.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Daily Sham

I'm no Jon Stewart, but I think I could start a rival program. It might not be overly humorous, however. The Bush administration's assaults on constitutional protections and liberties seem to be happening on a daily basis.

Today according to Reuters:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States may soon name Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (RGC) a foreign terrorist group, said U.S. officials on Wednesday, reflecting frustration over Tehran's nuclear program and suspected role in Iraqi violence. (Pardon me while I puke).

The designation would be the first time the United States has placed the armed forces of any sovereign government on its list of terrorist organizations and enables Washington to target the Iranian group's finances. (Wow....crazy times, crazy times).

I'm not even going to bother with any sort of comprehensive analysis. Here is the bottom line. The U.S. is making an official state military unit indistinguishable from a terrorist organization. Paving the path, illuminated by the Patriot Act, for war with Iran. By taking the RGC from under the banner of a sovereign government and calling it a terrorist organization, Bush may legally bypass congressional approval and do whatever he'd like with the power granted to him in the post-9/11 hysteria, via the aforementioned Act.

Here's how I see it playing out. Bush will order air strikes in the near future against Iran to curtail their (now nonexistent but apparently very dangerous) nuclear build up, using the unilateral power granted to him under the never-read Patriot Act. This will, of course, incense Iran and her inhabitants. Iranian terrorist organizations, or maybe Al Qaeda, will retaliate with a strike on U.S. soil (with our help, of course). This will happen, conveniently, shortly before the November elections allowing King George to declare a "national catastrophe" which will crown him Unitary Executive. He will hold all decision-making power. And he will suspend the 2008 election for the security of the nation.

Place your bets.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A glimmer of light

In my post,The Madness of King George, I wrote about the recently approved changes to FISA. I won't reiterate here.
The ACLU, God bless 'em, has mobilized quickly to contest the constitutionality of the proposed changes. Please sign their petition and make your opinion known. I understand this is a bit like tax planning....boring at the time, but rewarding in the end. Do it. Please. Congress needs to know that we are watching. And we won't stand for their capitulation any longer.
George is the cowboy. We are the Indians. Isn't it time to revise history? Give us back our land, you mother fuckers.

Death comes for the American people

Protest the war. Promote economic and social justice. Scream to close Guantanamo. Offer your body to be burned and watch the buzzards feast off your tasty flesh. See them wait for the next sucker who will feed their greedy maws. We can fight every injustice that we see in our country, even in the world, and it won't make a bit of difference. The true evil is that we have a government that is designed to be "of the people, by the people, for the people" to which the people matter not. We do not live in a representative democracy. Please stop thinking that we do.

The full frontal assaults on our civil liberties just keep coming. Finishing touches are being put on a bill that will give the power of life and death to George W. Bush, through Alberto Gonzales. In the past, federal judges determined whether death row prisoners were receiving "adequate counsel" during thecon appeals process. A provision in last year's reauthorization of the Patriot Act gives that power to the Attorney General. What this really means is that Bush can fast track executions. He has the ability to shorten the time period given to death row inmates to appeal their cases to federal courts. Texas has been doing this for years. The Lone Star state loves to barbeque.

But who really cares about death row inmates? I certainly haven't in the past. Nor prostitutes strangled on the side of the road. Nor drug dealers killed in squalid neighborhoods. That was them. I'm in a different, more deserving, more protected class.

In the past few years my eyes have been opened to the incredible unchecked power and flagrant dishonesty of our governmental institutions. From police brutality, to discrimination in hiring, to outright lying, to doctoring evidence, to unequal application of the law. All of these I have witnessed first hand. I can no longer turn up my nose at death row inmates. I am no longer convinced of their guilt. I no longer trust the "justice" system that put them behind bars.

I have become she. We have become they. If I were to be falsely accused of a crime, they could not find a jury of my peers. Nor yours. We would be at their mercy. And they would lick their chops in eager anticipation of the banquet being prepared for their enjoyment.

Much of what is being done escapes our notice. Collusion between the government, corporations and the media keeps most of us in the dark. But death comes for the American people. The grim reaper is waiting in the dark that is our national conscience. Only the light of revolution can save us now.

Monday, August 13, 2007

I hate to brag....

Lara Walden is the 12-and-under singles tennis
champion for the state of Colorado! Yeehaw!
The girl she beat in the finals cried after
the match. Lara overheard her mother
saying, "It's okay, sweetie. Her people
told my people that she DOESN'T LOSE."
That's right. I've seen her determination.
She sets her jaw, becomes very quiet,
gets the devil's gleam in her eyes.
And battles.
To the end.

The secret life of bitches

This article in the NYT made me laugh. Just this morning, while driving my kids to tennis lessons, we saw a Bichon Frise. I said, "Hey kids, it's a Bitchin' Freeze." Devon, age 9, said, "Mom, is our dog a bitch?" Lara replied, "You just said bitch." Devon, "Yes, but not IN VAIN!"

August 7, 2007 It’s a Female Dog, or Worse. Or Endearing. And Illegal?

The New York City Council, which drew national headlines when it passed a symbolic citywide ban earlier this year on the use of the so-called n-word, has turned its linguistic (and legislative) lance toward a different slur: bitch.

The term is hateful and deeply sexist, said Councilwoman Darlene Mealy of Brooklyn, who has introduced a measure against the word, saying it creates “a paradigm of shame and indignity” for all women.

But conversations over the last week indicate that the “b-word” (as it is referred to in the legislation) enjoys a surprisingly strong currency — and even some defenders — among many New Yorkers.

And Ms. Mealy admitted that the city’s political ruling class can be guilty of its use. As she circulated her proposal, she said, “even council members are saying that they use it to their wives.”

The measure, which 19 of the 51 council members have signed onto, was prompted in part by the frequent use of the word in hip-hop music. Ten rappers were cited in the legislation, along with an excerpt from an 1811 dictionary that defined the word as “A she dog, or doggess; the most offensive appellation that can be given to an English woman.”

While the bill also bans the slang word “ho,” the b-word appears to have acquired more shades of meaning among various groups, ranging from a term of camaraderie to, in a gerund form, an expression of emphatic approval. Ms. Mealy acknowledged that the measure was unenforceable, but she argued that it would carry symbolic power against the pejorative uses of the word. Even so, a number of New Yorkers said they were taken aback by the idea of prohibiting a term that they not only use, but do so with relish and affection.

“Half my conversation would be gone,” said Michael Musto, the Village Voice columnist, whom a reporter encountered on his bicycle on Sunday night on the corner of Seventh Avenue South and Christopher Street. Mr. Musto, widely known for his coverage of celebrity gossip, dismissed the idea as absurd.

“On the downtown club scene,” he said, munching on an apple, the two terms are often used as terms of endearment. “We divest any negative implication from the word and toss it around with love.”

Darris James, 31, an architect from Brooklyn who was outside the Duplex, a piano bar in the West Village, on Sunday night was similarly opposed. “Hell, if I can’t say bitch, I wouldn’t be able to call half my friends.”

They may not have been the kinds of reaction that Ms. Mealy, a Detroit-born former transit worker serving her first term, was expecting. “They buried the n-word, but what about the other words that really affect women, such as ‘b,’ and ‘ho’? That’s a vile attack on our womanhood,” Ms. Mealy said in a telephone interview. “In listening to my other colleagues, that they say that to their wives or their friends, we have gotten really complacent with it.”

The resolution, introduced on July 25, was first reported by The Daily News. It is being considered by the Council’s Civil Rights Committee and is expected to be discussed next month.

Many of those interviewed for this article acknowledged that the b-word could be quite vicious — but insisted that context was everything.

“I think it’s a description that is used insouciantly in the fashion industry,” said Hamish Bowles, the European editor at large of Vogue, as he ordered a sushi special at the Condé Nast cafeteria last week. “It would only be used in the fashion world with a sense of high irony and camp.”

Mr. Bowles, in salmon seersucker and a purple polo, appeared amused by the Council measure. “It’s very ‘Paris Is Burning,’ isn’t it?” he asked, referring to the film that captured the 1980s drag queen scene in New York.

The b-word has been used to refer to female dogs since around 1000 A.D., according to the Oxford English Dictionary, which traces the term’s derogatory application to women to the 15th century; the entry notes that the term is “not now in decent use.”

But there is much evidence that the word — for better or worse — is part of the accepted vernacular of the city. The cover of this week’s New York magazine features the word, and syndicated episodes of “Sex and the City,” the chronicle of high-heeled Manhattan singledom, include it, though some obscenities were bleeped for its run on family-friendly TBS. A feminist journal with the word as its title is widely available in bookstores here, displayed in the front rung at Borders at the Time Warner Center.

Robin Lakoff, a Brooklyn-born linguist who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, said that she despised the word, but that enforcing linguistic change through authority “almost never works,” echoing comments from some New Yorkers who believed a ban would only serve to heighten the word’s power.

“If what the City Council wants to do is increase civility, it would have to be able to contextualize it,” said Ms. Lakoff, who studies language and gender. “You forbid the uses that drive people apart, but encourage the ones that drive people together. Which is not easy.”

Councilman Leroy G. Comrie Jr., the Queens Democrat who successfully sponsored a symbolic moratorium on the n-word that was adopted Feb. 28, said he supported Ms. Mealy’s measure, but acknowledged that the term had many uses.

“We want to make sure the context that it’s used is not a negative one,” Mr. Comrie said yesterday.

Back at the West Village piano bar on Sunday evening, Poppi Kramer had just finished up her cabaret set. She scoffed at the proposal. “I’m a stand-up comic. You may as well just say to me, don’t even use the word ‘the.’ ”

But at least one person with a legitimate reason to use the word saw some merit in cutting down on its use.

“We’d be grandfathered in, I would think,” said David Frei, who has been a host of the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York since 1990. The word is a formal canine label that appears on the competition’s official materials. But Mr. Frei said he worried about the word’s impact on some viewers, especially younger ones.

“I think we have to take responsibility for that word on the air. The reality is it’s in the realm of responsible conduct to not use that word anymore.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Don't say we didn't warn you, Hiroshima

America asks that you take immediate heed of what we say on this leaflet.
We are in possession of the most destructive explosive ever devised by man. A single one of our newly developed atomic bombs is actually the equivalent in explosive power to what 2000 of our giant B-29s can carry on a single mission. This awful fact is one for you to ponder and we solemnly assure you it is grimly accurate.

We have just begun to use this weapon against your homeland. If you still have any doubt, make inquiry as to what happened to Hiroshima when just one atomic bomb fell on that city.
Before using this bomb to destroy every resource of the military by which they are prolonging this useless war, we ask that you now petition the Emperor to end the war. Our president has outlined for you the thirteen consequences of an honorable surrender. We urge that you accept these consequences and begin the work of building a new, better and peace-loving Japan.
You should take steps now to cease military resistance. Otherwise, we shall resolutely employ this bomb and all our other superior weapons to promptly and forcefully end the war.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

I'm so tired of you, America

Rufus Wainwright will be at The Fillmore in Denver on Tuesday night.
Rufus Wainwright in concert
Check out his YouTube video I'm So Tired of You, America.