Thursday, March 29, 2012

“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,”

The President said that if he had a son he would be Treyvon Martin.  Some folks got their panties in a bunch about this.  The President was bringing in race.  He was using this tragedy for political gain.  He was wrong, since his son would be wealthy and protected by the Secret Service.  The President, however, was right on target.  He had to say something … I mean everyone else has.  He’s a politician, so he is going to say stuff for political reasons.  He is also black, and if he had a son and that boy dressed in anything but a suit, someone would find him to be threatening on a dark street.  Hell, if Sasha put on a pair of jeans and an old sweatshirt and walked down a dark street at night she would frighten someone.  That’s just the facts of life.   When Obama won the election, militia membership increased.  I’m sure that was because they were gathering to oppose the Presidents love of basketball.  The President made a true statement, a simple and profound one, why can’t we just leave it at that.

I've had enough of hoodies

It’s not about hoodies.  So, can we put that to rest?  Please.  I don’t need to see anyone else parade around in a hoodie.  Jennifer Granholm was in a hoodie.  So was Clay Aiken.  Jamie Foxx took a picture of himself wearing a hoodie.  Roland Martin wore one on the air at CNN.  The entire roster of the Miami Heat put them on.  Some Congressman got reprimanded on the floor of the House for wearing one.  Ludacris even sported one.  And it was ludicrous.  It’s all ludicrous … or at least beside the point.  It wasn’t a hoodie that was attacked.  It also isn’t the hoodies fault that Treyvon Martin was shot.   The whole thing really has nothing to do with a hoodie.  Trayvon Martin was shot because he was black and because they have an idiotic law in Florida that allows people to shoot at anything that frightens them.  This puts black folks in a precarious position, because there are a lot of white people running around with guns in Florida (and the other states that would pass such a stupid law) who are frightened of black people.  Mandating uncovered heads isn’t really the best way to guarantee black men a modicum of safety when he walks the city streets.  I would favor not letting folks solve their problems by shooting at them.  I would favor protecting people’s right not to be shot over their right to have and use a gun.  I would also favor having honest conversations about race.  I am not in favor of making the lesson here be sartorial in nature.  Race matters.  Guns kill people.  Hoodies are just clothing.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Obama wants to be reasonable ... vote him out of office!

Thank God that the microphone was left on, because now we know that our President is a reasonable leader who is interested in negotiating disarmament deals and attempting to reduce military expenditures.  How dare he!  We’d better vote him out of office before he restores our international reputation and moves the world closer to solving an intractable problem or two.  Out of office with him!!

Sit Down and Shut Up

Rick  Santorum has an advertisement that juxtaposes pictures of the president of the United States and the President of Iran as a narrator says “sworn American enemy. “  Mitt Romney says that President Obama is leading an “assault on freedom.”  On his Facebook page, Marine Seargeant Gary Stein said that President Obama is "the 'Domestic Enemy' our oath speaks about."  Andy Martin says “I am ashamed to be an American; Barry Obama is a traitor.”  One blogger who calls himself a rat said that Obama isn’t “anti-American” just “un-American.”   Now, what do all these folks have in common other than that they are not even remotely qualified to be President?  What they have in common is that they are portraying the President as un-American … as a traitor … as the enemy.  What they have in common is intellectual laziness, no real interest in solving problems, and a low opinion of the intelligence of the American people.  Don’t agree with me?  Well, then you’re evil.  It’s an awesomely productive approach that solves every problem.  I mean, clearly the founding fathers meant to attach an ideological test to citizenship.  Clearly trying to peacefully solve problems, admit mistakes, and provide health care to all Americans is un-American. 

Look, here is the bottom line.  You don’t have to agree with a single thing that President Obama has done while in office.  I’d love a chance to convince you that he’s done a pretty good job, but I am more than happy to accept and respect disagreement … especially where it is supported with logic.  There is plenty of room for disagreement on most of these issues.  There is not, however, room for any less than a complete acceptance that the President is trying to do what he thinks is best for the country or that his actions as President make him any less an American than anybody else.  There is no room for framing people who disagree with you as “un-American,” “anti-American,” opposed to freedom, or any other such hogwash.    I am an American.  My opposition to your ideas can’t be dismissed a s a product of my evil nature or my traitorous ways.  It has to be addressed with logic and reason.   If you can’t do that, sit down and shut up.    

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Facebook pages as writing samples

DEAR CRABBY: I am outraged that employers would want to access the Facebook pages of potential employees.  How many rules of etiquette are they breaking?  --Online and outraged

DEAR ONLINE: None.  An employer wants to know as much about a potential employee as they possibly can, as they should.  They are most likely about to make a big investment of time and money, and profoundly impact their work environment.  They want a good match, and you should too.  The more information they have, the better the chance that there will be a good match between employer and employee.  In addition to having real reasons, they aren’t seeking access to your diary.  They want to access something you write so others will see it.  Sure, in many cases you don’t make it public to everyone, but you make it public to somebody.  So, you should have enough judgment to avoid saying anything stupid, hateful, or criminal.  If you didn’t, or you just don’t want them to see it, get a different job.  You might also try writing letters, or e-mail, when you have something personal to say. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Of diapers and politics

My son woke up screaming from nap today
To be precise
He was screaming one word
Somehow between the tightness of the diaper and
The size of the poop
It was unable to come out
When I undid the diaper and
Lightly poked at the poop with a wipe
It came the rest of the way out and
I was left thinking about the state of politics in America and
Wondering who is going to loosen our diaper and
Poke at our shit

(As an aside ... my other blog is all poetry and parenthood all the time ... if that interests you do take a look at my other blog)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

No one is assaulting your freedom ... so stop it already

The President of the United States is not engaged in an all out assault on your freedom.  That is absolutely ridiculous.  Wanting to provide health care is an assault on freedom?  Trying to provide equal access to contraception is an assault on freedom?  Stopping an oil pipeline is an assault on freedom?  Not giving adequate support to Israel is an assault on your freedom?  If you want to disagree with his policies, go ahead and do it.  But don’t be lazy about it.  Give real reasons why you disagree.  Don’t say that the President is attacking your freedom.  That is obnoxious and insulting.  Why don’t you simply state what the President has done wrong and what he should have done instead, and assume that he doesn’t want to take away people’s freedoms and that he isn’t out to destroy America?  Is it because you have no argument or because you are just a reprehensible human being?  I don’t know, and really I don’t care.  Just knock it the hell off.

If Robert Deniro makes a joke you don't like, just laugh

I have had enough.  People need to stop it.  An actor makes a joke and everyone loses their minds.  Here is what Robert Deniro said:  “Callista Gingrich. Karen Santorum. Ann Romney. Now do you really think our country is ready for a white first lady?  Too soon, right?"  It was a joke.  It was not inexcusable.  The President doesn’t need to apologize for it.  It is not even vaguely in the same league as saying that a woman who uses contraception is a slut.  I’m sorry, but when you say that women should only have sex to make babies … well that is not humorous.  This was kind of funny.  I know someone out there is saying, “well it wouldn’t have been funny if it had been the other way around … what if McCain had asked if the country was ready for a black first lady?”  No, it wouldn’t have been funny, that’s because whites weren’t slaves.  The President is black, was born in this country, is a Christian, liked Derrick Bell (a lauded scholar with a theory that had little to do with white supremacy), is not a socialist, and doesn’t have to apologize for comedians and actors who make jokes you don’t appreciate.   Now, can we move on to real issues?

Monday, March 19, 2012

DEAR CRABBY: Bill Maher is no Rush Limbaugh

DEAR CRABBY: What Bill Maher said about Sarah Palin is the same as what Rush Limbaugh said, when will you lefties recognize it?  - Right Here

DEAR RIGHT HERE: Never.  Calling one woman a slut is not the same as suggesting that all women who use contraception are sluts.  Bill Maher said something inappropriate about a public figure.  It wasn’t right, but it wasn’t that remarkably upsetting.  Rush Limbaugh basically insulted a law student and said that women ought not to have sex unless they are making babies.  The idea that the two are remotely related is silly.  The idea that Bill Maher’s comment somehow absolves Limbaugh is absurd and just plain old wrong.  The idea that because Bill Maher called Sarah Palin a slut he is a pariah whose campaign contributions should be refused is laughable.  Just admit that Limbaugh was out of line and that it’s OK if women have sex for pleasure, and let us move on to something a tad more important like health care, Iran, or Wendy’s new position as the number two burger restaurant in America.  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

DEAR CRABBY: Jim Crow Returns?

DEAR CRABBY: Do you think it is legitimate to compare Republican sponsored voter ID legislation to voting restrictions put in place in the South in the wake of the civil war?  -Jim Crow

DEAR MR. CROW: In a word … yes.  You don’t have to be swayed by the comparison, but it is a legitimate one.  Republicans who sponsor such bills say they are meant to prevent voter fraud.  It is completely possible; however, that the real motivation is that Republicans believe these laws will help them in the next election. There is every reason to believe that the folks who do not have picture ID’s and/or will have the most trouble getting them are Democratic voters.  Further, there is every reason to believe that a disproportionate number of these folks are minorities.  If these reasonable suspicions are more than suspicions, then the Republican Party is passing legislation that they know will disenfranchise minorities.  That is why politicians in the South collected poll taxes and enacted literacy requirements.  If you are offended by this line of thinking, then you will need to give us a reason.  You will need to prove that these laws aren’t just about keeping some Democrats, many of them minorities, away from the polls.  It isn’t enough to dismiss the accusations as offensive.  Enough evidence has been presented that you now need to give a substantive response.  

DEAR CRABBY: Dwight Howard, Decision Maker

DEAR CRABBY: Dwight Howard is a manipulative idiot.  His back and forth on whether he will opt out of his contract with the Orlando Magic at the end of the year is disgusting.  He is selfish.  He should think about what other folks are going through.  Some people don’t have enough money to feed their children, and he is playing this so he gets very dollar he can and still gets to Brooklyn turning his back on the city and franchise that have given him so much.  Dwight Howard must be breaking every rule in the book as to how you are supposed to make decisions.  Please tell me all about it!   -Out of sorts in Orlando

DEAR OUT OF SORTS: I’ll tell you all about it all right.  Dwight Howard is choosing where to work.  It is his contractual right.  Maybe he is selfish, but aren’t you when you choose where to work?  Do you take into consideration the needs and wants of every person that could possibly be impacted by the situation?  Of course, I am sure you have no problems making decisions … ever.  I have problems with every decisions, even those of no consequence like which park to take the kids to.  I feel for Dwight.  This is a big decision for him.  He has many people telling him what he should do.  It can’t be easy.  Another thing that isn’t easy is being truly empathetic.  We need to try, though.  We need to try to better understand why people make the decisions that they do.  In this case it just helps us better understand what a man is going through while he makes a difficult decision.  In other cases it is much more important, because it helps inform really important decisions such as how o respond to terrorists or how to decrease the number of abortions.  So, rather than being so out of sorts try being more clued in.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

DEAR CRABBY: Shooting With Blanks

DEAR CRABBY: House Bill 1523 has been misrepresented by anti-gun groups, the media, and people who don't fully understand it. Until you've been harassed, bullied, cited, fined, and/or arrested by local police enforcing a law that illegally preempts state law -- making the local law illegal and not enforceable -- you can't fully understand what hunters and gun owners are up against. 

We should not have to spend hundreds and perhaps thousands of dollars getting back illegally confiscated and legally owned guns and also have to abandon hope of getting back our property if we can't afford a lawyer. The extremely high fines that would be imposed by HB 1523 are to discourage local municipalities from preempting state law in the first place.

Bottom line, if local governments abide by state law, they would have nothing to fear from the high fines and possible lawsuits.  – Shooting From the Hip   (Real Letter to the Editor)

DEAR OUTRAGED: What local law are you talking about?  What is the harassment and bullying?  What was the citation for?  What was the fine for?  What were you or someone else arrested for?  What were these guns confiscated for?  While we’re at it, what state law is being violated?  You write with great passion here … but I’m not sure what about.  If you want to convince someone, you’re going to need to include evidence.  It simply isn’t enough to make vague insinuations … and that is all you have here.  

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

DEAR CRABBY: Racial Taunts ... Problem or Symptom

DEAR CRABBY: I was appalled to read this article.  I find it disgusting that the students at a catholic school would direct chants like these towards the students of a largely African American inner city school.   "We've got futures. We've got futures." "Flip our burgers.”  It is thoughtless and racist.  I am truly upset that our youth, the people who are the future of our country, would behave in this manner.  What can we do about this sort of behavior? - Outraged
DEAR OUTRAGED: Well, how about nothing?  What concerns me isn’t what was said.  I’m disgusted that what was said is probably true.  That ought to be what is bothering you.  Having the students at the private catholic school be respectful during a basketball game doesn’t give the students at the inner city school the same opportunities that the private school students enjoy.  It’s easy to be bothered by racist taunts.  You can comfortable criticize without feeling guilty.  After all, you would never say such a thing.  You might, however, think it.  You might realize it’s true.  You might benefit from it.  You might realize how much effort it would take to correct it.  So, shame on those students … but shame on you, and all the rest of us, too.

Monday, March 12, 2012

DEAR CRABBY: Our President Hates Israel and Loves Iran

DEAR CRABBY: Our President is making a mess of things in the Middle East, and it all starts with how he is treating Israel.  Israel is our greatest friend and a triumphant example of democracy.  He needs to be tougher on Iran and more supportive of Israel.  He needs to stop being diplomatic with Iran, and start being more forceful.  How can anybody dispute these facts?  - Into Israel

DEAR INTO:  Facts would be a great place to start.  What should the President be doing in respect to Iran that he already isn’t doing?  Is there something short of war?  If not, and if what you are really saying is that we need to go to war with Iran, then you need to provide a detailed explanation of how you think that war will go and what will happen afterward.  We need to be done with ill planned wars.  It should be required that if you suggest war, you need to give a detailed plan along with that suggestion.  You need to also be aware that such talk impacts the situation. 

While we are at it what has the President done that is unfriendly to Israel?  When you make an accusation, you should back it up with facts.  Also, why should we be so into Israel?  Last I checked, Israeli interests aren’t identical to American interests.  It also doesn’t seem smart to have Israel be out only ally in the region.  Plus … what about the Palestinians?  What about others that live under Israeli rule but don’t enjoy the fruits of their wonderful democracy?  What about Iranians?  Are we really going to keep talking about Iran as if it is a monolith of evil? 

We also need to be clear about our place in the world.  We aren’t all powerful.  We can’t simply impose our will.  We also can’t expect people to agree with us just because we are America or because we think that once we have helped a country out they should make it their national policy to agree with us.  Like it or not, international problems can only be solved through negotiation and compromise. 

So … feel free to criticize the President for his foreign policy decisions.  Just bring some facts with you when you do, along with an awareness of the very real constraints he faces.  It is true that no one can dispute the facts your present if you don’t present any, but that hardly seems like the best approach to solving problems.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

DEAR CRABBY: Differences of Opinion are Believable

DEAR CRABBY: At a moment when millions are out of work, gas prices are skyrocketing, and the Middle East is in turmoil, we've got a president who's up making phone calls trying to block a pipeline here at home.  Don’t you agree that this behavior is unbelievable?   -  Livid in Louisville

DEAR LIVID:  It might well be wrong, but it probably isn’t unbelievable.  Is it unbelievable that the pipeline might have a negative environmental impact?  Is it unbelievable that the route has not been nailed down yet?  Is it unbelievable that the oil will end up in foreign countries?   Is it unbelievable that this is dirtier oil than that which it would be replacing?  Is it unbelievable that the Canadians didn’t take the pipeline through their own territory because of the environmental impact?  Is it unbelievable that this pipeline won’t create that many jobs?  The answer is no.  None of this is unbelievable.  So, that the President would lobby Congress to stop the pipeline is not unbelievable either.  Not even in a world of “skyrocketing” prices, where “millions” are out of work, and there is “turmoil” overseas.  What is unbelievable is that you would rely on fear and anger and vague insinuations rather than logic and reason to support your argument.  If you think you have a winning argument … a believable argument … then just go ahead and make it.  Then you can give me a call, and I'll let you know whether I agree with you.  

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

DEAR CRABBY: Law Abiding, Second Amendment Loving Man Hates On Newspaper

DEAR  CRABBY: I’m upset that the Bucks County Courier Times is opposing legislation in Pennsylvania that would allow law suits to be filed against municipalities that have their own gun control laws that are stricter than state law.  So, I wrote a letter to the editor that was published in the paper today (3/7/2012 - Leftist Media Tactics).  I made sure everyone realized what a burden it would be on gun owners to deal with different laws in different parts of Pennsylvania.  I referred to the Newspapers actions in this case as “leftist media tactics.”  I asked why the paper hasn’t asked for Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation on a completely different matter.  I think I wrote a pretty good letter, but some folks have said that I wasn’t following proper etiquette.  Was I in the wrong?   - Longing for Right Writing

DEAR LONGING:  Yes, you were wrong.  Name calling in the title of your letter isn’t so great.  Calling the paper leftist doesn’t add anything to your argument.  It’s just name calling.  In this case you also have a factual problem, since the Bucks County Courier Times isn’t the first paper one would normally think of as left leaning.  Bringing in Eric Holder was also not the right thing to do.  The failure to take a particular stance towards the Attorney General of the United States has little to nothing to do with the paper’s position on the proposed legislation in question.  If you want to take issue with the paper’s position, you really need to state that position and say why it is wrong.  You don’t even mention the paper’s main criticisms, that this is an attempt by the NRA to stop localities from penalizing folks who don’t report their guns missing and that the impact of this bill will fall squarely on the shoulders of tax payers.  It’s really rather simple.  Give your position, and support it with logic and reason.  Otherwise, stop writing things that other people have to look at.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Real Men

Real men kick ass when they have a problem.  They don’t show emotion.  They don’t talk.  They’d never negotiate.  A real man would rather cry than negotiate.  And apologizing … well that would be absurd.  Shoot first, shoot often, and ask questions later … if ever.  If you don’t acknowledge a mistake, then it goes away.  If you don’t recognize weakness, it disappears.  If you destroy everything in your path, and succeed, then it is gone.  That is strength.  A real man is strong.  A real man is also a man … an old school man.  He is strong, but chivalrous.  A real man protects women.  A real man wouldn’t let a woman, any woman, go cavorting about with government funded contraception.  Real men know that women who have sex for any reason other than to create kids, preferably future real men, are endangering themselves.  They are also sluts.  Rush Limbaugh is a real man.  Rambo is a real man.  Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich all want to be real men.  If you ask me, our problem really isn’t that we don’t have enough real men.  

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Big Government ... LOL

It is now illegal to text while driving in Pennsylvania.  Big government strikes again.  Why is it government’s place to tell me that someone’s life is more important than letting my friends know I’ll be late for drinks?  That’s up to me and the free market to decide.  If I want to risk driving over someone, I should be able to.  In fact, if I drive over someone foolish enough to walk alongside the road while I’m checking facebook I shouldn’t even go to jail.  Why should the government be allowed to put anyone in jail?  If the natural repercussions aren’t enough to dissuade me, then it shouldn’t be a problem.  Damn that government, trying to feed people, provide for their education, protect people them being poisoned by chemicals, guarantee that their young children don’t work twelve hour days, and now protecting them from being run over by people typing messages in cutesy code to their friends.  Where are we, the Soviet Union?  We must come together to stop this intrusion into our lives!  There was a time when we could have slaves … and then big government came along and took that right away.  Now it’s texting.  If they protect gays and take away our guns, what’s left?  Soon, we won’t be able to marginalize or kill anyone without big government stepping in.  So let your friends know the time has come to take a stand.  Preferably, text them while driving somewhere at night in Pennsylvania.    LOL!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I'm Looking For a Good Reason to Oppose Gay Marriage ... Do You Have One?

I need to hear one logical reason why anyone should oppose gay marriage.  Just one.  I am of the opinion that one doesn’t exist.  I think we are wasting time and money and energy on this issue.  I think Republicans would be better served focusing on other issues.  I think we have real problems facing this country that would benefit from more of our attention and resources.  So, if there is a good reason we are taking so much time to recognize what would appear to be a fundamental human right, can someone let me know what it is?  Asserting that God hates homosexuals does not count.  Neither does the claim that gay is a communicable disease.  You will also have to show some recognition that a man, a woman, and two kids has not always been the norm.  So … what is it?  What is your reason for reserving marriage for a man and a woman?  I’m waiting.