Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pondering exceptionalism…

 
Let’s jump right on in!

This bitch has heard and read a lot about American Exceptionalism.  I first heard it during the Reagan years, but the phrase has recently made a serious come back.

I don’t have a problem with exceptionalism.

My problem is with folks gleefully pointing to the shining city on the hill while they ignore the slums situated toward the back.

I think back to my days as a tennis player.  When I was a wee bitch my father introduced me to tennis as a way to manage my angry frustration with bullies.  I’d hit tennis balls against a wall for hours and work through all the energy that built up in my system…and I got pretty good at it.  Eventually, I began to hit just for the love of hitting…for the thrill of the zing that traveled up my arm when I hit a forehand right in the sweet spot.

I watched tennis on television and practiced with folks at the local courts…and got better and better.  When I heard about a tournament, I begged and pleaded and eventually convinced my parents to pay the entrance fee.  On match day I put on my new bright white tennis outfit, grabbed my racket and prepared to get my Steffi Graf on.

I lost…every damn game…in straight sets.

When it was over I took to my bed, devastated that I wasn’t as good as I thought I was at my favorite thing to do.

My father let me sulk for a night and then took me aside and gave me a verbal correction that has paid off every day since.

He told me that there was a reason I lost.  I was good, but I could be better.  I had a weak backhand because I preferred to hit forehand shots…and my opponent exploited the hell out of that by hitting relentlessly to my weak ass backhand.  My serve could get better and so forth and so on.

My father explained that I could quit or keep on going as I was going…playing the wall or folks at that courts who I could easily beat…or I could work on the weaknesses in my game and then take on the heifer who trounced my ass in the next tournament.

Now, I never developed into an exceptional tennis player.  But I did get a lot better…and I got better by focusing on the parts of my game that needed work rather than running all over the court trying to hit every shot as a forehand because that was the best shot in my limited arsenal. 

I got better from playing people who were better than me and from losing and learning something from every loss until I started winning.

I remember watching the French Open and seeing Steffi Graf trounce her opponent in the final.  The match took less than an hour and folks marveled at the dominance of Graf’s game.  The next day a news report came on about the game and the reporter mentioned that Graf had gone out to practice after that final…to work on her backhand because it had been a little off.  I sat back and let that absorb for a moment – Steffi Graf’s exceptional tennis playing self still strove to get better and still had things to work on even though she damn near set a world speed record in her French Open winning match.

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

For all the talk of exceptionalism coming from the right there is little talk of what isn’t gleaming within the walls of the shining city on the hill.  America has great potential…and it can only reach that potential if Americans keep it real.  But there are some among us who are comfortable hitting the ball against the wall and picking up matches with weekend players they know they can beat.   

It is that lack of examination…that serf mentality crying out that we dare not annoy the rich lest they toss us off their lands…that lack of competitive spirit being applied to those areas that need work...it's that shit that makes claims of exceptionalism a joke. 

Coaches across the land probably still preach that "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit." Aristotle

Well, we’ve become really good at talking about how great we are and exceptionally good at making excuses for the shit we don’t do well.

***logs off to do reproductive justice work until justice gets done***

The Amish are coming…to Missouri!


I just read this piece over at StLToday.com about a local community’s negative response to some new Amish neighbors.

Standard StlToday.com comment section warning – their comment section is regularly patrolled by trolls who may or may not drop rancid nuggets which will stay where they've been dropped because the only people regularly patrolling the comment section of StLToday are trolls.

Shall we?

My home state of Missouri is seeing an increase in the Amish population.  I found that interesting since most of the population shifts we’ve seen have been folks fleeing the state. 

One would think that the Amish would be welcome in the parts of the state they are moving to…but apparently that’s not the case.

According to the article, locals are not happy with the Amish because the Amish are…well, Amish.  They are religious, live separate from the modern world, drive buggies, dress differently, are pacifists and have their own schools.  The confusion about whether the Amish pay taxes has been out there a long time…and general misunderstanding about that issue has also taxed the wig of some locals. 

It’s worthy of note that the Amish are moving into Don’t Tread On Me territory in Missouri…so animosity toward them is particularly hypocritical given that the Amish have been living true to that motto from jump.

In many ways the negative reaction to the Amish is typical and another example of how humans react to difference.  But because the difference here is religious…and this state has a lot of folks who claim that religion in general and Christianity in particular is under attack by socialist lefty communist political correctitude…well, I find this negative reaction to a conservative Christian group moving in rather illuminating.

I’ve made a study of calls for American communities to integrate faith into everything from public schools to government.  A bitch has to give supporters of organized prayer in school their due – they’ve passed those Death Tax fools in the race to perpetuate nonsense for political gain and that’s quite an accomplishment.  The issue is and has been about organized prayer in the public school classroom, but when you hear people talk about it you’d think their little Missy had been stuck in the corner with a dunce cap for quietly praying before an algebra test.  Now that’s a masterful work of bullshittery!

People buy that bullshit because most of them can’t conceive of why there may be a problem with a teacher leading a class in prayer.

And people often can’t conceive the problem because the fact that teachers don’t lead public school students in organized prayer prevents the problem.

I was raised Baptist and never thought much about what that meant until I attended a Methodist Church and realized that there was a difference…and that the difference, though not extreme, made me uncomfortable.  And I’d never felt more Protestant than when I attended my first Catholic mass. 

Feeling difference, and the complicated emotions that come with it, increases when distance decreases.

Most folks who speak of building a Christian society…and yes, the Amish are Christians…are really talking about building a society around their specific version of Christianity.

Talk of bringing organized prayer to public schools is really a call to bring their kind of prayer to those classrooms.  Trust that the same people ranting about that shit would get litigious as hell if their Baptist child came home and tossed up a prayer at bedtime for Mary to pray for them.

Tis also true that calls for folks to tune in and drop out on a Don’t Tread On Me tip are really calls for folks to get their anti-government on in a certain kind of way.

Sigh.

As Karen Johnson-Weiner, professor of anthropology at State University of New York at Potsdam, says in the StLToday.com article "That's the problem when you enshrine religious freedom in the Constitution: Some people take you up on it."

Sigh again.

Keep an eye out for buggies on the road, y'all!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Engaged…and pregnant!!


No, not this bitch.

Lawd, have mercy!

I’m talking about the newish news that actor Natalie Portman is engaged and pregnant.

I get the fact that fans of Portman are happy that she’s apparently happy…and are thrilled that she’s apparently thrilled.  

I find is kind of sweet that people get all warm and fuzzy over news of celebrity romantic bliss.

But…well, there’s a strange as hell tone to the coverage of Natalie Portman’s alleged bliss.

Several news outlets have reported on Portman’s engagement and pregnancy with shock…as if the celebrity press sees themselves as every actor's BFF and they can’t believe that they weren’t the second or third person to know.

Some have even written about how clever Portman has been in her ability to get all the way to engagement with pregnancy without triggering the wedding or baby bump bots.   

You know the ones I’m talking about…those supposedly candid pictures of couples holding hands or kissing that are accompanied by a paragraph built around questions like “When will he pop the question?!?” or those solo shots of [insert actor of the moment] sporting a baggie sweater that are accompanied by something lame like “Is that a baby bump I see before me?!?!”

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

It's fascinating!

Confession - a bitch doesn’t follow celebrity news on a regular basis.  I'm guessing that Natalie Portman hasn’t been a hermit about her personal life...even though some articles have defined her as notoriously private just in case fans are peeved that they didn't appropriately prep them for this shit.  It appears that Portman failed to execute a proper Kardashian and vomited her personal bitness all over the place to keep her name out there. 

Breaking news – celebrity gossip mags are SHOCKED to find themselves scooped on Portman engagement and pregnancy…by Portman!

In related news...baby bump pictures are expected shortly.

Blink.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Reflectitude and pondering 2011...


Happy Last Week of 2010, y’all!

Lawd, it has been one hell of a year…some good, some bad and some blah.  But that’s just the way of it, isn’t it?  Reflection points out that some of the shit we think is awful isn’t as bad as we thought it was and a lot of the shit we thought was fantabulous isn’t all that and a bowl of chili.

Sigh.

Anyhoo, now 2010 is coming to an end. 

I have a lot to celebrate – my brother moved closer and I can visit him more, my work continues to be fulfilling and challenging, my mentee graduated from high school despite serious challenges and hurdles…and I emerged on the other side of pain after major surgery.

Not bad.

On the flip side - the economy continues to be fubar, a Congress that already had a habit of throwing progressive issues under the bus will now shift power to a political party poised to add moderate shit to the mix, the Census has called down a redistricting shit storm that is guaranteed to demonstrate the baser side of politics…and state legislatures continue to pander to the mob while neglecting the needs of the masses and thus produce inedible legislative toxic sludge with such regularity that we cheer when they somehow manage to make half a pound of bland sausage.

Sigh.

Makes a body wanna get her hermit on…but this shit is too important, so come January I’ll wade back into the swamp with the rest of the activists out there and do work.

For 2011 I’m going to make a goal that is connected to all that…to the good, the bad and the fubar that one sees when we give a shit.

I’m making a promise to myself…to take better care of me…so that I can enjoy the things I have the celebrate and tackle the things that are on the verge of going to shit.

Cough.

I, Shark-Fu, promise to make and keep appointments with my doctor and to sleep more and distress on a regular basis.

What?
Hell, that's a huge commitment...for me!!

Shit, I've got to keep this goal doable, for the love of all those resolutions folks make that don't stand a chance in hell.

And I make that goal-based promise because 2010 taught this bitch that when I ignore suggestions and nudges from my body…my body eventually ends the argument by knocking me flat on my ass.

Wince.

Lesson learned!

And here’s to making the best of the last week of the year so we can all greet 2011 with some serious bitchitude!

Toodles for now...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Christmas memory…

 
Warning – this post contains details about Santa that may cause trauma to those who believe in Santa.

Alright then.

A bitch woke up this morning with a healthy amount of holiday stress…and I had a flash of a holiday memory that I thought I’d share with y’all.

When this bitch was a wee bitch I feared Santa…big time.  My parents had related the tale of Santa Claus and his dreaded list of good or bad kids.  The warning was clear – get your ass in gear or you’ll be shit out of luck come December.  I tried to be good…I really did!  But I usually fucked something up right around November and then spent a month fretting that Santa would make me pay at Christmas.

I was one stressed out kid!

Anyhoo, one Christmas was different.

I was beyond good…good grades, a clean room and I even resisted talking back most of the time. 

I was set! 

That new bike…my greed-based want of the moment…was mine, damnit!

A couple of days before Christmas I was well into working my father’s last nerve with my excitement and constant questioning.  At some point I asked my father what would happen if Santa got stuck in the chimney. 

Well, shit…I’d worked my ass off to achieve a level of good and I’d be damned if it all went to shit just because Santa’s full figured self couldn’t squeeze down our narrow chimney.

My father didn’t even look up from reading the paper.

He took a sip of his after-work scotch, flipped a page and said… “You better hope Santa doesn’t come down that chimney while I’m awake.  If I see an old white man in my family room I’m gonna shoot his ass on general principle.”

My jaw dropped.

I gasped.

My father had just threatened to murder Santa!

And he had a gun too!  I’d seen him clean his gun and he told me not to even think about ever touching it.

Lawd, have mercy.

I ran to my bedroom and threw myself on the bed.

What to do?  It was too late to get a letter to Santa to warn him…and if Santa got word of my father’s threat he’d skipped our house for sure.

Shit.

I had just decided to wait up Christmas Eve and somehow bodily protect Santa from my father’s murderous wrath when my sister came in, rolled her eyes and said something along the lines of… “You are so stupid.  Santa isn’t real.  Dad is Santa!”

What the fuck?

“You’re lying!” I screamed.

“You’re stupid.” She replied and then offered to prove it to me.

So, that Christmas Eve we snuck out of bed and observed my father bitterly trying to assemble a new bicycle in the family room.

As he cursed and chain smoked while tossing back scotch, the fire burned (earlier that day I’d accused him of planning to burn Santa alive) and the lights blinked cheerfully on the tree.

My father looked tired but pleased with himself as the bike came together…and a warm fuzzy happiness settled in my tummy.

Daddy was Santa and that was a very good thing.

We went back to bed after agreeing to not let on that we knew the truth… ‘cause working the Santa hustle had serious benefits.

But that Christmas morning, after I woke my exhausted parents up way to early and then screamed for half an hour because I was told I couldn’t ride my new bike in the house…after all that drama I went to my father and gave him a huge hug.

I held on a little longer…squeezed a wee bit harder…and when I looked up into his eyes I knew that he knew that I knew that he was Santa.

And that was a very good thing.

My father passed away several years ago, but the memories…I hold those memories as close as I can, like a hug that lasts a little longer and squeezes a wee bit harder.

Happy happy to all the parental Santas out there…

…and yes, your chil’ren are on to you.

Versus vs. the hockey fans…


A bitch adores NHL hockey.

I watch a lot of different teams even though my heart rests with my beloved St. Louis Blues hockey club (Let’s Go Blues!!).

So, I understand and appreciate the fact that the NHL Channel and Versus broadcast certain games between popular teams that just about every fan of NHL hockey would like to see.

What I don’t understand and sure as shit do not appreciate is the bizarre anti-fan deal that FOX Sports and the NHL have worked out to not broadcast certain games when Versus is broadcasting one to their games of the week.

What the fuck?

Last night my Blues beat the Atlanta Thrashers and, despite having the NHL Center Ice package, I couldn’t see the game.

Wrongness!

Not only do I adore the Blues but I kind of have a soft spot for the Thrashers and would have liked to see that match-up.

Shit, don’t these people know that hockey is for everyone?

Here’s the thing…this deal is fubar.

It’s frustrating to hockey fans…very frustrating…so frustrating that I have a real good hate for Versus now.

And the Versus game of the week is cursed, I tell you...cursed!  Versus assumed that the New Jersey Devils and Washington Capitals would be a highly anticipated game…and I’m sure it was for Devils and Capitals fans, but both teams are struggling right now and I could give a flying shit. 

Mmmhmm, the hockey gods are not pleased!

Shit.

***logs off to go old school and read about the game in the paper***

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

On Barbour’s latest verbal malfunction…


Shall we?

When I first read about Governor Haley Barbour’s comments regarding the Civil Rights era in Mississippi, I prepared myself to be not even a little shocked.

Barbour has a habit of adding a healthy dash of bullshit to anything having to do with race, so I expected to see comments spinning [insert well documented oppression here] as being blown way up into a whole bunch of diddlysquat.

In a recent profile Barbour offered up his personal opinion that White Citizens Councils of the 1960s were a positive anti-Klan force in his community and that the Civil Rights era wasn’t “that bad”.

Yep, that’s Barbour!

The same Governor Barbour who once joked about watermelon’s and black people.

The same Governor Barbour who said slavery wasn’t significant enough to warrant mention in Virginia’s freakish Confederate History Month celebration.

The same Governor Barbour who said the South of his recollection was integrated by the 1960’s.

Sigh.

In Barbour’s fantastically revised history, Mississippi was one big happy family where everyone got along, White segregationists fought the Klan and black people chose to live separate and unequal with our own watermelon adoring people.  Everything was going just great until a bunch of communists came down and stirred up trouble!

***cue unicorns, rainbows and showers of bedazzled stars***

Pause…consider…continue.

I’ll leave the correction of that bullshit to the outstanding Civil Rights documentary Eyes on the Prize

…and ponder with some alarm that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Monday, December 20, 2010

By request, my thoughts on the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell…


Shall we?

A bitch watched the television and followed along on Twitter as the Senate voted to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

This was historic and I damned sure wanted to witness some of it!

A certain Cassie from Virginia reached out to me for my thoughts and she expressed concern over how long it would take to implement the repeal.

I caution folks to pause and enjoy this hard fought victory.

Celebrate, damn it!

And then prepare to write the rest of the sentence.

Because the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell…hell, the implementation of it…is a comma not a period.

As I watched the vote I thought of another historic military Civil Rights happening…the desegregation of the military in 1948.

My Grandfather served in the segregated service during World War II.  He was a man of few words, but he spoke with pride of his service. 

I used to be conflicted about that…about his pride in serving a country that segregated him as if his race were a plague.  My mother was born in 1942 and when my Grandfather traveled to see his new child he was advised to do so out of uniform…because there was the danger of a black soldier in uniform being lynched in Mississippi.  The insult of that has stayed with me, though my Grandfather has passed on.

The comma demands that more be written…that the sentence be completed.

We must fight on…for those who can be and will be fired or evicted or turned out of a public establishment because they are LGBT.

And so my thought on the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is that the struggle continues.

Celebrate.

Keep and eye on everything to make sure it doesn’t get fucked up.

And continue…onward toward justice.

To the left, to the left...


Today marks the 150th anniversary of South Carolina's secession from the Union.

Some have gathered to celebrate that happening as a good thing.

Others are marking the anniversary by attempting to rewrite history and reframe why this nation divided into Civil War.

They are the Confederate apologists…people who regularly try to make the case that slavery would have ended gradually and that the Confederate flag is not a symbol of rebellious oppression but rather Southern pride.

Some even ponder a modern secession from the Union.

Sigh.

My initial reaction to modern secession talkers can be summed up in a pop song by Beyonce.

You must not know 'bout me
You must not know 'bout me
I can have another you in a minute
Matter fact Guam’ll be here in a minute, baby

You must not know 'bout me
You must not know 'bout me
I'll have another state by tomorrow

So don't you ever for a second get to thinking you're irreplaceable!

Yeah, I know that’s not productive…

…but it is catchy!

Anyhoo, it’s easy to watch the folks indulging in Confederate nostalgia and make fun or toss out snark. 

The sad reality is that every time someone attempts to rewrite the history of the Civil War they insult the memory and sacrifice of those who fought it and the tragic thousands who died.

It all follows a sorry ass pattern - the apologists make some outlandish claim and then the rest of us dive into the weeds with them for a tussle, spending major time debating the un-debatable.

Fuck it - I’m going to sit out that dance this time.

Secession led to war…and far too many fought in that war over the right of the privileged few to hold black people in bondage as property.

And the sad thing is that, over 100 years later, far too many continue to fight for the right of the privileged few to stay privileged as hell.

While the masses debating the un-debatable…

…the champions of the rich are talkin’ shit about how they are irreplaceable.

Blink.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Some thoughts on No Labels...


A bitch listened to Diane Rehm’s show on NPR yesterday morning and to the discussion of the political movement dujour, No Labels.

The No Labels movement seeks to reduce partisan politics and find “common-sense” solutions to problems.  Supporters point out that tons of Americans say they are tired of partisanship and bickering and gridlock.

Pause…sip coffee…continue.

After a brief rant at my car radio, I decided to post about this shit.

Shall we?

The No Labels Movement is the School of Tolerance by another name. 

Longtime readers know that this bitch is not a fan of tolerance.  People tolerate a stench when they have to and they do away with it as soon as they are able to – thus, being the thing that is “tolerated” is not a safe or powerful position to be in.

I reject the No Labels Movement because it assumes that the principles folks advocate on behalf are negotiable.

Where we go to lunch is negotiable.

Reproductive justice is not.

Now, I understand that everyone doesn’t have the same list of non-negotiable shit.

But I urge the No Labels folks to consider that one person’s negotiable issue is another person’s life, liberty and happiness.

Here’s the thing…I’m rather familiar with the products produced by Can’t We All Just Get Along? compromises.

Our nation’s founders kicked the slavery ball down the road rather that launch into the civil war that we ended up fighting anyway.

Jim Crow was the result of a political compromise to “move things forward’ after the Civil War.

Reproductive rights found themselves so swiftly under the bus during health care reform that I honestly wonder if they were laid out on the road before the legislative bus got out of the Congressional garage.

A current example of a fucked up compromise that keeps on fucking would be Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

I could go on and on, but my coffee is getting cold!

Anyhoo, all of these examples contain a common thread…getting along and doing “something” tends to require fucking one group or another over.

And that is the giant unsaid in this newish No Labels movement – who among us will get fucked over in the name of civility.

Pause…allow to marinate…continue.

Yeah.

So, can we have a moment of realness?

As I write this post, the Senate is on the verge of calling for a vote to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Some may try to point to this as an example of a successful compromise…and they are wrong.

We arrive at this point in the road with the careers and lives of countless named and unnamed service-members blanketing the path we’ve trod…

…and we arrive here because of the failure of a bullshit compromise.

Do not let anyone tell you that getting to this moment came through anything other than struggle, activism and having principles.

In conclusion…

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, refusing to call it a duck doesn’t make it anything but a duck.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

On the other side of pain…


Shall we?

I feel great.

I really do!

I feel so damn good that I have to remind myself that I had major surgery less than a month ago and not to push it.

My pain is gone…that pain so constant that I took for granted until it wasn’t there anymore.

There is a freakish comfort to a constant pain.

The body adjusts…it shifts, without conscious thought, to ease…find some measure of relief.

And there is predictability to it all too…to know that the pain will seem to pass only to return, burning and throbbing and aching and cramping and defined only be degree.

I lived with pain due to uterine fibroids and endometriosis for a decade.

Ten years.

And I can’t even remember the beginning.  I guess it came on slowly…and suddenly it just was.

Ten years.

And now, it’s gone.

Gone…though the ending of it was it’s own festival of pain.

But it is gone.

And for the past few weeks I’ve been waiting for it to return…certain that such a powerful thing couldn’t just end.

Well, I woke up this morning and realized that I am now on the other side of that pain.

That’s a profound realization that is accompanied by the knowledge that I’m very lucky to be in this place.

So many women face the same medical conditions without the options that I have.  Without health insurance to cover the cost of surgery, those women are often forced to endure pain longer and to weight their healthy needs against the realities of their finances.

And let me be clear…my medical condition was serious, physically damaging and only made more so by delay.

So here, on the other side of pain, I recommit myself to the health care fight.

I am a living example of what should be, could be and will be once health care, and the health that springs from it, is guaranteed to all as a right not a privilege.

Because the other side of pain is beyond beautiful…it’s wondrous and vibrant and full of possibilities.

In time, I may forget exactly what my pain felt like…

…but I will never forget that the other side of pain is worth fighting for.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A quick note on cold weather safety and carbon monoxide detectors…


I just read this story about the death of a family here in Missouri. 

Four people were found dead in their home from apparent carbon monoxide poisoning.

This tragedy serves as a reminder that every home needs to have a carbon monoxide detector.

And with that reminder comes the harsh reality that carbon monoxide detectors aren’t cheap…but they are necessary.

I’m sensitive to this because my family had a carbon monoxide scare a couple of years ago and the only reason we were alerted was because my sister scored a detector in response to a colleague’s scare.

Our house had not been rehabbed to vent properly and carbon monoxide built up as a result.  We owe a lot to the fact that our house is old and drafty or we’d likely have had a tragedy of our own - the detector went off almost as soon as my sister took it out of the box.

We were lucky.

Many are not.

If you’re giving gifts this holiday season please consider giving new homeowners carbon monoxide detectors...and you can also drop them into gift collection boxes. 

If you don’t have a carbon monoxide detector in your house I urge you to get one.

The weather is dangerously cold…many people are turning on the heat for the first time since last year…and furnaces break or money gets tight so we don’t get them serviced and so on and so forth.

Sigh.

Okay, I'm done.

Be safe and be warm.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The spice must flow…

 
Okay, so I tried to write this post-based pondering of the Wikileaks happening before my mid-day nap (Lawd, I feel like a freaking toddler!!), but I suspect Microsoft Word is in partnership with and/or under attack from Anonymous from the Data Army ‘cause it crashed on a bitch twice and didn’t save a damn bit of what I wrote.

Coincidence?

A message from the shadowlands?

Or could it be The Man?!?

Shudder.

Here’s hoping the third time is the charm!

Caution - if you’ve never read Dune or seen the cheesy 1984 movie version, this post might not make a lick of sense.

I’ve been trying to catch up on all things Wikileaks.  There’s a lot to sort through and it’s taking me more time than I expected, but I’ve arrived at one conclusion – this reminds a bitch of the plot of Dune.

What?

Oh come on!

Data is the Spice, the overly digitized tech addicted west is the Known Universe, western coalitions are the Spacing Guild…um, Julian Assange is Paul...and so forth and so on.

There’s even talk of plots and faux allegiances forged to silence opposition and keep the Spice…um, data…in the hands of the few!

Mercy.

A bitch is holding out judgment on this shit for now.

Catch that knee, lest thee fell thy neighbor!

I’m using the Ellsberg test for this shit…and, even though Ellsberg feels this is Ellsbergian, I'm still wading through what is known and what is bullshit.

I love a good conspiracy theory real time thriller against The Man as much as the next person…but so far all I’ve seen is schadenfreudal joy inducing embarrassing information confirming that government is doing exactly what I suspected government was doing out in the known world.

That doesn’t mean that I won’t ultimately determine that this happening is Ellsbergian, it just means I’m still doing my homework.

Pause…sip yummified Sun Drop soda pop…continue.

Having said that, I’d like to formally declare myself in a neutral holding pattern for the moment and thus worthy of a Walk On By pass from the Data Army.

***cross fingers and hit save***

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Hold up and wait a damn minute…


A fluff of the Afro to Fiona Apple for Criminal.

Shall we?
I've been a bad, bad girl
I've been careless with a delicate man
And it's a sad, sad world
When a girl will break a boy just because she can

A bitch has been sitting here thinking through the push back from the moderate left against progressive criticism of the compromise to extend the Bush era tax cuts and…well, um…here’s the thing - I’m not a moderate.

Don't you tell me to deny it
I've done wrong and I want to suffer for my sins

Don’t get me wrong, I understand and appreciate moderates.  Hell, some of my best friends are moderates! 

I've come to you 'cause I need guidance to be true
And I just don't know where I can begin

Y’all have a role to play and I’ve got my role to play, but don’t jump up in my cyber face tisk tasking me for taking exception to this do nothing expensive as hell extension of the status quo.

And don’t come at me with the rock and a hard place. 

I’ve got friends and family who needed their unemployment benefits extended…real people who I have to look in the eye, damn it…and I still don’t support this compromise.

What I need is a good defense

You need to hold up and wait a damn minute!

'Cause I'm feeling like a criminal

When I criticize this administration I’m doing my damn job. 

And I need to be redeemed

When I call shit from a bull bullshit I’m keeping it real.

And this compromise is bullshit.

To the one I've sinned against

It’s not just bad for progressives…it’s bad for everyone but the rich motherfuckers getting a pass in all of this because we’re busy feeding on our own.

Because he's all I ever knew of love

Now don’t get me wrong…I’m not a member of the He’s Gotta Go Club.   

The only profit I see in a 2012 primary challenge is a revival of 1968.  

Heaven help me for the way I am
Save me from these evil deeds before I get them done
I know tomorrow brings the consequence at hand
But I keep living this day like the next will never come

But we’ve got to stop acting like our policy demands are outrageous…like we were just tossing out an idea for folks to chew on for a spell…and like our needs aren’t relevant needs worthy of consideration by the government we fucking helped get elected.

Oh help me but don't tell me to deny it
I've got to cleanse myself of all these lies 'till I'm good enough for him
I've got a lot to lose and I'm bettin' high so I'm begging you
Before it ends just tell me where to begin

Clearly we have a divide on the left. I happen to think these divides are healthy if they force both sides to evaluate their positions and hash shit out. 

What I need is a good defense
'Cause I'm feeling like a criminal


But I’ve had it up to my Afro with folks acting like I need to get in line…hush up and take what scraps get tossed my way just because some fiends on the right find amusement in our public display of dissent.

And I need to be redeemed
To the one I've sinned against
Because he's all I ever knew of love

Blink.

Monday, December 06, 2010

You've got to be fucking kidding me...


Happy Monday, y'all!

A bitch is awake, drinking coffee and full of bitchitude.

Shall we?

Word has come down that the Obama Administration is getting their compromise on with the GOP again.  This time it’s over the fuck up that keeps on fucking – President Bush II’s tax cuts for the rich.  Word is that the Obama Administration is willing to extend those tax cuts for the richest among us in order to get tax cuts for the middle class and the extension of unemployment benefits that is currently being held hostage by a do-nothing lame duck for a reason Congress.

Now there are a lot of sharp angles here, so we’re going to navigate this shit carefully.

Am I the only one who sees that smug ass elephant sipping tea in the middle of the room?
A bitch has been screaming at the television with each news segment covering this shit.

And the chorus asks… “Why are you screaming, Shark-Fu?”

I’m glad you asked!

I’m screaming because no one is asking the question this bitch would ask if my ass got a chance to talk to these fools – what the fuck have the masses gotten out of tax cuts for the rich?

***cue crickets***

Have they created jobs?

Have they stabilized markets?

Have they calmed the business sector?

Have they stimulated anything other than the orgasmic greed of the rich?

***listen as crickets tune up their instruments***

Shit.

There’s a big assed smug as hell elephant sitting in the middle of the room sipping tea, people!  Because the GOP is fixin' to pull one hell of a do-nothing while profiting few tax cut extension hustle…and it doesn’t have to happen.

It doesn’t!

Just once…just one fucking time…I’d like for people to challenge these assholes to break it down – how the hell are these tax cuts a necessary thing when we got into this fubar with the same fucking tax cuts in place and when they will do nothing to address anything other than rich people’s craven need to not participate equally in the capitalist machine?

Christ.

Moving forward…

Have we really come to this or is this where we’ve been all along?
Food and shelter for the unemployed masses are being held captive by politicians trying to figure out how to prevent rich people from feeling any of the economic horror facing the rest of us.

When we the people are presented the argument that fighting to extend tax cuts for the rich is worth delaying unemployment benefits for hard working average Americans…and that argument is entertained without a full public shaming of the GOP for having the unmitigated gall to articulated it given all that they’re economic policies have put the American people through…all while the present administration cowers whimpering in a political corner they created by inviting that vampire to dinner and discussions in the first fucking place…shit….

…when this is our new reality, we the people have been hoodwinked and bamboozled!

And yes, I’m looking at those that adore tea too – y’all got hustled, ‘cause this shit is politics as usual and you fucked it last night.

Ugh.

But I'm not holding out for a reckoning...not yet, anyway.
A bitch is watching this unfold like a train wreck in slow motion.

By extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich, government will extend the status quo.  The same status quo that ain’t working for shit.  So in reality the Obama Administration is trading unemployment benefits for tax cuts so they can kick the ball down the road a year or two.

The sad thing is we’ve been here before.  Or at least some of us have – I’m old enough to remember this trickle-down shit from the Reagan years and trust that it put a hurt on the nation for years.

Hell, I still have nightmares!

But here we are again…listening to the same tired ass promises from all sides and watching the same sorry ass play while these fiends raid out pockets in the coatroom.

I’m not holding out hope for a reckoning…not yet…not in an America where most are comfortable believing that the wages of poverty are hunger, want and need.

The masses are gleefully feasting on Soylent Green and far too many buy the idea that this is the way things need to be…

“Hush your mouth!” they caution.

“Massa gonna give us a slice of that bacon!”

Blink.

***logs off as cricket orchestra begins Mozart’s Requiem Mass in D minor***

Sunday, December 05, 2010

A belated update…sneezing ain't easy!


Hi y’all!

A bitch has been knee deep in sleep.

For real!

I’ve slept more in the past two weeks than I had in the year prior.

Sigh.

Anyhoo, sorry for the delay – here’s an update from the post-surgery land of bitchitude!

Sneezing ain’t easy…
A lot of folks sent advice about what to expect, to do and not to do after having abdominal surgery.  As a result, I launched my post-hysterectomy recovery feeling rather prepared for the weeks to come.

One thing a lot of people mentioned was that coughing, sneezing and laughing hard can be challenging.  My surgeon recommended having a pillow about to press against my stomach when coughing or sneezing…and I proactively decided to avoid Lewis Black movies on the Roku for fear of literally busting a gut.

Wince.

Taking the medical literature they sent my ass home with and all the advice that mentioned that sneezing could be challenging and might cause discomfort to heart, I placed a pillow by my side and called myself prepared.

Well, there’s knowing that sneezing can be “challenging” or “cause discomfort”...

…but understanding didn’t dawn until I actually experienced the awe-inspiring circle of vengeful demon pain that came in a hot wave when I sneezed.

The first sneeze nearly took me to my knees!

Muscle and tissue protested angrily as a hot wave radiated from my incision site outward, flames of pain licking at the edged of my abdomen like the tip of a whip.

Fuck a motherfucking duck, that shit hurt!

Noting was damaged and a quick read at HysterSisters made it clear that I am not alone in the painful-to-sneeze world.

When I was able to breath again I vowed to never sneeze again.

Yes, I had a pillow at the ready…but the sneeze caught me by surprise!

Just like that asshole second sneeze did the next day.

Shit.

It’s gotten better…mostly because I’m quicker with the pillow…but sneezing ain’t easy!

Anyhoo, I’ve decided that the medical literature they send patients home with needs to include a more accurate…more real life than calming. 

What?

That calming language throws folks off!

Better to keep shit real.

“Challenging” should be replaced with “painful as hell”.

Pause…consider…continue.

And mayhap they could replace “cause discomfort” with “make you call upon the gods for mercy”.

Blink.

p.s. other than sneezing, things are going rather well!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

On World AIDS Day...



Pause…sip coffee…continue.

Shall we?

At a certain point our knowledge of a thing indicts our lack of action.

At that point, we can no longer claim confusion or ignorance…we can’t point to some study that needs further review or some data that data-geeks are still working their way through.

At a certain point the finger of history points right back at you, me and all of us and gets it's indictment on…the clock starts running and I mean running fast – days become weeks become months become years and layer on each other as evidence of absolute bullshit.

We reached that point with HIV/AIDS years ago.

It’s not in my nature to celebrate how far we’ve come.

Color me contrary…but I can’t get past how much we could have accomplished and should have accomplished but for the undiluted assholia of far too many people.

In my community, and in communities all over the world, we’re failing.

We’re still debating known shit...still lobbying for support and funding for proven prevention programs...still asking and still hearing "no", "not yet" or "not right now".

More people are getting tested…but that’s still not good enough.

More people are seeking treatment…but funding is inadequate.

More people are talking about AIDS…but too many aren’t acting.

And at a certain point knowledge of a thing indicts lack of action.

Every day is World AIDS Day…and every day is an opportunity for us to do something, to advocate for more and better, and to act.
To act, damn it.

To act.

A fluff of the Afro and a thank you to the fantabulous folks at St. Louis Effort for AIDS and Food Outreach – for all you have done, are doing and will do!  

Oh how sweet it is!!


Hi y’all!

I’m still recovering from surgery, so posts will come as they fit into my meds-sleep-eat-walk around-repeat routine.

Here’s one that’s been a long time coming!

Longtime readers know that a bitch and my sister are co-guardians of our older brother Bill.  Bill is autistic and is in a residential program that grew out of the school for autistic children he attended when he was a wee one. 

In many ways we’re lucky – we’ve been familiar with the program since we were kids, Bill’s grown up with the program and we’ve all found a way to get shit done despite massive state budget cuts and a neglectful lack of funding.

And in a lot of ways we’re typically challenged – ‘cause of those massive state budget cuts to the Department of Mental Health and the neglectful lack of funding for jobs programs and so forth.

I moved back to St. Louis in 2002…to the city while our brother lived in the county.  He wasn’t as far away as he was when I lived in Texas, but visiting was challenging and random drop-ins where damn near impossible.  Randomly dropping-in is key when you have a loved one in any sort of managed care – you have to see how things are when staff doesn’t know you’re gonna be there and doesn’t have time to prepare.  And regular visits are beyond key to maintain a relationship with my brother – he’s aphasic and doesn’t communicate through the phone, so we rely on face-to-face interactions.

Not long after my sister and I became co-guardians we inquired about moving Bill closer to the city.  That has turned out to be a seven year long process that’s been delayed because of funding issues, finding the right roommate match and securing affordable housing in a safe area.

Moving to the city has been a part of my brother’s Person Centered Plan for years…and for years it’s been copied and pasted into next year’s plan with little progress having been made.

Until this year…until 2010…until funding sources emerged after some sort of language changed (gotta love government drama!!) and rents went down and roommates emerged...and finally we got word a few months ago that Bill was approved to move.

That approval triggered a process to find housing that all roommates & guardians agreed on…and my sister Crystal took on that project like a bad-ass Sister Polar bear (What? Everyone knows Polar bear are way more fierce than Grizzlies…wink).

I’m grateful to her for finding time where there wasn’t time to look at houses and pressure staff who just wanted to check something off their to-do list…

…because a couple of months ago we found an amazing house less than 10 minutes from our home.

Less than 10 minutes instead of damn near an hour away!!!

And the house is near parks and shops and sits in a fantabulous neighborhood for walking about...a lot of the things Bill wants and a bunch of things he needs.

It’s close enough for random visits from pesky sisters who just want to say hi and make sure their brother is eating his veggies.

Hooray!

My brother moved into his new home yesterday.

Even though I’m too weak post-surgery to visit yet, I’m damn near bursting with happiness and joy!

It’s been a long time coming…

…and oh how sweet it is!