The Last Thing the Internet Needs Now


Cry, Baby, Cry. WAAAAAHHHH!!!! (Updated)
January 9, 2009, 11:23 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

Oh, great (you’ve seen some of the video on Olbermann, you’ve read about it at about probably half a dozen other places too, but I’ll only link 2 and the first link, which is from feministing.com, is way way more interesting).

Now that Election ’08 (and ’08 itself) are history I was really hoping that Que Sarah Sarah would go back to Alaska and, I dunno, do her guv’ner thing, but I guess not. In fact the Cult of Sarah seems to have been emboldened (can’t help but notice you have to register and login to read a lot of the content. Is this perhaps the reason for that?)

But back to the first thing, the nine-minute video interview conducted by John Ziegler. Why does it not surprise me that someone who blames the “media” for her downfall would go cry about it to someone who is a member of the media (granted, a conservative-slanting documentarian, but still — media!)

We aren’t as dumb as we look, perhaps. When a sitting governor of a state can’t answer a *direct* question from CBS’ Katie Couric as to what newspapers she reads and which newspapers shape her worldview told most Americans that this perhaps shouldn’t be a person who would be a heartbeat away from the Presidency.

Why blame the media for dumping on Palin for coming off the way she did when all she had to do was open her mouth?

Maybe Palin *shouldn’t* go away from the limelight yet. She’s a very good illustration of the schism between “normal” Republicans and what the WaPo’s Kathleen Parker called the “evangelical, right wing oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP.”

She’s very good at “removing all doubt,” if you know what I mean. And by removing all doubt, maybe the continued exposure to sunlight will cleanse the nation of the aforementioned “oogedy-boogedy” ones.

[UPDATE: Meant to add this LINK last night (Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic). Old but worth it as a refresher!]



Gee, Ya Think?!?!?!
December 2, 2008, 1:01 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

Via cnn.com, in so many words: Voters picked Obama because of me.

He can’t leave soon enough, and that’s all I’m gonna say. I’ll let the link speak for itself, I are teh sleepy.



Moral Struggle Is Teh Suck
November 16, 2008, 8:39 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags:

(Uptighty ones: If you’re bothered by curse words, this contains some. You were warned in advance so don’t get all up in my face about it. Kthxbai).

Much has been written about Oklahoma’s sharp right turn in Election ’08, including by me, that the number-crunching and the whys and hows don’t really need to be reexamined. Yes, I live in a state that is out of step with the nation as never before. Yes, despite that HUGE negative, I generally like it here.

I have begun to feel a pull to pack up (despite how broke I am) and wish and hope that I can gain something like political asylum in a state like Oregon or Maryland or any other state that went Blue on November 4. I am still pretty heartsick that my state — a place that I love, despite the warts and boils — where I’ve lived for the biggest chunk of my 42 years is going to continue to be the object of ridicule, and all of us Oklahomans will be judged by the standard that we’re all ignorant religious nuts who are intolerant of diversity, unwilling to try new things, and deeply scared of change.

How do I tell people outside of our borders, “We’re not all like that!”

For instance, I have to share this great state with the likes of this individual, whose letter to the editor was published in Friday’s editions of The Oklahoman (I’ve redacted his name and didn’t post a link on purpose):

While watching the coverage of the presidential election returns, I was proud to be an Oklahoman. Our state was one of the first to turn red and thereby reject the extreme liberal policies and socialistic direction our nation seems to be taking. I never thought I’d live to see the day in which we would elect to the highest office in the land a man whose character resume has so many holes in it. Oklahoma, by a 2-to-1 margin, saw through the smokescreen of the national media and said no thanks.

“Character holes … ” ummm … let me guess, you’ve bought into the whole “Obama’s a Muslim and he associates with terrorists and he’s actually the Antichrist” bit, right?

I never thought I’d live to see the day that people who still think it’s perfectly okay to judge/demean/abuse a man because of the color of his skin or his origins would still be taken seriously enough to have their blather published in a newspaper. But wait, this *is* The Oklahoman. They’re still paying Jenni Carlson to write blather on the sports page.

Gov. Brad Henry was in Chicago celebrating with the crowd. Could there be any clearer picture as to how out of step he is with this great state? In two years when his term is finally over, and if he tries to advance his political career, I hope we will remember his true colors.

Did Brad Henry kick your puppy or something? “Extreme liberal policies” and “socialistic direction” and “Brad Henry” go together like milk and drain cleaner. There are people on my end of the political spectrum who think Henry’s a DINO. At best he’s a moderate. Either way, Oklahoma has seen some forward movement under Henry. But oh, wait, Oklahomans are afraid of forward movement.

Anyway, what was wrong with Henry being in Chicago celebrating with the President-Elect? Unlike a number of Oklahomans, Henry sees that the direction the nation has been going in for the last several years has been the wrong direction, and Henry endorsed who he thought was the right man. I’m personally convinced the only reason Hillary Rodham Clinton won the Oklahoma Democratic Primary on Super Tuesday was because she’d be easier to beat were she to win the nomination because she (and her husband) had already been demonized by the right-wing hatemongers and otherwise freaks and she’d be an easier target than the then-relatively unknown skinny kid with the funny name from Chicago by way of Hawaii. It would have been like shooting fish in a barrel.

A number of Oklahomans happen to agree with Governor Henry. We’re sorry that our group gets out-shouted by your group because the Most Powerful Newspaper in Oklahoma *drowns* everyone else out. I’ve wasted my time writing letters to the editor to The Oklahoman before. Even though I don’t cuss in them and use perfect English and make my points squarely (unlike here), I’ve gotten responses like “we regret we cannot publish your letter” and once I got one back that said, “Your letter is inappropriate for publication” (that was at least 11 years ago, but I’ve NEVER forgotten that. It’s actually one of the primary reasons I have something against The Oklahoman. I kind of *have* to read it, but I approach reading it as “trying to understand my enemy”).

————————

This doesn’t have anything to do with the above, but to me it’s a microcosm of why I am the way I am. I am reminded of this encounter with the watchmen where I worked when I was about 17 or so.

He and his watchman buddy — one was about to get off, the other one was coming on — were sitting around the breakroom of where I worked at the time — a fleet facility where I was a maintenance helper or something, I don’t remember it was a bullshite high school job, but it beat working at Burger King and it was an okay way to kill three or four hours after school and make a few bucks.

There was a TV in the break room and they were watching the evening news and chatting it up. I was across the room waiting for a ride home and minding my own business, but I listened to their conversation:

“Look, now we’re gonna have N%$$#@ Day …” (this was around the time the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday was declared). “Why the hell do we have to have this?”

His buddy: “Because a bunch of uppity (that word again) pissed and moaned about it for so long they gave in.”

I sat alone with my crossword puzzle and seethed, and stayed out of their conversation. I wasn’t in the mood to tangle with a pair of fat, late-middle-aged (actually I vaguely remember both being over 60) rednecks with small arms at their side. I was tired, I didn’t want to talk to anybody I just wanted to go home. But listening was fascinating. It moved tangentially from blacks to women to that then-new disease that was affecting gay men and back to blacks and what a mess this world was I think we’re going to be here to see Armageddon and blah blah blah.

Then one of them looked at me and asked, “What do you think of (that word again) Day?”

I just looked up from my puzzle and said, “Whatever. I don’t have a problem with it.”

Redneck #1 — “You’ve got some learning to do, missy. You don’t mind having a national holiday for a (that word again).”

Me — “My mom’s boyfriend uses that word all the time and Mom and I hate it, and I wish you’d lay off.”

Redneck #2 — “Boyfriend? Is your mom a slut or something? What about your real dad?”

Me — “None of your fuckin’ business.”

Redneck #1 backed off and started trying to engage me in chatter about my studies and crap. I ignored him. I heard a honk outside and it was my ride. I grabbed my stuff and headed to the door.

Redneck #1 showed me out with the benediction, “See you in church on Sunday.”

All these years later I regret not saying what I really wanted to say to these men. Which should have been: “You mean you’re okay with murdering people because they were different from you and they wanted to fight for justice to be on an equal footing with everybody else? You’re okay with crap like separate bathrooms and water fountains and all that? You were okay with the fact that for roughly 200 years those words in the Declaration of Independence about all men being created equal was just hollow bullshite? You are really okay with that?

“By the way, does your wife like it when you hit her?”

“And you have the gall to admonish me to go to church.” (at the time, I actually did. I no longer have anything to do with religion of any kind).

I think deep in the recesses of my memory that’s the reason I feel compelled to stay in Oklahoma and work to debunk stereotypes and maybe one day (it’ll probably be after I’m dead, though), Oklahoma won’t be a joke to the other 49 states.

I just love it when Billy Bob Redneck comes up with “We don’t care what the rest of the country thinks … ” but hello, it kind of does matter if we want to attract more business and industry and high-tech jobs here, and make people want to move here (heh good luck with that in a recession/depression, thanks Bush!) and it kind of does matter what the outside thinks at a time when Oklahoma is just dying to raise its profile to the rest of the nation (this whole NBA thing is NOT a positive step in that direction, but that’s for another post upcoming). Billy Bob, what the rest of the country thinks DOES matter. And right now what the rest of the nation thinks of Oklahoma isn’t … that great — unless you’re a college football analyst. Those guys freakin’ LOVE us right now.

I know that if I left and tried to seek some kind of “political asylum” in the two states of my choice (Oregon or Maryland), that would make me something I really don’t want to be: A chicken. I am fearful of a lot of things: Losing my mind, losing my health, losing my friends (and I’ve lost plenty for various reasons including the Unavoidable One), losing my wallet even though it isn’t like I ever have money anymore … but I really don’t want to be perceived as a coward because I up and left Oklahoma because I was tired of working for change against a hateful and backwards political climate that seems increasingly driven by demagogues. I won’t go away from here until I’m dead, and I hope that I leave Oklahoma a better place than it was when I got here.

But it’s still tempting. Real tempting. Then I look at my bank account and look at the complete piece of crap outside my window that may once have been my vehicle and know that well, that’s not possible.

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade, I guess.

*sigh*



America: Two Steps Forward. Oklahoma: Four Steps Backward
November 9, 2008, 7:19 am
Filed under: Oklahoma, Politics

First of all, congratulations to President-Elect Barack Obama, who stayed on the high road in his campaign and, to his credit, kept cool and engaged with Americans in discourse about real and pressing issues facing this nation while his opponents (and even more so, some of their fans, despite John McCain’s best efforts to abate the hate) were diverted from discourse about the issues by the usual fear mongering, attack tactics and other sideshows that have become the norm of a GOP that, as I wrote last week, has become hopelessly hijacked by cultural wedge-issue pushing extremists.

But as the nation as a whole took two giant steps forward in finding a starting place in the healing of a nation brought virtually to its knees by eight years of George Walker Bush (or, as my landlady called him, Dick Cheney’s wind-up toy), Oklahoma took several steps backwards.

It is what it is. Oklahoma has reaffirmed, with exclamation points, that it’s the reddest of the red states, returning virtually all of its Republican delegation (save lone Democrat Dan Boren, although he’s kind of a D.I.N.O.) to Washington AND, as a bonus, taking control of the State Legislature as well.

Now think about that when Oklahoma’s Democratic governor, Brad Henry, HAS to leave office in 2010 because of term limits. What then? For anyone left — or even center — of the spectrum, this has to be scary. Henry is what he is (a moderate, and some might even say a D.I.N.O.), but he must be commended for his leadership, particularly in educational issues. He is also to be commended for his spirit of fostering cooperation between both parties, and the willingness to call out extremism for what it is (particularly when responding to Sally Kern’s anti-gay tirade that landed on YouTube). When he leaves, it will actually suck.

Although its hard to tell from the national pundits, bloggers (at least ones better regarded and more seriously taken than the tiny sliver of real estate I’m taking up on the Infobahn) and TV talking heads, there ARE Blue people in Oklahoma.

And we came out and cast our votes for Obama — and Andrew Rice, and and Ron Marlett, and other candidates in other races around the state, hoping to unseat individuals who have brought unwanted attention and shame to our state with their backwards ideas and, in a case or two, sheer unacceptable hatred. (We voted for Jim Roth too, who was running to keep his place on the state Corporation Commission. He’s another young, smart guy who should be exemplary of Oklahoma’s future).

Marlett (not a young man but a smart man) was unsuccessful in his bid to turn Rep. Sally Kern back into just another meddlesome, helmet-haired preacher’s wife. Andrew Rice — who is poised to have a great future in Oklahoma politics — ran a clean, honest, even-handed campaign to send senior US Senator Jim Inhofe into retirement. Inhofe, on the other hand, was snide and condescending to Rice, and easily won re-election simply because he scared people into voting for him because Rice, for lack of a better way to put it (and, intentionally or not, following the lead of what the McCain/Palin ticket had devolved into towards the final months of the campaign) was not like Oklahomans.

“Not like Oklahomans”? What are Oklahomans like, anyway? Does anybody know this without resorting to the usual stereotypes associated with Oklahomans? We come in all shapes and sizes, colors and creeds, religion or none, liberal and conservative, urban and rural, gay and straight. Who has the right to define for the rest of America what an Oklahoman is? I hope not the likes of Inhofe or Kern, and I hope not the likes of the state’s newspaper of record, The Oklahoman. Oh, sure, it’s recent graphic makeover is sort of nice, but it’s still akin to putting lipstick on a pig.

So thanks to the politics of fear — or at the very least a lack of a dissenting powerful voice to counter that of The Oklahoman, which really does not represent the views of ALL Oklahomans — we’ve probably ensured that Oklahoma’s brain drain will continue unabated for several more years to come, and that Oklahoma will continue to be the object of shame and ridicule when someone comes out with inflammatory or controversial remarks about People Who Aren’t Like Themselves (read: gays, liberals, non-whites, divorcees, non-Christians, people with adequate dental hygiene … whoever).

Why does it have to be this way, that progressive Oklahomans always stuck with playing defense? But rest assured, we’ll always be looking for that fumble or that botched pass and run it in for a TD or a vicious dunk. It’s bound to happen in the near future. In fact I’m pretty sure it will.

Maybe we need a new coach? Where’s our Bob Stoops or Jeff Capel to maybe teach us a new and better way to play what’s become a more challenging game?

More reading here:

What’s the Matter With Oklahoma? (diary by droogie at Daily Kos)

Oklahoma Red for Shame (Peace Arena)



The Last Thing … Endorses Andrew Rice
November 3, 2008, 4:32 am
Filed under: Oklahoma, Politics | Tags: , , , ,

On Halloween I took advantage of early voting in Oklahoma. If turnout is going to be what is expected, I knew I would not have time to do so Tuesday, and I am glad I did, because if I had not made it to the polls on Tuesday I know I would be guilty forever of not participating in what has to be the most important Presidential election in recent memory.

I got to spend the time in the queue catching up with an acquaintance I’d not seen in nearly a decade, so that helped make the hour go by a lot faster. Nobody tried to suppress my vote, nobody did this, that or the other to make me have second thoughts or anything else. I simply went through the normal polling place procedures, went into the booth, marked the ballot with my choices and put it in the machine and then I walked out into the sunshine of a fall afternoon.

I cast a ballot for the candidates I support and the candidates I hope will win and undertake the process of healing what the last eight years hath wrought. I want to be hopeful that my vote will be one little tiny voice among many others in a mass repudiation of a GOP that has been hijacked beyond most hope of recovery.

How has the GOP been hijacked? For some 30 years by the mindset of, “I’m better than you because I’m a conservative Christian who thinks gays are terrorists and has never had a divorce or an affair. Global warming doesn’t exist but does it really matter because Jesus is coming back soon and will take us all away and leave the wicked to suffer and die here” and other types of extremist crapola that diverts Americans away from real issues — especially economic, energy, and climate issues — that *will* have a significant and measurable impact on the future.

But then again, I’m reminded I live in Oklahoma, where the two major newspapers: The Oklahoman and the Tulsa World — are doing their part to keep with status quo by endorsing, at least in the major races, the McCain/Palin presidential ticket and James Inhofe in the U.S. Senate race. When you have these media juggernauts (yes, even the Tulsa World, which is like the little sibling who always cries “Take me with!” or “Meeee tooooo!!” compared to The Oklahoman) to tell you what to think, what’s the point of trying to convince you otherwise?

In its endorsement of Inhofe, The Oklahoman wrote:

Inhofe is a pro-defense fiscal and social conservative who reflects Oklahoma values. Under Democratic control, Congress has moved far away from those values. Sending Rice to the Senate would do little to put the brakes on that trend.

James Inhofe on the issues

Hey, we might all be scared shiteless in the continuing economic crisis worrying about where our next paycheck/meal/shelter/possible medical care might come from if we did find ourselves downsized/outsourced/just plain shite out of luck. But under the watch of vigilant “values” fans like Jim Inhofe, nobody will burn the flag, gay/lesbian couples won’t get married, and heaven forbid a woman decides what to do with her own body, especially if she becomes pregnant as the result of non-consensual sex. Oh, and forget about teaching people about contraception and general sexual health, which at the end of the day creates more problems than it’s supposed to relieve (allegedly). They’re all about pushing this “abstinence-only” nonsense. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You will not stop people from having sex. This is like laying out a spread of pastries in front of a fat kid and telling him not to touch it. The best you can do is use education to help limit unwanted pregnancies and the spread of STDs.

Values indeed. Values out of whack in the big picture when America faces an uncertain economic climate, a canyon between the haves and have-nots, and also faces the task of undoing eight years of taint on America’s place on the world stage thanks to Bush/Cheney (or should that be Cheney/Bush) foreign policy.

I respectfully believe in my heart of hearts that the vast majority of Oklahomans in their right minds shudder when they hear Inhofe bully his opponent and address him like a snotnosed little kid, as he did in the one debate that Inhofe agreed to do (Rice asked for more, Inhofe agreed to just one), or hear Inhofe use the Senate floor to talk about his family history’s lack of divorce or homosexuality, and generally want to hide their faces in shame almost every other time Inhofe has opened his mouth. Inhofe has his fans, sure, but its a disservice to a state that wants very much to bury old negative stereotypes (Dust Bowl, for instance) and be taken seriously as a player in attracting business, as a player in sports other than college football, and as a contributor to diverse popular culture. Inhofe continues to represent that part of the Oklahoma psyche that is fearful of change, doesn’t come off as all that bright even though they may be, and — unfortunately — might be prone to irrational hatred of people That Are Not Like Them.

And why do social (or Christian) conservatives have a monopoly on “values”? Don’t we all have a set of values? People’s values might be different from person to person, but they are still values. George F. Will (of all people!) asked “who isn’t a values voter?” over two years ago in a Washington Post column:

This phrase diminishes our understanding of politics. It also is arrogant on the part of social conservatives and insulting to everyone else because it implies that only social conservatives vote to advance their values and everyone else votes to . . . well, it is unclear what they supposedly think they are doing with their ballots. …

———–

Conservatives should be wary of the idea that when they talk about, say, tax cuts and limited government — about things other than abortion, gay marriage, religion in the public square and similar issues — they are engaging in values-free discourse. And by ratifying the social conservatives’ monopoly of the label “values voters,” the media are furthering the fiction that these voters are somehow more morally awake than others.

Today’s liberal agenda includes preservation, even expansion, of the welfare state in its current configuration in order to strengthen an egalitarian ethic of common provision. Liberals favor taxes and other measures to produce a more equal distribution of income. They may value equality indiscriminately, but they vote their values.

Among the various flavors of conservatism, there is libertarianism that is wary of government attempts to nurture morality and there is social conservatism that says unless government nurtures morality, liberty will perish. Both kinds of conservatives use their votes to advance what they value.

And this is how I see it:

One set of “values” is about making America a society where the planes of economic stratification are accessible as stair steps rather than discouragingly divided, and not about getting all up into your personal life with respect to your choices and beliefs. This set of values, to me, encourages Americans as human beings deserving and worthy of that which all human beings deserve: To be treated with dignity and equality regardless of their race, ethnic makeup, sexuality, income level, or religious beliefs — even if they are non-Christians or even non-theists.

Another set of “values” is about getting all up in your personal business and your beliefs, and keeping the planes of economic stratification spread far and wide with not much hope for those on a lower plane to advance higher, no matter how hard they work to achieve such advancement. They also talk about treating all Americans with the dignity they deserve, but for some reason this irritates the lunatic fringe on the far reaches of this political spectrum. People like this, perhaps, who’ve become associated – fairly or unfairly – with the Republican half of the Presidential ticket.

The kind of order that James Inhofe endorses does not speak for all Oklahomans, and is in fact a disservice to Oklahomans who desire the forward progress of our state and its profile and standing in the rest of the nation. With that, The Last Thing … endorses Andrew Rice for U.S. Senate.



It’s Very Simple, Everyone
October 28, 2008, 9:18 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

… and I’m going to let the link speak for itself. Unlike the last time I posted a video that had nothing to do with sports and essentially killed the whole effect with my big dumbass mouth fingers.



Sure She’s a “Women’s Candidate.” Assuming You’re Stuck In the 1950s.
October 5, 2008, 1:27 am
Filed under: Politics, Serious stuff | Tags: , , , ,

It is hard to wrap my mind around the wide-eyed naivete of the multitudes who think that because Sarah Palin is a woman, that she’s a “women’s candidate.” This has probably been disproven time and again in the ensuing weeks as things about her have become exposed. I know it shouldn’t be hard to wrap my mind around it, but it is. How can people be so, for lack of a better word, dumb?

I hate that I was on self-imposed blog exile when Palin was chosen to be John McCain’s running mate, because everything there is for me to find disturbing about Palin has already been hashed out and beaten to death, especially this one: Palin’s policy stands on reproductive (no) choice and abstinence-only sex education versus her own teenage daughter’s pregnancy.

Gov. Palin, if abstinence-only sex ed works so well, is there any way for you to explain how your own daughter managed to get pregnant? And was it really *her* choice to decide to carry the child to term? And if she *really* had a choice, then Gov. Palin, why are you so willing to deny millions and millions of American women the same choice when they are faced with a risky or unexpected pregnancy? And I’d like to see you answer this directly and in detail — no consulting with your handlers, no queue cards. Woman to woman.

Let’s say that I was raped, and became pregnant as a result. Why should I be expected to carry the fetus to term and potentially put myself at health risk given my age (let alone being sexually assaulted)? Why should I be forced to carry to term a fetus that is the result of non-consensual sex, that will eventually grow into an adult that, once he/she learns how he came to be, might become a fuct-up-beyond-all-recognition psychopath that will probably have made the news after having, oh, say, went on a murder spree at Taco Bell and began using the bodies of the staff to make Nachos Bell Grande? Or at the least, just becomes another average fuct-up kid who winds up producing another unwanted child and allows the vicious circle to repeat?

Attention All Moralistic Scolds: YOU ARE NOT GOING TO STOP PEOPLE FROM HAVING SEX. PLEASE GET THIS THROUGH YOUR SKULLS EVEN IF YOU MUST USE A HAMMER. Since you aren’t going to stop these kids, already full of raging emotions as it is, from having sex isn’t the logical course of action to try to teach them about how to use certain products (read: birth control) to keep them from finding themselves in a position where they must consider what should be the utter last resort (read: abortion).

Abrupt end of rant because my hands are literally shaking.