Saturday, November 15, 2008

I am now done with my Christmas shopping, shattering all of my personal previous records! Here is your gift.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Louisiana: Where Progress Comes to Die

This is a map from the NY Times showing the shift in voting between 2004 & 2008. The redder the county, the greater the gain in Republican votes between 2004 & 2008. As usual, we here in LA insist on being 5 minutes and 500 years behind the rest of the nation. Here, things like progressive thought and a greater concern for making sure one's own kids graduate high school as opposed to worrying about whether Joe the Plumber and Joe Six Pack should be allowed to marry are viewed as tools of the liberal elites and Hollywood to destroy America. Funny, I was under the belief that it was the Republicans who slashed levee funding and who rendered FEMA ineffective by placing it within the bureaucratic black hole of the Department of Homeland Security who literally destroyed this part of America. And isn't it still the case that nearly a billion dollars of your Road Home money is going to the Bush administration buddies over at IFC, whilst you remain relegated to a life of toxic trailer trash? And isn't it true that the people most disgusted by "the gays" probably spend the most time thinking about disgusting gay sex? (Tip: If you don't think about it, it won't disgust you! Why ARE you thinking about it so much anyway?)

But I doth digresseth.

A few days ago, some local bloggers were bouncing around idears for turning LA more blue. Not to piss in anyone's cornflakes, but Louisianians haven't been progressive and open to change, even change that benefits us, since France ran this show. An educated populace would help, but that's not a short-term strategy unless you absolutely blitz them with media about particular issues in any given election (e.g., None of your broke asses will ever make $250,000 so chill out with the Obama will raise my taxes hysteria...[or something to that effect]). Judging from the map, it's not just LA. Most of the south, Appalachia, and the midwest are dying to remain about 20 years behind "big city coastal elites." The us-versus-them schema has been so drilled into people's psyche that cultural issues and fear tactics will drive regional politics for several years to come. Democrat strategists yearning for change would be trying to change the minds of people that still will not vote for a Landrieu because Moon hired blacks to work in N.O. City Hall in the 1970s and who have voted Republican (except for Clinton & Carter - two Southern white men) since LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act and forced them to integrate. Umm...yah, good luck with that one.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I've Got Your Prop 8 Right Here

And now for a post by guest blogger Jill of the Bay Area

This perspective calmed me down just a little bit today:

Rev. Andrus's comments are poignant and true in my opinion. Yes, we will continue to work toward a transformed consciousness. Yes, we will persevere. In the meantime, however, we will be disappointed. Very disappointed.

Particularly disappointed am I in some of my black people.

That's right - I said it.

I saw some black folks enthusiastically reporting of their vote for YES on Prop 8 yesterday, and it made me sick. How is it possible that any black people -- my people -- could enthusiastically sanction constitutionally mandated bigotry? How could any of my people -- who, a few short generations ago were not even 'people' ourselves (at least not in an enfranchised, constitutional sense) -- cover another body with that scarred, stinking, bigoted cloth? How could any of us deprive another human being of coverage by the full fabric of personhood? We don't even have to think "There, but for the Grace of God, go I..." We've been there! And, we've been working like hell to lance the boils left by that infected place ever since.

I was ready to turn over tables when I saw a face that looked like mine grinning and cooning in front of a news camera, parroting some foolishness about "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve..." What the hell? Could we really vote for a constitutional amendment that would put its boot on the neck of an entire segment of the human population ... based on a hot steamy pile of ideology invoking GOD's purported oversight in her creation of Adam and Steve? Could we really do this, all the while proclaiming our support for the first black candidate to ever ascend to the U.S. presidency, because it's "Time for Change?" That's not irony. That's nonsense!

I have been distracted all day questioning how this is possible -- how this is even a question in the minds of a repressed and marginalized people.

I am and will always be a fan of the democratic process. There are few things I value more than a dissenter's voice. That said, this is a stunning disappointment. Something broke loose in my faith in the bondedness of the human condition today. Humanity is going to have to purify itself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka before I will get over it. (If you're not a Purple Rain fan, then you didn't get that and shame on you for it!).

That is to say, we've got a lot of work to do.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Graduate Level Seminar on Hurricanes

[disclaimer: I didn't write this]

Funny because it is—sadly—true.

Hurricane Education: What I've learned during our last hurricane.

1. Coffee and frozen pizzas can be made on a BBQ grill.

2. No matter how many times you flick the switch, lights don't work without electricity.

3. My car gets 23.21675 miles per gallon, EXACTLY (you can ask the people in line who helped me push it).

4. Kids can survive 4 days or longer without a video game controller in their hand.

5. Cats are even more irritating without power.

6. He who has the biggest generator wins.

7. Women can actually survive without doing their hair- you just wish they weren't around you.

8. A new method of non-lethal torture- showers without hot water.

9. There are a lot more stars in the sky than most people thought.

10. TV is an addiction and the withdrawal symptoms are painful.

11. A 7 lb bag of ice will chill 6-12 oz Budweiser's to a drinkable temperature in 11 minutes, and still keep a 14 lb. turkey frozen for 8 more hours.

12. There are a lot of dang trees around here.

13. Flood plane drawings on some mortgage documents were seriously wrong..

14. Aluminum siding, while aesthetically pleasing, is definitely not required.

15. Crickets can increase their volume to overcome the sound of 14 generators.

16. People will get into a line that has already formed without having any idea what the line is for.

17. When required, a Lincoln Continental will float, doesn't steer well but floats just the same.

18. Tele-marketers function no matter what the weather is doing.

19. Cell phones work when land lines are down, but only as long as the battery remains charged.

20. 27 of your neighbors are fed from a different transformer than you, and they are quick to point that out!

21. Hampers were not made to contain such a volume.

22. If my store sold only ice, chainsaws, gas and generators... I'd be rich.

23. Price of a can of soup rises 200% in a storm.

24. Your water front property can quickly become someone else's fishing hole.

25. Tree service companies are under appreciated.

26. I learned what happens when you make fun of another states' blackout.

27. MATH 101: 30 days in month, minus 6 days without power equals 30% higher electric bill ?????

28. Drywall is a compound word, take away the 'dry' part and it's worthless.

29. I can walk a lot farther than I thought.

30. Your loved ones become a living nightmare.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Best of the Boob

Or the "breast" of the boob, as the boob would say. We sure will miss this guy.

OK, I'm done missing him now.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

This One's For You

I cannot imagine how difficult it must be for Barack Obama to have lost his rock, his Grandma "Toot" hours before possibly becoming President. It was comforting, however, to hear that she was able to cast her vote for him before passing away. I really cannot fathom how even the most ardent Republican supporter could begrudge him his need to suspend his campaign to go see her, or how any human could turn this enormously personal, painful trial into an ugly political talking point. But they have [see minute 0:00 to 1:00 of this video].

And it didn't stop with this heartless bastard. Friday, I heard Rush Limbaugh, who suspected something sinister and secretive lay underneath Obama's emergency flight to Hawaii from the very beginning, say the following [Go to minute 4:45], basically that the ill grandmother story was all a ruse, concocted so that he could go back and have his birth records sealed. (You see, he's stuck on this debunked myth that Obama is not an American citizen.)

Let me tell Mr. Limbaugh something about real American grandparents and how much they mean to so many of us real Americans. I am fortunate to have 3 of my grandparents still on this Earth with me, not just because they are the most loving and amazing humans I know, but because I am blessed to see them witness this day. Born in rural Louisiana before electricity, TV, indoor plumbing, and having the right to vote, today they all cast a ballot in favor of another black person for President of the United States.

My father's mother, who turned 85 two days ago, after not being allowed to go to the front of the early voting line in her wheelchair, simply went back today to cast her vote. My mother's 83 and 89 year-old parents arrived at their polling place at 5:55AM to patiently wait, a cane and a walker between the two of them, for an hour to cast their votes. I also never heard my grandfather utter one syllable of regret about having to fight in World War II only to return to a country where he had to stand in the back of the bus and drink from dirty water fountains. His wife, who could have passed for white, did not hesitate to correct white people who told her she didn't have to wait in the colored waiting rooms. She was black she would tell them. My other grandmother never complained about working as a housekeeper for white families until the age of 75, well after she began suffering the pain of osteoarthritis. And during all this, these great Americans nurtured and supported and helped raised their grandchildren and great-grandchildren after raising 19 children (between the four of them) and sending those children on to college and law school and graduate school even though they themselves had little money and not a one attended school beyond the 8th grade.

Because of them, I have never been so happy to stand in line to vote. Without them, I would never have been so happy -- period. So today is for you Toot. Today is for you Ernest (rest in peace) and Audrey. Today is no one's but yours, Eddie and Marina.