Tuesday, December 30, 2008


How to Screw Up the Middle East

1. Assume that the Middle East and its inhabitants belong in the butt-crack of the universal human body-mind. (Note placement of Africa, too, while you're at it... the metaphor applies to it, too.) Place the region on the world map accordingly.

2. Develop an unwholesome interest in exploiting the resources of the region In the National Interest.

3. Strike an unholy deal with the auto industry. Discourage the development of public transportation in your own country.

4. Convince U.S. citizens that the automobile is an indispensable part of The Good Life, the individual's piece of The National Interest.
Assure them that cheap oil is part of their birthright. Discourage all attempts at lasting alternative energy solutions.

5. Decide that Arabs and Persians don't know what's Good for Them. Offer technical assistance.
Offer to relieve them of their natural resources. Choose their leaders for them and support their dominance of their citizens.

6. Collude with Great Britain to make Palestine a British Protectorate. It'll be easier to hand over later, since the Palestinians already need "protecting."

7. Buy into the idea that any one of the world's tribes is truly God's Chosen People.
Use the Bible as an instrument of foreign policy. Ignore the fact that nearly every tribe on the globe sees itself as the Chosen People.

8. Simultaneously, ignore the Holocaust till after it's had its way with 6 million-plus Jews. They're the Chosen People, but not that Chosen. After all, Jesus is Lord!

9. Now that God's Chosen People have been murdered, maimed, tortured, and enslaved, make nice. Give them a homeland, as long as it doesn't have to be your own. Let the Chosen People protect the Palestinians.

10. As part of the PR for depriving the Palestinians of their homes, farms, orchards, etc., pretend that the whole area was an undeveloped desert, that nobody lived there.
Repeat often.

11. Allow the new state of Israel to have armed forces. Give them money and sell them lots of arms.

12. Forbid Palestinians any right to a military to provide for the common defense.
Label any efforts to gain defense as terrorism. Attack any Palestinian claims to rights as a refusal to accept the existence of Israel.

13. Develop policies designed to force out Palestinians. They are, after all, Arabs, and as such, inferior to God's Chosen People. (See #1.)
Ignore Palestinian pleas for autonomy.

14. Suggest that anyone who objects to these policies is anti-Semitic. It's all very simple, after all, even if Arabs and Israelis are all classified as Semitic people.

15. Invade Iraq. They're terrorists, too. Be sure to leave borders open after conquest. You're gonna need those terrorists to justify parking your asses in their country. After all--they need our protection.

16. Threaten to invade Iran.

17. Do not talk to anyone with whom you disagree in the name of "not negotiating with terrorists." Shrug off suggestions that you are acting like terrorists yourselves.

18. Mix thoroughly.

19. Add gasoline, fire, water, and serve.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Lulu's Faith-Based Initiative

He's a very bright guy, but clearly, there are some gaps in his education. Obama, though he is probably nice as pie, still doesn't see gay rights as civil rights.

It's time for a new program for to get those hands across the water.

When Obama chooses Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration, you know that we still have work to do.

In recent days I have found myself wondering, just what gay people has Obama had in his life, anyway? Aside from some silly page in the Senate with a mad crush on him, probably not any.

It seems hard to believe, but it does happen. And if Obama continues to take refuge in what I call The Last Respectable Prejudice, I can't expect much from many of my fellow citizens.

So let's widen the base. After all, most of us homoze and lezbeans are perfectly delightful, even lovable people. God knows that a bigger pack of pleasers has hardly walked the earth before us.

In that spirit I offer an exchange program, based on all those attempts to foist foreign children upon well-intentioned American families, and American kids to host families who can barely feed their own kids, never mind these little gluttons from the land of plenty. This one will feature gay folks dumped right into host households, the better to share our Customs and Lore.

I don't want to gloat, but I've already starting Piloting the Concept, as they say. Here are Ellen DeGeneres and her host family at a Meet n' Greet at the Ramada Inn. She's brought a nice little hostess gift, and you can tell she's about to win over another family for us queer folk. She and Portia have been married long enough for her to hit the road in service of The Greater Good. You go, Ellen!

And Clay Aiken's host family, consisting of a Clay-mate and her teenage daughter Daneeta, are pleased as punch to have their American Idol in their midst. After a couple of weeks they'll see that Clay's preference is no big deal--he's the same sweet guy they voted for Back When. And fatherhood has only made him better, you can bet on that!

We even sent a team to this host family: k.d.lang and Nathan Lane! Here they are, relaxing after instructing the family in the spirited lesbian folk dances of the great Canadian prairie. Later, k.d. and Nathan will prepare an authentic gay and lesbian meal for the whole gang. Fun!

Why aren't we starting at the White House, I can hear you asking. And why celebrities, rather than Just Gay Folks?

I can only say that we have to start somewhere. We're tabulating the responses of our host families and refining our idea of what activities were and were not successful. For instance, we had originally teamed k.d. with Jodie Foster, but Jodie turned out to be too uptight for the assignment. In fact, she recognized the fact before we did. So we hustled in Nathan Lane to save the show. Once he had donned the folk dance gear, we knew we had a winner.

As for the celebrity angle, we were much more likely to get host families to admit the rich and famous to their homes than some little butch who sold motorcycles. Remember also, that the Obamas are now celebrities. It only makes sense that they will be at their most comfortable with other celebrities. That way they don't have to worry about being asked for money or autographs or toenail clippings to be sold on eBay. They can all be famous together.

So I say to my fellow queer folk, Be patient. This young Obama fella is clueless on our rights, or lack of them. But throw people together for some food, some dance, and a little heart-to-heart, and wonderful things start to happen.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Santa Does Not Torture

Post-celebration. We had a nice day that began and ended with pie. This indeed is living well.

First was the skillet apple pie from the latest issue of Gourmet magazine. Caramelize the apples, then add a mixture of apple cider and maple syrup. Yow! Then lay a crust across the top and bake, right in the skillet. Que vida!

That was for the large group. We (spouse, spouse's mother, and I) finished off dinner with a pumpkin pie so rich that I don't even want to disclose the ingredients.

Now the bloat has me thinking of that ol' departing dick, Cheney. It was a mark of sickness that I read half of
Angler: the Vice Presidency of Dick Cheney. I would have finished it if I hadn't been short of time, if the book hadn't been on hold for the next reader. It's a good read if you're into self flagellation.

Thrill to Cheney's de facto selection of the Cabinet! Chuckle knowingly as the Dickster crushes Dubya's interest in global warming and creates policy by blocking Dub's contact with other staff members while vetting every issue privately with his presidential wanna-be. Watch him read all the emails sent to Dubya by his staff, having ordered a copy of each of them to be sent to his office. Walk on the wild side as Cheney chooses the linguistic stuff sack into which he crams the administration's torture practices.

And that's just the first half! I'd read excerpts last year in the Washington Post, but clearly, it was not all there was. Cheney's manipulation of the White House staff was so deft that he makes Machiavelli seem positively spontaneous and lacking in guile. I'll probably finish it. As I said, after 8 years of these clowns I am not a well puppy.

In the meantime, friends are helping me achieve closure. One of my closest friends sent me Goodnight Bush, and what a dandy little book it is. If you have a progressive friend you have yet to see and gift in this holiday season, it's just the ticket. I won't spoil it here, but if you haven't seen it and are taking your neurosis out to the post-Christmas sales, drop by a book store and check it out. It's a lot more fun than Angler, unless you're a federal prosecutor who wants to take on somebody more challenging than Delusional Rod.

Will there ever be justice for the loss of life, the maiming of American troops and Iraqi civilians, the undermining of the Constitution, the dismantling of government function under the banner of privatization (with taxpayer money, of course)? Or will we simply stumble along into the next administration, not wanting to appear "divisive" for real crimes against the Constitution and humanity?

If there's anything to wish for in the new year, along with the success of the next president and the rest of us, it's the justice on which so many of us have given up.

Happy holidays, anyway.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


The Heel Marks of Greatness

I sure hope the Iraqi government doesn't mean it.

That Muntather al-Zaidi, the journalist who invested both his shoes in a display of solidarity with his people could be sentenced to 15 years in prison, that is.

Perhaps that was a sort of posturing that one makes when some asshole comes to town to admire the damage he has done one last time before he leaves office:

Museum of irreplaceable national treasures looted: check

Decimation of infrastructure: complete

Slaughter of 800,000+ Iraqi citizens: done

Reduction of citizenry to wild levels of unemployment: got it!

Ineffective tutorials on the joys of the free market economy: yes!!

Infusion of terrorists into general population: you bet!

Dismantling of Iraqi Army; blaming of Iraqis for "not taking responsibility for their own security:" check

When a fella has accomplished all this and more in less than 8 years, he can't help but want to go back, survey the results, and say to himself, "Shucks! To think I did all this!"

And what can a good Iraqi do but give him one --make that two-- of his most precious possessions, his shoes? After all, the debt is incalculable.

The Iraqi government, embarrassed by the treatment of the Guest they are Hosting, is bound to talk tough about retribution for any faux pas, even if the Guest in question came without invitation, the better to destroy the place and take it and its resources hostage. But it's all a misunderstanding, a multicultural mix-up, I'm sure.

What we have run into here are conflicting modes of celebrating the same thing. W goes over, beholds the fruit of his labors, and gloats; al-Zaidi, in his turn, expresses himself with a toss of shoes. They are observing the same accomplishments.

Al-Zaidi's form, athletically speaking, was impeccable. Look at that arm! The wrist relaxed, flexible. It's a tribute to the president's longstanding skill at ducking and dodging that he was able to evade such masterful shoe-handling.

Therefore let us re-name the NFL, from the National Football League, to the National Footwear Lobbers. Let the best of our athletes emulate this brave journalist in their celebration of all that W has done during his administration. Let W be uncomfortable at every football game he attends from now on.

Let them perform forward passes and Statue of Liberty plays with their finest Hush Puppies (which are also made of pigskin), the better to leave their mark on our outgoing Decider.


Now They Think of It...

People involved with the Blagojevich case are starting to wonder if perhaps they didn't announce their intentions too soon. After all, they have him plotting, but not actually proffering. Whoops.

There's also the very real question of whether or not His Royal Pompadour-ness can get a fair trial.

It's certainly been a fun distraction. We of sufficient years have spent time contemplating the history of the male hairdo, landing pretty much smack in the 70s to locate the inspiration for his coiffure. Mike Curb! Bobby Goldsboro!

But what's sad is that we are desperate for distraction. As I write my Christmas cards with the polar bears on them, I think, nothing says global warming quite like a picture of polar bears.

And a friend is waiting for a very real axe to fall at work, having watched it sever the employment of a huge number of colleagues. Last week she received the reassuring news that she was "good for another week, anyhow." She's on her own, with a house full of ailing animals that have been abandoned by others. She has a great heart, lots of obligations, and a growing sense of desperation.

In the landscape of most of our fellow citizens and creatures, Blagojevich is all the more ridiculous because he didn't realize that he was already well off. His sense of entitlement is what repulses me most.

In the meantime, good people labor away in fear for their ability to meet the simplest, most basic needs.

Past the giggles at his presumptuousness are anger and tears, and they're certainly not about him.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Song Around the World: 'Stand by Me'

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Have You Seen This?

I just finished watching an amazing and infuriating film, Who Killed the Electric Car?

We just added it to our collection at the library. It shows General Motors creating an effective all-electric vehicle to comply with the emission standards that the State of California established in the 90s.

It then goes on to show GM suing the California Air Resource Board over those emissions mandates, then withdrawing the vehicles under the pretense of a lack of consumer interest after which it destroys the vehicles that it would only lease to consumers in the first place.

You see them being carted off to Arizona, first to be crushed, then later literally shredded to erase all signs that they ever existed. They then begin touting the hydrogen fuel cell as an alternative, one that pushes clean air technology back into the future and the oil companies back on center stage.

Why hydrogen cells? Because the oil companies can market the fuels.

This is GM's EV-1, of which only one car remains. Talk about genocide.

Other car makers also created EV models, even Toyota and Honda. They all withdrew them before they had a chance in the marketplace. Talk about the Goliath effect of the petroleum industry and the Federal Government, which for the past 8 years have been one and the same.

The film holds several groups culpable for the murder of the electric car: the automakers themselves, the oil companies, the California Air Resource Board, and the federal government (under guess who) for joining the lawsuit and promoting hydrogen fuel cells as "the (fake) future."

Here's the Ford Ranger EV, also history.

If you have felt like supporting the bailout of the Big Three in the past weeks, watch this and see what you think then. I have seen too many Michael Moore films and been a part of the labor movement for too long not to feel for our auto companies. But they are run by truly evil people who are in cahoots with other, equally malicious leaders of the petroleum industry. They must be stopped, and our only hope is an uprising that comes from the people.

Poor California--its Governor Ahnold is tooling around in a fuel cell Hummer, lying his head off to the citizens of that state.

See this film. The link in the title is to Netflix, which has it, should you not live in a community with a library that has a copy or a properly activist indie theater.

I'm jazzed about the direction we can take with our President-Elect. But don't expect anything like courage to come from Congress without one hell of a lot of public involvement.

Update yourself, then get in touch with our elected officials. Thomas Friedman's latest column, "While Detroit Slept," focuses on a new effort for the electric car, from a Palo Alto company, the Better Place, with agreements sealed with Hawaii, Australia, Israel, and Denmark. Check it out. As usual, GM snubbed the wizard who improved the technology. The big steps, Friedman points out, aren't going to be taken by US major automakers. Go to TBP's web site and sign up to become an electric car activist for your community.

It'll make you feel better after you see the movie.As for me, I'm feeling a little less murderous. But I still wanna kill somebody, and it ain't no electric car.

Just the usual suspects, I guess.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Bipartisan/BipolarLaff Riot!!

I like to have died! These politicians is cards, I'll say that. First we get 8 years of this clown who sticks anybody he wants into a camp in Cuba, then he names the whole mess Camp Justice. Ain't he a caution!! I bet he was real smirky in high school! Maybe even college!

Then this guy from Illinois, the governor, I think... he wants to auction off a Senate seat! And he won't go for 8 million bucks for a children's hospital unless he
gets $50K in campaign donation from some hospital administrator. Is that cojones, or what?? A kids' hospital! I'm tellin' ya. We've each got our own special style of bein' a card. I'll bet that Illinois guy stands up to the judge, makes a little gun with his index finger and his thumb and says, "Gotcha!" when asked what plea he wants to enter. Then he can laugh his ass off and offer to buy that Patrick Fitzgerald a glass of green beer. The judge, too!

These guys remind me of sixth grade. You know--hand
over your lunch money. Is your refrigerator running? Better catch it! Good, clean laffs. Not a sex joke in the bunch.

And how about that good ol' American entrepreneurial spit... I mean spirit? Nothing says taking the public sector
into the private quite like a little entre-nous auctioning of a Senate seat.

To all those sourpusses out there who've been bad-mouthing these two:
Cancha take a joke?

Monday, December 08, 2008


Thanks A Lot

The photo to the right is from the New York Times. On today's edition it adds another casualty to the recession--the recycling industry.

Along with everything else, the market for recyclables is bottoming out.

The biggest purchasers of recyclables have been foreign nations, headed by China, followed by African countries.

It's nice to see made from recycled paper on our note cards and printer paper, but the market is much bigger than that, and it's as dismal as my 401k.

Now those materials pile up, and the people in these green businesses are in trouble.

I find myself thinking of McCain/Palin's America First campaign slogan. It seems positively archaic. We are all so interdependent. The banking crisis is an international one; the manufacturing downturn, too. The systems of this earth--natural and artificial-- show how much we are interconnected.

Interdependence first! It isn't much of a slogan, but it is a reality.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


Keep On Keepin' On

I can remember the first song I ever heard Odetta sing. I couldn't fucking believe it.

Ain't no use to sit and cry

(Sail away, ladies, sail away)
You'll be an angel bye and bye

(Sail away, ladies, sail away)

Don't you rock 'em daddy-o,

Don't you rock 'em daddy-o

I remember her from my youth, singing for civil rights. She was everywhere, and she didn't look or sound like anybody else. A big girl with that big, big voice. That enormous guitar. Dressed in a semi-formal when everybody else was in blue jeans and turtlenecks. She was there on serious business.

Later in life she would drape herself in beautiful African garb. At the end of her career she sang from a wheelchair. But oh, how she sang.

Art confers a kind of immortality. Still, it's very, very hard to let go. It's impossible to pay the proper respects.

Sail away, Lady... sail away.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Cuthbert to the Rescue

Whenever I read about Jeb Bush having been a Popular Governor, I think about the Popular Kids in high school.

You know, those vapid souls with just the right duds who manage to patronize everyone else. The ones who take no interest in you unless you start dating one of Their Own.

Jeb's Popularity casts a cloud on the inhabitants of the Sunshine State.

Now he's back, having turned over his gubanatorial chair to a closet case, and is ready to share his wisdom with us--that Republicans need to set up a Shadow Government in opposition to the Obama Administration.

How Parliamentary!

What's interesting about it is the absolute dearth of ideas coming from the Rightward side of the aisle in the crisis that consumes the nation's attention, not to mention increasing percentages of our poor old retirement accounts.

That's okay, Jeb. I'm sure that your declaration will get you some of the attention from Bomb and Dad that all middle children are said to long for.

And it's best that you stay in the shadows, since Republican ideas and policies can't stand the light of the sun.

(Photo not Photoshopped... not necessary in Jeb's case.)

Monday, December 01, 2008


Insert Your Least Favorite Substance in that Fat Mouth

That Palin Persistence.

The Huffington Post reports today that everyone's favorite geo-bee loser hasn't returned to her guv's office since the election, making that sad display of welcome-back balloons documented by Princess Sparkle Pony even sadder. Dispirited little globes. Of course, we know that she did make a token appearance to be photographed with them. But still... what are the affairs of the state when compared to the Affairs of State?

Instead she's out trying to Energize The Base. What a phrase. What she's really trying to do is remind the Big Guy Upstairs of her destiny in American politics.
2012 is not so very far away, and although the Big Guy knows all and sees all, past, present, future, He seems to need a lot of nudging and reminding at the same time. Such is the down side of cosmic micromanagement.

Speaking of c.m., here's another Catholic priest, this one in Modesto, CA, who advises the faithful everywhere that a vote for Obama in the ballot box should lead to a being shriven in the confession box. I guess that's better than being excluded from the sacraments as was attempted in South Carolina.
Here's the latest bully of the hour, thoughtfully Photoshopped to reveal his inner cheek walnuts. They are thoughtfully added (by Our Creator) to the visage of every male McCain voter, no extra charge. Whatever the P.S. applied, it's amazingly understated. You don't need to do all that much to Pod People.

Why churches persist in attempts to withhold Jesus from people who are too poor to raise unwanted children while extending its mega-blessings to the mega-rich is so beyond me. Oh yeah... they can donate more money.

If you want a mind-bend, just put Jesus in the same room with all the fat cats who have been exploiting his name for the past 8+ years.

Wilder than acid and 'shrooms in a cake. Farther out than Alice B. Toklas's finest hash

And speaking of drugs, Bill Kristol is toking up some nasty stuff again. He's full of advicing to his outgoing Chimpy--
pardon torturers; send the Marines in to deal with Somali pirates. Doesn't he know how busy Chimpy is compromising the health of workers exposed to dangerous chemicals and gutting whatever he can of the environment remaining to us?

How about torturing Kristol and then handing HIM over to Somali pirates? He needs to broaden his life experience.

Just a thought.

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