Thursday, July 25, 2013


Anthony, Put Away Your Weiner

Actually, I don't really mean that, Anthony. I'm kidding, as are so many readers fascinated by the link between your gift and your name.
It's clear to me that you have a gift, and as is so often the case, you want to share your gift with the world.

When I finally followed the link to theDirty, I saw that indeed, unless you have either taken advantage of Photoshop or simple visual distortion, you are indeed Endowed by Your Creator.

What I don't understand is your obsession with becoming mayor of New York City. Why bother? People in the porn industry make a perfectly good living. You aren't the prettiest of men, but that ankle-spanker does command a certain amount of attention, which is probably why you simply can't put it away.  If I were a man and similarly gifted, I might feel a similar urge to Give Back, as it were.

So Anthony, give your career in public life a whack with a blunt instrument. It's time to move on. Your name alone has attracted about a billion bad puns. I can only imagine what your school days must have been like. Perhaps those memories fuel your passion to rise to the top of the Big Apple. (Is Big Apple another synonym?) 

I don't know. I only know that what another major city doesn't need is the sort of revelation coming out of San Diego. Anthony has already shown a sort of tone deafness in Congress regarding the intersection of his private life and political judgment. 

Our culture can only move so far, so fast. We're still a bunch of prudes on some level. You might consider moving to Europe to give your predilections another audience. But they will probably want a local rather than a carpetbagger...

So Anthony, give your party a break, and your personal gifts a more appropriate space, like the Mitchell Brothers, if they're still in business. If not, the Internet awaits you.

Monday, May 07, 2012


A Familiar American Story, with a Moral, Even

Once upon a time a woman decided that with 25 or so years to go till retirement, she'd better get her affairs in order, as they say.  She did what her fellow educators did and set up a tax shelter annuity plan with a company known for working with people in her field.

Time clipped along, as time so often does. When she moved to another state, she took her account with her and kicked up her contributions to the maximum allowed by law.

Along the way her company changed its name from VALIC, for Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company, to AIG Retirement, which stands for Awful Insurance Group.

Then one day the stock market tanked, and with it, her AIG Retirement account. She watched her lovely figures be lopped by half. 

Not to worry, said people much more in tune with the acquisition of wealth than she. The market will go up and down. You'll see. She continued to salt money away and hope for the best. She had to have faith in The System!

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When at last she decided that she couldn't read another student composition or stay awake through another faculty meeting, she retired. She landed a part-time job with less stress, delightful colleagues, and much less pay to see her through to the acceptable retirement age.

In the meantime, the entire economy, envious of all the attention the stock market was receiving, decided to tank as well. Our graying lass watched the government bail out AIG, which had gotten into some bad debt of its own.

Magically, the company changed her retirement account  back into a VALIC account, the better to draw new and naive educators into its lair. Her account wobbled back into the range it had been eight years ago, but certainly no higher. She watched the numbers go up and down, like a disturbing pinball game.

When she finally met with an adviser (who wasn't happy that she'd retired and therefore was investing no more in her VALIC/AIG/VALIC account, she told her that her account would "supplement Social Security."

Supplement Social Security!

It turns out that the Social Security, which Wall Street wants to use for its video game fodder (pinball games having become passe), has proved the sure thing. The retirement account, not so much. For more on how this came to be, I recommend Michael Lewis' book, The Big Short. Don't expect it to have a happy ending.

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The advisers at VALIC/AIG/VALIC actually get sort of twitchy whenever you want to take out any money. It's like my old high school librarian, who took it as a personal affront whenever you wanted to check any of Her Books out of Her Library.

It's hard to listen to people who want to privatize Social Security when you have a certain level of knowledge and experience. I know that the same people who crashed the economy want to lay their grubby hands on people's retirement money, the better to bet against market transactions and obtain zillion-dollar bonuses for themselves.

People who worship at the altar of the free market economy have been led to one of the falsest idols of all.  

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Friday, March 30, 2012


It'll Be in His Hands

I don’t know why anyone would hesitate to predict the snarly outcome of the current court hearing on health care reform. It’s been pre-judged, don’t you know.

The Roberts Court. Indeed.

You can already hear old Kennedy stuttering his concern about the purchase mandate. Scalia trivializes and brainwashes the issue with his chatty little broccoli metaphor. Look for that to be endlessly repeated as a slight to Michele come this fall.

The Koch Brothers and their ilky ilk have the tea party patsies so wound up that Republican presidential candidates can foist our health care system on local churches, community groups, and –did I mention?—churches.

Vote for Obama, and he wants you to buy health insurance. Vote for Santorum and he will make sure that you are enrolled in a Rick-approved church, which will not only provide your health care costs through bake sales and private solicitations of rich congregants, but save your soul as well, a move which will lead to your moral and physical reform of whatever nasty habits you’ve had, and provide a natural reduction in health care costs. Trickle down, you could say.

If I were the Treasurer for a church, I would wonder what the hell was going on. But mention of the church just seems to generate good vibes that further cohere the tight and wild right wing.

Rick Santorum wants to show you how he’ll cut costs. (Ron Paul favors this, too): community groups and churches will help you when you are hit with catastrophic illness or injury. The church comes up as a source for health care. Every congregation is full of Candy Stripers! And Pink Ladies, too!

Tea partiers generally don’t have to worry about health coverage. They are blind to the privilege they enjoy. They are easy for their puppet-masters to keep whipped up. After all, talk to one of these folks for a while and you’ll learn that their investments have taken a bath in recent years, and so tractable are they that they don’t even know whom to blame. In the meantime, attempt to tell them a painful tale from the New Hard Times and expect only self-righteous shrieking, talking points courtesy of Roger and Rush.

Hmmm. Are those nuns or nurses? Medics or missionaries?

Rick wants to offer you the blessed path to salvation, through which all your medical needs will either be tended, neglected, or negated. As Michele Bachmann says, inspirationally, Roll the Dice! when it comes to health insurance. (I never know what a sporting woman she was until this latest).

Can we do it in a hip night club or cable show? Tune in to Cardiac Craps! The Post-Obama Reality Show! Four uninsured families dealing with a life-threatening illnesses compete for comprehensive coverage by bungee-jump over pits of slime, wearing humiliating outfits while singing "At the Gas Station of Love, I Got the Self Service Pump," and vying for the Personality Points in the Trust Fall Tournament, while voting one another out at the end.

Okay, not so great. But you will go to heaven when you die, and if that's sooner, where's the harm? If not in this life, the next! That's the good news!

So die already.

The Lord is near!

Thursday, March 01, 2012


Dogs Against Romney Suggest Pet Alternative

A spokesdog for the Super-Pack Dogs Against Romney (We ride inside!) has suggested an alternative pet for the Republican.

"We realized that Mr. Romney probably hadn't had any formative pet care experiences when he put his dog on the roof of his car for a 12-hour drive to Canada.

"Had he begun with smaller pets, he might have avoided the Seamus debacle," explained Herbie, a golden retriever who reviews talking points for the Vermont branch of the organization.

The group recommends the rat as the best alternative pet for him. "They don't get lonely when you decide to leave them alone when you're on a family vacation or an extended campaign. Since they reproduce quickly, they have one another for company. In fact, they have a wonderful work ethic and are happy to take care of your kitchen for you."

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Vomiting on the Sweater Vest

The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes me want to throw up.

How proud his parish priest must be!
So pious is Rick Santorum that his stomach heaves at the very thought that the church can't mandate our way of life. He is Doctrine become visceral, its effects carried out with a kind of dogged, mechanical, peristaltic piety roiling throughout his utter being.

Rick Santorum wants to be president so that he can hand the American people over to his own sainted Taliban, crushing the lifestyles (a word I hate) that haven't received official sanction. This from an organization that harbors child abusers! Rick Santorum wants to be president so that he can settle his tummy.

You can't make stuff like this up.

In the last decade, I have become more and more aware of the personal comfort people seek from government. And I'm not talking about housing or transportation. I'm talking about the uneasy feeling that people still want to indulge in public policy. I am not comfortable with gay marriage. Therefore, you shouldn't be able to marry. I am content with your oppression, because it threatens my sense of the way the world is.

I don't want to learn any different.
I don't want to go to college, like Rick says (though who looks better dressed for attendance at a prep school, then Catholic university?) and become a liberal snob. That's how it happens. They recruit you. Then the homosexuals recruit you and convert you to their agenda, and then you don't love your husband anymore. Homos spoil your marriage for you.

Last night I saw Bill Maher announce that he'd donated a million bucks to a super-PAC for Obama, knowing that as extreme as Rick's views might be, a shitload of right-wing PAC money could inundate the nation this fall in the form of ads designed to appeal to American's worst apocalyptic nightmares.

Americans haven't come to terms with their shadow-selves' big dose o' racism, the stuff that has allowed Republicans to project fears of Obama's supposed Muslium, socialist, un-American, terrorist-coddling tendencies in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. It's a campaign the GOP orchestrated during the election of '08 and has embellished since with its daily slate of talking points.

Biblical Republicans, nonsense. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Family Is as Family Does

What fun Republicans have with sapping out the American people on the subject of family and its preservation.

Here's ol' Chris Christie ducking gay marriage by vetoing it and urging that the question be settled via popular vote.

Anybody with a brain knows that the rights of minorities need to be protected from what John Stuart Mill referred to as "the tyranny of the majority" in his essay On Liberty. The majority often lags behind on minority issues; basic human rights shouldn't be left to a popular vote.

But there old Chris stands as the waist band of his pants steadily climbs toward his man-titties, lecturing people on civil rights and how best to handle gays' cheeky insistence on their desire to marry.

Mostly, family deserves its name by its members showing up to perform its basic tasks: to ensure basic survival, to nurture growth and development, to protect and comfort during times of decline.

My brother, who does not speak to me "because of the lifestyle thing," congratulated himself for having sired four sons to Carry On the Family Name, (Smith is in such danger of decline), decried the poor's dependence on government, and treated our mother as his own personal First National Bank through threats, intimidation, and sheer physical size.

My spouse and I cared for my mother as she entered the frightening world of Alzheimer's disease, and as she lay dying from its complications, my spouse held her hand and sang to her while I tried --unsuccessfully-- to get to her side. Without her help we could not have coordinated her care and made it possible for her to spend her last years at home, surrounded by affection and reassured by love.

Social conservatives of either party want you to think that the Gay Conspiracy exists to undermine the family. In truth, gays and lesbians simply want you to understand that they perform the functions of family, too. Since many gays and lesbians remain closeted in order to duck the hate crimes they fear on a regular basis, their participation in family assumes distorted images. The maiden aunt. The bachelor nephew who "refuses to grow up."

In truth, these Republicans don't care a fig for the family. They use social issues to flog fear into the little people in order to encourage them to vote against their real interests: economic opportunity, the preservation of the planet, and the access to the various types of care needed to keep families of all descriptions healthy, productive, fulfilled.

How cruel it has been in this political season to listen to the self-righteous whine of the Republican candidates as they attempt to out-perform one another in bigotry and blindness. To note their silence on real family issues--the preservation of home in the foreclosure-pocked economic meltdown, the lack of extension of unemployment benefits in the face of eliminated jobs.

What scares me about the upcoming election is the mad proliferation of hate-ads funded by anonymous PACs to perpetuate this climate of ignorance. We can laugh at Rick Santorum's insistence that Satan is trying to overtake America, but a barrage of ads imparting this message in the fall, should the worst really occur, may cloud the minds of an increasingly frightened tyrannical majority.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Letters I Ought to Finish Someday

Dear Rick Santorum,

Is it by chance or design that your chosen name is one p shy of a prick? Your equation of homosexuality and bestiality were especially obnoxious, and if you go on long enough, your constituents are going to imagine nuns doing more outrageous things than ruler-rapping your knuckles…

Dear President Obama,

Although my disappointments in you are many, I am trying to take responsibility for my own expectations and the naiveté with which I listened to you during the campaign. What about alpha males and political manipulation did I not understand?

I have been most bitterly concerned, however, with your positively Dickensian slashing of the heating oil program for the poor. In this abandonment of Democratic principles your advisers do not serve you well. ..

Dear Postal Service,

For God’s sake, stop apologizing for being a quasi-governmental enterprise. You’re a Constitutional provision, for crying out loud. Stop genuflecting to free market ideology and do what you have to do.

And by the way, the next time you send out some management type to break the bad news, please observe the following cautions:

Only mediocre managers entirely lacking in vision use the expression go forward in reference to implementing really bad decisions.

Lose the video. A media presentation on the loss of jobs only enrages the audience, unless you’re playing to a packed house of Republicans. Employees concerned about their futures see it as just another expense.

Further reducing the standard of service is not the way to turn around a situation of massive loss.

There is no reason that the post office should be forced to make a profit.

What’s the relationship between Darrell Issa and FedEx, and what’s he doing in what is an obvious conflict of interest situation? He should go forward—right off the committee overseeing the problems of the postal service. Have you considered Bernie Sanders as an abler replacement for that bastard?

Dear Newt,

For a so-called brilliant man, you seem to rely on the ignorance of the voters. The ignorant, the uninformed—they are your base.

I like your moon stuff. Perhaps your base could be used as the ultimate fat farm. Perhaps you could be the first colonist. I don’t think that Callista would miss you much. Clearly she’s in it for the bling. Be sure to leave your charge cards behind.

Got to run. There's never enough time, is there?

With disdain,

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