The American Renaissance

Baja Canada del Sur: Comedy and Comment in the Age of Occupation

My Photo
Location: Little Rock, Arkansas

found done in needlepoint on Mel's Front Porch: I Pledge Alligence to the Constitution of the United States of America. And to the Republic for which it guarantees, One Nation, Undeniable, with Liberty, Truth, and Justice for All.

Friday, November 07, 2008

They Call It The White House

But that's just a temporary condition, to paraphrase the words of the original StarChild, George Clinton. I think a Clinton would know something about the First Residence, you think? A special shout-out to all of P-Funk, from a vanilla sista...

Wasn't Tuesday night something else? I'm still pinching myself to make sure I'm not dreaming. Congradulations to President-Elect Obama, his campaign, and the Democratic Party. This moment in time, I feel a very warm happiness for the black community, who has dreamed so long of this joyous day. And also for the nation, and the entire world. At last, in a matter of a couple of months, our nation can begin on a course of progress to correct the many problems our new president will face. The work can begin.

I wish everything that happened Tuesday made me feel so hopeful, but unfortunately there are still issues confronting this nation that remain to be ironed out. Ironically enough, at the very time when we can be so proud that common sense won out over one long-held cultural barrier, another reared its ugly head. I'm speaking, of course, of the regressive measures passed in several states targeting gay people and non-traditional families. In my own state of Arkansas, a ban was pushed through forbidding "co-habitating adults" from fostering or adopting children, even be they blood kin. The aim, of course, is to prevent gayfolk from having non-biological kids; the backers of this odious mess would prefer that gay people had no children at all. The reach of Act One, after the first attempt at this goal failed in the courts, now actually includes straight unmarried couples as well as single people who may have a platonic roommate. The narrow-minded fundamental busybodies actually believe even a grandmother shouldn't be allowed to adopt her own orphaned grandkids, if she has a boyfriend or god forbid, a girlfriend. Or apparently any friend! The Arkansas Department of Children and Family Services changed its own policy a few weeks ago to read that any otherwise eligible person or persons would not be denied the right to adopt or foster, and appropriate prospective homes for children would be determined on a case-by-case basis, regardless of marital status. You would think that any reasonable person would agree that the best course of action would be to judge each situation on its own merits, not further limiting an already woefully small pool of loving, qualified homes, but no. And of course the real losers in this particular fiasco are the thousands of Arkansas children in the foster care system still waiting for good homes. Way to go, Jerry Cox. On a day when we celebrate a huge step in moving away from one prejudice, you and your narrow-minded cronies cynically manipulate another. How many more good people and children must be hurt in your holy war before your backwards ideas are history?

Then again, maybe history is the point. Just as many people thought there would never be a black president, basic human rights for all Americans is not an if, only a when. And that itself gives me a tremendous amount of hope.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, October 26, 2008

McCain Guarantees He's Going to Win

I hate to be overly paranoid, but John's statements this morning on Meet the Press sound eerily like W.'s statement days before the 2000 election, "You know something, we're going to win Florida, mark my words. You can write it down." I happen to be of the school of thought that Our Only President was not elected, but appointed by the Supreme Court, an example of judicial activism one never hears the freepers bemoaning. We have also seen blatant vote manipulation in national elections since 2000, enough that already hearing of early voting irregularities such as those in West Virgina, where voters attempting to cast a ballot for Obama saw the machine they were using switch their vote to McCain, is rather disturbing. What worries me more is vote tampering after the voter has left, a very real possibility when there is no voter-certified paper trail to be used in case of a recount. My vote is very precious to me, and the idea that elections could be so cynically manipulated hits me where I live. In this instance, if I'm paranoid, it might well be valid. And if it's valid, I'm not paranoid.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, The View's lone voice from the right, has been doing some campaigning for the Republican ticket this weekend, and reinforcing the many reasons I dislike the woman. Weirdly, she's bringing back up the subject of the Palin haute couture shopping spree - that most of the press has actually gotten past - as a distraction from the issues, and quote, blatant sexism. I'm sure Hillary Rodham finds this, well, hilarious. The issues primarily are the abyssmal economy, trashed by supply-side theories made real, and the waste of a wrong war. Sarah's Nancy Reagan propensity for fancy geehaws and her habit of sleezing per diem at the taxpayers' espense is simply more evidence of a party sidelining itself by reminding the voters that their basic platform is Greed is Good, and that graft and entitlement is the natural side benefit of high office, be it public or corporate.
Kudos to SNL and Seth Meyers for the best point of the weekend -- Sarah may get the state of Alaska to pay for her kids' travel, but then again, if she leaves them at home they get pregnant. $150,000 for clothes and shoes? That makes Bill's famous two hundred buck haircut seem like a flea market bargain.

The fact that McCain picked Palin, an underqualified but plucky, supposedly homespun VP candidate, is notable not only for the bad judgement John has a disturbing tendency to, but also the assumption on his part that disaffected Hillary voters would be tickled to death to vote for a different skirt. That's what I find sexist.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ashley...choo got some splainin to do!

So last night I managed to put up a positive post without being a smartass. You had to know that was too good to last. It would be easier if the other side would quit giving us Dems so many excellent Opportunities For Comedy. I guess you've heard about poor little Ashley Todd, the Aggie and McCain campaign worker who got mugged and tagged by the big mean guy. FoxNews and all the other rightwing bloviators have just been having a field day. Until little Ashley admitted she fabricated the entire incident from whole cloth. You almost have to feel sorry for the Republicans. That would be easier if they hadn't made their modus operandi vicious, humorless, factually-bereft attacks on their opponents and those who support them.

And McCain keeps claiming Barack will say anything to get elected. We need to take the McCain campaign's guns away from them - not to deny them their 2nd Amendment rights, but for their own safety. How many more times can these folks shoot themselves in the foot without bleeding out?

It is, ho ho, to laugh, ha ha.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

(trying to) Vote Early, and Often!

I think I may be able to get through this post without getting snarky. Yes, indeedy, ol' Crusty Mel is actually starting to feel real hope about this election. You see, while I won't believe we've won this one until the proverbial fat lady sings, I'm seeing things that amaze me.

I went to vote Monday, the day Arkansas started early voting, and it took fifteen minutes to even get into the parking lot. Folks were parked all along Barrow Road, off in the lawn of the library, and the wait in line was one and a half to two hours, so I decided to try a different library, as the McMath branch I was at is located in a predominately African-American neighborhood. I thought I might find a shorter line out in the vanilla suburbs, to quote the immortal Mr. George Clinton. Nothing doing. The line was just as long there, so I thought maybe I'd wait a day or two. Wednesday was still long lines -- I've got until the first to early vote, so one day this coming week I'll take a lawn chair and a book, and get this done. But man, I got to tell you people are excited about this election. It's great to see.

Meanwhile, I was driving up Lawson Road yesterday, and for folks who are not familiar with Little Rock, the road I grew up on is as redneck and Bible-thumping as you can imagine. If you'd have told me when I was a teenager I would one day see signs in people's yards encouraging you to vote for a black man, I'd still be laughing in disbelief -- but this has come to pass! And in front of houses of folks who've lived there for years, no less. I'm still pinching myself.

Arkansas hasn't gone blue except for Cousin Big Dog, the Man From Hope, and I have no illusions that it's likely it will this time around. But it sure would be something else if it did, wouldn't it?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Knife Fight in a Phone Booth

I'm quoting my good friend Bartcop in my title today; his point being the last few weeks of a presidential campaign traditionally get very ugly. I have to say, it was nice to see some evidence of the John McCain we've always liked and respected, as he spoke out in defense of his opponent yesterday. The rhetoric of his campaign had in the past week been getting a little out of hand, and he did finally speak up to answer shouts of "traitor" and "he's an Arab", referring to Obama. "I have to tell you, he is a decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared of as president of the United States." He did go on to say that he believes he would make a better president, of course, which is an idea I fundamentally disagree with, but at least some effort is being made from the podium to reign in the worst of the over-the-top crowd sentiment. Thanks, John. I appreciate seeing the guy again I respect.

Meanwhile, more evidence is surfacing that John's running mate is Bush with lipstick -- this time it's bullheaded disregard for the law, and belief in the royal powers of the executive. I'm talking, of course, about Troopergate. Isn't that a stupid name for a scandal? In any event, Sarah needs to learn that whatever you got going on in your personal life, you got to leave that shit at home when you go to work. Even if you're governor. Hell, especially if you're governor! I like someone who sticks with family and friends in hard times, but you just can't take a grudge match into your decisions as a public servant. For someone who prides herself on being all mavericky and a reformer, firing someone who won't fire your sister's ex-husband smacks of the worst sort of cronyism and old-boy-network bullshit. Not the first time lately we've seen Our Girl Sarah display inconsistancy. Remember in the debate her chiding Biden for "looking to the past"? That might have went down a little easier if she hadn't kept dredging up "beautiful" quotes from the "great" Ronald Reagan. And then she proceeds straight out to Republican rallies in the following days condemning Obama for his loose association with a former sixties-era radical -- talk about looking to the past! Ayers, who has recanted his support of violence in his youth, blew up a toilet in the Pentagon when Obama was in grade school. Palin might want to be a bit careful about guilt-by-association; after all, she is sleeping with an Alaskan secessionist. Not to mention the "consummate maverick" who's her running mate has a few buddy problems of his own, notably Iran-Contra, G. Gordon Liddy, and of course Charles Keating, a nice name to remember while the economy craters. John has been speaking up at a few rallies trying to tamp down some of the more vicious tendencies of his crowds, and getting booed for his trouble -- he might want to tamp down his Estee Lauder pit-bull, too. To quote the immortal Joan Crawford, there's a word for ladies like her that's not used in polite society -- outside of a kennel.

Speaking of rallies, I got to attend one yesterday on the other side of the coin; Hillary was in town. Maybe it's simply evidence of the increasing lead Obama's taking in the polls, but the tone and energy was the total opposite of what we've seen lately from the McCain supporters. Not to say there wasn't a few boos -- there were. But only in response to any mention of the current administration and Our Only President, Dubya himself. I probably ought to be a bit ashamed of myself, because I tossed out probably the most negative shout from the crowd all day, "Worst President ever!" Then again, there's not many even on the Republican side who would argue with that statement anymore; Shrub's never met a disaster he couldn't make worse, and in fact has created one or two of his own. Only 100 more days to go, praise Jesus.

Meanwhile, back on Wall Street, the world's newest jump school, it's been a rollercoaster of a week. If you recall, I recently proposed a national fund to support what's called commercial paper, i.e. short-term loans to businesses for day-to-day operating costs, instead of the obscene bailout. Since then, both the Senate and the House finally buckled under pressure from several fronts, not the least of which was veiled threats from 1600 Pennsylvania of our country slipping into a Mad Max-type dystopia requiring martial law. An interesting and little-remarked upon wrinkle to that was on the first of October Bush activated the First Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division to deploy on American soil, for any disasters "natural or man-made". Now I don't mind telling you the idea of regular troops deployed in the homeland for the first time since the Civil War by this president makes me rather nervous, to say the least. And less than two weeks later people in our government are mentioning martial law? Lawdy, Lawdy. Back to my point, though, the day after the bailout passes the Treasury announces that they are indeed setting up a nation fund to back commercial paper, completely separate from the bailout monies. Ain't that neat. I know I for one am damned relieved we gave Wall Street 850 billion dollars. It's sure done a lot of good, hasn't it?

Labels: , , ,

Friday, October 03, 2008

Alas, Babble On

So the most anticipated meeting of rivals since Ali and Foreman is now behind us, and what have we learned? Not much more than we knew at 7:59 CST last night. Other than a whole lot of intense coaching can pay off. Missus Palin did quite well last night, if your standards are "not embarrassing herself or her party" -- the apparent yardstick of the yakking heads on the tube, anyway. I have to wonder how you would embarrass a party that's brought us the last eight wonderful years, but I digress.

Maybe it's just me, but I'm not hearing anyone talk about the truly stunning moment of the debate when Palin suggested that the Constitution actually should be interpreted to give the Vice President more authority in the Senate. And we thought that the gun-happy thing was what she had most in common with Cheney. Oh, yeah, and the non-GOP base-perfect daughter, but once again I digress. Call me old-fashioned, but that old document our entire form of government is based upon doesn't seem at all ambiguous on the duties and powers of the Veep. Thank you Joe for pointing that out, as our watchdogs in the media seem to have become so accustomed with the current regime's abject disregard of the Constitution it's all just business as usual to them. Then there was Palin's oft-repeated refrain of tackling the corruption on Wall Street; I'm still waiting to hear what her or McCain propose to actually do about it. Honestly, I'm not sure anything short of Palin rolling on the floor or foaming at the mouth would have gotten anything other than a "better than expected" reaction from the press, because the hour and a half I watched last night showed me Palin once again wandering way off topic on every question she was asked, albeit with a bit more poise than we've become accustomed to, and a prom-queen wink-wink cheekiness the GOP is hoping will sway the public to ignore her sad lack of familiarity with any of the issues the next executive team will have to tackle Day One.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden, after much ballyhoo on his hoof-and-mouth disease, and while not handing in an absolutely picture-perfect performance, certainly displayed a firm understanding of the issues and many more concrete examples of what his team plans to do if elected. I do think Joe's performance is getting seriously short-sheeted, if for nothing else than he persisted in delivering very coherent rebuttals to Palin's many untruths and weasels* directed at him and the top of the ticket. I caught a couple of time I personally would have liked for him to go even further, but you know that he'd have been jumped on for being so mean. All in all, a solid performance from a man admirable in his own right. Why there is any discussion of who won is beyond me.

Meanwhile back at the House, enough Reps reversed their vote from earlier in the week to pass the god-awful Wall Street Giveaway, yet another expensive gift from the Bush administration for future generations to pay off -- and for. Yeah, I know they stuck in a boost to the FDIC insured amount, mostly to keep me and you from heading down to our bank with a grocery sack to demand our cash. They also added in another hundred billion dollars more of PORK, enough to make Harper Lee sorry she dressed Scout up in that ham for the Halloween carnival. I don't know about you, but I'm so furious I almost can't see straight. We got to hold some feet to the fire, folks. If we got that kind of chump-change hanging around to give away, we need to start prosecuting the bastids who created the mess, regulating the markets properly, and through fines and restitution repaying every penny to the taxpayers. $700,000,000,000 for the rich? This country should be ashamed to have even one child going to bed tonight without health care.

*weasel n. Not the truth, not a lie, but the truth told in a way intended to mislead, as per Al Franken.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, October 02, 2008

America Held Hostage

Remember that old headline from back in the '70's? It feels eerily appropriate again. Only this time it's not the usual suspects...or is it?

Back in the day, it was OPEC threatening to cut off our oil. These days it's Wall Street financial institutions threatening to cut off our credit. While I'm definitely in the opinion that the knee-jerk $700bn bailout is only a band-aid on an arterial wound, the ability of the haves and the have mores to schluff the pain off onto all of us is only too easy to already see. A well-known guerilla tactic is to hide insurgents among the population. Is this much different than the corporate bad debt being so entrenched in the country's day-to-day life that possibly failing to get your paycheck or Nanna not getting her pension check is starting to seem like having your house bombed because it's thought to be an terrorist stronghold? Like Letterman said about McCain standing him up to zip off to save the country last week, this stinks. So far no-one has come forth with ANY explanation exactly where all this boodle Wall Street so desperately needs is supposed to go. I'm curious to why any bailout monies currently being argued about on Cap Hill can't be put into controlled fund SEPARATE from the crooks who created this mess, perhaps a temporary national bank of sorts, that businesses and individuals with good credit, who have acted in good faith, can get their backing to continue to do business in a normal fashion while we ferret out the theives, liars, and other dead-beats that are trying to steal every penny in the Treasury and hang their sorry asses from the nearest phone pole. I'm not sure I'm speaking entirely metaphorically here, but I do know throwing good money after bad is the stupidest thing we can allow Congress to do now.

The House goes along with the Senate and passes this mess, don't be surprised when Wall Street goes tits up anyway a little further along the line. You heard it here first, folks.

Meanwhile, I must prepare for the upcoming bout this evening between Amtrak Joe and the Ga-rilla from Wasilla. Moist and bated breath I gots, mi amigos.