The Missus We Missed

Let’s do an experiment. Which one is sexist and “anti-feminist” and “rhymes with witch[y]” and “vapid” and “sheerly mindless”, and which one slipped by the supposedly liberal MSM as charmingly in-character?

[She] would be a really good candidate [for president], is not interested. Probably because she is single, her parents are no longer living, she’s an only child. You need a very supportive family and supportive friends to have this job.

…and…

[Neither of us] have family members that will pay the price for this escalation. My point was to focus attention on our military families who continue to sacrifice because this Administration has not developed a political solution to the situation in Iraq.

Obviously the latter one was by Barbara Boxer. But the former? Why, none other than Mrs. “my husband tried to milk a bull” Laura Bush. Where was the so-called Liberal Media then, jumping all over her for being sexist and discriminatory towards Condoleeza Rice?

Poor cunty Andrew Sullivan thought Barbara Boxer, one of the most fervent and powerful politicians to support equal rights for gays & lesbians, to be “Vile”

That’s the only word to describe Senator Boxer’s ad feminam attack on Condi Rice yesterday. There was a trace of homophobia to the smear as well. This kind of attack is like the “chickenhawk” smear and worthy of low-life liars like Michael Moore. We really should be able to debate national security without the politics of personal destruction. The senator should apologize. Today.

Really, Andrew? REALLY? Maybe you should apologize—FINALLY, today!—for talking out your ass about gay men need to espouse monogamy and soi-disant mature behavior while your mouth was too busy parked at your favorite watering glory hole doing public service. And while you’re at it, apologize to everyone you castigated who fought for equal rights according to their own values and principles, simply because you don’t really care for “liberals”.

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The John Kerry I Voted For

From Salon.com:

Campaigning with California gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides Monday, John Kerry told a crowd at Pasadena City College: “You know, education — if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

Kerry’s folks say he was talking about W. and not belittling the troops—many of whom are indeed “stuck” there longer than their tours were supposed to last. I can buy it, if for no other reason that Kerry served in Vietnam and hasn’t ever insulted the troops.

The GOP’s response? In addition to the RNC issuing a knee-jerk press release and John McBushAsslickerCain calling the comment “insensitive”, the White House Snowed in with this (also from Salon):

Tony Snow said today that Kerry “not only owes an apology to those who are serving, but also to the families of those who have given their lives in this.” Snow said that Democratic candidates like Jim Webb and Tammy Duckworth should be asked whether they’re in accord with Kerry’s “absolute insult.”

This is the point, I thought to myself as I read the article, where John Kerry will take 15 minutes to ramble on about the niceties of rhetoric and political stumping and end up with the GOP being the final voice anyone was actually listening to.

But no! Kerry speaks up in the way he spoke up after serving in Vietnam, with conviction and passion. Here’s the remainder of the article:

Kerry will hold a press conference later today. In the meantime, he has issued a statement in which he pushes back hard. “If anyone thinks a veteran would criticize the more than 140,000 heroes serving in Iraq and not the president who got us stuck there, they’re crazy,” Kerry said. “This is the classic G.O.P. playbook. I’m sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did.”<br/> <br/>Kerry said he won’t be “lectured” by a “stuffed suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium” or by “doughy Rush Limbaugh,” and that he’s disgusted when “Republican hacks, who have never worn the uniform of our country, lie and distort so blatantly and carelessly about those who have.” If anyone owes the troops an apology, he said, it’s “George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, who misled America into war and have given us a Katrina foreign policy that has betrayed our ideals, killed and maimed our soldiers, and widened the terrorist threat instead of defeating it.”

Wow. Snow = stuffed suit White House mouthpiece. Rush Limbaugh = doughy. And the current reality stated more baldly than any Democrat has been able to do so far.

Is this the tipping point?

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The Liberally Cowardly Media

One of the Conservatives’ favorite bromides is yapping about the “Liberal Media”. You must understand that this is only an effective rallying cry because of the a priori repetition of variations on the notion that Liberal is not only bad, but is instead identical to Evil. Yes, that Evil. The Pure One. The Absolute One. Even uttering “liberal” without godblessing yourself is cause to fear for your soul.

So when someone like Stephen Colbert not only calls the Emerperor naked to his face but also takes his spineless courtiers to task for not even bothering to investigate the possibility that there’s a nudity coverup, what’s a True Believer to do?

I don’t know…I still support the right to choose whatever worldview salves one’s own fear of one’s own mortality. But for the rest of us? I say, pop some popcorn, sit back and watch the circus.

And for those of you less heartless than that, less into that kind of godenfreude, just be sure to keep your hands at a safe distance from so many gyrations and so many grinding gears as you reach out to these people.

It used to be if you didn’t like the message, you shot the messenger. These days, it’s not easy enough again yet to get away with murder, so you satisfy yourself by discrediting the messenger, and then in turn, the message.

But if the message is loud and clear and uttered with candor and directness to the point that it nags at your very Faith, how to avoid the crisis? By focusing on the idea of general appropriateness and trying to fabricate the notion of good will that you just spent the last 20 years sucking dry.

So the biggest argument out there turns into “it was supposed to be a fun and safe evening! and Colbert was out of line!”.

If that was true, wouldn’t W and Laura be even more at fault for giving Colbert such an icy reception after his bit was done? Politesse is such tricky business.

What I like best about the Colbert performance is that he finally exposes the media, not by stating so, but by forcing a reaction that aligns the crazy-ass Rightwingers with the media on the very same side.

What did the NY Times write about Correspondents’ Dinner? They wrote about a faux ventriloquist act with a “Bush Dummy”, acknowledging neither the irony nor the redundancy in that phrase.

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Pandemic?

MADIGAN ARMY MEDICAL CENTER, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. —

COVID-19 has changed many of our daily routines in a way no one anticipated. Many of us are at home more to minimize exposure. Isolation and being at home can illicit the temptation to eat snacks high in sodium, junk food and low-quality meals that provide instant gratification for our taste buds rather than nutrient-dense whole foods that can also be delicious. This is a challenge for many in these times of social distancing and self-isolation. Check out the latest glucofort reviews.

A day that may have previously included many steps, physical activities like walking from your car at your workplace parking lot twice per day, shopping for groceries, outings with the family or visiting shopping mall are absent for many. With this unprecedented lifestyle shift, there is a potential for the normalization of a more sedentary lifestyle packed with activities like watching television, sitting while reading for long periods, or sitting at your computer for longer-than-usual periods of time. We must stay proactive, and in some cases creative, to maintain an active lifestyle in the era of social-distancing. Even if you are not directly affected by COVID-19, or tested positive, it no doubt has had a drastic impact on your day-to-day routine, which could negatively affect your overall health.

So what are some things we can do to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle and routine while the world around us has adapted to limiting exposure to COVID-19?

  • Stay active: The gyms may not be open, however, there are lots of safe alternatives to getting physical activity without going against the preventive best practices recommended by the CDC like social distancing and avoiding large crowds. Aerobics can be done successfully at home. Another important point to consider is that avoiding crowds does not mean avoiding nature. Going for a brisk walk or jog outside in uncrowded areas outdoors is still considered relatively safe.  Push-ups, sit-ups, jumping-jacks and more exercises are great ways to stay fit away from the gym. For more ideas, visit: https://www.aflcmc.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2147181/staying-physically-active-during-covid-19/.
  • Adequate sleep: Good sleep is essential to our overall health. According to The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the nation’s leading medical research agency: “Immune system activation alters sleep, and sleep in turn affects the innate and adaptive arm of our body’s defense system.”  While the amount of sleep needed for good health and optimum performance mostly depends on the individual, the CDC recommends adults age 18-60 years get seven or more hours of sleep per night.
  • Diet and nutrition: Practicing self-discipline and avoiding “emotional eating” due to stress that may be related to the drastic changes surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and how it affects our lives is imperative. According to the CDC, whole foods like dark, leafy greens, oranges and tomatoes—even fresh herbs—are loaded with vitamins, fiber and minerals. Make it a habit to try to eat more whole nutritious foods instead of processed snacks or fast food. This is how Synogut works as a healthy supplement.
  • Self-care: Take time to take care of yourself. Be supportive and suggest the same for those close to you. Meditation, relaxation, quality time with family, personal care of yourself promotes overall wellness. The Defense Health Agency (DHA) has free, evidence-based, self-care tools developed by psychologists that you can check out here: https://health.mil/About-MHS/OASDHA/Defense-Health-Agency/Operations/Clinical-Support-Division/Connected-Health/mHealth-Clinical-Integration
  • Healthcare maintenance: If you have medications prescribed for any condition, be sure to take them as directed by your provider. Chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma and many others should be kept in check with taking your medications as prescribed. Be sure to reach out to your healthcare team with any concerns as well. In the age of COVID-19, telehealth solutions are available if you want to speak with a provider about a health concern unrelated to COVID-19. Madigan patients, for instance, can still utilize Secure Messaging in the MHS GENESIS Patient Portal to request an appointment or call the Puget Sound Military Appointment Center at 1-800-404-4506 to schedule a telehealth appointment.
  • Cope with stress and anxiety: Positively cope with stress and anxiety induced by new precautions we must all now take to combat the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Positive coping mechanisms would include exercise, meditation, reading, further developing certain skills or hobbies etc. Use this era to increase your daily repetition of these positive activities and develop new or even better routines than you may have adhered to prior to the emergence of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Stay connected: Talking with loved ones while in isolation can help reduce the anxiety and instances of feeling down. Take time to utilize the multitudes of technologies and apps (many free) that can help you stay in touch with those you love. Our busy lives before the COVID-19 may have limited how often we connected with distant loved ones, now’s the time to fully exploit these modern capabilities for fellowship, companionship, and camaraderie.

George W. Bush vs. Photoshop

Bushchan8Yf

A real leader faces the music,<br/>even when he doesn’t like the tune. - anonymous

So Photoshop is pretty good, right? But I knew this picture was Photoshopped when I first saw it. Oh, not because the artist did a bad job, but mainly because I had seen the Bush-playing-guitar picture before.

So in the interest of fairness, I’m also providing the original picture in context, so you can see the Real Bush In Action.

I suppose I shouldn’t complain too, too much. I mean the President did rubberneck fly over New Orleans in Air Force One to gawk at assess the damage.. What a guy.

And I’ll leave you with a handful of quotations that do a pretty good job of reflecting what my opinions are about good leadership.

To work in the world lovingly means that we are defining what we will be for, rather than reacting to what we are against. — Christina Baldwin

Blessed is the leader who seeks the best for those he serves. — unknown

An army of a thousand is easy to find, but, ah, how difficult to find a general. — Chinese proverb

Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men. — Lao Tzu

A good leader inspires others with confidence in him; a great leader inspires them with confidence in themselves. — anonymous

Forethought and prudence are the proper qualities of a leader. — Tacitus

A good leader is not the person who does things right, but the person who finds the right things to do. — Anthony T. Dadovano

The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. — Max DuPree

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Let Her Die Already!

I fucking hate dogmatists.

Absolutism carries the burden—no, the requirement!—of Being Right all the time. Every time. No exceptions. That’s the rule.

And when you actually are Wrong, what do you do? You hedge, you change the nature of truth, and you claim Truth Once Again.

Bill Frist is on record and on tape as having watched a video of Terri Schiavo and concluding that there was no evidence that she was in a persistent vegetative state. Yesterday, after this,

An autopsy released Wednesday concluded that she had been in a persistent vegetative state and revealed no evidence that she was strangled or otherwise abused before she collapsed.

Bill Frist now says he never made any determination one way or another as to her persistent vegetative state.

He and he and they held on, held tight to the notion that she was not in a persistent vegetative state, that she clearly was alive and on the mend, and that everyone else was Wrong Wrong Wrong. All this, despite their being a martinet, an apologist and a bunch of Calvinist Catholic teens, respectively, with no evidence—much less authority—to claim truth.

They, like most of the rest of the Right Wing Machinery, came down on the side of literal life instead of quality of life. Let’s call them Quantity of Life advocates, shall we? When Science failed them—as it usually does in their more strident campaigns—they turned to blame. Blame the husband. Blame his “lifestyle”. Call him names. Call him immoral. Those are easy to do, because it’s all subject to interpretation, even as they call every last thing as black or white. Black or White.

Never mind that Schiavo rearranged his life to care for his wife. Never mind that he turned down $1M so that he could stay with her and make the decisions. Never mind all of that. He dared move on with his life after it was clear that his wife was gone in all but carcass. That’s unforgiveable, right?

As someone who has had a partner die, as someone who never wanted to move on and yet one day, admitted defeat and finally did move on, I think I have at least some personal authority to speak on the matter. Do these people?

Regardless, they speak. And speak and speak and speak.

They were drop-dead wrong about Terri Schiavo, so what do you do when you Must Be Right And Never Wrong? Easy, you go after the husband. Ol’ Jeb is investigating the husband, claiming that he waited too long before calling 911.

What total bastards!

They’re going to continue to ruin this guy. Why? Because they were made fools of. Because they were wrong and they lack the humility, candor and honesty to admit that they were wrong.

You were wrong, folks. Move on. And leave that poor bastard alone.

Sojourners & the God of the Biscuits

Jim Wallis is a pastor who has run The Sojourners, a deeply Christian organization that is involved in politics.

While they’re considered a “progressive” group, Jim Wallis was one of the people George W. Bush, back in 2000 as President-elect, brought in with lots of other evangelicals to talk about how he might address the “soul of the nation”. As I said, they are progressives, I can honestly say there’s not much I have in common with their motives for doing what they do.

That said, Rev. Wallis has a lot of interesting things to say, in an already interesting article from the New York Times and truthout.org. It’s an article written before the last election, but strangely—and unfortunately—it rings that much truer because what was prediction and trend in October 2004 is merely, spookily, reality today.

Rev. Wallis was asked by our faith-based-president, “I’ve never lived around poor people. I don’t know what they think. I really don’t know what they think. I’m a white Republican guy who doesn’t get it. How do I get it?” That’s a shockingly (today) humble admission. How did Rev. Wallis reply? “You need to listen to the poor and those who live and work with poor people.”

Later, after the inauguration, Bush told Wallis and other pastors that America needed their leadership. Rev. Wallis replied, “No, Mr. President, we need your leadership on this question, and all of us will then commit to support you. Unless we drain the swamp of injustice in which the mosquitoes of terrorism breed, we’ll never defeat the threat of terrorism.”

Wow. That’s powerful imagery for a powerful concept that many of us have believed for a long time.

But that’s not the only thing in which I find fellowship with the good Reverend. From the selfsame article:

 Can the unfinished American experiment in self-governance - sputtering on the watery fuel of illusion and assertion - deal with something as nuanced as the subtleties of one man’s faith? What, after all, is the nature of the particular conversation the president feels he has with God - a colloquy upon which the world now precariously turns?

That very issue is what Jim Wallis wishes he could sit and talk about with George W. Bush. That’s impossible now, he says. He is no longer invited to the White House.

“Faith can cut in so many ways,” he said. “If you’re penitent and not triumphal, it can move us to repentance and accountability and help us reach for something higher than ourselves. That can be a powerful thing, a thing that moves us beyond politics as usual, like Martin Luther King did. But when it’s designed to certify our righteousness - that can be a dangerous thing. Then it pushes self-criticism aside. There’s no reflection.

”Where people often get lost is on this very point,“ he said after a moment of thought. ”Real faith, you see, leads us to deeper reflection and not - not ever - to the thing we as humans so very much want.“

And what is that?

”Easy certainty.“

I am not a person of long-throw, Capital-F Faith. There are a bazillion more concrete, more localized things that I have a lower-case faith in—friends, family, my brain, the compassion of others, the family of humanity, eventual equal rights for all, the natural trend in the world towards Better. Not Good, not Evil. Just Better Than It Used To Be.

If I were certain of that last thing, it wouldn’t require faith—or Faith. I’d just be certain. It’s faith that carries one over doubts to get to the good stuff.

And, Ever Optimistic God of the Chocky Biscuits always has faith—not Faith—that there’s always Good Stuff ahead.

I Want My MTV [Back]

Being 41 years old presents a bounteous set of advantages, if you choose to look at them that way.

For instance, I am old enough to remember when MTV went on the air, even though our shitty cable company didn’t carry it then. I’m also old enough to remember when NIN started up.

Both had a certain mystique to them, both raising a counter-cultural middle-finger to Middle America. MTV had bumpers featuring Cyndi Lauper and her multivariate hair, Billy Idol bumpers and quick-cuts and special effects and the little moon man logo. Nothing quite like the feel of something new!

Trent Reznor and NIN kicked America in the nuts with its album, Pretty Hate Machine, and his version of a love song, “The Only Time”, which contained the !@#$!@# awesome lyrics: “Lay my hands on heaven and the sun and the moon and the stars, while the devil wants to fuck me in the back of his car.” Nothing quite like the feel of something new.

Today? What’s left of videos on MTV? What’s left of MTV itself? Apparently not much: over the weekend, NIN withdrew from the MTV Movie Awards Show because MTV wouldn’t allow an image of George W. Bush (which was unaltered and “straightforward”), so NIN withdrew.

MTV says: “[We were] uncomfortable with their performance being built around a partisan political statement”

Trent says: “Apparently, the image of our president is as offensive to MTV as it is to me.”

I suppose these days, MTV’s lack of interest in free speech is a better match for the American public than Trent’s.

And sometimes, I suppose, having to remember when youth railed against authority instead of embracing the braces on their brains instead of just seeing it everywhere today is one of the disadvantages to being 41.

Who watches the watchdogs, if the youth won’t do it?

Who Am I?

  • I coined the phrase “Culture of Life”
  • I wrote about the dignity and rights of those who work
  • I spoke out against the widening gap between the world’s rich and poor
  • I opposed the Gulf Wars—both of them
  • I expressed my outrage at the abuse at Abu Ghraib
  • I have spoken out against the death penalty, calling it “cruel and unnecessary”

Who am I?