Thursday, December 29, 2011

Life's Not Fair, Scotto


Let me get this right, Sen. Scott Brown actually has a highly developed, differentiating skill — whining!

He wants us to know:

  • It's unfair for Elizabeth Warren to raise campaign funds
  • It's unfair for reporters and columnists to praise her reasoned arguments

As Uncle Scar told young Simba in the Lion King, "Life's not fair now, is it?"

Here you have it. If you ever felt tempted to say all politicians are the same, think on Brown. The obvious difference across the left and right wings is plain enough. Modern right wingers act with FoxNews-level ethics. What's fair for them is forbidden for lefties.

At its most absurd, think of fund raising. A couple of months ago, when Elizabeth Warren was announcing that she'd run, she was rewarded with a quick $3 million plus set of contributions. Brown with over a year and a half in office had over $10 million in hand. Yet he cried foul.

Like Eddie Haskell in Leave It To Beaver or a current version, say Bill O'Reilly, Brown wants the edge only on his side. His campaign even tried to depict him as being bullied and ganged up on by out-of-state contributors and special interest funds. This came despite the huge support he got and gets from right-ring PACs and financial-industry big shots. He votes on regulating his major contributors, but how unfair if she gets support from any organized group or wealthy contributor.

Today in dueling vignettes, the Globe and Herald run variations on his puerile and illogical whining. Itty-boo, Scotty me lad.

In the Herald, it's a Palin-style screed that the media are all against him and all for her. He can't get an honest article and he gets all the tough questions. I guess he doesn't read or listen to the media.

Of course, all but the delusional and unread know the lies there. He got a free ride in his campaign and for over a year afterward. Even the allegedly left leaning (I snort at that winger distortion where non-GOP-worshiping neutral becomes biased) media gave him great latitude and lauded his promis endlessly. When he blew that through repeated duplicity, grandstanding, and overly plain efforts to hurt all but the wealthiest Americans, he began to get overdue criticism. Well, boo hoo, boo hoo.

Moreover, from the moment Warren began her exploratory meetings with voters, she'd gotten razzed, hassled and grilled non-stop from all media. Now many of us lefty bloggers respect her positions and like her personally, but she's gotten the hairy eyeball and pointy, probing fingers of examination far, far more than that Brown character.

Then at the Globe, he's even more absurd. He stands on top of his mountain and screams that he's the real underdog. Honest to Cornelius Vanderbilt, we'd have to be totally daft to believe that.

Brown has floods of wealthy GOP types eager to keep their thumb in the eye of Massachusetts and the memory of the Kennedys by electing Brown to a full term. He already has over $15 million now in the bank. There's no doubt that his side and those supporting it surreptitiously through super-PACs will outspend Warren's backers many, many times. Underdog, my double wings!

Alas for the self-declared victim Brown, he'll have to do with ideas and proposals in this race. Warren will bring it. Coupled with his disgraceful voting record and total lack of initiatives to help us out of our terrible times, his lie mechanisms will be spinning to the melting point.

No, wee Scotty, you are no underdog, you have not gotten roughed up by the media, and you deserve no one's sympathy. Unlike the clumsy campaigner Coakley who handed you an easy victory in the special election, Warren will make you earn this post in 2012.

Without an intellectual and ethical double transplant, you're in trouble.


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Friday, December 23, 2011

Whose Voice Is That?


Using clogged traffic time on the way home Wednesday afternoon, I punched up WBUR for All Things Considered. I briefly heard myself bantering with Elizabeth Warren in a Tovia Smith segment, Mass. Senate Race a Battle Over Who's More Populist.

At the bottom here is an audio snippet (requires flash) of Smith taking an audio snippet from an October Left Ahead show with Elizabeth Warren. The now infamous elite-hick/hicks-for-Elizabeth banter occurred at the start of where she came into the 40 minute program. She made other remarks about populism, not only from her own upbringing, but in historic, economic and political American context.

An audio of Tovia Smith using an audio of Left Ahead using an audio of Elizabeth Warren on an audio of the show on BlogTalkRadio. How recursive can we get? Perhaps Left Ahead needs to introduce an edited audio of Smith using our edited audio. I'll settle on the snippet below to give context.

Indeed, that was what came to me as I listened to myself. When I worked newspapers and magazines and the few times I've been on TV or radio, I fell into my J-school training attribution. I'd say whom I was quoting or citing. If there were a book or other checkable reference, it went there too. Of course in modern times, I insert links as I do here. This takes negligible time and space, and mean a lot to the audience.

Some readers and listeners want to know more. Others are cynical or distrusting. Both types want to see for themselves. Even if a majority of your consumers are passive, be respectful to the group with curiosity, time and emotional or intellectual needs.

In my NPR experiences, they don't, at least with such bottom feeders as bloggers and podcasters. I am not sure whether they consider us some level of competition or merely unworthy of professionalism and respect.

Similarly, a few year ago, a BBC reporter did a brief phone interview with me on companies blocking blogging during work hours. She cited me by location and name, but not by my blog's URL. This time, Smith's coverage reduced me to "a fellow Oklahoman, who was interviewing her."

Setting aside vanity, I think as an NPR listener and as well as online and print newshound, I would have found it useful to know:
  • That the interviewer was local to Massachusetts, where the race is
  • The context and vehicle of the interview, in this case that it was an internet show, a podcast
  • The name of the show and URL, at least leftahead.com
  • The name of the interviewer
Amusingly enough, her disdain would not prevent the curious from ID'ing the site and interviewer. This two-month old story was widely covered in local and national news, online, cable and print. Most reports identified both Left Ahead and me, and many linked to the podcast.

Breeding is free



Including the omphaloskepsis, we at LA deserve the same courtesy we provide sources. I'm sure Tovia Smith, WBUR and NPR expect and likely demand citations for their work. As well as considerate of their readers, doing so would be professional as well-mannered. Breeding is free, but not spontaneous.

Come to pay closer attention though, the most recent WBUR quotes from me before this were only a little better cited. When Bianca Vázquez Toness used me to stir the pot under Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, she named me, but neither this blog nor LA. Of course she was highly selective in what she used; she had called me to extract one criticism I had already written. Having been a reporter, I understood that and won't even consider an out-of-context claim. She was hunting for a specific beast and brought it down with a clean shot.

Unlike Toness, Smith is not ahead of the news. She appears from a scan of her stories with their timing, to follow the elephants on the parade route, gathering up after them. While I prefer fresher reportage, I can see the drive to vary existing work. In that piece comparing Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren's plain-folk campaigning, She walked a very deep path. An internet search would show how rutted it is.

Oddly though, there seems to be bias against Warren. For example, she repeated the misinformation about "In his green pickup truck and worn-out barn coat, Brown stresses his hard-knocks upbringing raised by a single mom on and off welfare." She must have read or heard that elsewhere. At this stage in coverage of such an old story, here piece would have served readers better noting that Brown did not wear that expensive jacket until he wanted it as a campaign prop and that his truck was for carrying hay, tack and the sort for his daughter's horse. Neither is exactly behavior of plain folk.

Likewise, he slams the woman who worked her way from nothing to become a Harvard Law professor by saying he didn't go to Harvard. Smith could well note how much better off his family was come college time and that he went to Tufts, in the same price range and with a similar cachet to Harvard.

Instead, it was an old story, told with no new information or analysis. Yet, for those who hadn't paid attention, or read or heard it yet, it was OK.

When I realized that she had dissed us at LA, I did try newsjacking by thanking her on the NPR and BUR post. Of course, I included what she did not, a link to the whole 40-minute show, for listeners who might want to think for themselves. I logged in with a real name, likewise for those who like to vet.

BUR's post left the comment. NPR moderated it out, leaving instead a message saying it violated discussion rules. My comment was simply informative and not in the obscene, insulting or other classes. The only thing they could mean was the rule:
Feel free to share your ideas and experiences about religion, politics and relevant products or services you've discovered.But this is not a place for advertising, promotion, recruiting, campaigning, lobbying, soliciting or proselytizing. We understand that there can be a fine line between discussing and campaigning; please use your best judgment -- and we will use ours. 
So my whine is that it's one-way. They would expect, but not give, attribution. I didn't have a choice on this one, where Smith simply snatched my audio without asking, much less citing. Next time one of their reporters calls to use me though, I'll demand professional citation. It appears they need to be reminded.





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Thursday, December 22, 2011

When News is Old


It's not easy being fresh. Newspaper columnists, reporters of all media, and of course, preachers have a rough time producing original material.

Some media sort gave up a long time ago. The agony aunts and uncles among them take leads from readers and chums on a sad personal tale. Talking heads on TV and radio have it easy — writers print out stuff they read off paper or prompters.

If you want to see and hear to good stuff, hot, fresh and innovative, head over to Chris Lovett's shop. He and his jolly gang of BU communications students and staff ID features, do real video reporting, and sit with singles and groups for terse, innovative interviews. Chris links to some on Facebook, to others on the NNN page, and others on his Vimeo area. This not only goes on day after day, but it is original and insightful.

If anything, Chris is overly fair. He often is the idea midwife, as in Socrates' maieutic method of questioning guests. He's so savvy and has such deep perspective that it must be tough for him to analyze without verbally smacking some guests around. He manages quite well.

That's rare to the point of being singular among news types. It seems at any given news cycle, they share and slightly vary maybe a dozen themes. They often draw on the same sources and stack their little reportage still life a little differently from what they have recently heard.

They are far from the only ones to do this. Hell, they're earning a living. Likewise, clerics, particularly Protestant preachers who have to write and deliver two to four sermons a month struggle with such fatigue and imitation.

From the pew, it may seem like 10 to 30 minutes of fresh material a week would be easy. Well, try that yourself, particularly if you are out visiting the ill, counseling the befuddled, conducting rituals, managing staff members, co-planning services including music and more.

For the unchurched and those have no cause to attend services in other churches, be aware that ministers habitually steal from one another. As with news themes, there seem to be a limited number to go around for those who have to deliver constantly. Fortunately for those with sermon block, ministers share sermons in many publications, and now in podcasts and on blogs. They give; they take.

The same topics spread around with very similar treatments. There's no foul here, unless you have reason to be in four different churches in a month hearing the same bit. Even some of those bear repeating. The seasonal revival of Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, continues to work. Likewise, so do the more recent Who Moved My Cheese and You Be Glad at that star!

Attach no shame to a preacher who delivers the classics well. Folk who are wellsprings of fresh ideas are rarer than oases in huge, dry deserts.

Oddly for me though, I don't have writer's block. I could easily write multiple posts on my various blogs daily should I choose and thing my followers or stumblers-upon could take it.

I have many shortcomings. I immediately think of my lack of musical ability. I can't keep a tune or hit a note on command or keep a good rhythm clapping or dancing or play any instrument other than toys, such jug band ones as jaw harp, nose flute and of course, jug.

It was in college that I became aware that most folk have serious problems writing, largely through lack of ideas for topics. I helped teammates, classmates, roommates, and girlfriends. On the three-times-a-week college paper, I could supply a column for each, write news stories, and one year help the often weeping editor-in-chief by ghosting her weekly editorial when she blanked a hour before press time.

Today's internet world is great for swapping and stealing ideas though. Reporters and clerics alike can develop good searching skills (also difficult for some folk), so they have a solid place to start. You'd expect and hope that they don't cut and paste though.

This musing had a trigger last evening as I heard my voice on an NPR segment on WBUR. The reporter was flogging other folks' ideas about Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown. So, in the traffic tie-up, I listened to her treatment. More on this in the next post.


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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Delicious GOP Self-Destruction

But that the latest, and only one of many, decisions by the House GOP will harm millions of us, their call to do a huge Christmas FU on payroll taxes and unemployment benefits would just be superb theater. Speaker John Boehner's calcified response — finger always on the NAY button — is guaranteeing Republican defeat in both the POTUS and Congressional results of 2012.

He astonishes on so many levels. Most obviously, to a nation that has screamed loudly and long that hampering, harming and hindering the middle-class and poor of us is in no longer acceptable, pulling such tricks again speaks only to political suicidal drives. Thank you, Boehner. Thank you, winger extremists. You have taken sure and easy victories and buried them under your dogmatic and doctrinaire tracts.

What's truly astonishing is not that the majority GOP in the House is hectoring Dems and the POTUS or beating up the majority of Americans (a.k.a. voters). Rather, they know from the history of the past decade plus and recent times that this backfires. Those of us who pay attention also know that the underlying economic ploys are God awful and plain stupid.

Instead, they seem to try using their catchphrases, like the big lies of greedy big shots being both job creators and magnanimously trickling down their huge tax breaks and profits to the plebes and workers. Sorry, kiddies, those have gone far beyond different interpretations of the same information and into the realm of fantasy and cruel disdain. Numbers alone show they are job destroyers who suck the wealth and even disposable income from the rest of us.

Now I'm left remembering that Lightnin' Hopkins saying, "I don't understand why people don't understand the way I do."

Consider though what Rachel Maddow so clearly presented last night about what Boehner's evil clowns are really doing.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Alas, poor yuck. I knew them well.

What would this holy season be without a hate-based fund-raiser from an inaptly named pro-family group? The Mass Family Institute has you covered, or rather smothered.

Consider the following spurious email from them, ending with a big honking DONATE button:


That's right, kiddies. after twisting the public-accommodations core of this transgender civil-rights bill around, the MFI shows what's it's always been about.

In the real world, pitching public accommodations as being about little girls in public toilets is outrageous dishonesty and dishonor. What's at issue here is a definable class of citizens who can still be legally denied access to hotel rooms, tables at restaurants (and yes lunch counters), or any other for-pay or open facility the rest of us can use — exclusively by who they are on the caprice of people who run a facility. It isn't about bathrooms or locker rooms or any such hoo-ha.

The MFI is simply another winger bigot group that tricks its dumb donors with emotional calls. It's about making money on the stupidity and ignorance of others. It's about paying the salaries and expenses of MFI staff.

Sure, it's disgusting and dishonest and hateful. They've been doing it for many years. While their membership plunges or dies off, they keep at it. This time around, they lost big in terms of the bulk of transgender rights passing into law.

Some MFI members may even be aware that cities (like Boston) and states that have had transgender protections for many years do not have the dire problems MFI swears will happen. MFI is not about facts or truth.

In a year or two, the accommodations piece will naturally follow. Then the few B&B and restaurant owners who quiver into helplessness or rage when they are unsure at first glance whether a customer is a man or a woman will have to suck it up. They'll have to, well, do as all the major religions like Christianity mandate, treat others as they would like to be treated.

Then the MFI staff might have to find something honest to do for a living. I wonder if they'll remember how.


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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Not a Generational Thing


While selective essayists like Tom Brokaw love to pretend about The Greatest Generation, most of us know more to the story.

Of course, as a boomer, I am prey to the cliché of each generation disdaining the obvious flaws of the preceding one. We aren't short of examples, such as our parents' delusion that a never-ending post-WWII growth spiral would pay for their corporate and governmental excesses, and that the Vietnam was was wise, right and winnable.

Yet it is annoying and shameful that now that the boomers are pretty much in charge, they, that is we, are doing many of the same stupid things that the WWII, greatest/greediest generation did.

The warmongering of the elected boomers is stunning. We're not as crazy and hateful about homosexuals, so there's that. Polls are solidly convincing that when the WWII generation dies off, marriage equality will occur. They hated equality for African Americans, for women and now for gays. That'll be better soon and the states can fix those inane and vicious one-man/one-woman laws and amendments.

On the other hand, George Bush the Lesser and Barack Obama are the same on stripping away our rights and accustomed liberties. They both are monsters of awful effect.

For a decade or so, we figured that the intrusive, unconstitutional, dictatorial spying, wiretapping, and secret-police tactics belonged to the days of J. Edgar Hoover and Richard Nixon. We boomers grew up tittering about commies under the bed and Tricky Dick's paranoia. Those are not limited to previous generations. Not by a long shot!

Boomer Bush with his Igor Chaney implemented a terrible reign of the inaptly named Homeland Security. The ramifications include as bad a set of laws and secret policing as we have seen since the British occupation in the colonial period. To his permanent, ineffable disgrace, Bush was wont to say if you have nothing to hide, you can't object to the spying, police bullying, and wiping out the powers of the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Who needs habeas corpus when arbitrary whispers of terrorism trump the protections millions of died for from even before we formally were a nation?

We boomers grew up with a deep sense of our citizens' rights. Our history and civics classes found reinforcement in books, comics, TV and movies with morals about our rich set of liberties. We did learn along the way that they hadn't always applied to Native Americans, black folk, women, Asians and many other groups, nor to interracial couples and on and on. Yet, we saw how in one area after another, we had fixed those oversights, shortcomings, and legal bigotries.

However, we as a nation have an ingrained habit of electing exactly the Presidents who most despise and abuse those liberties boomers assumed we'd have. Long before he was prez, Nixon was Joe McCarthy's chief investigator on the House Committee on Un-American Activities, a.k.a. HUAC. That alone should have disqualified him from higher office. George Bush the elder was head spook at the CIA, which likewise should have kept a professional liar and sneak from the Oval Office. That Reagan fellow likewise was the dishonorable, dishonest, anti-free-speech/anti-liberty black list guy in Hollywood. Yet, he also became POTUS.

Each of those Presidents spit at and stomped on U.S. citizens' freedoms. There was always an excuse of the Cold War, 9/11 or whatever. Give up what defined America to stay alive, they'd tell us.

Now that Obama guy has done it repeatedly. The latest is surelyt as reprehensible as it gets, apparently done to solidify the POTUS power at the expense of the rest of us.

Glenn Greenwald at Salon has a frightening series on this. Check this current post and click to his background ones. The Levin/McCain bill that Obama signed has to be found unconstitutional, I say, but until it is, it allows indefinite detention of anyone suspected by undefined police types of terrorism leanings against this country, either here or overseas. That's right, boys and girls, anyone anywhere can be picked up and incarcerated without proof or defense for as long as the formerly freedom supporting U.S. agents feel like.

Thinking of Tricky Dick, how un-American can you get, Barack?


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Sunday, December 04, 2011

Another Decal Wife Pressed On Stage

Finally...from the Atlanta JC newspaper comes the analysis I've been wanting to read. Jim Galloway writes about the tiny Gloria Cain playing the giant on stage behind her failed hubby Herman.

Alas and to the embarrassment of pols of both major parties from local to POTUS level, we have seen this far too many times. The wife of the puffball taken down by accusations or even verdicts of lying, stealing, philandering and all manner of ethical sins stands by while he makes excuses or outright lies yet again.

We were there with Gloria. At last for the present, the whole 23-minute speech is at the NYT. Watch the wife.

I let the whole spectacle splat on the windshield of news, in no small part to gauge body language of both of them. She's been married to this gonif for 43 years. He's made piles of money, which she could certainly separate him from if she chose divorce. Honest to God, his defiant statements continue to be fantastic tales for every obvious misdeed and character flaw. Those include multiple payoffs for sexual harassment, as well as reasonable and credible claim of a 13-year mistress relationship. He would have us, and Gloria, believe that his employer paid off employees for no particular cause and that he gave a woman many thousands of dollars for more than a decade just because he is a giving sort of guy.

Perhaps most insulting to us, to his supporters and to Gloria Cain is his recent tack expressed by his staff that any mistress would be a consensual and private matter. Say no more, and they mean say no more. Unfortunately, many on the left and right have pointed out he set himself up as a minister and values model, so he opened himself to just such comment. This reeks with the redolence of Newt Gingrich leading the impeachment against Bill Clinton for covering up receiving adulterous fellatio at the same time Gingrich was sleeping around on this deathly ill wife.

Men have their needs, but honor and honest don't seem to be among them.

To Gloria on stage, she did not betray her betraying husband. Like a cliché photograph, she stood full five paces behind Herman as he propped up his facade for 22-plus minutes. She applauded casually when the audience of supporters did. At only one point, shown in the screen cap above, she showed any animation by seeming to gesture in thanks to the supporters as Herman thanked them, and even her, again.

For the rest of the time, she was implacable, inscrutable. She did show for the theater, but ad libbed nothing.  She did not wear a cartoon smile as so many wronged wives have next to their pol hubbies (generally shortly before filing for divorce). She did not make any false display of enthusiastic support. Hers was the face of acceptance.

I assume she has gotten used to accepting quite a bit in 43 years of marriage to the huge, honking ego that is the dishonorable Herman. I also suspect that his self-indulgence has exceeded even her capacity. This is to be continued.

Who Knows Newt?

Creepy crawly lizard man, a.k.a. Newt Gingrich, sits atop the Iowa rock. Punditry pounces and pronounces that dropout Herman Cain's 8% of GOP voters slithered to the more attractive of the reptiles available.

The corollary to chant of the predictive chorus is that Dems smirk and salivate that Gingrich's candidacy. Shift to stage right to hear, "Mighty, mighty orator Obama. Nasty, nasty goader Gingrich will lay him low!"

My take is a bit different. If the POTUS is the Prez race debate champ, it is by default. The deeply flawed GOP candidates open their mouths to let dull winds from empty minds rush out.

Newt is indeed a risible selection. It seems the same majority of Republican (as wingers insist on calling Democratic voters and the party, Democrat voters/party, should they be Republic voters/party?) voters have sudden amnesia on why they found his despicable and unacceptable as either a candidate or even dinner guest.

Another corollary to his judgment is a new meme of MSM and bloggers alike — that GOP voters will forgive his dreadful basket of sins because he admits failings and claims he has been redeemed by God. Let us pretend for the moment that wingers are not so dull-witted.

That Newt fellow not only had known affairs when each of his first two wives were dreadfully ill — MS for one and cancer for another — he traded in those wives for younger models like they were sputtering cars at the end of the lease periods. This anti-marriage stance might seem to be at odds with the professed, if you pardon the expression, pro-family values of the right. However, none of us can keep track of how many winger pols and preachers have been proven fornicators and adulterers. We know only that when caught, they and their apologists are wont to say, "Oh, it's just like Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy."

Odd too is that Gingrich bills himself as a professor and scholar, hence an authority on all subjects domestic and foreign. Of course, his high scholarship was low-brow. He joined a fourth-rate school as an assistant professor of history, transferring to geography, and quit when denied tenure. His credentials are written on water.That doesn't stop him from making Herman-Cain-level claims that he'll bring the big ideas that will save us all.

Odder still is how the GOP voters are trying mightily to forget his many non-stereotypical conservative positions, as on immigration and climate change. He wriggled himself up to House Speaker before facing 84 ethics charges, and then resigning after his leadership led to a disastrous midterm House election and majority loss. Even now as he calls for prosecution of House Dems involved in any way with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, he denies that while taking millions from them himself in what he somehow convinces no one that he was a lobbyist for them.

Any voter who supports this newt Newt can only be grotesquely ignorant or splendidly delusional.

This calls for a variation on the Star Wars line, let the Newt win. Only good can come of it for the Dems next year.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Cain Can't


So, boys and girls, the Hermanator terminated his shuddering run to top the GOP flops. I go for a long walk and Cain sneaks away.

An initial reaction is what wondrous spin, a.k.a. lies, will his former boosters make of it. Think of the dreadful Ann Coulter. It was only last week that she was spewing calumnies — aimed at the increasing set of women who said Cain had sexually harassed them and in that latest case had her as his mistress for 13 years. Coulter's masterpiece of spurious slander holds that:

  • Those who criticize Cain are racists
  • The women who accuse him must be lying because they don't have enough corroboration

The second angle is typical Coulter, typical winger and typical misogynist. Some claim Coulter's a woman, but that attitude is straight from when women were considered property. The attitude here used to be, as it still is in some countries, that rape isn't rape unless there were at least two witnesses to swear to it. Likewise,  it used to be and too often still is that sexual harassment, even physical advances, are not to be taken seriously without additional witnesses willing to testify.

Really, Ann? Herman is innocent if he was so clever as to cover his tracks, to make his worst moves in dark, parked cars, and make his sexual professions of desire or thanks in unrecorded phone calls? Really?

That's a common winger tactic, but particularly nasty here. We hear the lies nationwide on Fox and the likes of Malkin as well. Locally, we don't get much in Massachusetts beyond the state GOP and the RedMassGroup. They are prone to do the Pee-wee Herman I'm rubber/you're glue thing when their pols are guilty of adultery, bribery or corruption. They'll say that, well, Bill Clinton got fellatio from an intern and lied about it or that Jack or Ted Kennedy had affairs. These are not the droids you seek.

In contrast, I appreciated the folksy take last night on Politics Nation hosted by Al Sharpton. As we all waited the timing of Cain's quitting (sudden or a prolonged agony?), the Rev. Sharpton discussed the Rev. Cain without lies or hysterics.

The show's clearest and savviest response though was by guest Joe Madison (about 6:30 into this segment). Sharpton asked for his advice to Cain and heard, "Take a large piece of jewelry to y our wife and ask her for your forgiveness." He followed up immediately with "forget about the Presidential campaign" and try to salvage what's important, a 43-year marriage.

Whether Cain's wife dumps him is TBD. What we can be pretty sure of is that no winger commentators or pols will apology for anything, anytime, anywhere. They are as constant as the monsoon season.

Friday, December 02, 2011

No 2012 Ride on Marriage Horse


A few fools still try to ride the same-sex marriage horse. Nostalgia for the 2004 election alone may inspire this. Back in the Kerry/Bush-the-Lesser contest, fears of queers still played well nationally, and on the state level with the worst of them rushing anti-SSM laws and amendments.

The irrational, malicious and puerile do require much repetition over long periods to understand the obvious.

In this election cycle, splendid proof that we are finally catching up to the larger industrialized world includes how unimportant SSM is in debates and speeches. Out of the GOP clown car, only the craziest, that Bachmann person, is the atavism. While polls and election results show clearly that Americans have transcended this former issue, Michele alone clings to selective Old Testament justifications for discrimination.

As illustrated all to plainly in the news and via Huffington Post with video, Bachmann retreats to crazy talk even when quietly confronted by a high-school student Jane Schmidt.

Wake up, Michele! Kids struggle with and get same-and-different as well as fair-and-unfair early on. Repeating the big lie that we all have the same rights, so long as gay people marry folk of the opposite gender is dishonest and dishonorable on several levels.

Our disgraceful history has many blotches of crazy discrimination. Women couldn't vote or own property, white marriages to Chinese or black or other folk were prohibited, girls could be cheerleaders but not athletes, restaurant owners could refuse service by race or any other basis. We are finally approaching the enlightenment on homosexuals and their fundamental right to wed.

Yet elsewhere this time, SSM is a wee ripple in the pond. Previous loud haters like Rick Santorum seem to get it. If pressed, they'll say reflexively but quietly they're opposed to SSM or use some silly, disingenuous term like "traditional marriage," when they mean they want to appear anti-marriage, anti-family, and anti-adoption to those who would punish kids as well as adults to hurt, harm and hinder homosexuals.

Even our timid POTUS drags out his perhaps insincere statement of belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. Of course, he's run around this tree many times. As a lawyer, he clearly knows the differences between civil marriage and individual church ritual or doctrine. In the last election and his first term, he cowardly chose not to do the right thing, not to proclaim that SSM is a civil-rights issue. Assuming his reelection, will he finally show courage and leadership here? I bet yes.

Meanwhile, fortunately for nation and the larger political dialog, candidates have nothing to gain by Bachmann-style gay bashing. That is, if your pardon the expression, evolution.

Around the nation, slowly increasing numbers of states institute SSM. Sure, a large majority have those anti-gay/anti-SSM laws and amendments. Yet, it's likely California will join several populous Eastern states by re-instituting SSM within a year or so as court actions inch forward. That will fundamentally be the game, with the smaller, more primitive states either left to undo their discrimination blunders or perhaps a SCOTUS finding along the line of Loving v. Virginia, but for SSM.

Either way, it can't happen fast enough for me. Yet, I recognize that many people take a long time to come to terms with any change that first requires an emotional shift before they can hear reason. Meanwhile, we can be glad SSM is a non-issue this election cycle.

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