Monday, December 15, 2008

I didn't believe it possible

"Still, it seems to me true that the financial big shots haven’t been treated nearly as roughly in Congress or in the media as the auto executives, who have done nothing remotely as irresponsible as their Wall Street counterparts." So said William Kristol, of all people, in his Times column today. He goes on to speak in favor of the UAW too, pointing out correctly, that the biggest part of their cost is benefits for retirees (which I add is not an expense for newer, foreign car makers here), not wages for current workers and he's the first person I've seen mention that after all wages only account for TEN PERCENT of a car's costs!

Proving once again that people are so complicated.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Surprise! Repugs' evil helped Dems win

“Without Bush and Cheney and Rove, the Democrats couldn’t have done what they did” in 2006 or 2008, observed David Rohde, a political scientist at Duke University.

This from a story in the Times this morning. Christ, what idiocy! It's like saying Without an opponent, you can't win an election. Bush and Cheney and Rove are the Republican Party--obviously that's what Obama was running against. And I hope he'll remember that and ignore all this "it's a center-right country" bull. The people finally learned what center right is and showed in the election that they don't like it. Now we need Constitutional, Progressive government so badly.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Just saying...

A lot of fundamentalist Republicans seem to be really crazy; I mean to the point of being scary; buying up guns and threatening people. Just threatening them with words so far maybe, but their kind of words can be utterly frightening, one learns from reading right-wing comments on left-wing blogs (the only kind I read). They have such hideous, crazy, cruel fantasties AND they don't ever know how to spell.

So I ask, Is there any way to influence the more rational leaders of the Republican Party to try to educate their followers about "real Americans"? Like, "Hey guys, the real Americans are all the citizens who can vote, and they've just shown who and what [to some extent] they're for. If we want to start winning again, we just might have to change our line." I know I'm dreaming, but how about the Repugs changing so much that they're to the left of the Dems and offering a real choice? And all those crazies will just be left out in the cold (with their guns, but still...). Some might even change their craziness to a different point of view. Just saying.

bloggingheads on the Times

Who ARE these people? Well, I know they're two academics, but come on. Will Obama "fall captive to liberal interest groups and the Democratic Congress?" Please. First of all, liberal interest groups are The People. Second, these particular people put him in office (by voting for him); I sure hope he does what they expect, things like a stimulus package for the economy, getting us out of Iraq, closing Guantanamo, universal health care, restoring the Constitution and all the other things I've left out but we know what they are. That's why Obama was elected: to reverse the course the Bushies put us on. I pray nightly (to the Unseen, perhaps) that he will remain our "captive" in that sense. Oh I wish the Times allowed comments to these stupid videos.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Times continues an ugly misquote

"When a woman once told Winston Churchill he was drunk, he is said to have replied: “And you, madam, are ugly. But I shall be sober tomorrow, whereas you will still be ugly.”

So the Times says (and I've seen this attribution before), but I've seen the movie (and it's an old movie) in which W.C. Fields says, "...But I'll be sober in the morning and you'll be ugly the rest of your life."

This is just why I have a blog. The Times makes it too hard to respond to most articles and it's so frustrating. But now I can express myself whether they like it or not! Thank you, blogspot!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Simple Equality

A week or so ago I went to a beautiful wedding in San Francisco. Two of my very best friends, both men (or brooms as they referred to themselves), exchanged rings in a simple backyard in Novato, with about 50 friends gathered around. There was music and poetry, wedding cake, flowers, eggshells filled with confetti (brought from Mexico), tears of happiness and lots of laughter. What a wonderful occasion and how inestimably creepy it is to try to stop such moments. Propositon 8 would do that, deny the right to marriage to two people of the same gender. I'm hoping No to Prop 8 will win the day; any other conclusion would be too cruel and unfair. So, America or Amerika--which will it be? Fingers crossed.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Times on Mexican drug killings

A story today again about the drug killings in Mexico and their effect on children says this is happening "throughout Mexico" but reports on horrible incidents in Tiajuana only (and refers to the state of Chihuahua having the most killings). Why do they do this? Why do they hate Mexico? Gosh, I live in Mexico and I can tell you it's a big big country. The crime rate at the border does not hold true in the interior, at least not in the mountains of Guanajuato. It's as if killings in Detroit were reported in a Mexican paper as indicating the violence level throughout the US. Please New York Times, give us a break!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Little Man Who Isn't All There

Hmmm, I wonder why John McCain wants to "postpone" the debate. Could it be he (and/or his staff) knows how sick he'll look next to Barack (and not just because of that white pallor)? Or could it be because he can't deal with two things at once (the bailout and the debate; chewing gum and walking down the street at the same time)?

It gets harder and harder to see how anyone could want this man to be president of the United States. And it seems logical that after they appear head-to-head, it will be almost impossible for anyone other than hard-core Repugs and those who are pretty much comatose. These people (his backers) are desperate; they know their candidate is almost literally on his last legs and they know that people are beginning to realize who he's chosen to back him up. Ugh.

Barack, go there and face an empty chair if necessary--that's my advice, and this blog is the only way I have to impart it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fleecing America

So now Wall Street is daring America not to bail it out. The market is down 375 points--I can see them sitting around saying to one another, "We'll just sell sell sell and scare them even further out of their wits until they give us a no-holds-barred bailout. Here we have a new Selling of America--it's an improvement in that we aren't killing anyone, as in Iraq--no, this time we're just destroying dreams and lives through foreclosure and unemployment and credit card debt--selling our souls for an uptick in the Dow-Jones. $700 billion--what would that buy in infrastructure, in education, in health care--somehow we find the money for this (and way more, I'm sure, in the end) and for the endless, grueling, cruel war but not for the great mass of people and their needs.

And just a blank check, no review by judges or congress or anyone, no equity for the people,no limit on CEOs--just shower Paulsen (whose own coffers are already swollen with his own ill-gotten gains from his recent stints on Wall Street) with money and through him the worst, the greediest robber barons in this greedy, out-of-control, stupid ignorant country--more more more for them. Please for the, what, 102nd time, Democrats--grow a spine. This cannot be allowed to happen.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What's wrong with that?

Joe Biden says it's the "patriotic duty" of the rich to pay more taxes, and people fault him for it. Is it that the word patriotic and duty have lost all meaning? Certainly they seem to have been left out of the semantics of the richest tenth of the country, and especially the richest one per cent. One senses that those people believe the poor, the working class and even what's left of the middle class should still live their lives on the basis of those two words and the concepts they represent, but for them--no more of that, the air in their ambience is too rarified.

Where's the punishment?

No one so much as mentions (except for the Times Market Watch reporter Gretchen....? on Bill Moyers last night) any punishment for these incompetent Wall Street titans who are walking away from the broken [by them] economic system with millions, even billions of dollars of ill-gotten gains. How is it possible that they get off scot-free while the rest of us have to pay and pay though the generations? We take the risk, they take the money. It's wrong but.. no one (perhaps I should say no presidential candidate) says a word about it.

Impunity is obviously the word of the day, or rather, century. It's inevitable--when you let Rove defy a subpoena, fail to even begin impeachment proceedings for Bush and/or Cheney, and so on and on, you get in the groove of letting the worst criminals off without so much as a slap on the wrist. These people (W. and his v.p.) are after all responsible for thousands of thousands of dead Americans and Iraqis. If they get off (and they have), why shouldn't those who've merely stolen money from the public?

Such is the state of our people--cowed, dazed, perhaps hopelessly harnessed to the yoke of capitalism. (Ah that little "perhaps"; hope is not truly dead as long as that's there.) Oh Max Weber, where are you when we need you?

Monday, September 15, 2008

I keep thinking...

Americans are in such incredible denial. All these "funny" e-mails about Palin, etc. I can't laugh. But those of us--white, upper middle class,well-educated, liberal (well, limousine liberals really), seldom denied anything, almost always entitled to everything--of whom I'm speaking, are even more in denial than those others, whom we hardly know and who we accuse of being stupid and unable to see what's best for them, some may be in a lot less denial than we are. I keep thinking really of a Black woman at the post office window in NYC shortly after the Iraq War began. Her son was in the Army, and when I mentioned how awful and wrong Bush was, she replied, "Yes, but it's his world, and we've got to live in it."

I think this is all making me rather inarticulate but I'm sure you get it. Obama, please win, so I can think clearly again!

Brilliance of Rove Destroys A Nation

Yes, it seems that the Rove tactics are working again, and this time it's pretty sure they will spell the end, that's T-H-E E-N-D, of the idea of the US as a democratic, free, compassionate nation, beacon to the world. This time Hitler returns as a woman--Sarah Palin, who will no doubt (if McCain wins) serve as president of the US. If I don't laugh, I'll cry, but I can't find anything funny about the situation.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

It's like living in a nightmare

I come home from a searing, painful, moving film (El Violin) about restive peasants in a mountain campo beseiged by government troops who are there to put down their rebellion (in a country much like Mexico) in the cruelest possible way, thinking among other things how lucky we all are never to have experienced such hardship and such insanity. I turn on the TV to try to watch Sarah Palin, v.p. nominee of the Repug Party. As quickly I turn it off. I try a few more times but watching her makes me almost physically sick. This whining bimbo twit--the mockery continues. I see a horrifying future--they could actually be elected. Why not? We know now that anything is possible. I realize now that if it's true, as I've said, that in modern times each president is worse than the last, she is one of the few possible next steps. They could be elected and she could be president of the United States. This is what we've come to. My blood runs cold. My advice to my son? Nicholas, learn Spanish!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Media Arrests at Repug Convention

I was so impressed by the two young producers who were arrested as they covered the protests outside the Republican Convention. (And of course by Amy Goodman, who was also arrested when she tried to talk to the "peace officers" who had her producers in custody.) In the Democracy Now program video, all three of them were consummate professionals, describing their experiences in such calm, rational terms, with no exaggeration or emotion. These people were all wearing very obvious press passes; all saying/shouting "Press!" as the police closed in on them, forced one (Nicole) to the ground, handcuffing all of them with tight plastic handcuffs.

Obviously, if the press can't even cover events, the country is a police state. The police (with the help apparently of the FBI)are out to hurt and imprison and stop anything outside the official way, but particularly they are out to intimidate protestors and especially the press, I think. I must say I would be intimidated by these actions and certainly by pepper spray, which apparently burns horribly and which was used liberally, even against a young woman I saw in a video just standing there holding a flower.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Amy Goodman Arrested!

And not a word in the Times so far (a few hours). I mean she is a fellow journalist, fagodsake. Do they just intend to let the police state take over? I saw it on video. She was talking to the cops--I guess they didn't like that, didn't like her asking for information on the two Democracy Now producers whom they had detained. They bent her arm behind her, roughly. They cuffed her. They put her on the bus. And so far no word as to what has happened since. If a journalist of 20 years isn't protected from arrest, who is? No one, clearly. This is what the US has come to. And I'm sure all this does discourage other protestors, no matter how brave they try to sound. I sure wouldn't want to get involved in a protest now. Nazis. Horrible.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

At Least Slightly Unconscionable

Big story in the Times today about Drug Violence in Mexico. But guess what, it was all about Tiajuana. (Well there was mention of one incident each in Chihuahua and Guerrero.) Most of the story was written as if all of these horrible kidnappings and brutal crimes were going on all over the country, but when they got specific, it was always about border states. This is a very big country. Why does the Times want to scare everyone away from us? Gosh, the story even scared me and I know I don't live in a place rife with violence. Actually, I can see a possible beneficent outcome, or at least side effect, to all this drug crime--maybe they'll have to change their system so they can actually catch, arrest and incarcerate these people. As things are now, as far as I can see, the "justice" system does not work.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Who would have thought--John McCain?!?

Here's this near-senile old warrior without a thought left in his head, one would think, who manages to make a total mockery of the entire American political process in one bold stroke. He might as well have brought out a fish, fagodsakes. Ladies and gentlemen, he could say, this is a girl fish (that's for the feminists), and for the evangelicals: she's a creationist, she's pro-life, she's to the right of Bush on drilling; why, she even asked him to stop protecting polar bears, which are a lot closer to her own species than to ours (in that they're wild).

Vote for me and if I die (not exactly unlikely) in office you get a fish who's been tested by a year and a half of governing Alaska, a total loose cannon, to be President of the United States, with her finger (or, uh, flipper) on the button. Not only a mockery of the US system--how about the world's? Take that, Muslims, take that, Old Europe--this is what we think--a fish could run this world. Who needs all your elder statesmen and women? What are all your experience and all your brains and all your culture worth? Zilch if a fish can do the same.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I Love It!

The Mayor of Denver just called the Democratic Convention "a giant slumber party for journalists." This was on a NY Times video called carpetbagger at the convention, in which a "journalist" interviewed other "journalists" and officials about what the convention is for reporters and pundits. Without even a touch of irony, they all said they were there to see each other so much more than report on what's happening. Why limit the slumber party to the convention? They're all so dazed or bludgeoned or idiotic or dumb that they never report on anything but trivia anyway. Anything complicated like issues? Fuhgeddaboudit. Why should they bother their pretty little heads? It's only their effing sacred duty to the republic. But that was lost somewhere along the way.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Susan Faludi: Yes but...

Today in The Times, in her op-ed, Faludi gives the history that somewhat explains why Hillary supporters are apparently so insanely unreconstructed by the Obama concept that some would actually vote for McCain. It's all true, so sad and so disappointing. Nevertheless, we live in the real world, where Hillary was not a perfect candidate and even many feminists (yes, even those who admit to the title) were vehemently against her. Grow up, women. Unless you prefer the old Marxist (?) solution of making everything worse and worse in order to force a revolution (it ain't gonna happen in the US) you simply cannot vote for McCain. However flawed, however male, however establishment (but not more than Hillary certainly) Barack is, he will be way way better than the XPOW. You know that. The XPOW could well be even worse than what we have now. Please, this is no time for sticking to feminist principle (or, probably, any other). Just go for Barack!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

No Wonder College is So Expensive

Some universities, according to the Times today, are giving ipods and iphones to their entering students. Great humanities technique (she remarked with irony)--load them down with technology so they're in even more of an electronic haze than the rest of the populace. Plus, once completely addicted to expensive technology (and burdened with college loans), these kids will certainly need to get high-paying corporate jobs; no nonprofits need apply. It seems to me that the price of higher education is one of those many unspoken-of scandals with which the country is rife. But there are so many and I don't have time to go into them now because I'm off to Costco!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

two thoughts for the day

(Or, now I can delete these from my stickies, where I save fragments that I cannot let go, yet don't know what to do with)

1. “All the tragedies which we can imagine,” said Simone Weil, the French philosopher who starved herself to death at age 34, “return in the end to the one and only tragedy: the passage of time.”

2. Many of our seeming woes are simply the ghosts of lizards holding on to our shoulder blades. (Don't know who said this, unhappily)

There, that was worthwhile, wasn't it?

Just ordinary people

My response to the Obama campaign's request to join other "just ordinary people" in the grassroots finance committee (or something like that):

"I'm sorry but I'm guess I'm not quite ordinary enough to give any more money to a candidate who voted for the FISA bill. I do hope he wins, I guess (I'll certainly vote for him), but in all good conscience I don't feel I can help finance such a cause." How I could have been so naive at my age I don't know, but to see Barack vote yes on another step toward a police state was just too much for me." What a disappointment. Silly me.

Yes, his winning might help a lot with ordinary people's lives (and yes I am an ordinary person), but to give the government the go-ahead to spy on the people... it just sticks in my craw and makes me think... oh what's the point? I just think the spying is at the root of the evil. (Not money, although that's pretty bad too but it's a whole other subject.) So, whatever happens, pasa.

For Families of the Ailing, a Brief Chance to Relax

The story, headlined as above, in The Times today is about "respite care," a technique that gives a respite to the children of the very old. It talks about how hard it is for late middle-aged people when suddenly their old mom with alzheimer's moves in, how they have to give up their own dreams of free time in retirement to watch and care for their parents. The story points out that this respite care is more and more available (places where failing oldsters can be cared for briefly, for a few days to a week, say, not a permanent retirement home) but it's so hard for the caregivers to take advantage of it: "Most caregivers do not take respite vacations because they see them as an admission of failure, or they worry that something will happen while they are away." Suddenly I realized what the problem is: These people are so burdened, so overwhelmed by neurotic guilt, they can't really think straight. And I'm thinking that such a psychological insight could explain a lot about some Americans' political beliefs too. (Or else it says something horrible about me that I'm not seeing.) I mean if your mother is 93 and has Alzheimer's, wouldn't you want "something" to happen?

Uh-oh, I just might be slipping into incoherence (like all those other times). Maybe I won't explore this too much further. OH why did I ever give anyone this URL. Just indulging in my little private rants is not quite possible anymore. I'll be exposed at last as an unfeeling clod or maybe just as more of a rambler than a writer. What can I resort to but a cry of Viva Tim Robbins (or is it Tom Robbins?)!

Monday, August 18, 2008

At last, an explanation for the Georgia thing

I keep thinking, Georgia, Georgia, no peace I find, just an old sweet song, with Georgia on my mind (close to the right lyrics, I think). But this is another Georgia entirely and, while I assumed (rightly) the whole situation has occurred because of the hubris, arrogance, and stupidy of George W. Bush et al (or what this link calls the Cheney Administration), I did not know the background. Now I do. If you'd like to, too, go to

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I Like Killing Flies

That's the name of my new favorite documentary, all about Shopsin's Groceries (restaurant) in New York, the place I'd read about in the New Yorker, where I knew Bud Trillin ate, etc. and so on, which is why I rented it, although I couldn't quite imagine why it would be so good. Hilarious, sagacious and fun documentary, about life in the Village c. 2004. I love best perhaps his (cantankerous yet somewhat sunny old guy owner-chef) late-in-the-film advice about personal worth: Just get used to the fact that you're a piece of shit, the kind of person who'll let 2000 peope die so you can.. what, get a good price at Wal-Mart, something like that. "I never wanted my children to think they were much," he said. Because when you realize you're just a piece of shit, then any little good thing you might happen to do seems pretty marvelous. You don't expect too much of yourself and it's a lot easier to feel good. Great advice, I thought. I might have to get this film from Juan. I wonder if the restaurant still exists, the food looked fabulous. And his children looked good, too.

it doesn't look like pandering....

Both candidates at a church forum last night. Kind of a horrible idea in the first place, I thought. The (I was going to say warden) minister didn't seem bad but his church apparently is anti-choice (thunderous applaude for McCain when he said something like "I am pro-life, always have been, always will be." What life is he talking about, I asked myself, as always.

Obama, who did make it clear he was pro-choice, didn't go into enough detail. Why can't he talk about women's rights? The minister asked when a "baby's" human rights begin; what about a woman's human rights? If she's to have them then a "baby's" rights can't start until it's viable, surely, since until then it isn't a separate organism. Why can't politicians like Obama get that? Or if they get it (obviously he's one who gets it all), why don't they talk about it.

Your definition of marriage, senator? Obama said it was a contract (or something) between "a man and a woman." (although he did clarify that he was for civil unions.) Oh Gosh. Get over it. Why not have marriage be just between two people, whatever their gender? These things, even when they appear to be a bit thoughtful like this one, only foster stupid answers. They call it a conversation. If it were, they'd talk about it for awhile. This was just Q and A, over and over. And still two legs bad, four legs good, just slightly dressed up.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

button button who's got the button?

A friend just forwarded a moveon offer for a free Obama button to me. And I realized that I just couldn't quite wear it. It just brings home the extent of my disillusionment with the whole process, brought about at bottom by his vote for the FISA bill. Yes, I want him to win. I do think it's probably desparately important for the country and the world that McCain not be President. But I just don't trust Obama and his hedge-fund friends any more. Too much money. Too much entitlement. Too much impunity. Accused of being a cynic in the past and resenting it, I'm afraid now I am one, about US politics anyway.

Nevertheless, it's an absolutely beautiful day here in el pais de dios and it's hard to be too discontented when you've just eaten a wonderful comida of pollo, papas and rajas at your cousin's casa, and come home to your own little casa and your own little jardin and of course your own little mascotas.

Long live old age sud al borde!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Degrading, disgusting and damned

Last night I wanted to watch some political news, specifically Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. Hadn't seen him, our one liberal champion among the cable news channels, in awhile. What was he talking about? Edwards's affair. So I switched to CNN. What were they talking about? Edwards's affair. Aha, Washington Week in Review is on PBS, I thought, I'll watch that. Just as I tuned in, Gwen Ifill was asking David Broder about what? Edwards's affair. Actually, I thought his performance was the worst. His answer, spoken with gravitas, as perhaps only he can do it, was about Mrs. Edwards. He just felt so bad for her. Silly twit, doesn't he know that talking about it only makes it worse for everyone? That means not only Mrs. Edwards and her kids but also for John Edwards, who is after all only human--a human male, like all the other politicians who've gotten into sexual trouble--Jesus the Uriah Heapness of all the commentators is more than enough to make anyone sick. I know Broder's no good but still I was hoping to hear Someone, Anyone, say "I'd rather not talk about it; it really has no bearing on the political scene. Let's drop the subject," or words to that effect. No such luck. Such is our political discourse in the age of the damned.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

so fed up

I am so utterly fed up with the lies and dissembling of the US government. Today they're doing their damnedest to railroad a suicide victim to conviction for the anthrax attacks but without his day in court of course because, wait for it, they hounded him to killing himself! These people have no sense and no shame, which is pretty much par for the course for those who hold power these days. What the corporations don't pillage, the security apparatus steals--namely any sense of autonomy or dignity that people desperately try to assemble. It's hard to keep a sense of proportion when, okay, the axis of evil (that's government and corporations) is so evident and so powerful. Yes, Obama would be better for a lot of reasons. But yes, too, he's as entwined with the power elite as any other politician. Why did I, for one moment (or several), not see that? Hope springs eternal, yes, but so does idiocy and it's time I learned a little sagacity about all this. I guess it's because I grew up in a gentler time, when I believe at least some politicians really did have some honor and standards and cared about they people they actually served. That's all changed and that's why my son knew from the beginning about Obama, etc.("just don't get hopeful" is sort of his theme), because that's all he's ever known. Yes, he's [more than] done his part--serious demonstrating and jail time,too, for progressive causes--but he's learned too, in the process, how little it means. C'est dommage mais c'est verdad.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sharon Stone: Star Idiot

Sharon Stone says maybe China's earthquake happened because of bad karma from its treatment of Tibetans. How is that different from Jerry Falwell saying Hurricane Katrina occurred because of homosexuality and loose living? Chinese parents who lost their children in the school rubble will really want to see all your movies, Sharon. (She says she doesn't like it when people are unkind. What the fuck is she?) And what's happened to Bush because of his behavior? Surely he should be struck by lightning if bad karma results in disaster.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

It's time for Hillary to go

But if she can't quite manage that yet, at least she MUST take the advice that David Gergen gave her on CNN last night. Tell her audiences that she doesn't want the votes of racists; she doesn't want people to vote for her because she's white. That whoever votes for her now must be ready to vote for the duly-nominated candidate of the Democratic Party in November. She's doing a serious disservice to herself and the country at this point. Stop it, damn it!

However, we must note this, from today's Times (also mentioned for the first time ever as far as I know, on CNN last night):

Since 1972, when exit polls first began, no Democratic presidential candidate has won a majority of white voters. The closest division was in 1992, a three-way contest when 39 percent of whites voted for Bill Clinton and 40 percent voted for the first President Bush. In 2004, President Bush defeated John Kerry among whites by 58 percent to 41 percent.

So fuck'em (if they can't take a joke, as my old, late friend Charles used to say).

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Two people is all it takes

Somehow the California court's use of the interracial marriage ban that they overturned long ago as an analogy to the same-sex marriage ban that they overturned the other day does make it clearer than ever, to me at least. Duh. Marriage is not about gender or color. It's about two people wanting to plight their troth, being in love, making a financial arrangement, whatever. It's the two-people thing that counts. And whoever the people are who are involved in a particular marriage, why should that bother anyone else? I don't get it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

oh. my. god

Now I see there's talk of INVADING Myanmar to deliver supplies. "We had to destroy the town in order to save it." Wasn't that the old Vietnam rubric? And we've shown ourselves to be so delicate and so careful about invasion--is that the foundation of this "humanitarian" impulse? Aren't they even ashamed to use the word (any words--invasion, humanitarian, como sea)? Believe me, whatever the Burmese are suffering now, they ain't seen nothing yet if we invade. Gosh. The arrogance. Words fail me.

similarity breeds contempt

A story in the Times about the Chinese government's response to the earthquake had a little kernel that says as much about our government as anything could; something like, "If the Chinese government can respond better than ours did at the time of Hurricane Katrina...". How soon we forget, wondering how Burma/Myanmar can refuse offers of aid for their natural disaster. We, the US, also rejected international offers of aid at that time, no doubt feeling it would be a humiliation, as no doubt the Myanmar junta feels. So the similarity between our government and Myanmar's....

Monday, May 5, 2008

from the Times story on immigrant deaths in custody

Mr. Bah’s relatives never saw the internal records labeled “proprietary information — not for distribution” by the Corrections Corporation of America, which runs the New Jersey detention center for the federal government. The documents detail how he was treated by guards and government employees: shackled and pinned to the floor of the medical unit as he moaned and vomited, then left in a disciplinary cell for more than 13 hours, despite repeated notations that he was unresponsive and intermittently foaming at the mouth.

What on earth can they be thinking of? I hate corporations and the evil they spawn. Break them up. Destroy them. They are clearly anti-human. They make people behave like monsters and they kill people with utter abandon. It sounds like the country is rotten to the core and doesn't deserve to survive at all. Could Obama possibly win in such a horrid place? Could he do anything? I doubt it. In tears...

Thursday, May 1, 2008


From The Times, today: "In a partial concession to Congressional pressure, the Bush administration agreed on Wednesday to show the Senate and House Intelligence Committees secret Justice Department legal opinions justifying harsh interrogation techniques that critics call torture."

These people, if anyone does, deserve to be put in the electrically-charged, death-dealing thing that some call a chair. "...techniques that critics call torture"? What is The Times saying here? Maybe waterboarding et al isn't really torture, that it's all in what you call it? How about what civilization calls torture, something like that. Oh George Orwell where are you when we need you--it's 1984 and way way beyond.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

They're doing it

They're ruining any chance for Obama to win, to uncover the decency in us, to bring the country together, to change our face to the world. I guess we're just not that kind of country (which I knew all along but hope springs, well, you know). Jeremiah Wright. I wouldn't be surprised to find out some day that Karl Rove had a hand in this. But for now it's just the inevitable morning after, only in this case we didn't even have the night before. Unless you count the long night of the Bush presidency, which I'm sure you must--that's been deep dark night, certainly. As I've been doing of late, I must quote my son: "I'm not getting too involved because I know I'll be disappointed." Wise advice in that country, in this age of the world we live in.

Monday, April 28, 2008

yes, I read william kristol today!

Still can't give him the dignity of upper-case initials however. But there it is, in black and white, conservative praise for Hillary (I was alerted to this by a comment on Stanley Fish's blog). Now it's confirmed: THEY want her to win, they are happy about the states she's won so far. They clearly prefer her as an opponent, presumably because she'd be easier to beat, but also probably because if the Democrats are inexorably fated to win, she'd govern a lot more like a Repug. She's an establishment gal, our Hillary. Which gives me some hope about Barack. Maybe he would be different. He's the only one who might be, anyway.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

What's really going on

Frank Rich and all the rest of them write their little columns about how the primaries are going, making some good points certainly, but my question is, what's really going on? Is it possible that the Repugs, having grabbed so much power, having pretty much made the Constitution a dead letter in the last 8 years, will just let it all go away? Is it possible for Dems to win under any circumstances and if they do, will they be able to change anything back? Won't the Repugs (and the corporate world of course--pretty much one and the same) either find a way to steal the election or find a way (not so hard, apparently) to buy, steal, or intimidate any Democratic winner into supporting the status quo, as they have created it? I do have some hope that Obama would try but won't they just take him out if he looks like being successful? I mean this is the real world, not some fairyland of children's stories where the good guys win. This is 21st century America. I think, I really think, it's over.

The "Justice" Department

The Times says the justice department (so 1984) has sent letters to Congress explaining its policy on torture (shut up, he explained). In some cases, it turns out, they can do it. No point in discussing how that could possibly be--it just is. As my friend Susan said last night, "It's all over." They've accrued so much power (and been allowed to get away with it) that "justice" is what they say it is, torture is what they say it is, and reality is what they say it is. We're allowed to talk among ourselves but the beat goes on and it's their world,not Jefferson's, that we're living in. Well, here in Mexico, maybe not, but there in the US they are. It's gone further than anyone will admit, because then it would be clear that they're just good Germans.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Why don't they just buy their own country?

The Times today has a story about the Wall St. hedge fund managers whose annual incomes are over a billion dollars. What I want to know is how much they pay in taxes? Very little, I'm guessing. How about a new law: Anything over 5 million in annual income goes straight to the government? Maybe it could have a codicil: not to be spent on war, only on domestic services? Could that get some kind of national health care going?

Thank you, Dr. Tarnower

Once again the sainted Herman Tarnower gets me through a bad patch (read demasiado avoirdupois). Today I'm on the third day of the fabled Scarsdale diet--hooray! It's the only one that works for me (when anything does) because of all the nummy protein (as in hamburgers, shrimp, steak, etc.) and I hope it will work this time too, despite my extreme age. Can I stay on it for 11 more days, though? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Fat, Trapped, Aging Fast

The other night PBS had a show, hosted by Paula Zahn, about retirement planning. Was it written by Zahn, maybe? It seemed aimed at the kindergarten set (surely they're not ready for this), along the lines, to paraphrase, of "there are stocks, children; there are bonds;there are IRAs, too. And you must save money or else you won't have enough when you're old." No angle at all--nothing about why Americans spend so much money, or about how most of these people, enormously fat as they almost w/o exception were, are the lucky ones--the ones who make enough money to put something aside. Just one comment from one financial person about how she worried about the old ladies you see waitressing, who you know aren't doing it because they want a second career. No real mention of the fact that social security is almost never enough to support anyone living in retirement in the US. Not really any recognition of how many many people live hand-to-mouth in the US and couldn't possibly save any money. Or of how bankruptcy law has changed. It did make me realize how lucky I have been, though, (and largely because of the men I've married) (although I guess also because I am who I am and I was brought up that way) these people are just so hopelessly trapped (I mean the ones on the show who, mostly, were taking care of their retirement planning perfectly well) in ordinary if minimal petty bourgeois life. And wow! almost every one hugely fat, yet there was no mention of that--it just went on as if that was the normal way to be, which maybe it is in America. Note, though, that the professionals who were asked for expert advice (pretty feeble, frankly) were all rather slim. (It could be partly the way they were dressed--the experts in suits; the someday-to-be-retired people in American casual (sweatsuits, etc.)--suits seem to disguise at least partly the hideous sloppiness of what seems to be the new American weight standard. The new American public TV standard is another thing--I hope this doesn't indicate a trend. I thought public TV was supposed to be different. This was totally puerile.

Note to Democrats

Never apologize; never explain. Jay Rockefeller apologized to Senator McCain for accusing him of viewing people with the same distance that he did as a fighter pilot. Is there any doubt that what he said is true--after all, McCain votes no again and again on potential laws that would help people. Do the Repugs ever apologize for any scurrilous thing they accuse Dems of? What is this apology thing? Just to prove that the Dems are craven wussies? I DO NOT get it.

Death Looms for a Flood-Control Project

Story today in the Times about the EPA notifying the Army Corps of Engineers that it would not allow two pumps to be installed at Steele Bayou, Mississippi. The environmental damage much outweighs the gain of farmers being able to plant more marginal land and receive more subsidies from the federal government. Will the EPA hold firm (first time in a decade they've tried this)? Remember, Corps of Engineers and EPA, Saddam drained the swamps, and we call him a monster.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Why don't they call them forced-birthers?

Maybe that would be a good phrase to describe the people who call themselves pro-life. Even better than anti-choice, which doesn't sound half bad enough and most people don't use it anyway. They do want to force women to carry children to birth, after all, just like in The Handmaid's Tale. I think it might help a lot to get that forced, control quality into the equation, since that is what they want--control over women and their wombs in particular. The phrase makes clear that this is not a sweet little either-or, you either make abortion available or you force women to live their lives the way you want them to. I like it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

still loosing financial ground, but....

Come on, New York Times, the word is losing not loosing. You could be loosing the dogs of war, maybe, but in the financial ground area, you're losing it. Who could believe the Times could come to this? (And it's not just a typo, because I saw it on the page last night, not just this morning in the e-mail.)

As to the piece about Obama that asks if a Liberal can Unify, you're just perpetuating the lie that that wins elections (somehow)--Americans are not right-wing, as every poll except the one in the voting booth shows again and again--yet you persist in acting/writing as if we were. Maybe we should be ruled by pollsters after all.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Shocked, utterly shocked

Obama's minister characterizes the United States as "fundamentally racist" and the government as "corrupt and murderous." Is there anything not true there? Yet Barack has to disavow these comments of course, despite their being true, despite it being a matter of guilt by association, since Barack hasn't said it or anything like it. What a world.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

How much longer?

China Says It Has Secured Tibet's Capital--that's the headline on today's Times--just below a picture of empty streets with some soldiers marching. It recalls Bobby Kennedy and who was it, Tacitus perhaps, "They made a desert and called it peace."

Here at home, Bush continues to make a laughingstock of the office of President (except it's not funny)and Nancy Pelosi continues to make a similar mess of the office of Majority Leader by refusing to Impeach. What is she thinking. Soon we'll be bombing Iran, because of her.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Yes, it's over

Please, could I know why the Times does not cover the fact that Mukasey is preventing the DC US Attorney from convening a grand jury to enforce the House subpoenas to Miers and Bolton to appear before an investigating committee? The Times no longer apparently believes in consitutional government. What an abyss we have fallen into. Who would have believed, before the 2000 election, that such a sea-change could occur in our once-beloved country? They do seem to be able to cover Elliott Spitzer's pecadilloes just fine, yet as far I can determine, there's no brouhaha over this total travesty of what our government means. These people behave with impunity because we the people, and our representatives, and our press, have given them total freedom to take over. There is literally no check (or balance) on this imperial executive.

I tremble for my country when I reflect that god is just. When were those words more apt?

I am stunned. Over and over again.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

and now, the death of the english language

"A candle lights a picture of Ruben Navarro who's death, prosecutors say...." This is from a caption in the NYTimes. Where it will all end, knows god.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

health care (a misnomer when applied to US)

The Times says Bush is about to deny financing for many Medicaid services, thus "saving $15 billion." (The Times says it will be even more, because Schwarznegger says CA will lose $12 billion.) What is he saving this money for? Clearly, it's for tax cuts for the rich. Could it be clearer? Could a journalist ask him this question, so we can all get it, if we don't already? Could the Congress please stop him? Too late to impeach? Ha! And ha again. This government has no shame.

more on US healthcare

The fear of genetic testing, "some experts say" is less evident in countries that provide health care to everyone, the Times says. Forchrissake are there experts who say that's wrong? Since the fear is totally based on whether you'll be able to get health insurance. And the added fear that you won't be able to get a job because your health insurance will be too expensive. I don't think we need an expert to deduce...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

New York Times Attack on PBS--Why?

This morning I sent this letter to the Times:

In "Is PBS Really Necessary, it's nice that Charles McGrath is flacking for public radio, but why does he have to tear down PBS while he's doing it? Mr. McGrath has been hanging out with the elite for too long. Perhaps he's forgotten that PBS is free; all those cable shows cost extra, and surprise! some people can't afford them. Yes, despite its unlikelihood, let's do campaign for more money for public television, more "hand-wringing" (as Mr. McGrath characterizes the one status quo-questioning show on TV--"Now") if possible. I hate to think that this attack is based on a desire to curry favor with various corporate entities. But otherwise I just don't get it.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sharing Might Work

The Times story today about a beating in Shaker Heights is depressing. Shaker Heights is a community we've all admired over the years--upscale yet biracial--one of the few perhaps, at least that I've heard about. So now some Black teenagers from Cleveland gratuitously beat up a 52-year-old white lawyer out for a walk at night and the only thought is increased police presence. Cleveland, which Shaker Heights is basically a part of, has been getting poorer every year. It's one of the poorest cities in the country. Does it ever occur to anyone in Shaker Heights (or to any of us) to share some of their good fortune with their poorer neighbors outside the borders of the suburb? Like instead of paying more taxes for more police, how about spending that money on better schools in Cleveland, more services for poorer residents, whatever. Wouldn't that be a smart way of approaching things? But that idea apparently doesn't come up,even in such a progressive community, at least according to the Times, which doesn't so much as mention such a possibility.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

thank you, new york times

The story today about how the army turns people into killers, even after they come home, is a killer in itself. Surely no one of any feeling could read this tale without tears. This is what war does to people, destroying on purpose the civilized persona carefully built up by parents, schools and society from infancy. Of course, the Pentagon doesn't keep track of such events. They are in the business of denying the effects of their dirty racket. And it was all optional, a "war of choice." Its effects will cascade down over the years with more deaths, more tragedies, through the generations of motherless and fatherless children. Stop, for chrissake, you hard hearts you cruel men of Rome.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Saint John McCain

People who talk publicly and derisively about the looks of a former president's daughter are simply beneath contempt. That, apparently, would include Senator McCain. It has been reported that in the last campaign (2004) he told jokes about this matter. I am simply revolted and to quote my son, "may puke." John McCain may have suffered torture, he may have adopted a Vietnamese child, but even these things do not excuse such revolting behavior. He is over.

Who's killing who?

From a story in The Times about how the army's relationship with the press is improving (and how bad it was just a short time ago): “What is clear to me,” General Sanchez told a media group, Military Reporters and Editors, “is that you are perpetuating the corrosive partisan politics that is destroying our country and killing our service members who are at war.” General Sanchez, you will recall, was one of the men responsible for Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. I don't think it's partisan politics that are destroying our country and killing our service members. The war might be over if our Democratic politicians knew how to use partisan politics as well as Repugs do. We don't have enough partisanship. Our representatives simply march in lockstep with der fuhrer despite what their constituents clearly want.

Oh well must remember that this morning I awoke with Miss Kitty America and Miss Doggy America, both in bed. Two titled persons. But of course they are the kind of persons who feel utterly entitled and so, when I mumble "more sleep" they pay no attention. Why would they?

How can Paul Krugman bear to be part of the same op-ed stable as William Kristol. Will Kristol really last? It's hard to believe The Times can allow it. But I guess they chose him and they have their (ugly no doubt) reasons so...

Saturday, January 5, 2008


What does that word mean when applied to Republicans? See below from this morning's Times:

“Among the intelligentsia of the party, there is definitely a deep concern about Huckabee getting the nomination because a lot of them think he can’t win,” said John Feehery, a former senior House Republican aide and party operative. “Part of it is self-interested panic since they have their own horses in the race, and none of them are riding Huckabee.”

Certainly John Feehery is smart at re-labeling but otherwise.... As usual, I don't get it when these people try to make their cohort sound thoughtful or smart or even, well, rational.

As in the Greenfield (?), S.C. woman at a Huckabee tea party describing her crowd. "Well, we're pro-life." Is she against the war which is killing people every day? Apparently not. Why do we let these people get away with such unvarnished nonsense? Let's work on getting rid of "pro=life" as a label. "You mean you're against choice," should be the standard rejoinder. Only endless repetition gets this kind of thing into people's minds. They do it? Why don't we?

Friday, January 4, 2008

One old one

This is an example of a letter to the Times that was never published. Of course, as my son said, "I see what you mean, your letters are too pointed to get published." To wit:

Must your writers write as if they were still in high school? "With Katrina Fresh, Bush Moves Briskly," Sheryl Gay Stolberg's piece on the fires in California, largely reads as if everything this administration says is to be taken at face value. I can't believe Ms. Stolberg thinks that, so it must be in the editing. Mitt Romney was a lot more revealing of Republican attitudes when he said in a debate the other night, taking a position against national health insurance, that he wouldn't want the people who made a mess of New Orleans handling our health care. They want government to fail at everything--get it? It's just that when rich white people are in a disaster they move--that's the difference here; not that they've "learned from their mistakes" in New Orleans. Your chart tells it like it is. Your story does not.

Who needs the Times?

Finally, I get it. If the Times won't publish my letters, I can publish them here! That's the whole point of a blog, isn't it? So I'm writing this in hopes I'll remember to come to que pasa again whenever I feel like ranting at the Times (New York, that is).