Monday, August 31, 2009

Another reason to avoid Facebook?

I am on Facebook, but as my pseudonym, DaisyDeadhead. I am too nervous about certain individuals locating me (see BAD TO THE BONE reference in my last post) to use my actual name, which as many of you know, is pretty distinctive.

I think the hypnotizing aspect of Facebook comes only when one uses one's real name. Apparently, and in relatively short order, you subsequently hear from everybody you ever knew in your life; it casts quite a spell. I think it can probably be compared to the first time we all signed on (I speak of those of us who did not grow up using computers) and started frenetically searching for people, places and things... and holy smoke, we FOUND em, too. It seemed miraculous and wonderful.

Facebook has the added pleasure of people looking for you, too.

It also has games and puzzles and photo albums and all kinds of nifty applications. It's bloody intoxicating. But there is a down-side, as DEAD AIR regular JoJo tells us. She describes her immersion in "all Facebook, all the time," and then describes how this state of affairs "abruptly ended when I was unceremoniously disabled by their software bot on Friday, August 14, 2009 at 5:30 pm, in the middle of my fave game, Pet Pupz."

Huh? Did you even know they did this to people? I didn't.

Jojo describes her Kafkaesque experience:

My offense? Wait for it.......I wrote on people's walls too fast!!!!! *GASP* DUN-DUN-dun. Apparently, one of the lovely drawbacks of Facebook, which I am now finding out about, is that, if you do ANYTHING too fast: comment, add friends, delete friends, send messages, receive messages, write on walls too much, send friend requests, etc., the bot picks up on it as "spamming". Then the person's account gets red flagged as a possible spammer. Earlier this spring, I had been carrying on some simultaneous conversations, via the comment box, on some of my friends' profiles. My commenting ability was promptly shut down for about 6 or 7 days. Since then, if I get too carried away commenting, I had 2 "pink slips" pop up on my screen, warning me that I was engaging in "abusive behavior."
Some of us are not teenagers looking for dates, some of us are GROWN WOMEN who have TYPED all of our adult lives for one company/corporation or I have, as Jojo has. We type FAST. We learned to type our comments in the margins of our lives, when there was time, or (in my case) actually paid for how fast we could type. (Doing transcription, I was actually paid by the word or by the keystroke.)

Lemme wreck that Facebook thingie: boom, boom, boom, clackety-clackety go the keys.

Too fast? Amazing. Capitalism is all about faster-faster-faster, but when we are faster? They penalize you and assume there is something wrong.

And I thought they WANTED people to post and comment? There are certainly millions of opportunities, which seem to be increasing exponentially every time I sign on:
OK, for one thing, Facistbook are the ones that gave us the opportunity to comment on every single brain fart on our newsfeeds. When I first joined in the spring of 2008, all you could do was write on your friends' Walls. Now, you can comment on every quiz, application, status, video, photograph, poll, WHATEVER, that your friends publish. Then when you do so, they shut you down as a spammer. I am seeing more and more people show up in various chat rooms/chat boards, with the same problem I had: "All I did was respond to messages in my inbox", "All I did was write Happy Birthday on my friends' Walls".....etc.
Jojo tried to correct the situation, which she assumed was some bureaucratic error. (And it was, Facebook assumed she was spamming.) But this was still another nightmare:
God forbid there be an actual HUMAN that works there. There is zero customer service. All I was able to do was send an email to, and all I got was a canned "thank for your inquiry, we'll look into it and get back to you in a few days" response. I have dug up every email I can find for Facistbook, to no avail. One of my friends sent me a phone number she found, but you get sent into a general voice mailbox.

My friends even started a group, petitioning for my return. Of course most of you already know that since you all joined. It makes me feel so good to see the names of people I know personally, friends I've met on FB, and people I don't even know who just want to support me. There's a guy named Rudy Arnauts who is doing a series of videos on You Tube, called "Meeting with Mark". He is trying to get Mark Zuckerberg's attention and set up a face to face meeting with him, to discuss this problem and the lack of customer service. His videos are very eloquent and he's the only person who is going to bat for us. Even if your account hasn't been disabled, it COULD happen. I encourage everyone to check out Rudy's 3rd installment.
Jojo describes the feelings she had as she was cut off from all her friends and familiar internet activities, which had become mostly Facebook-oriented.

Then, she got mad:
As my 2 week suspension drew closer, my emotions turned to anger. This is ridiculous. How can a social networking site disable their users FOR SOCIALIZING???? How can a social networking site create "limits" on how much you can do, WITHOUT TELLING YOU WHAT THE FUCKING LIMITS ARE? How can a social networking site give you the ability to comment on EVERYFUCKINGTHING, provide you with a list of upcoming birthdays then penalize you for using the features???? Seriously!!! All they tell you is to go read their Terms of Service which only generally outlines the fact that there are "limits" and if you exceed them, they reserve the right to disable you. And because we don't pay for the site, they don't give a tiny little rat's ass about the users.
Sure sounds like it.

Finally, she gets this email, which is, ummm... as we say here in the south, clear as mud:
"Hi Joanne,

Facebook has limits in place to prevent behavior that other users may find annoying or abusive. These limits restrict the rate at which you can use certain features on the site.

Unfortunately, we cannot provide you with the specific rates that have been deemed abusive.

Your account was disabled because you exceeded Facebook's limits on multiple occasions when writing on Walls, despite having been warned to slow down.

However, after reviewing your situation, we have reactivated your account, and you should now be able to log in. Please be aware that if your account is disabled again, we will not be able to reactivate it.

Once logged in, please slow down the rate at which you write on Walls. We appreciate your cooperation going forward.

Thanks for your understanding,

User Operations Facebook"
Well, you're too fast, but we can't say exactly HOW FAST.

Good God.

So, Jojo is back on Facebook, but not on her own terms or in her own style. She says lots of people are getting fed up:
they want to quit Facebook b/c this is happening to more and more people. And now I understand why my friends list fluctuates so much. People come and go, and now I know why.
Yes, I've noticed this too.

I would have joined Jojo's support group (or maybe I did and forgot?), but I don't do a lot of Facebook. Now, I am thinking that isn't such a bad idea.

Because you know what? I type like the wind. ;)


Has Facebook-suspension happened to any of you or your friends, relatives, co-workers, neighbors, etc? What was the situation? Have any of you attempted to contact customer service, and what was your experience?

Faces shine, real low mind

Here's what I am listening to today. Join in, if you're of a mind to!

Hopefully, these will last. But YouTube is so busy removing videos, they could possibly be extinct by later in the week. If they are, I apologize in advance.


Okay, who among you knew that the Hill Street Blues TV-theme was written by Larry Carlton, the session musician who delivers the killer-guitar work in Don't Take Me Alive? (What did we ever do without Wikipedia?) And despite what you hear, it is "Bookkeeper's son," not "Poolkeeper's son." (Decades of arguments, once again, finally settled by the internet!)

I looooove this song, decided I would play it since it's about blowing people up and therefore sorta fits in with the whole morbidity/responsibility theme of this past week.

Here in this darkness
I know what I've done
I know all at once who I am

Don't Take Me Alive - Steely Dan


This incredible song has multiple chord/tempo/melody changes, zoom de zoom, zippity do dah, all in ... two minutes. Two. Minutes.

How the hell did they do this in two minutes?

This is, one presumes, how they got to be The Beatles.

Wait - The Beatles


This might be the greatest thing I ever heard, and 40 years later, let's hear the band that can sound this good!

Iggy 4-ever, as I used to write on the cover of my loose-leaf binders... my heart still jumps at the sound of the first few bars, and those bizarre noises he is making. :) (RIP Ron Asheton)

Down on the Street - The Stooges (w/Iggy Pop)


I discovered through my endless snooping that my 2nd husband is on his parish's prayer list. I confess, I would like to know why. Am I worried? Well, yes, no, maybe. You know the tangle of emotions you have when you discover something online about an ex, and up bubbles all that guilt, anger, remorse, all those juicy feelings.

Do I hope he's okay? Well, no.

Do I want him to suffer? Well, no.

You can see the dilemma, then.

(Not sure what I think of the video; first time I've ever seen it. Does beating a black man at billiards automatically make George "bad"--or is it the attitude?)

Bad to the Bone - George Thorogood and the Destroyers


Classic country time--with even more astounding Wikipedia revelations: Jessi Colter was married to Duane Eddy before she was married to Waylon Jennings! I had NO IDEA!

A shot of Waylon gets deposited at the end of this video, although I always thought his eyes were brown. Aren't they? (So, who exactly was she looking for?)

I have guilt over not including Jessi in my Diva round-up in June.

I'm Looking for Blue Eyes - Jessi Colter


And so, I now include Jessi's husbands out of respect. (I should have included Duane in my Instrumental Oldies post, but will try to catch him on part 2.)

Detour - Duane Eddy


Jessi heard Waylon's golden pipes and just went least I assume it was like that.

Blue eyes ain't nothing on a voice like this. :)

Dreaming my Dreams - Waylon Jennings

Saturday, August 29, 2009

In Every Dream Home a Heartache

My Sacred Heart of Jesus vigil candle is from my Flickr page.

Redemptorists? Did they say Redemptorists?

Watching Ted Kennedy's funeral, with all the ex-Presidents and Obama and Michelle and everybody else in attendance, I heard the priest announce that the Church they are in, the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, is run by the Redemptorists. That is to say, the order founded by one St Alphonsus de Liguori, an Opus Dei pin-up, major dogmatic hard-ass and Doctor of the Church, who is probably spinning madly in his grave.

I suddenly get a flash of one of Fellini's priests, reaching through the flimsy confessional screen and whacking young Teddy in disdain: You're a bad, bad boy, Ted Kennedy! (Yes, the priests in my Fellini fantasy have Irish accents, which I realize doesn't quite mesh, but they all acted the same: WHACK, upside the head.)

Again, rules are suspended for some people and not others.

I've been thinking about the matter of Ted, and similar men, who are littered throughout the Left and the Democratic Party. Men who do "the right thing" politically, yet abuse women and treat them like their personal blow-up dolls.*

I realize that Ted Kennedy's death has 'triggered' me, as the young bloggers say, and I am reacting to all the guys I have known throughout my life, who have been good political comrades, but also: constantly cheated on their partners; beat their wives (then usually known as the more benevolent "smacking around"); told women to shut up or called them stupid in meetings; would not pay child support; sexually harassed women with whom they worked on political events and campaigns; rewarded women who slept with them with high positions of authority, etc etc etc. And yet, we would rarely challenge these men, because they were savvy enough to do the right thing politically, even heroically. These men would stand up to even more dangerous men, men who would deny women's rights.

The juxtaposition of these men would sometimes make me dizzy --which one is the good guy?--I once thought, as I saw two local politicos debating on TV. The lefty, named Eric, had once physically-shaken me very hard (as you would a toddler) during a heated conversation. To make it worse, the supposedly-feminist lefties who witnessed this act, including my first husband, obediently stated that Eric was "out of line"--but of course, would not confront him or tell him his actions were violent. And there he was on TV, Mr Peacenik! (FUCK YOU, I thought.)

But the guy he was debating on TV? One of those "Drop the bomb and let God sort em out!" kinda Republicans that grow like corn in the Midwest. Certainly, I knew Eric was better... wasn't he? Wasn't he?

I realized, watching Eric run his arrogant mouth on TV, that I didn't know how the right-winger treated his wife. And he might be nicer to women in his personal life and one-to-one interactions, than Eric was. The thought crept into my head without my consent, shocking me.

If the personal is political, I thought, shouldn't that matter?

I thought of this yet again when video clips of Kennedy's speech at the 1988 Democratic Convention were shown on CNN the other night. The speech included the now-famous "Where was George?" refrain (referring to Bush senior). Blah blah blah happened, and WHERE WAS GEORGE? Blah blah blah happened, and WHERE WAS GEORGE? They keep showing it, to show what a great fighter Teddy was.

Am I the only one who remembers George Bush Senior's response to that question, which he delivered at the Republican Convention the following month?

"Where was George? In bed with his wife!" --he said, to Republican cheers and screams.

I am pretty sure a woman, Peggy Noonan, wrote that line.


My other posts on Ted Kennedy are here: Mary Jo Kopechne 1940-1969 and More on Ted Kennedy.


* And when I think of blow-up dolls, I think of the Roxy Music song that is the title of this post. I wish Lester Bangs had not been so nasty to Bryan Ferry, but yes, that's another post.

Desperately trying to learn not to DIGRESS so badly...

In Every Dream Home a Heartache - Roxy Music

Friday, August 28, 2009

Mark Sanford, continued, still, again...

Photo of our esteemed governor is from WJBF-TV.

In the continuing (and always entertaining) Governor Mark Sanford saga, Lt. Gov Andre Bauer (who just moved into the Thornblade neighborhood, which is why I've been seeing him everywhere lately) asked him to resign, and he refused. No quitter he! And now, he sets up a podium in an empty field (!), across from the office of his chief critic, state Senator David Thomas (R-Fountain Inn) and commences preaching.

Thomas is running for congress using Sanford as his "let's clean up this joint" object lesson, which totally flips out Sanford.

Gov. Mark Sanford attacks travel probe as 'pure politics'
Sen. David Thomas denies charge, says he wants governor to answer questions

Gov. Mark Sanford went to the doorstep of one of his critics to defend himself Thursday, declaring in Greenville that state Sen. David Thomas is attempting to advance his political career by questioning the governor's travel practices.

“If you look at sort of where people are coming from, some people think it's in their best interest to drum up some of what's been going on because they think it'll help them climb to the next ladder in politics,” Sanford said. “With other folks, they think it's payback time. They didn't particularly like where we've come from on restructuring or spending or some other things.”

Said Sanford: “There's something wrong with selective outrage.”

The state's embattled chief executive chose to make his stand in an empty field across from the Wade Hampton Boulevard law office of Thomas, who is the chairman of a Senate panel examining the Republican governor's travel.

Thomas, R-Fountain Inn, also is running for Congress. He refused to back down from the travel investigation, telling reporters, “I'm not on a witch hunt.”

He said he has asked the governor to appear before his subcommittee after Labor Day to answer its questions, but “there's no response from his attorney to that question.”

“We can, hopefully, get a lot of things answered,” Thomas said. “But there are many things on the table that haven't been answered, and I requested his presence to accomplish that.”

Thomas, who was working in his office as Sanford spoke from a hastily erected podium across the street, said afterward, “I wanted to join the governor, but it seemed such an odd, strange situation.”

“I've been in public office a long time and I've never seen anything like this,” Thomas said.

The governor preaching from a field? You've never seen anything like it? Ah come on, Senator Thomas. How odd can that be?

A field. Set up a podium IN A FIELD.
Sanford's travels and use of state aircraft have been under scrutiny since the governor disappeared from Columbia in June and returned to admit an affair with an Argentine woman.

There have been calls for an ethics investigation and some lawmakers say Sanford could face impeachment proceedings.

Thomas has said he believes some of Sanford's foreign flights violated a state law that requires state employees to choose the least expensive method of travel. He has focused on six overseas flights made by Sanford in which he said the governor flew business class.
Sanford, who is in his second term and can't run for re-election, told reporters in Greenville that calls for investigations of his actions and related media accounts are “pure politics.”
Usually, that sorta thing comes OUTSIDE of your own party, though, doesn't it?

When your own party is gunning for you, time to leave.

“Let's not make decisions based on hyperbole, on simply media” reports, Sanford said.

“Let's make decisions on facts,” he said. “When one looks at the facts, we have a compelling record in terms of watching out for the taxpayer.”

Some House GOP leaders said even if Sanford's contentions about other governors and officials prove true, it will not impact impeachment talk.

“Two wrongs do not make a right,” said House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham.

House Speaker Pro Tempore Harry Cato of Travelers Rest said Sanford's argument reminds him of the rationale used by his children.

“Everybody else was at the party, why couldn't I?” Cato said. “I don't think the ‘me, too' argument is going to hold much weight.”

Cato said more problematic for the governor is that he has chastised lawmakers and other officials over the years for not being frugal enough in travel.

“Probably the thing this governor is most guilty of is just being a hypocrite,” he said.

Rep. Nathan Ballentine of Irmo, one of Sanford's closest allies in the House, said Sanford laid out his travel arguments and facts when he met with him earlier this week to ask him to resign. He said while Sanford believes his side of the story hasn't gotten out to the public, Ballentine believes the most important question is a larger one.

“The decision shouldn't be about what's best for what individual,” he said. “The decision ought to be about what's best for our state. And I think in order to have our officials refocus on what's important, the story has to change.”

Michael Sponhour, a spokesman for the State Budget and Control Board, said the travel regulations referred to by Thomas were first created in 1981 and then amended in 1992 to change prior approval of foreign travel by the agency to reporting such travel after the fact. He said the regulations are designed to be used in granting employees reimbursement for travel, not prior approval by his agency.

Also Thursday, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dwight Drake told reporters he believes four of the state's constitutional officers should act immediately upon a state constitutional provision for removing the governor by declaring him unable to carry out his duties.

“It's crystal clear,” Drake said. “This fellow is not able to do his job.”

Drake said unless at least three of the four officers — the state attorney general, secretary of state, comptroller general and treasurer — act, the issue will be left to the Legislature and impeachment hearings, which could drag on throughout next year.

But all four constitutional officers said they disagree with Drake's interpretation of the provision, which is referred to under the heading of disability.

“We don't have a matter of physical or mental disability here,” said Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom, a Sanford ally. “We have a lot of political hysteria.”

Treasurer Converse Chellis said it would be inappropriate to use the section “without some real documentation of either a mental or physical disability that would hinder Mr. Sanford's ability to govern.”

Secretary of State Mark Hammond said his counsel's advice is that the provision does not apply.

“Being unpopular and ineffective is not necessarily a mental or physical disability,” he said.

Mark Plowden, a spokesman for State Attorney General Henry McMaster, a GOP candidate for governor, said McMaster was asked about the provision earlier this summer and does not believe it applies.

“The attorney general believes it's written quite obviously as if the governor has fallen ill or is somehow incapacitated, not anything else,” he said.

Meanwhile the State Law Enforcement Division announced the arrest of a Hilton Head man on charges of threatening Sanford. According to the warrant, Brian Joseph Macdermant, 39, is accused of telephoning the governor's office and conveying a threat to Sanford through a staff person.

Macdermant is charged with threatening the life of a public official, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Also on Thursday, Sanford continued to his push for public forgiveness with a luncheon stop at the Greenville County Republican Women's Club.

He apologized for his “moral failure” for the extramarital affair, but told the club it's time to move on from the scandal.

Sanford said he has “an incredible opportunity” to make his last 16 months in office the most productive because he has no remaining political ambition.

“This is it,” Sanford said.
Do you believe this?

Why are we stuck with this arrogant dick?

I don't believe he has no remaining political ambition...why else would he be hanging around, unless he thought he could do some powerhouse thing to redeem himself?

Certainly, he has no political power in the state right now, to accomplish anything.

Some folks think he just can't give up the office, he LIKES it too much.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

One of the Living

1) I can't find my phone.

2) My acid reflux has returned, I fear because I am drinking way too much Yerba Mate. (But I love it!)

3) I also love Multilieve (photo at left) an excellent natural pain-reducer, which contains Corydalis Yanhusuo, Chinese Peony and California Poppy.... (Wicked Witch of the West voice: poppies! poppies!) No, I have not been compensated with anything but free samples.

4) Currently reading Maureen Orth's too-fabulous gossip-ridden and scandalmongering book The Importance of Being Famous, which totally rocks the house! How did I ever miss this book when it came out in 2004?

Orth has completely convinced me of the guilt of Michael Jackson AND Woody Allen, sad to say; she is a tireless journalist and investigative reporter (these articles were first published in Vanity Fair). She also writes extensively about Arianna Huffington, claiming she has never totally extricated herself from new-age guru-flake John-Roger. This stuff is fantastic, I can't recommend it enough.

5) One chapter in the aforementioned volume is about Tina Turner, probably the only celebrity interviewed in the entire book who emerges as a wholly-likable person. I started reading and thought, hey (my mind works in strange ways), whatever happened to that song, One of the Living, which I remembered was written by 80s wunderkind Holly Knight. It was used in the film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

And so I dug it out of the YouTube vaults and listened to it... damn, I still love that! Although it DOES bring back an unpleasant time in my life: my second divorce, just as I was starting to wonder if I could get along with anybody. During this emotionally-overwrought period, your humble narrator would sometimes attend as many as 2-3 AA meetings a day.

From one addiction to another.

Carrie Fisher once described what one does in detox/recovery: not drugs. And that is what I was doing. I was falling apart, financially destitute, with a child not even two years old and a divorce imminent, but I was ...NOT DOING DRUGS!

One nice person who commented on one of my irate Kennedy posts yesterday said "as a fellow 12-stepper" and I did not have the heart to tell this person that I no longer consider myself one. However, after you've done the TOTAL IMMERSION AA-thing (nods to Baptists in readership), you feel like you are stamped with it for life and it is somehow encoded in your DNA, just like LSD.

So, oddly, this song makes me think of AA meetings, one after the other, an endless balm of talk-talk-talk that soothed and tranquilized me in some way I can't readily or sensibly describe.

Don't wanna fight but sometimes you've got to
You're some soul survivor
There's just one thing you've got to know
You've got ten more thousand miles to go

As a bonus, we are reminded by this video that both Tina and Mel Gibson were looking especially hot back in the 80s.



One of the Living - Tina Turner from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

PS: Tina won a Grammy for this, which I didn't know, or didn't remember.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

More on Ted Kennedy

Okay yall, I am hereby signing off for the day. Trolls, stay back, or at the very least, try not to wreck the joint too badly.


If I see one more liberal and/or feminist (!) blog talking about the late Senator Edward Kennedy as some kinda righteous man, I'm gonna spew.

Here at DEAD AIR, we calls em like we sees em, and rich drunks who let women die agonizingly-slow deaths rather than tarnish their reputations or make daddy mad, are not mourned, regardless of their politics. REGARDLESS.

I guess it's because she was, you know, just a girl. It's not considered cool to talk about her now. If he weren't a Kennedy, he would have been locked up, yall KNOW that, right? (Is upper-class privilege suddenly okay when exercised by liberals?)

I am now lighting vigil candles (yes, those are my St Nicholas and Our Lady of Guadalupe candles) and saying novenas for the souls of Mary Jo Kopechne and Ted Kennedy. And saying prayers for the woman Ted shit all over: Joan Bennett Kennedy. I am almost as sick over all the "Ohhhh! He was much happier after he married Vicki!" horseshit that I've been hearing on TV. So, he fucked up Joan, wiped his ass with her like toilet paper, moves on to woman 22 years younger, and yes! He's much happier now!

(((fights back urge to vomit)))

I can't believe even feminists are falling for this. Bros before hos, even on feminist blogs!

ANY Senator from Massachusetts would have been a liberal, you realize?

Okay, I'm outta here. I will try not to discuss this again, since it sure don't make me popular. But I have to wonder where my feminist sisters are in this one--certainly, they've harshly criticized men who have done FAR LESS. (?)

(((Daisy departs in cloud of indignation and fury)))

Mary Jo Kopechne 1940-1969

Sorry my dear liberal brothers and sisters, I respectfully sit this one out. Women first.

Further, as an alcoholic, I will not mourn a rich drunk allowed to make a deadly mistake and carry on as if nothing had happened.

I will mourn the working woman who was forgotten, as the actual circumstances of her death were covered up by a powerful family, who then arbitrarily assigned her slut status.

Imagine slowly, slowly drowning, water enveloping you inch by inch as you drown, waiting for the person to rescue you that never arrives.

Sorry, folks. Some things, I do not excuse.

Mary Jo represents all the nobody-women killed (or allowed to die, if you want to quibble over my terms) by all the powerful, rich men, because they were "evidence"--because they got in the way.

During this orgy of remembrance and sentimentality, of course, we won't be hearing about her...once again, it will be considered somehow "rude" to mention Mary Jo Kopechne's suspicious and untimely death. Well, let me be RUDE, then, and remind everyone that she existed. That she was a beautiful and lively woman, cherished by family and friends; she was a human being that was considered expendable by the Kennedy clan.

FUCK Ted Kennedy. Purgatory is hot, and he'll be there awhile.


EDIT (for the person who thinks I "exaggerate")-- Please see above Wikipedia entry, specifically THIS QUOTE (italics mine):

Earlier that morning, two amateur fishermen had seen the overturned car in the water and notified the inhabitants of the nearest cottage to the pond, who called the authorities at around 8:20 am.[14] A diver was sent down and discovered Kopechne's body at around 8:45 am.[15] The diver, John Farrar, later testified at the inquest that Kopechne's body was pressed up in the car in the spot where an air bubble would have formed. He interpreted this to mean that Kopechne had survived for a while after the initial accident in the air bubble, and concluded that
“Had I received a call within five to ten minutes of the accident occurring, and was able, as I was the following morning, to be at the victim's side within twenty-five minutes of receiving the call, in such event there is a strong possibility that she would have been alive on removal from the submerged car."[8]
INCH BY INCH she died. And imagine how horrible, the terror. It probably took several hours, according to all I have read, since the accident happened sometime after MIDNIGHT. Think about it, MIDNIGHT. No phone call to any cops or EMTs, since he was DRUNK and had to SOBER HIS ASS UP FIRST.

I repeat, with considerable emphasis: FUCK TED KENNEDY.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Eighth Annual California Wildflower Show poster

This is a poster from 1977, which I look at every day, in my spare room. As you all know, I love flowers, and I find the mandala of flowers to be very calming, comforting and centering.

I don't know who made the poster. There is no credit. Down in the lower right-hand corner, it has a logo of a waterfall that says (upon close inspection) "Conserve Water"... but that's it.

The California Wildflower Show is still happening every year at the Oakland museum, now in its 40th year. We have the internet now and no need for mad-postering all over town, which was one way some of us picked up a few bucks.

I often wonder who designed the lovely poster that is part of my daily life, and if they even remember making it.

We forget the tasks we perform, the creative projects we are part of, the various things we make, craft and write. As I approach my 52nd year, I am stunned by all I have done, and yet I also worry it will all be forgotten. As I search online for old photos of pop-culture events and political demonstrations, I have a hard time finding them. So much of history, before the net, is simply forgotten. And now, with the advent of the net, we are threatened with a veritable deluge of ephemera and drivel, drowning out the important news, the crucial history.

I find myself deliberating about this stuff more and more as I age, particularly when I blog about the past.

And then, I see the poster.

The person who made this poster probably does not remember making it, or perhaps only thinks of it now and then... but it is part of my daily life. Their consciousness, their artistic vision and work, is part of my home.

What have I done, what have I said, that is now part of someone else's daily life? And I would never know it. A photo, a gift, a kind word, a wrong word? Maybe something I wrote a long time ago and cannot even recall now. Maybe a comment in an AA meeting that I addressed to them, or something I wrote in an online debate.

The poster reminds me that there is so much we leave behind. Beauty AND ugliness.

It is a good reason to remember, always, the line from Plato: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

Or as Bill and Ted said: Be excellent to each other.

(And as always, keep making pretty things. Preferably with flowers.)

How may I help you?

Purty flowers from downtown Greenville... which of course, have absolutely nothing to do with this post. (Yes, I really do own one of those old "flower power" buttons ...)

I wake up and my TV channels are totally scrambled. Panic! How do they expect me to keep up with my scandalmongering without TV? Yes, I know the internet is a great place for snooping about, but I want my talking heads! Michael Jackson's death has just been ruled a homicide, and I must know more.

My rather slack-ass and stingy cable TV-company, Charter Communications, is now bankrupt, but still operating. How does that work exactly? When regular people go bankrupt, they have to STOP operating, don't they? But here they are, taking my money and continuing to provide slack-ass service anyway.

The Charter website does not list any re-set of channels. So, I am attempting to find out the reason though their computerized customer service.

Thank you for choosing Charter Chat Live! A Customer Care representative from Cable TV Support will be with you shortly.
You are currently number 8 in the queue.
All agents are currently busy. Please stand by.
You are currently number 7 in the queue.
All agents are currently busy. Please stand by.
Are these bots or people? As Dead Air regulars know, your humble narrator worked in/was traumatized by customer service for over 5 years, and I think I would have preferred typing bullshit replies to giving bullshit replies over the phone.

At least, when they scream, you wouldn't hear it.
You are currently number 4 in the queue.
All agents are currently busy. Please stand by.
You are currently number 3 in the queue.
All agents are currently busy. Please stand by.
You have been connected to TTD Shazia .
TTD Shazia : Thank you for contacting Charter Video Support. My name is Shazia. How may I assist you today?
Me: My channels are all scrambled up and not in the usual order
TTD Shazia : I'm sorry. The channels are being updated due to the recent changes in the lineup. These channel changes are effective August 25th, 2009. After August 25th, 2009, go to to view your channel line-up.
TTD Shazia : I can give you a list now if you want.
Me: Yes, I would like that!
TTD Shazia : In order for me to further assist you, may I have the phone number on the account starting with the area code, please?
Me: blah blah blah
TTD Shazia : Thank you. Can you also please verify the name that appears on the account, the complete service address, and the last four digits of your SSN?
Me: More blah blah blah
TTD Shazia : May I verify who I am chatting with?
Me: Daisy
TTD Shazia : Thank you. One moment, please.
TTD Shazia : Thank you so much for patiently waiting.
TTD Shazia : Channel Line-Up Effective August 25th, 2009:
And Shazia/the bot gives me a list which I printed out. Better than the phone, most assuredly, where this wouldn't be possible.

While working in customer service, I was instructed to say "I'm sorry" about everything, or some variation such as "I apologize for that," which I still say in retail if I don't carry a product or we are out of something. Why are we apologizing for something not our fault? I hate that shit. I hate it from Shazia/the bot too. Not her or the bot's fault if Charter is all fucked up and doesn't care about telling customers that the line-up has changed.

Looking up the name "Shazia"--I see it is an Indian or Pakistani name. Did I just talk to India?

I have a lot of mixed feelings about the fact that the job I used to have, is likely outsourced now. I hate that Americans are not getting the jobs, and then again, I know how badly everyone in the world needs a job. I have always prided myself on being a working-class person who connects to other workers, no matter where and who they are. When I saw the 60 Minutes segment in 2004 and learned customer service people in India are making maybe one-fifth (or less!) of what I made, I was livid on their behalf, too:
On any given day in New Delhi and Bombay and Bangalore, the call goes out for new call center recruits as more and more American companies come calling. The call center employees earn $3,000 to $5,000 a year, in a nation where the per capita income is less than $500. The perks include free private transport to and from work plus the sheer heaven of an air-conditioned workplace.
And every time I talk to Luke (Skywalker?), Peter (Parker?) or Jennifer (Aniston? Garner? Lopez? Connelly?), I am also reminded of the 60 Minutes show:
New Delhi is nearly 11 hours ahead of New York, so manning the phones is largely night work. By day, the agents - as they're called - are dutiful Indian sons and daughters. By night, they take on phone names such as Sean, Nancy, Ricardo and Celine so they can sound like the girl or boy next door.

"The real name is Tashar. And name I use is Terrance," says one representative.

"My real name is Sangita. And my pseudo name is Julia," says another representative. "Julia Roberts happened to be my favorite actress, so I just picked out Julia."

American movies are part of an agent's training in how to sound all-American.

Lavanya Prabhu is a call center trainer who guides young Indians through the labyrinth of American English. And she says she is able to pick up some of typical American accents while instructing her students.

"Well, you have Brooklyn. 'You walk the walk and you talk the talk.' And you have the southerner's thing. 'Oh hello, there. What can I do for you today,'" says Prabhu, who spends most of her time trying to de-Indianize her countrymen.

But it's difficult to get in. In fact, Prabhu says they accept approximately five applicants out of 100 applications.
We are spreading our Americanism around the world; colonialism through culture. There appears to be no escape for anyone.

I was recently asked an account-related question by a customer service worker with a strong Indian accent...I couldn't find the information she asked for, and mumbled, Oh God, I'm such a mess, which unexpectedly brought some hardy laughter.

I was glad I could make her day happier, and add to the colloquialisms she would later share with her co-workers.

Is globalizing customer service a good or bad thing for the US economy? Having hung out with the Ron Paul people quite a lot, I am inclined to say no, but then again, I can't keep my personal feelings and work experience out of my assessment.

What say you?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

What Breed of Liberal Are You?

They're right! Thanks to Suburban Guerilla for the quiz.

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Social Justice Crusader, also known as a rights activist. You believe in equality, fairness, and preventing neo-Confederate conservative troglodytes from rolling back fifty years of civil rights gains.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Andrea Dworkin on Transgender

Photo from The Boston Phoenix.

There has been a lot of heated discussion among Second-Wave radical feminists, concerning when transphobic theory "took over" the discourse. Women who claim to be of the hard-core Andrea Dworkin school of radical feminism, steadfastly adhere to the concept that trans people are not the gender they say they are and will not use preferred pronouns; some go so far as to edit comments on their blogs and change the pronouns, for example. Many of these Second-Wavers believe it is reactionary to "endorse" (for lack of a better word) the gender identities of trans folks. Much talk about the "gender binary" (male/female, historically constructed as mirror images, opposites, yin and yang) and how transgenderism "upholds" this binary, etc etc etc.

For many of these feminists, the late Andrea Dworkin is something of a patron saint. One well-known radfem uses a quote from Dworkin on her blog, to let it be known she is a "take no prisoners" sorta gal. I have read many, many quotes by Dworkin on Second-Wave radical feminist blogs.

But it is telling that they carefully leave out the quote(s) below, even though they claim to have all of her books.

In conversations with trans feminists, I have continually assured them that many Second-Wave radical feminists were NOT transphobic, and actually empathetic to trans people. However, I've had trouble finding any proof, other than my own memory and a few trans friends of Kate Millett's. Depressingly, the more I searched, I found much more proof that radical feminists were mean and vicious (i.e. Robin Morgan's lynch-mob rhetoric concerning trans women in her book titled Going Too Far). The Janice Raymond/Robin Morgan/Mary Daly faction seems to have "won" the transgender round of radical feminist theory, by default.

And so, it brings me great pleasure, after a very long search, to finally have the following quote IN MY HAND, not just from memory. Thank God for and the used books option, since this is long out of print.

The book is WOMAN HATING, copyright 1974, EP Dutton, New York City, ISBN 0-525-47423-4. The book jacket contains approving blurbs from: Phyllis Chesler, Ellen Frankfort, Florynce Kennedy, Audre Lorde, Kate Millett and Gloria Steinem.

I find it interesting that Morgan did not provide a blurb, since she and Dworkin were good friends. (Was this passage the reason?)

Note: In the 70s, at the time of this writing, the accepted terms were "transsexual" (instead of transgender) and "hermaphrodite" (instead of intersex)--and these are the terms Dworkin uses.


First, Dworkin believed that the human race is multi-sexual, and to maintain patriarchy, these multiple genders must be "contained" within the two-gender binary. Transgendered people, then, are the people who have fallen through the cracks, so to speak, who do not fit into this rigid system.

These excerpts are all from the suitably Dworkinesque-titled chapter Androgyny: Androgyny, Fucking and Community:

Hormone and chromosome research, attempts to develop new means of human reproduction (life created in, or considerably supported by, the scientist's laboratory), work with transsexuals, and studies of formation of gender identity in children provide basic information which challenges the notion that there are two discrete biological sexes. That information threatens to transform the traditional biology of sex difference into the radical biology of sex similarity. That is not to say there is one sex, but that there are many. The evidence which is germane here is simple. The words "male" and "female," "man" and "woman," are used only because as yet there are no others.
She discusses the facts that there are intersexed people, hairy women, feminine men, indistinct genitalia, etc.
We can presume then that there is a great deal about human sexuality to be discovered, and that our notion of two discrete biological sexes cannot remain intact. (Note: The following sentence is underlined repeatedly in my used copy.) We can presume then that we will discover cross-sexed phenomena in proportion to our ability to see them.

In addition, we can account for the relative rarity of hermaphrodites in the general population, for the consistency of male-female somatotypes that we do find, and for the relative rarity of cross-sexed characteristics in the general population (though they occur with more frequency than we are now willing to imagine) by recognizing that there is a process of cultural selection which, for people, supersedes natural selection in importance. Cultural selection, as opposed to natural selection, does not necessarily serve to improve the species or to ensure survival. It does necessarily serve to uphold cultural norms and to ensure that deviant somatotypes and cross-sexed characteristics are systematically bred out of the population.
Later in this section, she makes a statement in italics, for emphasis:
We are, clearly, a multi-sexed species which has its sexuality spread along a vast fluid continuum where the elements called male and female are not discrete.
And then, we get to the section titled Transsexuality, which she starts off by quoting "a transsexual friend":
How can I really care if we win "the Revolution"? Either way, any way, there will be no place for me.
Keeping in mind there were far fewer uncloseted transgendered people in the 70s, I find the following paragraphs to be pretty radical and trans-positive stuff:
Transsexuality is currently considered a gender disorder, that is, a person learns a gender role which contradicts his/her visible sex. It is a "disease" with a cure: a sex-change operation will change the person's visible sex and make it consonant with the person's felt identity.

Since we know very little about sex identity, and since psychiatrists are committed to the propagation of the cultural structure as it is, it would be premature and not very intelligent to accept the psychiatric judgement that transsexuality is caused by a faulty socialization. More probably, transsexuality is caused by a faulty society. Transsexuality can be defined as one particular formation of our general multisexuality which is unable to achieve its natural development because of extremely adverse social conditions.

There is no doubt that in the culture of male-female discreteness, transsexuality is a disaster for the individual transsexual. Every transsexual, white, black, man, woman, rich, poor, is in a state of primary emergency as a transsexual. There are 3 crucial points here.

One, every transsexual has the right to survival on his/her own terms. That means every transsexual is entitled to a sex-change operation, and it should be provided by the community as one of its functions. This is an emergency measure for an emergency condition.

Two, by changing our premises about men and women, role-playing and polarity, the social situation of transsexuals will be transformed, and transsexuals will be integrated into community, no longer persecuted and despised.

Three, community built on androgynous identity will mean the end of transsexuality as we know it. Either the transsexual will be able to expand his/her sexuality into a fluid androgyny, or, as roles disppear, the phenomenon of transsexuality will disappear and that energy will be transformed into new modes of sexual identity and behavior.

I have noticed that many radical feminists latch on to her third point, overlooking the first two. Further, they make the third point prescriptive, rather than descriptive. Dworkin obviously meant that transgenderism will "disappear" after her androgynous feminist revolution, not that we should make actual trans people disappear RIGHT NOW. I think she is very clear on that.

When trans feminists initially read these words in the 70s, it is understandable that they felt welcome in the feminist movement. When they attempted to take their place among us Second-Wavers, they were rejected, trashed, outed, and accused of being "rapists" simply for being trans persons. Feminists who loved what Andrea wrote about pornography (including her legal activism), seemed to overlook what she said about trans people, and/or assume she had the views of Morgan, Daly, Sheila Jeffreys, et. al.


Let the record show, once and for all, that she did not.


Everyone is welcome to discuss this post, regardless of your views. But the ground rules are: RESPECT FOR EVERYONE, including preferred pronouns. No trans-baiting and yes, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.

Make Andrea proud, and show some empathy for those people in a primary emergency within patriarchy.

Thank you.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Health Care Town Hall Meeting in Travelers Rest, SC

Crossing over to the West side of Greenville County, I worried.

I felt the right-wing southernism slowly creep into my consciousness, as I began to notice the tailgating and became acutely aware of my ANOTHER MAMA FOR OBAMA bumper sticker (which has caused me trouble ever since election day). I tried on my motto, Ain't Skeered (which came into redneck vogue during the No Fear era), but you know, I was skeered. I didn't know what to expect, although I told myself, nobody will be angry at Congressman Bob Inglis, ass-kissing Republican, since he totes water for the gung-ho southern right wing. But I realized I didn't want to see Republican anger, in any form.

I also realized that I would see what I really didn't want to see and have never wanted to face: southern racism in full battle cry.

Nah, Daisy, come on. This is Travelers Rest, South Carolina. The old town slogan was Travelers Rest: On the Way Up since it sits at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and (white) travelers really did rest there before continuing their trek up the mountains. It is known as TR (pronounced Tee Are) by locals. I used to attend the TR AA meeting, held in the Methodist Church, and once considered a core member of that group to be my best friend.

I kept reciting these facts to assure myself that I belonged at this meeting as much as anyone else. I've lived in this county since 1988, I repeated to myself like a mantra. 1988. 1988.

1988, dammit.

Maybe nobody will be there. TR is also known as Gateway to the Blue Ridge Mountains and the suitably-named Gateway Elementary School is way out there, almost in the country. Ain't nobody coming, will be a sleepy little town hall meeting; some homeschooling kids will have been assigned the meeting as homework and have their little spiral-notebooks open, all prepared to learn about Civics and.... I just kept comforting myself.

Turning onto Hawkins Road, I saw the cars, parked waaaaaayyy out--almost to Highway 25. Ohhhh, holy shit. Lots of cars. Cars and more cars. SUVs and more SUVs. They easily overflowed the parking lot of Gateway Elementary, which displayed a sign welcoming Inglis.

I started sweating, a profuse sweat I didn't even have at the local John McCain rally last year. Was it the way they were purposefully and angrily striding into the building? Was it the fact that the crowd looked so Republican? (I know, not supposed to generalize; too bad, this is my blog, people!) Was it the blinding whiteness? I counted 3 black people in the crowd (of nearly 400, guessed one of Inglis' people) and carefully stood next to one. (Was I protecting her or was she protecting me?) I noticed she never clapped for anything they said.

And of course, neither did I.

I found myself flashing back to one of the most terrifying moments of my young Yippie life, the time we infiltrated a large kkk rally in a rural area outside of Middletown, Ohio. It was at a secret location out in the boonies, and we were so proud we had discovered it. So we drove, drove, drove... until we were waaay out in the sticks, dangerously so. I remember one very young Yippie whining, "I can't breathe, man, I can't breathe," and that was even before we saw all the cars. I experienced the same feeling last night in TR, as I had all those years ago at the kkk rally: There are so many more than I thought. We looked at each other in panic and realized, we never expected this many. Should we turn back? Are we identifiable as troublemakers? We realized that NO, we were not, since, haha, we weren't gonna make any trouble, were we? They were noticeably armed, carrying rifles and baseball bats openly and defiantly. As we got out of the van (which suddenly looked as raw-hippie as Ken Kesey's bus), I was so terrified I threw up, and another woman's knees buckled. We looked at each other, embarrassed at our fear; the guys were suddenly stoic, and I remember I wished I'd had some of that, although I usually hated masculine stoicism....

The memory came flooding back. And I hadn't thought about it in ages, even to blog about.

I wondered, should I write about my kkk flashback? Is that relevant to the story? What does it mean that I pull up to Bob Inglis' Gateway Elementary School town hall meeting and suddenly remember a scary backwoods ku klux klan meeting from three decades previous?

The same people, I thought reflexively, only older now?


There was a line to get in. I saw the Poor Clares from their local monastery and wondered what they were thinking. What would Clare do? I knew what she would do, and I thought maybe I should go stand next to them for some kinda spiritual uplift... but I waited too long, dithering over whether I should go inside... and they disappeared into the throng. A middle-aged man standing near me began talking to his friend about how the government could not manage health care; he had seen this up-close and personal at the Veterans' Administration clinic. He was still waiting for an operation on his eye, he said, and had been for a year.

So, I fumed, this guy gets free health care, and he doesn't want anyone else to have it? Some people won't get an operation no matter how long they wait!

I looked around. A proliferation of OLD PEOPLE, likely on Social Security, with free health care. But they don't want the government to manage it! Then stop taking your Social Security and Medicaid, you FUCKS!

Do they not see the contradiction here? Why don't they?

I held it together and decided I would go inside. I realized that in a group, I was always pretty brave, but by myself? Ha. Not hardly.

Inglis' flunkies handed me a sheet of paper announcing Bob Inglis' 16 reasons to oppose Obama care. These "reasons" were also prominently displayed on a poster up front, where Inglis, dressed like a mellow golfer dude for the evening, announced he was here to listen to whatever people had to say.

A few of these 16 reasons (lies), that jumped right out at me:

Could allow taxpayer-funded abortions.

Ignores medical liability reform.

Provides little incentive for quality outcomes.

Lacks focus on individual responsibility or choice.

Kills jobs by making them more costly.

And then, I flipped the printed sheet over, and read about Bob Inglis' stellar "ratings" from various conservative groups:

National Right to Life - 100%

Americans for Tax Reform - 75%

Chamber of Commerce
(listed as a conservative group!) - 80%

Americans for Prosperity - 86%

National Rifle Association - A

English First - A

American Conservative Union - 84%

Christian Coalition - 100%

And I saved the best for last:


The John Birch Society? He is proud of a rating from the crackpot John Birch Society? Again, the kkk flashback, "I can't breathe, man," and I almost hightailed it out of Gateway Elementary at that point.

No, Daisy, take pictures. You have a blog.

Staring at the printed sheet of GOP fibs, I suddenly got why they prefer the term "Obamacare"--because that is who they are really upset with. (I had seen tons of "Nobama" bumper stickers on my way in.)

The meeting started, with red meat thrown to the crowd at regular intervals. Quiet and well-behaved, they erupted loudly and cheered on cue when anyone criticized the government or Obama. It was basically a rehash of the Nuremberg Rally I had seen on C-Span over the weekend, the RightOnline Conference in Pittsburgh. But this was different--there was an undercurrent of menace. There was an undercurrent of fury. Nobody was smiling, and this is the south, where smiling is practically mandatory.

Standing Room Only.... as you can see from this photo, a lot of older people in attendance, who presumably already have their health care paid for.

There were no 'questions' to speak of... just older white men who already have health care (((fumes))) holding forth and spouting off in the manner you have all grown accustomed to on Fox News. Blah blah blah, we don't want government-run health care! (((cheers, huzzahs, whistles, yeahs!))) Inglis stood there holding the microphone like a mannequin and said maybe two sentences that I heard. He looked properly concerned, though, which I suppose is all he is required to do at these events.

As one fella stood up to bloviate at considerable decibels that fascism is coming to America (tell me about it!) because they are trying to shut down talk radio (we can only hope), I saw two older white women my age, weaving through the crowd and looking pissed. They exited the building in obvious disgust and I weaved through the crowd to run after them, "Hey, you girls!"

We attempted to chat, but we mostly just stood there speechless and shaking our heads at each other. "We don't belong in there," one said. I agreed with the sentiment. She told me another meeting was happening in Spartanburg, a PRO health care meeting.

Spartanburg. And then, another realization hit me:

Spartanburg is heavily black.

The upstate has re-segregated itself into Greenville (run by whites, although a large black population) and Spartanburg (run by blacks, although a large white population) Counties. Why were there so few blacks at this meeting? They need health care, too, okay? But if I was scared to go in, I assume they would be, too. In fact, no doubt: If I were black, I'd stay far away.

Tell me, is this DEMOCRACY in action, Congressman Inglis? Are you the representative of the white upstate or ALL the upstate?

One of the women pointed back at the entrance to Gateway, and told me authoritatively, "You know, this is all really about integration. That's really what it is. Always has been."

Yes, I know.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Health Care rants

Today, as I go to up to Travelers Rest to check out the health care town meeting thing (God save me), I'll share this piece of straight-up brilliance from Dw3t-Hthr, helpfully bolded for emphasis:

Because there is no "Maybe I won't get sick" like "Maybe I won't get robbed" or "Maybe my house won't burn down". That's resources lost, pfft. You'll get sick, or injured, or whatever else. Eventually. Unless you're hit by a truck tomorrow and die instantly, of course, in which case the insurance company will be really happy with you for being their ideal customer.

And because you will inevitably have need of health care, the thing where everyone's putting a little bit in as a bet against the chance that they're robbed/burned down/flooded out so the few who actually do wind up in need have enough resources to recover doesn't work so well. Everyone will be pulling something out sometime, so there's no chance for the pot to build up enough to take care of everyone's needs (unless, of course, we're spending exorbitant amounts).

And so the game goes like this: we pay money in, sunk cost, and when we need the money out, it's in the best interest of the insurance people to not pay that out (less money for them and, for that matter, for everyone else), so we get surcharges, pre-existing conditions, caps on how much medication we can take or how much care we can get even when we need it, all designed to keep the money drained out of us. So now we're down the money and we don't get the care.

So people try to 'economise'. Some go without insurance and pray that the major illness doesn't happen to them just yet. Some skip preventative healthcare (that would increase the odds of catching those major illnesses early) to keep the resources for catastrophic situations. Some have to decide which of their conditions will get treatment.

And people get stuck in awful places, because the whole system is set up to feed this goddamn protection racket. Trapped in a bad job but can't afford to quit because that would lead to 'losing health insurance'. Unable to get insurance and stuck managing serious illnesses out of pocket. Making major life decisions based on whether or not health care access will be possible, because we can't afford the risk - or have people depending on us who aren't 'risks' but 'actualities'.

And I hear rhetoric about how we don't want bureaucrats between us and our health care as a reason to ... make sure we have insurance companies available to kneecap us, rather than some sort of system that makes sure that basic care is available to people in general.
And then I replied:
You have also touched on what infuriates me from the free-market Republicans. According to the capitalism gurus (Forbes: capitalist tool. He sure is!) a dynamic growth-economy is necessary for capitalism to succeed. A stagnant no-growth-economy is failure. Adam Smith 101.

Now, how can capitalism be dynamic if people are afraid to take economic chances?

And WHY are they afraid? No health insurance.

The very people ready to take these chances and create new businesses? We tend to be older and more established, with money saved up for the business venture. More likely to be working class, believers in the American dream, blabbity blabbity. We are, in short, OLD PEOPLE. The Ma and Pa business of American Norman Rockwell/Horatio Alger fabled legend.

Ma and Pa WILL get arthritis, bet on it. We WILL get sick, because we are OLD.

So, we do not try any new business ventures, or even take the chance on a new job or moving to another locale for a better one. Instead, we hunker down and hope for the best. That's why the economy is presently in the shitter. Adam Smith 101.

And its these assholes who claim to believe in the free market, SUPPOSEDLY, who don't want people to have any health insurance.

As I said, going up to TR (as Travelers Rest is locally known, pronounced Tee Are) to see what's up. Since this is a Republican area and Congressman Bob Inglis is an ass-kissing Republican, it will probably be a love-fest in comparison to the yankee town hall meetings.

But we'll see. I'll let you know!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad

Christine Kane - Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary: ruminations on whether fascism is imminent

Left: Our Lady of Sorrows stained glass, from St Mary's Catholic Church in Greenville, SC.

Today is a Holy Day of Obligation in the Catholic Church, The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the Orthodox Church, this day is called The Dormition of the Theotokos, which literally translates as the "falling asleep" of the Mother of God, her earthly, physical death preceding Her Assumption into heaven.

It is also the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, the Netroots Nation conference (lefty bloggers) and the RightOnline conference (right-wing bloggers).

If you are into astrology, all you can do is shake your head that all of these events are on the same day.


I have just listened to Michelle Malkin on C-Span, take her turn firing up the Nuremberg Rally at the RightOnline conference. This has been a rather alarming experience right after reading some pages I was directed to over at Onyx Lynx's blog. She quotes Sara Robinson reading the signposts up ahead, the signals that the USA could indeed turn towards fascism.

It's always very tempting to throw up one's hands and scream, here come the Brownshirts. God knows, I've been doing it most of my life. And you know, on a couple of occasions (Reagan's famous Morning in America), I think we were right to scream.

And now? Well, mandated hipster-irony and the required detachment of cool make it very unfashionable to deliver cautionary screams, which is part of the problem. So, simply imagine one long SCREAM, if you will, which has the added astrological and spiritual juice of taking place on a Holy Day.

It's a loud scream, but terribly ironic, so the cool people will listen.

Sara writes:

Back in elementary school, most of us learned that when a bully learns that intimidation and threats work, he'll will keep doing more of it. In fact, the longer he goes without comeuppance, the bolder and badder he becomes, and the harder it is to make him stop. Every success teaches him something new about how to use terror for maximum effect, and tempts him to push the envelope and see what else he can get away with. Do nothing, and he'll soon take over the whole playground.

And it happens like this for bullies in groups, too. Living in a fascist regime is just living in a town dominated by the Mob, a street gang, the KKK, or a corrupt sheriff. It only takes a small handful of thugs to terrorize people into giving up their civil rights, abandoning democracy, and doing what they're told, just so they can keep their jobs, windows, and families intact. The main imperative in life becomes staying off the goons' radar. All the enforcers need to do is make an horrific example out of one or two troublemakers every now and then -- and the resulting fear will keep everybody else quietly in line.

Conservatives have tried to subdue other Americans this way for centuries, so there's nothing new going on here. And this is the way they've always done it: they used race (and yes, the birthers and anti-health care rioters are, at root, all about race) and economic calamity to whip up a posse of terrified, well-armed vigilantes, and then turned them loose on society to "enforce order." Given their colossal investment in organizing and indoctinating the teabaggers, we'd be stupid to believe that this is all going to go away when Congress returns to DC in September. Having had a taste of power and publicity, these newly-empowered mobs are very likely to stick around town and see what else they can do to keep the muck stirred up.

Our choice now is a stark one: knock them back while they're still new, small, and not yet entrenched; or deal with them later, when they've got some real power to fight back with, and the cost to all of us will be so much higher.
Yes, yes and yes.

We must not let them win this one. There will be no end to the bullying.

The Klingons must not WIN THE FEDERATION.

Also see Robinson's Fascist America: Are We There Yet? and this pertinent quote:

As Rick Perlstein documented in his two books on Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon, modern American conservatism was built on these same themes. From "Morning in America" to the Rapture-ready religious right to the white nationalism promoted by the GOP through various gradients of racist groups, it's easy to trace how American proto-fascism offered redemption from the upheavals of the 1960s by promising to restore the innocence of a traditional, white, Christian, male-dominated America. This vision has been so thoroughly embraced that the entire Republican party now openly defines itself along these lines. At this late stage, it's blatantly racist, sexist, repressed, exclusionary, and permanently addicted to the politics of fear and rage. Worse: it doesn't have a moment's shame about any of it. No apologies, to anyone. These same narrative threads have woven their way through every fascist movement in history.

In the second stage, fascist movements take root, turn into real political parties, and seize their seat at the table of power. Interestingly, in every case Paxton cites, the political base came from the rural, less-educated parts of the country; and almost all of them came to power very specifically by offering themselves as informal goon squads organized to intimidate farmworkers on behalf of the large landowners. The KKK disenfranchised black sharecroppers and set itself up as the enforcement wing of Jim Crow. The Italian Squadristi and the German Brownshirts made their bones breaking up farmers' strikes. And these days, GOP-sanctioned anti-immigrant groups make life hell for Hispanic agricultural workers in the US. As violence against random Hispanics (citizens and otherwise) increases, the right-wing goon squads are getting basic training that, if the pattern holds, they may eventually use to intimidate the rest of us.

Paxton wrote that succeeding at the second stage "depends on certain relatively precise conditions: the weakness of a liberal state, whose inadequacies condemn the nation to disorder, decline, or humiliation; and political deadlock because the Right, the heir to power but unable to continue to wield it alone, refuses to accept a growing Left as a legitimate governing partner."
Umm, sound like anything you've heard lately?

On Onyx Lynx's blog, I wrote the following, which I realize I cannot improve upon too much:
As you know, I live at Ground Zero of The New Incipient Fascism, and here up close I see several faultlines that are ripe for exploiting...(do not have time to unmix my metaphors right now)...I should write about these and link this article/series. But for instance, the "Crunchy Cons" are one such faultline, the natural-food/homeschooling fundie-cons really MISTRUST big business, BigPharma and the GOP leadership in general (one reason the GOP lost the election). There is a strong populist sentiment, even here at Ground Zero. The problem (as I see it) is the elitist-liberal/progressive superiority and hatred of the uneducated and religious, and their accompanying unwillingness to work in any kind coalition with them. (I am standing in the gap, if I may quote the Scripchahs!)

Another for instance, Obama's people seem to have written off South Carolina, which is 33% African American, thankyouverymuch!

The lefty atheists and their endless intellectual-superiority doesn't help, just as the feminist dogmatism doesn't help, the closet Democratic racists don't help, PETA doesn't help...I got a list! :P

But this article is great, and you've got me thinking about the fault lines, and there are several.
Which brings me to the Nuremberg Rally and Michelle Malkin's invocation to GO FORTH and INTIMIDATE THEM SOME MORE.

I studied the RightOnline crowd carefully, and I saw middle class, yea, even lower-middle-class people, who align themselves with the Right. I asked myself, what makes them do this?

The crowd was overwhelmingly white and middle-aged, for one thing. It is comforting to me that knowledgeable young folks don't buy this nonsense as readily. However, it is NOT comforting to me that so many in my own age-group seem to be brainwashed by Fox News and the endless perky-pablum offered by Malkin and her ilk. I sense a fear of The New, the Head Metrosexuals In Charge, those people on the coasts.

And here we get to the heart of it; Michelle got out her populist slide guitar and started to jam.

Why doesn't the New York Times review books by people like Michelle, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, yet puts them on their bestseller lists?

That's a very good question. Direct hit. Michelle now jams into the stratosphere, and the crowd is with her.

Why don't they?

The problem with the coastal liberal elites is that they really don't CARE about The Heartland and The People that they claim to care about. When we talk, they don't listen. They tend to have their minds all made up. They disdain religion, country music, tradition, the ties that bind a community for generations. They consider themselves FAR ABOVE people who have not attended college. (NOTE: There is no faster way to be suddenly IGNORED during an online political discussion, than to admit you didn't finish college... even by folks who only a second previously, were hanging on your every word. Suddenly, you give yourself away as a non-person.) Religious concerns--say, about gay marriage--are regarded as total backward idiocy. Thus, so is any effort to counter these using specifically religious language, as many of us know how to do very well. We are drowned out by the "fuck offs" from the non-religious, the superior-intellects from New York and all points East.

Taken together, these snubs add up.

Why should the People In The Fabled Heartland trust the elites on the coasts and in Washington, to look out for them, when they can barely hide their contempt?

Whilst Twittering yesterday, I encountered the "#nn09" notation, which meant Netroots Nation 2009. I didn't know about it otherwise. I am a lefty blogger, but not good enough, young enough, hip enough, New Yorker enough, to get notified of this supposedly major event for my blogging demographic. (I refer the movie geeks in my readership to Brian DePalma's Home Movies: Those who know, know.)

When I Tweeted and ASKED what it was, nobody replied to me. My ignorance embarrasses everyone, one assumes.

And then I wondered, AM I the blogging demographic in question? Perhaps my age and location automatically disqualify me. After all, I am here thinking Malkin has made some good points when she talks about the media exclusion of the so-called ordinary working-class American, the person OBAMACARE, ET. AL. IS SUPPOSED TO BE HELPING.

Robinson is accurate, but she leaves out an important part of the story, and that is a repeated failure of the left ever since the Great Depression, particularly the modern avant-garde, global-oriented left: an active and actual aversion to the actual working-classes one seeks to help. Otherwise, as I peruse the list of Netroots folks, why do I see so many hyper-educated Big Bloggers? Why don't I see any "regular folks"?

Meanwhile, the RightOnline conference is busily conducting workshops and teaching people how to Twitter and blog--stuff I had to muddle through on my own. How nice if someone had actually taught me and offered me a 'blogging-ring' of helpers! How nice if I didn't have to hustle my local news coverage and was heartily welcomed into an existing network! The right-wing is organizing at the grass-roots level, for real. Not just gassing about it, but doing it.

And somebody might read this when I post it on Twitter, but it won't make much difference. The Netroots Nation thinks they know everything already, and can't even be bothered to explain their acronyms to me.

What's wrong with this picture?

If fascism comes to America, I hope the left won't wring their hands, once again, that it wasn't anything they could stop.

It was, it is, and it always has been.