Another Consequence of the Immigration Issue

So, I had the opportunity to go to this Democratic big-wig thing, which I will say more about later, if I can think of anything coherent to say about it.

I must learn Spanish; it’s painful at this point.

But here’s what I heard that I have to tell y’all about right now.  Okay, so you know how, in our state, you get a huge fine for knowingly (or should-have-knowingly) hiring illegal immigrants?  Well, apparently, one of the ways companies are getting around this is by farming out the hiring to these other companies, so that those companies will have to bear the brunt of the law.

And those companies, then, in order to mitigate their risk, run criminal background checks and drug tests and check people’s immigration statuses.  If any of those three things don’t check out, the person doesn’t get hired.

I will say that again, in case you missed it: If any one of those three things doesn’t check out, the person doesn’t get hired.

If you have a criminal record, you cannot get a job at these major, national companies, which, in many cases, are the only places in your community to work (for all practical purposes).

I’ve read, and I’m sure you have, too, that it’s estimated that one in three black men has been involved in the penal system at some point in his life.

These places have a blanket policy of not hiring people with criminal records.  One in three black men has a criminal record.

You know what you call a 33% unemployment rate in any segment of our community?

Pretty damn devastating for the whole community, that’s what.

Look, Universe, I am Knocking On Wood. My Fingers are Crossed. I have Seven Four-Leaf Clovers. Back Off!

Really, what is up with this week?!

My dad has “something on the back of his heart.”

It’s almost Saturday, right?  I mean, seriously, this week is almost over, right?


I don’t know any more than that.  He’ll get down to Champaign on Monday and they’ll be able to tell him something and, if they need to go in, I’ll go up and be there for that.  The Butcher is insisting that he will also go up.  So, that will be fun.  I left a message for the recalcitrant brother, long and detailed, because I think there’s nothing shittier than the ominous “Call me” message.

I’m assuming that, since they didn’t immediately hospitalize him, it’s serious but not serious.

There Are Some Punchlines So Good…

There are some punchlines so good that, even in the absence of the joke that spawned them, they can still make you laugh.

Sadly, I have no memory for jokes, so, even though I distinctly recall giving Mack my favorite jokeless punchline, I now cannot remember what it is.

“Why?” you may ask.  “What could make a girl forget her favorite jokeless punchline?”

It is because, in perusing the Wikipedia entry for Blazing Saddles, I have learned this one line was cut from the film:

I’m sorry to disappoint you, miss, but you’re sucking on my arm.

I am going to be laughing at that all day.

My favorite line from the movie is, of course, the list of all the bad guys:

I want rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers and Methodists.

When we were kids, we howled at the thought of Methodists being included in with the hornswogglers and bushwhackers. I still think Blazing Saddles is the Butcher’s favorite movie.  In fact, I just had to call him and tell him about “I’m sorry to disappoint you, miss, but you’re sucking on my arm.”

What I’m Too Embarrassed to Show You In Real Life

I used to dream all the time that I was either drowning or suffocating.  It wasn’t unpleasant.  I’d just be under water or smothered with pillows and I would stop breathing and… nothing.  It would be warm and dark and nothing.

I would tell people all the time about my dreams and they would say that the dreams were symbolic, that I was feeling overwhelmed or stressed or whatever and this was my mind’s way of trying to make sense of that.

That never seemed right to me, because why would the drowning or suffocating feel okay, not be scary, if it had to do with something that seemed very wrong in my real life?

In retrospect, I probably was suffocating.

Here’s what it takes, I’ve come to learn, to get me safely through the night.


Plez Leavz Message after Snorz

1.  Argh.  It hurts my heart it’s so cute!

2.  I’m just going to admit it.  I don’t get Twitter.  To me, it’s like standing in Central Station shouting.  Everyone hears you but…  I don’t know.  I keep doing it, waiting to understand what the big deal is and feeling kind of stupid because I don’t.

3.  I was thinking, when I was walking the dog, that, if a person looked too closely at our system for dealing with illegal immigrants, she’d be reminded of Blazing Saddles in which the town builds a fake town to lure the bad guys into thinking that there’s something real there.  I don’t know who, in that analogy, is responsible for farting, but we could figure that out.

4.  Theriomorph has started a self-portrait blog.  I want to send in a picture of myself, basically because I hate pictures of myself, and it would be a way of doing something that makes me very uncomfortable.  But, for that reason, I’m having a hard time committing to the idea of doing it.

4.5  And wow.  I can take a picture of myself, but I don’t know if I can make it art.

5.  My mom told me that the cinnamon wheat thins were great.  And I was unconvinced by the sound of it.  But we are out of food and so I was forced to open the box and eat them for breakfast and, what do you know?  They are good.

People Without Status

I wish I knew more about the anti-immigration movement in this country, because I’d love to know just exactly when it was that illegal immigration was reframed from being a crime you committed when you crossed the border–you immigrated, i.e. entered and settled in this country, in a manner contrary to the laws of our country, much like I might cross the road in a manner that is illegal or fail to wear my seatbelt or even have stolen some candy as a child; in other words, an illegal act that lasted as briefly as the time it took to commit it–to being an ongoing state of illegality in which, as long as you’re here, you’re committing a crime.

Because, it seems to me, after looking through the federal code, that some of the immigration laws are designed with the first understanding and some are designed with the second.

I bring this up because it seems to me that it was necessary for anti-immigration forces to shift the definition, because, otherwise, coming into this country illegally becomes one of the few crimes for which the statute of limitations never runs out.

Which is, of course, what we have in essence now that “illegal immigration” is an ongoing crime.

Except, really, it’s worse than that.

Think about this.  Say I’m living in your shed without your permission.  I’m there illegally.  I’m trespassing.  Now, say someone breaks into your shed to steal your lawn mower and, in the process, shoots and kills me.

Are they not a murderer?  It’s still a crime against me, even if I am in the process of committing a crime.  There’s no “get out of jail free” card that prevents the government from charging my killer.

Say the thief just beats me.  Have I not been assaulted?

It seems obvious that, even if I am trespassing, I still have legal protections.

This does not seem to be the case for our immigrant neighbors.

Homeland Security, for instance, is considering changing the rules so that victims of domestic violence who entered the country illegally cannot get visas under the Violence Against Women Act, even though this act was intended, in part, to aid women who are terrorized by abusive husbands with the threat that, if they report their abuse, they’ll be deported.

Closer to home, people rounded up in the Robertson County raids are still, still sitting in jail; so much for due process and the right to a speedy trial.  Many of them have been deprived of the opportunity to see their family members, even though they haven’t been convicted yet of anything.

We don’t treat these people like criminals.

We treat them worse than criminals.  At least we acknowledge that criminals have rights.

These are people without any status.

And without any status, they have no protections.

America, we are judged by how we treat the most vulnerable among us.

And I have to tell you, what we’re doing now to these people, is evil.

The promise of America is nothing if it’s doled out in such a miserly fashion that we can’t protect a battered woman or give a man a few minutes a day with his kids.  It’s nothing if we can’t acknowledge the hard work and contributions of all our neighbors and show some mercy on our most desperate friends.

We have a long history of embracing hatred and mean-spiritedness as a method of building community pride.  And this, what we’re doing now, is part of that same long embrace.

I want to tell you a story about a man you and I both know, who went one afternoon, an afternoon much like this one, to a jail nearby where many undocumented workers are being held.

And the jailer was telling him how part of the reason that family members can’t get in to see the men in jail is that the man will have given his name as, say, Manuel Martinez, but, unbeknownst to the jailer, all that man’s friends call him Marty.

And so a woman will come into the jail and ask for Marty Martinez, and, of course, there is no such prisoner.

Our friend suggested that the jailer just assign each prisoner a number so that said prisoner could tell his loved ones, “When you come, ask for 619” and that way, it wouldn’t matter if he was Manuel Martinez, Marty Martinez, or Wal-Marty Martindale or what, the loved one could just ask for 619.

And, by way of explanation for why he didn’t think this would be possible, the jailer took our friend in to see the computers available to the police force.

It’s 2008, America, and those computers still run on DOS.

You would think that, if a community really were serious about ridding itself of illegal immigrants, a police force would not want for new computers.  And yet, there are no computers that can do the accounting necessary to give each person even a number.

And so we have to accept that this is not about ridding ourselves of illegal immigrants, but instead about publicly terrorizing them so that we might be Proud to be Americans.

Anna Akhmatova writes (though I’m not sure who did this beautiful translation):

I have learned how faces fall,
How terror can escape from lowered eyes,
How suffering can etch cruel pages
Of cuneiform-like marks upon the cheeks.
I know how dark or ash-blond strands of hair
Can suddenly turn white. I’ve learned to recognise
The fading smiles upon submissive lips,
The trembling fear inside a hollow laugh.
That’s why I pray not for myself
But all of you who stood there with me
Through fiercest cold and scorching July heat
Under a towering, completely blind red wall.

America, it’s so easy for me to imagine a few changes of names of landmarks and this “Requiem” becomes about you. 

That’s it.  I don’t know what more to tell you, except what I tell all of my friends who mess around with married men, which is, “If they do it for you, they’ll do it to you.”

Americans, if our government will do this for you, they will do it to you.

If you cannot stand against this nonsense for the sake of your fellow humans, stand against it out of self-preservation.

If I Believed in Astrology…

I’d believe that Mercury being in retrograde explains everything about how weird and grueling these last two days have been.

Instead, dear friends, I believe I’m going to have to suck it up and talk with someone about my panic attacks, which have become so terrible I about can’t stand it.  I missed a meeting last week, couldn’t get out of the building yesterday, and missed a meeting today.

And then I feel shaky and run-down after I have them, so that shoots the rest of the afternoon.

I am concerned, to put it mildly, since they seem to be happening more frequently and, in this case, in places I’ve been able to easily navigate before.

But, three cheers for the Professor for coming and rescuing me yesterday.

I don’t know.  It’s weird.  I find them humiliating.  Which, frankly, makes it harder for me to do anything about it.

Yes, I think I told y’all all that before, but it calms me to repeat it, so, sorry, bear with me.

I promise, later, I’ll have some thoughts that actually have something to do with something.

In What Ends Up Not Being a Defense of Elvis

I saw this post by Donna over at The Silence of Our Friendsand was about ready to launch into a spirited defense of Elvis when I followed on of her links back to Theriomorph’s and read this comment by Kai:

More importantly, however, I just want to note that POC and/or anti-racists hear this kind of misdirection, evasion, and white-recentering and reframing all the time. The basic pattern never changes: when anti-racist arguments start cutting too close to the bone, defenders of white privilege simply shift the subject, move the goalposts, pivot the grounds of argumentation, assign new categories and labels, open up broad cushy areas of tangential discourse, then put on completely straight faces and pretend that this new conversation is the one which was taking place all along. When we respond with, “What the hell are you talking about?”, they usually say something along the lines of, “I am sorry that people like you get upset when you cannot grasp my true and noble words.”

I do that all the time! 

I suppose you’ve noticed.  Not deliberately about anti-racism, but I do very deliberately “pivot the grounds of argumentation” when it suits my needs.  Sometimes, it’s an overtly political act.  I want men, for instance, to think about how our gender roles hurt both of us and so I’ll take an issue, one I know they expect me to be all feminist about, and I’ll talk about how it screws over men.  Sometimes it means, “Yeah, I agree with everything you’re saying, except this.” (Which was about to be the core of my Elvis argument.)  Sometimes, it’s a defensive thing, when you get too close to something that hurts me, I’m off on some other tangent.  And sometimes, it’s a thing I do to be an asshole.

I bring me up because, if Kai can see it and articulate it and I can, upon hearing her articulate it, recognize it in myself, it means it’s there.  So, there it is, this tendency.

Which, clearly, as a rhetorical strategy, we’re taught.

Why?  What purpose does it serve?

Like I said, it’s broader than just being a racist strategy.  I find myself employing it for all kinds of reasons.  But it is for sure about keeping people out.

But Kai says something else here too that made me think–about how it recenters the discussion on whiteness.  The thought I ended up with doesn’t clearly follow from that, but that’s the idea that sparked it, so anyway…

Okay, here’s what I realized.  This is also about establishing, or in some cases, reestablishing who gets the prime real estate in people’s heads.

To use an exaggerated example, if I were to say, “I’m the smartest person here.  Here are my grades to prove it,” we’re having a conversation based on evidence and can argue about the merits of using grades as a measure of smarts or even what constitutes smarts in a group as large as the one I’m speaking with.

But, if we were then having a heated discussion and I was suddenly “Yeah, well, I so jump over the lazy dog.” and half the room makes some acknowledgement that they get it–that I’m referencing “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.” and, in calling myself a fox, am calling attention to how clever I am–and the other half never took a typing course so they have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sending another message.

And I think that message isn’t just “If you want to have discussions with me, you must share this basic knowledge,” but is also “It’s your job to imagine what’s going on in my head and anticipate the mental leaps I might make.  I, of course, don’t do that for you.”

Anyone who’s been in an abusive relationship is familiar with that tactic.  Refusing to speak plainly to someone, to acknowledge that you hear and understand what they’re saying, and then forcing them to guess what logical leaps you might make, and punishing them if they don’t guess correctly (or sometimes, even when they do guess correctly, because you don’t like being so easy to figure out) is a kind of violence.

We can do violence in self-defense.  I’ve got no problem with that.

But violence just for the sake of violence, just so you can feel like you “won”?  Just so you can feel the abuser’s rush?

That is a problem.

And frankly, it is about racism, and it is also about the system(s).

And I feel like we’re skirting around something large here that I don’t quite know how to articulate.

So, I got nothing else right now.  Just that feeling.

And Elvis singing in the background.

I’m Pretty Sure the Roof is Supposed to Prevent That

I’m laying here reading my Google reader and listening to what sounds like water descending from upstairs and making its way through pipes in my wall.  It’s a nice sound, if you can imagine it, the refreshing OOOooossshhhhhooohhhssshhhh of running water.

But world, there is no bathroom or kitchen above me.  There’s not even any upstairs.  You can get into some kind of attic space through a hole in the ceiling of one of the closets, but there aren’t any water pipes in the walls in my bedroom.

I think I’m sitting here listening to water, from the passing storms, running down the innards of my place.  That just can’t be good.

I Should Have Just Stayed Home and Sniffed the Air

I swear I’m having the kind of day where I’d really just like to sit in the back of a coffee shop with a friend and make bitchy, bitchy comments about all the people I hate until said friend has me laughing again.  I want to punch people.  I want to run over signs for cute things.  I want to say to folks, “If you think you can do better than me, step up to the plate, otherwise, shut up.”  I want dinner to be magically ready when I get home.  I want the bills to be in a neat pile where I can find them and I want there to be enough money in my account to pay them.  I want the dishes to have done themselves.  I want there to be shit on tv I want to listen to while I work on my afghan.  I want to remember right now what the fuck I thought I needed from the store so that I can acquire it right now rather than having to go back out in the rain when I get home and see that I’m out of… whatever the fuck.  And I want to know how you’re supposed to know when it’s time to replant your jade plant.

And I want to skulk around all day frowning.

I’m going to take up smoking just so I can take smoke breaks on days like today.

‘God Bless America’ Water

O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?

–Wallace Stevens, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

Today, over at Pith, there’s a photo of two bottles–one is an unopened bottle of “God Bless America” water and the other is a bottle full of dirt from the Arizona-Mexico border.  I love this photo so much that I’m not sure words can express it.  I would hang a copy in my office just to have something to ponder on slow days, if I could, because, to me, it pretty much sums up the border debate.

Here you have these two things–water and dirt–which have great symbolic weight, but the kind of symbolic weight that tends to resist easy politics.  We, ourselves, are mostly water.  We might say that, for most humans, water is the cradle of life and earth the cradle of death.  Though, of course, we might tell stories that suggest just the opposite.  What water and dirt mean varies from culture to culture, but seemingly all cultures share a deep belief that they mean something.

So, here you have these items, with deep, resonant meanings, bottled up and labeled–in order to give them meaning.  It’s like seeing someone trying to put a feather boa on a peacock.  Do you not see what is in your hands?  Do you not feel what’s beneath you?  Like Stevens asks, do you not see the blackbird about your feet?

And I’m starting to feel the exact same way about the American population.  Like figuring out what water and dirt “mean,” it’s impossible to nail down what being an American “means.”  But it’s also obvious that it means something to most folks.  And like bottling and labeling water to make it appropriately god-fearing and patriotic, or scooping up dirt and trying to insist it represents some obvious border between Here and There, saying “Here’s a wall we built, here’s a sort we did, and now everyone on this side of the wall is safely ‘us’ and everybody outside the wall is safely not,” seems laughable.

I don’t know how else to explain it except to say that it reminds me of the imaginary golden bird that distracts the thin men of Haddam from what’s real around them.

What the Bright Blanket Illustrates About Feminism

I swear, I’m just about to move on from this for now, but I wanted to say this.  When I was in the process of making the squares for the bright afghan, I folded the large squares in half and then in half again.  The medium squares I did the same for.  It was easier to store them that way, while still having their colors and patterns as a reference when working on the next squares.

Over time, because it’s cotton, the squares have begun to crease along the same folds I keep making in them.

My goal has always been to make an afghan out of yarn I dyed myself.  Those individuals squares have always been destined to be a part of an afghan, even if I wasn’t sure how that afghan would turn out or whether I’d even have enough yarn or what.

And yet, as I’m starting to sew squares into panels which will eventually be sewn into a blanket, I was taken aback last night to discover that, when I folded the panel I was working on, I didn’t use the old creases.  The panel is a piece that has different folds.  And when the afghan is done, it’ll fold in even different places.  Once those squares are a part of the afghan, they aren’t going to behave in the way I’ve grown accustomed to them behaving.

The big ones will probably never be folded in fourths and the little ones, which didn’t fold at all, will fold when joined together with others.

I’m not trying to say that feminism is ever going to be some uniform thing, like an afghan.  What I’m trying to say, and I need to hear this as much as anyone, is that we cannot take for granted that how things work will always be how things work and we can’t expect that things will always work the same as they’ve always worked.

If we want to make anything–an afghan, progress, whatever–we have to allow for change and surprise and for learning that we are just another part of things and not the most important.

You Can Get Change, But Good Luck Dictating What Shape It Will Take

I have to ask you something, and please don’t answer, “You need to stop right now!”

How do you know, though, when to stop, when to step aside and let the new folks take over?

I’m thirty three.  I’ll be thirty four this year.  I’m not expecting to be a great feminist thinker; I’m not expecting to see any who are my age.  I imagine I’ll live with feminist “leaders” who were born before Vietnamization or after, just like always.

I sometimes get uneasy with what the younger women are up to, what they find important.  I do sometimes worry that the things I want out of feminism are not the things they want and that my concerns will get left behind.

But then, I think, I’ve got it pretty good and I want the things I want so that my life is better and so that the women (and men) who come after me won’t have to continue to want those things.

I say all this as a way of explaining that I get why the Second Wave Feminists are so hell-bent on getting Clinton into office.  They are fighting for a world in which a woman can be president.  To them, if a woman can be president, that will be some symbolic moment that proves women have been fully assimilated into the system.

They have been working their whole lives to bring us a world in which a woman can be president.

They have achieved that.  They have brought about the change they hoped for.  And now all they need is to put a woman in the White House and victory is theirs/ours.  From The Vote to the White House in just under 90 years.

For some of them, they knew women who fought for the right to vote.

But you see what I’m suggesting in the title?  They got the change they wanted.  They should be thrilled.  But they also want to dictate the shape that change will take.  It’s not enough that a woman can be a plausible and likely candidate for president; they want Clinton in the White House.

And they’re pissed that the younger, third wave feminists aren’t lining up to support them.

From where I’m sitting, it appears that the feminist movement is an extremely fragile coalition of different women with different ideas and different struggles to overcome.  We’re already seeing the tattered, frayed spots and hearing from large swaths of women that they never even felt welcome to help make up the fabric of feminism.

I don’t think that feminism as a theoretical position or a personal philosophy is going anywhere, but damn, I have to say, it seems to me like, if the second-wavers cannot step back and see the effects of what they’re doing on other feminists, how their nonsense poisons all of us, feminism as a movement is over.

I don’t know.  I keep thinking about that speaker that the Professor and I saw, who talked about the two strands of second-wave feminism–the strand where women just wanted access to what men had, to be a part of things, and the strand that wanted new systems and wanted to change women so that we could create new ways of doing things.

I can’t help but think that the more vocal second-wavers–Pollitt, Steinem, Jong, etc.–seem pissed to discover that, even with all they’ve achieved in the world, they cannot muster an army of younger women to follow them and do what they tell us to do.  Where are their minions?  What are the perques they get for having made it to being rich, powerful, old, and white?

They’re trying to declare victory (which, I believe, is what a Clinton win to them would mean) only to discover that the other branch of second wave feminism is the one that actually won, that has actually changed what women (and some men) think social justice is and how it’s done.

I Was Right about the Bright Afghan!

If you double the pattern, it ends up being a pretty good size.

I spent the evening arranging and rearranging afghan squares.  I think I’ve got it just how I want it now.  Here’s the size the afghan pattern makes:


You can see why that wasn’t going to do.  I know children that afghan would have been too small for.

And here’s the afghan I’m about to start sewing together:


Yes, that is a Pac-man pillow case.  Fuck off, some folks find it charming.

Hey, check this picture of Mrs. Wigglebottom out.  The Butcher was at one end of the couch and she’s all “When in Rome…”


Buying Multiple Copies of the Same Book

I did not know this, but when dealing with some publishers, if a bunch of you are all wanting to read and own the same book, you can have one person order all the copies directly from the publisher, and they will give you the non-returnable discount (you might have to contact Marketing to see).  A friend of mine just ordered 13 copies of a book he wanted to give as a gift directly from the University Press that published it and he got a 40% discount.

I Made the List! I Made the List!

Oh, y’all, I forgot to tell you.  You know how I’ve been pissing and moaning and flouncing all over the internet complaining because Progressive Nashville never includes me in the list of progressive Tennessee blogs?  Well, I met Jim who blogs over there who graciously informs me that it’s not Progressive Nashville who puts out that list; it’s R. Neal over at TennViews.


I am an idiot.

But, they’ve decided to include me anyway!  So, make of that what you will.

The Sunday “Palmetto pummeling with rejoicing in the streets and mournful rending of garments” edition of the TennViews weekly liberal blog roundup showcasing the best and brightest bloggers in Tennessee and what they are talking about…

• 10,000 Monkeys and a Camera: SC exit poll results here and here

• 55-40 Memphis (a new addition to the blogroll and roundup): Dilemma: So, short of something drastic happening to make me wrong, I predict it’s going to be a long, painful slog to November — and (at best) a nailbiter election night.

• Andy Axel (at TennViews): America 2001-2008: Enter The Bush Leagues: Not even the Reagan Revolution or the Contract On America was as successful at creating so much ruin in such little time:

• Aunt B. (another new addition to the blogroll and roundup): Who Owns Tennessee’s Women?: Do we have the right to decide for ourselves what happens to our bodies or are we just walking condos, with the State acting as mostly-absentee landlords.

• BlountViews: Blount GOP to back Ron Paul?: What’s not to like?

• The Crone Speaks: Are TN’eans/All Progressives Falling for the Symbolic Vote, or Do They Want a Real Leader?: The current state of our union does not afford voters the luxury for a symbolic vote. Voters should be considering the state our country is in, and which candidate has the most progressive platform to lead us out of the dire straights the previous administrations have placed us.

• Cup of Joe Powell: TV News Covers ‘Baloney’ In Campaign For President: Does the news matter to anyone anymore?, and Your Communication Is Not Yours Anyway: The argument that only the guilty need be concerned about this type of constant surveillance is an argument which has neither merit nor logic., and A Vast Database of Deception: And sadly, the general response to the report is a rather exhausted yawn. “It doesn’t even matter anymore,” said a friend of mine.

• The Donkey’s Mouth: The $9 Trillion Bear in the Room: The fact of the matter is, however, that were it not for Democrats at the table there would not be a stimulus package.

• Enclave: Infrastructure? Who Needs Infrastructure?: Cost to fix these hazards: $1.6 trillion., and Bredesen’s TDOT Welcomes Bush Transportation Chief in Support of Toll Roads: The traveling medicine show designed to pull public funds to private coffers (George W. Bush’s prime directive) has come to Tennessee, and our so-called Democratic administration is embracing it with open arms., also Bubba’s Brutality and Obama’s Egotism

• Fletch: The Sand Man, and Afternoon Walk

• KnoxViews: Milestones unnoticed… (on KnoxViews anniversary), and a funny flashback from a reader (and RoaneViews co-conspirator), plus mark your calendars, Seymour Hersh Speaking at UT, Feb 6th

• Lean Left: Lean Left: The question now is where are the front runners? Why are they not in DC, right now, holding a press conference where they clearly state that they will be supporting the filibuster of this cowardly provision., and They’re just politicians: They aren’t going to save us all with a well timed legislative victory and a cheery wave to the camera. Every single one of them will, at one point or another, betray something you consider vitally important to get something else, usually something you think is ridiculously over-valued. (as they say, read the whole thing…)

• Left of the Dial: Maybe in South Carolina…: But something tells me that unless Oprah campaigns in Tennessee and starts giving out new cars, he won’t see the same numbers here., and an Information Highway Road Trip

• Left Wing Cracker: THIS is why I’m for John Edwards , and in case you missed it at TennViews, A tale of two legislators

• Liberadio (another new addition to the blogroll and roundup): We use these too: If “ES&S iVotronic” and “paperless touchscreen voting machines” sound familiar to some of you it’s because 17 out of 95 counties in Tennessee use these machines and, if things don’t go well next week, we’ll be using them again in the November election., plus Our Money’s Already Spent

• Loose TN Canon: The albatross of Iraq around McCain’s neck: John McCain is a hypocrite. During Clinton’s presidency, he argued vehemently to bring the troops home from Haiti and Somalia – regardless of the consequences.

• NewsComa: Anthem Of Change: It backfired. The whole Hillary/Bill wrassling tag team blew up in their faces yesterday when Barack Obama beat the tar out of the two. , and I Have Some Time To Figure Super Tuesday Out: I only have one vote. And it’s mine.

• Pesky Fly: Clinton Destroying the Party: If our three Democratic candidate were steaks, they would be ribeye, t-bone, and porterhouse. Saying one cut of meat from the same cow will destroy the party is – there’s no gentle way to say this – f***ing nuts., also Lost in the Funhouse: Obama’s been misrepresented. … And I really don’t care much about this beyond the fact that I worry how, should they reach the general, the whiners will deal with an attack machine that took down John McCain for a lack of patriotism.

• Progressive Nashville: The right time for health care reform?: It’s easy for the rich and powerful to ignore the problems of the poor, but now health care costs are tapping into profits and that means everyone’s well-being is at stake., and Who will speak for the poor?: So divided has the Democratic Party become from wedge issues generated by the GOP, that its vision of prosperity for all has been all but abandoned.

• Resonance: Potpourri: I report, you decide., plus an interesting survey at TennViews: How much do political TV or radio ads affect your voting decisions?

• RoaneViews: Connected Tennessee: On the home page there is a place where you can check your Internet connection speed. There are also maps of the state by county that show that counties connectivity., and Green Development Conference

• Russ McBee: Congressional Dems cave to Bush twice in one day: The Democrats were not handed control of Congress last year just for the purpose of caving to every whim of the most unpopular president in recent history., plus: The clueless Michael Chertoff speaks: Showing your papers, removing your shoes in airports, and that Real ID nonsense do not foster security; they merely provide what Bruce Schneier calls “security theater:” the illusion of security, intended to foster a feeling of well-being, whether deserved or not.

• Sean Braisted: “You People”: I knew the Clintons would attempt to dismiss the results in South Carolina as a hollow victory because South Carolina had a high black population; I didn’t see Obama do the same thing because New Hampshire is one of the whitest states in the union., also: The Challenge: …to list 10 things I like about Hillary…I’ll start, and perhaps get to ten.

• Sharon Cobb: Subdued Republican Debate Allows Romney To Perform Well.: By his looks and family, Mitt Romney is straight out of central casting for the role of President. However, his acting skills have been less than up to par. … Then there was the obligatory Hillary bashing. I guess a bunch of old, conservative white guys can’t conceive that their opponent in the general election might be a black man.

• Silence Isn’t Golden: South Carolina Results Live-Blog: No word yet on whether or not she’ll address the loss, although she already released a statement mentioning the Super Tuesday states, and also Florida. Unsurprising, since she’s already indicated that she will undermine the DNC and Howard Dean by pushing for Florida and Michigan delegates to count., also in case you missed it at TennViews, GoldnI’s analysis of the WSMV Tennessee presidential primary poll.

• Southern Beale: Fred Watch: Democratic voters don’t tend to blame their candidates when they don’t win primaries; at least, I don’t hear anyone blaming Dennis Kucinich or John Edwards for underperforming this primary season. , also Not That There’s Anything Wong With That: Obama’s not Muslim, people.

• Tennessee Guerilla Women: Media Bias Against Clintons Borders on Mental Illness: I don’t recall ever seeing so much overt and shameless media bias in any previous election. I may as well be watching Fox News., also Everybody But Obama Knew About Rezko, and Nashville: Hillary Congratulates Obama & Says ‘We Have Only Just Begun’

• TennViews TN GOP coming unhinged on abortion amendment: The bottom line is that this is a pathetically transparent political stunt to get yet another wedge issue on the ballot for the 2010 gubernatorial election in an effort to get right-wing extremists out to the polls. Tennessee deserves better leadership than this., also Sasser: As iron sharpens iron

• Vibinc: Real life intervenes, blogging will resume shortly…

• Whites Creek Journal: Who do I vote for? (a celebrity endorsement roundup): So ultimately, the burning question of the day boils down to , “Can that fat oatmeal guy beat both fake blondes, Rick Flair and Anne Coulter?”, and Oh, Great! (on not being stimulated by the stimulus package): Republicans repeatedly demonstrate that they are ethically unequipped to do anything except serve rich people, and our Democratic Congressional leadership repeatedly proves that they are ill equipped to do anything except let them and whine about it.

• Women’s Health News: Best Cities to Have a Baby: This year’s winner was Portland, followed by Minneapolis, San Francisco, Seattle, and Denver. My own city ranked 33rd, just below D.C. Among the factors weighing Nashville down…

The Halo

I don’t know if they still call it that–the halo–but the best I can explain, it’s the other stuff that goes with having a headache–the dizziness, the feeling like time is all funky, the extreme sensitivity to different sensations, a kind of hyper-sensitive mellowness, the trouble focusing your eyes–that takes a back-seat to the headache itself.

When I take acetaminophen, it tends to take care of everything, the headache itself and all the other stuff that goes with it.

Ibuprofen, for me, tends only to cure my pain, but leaves me everything else, so I feel like I’m mildly stoned, only without the feeling that the world is an amusing place.

But it did feel good to go outside at lunch and tilt my head back into the sun and just feel the nice day land on my face and slowly make its way down the rest of my body.

I Always Laugh When Mrs. Wigglebottom Sneezes

Mainly because it’s the world’s longest sneeze (with the exception maybe of elephants, having never witnessed elephant sneezes), starting way back near her brain and working its way down her snout so that she’s got to shake her head and curl her lips to finally get it to let go and come out.  It’s like HRExxrhezzzheepbhbpt.  And then she kind of is startled by it, like she’s looking out in front of her for whatever dastardly being must have certainly just come out of her head and is surprised to find nothing.

They’re having a couple of really good discussions over at Shakespeare’s Sister about pit bulls and the happy endings for some of Michael Vick’s dogs, here and here.

Maybe I’m just getting soft in my old age, but that picture of the two pit bulls snout to snout in silliness kind of makes me tear up.

Random Things that Have Been on My Mind

1.  But I’m sure this time is different.

2.  I’m not Catholic and my familiarity with Catholicism comes from an a-typical (maybe) situation, but I thought the point of a Catholic school was, in part, that all Catholics could attend.  There’s a post somewhere about what it means that the crowd at Father Ryan is 99% white in a city with a vibrant, if sometimes terrified, Hispanic community.  I’m not the person to write it, but I’d sure like to read it.

3.  So, I was at the Uncounted screeninglast week.  It’s a powerful movie, and I know some Righties will stay away because it looks at the last few elections and the Republicans don’t come out looking so hot.  I would encourage you to see it anyway, because it’s important and it will make you raise an eyebrow at the New Hampshire primary.

4.  I spent part of yesterday playing with puppies.  I just wanted to run around screaming Puppies!  Puppies! but apparently that agitates their mom.

5.  This has been nagging at the back of my brain for a week and people keep saying things that seem to fit with my train of though and I keep waiting for a whole post to develop out of it, but a whole post doesn’t seem to be forthcoming.  So, I’ll just say this: it is a mistake to assume that the Universe, which brings forth as much variety as it can, would some how not be geared to produce variety in human beings.  It’s also a mistake to assume that our suffering has anything to do with some kind of judgement against us by the Universe.

6.  The Butcher is back home sick again.  I really don’t want to catch what he’s got.

Poor Butcher

The Butcher is so sick I about can’t stand it.  He’s doing a little better this morning, but yesterday, I was seriously worried.

But I also don’t want to hang out here with Mr. Sick Boy, so I’m getting him some clean dishes, some chicked soup, and he’s on his own.

Yes, I Do Tease Mack about Boxing not Being a Sport…

…and yes, I believe wrestling and ultimate fighting to both be legitimate sports.  Who says a girl has to be consistent?

Anyway, Martin Kennedy picked me up and took me over to the Father Ryan-MBA meet and it was great!  I had forgotten how much I enjoyed wrestling. 

Two brothers coach the teams, but their teams’ approaches were very different.  Father Ryan’s wrestlers seemed to me to be a lot more strategic in their thinking–they’d come out early in the match just full on like some kind of force of nature, which tended to overwhelm the MBA kids.  But then, the Father Ryan kids would keep checking over with their coach, who was very involved in the matches, while the MBA kids were clearly intensely focused on what was happening on the mat.

A couple of the MBA wrestlers figured out that, if they could just stick the onslaught out, the Father Ryan kids would wear themselves out.

And there was one kid on the MBA team who had such a good sense of his own body and how it worked that there was pretty much nothing his opponent could do that he wasn’t able to roll or twist or leverage into his advantage.  You would have thought, by the way he was able to keep the other kid so easily under control that he outweighed him by 20 pounds, but of course he didn’t.

But, in the end, Father Ryan just thumped MBA.  They just seemed to have the ability to concentrate on the match at both a visceral level and an objective level in a way that most of the MBA kids didn’t seem to have.

It was a bit like when you’re watching a guitarist who is so good that they don’t really have to think about what they’re doing, even when they’re improvising, you know their fingers are going to go exactly where they should go.  That’s what a lot of these Father Ryan kids were like.  They knew what they were doing and could think ahead, where as it looked like the MBA kids knew what they were doing, but were right there in the moment.

I really enjoyed it.  Good fun.

Thanks for thinking of me, Martin!

This Explains So Much

This week, after Rep. Rob Briley made a heartfelt apology for his well-publicized drunken behavior, Rep. Gary Moore, the straightforward Joelton firefighter, made the excellent point that everyone battles secret demons. But the way he made it was hilarious:

“Some of us are alcoholics,” Moore said. “Some of us are thieves. Some of us are adulterers. Truth of the matter is, we reflect society.”

Rep. Charles Curtiss of Sparta said Moore’s comments might have been a bit much. But he made it even worse: “I don’t think there are any criminals in here. But we’re a cross section of society. There are people in there that drink, people in there that beat their wives, people in there unfaithful to their wives. No question in my mind about that.”

Gail Kerr

(h/t Ben “We’re Paying for this Shit?” Cunningham)

I don’t know who needs to go down there and lecture some folks on the fact that women’s bodies are not their personal playgrounds, but someone, for sure.