Freedom from the Press

Today I read something so stupid it made me dizzy and I had to put my head down on my desk until the dizziness passed.  From Shakesville:

“If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations,” Palin told host Chris Plante, “then I don’t know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.”

I have nothing to say about this, because I keep having to put my head down when I read it.  But I am reminded of Digby’s post today:

This is why I say that they have retired the concept of hypocrisy. It goes far beyond double standards or duplicity or bad faith. There’s an aggression to it, a boldness, that dares people to bring up the bald and obvious fact that the person making the charge is herself a far worse perpetrator of the thing she is decrying. There’s an intellectual violence in it.

And I guess that is how I experience things like Palin’s quote–as intellectual violence.  The idea that you would run for vice-president of a country governed by a constitution with which you are so poorly acquainted just hurts my head.

I mean, seriously.

We used to have brilliant statesmen–like Jefferson–who were morally repugnant and now the Republican party is tossing up moral statesmen–like Palin–who are intellectually repugnant.

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Why Rachel Maddow in Eye Shadow Depresses Me

Let’s first talk about Mal.

I met Mal in Boston when I went up there for the premier of my play.  And she was… hot might not quite be the right word… there might not be a word yet in the English language.  But let’s go with hot.  She’s hot in a way that makes you want to put on a huge frilly dress with an enormous hoop skirt with your bosom all up and your underthings all lacey and ribbony so that when you lift up the front of your dress to properly scamper away all laughing and blushing, she’ll get that you actually have no intention of running very far and so she should indeed give chase.

I, of course, did not admit this to her and I tried my very best to keep any giggling and blushing and scampering to a minimum, out of respect to her and her wife.  Even now, I’m not trying to make some grand confession of love.

I just want to speak frankly and honestly about what it is about her that I find not just attractive, but overwhelmingly hot.

And the reason I bring up that, when I think of her, my first reaction is to laugh and blush, it’s because she is very erotic, but in a way that suggests that everything is open to play.  It’s a kind of erotic of the possible, that we might and should try anything, to see what feels good.

I bring this up, because when I first saw Rachel Maddow on Keith Olbermann’s show, I was like “Oh, there’s the TV version of Mal!”  Rachel Maddow was just hot as shit–smart, funny, quick on her feet, good looking–hot just like she was.

Swoon.

And then she got her own show.  And first it was the fake eyelashes.  And now it’s the eyeshadow.  And the bushy hair.

And I get it.  First of all, no one in the history of television news has ever put a woman who looked like herself on camera.  They’re all dolled up and appropriately conventionally prettified.  And I am sure that there are some assholes at MSNBC who cannot imagine that straight America will watch any show hosted by a woman who doesn’t look like she’s taken into consideration the aesthetic comfort of straight men.  Never mind that people, presumably a bunch of straight people, watched her on Olbermann without dying of discomfort.

But the thing that cracks me up and depresses me at the same time is that Maddow, how she is, is hot.

This?  This is hot.

This?  Argh, so darling.

And this?  I’ve had fantasies about being naked between the two of them (though Mortensen has, in my fantasies, better facial hair.  Scruffy, scratchy, sparkley facial hair, that gets your smell all in it after… Um… yes, where was i?).

Rachel Maddow in eyeshadow?  Not that hot.  Eyeshadow, I know, and poofy hair and long, flirty eyelashes–these are all things that are supposed to signal “attractive.”  And I could rail on about bullshit patriarchal beauty standards and whether we ought to be objectifying the women on our television screens in the first place.

But that’s not what depresses me.  No.  What depresses me is that Maddow in eyeshadow is so less attractive than Maddow just being herself that it must be obvious to anyone with two eyes to see.  She looks like she’s dressed up for Halloween, wearing a costume.  It looks ridiculous.

And yet, every night, there she is, “prettied up” in a way that makes her much less attractive.  Dare I say, strangely neutered?

Is it really that scary to have someone unconventionally attractive on screen?  So much so that the only solution is to make her more conventional, but less attractive?

Okay, Fine, The Crying Thing

I’m willing to take my lumps for being all girly and crying after voting.  Fine, tease away.  I have a soft, uncynical part, I admit it.

But we have to talk a second about this whole “I don’t understand why a white girl would cry about being able to vote for Obama” thing.

See Roger Abramson:

Aunt B. cried in her car after voting for Barack Obama. I guess I don’t get that. I mean, I can see why a black voter would (and presumably some do) get that emotional about voting for Obama, but I don’t see why a white person would. Feel good about it? Yeah, maybe. But cry? Huh. I don’t know. I’m not saying she’s wrong to have done that–emotional reactions are what they are. But it certainly does lend credence to the idea that Obama wins hearts rather than minds. Which, of course, usually wins elections. [Emphasis mine]

I mean, come now, Roger, really?  First of all, don’t you miss habeas corpus?  The 4th Amendment?  Not having to worry about walking into a drug store only to discover that the pills you’re taking to keep from bleeding all over the floor have been declared by the Feds to be an abortifacient, if the pharmacist decides they are, and so you can’t get them?  Remember when a U.S. president could meet the Chancellor of Germany without it turning into “Night of the Creepy Frat Guy”?  When Presidents and their friends knew better than to play “John McCain has a Birthday” while people are dying in the streets of New Orleans?

If John McCain wins, I’ll feel a slight tinge of relief that at least we’ve made it through the Bush Presidency.

But if Obama wins?

Damn straight I’ll probably cry in relief.

But let us move on to point number two, which is this bizarre notion that it’s weird for a white person to be emotional about the prospect of a black president.  I almost don’t know how to begin to address this.  I could give you the long history, if you need to see some family credentials, but the short version of it is this.  One, many of my dad’s dearest friends in the ministry in Illinois are black ministers.  Men whose wives were also teachers, like my mom.  Their kids, who played with us and fought with us and were our friends, were our age.

I remember like it was yesterday when we opened up the paper to see the obituary for one of my dad’s friends, and my dad calling in shock and confusion, we were just down the road, why had no one called?  Only to discover that his friend was still alive.

It was later on in the week when they made the actual attempt (luckily failed) on his life–members of his all white congregation who didn’t want a “nigger” for a pastor.

Two, my cousin, M., who is just a year older than me, the daughter of my beloved Uncle B. is part Native America, and is a lovely dark brown, though in terms of facial features, she looks quite a bit like my Grandma A.  In other words, you would not look at her and say “That’s an African-American person” since she is not black and has very typical European-American features.

And yet, I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I heard her called “nigger.”

No, I don’t know what it’s like to be black in America.  I’ve never been and I won’t be.  But I can recognize the stinging fear and anger on the faces of the people who love me and who I love in return when they are singled out for derision based on their skin color.

And, god damn it, you know what I want?  I want people to stop calling people I love “nigger.”  I want them to think that trying to kill the people I love is evil and wrong and not something they should even attempt, let alone think they have public support for.  I want my nephew, who’s being raised by the Klan, to get the message, somehow, that peope are people and that anyone can be president and that he doesn’t have the right to try to stop them just because he doesn’t like what color they are.

I want the people I love to have proof that there is room for them in America, that the bullshit they face, though inexcusable, is just that, bullshit, and not some great truth about them or about America.

I mean, why wouldn’t I, even as a white girl, get emotional about something so important to the people I love?  Who, in one case, share my blood?

Here’s the truth of it, Roger.  I can’t draw the clear line between me, Whitey McWhiterson, and them, Nonwhitey Mcnonwhitersons, that would be necessary for me to adequately answer your question.

I Hate Chicken

Okay, I’m just going to admit it.  We’re all supposed to switch from a beef to a chicken diet, and I can’t do it, because I find chicken revolting.

I don’t mind the taste of chicken.  I can eat chicken I prepare myself, when I can bring myself to prepare it, but the gristle and the weird crap and the skin and the chewy crap.

I’m trying not to throw up just telling you about it.

I can eat chicken if all that crap has been discovered and thrown in the garbage where it belongs, but if I’m eating my burrito and I come across something that is recognizeably chicken but unrecognizeably meat, I have to throw the rest of my burrito out.

It’s so gross.

In Which I Admit Something Stupid That’s Eating at Me so That I Can Get Over It

So, occassionally, I need my friends to act as if I’m so fucking amazing that they’d rip my clothes off right then and there if it wouldn’t get in the way of our friendship.  That’s not the stupid thing I want to admit to you, it’s just a stupid thing I need to admit to you so that you can understand the incredibly stupid part.

So, I’m sitting around talking to a friend and the conversation should go a little something like this–“Harmless flirtation,” “Harmless flirtation in return,” conversation procedes to the important stuff and I feel reassured that my life is how it is because I like it this way and not because I’m some terrible, enormous freak no one could possibly love.

But instead, the conversation goes “Harmless flirtation,” “Oh, come the fuck on, like you’d really want that.” And I was pissed.  And even later in the evening, I’m kind of taken aback at how mad I still am.

Okay, so here’s where we get into the stupid part.  I’m mad because earlier a couple of friends had remarked to me that they thought I looked like the chick in this Onion video.  And I do, in so much that we are both fat chicks with brown hair.

Ugh, you know, I can’t get through it this way.

Let’s try another way.  I think that woman looks fine.  If I weren’t scrutinizing her looking to see what it was about her that made folks think of me, I would have no negative feelings about her whatsoever.  But, once someone says, “she reminds me of you,” it’s like I project all the things I hate and feel insecure about myself about onto her and then assume those are the things people see as being similar.  It not only makes me feel bad about me, it changes my opinion of her for the worse.

Which is stupid.  And I hate that I can see myself doing it.  I can tell you about doing it.  But I’m still doing it.

The Rotund had a post the other day about talking trash about yourself–and, at heart, I think that’s what I’m doing, using some poor innocent stranger as the medium through which I feel bad about myself.  And in that post she uses the phrase “self-harming practice.”

And boy did that about knock me over.

If other people did to me what I do to myself, it would easily be seen as emotional abuse.

The Real Exorcist

I have totally been sucked in by this show on the Sci-Fi channel–“The Real Exorcist,” which appears to be a giant infomercial for this charlatan.  The most disturbing thing about this, as far as I can tell, is that he answers to no one, there’s no one he’s checking in with to make sure he’s not completely off course.

And I wonder what a practicing Christian makes of his ideas about generational curses.  I have to admit, I find it… well, I have mixed feelings about it.  After all, I do believe that a family shares luck and could, therefore, share bad luck.

But I’m not Christian.  And I wouldn’t explain it as some kind of handed-down demon.

And I can’t help but wonder about the theology behind this idea that you could be lost to your god based not on your own actions, but on the actions of some far distant relative.  Doesn’t that absolve you of some level of personal responsibility?

I don’t know.  It’s curious.

He gives me an icky vibe, though, and I can’t quite put my finger on why.

I mean, other than the fact that he hits people with Bibles.

Edited to add: It reminds me of a little better done “Paranormal State.”

If Dogs Could Blog…

This dog snoring here next to me would tell you how she spent the morning tied to a tree while the Butcher layered five hammocks on top of each other and napped in the top-most one and how she had to bark and bark and bark at me to get my attention about what an idiot he was being and how we left her to go to lunch, but came back to torture her by taking her through the carwash, which is apparently the worst thing you can do to a dog after, oh, taking her to the vet, which we also did.

America, I must report that they were very sweet to my dog. And she seemed happy to see everybody!  So, who knows what the fuck to make of that.  But it made for a much more enjoyable trip to the vet.  She got her stitches out and the nurse said she was, and I quote, “Very well-behaved” and the doctor says she has to wear her cone for the next week, just because he didn’t like some of the redness on her scar, but after that, we just have to keep her from running around like a wild animal until after Christmas.

And we can give her a bath!

So, exciting day for the dog all around.

I Get Confused

If Obama is really the son of Malcolm X, is it no longer relevant that he was secretly born in Kenya but issued an Indonesian passport?  Is it better or worse proof that he’s a secret Muslim?  Would that make his “real” name Barack X?  I find that difficult to say, the “ack” and then the “ecks” right in a row like that.  Once this is determined to be “true”, can we settle on either Barry X or Barack el-Shabbaz, both of which have a nice ring?

Whew.  I know we’re a nation of conspiracy theories, but have we ever had a guy surrounded by such elaborate conspiracy theories before he’s even elected president?

Anyway, I talked to the Butcher (who is having a birthday, but more excited that it’s the Fonz’s birthday and he gets to share it) and he said that when he went to vote, the woman who checked his registration told him that they had more people turn out on the first day of early voting than voted at all in the last election.

I keep waffling back and forth about whether pollsters have taken this into account.  I just don’t know.  Maybe some of you politicos can weigh in on this.  But I wonder–what if 90% of every African American who can vote does?  And, in a less likely scenario, what if conservatives don’t bother to show up to vote, because the numbers seem so far apart?  I just keep an eye on Hobbs, who seems to be turning his attention to rallying the troops and I can’t help but wonder if, even in Tennessee, where McCain would seem to have an insurmountable lead, the TNGOP isn’t worried that Democratic enthusiasm coupled with conservative apathy might throw a wrench in things farther down the ticket.

I don’t know.  But I wonder anyway.

—-

You know, my favorite thing about the “Barack Obama is the secret son of Malcolm X” thing is trying to imagine the pitch meeting.

Malcolm X, in 1960.

“We need you to impregnate this white girl.”

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

But Why Would You Want To?

Rob Huddleston asks

So you think that if I hung a stuffed Barack Obama from the tree in my front yard that I would even be allowed time to remove the offending implement? Or would the enlightened liberal thought police have already torched my house before I got home?

And I have a couple of small questions, like “How big is Huddleston’s front yard that folks could show up and burn down his house in the time it took him to walk from the tree to his house?”  and “If Obama is really the Anti-Christ, won’t he just be able to use his supernatural powers of EVIL to burn down Huddleston’s house without involving the ‘thought police’?  Is the Anti-Christ really so wimpy that he has to have liberals do his dirty work?”

But the big question i have, in all seriousness, is “Why do you feel cheated that you can’t hang an effigy of Obama in your front yard?”

Do you know what kinds of people hang Sarah Palin in effigy?  Sick fucks.

Do you feel cheated out of being a sick fuck?  You’re sitting around upset that you don’t feel comfortable being publicly evil?  You’re mad that you don’t feel safe letting your neighbors know how little regard you have for how it might affect people to see an effigy of a black man swinging from a tree in Tennessee?

I don’t get it.

Why would you want to feel okay about doing this?

That thing you feel–that tells you that it is not safe, that it would not be okay for you to do this?  That is your conscience.  It is trying to prevent you from doing something that is not good.  To get all Disney on you, Rob, please, let your conscience be your guide.

That guy in California, who thinks it’s funny to hang an effigy of a woman from the front of his house?  He’s a sick fuck.  Most folks on our side of the aisle are not cheering and laughing it up at the sight of Palin hanging from a noose.  In fact, I think most of us are grossed out.

Folks in his community think what he’s done is so vile that they’re standing on the sidewalk out front of his house with large sheets blocking the view.

Why?  Because decent people don’t look at something like that and think “Oh, god, I’m so outraged that I couldn’t do that,” they think “Oh, god, what sick fucks.”

Be decent, Huddleston.

Hippie Liberal Crap

I am just going to admit up front that I sat in my car and cried like a giant baby after voting.

Here’s the thing, in my defense–I drove up past colleges and churches where the Civil Rights Movement was fostered, had to wait to park, there were so many people, and it was crowded in the library (thought I only had to wait a few minutes in line, because they were well-staffed) and it seemed like every third voter they were shouting “First-time voter!” and everyone would cheer and then I got up to the screen and I voted for a bunch of Democrats and Chris Lugo (sorry, Bob Tuke.  You seem like a nice enough guy but you’re kind of an overly sincere doofus) and I left and there in the atrium a woman was talking on the phone and I heard her say “I couldn’t believe his name was actually on the ballot” and I just lost it.

Listen, I don’t think Obama is the greatest thing since sliced cheese.  I’m not even sure he’ll be a very good president.  But I’m proud to be able to vote for him, and I’m proud to vote for him.

The Best Part is the Cute Smile at the End

Her pronunciation of “Bare-Rack Obama” reminds me though that one of the local newsfolks calls him “Brock O’Bama” which almost sounds like a Southside Irish name.

In other news, Kay Brooks uncovers the little-known fact that Barack Obama lives in Hyde Park.  My grandma grew up in Hyde Park; I guess that makes me an Obama operative, too.

Edited to add:

I’m just laughing so hard still at Kay Brooks being all “I’ve discovered who Obama lives near,” that I just had to go see who else lives or has lived in Hyde Park so that we might also paint him with the brushes of their bad acts:

Muhammad Ali, Steve Allen, Blue Balliet, Saul Bellow, Gwendolyn Brooks, Clarence Darrow, Kurt Elling, Enrico Fermi, Milton Friedman, James Heckman, Sue Miller, Barack Obama, Sara Paretsky, Carl Sandburg, Harold Washington, and Mahalia Jackson

Ha, you know, I would pay good money to go to a cocktail party where these folks, Ayers, and Farrakhan were all present.  You’re going to tell me that wouldn’t be a good time.

Oh, and my grandma, and her parents.  I forgot them.

I’m Starting to Suspect I’m Not Going to Get My Donuts

I remind you how this went.  I said “I bet you dollars to donuts this has something to do with the Adelicia v. South Street fight.”  S-town Mike said, “I think you’d lose that bet because this doesn’t even have anything at all to do with midtown.”  I prove that it does indeed have to do with midtown by using my mad reading skills and now S-town Mike is trying to prove that all this started before the Adelicia v. South Street fight.

So, you can see, there are no donuts coming for me.

I have noticed this in arguing, that there are marked differences in arguing styles.  See, I feel like this argument had two parts.  A. Whether this had to do with Adelicia v. South Street and then B. Whether it had anything to do with midtown at all.  And I think it’s clear that Mike moved us from argument A. to argument B.

I clearly won argument B.  It does indeed have to do with midtown.

But rather than concede, and bring me donuts (which is the important part), he’s now acting like we’re back to a.

Fine.  You bring me donuts, I’ll give you a dollar.  You keep your donuts, I’ll keep my dollar.  The world is righted once again.

But I’m still pondering the exchange.  Why is it that, when Tobia said in the first place that such an ordinance was stupid, the thrust of the conversation wasn’t, “No, here’s why it’s necessary,” but “No, here’s why it’s not stupid.”  So, instead of being a discussion (which Mike now wants to get to) about actual noise levels and offending clubs and whether they’ve been responsive to people’s needs, it’s a discussion about what Austin is doing or Atlanta or what-have-you.

It’s not a discussion about actual problems in our community and how best to address them, but some lofty discussion about the proper role of government and moderation as a virtue and bringing ourselves in line with other communities.

I know I’ve pointed this out before, but a lot of times, when you’re trying to have a discussion with men, especially men who think other men are watching or participating, you have to go through this metaphorical dick-waving before you can get down to the meat of the issue.  Everyone has to prove that they have the “right equipment” to be in the conversation and that the pecking order has been established.

This is not at all how I’ve been socialize–I assume as a white upper-working class midwestern woman–to converse.  I’m supposed to be seeing everyone’s side and building consensus and helping the man feel like he’s won, even as I manipulate him to get my own way.  If that doesn’t work, I go in the kitchen, reach consensus among the woman, and do what I damn well please.

But that kind of rhetorical strategy–find a way to seem to acquiesce while secretly maintaining that you were right and, if no way to seem to acquiesce can be found, withdraw from the conversation–works very poorly on blogs.  Well, in public life in general.

How can women who are trained to go along with what the men say or leave the room if they can’t, have any kinds of effective public discussion?

We joke, my friends and I, that it would be awesome to carry a dildo around in your purse, so that when it’s dick-waving time, you can reach down, pull yours out, set it on the table and be heard and treated as a voice with the authority to speak.

Hmm, we’ve wandered far afield of donuts, but it’s always interesting how we get so far, you know?

Don’t Get in a Butt-Fight With a Swedish Woman, S-Town Mike

Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike.

Where to start?

Okay, I guess we’ll start with the simple stuff.

1.  I wasn’t offering or withholding sympathy to/from you.  Are you a person who moved into a $500,000 condo downtown?  No you are not.  If you were, you would be called Downtown Mike or D-town Mike, and you are not.  Ipso facto, you don’t live downtown; I was not talking to you specifically.

2.  I was using the term “urban pioneer” in a joking fashion.  People live downtown.  They’ve always lived downtown. Maybe not a shit-ton of folks, but there have always been folks there.  There’s nothing to “pioneer.”  If we wanted to sit around and discuss the racist implications of the phrase “urban pioneer,” that would be fine.  But even using the term with its racist implications in full bloom wouldn’t cover you because, though the areas of Germantown, Salemtown, and Old Buena Vista are predominately black, they have never been completely black.  There have always been some white people there.

3.  It’s disgusting and considered bad form to use rape metaphors for the fact that you just moved to a dangerous part of town when talking with a feminist, or, really, any woman.  You say “I also did not demand your sympathy when I moved into a high crime neighborhood and chose to help start a crime watch rather than roll over and enjoy the violation.”  So, fine, on your end of the see-saw of that metaphor, you’re the brave one able to fight off the attacker, instead of the other option of just rolling over and “enjoying it.”  On the other end of the see-saw of your metaphor, you’ve just insinuated that an actual rape victim has but two choices, fight back or roll over and enjoy it.

I know that’s not what you meant, but if you want to have productive conversations with people whose own history of sexual assault you are unfamiliar with, perhaps you shouldn’t make light of it.

4.  You miss an important distinction–folks littering, stealing things, vomiting on your stoop, providing inadequate schooling–these things are all illegal.  We are talking about something, playing loud music, that is not illegal.

Let me remind you–you’re arguing that it should be grouped in with things like littering, theft, barfing on others, and providing shitty schooling for kids.  I’m arguing that it should not be.  You are, of course, free to act, when making your argument, as if all those things are of a kind, BUT THEY ARE NOT YET.

So, accusing me of being soft on actual crime, because I think it’s silly to lump loud music in as an actual crime is, at best, disingenuous and, at worse, ill-thought-out.

Of course you should rail against actual crime.  Come on.  Please.

That has nothing to do with why and whether one would want to make loud music into a crime.

5.  I have the same mayor as you, so don’t be trying to lump me in with suburbanites.  And even if I didn’t have the same mayor as you, I lived in the city proper until three and a half weeks ago.  I think I can remember what it’s like.

6.  I was not the one who linked stripping and loud music.  If you recall, it was right there in the first paragraph of Tobia’s piece.  I was merely reminded, by that paragraph, of how stupid the stripper rule is and, yes, how much many of these ordinances seem to be about regulating the fun of others.

7.  Foucault?  Ha ha ha ha ha.  Are we having some kind of philosopher show-down?

Listen, arguing that there’s nothing wrong with having a “reasonable” noise ordinance misses the point.  Do we need a reasonable noise ordinance?  What clubs and honky-tonks are too loud?  In what ways have they been unresponsive to residents’ complaints?  How will such an ordinance affect outdoor music downtown?  What about fireworks after games?  Or on the 4th of July?

That appears completely unclear to me.

And it’s on your side to more clearly explain yourself and get people to buy in.  Arguing “Oh, it’s just what Austin does,” is not going to cut it.  You’ve got to make a case for why we need it.

But I save the best for last.

You say

You would probably lose the donut bet that this bill has anything to do with the Adelicia or any other place in Midtown. On the one hand, the old law that governed the noise violations in Midtown (which is not Downtown, although it may seem that way to some surburbanites) restricted amplified music to 50 decibels (unless otherwise zoned). On the other hand, a new law was passed a few weeks ago that now covers neighborhoods like Midtown; that ordinance maintains that any noise that is “plainly audible” from the adjoining property line is prohibited. Sound meters are no longer needed outside of Downtown proper. So, Downtown’s proposed ordinance is exponentially more liberal (as I expect it should be) than Midtown’s and has absolutely nothing to do with the drama over at South Street. [Emphasis mine]

And yet let us look at the wording of the proposed ordinance, shall we?

F. Outdoor entertainment events within the downtown area.
1. No person shall operate an outdoor music and/or entertainment event that produces amplified sound which registers more than eighty-five Db(A), as measured from any point within the boundary line of the nearest residentially occupied property at the street level.
2. The provisions of this subsection shall only apply to (a) properties lying with an area zoned CC district and properties zoned CF district that are contiguous to those zoned CC district; (b) properties lying within an area bounded by properties fronting Music Square West and 17th Avenue South from Division Street to Edgehill Avenue; (c) properties along the north portion of Edgehill Avenue between 17th Avenue South and 16th Avenue South; (d) properties fronting 16th Avenue South and Music Square East between Edgehill Avenue and Division Street; (e) properties lying within an area fronting on the east side of 21st Avenue South from Scarritt Place to Edgehill Avenue; and (f) the properties fronting on the north side Edgehill Avenue to 17th Avenue South.

Hmm.  I wonder what could possibly be within those boundaries…

In case you’re wondering, I prefer my Krispy Kreme glazed.

Best,

Aunt B.

McCain’s Plan to Raise Taxes, Er… Fix Healthcare

From Hullabaloo:

“Why would they leave?” said Holtz-Eakin. “What they are getting from their employer is way better than what they could get with the credit.”

and

Let’s unpack this a little bit more. According to Holtz-Eakin, John McCain doesn’t actually want to dismantle the employer-based health care system. But, McCain’s plan would tax any health benefits you’d get through work. So, if Holtz-Eakin is right in saying you’d get better coverage through work than you’d get with the tax credit on the individual market (and he probably is), and if he’s right in saying most workers won’t drop their employer-based insurance for the individual market because they’re getting a better deal at work, then John McCain is simply proposing a tax on your current health care benefits without giving you anything in return. That’s the worst kind of tax increase.

I don’t even know what to say about this.

The Other Thing I’m Fired Up About

The response to Jennifer Hudson’s family’s tragedy.  I can’t even link to it, it makes me so sick.  But listen: Unless Jennifer Hudson bought her family members houses on Mars, there is no place she could have put them that would have guaranteed their safety from this guy.  Men who want to kill their partners find ways to do it.  And the blame is with no one but the killers.

Second, this was clearly the culmination of domestic abuse, so the family living in that “unsafe” neighborhood is beside the point.  The threat didn’t come from the neighborhood, it came from the killer.

Third, this is not Jennifer Hudson’s sister’s fault for bringing a dangerous man into her family’s lives.  First, abusers can be very charming and they can hide those abusive tendencies from you, and then from your family.  It wasn’t like she went out and said, “Let me find someone really dangerous who will hurt me and my family and date him!  Wow, that’d be so great!”  Also, the most dangerous time for a woman is when she leaves an abuser.  When abusers say “If you leave me, I will kill you,” it provides you with great motivation to stay.

Blaming the victims and their family is sick and gross and reprehensible.

That is all.

An Open Letter to Nashville Drivers

Dear Nashville Drivers,

I have noticed a few things now that I have the ability to drive 70 miles an hour to work in the morning, the most important thing being that you do not know how to drive on interstates.  Let me help you.  Say that we’re in this situation:

As you can see, I’m in the gray car, attempting to merge onto the highway.  You are in the blue car.  The safest thing for me to do is to attempt to get up as close as I can to speed before merging onto the highway.  I, therefore, am going about 60 miles an hour.  I am not going 70, because the on-ramp is too short, but I am going 60.  You are going 70 miles an hour.  You can see that I am ahead of you attempting to merge onto the highway.

MOVE LEFT, ASSHOLE.

There’s no one to your left.  Just get over.  Why the fuck would you sit in the right lane when you can see I’m trying to get onto the interstate?

God damn, that pisses me off.

Scenario Two:

This scenario is a little more complicated.  I’m attempting to merge on.  You cannot move left because there’s someone in the left lane.  But, pay attention: YOU ARE THE ONE ON THE ROAD.  I am only the one attempting to get onto the road.  I will look to you for guidance (if you are not in my blindspot).  If you slow down, I will accelerate and enter the roadway.  If you speed up, I will take my foot off the gas and let you pass.

I would prefer you slow down and let me on the highway, since I am ahead of you, but I appreciate that you might not have grown up driving in Chicago and are thus unaware of what my expectations for your behavior are.

But for the love of Christ, do something.  Don’t just trudge forward at the same speed I’m going, slowing down when I slow down and then freaking out and accelerating when I accelerate.  Let me on the god damn road.

Whew.

Okay and 3:

If you are only comfortable driving 45 miles an hour for whatever reason–you’re drunk, you’re blind, you’re afraid of trucks passing you in the dark at 80 mph, you’re lost, I don’t know.  Whatever.–don’t get on the interstate.

If you must get on the interstate, and again, I don’t know why–I think it would be terrifying to get on a highway and drive half as fast as most everyone else on the road, but maybe you’re allergic to stoplights.–turn your lights on (yes, it not only makes it easier for you to see, but after dark, it makes it easier for those of us also on the road with you to see you) and stay out of the middle lane.

Thank you.

Aunt B.

Are You Calling Me a Libertarian?

I think S-town Mike is calling me a libertarian, which, just by the mere suggestion of it, ought to cause real libertarians to go into apoplectic shock.

Anyway, ignoring that, I have but two things to say:

1.  I have little sympathy for people who move into neighborhoods because they’re convenient and full of places to eat and clubs to go to and music to hear and then complain about the noise.  Yeah, guess what.  Downtown clubs that have live music can get noisy.  I’m sorry you, urban pioneer, didn’t realize that before you bought your now-worthless $500,000 condo, but I can only guess that you are an idiot.  Did you not drive around downtown?  Here’s another clue: the traffic is bad and parking can be expensive!  Also, there’s no convenient grocery store.

2.  Mike says

And contra Aunt B., one need not be labeled “Victorian” to argue for obviously sane and relatively liberal limits on urban noise. In my opinion, even linking the issue of noise overtly to the art of seduction strikes me as a bit repressed itself. There are classically based arguments for balance and moderation that have little to do with sexuality per se. In that sense, I can see nothing wrong with balancing entertainment “concepts” with community welfare, but then again, I’m not committed to a disposable Downtown.

to which I say, “Bullshit.”  And “bullshit” on just about every level.  First, we’re not talking about “the art of seduction.”  We’re talking about women being able to make a living providing pleasure and entertainment, which looks pretty damn similar to music venues being able to make an income providing pleasure and entertainment.  And this idea that outside folks…and let me be clear here…who don’t participate in those activities, should get to dictate the parameters under which those activities take place for the moral good of the people participating in those activities?

“Moderation” is the guise under which well-meaning middle-class folks impose their morality on the rest of us.  It is, quite frankly, the middle-class left’s work around for the 1st Amendment.  Oh, no, we don’t call it “religion,” we call it “morality” or “striking a balance,” but make no mistake, folks, it’s about using the weight of the State to impose your metaphysical beliefs about right and wrong onto others.

And I call bullshit.

2b. Oh, yes, Aristotle, famed for his long ruminations on the freedom and equality of women… oh, yeah, right.

2c.  Are you suggesting I’m repressed?  And why, Mr. S-town Mike, are you sitting around speculating on how willing I am to let my drawers drop to hard wood?  If that’s your idea of flirting, I must tell you, it leaves something to be desired.

Edited to add: Still, what the hell?  If you want to come over, I’ll put some very soft music on, and a long dress that covers me from neck to feet and I’ll spend the evening sitting across the room from you, slowly raising my skirt just above my ankles.  I don’t mind scandalizing the neighbors with that kind of behavior if it provides you with some pleasure.