But… But… But… We Don’t Have Gay Marriage in Tennessee!

So how could something like this even happen?!

You’d almost think that straight people are going to do fucked up shit whether or not gay people have equal rights.  Like somehow the behavior of one group just isn’t that affected by the ability of other groups to get married.  But that can’t be right.

No.

I think the only logical conclusion we can draw is that, if we allow gay people to get married, next time, it’ll be TWO pit bulls.

(Also, of course, this just goes to prove my thesis that the biggest problem pit bulls face are the humans they have to interact with.)

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The Dark Side of Family Trees

I made the mistake of asking my aunt for further information about the family members I could have used some further information about.

That was mistake number one.

She gave me no information.  And she piled the whole “I know family secrets” bullshit on my plate.  Oh, America, I’m sure if you have a fucked up family, you know how much fun the secrets are, how you hold onto them like a penny in the palm of your hand, pressing your finger against it every once in a while to check if it’s still there.

But my aunt is 66 today (I remember when my grandma turned 66, because we were all delighted that she was Phillips 66) and I come from a family of drunks, abusers, drug addicts, and charming assholes.  Who doesn’t know that?  Who are we keeping these secrets from?  No one who’s not related to us gives two shits and we all know how we are.

Anyway, so I called my dad to tell him not to insist I call my aunt about this shit anymore and he denied telling me to call my aunt.  I didn’t fight with him, though, because I couldn’t remember if it were him or Uncle B. who told me to call her.  In all fairness, it may have been Uncle B.

The big secret she thinks is so awesome?  There was a rumor that my great grandpa liked to fuck around on my great grandma.

My great grandpa has been dead since 1939.  No children have ever come forward claiming to be his and, since they’d be my grandma’s age or older, if they exist, they’re all dead now too, most likely.

So, again, I’m just not seeing why it’s a secret.  It could not matter less.

Except that it’s that penny in her palm.

Mistake two.  My dad has decided to comfort me in my sad, childless state by informing me about some Robinson family member (whose last name is also not Robinson) who just had a kid and she’s “much” older than me.

The thing that cracks me up about my dad is how pragmatic he becomes the older I get.  Thirty-four and still not married?  Well, they just want to let me know they’d be happy if I settled down with anyone at this point, even a woman!  Thirty-four and still no kids?  Why wait for a husband?  Get out there and start fucking like a football player.  Who has time for conservative Christian morality when we have kids that need to be taken care of and grand kids we want?

I don’t even know if I can have kids.

I don’t even know if I want kids.

I always thought I would just try not to get pregnant, but, if I did, then the decision was made for me–I’d have a kid.  Little did I know…

Well, shit.

This was supposed to be a kind of funny post and instead it’s bumming me out.

Oh well, you get what you pay for here at Tiny Cat Pants.  I’m off to pick up my birth control pills.  I wonder if, when the Republicans run my cooter, I’ll still be allowed to take them.  I hope so.  I’m enjoying not bleeding half to death.

Maybe It Depends on What the Definition of “The” is?

I didn’t want any of you to miss out on what must be one of the most bizarre chapters in the political career of Bill Hobbs.  And yet, frankly, I don’t know what to make of it.  Shall we look at the facts?

Fact One: GM employes about 3,500 Tennesseans.  Spring Hill and Columbia, Tennessee are what they are because of the Saturn plant.

Fact Two: GM is looking to the government for a huge bailout.

Those are the facts.  Should the Feds bail out GM?  I don’t know.  I know that, when you start to think about all the parts of our economy that are tied into the auto industry, letting them fail seems pretty damn terrifying.  You think the economy is bad now; what would happen if even half of the people employed by GM were out of work?

Ugh.  Sorry, this was supposed to be a humerous post and all of a sudden I felt like I should call the Man from GM and offer him our couch to live on.

Where were we?  Ah, yes, Bill Hobbs.

So, Christian Grantham over at Nashville is Talking makes this post in which he says:

Tennessee Republican Party Spokesman Bill Hobbs speaks out in opposition to a proposed bailout for the employer of 3,500 workers at Spring Hill’s GM plant.

And then comes this post in which Christian says:

Tennessee GOP Spokesperson Bill Hobbs sent me the following email late yesterday regarding this post.

The statement that I spoke out in opposition to the bailout of the Big Three (or that the TN GOP did) is a lie. A slanderous lie.

I wrote an analysis of the situation, not a statement of opposition to or support of the proposed bailout. Period. You can not find one fraction of that post that is a statement of opposition to it.

I demand a retraction and apology.

Bill

I want to laugh, America.  I surely do.  But I can’t quite get to laughing because I’m stuck wonder whether Bill Hobbs knows what the words “opposition” and “support” mean.

And then, when I get past that, I’m stuck wondering if, when he says “You can not find one fraction of that post that is a statement of opposition to it,” there’s some prize if we do find a fraction.  And what kind of prize would I want from Bill Hobbs?  Perhaps a hand-drawn cartoon of some religous figure?  Hmm.

But let us take this sentence: “The statement that I spoke out in opposition to the bailout of the Big Three (or that the TN GOP did) is a lie.”

Shall we look at the post?  (And maybe I wonder this, too.  Does Bill Hobbs not know that people can read the things he writes?)

Republicans may not be able to stop this bailout – indeed, not all Republicans oppose the bailout – but Republicans certainly ought to insist that the bailout include helping Ford, GM and Chrysler amend their UAW contracts to be more competitive (otherwise the Big Three will still fail). Republicans also ought to insist that the bailout package include provisions to bar unions from using union dues for political purposes unless union members are allowed to opt out of paying that part of their dues because they don’t support the union’s political agenda.

Republicans also should insist on regulatory reforms so that the Big Three (and all other automakers) may more easily import fuel-efficient automobiles currently sold in other countries.

“Republicans may not be able to stop this bailout.”  That is a direct quote.  The implication in that is clear that Republicans (at least most Republicans, including the author) are on the side of at least trying to stop the bailout.  Don’t believe me?  Then go on to the second half of the sentence in which Bill Hobbs outlines what the Republicans should do, since they can’t stop the bailout–change the terms of the bailout.

Bill Hobbs is clearly speaking out in opposition to the bailout of the Big Three, by implication when he says that Republicans may not be able to stop it, and then explicitly when he urges them to change the terms.  By definition, once you change the terms of the bailout, it is no longer the bailout as proposed, but a new bailout.

He is indeed opposed to the bailout.  He may not be opposed to any bailout.  But he’s clearly opposed to this one.

And Christian’s the liar who should apologize?

Bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Okay, now I’m laughing.

Let’s Don’t Let Them Kill Us

So, Tennessee, we’ve discussed how “Fuck that crazy Yankee shit,” is not going to work as official state policy, that we’re going to have to make some compromises to our fundamentally contrary nature if we want to turn the state around.

I now want to talk frankly about that thing you do when you’re done with “Fuck that crazy Yankee shit.”  I think you know what I mean.  Tennessee, you’re the state that, though at the bottom of the scholastic heap makes moonshine for fun.  You might be barely literate and have never left your county, but you’re not going to let a little thing like the law or complex chemistry stop you.

And yet, you and I both know that when you come into Nashville, to, say, go to the doctor, there’s a 90% chance you’re going to get frustrated trying to find the doctor and demand you be allowed to wait in the car while your wife goes to your appointment.  And a 95% chance that, if she does get you to your appointment, you’re going to sit there like a bump on a log while your wife tries to explain to your doctor what’s going on.

Because, once you’re done being a mean old cuss, you kind of just roll over and shrug your shoulders–whatever happens, happens.  If it ends up killing you, fine.

I mention this because I’m trying to argue that, as a state, in order to get what we want, we have to go against our nature.  That means not only toning down the contrarian refusal to do what’s necessary to get good jobs in the state, it means not getting so discouraged and feeling so powerless in the face of these outside forces that we just roll over and let them kill us.

Tennessee, I see you outside all the time.  You know that we live in an achingly beautiful state, full of stunning rivers and breathtaking mountains.  It is not too much to expect that we can drink out of our own wells, that we can swim in our own rivers, that we can live in our own mountains, that we can breathe our own air.

And we, we as a state, have to fight for those things and protect ourselves from people who would take it away from us.  We have to be vigilant about that.

I’m talking to you, people of Dickson.  I see you fishing out of a reservoir that your city knows has, in the past, been polluted by the dump.  Maybe you don’t know it.  But I’ve got to tell you, when I talk to you, my feeling is that you do know it, but you’ve accepted defeat.  Oh well.  The dump is a mess and probably gave your kids birth defects and poisoned those folks on Eno Road but what can we do?

But I’m talking to you, people of Tennessee.  The people of Dickson are us.  That dump is our problem.

And we’re going to have to carefully consider the opportunities we will be faced with.  I mean, of course, coal.  We have it and the country is going to want more of it, since we’re all interested in and see the importance of ending our dependence on oil.

But we know coal.  We know there’s no such thing as “clean” coal, that there’s no such thing as “safe” coal, that the extraction methods they use now–blowing off the tops of mountains, for instance–have real and ugly consequences for the people and the land.

And we all know it does something funky to the souls of people to never see daylight.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying that there’s not a place for coal as a part of getting Tennessee back on track.  I’m just saying that we have to have some hard conversations that involve the Tennesseans who will be doing the mining about how it should be done to be the safest for all of us.

Because you’re not wrong to be suspicious of outsiders.  We have, as a state, been treated like backwoods racist yokels who deserve whatever bad stuff comes our way.  And we know it normally comes our way courtesy of folks who have a lot more power and influence and money than we do.

That is why, Tennessee, I joked about seeing ourselves as a street gang.  Because I’m not joking about the underlying issues: We need to be loyal to each other.  We need to watch out for each other.  And we need to have each others’ backs.

One person, hell, even one community does not have enough power to lure businesses here and then to keep those businesses from harming us once they’re here.  But six million people do.  There is not an entity on this planet that is so large that it can ignore six million voices.

It is not too much to want to want to work and it is not too much to ask for to ask that your job not harm you or your community.