Shoot, Let’s All Make Friends with Ron Ramsey

See, “rules” are for people Ron Ramsey doesn’t know or like. But, if he does know or like you–well, hot dog, you get pay raises when no one else does.

My favorite part is how he’s all “but we fired people, so that makes it okay.”

Yep, it’s a great day for Tennessee when you’re firing people so you can afford to give your friends raises. I bet those fired Tennesseans are feeling awesome about our state now.

Ramsey loves to position himself as the folksy down-to-earth good-ole-boy who understands Tennessee better than those Republicans who went to fancy colleges.

Shit like this proves he’s just as out of touch with what real suffering in this state looks like as the Republicans he so openly disdains.

Governor Baby Strikes Again

Jesus Christ, this is going to be a long eight years, if Haslam doesn’t learn to put on his big kid pants and actually fucking lead. Yes, eight. Please, let’s just be honest about the state of the Democrats, who spent the weekend learning about messaging, because apparently they slept through the 90s.

Hell, you know, it would explain so much if, indeed, they had actually slept through the 90s. Maybe someone should check and make sure they know Kurt Cobain died.

Anyway, please, Dems, find someone who can win against this jackass. Hint: this person’s name will not be “Mike McWherter.”

So, yes, Haslam, who we elected as a state because we wanted someone like Bredesen, a man who, if he were a LOLgovernor (I’m just assuming that there are LOLgovernors, but, if not, I will totally invent them) would have a caption reading “Serious Business Governor is Serious and Up to Serious Business,” and, instead, got what would happen if someone scraped together all of Bredesen’s belly-button lint and gave it life–a weird, fun-house mirror Bredesen, smaller, flimsier, and more easily pushed around.

I mean, fucker signed HB600 into law, which means he was pushed around by Glen Casada. Lord almighty, that’s like being pushed around by Gargamel. Is this man not supposed to have business acumen from Pilot and Saks 5th Avenue? Is not an important part of business acumen being able to out-manipulate your kniving underlings?

Get this shit: “spokesman Dave Smith:

‘Through the legislative process, he expressed concerns about the state telling local governments what to do, but he also had concerns about local governments telling businesses what to do, especially the potential burden on small businesses. Ultimately, he felt the Metro ordinance went farther than federal law in regulating business policies.'”

Oh, I just bet that the Governor is going to be vetoing tons of legislation based on whether it goes farther than federal law allows… oh, wait, I totally don’t believe that at all. And, truly, I would love to hear how fucking over transgender people by not allowing them to legally change gender relieves any potential burden on small businesses.

Honestly, if Mayor Dean said “Eh, fuck it. We’re sticking with this policy anyway,” I would not only vote for him, I would give money to his campaign, and encourage each and every one of you to vote for him, too.

If there’s one thing Haslam has proven this session, it’s that he won’t stand up against people. Dean should go ahead and play chicken with him. See what happens. The law doesn’t include any provisions for what happens if a city refuses to abide by it. And anyone who sues the city over it is going to have to get up in court and discuss on the record why it’s so important for them to be able to discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.

Considering that folks like Beaman held their meetings in secret and the Chamber backtracked once the national spotlight got too bright, I have my doubts about whether anyone would be willing to sue and go on record as having a discriminatory policy.

So, I say, Dean, play chicken with that cowardly fuck.

Meanwhile, I’m not sure what to do about the “fuck over the transgender” portion of the bill. That problem doesn’t get solved by causing a crisis for the Haslam administration. It’s just a nasty little piece of hate thrown in there because Casada and Beavers could. But there’s been some maneuvering that makes me suspicious they don’t think that will hold up to a court challenge. We need to keep our eye on that.

Joe Hill’s HORNS

Well, we all spent the day on the couch. Those of us flexible enough to lick our own junk did that in between bouts of napping. The rest of us–sadly, me–gulped down Joe Hill’s Horns. I was a little worried, both because I wasn’t that in love with Heart-shaped Box and because, after my little tree freak-out, I was nervous about reading his take on the Devil.

The book is exquisite.  I actually whooped when I finished it, because it was so well-done. You know how some writers set up their books like delightful Rube-Goldberg machines, where each event and character seems to be carefully put into place to do something, everything is mentioned precisely because it’s going to be set into motion when the flip is switched? And then you spend the last part of the book in sheer delight as everything slides right into place?

This book does that.

So, the plot is pretty straight-forward. A guy who is the prime suspect in the rape and murder of his girlfriend wakes up one morning to discover he’s growing Devil horns. Then, over the course of the book, we find out what really happened to his girlfriend and who really did it and how he seeks his revenge. What happens to the girlfriend is not made explicit, so if you get freaked out by that kind of stuff, know that Hill leaves it to your imagination and doesn’t indulge in torture porn.

But, like I said, it’s very well done. And the bad guy ends up being very creepy, and very easy to imagine as a real-life person.

And there’s a lovely sermon the guy growing Devil horns gives his congregation of snakes. I think he covers some of the same theological ground my novel–bless its heart–does, which seems right to me. Of course it’s a big, old question–if we’re suffering and God is all-powerful, why doesn’t he stop it? Couple that with the “What’s God’s deal with women?” question and you have a lot of things that drive a lot of people theologically. I wasn’t surprised to read in the acknowledgements that Hill’s sister is a minister, I’ll say that.

Anyway, it’s cool. I’m glad I read it. And I have Chuck Palahniuk’s upcoming book on my list of things to read, just to see how he deals with Old Scratch.

Ghost Trees

Aside from a weekend full of family members I hadn’t seen… well, since my grandma’s birthday, but before that, for years, I also read Joe Hill’s short story collection 20th Century Ghosts, which is exquisite. I liked Heart Shaped Box fine, but I didn’t love it. I thought the first half was wonderful, but once ghosts are following you around and trying to kill you, that’s just a little too Jason Voorhees for me. I don’t find it creepy, even if it’s jolting, and I prefer creepy.

But 20th Century Ghosts is nicely creepy.

And here’s the part I found most spooky. There’s a story in the book called “Dead-Wood.” It starts, “It has been argued that even trees may appear as ghosts.”

You can hear someone read it to you here, though I’d listen quickly before someone makes him take it down for copyright violation.

This is the first time I’ve ever read this story, this very weekend.

And yet, you know I wrote this a year ago.