Another Open Letter to Ron Ramsey

Dear Ron Ramsey,

I’m probably not going to write you every day, though clearly you could use being written to every day, because I lack ambition and stick-to-it-iveness. But I will say that whoever writes your press releases is practically poetic.

However, this General Assembly will not be intimidated by nomadic bands of professional agitators on spring break bent on disruption. We talk through our differences here.

“Nomadic bands of professional agitators on spring break bent on disruption?!” Sweet Jesus, if that doesn’t become a t-shirt, there is no justice in the world.

I’m interested in knowing what it takes to become a professional agitator and whether one has to apply for the job or if your press secretary assigns people.

And, really, who can remember the last time being a lefty in Tennessee was so much fun?


Aunt B.

Two Things

1. I know some kids who have John Tanner as an uncle in real life and, as far as I can tell, they don’t seem to be rolling in blueberry donuts. Sadly.

2. Yes, we get it, all the damn time, that men get to police women’s bodies and that they get to do so especially harshly if we dare stray into the political arena, but really, the comments on this post are disgusting. Worse yet, these two morons are clearly upset at Kleinheider (“Why do we have to hear about this person we don’t care about?”) and yet they lack the balls to address him directly, so they have to take their ire out on this poor Republican chick.

Could you imagine how this conversation would go if these guys had the courage of their convictions? It’d go one of two ways.

A. “Kleinheider, why are you writing about this person we don’t care about?” Silence from Kleinheider because he doesn’t justify himself to commenters.

B. “Hey, Kleinheider, you fatass, why are you writing about this person we don’t care about?” “Why are you so concerned about the size of Kleinheider’s ass? Are you gay?” And then there’d be 50 comments about who’s in deep secret shameful love with each other.

Is it too much to ask for either of those scenarios?

But no, instead it’s this “I want to disagree with the man with more status, but I don’t have the guts to directly challenge him, so I will use this woman as a scapegoat for my feelings of inadequacy, hoping that I can challenge the man with more status, while reaffirming that I am a part of the group and that she is the challenger who must be warded off,” crap.

Ha, I guess, in the end, that’s kind of funny.

Lots of Random Things

1. This is possibly the most irresponsible piece of journalism I’ve seen in a long time. Mosques in this state get burnt down for less and Channel 5 is hyping that these folks might be terrorists? If someone gets killed, that’s blood on Channel 5’s head. Speaking of murder, who gives a shit what Maury Davis thinks about whether other people can or should kill folks. His whole career, oh, I mean “ministry” is built on the way he milks his murder.

2. Mansplaining. Heh.

Mansplaining is when a dude tells you, a woman, how to do something you already know how to do, or how you are wrong about something you are actually right about, or miscellaneous and inaccurate “facts” about something you know a hell of a lot more about than he does.

Bonus points if he is explaining how you are wrong about something being sexist!

3. The West Tennessee contingent has started a new blog.

4. If we become 30% Hispanic, we will no longer be America. Good thing that becoming 30% Hispanic is harder than it looks. The soonest you can become 30% Hispanic, by my estimation, is when you have  477218588 of your Great, great, great (thirty greats) grandparents who are Hispanic. No more, no less.  That’s going to take some time.

5. Kleinheider’s column this week is great. Especially the part where he reveals the run-around and buck-passing.


Suck My Butt, Kleinheider

So, Kleinheider has his column up today and in it, he writes this:

That, in fact, may be what this is all about. There is a segment of elite opinion out there that believes arguing for reduced or restricted immigration is necessarily racist. But that’s an article of faith, not proof.

I invite you to give three guesses as to who holds this segment of elite opinion.

Yes, me.

I, apparently, an an elite. I am also wearing underwear with holes in it. So, make of that what you will. Who knows? Maybe Ariana Huffington also wears ratty underwear that she pulled out of the dryer on her way to the car. Maybe that’s the sign of a true elite, when you can’t be bothered to dig a little further for some underpants in better shape.

If I had to count for you all the times I heard last week, “What if you lose your job?” I would not be able to complete this post without crying. If I had to recount for you how I was told I should have three to six months’ worth of savings “just in case,” I couldn’t make it through this post without laughing and then crying.  I’d  like to have savings that would last me longer than six days, at this point, but I don’t.

“Elite” is such a nice word, though, isn’t it? Like I have separated myself from ordinary people and sit up on high making pronouncements about shit I’d feel differently about, if only I lived like real people live, ordinary people. Such an easy word that signals to Kleinheider’s readers that I’m not really one of them. I’m like those rich, well-educated people who just don’t know anything about how real life works.

Like those, rich, well-educated folks who went to, oh, say Vanderbilt, Kleinheider? Like those fucking elites?

Is it “elite” to think that people who came to this country when they were not even in school yet should have a way to become citizens of the country that is their home? Is it “elite” to think that our immigration system is so fucked that good people are crushed by it?  Is it “elite” to think that giving speeches with topics like “The criminal elements among immigrants,” when you have to acknowledge that yours is the only study that finds such evidence, is xenophobic bullshit? Is it “elite” to have empathy for people who can be blackmailed by their bosses into putting up with all kinds of terrible circumstances because the threat of having them deported is constantly hanging over their heads?

Is it really motherfucking “elitist” to have some fucking sympathy for people having hard times?

“Elite,” like I have chosen to remove myself from the rabble, somehow.

Listen, you can disagree with me. You can think I’m wrong. But if you think I have the opinions I have because I just don’t know what it’s like to live in the real world?

All I have to say in response to that is “You wish.”

(see also Chris Wage.)

Edited to Add: Kleinheider has apologized. I will return to referring to him as Tiny Pasture. Tiny Pasture, that was very nice of you. Thanks.


Someone over at the Tennessean is calling Tiny Pasture “Augustus Kleinheider,” which made me laugh out loud. I was going to give this person due credit, but alas, the web design over at The Tennessean is so crappy that the individual’s name is not connected to his (or her) (okay, let’s not kid ourselves, his) post, so that he can get credit for nicknaming Tiny Pasture after a lesser Caesar.

I can only hope this leads to a prolonged period of name-calling between SouthComm and Gannett.

Edited to add: And perhaps a site redesign.

Six Thousand Copies

I guess on a side note I should say that my doctor’s visit went fine. There is nothing else wrong with me on top of the PCOS and he’s happy with how the metformin seems to me working and I should continue to try to lose weight, but that was the extent of that discussion.  I did show him the remains of my giant rash, which I was working on the last time I went to see him, and I said I didn’t think it was connected, but if I had been more insistent 10 years ago about informing doctors of the things that were wrong instead of just taking their word that I was fat and just not trying hard enough, they might have caught the PCOS then. So, I showed him where it was all healing up.

And he looked at it, on my arm and all under my boob and said, “Yeah, I, too, don’t think it’s anything, but it’s not that hard for me to imagine how an endocrine problem could cause this, so let’s just run another blood test to be sure.”

So, it was great. And, in honor of being “more” active, I am going to tackle one of the beds that got flooded this summer.

Anyway, that’s not why I’m writing this post. I’m writing this post because I ended up talking to some of the folks from Chapter 16, who I kleinheiderdid not make out with, but totally would have, if they would have but asked (I also kicked Kleinheider’s butt and then shook my butt at him in a friendly, but taunting manner, after which, he hid outside on the porch. Bah.).

Ha, sorry, I got so distracted by how much fun I was having drawing this historically accurate artistic representation of what happened between me and Kleinheider, I almost forgot to get back to my main point.

The Chapter 16 folks.

So, we’re standing around talking about books and they’re talking about how 6,000 copies for a piece of literary fiction is not a bad sales number.

And I guess I knew that was true, but to hear someone who knows say it?

I don’t know.

And it’s not that I think 6,000 copies is some small amount. But, if you figure a dollar a book in royalties, how does $6,000 mean anything in the face of the amount of work that kind of writing takes? It’s not just that writing fiction is a skill, but it’s also then a luxury. You have to have some means by which you have a lot of free time and no dependence on that as a steady income.

And shoot, no wonder authors and publishing houses were/are so caught up in Oprah.

And I’m constantly amazed by the disparate communities, even within our own community, that know nothing of each other. I don’t quite know how to articulate that, but six thousand people could read a book that no one else has ever even heard of and that book has done okay. Not great, but okay. Even though only six thousand people have read it.

I know that, between this, Pith, and my guest stint at Feministe, I’ve had more than 6,000 people read me. Shoot, more people than that probably read me over at Pith in a day.

I don’t know. My thoughts are jumbled but I wonder about the future of publishing. It’s funny because people are always complaining about writers on the internet giving it away for free.

But really, in the vast scheme of “trying to put food on the table,” how is $6,000 for years of work not pretty much the same as “giving it away for free”?

Eh, Kleinheider

I’ve said my piece in various comment sections. I just want to say two more things.

One, if there’s any way something you write or do could be construed as you saying “Ha, remember when we could do what we wanted to you with impunity and you just had to take it?” without any hint of sarcasm, you should not write or do it, if you want the people who are of the group who just had to take it to not be upset with you.  It doesn’t matter what’s in your heart. You wouldn’t ask someone you just accidentally hit in the face to understand where you were coming from.

We’re not all going to get that right 100% of the time. But that should be a baseline for civil discourse. The apology should have come as soon as Kleinheider got that people were upset and why.

Which brings me to my next point.

Two, instructing someone to “to stop pouring fuel on the fire with his responses” while at the same time trying to tell yourself “that a serious discussion about race was beginning to happen” doesn’t jibe. Either there’s a discussion in which all parties are free to talk (even if one of the parties talking is making a complete ass of himself and your company) or there’s a bunch of folks growing even more concerned and outraged because they’re experiencing what took place in that thread as them being ignored by the person you have told to stop responding.

“White man does something stupid, seems to ignore concerns of people who call him on it” is not a serious discussion about race. It’s business as usual.

In Which I Make a Few Corrections

1. The animal whose picture accompanies this story is almost certainly a Lab/Lab mix of some sort, not a pit bull.  The ear seems to be naturally folded down, is quite long, and is very round at the end, not pointed.  Also, note how the front legs and chest are situated.  Rather than a broad, flat chest with widely spaced front legs, this dog’s legs are close together and the chest is very narrow between the legs.

The first two dogs shown in the video also appear not to be pit bulls but just kind of large random terriers (the brown one in the picture and the little one).

I mention this for a couple of reasons. One, pit bull advocates have long said that shelters have a habit of inflating the number of “pit bull” attacks or the number of dangerous, unadoptable “pit bulls” in their shelters in order to assure people that the other dogs in their shelters are unproblematic, easily adoptable animals that will move without problem into your home.  After all, it’s not one of those evil, nasty “pit bulls” or one of those good but damaged beyond repair “pit bulls.”  Every animal that is nasty or a problem becomes a “pit bull” so that the other dog breeds don’t suffer.

Trotting out what appears to be a starved, brutalized Lab/Lab mix and letting the local news call it a pit bull does little to assuage fears.

But here’s the other thing you should be concerned about folks. What if dog fighters in Middle Tennessee are fighting any medium sized dogs they can get their hands on?

Just think about that. And then ask yourself, if you have a dog between 40-75 lbs, how often is it outside unsupervised?

Also, as a side note, if “a lot of those dogs are abandoned very quickly,” then they obviously failed to make good fighters (a fighter wouldn’t be abandoned quickly would it?). So, we’re killing dogs who have proven to be poor fighters and unaggressive because the stereotype is that they’re aggressive fighters? That makes no sense.

2. Kleinheider, Kleinheider, Kleinheider, what the fuck? You really can’t see how a politician fucking an underling or a lobbyist is any of the taxpayers’ business?  You don’t think activities practically guaranteed to open the State up to sexual harrassement issues or corruption problems are any of the taxpayers’ business?  Are you daft?

Seriously, folks, if you’re a politician and you want to run around on your spouse, run around with someone not from work! Seriously, I can’t believe it’s fallen to me to give advice on how to cheat on your spouse without screwing over your constituents.

And Kleinheider, it’s completely disingenuous of you to pretend like the issue is just that those politicians were unfaithful and not who they were unfaithful with.

Also, if you believe that Paul Stanley is actually an “elite,” and somehow “above” petty middle class morality concerns, you really need to say that outloud to yourself a few times so that you can hear what you’re saying.


Christ. Some sanctimonious wife-beating, cheating petty tyrant is not my social better. Nor yours.

Get a fucking grip.

Great, Now I’m Going to Have That Stuck in My Head All Day

Tiny Pasture says it’s “probably best if Indiana voters don’t see this.”  I’m not sure why.  Will Indianans be surprised and disillusioned to see that the jungle their native son worked so hard to welcome them to is filled with catchy lyrics and fun dancing?  Will they be dismayed to learn that all the hard work that family from Gary did to teach the world to dance was for nothing?  Will they be offended that there are no little pink houses in the video?

Okay, I’m Not Done

Shoot, I just can’t let this go.  Okay, I’ll say this and then I’m done.


I’m just a dumpy broad with a computer and some random stuff to say.  What I enjoy about blogging and what makes it for me more than just an exercise in being a writer too cowardly to really write is the stuff I learn from the other amazing folks out here on the internet, who comment here or post at their own places, who put it out there.

I find this to be incredibly important.  It makes me feel intellectually engaged in the world and makes me feel like I have a real stake in things.  Maybe a tiny stake, but a stake.

The thing about WKRN under the old vision, with Brittney and Kleinheider, was that the leadership really got that–that blogging gave people a way to really be engaged in our community in ways that traditional media just doesn’t.

Even if we all watch the news or read the paper, it’s passive.  You just sit there and let information flow into you.

It’s not that way with blogging.  With blogging, if information comes in and doesn’t come back out in some way–either by spurring you to comment or blog yourself or act in some other way–it’s a failure.

To grasp the difference, imagine if I went to the Scene and said to Liz Garrigan, “Damn, Liz, I so love what you’ve done with the Scene.  I love the stuff you make me think about and I love learning about places and so, yeah, I’m going to start my own alternative newspaper.”

But people all the time start blogs because of a blog they’ve read.

So, yeah, Kleinheider, and Brittney, gave me a kind of legitimacy that was a hybrid of the blogger/old media thing.  I was just talking to a bunch of other ordinary folks who also had computers, but folks who got paid to blog by a television station thought what I said mattered.

That was nice.

And I’m sorry to see the end of that.

Is That a Cellphone in Your Pocket or are You Just Happy to See Me?

Kleinheider (aka Tiny Pasture, aka Carter) is out of Volunteer Voters.  In a perfect world, we’d all go down to the bar, lay him out on the pool table and send him out McNulty-style.

Alas, this is not that perfect world.

I wanted to say something mushy and heartfelt about Kleinheider’s job over at Volunteer Voters, but I just keep thinking of watching Brittney hand him that basket with that doll in it and the look on his face, when he thought, just for a second, that someone had handed him a real baby and then, then how he looked under the basket, as if the culprit might leap out from there and reveal him or herself.

That will be a memory I always cherish.

And he could have–and if he’d been almost any other of the conservative bloggers around here, he would have–be pissed off and felt played for a fool.

But he thought it was funny.

Anyway, I like him–even if that’s probably a dubious honor coming from me–and I’m sorry to see him go from WKRN, but their loss.

Two Quick Hits from Tiny Pasture

1.  He reports that the Tennesseee Republican Party is violating copyright in order to show us the true meaning of Christmas.

2.  He reports that we’re just says away from the start date of the new Tennessee law that will fine businesses for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants.  I have a couple of questions, all snarkiness aside.  One, doesn’t that “knowingly hiring illegal immigrants” sound like a loophole you could drive a truck through?

But here’s my other question, and I ask this as someone who has long advocated for going after the folks who benefit from a powerless labor force hated by the larger community, can we live with the unintended consequences of this law?  I mean, no business in Tennessee has a 100% illegal immigrant work force; Tennesseans have jobs because there are businesses here.

What happens when we start handing out fines?  Yes, some folks might reform, but it seems to me that we’re risking other folks just taking their business elsewhere.  And then what?  What does it do to our economy to lose a couple of big manufacturers?

This is, in part, why my focus has really shifted to immigration reform–we need to make it legal for these folks to get here and we need to find a way for folks who are already here to gain some kind of legal status–not just because it’s the humane thing to do, but because our economies depend on it.

I hear some folks talking about how we could make do without the labor of undocumented workers; we’ll just put folks who don’t work to work.  But let’s look at that pool.

Keep in mind that there are somewhere between 15 and 30 million undocumented workers here.

There are 24 million people who didn’t work outside the home at all last year, according to the .gov.

So far, so good.  Maybe the two populations could be swapped out.  What were the 24 million lazy-ass Americans doing rather than holding down jobs so illegals couldn’t get them?

Six and a half million of them were sick or disabled. 

Almost ten million of them are retired. 

Three and a half million of them were in school.

Only 714,000 could not find work.  Less than a million people.  And I don’t mean to suggest that that’s not devistating for them.  Of course it is.  But we’ve got less than a million people in this country who spent all last year unable to find work.  And we have between 15 and 30 million people here filling jobs.  See what I’m saying?

There’s not enough people who don’t have jobs to fill the jobs done by the people who are here illegally.

So, what happens then if we run illegal immigrants out of the country?  Won’t the multi-nationals just relocate to other countries with available labor?

I don’t know, honestly.  It just feels like we’re playing a dangerous game of chicken with our own futures.

In Defense of Kleinheider

Dear Gwen Kinsey:

With all due respect, you are completely and utterly wrong. So wrong that reading your take on Kleinheider causes me to shudder in fear.  So wrong that it makes me fear that you don’t know how to recognize your assets nor how to correctly value them.

Let’s just start with this little tidbit, which has been floating around the internet ever since it appeared at the Scene

“My idea about blogging is less about people’s individual home lives and more about trying to give transparency to content…and to give people an opportunity to get involved with content in a way they can’t on the air,” Kinsey tells the Scene. “From a news organization’s standpoint, an appropriate use of new media as far as I’m concerned for blogging is to provide an extension and a forum for back-and-forth with viewers. I know that part of the blogosphere locally has been trying to assess whether there’s room for personal blogging with respect to some of what we did before…and, again, I just think that we can do something that has value and that’s additive to our mission as a broadcaster without necessarily getting into the personal and the opinion.” [emphasis mine, of course]

Yes, you can do something that has value and adds to your mission without letting Kleinheider share his opinions.  But it doesn’t have as much value as letting him share his opinions does.

Why is an unfettered Kleinheider more valuable?

1.  Your online audience has told you repeatedly in as many different forums as they can find that they liked Kleinheider’s old approach better.  Listen carefully to me, Kinsey; I’m going to say it again for your benefit: YOUR AUDIENCE HAS TOLD YOU THAT KLEINHEIDER’S OLD APPROACH HAS MORE VALUE TO THEM.

2.  Kleinheider with a platform was a man to be reckoned with.  People knew who he was and paid attention to him because they understood that he shaped discussions.  Lawmakers wanted to shake his hand; reporters and editors wanted to touch base with him.  People around the state read him and associated him with WKRN.  People cared about him–love him or hate him–and thus, by extention, made your station’s website a “must-stop” place.

3.  Kleinheider doesn’t shape discussions now.  He asks essay questions.  Big whoop.  Yes, people comment over at Volunteer Voters, but how many folks come back and write furious posts on their own website that link to him?  How many people are chomping at the bit to see what he has to say every day?  I mean, do you get that you’ve taken a man well-known for pissing everyone off–right and left–and somehow managed to make him mostly irrelevant?

Why would you do that?

If you have someone with power, who is well-read and well-regarded, why on earth would you make him irrelevant?

4.  The beat that Kleinheider covers–politics–is not the kind of information you can just present to people.  It’s complicated and often the ties between people aren’t completely obvious.  Analysis is necessary and, once you have analysis, you’re going to have a person’s opinions.  For you to suggest that you don’t need people’s opinions makes me think you are suggesting that the news doesn’t need analysis.

Do you realize that we just had a mayoral race in which the only place to get any idea, any real idea, of what the candidates stood for was on the internet?  The Tennessean seemed barely to cover it at all.  Your station and other news channels seemed content to just report whenever the candidates were doing something, but your viewers never could really discern from your “reporting” what the candidates issues were.

And you (I’m speaking in terms of the mainstream media, not you specifically) don’t even seem to have the good sense to be embarrassed about that.

And you (and now I mean you specifically) don’t seem to have the good sense to realize that one of the places people could actually go for information and discussion and analysis is sitting right in your building.  You especially don’t seem to realize what an asset that is.

Is a completely unfettered Kleinheider a good idea?  No, I think probably not.  Kleinheider is smart but he’s kind of undisciplined.  On the other hand, he seems to flourish when he has structure, especially when that structure gives him room to play.  So, sure, he could benefit from an editor; who wouldn’t?

But it seems to me that there’s got to be a medium ground that would suit everyone between “Kleinheider the Paleoconservative pundit scares the shit out of the locals” and “Mr. Kleinheider’s On-going Essay Questions from High School Civics.”  The fact that you can’t imagine some middle ground troubles me.

And I’m telling you this as someone Kleinheider irritates the shit out of.  If he worked for me, I’d spend ten minutes every day telling him to stand up straight, fake some confidence, and to eat some god-damn lunch.  Then I’d have to fight with him about how wrong he was about just about everything he writes.

But I’d be thrilled to have someone in my newsroom people were afraid to not take calls from.

Just saying.

Aunt B.

p.s.  Is it true that you’re not paying Steve Gill?!  Pardon my French, but what the fuck is wrong over there?  You’re a business.  If you want people to work for you, you pay them for the work they’re doing for you.  You’ve at least paid the last few bloggers you still owed money to, right?

Lil’ P, You’re Going to Drive Me to Drinkin’

Lil’ P has a post.  It’s the kind of post that makes me want to spend all morning refuting it, except I wonder if that actually does any good. 

And I’m a little jealous.  I wonder what it would be like to just make blatently and patently false claims and be able to go through life convinced of their truth.

Let’s start with Music City Oracle, who links approvingly to an address about the exploitation of men, that says thus:

Seeing all this, the feminists thought, wow, men dominate everything, so society is set up to favor men. It must be great to be a man.

The mistake in that way of thinking is to look only at the top. If one were to look downward to the bottom of society instead, one finds mostly men there too. Who’s in prison, all over the world, as criminals or political prisoners? The population on Death Row has never approached 51% female. Who’s homeless? Again, mostly men. Whom does society use for bad or dangerous jobs? US Department of Labor statistics report that 93% of the people killed on the job are men. Likewise, who gets killed in battle? Even in today’s American army, which has made much of integrating the sexes and putting women into combat, the risks aren’t equal. This year we passed the milestone of 3,000 deaths in Iraq, and of those, 2,938 were men, 62 were women.

Y’all, I am no feminist genius and we’ve talked regularly about how the system screws men.  Second, saying that society “favors” men doesn’t mean and has never necessarily meant that men as a whole all have it great.  It means that men have gotten opportunities women don’t have.  Yes, it sucks to be stuck in prison, but we’ve not historically had the freedom to commit crimes at the same rate as men.  Yes, it sucks to be killed battle, but we aren’t allowed in combat.  How hard is that to understand?

As for Adrienne and her “I’ll just make up some shit about feminism and then mock it,” I was going to go through and refute her points with links to feminists who are actually working on the issues she claims feminists don’t care about and have some big long discussion about how feminists are deeply divided over the porn issue, but this is a woman who thinks that Cosmo is a main vehicle for the transmittal of feminist values, so, really, there’s no hope.

Y’all, she actually says, “Modern feminism has destroyed what it means to be a woman.”*  Well, what can I say in response to that?  By god, it’s true.  I volunteer twice a week down at the “Lady MacBeth” clinic off Charlotte where we feminists pluck women off the streets and tie them down and force them to become unsexed.

We’ve been found out!

*I’ve found out that it’s bad form to actually say this in public down here, but nothing strikes me as funnier than Southern white women talking about being distraught over the destruction of “what it means to be a woman.”  Oh, yes, let’s bring back the good ole days when women couldn’t go to school and when they were kept pregnant or nursing most of their adult life and when their husbands could legally beat them and when they’d have seventeen kids and only see four of them reach adulthood and when the white ones would move straight from their fathers’ houses into their husbands’ houses with nary a chance to see the world, where even the rich white ones didn’t have their own money, but had to depend on a father or husband to do right by them, and where the rich white ones had to live in a system where they oversaw and managed the welfare of enslaved people who hated them and were constantly looking for opportunities to escape or rise up, some of whom, the white women were well aware, were the mistresses of her own husband.  What good fun that must have been to look out at your children and the children of your enslaved women and see the same facial features.

Let’s not count the dirt women were forced to eat literally and metaphorically from 1865 on up until, well, shoot, look east into the mountains, even now.

Only with some heavy cultural amnesia could you come from the region that brought you “Oh, I Wish I Was a Single Girl Again” and pretend like life down here was so great for women before feminism ruined it.

Random Stuff of Kleinheider’s I Feel Needs Addressing

As a side note, I think I’m totally going to call Tiny Pasture, Lil’ P from here on out.

Lil’ P over at Volunteer Voters continues to bring me news that consternates me.  Let’s give each of them a moment, shall we?

Roger Abramson is back with The Scene.  Roger, I’m funny.  Can’t you encourage Liz to read and love me?  Fuck, Lil’ P, you’re practically her internet boyfriend.  Can’t you put in a good word for me?  I don’t know why it irritates me that Garrigan doesn’t know who I am, but it does.  In her mind, I’m not even a blogger worth disparaging.

— Well, by god, if David Oatney says it’s true, it must be true.  The Left hates Cubans. (Yeah, I don’t know either.)

–Okay, Lil’ P, let’s try basic reading comprehension.  Edwards said that all of his $500,000 advance went to charity.  The two co-authors on the book received $300,000 in an expense budget–in other words, they were given $300,000 to spend promoting the book.  It’s utterly unclear whether they received that money as a way to hide their advances or if they were supposed to spend that money promoting the book or what.  But it doesn’t matter.  John Edwards did not say that all the money HarperCollins gave the authors went to charity.  He said that all of his advance went to charity.  Think of it this way, if you said “I’m giving all of my income from WKRN to Aunt B.” and then WKRN came to you and said, ‘We want you to take this $35,000 and make a commercial for Volunteer Voters,’ would I have any right to expect that $35,000?  Of  course not.  That’s not a part of your income.  That’s the budget they gave you to do a task for work.

–Here’s what I don’t get.  Where in the New Testament did Jesus ever promise his followers that they could expect, nay had the right to expect, to never be made uncomfortable?  Did I miss the verse where Jesus was all like, “Dudes, following me is so easy.  You will never have to interact with people who are different than you.  You’ll never be expected to extend grace and mercy to those who need it, especially if you don’t like their families.  In fact, I pretty much expect you to be as cruel of fuckers as you can whenever you can.”?  Because, folks, if your Bible quotes the Savior of mankind as saying that, I’m pretty sure it means you’ve got your hands on a satanic bible.

Again, if Oatney says it, it must be true.  The racism on the anti-immigration side of the debate is equal to the racism on the immigration side of the debate.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go finish up my “Eat this tamale or Die, Cracker!” sign.

–Lil’ P did not link to this article by Blue Collar Muse, but I like to call it “No, Ladies, what I’m saying is that you’re too stupid to be held legally responsible for your actions.”  I, myself, after finishing up my “Eat this tamale or Die, Cracker!” sign, plan on going over to BCM’s house and paying one of his neighbors to bash him over the head and shoulders with it.  He’ll be pissed at the neighbor, sure, but, hey, I’ll come to regret paying that neighbor to bash him, and so I clearly deserve compassion and caring.

I wonder what other things I can get off the hook for just because I’m a woman…

“Hate” May Be Too Strong

Little Pasture* says: “Stacey Campfield recently spoke before a group Aunt B. says is a hate group.”

I just want to clarify.  I’ve been giving this some thought and I think that maybe white supremacy is not quite the right phrase in the case of these anti-immigration groups.  I don’t know.  LP’s got me thinking of it because I’m kind of annoyed by his typification of my description of these groups as “hate” groups.  I don’t think TN-RIP or T-FIRE are hate groups.  They’re not the Klan or the Skinheads.

And the more I think about it, the more I think that they’re not exactly white supremacists either.  I mean, yes, clearly it’s obvious to outsiders that they think that white Americans are better than non-white non-Americans–hence the supremacy.

But clearly, as well, they don’t understand what they’re doing as advancing white supremacy.  And so I’m not sure that it’s entirely useful

I mean, I think there’s a spectrum of ideas here and that what they want to do is protect white hegemony.

And that really annoys me because hegemony is one of my least favorite words ever and here they’ve gone and given me a reasonable and practical reason to regularly use it.

Damn you, white hegemonists, damn you!

*For you new readers, I try not to use Little Pasture’s immigrant name out of respect for his paleoconservative nonsense.

Kleinheider, We’re All Friends Here. You Can Tell Us.

Do you ever, at the end of a long day at Volunteer Voters, hang your head in shame for America?

Because, I have to tell you, I read the comments on this post, read the post and comments over at Oatney’s, and I had to put my head down on my desk and wait for the feeling of being too close to stupid to pass.

People of Tennessee!  I behoove you to familiarize yourself with the documents that make up the basis for our legal system and our cultural heritage before you start shooting off your mouths.

But since some of you won’t, I’m totally calling you on it.

David Oatney, Republican mastermind and future political office holder (if, indeed, those are still your plans), you think you should hold public office AND/WHEN you believe that, and I quote,

Someone who is in this country illegally has no protection under a Constitution that was intended for those who are in this country legally, living under the law by their legal residence here. If you are not in the United States in a legal capacity, you have no constitutional protection, nor any right to expect any such protection unless or until you take the necessary steps to become a legal resident of the United States. Once you obtain legal status, you then have every right to expect full constitutional protection, but not before.

Shoot, you’ve got folks supporting this nonsense.  Over at Volunteer Voters we can read:

Craig T. said,

on July 11th, 2007 at 1:35 pm

I think he is exactly right. Every person is entitled to basic human rights, but not Constitutional rights. Only those that play by the rules get the protection of the rules.

Donna Locke said,

on July 11th, 2007 at 2:00 pm

Illegal and legal aliens in this country do not have all the constitutional rights that American citizens have.

And we can see that Craig joins you back at your place to reiterate “Only those that play by the rules get the protection of the rules.”

I’m sorry that you can spout such nonsense and have no one challenge it.  I’m sorry that the challenge couldn’t come from a source you find more credible.  And I’m sorry that I didn’t see this sooner to do it sooner, but better late than never.

So, here goes.

David Oatney, Donna Locke, Craig Thomas, prove it.

Show me where in the Constitution it says that Constitutional protections for people recognized as legal persons (let me be clear, not people who are here legally, but people who are recognized as people under the law) extend only to U.S. citizens.

I’ll wait right here.

Still waiting.

Ha, now maybe I’ve been too deeply influenced by the Libertarians (Sarcastro did make me read a bunch of their propaganda), but when I flip through the Constitution, I’m struck by the nineth and tenth amendments. 

Shall we look at those together?

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

You see, there are two important things going on here.  In Amendment Nine, we see that the Constitution is not claiming to outline all of the rights of the people.  It’s only spelling out some specific rights and warning us not to assume those rights “deny or disparage others retained by the people.”  

In other words ALL rights are inherent in people, even if certain ones are enumerated in the Constitution–not inherent only in legal citizens, but in the people.

Amendment ten again reinforces this notion that Constitutional power is not inherent in the Constitution, but is “delegated to the United States” by the people.  The people hand some power over to the government, but keep for themselves the powers they have not delegated to either the Feds or their local governments.

Two amendments that say that rights and powers are inherent in the people and retained by the people unless delegated to the Feds.

This seems to me to be in direct contradiction to your notion that “If you are not in the United States in a legal capacity, you have no constitutional protection, nor any right to expect any such protection unless or until you take the necessary steps to become a legal resident of the United States.” and “Every person is entitled to basic human rights, but not Constitutional rights.” and “Illegal and legal aliens in this country do not have all the constitutional rights that American citizens have.”

I will grant you that we may not have always lived up to that ideal (in other words, I wholly expect that you can find court rulings that are in conflict with the 9th and 10th amendment), but it seems clear to me that the United States Constitution recognizes all people as having inherent rights, all rights, not just basic human rights.

Then, if we peruse the 14th Amendment, it says, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Note that the 14th amendment makes a distinction between “citizens” and “persons.”  A citizen has privileges and immunities which shall not be abridged.  But a person (a state separate from being a citizen) cannot be denied by the state “the equal protection of the laws.”

Again, completely disproving your idea that Constitutional rights only apply to citizens.

Maybe back in the olden days when folks couldn’t just pull up a copy of the Constitution on their computer and see for themselves what it says, you could get away with espousing the idea that only U.S. citizens have rights, but we live in the computer age.

Did you think that no one would think to check and see if you were full of shit?

Is Kleinheider Coming Around?

Today, Kleinheider says:

In my opinion, you are only pro-life if you believe abortion should be outlawed (with exceptions for rape, incest, life of the mother) at some level of government. You can be pro-life and not want a human life amendment to the constitution. You can be pro-life and prefer that the issue go to the states.

But, in my mind, you cannot call yourself pro-life if you believe that abortion should remain as a legal medical procedure. You just cannot. [Emphasis his.]

Is Kleinheider getting soft in his old age?

I’ve often talked about how we, as a society, tend to think of pregnancy as the proper punishment for sluts and how so much of the anti-abortion rhetoric seems to circle around making sure that women don’t escape the punishment that they so richly deserve.

How much punishment do women deserve for being sluts?  Kleinheider spells it out for you.

You don’t deserve to die (hence the reason for the “life of mother” exception).  That’s too far.  But you do deserve to be forced to have a baby.

How do we know this is about punishing sluts?

Because Kleinheider is willing to make an exception for women who got pregnant while not willingly having sex–rape and incest.

If a human being is a human being, from the moment of conception forward, there can be no exceptions (except, possibly, life of mother).  The ‘baby’ cannot help how it was conceived.  Rape and incest are no excuse for “murdering” a baby.

And yet, Kleinheider offers those two loopholes for women seeking abortions.


Because even Kleinheider is uncomfortable with women who are already the victims of crimes that might impregnate them being further victimized by having to gestate and, at the least, give birth to the child of her victimizer.

Now, if only we can work Kleinheider up to the idea that women are grown-ass individuals who all have our own equally valid reasons for making the reproductive choice we make, we might be on to a true revolution.

Like Uncle Walt, I Contain Multitudes

Lil’ Pasture* tried to call me out yesterday.

I would caution, however, that this system only works when there is a benevolent, homogeneous ingroup in charge. Something that wouldn’t be possible if other aspects of her ideology were carried out.

For there to us an us there has to be a them. It just doesn’t seem in keeping with enlightened progressive feminism, in my view, even on a provisional basis.

Donna Locke, in the comments, tries to school me about immigration:

Our legal-immigration system is in a mess because we are taking in and trying to process far, far more people than the system or we can handle. That should be a clue, an alarm, to any thinking American. Our traditional immigration levels, preceding the past 30 years, were far lower. The current massive numbers have defeated our traditional assimilation model. That is why we see everything repeated in Spanish now, and it includes more than the loss of our common language. The problem is not our immigration system. The problem is the numbers that are coming in and overwhelming it.

Then, y’all, Glen Dean is boo-hooing that we Lefties are calling anti-immigration folks xenophobic, racist, and nativist:

Do Mike and his friends, like commenter Ginger, really believe that every one who opposes illegal immigration is a hate filled racist? If they do believe that, no wonder they are so angry.


After hearing this story yesterday, I reacted like most people. A very bright young student, a track star at TSU, and a future law school student, was killed yesterday by a drunk driver. That alone is enough to leave you bothered. Every life is valuable regardless of one’s potential, but it especially hurts when an all American girl like this has her life cut short. Maybe we are wrong to seemingly put more value on this young lady’s life than others. I don’t know, but that’s not the point. The point is, a young person was killed by a drunk driver.

Y’all, seriously. Is it any wonder that, when someone like Mack comes along and just cuts through the crap, my reaction is so over the top? Thank god someone is just willing to say it like it is.

Let’s just take a side-track. First, I’d like to say how much I love and how handy it is for me to have a bunch of different translations of the Bible at my finger tips, but also how frustrating it is when you have a piece of something, say a Psalm, memorized and you go to look it up and it’s not how you remember it and so you have to spend ten minutes you’d otherwise spend on a perfectly good rant trying to find the exact translation you want. In my case, Psalm 62, English Standard Version, “For God alone, my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He is my rock and my salvation, my fortress. I shall not be greatly shaken.”

Isn’t that nice? I was looking for the next part, “How long will all of you attack a man to batter him, like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?” because I was going to work it into my rant about how ridiculous building a wall between here and Mexico is**, but I don’t think it really fits. Still, I didn’t want to not mention it, because Biblegateway is so damn cool.

Okay let’s get back to the points I want to make.

1. Glen Dean

The Random House dictionary defines “nativism” as “the policy of protecting the interests of native inhabitants against those of immigrants.” The American Heritage dictionary defines it as “A sociopolitical policy, especially in the United States in the 19th century, favoring the interests of established inhabitants over those of immigrants.” and “The reestablishment or perpetuation of native cultural traits, especially in opposition to acculturation.”

Glen Dean says, “Every life is valuable regardless of one’s potential, but it especially hurts when an all American girl like this has her life cut short. Maybe we are wrong to seemingly put more value on this young lady’s life than others.” [Various emphases mine]

Glen, hello, that is the text book definition of nativism–putting more value on this girl’s life BECAUSE SHE IS AN AMERICAN/favoring the interests of established inhabitants over those of immigrants. That is it. What you’re saying is nativist.

Calling you out on that makes people like me seem angry? Whatever.

If anything, we’re exasperated that y’all don’t seem to have the ability to type “” into your browser before you start complaining about being called nativist. I mean, not to skip ahead, but look at what Donna Locke says–“The current massive numbers have defeated our traditional assimilation model. That is why we see everything repeated in Spanish now, and it includes more than the loss of our common language.” Now look at the second American Heritage definition of nativism, “The reestablishment or perpetuation of native cultural traits, especially in opposition to acculturation.”

I can’t spell it out for you any more clearly. Donna Locke is a nativist. She advances the idea of the perpetuation of native cultural traits (“traditional assimilation models,” “our common language”), especially in opposition to acculturation (she doesn’t like seeing everything also in Spanish now).

Are all nativists xenophobic racists? No, but y’all have a long history of walking arm and arm with them***.

2. Donna Locke

Donna, for starters, you’re operating under the premise that our immigration system is somehow not troubled by the same bureaucratic nightmares of other government agencies. As nm and gandolph mantooth explained yesterday, it’s a nightmare that doesn’t work well for anyone.

You’re an intelligent woman and so I know you get this and so I am loathe to spell it out for you again, but here goes. The system is broken. They can’t even get as many new people as we need in the country into the country with anything approaching competancy. People who are in the system cannot navigate the system because the system is a nightmare.

This has nothing to do with the people who are here illegally, because they are, by definition, here illegally and therefore not in the system. We could have four billion people here illegally and they would be no strain on the immigration system because they have, by definition, bypassed the immigration system.

So, that is one issue. The immigration system needs to be fixed and it needs to be fixed in such a way that people can move through it efficiently, that the numbers of people who come in are equal to the needs we have, and that people who are criminals–like Victor Benitez, when they are identified–serve time (if they’ve committed a crime here) and then are deported.

Right now, though, Immigration cannot process the number of people we need in the ways that we need them. That also must be reformed. If we need a great many unskilled workers, then Immigration guidelines must be changed to let those folks get here with relative ease.

And, if we’ve encouraged folks to come here in ways that circumvent Immigration, because Immigration would not let them in in the first place, we owe it to them to help them get right with the Law.

Right now, we have a situation where there are, for all practical purposes, no slots for unskilled workers and yet businesses all over this country have said, “Well, if you can get here, you can have a job.” There is no legal way for them to take those jobs. And yet those jobs are being offered to them.

We can either start shutting down American businesses who offer jobs to folks who cannot legally take them (and good luck with that) or we can acknowledge that our Immigration system is so broken that, even normally law-abiding businesses must circumvent it in order to do business and fix the system and make a way for folks who are here to be here legally.

This is especially important because many of them have children who are U.S. citizens and we have an obligation to them, if not to their parents, to watch out for them (see, even I can be slightly nativist).

But, second, Donna, and perhaps more importantly, I come from rural America. And I have lived in little towns where church records were still kept in German or where grandmas still spoke Italian. I have lived near enough to Chicago to tell you that there are high schools in Chicago that have English, Spanish, Polish, and Greek signs that point you places. There are neighborhoods in Chicago where you might never hear English all day.

And it can be a little weird, to be in a country you know is ostensibly English-speaking and walk into stores and have to wait for a seven year old kid to come and translate your needs for you.

And I’ll even admit that it can be scary.

But it’s not the end of the world. It’s also exciting and vibrant. And, if you’ve ever been to Chicago on, say, St. Patrick’s Day or over the 4th, to see all these different folks come together to celebrate and enjoy each others’ company, it’s awe-inspiring.

It makes me proud to be an American, that we can be so different and yet all fit under the term “American.” Not because we’ve all assimilated; not because we all speak English; but because we’re all here.

That’s it. That’s all it takes. Just show up.

If that doesn’t inspire Whitman-esque love for this great place, I don’t know what will.

What I want to say to you is that the future you fear is coming. You might be able to hold it off for a little bit, but it’s coming.

You can either continue to be afraid or you can learn to embrace it. But I honestly don’t see how, without resorting to being something that is truly un-American, you can stop it.

3. Lil’ Pasture

You’re so cute. What can I say? I have a couple of visions of how the world should work and those visions don’t work together. Doesn’t mean I’m wrong, just means I’ve thrown my lot in with the poets and the angel-headed hipsters.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops.

*I try, out of respect to him, to remember not to use his immigrant name.

**I mean, seriously, first, who’s going to build the wall? Second, we’re communist Germany now? You’d think all those Reagan-lovers would be a little nervous about acting like a bunch of communists, but I guess not.

***Again, I know, y’all don’t believe in history or being obligated by it, but I don’t know how else to explain to you our reticence to assume that nativists aren’t motivated by racism or xenophobia.

You Know What They Say about Assuming–Another Open Letter to Kleinheider

Dear Mr. Tiny Pasture*:

I could spend my afternoon fretting about the Butcher, who is spending his afternoon sitting in a doctor’s office.  I could spend my afternoon coming up with reasons why men with big brown eyes should beg me to let them plant gentle kisses on my cooter**.  Hell, I could finish up lunch and get back to work.

But instead, I’ve got to ponder your latest immigration nonsense.

On Friday you were all “Oh, boo-hoo amnesty is not fair.” Today you’re all “Oh, boo-hoo amnesty is not fair.” Again.  Christ Jesus.  Most folks wait to see if a song is going to hit the top of the charts before they turn around and put out the remix.

And here’s me, putting out the answer song.  That’s how nerdy I am.  When was the last time anyone put out an answer song?  1964?  And, really, with the exception of Kitty Wells’s “It wasn’t God who made Honky Tonk Angels,” has there ever been a good answer song?

Not that I can think of.  Which means, Sir, that you’re forcing me into a genre that is, by definition, failed.  Thanks.  Thanks a lot.

Anyway, I have some questions for you.

You say, “Well, I could point out the fact that you cannot simply issue conditional pardons for mass amounts of people who break the law. What does it say about the seriousness in which we hold our laws?” And yet, are you not the same man who said, when talking about issuing conditional pardons for mass amounts of people who break the law, “Now, personally, while I believe civil disobedience is preferable violent insurrection I wouldn’t have a problem with excusing an aggravated assault as long as no one was permanently injured. But that’s just me.”

Go on, ponder that.  It’s such a good point that I, myself, need to take a minute and spend some time delighting in my own brilliance.

Whew, okay, I’m done.

Next, you say, “The reason we cannot grant amnesty, apart from all the issues surrounding the preservation of the rule of law, is that we simply have more immigrants coming into this country than we can properly absorb either economically or culturally.”  To which I must say, “Says who?”  Really, by what standard are you judging whether folks can be “properly” absorbed?

Today, you’re all, “Why should we need an amendment to make sure that illegals return to their home country in order to apply for legal residency? Is that not a given?”  You realize, of course, that there are people who have been in this country illegally since they were small children.  This is their home country.  You must also realize that there are people who are here in this country illegally because their home countries are dangerous shit-holes, often made that way by our fucked-up foreign policy.  Shall we inflict probable death sentences on them?

Also, Mr. “Conservative.”  Who will pay to remove these folks to their “homelands?”  Who’s paying for the plane tickets for 15 million people?  You’re going to go to the American tax payers and ask for international airfare for fifteen million people?  Woo-hoo!  I CANNOT wait to see how that goes over.

You tickle me, Tiny Pasture.


Aunt B.

P.S. I’m thinking about writing an open letter to the Blue Collar Muse.  Do you think it’s too soon to subject him to such hazing?  And yet, today, when talking about how to solve the problems of Black America (whatever that means), he actually says, and I quote, when talking about the promises he thinks Obama is making to his potential voters, “Evidently, a return to economic prosperity and the 1950’s heyday of ‘a chicken in every pot and two cars in every garage’ is just around the corner in January of 2009 when George “Just call me Sauron, all my enemies do!” Bush is no longer President. [emphasis mine]”

Let me just reiterate, Carter, your fellow Rightie, a man you quote today, is offering up political analysis in which he posits that Barak Obama is promising Black America a return to “the 1950’s [sic] heyday of ‘a chicken in every pot and two cars in every garage'” if only they vote for him.

One more time for the slow: Blue Collar Muse thinks that Barak Obama is promising Black America a return to the 1950s if they vote for him.

Because Barak Obama wants to commit political suicide?!  What the fuck?!

How can I not open-letter than nonsense?

And yet, I don’t because I just met the dude and we talked about “The Blues Brothers.”  We bonded over the Joliet prison.  But this nonsense?

Ah, well, I refrain.  But I will snicker about this notion of folks in the 50s all having two cars in their garages.

*I assume you prefer your non-immigrant name?

**”Reason #4: It’ll make Kleinheider uncomfortable to imagine it.”

Happy, Happy Birthday Baby

Y’all, let me tell you, there’s nothing like standing in a conference room, overlooking a man sitting at a desk, watching as a woman, who appears to be confused and fretting, brings him a basket.

In the basket is a baby, some binkies, some hot sauce, some tortillas, and a sad, sad letter describing how the baby’s mother has had to return to Guatemala and the baby is too weak and small to make the trip.

The man looks at the basket. Briefly, it flashes across his face, the idea that it might be a a real baby that he, anti-immigration advocate that he is, has been saddled with by virtue of his outspokenness. But wait!

It’s too small and too ugly and too light and not crying. Thank god, it’s not a real baby. But, that doesn’t answer the question, who, who indeed would leave such an odd package with the aforementioned man?

He looks at the letter. He looks in the basket. He looks under the basket. No clues.

I am laughing as hard as I can, waiting to see if he’ll look my way or if he’ll run out into the parking lot to see who’s driving away.

But no, instead, he looks back under the basket.

Up here, Kleinheider, up here!

Damn it, if I’m going to have a nemesis, I have to have a nemesis quick enough to instantly suspect it’s me when weird things happen to him.

Still, the look of distress on his face was an awesome birthday present.

Edited To Add: Check the picture Brittney took.