Monday, May 11, 2009

We're on the Move!

Hello, ducks! Thanks for coming by--but I have to tell you, we've moved!

I decided to retitle the blog before it got too big, and before I had more than two readers. So you can now find it at The Second Awakening. I explain why it's been changed there.

Thanks for dropping by, ducks! Now go on to the new place--we're having punch!

Happy Mother's Day

At least there's one day a year we're supposed to commemorate how wonderful the first woman in our lives are! Happy Mother's Day to the woman who is my inspiration, counselor, friend, and support: have the happiest of days, Mom!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Preggers and Old Uns: Hit the Bricks!

Mustachio'd libertarian mouthpiece John Stossel showed up on The View today. (Yes, ducks, I was watching--I overslept today.)

I've long held that libertarianism is a luxury only the privileged can afford; if you're a victim of institutionalized prejudice, you tend not to be so sanguine about the idea of folks just doing what they want to do--like, say, issue literacy tests before you can vote, or decide that a penis was the most important instrument in a symphony orchestra.

Among the views Iron John elucidated:

There should be no laws to protect pregnant women in the workplace, because of the "unintended consequences." You might not hire a woman! Because of the Babies! Even Elizabeth Hasselbeck--Elizabeth Hasselbeck!--had a problem with that. "If you don't protect these women, aren't they more at risk?" she asked. Whoopi asked why the laws should be chucked instead of "tweaked." "Because tweaking never works," huffed John. I could swear I saw him twirling the ends of his mustache, but that might just have been me being blinded by outrage.

We protect seinors waaay too much because we spend 6-1 on the elders versus the young. Oh, and Ponzi scheme! Medicaid-paid for Viagra! The elderly have a higher net worth than the rest of the population! (Well, yeah, John, and if Bill Gates and I are in the same room together, our average net worth is higher than yours; most seniors I know are very worried about making ends meet nowadays.) Joy asked if he would income test Social Security at this point; when John said he would, she told him he was taking a very "liberal" position. "I'm a classical liberal," he smirked.

Sherri then wondered "If the government isn't taking care of seniors, then who is?" John's reply was that we should take care of ourselves, by saving. Let me tell you, ducks: my parents worked very hard in their lifetime; they each had made a major change in vocation in their thirties, and so had to make up a lot of time. In addition to the full-time jobs they both held, they taught college part-time, and for years had their own test prep side business. Because of that, when they retired they had a tidy little sum to carry them through their old age--my dad was even able to retire early.

Of course, the two Bush stock market crashes caused their net worth to drop pretty precipitously each time; both of them now work part-time. And they're the kind of success story Stossel wants everyone to have! Oh and Free Markets! Yeah!

Poverty is the natural state of all human beings. This came towards the end of the segment; the discussion of social security naturally blended into general social policy. Stossel gave the classic libertarian answer as to the purpose of government: it should do what only it can do: keep us safe, keep people from stealing things. (I've noticed that American libertarians always make national defense a priority, even though it would seem to be a logical inconsistency: shouldn't we all be able to defend ourselves? Certainly the Founding Fathers thought a standing army was the greatest instrument of tyranny known. Oh well.) In any case, Joy wondered about the Great Depression, and asked John about that, leading to the quote above, plus: "free markets!" (Ah, history blindness is another great privilege of the privileged; a lot of people at the time of the Depression saw it as proof of the failure of capitalism--and it certainly wasn't free markets that lifted us out of it, but massive government spending, first from the New Deal, then from World War II.) Oh, and private charities. (Whoopi: "are there no workhouses? are there no orphanages?")

Professional atheletes should be allowed to use steroids, oh and by the way the link to heart disease and cancer hasn't been proven. Right. Whatever.

The way to save endangered species is to eat them, since there's no shortage of chicken, and by the way when we allowed people to raise bison for food, didn't that bring them back from extinction? Of course, the great cause of extinction nowadays is habitat destruction--I wonder how you're supposed to build a rainforest to keep your valuable, edible frog herds alive?

I first encountered Stossel way back when I was in high school. I think I thought he made sense, until he did a piece on why giving to charity was counter-productive. (He told Ted Turner, who has given millions to the UN, this theory in an interview, and Turner nearly decked him; I'm aware that it doesn't take much to do that, but still.) He's been dishing out his libertarianism-light for years now, and getting praised for being a maverick and "telling uncomfortable truths." And yet, there's not a similar position from somebody on the far left: 20/20 doesn't have any segments where a socialist talks about the evils of government non-intervention. But I'm assured that the media has a liberal bias.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Won't Somebody Think Of The Menz!

My goodness, duckies! President Obama might nominate another woman to the Supreme Court, and the media gasbags are all in a dither that he might not pick the most qualified candidate because of that! Since, obviously, the most qualified candidate by definition could not be a woman, queer, or a person of color.

I guess I can understand that: I mean, if he appoints another woman, the Supreme Court will tie its previous high for number of women on the Court. With two.

Elizabeth Edwards and the Faux Double-Bind

Elizabeth Edwards, wife of John Edwards (ex-senator from NC, ex-Democratic Vice Presidential nominee, ex-Presidential candidate), has a new book out. Edwards, in case you've forgotten, suffered a terminal relapse of breast and bone cancer during her husband's campaign.

Also, it turns out, during the time he was cheating on her with a "videographer" that he paid over $100,000 to. And had a kid with.

In her book, Resilience, she says that her husband should not have run, and that she tried to talk him into dropping out after he admitted to the affair. It also turns out that he was less than honest with her: he told her it had been a one-time dalliance, even while he had his mistress stashed away, and his staff scrambling desperately to cover up evidence of the affair.

So, for those of you playing at home, here's the scorecard: second bout of cancer turns out to be terminal; husband cheating on her; husband lying about cheating on her; husband still delusional enough to think he can be President.

All in all, that's pretty terrible, and I have a lot of sympathy for Ms. Edwards, who seems to have gotten the shortest of short ends of the stick. But what makes this story of interest to this blog is the backlash I saw today.

First, Michael Goodwin weighs in for the New York Daily News:

...the temptation is to shout, "Leave the poor woman alone."

That's easier said than done. After all, Elizabeth Edwards helped to perpetrate a fraud on voters, namely, that her husband was fit to be President.

She knew better and now says she told him to drop out because of the affair. He didn't and she tried to get him elected, raising money and stumping with and for him. She excoriated the media for giving "the Cliffs Notes" of the truth about candidates.

If only we had known the truth she was hiding.

Ah. Way to empathize. Let me ponder, what, exactly her choices were once John refused to drop out. Leaving the campaign trail would have been--no doubt about it--a major distraction. The question would have been why, after not stopping campaigning despite being diagnosed with breast cancer, had she suddenly vanished. It would have been a staggering blow to an already staggering campaign. And, if as seems to be the case, she didn't realize the extent of the affair, then maybe--maybe--she really did think he was qualified to be President. After all, many Democrats still think fondly of Bill Clinton, and he was a serial womanizer as well. (In fact, weren't many of us wringing our hands about how a person's personal life didn't have to reflect on his ability to do the job at the time?)

Goodwin winds up with:

"Her illness has put a halo over her head and it doesn't belong there," another reader posted. "If she were not sick, there would be far more criticism of her for hiding this kind of news . . . By participating in his charade, Elizabeth is mighty guilty herself."

Me? I second both emotions.

Which leads nicely into Maureen Dowd's column in the Grey Lady:

But now Saint Elizabeth has dragged him back into the public square for a flogging on “Oprah” and in Time and at bookstores near you. The book is billed as helping people “facing life’s adversities” and offering an “inspirational meditation on the gifts we can find among life’s biggest challenges.”

But it’s just a gratuitous peek into their lives, and one that exposes her kids, by peddling more dregs about their personal family life in a book, and exposes the ex-girlfriend who’s now trying to raise the baby girl, a dead ringer for John Edwards, in South Orange, N.J.
So, to update your scorecard:

Bill Clinton, serial adulterer, perjurer, and not as liberal as you think--the greatest President since World War II, at least according to Al Franken.

John Edwards, serial adulterer, class hypocrite, not as liberal as you think but unable to even be Vice President: lying cad.

Elizabeth Edwards, cancer survivor, adultery survivor, cancer victim, way smarter than her husband: whiner who is needlessly exposing her family to ridicule for unknown reasons.

What I'm getting at is that this is a completely fake double-bind, and I call sexism. Bill Clinton wrote an enormous autobiography, which talks about his affair, but because he's a Serious Politician (and Has A Penis), that's statemanlike. Elizabeth Edwards, who, as Dowd says, "would have made a wonderful candidate herself. But she poured everything into John[...]" writes a book about the most wrenching time of her life, and she's accused of dragging herself shamelessly back into the spotlight, not to mention her family, and O Won't Somebody Think Of The Children, and after all, she doesn't have a penis.

If she did, maybe she'd get more respect. Though if she did, her husband couldn't have run for President.

Hell, he'd not even be her husband.

Except in Massachusetts, Vermont, Iowa, and (yay!) Maine, that is.

This Week on Seth Rogen Watch

The amazing Sady of Tiger Beatdown, whose work I absolutely adore, has an article about the vile "date rape is hy-larious" comedy Observe and Report on the Guardian's Comment Is Free website.

Go read it. Then like I did, go and read the entire archives of Tiger Beatdown. It's worth it, even if it does! make you! use lots of! exclamation marks! Also: colons.

Sady is a one of a kind wonder, and her posts always make my day a bit brighter.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Your RDA of Morning Show Outrage

Today, on Morning Joe, they're talking about Bernie Madoff. Apparently, his 17th floor headquarters were "inviolable," leading Joe Scarborough to make this pithy observation:

"I was expecting there to be these financial wizards, but it was just a bunch of young, naive, women."