Monday, December 28, 2015

The Great American Delusion

There's this white stuff falling outta the sky at the moment. The weather pundits started out predicting 5-10" but it's bargain time of year, so they've reduced the prediction to 1-3". Meh. There will be minyan tomorrow morning. 

Tuesday will mark the 30th day since my Dad's burial. To those of you familiar with Jewish law, it's the end of Shloshim. No more torn ribbons. I can get a haircut. I can fully return to the world. Ready or not, here I come. 

Honestly, I am glad to see the back-end of 2015. It's not been a great year. Oh, yeah, I've weathered it all in my take-no-prisoners-Spartacus-kinda-way, but it's not been all that easy, and I am tired. Really, really tired. Okay, it might be the letrozole they've got me taking for this cancer thing, but whatever it is, I am bone weary and would like to sleep for a couple of days....or weeks. Not happening. 

On the flip side, this has been the first year I've lived on my own. Not in my childhood home, not in a dorm, not with my husband, kids, or father-in-law. Just me and the dog. And although she's lousy company, I find I rather like it. Which is a bit of a surprise. 

The blog has had a resurgence of late. For a while, readership had declined, but suddenly, it's back with a vengeance. Emails are up, and frankly, pretty interesting. I continue to be annoyed with the new commenting policy over at the NY Times. They no longer publish opinion at 10 or 11 p.m. Eastern time, which means I don't see the columns until the morning, and then I don't feel much like opining. I opine best late at night. And that they keep publishing Ross Donut remains an utter mystery. 

Meanwhile. back at the ranch, GOP Clown Cavalcade seems to have stalled. I keep waiting for a policy statement from someone, anyone, and all I hear is crap fluttering outta their mouths. This really pisses me off. Not because they are saying stupid stuff, which they are, but because they are expecting We, the People to be distracted from issues by their non-stop obfuscation. They keep lining up on the stage like game show contestants...the winner being the one who can get the most LIAR-LIAR-PANTS-ON-FIRE ratings from the fact-checker groups. 

I cannot wait for Iowa and New Hampshire. I want to see what people actually do when asked to make a decision about who should actually run. I want to see who is left standing at the end of those two events. Keep in mind who won Iowa in 2012. Just because you win in Iowa it doesn't mean you're gonna take the cake. And in New Hampshire, Romney took only 39% of the vote. 
As of Dec. 23rd-Huff Post

The best anyone can hope for is the winnowing of the field. These are the standings as of December 23th...a little old, but close enough for government work. Still, it's a field crowded with inconsequential would-be politicians who have, one and all, sold the electorate down some cockamamie river of no  economic return. 

Dr. Paul Krugman, in his NY Times column this morning, wrote:

You might think, then, that Bush-style tax cuts would be out of favor. In fact, however, establishment candidates like Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush are proposing much bigger tax cuts than W ever did. And independent analysis of Jeb’s proposal shows that it’s even more tilted toward the wealthy than anything his brother did.
Oddly enough, this is the key. What Krugman implies is that those who would support either of these two....or any of the Clown Cavalcade for that really supporting a FantasyLand kinda pipe dream. Why would someone who barely makes a subsistence living cast their vote for someone who is going to give more tax breaks to the superrich while cutting back basic human services? Well, the answer may be easier to discern than one might think. It's all about The Great American Dream, or, in this case, The Great American  Delusion. 

We, the People hear talk about how wealth has to be protected and that by ensuring the wealthy retain and increase their own incomes, benefits will trickle down to the masses because the wealthy will have more to spend. Baloney. There is a whole segment of the population that honestly and whole-heartedly believes that if they wish/pray/buy enough lottery tickets, magic will happen and they will be super-rich, and once that happens, they're gonna need that write off for their new personal Lear jet. It's not about hard work or start-ups in the garage; it's about money falling outta the sky....or out of the lotto kiosk at the local 7-Eleven. 

The Great American Delusion brings with it all manner of scary stuff. There is blame to assign, people to hate, and laws to repress. It's not about's about promulgating fear and making sure We, the People, have a target to hate. It's not about defending the Constitution, it's about defending our right to own a war-machine-type-rifle that we can shoot at will at anyone or anything. 

Nazi Germany did not begin with gas chambers. Nazi Germany began with a party that instilled fear of the other in its citizenry. They found an outsider to blame. They found a way to round up segments of their own population. And they found a way to manufacture death in a canister. Nazi Germany began with Adolf Hitler telling the people who to blame for whatever was wrong with their own lives. This is NOT American thinking.... least not yet. 

Bring on 2016. I am more than ready for the Clown Cavalcade to move on!

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Resolve to regularly read an actual print newspaper this year.

Monday, December 21, 2015

What's Normal?

Did I ever mention that when I would call my folks and Dad answered the phone, he would shout, "Hey, Sue Alou!" which was really homage to Jesus Alou, the baseball player? 

Dad took his own time leaving the building; he was hanging on for Mom. Every time he would surface, he would tell whomever was standing there, "Thanks for coming. It's been a good ride. Glad to see you again." Quintessential Dad: unfailingly polite, kind, aware of the effort made by others...except for the potter at Sturbridge Village...ask me about that some other's family legend. Seemed to me that each time he surfaced, he was preparing us in case he did not surface again, and he wanted to exit this world with kindness on his lips. 

When he took his last breath, I was there, and admit to feeling some relief. It was finally over. The last couple of days had been everything he never wanted. But I know feeling relief isn't completely reasonable, and it comes off as selfish even when you know he must've been glad to see Grandpa and Ziggy waiting to take him to Aunt Ruth's. I can't shake that image. That's what I want to think happened. 

I've been so busy with everyone coming in and out, and making sure Mom has winter clothing...something she didn't really need in Flah-rida. I've allowed myself to be momentarily distracted by the Clown Cavalcade, the Demo-Debate, and Debbie-Gate. There is so much to write about that it's practically overwhelming....or should be. But I'm having trouble caring about the Presiduncy. Debbie Wasserwhatever-Shultz is ridiculous; I want her to go away. She's the Democratic answer to the Clown Cavalcade all by herself. Do we really have to sink to their level? But that's about where my brain stops. 

I don't have the sitzfleisch to write about the nonsense right now. 

Oh, I suppose I could've written, "No intro today," like Ziggy would've, but that doesn't seem right. Instead, I'll quote from a letter from Dad, dated June 5th, 1979, the week after his own father, my Grandpa Moishe, left the building:
I'm trying to get back to a normal day at the office--but it isn't easy--I still bear the wounds of the last few months--and they don't heal too quickly.
Just like my Dad, I go to morning minyan before I go to the office...and I can tell you with absolute certainty, he was right: the wounds don't heal too quickly. I will eventually have to come to terms with the space Dad has left behind. It's a really BIG space. 

Knowing I'll never get "Hey, Sue Alou!" on the phone again is a tough one. It does not mean, however, that I won't ever hear it again. I will hear it in my inner ear for the rest of my life, right as I dig into my pocket for a few extra commas. 

Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week

Grieving is hard work; it's not instant and it doesn't happen on a schedule.
Do yourself a huge favor. Make the time. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

What I Wanna Know

Wanna know what I wanna know? I wanna know a bunch of stuff this week.

Part One:

Let's start with the mystery snail mail: I wanna know who sent a lovely, but unsigned card bearing a Saint Paul postmark that read, 
Enjoy! Because you survived Cancer and Radiation.

Tucked inside were two gift cards. I do not recognize the handwriting. I have no idea who sent them. But I am profoundly touched...and very grateful. If you, the generous person who did this, are reading this blog, I thank you. From the bottom of my soul. You are kind and I wish i could say "thank you" in person.

Deuxième Partie:

The next thing I wanna know is how come They, The Government of These Here United States, managed to push through new rules for drones that are more comprehensive than rules for guns. How do they do that? Three years after Sandy Hook and the Clowns on the Hill cannot manage to produce cogent gun legislation, but the FAA can compel everyone, including kids, to register their drones and give 'em all visible tail numbers. Can anyone explain this? 

Actually, my friend Morgan did. She said, "Drones don't have lobbyists.... yet." Duh. Why didn't I think of that. She's right, of course. As soon as they convene a gaggle of groupies to serve as a special interest group, they, too will spend billions of dollars to "convince" the GOP that registering drones is a threat to Amurikan freedom. They will prove that the Founding Fathers clearly included drones in the part about the right to bear arms. After all, any real Amurikan can see a drone should be outfitted with remote control firearms to protect themselves from other drones. In fact, a drone was shot right outta the sky this past summer for "peeping" at sunbathing kids because it didn't have its own gun.

Four guys came over to confront me about it, and I happened to be armed, so that changed their minds,” Merideth said. “They asked me, ‘Are you the S-O-B that shot my drone?’ and I said, ‘Yes I am. I had my 40 mm Glock on me and they started toward me and I told them, "If you cross my sidewalk, there’s gonna be another shooting."
Great. Just great. Just what we need: more reasons to get more guns. 

Parte Terza:

From politicfact. com
I wanna know why Ted Cruz is the new front-runner on the Clown Cavalcade. This is the same lunatic who wants all fertilized eggs to be declared people so abortion would be murder. This guy doesn't tell the truth and the most wonky fact-checkers give him a terrible rating. Why would people want to vote for a guy who lies? Why would women want to vote for a guy who thinks we are too stupid to decide how our bodies are to be used. I wanna know why anyone would support a guy who believes not all citizens are equal before the law. This is unfathomable.

But then again, would Trump be a better candidate? Not bloody likely.

Cuarta parte:

What I wanna know about Donald Trump is how much his campaign is costing him and what is the net effect to his net worth. The longer Trump raves on, the more bombastic he becomes, and the less presidential. Now, all things considered, Trump is many things but last time I looked, stupid wasn't one of them. What I wanna know is why this campaign in continuing and, as long as it's going on, why is it getting increasingly strident and egregiously lunatic? 

What I also wanna know is if I'm the only one who suspects he is pushing some kind of reality production envelop and there is no real candidacy inside? Why do I think We, the People, are being taken on a steeplechase with this guy and it's not for our benefit one whit. He has us all hopped up for the ride and the media is letting him manage them right off a cliff....and for what? Bombast? Ridiculousness? Brinksmanship? .....Or ratings?

Which dovetails right into the next thing I wanna know. Recent reports indicate that for every hour+ the mainstream media give Trump, Sanders gets less than a minute. You don't have to be a TV addict to know Trump is bloviating at the airtime while Sanders gets virtually nothing. Hillary doesn't do that much better either. So I wanna know who benefits from the lopsided coverage. It sure as hell isn't We, the People. Just the opposite; We, the People are being denied serious information about all the candidates, not simply the Democrats. 

Parto Kvin:

What I wanna know is how is this okay with all of We, the People...Republican, Democrat, Independent, Socialist, Communist, Progressive, Libertarian, FSM.....did I leave anyone out? I am unwilling to believe everyone is that dumb as not to see through this charade. 

When the media is complicit, the only thing they accomplish is dumbing down the process. There is a reason they have turned this election into a string of bombastic one-liners courtesy of Mr. Trump: it sells advert time. Equal time rules may have been initially established to avoid this very problem, but when the candidate isn't really a candidate, is equal time really an issue? 

Ha! You bet your sweet bippy it is.

Truth, accuracy, fair reporting, issue coverage...none of that has anything whatsoever to do with this. Fair and balanced reporting does not sell soap. And that's what Amurika needs: more soap.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week

Be kind. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

And Today's Terrorist Is..........

On December 2nd, a man born in Chicago, Illinois walked into a holiday party with his foreign-born wife and killed 14 civilians and injured 21 others at the Inland Regional Center holiday party. Two police officers were injured during the subsequent gunfight. The wife, born in Pakistan, appears to have sworn allegiance to ISIS on a Facebook page; an initial reports credit her with radicalizing her husband. They were armed with two .223-caliber semi-automatic rifles and two 9 mm caliber semi-automatic pistols.

On November 27th, a man born in South Carolina walked into a mall and then a women's health care clinic with the intent to kill. Two civilians and one police officer were shot dead, five more officers and four  more civilians were injured in the subsequent standoff and shoot-out. The suspect was using a long gun. The alleged gunman, Robert Lewis Dear, Jr, was inspired to act by the Army of God, a Christian anti-abortion group that promotes violence against clinics and practitioners alike. 

On October 1st, a man born in Los Angeles walked into Umpqua Community College and systematically executed the assistant professor and eight students in a classroom. 9 others were injured. Documentation the shooter gave to a survivor identifies him as a virgin and filled with animosity toward Black men.  

On June 17th, a man born in Columbia, South Carolina walked into a prayer service at a predominantly Black church and killed the pastor and eight of his parishioners. He later told police he was trying to ignite a race war. 

Terrorists come in all shapes, sizes and gender. Hang on to that thought for a moment. 

These are but a very few highlights of US mass shootings this year. The top two were motivated by radical religion. The second two are racially motivated. With the exception of Farook's wife, all were American born and raised. 

All are acts of terrorism; all are acts intended to strike fear and terror into the hearts of all Americans. All of these are acts with a very intentional, specific point. 

So why is the only one labelled terrorism the one where Muslims are the shooters?

The truth is fingers are pointed at Muslims because they're not like "us." And I use the "us" with great trepidation because I'm not one of "us" either. I'm a Jew and right now, I am watching what happens with great alarm. What Clown Cavalcade is doing to Muslims is only an inch away from what they would like to do to my "us." Anti-Israel rhetoric is thriving on college campuses right now. But it's not anti-Israel; it's badly disguised antisemitic rhetoric. You have to be blind, deaf, and exceedingly dumb not to get that. And we're not that stupid. 

See the guy with the great mustache? He's our best man. He stood beside us 
under the chuppah. Ziggy was his best man. He's Muslim. Ask me if that matters.

If we want to have a conversation about terrorism and terrorists, let's have it. But let's call terrorism terrorism and stop limiting it to interaction with the Islamic community. Let's start by recognizing that people who blow up women's clinics are terrorists. A person who walks into a church and shoot the parishioners is a terrorist. A person who firebombs black churches is a terrorist. Muslim families fleeing war-torn Syria who have gone through two years of refugee screening are highly unlikely to be terrorists. 

It's time to get past the fantasy reaction, people. The enemies of this nation are not the families who come here seeking refuge and safety. Skin color, religion, national origin...these are NOT determining factors when it comes to figuring out who is or is not a terrorist. 

It's time to send that fascist Trump and his unbridled hate speech back to his unreality show. And it's time to demand that the GOP put up a candidate who is actually capable of being the leader of the free world, because right now, they have nothing. 

And that nothing is the most dangerous, destructive nothing imaginable. 

Wifely Person's Tip 'the Week

There is no room for hate speech in these here United States. 
And there is no room for terroristic threats against women, people of color, 
or anyone else for that matter. It's un-American.