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I Want My Country Back Too

For those of you who don’t already know, there’s an election happening today.  Apparently, it’s the most important election of my lifetime.  It must be.  For over a year now, my inbox has been flooded with requests for money.  Daily.  I think I read somewhere that winning this election is going to cost 2.5 billion dollars, give or take a Super Pac.  I know prices have gone up of late, but, really, TWO AND A HALF BILLION?  A huge chunk of that money went to buying airtime to run ads, mostly in swing states, but there are races everywhere and everybody has to be on the tube.  If I were the cynical type, I might just wonder if media outlets didn’t play up the “horse-race” narrative in an effort to sell more and more airtime.  I know it’s a straw argument, but honestly, I look around and wonder how many schools 2.5 billion dollars builds?  How many local health clinics can we staff with that kind of stack?  How many veterans can we help heal or retrain for some of those great new jobs we have been promised?

My readers know I will vote for President Obama.  There was never any wavering on my part.  I don’t love Obama, nor do I worship him, despite what low information voters might have you believe.  I think the use of drones on U.S. citizens is wrong.  Allowing Holder to run roughshod over the medical marijuana industry deeply disappointed me.  There are serious policy disagreements between us, and he knows it.  Oh, he knows it.  But I have been more than impressed by his job performance as POTUS, particularly because he faced a cabal of craven congress critters intent on making him fail, and some of those were members of his own Party.  The stakes were huge, and he stepped up.  GM, Chrysler, Affordable Care Act, these were not popular causes, yet he got them done.  Beyond that, I really really really don’t want Mitt Romney making appointments to the bench.  Any bench, anywhere.  At any price.

I’m not going to rehash what’s been said about Mitt Romney here on this blog.  You either trust him, or you don’t.  But there is one near constant refrain I keep hearing from Romney supporters, and it irks me every damn time I hear it:

“I want my country back”.

You know what, you pathetic, cringing little milksop?  I do too.  The country I want back is the one that told it’s citizens that if they worked hard, and played by the rules, they could count on a little something when they were too old to work.  The country that told my father and millions of other men, “thank you for serving in our Armed Forces, here’s some tuition money to use to go school.”  Yes.  The country I miss is the one that said, “sure, you can form a union with your fellow workers, and negotiate en mass for safer conditions, better pay, fairer hours, etc.  It’s the country that told it’s black citizens that after generations of enslavement, you are entitled to be free and prosperous and have the full benefit of citizenship.  It’s the country that managed to build thousands of roads and bridges and dams, knowing full well the people doing the work were not the people who would most benefit.

It’s the country that helped win a global war against tyranny, and did so on the heels of a full scale economic meltdown.  It’s the country that asked it’s wealthiest to pony up roughly 87 percent of it’s income so that we might build an infrastructure that was the envy of the entire world.

It’s the country that found value in identifying public space and protected our most precious areas for future generations to enjoy.

I could go on forever, but, lastly, it’s the country that said if you were poor, hungry, tired or oppressed, you were welcome here.

I wonder what country they’re talking about.

Go vote.


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Torpedoes Away!

One of the things that separates gifted politicians from, well, hack politicians is the ability to quickly grasp situations and act accordingly.  Enter Hurricane Sandy.  Both POTUS and Romney cancelled campaign events in it’s wake, and rightly so.  After all, POTUS must communicate with Governors and FEMA to determine where to allocate resources, declarations must be considered and signed, and the country expects their President to lead during a disaster.  At first, it looked like Romney was going to put politics aside, to be mindful of the fact that millions of Americans were facing real hardship once Sandy came ashore.  That lasted about two hours.  The “Victory Rally” planned in Ohio was renamed the “storm relief” rally, and the Romney camp, ever clue-less, implored their supporters to bring canned goods, ostensibly to be sent to needy families in hurricane stricken areas.  Were they unaware that the Red Cross does not accept canned food?  The time and manpower required to collect, sort, and transport canned goods makes it counter-productive.  Nobody there has any disaster experience?

Anyway, while Romney was scrambling to stay relevant in this news cycle, Gov Chris Christie was on the airwaves, praising the leadership of President Obama for his quick response to his requests.  The deeply, deeply stupid trio over at Fox and Friends were interviewing him, and being shills, had to find a way to work in Romney’s name.  Mistake:


Someone is going to be tasting Gov Christies food long after next Tuesday….


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Quick Hits, October Surprise Edition

Chiming in on the events of the day…

The Donald:  This is what happens to you when you must buy the attention of “C” list celebrities.  Seriously, dude, most of the world finds you annoying.

Ann Coulter:  I’m not much into name calling, but “horse-faced harpy” comes to mind.

Ohio:  We need ya!  Glad to know the Blue team has a crackerjack ground game there.

Nevada:  See Ohio

This Beautiful Fall Weather:  Stick around a while, please.  You’re special, and I mean that.

Colin Powell:  Welcome to the Party, late as it is.

Richard Mourdock:  If you experience pain and humiliation at the ballot box, rest assured it was God’s will.

Torn Hamstring:  I haz it.

Music City Disc Golf:  Maybe tournaments aren’t the way to go….Let’s discuss fund raising for the Cedar Hill Project.


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Foreign Policy?

Dear South America and Europe, sorry about that.  No, really, we know you exist.



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I’ll Never Learn To Tweet

Though I’m sure anyone interested in Malala Yousafzai already knows she is being treated in the U.K. and has a pretty good chance at surviving.  How she came to be there is pretty well detailed here.  I’ll admit that I struggled with this story for a pretty long time.  Of course I was very glad to read about the various people who stepped up to help arrange/finance her relocation and medical treatment.  Still,  I can’t shake feeling troubled, not just by the circumstances, but also about my own, what, naivete?  I have yet to find a path to compartmentalization inside my head.    You know, that process that masks any connection to her beyond the abstract, and allows me to feel better about not feeling outraged anymore.  So, in an effort to expedite this more comfortable perspective, I am trying (and failing) to find beauty in any of this.

Were I to receive news that someone, somewhere, commandeered a joystick and flew toaster sized drones up the asses of the cowards who did this, I would surely rejoice, buy the whole damn bar  world a round of drinks, and sleep soundly that night.   But that wouldn’t really be closure, would it?

Being American, I guess I’m rooting for her to completely recover, physically and mentally, then make a triumphant return to Pakistan to lead a popular revolt against the Taliban.  So, you know, the bar is set pretty high for this 14 yr old girl. Maybe she could even play herself in the movie!  Not Without My Daughter II.

Bah.  There is so much suck about this.

Next Monday, the two men vying to be the leader of the free world will square off in the last debate, purportedly centered on foreign policy.  I am wondering if she will even be mentioned.  Am I misguided for not being as riled up over the issue of access to “free contraception” for American women?  The thing is, I know it’s not a fair equation, and I do not want to trivialize the issue for all kinds of fair and just reasons, as well as a whole host of slippery slope arguments to be had.  When some Liberal friend of mine refers to an American Taliban, I cringe.  It just sounds shrill.  I have people who I love  who  have very real religious beliefs about contraception, and I totally reject the notion that because they hold those beliefs, they are in any way complicit in ushering in some kind of “Sharia-lite” patriarchal state.  Except, dammit, maybe not totally.

Therein lies the suck.  If you reach, I mean really stretch out and reach for it, therein may also lie the beauty.  I am having to ask myself so many questions, and I always know when I am bullshitting myself.  I know the tells.


Stopped into the local gas station today, and while I was talking with the owner, a fly kept distracting us to the point I was getting irritated by it.  Suddenly, he flung an arm out, and caught the fly. He then shook open a paper sack to place it in so that he might let it go outside of the store.  I remembered that he is Hindu, and his religion asks him, simply to not kill.     I vaguely remembered something from my childhood when I learned that some Hindu farmers will not use certain tools to break ground for crops, ostensibly to prevent the killing of earthworms.  Yet, he sells cigarettes.

I have no idea why I included that last bit.  It struck me as absurd, but I couldn’t say why.

I wanted to write about the debate.  I proudly donned my team jersey after last night’s win, sure.  But right now it just seems small.  I’ll find time to gloat later.





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I Am Afraid

Malala Yousafzai is 14 yrs old, and is lying in a hospital bed,  fighting for her life.  She was forcibly removed from her school bus and shot in the head by the local Taliban.  I won’t rehash the entire story, you can read it here.

She was a blogger, and a recent post was titled: ” I Am Afraid”

This young girl knew that by openly advocating for educational opportunities for women, she could be targeted by extremists, and of course she was.  The word courageous doesn’t cut it.

I just don’t know what to say.  I’m furious.  I’m heartsick for her and her family.  I want the bastards that did it and those who authorized it strung up and set on fire.

Maybe I’ll write more about this once I’ve calmed down.  Right now, everything I start to write has a “slippery slope of religious extremism” angle and sounds too mean-spirited.


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Wherein I Channel Angelo Dundee

When I was in 5th grade, there was a kid named John Heffington who lived down the street, and he was a bit of a bully.  I was afraid of him.  One day, he stood on the block wall that separated our front yard from our neighbor’s, and proceeded to call me out to come and fight.  I hid in our dining room, peering out the window.  This went on for several minutes, until my big brother saw what was going on, and urged me to go out there and fight.  I politely declined.  Several times.  Finally, my brother, clearly exasperated, threatened to beat me up if I did not go and silence this kid.  I was afraid of John Heffington, but I was terrified at the thought of my brother whipping my ass.  So, reluctantly, I went outside, put up my dukes, and wrestled with that kid until he gave up.

In the 7th grade, I was walking home with my friend, Bill Lyons, when a kid named Richie Fuentes kept taunting me about God knows what.  Again, Richie was known for being a bully, and again, I was afraid of him.  There were some girls watching, so I finally decided to fight.  As I was removing my jacket, Richie landed two punches to my jaw.  I was shocked that it didn’t hurt very much.  I was furious at this unsportsmanlike behavior, and nearly beat Richie to death.  My friend Bill had to stop me from dragging him out into traffic in my rage.

The first fight taught me that I could wrestle a bigger kid into submission, the second one that I could take a punch.  Important lessons, those.  Since the 7th grade, there have been dozens of fistfights, some won, some lost, but I truly cannot remember starting any of them.  (Though, I should note that when I was younger, a shot or two of scotch whiskey started my mouth running.  In fact, it was my brother who dragged me out of a mob-owned bar in New Jersey before my mouth got me “disappeared.”  Thanks, Bro.)

I mention all of this because I keep reading how “non-confrontational” our President is, and that he is unsure how to react when someone steps to him, as the kids say.  I call bullshit.  He has said it himself…he’s a skinny guy with a funny sounding name.  You mean to tell me he never had to fight coming up?  Impossible.  A skinny black kid with a white mom AND who lives with his grandparents is a prime target in every neighborhood on the planet.

Now, it is a bit of a stretch to equate a debate to a fist fight, but still, there are similarities.  If you engage in a half-hearted manner, you are going to get your ass kicked.  Even in fights I knew I would lose, I went with the mindset that the other guy was going to miss a day or two of work afterward.  I never won a fight by NOT throwing a punch.

Well, Sir, this is now a fight.  You spent the summer mocking and belittling Mitt Romney, and for awhile it worked.  But you and your team have picked all of the low hanging fruit.  Car elevators, 47 percent, and Big Bird are not going to cut it anymore.  Your debate performance ensured that.  Now it is time to stand up, defend your record, and make clear that there are HUGE differences between you and Mr. Romney.  Because there are, and there is much at stake.  Please, I beg you…do not start out any sentence with the words “this is an area in which me and Mr. Romney agree”.  Don’t. Do. That.

Like it or not, you are vulnerable on Benghazi.  Be ready for that.  If your administration dropped the ball, say so, and then outline what steps you have taken to make sure it doesn’t happen again.  If you did all that you could, again, say so. You’ve got some serious Foreign Policy street cred.  Know what the most dangerous job on the planet is?  Number Two man on the Al Qaeda organizational chart.  Bin Laden was not an easy call, ensconced as he was in a bedroom community in Pakistan.  Had that gone wrong, Darryl Issa would have moved to immediately impeach.  Do not. Do not.  DO NOT let Mr. Romney pontificate about what he would have done.  We’ve suffered terribly fighting two wars that were poorly planned, not to mention unnecessary from the jump.   Tie Mr. Romney to those that would have us embark on a third.

There is nothing left to protect.  You can’t run for another term.  Stand up for the millions of Americans who voted for you in 2008.  It’s that simple.

Do I have to send my brother over there?



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