Thursday, September 26, 2013

"...Climate Control, Self Control...Not So Different As You Might Think..."

It's hot in here.

Man, it's so hot.

It's hot in here.

I think it's hot in here.

Don't you think it's hot in here?

It's hot in here.

Sound familiar?

This temperature tirade, the being human being what he and she is, is a pretty common occurrence in the warmer parts of the year in whichever particular parts you call home.

And even in the chillier parts of both year and place when "baby, it's cold outside" is augmented, thanks to frugal (read: cheap) office management and/or menopausal co-workers with keys to the thermostat lockbox, with some form of whine, bitch and/or moan directly addressing the attempted indoor adjustment to the outdoor atmosphere.

Damn, it's cold out there.

But, don't you think it's hot in here?

At some point, inevitably, even the most accommodating personality types grow weary of the drip, drip, drip of the complainer's Fahrenheit frazzling and wishes, even verbalizes, that said complainer  agree to a quid pro quo.

We will acknowledge that the temperature leaves a great deal to be desired.

In return, you will shut the hell up about it.

That seasonal sensation has been on my mind for the last few weeks as I wander around cable channels listening to the "discussions" focusing on the Obama administration and its performance to date.

Most recently, of course, in the past week or so since The Affordable Health Care Act inches closer to becoming a legislative reality.

That's Obamacare, by the way, for the three people left on the planet who might still be interested in calling something by its correct name.

Fox News, to no one's surprise, is doing round the clock programming trumpeting one, simple primary theme.

Barack Obama is an abject failure as president and the day can't come soon enough that his second, and final, term expires.

I have a problem with their approach.

But not necessarily for the reason you might knee jerkingly suspect.

The problem with finding nothing, ever, that is positive about anything or anyone is that, invariably, your credibility begins to show signs of wear.

It is a fundamental bedrock principle of humanity that, with the exception of Satan (and, well, okay, maybe Miley Cyrus lately),  there is always, no matter how infinitesimal it might be, something good to be found about something and/or someone.

If you're not a follower of the Fox, spend any idle fifteen minutes you have and give them a look/listen.

What you'll hear will make you question whether there really is a shred of good in everyone.

Miley and Mephistopheles excepted.

And you'll also, from time to time, be entertained by a new dance sensation that is sweeping the right wing nation.

Fox trot?

Ha ha.

We're talking the Obama Pivot.

It goes like this.

You put your right hand up /you put your other right hand up

Then you lean to the right / then you lean further to the right

And no matter what the subject / or the attention people give it

You lay the blame on Barack / doin' the Obama Pivot

From that basic choreography, you simply add in a little variation on the old Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon game that was all the rage a couple of Congressional election cycles ago.

Here's an example.

The line at the local DMV was very long today.

It seemed like there were even fewer employees there to be of assistance than usual.

There are even rumors of cutbacks in the staff.

Most likely because of the health costs to the Department of Transportation caused by Obamacare.

Even when you think there's no connection, this terrific two step finds one.

My friend didn't get the deal he was looking for in a new truck.

The dealership just couldn't give him the note he could afford.

They offered him a smaller car with better mileage, but he wanted the big pick up.

Unfortunately, those 8 cylinder super cab jobs are gas guzzlers.

And gas is close to four dollars a gallon.

Twice what it cost before Obama took office.

Here's my problem with the dance and the approach to fair and reasonable dissent that it doesn't even pretend to attempt.

It doesn't even attempt fair and reasonable dissent.

And, at some point, it makes anyone with a thread of reason in their brain see the agenda for exactly what it is.

Blind, passionate hatred.

Hatred for Barack Obama.

Hatred for, at least, his presidency, at most, even his existence on the planet.

Old human truth.

When you truly love someone, no matter what, they can do no wrong.

When you truly hate someone, no matter what, they can do no right.

If you have no personal feelings one way or the other for somebody, but disagree with the way they handle their job, you try to express your disagreement without automatically doing it disagreeably.

Those who dance the pivot fall into the second category.

And in place of reasoned dissent and any attempt at contributing sensible, practical suggestion for solutions to what they perceive to be the problems at hand, they simply repeat the mantra.

It's his fault.

Man, it's Obama's fault.

It's Obama's fault.

I think it's Obama's fault.

Don't you think it's Obama's fault.

It's Obama's fault.

At some point, inevitably, even the most accommodating of those who are unhappy with the man's performance in office grow weary of the cha, cha, cha of the pundit's pivoting and wish, even verbalize, that said pivoter agree to a quid pro quo.

We acknowledge that the performance of the man who, barring impeachment or passing, will be in the job until January 20th, 2017 leaves a great deal to be desired.

In return, you will offer reasonable, measured, civilized suggestion for solutions to what you perceive to be the problems at hand.

Or you will shut the hell up about it.

We all know it's hot it here.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"The First Step To Talking About Guns Is To Shut Up About Guns...."

Old joke.

"It ain't the's the principal of the thing."

New spin.

Coming up.

Speaking to reporters in Washington D.C. in the wake of a deadly attack on the Washington Navy Yard on Monday which left at least 12 people dead, Dr. Janis Orlowski, the chief medical officer at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center, went off on gun violence in the United States. She said that "there is something evil in our society" that Americans must "try to eradicate."

"There's something evil in our society that we as Americans have to work to try and eradicate," Orlowski said after decrying what she called "senseless trauma."

"There's something wrong here when we have these multiple shootings, these multiple injuries," she continued. "There is something wrong."

"I would like you to put my trauma center out of business," Orlowski added. "I really would. I would like to not be an expert on gunshots ."

One inevitability amongst all the tragic inevitabilities that result from events like this is the ramping up of the rhetoric on the issue of gun control in this country.

Let's get to the chase by way of cutting.

Rhetoric, debate, even discussion about gun control in this country is a waste of time.

Because in order for discussion, by its nature, to take place, argument must sit in the corner and shut up.

And the emotional barnacles unshakably attached to the good ship Second Amendment all but guarantee that argument will be the boom box blasting away at our psyches for a long time to come, drowning out any calm, thoughtful NPR like sounds of discussion.

It occurs to me, though, that we're all still missing the real point.

The point that was so eloquently, and spot on, expressed by the doctor from D.C.

The evil.

Not the means, loaded or other wise, of acting out that evil.

Truth be told, this isn't a new revelation.

The pro-gun folks in America have long been bleating that the guns aren't the issue.

Usually in the form of that oldie but goodie, "guns don't kill people...yada, yada".

The thing is that that's the thing.

But the energy being consumed in order to keep the bitching and bickering and bleating going are taking away all the energy and attention and focus from finding a way, any way, to accomplish the goal set forth by Dr. Orlowski.

Eradicating the evil in our society.

Or, at the very least, that particular evil.

Concentrating, for a change, on somehow changing the end.

Instead of foolishly advocating for or against the means.

Janis Orlowski has, in her weariness at the horror of it all, hit the nail on the head.

Or the bulls eye dead center for you right to bear arms enthusiasts.

It ain't the school, it's the principal of the thing.

And it ain't the gun in the hand at the end of that arm..

It's the evil residing in the brain at the other end of it..

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"...Hearts and Minds of the People...Mouths of Babes....."

Lots of words, and not just a few tears, flowing today.

Which is, of course, to be expected given the date and what it symbolizes.

Interesting thing about words, though.

In even the most horrific of times,  the most poignant expressions can consist of just a few.

Words, that is.

Twelve years ago, I experienced that.

As we sat around the flat screen, transfixed by the images of that September morning, my eldest granddaughter went about the business of being a few months shy of three years old.

That business, in large measure, consisting of assorted wanderings around the room, attentions focused, and then just as easily unfocused, on various and sundry toys, books, games and/or household furnishings, accented by the occasional comments that likely seemed crystal inside their commenter's thirty two month old head but, in order to be understood by the elders, requiring just a little more attention than any of us were equipped to offer, distracted as we were by collapsing towers and badly damaged odd shaped military buildings and talk of airliners disappearing from Pennsylvania skies.

Until one comment caught both ears and hearts in a single, simple, excruciatingly exquisite moment.

"A bad man flew an airplane into the building."

On this twelfth remembrance of that clear, blue morning, that granddaughter has long ago moved on to other pastimes, having become a fine student, a loving and caring granddaughter, daughter, sister and friend. Gently finding her way to her fifteenth birthday, full of ideas and opinions, articulate and thoughtful, provocative, even philosophical at times, as she ponders the world around her.

And, as these things happen, probably experiencing today's commemorations through the same, hazy filter of time long passed with which her parents viewed Dallas and Dealey Plaza and her grandparents viewed Pearl Harbor, even Ford's Theatre.

Yesterday's headlines having evolved into today's history lessons.

And she will, as many will, likely hear hundreds, even thousands, of words shared on a day filled with words.

Words of pain, words of sadness, words of anger, words of sorrow.

Words of hope and optimism and freedom.

And, just as likely, will not remember a few simple, excruciatingly exquisite words that she, herself, spoke twelve years ago today.

"A bad man flew an airplane into the building".

Just a few words.

And not just a few tears.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

"...It's Dana Perino's God Given Right To Stand Up For God Fearing Folk Who Are God Awful Fed Up With Godless People Who Want God To Go Away, By God...."

Dana Perino doesn't know me from Adam.

But, apparently, we see some things equally.

(CNN) – Fox News pundit Dana Perino said she's "tired" of atheists attempting to remove the phrase "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance, adding, "if these people really don't like it, they don't have to live here."

The co-host of Fox's "The Five" was referring to a suit brought by the American Humanist Association in Massachusetts, where the state's Supreme Judicial Court heard a challenge to the pledge on Wednesday.

The group's executive director, Roy Speckhardt, called the suit "the first challenge of its kind," but Perino begged to differ.

Perino, who was White House press secretary for George W. Bush from 2007-2009, said she recalled working at the Justice Department in 2001 "and a lawsuit like this came through."

The former Bush spokeswoman added that "before the day had finished the United States Senate and the House of Representatives had both passed resolutions saying that they were for keeping ‘under God’ in the pledge."

"If these people don't like it, they don't have to live here," Perino added.

David Silverman, president of the American Atheists, called Perino's comments "bigotry."

"I, for one, am tired of those Christians, like Ms. Perino, who think that equality is somehow un-American," Silverman said. "If Ms. Perino doesn't like being only equal, it is she who will have to leave America to some other country that doesn't value religious liberty."

In 2002, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with atheist Michael Newdow who argued that the words "under God" in the pledge amounted to an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion. The Supreme Court overturned that ruling.

Congress added the words "under God" in 1954 amid the red scare over the Soviet Union. In November 2002, after the Newdow ruling, Congress passed a law reaffirming "under God" in the pledge.

Greg Gutfeld, another co-host on "The Five," continued the discussion after Perino, saying the Pledge of Allegiance "is not a prayer, it's a patriotic exercise. In a sense, it's basically saying: Thanks for giving us the freedom to be an atheist."

The Massachusetts case, which was brought by an unidentified family of a student at a school in suburban Boston, will be argued on the premise that the pledge violates the Equal Rights Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution.

It is the first such case to be tried on the state level: All previous attempts have been argued in federal court on the grounds that "under God" was an unconstitutional violation of the separation of church and state.

In keeping with my recent opine that judging another's opinion as "right" or "wrong" is, by the nature of opinion, an inappropriate action, here's my two pennies on Perino's position.

I agree with her.

And I share her feeling of fatigue.

Probably even a little more weary, if only because, given what I've learned from Wiki, Google, et al, about Ms. Perino, I've got about twenty years more used up on my life-o-meter and have seen twenty years more of the kinds of things in life, like this thing in life, that will wear'a body out.

This particular thing being that most slippery of slippery slopes, "equality".

The humanists think that reciting a pledge to the American flag that includes the term "under God" robs them of their equality.

Well, I suppose you can't blame em'.

After all, they're only humanists.


Those whose knickers are twisted by Dana's comments (and bet the flag, baby, there's a whole big crowd of villagers, torches and all, already making her life a little hectic) are no doubt invoking that oldie but goody argument that the Founding Fathers were very clear about the separation of church and state.

Here's a thing, though.

The Founding Fathers founded in a time, and in a fashion, that was very God centered.

To this day, we have In God We Trust on our currency.

The song that still brings tears to some eyes is "God Bless America".

Not "Almighty Being Of Your Particular Choice Or, As The Case May Be, No Single Entity Bless America."

And, not for nothin', but the Constitution, itself, is not without its mention of deity.

Article VII reads, "done in Convention … the Seventeenth Day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America."

Gutfeld perceptively points out the Pledge Of Allegiance is not a prayer, but a "patriotic exercise".

That people are free to speak as written.

Or not.

Put less philosophically...

If atheism is your thing and you still want to give a shout out to Old Glory, then knock yourself out.

And just stand mute for the 1/9th of a second it takes everybody else to say "under God".

But, for the love of God, stop trying to get God taken out of everything on God's green earth that mentions God.

Because that's not advocating for equality.

That's misappropriating the use of the term "equality" to make things go the way you want them.

And there is no "u" in equality.

Well, okay, there's a "u".

But, not a "you".

God only knows.