Monday, June 30, 2008

sweet bobby

The second of my ex-employees to be charged with murder. Bobby was truly one of my favorites. If I were going to rank them, he's at the top of the list, though I finally had to let him go, and Bryant, who was arrested on a first degree murder charge last Christmas, would be second. I would never have imagined either of these men could kill someone. Maybe they didn't. The system is certainly stacked against Native Americans in this state. We'll see. Meanwhile, I'm pretty heartbroken about Bobby.


pssssst! c'mere, i've got the latest on obama! have you heard this???

And here it is, from Pandagon:

As a fellow Middle American, let me step up and say this: if you believe that Obama is a Muslim, unpatriotic, a terrorist, not born in America, any of the various rumors floating around about him, you are an ignorant, bigoted asshole giving in to the worst temptations of society - no matter how coddled you are by people unwilling to offend you lest they seem like the sort of elitist who doesn’t obsess over whether or not Negroes with funny names are going to kill you in your sleep. Facts don’t seem to work, so I’m more than willing to try abject shame for your unrepentant dumbassery.

with some affection, but a lot of disgust for the "unrepentant dumbassery" of my fellow citizens, from a real upper south middle American. Stop being such fucking racist assholes. Stop it.

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

when i was happy

I bit into the first big tomato from the garden this morning. I'd sliced up two of them ~ magnificent, lush, vine-riped beauties ~ while frying bacon. The first bacon and tomato sandwich of the season is a ritual for us. The tomato has to come from our garden. The bacon has to be absolutely crisp, not limp, not too brown. The only suitable architectural support for the magnificence that is bacon and tomato, is white bread. With Miracle Whip. Really.

As a snotty elitist liberal, I should abhor eating Miracle Whip, but it is the only option in creating this food of the gods. Most of the time I whip up my own mayonnaise with olive and walnut oils, an egg yolk, a squeeze of lemon, a little mustard and a pinch of salt. But bacon and tomato sandwich, along with the purist's tomato sandwich, requires white bread and Miracle Whip. These are not optional. And don't fuck it up by adding lettuce. That's an unnecessary distraction from the glory of this perfect combination. It's a way to soothe one's guilt over eating the kind of food that would throw a health nazi into convulsions. Forget the lettuce.

It is mandatory to prepare two sandwiches (yes, a nap post-sandwich is recommended) for each person and don't think about skimping on the bacon. The Whip goes on thick, both pieces of the bread. It's debatable whether one should add the bacon first or the tomato. Adding bacon first seems to keep the bread from getting entirely soaked, but tomato-first people argue that juice-soaked bread is the best part of it.

This is not eaten with side dishes of any kind. The ritual is just this: bacon and tomato white bread Miracle Whip sandwiches on a Sunday morning from home grown tomatoes served with plenty of napkins. Iced tea or water are optional. Side dishes, just like lettuce, distract from this perfection on a plate, this orgasmically delicious, absolutely addictive pleasure.

When I was happy, before George Bush, before Iraq, before Wall Street thugs, before the ascendancy of corporatism, before people starving in Haiti, before Mexican farmers displaced by NAFTA, before Biblically "justified" hatred, before all of that, when I was happy, it was in moments like these.

I forget to live in the moment. I find it almost impossible these days. Life seems too grim, too hopeless, but this one day, this morning, following an old ritual I've shared with my husband for 16 years, there was a moment. One moment of mindfulness, one moment present in the delicious little pleasures of life. One moment in which I found myself with tears in my eyes, wishing for everyone the small joy of one of life's perfect things. One moment is enough to hang on to today.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

keith olbermann: american sellout

Who's distributing the fucking koolaid, people? Unbelievable. From Greenwald on the FISA debacle, another exalted Voice of the Left sells out. This will undoubtedly convince any holdouts that the "compromise" on this bill is righteous. My fucking ass. This makes me sick.


letter to a friend

Rough times, yes? Not okay, everything feels so overwhelming I can hardly bear it. I'm starting my 3d day of abstaining from news. I've been "clean" mostly, but I still dip in for moments before I catch myself and get out. I sit down to manage some payments and end up looking at the headlines on the internet. And I tear myself away and try to focus, again, on this other stuff.

It's finally occurred to me that as a single individual, I am utterly powerless. It's the powerlessness of it that drives me mad. As I think I mentioned last week, it's like being in the back seat of an out-of-control vehicle rushing down a mountain road. Trapped. Unable to effect a positive outcome. It's a recipe for insanity.

For the moment, I'm trying to dredge up some memories of the happy, content, joyful person I used to be. I don't know where that woman went, but I know she's another casualty of the Bush administration. I have a mirror next to my desk in the warehouse office. Every now and then I'll catch a glimpse of my face as I turn around to grab some paper or the camera. Along with all of the grim and dreadful news that assaults us on a daily basis, I am developing a grim and tragic countenance which is, I expect, as it should be.

I can't stand to see that face, though, because it reminds me of how things once were. Not necessarily good, but not so wretched and hopeless. Or maybe I was just blind. My nephew's wife is from India and she has only been in the US for 5-6 years. She is a precious person and I love her. She is absolutely happy and filled with joy and it shows in her eyes and in her face. Even in repose, when she's not engaged in any way, her face has a gentle and kind look with a little upward tilt to her mouth to indicate she may break into smiles or laughter at any moment.

I remember when my eyes sparkled and my laughter was a constant companion because my life was so rich and deliciously complex and rewarding. And now it seems grim and I see anger in my eyes and my jaw is clenched half the time and I can't bear to hear the latest travesty, yet I seek it out.

I don't know what to do except to step back. I am not in any way suicidal, but I've had passing thoughts in the last several weeks of how I would end it all if things get to the point I expect they will: absolute chaos and anarchy and millions starving in the streets.

I can't bear those thoughts and so I look at real estate listings in Mexico and I envision living a simple life, just me and a little cottage and my books and a dog. I don't know that Mike is willing to live as simply as I am. I could live the rest of my life without a television, though I expect I'd need an internet connection. But waking up to a day where the biggest decision would be what to buy at market to cook for dinner? It sounds like heaven. I am so very, very tired of all of this, of this country and the shallowness of our culture and the runaway out of control government which every day does more damage to the majority, while somehow managing to win the approval of those same blind fools.

So that's where I am. Sounds like we're kind of in the same place. I was going to a MoveOn meeting tonight until Obama's latest sellout and since it looks like Bayh's going to be his running mate, and Bayh's just another conservative in a democrat suit, I'm not enthused at all about the process. There's no socialist running on the ticket in this wretched state, so I may not even vote for president. It won't matter here anyway and overall, it won't matter at all because they're one and the same, republicans and democrats, the party of corporate rule and I am sick of it. Sick of it.

I hope you can snag that job with the feds. Looks like that's the only security right now ~ something Roosevelt knew but these revisionist fuckheads haven't figured out. I just want out.

big hugs, lynette

Monday, June 23, 2008

corporatocracy =2, american people =0

WASHINGTON: The Bush administration said Tuesday it will fight to keep meatpackers from testing all their animals for mad cow disease.

The Agriculture Department tests fewer than 1 percent of slaughtered cows for the disease, which can be fatal to humans who eat tainted beef. A beef producer in the western state of Kansas, Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, wants to test all of its cows.

Larger meat companies feared that move because, if Creekstone should test its meat and advertised it as safe, they might have to perform the expensive tests on their larger herds as well. . . .

A federal judge ruled in March that such tests must be allowed. . . . The Agriculture Department said Tuesday it would appeal, effectively delaying the testing until the court challenge has played out.

From Bad American's Let em eat mad cow and The International Herald Tribune.

And a little background: The infectious agent responsible for bovine spongiform encephalopathy has a loooooong incubation period and is not killed by cooking. Testing 1%. Denying companies that want to do better (wait, what happened to the free market?) . . . Burger anyone?

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corporatocracy =1, american people =0

The Office of Management and Budget, President Bush's administrative arm, has shot down a service plan to add five active-duty generals who would oversee purchasing and monitor contractor performance [in Iraq].

By way of HuffPo's White House Blocking Army's Plan to Overaul Contracting System.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

thanks nancy, steny, barack

Judas x 2

From commenter Expat on Digby's FISA update. Better than I can say it.

"Today Hoyer and Pelosi spit on the graves on those who fought and died for the Constitution including the 4th Amendment. Revenge is a dish best served cold. They will eventually get their just desserts. They are willing to sell out the constitution and the honor and memory of those lying in hallowed and unhallowed ground around the world for a few pieces of silver. May they suffer the same fate as the first Judas. Somebody send them the rope."

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barack obama: american sellout

"Given the grave threats that we face, our national security agencies must have the capability to gather intelligence and track down terrorists before they strike, while respecting the rule of law and the privacy and civil liberties of the American people. There is also little doubt that the Bush Administration, with the cooperation of major telecommunications companies, has abused that authority and undermined the Constitution by intercepting the communications of innocent Americans without their knowledge or the required court orders.

"That is why last year I opposed the so-called Protect America Act, which expanded the surveillance powers of the government without sufficient independent oversight to protect the privacy and civil liberties of innocent Americans. I have also opposed the granting of retroactive immunity to those who were allegedly complicit in acts of illegal spying in the past.

"After months of negotiation, the House today passed a compromise that, while far from perfect, is a marked improvement over last year's Protect America Act.

"Under this compromise legislation, an important tool in the fight against terrorism will continue, but the President's illegal program of warrantless surveillance will be over. It restores FISA and existing criminal wiretap statutes as the exclusive means to conduct surveillance - making it clear that the President cannot circumvent the law and disregard the civil liberties of the American people. It also firmly re-establishes basic judicial oversight over all domestic surveillance in the future. It does, however, grant retroactive immunity, and I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses. But this compromise guarantees a thorough review by the Inspectors General of our national security agencies to determine what took place in the past, and ensures that there will be accountability going forward. By demanding oversight and accountability, a grassroots movement of Americans has helped yield a bill that is far better than the Protect America Act.

"It is not all that I would want. But given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as President, I will carefully monitor the program, review the report by the Inspectors General, and work with the Congress to take any additional steps I deem necessary to protect the lives - and the liberty - of the American people."

Barack Judas Obama


american people fucked again

I haven't got the energy to summarize it or go into detail about why this is such a fucking outrage, but Glenn Greenwald, ever the energetic young man, has an analysis of the current selling out of the American people by the lay-down Democrats in congress:

"So all the Attorney General has to do is recite those magic words -- the President requested this eavesdropping and did it in order to save us from the Terrorists -- and the minute he utters those words, the courts are required to dismiss the lawsuits against the telecoms, no matter how illegal their behavior was.

That's the "compromise" Steny Hoyer negotiated and which he is now -- according to very credible reports -- pressuring every member of the Democratic caucus to support. It's full-scale, unconditional amnesty with no inquiry into whether anyone broke the law. In the U.S. now, thanks to the Democratic Congress, we'll have a new law based on the premise that the President has the power to order private actors to break the law, and when he issues such an order, the private actors will be protected from liability of any kind on the ground that the Leader told them to do it -- the very theory that the Nuremberg Trial rejected.

If that isn't hard enough to stomach, Digby has more on the FISA laydown along with the currently running McClatchy series on torture by the Bush administration.

If you're thinking "why doesn't she just shut up about this?" "Can't she write something about Betty and Bill, about the garden? Where did Lynette go?" If you're thinking that, well hell, I'm thinking it too. How are you all surviving this? I can hardly bear to wake up in the morning because each day brings a new travesty, a new injustice. I find myself screaming at the stupid bloviating fools on what passes for cable news. I read books that tell me what I know to be true, just for confirmation that I'm not really losing my mind, that I'm not imagining things.

Are you staying sane while this nation is being destroyed? If you are, tell me how to find some balance in all of this. I am lost.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

war. criminals.

In the preface to the Physicians for Human Rights report on torture by the United States, Retired Maj. General Antonio M. Taguba writes the following:

This report tells the largely untold human story of what happened to detainees in our custody when the Commander-in-Chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture. . .

The profiles of these eleven former detainees, none of whom were ever charged with a crime or told why they were detained, are tragic and brutal rebuttals to those who claim that torture is ever justified. . . .

In order for these individuals to suffer the wanton cruelty to which they were subjected, a government policy was promulgated to the field whereby the Geneva Conventions and the Uniform Code of Military Justice were disregarded. The UN Convention Against Torture was indiscriminately ignored. And the healing professions, including physicians and psychologists, became complicit in the willful infliction of harm against those the Hippocratic Oath demands they protect.

After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.

The former detainees in this report, each of whom is fighting a lonely and difficult battle to rebuild his life, require reparations for what they endured, comprehensive psycho-social and medical assistance, and even an official apology from our government.

But most of all, these men deserve justice as required under the tenets of international law and the United States Constitution.

And so do the American people." (Maj. General Antonio M. Taguba (USA-Ret.)

You can download the entire report on the medical evidence of torture by the U.S. here. Read it and weep, then get on the phone to Nancy Pelosi and demand that impeachment be put ON the fucking table and that these sociopaths in the Bush administration be arrested and imprisoned. There is no other way we can redeem ourselves as a nation.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

right wing bootlickers

The right wing hue and cry over the Supreme Court's shocking decision that habeas corpus should apply to all human beings makes me despair. What the hell has happened to this country that we no longer believe in basic human rights for all people? Licking the boots of authority is not an American trait, it is a trait of a subjugated people. The United States was founded on dissent, and there is no more basic right of dissent than to be able to dispute one's incarceration at the hands of authority. That those who are locked up in Guantanamo have had no such right is a stain on the Constitution of this country. The Supreme Court got it right on this one; don't let anyone tell you otherwise. This decision will not endanger this nation. The grievous danger we are facing comes from those who decry this decision. John McCain is one such person.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

barry and audrey

In 1964, my mother, Audrey, turned rabid on the subject of Barry Goldwater. Goldwater was launching his doomed run for the presidency on the basis of what was considered at the time a far right wing agenda. Being 7 years old, I don't remember why Audrey was so adamant that Barry was the savior of this country, but I remember how deeply his failure to win the presidency affected her.

It was shortly thereafter that my mother began experiencing depression, the first hint of bipolar disorder which led to mood swings of astonishing intensity. I have to wonder if the loss of the campaign played into the many other losses in her life: her mother died when she was two years old; she lived in a foster home with distant relatives; was victimized by a child molester of the worst kind; between my oldest sister and me, she had six stillborn baby boys, each of which she carried to the 7th or 8th month before they died.

But Barry enchanted her that year, 1964. For Barry, she campaigned tirelessly, attended conventions, fundraisers, walked the streets. She was relentless in her advocacy. When he lost, she lost something too: the sparkle in her eyes, the note of excitement and anticipation that had sounded in her voice that year.

I am, of course, horrified by this because Goldwater was one of the most virulently conservative men to have ever seriously run for president to that point. I can't reconcile what I think of far right wing zealots with what I think of my mother. They are callous, indifferent to the plight of regular folks, religious crackpots, greedy, corrupt, conscienceless. My mother was kind, loving, accepting, open of heart and mind, religious in the best way, smart and capable.

How could Audrey be seduced by Barry? What did he say, stand for, believe in that enchanted her, that won her heart and her mind? Here in the south, even in the upper left hand corner of it, we generally plant our crazy people right on the front porch for all to see, but this, honestly, embarrasses me, my mother as this kind of conservative.

I am comforted somewhat in reading the Wikipedia entry on Goldwater. It seems there was a huge push in his campaign to vanquish communism, to protect from potential nuclear war. This was surely a response to the widespread fear in the '60s that the hateful commies were going to blow us to mist and the world would end in a horror of radiation poisoning and suffering. Audrey always urged me to take seriously the bomb drills we had weekly at First Lutheran. Those drills found us grade schoolers tucked up against each other like biscuits in a pan, hands clenched tightly over our necks, ready as we could ever be for the bombs to fall.

To say that it was a culture of fear is almost laughable; it was so much more than that. In that time, in that school, that religious community, the fear of communism was alive. We were constantly reminded by our teachers in morning devotions that they were coming and we must be strong in our faith.

The worst fearmonger, Stanton Hoffmeier, the cadaverous and frightening music teacher, assured us that the communists were well on the way, lurking even now, perhaps, in the cloakroom. Upon arrival, they would quiz every child as to their religious leanings and then all Christians would be killed. His sadism was evident in his gleeful assurance that we would have to face the bayonet and admit to our Lutheranism, else we'd burn in hell for eternity. Immediate gutting, death and glory, or life lived as a slave to the Russians, with the absolute promise of hell for denying our faith.

That decade was frightening in so many ways: Vietnam, riots, cities burning, the Cold War, assassinations, more assassinations, pollution out of control, the fear of nuclear war. There was death and mayhem at every turn and it was overwhelming, but 1964 was just the beginning. If I felt this, in my relative innocence, perhaps my mother, even in 1964 and standing at the threshold of mental illness, also felt overwhelmed and afraid. Maybe the strong voice of Barry Goldwater, assured and confident, as right wing zealots so often are, gave her comfort.

I wonder how she would have felt, had she stuck around, to know of my growing radicalism, my political activism in the '70s and '80s, of my Marxist leanings and the feminism that transformed me. Would she shudder in horror that I've become a socialist in response to the right wing madness that began with Goldwater? On some level, I think ~ I hope ~ she would have applauded, would have cheered me on, this brilliant, educated woman whose life was so tightly circumscribed by the expectations of women of her time, by her children, her traditional man, her place in society.

I wish I could have known her as an adult. I wish I could have given her what Barry gave her for those brief months, and that it would have been enough. I wish she were here so I could ask her these questions. I wish for so much, for my mother, even now.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

goodbye mac

This is the time of year I can't help but think of my husband's friend of 35 years. Mac was an independent, cranky old fuck, 10 years older than my sweetheart. A carpenter all of his life, he'd made a decent living, had never eaten anyone's shit, and had survived most everything life can throw at a person. Crappy parents, yup. Juvenile delinquent, certainly. Problems with alcohol, drugs? Yes, but ancient history. Good marriage gone bad? Sadly, yes. Estranged from a child? True. Depression, even to the end, but Paxil actually did do some good and kept him out of the panic attacks that plagued him periodically.

Mac's end came a mere three months after his COBRA health insurance expired and four years before he was Medicare eligible. The colonoscopy he'd paid for the week before revealed cancer. Mac's independent spirit ~ that all American, up by the bootstraps, don't take nothing from nobody, I'll do it myself, ain't no help anyway spirit ~ would not allow him to depend on others. And in the end, for quality cancer care, there is no real other to depend on anyway.

Mac called the non-emergency number for the police department, asked them to investigate a man down at his home address. Then he stepped out into his tiny front yard, a few feet away from the watermelon patch he loved, and blew his head off with a shotgun.

Mac worked all his life in this country. He was, like many of us, deeply flawed. He was also kind and generous and loving, a crackerjack funny man I loved with all my heart. I can't forget him, and I can't forget that he died because he believed he was out of options, that there was nothing for him as an uninsured man with a newly diagnosed cancer.

Did his depression contribute to that decision to take his life? I'm sure it did, as did the sense of being absolutely alone with an insurmountable problem and the profound need to leave something behind for his kids and grandkids. He couldn't see everything he'd worked for all his life ~ a kickass gun collection, some incredible ancient and valuable bottles, some eyecups and a little piece of property ~ going on the auction block to pay for his treatment. He wanted to leave something for his children. In his mind, his decision was selfless. In my mind, it's a goddamned American tragedy.

My friend, the Bad American, with more on the American dream.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

barack obama's baby mama

Seriously. But we haven't got any racial issues in this country. Move along now, nothing to see here. Hat tip to Salon.

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

john mccain? "he's too old to be president"

I didn't say it, that's straight from the mouth of my 91 year old Republican father. Who better to know? (At last we agree. Thanks Daddy!)

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Thursday, June 05, 2008


Eleven years old, school just out, waking up in my sister's room on an early summer morning, thinking about the lazy days lying ahead. I hear my sister crying and then the door opens and my mom comes in to tell me that Bobby Kennedy has been shot. What a terrible loss. It's a rare person who brings to public office the gift of true generosity and compassion. The sixties were frightening years and too often tragic. War, environmental destruction, riots, assassinations, chaos: terrifying. I am too quick to forget that when I take a nostalgic look back at the countercultural movements. Remembering Bobby Kennedy gets me to thinking how things might have been. Such a loss.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008


I have been a screaming hotheaded psycho of late. Between episodes of dramatic and intense weeping have come searing explosions of near nuclear rage.

One could make the case for this being a natural reaction to what is happening in this country, in the world, and I'll make that case. I wonder sometimes how folks can just go about their daily lives, seemingly oblivious to what is happening politically.

I have come within millimeters of kicking my doctor in the face, have gone so off on the Asplundh tree men butchering my pecan tree that reinforcements were called out to attempt to calm me. I've written about being well armed, with plenty of ammunition, and it's a little frightening, really.

My friend Paula was sitting in her college classroom at about 20 years of age. In the midst of the lecture, she realized that she could reach up and lift off the top of her skull, exposing a vast array of beautiful jewel-like crystals in her head. After removing the gorgeous crystals for further examination, she realized she could not fit them back in and at that point started the first of many, many bad experiences associated with schizophrenia.

That one can simply be okay one moment and not the next is something I have been aware of since my mother vanished in 1969. One of my lifelong fears has been that I will lapse into mental illness. I refused antidepressants when my husband was desperately sick, despite the doctor's insistence.

In my world crying is a good thing, laughter even better. I am not depressed, not really. It's the mix that's out of whack for me right now and so I go searching for explanations. World events, yes. Political climate in this country, check. Economy, certainly. Ailing parent, absolutely. Uncertainty, yes. And in this examination of causal factors I've finally nailed it: steroids.

The shot I got in the joint of my second toe has run me purely off the rails. I should have recognized it, having had steroid rages before after treatment for poison ivy. The lack of sleep, the jazzed-up energy, the ease of crying which so easily transitions into screaming rage. I am healed just by knowing what it is. Isn't it funny how that works? The unknown is so dreadful and intolerable and nothing changes by knowing except that with knowing comes understanding. I think there's a life lesson in there. Hope you are all well and steroid-free.

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