Sunday, March 31, 2013

What Would Jesus Do?

The Pope trotted out the shroud of Turin for all to see. Too bad radio carbon dating has placed the shroud to about 1260-1390 AD. But I wouldn't want to let science get in the way of a mysterious relic. I think that we have a lot of present day objects that could become future relics.
Jesus isn't just present in the Shroud Of Turin, he's everywhere.

Something miraculous could happen while you bite into your Easter candy, so be on the lookout!
 It's almost like a miracle occurred ever since the news that Francis has decided against staying in the Vatican apartment provided for him, preferring to stay at the hotel Casa Santa Marta with all his other Cardinal buddies as if they all aren't living a life of luxury there. Another miracle occurred, when the Pope washed some inmates feet including, shocker! two women. But women still can't be priests, take birth control or get an abortion. Happy Easter, unless your a woman or your poor, things still suck for you. The most corrupt organization on the planet celebrates the resurrection of a man who by all accounts was homeless and had very little material worth, while priests and the Pope live in splendor sitting on billions of dollars I have to wonder, what would Jesus do?
                                                      Happy Easter.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cold Dead Hand

After reading the news about Adam Lanza's cache of guns and ammunition today, and no progress yet on any sort of gun control. I thought Jim Carrey's video would be appropriate. Go to funny or die to see the whole thing.Cold Dead Hand with Jim Carrey from Jim Carrey, NickCorirossi, Charles Ingram, Funny Or Die, BoTown Sound, millsfx, and Melissa Gould McNeely

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"The Purpose Of Marriage"

Did they get married for the tax deduction?
Websters Dictionary defines Marriage: The state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2) : the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage.
The Supreme Court, will have to decide who exactly is allowed to be married.  Many questions  from the bench on Tuesday focused on whether the central purpose of marriage is procreation. According to
Legal counsel, Charles Cooper, who is arguing that "the inability of same-sex couples to have children together meant that to allow them to wed would change the historic definition of marriage." 
 Thank God for Sonia Sotomayor, " pressed Cooper on whether his argument meant that sterile heterosexual couples should not be permitted to wed because they cannot have children."  That was my first thought. My other thought was that the definition  of marriage, historically may be different than what Charles Cooper Esq. seems to think. Marriage, before 1545* was a private matter until, the almighty church got involved. Before that you didn't even have to get married with a priest or witnesses present. All you had to say was " I will marry you" That was it. Seems simple. 
What I think is interesting is that no one, let alone the Supreme Court, questions that marriage is a sexist institution and wives are the unpaid labor of this religious, therefore, patriarchical construct. Historically, marriages were arranged as a means of brokering lands and finances. There are many parts of the world where wives are treated no better than slaves and women are trafficked as a business deal, no matter what they might want, and are sacrificed at the alter of marriage. So, what is really going on here, is that if a man can marry a man, a woman can marry a woman, then there is an equality that didn't formerly exist, in terms of gender. 
Marriage is work and women are the ones who do the (unpaid) work in a marriage, all the guy has to do is show up. This has been true for centuries and is still true today. I would like to think that a Supreme court decision in favor of gay marriage would be a good thing for everyone, but I am not naive enough to think it would stop the comodification of women. Marriage has been marketed in this culture as something every couple should aspire to. Culturally, marriage between two different genders was constructed as a form of property exchange also profit for them both and of course, control of ladyparts.
 Economically, "hundreds and hundreds of federal benefits are on the line" 
Which begs the question as to why married couples get benefits? Why is there preferential treatment for married people? What kind of equality is that? But I digress. 
The "purpose" of marriage as exclusively heterosexual is not based on procreation, it's based on the prohibition of all sex outside of marriage, premarital or extramarital. 
 It seems like there are a lot of "purposes" for marriage.That's not a real issue. The Constitutionality of all men being created equal, then gay men and women have just as much right to marry than anyone else, get over it. 
*Marriage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 
 12-144.exe - 12-144a.pdf  Supreme Court Prop 8

Sunday, March 24, 2013

One Nation Under The Status Quo

Remember when John Boehner told Harry Reid to go F himself during the fiscal cliff negotiations? Maybe he had a point. Reid decided against bringing the gun violence bill to a vote. Why, oh why? Do you think maybe it's the money and the next election he might lose? The politicians who are elected to look after the welfare of the country and it's people are in constant campaign mode. Finally, after four years congress passed a budget. Can you guess the four democrats who voted against it? Mark Begich (D?-Alaska) Max Baucus (D?-Montana), Kay Hagan (D?-North Carolina) and Mark Pryor (D?-Arkansas) all of them up for re-election. The transparency of their deceit should be their undoing but still they persist.  We have a political and economic system that is stacked against us. We have to give up on the idea that this government is going to do anything for the middle class. Our government has failed to maintain a fair society with civic values.
What we seem to have now is chaos with so-called leaders unable to lead. The only thing they seem capable of doing is pandering to financial and corporate interests.
Globalization and deregulation of the banks dominate our politics and economy. Bankers and corporate bosses charge what they want, avoid corporate taxes and as a result we have developed a huge national debt. This has led to a wealth gap so wide that people have reached their limit, but the people in power haven't. Global banking rules are inadequate in preventing another 2008 style meltdown. When it comes to global competition, immigration, terrorism, climate change, our government is not able to manage these things. The government has also failed to manage the economy that everyone depends on.
Our government should provide security, instead it has bankrupted the U.S. with expensive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have contributed to the Middle East being in a constant state of permanent war. What exactly did we win going to war with these countries? None of the people in the Bush administration have been held accountable for their mistakes and continue to make money hand over fist with speaking engagements on policy as if the war in Iraq wasn't the biggest mistake ever, as if they hadn't lied to the American people for their own greedy interests. Real democracy has vanished and politics has taken over. When every political option you are given offer variations on the same theme on every conceivable policy from the economy to wars, immigration and gun control, what choice do you have when none seems to be working?
The status quo is all that seems to matter to the people in power, of course. The very problems that politicians have created are not going to be addressed by them. It is clear that all they are interested in are their own selfish desires which is at odds with what a public servant should be. Government has abdicated it's responsibility to the people. While the Tea Party has taken over and is screaming for smaller government, how small exactly? As small as the government in say, Somalia? Is that where we're headed? The every man for himself mentality, this dog eat dog philosophy, is driving us back to Victorian times.The people we elect seek only to serve business and the rich, ahead of the nation and the poor can be ignored and forgotten, because they don't have a lobby. The very lack of knowledge that power is bought is with  K Street lobbyists money, mystifies me. So many people I know are disillusioned and don't even vote. You don't even know who is a Democrat or a Republican anymore, there is no difference. We have to take lobbying out of politics. Lobbying is so pernicious and powerful that the government is no longer able to function. We may as well just say one nation under the N.R.A. or one nation under Wells Fargo or Citibank, I think one nation under General Mills has a nice military ring to it. They own our government. How long will it be before they own us?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fifty Shades Of Sexist

It's Women's History Month and we've come a long way baby, that's something I think everyone can appreciate. Especially the folks at CNN. In case you don't know there is quite a lot of fallout over their coverage of the Steubenville rape verdict and their sympathetic coverage of the rapists. What makes it particularly egregious is that these women reporting for CNN at no time questioned their bullshit "reporting".  It's idiotic "reporting" like this that makes me glad I don't have cable TV anymore. Here's a petition you can sign. You could paper the entire globe with petitions before the violence against women will ever stop.
There was another gang rape in India, that was just the one that was reported. Worldwide more than 250,000  women are raped annually. It's not only what some people call a "culture of rape" it's more like an epidemic. When you have morons on CNN identifying with criminals or Fox, who actually outed the victim, how helpful is that and how is anything ever going to change? Way to keep a sister down.
Thank God the "Violence Against Women Act" was extended 138 representatives in Congress voted against it, 22 in the Senate. Let me guess, who could have voted against this?
   The fact that we even need a "Violence Against Women Act" is probably due to these jackasses and their sexist attitudes.
Do they have mothers? Sisters? Daughters? Unfortunately the violence goes on and on.
I personally have had way to many experiences dealing with sexist men on my daily jog. Catcalls, honking and one guy stopped his car and asked me if I wanted a ride. When I declined  he got upset and sarcastically yelled "SORRY! " One woman I related this incident to said to me, "That must have made you feel good." Meaning it was some kind of compliment. Not only do you have to tolerate idiotic women, but the men who feel entitled to stop you on your way and when you turn down their advances they get all butthurt because you don't want to get in a car with some random freak. These are just the little things that go on daily in every woman's life. That doesn't include years of stupid sexist behavior like being groped or being asked by your boss to pleasure him with oral sex in exchange for the vacation time you rightfully earned. Lets not even get into the dating world where if a guy buys you dinner or drinks he feels entitled to sex or at the very least grabbing you and well you get the picture. (This is why I always pay my own way, but that doesn't always work either.) I realize that not all men act like this, however it's this kind of aggressive behavior that is not only condoned but then you have women who think that it's flattering. The experiences I have endured don't constitute violence, it's more like a sense of entitlement that some men have and a mindset that somehow this kind of behavior is acceptable. Which brings me back to the Steubenville rape case and the fact that the criminals who perpetrated their act of violence were only caught because they posted the pictures of  the crime online. Meaning, that they thought raping a sixteen year old unconscious girl was some kind of lark. Something to post online for all your friends to see. For anyone who has a daughter of any age, a sister, a mother or a friend, just knowing that there are people with this kind of attitude is frightening. Rape is going on daily, only not every rapist is stupid enough to photograph his criminal activity and post it on Facebook.
So hear we are in the year 2013, celebrating Women's History month. Pardon me if I don't bust out the champagne.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

An Irish Fairytale In America

This is my grandmother, her name was Elizabeth O'Leary. She was the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter. Supposedly, this means you have magical powers. I never really saw Nana do anything really magical. Unless you consider survival magical.
My grandmother was the daughter of Jeremiah O'Leary and Hannah Barry. They emigrated with their parents from County Cork, Ireland to New York  around 1884. 
I don't know a whole lot about my great grandparents, except that they had seven children. Unfortunately, they could not afford to keep my grandmother and they gave her to an orphanage. I never heard my grandmother mention her brothers and sisters, as far as I know she never saw them again. I can only imagine how this effected my Nana. She would tell us stories of how she had to scrub floors until her fingers bled. I don't doubt it. To me, there was no worse punishment than scrubbing the floor. So I could relate to my grandmothers horror stories. We didn't have the luxury of a mop when I was a kid. We had a scrub brush, a bucket and the dreaded bar of Fels Naptha  

There was nothing so time consuming and just plain old fashioned as cleaning with this stuff.  Thank God those days are over. My experience growing up was probably luxurious compared to my grandmother, even if I did have to scrub the floors with a bar of soap. I don't know how old my grandmother was when she escaped the orphanage. I know that she did have some kind of education. I also know that she did mention "the nuns".  I don't remember her telling me any happy school memories. I don't believe she ever graduated from high school. What I do know is somehow my grandmother went to Atlantic City and became a singer.
My grandmother loved to sing and dance and many an evening she would torture my brothers and sisters with the Lawrence Welk show. She had  a special way of dancing that makes me think she must have been a flapper, my Nana loved to party, I can think of no better place for her than Atlantic city in the 1920's. This is where she met my grandfather, who had emigrated from London in 1912. I would like to say that they both lived happily ever after but they didn't. My grandfather left Nana with three kids to fend for themselves. They lived in attics and basements and this was a source of great shame to my mother. I don't think there was any section 8 housing vouchers then. The kind of funds today's sequester is going to cut. (really, did you think I was going to tell a story without getting political?) There was something called "relief" I think you could get if you were destitute. I do know that somehow my grandmother took up nursing and worked in hospitals all her life*. She never owned a home. She never even drove a car. I can't help but think, my Nana didn't stand a chance, she didn't even have the advantage of the support of a family, she literally had nothing. Over the years my grandmother would visit us and sometimes I would go and visit her at her apartment. She loved the Dick Cavett show and that was usually on when I would visit. Thanks to Social Security and Medicare my grandmother was able to live a somewhat comfortable life. Something am not sure I or my kids will have. I am so grateful my grandmother did not have to live her golden years in the same desperate way she did when she was young. 
People called my grandmother O'Leary. It was like she didn't have a first name. Everything about our family was so Irish it took me years to figure out I was American. We always said we were Irish. We never ate corned beef on St. Patrick's day, we ate ham and cabbage. My mother said no Irishman in his right mind would kill a cow that you could get milk and cheese from. Somehow "the fairies" were responsible for lost items or any kind of mischief that occurred in the household. I'll never understand all the fascination with leprechauns because they aren't nice. 

Does he look nice to you? Most illustrations of these guys have him dancing around with a rainbow or a pot of gold. My grandmother told me that leprechauns were capable of all kinds of mischief and could carry out great harm. They kind of remind me of Paul Ryan. 
Looks like I'm not the only one who thinks so. 
According to my Nana you could tell where in Ireland a person came from by what whiskey they drank. Bushmills if you were from northern Ireland, Jamesons from the south. I don't know why green beer is served on St. Patrick's day, but I am sure my grandmother wouldn't have turned it down. I learned many things from my Nana. She was a real survivor. 
I can't help but think if there was such a thing as WIC at the turn of the century when O'Leary  was born or food stamps, maybe she could have stayed with her family. Perhaps she would have had a very different life. I know that the trauma of her childhood stayed with her all of her days. It seems like we are headed right back to the kind of Victorian America where you could just starve or be given to an orphanage. The elderly can just perish in poverty. We need social programs to avoid the kind of life my grandmother was forced to live through no fault of her own. Not everyone is born with a silver spoon, connections or a family to support you. 
The Republicans and Democrats who are willing to shred the social programs that F.D.R. put in place, do so at their own peril. America is already a laughingstock all over the world. Once we jettison the social programs that make this country humane, well, there will be a lot more people in America like my Nana, orphaned with no place to go. I don't know what Paul "voucher" Ryan is doing for St. Patrick's day, I am ashamed to think I have something in common with him, even if it is only my Irish heritage. It frightens me to think that we will be talking about the "good old day's" in America when there was Social Security and Medicare, WIC and foodstamps, because if Paul Ryan has his way, they will be a thing of the past. 
So today I'll bake soda bread and celebrate with my friends and remember my Nana and the happy times we spent together. This is my St. Patrick's Day gift to her. Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all! Slainte!
* Update, I just heard from my cousin who told me how my grandmother became a nurse, my Nana only had a fifth grade education. When she applied to nursing school she told them that her high school burned to the ground and that's why she had no transcripts. When she graduated the admissions person told her that she knew the school did not burn to the ground, but if this woman at 50 years of age wanted to become a nurse, she wasn't going to stand in her way. I'd say that's pretty magical. Thanks to my cousin Joanie for the information and magic.

Here's some Dropkick Murphys for you.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


This week will be the 10 year anniversary of the Iraq War. A war a lot of us knew was wrong, as if that mattered to Bush Jr,.This tragedy ruined countless lives killed countless people and totaled the economy, ruining countless more lives. Every one but the Bush's.
I guess  it should  have been expected that the Iraq war would be a money making venture for Bush and his cronies, considering that his grandfather, Prescott Bush, was a shareholder and board member of a number of companies that helped to finance Adolph Hitler.
But that is old news, no one seems to remember.
One thing I can't forget is how Jeb Bush stole the 2000 election for his brother, he began the Republican strategy of voter suppression, purging registered voters in Florida, helping to cause catastrophe worldwide, politically, economically, militarily. Now Jeb is being trotted out on the Sunday talk shows. For some reason people seem to think he's some kind of "reasonable Republican". He's promoting his book on immigration. He used to support some sort of legal citizenship for undocumented immigrants, but his book now says no bueno. In other words, his new policy on immigration is to offer the over 11 million undocumented some kind of altered status, continuing the capitalist slave labor they have been enjoying for quite some time.
 Jeb, is supposedly seeking a 2016 Presidential nomination. Maybe if he gets elected he can tell us Cuba has weapons of mass destruction and we can invade them because he wanted a good cigar. 
So I guess instead of remembering the terrible tragedy of Iraq and the man responsible for it, we can look at this shining example of a douchebag, who helped his brother continue the Bush dynasty in order to secure his own position in 2016. Isn't it ironic? Timing really is everything. It's only a guess, I can't help but believe that this book "blitz" is nothing more than a distraction. The last thing this country needs is another Bush presidency.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Free Markets Aren't Free, Someone Pays.

A lot of Americans are living a precarious life. Politicians don't. Politicians have something called job security.   If they don't get re-elected they sit on the board of a corporation, start a "non-profit" or they work for a lobby and lobby more politicians. It is important to understand this. Politicians do not care about anyone who is middle class or working class.
Americans are most concerned with three things food, shelter and their job. What Americans need most are jobs and job security. Instead, what gets rammed down our throats? Austerity called the sequester.
This managed market economy we have in the U.S. has been in recession. So it really makes sense that during a time when the economy is in a precarious position, you choke it more. What really doesn't make sense is that Jack Lew, Obama's chief of staff and former Citigroup bankster, dreamed up this sequester,. thinking that it would never happen because the cuts would be so horrible that Republicans would never want to see it happen.
GOTea Party loves cuts. It seems strange, after this do-nothing Congress has fought President Obama on every single thing he's tried to do, that he didn't expect that they wouldn't do anything to stop this austerity. Unless of course, the Presidents intention was to make the poor and middle class suffer more and for people to lose their jobs. Joblessness is the biggest problem in this country. There isn't anything being done about it. Instead the economy is going to have more unemployed people.
We really don't have a free market anymore because it didn't work, but this is what most Republicans want. They want the free market back. The free market had no minimum wage, because wages were set as low as a worker would tolerate. The free market has no FDA so people could be poisoned by various products. The free market didn't have The Sherman Anti-Trust Act to outlaw monopolies.Guess what the free market did have? Slaves.
If you are an "at-will" worker you can be fired for anything at anytime. You don't have any protection other than unemployment insurance and Republicans hate that too. Since unions have disappeared the average American worker does not enjoy job security. This is the way people lived before the Great Depression. The Great Depression changed the way people thought about unions. FDR passed the National Industrial Recovery Act, and the National Labor Relations Act, required business to negotiate fairly with unions.
Since unions have all but vanished and there is no such thing as job security anymore it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see where we are headed.
Since American manufacturing has been offshored and the banks have ruined the economy we have an unemployment crises that has only been addressed seriously early in President Obama's first term. Clearly it didn't do enough. Now austerity will start and what do you know? More unemployed people coming into the jobs market that is depressed. How does this make any sense?
The American people have been taken for a ride. I wonder how long it's going to take for people to get a clue and get together and force the will of the people on politicians, who clearly do not have the country's good or the betterment of it's people on their agenda.
During my research I stumbled upon  The Precarious Workers Brigade. I guess these people are sick of the austerity in England. They want equal pay and get rid of unpaid internships. They think 1/3 of the workforce are "precarious" workers. Temps, internships, freelancers, and artists. I think we may need an American chapter of The Precarious Workers Brigade. From the looks of it, things aren't going to get any easier in the land of the free, next thing you know we'll be working for free. Unpaid jobs: The new normal? - Fortune Management