Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mornings At Marydale


It's hard not to be inspired when you wake up to this every morning. Two days left in the writer's conference. So far, so good.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Second Verse, Same As The First


President Bush has picked Robert Zoellick to replace Paul Wolfowitz at the World Bank. This is basically trading one creepy Neocon for another.

In addition to looking like the kind of guy who would tie a girl to the train tracks, let’s examine his role in the Iraq fiasco.

In 1998, Zoellic signed PNAC’s letter to Pres. Clinton, urging he take out Saddam Hussein. So did Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, John Bolton, William Kristol and a host of other Neocons who have been wrong about everything. The letter stated:
The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy.


Yes, that went swimmingly, didn’t it?

Remember, this letter was written in 1998 to Clinton. The fact is, three years later President Bush would do exactly what was outlined above, for the (incorrect, it turns out) reasons they stated. By this time, many of the letter’s signees would hold prominent positions in his Administration, so it doesn’t take a genius to figure out which tail wagged this dog. Still, they managed to tie the Iraq invasion to 9/11 and the clueless American public bought it.

International organizations like the World Bank seem to be Bush’s Neocon pasture of choice. John Bolton ended up at the UN. Personally, I think these crooks need to be in jail, not representing the U.S. at international organizations like the World Bank and the UN.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Irony Tuesday

Hilarious. Houston oil companies are encouraging their employees to bike to work:
Rolling in on two wheels

Oil companies are among the Houston-area employers encouraging workers to make their commutes by bicycle

By PURVA PATEL

Some of the world's biggest gas peddlers are encouraging their workers to pump the pedal.

Exxon Mobil, BP and ConocoPhillips are among the Houston-area employers trying to make it easier for employees to bike to work. Workers already have enough excuses: potholes, impatient drivers and the Houston heat.

But some businesses are easing the commute for those who decide the exercise and reduced emissions make biking worthwhile. They're giving them locker rooms, shower areas and safe places to park their bikes.


Note the stated benefits of biking to work are exercise and reduced emissions not, say, saving money on gasoline. Well, what do you expect from the Houston Chronicle; to be fair, they do quote someone who saves $3 a day by biking to work. I’m going to assume he lives close to the office and doesn’t have to pay for parking.

Oil companies have always struggled to find that balance between the good PR generated from being “green” and hurting sales of their product. Conservation is a good thing, because the culture says it is, but too much conservation will eat into the bottom line.

That, by the way, is also the uneasy bargain struck in regards to gas prices. High gas prices are good for oil companies (duh), but if they get too high and people start doing things like, well, biking to work, then an oil company is shooting itself in the foot.

This of course is the only “free market” principle at work where oil is concerned, IMHO. I get frustrated when the free marketers try to tell us that gas prices are $4 a gallon because of “supply and demand.” Bullshit.

First of all, there’s nothing “free” about this market: the world runs on oil. There’s no other alternative. We all have to use it, like it or not. Even if you bike to work. Even if you have a wood stove. Unless you’re a hermit that lives like Jeremiah Johnson, you’re as much a part of the oil economy as everyone else, and you need oil.

Oil companies also control every aspect of their product’s production and distribution, from the drilling to the refining to the price at the gas station. There’s little room for the “free hand of the market” to work in a commodity monopoly.

So if you’re pissed off about the price of gasoline, there’s really very little you can do about it. You can quit sending me e-mails about not buying gas next Tuesday or telling me to boycott one company or another. It’s not going to work.

All you can do is try to lessen the impact on your wallet by using less energy yourself. And the only other thing you can do is to write your Congress Critter and demand some serious government investment in alternative energy R&D. Again, you "free marketers" can quit claiming that we should let that free hand lift some little start-up out of the depths of a Michigan basement to save the world from Peak Oil with its Big Idea. That's a ridiculous fantasy and I really don't think I need to explain why.

This "Apollo project for energy" is something the oil lobby has been fighting for years, for obvious reasons, and with our current government run by a bunch of oil industry executives, I don’t see it changing any time soon. But you’ve got to start somewhere, and a vocal electorate demanding change is the best first step I can think of.

Just some, er, fuel for thought.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sunrise Blogging


There’s nothing like a cool spring morning, where the air smells of honeysuckle and the birds make their joyful noise. No silent spring here, there's a veritable tabernacle of bird song outside. It's a beautiful place.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Holiday, It Would Be So Nice

I hear we’re all supposed to be reeling from high gas prices yet stoically soldiering on with our holiday travel plans anyway. I know this because the media has been telling me so all week long. The “you will travel” chorus has become increasingly shrill over the past two weeks, in concert with panic about rising gas prices. There’s a hint of desperation here, the sense that if people stay home this weekend the entire American economy will collapse and life as we know it will come to a screeching halt. Worried, much?

It finally reached a crescendo about a week ago, when the highway construction lobby, er, I mean, the AAA, issued a news release stating that Americans may stay closer to home but, by God, they will pack up the kids and hit the road this weekend. This hit the wires and has been dutifully stenoed by the mainstream media ever since.

Well, let me be the first to call bullshit on this one. I just drove from Nashville to Cincinnati on what is supposed to be the busiest driving weekend of the year and the traffic was surprisingly light. Big RVs were few and far between; I passed two in four and a half hours. There were plenty of 16-wheelers but cars and SUVs? Not so much.

Near as I can tell, Americans aren’t hitting the road in record numbers, no matter how much the AAA is telling them otherwise. At least, that’s what I’m seeing out here in my little patch of Middle America.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Writer’s Life

I’m headed out of town for a 10-day writer’s retreat.

When you live in Nashville and say you are going to a writer’s retreat, that usually conjures up images of a French chateau where folks like Sting and Bryan Adams help you craft your next #1 hit.

But I’m headed to northern Kentucky, not the South of France. I won’t hit the Louvre, but I believe the Creation Museum is just up the road. Heh.

I’d love to work on a song with three other people for a week, then parlay my cocktail party connections into a hundred grand. But I’m not that kind of writer.

I’m the kind of wrtier that is still working on the same novel three years in. This would be the same novel I brought with me to the writer’s retreat in 2004. The same novel I should be working on when I do things like write blog posts instead.

Such is the writer’s life.

I’ll be checking in periodically, depending on the reliability of WiFi. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Where’s Mommy?


Congratulations to Mary Cheney and Heather Poe, proud parents of a beautiful baby boy.

Now, where’s mommy in this official White House photo? Hey, the baby has two, you’d think one might have been available for a photo op.

Just wondering.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

IOKIYAR

I really don’t think Fox News should be doing things like this when their own political analyst, a self-described “constitutional scholar,” is doing stuff like this:

Conservative pundit Ann Coulter has been cleared of allegations that she falsified her Palm Beach County voter's registration and voted illegally — this, after a high-level FBI agent made unsolicited phone calls to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office to vouch for Coulter.

The caller wasn't just any G-man. According to PBSO documents, he was Supervisory Special Agent Jim Fitzgerald, of the FBI Academy's Behavioral Analysis Unit in Quantico, Va. — the closest reality gets to the serial-killer catchers on CBS' Criminal Minds.

So why would an FBI profiler who went after the Unabomber take time from his busy day to even think about a municipal election snafu?

Yes, why indeed? Of course, this is no mere “election snafu,” but a third-degree felony. So, who exactly is Supervisory Special Agent Jim Fitzgerald? Would you believe he’s Ann Coulter’s former boyfriend?

You just can’t make this stuff up. Imagine the outcry if a liberal figure like, say, Michael Moore or Jon Stewart or heck, even Martha Stewart got their high-ranking ex to pressure local law enforcement into dropping third-degree felony charges. Oh my, the wailing! The pearl clutching! The gnashing of teeth! I shudder to think of it. But Ann Coulter?

*** cricket cricket ***

Remember folks: It’s always OK If You Are Republican.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The I-Word

For everyone out there wondering why President Bush hasn’t been impeached, Salon’s Greg Kamiya explains it for you:
The main reason is obvious: The Democrats think it's bad politics. Bush is dying politically and taking the GOP down with him, and impeachment is risky. It could, so the cautious Beltway wisdom has it, provoke a backlash, especially while the war is still going on. Why should the Democrats gamble on hitting the political jackpot when they're likely to walk away from the table big winners anyway?


The Democrats are keeping their powder dry for the presidential election just 18 months away. All polls point to a big Democratic win and they are playing it cautious--too often what Democrats do best.

Personally, I think the Democrats can’t afford not to impeach. Why? Because of the rest of Kamiya’s article:
What has saved Bush is the fact that his lies were, literally, a matter of life and death. They were about war. And they were sanctified by 9/11. Bush tapped into a deep American strain of fearful, reflexive bellicosity, which Congress and the media went along with for a long time and which has remained largely unexamined to this day. Congress, the media and most of the American people have yet to turn decisively against Bush because to do so would be to turn against some part of themselves. This doesn't mean we support Bush, simply that at some dim, half-conscious level we're too confused -- not least by our own complicity -- to work up the cold, final anger we'd need to go through impeachment.

Looking at the big picture, Democrats need to consider the long-term implications of not going through with impeachment. Because, as Kamiya notes, if the American people understand on a deeply-rooted psychological level their complicity in the Bush train wreck, then they also understand the need for actions to have consequences.

There is a strong punitive strain that runs through the American psyche, just as there is, as Kamiya put it, a “fearful, reflexive bellicosity.” It was that same “crime and punishment” element that caused so many Americans to support the impeachment of President Clinton, while still giving the president the kind of job approval ratings that Bush hasn’t seen in over a year. It was, as they said, the principle at work. Clinton was caught with his, ahem, pants down. No matter how much Americans approved of the job he was doing in the Oval Office, personal failings must always have consequences. It’s as much a part of the American psyche as good guys always winning and the rugged individualist triumphing over the machine.

It’s why in every TV drama, the teenage girl who gets pregnant always dies at the end, or loses her baby -- no matter how much she’s redeemed herself from the “original sin.” Actions have consequences, no matter how much the character has grown in the course of a TV miniseries.

Considering all of the horrible things we know about this current administration--and let’s face it, all but the Kool-Aid drinking cultists know that the Bush presidency has been a colossal failure--then not impeaching is letting them get away with it. Americans know this at a very deep level. Say what you will about the pragmatism of just putting the Bush nightmare behind us, to not bring those who have done wrong to justice goes against the American grain, and Democrats will be blamed for it down the road.

Oh, Democrats might win the next election; heck, they might win the next two. But mark my words, 10 years from now when we look back on this period of history, people will demand to know why Democrats didn’t impeach. In our political system, it’s the ultimate punitive act. Failure to bring justice goes against the American narrative. Democrats will again be called weak-kneed wimps, a label they’ve dogged for decades. Even worse, they will be vilified for not standing up for our democracy.

For the sake of the Democratic Party, for the sake (dare I say it?) of “the brand,” this story must be brought to its rightful conclusion. Failure to do so will bring serious consequences down the road.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Corporaquarium


I am cranky. I just spent my Saturday at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. It wasn’t a good time.

This is what the world looks like in the global economy. You’re assaulted by corporate logos everywhere you look; even the aquarium’s mascot is a bright-orange Nemo rip-off named--get this--”Deepo.”

Deepo? As in Home Depot, perhaps? Why yes, the Atlanta-based Home Depot, known for its orange logo, does happen to be a major sponsor of the new facility. I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.

In fact, much of Atlanta is one giant sales pitch. The wonderful MARTA, which transported us with ease and comfort from Buckhead to downtown, is filled with advertisements: television screens inside the cars blare ads, while at the station you are greeted with LED displays, billboards and floor mats hawking everything from new DVD releases to eyecare.

I don’t mean to pick on Atlanta, which is a lovely city in many respects. I’ve traveled enough New York subways to know that Atlanta isn’t the first city to view transit riders as a captive audience. That doesn’t mean I have to like it.

I’m sick of being marketed to. I’m tired of being viewed as a giant, throbbing wallet of cash everywhere I go by some “big brother”-like force that wants to know everything about me so it can separate me from my savings. It’s the ultimate dehumanizing experience for the consumer age. We haven’t been names in a long time, now the only number we represent is what’s in our bank accounts. And now they want our kids.

Seeing corporate logos so shamelessly displayed at a family destination like the Georgia Aquarium appalled me. These weren’t small “brought to you by” plaques; in many cases the corporate sponsor’s name was more prominent than that of the attraction.

This is wrong for a lot of reasons. Museums, zoos and aquariums are not entertainment venues, they are educational opportunities. They serve a community function, and with that should come a civic responsibility to not treat impressionable young kids like market sectors.

Three years ago the American Psychological Assn. called for stricter regulations protecting children from advertising. I really don’t see the difference between a TV ad for Lucky Charms featuring a cute leprechaun and Home Depot’s Deepo the orange fish.

Look, I’m glad that corporate America is supporting a worthwhile effort like the Georgia Aquarium, and they deserve to be acknowledged for this contribution to the betterment of society. But do they have to turn these good works into a screaming sales pitch that’s rammed down our throats at every turn? Did UPS really need to advertise how it transports animal exhibits to the aquarium in a multi-panel advertise---oops, I mean educational display as I left the beluga whale exhibit? If this is what brown can do for me, I don’t want it.

We’re all just little fish here, but it’s high time we stood up to this big fish and told it to quit pushing us around.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Looking For Racism In All The Wrong Places

When white supremacists and the National Review agree on something -- which is more often than conservatives like to admit -- that should tell you something:


Media criticized over Tenn. slayings

By DUNCAN MANSFIELD, Associated Press Writer

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - In a powerful demonstration of the way the Internet has opened up the mainstream media to intensive second-guessing, bloggers are charging that news outlets have ignored the rape and murder of a young Knoxville couple because of the racial implications of the story.

The two victims were white; the five defendants are black.

The critics include mainstream conservatives, such as the National Review, and white supremacists. They have drawn comparisons to the Duke lacrosse rape case and wondered why the killings of Channon Christian, a 21-year-old University of Tennessee student, and her 23-year-old boyfriend Christopher Newsom are not getting the same attention from what the bloggers regard sneeringly as the liberal media.

"Oh, that's right, the victims were WHITE!" several conservative blogs have observed.

Or as National Review columnist Jack Dunphy commented online: "Uh oh, we're not supposed to talk about such things, are we."


This faux-troversy is almost too stupid to bear acknowledging. Of course, the racist right wing knows nothing stirs its redneck base -- convinced as it is of the unfairness of its existence -- more than proof of “reverse discrimination.” Those poor, oppressed white males, what have you done to deserve this treatment?

This little insanity started where it always does: Michelle Malkin, the dead-issue diva herself, who posted a video about an “MSM blackout.” Other conservative bloggers followed suit, all convinced that the media was not covering this story for reasons of “political correctness.” Right, because we all know how much the media loves black people.

Look guys, sorry to break it to you, but all this proves is that the media sucks. Which we’ve been telling you for years, if you’d listen instead of whine about your sorry little oppressed lives.

Hey with a little luck, maybe they’ll blame this on Bill Clinton.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Weekend Garden Blogging


What a difference a week makes. I take back everything I said on May 12. This week has been gorgeous, lows in the 40s, highs in the 70s, low humidity. In another words, it’s like California is 80 percent of the time.

On top of that, the daylillies are in bloom.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Rush Limbaugh Thinks You’re Stupid

That’s how I take these comments after Rush went on a tear about a poll showing most Americans think we are not prepared for another big disaster:
But, anyway, this story -- I guess it's too hard to investigate the government is actually ready for another disaster? This is an AP story -- but it's ran [sic] on CNN -- reports on yet another stupid poll by another stupid news organization, which actually shows nothing but how stupid the public is in believing everything the drive-by media says.

We've got a poll of the American -- why would you believe a poll of uninformed or ignorant people? What does it matter that a majority of Americans don't think the federal government's ready? Why not go ask the FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] people? They're the ones who would have to mobilize. So, we're to conclude, "Oh my gosh, the government's not ready! A majority of people don't think so. They must know something I don't." It's just trash -- absolute trash journalism.


Let the record reflect: Rush Limbaugh was defending the government and criticizing the American people. I thought Rush built his career on being a “populist” -- on being a “man of the people” against that big, corrupt, sleazy creature known as the “government.” What happened? Is Rush back on the Hillbilly Heroin or what?

What Will It Take?

(Crossposted from MRD Talk):
It seems there’s nothing this President can do short of aborting babies on national television that will wake some people up.

I’m referring to this James Comey business. This isn’t the usual Bush-league incompetence, this is calculated crookery of “Godfather” proportions.

If you aren’t up to speed, read the transcript of Comey’s testimony as soon as you can.

Basically, this week the former Deputy Attorney General testified about extraordinary pressure placed on the Justice Dept. by President Bush, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and Alberto Gonzalez (then White House Counsel) to push through the renewal of the warrantless eavesdropping program. The strong-arm tactics are astonishing. In a nutshell, the Justice Dept. said the program was not legal and they would not renew it unless changes were made. A desperate White House tried to take advantage of an ill and sedated John Ashcroft, hospitalized in the ICU for pancreatitis, in an attempt to renew the program.

The Washington Post described the events this way in an Op-Ed:
Mr. Comey's vivid depiction, worthy of a Hollywood script, showed the lengths to which the administration and the man who is now attorney general were willing to go to pursue the surveillance program. First, they tried to coerce a man in intensive care -- a man so sick he had transferred the reins of power to Mr. Comey -- to grant them legal approval. Having failed, they were willing to defy the conclusions of the nation's chief law enforcement officer and pursue the surveillance without Justice's authorization. Only in the face of the prospect of mass resignations -- Mr. Comey, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and most likely Mr. Ashcroft himself -- did the president back down.
. . .
The dramatic details should not obscure the bottom line: the administration's alarming willingness, championed by, among others, Vice President Cheney and his counsel, David Addington, to ignore its own lawyers.


How bad do things have to be in an Administration when even John Ashcroft threatened to resign in protest?

The fallout from this should be huge. Alberto Gonzalez’s resignation should be on President Bush’s desk in less than a week. So should Andrew Card’s. I’m sure if this were a Democratic administration, that’s what we’d be seeing.

Perhaps if the media gets over its current fascination with John Edwards’ haircut and Mitt Romney’s Mormonism and John McCain’s craziness and Anna Nicole’s deadness we’ll finally get somewhere. I’m not holding my breath, though.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Learning The Lessons Of Jerry Falwell


On hearing that Rev. Jerry Falwell had passed my pastor told me, “I’m going to be a Christian, and not say a word.”

I am quite certain pastor Jim is a much better Christian than me, but I’m not sure remaining silent is the thing to do. Falwell was much too powerful a figure in American culture for Christians to remain silent now that he’s gone.

Of course, there are people who loved Jerry Falwell the man, not the political caricature we saw on our televisions blaming gays and feminists and the ACLU for the world’s ills. Those people are grieving now. I suppose the Christian response would be to acknowledge their loss and offer prayers for their comfort.

But beyond that, there are too many important lessons to be learned from Jerry Falwell’s life and mission to stop the “national conversation” there.

I didn’t know Jerry Falwell the man. Like most of us, I just knew the public figure. I did not like him and I am not sorry he’s gone. Yes, he mobilized Christians into a political force, which in itself is not a bad thing. But he did so in a way that hurt both faith and politics. There was nothing loving in his movement, not in its methods nor in its message. His 2004 essay, “God is Pro-War,” was just one of his many blasphemies. He lay down with strange bedfellows: cult leader Sun Myung Moon, corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and countless others. These were alliances formed out of a desire for power, wealth and influence. American Christianity will not soon recover from these Faustian deals.

CNN is still Reaganizing its coverage of Falwell’s death, interviewing Liberty University students who are in deep mourning, broadcasting pictures of Falwell “crowd surfing” at a sporting event 10 years ago. The image is of a beloved father figure, adored spiritual leader. There is no mention of the controversial Falwell we all knew, the man who uttered words of hate toward his fellow Americans, the sleazy deals he made. There is no balance in CNN’s coverage, just the myth. Why am I not surprised?

Friends and fellow bloggers have uttered many words of condemnation about Falwell over the past 24 hours. Since Falwell condemned many in his life, this is understandable. But we must make sure that we don’t miss the larger point. Salon.com’s Alan Wolfe stated it well:
Instead of pondering Jerry Falwell's legacy, we would be better off asking how this man ever become a public figure in the first place. America has had more than its share of religiously inspired demagogues -- Dr. Fred Swartz, Billy James Hargis, Carl McIntyre come to mind -- but they are forgotten figures, marginal even to the times in which lived. One would like to believe that the United States has become a bigger and better country since the days when men like them preached about captive nations and denounced the pernicious influence of rock 'n' roll. But then there is Jerry Falwell. In death, as he did in life, he reminds us that demagoguery never dies; it just changes its form.


Indeed it does. Jerry Falwell is dead. His hatred for his fellow American is not. CNN’s reporter stated, “Even in death his message will live on.” This is not a hopeful thought but a sad truth.

There are still many powerful public figures who say that to love God you must hate your fellow Americans. There is still a media that wants to gloss over the truth in favor of a shiny, happy fantasy. We must fight against both.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

His Name Is Earl

On Sunday Night Earl Cole won Survivor: Fiji. The two finalists Earl beat for Season 14’s top prize were “Dreamz” (Dre Herd) and Cassandra Franklin. All three are African-American -- surely a first in Survivor history.

I mention this because I haven’t heard too much talk about Survivor this year. Last year, in a pathetic attempt to grab publicity, producers divided the four teams by ethnicity: Asian, Hispanic, African-American and Caucasian. It caused a minor wave in the pop culture pool, and coverage in all of the major newspapers and networks assured the wilting Survivor franchise another 15 minutes in the spotlight. Entertainers like Rush Limbaugh represented the culture’s knuckle-dragging wing, dredging up old racial clich├ęs to handicap the season and causing still more Survivor-related ripples as the predictable protests ensued. Let the games begin.

This season of Survivor also featured an ethnically-diverse cast. Although the show didn’t pit one race against the other (something the show ditched after just two episodes last year anyway), the teams contained an equal number of African Americans, Asians, Hispanics and Caucasians.

This was completely ignored by the pop culture pundits, I guess because CBS didn’t issue a press release about it. In the end, the “final four” consisted of three African Americans and a 54-year-old Chinese man. To the best of my knowledge, the absence of white people and Hispanics went undetected by Rush Limbaugh’s radar--without a klieg lights on the topic, why bother, right?

Which I guess gets to my point. I’m getting tired of hearing about the “national conversation.” I’d like to know who sets the agenda for these conversations and how I can get my pet issue on the list. We were supposed to be having a “national conversation” about race during the whole Don Imus kerfuffle, but all I heard was a lot of talk about political correctness. These days, any discussion of race stops at whether it’s hypocritical to call your own ethnic/religious group a nasty name and then complain when someone else does it. That’s not a discussion of race, that’s talking about manners.

It seems every time a major story hits the headlines, the political correctness angle takes precedence over anything else. Not surprisingly, the folks yelling the loudest about it are the rude pundits on the right: Glenn Beck, Rush and that crowd. These folks have built their entire careers on being the anti-PC crowd, so it’s no surprise they’ll defend their right to be rude to the death. It’s the only thing keeping them in business.

Since it keeps coming up anyway, why don’t we just have a national conversation about political correctness? Let’s just get down in the mud, hash it out and be done with it once and for all. Then, the next time some stupid reality show wants to pit blacks against whites, the poor against the rich, the college educated against the street-smart, we’ll have already been through through the “manners” part of the conversation and we can talk about something substantive for a change.

Just a thought.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Farewell, Dear Friend


Pudd’n left this world last night at around 10 p.m. She was nearly 18 years old.

My husband got Pudd’n from a pet store in Kentucky when she was a tiny kitten, just a gray ball of fluff that fit in the palm of his hand. The store sold her as a “Patio Kitten,” which seems an odd attempt at marketing, especially since Pudd’n never much liked the patio. Instead, she preferred to snuggle in a chair somewhere, or nestle in the crook of my husband’s arm.

The past few months had been increasingly difficult for Pudd’n. She had trouble eating; when she did eat, she had trouble keeping the food down.

Last week she made two trips to the vet, as we wrestled with the euthanasia issue. She had bounced back from the edge before, but it seemed unlikely this time.

Finally last night, as we stroked her fur and told her how much we loved her, she made her transition.

Today in heaven’s living room a fluffy gray cat has claimed a sunny patch on the rug. She licks her paw, stretches, and settles in for a nap. She is home.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Time For A National Mother

Maureen Dowd has famously referred to Republicans as the “Daddy Party” and Democrats as the “Mommy Party,” since the stereotype is of Democrats as nurturer, Republicans as protector. There may be a grain of truth to that, but MoDo misses the bigger point so she can keep flogging her clever bon mot, which is about as outdated as a rerun of “Father Knows Best.”

Mommy hasn’t dished up warm cookies and milk since at least 1963--if she ever did. Daddy is “working late at the office” again, meaning he’s probably really boinking the associate down the hall, or pulling a Ted Haggard and trysting with a male prostie.

Last week I had lunch with a group of women and we all agreed that when we were growing up, Mom was the disciplinarian. “I don’t know where this ‘Wait until your father comes home’ stuff came from,” one said, “because it sure wasn’t like that at our house.”

Ditto. Which is why in honor of Mother’s Day, I say we need a National Mother. No, this is not an endorsement of Hillary Clinton. Egads, what an awful thought.

This country needs some real mothering right now. Someone who tells us to clean up our room, do our homework, and quit eating junk food. It’s called tough love--the real kind, that teaches responsible citizenship, as opposed to the “tough luck” we’ve been given by “compassionate conservatives” for the past 20 years.

“No TV until you’ve mowed the lawn and taken out the garbage,” my National Mother would say. “You watch too much TV anyway. And old Mrs. Jones next door needs her lawn mowed, too. Quit whining, she’s 80 years old, for crying out loud. You should be so lucky to live to that age.”

“Awww, mom! I was gonna hang out with the guys today!”

“You mean those delinquents Glenn and Bill and Rush? They’re bullies who pick on the little kids in the neighborhood. I thought I raised you better than that.”

“Mommm!!!”

“No more hanging out with those troublemakers, they’re going to end up in jail one of these days. Anyway, I need you to baby-sit this afternoon because I have to work late. Share with your sister, no junk food, and no TV.”

“That’s so unfaaaaair!”

“Life isn’t fair. You’re not the only one living in this house, you know. You need to do your part. Oh, and one other thing.”
“What.”

“I love you. You’ll thank me for this some day.”

“Hmmph.”

Motheirng is hard. National Mothering will be harder. I'm sure I'll hear all of the usual "we need to get the government off our backs" crap. But there's a difference between the government being on your back and the government being in your life. I want the government keeping us safe, making sure the food we eat and the medicine we take is healthy, educating our children, and keeping our house clean. I don't want the government snooping in my diary or reading my mail or listening in on my phone calls (something which my own mother would never, ever have done). I want a National Mother.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Welcome

It's not even mid-May and it's already 88 degrees outside. Shoot me now.

Please bear with me as I try to figure out the idiosyncracies of Blogger. In the meantime, here is a crosspost from my second home at MRDTalk:

Hey Opie & Anthony! Rape Is No Laughing Matter