Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Petty political attacks aren't a big deal in-and-of themselves. They go both ways, and sometimes they're funny. But this week alone I've come across a couple that just knock my socks off. First, there was the "Obama doesn't mention God on Thanksgiving" hullabaloo on Fox. (*Check out Jon Stewart's reaction to that below.) And then, a conservative friend of mine named Derek called my attention to this one: "Another Gaffe? Obama Calls British Embassy ‘English’ Embassy" Derek actually called me out for not posting it to my status on Facebook, as though I was too ashamed to share it. Quite the opposite. As I told Derek, this is a great illustration of just how petty the Right has become. Now, like I said, the pettiness goes both ways at times, but the context is important here. This is the kind of ridiculous criticism of the President that's coming out of the Right at the exact same time that congressional Republicans are shooting down legislation to create thousands of good jobs for Americans. Moreover, the proposed jobs bills are actually paid for, something the modern Republican party likes to preach but hasn't practiced in my lifetime. So what's their beef? The bills would raise taxes by a couple percentage points on people who earn more than a million dollars a year. Note, this is on their income. It cannot make rich people poor, because it is only calculated on the next MILLION dollars they make. (Oops. I got that wrong. It's actually even less than that. Millionaires would not pay an added two percent on their income, only on their income after the first million dollars. In other words, 1st million at current, historically low rates, 2nd and 3rd million at rates still lower than they were under Reagan, Bush, and Clinton. Oh, and since the jobs bill was broken up, this portion is the part that provides a payroll tax holiday for working people. Historically, Republicans have treated any vote against cutting taxes as a tax hike. If that's the case, then they are refusing to hike taxes on millionaires but, by their logic, are hiking taxes on everybody else. Where does Grover Norquist stand on that?)

Ah, the Republicans tell us, but that will prevent these wealthy people from giving the rest of us jobs. Well, they haven't been doing that when they are making a million dollars. Why is it assumed they would stop doing what they aren't doing because they're miffed about a small tax increase? Isn't it possible that, if the rest of us do better, then buy products from the companies owned by the rich, making them a heck of a lot richer, they'll create more jobs than if they dodge a tiny tax increase?

Republicans love to toss around the word "entitlement" to criticize people who expect to receive benefits like Medicare and Social Security which they have paid for through through their taxes during a lifetime of work. They also like to vilify any attempt by the government to "pick winners and losers." Well guess what, folks: tax breaks for the rich are government handouts just as much as welfare checks, and they cost the rest of us a lot more than keeping a family from starving to death. Choosing to line the pockets of millionaires rather than creating more positions for firefighters and police officers is "picking winners and losers." Anybody who gives this even a few seconds thought can see that.

So the Republicans are trying to make sure you don't give it a couple seconds thought. They'd much rather you count the number of times the President mentions God, or laugh at him for mixing up "British" and "English."

Petty political pot-shots are fun, especially when they are funny. But in this case, they're not only lame, but obvious distractions meant to focus our attention away from what the Republicans are actually trying to do to those of us who don't make a million dollars a-

*Jon Stewart on the "Much Ado About Stuffing" scandal:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Much Ado About Stuffing
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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Update to Alan Grayson for President

I posted about how much I appreciate a true progressive speaking out. Here's a clip from one of Grayson's recent speeches. Check it out:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Writer's Quest for Quality

I love the Demotivators from Tonight, while gathering my thoughts before beginning Chapter 9 of my current novel [read: Procrastinating] I came across this one on another writer's blog (Lily White LeFevre's blog, here) and just had to re-post it. Okay, enough procrastinating. Let's get marching!

Friday, November 11, 2011


I ran away from home when I was five years old. I didn’t return for almost thirty years.

Upon the arrival of my little brother, our tiny house seemed to shrink, and my parents started looking for something with a bit more room for the brave little crawler. Once they’d found the new house and boxed up our belongings, they began the move. I have few memories of the day. For some reason, I felt neglected. Maybe they were more focused on getting our furniture situated. Maybe I resented the attention my brother was demanding. Maybe I’d only recently learned that running away was an option. Who knows? Regardless, at some point I decided to strike out on my own, never to return.

I think I walked around the block. I distinctly remember that, when I returned, no one had noticed I’d left. I also remember my mother’s pitying look when I told her I’d run away, a sympathetic smile that hid amusement at my dramatic ploy for attention. I was so wounded that they had forgotten about me. She could see my pain, but couldn’t help but see it in a way I couldn’t. That larger perspective made my pain funny.

We moved away a few years later. Six cities and fifteen residences later, I passed through that town on the way to a friend’s wedding. I found the little house where we’d lived at first, and I tried to find the second. The first house created absolutely no impression on me upon its rediscovery, and the second house was so lost to memory that I couldn’t even find the street.

Twenty-nine years had passed. I was almost exactly as old as my parents had been the day I ran away. They’d never lost me. Not really. But there I was, sitting in a borrowed car, looking at a little house, wondering if there was a German word for the disappointment one feels upon returning to a place after many years to find that it is not as one remembers it. They hadn’t lost me. I’d lost myself.

Now I’m struck by the symmetry. I left that day for perhaps twenty minutes, and no one noticed. Then I left for three decades, and no one noticed. I thought they’d forgotten about me, but during the longer wandering, I forgot about that part of myself. When I returned, my mother was able to see it in a broader way, to see the absurdity of it. That stung when I was five. Now it’s a comfort. Because she could look beyond my perspective; she could see me for what I was: a five-year-old drama queen.

So often, I feel unmoored, place-less, a man who repels belonging. I wonder if I can learn to stand just a few steps away, to look down at my own hackneyed melancholy and wear my mother’s smile.