Wednesday, April 30, 2008

They're doing it

They're ruining any chance for Obama to win, to uncover the decency in us, to bring the country together, to change our face to the world. I guess we're just not that kind of country (which I knew all along but hope springs, well, you know). Jeremiah Wright. I wouldn't be surprised to find out some day that Karl Rove had a hand in this. But for now it's just the inevitable morning after, only in this case we didn't even have the night before. Unless you count the long night of the Bush presidency, which I'm sure you must--that's been deep dark night, certainly. As I've been doing of late, I must quote my son: "I'm not getting too involved because I know I'll be disappointed." Wise advice in that country, in this age of the world we live in.

Monday, April 28, 2008

yes, I read william kristol today!

Still can't give him the dignity of upper-case initials however. But there it is, in black and white, conservative praise for Hillary (I was alerted to this by a comment on Stanley Fish's blog). Now it's confirmed: THEY want her to win, they are happy about the states she's won so far. They clearly prefer her as an opponent, presumably because she'd be easier to beat, but also probably because if the Democrats are inexorably fated to win, she'd govern a lot more like a Repug. She's an establishment gal, our Hillary. Which gives me some hope about Barack. Maybe he would be different. He's the only one who might be, anyway.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

What's really going on

Frank Rich and all the rest of them write their little columns about how the primaries are going, making some good points certainly, but my question is, what's really going on? Is it possible that the Repugs, having grabbed so much power, having pretty much made the Constitution a dead letter in the last 8 years, will just let it all go away? Is it possible for Dems to win under any circumstances and if they do, will they be able to change anything back? Won't the Repugs (and the corporate world of course--pretty much one and the same) either find a way to steal the election or find a way (not so hard, apparently) to buy, steal, or intimidate any Democratic winner into supporting the status quo, as they have created it? I do have some hope that Obama would try but won't they just take him out if he looks like being successful? I mean this is the real world, not some fairyland of children's stories where the good guys win. This is 21st century America. I think, I really think, it's over.

The "Justice" Department

The Times says the justice department (so 1984) has sent letters to Congress explaining its policy on torture (shut up, he explained). In some cases, it turns out, they can do it. No point in discussing how that could possibly be--it just is. As my friend Susan said last night, "It's all over." They've accrued so much power (and been allowed to get away with it) that "justice" is what they say it is, torture is what they say it is, and reality is what they say it is. We're allowed to talk among ourselves but the beat goes on and it's their world,not Jefferson's, that we're living in. Well, here in Mexico, maybe not, but there in the US they are. It's gone further than anyone will admit, because then it would be clear that they're just good Germans.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Why don't they just buy their own country?

The Times today has a story about the Wall St. hedge fund managers whose annual incomes are over a billion dollars. What I want to know is how much they pay in taxes? Very little, I'm guessing. How about a new law: Anything over 5 million in annual income goes straight to the government? Maybe it could have a codicil: not to be spent on war, only on domestic services? Could that get some kind of national health care going?

Thank you, Dr. Tarnower

Once again the sainted Herman Tarnower gets me through a bad patch (read demasiado avoirdupois). Today I'm on the third day of the fabled Scarsdale diet--hooray! It's the only one that works for me (when anything does) because of all the nummy protein (as in hamburgers, shrimp, steak, etc.) and I hope it will work this time too, despite my extreme age. Can I stay on it for 11 more days, though? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Fat, Trapped, Aging Fast

The other night PBS had a show, hosted by Paula Zahn, about retirement planning. Was it written by Zahn, maybe? It seemed aimed at the kindergarten set (surely they're not ready for this), along the lines, to paraphrase, of "there are stocks, children; there are bonds;there are IRAs, too. And you must save money or else you won't have enough when you're old." No angle at all--nothing about why Americans spend so much money, or about how most of these people, enormously fat as they almost w/o exception were, are the lucky ones--the ones who make enough money to put something aside. Just one comment from one financial person about how she worried about the old ladies you see waitressing, who you know aren't doing it because they want a second career. No real mention of the fact that social security is almost never enough to support anyone living in retirement in the US. Not really any recognition of how many many people live hand-to-mouth in the US and couldn't possibly save any money. Or of how bankruptcy law has changed. It did make me realize how lucky I have been, though, (and largely because of the men I've married) (although I guess also because I am who I am and I was brought up that way) these people are just so hopelessly trapped (I mean the ones on the show who, mostly, were taking care of their retirement planning perfectly well) in ordinary if minimal petty bourgeois life. And wow! almost every one hugely fat, yet there was no mention of that--it just went on as if that was the normal way to be, which maybe it is in America. Note, though, that the professionals who were asked for expert advice (pretty feeble, frankly) were all rather slim. (It could be partly the way they were dressed--the experts in suits; the someday-to-be-retired people in American casual (sweatsuits, etc.)--suits seem to disguise at least partly the hideous sloppiness of what seems to be the new American weight standard. The new American public TV standard is another thing--I hope this doesn't indicate a trend. I thought public TV was supposed to be different. This was totally puerile.

Note to Democrats

Never apologize; never explain. Jay Rockefeller apologized to Senator McCain for accusing him of viewing people with the same distance that he did as a fighter pilot. Is there any doubt that what he said is true--after all, McCain votes no again and again on potential laws that would help people. Do the Repugs ever apologize for any scurrilous thing they accuse Dems of? What is this apology thing? Just to prove that the Dems are craven wussies? I DO NOT get it.

Death Looms for a Flood-Control Project

Story today in the Times about the EPA notifying the Army Corps of Engineers that it would not allow two pumps to be installed at Steele Bayou, Mississippi. The environmental damage much outweighs the gain of farmers being able to plant more marginal land and receive more subsidies from the federal government. Will the EPA hold firm (first time in a decade they've tried this)? Remember, Corps of Engineers and EPA, Saddam drained the swamps, and we call him a monster.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Why don't they call them forced-birthers?

Maybe that would be a good phrase to describe the people who call themselves pro-life. Even better than anti-choice, which doesn't sound half bad enough and most people don't use it anyway. They do want to force women to carry children to birth, after all, just like in The Handmaid's Tale. I think it might help a lot to get that forced, control quality into the equation, since that is what they want--control over women and their wombs in particular. The phrase makes clear that this is not a sweet little either-or, you either make abortion available or you force women to live their lives the way you want them to. I like it.