Saturday, June 27, 2009

For What It's Worth 2.0

I do go on about courage. It's not that I consider myself so courageous but I've been in the presence of those who've fit the bill. I try to live by their example, see the bullshit for what it is and not let it force me down a road I don't need to be on. This isn't rocket science, it's common fucking sense. There are standards of conduct that people should be living by, not anything religious or political but responsible. Treat others as you would have them treat you. Simply put, easily said and the most difficult to accomplish.

A standard like that leaves no room for greed, hatred or intolerance. It forces people to look at our neighbors in a new light, a new understanding. It allows us to see people as they really are and go from there. There will be lots of people who won't pass the test. Unfortunately, these people are just no damn good. Rather than go after them or react to them; we should just ignore them. Glenn Beck wouldn't be such a pain in our asses if he had no audience. He would be just another wingnut screaming at the wind.

But you say, how can we ignore these assholes? They infect us with their bile, foster open wounds in society and unravel any progress toward a better understanding between different groups. I say ignore by moving on without them. Cut them off from the discussion. Let them rant! If we engage the people who matter the most to them, their audience, that will leave them without a forum, without a base. Of course, there will always be a fringe who will buy into the poison Beck, Limbaugh, Savage Weiner, and the rest of the hatemongers sell. Fuck 'em. Isolate them by working for the folks who matter - Mom and Pop America. As long as we can engage the mainstream by showing them how important we think they are, they'll abandon the wingnuts like rats from a sinking ship.

For the most part this is happening now. Limbaugh parades his Arbitron numbers around like a gold star, making noise about how popular he is. Well, he has an audience, but a shrinking one. He takes weekly numbers and posts them as daily, his base is declining but becoming more vocal. He has to stir up the rabble, after all, the American people elected a black man as president despite his daily reminders of how awful that would be. As Gov. Schwarzenegger said on the Today Show a few years ago that 'Rush Limbaugh is irrelevant, I am not his servant." There's one Republican that won't be invited to the Tube and Lube party down in the Dominican Republic any time soon.

But Limbaugh isn't alone here. We have Michael Savage Weiner making fart noises about a 'fatwa' against Media Matters like this is supposed to send shivers of cold terror through their spines. Ordinarily this would be laughable, much of what the Weiner says is nothing but manure, however with the recent killings by right wing loonies we have to be aware of what these ass pimples are saying. It's no secret that they've come to realize just how powerful their words are to the Right Wing fringe. Despite the killings, perhaps because of them, the Crap Talkers on the Right are ramping up their vile. They all are counting on that lone listener who will hear the last word and snap. This is the antithesis of courage. A four year old girl touching a worm shows more courage than Limbaugh, Weiner, O'Reilly, or Beck have in their entire pathetic lives.

Cretins like these should play no role in the reconstruction of the American Ideal. They only exist to keep us honest, to reinforce the common threads that bring us together. They show us what happens when you lose all sense of community, all self-respect and get your head permanently lodged in your ass. They are the rats that congregate around our social garbage. If we deal with the trash, the rats will go away.

Talk show idiots aren't the only pustules on our ass. We seem to have developed a few in leadership roles too. The Republicans in Congress are a cadre of hacks, crooks, fools, and cheaters. Just put a camera in front of them and they can't help but prove this to the country. They have show the world they're an idiot. It's like a contest amongst them. Who can be the biggest idiot on the Network News?

Which brings me to the next part of this screed. The Democrats. I've mentioned the bad guys, now I need to bring up the 'good' guys. Who's a bigger fool, the idiot you expect to say something stupid or the one who comes out of left field with it? I expect the Right to be idiots, it's their nature. Can't expect the zebra to walk away from its stripes. But I had hoped to see the people I helped put in the majority show some spine. I thought that the only reason Democrats were so wimpy and soft on the Republicans over the last eight years was simply a measure of power. You can't do much as a minority party.

Boy, was I wrong! The Repugs have a smaller minority than what the Dems had and are hamstringing ever effort at turning this country around. The Dems have a fillibuster proof majority and they are being held up, frozen in fear. WTF?

I mentioned the cowardise of the Right Wing talkers, how disgusting they were. But I have to place the cowards in Congress, my own Party leaders, beneath the likes of Limbaugh and Weiner. They have the votes, they have the people's will, they have a strong leader in the White House and they still crumble like a graham cracker at every turn. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is the biggest of the cowards. He's the worst of the worst. Our little girl with the worm could probably make Sen. Reid piss himself. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is not as bad but still terrified of the GOP. What are these marshmallows afraid of?

We should be driving our agenda through Congress like a Mack truck through a corn field. Progressive issues would be discussed and debated, voted on and put on the President's desk in record time. The recovery would be in full swing and the people would be reaping the fruits of their vote last November. But, NO! We have a couple of dozen Republican Senators running the show. Sen. Reid spends his day cowering under his desk so the leadership of the Senate is taken over by Boehner, McConnell and the rest of the GOP caucus.

I mention courage. There is no courage in the Democratic leadership. None. When challenged, they always seem to fall back on claims of strategy, chamber rules, and super-secret back room manuvering. Bullshit! The GOP has Reid by the balls, parading him around like a child's pull toy for all to see and laugh at. None of the other Democrats in the House or Senate seem to want to step up and challenge this. The ones that try are shot down in flames by their own party, leaving the Repugs to piss on the wreckage. How many times has good legislation been torpedoed by the Dem leadership, only to have the GOP pick up the pieces, toss it in the bowl and give it a final flush? The Recovery Package, EFCA, Closing Guantanamo, Single Payer Health Insurance, real climate change legislation, energy policy, immigration... the list of casualties goes on.

Who the Hell are these people working for? Certainly not me.

So Mote It Be,
David A.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sad day for icons...

This hasn't been a good week for icons of my youth. A few days ago, I mourned the loss of Ed McMahon, someone I watched as a young insomniac with Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show. He was always the foil to Johnny's antics but was the rock that kept the Master in check. I understand he was destitute at the time of his death. He deserved better.

God Speed Ed. Johnny's got your spot on the couch waiting for you.

Then yesterday, I hear about Farrah Fawcett going back into the hospital. I knew from what I had heard about her illness this was the final time. She passed away a short time later. She was the first poster girl for this old fool. My story about her involved the last day of high school, May 20, 1977. I was wearing a t-shirt with her iconic poster on the front. My classmates and I had just spent the lunch hour in a massive water fight. We went back into the school building only to be confronted by the Principal. I was talking to a couple of my classmates who were drenched by the water fight. These young ladies had forgotten to wear anything under their shirts so, needless to say, they had my undivided attention. The Principal came up to us and without looking in my direction (yes, his eyes were occupied) he ordered me home to change my shirt. The poster of Farrah was, in his opinion, obscene. I said no. He threatened to keep my diploma and I dared him to do it. Nothing came of it. That was the first time I stood up to an authority figure.

Thanks Farrah, your beauty was legendary but it also gave me the courage to stand up for my rights. Goddess Bless You!

Just now, I read where Michael Jackson has died of a heart attack. Lately, I haven't been a great fan. His antics were kinda creepy in the last few years. However, I remember a time when it was just his brothers and he and they were singing as a group. The Jackson Five had lots of hits and yes, I was a fan. Michael struck a chord with me because he was just a few months older. I saw someone my age hit the big time and become an icon. Thoughout the years, I saw him undergo a transformation that concerned me. He seemed to need something that he didn't get as a child in the spotlight. I think this was one reason he strayed from the norm so often. He didn't have the chance to develop an anchor growing up, a stable place or mindset that would give him comfort and security. I don't think he ever had a sense of home.

Be at peace, Michael. At long last.

They say celebrities die in threes. It's a morbid game but we all play it. These were three fellow humans with great talent and creativity. They touched our lives and entertained us. But they were only human. We owe them our blessings and condolences to their loved ones during this painful time.

So Mote It Be,
David A.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Senate Democrats...Have I got a deal for you!

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* Republicans giving you the jitters?
* Are your nightmares always tuned to Fox News?
* Does the sound of Rush Limbaugh's voice cause you to wet yourself?
* How often has Newt Gingrich taken your lunch money?

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See your local PROGRESSIVE constituent for details.

So Mote It Be,
David A.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day - a Tribute

I've mentioned my dad in many comments throughout the Toobs so now I want to put it out there in style.

My dad is a child of the Depression. He was raised in a rural area with few jobs and fewer social services. Back then, you took care of yourself as best you could 'cause there was no bailout, little charity and most of your neighbors in the same boat as you. My grandparents couldn't afford to live together most of the year. Grandpa would be staying at a logging camp and Grandma with her brother and his family. Dad stayed with his other uncle on his ranch on the Colville Reservation. Dad got to know most of the Indian kids his age from those years. Through it all, Dad never lost his perspective that no matter the situation, you always had options even if they were hard to do.

He played basketball in high school, was pretty good too. He held the single season record for points scored for 20 years, until a kid from Spokane broke it by one point in 1970. A couple of colleges wanted him to sign up but there was not much of a scholarship so he declined and went to work at the lumber mill. It was 1950. After a year of working in the mill, Dad got a chance to fall trees. This meant more money and better job security. However, once he got started as a logger, the Korean War came calling. Dad went into the Navy.

He was lucky and didn't see any action. His first ship went to Korea just as he was reassigned to another ship, one that had just come back. He only stayed for one hitch. Then, it was back to the woods.

One has to take into consideration the nature of this kind of work. Today, there are dozens of safety systems in place to protect timber workers from accidents but there are still fatalities. In those days, loggers had little safety equipment save a tin hat, leather gloves and thick leather chaps (if you could afford them). Dad saw many of his buddies succumb to the dangers of falling trees. There's no amount of experience or calculations that can tell you how a tree will fall. You just take a good guess and hope you have a clear path out of the way.

He worked the woods of Northeastern Washington for 50 years. His legs bear the scars of chain saws and fir trees, snake bites and burns. When his woods caught fire, he picked up his McCulloch and went to carve fire lines. A few times he was nearly overrun by fire, but I think Mother Nature had a soft spot for him.

In 1956, he married my mom and soon had a gaggle of kids running him ragged in a two bedroom, one bath house. I have seven brothers and sisters. From 1956 to 1970 about every two years, there was a new screaming poop factory added to the fold.

He and my mom never flinched in taking care of us. There were no vacations but there were day trips and picnics to the campgrounds and backwoods areas Dad knew well. My brothers and I would accompany Dad hunting sometimes but we never got anything. I don't think any hunter got a buck within a hundred miles of my brothers and me, loudmouth little punks that we were. But it was time with Dad. Good time, time to bond and fart and show Dad that you knew the proper way to handle a knife without a trip to the emergency room. We would go fishing with my sisters and catch loads of fish on Conconully Lake even if it meant we had to touch fish guts.

Dad never made more than $30,000 per year his whole career, that was the last year before the mill close. I remember my college financial aid form had Dad's income in 1976 at $18,000. I can tell you as a fact that we were never poor. We always had food, clothes and trips to the movies once in a while. The clothes came from the church rummage sale sometimes, the movies were far and few between but we weren't deprived. The food mostly came from Dad's buddies who bartered with him for meat, eggs, and such. Dad got end cuts from the mill that we chopped up and split for firewood. Cords and cords would be stacked in the back which would go out to his buddies that had ranches and orchards. Dad would get a half beef which would go to the butcher for cutting and wrapping. The butcher would keep the fancy steaks, cut roasts and some steaks and make hamburger out of the rest. Little to no cash would change hands. Dad also would pick apples on the weekend during the fall for a bit of extra cash for my glasses or my brother's football camp. Dad also had a garden. We've always grown our own veggies. Dad's garden took up most of the back yard at first but dwindled in size as he got older.

Now, Dad's retired and living the easy(!) life with Mom and my sister. He still has a garden - Boy, does he still have a garden. If I live to be a hundred I'll never have the talent at growing that he does.

Let me introduce you to my dad and his garden...

taken in 2005, he's 74 here.

the backyard (June 2004)- the grass on the left and behind the building were once garden too.
From someone who had to pull weeds in that garden, I can't tell you how thankful I am that the grass was planted.
In the garden, the beans on the left are on an archway trellis. They grow up the wire and meet at the top.
Then you have a 'tunnel' of beans that we walk through and pick.

Everyone thinks their dad is the greatest and I'm no exception. I've learned a great deal about life, responsibility and honor by his example. I hear lots of guys talk shit about courage and what it means to be a 'man' - well, that's it right there. You'll find no better example of what a man is supposed to be like. Don't take my word for it, I've got seven siblings that'll say the same thing.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there.
And especially to the one who means the most to me.

Thanks, Dad, for everything!

So Mote It Be,
David A.