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6.11.2004

Cheeky! 

I'm so amused by this WaPo article, even though I know I'm a day late. The first part is the best.

Ronald Reagan was a formal man. He would step off Marine One in a finely tailored suit, tossing a wave and a smile. Even as he cut brush at his Santa Barbara ranch, his jean jacket seemed freshly pressed, his pompadour impeccable.

The same can't be said for many of his mourners, some of whom trundled past his flag-draped coffin yesterday wearing flip-flops, cargo shorts and T-shirts, their flabby midsections exposed. Some young women wore ultra-mini skirts and halter tops. Altogether, the sweaty masses clashed with the crisp honor guard in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, perhaps America's most sacred secular site.

Bobby Golike, 20, showed up to pay his respects to the 40th president in shorts, sock-less sneakers and a black T-shirt that read, "Slackers Unite! Tomorrow."
I love the juxtaposition of the mental images of Reagan's pompadour with all the fat chicks in Britney-esque belly tops and this Bobby Golike kid. Also, the guy who's pissed that Bob Dole essentially cut ahead of him in line is funny.

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I come to bury Caesar Reagan, not to praise him... 

Yeah, right.

Well, it seemed somber, until the only access to TV I have (Bloomberg) started interviewing the VP of the Cato Institute, David Boaz, who used the time to bitch about the Department of Energy and the Department of Education (apparently, they're useless), and to slam the ever-lovin' shit out of Jimmy Carter.

I want to slap that man. Don't mess with Jimmy Carter.

...and here he is again. Dammit. Now he's being ugly about John Kerry and throwing Jesse Jackson into the mix. Jesse Jackson!? WTF???

On the other hand, the Italian tenor singing "Ave Maria" is doing a beautiful job.

Update: Good lord, Maggie Thatcher looks good in her taped eulogy.

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6.09.2004

Maybe I scared him.  

***Long post alert***

A good friend of mine sent me the following:

SOCIAL SECURITY:
Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat, introduced the Social Security (FICA) Program. He promised:

1.) That participation in the Program would be completely voluntary,
2.) That the participants would only have to pay 1% of the first $1,400 of their annual incomes into the Program,
3.) That the money the participants elected to put into the Program would be deductible from their income for tax purposes each year,
4.) That the money the participants put into the independent "Trust Fund" rather than into the General operating fund, and therefore, would only be used to fund the Social Security Retirement Program, and no other Government program, and,
5.) That the annuity payments to the retirees would never be taxed as income.

Since many of us have paid into FICA for years and are now receiving a Social Security check every month -- and then finding that we are getting taxed on 85% of the money we paid to the Federal government to "put away," you may be interested in the following:

Q: Which Political Party took Social Security from the independent "Trust" fund and put it into the General fund so that Congress could spend it?
A: It was Lyndon Johnson and the Democratically-controlled House and Senate.

Q: Which Political Party eliminated the income tax deduction for Social Security (FICA) withholding?
A: The Democratic Party.

Q: Which Political Party started taxing Social Security annuities?
A: The Democratic Party, with Al Gore casting the "tie-breaking" deciding vote as President of the Senate, while he was Vice President of the U.S.

Q: Which Political Party decided to start giving annuity payments to immigrants?
A: That's right! Jimmy Carter and the Democratic Party. Immigrants moved into this country, and at age 65, began to receive SSI Social Security payments! The Democratic Party gave these payments to them, even though they never paid a dime into it!

Then, after doing all this lying and thieving and violation of the original contract (FICA), the Democrats turn around and tell you that the Republicans want to take your Social Security away!

And the worst part about it is, uninformed citizens believe it!

Perhaps we are asking the wrong questions during this 2004 election year!

If enough people receive this, maybe a seed of awareness will be planted and maybe good changes will evolve.

How many people can YOU send this to?

Keep this going clear up through the 2004 election!!

We need to be heard!


So I did just an incredibly minimal amount of checking and found this rebuttal of the claims in that internet forward (I HATE those stupid forwards, but I couldn't resist the opportunity to expose ridiculous lies for what they are).

But, of course, I couldn't stop there, and in doing so, got quite worked up about why I'm proud to be a Democrat and because I neglected my budget long enough to scribble down some thoughts about how I felt, I thought I might as well throw it up here. Needless to say, my friend wasn't expecting this, exactly, and his response was succinct, as I am not prone to being:

What the hell brought this on? I just asked for your opinion on the Soc. Sec. email.

Poor thing. It's only Tuesday, after all. So, without further ado, my opinion on the Social Security email (which has less to do with the false claims therein and more to do with that being the last damned straw)...

Although I think the questions we should be asking this election year revolve around vastly different issues than the question of whether immigrants get Social Security benefits or whether the Vice President acting in their official capacity as President Pro-Tem of the Senate should cast a vote that is in line with his party's stance (oh, the horror!), I took a few minutes to find this, which gives concrete information (not internet-fueled partisan claptrap) about the Social Security Act and subsequent amendments to the Act. It's pretty easy to get to - it's on the Social Security website, which is run by the federal government. Considering that the Bush administration runs the federal government, if this were untrue, you'd expect it to have been taken down or modified, but oddly, it's still there.

Remember, it's easy to twist anything around to fit your purposes. You of all people know that well-reasoned arguments get my attention, but internet rumormongering in the "Democrats are evil" vein is likely untrue, and people often don't take the time to do research to see if it is true or isn't. Just because it doesn't fit your worldview doesn't make it factually inaccurate. I don't automatically assume internet stuff I get about Republicans is true, although it seems to me that less of that circulates than do the ugly lies about us evil, godless, baby-murdering Democrats...I'll leave you to speculate on why that might be. But, from a respected journalist (you don't have to agree with him to admit he might be professional enough to get his facts right), I give you this.

Give me solid reasons, backed up by non-partisan research, why he's wrong, and I'm willing to read them.

My original point, however, was that, given current domestic and international issues, some things seem less important than others. Gay marriage is already illegal in most states and will remain so for a long time to come, so what good is a Constitutional Amendment? Mainly makes those who pass it look like bigots. Nobody wants abortion to be every woman's first line of defense against unwanted pregnancy (where's the ad for the abortion clinic that reads, "Abortion: Cheaper and More Convenient than Condoms!"?), contrary to what many on the opposing side may try to get people to believe.

According to most everything I've read, Social Security is a non-issue this election, at least for the time being. People, both Democrat AND Republican, are concerned about other, more pressing issues.

There are plenty of Republicans who aren't evangelical Christians - they're concerned with their right to worship or not as they choose. I'm concerned that we've asked our armed forces for everything they offered when they signed up (i.e., their lives), and that we're not fulfilling our promises to them (pay, veterans' & survivor benefits, equipment). I'm worried that we've alienated international partners and friends to the point where we'll have to go it alone next time the wolf knocks at our door. I fear the people who use the language of last resort and call me traitorous for daring to disagree with the current administration, who tell me what I can and can't feel and have the gall to suggest that I don't love my country if I don't follow, without question, a leader whose policies I vehemently oppose and whose character I don't trust.

I'm proud to be a Democrat. I'm proud to care about someone other than myself. I'm proud of the sacrifices Democrats and Americans of every ideology have made in war abroad and at home, with their lives, and by sacrifices of both time and money to causes they believe in - equality in education, fairness in healthcare. Recognizing that we still have a hell of a long way to go, I'm proud of the strides we've made towards overcoming individual selfishness in service of a greater good. I'm proud to be the great-great-grandchild of immigrants. I'm proud that as a Democrat, I'm part of a tradition that honors our country while encouraging open and honest debate. I'm proud that Americans come in every color, religion, and experience, and I'm proud that my idealogical legacy includes John and Robert Kennedy, LBJ, FDR, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jimmy Carter, and, unapologetically, Bill Clinton. However - I'll be damned if ignorance or fundamentalism is going to take that away from me. Everyone believing the same thing and following without question isn't patriotism, it's Facism, and fear. I will not be terrorized by those who distinguish their intolerance and hate from that which inspires fundamentalists of a different stripe by the color of their skin or the name of their god. I am an American first, and this is MY country, too.

I'm not implicating you in all or indeed any of these things. I am, however, cautioning you against the cumulative effect of a variety of policies and beliefs, which is, no matter how many flags people plaster on their cars, anti-American. I do live in fear, not of terrorism from outside, but of the terrorists at home, whose mission is to spread fear until those of us who do not agree say that we do. I will resist agreeing simply for the sake of being in the majority until I die. I will not let those who have attempted to hijack my flag and my country as only theirs do so, and I will not let ANYONE tell me how "good Americans" should act or feel.

I love you dearly, and I hope you understand that the truth of that can coexist with my stupefied wonder at how certain things can take on an importance that I simply don't understand.

Shorter Ellen: Don't be a selfish bastard. Shut up about social security - don't you think it's sort of irrelevant right now? Now, help me down off this soapbox, it's kind of tall and I'd rather not twist my ankle.

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6.08.2004

If you only read one thing today 

Read this, from Kos.

This is why I read other people - they say what I want to say, only better and with fewer damned words.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that, simply by admitting that he/the administration isn't completely infallible, Rumsfeld might qualify as partially human. Congratulations, warmonger.

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6.07.2004

Baby steps in the right direction. 

Even though Walden O'Dell's claim that he has "sworn off politics" strikes me as fatuous and insincere, Diebold officially banning execs from political activism is the right move.

Of course, now they just have to get the machines to work.

And, you know, they could have done this when the letter first came to light and cast a pall over the entire electronic-voting industry.

But other than that, good work!

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Foul-mouthed puppets win Tony. 

So well-deserved.

If you don't have the soundtrack to Avenue Q, you need it. Should cut down on the therapist bills, at the very least. Snarky, quick, and if two of my decidedly non-showtunes-listening buddies can laugh their asses off (and I mean coca-cola coming out of their noses), it's probably worth a listen.

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6.06.2004

My body is giving out on me. Already. 

Aren't you supposed to be older to have back pain? Perhaps around forty, when I can't run around after rugrats without a little twinge, which I'll then blame, along with bad knees and depending on the situation, on:

a) Playing college football,
b) My brief career in the rodeo, or
c) All that kinky sex.

Unfortunately, my doctor will look at me over his little half glasses and say, "Is your cubicle set up ergonomically?"

If you live "Dilbert," is it pathetic or subtly trendy?

Ouch. I can't stand up.

ETA: Yay muscle relaxers. Hey, is my head heavier than it used to be?

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At least it's cooler than My Little Pony. 

CWINDOWSDesktopFightclub.jpg
Fight Club!


What movie Do you Belong in?(many different outcomes!)
brought to you by Quizilla

I can't help wondering, though, how skewed my worldview has become to be described (albeit incompletely) as lawless, mean, tough, insecure, and broken. I chose answers that led to that??? Sheesh, maybe I do need to play with My Little Pony.

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