Top Of My Head

Thoughts on everything from Politics to Video Games

Month: January 2011 (page 2 of 2)

An Open Letter to Bill Barnes on his Birthday

Dear Bill;

Today is your Birthday and you asked your readers for a present…You just want us to tell more people about the strip.

Well, Bill, I’d like to give you what you want, but I all ready reviewed Not Invented Here way back in July.  (See Review Here)  I just don’t know how I can mention Not Invented Here on my blog when I’ve all ready completed the review. It’s just not done and I wouldn’t want to bore my readers by mentioning Not Invented Here a second time. I mean, I have to look out for my readers and not mention the same strip – in this case Not Invented Here – more than once.

So, Bill, I’d like to help you out and encourage my readers, yet again, to read Not Invented Here, but I just don’t think I can.

I hope you understand.

Have a wonderful Birthday!

Julie

Transforming the Nation

The Tea Party espouses the idea of taking our nation back.  They want smaller government and less taxes; providing that neither of these ideas touch Social Security.  The Republicans in Congress have made it their single goal to repeal the Health care law – that’s their idea of larger government run amok.  Paul Ryan wants to re-write the tax laws in such a manner that single people would pay the highest burden.  Vanity Fair and 60 Minutes conducted a poll whereby 20% of the people would cut our defense budget in order to reduce the deficit.

None of these people have a clue about what is truly best for our country.

I support most of what is in the health care law.  I’m not happy about not being able to purchase over the counter medications with my flex spending money, but I can live with it.  I don’t have a problem with the government making health insurance mandatory and you shouldn’t either.  We have mandatory car insurance laws in this country and I don’t see anyone getting their panties into a bunch over that.  Making health care mandatory helps everyone.  Not only is it simple math:  more people on a policy keeps the individual cost down, but it is wise – if everyone has insurance, hospitals won’t have to treat the uninsured who can’t pay, which keeps the costs down.  Since insurance companies can no longer turn down someone for a pre-existing condition, it means that someone can’t not have coverage and then gets coverage only when they find out their really sick.  Let’s use our heads here and stop thinking with the other end.

I happen to be against Paul Ryan’s Road Map for America.  In fact, I am so selfish that I don’t want to see any tax changes until gays are allowed to marry.  Don’t take away my mortgage deduction and tell me this is fair or a better way.  I’ll still be paying in the 25% bracket under either plan – except with my mortgage deduction (and other deduction: property taxes, charities), I end up paying between 16 & 18%.  Under Paul Ryan’s plan, I’ll pay 25%.  No, I don’t think you need to change the tax laws.

Don’t touch Social Security – at all.  What do you think is going to happen to these people who depend on it?  How can you expect a family of four to raise their kids, pay for college and put money away for retirement?  Don’t forget, they have to keep spending, too, because our economy is consumer driven.  The more consumers save, the worse it gets.

Well, that’s all I have to say about that – for now.

My Own Cross hairs

The whole way the right wing people and their media, Fox News, have been handling the shooting in AZ would be laughable – if a nine year old wasn’t dead.  I love how the very first thing the Palin camp said was that there wasn’t a target on Congresswoman Giffords’ district – they were cross hairs, like you would find on a map, according to SarahPAC staffer Rebecca Mansour.

While Mansour is correct that cross hairs are “common in optical instruments used for astronomy and surveying”, they are “Most commonly associated with telescopic sights for aiming Firearms,” according to Wikipedia.  I don’t know about you, but whenever I see cross hairs, I think of gun sights.

Anyway, while the right (and especially Palin’s camp) claim that their violent rhetoric had nothing to do with sending a mentally disturbed person off the deep end, I decided to try an experiment that some might consider in poor taste.  Below is my hit list of people who should be eliminated from the public eye.  After all, according to the right wing, I can’t be blamed if a mentally unstable person takes my words out of context, right.

  • Sarah Palin
  • Rush Limbaugh
  • Glenn Beck
  • John Boehner
  • Michelle Bachmann
  • Scott Walker
  • Rebecca Mansour

Feel free to comment below to add to the list.  Because we’re just enacting our freedom of speech and there’s nothing wrong in doing so.

Congresswomen Giffords, Sarah Palin and Free Speech

Before I begin my little rant, I’d like a moment of silence for the six people who died on Saturday due to a “mentally unstable” (in the word’s of Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik) man1.  This is truly an unspeakable tragedy and horror.  My thoughts and prayers go out to Congresswoman’s Gifford’s and the other victims’ families.

And, now for my political ranting:

In my email, I found a breaking news message from Politico that stated the following:

An aide to Sarah Palin said images of crosshairs were never meant to evoke violence, in the Palin camp’s first extended comment on yesterday’s attack. “We never ever, ever intended it to be gun sights,” Rebecca Mansour told the talk radio host Tammy Bruce in an interview transcribed by the Alaska Dispatch.

Gun sights? What’s that all about?

I started looking up Sarah Palin and Congresswoman Gifford and I found a blog denouncing liberal bloggers2, abeit in a nice way,  for blaming Palin’s Political PAC for “targeting” 20 Representatives.  Interesting – someone who is defending a picture of cross hairs – with one directly above Giffords’ district.  As you can see from the above quote, Palin’s team had no intention of the cross hairs to be considered gun sights.  Well, they look like gun sights to me.  What else can they be considers?  Thumbs up signs?  Palin’s team has taken down the picture, but I found it here.

I’m glad Palin’s team is trying to back down from this, but quite truthfully, Palin’s retorhic has always included a violent message.  Anyone remember her tweet, “Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!” Pls see my Facebook page.”

The truth is that she isn’t alone.  A lot of people yell, scream, write things that if someone actually followed through – like what happened on Saturday – would bring them to their knees with guilt.

I realize that everyone has freedom of speech.  I support freedom of speech, but I think saying things like RELOAD is really just asking for some nut to take you literally.  Sure, I’ll buy she didn’t mean it, but I believe that it is time for people in Sarah Palin’s position to start thinking about what they say.  There are a lot of people who take words very literally and out of context and then end up shooting innocent people.

Ted Williams & the Death of Decency

I saw this story on Huffington Post.  Apparently, Ted Williams – the homeless man with the smooth voice – was delayed in being reunited with his mother because NBC and CBS were fighting over which one of them could film and broadcast the overdue reunion.

What is wrong with you people?  Seriously?

I can understand journalists having to take a microphone and shove it in someone’s face after a tragedy to get the story or hounding a politician.  However; this is really too much.  Didn’t these network executives go to kindergarten and learn to share?

Why didn’t you morons both film it and both air it?  Let the people decide which network they wanted to see it on.  Loyal Today Show viewers would’ve watched it there – Loyal Early Show viewers would’ve turned on CBS, but in either case – and the most important item in this – Ted would’ve been reunited with his mother sooner, rather than later.  Two people would’ve been able to work on the special bonds between a mother and her son.

And, I would’ve given them a lot more credit for doing the right thing.  What do you think?

Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn and the use of Nigger

Have you heard the reports that two men have edited the Mark Twain Classic Novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and removed the word Nigger and replaced it with Slave?

I admit, it isn’t an easy word for me to type.  I find it completely offensive.  In fact, I don’t listen to much of Richard Pryor’s stand up because he uses that word.  I love me some D.L. Hughley and I cringe every time it crosses his lips.

And, I am white.  I mean I am whiter than white.  I am pale, burn in the sun white.  I am a black person’s nightmare – where they dream that they woke up white and they discover it isn’t cool white, it is nerd white.  And, when I do the white woman happy dance, my black friends just shake their heads and wonder how I manage to dress myself in the morning.

So, I’m not going to say something stupid, like some of my best friends are black, because – well, it isn’t true.  I have some close black friends and some not so close black acquaintances.  But, if you looked at all the pictures of my Facebook friends, you would see a whole lot of vanilla before you ran across chocolate.

You won’t hear me say the word Nigger.  I think in my adult life it might’ve crossed my lips maybe four, five times – all in the context of a conversation and never yelled at someone.

And, yet, I don’t want the word removed from Huck Finn.  I don’t see the point.  Is it a hurtful word?  Yes, it is.  Did Mark Twain mean for it to be hurtful?  I don’t believe so, I believe that he was merely using the right word for the time in which he wrote the novel.

If we remove a word from history, then we lose something.  I’m not sure I’m putting this into the correct words, but I believe that a classroom full of children that have to read the word Nigger is an opportunity to teach them about what it was like to have been a negro in America back then.  It is an opportunity to teach them how words hurt – how calling someone a name could potentially hurt that person more than if you broke their arm.  A broken arm will heal, but a broken spirit will not.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, I’m an out lesbian.  I am as out as I am white.  I’ve been called a dyke and it hurts.  Just when I think that everything is all cool, someone will call me a dyke and I’m reminding that I’m different – that I don’t really fit in with everyone around me.  I wonder, sometimes, if that’s what it is like to be black in America.  Does a black person ever forget that they’re black?  Blacks are only 26% (feel free to check my figures, this is an estimate) of the America population, which probably means that whenever they stand in a room with four people in it – 3 of them are white.  I wonder what that is like for them.  I mean, when I stand in a room full of strangers – no one knows I’m a lesbian, but when you’re black, well, that’s pretty hard to hide.

Anyway, I’m taking a long way to say the following:

  • Censoring a novel because one word or more are offensive today is wrong.  We shouldn’t take out the parts we don’t like.
  • Allowing our children to have open discussions on name calling in a safe classroom setting could be a good thing – if handled correctly.
  • Richard Pryor came to the conclusion that saying Nigger was wrong, before he passed away.  I wish D.L. Hughley would do the same thing – the stop saying the word, not the dying part.
  • I’m a lousy dancer.

I’d love to know what you think.

Was it something I said?

I saw this headline:  Glenn Beck Dropped From New York Radio Station, TV Ratings Fall.  The actual article on Huffington Post shows a different headline, but this is the one from iGoogle.

Anyway, are people finally realizing that Beck is full of crap?

Is it mean of me to do the white woman happy dance?

Shutting Down the Unions

Ever since Ronald Reagan fired the striking Air Traffic Controllers, Unions have been getting a bad rap in this country and the newly elected Republicans want to take them down ever further.  American workers need the ability to collectively bargain.  They need to know that they cannot be fired without a reason.  Companies should pay a fair wage for a fair day’s work.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we?  We keep hearing from the right that we should get back to tradition values and our traditional country, so let’s take a look at what that means – what life was like for non-union workers at the turn of the century.

People worked in sweatshops with no required breaks for coffee, lunch or even bathrooms.  They worked six or, in some cases, seven days a week for wages that would barely feed their families.  The idea that women stayed at home, tending to home and hearth is a fallacy.  They worked just as hard as their husbands did, maybe even harder, since once home, they had to attend to home and hearth.  Children worked alongside adults for half the money.  This was all before the unions.

Back then, companies hired strike breakers to keep their employees’ wages low and their own profits high.  The government past laws to make it unlawful to participate in unions.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

We forget how far we’ve come.  Instead, we’ve been fed a belief that companies “care” about their employees and they’re willing to look out for our well being.  Oh, there are some companies that truly believe in the American way of life, but they’re rare.

Now, instead of hiring thugs to keep the unions out, companies hire other companies to give talks and lectures on the “dangers” of unions.  They’ve actually managed to convince hard working people that unions are bad and that the big brother company knows best for you.  I’ve sat through these lectures and talks.  I’ve heard these anti-union people speak.  They’re good at what they do.  I sat through these lessons of lies while working for a family owned company (not the one I’m at right now) and heard these speakers talk about making the heads of the union rich with the employees’ dues – totally ignoring the fact that through our hard work and sweat, we’ve made the owner of the company a very rich man.

Now, according to a New York Times article, our newly elected Republican officials want to weaken unions even more than they are.  Our very own “Scott Walker of Wisconsin, are even threatening to take away government workers’ right to form unions and bargain contracts.”  That’s just one step away from taking away private workers’ rights.

Doesn’t that scare you?  Even a little?

It does me.

Ask yourself this:  Who benefits when workers cannot form unions?  Is it the worker?  No, it isn’t – it is the company.  Companies do not like unions.  There was a time when the threat of a union could force an employer to give fair raises to its employees.

Company thugs no longer weld baseball bats – they weld laws written by anti-worker politicians.  They’ve come for your fair wages, health care and benefits.  The whole time, they’re lying to you – the American worker – by saying that this is for your benefit.  This will help the workers, this will help the taxpayers.

No, taking away the right to collectively bargain contracts only helps the Businesses.  The government has all ready made it easier for businesses to send our jobs overseas.  Now, they want to make it easier for businesses to pay you less and work you more for the jobs that are still here.

Henry Ford once said, “There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible.”  It is really too bad that our CEOs have forgotten his words.

NOM at it again!

MG from NOM is propagandizing again in an upcoming OPB (Oregon Public Broadcasting) program. This link goes to an article about it before the show and asks “what does marriage mean to you” It’s asking for input in the comments section.

http://www.opb.org/thinkoutloud/shows/meaning-marriage/

Let’s tell NOM that marriage is for everyone and not the chosen few, like they believe.

Credit to Jennifer White.  I saw this on her facebook page!

Glenn Beck’s Special Kind of Crazy

Glenn Beck is a very special kind of Crazy.  He has three outlets for his craziness: TV Show, Radio Show and his website.  The only thing that I have ever heard Glenn Beck say that was even close to the truth is that this nation is a republic.  He’s right, we’re a republic.  However; the rest of what he says would get anyone else committed to an insane asylum.  The man is a total whack job and unfortunately approximately 2 million Americans watch his TV show every day.  His radio show is the third most listened to in the country.  Apparently, there are a lot of Americans out there who are just as crazy as Beck appears to be.

See, I just thought Beck was a harmless crappy entertainer who said stupid stuff just to keep the uneducated, right-wing masses entertained.  But, I was wrong.  People actually believe the crap that leaves his mouth and enters the airwaves.  Why do they believe it?  I don’t know – it’s a mystery, like whether or not Beck’s mother killed herself when he was fifteen or if her drowning was an accident.  I vote for the former, perhaps she knew what kind of an embarrassment her son would turn out to be.

Perhaps, I’m placing too much thought into this.  Maybe, it isn’t a mystery at all.  There was a study recently that discovered that when people are confronted with facts that disprove their own beliefs, they will disregard the facts in order to stand by their beliefs.  Perhaps, Beck’s audience watches him just because they believe what he espouses.  Is anyone else a little scared by this?

Seriously, it worries me that we have started down a path where facts and figures are disregarded.  We’re traveling into a future where people no longer respect those who have an education.  Jesus said, “truth will make you free” and, yet, most people will disregard truths in order to stick to their own beliefs.

I no longer believe that Beck is a harmless schmuck.  Every time someone in this country believes the absolute lies that spew from his mouth, we fall just a little bit farther down the rabbit hole.

Am I alone in this?

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