A Good Old-Fashioned Face Slap

Once upon a time it was, I believe, totally legal for a woman to slap a man’s face if he insulted her.  Nowadays we have to be a bit nicer.  But not much.  Consider what happened in the Texas Legislature when a female representative reacted passionately to just a bit too much bullying by her male counterparts:

Texas Legislature

All I can say is, Amen Sister.  We need many, many more like you, especially now.

Things Get Worse With Koch: Tea Party Pumps Up $4 Gas

Things Get Worse With Koch: Tea Party Pumps Up $4 Gas.

Completely Faux

Just in, from a friend on Facebook: Faux News is telling its poor, blinkered viewers that OBAMA IS REFUSING TO GIVE GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS TO THOSE WHO DISAGREE WITH HIS POLICIES.

Um…excuse me…here’s the TRUTH: (1) Obama is not the sole grantor of government contracts, so WTF is this claim about; (2) Obama merely signed an executive order which demands transparency from government contractors regarding their political contributions.  No one ever said anything about some emperor denying contracts if he didn’t like what was disclosed.

This should be no big deal unless you are either a well-placed politician who OWNS or MOSTLY OWNS or HAS A HUGE PERSONAL INTEREST IN a company that has government contracts (um…yes, that has happened), or are supporting a takeover by, say NEO-NAZIS  — you know, FUCKING TEABAGGERS, something that might be unpopular if the general public found out about it, because they are the ones paying the contractor.  The order was issued in response to the Supreme Court’s disastrous (and definitely unethical) Citizens United ruling, which allowed numerous well-heeled and poisonous Teabaggers to slither into government last election cycle on the strength of massive, bought publicity that pretty cleverly left out some details (like, “I’m gonna send women’s rights back into the Dark Ages and bust as many unions as I can”), simply because their wealthy corporate campaign contributors could not be traced and held accountable for supporting anti-American policies and politicians (yes, Hoss, that refers to the Teabaggers).

And while you’re digesting that, Hoss, read THIS to find out just how fairly unbalanced your Aussie hero Rupert Murdoch is: Rupert Murdoch Censors Liberal Television (In Italy, but you’d best believe he’d do it here too if there WERE any liberal television networks, which there aren’t).


A Fairy Tale for Pundits

Everyone knows by now that TV personality Donald Rump is, in fact, not running for President.  The only people who appear to be truly interested in this fact are the people who took him seriously in the first place.

No, I am not one of them.  Yes, I was quite irritated with all the media attention on Rump’s toy Presidential maybe-bid, just as I am irritated with the fact that the media continue to take Sarah Palin far more seriously than do the rest of us.  It seems that our media now exist in an alternate universe in which the differences between seriousness and flightiness, sanity and insanity, intelligence and stupidity, and most important, REALITY and UNREALITY do not exist.

Anyway, this particular chapter in media stupidity is mercifully over.  It ended when Rump got handed his charred ass at a White House Correspondents Association dinner and was obviously unable to handle it, followed by the announcement of the death of bin Laden right in the middle of Rump’s reality show in which he gets to act very tough and fire celebrities from pretend jobs.

Of course, this was around the same time as Rump’s silly reaction to the release of the President’s long-form birth certificate, as well as news of Rump’s various swindles, but the fact is that neither of those hurt him much.  The White House dinner and the death of the terrorist were dramatically different; Rump had been handed his own seriously charred ass twice in a matter of a few days and that was something even the most blinkered media mouth could see and understand.  It was finally that loud and clear: Rump was in the big leagues now and thoroughly over-matched by a President he was attempting to heap scorn upon from his own imaginary lofty seat (you know, the Wealthy White Guy Zone).

The sad thing is that this is an isolated case.  Rump is only one idiot of many, and I don’t see any domino effect in progress.  Yes, Huckabee is out, but Palin and Bachmann are still roaming the Earth with their political aspirations, at least in the minds of some, viable.  And as I say, there are many others.

So, with a hefty sigh, I give you the story of Pat Paulson.  Who’s he?  Well, I’m surprised that you have no idea and further surprised that someone, somewhere, hasn’t issued an oh-so-serious tome about his considerable political thought, or something like that.

My own memory only goes back to the 1960’s, but as far as I’m aware, he was the first TV personality — a comedian, actually — to engage in a joke run for the Presidency.  Yes, it was a joke.  But it was taken just barely seriously enough that his name appeared on the ballot in at least one state.  This was in 1968; his candidacy was launched on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour or whatever it was called.  Paulson ran for President (with less publicity) during every cycle in succeeding years, ending only with his death in 1997.

Thing is, most people knew his run for the Presidency was a joke.   After all, the cartoon dog Snoopy also ran for President during those years.  As far as I remember, neither Snoopy nor Paulson was ever mentioned with any seriousness on an evening news broadcast, much less in a newspaper.  It was clear at the time that some people are Presidential candidates and others are performers, or even cartoon dogs.  Even 7-year-olds emerging from the fantasy world of early childhood could see this.

That clarity was lost, perhaps, when a former B-movie actor was elected to the Presidency in 1980.  The erosion of pundits’ abilities to decipher reality from fantasy seems to have started in earnest then.  The erosion became further evident when an Austrian-born action movie actor was elected to the governor’s chair in California after uttering a few of the correct right-wing catch-phrases, and was so adored by his minions that a petition was started to allow this actor to run for the Presidency in spite of his foreign birth.  Yes, it’s true.  And yes, those minions are many of the same people who later joined the birther movement after Obama was elected.

And so it leads to what we have now: fantasy Presidential candidates backed by fantasy media empires (as in: a new radio ratings system has revealed that right-wing talk radio was apparently never as powerful as people have chosen to believe), with oh-so-serious media pundits jiggling their jowls about the latest joke’s chances of sitting in the Oval Office.

Happily, sometimes reality still jumps up and bites these people in their asses.  Such is as it was with Rump, who the media took as seriously as he takes himself.  Such is as it always was with Paulson, who never had the tremendous ego to take himself seriously.

May it be that way for all of them one day.

The Bubble Reality

First, read this.

I’ve covered this subject before in this blog.  It never ceases to amaze me how the world catches up eventually.  Yes, I am patting myself on the back.

But there’s one problem in this case: the guy they’re quoting is a billionaire, and a billionaire’s contact with most people’s everyday realities is limited.  And one reality is this: if you’re U.S. born, try to get a job (most people are not born entrepreneurs), let alone one with a living wage, if you do not have a college degree — or these days, even if you do.  The majority of people are not born scholars, but college has become a requirement.  It follows that most of our colleges have degraded into career academies, and most college degrees are nothing more than career certificates.  And that’s a ridiculous waste of time and money.

Take my own former career, for instance.  I was a secretary for many years.  When I graduated from high school, this was one of many job opportunities for females who were not going on to college.  Yes, I said “many.”  There are fewer opportunities now.

Sometime during the acid (not LSD, just nasty) 1980’s, all this changed.  It was during the reign of that “nice man” Ronald Reagan.  And during the 1990’s, when the hippie-yuppie Clintons ruled, it became written in stone: if you were born in the U.S., you could not get a job that paid a living wage if you did not have a college degree.  Period.

Of course, that has graduated to “if you were born in the U.S., you cannot get a job.  Period.”

And so I found myself in the job market again and again, being pushed to the bottom of the barrel in spite of my long experience because I did not have a college degree.  You see, by the 1990’s, a secretary had to have a two-year degree; later they wanted a four-year degree.  It was and is, of course, ridiculous.  But the claim was (and is) that people who only had high-school educations lacked the skills necessary to do secretarial work.  The skills they were talking about were mainly grammar and writing skills, and as a person who spent part of the 1980’s correcting the grammar of a master-degreed English major who used hyphens to the point where entire paragraphs consisted of completely hyphenated sentences, you might say that my view on this was a little dim.  (This was also the era during which corporations, using their new-found might, attempted to alter the English language to suit the spelling deficiencies of their own college-degreed executives.)

Later they went to hiring British and other foreign secretaries, usually on the excuse that not only was their accented English better, but they worked cheaper and heck! a lot of them could speak second languages (not that they had to prove it with degrees, mind you — how racist!). But this was not before years of insisting on the bogus college requirement for the rest of us who were born in the U.S.

Fact is, the whole thing was and is bogus.  In spite of the requirement of a college degree, the average salary for a secretary sunk.  Considering that it was never good to start with, that’s pretty revealing.  See “cheap labor” comment above.

Here’s the absolute truth behind it all: once upon a time, women graduated from college and were made to prove themselves by becoming Girl Fridays.  Pretty often, they were Girl Fridays for good.  Women, you see, could not be relied upon to remain in the workforce and thus were bad bets as hires and/or career candidates.  And as a woman, you could forget the idea of earning a solid wage; if you were lucky, you might be able to live on your salary — just barely — after several years on the job.

Not surprisingly, most secretaries did not have degrees.  It was considered a waste of time.  And believe me, English skills in the days of yore were no better than the English skills of today.  And isn’t showing a college girl to the nearest word processing program just an update of the old “Girl Friday”situation?  Yes, it is.  So let’s add sexism into the mix.  It’s so fashionable right now, anyway.

Back to the point, however, the fact is that it was never about degrees.  It was about cheap labor.  That’s all this ever was about.  Anyone who told you otherwise, including Reagan, Bush, and the Clintons, was lying.

For the majority of people, college degrees have no value.  They are an expensive waste of money, rather like a luxury car.  Once upon a time, a college degree had a certain social status, and in a way it still does — but only as long as one has a master’s degree (in the job market, having a PhD is almost as bad as not having graduated from high school).  For a while, college degrees were like drugs for employers: first they required an AA or AAS, then a BA or BS, and then came the “must have” MBA, and after that, the MBA from a short list of choice colleges.  Clubs formed for the advanced-degreed only (of course, not too advanced).  The rest of us need not apply no matter what our experience.

But the thing is, college degrees are so ubiquitous nowadays that…get this…there’s even a degree for hotel/motel management.  Now that, folks, is carrying things to the nth degree for no reason.  It’s kind of like requiring a secretarial job candidate to have any sort of degree at all past high school.

And so I give you my story about secretaries.  They’re nearly extinct now, but the few you do see are usually degreed, foreign, or just damn lucky to have a job that pays a living wage (sort of, maybe, eventually).  And it was never about college.  It was always about cheap labor.

That’s why your degree is not getting you a job, friend.  My sympathy to you as you stand in the unemployment line, wondering how you will pay off your student loan.

The pot calls the kettle…something

Actually, in this case the pot and the kettle don’t even belong in the same sentence.  However, it’s the long-off-the-wall Sarah Palin again, nitpicking at the White House (again)…this time about a “lack of class” or something.

When the Queen of the D List says something like that, Hoss, save your ears and go do something else.


What I don’t get is why she doesn’t get that the reason Rump flamed out so fast in his toy Presidential bid is that he was unserious.  She has now spent almost 3 years being unserious in the eyes of the general public of the U.S. and the world.  Rump seems to have realized that being a fluffy bunny cost him; will Palin ever figure this out?

I guess not.

A government small enough to fit in a uterus…

…this seems to be the Republican ideal.    Oh, you haven’t heard?  Well, apparently they want a government that consists of a rubber stamp Congress, a plastic doll President, a Supreme Court made up of chimpanzees, and a teeny tiny IRS that only audits rape victims who have had abortions. The rest of their plans…you know, the military intervention everywhere in the world to spread Christianity…oh, sorry, democracy…well, I guess the Koch brothers will direct and pay for that.  The Kochs have already have bought the University of Florida, you know, but the stipulation is that they get to choose the professors at that school.  Which translates into this: all education at the University of Florida, from here on out, will be on a level with that given by Trump University and Glenn Beck University.  Which is to say that education there is at an end.

Put that together with the Republican plan to force children into the job market during their grade school years, and you have utopia.  But I don’t know for whom.

Word has it that the Repugs are very, very nervous about a new plan to require government contractors to reveal their campaign contributions.  I wonder why.

Meantime, a right-wing radio screamer in Wisconsin continues to lie through his teeth, actually blaming most of these Republican plans on Obama.