Mar 12 2011

Heartily sick of labels

Not to mention absolutes and assumptions

When did we lose the ability to disagree with one another without assuming the worst? When did we decide that anyone with an opposing viewpoint must automatically be the enemy? When did it come about that reasoned dissent is the sign of a character flaw?

As we approached the 2004 elections, I became aware that disagreement with certain people was resulting in the literal loss of friendships. I was shocked by this, because I’ve never turned my back on a friend over a difference in political or religious beliefs, and I never expected any true friends to do it to me. The first few times it happened, I wrote it off to “they weren’t *real* friends.”

But it kept happening. Even though my positions had not changed in any way, I was suddenly being branded with my views. I wasn’t just Kate, their friend who disagreed with them on God, politics, the military or the role of the government … suddenly I was Kate, their enemy. I was one of “them” and not to be trusted or really even tolerated, because I was wrong and apparently wrong was now beyond redemption. Tolerance was what I owed them, not something I was worthy of receiving.

In the intervening years, I have seen more and more friends fall by the wayside; people I would have cheerfully walked thru hell on Sunday in barefeet to help were turning away because they didn’t like my beliefs. I began refraining from expressing my opinions and I literally walked away from conversations rather than cause people I considered friends to feel uncomfortable. I even quit putting bumper stickers on my car or political signs in my yard so as not to offend or upset. I confined my opinions to online, reasoning that if they came to my pages to see what I had to say then they were “asking for it” and had no right to complain about what they found.

I didn’t ask anyone to stop feeling the way they felt. I didn’t say they were wrong and shouldn’t be allowed to breathe. I didn’t suggest that their opinions meant they were rotten people or that they deserved to be shot. I didn’t censor them or remove their commentary if they disagreed with me.

Yet time and time again, I am not given the same courtesy. I disagree with something Obama says and I’m a racist who can’t stand the thought of having a black president. I disagree with illegal immigrants and I’m a nazi, because we’re a nation of immigrants and I’m trying to deny others the same rights my forebears were given. I support a state exercising their right — as a state — to say “we don’t want legalized abortions except when necessary to preserve the life of the mother” and I’m trying to foist my beliefs on others and deny them their “constitutional right” to have an abortion. I say I respect the right of a family to save the life of their “vegetable” daughter and I’m accused of having no sympathy for her “right to die with dignity.” I say I have no problem with domestic partnerships or civil unions and that gay couples should be afforded the same rights as a married couple but that the actual institution of marriage should remain one man/one woman and I’m a hater. I disagree with unions and I’m wanting to stick it to the working man, deny him his right to a safe job at a livable wage, take away all his benefits and toss him and his family out in the streets.

If I dare post my dissenting views on their pages and my comments aren’t removed entirely, they’re discounted and ridiculed. Remember the old debate rule of “attack the idea and not the person?” Hah! That apparently doesn’t apply these days.

It doesn’t matter how sound my arguments are — most of them will be ignored and dismissed anyhow — and it doesn’t matter if I have stacks of data to support my position and reams of data to question theirs. It’s getting to the point where a person isn’t allowed to have any opinion that steps outside the pack. If you’re not one of the sheep, you must keep that to yourself, because otherwise you’re some kind of Trouble with a capital “t.”

I want to know when this happened, because this is not the America I grew up in.


Feb 20 2011

Really Disappointed

People wonder why we can’t have peaceful debate anymore …

So I was reading down the list of people on my Facebook whose opinions or commentary matter to me — let’s be honest here, there’s people on my FB I’ve never met or talked with at all, they’re just “gaming friends” and I don’t know what they think of the high price of gasoline, let alone anything of substance.  And more to the point, I don’t really care what they think.

Anyhow, reading thru my list of  People Who Matter™ I noticed a comment one had made which said:

Interesting statistic: 5 states forbid collective bargaining for educators: SC, NC, GA, TX, & VA. Their national rank in ACT scores: 50th, 49th, 48th, 47th, 44th.

Now, normally I wouldn’t have had any idea that any of this was incorrect, and I wouldn’t have bothered fact checking.  However, I was just talking to a friend who lives in Virginia the other night and she had mentioned that in 2010 Virginia finished 12th in the US for ACT scores and 34th in the US for SAT scores.  We were discussing where Ohio falls (22nd for SAT and 25th for ACT); why in OH 66% take the ACT, while in VA 67% take the SAT, the benefits of each, and why there is such disparity in placement between VA’s two tests and not very much at all with ours.

So, because I purely by happenstance knew that VA had not finished 44th, I checked all of them.  I then posted a comment telling my friend I didn’t know where she’d gotten her info, but according to ACT.org, in 2010, VA came in 12th, TX 33rd, GA 37th, NC 22nd and SC 44th.

That’s all.  I didn’t even leave any smirky face emoticons.

Having followed some of the links this friend has posted before, I know she’s not always getting impartial info from reliable sources and I thought she’d gotten bad information, so I gave her good info direct from the people who would know.  If I was making an erroneous statement, I’d sure as hell expect that any friend of mine would let me know so I didn’t look like I was just making shit up to prove my point.

Later, I noticed on that same thread, someone on her friend’s list (not someone I know) had commented:

A friend of mine in canada posted recently that their starting teachers make over double what ours do, and rated insanely high on their scores. And I wonder if Kasich would like us to pay him according to how well Ohio is doing right now? : )

Well now, you’d have to put that comment a good way up on the list of today’s asinine comments, but I didn’t bother to say as much to the person.   I simply remarked that Kasich just took over in January and that I didn’t know many people who would take on a job with a salary based on their predecessor’s performance.

That’s it. That’s all I said. Once again, not so much as a single smirky face emoticon.

A few minutes ago, Missy asked “hey Mom, why did you remove your comments from X’s page?” I said I hadn’t.  She said “wow, then she removed them.” I went and looked and sure enough — both of my comments (though no one else’s) have been removed from her page.

Well.  So much for debate, discussion, the sharing of information and personal growth from learning opposing viewpoints.  It’s a real shame when you can’t let facts get in the way of your indignation.  It’s not even a matter of not liking my opinion because there weren’t any opinions involved, I made a simple statement of fact, both times:

  • Your numbers are wrong, here’s the correct ones.
  • No one takes a job based on how well the person before them did.

If she’d come to my page and said “hey, this is incorrect information” I wouldn’t delete her comments.  I’d go verify which of us was right and then I’d either thank her or poke fun at her for being wrong.

I have to admit I’m really disappointed right now.


Feb 18 2011

“Joe Republican”

Bringing this here, from Facebook

A friend of ours posted this on her Facebook page. She and Derwood have gone back and forth about it a few times. I consider her a very good friend and I’m married to the other one in the discussion, so I decided I’d stay out of the argument and just address the entry that started it all. I really wanted to ask what the hell any of this had to do with HB 5 and SB 5, which is what our friend was pissed off about (an initiative that eliminates collective bargaining rights for public workers such as public school teachers), but decided instead to address the “facts” contained in the entry which our friend did not write, she merely reposted.

Our friend attributed the entry to her source which was one “Jeff Parker” with a date of November 19, 2009. The original post is in regular typeface, my insertions are in bold text, (enclosed in parentheses).

(Maria, Daily Kos posted this back in September 2004, attributed to one “punkvoter” … lots of people have cribbed it since then but not many of them have applied attribution. Not even sure if “punkvoter” was the original author or not because commentary on Daily Kos at the time indicated that it was posted several other places as well and had been making the rounds; it definitely was not written Nov of 2009. Just thought you’d like to know it was improperly attributed.

Now if you’d care to go to my blog ( http://www.naebunny.net/~mommylemur ), I’ll be happy to address “punkvoter’s” (or whoever the original author may be) claims. I figured it was more polite to do it on my own space rather than spam yours with it, because it’s kind of long.)

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. (The EPA was started in 1970 by Richard Nixon, a Republican)

With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication.  His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised.  (FDA was started in 1906 by Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican)

All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer’s medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance – now Joe gets it too.  (The first employer provided health insurance dates to 1890 – when Benjamin Harrison was president.  Harrison was a Republican. Unions – the first of which didn’t even form until 1935 – had nothing to do with it.)

He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.  (The USDA began in 1862, started by Republican President Abraham Lincoln.)

In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.  (The Consumer Product Safety Commission was started in 1972 under the directives of Richard M. Nixon, a Republican.  You might be interested to know incidentally that while they do tell consumers what safety features or ingredients to look for, they don’t test, certify or recommend products or brands for safety, nor do they guarantee in any way that manufacturers are honest in their labeling.)

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air.  (EPA again, Richard Nixon, a Republican.)

He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.  (Public Transportation actually dates back to biblical times; modern public transportation was an idea chiefly imported from the Europeans.  There is no way to attribute the rise or maintenance of public transportation to any political party and it should also be noted that it is mostly only larger cities that have public transportation. Oh, and if Joe lives out in the country, or even in the suburbs – say Beavercreek – and works in the city – say Dayton – Joe is SOL.)

Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. (“Fringe Benefits” in the US were first started and administered by the National War Labor Board, which was created in April 1918 by Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, who appointed as its first Administrator William Howard Taft, a Republican.  This was disbanded after the war but was resurrected as the National Labor Relations Board in 1934 by FDR, a Democrat.)

Joe’s employer pays these standards because Joe’s employer doesn’t want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he’ll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn’t think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.  (The first employer sponsored disability insurance policy in the United States was written in 1911, when William Howard Taft – a Republican – was president.  The Supreme Court declared that worker’s compensation was legal and did not violate the constitution in 1917 during  the presidency of Woodrow Wilson – a Democrat – but the bulk of the justices sitting were appointed before Wilson’s presidency, most of them by Republicans.  At least unemployment compensation was started in 1936 by FDR – a Democrat.)

It’s noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe’s deposit is federally insured by the FDIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe’s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression. (1934 – Democrat FDR)

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage (FHLMC started in 1970 under Nixon, Republican) and his below-market federal student loan (SLMA aka Sallie Mae was started in 1972 by that elitist Republican Nixon) because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime. Joe is home from work.

He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards.  (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards were created by the newly formed NHTSA in 1967 – LBJ, Democrat)

He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers’ Home Administration (1946 – Harry S. Truman, Democrat) because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans. The house didn’t have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification. (Rural Electrification was the brainchild of Herbert Hoover – a Republican – who worked tirelessly to convince over 30 states to set up rural power initiatives.  However in 1935 FDR – a Democrat – decided it should instead be administered at a federal level, he created the Rural Electrification Agency to oversee it.)

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security (1935 – FDR, Democrat, and it should be pointed out that during the Carter – Democrat – administration the government began taxing social security and unemployment benefits, thereby cutting into Pop’s check) and a union pension  (unless he has a privately funded pension plan from his employer – not everyone is in a union, mind you: in fact, a mere 12.4% of the full workforce in the US is a member of a union these days) because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn’t have to.

Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good (then Joe should switch the channel because the problems of this country are far more complex than “us” vs. “them” unless “us” is the public and “them” is the government and then maybe he’d be on to something). He doesn’t mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day (he doesn’t mention it because it isn’t true – from the above items, even giving double credit wherever possible, 11 started under republicans, 8 started under democrats and 2 can’t be counted as either). Joe agrees: “We don’t need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I’m a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have.”

And there you have it.


Jan 29 2011

Some people just don’t get it

It’s not about race

I don’t think I know anyone who actually gives a flying fig that we have a black president.  I know I certainly don’t care about his race — or much of anything else including gender, sexual preference, religion, height, weight, eye color, penis length or any other qualifier you can come up with.

I think it’s pretty damned sad that this country has evolved so little that we can put a black man in the highest elected office in the land and yet accuse anyone who dares to disagree with him of being racist.

The latest moron to hop on the race-card bandwagon is Representative Jim Moran (fitting, no?), a democrat from Virginia.

Asked about the results of the midterm elections, the Virginia congressman compared the political environment to that which preceded the Civil War and suggested race was a determining factor.

“It happened … for the same reason the Civil War happened in the United States,” Moran said. “Southern states, particularly the slaveholding states, didn’t want to see a president who was opposed to slavery.

“In this case a lot of people in this country, it’s my belief, don’t want to be governed by an African-American, particularly one who is inclusive, who is liberal, who wants to spend money on everyone and who wants to reach out to include everyone in our society. And that’s a basic philosophical clash,” Moran said.

Moran attributed his party’s opposition to an “uneasiness” with President Obama, saying the criticism comes from a “selfish and close-minded perspective.”

Yeah, it can’t possibly be that someone simply disagrees with his politics, his spending, his lack of foresight for the actions he’s taking, or even his disdain of consequences. It’s all about his race.

Read more: FOX News


Nov 4 2010

Thank God it’s over

Absolutely sick of the election commentary

Here in Ohio, we got rid of Strickland (Democrat), replacing him with the Republican candidate, John Kasich. I’m not a Republican, but I voted for Kasich — there’s not much point voting for the Libertarian candidates, they’re not going to win, so it’s basically throwing away your vote.

Now, it’s all over except the whining.


Oct 14 2010

It’s just a *little* typo …

What’s in a name?

Rich Whitney is running for Governor of Illinois.  He’s the Green Party candidate.  Unfortunately, there’s been a problem on electronic voting machines in 23 wards — mostly in African American districts — and Rich’s name is misspelled as “Rich Whitey.”

Officials say the error cannot be corrected before election day.  Mr. Whitney, who is currently drawing about 2% of the vote, is reportedly not amused.

mediaite.com


Sep 19 2010

… oh dear …

A picture is worth a thousand words, they say

Okay, so maybe it’s in umm … questionable taste …


Aug 30 2010

Racism: Important Message from the White House

Be aware! The definition of racism is changing!

Admit it … almost had you going there, didn’t it?


May 26 2010

A Plethora …

Everything you need to know about some things …

American Idol season 9 — Paula Abdul left, her spot was taken by Ellen Degeneres whose qualifications for judging were debatable at best.  She’s quickly become known for stupid commentary (“you’re like a banana”) mixed in with some surprisingly accurate observations from time to time.  Simon Cowell announced this would be his final season.  No major scandals erupted with the Top 24 (a few mediocre ones, but really, it was a ho-hum group this year).  The final performance show was May 25 (Tuesday) and the final two are Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox.   Crystal (a single mom from Ohio) has been a strong, and steady contender all season long.  Lee (a former paint salesman from Illinois) has been the one who exhibited the most growth over the course of the season and though he is not a “showman” his voice is quite good.  Throughout the season, Crystal has had many “moments” while Lee has only had a couple (his biggest and best was last week’s performance of Hallelujah, which was chosen for him by Simon).  My prediction for this season’s idol:  Crystal Bowersox.  Honestly, though, I’ll be happy no matter which one wins, because I’ve liked them both from the start.  ;-)

Cutest (recent) Quip – ”DEAR LORD, THIS YEAR YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTOR, PATRICK SWAYZE. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTRESS, FARRAH FAWCETT. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE SINGER, MICHAEL JACKSON. I JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW, MY FAVORITE PRESIDENT IS BARACK OBAMA. AMEN”

How dare you! — When they were voting on which things to include and strike from the latest edition of textbooks to be used by Texas students (which influences what will be printed in *all* textbooks across the US), state Board of Education officials had a heated debate about whether or not to include Barack Obama’s middle name in the information being added about him.

Lawrence Allen, a black former high school principal from Houston offered a motion to enter President Barack Obama’s name in a section of the curriculum that recognized significant dates in U.S. History.

David Bradley, a white businessman from Beaumont, motioned that the president’s legal name should be used, Barack Hussein Obama. “I think we should give him the full honor and privilege of his full name.”

“I am getting pretty fed up with this,” said Democrat Mary Helen Berlanger. “You don’t have to be derogatory. We don’t always put in Jefferson in William Jefferson Clinton.”

“This is our first black president,” said board member Mavis Knight, who is black. “You are making it sound humiliating.”

“I ask the member to withdraw the motion and move forward in a dignified manner,” said Democrat Rick Agusto.

Bradley did, but said under his breath, he did so, “to put an end to the whining.”

Knight shot back, “I don’t consider it whining.”

His middle name is humiliating?  Mentioning his middle name is derogatory?  Other things being excluded from the books include mention of Joseph Smith and Nathan Hale in elementary school history books — the latter because reading about his hanging “upsets” children.

Biden’s Latest Faux Pas — Brussels, Belgium is more deserving of the title “Capital of the Free World” than is Washington, DC.

[Biden] suggested that Washington, D.C., his home, is undeserving of that title — notwithstanding its wealth of global organizations and the countless international summits that take place there.

“As you probably know, some American politicians and American journalists refer to Washington, D.C. as the ‘capital of the free world,’” Biden said. “But it seems to me that in this great city, which boasts 1,000 years of history and which serves as the capital of Belgium, the home of the European Union, and the headquarters for NATO, this city has its own legitimate claim to that title.”

Biden’s Latest Faux Pas, Part Deux — At that same May 6th assembly referenced just above, our esteemed Veep also remarked that he was “particularly honored” to address the body, “as a lawmaker for more than 36 years in our parliament.”

Oh, those crazy Democrats, Part I — Remember Rod Blagojevich?  Rod thought there was nothing wrong with selling off Barack Obama’s (then-newly-vacated) senate seat to the highest bidder.  He was impeached in January of 2009 and is scheduled to go to trial June 3.

Oh, those crazy Democrats, Part II — In February, Joe Sestak alleged that the White House last summer offered him a high-ranking position in the administration if he would sit out the Pennsylvania primary against Arlen Specter — Specter was formerly a Republican before became a Democrat last year in the belief that his re-election would be secure if he jumped ship.   Sestak refused to step aside, and handily won the primary against Specter.  Now Sestak is facing Republican Pat Toomey in the election this November and is being asked to explain in detail about this job offer and the conditions for accepting it.  An investigation is being sought and the White House is promising to comment “soon.”

Well, if the Democrats can do it, why can’t I? — Sarah Ferguson, the Dutchess of York, was caught on (hidden) camera offering to sell a “wealthy businessman” (played by a reporter) access to her ex-husband, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, for the paltry sum of £500,000 (about $725,000). Fergie is also on camera receiving $40,000 as a down payment from the businessman (reporter) and making arrangements for the balance to be wired to a bank account of her choosing later on but prior to the meeting.  Sarah has since issued an apology and stated emphatically that the Duke knew nothing at all of her activities; Buckingham Palace has also released a statement insisting the Duke was unaware and above reproach.

“I don’t know why you’d care, but just so you know …” — Victoria Beckham says her marriage is legitimate and not just a sham put on to preserve the family image for their children or a business arrangement to protect their business empire.

“I don’t know why you’d want to, but you can’t” — take your iPad into Yankee Stadium, that is.  Nor can you take a laptop computer.  You know, though, conversely, why can’t you take your iPad or your laptop if you’re paying the price of the ticket and not disturbing or disrupting anyone?  I’d rather see someone on their laptop (which I can ignore) than be forced to listen to some dumbass on their cell phone.

Her voice is toxic and so’s her jewelry — WalMart has pulled Miley Cyrus’ line of jewelry out of their stores because it was found to have dangerously high levels of cadmium.  Cadmium is toxic if ingested (imagine your little girl putting the edge of her bracelet in her mouth to fasten the clasp, or idly putting her pendant in her mouth, for instance) and the levels in the jewelry were high enough to be potentially lethal.