Tuesday, August 16, 2016

It all comes down to November

This is serious people.

Our country is at stake.

Our rights are at stake.

Everything is on the line and this is where we get put to the test. Are we the land of the free and the home of the brave, or are we the Fourth Reich?

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Count Your Blessings

I used to work with another Lab scientist who was from Nigeria. Every time someone would show up with something new or talk about buying a new car or making a home improvement...you know, normal grown-up shit that costs money and you bitch about to your co-workers -- Walle would hoot and say "Oh you must be a very rich (wo)man to afford that!"
Eventually it was my turn. He did not know that I have been outside the US and the comforts of home and seen real, grinding poverty and slept under mosquito netting -- or tried to -- and Surprize! there is rebel activity in this sector after all...
When he said to me that I must be a very rich woman I turned around in the doorway (I was leaving, our shifts overlapped by an hour) and looked him in the eye and said "I am. I might be clinging to middle class by my fingernails in this country, but globally? I am very, very rich indeed." This caught him unawares...he was not expecting the whitest woman in the world to give that answer. He was silent for several seconds. The whole lab was. It was really kinda weird. Then he said "That's right. You are," and he turned and walked into the blood bank.
He never made the "rich woman" joke at my expense again. And Johnson County dumbasses that they were, even though they knew they answer that would shut him up, when he razzed them, they weren't smart enough, or more likely just couldn't bring themselves to, copy off the Liberal's paper.

Then you have me...These are just the shoes, and the rack is full. And there is a closet in another bedroom full of boots. And we aren't even going to talk about purses. Or laptop cases. Or umbrellas. I don't drive! When I get caught in the rain I do what any New Yorker i.e. normal person would do. I buy a fockin' umbrella.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

You yelled to take back our country, so we are. Happy?

By the time the day was over, my voice was hoarse from phonebanking to GOTV right up to a half hour before the polls closed, and the sign-garden in my yard will stay put, because all of the people I supported in the primaries won their races.

Some damn fool challenged Emanuel Cleaver and lost by an embarrassing 60+ points, and on the Republican side, Jacob Turk just won’t stay throwed. I can tell you right now how that race will turn out… Turk 38 +/- 4  Cleaver 62 +/- 4.  On the bright side, after this loss, Turk will have enough of ‘em under his belt to turn pro.

Jason Kander and Chris Koster were a fordrawn conclusion, as was Carnahan. Everyone knew they were going to be the winners of their primary races for Senator, Governor, and Lt. Governor, respectively. The first two are statewide officeholders already, and the third is a Carnahan. Kander is an Afghanistan combat vet, and that matters outstate. He’s been running against Roy Blunt, not his primary opponents, all along. But the three that made my heart sing were the Democratic primary races for Secretary of State, Treasurer and Attorney General. All of those races were won by friends of mine. Judy Baker will make a great Treasurer, and Teresa Hensley, who is already a prosecutor of one of our ex-urban counties, will be one damn fine Attorney General. But Robin Smith, a woman of color, will protect voting rights in this state like a lioness protects her cubs.

Oh, but my children! The people I wanted to win didn’t just emerge victorious – every single Sinquefield sycophant who had an opponent lost, and lost big. You know what keeps me making $25 donations through Act Blue? The fact that he throws away over ten million bucks – to no effect – every cycle, and my puny donations usually go to winners.

Catherine Hanaway took more than $4.5 million from Sinquefield and his various political action committees and ended up finishing fourth in a four-way gubernatorial primary.
Kurt Schaefer got $3.5 million from Sinquefield and was defeated by University of Missouri law professor Josh Hawley by nearly 30 points in the attorney general primary.
Bev Randles got $2.5 million of Sinquefield donations but still lost to Mike Parson in the lieutenant governor primary.
Will Kraus, who only received $120,000 from Sinquefield, was soundly defeated by Jay Ashcroft in the race for secretary of state.
The only statewide candidate to receive significant support from Sinquefield who will be on the ballot this fall will be Eric Schmitt, who was unopposed in the Republican primary for state treasurer

You spend eleven million bucks, you kinda want to get more names on the ballot in November than one guy, who ran uncontested, and who is probably going to lose because even though he didn’t have an opponent, a lot of people didn’t bother filling in the oval by his name.

Missouri has no limits on campaign contributions, per Rex Sinquefield’s request. We used to have the toughest campaign contribution laws in the nation, but Rex didn’t like them, he wanted to write checks with lots of zeros, not just two, so the Republican state legislature happily, gleefully even, with dollar-signs in their eyes, skipped into their respective chambers and put a pricetag on politics.

Apparently this offended the folks of Missouri who work for a living, because Sinquefield money seems to be the kiss of death for statewide candidates. They do not do well. He keeps writing checks, and his candidates keep losing. This bothers me not one little bit.

Meanwhile, four blocks away in Kansas, the Earth shook under the feet of the Worst. Governor. Ever. as moderate challengers to the ultra-conservative Brownback Brigade that allowed him to drive Kansas into the ground lost to primary challengers right and left; and the worst congresscritter this side of Louie Gohmert, Tim Huelskamp, lost huge, by more than 10 points,  to political neophyte Roger Marshall, who will probably win because he is a Republican and they don’t call it the Big, Red One for nuthin.’ It sprawls over 63 counties and cows outnumber people exponentially. He won’t even face a Democrat. An Independent and a Libertarian have filed, but if there is a Democrat in Liberal, KS they are gassing up on their way to Colorado.

No matter what, the people have spoken, and they don’t like extremism or its practitioners. If Kansas in August is indicative of the way America is going to go in November, we’re not in as much trouble as some people are invested in making you believe we are.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

This could be problematic...


By now you have probably heard about the old prick who stepped out in the aisle and sucker-punched a protester who was being escorted out of a Donald Trump rally, probably for the crime of having dark skin. The hateful old fucker ("Greatest Generation" my ass. I can't wait until the last one falls over dead, and you can quote me on that) followed up his sucker-punch with the comment "we may have to kill him next time."

Now Donald Trump is broadcasting his intention to pay the old bastard's legal fees:

Thursday, March 10, 2016

So Long, Facebook

It has been a long time coming, but I’m finally there.

It was great at first. It was a way to keep in touch with friends and relatives who are not in close proximity. It let me keep up with the day-to-day lives of people I care about who are scattered all over the globe.  It let me be there for my niece’s prom even though I was 500 miles away. It let me be there for the wedding of one of my bonus-kids even though I was over a thousand miles away. It let me chat with former colleagues and neighbors almost as if we still shared a backyard fence.

Then a couple of years ago I started noticing that there was a harsh and unforgiving side to the medium. I would share a meme, and no matter what I said about it, I would get attacked, or, even worse, be on the receiving end of some passive-aggressive bullshit that would make me want to reach through the screen and slap the taste out of some jerk’s mouth.

Over the weekend it happened again…I shared a meme about Colin Powell reaffirming that Hillary didn’t do anything wrong when she set up a private server, because he had followed the same protocol when he was the Secretary of State, and I made the observation that he would of course feel that way, because stating otherwise would put him in the jackpot because he did the same thing. I believe I also said something about stopped clocks being right twice a day.

If you only read the comments, specifically those of one individual, you could be forgiven for thinking I had gone completely over to the dark side and placed a Presidential Medal of Freedom around his neck my damned self. When I pointed out that I didn’t make the meme, I just shared it, well you would have thought I had zealously defended Satan himself in a courtroom at Vatican City.
That was the final straw.

Anyone interested in what I have to say can read it here. I haven’t deleted the account, because I have to be the Facebook smartass for the Washington Monthly on the weekends, but I can almost guarantee you won’t see me over there posting as myself. Besides, I got tired of pictures of food and LOL cats a long time ago.

The Nightowl Newswrap

by @BGinKC

Way to keep it classy  I'm not sure what's worse, that the NRSC would tweet that Rep. Tammy Duckworth -- who left both of her legs on the battlefield in Iraq -- "Doesn't stand for Veterans" --  or that the craven cowards deleted it.

Karma's a bitch, pt.1  A Florida woman who has been very bold on social media saying things like "my right to protect my child with my gun takes precedence over your fear of it," and posting pictures of herself with her child and her .45.  Well, guess what? Junior got hold of the gun and shot her in the back. Somehow I doubt she managed to learn a damned thing from the experience, or if she did, it was most certainly the wrong thing.

Karma's a bitch, pt.2  A group of West Virginia lawmakers celebrated passing a piece of "protect the right or morons to be morons" legislation celebrated the passage of said legislation by drinking some of the raw milk their bill protected...and they all got sick from a milk-borne pathogens. Of course, in true wingnut fashion, the wingnut who sponsored it blamed the government, saying the capitol is a den of iniquity, plague, pestilence and disease. The only problem with his hypothesis is that the raw-milk drinkers were the only ones who got sick.

This ought to be as much a death-knell for Ted Cruz as it was Hewlett Packard  Carly Fiorina is backing him. Bless her heart, she thinks he's a "constitutional conservative." Poor thing, she just doesn't even suspect that he is not a conservative, constitutional or otherwise. But especially not "constitutional."

But that's just Carly Fiorina, and she always bets on the nag Not one GOP Senator has endorsed Cruz.  That would be because they hate the SOB.

More of this, please One former Minnesota Senator and one sitting one -- Dave Durenberger (R) and Al Franken (D) -- penned a joint op-ed calling on the Senate to do their damn jobs and meet with the President's Supreme Court nominee.

So long as the violent extremist stays dead, I really don't care how many bullets took him down.  The FBI and the Oregon State Police have issued the final report on the shooting death of Lavoy Finicum and it reveals that two previously unreported shots were fired at the domestic terrorist when he was pulled over on a rural stretch of Oregon highway. Whatever. I don't care. As far as I'm concerned the FBI needs to treat white, Christian terrorists like they would Muslim extremists. Goose, gander, all that...their goals are the same: theocracy and the subjugation of women. You know what they say..."A rose by any other name..."

Laughing my ass off over here at Ammon Bundy, who is whining that jail was the hardest thing he's ever had to do. You know why I'm a free woman and able to point at him and laugh? I don't break the law, and I sure as hell don't rally up a band of morons and try to overthrow the government. It's really easy. Basically, I do nothing more strenuous than a new yoga pose; yet my liberty is just fine, my rights are still intact, I haven't been asked to quarter soldiers, although I do have extra room, and I can now take my guns (yes, I have guns) into national parks -- a right Obama gave me. I'm pretty damned vigilant about my personal liberties, and I can't think of one I've lost, but then I never espoused white supremacists, because I realized at a very young age that the idiots who did espouse such idiocy weren't superior to anyone.

I know why you're really here...and I won't let you down...so without further ado, let me announce the return of Midnight Music:

Monday, February 15, 2016

It's. Not. About. You.

 photo Picture023.jpg
Show Me Progress file photo by Michael Bersin

Let's get something out of the way right from Jump Street...I could not possibly care less about your feelings, unless I'm mocking them, and if you don't get that, what the fuck are you doing reading this blog any-damn-way?

There comes a time when we must put away childish things. This is that time and your wittle fee-fees are the childish things you either have to put away or risk being emotionally traumatized for the rest of your life, because I don't just not care about your feelings, I hold them in contempt.

When Nino Scalia shuffled off this mortal coil over the weekend, it brought into sharp, clear focus just what is at stake with this presidential election. This will be the third appointment for President Obama.

Fearful of losing their advantage on the high court, the right wing "constitutionalists" (maybe they should stop waving it in the air, break the binding and give it a read) are whining that the seat should remain vacant until the next president (they're banking on the next president being a republican) is sworn in.

Never mind that it doesn't work that way, and if they had ever read the document that they claim fealty to they would know it.  It is the role of the Senate to "advise and consent" not to "hector and obstruct," although if you only started paying attention to politics in the Obama era, you may think it's the latter, and that things have always been done this way. It isn't. In fact, it's unrecognizable to those of us old enough to have taken Civics in school.

Here's the deal...I don't give one hair on a rat's furry ass who you're supporting in the primary. I don't care if you're a Bernie Bro, so long as you're not a Hillary Hater. I also don't care if you're a Hillary backer, so long as you're not a Bernie Basher.

I am so god-damn sick of Democrats those who fall left-of-center on the political bell curve sneering at one another and vowing they will sit out the election if their candidate doesn't get the nomination. Because...Purity. Grow the fuck up. IT. ISN'T. ABOUT. YOU.

It's about the federal bench and the Supreme Court. It's about whether or not our republic is for sale to the highest bidder. It's about whether or not the public lands that belong to all of us can be exploited by private interests. It's about whether or not you will have breathable air or whether or not your local river catches on fire. It's about whether or not you can buy health insurance. It's about whether or not the women in your life have a right to reproductive healthcare and choices.

I'm not the only one who thinks so either. It's a good day when I wake up in complete agreement with Paul Krugman.
"But simply pointing to rising partisanship as the source of our crisis, while not exactly wrong, can be deeply misleading. First, decrying partisanship can make it seem as if we’re just talking about bad manners, when we’re really looking at huge differences on substance. Second, it’s really important not to engage in false symmetry: only one of our two major political parties has gone off the deep end. 
On the substantive divide between the parties: I still encounter people on the left (although never on the right) who claim that there’s no big difference between Republicans and Democrats, or at any rate “establishment” Democrats. But that’s nonsense. Even if you’re disappointed in what President Obama accomplished, he substantially raised taxes on the rich and dramatically expanded the social safety net; significantly tightened financial regulation; encouraged and oversaw a surge in renewable energy; moved forward on diplomacy with Iran. 
Any Republican would undo all of that, and move sharply in the opposite direction. If anything, the consensus among the presidential candidates seems to be that George W. Bush didn’t cut taxes on the rich nearly enough, and should have made more use of torture."
Get it yet? It isn't about you. It's about the country and the future and the world our children and grandchildren will have to navigate as adults and our place in the world and the history that is yet to be written. So vote your preference in the primary, then vote for the Democrat in November. It's that simple, and if you don't get that, so are you.

Friday, January 8, 2016

We aren't the Mississippi of the Midwest...We're the Louisiana

Are you fucking kidding me? Nope...this is the KC Star not "The Onion." Can we get rid of these republican clowns, outstaters? Oh, that's right...Roy Temple and the Missouri Democratic Party don't bother putting up candidates n those races. So we get this...we're the fucking Louisiana of the Midwest.This is what I mean when I say it's hard to be from here sometimes
"Lobbyists who have sex with a Missouri lawmaker or a member of a lawmaker’s staff would have to disclose it to the Missouri Ethics Commission under a bill introduced Wednesday in the Missouri House.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Bart Korman, a Montgomery County Republican, defines sex between lobbyists and legislators as a gift. As such, sexual relations would have to be included on monthly lobbyist gift disclosure forms."

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/the-buzz/article53468660.html#storylink=cpy
Lobbyists who have sex with a Missouri lawmaker or a member of a lawmaker’s staff would have to disclose it to the Missouri Ethics Commission under a bill introduced Wednesday in the Missouri House.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Bart Korman, a Montgomery County Republican, defines sex between lobbyists and legislators as a gift. As such, sexual relations would have to be included on monthly lobbyist gift disclosure forms.
Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/the-buzz/article53468660.html#storylink=cpy
“For purposes of subdivision (2) of this subsection, the term ‘gift’ shall include sexual relations between a registered lobbyist and a member of the general assembly or his or her staff. Relations between married persons or between persons who entered into a relationship prior to the registration of the lobbyist, the election of the member to the general assembly, or the employment of the staff person shall not be reportable under this subdivision. The reporting of sexual relations for purposes of this subdivision shall not require a dollar valuation.”
The 2016 legislative session began Wednesday with a focus on legislative ethics laws. That focus comes after a year that saw two Missouri lawmakers forced to resign over scandals involving interns.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/the-buzz/article53468660.html#storylink=cpy

I give thanks every day for the handful of Missouri House Dems who are willing to wade into that snake pit every January. When they were in charge important shit like keeping for-profit prisons out of the state got passed. Not prurient nonsense like this.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A dispatch from the other side of the looking glass

How quickly life can change.

The period between Thanksgiving and New Years is my favorite time of year and it always has been, but this year a huge dark cloud was cast over the celebrations because the day before the holiday we had to bury my husband's first cousin and my last real friend from childhood. She was a random victim of a spree killer who killed another woman and shot into a running city bus and an occupied residence before he killed her. She was in Jackson, Mississippi for a Job Corps convention. It is still fucking with my head that she died alone, hundreds of miles from home and the people who loved her.

The Wednesday after Thanksgiving we buried my father-in-law. The ceremony was a bit tense because my husband and his Backwoods Barbie sister have been estranged from one another for twenty years.

The day after the funeral, I returned to work, and while I was outside with the 4th and 5th graders at recess I got a text message from my husband...an attorney in Bethany had just called him and told him there was money in accounts at two different banks. We had no idea how much it was, or anything like that.

We made a trip up to Bethany to go to the bank, and you could have knocked me over with a feather. We don't have enough that we can do nothing, but we do have enough that we can do the things we want to do and not worry about paying the bills if we're smart about managing what was left after Tom bought me the house of my dreams in the historic Coleman Highlands neighborhood for a birthday present.

We sold our shirtwaist over ten years ago, because we were convinced it was too much house, and we lived for two years in a hobbit-hole apartment that was dark and quiet all the time -- the ideal apartment for a night-shifter like me who needed to sleep during the day. When I no longer worked nights and that apartment depressed the hell out of me, we moved to the apartment we lived in for almost eight years. Not only were we wrong to think the adult children would stay gone. Of the eight years we lived there, it was just the two of us for three months. We were thinking that clearly we had fucked up selling the shirtwaist. I never want my children to feel they don't have a place with me, so we made do, whether we had one extra person or four, in 1,032 square feet.

After we went to the bank, we went house hunting and put an offer in on the 100+ year old house of my dreams in a section of town I never thought I would be fortunate enough to live in.

Zoe's dad has the 3rd floor, and on the 2nd floor, the grandsons (almost 3 and almost 4) have a room at Nana's house...or any kid that happens to be under my roof for any length of time will have a proper kids room, just as adult guests will have a proper guest room. We have the largest bedroom, and Zoe has the smallest, but she has a suite. She has two rooms, a bedroom and a sunroom/study.

Downstairs we have a wood-burning fireplace in the living room, a sitting room off to the side that Zoe and I have squared off over...she wants it for video games and I want it for yoga. There is a half-bath that is also the laundry room. We bought a front-loading washer and dryer that can be stacked later when we put a badass steam-shower cabinet where the washer is now.

Since I have a formal dining room, I bought a table that will seat eight comfortably when the leaves are attached, and the matching buffet/sideboard. The table we had is in the kitchen, and at the end of the kitchen, overlooking the back yard, the deck and the awesome houses in my neighborhood, I put a pub-height solid wood Bistro set. I was delighted to discover that a Cardinal is a frequent visitor to the tree in my back yard.

Charlie told me once when we were struggling that it wouldn't always be this hard, and he guaranteed it. I thought I knew what he meant when we moved to the apartment and changed a lot of the things in my life so I could write and be a pioneer where social media and journalism intersect. We had all the things we needed and most of what we wanted.

Then my brain tried to kill me. Twice. It wiped us out. I literally had to borrow money to get to his funeral.  A couple of days later, I knew what he really meant when he said he would guarantee it would be easier.

I had a great father in law who loved us all very much -- including his redheaded-bitch daughter-in-law -- and he was always there to catch us when we fell. He planned his exit carefully, and made sure that if we fall again, we have a soft place to land.

Postscript: It just hit me what I missed the most the years I lived in the Greystone...When you do laundry and when you run the dishwasher, your house smells wonderful. Forevermore, when I smell that smell, the smell of Cascade, Tide and Downy, I will know that Charlie is with us in this family compound.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Yesterday my Father-in-Law became a data point

He was 85 years old, and he was in failing health, so he went on his own terms.

He laid down on his bed, and shot himself in the chest with one of his hunting guns.

He had been saying that everyone he had ever enjoyed spending time with or cared about was gone, and he ought to be, too, so he went sideways one day before his wife's birthday. She passed away in 1994, and he had been alone for a long time.

He joined the Marines to get out of Cainsville, won a sharpshooter award, and promptly got sent to Korea as a 19-year-old kid.

The things that he saw there haunted him all his life and he was still waking up screaming as recently as 10-years ago.

He was the reason we all, as a family, resigned our lifetime memberships in the NRA. He had been to war. He had been to war, he didn't believe civilians had a reason to own machine guns. We were on leave and pulled up the driveway. He was in his pickup with a razor blade scraping the decal out of the back window. We joined President H.W. Bush in that act.

When the kids were little and one of them would get in trouble, he would say "You better get over here by Grandpa where it's safe."

When his grandson was a smart-mouthed adolescent, he gave me the truest bit of parenting advice I've ever gotten. It was cold, and drizzling, and we were up at his place for deer season. The kid made some smart-alec remark and I wanted to slap the braces off his teeth. I rolled my eyes and muttered that I couldn't wait until the raising-them part was over. He looked at his son who was about 20 feet away skinning a deer and said "It ain't ever done, it just gets different."

Since we had just moved into a house he had given us the down payment for, I had to agree.  Twenty-plus years later, I still agree, and in fact, quote it often.

Rest in Peace, Charlie. I will miss you.