Friday, December 31, 2010

Year-End Roundup

On the last day of December, as 2010 slithers out the back door with its forked tail between its legs, let's take a look back at the travesty that was this year. And what a load of crap it was.

Let's get to the annual Stupidest State of the Year award. This award goes to one of the 50 states which has scaled the heights of batshit-craziness and has truly embarrassed itself (and the rest of the nation) on a planetary scale. To review, here are the criteria used to assess the idiocy:
1) General level of inborn stupidity among the residents
2) Venal, corrupt or insane governor/executive branch
3) Prevailing religious tyranny
4) Batshit-crazy or fundamentalist-controlled regulators or legislature
5) Potential for global embarrassment and species degradation

And the nominees this year are:
1) Alaska - this state continues to blaze new trails in the frontiers of stupidity, due mostly to its most infamous quitter-ex-governor, Sarah Palin. Like a hideous, never-ending bout of herpes, Palin continues to pollute the airwaves and insult everyone on earth with her deadheaded idiocy and non-stop doltishness. Always choosing to heap insult upon injury, she not only came out with another completely stupid, utterly pointless and unnecessary book, but also was in a reality show on the TLC channel (and everyone at TLC can die in a fire for inflicting this pile of stinking, festering manure on us). She had company this summer in the form of Joe Miller, the Tea Party candidate for Senate, a creepy-crusty guy who lost in a write-in election to the incumbent and at this writing is still fighting his loss in court. To Joe Miller: STFU. You lost, no one wants you. Go away and take Palin with you.

2) Arizona - I really didn't think this state could get any more ridiculous and insane, but they sure proved me wrong in the midterm elections. Not only did the clueless, idiotic voters in this state elect as governor the moldering, decomposing remains of some ancient, disease-ridden hooker, but somehow decided that putting more Republicans in office than ever will somehow make things better. Obviously letting their racism and bigotry do the thinking for them, Arizona has indeed taken several giant steps backward into the morass of ignorance from whence it came. This is such a beautiful state, but the politics are incredibly hateful, moronic and depressing.

3) Florida - The Sunshine State appeared to be spiraling into a sinkhole of dumbness this summer with some weird three-way race between Tea Party token-Hispanic candidate Marco Rubio, some other guy and Charlie Crist, doing something completely incomprehensible for some unknown reason. Everyone was hoping that a hurricane would blow in from somewhere and sweep all the crazy nutjobs out to sea, but that would leave the state with a population of maybe a couple hundred people.

4) New Jersey - this state got a huge black eye with the advent of Jersey Shore, and even when the show picked up its greasy self and went to South Beach in Florida, New Jersey still suffered. Now a huge snowstorm has buried most of the state in 2 feet of snow. If I was a Christian I would say that God is punishing those people with bad weather for all the horrendously stupid things they did but then I realize that if that were true, then I would be dodging meteor storms and cataclysmic earthquakes for living in Arizona.

5) South Carolina - The people of S.C. will always be damned for inflicting a weird, vicious, insane creep like Jim DeMint on the national scene. It's almost as if some monster chewed up and swallowed Tom DeLay, got sick, and vomited up Jim DeMint. The Democratic candidate for Senate this fall was someone named Alvin Greene, I think, and seeing him on television painfully struggling to say something even remotely sensible was sad and pathetic to the extreme. Apparently, someone has talked him into running for some other office, which is a damned shame, like making fun of retarded people. Hey, South Carolina, ENOUGH ALREADY!

Quite the sorry slate this year, but the decision is in: The Stupidest State is ... ARIZONA! Yes indeed, the state where I live has busted through to the front of the pack and has left everyone (almost everyone - Alaska was a close second) in its dust. It's become clear that Arizonans are not even bothering to disguise their racism, since all politics in this state turn on the illegal immigration issue. That was the source of the Republican sweep of this state. Most analysts agree that earlier in the year, polls indicated that the deceased, insect-like Jan Brewer was stumbling clumsily through her term-without-a-mandate as governor and would surely lose to the Democratic candidate. Then she signed SB 1070, the infamous statute which, besides making everyone in this state look like a prejudiced pinhead, gives law enforcement Nazi-like powers to compel dark-skinned people to "show their papers" on demand. The Arizona voters surmised that if a Democrat was in the governor's office, that bill would not have been signed; and in fact if Janet Napolitano had still been governor, there's no way that bill would have become law. So, if one Republican in high office garnered such good results, then putting them in all the other state offices would be a great idea, they thought. Except that it's not. This state has solidified the perception that the country has of us - of a bunch of boorish, poorly-educated, trailer-park meth-heads who hate immigrants. Because of the astonishingly fabulous job this state has done in sabotaging its own image and portraying itself in the worst possible light, it truly deserves the Stupidest State of the Year Award.

The pop-culture wreckage of this year is all over the landscape, dominated by a really annoying little anal fissure named Justin Bieber. He seems to be fancying himself as some sort of rapper/crooner and is cobbling together something vaguely resembling a career from the ritalin-addled obsessions of hordes of 12-year-old girls, for whom watching the same miserable music video on YouTube 2500 times is just another day. I think there's a real good chance that his expiration date is coming up soon and he will be pushed to the sidelines by some other marginally-talented young twerp who will capture the illicit, pre-pubescent attentions of the tweeners. Eww, it was unpleasant to even write that sentence. Ferociously trying to claw their way back from the desert of obscurity on one of those blindingly pathetic New Year's Eve shows (and yes, we still love you Dick Clark but for God's sake GIVE IT UP ALREADY!) is the two-headed monster calling itself the "New Kids On The Block/Backstreet Boys Reunion," to which I pose a simple question: WHY??? Way too old to be cute and too lightweight to be taken seriously, these people need to do something with their lives. And fast.

I was trying to think of good things that happened this year, but I came up short. It's been a tough year on all levels. I think back of all the beautiful, wonderful bunnies we've lost - Duncan, Alyce-Michele, Eliza, Sage, Fuzzy, Amelia - to name a very few, and I start to realize how depressing this year has been. The year ends more poorly than it started, it has been a net loss emotionally and spiritually. I would like to think 2011 will be better, but I have little reason to be optimistic.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas 2010

Here I am in the wee hours of Christmas morning, 2010. The house is quiet, all the bunnies are fed and getting ready for their bedtime. The doves are quiet after a late-night chorus of cooing that had almost all of them going off at the same time. I haven't the slightest idea what motivates them to start singing their songs so late at night, but I'm sure they have a good reason. All the outside lights are turned off and all is quiet and still. It's been over two weeks since I last wrote anything in this blog. I had an art project to finish and just found myself to be extremely busy. Whoever said that retirement would be boring did not know what they were talking about.

Time is running out on 2010, and I for one will be glad to see it go. Not a lot of real good things happened this year. Or maybe I should say, some good things did happen this year but they were outweighed and outnumbered by the not-so-good. This past week has seen a terrible spate of bunnies passing away - one was Sage (featured in a previous post in this blog), a very sweet mini-lop who had suffered through tremendous trials and tribulations but never once lost his beautiful personality nor his graceful serenity. Fuzzy was another bunny who had struggled with numerous health issues for quite a long time and was seemingly doing very well when he crashed on us and had to leave for the Bridge. I lost an injured cottontail that came to me with drooling from the mouth and a mysterious injury so bad that the poor bunny just faded away despite my best efforts. My dear friend Julia lost three of her beloved bunnies this year, two of whom (Duncan and Alyce-Michele) were born into my home on a chilly, damp, dark Tuesday in February 2004. I held them in the palm of my hand when they were mere hours old. In a way, losing them was like a parent outliving a child. There is a sense of great loss, disorientation and disorder, a sense that something happened out of sequence that should not have happened, in a perfect world.

But alas, I'm finding out over and over that this world is far from perfect. Politically, it was a pretty gruesome year, with the midterm elections putting more Republicans in high office than I can remember. In state government it was even worse, as most if not all high state offices went to the Republican candidates. The newly-elected president of the state senate is a crusty old troglodyte named Russell Pearce, who has unashamedly associated himself with Nazi and white supremacist groups in the recent past and does not even bother to conceal his rabid, vitriolic hatred for Hispanics. It's incomprehensible how someone could even consider voting for a vicious old creep like that. Expertly riding a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment, the desiccated, ancient remains of the eternally loathsome Jan Brewer got elected to a full term as governor of this wretched, godforsaken state. Looking like the dried-up husk of a gigantic praying mantis, we are going to be afflicted with her idiocy, stupidity and appalling appearance for the next four years, and that is a damned shame. The voters in this state have to be the stupidest, most hateful and bigoted people on this planet.

It really seems as if stupidity is on the ascendancy in this country. There is such a current of anti-intellectualism nationwide, as if it's a bad thing to have an education and speak and act intelligently. Instead we get the supremely annoying bleating of the incredibly obnoxious Sarah Palin, who insists on shooting off her big mouth every chance she gets and in the process says very little. She is single-handedly dumbing down America every time she opens her yap. Luckily we have heard very little from Sharron Angle, a hot mess of a Senate candidate from Nevada who must be living in another century, or from Christine O'Donnell of Delaware, another loser in a Senate race whose most memorable lines were in a television ad she ran claiming "I am not a witch," and "I'm just like you." God forbid anyone would be just like her. Between Palin, Angle and O'Donnell, women have absolutely nothing to be proud of with these public figures.

I know this country has suffered through periods of massive stupidity before, and we seemed to have gotten through it and survived. Certainly the Reagan administration in the 80s was an eight-year stretch of some of the most mendacious dumbness this country has ever had to slog through. Having a senile, fourth-rate hack actor for a president wasn't the worst of it, because fascist creeps like Alexander Haig, James Watt, Edwin Meese, and James Baker almost made Reagan look moderate. That's because there has always been a resiliency in the American spirit which has allowed it to get through periods of difficulty and somehow its innate better nature came through. There was a little bump of stupidity with the first George Bush presidency, but that was more creepy and weird than stupid. But with the enormous idiocy of George W. Bush, somehow stupidity has become a permanent feature of America and even after Bush we are showing no signs of coming out of it. Like a foreign weed, stupidity has taken root in this country and is spreading with every Republican that comes to office.

As the clock ticks down to 2011 there is a palpable sense, at least to me, that America's better days are behind her. Obama has been crowing mightily about this hot-shit compromise he made with Senate Republicans that back-loaded an additional $800 billion of debt onto this country. Although Obama promised in his 2008 campaign that his administration would be transparent and he would not be involved in backroom deals and bargaining sessions, that is exactly what it was - a quid-pro-quo that clearly ended up in the Republicans' favor by ensuring that the wealthiest one-percent of wage earners in this country would continue to live their opulent lifestyles thanks to the extension of the Bush tax cuts, while the middle-class continues to drown in debt and have their homes foreclosed. We have become a huge debtor nation to the Chinese, who will be sucking this country dry of all its money for many decades to come. In a very real way, young people just starting out in their careers today will be working for the Chinese for most of their lives.

Wealth and resources continue to drain out of this country at an alarming rate, and Congress and the President are content to look the other way and repeatedly postpone any meaningful (i.e., painful) remedies to the situation. We all know what has to be done, but no one has the political courage to do it. So we just pass the burden on to the next generation. What a horrible thing we are doing to children yet unborn, mortgaging their future and condemning them to live in a third-rate country, which is what the U.S. will be in a very short time.

So, I'm finding very little to be cheerful about this particular Christmas season. I'll be glad when it's over, I'm already violently sick and tired of all the awful commercials they show on television over and over again. The automobile commercials have been particularly galling. Who the hell gives new automobiles as Christmas gifts? Seriously, I've never met anyone who did that. Maybe I hang out with a different set of people, but that is just so out of my experience I can't imagine what it must be like. Crass commercialism and greed has been rampant this year, as always, but I've opted myself out of all the craziness and that has been a very good choice.

I can only hope 2011 will be a better year for everyone. I will absolutely not say that it couldn't get any worse, because I'm sure it can, but I sincerely hope we can get back to some good news and good things happening after the past two horrific years. But I have to say I have very little reason to be optimistic.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Done With Obama

It's been a pretty surreal couple of days in the world of politics as the current "lame duck" session of Congress lurches toward the finish line at the end of the year. Can I just suggest we come up with some name other than "lame duck" for the ending of the session before the new Congress comes in next month? It's lame in more ways than one.

The big controversy was the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts. You know the ones, notable for giving a huge tax break to the wealthy, as if they needed any more after 8 years of Bush-Cheney, and kind of a tax pittance to everyone else. The Republicans staked out their turf early, vowing on the lives of their illegal-immigrant servants that tax breaks for the rich must survive at all costs. Everyone knows that the wealthy create a lot of jobs for the lower classes. Sure they do, and these are real high-paying jobs with lots of benefits, like pool boys, car washers and nannies. They just never get tired of flogging that 30-year-old trickle-down economics theory, even though it's been widely discredited by nearly all economic experts as being total bullshit. When the Repubs find something they think works for them, you can be sure they will stick with it come hell or high water. "Beating a dead horse" doesn't come anywhere near describing their weird, unnatural attachment to completely fictitious ideas.

Somewhere back in his presidential campaign, Obama stated clearly that the tax breaks for the wealthy will have to go when they expire on December 31, 2010, a little over 3 weeks away. And it seemed like pretty much of a done deal, along with his pledge of getting rid of "Don't Ask Don't Tell," the ridiculous, anachronistic and discriminatory policy that forces gay and lesbian servicemen and women to hide their sexual orientation and live in fear of being discovered and discharged, all the while serving their country and risking their lives fighting in two incredibly costly and pointless wars. Apparently it's okay to take a bullet in the head or step on an IED (improvised explosive device) but not okay to tell a fellow soldier that you're gay. All that was until the recent midterm elections which scared the crap out of Obama and convinced him that he better play nice with the newly re-energized Repugnantans because even though the Democrats will still have the Senate and the Presidency, the Republicans must still be placated and coddled like spoiled, psychopathic three-year-olds. In other words, give them whatever the hell they want just to shut them up.

Into this unholy witches' brew gets thrown unemployment insurance, which was set to expire for a lot of people this month. This is something that Obama really wanted, and the Republicans smelled leverage. And they dug in their heels, saying that if Obama wants his unemployment benefits they come with a price tag, which is $138 billion dollars for the wealthiest 1% of taxpayers. You can say a lot of horrible things about Republicans (and I certainly do) but you have to give them props for being incredibly loyal to their rich contributors and financiers. "What rich people want, rich people get" is the G.O.P. mantra, and they will hold any group hostage if that's what it takes. I'm surprised they don't hold crippled children hostage to get something passed.

Apparently the prospect of millions of Americans losing benefits right around Christmastime was too much for the Obama administration to bear, so he folded like wet cardboard. He gladly handed over the tax breaks for the rich, something that will give taxpayers with $1 million of income a windfall of over 104,000 extra bucks next year. When you consider that what they will be getting as a tax break is more than twice what the average worker in the U.S. makes in a whole year doing things like, you know, working and being productive, the glaring immorality of all this is stark. And then, in an astonishingly, jaw-droppingly bizarre news conference yesterday, Obama took members of his own Democratic party to task for not falling over themselves and supporting his Deal from Hell with Satan's minions. It really stopped me in my tracks, because Obama was showing genuine signs of pique and irritation with Democrats, instead of directing his snippy little tantrums toward the Republicans, who shoved this ridiculous "compromise" down his throat like he was their bottom bitch or something.

I thought when you compromise with someone, each side gives some kind of concession to the other. Obama got his unemployment insurance, but the Republican side got so very much more. Because Obama is so spineless and afraid of the Republicans, he gave them everything they wanted and more, at a very cheap (to them) price. The U.S. debt will get boosted by $900 billion dollars, but they don't care as long as their rich puppetmasters can buy another vacation home or a new yacht. And Obama showed incredible cowardice by extending the tax breaks for two years, essentially kicking this whole issue down the road to be rehashed again in the midst of the 2012 Presidential campaign instead of decisively dealing with it NOW.

Seems like I missed the memo about Obama changing parties and becoming a Republican because it sure seems like he's working for them now. It's because of Obama's complete lack of a backbone, his inability to stand up to the Republicans and his unwillingness to fight just as dirty as they do for his core principles, that I am saying now that I am finished supporting Obama. He has shown he's just another politician, making deals and basically screwing his base of supporters by making high-falutin' campaign promises, and then choking like the Arizona Cardinals at a playoff game when the time comes to actually deliver on these promises. He has shown that everything he says and does comes not from the heart, but as a deliberate political calculation. I feel as if I've been scammed, lied to, and betrayed by this person who spoke so highly and eloquently about hope and change, but in the end proved he was nothing more than a coward and a liar. He has shown no loyalty to his Democratic and progressive base, and so I have no loyalty to him.

If there is anything positive that comes out of all this, it's the realization that I completely agree with the Republicans on one thing - that Obama should be a one-term President.