Category Archives: religion ‘n’ politics

Public Creativity Outlawed in Boston

I think I’ll start a blog series: Things I hate about Massachusetts.

Yesterday, the mayor decided to crack down on all those street artists and musicians making a racket outside his office:

Mayor Thomas M. Menino, upset by the drumming and chanting of street performers outside his office windows at City Hall, recently asked his staff to do something about the din. This week, city security officers descended on the plaza around nearby Faneuil Hall and imposed new restrictions on the artists who have become accustomed to entertaining the crowds on the historic site, known on tourist brochures as the Cradle of Liberty.

The officers shooed away clowns and caricature artists. They ordered music and dance acts to contain their performances to a single, small patch of brick – measuring 15 feet by 15 feet – near a stand of trees. And they erected steel crowd-control barricades in a wide swath around three sides of Faneuil Hall, to make sure the performers didn’t sneak back.

Steel crowd-control barricades???? Really?????? These are MIMES, people!!!!! The worst they can do is pretend to hit you!!!!

And have you seen Boston’s city hall? It’s a Brutalist monstrosity with concrete walls 2 feet thick. There’s simply no way Mumbles Menino can hear somebody playing a dulcimer on the street below.

This is pure and simple mean-spiritedness. And there’s nothing in the whole world that gets up my nose more than mean-spiritedness.

Here’s the link to the full story, in the Boston Globe’s Boston.com: Cradle of Liberty No More.

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Song of Solomon

I’d like to refer again to the post where I renounced my original pledge never to write about politics on my blog. The thing that put me over the edge was Andy Ihnatko’s complaint that Hillary Clinton, in not conceding the nomination to Barack Obama, showed a lack of the Solomonic wisdom of, say, Al Gore.

How soon we forget. Actually, it’s kind of good that we’ve forgotten about Monicagate already, as much as the Republicans would have us remember it as an international scandal rather than the personal tragedy that it was. At the time, for the sake of her country, her family, and party unity, Hillary stood by her man.

How can anyone say this is a woman who’s incapable of personal sacrifice for her party and country? Don’t you think she would rather have emasculated Bill with his own cigar trimmer? Better yet, make him do it himself while she watched? No, she knew that a divorce in the White House was the last thing the country needed. Instead, she danced with her husband on the beach, allowing the press to photograph her from behind in a swimsuit. If Hillary is elected, I’d like to see Andy Ihnatko allow himself to be photographed from behind in a swimsuit. (On second thought, scratch that.)

And now, Hillary has stated that, if Obama clinches the nomination, she’d be open to being his VP. After all, if asked to choose between McCain and Obama, a whole lot of Democrats may simply stay home on Election Day, out of either protest or depression. At least that way, she can get herself on the ticket. Yep, for the sake of her country and party unity, knowing that this year is her first and last chance to get into the White House, Hillary is willing to spend yet another 8 years playing second fiddle to a powerful, charismatic, and lucky man rather than give the White House to a Republican.

Remember, Solomon wasn’t the one making the sacrifice in the Biblical tale. It was a woman, who’d rather give her own baby to another woman than let it be killed. It was a woman who made the wise, but excruciating, decision.

I know this isn’t my most well-reasoned post, not that any of my posts so far have been. It’s just the words of a weary woman sipping pinot grigio from a juice glass watching CNN count down Obama’s last 4 delegates.

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Jimmy, I love you

But sometimes you really get up my nose:

http://www.superdelegates.org/Jimmy_Carter

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Don’t blame this mess on Hillary

As I write this, the Democratic Party Rules Committee is meeting to figure out what to do about the primaries they botched in Florida and Michigan. It’s a situation that everyone on the committee admits has no great solution. I keep hearing these seasoned politicos — some of the country’s finest know-it-alls — saying, “I really don’t know what’s the best thing to do here”; or “If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have voted to unseat those delegates.”

It just burns me when people say that Hillary Clinton is destroying party unity by doing what she said she was going to do — completing the primary process. Now, I know it’s unusual for politicians of any stripe to do what they say they’re going to do, but the current mess is not her fault. Anyone notice how quiet Howard Dean has been lately?

The tragedy here is that lots of good people voted in those primaries, and their votes now may not count. In Florida, there was actually twice the usual turnout, even though the voters knew that their delegates were, in all likelihood, not going to be seated.

What kind of a democracy is it if not every vote counts? I say it’s the quitters — not Hillary — who disenfranchise us. When someone drops out after a few disappointments in the early primaries, he wastes the votes that were cast for him. Worse, if he turns his delegates over to someone else, he completely perverts the intentions of their voters. How is that any better than Hillary’s giving all primary voters the chance to vote for her if they so choose? They’re still free to vote for Obama if they want to…where’s the harm? I would submit it’s the quitters who are disenfranchising us. More often than not, by the time my home state’s primary rolls around, the person I want has dropped out, taking away my freedom to choose.

How is what Hillary’s doing worse than what Richardson did — drop out and then endorse Obama knowing full well that Hillary was probably most of his supporters’ second choice? Gee, thanks, Bill. Then you go and grow that flattering facial hair and start working out again, just so I can’t be as mad at you as I want to be.

Another thing that really burns me is how, in Florida anyway, this is the Republicans’ fault. That’s right. The Democrats in the Florida legislature wanted to pass a law requiring a paper trail for all votes cast. It was the Republicans who dominate the Florida legislature who insisted upon inserting the line item about moving the primary earlier, leaving the Democrats with the Cornelian dilemma* of risking another election like 2000 or jeopardizing the primary process.

Oh, and you’re not off the hook, NARAL. I’ll get to you later.

* I know I may not be using this term correctly. Just be grateful I didn’t say “Hobson’s choice” or “Catch-22,” neither of which it is, either.

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Go girl

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Can You Say “Opportunist,” Boys and Girls?

Tonight Barack Obama said, “On my first night campaigning in Michigan, I’m not going to do the same old thing. I’m going to do something different. I’m going to introduce you to one of the greatest leaders in the Democratic party, Mr. John Edwards.” 

Signs saying “Change” are everywhere. It’s clear the running mate is being selected. 

Oh, my God. When did Hillary Clinton become “the same old thing”? When did John Edwards become “change”? Hasn’t he already been the losing running mate before? I’m pretty sure that’s the very definition of the same old thing. 

Oh, my God again. Not only did Edwards step on the heels of Hillary’s victory in West Virginia and her recommitment to not being a quitter, he let Obama use his ill wife as a symbol for universal health care. Something Hillary tried to do 15 years ago. Hillary’s health care policy is more universal than Obama’s, and Obama is exploiting a woman with breast cancer. And her husband is letting him do it. 

(written live while watching Obama’s speech accepting Edwards’ endorsement on CNN)

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The Other F Word

Two bloggers I read regularly, Andy Ihnatko and Wil Wheaton, have joined the popular media in declaring Barack Obama the 2008 Democratic nominee. Ihnatko characterizes Hillary Clinton as a “vanity candidate” because she’s lent millions of her own dollars to her campaign, like an author who uses a vanity press because no real publisher wants her book. Wheaton likens Hillary to “a psycho ex-girlfriend” who doesn’t know when to stop calling.

Very funny, guys.

These bloggers have also joined the Obama chorus singing the tired refrain that Hillary must drop out immediately before she irreparably damages the Democratic party, nay, the Democratic process itself.

Oh, please. If the Democratic party were of sound body and mind to begin with, then George W. would have lost in 2004 (too). Oh, and what does this whole Michigan/Florida thing say about the organizational soundness of the Democratic party?

They’re perplexed, flummoxed! Why doesn’t she just give it up! Why can’t she be more like Al Gore? Ihnatko wonders. Why can’t she concede the race for the nomination the way Gore conceded the race for president in 2000:

Gore had every logical reason to continue the fight, and plenty of legal justification. History may never decide whether or not it was correct for the Supreme Court to hand down a decision that in so many words chose the next President.

But Gore conceded. He conceded an election that he had probably won, fair and square.

Why? Because he had the makings of a great President: he put the needs of his country ahead of his own needs or those of his Party.

Fighting the Supreme Court decision would have dragged on the process for months…and there had to be an inauguration on January 21, 2001. An orderly transfer of executive power on that date was more important than any other issue or factor. It sure as hell was more important than Al Gore’s ego. It was a close approximation of the classic King Solomon decision. Q: To whom did the Presidency rightly belong? A: The petitioner who would rather give it up than see the baby harmed.

(News flash: If there’s an heir to the Clinton/Gore legacy in this race, it’s Hillary, not Obama. Shame on you, Bill Richardson, shame on you! But I digress.)

No need to be perplexed, fellows. I’ll tell you why Al Gore could drop out and Hillary can’t: Al Gore’s a guy.

Do you really expect the first woman who’s a viable presidential candidate to drop out? To give up? To accept the pat on the head: “You did your best, kiddo. Now take your dolls and go home.”

Do you really think Hillary is doing this only for herself? Do you think she’s not thinking if she drops out, what that will say about women? What will that do to the next woman who runs for president?

Now, I’m not the same generation as Hillary. But I was born before 1970. Let me tell you a few things about women born before 1970.

We’re the reason girls can play Little League. We’re the reason girls can sing in the choir and serve on the altar. We’re the reason women can be ministers and astronauts and CEOs. We’re the reason women can wear pants in restaurants. We’re the reason schools and colleges have to, albeit grudgingly, spend money on women’s sports. We’re the reason people figured out it’s possible to have your first child after age 30 (hey, somebody had to be the first one to try it). We’re the reason women can own millions of dollars to lend to their own presidential campaigns.

And we hate, hate, HATE being told to take our dolls and go home.

Women like me cheered when Shannon Faulkner walked through The Citadel’s gates. And our jaws dropped when, barely a week later, she took her dolls and went home, citing physical pain and psychological abuse.

The day she dropped out, the male cadets streamed onto the campus green and celebrated.

Shannon was born after 1970. She didn’t get it. Neither do today’s athletes who say, “I’m doing this for myself. If you don’t like the way I live, tell your kids to ignore me. I’m not a role model.”

Yeah, you are. Hillary is, too.

Reporters admit that Hillary Clinton’s campaign is more media-friendly. She hangs out with the reporters in the back of the plane, which Obama can’t be bothered to do. A presidential campaign is nothing if not physical pain and psychological abuse. Bring it on, Hillary’s probably saying to herself. Bring it on.

Ihnatko closes his argument by saying:

Withdrawing from the race and committing her supporters and resources to Obama wouldn’t have been as conceding an election that she had already actually won by popular vote, but it still would have been hot stuff. She could have come back in eight years, even stronger than before.

In eight years Hillary will be 68. Let’s be real here. Hillary’s MILF-factor will never again be as high as it is now. And a woman needs MILF-factor to get elected. Don’t shoot me; you know I’m right.

These days, you can’t say the N-word. Or the L-word. But long before that, people stopped using the F-word — Feminism. Maybe it’s time to bring it back.

And never, ever, take your dolls and go home.

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