Archive | July, 2012

Mitt Romney: Mishegas in Israel

31 Jul

Magic Kippah?

Romney’s tour around the world is not turning out quite the way he had hoped.  Sadly, every time he opens his mouth he shows what a real shmegegge he is. His tour of the Olympics left many around the world skeptical of his ability to be an effective world leader.  Romney is not reducing that skepticism with his racist comments in Israel.

At a fundraiser in Jerusalem, he slipped into his rich-is-better routine and added a nice helping of ethnic slur.

Culture makes all the difference. And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things. As you come here and you see the G.D.P. per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000, and compare that with the G.D.P. per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality.

Demonstrating a sense of world history and political realities that matches his compassion for the Middle Class, Romney overlooked the many factors involved in that discrepancy. (He also managed to overlook facts again, getting his figures wrong…)  Accusing Palestinians of somehow being innately inferior, not only smacks of blatant racism, but is also exceedingly insulting to Jews.  Has Romney no sense of history? No sense of form or timing? Jews know first hand what it feels like to be “othered” and made to be subhuman, and thus typically have great compassion for those who are marginalized in the same fashion. Of course, why should Mitt stand for civil rights abroad when he actively denies civil rights to Americans who can’t afford health care, to American women, to the entire American LGBTQ community?   Since our Mitt drank the “Tea” he seems to be spreading his hate and bigotry all over the world — proving he is NOT material for a world leader.

Startled by the outcry, including charges of racism from Palestinian and Israeli authorities and a charge of anti-Semitism from a prominent Rabbi, the Romney campaign went back on the defensive. Their excuses? First, that somehow a direct quote “mischaracterized” his comments. Second that what poor ol’ Mitt said was fine because he also compared the U.S. to Mexico and Chile to Ecuador. Really? This is the only defense his campaign can manage? “Look folks, he really is not that bad and at least he is just as bad in the United States!” Things aren’t looking up for that Latin American tour…

Happy Birthday, Eleanor Smeal

30 Jul

Eleanor Smeal, known for her pioneering work during the Second Wave Feminist Movement, continues to carve out her legacy for civil rights in the Third Wave Feminist Movement. She is the president and founder of the Feminist Majority Foundation.  Smeal also served as president of the National Organization for Women (NOW) twice.  Thus far her legacy is most impressive and Americans owe her a great debt of gratitude.

Everyone should know who Eleanor Smeal is!  It was Smeal who was responsible for the passage of such landmark cases as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (a woman cannot be fired for being pregnant), Equal Credit Act, Civil Rights Restoration Act, Violence Against Women Act, Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (and yet we still see women being attacked as they try to enter health clinics that merely provide abortions), and the Civil Rights Act of 1991, an extension of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

What I love about Smeal is her authenticity.  She practices “the personal is political,” and all of us reap the benefits from her dedication to civil rights. Happy Birthday, Eleanor.

Happy Birthday to another hero of mine: Pat Schroeder, Colorado Congressional Representative (1973-97), who promoted the Family and Medical Leave Act.  Sadly, Schroeder was taken to task for showing emotion and shedding tears–the hypocrisy and irony is not lost on TSM readers who have had to endure the gratuitous praise John (Mock Turtle) Boehner receives every time he cries in public.

The Mitt-ish Are Coming! or The London Tea Party

28 Jul

Failure does not compute!

Poor Romneybot 2012! He can’t seem to calibrate his circuits for the correct response to anything these days. After weeks of his Mendacity and Obfuscation Routines failing to defuse his tax situation, he decided it was time to flee the country. His Safety and Secrecy Protocol directed him to either Switzerland or the Cayman Islands, but his Invasive Media Sensor indicated that this would only inflame the situation he was trying to avoid. Fortunately his Best Olympics Ever 2o00 memory implant sensed an upcoming games and he decided to journey to London (as the 1% are able to travel like this). Perhaps the more proper English spoken there would disguise his faulty language generator! He strapped Ann onto the top of a private jet and away they went. Sadly, his Social Miscue Engine kicked in, and the trip has been a disaster.

How big a disaster? On his second day a new hash tag showed up on Twitter: #romneyshambles. After the media released a clip of Mitt saying London didn’t seem ready for the Olympics, Mayor Boris Johnson laid into him in front of a crowd of 60,000. He bumbled a secret meeting with British Intelligence, refered to the dwelling at 10 Downing St. as a “backside” and forgot the name of a key politician when speaking to him on camera. Every bit the aloof, prevaricating, hypocritical, ugly American he’s shown since starting his campaign, he’s cast deep doubts on his ability to handle foreign relations even with one of our staunchest allies.

The conservative British tabloid The Daily Mail, never a big supporter of the U.S. at the best of times, has had a #romneyshambles tweet-fest with the visit. A few especially lovely examples include:

  • Diplomacy Romney style: casts doubt on Britain’s Olympic preparations; says last thing he wants is for US to be like Europe. Way to go Mitt!
  • Do we have a new Dubya on our hands?
  • Serious dismay in Whitehall at Romney debut. ‘Worse than Sarah Palin.’ ‘Total car crash’. Two of the kinder verdicts.
  • Another verdict from one Romney meeting: ‘Apparently devoid of charm, warmth, humour or sincerity.’

I guess this is what you get when your top foreign policy advisors are Dick Cheney and John Bolton.

Of course the Mitt-droid was able to activate his Faux News Defense Broadcast. The GOP Network has tried to stir up a bizarre meme that the Brits should be nicer to Romney because…he might be President someday. REALLY? Maybe ol’ Mitt ought to try to be Presidential overseas if he wants that wish to come true. In Romney’s defense, his Time Perception Meter has been off for years; he can’t remember when he left Bain Capital, when he started the Olympics, or when to file his taxes. Maybe he thought this was 1812 and he was on enemy soil.

Whatever the case, Romney is once again faring poorly when compared to President Obama. Comparing the London debacle with then-candidate Obama’s overseas trip in 2008, The National Journal came up with this headline: Romney Abroad – Candidate Obama Did It Better In 2008. Ouch. That has to hurt Mitt’s one feeling. He should cheer up, though; he’ll be leaving Britain soon, and off to Israel and Poland. What could go wrong there?

Hero of the Week Award: July 27, Christian Bale

27 Jul

Hero of the Week

This week’s hero is another Celebrity Gone Right story. In the aftermath of the shootings in Aurora, CO, there were many heroes. First responders, police investigators, hospital personnel, and friends and family of the victims all did their part to minimize the horror of the situation. One man with a connection to the incident that was both central and peripheral was actor Christian Bale, star of the Batman feature playing in the theatre.

While it’s clear that Bale, DC Comics, and Warner Bros. have no direct responsibility for the actions of a crazed gunman, Bale decided to use his celebrity to engender some healing. Many studio executives, the director, and other actors made wonderful statements of condolence. Bale quietly went to Aurora and visited each of the victims. He also took time to visit hospital staff and some of the first responders. Warner Bros. made it clear that the decision to go to Aurora was Bale’s, not a publicity department arrangement. Bill Voloch, interim president of the Medical Center of Aurora noted the value of the visit.

It was good for the patients. We hope it was therapeutic for them, and all the staff really appreciated him coming.

It’s a simple thing, perhaps, but it shows a humanity that rarely gets celebrated in the hype of summer films or in the 15-minute celebrity status gained by the perpetrators of such crimes. Bale’s kindness was noted by comic aficionados, local, and national media.

Honorable mention this week goes to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Regular readers will know that TSM is hardly Reid’s biggest fan given his compromise and capitulate strategies when dealing with Senate Republicans. This week, however, Reid scored a major victory. In a deal with Republican leader Mitch McConnell (Rancid Tea Bag, KY), he got both a Democratic and Republican tax break bill onto the floor for a simple majority vote. With the filibuster removed, the Democratic plan passed (51 – 48!) while the Republican rich-get-richer plan failed. While the Senate bill, which extends middle class tax credits and the tax breaks for Americans making less than $250,000 per year, will be DOA in the House, Reid’s strategy crafted an important pre-election contrast between the governing priorities of the two parties. Nicely done, Senator!

Bigot of the Week Award: July 27, Mike Huckabee and His Fellow Diners…

27 Jul

Bigot of the Week. (Hiiyaa!)

As the Bigoted Ship of Fools sets sail to Chick-Fil-A, we see Mike Huckabee as the captain and Rick Santorum as Cruise Director.  The gaggle of chicken-peckin’ bigots form the ghastly crew eagerly swallowing hate.  Ms. Piggy is NOT PLEASED!

As though it were not bad enough that the bigot Huckabee decided to whore himself out to Chick-Fil-A after he learned that decent people were boycotting the tainted poultry, Rick Santorum felt there was not enough crazy in the seasoning and had to add his voice of hate. Ever since Dan Cathy, the king of the rancid rooster, made his recent remarks regarding the LGBTQ community, the full scope of his company’s toxic toil has come to light. Chick-Fil-A and the Cathy family have donated millions of dollars to companies that are not just anti-equality, but that are registered hate groups. Let them put their money where they will; millions of potential customers will gladly do the same!

Huckabee has called for “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day” on August 1; Santorum got all man-on-sandwich excited and engaged in premature mastication, tweeting from one of the restaurants earlier this week. It seems likely that the appearance of this putrid poultry pair will put diners off their feed.

Three cheers to the Jim Henson Co. for ending all relations with Chick-Fil-A. Three jeers to the chain for telling staff to pretend that Muppet toys were pulled for “safety concerns.” Cheers also to Boston Mayor Tom Menino, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno, and Philadelphia Councilman James Kenney for questioning how Bigot-Fil-A “values” fit with their cities’ non-discrimination policies. Let’s chop this bigoted chain back down to its original size, the Dwarf House.

One of the Voices of Social Justice: Eva Hoffman

26 Jul

Eva and her wife Dana

Those of you who have been reading TSM for at least a year now are clearly aware that this blog is dedicated to issues of social justice and civil rights; since you are reading this, I presume you share similar passions.  Today I was able to visit with my friend Eva; she is a fierce advocate for social justice and civil rights.

Eva is 55 and grew up in Los Angeles until she was 12, when she moved to a small city in Washington State.  She moved to Portland in 1995 to go to school and she has lived here ever since, “I went to college for computer sciences.”

On coming out:

I left my husband in 1991 and I have three wonderful children.  I came out when I was 40, because it was about time.   I had gone to this hardware store to apply for a job because my former manager encouraged me to apply there.  I walked up to customer service and saw this big black beautiful woman with a great smile and I said to myself, I want her—love at first sight.  We have been together for 13 years August 1. I refer to her as my wife.  I don’t need a piece of paper to prove that, but it sure would be nice.

On kids:

It was okay. My son Matthew knew before I told him and he walked up to Dana [my wife] and said “Don’t hurt her.”  He and Dana are very close—they are buddies.  Dana is also very close to my eldest, Jennifer—they call her Mama D.  Jeff is my middle child and he and his girlfriend love us both and they are very accepting.  However, I lost a lot of friends after coming out, but oh well.  I’m not able to return to the small town in Washington.

When I told my best friend that I was gay, she said I was going to burn in hell.  Fortunately,  I have made so many new friends since coming out and feel very much accepted—I’m very open and I don’t hide who I am.

Do you consider you and your wife political?

Yes.  Very much so.  We follow politics and read a lot and we love Bill Maher.  We are not Democrat or Republican-I just vote for the person who deserves it.  Right now, President Obama is the only choice!

What would you give as a task to the LGBTQ community?

I want equal rights for everyone—I believe every Veteran should have a place to live—they should have a job.  I believe everyone should have insurance.  I am also an outspoken advocate for Autism.  My grandson is autistic and he is 6 years old.  I want to know why there is such limited funding for research on Autism.  People need to know that some immunizations contain mercury and lead, the biggest one is the swine flu shot which contains mercury.  When my grandson was three, we took him to a naturopath and he had mercury in his system and the protective coating they use for flame retardency on pajamas; he had a significant dose of that in his system.  He had to be detoxed with vitamins at only three years old.  (Eva grows tearful when talking about her grandchild.)

What task would you give the LGBTQ community?

Not be divided. Why don’t we fight as one? We are one community—if we stood as one and fought those that oppress us, Chick-Fil-A, Mitt Romney, anything that hurts us.  Stand up for who you are and what you are and don’t let people hurt you.

What would you say to closeted people that are middle aged and fearful?

Life is too short—Do IT.  I know it is not easy, there are so many factors.  If your church does not support you find another church.  It is an amazing feeling of freedom and self-worth and you will never be happier than after you come out and live your life honestly.  Hiding is a lie and you are lying to yourself, your friends and your community.

Thank you, Eva.  Thank you for your courage and thank you for your authenticity and your advocacy for civil rights for all.

Bachmann Removed From Intelligence, or Vice Versa?

25 Jul

On the Intelligence Committee? Really?

Sadly, Joe McCarthy has seems to have resurrected himself through Michele Bachmann–I guess you get what you pay for, Joe, and apparently Bachmann’s brain was free.  When I asked Republican Representative Bachmann what do you consider a good and successful day? She responded:

I love taking walks on the ocean beach here in Minnesota. I work hard every day to rid the state of those pesky gays, Blacks, and Muslims.  I also work hard to make sure we destroy Planned Parenthood.  Only men should make decisions about women’s health. Right now I’m trying to get rid of Hillary Clinton’s aide, Huma Abedin, because she just looks like a terrorist to me and I’m a very good judge just by looking.  By the end of the day when I’m just so tired of doing all my good works, I like to take a hot bath and let Marcus (who has spent the day helping those gays become straight) set my hair in hot rollers before he back combs me–now that is a successful day!

I’m just curious, do you happen to have any evidence against Huma Abedin?

I am on the House Intelligence Committee.  What more do you need as evidence?  I’m just so grateful that God created America so that all of us could enjoy the freedoms here.  My black maid and I were just having this conversation as she was cleaning up the kitchen yesterday.

What about the Native Tribes that occupied this land before white people got here?

 The Natives? Who? You mean the Indians? They gave us this land.  I don’t know where they are now, but we don’t want them to be Indian Givers, now do we?

How do you reply to John Boehner when he says you have gone too far?

Everyone knows John Boehner is a Fascist Socialist, or is it Communist? It’s one of those pesky long words that God doesn’t like. Remember, I’m doing his work, so I’m rubber and your earthly criticism is glue! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I see a book that needs banning…

Birth Certificates and Tax Returns…

24 Jul

Starring Mitt Romney as the Mad Hatter.

I am rather bemused at the Mitt (I’m a liar, Romney) and his attack on Democrats asking for an explanation of his tax returns.  The hypocrisy is palpable.  There are still Tea Baggers that are wanting a full investigation of President Obama’s birth certificate.

The whole birth certificate debacle, rooted in racism, is such a horrible mar on our country’s history and leaves me embarrassed for those bigoted Tea Baggers that started this bitter brew of tea.  Romney, who seems to currently be playing The Mad Hatter hosting the Tea Party, is hiding his tax returns and thus creating quite the mystery as to the reason for refusing disclosure and transparency, leaving Americans to wonder why.

Could it be that Americans will discover even more incriminating information about Romney’s Bain Capital? Might we discover that Romney has made significant donations to overturn Roe v. Wade?  Might it be something as nefarious as we will learn that Romney donated millions of dollars to Prop Hate  in California, thus discriminating against the LGBTQ community?

Ultimately, I’m exceedingly sad that many Americans are not able to see through the very shallow, vapid, and narcissistic Romney, who has made it clear he wants to be President just to satisfy his enormous ego and is willing to whore himself out at all cost to reach his goal–not the qualities of a world leader.  Unlike President Obama who has already established himself as a world leader who leads with integrity and a sense of compassion for the marginalized and underserved. President Obama’s endorsement of marriage equality demonstrates the strength of his character and his dedication to civil rights! The Romneybot’s shallow pandering, on the other hand, should leave voters wondering when they’ll wind up being the next thing strapped to the top of his car…

Farewell Sally Ride, Astronaut and Inspiration

24 Jul

The world lost a shining light yesterday when Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, died from pancreatic cancer. She was only 61. She was born in Encino, CA in 1951 and was passionate about science and tennis in her youth. She received a bachelor’s degree in English and physics from Stanford and went on to get a PhD in physics, studying astrophysics and free electron laser physics. She responded to a newspaper ad recruiting for the space program and became one of the first women in the program in 1978.

She became an integral part of the space shuttle program and in 1983 became America’s first woman and, at 32, the youngest American in space. Over her NASA career she logged over 340 hours in space. She was the recipient of numerous awards including the National Space Society’s von Braun award. She retired from NASA in 1987 but remained active in education and science. She taught physics at UC San Diego and was director of the California Space Institute.

Ride’s most powerful legacy is Sally Ride Science, the program she launced in 2001. The mission of the organization is to

make a difference in girls’ lives, and in society’s perceptions of their roles in technical fields. Our school programs, classroom materials, and teacher trainings bring science to life to show kids that science is creative, collaborative, fascinating, and fun.

Sally Ride also wrote a number of science education books.

An intensely private person with a vibrant public persona, Ride encountered some real sexism even while she was celebrated. Early in her career, a journalist asked her if she was prone to crying when things went wrong. I bet they never asked John Glenn that question. While she celebrated her role as a pioneer, this scrutiny left her cautious about her personal life. As a result, no-one outside of her family knew she had cancer until her death. She was also very quiet about being a lesbian, although her partner, Dr. Tam O’Shaughnessy, worked closely with her. They were together for 27 years.  Sadly, Tam O’Shaughnessy will not receive any Federal benefits such as social security, as heterosexual married couples do.

Muppets Don’t Tolerate Bigotry!

23 Jul

As Chick-Fil-A continues to spew its ugly venom at the LGBTQ community, The Jim Henson Company has said ENOUGH to hate and has broken ties with the homophobic fried chicken Dwarf House. Chick-Fil-A has a long-standing history of bigotry and homophobia; it is nice to see the Jim Henson Company demonstrate integrity by divorcing themselves from the squawker of oppression.

Henson Company released the following statement regarding the termination of the relationship:

The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-Fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors. Lisa Henson, our CEO is personally a strong supporter of gay marriage and has directed us to donate the payment we received from Chick-Fil-A to GLAAD. (http://www.glaad.org/)

TSM also has to give kudos to Boston Mayor Thomas Menino for his strong stand by vowing to not allow the chicken peddlers to open a franchise in Boston. With each voice and each act of integrity, we move toward equality and leave those that oppress us on the wrong side of history!

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