SC Has It’s Priorities All Wrong

3 02 2009

With a state budget crisis going on that has gutted education, restaurant inspections, and vaccinations, (among many other state services) you might think SC would have something better to worry about, but no.

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First, we have some sherriff’s department desperate to find it’s fifteen minutes of fame after Butterface Phelps was caught smokin’ a little of  that “ooooo weeee” :

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina authorities in the county where Michael Phelps was spotted smoking from a marijuana pipe say they are considering a criminal charge against the Olympic superstar.

Cowan did not specify what charge was being considered and declined to discuss details of the investigation.

The photograph was first shown in a British tabloid Sunday. News of the World said the picture was taken during a November house party while Phelps was visiting the University of South Carolina.

Phelps and his advisers did not dispute the photo’s authenticity. He has issued a public apology. “

And, second, a South Carolina state senator has proposed to outlaw profanity. And it applies to both oral and written profanity. To which I say: come and get me you fucker!





Enough Already!

22 01 2009

I was eating dinner last night and the folks on Entertainment Tonight were talking about it. The interwebs are abuzz. The Today Show did a piece on it. Then this morning I go to check my email and their is a link to an article about it. I’m talking about the First Family’s wardrobe and I am puzzled as to why we even give a shit. That President Obama got his bow tie from J. Crew is of no interest to me. That Mrs. Obama chose a young, relatively unknown designer for her ball gown is an admirable (and fashionistas might say) gutsy move, but not one that deserves headlines.

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Now, I was anxious to see what she would wear for inauguration, but only because the red and black number she wore the night Barack accepted the nomination was, to my eye, a monstrosity that made her look like the Bride of Satan emerging from the fires of hell. (Apologies to Narciso Rodriguez–it would be a fine dress for a cocktail party, but it looked like something from the Penney’s sale rack on national TV)

I thought the Isabel Toledo outfit Michelle wore for the swearing in was gorgeous. The color complimented her complexion perfectly. That it was exquisitely made was obvious, and it had a timeless, yet trendy appeal that suited her very well.

But then came the much-talked-about Jason Wu Ball Gown. That I seem to be the only one who didn’t like it probably says more about my fashion sense than it does about the gown, but the damned thing looked like something you’d wear to a country prom! Or maybe as a SECOND wedding dress. The single strap bothered me, I can’t decide if it looked more like an afterthought, or like it had lost it’s twin. And it seemed like she had to constantly adjust it to keep from tripping on the hems. And all those skinny bangle bracelets. Was there a sale at Claire’s or what?

Let’s hope all this wardrobe nonsense is over. We ought to be much more concerned with how he will lead the country than where he got his socks and what her coat is lined in.





There’s a Storm Brewin’

15 12 2008

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There’s a storm brewin’ in South Carolina. It’s not a hurricane, an ice storm, or even a thunderstorm. It’s a storm over license plates, of all things. And this one can be filed with the War on Christmas because I just can’t quite side with either party that has it’s panties in a knot.

The state legislature OK’d a new license plate that bears a stained-glass window with a cross in it and the words “I Believe” emblazened at the bottom of the plate. Predicatably, lawsuits have been filed, and a federal judge has put a stay on issuing the plates until the matter can be resolved.

This plate was to be optional. It wasn’t the standard issued to everyone. Those who wanted it had to request it. It joined dozens of other specialty plates offered by the SC DMV. If you so choose, you may express yourself in SC by having a license plate bearing the name of any one of dozens of colleges, Nascar teams, or charitable organizations. From what I can gather, any organization may request it’s own speciality plate by rounding up 400 pre-orders or depositing $4,000 for the start up costs to make a special plate.

Predictably, some are arguing that these plates represent an uncomfortable mingling of church and state. Were these the standard issue handed out to everyone, I would fully agree. But no one is being forced to have the plate, and in fact, any other religion that wishes to have a special plate need only come up with the aforementioned $4,000 or 400 interested people to have their own. One of the plates already available is for members of a Secular Humanist society. I might be missing something here, but if there can be a secular humanist plate up for grabs, I don’t see why one bearing a cross is off the list.

The folks who are against this plate trot out the ole “separation of church and state” argument, which I fully “get” and generally agree with. But, in this case, the state is not forcing this plate on anyone. From all I can see, they would be just as likely to issue a plate that heralded any other faith if so requested. This plate no more forces Christianity on anyone than a Nascar plate forces an Earnhardt fan to like Jeff Gordon. Were SC issuing this plate while refusing to consider speciality plates for other faiths, I would understand those who oppose it. Near as I can tell, they are not. Now, if Jewish, Muslim, or Buddhist groups were denied a similar expression of their faiths, we would have a problem.

But what REALLY irks me are the people who have gone to the airwaves and the internet to voice their support for the plate. “But wait…” you are probably thinking, ‘didn’t he just say he thought the plate was just fine?” Yes, I did. But those up in arms that a judge has voiced concern over the constitutionality of the plate have trotted out the same tired old canards that get reused and recycled every time an issue like this comes up:

“They already took away the Ten Commandments and prayer in schools!” No they didn’t. You’ve every right, if it is your prerogitave, to display the ten commandments in your home, business, etc. I know them by heart because my mother had a copy, etched in brass no less, hanging over the toilet in the hall bathroom when I was a child. When someone tells you that you can’t have the 10 Commandments on your private property, let me know so I can join you in your outrage. But if you are so weak in your faith that you require a reminder be placed in every court room, post office, and federal building, then your problems go well beyond anything the government is likely to be able to assist you with. And no one is going to stop Little Susie from bowing her head in a moment of prayer before a meal, a test, or anytime she feels the need to go one-on-one with God. What has been challenged, and righfully so, is group prayer led by the teacher, the person making the morning announcements, or speakers at assemblies. Our public schools are there to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. Matters of faith are best left to the church and home. And if Little Susie doesn’t know to pray unless the teacher tells her to, then home and church haven’t done a very good job.

The other thing that burns me is the feeling that most of the people I saw on the news seemed to think this license plate was a wonderful way to show the world their faith. I’ve got news for those folks–if you need a license plate to show the world you’re a good Christian, you probably aren’t one. I don’t know what added cost was planned to get the “I Believe” plate, but SC already has a plate that many people of faith choose that reads “In God We Trust” and that plate carries an additional $24 fee. I would guess that 100,000 people in SC have that plate. Think of how many hungry people those millions of license plate dollars might have fed, how many children that money might have clothed or how many doctor’s visits those fees could have covered. But, I suppose, to some, it’s better that everyone in the carpool line knows you “believe”.





The “War” on Christmas

11 12 2008

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Since I’m on my soapbox…

The past few years, ever since some fella who looks like Beavis’s geriatric stunt double wrote a book, some of the news pundits have declared that there is a “War on Christmas”. If the checkout girl at the mall doesn’t bid you a “Merry Christmas” as she rings up your purchases, then her store must be part of the vast conspiracy. If the local courthouse isn’t displaying a plastic Jesus with a lightbulb shoved up it’s hindquarters, then they, too, have fallen victim to this War.

I say baloney. And I say it to both sides of the battle. To my knowledge, a Christmas tree is a Christmas tree. A decorated evergreen isn’t a traditional accompaniment to any Hannukah, Kwanzaa, or Winter Solstice celebration. (Feel free to correct me if I am wrong). Politically correct loonies can call it Spaghetti Cat for all I care, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is a Christmas tree just as surely as the treats handed out on October 31st are Halloween Candy and not Holiday Candy.

Now, for the suggestion that wishing someone a Merry Christmas might be somehow offensive to those who don’t celebrate it. Who’s skin is that thin?? I will accept any well wishes in the spirit they are intended. I don’t find it the least bit offensive to be wished a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hannukah, a Blessed Kwanzaa, or a Splendid Solstice. And anyone who does needs to grow up.

On the other hand, those who expect to be wished a Merry Christmas by every store clerk, butcher, baker, and candlestick maker need to join us all in the real world for a moment. Stores serve EVERYONE of EVERY religion or lack thereof. The girl ringing up the pair of Spanx you picked out for Aunt Myrtle hasn’t a clue as to what holiday you hold dear, and for minimum wage, frankly, she doesn’t give a damn. She isn’t there to bolster your spiritual beliefs. If you want to be in a place filled with people who all believe what you believe, there is probably a lovely church within spitting distance of the mall that will be happy to wish you a Merry Christmas and, if the timing is right, let you have a crack at some homemade goodies down in the fellowship hall.

If every person aghast that a Nativity scene isn’t being funded with tax dollars would channel the energy they expend clutching  their pearls and pretending  that the end is nigh into showing the world some TRUE Christmas spirit surely that would go a lot further than a faded plastic arrangement of people on the lawn.





The Great Marriage “Debate”

10 12 2008

There is probably no debate in the public realm that gets me riled up more than the one over gay marriage. And with the recent headlines surrounding California’s Proposition 8, and the ensuing discussion on the blogs and discussion forums, I’ve damn near had to go on blood pressure medicine.

What riles me up so much is that the arguments against granting same-sex couples the same civil rights as heterosexual ones are just so damned flimsy. Many of them are recycled from a lifetime ago when the debate involved interracial marriages. None of them hold any water legally (which is why those against the idea rush to put the matter to public vote, in my opinion.)

Let’s take a look, if I’ve forgotten one, please feel free to add it.

1. “It’s against God, the Bible, or whatever deity or holy text I hold dear.”  I’ve read some convincing positions that argue that the Bible’s oft-quoted “no gay” scriptures are not so clearcut as many would have us believe, but I am  no theologian. I can no more stay awake through a book of the Bible than I can through a few pages of Shakespeare–so I leave that argument to those more well versed than myself. But at any rate, the blessing of a religious institution is not required for a marriage to be legal now. The institution can be entered into at a drive through, presided over by an Elvis impersonator, with nary a priest, preacher, or vicar in site.

2. “If a woman can marry a woman, what’s next her Saint Bernard? ” This “argument” is so ridiculous it hardly merits discussion, but since it gets used so often, I must. The idea that if same-sex marriages were recognized we would suddenly have to place our seal of approval on marriages between species, between adults and children, or between people and their dining room sets ignores one thing–that marriage is a contract that must be entered into by two people who can legally enter into such a contract. To compare the perfectly legal actions of two consenting adults to criminal actions that victimize children, animals, or household goods is beyond absurd.

3. “It’s just disgusting!” The anti-gay marriage folks just can’t seem to get beyond the sex. Marriage has long been known to put the brakes on the ole sex life, so there ya go. If the “ick” factor is the measure by which our society will sanction a marriage, then it will become a very rare institution indeed. Seriously. Think of every married couple you know. Now picture them having sex. If it makes you cringe, their marriage is invalid. Stupid, huh?

4. “The purpose of a marriage is for having children, and, well, the gays can’t do that!” Or any variant of the same–“they don’t make good parents, their kids would get picked on, a kid needs a mom and a dad, etc.” Last I checked, the government did not grant marriage licenses based on desire to start a family. Nor did they come back years later to dissolve marriages that hadn’t produced offspring. So from a legal standpoint, that hound won’t hunt. As to whether gay and lesbian couples make good parents…I imagine they are just as good or bad as their heterosexual counterparts. But since a gay or lesbian couple can’t very well have an “oops baby” it stands to reason that any children they do add are more likely to be wanted and cherished. And kids need both a mom and a dad? Dare to dream. I don’t know the statistics, but kids who only have one parent in the house are probably more the norm than the exception.

5. “Marriage is sacred! It must be protected!” From what? Are there millions of men and women out there, faking their way through a “traditional marriage” just waiting for gay unions to be legalized so they can leave their wives or husbands for a partner of the same sex? I doubt it. There’s nothing sacred about a union that can be entered into on a whim, and exited from almost as easily. Half of marriages end in divorce, half of married people will cheat on their spouses, and I can almost guarantee that everyone reading this knows someone who has entered into a “sacred” union with three or four different people. If you really feel marriage is something sacred that must be protected, there are a lot better places to start than by telling an entire group they can’t do it.

It’s because there are no sound arguments that the foes of gay marriage have gone to the polls to ban them. Placing civil rights on the ballot box is, to my knowledge, unprecedented. Can you imagine if desegregation had been left to the popular vote? Or women’s rights? We would be years behind where we are now on those issues.





R.I.P. Paul Kelly Tripplehorn Jr.

2 12 2008

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You’re probably asking, “Who?” Kelly Tripplehorn was an intern for Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, and got his fifteen minutes of internet fame by sending a very nasty email (from his tripplehorny@aol.com email addy, natch) to a fellow intern with whom he had a brief relationship.

“Michele, I am sorry, I don’t care how big of a sadistic fucked up crush you have on me but people like me simply don’t date people like you.”  Is a typical line from the infamous email that got Tripplehorn dismissed from his internship.

In the years since, Tripplehorn founded a ministry, and, we can hope and assume, outgrew his uppity asshole stage. But given the air of self-importance he once had, it’s a bit surprising to me that Mr. Tripplehorn took his own life over the weekend. (I stumbled upon this while surfing the internet this morning–I can’t recall now where)

Two things strike me here…first: that many of the funny stories, pictures, etc. that we all pass from inbox to inbox often have REAL people behind them. And second, it’s remarkable how one instance or act in a person’s life can define, haunt, or follow them.

Thanks to a commenter, we have Tripplehorn’s response to the media hype around the email:I regret that I sent the email, and I did send an apology less than a week after my hate letter. However, since it was from one of the highest-ranking Senator’s office in Washington, and it was during the summer doldrums, the letter ended up taking a life of its own. So much so that I found my name and picture in the media including such outlets as CNN, The Washington Post, and even various publications overseas.

This seminal event humbled me in ways that I did not think were possible. Christ needed to break me down before he was able to build me up again, and he certainly did a glorious job of reducing me to nothing. Here, I learned the lesson of the destructive power of pride and I will never forget it as long as I live.

The second great lesson Christ gave me was that if the media could use me to spread my message of hate throughout the world, then there is no reason why I could not use same media to spread a message of Christ’s love throughout the world.”





Gettin’ Old Ain’t What it Used to Be

26 11 2008

I’ve heard it said that 60 is the new 40, and maybe it is. I was looking through some old family pictures recently, and remarked to myself that my grandparents were about the same age when I was born as my parents are now. But my grandparents LOOKED like grandparents, white hair, wrinkles, sensible shoes, the whole bit. And my parents certainly don’t.

I don’t know if previous generations hadn’t heard of hair dye and moisturizer, or if our society has become one that refuses to age gracefully (I suspect a bit of both), but there’s no denying that you’ve got to be a lot older to look “old” now.

No better example of this exists than to look at the First Ladies Bush. (wait…that sounds all kinds of wrong, but I’m leaving it, so there). Barbara Bush was in her early sixties when her husband moved into the Oval Office. And Laura Bush is almost the same age as she packs her family up to leave it. The difference in what a woman in her early sixties looks like is striking:

Here’s Laura Bush at age 62:

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and Barbara Bush (back in 1989) at 63:

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Three Hours In Line…

4 11 2008

But…

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If you haven’t, wear comfortable shoes, and take along your iPod unless you enjoy hearing the political views of those in line with you. (Or want to hear how “This is worst than the line over ta the wal marts on the day after thanksgivin”)

And if deciding the fate of our nation isn’t enough to get you to the polls, Starbucks is giving voters free coffee, Krispy Kreme is offering a free patriotic doughnut, Ben and Jerry’s is giving voters a free scoop, and Toys in Babeland is giving away free “marital aids” to voters who visit their Seattle or New York stores. Which makes sense in a way, because whoever wins, we’re screwed.





Who’s Best For the Economy?

30 10 2008

Like the lil elephant says, “I always thought Democrats were the big spenders!” The rhetoric just doesn’t match the record.

But let’s talk taxes. The Tax Policy Institute has a pretty good explanation of what each candidate proposes HERE. Take from it what you will…some say the economy is best served when the highest earners get a bigger break, some think it’s best to “spread the wealth.”





Which Candidate Will Sock Ya in the Pocketbook?

30 09 2008

There’s much talk of what candidate will raise taxes, and who will cut them. Check this site and find out which one will affect you…let me know what you think of the results.

http://www.electiontaxes.com/

All in the name of making an informed vote!








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