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Posts Tagged ‘Congress’

The Flapper once told me that TV shows are written for the 12 year old brain. Watching TV, therefore, would warp my mind and keep my critical thinking skills at a minimum. Of course she couldn’t have factored in streaming sites, or HGTV for that matter, but still my Mother was one smart cookie. Like Lenin, she also told me that religion was for sheep, and did I want to lead the crowd or be led? What rebellious kid wants to go to church anyway, especially one who had just been kicked out of Camp St Joseph for Girls!

Lately, I feel like watching and listening and to some extent even reading the news out of Washington is like time traveling back to my pre-teenage years. Omarosa is roasting Mr T every day with a naughty bit of audio tape. The Queen of Soul dies and Mr T’s take is that she worked for him? And anyone who has anything to do with the Russia investigation better watch out, they might have their security clearance taken away – kinda like being unplugged!

Because we have a twelve year old payback president who calls the free press his enemy.

My 3 am TV channel was tuned to PBS last night, and I was pleasantly surprised by a documentary on what’s happening in Iran now. It followed a Western guy “Our Man in Tehran” who spoke perfect Persian and interviewed modern, middle-class Iranians, including a middle-aged Persian pop star in LA! It was so good and compelling I woke Bob to tell him that Persian sounds just like Hebrew!   https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/watch-how-the-internet-has-changed-iran-from-cappuccino-cafes-to-headscarf-protests/

Why, you might ask, was I awake at 3 am? Well, I found out I need to have a Mohs procedure done on my dominant hand thanks to sun damage. But in the middle of the night I thought about how alike we all are, how connected via the internet, even Iranians have Instagram. How it’s only the different myths we believe that separate us, as if any one country or culture owns God, even if she/he exists. It was almost a religious experience. And this morning, I give you the Dalai Lama on Twitter:

“I am one of the 7 billion human beings alive today. We each have a responsibility to think about humanity and the good of the world because it affects our own future. We weren’t born on this planet at this time to create problems but to bring about some benefit.” 

So are you a problem maker or a problem solver? Taking retribution against your “enemies” is pretty pathetic, so is tearing up the Iran nuclear deal and walking away from the rest of the whole damn world on climate change. Swinging tariffs around like a bully in the playground. It feels like we have a 12 year old steering the ship, this reality nightmare of a Congress that is 2018.

I was a senior in high school when Aretha sang “Respect.” She was a mighty warrior queen who gave my generation of women its anthem. I will pay it forward, not back, by redoubling my efforts to register young voters and support Planned Parenthood – the one and ONLY clinic left in TN to provide abortions. If we cannot control our own bodies, respect will become an empty noun.

ps, we voted early this month!

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I’m feeling like a two year old. It’s a rainy, cold morning in the mountains and I just cranked up my Twitter account to read about some middle-of-the-night GOP shenanigans. It would seem that Congress has voted to dismantle the Office of Congressional Ethics! So somebody please sit me on your lap, get me a blankie, and read me Rebecca Patterson’s book, “My No, No,NO Day.”

Won’t somebody make it stop?!

After nine days in Nashville without cable news of any kind, I was almost looking forward to watching some CNN. Y’all know I’m a news junkie, an ex-reporter and school board policy wonk with a taste for irony. When West Nile began swelling my brain until my eyes turned beet red, I didn’t go to a doctor until I couldn’t read that new-fangled news crawl. But I’ve been quickly disabused of this notion – it would seem that media coverage today consists of deconstructing Mr T’s Tweets.

And I refuse to follow him on Twitter. NO.

SO, since throwing a temper tantrum isn’t an option, today we here in MountainMornings Land will be observing Opposite Day! I am in opposition to this whole damn Electoral College business (this is true) and Mr T is NOT my President-Elect! Get it?

Today I will dress up funny, I will say the opposite of what I mean to say, and probably mumble. A Lot. Kids love doing this in Middle School; they learn about antonyms and might play a game of Opposite BINGO in their classroom. When the Rocker was very little, we were playing a board game with a group of adults, the one where you can’t actually say the word in order to get your team to guess your word and win…his word was “Negative.”

“The opposite of affirmative.”

That’s what he said, and we all looked at each other. This response has been etched into our family’s history.

In some ways, I feel as if our country is living in a perpetual state of Opposite Day. Since journalists are now trying to parse what, how and when to use the word “LIE,” and translating Tweets has become a common practice. It’s only because I have Twitter on my phone that I read about Mr T’s New Year message to his “enemies.” Tasting like a bad clam, I wish I hadn’t.

Nancy Pelosi said, “Ethics are the first casualty of the new Republican Congress.”

Elizabeth Warren said, “Tell us, @GOP: Who, exactly, thinks that the problem with Washington is that we have too many rules requiring the gov to act ethically?”

And I say, shall I list the antonyms of ETHICS? Corrupt, Dishonest, Immoral, Improper, Unjust, Unrighteous….

Some friends and family have stopped watching the news on TV altogether. But being an ostrich about current events isn’t the answer. In fact, this beautiful, tall bird has gotten a bum rap all these years. They actually DON’T stick their heads into the sand! http://mentalfloss.com/article/56176/why-do-ostriches-stick-their-heads-sand

So let’s suspend all our belief systems for the day, or maybe the week, or even this New Year. My cookie broke and ballet is too itchy and… Put on your big girl boots and get ready to March on Washington ladies on January 21.

 

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Something deep down in my heart that I knew to be true – even Republican women believe in a woman’s right to choose an abortion. They may not say this directly, or out loud; it’s like a Democratic Senator who may own a rifle for hunting but would never be seen holding a gun in a picture. What I didn’t count on, was the audacity of this Congress to try and slip in a bill restricting late term abortions, a procedure which constitutes 1.4% of all abortions due to education and Plan B in this country, and adding this codicil to a post 20 week abortion in the case of rape, hold on to your seats everyone:

…it’s OK ladies only IF you have reported said rape to the police!

Thank you GOP women for soundly seeing through the error of their ways. Approximately 68% of rapes are not reported to the police, and a reported 98% of rapists will never spend a day in jail. Why you might ask? Because women are still not actually believed, so why bother; because some think they deserved to be raped or abused since that’s all they know, and some were impaired and so find themselves guilty a priori. For a myriad of ridiculous reasons rapes go unreported. And on college campuses it is even more nauseating.

One in five women will be sexually assaulted while in college, according to studies, many of them during their first year by someone they know. The first 15 weeks of college can be the riskiest; the group Futures Without Violence just launched “The Other Freshman 15,” a letter-writing campaign aimed at getting college and university officials to address the issue.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/09/19/seeking-to-end-rape-on-campus-wh-launches-its-on-us/

“Given control of Congress and the chance to frame an economic agenda for the middle class, the first thing Republicans do is tie themselves in knots over . . . abortion and rape,” writes the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson. Maybe the Republican Party will implode? I almost, I said almost feel sorry for Speaker John Boehner. They are not only out of touch, they are seemingly out of their minds! But thanks to those women in red who saw through their shenanigans. http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-30943828

Let’s talk about climate change, and income inequality folks and leave a woman’s body up to her and her doctor. This debate is demeaning and insulting. What if the Democratic ticket had two women, two smart women leading the charge to the Hill? You know who I’m talking about. We would be unstoppable. It IS on us! images

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There’s good news and there’s bad news this week. On the good side – Our do-nothing-Congress has passed a 1+ Trillion dollar budget deal that should keep our government humming along for the next nine months. On the bad side – Congress has defunded ALL portrait painting, which is pretty stupid since I understand that every single Treasury Secretary or Secretary of Defense doesn’t need an official oil-based portrait painted costing taxpayers thousands of dollars each.

But no more Presidential portraits? Are you kidding me? Even I have had my portrait painted, by my sister mind you! This may have started my fondness for hats.

The Author, age 15 in Oklahoma

The Author, age 15 in “Oklahoma”

You know that gallery at the Smithsonian with all of our Presidents hanging regally along its walls in a continuing line of American history? Well, it’s about to stop short. Someone on the blogosphere somewhere said it’s because we can’t have a “president of color” up there with Lincoln and Roosevelt and Kennedy and really? I suppose this means no more First Ladies either.

The horse-trading was done by only about four dozen of Congress’ 533 members, working in private. What’s supposed to be 12 separate spending bills was combined into one mammoth stack that finances the government through Sept. 30.http://www2.macleans.ca/2014/01/16/5-things-to-know-about-deal-to-avert-shutdown-of-u-s-government/

It’s the “working in private” part that bothers me, behind closed doors in a secret session, along with the sheer lunacy of stopping a tradition that deserves to be maintained. I tend to think very forest for the trees about art. Artists are really doing our society a favor. They reflect back to us what’s going on in everyday life, with a different spin, giving us a new perspective. Enlightening, illuminating and just plain enriching our thirsty souls. Sometimes art can even change history. Think of the photograph of a child about to be shot in Vietnam. Think about the mini-series Roots. Think about a little Goldfinch.

Today the Oscar nominees were announced. Nothing new or unusual except Ms Oprah was denied again for her role in The Butler. A movie about a man who served how many presidents through sweeping social changes in our country. A true story, but one obviously overlooked in Hollywood. Instead a movie about a real political shakedown in NJ in the late 70s, the Abscam scandal, was the basis for the big winner, American Hustle.

“…today offering bribes in exchange for legislation seems almost quaint. The lobbyists do the same things we did, only to a much greater degree,” said John Good, a former FBI supervisor who oughtta know.http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/to-the-players-in-abscam-the-real-life-american-hustle-the-bribes-now-seem-quaint/2013/12/26/d67648c2-6c15-11e3-a523-fe73f0ff6b8d_story.html

I wonder who’s writing the Chris Christie biopic now? Maybe we need to get some art lobbyists up on the Hill. You know, bring in the big guns – the owners of auctions houses and film industry moguls, maybe a few museum directors? At least we need to appoint a Secretary of Culture, every other country in the free world has one! We don’t need to paint their portrait either. But we DO need President Obama’s portrait painted.

“I see little of more importance to the future of our country and our civilization,” President Kennedy once remarked, “than full recognition of the place of the artist.” http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/07/should-the-us-have-a-secretary-of-culture/277409/

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When the news first broke that we’d been spying on some of our closest allies, Grandpa Hudson immediately nailed our collective indignation with this remark, “Skullduggery!” Don’t you just love obtuse and ancient words? I knew immediately I’d have to dig into this Halloween-themed noun which according to the Slang Dictionary comes from an earlier Scottish term, “skullduddery” and means: “deceitful doings; dirty work. :  Without skullduggery, politics wouldn’t be interesting.”

So if the NSA was involved in “tricky behavior” of the “hanky-panky” variety, and we now learn that well, really, everybody’s doing it, spying on each other that is, we can all rest assured that the Bourne  or for that matter, Bond movie machine will live on in perpetuity. I’m just not so sure I can recover from my binge watching yesterday morning of CNN and the public spectacle aka witch’s hunt we now call a “congressional hearing.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius held up rather well under her grueling three+ hours of testimony. Here are some of the low-lights I gleaned from yesterday’s “monkey business.”

A Texas Representative, R- Joe Barton, likened the roll out of the Affordable Care Act to a scene in another classic movie, The Wizard of Oz. Maybe he thought of this because Sebelius had served as the Governor of Kansas or maybe he just likes “hanky-panky.”

“Dorothy at some point in the movie turns to her little dog Toto and says, ‘Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.’ Well, Madam Secretary, while you’re from Kansas, we’re not in Kansas anymore. Some might say that we are actually in the ‘Wizard of Oz’ land given the parallel universes we appear to be habitating.”

Another GOP gambit was trying to get Madame Secretary to tell us which health policies covered abortion. A hot mic caught another congresswoman say in a plaintive voice, “Oh, here we go again.” While a NC woman of the right got into a bit of “kerfluffle” over whether single young men should have to buy insurance with maternity coverage saying, “To the best of your knowledge, has a man ever delivered a baby?”

There was more posturing, and posters of college boys doing a keg stand, I’m not sure why; oh yes this “chicanery” lasted well into the lunch hour. Which got me thinking about Niccolo Machiavelli.

“It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new.”

Happy Halloween from one parallel universe to another. I’ll close with a bit of “funny business” from my little trick or treater who adores going to puppet shows in her pachyderm costume! ps the nose is on the hood in back but don’t you just love the Pebbles pony?

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