Fudgebudget

Wherein I express myriad incredulities

Archive for October 2010

This election should die in a fire.

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Let’s take gender politics out of this for a minute.

This election cycle has been shamefully petty and counterproductive – in a time when we can LEAST afford for it to be so. I DON’T CARE how awful your opponent is. Frankly, I think 95% of you who got the nomination for your party are awful. If you’re running for office in this climate, odds are that you’re either an attention whore or a masochist or both. I don’t really want an attention whore masochist governing me, but my choices are limited.

So, instead of telling me how crappy the other person is, tell me what YOU plan on doing to make things better – because right now? They suck. There’s no dignified term for it.

Subjecting us to the politics of FEAR is demeaning and counterproductive.

Every time you bitch about how the education system is failing us without offering a solution, you are acting as a shining example of the lack of critical thinking that is endemic in our public school system. USE YOUR BRAIN, and PLEASE ASSUME THAT I ALSO HAVE ONE.

Because again, I already think that you and your opponent are attention whore narcissists. You’re both awful. Stop telling me what I already know.

Please tell me how you’re going to make things better. No, really. PLEASE tell me how you’re going to make things better.

Now let’s put gender politics back into it for a minute.

This is the ad that instigated this entry. It was on a FOOD BLOG (politics belong there why? Oh, and I’d venture a bet that the audience is disproportionately women), and consisted of a .gif with these two alternating images:

SERIOUSLY? “Don’t take away my medicine”??? Is that what we’ve come to?? This is a race between two WOMEN for the governorship of New Mexico.

How ashamed am I, as a progressive, that this ad is being run by a female democrat? Can you not be better than this? I expect crazy people, like Martinez (who is backed by the Ultimate in Crazy – Sarah Palin) to use these tactics, because the vast majority of republicans have been following the politics of Rove like the Hebrews behind Moses ever since 2000. But really, Denish – really?? You should be ashamed.

Martinez should also be ashamed, but obviously she doesn’t know what that means if she’s willing to take an endorsement from the Grande Herald of Incompetence known as Sarah Palin.

 

P.S. I don't like Palin.

 

The term “the year of the woman” is getting thrown around a lot this election cycle, because of the number of female candidates running for high ranking offices. Wonderful. Except that women voters are less enthusiastic than ever.

In a context in which 13.9 percent of women are now officially living in poverty (the highest rate in 15 years) and facing long-term unemployment, it’s not surprising that women lack enthusiasm for voting. What’s missing, for most women, are the political narratives about the things that matter to them: good jobs, clean air, health care and what it will really take to rebuild our national economy.

What our decades of work with thousands of grass-roots leaders across America have taught us is that women are impressed by solutions, not sound and fury.

The repugnant election tactics of today are not going to change until they stop working. Please don’t vote for candidates because of fear. Don’t lend these people any credibility of which they are unworthy – democrat, republican, tea party (ugh), green, independent, or otherwise.

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October 30, 2010 at 5:53 pm

U.M. ARMY

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As an adolescent, I spent probably 50% of my time at church. If I wasn’t at school or asleep, I was at church. This includes summers.

Every summer, my church’s youth would go on UMARMY (United Methodist Action Reach-Out Mission by Youth) projects in small towns around Texas. I made it to two of these – one before my freshman year, and one after my senior year (the years in between I spent on other projects and internships – I did not have much idle time in my youth). Both experiences were … insane.

With UMARMY, we were forced to associate with other churches during the day, because for all of the small projects we were working on, we were split into small mixed groups of 4-5 kids and an adult group leader from different churches. These projects consisted of activities like rebuilding porches, painting houses, or the dreaded Roof Repairs (I always felt bad for those people – they would come back in the evenings covered in tar, but at least they usually got first dibs on showers).

My first year, I was placed with a group that consisted of a bunch of small town kids who, frankly, I could not relate to on … pretty much any level.

Somehow, after I had gone to college, I was asked to be a group leader at one of these things. After seeing a bunch of inexperienced high school boys do things like play with power tools in the rain, I declined.

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October 29, 2010 at 2:17 pm

People we know

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I had an occasion today to think about the relationships we form with people online.

It’s sort of amazing to me how we can have meaningful relationships with people that we may have never actually met in the flesh. I happen to post on a forum where many of us DO actually know each other in person. However, many of us met online and then the corporeal relationships followed.

We are close. We know each other well, and we’ve known each other for, in many cases, more than 6 or 7 years. We’ve posted through good times, bad times, times when we’ve had a lot in common, and times when we’ve disagreed (with some pretty spectacular insults on occasion).

No matter what we do, or what we’ve said to each other, we still get together when we can. It really is kind of like having an extended family sometimes.

We lost a long time member of our group recently. I think that most of us were surprised with how shaken up by it we’ve been. I was pretty much worthless at work today after finding out; I didn’t know what to do with myself (even more than usual). I was too sad to motivate myself, and too fuzzy to focus.  And the Boyfriend and I were unabashedly relieved to come home to a bottle of good red wine.

It made me think a lot about the relationships we form online. They aren’t empty. Whatever medium through which they may be hosted, they are genuine personal connections that mean something. They are significant. We are personally invested.

And I couldn’t help but think at the Boyfriend: Please, please, never make me have to tell the forum that you’re gone.

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October 23, 2010 at 3:16 am

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Pillars of the Earth

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This is what I spent most of Sunday doing:

I still have a couple of episodes left, but I’ve been hooked on the miniseries screen adaptation of Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth.  But I’ve been pretty much a bum glued to the television screen.  It’s good stuff.

It also reminds me of why I don’t understand people’s infatuation with all things medieval.  Well, not ALL things. People romanticize some of the “quaint” parts.

What “quaint” actually means is that no one had the leisure time, education, and money at the same time to innovate anything. So technology stalled. For a long time. Thus the candles and the vellum and the homemade soap you buy at Ren Fair (because there were no supermarkets in which to buy soap, and most people didn’t bathe anyway).

Seriously, the Dark Ages stunk. And I don’t mean that in a half-assed “oh that sucks” kind of way. Things literally SMELLED AWFUL. EVERYWHERE.

Why did explorers explore? Why were spices so prized? BECAUSE IT STANK AT HOME.

And every time you eat a turkey leg at a Renaissance fair, just remember that the culture you are celebrating could not afford meat on most days, and the odds of a medieval peasant ever getting their hands on a turkey leg were … pretty much nonexistent.

I HOPE I HAVE RUINED REN FAIR FOR YOU ALL.

(I’m really just annoyed because we don’t have a Ren fair here – we have Zozobra where they burn a giant effigy made out of people’s old tax forms.)

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October 19, 2010 at 4:41 pm

Blog Action Day: Water

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Today, October 15th, is this year’s Blog Action Day. For 2010, the topic is water. For those of us in places of privilege, it can be very easy to take having clean water for granted. I know I do at times.

Unless I’m at work, where the water comes from a superfund site.

Remember this post? It was a wake-up call for me. I like to think that I make an effort to be aware of issues like this, but I don’t think I ever realized just how huge an impact it has on lives until I felt it on a personal level.

The superfund site by the place where I work use to be the site of a dry cleaner. That dry cleaner pumped their chemicals into the ground for more than 20 years. As a result, the government is pumping vegetable oil into the ground in order to bind with the harmful chemicals and attempt to neutralize them. That area’s produce – especially leafy greens, which act like sponges – has been proven to absorb dangerous chemicals such as the offending ones in the superfund’s case.

Additionally, there is naturally occurring uranium in the soil of the area, which makes its way into the water and produce.

You may have heard of something called the Manhattan Project. Some of those labs are uphill in a facility that has been cited and prosecuted in the past for half-assed control of its radioactive emissions.

All of this means that, while drinking a glass of water at work may not give me cholera, it is NOTHING that I want to ingest. Hydrologists in the area have said that they only drink bottled water around here.

I won’t drink the water here either.

Now, I have the luxury of driving (driving!) down to Walgreens where I can shell out $1.00 for a gallon of spring water that presumably will not give me cancer or contribute unwanted chemicals to my body where they could accumulate and make me feel like crap (because lord knows there are ENOUGH reasons for that already).

Not everyone has this luxury; knowing that your water is clean, or even not having to think about whether your water could make you sick, is a luxury. Millions of people in places like Africa, or Pakistan, or Haiti, or even Hungary after this awful toxic mud spill, don’t know if the water that they drink – the life force that makes up 70% of our bodies – is safe for them to consume.

Women and children walk for miles each way in Africa to collect water for their families, not knowing if that water is going to make them sick.

It’s such a fundamental problem, and it’s not a glamorous one, but it is easily solved. At water.org, $25 will provide clean water to one person for a LIFETIME. charity : water is building wells in communities and documenting it all so that people can see the good work that their money is doing (apparently you could even win a trip to Africa with Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, wooo).

Don’t take clean water for granted. Appreciate what you have, and help others to enjoy it for themselves. Don’t let other people live with diseases your character can get as you play Oregon Trail when it is so easy to prevent and requires so little effort on our parts.

</sermon> Your regularly scheduled cheeky commentary will return tomorrow, but please think about this issue today. It’s way more important than anything about which I complain on a daily basis here.

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October 15, 2010 at 2:30 pm

National Coming Out Day

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Today is an important day – it’s National Coming Out Day.

Boyfriend and I have been together for more than 6 years, living a life of hetero-normative privilege – and it DOES feel like privilege, now more than ever.

I am blessed to have some amazing people in my life who do not identify as straight, and I love them even more for being so brave and egalitarian and accepting.  They are incredible people, and while they are confident and fearless in my eyes, I know that coming out has not been easy for any of them.

I just finished reading this story, which broke my heart. Several gang members were recently arraigned for a brutal assault on a couple of youths that they had heard might be gay. The graphic and horrific nature of the assaults is appalling and difficult for me to accept as having happened at all.

Not only is there a special place in my heart for GLBTQ issues, but I also spent some time earlier in life as a crisis intervention advocate for sexual assault survivors. This story about two young men being violently persecuted for their perceived lifestyles is unspeakably tragic.

I know that you can’t blame any one specific person for these things. At least not rationally.

However, to make myself feel better, I am picking a scapegoat. I am choosing to blame Karl Rove, because he is “the Architect” of this hyper-conservative climate in which we live.

I blame Karl Rove and the hateful rhetoric of those who sympathize with him for this trickle down effect from the top that we have experienced. Because I can.

It cheapens our ability to call ourselves a “civilized” species when we tolerate hate and persecution of those who aren’t hurting anyone. Attacking and oppressing shouldn’t be the only way to make ourselves feel better (which is why I draw comics).

Fortunately, not all of us subscribe to the philosophies of Karl Rove. Some of us still have our humanity. I don’t want to make this an “us” versus “them” issue – that would be too ironic – we’re all human; some just aren’t very humane.

I don’t think Karl Rove is a human being anyway. I’m pretty sure that he is an android programmed by Dick Cheney, who is actually HAL. (And I just found out that the stock market abbreviation for Halliburton is HAL – IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW.)

If you are reading this, and you are thinking about coming out today, remember that there are a lot of us in the world who think you are awesome for being true to yourself and are more than happy to have your back. There are so many people out here who want to help and support you.

I encourage everyone today, regardless of gender or orientation, to make this a day of tolerance and acceptance. Maybe a little more love out in the world will make things a little better for us all.

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October 11, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Ski trip

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During my sophomore year of college, I was asked to chaperone a youth ski trip for my home church. They must have been seriously short on adults, because that is the only reason I can think of when you’d ask a 19-20 year old to chaperone other teenagers on this sort of occasion.

I was to supervise 3 or 4 girls in my condo, although not surprisingly, there were almost always more youth in there than just my own. At any given time, there were usually at least another 5-6 kids hanging out in my space. This was probably because I did not force them to participate in any planned activities or icebreakers (UGH THE DREADED “ICEBREAKERS.” SO MUCH HATE.).

There was a parent on the trip who had made it pretty clear that she did not approve of me being a chaperone. This was due more to past personal conflicts than my actual competence – no amount of competence can protect a person from church politics.

I soon figured out that she was “randomly” coming over to make sure that I was not a total failure at life and that all of my kids were still alive and MAYBE, just MAYBE, she’d catch me doing something wrong that she could hold against me.

One of these times, she showed up while I was in the shower. Christmas was right before this trip, and my mom had given me some bodywash/shampoo that smelled like peppermint and candy canes, so I had brought it with me to use.

When I came out of the bathroom, it was to a bunch of terrorized looking teenagers.

So they told me about the scary Parent visit.

So she smelled the peppermint bodywash coming from the bathroom, and Crazy ACTUALLY THOUGHT that I was letting my kids drink, and that their alcohol of choice would have been peppermint schnapps.

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October 5, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Posted in Comic, General

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