Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Republican Party: hating the public since 1980!

So, is there anyone out there who doesn't think our economy is in deep trouble? (If not, you might want to read a freaking book or even a newspaper first, then.) Whether we want to admit it or not, this is the kind of systemic disaster the New Deal, and the federal government in general, was/is designed to tackle. The path to recovery might not be a straight line, but without the government's help, we are doomed to a complete meltdown not seen since the Great Depression. And we haven't seen one since then because of the New Deal and its regulatory heritage. The Republicans have tried to sell us on the dismantling of the New Deal based on such canards and propagandistic slogans like, "It's your money", or "The government is the problem", etc. etc. etc. And you know what? They got their way for the last 28 years, pretty much (even Clinton helped them out with some deregulatory moves), and our present disaster is a perfectly direct result. Greedy pigs sucked the economy dry, whether they were bankers, accountants, enabling politicians, stock speculators, or "captains of industry", to the point where one crisis (in the mortgage biz) crashed the whole system so that we are all going to suffer for it.
Help is on the way, though, now that we have a President who knows what the hell is going on and most importantly, wants to fix it. Obama and the Democrats in Congress, however, are getting no help whatsoever from the Republican Party. The House today passed a stimulus bill by a vote of 244-188, but hidden in that number is one far more remarkable: not a single Republican voted for it. Not one. Every single Republican in the House is determined to withhold help from any sector of the American public, regardless of historical evidence, common sense, or even political expediency as motive to the contrary. Do we really need any more reasons to kill the Republican Party and vote its representatives out of office? They certainly don't care about us . . .

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What today means

I can't imagine what it is to be oppressed, or discriminated against, or reviled because of what I look like. Not really, even though I was ostracized as a child for having short hair (in the 1970s, this was a sure sign of being a dork and therefore someone no one wanted to associated with) and glasses (which was a sign of being non-athletic/wimpy, even though in my case that was untrue), and being puny (I was a year younger than everyone in my class, and matured physically later). I can't know what it is like, for the simple reason that I outgrew, eventually, all of those mischaracterizations and stigmas, and through hard work overcame (for the most part, at any rate) the psychological damage my schoolmates inflicted on me. For African-Americans and other people of color and ethnicity, however, there is no "outgrowing" one's looks, and in many parts of the country and for many people, skin color, or hair type, or speech patterns/languages, or some other obvious attribute still outweigh any individual personality or character traits in determining how a person is treated or thought of.
And this has been going on for centuries.
It is over half a millennium since Christopher Columbus "discovered" the Western Hemisphere, and not much less than a quarter of a millennium since this country was created, but only today will we as a country overcome part of this barrier and see the inauguration of a man of color to the Presidency.
Did William Lloyd Garrison foresee this event when he published the first issue of the Liberator in 1831? Could Abraham Lincoln know this might happen in 1862 and 1863 when he wrote and enforced the Emancipation Proclamation? When Justice John Marshall Harlan decided in 1896 to become the only dissenting voice in the Plessy v. Ferguson "separate but equal" case, was he imagining a day like today? In 1947, did Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson think what could happen someday when they broke the color line in Major League Baseball? When the Plessy abomination was overturned by a unanimous Warren Court in Brown v. Board of Education, did those nine men envision what might transpire almost 55 years later? Did LBJ knowingly destroy the Democratic Party in 1964 and 1965 by ramming the Civil and Voting Rights Acts down the white majoritarian country's throats because he thought this would eventually come to pass?
I doubt it.
All of these men (and countless other men and women of all colors), though, knew what was right when they did these things, and acted upon that knowledge, paving the road to today's events. "History" can be made in a lot of different ways, and unfortunately, many of those are demonstrably wrong, and maybe even evil. Not today, though--not today. Let's all take at least one moment today, and pause to absorb the history that we are witnessing. For those of us who voted for Barack Obama, we can all take just a smidgeon of a place next to those great men of the past knowing that we, too, helped make today's history. For those of you who did not, even you get to share in the event, because today is all about overcoming prejudice, and bigotry, and exclusivity. Today is about uniting as a country and looking not still forward, but around, to that place and time where "all God's children" can join together, while also acknowledging that we have not finished the journey quite yet.
Because I know Martin Luther King saw this day coming . . .

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Library post! Incredibly bad management at local library system

TBO has been a library branch manager for a couple of years now, and has done a great job at her location, by any and all measurements. A couple weeks ago, she found out that she was being moved out of her branch and placed into a high stress situation at a smaller and less well-suited site. Sounds pretty much like a demotion or maybe just a stupid decision, doesn't it? (I won't even get into the fact that TBO is 7 months pregnant!) What was the reason for the change? Someone else--with less seniority, mind you--put in for a transfer to her occupied position. This librarian--I'll call him Dick--apparently was having a personality conflict with one of his subordinates, and instead of handling it like a manager and documenting insubordinate acts, counseling the subordinate, and otherwise doing his freaking job, held his bosses hostage by threatening to sue the city for God only knows what, because anyone with half a brain would realize he has absolutely no grounds for any kind of lawsuit. His bosses (who clearly lack even that minimal capacity of brain power) caved to Dick's craven demands, moving TBO (and a number of other people), causing her (and the others) to suffer needless dislocations of their lives and careers. TBO is massively upset by this, especially since the branch to which she is now assigned is a time bomb of unruly after-school occasional delinquents.
Dick now claims complete innocence in all of this, maintaining that, "Gee, all I did was submit a request. I didn't cause this!" Uh huh. Let's think about Dick's other options:
1) STFU. (I don't really blame him for not doing this, but it does have the benefit of screwing over the fewest number of people, and the correct person gets shafted.)
2) Request that the subordinate be moved, abdicating all managerial responsibility. (The fact that Dick didn't choose this option belies his innocent claim that he didn't specifically request to displace TBO, displaying for all the world to see both his disingenuity and his total lack of concern for his fellow co-workers. It also has the objective appeal that only one person is affected.)
3) Be an actual manager and handle your personal/personnel problem professionally. (Obviously Dick wasn't a good enough person or manager to do that.)
So, now all these fine innocents have to uproot their patterns and lives to accommodate one useless scumbag. Seems like the bosses would have thought about that before acquiescing to Dick's extortion, huh? I guess Dick isn't the only incompetent . . .

*I know this term can be offensive. This is why I'm using it. I am in no way making light of or denigrating penises. Except for Dick, that is.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Mormon atrocities--an insider tells his story

Lest anyone out there think Mormonism is just another religion, albeit a little more wacky than the others, please read this. The author was sent to a Mormon boys' camp until he reached 18 years old, and the description of the camp is, quite frankly, horrifying to those of us who want to believe the US is a land free of systemic child abuse. That seems like a simple enough desire to fulfill, doesn't it?