Eli's Observations

Month: August, 2012

Whose Century Is It, Anyway?

I grew up hearing the phrase ‘how many angels can dance on the head of a pin’ used to jokingly dismiss a theory that was only taken seriously in centuries past. We knew later that there were no angels, no tooth fairies, and that the earth was very much older than religious literature had claimed.

Then, we were well into the 21st Century, only for some Americans, the clock seems to have been running backwards. In 2012 (an election year) we still have school boards trying to prevent the teaching of evolution and politicians seeking to build public sculpture of the Ten Commandments wherever there’s an available courthouse, schoolhouse, or outhouse.

Back in the 2008 election, you’ll recall that there were two major issues: why didn’t Barack Obama wear a flag pin in his lapel, and why couldn’t we see his birth certificate? Both of those should have been jokes long ago.

But the Bible Belt is still with us. Bumper stickers against same-sex marriage are all over the South like Kudzu.

“God created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve!” I keep asking, “then who created Steve? Karl Rove?”

H.L. Mencken (who coined the phrase booboisee) and who had a low opinion of American democracy would have sat at his table at the Algonquin, laughing at this year’s spectacles. I was sort of laughing, too, until two stories brought me up short. The first was the latest mindless attack on women by the Teapotheads.

Personified by Rep. Todd Akin (MO). That’s right, Representative. This buffoon, who recently went public with his theories on rape (and therefore conception) is a member of the House and active in the House Science Committee.

Akin’s scientific discovery claims that if a rape victim really really did not like being raped, her “system” would clamp down somehow, blocking the sperm. Of course, Akin’s little Catch-22 is that if the woman did get pregnant, then she must have enjoyed it and therefore wasn’t a victim at all. She was just another blessed mother-to-be.

The other story that connected for me was the death of the Englishman Tony Nicklinson. Locked into a speechless, immobilized body for nearly six years, Nicklinson had petitioned Britain’s Highest Court permission to end his life. The man had been shown on television sobbing because the Court had said it lacked the authority to give him permission to take his life.

Well, of course, but why did they have the authority to say he couldn’t in the first place? Whose life is it, anyway?

Which brings us back to Rep. Akin, who says that my daughters can’t be allowed to have an abortion. Why not? Because God says so. Sorry, but I didn’t get His memo. In the meantime, Mr. Akin, keep your hands off our families, their bodies, and our liberties.

Advertisements

GOP Games

If only the world we saw in the Olympics could be found outside the stadium, for instance, in our U.S. political system.

Of course we do have some champions, as witnessed at the recent Sore Losers’ Awards ceremony held at Donald Rumsfeld Arena. After an invocational prayer by the right-wing-Reverend Rick Santorum, this year’s winners marched into the hall to the tune of “Dixie” played by the NRA Tuba Ensemble.

A silver medal went to Senator Mush McGobble for the most “no’s” in a single congressional session. Go Mush, go! A big brass stethoscope goes to the GOP Obstruction Team for all of the opportunities to solve our health problems squandered by them.

A brass thermometer was awarded to all the congressmen who’d stifled any effort to deal with global warming, calling it “junk science” and a hoax. Honorable mention goes to George W. Bush who long ago said that deficits were just “fuzzy math.”

A lead gavel went to Antonin (Tony the Phony) Scalia for election-tampering. And a special silver Super Pac Man for giving billionaires a fair chance to buy political ads on television anonymously. A two-headed silver snake was awarded to the Koch (some people say “Kook”) Brothers for their patriotic efforts to find a way to buy a congressional majority for cash.

A women’s team award for mudslinging goes to Michele Bachmann, Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin and Liz Cheney with special honors to Bachmann for her Dancing Demagogue performances and her secret list of communists in Congress.

A special platinum pacemaker to “Dead Eye” Dick Cheney, who’s trying for the Trifecta in unnecessary wars hoping to score his third medal in Syria.

Last but least, the Plastic Man Mitt Romney won his award coming and going as he tried for the world record for the most positions on the most issues in any news cycle.

The winners marched out in unison to the strains of “Backward, Christian Soldiers”, led by Generalissimo John (“Boots On The Ground”) McCain.

Mitticisms

When Mitt Romney recently said he might tie Ann to the roof of the car for the Inaugural Day Parade, he was just joking! Romney also denied ever carrying their cat on trips in the glove compartment.

Mitt’s comments to Senator Harry Reid on tax returns (‘I’ll show you mine if you’ll show me yours’) was dismissed by Ann Romney as ‘harmless, macho joshing. People have no idea how funny Mitt is,’ she added.

The Romney staff denied that their campaign had turned down a million dollar contribution from the Scientology group because of demands that Tom Cruise be made Secretary of State. The spokesman said further that Mitt wasn’t keen on that hyper stuff including couch-jumping. He is, however, a devotee of badminton.

Romney reiterated that he does not dye his hair, just his sideburns with grey to give him gravitas.

Mitt has announced that he really does like Washington, D.C. His threat to move The Capitol to the Seychelle Islands was just another example of his rib-tickling joshing! The kind you hear in the locker rooms of the better country clubs.

—————————————————–

READERS WRITE: We’ve shortened this week’s posting to make room for comments by our readers. We were skeptical about this idea at first, but reading through well over 100 comments confirmed our belief that what our readership still lacks in numbers, they make up in quality.

The random selections that follow are from the first third of Eli’s Observations’ first season.

When the Republicans in Congress began ranting about the federal deficit, we decided to use their favorite terminology: ‘gate.’ What’s happened to Bill Clinton’s surplus? ‘Surplusgate’ was a hit with our readers. Here’s one:

“Surplusgate! An inspired concept! May it catch on as it opens up so many questions we have not looked at. I hope Bill Moyers is on your subscriber list.” –GATSBY, New York City

Reminding our readers that GOP candidates in Iowa were contending for a very small slice of the far right pie we used the term ‘Sliverheads.’

“Congratulations! You’ve added to our political lexicon: Sliverhead! Loved it!” -Patrice G, Maryland

” — [It] helps to create the usual them and us mentality the media so deftly uses against us when they write about those ‘slivers.’ Thanks for coining the use of ‘Sliverhead,’ Eli. Makes one think of the bigger picture.” -N. Smith, Washington, D.C.

Not all our readers had political issues —

“My pet peeve is about the loss of ‘you’re welcome.’ When did ‘no problem’ become acceptable? When I put this to customer service people, they all seem amazed and I think maybe, for a minute, I’ve made a convert but I suppose I’m just deluding myself.” -Liz B., California

Concerning Obama’s Health Care Plan …

“This essay in particular resonates with me — especially in the light of what the Teapotheads (great term!) are calling Obamacare. Especially in the light of  the Supreme Court decision on Obama’s plans.

It shouldn’t be enough to use over-simplified slogans but for many apparently that’s all it takes. Ciao, Gina.” -G. London, Italy

” — you should change the name of your blog to the 99% Club or something like that to attract the hordes of readers it richly deserves.” -Richard F., Japan

On the other hand —

“Are you suggesting that the current crop of GOP supporters are dunderheads or that they’ve always been? What would you say to the millions of Reagan Democrats or Obama Republicans?” -D.H., NYC

Millions? Really?? Well, maybe that’s a subject for a future blog.

Anyway, next week, we’ll probably return to our regular format and then try this again in a few weeks unless you really love or really hate Readers Write.

Political Doldrums

Summer has always been a bad time for the Washington press corps and assorted flacks who follow politics. In the past, if presidents had summer retreats in cooler spots (and most did) the press did not get to follow them there, even in an election year. As for members of Congress, nobody cared where they went.

Before FDR, presidents had traveled across the country to campaign in the heat of summer only if they were desperate. President Roosevelt first used the new technology of radio to campaign from The White House to wherever he was cooling off. Newspaper reporters complained that they were left sweltering in their seersucker suits in the nation’s capital, much of it situated on a swamp.

Flash forward 75 years. Washington reporters now have an air conditioned White House press area and wear open-collar shirts to work but they’re still complaining.

It’s 12:40pm on a hot, muggy Washington day. Journalists Mottsy, Pottsy, and Klutzy have just left The White House press area grumbling about a press release concerning obesity and the First Lady’s gazpacho recipe.

The GOP has already tweeted that gardens like this compete unfairly with supermarkets and agribusiness and undermine free enterprise!

“How’s this for a lead?” Mottsy muttered. “Americans say ‘no’ to zucchini and other foreign veggies!”

“Naw,” said Pottsy, “lead with Michelle. ‘First Lady Losing Rutabaga War.'”

“How about ‘White House Concerned About Leeks?’ Get it?”

“My editor wants me to lead with Congress going into recess without accomplishing anything!”

“How can you tell? The Tea Party people are like a wax museum — no action, no news!”

A man walks by the three reporters and waves dejectedly.

“Poor Flotsamhorn” — Pottsy shakes his head. “The Clarion just offered him a buy-out — ”

“He better take it!” Mottsy smirks, “MSNBC can’t handle any more consultants — ”

“You were darn lucky catching on at MSNBC — but how do you stand Chris Matthews? He asks you a seven-minute question and then interrupts your answer!”

“I know! Last week — ” Mottsy lowers his voice. “Somebody put a sign on Matthews’ door ‘Wind Power! The Future Of Journalism!’ Let’s grab some lunch at the Late Edition –”

“It’s so crowded there, nobody — ”

“Yeah, yeah — nobody goes there. Yogi Berra! Did he really say that?”

“Who the hell cares?”

Near “K” Street, the “Real Americans for Progress and Patriotism” is a Super Pac funded by the head of Pizza Mania. Three campaign consultants Brad, Cole, and Buffy sit in front of two very large posters of Mitt Romney.

One is captioned ‘the USA and Mitt — a perfect fit!’ The other is a picture of Romney in a Schwarzenegger costume and is captioned, ‘The job-creator!!’ Cole is on the phone, listening.

“I still would like just a touch more of grey at his temples,” says Buffy. “You know, life experience?”

I think,” Brad said emphatically, “we should go back to attack ads! Maybe send a crew to Chicago to dig up some dirt –”

“Guys — ” Cole hangs up. “Forget these ads. Keep them in reserve. No issue ads and no attacks on Obama.”

“No attacks??” Mottsy is baffled. “Aren’t we going to answer those tax return ads?”

Cole shakes his head decisively.

“For now, we will just follow the family around — human interest. The voters will get sick of the income tax thing. People get bored!” Cole is pondering. “Where does Ann keep that damned fancy dancing horse?”

“Gee, Cole, didn’t those Tea Party people tell us that those prancing horses were a pro-gay message?”

“Okay, forget the horses. Don’t they have a parakeet?”

“No birds. One goldfish.”

“Yeah, maybe the fish will give us a sound bite –”

Cole throws up his hands.

“Okay, okay. We go back to our secret weapon.”

“Terrorists?”

“Nope. Boredom.”