Archive for the 'Media' Category



11
May
09

Elizabeth Edwards No Innocent Bystander

I cannot get enough of the Edwards saga – and, lucky for me, this will be a story that keeps on giving. While John’s career is pretty much toast, the media will continue to minitor for noteworthy developments in their lives and each one will again propell this jaw-dropping scandal to the public forefront.

Events that will bring the story back from faded obscurity: results of a paternity test of Rielle Hunter’s child, a decision by Rielle Hunter to capitalize on her infamy with a book or Lifetime movie, and any slightest deterioriation in Elizabeth Edward’s health. Little does John know – or maybe he does – that any progress he might accomplish in the rehabilitation of his reputation will immediately be snuffed upon the death of Elizabeth. When her life is finally extinguished and public sympathy for her reaches maximum peak, no mind will be distracted from John’s infedelities as the story is replayed over and over between commercial breaks. John’s misdeeds will have earned him an upteenth, inescapable tar and feathering. I bet he often thinks, If I could only undo the past….

Elizabeth’s interview on Oprah last week was heartbreaking, I have to say. Her desciption and defense of the life she built was captivating, to say the least. That one hussy, combined with her husband’s ginormous ego could tear it all apart was gut-wrenching.

But, she does not deserve all my sympathy. First of all, I was never a John Edwards fan. There is a blatant inauthenticity to him, that slippery-eel lawyer quality, that made my husband and I blanch at the the fact he was chosen by John Kerry as his 2004 running mate. Afterward, John’s championing of the poor was such an overtly strategic political move, with no heart behind it, I found it galling that so many were duped by the accent and the smile. Even the Bush administration referred to him as the Breck girl (ref. Dead Certain, by Robert Draper). It was so clearly fake, I had a hard time watching him. And reports of his split personality emerged during the campaign – on-camera John was friendly and warm, whereas off-camera John was cold and snobby – seemed to square with my gut reactions to his appearances.

It did not suprise me in the least that he had cheated on his wife. The jeopardy, however, in which he placed the 2008 election – the most important of my generation – was and is unforgivable. He would never have obtained the nomination, but the possibility dangles in our hindsight as a frightening reminder that politicians are a tricky bunch.

Elizabeth Edwards says to pull out of the race would have been to create an unnecessary drama, so they opted to stay in after she knew of his philandering. She deserves outrage for allowing this potentially nuclear charade to continue. Shame on her. She aided and abetted this lying, this performance at a time when we desperately needed responsible real deals. The sham they paraded was politically criminal. That they would put the interests of themselves – or even their wealthy family – over those of the country is dispicable, even now. Elizabeth Edwards told Oprah women should support each other. How was she supporting our half of the population by helping her husband possibly torpedo the election and allow McCain (no on domestic violence bill, no on equal bay bill) to win?  She doesn’t care about the rest of us girls at all. It is a shame she has cancer, but she was not an innocent bystander, she was a willing participant and perpetuator and I wouldn’t purchase a book of hers regardless of the level of juicy details she seeks to peddle.

She said on Today this morning that John made one mistake. One mistake. Bullshit. Utter nonsense. His boning of the ugly lady was a mistake, his political chicanery was far worse. He won’t even stand up and be a proper father to the child he helped create.

And until both Edwardses admit and take responsibility for their culpability to their supporters and the American people, no tell-alls, no speeches about poverty, no Larry King interviews will put them back in the good graces of the millions of us to whom this unforgettable lapse in judgment mattered in the first place.

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29
Apr
09

Swine Flu – It’s Not the First, Won’t Be The Last

What a strange coincidence that a potentially pandemic illness originating from domesticated livestock mushrooms at the exact same time I am reading Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond.

In simplified terms, Diamond describes in his book how food-producing populations have been exposed for thousands of years to influenzas and other diseases carried by domesticated animals. Those with the genetic strength to overcome the illnesses or avoid them all-together lived to reproduce and, thus, propagate their genetic supremacy. Some bugs are meaner then others, hence the bubonic plague and Ebola virus.

These inevitable illnesses have made quite a mark on the development on human geopolitical history. Because food producers (FP) were exposed to these diseases and overcame them while hunter gatherers (HG) did not, the FPs easily decimated or wiped out many an HG tribe and culture. Smallpox has quite the reputation for being such a population reducer.

The main point here, however, is that as much horror and, possibly, death as the avian flu or the swine flu might wreak upon the global population, diseases transmitted from animals to humans are as natural as exinction. So long as humans live in close quarters with animals, and such cohabitation is unavoidable, the potential pandemic is always around the corner.

Me, I try not to be a germ-a-phobe. With weakened immune systems, our bodies cannot handle contact with the feces of many beasties. Sure, we don’t want to give each other illnesses, but a little dirty is good. So, I’ll start the Just Say No To the Wipey and Hand Sanitizer Campaign now.

As survival of the fittest is real, the cleaner we become as a species, the weaker we become. Looking on the bright side, it may not matter anyway since we’re killing our environment so rapidly, our only hope is space pods on Mars. Hello! Point me to the nearest mass-suicide cult ASAP!

10
Apr
09

Why Bush, Cheney – and those damn Tea Partiers – Aren’t Smart

Forgive me for stating the obvious.

In the April issue of Real Simple magazine, science writer Jonah Lehrer pens an article entitled, “10 Ways to Be a Better Thinker.” It was quite interesting. My favorite was #5 – Take Long Showers, which says “moments of insight often arrive when you’re not aware that you’re thinking of the problem.” This is probably why my best blog ideas come to me right before I’m about to fall asleep and there’s no way in hell I’m getting out of bed. Suffer for my art? Please.

But #8 and #10 were the most interesting to me in terms of analyzing our political leaders, which I’m wont to do quite often. The eighth suggestion is to Study Your Mistakes, “One common trait of successful people is their willingness to focus on their fumbles.” And, on a similar note, Ten advises us to Think About Our Thinking, “Metacognition, as this is known, is a crucial skill. Many scientists argue that the best predictor of good judgment isn’t intelligence or experience; it’s the willingness to engage in introspection.”

These appear to be simple, basic concepts regarding the quality of thought. Yet, when you look at the majority of our political leaders, you will find a demographic either devoid of the capability of such improved mental activity or you find people simply unwilling to admit fault and self-analyze. So many of these dolts seem to have one speed of thought, with self-imposed blinders preventing them from the most important of decisions: how to change for the better.

We are witnesses to such blocks of immovable concrete when we see Republicans on television refusing to understand the realities and results of the decisions of the last eight years. They keep calling for lower taxation for the upper economic echelons and increased deregulation. There is absolutely no acknowledgment of fault or quality instances of introspection.

W. Bush says in Dead Certain, a great look at the man’s presidency by Robert Draper, that he HAD to believe that his decision to go into Iraq was correct. He would never allow himself to even consider the idea that perhaps the war had been a mistake. When you’re playing with thousands, perhaps over a million people’s lives, this attitude seems almost criminal for those with their fingers over the red button.

But that was the biggest criticism of Bush, wasn’t it? That the man wasn’t intellectually curious, probably due to the fact that he wasn’t introspective. His foot was on the accelerator regardless of whether there was a brick wall in his path or not (while the rest of us are in the back seat). It was only a “disappointment” that weapons of mass destruction weren’t found in Iraq. When asked what went wrong with Katrina, Bush immediately asks whether he should have landed Air Force One instead of simply flown over the area.

There is a grave, almost developmentally challenged inability by Bush to analyze situations in their totality or through the lenses of those with differing opinions. And his supporters have the same problem. Even now, many across the media’s various forms insist Iraq was a success and is now doing fine. Five soldiers died today in Mosul in a suicide truck bombing. There is widespread violence still and the region is extraordinarily unstable. Ask an Iraqi if they think the war was a success. It’s their country, after all. And these are real people! Over a million Iraqis have died since the war started and Bush talks about them like they’re little Lego men in one of his Lego forts. It’s despicable.

This lack of critical thinking skill is also what led Cheney to declare in May of 2005 that the Iraqi insurgency is in its last throes or that Obama is making us less safe because he is changing Bush’s policies. Cheney will never acknowledge that their administration’s policies allowed Iran’s influence and power to increase exponentially and caused an explosion in global hatred toward America.

People can disagree with Obama’s policies, as I do with some, all they want. But read the man’s books, look without prejudice at his decision-making process and you will see an increased capacity for deliberation, introspection, intellectual curiosity, consideration of mistakes, and appreciation for not only differing views, but everyone’s views. That’s why we elected him. Whatever you say about his policies, the man’s process is an ocean of improvement over our last commander in chief.

And all these little Tea Party shenanigans Fox seems to be orgasming over – the ones calling for the impeachment of Obama before he has even been in office 100 days – reveal how simple-minded the radical fringe of the Bush supporters are. None of them would give you a decent assessment regarding the mistake they made reelecting Bush. Nor would they be introspective enough to appreciate change or understand that the rest of us deserve a president who

This is what Im talking about. Reality has left the building.

This is what I'm talking about. Reality has left the building.

represents us as well. None of them would ever recognize that the policies they support, the ones that were instituted over the last eight years, have brought our country dishonor, ill-repute, economic woe and autocratic policies. They have committed a great harm and the rest of us have stood up and said no more.

I understand the pendulum swings politically. Right now, the Far Right Wing should have some dignity, grace and allow the rest of us – the majority of us (for now) – to institute the policies we believe will not only rescue us from this iniquitous past, but improve our now and our future. They should be a little introspective and come to grips with the fact that most of us do not agree with them, most of us support Obama at this point, and we have a right to resist the oppression they would impose.

31
Mar
09

Atheist Billboards Going Up in DFW Area

I’m pretty pumped! Monday, the Coalition of Reason will unveiled two godless billboards along busy interstates in the DFW area:

godless-billboard

The Coalition of Reason has already launched the campaign, aimed at uniting non-believing groups, in Philadelphia and Denver.

I’m part of the leadership of the Fort Worth Free Thinkers and we are joining with the North Texas Church of Freethought, Metroplex Atheists, Dallas-Plano Atheists and more to form the DFW Coalition of Reason .

The reaction of the area will certainly be interesting as this is an obvious headquarters for Christocentric religiosity. You’d be surprised, however, to see how quickly our community of non-believers (athiests, agonstics, non-theists, rationalits, etc., etc.) is growing.

Certainly, I hope one of the results of this four-week media campaign is greater organization of non-believers so that our voice is heard amongst the cacophony of American diversity. For too long, we have allowed one specific lunatic fringe group to dominate politics and accepted culture in our society and that must stop. The pendulum is swinging away from those who would seek to imprison the rest of us with their beliefs. We will be the silent minority no more.

And speaking of minority, I’d like to remind everybody that religious unaffiliated is the fasted growing “religious” group in the U.S. Doesn’t that just give you a warm, cozy feeling inside?

If you’re in Texas and would like to find a group of non-believers in your area, visit this Texas Secular Network site for a list. Some groups are more stingently athiest and organized, but as for us Fort Worth Free Thinkers, we just like good beer and good conversation and rational thinking. Peace out.

31
Mar
09

Minnesota, Where’s the Anger?

If I lived in Minnesota, I’d be pissed. Norm Coleman as virtually no chance of winning the senate seat he and Al Franken are contesting through the courts. Furthermore, Coleman is under investigation over political donations that were illegally funneled through his wife. And, he has egg all over his reputation after saying he would step down if he in Franken’s position right after the election when the vote was too close to call. Now, the recount and numerous court decisions later, Franken is ahead and Coleman refuses to bow out. He probably has every prominent Republican in the state and in D.C. cheering his self-gratifying speed-bumpery to the democratic process because all are fearful of even more Democratic power on the Senate and none of them care if Minnesotans go years without fair representation.

The Repubs would be like pigs in mud to watch this thing play out for the next 6 years until the next election when they undoubtedly hope Obama’s poll numbers have waned and the field is ripe for Republican victory. John Cornyn (as a Texan, I never voted for him and never will) says the Repubs will launch WW III if the Dems try to see Franken and even the Minnesota seat could take “years” to resolve. What a lame-ass, piece of shit. At some point, you’d think people who claim to be of integrity would say enough is enough, acknowledge Franken’s victories and the likelihood that Coleman will find himself on the losing end of this stick and give the people of Minnesota their right to two freaking senators.

No big whoop. Unless you’re from Minnesota and you pay your taxes like every other of the 50 states. And you’re Sen. Amy Klobuchar, whose work has doubled during this debacle.

Now, yes, yes, the left is still and will ever-more be smarting over the 2000 election in which Al Gore won the popular vote. However, if Franken were losing all these recount battles, I’d hand the war over to Coleman – investigation or no investigation. The Repubs need to learn the value of fair representation and end their childish political games.

If this were happening in Texas – you’d be damned sure I’d be organizing demonstrations and protests or demanding a decrease in my taxes. No way in hell I’d sit by politely while political dickwads try to throw a wrench into my right to have my vote acknowledged.

Minnesotans should find their inner Cajun and start taking Coleman and his posse to task for clogging their democracy. Team N.C. would so collapse if the pressure grew strong enough.

Get angry, Minnesota! Get loud and demand what is rightfully yours! Make the news! Get your freaking second senator!!

25
Mar
09

Meredith VETO: Blanket Statements by Politicians About the American People

It’s been a while since I’ve issued a Meredith VETO, but I’ve come to notice one phrased used by many a politician or politician commentator: “Americans think” or “Americans want” or “Americans feel.” Americans this, Americans that! Stop the madness!

I disagree with quite a few of my fellow Americans on quite a few issues and I know they disagree with me (when the jackasses comment on my blog. kidding!). When a politician bunches together a population which is commonly in discord and brandishes us as a verbal missile with which to pulverize political opposition, I take exception. The person usually making the statement is claiming “America” thinks or feels or demands something I am totally against and, many times, the majority of Americans are against.

Unless you’re talking about someone named America, stating cited poll numbers or an easily recognizable demographic observation – stop lumping Americans together. Start saying “many Americans” – even “most Americans” would be better.

Politicians forget that we’re not the dumb little kid sitting on the curb, easily bribed by ice cream and don’t know what you’re saying when you spell out words (i-g-n-o-r-a-m-u-s). We are in the game and paying attention as much as the blowhards on radio and TV or corporatocracy bitches in Washington. When you hear someone use the broad stroke of “Americans” improperly, it has the awkward feeling of hearing someone talk about what a cunt you are behind your back.

So, in conclusion: Americans are different. Americans disagree. Americans are not one contiguous borg marching in lockstep into some benign asshole’s ideological black hole… Those are Republicans.

24
Feb
09

Presidents and Monkeys

As a white person, I didn’t know what to think at first of the furor regarding the NYPost cartoon monkefying Obama:

My first feeling were mixed. It is unacceptable to compare black people to monkeys in light of our country’s shameful history of doing so. But I also considered how many times I compared Bush to monkeys in this blog as well as in my overall thought of the man. For example, a simple google of “Bush monkey” will produce:

There are a lot, lot more.

Do I feel entitled enough to hang on to my right to compare presidents to apes in light of the fact that our current president is black? No, I don’t. The advancement of race relations is far more important to me and I say this as a person who relishes the frequency of offense amidst all our glorious free speech. And, when it came to comparing Bush to primates, I felt as though I were offending monkeys more than dope-in-chief anyhow.

Furthermore, I have found, especially in recent conversations, that demographic groups who have always been empowered (ahem, white males) find it very difficult to understand when certain groups (such as women) get pissed when empowered groups (white males) call them by offensive names (bitch, cunt, whore, etc.). At some point, words and comparisons don’t belong to you. I’ll never use the N-word. Ever. Certain offenses achieve necessary progress. Others reverse it. And that’s not my priority.

So, for the next four, hopefully eight if all goes well, years – let’s drop the monkey/president comparisons. We’re all intelligent enough to find better ways to express our views regarding Obama’s decisions and behavior anyway.




Scarlet Letter of Atheism

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