Saturday, February 12, 2005

The Continuing Cheapening of Human Life...
I thought southerners had common sense. It appears I'm wrong.

In the past week, I've heard about a Florida woman who claimed she found a child tossed out of a moving vehicle, only for the authorities to discover that she was full of shit (it was her own, unwanted child), and another story about a mother of 8, in Atlanta, who shook her infant to death and is getting off with voluntary sterilization.

Florida and Georgia. You can't get more southern than that. But I digress.

What's truly stunning about both of these incidents is this: in both cases, an infant was treated as if it didn't exist. One mother kills a child and there's no thought about punishing her for it, we just make sure she can't have any more. The second was under the impression that she could just walk into a police station, tell an outlandish tale, and dump her unwanted child in someone else's lap. Actually, according to the law, she could. Again, the child does not exist.

That's nasty, if you ask me. Weve gone so far in our quest for equal rights for women that we now excuse the most disgusting behavior women can display. A tubal ligation for a life? is this a fair exchange? What the hell were the judge and the prosecutor thinking? Apparently, they weren't.

The courts are already reluctant to hold individuals responsible for their behavior (corporations are different story, however). It becomes worse when the person in the dock appears to have breasts.

Because, you know, women have been oppressed and enslaved for countless centuries, and they must now have the right to be every bit as cold-hearted, vicious, stupid and disgusting as men are. This includes the right to destroy your "unborn-mass-of-cellular-material" if you feel like it, toss your children into someone else's lap, because you feel like it, and ultimately, shake an inconvenient, crying infant to death because it won't shut up. When and if you are ever hauled into court, a veritbale army of ne'er-do-wells with a social concsiousness a mile wide and an intelligence factor just slightly lower than the average house plant, will leap to your defense.

"She was stressed". "She was without a support system". "She was mentally incompetent". "Society made her do it". "He horoscope said it was a good day to give up her kid".

Expect to hear a lot of that in the coming weeks. Lot's of excuses, never an admittance of wrong-doing. Never once an ounce of remorse. Never show remorse. Remorse implies guilt and you can't be guilty because you have tits.

Dead and abandoned children become political objects. I expected to see this kind of nonsense back in New York, where it happens practically every day. I never expected to see it here.

Then again, I must have been demented to expect to never have to expect any of this.
The Disposable Society...
Well we have now come full circle. Actually we arrived at that point some time ago, but now thanks to the 24-hour news cycle, it has become frighteningly obvious, even to anyone who continues to vote democrat.

We're a disposable society.

We're not talking razor blades, ball-point pens, tampons or diapers. Well, maybe we're tangenitally speaking of diapers. It has now become perfectly acceptable to throw away two-day old babies.

Baby Johnnie is more than a human interest story. Baby Johnnie is a fine example of how far we've come in our quest to avoid personal responsibility. Newborns being left to die is nothing new; it's a practice with a long history, unfortunately. But now, we're leaving (or in this case, giving up) our newborns for the most petty and selfish of reasons. Johnnie's mother was, according to all the accounts, frightened/ashamed/embarrassed/fearful of being pregnant, to the extent that no one knew she WAS pregnant. That's a stunner right there.

The next startling fact, which was unknown to me until yesterday, is that 22 states have a safe haven law. This basically says you can leave an unwanted child in a police station, firehouse or hospital, no questions asked. A double-edged concept: on the one hand, we're encouraging rampant out-of-wedlock births by giving women yet another option other than raising their children, rather than promoting the concept of personal responsibility. Secondly, it's a disgusting feature of 21st century America that government has had to go to the extent of making it easier to orphan a child. Probably because we'd rather have the state take care of a child than to see news reports of dead children in dumpsters. Which, I'll admit, is a preferable state, but I have to wonder how much of that is practicality speaking and how much of it is politics.

Because at the end of the day, Baby Johnnie is political. Barely 72-hours old at this writing and he's a political football. He's a victim of the "reproductive rights" crowd, the mob that will leap to his mother's defense with all sorts of psychobable explanations of her behavior, and a pawn in the game of the government that wants you to know that they "care".

I sincerely hope that Johnnie is adopted into a good home. I sincerely hope the press will leave him alone to grow up to be a well-adjusted, happy, productive member of society. I would hate to think what happens 10 years from now when Dateline NBC insensitively decides to do a follow up on the "abandoned child" and succeds in screwing him up severely by revealing the knowledge that he was thrown away, not even wanted by his own mother. The media is really good at being insensitive, often.

For all of you who will use this to reinforce the "importance" of Roe v. Wade, I say this: this woman had access to an abortion, but didn't take that option. The "streets full of unwanted children" shtick doesn't fly -- she had that choice, and decided not to take it. Whether or not she was mentally competent to make that choice, is something for a court to decide. But it was there. I want you all to take a look at what you have wrought: a society where a woman believes she can abandon a child, do so without any legal obligations or consequences, and even WITH those safeguards, still needs to make up a ridiculous story, involve innocent people in her lie, send the police into a tizzy and stomp on the hearts of Americans. Because she was EMBARRRASSED. This is what you have forged in 40 years of politically correct bullshit: you can now throw a baby away in the worst possible way, and get pitied for it. The next Baby Johnnie story will hit the airwaves in less than 48 hours, I'll bet.

And when government agencies are full to the brim with throw-away children, then what? Will we continue to hear endless debate about women's rights? Will we have to get Congressional action of some type? Will there have to be another program or something to take care of these kids? Will we ever hear, just once, that a mother may have the right to abort her child, but that once she carries it to term, she has a responsibility?

You will never hear that word: responsibility. Responsibilities are nasty things, always something other people have. This mother had responsibilities and she didn't live up to them because we made it easy for her to not have to. We've told her "it's your body, do what you want with it" and neglected the fact that a child is involved (it's merely a ball of cells until it breathes on it's own, right?). We gave her the opportunity to just leave the child, provided it was left in a place where there was a reasonable chance that it would be cared for (hospital, police or fire station) because we could NEVER expect a woman adult enough to spread her legs to be adult enough to take the responsibility of dealing with the consequences. In the end, we get a woman who gets off (for the moment) scott free and an infant in a hospital bed surrounded by TV cameras.

This is not a recipe for a healthy society.

P.S. If I could, I will kill that bitch with my bare hands.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

We've Forgotten...
It's painfully obvious to me, as an American, that most people I come into contact with in this country have incredibly short attention spans. Particularly where important things are concerned. I mean, most of us can remember an ultimately meaningless event, like Michael Jackson's hair catching fire, or who starred in a movie that spent less time in theatres than the average bucket of popcorn, or maybe even who said what to whom on an episode of South Park in the first season.

However, important events, things that truly matter to the here and now, that affect people's lives, ultimately get forgotten.

September 11, 2001 is one of those events.

It's been forgotten. The pain, the misery, the fear that the event itself created is all but a faded memory in the (tiny) minds of most people. When the Mayor of Baltimore can use 9/11 in a cutesy fashion to attack Federal spending; the impact is forgotten. When a hippy college professor in Colorado can compare the victims of that day's events to the Nazis; the trauma is forgotten.

We quaked in fear for a few months, we scrutinized our mail for traces of white powder, we acquiesced in the removal of shoes on the airport security line, and then we forgot about why we did those things and went back to being fat, dumb and happy. Yes, there are people out there who want us dead, but I'm watching Fear Factor right now and can't be bothered.

As I write this, I'd bet at least a thousand people have snuck across the border into this country. While I complain in this space, another Arab just bought a few more pounds of C4 for his diabolical plot to blow up a nuclear power plant near Osh Kosh, Wis. While we wrangle about how to fix our government "retirement" system, the same government is trying to figure out how to supply everyone with a "National ID Card" (your papers, please?). The only thing tasteful about the National ID is that it hasn't yet been proposed that the particulars be tattooed on your forearm.

But I digress.

Three thousand Americans died one September morning because of who they were: Americans. And if anyone thinks that the people who perpetrated such a crime have been content to rest on their laurels, you'd be in for a shock. That was a prelude. The encore has been delayed because of better law-enforcement, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the knowledge amongst Muslims the world over that their activities are being scrutinized. It will happen again. Perhaps not on a September 11th sort of scale, but it will happen again. The odds are against us in this little game. The other side needs to get lucky only once while we need to be on our game every day.

But you would never know it to look at the state of affairs in your local community. Life goes on as it did on September 10th, 2001, which is, I guess, a good thing. Commerce continues. Babies are being born. The mail is being delivered. The grief, the shock, has worn off for those of us who merely experienced the drama secondhand via television.

For those of us who were part of the drama, live and in color, the scars have not healed. They never will. Which is what makes me angry about what everyone else is thinking and doing. Perhaps that's irrational. Maybe it's even a bit nutty. However, that doesn't make me wrong, maybe just a bit more sensitive.

For those of you content to forget and then use the event to advance an obscure, classroom-oriented agenda that makes no sense, but which sounds artsy and intelligent in that sort of setting, I say this: not on my damn watch. This is not a subject to be taken lightly, nor to be examined under the extremely narrow microscope of what passes for "scholarship" these days. For those of you who once accused our President of using the event for political advantage and who now go about using it for clear political advantage, I say: when the Federal government actually plows an airliner into your city's largest building and kills your citizens, you might have a point. Otherwise, shut the fuck up.

I'll bet that 9 out 10 people who read this today won't have clue one about what I'm talking about. I'd further wager that half of that remaining 10% might even admonish me for being way too literal and, perhaps, overly sensitive. Well guess what? being overly sensitive is a constitutionally protected right in this country; just ask the NAACP.

All the sermonizing, all the National ID cards, all the border security in the world, will not fix the root of this problem: human beings are easily distracted. That's why gum is placed at the checkout counter in the supermarket. It's why advertisements ooze with sex. It's why a neon sign is still a good way to draw customers into your establishment. It's why Las Vegas continues to be a tourist magnet. people are distracted by the thought of a stick of Juicy Fruit, or a woman in a bikini selling beer, or the bright flashing lights, promising excitement, drawing them into activites which are not truly in their best interests.

The problem we're facing is the ability of the human animal to forget that which is unpleasant. The ability to choose to be willfully blind to danger if it becomes uncomfortable to think of it.

I remember predicting three years ago that what would be required to make people remember would be a re-enactment of the event. Unfortunately, I seem to be vindicated. I pray it never happens again, I certainly don't wish it. But it will be necessary.

How unfortunate for us.

The Third Rail of American Politics...
Imagine my shock and utter disbelief (sarcasm) when Rep. Charles Rangel, from my home state of the People;s Republic of New York, came out and accused President Bush of playing the race card when it comes to reforming Social Security. Well, Charley's thrown a few race cards in his day, so he's probably an expert. However, when the statement was clarified, or better yet, merely put into context, I began to realize that even those who SHOULD know better will continue to not know better, if it suits ther purposes.

The crux of the matetr is that black men, statistically, do not live as long as white men, and therefore, collect Social Security payments at much lower rate after retirement. In fact, a good many never make it to retirement age, so there is no payment to receive. The President suggests a plan (at least an idea) of how to rectify this injustice (to borrow a term from Jesse) and Charley calls it racist?

Charley then began a rant on "improving health care" (i.e. putting your life into the Federal Government's hands).

Hmm. An idea, from a republican, that might benefit blacks is somehow racist. Explain the logic behind that one for me, will ya? I think the key word in that sentence are "republican" and "benefits blacks". Apparently, in the world inhabited by Charley and his fellow-travelers, no the ideas are mutually exclusive. No republican could ever do anything to benefit blacks, according to this crowd.

Stupidity and ideology, a dangerous combination.

Monday, February 07, 2005

The Journey Continues...
Continuing my quest to make heads or tails of the convoluted culture of the Southern United States, I've been the beneficiary of more input than I care to think about. Some of it has been simply a matter of learning new aspects of vernacular English. Others have been a complete eye opener. One subject that I continually return to though, and of which I learn ever more everyday, is that peculiar secies of human being known as the Southern Male. Now, if I hadn't already been convinced that a goodly number of these creatures were already a clear and present danger to the gene pool, I am even more concerned for the future of mankind. If I had to rank the good qualities of the majority of southern men, I would place them just after cancer and just before ebola. Not to insult ebola any, but I do have to call 'em as I see 'em. The more I try to look past the surface, I come up with...more surface. The caricature is apt in this case: ignorant, nose-picking, tobacco-chewing, inbred, NASCAR-watchin', roadkill eatin', beer swillin' ignoramus. And it's hard not to see it. It requires an effort at mind-control that I have not, as yet, mastered, to ignore it. It basically screams at you from the second you wake up until the moment yo finally close your eyes: these guys are dangerous. Not dangerous as in "mastermind0criminals waiting to disrupt the fabric of American society", but dangerous as in "how the FUCK did some of them manage to breed?" If it wasn't for the fact that most of the breeding process is purely instinctive and mecahnical, I doubt many of them would have gotten past the preliminaries. Removing a bra from the front, is extraordinarily complicated, I would gather, unlessone had a super-powerful truck and tow chains at one's disposal. Be that as it may, one must return to the opposite number of the Southern man, and place blame squarely on the Southern Woman. After all, they allow their men to be this way. Many of them find it attractive (and you can usually tell those from the first glance, and often, whiff). This, of course, is not to say that Southern Women have, in any case, bad taste, but that a certain subset within that group most certainly has NO taste. I get the distinct impression that most fo these dangerous men have been brought up on a steady diet of ego stroking, couretesy of Mama. They're treated like kings, their faults are merely chalked up to "being a man" and thy are otherwise allowed to get away with whatever they care to get away with. Perhaps if more Southern Woman took the opportunity to apply subtle pressure to their men, they might foment a revolution. Simply put: if they expected civilized, gentlemanly behavior, they might actually get it. For better or worse, some of the greatest social revolutions of the modern era were perpetrated by females: the taming of the West, the standardization and improvement in both the quality and availability of education, the demand that quality of life improve with each sucessive generation. Women wanted it and men, very often, went out and worked like sled dogs to make sure it happened. The same applies here. If a Southern Woman, of whom I know a goody-number of genuine superstars, wished to have men who were less self-centered, more concerned with being equals and perhaps genuinely more gentlemanly, they could have it. They could easily do it. The problem is that many aren't and when given a choice between making an effort and taking the route of least resistance, most men will opt for the easy path. I think some of these poor chaps can be saved (for what I have no clue), and an effort should be made. It's already happening, slowly, incrementally, as Yankee women invade the south in increasing numbers, and they won't take the chest-beating-I'm-the-goddamn-King-of-this-here-jungle bullshit. In 20 years, perhaps, the dyed-in-the-wool redneck will disappear, which has it's drawbacks I admit, but which would make a for a better society all around. The effort, however, will not be made by Jethro. If the mountain will not come to Ellie Mae, Ellie Mae will have to go to the mountain.
Fighting the Good Fight...
Sorry for the extended absence, but I've been pretty pre-occupied these days.

I'm currently tilting at the windmills of bureacratic stupidity and the bottom-line mindset of big business. both of which seem (for the moment) impervious to facts or logic. but I intend to win, because the fucked with the wrong guy in this case.

I won't go into it now, since there's going to be legal action taken, but as things develop, I'm sure to vent in this space, so keep an eye out.