The Writing on the Wall

Occasionally sardonic, these are meant as quick takes on news items, events, and discoveries around the world. Newest observations at the top.

Let's give a round of applause to H.L. Mencken.

March 5, 2000:

I really, really don't understand why so many Clinton-haters support George W. Just like Clinton, he'll say whatever you want to hear. And if he gets the nomination, and has to broaden his base of appeal, he'll say what everyone wants to hear. He's only beholden to himself and his high-rolling financial backers.

I won't vote for W. come November. I would vote for McCain. (While typing this, I just heard a "womens' issues" proponent on the NY radio station in the background saying how much McCain is against such issues, and that she's certainly not voting for McCain on Tuesday's upcoming primary. Ad paid for by Bush, of course. I'm sure he didn't use that ad down South, and what's his record on such issues, anyway? The ad sure doesn't say...)

Preparing the Barf Bag for the rest of the electoral season...

(And, since I'm technically a Democrat, I'm choosing Bradley on Tuesday in the Connecticut primary -- not that he's really better than Gore one way or the other, but just doing my part to attempt to bring back the remote concept of choice in Presidential politics. Besides, I haven't had the option of voting in a Presidential Primary for years and years...)

Latest news as I type: Bush disavows connection with the above ad (and presumably others). Hmmm, why is his name mentioned in the last sentence of yak? Sure, it's a Bush committee, but come on. The ethical fiasco of South Carolinan primary politics rears its head again??? And this creature thinks he is a statesman worthy of executive office? This is what millions and millions of dollars goes out and buys?


Come on guys, prove me wrong. My fear is that only money and influence will earn one the White House.

February 12, 2000:

One thing I can't get out of my mind about that Cuban kid we've got in this country whose next of kin (his dad) wants him back in Cuba: If the more distant relatives who hold him hostage right now really are all hepped up over the issues of "democracy" and "freedom", and that's why they won't send him back, why wouldn't they let the kid call his papa up on one of those dual cell phones he got bribed with???

Re this John Rocker character who is some baseball player being penalized for speaking his mind: Yes, he appears to have a particularly repulsive set of grey matter lurking deep in there, but wouldn't you rather know where you stood with someone like that, rather than have him out there making nice at you to your face, when he likely doesn't mean a word of it?

Recind the penalties. Like anyone else, he should be able to express in words the things he thinks. Voltaire was right.

January 30, 2000:

I pick John McCain as the best of a really, really bad lot. It's still not a pleasant sight, but that's my choice.

Beats the hell out of W-TheRepublicanClinton coasting through on money and influence and daddy, and likewise out of Al-TheInventorOfTheInternet.

Sending that Cuban kid back to his papa in Cuba sounds like the intelligent, considerate choice to make. However, politics is neither intelligent nor considerate. And his distant relatives in Miami who hold him hostage are bending over backwards to give him things, things, things, puppies, things. Buying friendship and affection in the long run never works. A future, scarred, terribly-troubled kid is being reared.

Our entire Cuban policy is stupid. (No, I'm no fan of Castro, and yes, he's playing politics with the situation, too. Still, the kid belongs with his most immediate relative, who by all accounts is a decent, caring, father.)

My current recommended sites:

Select Smart picks the best presidential candidate for you based on ten-fifteen political viewpoints you can answer to. Not one of them got a passing grade when I ran the program.

Interesting commentary on gun control, censorship, and events such as happened in Littleton. This observer essentially agrees.

I found this one running around on the Internet, a couple times; as well as mentioned on the radio. I'm quoting it.

"Can you imagine working at the following Company? It has a little over 500 employees with the following statistics:

29 have been accused of spousal abuse
7 have been arrested for fraud
19 have been accused of writing bad checks
117 have bankrupted at least two businesses
3 have been arrested for assault
71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit
14 have been arrested on drug-related charges
8 have been arrested for shoplifting
21 are current defendants in lawsuits
In 1998 alone, 84 were stopped for drunk driving

Can you guess which organization this is?

It's the 535 members of our United States Congress. The same group that perpetually cranks out hundreds upon hundreds of new laws designed to keep the rest of us in line."

And, they're virtually all Republocrats. Or Demoplicans.

Here are some columnists who write more or less intelligently, at least enough of the time I don't end up disgusted (or ignoring them, like that "on" switch on my television -- my TV, btw, is so old it has the "off/on switch", not that new-fangled "power" button. Or a remote control. And it runs off vacuum tubes... hey, my computer is newfangled modern, okay?):

Molly Ivins
George Will
William Safire

Their agreement with me isn't necessary. Their general willingness to think cogently about issues is. Never will you see the above columnists screaming as if they were petulant cranks at a football game and/or on the Jerry Springer show.

Seriously, about a month ago I entered my local coffee shop. They had the TV going, but at first it was not facing me. I heard all sorts of yelling and screaming, and was wondering why a football game was being broadcast so early in the morning. I looked over at the screen, and discovered Jerry Springer for the first time. End result: Now I know why I dislike pro ball so much. It's that rampaging yell/scream/yell/scream that marks the general noisy fan as essentially no different than the Jerry Springer general noisy fan. Which is why the "off" switch was invented, to give those of us who so choose: options.

Another reason to detest the yell/scream thing: one really feels "forced" to do the same to be heard over the general cacaphony. It feeds on itself, unending spiralling cycle... down, down, down, down into meaningless noise. And I admit that I've been occasionally pushed into that deadened space, alas.

September 30, 1999:

At the moment, I'd like to see a presidential race between Bill Bradley and John McCain. Neither of them are ideal viewpoint-wise, but neither of them fill me with that level of disgust I retch on when confronted with any of the other names. They actually have viewpoints, for one, and they both seem to want to bring in some measure of integrity to the job, and some measure is probably better than none. (Well, there's always Pat Buchanan, and the surface-level benefit is one also does know what he stands for, but it seems to be such a cesspool of hatred there in what passes for his brain that for me he's totally out of the question, and it is rather pathetic at best that some fellow Americans take him at all seriously -- to the point that I worry about our overall national sanity...)

August 29, 1999:

Quite honestly: I don't care whether George W. did or did not do drugs years ago. It's not my business what someone else (adult) chooses to smoke, inhale, not inhale, ingest, snort, or rub in his/her belly, or do with any other consenting adult. Down deep, it's just that I'm not nosy. So long as all this inhaling and snorting and tippling doesn't occur on the job, or affect driving, flying, or other public-affectable activities. Or gets to the developing psyches of children.

Your humble correspondent has mis-spent portions of her youth, too, although she expressed firm but polite "no-thank-you's" to cocaine and a whole host of other things, and retains a strong respect for those many who didn't try to push the choice; no matter what they chose to do themselves. (My response was usually, "My mind is strange enough", and was coupled with a realization that I didn't want to get into certain things that I wasn't sure I'd be able to get out of...)

However, if George W. publically supports mandatory minimums (which all indications seem to show), and if he really did do this stuff (coke) even if he never definitively tells, then in order to lead society by any redeemable values of respect or non-hypocrisy (amazing concepts for the body politic whether Demoplican or Republocrat), he'd better re-examine his position on those minimums or how they are enforced. And if he can honestly do so, out of the limelight of privilege, I still don't give a toot what he put, or didn't put, up his nose years ago. But I suspect that there's dim likelihood of that. (I still suspect Bush = Clinton. The price of my being an Independent.)

New recommended resource: Real People for Real Change have a web site called The Skeleton Closet. Find out how pristine YOUR Presidential favorites are. Not bloody likely... They approach this without favorites, and without blatant party lines. While some of the dirt dug up is just noise, lots of the other stuff is real serious and should be investigated, especially when one considers the, um, shall we say, tendency for major politicos to preach one thing yet do another?? And to preach against someone (usually on from the opposing party) for stuff they themselves do, or that people in their own party -- whom they won't criticize for it -- do?

I was disappointed to see that they found stuff on McCain (the Keating connection); he'd seemed so much like a breath of fresh air in some regards -- foreign policy, and his (I thought sincere) desire to clean up elections. Maybe he's sincere now???

Maybe we should still draft Colin Powell??? (Now that Paul Tsongas is dead, there's no one interesting of the Democratic denomination.)

If we want to fix society, forget about the demeaning political football which the term "family values" has become, and just learn to treat people with respect, no matter their (non-cohercive) differences, and minus the hypocrisy. If we can just do that, young people will have examples to grow up into, not into that old "Do as I say, not as I do", thang. (I do suspect that legalizing a requirement for respect, say, is rather impossible -- we're going to have to learn how to do it on our own, or by example.)

The Presidency: The lowest-paying job that Big Money and Big Connections can buy.

August 28, 1999:

Down in Mississippi, a student was banned from wearing a Cross of David, because it was too similar to a "gang symbol". My initial reaction was a thought that a gang should take up the Crucifix as a symbol, and let's see if a school district bans that one.

Fortunately, the school system down there changed its mind (with a bit of pressure), and religious symbols are now "tolerated", er, permitted to be worn by students.

And if anyone thinks gang symbols are carved in stone??? They change, folks, and even a minute way of wearing socks may mean something... Let's get real. And gangs of bullies talk to each other when they're not beating up their victims; they can tell who they are without signals of clothing! Amazing!

It may even help school administrators keep track of potential problem children if they know that particular gang members are likely to wear strands of brussels sprouts around their necks, or something.

August 5, 1999:

It's been awhile, hasn't it??

George W. Bush: The Republican Clinton. Waffles with the best of 'em. Wants the job so bad he's even got to whine about uncomplementary websites. Go ahead and try complaining about mine, you money-bags turkey. For those who want to see what his fussing and crabbing is about, go visit http://www.gwbush.com/. Anyone so threatened by freedom of speech and alternative viewpoints as he evidently is doesn't deserve a single vote. He certainly hasn't earned mine, and this childish bruhaha certainly cinched it for me.

Alas, though, there again appears to be no inspirational presidential candidates in the offing.

John McCain seemed to have some intriguing and interesting things to say about foreign policy this spring, and he wants campaign reform -- but then I looked at his at-home social and environmental agendas, and sighed with major disappointment.

Kosovo has come and gone since I last posted to this page. (Well, it isn't gone yet, they'll be dealing with these issues over there for generations to come, and I suspect we haven't finished dealing by a long shot either...) I admit I was firmly with McCain on this one; don't get involved in what is essentially a civil war, but since we have, finish the job properly. At this point: we'll see. The conflicts have lasted centuries, they've centuries to go. Now, let's hope for the best...

Which brings me to our at-home issues of violence. We have mayhem in high schools, and now it is proposed that we limit what types of clothing people can wear to school, simply in order to prevent scapegoating. Which is to laugh, except that the issue is serious: look at a photo of an ethnic Albanian bewailing the loss of a loved one, and look at a photo of an ethic Serb bewailing the loss of a loved one -- can you tell which is the Serb and which is the Albanian? Not likely, unless you are very conversant with the culture over there. I've been schooled in both free-form (clothing-wise) public schools and uniform-wearing private schools. I didn't notice any lesser amount of scapegoating at the latter institutions. People find something, if they have the "scapegoating personality" -- if it isn't what someone is wearing, it is things like the color of their skin, the cut of their hair, two-eyes vs. four-eyes, physical weight and height, what their interests are... oh, just anything. It don't matter an iota. If someone wants to scapegoat, they'll find it -- at least until the days we all get the same DNA genome and identical everythings, including personalities, religions, parental backgrounds, etc. The naivity behind these proposals is astounding. (This is the voice of experience.) Nor, actually, do I believe that it is entirely the fault of gun ownership -- people in the nation of Switzerland also own guns (and live in a society of diverse cultures, as exhibited by the three different national languages they have), and have a very low rate of violent crime.

It's respect, folks. Respect. Respect for oneself, and respect for others, whether or not you percieve them as "different" than oneself. Respect. A harder thing to inoculate than gun control or clothing control. The whole situation makes me wonder if enough people in America actually know what it is. Whatever, don't expect either Big Daddy Clinton or Big Daddy Bush to provide it for you. (Part of learning respect comes from example... need I say more???)

February 13, 1999:

I lived for a large number of formative years in New York state. I couldn't begin to consider voting for a major candidate who has no ties to one's putative state, whether I'd otherwise respect that candidate or not. Hillary Clinton is considering running for Senator from that state, under sort of a "flag of convenience", as it were. How can she ever have that state's interest at heart? I have more ties to New York than she has. Let her go run from Arkansas.

February 13, 1999:

Do I consider Clinton a good president? Wellll... Let's just say that any person who seriously suggests tying up Social Security monies or other public monies into the vagaries of the stock market has rocks for brains. So, in a word: "No".

January 27, 1999:

The Superbowl is when you make yourself up an extra-large helping of porridge...

January 1, 1999:


Alas, the stadium proposal for Hartford, mentioned below, passed the legislature in December. Pathetic. Welfare is obviously okay if you are rich enough, and the costs are high enough. Let's just hope that Voter Memory is strong this time around... Mine will be. (Editor's Note, 8/99: The Patriots got a better deal to stay put in Massachusetts, which was what they were angling for, anyway. But the principle remains, with the addendum that the Patriots came out of this smelling just as rotten as Rowland.)

December 15, 1998:


Being rammed quickly past us here in Connecticut is a proposal to build a stadium for the Patriots, which is some sports team (I suspect football).

Actually, I really don't have many vehement objections to Gov. Rowland wanting money to build this stadium, but what truly gets my craw is the reprehensible idea that I as taxpayer will have to subsidize the multi-millionaire owners of said sports team in the years where the team may not draw enough support from its fan base. Poor babies!!!

That's Corporate Welfare, pure and simple. Just say NO to this boring boondoggle. If it's the only way to draw them in, well, heck, we can live without 'em. And I can put my own personal monies to more interesting uses without any unsolicited suggestions from Gov. Rowland.

If the Republicans (or any of the politicians) really really want to clean up their ethics, Let's Start Here! (But we already know that ethics is only important when it's the other guy....)

December 15, 1998:

Regards that Independent ex-wrestler that is now the Governor of Minnesota -- what a hoot!

If someone had created a work of fiction around such a plot line, it would have been rejected as unbelievable and improbable.

I hope he works out okay. The world needs to encourage more Independents, and thorns in the sides of any call to "Party Unity" purely for the sake of party unity.

October 14, 1998:


The saying goes: "If you don't vote, don't complain."


I vote, and I don't believe that.

Sometimes there are no choices. I do vote anyway. Somehow, someway. But it is a meaningless platitude to declare that a non-voter shouldn't complain. Tweedledum/Tweedledee may be how they see it.

"Don't vote; it only encourages them."

Although I vote, I actually understand this sentiment. In the old Soviet Union, it was required to vote. Civic duty and all, you know... never mind that there weren't any CHOICES on the ballot, mind you.. You had to vote. Right here is a good argument against voting -- making it required indicates pretty clearly that you aren't about to change any system. And in this country, telling the Democrats from the Republicans isn't all that easy all the time, either. (It really should take a bit more skill than wondering over whether the person in question plans to impeach or idolize Clinton...) At any rate -- if you do or you don't vote -- don't forget your Right to Complain!! You might not be heard in either case, but a periodic carefully considered venting of spleen serves a function.

At any rate, DO vote, okay??? Because the Great Unwashed are going to assume that You Just Don't Care, and are going to assume that y'all are a bunch of ignorant slobs who just don't care, rather than the truth... that both major parties are Tweedledum/Tweedledee and don't have your interests at heart.. but does that matter? Vote: even if it is because you don't really care who wins, but because the Powers That Be have convinced themselves that it matters and otherwise you are Cast Out, and besides it doesn't really take that much time if you calculate out the logisitics correctly. Think of it as an opinion poll, or something. Hold your nose if you have to...

Go out and vote Third Party, if you have to. It is NOT a wasted vote. I feel and strongly believe that my votes for Bush first time around, and for Clinton first time around were wasted votes: Both men won. I regretted both votes. But rather than not voting the next time, I decided to give voice elsewhere. Try it. Granted, The-System-At-Large will balk -- they didn't allow Perot to debate with the "majors" the last time around -- which shows one how the cards are stacked. (No, I didn't vote for Perot either. This doesn't make it any less Wrong that the man wasn't allowed to participate in the national Debates.)

September 18, 1998:

I just ran into an awesome resource: Vote Smart, a website which tracks Congressional and Senatorial voting records. Finally, with minimal fuss and bother, you can see what your elected representatives are up to, when it comes to the final crunch of voting.

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