Book of the Month

Ramona's picture

Will the Real God Please Stand Up

I don't know God personally, of course, but it's a good bet He isn't looking kindly upon His follower, Tristan Emmanuel, who was out there defending His Good Name by calling for the flogging or hanging of a comedian (a comedian) because this "pugnacious degenerate" made some jokes about God and the proven nature of His wrath. (Proven, I should mention, because the Old Testament is full of stories about a God who is just scary angry. It's all in there.)
  [Read more]

Ramona's picture

Ye Auld New America: Didn't We Go Down This Road Before?

 
Working for someone else, fingers to the bone with no expectation of decent wages or a foothold on the ladder, is back in vogue here in America.   Even your big deal congresspersons will tell you that.  There are no greater patriots than the country's laborers, and the very, very finest--the finest patriots of all--are those who have no use for unions. The best patriot/workers understand that in America it's All for One and None for All.
 [Read more]

Ramona's picture

Paul Ryan to Poor Parents: Even Your Kids Are Ashamed Of You

 
Photo:  Salon

Paul Ryan took to the podium at CPAC on Thursday and did not disappoint those of us waiting to pick at the lies this duly elected government official must tell in order to remind us all that our government --the very same government he volunteered to be a part of; the very same government that pays him a handsome salary and will give him lifelong perks--has been infiltrated so thoroughly by the socialists (that's us) huge chunks of it must be eradicated and the spoils turned over immediately to the only saviors who have our best interests at heart--the privateers.   (Why does Paul Ryan lie?  Because he's Paul Ryan and that's what Paul Ryan does and does and does.

Here's a portion of what he said:

"The way I see it, let the other side be the party of personalities. We’ll be the party of ideas. And I’m optimistic about our chances—because the Left? The Left isn’t just out of ideas. It’s out of touch. Take Obamacare. We now know that this law will discourage millions of people from working. [We do?] And the Left thinks this is a good thing. [They do?] They say, “Hey, this is a new freedom—the freedom not to work.” [Who says that?  Lemme at em!] But I don’t think the problem is too many people are working—I think the problem is not enough people can find work. [ Now you're talking] And if people leave the workforce, our economy will shrink—there will be less opportunity, not more. [Yeah, that's what we've been saying ever since you guys came up with that crazy outsourcing idea] So the Left is making a big mistake here. [They are?] What they’re offering people is a full stomach—and an empty soul. [Okay, now--what?] The American people want more than that."

 So then he went on to explain that remark about the full stomach and the empty soul:                               

"This reminds me of a story I heard from Eloise Anderson. She serves in the cabinet of my friend Governor Scott Walker. She once met a young boy from a poor family. And every day at school, he would get a free lunch from a government program. But he told Eloise he didn’t want a free lunch. He wanted his own lunch—one in a brown-paper bag just like the other kids’. He wanted one, he said, because he knew a kid with a brown-paper bag had someone who cared for him."

Now, I know I'm not the only one to sit up and take notice over that one.  It's been all over the place.  But the emphasis from most corners has been on Paul Ryan's misuse of an anecdote that was lifted initially by Eloise Anderson, Scott Walker's appointee to the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, who skewed the story to serve her own purposes after apparently finding something somewhat similar in Laura Schroff's book, An Invisible Thread.

I don't care where it came from.  I don't care that Paul Ryan was careless about the source.  What grinds me most about this are these words out of Paul Ryan's mouth:

She once met a young boy from a poor family. And every day at school, he would get a free lunch from a government program. But he told Eloise he didn’t want a free lunch. He wanted his own lunch—one in a brown-paper bag just like the other kids’. He wanted one, he said, because he knew a kid with a brown-paper bag had someone who cared for him.

This is a representative of our government shaming poor people.  This is a man of privilege--a man who never hesitates to vote against safety-net programs designed to pull underprivileged people up and out and on their own; a man who, through his own "Ryan Budget", offered up huge cuts to the safety nets in order to give more to the rich and to the military--shaming poor parents by telling them their own children don't want a free lunch.

He told a crowd--and the rest of us by extension via TV cameras--that poor kids are ashamed of their parents, that poor parents who accept government aid ought to be ashamed, and that we on the left are guilty of encouraging that kind of behavior:

"That’s what the Left just doesn’t understand. We don’t want people to leave the workforce; we want them to share their skills and talents with the rest of us. And people don’t just want a life of comfort; they want a life of dignity—of self-determination. A life of equal outcomes is not nearly as enriching as a life of equal opportunity."

This is what Paul Ryan does, and why he is so dangerous.  A quick reading of that quote above has everybody nodding their heads.  Skills!  Talents!  Dignity! Self-determination! Equal opportunity!

But what he's really doing is equating essential programs like welfare and SNAP to "a life of comfort".  He's suggesting poor people are poor because they like it that way.  A "life of dignity" means getting out from under the government wing and going it alone.  "Self-determination" means you brought this on yourself.

The "Brown bag" story means stop using your kids as pawns in order to get people to feel sorry for you and give you stuff.

And, oh, by the way, get a job.  (But good luck with that, since the dreaded Obamacare just killed that avenue for you, too.  The theory goes that employers hate the idea of Obamacare so much they're cutting their workforce in order to show how much they hate it.  The insurance companies thank them very much.)

This is Paul Ryan. He is wildly successful.  We pay him, but it's a drop in the bucket compared to his other income sources.  We will give him health and retirement benefits for the rest of his life--not that he needs us to pay for them.  We've given him the power, as a representative of the people, to use this public platform and he uses it to screw the least of us.

If there's a lesson to be learned here, it's this:  Live with it.

Ramona's picture

Hail, CPAC! Silly Season is Upon Us. Can Spring be Far Behind?

 

To this liberal there is no more fun in the world than when CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) comes to Virtual Town.  I look forward to the two-day conference every year and I'm never disappointed. Best comedy show ever!
  [Read more]

Ramona's picture

A Writer asks a Famous Writer to Stop Writing Because–Why Again?

 

Every writer is jealous of other writers.  Whether it’s fame or fortune or talent, we can’t help but snivel a little when they become Them and we’re still just us.
 

Most of us do it in silence or in the midst of a narrow group of co-commiserators.  Not many (Okay, a few, but they’re gone now) do it as publicly as a writer named Lynn Shepherd did recently when she wrote a blog post on HuffPo UK telling J.K. Rowling she’s had her turn and if she had any decency at all she’d hang it up and give someone else a chance. [Read more]

Ramona's picture

The Story: Pentecostal Snake Handler refuses help and dies. My Reaction: Surprising, even to Me

 

For days now, since I heard about the death of Jamie Coots, the snake-handling preacher from Middlesboro, Kentucky, I've been struggling with my own thoughts about it.  There is no reason in the world why I should be involved in any of it.  I didn't know him.  I had never before heard of his church.  And I didn't know before this weekend, when I read about his death, that he had been the star of a National Geographic Channel series called "Snake Salvation".
  [Read more]

Ramona's picture

Why Self-Help Almost Never Is

Here’s the thing about self-help:  If you’re reading a book or an article about how to fix your current miserable existence, or listening to a self-described “expert” tell you and hordes of others how to fix it, it’s not even close to being self-help.

It’s not that these folks don’t want to help you.  They do!  They really, really do!  The goal is to help you to let go and try their tactics on your own. (But not to such a degree that you won’t be buying their next book or watching their next program.) [Read more]

Ramona's picture

Ugly Politics: When the Meme is "The President Must Die" We Have To Pay Attention

 

At a Town Hall meeting held last week in Oklahoma, an audience member raised her hand and said to Jim Bridenstine, a congressman from the First District,  “Obama is not president as far as I’m concerned. He should be executed as an enemy combatant.”

Read that again:  "Obama is not president as far as I'm concerned.  He should be executed as an enemy combatant."  (Video here.)
 [Read more]

Ramona's picture

Farewell, Pete Seeger. Peace Be With You.

 
I woke up this morning to the sad news that Pete Seeger, America's folk singer and man of peace, has died.

He was 94 years old, so we should be grateful that we had him with us for so long.  He was a man whose presence was timeless and inspiring, and the truth is, we needed him.  We need him still.
 [Read more]
Ramona's picture

Ted Nugent: Obama is Still President. I've Let The Country Down

 

Let's face it, there is no shaming that bad boy, Teddy "The Nuge" Nugent, the "Motor City Madman",  proud draft-dodging gun nut, NRA spokesman, and Grand Champeen Obama hater.  He thrives on badboyism.  It has made him what he is today.&nbs [Read more]

Ramona's picture

On Drunks and Skunks And Why It’s Good That Mickey Spillane Isn’t Here To See This

by 

You may or may not have heard about the new show on CMT called “Party Down South”(originally called “The Dirty South”, or so the rumors go), a purposely stupid, sexy, boozy 10-week series about a group of 20-something southern rednecks, strangers to one another, thrown together in a house near Myrtle Beach for a month just to see what happens.  The booze, provided by the production company, flows freely with no danger of running out, and the participants are encouraged (I hope that’s it) to out-dumb each other. The program is produced by the same folks who gave us the equally stupid, sexy, boozy–but popular– “Jersey Shore”. [Read more]

Ramona's picture

It's the Ego, Stupid

 

Yesterday New Jersey governor Chris Christie took 108 minutes out of his busy schedule to do something so unprecedented there wasn't a pundit anywhere in the country who wasn't on top of it, who didn't have an opinion about it, and who, almost to a person, saw it as the beginning of the end of that lovable bully.  No White House for you, big guy!
 [Read more]

Ramona's picture

What's in a Name? Depends on Who's Calling It.

 

Over this past week I packed and cleaned and wore myself out getting ready for a long trip toward the places where I'm hoping merry holiday spirits abide. It would be a cruel trick if they didn't.
 [Read more]

Ramona's picture

The Terrible Horrible No Good War on Happy Holidays


I’ve been sending out Christmas cards since I was around 16 years old, when my mom told me I was old enough to start sending out my own cards.  The cards I chose over the course of many,many, many years depended on a lot of things, but it never occurred to me—ever–to wonder if my choice of card would offend anyone.
  [Read more]

Ramona's picture

Why Martin Bashir's Apology Should Have Been Enough

Until Martin Bashir either resigned or was let go by MSNBC this week, I was a loyal fan.  One of the reasons I watched Bashir is because the things that engaged him usually did the same for me.  At my house, in the Eastern Time Zone, he was on at 4 PM, which meant whatever had happened that day had largely been dissected to death by the daytime pundits.  But he had the ability to find something fresh and insightful and, yes, funny, about what was going on out there.  Maybe it's his accent, his enunciation, his eyebrows--I don't know. He is a devilishly clever wordsmith--smarmy, but in a good way.  I have been known to hurry things up just so I can get home in time to watch him.
 [Read more]

Ramona's picture

The Politics of Cruelty

I'm coming off of my Thanksgiving week high, settling down, and what's the first thing I think of when I get back to my desk to do some writing?  Cruelty. Institutional cruelty, at that.  Political cruelty.  The kind of cruelty that knows no bounds and fears no punishment.  A new kind of cruelty, right out in the open and expecting rewards.  The New America, courtesy of the Tea Party, the Koch Brothers, Leviticus and Deuteronomy.

 [Read more]

Ramona's picture

On the Day When Turkeys Refuse to Give Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.  Over the river and through the woods to grandson's house we go.  I wrote this last night, so if there's confusion about the time line, that's why.  Any Vegetarians in the crowd might want to skip this one.

  [Read more]

Ramona's picture

Daylight in the Garden of Good and Kowalski

Hamtramck is a tiny city completely surrounded by big Detroit.  It has almost nothing in common with Motown except that they're both temporarily under the thumb of appointed, not elected, em
 [Read more]
Ramona's picture

On That Day We Lost JFK

On that day I was up in my sewing room, away from the TV.  My four-year-old son was napping, and my 7-year-old daughter was in school. My husband was at work.   It was early afternoon.

I heard the back door open and before I could start to the stairs, I could hear my neighbor, Gwen, shouting something, sobbing. I thought something must have happened to her mother, who had been ailing.  By the time I got to her she could barely speak.  "They shot the president!  They shot Kennedy!"
 [Read more]

Ramona's picture

Walmart, the Benevolent Provides Bins for Low-Wage Employees Food Drive

 

Everybody knows the Walton family, the people who put the "Wal" in "Walmart", is the richest family in America.  They're so rich you would have to pile up more than 40% of the wealth in the entire United States to even be on the same level.  If each member of the family lived to be a thousand years old, they couldn't even begin to spend all of their fortune.  So asking them to pay their employees a living wage and a few measly benefits is like asking them to give up, say, 1/10,000th of their fortune.  (Don't quote me on that; I don't know that for absolute sure.)

But I'm ever the optimist, so I put these questions to them:
 [Read more]

Latest Comments