Archive for September, 2008

& Plant Some Spinach

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

“I hope we don’t lose the house,” Fabulosa says.

We’re watching the news about the bailout going down in flames.

“I know,” I say. “I hope Maia can finish college before the apocalypse.”

Yes, the glorious end of American capitalism as we know it will be rather inconvenient for all of us.

But we’ve planted some collards and some hot peppers, and the beets are starting to shoulder up.

Go Kucinich

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Maia & Max

Monday, September 15th, 2008

Just back from L.A. & other lucky adventures — got Maia settled (or something like it) in her new digs. Went to the mountains & saw some pretty big fish swimming upstream.

Here’s a picture of the kids from earlier in the summer…

from Deepak Chopra…

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Obama and the Palin Effect

Sometimes politics has the uncanny effect of mirroring the national psyche even when nobody intended to do that. This is perfectly illustrated by the rousing effect that Gov. Sarah Palin had on the Republican convention in Minneapolis this week. On the surface, she outdoes former Vice President Dan Quayle as an unlikely choice, given her negligent parochial expertise in the complex affairs of governing. Her state of Alaska has less than 700,000 residents, which reduces the job of governor to the scale of running one-tenth of New York City. By comparison, Rudy Giuliani is a towering international figure. Palin’s pluck has been admired, and her forthrightness, but her real appeal goes deeper.

She is the reverse of Barack Obama, in essence his shadow, deriding his idealism and turning negativity into a cause for pride. In psychological terms the shadow is that part of the psyche that hides out of sight, countering our aspirations, virtue, and vision with qualities we are ashamed to face: anger, fear, revenge, violence, selfishness, and suspicion of “the other.” For millions of Americans, Obama triggers those feelings, but they don’t want to express them. He is calling for us to reach for our higher selves, and frankly, that stirs up hidden reactions of an unsavory kind. (Just to be perfectly clear, I am not making a verbal play out of the fact that Sen. Obama is black. The shadow is a metaphor widely in use before his arrival on the scene.) I recognize that psychological analysis of politics is usually not welcome by the public, but I believe such a perspective can be helpful here to understand Palin’s message. In her acceptance speech Gov. Palin sent a rousing call to those who want to celebrate their resistance to change and a higher vision

Look at what she stands for:

Small town values — a nostaligic return to simpler times disguises a denial of America’s global role, a return to petty, small-minded parochialism.
Ignorance of world affairs — a repudiation of the need to repair America’s image abroad.
Family values — a code for walling out anybody who makes a claim for social justice. Such strangers, being outside the family, don’t need to be needed.
Rigid stands on guns and abortion — a scornful repudiation that these issues can be negotiated with those who disagree.
Patriotism — the usual fallback in a failed war.
“Reform” — an italicized term, since in addition to cleaning out corruption and excessive spending, one also throws out anyone who doesn’t fit your ideology.
Palin reinforces the overall message of the reactionary right, which has been in play since 1980, that social justice is liberal-radical, that minorities and immigrants, being different from “us” pure American types, can be ignored, that progressivism takes too much effort and globalism is a foreign threat. The radical right marches under the banners of “I’m all right, Jack,” and “Why change? Everything’s OK as it is.” The irony, of course, is that Gov. Palin is a woman and a reactionary at the same time. She can add mom to apple pie on her resume, while blithely reversing forty years of feminist progress. The irony is superficial; there are millions of women who stand on the side of conservatism, however obviously they are voting against their own good. The Republicans have won multiple national elections by raising shadow issues based on fear, rejection, hostility to change, and narrow-mindedness

Obama’s call for higher ideals in politics can’t be seen in a vacuum. The shadow is real; it was bound to respond. Not just conservatives possess a shadow — we all do. So what comes next is a contest between the two forces of progress and inertia. Will the shadow win again, or has its furtive appeal become exhausted? No one can predict. The best thing about Gov. Palin is that she brought this conflict to light, which makes the upcoming debate honest. It would be a shame to elect another Reagan, whose smiling persona was a stalking horse for the reactionary forces that have brought us to the demoralized state we are in. We deserve to see what we are getting, without disguise.

One More Nut for Obama

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Hey – look at Maria’s “One More Nut for Obama” T-shirts for babies & grown-ups!

congratulations, bristol palin

Monday, September 1st, 2008

This story just gets curiouser and curiouser.

But it sounds like congratulations are in order for Bristol Palin, the 17-year-old daughter of Sarah Palin, who, according to the McCain campaign, is now pregnant–and will keep the baby.

Bristol, I hope your boyfriend is a cool dude and not someone you have to marry.

In either case, congratulations on the bun in the oven.

It’s great to have babies when you’re young enough to stay up all night and still be able to pay attention to your college lectures in the morning.

I’m sorry you’ve become a political pawn and all, but surely you understand that it is just so very satisfying to watch the Republican “family values” fools–the ones who’ve dissed teen moms for so many years–finally have their judgments come back and bite them in the ass.

Unwed teenage mama power!

Obama’s mama was only 18!

(And only marry the BF if you really want to, OK?)