the world through rainbow eyes

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Compromise and Compassion

Never before have politics, both social and electoral, been as engaging, enraging, and divisive as they have been this year. Not in my lifetime.

It seems clear that social media and the easy click reading of the internet is to blame for it, too.

Parts of that are fantastic. Small grass movements can become massive and up-end the status quo in a way that is both terrifying and exhilarating. It’s truly engaging to know that little voices can potentially have as much impact as big voices.

It’s a tightrope walk, though. While there is much hopeful about knowing that you are not alone in feeling like the things that you particularly care about are particularly cared about by others, it is also isolating to know that those you care about have views that are harmful to you.

When people say “unfriend me if you think/will do xyz” it’s a stark contrast line in the sand of “support me and what I say that allows no compromises, compassion, or empathy.

Which is not to say that some views or actions are not so divisive themselves as to invite a lack of compromise.

I’m not going to repeat the many things that you shouldn’t compromise yourself on. All over social media and the internet those things can be found.

Much harder to find are calls to compromise, and intense compassion. A movement is not made by a line in the sand that divides sister from sister, brother from brother, child from parent, friend from friend. Those things are more likely to be in line with self-identity.

I won’t go into self-identity and the many strong things social media and the internet have done for that, either. You can find them. Everywhere.

What a movement is made up of are thoughtful and compassionate discussions. Find the common ground and work from there. If we are to bridge the gaps that are wedging between so many of us in our lives, these discussions must happen.

The divisive memes and rants are an easy device to turn to when someone uses one that is rejecting the things you hold true and dear. Snark is an easy answer when you feel pain or fear.

Dividing yourself when someone takes an action or stand that divides you from them is easy. Much harder is to hear their thoughts and ask them why. Show your pain. Attempt to understand why someone has a different point of view, and allow yourself to consider that their point of view has merit.

Don’t abandon principles, but respect people and their experiences even if they are completely foreign to you. You don’t have to agree with them, but you don’t have to reject them, and the slow growth of healthy compromise can arise from nothing else.

Compromise is our bridge forward, and we must find it. We must make bridges between us all or the gaps will engulf us all instead.

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… and Hope and Charity

I feel very overwhelmed with this US presidential election year.

Usually politics concern me, but do not worry me. I watch and comment and get involved where it seems prudent or useful.

This year feels different. I see the hate speech and violence ramping up at Trump rallies. The machine that the GOP made using the Southern Strategy has been so successful that it created a vacancy that Trump stepped into seamlessly.

His charisma when people feel ill prepared, financially, to achieve and sustain basic life needs appeals to people. His charisma when people feel entirely Future Shocked also appeals to the masses.

I seem to be mostly surrounded by people who do not see the appeal of Donald Trump. Most of us have sat helpless and hopeless watching his effect grow.

Yesterday was Super Tuesday in my state of Georgia and I watched my state’s conservative Primary voters turn out to support Trump. My own feelings of hopelessness grew. I listened to Trump talking about ‘Making America Great Again’ and heard echoes of other similar historical promises made.

I woke up with my mind ruminating on this and spoke with a friend about it. How do we fix this? How can we fix a world where cutting one’s self off from others seems the safest solution, or the only viable solution.

The answer we finally came up with was charity. The world is broken, and the only way to go about fixing it is to directly apply ourselves.

People do not feel hopeless when there is hope. They do not feel helpless when they are helped or helping. They are not prone to the charismatic and empty promises of hatred that are simply an act of cutting one’s self off from compassion and empathy when they have been directly touched by compassion and empathy.

So the question of what to do is charity but the question of what charity is and how to do it remains.

Maimonides said acts of charity are:

  1. Giving an interest-free loan to a person in need; forming a partnership with a person in need; giving a grant to a person in need; finding a job for a person in need; so long as that loan, grant, partnership, or job results in the person no longer living by relying upon others.
  2. Giving charity anonymously to an unknown recipient via a person (or public fund) which is trustworthy, wise, and can perform acts of charity with your money in a most impeccable fashion.
  3. Giving charity anonymously to a known recipient.
  4. Giving charity publicly to an unknown recipient.
  5. Giving charity before being asked.
  6. Giving charity after being asked.
  7. Giving willingly, but inadequately.
  8. Giving out of pity or sadness.

This seems like a reasonable accounting of the ways of doing charity. It even lists the ways that are imperfect, but still doing charity. Life is not perfect, and I am not perfect, so I can do this.

So I am going to dedicate myself to [at least] one act of charity a week. My friend agreed and we will hold each other accountable.

In this way I can help restore the world. No empty promises of making America great, but actual work toward humanity.

Join me?

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A Hand Out With Eyes Reserved for Judgment

It was something I first noticed after Katrina. I hadn’t ever given much thought to it before then. I had the general opinion that when a person received charity or assistance, they should be grateful, but I hadn’t really thought about what that meant.

Katrina made me consider that. It was in my own backyard (so to speak, I live in the Metro Atlanta area), and I was housing my own good friend who had been made homeless by the storm that took so much. As we worked at helping her build her life again, I watched her process the loss. I supported her and loved on her, and did what I could. That’s what you do.

Meanwhile, I also watched the larger picture as areas all over the SouthEast took in people. I was dumbfounded by the anger people felt at those who came to live with them. I was seeing news story after news story talking about how people weren’t “grateful enough.” There were cities who wanted to take back the helping hand that they had put out because they judged that those receiving that hand were not acting in a way that they judged to be consistent with the amount of charity they had given, didn’t purchase the things that the charity-givers deemed reasonable for people “in their situation.”

Now, this isn’t about Katrina, nor the diaspora that happened afterward. So, let’s lay that to the side. But it did open my eyes. See, all I could think was, these people lost their homes. They lost their mother’s homes. Their grandmother’s. Many go back much further. Generation upon generation. They lost jobs, they lost touch with friends. People died. They lost their possessions. The city and culture they loved and grew up with was now out of reach for many of them.

And they were told “be grateful.” You’ve got a place to live. Clothes that we have handed down to you. Some furniture. Now be grateful!

But how do you present that kind of gratefulness? How can you live your life and rebuild it different than you’ve ever known when you’re busy bowing and scraping to properly give all the thank yous?

Then the purchases. The infamous Red Cross Cards. Up to $2000 if I recall correctly. Every time someone took one of those cards out their purchase was scrutinized by all around them. “Do you really need that to rebuild a life?” But damn. You tell me. If you had to rebuild your whole life on $2000, what would you buy? For real?

My own friend purchased shoes that could weather storms well and a computer. Both of these made an awful lot of sense, but both seemed extravagant and unnecessary to those unfamiliar of her way of surviving. Some people bought televisions. It didn’t occur to anyone that their families had no friends in these new environments, an television was a cheap and easy way to fill some of that void until their lives filled up again. Instead, the charity-watchers just clucked their teeths and talked about how they wished they had $2000 to just “waste.”

Again, though, this isn’t about Katrina or the people who survived it.

This is about charity, and how we hold out a hand to give while holding judgement with our eyes. We see people buying food with WIC vouchers, and mentally calculate the nutritional value of their cart.  We see people using EBT cards, and scrutinize their purchases. We look at the clothes they’re wearing. The transportation they use. The phones in their pockets. We have a tally of every little thing and the balance has to fall just right. “Do they really need that?” becomes a constant question. “If I needed help so badly that I was getting WIC or EBT, I would have sold that…”

We think these things without knowing any context, but more importantly, without thinking that maybe it isn’t even our right to know that context. This kind of scrutiny would appall us if thrown on ourselves, but somehow it’s okay to cast it when someone is receiving help. Never mind that they have already been scrutinized thoroughly by the agencies through which they received this help. We’re just sure that we have information that those agencies don’t. Positive that in our 5 minute encounter, we got more context than the records and papers filled out, files submitted.

And maybe it’s just pure jealousy. “Why do I have to work so hard and scrape by when they just get it for free?” That same jealousy that made people angry at $2000 Red Cross cards given so people had a chance of recovering some semblance of a life. Which is? Ridiculous. You go ahead and try to replace your whole life on $2000. It can’t be done. All you can do is piecemeal bits and pieces. Which is what everyone is doing in poverty – making a life out of bits and pieces.

So don’t lose your head over the buy one get one root beer deal at the woman in front of you who’s using a WIC voucher for the rest of her order. She’s just trying to have a little something nice. And definitely don’t get mad when she gets out of her Mercedes at the WIC office. It’s the only car she has that works, it’s paid in full, and it was bought before all this happened to her.

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The Idiot’s Bus Trip

This is my mom’s story. She’s posted it before, but I asked her to lend it to me so I could post it here for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. She assented, and here it is as a guest post.

I wanted to post it because of this on the Daily Kos. What I had to say about that I’ll say here, as pre-amble to my mother’s story.

This is precisely why Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson speaking how he never saw black people talking about how bad they had it is infuriating.

Mr. Robertson, with no due respect, you are white. I don’t care how poor you were. I don’t care how shoulder-to-shoulder you felt you worked with black people before civil rights. They did not tell you of their experience because it wasn’t safe. Because you were and are white. Because by definition no matter how poor you were and how much you did the same work you had rights that the black people did not have, legally. You could kill a black man, or rape a black woman just because. Just fucking because. And nothing would happen to you. And everything would happen to them. And they knew it.

Dr. King did not just give a speech. He did not just march. He taught the black people that when they stood together they were free, because nobody can own your mind unless you let them.

The “hard” lesson I learned as a child about race relations? Never, not even once, use the word “boy” when referring to a black male. 

I did not understand why. I could not understand why. My parents simply told me to suck it up and to never do that.

I’ll take that over always say ma’am and sir, never look a white person in the eyes, always walk single file, never too many at once, head down and eyes on the ground, take off your hat, and the many, many, many, many other rules that black people had to follow to somehow superstitiously ward off the White Beserk that found them anyway. 

As a white person of that era, the worst that would happen if I screwed up? I’d make a person feel less than. I might, if I was especially unlucky, have a black person yell at me. A black man would never raise their fist to a white child. Certainly not a white girl child. That would be death. Even in the 70’s and 80’s.

So with that, with my recollection of what it meant to grow up slightly post-Civil Rights Era, here is my mother’s recollection of one of her experiences right in the midst of the Civil Rights Era.

The Idiot’s Bus Trip

I was going to tell this story at the end of my other bus stories about when I first learned how to ride a bus to go to junior high school. I was also remembering about the bus that took me to Oakland Technical High School for my ill-fated SAT tests when I was a junior in high school. I remember the many bus rides to the library on Estadillo Avenue (San Leandro, CA) and the blossoming of literary adventures and the world of escapism.

Somehow, this story is tied together with buses, libraries and God.

Let me introduce the God-thing first. While raising me, my mother would often try to debate various topics with me. She wanted to sort of try out ideas on me in a verbal way. One of her topics of choice was God and why he does not exist and why the Catholic Church is corrupt and bad for people, all through history.

Nowadays, you can find a lot of literature on this topic, but in the late 50s, it was verboten. My mother was anti-church and felt that anyone who said they had faith was close to sub-moronic and needing someone to lead them around, namely the church. She felt that the church had caused horrible harm historically and could cite many examples (to my complete boredom).

So, when it came time for me to start developing my own personality, and to do the nest kicking parental rebellion thing, I think I subconsciously picked the ‘God-thing’ to do the opposite of what my mother advocated.

Another flow of information was coming in to me from my library adventures. I came across the biography of Thomas Merton, The Seven Story Mountain. It was a sort of mystery revelation for me — answering the question about why someone would choose to be a contemplative monk. I saw the historical thread that many not so dumb people had followed this life path, and I wanted to know why.

And the final flow of pressure was coming from Mrs. Warner, the woman next door. She had had four boys. She had homemaking and crafting skills that she had no daughter to teach. My grandmother also had these skills, except in one area – she was not good at knitting or crocheting. I mentioned this once to Mrs. Warner and she offered to teach me how to crochet and knit. Once Mrs. Warner had me in her living room, she asked me if I went to church. I told her no because my mother was divorced. Mrs. Warner offered to take me with her to Mass on Sundays, since I was baptized a Catholic.

So the next Sunday I rose early as the rest of the house slept, dressed and went with Mrs. Warner to church. Well, as they say, the ‘bells and the smells’ hooked me. I was curious about this religious thing that had almost 2000 years of history and tradition. I knew that it was the center of many people’s lives, with a large effect on cultural and political decision making both public and personal.

I decided to try on the belief structure and see if it fit me. It did. It filled a nice niche in my personality and cognitive processes. Having someone else “be responsible for the big things if I would be responsible for the little things in my life” was comforting.

Trouble was, I had to come home from church and face my mother and her lectures. Finally, I got through to her and we agreed that this would not be a topic of conversation between us any more as long as I kept it out of her house. No church people coming to her house. No priest coming to tell her she was living in sin.

To celebrate this small victory, Mrs. Warner gave me a missal. This is a combination prayer book and liturgical guide to the fifty-two weekly Sunday and Holy Day masses. I was not a full participant in the services since I had never received instructions for the sacraments. This added to the mysticalness of it all and added a touch of romantic longing. This missal was geared for the young woman and had about 60 pages of do’s and don’t’s. It was a general guide to how to stay a virgin, what were venial and mortal sins, and how to make a good confession.

I tried out that contemplative stuff laying face down on my darken bedroom floor for hours keeping an all night vigil. I felt very spiritual and holy afterwards.

My sophomore year of high school ended. The newspapers were full of the civil rights happenings in the South. I wanted to be on a bus going south to help register blacks to vote. I wanted to be a champion of good in the world, holding the torch of truth and love and righteousness.

The family budget was tight that summer, so instead of the usual Western Airline flight from Oakland to Burbank for my annual summer visit to my grandmother, I was going to take the bus. The Greyhound bus was a lower class mode of transportation in those days. The trip route was nine hours of driving down the central part of the state to Bakersfield and then through the Tehachipi Mountains into the Los Angeles basin to Burbank.

I packed up and put on my white gloves. Yes, girls and women wore hats and gloves when they were outside their home. I had my missal tucked into my white purse. Yes, girls and women used white purses, belts and shoes from Easter to Labor Day every year. I was wearing a blue gingham dress with a full crinoline half slip to make the bottom half of my dress stand out 20 inches from my legs. When I sat down, I had to tuck the dress tightly under my knees to keep it from raising up to my shoulder height.

There I was, a fourteen, soon to be fifteen year old, teen age girl, traveling alone on a Greyhound bus for 9 hours in June of 1960. I had made a solemn promise that I would not speak to any strangers, would not open my purse in public view, or would not display my wallet and it’s contents to anyone. I was a good girl and a holy virgin to boot. Watch out world.

Now comes the sad and stupid part. That whole bus trip, I made a black man uncomfortable and miserable in my rashness to show solidarity with the civil rights struggle.

Being a good little humble virtuous self-effacing girl, I waited to go into the bus until the last minute, so that others could pick and choose where they would sit. Finally, I was the last to board. The only seat available was at the back of the bus, next to the small little toilet compartment. Already sitting on the back bench seat was a 50ish greying black man in a suit with his hat on his knee.

I took the middle of the bench, tucked my skirt tight and pulled my missal out of my purse. I opened it up and read for nine hours. The black man could not move, he was pinned to the corner not daring to spread his legs. He sweated, twitched, moved his hat from one knee to another. Periodically the bus would stop for rest breaks, once in Fresno and once again in Bakersfield. Both places were typically sweltering with temperatures in the mid 90s. I was suffering from my traditional nausea and headache from the heat.

My eyes were killing me. Nice girls did not wear sunglasses in those days. We wore piles of deodorant and dress shields to cover our armpits and absorb our sweat. These dress shields were another sort of personal hair shirt. They were elastic things that hooked around and below your bra.

They had a shoulder strap and an arm strap. These straps were elastic and stretched easily. Over time, you ended up tying knots in the straps to take up the worn stretched elastic and to keep the straps from slipping down and into view below the cuff of your mid-arm dress sleeves.

So there I was, gloved, hatted, gingham dress, full skirt and dress shield straps that needed constant tending. My feet were swelling from the heat, my eyes were popping out of my head in pain and the smell from the toilet next to me was making me woozy.  So instead of getting off the bus at the rest stops. I sat in my seat. When people got on and off the bus at the stops, freeing up seats having overhead cool air vents, I did not move.

The black man sitting next to me did not move. I think he was petrified to talk to me and I would occasionally see the eyes of the bus driver flick over me and the man next to me. One time, the bus-driver actually came back and spoke to me. He told me that seats were available in the front of the bus. Those seats were cooler and would be more comfortable.

Oops, that was the wrong word to use. I was on an anti-comfort campaign. I was sacrificing and giving all my pain and discomfort to God to make up for the sins of all the bad people in the South.

I told the bus-driver I was fine and he shrugged his shoulders and turned away.

I made it to Burbank, the black man sitting next to me. Finally, when we stopped at the station, I turned and offered my hand to the man. Startled, he took my damp white gloved hand, we shook hands and I got up and left the poor man alone. I felt so righteous and good. And I was so sick from the heat. I slept for 3 days after I landed at my grandmother’s house.

Only years later, much wiser, I remember this incident. I cringe to realize it was an idiotic thing I did in the name of religion.  I, too, had my civil rights bus ride, but I did no good by it. I made a man fearful and uncomfortable for 9 hours. What a misdirected idiot I was.

In my old age, my religion has synthesized down to a simple sort of ripple philosophy — do no harm and do what you can to add a little beauty and kindness back into the world, just letting it ripple away with no expectation of return.

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Affluenza and what it fortells

Life is not a pro/con debate. Many topics do not truly settle down into this is wrong/this is right. Partly because most topics that humans talk about are about the life situations of humans. Humans are nuanced as hell.

I go into thinking about this with those thoughts. I have an awful lot of feelings about the Ft. Worth Affluenza-pled trial. People mostly seem to be screaming about serving justice and how is it serving justice for this kid to kill 4 people and get out of serving jail time for his crimes simply because “he’s too rich to understand consequences?”

What does that even mean?

The first thing is that it’s probably horribly true. Everything I have read about this young man is that he is mercilessly free from human contact. He is purported to have no friends. To have parents who are divorced and only communicate through incidents of tactical maneuvers mostly played out with money on the field of the child himself, with the father being alleged to himself not have relationships but to take hostages, and the mother to being alleged to using the teen as a tool to get his father to do what she wanted.

He graduated high school at 16 but can not name where he went to school, it is of such little consequence to him. There is no community he is part of. He had a motorcycle since the age of 4 or 5 and was driving large pick ups by 13. Nobody ever said no to him. He was taught you never say sorry, you simply pay people off.

His purported intellectual age is 18, but his emotional age? 12.

Now he must be in therapy and under the court’s thumbs for the next 10 years. His parents are being made to pay $450,000 a year for his treatment, but the therapists agree that he must have no contact with them for the therapy to be effective.

The teen, whose name you’ll have to look up on your own because I’m not putting it out there, killed 4 people and injured 2 while driving his father’s Ford F-350 with a blood alcohol content of 0.24 and traces of valium in his system.

Instead of being sentenced to jail for 20 years, he’ll be serving time in a therapeutic center, and under court ordered probation for 10 years.

The judge defends her sentencing by saying that if she had given him a jail sentence he’d be out in 2 years and likely to become a repeat offender as he has no concept of culpability or moral responsibility. She defends this sentence as being the one most likely to actually change his future, and serve some kind of justice, something that she found difficult to do in the face of a child as financially well off as he is.

The defense used the term “Affluenza” to describe why the teen had no concept that anything that he could even possibly do would be wrong. Wrong was something that couldn’t be fixed with money. He had so much money, that wrong was not a term that applied to him or his actions, or ever could be.

This defense has outraged pundits and the culture at large so enormously that almost nothing else can be heard above the din when it became clear that this was actually successful, at least in so far as he will not serve jail time.

But there’s so much more wrong here then simply the fact that this teen will never serve time incarcerated for killing 4 and maiming 2, not the least that a judge had to resort to creative sentencing to even find a sense of justice being served. Especially in light of the incredibly uncreative sentencing done with defendants who did not have a fat wallet to solve their problems. 41,000 people as of 2012 are serving time in the US with no chance at probation. Many of them on drug offenses that involved no murder, no rape, no assault, and no theft. What they all have in common is an inability to pay for a legal defense team that could work at changing mandatory sentenced crimes to lessor crimes that carry little to no actual jail time.

Hell, we have an entire financial community that most assuredly committed fraud that was so pervasive and far reaching that it created a global economic collapse, and not only are there none serving time for this, but the very same people who orchestrated the fraud schemes and profited from it are themselves still receiving bonuses and payouts from the companies they headed that have largely also gone unpenalized for their crimes. Meanwhile we have people serving multi decade sentences for stealing literal loaves of bread from grocery stores to feed their children.

I really actually do feel bad for this teenager. His life sounds lonely and completely devoid of human relationships built on trust and love. His parents are certainly derelict in all of their duties and responsibilities toward him. If his therapy actually proves successful, then he is also doomed to feel the impact of the lives he wiped out or utterly transformed through his actions.

I also feel horribly for the families and friends of those who were killed and maimed by this young man’s actions. I cannot imagine their pain and loss. Nor can I imagine the doubling and tripling of grief that happened once they found that the man responsible for the terminating the lives of their loved ones was to be given what must feel like no sentence at all.

What truly keeps me up at night, though, is wondering how many people we are turning into loaded guns with this wealth disparity and it’s inevitable justice disparity. This is a new French Aristocracy before the Revolution, and the crimes of indifference that they will commit? I worry about that.

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GoldieBlox Vs. What, Exactly?

GoldieBlox and the Beastie Boys. What a freaking mess. Right in the heart of the intersectionality between feminism and parenting. Add in copyright legalities. Add in free speech. Add in artistic expression. Add in the free market.

Really, what a mess.

So where do I start?

I’ll start with who came first. The Beasties. Hey there Beasties. Oh how I love you.

I was 14 when Licensed to Ill came out. I loved it unashamedly. It was probably the very first hip hop that hit me in the suburbs of Northern California. I mean, there was the stray shot of rap that was White Lines, but really. It was all about the Beastie Boys when it comes to bringing hip hop to most of white America. That’s what started it.

I loved “Girls.” I don’t even cringe at it nowadays because that love is so strong. We shook our teenage asses to that song because it was freaking fun. Because. Because reasons. Because, listen.

It’s hard not to shake to that.

It does not even matter how horrible the lyrics are. Sometimes we just like horrible things.  Let’s be real, though. When I was 14 I did not know how horrible it was. It was just catchy, and I was just dancing.

That love continued, too, even though the Beasties evolved so much over time. I loved their new stuff (hey, if you don’t think Paul’s Boutique is one of the most perfect albums to ever come out, you don’t know music), I loved their old stuff. On the run up to getting the scan done to find out the sexes of my twins, “Girls” was one of the ringtones that I had one my phone for a solid week.

It’s just a solid riff, and as much as I am a staunch feminist who completely rejects the message of “Girls,” I’m also the girl who shakes her ass to it.

So there’s that.

Then there’s GoldieBlox.

Dammit, GoldieBlox. I grew up in a family that completely supported STEM for girls (and boys). When the GoldieBlox Kickstarter happened, my whole family ate it up. My daughter has one of the original Kickstarter sets. You know, it’s a pretty good toy, too. Both my son and daughter like it.

The box is orange and yellow, with multi-colored dots and the blonde tool-belt sporting “Goldie” on top. The toy inside consists of pieces that are blue, purple, lavender, red, and yellow. With a long peachy-pink ribbon, and five character figures to manipulate. Each of the figures are internet-nerd friendly. A sloth, a hound dog, a grumpy looking cat, a tutu wearing dolphin and a koala in a business suit. A book that tells their story while giving you building instructions, and then alternate building instructions for ideas for free-play.

Pretty okay. Very tinker-toy with it’s spools and sticks and connector bits, but also kitschy in a way that has a lot of wink to the parent, and a lot of play for the kids who don’t get that it’s kitschy. Not quite enough toy, but a good starter set. For those of us who are raising boys and girls, and are kind of horrified by the gendered changes in marketing of toys in the last couple decades, we were willing to buy in and get the company off the ground.

Company founder and inventor Debbie Sterling is from the Bay Area, too, so that was an extra selling point for my family.

Then came this.

A great little Rube Goldberg machine built out of princess girl toys backed by three little girls running around to the song “Girls,” but with new lyrics that say girls really want a change.

And this.  GoldieBlox are one of four finalists for ad space for a small business to get aired during the Superbowl.

This was sort of a slam dunk for me. Even with these good arguments in the mix.

I liked the subversive message of taking a song that had lyrics that are pretty backwards, and all the pink princess toys, and turning it all into an anthem that says NOPE. Admittedly, I was also pretty happy that the Beasties had signed onto this. Because of course they would have had to. Right?

Oh. Wait. Nope.  The remaining Beasties make it clear that they accuse GoldieBlox of using their song in an ad. Something that MCA specifically requested in his will to never be done. They didn’t sue, they simply accused. It seemed to be upsetting to them, too, because they specifically like the mission statement of GoldieBlox. The guys grew up a lot, you know.

What was even more brass balls for GoldieBlox than using a song they didn’t even get permission to use, was that they had preemptively sued the Beasties for the right to do it under the label of free speech parody. Something that at least one expert in fair use legalities said was likely a legally tight case. At least tight enough to hold legal water, that is.

My ass stopped shaking to the new “Girls” for a second. Now I’m not sure what the hell I feel. I think I support GoldieBlox. Right? Feminism? STEM for girls? The right to free speech? Wait. Where do I stand?

It’s a bit harder to dance to that music.

The next shot out of this mess is a needle scratching across the record for me, though. The Beastie Boys didn’t even sue GoldieBlox. Whhhhhut?

Dammit, Debbie. Dammit.

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Recall Them All

So, if you aren’t clear are on all of this, know this: it is absolutely impossible at this point for the GOP to shut down the ACA. The Senate has refused. They will continue to refuse. This has been voted on over 40 times. While many other things have waited to be worked on the Congress, the House of Representatives has again and again voted on the ACA (aka “Obamacare”).

It will not happen. There’s no reality in which it happens. Senate GOP has even said this.

Yet they have done this. They have put over 800,000 people in peril by removing paychecks when we know that 76% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck; a move that will further gut our economy. They have closed down National Parks on the 123rd Anniversary of Yosemite National Park. They have closed down the CDC’s ability to track down and prevent diseases on the eve of Flu season during a time when we know that a world wide pandemic is simply a matter of when and not if. They have shut down WIC when there are over 9 million women, infants and children (what the program is named after: pregnant and nursing women, infants, and children) in desperate need of what small help it provides, this being a program we started not just because it is gross negligence to have children starving in a country of such plenty, but because children who starve actually suffer malnutrition and become a *deficit* to our economy from the related disabilities that then arise. They have closed down E-verify, a program that is mandatory in quite a few states to use to even *hire* a person, during a time when there are desperate millions trying very hard to be employed.

They have done all this not because it is possible for them to destroy the ACA. They can’t. They know that.

They’ve done this because they can. Simply because they can. Because they want the Senate and the President to understand that they are in control. That this is their ball, and because they are not winning in a game that they devised the rules for (remember, Congress actually *passed* the ACA) that they will simply stop playing, and damn the consequences.

This is a thing they do “for the principle of the thing.”

RECALL THEM ALL. They do not represent the American people any longer.