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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Dear Readers:

You know how excited I get when I have a guest post. Today, I’m pleased to present one from Disgruntled Danny, a lovely-despite-the-moniker person I met while pursuing my passion for a particular U.K. band.

He’s pissed about the lack of road repairs in Chell Heath, the borough he’s called home for 12 years.

Here he is, in rare form. Enjoy!
Beth

 

“Harry Pothole and the Tarmac of Terror” and other tales
Guest post by Daniel Harrowven

Misery, frustration and disappointment. For most British people these are our default settings, but on a Friday morning in early May these emotions were amplified.

The reason? I had just read the results of the local government elections and, as feared, my local councillor had been re-elected.

For the last nine years, since my councillor was first voted into office, Chell has gone from being “a little bit rough” to a town that can now offer visitors an experience akin to Kabul circa 2003.

How did this happen?

Chell Heath is a Safe Seat. Many of the families in the area have lived here for generations and they always vote for the same political party. They are afraid of change. As long as nothing improves, they can continue to blame all their problems on former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. (She was forced out of office in 1990 and has done nothing at all since 2013 on account of her being dead.)

I was inspired to act whilst driving home one evening. Listening to the latest CD by Jesse’s Divide, I suddenly felt my spine shatter, thumbs dislocate and the CD skip, causing me to wonder whether I had suffered a brief blackout.

No.

I had driven over one of Chell Heath’s impressive (and growing) number of potholes.

Danny recreates his death-defying drive.

In mainland Europe and the U.S.A., drivers drive on the right of the road.

In the U.K., drivers drive on the left of the road.

In Chell Heath, we drive on what is left of the road.

The following day, I went back to the pothole and had my long-suffering wife photograph me pretending to punch the pothole.

Disgruntled Danny, Superhero

I posted the photo to my Facebook wall and the Facebook page of my local council.

And became an Internet troll.

Lately, my trolling has taken the form of movie treatments and posters fitting the pothole agenda.

 

Here’s a medley:

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

How much of a stir has this trolling caused within the council? Have I been asked to remove the posts? Been offered a meeting to discuss my grievances?

No.

I have had no response whatsoever.

Not even a “Sod off and bother someone else.”

But one person did take notice. Rathi Pragasam, the woman who ran against my councillor — the woman for whom I voted — found my pothole series amusing. So it came to pass (that sounds a bit biblical!) that Rathi visited me recently to discuss my rantings.

To be clear, she is not elected, has no power or authority in the ward, but within 24 hours she had contacted parliament (WTF!), arranged funding, and now the potholes are due to be repaired in the coming weeks.

All more than anyone on the council did.

I understand that there will always be bigger problems than some holes in the road, but little victories make life slightly more bearable.

And writing this has been a joy, because for 40 minutes I, a British person, have not had to talk about Brexit.

 

 

 

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Dear Fellow Women:

This week has been illuminating. It’s clear we are going about this whole “gender equality” thing the wrong way. We feminists have been advocating for women’s rights on the basis of equality.

We’ve been wanting people to play by what we think should be the rules (you know: logic, respect, fairness, etc.). But really, we need to be playing by rules already in place: men’s rules.

So here’s the deal: Let’s learn from the Kavanaugh debacle. Don’t get mad. Get even.

1. Deny, deny, deny

This is very freeing. You can do anything you want — especially when you are drunk — and just say you didn’t do it. Boom. Maybe you really did forget. Maybe it wasn’t a big deal to you. Maybe you did it and don’t want to remember. It doesn’t matter. Just say you didn’t do it. Or you don’t recall. Or your accuser is crazy. You know, go full gaslight. The beauty of this is that people will believe you, the perpetrator! Just get super defensive. Don’t stand down — double down!

2. Accuse, accuse, accuse (i.e., the best defense is a good offense)

If you are ever in a jam, make sure you say that the person is making it up for fame. Clearly that works. I know all of us can name every one of Bill Cosby’s accusers. We want autographs of these world-famous women. Who wouldn’t want to be famous for being sexually assaulted? #squadgoals

3. Girls will be girls

We’ve all heard “boys will be boys” so much this week. I always thought that meant chasing each other with stick guns and farting on each other’s heads. But apparently it means that guys can do anything — ANYTHING — when they are 17 and younger, and NOTHING will happen. Clarification: white guys.

So ladies, do whatever you want as long as you are 17 and younger. We all will back you up and say, “Girls will be girls.”

4. Time is on your side

Oh you did something years ago, and someone wants you to answer for it? Pbfft! Who has time for that noise? It was 5, 10, 35 (insert number) years ago. You are important now. You have a whole amazing career ahead of you. Just remember that YOUR career path is much more important than your accuser’s career path and mental health.

5. Take what you want

You think a dude is hot? Grab him by the penis. Try to get inside that bathing suit. Lock the door, drop your skirt, and make demands on your male coworkers. Put your needs/wants first. Don’t think twice. Men need to watch what they wear, how much they drink, where they park, where they jog, what they say. This is your world now. You might even get to be president of the United States someday! (And if they don’t like it, just tell them they’d look better if they smiled more.)

There. Problem solved. I’ll take my thanks in gift cards for bathrobes, cigars and scotch.

Welcome to the jungle,
Beth

P.S. You are a man, and you’re mad at me now for generalizing? Get over yourself. I do not hate men; I hate the double standard. Also, unless you’ve sexually harassed someone, I’m clearly NOT TALKING TO OR ABOUT YOU!

P.P.S. You are outraged at my post, and you want to tell me that there really are false allegations. I’m sure there are. But only 2-10 percent of all rape reports are found to be false. Only 35 percent of rapes are ever reported. Why? I’m sure Christine Blasey Ford can tell you exactly why.

P.P.P.S. You don’t understand sarcasm? You’re reading the wrong blog.

P.P.P.P.S. Of course I am NOT advocating for any kind of sexual assault. By anyone. Anywhere. Anytime. Good grief! See P.P.P.S. above.

 

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Dear Climate Change Deniers,

I know that nothing I say can change your mind, but I can’t sleep unless I try. (I mean I can’t sleep anyway, so … )

Here are my boni fides: I have five college degrees: B.A., B.S., M.A., M.F.A., Ph.D. (not bragging; just offering facts). The second is the one you should care about as it is in Geosciences.

That’s right. I’m a meteorologist.

(Uh oh, trigger warning: a scientist — member of the intellectual elite, blah blah blah.)

I know evidence when I see it with my own eyes. Even without other scientists (and even NASA) saying over and over that global warming is real, I see proof in many ways.

Increasing intensity and number of tropical storms is just one. I mean, just look!

WTF?!

So it’s really hard to deny that climate change is real.

Still with me? Let’s move on.

The second argument is whether it is caused by fellow two-legged menaces. Like most rational humans, I believe it is. That doesn’t really matter, though.

Shouldn’t we still engage in practices that will improve the environment as opposed to destroying it?

Shouldn’t we still explore alternative fuel sources?

Shouldn’t we still recycle, pick up after ourselves, eschew straws in favor of sea turtles and the like?

We all have to live here on Earth, you know. Despite Elon Musk’s attempts, Mars is still not an option.

It’s not like it really costs each of us much more to be responsible land dwellers.

Plus, there are plenty of jobs in new technologies, so it makes fiscal sense.

Come on, folks: Work with me here. Let’s be rational and make some progress together.

You want to, right?

It’d be a lot cooler if you did,
Beth

*Brian Klaas, The Washington Post

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Dear Fake News Media:

You don’t exist.

You are a figment of a certain someone‘s overactive imagination and marketing strategy to a willing audience.

You are an oxymoron. If something is fake (i.e., not real), it’s not news (news is real). News is not fake just because someone doesn’t like it.

You know what does exist? Actual news media made up of real people who work their butts off to inform the population and hold people in power accountable — the fourth estate that ensures a strong republic. (Oh that old thing … )

You know what is newsworthy? Here are the criteria:

Timeliness: happening now or just happened
Prominence: the person/entity involved is well known or powerful
Proximity: happening or happened nearby
Impact/consequence: affected or will affect readers/viewers
Novelty/rarity: out of the ordinary
Human interest: the lives of others are interesting

If it’s not out of the ordinary, it wouldn’t bear a mention. That’s just the way it is.

There’s a saying in news:

You don’t cover the planes that land.

You cover the wrecks.

Someone I know on Facebook (name withheld for protection) wrote:

MSM would be lost were it not for [Trump’s] tweets. They hang on every word, analyze them, and re-analyze them.

Um … yeah. He’s the president. What he says is news. Duh.

“Lost,” though? Not likely.

There’s plenty to cover without Trump tweeting.

It blows my mind how much we cover in one day.

That’s from Kristen Welker, White House correspondent for NBC News.

She said that last night in the AEJMC keynote panel, “Covering the White House: From Eisenhower to Trump,” held in Washington, D.C., and broadcast on C-SPAN.

(Yeah, I’m at a journalism education conference with other university professors/administrators — plus news organizations/foundations — and I’m still a journalist. Both of my professions are under fire. Lucky me!)

Those people who are suspicious of the mainstream media, though, should take solace in this fact shared in that same panel by Christi Parsons, former White House correspondent with the Tribune Company.

Because [Trump] is so personally antagonistic, journalists go above and beyond to double check.

The news media is not the “enemy of the people.” The news media consists of real people trying to do important work in a profession under siege by the person in the nation’s highest office.

Those who delight in calling the media “enemy” plus “fake,” think about this:

Do you really want to live in a country without independent media covering people making decisions with your tax money?

The true enemy of the people is the lack of critical thinking.

My advice to those worried about veracity and bias? Get your news from a variety of sources, as suggested by Herman and Chomsky way back in the ’80s.

My advice to the 43 percent in that poll? Please educate yourself about democracy and guy named Jefferson. Or don’t, but don’t answer polls. Skip the news, and just go watch Netflix and chill.

My advice to journalists? Keep on keeping on. Ask the tough questions. Submit the open records requests. Keep striving for objectivity.

We need you more than ever.

And tell me where I can donate so you can hire security.

Yours in solidarity,
Beth

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Dear Trump, GOP and NRA assholes representatives,

I am a teacher, and I DO NOT want to carry a gun to class. I’m there to instruct, not take down a “bad guy.” (Armed teachers = unusually bad idea, even for you)

I have one goal in class: Teach. I work with college students, so they are paying my salary. My goal is to give them their money’s worth and more. I want to be the life-changing (life-saving in a different way) professor like Dr. Brightman was for me.

Part of my job is figuring out what each student needs (and I guarantee that it is not an AR-15 in their hands or mine).

Students usually come in a handful of personas. Here’s a field guide:

The Tracy Flick
Hand up first. Already has an A, but wants extra credit. “Overachiever” doesn’t even begin to encompass this student. Also can dissolve quickly if mastery doesn’t come easy.

The Ferris Bueller
Seems like he doesn’t care and isn’t paying attention, but he is smarter than the average bear. Often turns in the best work in the class without even trying.

The Jeff Spicoli
Sigh. What do you do about a student who is paying money to go to college, but is just a complete slacker? Love them anyway.

The Summer “Tinkerbell” Hathaway
This student is suspicious of you from the get-go, but you will slowly win her over if you do, in fact, know what you are talking about. And then she will try to push you to see how far she can go.

The Will Hunting
This student may appear to hate your guts during the class, but he will surprise you later on when he tells you that he learned so much from you. It is an unexpected, but joyful moment.

The John Bender
Hard candy shell with a liquid center. Seems confrontational, but is masking a deep-seated vulnerability. I love to see these kinds in five years when they are all well-adjusted and shit.

The Regina George
This student often is the most challenging because she has created a particular persona, and may resist your efforts to get her to think about anything/anyone other than herself. The trick is to help her figure out how to make assignments interesting enough to her so that she will enjoy doing them (thus learning in the process).

The Steve Stifler
Every female faculty member has this student’s number (meaning we know exactly who he is). No, we cannot have a meeting with my office door closed. No, we are not going together to the fraternity party Friday night. It’s great to see this student mature and even <gasp> get married.

The Sam Baker
This student is smart but can be quiet and thus overlooked. Pay attention to this one. Still waters run deep, as they say. This student often ends up being as close to you as students in the next category.

The Todd Anderson
With this student, you know early on that he/she will be in your life forever — and that is a good thing. You “get” them, they “get” you, and it is a lovely, symbiotic relationship. You start out as professor/student and morph into colleagues and friends later on. Some people in the aforementioned categories will end up in this one, and that is a lovely thing too.

I live to make a difference. And I live for notes like these:

That’s from a student who graduated five years ago. No surprise that she was a Todd.

I want to learn how to better reach every student. I do not want to learn how to better reach my gun.

I want to be accurate with grading. I do not want to be accurate with aim.

I want to get paid to carry full classes. I do not want to get paid to carry a gun.

Please, please, please find a different way to achieve the one goal we all want: peace in schools (and everywhere, for that matter). The answer is not arming teachers.

Thanks,
Beth

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trumpbot-128663

Dear (M)all of ‘Murica:

I’m writing to request information regarding your return/exchange policy on The Donald that we received Nov. 8 as an early Christmas gift.

Some background: We tried to order The Hillary, but were told there was a problem with the email server.

It appears, however, that The Donald has this same glitch, among other problems.

Voice command override:
We tried to program it numerous times with numerous voice samples, but it refuses to respond.

False warning signals:
This model tends to beep for no reason beginning around 3 a.m. We are hard-working Americans who want to get some sleep. We can’t have The Donald bleating codes such as “MERYL” and “NYT” over and over.

Security issues:
The Donald was billed as a unit that would keep us safe. However, I’m more worried about break-ins than ever before. The unit is inside barking, “Come at me, Bro!” and “Cash me outside; how bow dah!,” which I think is egging on those with bad intentions. Plus, it won’t let in the people we invited.

Failure to work with existing systems:
Almost immediately upon arrival, The Donald refused to work with other units already in place. It overrode the sensors on various technology and tried to shut them down. Some systems are back up and running on alternative power, but others still are refusing to connect.

Low energy efficiency:
The Donald was billed as a unit that that would increase energy efficiency and protect the environment. However, the model has two pipes that could start leaking oil at any moment.

These are just five of the many problems with this model. We would like to return The Donald as it clearly is as defective as we had heard prior to receiving it. The limited warranty expired Jan. 20.

Line 25 of your operating manual gives some guidance on your return/exchange policy, but I’d like more details, a timeline and information about a replacement.

I know you have The Pence in stock, but I’m not interested in that model because its features are limited. The Ryan has numerous reported defects. I’ve heard The Sanders is on back order and The Kasich is out of stock indefinitely. What other options do you have? Do I have to wait for The Libtard 2020 or The Snowflake 2024?

Please respond at your earliest convenience. We are losing long-time friends because of The Donald, and it is scaring the children.

Eagerly awaiting a resolution,
Beth (and 65+ million others)

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Dear Legislators Hell-bent on Defunding Any Programs Dealing with Lady Bits:

The tweet above is funny (albeit hyperbolic). The executive order it deals with is not so funny.

Listen, no federal money supports abortions. That’s the deal already. What federal money supports is family planning and reproductive health. Can’t we agree that’s a good thing? More education, planning and birth control REDUCES the number of abortions. Isn’t that the goal? (Note that the Guttmacher Institute just released a report that U.S. abortion rates dropped to a record low, falling below the 1973 level  — the year Roe vs. Wade made abortion legal.)

If you defund all these programs, what are people going to do? If you state that life begins at fertilization and make abortion illegal, that is not going to stop abortions from happening (see prohibition, the “war on drugs“).

Why is this a women’s issue? Who is making people pregnant?

Yeah, that’s right.

But the burden is on the woman whether it is consensual or not (for birth control too). And the embryo seems to be more important than the woman herself. Why is that? If the woman has the child and struggles financially because the man is nowhere to be found, then she is a “freeloader.”

That’s just great.

There’s also the fact that there are about 540,000 children in foster care or waiting to be adopted, according to the Administration for Children and Families.

Want to ban abortions and birth control? Go ahead and ban sex.

You go first.

Constituently yours,
Beth

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