Tag Archives: Rants

Rep. Jim Cooper FAIL


Rep. Jim Cooper, obviously getting angry phone calls from people other than me, explains his vote thusly:

“It’s largely redundant. Republicans don’t want you to know that,” Cooper told The Tennessean in a phone interview Thursday.

Um, actually, no. But before I get to that, let me remind everyone of the Rep. Jim Cooper who made a name for himself by his “mavericky” refusal to go along with politiized, grandstanding legislation. That Jim Cooper would never have voted for something “largely redundant” because, of course, if it’s largely redundant why the fuck are we wasting our time on it? I remember that Jim Cooper, don’t you?

But that’s not what this bill does. This bill requires the FBI director, secretary of Homeland Security and director of National Security to personally certify to 12 different Congressional Committees that each individual refugee does not pose a security threat. It basically gums up an already long and complicated process to the point where applications will be brought to a standstill.


Jim Cooper voted “aye” on the “American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act,” AKA the Let’s-punch-Syrian-and-Iraqi-refugees-because-we’re-scared-and-crapping-our-pants-and-also-we’re-ignorant Act.

One of only 47 Democrats, and thanks for playing, Rep. Cooper. I’m so over you right now. TN-05 is a pretty safe district now, thanks to Republican gerrymandering, so I’d say we’re safe to make a protest vote now, maybe even find someone who’s a more reliable Democrat who isn’t  stuck in the past and thinking being a Blue Dog is still what the kewl kids are doing.

I called his office and asked the guy who answered the phone what the hell  Cooper was thinking. I was told that “the Congressman supports Syrian and Iraqi refugees as long as they’re vetted properly.” Jesus Christ on a Saltine, they’re already vetted, and far more rigorously than the average shmoe coming into our country on a tourist visa. But thanks for buying into the pants-wettng Fright-wing Fox News meme. Super helpful for the rest of us moving forward!

I can just see it now: “even Democrats agree that refugees are a risk!” Or, even better, “even Democrats don’t support Obama!” Why, lookie here, it’s already on the Wall Street Journal:

In a rebuke to President Barack Obama, a substantial contingent of House Democrats voted for a bill the White House had threatened to veto ….

You ignorant ass. Why on earth would a terrorist subject themselves to a two year UN/Dept. of Homeland Security background check (which was improved in 2011 following the 2009 entry of Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, the two individuals Rand Paul has been fearmongering about)? Why do that when getting a tourist visa is so much easier? Hell, what about those “porous borders” desperately in need of a wall the wingnuts are always blathering on about? Wouldn’t that be easier?

Why aren’t we doing something about the fact that anyone on the terror watch list can still buy guns? Legally? Isn’t that important? In fact, the best indication we have that this entire thing is ginned up fear-porn BS designed to help Republican electoral prospects is this:


NRA defends stance on law that allows terror suspects to get firearms

The NRA says it’s just trying to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens to buy guns — even if their names appear on a terror watch list.

Hey, Rep. Cooper: why don’t you do something about that? No?

Anyone who tells you that all of this ginned up fearmongering is anything other than political posturing designed to make voters run to Republican Daddy is lying. But thanks, Rep. Cooper, for playing along.


You are completely dead to me.


Filed under fear, Housekeeping, immigration, rants, Rep. Jim Cooper, Tennessee

“Republican” As A Synonym For Coward


Just as I predicted:

Christian groups break with GOP over Syrian refugees

Faith-based groups, who play a key role in resettling refugees to the United States, say they are dismayed by the wave of anti-refugee fervor set off by the Paris terrorist attacks and are urging supporters to contact elected officials on behalf of victims of the Syrian civil war.

Many of you may not know this but Southern Beale works with refugees. It’s been my job for the past two years. So when I hear Tennessee Republicans like Glen Casada say such repulsive things as,

“We need to activate the Tennessee National Guard and stop them from coming in to the state by whatever means we can. I’m not worried about what a bureaucrat in D.C. or an unelected judge thinks. … We need to gather (Syrian refugees) up and politely take them back to the ICE center and say, ‘They’re not coming to Tennessee, they’re yours.'”

… it really makes me want to punch that guy in the face. Really, the amount of ignorance and hate on display in such comments just boggles the mind. It’s like they’re in a race to see who can be the most despicable human being.

My students have told me stories here and there, so I’ve gained a little perspective  about what it’s like to be a refugee. One thing that’s clear is how hard it is to come to the United States; you don’t just get handed a ticket and land in Nashville. There is a tremendous amount of uncertainty. Some of my students have spent years in refugee camps. When they finally do make it through the arduous process, many of them don’t even know where they’re going. One of my students was first sent to Los Angeles, was immediately redirected to Idaho (Idaho!), was there for just two days (two days!), before then being sent on to Nashville. So  I think stories like this one are not unusual, current events notwithstanding.

Republicans are playing to their fearful, nativist, xenophobic base. I don’t for a second think that they believe the crap that they’re spewing. They’re just trying to gin up a response, and fear is their go-to emotion. Keeping people scared is what they do. Last year it was Ebola, this year it’s refugees. Republicans are the “OMG WE’RE ALL GONNA DIIIIIIE!” party.

What they don’t seem to know is that a large majority of the groups helping refugees navigate these uncertain waters are Christian. Organizations like World Relief, Catholic Charities, and Church World Service are all involved in refugee resettlement. That’s because once upon a time, Christians were interested in more than just abortion and gay marriage. They knew that Leviticus didn’t just have something to say about gay sex, but also about not mistreating foreigners, “for you were foreigners in Egypt.” So as Republicans race to the bottom vilifying people fleeing war in Syria, they’re also pissing off another large contingent of their base.

We’ve seen this all before. It’s an election year, they want to appeal to the lowest common denominator of their base, so they tweak that amygdala,  instead of trying to appeal to the better elements in their party. And come the next post-mortem, Republicans will continue to wonder why they’re perceived as the party that doesn’t care about people. Same as it ever was.

“Republican” is a synonym for coward. Not just because they’re scared shitless of everything — Muslim refugees, Ebola nurses, married gay people, you name it. But because they’re too scared to be anything else.


Filed under conservatives, Current Events, fear, Housekeeping, immigration, rants, Tennessee, Tennessee politics

Vote, Dammit!

There’s been lots of wailing and gnashing of teeth over yesterday’s election results, which put a Fundiegelical wackadoodle into the Kentucky governor’s office, denied transgender rights in Houston, and some other depressing news.

It seems this happens every time it’s not a presidential election year. And there’s a very good reason for that.

Democrats don’t vote in off-years. They just don’t. There may be a lot of good reasons for it — voter suppression, working three crap jobs, etc. etc. but the bottom line is, rank and file Democrats don’t think it’s important to vote in non-presidential elections. They’re not going the extra mile to overcome the obstacles like they do in presidential elections. They just don’t see it as a priority. The volunteers aren’t there, the motivation isn’t there, the energy isn’t there.

Republicans sweep every off-year election (I don’t know, feels like it, at least). Republicans run on amygdala-tweaking issues like gays and ‘bortions and fear and loathing and that gets people to the polls every time. Democrats don’t seem to do that; if they do, it doesn’t seem to resonate. Yesterday we did have one sparkle of good news: the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court. Seems to me people understood the importance of that vote and they made the effort.

This is a big problem for Democrats. It’s why we have Tea Party nutballs in Congress and state legislatures voting on Agenda 21 resolutions. Now thousands of Kentuckians could lose their health insurance as a result.

Democrats, you need to figure this out. Not too long ago Nashville had a very important General Election where we voted for a new mayor. Several of my gay friends, people in their early 30s, did not vote. They “didn’t have time.” Really what they were saying is, they didn’t make the time (although with a week of early voting in Nashville, there’s really no excuse for that). Among those running were a candidate who voted for a GLBT non-discrimination ordinance, and someone else who said they were against such things. You’d think that would have been sufficient motivation. Someone who supports your right to exist, versus those who do not. In fact, one of my gay friends said he supported Megan Barry but when I asked if he voted, the answer amazingly was no! That’s some support, folks.

People, with support like that, how can Democrats win?

Fortunately, Nashville’s mayoral election went into a runoff and I badgered my non-voting friends mercilessly until they went to the polls, and showed me “I Voted” stickers to prove it.

But you know, this is a problem for Dems nationwide. And we will continue to lose elections until we figure out how to impress upon our voters the importance of, you know, actually making the effort to vote.

It seems stupid and it is, but this is something the DNC and state and county parties really need to figure out. There needs to be a public education campaign, there needs to be a real grassroots effort, from the churches to the unions to neighborhood organizations and every other group to get people off their asses. Every election. Not just every four years but every year.

Elections are every year, people! And if you don’t vote in every election, you’re a bad person.

If we can’t figure this out, the rest is just pointless. We cannot succeed with a party that doesn’t care about anything but the White House.


Filed under Democratic Party, rants

American Airlines Still Sucks

Dear American Airlines: please stop sucking. I’m really, really tired of you people sucking. Seven years ago I complained about how much you sucked and guess what: you still suck!

This trip we were stuck for four hours in an aisle with no window. I don’t mean we didn’t have a window seat, I mean the plane physically had no window on our aisle, something we did not know was even possible on a 737. I’ve certainly never seen such a thing before, but just to prove it, here’s a photo:

An aisle with no window!

I was very puzzled about why our row didn’t have a window. When I pointed it out to the flight attendant she looked at it and said, “Oh. Huh! Weird.” And walked away.

Not to sound petty, but four hours in a cramped cabin with no window was pretty excrutiating for me. But more to the point, I was unhappy that we paid the same for our windowless seat as we would have if we’d had a window. Seems like if you’re stuck in cargo you should at least get a discount. Even worse, when we picked our seats, the online diagram made no mention of the fact that these were windowless seats. Seems like that might be some information you’d want to share with your customers.

I’m still not sure why we didn’t have a window. Maybe someone in the airline biz can explain it to me. Via Twitter I was told that there is a ventilation/air conditioning duct on this part of the plane so it’s not possible to have a window here. That’s fine, but you’d think they’d have the ability to tell people this ahead of time.

But when I complained through their customer relations department, I got a very bizarre email that blamed “the economic realities of our business” and “competition” and low-cost carriers like JetBlue:

I regret the seat you were assigned did not have a window in that row. Unfortunately, the economic realities of our business just won’t allow us to make drastic cabin changes with regard to seating. Because of competition between all airlines, we must use each airplane as efficiently as possible. As low-cost carriers and other major airlines make use of all available space aboard their planes, we must be competitive and do the same.

OH. So in other words, I might as well fly a low-cost carrier because my experience is going to suck just as bad on American. Is that what you mean? Because that’s what you’re saying.

So, duly noted, folks. I’ll definitely keep that in mind for future air travel. After all, I have my own economic realities to take into consideration.


Filed under American Airlines, travel

NOW Is It Time To Have A Conversation About Gun Control?

Horrible news out of Charleston, S.C.:

CHARLESTON, S.C. — A white gunman opened fire Wednesday night at a historic black church in this city’s downtown, killing nine people before fleeing and setting off an overnight manhunt, the police said.

South Carolina has the most liberal gun laws in the country, thanks to “reform” recently passed by wingnut Gov. Nikki Haley. And this is the result. The Boston Globe’s Michael Cohen sums up the laws thusly:

globe gun

Gov. Haley and South Carolina politicians who endorse the NRA’s agenda have blood on their hands today. Yes, there is a causal relationship between easy access to firearms and gun violence.

The idea that simple gun control measures wouldn’t have prevented this and thousands of other tragedies across the country every year is ludicrous. The idea that there’s absolutely nothing we can do about this bloodbath is insane. The idea that we have to live with this violence in our communities because Freedom and the Constitution is pure bullshit.

Enough. We do not have to put up with this. This is not how a free people live. This is how free people die.


Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns

My Annual Healthcare Rant

It’s time for me to get my annual mammogram at the for-profit HCA/Centennial, which means it’s time for my annual rant about our for-profit healthcare system. I blogged about my experience last year, in which I was offered an opportunity to pay for the service out of pocket upfront, at no discernible benefit to me because it’s all going to be paid by my insurance anyway.

So this year I got the same “give me my money” phone call, which they laughably call “pre-registration.” I give them my name and address and other contact info (which they already have because it’s in their system) and then I get the rigamarole about how much the service will cost — this time she’s clear to say it’s “because my insurance hasn’t been verified.” Last year, they just told me the service would be $150. So I’m glad they’re at least clarifying the insurance angle. But still, I’m supposed to do what, exactly, with this information? Start selling off the family heirlooms? I have insurance, mammograms are covered, now go away, please.

And then 24 hours later I get yet another phone call from the same person who “pre-registered” me yesterday, to say my insurance has been verified. Which you’d think would be good news, but in HCA Land, it’s actually another opportunity for them to try to get my money. For a 20% discount, I can pay now! Yes, that’s actually the deal I was offered. I can pay for the service at 20% off now, or I can do nothing and my insurance company will pay the full price (repriced, but whatevs). I mean, my insurance pays 100%.

I mean, seriously, people? WTF? Why not just lower your prices 20% and then we can all reap the reward of lower insurance premiums?

I cannot believe this is going on.

Mr. Beale is furious. He wants to know, if I do pay now at the 20% discount, and then BlueCross/BlueShield remimburses at 100%, who gets that extra 20%? HCA?


Filed under HCA, health insurance, healthcare, Nashville

Relatable, Now With Electrolytes

Today’s front page of The New York Times has a story on Jeb Bush trying to lose weight, which is fine, I get that the political punditry wants to “humanize” presidential candidates and present a picture of them as “real people.” But this particular a piece of bullshit pissed me off:

The rigid abstemiousness runs the risk of putting him at a dietary distance from an American electorate that still binges on carbohydrates and, after eight years of a tea-sipping president, craves a relatable eater in chief.

What. The. Fuck.

America “craves a relatable eater in chief” who “binges on carbohydrates” like they do? No. I’m going to stop you right there, buckaroo. I don’t know from under which rock reporter Mike Barbaro pulled this piece of conventional wisdom, but let me say: nothing shows how out of touch you are from the rest of America than stupid statements like this. Americans don’t drink tea? Low-carb diets aren’t popular in the U.S.? Have you been to a fucking grocery store lately, buddy? A real one, not one of those little New York City corner delis, I’m talking the goddamn Kroger or Safeway. Do you ever step outside Manhattan for more than two hours?

Can we please stop portraying the American electorate and American politicians in such childish ways?

I am sick of this bullshit that crops up every four years, when the punditry suddenly decides it has its pulse on “real America” and it knows what we “crave” in a presidential candidate, which is to be exactly like their (completely false) image of us. We want to have a beer with them! But not any beer, certainly not one of those gay beers from Yurp, it has to be a manly-man beer! A Budweiser!

Do you people even hear yourselves? Do you hear how insulting that is to us, we Real Americans in the “flyover states,” not to mention how insulting it is to the candidates? Fucking-a.

Memo to the New York Times, writer Michael Barbaro, and the rest of you idiots in the political media: you have no fucking clue what America craves, so stop with the idiotic “real America” framing. You’re making fools of yourselves.

We do not have the luxury of playing that stupid media game this time around. We simply do not have the luxury of pretending to give a crap that the presidential candidate put Dijon mustard on his hot dog instead of a Real Murcan Mustard like French’s (irony alert). We do not have the luxury of debating whether Hillary Clinton should have gone to Taco Bell instead of Chipotle. And I am not going to pretend that because I live in Nashville, Tennessee my diet consists solely of deep fried fat balls and a side of sweet tea. It does not.

I am not going to pretend that I can’t relate to Jeb Bush because he’s on a Paleo Diet instead of binging on microwavable Mac’N’Cheezybits like Real Murcans. I can’t relate to Jeb Bush because he’s a conservative hawk who has embraced the architects of his brother’s Iraq War fiasco. I can’t relate to Jeb Bush because while he claims to favor small government, in actuality he inserted himself into the Schiavo family’s darkest hour. I can’t relate to Jeb Bush because he would return us to the same pro-corporate, pro-wealthy policies that sank the economy when his brother was in the White House.

What he eats for dinner isn’t even on my damn radar, you fools. Stop treating the electorate like idiots.


Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, media, rants

Stop Calling It Road Rage

It’s just gun culture reacting in predictable ways, with completely predictable results:

LAS VEGAS – The family of a Las Vegas mother of four who was killed in an apparent road rage shooting last week says she was just trying to protect her daughter when she went home to get her son and his gun, then drove around the neighborhood searching for a man who may have eventually killed her.


“My mom was protecting me this night, you know? She was doing what every mother would do is protect her baby,” 15-year-old Kristal Meyers said Tuesday night at a candlelight vigil in the cul-de-sac where the family lives, about 5 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip.

Yeah, how’d that work out for you guys, now that you’re making funeral arrangements? She could have gone inside and called the police but no, gun culture and the NRA says you gotta take matters into your own hands and hunt down your fucked up, also-armed neighbor. Because Freedumb:

Meyers said his wife and son went looking for Nowsch after the road rage incident because they knew him and where he lived.

This isn’t road rage. Road rage implies a randomness, strangers whose chance encounter on the highway escalates because one person can’t control their emotions. These people knew each other. Both were armed. And that’s what changed everything.

I’m done feeling sorry for you people. Live by the gun, die by the gun. Constitution, Founding Fathers, blah blah. This is the country you want to live in? These are the neighborhoods you’re creating for our families? Fuck you.


Filed under gun control, gun violence

The Unwashed Free Hand

Proving yet again that Libertarians are morons, I bring you North Carolina “free market” Republican Thom Tillis:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional Republicans are challenging several health regulations, with one senator suggesting restaurants shouldn’t have to make their employees wash their hands after bathroom visits.

Such restaurants would have to prominently disclose their decision, and then would probably would go out of business, said newly elected GOP Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina. But they should have that choice, he said.


“Let them decide” such issues, Tillis said, adding: “That’s probably one where every business that did that would go out of business. But I think it’s good to illustrate the point, that that’s the sort of mentality we need to have to reduce the regulatory burden on this country.”

Um, Okay. So basically you want to get rid of one regulation requiring employees wash their hands and replace it with a different one requiring restaurants post a sign if they opt out. This is preferable how? Because it sounds more shiny, sparkly, free-markety? Really? Because all you’re doing is shifting the “burden” to restaurant consumers, who would then have to hunt around for some sign. Never mind the idea that if you’re going to opt out of a hand-washing regulation, maybe you’ll dodge a sign-posting one, too. We’ll just never know.

This makes my life better how, exactly?

See, this is what’s wrong with Libertarians. They think that the glorious unfettered magical free hand of the market makes everything wonderful when all it really does is burden the general public. You know what? I have a life. I don’t want to have to research every fucking restaurant in town to determine if they’re opting out of certain health regulations or not. I’d much rather have a health department fully staffed with health inspectors who enforce our health laws. If we truly did make our restaurant health regulations optional, I’d never eat out again. Because if you’re going to skirt one, you’ll no doubt skirt all the others. And for fuck sakes, Thom Tillis: a regulation is a goddamn regulation. One isn’t “better” because it sounds more “choicey.”

You people are fucking idiots. Please, let’s keep them as far away from the reins of power as possible.


Filed under deregulation, Libertarians, Republican Party

Dumbass Overzealous Wingnut Militia FAIL

A group of ATV-riding, camo-wearing, gun-brandishing DIY law and order types from Colorado decided they’d travel to the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona and, by God, do the job that our useless gummint has refused to do! And boy did they think they hit the jackpot when they thought they’d found smugglers or illegal immigrants in the Arizona desert one night, too!

Sadly for them they’d uncovered a group of wildlife biologists conducting a bat population survey. Hilarity did not ensue:

Estrada says one of the militiamen apologized to the group of conservationists, who apparently did not want to hear it.

“Of course, they weren’t very receptive about the apology. They actually told them that’s something you should not be doing. There’s danger out there. There’s other groups of people in campsites,” Estrada says.

Sheriff Estrada says Santa Cruz County does not welcome border militia groups.

“These people that are completely out of their environment. They really don’t know the area. They don’t know the terrain. They have little knowledge of the dynamics of the border. So it can be a real problem,” Estrada says. “We really don’t want them here.”

Dumbasses. I just love these idiot wingnuts who live in their information-bubble fantasyland, where they’re just so convinced that they’re the only ones who can save America from whatever issue is dominating the far reaches of the AM dial that month. And then they sail in like Captain fucking America and find out that a) the problem isn’t nearly as bad as the mouth-breathers have said it is and 2) they’re actually not helping things.

This all goes back to the psychological problem at the root of the conservative extreme: the idea that they’ve lost cultural relevance. Poor dears, trying so hard to be important somehow, to have an impact. Making fools of themselves every step of the way.

Take a pill, get some therapy and for God’s sake, stop listening to nativist right-wing hate radio.

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Filed under immigration