Sassy Liberal Recommendations 2.15.13

A few things I thought were interesting:

Hubris

Rachel Maddow is hosting an MSNBC documentary next Monday, February 18, “Hubris: The Selling of the Iraq War.” The previews haven’t mentioned the book “Hubris,” on the same subject matter, by superstars Michael Isikoff and David Corn, but I can’t wait to watch it.

Robert Draper

I’m a massive fan of Robert Draper and basically consider him to be a political investigative reporting god. His recent piece “Can the Republicans Be Saved From Obsolescence?” is a classically good read, with a look into the right wing intransigence on new technological tools for campaigns. It was yummy. Draper always delivers.

The Next Economic Crash is on the Way

I don’t know if I’ll be sitting here in ten years wondering why no one read this Huffpo piece on the next crash, “Wall Street Setting Itself Up For Next Derivatives Crisis, Market Participants Warn”. Plenty of analysts have warned banks will just find a way around Dodd-Frank and we need Glass-Steagall back, but since Washington has its head up Wall Street’s ass, another crash is more likely than good economic policy out of the Capitol.

Athlete Ally

I was so encourage after seeing a segment on The Cycle with Ravens’ Brendon Ayanbedejo publicizing Athlete Ally, an organization aimed at supporting the LGBT community in sports. If professional sports is “the last closet,” Athlete Ally could be an effective and uplifting wrecking ball.

Turning Texas and Florida Blue

Texas blue, Florida blue, Ted Cruz red, Rick Perry fading, Hillary Clinton comingThis is a fun piece from The Hill about the Democratic Party taking Texas and Florida. This cannot happen fast enough and I really want to be a part of it!

Best Think of The Week: Rubio in Slow-mo

I haven’t laughed out loud so much at a political fuck-up since Romney’s eyebrow raise during the town hall debate with Obama. This Deadspin slow-mo video of the Rubio dry mouth horror is priceless. Stay thirsty, my friends.

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The Right to Offend

As a Texan, I am, by constitution, friendly and congenial to most anyone. I love to have a good time and I love for everyone else to have a good time. That’s why we Texans love Texas. No matter our political, religious or college football loyalties, we are generally polite and considerate of each other enough to get our party on and leave the inner bitch at the door.

This is quite the handy personality considering I live amongst and am related to heavily-leaning right wingers, Fox News watchers, Rush listeners, Alex Jones readers, Obama deplorers, firearm devotees and Bible beaters. Don’t get me wrong, I llloooovvvvveee Dallas. I really, really do. But everyone knows what our batshit-crazies in the ballot booth hath delivered to us as governor and that our state legislature is erasing decades of reproductive rights for women, trying to get Christian lessons taught in public schools, and also pissed off the Justice Department with voter ID laws aimed at handicapping the minority vote. Hoooray.

How do we, citizens and voters, be the change we want to see and push, pull, and shove our state and country toward the progress we seek to achieve? I’m a liberal atheist. How do I, as busy mom of an infant and toddler, have skin in the game, put my money where my mouth is and work for a better world for my boys?

Raise my voice. Raise all our voices. Be it blogs, be it conversation, be it my Obama/Biden t-shirt in the grocery store. The best way we can be a force for good is to be visible and audible in our goodness. But if others don’t like our version of good, or are even offended by it, are we still doing good?

Yes. Groupthink has been the anchor that has kept Texas and the rest of the South resistant to modernity and the inevitable arc of history. Everyone assumes everyone else is Christian and pro-life and Republican and anything outside those bounds is cold, uncomfortable and to be avoided.

Change is unavoidable, however. The DFW area has one of the largest, if not THE largest, groups of free-thinkers in the country. How did this happen in such a deeply religion-entrenched metropolis? An atheist or agnostic here started a group and then another and then another and then attendance at free-thinker meet-ups exploded. All because a few trailblazers raised their voice.

Breaking free from the groupthink, from the borg of the close-minded, by simply speaking up is the biggest, most effective tool we have to exert change peacefully and effectively. It takes bravery to tell someone you do not agree with them.

Many times, this does include offending people – especially those self-righteous enough to consider their opinion sacred and untouchable as our culture has led many religioners to believe. But when religion has become a weapon of oppression, it is the responsibility of the rest of us to raise our voices and join together to illuminate a path to for those who wish to escape the bondage of their culture, family or groupthink – even if we risk offense to the stalwart ideology of those who live with certitude.

Jon Stewart once said, “I’m not going to censor myself to comfort your ignorance.”

In a free society, freedom of speech bears with it the right to be offended and to offend. It is an immature, intractable mind that cannot tolerate disagreement. If we adhere to those standards and believe politeness to be our first priority, we slow our development and we inhibit the change necessary for a better world.

We cannot be afraid to say what we think or fear what others will think of us. It is not okay to hide behind a religion in an effort to stifle the rights of others or dictate the will of your neighbor. It is not okay. I will not bow to others’ expectations or cultural norms that would hinder a cleaner, freer, more humane society. We must do good by being good and talking good. Even if it’s bad.

I exert my right to offend others and appreciate their right to speak their truths. May we all find celebration in our mere ability to discuss and disagree without hate or violence or fear of imprisonment.

Ted Cruz a Texas Embarrassment

Ugh. Pouring cold water on yesterday’s Yay, Republicans! post.

As a Texan living in Texas, I slogged through the Republican presidential primary season with gritted teeth and utter upset stomach that the nation would witness the buffoonery that has served as our governor since George W. Bush was first elected president. Jesus Christ that was painful. The fact that I never voted for the Perry is little to no consolation since I’m surrounded by people who did. He won’t debate his Democrat opponents for governor – and the primary season fully displayed the reasoning behind his decision.

And while I haven’t agreed often with Phil Gramm, Kay Bailey-Hutchison or John Cornyn (who have served as senators since I came of age and truly awoke to our political process), they have comported themselves in a relatively dignified manner.

Following Kay Bailey’s retirement from the Senate, her preferred predecessor was the reasonably stately David Dewhurst. As you can guess, Reason won’t get you far in a Texas Republican primary and Ted Cruz (sigh) won. Democrat Bill White – an extremely knowledgable and adept former Houston mayor lost the race and Texas is much, much the worse for it.

Ted Cruz basically has the bio, aside from being born in Canada, Marco Rubio wishes he had. While Rubio is slowly attempting to navigate the murky waters of Republican politics to succeed in his natural habitat of Jeb Bush-style Right Wingery, Cruz may have the brain power to make good decisions on behalf of the American people, but lacks the judgment to pivot away from the swan-singing Tea Baggers.

Honestly, I hoped that honorable position of U.S. Senator might temper Ted Cruz’s more assclowish tendencies. This has not been the case. And it’s a good thing I don’t gamble much.

Only recently, Ted Cruz referred to war heroes and Vietnam veterans former Senator and our next Secretary of State John Kerry and former Senator and probable Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel as “less than ardent fans of the military.” Ted Cruz, shockingly, never served in the military. He voted against Kerry’s confirmation and has signaled he would vote against Hagel’s. Ahhhh, the repeated meme about men who never served in war being the first ones to trumpet it…

So, now we’re stuck for the next six years with Cruz’s mantra that government is evil, spending is evil, Obama is evil, healthcare for poor people is evil, the NRA is God and corporations are God and the whole, tired, failed schpeel that sent so much of the electorate begging for four more years of Obama.

I’m embarrassed for Texas. I’m embarrassed for me.

It’s time for Texans to get their shit together, start paying attention to local politics. Because most Texans do not agree with the inanity our politicians practice in and trade on (Louie Gohmert). A large percentage of eligible voters don’t cast ballots and the Democrat Party has treated us like grotesque stepchildren when this state is ripe for a color change. Now is the time. We cannot let boobs like Rick Perry and Ted Cruz define our state any longer. They represent our nightmarish past.

Let’s reclaim rights for women, gays and minorities. Demand our education funds and disaster relief. Let’s send these ideologues with their harmful legislation packing. Let’s show Cruz that giving him six years in the Senate was a rookie, Tea Party mistake and atone for it afterwards by sending the best politicians our state has to Austin and to Washington.

Salon has a short, decent write-up on our new senator here.

Gun Yahoos Sighted

My list of things to do this warm January morning included returning a few items to Academy Sports and Outdoors. I live in Texas, so why should it surprise me that just ahead in the return line and later in the purchasing line were a couple of local yahoos stocking up on ammo supplies. The checker said they see these types in every morning, sometimes lining up before the store opens and, at times, one person had bought out the whole supply. Gotta get all they can before Obama takes away their Second Amendment rights. Or before Jesus comes back.

The first thought that goes through my head is a reminder of the Facebook posts I see talking about how safe someone feels because they saw another person carrying a firearm. I live in TEXAS, after all. But, these dudes didn’t look like they should be trusted with a butter knife. Hell, I wouldn’t even loan them my can opener.

In fact, they looked eerily similar to these dudes:

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The NRA is watching all this gun control hoopla with their Cheshire Cat frowns, guffawing all their way to the bank as they try not to trip over the bodies of Americans dead by gun violence. It’s just gross how much calls for gun regulation, as well as our now-regular massacres, have the sure result of firearms and ammo flying off the shelves. All the while, the chances of real gun control legislation passing are greater than my two year-old acing the SAT tomorrow. Serenity now, bitches.