Monday, October 30, 2006


I seldom say this: but I agree with President Bush. I know; I know: you think I'm crazy. But I'm not. You see, he's warned the democrats not to dance in the red zone. And he's right. As I've mentioned before: it's not over 'til the fat lady sings. And a week in a campaign season can be a very long time. A lot can change. Furthermore, one of the main reasons for republican success in the last decade has been their superior get-out-the-vote effort. So, before we all fantasize about dancing in the red zone, let's remember: there's at least two minutes on the clock.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Rob Ironies

Although I'm supporting Joe Courtney for the 2nd Congressional District seat, I've never had a major problem with Rob Simmons. Sure, I've been known to call him Washington Rob on occasion. But I have no ill will towards the man; I haven't re-named him, like I've done with Oedipus Lieberman--that shithead. And yes, I've heard all the stories about Rob and the nasty campaigning in 2004. I've also heard a number of friends of mine who say that Simmons and his family are good people.

Without question, Mr. Simmons ought to be congratulated for his service to this country in the Vietnam War. And indeed, his overall record generally demonstrates a "tendency" to be independent. He still does lockstep with the Republican led congress a bit much for my liking, though. He's no Linc Chafee or Olympia Snowe.

Anyway, this post focuses on the recent television ads for the Simmons campaign. Frankly, I'm a bit surprised by the ironies in two of the ads in particular. And I'm not the only one who has noticed.

The first ad in question ran earlier in the season, and a segment of the ad showed Washington Rob shaking EB workers' hands as they were exiting the yard; that's leaving for the day, not forever due to, let's say, lay-offs. Let's think about this for a minute. The fact of the matter is that EB has laid off a shit load of people recently, and more layoffs are to come. Yes, people are leaving EB because they are losing their jobs. Regardless of what Mr. Simmons has done in the past with attempting to secure sub contracts, why the hell would his campaign be so sloppy not to emphasize Simmons' work--no pun intended--for EB in another way? Perhaps when the workers were ENTERING the yard?

The second ad has been running recently. It's quite simplistic and effective but only to a point. Check this out: the ad involves an interview with a mother of a son who is in the CT National Guard. No question: this woman's concerns, her son's service, and Simmons' support of our troops are ALL to be commended. However, what was highly ironic about the interview with the Buchanan woman--that's her name, I believe--is that she recalls how she had to appeal to Congressman Simmons because (hold your breaths) her son was sent to Iraq without the proper equipment???????????????????????????????????????? Granted, to his credit, Congressman Simmons stepped in (thank God) to get this soldier the equipment he and his fellow troops needed; who wouldn't? The bigger issue, though, is that this narrative only confirms and emphasizes in a major way yet another fuck-up of the Bush administration and the Republican led congress: they've been sending our soldiers to Iraq and in harm's way without the necessary protection. What the fuck? Again: good for Congressman Simmons for helping out; not so good for his campaign to be packaging this information this way, though.

My point: I'm a bit stunned by the Simmons campaign team for allowing these rather problematic ironies, which, in turn, may affect him negatively, be apparent when they are trying to get Mr. Simmons re-elected. Perhaps they, too, could stand to be 1% more conscious.

Friday, October 27, 2006


I tried keeping up with who's been indicted; who's been locked up; Mary "no more wire hangers" Matalin, the eternal apologist; the exploding Foley closet; cell block Abramoff; Scooter, the pooper; and every other GOP arrest that I totally forgot Halloween, or, more aptly Hallowgop. So in honor of the usual suspects, check out this post on Wonkette:

And this Wall Street Opinion piece by none other than Sister Peggy Noonan; she's a conservative, kids, and hoping for a loss.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Just when I think it can't get any more absurd, it does. Is it a full moon? Could it be that all hallow's eve is upon us? Perhaps the literati are channeling Ionesco and Kafka? Or is there some sort of planetary alignment tilting the world off its axis? Maybe the WMD have been found?

Let's begin at the beginning: last Sunday, a day of rest. Woke-up. Got Nathan, our son, out of bed. Returned to Mommy & Daddy's room for a bit. Watched a kids' show on PBS--you know, the network that Maggie Spellings, U.S. Secretary of Education, who's no more qualified than a substitute teacher,
attacked with a "heckuva" of a punch. Went downstairs. Got the papers. Ate breakfast. Made sure Nathan was set with his Thomas the tank engine train set in the family room. Moved to the living room. Turned on ABC's This Week. Lo and behold: George and George.

As I was enjoying my third cup of coffee and a rather delicious apple crumb muffin, George asked George about the rhetoric of "stay the course." And George replied: "We've never been
'stay the course,' George!" I gagged. Muffin flew all over the place. Coffee splattered onto the paper. Nathan came to the rescue. Thomas derailed off the track, and so did his friends. Amy asked if I was alright. And I replied--to the TV, not to Amy: You've got to be kidding me?

If you haven't been conscious this week, let me drag you out of zombiezone. Our commander-in-denial, George W., appeared for a one-on-one interview last Sunday with George Stephanopoulos on ABC's This Week. Yes, a bit of a shocker since W. has been in
huddles lately with the right wing echo chamber, including their cultural saint, Pill O'Shitty. Back to George and George. What seemed to be a routine interview took a most absurd turn when George asked George about the "stay the course" rhetoric, and George, well, flat out denied it. Granted, we've all backstroked or butterflied in the river denial, but George just bellyflopped into it like the fratboy he is. Hence, my spitup routine and Thomas flying off the tracks. Poor Thomas!

For sure, I thought that team Bush would throw W. a safety tube. No, not a chance. Instead, on Monday morning, captain Snow dived right off--no pun intended--the bridge of parsing, and virtually said the same thing, thus creating such waves that the blogosphere erupted with all sorts of commentary.

While I was still thinking about that yummy apple crumb muffin, I also thought that within a 24 hour news cycle, the media would've had this framed, settled, and doublespoke: "what he meant was 'stay the course' as a philosophy, not as the overall strategy and tactics. So we can argue this point, but this president is serious about the war against reality--oops--I mean, terroism." But no. Monday evening came, and so did more absurdity.

Like a recurring figure from Greek literature that creates all kinds of havoc, George reappears, and in my neck of the woods. That's George Stephanopoulos. He comes to SE CT to moderate the Lamont--Oedipus Lieberman--Cool Hand Al show-- debate. A routine political event quickly turned into a hybrid performance--Kabuki Theater meets Greek Tragedy meets Last Comic Standing. It was priceless: part debate; part transparent candidate preference on Mark Davis's part--that asshole; part unsolicited audience participation on behalf of the LaRouche Choir that responded to poor, tragic Joe; and a whole lot of comedy provided by Al. The most priceless moment, though, in my mind, was when Ol' Joe disavowed himself from "
stay the course." Sunday collapsed into Monday. Absurdity rebounded: I was in a Kafka story. Thomas was tooting in the family room; the LaRouche choir harmonizing wouldn't leave my head; the apple crumb smell came back and made me hungry once again; and the shockwaves of denial flooded from my television quicker than a poltergeist.

What was it? Was it a sign of things to come? Was this the October surprise? Did aliens usurp my body to use it as a host? Should we all revisit Ionesco and Kafka to find the answers? Or could it be that I had been georged?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


I'm concerned, very concerned. After last night's debate, if it did not become abundantly obvious that Joe has to go, then I can't help you. Al said it best: it was a performance indeed. The chorus chimed in, as it does in Greek tragedy; Oedipus Lieberman was still meglomaniacal, claiming that now he is for a phased withdrawal; and the hecklers rocked the house. Was I watching a debate? Kabuki theater, a la Joe? Theater of the absurd? No, just Joe and all of his bull.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Coming to a Classroom near You

Part 1—The Craziness

Yesterday was one of those days when I was wavering between suicidal and homicidal tendencies—yes, I’m being overly dramatic. But you know what I mean: it was too much to bear. So my overarching dilemma felt like: would I feel better off if I killed myself, or if I killed someone else? Interruption upon interruption. Paper after paper. Demand after demand. Mini crisis after mini crisis. E-mail “in” folder was full. Stop the madness!

Folks, this is just a brief description of the day of the life of a public school teacher—and every teacher feels this way, at least once a week. A bit crazy? Yes. A bit worrisome? Oh, yes. Completely insane? Absolutely yes.

Ten years ago, when I first entered this profession, it was a great time to teach. Masses of people were retiring; jobs were a plenty; practical instructive techniques were being implemented; and teaching was both challenging and exhilarating. During this time, I made some lifelong friends; some were already in the profession, some, along with me, were just entering; and I was even lucky enough to meet my wife.

At this time, there were so many initiatives. Technology was revolutionizing teaching; we were all learning new strategies; and students, for the most part, were changing along with us, or at least trying.

Being a new teacher, I was certainly overwhelmed but never overburdened. I distinctly remember a much appreciated, seasoned veteran tell me that if I were a “quick study,” I could possibly gain leverage on my teaching in three to four years. Leverage meaning: it would get easier and more manageable. Well, three to four years have quickly come and gone, and while I still love working with students, I have a newsflash that far too many teachers know: the job isn’t getting any easier.

Nowadays, teachers, those who actually do their job, have far too much to do. First and foremost we are supposed to teach, come up with plans, “align” our teaching with standards; correct work, and sometimes assign imaginary numbers to ward off a witch hunt that might ensue; do clerical duties that involve paper management—a Stephen King nightmare in the making; counsel students because we need to be concerned with how they feel and whether or not they like us—who cares if they are learning; communicate with parents to justify the grades we give; be on a committee that addresses the “need” for… more committees; attend professional development conferences that are usually hosted by…people who are no longer in the classroom or well-paid consultants; and bedeck our rooms with mission statements, standards, discipline policies and any other interior design item so that we can “flip” the room should another teacher come along, or more dreadfully yet, a walk-through or NEASC team. Can you imagine if we wallpapered the crib with the entire NCLB document? Now that’s what I call alignment!

I wish I were making this all up, but I’m not. Any good teacher worth his or her job, and many visit this site, knows that it’s just too much. And while there are some, just like in any profession, who make those of us who do our jobs, look bad by doing nothing; by pitching tent near a PC while the students do busy paperwork; and/or by going on a control freak rampage, attempting to micromanage everyone else’s day (that’s dedicated to JD and my conservative brethren SK), we all get the same amount of pay. Of course, this pay lags severely behind the salaries of other professionals, say accountants, insurance industry professionals, and, in some cases, store managers—not that there is anything wrong with these professions. I’m just saying that teachers who teach; who counsel students and do care how they feel on some level, just not with a social worker’s or psychologist’s level of expertise; who abide by what comes down from the Mt. Olympus of Administration and the Titans of Central Office; who care about their kids’ learning; who attempt to contribute to rather than contaminate the work environment; and who have a love for their discipline and actually “work” through assignments just as students should and/or do feel that sometimes, we would much prefer killing something rather than managing this inordinate amount of demands.

So in an effort to make us at least 1% more conscious about the current state of public school teaching, I have initiated a new strand on this blog, which both many teachers and, word has it, students read, called “Coming to a Class Room near You.” This is just part one in a long series to come, so sit back and enjoy the ride.

PREVIEW: Coming to a Classroom near You, part 2: The Jeri D. Hours Log: Sorry Folks: We Really Don’t Get Summers Off.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Corporate Dollar Baby

New parents of infants find themselves on a crash course of learning. And the quicker they learn the better off they are. The first learning lessons are about the crying baby. Lulled into the false reality that babies always sleep, we soon learn that babies cry a lot. And there are three basic reasons for an infant's cry: the baby is either very tired, hungry, or needs to have his diaper changed.

Would SOMEBODY please change Oedipus Lieberman’s diaper because he is so full of crap? The whining this week has made many of us go crazy-- and North Korea go nuclear. The noise has been unbearable. It doesn’t seem like he’s overly tired; it doesn’t look like he’s hungry. It must be that smelly, wet diaper on his bum that has him—and us—in such a stink.

From once again claiming that Ned Lamont is buying a senate seat when Joe has racked up more corporate contributions to surpass Lamont and an ENRON redux in fundraising, to flip-flopping on everything from social security to his “real Democrat” waffling on whether or not he wants the Dems to re-take congress, Joe has shown that mirror, mirror on the fall, his greatest flaw of them all: himself.

That real republicans have yet to recognize Joe’s part megalomaniacal, part narcissistic personality disorder is rather stunning; that’s why we told him to hit the bricks, not wear a diaper.

Joe doesn’t care about Democrats; he doesn’t care about Republicans; he just cares about himself. Acting too quickly to throw Alan Schlesinger, under the bus, or in a closet—their latest “uncolonized space,” the republicans witness Schlesinger coming up--or coming out—pun intended—swinging as a true conservative in the recent humorous debates . Who cares if he had a problem at Mohegan Sun? True conservatives would place their bets on Al.

A corporate dollar baby, Joe has to go. Oh—wait. I hear a baby's cry. Perhaps our baby Joe, like baby O’Reilly, that crusading cultural wart, in his latest interview with W., might once again blame the “bloggers” and their “vitriol.” I guess we’re 1 percent more conscious, and we approve our message.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Rime of the Ancient GOP

Crash! Bam! Boom! Darkness falls. Winds gust to tornadic speeds. Lightening scorches the earth. Peals of thunder roar and roar. The ground begins to quake. A massive seismic wave undoes all. Buildings crumble. Cities fall. Bridges collapse.

Armageddon? No.

Osama has been found? Definitely no.

A new “Exorcist” movie? No, not yet.

Apocalypse Now? No way.

Apocalypse Redux? No, Brando, no!

Apocalypse recycled, renewed, reused? No, no, and no!

What, then?

The GOP closet door has exploded off its hinges, faster than RuPaul snapping her fingers, saying: “Get DOWN with your bad self.” Yes, my friends, I have a huge news flash for you all, left, right and center, so brace yourselves. Hold on tight. This may be a bit much. Seat belts buckled. Crash helmets on. Get in the launch position. 4, 3, 2, 1, blast off!: There are gay Republicans. OH, my GAWD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As the Foley scandal reduplicates legs quicker than a xenomorph in some strange sci-fi flick, we, the electorate of the United States have two choices: to be conscious or not to be conscious. You see, so many have the Foley scandal completely wrong, especially those who shapeshift along my side of the isle, eager to look inside the closet. But let’s review the basics, so we can get the story gay—straight, I mean

Mark Foley was a congressman from Florida, who was first elected in that tsunami wave of Republican takeover in 1994. Too bad the wave’s undertow of hypocrisy immediately pulled several of its surfers down, including their demi god himself Newt, whose had more marital and extra-marital problems than Susan Lucci’s Erica Cane of All of My Children. The larger point is: the tsunami’s aftershock remains.

Thus, back to All My GOP Gays because even back then, sources claim that everyone knew Foley was a closeted homosexual. In fact, prior to the election cycle of 2004, rumors crept out from behind the door that Foley was then considering a run for the Senate, for the seat that Martinez would take. The Florida GOP world knew that Foley’s closeted life would become an issue in such a highly publicized race. The GOP knew that they couldn’t square, or triangulate in not-such-a-pink sort of way, Foley’s life with their traditional values, especially when they were making the case against gay marriage, with every nutjob from insane-in-the-membrane Ted Nugent to Pat Robertson to Jerry Falwell. Several news organizations knew this information, too. Hence, no Senate for Foley.

What’s troubling here is that of course there are gays in the GOP. And I’m not just referring to Jeff Gannon/Guckert, the gay male escort who posed as a reporter—and I’m sure as other things as well—in the White House Press Room. Yes, believe it or not: there was a gay hooker near chimpy, not that there’s anything wrong with that, as Jerry Seinfeld has duly noted. But there are gay people in the GOP—learn it, deal with it. Just check out the Log Cabin Republicans, for heaven’s sake. Just check out Andrew Sullivan, for Will & Grace’s sake. Look at Lynn Cheney, for Deferment Dick’s sake.

Let’s face it: Gay people are us. They are in our families, our communities, our churches, our temples, and our mosques. They are us; we are them. They are part of our human family, and we should recognize this fact more often. What’s disturbing is how the GOP has systematically tried to strengthen its deathstar laser beams by brutally exploiting the very members that support their party.

On September 29, 2006, Mark Foley resigned, not because he was gay; rather, because he was embroiled in several allegations of inappropriate conduct with minors. And everybody knew, from the top down, or the top/bottom, in this case. The media then went nuts.

So as the GOP door ripped off its hinges, some ugly realities come before us. Who cares about Mr. Foley’s sexuality? Research abundantly shows that there is no correlation between one’s orientation and one’s inclination to engage in lewd acts with minors. In fact, like it or not, research compellingly singles out heterosexuals with an overwhelming trend of having sexual relations with minors. We do care, though, that Foley was messing around with underage pages, which is unconscionable. What’s even more unconscionable is how the GOP, the party of values, covered all this up, leading angry, irrational dems., who are still salivating revenge for the witch hunt of Billy Clinton, along a path of distraction.

But when you really think about this: is it a cover-up, or a gussied-up story to lead us astray? In this hot political climate, the answer is obvious. We are being led away from the more imminent horrors that have “come out” in the past couple of weeks. And these horrors all eddy around two black holes on this planet: Iraq and Washington.

While many people trotted along the Foley scandal path, there are several things they missed. This week, we learn that in Iraq the civilian body count hovers around 600,000, claims The Lancet, a highly respected British journal. This week’s Newsweek, with Foley on the cover and more about Iraq and Washington on the inside ironically, reports that last month there were 2,500 deaths in Iraq alone. Last week, we, Americans, lost 13 of our soldiers, just in seven days. And the sectarian violence—get a load of this shit—has spread to the Internet; go “inside” the Newsweek closet, bypassing the cover to learn more. So while everyone drools over Foley’s e-mails and IMs, they may want to refocus their interest on how the Iraqi death squads—not terrorists—use the Internet now as a way to kill. Like the bodies falling dead aboard the ship in Coleridge’s haunting, classic “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” bodies are dropping all over Iraq, both ours and theirs. But no need to worry: the other news this week that many ignored is that the Armed Services has, get this, dumb-downed entry requirements to attract more recruits. Several veterans and my dad tell me that is NOT a good sign.

A HUGE news item that many have missed, as they helplessly pitched camp inside the Foley closet, the news that may very well cause symbolic seismic eruptions and renegade jet streams, is the release of Tempting Faith by David Kuo, former deputy director of the Bush White House Faith-Based and Community initiatives. Talk about doors flying off their hinges. This brutal exposé shows, among many things, that Bush-Rove et al merely used the religious right for their political gain, calling many of its leaders “boorish” and “nuts.” That’s a surprise!

When will we learn? In Coleridge’s poem, the mariner relates the albatross around his neck with the enormous guilt he feels for randomly shooting at it. For him, it’s a horror. In our current state of politics, our leaders don’t want to acknowledge what they have shot at it or any “shooting” that’s going on, let alone redemption by wearing anything around their necks. For us, this is our horror, except, let’s keep it in the closet.

Friday, October 06, 2006


Thursday, October 05, 2006

(a special thanks to JM for the research on this entry)

Snap out of it! I’m tired of hearing Dems. whine and boo-hoo about the latest polling that shows Oedipus Lieberman up by ten points against Lamont. As my Italian grandmother Frieda, whom I loved dearly and who was a die-hard Republican, said: it’s not over ‘til the fat lady sings.

Granted, the polling doesn’t look all that good. And one would think that we, Dems., finally got rid of ol’ Joe when we threw his ass overboard on the primary day in August. But like the Rocky movies—yes, a new comes out this Fall—that never go away, Oedipus is back for yet another round.

A review of Connecticut political history, though, is much needed. During the 1988 senatorial election, before Joe morphed into the megalomaniacal Oedipus Lieberman, he was running against Lowell Weiker, a liberal republican—a quick lesson for my republican colleagues here: kids, you can be liberal and be a republican. Look at Lincoln Chafee. For Pete’s sake, based on this motley crew that controls the RNC, Barry Goldwater would be considered a left-wing radical. Back to ’88. Anyway, in October of that month, prior to the debates—and there were a couple, at least—on the 12th & 17th—Joe was running ten or so points behind Weiker.

With an endorsement from William F. Buckley, the arch conservative of National Review fame, Lieberman ran a campaign to the right of Weiker. Yes, so all this bullshit about Oepidus being the “true” liberal in his race against Lamont is for the birds. Anyway, Joe did amazingly well during the debates in '88, which gave him enough momentum, in less than a month’s time, to eclipse Weiker’s lead and win the seat. The point: it’s not over yet.


Pat Benatar taught babyboomers’ babies—my generation—a thing or two. Benatar along with Chrissie Hynde, Ann & Nancy Wilson of Heart, and Joan Jett were the hard rock chics of the late 70s/early 80s who took no shit, who railed against weak men and weak women, who were far from afraid of being called an angry bitch, and who helped shift, I believe, the gender paradigm to a more equitable position. These women blazed a path that allowed Madonna to do her thing, for Tina Turner to resurrect from the 60s, and for several other no-talent assholes to walk, stumble upon, or just crash and burn. Stunning audiences with a three-and-a-half octave voice, Benatar waged war against the very things she had to confront: abusive power, outdated stereotypes, and being told you can’t do what you can do. When we listened to the classically-trained Benatar downshift from operatic highs to grungy, raging howls, we heard Puccini arias meeting Led Zeppelin rifts. It was like nothing we ever heard before. The one lesson we learned from Benatar and her ilk was that if we were in a bad relationship, then get the hell out.

Why oh why are we in these bad relationships with our current politicians, the people whom we elect to represent us? As Bob Woodward’s latest book suggests about Bush and company, are we, too, in a catatonic state of denial? If so, can we ever wake up? Or is it more analogous to a question Dr. Phil often asks: if you had terrible food at a restaurant, would you go back again? Are we truly going “back again” for the same old shit-on-a-plate that made us sick the first time? Let’s face it: the answers to these questions are very scary, and, strangely enough, make a convincing case for viewing daytime soap operas as much needed therapy. Perhaps repeated witnessing of blatant melodrama might well lead us to the ugly realization that we are stuck in an awful relationship with politicians, and we need to get out.

Regardless of which side of the isle you are on, things aren’t going exactly well for us, the American citizens. Polls consistently show that both Republicans and Democrats desperately want a split from our current political relationships. It’s bad enough chimpy’s approval ratings fluctuate between below freezing—31 and a whopping 40 or so; Deferment Dick’s stagnate in the teens. This congress, who just gave itself another record raise and more days off, isn’t doing much better either. Their approval rating is in the toilet, and we should definitely flush. Rather than being responsive to the American people, they are more concerned with their own agendas, their lobbyist friends, and their sex scandals. You thought Bubba and Lewinsky were bad? This Foley scandal makes that sordid narrative look like an Aesop Fable.

But let’s take a look at why we should dump these chumps. The “main street” American economy continues to get ravaged by the “wall street” American economy; CEO salaries continue to skyrocket while the middle class hits the dirt. Our true earning power measured against steroid-like, Jose Consecoish inflation rates is lower than ever. Home-heating and gasoline prices, albeit on a convenient downswing for now, aren’t exactly helping matters. What will they be like in January? Health care costs are rising, while health care benefits are diminishing; we pay more for less. Education costs, despite one’s talents and achievements, provide a fast track for a lifetime of debt rather than a lifetime of opportunity. And our foreign policy should be more aptly called our Foreign Horror. Now reportedly under the scrutiny of Henry Kissinger, who, like something from an Edgar Allan Poe story, has crossed over from the dead, this policy continues to create bad relationships all over the fucking world. What are we pretending not to know?

One would think that a much needed break-up is in the air, or at least a deordorizing stick-up is. But just like all the abusive relationships we have witnessed in soap operas or in our own lives, some people just can’t help themselves. They rationalize; they justify; they try to explain that while they should flush the crap down the toilet, they would much rather allow it to stay around and stink up the whole place. Gives new meaning to the notion of something being rotten in Denmark, doesn’t it? But there are more important questions to ask.

Why as an electorate, are we willing to stay in these bad relationships when all the evidence convincingly shows that, well, we are in very bad relationships? Do we like the abuse because we’ve become so used to it? Why don’t we vote in our own best interest? Or do we need to be “smacked out of it” by Benatar and the Wilson sisters of Heart to tell these barracudas: You Better Run?