A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

My Photo
Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Friday, November 30, 2012

Are You Still Here, Texas?

The back story to the new fad among the electorate who voted for the loser — i.e., secession — would involve a brief history of the Presidential elections since 2000.

We all remember the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al “The Woodman” Gore. This was the vote that made Florida the center of the media universe for a few weeks. The final result hung in the balance of a few thousand votes, and the decision of whether or not to do a recount of those few thousand votes. The argument ended up going all the way to the Supreme Court, who essentially stopped the recount which gave the White House to Bush. Republican conservatives cheered; Democrats and liberals felt cheated.

2004 election: ditto. Bush won re-election, and Democrats were even sorer than they were in 2000. A few high profile liberals talked of leaving the country.

2008: Barack Obama became the first African-American (not Kenyan) elected President. Democrats and liberals rejoiced, while Republicans and conservatives felt cheated. Many of the sore losers would spend the next four years trying to de-legitimize Obama’s presidency by demanding to see his real birth certificate.

2012: Obama wins re-election. Liberals rejoice in the afterglow of democracy’s victory over obscene amounts of campaign spending. More than a few sore losers (actually several hundred thousand sore losers) now openly discuss leaving the union because they just cannot stand living within the same national border as Barack Obama.

So now many Americans are learning (many of us for the first time) that the White House website has a place where you can petition the government, your government, your desire to secede from the sovereign United States. Most of those signing these petitions live in the southern states, which voted decidedly red during the election just past. And many of these signatories live in the state of Texas, which doesn’t surprise anyone.

What a fantastic convenience! Our own government is so accommodating that they give us, the people, a way to air our desire to leave. And if enough people agree with us and they want to leave too, then the White House will actually consider the request (or so their friends tell us).

Our ancestors in the old country could never dream of having this convenience in their lives. If they chose to speak out against their country’s leadership — which was oftentimes dictatorial in nature — they could not just sign a petition and pack their bags. In the old country, the act of secession was accomplished in a series of steps:

STEP ONE:  Reject your place in the societal hierarchy and speak out against the leaders governing over you.

STEP TWO: Answer a knock on your door in the middle of the night, where you will be compelled to go with the people knocking on your door.

STEP THREE: Your family, loved ones, and friends never see or hear from you again. Ever.

STEP FOUR: Dictatorial government against which you spoke out lives happily ever after. The end!

STEP FIVE: There is no Step Five! What part of “The End” don’t you understand?

The latest secession movement gained momentum shortly after the election, but has either peaked or the media just lost interest in covering it. Those in favor want their states to leave the country and be ruled the way they see fit. They would still live and work in their same neighborhoods, towns, cities, and counties, but they wouldn’t have to answer to the US federal government.

Those of us in favor of seeing those people leave have a different interpretation of secession. Many of us believe that the secessionists should be allowed to leave the country if that would make them happy, but if they left the country then they should bodily leave the country. In other words: let your bodies go, but the land stays!

We here at arteejee would really like to see all Americans get along with those other Americans who might not share the same philosophies. We would like to see that if we didn’t also realize that this belief is, oh, how would the French put it, oh yes, a big fat lie.

So, where would they all go? Um, who cares? Okay, let me suggest Puerto Rico. This month, the voters there decided that they didn’t like the present form of government, but not enough of them voted for the idea of statehood. So, secessionists, you could go there and have a chance to tip the balance of persuasion away from statehood. It would be a win-win for you, although I’m not sure that the people already living in Puerto Rico would appreciate my suggestion.

Oh, you secessionists would love Puerto Rico, especially you cranky Texans. Puerto Rico, or PR as it’s known to its friends, is a lovely, tropical paradise, with palm trees and miles of beaches. And many of the people already living there speak a foreign language, which should make the newly arrived immigrants from Texas feel right at home.

Who would have thought that re-electing Barack Obama would make Mitt Romney’s idea of self-deportation a reality?

It is in this spirit that we say to the secessionists: Adios! Au revoir! So long, farewell, auf weidershen, good-bye! DON’T LET THE BORDER HIT YOU IN THE ASS ON YOUR WAY OUT!

And if you change your mind and decide to come back, we won’t be leaving the light on for you!

(Thank you for reading! What? Are you still here?)

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Special Charlie Brown Special

While perusing the television schedule for the annual showing of It’s A Wonderful Life, I discovered another interesting phenomenon of the holiday season: the Charlie Brown special.

At one time, there were only one or two (A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown), or so I thought. A quick check of the Internet and I learned further that there are now 45 Peanuts specials.

Obviously, I’ve missed a few over the years.

This year marks the second annual showing of Happiness Is a Warm Blanket. The plot summary is thus: the Peanuts gang tries to help Linus overcome his dependency on his security blanket. The title sums up the whole idea nicely and ties it to the iconic Peanuts phrase “Happiness Is a Warm Puppy”. I think the more succinct title, It’s an Intervention, Charlie Brown could have worked as well, but only on a more cynical level.

Yes, a nice fuzzy feel good title that will lure the Black Friday weary shoppers to their televisions, where they sit comfortably with their loved ones, munching a bowl of popcorn, and reminiscing about the days when the specials were brought to you by Dolly Madison cakes, who were swallowed up by Hostess, who are now heading for that big corporate graveyard in the sky.

Cupcake makers can fade, but Charlie Brown will be a blockhead forever.

In any case, it spurred my imagination to conjure up other titles for Peanuts specials which should be taped very soon. Herewith are my suggestions for future Peanuts specials:

Your Dog is a Bi-Polar, Delusional, Psychotic Mess Who Thinks He’s Human, Charlie Brown!

You’re Peppermint Patty’s Beard, Charlie Brown!

Lucy Is A Bitch, Charlie Brown!

Peppermint Patty and Marcie’s Adventures in Provincetown!

Schroeder is an Unemployed Liberal Arts Graduate, Charlie Brown!

Oh No! The Mean Cat Next Door Swallowed Woodstock,Charlie Brown!

It’s Peppermint Patty’s and Marcie’s Civil Union, Charlie Brown!

Don’t Let Snoopy Buy That AK-47, Charlie Brown!

(Thank you for reading! Snoopy! Good to see you! Um...root beer?)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving (For What It’s Worth)

It is time once again for America to pause in our daily rituals of economic success and express gratitude for what we have. In this respect, it’s a wonderful holiday, and has been for over 150 years. It has always been timed to coincide with the end of the growing season, a celebration of the bountiful harvest. In more recent years, it has also been an excuse for parades, more sporting events (football in particular), and of course the beginning of the Christmas advertising deluge.

This year will be different. The celebrations for Thanksgiving — families gathering for a big feast — will have to be shortened this year. It will have to end early as the bulls of entrepreneurial capitalism crash the psychological barrier of midnight Thanksgiving night and start the Christmas buying rush before the clocks strike twelve.

We should have seen this coming. Just a few short years ago, stores started opening before their usual 9a opening, and advertised they would open at 6a. That’s 6a, in the morning, before even the sun thinks about getting up. Then, when that didn’t satisfy the insatiable appetite for greed, the stores went to opening at 5a, then — aw, the hell with the night altogether — let’s open at midnight. Now this year, even that last vestige of decency is being brought down as the titans of retailing trample over the last hours of Thanksgiving. Stores are “opening” at 10:00p, some as early as 8:00p.

Why don’t we just run roughshod over the damn bird too?

On this sour note, we try to find something to be thankful for on this holiday. The following list is just holiday suggestions for what all of us could and/or should be thankful.

We should be thankful that we have men and women in our lives who sacrifice years of their lives to protect our way of life in such far-flung, seemingly God-forsaken places as Afghanistan and Pakistan. Hopefully, soon, their families will be able to express gratitude that their loved ones have returned home.

We should be thankful for the work by thousands of others as they restore power and rebuild sections of the east coast hit by Hurricane Sandy. Certainly, everyday life has been altered and interrupted, but the work by utility workers, police, fire people and other first responders, government emergency workers, and various charities will hopefully make this interruption temporary. We should be thankful too for the leaders in our government who risk their own standings within their respective parties to reach across the aisle and do the work they were elected to do by helping the storm victims.

We should be thankful for the many opportunities of which we can take advantage. We can move around freely, change jobs when needed, and live our lives the way we choose to live them. Certainly there’s always room for improvement, but we can be thankful that we have the intellectual capability to determine what is and what isn’t an improvement. Slowly but surely, progress is being seen in several areas of America’s social issues. We’ll get there, but it will take time to achieve the right goals.

We should be thankful that, for all its rancor and downright nastiness, America survived another election cycle. We listened to the ideas and the candidates,  sorted out what was right and wrong for us, went to the polls, and completed our ballots at the appointed times with minimal interference from several state governments. We should be thankful that once again we demonstrated to ourselves and the world that democracy works.

On a personal note, I am grateful for the loved ones with whom I will be able to spend time during these upcoming holidays. I still have an aging uncle in my life, who I try to visit with some regularity at the nursing home a short distance from my house. I am also grateful that my cousin finally realized a goal which will extend her life expectancy; last week she underwent a double lung transplant. I am sure that her family is grateful today that this operation finally happened after years of waiting.

I am grateful for those close to me in my house: Anne Marie and our cats Meredith and Nyla. I still miss Stephen, but Nyla does so much to filling the void that Stephen’s passing created. I am also grateful that my mom is still with us and that my brother and his family are doing well. I should also note my thankfulness for my father, a man who loved me dearly, taught me all that he could teach me about life, and instilled in me a sense of tolerance for the beliefs of others by never saying anything racist or xenophobic when I was around. For that reason alone, I am grateful that he was a part of my life. Thank you, Dad, wherever you are…

(Thank you for reading.  Happy Thanksgiving to all!)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sour Grape Whine

Well, Mitt, let me shake your hand and say you’ve been a great contestant running for high office. I know you spent six years to get to this point and your friends spent hundreds of millions of dollars to help you win the office of the Presidency, and, well, you know, there can only be one winner. So thanks for playing, sorry we don’t have any lovely parting gifts, but that’s the American electoral system for you. What can I say, other than its winner take all. I know it’s not fair, but it is what it is.

Now that he’s gone, we can continue getting the ship of state in order again. We can…now what’s the matter? Who’s on the phone? Mitt Romney? How can he be on the phone already? He just left!

What’s he saying? I hope he’s being mature about his loss; you know, saying things like he gave the fight all he had, and he just has to face the fact that all of his efforts came up short, and the best man won. There’s no shame in admitting this. He should say this and say how we should move forward, trust the decision of the electoral majority, and all get behind our leaders to solve this nation’s problems.

He’s saying what?

Romney believes Obama won the election because he gave away gifts? Like what sort of gifts? Free contraceptives to young women? Free health care in perpetuity to black and Hispanic voters? Amnesty for the children of illegal immigrants was another gift to Hispanic voters?

WTF? So much for maturity!

Romney made these claims in a post-election conference call with his major donors, which I can only assume was intended to debrief his loyal supporters. Sure, he had to go back to his investors and justify why their large outlay couldn’t accomplish getting him elected. I realize he’s in an awkward position right now, but seriously, did he honestly believe that these comments would not be leaked for general media consumption? Didn’t the man learn anything from the experience when his comments on the 47% were leaked to Mother Jones magazine?

Oh, Mitt! Can’t you just go quietly into the night like Obama’s predecessor, George, um, something or other? Or Al Gore? Okay, Gore didn’t go too quietly, with his campaign taking their argument for a recount in Florida all the way to the Supreme Court. 
Forget I mentioned Al Gore. Bad example!

Republican leaders eager to defend their latest nominee for the presidency have rushed forward to support Romney’s comments. Wait, let me restate that last sentence so that it is more factual. Republican leaders, eager to distance themselves from a loser, have rushed forward to condemn Romney’s comments. Okay, that’s more like it!

My, how quickly they turned against him! It would be nice to think that comments, like Governor Bobby Jindal's calling Romney’s words “absolutely wrong”, is rooted in a right thinking concern for people’s feelings, but we here at arteejee must admit that we are also cynical liberals. Thus, we must allow the possibility that the condemnations from Jindal et al are also rooted in a need to proclaim their political relevance. After all, 2016 is only four short years away.

Romney really put his foot in his mouth this time. True, he lost the election, but he still could have contributed to the American political scene. Two former presidential aides actually suggested the idea that Romney’s expertise could be called upon to aid the Obama administration in getting America out of the economic mess it is in. These aides, writing in The Washington Post, proposed a dream partnership of Romney and President Clinton to advise the administration a la the Simpson-Bowles committee. Now, with Romney’s “gifts” gaffe coming to light, he probably should not hold his breath waiting for this invitation from the White House.

So all this begs the question: where’s my gift? I voted for Obama, and I didn’t get any sugar! And how come, according to Romney, Hispanics got two gifts: free health care and immigration amnesty?

Actually, I’m kidding: I did get a gift. It came nearly two years ago when Obamacare was passed. I can sleep better at night now secure in the knowledge that, in the not too distant future, healthcare insurance carriers will not be allowed to turn down prospective applicants on the basis of having a pre-existing condition. I know this may not sound like much — it can’t be wrapped up in a pretty little box like a female contraceptive — but I believe it could be very useful to me sometime in the future.

Perhaps Romney should follow my lead, and get some sleep. Maybe once he’s rested, he’ll realize that he should not have said such stupid things that the President won re-election because he gave out freebies to his base. The comments were offensive and counter-productive for the future of the Republican Party.

Yes, Mitt should get off the phone and serve a time-out!

(Thank you for reading. CORRECTION: In a previous entry, I reported an incorrect figure for the amount of money Karl Rove’s Super Pacs lost when they backed Romney. I said he lost $100 million; it was actually $300 million. Okay, so obviously he not only treated everyone to lunch at Chick-Fil-A, but he also sprang for dinner too! And Mike Huckabee went back for seconds both times! In any event, I stand corrected.)