Sunday, August 30, 2015

Seeing Things: Or, The Eyes Have It

I'll warn you right now, this is a blog post about me again and it involves a medical procedure.  No icky stuff--I wouldn't do that to you--but I thought I should explain why I'm not writing much these days.
It's nothing, really, but I can't see to read or write.  I had cataract surgery last fall and things were going well until about a month ago, when I noticed I was trying to read with my left eye closed.  Again. That's what sent me to my optometrist last year, a visit that escalated beyond my control and suddenly I was one among the multitudes who could boast of having cataracts removed.   (I know.  Pathetic.  I never paid much attention to those people, either, until I was one of them.)
So two days ago I had my eyes zapped with lasers in a procedure that was supposed to bust up the shadowy stuff that had grown on the backs of my eyes--something that happens to 20 to 30% of all cataract patients.  (Who knew?)
But two days later, I'm still closing or covering my left eye in order to read or write.  I haven't loopopeyeked in the mirror to confirm this, but I suspect I'm looking a lot like Popeye but without the pipe.  (I yam what I yam and that's what I yam.)
So if you're still here reading this you're probably wondering why I have to close one eye in order to read or write.  Right?  It's because I have a lazy eye.  Amblyopia. (I like to call it a wandering eye.)    My eyes don't work well together and are constantly attempting to go it alone.  It's not a problem as long as my vision is close to normal in both eyes, and, with glasses, it usually is.  But now it's not.
My wandering eye causes my  depth perception to be a bit off, and I don't see 3-D.  It only causes problems when I try to park in tight spaces or when I have to pay extra for the 3-D version of "Avatar" or "Frozen" because my grandkids want to see it that way.  The effect is lost on me.  I feel left out.  And freakish.
The Doc warned me that the laser zapping would leave floaters and I'm hoping that's all it is now.  It's a chore to read or write and they are my two favorite things to do in the world. But last night I watched "The Theory of Everything", the movie about Stephen Hawking,  (Eddie Redmayne's performance was just astounding)  and, honestly, I have nothing to complain about.
So I'll stop now.
See ya.
(Cross-posted at Constant Commoner)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Todd Courser: You're Sure That's Just Tea You're Drinking?

Here's a question:  If you were a state lawmaker (male, married) known for sniffy, holier-than-thou, just awful Tea Party politics and you were having an affair with another sniffy holier-than-thou Tea Party lawmaker (female, married) and you realized you were about to get caught, how would you handle it?  Would you think, seriously, that the best way to deflect from the real affair was to invent a phony story about being accused of a liaison with a male prostitute and then get really pissed at the person spreading that story, even though that person was you?

If you answered "no", you can pride yourself on the fact that you are among the multitudes.  Only one person on the entire surface of this earth can (and would) answer "yes", and his name, if you haven't heard, is Todd Courser.

You couldn't have missed the stories coming out about this whole tawdry affair.  (Don't you love that word, "tawdry"?  Couldn't you see someone like Todd Courser using it?)  The stories are everywhere now, all over the national airwaves, with our friends at Eclectablog staying right on top of it so we don't have to. (updates galore!)

(Photo:  Dale G. Young/AP)
Todd Courser appeared on the scene in Lansing on January 1 of this year, when he was sworn in as a Freshman legislator (along with said inamorata and all-around legislative partner in crime, Cindy Gamrat).  Before the month was out he was throwing his weight around about his office furniture (he didn't like it) and about the seating arrangement in the House (he was offended by his placement).

Twenty days after he and his pal Gamrat were sworn in, they were already responding to the governor's State of the State message.
"Greetings friends and fellow Patriots, We want to first thank God and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for our salvation and His abounding and generous gifts, blessings and His grace, and mercy on our state and nation. It is important to acknowledge that it is only by His power and might that our state and nation remain. It is not the bills or the laws or the regulations that make our state and nation great, rather, it is recognizing who God is and submitting to His authority and dominion in our lives and as a state and nation; without this acknowledgement and also valuing God’s gift of life, then all other steps to set our state on the right course will be amiss."
From there they went on to the hazards of a bloated government,  the constant collecting and shameful misuse of our taxes, the need to move away from "cradle to grave" government care-taking (As if!)  and an entreaty to trust in the Lord.

Which led, of course, to this:
America is a Christian nation founded on Judeo-Christian values and God has given us incredible freedom and opportunity.  Let us enjoy all that we have been blessed with as we carry forth with the responsibility to bestow these same freedoms and opportunities to future generations.
They did actually mention corporate welfare, and for that I was forced to give them brownie points.  Which I promptly took away after reading their core liberties in something called The Contract for Liberty Project.  (See State of the State response, linked here, in case you missed it above.)  The list begins with "The freedom to be born" and "The freedom to defend ourselves" and ends with "Free from government intrusions" and "Free and independent states".

And we're paying them for this.

Ordinarily, I'm one of those people who doesn't give a flying foofoo about who's sleeping with who.  Whom.  Whatever.  It's a personal matter, affecting only the injured private parties, and as long as it doesn't affect their ability to govern it's none of my business.  In this case, I'm making an exception. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat are such insufferable Right Wing pseudo-religious hypocrites, I can't think of anyone in my state who deserves this kind of exposure more.   It couldn't happen to two more narrow-minded, ill-equipped, pretend-politicians.

Joshua Cline, a former staffer for both Courser and Gamrat, quit in disgust in April, just months after the new session began.  He recently agreed to an interview with the Detroit Free Press. The article  focused, of course, on the inside story about the romantic hi-jinks, leaving what I thought was the real gem for later:
Cline, a Lapeer County native, knew Courser before he became a legislator and worked on previous campaigns for the Lapeer Republican. So, he said, he was shocked to become a staffer and encounter a boss who treated his staffers with disrespect and adopted a 'haughty and elitist' attitude.
"We had a staff meeting in early January and [Courser] said, 'Let's get it straight boys. We're not here to pass legislation. We're here for the messaging moments and media,' Cline said. He said the decision to quit was wrenching."
So the newly elected taxpayer-employed public servant thought he'd found the perfect pulpit.  Fancy that.

But when the feces hit the fan,  Todd couldn't leave well enough alone.  He couldn't just go into his closet and pray quietly (Matthew 6:6) like Cindy apparently did.   No, he had to take to Facebook (where he seems to spend a lot of time) and do a little crying out loud
My lack of righteousness does not negate God’s righteousness –
In all of this – it is nothing short of a massive earthquake for me and my family and those who have supported me and even to those who hate me; thru this a series of common themes have emerged and many will take days weeks months and generations to see the full fruit of, but one that is clear is that I am now the poster boy for those who would say “God is dead,” or “ Christians are failures,” or “Christians are hypocrites.”
I didn't say that.  Did you?

Two days ago Todd told his Facebook followers that there would be an announcement on his website. Naturally, everyone thought for sure he was going to resign.  But, no.  No, he didn't.  Instead, he announced that he was requesting an Attorney General investigation into the purchase of an expensive and unnecessary legislative office building in downtown Lansing.  (You go, Todd!)  But at the very bottom of the announcement--easy to miss if you neglected to read the whole thing--was this sentence:  "I am also working on a statement in regards to this current call for my censure..."

Oh dear.  This doesn't look good.  But then neither does Todd's website page, where his Fourth of July greeting called for Privatizing Marriage:
We are living in the last days...
2 Chronicle 7:14 - if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sins, and heal their land…Please sign the Religious Freedom Petition Now!
At least I think that's what he was doing.  I don't exactly know how one goes about keeping marriage private and still legal.  If it's marriage in the eyes of God, they tried that.  Stamp your foot three times, turn your back on your spouse, and the marriage is annulled.  (Male foot-stampers and back-turners only.)

Betcha Todd wishes there had been something like that in place for affairs. Huh?

(Cross-posted at Dagblog and Liberaland.  Featured on Crooks and Liars MBRU)

Friday, August 7, 2015

The GOP Debates: That's Entertainment

Yesterday, some 16 months before the next presidential election, the Republicans launched the first in a l-o-o-n-g series of candidate debates.  Four hours later, the second one took place.

Photo credit:  John Minchillo/AP
Because there are 17--count 'em--17 candidates already, Fox "News",the organizers of the event, decided to split the contenders into two debates.  The first one, at 5 PM EST, is being politely called "the Happy Hour" debate.  Others outside the media are calling it "the Children's Table" debate or "the Losers" debate, since the seven who polled last were relegated to a single hour in the middle of the day on a stage facing an auditorium filled with empty seats.  (They couldn't afford to hire audience members?  They couldn't use canned applause?  They couldn't at least keep the cameras from recording the sorry spectacle of a huge room devoid of real people?)

But the seven underlings gamely assembled on stage to make their case for being accepted as likely prospects for the highest office in the land: Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki, Lindsey Graham, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, and some guy named Gilmore, who apparently was or is a governor of some state.  They were the warm-up act for the Big Boys Show but you wouldn't know it by watching them.  Each of the seven, bless their hearts, answered the questions as if this were a serious audition for a real part.

They all agreed that Planned Parenthood was evil and those videos, to the rest of us so clearly doctored to put PP in a bad light, proved it.  Continued government funding of that odious organization is reason enough to, yes, shut down the government!  (Jindal, Fiorina, everyone else.)

The consensus seems to be that Carly Fiorina won the first but least debate and it must be so:  She was the first to diss Hillary and say the magic word, "Benghazi".

Lindsey Graham attacked the attacks on the unborn and then went on to suggest that, if he becomes president, the already born should be prepared to serve his cause in a war of his making, even to the point of losing their, um, lives.

George Pataki says the PP tapes show "a hideous disrespect for life" but he's okay with Roe v. Wade.

(Staying with the sex theme, in the second debate Kasich drew gasps when he said some of his best friends are gay, and if his daughter said "she was one", he'd be okay with that.)

Rick Santorum wants to cut welfare and social programs and stick with the proven:  Trickle down.

If the Gilmore guy said anything, I missed it.  Sorry.

So 9 PM rolled around and the main event began.  All I can say is:  Donald Trump.  He stole the show.  First thing, he was the only one on stage who wouldn't pledge not to run as an Independent if he didn't win.  If he should win the primary, he said warmly, he would definitely run as a Republican, but if he doesn't win, he said coldly, all bets are off.  (The audience booed, but never mind--later on, when Megyn Kelly went after him over his piggish comments about women (see below), he had them at "Rosie O'Donnell".

I so wanted to hear his answer to "If God speaks to you, what does he say?",  but before it got to him, that line of questioning morphed, oddly, into the Democrats and the VA and their terrible treatment of patients.   (No mention of the terrible treatment of the military when Republicans push for more boots on the ground while under-funding necessary , life-enhancing veterans programs.)

Marco Rubio used his last few moments to sincerely say God has blessed the Republicans with candidates while the Dems can't even find one.

The night was big and there were a lot of words. Trump and Paul nearly got into a hair-pulling fight a couple of times.  Huckabee and Cruz, as comics go, were second bananas to Trump.  Jeb Bush was there.  They all agreed that their goal was to do in the Democrats and eliminate every single program or policy put in place during Obama's eight years. (Which should have sounded scary but didn't for some reason.)

But clear winners?  You're asking the wrong person.  I'm a Democrat; they're Republicans.  I don't care.  I only came for the laughs.

More on the show:

From Vanity Fair,  The 14 Wildest Moments.

Trump says of course he won the debate!

National Memo calls it The Debate The Republicans Deserved.

What Megyn Kelly said to Trump.  What Trump said to Megyn Kelly.  Priceless.

(Also seen at Dagblog and Liberaland.)