Friday, October 31, 2008

The TGIF Sex Blog [Sexual Positions]

¡Hola! Everybody…
You know? I am so sick of people coming to the defense of Sarah Palin. It’s as if we don’t want to hold people accountable any more. What? We can’t point out the fact that she couldn’t name a Supreme Court case, or a newspaper she reads regularly? Is it negative to note she had no clue as to the meaning of the “Bush Doctrine”? I’m simply flabbergasted that some people are angry about this and try to paint Palin as a victim of the “libruhl” media.

Give me a fuckin break!

BTW, Does Joe (who’s not really a “Joe”) the Plumber (who’s not really a plumber) have a real job?

::blank stare::

* * *

-=[ Sexual Positions ]=-

The Kama Sutra Fallacy

[Note: if you’re easily offended by graphic sexual images and discussions, you really shouldn’t be reading this. If you take exception to this, please feel free to delete me or to ignore my Friday posts, which are dedicated to things sexual]

In a twelfth-century love manual, an Indian sage describes 32 different sexual positions (which he lovingly called “internal enjoyments”). These 32 positions don’t come close to covering all the possibilities. There has been a long and ancient tradition -- from old Sanskrit erotic literature, Ovid, and the sex sages of Arabia -- of attempting to determine the total number of possible positions for human sexual intercourse. The potential is, needless to say, mind-boggling. One sexologist actually counted a shocking 529.

Not that it matters. The whole practice of counting sexual positions, sometimes called the kama sutra fallacy, is a useless pastime. What really matters here is that we all tend to fall into boring sexual routines, and braking out of them, exploring sexual frontiers, is usually a good idea.

Let’s a take a short tour…

The Missionary Position

There are probably a few people left who still believe that the missionary position (face-to-face, man on top) is the only right and true position for sexual intercourse, though it’s rarely ever depicted in ancient erotic art. (As a side note, the oldest known painting of human sexual intercourse, dating back to 3200 bce, depicts a woman on top.) In fact, in some cultures, this position is considered peculiar. Anthropologist Manilowski described how some Trobriand Islanders, perhaps precursors to late-night TV comedians, would gather around the campfire and mimic the positions used by missionaries causing their friends to howl with laughter.

The missionary position is certainly the most common one in our culture, as the late Dr. Kinsey discovered in his monumental sex surveys of the 1940s and 1950s. He estimated that as much as 70 percent of the U.S. population may never have tried intercourse any other way. And this position does have some advantages.

Some psychologists point out, for example, that there are times when a man likes to dominate a woman; there are times that women like to be “taken” by a man. The missionary position facilitates the fulfillment of this domination/ surrender need. In addition, if the goal is pregnancy, this position renders the vagina like an upright cup, increasing the chances of retaining semen.

But the position has some major drawbacks…

It’s the worst possible position for the male because he is supporting his weight with his smallest, weakest muscles and leads to early fatigue. In addition, if the he is a lot heavier than she is, he tends to squash her. In addition, because he’s using his hands to support himself, he can’t directly stimulate her clitoris.

Women, however, suffer the biggest disadvantage of the missionary position because the clitoris is only indirectly (if at all) by the penis, making it difficult for women to reach orgasm. The Hite Report reported that of 1,844 women surveyed, only 30 percent reported regularly reaching orgasm during intercourse -- in large part because of the popularity of the missionary position.

The Coital Alignment Technique

For most women, the key to orgasm is clitoral stimulation. One way of overcoming the lack of clitoral stimulation is to employ the coital alignment technique.

Instead of entering her straight on when using the missionary position, the man “rides high,” so that his pubic bone is applying pressure directly to her mons (the fatty bulge above her vagina, beneath which lies the clitoris). By settling into a gentle, mutual rhythm in which he rocks back and forth over her clitoris, rather than just focusing on thrusting, she gets stimulation where she most needs it (I once wrote a blog describing a rotational form of intercourse that helps tremendously in this area).

Women who learn the coital alignment technique, report being able to reach orgasm more often and more pleasurably, and are more likely to climax simultaneously with their partner. The important part is to keep continuous and steady pressure on the clitoris.

Woman on Top

But you can skip the missionary position altogether and let the woman get on top. Some people feel a cultural barrier for the woman to be in the “superior” position, that it’s an affront to a man’s authority or suggests some latent homosexuality, or some other nonsense.

Get over it.

It’s pleasure that should be in the superior position. Generally speaking, the woman on top (“yee-haw!”) position allows her to fine-tune the stimulation of her clitoris and in that way, more easily achieve orgasm. Only the female on top and lateral (side-by-side) coital positions allow direct stimulation of the clitoris easily. Masters and Johnson state that the clitoral response develops more rapidly and with greater intensity with the woman on top position than in any other female position. Which is a rather stuffy way of saying that it helps a woman get to where she wants to go (“ride ‘em cowgirl!”)

Side by Side

Making love while the man and woman are lying face to face and side y side is sometimes called the African position because it is widely practiced there. It has several advantages: It’s less strenuous for both partners. It especially helpful when either partner is sick or debilitated. It’s also useful during the last weeks of pregnancy. And like the woman on top position, it helps men lat longer than the missionary position.

Rear Entry

Rear entry, or the “Doggie Style,” is my preferred sexual position because I have such a great appreciation for a woman’s behind. In this position, I am able to enjoy the esthetically pleasing curves of a woman’s ass, smell her muskiness, and actually see my penis in the act of penetration -- all sexually exciting for me. Rear entry is also a little raunchy and animalistic, points that are also sexually appealing to me.

In addition, rear entry offers many benefits. It’s the position, for example where penetration is deepest and women who have an erotically sensitive “G-spot” say that it’s most easily reached when the man enters from behind. Also, the rear position frees my hands to stimulate and caress the other parts of a woman, such as her clitoris or her breasts (and I can slap that ass, and yank on the hair, while yelling out “Who’s yo daddy!” too! LOL!)

The Oceanic Position

In terms maximizing the greatest sensual pleasure, the Oceanic position, is considered the best. It’s also a position most people in our culture can’t perform because, as chair sitters, we would find it terribly uncomfortable. In this position, the woman lies on her back with her knees raised and the man enters her while squatting between her legs, like a baseball catcher.

Another variation is practiced in the Truk Islands of Micronesia. The man sits on the ground with his legs wide open and stretched out in front of him. The woman faces him, kneeling. The man places the head of his penis just inside of the opening of her vagina. He does not really insert it, but moves the penis up and down with his hand in order to stimulate her clitoris. As the couple reach climax, the man draws the woman toward him and completes the insertion of the penis.

I didn’t get into the sitting and standing positions, but suffice it to say that in order for sex not to get routine or stale, it’s important to experiment and explore your sexual horizons with your partner.

Love,

Eddie

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Your Greatest Fear

¡Hola! Everybody…
Loved the Obama presentation last night! What a truly inspiring leader. McCain’ts response?

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!

Bitch!

I’m busy today, in a rush. I’ll be running my women’s prison workshop and scarce for most of the day.

* * *

-=[ Your Greatest Fear ]=-


"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.' We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we subconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Marianne Williamson

-- from A Return to Love

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Fundamentalism Virus

¡Hola! Everybody…
I’m tired today…

* * *

-=[ The Myth of the Ten Commandments ]=-

“I hope I will live to see the day when… we won’t have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them.”

-- Rev. Jerry Falwell


“Secular schools can never be tolerated because such a school has no religious instruction… consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith… We need believing people.”

-- Adolf Hitler, April 26, 1933 speech during negotiations leading to Nazi-Vatican Concordan

t

“God wants me to run for president.”

George W. Bush, 2000 presidential campaign


I am convinced that I am acting as an agent of our Creator. By fighting the jews, I am doing the Lord’s work.”

Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

Most don’t notice that I call my blog [un]Common Sense. There’s a reason for that and mostly id a tip of the hat to Thomas Paine. I call it [un]Common Sense because of my firm belief that nothing even resembling common sense exists. Today, I’m going to rely a little on Paine and the men he influenced…

As much as we like to deify mythologize them, the founders of this nation were imperfect men. Many were slave-owners. Others, like Paine, wrote anti-slavery pamphlets, while Franklin organized the fist anti-slavery societies. Forget women -- they weren’t even on the radar screens.

These men, contrary to what the rabid will tell you, were far from being uniformly Christian. They were freethinkers, agnostics, atheists, Christians, Freemasons, and Deists. Whatever their religious affiliation or lack thereof, they fought for a secular state and for freedom of belief.

Today, the greatest danger we face is not from Islamic extremists or “Jihadists” as Bush likes to call them. The greatest danger we face as a society is from right within our boundaries and it takes the form of a virulent orthodoxy, a state of mind characterized by intolerance and a belligerent anti-reason. It’s called fundamentalism and it has managed to overtake our government and threatens the freedoms we take for granted.

Such is the influence of these fundamentalists that when asked, almost all of the major republican presidential candidates expressed a disbelief in evolutionary science. Indeed, once a leader in virtually every research field, the United States now educates fewer scientists each year, and now imports more high-tech products than it exports.

We have a hick running on the presidential ticket, whose motto is “Drill, baby, drill,” (referring to drilling in the Alaskan wilderness) in the face of a vast scientific consensus that fossil fuels constitute the single greatest factor in climate change. She also, when pressed, couldn’t identify one major newspaper she reads as a way of forming her worldview.

She wears her ignorance with pride. And you vote for her, think she’s “cute” and emblematic of women all over our country. The rest of the world watches as we make collective asses of ourselves.

Let me be clear: the Ten Commandments are unconstitutional and have nothing to do with our legal system or the foundations our freedoms are based on. By any name the Ten Commandments intersects with U.S. law on only three issues: murder, theft, and perjury. In addition, all these crimes had already been forbidden in recorded history long before any Judeo-Christian cultures. In fact, the author of the Declaration of independence himself refuted the false claim about the basis of U.S. law when he outlined the history of common law in a letter to Thomas Cooper in 1814.

The constitution contains not one reference to a deity or to any supernatural powers. This was not an oversight; it was crafted in that manner on purpose.

People? It’s very simple:

First Commandment (or Decalogue):

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

First Amendment:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof… ”

Period.

Love,

Eddie

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Corporate Rule

¡Hola! Everybody…
Whew! Yesterday’s revelation about a foiled assassination attempt on Obama really threw me for a loop. By the time I got home, after arguing with a co-worker about its significance, I was in attack mode.

Whatever the merit of my stance, however, it doesn’t justify my hurling words intended to hurt and causing division. So today, I take a deep breath and get back on the wave… my apologies to D for coming out the side of neck with her on Black Hornet’s blog.

* * *

-=[ Fascism ]=-

“Fascism should be more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”

-- Giovanni Gentile


It amazes me to no end to continue to hear (without challenge from print and TV media) the ridiculous assumption that we should continue to give mind-boggling tax breaks to corporate elites (welfare for the rich). Even more confounding is the fact that a significant portion of the American electorate will vote against their economic interests.

However, it shouldn’t be so confounding; we are halfway towards becoming a fascist state. You might say I’m being dramatic, or that I have lost my bearings and I would respond that you’ve had your head stuck in the sand too long. Take the blinders off for a moment and let’s look at the sate of our democracy for a moment. Pretend this isn’t America and you tell me if I’m off…

First, let me establish, and I think most sane people will agree, that corporations today wield an enormous amount of influence over our government. It’s evident in the way elections are run and how our economic and social policies are created. Bankruptcy laws were written by credit card companies, signed into law as is. Corporations influence our environmental policies for the most part. We spend more on our military than the ten next countries combined, a policy results in billions of profits for corporations (more welfare). The list goes on. Everywhere we look today, we see the handiwork of corporations, of the mindset of profits before people.

That is not a democracy. This is not what people have fought and died for all these hundreds of years.

Roosevelt’s government came to power in the 1930s in the wake of the Great Depression. While he couldn’t know he was going to fight a war in Europe, he did know and planned to fight a war in America -- a war on what he called the “economic royalists.” In his acceptance speech at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia in 1936, Roosevelt uttered the following words:

Philadelphia is a good city in which to write American history. This is fitting ground on which to reaffirm the faith of our fathers; to pledge ourselves to restore to the people a wider freedom; to give to 1936 as the founders gave to 1776 - an American way of life.

“That very word freedom, in itself and of necessity, suggests freedom from some restraining power. In 1776, we sought freedom from the tyranny of a political autocracy - from the eighteenth-century royalists who held special privileges from the crown… ”

“And so it was to win freedom from the tyranny of political autocracy that the American Revolution was fought. That victory gave the business of governing into the hands of the average man, who won the right with his neighbors to make and order his own destiny through his own government. Political tyranny was wiped out at Philadelphia on July 4, 1776.”

“Since that struggle, however, man’s inventive genius released new forces in our land which reordered the lives of our people. The age of machinery, of railroads; of steam and electricity; the telegraph and the radio; mass production, mass distribution - all of these combined to bring forward a new civilization and with it a new problem for those who sought to remain free.

“For out of this modern civilization economic royalists carved new dynasties. New kingdoms were built upon concentration of control over material things. Through new uses of corporations, banks and securities, new machinery of industry and agriculture, of labor and capital -- all undreamed of by the Fathers -- the whole structure of modern life was impressed into this royal service.

“There was no place among this royalty for our many thousands of small-businessmen and merchants who sought to make a worthy use of the American system of initiative and profit. They were no more free than the worker or the farmer. Even honest and progressive-minded men of wealth, aware of their obligation to their generation, could never know just where they fitted into this dynastic scheme of things.”

I encourage you to read the speech in full (click here) because FDR’s speech is as relevant today as it was then. We have come full circle where the power of the corporations -- of FDR’s “economic royalists” -- has eclipsed the power of government “by and for the people.”

So when you hear ridiculous talk about giving tax breaks to the wealthy and how it is in our best interests to cede our money and our power to those interests, raise your head from the sand and dare to speak truth to power.

If you don’t, who will?

Love,

Eddie

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday Madness [Profits Before People]

¡Hola! Everybody…
A recent PEW study came out showing that news coverage for McCain during the last six weeks was more negative than coverage for Obama. Conservative pundits immediately pounced on this study as proof that the media “is in the tank for Obama” as Neo Nazi commentator Pat Buchanan put it on the preposterous McLaughlin Group.

Of course, Pat and the rest conveniently forget to note that the study’s authors acknowledged some observers would use the findings to argue that the major media have a pro-Obama bias, they also said their data did not support such allegations.

What I find glaringly obvious is that the same PEW recently noted that during the same period almost 100% of McCain’s campaign ads were negative. Now, wouldn’t it follow that if you’re putting out an avalanche of scurrilous charges and a blitz of negative campaign ads that the result would be to report that negativity? That gets my ::blank stare:: of the day…

For my conservative readers who claim to value intelligence and foresight, please watch the following video and tell me again why you would vote for this individual?

* * *

-=[ Profits Before People ]=-

“I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow creatures happy.”

-- Thomas Paine (1737–1809) American revolutionary, writer The Age of Reason


My uncle by his own admission wasn’t an intellectual. He dropped out of school before he reached high school, though he read a lot and possessed a natural ability with gadgets. My father’s side of the family was left orphaned in the midst of a depression, so my uncle went to work.

Eventually, my father’s family moved to New York City where my uncle married. Shortly thereafter, he would fight in the Korean War.

Upon his return he sometimes worked three jobs at a time, barely able to keep his family afloat. Eventually, he gained entry as a printer’s apprentice, worked his way through the ranks, and became of printer. He worked with much enthusiasm because the printing industry was unionized and he found he was able to support his family -- all three children -- on one paycheck. He had fully funded health insurance, an annual paid vacation, and a good pension waiting for him when he retired. My uncle, with some savings and veterans benefits would eventually buy a home across the river in New Jersey and become part of the middle class.

This was the America my uncle fought for and believed in. He passed away a few years ago, but towards the end of his life he expressed sadness because he felt that America -- an America that looked after the middle class and working poor -- was a thing of the past.

My uncle would say that today most Americans don’t have that reassurance any more. More than 45 million Americans don’t have health insurance to cover expenses for serious illness; more than 5 million have lost their health insurance in the past 5 years alone. Even those lucky enough to have health insurance sometimes find that their insurers won’t cover certain treatments. And it’s not just illness that worries most Americans today. Today Americans work more for less pay in less stable jobs.

It’s getting harder and harder to get by and for a long time conservatives have used the anxiety felt by the middle class to scapegoat the working poor and poor. In that way they have convinced an angry, fearful, and sometimes gullible public to vote against their interests. Today, it’s profits before people -- let the “invisible hand” of the free market cure all our ills, the conservatives have always argued. Just wait: prosperity will trickle down on all of us before long.

I can tell you that I see a lot of shite trickling down, but that’s about it.

There’s a reason why America is suffering. The America my uncle grew up in put peopleAmerica we live in now idolizes the market, putting market concerns over the concerns of the people. before profits. The

In my uncle’s America 35% of working people were union members who got a living wage, health insurance, and pensions. These union benefits lifted all boats because they set the standard for employment; for every union job, there was a nonunion job with similar pay and benefits (meaning that about 70% of the American workforce back then could raise a family on a single paycheck).

That America has disappeared. The minimum wage is not a living wage. Workers are now expected to pay for their own health insurance and their own retirement. Pension plans are disappearing -- 30,000 General Motor employees lost theirs in 2005 -- and despite the hard evidence showing its dangers, there’s continuing talk of privatizing Social Security. The “less government” ideologues have ripped apart the safety nets, and the results are that the middle class is shrinking. The rich are once again getting richer, and the poor and working poor and middle class are getting poorer:

The adjusted average annual pay of a CEO went from $7,773,000 to $9,600,000 from 2002 to 2004. At the same time, the adjusted median annual household income went down from $46,058 to $44,389. In other words, ordinary people’s (the “Joe six-packs”) incomes went down by &1,669 while CEO pay went up by $1,827,000.

Over the period of 2001 to 2005, America has lost 2,818,000 manufacturing jobs. If you don’t count jobs produced by the military/ industrial complex (aka welfare for the rich), the number of private sector jobs during that time decreased by 1,160,000.

While it is true that large employers offer a traditional pension, that number is down from 91% two decades ago, and it’s dropping fast as more companies freeze pensions and turn instead to 401(k)s. Before the current financial meltdown, only 6% of Americans working in the private sector could rely on a defined pension, and 76% of Baby Boomers said they don’t think they are prepared to meet their retirement expenses.

Today only 60% of employers provide health care to their employees. As of 2004, more than 45 million Americans were without health insurance.

But I don’t think you need the numbers because you probably already know someone who has been forced out of the middle class. Maybe you know someone who was displaced after the dot com crash and never got her job back. After intermittent employment, she’s thinking of becoming a housecleaner at a fraction of her former salary.

Or maybe you know a recent college graduate holding down three part-time jobs, but doesn’t make enough to pay for his own apartment and has no health insurance.

How can this be?

Why do people go hungry in America? Why is that people like you and me work long, hard hours and still cannot afford to become sick, cannot buy houses and cannot send our kids to college?

What happened to the middle class?

These are economic questions but the answers are about who we are as a country.

Love,

Eddie

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ame-Rican

Hola! Everybody...
For those lamenting the proliferation of politically-themed posts? Get over it. If you still labor under the illusion that you can go off into a corner and meditate until you're shining blinding light, walking on water, and blabbering truth in tongues without engaging humanity, then you're lost.

Realization is here, right now, in the midst of it all...


* * *

[Note: Thanks to my new friend Karen's interest, I've been inspired to delve once again into the race "issue." I'm also sick and tired of listening to the poorly thought-out blathering of racial conservatives (most of them black!). So I will be finishing my series on racism in the near future. Anyone interested read the intro first (click here) and then the first part "The Denial of Racism" (click here)]

Poem in Two Voices: Ancestral Roots

Ending Poem
Rosario Morales
Aurora Levins Morales

The last part of my series on race will offer a Latino/a POV of race because I feel we offer an alternative that can open up a more constructive duialog on race. Rosario Morales and Aurora Levins Morales, mother and daughter, wrote
"Ending Poem" about who they are and their ancestors' contributions to

their lives. The poets feel that their ancestors' ways of life are part
of them, but each poet believes she is also a new and unique individual.




I am what I am.
A child of the Americas.
A light-skinned mestiza of the Caribbean.
A child of many diaspora, born into this continent at a
crossroads.
I am Puerto Rican. I am U.S. American.
I am New York Manhattan and the Bronx.
A mountain-born, country-bred, homegrown jibara child,
up from the shtetl, a California Puerto Rican Jew
A product of the New York ghettos I have never known.
I am an immigrant
and the daughter and granddaughter of many immigrants.
We didn't know our forbears' names with a certainty.
They aren't written anywhere.
First names only or mija, negra, ne, honey, sugar, dear

I come from the dirt where the cane was grown.
My people didn't go to dinner parties. They weren't
invited.
I am caribena, island grown.
Spanish is in my flesh, ripples from my tongue, lodges
in my hips,
the language of garlic and mangoes.
Boricua. As Boricuas come from the isle of Manhattan.
I am of latinoamerica, rooted in the history of my
continent.
I speak from that body. Just brown and pink and full of
drums inside.

I am not African.
Africa waters the roots of my tree, but I cannot return.

I am not Taina.
I am a late leaf of that ancient tree,
and my roots reach into the soil of two Americas.
Taino is in me, but there is no way back.

I am not European, though I have dreamt of those cities.
Each plate is different.
wood, clay, papier mache, metals basketry, a leaf, a
coconut shell.
Europe lives in me but I have no home there.

The table has a cloth woven by one, dyed by another,
embroidered by another still.
I am a child of many mothers.
They have kept it all going.

All the civilizations erected on their backs.
All the dinner parties given with their labor.

We are new.
They gave us life, kept us going,
brought us to where we are.
Born at a crossroads.
Come, lay that dishcloth down. Eat, dear, eat.

History made us.
We will not eat ourselves up inside anymore.

And we are whole.

* * *

Love,

Eddie

Friday, October 24, 2008

The TGIF Sex Blog [Queening]

¡Hola! Everybody…
Thanks to my friend, Sunshine, for alerting me to some Obama Salsa --
Respondele a Obama by NYC-based salsero Jose Conde and his band Ola
Fresca (Fresh Wave).

Latino/as have been largely ignored this election cycle, but we are a force to be reckoned with. We’re also all over the political map in terms of orientation. From ultra-right old -guard Cubans in Miami to radical Puerto Ricans in NYC and Mexican-Americans on the West Coast to culturally conservative, but economically progressive South and Central Americans, we represent the full spectrum of American politics.

I love this video, especially the part where he sings, “Even my republican mama/ is gonna vote for Obama… ”

LMAO!

Click here to download the free mp3

Click here to visit the band’s website

Check out the video (also viewable on their Mypsace page):

For any newcomers, Friday’s is dedicated to a wide-ranging, oftentimes perverse and inappropriate discussion of matters sexual…

* * *

-=[ Queening ]=-

“Sway baby, sway… ”

People are always commenting they learn new shit here. Well, maybe today’s post will introduce my readers to something new (maybe not *grin*). Queening refers to the (European-derived) practice of a dominant female using a man’s head as her throne. The woman sits in one of several positions, either on one side of the man’s head or in a manner so that his nose is near her anus with his eyes covered her genitals. The purpose of queening is bondage or breath control, not cunnilingus. Sometimes the man may wear supplemental restraints on the wrists and ankles.

There are companies that sell queening furniture in order to facilitate the process.

An American variation comparable to queening is where a stripper completely disrobes and stands over a sitting male with his head tilted back so that her genitals are only a couple of inches away from his face. She stays in this position gyrating her pelvis to the music for a short period. The male is not to touch her in any way during this exhibition.

No, I’m not into queening per se, but there a few women around here I wouldn’t have sit on my face!

LOL

Love,

Eddie

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Questions...

¡Hola! Everybody…
I’m running late and I’ll be gone for most of the day. I would like to point, however, why is McCain’t not giving props to “George the President”? Or what about “Maria the Community Organizer”? I mean, shite, even “Tito the Builder” got a nod.

I’m just sayin’ (the above was shamelessly stolen from Colbert)

Today I’m reposting an older blog… I think it’s relevant in light of the elections. I believe the biggest question we face today is: whose freedom? Freedom only for the powerful or freedom for the common folk?

* * *

-=[ Questions 101 ]=-

“You see things that are and say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were and say ‘Why not?’”

-- George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)


Why? Good question! I have been plagued by questions since as far back as I can remember. Over the years, I’ve learned to ask other questions -- sometimes looking in the dark for newer questions, or questions not asked. I have come to learn that sometimes the questions are more important than the answers. I am a born skeptic, a doubter, a troublemaker by nature – “un mas que jodes, un travesio.” At various times in my life I have been deemed unfit to live among the free and a bit deranged, to boot.

But along the way I have learned that questions are the very substance of who we are and what we do. I have learned that almost everything we do, every decision we make, is a response to an inner question. It’s unfortunate, I often think, that “Questions 101” is not a regular feature in our classrooms. But then again, does the status quo really want to nurture questioning in our young? Sometimes we forget the core questions and live life on automatic pilot.

One of my favorite sci-fi books, Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, deals with this essential issue of questions. In it a massive supercomputer is designed to give the ultimate, the absolute answer, an answer that would explain “God, life, the universe, and everything.” But the computer takes seven and a half million years to do this, and by the time the computer delivers the answer, everybody has forgotten the question! (Yes this highly recommended book can be extremely funny at times). So, nobody remembers the ultimate question, but the ultimate answer is: 42. (what did you expect?)

This is amazing! Finally! THE ANSWER! So wonderful is the answer that immediately a contest is held to see if anyone can come up with “The Question.” Many profound questions are submitted, but the final winner is: “How many roads must a man walk down?”

Reflecting about “God, life, the universe, and everything” is pretty much what my life has been about -- the unexamined life, to paraphrase a friend, is an unworthy one. Of course, the answer may be not as clever as “42.” Perhaps the answers deal with matter, life, mind, and spirit, and the underlying evolutionary currents that seem to unite them all in a pattern that connects. The “Web with no Weaver,” as one of my favorite philosophers, Ken Wilber, likes to put it.

For some time now, I have tried to embody this spirit of questioning. I guess part of my personal mission is to prod others to question, to look for the unasked questions and to try to understand who decides what questions will be asked and why. I think that’s part of my motivation for posting my rants -- I want people to ask, to question, to investigate their lives. If I were to to die today, I would like to believe that I made some difference in the lives of the people I touch. I would want people to say, “He was a crazy motherfucker, but he cared, and he touched my life in a special way.” Or something like that.

In this crazy world all we can be sure of is the punch line to this grand Cosmic Joke we call life -- death. In the midst of all this uncertainty, we grope for meaning or something that gives us a foundation of sorts. Sometimes this clinging is the core of our pain, sometimes having no meaning in one’s life is a key component to pain. So then, this is my meaning -- my mission: to rattle the cage a wee bit, to ask the unasked question and to ask you, dear reader and friend:

Why not?

We all come here in the ether of “cyberspace” and unwittingly become part of a process that creates a sense of community where the curious, the apathetic, the wounded, the lonely and the happy can come together to create meaning together. Where we can all come together and tell our stories without censure and to ask the questions that need asking and then support each other somehow when the answers are harsh or painful.

I remember a time when that was called community...

Love,

Eddie

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Naughtiness

¡Hola! Everybody…
OK! Middle of the week, what some call “Hump Day.” The thing is no on ever humps with me on Hump Day, so fuck that! For me it’s Ass Wednesday just because…

I’m just sayin’

* * *

-=[ Naughty Bits ]=-

“There’s nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos.”

-- Jim Hightower

Seems like Hockey/ Soccer/ Wal-Mart super mom, Sarah Palin, doesn’t shop at Wal-Mart at all. Since being picked for the VP spot, the RNC has spent over $150,000 accessorizing everyone’s favorite bimbo. Yup, you read that right. I don’t know about you, but most of the middle class mothers I know don’t make that much in one year, let alone spend that much on a wardrobe.

According to Politico, financial disclosure records show the Sarah Palin accessorizing began in early September and included bills from Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis and New York for a combined $49,425.74. You might ask why this is relevant and my response is that for someone who shamelessly exploits the image of patriotism (“real Americans”), and everyday folksiness, she sure has elitist tendencies. That cute little red leather jacket up there? I could buy groceries for a family of three for what it cost.

You betcha! ::wink::

Sarah, as my friend Sunshine says, is the gift that keeps giving. She recently let loose with a brain fart of such proportions, it was heard around the world. Perhaps if she would pay as much attention education as she does on her cheekbones, she would actually know what the vice president actually does.

Speaking of boners, will someone please send out the “STFU!” memo to the dumbfuck Democrats sticking the feet in their mouths? To paraphrase the repugnicans, democrats have the uncanny ability to snatch defeat from the maws of victory.

Someone please put something in Joe Biden’s mouth so he could STFU? WTF was he thinking when he literally guaranteed an international incident that will test an unproven Obama? Joe: the strategy is to stay focused on the economy, stupid!

::patented blank stare:: ©

And why is Joe Murtha calling his own constituents racists even if it is true? Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha gave the rapidly sinking Republicans ammunition Wednesday when he called his own constituents “racist” in an interview with his local newspaper. Joe? We all know a significant portion of the old white folks in your district still live in the Jim Crow era, but you’re not supposed to say it till after the election!

And what about my own Senator, Chuck Schumer? Chuckie actually said, “The tectonic plates are changing, and it serves us well. And I think it will mean that Barack Obama — and I said this six months ago, before the financial crisis, I said it publicly — will get more than 300 electoral votes. And I think it helps us in the Senate in a very significant way.”

Chuckie? STFU! You’re not supposed to say shit like even if true!

On the other side of the aisle, the repugs should reconsider their stance on gun laws seeing as how so many of them, in an apparent bid not to be outdone by foot-in-mouth Dems, are shooting themselves in the foot.

There’s Michele Bachmann, who Democrats and some Republicans have criticized for her MSNBC comments, which included her call for the news media to conduct an “exposé” on the views of members of Congress to “find out are they pro-America or anti-America.” Michele, who now claims she was a victim of a “trap” (yeah, her mouth) shot herself in the foot again, by denying she ever said it! People? If it’s on tape, you can’t say it was taken out of context. She said it. Period. Click here to watch Bachmann deny her statements and then actually saying it (LOL)!

This is the equivalent of sticking your foot in your mouth and actually breaking it in the attempt to remove it.

As a result of her comments, people sent money to the democrats by the truckload. Her opponent, Elwyn Tinklenberg, received close about $700k since her statements and she may lose her seat.

Who said life ain’t fair?

But the biggest giver of all has to be McCain. From his hair-brained decision to pick Palin to his comments pre and post the economic meltdown, his abysmal debate techniques, to his planting of Joe the Plumber (who’s neither a Joe nor a plumber and a McCain’s campaign contributor), McCain has consistently demonstrated that he lacks the leadership and temperament to lead.

Love,

Eddie

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

When All Esle Fails...

¡Hola! Everybody...
My friend Leese asks if I actually do the ::blank stare:: in real life. To be honest, I rarely do it. I only do it when I’m being sarcastic (or even facetious). By the time I’m at :;blank stare:: I’m actin’ da fool. So, yeah I do the ::blank stare:: in real life, but it’s much more rare than online.

LOL

* * *

-=[ Neocon Pastime: Blame Black Folk ]=-

At the heart of racism is the religious assertion that God made a creative mistake when He brought some people into being.

-- Friedrich Otto Hertz


“A black man stole my homework!”

-- Excuse most likely to work


I shouldn’t be surprised and somewhere in my gut I guess there was a part of me expecting it. I’ve become almost inured to the “black holes” of racist ignorance that still plagues our society. Still, it does nothing to diminish my disgust when I run up against it: no matter what, it seems, it’s the fault of Black people!

Almost as soon as the financial melt down reared its head and McCaint did his impersonation of dementia, the neocons were hard at work trying to show that it was “minorities” and their liberal enablers that caused the crash of civilization as we know it. The standard-bearers of all that is sane in journalism -- the Wall Street Journal, the National Review -- and heck, even YouTube -- began spreading the myth that the Community Reinvestment Act, a law designed to eliminate discriminatory banking practices, caused the current financial crisis. In the words of Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, “Loaning to minorities and risky folks is a disaster.”

DANG! Black people did it!

It’s an easy swipe and makes for a facile sound bite, but it’s racist nonetheless. Even a cursory look into the issue shows that conservatives have warped the facts in order to validate their revisionism. But don’t be drink the Kool-Aid: the financial crisis was caused by conservative financial bungling and an extended bankers circle jerk.

Period.

What follows are the facts, ma’am...

Myth #1: The Community Reinvestment Act forced banks to make loans to all low-income families and people with poor credit, fining banks that refused to comply.

Fact: The Community Reinvestment Act encouraged banks to lend fairly and responsibly for over 30 years. The Community Reinvestment Act does not impose fines; it regularly examines FDIC-backed banks and issues them a CRA-compliance rating (click here). To receive a high rating, banks must meet the financing needs of as many members of their community as possible and must not discriminate against racial and ethnic groups or certain neighborhoods. However, a bank cannot receive a high rating unless it is also maintains “safe and sound banking practices”(click here) In other words, the CRA requires banks to lend to working-class families and people of color, but only when those people have been deemed credit-worthy.

Myth: The housing bubble burst when too many people with home loans mandated by the Community Reinvestment Act failed to make their mortgage payments.

Fact: More than half of problematic sub-prime loans made in the last few years were issued by banks that are not regulated by the CRA. [U.S. House Committee on Financial Services] The CRA applies only to financial institutions that are insured by the FDIC, but not to independent mortgage companies such as Countrywide. In fact, non-CRA lenders were twice as likely as CRA lenders to issue excessively expensive subprime loans to vulnerable creditors. [Federal Reserve Bulletin] Responsible mortgages made by CRA lenders have a low rate of foreclosure similar to that of traditional mortgages. [Federal Reserve]

Myth: In 1995, Bill Clinton changed the Community Reinvestment Act to allow the securitization of CRA and subprime mortgages.

Fact: The 1995 revisions to the CRA changed only the way in which a bank’s CRA compliance is evaluated; they made no mention of mortgage securitization. [60 F.R. 22156] Under the 1995 rules, banks are rewarded only for making mortgages in their communities, not for re-selling mortgages as securities.

Myth: President Bush and Senator McCain tried to stop the subprime mortgage crisis, but Democrats blocked their efforts.

Fact: Bush and McCain supported the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, which would have created a new government agency to oversee Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and other federal housing programs. However, the bill would have done nothing to stop the rash of subprime lending that preceded the housing bubble because it provided oversight for only Fannie and Freddie, not for the companies that issued subprime mortgages. [GovTrack]

So there you have it -- the facts.

The next time some racist neocon asshole insists on blaming people of color for the global financial meltdown, please be sure to correct them. Be advised that neocons have an inherent inability to absorb facts and may have an adverse effect on your relationship with them. But the fact remains that ignorance needs to dragged out into the clear light of day.

Love,

Eddie

Resources

I relied on the following sources for documentation. I encourage you to read them, for they do a much better job of deconstructing this lie than I can ever hope to.

Sara Robinson’s blog Firing Back on the CRA Libel

Rick Perlstein’s blog The CRA Blood Libel

Isaiah Poole’s blog Countering the Lie About Race and the Meltdown

Headlines

[un]Common Sense