The only way you are not aware of the grandstanding asshat from Texas (via Canada), Raphael Cruz, is if you have Superglued your dial to Nickelodeon.
But quite frankly, given what's happening over at CSPAN, it is hard to tell one cartoon character from the other.
Since 2:41 pm yesterday, Cruz, who has apparently cast himself in the Jimmy Stewart role in his own remake of Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, has blathered on and on about all manner of things in an effort to, well, to do what I don't know.
Contrary to what the willfully ignorant who are cheering him on (not surprisingly, the same folk who still think Sarah Palin is a genius) think, he is NOT filibustering. What Wendy Davis did in Texas was an actual filibuster. What Rand Paul did several months back was a filibuster.
To filibuster is to take the floor for an extended period and basically run out the clock to delay or completely avoid a vote.
That's not what he is doing. The vote will take place today. A vote on a bill HE SUPPORTS.
So what is he doing?
Lots of words, no meaning. Hell, at one point last night he read Green Eggs and Ham. Then he likened it to Obamacare, you know, that whole, "I do not like it, Sam-I-Am." part.
Um, sorry, but the point of GE&H is that you don't know if you'll like somethinguntil you try it.
He may have gone to Harvard but comprehension is not his strongsuit. (Nor is makeup application. Dude, seriously, you look like Norma Desmond. You're on TV, not under Broadway stage lights.)
He has passed the baton many times since yesterday, not "yielding the floor" but having Rand Paul and Mark Rubio ask novel length questions so he can take a break (despite his vow to speak till "I no longer can stand").
In the end, his blustering will change nothing. He can rant (as can all GOP-Teabaggers) about the Affordable Care Act (and YES, that is its name, NOT Obamacare.) all he wants. He can piss himself blind. He can shit his pants and fling it at the TV cameras.
IT. IS. LAW.
Despite 41 attempts to repeal it, IT. IS. LAW.
And as it continues to be implemented and people actually begin to see where and how it affects them positively, the GOP will lose more and more ground. It is already apparent that they are running scared about ACA because they know (and are seeing where it is being rolled out) that it works.
Truly, if it was going to fail so spectacularly don't you think this group of malcontents who have made it their life's work to obstruct and undermine everything in President Obama's two terms would be sitting back and waiting with smiles on their faces?
They would bide their time until it all went to hell and then sweep in with their signature "I told you so's" and campaign hard.
But they know that is not going to be the case. Despite their years of whining, threatening, and misinforming their equally dim base, ACA is a law being implemented and a law that is going to change the insurance and healthcare playing fields.
And do not whine to me about employers cutting hours to avoid providing insurance benefits. That is nothing new. That has gone on forever and a day. It's just that now those businesses have a scapegoat they can point to when their corporate greed is publicly outed.
And save your breath if you want to moan about being "forced" to buy insurance. We are "forced" to buy car insurance, too, and when you hit me with your car, or I run into a deer, I am damned glad to have been "forced." As far as ACA goes, if you don't want insurance, fine, don't buy it. But YES, you will pay a penalty each year for gambling on taxpayers taking care of your ass should it become sick or injured.
When Mr. Smith went to Washington, his pleas were passionate, pointed, driven by love of country, love of his fellow man - not some megalomaniacal lust for power and love of hearing his own voice.
Just get up off the ground, that's all I ask. Get up there with that lady that's up on top of this Capitol dome, that lady that stands for liberty. Take a look at this country through her eyes if you really want to see something. And you won't just see scenery; you'll see the whole parade of what Man's carved out for himself, after centuries of fighting. Fighting for something better than just jungle law, fighting so's he can stand on his own two feet, free and decent, like he was created, no matter what his race, color, or creed. That's what you'd see. There's no place out there for graft, or greed, or lies, or compromise with human liberties. And it's not too late, because this country is bigger than the Taylors, or you, or me, or anything else. Great principles don't get lost once they come to light. They're right here; you just have to see them again!
We all know them, the parents who walk through life with rose colored glasses when it comes to their children. Those precious cherubs who could never possibly do anything wrong.
Their children are perfect. And anyone who dares suggest otherwise gets a reaming of epic disproportion.
Teacher reprimands them in class for acting up/out? The parent turns it on the teacher. Surely they must be doing something wrong. And after all, that's not how Junior said it happened.
Child receives a failing grade? Cue the parent who will bully the teacher into second chances, higher grades, instead of asking their offspring if they even studied.
Coach benches a player for backtalking? Woe betide the tsunami that is unleashed by the parent.
Kid posts something they should not - something offensive about another child, teacher, adult? Without even asking the child, they will defend them. Surely Susie's phone must have been used by another child.
I actually heard this one last weekend when a kid did not show up for his reffing job: The parent told the assignor, "Well, I can't make him come." Um, yes, yes, you can. Like this: GET YOUR ASS IN THE CAR. See how simple that is?
I have news for those parents. Junior and Susie are usually the biggest assholes in the school. Orifices who only grow bigger with each protection of their parents. Every action without consequence only emboldens them even more.
They are raising a generation of Veruca Salts. Brats with zero accountability, just parental enablers. And like Veruca, these rotten eggs eventually stink up the joint.
I have never understood this kind of parent. They are worse than the helicopter parents who hover over their child's every move, acting like human bubble wrap against the big, cruel world. Because they parent through denial. They parent through a prism of wanting to be their child's friend. And they parent in such a way that Junior and Susie are going to eventually receive a solid asskicking courtesy of the real world.
And the real world doesn't give a flying dick in a Dyson about Mommy and Daddy. Professors will laugh at the mere mention of Mom and Dad. Employers won't hire these kids, and if they manage to get on board, they run a pretty fair chance of being fired because someone will finally be holding them accountable for their behavior and performance.
I have never parented this way. Yes, I have my daughters' backs. Of course to catch them if they fall, but to also kick their sorry asses when they screw up.
Not so this batch of Imbeciles Who Should Not Have Been Allowed To Breed...
Ex-footballer Brian Holloway was on vacation with his family when his 19 year old son began noticing something funny on his Twitter. Their vacant home (on the market) in New York. Filled with hundreds of partying teens trashing it.
Yes, teens who are dumber than a box of hair, posting their exploits online for the world to see.
So what did Holloway do when he returned to town and saw over $20,000 in damages? Tracked down nearly 90 of the kids by their posted pictures, and posted them on his own website.
Proof of their activities, provided by the kids themselves.
He did not press charges. He did not threaten the miscreants students. He simply brought them into brighter focus.
What happened next is shameful.
The parents of many of those responsible for breaking in to and trashing his home began threatening him.
Not reprimanding their worthless spawn. Not apologizing all over themselves. Not dragging little Junior and Susie by their hair to apologize and help clean up.
They have been threatening HIM because they are worried that their angels' antics being publicly offered up will ruin their college prospects.
Cry. Me. A. River.
Your idiot children broke into his home. Your criminal sons and daughters did over $20k in damages. And your Rhodes scholars shit-for-brains progeny POSTED THEIR OWN PICTURES.
But you threaten to blow up Holloway's house? Hurt him?
Again, he has not pressed charges, in fact what he has done is try to turn this into a teachable moment. He started a charity called Help Me Save 300 to try to help the kids who did the damage. To try to reach out and get them back on track, turn them around.
Which is a far sight more than their worthless parents are doing.
The teachable moment here would be the one that involves grabbing your child by the scruff and marching their sorry ass to his doorstep. Actually, first stop would be the bank, should the child have a bank account. All $$ would be withdrawn and handed over to Holloway towards repairs. Then that child would apologize in a meaningful way while holding a broom in one hand and a rag in the other.
Grounding would follow. Cell phone would be locked away. All privileges would be revoked.
And if Junior cried foul, unfair?
TOO DAMNED BAD.
Maybe next time Junior would think twice before breaking into someone's home and wrecking it.
Sadly, all that is happening with the ones being defended by their parents is that they are getting worse. If they see they can get away with this and have their parents on their side, what bigger trouble might they get into?
Look, I get the impulse to protect your little darling from harm. But only as it extends to runaway trains, bullets, drunk drivers. But to constantly get between them and the consequences of their poor choices? No. They will learn nothing. If a parent constantly moves the bottom, the kid will never fear the fall.
Parents, do your job. Unless you like the idea of only seeing Junior through plate glass or Susie behind bars, let them fall.
Oh, and as far as worrying about their college prospects? With parents as stupid as you, I highly doubt their prospects were all that great to begin with.
Whether your observation is heartfelt or halfassed, contemplative or crass, irreverent or irritated, it is not possible to move through today without being reminded of what took place twelve years ago.
Flags are at halfstaff, pictures are flooding Facebook both in your newsfeed and as your friends update their profile pics, news broadcasts are full, and ceremonies are taking place across the country.
Yes, that irritates many. They make their inconvenience known through the new millenium shield of the coward: social media. Disparaging the date, slamming those who seek to honor the memories, and of course, holding court on their grassy knolls of conspiracy theories.
And that's fine. Assholes today are generally assholes everyday and they do us all a favor by letting us know for certain who they are so they may be marginalized in the days going forward.
I choose to remember. Not out of some faux patriotism. The people who perished that day were not patriots, they were normal citizens going about their normal lives. They were not soldiers - they were moms and dads, sons and daughters, adults and children fighting the every day battles of long work days, bad airline food, the common cold, commutes, and spreadsheets.
I remember them because they did not ask to be erased from this world. They did not sign up to be a potential casualty. They did not do any more or less than be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
That makes them ME. That makes them YOU.
Like generations before who speak of their "I remember where I was when..." moment, I, too, remember with the stunning clarity only a truly bad visceral experience can inflict on the human psyche, where I was, when.
I can see the living room, right down to the wood grain of the floor, the position of the couch cushions. I know exactly where my feet were planted, where Rudy's were beside me. And I remember the girls walking down the stairs for school, only to turn the corner into the living room as the second plane hit the tower.
The surreality of that moment, the hugeness of what we all saw happen AS IT HAPPENED, left its mark. Physical wounds heal, but emotional ones stay because they inflict a memory.
There was no doubt in anyone's mind that we all saw the immediate deaths of countless lives. As the morning wore on we watched as desperate human beings jumped from the buildings, choosing certain death over what must have been absolute physical agony pushing them forward. And then the buildings collapsed.
The import was too huge to fully comprehend in those moments.
As a society, we are inured to watching things explode, people "die" on our favorite TV shows and in the movies, but we also know we are watching actors and actresses. No big deal.
So for the majority of us, 9/11 was the biggest real deal we have ever truly witnessed.
And we all bear the scar.
Would that it would remind us to behave better than we do twelve years since the wound was received.
In the days following 9/11, we came together. We held one another, we supported one another, our resolve was strengthened, not weakened. Patriotism meant something - fast forward 12 years and now the word is something we sling at one another as an accusation of who has more, who has none, based on, well, hell, who knows these days. That line in the sand is moved every time someone opens their mouth.
For me, patriotism is not some misspelled sign you hold, or flag you drape across your body. It knows no political affiliation, cannot be bought and sold by lobbyists.
Patriotism is a deep love of country. An even deeper understanding that this country is not perfect. Patriotism is the willingness to set aside the ease of a bumper sticker mentality and look past the "We're #1!" rhetoric to see that we are not, to see where we need to improve, where we are lacking, and to dedicate oneself to helping make things better.
"We're #1" is a goal, one that, quite frankly, should always stay just out of reach so as to keep us proactive and trying, striving for that ideal.
Today as we remember the horrors of 9/11, our thoughts are also on the what ifs of Syria. I see a lot of uninformed opinion being thrown about, a lot of Obama Derangement Syndrome at work, and an even greater number of folk who simply don't give a shit.
Shame on you.
If you have not watched the available video of the aftermath of the chemical attacks, I ask, why not? Too busy watching reality TV? THIS IS REALITY TV. Truly desperate housewives writhing on the ground, toddlers with no tiaras struggling to breath, choking on their own vomit. Think it doesn't affect you because it happened in a country you couldn't even find on a map?
If this picture touches nothing in you, then turn your soul in at the door and don't let it hit you in the ass. Your services are no longer needed, as you have failed the test of a human being.
Like most Americans, I am weary of the word "war." I, too, grimace at the idea of once again having to police something that has taken place halfway around the world simply because no other country will step up.
But if we are to believe our own bullshit - that we ARE #1 - that we are the moral authority for this planet, and stand for those who cannot stand for themselves - then we cannot simply cop a "Meh" attitude.
If you still cling to the Bush misinformation (I'm being kind) that got us into Iraq, that lost so many innocent lives, sent so many of our soldiers back in boxes, yet you spit in the face of current facts, you are not a patriot. You are a patridiot. And your hatred of something imaginary trumps your ability to do any critical thinking.
Something must be done in Syria. Like it or not, as a global power we cannot just turn our backs on the people who needlessly died because they, too, were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Human beings died on 9/11. That they were "our" human beings does not make them worth more than the ones who have died in Syria.
And our ongoing humanity relies on us remembering ours, and being strong enough, decent enough, HUMAN enough to value theirs.