Thursday, January 27, 2011

Whoa. Milfams getting publicity? Real publicity?

I heard today, after it had already started and I was unavailable to watch, that Oprah served up military families on a platter. I also heard that it was atypical in that it didn't show glitzed surprise reunions that make the war-stupid public feel better about themselves. It didn't fart glitter and fairy duster. It talked about some of the real issues of the military family life. And it was a call to Americans to support the troops beyond buying a ridiculous yellow ribbon magnet you can stick to the ass of your car and forget about. I've heard it didn't exploit, either, as certain commercials like to do (and who the fuck has that kind of bandwidth on a carrier, for fuck's sake?!).

So while I'm glad to hear that Oprah's huge following got wind that this isn't all proud tears and tearful reunions with no stress or strain twixt each, I'm not grooving on the situation, either. After all, we heard from Ms. Obama before the election that milfams were her pet project. And yet what have we seen? Not much. As usual, with every elected official I've been alive to witness, it's a lot of lip service and not much else. There are programs, like MyCAA, but there are also clusterfucks. Like, um, MyCAA.

And though we've been at [wiggledy fingers] war for almost a decade, the American public is as ignorant - and I'd go so far as to paint them with the willful ignorance that is so abundant on the far right, which is strange since I see it amongst those on the far left, too, where milfam issues are concerned - as it's always been.

So I did a little bit of digging. I watched one of the clips and was heartened to see that about two minutes were dedicated to the hardships of the typical Army family. That's cool, though I hope to gods they dug deeper outside of the clip and really expounded on those issues and how they're the same and different among the different services. I also found a link to serve.gov, which looks like a great idea. I'm not sure, again, what it's about or how much traffic the site is generating now, but every little step, right? And as LAW said to me today, if the show means one military family gets the help they need, then it's a good show. Absolutely.

I guess I'm just tired of having smoke blown up my ass. It kinda chafes after a while.

One of my faves among the service sites is United Through Reading. How awesome is that? Because books ROCK, and stories are such a hard-coded way for us to bond together as people. I love this. Love it! I did think there was one funny, though not because of the service. Rather because of certain dickwads who like to dismiss Those Who Do Not Agree as traitors and most certainly not patriots. Little Patriots Embraced helps milbrats get through deployments. By far, I think this is one of the best ideas ever. They so need help. All of them.

The thing that made me giggle, though, is the perverse image I had of one of those fucktard neo-cons screeching about a five-year-old whose parents are liberals, so clearly that kid is genetically fucked as far as patriotism goes. But wait! That's science, right? And science needs to take a back seat to GAWD because GAWD throws science at us in order to test our faith. Right? So genetics are just balderdash. Like electrons that drive the interwebz. All balderdash. (/neocon wankfest)

Anyway, let's hope that we see real efforts by civilians to serve the milfams and milspouses that need help and yet bend over for the sake of the military on a regular schedule. I'm serious about the chafing. It's getting to be more than a nuisance.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pissies, Crazies, and Other Nuts

I'm feeling pissy this morning. I haven't slept well the past few nights because my allergies in this moldhole have me wheezing constantly. I'm wheezing because I ran out of my preventive inhaler and thought I didn't need it anymore. At first, I was right. Now it's clear I was very mistaken.

You might recall my woes with the inhaler and with the pharmacy at the Presidio. I have a dilemma: fork over $180 in copays (thank you, Tricare!) at a civilian pharmacy or go all the way to the Presidio and deal with the pharmacy there. Neither is fun, but considering how fucked we are with our house situation, the copay becomes unacceptable. The thing about this morning is I'm pretty sure I didn't have a refill on that inhaler, so I might get over there, find out I can't get a refill, and then have to drive all the way to my doc's office in Pacific Grove. It's not THAT far, but all that driving around is going to suck the air out of my day. Oh, if only the pharmacy ever answered their phone.....

I'm wheezing so much probably because of my workout yesterday that prompted a four-puff rescue inhaler session, but my rib-cracking laughter at Michele Bachman's coked-out sales pitch didn't help. That woman is nuts. I did agree with her on one thing: the deficit is heartbreaking. It's too bad overextension on wars and failure of government oversight to prevent jackassery in mortgage lenders helped lead us here. Thanks, Shrub. I'm pissed that we've spent as much as we have under Obama, but I'm not sure what the right answer was. How do you get the economic engine going without giving it some gas? I guess we'll see if austerity was a better decision when Europe pulls out of this shit.

Meanwhile, crazy woman who doesn't look at the camera. Bachman. Now, she didn't come right out and say that the Iwo Jima memorial shows six GIs, but the way she worked (or rather, didn't work) the camera sure made it sound like that's exactly what she said. And, um, last I heard, GI was what Army soldiers were called back in the day. I'm sure the Marine Corps and Navy sailors will be delighted to know that they weren't actually at Iwo Jima, and they didn't raise that flag.

In fact, YodaMan nearly popped an aneurysm over it. That's when I started laughing. Bachman's slippery grasp on fact (historical or otherwise) drove my dearest hubster to such distraction that he was actually hopping around on the couch in response. HIGH-larious, y'all.

It's really too bad she didn't offer us any other gems of Bachman-reality. Like slavery that ended thanks to the tireless efforts of John Quincy Adams (from the grave? or -ooh!- he's actually an immortal who's a secret force within the government...story idea! ching!) and other founding fathers. Who didn't at all own slaves, yo. My, but if this story were only true (so sorry for linking to fucking HuffPo, y'all, but I think this is the only place that article ran)....

I feel surrounded by nuts lately. Like attracts like in situations like these, I know, so I should spool down. I guess the frenzy of freaks that hit this blog last week got me more a-dither than usual. Time to forget them, as they've forgotten me, and try to shed all the assholes decorating my life right now.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What is a Liberal?

In the last week, I've been told I'm not a real American. I'm not a patriot. Etc. I've heard this bullshit before, and I've heard worse than that: my liberal friends with deployed husbands will be at fault when their husbands die abroad because of their liberal views, my liberal friends should just go kill themselves because of their liberal views, our liberal service members aren't real Americans and certainly aren't patriots.

I gather from the bits of detail in these illogical spouts of verbal diarrhea over the years that to be a liberal invalidates your citizenship and/or your love for your country. Apparently, you can only claim your citizenship or declare your pride of that citizenship if you are a Christian of some protestant variety (with evangelical offering bonus points), socially conservative, fiscally conservative (in the government, at least, so personal debt and financial irresponsibility don't count), capitalist, and want a small government and a society ruled by meritocracy.

I was actually a very resolved conservative for years. The story of how I realized I wasn't a conservative after all is long and probably boring, so I'll blog it some other time. Suffice to say, I nearly blacked out the moment I realized I wasn't a Republican at all. I'd been so immersed in conservative culture for so long, the thought that I was part of the great devil-machine stunned.

But you know, I'm okay with being a part of the great devil-machine. What I'm not okay with is being labeled un-American. Because I'm not.

I love this country. I have friends who want to get away from here, live in another country altogether because the atmosphere has grown so incredibly toxic thanks to shit like this. I respect their choice, but that choice isn't for me. I love this country. I LOVE this country. I love how diverse we are, how we are so unlike any other nation in the world. I love hearing folks from other cultures say that we approach our problems and resolve toward a particular outcome in a way peculiar to the rest of the world. I love that. I also love that we're free to critique our government, our society, and the people who comprise both. I love that our freedom here extends well beyond the borders. We can critique whoever the hell we want, and we consider that critique healthy, even a requirement. Without critique, as the world around us changes and our citizens respond accordingly, our country would suffer. We'd wither and die. But we don't - we thrive because we're fucking awesome, but when we're not, we are completely unafraid to point and holler about it.

That makes us even more awesome.

What is not awesome, what's worse than a festering sucking chest wound is the culture of rage that surrounds the radicals on my side of the bench and the ultra-con/reactionaries on the other side. The self-righteousness each side exhibits is obnoxious on the best of days, but this insane compulsion to make broad assumptions about each other is past ridiculous.

Fox and its brood are responsible for at least half of this nonsense. The wanks at MSNBC who decided to take up the opposite drum and play in Fox's back yard need a sound spanking. And all the unaffiliated fuckburgers on the radio, on their "news" websites, on their ridonkulous blogs (you know who you are) are just as bad. Why this self-righteous chest-beating bullshit? Why this propensity to paint the other side as the new Great Satan? Why this need to assume that since one little bitty milspouse blogger in a teensy niche of the interwebz calls herself a liberal that it means she's pro-socialism, anti-capitalism, pro-abortion, anti-Jesus, etc?

Because, seriously, if you assume all that about me, you'd be really fucking wrong. Just like I'd be really fucking wrong if I assumed all Tea Party members were teabaggers*. Not all are. Just the ones who appear on the TV every time the Tea Party gets coverage.

I think Americans are inherently incapable of functioning within a communist or socialist society. We thrive on incentive, and though fraught with its own problems, a free market is the best option for us. I don't think socialists are evil. I actually think socialism might be awesome on a micro scale among a group of people with a special bond. But on a grand scale, in this country? No way. Would never work.

Jesus and I have a very special relationship, forged when I was a very devout Christian. I'm not a Christian anymore, and Jesus is okay with that. Kali and I also rock out together. Jai Ma!

I'm actually not against prayer in school. If people want it, I say we bring it back! And I propose the following two-week rotating schedule:

Day 1 - Christian/Protestant prayer
Day 2 - Atheist quote followed by contemplative silence
Day 3 - Hindu mantra/prayer
Day 4 - Buddhist mantra/prayer
Day 5 - Jewish prayer
Day 6 - Muslim prayer
Day 7 - Pagan prayer
Day 8 - Catholic prayer
Day 9 - Indigenous prayer
Day 10-Confucian/Taoist prayer/quote

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Meritocracy. Absolutely. Affirmative action is for the birds and doesn't do what it's supposed to do. So let's address the problem in public schools so that affirmative action becomes unnecessary, and we really are functioning in a meritocracy. Because, of course, we've never actually had a real, live meritocracy. It's nice to dream of, though. I'm down for it.

Pro-abortion? Nope. Not me. Pro-choice does not make me pro-abortion.

Anti-guns? Nope. I have a gun. I love it and pet it and call it Rambo. It's loud as a motherfucker, too.

I'm a fiscal conservative and a social liberal. Socially, I'm VERY liberal, so I think that puts me to the left of a moderate.

I believe in compassion. When my fellow countrycritters are down, I like to offer a hand rather than eat them.

I'm pro-military but anti-war, and I think it's better to have a badass military that you only have to use when every peaceful method has failed.

I could go on, but I think I've made my point. I certainly don't look like Teh EEEEEBIL Liberal the right-hand culture of rage insists I am.

The funny thing is, I'm not sure I personally know more than one liberal who does fit the description I hear constantly. That one person is an amazing, kind, compassionate woman with a highly convoluted brain I'd totally eat if I were a zombie. She's not evil. She's not naive. She's not out to take down the country.

None of us want that. A real American wouldn't. But I can't think of a single faux American in my life.

I don't agree completely with other liberals. I disagree almost entirely with conservatives, and especially with ultra-cons. I do think some folks have ill intent, but I don't think they want to take down America so much as they want to line their pockets; they've found the best way to do that is to beat the war drum and scare the shit out of everyone. They don't love America like I do, no. But they love America in their own way, and it's no greater or more diminutive than my patriotism. If you serve your country in whatever way you can, to the best of your abilities, if you vote, if you use the rights our Constitution grants you, then I say you're an American deserving the title patriot. Even if you're otherwise a douchewad.

To the fuckburgers of the country, those who say I'm not a real American or I'm not a patriot or my husband isn't a patriot even when he's a fucking Navy officer commanding fucking Army convoys, I say to you: fuck your own ass. To the hairy dickbags who believe some Americans don't deserve the same rights as you, I'm writing you into my next novel, and I'm going to have fun messing with that character. Muwahahaha.

Oh, and to the nonsensical among you who believe I'm not a *real* milblogger because of my pro-Obama image on the sidebar, please go take a remedial rhetorics class at your local community college and learn how to hang with this really groovy concept called logic. It's an awesome thing. Like magic! Only with a lo.

*where teabaggers are the uneducated, hypocritical, conspiracy-nut, racist dickbags with the hilarious signs and the lawn chairs that at least half the time are straining to forsake gravity under the massive weight of those using them.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Incubators at the Exchange

Recently, I was yarping again (I know you're shocked) about how pregnant women are treated. The minute you have a bump, the world becomes your mommy and tells you exactly when they think you're misbehaving. Everything you do is inspected and judged, and perfect strangers feel quite comfortable telling you that you shouldn't eat that piece of chocolate because *gasp* it has Teh Eeeebil Caffeine!

The message, of course, is that the embryo/fetus in your uterus has higher value than you do. When you're pregnant, you lose your status in society, you even lose your personhood, and all to the bean trying to grow hands from the stems that will be its arms. I've been there. I've even been there in a Middle Eastern country, where the status of a woman is quite a bit lower than that of an American woman, with or without a pregnancy.

Of course, I think we put up with the paternalistic treatment because we do, indeed, value the child we'll have some day. We want to give that sprog a leg up from day one and not contribute to any challenges that reduce or deny her/his quality of life. So we relent, agree not to eat fish even though BY GODS we're craving it, agree to run screaming from the sight of alcohol even though in Europe prego women still drink occasionally (I was shocked when a French woman offered me whiskey when I was four months pregnant; she was confused when I declined) without any problems, and we're more than willing to let the medical establishment treat our pregnancies as if they're a life-endangering medical emergency even though we have more problematic labor and death rates than other countries of our ilk, where pregnancy and labor are treated as natural processes.

What does this have to do with the military? Not much, except that I often see pregnant women at the commissary and exchange. When I was a kid and we went shopping at exchanges from Cherry Point to 29 Palms to Laurel Bay, I actually thought that you buy your babies at the PX. It must be true, since in my kid-brain, it seemed like the dozens of pregnant women were only ever visible at the PX. I never found the baby store, though I looked everywhere.

Nowadays, when I see a pregnant woman at the exchange, I remember my assumption and stifle a juvenile giggle, but now that I'm an adult, I also note how she's treated by others. It's fascinating to watch. Fascinating! Especially when you watch non-pregnant women to see how others treat them. The contrast is amazing. Try it sometime.

Recently, though, I saw something at the Army exchange that stopped me cold.

What would you do if you saw a pregnant woman smoking a cigarette? What judgments would you make? Would you hate her? Would you feel compelled to yell at her for her terrible behavior? I know I'd be shocked, and I'd fully expect to see someone rush up to her and lecture her about what a terrible mother she is.

But what would your response be if a man standing next to a very pregnant woman was puffing away on his own cigarette, subjecting her to his second-hand smoke, even blowing it in her direction? Would you expect to see someone rush up to him and lecture him on what a bad father he is? I didn't know what to expect when I saw this very situation, so I waited. The pregnant woman said nothing. The other shoppers said nothing. Nobody even paid the couple much attention.

His behavior was ignored. Completely.

That, I think, is fascinating.

Oh, and a quick bit of Monterey gouge: if you like sushi, hit up Yama Sushi at the mall. It's on the back side of PF Chang's and has THE BEST vegetarian rolls. It's also half the price of other local sushi joints. YodaMan gives the non-vegetarian sushi thumbs way up, and Slave To My Novel says the udon is full of nomms.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Women in Combat, in which I stop laughing at assinine statements by the con crowd

Though I shouldn't be, I'm actually stunned that my vitriol (not vile, since vile is not a noun but rather an adjective), posted without any argument or commentary whatsoever (minus the pointing and laughing, which isn't actually commentary), has generated such a response in comments. I didn't expect anything more than a few crickets and maybe one or two people giggling with me over the characterization of all men as unintellectual primitives.

It feels like gauntlet meets ground when I see my post and its comments referenced as if it were an intelligent or logical discussion/debate of this issue. So I feel compelled to lay out some of my objections to Jim's objections and to make a statement regarding the rights of women to serve in the same capacities as men.

Jim's arguments, as he stated in this clip, boil down to two problems:
  1. Men cannot separate their (debatable) psychological evolutionary urges from logic. In other words, if a woman is around, they cannot help but infantilize her and ensure that she's safe from all harm. Even if she's carrying a weapon and is much more adept at its use then he is.
  2. Men cannot separate their biological evolutionary urge to spread their genes as far and wide as possible, and therefore are incapable of acting professionally when there's a potential womb receptacle for their seed.
To be honest, I find this a very difficult set of objections to debate simply because I do not see evidence of this fact in the civilian world, much less in the military world. I also think it's an unfair generalization to paint all men as Neanderthals when I've known guys who can very much forget that there is a vagina in range when there are other dangers, and the woman attached to the vagina is more than capable of taking care of herself. In addition to this, I tend to think our humanity means that we've evolved beyond the point of acting in strict accordance with our animal natures. One can argue for adherence to traditional gender roles and still acknowledge that our psychological and spiritual selves have the ability to override animal instinct. After all, do we not move in this world without urinating on our houses, holding physical contests to see who can out-muscle the CEO for his position as alpha guy, and indiscriminately killing someone who threatens our position, property, or mate? There might be urges, but our logical, higher-functioning minds bring on the kibosh.

Other objections I've heard elsewhere that sound as ridiculous are:
  • Newt Gingrich telling a classroom full of college students that women can't serve on the front lines because they get infections.
  • They might be tortured, and they can't handle that. So...who has the babies here? Who can do so without any drugs and be just fine?
  • They might be raped. If you're a woman, that's an everyday fact. Rape happens to civilians and women serving in the military, even when they're not in combat. To say that a combat situation makes a woman more susceptible to rape than when she's walking in her grocery store parking lot at night is illogical.
One thing that angers me about the discussion is the double standards. Why aren't we concerned about men who might be raped on the front lines? That happens. So maybe men shouldn't serve in combat roles. Men might be tortured, too, and given how 75% of the men I know react to the everyday cold, I'm concerned about their ability to withstand that pain. Maybe they shouldn't be in combat roles! Dudes get infections, too. I know this because I've seen Gold Bond Medicated Ointment commercials my whole life. Dudes get infections on their feet, scrotum, and gods know where else!

Another double standard: What if a woman is captured and beaten and shown on the teevee, and all of a suddenly everyone will be shocked and spazzed about OMG a woman was beaten! First, I think we spaz anytime we see someone, regardless of gender, who's been captured by the enemy and treated so abominably. Second, why is a woman's life or well-being so much more valuable than a man's? That's not okay.

My arguments for a woman's right to take a combat role boil down to one essential truth: some of them want to. If a potential service member doesn't want to see combat, s/he shouldn't sign up. If someone goes Navy, s/he should expect to spend time on a ship, and that ship might find itself engaged with the enemy. Ships are dangerous even when they're not dealing with a combat environment. If someone goes Army, s/he should expect to spend time in a combat zone in general, and with the right rate, s/he might even expect to spend time in combat specifically. If none of this appeals, maybe they ought to think long and hard about what it means to be in the military. If they're too scared or the job just seems unappealing, there's no reason push their hesitations on those who are more than willing -- and more than capable -- to do the job.

Why should the rules change? Because they're outdated, and they discriminate. Women are already serving in combat, but their job descriptions mean that service isn't recognized. They're punished within the military environment when they've been in more danger than some of their fellow soldiers, but those who never saw armed conflict get promotions women are denied anyway.

As for Jim's argument that women would be a distraction, I have a hard time believing that those bulky camouflage uniforms and the armor that goes over them will reveal enough feminine cues to distract anyone but the worst kind of horn-dog. I suppose it could happen; but if someone's willing to endanger their cohorts to sniff out a woman they can drag by the hair back to their man-cave, they shouldn't be serving in the first place. They're a danger in general if they can't keep their minds on the task at hand.

There's no call to infantilize women, to hold their physical beings in higher regard than a man's, or to make broad assumptions about their abilities when there are quite a few exceptions to every generalization I've heard. To do any of these invalidates the arguments.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

When douchenozzles open their mouths, what comes out?

I was going to spew about the bullshitfuckery in this clip, but I think the whole thing speaks for itself. First, there's an amazing spokesperson for women in combat, Genevieve Chase. And then there's the boob-ogling troll-boy standing next to her, defining his entire sex as a bunch of sex-crazed, bumbling jackwipes who can't think beyond the cravings of their man-junk*.

So...warning: TOOL ALERT. Commence the dickbaggery, his stipulations, and the SMACKDOWN the womenfolk bring.



*In my experience, it's usually just the fuckwad uber-conservative sexist junkmonkeys who characterize all men this way, so it's no surprise to learn that this gem of a taint-hair comes to us from Black Five.

ETA: I'm closing comments since some think it's okay to tell another commenter to kill herself. If you want to join in some actual arguments, see the new post.

Also, anyone who thinks liberals can't be patriots? Go fuck your own asshole.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Just call me Master Snarky

I'm home from my final residency at school. It's bitter in that the fun has come to an end. It's sweet in that I'm finally done and have a pretty hood and sparkly diploma I can fondle.

While I was gone, it seems all hell broke loose. Because I was so busy with school (seriously, 9am-9pm every day at school, and then 9pm-3am every night partying at the hotel), I missed all the goings-on. I'm pretty sure I'll be catching up all weekend and maybe into next week. Given what's been happening, I'm sure I'll have something to say. I'm just too exhausted right now.

I'll probably also post a long diatribe about the airlines, US Airways in particular, and about how San Francisco is apparently shocked that it gets fog, so we shouldn't be shocked when the airport is closed due to fog.

Seriously. Fog. San Francisco. No lie. And I have a $140 hotel+taxi bill to prove it.

Meanwhile, I have to say it's always a blast to meet other snarky milspouses. It's especially a blast to meet someone who reads this blog, mostly because I'm still half-convinced that there are about three people in the whole world who stop by here. So it's just shocking as a reasonable Palin when I meet someone who tells me they like this blog.

Shout out to Alexis, who taught me this last week that my soccer mom glamour does, indeed, hide my identity, and who also taught me how to donkey-donkey. My world (and YodaMan's world) is complete. I'm pretty sure I looked just slightly less silly than Tom Cruise in Tropic Thunder, but now I'm educated.

Now that school is done, it's time to start two-a-days at the gym, writing on a career schedule, and job hunting. Woot. Let the fun begin.

Meanwhile, I already miss my school peeps. I can't believe three years have passed since the first time I stepped foot on the beautiful campus of Seton Hill.