Even Pat Buchanan. Another great Anne Lamott column:
I have the teeniest suspicion that some of you out there might not be heavily into Christianity, so perhaps I should begin by saying that right now it is Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday, which is the day that John the Baptist baptized Jesus, after which Jesus walked in the desert for 40 days mulling things over. So during Lent one is supposed to mull things over just like Jesus did.
Catholics are big on giving things up for Lent, but we Protestants mostly just mull. So I personally get to mull over my craziness and my pathological self-justification and my profound lack of willingness to forgive.
As I said to an audience in Indianapolis, I am not one of those Christians who is heavily into forgiveness. And someone later asked me, “What kind of Christian are you?” and I said, “I’m the other kind.”
So during this Lenten season, I have to deal with all the rage I feel against Republicans. I asked my friend the priest if it was a problem for Jesus that I hated the Republicans and he said, Oh no, Jesus hates them too. But I thought that despite what this holy man of God said I should take a look at my incredible anger at the Grand Old Party, as I believe it is called.
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Thanks to Lady Soul for all the magic you’ve brought for so many years:
It was so windy that, when I finally went out to clean off my car, the snow was all blown away. Yay! (Plus, my walk and driveway was already clear, thanks to my landlords.)
P.S. The beef stew is fabulous. I do love me some root vegetables!
Just once, I’d like to punch one of these people right in the face. Hard.
I called Will Bunch last night, and when he picked up the phone, I said, ” ‘Girly men’? I mean, really, Will.” I was really annoyed.
He was a little sheepish, but not much. “Yeah, I guess I wasn’t very politically correct,” he said.
What, because getting your brain smashed so often that you risk early-onset Alzheimer’s still isn’t quite “manly” enough? They’re also required to lose fingers to frostbite?
Most of my women friends think it’s kind of weird that middle-aged men relate so very intensely to the supposed “manliness” of a bunch of paid mercenaries and their ability to move the football down the field. It seems to me that it becomes much more than a game — and not in a good way.
As I’ve mentioned, football has never really appealed to me, for the same reasons boxing doesn’t. It’s brutal. (I lost whatever small interest I had when they started miking the field so much, you could hear the players’ bones crunch – Live! On TV!) By the way, you’ll notice that baseball fans rarely (if ever) accuse players of lacking testosterone.
Why is this the measure of manliness, this ability to swallow physical and emotional pain and keep going? What does that say about how society shapes men’s emotional state?
I mean, in terms of cheap labor and cannon fodder for the military-industrial complex, it’s certainly more useful to have a male disconnect from pain. No question. Endurance while you’re being crushed by the ruthless machine? An outstanding and useful trait! Multinational corps grow ever larger on man’s ability to endure.
But is it good for people? Is it good for families? I’ve known more wounded men whose fathers absolutely crushed them in some twisted quest to make them “strong.” There are many reasons for divorce, but I’d say that marriages break up most often because men are so disconnected from their own feelings, their only acceptable outlet is anger. (Or drinking, cheating, or gambling.) They turn into brick walls under some misguided delusion that it’s appropriate self-protection.
Call it a hunch, but I’d bet that the guys who scream the loudest about the new NFL injury-protection rules, saying they turn football players into a bunch of wussies, are guys who have such problems with their own emotions, they use football players as emotional surrogates.
You gotta love these amoral, high-flying bankers who screwed working people across the country and never looked back. At least there’s a federal probe into it this time.
I’ve only known one really bad kisser — but I still remember, to this day.
Corporations are getting rich using federal prisoners as captive labor pools.
Unless she’s dying or recovering from surgery, a patient at the Federal Medical Center-Carswell must work. The hospital out on the banks of Lake Worth is run by the Bureau of Prisons, and its patients are women who have been convicted of federal crimes. Bureau rules require all prisoners — even those in wheelchairs — to work at whatever jobs their infirmities will allow, from scrubbing floors to cleaning toilets.
Just across the street from the hospital complex is a camp for minimum-security women prisoners who are not ill. They get most of the hot, hard jobs — cleaning boilers, welding, mowing. The pay is a lousy 12 cents an hour with no raises. That’s why a job that many on the outside would take only as a last resort is the most coveted in the compound: Ernestine the telephone operator.
So when you call directory assistance using, say, Excel Telecommunications, chances are good your inquiry might be answered by a federal prisoner. At Carswell, a fifth of the prison workforce — most from the camp but a few from the hospital as well — get to sit in cubicles in an air-conditioned building, start at almost double the pay of the regular prison jobs, and, if they behave and don’t make mistakes, get regular raises until they reach the maximum pay of — hold onto your hat — $1.45 an hour. Of course, they have to work seven and a half years to reach that maximum. And since this center hasn’t been open long enough for anyone to make the maximum, the highest pay at Carswell is $1.15 an hour.
With toothpaste at $5.95 in the prison commissary, inmates who take those calls for Excel have to work between five and 25 hours to earn enough for one tube. But by comparison, they’re lucky: Women who work at other prison jobs have to sweat out 49 hours for the luxury of brushing their teeth.
The math on the other end is even simpler, if grander in scale: Excel, a $2.5 billion global company, comes out the clear winner. If the 19-year-old Irving-based long-distance carrier had to pay no more than minimum wage to non-prison U.S. workers to field calls from its worldwide network, it would cost the company $900 a month per worker, plus benefits and payments to Social Security. The 370 prison workers in Excel’s call center at Carswell make $180 a month at most, with no benefits.
But the Carswell prisoners are far from the only ones participating in this exercise in government-assisted capitalism.
How many people know that when they dial 411, the operator at the other end of the call is often a federal prisoner? Or that when they call to reserve a camping space at a national park, the person taking their personal information may be sitting in a cubicle in a maximum-security prison? Or that the body armor for the soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan is being manufactured by federal inmates?
In what critics call slave labor and advocates call job training, more than 100 factories and service centers in federal prisons across the United States employ inmates in jobs such as those above and hundreds more, making everything from underwear to military gear to intricate electrical components, all under the umbrella of a near-billion-dollar corporation known as the Federal Prison Industries, Inc., trade name Unicor.
At a time when so many people are hanging by a thread, let’s tax non-profits instead of raising taxes on the rich!