Thursday, August 31, 2006

Shout it from the rooftops

I dragged feet on signing up for YouTube because I am sick to death of answering personal questions, choosing user names and passwords, and then remembering -- or more likely forgetting -- what they are.

Keith Olbermann's impassioned response to Rumsfeld's latest inspired me to get on the Tube.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Unflushed Toilets and Inept Politicians: Joining the Katrina Blogswarm

Last week I attended a meeting in our school library. I needed the restroom, and when I walked into the first stall, I found an unflushed toilet.


So I moved to the second. Oddly, unflushed.

I moved to the third stall. Unflushed.

It took me that long to recognize the problem—the water was out in the building. I checked: the other stalls had unflushed toilets and the water wasn’t flowing in the sinks.

Without better options, I chose the least disgusting toilet and added my business to it.

I tried to imagine what it might be like to be not the second or third person to use an unflushed toilet, but the tenth or hundredth or thousandth person without better options: the plight of those who fled from Katrina to the Superdome, of course.

In Katrina’s aftermath, those overflowing toilets came to symbolize to me the plight of those left behind in New Orleans. Without better options, the poor and marginal were trapped in a drowning city, without resources, without hope.

In Katrina’s aftermath, I tried to get my students to research and examine the social ramifications of what happened in the Gulf Coast and specifically in New Orleans, but most of them, comfortable in lives that so far had been handed to them, blamed the victims. They should have gotten out when the authorities said go. They should have planned ahead. (Never you mind that the authorities themselves planned poorly.)

Eighteen year olds can perhaps be forgiven their naiveté. They’re inexperienced in the ways of the world.

What, though, was the excuse of those in local, state, and federal government?

Given, at times the local and state authorities looked like a cross between Keystone Cops (Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco, well-meaning but inept) and the KKK (the authorities of Gretna, Louisiana who blocked New Orleans residents from entering their town), but in the face of national disaster, national government should be warmed up and ready to take the lead.

Should be.

Was under Bill Clinton. Was so clearly not under George Bush.

What Katrina revealed is what liberals have asserted for years: our current version of federal government is as self-centered, ham-fisted, and oblivious as those in the White House who daily bungle their way through administering it, and in time of genuine need is utterly impotent.

This fall we have the opportunity to both send a message – the current state of this country is unacceptable – and to make real change by electing legislators who will hold this administration accountable. Unfortunately, we also face real questions about the legality of our elections in the face of voting-machine tampering and other voting transgressions (this horror story happened in my county).

We’re all in trouble, not just those of us at the bottom of the socioeconomic food chain. We all need better options. And we need to find those options – soon.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Back, but busy

Too much to do as we get ready for the new school year.

In the meantime, amuse yourself with The Official George W. Bush "Days Left In Office" Countdown clock.

It just can't move fast enough for me.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Seen on a bumper sticker

When Jesus said, "Love your enemies,"
I think he meant don't kill them.

Leavin' on a jet plane

I'm off to visit (Not as) Faraway Daughter and little grandsons tomorrow, and the new house. (Son-in-law is off doing military things; if I knew just what they were, I'd have to kill myself. But I can say he's not in a place that starts with "I.")

Even though they're only an 8-hour drive away, I have an old, weary vehicle that I don't trust to make the trip. After weighing my options -- train, plane, bus -- flying turned out to be the most practical.

And despite the craziness of the last week, I still think it is.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

What are these women DOING????

Answer here.

Merci beaucoup to Madame X.

Mystery solved!

My work parking permit hangs from my rearview mirror, and I've always been mildy amused by a sentence on it: REMOVE BEFORE VEHICLE IS IN MOTION. (And these words are turned outward toward the road, adding to the efficacy of the message.)

I've always wondered why I needed to remove the pass. And was it an actual rule? Were the parking enforcers gonna give me a ticket if they caught me tooling down the interstate with my parking permit prominently displayed? With all this hanging up and taking down, how often do you think I would misplace the thing or forget to hang it back up once I returned to campus and parked? (Was this an evil plot to generate more parking ticket funds?)

Today I picked up my 06-07 model parking permit, along with a brochure that, instead of the Joe-Friday-just-the-facts-ma'am- informational flyer, reads like a motivational seminar.

And on the back of the brochure, the mystery is solved. I should remove my 2 1/2" (wide) x 5" (long) pass before I drive off "for safety [sic] sake."

Wouldn't want that big 'ol decal interfering with my view of the road, now, would we?