You So Lost, Daddy

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The words that greet me are, “I hate you Daddy, go away” as a small head disappears under the covers. It’s Monday morning, it’s raining, and my wife is away for a month on business, leaving me with a 1st grader and a pre-schooler, both of them precocious, high energy and high maintenance. They have decided that, in her absence, I shall be their emotional and physical piñata. 

We’ve done this before, and I’m painfully aware of my predicament. I’m also determined to avoid the pitfalls this time. A dog-eared copy of “The Explosive Child” is on my night table; I plan the day with ample time for transitions and a minimum of deadly, idle limbo; I provide them undivided attention, sacrifice “me” time, and bend over backwards to smooth out bumps. I avoid the sugar highs and the hunger crashes. I pick my fights, I count to 10 and 10 and 10, I bribe and cajole, I plead and negotiate. I read them the riot act.

All for nothing.

They test my limits. I test theirs. We all miserably fail the test. They react to my reaction as the day progresses – or regresses, as it were – and together we spiral down into the abyss of tantrums, pathetic posturing, poor parenting, desperation and, ultimately, exhaustion.

As we go through the bedtime kabuki of teeth, ‘jammies, and stories I just want this awful day to end, while they try as always to postpone the inevitable. As they finally do settle down, a look of contentment spreads across their faces. “We won,” they seem to be concluding, “and you so lost, Daddy.” I concede defeat and turn off the lights. I feel 10 years older and one entire, miserable day poorer. I don’t even know where to begin to untangle the knot of disappointment, sadness, anger, and frustration created by two tiny people pushing buttons and getting away with it because they happen to have my unconditional love.

But Who Else Is Left To Kill?

militant-vegan-carrot1The Obama administration recently announced in triumph that Al Queada had been reduced to two grumpy guys with beards, guns, and some groupies. Two. Seriously, at this point, the Vegetarian Society of East Tennessee now has a significantly stronger leadership than Al Queda (no offense to the healthy eaters down South). But since the insatiable killing machine that drives U.S. foreign policy is, apparently, unstoppable (primarly because the people in charge — like President Obama — clearly have no desire to stop it), then it must, necessarily, be kept busy killing something other than Al Queda members.

So I don’t know how anybody could be too surprised to learn that the U.S. forces in Afghanistan annihilated yet another family of kids on Thursday, or that the same U.S. forces destroyed two Pakistani army outposts early Saturday, killing dozens of Pakistani soldiers in the process. Really: killing is what the military is supposed to do, and when there’s little or no enemy left to kill, you either start killing the innocent, or make the ridiculous claim that the innocent are the enemy when you kill them — or both.

Neither of which does much to win us friends, favors, or influence overseas; it just fosters more hatred and generates new enemies, which we’ll of course have to go kill in due course — but since that’s what the machine does best, perhaps it’s all part of the plan…

(Completely unrelated and entirely irrelevant photo from The Bedlam Beat)

Big Brother is ALWAYS Watching

sam_brownbackKansas governor Sam Brownback claims to believe in smaller government. And he’s a strong believer in the Constitution of the United States, including the 1st Amendment bit about free speech.So much so that he went to the trouble of inserting language in a hate speech bill to ensure that pastors in churches could continue to spew forth their hatred against gays with impunity.

So, it’s odd to see him spend tax-payer dollars monitoring what his constituents are saying about him on social networks, and that he sees fit to spend MORE tax-payer dollars reacting to what his lackeys find. Specifically, when a student on a field trip to listen to a Brownback speech tweeted something less-than-flattering about Brownback, the thin-skinned little redneck threw a temper tantrum and Brownback’s director of communication, Sherriene Jones-Sontag, told the school to “do something.” Sadly, the school (in yet another waste of tax-payer dollars) did just that: instead of commending the girl for exercising her right to free speech, the principal laid into her and told her that she needed to apologize.

So much fail here. First of all, Emma Sullivan does not need to apologize for what she said. Second of all, the school has no business censoring what she writes, says, or does as a private citizen. It is laughable when Leigh Anne Neal, the spox for the Shawnee Mission School Distrct, declares:

“In general […] students on school-sponsored field trips, in which they are representing the school, would be expected to conduct themselves in accordance with school district policies, including use of electronic devices.”

She seems to be claiming that the problem was with Sullivan using “an electronic device” — but I can’t imagine the school district or the governor would have been all up in her face if she’d tweeted “OMG, Brownback is wonderful #suckinguptoauthority”. Clearly, the problem was with the content of her tweet. And there is just no way you can have a school policy stating “you can only say flattering things about elected politicians on social networks” — it just doesn’t work that way in a country where free speech is (at least in theory) still allowed.

It’s delicious to see this backfire on Brownback in the worst possible way, and hopefully the pathetic administrators at the school district will be smarting from their embarrassing knee-jerk willingness to carry water for a hypocrite instead of standing behind their student’s constitutional right to free speech.