Why I’m So Damn Good

The Luchador will smite you for your hubris

I am not the best PO in the world. I can be late with my reports, I take too long to file reports and, on occasion, I have been known to take my time in getting back to a client. For all those failings, I am still a damn good PO. Here’s why: I work really hard to get to know my families. I do not assume that there are “no cultural or racial boundaries that impeded delivery of [social] services.”

Of course there are boundaries that impede services. I’m a white, fairly well educated, suburban born, lapsed catholic/agnostic Irish guy (who looks more Italian than Irish). When I introduce myself to a family, they cannot help but bring up every previous interaction they have had with The System. And, just as they have their preconceived ideas of what is currently occurring, I bring my own experiences to the table. The Barriers are there.

My clients have broken laws and demonstrated terrible behaviors. That is not in question. But to assume that my clients, who live in neighborhoods with gangs, corrupt cops and failing services (social and civil) will immediately trust me is not ignorant. It is flat out stupid. It is incumbent on me, and any other individual in social services, to recognize barriers to service and WORK through them.

Any individual who says, “There are no barriers to service,” is an incompetent moron who should go work in the private sector.

A Simple Guide to Political Categorization

Given that human beings have a tendency to categorize, it should come as no surprise that this peculiar human trait is also used when discussing particular beliefs systems. People fuss over the definition–and label–of terms like progressive, liberal, conservative, big D Democrat, big R Repulican, Blue Dog and fascist. I could spend all of NaBloPoMo trying to suss this out; however, I think that in order to do it properly, I’d get far too involved with blogging to get any other work done. Instead of trying to define and label all of these terms, I’m going to focus on particular event that can cut across a number of these categories; furthermore, this event can be used heuristically to help identify what labels are appropriate.

In short–and this is a continuation of yesterday’s quick thought–I am proposing this simple test: If you blame a victim of sexual assault and bandy about terms like “personal responsibility” and “boys will be boys” you are disqualified from being considered liberal, progressive and a feminist.

I recognize that it is difficult to define certain philosophies. I also realize that “moral absolutes” and universal statements are dangerous places to go philosophically. In addition to these realizations, I’m pretty sure that this this kind of a statement will make some of my readers–new, old or established–upset because I’m being too harsh.

When one blames a victim for a crime, one is saying that (at best) their poor judgement is the moral equivalent of the pain that has been inflicted on them. Minimizing, Justifying and rationalizing a crime with the statement of, “well she should have known better” is a distortion displayed by the people perpetrating the crime. When the larger community blames a victim, it continues to traumatize the victim.

In short, if you blame a victim, you are traumatizing the victim. You are showing a callous disregard for their experience. In my experience of talking with victims and victim advocates, victims of crimes–especially victims of a sexual assault–already have an inordinate amount of guilt and shame. Victims feel as if other people are holding them responsible for their victimization. These feelings, for some victims, continue inward to the point where a victim blames oneself for their pain. As a result of this emotional trauma, they begin to feel that they have this pain coming, that they have somehow deserved this because they are bad, stupid or “slutty.”

Blaming a victim is one step away from abusing the victim.

I honestly do not care if this is considered too harsh. I have seen multiple generations of families suffering from victim blaming. I have read far too many victim statements and talk to far too many State’s Attorneys who have told me far too much about how the victim “is spiraling out of control and no one is able to help her.”

When a person is victimized, the offender is the one that is responsible for their trauma. They are the ones who chose to cross boundaries. They are the ones who decided to violate societal norms for their own needs. If you want to blame society for sexualizing young women and having conflicting sexual mores, feel free to do so. But if you are going to blame a victim, recognize that you have far too much in common with an offender than I am comfortable with.

If you’re uncomfortable with the dissonance you might feel, then change your mind about victim blaming. Don’t rationalize it. Do not justify it. Change it.


Today I plan on filing a lawsuit against the estate of Ronald Reagan for making me endure his propaganda as a child. I mean, if wingnuts are so upset about the PRESIDENT telling kids to STAY IN SCHOOL, the least I can do is sue the fucker attempted to get schools to consider ketchup to be a goddamn vegetable or who “used” his Alzheimer’s disease to hide selling missiles to Iran.

Keep on Rocking in the Free World!

For as much shit as I’ve given Neil Young, I love his track,”Keep on Rocking in the Free World.” For your listening pleasure, I’ve posted it

Why are we going to keep on rocking today? Because President Obama has announced that we will not prosecute those CIA Officerswho were involved in torture.

President Barack Obama has also issued a statement guaranteeing that no CIA employees will be prosecuted for their role in the interrogation programme.

This leaves wiggle room for prosecuting the people behind the legal opinions, the executive branch officials who generated this unconstitutional “ideas against our professed values” and private contractors who were involved in the torture, but I find that unlikely. Individuals complicit in this torture scheme don’t need to confess for immunity. They do not have any incentive for Truth and Reconciliation. Obama has made it clear that there will be no going forward on this issue.

Take heart Wingnuts: You won something. Your cries of partisanship and “Obama’s unilateral stances” fall on deaf ears. You got exactly what you wanted: Zero accountability for disregarding the law. Now, but your tea bags in your pants, turn off 24 and put down your Jack Bauer/Scalia Slash Fic. Now it is your turn to give something back. I suggest turning off Fox news for at least one hour everyday.

Your Taxes At Work

Here at County, we don’t waste your money. Oh no. We skimp on services and infrastructure to make sure that your government is as incompetent as possible–just like you want it.

1) We make sure to buy pens in bulk. These pens don’t work, of course, because documenting our interventions with clients can be addressed in a much simpler fashion: by sending them to detention.

2) Our Voice Mail system is top notch! Why? Because our phones just don’t work. Second generation touch-tone phones that have poor jacks, shoddy handset cables and no volume control. These phones ensure that your important, immediate call will go right to voice mail.

3) Computers. All Probation officers have access to cutting edge 1999 computers or Thin Clients. Rest assured that if the county gets a grant to equip multi-tasking, specialized service units with laptops, we’ll divert the grant money to make sure our REALLY valuable units get them.

4) Bathrooms. Our restroom facilities are the envy of the third world. They may be filthy, without soap or toilet tissue, but they are connected to the sewer grid. We make sure that no county employee would waste time emptying bowels or bladders for fear of MRSA infections

Cook County: Don’t call us. Seriously, don’t call us. We don’t have a working phone and I don’t want you wasting my minutes.

update: lrn2spelnub

Panic on the Left? Please.

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Grok means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed—to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience. It means almost everything that we mean by religion, philosophy, and science—and it means as little to us (because of our Earthly assumptions) as color means to a blind man. Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

You don’t get it. If have used the term Obamaniacs, Anointed One or Obamania in a negative fashion, then you simple miss out on the appeal of this particular person. This maybe for deeply held personal convictions or base, shallow opinions on race. Regardless, you simple do not get it, let alone grok it. Yet without understanding, or even attempting to understand, why my candidates platform, message and personality is so inspiring, you have the audacity to claim that I (and by extension other members of the so called Fringe Left) are in panic mode.


As a self-appointed spokesperson of the Liberal Agenda, I will tell you exactly what is going on.

We are not worried about the quality of our candidate. If you want real change–and not a pair of Mavericks in Name Only–the choice is simple. If you want to end partisan bickering–and not a pit bull who co-opts feminist language when it suits her needs–the choice is obvious. Our candidate’s message is clear. The methods behind the change has been proclaimed on the stump and in front of 38 Million People. We are not quaking because of message.

We are worried about an opponent who, on one hand, claims will unify the country, and in the other he releases the leash on his pit bul so she can attack community organizers. We are worried about willful ignorance. We are worried that the American people will let themselves be fooled into a false sense of change because their lives are so complicated by the reality of home (living pay check to paycheck, the threat of bank collapse, personal bankruptcy and foreclosure) that they do not have the time nor the energy to research the truth.

We are worried that Bitter Cynicism has taken over the American Dream.  That individuals who foster a false division in the American people,saying that there is only enough to go around for some of us, have destroyed the ideal that we are a country of infinite compassion and resource.

We are worried about these things and more, but we are not in panic mode. We will panic if, on November 5 we wake up and find another four years of failed policies, partisanship and Faux Mavericks. Even if such a thing occurs, the Left is not going away; however, our tactics will need to change.

What some of my friends and family on the right do not understand is that this campaign is not just a referendum on W, McCain or Obama. It is a referendum on what the American people want in government. Do we want to be lied to, made to feel unimportant and that we cannot change our fractured system, or will we be allowed to take responsiblity for ourselves and our government.

Before someone shouts, “But the Republicans are the party of Self Government!,” remember that the Republican Party, as led by Bush and Cheney, has made access to our government more difficult. They have built a society of “ownership” that creates an idea that America is finite in intellect, compassion and resources. That we cannot help our friends and neighbors because in doing so, we harm our own future.

McCain/Palin–or as some have put it, Palin/McCain–needs that cynical and simple thought process to work. They believe the world is a simple and dangerous place: That poverty can be solved by boot strapping, that terrorism can be stopped with torture and the annihilation of those who do not subscribe to our world view, that there are fundamental and permanent differences between the Fringe Left and their “Righteous Right.”

The world is not simple, nor is it as dangerous as we are made to believe it is. This is not to say that there are not people who want to kill, maim and murder others just because they are “other” (or, specifically in our case, American). Those people do exist and those people need to be handled effectively and completely–but that does not necessarily mean by bombs and bullets. Obama understand the nuances and he has a plan. McCain is out of touch with the nuances and his running mate is willfully ignorant to the reality facing us at home and abroad.

Many of these same willfully ignorant people, the same who tout their religion as a core reason to vote for the Palin/McCain ticket, use cynical pseudo-religious rhetoric when describing Obama. The Obamessiah being the most ridiculous I have seen to date. It is insulting to believers, agnostics and atheists who believe in the platform and message as stated by Obama. For believers, it is an accusation of false idolatry. For agnostics and atheists, it is a slap in the face of reason.

And that is their point: to insult reason, compromise and understanding and bolster cynicism. That is the Republican’s ticket biggest weapon. It is not a series competing ideas. To date, the only ideas they have shared go against the very bills proposed by Senator McCain.  All they have are a series of base, foolish (but “Funny”) ad-hominem attacks. To further foster their attacks, when retorts are made by the Obama campaign, the claim instant victimhood.

A wounded Pit Bull. A Maligned War Hero. This is part of their cynical strategy. They ignore their own attacks, empty promises and vitriol, and play on the side of the wounded party. That is cynicism to its very core. And they will keep these divisive comments, half-truths, lies and partisan attacks through the media, then lambast the media for not showing “due deference” when they are called out for their distorted record.

Because it is so simple, the American people, who have battered by war, economic hard ship, and the incompetence of the most partisan administration in modern history, may chose this false sense of security proffered by Palin/McCain. This is troubling, but it is not panic inducing.

Panic is a Supreme Court with a majority of UltraConservatives who believe that the Anti-Hero Jack Bauer is real.

Panic is the rise of back alley abortions caused by the appeal of Roe vs. Wade.

Panic is watching bridges collapse over Minnesota because our infrastructure is left to corporations who cut corners to boost profits.

Panic is watching our country bomb another country because of our unwillingness to engage in diplomacy.

Panic is watching our allies fall to a Bear because our own military is making the Middle East safe for Big Oil.

That, readers, is panic. A dip in the polls is a kick in the ass to get the message out. Please stop confusing the two.

(I reserve the right to make edits and proof this at a later date. In fact, another blogger has already submitted a proof. A revision is incoming.)

(Update #1:  Tweaked some language, corrected a few typos.  Thanks Shoe-Thief!)

(Update #2: At Seth’s request, I am locking comments. There will be an Open Thread to discuss whatever is going on in the comments.)