Tag Archives: Opinion

But That Was Then, This Is Now : Part 1 Introduction

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Racial disparity: Institutional Racism from Black Codes to the Present”

Fascism in America 2: Exceptionalism

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“American Exceptionalism Is a Dangerously Naive Form of Nationalism”

Fascism in America 1: Introduction

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“What is Fascism and What Does American Fascism Look Like?”

From Nationalism to Patriotism, Again

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Charlottesville: From Patriotism to Nationalism to Malignant Nationalism”

Neither Racist Nor Responsible?

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“The Blurry Lines Between White Responsibility, White Privilege and Racism”

From Nationalism to Patriotism: A Girl Can Dream

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Recognizing Fascism: Introducing History Education in Post-Trump America”

 

Whenever You’re Ready

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“American Re-education: America After Trump”.

Open Letter To Livid Boy Scouts Parents

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“To Livid Boy Scouts Parents: Trump’s Speech at the 2017 National Jamboree”

Plenty of Reasons Why

13-reasons-why

Image: Netflix

I finished watching the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why this morning. High school in America is so vastly different from my high school experience in the Netherlands on every level, and it never ceases to shock me. Continue reading

Get Real, America!

sean spicer

Image: cnn.com

This week White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer uttered what may be the most offensive garbage yet, claiming that Bashar al-Assad is worse than Hitler, because even Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons, at least not on his own people and not in their cities and villages. Continue reading

Belated Note to Self

img981_edited-2 (2)

(It’s April, so it’s National Poetry Writing Month. One prompt I saw this morning was to find a picture of your younger self and write a poem describing the mood and telling your younger self something about the future. I had just the thing already on my mind.) Continue reading

Breastfeeding My Babies

img400_edited-3

Breakfast in Central Park, May 1998

Yesterday I was reading something that reminded me how much I loved breastfeeding. I’ve been meaning to write about it for years, and I keep forgetting. It’s one of the best things–if not the best thing–I’ve ever done. Talk about having a purpose! My very body was keeping this brand-new little human alive and thriving. Continue reading

How to Find a Balance

Image: amazon.com

Image: amazon.com

Sometimes I think that I should take a break from the news, just turn the car radio to music and not read my Flipboard or Facebook feed for a few days, because it gets too stressful. But right after that I think, what a luxury to be able to contemplate turning it all off for a while because it’s too hard to hear, too much to read about. Continue reading

Civil, Angry, Civilly Angry?

Image: snopes.com

Image: snopes.com

My friend and neighbor had a dilemma two days ago. He wanted to “like” my post to support my family going to the march, but he himself has started holding meetings in Austin to discuss how we can bring back the civil discourse, and my last post wasn’t that civil. Continue reading

Caught By Surprise

homeless, denny's, Once a week I have three hours to kill in East Austin. I kill them at Denny’s, because it’s close to where I need to pick up R when she’s done, and because they play 60s and 70s rock–my music. I usually take my laptop and sit at one of the two tables near an outlet, so I can write. Continue reading

Graceful I Am Not!

crocsToday’s writing prompt is Graceful.

Ha-ha-ha!

If there’s ever a word that describes what I am not most completely, it’s graceful. I’m the epitome of the proverbial bull in a china shop. More like a stumbling drunk bull in the British Museum’s Asia section. Watch out folks, here she comes. Hide your valuables! Continue reading

Dear NBC, About that Episode of The Blacklist…

Image: nbc.com

Image: nbc.com

Dear Blacklist producers,

I’ve been binge-watching season 3 on Netflix. Since you probably won’t actually be reading this and others will, allow me to set it up.

James Spader plays a larger than life, debonair master criminal who helps the FBI bag other master criminals, but really, the FBI is helping him in plans it has no knowledge of.

It’s an enjoyable enough series, but the end of episode 10 got my goat. Don’t worry, producers, I won’t spoil anything. Continue reading

Fun Facts About Facts, Truth, and Reality

Image: addictinginfo.org

Image: addictinginfo.org

Donald Trump is worried that the mediator in the first presidential debate on Monday will fact-check his statements. That right there should tell you everything you need to know about what he plans to say, but only if you still know what facts are. So let’s explore the language around the issue for a bit. Continue reading

Land of the Free to Be Ignorant and Ridiculous

Image: talkingpointsmemo.com

Image: aslkingpointsmemo.com

In the spirit of refueling, I downloaded an app with Dutch news from different media. And right away an article in Elsevier caught my eye.

It’s about a Muslim school in the town of Zaandam, that sued four parents of former students for slander and libel. Continue reading

Boycott Those Damn Mexican Taco Trucks!

Image: azcentral.com

Image: azcentral.com

A Trump surrogate recently stated that, without stricter immigration policies, we’ll soon see a taco truck on every street corner. Now, I’m almost per definition against anything coming from the Trump camp. I’m liberal, anti-bigotry, anti-fascism and all that. However, I’m not that easily pigeon-holed. Because I have to say, I agree that having a taco truck on every street corner would be a terrible scenario on every level.

Here’s why. Continue reading

Open Letter to Trump’s Deplorables

Image: talkingpointsmemo.com

Image: talkingpointsmemo.com

Dear Trump supporters,

By now nobody  can ignore that Trump’s an outright racist, misogynist, homophobe, islamophobe and xenophobe. The evidence in speeches, interviews and on Twitter is overwhelming. I agree with Hillary Clinton that most of the folks that still support him are also racists, homophobes, islamophobes and xenophobes, and that’s definitely deplorable. Continue reading

Immigration and Identity : Mourning My Losses 1

img593_edited-1I’ve started reading Immigration and Identity by Salman Akhtar. He speaks about the loss of identity and the mourning process involved for emigrants. I had never thought about it in those terms, but yes, when you emigrate, your identity changes to a degree, and yes, there is definitely mourning involved. Continue reading

Narcissists and Power

Here’s a good article about narcissists, and why they should never be given as much power as Americans could give Trump in November.

How Separate Are We, Really?

image: nairaland.com

image: nairaland.com

On July 14, a man ran his truck into crowds of people enjoying the Bastille Day fireworks in Nice, France, killing eighty-some and wounding so many others.

Bastille Day celebrates the birth of the French Republic, with its motto, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. Fraternity means, among other things, communal support, friendship, brotherhood. Continue reading

Will Trump Become Presidential?

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“2016 Presidential Election: Trump Is the Presumptive Republican Nominee

Me, Forging Empires

forge of empiresA while ago I started playing Forge of Empires. It’s the first time I’ve ever gotten involved in any kind of digital game, at least not since getting addicted to Pong when I should have been studying, back in library school. Continue reading

Harmony

154This week’s photo challenge: Harmony.

Last summer we stayed a week in upstate New York with my wonderful brother and sister in law. They took us to visit their friends’ small farm. About thirty acres, if I remember correctly. A stream, a pond, wooded area, swamp, meadows. An open barn where the animals can come and go as they please. Continue reading

American Crossroads: Reagan, Trump and the Devil Down South

Image: ew.com

Image: ew.com

I posted this awesome article by Ben Fountain on the Resident Alien Facebook page, but that only has fifty readers. So here it is as well, my borrowed submission for yesterday’s writing prompt “Inevitable“. (And it’s never too late to like my page for more stuff that’s relevant to my blog posts.)

How the Republican party slowly but surely got Americans ripe for a …hm…man, person, specimen, angry goldfish like Trump. Also, I now know what “dog whistle politics” is.

I Question Your OCD

Image: fanpop.com

Image: fanpop.com

Do you recognize a lot of yourself in Monk?
Are you detail-oriented in your cleaning?
Is your house in perfect order, everything in its place?
Do you feel the need to straighten crooked pictures?
Do you dislike getting dirty? Continue reading

No Pat On My Back

image: camstockphoto.com

image: camstockphoto.com

Today’s writing challenge is to tell someone that I’m proud of how proud I am. Continue reading

Call Me Crazy

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“Under a President Trump, Would Democracy Survive or Would Fascism Win?”

Hot Messes

image: Guardian

image: theguardian.com

Like the Hot Mess Stephen Marche mentions below, this article feels like at least four separate articles all scrambled into one. But it’s worthwhile as an impression of America and its politics by a (Canadian) outsider.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jan/10/white-man-pathology-bernie-sanders-donald-trump?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+USA+-+Version+A&utm_term=148973&subid=14420186&CMP=ema_565a

 

 

Table Manners

image: pinterest.com

image: pinterest.com

How do you eat a salad? How do you cut your steak?

In Holland, I learned to eat with knife and fork, the European way. Holding your knife in your right hand, in a certain way, and your fork in your left hand, in a certain way. The cutting or folding of leaves happens just so and you keep your knife an fork in your hands the whole time you’re eating. Not just with salads, anything that isn’t finger food. Continue reading

Who’s That Caroling From Muscle Memory?

xmastree_edited-1Every year, on the first Saturday in December, John Aeilli–host of the KUTX program Eclecticos–and a few other public radio people lead the Christmas caroling on the steps of the Texas Capitol and my family and I always join in. Yes, I know, no separation between church and state, but I pick and choose which principles I stand for as much as the next person. So sue me. Continue reading

Good Grief And Happy Holidays!

Source: Good Grief And Happy Holidays!

Great post about the War on Christmas by a blogger I follow.

I Finally Get It!

image: themoderntog.com

image: themoderntog.com

Why Trump is bat-shit crazy? Why people love him? No.

Pinterest! Continue reading

So How About Thanksgiving?

ThanksgivingA few years ago, when I wrote a series of posts arguing that Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) is racist, one of my readers asked, but how about Thanksgiving? Isn’t that racist as well? Continue reading

What Passes for History Here

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“What Passes for American History Education is Pathetic, and Now I Know Why”

Where is Our Compassion?

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my new blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“American Islamophobia: Sixteen States Plan to Refuse Syrian Refugees”

Facing the Problem

image: abc7chicago.com

image: abc7chicago.com

Terrorists have shot and blown up 132 people (at last count) in Paris. ISIS has claimed responsibility and says this is just the beginning of the wave. Continue reading

This Crazy Rollercoaster

image: huffingtonpost.com

image: huffingtonpost.com

I mention in my yellow sticky post on the homepage that I often seem disgusted and elated in quick succession. Well, I wasn’t kidding. Continue reading

Hot, Cold, or Clueless?

image: youtube.com

image: youtube.com

Okay, the problem with starting a series of posts on one incident is that in the meantime other stuff happens. Though I was intent on not going along with the “news cycle,” I’m going to cut my posts on the Spring Valley High School SRO assault on a female student short. The two remaining posts, about American football coach idolization and the lack of mental health support in this country will have to wait until another time.

A few days ago I came across an article about the state of the Cold War in 1983. Continue reading

And Now for Some Sweetness and Light

image from cadyluckleedy.com

image from cadyluckleedy.com

Well, I have been focused on the extremes of religion lately, so now it’s time for something more upbeat. (Even I can get sick of my negativity after a while.) Continue reading

Pope Francis Goes to Washington

image: popefrancisnyc.org

image: popefrancisnyc.org

So, the pope. CNN was wall-to-wall pope from the moment he set foot in Cuba to the moment he left America. It was hard not to get carried along in the enthusiasm oozing from the (Catholic) reporters. He was wonderful! Amazing! Best pope ever! Rock star Francis! It was like the Beatles were coming to town! Etc. Continue reading

Confederate-flag-racism

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“The Confederate Flag Will No Longer Fly at the South Carolina State Capitol”

My Ideology

Image: ato1952.com

Image: ato1952.com

I was recently accused of having a left-wing ideology by someone who commented on a post about the pledge of allegiance.

Merriam-Webster defines ideology as: Continue reading

If I Were Queen…

Image: usnews.nbc.com

Image: usnews.nbc.com

I regularly come across the writing prompt “If you were king…” I usually don’t know where to begin. Or I think of the painfully boring and restrictive life Queen Elizabeth of Britain leads, and then I lose my appetite for being queen. And in any case, America doesn’t have kings or queens.

But wait, America does have tsars! Continue reading

Speechless, But Trying: The Church Shooting in Charleston S.C.

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“White Man Kills Nine Black People in Church Shooting in Charleston S.C.”

This Says it All

I found this video on a post about Zwarte Piet by Travelogues of an African Girl. Holland, it’s time to catch up.

They’re All Druggies and Alcoholics

image: askusfortcollins.com

image: askusfortcollins.com

An argument you hear often for not helping the homeless is that if you give them money, they just spend it on drugs or alcohol.

First of all, there are plenty of people homeless who aren’t drug addicts or alcoholics. It’s often hard to tell the difference. Continue reading

Zwarte Piet and Ferguson

image: vrij-zinnig.nl

image: vrij-zinnig.nl

In a reply to a comment by Onno on one of my posts about Zwarte Piet, I mentioned that the Netherlands is still in the Stone Age when it comes to racial sensitivity. Onno responded by pointing to Ferguson. Continue reading

Please DO Feed the Homeless

image: sleuthjournal.com

image: sleuthjournal.com

It’s that time of year again: people donate to food banks that feed the hungry and to organizations that provide meals for the homeless. Continue reading

Sinterklaas: Let’s Put This into Perspective, Again

image: sint-nicolaas.nl

image: sint-nicolaas.nl

Okay, one more repost, because I’ve had so many hits on the last one. Clearly there’s an interest and the post below is one that gets skipped a lot, it seems.

After this I’m stopping with the Zwarte Piet issue, at least for this year. I think.

Continue reading

Sinterklaas: Breaking Down Some Arguments, Again

blog.seniorennet.beIts that time of year again in the Netherlands: Sinterklaas is coming. From what I gather over here in Texas, for now, the people who want to keep Zwarte Piet black have won.

There’s no point to me saying everything I already said at length last year, but for those of you who missed it then, here’s one of the posts I wrote about the issue below. Or, if you want, you can start at the beginning. And if you’re one of those who say I have no right to say anything because I’m an outsider, I have dedicated my last post in the series especially to you.

So here goes:

————————————————————————————————–

Continue reading

Gender and Grammar and Growth, Oh My!

image: exchange.smarttech.com

image: exchange.smarttech.com

My son B has been maturing by leaps and bounds the past couple of months. It’s like he’s having a massive mental growth spurt.

As a result, he is increasingly finding out what it means to be him, and learning how to be more assertive about the boundaries between himself and others. At the same time he’s also expanding his experience to include more and more of the world around him. All this seems to suddenly be happening at a faster pace than ever before. Continue reading

It’s the Honest Truth

A poem for NaPoWriMo.

earth

The sun revolves around the earth,
Something’s wrong with Obama’s birth,
The dinosaurs missed Noah’s ark, Continue reading

What a Difference a Name Makes

image: cafepress.com

image: cafepress.com

I consider myself to be a relatively tolerant, open-minded person. A pacifist, even. Not always in thought, but definitely in actions. I don’t hate much. It’s a toxic attitude to have. Live and let live, I usually say. But nobody’s perfect, not even yours truly. Continue reading

What is Basic History Education?

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It has emigrated to my new blog:

The Big No-No: An Outsider on American Fascism,

where it resides under the title:

“What Is Good History Education: Civil War Battles or Why They Were Fought?”

1000 Followers: Yay Me?

image: themirror.co.uk

image: themirror.co.uk

Today I have 1000 followers.

It looks good, but I wonder about most of them. On average I get about 50 hits a day and anywhere from five to thirty likes per post, most of them from the same loyal readers. So who are these 1000 followers? Continue reading

American Railroads and the Environment

It’s high time for another one of my pet peeves. This commercial by CSX, one of the big railroad companies, annoys me no end: Continue reading

To Hell and Back: 24 Hours in Las Vegas

las vegas nightmareIn October I saw that there was going to be a New Media Expo (NMX) in the beginning of January and I decided to go. It was in Las Vegas. I hate superficiality, I hate the idea that bigger is always better, I hate unbridled greed and I hate sexual objectification of women.

What could possibly go wrong? Continue reading

Conversation over Breakfast

chicken fajitasI treated my homeless friend Steve to a meal of chicken fajitas at Magnolia Cafe the other day. Talking to him for a while is often overwhelming. So much information. So much of it shocking. Continue reading

A Little Reminder

image: abcnews.go.com

image: abcnews.go.com

Judging by the news coverage, you’d think that the biggest worries related to the freezing winds this Thanksgiving are the flight delays and the possible lack of giant balloons at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Continue reading

Open Letter to Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo

art acevedoDear Police Chief Acevedo,

I’m an Austin resident. I drive my kids downtown to school every morning and back every afternoon. Since I’ve been driving the same route twice a day for five years, I’ve befriended some of the homeless who stand on corners I almost always stop at. These guys sleep mostly under bridges and overpasses. Continue reading

What Would Jesus Do?

the_ass_at_schoolThis Ruthless World is one of my favorite blogs. And her newest post is hilarious. A Tea Party guy reinvents Jesus to fit his personal ideas of what a man should be. And the blogger responds so thoroughly that there is nothing left to add.

Except to ask:

What would Jesus do according to this guy? Well, on Sabbath evening he would probably be whooping hippies’ asses and raising hell!

Whatever You Do, Don’t Read This!

samurai-sword-umbrella-2I discovered this blog, Conservative Newswire, only last week. I immediately became a follower, because I felt sorry for them. Such inexperienced boys, they were obviously never going to make it without the benefit of my help. Continue reading

Scenic Route

Scenic-RouteWell, I suppose this NaBloPoMo is a good opportunity to publish a few a-propos-of-nothing posts.

For instance, I’d like to draw your attention to one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. Continue reading

Sinterklaas: The Zwarte Piet Issue from the Outside

zwarte clownSeveral people have pointed out–in a somewhat accusatory tone–that I’m looking at the issue of Zwarte Piet being racist from the outside. To a large degree it’s true. But first let me point out to what degree it’s not. Continue reading

Sinterklaas: Zwarte Piet and a Horse Analogy — Yeah, I’m Really Doing That

Continue reading

Sinterklaas: Breaking Down Some Arguments

Continue reading

Sinterklaas: Let’s Put This into Perspective

image: sint-nicolaas.nl

image: sint-nicolaas.nl

Continue reading

Sinterklaas: Now I’m Getting to the Point

image: e-carnavalskleding.nl

image: e-carnavalskleding.nl

In yesterday’s post I described the way Sinterklaas is celebrated in the Netherlands. Except I left something out. It’s kind of a biggie.

Sinterklaas has helpers. Originally there was just one helper, but soon there were at least two of them, and when Sinterklaas arrives in the Netherlands or in a town, there are lots of them. They are called Zwarte Piet–Black Pete or Black Peter.

These Zwarte Pieten are white people with black  faces, bright red lips, afro wigs and big gold earrings, who wear Renaissance-style clown costumes.

Continue reading

I Pledge Allegiance — No, This Is Not the Same Post

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“I Pledge Allegiance — No, This Is Not the Same Post: What is Patriotism?”

I Pledge Allegiance to . . .

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism,

where it resides under the title:

“Battling Nationalism for Maria Montessori: I Pledge Allegiance to the Earth”.

Resident Alien on Facebook!

facebook likeI know I promised in my last post that I would continue with a post about my gear, but I walked into the garage to find my lightweight camping stuff and two steps into it I changed my mind. First our garage will have to be straightened out. Ugh!

Now for the good news…

The Second Middle Ages?

image from googleplussuomi.com

image from googleplussuomi.com

I’ve written before about the influence religion has in American society, and how it sticks its nose in places it doesn’t belong, like the justice system, politics, government, public education and science.

I’ve also reposted this blog post by a woman who grew up in Russia. She points out the ironic similarities between the American Tea Party and Soviet Union ideologies. Continue reading

Antoinette Tuff: Using Her Words

image from beforeitsnews.com

image from beforeitsnews.com

Wow, a few hundred kids and teachers weren’t shot by a guy with an AK47 yesterday. No doubt because another guy one-upped him with an even bigger gun, and shot him full of holes while hysterically screaming “Fuuuuuck you, cocksucker!” and then… What? What’s that? Those kids and teachers weren’t saved by a manly-man with a big gun and a bigger mouth? Oh. They were saved by an unarmed, level-headed woman? Who TALKED THE GUNMAN DOWN? Well shucks, imagine that!

The Real America or the Real Issues

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism,

where it resides under the title:

“Hey, Real Americans Out There In Real America, What About the Real Issues?”

Political Correctness or Social Evolution?

image from blogs.scientificamerican.com

image from blogs.scientificamerican.com

Daily Prompt: Is political correctness a useful concept, or does it stifle honest discussion?

Definition of politically correct:
1. Of, relating to, or supporting broad social, political, and educational change, especially to redress historical injustices in matters such as race, class, gender, and sexual orientation.
2. Being or perceived as being overly concerned with such change, often to the exclusion of other matters.
(http://www.thefreedictionary.com/political+correctness)
Where do I stand?

Gilberton, PA: Too Small to Succeed?

image from city-data.com

image from city-data.com

The smaller the town, the bigger the chance that your police “chief” and mayor are below par. A small town simply doesn’t have the tax base needed to attract qualified people and there are too few qualified people in the borough itself.

Gilberton ranks way below the Pennsylvania average in pretty much everything, like income, house values and education. It definitely has a very low tax base. And how big is the pool Gilberton has to fish in for its government employees?

Let’s have a closer look, shall we?

Thugs in the Spotlight

image from tumblr.com

image from tumblr.com

Right around the time I wrote my post about Gilberton, PA Police Chief Mark Kessler, there was also a meme going around Facebook asking not to make stupid people famous. So I wondered if I–with many others–was guilty of giving this guy the spotlight, or if I was doing the right thing in drawing attention–again, along with many others–to a disconcerting phenomenon. Continue reading

Open Letter to Mark Kessler, Police Chief of Gilberton, PA

Dear Mr. Police Chief Mark Kessler of Gilberton, Pennsylvania, Continue reading

Left Is Scary and Other Hilarious Moments

image from buzzfeed.com

image from buzzfeed.com

One of the things that remind me regularly that I’m still an alien here is what makes me laugh. Continue reading

The Long 1950’s … Behind the Iron Curtain

In light of the restrictive abortion law the Texas Republicans are going to get passed, and considering the reckless manner in which many conservatives throw around terms like “communist” and “socialist”, this post by someone from Russia is a must-read. The number of times she uses the word “stupid” n the first few paragraphs may be off-putting, but she gets it out of her system and gets going with the real meat!

This Ruthless World

Yuri Pimenov, "A Wedding on Tomorrow's Street" (1962)As someone who grew up in a totalitarian Communist state, nothing infuriates me more than the incessant conservative droning-on about progressives being “communist”, “socialist” and “Stalinist”. People who say these things use such words as mere slurs, not much different than calling someone an asswipe, and of course, they betray both a profound ignorance of history and a great deal of contempt for it. But more than that, they’ve got it completely backwards. Truth is, American conservatives have remarkably a lot in common with Russian communists: the same obsession with ideological purity, the same irrational intolerance towards loyal dissent, the same prioritizing of ideology over practicality, the same preparedness to sacrifice liberties, human dignity and lives for the sake of ideological totems, the same clash-of-civilizations thinking, the same pretensions at worldwide cultural and political hegemony. And of course, the modern American conservative and the Russian communist of the bygone era…

View original post 2,404 more words

Yellowstone Do-Over Part 8: Messy Miscellaneous

018_edited-1This is what I get from trying to do these vacation posts by theme. I end up with leftovers–pictures that don’t fit in any theme, or I don’t have enough pictures on a topic to merit a whole themed post. Yet I feel like showing them. So this last post about our Yellowstone do-over is pretty unorganized. Hard to accept for a former librarian, but there it is. Continue reading

Simmering Down Now

232_edited-1Yesterday I just accepted all comments without replying to each one. I was venting, not looking for a conversation with people who have never been emigrants themselves. I thought I’d leave that for after I’d calmed down a bit.

Well, I’m calm now.

Five Things I Can’t Stand

ducks 1I’ve been feeling kind of truculent lately, so let’s see if a list of five things I can’t stand will get it out of my system.

Let me begin with drivers behind me–when I’m up front at a stoplight, waiting to turn left at an unprotected left turn–honking for me to go ahead and make the turn already. Continue reading

Brigham Young and Infamous Legacies in General

Brigham Young(image from biography.com)

Brigham Young
(image from biography.com)

Well, I’ll probably be banned from ever entering Utah for this, but here goes.

I just read The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff. It tells the somewhat parallel stories of two nineteenth wives: Ann Eliza Webb, wife of Brigham Young, the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints’  second leader in the 1870s, Continue reading

the Earth – something to think about

This poem was posted by I Used to Be Indecisive.

I used to be indecisive...

I came across this poem by Joe Miller.  It certainly is something to think about.

 

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The Grand American Canyon

(Image from sodahead.com)

(Image from sodahead.com)

It never ceases to amaze me how so many people in America can live in what has been called a “parallel universe”. A universe Fox News not only helps to create, but apparently believes in itself, as witnessed on election night, when its pundits were taken completely off guard by Obama’s victory.

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Point in Case

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“There Should Be Gun Restrictions For People With Mental Health Issues”.

Martin Chuzzlewit in the U-nited States

(Image: charlesdickenspage.com}

(Image: charlesdickenspage.com}

Since I’ve been blogging about Victor Hugo’s stories, let me jump over to England and Charles Dickens.

This winter break I had the bad luck to get the flu. For days I could barely get out of bed. But every cloud has a silver lining, and this cloud’s lining was that I got to read Martin Chuzzlewit in a few days. Continue reading

Load up, Boys, It’s the Asian Menace Again!

image from breitbart.com

image from breitbart.com

Okay, finally I’m getting around to the post about Red Dawn.I think it’s no coincidence that it was remade around this time. Continue reading

All Heil to the Good Guys

the waveIn my last post, I addressed the idea of giving teachers guns in the classroom. But the NRA wants more than that. They want everyone to have a gun, because, as they say, “The only thing more dangerous than a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”. Or something like that. Continue reading

Dear Pro-Gun Folks

That signs like this are necessary outside schools is already ridiculous enough.

That signs like this are necessary outside schools is already ridiculous enough.

So you would like to see teachers walking around with assault weapons slung over their shoulders. Your focus is on the idea that those teachers would shoot the killer.

You’re overlooking several aspects of the issue. Continue reading

Anything Helps 4: Mustache Man

(Image from:
members.virtualtourist.com

Sometimes a homeless man with a huge horseshoe mustache panhandles at one of the intersections in southwest Austin. I don’t talk with him much, because the timing is rarely right. He’s accompanied by a black Labrador, who usually sits under an umbrella stuck in the ground, a water bowl within reach. Continue reading

Thanksgiving 3: Friends all Over

‘s up?

I am thankful for my friends. From my best friend since we were almost fifteen and my other Dutch friends, to my friends right next door here in Austin, and everyone in between. I don’t need to blog about my appreciation of them, because I connect with them in other ways. (But if you’re reading this: Hi. I love you.)

Here, I want to give thanks to the blogging friends I’ve made. Continue reading

Anything Helps 3: There But for Luck Goes Your Child

(Image from tonic.com)

Disclaimer: I know most of my readers are compassionate people. So this is directed toward–well, you’ll know who you are.

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Anything Helps 2: A Woman With a Dog

(Image from andilit.com)
I know this is a man, but it’s a good picture, isn’t it?

In an earlier post I wrote about Steve, a homeless guy I see almost every day after dropping off the kids at school.

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Just Say No to Life Jackets

Okay, I’m shamelessly Facebooking on my blog with this, but concerning the whole contraceptives, rape and abortion controversy, this says it all!

 Let me explain this for Dutch readers who may not have been following the whole debate about all this closely. Continue reading

The Great Divide: A Question of Color

Photo: redandwhitekop.com

For many years now, there has been a huge rift within our family, caused by traffic lights. T and I are in permanent disagreement and our son B is pretty firmly on my side. R is undecided, but I’m convinced she will see the light (I couldn’t resist)  in due time. Continue reading

The Horror, the Horror! Really, I’m Serious

Photo: paulcurtis.livejournal.com

Ah! Only seven days and one to go to Halloween, my ravenous readers, so I feel compelled to warn you. I move as though invisible through the streets and alleys and I observe the good citizens of my subdivision decorating their trees and lawns with whimsically carved calabashes and synthetic spiderwebs, comfortably convinced that ghouls are merely a myth, a myth upheld for no other reason that to have a costume party. Continue reading

Freedom vs Safety (No, This Is Not About the War on Terror)

Photo: tellurideinside.com

Every now and then I make myself unpopular with many of my neighbors. We have a Yahoo group, which is great, because with lightning speed we can get the word out about a lost dog or a scam artist in the neighborhood. But sometimes it can get contentious, and when it does, it seems that I’m often right in the middle of it. I have no idea why, because I’m just mild, non-confrontational, li’l ole me, right readers? Continue reading

Your Friendly Neighborhood Politicians: Attack Ads in American and Dutch Elections

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Party Platforms: Promises, Promises!

Photo: Harderwiek

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Can Politicians Compromise?

Photo: willysford.com

Should the wing nuts (that’s right-wing nuts and left-wing nuts for you, Dutch readers) have less say in the elections? Or More? How does that work in the Dutch parliamentary system?

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Who Can Represent the Whole Country?

Photo: jetmade

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My American Dream

This is what I dreamed last night.

I was in a school gym, remembering how we would be made to run laps around a gym just like that in high school in the Netherlands. And I remembered that I could. I’d be tired, and I’d be protesting loudly like any self-respecting un-sporty teenage girl should, but that’s all. And I resented–in this dream–that I can’t run for two minutes now without having a gimpy knee for the next two weeks (this is real; I ran for two minutes last weekend, and now it hurts when I walk down steps). Continue reading

Aasif Mandvi and the Truth

Photo: asiansinthemedia.wordpress.com

I wrote a post about the anti-science attitude of many Republicans two days ago. This Daily Show video is going around Facebook, but it illustrates the ridiculousness of the anti-science folks so beautifully that I just have to share it here as well.

Religion vs Science

Photo: csmonitor.com

I have always respected most religious beliefs. Sure, I put my foot in my mouth occasionally, but I have no problem with religion in itself. I can see how there’s a human need for spirituality of one kind or another, and that some of us have a bigger need for it than others. However, there’s supposed to be a separation between church and state in this country, and when that idea is so blatantly trampled, when religion interferes with science, education, politics and human rights to the degree it does here, then the respect is clearly not mutual, and I don’t feel as obligated to be religiously correct. Continue reading

Entitled

image: OccupyEducated.org

One of the definitions of “entitled” is having the right to something. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney uses the terms “entitled” and “entitlement” as dirty words. It’s clear from his speech at a fundraiser dinner that he feels people should not be entitled to food, health care or housing. Meaning that if people don’t have the money to pay for food, shelter or the doctor, they can’t expect the government to help them. To Europeans, that is pretty shocking.  In Europe we call entitlement programs parts of the social safety net.

The terminology illustrates the fundamental difference in attitudes toward people who need help. Continue reading

Hey, It Wasn’t Me

For those of you who think I’m just a disgruntled anti-americanDutch immigrant who makes stuff up, click here for a great post by a fellow countryman.

A Little Rant About Bikes

There’s nothing quite as aggravating as buying a bike in this country when you’re Dutch. The kids needed new bikes and I kind of wanted a bike, too. I had bought one at Goodwill a few years ago, but it didn’t feel right. Continue reading

The Kids on the Bus

It’s summer vacation again. Schools are closed for about three months. A quarter of the year. No, this is not a post about the ridiculous length of American school vacations. Continue reading

Someone Get This Woman a “Stupid” T-Shirt

Photo: spreadshirt.com

I have no patience with stupidity.

Ignorance I can tolerate to a certain degree. It comes from lack of education, and it doesn’t tend to occur to uneducated