Daily Archives: February 16, 2009

Justine Just Says “No”

“No” to requests for her to read other people’s unpublished work, that is. Lots of reasons, many of which boil down to “uh, can’t you see I’m busy?” Which is a totally valid reason. Reminds me to link again to my own entry on the subject, since I’m getting an increasing incidence of such requests again. The answer is still “no,” I’m afraid. Sorry.

Oh Noes! He’s Talking Politics Again!

The creative centers of my brain are flipping me the bird at the moment, so I’ll fill up this empty time by spouting off about politics for a spell. You folks in the front rows, ready your tarps; it’s gonna get messy.

* I’m not entirely sure where the GOP is buying its drugs these days, but wherever it is, the dealer must have some really primo shit, because only the presence of red-hot mind-warping pharmacological treats can explain the current GOP talking point that Obama’s off to a bad start. Really? Dude gets the most sweeping social engineering legislation of the last half century passed three weeks into his administration, despite the near-universal congressional opposition of one of the two major political parties in the United States, all the while maintaining his high popularity marks with the public, and he’s off to a bad start? Really? To paraphrase Inigo Montoya, they keep using those words, but I don’t think they mean what they think they mean.

Well, the GOP says, yes, in fact, Obama did get his stimulus bill done, but he didn’t do it with us, and since he promised that he’d do things in a bipartisan fashion, that means he’s failed. There are two things here. One, as regards the stimulus bill, I’m guessing Obama figures the relevant marker for success is whether the thing passed or not. Surprise! It did. Two, when the GOP enforces a party line vote against the stimulus bill and then goes on Sunday morning talk shows to complain about the lack of bipartisanship in the White House, it’s like a shopkeeper complaining that he’s got no sales while he’s waving a gun at anyone who tries to enter the store.

I don’t mind the GOP having a philosophical opposition to the stimulus package; I get queasy myself thinking of all the debt we’re piling on (although it should be noted that GOP governors eying the collapse of their state budgets seem to like it just fine). But trying to pin the blame their opposition to the bill on Obama’s lack of bipartisanship is just a reminder that the GOP standard operating procedure is to assume that most Americans are gullible idjits. Rumor has it, however, that the GOP reality distortion field collapsed somewhere on or near November 4, 2008. I don’t think it’s entirely powered up to full strength yet. At the moment, the only people huffing GOP’s fumes are the GOP folks in Washington.

* Oh, and the other things that makes me want to take an axe handle to the lot of them: The GOP bleating of how the stimulus bill represents “generational theft” after it financed two very expensive wars for the better part of eight years on credit and tax cuts that primarily benefited the very richest among us. Really, Republican Party, just STFU. You know, in the aftermath of 9/11, there wasn’t an American outside of the populations of Berkeley and the Club for Growth who wouldn’t have gladly shouldered the tax burden to pay for the wars we’re prosecuting in the Middle East. But our leaders decided to let our kids pay for that one instead (and, of course, we let them). If the stimulus represents generational theft, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan got there first.

Obama has been very smart about smacking the GOP with the hypocrisy stick on this particular issue, over and over and over again, noting correctly that the GOP handwringing on this issue would be a lot more convincing if the last eight years hadn’t actually happened. Mind you, this is neither here nor there as to the larger argument of whether the stimulus is wise or represents an undue burden on future generations. What it is, is a reminder that of all people, the GOP are not the ones qualified to complain about adding debt load, or to maintain they are actually the fiscally responsible party. The best they could do is argue that, given how much generational theft they were in charge of over the last eight years, any more would be foolish. But if they were really serious about that, they might suggest, say, tax increases. And we know how much that burns them, precious.

* Yes, I know, look, I’m whacking on the GOP again. How unusual. So here, conservative Whatever readers, enjoy: “Liberals not pleased with go-slow approach by Obama.” Seems we have already reached the “hey, you don’t fart cinnamon-scented rainbows!” stage of liberal disenchantment with our current president, because he’s not doing things as quickly as they want him to. Because he wants to think about things or possibly from time to time consult with others or whatever. Curse him for wanting to be more than President of the Left! Now everyone hates Obama! Except, you know, most of the actual American people. But besides them.

Personally speaking, there are a lot of things that Obama hasn’t done yet that I am hoping he’ll get around to sooner than later. On the other hand, he has been kind of busy the last three weeks with that stimulus package, and as a basic rule I’m not opposed to the nation’s executive making sure he’s got a good grip on an issue before dealing with it. It’s that whole “measure twice, cut once” thing. And anyway, didn’t the man get elected because people thought he might be a smart guy who thought about things? “Smart” is not synonymous with “fast,” you know; lot of people like to think it is but it’s not. I’m content to have the man take his time and believe he’s done them well. Because no matter how long he takes, we’ll have to live with his choices for quite a while.

Okay, you’re up. Play nice with each other. Don’t make me break out the Loving Mallet Of Correction. Because you know I will.

You’ve Got Layoffs!

My former AOL colleague Joe Loong has up something called “Preparing for Your Impending Layoff From AOL,” which as you might guess is about what to do when you’re laid off from that august institution, as I was in 1998, and Joe himself was in 2007. It’s got some AOL-specific stuff in there, but there’s a lot there that’s generally applicable to being laid off from anywhere.

Joe’s advice is practical and good and I don’t have too much to add to it, except the admonition that as awful as being laid off is when it happens, it’s really not the end of the world. I’ve noted here often that in many ways being laid off from AOL was one of the best things that ever happened to me, because of how it motivated me to take charge of my own life. Other people’s mileage my vary in these cases, but the point here is that it doesn’t have to be the worst thing ever.

And certainly in the case of AOL, it’s not even unusual: even in the company’s heyday, it would layoff hundreds of people every time it did a re-org, which seemed like every six months or so. I always thought that was no way to run an Internet. On the other hand when a company lays off people as often as you or I change socks, it does bring home the point it’s not a personal process. It’s not you, it’s the dysfunctional corporate culture. Anyway, all the best people get laid off from AOL. Which helps to explain why it’s in the trouble it is today.