Fandango’s Flashback Friday — September 17th

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 17th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.

This was originally posted on September 17, 2009 on my old blog. I read this old post, which was written just eight months after Barack Obama was sworn in as President, for the first time since I wrote it a dozen years ago and was amazed how little, politically speaking, has changed. Actually that’s not true. It’s gotten even worse!

Fractured American Psyche

It seems that our national psyche is so fractured today that no matter what one side does, proposes, promotes, or suggests, the other side reacts vocally and violently against it. While this antipathy is not exclusively the domain of the Republicans and conservatives, they are the most vocal and organized in their opposition to any initiatives that promote progressive changes of any sort to the status quo. I guess that’s why they’re called conservatives.

As I think back at landmark social legislation of the 20th century, I wonder how many such programs would have succeeded if the technology we have today existed back then. Would FDR have been able to get the Social Security Act approved by Congress back in 1935 had the blogosphere existed?

Would Social Security be there for America’s retirees if conservative talk radio pundits filled the airwaves, and if 24-hour cable news channels provided a national soap box for anyone with a high Q-Score (high IQ score optional) from which to spew his or her partisan venom? I doubt it. After all, the Social Security Act is the very definition of socialism, is it not?

What about LBJ’s landmark Medicare/Medicaid legislation from 1965? Or how about the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Would Congress have been able to enact 1974’s Employee Retirement and Income Security Act (ERISA), or even the more recent Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 (COBRA) and 1996’s Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)?

No, I don’t believe any of these programs could have stood the onslaught of instant analysis and intense partisan scrutiny available through the Internet and the plethora of talk-radio shows and cable news networks.

I believe that our nation’s political and legislative system is functionally disabled. There is so much acrimony emanating from each side of the aisle toward the other that little to nothing of real value can be accomplished from either the Executive Branch or Congress.

Our health care delivery system is in dire need of a major overhaul, but real reform won’t happen because of the special interests and self-serving ideological differences that get in the way of progress. If anything does come out of this, it will be a watered-down, toothless compromise that doesn’t effectively address any of the underlying issues that plague the health care system in this country.

Conservative politicians and pundits are using misinformation and scare tactics as they preach their gospel from their 24×7, technologically enhanced pulpits and stand in the way of needed reforms and societal progress.

And now these obstructionists are organizing efforts and encouraging parents to keep their children out of school on the day of Obama’s video cast so that they don’t even have the opportunity to hear the President encourage them, our children, to work hard and stay in school.


5 Things — What I Like to Write

Dr. Tanya, over at Salted Caramel, has this prompt called “5 Things,” where she asks us to list five things about a particular topic. For this week’s topic, she’s asking about five types of posts we love to write. So, in no particular order…

Flash fiction — I enjoy writing flash fiction posts, many of which are stories I create in response to word or photo prompts from other bloggers.

Prompt posts — I enjoy writing and hosting prompt posts that other bloggers can use for inspiration.

Non-fiction posts — Most such posts these days are about the lunacy of American politics or other current events with commentary, personal perspectives, and opinions about what is going on in the world around us.

Q&A posts — There are a number of bloggers who regularly pose questions for us to answer. Sometimes the questions are serious ones, sometimes they are a mixture of serious and funny ones, and sometimes they are all fun and games. I enjoy trying to display common sense, wisdom, and wit in my responses to such Q&A prompts.

This, that, and the other posts — This is a catch-all since there are no other specific types of posts I “love” to write. I will occasionally try to write poetry, but I’m really bad at it. And I enjoy Jim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday prompt, but that’s about it when it comes to writing posts that focus on music.

V is for “Veep”

“Veep” was an American political satire comedy television series that aired on HBO from April 22, 2012, to May 12, 2019. The series was created by Armando Iannucci as an adaptation of his sitcom “The Thick of It.”The main character in “Veep” was Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), a fictional Vice President of the United States. The series follows the personal life and political career of Meyer. Her party affiliation is never discussed, although it is hinted in the fourth season finale that it was Democratic. After Meyer was elected Vice President, her staff, upon whom she was almost totally reliant, includes chief of staff Amy Brookheimer (Anna Chlumsky), director of communications Mike McLintock (Matt Walsh), deputy director of communications Dan Egan (Reid Scott), body man Gary Walsh (Tony Hale), and personal secretary Sue Wilson (Sufe Bradshaw). Later additions to her team as president include White House Chief of Staff Ben Cafferty (Kevin Dunn) and political strategist Kent Davison (Gary Cole). Jonah Ryan (Timothy Simons), initially a White House liaison to the Vice President’s office and later a New Hampshire congressman, also features prominently.

“Veep” received critical acclaim and won several major awards, including seven consecutive nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, winning that award for its fourth, fifth, and sixth seasons. Louis-Dreyfus’ performance won her six consecutive Primetime Emmy Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, two Critics’ Choice Television Awards, a Television Critics Association Award, and five consecutive Golden Globe nominations. For his portrayal of Selina’s personal aide, Gary, Tony Hale received six consecutive Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, winning in 2013 and 2015. Other members of the cast who received Emmy nominations include Anna Chlumsky (six nominations), Gary Cole (one nomination), Matt Walsh (two nominations), Martin Mull (one nomination), Hugh Laurie (one nomination), and Peter MacNicol (one nomination).

I really enjoyed “Veep,” but by the time the show ended in 2019, I was sick of watching anything to do with politics — even satirical political shows that made fun of political maneuverings. The political realities were enough and, had “Veep” been renewed for another season, as good as the show was, I’d probably have skipped it.

Previous BATZAP 2021 posts: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U

One-Liner Wednesday — Politics and Money

“There are two things that are important in politics. The first is money, and I can’t remember what the second one is.”

Mark Hanna, American businessman and Republican Senator from Ohio

Mark Hanna was a U.S. Senator representing the state of Ohio from 1897 through his death in February 1904. He also served as chairman of the Republican National Committee.

His quote demonstrates how little has changed over more than a century about what Republican politicians think is important.

Written for Linda G. Hill’s One-Liner Wednesday prompt.

Blogging Insights — Sensitivity Training

Blogging insightsFor this week’s edition of Blogging Insights, Dr. Tanya wants to know how we deal in our blogs with touchy or sensitive topics. Dr. Tanya poses six question, the first two of which were from Melanie over at Sparks from a Combustible Mind in this post of hers. The remaining four are from Dr. Tanya. So let’s get a little touchy-feely, shall we?

Melanie’s questions:

Warning “labels”: when one is writing about something that could potentially be ‘touchy’ to some folks — Pros and cons

Personally, I don’t put warning labels on my posts. I suppose I do write posts that some might consider controversial (e.g., politics, religion). But most people who are familiar with my blog know that about me and I don’t see the point about warning people in advance that they might find what they’re about to read offensive or might trigger them. I find Donald Trump offensive and he triggers me, but I don’t see any warning labels before he tweets something or shows his ugly orange face on TV.

Censorship: is it censorship if one blogs ‘sensitively’ (aka soft pedals hard issues)? Should writers have to think of every possible reader their writing might touch, every single scenario where a reader might take offense and so on? I’m not thinking of blatant offensiveness (and what’s offensive to one person isn’t necessarily to the next one in line), but a general trying to cover all bases all the time type of thing.

It’s my blog and I blog anonymously. One of the reasons I blog anonymously is so that I can say on my blog what I really think and feel without fear that some redneck, far-right MAGA hat wearing lemming will pull out a pistol and shoot me in the head or that a God-fearing Christian will condemn me to eternity in hell because I’m an atheist. Do I think of every possible reader who my writing might offend? Fuck no! Should I? Fuck no! Should you? That’s up to you.

Now for Dr. Tanya’s questions.

Do you post about touchy or sensitive topics on your blog? If so, what kind of subjects do you like to discuss?

Yes. I post about sex, religion, politics, and whatever else crosses my mind. My posts can, I suppose, contain touchy, sensitive topics. When one is posting an opinion, there are bound to be others in the blogosphere who will be offended, outraged, or triggered by something I write. That’s their problem, not mine.

Do you respond to sensitive or controversial subjects in the form of prompts?

Yes. Why wouldn’t I? I even have my own weekly “sensitive” or “controversial” prompt called “Fandango’s Provocative Questions.”

Do you take part in controversial discussions as part of a comments thread?

Of course. I will express my opinions in the comments. But when it arrives at the point where either nothing productive will come of it or it gets nasty, I will let it go.

How do you think sensitive subjects should be handled on the blogosphere?

Um, sensitively? Sorry, I was being facetious. I think bloggers should feel free to express their opinions and perspectives openly and honestly on their own blogs. Others can choose to be offended or not and can choose to read or not read other bloggers’ posts. As I am wont to say, “Whatever floats your boat.”