It’s just as well that the weekend is coming, as I need to unplug from the internet and stop paying attention to politics for a while. I’m starting to feel that old sourness, the simmer I maintained from roughly 2004 through 2008…no, through now, that pecked-to-death-by-ducks feeling.
Part of it is — when will I learn? when??? — paying attention to Sarah Palin again. She “slammed” Michelle Obama over her breast-feeding proposal, in CNN’s headline. In the copy, she “took a swipe” with this nonsensical comment:
“No wonder Michelle Obama is telling everybody, ‘You’d better breast-feed your baby,” she said at a Long Island appearance on Thursday, after slamming President Barack Obama for rising gas prices and other items — like milk — since he took office. “Yeah, you’d better, because the price of milk is so high right now.”
Because the price of milk is, what? The White House’s responsibility? Is she making a joke? Infants aren’t fed milk, at least not directly. Should we bother to point out no one is saying “you’d better” breastfeed? Or by doing so are we falling into her trap?
Meanwhile, her wingman, Michele Bachmann:
“To think that government has to go out and buy my breast pump for my babies? You wanna talk about the nanny state, I think you just got a new definition.”
Oh. Again, no one suggested government should “buy” a breast pump for anyone, only that women should consider it for their babies, and that the IRS considers the cost deductible as medical supplies. This sounds very reasonable to a reasonable person; the benefits of breastfeeding are well-known, for both mother and child, and encouraging more of it is like encouraging healthy eating across the board, but as we well know, $P is opposed to that, too. Except when she’s claiming we all have first responsibility for our own health, in which case it’s a good thing.
(Most poor women — the ones most in need of financial support for breastfeeding — will find many pumps out of reach, financially, at least when they’re purchased new. However, there is a wide range of alternatives to the one I used, the Medela Pump in Style, which retails for $350. Those include the vast secondhand market (I paid $100 for mine, used), rental and the old favorite, “hand expression,” i.e. self-milking. But I wish more women would give breastfeeding a try; it is truly one of the best things I ever did. And I did it for a year, working most of that time. I never needed one of these. Mrs. O’s on the side of the angels here.)
And I’ve been watching the Wisconsin protests with mixed feelings, as I cannot avoid the spin from both sides, but having it all spun through my brain leaves me with this conclusion: This is not about public employees learning to give back or whatever. This is about busting their unions, and don’t even tell me it isn’t. Anyway, I guess this is the left’s tea party. The capitol building was so packed the people who work there were having trouble getting through the halls. And while this legislation will no doubt pass eventually, I can’t begrudge folks a few days of …well, not rage, exactly, this is Wisconsin. Disgruntlement? The Democrats’ run-and-hide strategy is nothing new, either; Molly Ivins wrote some of her best columns about this when tactic was used in Texas in the ’80s. Meanwhile, wait until the unions are gone — then the fun really starts. Wisconsin teachers are prohibited from striking under terms of their current contracts. When those are gone, well, careful what you wish for, King Walker.
(For an alternative on how one might successfully bargain with a union in a time of diminishing public resources, see here. I’ve linked before, but there you are.)
All is not grim, however: “I Am Number Four” looks like the best generator of hilarious bad reviews since “Sex and the City 2,” even without the “smells like number two” headlines. Ebert:
I like science fiction. The opening shot of “I Am Number Four” holds promise, as John (Alex Pettyfer), the narrator, explains that he is a Mogadorian, no doubt from a planet named Mogador. Specifically, he is Mogadorian No. 4. Don’t expect me to explain the Mogadorian numbering system. He is hiding out on planet Earth and doing everything possible to disguise himself as a box-office attraction like Edward Cullen.
Oh, and there are aliens called Mogadorians, who are evil and who want to murder John for some evil reason. They have evil monster dogs that look almost exactly like every other evil monster dog in cinematic history, from Ghostbusters onward. And John has some kind of power that can do whatever he needs at any given point. (He can cast light out of his palms like a flashlight, push things around with telekinesis, blow shit up, and… jump-start cars?) It’s just one scene of generic sci-fi garbage after another.
And so on.
So. Here’s to an internet-free weekend. Think I’ll clean a bathroom.