Tuesday, May 3, 2011

No Champagne for Me, Thanks.

Photo courtesy of White House photographer Pete Souza

Yes, Osama Bin Laden is dead.
Yes, this is a victory our country has long sought, and I, like most Americans, am relieved. 
And yet…

I understand people celebrating the fact that the man behind the heinous attacks of 9/11 is now gone from this Earth. I pray the families of the 9/11 victims feel some sense of closure. I am incredibly proud of our President, the decisions he made, and above all, proud of the heroic Navy Seals who took on that mission.

I have to say, all that cheering in the streets felt a bit off to me. I remember the horrid dread I felt on  9/11, when people in the Middle East were cheering in the streets over American deaths. Although our victims were innocent, I still believe we as Americans have to set the bar higher. This “Us Against Them” mentality never gets us anywhere but right back into the middle of the conflict. It's like kicking a hornet's nest. No one wins.

Don't get me wrong. Bin Laden was evil and this needed to be done.
But look at the faces of President Obama and Hillary Clinton in the above photo. This was no celebration.

My husband’s friend Steve Kettman wrote a great piece on this in the Huffington Post today. I can’t say it any better so I quote him here:

I heave a sigh of relief, glad that bin Laden is out of the way, but forgive me if I pop no Champagne corks. This was a grim necessity, not a touchdown.”

My sentiments exactly, Steve. 

To read Steve Kettman’s piece, click here:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dear Donald

I mean, truly, America...is the the best we can do? Really?

dear donald:

let me just say up front that you were never my type. i never liked you. never ever. when you were married to ivana i knew you were gonna leave her flat. i knew it. i saw it. when ivana had her face done and lips plumped (pumped?) i knew it was because you wanted younger, sexier, hotter. when you were married to marla i knew - KNEW- it was not the best sex she ever had (thank you NEW YORK POST for THAT HEADLINE) because there is no way you can have sex with a man who has a combover and it be the best sex ever. and then you left her high and DRY, and now you're married to Marvana, or Marlena or Maramar, (or whatever her name is) and i give this marriage maybe a couple of more years. Maybe.  i just never thought of you as 'the guy.' i thought you were arrogant and cocky and full of shit. But you didn't really deeply offend me. Your taste in furnishings offended me, all the gold gilded bathrooms and louis the 14th drapes and marble floors and bathtubs with hot and cold running rubies. But ... that didn't feel personal. Not my taste. i like simple, plain, uncluttered. i like southwestern, you like south of france. 
and i don't like your lips. not only wouldn't i wanna kiss them, i'm awfully offended at what comes out of them. 
you're so not my type. 
i like harvard men.

with no respect what so ever,


Dear America,

Oh, how you exhaust me. I just spent years trying to educate you about the dangers of giving power to a narcissist – especially an ignorant narcissist. Alaska, remember when you voted Palin in to power, and when the accolades weren’t pouring in anymore, she quit? Have we learned nothing here?

Now everyone’s talking about a man who has gold plated sinks, who openly engages in public feuds through “media statements” and twitters, who treats women as nothing more than arm candy, who publicly declares that our President is not an American citizen even though all the proof is before him. Sounds like I’m talking about Kaddafi, but no. I’m talking about someone who calls himself “The Donald”. Yes, the Donald, a reality TV star who recently challenged President Obama’s college records, denying he was even a good student. (Uh, Helloooo? Magna cum laude at Harvard, President of Harvard Law Review? Not difficult information to come by, The Donald. All you had to do was google it.)

If any of you, seriously ANY of you, are truly considering this man as a candidate for the American Presidency, I officially give up on you.
I’ve had it!

Barb and Deb, fluff up the pillows in the guest room. I may be moving to Canada soon.

Disgruntledly yours –


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Here we gooooo....

For a fleeting moment today, I was absolutely giddy. I felt like it was my birthday. No - even better than that. I was ready to put on a party hat and do my Snoopy- dance, confetti falling from the sky, fireworks displays. Pure joy!

Why? Because in addition to President Obama announcing his run for 2012, today The Washington Post released the news that Glenn Beck is ending his show on Fox. Thank you Santa!!! It’s just what I always wanted!

I mean really, can it get any better?

I could hear Schroeder playing the piano…my feet started to shuffle…

But then, I came back to earth as I remembered sitting in a pizza parlor with my son when news broke that Sarah Palin was quitting her job as governor of Alaska. I whooped, I hollered, did my Snoopy-dance. I thought…finally, it’s over.

But nooooo….it’s never over.

President Obama’s run will bring the crazies back in fuller force, and Glenn Beck will just pop up somewhere else, like the Sea Witch at the end of the Little Mermaid. Just when you thought she was a goner, she reemerges from the ocean ten stories tall. Maybe Beck will get a reality show, or start posting apocalyptic tweets on Twitter. With another campaign coming up, you don't think he's going to miss the opportunity to whip people into a mad frenzy, do ya? 

Whatever. Regardless of what the crazies do, we’ve got to stay cool, calm and collected as we near this 2012 campaign. We’ve got to stop approaching politics as a war, and think about the people of this country. We need to look for what both sides can do to bring positive change, and focus on our common desires, rather than our differences.

It is not going to be easy but our objective at iSane is to keep ourselves calm, and hopefully you’ll stay calm with us. Either that or you get really mad then we calm you down. Or maybe you’ll calm us down. Either way, “calm” is the objective. Calm, rational, sane.

So as we move forward into the season of insanity, we invite you to get on board with us, … and maybe bring some dramamine or something, ‘cause I have a feeling it’s gonna be a bumpy ride. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Second Amendment Means Rights for Who, exactly?

This afternoon as I was driving my son to school in Woodland Hills, I was literally almost hit by a speeding police car. I swerved to the middle of the road, as they whizzed past at about 90 miles per hour, other cars following on their trail, sirens blaring, helicopters whirring…

I caught my breath, and dropped my son off at his Kindergarten, wondering if there was some kind of a high-speed chase on the nearby freeway. After I returned home, I found out that there was an officer shot at our neighborhood high school, El Camino, just two blocks away from my son’s Kindergarten. This is in a nice suburban neighborhood, one of the best high schools in Los Angeles. The shooter was a man in his forties, who was suspiciously loitering around the school, when the officer approached him. He shot the officer in the chest and ran off, into our neighborhoods.

I immediately called my son’s kindergarten and told them to lock their doors, since they are only two blocks away from where this incident took place. Before I could even get back, the streets surrounding my son’s school were shut off, cops swarming everywhere. I called the school again, and was told they were on lockdown. Are you getting this, people - MY SON’S KINDERGARTEN WAS ON LOCKDOWN.

I went back anyway, and against the schools’ initial protest, I took my son home.

We are just days away from the murderous rampage in Arizona. This is the second shooting in the Los Angeles school district in 2 days. And yet no one wants to give up one ounce of their freedom when it comes to guns.

Who, exactly, is free, when every lunatic in America has the right to own a gun?

Who is free, when I can’t feel safe dropping my son off at Kindergarten?

Who is free, when I can no longer take my children to political rallies and peaceful demonstrations?

I’ll tell you who is free. The lunatic with the gun. He is free, running loose in my neighborhood as I write this. He is free to buy a gun, to carry a gun, and to open fire at will. He is free to act upon his insane notions on a whim.

I don’t know what the answer is, but I’ll tell you this. The second amendment was written in a time when the right to bear “arms” meant Muskets, not semi-automatics. This “right” has been carried too far. Okay, you want a gun for self-protection, or a rifle for hunting - whatever floats your boat. But what gives citizens the “right” to carry semi-automatic weapons in our society? This is an American problem. You don’t see this level of violence in countries who have gun control.

When nineteen people were shot at a peaceful political gathering in Arizona, when a student brought a glock to school in L.A. yesterday and shot two kids, when a police officer was shot at a high school with a semi-automatic, when nine schools today were on lockdown, when KINDERGARTEN was ON LOCKDOWN, it is clear that something is very, very wrong with our society. We can no longer go on with business as usual.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Words. Have. Power.

Words have power. They can heal, inspire, initiate forgiveness. Or they can wound, divide and annihilate. My life revolves around words. They are my way of being in the world, my way of processing, making sense of what I observe in this world. Words sustain me, uplift me, encourage me. They have also hurt me, frightened me, devastated me.

Words have power.

Words can move a nation. We look to those we elect for guidance. In times of trouble, we anxiously await their words. Remember waiting for President Bush to speak after 9/11? Whether you voted for him or not, his words meant everything to us as a frightened, grieving country. During World War Two, families gathered around the radio at night waiting eagerly to hear the words of President Roosevelt- their hope hung on his every word. Those words kept America afloat in a sea of despair, as we waited and prayed for our husbands, fathers and sons to return.

Words have power.

They can hold one up in prayer. They can hold a nation together. They can be used to incite war. The words of one can lead a bullied teen to suicide, another to murder…

Words. Have. Power.

I have a few words about some of our elected officials, and their words. I don’t like to engage in negativity, nor to perpetuate the anger and vitriol that’s being tossed about in the political arena. I do my best to ignore the ugliness, aiming toward being part of the solution.

I don’t blame the heinous act of violence yesterday on anyone but Loughner, who is clearly mentally disturbed. But I call out those whose words have hurt the American people and our political system. I call them out for knowingly spreading lies, and fanning the flames of hate and fear solely to further their own political agendas. They must face themselves in the mirror in the aftermath of this tragedy, and reconcile their hateful words.


August 7, 2009: Posted on her facebook page: Seniors and the disabled "will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care."

(This was an egregious lie meant to frighten mothers and senior citizens. It is shameful that we allow our government officials to lie to the public without consequence.)

March 23, 2010: Palin puts a map of the US on her facebook page, targeting twenty democratic members of congress with crosshairs, with an accompanying list of their names.

Simultaneously, she posts on twitter: "Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: 'Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD!'

(and by the way, is this statement to suggest that those who are in need of healthcare are NOT lovers of America? What ignorance.)

November 4, 2010, Palin on twitter: “Remember months ago “Bullseye” icon used 2 target the 20 Obama-care Lovin’ incumbent seats? We won 18 out of 20 (90% success rate; T’aint bad.)”

(Although her “people” are denying the crosshairs were meant as anything more, Palin called it what it was, a bullseye.)


(Palin-endorsed Tea Party candidate)

"If this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are going to start looking for second amendment remedies...” (second amendment - the right to bear arms) "The first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out."


(Chief of staff to Republican Congressman Allen West)

July 4, 2010 : "If ballots don't work, bullets will." (And if West lost the election): "I'm going to go up into the hills of Kentucky, I'm going to go out to the Midwest, I'm going to go up into the Vermont and New Hampshire outreaches and I'm going to gather men and women who understand that some things are worth fighting for and some things are worth dying for."


These words incite fear, anger, insecurity in the American people (and I am deeply ashamed that the above quotes are all from women - the suffragettes must be rolling over in their graves). And to what end? What has it done but to ensure votes for the fear pushers? These words contribute to a sick society, one in which an unbalanced person could be pushed over the edge.

Maybe Loughner was influenced by these hateful words, maybe not. Maybe he had a political agenda, or maybe he’s plain apeshit crazy. Either way, Congresswoman Giffords is in an ICU, her life hanging in the balance. Six are dead, others wounded. Among the dead, a little girl born on 9/11 who had just been elected to her student congress, and only wanted to learn about our political process. She represented America’s future. What unspeakable grief for her family, for all of us. Is this what we are handing down to the next generation?

I’ve said it before: America is a two-party system. We are not meant to annihilate the other party. The system was put in place to ensure healthy debate of differing views, that one party doesn’t become all-powerful. That’s democracy. People seem to have lost sight of this.

Our words must be used to promote reason, to debunk the fear and lies. Let us use our words to promote understanding and solutions.

I will continue to write and voice my opinion in years to come, but I will weigh my words carefully, because I understand all too well - words have power.

I will leave you with these words, spoken today, by more responsible members of Congress.

Democratic congressman James Clyburn, a veteran of the civil rights movement, had this to say, “We're getting ready to celebrate, this weekend, the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., who admonished us that we are going to regret in this generation not just the vitriolic words and deeds of bad people, but the appalling silence of good people.”

Let us no longer be silent in the face of hate.

From Republican congressman Trent Franks - “True tolerance is not pretending we have no political differences, it’s treating each other with kindness and respect in spite of those differences.”

And finally, let’s all keep in mind the words of Abraham Lincoln, "A house divided against itself cannot stand."

(And by the way Sarah Palin, being a Christian, I’m sure you know that Lincoln took that quote from the bible, Matthew 12:25: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand." Or had you forgotten? You might want to re-read it, some time.)

Words. Have. Power.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Give the Guy a Break!

President Obama addresses 30,000 supporters at USC, October 2010
*photo courtesy of Christina Martinez

He’s just a man. Walks, talks, eats, sleeps, hopes, cries, doubts and hopes…just like you and me. Oh, and he also happens to be the President of the United States. That means he answers to BILLIONS of people, not only in this country, but all over the world. Now how do you suppose one human could set out to please every one of us, each with our unique outlooks and opinions?

If you are a right-winger, a tea-partier, independent, radical progressive or anyone else against him for the decisions he’s made, I ask you this. Who better to run this country at this moment? Mc Cain/Palin? Come on…I’m serious. Jon Stewart? Who?

I’m not thrilled about tax cuts for the rich being extended. No, I am not. Mostly because he has been pretty damned good about keeping his campaign promises, and this is one that was broken/severely compromised at the least.. BUT- I also remind you that he campaigned on a platform of bi-partisanship. He said we weren’t red or blue states, but “purple” United States. He said that. Don’t you remember? He never promised to be an ultra-liberal-leftist President. Never.

It disappoints me to see Democrats turning on their own President so aggressively. It’s like political cannibalism. You know why the Republicans are so good at winning? Because they stick together now matter how sucky their guy is (one letter – W.) The least we could do is rally behind the guy we voted in – give him our support for his entire term. He needs it.

As much as I may read, watch the talking heads and listen to progressive talk radio, I am not a politician. I have my opinions, but I’ve never been in the game, and neither have most of you. Can we all agree that maybe just maybe, it’s a more complicated process than we realize? Maybe it’s not so easy to make all those promises happen on the timeline we prefer.

The bottom line is: You will never agree with every decision any President makes, but let’s look at the big picture here. He passed health care reform, and as an American who was denied Health Care by every major carrier, that is a miracle I never thought I’d see in my life. He has integrity, honor, intellect, a cool head. He is thoughtful, brilliant, passionate, highly educated, a Constitutional scholar, came from nothing and worked his way to the top of his class at Harvard…I mean, really. He has championed Veterans, women’s issues, education, healthcare, put two women on the Supreme Court (and the first Latina). Who better to run this country? I’m not talking some hypothetical superhero politician who doesn’t exist. What ACTUAL person is better qualified right now, right this moment?

I don’t always agree with my President, nor my husband, my friends or kids…but I still support them and believe in them.

So….where is your loyalty?

(To see a list of Obama's campaign promises kept so far, or in the works, click here. It’s pretty damned impressive. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/)

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Written by Hollye Dexter & Amy Ferris

For years my husband has pined for a woman President. He believed there would be no unnecessary wars and the world would be a better place, as women are the mothers, nurturers and healers of the world. But that was before he got a load of Sarah Palin, Christine O Donnell, Jan Brewer, Carly Fiorina, and Sharon Angle.

I agree we need the balance of more women in leadership roles, but not just any women. We need those who embody the best of what it is to be woman. There are some dangerous girls in politics today. Ignorance and lust for power make for a lethal combination.

When I reflect on our long struggle for the right to vote, then the battle just to be included in the political process, I can feel in my DNA the strength and courage of our foremothers. That’s why it breaks my heart to see women not striving anymore. In the past, we had to sharpen our blade to work toward shattering that glass ceiling. We had to be the best, the brightest. And now? Some women today glide in with no effort, knowledge or wisdom, get some money behind them and shoot right to the top. 

Mediocrity has become the measure of the day - in politics, media,  and pop stars. Young women look up to reality stars like Kim Kardashian, and know more about Snooki, Paris Hilton, and Lindsay Lohan than what’s going on in their own country. Women of the generation before them hold powerful roles in the media, helping to perpetuate the idolotry of these uninformed, average “role models”. We are a country enamored of mediocrity. Big Macs. Reality shows. Cheap appliances and furniture. Phones that break after a year. Fast food. Fast information devoid of truth or fact. Quality doesn’t seem to count any more. We are spoon-feeding the next generation with empty-headed junk. And still more women are exploiting it, cashing in on it. Don't we owe something more to those generations of women who fought for our rights?

The politicians we vote in to power are only a reflection of our culture. It’s not our politicians who need to change, it’s us. Maybe when Christine ODonnell said “I’m YOU” – she was on to something. She is us. Average, uninformed, un-striving us.

As women, the mothers of this country, we who foster the creative spirit, the intuitive wisdom, have a responsibility to rise up to our own excellence again. Where is our ingenuity, our fighting spirit, our brilliance? We must summon that suffragette spirit to be our best and brightest, because surely, this isn’t what they dreamed of for us. 

It's time to take an honest look at where we are and ask ourselves - what are we passing down as the mothers of this generation? 

I am not a mother.
And for a good portion of my years on earth - 56 to be exact - I prayed, I chanted, I screamed at the UNIVERSE: I do not want to be like MY MOTHER. Oh good god(dess), no... I am not a mother, I don't want to be a mother.
And so, I never had children.

But I will tell you what I learned from my mother:

I learned to be kinder. She was not very kind.
I learned to give another human being a kiss, a hand, a shoulder, a thank-you: for their life, their contribution, their gifts. Afford them their mistakes. She was not a generous soul that way. 
I learned to pay attention, especially to the world around me. She paid little, if no, attention.

I learned that women who compete, who are jealous, who don't wish you well (or at least not too well), who are righteous, who fight and scream and go to battle like men, who believe they know better, who will push you down to lift themselves up, who say and know what's right FOR YOUR LIFE, who don't forgive - these are not, by any means, mothering women.

I think (one of) the greatest threats is not that ill-informed women are rising in power, I think the greatest threat is that women think if they act and behave like their mean spirited, ignorant, arrogant, and fiercely competitive counterparts, other women will be safe and feel at home. It's just "that home," will never be a safe haven.

As women, we are here to make this world better, to keep our children safe; to honor another color, religion, belief, faith, spirit, choice. To unite, to hold tight, to embrace, to share, to move, to trust, to create value... to share our wisdom, to nurture another heart and soul and life. To believe in the wisdom and true power of the feminine -- to know without that we do not and could not exist. 

I was wrong. 

I am a mother.
Just not mine.