where the writers are
I got censored at change.gov! You can, too! Ask me how!

I am, much to many peoples' annoyance/consternation/dismay, very much not a supporter of Barack Obama. Really, seriously, ever so very not. I am enough of a not-supporter that I left the Democratic Party after 35 years when it became clear Kennedy, Reid and Dean - known around chez Grabien as Brutus, Cassius and Iago - were manipulating the outcome of the primaries to a situation they wanted and thought they could control. I was a supporter of Shirley Chisholm, back when a lot of the annoyed/dismayed amongst my acquaintance were still being potty-trained.

But the Obama nomination broke me. No confusion about it: they see a progressive, I see a midline Republican with a strong sexist streak and scary theocratic leanings. Short form: not a fan. I'm hoping he proves me wrong, but it's not looking good so far.

I left the Democratic Party and registered as an independent. I continued getting email from various Democratic candidates and organisations. I dumped Move On early - a worse case of PAC Stockholm Syndrome (Clinton voted against the Senate censure of their Petraeus ad, Obama couldn't be bothered to even vote, guess who they endorsed?) I can't even imagine. Everything but EMILY's List, I unsubbed from. Took a few weeks - I've been politically active a very long time, and there were a lot of Dem party lists - but they all unsubbed me.

Only one didn't: change.gov.

After three attempts, change.gov was still ignoring my demand to be unsubbed. Just this morning, they actually sent me an email: "Give your ideas directly to President Obama! Share your idea! We'll put the best of them in a notebook and give it to the president!"

Oh, hell, why not? Might as well get it down for posterity, right? At the very least, soothe my soul and put my own mouth where my nonexistent money is: tell the man. If I don't speak up when offered the chance - and hey, they said he wanted to hear my idea! - I lose my right to kvetch.

As it happens, I do have ideas, quite a few of them, in fact. So I shared them:

"Guys, I doubt Mr. Obama will want to hear this. He hasn't wanted to hear any of it so far, despite all the shiny placards and text messages and talk about change. I left the party I'd been a noisy passionate supporter of since before I was old enough to support Shirley Chisholm's presidential bid in 1972. The president-elect may have heard of her. Black? Female? Received no support from her own party or her own people?

You want change? Ideas? Cool. Buckle up, kids. And remember, you asked. You emailed me. I didn't email you.

Here's a few tips. Without these, make no mistake, the incoming administration will be a bad joke:

1. The Economy. Get rid of all Obama's trained seal Chicago School excuses for economists. Start with Summers, who is a destructive idiot and a sexist to boot. Lose the Wal-Mart enablers like Furman and Goolsbee. If the incomers haven't figured out by now that we're in this mess precisely because of Chicago School's scorched earth economic policies, we're hosed. OK? Clear now?

2. Healthcare. Since I actually have a life, I can't spend the week it would take me to tell you what's wrong with the health care plan you've laid out. So, I'll just say, no, we can't. The devil's in the details, my children, and you know what? It won't work. I lived in the UK, and saw how nearly impossible an established beauracracy like the National Health Service is to run, and that's in a country with less than one-fifth our population. I have multiple sclerosis, my husband's a diabetic, and you know, hate to be "negative", but No. We. CAN'T. It won't work.

3. Secular law and spending. You were not elected the President of Land Of Invisible Cloud Beings. I do not want one penny of my tax dollars going to your pet "faith based initiatives". If you'll take the time to check over the Constitution, you'll find that I'm not required to believe in a god. Whether I do or not is none of your business, nor of my government's. I really resent the theocratic reek I've been getting off you since 2004, and the parade of preachers you've chosen to infest your investiture with is not reassuring me. I will defend to the death your right to believe in whatever you want, but get it off my body, off my government, and off my tax dollars, and keep it off. This is not a theocracy.

4. Freedom of choice. My reproductive decisions are my own, Mr. Obama. Not "some autonomy". ALL of them are my own. Any discussion I might have about that is not "between me and my minister" - see point 3, above. It's between me and my doctor, and even then, only if I choose. Get your god off my body, sir.

5. The "war on terror". Let's cut to the core, here: Prosecute the Bush administration. If you won't, then get us out of Afghanistan and stop smirking about the War on Terror. If you don't go after the terrorists here at home, you lose all cred and all right to go after Bin Laden. If you'd been in charge after WWII, Hitler and the boys would have ended their days sipping Jagermeister on the verandas of their Argentinian estates. We do not want the Bushies let off the hook. They're murderers, liars, and thieves. We don't want to make kissyface and sing happy songs with the NeoCons. They're criminals.

There's so much more, but I doubt your accolytes will ever let you see a word of this; if they did, I'm sure it would be to give you a good giggle. But if you do see it, here's my idea: lose the shiny Vegas lounge act sloganeering and step up. Show me. I'm a writer, and you can't impress me with words. I know exactly how words work."

Now, wait for it.....

They bounced it as being "obscene or offensive."

Censored, by the people whose salaries I'm paying.  And in any case, obscene where? Anyone see an obscenity? Trust me, I swear like a trucker on Jack Daniels shooters; I know one when I see one, and I can't find one. The "offensive" part is apparently that I disagree with him. So much for "President-Elect Obama Wants To Hear YOUR ideas!" No, as I suspected, he really doesn't.

Wake me in 2012. I'll pass on Rick Warren and blessing America in the name of Jesus and massive corporate bailouts with virtually no oversight and Larry "gurls are STOOPID AT MATH AND SCIENCE! Trickledown is GOOD!" Summers Reagan-style economics and expanding the war in Afghanistan and Winning The War on Terror and climbing into bed with the people who lied us into Iraq, stole two elections and billions of dollars, and trashed the world economy. I'll pass on all of that crap. I'll keep the TV off for the next four years, except for the occasional cooking show or hockey game, so I can not have to watch what I already know is going to happen, happen.

It's the problem with being Cassandra; after awhile, watching people stick their fingers in their ears so as to not hear the furtive scrabbling from inside the big wooden horse gets really frickin' old.

If we still exist? Wake me in 2012.

7 Comment count
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Only free thinkers are truly free.

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Deborah Grabien
author of the Haunted Ballad series, the Kinkaid Chronicles, five standalone novels, numerous short fiction and essays, and a lot of snippy opinions.

Well, I've had it. I have no idea how I even got on change.gov's mailing list; they can't have actually taken the time to look me up anywhere, or they would have known I'd been sputtering with "WTF are you kidding me" outrage since he did the "awesome god blue states" snakeoil pitch in 2004.

But having somehow mined a progressive list or something, I would like to point out that they were the ones who emailed me, not vice versa.

Apparently, he wants my opinions if I kiss his ring, bury the drama, and keep my eyes respectifully lowered. Oh, and if I'll fling those thong panties and prayerfully breathe out my undying love and worship.

Bite me. Not going to happen. They can take their censorship, add it to the rest of the pile of empty hype, and move along.

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Hold the door for me too!

Hold the door for me, I'm on my way out the Demo exit too. Being originally from Chicago, and once having been a Demo precinct captain six blocks from the Obama/Rezko residence, I wasn't expecting much anyway. As Alderman Paddy Bauler once said, "Chicago ain't ready for reform yet." And neither is Washington. So I told my Obamanized friends, which is everyone I know, to lower their expectations for this "change" thing. Small change is more like it. Now they are telling me they are "somewhat disappointed" by his appointments. Really?

Personally, I voted for Hillary, primary and wrote her in in the general. And there she is, front and center, replacing Condi. With all her buddies, it's beginning to look a little like Clinton, term three. I think Obama's main concern is getting reelected -- basically, all he has ever done is run for office. He is moving to the middle of the middle of consensus. Which is sort of a Daley thing to do. And the Daley's have run Chicago for around forty years. The Daley thing is Unity, let's stick together, build strong coalitions. That is the school Obama went to. He studied with the masters. Principles? I don't think so....

Michael Lipsey

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Deborah Grabien
author of the Haunted Ballad series, the Kinkaid Chronicles, five standalone novels, numerous short fiction and essays, and a lot of snippy opinions.

Having met Daley's police force close up close and a little too personal at the Dem convention in 1968, I know just what you mean. Jeez, Mayor, it's a little live rock and roll, and some flashing hotel room lights. Chill out. Send the shock troops out for a beer, 'kay?

I expect Obama to be a better president than Bush. Not hard, really - as said elsewhere, that bar is set so low, a banana slug with a bowling ball in its underwear could vault the damned thing and stick the landing. About the only person who couldn't do a better job than Bush with a bag over their head would be John McCain, which is probably why the Republicans nominated him. They were fairly desperate to lose this election, knowing full well they couldn't even dent the damage Shrub has inflicted. They get four years - probably eight - to regroup. Scary scenario.

My choices ran, in order: Kucinich, Edwards and Clinton in a very close tie with Edwards initially winning the tiebreaker). Obama lost me in 2004. He's been steadily blowing every chance he's had to convince me he isn't a midline Republican ever since.

And censorship on his change.gov, "tell the president-elect, he wants to hear your ideas" site?

Buh-bye, dude. Hot air and snake oil? I'll pass.

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in a word

bye bye...

(ooops, make that 2 words....)

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Deborah Grabien
author of the Haunted Ballad series, the Kinkaid Chronicles, five standalone novels, numerous short fiction and essays, and a lot of snippy opinions.

I love the "let's drop family planning from the budget!" gambit, you know? Don't want to piss off the NeoCons left in congress, so let's piss all over poor women instead.

I'll pass, thanks.

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Working in the world of words

Deborah Grabien
author of the Haunted Ballad series, the Kinkaid Chronicles, five standalone novels, numerous short fiction and essays, and a lot of snippy opinions.

1. Editing my friend Jeannette's novel, which beautifully written and incredibly strong, but which needs organising to get it to an agent and then to a publisher's desk.

2. Editing my friend Erika's 9K mystery story: she writes in the "crip noir" genre, since she's been wheelchair-bound since birth. A damned good story, needs editing before submission.

3. Was working with the first round of my excellent Egmont editor Greg Ferguson's edits to Dark in the Park; there will almost surely be a second round (although the edits were tiny, more clarification than actual rewriting), and I have an introduction to write.

4. Soon there will be first-pass pages for While My Guitar Gently Weeps YES. And I have the cover, but not allowed to share yet, and that had better change PDQ, because it kicks serious ass.

5. Finished my loving friend-look at Neil Gaiman, "A Night on the Tiles", for Green Man Review. Neil got to approve it first, and did: when the man tells me it's "beautifully written", I preen.

6. To do for Green Man: my retrospective on Steeleye Span, reviewing a book about Led Zepellin, a look at the history of Donovan.

7. Sitting down with Peter S. Beagle (hallo, darling Uncle Fox, if you're by any chance reading this!) and a tape recorder. The 23 August issue of Green Man is the official Summer Queen Deborah Grabien issue. Yay me! Peter's interviewing me for it.

8. Working on Kinkaid #7, Even It Up. New tour bus, old guitars.

And in the realm of visual words, Rocker Chick Media is putting together two book trailers: one for While My Guitar Gently Weeps, which will be available for public viewing. And one for Marlene Stringer, literary agent extraordinaire, to use as a pitch tool for Julian Dawson's monumental, staggering biography of Nicky Hopkins, a subject very close indeed to my heart.

At this moment in time, I'm slacking. Playing music - my guitars were suddenly calling my name, especially my PRS.