Monday, February 11, 2008

Super size it, please...

On the way home from yet another random temp gig (which I will write about in ONE second), I was listening to the folks on NPR go on and on about superdelegates. I feel like I generally have a good memory, but why don't I remember superdelegates in prior Democratic primaries? Probably because this electoral process has done more for creating transparency than vinegar does for glass. Or maybe because this is the first time, as an unaffiliated voter, that I can vote in a primary and so I'm actually tuned into the process in a different way.

It's so fascinating.

I was in East Timor in 2000, when he stole the U.S. elections. I remember sitting around with colleagues trying to explain the, eh-hem, embarrassing truth about American electoral politics.

"What do you mean there is no direct representation?"

"Well, you see, you vote and then those votes are what direct representatives to vote and then it's called..."

And they fell out of their chairs laughing.

"You mean to tell us the most democratic country in the world has no direct democracy?"

And then I felt compelled to explain the Prison Industrial Complex and the disenfranchisement of voters of color throughout U.S. history. At which point everyone got very quiet and took small sips from their cans of VB. And then when they asked if I had voted, I had to tell them about how my absentee ballot didn't make it on the New York address. That still didn't take away from the sudden realization that we might all be screwed with dude-as-president.

So, I came home and looked up the superdelegates for Austin, Texas. Not only did I find them here, I found the ones who've already pledged to a candidate, and to whom. There are some who may still be persuadable (so much for direct democracies, right? anyway...), especially those Congresspeople who, alas, are to be accountable to the electoral public. Here we go:

Ruben Hinojosa Congressman Clinton
Silvestre Reyes Congressman Clinton
Henry Cuellar Congressman Clinton
Solomon Ortiz Congressman Clinton
Gene Green Congressman Clinton
Sheila Jackson Lee Congresswoman Clinton
Sue Lovell DNC Clinton
Senfronia Thompson DNC Clinton
Norma Fisher Flores DNC Clinton
David Holmes DNC Clinton
Jim Wright Former Speaker of the House Clinton
Denise Johnson Appointed by DNC Clinton

Moses Mercado Appointed by DNC Obama
Al Green Congressman Obama
Charlie Gonzalez Congressman Obama
Eddie Bernice Johnson Congresswoman Obama

Oscar Soliz County Official Unpledged
Chet Edwards Congressman Unpledged
Nick Lampson Congressman Unpledged
Ciro Rodriguez Congressman Unpledged
Lloyd Doggett Congressman Unpledged

Robert Martinez Appointed by DNC Unpledged
Boyd Richie State party chair Unpledged
Yvonne Davis DNC
Al Edwards DNC Unpledged
Jaime Gonzalez Jr. DNC Unpledged
John Patrick DNC Unpledged
Betty Richie DNC Unpledged
Bob Slagle DNC Unpledged
Bob Strauss Former Chair of DNC Unpledged
Linda Chavez-Thompson Labor Add-on Unpledged
Roy LaVerne Brooks State party vice- chair Unpledged
David Hardt Young Democrats Add-on Unpledged

It changes all the time, so it's a good idea to go here to get updates: 2008 Democratic Convention Watch.

So, of course on the way home from my INCREDIBLY BORING temp gig, I got all fired up by Terri Gross. Hard to imagine, I know. It's a really boring temp gig.

BUT, I must say this: I realized, as I entered data about evil insurance companies in slow, aching streams for hours, that in the past year, my temp gigs have exposed me to all kinds of random information. I've learned a ton about insurance companies and how the stock market and natural disasters, war, epidemics, etc work together. And the loveliest part about it? It's all public information! You can download everything you ever wanted to know about how dividends rise or plummet in value. And you can even find out how many billions of dollars came home in the last quarter of 2007. It's amazing!

Or, like, the business aspects of eating off the backs of poor people who have to work to take care of their children - my job: to handle frantic parents' calls when they missed a payment and didn't know what they were going to do with their child that afternoon. I tried hard to understand the side of the business owners (it goes something like this "This is a private service, and if they don't make the payment, we can't help them. Imagine how much money we would lose if every parent who couldn't afford day care slipped their kids in?"). I think it's why I'm only a good capitalist when I play Monopoly.

Or, packing hookahs. HOOKAHS!! Why do I know how to handle a hookah? I do. Now I do. I swear that I just packed them and shipped them off with lovely scented tobacco. The warehouse employed mostly folks coming out of the criminal justice system (how FREAKING ironic is that?) and a few of us dopes who just ended up working there.

I also have learned about import-export from a purse warehouse: i.e., you're paying too much for that bag that was made by tiny, tiny hands, but anyways...cute bag.

And, lumber. So, one of my gigs was at a lumber company. I learned about seventeen different kinds of hardwoods used in construction, eight different kinds of decking (treated or not), and about where the wood originated. I had nightmares and flashes of barren, stripped forests, but hey - someone needs to supply all the tremendous amounts of construction going on in Austin's gated communities, right? And, I have to admit, I was thinking about 4 cedar log walls of my very own, corruptible! I'm so corruptible!

And, it's not that I'm bitter. Working at a temp gig means I still have space in my brain for thoughts, and I get chunks of time off around particularly important deadlines. I love that about temping. It's just that - what do you do when you're a writer with a deep sense of social justice and you have to pay a light bill (cause, by the way, I don't have solar energy people)? I was in agony on Thursday when I realized that somehow, in some jacked up indirect you work for the man but in a non-committal kinda way, Halliburton is paying my temp gig salary! Excuse me - I have to go barf now.

I am a U.S. citizen living in the heart of empire after all, aren't I?

Yeah, the meantime, I'm just going to keep on collecting random ass information about the world of pseudo work. Maybe write a poem about it all someday.

And this all brings me back:

Go call your Congress people, dammit. Get a semi-sane President in the White House while we have a Democratic Majority in Congress. Get the troops out of Iraq. Shut down Halliburton and put me out of a job! Get social programs refunded and get lots of artists wonderful jobs.
Get green cars and more bikes onto the road so we can get to those jobs. Put some right in the righteousness.

Or somethin'.


k. terumi shorb said...

ever get that feeling, that the four letters of "love" are just way too paltry for that swell in the chest and slightly teary smile that run through you as you think about or look at or talk to someone? that's what i'm feeling about you. and this post. you don't even know, baby. i needed to read this post, right now. thanks for the timely delivery.

bittersweetradish said...

My darling woman! I haven't read your blog in a while, but this post was so right on. Lately I've been feeling guilt about freelance editing and not doing my cooking thing. I once worked for a company that designed the machines for making pressboard. This was at the same time I was doing door-to-door for the Sierra Club. The company actually showed me a video of a clearcut forest with a pathetic owl perched on a stump. "This is what we do," they said. Yeah, baby. I get it.
Love you, love you, love you,

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