Friday, June 20, 2008

McCain To Latinos: I’m Your Pal, Just Don’t Tell Anyone

[Cross-posted at Firedoglake.]

A few more details on that late-night, closed-door town-hall session John McCain held with Hispanic community members in Chicago the other night are finally becoming available — thanks to one of the wingnuts in attendance.

It seems the McCain camp, in their zeal to keep out the more vocally liberal members of the Latino community (who were excluded from the session) decided to include on the list of invitees one Rosanna Pulido, apparently because of her association with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (despite the fact that the latter has been designated a hate group by the SPLC).

She is also, as it happens, the founder of the Illinois Minutemen, and the Illinois spokesperson for the anti-immigrant group You Don’t Speak For Me. She also was a vocal supporter of the virulently anti-immigrant Republican candidate Jim Oberweis in the IL-14 race against Bill Foster to replace Denny Hastert — a guy McCain endorsed and stumped for.

So Pulido filed a scathing report at Free Republic about the meeting with "Juan McCain":
John Mc Cain’s favorite words of the evening were Comprehensive Immigration Reform. But he started out first of all saying if he is gonna win the Presidential election he will need the support of the Latino community.

He said " My state has been enriched by the Hispanic culture in Arizona."

Then John MC Cain asked a question "Did you know this? I bet some of you did not know that Spanish was spoken in Arizona before English" …Loud cheers from the audience. (Ok John Mc Cain What is your AZATLAN POINT?)

Then he said " I want to have some straight talk about our relationship with Mexico,our closest neighbor and dearest friend" He talked about the Mexican President fighting the drug cartels.

Then John McCain aid the exact thing I came to hear, he said "I was proud to work for Comprehensive Immigration Reform and If I am elected President I assure you that in 2009 I will ask Congress to pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform." (The crowd goes wild)"It is a Federal Responsibility" he said and continued " we also need a temporary guest worker program"

He then told a story about a day laborer who got picked up this morning, worked all day and then never got paid…We have no Federal Policy, we cannot allow this to happen, he said, He repeated I assure you that I will work for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

John McCain talked about a debate he was in about enforcing the law and he says that the "other side had a lot of "Rhetoric" "you know what I am talking about!" he said.
Funny. When McCain was onstage with his fellow Republican presidential candidates earlier this year (see the video above), he told the audience that he would not even vote for his own immigration-reform bill now, because he was changing to a "secure the borders first" stance.

Then there was the time he appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News program, and the exchange went like this:
Bill O’Reilly: But do you understand what the New York Times wants, and the far-left want? They want to break down the white, Christian, male power structure, which you’re a part, and so am I, and they want to bring in millions of foreign nationals to basically break down the structure that we have. In that regard, Pat Buchanan is right. So I say you’ve got to cap with a number.

John McCain: In America today we’ve got a very strong economy and low unemployment, so we need addition farm workers, including by the way agriculture, but there may come a time where we have an economic downturn, and we don’t need so many.


O’Reilly: But in this bill, you guys have got to cap it. Because estimation is 12 million, there may be 20 [million]. You don’t know, I don’t know. We’ve got to cap it.
McCain: We do, we do. I agree with you.
I guess it depends on who McCain is talking to on a given day. Or at a given moment.

But given the way the anti-Latino faction is frothing over his secretive little "I’m your friend just don’t tell anyone" meetings with Latinos, it’s not really any wonder this town hall wasn’t open to the press. His problem is that the same faction is the Republican base. So of course he has to keep it quiet.

After all, how else can he reassure Latinos he’ll do the right thing on immigration despite being at the mercy of a party full of raging nativists? Heaven forfend he should do it in broad daylight. Someone might get the wrong idea.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

That might be the problem

-- by Dave

I'm not sure he intended it to come out like that, but Crazy Joe Arpaio -- the Maricopa County (Arizona) sheriff who has been on a rampage locking up every Latino in sight -- was quoted thus in yet another feature on "the toughest sheriff in America", this time from Agencie France-Presse:

He's been described as Hitler and a Klu Klux Klansman by Hispanic critics and immigrant rights groups, but Sheriff Joe Arpaio prefers to see himself as an equal opportunities advocate.

"We lock everybody up," he says.

Yeah, Joe, that's kind of what we're afraid of.

Why Did McCain Have A Late-Night, Closed-Door Town Hall With Latinos?

[Cross-posted at Firedoglake.]

 John McCain just loves him those town-hall meetings — so much so that it’s becoming his chief way of campaigning: "[I]t not only gives you a chance to hear from me … but it gives me an opportunity to hear from you," he waxes rhapsodic about them.

Yeah, unless you bus in a pre-selected crowd of Latinos in the dead of night and hold your "town hall" meeting. Then, maybe you’re just trying to play both sides of the immigration coin in a bid to two-facedly appeal to Latinos while not letting on that you’re doing so to the nativist base.

Because that’s what McCain did last night in Chicago. In contrast to all of his other town-hall gatherings, this one was invitation-only and generally kept quiet and held late at night. According to news reports, some Latino community leaders were specifically excluded. Instead, they gathered at
the plaza outside the gathering and expressed their disgust.

From Hoy Internet [English translation below]:
"(Latinos) we must begin to respond to the effect that the Republican administration in Washington has had, which has only destroy the U.S. economy and eliminate services to the working people of this country over the past eight years," said Eluid Medina, executive director of Near Northwest Neighborhood Network (NNNN) Humboldt Park and whose name figured in the list of participants of the conference.

Medina, in a telephone interview after the meeting at Federal Plaza, expressed his dissatisfaction with the meeting convened by McCain. "Because if you are going to talk about the problems of Latinos, one cannot be partisan — the problems affect all of us as a community and the meeting had to be open," he said.
But then McCain couldn’t keep making that simultaneous reacharound play for the Republican nativist base, could he?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Obama Smear Merchants Keep On Smearin’

[Cross-posted at Firedoglake.]
Here comes the torrent of bullshit.

Yesterday morning Floyd Brown and Co. sent out a press release and e-mail announcing the Barack Obama’s brother had acknowledged he was raised Muslim — something that Obama himself has denied.
According to Floyd Brown, of, “Malik Obama, Barack’s half brother, confirms that Barack grew up Muslim.”
Except, of course, that the half-brother never said any such thing. The quote upon which they rely for the claim was a reporter’s not-very-accurate paraphrase; the actual quotes make clear the brother in question converted to Islam well into his adulthood, and never hinted that they’d had a Muslim upbringing (they hadn’t).

Yet like flies to shit, the wingnutosphere sure-enough pounced on it with glee, from Crazy Pam Atlas to LGF to, well, you don’t want to go creeping around some of the corners of the blogosphere where you could find this. But there was also Brit Hume on Fox spreading it:
Throughout his campaign, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has assured his supporters that he is a Christian. He has been battling what his campaign calls an online "smear campaign," which contends, among other things, that Obama was raised as a Muslim. There is even a statement on his official campaign Web site reading, "Obama has never been a Muslim and is a committed Christian."

But, Obama’s half-brother is not so sure. Malik Obama tells the Jerusalem Post that if elected his brother will be a good president for the Jewish people — despite his Muslim background.
This one doesn’t come close to passing the sniff test. Even Jake Tapper, who sometimes turns a blind eye to this crap, noticed that the claim was completely bogus:
This interpretation spreading throughout the blogosphere and cable news is just not supported by the facts. The paraphrase was sloppy, for such a sensitive subject, and Malik’s quotes don’t even come close to supporting any assertion that Obama himself has a Muslim background.
Just remember: These stories originate from the very same folks who brought you Willie Horton, the "Clinton conspiracies," the Swift Boaters, and whatever package of lies and bullshit was up for circulating in any given election year of the past two decades. And they’re being run by far-right crackpots — including an "executive director" who was disbarred for selling right-wing tax-fraud conspiracy scams.

Good enough for Fox and the wingnutosphere, obviously.

Where The Wild Things Are Harmed

[Cross-posted at Firedoglake.]

Remind me never to go on any kind of wilderness expedition with Jonah Goldberg. OK, that’s not the kind of thing I actually need to be reminded about, but still.

After reading his latest columnar epic on the non-virtues of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, I know exactly what kind of campmate he’d be: the one who spills the washwater into everyone’s sleeping bags and burns a big hole in the tent while he’s at it. And then fires off a gun just for fun in bear country (note: gunfire attracts grizzlies, who assume a carcass or guts may be found in the vicinity thereof).

He’s the kind of doofus who thinks that you can just take a bite out of one chunk of an ecosystem and it doesn’t have ripple effects that harm many more creatures than just those found in his immediate view. Which is why he thinks drilling in ANWR — which, incidentally, would neither increase our "energy security" nor do anything about prices at the pump — is harmless, which we’ve known for some time is simply untrue. [The Natural Resources Defense Council has lots more on ANWR.]

There is an illustrative example of this closer to home here in Seattle that involves our resident population of killer whales in the Puget Sound region. An article I wrote last year for Seattle Magazine explored to what extent they’re being harmed, somewhat unthinkingly, by the thousands of people who come out annually to see them in whale-watching boats — tours that, for the most part, tend to be about enhancing the habitat of the Sound’s wildlife:
The problem is self-evident on a typical summer day off the western coast of San Juan Island. When orcas arrive on the scene, they are accompanied by a massive flotilla of boats: whale-watching tour craft intermingled with private recreational boaters, kayakers and regular users of these waters. The boats zoom in and out and around, creating a frenetic scene. At times during the summer, whale observers say the orcas are accompanied by boats from nearly sunup to sundown.

It’s even more apparent to anyone who drops a hydrophone beneath the surface of Haro Strait and listens to the whales’ conversations, which come in the form of whistles, chirps, calls and clicks. Along with those sounds is the cacophony of engine noise, ranging from the high squeals of small outboards to the overpowering thrum created by large vessels en route to Vancouver and points north through the strait. In recent years, scientists have been studying the effects of these boats and the noise they create on the whales; the data they’ve collected indicates that, at least in years when the supply of chinook salmon that comprise the bulk of their diet is low, the boats are amplifying the harm to the whales.

David Bain, a marine biologist who specializes in killer whales (who was with the University of Washington until recently), has been painstakingly collecting acoustic and behavioral data on the southern residents for over 15 years now. Tall, balding and bearded, he’s the epitome of the careful scientist as he explains in a quiet voice that he’s found two things of concern.

Whales do less foraging when the boats are around, he says. “That probably means that they’re eating less, and acquiring less energy. There is an energy balance in whales, and whale watching has an effect on that.” And the sheer number of vessels creates a critical mass of obstacles that whales then have to maneuver around, causing them to expend more energy than they would otherwise, he says.

He notes that even kayaks can be a problem, especially if they dart into the whales’ path or invade their space, and fail to warn the whales of their presence. Still, a kayak that observes the preferred whale-watching guideline of 100 yards’ distance will have almost no effect on the whales because of its silence, while any power boat within audible range is creating at least some level of disturbance.
You get a little sense of this in the video I made that is atop this post, comprised of photos I mostly took from my kayak of San Juan killer whales, and the recordings I made of them with my hydrophone. At one point, you can hear the whales peacefully communicating — and then a boat engine from a private boat that had been watching the whales kicked on and sped off, but the noise they created lingers on (I actually edited down the noise by several minutes, but you get the idea).

In any event, it all stands as a reminder of how easy it is for humans to harm entire ecosystems, and all the creatures within it, unthinkingly — even when we think that we’re appreciating them, let alone when we’re "harmlessly" building roads and pipelines and drilling operations in the midst of a wilderness.

Would that buffoons like Jonah Goldberg could figure that out. In the meantime, could someone keep him away from my tent?

The GOP Recipe: ‘Tear Him Down’

[Cross-posted at Firedoglake.]

Republicans are already getting lots of advice in the media on how they can win in November. And the surprise winner? Go negative, go personal, go nasty.

Gosh, like they’ve never done that before.

Gosh, like they weren’t going to do that anyway.

Anyway, there was CNN "senior analyst" Jeffrey Toobin, on Wolf Blitzer’s "Situation Room" Tuesday:
Well, I think there’s a paradox here, which is that McCain has always been a politician who really has been about the issues, about his stands on campaign finance, immigration, whatever he happens to be identified with at that moment. But the way to beat Barack Obama is not on the issues, because the issues support him. He’s the one who has the majority support for the issues he cares about.

The way to attack Obama is to attack him personally, to tear him down, make him seem risky, different, just too unusual a person to be president.

That’s McCain’s challenge if he wants to do it. It’s not something he’s done before. We’ll see if he takes it on this time.
Yeah, because it’s his duty as a Republican, you know. (And for what it’s worth, McCain has run the McNasty style of campaign on more than a few occasions already in his career; but Toobin has a Maverick Man narrative to sell here, and annoying facts have no place at such times.)
BLITZER: If he doesn’t do it, there will be plenty of groups out there, unaffiliated with the campaign, that will be more than happy to do it, right, Jack?
CAFFERTY: Well, yes, I would assume that they will. But you have to be a little careful with some of this stuff, because Barack Obama is a very popular fellow among the average middle class folks in this country. And, again, I go back to that 84 percent who think the country is on the wrong track. McCain is identified as part of the Washington establishment. He’s been there for 26 years. And the way he flip-flops around on the issues, I’m not sure up you can even talk about him being a maverick anymore. It seems that he’s much more politically expedient than maybe used to be.

So I think you’ve got to be a little careful about just coming out and just bashing Barack Obama for the sake of doing it. It could backfire.

TOOBIN: I’m not sure. You know, we often think it’s going to backfire. But going into the last election, who would have thought that John Kerry, the war hero, the Bronze Star winner, could have been attacked on his military record?

That seemed like the one area he was completely bullet-proof. But of course we know about the swift boat attacks. Negative attacks work and it’s something that I think if the Republicans want to win, that’s what they’re going to have to do.
I think the little photoshop job above — which is everywhere on wingnut blogs and websites, a very popular little item — pretty much encapsulates the GOP campaign this fall. No, that’s not a parody.

But it’s a joke to think that McCain is going to have to get his hair mussed. As Cafferty and Blitzer suggest, guys like Floyd Brown and his crew of wack jobs are going to be setting the tone, letting McCain keep his deniability plausible.

And it’ll be "mainstream" pundits like Toobin who will look on approvingly as they do, maintaining their own deniability. Because, you know, they’re just disinterested observers who want to see the most vicious, nasty, ratings-friendly campaign possible — especially if it helps keep those increasingly crumbly Village walls intact.

You know, it’s too bad we can’t vote our pundits out of office at election time too.

Talking down violent rhetoric

-- by Dave

I'm taking part in a roundtable authors' discussion this week at the newly launched Progressive Book Club.

The discussion is about Jeffrey Feldman's excellent new book, Outright Barbarous: How the Violent Language of the Right Poisons Our Democracy, which as you can imagine is right up my alley topic-wise.

We're talking with Feldman; Susan Gardner, the executive editor of Daily Kos; and Joe Bodell, a reporter at the Minnesota Monitor.

Here's my first contribution:

I’ve been rereading Jeffrey’s book because it covers so many points so well and so accurately. I think the essential point is one that simply can’t be stressed enough – not just for progressives, but for every citizen who considers himself a member of a civil society: Violent rhetoric (and particularly its eliminationist variant) is not a form of discourse at all, but rather represents the very death of it.

You can see this simply in the effect of the rhetoric itself. Last week Michael Reagan, the right-wing radio talk-show host, went on the air and said this:

There is a group that's sending letters to our troops in Iraq ... claiming 9/11 was an inside job -- oh, yeah, yeah -- and that they should rethink why they're fighting. Who -- we ought to -- excuse me, folks, I'm going to say this: We ought to find the people who are doing this, take them out and shoot them.

Really. Just find the people who are sending those letters to our troops to demoralize our troops and do what they are doing, you take them out, they are traitors to our country, and shoot them. You have a problem with that, deal with it. But anyone who would do that doesn't deserve to live. You shoot them. You call them traitors -- that's what they are -- and you shoot them dead. I'll pay for the bullet.

This kind of talk isn’t about the exchange of opposing ideas – it’s about simply wishing one’s opponents dead. And as much as the rest of us might wish the 9/11 Troofers would stick a sock in it when it comes to their cockamamie conspiracy theories, the idea of taking people out and shooting them is rhetoric that’s not merely anti-democratic, it’s flatly fascist.

So it was with some grim amusement that I read Michael Gerson’s Washington Post column today wringing its ink-stained hands over a Playboy humor piece penned by Al Franken that Gerson found much too much for his tastes. And he concluded:

At the very least, politics should not actively push our culture toward vulgarity and viciousness. This is not prudery; it is a practical concern for the cooperation and mutual respect necessary in a functioning democracy.

You have to wonder where Gerson has been for the past 10 years as Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, and a host of other right-wing nabobs has been filling our airwaves and polluting our discourse with a real viciousness that goes beyond potty-mouth talk about porn, but open advocates the violent oppression and ultimate elimination of whole sectors of American society – particularly liberals.

Politely applauding, I would guess.

Come join in the fun.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Welcome California!

-- by Sara the roster of civilized places that (starting right this very minute!!) allow people of the same gender to marry.

Up here in Canada, where gay marriage has been a national fait accompli for just over three years now, we straight folk have been keeping a close eye on each other, looking for the smallest sign that all those new legal gay couples we're minting are taking a toll on Marriage As We Know It.

So far, though...nothing. Not a single sign of social decay in sight. Divorces and spousal abuse are at about the same rates. Porn sales, as always. I'm waiting to catch my hubby checking out foxy guys on the street, but so far, he seems as resolutely girl-oriented as ever.

Kinda disappointing, really. Three years, and it's all just as boring as it was before. They'd had us so convinced that we were storming the gates of Sodom and Gomorrah -- and frankly, we were rather looking forward to getting started.

Maybe California will have better luck. Who knows?

It's a damn fine day to be a native Californian. I'm so proud of Gavin Newsom, and the courageous gay rights activists, and the judges who backed them all the way up to very end in the aftermath of what had to be the happiest act of civil disobedience ever. We're here because of them. Remember them and smile next time someone tries to tell you liberals don't have great big brass ones.

Massachusetts -- and now, California. That's not quite one-seventh of the US that's now on board with same-sex marriage. (If New York joins the club, which could happen soon, it'll be closer to one-fifth.) From here on out, the rest of you are going to have to catch up -- or come up with a far, far better excuse as to why you think the words "full faith and credit" no longer apply to you.

Updated with corrections 12:10 am

Sunday, June 15, 2008

McCain and Latinos: Ol’ Two-Face Can’t Shed The ‘R’ Brand

[Cross-posted at Firedoglake.]

John McCain would love probably love dearly to shed the nativist dead weight that is the rest of the Republican Party. But he can’t — most of all because it’s not in his nature. Mr. "Straight Talk" can’t help but pander to whoever his audience is.

So when he’s surrounded by nativists, he talks like them, getting all tough on "border security." When he’s in a more thoughtful setting, he gets all fuzzy about "comprehensive reform."

It’s already gotten him into trouble with the nativist wing — which ranges from the Malkinite and Tancredoan wingnuts to the Ron Paulian wingnuts, who actually hate each other but are united in their loathing of the GOP nominee, referring to him as "Juan" McCain. He keeps making gestures in their direction, but so far it is not working very well.

And it’s selling even worse with Latinos, who already suspect McCain of opportunism simply because he’s a Republican in the mold of Bush (lots of nice talk but an ugly reality). When he openly panders to his party’s wingnuts, as he’s been doing, the suspicions turn to a big fat thumbs down.

According to the most recent NBC poll, Barack Obama leads McCain among Hispanic voters by a 62-28 percentage margin. That’s much worse than even the 44 percent of the Latino vote that Bush reportedly managed to get in 2004 (at least according to some exit polls, though other polls showed him faring much worse).

McCain believes he can do better, but it sounds like wishful thinking. A sympathetic piece at Real Clear Politics (which gives a generous accounting of his flip-flopping on immigration) quotes an optimistic campaign spokesman:
Nationally, McCain will have work to do in convincing Latinos to join him. "Do [Hispanics] know John McCain? The answer is, well, not yet," said Lionel Sosa, a Republican ad maker who has already cut advertisements for McCain in advance of the general election.
Actually, they may be getting to know him all too well. McCain, after all, plays the same pander-to-the-audience schtick on other issues: torture, wiretapping, the Iraq war, on and on.

Still, his biggest problem with Latinos, as the WaPo notes, is the Republican brand in general, especially on immigration, where the debate has turned into an outright Latino-bashing frenzy:
McCain’s problem will be the tarnished reputation of his party. Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, points out that nothing may affect him among Latinos as much as the "R" beside his name. While McCain will remain sufficiently moderate on immigration, despite some politically expedient tips of the hat to certain segments of the conservative base, the GOP’s association with hard-line measures is a galvanizing force among Latino voters. While only half of them are immigrants, most have come to see the anti-illegal immigrant crusade of the last three years as an anti-Latino movement.
… But it may turn out that Obama’s best allies for getting out the Latino vote will be Bush’s Homeland Security Department and media personalities that live to stoke anti-immigrant sentiment. While the immigration issue has faded from the presidential campaign, the increase in raids throughout the country — the number of undocumented immigrants arrested at workplaces rose more than sevenfold between 2002 and 2006 — and the continued pounding of the issue in primetime by Lou Dobbs, Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck will keep it very much alive for Latino voters. And that will only benefit the Democrats.
There was some concern, however, heading out of the primaries that Obama might have trouble attracting Latino votes, since a substantial majority of Hispanics preferred Hillary Clinton in a number of large states. But that concern hasn’t panned out, and it has a lot to do with what the two candidates are offering.

A piece by Maribel Hastings of the Spanish-language La Opinion newspaper examined some of the reasoning that’s taking place among voters:
Upon closer scrutiny of both candidate positions, there are differences. For example, McCain opposes the Dream Act that benefits undocumented students and Obama supports it; McCain opposes giving driving licenses to illegal immigrants; Obama supports it.

Nevertheless, both would vote in favor of building a wall on the southern border.
"But the most important differences are less obvious and have to do with what type of reform they’ll propose and try to pass," said Cecilia Munoz, vice president of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR).

According to Munoz, McCain’s talk on immigration changes "depending on his audience."

"We had George Bush’s heart behind immigration reform and that wasn’t enough. I think John McCain’s heart is behind the legislation but we don’t know if he wants or would be able to really push through the type of reform he wants," she added.

"Not only is he trying to placate Latino voters, but the anti-immigrant side of his party as well, and this will constrain him in an important way" said Munoz.

… But, according to Munoz, the fact that Obama promises to advance immigration reform in the beginning of his possible administration not only is a message to the immigrant community but also to Congress.

"It’s the type of difference with [John McCain] that is less obvious but equally important: the quality of the compromise," she concluded.
There’s also the quality of the candidate. One panders, the other leads.  If Obama continues on that path, and makes that distinction clear to voters, he has a chance now to secure the Latino vote by a substantial margin. But it isn’t an opportunity that can wait.

Meanwhile, be sure to read Roberto Lovato’s thoughts on Obama and McCain.

Some Stay-At-Home Father’s Day Thoughts

[Cross-posted at Firedoglake.]

 It’s now been a full school year since I officially ended my stint as a full-time stay-at-home dad. I was Fiona’s primary caregiver from the day her mom returned to work (about three months after her birth) until she enrolled full time in first grade in the fall of last year. The ensuing near-year has given me enough distance and time to think about the meaning of that six-year stint.

I haven’t yet managed to seriously organize my thoughts, but the distance has led me to a number of random observations:

– There is, of course, the whole masculinity issue involved in such an undertaking. I’ve written previously a little about this. Mostly, as I said then, it can be a struggle at times, particularly if you’ve been culturally hard-wired with the whole man-as-breadwinner thing; but the real rewards dwarfed any of those insecurities into insignificance.

– People’s assumptions told me a lot about the stereotypes people have about fathers. I was assumed to be a divorcee enjoying my custody days with Fiona; a grandfather (comes with being an older parent); a husband taking days off to give Mom a break; and a dirty fucking hippie. Guilty on the last count.

– There is a profound realization you have about the meaning of love that comes with being a parent; I know this is all a cliche, but it’s something that smacks you over the head no matter how much you hear about it in advance.

Now, some people are smug about parenthood because of this and conclude that they have a special insight into the nature of love and meaning. But I for one am not so certain. Love comes in so many shapes and forms so many different kinds of meaning for different people that it’s impossible to make an adequate comparison to anyone else’s life experience.

But fear, I can talk about. You never really know the meaning of fear until you are a parent. Really.
– I’m still flabbergasted by men who don’t want to be involved fathers. Dudes, you have no fricking idea what you are missing. A deep bond with your child is a treasure beyond any material object on
the planet; that’s not sentiment, it’s fact.

– There is a certain amount of resistance on the part of some women to stay-at-home dads. Some of this felt like simple old territoriality to me, but there was also a comfort zone attached to the all-female state of my child play areas (after all, who wants some guy hanging about while you discuss breastfeeding issues with your fellow moms?). On the other hand, there were always women who were openly envious of my wife. I managed to mostly navigate these waters by playing the part of a clueless dopey male. (I’m really really good at this.)

But I couldn’t help feeling that many of these mothers, as I noted before, saw child care as drudgery, whereas for me it was an intriguing adventure. And it occurred to me that if stay-at-home dads were more common it would be less intriguing for men but also a lot less drudgery for women. It would be a sign that the work of raising children was being given the value it deserved.

– It’s probably not an easy role reversal for women, either. Who wants to come home to a frumpy mate covered in baby food and reeking of changed diapers? Though it can’t be easy taking on the role and responsibility of chief breadwinner, either (especially when you work for a famous software company most famous for wringing 70-hour workweeks out of its employees). I was very fortunate that way — especially since along the way my wife, Lisa D., wound up subsidizing and almost wholly sponsoring my blogging and book-writing career. Even on Father’s Day, I owe her a world of thanks.

– A simple summation: Best job I ever had. Or ever will have.

Happy Father’s Day to my fellow dads. And for those of you thinking about staying home and taking the role of primary caregiver, and wondering if they really want to do all those diaper and feeding and stroller things … well, all I can say is: You will not regret it. Because in the long run, those memories just fade away. And the good ones, the ones the matter, they remain.