The cowardly "courage" of Scott Walker

24 March 2011
Dear Scott Walker,

Against my better judgment, and definitely against my best interests, I listened to the entire speech you presented at last weekend's GOP convention in Wisconsin Dells.  And even though I shouldn't be shocked, because you really didn't say anything new (just the same old tired lies), I began to realize that there may, in fact, be a method to your madness.  Here's the part I hated most:

"Our lawmakers literally did not only take a courageous political vote, they took a courageous physical vote. They were intimidated, they were attacked, they were abused, their families got abuse you can only imagine in some third world country"

Without us, there is no cheese. Think about it. (source)
Ok, let's just stop right there. "Abuse you can only imagine in some third world country?!" Are you kidding me? First of all, you are such a blatant racist and xenophobe, trying to play up the imagined fears of your "base" by assuming that everything that happens in "some third world country" must be horrifying. And, second, you are such a liar! What "abuse?!" Are you talking about the unverified claim that someone's car got keyed? Or the threatening emails that were received by more democratic Senators than Republicans? Or are you simply referring to the rising up of the inhuman "masses" (like in that spooky, 3rd world Egypt!)?  An empty, baseless accusation that will be lapped up as fact by your empty, baseless base.  But you went on (and I'll quote this part at length so you can get the full sense of how moronic your babbling truly is when you put it down on paper. You should really get a speech writer.):
"But instead of being melted down or pulled back or somehow wavering, it made 'em stronger. It made 'em more decisive. It made 'em more focused on what was important and together we not only got that measure passed - and we're going to see it fulfilled - we're going to turn this state around and balance the budget and put more people back to work again and see a better government in this state. We're ultimately gonna prevail on July 12th and again a little bit later come the middle of August if there's a primary. We're gonna prevail. Because we have to. It's not if, it's when we prevail, because I am convinced, this isn't just about the majority in the state Senate. This isn't just about where the legislature is headed in the state of Wisconsin. This is ultimately about courage. When we had men and women in the state assembly and state senate who could have easily backed away from a vote like this, particularly when the crowds grew bigger and bigger and bigger."
Ok. Let's stop there again. The crowds are getting bigger, and it would be easy to back away, but it takes courage to stand firm. Ok, I get it. Courage. Because the big bad crowd might hurt you - not because the bigger and bigger and bigger crowds have some valid concerns that you should take into consideration. No. Taking the people into consideration is never an option in Fitzwalkerstan, is it? That goes without saying.
"When in Madison, and I remember my friend, Governor Dreyfus, once said, that 'Madison is 30 square miles surrounded by reality,' I thought that a lot over the last couple of months [spattering of laughter], for those in the Capitol it looked pretty grim. When it would have been easier to have backed off instead those lawmakers stood up and did the right thing. The right thing not only for this party but for this state and ultimately for this country, and took a courageous vote. It is an imperative that we do - not just in those areas around those Senate districts - for everyone in this room and everyone else you represent in the state not just in the Republican party but for everyone who cares about the future of our state and our country and our freedoms for you to stand up and do everything in your power to make sure we re-elect these 6 brave state Senators and have a shot at picking up at least 1 or 2 if not all 3 of those...Senate Democrat seats."  
Gag? Barf? What would Jesus do?  Also: Lee Dreyfus died in 2008. And I'd like to see some evidence that you and he were "friends." And he made this famous statement while campaigning in 1978, and  understated the size of Madison by more than half to trivialize it, like you're doing. Madison is more like an 80-odd square mile Isthmus of Reason in a Sea of Tea. Anyway, you go on:

"50 or 60 thousand people don't get to drown out the voices of 5 and a half million taxpayers who wanted to get this state working again...It is time the middle class stand up and say, 'No, we want our government back. We’re not going to have it stolen. We’re going to stand with the people and not let the protesters try to block out our courage. We stand with the middle class. We protect middle class jobs and middle class taxpayers."
So. There's the rub again. The "people" vs. "the protesters." The "taxpayers" vs the "50-60,000 people" (really? come on! at least admit that a minimum of one half of the people of Wisconsin hate you) who are making a lot of noise about nothing, because they are nothing.

And here's the method to this mad, mad, madness: it's rooted in a long history of rhetorical discourse. You're employing the exact same rhetorical strategies used to justify slavery and imperial "missions." In order to convince your supporters that your opponents are worthless thugs who do not deserve any of the "entitlements" they (allegedly) receive, you have to first convince them that we are less than human. That we don't deserve a decent life, because we don't deserve any life at all. That we are, in fact, worthless.

That is how dehumanizing people works. You use rhetoric that distinguishes between "people" and "protesters." Then, later, when you call in the National Guard to shoot at the "protesters," people will already be used to thinking of them as less than human, and they won't mind so much about them being dead. It's also how they build empires.
Your code word for the day was "courage." I lost count of how many times you used it. But the basic idea was that you wanted your supporters to summon the "courage" it will take to publicly condone your mission, your illegal  behavior, and your immoral proposals in order to win the recall elections. And I agree, that is going to take a lot of courage. Because you have to be really, really, really brave to stand in front of decent hard-working people and tell them all kinds of lies about their neighbors, teachers, nurses, and other public workers, and then expect them to start hating those people, just to pass through some legislation that will benefit the very few at the expense of the rest of us - including the vast majority of those you need to get to vote for you. So that takes a lot of courage, I agree. It takes a hell of a lot of courage to look your kid's teacher straight in the eye and say "You do not pay taxes. You do not contribute to society. I do not count you among 'the people'."  But it takes a real coward to do this in the name of the middle class.

The plot from the start has been to distinguish the protesters from taxpayers, citizens of Wisconsin, "real" workers (ie private sector workers). But it's unsustainable. Because workers' rights are human rights, and our humanity - not your greed - will prevail. Because we are taxpayers. We are citizens. We are the people. And we will not let you whittle the people's government down to one man, in the name of "small government" and "big business."


Heather DuBois Bourenane  
Wisconsin taxpayer
Remember how outraged people were when Sean Delona dehumanized Obama in this racist New York Post cartoon (published Feb. 18, 2009)?  We're still outraged. And then some.

Update 26 May 2011: 
Walker often refers to the "five and a half million taxpayers" who supposedly support him and his phony "jobs" and "tools" plan.  In this speech, he said "50 or 60 thousand people don't get to drown out the voices of 5 and a half million taxpayers who wanted to get this state working again." This figure is laughable even without analysis, since it assumes 100% of the people of Wisconsin support Walker (which, ironically, is the sort of statistical analysis one often finds in what Walker would call "third world countries") but Rebecca Kemble inspired me to do a little fact-checking on that.  According to (2009 census data), there are 5,654,774 million residents of Wisconsin. Of these, 23% are under 18 and presumably do not pay taxes (this comes out 1,300,598 kids, some of whom have jobs and pay taxes). Which leaves 4,354,176 adults, many of whom do not have jobs. Not sure how many of those are "tax payers." But even if ALL of them paid taxes, only about half support Walker, at most. So he's overestimating by approximately 3 million people. And by "overestimating" I mean lying.

Valuable Advice: Planning your child's birthday party

The 3rd Best Unsolicited Advice You'll Ever Receive, Or Your Money Back

Dear Advice Seekers,

People often say, "I could really use some advice" and "There's nothing better than advice from a trusted friend" and "What I wouldn't give for some top-notch advice on this delicate issue I'm facing." 

Strangely, however, these same people often quickly add, "But you know what I hate more than anything? Getting preachy advice you didn't ask for, especially from a stranger."  And then they start talking about people in grocery stores who tell them don't eat this or that or you'll get cancer, or don't pick up that cat litter or your fetus will abort, or don't go to Lane 5 because last time that lady did NOT scan my coupons properly and I had to go to customer service to get my receipt adjusted and it took 10 minutes.  And then they look at me very pointedly, and start talking about "people" who offer advice without being asked, and how "invasive" and "annoying" that is.  And I can really relate to that, because I am an expert in the advice department.

If I've learned one thing since I launched my career as semi-professional (read: unpaid) purveyor of unsolicited advice, it's this: When in doubt, it's always best to err on the side of providing as much valuable if unsolicited advice as possible, and perhaps one day people will learn to appreciate that advice, and think back and say, "You know, at the time, it seemed like terrible advice, but now I really regret not following it." And then I'll get your retroactive thanks for trying to help when you needed it most, and also the personal satisfaction of knowing that I was once that one thing that could have helped you, before you chose the wrong path and make a lot of poor, ill-advised, decisions. So you might want to keep that destiny in mind as you fail to heed this valuable advice, and one day you can write me a nice note about how you wish you'd listened to me while you had the chance, and (if I have time), I'll write back with a very gracious and humble note, full of empathy and personal touches, and give you some new advice about how you might make the most out of what's left of your life.  So this is kind of a long-term relationship, and I'm glad to play such an important role in that.

Today's tips are especially for parents and children's party-throwers, but should be of value to anyone who attends these parties as well.  Enjoy...and you're welcome.


PS If you missed it, here's the Best Unsolicited Advice You'll Ever Receive, and the 2nd Best Unsolicited Advice You'll Ever Receive.

Party tip: For a "playful" look, let the kids decorate the cupcakes, then you don't have to take responsibility for how messed up they turned out! Don't trust your kids that much? No problem! Just sigh and say "Little helpers!" every time someone mentions the cupcakes and your guests will just assume this half-assed work was their effort. Who's the cool mom, now?

Valuable advice: Planning your child's birthday party
Chances are, you want your child to remember this day forever, and in a good way, so here are a few tips:
  1. Spend a fortune!  This is probably the most important advice I can offer if you want your party to be memorable to both your child and your guests. The sky is the limit when it comes to your child, so why would you want to jeopardize his or her love by letting him or her know that your love for him or her is worth a maximum of, say, $200?  Can you really measure your love in dollars? No. So get a new credit card and really make sure this thing is perfect. Because if I know one thing about kids, it's this: no matter how much you spend, they're still going to find something to complain about, so try as hard as you can to prevent this by spending every penny you have on your misguided attempts to buy their affection.
  2. Choose a theme they won't forget. Nothing shows your kid how much more mature you think they are than the other kids than throwing a party better suited for adults - and nothing shows those kids' parents how cool you are more than picking a theme that's also an expression of your own vices.  For the preschool set, consider a Grand Theft Auto-bration! or Lil' Godfathers or any other war/violence-themed party. For a cute baby-bordello theme for girls, try a  Bratz (TM) or Barbie (TM) or Baby Gaga (TM, I assume) Costume Party! (Bonus for hot moms: this gives you your big chance to dress the part and let the cleavage you want to show anyway be a featured "decoration" at the party!).  For grade schoolers, who've seen it all, get creative! Think "The Hangover" - you can't go wrong with the gender-neutral Vegas Nite, complete with showgirl outfits, fun play-for-treats gambling activities, and fruit punch served in martini glasses. (Bonus tip: To go the extra mile, place a strawberry "pimento" inside a green grape "olive" and place it in the kiddie cocktail on a decorative toothpick. Too cute!!!)
  3. Ensure your child receives the best possible gifts.  You may have noticed a trend lately to downplay the gift-getting and materialism of children's birthday parties by including a note in the invitation that says something like "Jacob would like to collect donations for The American Foundation to Destroy Public Education. Please bring donation of any amount you feel comfortable with in lieu of a gift. Checks can be made payable to Betsy DeVos."  First of all, poor Jacob, for being born into that family.  Second, this is just a trick to get you to think the parents are all save-the-worldish and better than you. Don't fall for it.  Luckily for you, however, I have the perfect solution to this problem that will both make YOU appear to be as superior and altruistic as the next guy by earning money for a good cause while still ensuring that your child's party includes the gifts you've paid so much to make sure s/he receives.  It's all in the wording:  "Our family has set a goal to raise $1000 for Doctors Without Borders this year.  If you'd also like to contribute to this wonderful cause that helps children all over the world, please consider including a donation."  What? That makes no sense!  "Also" as in, "in addition to us" or "in addition to your gift?"  And  "consider including a donation?!" As in "including it with your gift?" Yes. Consider including it in addition to your gift. Your guests will be unclear and feel obligated to both bring a gift and contribute to the cause. Win and win. Note: If someone dares call you for clarification on this (which they won't), be sure to use the following expressions: "Oh, it's totally up to you" and "We aren't expecting anything, but I'm sure Annie will be thrilled with anything she receives."
  4. Get the details right. First off, have your party at a decent hour. If your party is at 3:00 pm, and my son wakes me up at 5:52 am on a Saturday because he's so excited for those two hours of bowling and pizza, I don't want to hear about it for the next 9 hours straight - I've already been listening to this all week.  Have the party around noon, and serve lunch. Also, make it clear if parents are invited or not. If they are, be sure to have decent food and drinks. If they aren't, make sure your party lasts for more than two hours so I can get some work done while he's there.  And be sure the location is easy to find - or, better yet, hire a Fun Bus to pick up all the guests so that their parents don't have to be involved at all, and can just spend the day in bed, or whatever.
  5. Make sure the parents sign a waiver protecting you from liability in the event that their child is injured - or worse.  It's always preferable to have a lingering threat in the air at a children's party, so that the adults in charge of supervising people don't slack off, but you should do this even if there's no real element of danger at your party (bounce house, horse rides, fire juggling, etc).  It adds a certain air of authority to your invitation that other parents will envy, and perhaps emulate.
  6. Let your child be the star!  Don't miss out on any opportunity to reinforce your child's self-esteem and sense of entitlement on his/her big day.  There are countless ways to achieve this, but here are some of my favorites:
    • Plaster your child's image on everything. The invitation, the place cards, the cake, the decorations. Everything.  Brand the crap out of that party with your kid's face. Don't let anyone forget: this party is about JACOB. And Jacob is the best.
    • Don't miss a thing. Hover if you have to. Be the eyes and ears of every adult conversation that happens at the party and don't miss a single chance to object, correct, redirect or otherwise inject your two cents about how Jacob is already advanced/superior/outgrown that particular skill/item/interest.  
    • Comment on everything, and make sure your comments all either directly or indirectly reinforce the fact that your child is the Best Kid At The Party. Suggestions:
      • "What a cute shirt! Jacob had one very similar to that when he was 5"
      •  "Oh! ANOTHER Lego Ninjago Battle Chromosome Detector Staircase! How thoughtful!"
      • "Looks like someone really likes pizza!"
      • "Don't worry about the spill - accidents happen. Jacob used to do that all the time, too."
      • "Did you do your hair all by yourself today?"
  7. Above all, have fun! Your child's big day only comes once a year, so don't let him/her ruin it by whining, arguing, acting ungrateful, complaining, dallying, overeating, being rude, bossing people around, fighting, playing too rough, or being disrespectful. Make sure your child knows that being the star is very important to you, and he or she will never forget this special day because it's going to be the most fun he or she has ever had in their entire life, as long as they don't mess it up. So have fun - or we're taking all these gifts to kids who will appreciate them. 

Give 'em what they want.

Happy International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia!

17 May 2011
Dear Scott Walker,

As you know, today is International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO Day)! Having just read the lovely press release from Secretary Clinton (see below) calling on us to "redouble our efforts" to fight LBGT discrimination, I would expect that your office also make a statement today acknowledging how important it is, sadly, that we continue to promote equal rights for all members of our society, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

I am accustomed, by now, however, to having your office not only fail to meet, but to greatly exceed the worst possible estimations of my expectations. So I won't hold my breath on your own press release, as you seem bent on proving, yet again, that you'll never fail to disappoint me. I am struck, though, by the cavalier and insensitive timing with which you decided to move forward your own homophobic campaign to further deprive gay citizens of their rights - a campaign you began immediately upon taking office by firing the state counsel defending the Wisconsin domestic partnership registry. And since Secretary Clinton has called upon me to fight such injustice "wherever it occurs," I think we should start right here in Wisconsin.

Whether or not they are legally married, same-sex couples should be entitled to exactly the same domestic partnership rights as any other couple. And the fact that you, with your own long history of disregard for and lack of understanding of the law, would make a claim as to the constitutionality of a law which protects human rights is not surprising, but extremely repulsive. As the Capital Times reports:
"While we're disappointed that Gov. Walker has decided not to defend critical protections for same-sex couples, including hospital visitation and family medical leave, this is exactly why we felt it was so important for Fair Wisconsin and Lambda Legal to intervene in this case," says Katie Belanger, executive of FairWisconsin, a statewide gay rights organization based in Madison. "We are still committed to defending this legislation and are confident the legislation is constitutional."

Walker's filing comes about two months after he fired the private legal counsel former Gov. Jim Doyle hired to defend the registry. Madison attorney Lester Pines was hired after Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen refused to defend the state registry. At the time Pines' contract was terminated, Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said the governor's office was "still working to appoint a new counsel to the case." That appears not to have happened.
 I call on you to recognize today that Wisconsin supports equal rights for all of its citizens by appointing new and fair counsel to this case, and by retracting your homophobic, immoral and hateful statement that it is somehow "unconstitutional" to allow same-sex partners such basic rights as hospital visitation and inheritance rights. If you don't find my own appeal convincing, you might actually consider reading the Constitution, which is particularly crystal clear in the following:

Article I, §1 Equality; inherent rights. Section 1. [As amended Nov. 1982 and April 1986] All people are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights; among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; to secure these rights, governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. [1979 J.R. 36, 1981 J.R. 29, vote Nov. 1982; 1983 J.R. 40, 1985 J.R. 21, vote April 1986]
Turns out it's the anti-gay marriage act that's unconstitutional, Scott Walker. Why don't you get to work on changing that, if you suddenly care so much about protecting our constitutional freedoms.

Until you resign,

Heather DuBois Bourenane
Wisconsin citizen, supporter of human rights and hater of all homophobia and transphobia, including yours, and perhaps especially yours

P.S. Here's Secretary Clinton's press statement, in case you haven't had time to read it yet! It's great!
International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
May 17, 2011

In every part of the world, men and women are persecuted and attacked because of who they are or whom they love. Homophobia, transphobia and the brutal hostility associated with them are often rooted in a lack of understanding of what it actually means to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). So to combat this terrible scourge and break the cycle of fear and violence, we must work together to improve education and support those who stand up against laws that criminalize love and promote hate. As we mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia this May 17, let us resolve to redouble our efforts.
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am proud to reaffirm our support for LGBT communities at home and abroad, and to call for an end to discrimination and mistreatment of LGBT persons wherever it occurs. Whether by supporting LGBT advocates marching in Belgrade, leading the effort at the United Nations to affirm the human rights of LGBT persons, or condemning a vile law under consideration in Uganda, we are committed to our friends and allies in every region of the world who are fighting for equality and justice. These are not Western concepts; these are universal human rights.
Despite these gains and hard work, there is more to do to turn the tide of inequality and discrimination against the LGBT community. If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, know that the United States stands with you and we are unwavering in our commitment to ending this cycle of hate.

The 2nd Best Unsolicited Advice You'll Ever Receive, Guaranteed, Or Your Money Back

Installment #2 in an ongoing, perhaps infinite, series of invaluable unsolicited advice.

Valuable advice: Honesty is rarely the best policy, but it can come in handy.
Sometimes, being honest is a terrible idea. For instance, if it's Mothers' Day, and after the kids go to bed, someone says, "Did you have a good day?", you probably should not say "No, I did not have a good day. I spent most of it traumatized by the horrifying image of Scott Walker going fishing, and the rest of it in a passive-aggressive state of poutiness about how you people didn't even plan anything."  That would be rude, and maybe even hurt that person's feelings. So you should just say, "It was ok" with a far-away look in your eyes, and a soft sigh that could either be interpreted as maternal bliss or vaguely detected disappointment, but not as a confrontational huff. And then, later, in the future, when that person makes you mad for a more tangible reason, and you're listing all the ways they've let you down in the past, you can bring up your real feelings about Mothers' Day, and really make that person feel guilty, and you'll win the argument. Which is a gift in itself.

Valuable advice: How to get the most out of gardening.
The best and most effective way to get the most out of gardening is not to plant a garden this year. Because no matter how tempting it is now that the weather is nice and things are looking so green and smelling so sweet, you hate gardening. In particular, you hate the weeding, and the watering, and being attacked by mosquitoes. Gardening is just another chore in the long list of things that no one else will do around here if you don't do it yourself, so just skip it this year. Otherwise, you're going to realize (much, much too late) how passionately you really hate gardening. And at the end of summer, after you go to the market and buy a bushel of tomatoes to make salsa because all of yours are wilted with blight, you'll swear to yourself that you'll never garden again - only to be duped into planting a bunch of expensive heirloom seedlings by the "miracle" of Spring.  But guess what? Spring isn't a miracle. It's just part of an endless cycle of manipulation designed to trick you into thinking this god-forsaken tundra is suitable for human habitation, which it is not.  Perhaps if you moved to Hawaii you could have a nice little patio garden. But I'm pretty sure they have farmers' markets there, too, so I suggest you just stop wasting your time all around and spend some quality time with your kids, or catching up with your virtual word gaming before you get nudged. And leave the gardening to the nice people who sell their lovely organic goods at the leftist cooperative farmers' market. You always wanted to support those guys anyway. So everyone wins.

Valuable advice: Never, ever trust a child.
This bit of advice is actually a repeat from volume one, but a lot of you still aren't following it, so it bears repeating.  I cannot stress this enough: children are not to be trusted. They are to be loved, tickled, encouraged, talked to, hugged, smooched and read to. But not trusted. Because those bastards little angels will sneak into the kitchen at 5am and use your sharpest scissors to open a brand new bag of brown sugar (even though there's an open one right there next to it), and then eat half the bag with their sticky fists. Then, later, when you get up and ask them why they have sugar all over their shirts, and why there are so many bag clips on the new bag of sugar, and why they made such an unhealthy choice for breakfast, they will say "Because I thought you might want to make cookies later, so I was just opening it for you, and some got on my shirt." Which is a total lie.  So don't make this mistake again. I repeat: never trust a child.

Valuable advice: How to be an effective governor, Believers' edition.
If people accidentally elected you governor of a democratic state, and you think that God is telling you how to be a good governor, so you quick made a bunch of "bold" moves to make that state "open for business" and "reform" an education system that is among the best in the nation and you abuse your big government power by taking away peoples' rights and insulting public servants, and then hundreds of thousands of informed people in that state come running as fast as they can with hilariously clever signs to shout about how catastrophic your plan will be for the good of that state, but you just ignore those people, and tell lies about them everywhere you go, then this is God's way of telling you that you're not a very effective governor. In Bible times, they called this "a sign."  You might want to brush up on your religious studies if any of that is unclear to you, because God is very clearly saying "you're fired."

Valuable advice: Lawn maintenance tips
Actually, you don't need much advice in this department. Your yard looks great today! But, for the future, if your next door neighbor is both too lazy and too leftist to spray or otherwise eliminate weeds from her lawn, and feels her time is better spent writing hate mail and providing valuable advice than ridding the world of dandelions, you might as well give up your own fight, on account of wind, and natural selection.  Because your back hurts now, and your yard is going to have a lot of dandelions in it next week anyway.  Bonus tip: You could spend the time you save not being doubled over your lawn with your special weed-uprooting tool online, getting free and valuable advice!  Win, win!

I think they're pretty. Image, and suggestions on what to do with them, at

Missed the first round of valuable invaluable advice? Here is is. You're welcome.

Note to readers seeking valuable advice:
Solicited advice on any topic is available, free of charge. Just email your question or the topic about which you'd like some advice to with "advice" or "advice, please" or "extraordinary advice, please" in your subject line. Be sure to say if you want your name withheld, or I will include it in my reply.

Wisconsin Children's Union Local 2011 (free poster!)

Click here to download the part-color version.
 Now available on cafepress - buttons, stickers and more!
Dear supporters of children's rights and protectors of Wisconsin's future,

Of all the rally signs I've made, my favorite is the "Wisconsin Children's Union" one. I chanced across this picture  (at right) of my daughter and me at a snowy February rally in Madison on WEAC's facebook page. Since I keep getting requests to share it, I'm providing it here it is for easy copy/pasting and borrowing of any kind (see below for other versions). If you've got better skills and want the original version for editing, be my guest. Just email me and I'll send the file.

This sign is my favorite because it's a constant reminder that this fight is not about the money, and it's not about the budget. It's about our rights, and it's about our future. 

The struggle in Wisconsin is about labor, for sure. It's about protecting workers' rights and ensuring that current and future generations will have a say in their own lives. But it is also about draconian cuts to education and basic health care services that affect our children directly. 

In the early days of this uprising and continually since, Wisconsin teachers have stood together and given our children the best lesson in civics we could have asked for: teaching them that democracy means standing up for what's right when it's time to stand. As a parent, I continue to teach that lesson every time my children join me at the Capitol, every time they see me sending a letter to our elected officials, every time we talk to each other, and to friends, neighbors and others in our community, about how important it is for us to stand up for our rights.  I am proud to have my children join me in this struggle, and I can only hope that these moments of solidarity are among their earliest - and fondest - memories.  Our children aren't just witnesses to this struggle; these children ARE the struggle. And they need to be here even more than the rest of us. It is our moral obligation as parents to let our children know that being a productive member of society means standing up, speaking out, and coming together. This is what democracy looks like, and it's cute as a button.

The children, united, will never be defeated!


Listening. Learning.

Download the black & white version here.
Download the full color version here.

Thank you, educators, for the excellent lesson in civics!

3 demands, an announcement, and some good news

13 May 2011

I have five things to say to you today. The first three things are demands, which I highly recommend you take seriously if you don't want to be recalled (just kidding - you're going to be recalled anyway). The fourth one is an announcement, which should also be read as a warning. And the fifth thing is great news, so I saved it for last to give you a reason to keep reading.
  1.  Stop lying. About everything, but especially the fact that our schools need to be "reformed." As I predicted, you never fail to disappoint, so your speech at the Americans for the Destruction of Public Education on Monday was a lie-filled disaster.  Where do you get the audacity to say out loud that we have a "moral imperative" to "reform" our schools?  The only thing our schools need, to keep them at the top of the nation in terms of test scores and graduation rates, is continued funding and community support. Just this week, Wisconsin schools were ranked first - for the 2nd year in a row - in graduation rates. In fact, the best data shows that the only area in which our schools do fail is in the much-lied-about charter ventures that have been consistently proven not to out-perform traditional public schools. Stealing money away from the schools that the vast majority of Wisconsin children attend and giving government handouts to a select few in the form of "vouchers" (which would allow even rich kids to attend private schools), is immoral, corrupt and reprehensible.    Here's some valuable advice for you: if it's not broken, don't do everything in your power to destroy it.  
  2. Stop saying "People elected me CEO of Wisconsin."  Wisconsin is NOT your personal business to defraud and defund. It is a democratic state in which the people have a voice. And since you allege to "govern" these people, it is the mandate of the democratic process that you not only listen to them, but engage in active dialogue with them. So stop pretending like you own us, and our land, and everything on it, and start doing your real job instead of trying to force your failed "business model" on the state as if you know anything at all about how the business world works (because we have access to your track record, and it's terrible). As soon as you stop doing all those things, I'll start referring to you as "governor" again. Give the job the respect it deserves, and people will begin to acknowledge that you deserve the title. 
  3. Stop being so stubborn. I'm glad to hear your bad math revealed a surplus in the budget. Give it back to our kids. This is your big chance to prove that you are actually capable of performing an act that involved both intellect and compromise. I know you hate education, and most of our children, but the rest of us don't, and this is (see above) a democracy. So give us our budget back.
  4. We are not "still" mad. We are MORE mad. And to prove it, we'll see you tomorrow. Because every time you open your lying mouth, we get madder. The people of Wisconsin will not allow you to destroy our exemplary public education system. Nor will they allow you to take away our rights to collective bargaining. So we're holding a rally tomorrow, starting at 2:30, to let you know how we feel. I hope you can make it! This would be a great chance for you to meet with some concerned citizens and hear us out.  I think it would be really productive if you could attend. Bring the family! Kids love rallies. They're a great lesson in democracy (which, I'm sure, your own children cannot possibly receive at home, given your my-way-or-the-highway style of "governing"), and also there are popcorn stands.  I can't wait!
  5. The good news: luckily for you, the people who hate you the most are really good, decent, honest, hardworking, smart, productive and talented people.  Today an article stated that in the past few months there have been a total of about 90 threats to Republican and Democratic officials in Wisconsin.  (They didn't mention the threats you yourself have made to your constituents, most shamefully, to bring in the National Guard to shoot at us if we protested your plan to take away our rights, or your on-going threats to "create jobs" by firing us - if we factored those in, this figure would be a lot higher. Personally, I think it's pretty shoddy journalism not to even mention that, but what else would we expect from the Republican State Journal?)  Anyway, I sincerely hope none of these threats of violence are serious, but the fact that you received so few of them is really a testament to the restraint and moral fortitude of the hundreds of thousands of people who hate you so much. So this something we both can celebrate.  
In closing, I am so looking forward to the news of your resignation. Maybe you could announce it tomorrow at the rally!  Can you imagine?! The thunderous applause would shake the Capitol dome - it would be enough to satisfy even your insatiable ego for life.  You should really consider it.  Also, my parents are coming to town from Michigan this weekend and I would love for them to be a part of that historic moment.  That reminds me - I have to charge up my camera battery!

See you tomorrow! Enjoy your resignation party!

Heather DuBois Bourenane
Infuriated Wisconsin taxpayer who will not stop insisting that you resign until you are recalled
Details on tomorrow's rally - see you there!

Want to get really, really drunk? Take a sip every time Walker lies! Don't drink? This will make you want to start.
Do you have what it takes to sit through Walker's address to the American Foundation for the Destruction of Public Schools?  If so, watch this: Walker starts around the 19:00 mark.  I highly recommend you start with the drinking game (instructions above).

The ultimate pyramid scheme: trickle-down education

9 May 2011
Dear Scott Walker,

Tonight, you are speaking at the American Foundation to Destroy Public Education's annual "National Policy Summit." Their new poster boy for legislation-for-hire policies that defund public schools while they use taxpayer money to promote school "choice" and "vouchers" (code for public funding of private schools), I'm sure you're greedily lapping up the moment of attention and letting those big-money ego-strokers convince you you're doing the right thing, and that you actually bring something to their gilded table.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett had the nerve to blame unions for "failing public schools" earlier today and I don't have to see the video to know what you're going to say, because you're going to spread the same lies and shoddy data you always spout about the "success" of Milwaukee charter schools and brag about your plan to expand the voucher program in Wisconsin and your "success" in paralyzing unions.  (I put the "success" in quotes here to show how I don't agree that those measures were "successful." Rather, I think those are "lies" that you intentionally use to manipulate people into thinking that public schools are not worth investing in and that unions - not corrupt and immoral public policies - are responsible for all of societies ills.  And you couldn't be more wrong.)

Mary Bell, a teacher with 30 years of experience and president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council (and one of the people I'm nominating for your condescending State Employee Recognition Award), knows exactly what's wrong with your plan. Calling your plan "a slew of absurdities," she outlined some of the many reasons the vast majority of educators, students, principals and administrators oppose your agenda, which would effectively destroy Wisconsin schools.   As Mary Bell wrote,
"Gov. Scott Walker's education plan included in his state budget proposal will move our students and state backward. Whether you have children in a public school or not, whether you are Democrat, Republican or somewhere in between, children are counting on the state to do what's right. Public education must remain a top priority. [...]
Gimmicks and privatization disguised as education reform should not substitute for solid plans to support the investment generations of Wisconsin citizens have made.
The governor's education plan does not support student learning and schools, and they are not based on sound research. Take, for instance, his plan to pour millions of dollars into a separate private school system, while, at the same time, local school districts would experience a $1.68 billion loss in revenue.
On top of that, the budget proposal would lift income limits for vouchers so that wealthy families in Milwaukee could send their kids to private schools at taxpayer expense. All of this is happening despite the fact that since the voucher program's inception, these private schools have never been shown to do a better job of educating children.
To be clear, the implications of expanding taxpayer funding of private and religious schools goes far beyond Milwaukee. Our local public schools are facing unprecedented cuts.
When public schools are struggling financially and laying off teachers, the last thing we need is to spend more taxpayer money on private schools, but that's exactly what the governor wants to do. His followers are even suggesting a special needs voucher system, which was developed without input from Wisconsin disability groups who advocate for those students and their families."

Meanwhile, SB-22, the so-called Charter School Bill, is on the verge of passing through the Wisconsin legislature. I, for one, am trying to do everything I can to educate, infuriate and awaken the people of Wisconsin - and beyond - on the dangers of this bill, and the agenda of groups like the one paying for you to lie to the nation tonight, want to enact.

Without a solid public education system, we are nothing. Your efforts, funded nationally by billionaires like Dick and Betsy DeVos, are a one-way ticket to destroying the middle class and the death of the public school. DeVos money does not come without strings: that Amway money climbed a long, long ladder to get into those pockets and now the rest of us are paying the price again as their pyramid scheme reaches a new pinnacle: they're actually trying to get us to buy into the concept of trickle-down education.  Like their famous ScamWay scheme, privatizing public education means the rich reap all the rewards while the rest of us get squashed flat, spread out, stretched thin, every child left behind.  And what education can possibly trickle down? What's left for the rest of us? What "choices" do we get to make when there are no income limits on voucher programs and charter schools can be operated for profit? What's left for the vast majority of Wisconsin children, whose districts already cannot afford to lose another single dollar? What's left behind? Nothing.

Do not be seduced by their moneyed voices. Look at the data that all of the experts have been trying so hard to get you to see. Listen to Mary Bell, to Tony Evers, to Diane Ravitch. Listen to educators, experts, concerned and informed citizens and parents like me. And start putting Wisconsin children first.  Please listen. And, maybe, in the morning, I'll get up the nerve to listen to what you had to say tonight as well. But I'm pretty sure you're not likely to start surprising me any time soon.  Maybe you could start by announcing your resignation.  What a start that would be!

Until you're recalled,
Heather DuBois Bourenane
Wisconsin parent and advocate for public education

Advice to Scott Walker from the World's Greatest Mom

8 May 2011

I had no intention of letting you ruin my Mothers' Day, but somehow, you did.  I was going to go to the Mother's Day Picnic at the Capitol, and spend the day just relaxing with my kids. I was going to take a day off. But I couldn't. Because of you.

For starters, I couldn't get the image out of my mind of you in that hideous camouflage jacket, pretending you like going fishing during your annual gubernatorial publicity event, event though the protest had been planned for ages. And I couldn't stop thinking of the interview in which you, of course, insulted the protesters (and by extension, me personally) by saying "most people in this state go fishing to get away from politics, from business..." Which made me immediately feel exactly the same way I felt when I heard you were out bowling and the rest of us were raging against the preposterous gall with which you continue to "govern" this state.  (I put "govern" in quotes to make it clear that I don't think you're a very good governor - in fact, I refuse even to acknowledge you with the title of "governor" until you begin to show that office the respect it deserves by engaging in actual dialogue with your consituents.  So now you have a goal to work toward!)

Anyway, your callous remarks - while intended, of course, to be yet another subtle yet direct insult to anyone opposed to your illegal and dictatorial abuse of office, really got me thinking about how impossible it's been, ever since you took office (and even before, really, when the threat of your reign of terror prevented our TAA union contract from going through last fall). Because you really, truly believe you can leave your conscience at the office and chill out on the lake while the rest of us agonize over what the hell we're going to do with our lives if you are successful in your irrepressible efforts to ruin them. 

So even though it's Mothers' Day, and even though I just so happen to be the world's greatest mother (as evidenced below), I wasn't able to leave this business in the Capitol. I wasn't able to "get away" from politics. Because the people of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, cannot just "get away" from the consequences of your actions, as much as you like to try to convince yourself that these consequences are entirely noble and - in the long run - the best for us.  Because, in the long run, people are going to be jobless, and homeless and without insurance.  People like me. And then, while you are sitting on a boat with some people you barely know, you'll be forced, I hope, to have a terrible time. Because you'll be thinking about how you ruined the life of the world's greatest mom, and how she'll never, ever forgive you for that.  And you should never forgive yourself for it, either.

Luckily for you, though, I give out complimentary advice on almost any topic and have the perfect, and perfectly simple, solution to our problem: just resign.  It's that easy.  Do it.

Until then, thanks for ruining my Mothers' Day, and I wish you the absolute worst in your visit to Washington, D.C. to impress your benefactors (the DeVos Foundation for the Destruction of Public Education) by spreading the outrageous lie of how "successful" Milwaukee charter schools are, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. I have a feeling I'll be sharing more on this later this week. For now, just know I fully oppose your measures to take national your attempts to defund and destroy public schools while you use tax payer money to support private education and I will not be silent as you continue to mislead the public into thinking you support education while you work constantly to undermine it.  I hope you make as humiliating an impression as you did when you testified before Congress recently, if not worse.  And I hope there are tons of people there to give you the same "welcome" you got on your I-don't-give-a-crap-about-the-consequences-of-my-actions fishing trip.

Again, resign.

Heather DuBois Bourenane
World's Greatest Mother and Outraged Wisconsin Citizen
See that? "Best mom ever." That's me. So take my advice, and resign. Unless you hate mothers, which wouldn't really surprise me.

WHEREAS; Scott Walker does not appreciate public servants in the least

7 May 2011 
Dear Scott Walker,

I just wanted to take a moment to voice my rage and disgust over your insulting initiative to celebrate your "victory" in squashing the rights of state workers by declaring May 4th "State Employee Recognition Day" and calling for nominations of "outstanding" state employees.  Of all the things you've done to infuriate me, this is perhaps the worst, since it's the most transparently mean-spirited and duplicitous.

For starters, let's talk about your arrogance and idiocy in declaring "State Employee Recognition Day" in the middle of Teacher Appreciation Week without even mentioning teachers - nice job undermining some of the most important state workers we have! Nothing says "I don't appreciate teachers" like stealing their one week of appreciation out from under them. And a week before Mothers' Day, too, just in case any state worker moms forgot how you're trying to revoke our child-care options and force insurance companies to stop funding birth control. Keepin' it classy as always - at least you're consistent.

Worse, though, is how, after months of insulting us and claiming we don't pay taxes or otherwise contribute to our own earnings, and doing everything you can to abuse your power by taking away our rights, you dare to suggest that we nominate "outstanding" public servants who work above and beyond the call of duty (i.e. for free) - "the unsung heroes, the people who go the extra mile, the people who put in the extra work and dedication, the people who are selfless in their dedication." 

Did you really think we wouldn't recognize the blatant irony in this - that you're actually telling us, after attempting to illegally destroy our right to collective bargaining, that not only do you not want us to have any say in our own lives (since, as you keep reminding us, "there's nothing to negotiate"), but you also fully expect us to work without pay?!    I have to say, that really doesn't make me feel very "appreciated." It makes me feel mocked, and humiliated, and furious.  And it fortifies my resolve to make public my hatred for you more than ever.  

You said: "We can't say thank you enough..." But that's not really true. You could thank me a LOT more. How about instead of issuing a mocking proclamation, for instance, thanking me by showing that you appreciate my rights, and my dignity and my contributions to both the economy and the welfare of this state.  Because, amongst other things, I'm not a leech, or a thug, or an out-of-state protester. And there's no Certificate of Appreciation I can download and print large enough to cover the wounds you've already inflicted.  

So, thanks - but no thanks, on your phony Proclamation of Appreciation.  You can throw it in the garbage, next to the Constitution (I know it's in the garbage, since you don't recycle).

 While you're doing that, I'll get to work building my list of Outstanding State Employees to nominate for your "award" - starting, of course with the 14 state employees who made the ultimate sacrifice for the good of the state - working from Illinois, and at the threat of losing their pay - and all the civic and union leaders who have worked tirelessly on and off the clock to protect and defend the rights of Wisconsin workers.  I'd also like to nominate every public worker who dared stand up to you - through active dialogue, protest and sharing information, even in the face of your bullying and refusal to communicate with us or respond to our concerns. My list is pretty long.  This is going to be a very competitive award!

Until you resign,

Heather DuBois Bourenane
One of countless hardworking "unsung heroes" of Wisconsin and caller-out of your bullshit

P.S. If you ever get around to actually caring about public servants, you might take note of an existing - and sincere - way to show your appreciation for their hard work: 


In contrast:

WHEREAS; Scott Walker is the most arrogant and duplicitous Governor in America (the official Proclamation)
Don't forget to go to YouTube and DISLIKE this video. Let's make sure it maintains the record-breaking "like" to "dislike" ratio it deserves.

    World's Greatest Mom(s), and why they hate you (a little) on Mothers' Day

    3 May 2011
    Valuable Advice
    Your Mom is the World's Greatest Mom, 
    and she hates you for that, a little:
    Two contradictory and equally true facts, and some tips to help you get through Mothers' Day

    Fact #1: Your mom is the World's Greatest Mom, and so am I.

    Disclaimer: this post is openly sexist, in "honor" of Mothers' Day. Dads can feel free to edit the "moms" into "dads" and declare themselves the Greatest. Because, come Father's Day, you're going to be getting a lot of ties. And you don't even like to wear shirts with collars.

    Chances are, you think you have the World's Greatest Mom. And chances are, you do. Because no one else loves you so much, and no one else sees the spark of brilliance in every little thing you do like she does and no one else makes you feel quite so at home.  Also, it's unlikely that anyone else has seen you so intimately at your most vulnerable, and made you feel so safe and secure in your hardest times.  Even once we're grown, nothing's quite as reassuring as that hug from mom, or that vote of confidence. And however crazy you might think your mom is once you grow up and see some of her motherly flaws, no one really knows you the same way she does, and no one else loves you in quite the same way. So congratulations! You really do have the World's Greatest Mom.  I think I saw someone wearing her shirt the other day.

    For the record, my own mom actually is the World's Greatest Mom, and I have a number of friends (who have moms of their own) who readily admit this. I have the kind of wonderfully supportive mom who really loves nothing more than being with her children, and who always did the best littlest things to show us how much she loved us - like putting notes in our lunch boxes and making us feel like the "favorite" all the time. My mom is the mom all the other kids wanted - the one who lets you stay on the beach from morning til sunset, the one who makes lunch into a backyard picnic, the one who makes every day more fun than it really should be.

    And despite the fact that I'll never measure up to my own mother (the truly undisputed World's Greatest Mom), it turns out that I actually also happen to be the World's Greatest Mom to the World's Greatest Children. They are amazing children - smart and funny and resourceful and sweet and adorable as can be, and the large part of what makes me the World's Greatest Mom is my ability to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the myriad ways they outshine the other children of the world in nearly every way.  Barring giving birth to or adopting another child myself, I can't think of any other child in the world who could bring me the joy these two do. And I'm pretty sure that's what it means to be the World's Greatest Mom.

    Moms are the Greatest because they think we're the Greatest. Which is very sweet, and nothing makes us love our mothers more than growing up and finding out how untrue this is - how we really aren't as great as they believe, deep in their hearts, us to be.  And this deserves some celebrating.  So thank your mom, and thank your kids, and thank yourself, for knowing that our many, many flaws have nothing to do with our potential greatness. Thanks to motherhood, we can all be the greatest, and we all are the greatest.

    I totally believe this to be true. So if you were looking for some feel-good reading for Mothers' Day, you can stop there. Or copy/paste and send just that part on. Because the next part is also true, but not quite as feel-goodish.
    The World's Greatest Mom (center) and the World's Greatest Children
    Fact #2: Your Mom hates you (a little) on Mothers' Day, so watch your step

    This morning, my kids were talking about Mothers' Day, which is coming up this weekend.  And my four-year-old daughter said "Mothers' Day is a special day where moms don't have to do any of the bad work. Like laundry, or vacuuming, or dishes, or washing floors..." and then she and her brother started listing all the "bad work" that (typically) I'm the only one who does around here.  And, not surprisingly, the prospect of having a day off from all that didn't make me feel very excited about Mothers' Day at all.

    Despite the fact that she is the Greatest, I think deep down every mother really, really hates Mothers' Day.  Don't get me wrong - she loves the extra hugs and kisses, and the adorable painting or card or birdhouse you made and the heart-melting smile on your face when you come running into her bedroom, at 6:04 am on a Sunday morning, to let her know that she can sleep in because it's Mothers' Day. She loves you so much, in fact, that she feels a little guilty about hating Mothers' Day so much, and would never, ever tell you to your face that she wants to throw the World's Greatest Mom paperweight you bought her with her own money out the window, and then not clean up the mess.  She hates that paperweight and deep down, she hates you just the tiniest bit for thinking she would like it. Because it shows that you don't really know her, that she could really be any of the many greatest moms in the world who are also exchanging a day of not doing any "bad work" for a day of receiving depersonalizing trinkets.  Which she would never say to your face - and she would probably never even think it out loud in her own head - but it's true. So watch your step.

    In theory, Mothers' Day is a pretty great idea - a special day for being extra sweet to your mom/mother of your children and telling her how much you love and appreciate her.  But that's not really what it is, even though that's what we tell ourselves. Mothers' Day is a combination of forced consumerism and torture.  It is a constantly looming and brutal reminder of all the thankless work we do as mothers, and how inappropriate it would be to demand appreciation for doing this work more than one day out of the year. 

    So, here's a little valuable advice for avoiding World's Greatest Mom-related injuries.  If you follow these five easy tips, you might enjoy a pretty fun Mothers' Day, and your mom might actually appreciate you instead of just feeling like you felt obligated to prove you appreciate her:
    1. Never tell your mom "You can sleep in today."  This is just a painful reminder of how she never, ever gets to sleep in, and how terribly, terribly tired she is. Every day of the year.  It is also a reminder that she needs "permission" to sleep in - and permission from a child no less - something she most certainly did not need in the deliciously carefree years before she had children, when she could go to bed drunk and wake up at two o'clock, if she wanted. And sometimes she did want that.  So just say "good morning" when she wakes up, and don't mention anything at all about clocks.
    2. NEVER tell your mom "You don't have to do any work today!"  This is the most insulting thing you can possibly say to your mother.  Because it means that you fully expect her to do all the work on all the other days and implies that you have no real intention of being so helpful on any of the days to come.  Better to just let this drop, and do a few unasked things throughout the year, and don't bring up your knowledge of how little work everyone else does compared to mom, unless your intention is to solve that problem by doing your fair share for a change.
    3. Never buy your mom a gift that has the words MOM, MOTHER or GREATEST on it.  While it's true (see above) that your mom is the World's Greatest Mom, there's something about knowing that there are roughly 1,000,000,000 identical made-in-China trinkets just like that out there that just makes her hate you a little. Your mom wants a gift that proves you think she's unique. And while calling her "the greatest" does seem, on the surface, to set her apart from the rest, it does not, in fact, make her feel special. It makes her feel depressed.  She'd rather have candy. Or flowers. And those are also not very high on her list, for the record.  She'd be happier if you bought her the book she's so excited to read, or the shirt she'd never buy herself, or a gift certificate to that restaurant that only she likes but all the rest of you hate, because that proves you know what book she wants to read, and what shirt she wants, and what food she wants to eat. And knowing that you know her is a better gift than anything else, and all she really wants.
    4. Don't assume that just because you purchased some dumb thing for your mother in the past, that she now "collects" those things.  I learned, in my 30s, that my own mom never wanted to collect snowmen, or windchimes, or any of the other stupid crap we keep buying her, and I feel terribly guilty about that.  By projecting a phony idea of what she liked onto our gift-buying, we created an endless cycle of giving that forced her to not only collect, but prominently display, a bunch of stuff she hated - and with five adult children, you can only imagine how her "collections" have grown.  In my own case, my desire to collect glass spheres was profanely corrupted into the bizarre idea that I collect glass eggs, which I hate.  Eggs are antithetical to my aesthetic. Spheres are perfect. Eggs are not. But now I have a glass egg collection on permanent display in my living room. And I hate them, but thanks to the binding commandment of maternal gift-getting (Thou shalt never throw into the garbage or sell at thine garage sale a gift thou received from thy child), those eggs are here to stay, and I have, in a sort of sadly ironic way, become my mother.  The good news is, there's an easy way to avoid this: just ask your mom "When did you decide to start collecting x?" and if the answer is "when you gave me one for Mothers' Day," immediately stop buying those, unless they are explicitly requested.  Because your mom hates those and she can never tell you that. And she hates you just a teeny tiny bit for thinking she loves them.  Bonus tip: Don't even THINK about saying that your mother is "ungrateful" if she accidentally (or, bravely, intentionally) expresses displeasure over the crap you mistakenly and inconsiderately think she wants.  If you think this, you are a terrible, terrible child and do not deserve your mother's company.
    5. NEVER, EVER use the expression "every day is Mothers' Day" unless you plan to back that up with some work around here and start bringing flowers around for "no reason".  If every day really was Mothers' Day, we wouldn't be having this conversation, and your mom wouldn't have to dread getting her fake enthusiasm up for whatever thoughtlessly generic gift you felt obligated to buy to prove you love her.  Because (a) your mom already knows you love her and you can't measure that love in gifts, no matter how hard you try and (b) your mom loves you too much to tell you that she'd much, much rather feel appreciated all year long than be singled out on the most impersonal holiday of the year to be told that, like every other mother, she is the Greatest. But you know what would be the greatest mothers' day gift of all? Thanking your mom for making you feel like the greatest, and leaving that bit about "doing all the bad work" out of it.

      World's Most Disappointing, but Permanent, "Collection"