Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

14 Feb 2003, 13:20 p.m.

A Roundabout Tale of Inadvertent Rage and Mollification

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2003 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

The other day, Leonard and I were doing some research on various US government web sites. I felt more rage than usual at, especially when I discovered that the White House dog's name is India. Leonard says I missed a flap about this that occurred a while back, and noted that I was creating the flap anew all by myself. I don't usually find such things personally insulting, but you don't name a dog after a less powerful country! (Note that dogs don't have the warm happy associations for me that they do for most US natives; my family considered dogs pests.)

Only now do I see that India is not a dog, but a cat. Now the "lapdog" metaphor doesn't relate and doesn't anger me, but still, the White House should not contain pets with the names of other countries. If Bush wanted to honor Mr. Sierra, he could have called the cat "Indio" -- less insulting and more directly relevant.

Leonard suggested that I try poking around some other government web sites that might reassure me. So I tried out FirstGov.Gov, which greeted me with the twin banner headlines: "National Threat Level Raised to High" and "Welcome from [honorific] Bush." That didn't help my blood pressure any.

However, I did eventually find a wonderful, awful, fascinating kids' guide to taxation, within the IRS for Kids section. I think. Now, any given US Cabinet-level department "For Kids!" site is, by definition, funny (examples: Department of Justice, Agriculture, Treasury (Mint)), but this one stands alone. The main attraction: Taxes in US History, concentrating on the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794, the protective tariff issue of the 1830s, and the income tax's introduction in the early 1900s. "Sherri was beginning to see the light. 'I guess taxes really are necessary to help pay for things the government provides that help us all!'"

And then Leonard and I ran across The Whiskey Rebellion Activity Zone. Leonard started dancing around and singing "The Whiskey Rebellion Activity Zone!" polka-style. He says he needs an accordion to make it sound right. Even writing it makes me smile. So I guess Leonard was right.