Sunday, July 31, 2005

A frustrating weekend of tennis

I had to eat another Patty melt over the weekend.

What do you call it when someone is a set up, serving 40-0 at 6-5, and misses a backhand down the line into an open court? You call it choking, and for those of us who support Patty Schnyder, it was a bitter pill to swallow. Venus Wiliams was on the other side of the net in their Bank of the West semi-final, and she saved five match points to win the set. To be fair, one of those was what Schnyder was convinced was an ace, but the umpire called it out, just as she was preparing to go to the net to shake hands with her oppponent. On a hard court, there is no line in the clay or in the grass to help you prove your point.

Williams went on to win the third set handily--no surprise, considering the extent to which Schnyder had been demoralized-- which put her into the finals, where she was defeated by Kim Clijsters, who is tearing up the hard courts this year. It should have been Schnyder in the finals. Fortunately, Clijsters is another of my favorites.

Last year's champion, world number one Lindsay Davenport, had to retire in the second round because of a back injury she sustained in her Wimbledon final. Today, she withdrew from the Acura Classic, of which she was also the 2004 champion. Lindsay fans--and tennis fans in general--are hoping she will be okay for the JP Morgan Chase Open, which she also has to defend. No one on the tour has had the rotten luck Davenport has had in the last year and a half, and we can only hope she will be healthy for the U.S. Open.

As for Schnyder, she is a player of unusual and exceptional ability who shines on clay, but is also quite good on the hard courts. Her career had taken a dive until this year, in which she has been quite consistent, but she has yet to win a Tier I or Tier II tournament. Schnyder's game is one of cleverness and invention, and she is capable of beating the top players (she recently eliminated Maria Sharapova in the Italian Open and went on to reach the final), but she has yet to break through with a major win.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

This is what happens to whistle-blowers and others who fight factory farming in America

And it has me outraged.

Get Bach, Satan!

If you stop a hundred reasonably educated people on the street and asked them to say the first name that comes to mind when you say "devotional music," 99 of them will say Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach's masses and church contatas have been performed by a wide variety of Christian church choirs and organists for hundreds of years, and are considered by many to be the standard for Christian devotional music.

Not so the gay-people-who-teach-other-people-not-to-be-gay at the Refuge camps run by Love in Action. According to Harper's, one of the rules goes like this:

No television viewing, going to movies, or reading/watching/listening to secular media of any kind, anywhere within the client's and the parent's/guardian's control. This includes listening to classical or instrumental music that is not expressively Christian (Beethoven, Bach, etc. are not considered Christian.)

That probably comes as a surprise to those who love the music of Beethoven, too. When he wrote the "Missa Solemnis," Beethoven said "My chief aim was to awaken and permanently instill religious feelings not only into the singers but also into the listeners." Likewise, Beethoven's "Mass in D Minor" is generally considered a masterpiece of Christian liturgical music.

Not listening to classical music may not be a hardship to most of the prisoners--I mean, campers--but some of the other rules may be a bit tough to follow. Like this one: "Clients may not wear Abecrombie & Fitch or Calvin Klein brand clothing, undergarments, or accessories."

And you thought nothing could come between you and your Calvins.

Friday, July 29, 2005

NOW can we cut Florida off and let it float away?

I have often thought that the lack of seasons makes people in Florida crazy. At any rate, they are as hateful a bunch as you'll find anywhere.

Just too much on his mind

The memory problems around Washington are getting worse each day.

Bolton probably doesn't recall the alleged sexual assaults against his former wife, either, but then--no one in Congress thinks that's important enough to investigate.

More "values"

Though Mr. Murdoch has long wanted one of his sons to succeed him, investors and analysts prefer Mr. Chernin, 51, with his greater experience and lack of family ties (italics mine).
From The New York Times

Hearty laugh of the day

The Vatican has declared that this is "an affront to the dignity of women."

Friday cat blogging--Twisted Sister edition

Thursday, July 28, 2005

A good wait ruined

Chris Rock does a hilarious bit about women and hip-hop lyrics. In his sketch, the women are on the dance floor, grooving to a fare-thee-well to the most misogynistic lyrics imaginable, and when he asks them about it, they say something like "I don't know what he's sayin'--it's got a great beat."

How I wish I, too, could ignore lyrics. Earlier this evening, I went to a local restaurant to pick up some food, and Macy Gray was on the sound system. I really like Macy Gray. In a world where Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston are actually considered r&b vocalists, Macy Gray is a breath of fresh air. But there are those damned lyrics. "Why Didn't You Call me?" has a genuine r&b groove that I love, and Macy's vocals are are a lot of fun, but...

We had such a good time
Hey! Why didn't you call me?
I thought I'd see you again

Oh, please. Maybe in 1954. But no, here we were, on the cusp of the 21st Century, and Macy was powerless because he didn't call her. As much as I love the vocals and rhythms of this song, I'd much rather girls listened to Christina Aguilera's and Lil' Kim's "Can't Hold Us Down."

Listening to "Why Didn't You Call Me?" made me think about sexist lyrics in general, and you could fill a dictionary-sized book with them, but my nominee for the all-time worst (I'm not even dealing with hip-hop woman-hating violence here) is still Tom Jones' "She's a Lady." A disgusting song, line for line, "She's a Lady" was written by Paul Anka, who also graced us with the sickening "You're Having My Baby."

It would sure be nice if things had changed.

The summer garden

Though not as mysterious as the night-blooming cereus, the moonflower is nevertheless a peculiar summer wonder. A member of the morning glory family, the white flower opens at dusk and has a very pleasant scent. And like the night-blooming cereus, it lasts only one night.
The bud, just before it opens
The flower glows in the dim light

Speaking of outrage...

media girl asks one of the most important questions of the day.

John Roberts' memory not getting better

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse...behold!

American idiot

Last night, I watched Fahrenheit 9/11 again, and was again struck by the same couple of facts that stood out the other times I have seen the film. These particular facts stand out for me--not because I think they are the most important ones, though one of them may be--but because they illustrate so dramatically the cognitive dissonance that characterizes the right wing and much of "moderate" America.

One of these facts is the existence of the Washington tea parties Bush had with the Taliban so that the pipeline in Afghanistan could be built according to White House expectations. Consider this: In the 2000 election, Bush did not know what the Taliban was when asked about it by a reporter. That alone should have been reason enough to realize he was an ignorant slacker who could never be elected to the presidency. However, once someone (and that someone would have been Kenneth Lay, whom Bush claimed to not know) clued him in about the pipeline deal, he became a gracious host to this powerful group of sadistic, murdering, misogynist organisms.

The other fact that stands out is that when 500 families of the victims of September 11 sued the Saudi government, the House of Saud retained James Baker as its attorney. Baker, of course, has been a key player in everything from the 2000 election recount to Enron to the Carlyle Group. He is also a former Secretary of State and Secretary of the Treasury.

Here are the facts, in simple language:

1.The supposed President of the United States was very thick with arguably the most savage group of people in the world, who not only tortured their own people, but who considered America as their greatest enemy, and one who must be crushed. ( Only Britain's press bothered to cover the Taliban's visits to Washington for the pipeline discussions.)

2, A former Cabinet member and major representative of the "values" party chose to represent the home of most of the September 11 killers against a suit brought by the victims of those killers.

Where was the outrage?

There has been silence from the media, the Republican Party, the Democratic Party. The treachery and amorality of the Bush administration is summed up so tidily in these two events that if you put them into a piece of cheap fiction, even lovers of cheap fiction would say your plot was too over the top to be believable. I cannot allow myself to think about this too much because I fear my head may explode.

All of this negativity is hard to handle

So here is some good American news.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Americans engage in euphoric recall

Around the Web, I see sad messages from people saying they no longer recognize America--that their country has been taken from them.

While it is true that the operations of the Bush White House constitute the biggest national crisis in my lifetime (I think, but Bush may be in a tie with Reagan for that), I do not share the view that the idea of America has suddenly vanished.

If you are a person of color, you have never fully experienced the idea of America.

If you are a woman, you have never fully experienced the idea of America.

If you are gay, you have never fully experienced the idea of America.

If you are disabled, you have never fully experienced the idea of America.

If you are poor, you have never fully experienced the idea of America.

If you are a child, America has never protected you. If you eat anything but organic food, America long ago abandoned concern for your health.

America is more advanced than any country in the world in certain areas, but in others, we lag behind. No one can expect America to be perfect because it cannot be. But as terrible as things are right now, they did not become that way overnight. The bigots and corporate criminals have always been here. Reagan opened the door wide and invited them all to come in and strut their stuff in broad daylight, and now they are America. Hate and greed muliply like cancer cells until the entire organism is diseased.

The cancer is nothing new; it has simply been encouraged to spread.

Brain functions and inferiority of bigoted bureaucrats

If you think the administration's saying the Abu Gharib photos can't be released because to do so would violate the Geneva Conventions is an Alice-In-Wonderland twisted, fruitcake argument--wait until you hear the reason the Utah Department of Motor Vehicles told Elizabeth Solomon she couldn't put a GAYSROK license plate on her car:

The department declared that the proposed plates “relate to sexual functions and express superiority of gender.”

This is so screwed up, just about all you can do is stand in front of it with your mouth hanging open, which is probably also against Utah law. That old, deeply-rooted bigoted belief that being gay is about having sex just won't go away. I'm willing to bet my bank account that the state of Utah doesn't tow cars that have Just Married written on them because I'm sure they believe that heterosexual relationships are about more than "sexual functions."

As for the other argument--while I have always been irritated by the term "gays and lesbians" (as if lesbians aren't gay)--any person who has not been in a coma for fifty years knows that the word "gays" refers to all homosexual citizens.

Why birth control is important

A Stamford woman was arrested yesterday after she accidentally locked her 23-month-old son in her steaming hot Audi, then refused to let emergency workers break the window to free him.

From the Stamford Advocate.

The more we learn about Roberts, the more we understand

From The Heretik's "John Roberts Lovefest":

Roberts presented a defense of bills in Congress that would have stripped the Supreme Court of jurisdiction over abortion, busing, and school prayer cases; he argued for a narrow interpretation of Title IX, the landmakr law that bars sex discrimination in intercollegiate athletic programs; and he even counseled his boss on how to tell the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s widow tha the administration was cutting off federal funding for the Atlanta center that bears his name.

That pretty much says it all, but there is more than that, so do take a look.

What kind of culture gives nicknames to tragedies?

Though my list of pet peeves is now so long that it could wrap around the whole state of California several times, one that I have to deal with on a daily basis is the giving of cute names to tragic events and circumstances.

"9-11" drives me crazy. Especially since I know how it started, which is even more sickening than the nickname itself. I remember when, not long after the attacks, some talking head with the creative genius of a third grader referred to the tragedy as "9-1-1"--get it? A few others joined in, but it seems that even the hay-for-brains crash test dummies who report the "news" couldn't stomach such an idiotic perversion, so they shortened it to "9-11." My problem is that I pay attention, and I saw and heard this evolve with my own eyes and ears, and it made me ill.

I have considered referring to the Pearl Harbor attack as "12-7" and to D-Day as "6-6." How about "4-4" as our national day of independence, or let's just take this to its logical conclusion and celebrate "12-25." The uneducated among the Christians are already upset that Christ has been "taken out" of Christmas because they have no clue what the "X" means. We might as well reduce it to the numbers.

Then there is "Gitmo." What a perfectly ridiculous name, when it takes so little time to say "Guantanamo." And how adorable--to give a nickname to a torture chamber.

This seems to be the current American way. Through merchandising and nicknames, we can make anything really cute. Cute terrorism, cute war, cute prison. Cute nation.

Ginkgo biloba, please

John Roberts cannot recall joining the Federalist Society. Jeb Bush and his colleagues cannot recall Roberts' involvement in the 2000 election recount case, other than a half-hour meeting Bush had with him (Roberts, it turns out, was a major participant).

Bear in mind that the other Bush could not remember if he had ever met Kenneth Lay, whom he knew well enough to call by one of his nauseating nicknames.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

But what about the lawn jockey pull

From Aaron Brown's interview with Santorum

BROWN: Do you think there's a right to privacy in the Constitution?

SANTORUM: I think there's a right to unreasonable--to unreasonable search and seizure... (oh, Freudian slip!)

BROWN: For example, if you'd been a Supreme Court judge in Griswold versus Connecticut, the famous birth control case came up, which centered around whether there was a right to privacy. Do you believe that was correctly decided?

SANTORUM: No, I don't. I write about it in the book. I don't.

BROWN: The state of Connecticut had the right to ban birth control for a married couple.

SANTORUM: I think they were wrong. It was a bad law.

BROWN: But they had the right.

SANTORUM: They had the right. They had the right...

U.S. Open Series begins

Yesterday kicked off the beginning of the U.S. Open Series--ten hardcourt tournments that lead up to the Open. Of the five WTA events--Bank of the West (Stanford), Acura Classic (San Diego), JPMorgan Chase Open (Los Angeles), Rogers Cup (Toronto), Pilot Pen Tennis (New Haven)--the three California events are being defended by world number one Lindsay Davenport. Amelie Mauresmo defends the Rogers Cup, and Elena Bovina, Pilot Pen Tennis.

Davenport may find it a little more difficult to go on a hardcourt tear the way she did last year because Belgian Kim Clijsters is likely to get in her way. Clijsters, whose injuries have healed, has made an impressive return to the tour, and should shine on the "true bounce" hard courts. Davenport will also have to face her old nemesis, Venus Williams, who recently defeated her in the longest women's Wimbledon final in history, and a heartbreaker for those of us who want Lindsay to win another Grand Slam.

Some commentator recently said that Davenport has overachieved in her career in general, but has underachieved in the slams department. How true. She has won 47 WTA singles titles, 35 doubles titles, and an Olympic gold medal, and has been ranked number one for 79 non-consecutive weeks. Last year, she looked good to win Wimbledon, but after a rain break in her semi-final with Maria Sharapova, she slumped and was defeated. After her U.S. Open series hardcourt victories, she looked like a shoo-in to win the U.S. Open, but during her semi-final with Svetlana Kuznetsova (who went on to win the Open), she sustained a foot injury and lost. This year, she made it to the final of the Australian Open and appeared to be yet another victim of the heat as she gave out in the middle of the match, which Serena Williams then won handily. And just recently, of course, she lost the Wimbledon final in that thriller with Venus Williams. The defeat must have been especially hard to bear because she held a match point during the third set.

If Davenport does not win another Grand Slam, she will go down in Hall of Fame history as probably the most gifted player to not win multiple slams, though three slams is certainly nothing to sneeze at. Martina Hingis, in her brief but brilliant career, won five. Monica Seles, during her first five years of tour play--before the stabbing that would rob her of her major championship status--won nine.

Other players to watch in the hardcourt season are Mauresmo, Sharapova, Serena Williams, Kuznetsova, Nadia Petrova (who has yet to win a title), and Justine Henin-Hardenne, arguably the best player on the tour. If you want to start watching women's tennis, now is a good time because most of the hardcourt season is played in the U.S., so you can see some of the matches in real time on ESPN and ESPN2.

Not to put too fine a point on it...

But if it weren't for the ACLU, there'd be no guarantee that you could wear this shirt.

Seattle gardens--part 3

The Japanese Garden
The garden is located in the Washington Park Arboretum

While I'm on the subject

Of repressed homosexuality, here are a few popular message board responses to this:

"Put 'em on the front lines."

"If they could just shut the heck up about their sex lives then they can join. Is that so difficult???"

"Let the able-bodied men stay home, and let the homos fight on the front lines (along with our mothers and daughters)! Equal rights and all, eh?"

This is pretty interesting rhetoric, considering that thousands of the "able-bodied" men are already too busy staying home, typing hate messages, harrassing protesters, and sticking ribbons on their SUV's. And if I were a woman in the U.S. military, I wouldn't care how many gay men talked about their sex lives (you know, really salacious things, like "I have a partner") as long as I could stay away from the straight men who cannot stop acting out their pathetic sex lives by raping and assaulting U.S. soliders.

"If that makes me sound superficial, shallow and sexist--well yes, I'm a man. "

These are the words of film critic Richard Roeper, who is none too pleased with what he considers the "chunky" women in the new Dove "Campaign for Real Beauty." Roeper wants billboards with "fantasy babes" on them.

As Ms. Musings points out, a really disturbing aspect of Roeper's comment is that he is saying that it is acceptable to be sexist. Well, as a matter of fact, it is. But it's still sickening to hear someone brag about it.

More news on Gulf War consequences

According to a report in the American Journal of Public Health, Gulf War veterans exposed to chemical munitions at Khamisiyah, Iraq are nearly twice as likely as unexposed soldiers to die from brain cancer.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Just how gay is America?

Leaving lesbians and bisexual women out of the discussion (and that's leaving a whole lot of people out, I know), just how gay is America? I am leaving gay and bisexual women out of this discussion because most attacks on the existence of gays are attacks on the existence of gay men. (The operative word here is "most.") Though gay-haters hate all gays, the most active anti-gay spokespeople are men--quite obviously, they would be the most active spokespeople about anything in that crowd--and their homophobia appears to be greater than that of women.

Given the projected fears men have of becoming what they consider to be the worst possible thing--women (and yes, I meant exactly what I said)--they hide everything from a homosexual thought to a crush to their own homosexuality and bisexuality. But there are cracks in the wall, and, as I have pointed out before, none is as gaping as Chris Matthews' worship of George W. Bush's body in the famous flight suit. Matthews talked about how he liked to see Bush strut, and how the flight suit looked so good on him. This is about as homoerotic as you can get, though it doesn't make Matthews gay, of course.

When men feel superior to women, they may enjoy sexually dominating women or attaining sexual satisfaction via women, but they cannot feel genuinely "romantic" about women. Their romantic thoughts become attached to male heroes, whose supposed bravery and strength they admire. This makes the George W. Bush worship phenomenon, by both males and females, ludicrous, since--though he may have a good body--Bush is as big a coward as we have ever seen. But he is perceived as a warrior, and today, as in ancient Greece, male warriors are considered to be sexually valuable. In ancient Greece, male homosexuality among warriors was considered a way of strengthening the military. In America today, male homoeroticism, though well disguised, reflects that belief in the value of testosterone.

A few months ago, I referred to a wonderful essay by Jeff Sharlett, in which the author discusses--among other things--the Christian men's movement's obsession with Jesus as a homoerotic figure. "White hot brother love" sounds pretty steamy to me, and that's how these men describe their devotion to one another and to Christ.

The more America moves to the right, the more it becomes obsessed with homosexuality. That is a lot of fear, and it doesn't come from thin air. Alfred Kinsey found that 37% of all men experienced orgasm in a sexual activity with another man at some time in their lives, 60% of all men had some type of homosexual relationship before they were age 16, and 30% of all men had some type of homosexual relationship between the ages of 20 and 24. A perfect Kinsey "0" is rare. A "1" or a "2" is nothing to panic over, but when confronted with fake tight crotches and white hot brother love, some men start to sweat.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

I'm liking Google right now

I was doing a search for some information on LDotters and accidentally put "idotters" into Google's search box. Not knowing I'd done this, I was really impressed when Google spat back "Did you mean idiots?"

Patty Schnyder wins her first U.S. title

One of my very favorite players, Switzerland's Patty Schnyder, won her 10th career WTA title today at the Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open in Cincinnati. This was Schnyder's first U.S. title, and her second title of 2005; she won Uncle Toby's Australian Women's Hardcourt tournament on the Gold Coast.

Schnyder, an exceptionally talented clay court player, who I keep hoping will one day win the French Open, is no slouch on the hard courts, and is seeded third in this week's Bank of the West Classic in Stanford.
Patty Schnyder delivers her clever, topspin-loaded game to Klara Koukalova in her round of 16 match at the 2005 Family Circle Cup in Charleston

Condemnation of execution of gay adolescents

Here it is, just like the nonstop condemnation coming from Bush, Rice, Frist, Hastert, Reid, and Pelosi. I guess the government in Iran has been shamed into submission by now.

Some good news

Saturday, July 23, 2005

And speaking of the violin...

The Light Of Reason has more to say about this, as well as the state of things that caused it to be an issue.

If I had a violin...

I'd play a sad song for Anton Polezhayev. While it is true that I do not have the evidence in front of me, I do know the history.

"...racially aggravated, not...Islamophobic"

On idealizing presidents

No president has been as idealized as much as Ronald Reagan, though his policies were evil through and through. He is idealized because (a) a lot of Americans really liked his evil policies, and (b) he talked about God this and God that. George W. Bush is pretty much Son of Reagan, but without the glibness or the fake wisdom. Like Reagan, he supports the oppression of women, gays, people of color, and the poor. Like Reagan, he never met a corporation that did anything wrong. And like Reagan, he is willing to murder countless people on behalf of an imperialistic goal.

Now that he is out of office and has been replaced by the worst president in history, Clinton is idealized by a lot of people, too. There is no doubt that Clinton did a lot of good things when he was president, and unfortunately, many of them are considered insignificant because they were done on behalf of women, consumers, and families, the people the Republican Party pretends to defend, but actually holds in contempt.

On the other hand, Clinton littered his presidency with disruptions and disturbances because of his undisciplined personal life. He betrayed the gay community with "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," betrayed his old friend Lani Guenier, betrayed Joycelyn Elders, and betrayed all women in his failure to defend Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood when they were held to a standard different from the standard for male candidates for the Cabinet. His reversal on the landmine ban and his failure to help prevent the genocide in Rwanda disappointed and enraged those who care about human rights. Clinton's better-than-average effort against the increase of terrorism, however, has been hidden by the shadow of the scandals that surrounded him.

Though there was undoubedly a vast, right-wing conspiracy against Clinton, he brought much of his scandal-ridden reputation upon himself.

Then there is Jimmy Carter, whom most people think of as an ineffective president, though he accomplished many things for which he is never given credit: the Camp David Accords, the Panama Canal treaties, the Egypt-Israel treaty, the Salt II treaty, the establishment of diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. Carter also championed human rights, increased environmental protection and created a comprehensive energy program.

Carter's civil rights black mark comes for his betrayal of the women's movement. Though he appeared to be an enthusiastic supporter of feminism and the ERA, he backed away from the movement when he thought it could cause him political problems. In a particularly nasty and self-serving turn, Carter removed Bella Abzug from her post as chair of the National Advisory Committee on Women when she pointed out that his administration had cut funding for women's programs. As Gloria Steinem said in the documentary about Shirley Chisholm, "Everyone thinks of Carter as being benign; he wasn't so benign back then." There is no doubt in my mind that Carter's failure to utilize his bully pulpit is one of the main reasons the ERA was not ratified.

History does not necessarily right the misperceptions we have of presidents. Carter will probably always be known as "weak" and as a supporter of women's rights, though, ultimately, he was neither. Clinton will perhaps never be acknowledged for the things he did to help people survive the ravages of health care, insurance, child custody disputes, and pension tampering. And both Reagan and W. Bush will live on in history as men with "big ideas" who defined their respective eras.

American soldiers bring smiles to Iraqi citizens

Remember this? Here are our soldiers wearing them in Iraq. The camp even has a new name.

When will we see the vigil?

A Florida man, John Laughon, who is serving time for possession of marijuana, is in a persistent vegetative state after a fight with prison guards on a trip to the hospital. The man received a blow on the head, nine broken ribs, and collapsed lungs. The inmate had a history of violent seizures, and his mother is wondering whether one was triggered by his not receiving his medication.

One hopes that Laughon recovers soon. But if he remains in a vegetative state, will the Christians with duct-taped mouths (oh, if only they taped their mouths up more often) have a protest outside his hospital? Will Jeb Bush criminally investigate Laughon's mother if she doesn't want him to linger for years with no functional brain? Will Bill Frist turn on the TV and diagnose him?

Did you even know about this until you read it here?

Friday, July 22, 2005

Abu Ghraib pictures still hidden from view

Is the ACLU the only entity working to get the photos and videos released? It was over a year ago that Sen. Lindsey Graham did his hand-wringing routine about them, but I haven't seen him demand that his government stop covering up what has been described as rape and child sodomy. A year ago, there were a few weak demands for Rumsfeld's resignation, but for the most part, it has been business as ussual.

The sad thing is that if the photos and videos were shown on primetime news tomorrow, I doubt if anything would change. Because everyone knows that war is hell. And they are all terrorists in that prison. And how can we feel sorry for the children when those people cut off Nick Berg's head? And shut up! Shut up! Shut up!

Lesbian couple assaulted by bat-swinging woman in Kansas City

From Pam's House Blend comes the news of a violent attack on a lesbian couple in Kansas City, perpetrated by a crazy woman with a baseball bat, and unsolved at this time.

What is interesting about this, to me, is that everyone involved was female. We are accustomed to hearing about male-on-male gay-bashing, and male-on-male lesbian-hassling and lesbian-bashing, but I am wondering how many female-on-female gay hate crimes have gone unreported. It seems to be open season on gays in America, at a time when the right wing is screaming about how we have to blow up the world to protect "our freedoms."

Friday cat blogging--equal access edition

I can play this condo mouse game as well as my sister--just give me a moment
This is the hard part

43 Democrats vote to extend the Patriot Act

Here are the Democratic Party's enemies of civil liberties:

Bishop (GA)
Davis (AL)
Davis (FL)
Davis (TN)
Green, Gene
Miller (NC)
Schwartz (PA)
Scott (GA)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Your input is urgently needed

According to the ACLU, the Senate is only one or two votes away from passing the atrocious flag desecration amendment. Please take action now. Do not wait.

You can't handle the truth

A few days ago, I had a discussion with a reasonably intelligent man who told me he thought the main reason the U.S. invaded Iraq was oil.

I asked him what the other reasons were, and he remained silent.

He then said he was glad about the invasion because it got rid of Saddam Hussein's government.

I asked him if he favored our invading Cuba, Iran and Liberia, and by the way, why haven't we done so?

He shrugged in a "god, no!" kind of way and then was silent.

I asked him to name one government with a successful democracy that had been thrust upon them.

He could not do so.

When the people who actually pay attention to what is going on and who even think we are there for the oil still don't get it, what can be done?

Hate groups are not lovers of geography

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Ohio has the most Ku Klux Klan groups of any state in the United States. Ohio and North Carolina tie for the second-highest number of Neo-Nazi groups in the country; Pennsylvania has the most. Pennsylvania far and away has the most skinhead groups, Georgia has the most black separist groups, Arkansas has the most Christian Identity groups (3), and South Carolina is the clear leader in the category of Neo-Confederate groups. In the category of "Other," the leader is Mississippi, with Florida close behind.

And though they are not official "hate groups," it is always worth mentioning that the headquarters of several dangerous right-wing Christian groups is Colorado.

Chicago Republicans openly hostile toward Gay Games

The five Republican members of the Cook County Board of Commissioners have withdrawn their names from a proclamation welcoming the Gay Games to Chicago in 2006 because, says Commissioner Peter LaBarbera, "There's a big difference between tolerating and celebrating homosexuality."

The Democrats on the commission are being pressured by the Illinois Family Institute to withdraw their names, also.

Call me silly, but I have an idea that the Republican gay-haters in Chicago will be very happy to take the money of Gay Games visitors who frequent their restaurants, shops, and museums.

Seattle gardens--part 2

The Dahlia Garden at Volunteer Park
A dahlia in the garden

Christian takeover, climate for rape, anti-Semitism--Southeastern Louisiana University has it all

I have written several times about the student teacher at Southeastern Louisiana University who was harrassed for trying to stop a teacher from forcing Christianity on her students.

Today comes news that SLU has settled a suit in which a former dean claimed that university administrators brushed aside sexual assault complaints on campus and eliminated her job when she tried to investigate a campus rape. Apparently, the administrators did not want to go to court.

The lawsuit also goes into detail about how the former dean was treated with scorn because she is Jewish.

Gentle reader, if you are so inclined, feel free to email this post to everyone you can think of who might have the slightest link to the Louisiana higher education system, especially the families of students thinking of attending SLU, or anyone who believes that our universities are safe places where thinking occurs. And if you would like to correspond with SLU, you may do that, too.

Don't worry about the government

It baffles me how people of this nation are still moaning and groaning about the war in Iraq. As American citizens, it is vital that we trust our president and government to do what is best for our country because truthfully, they know a heck of a lot more about what is going on with terrorism than we do.

No one wants to fight a war or have our men and women of this great country be put in harm's way, but it is necessary to defeat the individuals who hate America and our way of life.

If you don't like how our country is run, disagree with the government, and continue to belittle America and our incredible leaders, then by all means, move out of the country. Go someplace else, because frankly, we don't want you here.

That is an excerpt from a letter to the editor of a major newspaper (who was canny enough to title it "Trust the government; it knows more than you"). The writer also praises John Roberts, trashes Justice O'Connor, and thanks Bush for fixing all of the problems created by Clinton's "handouts."

Using her logic, I suppose it is inevitable that we gather our forces and go to war to defeat Bush and his administration because no one could hate America more than they do. The letter-writer hates America, too. I should add that I have reason to believe that she is of recruitable age, and of course, one does wonder why she isn't in Iraq, risking her life for John Roberts.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Michael Jackson's legal problems continue

Jackson failed to appear in New Orleans for a court date today. He was ordered to appear for a hearing in a sexual assault charge made by a man who says that when he was 18 and Jackson was 26, Jackson sexually abused him and stuck a wire in his chest at the World's Fair.

Next up: Oprah claims she had Michael Jackson's love child.

Just so you know....

According to, John Roberts' wife, Jane, is the former vice president of an anti-choice organization, Feminists for Life.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

When we liberate a country

Questions to ask people who "support the troops"

1. How do you support the troops?

2. If you are the appropriate age, have you enlisted? If not, why?

3. What do you think the term "Mission Accomplished" means?

4. Are you concerned that much of our "voluntary military" is no longer voluntary?

5. Have you waged a telephone and letter-writing campaign, especially with Congress, to do something about our troops' lack of equipment?

6. Have you waged a telephone and letter-writing campaign, especially with Congress, to do something about Bush's cutting back of veterans' benefits?

7. Have you expressed public outrage over our troops being raped and sexually assaulted by our troops?

8. Have you expressed public outrage over the way U.S. troops have treated prisoners?

9. What are you doing in your family to decrease American reliance on foreign oil?

10. How much of a hardship was it for you to slap that ribbon on your car?

Begging the question

Pat Robertson says there are no Christian extremists committing terrorist acts because he nevers hears anyone say there are.

Remembering Seneca Falls

Today is the anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention. It wasn't until 72 years after that event that American women finally got the right to vote.

It took many more decades before American women obtained other rights taken for granted by men, and though women's rights look good on paper, there is still rampant discrimination against women in this country, much of it subtle, much of it legal.

There is also a movement of "progressive" women who want to do away with the word "feminism" because of "everything associated with it." If women allow the media to take a perfectly good word and trash it, and then--fearing the word's new assocation--dump the word, they will be acting exactly like patriarchal forces want them to act: submissive, eager to please, and frightened.

Remember Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Susan B. Anthony. They went through way too much to be belittled by a culture of Feminist Lite.

Update on killing toddler because he might be gay

So the monster and the monster's assistant, when they found their toddler unable to wake up, just happened to be at...yes, a Bible study.

Just thought I'd mention it.

Easy to be hard

Tennessee Guerilla Women ask the right question.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Iraqi blogger taken away by Mukhabarat

From Patriot Daily comes word via Bellaciao that blogger Khalid Jarrar has been taken to an undisclosed location by the Iraqi Secret Service, the Mukhabarat. Jarrar has not been charged with a crime, as far as anyone knows, but it is assumed he is a person of interest because he writes regularly about the reality of life in Iraq in his blog, Tell Me a Secret.

Here are some excerpts from a blog post by Jarrar titled "Not Again!":

I got home yesterday to find that a car-bomb exploded just couple of hours before, about 100 meter away only from our house. I entered the house and saw the pieces of glass and decorations on the ground...

"Not again!" I told myself.

I checked on the neighbors to see if they all were alright, and then went to the explosion site, in front of one of the most poplar markets in the area, one Iraqi woman died, few injured and many cars were burned, and heaps of broken glass shrapnel on the ground around the site.

This is another frightening example of how we have "liberated" the Iraqi people, and how we are teaching them American values. Sadly, under the current administration, these are American values. From establishing "free speech zones" to monitoring students' T-shirt slogans to forcibly removing people from Bush rallies. From refusing to discuss urgent events on the evening news to stealing election signs from people's yards to banning political art from exhibitions--this is America.

You may go here to help Khalid Jarrar.

Falwell cleared of electioneering charge

The FEC has unanimously cleared Jerry Falwell of a charge that he broke federal election law last summer by urging his followers to re-elect Bush. Falwell was cleared of the charge on the grounds that he is a member of the media, and therefore was appropriate in exercising a "press exemption."

What is interesting is how he became a member of the media (which, incidentally, I still do not believe he is): The so-called legitimate media just invited him right in.

A similar complaint filed against Falwell with the IRS is pending.

Black women get a little money in their pockets and, the next thing you know, they're lesbians

Thanks to Pam's House Blend for one of the most hilariously twisted quotations I've seen in a while. Rev. Willie Wilson, pastor of Union Temple Baptist Church in southeast D.C., had this to say: "Sisters making more money than brothers and it's creating problems in families...that's one of the reasons many of our women are becoming lesbians."

I have to confess I'm not sure what that means, other than Wilson is homophobic, sexist, and insane. Does he mean that the brothers can't handle their women making more money, so they reject them and therefore the women have to find other women as partners? Does he mean that women who make more money than men become "masculine" and therefore turn into lesbians? Or does he mean that the sisters become so fed up with the whiny-ass men that they go out and seek female companionship?

Whatever the hell he means, it should be noted that this is a man who once ran for mayor. And I can't leave this post without providing one more quotation from Wilson: "No wonder your behind is bleeding. You can't make no connection with a screw and another screw...."

Mr. Wilson, you poor pathetic thing, you can't make no connection with a mouth and a frontal lobe.

If you offend me, you must be homosexual

World-class tennis asshole Lleyton Hewitt has done it again, this time offending gays in Australia and anywhere else where people follow sports.

As obnoxious as we may find Hewitt's remark, though, is calling someone who upsets you a homosexual any different from callling a man who upsets you a woman? Or a douchebag? Or a personal body part of either gender? Liberals are always faulting conservatives for treating sexuality as though it were sinful, but they are just as quick as anyone else to imply that all sexual body parts equal dirt and slime.

Where I come from, that's called hypocrisy.

"Our beef is with a government that houses and feeds and tries to hide terrorists."

That is what George W. Bush said when he ordered the invasion of Afghanistan. However, he did not order an invasion of Saudi Arabia or Pakistan or, for that matter, North Carolina, where citizens aided Eric Rudolph in his flight from justice. Whether selling Run, Rudolph, Run T-shirts or organizing the Eric Rudolph Legal Defense Fund, the people in and around Murphy, North Carolina stood by the man who bombed a clinic, a gay bar, and the Atlanta Olympics.

Rudolph, who received two consecutive life sentences without parole today, killed two people and injured 150 in four separate explosions. His protectors in North Carolina could not understand why this "good Christian man" was being harrassed by the government.

Rudolph is a Christian terrorist. Say it again. Say it loud and say it clear. Tell everyone with whom you speak that a Christian terrorist was sentenced to life in prison today. Keep saying it until people hear the words in their heads.

Feminists destroy western civilization, including Ore-Ida fries

Via Ms. Musings comes this: psychiatrist Mark Klein of Oakland owns 1,642 shares of H.J. Heinz, and he is calling for the company to hire an investment banker to explore the sale of the company. Heinz shares have fallen 27% since 1999, and according to Klein--ALL TOGETHER NOW!--feminists are to blame.

Terrorists knocking over the World Trade Center? Feminists are to blame. Increased crime in America? Feminists are to blame. Can't sell catsup? Feminists are to blame.

Heinz, a RedNova article says, is "in a bind eipdemic of obesity and diabetes, diseases more Americans are inflicted with because their moms aren't home to prepare and serve home-cooked meals." Says Klein: "To reverse the epidemic, more mothers need to be at home to prepare nutritious balanced meals and supervise the childrens' snacking."

My first thought is: What is it about having a penis that renders someone incapbable of preparing meals and supervising his kids' snacks? My second thought is: What is it that Heinz makes that Klein thinks is so healthy for children? This? This? I'm all for condiments, but we're not talking about fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains here.

If I had 1% of the power people like Klein attribute to me, I could take over the world.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Downing Street mail delivery not exactly spit-spot

One of the tactics Bill O'Reilly uses with individuals who are opposed to the Patriot Act (besides screaming "Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!") is to ask them "What freedoms have you personally lost because of the Patriot Act or the war on terror?" To my knowledge, he hasn't said this to the dozens of people who have been arrested because they refused to stand in a "free speech" zone, or who have been forcibly removed from Bush rallies. He hasn't said it to the hundreds of people whose group meetings have been infiltrated by the FBI or the National Guard. He hasn't said it to the photgrapher in my community who was stopped by the law because she took a photograph out of her car window, or the art student I know of who was questioned by the police because he went to his building after hours and drew.

Now, Shakespeare's Sister has evidence that thousands of Americans may have been affected in a big way, not by the Patriot Act itself, but by the climate of suspicion that is pervading the country. Think your emails go where they're supposed to? Maybe not.
Everyone could use a little encouragement from time to time.

Burning mosques, empty heads on fire

Racially motivated crimes have increased tenfold in the United Kingdom since the London bombings, according to police. Mosques in England have been burned, and four were vandalized in New Zealand, which prompted members of a well-known right-wing message board to respond with their usual grace and articulation (I have omitted the worst comments):

Cool! How can you burn trash?

I'm going to lose sooo much sleep over this.

New Zealand is sending the blood-thirsty killers a message. Good for them.

I'm horrified! Not!

It's about time to start doing this in the USA.

Nothing ever changes.

Judy Collins shines brightly

Last night, we drove to a nearby town to see Judy Collins in concert. Again, there was an absence of very young people, and it was their loss. We were in a very conservative community, yet the crowd--despite the singer's lifelong devotion to liberal causes, or perhaps because of it--was charmed by and wildly enthusiastic about her.

Collins has been performing for four and a half decades, and though she has sung many styles of songs, she has never left her folk roots. Famous for her moment on the witness stand at the outrageous Chicago 7 trial, Collins was the subject of the Crosby, Stills & Nash hit song, "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes." She has also written two books, Sanity and Grace, and Morning, Noon, and Night, which was recently released.

Accompanied by a pianist, Collins played her acoustic guitar, but during the course of the performance, switched over to both electric keyboard and grand piano. She sang several of her own lyrical compositions, as well as covers of her favorite songwriters. She delivered all of the expected songs--"Some Day Soon," "Both Sides Now," "Send In the Clowns," and "Amazing Grace," and mildly disappointed me by not singing "Albatross" or "Sisters of Mercy." Her Leonard Cohen moment did come, however, at the end of the first set, and was worth the price of the concert ticket. Collins went to the keyboard and performed a spirited, gospel-blues version of "Bird On a Wire" that sent an electric-like charge through the atmosphere.

Another great moment in the concert, also in the first set, came when she expertly covered Joni Mitchell's wonderful "That Song About the Midway," which she has recently recorded. Collins also led the audience in a plaintive and lively rendition of "City of New Orleans," and sat at the piano and sang two songs she had recently written. I hoped she would sing her recently recorded version of "Sally Go 'Round the Roses," but she did not.

If ever the word "timeless" applied to anyone, it is Judy Collins. She has never changed the way she perfoms her art because she has never had to. Her vibrant soprano voice has always been all that she has needed, though it is a bonus that she is also a fine songwriter. Her luminous blend of leftist politics and artless spirituality is her other gift to the world, and it was a privilege to see and hear her perform.

If anyone is watching World Team Tennis...

I rest my case.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

At least 54 people were killed today by a suicide bomber

Are we all Iraqis now?

Religion news you should know

From A Religious Liberal Blog comes word that the Church of England has voted to remove barriers to women's ordination as bishops. There is also a link to a piece by the wonderful Karen Armstrong: "The label of Catholic terror was never used about the IRA."

Karen Armstrong (author of Islam: A Short History), by the way, has written a beautiful memoir, The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness.

More gardens--the Seattle series begins

Throughout the spring and summer, I have featured photographs of our garden, as well as photos of our city's meditation garden and pocket parks. For the remainder of the summer, I will continue, from time to time, to feature photographs of other gardens. Today's photos are from a private garden in Seattle that is open to the public for quiet viewing. The cultivators of this garden have created a spot of immense beauty and meditative energy, and it is a joy to walk through. It is a fine gift to the city and the city's visitors.
This whimsical birdbath is a focal point of the garden
Look closely and see the rubber duckie in the "fountain"
A simple altar stands in the garden, which also has Tibetan prayer flags flying across its landscape

Get the vomit bag ready

Rick Santorum's statement on staff member Robert Tranham's outing of himself:

Robert widely respected and admired on Capitol Hill, both among the press corps and among the congressional staff, as a communications professional. Not only is Mr. Traynham an exemplary staffer, but he is also a trusted friend and confidente to me and my family. Mr. Traynham is a valued member of my staff and I regret that this effort on behalf of people who oppose me has made him a target of bigotry in their eyes.

Traynham, Mary Cheney...a few more and they can have a support group.

Abusers invade their runaway victims' village and try to destroy it

This is a story about what happens when women decide not to be victims anymore: They become victims.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Refuge from what?

Ol Cranky is cranking up the Zach case over at The Disenchanted Forest. It turns out that the gay people who run the camp that makes you not gay anymore are not only bigots, they are liars. And their lying is not only not very Christian, there is a very good chance that it is insurance fraud.

How will I get over the shock?

Mosque in Denver to be "confronted" tomorrow morning

Operation Save America/Operation Rescue is "confronting" Denver's largest mosque tomorrow morning because "we are compelled to bring this message to those lost in the murderous bondage of Islam because of the worldwide persecution and murder of Christians. The recent resurgence of terrorist activities in London is nothing less than the lie of Islam!"

Well, there you are. Denver actually has enough nutcakes of its own, without bringing in outsiders. Operation Save Denver has a big task--confronting Muslims and fighting the "savage snarl of secular humanism" (they do have a way with alliteration). They also say that they "came out of the closet in Jesus's name," which--for many of them--is probably closer to the truth than anyone wants to look at.

Starbucks breaks state law, tosses woman out for breast-feeding

In Louisiana, it is illegal to deny goods or services to a woman who is breast-feeding. A Mandeville, Louisiana woman was in a Starbucks in Metairie, and when she began breast-feeding her baby (after having been told it was okay by an employee), the manager told her she couldn't continue because he thought some of his cusomers would "have a problem" with it.

The woman, Kristina Pearson, told the manager that it was against the law for him to tell her to stop. His masterfully articulate reply was "Well, I don't know about that, but you can't do it here."

He knows about it now. The company has informed him that he violated Louisiana law.

Add Serena Williams to the list

It turns out that Serena Williams' furs are not fake, but are real and numerous. Since she lives in Miami, she doesn't even wear them. You can write to "animal lover" Williams c/o Jill Smoller, William Morris, 151 El Camino Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90212.

You see, we are really stupid, so we take the political correctness, twist it, and tie it around your neck

This rather unbelievable piece of news via arse poetica, about how Dykes on Bikes have offended our government.

Has there ever been a bureaucrat who understood the word "context"?

"Pro-lifers" eat their own in Mississippi

There is no greater anti-choice organization in the world than the Catholic Church, but in Mississippi, they're not good enough to adopt children from a Christian adoption agency. It isn't just any Christian adoption agency, either, but one that is funded through sales of the state's Choose Life car tags.

Catholicism does not jive with the agency's "statement of faith," according to Bethany Christian Services director Karen Stewart. Bethany is a nationwide organization with headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Its cultural diversity statement, you will note, does not include religion, which is a hoot if you like irony.

Oh, well. Now Mississippi Catholics can get a tiny taste of what it is like to be single or gay and try to adopt. I don't plan to lose any sleep over their discomfort.

Friday cat blogging--Velma plays the condo mouse game

I know it's here somewhere...
Just one moment...

From the very liberal, hip New York Times

"...the name of the C.I.A. officer, who was referred to by her maiden name..."

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The biggest danger to fetuses is George W. Bush

According to a report released today by the Environmental Working Group, the unborn--ultimate treasures of the Christian right, George W. Bush, and the Republican senators who voted that it was just fine for them to be exposed to pesicides--are indeed soaking in a veritable witch's brew of toxins. Mercury, gasoline byproducts, fire retardants, and yes--pesticides--were found among 287 contaminants present in the blood of ten umbilical cords.

From the report:
Of the 287 chemicals we detected in umbilical cord blood, we know that 180 cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests.
Hey soccer moms and NASCAR dads: The Bush administration is poisoning your children, born and unborn. They don't give a damn about fetuses, and neither do you.

Founder of Domino's Pizza now fighting against religious liberty

Domino's founder Tom Monaghan went from pizza delivery to funding the Thomas More Law Center, which is now funded by 50,000 donors. The center, according to its director, Richard Thompson, is "Christianity's answer to the ACLU."

A statement that provocative deserves a little deconstruction. Since the American Civil Liberties Union exists to defend the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to everyone in the U.S. Constitition, Thompson's statement implies that Christianity exists to deny people those rights and liberties. That is a little confusing, given that Christians are always (incorrectly) screaming that the founding fathers shared their religion. Using their logic, one can only assume that Christianity stood for something much different in the 18th Century than it does today.

According to the New Testament and Christian scholars, Jesus taught that everyone matters, regardless of social rank or religious importance. Though America has a very long way to go in treating everyone as though she matters, some of the basic tenets of the Constitution provide us with a good guide for doing so.

The separation of church and state has been interpreted to mean different things by different people, and there is always room for argument among reasonable individual. But one thing that is clear is that the writers of the Constitution did want America to have a "state" religion. Literalists are quick to point out that since America has no "official" religion, the church/state boundary is intact. It is true that our country has no official religion, but it certainly has an unofficial one, and that would be Christianity. From the people who consult regularly with George W. Bush, to the people who want to retain the McCarthy red scare-era pledge to the flag, to the former Mayor of New York City who used Catholicism as a measure for what art could be shown in galleries, Christians are running the nation's culture.

Listen to any call-in show and hear people talk about "our Christian nation" and "our Christian president." If you are a woman, you are attacked by Christians because you want control over your own body or you want to be an equal partner with your husband. If you are gay, Christians condemn you, then offer to help you "become heterosexual." If you are a liberal, Christians tell you that crime, moral collapse and terrorism are your fault.

If you are Jewish, Christians want to convert you. If you are Muslim, you are the enemy. If you are Wiccan, you have to stay away from Christians' children, and if you are atheist, you certainly can't run for public office, no matter what anyone says. This is what famous Christian George H.W. Bush had to say about you in 2004: "I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."

The above quotation is important for a couple of reaons: It was uttered by a former president of the United States, and he is a member of the Episcopal Church, which is a mainstream Christian denomination.

But I digress. The Thomas More Law Center claims to be in direct conflict with the ACLU, which has gone to court on multiple occasions to protect the rights of Christians, Jews, and Muslims to express their religious beliefs free of discrimination. The Thomas More Law Center, in contrast, goes to court to protect the desires--not rights--of Christians who say they feel marginalized, but who are, in fact, the biggest oppressors in the country. I have actually heard Christians say "The Constitution exists to protect the majority." They obviously slept through their American history classes, but they are also making a gigantic leap in logic: The majority does not need protection.

The TMLC represents the new American Christian bully-as-victim act. The White House, for its own very dark reasons, supports this charade, which has become a national disease. The Democratic Party will not save you from this cancer. Mainstream Christianity (if there is really such a thing anymore) will not save you from it. You had better do what you can to save yourself and your family.

I LOVE Senator Santorum

Even though he thinks that by just being who I am is the same as having sex with animals.

Even though he thinks that by just being who I am is the same as having sex with children.

Even though he thinks that assaults against me for being who I am should not be hate crimes.

Even though he thinks employers have a right to discrminate against me just for being who I am.

I LOVE Senator Santorum.

Fast-track liberation

From the New York Times comes a report that Iraqi police officers and civilians died at a rate of more than 800 a month between August and May. There is still no official count of the total number of Iraqi civilians killed sine the war began.

Okay, Florida...

I acknowledge you are still the most insane state in the union, despite close competition. The latest news is an apology from Deerfield Beach officials for the music at the city's official Fourth of July celebration. "Oh my God, another plane has just hit!" and "Some of the casualties are in the collapsed building!" were included in the voice-overs that celebrants heard when "God Bless America" was played.

Someone in the parks and recreation deparment thought it would be cool to use voices recorded on September 11, 2001 to get people into the spirit of Independence Day. What it did was get them in a really bad mood.

The tackiness of the act aside, it is chilling to consider the motives of whoever did this. I mean, you better eat every bite of that potato salad, or the terrorists will win. Only the terrorists are behind in this contest because the idiots are clearly winning.

Man suspects toddler of being gay and beats him to death

Obviously upset over the gains made by North Carolina and other states in the "sick right-wing monsters" category, Florida now brings us a man who killed his three-year-old son by forcing him to box, repeatedly hitting him in the head, and physically punishing him if he vomited from the torture.

The Tampa father forced his son to box because he thought the boy might be gay.

It comes as no surprise that the Florida Department of Children and Families had already placed the boy in protective custody once, but then had sent him home. The father has been charged with capital murder and the mother has been charged with felony child neglect.

It should be noted that the Tampa police did not question the parents separately until it was too late. What kind of idiot police department, when it suspects child abuse, interviews the parents together? Unfortunately, the incompetent police officers will probably get off without even a wrist slap. As for the Florida Department of Children and Families, which is known for its incompetence--why didn't its staff interview the parents separately? I don't have enough evidence to say for sure that the department was negligent, but it certainly looks that way.

I hope all of the Dobsons and Falwells are happy with the brightly burning flames of the fires they have stoked in America.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Some thoughts about the Culture of Life

Today, someone told me about a mother cat and kitten who were living near a highway behind a restaurant. The people in the restaurant and the other nearby businesses were giving the kitten milk (guaranteed to aggravate any digestive problems caused by worms) and "looking out for it." No one had called the animal rescue organization. One adolescent had taken the kitten home--with no regard for the mother--but was told by her parents that she couldn't keep it, so she dumped it back in its spot by the highway.

I did what I could to facilitate a rescue, which I think will occur shortly, but what if I hadn't come along? People dump animals wherever they like. Our two cats, Roxie and Velma, were unwanted by the woman who fed their mother, and who didn't want to feed the kittens, but who never bothered to have the mother spayed. A few years ago, someone dumped a mother cat and two tiny kittens in front of my office. People dump kittens over the local bridge. A neighbor of mine told another neighbor that if his dog bothered him, to "just shoot it."

I recently read a letter to the editor of a major daily about how terrible a man was who wrote a letter supporting cockfighting. One of the points he made was that the roosters in cockfights have a better life than the chickens on people's plates. As much as I am opposed to cockfighting, I agree. The woman who wrote the letter said that chickens were put here by God for us to eat, so that was okay. I then wrote a letter, which was published, saying that if the woman was eating grocery store chicken, she was participating in more cruelty than cockfight enthusiasts could ever imagine.

I do not eat meat, but I understand that most people think it is okay to do so. Though I do not understand this choice--because it involves killing--I accept that it is the popular thing to do. But I do not accept eating meat that comes from animals who were severely tortured and then underwent painful deaths, and that is what factory farming is all about. And I do not accept the use of cosmetics and household products whose companies test on animals. I do everything I can to avoid medicines tested on animals, also, and look for the day when this practice will be abolished (the Clinton administration took a big step in doing this, but it was wiped out by former EPA director Christine Todd Whitman).

Recently, someone left a comment on this blog about how frustrated she gets that the same people who get so upset by pet abuse don't think twice about eating factory farm meat or using animal-tested cosmetics. Sentimentality about cute puppies and kittens is useful if it helps the puppies and kittens, but it is usually just a "bad feeling" that goes away before its bearer has to face the realities of our culture's use of non-human animals as garbage.

The non-humans feel pain. They feel loneliness. They feel confinement. They feel impending death. They hear the screams of those who go before them.

In defense of Senator Clinton

Let me start by saying I am not at all happy with many of Senator Clinton's votes. Not at all. I am also not a Democrat, because I think the Democratic Party is made up--for the most part--of cowards and Republicans.

If someone doesn't want to support Clinton for president because of her voting record, fine. Only go find a Democrat whose voting record you can support: I guarantee you that Waxman, Kucinich, Boxer, and Waters will not be nominated, nor will Howard Dean.

Kerry was nominated, and he was an umitigated disaster, yet Democrats still defend his candidacy.

So why I am here to defend Clinton? Because much of the attack against her potential candidacy isn't based on her voting record (which, by the way, isn't all bad). It is based on the fact that she is a polarizing figure, and that she has "baggage."

Oh, please. If you visit the message boards, you will soon discover that the same people who think Clinton has too much "baggage" to be nominated for president are the people who think Bill Clinton would be a great nominee. It also didn't bother them too much that Kerry had a lot of baggage--fake baggage, I might add, that could easily have been dispensed with if the Democratic Party had half a brain. The "anyone but Hillary" crowd has no logical way to justify its dismissal of her.

If you have a candidate who is viable and can raise money and you don't have the brains or the guts to take the offensive in an election, then stop your boo-hooing and go home. It doesn't matter who the Democrats nominate: The Republicans will trash him or her, and the Democrats will retreat into la-la land.

Of course, the other old standby is: The country isn't ready for a woman president. This is how the Democratic Party has always treated women and minorities: We think you're mighty fine, but we're not ready to put you in the show ring. And that, I think, is Senator Clinton's major piece of "baggage."

Mother says she played role in lesbian daugher's suicide

Sad story.

In case you've forgotten the important Plame/Wilson details...

This, in Daily Kos, is worth reading.

It doesn't surprise me, but how utterly obscene

I just learned from Media Girl that Jerry Falwell is one of Bush's consultants on the Supreme Court selection process. Why not? He's been a consultant for almost every other major Republican decision. And he's certainly qualified: He hates feminists, gays, and liberals.

Why don't we just invite terrorists to come on over?

The California National Guard, obviously trying to boost its morale by utilizing fantasy, recently posted on the wall of its headquarters a flier suggesting that the United States execute Islamic terrorists with bullets dipped in pig blood so that they will not enter heaven. Another flier showed the wings and tail of a bomber forming a peace sign. The inscription: Peace the old-fashioned way.

The California Guard is already under suspicion for possibly forming a new unit to spy on citizens and monitor anti-war rallies.

Though it isn't as interesting as the war on terror...

I know you're probably tired of hearing about this.

Prudes in Boston fool everyone and promote child sex abuse--News from the Santorum Gazette

Enough with the red state, blue state nonsense. There is no geographic boundary when it comes to the big move to the right in this country. Think about it. First, Minnesota elected an openly sexist megalomaniacal professional wrestler as governor. Then California elected a sex offender as its governor. And my subject today is a product of Pennsylvania, the state that elected Rick Santorum to the U.S. Senate.

Santorum, by any reasonable means of measurement, is a nutcake. This is the man who brought his 20-week-old dead fetus home from the hospital so that his very young children could see it and spend time with it. Naming the fetus and having an ongoing memorial to him is something many people would do, I think, but taking home a dead fetus--or infant--to a one-and-a-half-, four- and six-year-old is quite ill-advised at best, and would be considered child abuse by many.

It was Santorum who compared homosexuality with incest, and bestiality, and it was Santorum who threatened the Schiavo case judges with some kind of Congressional ass-kicking because they followed the law and not the sudden frenzied whim of Congress.

To be fair, Santorum is the only politician I can think of who isn't totally hypocritical in his Culture of Life undertakings. He is a Congressional leader in advocating animal welfare, and I don't mind saying I am grateful to him for that.

Santorum, however, like many of his ilk, confuses any type of organicity with life (though I doubt he is a vegetarian, so there are probably lapses in his dogma), and uses his confusion to stir up the fires of the religious right.

He is also confused about consensual sex, and his recent attack on the city of Boston is so outrageous, it makes one wonder if he has become unhinged. Santorum blamed Boston's liberalism for that city's Catholic Church child sex abuse. It has nothing to do with sick priests, you see, but with all those liberals who think it is hunky-dory for men to have sex with little boys and girls.

When it was pointed out to Santorum that priests had molested and raped children throughout the country, and in large numbers, his response was that, at the time he made the remark, there appeared to be more abuse in Boston.

I wonder what Santorum has to say about the goings-on in right-wing Ponchatoula, Louisiana. Or about Boston's divorce rate, which is the lowest in the nation. Or the fact that Bostonians have traditionally been known for being prudish.

But then, when you're a right-wing politician with a Bible in your holster, logic and reason are the last things you need to make you successful.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Zion's Hope, my ass

A judge in Orlando--oh yes, it's Florida again!--has ruled that The Holy Land Experience theme park can be exempt from paying property taxes. The Holy Land Experience is owned and operated by Zion's Hope, a nondenominational Christian ministry devoted to converting Jews to Christianity.

The Orange County Property Appraisor's office is not happy with this decision, and may appeal it. The $16 million theme park, which charges $30 for admission ($20 for children) and does not permit you to enter if you are wearing a costume, says that its mission is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to all men. Since women obviously do not need to receive the gospel, we can all continue to hang out at the Church of the Mouse and Disco Ball, where I'm sure costume-wearing is encouraged.

Dressing the handmaid

Lilies of the Field is now a reality, though I doubt seriously that its creators are Atwood afficionados. You can buy dresses like this if you are one of the people who is frustrated that you cannot find clothing that "would honor the Lord." If you are guessing that this modest clothing line is for women and girls only, you are right.

As an irrelevant Second Wave feminist, I, too, am sick of seeing girls and young women with their breasts hanging out and their pants so tight that a good sneeze will rip them in two. I am sick of it because it means that girls have bought into the belief that they have to sell sex to get anywhere. For some time now, I have been fascinated by the way in which my values intersect with the values of people like the Lilies of the Field crowd.

But the intersection is superficial, just like the intersection between my dislike of various sexual displays by women and the Christian right's dislike of them. I am against strip shows and naked sushi nights because they objectify women; they oppose these events because, by their existence, they are acknowledgments of the existence of sex.

The Lilies of the Field fashions are cartoon-like in their prairie-virtue drabness, despite the bloomers being kind of hip-sexy. The clothes are a statement against sexuality, and I don't know who will buy them. I live around hundreds of right-wing Christian girls and women, and they all dress like Britney Spears. Apparently, there are different sartorial ways of honoring the Lord.

No criminal left behind

Every so often, I have to update the list of criminals and would-be criminals in the Bush administration because they just keep popping up from holes all over the place. Today's addition is Robert Earl, who, you will recall, destroyed national security documents during the Iran-Contra affair. Earl is now chief of staff for acting Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England.

Of all the people available for government jobs, the Bush administration manages to find crooks, liars, and traitors to fill them.

Never forget that integrity has been restored to the White House.

While the rest of the press is praising Tony Blair for the way he has handled the bombings

Greg Palast, as always, calls it what it is.

Groomed for success

Late last night, I was thinking about this, and I notice that Amanda at Pandagon has been thinking about it, too. Amanda's suggestions are right in line with what a reality show should be (and, oh, how I would love to see them on CMT!), but I've been thinking that maybe they should scrap the whole pageant idea and use the same principles that are used to conduct dog shows.

In a dog show, each member of a breed competes with other members of that breed, and the judge selects the dog that best meets the standard of that breed. Twenty German shepherds may be entered, but one of them, in the judge's opinion, best meets the physical and temperament standards for the breed of German shepherd. The winners compete in the Best of Show competition against all the dogs that were considered the best examples of their breeds. Again, the dogs are judged not against each other, but as to how they meet the standards of their respective breeds (though there is, of course, an x factor).

Think about all the possible categories:

Perky Girl Next Door (the Katie Holmes breed)
Big-breasted blonde (Pamela Anderson sets the breed standard)
Slim with long blonde hair (Anna Kournikova remains the standard)
Really smart and kind of cute (Drew Barrymore, except she has some, ahem, disqualifying characteristics)
Beautiful girls of color (Venus Williams comes to mind, but I guess it would have to be Halle Berry because they don't like them too, you know, dark)
Scary seductive girls (That would be Angelina)

The more breeds the better. Parade them around in a ring, give them treats, and allow them to stay at the hotel just like the real people. The winner gets to be on the Today Show, of course, and then she has to get bred to various studs of her breed type so that when she retires from the ring, she will have prize-winning descendents.

Goodbye, CMT...Hello, USA Network.

With liberal friends like this, women don't need any conservative enemies

During the last couple of years, I've visited many so-called liberal blogs and message boards, and when the subject of Condoleeza Rice comes up, I have noticed two trends:

1. Call her evil and then attack the way she looks and dresses.

2. Call her dim-witted and a tool of the administration.

I am no fan of Condoleeza Rice's ideology or policies, though I do find her to be the only multi-dimensional person in the administration. I want Rice out of office as much as the next person. But when it comes to evaluating her, I am appalled that the two criticisms I find over and over are "ugly" and "stupid." She is either part of the evil, but oh god, did you see those boots? Or she is too naive to realize she is a prop.

That, my think-you-are-liberal bloggers and message board writers, is sexism, and sexism is mean and bigoted, no matter who is being discussed. If that is the best you can do, then stop criticizing the Republican party for being filled with bigots. It's a pot/kettle thing.

I love you, you love me...heh heh heh

Down in Broward County Florida, the Broward County Schools Diversity Committee has made a determination that--surprise, surprise--the We Are Family DVD featuring Barney, Big Bird, and Spongebob Squarepants is potentially confusing and dangerous for children and cannot be shown. It seems that showing all of these diverse types together as a family could make children vulnerable to--wait for it--pedophiles.

Oh, crimson herring! Here is what the ban is really about--that it could "open the door to discussion about sexual orientation." And the bonus is that, once again, by saying the words "pedophile" and "homosexual" in the same breath, the gay-obsessed protectors of our children can further denegrate gay citizens.