Saturday, December 31, 2005
Do "nice" guys finish last?
Amanda encounters a whiny "nice" guy who is all bent out of shape because women don't respond appropriately to his procurement techniques. Young women who think young men should pay for their dates need a serious dose of consciousness-raising, and why the hell aren't they getting it from their mothers? And their fathers. Young men who think paying for dates is "nice" and therefore entitles them to ownership of a young woman's social life and sexual decisions are prehistoric freaks who have been raised by the same mothers and fathers who forgot to tell their daughters that prostitution is a career choice, not a social obligation.
The 50's were terrible half a century ago; re-living them is a nightmare.
Please make this your must-read for the week
Saturday raccoon blogging
this one was hiding under some Katrina debris in a ditch
the neighborhood kids passing by, we were worried, and decided
to tempt it out with some food and lure it to our wooded back yard
(which is not quite so wooded after Katrina)
Friday, December 30, 2005
I'm never sure what century we're in
Things that pleased me in 2005
Cindy Sheehan's reminder to America that when our elected officials are spineless, ordinary citizens can still exhibit courage
My attendance at the last half of the Family Circle Cup--the world's largest all-women's tennis tournament--near Charleston
The decision of a second major managed care company to dispense with the dreaded periodic paperwork
My new duties blogging for MoJo Blog
Hearing that Tom DeLay had been indicted
Martina Hingis's announcement that she is returning to the WTA tour (though it does make me anxious)
Our spring garden's immense beauty
Receiving so many generous offers of housing when we evacuated because of Katrina
Irina Slutskaya's victory at the Women's World Figure Skating Championships. Slutskaya's journey to her second gold medal is an astounding one, ignored by the sports media and by sports fans--never mind athletics, it is simply an amazing story
Kim Clijsters' winning her first Grand Slam--finally, and Amelie Mauresmo's winning the WTA Tour Championships
The saving of Title IX by the U.S. Supreme Court, and then--a few months later--the strengthening of Title IX by that same court
John Conyers' emergence as a non-Kool-Aid drinking, non-denying, outraged elected official who actually represents me
Reading some of my poems on the NPR program, "Theme and Variations," and having some selected to be read on Martha Stewart Living Radio's "The Naturalist's Datebook"--hardly huge literary honors, but nice
Meeting two of my favorite bloggers
And most of all: Spending two weeks in Paris in the fall, easily the best two weeks of the year
"Did you take your dogs with you?" indeed
Friday cat blogging--post-Santa edition
to make sure there are no Fed Ex trucks or sleighs around
thing to do; she stashes them under the sofa, the washing machine,
and the refrigerator
Thursday, December 29, 2005
I write of Katrina
Things that really ticked me off in 2005
The circus otherwise known as the death of Terri Schiavo
The trashing of Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco in order to take the heat off of Chertoff, Bush, and Brown--the sad thing is that it worked.
The loss of Susan Sontag, Molly Yard, Andrea Dworkin, Marla Ruzicka, Arthur Miller, Teresa Wright, Anne Bancroft, Rosa Parks, Eugene McCarthy, Richard Pryor, and Mitch Hedberg
The final destruction of Sibel Edmonds' lawsuit against the Department of Justice--with it went that silly entity about which Americans care so little: the truth.
My neighbors, as usual, with their roaming dogs, speeding cars, and right-wing yard signs
Lindsay Davenport's failure to win a Grand Slam tournament
America's continuing, enthusiastic support of the torturous hell known as factory farming, as well as its companion entity, the laboratory animal testing industry
The loss of September--none of us down here knows where it went
The news media's ignoring the hundreds of victims of the Guatemala mudslides
My prolonged case of writer's block
The further destruction of American feminism
The idiots that kept cutting the phone cables every time they were repaired after the hurricane hit
Mariah Carey's comeback
Seeing New Orleans washed away while my government allowed its citizens and their companion animals to drown and starve
The loss of three vases and my only piece of Majolica pottery--most of them gifts--to the incorrigible force of nature known as Roxie
The discovery that the Army Corps of Engineers built the New Orleans levees out of toothpicks and modeling clay
And most of all: The news media's and most of Congress's ignoring stacks of solid shocking evidence that the Ohio election was stolen
These Christmas cookies are making me sick
The NSA has acknowledged its mistake, saying that the permanent cookies--"permanent" in that they did not expire until 2035, as opposed to when users close their web browsers--resulted from a recent software upgrade.
Stopped clock theory proven again
Anyone wishing to comment about how easily its members use guns...I know, I know. But not using tasers because of safety concerns is still a good thing.
A thing that bothers me about C-Span
This morning, the invitation to call was especially disturbing: The topic was post-election Iraq, and the invitation was: "Those who support Bush's war policies, call in on the Republican line...etc." The implication, of course, was that all Republicans support Bush's war policies, which they clearly do not.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
WTA season begins in 5 days!
Many think that Hingis will wipe out early in her first tournaments; she has not played tournament tennis in a long time, with the exception of World Team Tennis. Schnyder reports that Hingis has not lost her feel for the ball and her exceptional technique, and that she seems fitter than she was before. This is good news because fitness was always one of Hingis's weak points, along with her serve. It is hard to predict what will happen; I think it will take a few tournaments for Hingis to get her rhythm going, but after that, I'm inclined to think she can seriously compete. I hope so. It just hasn't been the same since she left the tour. So-called "power tennis" is fine, but nothing beats watching Hingis's point construction. Some think she is the cleverest player in the game's history.
Maria Sharapova, haunted last season by a pectoral injury, has pulled out of the Gold Coast tournament because of a shoulder injury. The 2004 Wimbledon champion did not win a Grand Slam this year, and tennis fans will be watching to see if she can win one in 2006.
And speaking of Grand Slams, it's probably now or never for world number one Lindsay Davenport. Davenport hasn't won a Slam since 1999, and she is obviously edging toward retirement. She was beating Sharapova in the 2004 Wimbledon semifinals, then, after a rain break, her game unraveled. It turned out that she was going through a career crisis right in the middle of the tournament. She dusted herself off, went on an incredible hardcourt tear, and looked like a cinch to win the 2004 U.S. Open, but was injured during her semifinal with Svetlana Kuznetsova, who went on to win the Open.
Her luck was no better at the beginning of the next season. She reached the finals of the Australian Open, and then kind of went to pieces, easily giving Serena Williams the win. I thought it was head stuff until I thought about the incredible Australian heat, and the fact that she had played doubles all the way to the finals, too. She was exhausted. When she got to Wimbledon, she lost one of the great thriller finals of all time to Venus Williams. It was heartbreaking to Davenport and her thousands of fans. At the U.S. Open, she lost her quarterfinal match to Elena Dementieva by simply not being focused throughout the whole thing.
Mary Pierce is also nearing the end of her career. Like Davenport, she reached two Grand Slam finals this year. The two-time Slam winner outplayed defending champion Justine Henin-Hardenne all the way through the French Open, then lost miserably in the final, then lost her U.S. Open final to Kim Clijsters. Pierce was also in the final of the WTA Tour Championships, but lost to Amelie Mauresmo.
Clijsters, whose U.S. Open win marked her fifth time to reach a Grand Slam final, looks good for this season, which she says will be her last, but we are hoping she has a change of heart. Having overcome a terrible injury, she is playing extremely well and is quite fit. Henin-Hardenne, who came back after a debilitating illness, is still, in my opinion, the best player on the tour, but her 2005 comeback did not include a good serve, and until she gets her serve back, she will not dominate. I looked for Henin-Hardenne to become a multiple Slam winner of the Navratilova/Graf variety, but now I am stepping back to see if she can regain her former superiority. I hope she does.
The bad news is that Australia's Alicia Molik's attempt to return to the tour following a serious ear infection did not work out. The infection has made her so ill that she has dropped out of tournament play indefinitely. All of her fans--and who could possibly not be her fan?--wish her a full recovery. Molik worked for years to become an elite player, and when she finally reached her goal at the age of 24, she got to enjoy one good season before becoming ill.
We are all hoping to see Jennifer Capriati soon. Capriati was out the entire 2005 season because of a shoulder injury. Chanda Rubin, the Louisianian whose injuries have kept her from having the brilliant career she seemed destined to have, is returning soon, after having suffered yet another serious injury that kept her out most of the season. And former world number four Elena Dokic, whose ranking has fallen off the face of the earth, is back, playing once again for Australia, and hoping to regain her former place on the tour. Dokic is one of many WTA players whose career has suffered because of the crazy tennis father syndrome.
Now that she has won the WTA Tour Championships, Amelie Mauresmo may have gained the confidence she has so badly needed. Mauresmo is a brilliant and graceful player who should have won a Slam by now, and here's hoping this is her year. Nadia Petrova, once the hope of Russia but slow to develop, is also looking better. Anastasia Myskina, feeling better now that her sick mother is better, should also have a good season. Her countrywomen, Kuznetsova and Dementieva, I'm not so sure about.
Who will break through this year? It's hard to predict. Last year, many thought Tatiana Golovin would, but she stalled, partly because of recurring foot injuries. Ana Ivanovich did well, but not as well as some hoped; this may be her year. Jelena Jankovic was also a breakthrough hope last year, but not much came of the prediction. I think that if anyone is going to break through, it is Nicole Vaidisova, whose game has improved a lot lately, and who is champion material, though not on all surfaces. Look, too, for Sania Mirza to possibly break through, and keep an eye on Anna-Lena Groenefeld. Players I hope do well this year (aside from my top favorites--Davenport, Mauresmo, Schnyder, and Hingis) are Anabel Medina-Garrigues, Petrova, Elena Bovina, and Shuai Peng.
Schnyder, by the way, will begin the 2006 season as world number six, her highest career ranking.
New Orleans newspaper takes offensive tone toward those who stayed with pets during Katrina
Labelling these people as citizens who "chose" to stay and die reflects the same immoral, offensive attitude taken by the government in its refusal to rescue companion animals.
So much for wish lists
Stevenson Palfi dead--another Katrina victim
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
The Raw Story confirms NSA spying on UN Security Council members
According to The Raw Story, Rice authorized the spying at the request of George W. Bush, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld also played a role in the spying strategy. On the eve of the Iraq war, The Observer reported the spying, but the report was given little coverage in the American news media, and was soon forgotten altogether.
Pentagon has yet to craft a policy to bar human trafficking
(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)
Last abortion clinic in Mississippi facing obstacles
This year, Mississippi banned early second trimester abortions in facilities that did not have ambulatory surgical center standards, a move which made the clinic in Jackson ineligible to apply for a license. A federal judge dispensed with the new law, but at the governor's urging, the legistlature passed a second law that would make the Jackson Women's Health Organization elibible to apply. However, the clinic has not yet met all of the criteria, and there is a question as to whether the state will grant it a provisional license while final compliance details are worked out.
Mississippi anti-choice activist Terri Herring wants the state to require a doctor or doctor's assistant to offer women an opportunity to view ultrasound imaging of their fetuses, and to listen to the fetal heartbeat at least twenty-four hours before an abortion procedure takes place.
Monday, December 26, 2005
Welcome back, Pseudo-Adrienne
So it turns out
Look back at your own risk
Post-Katrina rape numbers now believed to be higher than reported
New Orleans singer Charmaine Neville was raped at a school shelter, and she has come forward to talk about it, in the hope of encouraging other rape victims to speak up.
Sunday, December 25, 2005
A merry Christmas, in spite of myself
Our neighbors were coming over on Friday night, so Thursday evening, I made some snacks. I roasted some Mexican tomatoes, made an olivata, and made a spread with cream cheese substitute, chives, walnuts, and pomegranate arils. Tasty.
But where to put all these things so roving felines wouldn't get to them? Even though the bowls were covered, I thought I should put them safely away. The microwave is my favorite storage place, but I couldn't get everything in there, so I put a couple of the bowls in the oven.
Friday evening, I realized we were running out of tea cakes, so I decided to make some more. I turned the oven on to heat it, and you know the rest. When I opened it to put the cookie sheet in, I saw two blue globs that used to be plastic bowls. It was around 6:00, and the neighbors were coming over at 7:00. While my husband scraped melted plastic out of the oven, I went into some kind of primitive Martha Stewart mode, trying to stay calm, beat the clock, and replace the snacks. Fortunately, the roasted tomatoes were stored in the microwave. I found a jar of calimata olives, got out the garlic, olive oil, and pine nuts, and made a second--much stronger--olivata. It took awhile because of the pits in the olives.
I had nothing else that resembled cream cheese, and I had no more walnuts, but I found some sour cream substitute, some more chives, and some more arils, so there was another spread made within moments. Also working on adrenalin, my husband got the oven functioning, and I managed to bake the tea cakes. Then we lit the candles, put on some music, and in walked the neighbors.
Yesterday, I decided to get as much of the Christmas cooking out of the way as possible. I made whole wheat muffins and put them in the oven. While they were baking, I found Roxie (see above) in the bedroom, poking around near an electrical outlet. Suddenly, she ran by with a lizard in her mouth. I chased her into the living room, with instructions to "drop that lizard!" She did. I couldn't get to Velma, but I grabbed Roxie to shut her in the bedroom. Only my muffins were going to burn, so I galloped into the kitchen, tabby cat under my arm, and with the other hand, got a potholder and pulled the muffins out.
I then ran with Roxie to the bedroom, shut her in, and returned to the living room, where my husband had overturned the armchair under which the lizard had run. To our amazement, it didn't move, so I was able to grab it and take it outside. Somewhere in that span of time, I managed to get a pot of lentil soup on, so we had lentil soup and whole wheat muffins, and I was very tired.
So far today there have been no mishaps, but the day is young.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
The indoor Christmas garden--part 3
I use them and a number of jam jars for forcing the hyacinths,
which will be ready tomorrow for removal from their long chill
Here is a serious and amazing hyacinth forcing vase collection
Friday, December 23, 2005
The indoor Christmas garden--part 2
The plight of Laurel Hester
Michael Jensen of The Big Gay Picture interviewed Hester.
Friday cat blogging--cozy Christmas edition
Thursday, December 22, 2005
The indoor Christmas garden
Women not wearing headscarves blamed for tsunami
As if being blamed and shamed for the disaster were not enough, we now know that an inordinate number of women died in the tsunami because their required cumbersome clothing kept them from escaping in a timely fashion.
Boy wears kilt to school dance and is told to put on pants
A southeast Louisiana student told me that at her school, students are not allowed to attend the dances unless they have dates. That, of course, is a lawsuit waiting to happen, but no one at the school has filed one, to my dismay. And if one of them should obey the rule and bring a date of the same gender, I can only imagine how that would turn out.
Well, that's how some of us feel when you make derisive remarks about feminism.
That's how we feel when you make derisive remarks about animal liberation.
That's how we feel when you want gays to shut up about gay marriage.
It seems that liberals now have a menu, and choose which issues are deserving of a campaign for peace and justice and which are not. Fed up with women's "demands"? Off the list. Don't want to give up your factory farm burgers and animal-tested cosmetics? Off the list. Irritated with "gay this, gay that"? Off the list.
The Democratic Party gave up on liberal values a long time ago in exchange for a corporate-run America and silence about right-wing crimes against the nation. This is one of the many reasons I am no longer a Democrat. Conservatives do not pick and choose their issues, but wage war on behalf of all of them. Pity they have liberals helping them with some of their campaigns.
Americans are not alone in their insanity
Every day, in every way
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Good news from New Orleans
The Civil District Court's decision was based on the ADF's not being able to show that the arrangement in any way affected them or their property.
Notes allege "FEMA is not a response agency for disasters"
(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)
Why are there so few good Christmas movies?
I suppose it's difficult to make a film about Christmas that isn't cloying and offensive or overtly religious. When I look at the list above, I am am struck by the fact that, with the exception of the sumblimely silly Love, Actually, all of the films were made a long time ago by directors who knew how to weave holiday themes through great stories, or how to turn already great stories or plays into great films. Such directors exist today, but they do not touch Christmas.
For those of you who would like a red Christmas, the Encore Channel is presenting "A Very Quentin Christmas" on December 25.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Where I come from, we call it lying
Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires--a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so.
George W. Bush
Flee the Fur Ho
Some holiday photos
Plenty of post-Katrina updates for your holiday reading pleasure
New Orleans' City Park has decided not to allow first-responder trailers on its property because it doesn't want to give the impression that the park is a housing site. Makes sense--the hundreds of thousands of tourists in beautiful New Orelans certainly don't want to see trailers.
And various citizens whose neighborhoods are more or less intact do not want any trailers in their neighborhoods, either. You may recall that Mayor Nagin got in trouble for putting trailer parks in playgrounds, an act for which he apologized. However, he has since decided he does not have to consult with the City Council about trailer locations, after all.
Two lawsuits have been filed against Louisiana's secretary of state and governor because of their decision to delay elections in the New Orleans area. It took the state weeks to convince FEMA to provide the names and addresses of residents living outside the state so that they could cast absentee ballots, and now proponents of a timely election want all New Orleans area citizens to vote by mail.
The Charity Hospital system has laid off 2,000 employees. Charity is Louisiana's flagship teaching facility.
The Baker Bill, which would have created the Louisiana Recovery Corporation, failed in Congress.
And over the weekend, Louisiana citizens turned out in droves to buy washing machines, refrigerators, stereo equipment, and televisions during the three-day state sales tax holiday.
Perhaps liberals have bad memories
Reagan, as I have noted many times, based his presidency on racism, misogyny, fear-mongering, imperialism, and an appeal to the poor, persecuted white male. He is now considered the "Greatest American."
There is not much room for liberalism--and no room at all for the progressive movement--in American government. Carter sold out the women's movement, Clinton sold out the gay rights movement. We do not ever have "friends" in the White House, but it is becoming more and more common for us to have enemies of the Constitution living there. There is no doubt in my mind that the current occupant stole two elections, but no one even talks about that.
Stealing elections is even worse than spying on citizens, if one has to make a distinction. Americans, as a whole, do not care. Steal the election, spy on the people next door, send soldiers to their deaths for Halliburton, teach children sexist, dangerous nonsense in the schools, poison the air and the water, let New Orleanians drown and then blame them for it.
If Americans cared, none of this would have happened.
Monday, December 19, 2005
Dear Louisiana parents who voted for Bush
How the Department of Homeland Security keeps you safe
What happened to the Dartmouth student is what has happened to many Americans who just happened to be reading the wrong book, constructing the wrong art show, photographing the wrong building. Note that all of these activities fall under the category of "art and literature." If you are shopping at Wal-Mart, going to the Baptist Church, or buying a These Colors Don't Run bumper sticker, no one is going to pay a call on you.
Oh, dear. I've just gone an made an "elitist" statement.
Chinese government continues to brutalize Falun Gong practitioners
(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)
Elvis returns to Louisiana for the holidays
I'll be too stressed to be thinking about you
Decorations and lights that fill our memories
Won't be the same dear, since I lost all my trees
And when the New Orleans rain starts fallin'
It's that elusive adjuster I'm callin'
You'll be doin' alright
With your roof on real tight
But I'll have a blue roof Christmas
George W. Bush explains it all
Oh my god. That never occurred to me. I don't want to think about what will happen when he figures out that people change their email addresses.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Women workers are "only good for the bed"
Now another sexual bias suit has been filed against him, and there is a movement by labor unions and religious leaders to put pressure on lender Bank of the West, which extended Threemile Canyon Farms a $101 million line of credit, to demand that Bos end his discriminatory practices.
Yes, religious leaders. And that is a piece of good news.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
You can build better levees in Louisiana
Not an easy thing to read
There is no end to this White House campaign
Friday, December 16, 2005
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Dear Mr. Bush
Those emails to Israel were about my cousin's new baby. Oh, and there was that notice about my other cousin's online wedding album.
The emails and calls to and from the London area were to reassure my family we hadn't been blown away by Katrina.
The emails to Switzerland go out on a regular basis, I know, but that is because I have a friend there.
And I know the emails to France were highly suspicious, but I was making hotel reservations.
And that email from Greece the other day was an electronic Christmas card.
I guess that takes care of all the foreign correspondence. Well, you're probably wondering about Rhode Island, but you'll just have to ask Condoleezza or Mommy Karen to help you with that one.
Post-Katrina and gender--a hypothetical case to ponder
Once the records were out for everyone to see, some Republicans continued to spread the lies, even spreading them on the floor of Congress, and even spreading them in her presence.
Now, however, apparently feeling a bit uncomfortable with evidence of all of the governor's requests and actions in front of them, along with all of FEMA's failure to deliver evidence in front of them, the bash-Blanco crowd has taken a new approach. The governor's failure has now been distilled into this issue: She wasted precious time haggering with George W. Bush over whether the federal government or the state would be in control of the troops in Louisiana. (Neither would give in, and Blanco maintained control of state troops, while Bush's people maintained control of federal troops.)
I am not going to make a judgment here about whether Blanco did the right thing, but here is something to think about: If the governor of Louisiana had been a man, and he had stood up to Bush and said "This is my state and the troops will be under my control," would he he have been as roundly criticized, or would people have either not gone there at all, or said "He stood up for us, he's tough--he wouldn't stand for the feds trying to run things."?
For those of you who admire Mark Crispin Miller
More bad Katrina news in my area
Fontainebleau State Park is, or rather, was, a 2,800-acre hardwood and pine park that is used by the local citizenry for camping, hiking, birding, and cycling. People who enjoy their picnics at Fontainebleau have a view of Lake Pontchartrain. I'm ashamed to admit it has been quite a few years since I spent any real time in the park, and now Fontainebleau, as I knew it, is gone.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
When deer attack
Imagine...a member of one species arbitrarily attacking a member of another species who has not done anything to harm it. What a concept.
One of the concerned parties on television said that it is no longer legal to kill deer where he lives, so it is impossible to "thin out" the deer population. The deer population needs thinning out because of habitat shortage. There is a habitat shortage because we took their habitats, therefore, we need to kill them, which is just conservation-speak for burning the village in order to save it.
I would much rather have the deer that used to inhabit my neighborhood than the two banks, cell phone store, smoothie shop, carpet store, two coffee shops, church, and clinics that are there now. "But they eat things in your garden!" So do the rabbits, and we use appropriate repellents to keep them at bay. I would rather deal with rabbits and deer trying to eat my plants than deal with the right-wing neighbors who put anti-choice signs all over their yards, let their dogs run loose, and drive 45 mph. in a school zone.
Pennsylvania student told to remove his T-shirt
The principal of the school now says that, after talking with the ACLU, he realizes that Schiano's shirt does not violate the school's dress code: It makes no reference to sex, drugs, or ethnic intimidation, and it does not display explicit language.
Smart kid, and happy ending. But why do school authorities need the ACLU to come in and interpret their own policies to them? Are they not literate enough to read the guidebook? Well, they may not be, but assuming they are, the reality seems to be that the rules are meaningless. The Constitution, the Geneva Conventions, the UN Treaty on Torture, the North Penn High School rule book...all meaningless.
Healthcare worker "conscience clause" expanding
(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Tookie Williams does not say the right thing to the governor
I am reminded of 14-year-old Caril Ann Fugate, who, along with Charles Starkweather, was tried as an adult, and who maintained throughout her trial and imprisonment that she was Starkweather's hostage. What does not appear in the now-brief accounts of Fugate's life is that she could have had parole much earlier if she had apologized for her crimes, but she just kept on insisting she had committed no crimes and had been a hostage. She spent eighteen years in prison.
By the way, as of this writing, Arnold Schwarzenegger has not apologized for committing multiple sexual assaults, but those types of crimes do not concern the people of America.
The New York Times may be doing a terrible job of reporting on Iraq
I have figured out how to have a lot more leisure time
I would be left with about two clients and I could see them both on the same day, thus giving me a lot more time to read, write, watch films, play with my cats, and tool around town. Of course, I would have a significant drop in income, but since I am a liberal, I am already considered to be either a rich dilettante or a lazy collector of handouts, so what difference would it make? I am also a minor Katrina victim, and everyone knows that we are all just sitting on our stoops, drinking beer and whining about the government, rather than building electrical grids, constructing houses with no assistance from workers, installing telephone lines, stimulating the economy with no jobs, and making ourselves impervious to disease.
Counting the dead in Iraq
(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)
Monday, December 12, 2005
You don't know a thing about me
Whenever I think I've heard it all
Daddy, what did you do in the War on Christmas?
(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)
Fake patriotism can kill in more ways than you think
I assumed this was some kind of promotional vehicle and was curious to know what it was promoting. I didn't see anything on the right side of the car, but I got to have a second look when the driver turned around and came back, in order to make a right turn back onto the highway. There was nothing printed on the left side, either. This was, in other words, just someone's car. I wish I had a photograph of it so I could show my readers how totally freakish it was, despite its bold, colorful design.
The driver appeared to be not too old, so I wonder why he isn't fighting in Iraq.
I meet another of my favorite bloggers!
Kathy's timing was good: We had just trimmed our Christmas tree and were preparing to build a fire.
We toured the meditation garden and our city's lovely downtown area, and we tried to have tea in the English tea room, but it was brimming with little girls in tea-party finery, and not catering to the likes of us. All the same, it was fun to direct our guest to a British phone booth in the middle of the piney woods region of south Louisiana.
So we had our tea at home by the fire, and tried to coax Roxie and Velma out for treats, but they would have none of it; they are still frightened of people they do not know, and perhaps were afraid Kathy had brought one of those cows with her. She did get a glimpse of them, though, and maybe the next time we are fortunate enough to have her in our home, the sisters will have developed more social skills.
Farewell, Richard Pryor
I almost did meet him. In 1977, I was working for a company that sometimes did P.A. (public appearance) tours for Warner Bros. Pryor had just made Greased Lightning, the premiere was held in New Orleans, and he and producer Hannah Weinstein came to town for it. I dealt with Weinstein, and didn't actually see Pryor until the night of the premiere. At the time, I admired him as an entertainer, but hadn't yet grasped the importance of who he was.
I was accustomed to meeting celebrities because of this job, but I had no direct dealings with him, and therefore had no reason to speak with him. He looked shy and withdrawn. I sat a couple of rows behind him in the theater. Three years later, he set himself on fire. Now he is gone, and it is our great loss.
Interestingly, my failure, in 1977, to fully appreciate Pryor, was nothing compared with my failure to fully appreciate Weinstein. I knew she was a film producer and Paula Weinstein's mother. I helped her ship some seafood to Lillian Hellman, who was living on Martha's Vineyard. (Hellman was Paula Weinstein's godmother, and Paula Weinstein is Jane Fonda's best friend; Fonda played the role of Lillian Hellman in Julia, one of my favorite films of all time.) What I didn't know at the time is that she was also an American hero.
The power of the unconscious mind
Doubtless, what Sessions thought he meant was probably something like "elected without a court case," but it was a hell of a slip.
Of course, he wasn't elected this time, but that doesn't appear to bother anyone.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
The lies never stop
Friday, December 09, 2005
How quickly context flies out the window
The overall assessment was that media coverage was unfairly negative. Putting aside for a moment my own, highly unpopular perspective, which is that all war is evil and unnecessary--there still remains the problem that no one can "win" an illegal war. What difference does it make if all of the insurgents are crushed and the entire country is rebuilt (which, by the way, is not going to happen), if the entire murderous, costly, distracting, enemy-attracting event was undertaken on false pretenses?
Winning or losing this war is irrelevant. The only issue worth discussing is our invasion of a country based on lies, greed, and the whims of PNAC.
Friday cat blogging--color coordination edition
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Bolton now whining about criticism of war on terror
(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)
Spoils o' war
He hasn't changed his attitude. A few days ago, he had this to say:
Fallujah should not exist. It should have been leveled a long time ago. Just leveled. That town should have been made an example of years ago....That town--everybody should have been evacuated and flattened.This is O'Reilly's answer to the insurgency in Iraq. Flatten 'em. Whether it is Vietnam or Iraq, there is a stubborn resistance among many to grasp the simple fact that the more you destroy people's homeland, the more likely they are to continue killing you. And hating you. As for the O'Reilly oil deal, he is advocating lawlessness, kind of interesting for such a big law-and-order guy (well, a law-and-order guy who threatens to kill his guests). So, using his logic, if I go to his office building, beat the hell out of him and then take his money, that's okay.
I stand corrected
Finally, a threat that is dealt with appropriately
Harold Pinter uses his Nobel acceptance to tell the truth
A sad day
Yoko Ono's gift to all of us is Strawberry Fields, Lennon's special area of Central Park.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Possibly the most whacked quote of the last decade
Guns have little or nothing to do with juvenile violence. The causes of youth violence are working parents who put their kids into daycare, the teaching of evolution in the schools, and working mothers who take birth control pills.
Chrisians with priorities extremely out of whack
Wow. I need some help sorting this out. It's okay for Bush to lie, cheat, poison our children, increase the death count of African women and children, abandon people to drown, and have innocent citizens arrested, but it's not okay for him to send a card that doesn't say "Merry Christmas."
I must have missed something in the New Testament. Let's see, there's "Blessed are the merciful," and Bush has killed and maimed who knows how many Iraqi citizens and blown up their houses and businesses. His AIDS policies have made it possible for thousands more women and babies to die because they can get neither counseling nor birth control. While he was stuffing birthday cake in his mouth, people and animals were dying in New Orleans. There's "Blessed are the peacemakers," and Bush has declared war on a country that was not bothering us. Then there's "Love your enemies," and he hasn't done too well with that one, starting with John McCain. And how about "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth?" His tax policies have made the wealthiest people in America much wealthier, at the expense of the rest of us, and his war has made a bundle of profit for his family's pet companies.
The super-Christians don't seem to be bothered by any of that.
Ford caves to gay-hating bigots
Breaking (good) news...
Killing black bears in New Jersey
I do understand the argument that the bear population, deer population, whatever, is overcrowded, and the animals will starve if they are not taken out. However...their populations are overcrowded because we took away their habitats. Talk about rationalization.
As for hunting being a sport, I supposed it is a recreational activity for those who enjoy killing, and a lot of people seem to enjoy killing. Some people say it is okay to kill animals only if you intend to eat them. Why anyone would want to eat a beautiful living creature is beyond me, but that is a very popular thing to do. And killing an animal in the woods for food beats hell out of eating factory farm animals, whose lives are horrific from the moment they are born.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Women have more opportunities for hiring and promotion in corporate America than men do
The caller, a woman, was explaining to Limbaugh that corporate women need a network, mentors, contacts. "It's more important for women," she said. "Men can still work their way up from the mailroom, but women can't."
"I'm tempted to say that women can still work their way up from the couch," replied the misogynist, Constitution-hating, lying, drug-addled freak.
Kansas City boy suspended from school for speaking Spanish during recess
(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)
I'm loving the hearings so far
Clijsters win both ITWA awards
A huge fan favorite, Clijsters bought everyone in her hometown of Bree a beer after she won her first Grand Slam.
Dear Alison Stewart...
On fair-mindedness and being a "moderate"
This statement immediately rubbed me the wrong way, but it also caused me to think a lot. On the surface, it would indeed seem that a very fair-minded person would "see both sides" of an issue. It is important to understand both sides of an issue and to make decisions based on observable fact; I agree with that.
But political opinions are formed because of values, not discreet facts. I am what most people would consider a progressive (or a feminazi, animal rights nut, gay agenda-promoting, tree-hugging, unAmerican leftist, if you want to go in that direction). I also consider myself fair-minded. I am the first to call out an idiot liberal (which keeps me pretty busy), and the first to condemn unfair bashing of a conservative. I also do not like assumptions made that cannot be backed up by fact. I also have a sense of humor.
But being fair-minded makes me no less liberal; I like to think it makes me more so.
What is a "moderate"? I'm not sure. Is it a person who thinks gays shouldn't be beaten up, but that they also shouldn't be permitted to marry? A person who understands there were no weapons of mass destruction, but who is nevertheless glad we got rid of Saddam Hussein? A person who knows that the war is wrong but who thinks it is in bad taste to protest?
In her fascinating book, Ferocious Romance, Donna Minkowitz writes that she found she had more in common with the right-wing groups she infiltrated than she did with many other "non-extremist" people. I understand that. As much as I profoundly disagree with right-wing people, and believe that much of their agenda is based on ignorance, I acknowledge that at least they give a damn. Their thinking about issues may be incomplete, but at least they have feelings about issues. They are no more frightening to me than the millions of Americans who are "too busy," or who "don't like politics," or are afraid to ever take a stand about anything.
NBC Ken doll poster boy for the dark side
Now we know what the more important issues are.
Perhaps Williams and John "the network pays my salary but I work for Monsanto" Stossel can go have a power lunch together. Pity there are no girls allowed, or Judith Miller could join them.
I have a better idea
Just how gay IS James Dobson, anyway?
Monday, December 05, 2005
September 11 recovery money diverted to large international corporations
Last month, a bipartisan group of Congresspeople, in a rare display of doing what we elected them to do, turned the heat up on the Bush administration over the fact that so many Katrina recovery contracts had gone to large corporations in the usual Bush no-bid way. As a result, the contracts were re-bid.Pity such a group wasn't around after September 11.
(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)
Good news, bad news
Something that is bothering me a lot, but doesn't seem to bothering anyone in the media
Why on earth didn't the engineering firm come forward and tell the public that they were about to get faultily designed levees?
Limbaugh goes back on the air in New Orleans
The station is inviting him to come here and see for himself the terrible destruction and the lack of federal response. It won't matter; he'll find a way to blame the state and the city for everything.
The issue is: Will any of Limbaugh's idiot fans see him for the lying piece of garbage he is? My guess is no. They found a way to let him off the hook for being a drug addict and a criminal, and they will find a way to let him off the hook for this. It doesn't help that the state's lack of foresight does play into the tragedy, and it doesn't help that the state legislature just showed its ass bigtime in a special session. But the facts remain: a federal agency built slipshod levees, and then refused to respond when a major tragedy occurred.
September 11 Commission still pretending they provided a service
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Honoring Jesus the Wal-Mart way
He also reminds us that the Catholic League boycotted Wal-Mart, in part because it was displeased with how little Christmas it found on a Wal-Mart website search. If I weren't so tired, I'd fall down and laugh. Or weep.
Wal-Mart discriminates against women by not paying them what it pays male employees doing the same or comparable work. Wal-Mart is not very nice when an employee files a disability claim. Wal-Mart has locked its night employees in so that, in an emergency, that would die. Wal-Mart has refused to give employees their legally earned lunch breaks. Wal-Mart is accused of not paying proper overtime wages. The list goes on and on. The Catholic League is an organization whose purpose is to promote religious and civil rights, but the best it could come up with to get excited about was Wal-Mart's alleged multiculturism.
The Heretik asks us when the shopping madness will end, and I have no answer, but it is certainly a cold irony that all of the fighting about honoring Jesus, damn it, is focused on great big stores where people buy gazillions of things in order to properly honor Jesus.
How can I honor Jesus if, when I give my last dollar to the nation's biggest employee-abuser, the clerk doesn't say "Merry Christmas!" to me?
How can I honor Jesus if, when I buy all those clothes made by slave children in sweat shops, the clerk says "Happy Holidays!" to me?
How can I honor Jesus if, when I buy a cartload of cosmetic products tested by pouring acid into the eyes of imprisoned cats and rabbits, the clerk takes Christ out of Christmas?
How can I honor Jesus, if, when I buy all that factory farm meat, the product of horrifically tortured cows, pigs, and birds, the clerk implies that there are people in my community who are not Christians?
What's a good Christian to do nowadays?
Vatican bans singer because of fear she would promote the use of condoms
The Catholic Church advises that the best way to stop the spread of AIDS is through "fidelity within heterosexual marriage, chastity, and abstinence." Just so you know.
Man in charge of Gulf Coast reconstruction reconstructs reality
Throughout the area hit by the hurricane, we will do whatever it takes. We will stay as long as it takes to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives. And all who question the future of the crescent city need to know there is no way to imagine America without New Orleans.
So much for that. Powell has also claimed he had no idea that the Army Corps of Engineers had refused to release documents relating to the construction of the levees, which were built all wrong because of the Corp's incompetence and neglect. Funny, it was in all of the newspapers, and all over television and the radio.
Garland Robinette, a long-time New Orleans broadcast figure and a leader in the current movement to hold the federal government to its promises, reported recently that Powell had been on his radio program, and Robinette had introduced the idea that since Louisiana supplies 30% of the nation's oil and more than 25% of its natural gas, it would be in the national interest to do whatever possible to help the state recover. Robinette then described Powell's response: Clueless.
Language, I say again for the 1,000th time, shapes our culture
Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am constantly ranting about the power of language, and that feminism will not take hold until women insist (like we did during the Second Wave) that we be referred to as women, not as girls. Neither men nor women refer to men as boys, except in the concept of "a night out with the boys," but grown women are constantly referred to as children: "This girl who works at my office" (who is usually about 35 years old), "I was dating this girl" (who turns out to be 30), etc. To refer to a man as a "boy" is rare indeed. The judge knew exactly what he was doing.
Kerry couldn't help but believe an honest man
Why? Because of Bush's prior record of honesty? His lies about his DUI's, his lies about his military record, his insider trading at Harken, his package of lies against Governor Richards, his theft of the 2000 election--none of that impressed Kerry. You can't blame him; it didn't impress the news media or the American people, either.
Saturday, December 03, 2005
I'm too sexy
Where is Al Jolsen when you need him?
I learned about "The Twelve Days of Kwaanza" on Intelligence Squad and Daily Kos, but the story is really much more interesting and complex than I thought. Chuck Knipp, who sings in drag as Shirley Q. Liquor, is clerk of the Gulf Coast Quakers, a professional chaplain, and a minister with the American Unitarian Conference. He is also a notary public, a registered nurse, and a libertarian. He does a radio show called "Daily Ignunce," and has performed with Tracy Morgan and Rupaul.
Shirley Q. Liquor is an intensely religious alcoholic black woman with nineteen children. Knipp's portray of Shirley has resulted in one of his sold-out New York shows being picketed by protesters.
Considering Knipp's association with African American performers, notably fellow comic Morgan, there is at least some evidence that some African Americans have accepted his act within a context of their knowlege of him. On the other side of the equation, however, is the fact that Knipp's holiday song is getting a lot of airplay on stations that are maybe not known for, shall we say, their hip sense of humor.