Sunday, December 31, 2006

They did it

They made it to 3,000 before the end of the year.

Mission accomplished, we've turned the corner, now watch this drive.

We'll use sexist language if we want to, and if you don't like it, you are stupid

For a long time now, it has angered me that people say of a man or woman who shows courage, "He (or "she") has balls. Gonads are male genitalia and have nothing at all to do with courage. To say that someone "has balls" or "grew balls" and mean that the person has courage is to say that the person has a male trait. But when did courage become a male trait?

Retired Col. W. Patrick Lang thinks that it is indeed a male trait. He rejected a comment made by Kathy of What Do I Know?, who pointed out the sexism in a commenter's statement that Saddam "died a man." Ever the military type, Lang not only rejected the comment, but informed Kathy that "I discipline people on my site, not you." Yes. Sir!

Lang also informed Kathy that "If you do not have the wit to understand that that line means that he died a resolute human being, then you have problems too profound for me to
deal with."

Here's the thing: It's okay to say that someone "died a man" or "died like a man," meaning, he was mature about it, if--and it's a very big "if"--you would also say that a female who died the same way "died a woman." The problem is, no one does say that, therefore making the original comment sexist. (If it turns out that the original commenter is a feminist who would indeed have said "died a woman," then I apologize, but I think I am on safe ground here.) People do not use "like a man" to mean "like a strong, true adult who happens to be male;" rather, they use it to mean "like a strong, true adult of either gender, only probably not a woman."

And as for you, Colonel, when did a "resolute human being" mean a male? I already know the answer: "It's just an expression." Right. Like "He has balls." Or "She has balls." Or "Our Father who art in heaven." Or "the lady policeman." Or "Joan Smith is the new chairman of the committee." There is nothing more important than language, and when language presumes that the primary referent of almost everything is male, that's called sexism.

Yes (I feel safe speaking for Kathy here), we understand what the commenter meant. He meant resolute. Brushing us aside by implying we don't get the literal meaning of something is not going to work. Resolute. Determined, intrepid, steadfast. Got it. But that is the problem--we understand that the word "resolute" is being used to imply "manly." And that is sexist.

For all of you do not have the wit to understand and recognize sexist language, your problem is indeed profound.

And still more poetry

I have a new poem in Muscadine Lines.

See also...

2,999 down, and counting

Another American soldier has been killed in Iraq. Only one more American troop death, and the Cheney/Bush/Rice machine will have the blood of 3,000 Americans on their hands before 2007 even gets here.

Hurricane--what hurricane?

da po' blog points out that Hurricane Katrina/Rita recovery (or lack thereof) did not make the AP's list of top 10 news stories of 2006. The crisis in Darfur barely made it--it's number 10. That Katrina stuff is apparently just so 2005.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Florida candidate denied right to inspect voting machine software

Remember Christine Jennings, the Florida Congressional candidate against whom the Republican Party spent $58 million on robo calls? The people who received such calls about Jennings were misled by the calls' content and thought that they were being warned about her by her own political party. They learned differently only if they listened to the entire call, which most of them did not. But when they hung up, they would be called again. And again. Most people, of course, did not want to listen to the entire call.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

What's wrong

With this picture?

Cowards, hypocrites and puppets

Sen. Clinton believes in "equality" for the LGBT community and opposes legislation that would ban gay marriage, yet she continues to oppose gay marriage.

Former Sen. Edwards believes in "equality" for the LBGT community, but "struggles" with the concept of gay marriage, and therefore opposes it.

Sen. Obama believes in "equality" for the LGBT community, but opposes gay marriage for "religious reasons."

I have said this many, many times, but I'll say it one more: ALL marriage in the U.S. are civil unions. If you go into a church and get a member of the clergy to perform a marriage ceremony for you, and you do not have a government certificate for the marriage--no matter how many thousands of beads have been sewn onto your dress and no matter how many Bibles you carry--you are NOT married.

There is no such thing as civil union v. marriage. But no one will step forward and debunk the myth that there is a difference between them. You are either married--meaning you have a legal civil union--or you are not. If your church is bigoted enough to not want to perform a religious ceremony for a gay couple that has a civil union, that is your church's own moral downfall. But your own civil union is no more legal or important than that couple's is. It is all marriage in the United States.

People who "oppose gay marriage," therefore, should oppose civil unions for gay couples, because they are the same thing.

North Carolina woman charged with "castration"

A drunken woman who grabbed a man's genitals at a party and did sufficient injury to require him to have about fifty stitches has been charged with "malicious castration." This is the first time that the charge has ever been brought in Lillington, North Carolina. The perpetrator was also charged with assault causing serious bodily injury.

Castration involves the removal, not the injury of, the testes. No testes were removed. The article about the incident does not say whether the woman was also charged with sexual assault, which she should have been. But it does give one pause: Is "sexual assault" too "feminine" a crime to record against a man? Might he then have been humiliated the rest of his life? Or, on the other hand, if there was a sexual assault charge, then why add a charge of castration, which didn't even take place?

If the tables had been turned, and the man had grabbed the woman's genitals and seriously injured her, he, too, would have been charged with assault causing serious bodily injury, and (in some circles, depending on whether he was running for governor of a western state) with sexual assault. But there is no way in hell he would ever have been charged with "malicious castration." (Let's face it--until 1977, Blue Cross/Blue Shield paid to have American women's genitals mutilated.)

Though what the North Carolina woman did was despicable, I hope she has an attorney who fights this especially sexist charge.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Whom Americans admire pretty much says it all

The annual Gallup poll, released today, shows George W. Bush as the "most admired man" in the U.S., depsite his percentage, 13, being down from 2005 (19%) and 2004 (23%). 13% is, of course, a frightfully small number of admirers of a sitting president, but it is still a larger number than the runner-up received. That would be Bill Clinton, with 5% of the vote. After him were: Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama, Billy Graham, Colin Powell, Pope Benedict XVI, Nelson Mandela, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Gates.

So bigots like Bush and and Powell and Benedict (and Obama) are admired, as are two members of the BFFE, one of whom is a liar, an idiot and an outright war criminal. Carter and Clinton are hardly two of my favorite people (though Carter was, once upon a time), but I can understand their getting votes for various reasons. Gates, too. And, of course, Mandela. The Graham vote is something I have never understood, but so be it.

The most admired woman this year was Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, with 13% of the vote (the same number she had in 2005 and 2004). The runner-up was the ethically confused animal abuse promoter Oprah Winfrey. The others were: Condoleeza Rice, Laura Bush, Margaret Thatcher, Angelina Jolie, Nancy Pelosi, Madeleine Albright, Barbara Bush, and Maya Angelou.

One assumes Jolie is on the list because of her work with children in crisis, and not for her social life. Jolie is a member of the LGBT community, however (could it be that the average poll respondent didn't know that?), so her inclusion on the list is more than interesting.

Are Americans so shallow, though, that any woman who has had a leadership role is automatically admired?

If I were compiling a list of my most admired people, I cannot imagine including most of these people. My list, I fear, would not be very popular.

Only 10 more to go

If the Bush administration hurries, it can claim to have killed 3,000 American troops by the end of this year. How many Iraqis this war will have killed is unknown, but the number is very, very large.

Update on good animal news

No sooner did I post about the NBA's getting rid of leather balls that a commenter informed me that the NBA has just decided to switch back to leather, giving us some bad animal news instead.

Friday cat blogging--how to open a Christmas present

Approach casually

Inhale as much catnip as possible

Grab the toy--a shiny octopus, in this case--and let it rip!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

A bit of good animal news

There is so little good news to report about the welfare of animals, but here is some:

  • The NBA has decided to follow the example of the NCAA and the WNBA--no more leather basketballs, thanks to PETA.
  • Disney Magic Cruise Line has added vegan items it its menu.
  • Aveda has switched from using pony hair to using synthetic materials for its makeup brushes, also thanks to PETA.
  • Architectural Digest is refusing to publish photos of walls covered with big game hunting "prizes."
  • Jane is refusing to feature fur items on its pages.

These are comparatively small victories, but their accomplishment shows a change in consciousness, however small. We are a very long way from getting rid of factory farms, slaughterhouses, lab animals, and slaps on the wrist (or no punishment at all, which is the usual consequence) for animal cruelty. But we are a tiny bit further along than we were.

Every time a bell rings, a Communist gets a foothold

Some of us consider It's A Wonderful Life to be one of the least appealing films ever made, but even our disdain cannot compare with the FBI's assessment of the 1946 Frank Capra ode to codependence. The Bureau thought that the film was a piece of Communist propaganda with an anti-consumerist message.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

John Edwards kicks off his campaign with a statement that infuriates me

Orelia Tyler wanted a team of volunteers to come to her newly restored New Orleans house and spread a load of soil in her back yard. She got more than she bargained for when presidential candidate John Edwards showed up to do the shoveling. No one bothered to tell Tyler that her house would be the scene of a political photo op, but even worse was what Edwards said when he got there.

"That’s why I’m in New Orleans," he said, " show what’s possible when we as Americans, instead of staying home and complaining about somebody else not doing what they’re supposed to, we actually take responsibility and we take action."

Well, thank you, but I happen to believe that whoever is not doing what s/he is supposed to be doing should be complained to, loudly and repeatedly, and should be forced to do it. That would be the federal government, whose inept and criminally negligent Army Corps of Engineers caused New Orleans to flood during Hurricane Katrina, and whose Department of Homeland Security did next to nothing when the flood occurrecd. It's great that volunteers are shoveling dirt, but all of the shoveling and rebuilding should be done by the organization--in this case, the federal government--that caused the disaster to occur. That's taking responsibility.

A new low in art crime

Art crimes abound, from the Christian/fascist censoring of former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, to the September 11 hysteria censoring of art throughout the country, to the very existence of the unindicted criminal otherwise known as Thomas Kincaide. But some New Orleans criminals may have struck a new low when they trashed a collection of John T. Scott's sculptures.

The acclaimed artist went to a warehouse where some of his sculptures and painting were stored, only to discover that scavengers had dismantled the sculptures so they could sell the bronze for scrap. The thieves will get a few hundred dollars, whereas potential buyers would have paid thousands of dollars per sculpture.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The invasion of East Timor--the forgotten incident

Both the New York Times and the Washington Post conveniently forgot to mention the invasion of East Timor in their obituaries of former president Gerald Ford, so I am mentioning it here. It wasn't pretty.

The Times and the Post can be forgiven, however. They, like all major news media, also omitted or glossed over all the horrors committed by former president Reagan.

The news media discovers the crime of rape

Amanda at Pandagon echoes my thoughts completely in her post about how CNN finally wakes up to the horror that is rape when men are the victims. "Then the story," she says, "gets on CNN and the audience learns all sorts of alarming things about rape, such as how traumatizing and humiliating it can be."

The post covers all of the other relevant issues: that straight men are afraid to report rape because there is something so "gay" about it; that gay men, like women, are afraid to report rape because they will be blamed for it, and that we don't talk about the rape of men in prisons because "they somehow deserve it even more than women or gay men."

Of course, we are talking about CNN, the poorest excuse for a "news" organization imaginable.

Monday, December 25, 2006

The indoor holiday garden

The unlit tree displays a variety of ornaments

A dove sits at the top of the tree, with a snowy owl nearby to keep it company

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The indoor holiday garden

A vase of berries on the buffet

Paperwhites in a Victorian Santa tin take their place between a Chinese plate and a Chinese horse

Berries from the yard in a vase on the dinner table

Friday, December 22, 2006

McCain goes looking in slime pool for more questionable staff members

Sen. John McCain's recent hiring of Karl Rove protege Terry "Call me" Nelson didn't surprise those of us who have never bought into the "straight talker," "maverick" image that has been manufactured by McCain and his supporters. Now McCain has hired yet another morally-challenged staff member, Jill Hazelbaker, as communications director for his New Hampshire campaign.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Friday cat blogging--Christmas edition

Velma's favorite spot is under the Christmas tree

But why is there a tree in the house?!

Roxie likes it when packages arrive

This crunchy snowman is mine!

You decide...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

You say "kinara," I say rhinestone-studded dinner jackets and candelabra

Courtesy of Media Matters for America, a conversation between Bill O'Reilly and a caller:

CALLER: I don't think that any religious symbol other than the Nativity should be put up during Christmas because Christmas is a federal holiday. Hanukkah is not, and winter solstice isn't. If they want them that way, pass the law and then you can put them up.

O'REILLY: Yeah. But then when you get into the exclusionary, you get into, "Yeah, it's a federal holiday, but we're only gonna honor the secular meaning of the holiday. We're not gonna honor the religion." And then you get the little baby Jesus. I can see where you're coming from. But I don't think--look, the spirit of the season is goodwill toward men, correct, [caller]?


O'REILLY: All right. So goodwill toward men means you're generous. And then if you're generous, you put up all the symbols. There is only--there's really only one symbol, and that's the menorah. There's no Kwanzaa symbol. Maybe--is there a 50 Cent that we have to put up or something? Is there a Kwanzaa symbol? What is that? It's a candelabra like Liberace had? All right. We'll put that up, too. I don't mind.

Considering that O'Reilly can't tell the difference between a bath sponge and an Israeli snack, he didn't do too bad with that question.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Wall Street Journal OpEd dishes up a huge helping of sexism

I read so many things that make me ill, but Danielle Crittendon's OpEd in The Wall Street Journal is so very vomit-inducing, it's worth mentioning. I don't have to say anything about it, though, because Alas, a blog has taken care of that, and quite well, I might add.

Greg Hansen gets smacked

By After Atlanta, and he deserves every bit of it. Misinformation about Title IX flows as freely as misinformation about feminism and the Iraq War.

Wreaths on vehicles

What the hell is this thing about hanging a wreath on a vehicle? I have seen a wreath on the front grille of a car, and one on the back of a jeep, attached to a trailer hitch. What does it mean? That your SUV will last throughout eternity? That fairies may relax inside your truck? It's almost as tacky as hanging an American flag on your Chevrolet.

Florida Congresswoman calls for assassinations all over the place

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen says she never said that she would welcome the assassination of Fidel Castro "or any leader who is oppressing the people," but that the video clips were manipulated to make it look like she said it. Actually, she did say it.

In calling for the elimination of oppressors, Ros-Lehtinen is requesting the assassination of the heads of state of several major countries and many smaller ones. At least she is fair-minded, and not just going after Communists. But what of the Americans--many of them Ros-Lehtinen's constituents--who want our own government to become even more oppressive than it is? The people who say the First Amendment "goes too far." The people who say that women cannot choose their own medications. The people who say that protesters should go to jail. The people who say that gay citizens cannot have the same rights as other citizens. The people who believe the government can spy on Americans as much as possible. The people who say that an American citizens can be imprisoned without charge and without benefit of an attorney. The people who support rigged elections.

Oops...sounds like the Florida Congresswoman wants to "get rid of" Bush.

There is no such thing as "humane" meat-eating

Thanks to Kathy of What Do I Know? for this excellent article from Satya. In it, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, founder of Compassionate Cooks, explains why there is no such thing as a "humanely" raised "meat" animal.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Muslims are coming!--Rep. Goode freaks out

Virgil Goode, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia, is concerned about immigration. "I fear," he said in a letter to his constituents, "that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt strict immigration policies."

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Chris Matthews wants to know

Is Senator Rodham Clinton "convincing" as a mom?

No, you overpaid, empty-headed, sexist waste of oxygen--she just plays one on TV. What would Matthews have her do? Chelsea is too old to have her mother give up her career to stay home and be a Brownie leader. Senator and President Clinton are probably past the point of having more children. What would it take for Matthews to find Clinton "acceptable" and "convincing" as a mother?

And you know how tired we get of his asking whether Giuliani and McCain and Edwards and Obama are "convincing" as dads.

Send good wishes to Speaker Pelosi

New York City jailed protesters in violation of the Constitution

For more than two months in 2001, protesters in New York City who were arrested were jailed overnight instead of being given summonses, a violation of both the First Amendment right to free speech and the 14th Amendment right to due process. Those arrested were protesting the police killing of unarmed Guinean immigrant Amadou Diallo.

The plaintiffs also sought to show that in the two previous years, the city had an unwritten policy of locking up protesters, but the jury determined that such proof was not present in the plaintiffs' case.

The Giuliani years were filled with violations of citizens' civil rights. Something like 26 or 27 civil rights cases were filed against the mayor personally. He lost all of them.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The indoor holiday garden

Christmas cactus on the bay window ledge

Quote of the week

"You know, why wouldn't--why wouldn't nature then make it that anybody could get pregnant by eating a cupcake?"
Bill O'Reilly on why same-gender parenting is bad for children

Everyone needs a little irony for Christmas

20,000 "Christmas Packs," available for a donation of $29, have been sold. 508,000 buttons, 125,000 bumper stickers, and 100,000 magnets have been sold. 12,000 legal memos have been sold. The buttons bear the message, Merry Christmas: It's Worth Saying, and the packs include two lapel pins and a 3-page legal memo.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Lesbians in Oklahoma attacked

The FBI has been asked to help out in an Oklahoma case involving the physical attack of lesbians. Two Oklahoma women were accosted, beaten, and wound up with anti-gay epithets carved into their skin. The FBI says it may be able to help state law enforcement develop a profile for the perpetrator(s), but they say their hands are tied with regard to providing any other assistance. In fact, they have not yet agreed to participate in the case at all.

In the event that the perpetrators are caught, they cannot be tried under any federal statute because the federal hate crimes legislation does not include gays and lesbians. The U.S. House of Representatives voted to include gays and lesbians, but the Senate dropped the bill in May.

Gilligan and Pruett furious with Dobson over his distortion of their work

Well-known researcher and author Dr. Carol Gilligan is blasting child-abusing, dog-beating, breathtakingly homophobic James Dobson for disorting her research in a column he wrote for Time Magazine.

Focus on the Family's Dobson wrote:

According to educational psychologist Carol Gilligan, mothers tend to stress sympathy, grace and care to their children, while fathers accent justice, fairness and duty. Moms give a child a sense of hopefulness; dads provide a sense of right and wrong and its consequences. Other researchers have determined that boys are not born with an understanding of "maleness." They have to learn it, ideally from their fathers.

Says Gilligan: "My work in no way suggests same-gender families are harmful to children or can't raise these children to be as healthy and well adjusted as those brought up in traditional households." She says a lot more than that, too, including that she was "mortified" when she read what Dobson had written.

Yale's Dr. Kyle Pruett was just as angry over what Dobson wrote about his findings:

On page 134 of the book you cite in your piece, I wrote, 'What we do know is that there is no reason for concern about the development or psychological competence of children living with gay fathers. It is love that binds relationships, not sex.'"

What is really disturbing is what has been left unsaid: That Time Magazine would provide a guest columnist slot for a man who advocates the hitting of children, and the re-hitting of them if they cry more than the "genuine" two minutes they are allotted. A man who has bragged about beating his dog in order to assert his "authority." A man who believes that homosexuality can be "prevented" and "cured," that gay men are prone to be pedophiles, that women should submit to the "authority" of their husbands, and that Spongebob Squarepants may be part of the "gay agenda."

When prostitutes are murdered...

The Shouty Woman has a message for the so-called journalists who are covering the victims of the Ipswitch murderer, and she is spot-on. Thanks to Mind the Gap for this post, and be sure you read Mind the Gap's take on the whole horrid affair.

Episcopal rift becomes wider

With the withdrawal of eight Virginia churches from the American Episcopal Church, the divide caused by ordination of gay priests and bishops becomes more pronounced. These churches have chosen to align with the Anglican church, and will have to be adopted by conservative Anglican congregations in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The congregations of two large Episcopal churches in Virginia are voting on whether to align with a church in Nigeria. If they do so, they will be answering to an archbishop, Peter Akinola, who believes it should be illegal for homosexuals to form oganizations, read gay literature and eat together in public places.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The indoor holiday garden

A garland of pine wraps around the dining room chandelier

Around the living room ceiling fan

And over the hall tree

And the almost-indoor garden....

One of a pair of urns on the front porch

The wreath

Update on St. Bernard dog shooting--much more horrible than we thought

Many of you will remember that when the residents of St. Bernard fled Hurricane Katrina last year, many of them--thinking they would return soon--left plenty of food and water for their dogs. When they returned, some of those people found their dogs dead, not from starvation or drowning, but from gunshot wounds. Members of the St. Bernard Sheriff's Department had killed them.

There was a lot of outrage over these shootings, which seemed mindless and cruel, but we have only just learned how cruel they were. Most of us assumed that a group of ignorant, inhumane law enforcement officers decided it was easier to shoot dogs than round them up for the animal rescue groups. But that isn't what happened at all. Now that a lawsuit has been filed against the deputies, the truth has finally come out: The nearly twenty deputies did not go in and mow down the dogs. They shot them in ways that would cause them to suffer great pain and slowly bleed to death. The dogs were shot in the mouth, the hindquarters and the feet. In other words, the St. Bernard post-Katrina dog shooting was an act of malicious sadism.

Threatening the dogs' guardians with arrest if they tried to bring them along on the rescue vehicles, law enforcement officers assured people their dogs would be safe. Then they tortured them. Had their been no suit filed, what really happened would have covered up forever, depsite the sheriff of St. Bernard Parish suddenly reassuring everyone he didn't want to be part of a cover-up.

Holiday consumer marketing--sexism at its finest

Ken has a good post at Coffee Spoons about how pervasive gender stereotypes are during the holidays. I agree. Last year, I wrote about Barnes and Noble's offering of "Grandma's Purse" and "Grandpa's Briefcase" as toys. And while I do not blame marketing people for doing everything possible to appeal to women during the holidays--many women have a pathological need to decorate, shop, wrap, cook, bake, sew, and organize until they are near-crazy--the assumption that men do not ever shop, cook, attend Christmas concerts, listen to Christmas music, and decorate their houses is absurd. (Where I live, in fact, men probably do as much holiday cooking as women.)

But that isn't even the issue. The issue is that during the holidays, very rigid gender stereotypes--always present in our culture--are drawn out to ridiculous extremes. The jewelry store ads probably bother me the most: The assumption is that no woman ever bought a piece of jewelry for a man; rather, jewelry is something that must be given by a man to a woman. And that only by buying a woman jewelry will she "know" that you love her.

I am also sickened by ads that tell women to stop buying men clothes and buy them tools. The last time I checked, the men in my life still liked nice shirts, pants, jackets, and yes--ties. It goes without saying you have to know a man's (or a woman's) taste in clothing before you buy him something to wear, but wouldn't the women being appealed to in these ads have that kind of knowledge?

Of course, there is an unspoken, but always-present, message in these types of ads--that clothes are "feminine" and tools are "masculine." Men have to wear clothes, yes, but they are not supposed to think about clothes or enjoy clothes. That is for the gay men and the metrosexuals (god, how I loathe that word). But real men (even the ones who say their wives dress them), in real life, do talk about clothes, and they enjoy being complimented on their clothes. They may not be as interested in clothes as many women are, but the interest they do have is not "feminine."

Of course, the reverse is true, too, but it is so under the radar, no one even thinks about it: A lot of women would like to have new tools and electronic gadgets, but apart from the notebook computer and the ubiquitous ipod, they are probably out of luck.

A Flakey and delicious meal

As a regular reader of What Do I Know?, I always look forward to Kathy's Wednesday Food Blogging, and from time to time, I prepare one of her dishes. I have never been disappointed. We had dinner guests last night, and I decided to turn to Kathy's stash of recipes for inspiration for part of the meal.

I made strawberry daiquiris, using freshly harvested Louisiana strawberries, picked in an early harvest. To go with them, I made a white bean spread, which I served with crackers. That got us through the sit-and-chat part of the evening. For dinner, I served a warm endive salad flavored with fig-infused white balsamic vinegar, Kathy's lemon and rosemary flatbread (with rosemary from my garden), Kathy's Swiss chard with white beans over penne, and finally, Kathy's strawberry parfait, again, using Louisiana strawberries. I served a 2003 Callifornia syrah, and music was provided by Elvis Costello, Talking Heads and the B-52s.

All three What Do I Know? menu items were superb. The flatbread was piquant and herbal at the same time, and the pasta dish was absolutely delicious. I have served Swiss chard with pasta before, but I like Kathy's recipe better than my own. The parfait was a big hit--just the right consistency. Fortunately, there is leftover pasta, so we have a good meal planned for this evening. And my second loaf of flatbread will work for my dinner party next Saturday night.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Friday cat blogging--Meet Tarzan!

Last week, when I introduced Ziggy Stardust, I said the story would be continued. The rest of the story is Tarzan, who was also part of the TNR project. When Tarzan was first trapped, he appeared to be one of the few kittens who was truly feral. Despite our attempts to tame him, he snarled and growled and spat and lunged, so we determined that he really did belong with ferals, and let him return to his colony. Not too long after that, he began to grow tame around his caretakers. He was trapped and brought here, and by this time, all of the foster kittens were gone except for Ziggy Stardust, whom I realized I probably couldn't give up.

From the moment Tarazn re-appeared and moved into a pen next to Ziggy's, Ziggy became significantly calmer. The two were allowed to have playtime together, and they got along famously. When we went to Montreal, we were up in the air about the whole situation, so we boarded the kittens, along with Roxie and Velma. During their boarding period, Ziggy and Tarzan played together constantly and became best friends.

What could we do? We had to keep both of them. I wasn't really ready for that, and Roxie and Velma are adjusting, but with queen-like reluctance. I hope that some day, they can all become friends. At least, this way, Ziggy has a kitten to occupy him; otherwise, he would be in even more trouble for using Roxie's tail as a toy.

Tarzan loves to play, and is very affectionate, though still a bit afraid. He will probably do better socially once he stops sneaking up on the big tortie cat and saying "Me Tarzan--you Velma!"

Thursday, December 14, 2006

If these are compliments, I'd hate to hear the insults

People are calling in to C-Span to talk about Speaker Pelosi, and the "praise" includes comments like: "I didn't know how a woman would be in this position, but I'm pleased with her," "She expresses herself more than any woman I've ever seen in Congress," etc.

But hey--there's no need for a feminist movement in the U.S., right?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Farewell, Lindsay--we'll miss you like crazy

Lindsay Davenport hasn't yet used to "r" word, but she is pregnant, and says she "can't imagine" playing tennis again.

The three-time Grand Slam winner and holder of an Olympic gold medal has won 51 singles titles and 36 doubles titles in her very illustrious career, was ranked number one in the world for a total of 98 weeks, and gave lessons on sportswomanship just by showing up. Davenport has won so many awards, I couldn't begin to list them here. And it is just like her to find a way to get out of doing a farewell tour or even playing in a farewell tournament. Instead, she is just quietly going away, which is how Lindsay Davenport does things.

For her die-hard fans, this personal good news is a bit hard to take. Davenport's Slam wins came several years ago, when she wasn't playing as well as she has played for the last few years, even after suffering a severe injury that took her out for months. But she has sustained many more injuries, and has also had some of the worst luck of any top player. 2004 should have been her year (in terms of Slams--it was her year, otherwise), but things happened. 2005 should have been her year, but more things happened.

The freak foot injury in the 2004 U.S. Open semifinal, after she had won the entire U.S. Open series and was a shoo-in to take the title, was the first really bad piece of luck. The heat exhaustion in the 2005 Australian Open final, after she had played both singles and doubles to the bitter end to support her cancer-recovering friend Corina Morariu, was the next. Then came her heart-breaking loss to Venus Williams in the thriller 2005 Wimbledon final, in which Davenport held a match point.

After that, it was one injury after another, and the worst one wasn't physical--it was Sony Ericsson WTA Tour executive director Larry Scott's decision to deny her a couple of crucial wild cards when the rules permitted him to give them to her. She has talked about taking legal action against Scott, but I don't know if that is relevant now.

Davenport's huge serve, powerful, pinpoint returns, and remarkably clean groundstrokes made her a standout on every court but clay, and she wasn't half bad on that surface. She was an articulate spokeswoman for women in sports, and a fair-minded, good-humored opponent. And other than posing for a "Got milk?" ad, Davenport showed good judgment and wisdom in practically everything she did in her career. We all assumed 2006 would be her last year, and some of us still hoped there would be one more Slam win. Now she is gone from the courts, just like that, and it is going to take a long time for many of us to accept her absence. I, for one, am very sad to see her go.

Some speech is more inappropriate than other speech

Ever since Rosie O'Donnell joined the cast of The View, she has received sharp criticism from other members of the media. O'Donnell's pique with Kelly Ripa over a supposedly homophobic remark seems silly to some, significant to others. Joe Scarborough--who is as obsessed with O'Donnell as Keith Olbermann is with Britney Spears--has sharply criticized O'Donnell for saying such "inappropriate" things as her observations that radical Christianity is as threatening as radical Islam, and that Bush is less than a stellar example of a leader. Other conservatives were oh, so shocked by O'Donnell's statement that post-September 11 America is like the McCarthy era.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Eating tofu is SO gay

According to Megashift Ministries chairman and founder/chairman of Open Church Ministries James Rutz, penises are shrinking and men are becoming gay, gay, gay as I write this because they are consuming soy products. According to Rutz, the estrogen in soy milk, tofu, and much of our refined food is creating a nation of "feminized" men. Note that, to Rutz, smaller penis means "feminine," and, of course, gay means "feminine."

Rutz subscribes to the theory that a large amount of soy can cause breast cancer, and I'm guessing he believes that industrial estrogens can also cause both breast and ovarian cancer. These theories have not been proven, but many scientists continue to be highly suspicious of industrial estrogens, and with good reason.

But there's more to consider...using Rutz's own reasoning, it follows that lesbians who consume soy products would become heterosexual, since they, too, would be more "feminized" (which, to Rutz, obviously means "straight"). And God only knows what it does to heterosexual women. Do they start looking and acting like drag versions of Marilyn Monroe?

And finally, if drinking soy milk can make men gay, what becomes of the "lifestyle choice" theory that is so beloved by conservatives, and especially conservative clergy? Is it possible to become gay from eating tofu burgers but not from being born that way?

Monday, December 11, 2006

I'm a few days late for this

But please spend some time reading Rad Geek's post on the 17th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. On December 6, 1989, fourteen women were murdered and eight were injured because a man with a gun hated feminists. Nothing has changed.

Why should Cheney have all the fun?

Soon, blind people in Texas may be able to hunt, too.

Another one bites the dust

Though warned by his father about what to do if a "fag" approached him, evangelical mega-church pastor Paul Barnes didn't quite get the message.

"House ethics committee"--oxymoron supreme

Every state in the union requires mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse by health care providers, mental health care providers, teachers, day care providers, and law enforcement personnel. Many states also require mandatory reporting from film developers and members of the clergy. Mandatory reporters cannot be held liable in a court of law (unlike reporters--even veterinarians--of most animal abuse, which is sick, but that is another topic). The abuse does not have to be proven, but "suspected," and can include physical abuse, neglect or sexual abuse. "Psychological" or "emotional" abuse may be reportable, but mandatory reporters know that it is useless to report it (the courtrooms would be clogged forever).

Sexual abuse can include rape, sexual touching; production, viewing and distribution of child pornography, involvement in child prostitution, inappropriate conversations or sexual name-calling, sexual harrassment in school or some comparable situation--such as the Congressional page program. But members of Congress, we learn, do not have to be held to any kind of reporting standard at all.

We know that former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, page board chairman Rep. John Shimkus, and Congressman Thomas Reynolds and his former chief of staff Kirk Fordham all covered up for former Congressman Mark Foley's sexual predation of male Congressional pages. Shimkus's behavior was especially shameful. He failed to say anything to the Democrats on the page board because, he has admitted, he was afraid one of them would "use" the information.

Now, the House ethics committe has concluded that Hastert, Shimkus, Reynolds, Fordham, and who knows how many others did not violate House rules. This is what the report says:

"...the requirement that House members and staff act at all times in a manner that reflects creditably on the House does not mean that every error in judgment or failure to exercise greater oversight or diligence” is a violation.

All that is lacking here is an appearance by the Red Queen. "Divide a loaf by a knife" indeed. The stunning accumulation of acts of neglect, cover-up, evasion, and endangerment does not count. All that counts is each individual "slip." There is a word for this reasoning, and the word is "amorality." You know how desperate the Republicans were when they intentionally gave up a chance to do some gay-bashing in order to preserve their ranks. To hell with the adolescents. Protecting minors from sexual abuse is apparently not a "family value," but we already knew that.

Also to be considered--and indeed, it has been mentioned by quite a few Republican apologists, including Bill Maher--is our culture's belief that adolescents do not need to be protected; rather, adults need to be protected from them. If Foley had sexually stalked female pages, plenty of people would have rushed to blame the "seductive" girls (Monica Lewinsky obviously does not count). And just imagine, if a Congresswoman had sexually stalked male pages: Wink, nudge--we sure wish we had been abused like that! Because adolescents are generally blamed for their perpetrators' actions, it probably seemed a safe bet to the so-called ethics committee to let the guilty go free. Especially since we all know that boys can "take care of themselves," and any boy who was caught up in Foley's campaign obviously "wanted" to be.

Then there are those who suggest we do away with the page program. Apparently, it is so difficult for members of Congress to control themselves when it comes to pages, that the only way to keep these adolescents safe is to not have a page program in the first place.

"...we are the aroma of Jesus Christ"

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a watchdog group, has asked the Defense Department to investigate whether some Army and Air Force officers violated department regulations by appearing in uniform in a video to promote the Christian Embassy, an evangelical group.

Christian Embassy was founded by Washington officials, businesspeople and Campus Crusade for Christ founder Bill Bright. Its stated mission:

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Richard Doll turns out to have been Monsanto's own

Sir Richard Doll is famous for proving that smoking causes cancer, but I hope that, after a recent disclosure, he also becomes famous for having no integrity whatsoever. It turns out that Doll took money from the devil--otherwise known as Monsanto--for twenty years. During this period, Doll was "investigating" cancer risks within the chemical industry. For $1,500 a day, Doll found the inspiration to declare that Agent Orange did not cause cancer.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Friday, December 08, 2006

The not-so-divine Miss M

I never heard Bette Midler referring to Mick Jagger or Jim Morrison or Warren Beatty or Colin Farrell as "wild and wooly sluts," but those are her words for Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.

I am so tired of being despised for my gender

If there is anyone out there who thinks that feminism is (a) not necessary or (b) something that has accomplished its goals, please take a few moments and experience utter disgust by the series of events described in this Feminist Law Professors post, which will also direct you to the work of I Blame the Patriarchy and Pandagon.

A whole lot of men hate women. Period. Some men think they don't hate women, but they do. Thankfully, some men actually do not hate women, and they are the ones who need to step forward, with women and girls, and stop the chronic abuse and humiliation of females.

Every time a woman or girl is raped or sexually assaulted, every time a female over 18 is called a "girl," every time a woman or girl who has sex is called a "slut," every time an assertive woman is called a "bitch," every time a hip hop song describes the assault and humiliation of women, every time a woman has to listen to unwanted remarks about her body, every time a qualified professional woman learns her salary is less than that of a man who is not as qualified, every time news personalities talk about a female politician's clothes instead of her policies, every time a pharmacist violates his own code of ethics and refuses to dispense medicine to a woman, every time the Bush administration or the people of California place a sex criminal into a high government position, every time Mike Tyson is praised and honored, every time men view photos or films of women and girls being humiliated and subjugated for "pleasure," every time women who turn men down are called lesbians or feminists, every time a woman with some power is called "shrill," every time a woman walks down the street and receives unwanted sexual invitations, every time someone talks about the "woman cop" or the "lady lawyer," every time an ad tells women they should be ashamed of not looking "young," every time a woman scientist or professor learns that vital professional networks have purposefully excluded her, every time a magazine talks about how women have to "balance" home and career, every time a woman's ideas are rejected and the same ideas uttered by a man are praised, every time a parent "warns" her daughter about birth control but not her son, every time a man assumes it is his job to propose marriage...every time these and dozens of other misogynist events occur, it wounds me. It wounds all women and girls. It wounds the culture.

In other cultures, it is even worse. Girls are murdered at birth because they are girls, they are mutilated, sold as sex slaves, sexually assaulted on public transportation as a matter of course, executed for committing adultery (and sometimes for being raped), and forced into marriages to HIV-positive men.

If you are a woman or a girl, speak up. If you are a man or boy who believes women and girls are human, speak up. If you are a parent, you will have to fight what is being taught, both overtly and covertly, by the schools and churches in your community. If you do not fight for your daughters now, they will never learn to fight for themselves.

An' the train done gone

Pam's House Blend points out how very disturbed the right wing is that Mary Cheney is having a baby and there is no father. Well, think about it: If Dick Cheney were your father, wouldn't you be tempted to make the same choice?

Cheney's partner, Heather Poe, has zero rights under the new Virginia "no gay marriage or benefits or rights ever" law. Will Mary and Heather move to California or Vermont? Will the baby be on show at the next Republican convention? Will Mary suddenly realize the meaning of "internalized homophobia"? Does anyone care?

Please read this editorial and send it to ten people

Bob Marshall nails it.

Friday cat blogging--Introducing Ziggy Stardust!

Sometimes you can't give a foster kitten up. That was the case with Ziggy Stardust, who is now over 6 months old, but who has been living with us since he was only a couple of months old. He lived in my home office, and--despite my determination to put him up for adoption with the others--I found I just couldn't let him go. He is gentle and affectionate, and a lot of fun. Roxie and Velma (our resident cats, and co-empresses of the universe) are less than thrilled, and I feel very bad for them, even though I know people add pets to their households all the time.

Ziggy's sister, also one of the trapped ferals (and, like Ziggy, not really feral at all) is now living happily on a farm in Georgia, where she has new friends.

Because he was trapped in a TNR program, Ziggy had the tip of one ear cut off for "neutered feral" identification. His goals include getting an earring for the lopped ear and taking Roxie for a ride in a sports car.

(To be continued...)

Foster cat update

The TNR project has finally wound down. Many cats and kittens were trapped and neutered and spayed. Most of the kittens turned out to be not feral. Three of the cats (one, the sister of Ziggy Stardust), were taken to a farm in Georgia, where they are now happy barn cats. The beautiful orange brothers (I called them my orange muffins) are at an adoption facility, waiting for a home. Probably because they had to be fostered much longer than normal, they have not adjusted that well, but are doing better. Two of the other kittens went to another adoption facility. They, too, were to have been adopted together because--when we had them--they were inseparable. However, once they got to their new temporary home, they fought so much they had to be separated. The male, a beautiful silver tabby kitten, has been adopted, and the gray tabby female (her adoption name is Macy Gray), one of my very favorites of the group, is still waiting for a home. I wish I could have kept her; we were attached to one another.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Give yourself the gift of art and beauty

At the recent Ice Wars, Olympic gold medal winner Shizuka Arakawa skated two of the best programs of her career. Arakawa does not have a chest of major event gold medals like Michelle Kwan or Irina Slutskaya. She won worlds in 2004, and the Olympic gold this year; Japan didn't even enter her in the 2002 Olympics. Her name will most likely never be a household word. Her career blossomed slowly over time, and she retired, this year, at its peak. However, in my opinion, Arakawa's combination of jumping skill, speed, amazing flexibility, and stunning artistic grace make her one of the all-time great female figure skaters. She doesn't have the titles (not unlike the brilliant Sasha Cohen, but she has all of the elements of greatness.

Arakawa is so flexible, that during her Olympic free skate, she held her left leg straight up during a spiral, then let go of it, and the foot remained up. Her Ina Bauer is probably the greatest that has ever been performed. Cool Beauty has retired from competition, but long may she skate.

There is no short program and free skate combination at the Ice Wars, nor are there technical requirements. The skaters do what amounts to two free skates, making them as technically difficult as they wish. Here is Arakawa's first brilliant skate, and here is her second. Enjoy.

If you can't beat 'em, hire 'em

Sen. John McCain, who was smeared mercilessly by the Rove machine when he ran for president in 2000, has hired Terry Nelson to manage his 2008 presidential campaign, if such a campaign materializes. Nelson was national political director of George W. Bush's 2004 campagin, but his most recent fame comes from having masterminded the "Call me" spot that is considered to have stirred up every racist thought in Tennessee.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

A very good documentary

I admire Eve Ensler very much and consider her one of the most important feminists in the world. Last night, I saw a documentary on the preparation of her transgendered version of The Vagina Monologues. Beautiful Daughters, directed and produced by Josh Aronson and Ariel Orr Jordan, introduces us to the women who performed the groundbreaking script in West Hollywood in 2004. It is tragic, funny and memorable.

The saddest part, for me, was hearing one of the women describe how her partner was beaten to death in his sleep with baseball bats when his "friends" discovered the history of his girlfriend's sexual identity. Another woman said that what threatens men is "the feminine." I believe she is absolutely correct. If one man could have a woman lurking inside him, perhaps all men could, and what could be worse than finding out even some small part of you is a woman?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Congratulations to Amelie Mauresmo

My favorite WTA player, who just won the International Tennis Writers' Association's Player of the Year Award and also the Ambassador for Tennis Award. My favorite player on the men's side, Roger Federer, also won both of the awards. Federer has won both awards three years straight now.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Who's classless now?

By now, most people have heard about the exchange between George W. Bush and newly elected Congressman Jim Webb of Virginia. To refresh your memory: At a White House reception, Bush asked Webb, "How's your boy?", referring to the Congressman's son Jimmy, who is serving in Iraq. "I'd like to get them out of there," Webb replied, and Bush said "I didn't ask you that, I asked how's he doing."

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Whereby Dr. Neave "proves" that women are programmed to be dependent on men

Here is an excerpt:

At the risk of sounding extraordinarily sexist, I'm convinced that women, even in the happiest of relationships, are programmed to worry their men are going to abandon them.

That is probably true. In fact, we've all been programmed to believe we cannot be alone for 24 hours. What this "expert" forgets to mention, though, is that men must be programmed to do the same thing because--in my experience--they are much more invested in such worrying. I do not say this casually, but as a career-long observer and listener. Most women have a tight network of emotional support, and most men do not. That is why I think man men marry again so soon after divorce; they are dependent on their spouses or partners as the only strong emotional support in their lives.

Actually, the article blunders (in an intro not written by Neave) in its very first line: "We live in an age in which women have earned complete independence." Oh? That would mean that women are paid the same as men for doing the same job, that women are given the same opportunities for hiring and promotion, that women are free to pursue their careers without fearing sexual harrassment and gender discrimination, that women are not expected to shoulder most, if not all, of the burden of child care.

One of the points Neave makes is that very young women are more interested in marrying doctors and such than they are in assessing the attractiveness of potential mates. And I do believe there is programming involved in this pitiful phenomenon, as well as the one the author describes about women who resent that their husbands do not make as much money as they do. It is social programming, which results in lack of consciousness and internalized sexism. Of course young women think they are supposed to earn less money than their husbands--they still think they are supposed to sit by the phone and wait for men to ask them out, too.

The question is: Can females be "deprogrammed?" I am beginning to doubt that they can. The powers of sexism are so strong that--despite the Second Wave campaign to raise the consciousness of both women and men--we are, in many ways, back where we were in the 60s. And since women are still not given equal pay and equal opportunity and they are still bearing children, of course they are worried about their financial security. But worrying about being abandoned? That's men's work.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Soldiers say PTSD diagnosis gets them shunned and purged from the Army

Not since the war began have I heard anything quite as disturbing as a feature on today's "All Things Considered" about the plight of U.S. soldiers who have developed PTSD and suicidal depression from what they have seen and done in Iraq. The soldiers in the story, all stationed at Ft. Carson, Colorado, tell not only of not being able to get mental health treatment, but of being shunned, cited for misconduct and thrown out of the Army.

One of their commanders explains that he does not believe that most of the soldiers diagnosed with PTSD have the disorder; instead, he believes they are just afraid to return to combat. He also explains that dealing with mentally ill soldiers gets in the way of his performing his urgent duties.

The things that the soldiers describe seeing are horrific. When people see (and do) horrific things, they are likely to develop post-traumatic stress, especially if they have had previous, unresolved trauma issues. Those issues could include anything from childhood abuse to a serious motor vehicle accident. War is ugly, violent, inhumane, cruel, and sadistic. Those who participate in it are very likely to get PTSD, become suicidally depressed, and numb their feelings with alcohol and drugs. It is the ones who do not have symptoms who alarm me.

And to add insult to injury, one of the main interviewees in the NPR story explained that he went to Iraq in order to "avenge the September 11 attacks."

Dumbing down figure skating

I enjoy watching figure skating and have strong favorites I like to follow (sadly, I didn't know that the Ice Wars were on CBS the other day, and I missed what some say were Shizuka Arakawa's greatest skates--I've had to settle for watching them on YouTube). I probably know a little more about figure skating than the average person, but only a little. It is a complex sport, and even though I have a very good eye for the artistic half of it, I am just a laywoman when it comes to most of the technical aspect.

So I am disappointed that the Marshalls U.S. Figure Skating Challenge, which takes place next Sunday, is "scored" by the spectators. I know it's supposed to be "fun," but having people who do not truly understand the technical (and in some cases, the artistic) aspect of skating decide who wins a competition rubs me the wrong way. It's like when CNN has a poll asking people to determine complicated global or judicial decisions. Or like when the U.S. has an election.

Army Spec. Swift chooses Court Martial over signing agreement

Army Spec. Suzanne Swift made news in June when she went AWOL and refused a second deployment to Iraq. Swift's refusal came about because she was the victim of sex crimes. According to Swift, the seargent who told her mother, "Don't worry, M'am, we'll take good care of your daughter," went on to make her "his private" by coercing her to have sex with him. Swift says that several of his colleagues pressured her for sex, and refusing them led to increased sexual harrassment.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Ellison decides not to swear on the Bible--the world as we know it collapses

Right-wing nutcake Dennis Prager is coming unglued because newly elected Congressman Keith Ellison plans to take his swearing-in oath on the Quran instead of the Bible, which makes perfect sense, since he is a Muslim. Said Prager: "America, not Keith Ellison, decides what book a Congressman takes his oath on." Prager went on to say that Ellison's use of the Quran "undermines American civilization."

Well, Dennis, you head-spinning fascist, I'm America, and I say Congressman Ellison should use his own holy book--or no holy book--to take his oath. And here's something else for you to think about:

Perhaps it would be refreshing for those taking the oath to step aside if they plan to commit mail fraud, illegally manipulate Congressional districts, use public money to buy their private possessions, participate in bribery schemes, evade taxes, commit fraud, drive while intoxicated, take illegal campaign contributions, cover up scandals, beat their wives, accept illegal gifts, and molest pages. Swearing on the Bible didn't seem to do much for a lot of these people.

The autumn garden

Berries change color on a shrub outside the bay window

The Japanese azalea bloomed a month late this year, but in greater proliferation than ever

Limbaugh and Scarborough insult women--what else is new?

People on radio and television utter disgusting sexist remarks every day (consider Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Brian Williams, and Bill Maher), but sometimes someone goes so over the top--in this case, both Rush Limbaugh and Joe Scarborough--that I have to whack myself on the head in the hope of ridding myself of the delusion that this is 21st Century America.

Sexist remarks--both the blatant kind and the kind that just come natural to "liberal" people like Maher and Matthews--do not surprise me, but I remember a time, not that many decades ago, when making them would have gotten you into a lot of trouble. Sure, the feminist blogosphere was quick to call Olbermann on his double-standard nastiness, but it wasn't news. Liberal women, as a group, seem to adore Maher.

What if Scarborough or Matthews or any of them had said demeaning things about African Americans? There would have been an uproar. Sure, a lot of people would have winked and nudged and said "political correctness is the problem," but at least the problem woud have been recognized and publicized. But making insulting and unkind remarks about women and girls is acceptable. The California gubernatorial election showed us, in fact, that even assaulting women and girls is acceptable.

One of the myths of contemporary America is that since women like Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Condoleezza Rice have powerful positions in government, women have "made it." The reality is, our sexist culture now has bigger targets.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Pat Cash--still sexist, still offensive, still clueless

Australian tennis great Pat Cash, in a recent interview for the Belfast Telegraph, said he is "sick of the women whining on" about wanting equal pay. "They need to come into the real world and stop making it such a big issue...they need to stop this crap and live in the real world. They're getting paid a million dollars for winning a tournament and they are moaning."

Cash also said "When I hear about it I just want to tell them to 'shut the hell up!' I think the women are overpaid. To be honest, I think they're all overpaid."

He went on to mock Venus Williams, who has become the spokeswoman for women's rights in tennis, Williams was outspoken this year in her call for equal pay at Wimbledon. The argument generally made against equal pay for women is that men play the best three out of five sets and women play the best two out of three--therefore, men work harder.

There are a couple of things wrong with this argument. First, if women are playing two out of three because they do not have the physical endurance of men, then two out of three for them is the same as three out of five for men. But if women have the endurance to play three out of five, then someone, like the Wimbledon tournament, needs to allow them to. The top women players have repeatedly asked to play three out of five at Wimbledon (the used to play three out of five at the Year-End Championships) and the tournament organizers have turned down their request.

You can't have it both ways: Either two out three for women is the same physical job as three out of five for men, in which case, women should get equal pay. Or if women are stronger than that, they should be granted their request to play three out of five, and get equal pay.

An argument is also made that since tennis is entertainment as well as a sport, the amount of work the WTA players do to promote the sport entitles them to get top pay. There is something to be said for that, but it seems clear to me that the real argument can be won by using logic rather than sexism, which--in the tennis world, and especially at Wimbledon--is called "tradition."

People like Pat Cash are incapable of understanding the flaws in the no-equal-pay "argument" because of their contempt for women.

Today is World AIDS Day

On World AIDS Day, we remember former president Ronald Reagan, who stood by and did nothing while men all over the nation died painful deaths.

Also, former New York mayor Ed Koch and others like him who turned their backs on dying Americans.

Former members of Congress, convicted of crimes, collect pensions

Former Congresssman Duke Cunningham is in prison, which is a good thing. What isn't such a good thing is that he is collecting a $64,000-a-year pension while he is there, and the amount of the pension will increase as the cost of living goes up. Former Congressman Bob Ney, who pleaded guilty to corruption charges, will get $29,000 a year after he turns 60, and former Congressman Mark Foley, even if he is convicted of a crime, will get $32,000 a year.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Big shot Republican sex criminals

There seems to be no end to the supply.

And more poetry...

I am pleased to have a poem in the inaugural edition of a lovely new ezine, Umbrella Journal.

Also, yesterday I learned that one of my poems has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. This is my first Pushcart nomination for poetry.

Friday cat blogging--sleepytime edition