Friday, September 21, 2007

I'll be down, but not out!

I'll be at a conference for a few days and won't be able to post. But I assure you, dear readers, I shall return!

In the meantime, please visit the many good folks listed n the blogroll.

Why you need to know about the Jena 6

While we are distracted by the blatant constitutional abuses by the Bush Administration and its supporting cast, Congress, the specter of racism is raising its ugly head. And while we are all focused on one person (the university student in Florida) who has had his right of free speech trampled, 6 young men — boys, really — are facing a much harsher injustice. They face 20+ years in prison for what was essentially a schoolyard fight. This while the white students who committed the hate crime of hanging a noose from the schoolyard tree, were suspended for 3 days.

And in case you think the racism that is at the core of this incident, and the judicial system's reaction to it, is an isolated event, CNN is reporting atmosphere that should be unimaginable in 2007:
Two arrested in noose incident near Jena, Louisiana

A Louisiana city that hosted many of the "Jena 6" protesters Thursday became the site of a racially charged incident of its own.

Authorities in Alexandria, less than 40 miles southwest of Jena, arrested two people who were driving a red pickup Thursday night with two nooses hanging off the back, repeatedly passing groups of demonstrators who were waiting for buses back to their home states.
You can make your voice heard in this cacophony of madness by signing a petition organized by ColorOfChange. The petition asks the governor of Louisiana to intervene and ensure that these six young men face equal justice under the law.

The sad, sad story of George W Bush: All hat and no cattle, and now he's afraid of horses, too

This is getting just sad, don't you think? All of his close friends and associates are leaving Georgie boy, stuck in the White House when all he really wants to do is go back to his ranch in Texas and ... um, what is it he does there, exactly?

According to a new book out by former Mexican president Vicente Fox, Georgie is afraid of horses. So much for the macho swagger. Here's how the British paper the Telegraph is reporting it:
George Bush the Texan is 'scared of horses'
President Bush may like to be seen as a swaggering tough guy with a penchant for manly outdoor pursuits, but in a new book one of his closest allies has said he is afraid of horses.

Vicente Fox, the former president of Mexico, derided his political friend as a “windshield cowboy” – a cowboy who prefers to drive – and “the cockiest guy I have ever met in my life.”

He recalled a meeting in Mexico shortly after both men had been elected when Mr Fox offered Mr Bush a ride on a “big palomino” horse.

Mr Fox, who left office in December, recalled Mr Bush “backing away” from the animal.

“A horse lover can always tell when others don't share our passion,” he said, according to the Washington Post.

Mr Bush has spoken of his fondness for shooting doves and cutting brush on his Crawford ranch in Texas, which he bought in 1999.

The property reportedly has no horses and only five cattle.

I'm actually almost starting to feel a little sad for this pathetic soul. Almost.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fox Network: Hypocrisy, Party of One!

From Think Progress:

Fox’s goddamn hypocrisy. During the Fox network broadcast of the Emmy Awards this week, Actress Sally Field’s acceptance speech was censored because she used the word “goddamn.” “If mothers ruled the world,” Field said, “there would be no god-damned wars in the first place.” Robert Greenwald’s Brave New Films catches Fox News cable pundits using the word “goddamn” repeatedly on air.

Watch it:

Republican Senators once again refuse to support the troops

I get so frustrated with the way the phrases “support the troops” and “pro-troop” get thrown around. See how I can use it in my title to disparage the Republicans who voted against Sen. Jim Webb's amendment yesterday?

Read the facts for yourself and see who you think has the troops' best interest at heart, and who is playing politics with this issue. From The Raw Story:
CNN asked Webb about Senator John McCain's statement that the Constitution doesn't give Congress the right to manage troop rotations and that the Webb amendment “would create chaos.” Webb replied, “Senator McCain — who I've known for 30 years — needs to read the Constitution. There's a provision in Article 1 Section 8 which clearly gives the Congress the authority to make rules with respect to the governance of ground and naval forces.”
Now take a look at how CNN frames this story with their own headline:
A measure that would have forced the Pentagon to give troops sent to Iraq stateside leave equal to their time in the battle zone was defeated Wednesday evening in the Senate after failing to draw enough Republican votes.
Oh, so the story here is about how the Democrats failed, not about how the Republicans voted against something that would help our troops.

So now I'm a Neo Pagan?

I guess this is what comes of not attending church regularly. I recently came upon a website called the “Belief-O-Matic.” It's great — it helps you find an organized religion that fits your core values and beliefs. If you're like me, and have kind of lapsed lately, you might have found yourself recently thinking “I wonder if there's a church in my neighborhood that I would enjoy attending.”

After taking a 10-page survey, my suggested results were:

I'm not suprised by number one and two, as I have previously in my life attended both Unitarian and Quaker services regularly, and graduated from Friends (Quaker) high school and college.

But Neo Paganism? Must admit, that's a new one to me! (And my Baptist missionary grandparents are rolling in their graves, I'm sure!) But the Beliefnet summary of what it considers Neo Paganism is actually pretty interesting:
Neo-Pagans are a community of faiths bringing ancient Pagan and magickal traditions to the modern age--including mostly Wicca but also Druidism, Asatru, Shamanism, neo-Native American, and more. Neo-Pagan is an umbrella term for various and diverse beliefs with many elements in common. Some Neo-Pagans find no incongruence practicing Neo-Paganism along with adherence to another faith, such as Christianity or Judaism.
So, I guess I can practice Neo Paganism along with attending meeting at the local Quaker Meeting House? Check it out and see what kind of results you get. If nothing else, the questions on the survey will make you think.

Maybe refill your coffee cup first.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

More Democracy in action. Not!

From the Washington Post:

Senators Block D.C. Vote Bill, Delivering Possibly Fatal Blow

Republican lawmakers yesterday blocked the Senate from taking up the D.C. vote bill, a potentially fatal setback for the District's most promising effort in years to get a full member of Congress.

The vote was on a motion to simply consider the bill. Fifty-seven senators voted in favor, three short of the 60 needed to proceed. Without enough support to vault the Senate's procedural hurdles, the bill is expected to stall this year and possibly next year.

Proponents have portrayed the bill as a civil rights measure, saying that depriving a majority African American city of a vote echoes discriminatory practices outlawed decades ago. They also have said it is hypocritical for the United States to fight for voting rights in Iraq while denying them in its own capital.

"It's time to end the injustice, the national embarrassment that citizens of this great capital city don't have voting representation in Congress," Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), a co-sponsor of the bill, said in a brief floor session before the vote. Opponents did not make speeches.

So, once again, a bill was kept from coming to a full vote by a small number of Republican senators. Among this group deciding the fate of the hardworking people of D.C., (who, by the way, not only pay all the same taxes you do, but also have to put up with obnoxious political types every day), are such upstanding citizens as Sen. Larry Craig (R-Sex Sting) and Sen. David Vitter (R-Hookers).

See how your senators voted here, and if they voted against bringing this bill up for a full vote, give them an earful.

Freedom of Speech: Unless you annoy us, then, not so much

By this time, I'm sure you have all seen or heard about the student at the University of Florida who was arrested and subjected to a Taser gun when he refused to leave the microphone at a forum with John Kerry.

So, the guy was annoying. And six police officers couldn't control him without using a Taser?! And then arresting him for “inciting a riot”? If you watch the video below, you will see that any reaction from the crowd is surely the result of the strong-arm tactics of the police, and not from anything the student said or did.

Is this the state of our country today? When someone won't shut up we zap them and take them away in handcuffs?

This is democracy?

Shiver me timbers! It's talk like a pirate day!

Ahoy me hearties!

It's International Talk Like a Pirate Day! You'll be wantin' your lingo and the history o' the holiday, so visit me friends the Pastafarians, or the blokes at Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Arrrrrrrr! Where's me coffee!

Wednesday Poetry Break

Photo of Miles Davis at Lennies-on-the-Turnpike, 1968

New York grows
In his absence.
I suppose

You could also title this picture
Of Miles, his leathery
Squint, the grace
In his fingers a sliver of the stuff

You can’t get anymore,
As the rest of us wonder:
What was the name
Of the driver

Of that truck? And the rest
Of us sigh:
Death is one hell
Of a pickpocket.

— Cornelius Eady

Miles Davis Quintet


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Bumper sticker mania!

Krazy Kat, I saw this sticker while I was in bumper to bumper traffic the other day and thought it was way cool. Then I got home and saw the same sticker on your car! In the words of Dame Edna, “Spooky!”

Monday, September 17, 2007

Condi and BFF playing house?

I read about this story early this morning, and have been stewing (marinating? any Kissing Jessica Stein fans out there?) ever since on whether to post it here, or not.

Here's what I decided: your private life is private — unless you make your living by being part of a movement that discriminates and is generally hateful toward others who live that same private life of yours. So, sorry Condoleezza, time for me to start spreadin' the news:

From The Raw Story:

Secretary of State, who keeps private life shrouded, co-owns home with female filmmaker

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice co-owned a home and shared a line of credit with another woman, according to Washington Post diplomatic correspondent Glenn Kessler, who reveals the information in his new book, The Confidante: Condoleezza Rice and the Creation of the Bush Legacy.

Kessler discussed the revelations with talk-show host and gay author Michaelangelo Signorile Friday on his Sirius Radio show.

According to the book, Rice owns a home together with Randy Bean, a documentary filmmaker who once worked with Bill Moyers. Kessler made the discovery by looking through real estate records.

Bean explained the joint ownership and line of credit to Kessler by saying she had medical bills which left her financially drained and Rice helped her by co-purchasing the house along with a third person, Coit Blacker, a Stanford professor who is
openly gay.

More coverage at the Wonkette, Bloggernista, and Pam's House, and at Michaelangelo Signorile's site, The Gist, which has the most analysis.

Is this another trip into the seemingly bottomless closets of the Republican party? That's what makes this different from talking about the private life of say, Jodie Foster. Sure, I wish Jodie would come out, but I respect that she has simply never talked about her private life at all. She has never pretended to be anything, and has never associated herself with people who make it their life's work to destroy gay Americans. For Condoleezza Rice to sit idly by, protecting her own personal assets (property and money) while her administration spews hate and attempts to use its power to take away our civil rights is unconscionable.

Condi, girlfriend, as my brother said to me: Don't let the closet door hit you on the way out.

Best bumper sticker ever

At least for the code nerds in the crowd ....

The day I brought Buddha home with me

A while ago, I went to the local big box home improvement/garden store on a Saturday afternoon. That in itself is stressful enough. But this particular store is in a large suburban shopping center along with “Bed, Bath, etc.,” “Best Buy,“ and all of the rest — you know the kind of shopping center I mean, I'm sure.

So, I saw this wonderful Buddha garden statue on sale, about a foot tall, and decided he would be a nice addition to my garden. I paid for it and took it out to my car. Since I had only bought some small items, I guess I automatically put everything into the front seat next to me (including Buddha).

As I was navigating my way out of the parking lot, a small car suddenly whipped out of a side lane and cut me off. I had to slam on my brakes, and also did that reflex move: my right arm instinctively stretched out to keep Buddha from flying forward.

I glanced over at my statuary passenger, and in that moment, my rage at the driver who cut me off dissipated immediately under the peaceful gaze of Buddha. That glimmer of a smile, the hands together in his lap, with palms facing upward. Peace and enlightenment.

I drove home with a little small on my face the entire way. And now Buddha sits on my front porch and greets me with that same gaze every evening when I come home.