Thursday, September 30, 2004
The other reason folks are more excited than worried about the possibility of an eruption is the time of the year. If this were May, when the 'Big One' occurred, you might see some panic about possible mudflows/ lahars like we saw back then. These were, in fact the primary agents of death and destruction. But if you go to the webcam, you'll notice the mountain is basically bare rock right now. No snow except a small glacier in the crater. If it were springtime, however the entire mountain would be covered in snow. Snow that might very well MELT very quickly. And be superheated by pyroclastic flows coming down the mountain to create a very nasty mudbath. So, anyway - no flows of either the mud or pyroclastic varieties are expected.
If there is an eruption they say the ash fallout wouldn’t go further than ten miles or so, but just in case, the mayor of Portland today advised folks to get to gether an emergency kit with water, etc. for 3 days. And most importantly, uber-stylish breathing masks . You think Michael Jackson was the trendsetter in that department? Think again. Folks in the NW sported these lovelies for up to a week after the first eruption in 1980. I think we'll be ready, just on the remote chance something happens. Curt has already been dispatched to the local Ace to pick up the masks and is preparing water. Now, I'm boning up on this handy-dandy "What to Do If A Volcano Erupts" guide from the USGS.
Keep it tuned right here, folks for the most up to the minute volcano commentary on the web!
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Do you remember those 95,000 voters who weren't allowed to vote in Florida in 2000 because they were on a list of felons who legally aren't allowed to vote (and then it turned out 90% of them were on the list in error and were NOT felons, but just happned to mostly be African American?). Then do you remember how this year they tried to do the same thing with something like 45,000 new voters but the press caught wind and voter's rights organizations raised hell, and they backed off? Well, guess what happened to those original 95k voters from 2000? Their voting priveleges were court-ordered to be re-instated after the NAACP sued following the election, but apparently there wasn't a timeframe on that court order. So far ONLY 4,000 have been taken off the list - which will be used again this year.
At this rate, they'll be lucky if they are all re-instated by 2012.
*Seriously, you should check out his blog/website. His most recent entry relates a candid interview with Dan Rather from 2002 wherein Rather got really blunt about the sad, pathetic state of American journalism following 9/11. It's pretty prophetic of the recent shit he's been catching regarding the TANG/Bush documentation fiasco.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Then if that’s not good enough news – reports are coming in from all over the country that new voter registrations are flooding in , well above the rate they came in at 2000. Which means that recent polls showing Bush with a solid lead are worthless. They don’t poll newly registered voters. And since most of the new voters are in urban/ suburban areas which are typically Dem strongholds; and since the same reports indicate the Dems are being much more successful than the Repubs in their registration drives, this is very, very good news. Now the trick is to actually get these folks to the polls.
And then finally, O’Reilly gets shown up as the bullying, insulting blowhard he really is. You see, I’ve got a thing for Jon Stewart & the Daily Show. It’s one one of the few shows I really miss since we got rid of expanded cable. I go online and watch the highlights posted on Comedy Central’s website, but it’s just not the same. They frequently cut off segments or don’t post the ones I want to see at all. At the party conventions, I read with great interest how my boy Jonny held his own and interacted with the quote “real journalists” unquote. Like Ted Koppel . But I was especially annoyed at the recent transcript I read of Jon’s appearance on the O’Reilly’s Factor – where Bill, in typical fashion tries to totally belittle and discredit a cable media source that doesn’t parrot his fascist ideals. In this case, by claiming Jon’s audience is comprised entirely of “stoned slackers”. Jon, being the gentleman that he is plays along, and by doing so gets Bill to admit that puppets can vote in Florida, so long as they vote Republican (and aren’t felons). But then afterwards, the Daily Show producers did a little research of their own (an entirely foreign concept to O’Reilly and the folks at Faux News) and discovered that according to Nielsen, their viewers are actually better educated than O’Reilly’s . Which we knew all along.
Snip: "Comedy Central also touted a recent study by the University of Pennsylvania's National Annenberg Election Survey, which said young viewers of "The Daily Show" were more likely to answer questions about politics correctly than those who don't."
The other big difference, which I think should be totally obvious – is that unlike O’Reilly & his audience, Jon’s has a sense of humor. The Daily Show is, in fact a serious news show masquerading as a total joke whereas O’Reilly is a total joke masquerading as a serious news show. “No Spin Zone” my ass. That show is spinning so damned fast the world around it blurs into O’Reilly’s fantasyland and any legitimate guest who dares to step on board his twisted merry-go-round ends up bruised and battered and puking in the posies. I’m just so damned proud of Jon for keeping his stomach long enough to help expose it for the circus it really is.
Monday, September 27, 2004
Apparently when Curt first showed him to Jinx she tried to wake him up, then got all confused when he didn't respond. She stayed confused all weekend, even though we let her say goodbye before burying him in his favorite sunning spot. She’d look for him everywhere, want to go outside constantly to try to find him. Didn’t even want to play Chuck-A-Duck (her favorite daily fetching game). We tried to distract her as much as possible with car rides and lots of love. I think she’s adjusted a bit. But she still looks absolutely miserable.
We spent the rest of the weekend a bit weepy as we remembered all the things we were going to miss about him. The shoe fetish, of course. His pathetic little meow that he’d announce himself with as he came in the room. His begging for dairy products everytime we opened the fridge (if out of milk, sour cream made a most excellent alternative). The little batch of white under his nose that made him look like a reverse of Adolf Hitler with a milk moustache. His ability to play with balls on the basement stairs all by himself (drop at top, watch bounce to bottom, pick up with mouth and go back up again). I buried his favorite superball with him. How he’d hang out with me when I took a bath, or when getting dressed in the morning. His love for chasing bugs in the evenings. He was just getting past that aloof teenage phase and was getting a lot lovier. He’d always come in and say Hi when I came home - usually when I was sitting on the toilet. How he’d adopted my butt-ugly, homemade rag rug as his bed when he hung out with Jinx in the laundry room while we were gone. And how he loved that dog. They’d play, and play and play… then curl up together and sleep.
So I’m OK. I’ll miss him terribly, and everytime the weather changes I think about how he could be alive right now enjoying it. But it wasn’t meant to be. It was just this time last year when Mom snuck him up, causing the first strain on our new marriage (sneaking introduction of new pets into the household was a time-honored tradition in our house. Not so Curt’s). I don’t plan on getting another kitten anytime soon. We’ve got the 3 other cats, which is plenty. And the baby coming.
Friday, September 24, 2004
Today 6 Egyptians awere abducted, and Rummy finally came clean and admitted that parts of Iraq may be excluded from the upcoming elections due to increased violence. And then, he says "Let's say you tried to have an election and you could have it in three-quarters or four-fifths of the country. But in some places you couldn't because the violence was too great," Rumsfeld said, "Well, so be it. Nothing's perfect in life, so you have an election that's not quite perfect. Is it better than not having an election? You bet,"
This is the day after Shrub and Allawi were praising the strides in democrcy in Iraq to high heaven. Listening to them, everything's just rosy - they couldn't expect a better outcome. An outcome where a significant portion of the population is locked out of the political process that is supposed to determine their fate. Well, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Which makes it very clear that Bush would be happy with the same level of disenfranchisement in the U.S. That should come as no surprise, given the Republican efforts in Florida to deny thousands of citizens their right to vote.
Just look at 2000. Is an imperfect election where Bush gets re-elected better than no election at all? In their minds - You bet! I really want to believe there won't be any funky terrorism threats on election day that conveniently justifies closing down the polls in certain "blue" precincts. I really do. But with attitudes like this being expressed, it really makes me suspicious. For that matter, it wouldn't even take a terrorist threat. A good natural disaster would do the trick. Or better yet..... 4 disasters in a 2 month period. Maybe, perhaps... 4 hurricanes? Nobody can blame *you* for orchestrating an act of God, afterall. Let's take a bet. How many polling locations/ machines/ new voter registration cards in Florida do you think are going to end up too storm damaged to be of use come November? How many people will have relocated in the 60 days before the election and will get hassled for changing their residency as a result? Or not know where they're supposed to vote?
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Iraq Group Says Kills Two Italian Hostages
DUBAI (Reuters) - An Islamist group in Iraq has said it killed two female Italian hostages in a statement posted on an Internet site not often used by Iraqi militants. The group, calling itself the Jihad Organization, said it had killed the women after Italy did not heed its call to withdraw its forces from Iraq.
While I mourn the loss of every other hostage killed over there, including the Americans - this is particularly heinous. These women were not military. They were not working for contractors. They were humanitarian workers for a group called "Bridge to Baghdad" and their only purpose for being in Iraq was to boost school attendance in Basra and Baghdad -- including the capital's Sadr City slums.
I would not be at all surprised if we see a wholesale exodus of humanitarian organizations in light of this, similar to what we've been seeing in Afghanistan. According to Women's ENews, aid workers were already spooked by the kidnappings - the killings just might send them packing. And I can't say I blame them.
So what' s Shrub & Co. doing to thwart these particular brand of "evildoers"???? Nada, zippo, zilch. I don't see him bringing in any special forces to try to rescue any of the civillian hostages being decapitated every week. We've supposedly got the best, most bad-ass military in the world and you're telling me we're totally powerless to stop these murders? How many heads have to roll, George? How many before you'll admit you don't have a fucking clue how to combat this?
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
So then, news that the freaking neocons in the House have managed to sneak in an anti-abortion clause in a recent funding bill. (via XXBlog). If passed, here's what it does. It allows any health care provider - not just doctors, but nurses, pharmacists, hospitals and health care insurers to "opt out" of not only providing abortion procedures/ treatment, but counselling and even referrals. Even in the case of rape or incest. Even in the case where the mother's life is in danger. And they don't have to give you any information at all about where else you might be able to get that information/ treatment.
Now, for no other procedure/ condition do we allow health care providers to "opt-out" on moral grounds. They can't refuse to treat HIV+ patients, or gay patients, or known serial child rapists. Buddhists/ Hindus can't refuse to prescribe or fill prescriptions that contain animal products. I don't believe Muslims can refuse to treat burn patients with pigskin (do they still use that?). Feminist &/or homosexual providers cannot refuse to treat rabid rightwing bigots (such as those who sponsored this bill). They can't refuse to give men vasectomies, or treat them for penile impotence.
So regardless of how you feel about abortion, this bill is highly discriminatory in that it allows *only* people/ providers with a *certain* moral belief (anti-abortion) to "opt-out". Everyone else still has to make that difficult choice of either doing something they find ethically repugnant, or choosing another profession. What this bill is saying, is that my health, my life, my rights as a pregnant woman are far less important than some health care provider's right to NOT fulfill the LEGAL job requirements of the profession they CHOSE of their own free will. And that gets me more than a little steamed. Anyone else in the country who finds themselves having an ethical conflict in doing their jobs is expected to choose another career. I've done it. So has my husband.
Let's put this in perspective. If something were to happen (Maude forbid) to my baby in the next 5 months and he died in utero (like the woman detailed in Rivka's recent entry), my doctor could refuse to do a D&E to remove the dead fetus from my womb. If I lived in a less liberal-minded community (or one where there were a limited number of doctors), I could be forced to carry a dead baby - possibly bleeding until either my body finally got around to expelling the dead tissue on it's own with a spontaneous abortion, or labor was induced, in which case I would deliver the dead child vaginally. The D&E is by far the safest option. It carries a 4% complication rate. Vaginal labor, however carries a 29% complication rate - and all the pain and trauma to the body that regular labor entails. Spontaneous abortion is by far the least safe option. There's a high danger that not all of the fetus would be expelled, leaving me at increased risk of infection. And in the 2nd/ 3rd trimester, if the dead fetus remains in the womb too long it can cause an "abnormal activation of blood clotting systems" that can cause serious health issues.
If this law passes, I could be forced to put my life, my health at higher risk of jeapordy - to assuage someone else's guilty conscience. Someone else who had the CHOICE of not putting themselves in that difficult position to begin with. So bottomline, someone else's choice to continue to work in a profession they're obviously not suited for is far more important than my health and wellbeing. And the fact that the neocons trust HMO's or some strange clerk at the pharmacy to make moral decisions regarding my life, my body - which they would gladly deny me absolutely infuriates me.
Why keep up the pretense? Why not just repeal the citizenship & voting rights of women? Make me a permanent ward of the state or property of my husband. Outlaw birthcontrol and contraception and force women to take piss tests every month. As soon as the stick turns blue haul us off to a maternity prison for 10 months where every aspect of our lives is carefully monitored and controlled. What we eat, how much exercise we do. No access to alcohol, cigarettes or hard drugs, of course. And while we're at it, forbid caffeine & aspartame, too. Of course, once the baby comes you're turned out on the street. They won't help you obtain healthcare for the baby. They won't help you to get a job to buy a damned car seat, let alone the rent. They won't help you fix the broken furnace or repair a leaky roof in the baby's room. And they sure as hell won't help you leave your abusive husband/ boyfriend. You think it's farfetched. It's not.
Curt doesn't understand why I let politics affect me so emotionally - on a personal scale. He doesn't understand. All the things that I write about that happen to women in other parts of the world - Africa, the Middle East. They could happen here. They're trying to make them happen here. It's already beginning.
Monday, September 20, 2004
What can I say? I was a quick learner. When we got back to school I could count to 21 faster than anyone else in my class and got high marks in Math. Too bad Hoyle hasn't developed a game of chance yet that involves long division. My brother could have really used it.
Friday, September 17, 2004
I'm pretty happy it's Friday. This week seemed to go by in a flash. It's been really feeling like Autumn all week, which makes me even happier. Rain showers and sunbreaks with a little wind thrown in. Leaves are starting to turn. We even had a fire in the woodstove last night. And like clockwork - the rain starts, the cats start coming in. Ozzie took up residence in his favorite winter spot above the computer. We'll see how long it takes before the Kittlin challenges him for it.
Tomorow we are attending the official christening of my dad's new sailboat. It's a brand-spanking new 43 footer that was shipped down from the manufacturer (in Seattle, I think? Can't remember the name... I'll post it later, maybe with pics). He and my stepmom are planning to take it down the Columbia and up the coast a short ways to Gray's Harbor for her maiden voyage. I'm a little concerned. This requires going across the Columbia River Bar. The third most dangerous river bar in the world, and the only one in the U.S., I believe that specifically requires big commercial ships to use licensed bar pilots to cross it (in addition to your regular river pilots you see elsewhere). Granted, he's done it before (with another, much more experienced sailor). And in calm conditions it's not a big deal. But the forecasters are calling for an early start to the fall/winter storms (see above). Which typically mean high seas and dangerous currents. Right in the middle of a very busy shipping channel. You've got huge container ships coming in on you and there's not a hell of a lot of room to manuever. So if you lose the engine, or if the current is running stronger than the engine can push against, you're fucked. And they'll be in a brand new boat they will only have been sailing for a couple of days.
You know, the more I think about this the more I'm thinking it's a bad idea. And I just called my bro in the Coast Guard who was stationed there, and he says he told Dad the same thing. But Dad's got a hard-on for getting out in the ocean so who knows if he'll listen to us.
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
In a nutshell, he alleges that shortly after Shrub was elected governor in 1994, Barnes (now a high powered corporate lobbyist) agreed to keep silent about his efforts to get Shrub out of active duty service in return for the new governor stepping in to save his client's keester. At the time, the client (GTech Corp.) , was about to lose its contract to run the Texas state lottery due to allegations of corruption (they were under investigation by the FBI for guess what....attempting to influence lawmakers!). Palast cites a Justice Department document that says Barnes made a call to the newly elected governor's office and saved GTech's state contract.
The story needs some corroboration, but it wasn't so long ago Barnes refused to even admit he'd pulled the strings. Maybe there's hope this might hit the mainstream media???
Monday, September 13, 2004
Why do I have the sneaking suspicion that this is my body’s way of lulling me into a false sense of complacency with some kind of feel-good hormonal cocktail, kind of like that hallucinogenic flower pollin that got Spock all silly and happy on that episode of Star Trek??
Snip: BAGHDAD -- The US military is reaping more high-quality intelligence tips from Iraqi prisoners than ever, since it jettisoned several coercive interrogation techniques after the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal in May, the American general in charge of Iraqi prisons said yesterday.
Thursday, September 09, 2004
I've been calling Shrub & Co. "Neocon fascists" in my mind (and occassionally out loud) for quite some time, but I didn't realize how accurate I was. Here's another description that sounds scarily familiar.
Anyway, go read "The Ghost of Vice President Wallace Warns: "It Can happen Here". Scary stuff. Snip: "Although most Americans remember that Harry Truman was Franklin D. Roosevelt's Vice President when Roosevelt died in 1945 (making Truman President), Roosevelt had two previous Vice Presidents - John N. Garner (1933-1941) and Henry A. Wallace (1941-1945). In early 1944, the New York Times asked Vice President Henry Wallace to, as Wallace noted, "write a piece answering the following questions: What is a fascist? How many fascists have we? How dangerous are they?"
Vice President Wallace's answer to those questions was published in The New York Times on April 9, 1944, at the height of the war against the Axis powers of Germany and Japan.
"The really dangerous American fascists," Wallace wrote, "are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power..."
" If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. ... They are patriotic in time of war because it is to their interest to be so, but in time of peace they follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead."
(Thanks, GFriend for the link.)
From CNN this morning
PENSACOLA, Florida (AP) -- Nice shootin', Rex!
A man who tried to shoot seven puppies was shot himself when one of the dogs put its paw on the revolver's trigger.
Jerry Allen Bradford, 37, was charged with felony animal cruelty, the Escambia County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday. He was being treated at a hospital for a gunshot wound to his wrist.
Bradford said he decided to shoot the 3-month-old shepherd-mix dogs in the head because he couldn't find them a home, according to the sheriff's office.
On Monday, Bradford was holding two puppies -- one in his arms and another in his left hand -- when the dog in his hand wiggled and put its paw on the trigger of the .38-caliber revolver. The gun then discharged, the sheriff's report said.
Deputies found three of the puppies in a shallow grave outside Bradford's home, said sheriff's Sgt. Ted Roy.
The other four appeared to be in good health and were taken by Escambia County Animal Control, which planned to make them available for adoption.
I strongly believe there is a special section if Hell reserved for people who abuse animals.
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
Anyhoo - we had fun, despite my not being able to enjoy the jacuzzi or drink alcohol. It was wonderfully relaxing. Jinx got to go for long walks and swim in the ocean/ river every day. There was even a pro photographer down at the beach one morning who caught her graceful romping through the surf chasing driftwood. We don't blame him. Shiny black coat glistening in the water, gorgeous lines. Bright white teeth and liquid brown eyes.... Kind of a canine version of a swimsuit model. Hopefully the fame won't go to her head, though.
We came home to good news/ bad news. Bad news was... some asshole stole our Kerry/Edwards lawn sign (that we'd just put up before leaving). Luckily, I bought a spare just in case. Hah! I just might go buy a couple more and for every sign they steal, I'll put up 2. of course, now that Jinx is back on patrol in the yard that probably won't happen again. But anyway. The good news was a lovely big box on our doorstep from Curt's sister, K back in Indiana. Upon opening out popped 3 "Welcome Baby!" type mylar balloons and unerneath was a veritable cornucopia of baby gifts. Jinx tried to claim the teddy bear to which the balloons were tethered as her own, until we made it clear that these were toys for the baby, not for her. She can still play with the balloons though. Now we have no excuse but to start emptying drawers in the nusery. Dammit!
I'd actually left you with a post on Friday but it looks like the Blogger gods demanded it as a sacrifice and ate it. Such is the price we pay for free blog service. It wasn't of much interest - commentary on the emminent arrival of Hurricane Frances, maybe a little about Shrub's speech. Others I'm sure did it far better, elsewhere. You didn't miss much.
One interesting story I came across today: First Americans may have come from Australia. Apparently they've got DNA evidence to prove it. Apparently this isn't a totally new theory: More from the BBC.
Thursday, September 02, 2004
I've seen the mighty Mississip a couple of times. Both while accompanying the grandparents on a roadtrip to Missouri/ Minnesota to visit relatives when I was 11 & 14. When they got all excited and said "look kids, the Mississippi!!!" I beriefly glanced up from whatever sci/fi fantasy book I was currently engrossed with in the backseat, said "it's pretty muddy!" then burrowed back into my novel. I mean, here in Oregon we have *pretty* rivers. Kind of hard to appreciate a river of mud when you're used to the Columbia River Gorge. Even if it is the shipping backbone of the continent, on whose shores battles were fought and events transpired that determined the entire fate of our national history.
But then, I hadn't yet been introduced to the Doobie Brothers, or Mark twain. Maybe if I had I'd have appreciated it a heck of a lot more.
Space signal studied for alien contact: LONDON, England (Reuters) -- An unexplained radio signal from deep space could -- just might be -- contact from an alien civilization, New Scientist magazine reported on Thursday. The signal, coming from a point between the Pisces and Aries constellations, has been picked up three times by a telescope in Puerto Rico.
There are other explanations besides extraterrestrial contact that may explain the signal. New Scientist said the signal could be generated by a previously unknown astronomical phenomenon or even be a by-product from the telescope itself.
But the mystery beam has excited astronomers across the world.
Shit. Exciting, but kind of scary, too! Much as I hope otherwise, I bet it's a fluke.
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Eugene Man pleads guilty to sexually abusing baby Actual news: “A man with the Internet screen name "naughtygrampa" pleaded guilty to charges he had sex with an infant girl and posted pictures of the activity over the Internet.” + Dog Bites Off N.M. Man's Genitals Actual news: “Man attacked while walking dog. Genitals were bitten off by pit bull”
Sally's Version: “Naughtygrampa intent on sexually abusing an infant girl has genitals bitten off by a pit bull* defending the child”.
There. Much better, don’t you think?