Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Monday, December 19, 2005
Posting will likely be sporadic to nonexistent the next 2-3 weeks due to travel and moving of house. Hope your holidays, whatever they may be are happy and filled with joy. Cyber Eskimo Kisses to all....
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Around one in 12 people (8%) believed that a woman was totally responsible for being raped if she'd had many sexual partners.
Similarly, more than a quarter of people (30%) said that a woman was partially or totally responsible for being raped if she was drunk, and more than a third (37%) held the same view if the woman had failed to clearly say "no" to the man."
Monday, November 21, 2005
Friday, November 18, 2005
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Monday, November 14, 2005
I'm hoping to look at one or two other possibilities besides the farmhouse before we really commit to it (inspection is tomorow) just to be on the safe side, but everything's starting to fall in place which makes us both think it must be fate. Our buyer is an investor who is buying our place as a rental, so there's no big rush to move - we can just rent from her for a few extra weeks to get some of the work done that we want before moving in.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
...In addition, the board rewrote the definition of science, so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena.
Next meeting, the genius members of the board who voted in favor plan to require all students to learn Biblical tongue-speaking as a second language.
"This is a sad day. We're becoming a laughingstock of not only the nation, but of the world, and I hate that," said board member Janet Waugh, a Kansas City Democrat."
Yes, yes you are. But if it's any consolation, it's the sad, irony filled tearful kind of laughter. That hurts us as much as it does you.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Just need to sell ours first and from the volume of realtors calling wanting to show it in the last 36 hours since we listed it, that should happen pretty quick. Hey, maybe we'll get into a bidding war. A girl can dream, can't she?
I'm a little scared. Excited, but scared. Now we've got to deal with packing and moving and everything. Ugh.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
We just put in an offer on this 1920 farmhouse. I think I'm nuts. We were originally looking for "newer" construction to save the hassle of endless home improvement projects. But as much as we wanted to avoid that hassle, there are two things we have to have in a house that you can't really get without buying an older home: Privacy and character. This is on almost 1/2 acre lot which is very hard to find around here. Brand new construction going on down the street from this are on 3500 sq ft. lots (just like every other new development). And though there's plenty to keep us busy project wise, there's nothing critical.
The big bonus, though: the detached garage has been converted to a studio apartment and Curt's mom has agreed to a trial move from Indiana for a couple of months to be our "nanny". Which, if it works out, will save us daycare costs. Curt really misses his family - especially his mom and this would give her & Duncan the opportunity to build a relationship. I had my grandma living next door when I grew up and though she caused some incredible problems for Mom & Dad, it was great for my brother & I. So cross your fingers!!
Oh, and in the meantime - what to do with the orange walls in the living room? Just extend the light green from the dining room or something darker? I'm thinking periwinkle.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Actually, Curt and I have been tossing around the idea of writing a children's book. We're starting to read some of the crap out there and come on, how hard could it be? Start with a cute character or two, throw in some lyrical prose/alliteration/rhyme and voila! Goodnight Moon. Apparently all you need is a paragraph. An entire book comprised of less than a dozen sentences. One per page. That's more my style. Well, not here where I blather on and on about whatever's going through my head, usually in megalong run-on sentences with entirely WAY too many commas, made-up words and almost always employing the passive voice that would have my old college journalism prof turning over in her grave. Though my high school journalism teacher was quite charmed by my writing style. As he put it "I can't put my finger on it. It's not that your grammer is technically wrong... it's just not quite correct". As any of you more copy editor types out there have surely witnessed, I've gone downhill from there and frequently frolic in the land of grammatical ineptitude.
Friday, October 21, 2005
Somehow, it's no surprise however that a Fundie would be unable to recognize a woman's hooded little go button even if it was sitting on his face.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
And house prices on this side of the border are outrageous. Those up there - not *quite* so bad. And we'd save on my income taxes, besides. So contemplating the move has about squeezed out any other logical thought in my head lately (it can only hold so much). Where, exactly should we move (I know little about Vancouver neighborhoods/schools)? What kind of a house? Older, newer? And most critical - how much do we want to spend?
Julia's got a timely post today that reminds me to sign the Critter up for baby & parent swim lessons at our gym next month. I can't wait. I really don't want him trying to learn when he's older and has developed fears/water phobias. I just want him to always remember being in the water and swimming. I think he'll love it. Since we graduated from the sink bath to sharing a bath with Mommy he comes crawling in as soon as he hears me getting in and drawing the water. My heart about melts when I see his two little hands reaching over the sill to try to pull himself up & over and climb in. It's about all I can do to get him stripped before he starts splashing around playing with his bath toys.
Random Thoughts for the Day:
How soon do you think before they create a 6th Category for MEGA Monster hurricanes? Each one gets badder than the one before. And how sick do you think folks in Florida and the Gulf are going to get of packing up and hightailing for the high country every other week before they pack up and move for good and wreak havoc on the population distribution of the national electoral map? If we're really re-entering a cycle of increased hurrican activity, evacuations are going to become the norm rather than the exception.
Also Action Alert - let Target know you won't stand for their allowing their pharmacists to deny filling emergency B/C prescriptions.
Friday, October 07, 2005
It's a two-fer today! Cleo Cat doing her part to teach the Critter to crawl. She stays juuuust out of reach and teases him. I think the tongue sticking out is a little overkill though, even if she is still harboring a little resentment at having to compete for precious lap position with a 17 lb, slobbering grab-machine.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Monday, October 03, 2005
Given what I’ve been reading this morning about Judith Miller’s release & testimony last week and what that might indicate regarding the possible outcome of the Plame investigation, I’m betting on the “Shrub is putting a trusted guard dog in a key position to save his ass” angle: (from above linked Mahablog:) “By nominating Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, President Bush is turning to a trusted advisor who has a reputation for keeping her mouth shut—and putting her in a key position for damage control. Her nomination might make people like Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, and Tom DeLay breathe a little easier. ...)"
Why inexplicably nominate someone whose sole qualification seems to be her undying loyalty and ability to pull your ass out of the fire? As a wise person once said, the simplest answer is usually the right one. That would mean Shrub is once again feeling the familiar heat of the law on his buttocks.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
I really don't care if they want to teach Intelligent Design in addition to Evolution in schools. Provided they point out the tomes upon tomes and fossil records that support Darwin and the cricket song that supports I.D. And, perhaps more importantly - that they also teach other non-scientific, non-Christian creation "theories". Like those of Native Americans.
The Apache myth sounds eerily like Intelligent Design, doesn't it? "In the beginning was only Tepeu and Gucumatz (Feathered Serpent). These two sat together and thought, and whatever they thought came into being. They thought Earth, and there it was. They thought mountains, and so there were. They thought trees, and sky, and animals etc, and each came into being. But none of these things could praise them, so they formed more advanced beings of clay. But these beings fell apart when they got wet, so they made beings out of wood, but they proved unsatisfactory and caused trouble on the earth. The gods sent a great flood to wipe out these beings, so that they could start over. With the help of Mountain Lion, Coyote, Parrot, and Crow they fashioned four new beings. These four beings performed well and are the ancestors of the Quiché. "
So does the Maya. And the Norse. Chinese. African, etc. All "theories" of higher beings who created or made the world fit for human habitation. Bonus - most also include a myth of a great deluge.
But please - do not call it "science" unless you precede it with "social" or follow it with "fiction". And make sure you give equal time to the "theories" of other ancient cultures besides Judeo-Christian-Muslim.
I really, really do not understand the Right's insistance on trying to get Intelligent Design labelled as a viable scientific theory. In fact, I think they're shooting themselves in the foot by doing so. Science is only meaningful when placed into practical application. In the laboratory. So I have 2 questions for the I.D. community: 1) How do you propose to prove this "theory" using the scientific method; and 2) what do you plan to do with that information?
Getting them to answer these questions takes them somewhere I don't think they really want to go: Cloning. Genetic Engineering. Global Warming. Mankind playing God. Pure and simple. In fact, you can take those legitimate scientific disciplines as proof that an intelligent being can create life, manipulate global climate and manipulate the laws of evolution. By doing so, it is perfectly reasonable to speculate that a more advanced being may have created us. Or terra-formed an inhospitable world to make it safe for us. We do it to lesser species everytime we create a pretty hybrid tulip. Or breed Dachsunds. Or clone kitty cats. The difference, of course is everytime we do that we also prove Darwin in the process. But you could argue that we also prove I.D.
But if they introduce Intelligent Design as a legitimate scientific field of study, what are they going to use as their textbook on the subject? Can I nominate author David Brin's "Uplift Saga" series?? Sci-Fi for the fundies. Sounds like a plan to me. Next up maybe some Heinlein?.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
His ped is amazed at his motor skills. Wonderfully average in all other respects but he has remarkable control over his digits, that one. In the last week he has learned to pull himself up to a stand like nobody's business. In fact, he whines bloody murder if you're not assisting him in this endeavor every available moment. He'll scoot & roll to get where he wants to go but didn't have much use for crawling until he discovered that getting up on your knees gets you 6" closer to getting up on your feets! So he's working on that - gets up on all fours and starts to rock back and forth, back and forth with the sides of the crib as a block to better perfect his starting technique. We put him on the floor and watch with baited breath for the moment when he'll build up enough confidence to take off on his initial baby dash & stick his finger/tongue in the non-babyproofed electrical socket on the other side of the room.
And the damned dog isn't helping. She keeps bringing her slimy, nasty toys and dropping them 2 feet in front of him. Which, of course are so much more enthralling than the nice sanitary plstic rattle we just pulled out of the dishwasher. Though the sooner we can teach the Critter to throw her back her balls instead of sticking them in his mouth the sooner we can let them entertain each other.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
I'm a little freaked out. Having bad dreams on their behalf (would you dream people pick up a damned power drill and piece of plywood already and get busy already??!!). She's already evacuated to her Dad's north of Houston but bro will be riding out the storm in Reliant stadium and will then deploy for search & rescue. Bro says they're fine, they have insurance and isn't worried. SIL says she's doing OK and it's just stuff. But it was really hard not having him there when she was driving away from her home, and the nursery and all the hard work they've done and not know what would be left when they came back. She knew it would be this way when she married him but this is the first big test and it's harder than she thought.
I'm not really worried about them physically. I'm more worried they'll come home to a nightmare of matchsticks for a crib (and everything else) and a waterlogged nursery full of moldy toxic stuffed animals and baby clothes which insurance will find some way to weasel out of paying to fix/replace. And the stress and trauma of dealing with the clean up will cause her more problems with the pregnancy, etc. etc.
So that's fine guys - don't worry. I'll do it for you. I'm really, really good at that. Not quite as good as Grandma, but close.
**Update: As you know by now Rita veered to the east and spared Galveston/Houston a direct hit. Word is my bro and SIL had a fence blow down in the backyard but that was it, other than some cosmetic damage. Crisis averted.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Oh - and you gotta love the Coasties: "He was replaced by Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen. The Coast Guard was one agency that performed well, rescuing thousands."
Have I ever mentioned my brother's in the Coast Guard? His crew alone rescued 700 in one day. In this entire nightmare the Coast Guard was one shining example of how shit should be done.
"Indeed, while state, local, and other federal officials appeared not to fully comprehend the magnitude of the disaster at hand, the Coast Guard acted with the urgency the crisis demanded.
Admiral Robert Duncan, head of the Eighth District in New Orleans, dispersed cutters, helicopters, and other vessels ahead of the storm. He also requested additional forces from the commander of the Coast Guard's Eastern Area, in Norfolk, Va., which is responsible for everything east of the Mississippi, according to Coast Guard officials.
''We don't have to get approval to execute," said Richard J. Dein, a retired Coast Guard commander and a search-and-rescue specialist. ''The Coast Guard is organized by geography. All of those districts act autonomously. They each have a command and control center. What you had was a ready response network."
But then, they do this every. single. day. Save lives, relieve suffering. And get no credit (not that I'm bitter or anything). In all the recriminations about what went wrong, I want to remind folks of what went right. And I'm proud to say my bro was part of what was in all likelihood one of, if no the largest search & rescue effort in U.S. history.
In the Coast Guard, they train to respond in the most adverse, hostile conditions imaginable. And more importantly, they have a standing mandate to act on their own recognizance to save lives threatened by the worst of Mother Nature. It seems everybody is looking for an answer to the red tape and beaurocratic hoopjumping that plagued Katrina. And the more I think about it, the more I realize you've got your answer right there.
Separate the emergency first response duties from all the other accounting bullshit. In times of natural disasters, just hand over that authority to the Coast Guard. Expand their mandate, give them a bigger budget and there you go. They're already on-call 24/7. They have assets deployed & ready to go at a moment's notice in every geographical area. They have ongoing operations in every geographical area, which means they have ongoing relationships with state and local Emergency Services agencies (fire, police, medical - etc.) . Like the National Guard, they have law enforcement authority besides rescue authority. And they deal with pollution, environmental and hazmat situations on a daily basis.
Or, revamp the National Guard (or a portion thereof) to model the Coast Guard in it's mandate. Cut all the red tape - if a Governor declares a state of emergency, then the Nat'l Guard is automatically activated and authorized to mobilize on their own. None of this "Gov. has to specifically ask and that request must be specifically approved by the President" bullshit.
Well apparently that lock doesn't work too well if the CEO's easy ability to poke his head in this morning without knocking is any indication. Judging by the awkwardness that accompanied the embarassed blush, my boss apparently did not tell him that I would be availing myself of his assistant's office for the purpose of juicing the girls.
It's a good thing I don't embarass myself too easily and managed to cover myself up before much damage was done. If I'm lucky he might even take that embarassment and channel it into approving my request for a lactation room in the new building.
So do I a) go back to using my car; b) ask them to fix the lock or c) cross my fingers and hope it doesn't happen again? And do I mention it to my boss to make sure he's told the CEO that I'll be borrowing the office periodically? Have I mentioned how much I hate having to ask my employer to make special accomodations for my baby and his little juicers? I know I shouldn't, but I still do. I hate drawing attention to myself.
Friday, September 09, 2005
Then I started to wonder - who does bear that primary responsibility? And here's what I found, right on their own mission statements:
FEMA: On March 1, 2003, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.
DHS: Specifically, the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will have three primary missions: 1) Prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, 2) Reduce America's vulnerability to terrorism, and 3) Minimize the damage from potential attacks and natural disasters.
Within the DHS charter, under "Emergencies & Disasters" it simply states:
"In the event of a terrorist attack, natural disaster or other large-scale emergency, the Department of Homeland Security will assume primary responsibility on March 1st for ensuring that emergency response professionals are prepared for any situation. This will entail providing a coordinated, comprehensive federal response to any large-scale crisis and mounting a swift and effective recovery effort.
Nothing at all about "the Feds will only provide EXACTLY what the state/local gov'ts request", which is the most recent spin (i.e. Gov. Blanco did not *specifically* request x number of troops, just "send me everything") . Just simply "we will bear primary responsibility for any large-scale crisis or natural disaster".
Part of the Louisiana governor's letter to the President asking for a federal Declaration of Emergency says "Pursuant to 44 CFR § 206.35, I have determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local governments, and that supplementary Federal assistance is necessary to save lives, protect property, public health, and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a disaster. I am specifically requesting emergency protective measures, direct Federal Assistance, Individual and Household Program (IHP) assistance, Special Needs Program assistance, and debris removal.
The states DID their jobs - they declared the natural disaster 3 and 4 days ahead of time. Bush even declared the national disaster a couple of days ahead of time. The ball was clearly, and I believe legally in the Fed's court. And they dropped the ball.
Many many questions still remain in my mind. At the moment, it's unclear who, exactly prohibited the Red Cross from entering the city immediately after the storm. Lefty sites blame FEMA, of course (why was busy keeping everyone and everything out of the city - from donated supplies to fuel to search & rescue personnel) but the wingnuts (via Fox news) apparently have video proving it was Gov. Blanco.
Given the source, Fox News - I'm not inclined to find that credible but I won't get a chance to watch the video myself until I get home. If true, however I'd like more information as to context. I'm not one to paint the locals entirely blameless - I just want all the facts.
On a sidenot, I watched the author of this book "Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 & How It Changed America" on CSPAN overe the weekend and he provided some fascinating background. Amazing how history repeats itself. Sad, but amazing. Anyway, it gives some clues as to what we can expect in the coming months. Even if Shrub & Co. were totally oblivious to the fact that Katrina presented a threat of Biblical proportions (despite all warnings to that effect), the rest of the country is not so unaware. Floods in the past have proven to be major watershed events, and Katrina should prove no different in causing consequences of a historical nature. Political fallout in the form of rolling heads first... but secondarily also in the sheer number of displaced Americans which will have a significant impact on local & state politics.
The Red State/ Blue State deadlock may finally be broken - though events will yet prove to whose benefit. You can bet that Rove & his strategists are busy trying to figure that out right now, however. We need to get on top of it before they do.
Rescue Journal of Oregon Humane Society rescue volunteers and MSNBC's Katrinablog, who've been desperate to find one evacuee's Miss Kitty. I'm planning to drop some more $$'s to Noah's Wish next payday and encourage everyone else to do so too.
Friday, September 02, 2005
Would it help get things moving if it were a terrorist named Katrina who had blown up the levees instead of a Hurricane? Can we just pretend that happened? I know, the hurricane obviously makes things difficult. I’m just furious – you clear a road to the Superdome, confiscate every bus or personnel carrier in a 300 mile range, drive ‘em in filled with water, food, ice & medicine and pull them out. What's holding that up? What if this HAD been a terrorist attack? Do we not have plans in place to deal with millions of displaced people in this country? Clearly, not.
If the Army can’t do it then get the Disney people over there – they know how to fucking move large amounts of people in a short period of time. In the meantime, you have supplies for setting up refugee camps airdropped to shelter locations to be waiting for those folks to show up. I’m sure local charities would be more than happy to help set them up, or the refugees themselves.
Yes there are a handful of very angry people there with guns. It's understandable. I'd be pissed too. You tell me to go somewhere to be taken care of. I go like a good citizen and they you leave me to rot and die.
Here's what we do. We send in choppers to the evacuation point with the buses to provide air cover. You have a bullhorn. You say “there are 500 busses behind this one. We'll get you out. But in the meantime, we need to get the grandma's and babies out first. Put down your weapons. Anyone holding a weapon will be shot”. Count to 3. Shoot anyone still dumb enough to hold a gun. You have able-bodied refugees offload critical supplies. Note - this keeps them too busy to grab the guns. You get families with kids & old/sick folks on the bus first. Anyone not of those two categories who tries to mob the bus will be shot. Leave supplies with them until it's their turn.
Or if people are so unwilling to open their homes, their churches, their community centers as shelters. You confiscate cruise ships, as one online buddy suggested. We did it in WWI and WWII – if ever there was a natural emergency that justified that kind of act this is it. Carnival says they’re “considering that” but nobody has asked them to do it. What’s so difficult? Supposedly we have the money, supposedly we have the OK from Georgie to use WHATEVER resources are needed. So what’s the hold up?
I think it’s the will to use those resources. I think this administration has an unwillingness to demand companies sacrifice anything for the greater good. It’s the whole “faith based charity” bullshit. Apparently you can’t get your ticket to heaven by paying tax dollars that go toward relieving human suffering and saving lives. They can only be purchased via church-sponsored charities. Run by Pat Robertson.
I hear stories of tons of folks waiting to go in "as soon as they get the word" as soon as it "gets safe". You know what? The quickest way to make it safe is to get those people out. They're not getting any happier, any healthier and sure as hell not any more patient.
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
South African creates Anti-Rape Female Condom. Snips: "A South African inventor unveiled a new anti-rape female condom on Wednesday that hooks onto an attacker’s penis and aims to cut one of the highest rates of sexual assault in the world.
“Nothing has ever been done to help a woman so that she does not get raped and I thought it was high time,” Sonette Ehlers, 57, said of the "rapex," a device worn like a tampon that has sparked controversy in a country used to daily reports of violent crime...
Ehlers said the “rapex” hooks onto the rapist’s skin, allowing the victim time to escape and helping to identify perpetrators...The device, made of latex and held firm by shafts of sharp barbs, can only be removed from the man through surgery which will alert hospital staff, and ultimately, the police, she said...
Ehlers, who showed off a prototype on Wednesday, said women had tried it for comfort and it had been tested on a plastic male model but not yet on a live man*. Production was planned to start next year.
But the “rapex” has raised fears amongst anti-rape activists that it could escalate violence against women.
“If a victim is wearing such a device it may enrage the attacker further and possibly result in more harm being caused,” said Sam Waterhouse, advocacy coordinator for Rape Crisis.
Other critics say the condom is medieval and barbaric** — an accusation Ehlers says should be directed rather at the act of rape."
*wonder where they're going to get volunteers? Maybe cadavers?
**This pissed me right off. Yeah, no shit it's medieval and barbaric. So is rape. Fire to fight fire, I say...
The funny thing is I once envisioned a sci-fi type story along similar lines. Only in my fictional world, women on some planet had evolved natural anti-rape defenses. Such as... acidic vaginal secretions that would only be rendered harmless with a certain state of arousal.
Will this work? I don't know. Once word gets out smart rapists would just check and remove it before commencing. And yes, might retaliate more against the woman for her audacity. Or might sodomize her instead. But maybe it'll launch an urban type myth that could provide a deterrent. It's worth a try. Afterall, it's not like anyone's coming up with any other plan to deter rapists *before* they strike...
Monday, August 29, 2005
Work is keeping me very busy lately which while on the one hand is great (job security!), sucks on the other hand since I can’t wallow in mucusoidal misery.
Things could be worse – I could be in New Orleans. I’m watching Hurricane Katrina in horror, wishing for once that I had expanded cable (CNN, etc.) or at least speakers/ working headphones on my work PC to catch the audio of the streaming video reports. Instead I just watch the detached stoplights flying down the street and provide my own commentary. Which is better than your standard “yep, getting pretty darn windy down here, Bob” that you get from network reporters.
My version: “Jane: Nothing much going on over here (where the Eye *didn’t* hit)…. .getting pretty windy/rainy. There’s not a Starbucks open anywhere within 100 miles. Chickenshits. Hey, look at the flying debris! How’s it going where you are, Bob (where the Eye is hitting)?”
“Well Jane, I was feeling pretty lucky to have drawn storm duty – I’m going to get a ton of face time. But then a half a building flew by and there’s not a laundromat open anywhere within 100 miles to clean the crap out of my drawers. Good think the network sprung for that hi-tech raingear that wicks away moisture – I don’t know what’s from the rain/flooding and what’s from pissing my pants. Guess it doesn't matter - this whole place is turning into an open sewer anyway.” A smart investor would have stocked up on hip waders this hurricane season.
Then I think about how miserable those people are (and are going to be for quite awhile). You're forced to evacuate, leaving behind cherished possessions, maybe even pets. Don’t know if you’ll even have a house to come home to. Your work/business/livelihood may be washed away, and even if you do have something to come back to, you’ll be trying to rebuild the shambles of your life in a stifling hot toxic environment with no A/C until they get the electricity back online could be weeks) and will likely be fighting off looters and other criminal elements with minimal emergency resources (police, medical, etc.) available.
Friday, August 26, 2005
Julie's Charlie is just a tad older than Duncan, so I often tune in to her blog to get an idea of what I can expect in the near future. After reading her account of a really shitty day today I had to swallow my snickers for fear of inviting my own shitslinging come-uppance.
Just so she knows she's not alone, here's D. in classic crank mode. Note cause & effect placement of cranky child and blessed blender. Bottle of rum and pina colada mix are just out of frame.
This week, cold medicine replaced the bottle of rum due to some evil little bug that has been spiking my food with microscopic razor blades for 4 days. Hence the dearth of posting recently.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
And the rightwing’s below-the-belt skewering of Cindy (one of the mothers of fallen soldiers Bush claimed to have “loved” personally back on the campaign trail) is going over with the American people about as well as that Major League baseball strike a few years back. Everything they try to throw at her is just making them look like bigger assholes. Most normal people know you don't disrespect the Mama. To most normal people, motherhood is a sacred institution - you don't get between a Mama bear and her cubs. But then, wingnuts aren't normal. They seem to only respect the Mama when she dutifully fulfills her Old Testament role by keeping her famy fed, her uterus full and most importantly - her mouth shut. Bonus points for dying a painful death in childbirth.
Bush in particular must be tickling his intestines with his toes by now, he's got his foot shoved so far down his throat. The woman has lost her SON and he claims going bike riding is more important than helping her (and through her, the thousands of other mothers she represents) come to terms with her loss? Casey won't ever get to ride a bike. He won't get to teach his own children to do so. But I bet Cindy would be more than happy to accompany Bush on his little rides around the ranch. Heck, I bet she'd pony up and pull some tumbleweed just to help him multitask. He's got time for his biggest supporters - I'm sure he entertains them lavishly at the White House. But no time for Cindy? Pulleeze... ! It's not like she's asking for a night in the Lincoln bedroom or anything. Just a chat.
One thing that's got me fuming about this are all the wingnut pundits, commenters, bloggers, radioshow listeners, etc. who have the unmitigated gall to presume to know her son's political beliefs better than she, just because he wore a uniform. Like camo gives them some kind of telepathic insight into his mind. I hadn't realized the military was *that* technologically advanced! I get so sick of their blatant assumption that just because someone is in the military, or if they served/are serving in Iraq they MUST support Bush, agree with his pathetic justification for the war and praise his miserable handling of it.
I’m referring of course to the comments you hear/read to the effect that “if Casey were alive he would be ashamed of his mother” or “I’m sure he’s turning over in his grave”. I’m sorry, did they know Casey? Cindy indicates even her rightwing in-laws who made that statement disagreeing with her didn’t have a personal relationship with her son. But Michelle Malkin is supposed to have? What, did they date once? How in the hell would she know what Casey thought?
According to an interview I heard Cindy give, her son DID agree with her political beliefs before going to Iraq, and the only reason he deployed was out of a sense of duty TO HIS COMRADES. Not because he believed it was a noble mission. Not because he agreed with his commander in chief. And if you listen to any of the returning vets who are against the war &/ against Bush, you hear the same thing over and over. The only reason they are there is for EACH OTHER.
How dare they tell a mother who Bush demanded the ultimate sacrifice of – the loss of a CHILD that they, absolute strangers know her sons mind better than her? HOW DARE THEY??? Did they nourish him with their very lifeblood for 9 months before laboring in intense pain to bring him into this world? Not that giving birth to a child gives you special insight into their mind 24 years later, but it sure gives you a headstart. Did they change any diapers? Did they comfort him through long nights of teething and illness? Did they teach him how to ride his first bike? Walk him to school his first day? Play tooth fairy? Experience his devestation when he didn't get what he really wanted from Santa Claus? Help him with his homework? Comfort him through his first heartbreak? I don’t think so. The absolute arrogance is unbelievable – to tell a mother who has lost her child that her relationship with that child, her lifetime of experience understanding him is beyond worthless just because he was wearing fatigues when he was slain.
It would be one thing if she’d been estranged from her son before his death. But by all accounts, nothing could be further from the truth. Given that, I’ll bet that wherever he is Casey is watching his Mom & cheering her on, proud that she’s continuing to do the one thing he DID think risking his own life was worth – protecting his fellow soldiers who are still in harm’s way.
Because what so many who feel “it’s the military’s job to protect U.S. Citizens and an honor for them to die in that service” fail to realize is…. Just as it’s their job to protect us, it is OUR job as good citizens to protect THEM. They give up so many fundamental rights when they join up. They sacrifice so very, very much. Not just lives shattered, but bodies, careers, financial wellbeing – even families. Who is supposed to protect them? Who is supposed to make sure that the sacrifice we ask of them has meaning?
“We, the People” are, that’s who. With rights of citizenship come responsibility and this is one of them: responsibility for those give up their own rights to serve on our behalf, and in our name.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Which we find hysterical.
So we start to laugh.
He gets this surprised look on his face and then busts into this huge grin and chortles along with us. Which makes us laugh all the harder. Somewhere between the tears of hysteria I manage to say in babytalk: “you are SO BUSTED! Yes you are! Who's got your number now? Mommy & Daddy, that's who!! Googiddygoo goo goo!”
I didn’t think infants were capable of such histrionic behavior until they were a little older (and they develop that wonderful puke-on-demand just as Mom & Dad leave for a night out ability) but now I wonder if there might be more goin' on behind those baby blues than I thought!.
Turns out I'm not the only one: Innovative Studies Reveal that Infants' Minds are Much More Emotionally and Intellectually Complex than Previously Believed.
I totally buy the jealousy thing. Duncan and the Dog have this adorable little mutual envy thing goin' on. If we ignore the dog and play with the baby Jinx will bring us every toy she can find in the house and toss it in our lap, hoping to initiate a game with *her*. And if we play with the dog and ignore Duncan, he starts grunting and kicking in frustration, only to smile disarmingly once he wins our attention. The other night, Curt made a big show out of taking Duncan's favorite rattle and pretending to chew on it blissfully. Christ on a cracker you should have seen the sideways LOOK of sheer betrayal he got! And the heartfelt SIGH! And the sad little dramatic closing of the eyes and dramatic look away. If he had more motor control I swear he'd have crossed his arms in a perfect pout.
Damn he's adorable! Yeah, he's so got our number. We're so screwed.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
I'm still trying to figure out what all this will mean for women's rights on the Peninsula. I believe Abdullah is more reform minded than his father, and the younger generations even more so. But perhaps the Wahabists (sp?) ala Bin Laden are getting a firmer grip. Time will tell, I suppose. In the meantime I'm hopeful.
Friday, July 29, 2005
Thursday, July 28, 2005
You have issues my friend. Seriously big issues. But as long as you asked, I advise taking careful aim with your nipple, shoot him in the eye to get his attention and tell him to get his ass back to work unloading the U-Haul.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
The other night I got a hair up my ass and decided to assemble the Critter’s high chair. He’s getting bored with the recumbent position of his bouncy and is demanding to sit up all the time. So the high chair seemed appropriate.
But the minute a screwdriver or hammer appears in my hand Curt turns into this condescending toolmaster who bears a striking resemblance to Mr. Miyagi of Karate Kid fame. He becomes intently fixated on my technique and if I don’t successfully get something screwed all the way in within 5 turns or less (or whatever time period he deems appropriate) he begins to offer such annoying advice as “it’s all about the leverage”; “you’re approaching from the wrong angle” and "visualize the hole". You would think I was holding in my inept hand some kind of subatomic particle splitter cleverly masquerading itself as a roughly machined, crude shank of metal by the level of complexity he assigns to the operation of said device.
It’s a freaking screwdriver! It’s not that hard! Or at least, wouldn’t be if he would only keep the battery of the electric screwdriver I brought to the relationship properly charged. But no – he’s got this warped love/hate relationship going with the tool where he loves the big comfy grip of it, and loves how you can quickly switch from phillips head to standard head, but he only uses it in locked/ manual mode which makes the magic that is the electrical power absolutely redundant. Which would be fine if he would just leave the battery in the charger so it’s good to go when I need it. But again, no. Apparently the heaviness of the battery provides a great deal of the heft that makes the device so appealing to my dear husband in its dumb, inanimate state. So he leaves it dead in the toolhandle, sadly bereft of its magical electric charge.
For the record, I bought the damned electric screwdriver back in my single days for assembling furniture and the like because I don’t really see the point of getting my hands cramped up doing such a simple task as torquing a screwdriver when I can get my pals Black & Decker to do it for me. Apparently some men feel differently. Why have a machine do what your hands can do just as well? They think. These are the same men who watch Yankee Woodcrafter on PBS. And I imagine, are a little intimidated by the battery powered toy collections of their women. Sidenote to any such guys in the audience: the problem is the hands often don't do as good of a job. We're just too embarassed to admit it. But I degress.
I must admit, his behavior leaves me feeling a bit betrayed. You see, when we first met I made a point of specifically testing Curt on his M.C.Q (mechanical condescension quotient). Because I find this characteristic in a man that insulting. Not because I’m some kind of Sally the ToolGal expert, but because it is very important to me to figure stuff out and do it myself. Pathetic, I know but I take a great amount of personal pride in my independence. I’ll ask for help when I want/need it, and won’t get too annoyed if you politely offer to help before I ask, but if you rudely INSIST on helping* after I’ve also politely said “no thanks, I can do it/ I want to do it” or Maude forbid, pushing me aside to do it FOR ME all hell will indeed break loose. Because this indicates that you think I am incompetent and are, in fact an insensitive ass.
Back to the test: when he requested a second date, I told him I was planning to replace the sparkplugs in my ’69 Mustang** that night, but he was welcome to hang out with me while I did so. I figured – no truly annoying man prone to mechanical condescension would pass up the opportunity to delve into the engine of a muscle car, and if he did resist the urge to do so (or didn't have it at all) and let me bumble around and do it myself, why then he was a keeper. He proved to be so good about failing to comment or instruct until I asked for his input that I couldn’t help but fall in love.***
Fast Forward: You’d think he’d catch a clue when I gave him that look and said “Honey – I don’t give a flying fuck if I’m not mastering screwdriving technique to your high level of expectations. If it pains you to watch my clumsy attempts than by all means kindly leave me the hell alone. If I need help I’ll ask for it.” But in case he didn't, let me make myself perfectly clear: Before we get a divorce some fateful Christmas Eve after trying to put together Duncan’s first bike or swingset, please use your own damned screwdrivers and leave my electric one alone. Thank you.
Love, your oversensitive wife.
*Now, (like all men who aspire to behave in a chivalrous manner) in Curt’s defense he was taught that it’s rude NOT to offer to help someone. Which is true, provided – if that person a) agrees there is a problem requiring help in the first place and b) agrees they cannot help themselves. If either of these conditions are not met then quite simply, your help is neither needed nor appreciated. So don’t be surprised when it’s not well received.
**Given to me by my Gramma, who bought it new over Grampa’s symbolic dead body after she was physically attacked walking home from work one night (though she didn't tell him that was why). So needless to say I rather enjoy the opportunity to get up to my elbows in oil and personally maintain the car.
*** Apparently I underestimated the cleavage/auto distractability quotient while crafting this test. Later review of that fateful date has shown that he was so intent on the girls peeking over my low cut top while I bent over the engine that he wasn’t paying any attention to what I was or was not doing with the damned sparkplugs. And yes, I am aware that not all men possess the chromosome that instills a fascination with muscle cars. The test was supposed to establish that inclination, as well.
Monday, July 25, 2005
Remember back during the Abu Ghraib scandal when both Rummy and Seymour Hersh said there were “worse” photos and video that hadn’t been released yet from the Taguba report? Photos/Video that Rummy himself characterized as “blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhuman”?
Apparently the worst was finally supposed to be released this weekend, long after the election and once the public was finally sick and tired of hearing about Abu Ghraib. But the Pentagon blocked the release at the last minute. No reason has been given so far.
As a refresher, the “much worse” in question purportedly includes the video of the rape/torture of not just women who were imprisoned, but their children who were imprisoned as well. And evidence that the women who were passing notes to their men outside begging to be killed for what was being done (and presumably, to their children).
This old post at Boing Boing is a good place to refresh your memory.
I’m already getting sick just thinking about how horrendous the footage must be if Rummy himself called it “inhuman”. 2006 senate races are just around the corner. Remember this mantra: GOP: Proudly torturing children since 2002.
Friday, July 22, 2005
Complain all you want about the initiative/ referendum process, but it's bullshit like what Minnis is pulling that forces the people to take matters into their own hands.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Most recent images (including some night glowing lava) here.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
When Shrub & the Repubs talk about the need for brave, pro-democratic Iraqi civillians to stand up and stick their necks out to help rebuild their country and build a democracy, these are the kind of people he needs. Educated. Committed. Incredibly patriotic. Freedom loving. You pick the buzz word & they're it. They've done (and continue to do) some amazing humanitarian work given the risk involved. Reading back in their archives you can see just where the U.S. occupation went wrong and how they lost the hearts and minds of everyday Iraqi's.
And this is how that bravery, that commitment is repaid. Please keep Khalid in your thoughts and prayers.
UPDATE:*** Khalid has been freed! Woohoo!
Earlier this month the Dem controlled Oregon Senate passed the bill which would give partnered LGBT Oregonians nearly all of the same legal protections of marriage; and add sexual orientation to the state’s existing anti-discrimination laws. The bill is strongly supported by Gov. Kulongoski who has promised to sign it. All the media I've read about this bill to date indicated it would be dead in the water once it reached the Republican controlled House, but I was listening to supporters on Thom Hartmann this morning who are plugging a rally tonight in Salem, and they say they’ve actually got enough Republican votes in the House to pass the bill if only Speaker Minnis would let it come to the floor for a vote.
Up/Down Vote here folks, that's all we're asking.... a little quid pro quo.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
For anybody playing along -
Casmir now has a happy, healthy baby brother named Carl. Congratulations, Ms. Polkadot!!
I'm going to have to move Em of Postcards of Grief to the "Spawning Grounds" as she & partner Brooke are busy preparing for the arrival of their own Fry sometime next year. May the River Gods bless you with a swimmingly easy pregnancy and delivery, Em!
And no word yet on the emminent arrival of GetUpGrrl's Gefilte Fish. I think he's stuck in an eddy upstream.....
Monday, July 18, 2005
It occurs to me that the few times he’s slept through the night have been following an exhausting day partying with strangers. His first night down at Gramma’s with their friends playing domino’s; our friend M ‘s birthday party. Partido at the in-laws. Our boy’s a party animal. That explains the late night wake-ups! Don’t all the cool kids know the party doesn’t start until 10:30? But seeing as how the authorities might frown on any attempt to leave him with strangers everyday (and I hear in about 4 more months the stranger fear/ separation anxiety should kick in anyway) I’m left thinking maybe a short late afternoon nap, some margarita’s (for us, not him) and a later bedtime might cue the sleep-through trigger and make us all much happier. Failing that, we may re-decorate the nursery in piñatas.
*I know I’m damned lucky to have any insurance at all and others would love this headache. But here’s a perfect example of how things that are supposed to make life easier (i.e. insurance and computers) end up having just the opposite effect when you throw an idiotic admin clerk into the equation. If you want the long boring account continue reading...
Saturday I go to the local small hospital to get the X-ray. Doctor’s order in hand. I give it to the admin clerk who tells me, after 30 minutes of hemming and hawing that she can’t find a freaking insurance diagnostic code in her manual for “birthmark on spine” to enter into the computer and therefore, cannot let me have the x-ray. I ask her how we're supposed to have something called a "diagnostic code" to get the x-ray when we need the x-ray to get a diagnosis, but she neighter grasps nor appreciates the catch-22-esque logic of my question.
My pediatrician's office is closed for the weekend. I’ve already taken off early two days in a row dealing with doctor’s visits and sick child. I’m not going to take more time off on Monday to deal with this shit. My frustration is compounded by the fact that I know my ped faxed the order over to them 2 days ago. You’d think that when they received it, they’d have checked it out, made sure they had everything they needed and you know, maybe called her when the office was open to straighten out the code problem? But no. That would be too damned proactive, I guess.
They have another office that’s opened limited hours on Saturday, so I defy the clerk's "begone frazzled mother with the grossly unkept hair" body language and insist she call over there to get a code. Their on-call doc tells her via his receptionist that he’s not willing to guess what it should be without having the charts on hand. She once again tries to dismiss me. But by now I'm determined that come hell of high water, I WILL get that fucking x-ray done today. So I call the office myself and proceed to make of myself a major pain in the ass. After being on interminable hold, the receptionist agrees to have the doc call me back “soon”. By this time I’ve been dinking around the hospital waiting room for over an hour. We’re both getting cranky, given our sleep-deprived status. I hate being one of those obnoxious parents my mother always complains about who come into the E.R. and make the staff’s life hell. But at this point, I’m not being given much of a choice, am I?
While waiting to hear back from the on-call ped I call dear old Mom to wallow in a teary, expletive-filled account of our dilemma, wondering if there’s some secret healthcare professional password phrase I could utilize to gain entry to the exalted hall of the diagnostic imaging room. Years ago, she used to work at this very hospital. I have fond memories of bringing her milkshakes from the diner down the street when I had a new driver’s license and she worked nights. I thought she might have a better solution than what I had in mind – namely committing the unpardonable sin of just walking the 50 feet across the hall to the emergency room and demanding a doctor look at what’s in all likelihood a totally benign, harmless, absolutely non-emergent patch of pigment on my baby’s ass. Or temporarily stashing Duncan with the kindly grandma in the waiting room while I go ram my car into a pole on the far side of the parking lot in frustration so maybe while they're x-raying me I could convince a kind-hearted tech to snap a few shots of him, too. But then again, there's probably not a diagnosis code for "crazy muthah" either.
She absolved me of guilt for my first inclination, and encouraged me to go with my second instead. Namely, that given the logic that if you’re going to be a pain in the ass, it’s generally more effective to do so in person I should just drive on over to the on-call doc’s office (not far) so he can take a quick peek at said birthmark and give us an appropriate code. After promising to call her back later to make sure I haven’t had a meltdown that’s landed me in rubber handcuffs, we head out – Duncan much happier driving than fussing in the waiting room.
My logic paid off as when I show up in person, the receptionist is oh so apologetic that the doc hasn’t called me back yet. Within 10 minutes the doc (actually a very nice man) pops out into the waiting room, takes a quick peek at the birthmark and the order and says “well, it says right here ‘reason for exam: birthmark on spine’ what’s the problem?” I take a deep breath to let off some steam before exploding into a bawling, frustrated mess and quite calmly say “well, apparently a “reason” isn’t good enough. There’s no computer code for that reason. Without a code, no exam”. “Oh, well then we’ll get you a code”. “That would be delightful, thank you”. 15 minutes later we have the magic diagnostic code 737.52 or some such for some kind of vascular something or other. The receptionist again apologizes, bemoans the fact that insurance just won’t pay without a proper diagnostic code, and off we go back to the hospital. Where we wait another hour before getting the x-ray, at which time the x-ray tech says “sorry about the wait – you came at a really busy time”. I couldn’t help but politely snark, “actually, when we were here the *first time* his morning it wasn’t busy at all”.
Sometimes I think the conservatives who claim introduction of market forces in healthcare make it more efficient must never get sick. Because just about every time I have the sorry luck to have to deal with the healthcare industry, it becomes patently obvious that the fucking requirements of insurance plan bureaucracy do more to muck up the works than any gov’t run system ever could.