Sunday, December 30, 2007

Here's a recipe I need to think about long and hard...


I grant you it's made with porter, which is somewhat sweet, but it's still a little unnerving to read this recipe. The blog I found it on is a really reliable source of good recipes so I might consider it. But it makes too much for just me and I'll need a lot of volunteers to help taste it because I don't want to waste this much food if it's nasty.

And I'm afraid I can't mail it out of town. Sorry...

1 pound mascarpone cheese
1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 eggs beaten (hs note: leave these out if you are worried about eating raw eggs, it's still tasty)
1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup heavy cream, whipped
48 ladyfinger cookies (hs note: I used less, one 7 ounce package)
6 ounces (3/4 cup) Porter beer
1/2 cup brewed coffee, the stronger the better
1/2 cup cocoa

In a large bowl mix together the mascarpone, sugar, beaten eggs and vanilla. Fold in the whipped cream. Set this mixture aside.

In a shallow dish stir together the Porter beer and the brewed coffee, Dip the ladyfingers cookies into the coffee mixture (hs note:if you are using regular non-Italian ladyfingers make it a quick dunk).Don't let the ladyfingers get soggy. Arrange them in a single layer in a glass casserole dish (hs note: 8x8 is prob. fine). Spread 1/2-inch layer of mascarpone mixture on top of the ladyfingers. Sprinkle with1/4 cup cocoa. Repeat this for the second layer. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving.

Serves 12

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Well, aren't we just the misunderstood people....

So the Sudanese President pardoned that British schoolteacher whose students named their teddy bear "Mohammed." And yet, "Approximately 40 protestors held a demonstration outside the British embassy in Khartoum, with banners opposing the decision to release her and demanding her execution."

This, ladies and genlemens, is what happens when fundamentalists of ANY religion get power in government.

A passing reference in the referenced article to something said by one of the British peers who worked for the teacher's release gives some hint as to how this was arranged, and I'm betting common sense and decency had nothing to do with it all:

'Lord Ahmed reaffirmed that Sudanese-British relations would not be put into jeopardy as a result of the teddy bear saga.
Lord Ahmed stated that, “We hope that British aid to Sudan continues and relations between our two countries will not be damaged by this incident - in fact, this should be a way to strengthen relations.”'

Get it? Huh? Huh?

We really need to kick some people in their economic balls.

Colorado Springs is next....

I iz a laydie now!

(this is entirely SCA related and if you're not interested in SCA, just skip on down to older stuff...)

Okay, the Russian title is Boyarina and I'm not sure what the Eastern European Jewish title would be, but one way or another I have earned my first (and most likely only) title in the SCA. It was such an anti-climactic moment, especially as I already knew about it and was kind of expecting it. Instead of happening in a formal SCA setting, it was after dinner in a crowded Mexican restaurant. I'm not sure who was more embarrassed, myself or Aedan who had to act as herald and make the whole announcement sound formal after eating a huge burrito. Actually, it was so me... Baroness Jill was adorable (she and Baron Alfric just are adorable...) and when we had trouble getting the necklace on me because of $#%$## hair was in the way she giggled.

There is going to be a better picture of my scroll later and one of the necklace as well, but right now the only thing I have is my camera phone and it doesn't work all that well. It's a stunning scroll and I must have it framed as soon as possible, but for the moment it's safe in its envelope.

According to the An Tir "Handbook"

Award of Arms - the lowest level of armigerous rank awarded by the Crown generally to those who have become recognized integrated participants in the Society. The Crown of An Tir has granted Principality Coronets the privilege of bestowing AA's to subjects of Their Principalities in the name of the Crown. Those who have achieved an Award level rank are given the title of Lord or Lady.

And there it is, my friends. And I'm full of nachos and laughs and good feelings and on that note I think I'm heading for bed.

Monday, November 26, 2007

What a nice bunch of people the Sudanese are. (/sarcasm)

I wish Olbermann would let me contribute to his Worst Person segment. Because this surely qualifies the government of Sudan for at least the Silver.

November 27, 2007
Sudan Accuses Teacher of Islam Insult
NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov. 26 — The Sudanese police arrested a British schoolteacher and accused her of insulting Islam after she allowed her 7-year-old pupils to name a class teddy bear Muhammad, Sudanese officials said today.

The teacher, Gillian Gibbons, was arrested on Sunday in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, after a number of parents complained, said Rabie A. Atti, a government spokesman.“How can you call a bear Muhammad?” he said. “Muhammad is the holy prophet of Islam.”

Dr. Rabie said the authorities had obtained a letter Ms. Gibbons sent home with students explaining that her primary school class was doing a project on animals and had adopted a teddy bear named Muhammad.
“Her letter said there was an intelligent bear named Muhammad, and the letter instructed parents to take pictures with this bear,” Dr. Rabie said. “This is not acceptable, according to the general opinion of our society.”

In Islam, insulting the Prophet Muhammad is considered a grave offense, and the law of northern Sudan, where Khartoum is located, makes this a crime. The private, relatively expensive Unity School in Khartoum, where Ms. Gibbons taught, educates a mix of Christian and Muslim Sudanese children, and the lessons are in English.

Ms. Gibbons is in jail, pending further investigation, Dr. Rabie said.

“If she is innocent, she will be set free,” Dr. Rabie.

If she is guilty, Dr. Rabie said, she will face punishment, possibly including lashes.

“I hope she didn’t mean what the people thought,” he added, saying it was possible that Ms. Gibbons did not intend to offend Islam.Officials at the school have defended Ms. Gibbons.

“This was a completely innocent mistake,” Robert Boulos, the director of Unity High School, told BBC. “Miss Gibbons would have never wanted to insult Islam.”

According to BBC, Ms. Gibbons, 54, asked a seven-year-old girl to bring in a teddy bear and for her classmates to pick a name for it.

“They came up with eight names including Abdullah, Hassan and Muhammed,” Mr. Boulos said.
When it came time to vote, 20 out of 23 children choose Muhammad, one of the most common names in the Muslim word.

The students then took turns bringing the bear home on weekends, and wrote a diary about what they did with it. According to the BBC, the children’s entries were bound together in a book with a picture of the bear on the cover and a message that read, “My name is Muhammad.”

The teddy bear ordeal comes just a few weeks after Sudanese authorities said that no troops from Scandinavia could serve as peacekeepers in Darfur, where the United Nations is trying to send an expanded peacekeeping force, because Danish newspapers published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad two years ago.

Those cartoons set off riots across the Muslim world and several dozen people were killed.
Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Sudan’s president, said in a recent interview with Al Jazeera that, “We in Sudan declared mobilization against the Scandinavians after the publishing of the offensive cartoons of the Prophet,” and that the Sudanese people would not accept Scandinavian troops because of this.

His rejection of the Scandinavians complicates efforts to bolster the peacekeeping force with appropriate technical expertise. The force is supposed to be predominantly African, according to an agreement Sudan reached with the United Nations and the African Union, but United Nations officials said it was essential to include experts from developed countries and were hoping to send teams from Norway and Sweden.

Okay, so the kids decided on the name, there are most likely kids in the class with that same name, and yet the teacher is likely to get publically whipped. Like the Saudi rape victim who was sentenced to being whipped for being in a situation where rape could take place (And when she protested the sentence, the number of lashes was increased to punish her for wasting the court's time...) this is an example of fundamentalism gone where fundamentalism is sadly wont to go.

Keep in mind that these people (the Saudis, at least) are U.S. allies.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I can't believe no one challenged this.

Watching "Press the Meat" -- er -- "Meet the Press" this morning, I heard something that I can't believe no one on the panel challenged. Rusty -- Tim Russert -- said that it has been observed that the Repigs is that they pay more attention to the Ten Commandments than to the Sermon on the Mount whereas the Dems pay more attention to the Sermon on the Mount than to the Ten Commandments.

Not a single person on that whole panel commented that they both ought to be paying more attention to the BILL OF RIGHTS than to either bit of religious gobbeldy-gook.

I'll try to get a YouTube cap of it later tonight but right now I'm off to show downtown Portland in the rain off to a newcomer from Ft. Collins. I think she's in for culture shock...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Speaking of unfortunately necessary re-makes

Phil Ochs' "Cops of the World" spoke to the hearts of many of us during the Viet Nam debacle.

Ochs isn't around to rewrite his song to suit the times. I'm not sure he needed to, but some guy named Ryan Harvey did. I find it inferior to the original but I applaud the attempt. (It's obviously a pre-2004 rewrite.)

(This video was originally found on the Portland indymedia website but I don't recognize the location, the singer, the song, or the occasion. Not that I've been to every rally in the entire metro area but that one looks particularly large and I've only missed one of those, one that was too early on to have included some of the references in this song. If anyone recognizes where this is from, I'd love to know. Just to satisfy my own curiosity.)

I was SO hoping Paxton would write this one.

And so wishing he didn't have to.

For those old enough to remember where this came from, here's the original:

(There's just something about Texans becoming Preznut....and not a good something....)

Now I have to wonder when Pete Seeger will unwrap this one, and complete the destruction of the myth that Iraq bears no resemblance to Viet Nam.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Attn: American news media--this is NOT acceptable!

I watched the news this weekend. I read the NY Times on Sunday. I scan the Oregonian (I'd read it if the writing were above a fourth grade level...)

So why did I learn about THIS on Air America this afternoon, and still had to go to Reuters to get any news about it at all? (BBC also had a decent article, not as long as Reuters but still decent. As did the Chinese newspapers, the Irish newspapers, the PAKISTANI newspapers, and I stopped looking at that point because it was all too depressing.)

Protesters call for end to Iraq war

Sat Oct 27, 2007 7:04pm EDT

By Chris Michaud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Anti-war demonstrators marched in a dozen U.S.cities on Saturday to call for an immediate end to the war in Iraq and a cut-off of funding by Congress.

The "national day of action," sponsored by the United for Peace and Justice coalition, attracted throngs of protesters in cities from Boston and New Orleans to Chicago and Los Angeles on the fifth anniversary of the U.S. Senate's vote authorizing the invasion of Iraq.

Wet weather dampened the turnout in New York, but thousands braved the rain for the anti-war event in Manhattan, where protesters carried signs reading "End the war now," demanding a cutoff of its funding;"Healthcare, not warfare;" and calling for the impeachment of President Bush for "war crimes."

One contingent began its trek in New Jersey, marching across the George Washington Bridge en route to a rally in Manhattan's Union Square, where speakers included anti-war veterans and families of servicemen in Iraq.

Leslie Kielsen, a local UPAJ organizer, said the "half a trillion"dollars spent on the war was money that could have been used for education, housing and to feed the hungry.

The demonstrators, who included labor unions activists, also spoke out on issues including nuclear weapons and what some see as the increasing likelihood of U.S. military intervention in Iran over its escalating nuclear program.

They then marched peacefully to Foley Square near some of New York's largest courthouses and federal office buildings for another rally. En route, they observed a two minute period of silence to honor the war dead.

In Chicago, an estimated 10,000 people gathered at Union Park for the march to Federal Plaza. Democratic Reps. Danny Davis and Rep. Jan Schakowsky both told a rally before the march they would oppose any further funding for the war in Iraq without a formal withdrawal date.

"Do not let the political leaders divide us," Veterans for Peace National Executive Director Michael McPherson, a Gulf War veteran, told the crowd.

"Figure out ways to work together even though we might have some differences. We must stand together on these issues."

Mike Carano, 53, the Ohio co-coordinator for the Progressive Democrats of America, said "This isn't just a thing where a number of people come to (Washington) D.C.

"This is across-the-country sentiment about ending the occupation,redirecting funds for needs in this country, our attempt to get Congress to stand up and have its prerogative to cut funding, to take charge. That's our hope."

A second rally was slated to follow the march, while a group of mothers of active U.S. soldiers planned to hold a counter-demonstration, local media reported.

Organizers said demonstrators in San Francisco were expected to number as many as 100,000.

Protests were also slated for Seattle, Salt Lake City, Orlando,Philadelphia and even Jonesborough, Tennessee, home to a company that is the largest producer of weapons that use depleted uranium.

(Additional reporting by Benjamin Klayman in Chicago)

I suppose it's all my fault for not watching BBC news over the weekend.

There ARE protests going on. But the media won't cover them. This has GOT to stop! The media has to report NEWS, not the pablum the Administration approves of. Protests this size are not the stuff of indymedia reports only. They're news. You don't have to agree with the protester's aims to know news when you see it, do you?

If the fucking corporate media whores are going to avoid this kind of thing because they don't consider it news, then I demand they stop covering anything the lunatic religious right does.

Not only is Edward R. Murrow spinning in his grave, but so is Ben Bradlee. And he's not even dead.

Joe McCarthy, on the other hand, is apparently digging himself out of his grave with his bare hands, the better to celebrate his posthumous victory over the US Constitution.

I'm going to drown my sorrows in lentil stew now.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

If you read nothing else I've ever linked to, read this!

I realize I have a miniscule readership. But there are some folks out there reading my occasional rants and/or silliness.

This is neither. Ian resigned from the military with only three years to go before he could retire with full benefits. It would take quite a lot to make someone with that many years invested in his service just drop it. Ian was pushed too far. And while he's not alone, he's got a wife who won't allow him to punish himself and push himself too far. So he's resigned. Others don't have that kind of support to allow them to. Read what he has to say about all this.

Friday, October 12, 2007

My baby cousin has some good things to contribute to the conversation

Revealing the Total Guiliani
By Andrew Kirtzman
Sunday, March 18, 2007

After first misreading his intentions andthen underestimating his strength, waves of pundits are continuing to view Rudy Giuliani's lead in Republican presidential polls as some kind of giant misunderstanding.

But the fact is that the former New York mayor is the front-runner in the race and a huge new force in American politics. The time has come to stop wondering whether he's for real and start asking a far more important question: What kind of president would he be?

(Cont'd at link above.)

I'd stopped paying much attention to Andrew after the flurry of comments about his front page of the society section of the NY Times wedding announcement. (I do regret that the photo is missing in the Times' archive because, while Andrew does bear a remarkable resemblance to Stephen Colbert, the stand out item for me was that he was marrying a particularly good looking guy.) So last night I decided to search on his name again, just to get caught up on what the baby of the family is up to. I'm really glad I did.

Andrew has great qualifications for commenting on Giuliani. Read the article whether you support Giuliani's candidacy or not because as the Repig front-runner, his information needs to be known by everyone likely to be affected by him as candidate, if not as President.

I really need to give Donnie Deutsch another chance.

Ann the Man Coulter was the Bronze winner in Olbermann's "Worst Person" last night. I really wanted to hear her say what my secret lover Keith (whom I have to share with so many women, not the least of which is Stephanie Miller) discussed.

I never gave Donnie Deutsch a second thought. I think I'll pay more attention to him in the future. I may or may not like him but anyone who can go up against Mr. Coulter and emerge with neither blood nor spittle on the set deserves a second look, IMNSHO.

BTW, Ann the Man apparently felt the need to demonstrate her gender to Deutsch way back when. This one is mostly soundless and in slow motion. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Stolen from another blogger, but with respect

I found this after following a twisted trail, and must spread the word even further.

Courtesy of Ain't Christian?

Apr 11, 2007

10 Best reasons Gay Marriage is wrong:

1. Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

2. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

3. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

4. Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

5. Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britany Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

6. Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.

7. Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

8. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.

9. Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

10. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

I suggest turning down your speakers a bit before watching this.

I've never seen four people agree with one another about the topic that's supposed to be under discussion so much yet argue so loudly and belligerently amongst one another.

Warning: Lars Larsen is in this clip. So is Larry King. And so is Randi Rhodes. That's all the warning you get.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I have GOT to try this!

Found on the Cooking Vintage blog. Got to save it somewhere; might as well save it here and hopefully share it with one or two people.

Ambrosial Tomato Salad
Several mixed tomatoes--whatever you have in your garden or market basket
A good olive oil; I used about a teaspoon per cup of tomatoes
A squeeze or 2 of honey
A pinch or 2 of salt, to taste
Whatever herbs need pruning in the garden: I've used dill, basil, mint, cilantro, and sometimes a combination, depending on the day. My favorite combination was mint and opal basil.
Chop the tomatoes; if you're using cherry tomatoes in the mix, cut them in half so that they absorb the flavors. Sprinkle with salt and let sit while you gather your herbs (the salt draws out the tomato juices, which in this case, you don't want to discard, but savor). Add olive oil and honey and the chopped or torn herbs. Eat immediately, preferably outside on a day of the perfect temperature (for me that would be a nonhumid 82).

Can anybody help?

I have no idea if anyone ever reads this blog, so this is a combination request for help and plea for attention.

Can anyone who uses Blogspot and knows the ins and outs please let me know if I can get my blog stats and if so, how? I just want to know if anyone is reading this at all.

A negative answer won't stop me from posting because, frankly, I like my own prose. But I wonder how much I information I really need to add for others to read. I know how I think and why. But do you?

Update on Kenneth Foster

I have no idea if anyone reads this blog or not. But if anyone does, I want to be sure to say that Kenneth Foster (see posting about him a few back) was not executed. His sentence was commuted at the last minute, give or take an hour, by the Governor of Texas. As one of his supporters said, he was sentenced to die under a law that is essentially, "like punishing someone for not being psychic." (Quote from University of Texas Professor Dana Cloud.)

This doesn't let Texas off the hook as having a dreadful attitude towards people convicted of crimes most other states view as non-capital. But it is a step in the right direction.

Good humor (and I don't mean ice cream) websites

I don't know about anyone else but I needed a good laugh this morning. And a few websites came my way via various friends to provide just that.

Bulletproof Baby is just adorable. In a sick and twisted kind of way, of course.

Marry Our Daughter has to be a hoax. It just HAS to be one.

I'm a Doctor Who fan. And I like LOLCats. I'm not alone. So the combination was inevitable. While there are lots of LOLWho selections, this is the first time I've seen them combined. And so well, at that.

Last night I served my vanilla lavender ice cream (well, it was really ice milk since I tried to go healthy with it in view of the preggo pre-diabetic in the group) and learned two things. One is that ice milk made in my ice cream maker never gets creamy. The other is that I can make damn tasty ice cream. I wish I had a recipe, but I didn't write it down. Sigh!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Good frikkin' Grief!

There are so very many things to say "good fucking grief" about these days. But this one takes the proverbial cake.

Texas Man Set to Die for Role in Murder

Kennth Foster, a Co-Conspirator in a Brutal Assault, Will Be Executed Today
LIVINGSTON, Texas -- Aug. 30, 2007

Condemned prisoner Kenneth Foster acknowledges he and his "knucklehead" friends were up to no good as he drove them around San Antonio in a rental car and robbed at least four people 11 years ago.

"It was wrong," Foster, 30, said recently from death row. "I don't want to downplay that. I was wrong for that. I was too much of a follower. I'm straight up about that."

Their robbery spree, while they were all high on alcohol and marijuana, turned deadly when Foster followed Michael LaHood Jr., and his girlfriend to LaHood's home about 2 a.m. Aug. 15, 1996. One of Foster's passengers, Mauriceo Brown, jumped out, walked up to LaHood, demanded his wallet and car keys, then opened fire when LaHood, 25, couldn't produce them. LaHood, shot through the eye, died instantly.

Brown and Foster, tried together, were convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. Foster is set to die Thursday evening, 13 months after Brown, 31, was strapped to the same death chamber gurney in Huntsville for lethal injection.


WTF????? I knew Texan officials liked to kill people but this is just beyond my belief!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I didn't realize he was a rocker...

Oh, wait, he's not.

Thanks to Blue Gal for posting this so I could enjoy it and share it further.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

WTF is going on here?

Gonzales to Get Power In Death Penalty Cases

Rules Would Expand Fast-Track Authority

By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 15, 2007; Page A02

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, under political siege for his handling of the U.S. attorney firings and other issues, is to get expanded powers to hasten death penalty cases under regulations being developed by the Justice Department.

The rules would give Gonzales the authority to approve "fast-track" procedures by states in death penalty cases, enabling them to carry out sentences more speedily and with fewer opportunities for appeal if those states provide adequate representation for capital defendants.

(cont'd at link above)

Let me see if I have this right. In today's Washington DC, the more you seem to be doing wrong, the more authority you get. The worse your job performance, the greater your reward.

I am beyond outrage. I've come full circle all the way to baffled.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A tactic used in America since long before the Salem Witch Trials

I hadn't noticed this because it went through with so little fanfare. Meaning, no fanfare at all. Thanks to Jill at Brilliant at Breakfast for opening my eyes.

I have no words. Just read it. And weep.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

And I was SO hoping this was a gag site.

Well, it is. Just not in the sense of "gag" one usually expects from that phrase.

Check out "Feminism is Evil" and, once you've successfully suppressed your gag reflex, and stifled the laugh, and managed not to destroy your computer, realize that this person is in the minority among Americans. The trouble is, this minority is loud and colorful and manage to get way more press time than the size of the group warrants.

Beware of the feminists, many are lesbians!

Yeah, this guy WISHES that were true! It fuels his fantasies late at night, doesn't it? Perverted weirdos believe that little number.

I got the URL from a friend on LiveJournal who has managed not to puke all over her keyboard. I'm pretty sure my computer is safe but just to keep it that way I won't say anymore. Although I could go on.

If that's the minority, imagine what a majority of silent people not disagreeing with this kind of shit can do to my gag reflex...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

So true. So sadly, sadly true.

I'm not even going to try to paraphrase

This post in Denis McGrath's blog says it all.

The Nuts for Jericho campaign succeeded, I suspect, because it was organized by a nut company. I think without that kind of backing, any similar campaign is going to fail. So anyone who wants to save any kind of show, tv, radio, whatever, would do well to heed McGrath's advice.

Friday, July 13, 2007

This is good news on both fronts

American Teens: Less Sex, More Condoms

Published: July 13, 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Fewer high school students are having sex these days, and more are using condoms. The teen birth rate has hit a record low.

More young people are finishing high school, too, and more little kids are being read to, according to the latest government snapshot on the well-being of the nation's children. It's good news on a number of key wellness indicators, experts said of the report being released Friday.

''The implications for the population are quite positive in terms of their health and their well-being,'' said Edward Sondik, director of the National Center for Health Statistics. ''The lower figure on teens having sex means the risk of sexually transmitted diseases is lower.''

(cont'd at link above)

I think what this proves is not that any one version of sex education works to the exclusion of all others, but that just entering into the dialog with teenagers has a positive impact.

True, I still think educating teens on how to protect themselves makes more sense than the dictatorial sounding "Thou Shalt Not Have Sex Until Married," just because the only way to enforce the latter is to lock all kids up until they're married ... and even THEN you know how smart a lot of teens are, so that isn't a guarantee, either. And it has the side benefit of protecting members of married couples from being downstream from one or the other partners' potential infidelity. But the big thing it proves is that opening the discussion itself is the key.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

It's filk but not the bad kind

I have to run out the door and get to work but MUST share this -- er -- filk. I really, really like this guy but didn't know he had FILK in him, too!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Spreading the sad news

You think hate crimes always get big press? Think again.

It's sad...

Here we see the minimum wage by state. Interesting that the states satisfied with the pathetic national level are color coded a rusty version of red.

My agency did a study and determined that to live at bare minimum wage, even the Oregon minimum wage, a family of four would have to go without an awful lot of necessities. Never mind the nice "extras" like new clothes and school supplies. It's very, very sad.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Every once in a while something in the news makes me smile

Massachusetts Gay Marriage to Remain Legal

By PAM BELLUCK JUN. 15, 2007

BOSTON, June 14 — Same-sex marriage will continue to be legal in Massachusetts, after proponents in both houses won a pitched months-long battle on Thursday to defeat a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

“In Massachusetts today, the freedom to marry is secure,” Gov. Deval Patrick said after the legislature voted 151 to 45 against the amendment, which needed 50 favorable votes to come before voters in a referendum in November 2008.

(cont'd at link above)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Yay us! (Jericho post)

The article is basically about CBS saying that Dan Rather saying Katie Couric bringing a "Today Show" atmosphere to the nightly news was sexist. The argument is silly. But later in the article, we get this lovely bit.

Meanwhile, Moonves said the network's decision last week to reinstate a canceled show called "Jericho" following an outpouring of viewer e-mails and other protests spoke to the growing influence of the Internet on broadcasters.

"It was a campaign that couldn't be ignored," Moonves said of the mobilization of "Jericho" fans, saying it was "astonishing and well-organized."

As part of the campaign, disgruntled viewers delivered thousands of pounds of peanuts to CBS's corporate offices, a reference to a scene in the season finale where a character replies, "Nuts!" to a demand that the town in Kansas, which had been isolated by a nuclear attack, surrender.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Score one for the good guys

Man Labeled "Enemy Combatant" Wins Court Case

Published: June 11, 2007

Filed at 12:43 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush cannot order the military to seize and indefinitely detain a Qatari national and suspected al Qaeda operative, the only person being held in the United States as an "enemy combatant," an appeals court ruled on Monday.

In a major setback for Bush's policies in the war on terrorism adopted after the September 11 attacks, the appellate panel ruled 2-1 the U.S. government had no evidence to treat Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri as an "enemy combatant." The court ordered him released from military custody.

"The government cannot subject al-Marri to indefinite military detention. For in the United States, the military cannot seize and imprison civilians -- let alone imprison them indefinitely," Judge Diana Gribbon Motz wrote.

(cont'd at link above)

Monday, June 04, 2007

Good news from Guantanamo.

Guantanamo Canadian case dropped

A US military judge has dropped charges against a Canadian held at Guantanamo Bay, saying he could not be tried under new laws governing military tribunals.

Omar Khadr was just 15 years old when he was captured in Afghanistan.

He appeared in court charged with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy and providing support for terrorism.

But the judge ruled he could not be tried under current laws because he was not classified as an "unlawful" enemy combatant in previous hearings.

The charges were dismissed "without prejudice", said Col Peter Brownback, the presiding judge.

His decision deals a big blow to the trial system, says the BBC's Justin Webb, in Washington.
Tribunal issue

Mr Khadr had been classified as an "enemy combatant" under a previous tribunal system that was eventually thrown out in 2006 by the US Supreme Court.

But under new legislation approved by President George W Bush, only detainees classified as "unlawful enemy combatants" can face trial at Guantanamo Bay.

(cont'd at link above)

Now, I'm not going to rock the boat by complaining. Anything that makes the Guantanamo "tribunal" b.s. any better is to be encouraged.

But what's the difference between "enemy combatant" and "unlawful enemy combatant?" Who is a LAWFUL enemy combatant?

Can't we just admit they're prisoners of war and be done with it?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sign of the times?

Fort Lewis to consolidate memorials for dead

Michael Gilbert
The News Tribune

Fort Lewis, which this month has suffered its worst losses of the war, will no longer conduct individual memorial ceremonies for soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Instead, the post will hold one ceremony for all soldiers killed each month, the Fort Lewis acting commanding general, Brig. Gen. William Troy, wrote in a memo to commanders and staff last week.

(cont'd at link above)

Fort Lewis isn't the first to go this route. Wouldn't you imagine at some point someone would DO SOMETHING about this?

I know, I know...


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I wish I could blog like some of the bloggers I'm addicted to.

I learned about Blue Gal from Ice Station Tango. And at Blue Gal's blog I found a graphic that I won't use unless forced.

For some reason I can't seem to post the link to the graphic so just go to her entry for Feb 21 and look at the second picture down.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Holy effing shyte!

While I was in Seattle we started joking about how dangerous it is to eat food originating in China. It was dark humor, mind you, because it's starting to look more and more like this is not anywhere near a laughing matter.

Fish importer announces monkfish recall


WASHINGTON -- A frozen product labeled monkfish distributed in three states is being recalled after two Chicago area people became ill after eating it, the importer announced Thursday.

Hong Chang Corporation of Santa Fe Springs, Calif.,said it is recalling the product labeled as monkfish because it may contain tetrodotoxin, a potent toxin.

While the frozen fish imported from China was labeled monkfish, the company said it is concerned that it may be pufferfish because this toxin is usually associated with certain types of pufferfish.

Eating foods containing tetrodotoxin can result in life-threatening illness or death and the toxin cannot be destroyed by cooking or freezing.

(cont'd at link above)

Want an idea how bad tetrodotoxin is? Read Wade Davis' book The Serpent and the Rainbow. The book. Forget the movie. Well, don't forget it. The movie was fascinating and while it didn't follow the book, it was nevertheless a Wes Craven masterpiece. But the explanation of tetrodotoxin in the book is what I'm talking about here. Or, if you really can't bring yourself to read that book, look for the DVD of Anthony Bourdain's show "Cook's Tour" that used to air on the Food Network until Bourdain got wise and moved it to the Travel Channel. In one of the two episodes he filmed in Japan, he discusses the specialized preparation of pufferfish, and the number of deaths annually even in Japan where the chefs are specially trained.

So now we've got toxic pet foods, toxic fish, who knows what else? I wonder if the Chinese got the idea from Tommy Thompson. You remember what he said, right?

"I, for the life of me, cannot understand why the terrorists have not,you know, attacked our food supply because it is so easy to do,"

Trust a Repuglican to think up something like this.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The More Things Change...

I got caught up in the 1998 mini-series "From the Earth to the Moon" (originally on HBO) being shown on the Science channel. I was caught up in it because of the rather amazing cast. I mean, future failed Senatorial candidate Al Franken has a role as a CONSERVATIVE science advisor. Both Adam Baldwin and Gary Cole got to go to space in this series. Of course, Baldwin was playing a respectable Astronaut Fred Haise, a far cry from his now-better-known portrayal of the lovable (in his own way) mercenary Jayne in "Firefly." And Cole got to be a lot of other things after playing Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, not the least of which was Capt. Gideon in "Babyon 5: Crusade." And then, of course, he was the Vice President of the U.S. where he was a relatively good guy and still the worst member of a wholly fantastical administration... And that's just three of the cast members that made me grin, nod, raise my eyebrows (Cary Elwes as an American astronaut? Jimmy frikkin' Buffet as an unnamed journalist? And the list goes on and on...)

When I was a small child ... very small ... I took my first ride on an airplane. It's been years (more than 20, actually) since I flew on an airplane with propellers and these days I'm unnerved by just the sight of them. But back then it was high tech and I was fascinated. But what fascinated me even more was that as I flew from Boston to Cleveland, high above me, Alan Shepard was flying off into the upper reaches of the Earth's atmosphere, creating the U.S.'s entry into the newly begun space race.

But the thing that really gets to me is this. We didn't go to the moon or do any of the other space related things we did because we wanted to learn, to advance our knowledge or technology, to look for fellow beings out in space, for any of those idealistic reasons. We did it because it looked good. We did it because it would help the administration get re-elected. We did it for publicity, for politics, for votes.

Maybe I'm too cynical. And it's true that throughout the late sixties and early seventies, I was more concerned with ending an unjust war than finding out if there was anything to be learned out in space. So I was perhaps as guilty as the administration of seeing the space program as something other than what it should have been. (I saw it as a deliberate distraction. Sound familiar to anyone?) But it seems to me that going to space just for the spin we can put on it is just a waste of time, money, and -- dare I say it? -- political capital.

All this aside, I still remember waking up early, early in the morning to see the shuttle Columbia land for the first time, and feeling -- not hearing or imagining but feelng -- the lines from "Roll on Columbia" in my heart:

Roll on, Columbia, roll on.
Roll on, Columbia, roll on.
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn,
So roll on, Columbia, roll on.

I'm starting to babble. Popcorn is the only good cure.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Wicked Cool!

Jones Soda pulls off a Seahawks upset

Scrappy Seattle firm beats out Coke for soft-drink rights at Qwest Field


Say goodbye to a Coke and a smile at Seahawks games.

And say hello to a Jones Soda and a player to be named later.

Jones Soda Co., a small, scrappy Seattle-based firm, has sacked beverage titan Coca-Cola to acquire the soft-drink rights at Qwest Field and its Event Center for the next five years, according to a securities filing.

Peter van Stolk, Jones Soda's chief executive, told the Seattle P-Ion Wednesday that his company will sell fountain drinks and sodas in plastic bottles throughout Qwest Field, and canned soft drinks in suites. The bottles will feature pictures of Seahawks players.

(cont'd at link above)

While I will grant that turkey soda was kind of gross and I couldn't work up the nerve to try any of the others, when Jones Soda does so-called normal flavors they're extremely good. And a local phenom like Jones doesn't happen every day. But, still, this is way cool for them.

It's not going to get me to any events at Qwest Field, but still ... good for Jones Soda.

I still want to kick Dem butt but this is at least a good try

House OKs 'outrageous gas prices' bill

WASHINGTON, May 23 (UPI) -- The U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday passed legislation authorizing the Federal Trade Commission to investigate and punish gasoline price gouging.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., said the legislation would help stop "the truly outrageous prices we are seeing at the gas pump," The Detroit News reported.

"Today, every member has a choice," said Stupak. "Side with big oil or side with the consumers who are being ripped off at the gas pump."

(cont'd at link above)

And, of course, His Royal Monkeyness, Preznut Ash ... er, sorry, George the whatever ... says he'll veto it. He'll only veto GOOD things. I think someone needs to give him a bottle of Old Crow and let him get wasted so we can somehow get rid of all the people who let him boss them around.

Monday, May 21, 2007

I can't believe not a single US news source has any of this

I found this in half dozen Canadian and British articles and it's referenced at Alternet, but had to go to a dot org to get anything of substance about it from within the U.S. Why is this being played as a non-event?

Democrats unlikely to fund abstinence-only education programs

WASHINGTON - Underlining the shift in the policies between a Republican-controlled Congress and a Democrat-controlled one, it is being reported that the Democrats are unlikely to extend funding for abstinence-only education programs. The funding for the currently existing programs under Title V is to expire on June 30.

Democrats feel the programs have not worked at all and hence there is no meaning in funding ineffective programs. Rep. John Dingell, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee has called the program a huge failure and his comments seem to point to the premise that funding for these programs is likely to be halted.

(cont'd at link above)

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Death Toll They Never Talk About

Death Toll for Contractors Reaches New High in Iraq

Published: May 19, 2007

WASHINGTON, May 18 — Casualties among private contractors in Iraq have soared to record levels this year, setting a pace that seems certain to turn 2007 into the bloodiest year yet for the civilians who work alongside the American military in the war zone, according to new government numbers.

At least 146 contract workers were killed in Iraq in the first three months of the year, by far the highest number for any quarter since the war began in March 2003, according to the Labor Department, which processes death and injury claims for those working as United States government contractors in Iraq.

That brings the total number of contractors killed in Iraq to at least 917, along with more than 12,000 wounded in battle or injured on the job, according to government figures and dozens of interviews.

(cont'd at link above)

I have no words.

Mistakes were made. Again.

US to replace Wolfowitz 'swiftly'

The US has said it will move "swiftly" to find areplacement for Paul Wolfowitz, who says he plans to quit as head ofthe World Bank on 30 June.

Mr Wolfowitz will step down after he was caught up in abitter row surrounding the promotion and salary of his girlfriend,Shaha Riza.

The World Bank said that Mr Wolfowitz had acted in good faith, but admitted that a "number of mistakes" were made.

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has been mentioned as a possible replacement.

Cont'd at link above.

And, you know, that last sentence I quoted really comes as no surprise. I don't necessarily like it, but I bow to the inevitability of it.

Oh, fer the love of...

May 18, 2007 – 1:32 p.m.
"Republicans Seek Reprimand of Murtha for Alleged Earmark Threat"

House Republicans plan to force a floor vote next week aimed atembarrassing Rep. John P. Murtha, D-Pa., for an alleged threat toretaliate against a GOP lawmaker who sought to eliminate one of hisearmarks.

Minority Leader John A. Boehner,R-Ohio, said in a written statement last night that he would support aprivileged resolution that Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., is expected tooffer Monday.

(Cont'd at link above.)

And if the parties had had their roles reversed, they'd be crying fowl for this exact same situation.

MAN, I hate sore losers almost more than I hate sore winners!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Oh Sweet Gods and Little Fishies!

Judge to prosecutor: 'So what's a Web site?'

During Internet terrorism trial, judge asks attorneys to keep it simple

By Mark Trevelyan
Updated: 2 hours, 7 minutes ago

LONDON - A British judge admitted on Wednesday he was struggling to cope with basic terms like "Web site" in the trial of three men accused of inciting terrorism via the Internet.

(cont'd at link above)

How is justice supposed to be served by this?

I don't care that it's us that has the Constitution and them that has the Magna Carta. It's still clear that something is just wrong here.

Oh the irony!

Ron Godwin, the university's executive vice president, said Falwell, 73, was found unresponsive around 10:45 a.m. and taken to Lynchburg General Hospital. "CPR efforts were unsuccessful," he said. Godwin said he was not sure what caused the collapse, but he said Falwell "has a history of heart challenges."

(italics mine)

Falwell had heart "challenges?" His heart was coal black and diamond hard. Was that a challenge? Who was being challenged?

I think it's possible the cause of the collapse was his god deciding that enough was enough and it was time for a personal intervention.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Anyone notice a country MISSING from this?

U.N. Climate Talks Down to Wire

BANGKOK (Reuters) - U.N. talks on ways to fight climate change are on track to approve a blueprint for governments on Friday, but major differences are still being thrashed out, delegates say.

(cont'd at link above.)

Gods DAMN! China's there! Why aren't we? This is AMERICA, people. We're supposed to be at the FOREFRONT of saving the world.

Rant over. Must go drink something other than coffee.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Good news about a topic I find it hard to talk about.

The VA has finally approved putting a pentacle on military headstones. Article from MSNBC is here for those who want details.

And for proof positive, here is the official VA list for "Available Emblems of Belief for Placement on Government Headstones and Markers."

It's a small and somewhat deflating victory but having been on the witness stand and asked to defend Wicca after hearing it described as a cult, this makes me feel a little easier about thing.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Merda! Merda! Merda!

Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Abortion Procedure

Published: April 18, 2007

WASHINGTON, April 18 — The Supreme Court narrowly upheld a federal law today banning a controversial abortion procedure, giving the anti-abortion movement one of its biggest legal victories in year

The justices ruled, 5 to 4, that a law passed by Congress in 2003 and signed by President Bush does not violate the Constitution by imposing an undue burden on a woman’s right to end a pregnancy. The majority said its ruling reflects the government’s "legitimate, substantial interest in preserving and promoting fetal life."

(read the rest at the link above)

Planned Parenthood had a few things to day about this.

Nagdabbit! The War on Women has begun once again. And this time Mom is too old to join the marches. I may have to do it for her.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Do not say the name Imus in my presence

It's not so much that I dislike what he said about the Rutgers women's basketball team. It's certainly not that it WAS the Rutgers women's basketball team. (My father, however, might have something different to say about that from wherever he is sitting around watching modern journalists and pundits make assholes out of themselves.)

But if anyone thinks the whole concept of hate speech will end by firing Don Imus, they are delusional. And the way this is being handled in the media, all the coverage and fanfare, leads me to think that is exactly how it's being played. Fire Imus=end hate speech. Translation, nothing Michael "Drooling" Savage says, nothing Rush Limpballs, nothing Billy Boy O'clammy says can be considered hate speech because......they fired Don Imus, dammit!

So now I'm avoiding watching the news at all just so I can avoid seeing more of the media's self-congratulatory analysis of the firing of Don Imus. If there's anything important in the news between now and, say, the end of next week, would someone please let me know? Thanks.

Oh, and AAR has cancelled Sam Seder's daily show. Life is just not getting any better, ya know?

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Just sharing my own skepticism.

A Top Aide to the Attorney General Resigns

Uh huh... Here's the paragraph that made me realize how fictional it all is:

Ms. Goodling, who has been on leave as the Justice Department’s liaison to the White House, notified the Senate Judiciary Committee through her lawyer on March 26 that she would invoke her constitutional right not to testify in the panel’s inquiry about the dismissals — not because she had anything to hide, the lawyer said, but because she did not expect fair treatment in the current climate of political hostility.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

All the news that spits...

Apparently, John Kerry hasn’t quite forgiven the Swift Boat Veterans Who Tell Fibs for their personal attacks on him during the ’04 campaign. From what I’ve read so far, it sounds like Sam Fox knew he was going to have to face the issue of his huge donations to the group when he entered the room for his confirmation hearing as ambassador to Belgium.

Read the transcript of part of the questioning both at the above link and here and tell me you don’t see the old prosecuting attorney coming out in Senator Kerry. I’m rather taken by Obama’s comments, too.

Meanwhile, the I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby jury asked the judge to clarify what the specifics of the charge against the cutely named defendant are. The judge countered by requesting that the jury clarify what exactly they want to know. The jury replied that they had figured it out.

And for those of you who are following the important news, Anna Nicole Smith is still dead and unburied. The nekkid performance of Daniel Radcliffe in “Equus” is getting mixed reviews . And this news flash: Kevin Federline wants to get back together with Britney Spears to help her get her life back together and raise the couple’s two children. No word yet on the condition of Ms. Spears’ hair.

(I wish I could say I made this up but it really came through as a headline when I searched for current news…)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

You just have got to read this from the NY Times blog. The relevant portion is quoted below.

Not so the Republicans convened upstairs. Waving his hands and stomping his feet, Representative Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina acted out on Wednesday what the rest of the Republican caucus must have felt. “It is so hypocritical, just on its face,” Mr. McHenry fumed.

His complaint: That Democrats, on the verge of taking control of Congress, were planning to run the place their way, driving the legislative agenda themselves without input from the Republican minority.

Wasn’t that, someone asked, how the Republicans had run Congress for more than a decade?

“We didn’t campaign on this openness,” Mr. McHenry argued, denying that he and his colleagues were just being sore losers. “It’s not whining,” he said. “It’s a matter of calling them out on their rhetoric.”

Let me see if I'm understanding Rep. McHenry right. He's mad because the Democratic majority might treat his minority party the way his party, when in the majority, treated the Democratic minority...but he isn't mad that they might so much as he's mad that they said they wouldn't.

Sigh! They need to check some of these guys for rabies and brain tumors before they let them run for office.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Another page in our national disgrace

January 2, 2007
Few Iraqis Are Gaining U.S. Sanctuary

BAGHDAD, Jan. 1 — With thousands of Iraqis desperately fleeing this country every day, advocates for refugees, and even some American officials, say there is an urgent need to allow more Iraqi refugees into the United States.

Until recently the Bush administration had planned to resettle just 500 Iraqis this year, a mere fraction of the tens of thousands of Iraqis who are now believed to be fleeing their country each month. State Department officials say they are open to admitting larger numbers, but are limited by a cumbersome and poorly financed United Nations referral system.

“We’re not even meeting our basic obligation to the Iraqis who’ve been imperiled because they worked for the U.S. government,” said Kirk W. Johnson, who worked for the United States Agency for International Development in Falluja in 2005. “We could not have functioned without their hard work, and it’s shameful that we’ve nothing to offer them in their bleakest hour.”

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat who is taking over the immigration, border security and refugee subcommittee, plans hearings this month on America’s responsibility to help vulnerable Iraqis. An estimated 1.8 million Iraqis are living outside Iraq. The pace of the exodus has quickened significantly in the past nine months.

Some critics say the Bush administration has been reluctant to create a significant refugee program because to do so would be tantamount to conceding failure in Iraq. They say a major change in policy could happen only as part of a broader White House shift on Iraq.

“I don’t know of anyone inside the administration who sees this as a priority area,” said Lavinia Limón, president of the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, a nongovernmental refugee resettlement agency based in Washington. “If you think you’re winning, you think they’re going to go back soon.”

For Iraqis, a tie to the United States is a life-threatening liability, particularly in harder-line Sunni neighborhoods. In 2003, Laith, an Army interpreter who would allow only his first name to be used, got a note threatening his family if he did not quit his job. His neighborhood, Adhamiya, was full of Baath Party loyalists. A month later, his father opened the door to a stranger, who shot him dead.

Continued at this article in the NY Times today.