Friday, December 30, 2005
Humans do some odd things. Buying lottery tickets. Wearing your favorite team's shirt, when you are home, alone watching the game. Wearing shoes that make it impossible to walk any normal distance.
The polar bear swim on New Years Day. That's the one that really confuses me. Why is going into the north part of the Atlantic Ocean in January fun? Who thought of this in the first place?
In my hometown, Ocean City, NJ, this is a big event. Jersey shore towns are all about the big events. Give the tourists a big event so they come to town. Especially in the off season. A bit of trivia. The Miss America pageant was started in Atlantic City as a way to extend the tourist season one more week.
I'm still trying to picture the first people who did this. There is a group in Vancouver who claim to be the oldest polar bear club, established in 1920. But before this was an organized activity, someone had to say, "Hey, it's January 1st, 10 degrees, lets go in the ocean!" Then leave their warm house for this bizarre activity. I find it easier to understand if I picture alcohol playing a major part in the decision.
They claim this has been popular in Scandinavian countries for centuries, but I don't buy that. My money goes on the drunk Canadians.
So Sunday morning, I'll be in Ocean City, on the beach. Why? Because my darling daughter thinks the polar bear swim is the quintessential holiday activity. She did it last year, but I tried to explain that last year didn't count, because we had unseasonable weather and the air temp was 55 degrees. I don't think she will be so lucky this year.
But I'll be there, with my camera, and I'll be sure to report back if little darling is still enamored with the polar bear swim.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
"You see Weapons of Mass Destruction"
"Losing your civil rights is really a protection."
"We don't need that silly Bill of Rights (except the second amendment)."
I guess hypnosis is the only way to convice the public that the Bush Administration is not screwing us.
Thanks to Dependable Renegade.
Sunday, December 25, 2005
On Friday, a co-worker and I were discussing the "Christmas Cards" (actually MS Publisher generated greetings) we received from other departments. Our department didn't send any, because we are either too lame or too cool to participate in this winter tradition.
Of course, all of the notices (they really aren't cards, so I won't call them that) all said Happy Holidays and Seasons Greetings. We work for a large school district. No one is sending Merry Christmas, less it offend someone.
Merchants saying Season's Greetings is completely understandable. No businessman wants to be the proverbial last straw.
Imagine you are Jewish (or Muslim or Buddhist or Pagan or atheist or a Sock Worshiper or whatever) and you enter Target to shop. The greeter says, "Merry Christmas". Are you going to flip out? Well, maybe. Maybe today you had to explain to your kids for the 140th time why Santa doesn't visit, that you are not Christ Killers, that you don't decorate for Christmas, that everyone does not celebrate Christmas, and that people who don't believe in Christ are not going to burn forever in the lake of fire. Then some employee at a store says "Merry Christmas" and you take their head off. You explain (read scream) that not everyone is Christian and isn't it enough that Christians get their holiday to be a Federal Holiday and can't they just leave you and your family alone for once.
Then you storm out of the store and get into your car. By the time you leave the parking lot, you realize that you made a complete ass out of yourself, and probably scared the poor employee half to death. Now, do you go back in and apologize? Probably not. You go to Walmart or Kmart to do your shopping. And you will probably avoid that Target until you believe enough time has passed that someone else acted like an idiot and they have forgotten about you.
From a business point of view, Target doesn't want to lose the sale, so Happy Holidays is the greeting of the season. No one is offended. Everyone spends money.
But I work for a large school district. School districts, besides being government organizations, are managed by former teachers and principals. They are very busy and have tremendous responsibility. Usually they manage the schools and employees quite competently. However, they tend to treat all the employees like students.
We've all seen the teacher handing out balloons to her class, only to have everyone scream for the red ones. What does the teacher do? Most often s/he says "Ok, now nobody will have a red balloon. Ever. No more red balloons in this classroom!" My superiors treat us like that. Someone might get offended, so no Christmas! Never! Like that is going to teach us a lesson. Now this does not extend to our classrooms, only the administrative employees.
So while chatting with a co-worker, we decided that it was also wrong to wish people a "Happy" holiday. Maybe they don't want to be told what kind of holiday to have. What right do we have to demand that they are happy.
So we are wishing everyone a Holiday.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
What's funny is that this wasn't reported by Francis, but by his ex-bimbo Paris Hilton.
Now I don't condone threatening people with guns, but if it was this man's fate to be robbed, then I'm glad he got a taste of his perverbial medicine.
And I always had a soft spot for criminals with a sense of humor.
Friday, December 23, 2005
Can we do anything more demeaning? Maybe put in pole dancers? Hooter's girls?
Saks had a "Shop with a Bunny" day. Unfortunately for women who value their dignity, it was a rousing success.
I don't understand this at all. Do these guys just like pretty women for ornamental effect? Do they go home and masturbate?
The men aren't getting any, but they act like they are. Would someone please explain this?
Thursday, December 22, 2005
They don't visit much, we go to their house. Of course, they live in Ocean City, NJ 2 blocks from he beach, so their house is much more appealing than my little townhouse in Bath, PA.
Yesterday I finished my shopping. For me this is early, I used to shop on Christmas Eve. It was easy, each store had very few items available, so it was easy to pick presents. I gave some odd presents, but I've always believed that I give presents that I WANT to give to people, not necessarily what they want. They ought to be glad I got them anything!
All day yesterday and today I've had this song going through my head:
Go in and out the windows,
Go in and out the windows,
Go in and out the windows,
Just like we did before.
There other verses, Go up and down the doorsteps, Kneel down and say you love her, and Now follow me to London.
This was a circle game (do kids still do those?) that we played in Kindergarten. I googled this, to see if there was a story behind it, but to no avail.
Anyone remember this? Anyone know if there is a back story?
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Service men and women who have died in Iraq are being shipped home as cargo. How unfeeling can the Bush government be? Please don't tell me this isn't the President's responsibility, I'll address that later.
This is how a fallen soldier should return home. This is how we have always honored our dead.
I can only imagine the insult added to the grief of parents/spouses/children who find their child/spouse/parent returned with such a lack of honor.
Anyone who reads this blog knows that I'm a Democrat. I'm a Democrat because I believe that the government has a responsibility to help those who can't help themselves. I also believe Republicans to be unfeeling. But this is even beyond my imagination. How can this administration not support the veterans families. Service men and women who died in a Republican started war.
I always knew Bush's administration was heartless, but I thought they took care of their own. I thought the Republicans considered the military be one of their own. I guess I was wrong.
Some bloggers have said that this mistreatment, this disrespect is part of the conspiracy to keep the war dead and their families out of the media.
I think it is something worse. I think they don't care, at all, about anyone. We always knew they didn't care about the poor, now we know they don't care about the military. They don't care how many die. They don't care how the deceased and the families are treated.
They care about themselves and their agenda. That lack of caring and disrespect for the dead soldiers has permeated every area of our government. And the hell with everyone else.
Friday, December 09, 2005
However, I had a snow day today. No school, no work. Bath, PA is a winter wonderland, and I am in such a good mood, I thought I'd share pics of my daughter and dog enjoying the snow.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Normally, this would be called an anniversary. But I don't use that word. My husband died 6 months after we were married. Since we never had an anniversary together, I feel that I never had a wedding anniversary.
My husband had cancer. A brain tumor. A Glioblastoma Multeforme. Whatever you call it, it was a death sentence. I always believed he would live longer. I thought we'd get at least one anniversary.
All of the shit we had to go through: Surgery, radiation, chemo. He lost most of his sight, all of his hair, his short term memory, his sex drive, his appetite, his stamina--all of that we took in stride.
Time heals all wounds. Whoever said that never watched a loved one die. Time doesn't heal. Time just makes your wounds become a part of you. A part of your life, so much that you don't even see them anymore. But the wound is still there, still open, and when something--like a special day--comes and pokes that wound with a stick, the pain is as fresh as it was the first day you were hurt.
But the odd thing is, you don't mind it as much. Time has make it such a part of your life that it is surprising to still feel that wound. When I feel that pain of loss, I also feel all the love and joy we shared. I don't curse the gods or fate or whatever. Life dealt us a rotten hand, that's all. My husband and I did a lot of living in a short time.
But I still feel cheated that I never got a wedding anniversary with my husband.
Monday, December 05, 2005
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Friday, December 02, 2005
Interesting article at Media Matters.
A November 27 Washington Post article uncritically reported data from a flawed poll, concluding that the majority of Americans are "sympathetic" to "Vice President [Dick] Cheney's suggestion that criticism of the administration's [Iraq] war policies was itself becoming a hindrance to the war effort." In a poll released November 21 by RT Strategies, a polling firm founded by Democratic pollster Thomas Riehle and Republican pollster Lance Tarrance, the firm reported that 70 percent of Americans believe that Democratic senators' criticism of President Bush's Iraq war policy hurts U.S. troop morale in Iraq, while 13 percent believe it helps morale.
But as the Daily Kos weblog first pointed out, the poll does not allow for the possibility that criticism of Bush's Iraq policy has no effect on troop morale.
We have to stop trusting poll results without checking the methodology. Every statistic should come with a link to a web site that we can see questions asked and possibly demographics.
We need more sites like Media Matters to question statistics and keep the Media honest.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
It would be funny if it were not so accurate.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Found this on Feministing. Samsung seems to think that women will be more interested in stupid features and how the phone looks that in cell plans. The features?
A shopping list
- A favorite fragrance list
- Biorhythm calculator
- Conception Calendar
On the Samsung site, they have a quiz to decide what kind of cell phone you should buy. I guess I'm not girly enough.
This is just another example of the patriarchy telling women what they should be. Why do I say that?
Women, should be interested in shopping (see, not practical, doesn't want business tools. So interested in shopping, she needs a man to provide for her.) A favorite fragrance list (do I even have to comment on how stupid this is?) Bio rhythm? (Women are so emotional and have such mood swings. Also, women are stupid enough to believe anything. And naive enough to be happy if says to be happy). Conception Calendar (We all know women are here to produce heirs for the patriarchy).
Even scarier...When I was looking at Samsung's site, my daughter said, "Oh that's so cute, are you going to get it for me?"
Then, the neighbors heard me scream like a banshee.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
We arrived at my sister's house after a 3 hour drive. Ocean City, NJ looked like a ghost town. I barely had my coat off and a drink in my hand, when my sister and brother-in-law decided it would be a good time to take both dogs (mine, Buttercup and theirs, Buster) to the beach.
Buttercup had never been to the beach, so I wasn't about to miss her reaction.
I wasn't disappointed. I wish I had brought the video instead of the camera. When she saw the sand, she began to jump and run around. She was trying to smell everything at once, sand, shells, dune grass, whatever. Then she started digging.
If I was writing her dialog it would have been "What is this? No one told me about this white dirt. The more I dig, the more there is! What is this place? This is something new!"
Then she saw the seagulls and the ocean. She charge a flock of gulls, almost pulling my sister off of her feet. She ran down to the ocean, but stopped before getting wet. Barking and howling at people, birds and a surfer in a wet suit. I don't know if it was the surfer or the surf board, but she didn't like this one bit.
Meanwhile, her cousin, Buster, who is an island dog, looked on with bored curiostiy at what the beagle was doing. I'm sure he was thinking Shoebee!
The beach is wonderful this time of year. When I lived in Ocean City (my first 13 years) I always enjoyed autumn more than summer. When the cool weather came, the beach belonged to the islanders again.
My sister and brother-in-law with the dogs.
It was almost a white Thanksgiving for those of us who live in Pa.
As you can see, Buttercup is enjoying the snow. I, of course, was upset there wasn't more, because you can still see all the damn leaves that I have to rake.
The light dusting of snow (what we call nuisance snow) was accompanied by some ice. But that did not stop us from making out Thanksgiving journey to New Jersey.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
A local radio station had the following billboard draw criticism. Both feminists and religious types thought this was out of line. So they replaced it with one featuring their two popular "Morning Guys", The Bear Man and Keith.
I always thought this, but to see it all lined up like this, I just hope I can remember this the next time the Republicans decide to question a decorated veteren's patriotism.
Someone at Daily Kos has put together a list that...well, this is something I think we all knew, but it almost takes your breath away to see it all laid out in black-and-white. The service record of prominent Democrats vs. that of Republicans:
* Richard Gephardt: Air National Guard, 1965-71.
* David Bonior: Staff Sgt., Air Force 1968-72.
* Tom Daschle: 1st Lt., Air Force SAC 1969-72.
* Al Gore: enlisted Aug. 1969; sent to Vietnam Jan. 1971 as an army journalist in 20th Engineer Brigade.
* Bob Kerrey: Lt. j.g. Navy 1966-69; Medal of Honor, Vietnam.
* Daniel Inouye: Army 1943-47; Medal of Honor, WWII.
* John Kerry: Lt., Navy 1966-70; Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V,Purple Hearts.
* Charles Rangel: Staff Sgt., Army 1948-52; Bronze Star, Korea.
* Max Cleland: Captain, Army 1965-68; Silver Star & Bronze Star, Vietnam. Paraplegic from war injuries. Served in Congress.
* Ted Kennedy: Army, 1951-53.
* Tom Harkin: Lt., Navy, 1962-67; Naval Reserve, 1968-74.
* Jack Reed: Army Ranger, 1971-1979; Captain, Army Reserve 1979-91.
* Fritz Hollings: Army officer in WWII; Bronze Star and seven campaign ribbons.
* Leonard Boswell: Lt. Col., Army 1956-76; Vietnam, DFCs, Bronze Stars,and Soldier's Medal.
* Pete Peterson: Air Force Captain, POW. Purple Heart, Silver Star and Legion of Merit.
* Mike Thompson: Staff sergeant, 173rd Airborne, Purple Heart.
* Bill McBride: Candidate for Fla. Governor. Marine in Vietnam; Bronze Star with Combat V.
* Gray Davis: Army Captain in Vietnam, Bronze Star.
* Pete Stark: Air Force 1955-57
* Chuck Robb: Vietnam
* Howell Heflin: Silver Star
* George McGovern: Silver Star & DFC during WWII.
* Bill Clinton: Did not serve. Student deferments. Entered draft but received #311.
* Jimmy Carter: Seven years in the Navy.
* Walter Mondale: Army 1951-1953
* John Glenn: WWII and Korea; six DFCs and AirMedal with 18 Clusters.
* Tom Lantos: Served in Hungarian underground in WWII. Saved by Raoul Wallenberg.
* Dick Cheney: did not serve. Several deferments, the last by marriage.
* Dennis Hastert: did not serve.
* Tom Delay: did not serve.
* Roy Blunt: did not serve.
* Bill Frist: did not serve.
* Mitch McConnell: did not serve.
* Rick Santorum: did not serve.
* Trent Lott: did not serve.
* John Ashcroft: did not serve. Seven deferments to teach business.
* Jeb Bush: did not serve.
* Karl Rove: did not serve.
* Saxby Chambliss: did not serve. "Bad knee." (The man who attacked Max Cleland's patriotism.)
* Paul Wolfowitz: did not serve.
* Vin Weber: did not serve.
* Richard Perle: did not serve.
* Douglas Feith: did not serve.
* Eliot Abrams: did not serve.
* Richard Shelby: did not serve.
* Jon! Kyl: did not serve.
* Tim Hutchison: did not serve.
* Christopher Cox: did not serve.
* Newt Gingrich: did not serve.
* Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as flight instructor.
* George W. Bush: failed to complete his six-year National Guard; failed to show up
* B-1 Bob Dornan: enlisted after fighting was over in Korea.
* Phil Gramm: did not serve.
* John McCain: Vietnam POW, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross.
* Dana Rohrabacher: did not serve.
* John M. McHugh: did not serve.
* JC Watts: did not serve.
* Jack Kemp: did not serve. "Knee problem, " although continued in NFL for 8 years as quarterback.
* Dan Quayle: Journalism unit of the Indiana National Guard.
* Rudy Giuliani: did not serve.
* George Pataki: did not serve.
* Spencer Abraham: did not serve.
* John Engler: did not serve.
* Lindsey Graham: National Guard lawyer.
* Arnold Schwarzenegger: AWOL from Austrian army base.
Pundits & Preachers
* Sean Hannity: did not serve.
* Rush Limbaugh: did not serve
* Bill O'Reilly: did not serve.
* Michael Savage: did not serve.
* George Will: did not serve.
* Chris Matthews: did not serve.
* Paul Gigot: did not serve.
* Bill Bennett: did not serve.
* Pat Buchanan: did not serve.
* John Wayne: did not serve.
* Bill Kristol: did not serve.
* Kenneth Starr: did not serve.
* Antonin Scalia: did not serve.
* Clarence Thomas: did not serve.
* Ralph Reed: did not serve.
* Michael Medved: did not serve.
I think that list speaks for itself.
Monday, November 21, 2005
|The Movie Of Your Life Is A Black Comedy|
In your life, things are so twisted that you just have to laugh.
You may end up insane, but you'll have fun on the way to the asylum.
Your best movie matches: Being John Malkovich, The Royal Tenenbaums, American Psycho
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Patricia Dalton, in the Post article, makes an important point:
Women once complained about being reduced to sex objects. Now, their daughters are volunteering to be sex objects.
She then goes on to blame feminists, the pill and MTV. Ok, that is nonsense and Jill at Feministe quite properly takes Ms. Dalton to task on her ridiculous assumptions. I agree with Jill, and won't repeat her comments here. You can read them yourself at Feministe from the above link.
Yet no one seems to be addressing what I think is the important point: Why are our young girls/teens dressing like eye candy? Why do they want to? And when you discuss it with them, why do they seem to need to?
I want to repeat this. They are not dressed like sluts or whores. They are dressed as decorations. They are objectifying themselves as much as the bikini girls in a pin up calendar.
My observations have no links, because these come from a completely non-scientific study of my daughter and her friends.
I KNOW my daughter was raised as a feminist. So why does she feel the need to show off her body when any teenaged male is near?
She will tell you that sexual stereotyping (as well as any stereotyping) is wrong. She is self confident and intelligent and believes her gender is not an obstacle to success.
Then as soon as a "cute boy" (her words) is near, she becomes the stereotype. When questioned, she and her friends become defensive. I think they know they are wrong, that their behavior is a contradiction to what they believe. If I remember my college psych class, this was called cognitive dissidence. Please, someone correct me if I'm wrong.
This all echos what I felt as a young adult. This was back in the mid 70's and I really believed that no boy would be interested in me if I didn't show off my body. Why else would they bother?
So what is the answer? Is this a normal phase that girls go through when their bodies change so much, so fast? When they are desperate for approval from boys?
I don't think so. I think, as feminists, we lost the sexual revolution. Nothing has changed since I was a teen, when it comes to sex. We need to stand up and say, I am not eye candy. I am not here as a decoration.
As adults, we need to show our girls that it is important to demand respect. Do not allow the media to control what we are.
I imagine people are rolling their eyes at that, saying, "You can't change teenagers." But I disagree. My daughter will argue with me that I don't know anything, then I overhear her repeating exactly what I said to her friends. Of course, it is presented as her own idea. Kids do listen, they just can't let their parents know they do.
Friday, November 18, 2005
I'm serious. I think everyone in this country has a right to be an asshole. But our fine Senator has crossed the line.
From Bring it On:
It may seem like I'm picking on poor Rick, but I do take his blathering personally. As a resident of Pennsylvania, I consider him to be an embarrassment.
Santorum circa 2002:
"intelligent design is a legitimate scientific theory that should be taught in science classes."
Santorum circa 2005:
"I'm not comfortable with intelligent design being taught in the science classroom."
And don't forget that Santorum backed the Dover School Board members that were ousted in elections a couple of weeks ago. What a fucking schmuck!
So let me give a shout out to several blogs that I enjoy.
A Writer's Life--Lee Goldberg's blog. It covers writing, novels, publishing, television and just general life stuff. I like Lee's style. He is a successful writer (one of my life goals) and he is easy to read, while he shares his insights.
Bitch PhD--Feminist blog. Fun, literate and interesting.
Love America, Hate Bush--I wish I had thought of that title!
Miserable Annals of the Earth--This blog is written by someone who calls himself Highlander. This is a personal blog, and I haven't been able to put my finger on why I enjoy it. It seems to have an almost familiar feel to it. He is negative and takes both his handle and blog title from movies (2 things that I tend not to like). But I am enjoying his blog.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., took a rare swing Friday at President Bush, saying the war in Iraq has been less than optimal and that some blame for that lies with the White House.
Now that kind of in fighting between Republicans usually makes me smile. But our President decided to have a hissy at the Veterans day event he attended.
President Bush used Veterans Day to strike back at critics of the war in Iraq. He told an audience of veterans and military workers in Pennsylvania that his political rivals are sending the wrong message to troops -- and the enemy -- by questioning the rationale for the war
I feel his comments were completely uncalled for at a Veteran's Day celebration. Politics has not place at an event to honor our veterans. And definitely not the politics of fear. He sounded mean and petulant. The worst part is:
In his speech, Bush asserted that Democrats as well as Republicans believed before the invasion in 2003 that former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein possessed banned weapons, a conclusion that was shared by the United Nations, he said. He pushed back against any implication that his administration had deliberately distorted the available intelligence and said the resolution authorizing the use of force had been supported by more than 100 Democrats in the House and Senate based on the same information available to the White House.
Let's get real. All of us who believed in the WMDs did so in a large part because of what the White House said. So because we believed they were truthful then, we aren't allowed to believe them to be liars now?
Then he said:
These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will.
As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them to war continue to stand behind them.
I think our soldiers deserve to know that their elected officials are making certain that the soldiers were not sent to war on false pretenses.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
It is a brisk 36 degrees. I love this weather! I just came in from walking the dog, and my head is so clear. For whatever reason, colder weather seems to diminish my migranes.
Buttercup likes this weather too!
This election has also brought some happiness. The people of Dover, PA booted out the pro-Intelligent Design school board, and Pat Robertson has, once again, made an ass out of himself. That always brings a smile to my face.
Across the river, in NJ (my birth state...yeah...I'm a Jersey Girl), Corzine (Dem) whipped Forester (Rep). I think the most telling ad was where Forester was shown to be in line with Bush, then Forester reponded saying, No...I'm not with Bush.
Some days it doesn't take much to make me happy.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
I have had intermitant migraines for the past 3 days. I don't know if it is the same headache continuing to come back or new ones each time. I am happy that the imetrex I take usually kills the migraine for 4-6 hours, instead of the 1/2 hour of relief I previously experienced. Unfortunately, I'm drained of all energy. I'm not sure if it is the migraine or the meds, but I definitely need a nap.
People frequently speak of having migraines, but I'm not talking about a bad headache. I'm talking about lying on the floor crying in pain. Nausea that resembles seasickness. The feeling that my skull has become too small for my brain, and my brain will soon leak out of my skull. That any light is going to burn through my eyes to the back of my head. That my eyes will soon pop out of their sockets.
I don't want to be a "headache snob", but when someone tells me of their migraines and how a cup of tea (or chicken soup or whatever) relieves it, I want to scream. Of course, screaming makes the headache worse, because all noises sound amplified and distorted.
It's like comparing a blackhead to skin cancer.
Ok, rant is over. I feel better to have vented, or maybe the drugs just took effect.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
In 2002, Judge Samuel L. Alito Jr., who owned $390,000 in Vanguard mutual funds, ruled in favor of Vanguard in a case involving a Massachusetts woman who was trying to regain the assets of her late husband's IRA's. The funds were frozen by Vanguard following a court ruling in favor of the husband's business partner.
The woman, Shantee Maharaj, requested Alito's financial disclosure forms after he ruled against her appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeal, Third Circuit, and it was then that she discovered Alito's ownership of Vanguard funds. It turns out that in 1990, when Alita was seeking Senate approval for his judgeship on the appeals court, he told members of the Senate that he would recuse himself from any cases involving Vanguard. However, when Maharaj tried to have him removed from her case, Alito argued that he was not required to recuse himself.
In 2004, Alito said that his holdings did not constitute a conflict of interest because his investments were in mutual funds, making him an investor in Vanguard, not an owner. Federal judicial ethics rules permit judges to rule on cases involving some mutual funds in which they have a stake, but not those in which shares comprise ownership. The Vanguard Fund describes itself as owned by the ''fund's shareholders."
Seems that it just keeps getting worse and worse.
Saturday, November 05, 2005
At Bitch PhD, Alito's record is delineated for anyone who doesn't know what this man's appointment means to women.
1. He opposed Americans' ability to sue state employers for violating the Family & Medical Leave Act. Work for state government? Tough shit, no unpaid leave for you if you have a baby or your husband gets cancer.
2. He argued that Congress couldn't restrict concealed weapons in school zones. That's right; your kids' right to be safe from gunplay in the schoolyard is less important than the right of 12th graders to carry concealed firearms into school. He also argued that Congress doesn't have the right to regulate ownership of machine guns under the Interstate Commerce Act; apparently he believes that machine guns don't cross borders, people carrying machine guns cross borders.
3. He also struck down a law prohibiting alcohol advertisements in student newspapers; made it harder for students to have their student loans forgiven if they filed for bankruptcy; and struck down a school board policy that allowed race to be used as a consideration in decisions about laying off employees--that is, the policy gave preferential treatment to minorities on the grounds that students of color needed role models. (Sorry, link is from the Chronicle of Higher Ed., you'll need a password.)
4. As everyone and their 10-year old knows by now, he wrote a dissent arguing that it's perfect constitutional to strip search a 10-year old girl if you have a search warrant for an adult man.
5. He reversed a decision that found that a school regulation against Âverbal or physical conduct based on one's actual or perceived race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or other personal characteristics, and which has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with a student's educational performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment" was constitutional. That is, schools can't have a rule prohibiting students from calling each other "fag," "cunt," "dirty Jew," "gook," and so forth to such a degree that the bullied kid is afraid to go to school.
6. He argued that it's perfectly constitutional for racists to discriminate if, in keeping with their racist beliefs, they think that the "best" candidate for a job is, by definition, a white candidate.
7. He dissented from majority in two cases concerning immigrant rights, offering extremist arguments that ignored substantial precedent:
in Dia v. Ashcroft, 353 F.3d 228 (3d Cir. 2003), he dissented from a ruling that an immigration judge should reconsider an immigrant's claim that he would be persecuted if returned to his home country; the majority specifically noted that Alito's dissent would effectively eliminate the requirement of substantial evidence in such cases in a way that "guts the statutory standard" and "ignores our precedent." Id. at 251 n.22. In Ki Se Lee v. Ashcroft, 368 F.3d 218 (3d Cir.2004), he argued in dissent that an immigrant's filing of a false tax return should be considered an aggravated felony requiring removal, which the majority explained was simply "speculation" and contradicted "well-recognized rules of statutory construction."
8. Apparently, he's crap on criminal justice: according to the Washington Post,
A number of Alito's dissents involve criminal defendants. When a majority of the court found a violation of the right to a speedy trial, he dissented. So, too, when the majority ruled that a district court had the authority to reduce a convict's sentence under the sentencing guidelines. So, too, when the majority ruled that habeas corpus relief was constitutionally required when the state had not met its burden of proving the defendant's specific intent beyond a reasonable doubt.
9. He agreed, reluctantly, that a lawsuit for wrongful death in the case of a stillbirth should be dismissed, since New Jersey law prohibited such suits; but in so doing, he noted that the fact that case law distinguished a "fetus" from a "person" was "unfortunate."
10. Which leads to the biggie: Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Alito argued that requiring women to tell their husbands before they could have abortions did not constitute an "undue burden." Scott Lemieux has an excellent discussion of Alito's argument, which I won't bother to reproduce here--read what Scott wrote. Now, y'all know that the SCOTUS is due to hear an important case about abortion pretty soon: New Hampshire's parental notification law. At stake is whether or not the law, which does not have an exception to protect the health of a minor if it is threatened by the pregnancy. O'Connor was the swing vote in striking down a Nebraska law against third-trimester abortions on the same grounds, the lack of exception for the health of the mother; if Alito replaces her, it is very possible he will go the other way.
This guy is scary. I mean really scary.
Sorry, the links from Bitch PhD's blog didn't copy. You'll have to here to get to them.
Procrastination and masturbation are very similar. In the end you are just fucking yourself.
I've started writing again.
That was the hardest part. Starting. I suppose it always is. I'm amazed that I can find ever excuse not to write, think of it like some sort of weight I have to bear, yet as soon as I actually start, I remember why I need to write. Then, tomorrow, it will start all over.
I write for children. This blog is my only outlet for adult writing. I've finished 4 picture books (2 are in the slush piles of publishers, the other 2 are here after their latest rejection) and now I have started a middle grade/ya novel, historical fiction, set during the civil war.
Because of the disruption of the move, I had ample excuses not to write. The latest is that my mother is staying with me for an extended visit. She is in my guest room, which was previously my writing room. In addition to entertaining her, doing all the work around the house she wants me to do, and just spending time with her, she is living in the room I like to call my office.
Ok, that is a dumb excuse. I can write anywhere. My mother does not spend all her time in the guest room.
I decided to go over the manuscripts for my picture books, poetry and short stories before I delve back into the novel. Is that procrastination? Probably a little.
Also, I like picture books. I enjoy writing and reading them. However, I recently read that publishers are inundated with picture books. Everyone with a computer and an idea thinks that he or she can write a picture book. Why not? They are short and easy.
OK, while picture books are short (total pages 32, including title page, copy write, etc.) saying they are easy is like saying a haiku is easy to write. I mean, a haiku only has 17 syllables. How hard can that be?
I think anyone who has tried knows that getting a complete thought down to 17 syllables can be an exercise in torture. Every single word has to count, has to work, has to do its job efficiently or it must be eliminated. That is how picture books are.
And I think that's why I like the picture book format. A writer must whittle down words to the bare minimum and leave details to the illustrator. Do you remember the book "Good Night Moon"? The author envisioned a family of people, not bunnies. The illustrator decided on bunnies. Can you imagine it any other way?
I enjoy the challenge. I enjoy the structure and confinement (it is thinking inside the box). But am I up to the challenge? I found a few fatal flaws in my latest picture book, so the procrastination paid off. I'll be sending that off soon, and let everyone know how it fares.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
At first I thought this was some sort of sad and demented mischief night joke.
Of course I was wrong. Can't we find something else for these wing-nuts to froth at the mouth about? I don't get this at all. At The Den of the Biting Beaver, there are several great posts about pornography and the slavery of women and children. Can't we get these conservatives up in arms about that? Aren't they trying to stop porn? The right wing is great at using diversions and misdirection. The left should try that.
I just wish they would leave gay people alone.
Thanks to Dictionopolis in Digitopolis, for pointing out that we can't let our guards down with these wingnuts
Friday, October 28, 2005
It started with too much junk, and no one with a truck. My daughter and boyfriend kept saying, throw it out! I DID throw out a large amount of stuff, but I refuse to discard perfectly good items just because I can't use them right now!
I did throw away a chair that I had since 1984. It was old, and one arm was broken. The cushions were shot and it sat on the back porch and was a bit weathered. But it was my favorite chair! It was from the house I grew up in, and it had leaf arms, that you could put up or down, like a drop leaf table. As a child, I pretended it was an airplane.
For the past 10 years, it has waited for me to refinish it. I looked at it and decided it was time to part with the past. I feel that was enough of a sacrifice, and refused to discard anything else.
My new place has a basement, so I have room for everything.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Mother Jones' Mojo Blog:
Over the weekend, Kevin Drum had a fantastic post about why we need universal health care. Just to add to everything he said, it's utterly bizarre and twisted that a person in this country can receive government health insurance after losing all their life savings in a hurricane, but if a person who loses their job—through no fault of their own—and can't pay for chemo injections, well, tough luck. It's bizarre that Medicaid will cover those under the poverty line but not, quite frequently, those at twice the poverty threshold, or just over the cutoff, or often certain parents below the threshold.My own personal experience with health care have shown that we are in desparate need of Universal Health care. I know people will say "Big Government...blah blah blah", but I don't know how poor people survive.
When my late husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor, we were actually lucky. He had benefits, and thanks to his union, when he retired on disability, the insurance company had to sell us insurance, same benefits. Of course it was $500 a month, but without the union contract, I'm not sure we could have insured him at any price. His chemo cost $1300 an injection. The anti nausea medicine was $25 a pill.
Even though he was disabled, and elligible for Social Security benefits, he couldn't get medicare/medicade for 6 months after he qualified for disability. That would be 1 month after his prognosis said he should have been dead.
We were also able to cash in his life insurace policy from work, so we had money to live on.
What do people do if they don't have a job that provides insurance? For years, I was self employed and had terrible, terribly expensive, benefits.
Luckily, I work for a large public school district. My benefits are excellent. But the insurance company seems to think that I should only have 5 to 10 migraines a month, because that is all the meds they will give me. I asked my pharmasist how much a month's supply would cost. $550! That's a week takehome pay for me.
One of my dreams is to leave work and write for a living. I don't think I could afford it with my health.
What do people who don't have insurance do?
Saturday is the big day, the mover comes and takes all of my belongings to the new house.
But blogging isn't my major concern. I haven't been writing. First it was the stress of finding a new home in 3o days (I made sure my new lease said 60 days notification for non-renewal.) Then, well I packed up all my research material and I don't remember which box it is in. And all the boxes went to the new place, so without that, it's tough to work on my novel.
I just received a very nice rejection from the Scribe agency. Once again, they are not interested in what I've written. At least they let me know within 30 days. One publisher waited 6 months to tell me they weren't interested in my book.
So I have 4 children's picture books making the rounds of publishers, several short stories, and an unfinished novel. And I haven't written in 3 weeks. 75% of my stuff is in the new house, but I'm still here at the old one. This morning, I realized I had no pants to wear to work, and had to do "emergency laundry" before work.
Good news is that I still have 8 vacation days left, so I'm taking 2 to move. I really thought I just had 1, but my boss said 8, and who am I to argue? As long as he keeps making mistakes in my favor, I'm happy.
This was a nice break, but back to packing!
Sunday, October 09, 2005
I got this from TV Squad. It seems that UNICEF is showing this in Belgium to raise money for their campaign to rehabilitate former child soliders in Burudi.
The short film pulls no punches. It opens with the Smurfs dancing, hand-in-hand, around a campfire and singing the Smurf song. Bluebirds flutter past and rabbits gambol around their familiar village of mushroom- shaped houses until, without warning, bombs begin to rain from the sky.
Tiny Smurfs scatter and run in vain from the whistling bombs, before being felled by blast waves and fiery explosions. The final scene shows a scorched and tattered Baby Smurf sobbing inconsolably, surrounded by prone Smurfs.
The final frame bears the message: "Don't let war affect the lives of children."
It is intended as the keystone of a fund-raising drive by Unicef's Belgian arm, to raise £70,000 for the rehabilitation of former child soldiers in Burundi.
While the idea of a child solider horrifies me, I believe that this would not meet their needs if shown in the US. I can imagine (imagine, hell, I personally know a few) parents who would cheer at the idea of the Smurf Village being bombed.
It wasn't too many years ago that the Smurf song haunted my nightmares.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
As long as I have my Plastic Jesus,
Riding on the dashboard of my car!
I don't believe they still sell these things! Thanks to Feministe for reminding me of my youth. Every one had one of these, or the little magnets with the Virgin Mary in their car. One of my Uncles had Our Lady of the Highway clipped to his visor.
Another funny (or offensive) site is Jesus of the week. People send in unusual images of Jesus. Check it out, unless you are afraid of going to hell.
As the parent of a 14 year old girl, parental notification worries me. My daughter can come to me with anything, but I don't know if she believes that. She is very open with me about the important issues, but sometimes she fears disappointing me. And I did inherit an Irish temper. But, damn, it's my kid and I would want to be informed! But something happened that reminded me that parental notification is not a good policy.
DEAR ABBY: From time to time, you tell young women who think they might be pregnant and are afraid to tell their parents, to do so. I usually do not write letters like this, but I need to express my personal experience. I am a minister. Several years ago, I worked for Planned Parenthood and we had a young girl -- around 13 years of age -- test positive for pregnancy. We urged her to tell her parents, but she kept refusing, insisting, "Dad will kill me!"
Of course, we knew better, and finally convinced her that the best thing was to tell her parents, have the baby, and get on with her life.
Her father beat her so badly that she was in the hospital for more than a month. She lost the baby because of the beating and ended up in foster care.
I will never again tell a young person that her parents will not go crazy, and I don't think you should do that either. Thanks, Abby. I enjoy your column. -- REGRETFUL IN FLORIDA
DEAR REGRETFUL: Thank you for the warning. Even though we wish all teenagers could disclose to their parents, as your letter illustrates, it is a sad reality that some of them cannot. And we, who care about young people, have to first be concerned with their safety. Although most young girls do involve their families, there will always be some who are unable to do so.
For that reason, I do not believe that parental notification should be mandated by law. And because sex education is no longer taught in as many states as it had been before, I strongly urge parents to begin talking to their children early about the facts of life and their personal value systems, in order to create a safe and comfortable environment should a crisis occur.
I received an interesting phone call from the mother of my daughter's best friend. It seems my little darling decided she should explain what oral sex is to her friend (another 14 year old) who had no clue. The best friend went to her mother for clarification. The mother freaked and called me hysterically.
When I got to the crux of it all, my daughter had only repeated what I had told her. I have been brutally honest with my kid about sex. I don't trust the schools, with their watered down sex ed classes, to really explain it. I believe more kids experiment about sex because they don't know about it. I don't know if this is true, but I know my kid. And an informed decision is always better.
It seems her friend's mother believes in the "If we pretend it doesn't exist, it won't happen in our home" theory of child rearing. My answer is that if a parent doesn't teach his/her daughter about sex, then the daughter's first boyfriend will. And which is preferable? She didn't answer, but she has been very cold to me since then. Oh well, no great loss.
Which brings me back to parental notification. If I found out my daughter was sexually active, I would take her to the GYN and get her on birth control and make sure she knew how to use condoms correctly. Because I know I can't control a teenager. She will do what she wants when I'm not around. I believe teenage sex is a mistake, but at least she would only be making one mistake, not two more (teenage pregnancy and STDs). If she was pregnant, I'd make sure she got the best medical care (either abortion or prenatal--her choice).
But I think her best friend's mother wouldn't do that. I don't think they would hurt her physically, but her parents live in a fantasyland. And it is for teens in those homes that parental notification is wrong.
Also, my daughter knows that if she ever has a problem that she doesn't want to discuss with me, she has two other adults that will help her, and keep it confidential. I've explained to both of these women (my sister and a friend who is like a sister) that if she ever calls them, and asks that they not tell me, that's OK with me.
I still worry about her, but I feel I've armed her with knowledge, and given her a safety net. I don't know what else a parent can do.
Friday, October 07, 2005
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Now comes the bad part--packing. There is something sad about putting all of your belongings into boxes. I still don't have a mover, way too much stuff to pack, and I only have 2 vacation days left.
But I'm excited. I'm excited that I won't have to deal with my idiot landlord.
I'm excited that my new place has nice carpets.
I'm excited that I can have a family room.
And I'm going to quit smoking. Those of you who know me are probably saying, "Yeah, right!" But I have to quit. It is the only way I can afford the rent increase.
I'm sure it will be better for my health and my daughter's health, not to mention the cat and dog. But I am going to miss smoking.
Some blogs of interest:
Here is a link to Pandagon, good article about the hype during hurricaine Katrina.
MoJo has a scary article about how Christians try to "help" gays change.
A Writer's Life, one of my favorite blogs, blogger Lee Goldberg has a new book that just came out.
And please send best wishes to Twisty, who just was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Middle School sex ed books.
The problem? One quote:
Some parents say new teaching manuals used at middle schools in Sioux Falls are too graphic and include information that's inappropriate for that age group.
And what is that information?
"There's some drawings of the whole entire frontal of the male," said Karla Wornson, who is home schooling her middle school daughter but has sons who attend public high school. "My 12-year-old daughter would probably crawl under the desk."
This woman has high school age sons and thinks her daughter has never seen a penis?
I don't know why this disturbs me. But it does. Muppets using urinals?
Now, imagine your a guy who needed to use the rest room. You come out of the stall, and there are Elmo and Cookie Monster (quite large versions) in the men's room. It sounds like a nightmare to me!
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Damn. That exactly what I wanted to say (except for the part about being African American, a father, and having a son).
As an African American father of an African American son, it makes me bone weary to consider how prevalent the attitudes above still are, and that they’re so close to the surface that they slip through in unguarded moments like the Bennett moment.
It’s not a far leap to understanding that many Americans — even if they would never dream of saying so in public — silently agree with Bennett’s basic sentiment. Why? Because it was surprisingly easy for even some well-known liberal bloggers to come to Bennett’s defense. That makes it all to clear just how deep thinking like Bennett’s goes.
I know that I occasionally over react to racism. I accept that. I'm a white, middle class woman, who has a Black (ok 1/2 black) daughter. I never saw the racism that exists in this country. Of course, I heard the news reports of horrible things done to blacks, but I believed they were the exception. Something that happened somewhere else.
My daughter changed all that. The first time I heard that she was called the N word, I was homicidal. How dare anyone use that for my child! Luckily, being a liberal who doesn't like guns, there were none available to me. If there were, there would be one less racist in the world. That was how angry I was. Ok, I honestly wouldn't know what end of a gun to use, but you get the idea.
I used to be able to blow off people who I thought were stupid. Now I feel I must confront them. It's the "mother-bear" in me.
Now, while I acknowledge that I am hypersensitive to racists remarks, Mr. Bennett's comments are beyond belief. He did backtrack on the abortion thing. But he did not on the idea that blacks = crime. How can we let someone on the public airwaves speak like this? It just reinforces the racist ideas.
Saturday, October 01, 2005
Cassie, the guest blogger
I can’t believe Julia put that she will discussing the dog, but not the cat (me! The most important one in the house!) Unless the word “discussing” means saying bad things. Then it’s OK.
Not that I don’t like the dog. She knows that I’m the Most Important One. And it’s fun to play with her tail!
Today, she and John brought in a lot of boxes. I like playing in boxes! Julia truly enjoys when I play Surprise Cat. I go in the box, and when she walks by—SURPRISE—I jump out and grab her with my claws. She loves that so much I keep playing after I get bored.
But I think the boxes are here for moving. Julia keeps saying we are getting a new house! I just hope she remembers my litter box
Thursday, September 29, 2005
That's the Odd Goose. I don't know why she (assuming it is a she) joined the flock of Canadian geese that I feed. But I feel an affinity to her.
And who am I?
I'm a mother, a widow, a computer tech, an unpublished writer.
What is this blog about? Anything that enters my mind.
I hope you enjoy reading it.
I'm getting ready to move, as my landlord has decided not to renew my lease after an argument over who should pay how much for a new water heater. In a classic battle winning/war losing scenario, he acquiesced, but held the final trump card.
I like moving. I like new starts. My life has been full of new starts, and I never tire of them. New starts are always full of potential. Even though they seldom live up to that potential, I am always invigorated by them.
I'll find out tomorrow if I get the townhouse I want.