Friday, December 30, 2005

Happy New Year!

A little early, I know, but I'm leaving tomorrow morning for Virginia Beach and hopefully the first fun New Years in at least 4 years. I plan on getting drunk and stupid, totally betraying the mommy image. And alas, I will be wearing contacts. No glasses.

I saw Memoirs of a Geisha tonight and really, I wasn't all that impressed. I don't think it had anything to do with the bad reviews I've been reading either. They just dramatized the hell out of it. Also, I don't remember Sayuri's virginity being up for sale in the book but I read it so long ago I'm not sure if I'm correctly recalling events to begin with.

Earlier this afternoon I went to a ladies house to pick up some art supplies she was getting rid of (and an easle). I had responded to her offer of an 133 piece artset on Freecycle but it had been taken already. Well, sometime during our initial emails and me picking the items up, she had gone to Michael's and, while there, bought another art set for me to give to the boy for whom these art supplies were originally for. I volunteer at the YWCA once a week and right now there is a 9yr old boy who can do fantastic things with clay (he created a snail, snake and dragon w/wings within a matter of minutes and they looked real!), pencils, etc. I asked him if art class was his favorite time of the week and he didn't hesitate with his answer of, "Yes!"

I can't wait to visit them on Monday to give them their new cool stuff!

I also sent out a want/need for certain items to help the women settle in since many move into the shelter's with just the bare essentials. When they do move into their own place, they literally have to start all over again. I think it's great that so many complete strangers have been willing to help come up with photo's, pictures, and/or little things that can help make a home, well, home.

So here's to having another great year (and to me finding a job in the next month of so). I'll talk to you again very soon, or, to be cheesy, I'll talk to you next year!
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Thursday, December 29, 2005

al Qaeda's still around

I think it's ironic (in the true sense of the word) that Shrubites scream of al Qaeda's demise yet they are increasingly present in Iraq. So sure, they aren't as prevalent in Afghanistan, because our War on Terrorism has made sure of that, but (duh) they've just moved to a new home. Yet America still denies they have a stronghold anywhere, taking on the lie of winning the war on terror as truth.

A call to arms: my dad thinks the women of Iraq and Afghanistan have been liberated.

We were sitting around the table watching Postcards from Buster on PBS (yes, the very program that wasn't allowed to show the segment with the same-sex couple in Vermont) and, this time, Buster was talking with a muslim girl who wore a hijab. I told my niece that, in Islam, women wear the hijab in Pakistan, America and a few other muslim countries, the abaya in Saudi Arabia and the burqa in Iraq and Afghanistan. My intent was to inform my niece that yes, most Islamic countries allow the women to choose whether to veil or not, but in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Afghanistan, they have to - just in different ways.

My dad told me that they have to veil because of their religion.

I said no, they have to because of the laws in their countries which often state that a woman cannot leave her house without wearing the veil.

My dad said the War on Terrorism changed that for both Iraq and Afghanistan.

I said no, it's only gotten worse. That just because the Taliban was overthrown, doesn't mean a brand new regime has taken over, which it has.

Needless to say, he doesn't believe me. In fact, he told me to go online and look for myself.

I almost choked on my spaghettio's.

I told him to check out my blog as there are several links to RAWA, Iraqi women's websites, etc.
So what I want my lovely behind the scene's readers and frequent commenters alike to do is: link away!! Help me prove my dad wrong, yet again, because I read more alternative stuff than he does.
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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Husky rescued

This beautiful furry baby was rescued from being frozen to a couple of railroad ties in zero-degree weather just a week ago.

Thankfully, a construction worker figured something was wrong because the dog hadn't budged in over 2 hours. Instead of leaving the dog there anyway, he approached the dog to see if he could help. Yay! There are nice animal-saving people in the world!

His new name is Ice Train.

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Poor black women and Pap smears

A group of researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health aren't sure why poor black women aren't going to get Pap smear's as often as middle to upper class black women are.

The reason for the lower rate of screening isn't clear, and the researchers note that other factors linked to lower screening rates, such as older age or lower education, didn't seem to play a role.
Do we need to spell it out for them yet again? Women who are poor, regardless of race generally but let's not be totally oblivious here as poor socioeconomic status most often applies to black and/or hispanic women, don't have any health insurance nor the necessary transportation to get to the gyn in order to have a Pap smear done.

The researchers are worried that not enough women are getting screened for cervical cancer. This is a noteworthy cause mind you so that's not what I'm griping about. It's the fact that they get to sit in their Harvard offices or labs and wonder why all them poor black folk ain't gettin' their screenin' done. How's about, much like lead screening nowadays, they make it mandatory at all gyn visits instead of an option? Or, how's about they bring in a mobile testing site for women? Or even a temporary office that opens annually? I'm sure there is a grant out there somewhere for this type of problem.

One expert thinks that access to medical care may be the reason for these findings, and the reason that more black women die from cervical cancer than white women.
Argh, they're brilliant up there in Harvard doncha know. They could pick up any number of books and other sources on poverty and how it effects minorities and find their answer within the first few minutes. Maybe I should sent them some, eh?
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So, so bad

Yes, I have this thing called a blog and it's been sitting here, patiently waiting for me to update it. At least I've been watching the news!! (Well, only half-watching the news as I'm more apt to read stuff online than to watch the local news "black man minute".)

Friday evening and Saturday morning/early afternoon I could have been found wrapping presents for customers in Barnes & Noble to raise money for Pet Harbor. We succeeded in raising over $700, too!

Saturday afternoon I was hanging out with Peanut, watching him race around the house in the anticipatory state only xmas eve can bring on a 6-year old. We had a family dinner that evening. Nothing fancy, just Peanut's favorite of American chop suey; he absolutely loves it. (It's ground meat - we use turkey - and spaghettio's on top of mashed potatoes. It sounds and looks gross but tastes wonderfully good. My mom grew up on it and so has me and my sister and now we're passing it on to our kids.)

After we eat dinner, we have the tradition where the kids get to open their xmas pj's then one gift (a toy) as their one present. Peanut opened his, which was the Lego's Pirate game then succinctly whined about his pj's being "boring" and he wanted something else to open.

That wholly pissed me off.

So I grabbed Peanut and told him to get his butt upstairs if he was going to be that ungrateful. This of course upset him. Oh well. I then told Peanut that whenever he opens a gift that someone else was nice enough to get him, whether he likes it or not, he is to say thanks and move on.

I reminded him of the many families all over the world who wouldn't have any presents under their trees (if they even had trees) because their families didn't have a lot of money or live with their nanas and papa's. I also said that if I heard that sort of response out of him again, I'd take every single present under our tree and give them to kids who would be appreciative. 'Cause I really would. Greedy stingy kids don't need what their single moms worked hard to acquire so their kids could have something they actually wanted under the tree Christmas morning.

Needless to say, after that, Peanut wasn't so ungrateful. We tried to play the Pirate game but it looked like it would take a while, the kids* were losing their focus and so finally, we let them watch movies in their beds. It worked out much better that way and around 9:30 the kids were finally asleep. Ms. Claus was very happy indeed as this meant she wouldn't be up 'til early morning getting things out and finishing the wrapping.

Sunday we got to sleep 'til around 7am when, awaking to the sounds of my excited niece, Peanut says to me: "Good morning mom."

I replied, "Good morning Peanut," while waiting for him to remember what day it was. I didn't have to wait long because then he stiffened slightly and said, "What a minute! It's Christmas Day!"

I laughed and started to get out of bed as excited children cannot be contained on this morning. He raced halfway down the stairs, all the while I'm telling him to wait for me (I had to visit the bathroom first).

Then, when his eyes took hold of the castle awaiting him under the tree he exclaimed, "This is just what I wanted!!" We both headed to the bathroom where, knowing my son, I told him to pee, too. Then I got my sweater and we went downstairs.

Gone are the days when he'd open his first present and want to play with that toy, forgetting he had at least 10 others there, wrapped neatly with Santa's writing on them. Now he opens, ohs and ahs, puts it down near me and moves on to the next one.

After all the presents were opened, my parents went into the kitchen to begin making the breakfast we have every xmas and New Year's Day. It generally consists of pancakes, eggs, sausage, bacon and toast/biscuits. We have this big breakfast so that it holds us over until we eat "the feast"** of the usual turkey dinners.***

We ate, then the kids played some more, and I fell asleep on the couch because I slept fitfully to begin with and Peanut woke me up throughout the night with various sleepy questions.

Then, at 3:30, it was time to eat. It was very very good as always.

After dinner, Peanut and I played Shrek 2 until it was time to go. At 6pm we had to leave in order to meet his dad for the switch off at 7pm. Peanut is with his dad all week and of course I'm kinda nervous about it. He got Peanut "killing toys" for xmas. Yay.

Saturday I head to Virginia Beach to spend New Year's out partying with my friend L. who needs some cheering up and I need to at least pretend I have a fucking life.

*When I say kids, I'm including my niece so don't be alarmed; I haven't been hiding a kid from the world. **"the feast" was coined by Peanut after reading Stone Soup so much when he was younger. ***New Year's Day we have what is called a New England Broiled Dinner. Its cabbage, potatoes, carrots and ham all cooked in one pot for most of the day. Needless to say I do not look forward to these days and usually eat something different. However, it's tradition.
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Friday, December 23, 2005

Of course

It makes perfect sense that Alito, in the same premise as his memo denouncing Roe v. Wade, would have also backed the idea of using domestic wiretaps to get the skinny on our private lives.

The memo dealt with whether government officials should have blanket protection from lawsuits when authorizing wiretaps. "I do not question that the attorney general should have this immunity," Alito wrote. "But for tactical reasons, I would not raise the issue here."
And this guy will be going through the confirmation process beginning January 9th. Oh yay. I can't wait.
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It's another movie I can't wait to see.

Steven Speilberg, the Hollywood director, is taking on the stuff most independent films are made of. This ultimately brings the subject matter, in this case revenge on those who killed 11 members of the Israeli Olympic soccer team in 1972, to a wider audience and risks controversy.

I for one enjoy controversy because it gets people talking. I highly recommend clicking on the link, which leads to the trailer and other extras for the movie. It's well worth it.
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Wal-Mart LOSES in California

I like to think of this as one step in the right direction in controlling Wal-Mart. Wally World runs the world much the same way the Shrubites do; they think laws simply don't apply to them.

The world's largest retailer was ordered to pay $57 million in general damages and $115 million in punitive damages to employees for violating a 2001 state law that requires employers to provide 30-minute unpaid lunch breaks to employees who work at least six hours in a shift.
When a local California (Oakland) jury orders the retail giant to pay $172 million to 116,000 current and former employees, it's a good day indeed. This shows Wal-Mart that no, they can't get away with anything and not even their new PR team will help.
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Thursday, December 22, 2005

2005 miserable year for female CEO's

But we already knew that, didn't we?
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I've been slackin' on the posts because I've not been working this week nor will I be next week. This means I'm not in front of a computer all day so I miss things and/or don't spend all my days reading various news sites to feed my intelligence.

Instead, I'm spending it driving around gathering up various items for the local women's shelter and the husky/cat rescue I volunteer for and carting my now driver's license deficient sister around.

I do have some posts saved in draft mode that I will try to get to tomorrow or sometime soon at least. (I wrap presents at Barnes and Noble tomorrow night and Saturday morning.)

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Are you a swinger? Well then make your way to Canada!

It's legal there now because, as the Supreme Court of Canada said, consensual adult group sex does not pose a threat to society.

“Criminal indecency or obscenity must rest on actual harm or a significant risk of harm to individuals or society. The Crown failed to establish this essential element of the offense. (Its) case must therefore fail,” McLachlin wrote.
Huh. Isn't this the same country who ousted all it's government because they were getting a little too liberal?
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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

You know what?

Bush better get impeached for this whole wire-tap thing since, um, Nixon was impeached before the world could blink for the very

Remember that, in the impeachment of Richard Nixon, Article 2 of the three Articles of Impeachment dealt with illegal wiretapping of Americans. It said that Nixon committed a crime "by directing or authorizing [intelligence] agencies or personnel to conduct or continue electronic surveillance or other investigations for purposes unrelated to national security, the enforcement of laws, or any other lawful function of his office."

"In the weeks following the terrorist attacks on our nation, I authorized the National Security Agency, consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution, to intercept the international communications of people with known links to Al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations," the president said.

[The President's] admission was reminiscent of Dwight Eisenhower's in 1960 that he had authorized U-2 flights over the Soviet Union after Francis Gary Powers was shot down on a reconnaissance mission. At the time, President Eisenhower declared that "no one wants another Pearl Harbor," an argument Mr. Bush echoed on Saturday in defending his program as a critical component of antiterrorism efforts.

Was he not?

Article One: [for] making false or misleading statement to delay, cover up, or conceal evidence relating to the Watergate break-ins...

Article Two: ...[for having] engaged in conduct violating the constitutional rights of citizens...and impairing the due and proper administration of justice...

Article Three: ...has willfully disobeyed the subpoenas of and failed without lawful cause or excuse to produce papers and information for the House Judiciary Committee...assuming to himself the functions and judgments given to the House of Representatives by the Constitution.

Why is Shrub still in office again? Especially since the reason we started a war against Iraq has been proven to be based on lies, members of his devout Republican circle have been accused and/or indicted of a variety of crimes and now he's trying to listen in on Americans without any good reason or warrants? Just because he's trying to route out terrorism quickly?

Thank all the goddesses the Patriot Act expires at the end of the year.
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Monday, December 19, 2005

Inclusiveness? Tolerance? Bah Humbug!

Cartoon by Tony Auth

Today, while driving home, a local radio station asked that listeners send Christmas Cards to the ACLU in NY. In other words, they were trying to egg on the "War on Christmas" many Christian fundi's have been complaining about for a few years now.

However, what exactly is the point of sending said cards to ACLU's HQ they will ultimately not give 2 breaths about? The ACLU isn't fighting to take away Xmas, but to ask that it be inclusive since Hanukah, Ramadan and Kwanza also happen somewhere around this hi-jacked holiday (along with the original Winter Solstice of course).

When given the truth about Xmas, one should reasonably understand that it was the Fundi's Founding Fathers who despised Xmas and anything jolly that went along with it. Now they want to claim they are the sole owners of this consumerist holiday? Right. I say go ahead because then, just maybe, I'll be able to stop acknowleding it exists and spending stupid amounts of money while pretending to be Santa Claus.

Fucking hypocrites I tell ya. And they say we liberals are wishy-washy.
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Friday, December 16, 2005


The new JibJab video is out. Go watch!
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Memoirs of a Geisha

I was looking so forward to seeing MG because the book was absolutely fabulous (it took Arthur Golden 15 years to research and write it). However, it appears that my fears weren't for naught: they Hollywoodized the hell out of it, right down to using Chinese actors and actresses to represent Japanese culture. The two countries are not interchangeable.

Upon reading both the review of MG in yesterday's WashPo and in Tuesday's LA Times, I'm no longer in a hurry to see it.

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Bush grows up, uses the 'R' word

This is about the only part of Bush's speech I enjoyed yesterday, the part where he used the 'R' word...responsibility. I think this may be the first time in a very very long time that he's admitted to being at least partially at fault. 'Cause you all know Karl Rove still has a job.

President Bush said Wednesday that he accepted responsibility for deciding to wage war in Iraq in part on the basis of faulty intelligence, but that he remained convinced history would conclude he had done the right thing.

Too bad these speeches have been boosting his ratings a little bit.
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Hillary panders

Having just read an opinion of her co-sponsoring a bill to ban flag-burning, I want to say right here and now that I will not support her just because she's a woman (though I will think long and hard about it because, I admit, she'd be the first woman president in my lifetime).

For real, even Justice Scalia admits that flag burning is protected under the 1st Amendment.
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Why Women 'Snap'

I just read an article at Alternet with the original use of the title. The author takes on the idea for a new show, presented by Oxygen,* that promises to turn the average viewers mind inside out with regards to women who kill and why they do it.

Oxygen, a women-oriented cable channel, hypes its popular "Snapped" series this way: "From millionaire brides with everything to lose, to small-town sweethearts who should simply know better, these shocking but true stories turn common assumptions about crime and criminals upside down."
However, Talvi makes a good argument on why not to watch nor believe the tv show is telling viewers the whole truth.

When women kill their mates, such acts are usually in self-defense -- or as a result of longstanding physical and emotional abuse. According to the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), at least half of all women in prison, including those jailed for nonviolent offences, were abused by spouses before their incarceration.
This isn't a secret and it's fairly easy to find proof. So why did the producers and researchers for Oxygen miss it and yet purport to be of women, by women, for women?

Talvi gives us the example of Flozella Woodmore who was abused by her boyfriend since the mere age of 13. When she was 18, she killed her boyfriend, thus committing her first and only offense. She has become a model prisoner yet has been denied parole by 4 different California governors, including Schwarzenegger, reversing the parole board's earlier decision.

Another good point is that a majority of women are in jail because of their involvement with drugs.

According to the latest findings from the BJS, women were more likely to be in a state prison for a drug offense in 2004, at 32 percent of inmates, than men were, at the rate of 21 percent.
Another large percentage of women in prison are mothers, whose children more often than not become wards of the state while their mother is incarcerated, whereas when men are incarcerated, the children stay with their mother or someone in the man's family.**

Nationally, some 200,000 women are now sitting in jails or prisons -- more than eight times as many incarcerated women as in 1980. At least 75 percent of these women are mothers.
I blogged about an article a while back that focused it's attention on the greater need for women prisoners to be rehabilitated in order to make them good mothers when they get out. In fact, there are 2 other examples of women who are serving time in prison because their mental illnesses, which were ignored, prompted them to each kill their children.

Watch "Snapped" for yourself then come back and tell me what you thought about it. Perhaps you shouldn't read Talvi's article until then so as not to color your judgment of the show, eh?

*I personally have not seen the show because I didn't know it existed. I will look for it now to determine what it's about before I give my definite opinion.
**The article then goes on to mention 2 very interesting books which have now been added to my wish list over at amazon.
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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Steve Johnson / Bill Clinton

Hi Everyone,

This is NASCAR Nut. I'm curious and looking for opinions on this whole Steve Johnson story.

For those of you who haven't heard about it, SJ posted a profile on a gay dating pornographic website. SJ is, or maybe I should say was, the Richmond School Board Chairman. A few days after posting, someone 'informed' The Times Dispatch that his profile was there. A little web surfing later and suddenly SJ is a horrible man surfing for gay porn on the web. Forgotten are all the good things he has done while on the school board. All anyone sees now is a man trying to find a man to date by looking on the web.

Where was he supposed to look? Just 'cause he is/was a public official, does that mean he can't look for love, or even a date? Where else should he have looked? A gay night club? Church? The Richmond Times Dispatch Classifieds?

And what exactly did he do wrong? He has done nothing illegal. So what is his crime? Why is it so important to many in the Richmond area for SJ to leave the school board?

In the items I heard or read, SJ should leave because he is setting a bad example for the children. As a kid, I had no clue who my school board members were, much less the head of the board. As far as I knew, I had never interacted with any of them.

Bill Clinton was involved in a much more scandlous situation. He had an affair and also denied, to a grand jury, that it happened. In the long run though, he did admit to the incident. What he did was illegal in many places and yes he came close to being impeached for it. But if America didn't see fit to remove Bill Clinton from office, then what business do any of us have trying to force SJ out of office?

Last question. How many of you feel this would have even been an issue had SJ been hetero?

A note from Nut: last week, 10 local pastors called for his resignation claiming Johnson was a danger to children because of the websites pornographic nature.

[Bishop Gerald O. Glenn of Chesterfield County's New Deliverance Evangelistic Church] said that rather than applauding Johnson, the School Board and administration could turn this time into an opportunity to instruct students on issues of Internet pornography and sexual promiscuity.
How, pray tell, does a gay dating website equate to sexual promiscuity?

Let me hear ya out there,


(I mostly updated to include links to the story and take out the abusive use of question marks.)
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Monday, December 12, 2005

Taking a hand break

My right index finger is still swollen from Saturday morning's fight (and loss) with a cat and, as I found out from typing up that Narnia post, said finger/hand starts throbbing after a bit of typing so I must abstain as I need to type up one last essay tonight. After this evening I find out if it's supposed to be 2. Yay.

My friend was supposed to post this weekend and he didn't. Shame shame on him. I'll have to see what's up.
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Sunday, December 11, 2005


We went to see it yesterday morning, even after the fight with the cat I got into. (The cat won.) I totally forgot that it was Disney producing the movie. I think Peter Jackson should have been on board because then maybe, it would have been LOTR's good.

Peanut's favorite part was the war scenes of course. Never mind all the C.S. Lewis mind games that came before that.

I didn't like how they modified a few scenes to make them more interesting, like the 5 wolves finding the children at Beaver's den whereas it was 2 wolves that missed the group in the book. The wolf General didn't even have the same name in the movie. Geesh.

And where the hell did that fox come from? There is a badger, fox, chipmunk and another animal I can't think of right now having a merry party in Aslan's honor which the Snow Queen turns into stone, but other than that, no fox exists as a character in the book as existed in the movie. I know this for a fact because I just finished reading the book Friday night (again).

I don't like how the movie showed Peter, Susan, Lucy and Mr. Beaver following Edmund then watched him go into the castle of the White Witch. In the book, by the time they noticed he was gone; Edmund was almost to the castle. Also in the book, Mr. Beaver said Edmund was already lost because he had the look of someone who had eaten of the Queen's magic food. A lot more philosophy and logic was in the book. (Of course, reading a few reviews of the movie, I now understand the director choose to go Christian-lite so as not to muddle the intended message of good vs. evil.)

Also in the movie, but not mentioned in the book, is Peter's dilemma in fighting a war he didn't believe was his own. Was this put in because of what's going on now do you think? Because in the book, Peter, Susan and Lucy never questioned Aslan (Liam Neeson was the voice), telling him the war was stupid and not worth fighting. In the book Peter didn't stand up and say, "I'm not here to fight. I need to find my brother and then we're going home." Even when Father Christmas miraculously showed up did the three take their weapons dutifully and without question.

Having said that, Peanut did enjoy the movie because he was show centaurs, Cyclopes, fauns and so much more. He even told my mom that he got to see a character that was half human, half centaur. Yeah, he's cute. I loved the graphics and realness of these characters.

The actors/actresses who played Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy were wonderful and will undoubtedly go on to bigger and better movies. And of course the movie was left inviting a sequel since there are, after all, 9 more books in the series.

Overall, I think I would have to say the movie is okay but not great. I was disappointed because I've been looking forward to this movie for a whole year; I wanted it to be LOTR's great and it wasn't (which is my own problem, not the movie's, lol).
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Friday, December 09, 2005

Can't concentrate

because I GRADUATE tomorrow! That's right, after tomorrow I will officially have a bachelor's in Interdisciplinary Studies with a minor in English. Wooohoooo! I'm not doing the walking thing because I can't fathom sitting with complete strangers for 4 hours while someone in my family keeps my son entertained somehwere in the stands.

But nevertheless, I will still be a college graduate after tomorrow with my diploma being mailed to me in January.

Today, because the people I work with are so damned cool and I will miss them entirely when I find and hold a full-time job, I was treated to a congratulatory lunch. They gave me a basket of goodies, too, which was totally unexpected.

Here's what my good friends got me:

A Knitting Pattern a Day Boxed Calendar. (Love this!)

2 VCU mugs which was funny considering I was not long ago ruminating over the fact I had nothing with my now Alumni's logo on it - at all - except a dyed tshirt.

A box of Celestial Seasonsings teas since I abhor any sort of coffee (but love Chai).

Apple soap and a bookmark from Ten Thousand Villages.

Girls Hold Up This World by Jada Pinkett Smith.

Some ever so delicious organic chocolate chip cookies from Back to Nature.

A book titled Chocolate Treats. I have to make something for a shindig my sister's helping host at our church next weekend and I've already picked something out!

A white washed wood picture frame.

And a package of Milky Way Santa's with chocolate creme filling. Are they trying to tell me something you think?
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Thursday, December 08, 2005

White Band Day

December 10th is White Band Day. Do you have One?
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Afghanistan is not free from the Taliban

The following list offers only an abbreviated glimpse of the hellish lives Afghan women are forced to lead under the Taliban, and can not begin to reflect the depth of female deprivations and sufferings. Taliban treat women worse than they treat animals. In fact, even as Taliban declare the keeping of caged birds and animals illegal, they imprison Afghan women within the four walls of their own houses. Women have no importance in Taliban eyes unless they are occupied producing children, satisfying male sexual needs or attending to the drudgery of daily housework. Jehadi fundamentalists such as Gulbaddin, Rabbani, Masood, Sayyaf, Khalili, Akbari, Mazari and their co-criminal Dostum have committed the most treacherous and filthy crimes against Afghan women. And as more areas come under Taliban control, even if the number of rapes and murders perpetrated against women falls, Taliban restrictions --comparable to those from the middle ages-- will continue to kill the spirit of our people while depriving them of a humane existence. We consider Taliban more treacherous and ignorant than Jehadis. According to our people, "Jehadis were killing us with guns and swords but Taliban are killing us with cotton."

The above picture and introduction can be found on RAWA's webpage entitled Afghan Women: Under the Tyranny of Fundamentalists. Notice the 2nd link under the title that says, Some of the restrictions imposed by Taliban on women in Afghanistan.

On NPR this morning, they reported on "honor killings" in Iraq and how they have only increased since the US began occupying the country (that doesn't want us), not decreased since, you know, we're spreading "freedom and democracy." Oh, let's not forget that a "free country is a peaceful country."

Remeber that little old lady from way back when in commercials for Wendy's who would ask, "Where's the beef?" I say we start asking, "Where's the peace?"

(wow, you really can find almost anything on the web)

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unescapable thoughts

I've had these in the que for a while, trying to figure out what I wanted to say about them...but there really isn't anything to say.

The idea of Alito putting faith in the 1st Amendment scares the bejeezus out of me and selling off the daughters of poor families is nothing new. It is very sad, but it has been happening for centuries. This time, however, it resurfaces as mistresses, otherwise known as concubines, in African villages.

And how come the US still hasn't done something like this for women who have been victims of domestic violence?

Tougher penalties for human traffickers, including those who take part in the process by purchasing time with one of the trafficked, is a cause I can stand behind.

That's all for now, really. I read too much of everything so it's not that I'm being lazy, I'm off reading other stuff and forgetting to leave myself time to share.
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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

On DeLay....again

Isn't it funny how he demanded a new judge be inserted into his case, claiming the previous one was too democratic for his taste, yet was still found guilty? Yep, the new republican judge in the DeLay case upheld 2 of the 3 original convictions.

The charges involve $190,000 that the state says was collected from corporate donors in 2002 and, in violation of Texas election and money laundering laws, routed through Republican political action committees to seven Republicans running for the Texas House.
What's more interesting is the spin calling this a "partial victory." Yes he got one of the charges dropped, however, the 2 most important ones still exist. His lawyers are touting that since the judge saw through the falseness of the conspiracy charge, the rest will be hard to prove.

Do any of them not remember they didn't cover their tracks all that well which is why they are going through this process to begin with?
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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The truth about Christmas

Okay, so I was realizing the other day, while trying to explain to Peanut the real reason we have Christmas, that I had no idea why we originally began to celebrate it! I know why St. Patrick's Day, St. Valentine's Day, Thanksgiving, Easter, Halloween and Columbus Day are acknowledged yet had no no earthly idea about Christmas. For shame!

So it was with great pleasure that I began to read Sheezlebub's post for today, one that she carried over from last year because the Christian fundie's are still trying to wage the same war against Christmas, or rather, against the more inclusive phraseology "Happy Holidays."

For the record, I already knew about Christmas trees and that they have nothing to do with baby Jesus.
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And back to my regularly scheduled complaining....

Only about the Shrubies and others of his ilk.

Dear 'ol Solicitor General Paul Clement has challenged a lower courts decision that said the federal government cannot pull funding from public law universities because they will not allow recruiters on campus. Those law schools, 30 I think, are protesting the military's viewpoint on "don't ask, don't tell." They are exercising their 1st amendment rights and hey, who better to do it than a law school right?

Clement argues that it unfarlry hinders military recruiters from reaching 'the best and the brightest."

The Solomon Amendment says that recruiters must have equal access to college universities, including law and medical schools, or they suffer the consequences: federal funding will be taken away.

Huh. Shrubies are only worried about this because enrollment is down and they realize if our soldiers who are currently over there keep dying, they may have to reinstate the draft soon. (Okay, I understand that the actual chance of this happening is slim, but let's not put anything passed the current Republican frame of mind just yet.)

Officer Crummy is pissed at the media because the "media's emphasis on American deaths in Iraq belies the progress of the war."

Uh, what progress would that be exactly? I wasn't aware of any. Oh, right! We got Saddam out and he's getting a slanted, er...fair trial now.

What about that Osama guy again?

At the same time, he said, they are not giving intense coverage to fatalities in the United States, where an average of 42,000 traffic deaths and 16,000 homicides take place each year.
Huh? Does he not watch his local news? I hear the "black man minute" almost every night. Twice if I get to catch both the 6 and 11pm newscasts. Let's not forget about all the young white women missing or the teenagers who kill themselves trying to drive like maniacs with very little experience...seriously, does he not watch the local news either?

This, of course, was my favorite:

"We've arrived at a strange time in this country where the worst about America and our military seems to so quickly be taken as truth by the press, and reported and spread around the world, often with little context and little scrutiny, let alone correction or accountability after the fact," he said in a speech at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Because, you know, the liberal media is just killing our reputation. Nope, the Shrubies haven't done any of it themselves by, you know, taking us out of almost every single fucking treaty his father and Clinton worked hard for. It's all the media's fault I tell you!

His criticism of the press, a theme to which Mr. Rumsfeld returns frequently in public and private statements, came only a few days after the Pentagon acknowledged that it had paid Iraqi newspapers to publish news articles that presented a positive view of developments in Iraq.
Ahhh, so now it's because we found out the Pentagon was paying reporters in Iraq to make nice about the war so the people actually living through it would think they were just in a really bad dream they couldn't seem to wake from.


And my fine readers, I leave you with this tidbit. Seriously, do all the Shrubites forget the bullshit they spew is almost always recorded, written down, published and/or televised?

"There is no question there were people who believed that they would be met as liberators, and indeed they were for a period and still are in a number of parts of the country," Mr. Rumsfeld replied. "But anyone who had an optimistic view, I think has confronted reality. And it is clearly not easy. War is never easy. And you never heard a word like that out of my mouth, I don't believe."

The staff of the Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, later released a transcript of a September 2002 interview Mr. Rumsfeld gave several reporters in which he said American troops had been welcomed after invading Afghanistan. "That's what would happen in Iraq," it quoted Mr. Rumsfeld as saying.

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Monday, December 05, 2005

It's snowing

Yep, we are in that east coast stretch of wintery weather and right now huge flakes are falling. Nothing is sticking, though, since it was raining earlier this morning and it was in the mid-50's over the weekend. The plows are out, however, and school's are still open.

The high today (for about 1 hour) will be 35degrees. It seems winter has come early this year and we have completely skipped fall.
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Sunday, December 04, 2005

On a lighter note

Yesterday morning I went to a knitting workshop to begin learning how to knit these long fingerless gloves for my niece. In hot pink washable wool.

So far I have completed the first 2" and started on the round which will begin the cabling. Whew!

After the class I went to see Pride and Prejudice and it was wonderful! I'm glad some of the non-important sections of the book were left out but it was pieced together nicely nonetheless.

And then I dyed my hair black again, hehehehe. I did lose one earring at some point, which is sad, because I really liked them.
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Plan B

Today, or rather, early yesterday evening, I thanked all the God's, Goddesses (and so forth) for the wonderful brain and passion I have for knowing about my body and my rights. Because last night around 10:30 I found myself sitting in an ER waiting room in order to gain access to Emergency Contraception, or Plan B.

It was the first time in at least 2 years that I got to have sex with a guy I really like and the fucking condom breaks. Isn't that just my luck?

Everyone was nice and pleasant about it, I had absolutely no problems obtaining the two small pills that don't even measure up to a dime and it was done within two hours of me arriving there. Thank heavens for 24/7 pharmacies!

Another lesson learned is that those 2 small pills cost me only $28.99 and the nausea meds cost me $19.99. The funny thing though? I took the 2nd pill at 1:30 and so far haven't felt anything. The ER doc sent me to the all night pharmacy because they had the brand with more progesterone in it which supposedly isn't supposed to make me as nauseous. He also told me I was doing the responsible thing and that this option was a lot better than the alternatives if I had waited. Yeah, tell me about it dude!

E, when trying to talk me into waiting 'til the morning, didn't seem to fully grasp the severe panic I was experiencing. While dressing, I roughly explained to him that I had been through one abortion when I was 18 and would really like to keep it that way, as in, no more abortions!

This occurrence only further cemented in me that my decision not to have any kids at all ever again is indeed the right one. Even if I do meet "the right person," I'm happy with my lovely Peanut and that's all.

So, now we all know that CJW Medical Center has Plan B and there is a 24hour pharmacy that does, too, and dispenses it without moral any implications!
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Thursday, December 01, 2005

World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day is also equally important, if not more so since this disease has no cure and kills.

In 1991, when I was still in high school, my mom began volunteering with the Tidewater AIDS Community Taskforce. She became a buddy to a man in his 40's who had HIV which quickly transferred into AIDS. Within two years he died, but not before we had gotten to know him so well, he was an honorary family member. He used to come over and spend weekends with us, hanging outside with my dad, watching me go off to both my Jr. and Sr. proms, sharing many holidays with us and so on.

We watched him go from a stout 200lbs or so, to a sickly man who barely weighed 100lbs within that 2 years. His last days were spent in a hospice, with 5 other men dying of the disease, in the care of a man who sometimes ended up cooking 6 different meals at one time for his residents. He, like both my mom and I, figured they were going to die anyway, why not live it up and eat like a king? Good point.

I found out a few weeks ago that my mom tried being a buddy 4 more times then simply burned out. She said after awhile it got hard watching them die, or in the case of one man, not care enough to take the necessary precautions to protect him from the rest of the world.

Once a month, a catholic church in Virginia Beach hosted a sort of support group for persons with HIV/AIDS, family members were allowed to come if they wanted. My dad made some of the meals and we provided the entertainment such as new movies, games, cards or just chatting. During Christmas and Thanksgiving, we'd make the whole nine for them because more often than not, the families of those who came wanted nothing to do with them either because they had HIV/AIDS, were gay or both.

It was sad and worked to teach my sister and I compassion in the grandest form. We didn't do much after Bill died, at least I thought my mom was done. Turns out my dad had asked her not to put us through that anymore because it was hard on us. Sure it was, but we were also old enough to decide for ourselves at that point and I have to say, looking back at it now, I think that was very selfish of him. He had a hard time with it because the men my mom got involved with were gay. We knew they were people whose sexual identity wasn't like ours.

When I went to the local community college a few years later, I wrote my very first research paper on HIV/AIDS and how hard the government worked to cover it up when it first surfaced in 1980. The book, And the Band Played On (along with the movie of the same name), was a great help and I highly recommend everyone reads it, even now.

Back when I was 15, the meds to treat HIV/AIDS were few and far between. Mostly, it was just AZT that was used: it cost $1,000 for a month's supply and you couldn't use it for more than two years because it suppressed liver functions and eventually killed the kidneys. Today it's cost has not gone down any, and more meds have been added so that persons with HIV/AIDS now have the option to take a triple cocktail which helps suppress most of the symptoms and slow down the spread of the disease. Each med that is prescribed to a person with HIV/AIDS costs upwards of $700. If someone who has this disease has no insurance yet has to take these meds (sometimes 5 times a day), that's over $2000/month when budget cuts on valuable programs such as Medicaid/Medicare are a yearly occurrence. Also, when a person has to take that many pills everyday for the next 30 or 40 years, they begin to suffer from pill fatigue. One of the challenges in treating persons infected with the disease is keeping them on their meds.

(Somewhere around this time, the movie Boys on the Side came out, too.)

Early in his presidency, Bush denied the use of US money to obtain generic drugs in countries heavily inflicted with AIDS in Africa and Southeast Asia via the Global Gag Rule.

How the Emergency Plan will function was revealed when Tobias appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He defended his appointment and complete lack of experience of dealing with AIDS or public health matters in general by claiming he would "get a better deal" with the pharmaceutical corporations for antiretroviral AIDS drugs. In other words, Tobias will use the government funding to buy AIDS drugs from US corporations at their inflated prices, often up to 10 times more than the price of generic versions.

He has also denied funds to any charities or organizations that don't promote abstinence and instead provides condoms and/or safe abortions.

During the Senate hearings Tobias also referred to another aspect of the Bush administration's AIDS program. He claimed that the relatively lower HIV rate in Uganda was due to campaigns focusing on abstinence. At the behest of the religious right the US is now insisting that AIDS campaigns must be based on promoting sexual abstinence and refusing to support any charities that distribute condoms or make abortion available.
And just recently, he has denied any US funds to be used for HIV/AIDS education.

The U.S. Global AIDS prostitution loyalty oath restricts programs from using best practices to prevent HIV/AIDS among sex workers and trafficked individuals. In fact, evidence exists that these restrictions are already undermining promising interventions. DKT International and the Open Society Institute are challenging the U.S. policy as an unconstitutional infringement of speech, which also undermines U.S. international efforts to stem the scourge of HIV/AIDS.
HIV/AIDS is a pandemic in most of Africa. It effects so many people throughout the world and Bush thinks he can just ignore it and it will go away. Hah!

Go visit Light To Unite today and find something red and pin it to yourself. Remember that HIV/AIDS could even effect you if you are in the habit of practicing any unprotected sex. There are now antiretroviral drugs to prevent transmission of the disease in utero and you would have to drink upwards of 7 gallons of saliva to get it from kissing.

RENT is out in theatres now, too, and if you live in NYC, you can see it on Broadway.

And more importantly, donate whenever and however you can whether it be your money or your time.

Update: A Story of Failure for World AIDS Day.
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A lesson on Privilege.

For Blog Against Racism Day, I was gonna write something on interracial relationships and how they help society begin to cross the racial barrier but I'm not happy with it so I'm cheating and bumped this older post up.

I have been thinking about typing up a post on white privilege when I clicked over to Pinko Feminist Hellcat and read a excerpt from sydney's post.

Here's a little taste:

Seriously, everything in America- hell in the world- is the way white people say it should be. No one else gets a say as to how their culture/race is perceived in this world. And this angers me. It creates in me a seething rage that sometimes comes close to pure, unadulterated hate. And when it gets there, I've got to lock it down and try to channel it into something productive, like activism work or education. Everyday, I encounter some shit that makes me think in my head, "oh these white folks just have no fucking clue do they!?" Sometimes, I brush it off because it's simply not worth it. The majority of the time I try to educate the fool in question, forcing an expression of calm on my face as I keep my hostility in check. And then there are those rare moments when I just go off because something has been said or done that simply cannot be solved by a lesson.
And I agree with her: sometimes things cannot be solved with a simple "lesson." There are always going to be people so ignorant they won't get it no matter what you do or say to them. Then there will be people who say they get it, but then continue on their merry path through an ignorant life. But then there are certain people who do get it and try hard to "get it" while they remind others around them.

My ex-husband is good at thinking everyone is out to "get the brown man." Many times, though, he wasn't making it up. He's 1Filipinopino but loSpanishnish so people would stare at us crazy-like because we were obviously a bi-racial couple. But he also thinks white people suck and has only 1 white friend that I know of. Funny that he would have a kid with me, then, whose skin turns sickly pale in the winter.

I attend a conference almost every year that has appx 250 people attending, yet not even 1% are black. This year I think there were 5 black men/women who joined us.

My point? 2 years ago we had the pleasure of hearing the Rev. Michael Battle speak with regards to racial inequities in the Episcopal Church. He has since published a new book titled, The Church Enslaved: A Spirituality for Racial Reconciliation. He made the almost 245 white people in his audience realize that in order to call ourselves white, we needed black people to parallel our identity against; without the dark skin of black persons, we wouldn't know we were white. He said a lot more, bringing Flannery O'Connor into it, asking very hard questions, etc. At one point, he went into the audience and asked various individuals how they would define themselves. It was hard for many, who are mostly over the age of 50, to do it. When he asked one woman, "Do you need me to know that you are white?" Her response was, "[brief pause] Well yes, I guess I do."

It goes further with those who say they are "color blind." Bull. Shit.

I see color. I see it in the trees, cars, roads, buildings, sky....and I definitely see it in people. But what those "color blind" folks fail to realize is, while they might not let the tone of a person's skin be the only determining factor of whether or not they will like them, even befriending them, they will still go to another white/black person and say, "Hey, I just met this black/white kid and he was nuts!" With that statement they just contradicted their "color blind" belief system.

We define each other by what "type" we can put each other in. By "typing," it's not necessarily stereotyping, but putting someone in a neat box that we can check off and move on to the next category. It's a way for us to create an identity about people. When we can define them, we can then begin to know them.

I had a conversation once with a guy I was dating. While he was nice, he was totally clueless yet also accepted everyone. He really didn't care what their skin tone was, but he did notice it.

We were sitting irestaurantaunt waiting for our dinner when somehow we got onto the subject of girls dancing in bars with him, rubbin' all up on his jock, and when the song changed or they tired of dancing, they just walked away. This is something like what he told me, "How can they dance like that, then walk away the next? I was expecting something for all that dancing."

What came out of his mouth next didn't really surprise me, but I was disappointed because I thought he had more intelligence than that. He said it was natural after a man gets an erection to expect sex, meaning that he got hard so wtf, why didn't the woman put out.

I corrected him, telling him that while an erection/arousal was natural, getting sex was not. It didn't take long for him to understand but then there was a pause in conversation.

"I'm not the least bit sexist," he said.

"Yes you are," I replied.

"No. I'm not. I think women should be equal. I treat women as I would want to be treated."

"T. You're going to be forever sexist just as I'm going to be forever racist. You can't know what it's like to live my life - as a woman - and I can't know what it's like to live the life of a blHispanicaAsiansian woman. We're both white and we're both highly privileged."

He was what sydney referred to as teachable. Others, notsomuch. My ex-husband would be one of the latter category. Shit, he thinks I'm teaching Peanut to "hate men" and that I don't like men so I must be a lesbian. And I can't possibly like men's bball because I'm a feminist allll's (southern speak) we do is support women's stuff.

Many of us white people have a false privilege, one that is based on a skin color, not our individual personalities. We're more likely to get a loan to buy a house or car, we're more likely to be taken seriously when making large purchases anywhere, we're least likely to be followed in stores, white men can walk or drive around at any time of day or in any kind of car without worrying about what to do if a cop spots them, and most importantly, a white man is more likely to find a job first and be paid more for that job.

Kimberlee Crenshaw wrote on how black woman couldn't sue companies for sexual harassment or discrimination before (and after until a precedent was set) because black men and white women had rights, so why were black women complaining? See, black women could not sue on the basis of racial discrimination if black men worked at the corporation/company and they couldn't sue on the basis of sex discrimination if white women worked there, too. So the task for black women was to get the court to recognize that they were both black and women simultaneously. An arduous task considering even today people don't realize you can't be black or a man/woman, but you are both: their pieces of personality are forever intersecting and/or interlocking.

Sydney, as well as many other minorities, simply ask that we, as white people, remember this place of false privilege when we wake up every morning. Because we remind ourselves every morning, we will better be able to recognize when situations really aren't equal.

So go read sydney's post and then go to the main page, scroll down to Fucking White People Part II, and read her response to the several comments from the original post. It's good for us white folks to be reminded of our place inhierarchyarchy of privilege now and again.
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