Saturday, September 25, 2004

Rapturous News

From the mouth of Jerry Falwell:

Falwell: GOP controlled by evangelical Christians now
WASHINGTON - The Rev. Jerry Falwell boasted Friday that evangelical Christians, after nearly 25 years of increasing political activism, control the Republican Party and the fate of President Bush in the November election.
"The Republican Party does not have the head count to elect a president without the support of religious conservatives," Falwell said at an election training conference of the Christian Coalition.

We knew this, of course. This is the group that is behind the current administration policies with respect to anything that has to do with women's health and their fertility choices. They also have their own reasons for wanting to have continuous warfare in the Middle East. But they're not calling the shots. That's the boys with the wallets.


A Quiz for a Lazy Saturday

See how many of these you can answer correctly. The answers are in the first comments below the post.

How Many Of These Do You Know?

1) How long did the Hundred Years War last?

2) Which country makes Panama hats?

3) From which animal do we get catgut?

4) In which month would the Russians celebrate the October Revolution?

5) What is a camel's hair brush made of?

6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?

7) What was King George V's first name?

8) What color is a purple finch?

9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?

10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?

Rumsfeld's Misuse of Statistics

Rumsfeld on Friday:

We had something like 200 or 300 or 400 people killed in many of the major cities of America last year. Is it perfectly peaceful? No. What's the difference? We just didn't see each homicide in every major city in the United States on television every night. It happens here in this city, in every major city in the world. Across Europe, across the Middle East, people are being killed. People do bad things to each other.

What's the difference? Let's see:

In 2000, the United States had a homicide rate of 6.1 per 100,000 people. (I chose 2000, to be nice to Rumsfeld, 2001 is higher). If this same homicide rate is applied to Iraq, then given a population of roughly 25 million, we'd expect Iraqis to have approximately 1,525 violent deaths in a one-year period. Though data on Iraqi civilian deaths is hard to obtain, one study that covered only Baghdad and three provinces out of twenty-one counted the number of violent deaths as at least 5,558 from May 2003 to May 2004. In other words, the risk of violent death for Iraqi civilians is almost four time as high as the risk of violent death in the United States, even when we use an estimate of Iraqi deaths that is obviously an enormous understatement. Some sources estimate the Iraqi civilian deaths during the same time period as 10,000, which would make Iraq more than six times as dangerous as the U.S..

These calculations are not meant to be taken as precise for obvious reasons (and for the fact that I can't verify that the U.S. homicide figure actually covers all violent deaths in the country), but they point out that Rumsfeld should eat his hat for saying such stupid things. If he has a hat.
Thanks for the original link to Atrios.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Women's Rights in Iran

The are not faring well, of course:

Iran's new parliament, elected last February, is working to place more restrictions on women rather than expand reforms carried out under President Mohammad Khatami. According to the New York Times, the 290-member Parliament, that includes only twelve women, rejected calls made by previous reformers in the Parliament to expand inheritance rights for women and for Iran to adopt the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). In addition, the Parliament rejected earlier efforts to include gender equality as goal for the next four years, reports the New York Times.

The new parliament is instead imposing more restrictions on women including segregating men and women at universities. However, a leading political scientist in Iran asserted that "the general trend in this country is moving towards reforms. These restrictions are like putting a little stone in front of a huge storm that is going for reform."

Not unexpected. I find the concept of sex-segregation fascinating. So many conservative ideologies push it, and the usual argument the conservatives make for it is to guarantee the absence of sexual mayhem in the society. Given that integrated societies can function fairly well without any such evident mayhem, something else is also hiding in the subconscious layer of the minds of segregation supporters. Divide et impera, perhaps? Guarantee that men and women don't learn to know each other as human beings? Make it easier to control women in an isolated group?

Who knows. But considering the fact that none of the pro-segregationists actually want real segregation, i.e., economies where women have their own institutions and power over them, I suspect that the control of women as an isolated group is an important basic reason for the yearnings towards a society where women are invisible in public.

On Squirrel Wheels

I have a wheelbarrow upended against the back garden fence. Its wooden handles point straight up. The wheelbarrow is there because I'm lazy, but today I found other rewards for that negligence: A squirrel was busily gnawing away at the wheelbarrow handles. When it managed to dislodge a piece, it ran up the fence, jumped into a tall tree on the other side and disappeared high up into its canopy. After a few minutes it came back and repeated this odd exercize.

What was the squirrel doing? Rebuilding the nest with really high-quality wood? Trying to make sure that I get splinters next time I invade its realm? Or was it addicted to the varnish on the handles?

I love this world. I love the squirrels doing inexplicable things, the trees that give the squirrels a harbor and the stones on the ground next to the wheelbarrow. I love the mountains and the oceans and the ponds and the frogs in the ponds and even the little insects that jump up and down on the surface of the water. I even love human beings and many of the inexplicable things they do.

That is why I keep writing, in my pretty ineffective way, on those of the things that humans do which are neither inexplicable nor good. Because some of them will hurt the squirrel and the tree and the stones and so on, all the way down the line to then return a full circle to human beings.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Silence in Schools?

Let's hope that this is as unrealistic and impossible as it sounds to any sane person:

The U.S. House of Representatives is now considering legislation that would establish an advisory board to study and regulate what is taught at American universities. This intrusion into higher education is not only unjust; it is antithetical to all values attributed to honest debate and intellectual freedom.

House Resolution 3077, titled the International Studies in Education Act, is sponsored by Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., and is up for a vote later this month. Should the legislation pass, an advisory board will help monitor whether bias is found in certain teaching methods. The sponsors and supporters claim to support academic freedom, arguing that this advisory board will help ensure all sides are heard in the classroom and that bias will be eliminated.

While bias in the classroom can be detrimental to education, an advisory board could lead to more problems than it solves. Professor Mark Tessler, who teaches several political science courses at the university, makes a valid point when he worries that the bill's provisions will be exploited by "people with political agendas." This fear is well justified, as the board will be appointed by political figures: members of Congress, the secretary of education and national security officials.

Furthermore, while eliminating professor-induced bias, the bill might codify governmental bias. Because the board will have the power to defund international studies programs, teachers and faculty will be pressured into teaching the government-approved lessons.

This proposed bill is aimed at international studies, but if it passes and doesn't arouse a lot of opposition, more similar bills would be likely. I suspect that Women's Studies would be the first thing to go then, or at least the second after Gay and Lesbian Studies because they are not what the wingnuts want to see taught. Neither would they want courses on the consequences of colonialism or courses that critically look at the impact of religions. I'm also wondering how the Holocaust would be taught. Would there have to be an equal number of readings that say it never happened? Read the whole article. It's very scary, but I hope that this is one of those proposed laws that will never be heard about again. If not, you better start memorizing your favorite books.
Thanks to wyzardess for the link.

Here is another take on the proposed bill:

American scholars are alarmed by a controversial education bill that would increase government monitoring of federally funded programs in international studies at colleges and universities. Backers of the bill say it will help restore balance to Middle East studies programs, which they say are overly critical of Israel and of U.S. policy in the Middle East. Opponents say the bill could lead to intrusive investigations of faculty and will undermine the credibility of American scholarship.
Known as HR 3077, the International Studies in Education Act, the legislation reauthorizes funding for international studies. Its most controversial provision calls for the establishment of an advisory board comprised of seven government appointees: one each chosen by the majority and minority leaders of both houses of Congress and three selected by the Secretary of Education, two of whom represent agencies responsible for national security. The proposed board would have the authority "to study, monitor, apprise and evaluate a sample of activities" to ensure that programs represent "diverse perspectives."
Although the legislation was born out of the polarized debate about Middle East studies, it will apply to a variety of other academic programs related to international studies, including the study and research of modern languages, area studies and anthropology.
(Bolds mine)

Whatever the initial impetus for this proposed bill, it would provide a terrible precedent, I believe. Government control over the materials that are being taught in higher education is not the way to go if we wish to live in a country where creativity and freedom of expression are valued.

Bush in the U.N. and the Rose Garden

This is late on the U.N. speech, of course, but I'm a full-time goddess, not a full-time blogger. And the snakes have been needy recently.

In any case, Bush gave a speech at the United Nations, an institution that he would like to see razed down as impotent, unnecessary and anti-American. It was an interesting performance, an attempt at a statesmanly delivery of snarky barbs.

This is what the European newspapers thought about it:

The editorial cartoon in the Times of London newspaper today was derisive: the first panel has President Bush telling the United Nations General Assembly, "Friends, our policy in Iraq is directed solely towards a successful election."
The second panel has him saying which election: "Mine."
European newspapers, including some that supported the American military campaign in Iraq, were largely critical of Mr. Bush's address on Tuesday to the United Nations.
The Financial Times contended in its lead editorial that the Bush administration "systematically refused to engage with what actually has happened in Iraq" namely, in its view, that American policy "mistakes" have "handed the initiative to jihadi terrorists" who "now have a new base from which to challenge the West and moderate Islam."

Other papers echoed these feelings:

The left-leaning Independent newspaper carried an editorial cartoon of Osama bin Laden putting up a Bush campaign poster saying "4 More Years" on a shell-pocked bit of masonry in Iraq. The cartoon seemed to be inspired by a diplomatic spat over remarks attributed to the British ambassador to Rome, Sir Ivor Roberts. After a private discussion on policy that was deemed to be off the record, Sir Ivor was quoted by an Italian newspaper as saying that Mr. Bush had become "the best recruiting sergeant" for Al Qaeda.

My favorite of all is the quote from the French Liberation which states that Bush "showed that slightly autistic self-satisfaction remains the dominant tendency of American power."

Bush would never be elected if the whole world could vote. Which makes me wonder why so many Americans (wingnuts, anyway) are either unaware of this fact or assume that it proves Bush's strong leadership skills or something. Don't they wonder what makes those funny foreigners think differently? Probably not.

At a more recent press conference in the Rose Garden Bush and his long-lost twin, Allawi, had astonishingly similar views on the events in Iraq. As one journalist commented on the radio, the press conference couldn't have been more successful if it had been staged by the Republican presidential campaign...

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

A Presidential Candidate Quiz

This quiz is not too bad. It serves to clarify where you stand compared to the candidates in several fields. I'm slightly left of Kerry. Which makes me a right-winger in Europe, of course.

The Woman Question

Let me begin this discussion about who American women are going to vote for by stating that almost nothing angers me as much as the treatment of women voters as some weird, alien breed, possibly mammal; a breed that must be analyzed apart from the breed voters, a breed that can mostly be ignored except for a few obvious leftovers that are thrown to the hungry hordes of these exotic creatures at the end of campaign speeches: W stands for women!!! Kerry stands for choice!!! Look at these cute babies!!!

Now why would this common journalistic practice anger me? Could it have anything to do with the fact that women are the majority of the voters in this country, yet so invisible, so marginal that what they want from the government is only discussed when there is nothing else of interest to discuss or when the polls appear to suggest that this inexplicably mysterious group has suddenly and unexpectedly veered away from the path that has been marked for them?

Then the analysts get cracking with their statistical software programs and blunt pencils, coining new and unenlightening terms such as 'the soccer mums' or now 'the security moms', or start trying to find similar descriptions of single women. As if we don't live in a fairly integrated society with lots of women everywhere you look, pretty much.

Gah. Enough ranting. The New York Times (which is herself viewed as a woman, by the way) has an article about the possibility that women, or rather, married women, are no longer supporting Kerry as they are supposed to but appear to intend to vote for Bush, the man who has the W that doesn't stand for women unless 'women' is sort of like spare ribs. This is what NYT says:

In the last few weeks, Kerry campaign officials have been nervously eyeing polls that show an erosion of the senator's support among women, one of the Democratic Party's most reliable constituencies. In a New York Times/CBS News poll conducted last week, women who are registered to vote were more likely to say they would vote for Mr. Bush than for Mr. Kerry, with 48 percent favoring Mr. Bush and 43 percent favoring Mr. Kerry.
In 2000, 54 percent of women voted for Al Gore, the Democratic nominee, while 43 percent voted for Mr. Bush.
Democratic and Republican pollsters say the reason for the change this year is that an issue Mr. Bush had initially pitched as part of an overall message - which candidate would be best able to protect the United States from terrorists - has become particularly compelling for women. Several said that a confluence of two events - a Republican convention that was loaded with provocative scenes of the Sept. 11 tragedy, and a terrorist attack on children in Russia - had helped recast the electoral dynamic among this critical group in a way that created a new challenge for the Kerry camp.

So now we are told that men don't really worry about their children being killed by terrorists, but women do? Pardon me if I disbelieve that. Or that women react emotionally to the 9/11 events but men don't? Pardon me if I disbelieve that, too. I also don't believe that feeling emotions makes one unable to think cogently.

May I also add that Kerry has offered nothing specifically for women voters in his speeches. You need to go to his website to find what his campaign stands for in this respect, and I doubt that many women do that. In short, Kerry has taken women for granted. This is nothing new in American politics, of course.

How about reversing the sex roles in this study? Why do men go for Bush in larger numbers than for Kerry? Is it because they are gung-ho about violence and don't care if some children get killed? Or could it be, just possibly, that men and women have rather similar reasons for choosing whom to vote for? Including, of course, ignorance of the actual issues in the elections. This is what the Kerry campaign should focus on, not some miraculous new term to cover all those mysterious female choices.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Bad Lusty Poetry

This is a piece of eternal art still in the making. It just popped out of my head as it is, just like Athena supposedly popped out of Zeus' head. That teaches us all a lesson, so if you can think of any improvements please let me know!

I saw his back
and my world went bust
and flaming hot
and pure and cold
with unrepentant lust:
those lips, those hips, those fingertips...

(Please help me Goddess
to keep my cool.
Don't let him think
that I'm a fool.)

He turned around
and my lust went dead
"I vote for Bush"
his t-shirt said
"with abstinence in bed".

(Oh, thank you Goddess
for saving me
from something worse
than virginity!)

The Conscience Clause Revisited

Since July 2004, health care workers in the state of Mississippi can refuse to perform almost all types of health care services if they have moral or religious grounds for this refusal. Something similar has cleared the U.S. House of Representatives last week:

[It] would prohibit local, state or federal authorities from requiring any institution or health care professional to provide abortions, pay for them, or make abortion-related referrals, even in cases of rape or medical emergency.
(Bolds mine)

It's not clear what the Senate will do about this sneaked-in provision, but we should be on the alert.

The well-being of the patients is clearly at risk here. Notice that the provision would allow the health care professionals not to refer a patient in dire need to another provider, for example. This is blatant withholding of information.

I'm so furious that my attempts to write a detailed critique of this crap are futile. Read the article.

El Grover Norquist

I had a lot of fun trying to translate this article from the Spanish newspaper El Mundo in which our Grover spells out his evil plans for the future. Spanish is not one of my languages, so I used a machine translator. The results are a lot of fun:

Question.- Who is going to gain the 2 of November?

Answer.- It gives equal. We will control the House of Representatives, and probably the Senate. If Kerry wins, it is not going to be able to do nothing that we do not love. We are not going to give money to him so that it spends. It will not be able to raise taxes. It will not be able to rob our firearms to us. Although we lose the White House, it is not going to be the aim of the world.

P.- and if Bush wins?

R.- the Democratic Party will be finished for always. If we have the control of the Legislative one and the Executive, we will reinforce our control of the Judicial Power to direct it against the democrats.We will carry out a modest limitation of the capacity of people to initiate legal processes against the companies, what will damage to the trial lawyers in those cases, that they are one of the props of the Democratic Party. We will accelerate the decline of the unions. We will trim the financing to groups of public employees, like the teachers, that they are one of the great sources of votes of the democrats. And we will begin to move the State of Well-being towards a deprived system, in pensions and health.

Here's the actual text in Spanish:

Pregunta.- ¿Quién va a ganar el 2 de noviembre?

Respuesta.- Da igual. Nosotros controlaremos la Cámara de Representantes, y probablemente el Senado. Si gana Kerry, no va a poder hacer nada que no queramos nosotros. No le vamos a dar dinero para que gaste. No podrá subir impuestos. No podrá robarnos nuestras armas de fuego. Aunque perdamos la Casa Blanca, no va a ser el fin del mundo.

P.- ¿Y si gana Bush?

R.- El Partido Demócrata estará acabado para siempre. Si tenemos el control del Legislativo y del Ejecutivo, reforzaremos nuestro control del Poder Judicial para dirigirlo contra los demócratas.Llevaremos a cabo una modesta limitación de la capacidad de la gente para iniciar procesos legales contra las empresas, lo que dañará a los abogados especialistas en esos casos, que son uno de los puntales del Partido Demócrata. Aceleraremos el declive de los sindicatos. Recortaremos la financiación a grupos de empleados públicos, como los profesores, que son una de las grandes fuentes de votos de los demócratas. Y empezaremos a mover el Estado de Bienestar hacia un sistema privado, en pensiones y sanidad.

It's really funny, isn't it? But the last sentence refers to privatization, not deprivation, of course.

Still, try to see through the funniness to what Grover is actually saying. He's declaring the end of the Democratic Party, for one thing, by hook or crook. So now you know.
Link via Atrios.

Monday, September 20, 2004

The 60 Minutes Memos

As I write this I hear Daniel Schorr on NPR pontificate about how Dan Rather and CBS have been had in one of the most famous media spoofs of all times. This makes me wonder why it would be so famous. Consider what Digby has to say about it:

Did anyone ever call Jeff Gerth on the carpet for falling for the Scaife financed "Arkansas project" propaganda on the NY Times Whitewater stories? How about the chinese espionage "scandal" which was also a right wing hack job that proved to be absolutely bogus (aided and abetted by our good friend Rep. Chris Cox and his wholly discredited Cox Report.) Did anybody pay a price for pimping the Vince Foster story for the Mighty Wirlizter? Troopergate? The White House vandalism and stolen gifts stories? The list is endless. Years and years and years of hoaxes and smears and lies that led to tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money wasted on investigations that went nowhere and NOBODY SAYS A FUCKING WORD about the press's incestuous involvement with those who perpetrated these expensive frauds on the American public. (I won't even mention the elephant sitting in the middle of the room with the words "Saddam and 9/11" tattooed on his forehead.)

Indeed. Some spoofs are famous, some are just the truths that the so-called liberal media will publish with pleasure.

But in fact we don't even now know if the memos are forgeries. This is what New York Times says:

Mr. Howard also said in the interview that the White House did not dispute the veracity of the documents when it was presented to them on the morning of the report. That reaction, he said, was "the icing on the cake" of the other reporting the network was conducting on the documents. White House officials have said they saw no reason to challenge documents being presented by a credible news organization.

"White House officials said they saw no reason to challenge documents being presented by a credible news organization." So good it's worth repeating. But of course they should have seen a reason of criticism if the information in the memos was fraudulent. That they didn't see one seems to suggest quite strongly that the memos reflect the truth. In other words, Bush did exceedingly poorly in his Guardy duty.

It's possible that the memos are forgeries or that they are authentic. It's also possible that Mr. Burkett decided on getting them published on his own. Many things are possible.

But I still think that the theory about Karl Rove being behind the memos is most likely. It follows his M.O., and shows just the kind of sneakiness Rove is famous for. Two flies at one stroke: cast doubt on the contents of the memos by releasing some forged ones and smear more liberal-media-bias goop over the camera lenses of the media. Of course I have no evidence for this (except for the astonishingly rapid response from the wingnuts that Digby documented), but there I'm on even ground with all the other talking heads. (I like that image! My talking head standing next to the keyboard, the jaw going clickety-clickety.)

The He-Men of Hyper-Masculinity

According to one of my favorite wingnuts, George Will, the American politics is back to the stuff he really likes to talk about: testosterone:

After two testosterone-charged conventions, try to remember that three years ago there was much talk about the "feminization" of politics. The change since 9/11 explains the bind John Kerry is in and why he, more than George W. Bush, is hostage to events.
The idea, current then, that "the end of history" had arrived was partly a response to sense that mankind's elemental economic problem - mastering growth - had been solved. Henceforth the tone of politics, even for conservatives of the "compassionate" stripe, would mimic the "caring professions." Everyone would be kinder and gentler, leaving no child behind.
History had supposedly lost its motor of violent, ideologically driven conflict. That theory turned on the fact of a broad consensus that modern societies must allocate wealth and opportunity through economic markets, and must apportion political power through the markets of multiparty elections.
However, the past three years have been dominated by another fact: A violent, metastasizing minority rejects, root and branch, the idea that modernity is desirable. Islamic radicals taking up the cause of Chechen separatism are the latest dissenters to be heard from.

Will is so scared of the feminization of politics that this is at least his second column on the same topic within six months. That anybody can seriously speak about the threat of feminization of a political system that has less women in its legislative bodies than Rwanda is mindboggling. But of course wingnuts are defined by things that are mindboggling.

George Will has a lot of admiration for the testosterone-laden guys. He'd really want to be one of them, and maybe he is in his dreams. I suspect that he also has a lot of fear of women and all that femininity stands for in his nightmares. He's not alone in that, according to Stephen J. Ducat, a psychologist, who has just come out with a book entitled The Wimp Factor: Gender Gaps, Holy Wars and the Politics of Anxious Masculinity.
Ducat has been studying the concept of anxious masculinity since the late 1980s and his book covers much more ground than the current election campaigns:

The Wimp Factor" suggests that American hyper-masculinity -- as seen in, but not limited to, the Bush administration, Christian fundamentalism and right-wing U.S. policy -- has created a contentious political landscape in which more and more men are becoming conservative. In campaign battles, politicians, meanwhile, "feminize" their opponents to establish macho credibility and call into question their opponents' manhood. (In his speech at the Republican convention, Vice President Dick Cheney told delegates that Kerry "talks about leading a 'more sensitive war on terror,' as though al Qaeda will be impressed with our softer side.")

Some other commenters have described this as a 'pecker-length competition', and though Bush and his lot are the most obvious wannabes in this competition, Kerry has also been seen participating. The problem with pecker races is, of course, that you need a pecker to join. If this is how politics will now be framed women will not be able to share in the making of common decisions. What's more worrying is that this inability would not then be regarded as in any sense unfair or unjust. Got testosterone, baby?

I'm not sure if Ducat is completely correct in his arguments, but maybe he's onto something. If so, where does this new hyper-masculinity come from? Ducat doesn't really answer this question, but I spot the basic idea in this quote from the interview with him:

In their most fundamental iterations, [hyper-masculinists] eschew all forms of intellectual, political and personal complexity, and show a fear of all things perceived as feminine -- including women and gay men -- that might seem comical were it not so dangerous.
The abuses at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison are one result. Online photos released in the spring showed prison guards -- mostly U.S. soldiers and private contractors -- forcing Iraqi inmates to endure humiliations that included publicly masturbating, wearing lingerie and dogpiling on one another.
"It's a scandal about the attempt to feminize the enemy, literally and figuratively," Ducat said. Noting that some guards were alleged to have sexually violated male teen inmates, he added, "The anal rape metaphor of military conquest that has been a subtext animating American foreign policy since the Persian Gulf War has extended into this one -- and the Abu Ghraib scandal is the extension of that." The guards' actions, he said, "speaks to their sense of phallic unaccountability."

Smells like misogyny to me. If the strategy is to feminize the enemy, and if this strategy is regarded as successful, then the underlying impetus must be a great contempt towards women. Or a great disgust of women using the terms of Martha Nussbaum's theory. This would explain why the hyper-masculinists would fear all things female: they contaminate. They are not actually afraid of women in the sense of frightening enemies (that would be sort of a good thing, perhaps) but in the sense of something vile, something gross, to be washed off as soon as possible, to be stomped into smithereens. Definitely not something to be compared to in an election campaign.

But this answer is only a partial one, of course. It needs supplementing with several others such as the traditional view of men as protectors, as soldiers, as warriors, as leaders; and also with the events of the last decades which have led to greater equality between men and women in many countries. Such equality could be extremely threatening to hyper-masculinists, including the women who have adopted this mode of thinking. Still, it's all depressing stuff for those who would like to see a more rational and just world.
An afterthough:
I have noticed something in the blogosphere that does seem to reflect Ducat's arguments. Even on the lefty political blogs a heated argument in the comments sections often results in threats of anal penetration or requests to perform a blowjob to the other debater. In other words, anger at having ones position challenged turns into an attack towards the other debater as effeminate, as a sexual submissive, as female. Not all commenters do this and not even a majority, but it's frequent enough to have attracted my attention.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Some News About Me

Me! My favorite word if you haven't noticed yet...

Anyway, I'm going to be a relief blogger for the American Street on Saturdays. That will give me a place to put the more economic posts that might bore you to death.

This won't reduce my Saturday postings here, as goddesses can easily be in more than one place at the same time. Or in one place at different times simultaneously. But it will let me take a somewhat different angle for political posts.

Still, I'm probably going to start taking Sundays off from posting here to keep myself a little fresher. Unless I feel too strong an urge to post to abstain. Words do seem to flow out of my divine mouth, but maybe all of them shouldn't be presented to the world? I'm seriously trying to evolve towards a higher level of divinity.

I have been visiting the land where things are two-dimensional and in various tones of gray recently. Not a trip I'd recommend for your vacations. It's called Despair, and there are always very cheap flights available, though watch out; they are all one-way.
The brochures are so appealing and logical, telling in no uncertain terms how we are all in the same little handbasket, how the future will be like the present, only worse, how Reality Television is replacing all other culture except fundie churches and how you are the last person alive still thinking in the stupid old-fashioned terms of democracy, human rights and all that crap.

Luckily I was able to return from my trip pretty easily, but the visit reminded me how important it is to take time from politics and the news and all the rest of the bad news that masquerade as reality and to really visit reality. To go out and breathe in the air, to walk in the woods and feel the pine needles in your hand, to bake some bread just for the smell, to kiss someone without having your brain wondering about Pat Buchanan, to listen to your dogs' gentle snores in the night. See how I ruined the high-minded thread there by bringing in Pat Buchanan and snores?