Saturday, May 07, 2005

Happy Mothers' Day!

Time to celebrate all the mothers, right? Well, the Office of the Surgeon General has slightly different ideas about what is suitable for this weekend. Richard D. Carmona believes that this is a very good opportunity to remind mothers of their Holy Duties!

You know, to tell mothers how it is their responsibility and obligation to make sure that the fetus and then the baby is going to be healthy. What else could the Mothers' Day possibly be for than a little extra space and time for adding to what some call the mothering guilt? Dr. Carmona gives the mothers of America this:

1. Eat Healthy. It's good for you and your baby. Follow the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Also, every woman of childbearing age should consume at least 400 micrograms of folic acid each day. Folic acid can prevent neural tube defects (including spina bifida) and congenital malformations, which are the leading cause of infant mortality. 2. Don't drink alcohol when you are pregnant or might become pregnant. There is no known safe level of alcohol consumption for pregnant women. Alcohol can affect an unborn baby even before a woman knows that she is pregnant, and the problems caused by prenatal alcohol exposure are lifelong. Alcohol-related birth defects are completely preventable, and eliminating alcohol will prevent all alcohol-related birth defects, including growth deficiencies, facial abnormalities, central nervous system impairment, behavioral disorders, and intellectual development. 3. Get prenatal care early. As soon as you think you may be pregnant, see a health care professional for prenatal care. And continue going for prenatal care during your pregnancy. Immediate and consistent prenatal care can prevent preterm delivery, and improve pregnancy and childbirth. 4. Don't smoke. And don't allow anyone else to smoke around your baby. Smoking during pregnancy can lead to a low birthweight baby and can reduce your baby's lung function. Even second-hand smoke can have a harmful effect on your baby's breathing and can have long-term respiratory consequences like impaired lung growth, chronic coughing, and wheezing. In addition, disorders related to preterm birth and low birthweight are the second-leading cause of infant death. Diseases of the respiratory system (aggravated by second-hand smoke) are one of the leading causes of infant hospitalization and infant doctor visits. For help to quit smoking, please visit 5. Breastfeed your baby. Breastfeeding for at least the first six months of life has significant health benefits, and maintain a healthy diet after that. Babies who are exclusively breastfed for six months are less likely to develop ear infections, diarrhea, and respiratory illnesses. Mother's milk has just the right amount of fat, sugar, water, and protein that is needed for a baby's growth and development. Breast milk has agents called antibodies to help protect infants from bacteria and viruses and to help them fight off infection and disease. 6. Place your baby "back to sleep." A baby should sleep on a firm mattress, on his or her back, with no fluffy pillows or stuffed animals. Following these simple steps can lower the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the third-leading cause of infant death in the United States. 7. Always use a car safety seat. Be sure your baby rides in an age- and weight-appropriate child safety seat, correctly installed, on every trip. If you have any questions about how to install your child safety seat, many local fire and police departments will help you. And children should always ride in the back seat. 8. Never leave your baby unattended. To prevent unintentional injuries, the sixth-leading cause of infant death, never leave a baby unattended on a bed or changing table, always use the harness on a stroller or high chair, and use baby gates and window guards. Never leave a baby unattended in a bath or near a pool. 9. Safety-proof your house. To prevent accidental poisoning, move all medications and cleaning products to high shelves. To prevent burns, set the temperature of your hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and never leave cups of hot liquid on tables or counter edges and never carry hot liquids or food while holding your child. To prevent choking, be sure that any toys your child plays with do not have parts that are small enough to choke on. You can test any toy part by simply dropping it through a paper-towel roll. If it goes through, the piece is too small and could become a choking hazard. Never allow infants to play with balloons or plastic bags. To prevent drowning, install a toilet lid lock on every toilet in the home. Drowning can happen in less than a couple of inches of water. 10. Never, ever shake your baby. Shaking a baby, even a little, may lead to severe brain damage and death. 11. Fully immunize your baby. Be sure your baby gets all immunizations on time. Immunizations have prevented death and disease for millions of children throughout the United States and the rest of the world. Talk with your child's pediatrician about keeping up to date on all vaccinations. 12. Learn infant first aid and CPR. Be prepared. Know how to call for help and learn infant first aid and CPR. We hope you will never have to use this skill. But if you do, the life you save could be your child's.

So now you know one possible speech topic for Sunday. You could even make up a game about these rules, just to find out if there are any unfortunate mothers who didn't know at least one of them or who may have even (horror of horrors!) violated one of them! It should make the party a lot more interesting.

Now, why couldn't Dr. Carmona publicize this list some other time of they year? Why couldn't he talk about the health issues of mothers and how to help mothers in general? And what on earth will he talk about on Fathers' Day...

And do you know how he ends this diatribe? He says:

"Being a mom is the toughest job in the world, and I'm proud to be able to give you these tips as a gift on this Mother's Day."

Is this man for real?

Via Ann Chuckling.


I have written a long post in praise of secularism on the American Street. Go there and tell how to think about the topic better. Of course, only if you are interested in saving the world.

Maybe I shouldn't write that a post is long? It could be a damper. What if we pretend that I said it was a very short post with lots of sexy pictures, too? Or that at least it is mostly waffle? Choices, choices.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Friday Embroidery Blogging

Yin-Yang Fishes

This is a pillow/cushion cover. It's a joke on the yin and yang stuff. I'm always annoyed by dualisms, even when they are sophisticated ones.

The technique is applique as can be seen. The round surround (not all of which is visible here) is supposed to be a porthole in a submarine, so the fishes are outside the window.

Today's Action Alert

Today's Action is based on an email from the DNC:

Can you imagine what Republicans would say if a liberal went on national television and said that conservative judges are a greater threat than terrorism? Or that Clarence Thomas was a Commie? Or that 9-11 was no big deal? They would be (as my old boss Bill Clinton used to say), "squealing like a pig stuck under a gate."

But when Pat Robertson spouts this nonsense, what do we hear from his fellow Republicans?

Thundering silence.

What's worse, Sen. George Allen of Virginia, Robertson's home state, apparently thinks now is a good time to deliver the commencement address to the ultraconservative graduate school Robertson founded. Allen should know better. He should be repudiating Robertson and his hate speech, just as John McCain did in the 2000 GOP primaries. Then again, we saw what the far right did to McCain when he had the guts to take them on. So Allen is headed to Robertson's graduation cookout. I guess that’s just the sort of payback Robertson expects after saying Allen "would make a tremendous president" on national TV and giving the maximum allowable contribution to Allen’s most recent campaign.

When George Allen lends legitimacy to Robertson's offensive rhetoric and Bill Frist joins the Family Research Council's "Democrats hate God" telecast, it just proves how far Senate Republicans will go to pander to the right wing fringe.

Contact Senator Allen and ask him not to speak at Robertson's graduation.

Thanks for taking today's action!

Friday Dog Blogging

Henrietta, Plotting

Thursday, May 05, 2005


Go to dailyKos and read this diary. Then listen to the audio link in the diary.


Is that a word? If it isn't I declare ownership of it. Driplets are these multiple things that ooze out when I try to write something serious that takes effort and stewing and time. They are trivialities or significant mantras or both.

Here are a few that have been buzzing around my head today:

-What is nucular? Is it the opposite of secular? Like in the "nucular option"?

-Who let out the "air" from Tony Bl***?

-What is "a woman's woman" like? Does she even exist? There is something called "a man's man", like a higher type of a man. Isn't there? Isn't there?

Fair and Balanced Reporting by Echidne

It is time for me to stop being a lefty propagandist and to adopt the mature approach of the mainstream media to events in this world. For instance, the way to address ethics violations is to show that both sides are equally guilty. So here I go:

First, John Kerry paid parking tickets and Red Sox tickets from his campaign funds! The scoundrel! Here are the details:

Sen. John F. Kerry tapped campaign funds for Red Sox tickets and to pay nearly $300 in overdue Boston parking tickets in March, records show.
Kerry's Senate campaign committee wrote a $287 check to the City of Boston Parking Clerk on March 31, 2005. The Bay State senator listed ``travel expense'' as the purpose for the expenditure.
Kerry leased a car for campaign-related travel in Massachusetts that was cited for about a half-dozen parking tickets in Boston.
Most of the tickets were issued in October and November 2003 and not paid until more than 15 months later in March 2005 after accruing penalty fees.
``They were leftover tickets we only found out about when we closed out the lease,'' Kerry spokeswoman Jenny Backus said. ``The car was used for the Senate campaign by staffers and volunteers.''
Kerry, meanwhile, used presidential campaign funds for a $3,150 tab for Boston Red Sox tickets in July when he threw out the first pitch at Fenway Park before the Democratic National Convention.
A Federal Election Commission spokesman said congressmen are entitled to pay for parking tickets and other expenses from their campaign funds as long as they were ``campaign-related.''

Aren't you glad that we didn't elect this unethical man to run our country?

Second, the Republicans do it, too, of course:

American officials rushing to start small building projects in a large swath of Iraq in 2003 and 2004 did not keep required records on the spending of $89.4 million in cash and cannot account at all for another $7.2 million, a federal watchdog reported yesterday.

Most of the poorly documented spending appeared to involve incompetence or haste, but in some cases the auditors said they suspected theft. "We found indications of fraud," said the report by Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. Some cases were referred to a criminal investigations unit of the inspector general's office.
The report also noted that two field agents finished their contracts and left Iraq with apparent cash surpluses of $777,000 and $715,000. The money has not been located.

In one of those cases, the report said, the manager closed the agent's account with a paper transfer of $777,000 to a different office without ascertaining where the money went. "This appears to be an attempt to remove outstanding balances by simply washing accounts," it said.

See? It all balances out.

Masculinity in Jesusland

For one thing, you can't donate sperm if you are a gay man. Who knows where that penis has been:

To the dismay of gay-rights activists, the Food and Drug Administration is about to implement new rules recommending that any man who has engaged in homosexual sex in the previous five years be barred from serving as an anonymous sperm donor.

The FDA has rejected calls to scrap the provision, insisting that gay men collectively pose a higher-than-average risk of carrying the AIDS virus. Critics accuse the FDA of stigmatizing all gay men rather than adopting a screening process that focuses on high-risk sexual behavior by any would-be donor, gay or straight.

"Under these rules, a heterosexual man who had unprotected sex with HIV-positive prostitutes would be OK as a donor one year later, but a gay man in a monogamous, safe-sex relationship is not OK unless he's been celibate for five years," said Leland Traiman, director of a clinic in Alameda, California, that seeks gay sperm donors.

Might this all be a fear of gayness being inheritable? Hmmh?

Our dear Reverend James Dobson (who is going to be the head mullah when we get theocracy set up properly here) doesn't believe in inheritability here, which is a little shocking to me. He thinks that boys need to be made into heterosexual men by showing what an achievement masculinity is! (Femininity, on the other hand, requires only a lot of submission training). This is how you bring up a son:

Meanwhile, the boy's father has to do his part. He needs to mirror and affirm his son's maleness. He can play rough-and-tumble games with his son, in ways that are decidedly different from the games he would play with a little girl. He can help his son learn to throw and catch a ball. He can teach him to pound a square wooden peg into a square hole in a pegboard. He can even take his son with him into the shower, where the boy cannot help but notice that Dad has a penis, just like his, only bigger.

So cute, isn't it? I'm learning so much about Jesusland today. It's making me a teeny bit worried.

Meanwhile, in Jesusland

This is a quick runthrough of the most recent Southern Baptist -type developments in Jesusland. First, Wiccans can't read invocations at the meetings of a Virginia county:

The court said in Marsh that as long as the selection of a particular minister did not stem "from any impermissible motive," it was constitutional. The Marsh opinion also strongly emphasized the long history of prayer in both Congress and the Supreme Court itself.

The 4th Circuit ruled Chesterfield County's Board of Supervisors did not show impermissible motive in refusing to permit a pantheistic invocation by a Wiccan because its list of clergy who registered to conduct invocations covers a wide spectrum of Judeo-Christian denominations. Simpson v. Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors, No. 04-1045 (April 14). Chesterfield County is in the Richmond suburbs.

"The Judeo-Christian tradition is, after all, not a single faith but an umbrella covering many faiths," Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III wrote in the opinion.

Indeed. What else can we possibly need than the god of the Old Testament, the blood-thirsty, jealous and punishing one? Read more about this by Amanda on Pandagon where I got it from.

Second, David Brooks has wet dreams about the evangelicals:

The key to Lincoln's approach is that he was mesmerized by religion, but could never shake his skepticism. Politically, he knew that the country needed the evangelicals' moral rigor to counteract the forces of selfishness and subjectivism, but he could never actually be an evangelical himself.

The wet dreams explanation is my attempt to be polite, for otherwise I should point out that Brooks is lying and stuff.

Third, the wingnut women have their own website (via World O'Crap) in which they can spout all artistic. Here is a lovely little poem for Mother's Day:


Dear happy homemakers, a wonderful breed,

God's purpose for you is to raise a godly seed,

Children that are obedient, holy and pure,

With mother at home, they'll be happy and secure.

Secure in God's love and protected from the world,

Guarded from evil and grounded in God's Word

By a mother who has embraced her calling divine,

The prophetic word God gave from the beginning of time.

You're now planted at home, you've found your "glory"!

Left your job behind - that was another story!

You've now been promoted to a much higher career!

You're in God's perfect will so you don't have to fear.

You're nurturing, nourishing and building your nest,

Under your husband's covering, you're totally blessed.

God has promised to provide, He is Jehovah Jireh,

He will always be faithful, He is not a liar.

You are an "arrow polisher", daily sharpening your arrows,

You're not pecking on the ground like little sparrows,

But soaring like the eagle, your stature is high,

You're changing the course of the nation as on God you rely!'

Dear mighty mothers, stand up and be strong,

Don't be fooled by the enemy and the worldly throng,

Don't be deceived by the "mindset" of this society,

Embrace your motherhood, it is your highest priority!

Don't be conformed to the humanistic trend,

It only leads to heartache in the final end.

Be a non-conformist, stand against the tide,

You don't have to be governed by this world's pride.

Instead be transformed by God's living Word,

He is restoring His truth, will you be stirred?

Will you be part of this end-time restoration,

To bring forth the godly seed and change the nation?

God is preparing a people for Jesus' second appearing,

He wants an army of arrows, trained and unfearing,

Straight arrows to go forth from the parents' bow,

The deceptions of Satan to overthrow.

May you experience God's anointing and His daily renewing

As you become part of this revival which is all God's doing.

You will be part of heralding the coming of the King

As you build God's army – and His praises will ring.

Wow! I have to retire from the business of bad poetry. I have been so beaten!

Weary of War?

According to the recent USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll Americans are growing weary of the Iraq war. I'm growing weary of the growing weary of the Americans. If you get my meaning.

In any case, now fifty-seven percent of those questioned say that the war wasn't worth it. Wasn't worth what? And still forty-one percent think that it was worth it, whatever the "worth it" might be. What is it that these people think we are doing in Iraq? Spreading freedom and democracy to the dark continent? Securing oil for our SUVs? Punishing the Iraqis for what the Saudis did to us on 9/11 2001? Making a flytrap in our neighbor's yard so that the flies (or terrorists) end up there and get killed there (together with lots of the neighbors) instead of bothering us at home?

Yes, I am growing weary of all of this. I'd love to go to sleep for a few centuries and then wake up to read all about this era in the historical records. But then I just might wake up in Gilead and find that reading is illegal for us womenfolk.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


It's no accident that sinuses start with "sin". What do we need them for, anyway? Mine seem to think that it's to produce the most vivid red and green grouting material.

I don't recall ever before having a sinus infection in May, feeling dizzy and showing red welts on the arms, wanting to sleep for twenty-four hour spans and so on. Maybe this is one of those signs that the universe is finally revolting against the Bush Reich? Like locusts and earthquakes. Add to that congested goddesses. This one is going to see the quacks tomorrow.

The only reason I'm mentioning this (other than for the totally pure motive of whining) is to explain why my writing might seem a bit porridgey and smelly for a while: it is sharing the space with those red-and-green clumps.

A Shocker?

A military judge Wednesday threw out Pfc. Lynndie England's guilty plea to abusing Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison, saying he was not convinced the Army reservist who appeared in some of the most notorious photos in the scandal knew her actions were wrong at the time.

The mistrial marks a stunning turn in the case and sends it back to square one.

Is Pohl another activist judge? Heh:

Pohl said her statement and Graner's could not be reconciled.

"You can't have a one-person conspiracy," the judge said before he declared the mistrial and dismissed the sentencing jury.

Under military law, the judge could formally accept her guilty plea only if he was convinced that she knew at the time that what she was doing was illegal.

By rejecting the plea to the conspiracy charge, Pohl canceled the entire plea agreement. The agreement had carried a maximum sentence of 11 years in prison, but the prosecution and defense had a deal that capped the sentence at a lesser punishment; the length was not released.

Neither prosecution nor defense lawyers would speak to reporters after the deal was discarded. England, shielded by her defense team, would not comment outside the courtroom.

Allen Rudy, a Dallas attorney, said Wednesday he could not recall a military plea being scrapped under such circumstances during his 25 years as a Navy lawyer and judge.

I think the judge was right. The whole thing smells of a protection scheme for the higher-ups.

A Group Picture of the Wingnuts

They were demonstrating against what they view as the liberal media. It's nice to see all of them, isn't it?

What We Didn't Know

About all these wars. Well, we did know, perhaps. At least some of us. Bush attacking Iraq after bin Laden attacked the U.S. was nonsensical from day one, unless one assumed that the plan to invade Iraq had been in the works for a very long time indeed. Which it had, of course, as we now know from the newly revealed documents that are hurting poodle Blair in the U.K.. Bush cannot be touched by any of this, it seems. This is because he has a funny wife, and must therefore not be a monster, after all.

But the British are not so easily distracted by funny wives or runaway brides:

The families of soldiers who died in Iraq will launch a bid on Tuesday to take Prime Minister Tony Blair to court over his "deception" in going to war.

Two days before the election, the families will deliver a letter to Downing Street outlining the legal case they will bring against the Prime Minister.

"Some of the families are seriously concerned that their children died in circumstances where the war was illegal," Military Families against the War said in a statement.

The families said they decided to take action after reading pre-war advice from the government's top lawyer, the Attorney General, which raised doubts over the invasion's legality.

Then there is the U.S. case of Pat Tillman:

Army officials knew within days of Pat Tillman's death that the former NFL player had been killed by fellow Rangers during a patrol in Afghanistan but did not inform his family and the public for weeks, The Washington Post reported.

A new Army report shows that Gen. John P. Abizaid, the theater commander in Afghanistan, and other top Army officials were aware an investigation had determined the death was caused by an act of ``gross negligence'' four days before a nationally televised memorial service, the Post reported after reviewing nearly 2,000 pages of documents it had obtained.

Tillman, 27, turned down a multimillion-dollar contract with the Arizona Cardinals to join the Army after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He was taking cover behind a boulder along a canyon road near the Pakistani border when a firefight erupted at twilight on April 22, 2004.

The Post reported on its online edition Tuesday night that troops on the scene said they were immediately sure Tillman was killed by a barrage of American bullets.

The documents show that officers erroneously reported that Tillman was killed by enemy fire, destroyed critical evidence and initially concealed the truth from his brother, also an Army Ranger, who was near the attack, the Post reported.

But we didn't know! Nobody knew anything of importance, not Bush, not Rumsfed, not those in authority at Abu Ghraib. Look over there! A runaway bride! Mmm, yes. Much more interesting than the total extent of today's carnage in Iraq.

It's the post-reality era, gals and guys!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

John Tierney

John Tierney inherited William Safire's column in the New York Times. Safire is a wingnut and so is Tierney, of course. It's an old and important tradition of liberal tolerance to give all the best column space in the Times to right-wingers who can't write. In fact, it looks like this tradition is slowly turning into giving almost all the column space to wingnuts. That way the liberals look truly unbiased and fair. What could possibly be fairer than rolling over, baring your stomach and directing the attacker's teeth to the largest vein?

Or this is how I first saw the hiring of John Tierney. He's a clone of the babbling David Brooks. Neither can write. Both think that their task in the world is to push the arrogant faces of the coastal liberal elites into the backsides of what they call the real America or the red states. You know, where the people who matter live. Both Brooks and Tierney act like tour guides on some safari, full of poorly disguised contempt towards the tourists who have hired them, making up stuff as the tour progresses and leading the group to all sorts of dead-ends.

But then it occurred to me that maybe this is really a cunning plot! Maybe the Times is carefully hand-picking clumsy wingnut writers with nothing interesting to say to keep its readers angry and liberal! Nah.

A Stolen Quote

I nicked this one from SWR in the Eschaton comments. It's just so perfect for describing the differences in the way the U.S. and the British media treat the leaders of the respective countries:

Ted Koppel actually did a pretty good segment on the differences between the British and the American press last week.

It was *very* enlightening.

British Reporter: Oh come on Mr. Prime Minster Wanker. You simply have not answered the bloody question. Fess up. You lied.

American Reporter (quivering with fear in the presence of Dear Leader): I would like to apologize in advance for being unAmerican and objectively pro Islamofascist, but would you please tell us why (unbenknownst to your magnificent self of course), some of our troops don't have sufficient body armor?

The Lefty Feminist Echidne

I was linked to on Slate:

Fair and balanced and … public? In the latest example of backlash against the allegedly liberal news media, CPB Chairman Kenneth Tomlinson is "pressing public television to correct what he and other conservatives consider liberal bias," reports the New York Times. Among several controversial moves, Tomlinson reportedly hired an outside consultant to keep track of guests appearing on Now With Bill Moyers and urged public broadcasting officials to air a program hosted by the editor of the Wall Street Journal's conservative editorial page.

Needless to say, lefties are outraged. "It's funeral time for PBS," writes the feminist Echidne of the Snakes. The left-leaning Phonograph notes how people who allege bias among news organizations "tend to have a bias themselves." Linkmeister has some choice snippets from a recent New York Times Magazine interview with Ken Ferree, the interim president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

It's naturally proper for my divine opinions to gain wider readership (assuming someone reads the Slate), but my reaction to being defined as a lefty feminist was very odd. I had to go out and walk in the woods to think about it for a while and to ask the trees for some advice.

This lefty feminist Echidne of the Snakes is some other goddess, someone on the barricades with one breast showing, someone quoting from Mao's Little Red Book. Or so it seemed to me. You see, I am normal. I have the right opinions on everything which means that I must be in the center and others are too right or too left.

Likewise, to be defined as a feminist implies that others are not so. I refuse to think that very many people support unequal opportunities for or worth of men and women, though of course I know that this is the optimistic view. Still, the impression I get from the quote above is that my being a feminist is somehow marking me as an oddball. It could be that I'm just oversensitive and read too much into it all.

But it's the lefty bit that really troubled me. I have never even voted for a socialist candidate in any elections! I advocate a mixed economy! I like the idea of laws that protect workers and ban discrimination, but I have never argued for any banning of capitalist activities. Yes, I am indeed a lefty in the United States, but what does this say about the way we define the political dimensions? Attila the Hun is seen to be middle-of-the-road, that's what it says.

None of this is of any interest to anyone but me. Except that it shows how self-definition is not the same thing as societal definitions. It's the societal definitions that determine how others react to us, and usually certain groups have much more power in naming than others. The political correctness debacle was all about the right to name and the content of the labels that are given. The powerful won it by using ridicule (some of it earned) and the fear of hierarchies turned upside-down. Thus, they still have the right to name, not those on the lower ladders of the hierarchy.

The hegemony is not as total as it once was, and the blogosphere is a good example of the variations now possible. Many of us call the extreme right wingnuts, for example, at least among each other. As they are in power this is kind of exhilarating, cheeky and even a little dangerous. But the term has no mainstream relevance. On the other hand, the originally quite neutral term "liberal" is widely viewed as one of the worst things a politician in the U.S. can be called. This shows how strong the power of naming can be.

A Contest

This is something I had in my mailbox:


Today marks the beginning of Chastity Awareness Week in Pennsylvania and NARAL Pro-Choice America has an activity for your readers to keep their minds sparkling clean.

President Bush has recently asked Congress to provide more funding for his abstinence-only until marriage programs. Despite the fact that study after study has shown that these very programs are ineffective and even harmful for our kids, Bush has decided to yet again offer us the latest in medieval birth control: Chastity!

What's in these "abstinence-only until marriage" curricula? Slogans like:

* Pet Your Dog, Not Your Date!
* Don't Be a Louse, Wait For Your Spouse!
* Would you want a cookie that someone had already taken a bite out of?

These slogans might be out-of-date but that hasn't stopped President Bush from providing federal funding – your tax dollars – to buy them to teach our kids.

I do hope you will participate in this contest - your chastity may very well be at stake! To enter, please send an email to We will announce the contest winner on May 7th.


Amelia Field

Today's Action Alert

Today's Action comes from NARAL:

Next week, May 2-6, Members of Congress are high-tailing it out of Washington for a late spring recess. Will your senators join Tom DeLay for a "non-lobbyist-funded" trip to an exotic destination? Or will they actually come back to your state to meet with you - their constituents?

Maybe we're old-fashioned, but we believe that our elected officials should go back to their home states to meet with voters one-on-one. It seems that this group of senators disagrees. During last month's congressional recess we couldn't track many of them down - forget about locating a public town hall meeting! Perhaps these "missing in action" senators didn't want to be questioned on issues like the nuclear option.

We're hearing that Sen. Frist could launch the nuclear option as soon as the Senate returns from recess, making next week even more important for activists to speak out. The nuclear option would effectively eliminate the filibuster and end pro-choice senators' chances for blocking Bush's anti-choice nominees. The good news is that the vast majority of Americans stand with us - a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that 66 percent of Americans oppose changing Senate rules.

This recess, don't let senators play hide and seek while President Bush and Sen. Frist have the future of the Supreme Court in their crosshairs!

Track down your senators!

* Let your senators know you're keeping an eye on them next week - and that you want them to talk with voters about the nuclear option.

* Visit your senators during the recess next week. Check your local newspaper or visit your senators' websites for dates and times of town hall meetings. Or call your senators' offices at 202.224.3121 to schedule a personal appointment with your senators for you and your pro-choice friends.

* If you can't catch up with your senators, get creative and have fun! Get your friends to write a brief, personal note opposing the nuclear option, then deliver your notes to the senators' office nearest you with a bag of atomic fire ball candy.

Thanks for taking today's action.

Monday, May 02, 2005


It's Ok If You Are Republican. Even possibly advocating the overturning of the American Constitution. Pat Robertson just did this, too. This one radical extremist cleric is taking over my blog. Help! Someone in the government, someone in the media, someone sane anywhere in the world, help! Notice that this lunatic is a lunatic and cut off his preferential treatment to all good media perks. No, Americans are not that fringey. No, you are not going to lose your cushy livelihood if you point out that he is raving mad:

Appearing on ABC's "This Week," Robertson — who founded the Christian Coalition — also said he would be wary of appointing Muslims to top positions in the U.S. government, including judgeships.
Robertson, who launched a brief presidential bid in 1988, said that if he were president he would not appoint Muslims to serve in his Cabinet and that he was not in favor of Muslims serving as judges.

"They have said in the Koran there's a war against all the infidels," he said. "Do you want somebody like that sitting as a judge? I wouldn't."

Note that Article 6. of the Constitution explicitly bans any kind of religious test for judges. But even if Robertson didn't mean to literally require that candidates should not be Muslims, his argument makes no sense. Remember that we are right now in the big wingnut push to have more religious judges in the Supreme Court? Well, wouldn't fundamentalist Muslim judges be just the sort of people Robertson is looking for? People of the book, interpreting things strictly on religious grounds and so on?

Gah. All he wants is a Robertsonian Gilead where everybody thinks just like Pat. Which is a world where nobody thinks at all.
Via Americablog.

Another Reason to Emigrate...

The Reverend Pat Robertson:

Federal judges are a more serious threat to America than Al Qaeda and the Sept. 11 terrorists, the Rev. Pat Robertson claimed yesterday.

"Over 100 years, I think the gradual erosion of the consensus that's held our country together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings," Robertson said on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

"I think we have controlled Al Qaeda," the 700 Club host said, but warned of "erosion at home" and said judges were creating a "tyranny of oligarchy."

Confronted by Stephanopoulos on his claims that an out-of-control liberal judiciary is the worst threat America has faced in 400 years - worse than Nazi Germany, Japan and the Civil War - Robertson didn't back down.

"Yes, I really believe that," he said. "I think they are destroying the fabric that holds our nation together."

Is there something like Godwin's Law about whoever first mentions Al Qaeda in a net conversation? If there is, it wouldn't apply to truly lunatic cases like this extreme radical cleric. Funny how he can't see that he has more in common with bin Laden's ideas than those of most any ordinary American.

A Garden of A Sort

My garden was of air.
Do not come so near.
The children cannot hear
the arrival of the fear.

You are a bee, you sting.
I never learned to sing.
The children cannot flee
the stinging of the bee.

My garden was of air.
Yet I could not leave.
The children cannot bear
the adulthood of grief.

I never named this thing.
I never learned to sing.
The children cannot tell
their garden is a hell.

Fairer and Balanceder....The New PBS

The New York Times reports about the man behind the curtain at the new and improved Public Broadcasting Service, one Mr. Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, the chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Mr. Tomlinson wants to make the PBS fairer and more balanced. I agree with him. It would be nice to have the same number of liberal and lefty interviewees as those from the wingnut side. But this is not where Mr. Tomlinson sees problems. Rather, he thinks the PBS is a vile left-wing plot, the beating heart of the so-called liberal media, the oppressor of all things right and wingnutty, and he wants to stop this horrible state of affairs.

Which he can handily do. He is in power. So what does Mr. Tomlinson plan? Here is a hint:

Without the knowledge of his board, the chairman, Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, contracted last year with an outside consultant to keep track of the guests' political leanings on one program, "Now With Bill Moyers."

In late March, on the recommendation of administration officials, Mr. Tomlinson hired the director of the White House Office of Global Communications as a senior staff member, corporation officials said. While she was still on the White House staff, she helped draft guidelines governing the work of two ombudsmen whom the corporation recently appointed to review the content of public radio and television broadcasts.

Mr. Tomlinson also encouraged corporation and public broadcasting officials to broadcast "The Journal Editorial Report," whose host, Paul Gigot, is editor of the conservative editorial page of The Wall Street Journal. And while a search firm has been retained to find a successor for Kathleen A. Cox, the corporation's president and chief executive, whose contract was not renewed last month, Mr. Tomlinson has made clear to the board that his choice is Patricia Harrison, a former co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee who is now an assistant secretary of state.

The article I quote from is full of references to people who no longer work for the PBS. I think that Mr. Tomlinson is doing some spring cleaning... You might be interested in learning that the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has only three non-Republican members out of a total nine. Why is this seen as fairly balanced?

But of course it is. Mr. Tomlinson's idea of balance is to get rid of voices like Bill Moyers' and to make sure that no anti-government investigative journalism will be performed in the future. And this clarifies his views even further:

Last November, members of the Association of Public Television Stations met in Baltimore along with officials from the corporation and PBS. Mr. Tomlinson told them they should make sure their programming better reflected the Republican mandate.

It's funeral time for PBS. Every program will now be toothcombed for liberal nits, except for the wholly wingnut programs which will be assumed to be fair and balanced by their very nature. Tomlinson will pay for secret studies to see if Sesame Street advocates homosexuality or contains too little praying and so on. And people like bow-tie Tucker Carlson and the Wall Street capitalists will roam around freely.

The New York Times article doesn't say this, of course. It is oh-so-polite and advocates a wait-and-see attitude in the hope that the wingnuts will be friendly and fair and balanced. But we all know what will really happen. The Fox news are not enough for the wingnuts, Scarborough Country does not suffice. No, what is needed is a totally wingnut media without a single breathing hole left for those of us who actually think.

Of course, the PBS has never been especially left-wing. Only extreme wingnuts think so. But it has covered controversial issues and it has offered more thoughtful coverage than the average corporate-controlled newsmill. I think that all this will now be in the past. Limbaugh will be so pleased.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Spring is Coming!

Spring is Coming!

This is a Southern hemisphere garden, so it's not really a Spring garden. But it is lovely. My bulb gardens this May turned into squirrel buffets as usual. In return the squirrels plant a lot of horse chestnut trees around my small house. If you have seen a horse chestnut tree you know that it's very important to weed out the seedlings. Otherwise there will be no space for the car or the dogs or anything else.

I had a good April, though. Blue muscaris peeking from under the frothy hems of yellow forsythias. The bluest of blue scillas flowering everywhere! Now the scillas are rotting in the same places, and I can't cover up the rotting if I want the blue next year, too. What to do, what to do. Gardening consists almost totally of what-to-dos interspersed with moments of utter pain (poison ivy) and utter ecstasy (the scent of honeysuckles drifting above white rose garlands in a June night).

But I doubt the readers of this blog are into gardening. I think I will write about gardening when I turn into Olive the Omnivorous Ovary. She wants her own blog. She could always write about the delirious mating orgy that we usually call a flowerbed.

From the Barricades

Did you know that you are a survivor of the abortion holocaust? This is the language of some pro-lifers. Imagine us as embryos: darting about, fleeing the evil abortionist or whatever, somehow miraculously surviving to the point after which pro-lifers no longer care about us: the birth. Pro-lifers seem to view women as aquaria: some empty, but with water that must be kept clear for future fishes, some with fish already in them and some all dry and dusty, no longer useful at all.

A thirteen-year old in state custody in Florida is one of those aquaria with fish. She is more than thirteen weeks pregnant. She got pregnant after running away from the state home. The girl herself wants an abortion and her state-appointed custodian was helping her to get one until higher powers-that-be decided to intervene. The pro-life plot is to keep the case in court until abortion is too late.

Giving birth is considerably more dangerous for a girl of this age than getting an abortion, but the case isn't about her, of course; it's about the rights of the fetus. Even though this can be clothed as a desire to properly punish the girl and whoever she had sex with:

A spokesman for Florida Right to Life said: 'There is a rush to abort. To get rid of the evidence. Who impregnated her? You do not consent to sex at the age of 13.'

The argument that this girl is too immature to make a decision about abortion is an odd one. She is supposedly mature enough to give birth and possibly to mother a child. And in court she sounded pretty mature to me:

"Why can't I make my own decision?"

That was the blunt question to a judge from a pregnant 13-year-old girl ensnared in a Palm Beach County court fight over whether she can have an abortion.

"I don't know," Circuit Judge Ronald Alvarez replied, according to a recording of the closed hearing obtained Friday.

"You don't know?" replied the girl, who is a ward of the state. "Aren't you the judge?"


L.G., who told Alvarez she had run away at least five times from her youth shelter, maintained, "It would make no sense to have the baby."

"I don't think I should have the baby because I'm 13, I'm in a shelter and I can't get a job," the girl said as Alvarez and her guardian ad litem, assigned to shepherd her in the legal system, questioned her.

L.G. laid out different reasons for wanting an abortion.

"DCF would take the baby anyway," she said, but later added: "If I do have it, I'm not going to let them take it."

She also questioned the health risk of carrying the fetus to term.

"Since you guys are supposedly here for the best interest of me, then wouldn't you all look at that fact that it'd be more dangerous for me to have the baby than to have an abortion?" she asked. Alvarez called that "a good point."

Writing about this case makes me feel nauseous. This thirteen-year old child should be protected, should be allowed to have a childhood, should never have been in a situation where she got pregnant in the first place. We didn't care enough about her until she got pregnant. Then some of us care an enormous amount about her uterus but not at all about the rest of her.
Second link originally from Feministing.

Quote of the Day

This is a verry interesting one, by Laura Bush at the White House correspondents' annual dinner on Saturday:

Laura Bush, who is often seen smiling sweetly at her husband's side, stood up just in time to rescue the audience of political heavyweights and Hollywood celebrities from Bush's retelling of a joke about steel rail "cattle guards" that bombed before a Montana town meeting in March.

"Not that old joke -- not again," Laura Bush said, as her husband willingly relinquished the stage.

"I've been attending these dinners for years and just quietly sitting there," the First Lady told the audience. "Well, I've got a few things I want to say for a change."

One of her main targets was the president's bed time.

"I said to him the other day, 'George, if you really want to end tyranny in this world, you're going to have to stay up later,"' Laura Bush said. "Nine o'clock and Mr. Excitement here is in bed, and I am watching 'Desperate Housewives' -- with Lynne Cheney. Ladies and gentlemen, I am a desperate housewife."

A joke, of course. What else could it possibly be?