Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Secret Santa Strikes Again

I missed the arrival of my wonderful Secret Santa gift but opened it first thing Sunday evening. Inside was the newest Stephen King hardback and a large, beautiful Santa china doll.

Much thanks to my Secret Santa over at the Coffeypot. You done good.


Friday, December 24, 2010

We wish you a Merry Christmas!




From the best version of the Christmas Carol, I give you, "Bless Us, One and All".

Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

DADT Breaks the Filibuster!

DADT has passed cloture by 63-33!

Now it's on to the vote to repeal. There are some indications that the vote may take place as soon as this afternoon. Either way, this law is destined for the history books as repeal takes only a majority.

It's long past time that the US repealed this law and allowed all military personnel to serve with honor.

Happy Holiday Blogtastic Shout-Out

Hey there all, it's that time of year. Since Jen at Sprite's Keeper has taken a break this year, Kate at Recommended Daily Dose has taken over. For those of you who don't know what the heck I'm talking about, this is a chance for participants to spread the bloggy love and highlight one of their favorite blogs assigned to them by Kate.

This year, I'm sending out the love to Aliceson at Feet Off the Table. Aliceson is one of this blog's faithful followers who comments regularly. She's even seen fit to friend me on Facebook. Her blog is full of her family, her dog and some really amazing photos. It's been great fun to watch her take her photography from a hobby to a business. She's got a great eye and I predict she'll do quite well. (I get to say so with all the authority of a never used Bachelor's in Journalism with a photojournalism concentration.)

I love reading her posts about her kiddos. They remind me so much of my own at that age. One part goofy, one part precious and all about seeing how much they can torment their mom with their antics. In other words, pretty typical. Though I do have to say that if Binny's wardrobe choices are any indication, she's got a future in the creative arts.

I hope you all go visit and say hi. Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanzaa and Happy Wear a Plunger On Your Head Day!

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Senate and DADT

With thanks to Juanita Jean's.


Here's hoping that the Senate does the right thing, for once. The indicators are good that Reid has the votes. Though McCain is mumbling about a filibuster. Hopefully, someone will tell the old fart to sit down and shut up.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Secret Santa Soiree


So this year, I get to blog about the gift I'm sending instead of the gift I receive, which is different. And kinda cool.

I got lucky and got a fellow Texan in the draw so this offered up all sorts of exciting possibilities. Since my giftee said she likes sweatshirts, I made this one for her on Zazzle, which by the way, is a really cool site that's easy to use and makes customized t-shirts and stuff.

She also said her favorite fast food was Chick-fil-a and Whataburger, so I opted to stay with the Texas theme and got her a gift card to Whataburger. My sister, who passed in 2001, lived in Georgia and whenever she came home to visit there were two restaurants that she always had to visit - Demeris Bar-b-que in Houston and Whataburger. So, the choice was extra easy.

About the sweatshirt - the phrase is an edited version of one my email signatures. The full version reads:
Texas-
The state that gave you Willie Nelson, Nolan Ryan and Walter Cronkite; Blue Bell, Shiner and Dr Pepper. Who wouldn't want to be from here?

Unfortunately, the entire thing wouldn't fit, so I had to edit. Thus, the extra comma. Makes it special, dontcha know. The art is my own personal logo designed for me by one of Youngest's friends. It's on the sidebar over there and it seemed the perfect opportunity to use it on something tangible.

This Secret Santa Soiree thingee is fun and challenging. I like trying to decide what to get someone and making it personal somehow. Merry Christmas to my Secret Santa recipient and all of you as well.

Friday, December 3, 2010

My New Motto

This is too good not to share. H/T to Joe.My.God



"Intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism", my new motto.  This is what television, and all art, at its best is all about. Opening people's minds and letting them view the world anew. And as for me, I will take intellect and romance over force and cynicism any day of the week.

All hail to the geeks.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

World AIDS Day

Today is the 22nd annual World AIDS Day. To date, some 25 million  people worldwide have died in this epidemic. The latest numbers from UNAIDS, show that 33.3 million people are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. The largest concentration being in Sub-Saharan Africa. (Only six African countries are not geographically a part of Sub-Saharan Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Western Sahara.)

Hidden in among the number of deaths and people living with AIDS is this number: 16.6 million.
An 'orphan' is defined by the United Nations as a child who has 'lost one or both parents'. Worldwide, it is estimated that more than 16 million children under 18 have been orphaned by AIDS. Around 14.8 million of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa.
In some countries, these orphans account for more that half of all orphans in the nation. For these children, without the AIDS epidemic, their families would still be intact.

The impact of these orphans is hard to calculate. In Nigeria alone, there were 2.5 millions AIDS orphans in 2009, or almost 2% of the total population of the country. In addition to the stress of watching a parent die, these children often have to become income earners for their families, face separation from siblings and stigma from the community. They often end up leaving school, face greater economic, health and nutrition problems than their peers and may suffer from higher depression rates. In all, it's a recipe for disaster as a generation of children is being neglected, undereducated and relegated to extreme poverty.

The first step in handling this problem is to teach prevention. We must also increase access to antiretroviral treatments and last find ways to support those already orphaned by providing access to education and health care.

We may never find of cure for HIV/AIDS, but we do know how to prevent transmission. We must educate people worldwide in condom use and remove the stigma associated with the disease. As much as I don't care for the Pope, his recent endorsement of condom use for male prostitutes is a first, baby, step in the right direction.  It overlooks the fact that just over half of all adults living with HIV/AIDS worldwide are women and that the primary mode of transmission in Africa  is not through same-sex contact but heterosexual contact.

So, on this day we remember those we have lost to this scourge and those still living with HIV/AIDS. Find a charity that you feel supports HIV/AIDS prevention. Here's a short list:
Keep A Child Alive
Unicef: United States Fund
Africare
Buy (RED)
UNAIDS

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Kindred

Apart and oft remembered
Resides a woman, small and neat.
Alike in countenance and heritage,
Thus far unmoved and remote.

Blood of my blood,
Yet Stranger to me.

Silence and distance,
Heartfelt and imagined,
Tattered the connection
Of kith and kin.

Blood of my blood,
Yet Stranger to me.

Dreams of future past
And chances gone awry.
Faces in a mirror of the mind
Searching for a way back again.

Blood of my blood,
Yet Stranger to me.

Connections lost,
No new ones forged
The past too lost in mist
To light our way.

Blood of my blood,
Yet Stranger to me.

Sing a song of sixpence
Pocket full of rye
When we come accounting
Will it come up nigh?

Blood of my blood,
Yet Stranger indeed.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Hallelujah Chorus - Flash Mob Style



Thanks to Mad Priest.

And let me just say, having sung this piece, which is no picnic, these guys were great.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Eve- or how I learned to stop worrying and love the upcoming Rapture

So I had to work today. Well, to be specific, I was at work but I didn't do too much actual work. What did I do instead? Well, it all started with my blog reader.

 And this little headline from Unreasonable Faith:

Looking forward to the Rapture but worried about your pets?


Well, I had to look into that. I mean, who wouldn't? I discovered this enterprising set of Atheists at Eternal Earthbound Pets. For the low, low cost of $110 you can guarantee that an unlucky Atheist will come rescue your pet in the event of the Rapture. Seriously. 

My husband noted that there were no rescuers in Texas and that might be a business opportunity for us. After all, we're the wrong kind of Christian. The kind that most Rapture believing types would assume would get left behind. Like the pets.
Then he had to go and mention the idea of who would be Raptured and how we might tell if the Rapture had or had not happened. After all, it might have happened already if, and I quote,
a bunch of Born-again Christians disappear, could it be rapture? Who decides what constitutes rapture? You know all the Christianists left behind will deny that they didn’t qualify.
And that lead me to the idea to google this phrase: "how many will be taken in the rapture". Go google it. It nuts. So nuts in fact, that I found this lovely little website:

THE RAPTURE and START of WORLD WAR III – BY: December 21st 2010!

If you have a couple of hours, and don't mind killing a few brain cells along the way, go venture over there. Where you'll learn that the end of the tribulation will be on September 23, 2015. Also that by the end of Fall 2010 the following will happen:
  1. Damascus, Syria will be destroyed
  2. Catastrophic nuclear attack on New York City, Phoenix and other major US cities
  3. Two massive US earthquakes
  4. Russia AND China invade the US
  5. Complete global economic collapse
  6. Global food shortages
Wow, since none of that has happened, God better get busy. (Mental note: revisit on January 1)

After that, and numerous admonitions to watch a endless supply of videos, which I refrained from doing, I gave up.  Apparently, whoever made this website doesn't understand the concept of pages, cause this screed is one long and never-ending page. It goes on and on and on and on and on. The scroll bar on the side of the page hardly moves even though to get to the point above, I had actually scrolled through the equivalent of about a dozen or more pages.

My husband was not appreciative.
WHY DID YOU SEND ME THAT LINK! These wacko’s make my brain hurt with their pseudo-logic and LEAPING interpretations!

To which I replied, with this:



While I found the above animation (found by googling "Rapture animation", I shit you not), Hubs was unimpressed. He even whined and asked "What did I ever do to you . . ."

My reply was, I thought, suitable witty.
Well, if I wasn’t having to hold up the entire conversation with my mad internetz skills, I might stop. But since you think you should actually be working, I must continue. Here’s a lovely website. I particularly love that he appears to have all his bases covered what with natural disasters, alien invasion, nuclear war and so on. Oddly enough stuck in amid the How to Survive…” links is one to “Gambia’s cure for AIDS”.. Oh never mind, I just checked it out. Amazingly enough it ties in with the End Times. Fancy that. Enjoy.
I include a small portion of the site (mentioned above) for your amusement:


Suffice it to say that after I reminded him that he wanted to leave early to make it to the store before all the turkeys were gone and I would stop torturing him with stupid websites once we left, he finished what he was working on in record time.


And I just had to share. After all, it was a day well spent trolling the internetz.

Have a Happy Turkey Day. Try not to kill your relatives. Especially the Republican ones. Me, I avoid the problem by staying away.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Voter turnout and the Mid-Terms

More proof that you get what you vote for, or in this case, don't vote for.

Voter turnout among the eligible population was pretty piss poor. Especially in Texas. Texas tied for next to last place with Utah at 32.2% of the eligible population voting. (New York was the big loser at 32.1%) What does this mean? Well, for me in Texas, it means that just shy of 5 million people voted and determined who was going to lead, in this case straight to hell, our state.

Out of 15.4 million people who could've voted only 4.9 million did. Those other 10.5 million of my fellow Texans? They are the ones to blame for the fiasco that was the mid-term election this month.

Democrats in Texas, I have only one thing to say to you:

Get off your asses and vote!

You'll never know if you could've made a difference in this election because you stayed home. You made a difference in my district in 2008 but because you couldn't be bothered this go round our incumbent DEMOCRAT in the state legislature lost to someone whose only policy ads were about education (cause his wife teaches special ed) and whose attack ads claimed Maldanado was a no-show to most of her committee meetings. And for God's sake Williamson County, can you not get behind someone, anyone, to run against John Carter? I mean it's just a travesty that this ass hat runs unopposed. I want the freaking choice to vote against the walking pimple on the arsehole of humanity but you're not giving me the chance.

As for all those idiots who voted for Rick Perry, you've let the ideologues continue their rampage through our state. We may have managed to defeat the far-right Don McLeroy and Cynthia Dunbar in the primaries for State Board of Education elections, but we left 5 members of their "coalition" on the board and kicked out Geraldine “Tincy” Miller, R-Dallas; Rick Agosto, D-San Antonio; and Rene Nuñez, D-El Paso, who voted in opposition to the coalition. Those who replace them are unknowns at this point but for at least one - Carlos Garza, who defeated Nuñez, the signs are not good. He's been quoted thusly:
“Creationism I believe is true. I believe there should be a good mix. I think what the board did was bring in a mix.”
So, those Dems who stayed home? You could've saved Nuñez, but you didn't. You could've ended the reign of Governor Big Hair, but you didn't. You could've saved Maldanado, but you didn't.

The one thing that the average American can do to affect this nation, over two thirds of my fellow Texans couldn't be bothered to do. Seriously, it's the only benefit of citizenship that allows you a voice, but you prefer to remain silent. Until after the election, when you can complain to pollsters, co-workers and you mom about how the country is going to hell in a handbasket.

Well, my friend, you helped put her there.

h/t to Joe.My.God who started this morning's journey into vitriol. Way to go, Joe.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Twitter-vesy"du jour

Well, Google has well and truly done it now. Today's special Google logo for Veteran's Day is an abomination.


See that little red crescent under the American flag? Apparently, the evil-doers at Google have inserted an Islamic crescent under the American flag. Some say it looks like the crescent is being nuked. Others say it looks like the flag is burning. I say people are idiots.

Don't believe me? Go check out twitter. Or check out Gawker. Feel free to make fun of the idiots and their manufactured controversy.

Teh stoopid. It burns.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Those crazy Texas Conservatives

For some reason they think I actually give a shit.

This is the email sent to me by the Young Conservatives of Texas and attached was a copy of the letter they sent to "most Republican State Representatives" this morning:

November 10, 2010
Dear Members and Members-Elect,
I write to you on behalf of Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT). YCT is the largest and most active conservative youth organization in the state of Texas. We are composed of hundreds of members at campuses across the state and thousands of alumni, all dedicated to advancing the conservative movement.
Recently, YCT signed-on to a letter released by dozens of grassroots conservative leaders calling for new conservative leadership in the Texas House of Representatives. Our new 99-seat Republican majority in the Texas House provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pass a number of conservative reforms. However, the successful passage of a robust conservative agenda is put at risk by the leadership of Speaker Joe Straus.
To illustrate this point, I wanted to share with you the comparison of committee chairs that YCT included in our ratings of the 81st Texas Legislature, released in December of 2009. It contains a listing of committee chairs from the 80th and 81st Legislatures, with their ratings from the 80th and 81st Legislatures, respectively. The scores were drawn from YCT’s Legislative Ratings, which are measured on a 100-point scale and determined by a selection of approximately 30 up-or-down votes deemed to offer a clear conservative/liberal policy choice. As I wrote in the ratings, one of the most telling ways to evaluate a Speaker is to evaluate who he appointed as committee chairs because these people truly dominate the legislative process. And one of the most telling ways to evaluate a member is to evaluate their voting record.
The results of the comparison were disappointing. The average score of committee chairs appointed by Speaker Straus was a 42, a drop of 25 from the previous session. Straus’s appointments were drawn primarily from the coalition of 85 Democrats and liberal-to-moderate Republicans who elected him. Because of this, only two of Straus’s standing committee chairmen scored better than an 80 on YCT’s Legislative Ratings. By comparison, during the 80th Legislature, 11 committee chairs scored 80 points or more on our ratings.
As Chair of Calendars—the second most powerful official in the house with regards to legislation—Speaker Straus appointed Representative Brian McCall. McCall was the most liberal Republican during the 81st Texas Legislature, earning a score of 27 on YCT’s Legislative Ratings. As Chairman of Calendars, McCall delayed bills supported by the grassroots and blocked bills authored by certain conservative legislators completely from the floor. 
If reelected, will Speaker Straus again appoint the most liberal Republican to replace McCall in control of the House’s legislative agenda? If so, a vote for Straus amounts to a vote to block conservative legislators out of the legislative process.
Also astonishing was Straus’s appointment of Democrat Rene Oliveira, who earned a 15 during the 81st Legislature, to chair Ways and Means. As Chair of the committee, Oliveira controlled the success or failure of bills aimed at reforming Texas’s flawed property tax system. Oliveira exhibited highly partisan leadership, refusing to allow any bill to exit his committee that was not authored or co-authored by a Democrat. As one would assume, this policy was devastating to various conservative bills aimed at reforming our tax system and cutting taxes. 
If Speaker Straus is reelected, will Oliveria remain as Ways and Means Chairman? If so, a vote for Straus amounts to a vote against tax reform.
Please look at the attached chart and see the comparisons for yourself. These committee appointments are illustrative, but they are only one example of Speaker Straus’s liberal leadership. I urge you to listen to the grassroots who elected you, and who you have committed to represent. They know that if Straus remains as Speaker, the conservative agenda is put in serious danger. I urge you to listen to their concerns. I urge you to reject the flawed leadership of Joe Straus and elect a true conservative as Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives.
Sincerely, 
Tony McDonald
Senior Vice Chairman, Young Conservatives of Texas
Now number one, I am profoundly touched that Tony thinks of me as a real-live journalist. He sent this email to 80+ people with email domains like austinchronicle.com and statesman.com and dailytexanonline.com so, I am finally using my degree in journalism. Booyah!

But really dude, have you read my blog? What makes you think I agree and/or care about what you think about Joe Straus or any of the committee chairs that you named?

I doubt Rep. Straus will retain his position since he appears to be what the Conservative whack-a-doodles call a RINO. God forbid that any Republican actually make an effort to work with a Democrat or have a moderate agenda. No, his days are numbered. I have no doubt that someone more in line with the YCT's rating system will get the job. I nominate Dan Flynn (R-Van) who has this lovely (partial) list of items he wants see made into Texas law:

• A bill allowing the open sale of raw milk at places such as fairs, farmer’s markets etc. Requested by constituents and supported by the Farm & Ranch Freedom Alliance, it does not allow for sales at commercial establishments such as grocery stores, etc
• A bill protecting public school teachers who have chosen to have the Ten Commandments displayed in their classrooms. The display of the Ten Commandments is a patriotic exercise, and it is made no less so by the acknowledgement of Texas’s religious heritage via the inclusion of the phrase ‘under God.’ in the pledge.
• A bill limiting the use of public funds to print certain public documents in a language other than English. This reflects simple principles that if you want to live here, learn the language and do not burden the State of Texas with millions of dollars worth of alternative language costs. 

Let's get cracking on that sale of raw milk and displaying the Ten Commandments. I'm sure the $25 billion budget shortfall will take care of itself.

Monday, November 8, 2010

This Week in Crazy VI

The Rally to Restore Sanity was great. The Tuesday that followed was not. This week's edition of "This Week in Crazy" is really last week's edition and this one's combined cause I've been a bad blogger. It will be less of a list and more of a rant. Apologies in advance.

Somehow or another, my fellow Texans went off the deep end. Rick Perry was reelected and immediately went on a whirlwind book promotion tour. His solution to the state's $25 billion dollar budget deficit (some estimates put it at $32 billion)? Opt out of Social Security and Medicaid. Yes, you read that correctly. My Governor (excuse me while I throw up) thinks that states should be allowed to opt-out of Social Security and that Medicaid is just too large a drain on the state. I guess Perry doesn't think the  3.4 million Texans on medicaid need health care. Even though the Federal government picks up 60% percent of the tab, the Heritage Foundation, that bastion of reality-based fantasy-based research, "estimates Texas could save $60 billion from 2013 to 2019 by opting out of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program" (CHIP).  The Freepers are all for this idea, mainly because they think that a huge percentage of the people using Medicaid are either 1) dead-beats, 2) illegals or 3) dead-beat illegals. (I dare you to go read those comments on the link above, but only if you have a cast-iron stomach).

Not only did Texas reelect Governor Big Hair, Republicans swept the ticket. All major positions went to the Republican candidate and Texas House now has a Republican supermajority. That's really more frightening than having Perry in office for another 4 years, unless he decides to run for President in 2012.  What were you people thinking? Seriously? Do you pay attention at all? Ugh.

Of course, things are not much better in DC. Republicans took the house and Eric Cantor (R-VA) thinks it's not enough.  The GOP has no idea what, exactly, it wants but it's still threatening to take the nation down in flames if they don't get it. Specifically, Cantor refuses to take off the table the idea of a governmental shut-down or refusing to authorize the new bonds and thus causing the United States to default on the national debt.  When I read that little tidbit I was shocked. Will the Republicans not be happy until they destroy this country? Of course, in their twisted thinking, it won't be their fault but Obama's. What. The. Fuck.

This week, Rush Limbaugh is promoting the idea that health insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions is welfare. And of course, every good Republican knows that welfare is BAD, therefore this provision must be BAD, too. No matter that without this provision, the health care reform is gutless. Nuts. Pardon me while I bang my head against a brick wall. I doubt it will drive the idiocy away but at least if I pass out I won't have to be assaulted by this drivel.

This country is insane and Texas holds the keys to the lock-down ward of the mental hospital. Secede. Stop paying into Social Security or Medicaid. Teach our children that McCarthy had it right and people lived alongside dinosaurs. Tell ourselves that Texas is open for business while ignoring the enormous budget shortfall.

I've lived in Texas all my life. I've defended her against those who would think the US would be better off without her on blogs far and wide. No more.

If Democrats in Texas can't put on their man suit and drive, they get what they deserve. And the same really goes for the entire country. I've read about the enthusiasm gap and the bitterness of those who feel Obama has ignored their cause. Much has been said  about the idea of "teaching the Dems a lesson".

I say to those people, SCREW YOU.

You are every bit as much to blame for the shitstorm that is to come as any Tea Party or Republican voter. At least those people followed their convictions. What did you do? How have you punished the Democrats? What GOOD will come of this insanity?  It takes years to fix the problems caused by previous administrations but only a single vote to make things worse. How is staying home or voting for the Green party candidate or some such bullshit keeping the madness at bay?

It doesn't. God help us all.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Rally Pictures

Ok. I have a lot of these. So many that I couldn't get them all in a post. So, here's the link to my Picasa album. I think.
Rally to Restore Sanity

The Rally to Restore Sanity

Well, we're finally home and I'm caught up enough to sit down and write up my experiences.  The trip started out inauspicously. Before we even got on the plane, Youngest called to say she had gotten into a fender bender. Fortunately, our car seemed to be okay and we ran her through the drill. She was pissed more than anything.

The rest of the evening went well and we managed to stagger into Williamsburg just before midnight. The next morning came all too soon and we headed out about 5:45AM to try to get to DC by 9AM. I managed to get us to Springfield without falling asleep at the wheel and we joined the already growing hordes on the Franconia-Springfield Metro train. The Metro workers were great, providing the same bit of information over and over again without loosing their cool.

The train ride was relatively uneventful. When we got to the Smithsonian exit, we joined a huge number of people (which really wasn't huge. That number came later.)

We hurried over to our pre-arranged meeting place about 15 minutes late. I managed to get calls out to both of the bloggers I had arranged to meet but they were still on the road. Another blogger had emailed me from the road but I was never able to connect with her either. You all know who you are. I am so sorry that we weren't able to meet. I never expected that cell service would be virtually non-existent. I thought you all would be able to call me when you got to the mall and we'd meet up.

The number of people was truly amazing. Even at 9:30, two and a half hours before the rally started, there were a lot of people and more arriving every minute. My husband and I wandered around for awhile looking at signs and taking pictures. (Those are for another post). We finally made our way to a spot to the left of the stage and about 100 yards back. We had a good view of the jumbotron and preceded to wait. Since we had decided to leave the chairs at home thinking why pay $25 to check a $5 folding chair, we stood. Ouch.

 Aside from that, and the fact that cell service ran out, food and water ran out and merchandise ran out (no one really anticipated the number of people who showed up.), the rally was great. One of my favorite parts was the song with Yousef Islam (Cat Stevens), Ozzy Osborn and The O'Jays. It was funny and great music. In fact, all the musical entertainers were really good. Even Kid Rock, who I'm not a huge fan of, had a great song.

But of course, the best part was the last. Jon Stewart's speech at the end of the rally was poignant and spot on. He appeared really moved at the number of people who came and who were interested in joining in the great experiment that is our nation.

I hope you got the chance to watch the rally on Comedy Central. If not, here is Stewart's speech.



Washington, DC was great but by the time the rally was over we were exhausted. We wandered around a bit but finally decided that it was just too much and there were too many people and sightseeing would have to wait for another trip. Besides, we had to get back to Williamsburg and officially check in with the resort. Seems getting your key and talking to Security at midnight doesn't count as actually checking in and since they closed at 10:45, we headed out around 4:30. Which was a good thing because we had to wait almost 45 minutes for a train that was packed like sardines. Oi. 

Of course, when we finally made it back to the train station in Springfield, it seemed that no one had listened. Getting out of the garage and on the highway was a perfect example of first it's my turn, then it's your turn. Problem was everyone wanted to go first.

We spent Sunday in Colonial Willamsburg and then headed home. The trip back was uneventful until we got to Dallas. At which point, I left my phone on the plane. To whomever finds my Palm Pre, please recycle it. It's already been deactivated and replaced since American claims no one has turned it in. So, bad news was I lost my phone. Good news is I have a brand new Evo 4G. So, silver lining and all that. Thanks, Youngest, for sacrificing your upgrade for your dumb old Mom.

I am still tired and it may take a few days to catch up. I'm sorry that I didn't get to meet the folks I went to meet. That part well and truly sucked. But, I'm sure you all had a great time. I know I did.

If you haven't already, please vote tomorrow.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Follow me on Twitter!

Ok, all you poor sods who can't make it to DC, click on the twitter widget on the left. I'll be tweeting from my phone. I've even figured out how to use TwitPic.

Plus, I just totaly wrote this post on my phone. Technology rules!

We're Off

Iam entering this at the free intertubes terminal at ABIA. So, number one that is very cool. And number two:

WE'RE AT THE AIRPORT ABOUT TO BOARD FOR OUR FLIGHT TO THE RALLY!

Bet you're jealous.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Face of Homophobia

At times, it's just amazing to see something so vile cross my reader. Via Change.org, Joe.My.God and Pam's House Blend.

Clint McCance, member of the Midland District school board in Arkansas, wrote this on his Facebook page:
"Seriously they want me to wear purple because five queers committed suicide. The only way I'm wearin' it for them is if they all commit suicide. I can't believe the people of this world have gotten this stupid. We are honoring the fact that they sinned and killed themselves because of their sin."
Not satisfied with this piece of garbage masquerading as a Facebook status, he added this in the comments:
"Being a fag doesn't give you the right to ruin the rest of our lives. If you get easily offended by being called a fag then don't tell anyone you are a fag. Keep that shit to yourself. It pisses me off though that we make a special purple fag day for them. I like that fags cant procreate. I also enjoy the fact that they often give each other aids and die."
This person is a member of the school board.  Change.org has a petition. There's a Facebook page calling for his firing. The school district website has removed the board members' names from their website but Joe Jervis managed to find the superintendent's email address and I share it here with you: dstanley@midlandschools.org. Be polite. If you feel so inclined, the school district's main office number is 501-345-8844.

When someone in titular power over students makes comments like these on a public forum, how can those who oppose the Student Nondiscrimination Act currently before Congress say that it's not needed? It is from this kind of open derision and hate that bullying is born. McCance stands as a example that hate expression is accepted as long as he is allowed to serve in his current capacity. Bullying is a learned behavior and this idiot is teaching.

We need to send a message to McCance and all like him that this kind of speech is only one thing - hate speech - and no longer tolerated. In the words of The Rev. Dr. Fritz Ritsch writing in the Ft Worth Star- Telegram:

I've had it with the bullying that comes from the church's bully pulpit. Our history of denigrating gays and lesbians has provided the "godly" rationale for centuries of hatred and abuse. It's a flagrant violation of the Gospel. Moderate Christians -- the silent majority -- need to stop being silent and speak out.

Indeed. No matter your religious affiliation, unless you're a Christian extremist, this kind of speech is an abomination. Add you voice to those who are demanding change.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

In Order to Form a More Perfect Union...

This week has been a roller coaster. First, DADT is lifted, then came the DoJ's emergency injunction. Lt. Dan Choi reenlisted in the Army and then his enlistment papers were shredded.

I've heard many arguments, most from the Obama administration, that since DADT was a legislative act, we must repeal that act legislatively and that's the only way to remove the law. That just isn't true. See, we have this thing called checks and balances. The judicial system can rule a law unconstitutional. From Wikipedia:
When the proper court determines that a legislative act (a law) conflicts with the constitution, it finds that law unconstitutional and declares it void in whole or in part. This is called judicial review. The portion of the law that is declared void is considered to be struck down, or the entire statute is considered to be struck from the statute books.
Sounds pretty simple, doesn't? This week, a Florida court ruled that that state's law banning adoption by homosexuals to be unconstitutional. The Florida Attorney General and all involved in the case agreed to withhold appeal. Thus, after 30 plus years, a court reversed a piece of legislation. It didn't require the state legislature to repeal the law. It just required judicial review. 

DADT can go the same way. Anyone who tells you different doesn't understand one of the founding principals of our nation - our systems of checks and balances and the triumvirate of legislature, executive and judicial branches of government.

I don't claim to be a constitutional lawyer and my last Civics class was...well it wasn't called that at my high school but it was a while ago. I do remember, however, the idea of checks and balances. One of the primary roles of the judiciary is to provide judicial review and is in fact the key way that it provides checks and balances against the legislature.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips said DADT violates the First and Fifth Amendment rights of gays and lesbians. Thus, making the law unconstitutional. Specifically, she said the law violates both free speech and due process rights of gay service members. In making this decision, Judge Phillips was making a properly ruling on the constitutionality of a law, plain and simple.

There are two reasons I think the Obama administration should let the matter rest and abide by the court's ruling of unconstitutionality. One, the chances that this can be repealed legislatively are slim. They require that both houses of Congress stay under Democratic control, something that's debatable, and that the Democratic leadership grow a spine while the Republicans simultaneously decide to participate in government and stop obstructing.   Two, do we really want to see this go to the Supreme Court? The same court that gave us Citizens United is how likely to rule in favor of the Log Cabin Republicans? Not very. This is perhaps the most Conservative court in modern history. Do you really think they're going to rule against the government's case?

Hopefully, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will agree with Phillips, Obama will concede defeat on legislative repeal and we'll finally see the end of this stupid law. 

This Week in Crazy VI

The crazy was in full abundance this week. So much so that it was really hard to decide the winner. At different points during the week, I thought I had it and then the next day...

Some of them were just silly. Like the Vatican deciding that Homer Simpson is Catholic. SeriouslyL’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s paper of record, has declared “Homer and Bart are Catholics".  They actually claim that the Simpson's is one of the few TV shows for children that has faith and religion as recurring themes. Their first mistake is in thinking the Simpson's is for children. The second is to think that the creators are in any way endorsing Catholicism. Must be a language thing.

The next funny was discovering that a Georgia state legislator who ran a campaign against teaching sexual health and such at the University level apparently owns a company that sells...wait for it...sex toys. Rep. Calvin Hill says that his company sells a lot of items and these must just have slipped by the censor, so to speak.

And the winner in the so crazy it's funny sub-category would have to be from  Unresonable Faith, who posted two lovely videos by a husband and wife team of Christian "musicians", and I use the term loosely.  I warn you in advance. You might want to have something to soothe your eyes and ears on hand. Maybe that video of Ozzy Osbourne eating the head of a live chicken. That might just be enough to counteract the images.






As commentor "Mike" said on Unresonable Faith,
“Things this bad have to be shared”
No, Vorjack, they do not. Things THIS bad should be encased in steel-reinforced concrete and tipped overboard directly above the Mariana trench.

Wow.

Now to the real crazy. This week's third place winner comes from Texas, I'm sad to say, where the Republican candidate for Congress in the 30th District, said this:
"We have a constitutional remedy here and the Framers says if that don't work, revolution."
"If the government is not producing the results or has become destructive to the ends of our liberties, we have a right to get rid of that government and to get rid of it by any means necessary," he continued.
Stephen Broden believes our nation was "founded on violence" so "the option is on the table."

The second place winner seems ready to work off that idea. Private security guards for Senate candidate Joe Miller (R-Alaska), "arrested"  blogger Tony Hopfinger. They claimed that Hopfinger was trespassing. When the real police got there, they promptly told the security guards to release Hopfinger and return his equipment. While they had Hopfiner handcuffed and detained, security guards attempted to block other reporters from speaking with Hopfinger and erased the portion of his video camera tape that showed the "arrest".   Rather than answer this blogger's questions about why Miller was disciplined in a previous job, his goons surrounded him and then detained him for tresspassing on public property. Miller is following in the footsteps of several Tea party candidates and refusing to talk to the media about character or personal history. Seems this question fell into that category and rather than issue a no comment, Miller had his goons "arrest" and then his campaign smear the blogger, calling him irrational. Well, someone was certainly irrational.

This week's winner is disturbing on many levels, at least to me. Latinos for Reform, who created the ad,  is a republican polticial action committee that shares a PO Box in Alexandria, VA with several other PACs. The treasurer for several PACs, including Latinos for Reform,  is Susan Arceneaux,  a long time aide to Dick Armey and employee of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Remember them?

So this ad, which Latinos for Reform attempted to pay Univision $80,000 to air in Nevada, calls on Latino voters to NOT vote in November to send a message.



Univision has since returned the money and refused the ad. Robert de Posoda, "head" of the PAC,  is maintaining that “Before the edit the tag line was ‘Don’t vote for those who betrayed you.’ After the edit the line was cut to ‘Don’t vote.’” Which is utter bullshit. The video is slick, with fairly high production values. To think that this tagline was inadvertently cut and no one caught it is laughable.  What this is, is a blatant attempt by Republicans to keep Latinos away from the polls and benefit crazy Sharron Angle (who almost got her own mention here today for telling the Hispanic Student Union that she thought some of them looked Asian in a lame attempt to defend a race-baiting ad).

I've heard this theory before. That we must send a message to the Democrats by staying home instead of voting and punish them for not passing our legislation. What comes from Democratic activitists, be they LGBT or Latino, staying home?

Republicans win. And as we see above, that is not a great idea and only one that ends up punishing us, rather than the Dems.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Call Me Malcolm" at UCC

Tonight was the second class at United Christian Church where we're studying transgender issues and faith by watching and discussing the film, "Call Me Malcolm".

Tonight's discussion was focused on gender expression and hate crimes. We watched the segment of the film in which Malcolm visits with Pauline Martinez, a mother of hate crime victim F.C Martinez and discussed some grim statistics.

In 2009, according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs there were "2,181 victims and survivors of hate violence". Of those, gender identity was known for 1,983. Transgender women accounted for "11% of those reporting". More concerning is the fact that 50% of these women were murdered. Of the 22 hate-related murders in 2009, 11 were transwomen. The other "11 cases were non-transgender males; most were also gender non-conforming or dressed femininely at the time of their murder." Read that last statement again. While 11 of these murders were of self-identified transgendered individuals, most of the other 11 victims were seen as being gender non-conforming. Indeed statistics from the Gender Public Advocacy Coalition indicate "that those most at risk for hate murder are young gender non-conforming or transgender people of color who present femininely or identify as female". Simply put, being a young trans or non-conforming person of color means you're automatically entered in a high risk group just by being yourself.

This confluence of prejudices is terrifying. This year is no exception with 12 murders on record and a month to go before the next day of remembrance.

These grim statistics, taken with the current high profile LGBT suicides, make me believe an argument can be made for a direct connection between between bullying behaviors and hate crimes. That indeed, bullying is a hate crime. NCAVP defines it this way (emphasis mine):
Anti-LGBTQ hate violence is defined as any act that an offender commits against a person or a person's property because of the offender's bias towards or hatred for that person's actual or perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression.
Hate-motivated violence exists across a spectrum of escalation and severity. A single incident may involve various types of violence. This is especially true of anti-LGBTQ hate violence. Verbal attacks, sexual assault, workplace discrimination, intimate partner abuse and beatings can all be motivated by hatred for an LGBTQ identity .
Confronting bullying is the first step in confronting LGBT hate crimes. If we allow our youth to act without consequence and continue to bully those they define as "other" then we set the stage for later escalation. It's time that we as a species agreed that it is time to grow up and stop the "kids will be kids" excuse for this kind of behavior.

As a Christian, I especially need to stand up against bullying and hate crimes and let the Austin-area LGBT community know that they are welcome at UCC. 

The DADT Merry-Go-Round

Yesterday, Dan Choi reenlisted in the Army at the Times Square recruiting station. They obviously recognized him because it took 14 minutes for them to answer the door to his knocking.

Last night, the Ninth Circuit Court of appeals issued an emergency stay requested by the Department of Justice.  The DoJ and Obama claim that they must appeal the decision by U.S. district judge Virginia A. Phillips that DADT is unconstitutional.

They must.

Bollocks. It's past time that Obama concedes that he will not be able to repeal this legislatively. I don't know what dream world he's living in if he thinks he's going to be able to do this come November 3 when the best guess says that the Dems are going to lose the House. If he couldn't get it done with a supermajority, he won't be able to do it when the Repubs take over.

More than how this ban is lifted is why it should be. We coddle the homophobes and old guard when we let them argue about  unit cohesion, team identity and interdependences and all the other myriad reasons they give which really all come down to one thing.

Sex.

Once again, it's Dan Choi that says it best.





Dan Choi is a hero. A man who desperately wants to serve his country and represents the best of what the military is all about. Why anyone would think that he's a threat to the continued functioning of the US military is beyond me.

Give 'em hell, Lt. Dan.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

RTT - bloggers, rallies and crazy-out-of-control dogs

Hey! It's Tuesday. Head over to the Unmom for more random fun. Here's the fugly button.


Working on a blogger meet-up in DC. If you're going to be there and are vaguely interested in meeting me, I will be at the refreshment stand across the street from the National Air and Space Museum at 9AM Saturday October 30. Come one, come all. The more the merrier.

And can I just say that we are getting EXCITED. 10 days and counting.

We're researching special training for Aibhne. We took her to the dog park this weekend and it was a fiasco. She did a houdini and partially escaped her harness on exit of the car. Hubs tackled her and tried to get her back into said harness but the damn things always fight him and she managed to escape completely. She did jump back into the car when we opened the hatchback, so she wasn't a total loss. After he sat with her and told her what a bad dog she was while Youngest and I took the boys into the park, he eventually decided to try bringing her in. At which point, she made an idiot of herself growling and lunging at any and every dog who got close. So, she is officially banned from the park until we and she get some training on how to handle her aggression, bad leash manners and overall hardheadedness.

It's going to cost a bundle. She's too out of control to take a general obedience class and will need private lessons. As in, we're going to spend more to train us and the dog than we spent to enroll our kiddos in any two classes/activities as kids.

And Myrddin  escaped from the yard. Again. Bastard.

Trying to figure out what to do in Virginia on Sunday while we wait for the plane. We have to check out of the Wydham in Williamsburg at 10AM and our plane doesn't leave Norfolk until 6PM. That's quite a bit of free time and yet oddly, not enough. We'll probably end up in Colonial Williamsburg for part of it. (which is the reason for not enough time) Any ideas?

And what to do after the rally? I'm leaning towards doing the tourist thing and wandering around the Smithsonian and visiting the Lincoln and Vietnam memorials. Hubs and I have never been to DC so any suggestions would be welcome. In particular, anyone know of a good restaurant?

Don't forget to check out the Unmom for more, and no doubt better, random.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

"Call Me Malcolm" study at United Christian Church

"Call Me Malcolm" is a documentary about a transgender UCC seminary student that our church has chosen to study. We held a viewing of the full film over the summer and had about 20 or so folks attend. The discussion then was very good and we decided to move on with the 6 week study.

As you may or may not know, LGBT issues, and specifically the T in that alphabet soup, are important to me. So, this seemed a natural outgrowth of my activism in that arena.

Our first class was last Thursday, and I intended to blog about it prior to that date but clearly did not. We had 10 people come to the class and watched the first 32 minutes of the film. Then we discussed the following questions:
1. Have you made a significant change in your own life? How did your family and friends react to your change?
2. Malcolm talks about how his parents reacted to the gender change in his life. Everyone
experiences many different changes throughout their lives. Has someone close to you made a significant change of any kind in their life? How did that affect you?
3. Sometimes family and friends can support changes, but still grieve the loss of who you used to be. How can people show support, but still acknowledge their grief or sadness at the loss of what was?
4. Malcolm spoke with Dr. Tinker about the way his culture looked at gender. What did you learn growing up from your culture about gender?
5. Malcolm was able to find resources at a nearby Gender Identity Center. Where can transgender people go in your community to learn more about transgender issues and resources?
Theological questions
1. Malcolm’s minister said that, in her theology, transgender people embody what it says in Genesis1:27, that human beings were made in the image of God, male and female. Given your experience of The Divine, what is your image of God and does it include gender?
2. Malcolm felt called as an ordained minister. All people of faith are called to use their unique gifts and talents to do God’s work in the world. How are you called?

We had a really great discussion and I hope that the rest of the meetings will be as well attended and frank.

My ideas on those questions? Well, I have a personal connection to the Trans community and learning about transgender issues has been a steep learning curve since E came out and began his transition. My personal reaction to his statement, "I'm transgender" was one of, oh, that makes sense. It answered questions for me and sparked many more. One of the things we (Eldest and myself) did early on in this process was invite E and his mother to a UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns workshop. Shortly after E made his announcement, I found out the the Coalition was holding a workshop on the T in LBGT in a nearby city. We signed up almost immediately. On the way home, E's mom made the statement "God doesn't make mistakes."

Now, she meant this as a rebuke. Despite sitting through the same workshop that I had, see came away unmoved and adamant that her child couldn't be male since he had been born female. Thus, the statement. Well, I believe that the statement is true - God doesn't make mistakes - but not in the way she meant it. In fact, in just the opposite. E is not a mistake. His realization that he is transgendered isn't wrong. The changes in him, more than just the obvious physical ones of facial hair and deeper voice, are profound. He's happier and more confident. Who he was before was a profoundly unhappy and angry person. Someday, I hope his mother sees the change in her child as a positive one.

The fact that I could lead this study group at my church speaks volumes about the congregation and clergy. The church was very proactive in spreading the word amongst the LGBT community here in Austin about the class. We're speaking openly about issues that are very uncomfortable for many people. United Christian Church of Austin is an amazing place.

If you're in town on Thursday night at 7PM, feel free to join us. If you can't make it, the film is available at Netflix for rent and the study guide can be downloaded online.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

This week in crazy V

Well, here it is the weekend again and I almost forgot the weekly round up of crazy. Mostly because my own internal crazy kicked in this evening and distracted me rather completely (visions of lost reservations, see the previous post).

So, this week. Well, first we had the good news with the injunction against DADT. Then we had the inevitable bad news that the DoJ was going to appeal. Sigh. I don't really get it.

Besides that questionable act - some might consider it crazy - there were other genuine crazy goings on.

Honorable mention goes to the strangest movie review I have ever read. Debbie Schlussel's review of Secretariat was...well...nuts. She first calls Penny Chenery the "original Sarah Palin" but then goes on to blast her for leaving her husband and kids for a horse.  She gives the film four Betty Freidans plus a Sarah Palin. Whatever the hell that's supposed to mean.

Our third runner up this week goes to West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin, who's running for Senate. He claims he's a Democrat and but you wouldn't really be able to tell it from his ad.



The only thing that really says he's a Democrat on his website is the fact that it uses the color blue. That and the link to an article denouncing his opponents use of actors portraying West Virginians as "hicks". Sounds like they're both ijits.

Second runner up is none other than arch-homophobe Tony Perkins. Perkins felt the need to speak out about the recent spate of LGBT teen suicides, but in his oh so predictable manner, he blames the victim.  Money quote:

"Some homosexuals may recognize intuitively that their same-sex attractions are abnormal--yet they have been told by the homosexual movement, and their allies in the media and the educational establishment, that they are 'born gay' and can never change. This and not society's disapproval may create a sense of despair that can lead to suicide."
Yes, it's not the endless torment of being bullied or humiliated by haters who've acquired their homophobia with their mother's milk. It's the "gay agenda" and the very idea that homosexuality is not a derangement that drives these kids to suicide. Not only does Perkins spew this hatefulness but he does so on the pages of the Washington Post.  Yes, the home of Woodward and Bernstein and actual investigate journalism feels the need to give this man space to spread his bullshit. This pretty much typifies what's wrong with American media.

As vile and crazy as Perkins, et all are, this week's winner was clear. We've all heard of the Birthers, that steadfast group of nutcases who think the President is not an American citizen. Well Obama Derangement Syndrome has a new symptom.  Now they want genetic testing to prove the President is actually the child of Stanley Ann Dunham and Barack Hussein Obama. They concede that there is apparently a certificate of birth for such a union but now claim that the only way they'll be convinced is with a DNA sample.  The article on Western Journalism is baffling. Not only does the author say:
Disclosure of Obama’s vital records in Hawai’i will almost certainly show that he was born in Hawai’i to U.S. citizens, verifiable by genetic analysis. Hence at birth Mr. Obama would have been a natural born U.S. citizen. Official investigators should be prepared for this early result, and resist the pressure to consider it to be conclusive as to Mr. Obama’s eligibility as a natural born citizen when he ran for the Office of President.

He adds this whopper in the next paragraph:
The status of natural born U.S. citizen can be acquired – or not – only at birth. But it can be lost thereafter, by loss of citizenship. The term “natural born U.S. citizen” subsumes “citizen”. You can not be a natural born citizen if you are not a citizen at all.
So while this DNA test may prove the President's pedigree, so to speak, they're ready with the counter argument that Obama gave up his citizenship somehow or that the  director of the Hawai’i State Department of Health, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, implied somehow that Obama had more than one certificate raising the idea that President Obama was adopted.

The entire article makes no real sense, relies on innuendo and doublespeak to get its point across  and is patently insane. Although it was dated October 4, I didn't find out about it until this week via Crooks and Liars, so I'm counting as this week's winner in crazy. If they can make specious arguments about the President's paternity, call his father Obama the Luo tribesman and the President a "anti-American communist" then I can damn well name Caleb, whoever the hell he is,  this week's winner.

With apologies to Davy Crockett...

You may all go to Hell, and I will go to Texas Washington, DC.


Not quite what old Davy had in mind, I'm sure. I kinda recall he was headed away from Washington, but what the heck.


After some momentary panic when I could neither find my flight reservations nor decipher my bank account to determine if the ticket purchase had gone through, I have confirmed travel plans (minus the car rental. Still waiting on CheapoAir to get back to me, Their online system did not recognize any of my email addresses and their phone "agents" hung up on me.) 


Also, I have picked a meeting place. Me. Who has never set foot in DC but thinks the internet has all the answers. With the help of Google maps (all hail Google), I have sent off emails and now post the message here. If you're going to be at the Rally, I'm going to be at the National Mall refreshment stand across from the National Air and Space Museum on Jefferson Dr between 7th and 4th streets at 9AM.


View Larger Map

I will most likely be bleary-eyed and in need of caffeinated refreshment. Our flight gets into Norfolk at 10:27 Friday night, then we have to drive about an hour to get to Williamsburg to the time share. We're taking the train from Springfield into DC. That drive will take two and half hours and we have to catch the train no later than 8AM on Saturday in order to get into DC by 9AM. Which means we have to get up at around 4:30AM and be on the road by 5AM. So. Much coffee will be required.


Much.

No decision yet on apparel or signage. Updates will follow. But I will be the slightly rotund, edging into middle age, bleary-eyed Texan accompanied by a long hair and bearded type -also edging into middle age but less rotund (the bastard).


See you there!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns

If you're not a little teary-eyed by the end of this, I'm not sure I want to know you.



Thank you, Councilman. H/T to TheMaddowBlog via Twitter.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bishop Gene Robinson - It Gets Better



Thank you, +Gene. There are faiths and religious people out there that accept LGBTs. We need to speak out, loudly, to drown out the hate of the Christianists.

H/T to Pam's House Blend.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Federal judge orders suspension of DADT

Wow. Finally. And to think we have the Log Cabin Republicans to thank for it. Here's hoping that the Justice Department chooses not to appeal. This bullshit line of "we must defend the law of the land" while saying that "we feel the law is wrong" is truly stupid. Time to act with the courage of your convictions, Obama.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

This Week in Crazy IV

This week there's really only one winner. I knew it when I first saw the story on Monday. Subsequent stories only confirmed it. You've all heard about it. More in a moment.

There were some notable honorable mentions for this week's title. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and his remarks regarding out homosexuals and unmarried/non-chaste women and their fitness for teaching ranks right up there.  In a 2004 campaign debate he said the same thing. He apologized that time, but now claims that he had many people tell him they agreed. Despite the shit storm this comment has instigated, DeMint shows no signs of apologizing this time around.

Another honorable mention goes to Joe the Plumber, who has managed to turn his 15 minutes of fame into a cottage industry. Old Joe has come out against what he and (surprise) the Tea Party thinks is radical legislation to eliminate, wait for it, puppy mills. According to the Humane Society of the United States, Missouri has 30% of the nation's puppy mills. For some unknown reason, they think the idea of puppy mills is bad. But the tea partiers think otherwise. Of course, they claim it's because they feel this legislation will harm legitimate breeders and
"The society seeks only to raise the cost of breeding dogs, making it ever-more difficult for middle-class American families to be dog-owners."
Yeah, right.

Last honorable mention goes to none other than Dick Armey. He wants to eliminate all federal government funding for higher education. Go read the article at Think Progress in the link above. Jilani says it better than I could.

And now we get to this week's winner. When I first saw this story in my reader on Monday morning, I knew it would take top honors this week. In Obion, TN firefighters watched a man's house burn down because he had not paid his $75 extortion subscription fee. There's been quite a bit written about this event this week. Conservatives say it's Gene Cranick's fault for not paying the fee. Indeed, they argue that firefighting should not be a public service available to all.

To add insult to injury, the Obion County Budget Committee voted the next day to expand the service to "give all communities in the county the option of paying a subscription". This despite the fact that a 2008 study done by the county fire department shows that it would take only a 13 cent increase in property taxes to fund a county wide service.

And lastly, the Cranicks lost not only their home but their 4 pets - 3 dogs and a cat - in the fire. I find it hard to grasp the idea of firefighters choosing to stand idly by and watch a house burn to the ground. All for want of $75.

Glen Beck says this is what we should expect to happen. He is among the defenders of the county and believes that this is ultimately an issue of personal responsibility.  Of course, before he said he thinks "this is the kind of stuff that’s going to have to happen, we are going to have to have these kinds of things" he was openly mocking Cranick.

This is indeed where things are headed if we allow the current crop of Conservatives to make headway. After all, we're not responsible for our fellow man. He has to step up and take responsibility. Maybe this lesson will not be lost on others who have forgotten or declined to pay their extortion fee. The world's a harsh place after all.

Bollocks.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Vote Republican....



or don't vote and get what you deserve.

UPDATE: Found the video from the original source. Amazingly enough, they're a film studio based in Phoenix.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

This Week in Crazy III

This week, it seems almost wrong to be talking about the crazy when we keep seeing headlines about gay youth committing suicide. Call your Senator about the Safe Schools Improvement Act. Talk to the people who say that bullying is just a part of growing up and let them know the statistics. We must act. We must stand up and be heard telling those who bully and those who allow the bullying to happen in their schools that this behavior is not just unacceptable, it is criminal.
---
There's been the usual political craziness this week - from Carl Paladino, Republican candidate for Governor of New York,  recorded telling a reporter that "he will take him out" for daring to ask questions about Paladino's 10-year-old daughter to a Tea Party coloring book that teaches children the dangers of high tax rates to the revelation that Christine O'Donnell's pro-abstinence nonprofit SALT (Savior's Alliance for Lifting the Truth) is on a IRS list of deadbeat orgs.  Fun times.

Our third place finalist this week is the ongoing saga of one Andrew Shrivell, one time assistant Attorney General for the great state of Michigan. Apparently, Shrivell has an ongoing feud with one Chris Armstrong, college student and gay activist. Shrivell has a blog dedicated to documenting all the "evil" things that Armstrong has done and even made CNN with his anti-gay stalking. The AG of Michigan refuses to fire Shrivell, saying "civil service rules that protect government employees from being "fired willy-nilly" for exercising their rights of free speech" protect Shrivell despite the fact that he admits this behavior is immature. Shrivell has taken a leave of absence.



What next? Well, James O'Keefe is back in the news. Remember Jimmy? He's the idiot who dressed up in a bad Halloween costume and videotaped ACORN. Well, he's back at his hi-jinks again. THIS time he decided to "punk" a CNN reporter. I won't go into all the details, but suffice it to say, this boy has well and truly lost touch with reality if he thinks that he can seduce a reporter, surreptitiously videotape said "seduction" and use it to spoof the network. Fortunately, one of his own warned the reporter off so didn't have to sit through the whole ridiculous escapade.

After these two, you may be thinking, who could possibly be worse? Well, sad to say, there is someone. Someone who is more than just crazy, they're evil.

If you're not aware, Dan Savage has started a channel on YouTube called the It Gets Better project. (Note: THIS is NOT the crazy. Go watch the videos. Share them with any LGBT youth you know.) This week's winner in crazy (also evil) comes in the form of the Lot Project.  They used a video response to Dan Savage's project as their inaugural video on their new YouTube channel. I will not be posting this video. If you feel the need, go look it up yourself on YouTube. But be warned. It's vile. The name really says it all: "It Gets Worse". In it, an unnamed man decries the sinful lifestyle of homosexuality and uses the suicide of Billy Lucas as a "practical example" of what will happen to those who practice the "homosexual lifestyle" claiming that Billy will be suffering for eternity for the sin of homosexuality that not even his death can "atone for". He calls churches that are open and affirming apostate and not real churches. He claims you cannot live as a homosexual Christian because the terms are mutually exclusive. He further claims that there is no legitimate debate (thus he closed comments) concerning homosexuality and "God's truth".

This man, and people like him, they cloak themselves in Christianity. They are not Christians. They are hateful, fear-filled sub-humans who only want to destroy those they do not understand. They use the Bible as a bludgeon to support their extremist views.

They must not be allowed to succeed.