Tuesday, February 23, 2010
It's been a long, long time but I think I still remember how to do this. Stop by Keely's for more randomness.
So today it snowed. In Austin. Schools let out early. I had to work. Since today was Youngest's regularly scheduled day off (how does she do it? seriously, every semester she has a day without classes.) she made this:
That, for those of you who don't know, is the Great One, Cthulhu, rendered in snow. All our friends with younger kids are posting on Facebook about the snowmen their kiddos made. Mine made this. She ROCKS!
So if the snow in Washington, DC was proof that climate change isn't real, what must the dittoheads think of this? Once upon a time, back in the dark ages when I was growing up, I could count the times it snowed in Houston or Austin on one hand. Generally, it was about once a decade. This season, it's already snowed three times. First it was 60+ days of 100+ temperatures this summer and now this. I really don't need any more proof.
Any way, enough of the serious stuff. Ever wonder how someone makes it to level 414 in Mafia Wars on Facebook? I mean really. What does he do, play all day, every day? Does he have a real job? Cause I'd love to know the secret.
bus shelters. If pink fuzzy boobs get your funk on, that's up to you, but I think it looks fairly tame.
If that's too racy for you, how about the idea of Pole Dancing as an Olympic sport. Not only can you now buy your own pole for exercise there are apparently national and international federations that recognize this as a sport and want to see it in the Olympics. I'm not making this up. Really.
So pole dancing as an Olympic sport, censored puppet cleavage and Facebook madness. Kinda makes my kid's snowCthulhu seem tame.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Thomas Jefferson, for one, coined the phrase "separation of Church and State". He worked to remove the tax support that the Anglican church received in Virginia, writing the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom. He wrote his nephew and ward, "Fix Reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason than of blindfolded fear." Jefferson even went so far as to create an edited version of the New Testament that removed all mentions of miracles, the Virgin birth, the resurrection and divinity of Jesus.
James Madison, co-author of the Federalist papers, worked with Jefferson in Virginia to disestablish the Anglican Church. In his latter years he wrote against the inclusion of Chaplains in the armed forces and Congress, feeling they "produced religious exclusion, but not political harmony."
Indeed many of the framers of the Constitution were Deists. Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were both heavily influenced by Deism. So were Madison and Thomas Paine. While many of the Founding Fathers regularly attended church and professed a belief in God, many of them felt equally strongly about the need to keep the Church out politics.
So what would Madison and Jefferson think to hear a Virginia state representative say this:
“The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children,” said Marshall, a Republican. "In the Old Testament, the first born of every being, animal and man, was dedicated to the Lord. There’s a special punishment Christians would suggest.”
Bob Marshall, Republican State Delegate, uttered these despicable words at a press conference against state funding for Planned Parenthood. He seems quite taken aback that his statements have made national news, including an online petition calling for his resignation and apology.
Hearing this kind of thing from a politician is more than just disgusting. Taken with the news from Utah, it reminds me of Margaret Atwood's A Handmaid's Tale.
The Utah law criminalizes a woman's "intentional, knowing, or reckless act" leading to a pregnancy's illegal termination. It specifically says a woman CANNOT be prosecuted for arranging a legal abortion. However, if any of her actions result in a miscarriage, whether that was her intention or not, she could potentially be prosecuted and, if found guilty, receive a sentence up to life in prison. So if a woman remains in a abusive relationship when pregnant and her abuser assaults her and causes her to miscarry, she could be charged under this law. After all, remaining in an abusive relationship is a reckless act. Such are the fears of opponents to the bill.
Are we moving towards a theocracy? Those against same-sex marriage, abortion, DADT, and ENDA all use religious thought as a basis for their arguments. So much of the conservative rhetoric in our country seems grounded in Christianist thought. It rears its ugly head in those who support the anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda as much as it does in those who call Dr. George Tiller's murderer a hero.
And is absolutely what the Founding Fathers fought against. What Jefferson in particular hated. He fought to free Virginia from laws that denied anyone who proclaimed no faith in God or the Trinity the ability to hold public office. Now, a Virginia state delegate uses religion to abuse those with disabled children.
How low we have fallen.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Today, Crooks & Liars has a post about Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) calling for public opposition of the proposed merger between media giant GE/NBC and Comcast. That this could even be within the realm of possibility lies solely at the feet of Ronald Reagan and his deregulation juggernaut.
Once upon a time, there were limits to how many radio stations, TV stations and newspapers one person or entity could own. Until, 1984 (Yay! Ronnie!) the rule was 7. You could own 7 radio stations, 7 TV stations and 7 newspapers. In 1984 that rule was changed to 12 for TV and newspapers. Now, there is no cap on the number of radio stations one person/corporation can own. Since this ruling took effect, American radio ownership has shrunk tremendously. Think Clear Channel.
US media is concentrated in the hands of 6 major companies: General Electric, Disney, News Corp., Viacom, Time Warner and CBS. Together they control 68 broadcast TV stations, 187 radio stations, over 40 cable networks, 4 of the largest film studios, 3 major publishing houses, numerous magazines and a smattering of interests in sports teams, amusement parks and more. Check out those links above for a full listing of who owns what. It's kinda scary.
If GE is allowed to merge/acquire/suck up Comcast, they'll gain 6 cable channels, 4 sports franchises in Philadelphia, and the crown jewel - Comcast Cable. At last they'll be able to compete with Time Warner!
Once upon a time in this country, the FCC was concerned about the concentration of media ownership. They worked to keep one person or corporation from controlling the news in large markets and were committed to diversity. No longer.
It's all about money. It always comes back to money. Just ask Rupert Murdoch.
We may bemoan the recent Supreme Court ruling that corporations are people, but in reality we should not be surprised. We've been moving toward corporate control of our nation for some time. It can be traced to the supposition that deregulation increases competition.
And we have Ronnie Raygun and his band of merry criminals to thank for that.
Never mind that that the recent blizzard in DC broke all sorts of records. Don't take my word for it. Believe the National Weather Service. You know, the folks who keep the records. And don't be concerned that while the greater DC metro area is seeing snowfall totals of up to 23 inches in places, Vancouver, you know that place where the Winter Olympics is about to take place, has had the warmest January on record. Vancouver is finally getting some snow but if the temperatures rise again, organizers will have to scramble.
Don't believe me? How about no less than Bill Nye the Science Guy?
I admit I was thrown by the full court basketball hail Mary bit, but I should not have doubted the Rachel. I love that Bill Nye equates science denial to being unpatriotic. It's about time that someone threw back that gauntlet and used the rhetoric of patriotism against the denialists. Beautiful. Simply beautiful.
These idiots who look at the snow and say, "See! Global Warming can't be true cause it snowed today!" are only revealing their total lack of understanding of basic science. The planet is getting warmer. The climate is going nuts. That's how we get record snowfall in DC, not enough snow in Canada, mudslides from torrential rain in California and drought across Africa.
Who are you going to believe? Sean Hannity or a group like the International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA) who spend their days studying the climate? I think I'll go with the scientists. You know, those elitists with all those fancy letters after their name and not the college drop-out. But that's just me.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
I've said this before and I am not alone. The Democrats in Congress and the White House need to understand that compromise and bi-partisanship will not work with the Party of No. The Republicans will not vote for anything that the President favors simply because he favors it. The Democrats have the majority. They must grow the balls to use it.
Republican hypocrisy knows no bounds. I was beginning to think that Rachel was going to name off every Republican congress critter and it's entirely possible that a case could be made against them all. It's no surprise to me that my critter, John Carter, was one of those she mentioned. (He's an idiot who seems to get elected every year by the folks up in Sun City.) Even old KBH got mentioned. She's running for governor. Won't be a big difference between her and Gov. Big Hair if you ask me. Who by the way, has a brass pair. He's running a campaign ad touting the fact that he turned down 3 billion in "wasteful federal dollars", read the stimulus. Ass. Hat.
Anyway, I think it's past time that the Democrats understand that the opposition party is just that - the OPPOSITION. They won't and indeed can't agree with anything that comes out the Obama White House and expect their base to reelect them. Because as we all know, the Republican base has been conditioned to believe that Obama is a socialist who may or may not be an American, the Democrats are closet Socialists, and together they represent the greatest danger to the American Way of Life that this country has ever seen. You can't tell people to believe this kind of crap and then expect them to understand that maybe some of what the "Bad Guys" are proposing might actually be a good thing. You just can't. The Republicans will reap what they have sown. As long as they don't take the rest of us down with them, I'm all for it.
And it's up to the Democratic majority to make sure that they don't.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
It seems the Valdosta State University Police Department never got the message that rape is not the victim's fault. The good news is that enough outrage was spread across the interwebs that they've now taken the page down. Fortunately for us, it lives on in Google cache. Gotta love teh Google. I reprint it here for you since the cache will not last forever.
Yes, this victim-blaming garbage was passed off as sexual-assault prevention tips. It smacks of something passed along in some email chain with a dire warning attached about this could have saved someone's life and we need to send it to every female we know, especially our daughters, so they can benefit from the tragedy. The only problem is that date or acquaintance rape is far more common than the stranger scenario the warning seeks to prevent. Estimates range widely but one report suggests that 7 in 10 rape victims knew their attacker. Others place that number even higher, especially on college campuses where some 90% of rape victims knew their attacker. Does this piece of idiocy passed off as legitimate advice take any of that into effect? Nope. And thus the outrage.