Wednesday, April 29, 2009

30 Days Isn't Enough

Pam's House Blend  had this episode of 30 Days posted on their website:

It's a full 42 minute episode from the series.  It pits a Mormon mom against a Gay couple with 4 children.   I'd love to say that Morgan Spurlock gives a balanced presentation of both sides, but I can't.  Not only has he chosen someone who literally can't challenge her church's beliefs without risking being ostracized from her family and church, but the "experts" he puts on present highly slanted views and, in the case of Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council,  quote biased and discredited studies. He may think he's providing equal voice to both sides but it doesn't really look like it. A girl who speaks about being jointly raised by her lesbian Mom and her straight Dad in two households describes them as equally normal homes.  Unfortunately, her fairly laid back account is contrasted by a woman who talks about being raised by a gay Dad.  By all accounts, her Dad sounded like an awful parent and her much more sensationalized story completely overshadows the teen's.

We see much more of Katie, the Mormon's, story than that of the two dads.  She has to go out and interact with various LGBT groups.  At one point she even has to place flyers for an organization advocating second parent rights.  While under constant strain and exposure to the "other side" this woman retreats further and further into her belief system.  She complains of feeling attacked constantly. Though I suppose the whole point was to challenge her beliefs by forced exposure to LGBT society, it didn't work. All it did was show the rigidity of her side.

I suppose it's the best we can expect from an hour of TV.  To truly present both sides would have taken much longer.  There are things that are hinted at that I think would've gone a long way towards providing a more balanced picture.  One of the couples' adopted children, all of whom were in foster care first, still has contact with his birth family. Indeed their passionate defense of the couple was amazing and at the same time a missed opportunity. Here is the mom/dad family that Katie preferred and we've given no indication of why they gave up their parental rights. This would have provided an example of when the so-called "right" kind of family didn't work and provided proof of why this kid, at least, is better off with a same-sex couple.

I encourage you to watch it and make up your own mind about how well it presents the question of same-sex parenting.

One Step Forward

The House has passed the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, also known as the Matthew Shepard Act, 249 to 175. 18 Republicans joined 231 Democrats to pass the bill. And just who are those Republicans who risked the wrath of their party?
  • Rep. Judy Biggert [R, IL-13] 
  • Rep. Mary Bono Mack [R, CA-45] 
  • Rep. Anh Cao [R, LA-2] 
  • Rep. Bill Cassidy [R, LA-6] 
  • Rep. Michael Castle [R, DE-0] 
  • Rep. Mike Coffman [R, CO-6] 
  • Rep. Charles Dent [R, PA-15] 
  • Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart [R, FL-25] 
  • Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart [R, FL-21] 
  • Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen [R, NJ-11] 
  • Rep. Jim Gerlach [R, PA-6] 
  • Rep. Mark Kirk [R, IL-10] 
  • Rep. Leonard Lance [R, NJ-7] 
  • Rep. Frank LoBiondo [R, NJ-2] 
  • Rep. Todd Platts [R, PA-19] 
  • Rep. Dave Reichert [R, WA-8] 
  • Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen [R, FL-18] 
  • Rep. Greg Walden [R, OR-2]
And these are the Democrats who voted AGAINST the bill:

  • Rep. Dan Boren [D, OK-2]
  • Rep. Bobby Bright [D, AL-2]
  • Rep. Christopher Carney [D, PA-10]
  • Rep. Travis Childers [D, MS-1]
  • Rep. Artur Davis [D, AL-7]
  • Rep. Lincoln Davis [D, TN-4]
  • Rep. Joe Donnelly [D, IN-2]
  • Rep. Brad Ellsworth [D, IN-8]
  • Rep. Barton Gordon [D, TN-6]
  • Rep. Parker Griffith [D, AL-5]
  • Rep. Mike McIntyre [D, NC-7]
  • Rep. Charles Melancon [D, LA-3]
  • Rep. Collin Peterson [D, MN-7]
  • Rep. Mike Ross [D, AR-4]
  • Rep. Heath Shuler [D, NC-11]
  • Rep. John Tanner [D, TN-8]
  • Rep. Gene Taylor [D, MS-4]
An almost even trade.  While those Republicans will almost certainly face opposition from the Right Wing of the party in 2010, perhaps we should look closely at those Dems. I know I will be watching them.  

If you're interested in following these or other members of Congress, check out

Weekly Weirdness

Time again for the global follies. Let's see what weirdness went on this last week, shall we?

If you recall, a while back I talked about the German tourists caught hiking in the Alps in the nude. Well the citizens of the canton of Appenzell Inner Rhodes, by a show of hands, voted to ban nude hiking. During their annual open-air assembly they passed the legislation that will impose a $176 fine on any erstwhile hikers found enjoying the natural wonders of their lovely canton sans clothing. I guess they saw one too many German tourists in all their glory.

In other not quite related nudity news, the University of Oregon's Ultimate Frisbee team has been suspended for playing in the nude at a game with Oregon State. Already on probation for hosting a party where underage students had access to alcohol, the student club sports committee ended the nationally ranked team's season. I'm not sure I get the appeal of outdoor sports in the buff. Seems like so many things could go wrong.

This week has a plethora of stupid criminals. We start in Arkansas, where 4 men tried to steal a truck that wouldn't run . Three pushed and one steered. Problem was this truck was a Jefferson County vehicle complete with county seal on the side. Good news is the crooks were close to the county jail when they were spotted. Yet somehow two managed to elude capture. It's either balls of steel for trying to swipe the truck or sheer stupidity. I'm going with stupid.

Next is a 40-year-old Minnesota man who led police on a 57 mile chase . In a stolen garbage truck. After firing a shotgun into the engine and laying stop-sticks resulting in flat tires, neither of which worked, police finally captured the man when pulled over and tried to run into the woods. A police dog caught him.. After being treated for dog bites, the man, who was drunk, ended up in jail. I don't know about you but I would have to be pretty damn drunk to steal a garbage truck and try to make it home.

Our last criminal is Clifton Ingram who is disputing felony charges for possession of illegal drugs. His defense? Mushrooms and marijuana are gifts from God and as such its not an arrest-able offense to use them. He might have gotten more sympathy from the judge if he hadn't shown up stoned.

The craziness must come in threes because I have three animal stories. First is the story of a Michigan teacher attacked by a squirrel. Said squirrel was not happy that the teacher was close to her babies, even though she was trying to save them from a crow. That reminds me of the funniest piece of literature ever written: Joe R Lansdale's Bad Chili . You should really click on that link and then click on the picture of book to read the excerpt. As long as strong language doesn't bother you. It's not for children.

The next story comes out of South Korea where researchers have cloned some beagle puppies . But these aren't just any cloned beagles. No they've had a little extra thrown in their DNA. They glow red under ultraviolet light. Seriously.
Researchers hope that this technique of inserting genes will allow for the study of human disease-related genes.

Our last animal story is of Tinker Bell the Chihuahua. As some of might remember, I am not a fan of Chihuahuas but this story is pretty amazing. Seems that Tinker Bell tried to visit Oz . She was swept up by high winds during a storm and carried six miles into the woods. Her owners credit a psychic for her recovery. I am not not making this up. Dog got carried away by high winds. Dog got found by a pet psychic.

That's it for this week. Tune in next Wednesday for another exciting installment. Hopefully, I won't have to mention Governor "We can take our toys away and leave" Perry then. Do you hear me, Ricky boy? Stay out of the news. You're making us look stupid.

What can I say? He's an Aggie .

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

RTT- Or Do Tongue Spots Cause Sun Spots

So its that time again. Funny how it happens every week. Go visit Keely at the Un Mom and share in the linky love.
Puppy Watch- She's up to 24.4 pounds. Still not completely water tight but she's getting better. After a few swats on the behind, she seems to be getting the picture that its either the pads or the great outdoors. This morning she was a wild woman. She was running at full speed, which in itself is funny as hell to watch, all over the house. She'd come charging down the hall, run full tilt into and then onto the bed, then turn around and launch off and go charging across the house to Youngest's room and then back. The first few times the boys followed but they soon got tired. She, however, seemed a non stop font of energy.

Toddlers and puppies. If we could only harness their energy, the world would never want for fossil fuels again.

Speaking of toddlers, have you heard that Gov. Perry, or Governor Big Hair as he's affectionately known in Texas, has asked for the Federal government's help to stop the Swine Flu from crossing into Texas? Last week he didn't want federal aid cause of the strings attached. Now he wants Washington's help. Can't have it both ways, Big Hair. Either you're a big boy and learn to play with others or you take your toys and go home. Personally, I hope he grows up before he gets the whole state grounded.

Big news out of Washington today. Seems that Arlen Specter, R-PA, has decided to change that R to a D. The Republican party needs to be placed on suicide watch cause he's no doubt the first of many moderate Republicans that will be leaving the tent to the crazies. Or maybe the better analogy is he's the first rat to leave the sinking ship. Either way, it's a win for the Democrats.

Well, I'm cold (the office is an icebox) and tired of listening to engineers babble about semiconductor testing but stuck with both. Between them they've sapped all the energy and creativity out of my brain. I need a puppy recharge or a face washing with that spotted tongue to get me going again. Pity she's half an hour away.

Drop by Keely's place. Hopefully the folks there have been better at this random thing today than me.

Monday, April 27, 2009

It is possible to be a Democrat AND a Christian

I'm not one for discussing religion. I'm of the opinion that there are many paths to follow and feel those that push their faith down other people's throats have generally missed the point. However, I have noticed a tendency on the liberal blogs I read, both big and small, of many authors and commenters to assume that those who profess a faith in God are, well, not so bright.

The Right, and especially the Religious Right, in this country like to paint the picture that all Democrats and Liberals are Atheists.  And there are quite a few out there.  The Left perpetuates the stereotype when  blogging and commenting on anything that the Religious Right has to say by being disrespectful, demeaning and downright rude.  I'm appalled often at the blind hypocrisy of left leaning writers who use derogatory language. Some of the things that are said are just as hateful as the things the Religious Right spews.  More insidious is the off hand disrespect thrown casually around in comments about ghosts and religion turning people's brains into mush and a delusion for the weak minded.

First, when you use stereotypes and disrespect to make fun of the people using the stereotypes and disrespect against you, you've sunk to their level.

Second, it's entirely possible to be Progressive, Liberal or whatever left-leaning label you want to use and believe in a higher power and follow a faith or creed.  The two are not mutually exclusive.

I am by NO MEANS endorsing the idea that religion needs to be intertwined with politics. I believe in the separation of Church and State.  I believe in the ideals of religious freedom and tolerance. I have absolutely no desire to force my faith on anyone.

Like many, if not most, Christians in America I have doubts, confusion and lapses in judgement. In other words, we're human.  I do not deny that the Religious Right has a loud voice but what I want you to understand is that not only do they not speak for me, but they don't speak for most Christians.

I like the term Christianist to describe the Religious Right.  These folks, in my opinion, they've stepped off the path of Christianity.  They preach hate and exclusion and seem to cherry pick the parts of the Bible that defend their ideas and ignore the rest.  Many of them have moved into the realm of politics and sought to impose their ideas on the rest of the country. Some out of a misguided sense of "saving" us and others out of fear and hate. Either way, they're wrong. They've missed the point of the faith they claim to profess and the Founding Fathers' ideal of separation of Church and State.

The church that I belong to is a joint United Church of Christ/Disciples of Christ congregation. It is a progressive church that is open and affirming of all people regardless of race, nationality, sexual orientation or gender expression.  We have groups in the church that work with homeless groups,  refugees, area food pantries and more.  We support the missions of both of our parent churches. These missions work in disaster relief, fighting racism and injustice and in support of LGBT people of faith.

What I'm really trying to impart here is that by blindly bashing Christianity, you're lumping moderate and progressive Christians in with the nut jobs like Fred Phelps.  When you assume that anyone who believes in God must not be educated or intelligent, you insult those of us who are college graduates and attend weekly religious services.  Not everyone who identifies as a person of faith believes that homosexuality is a choice, abortion is murder or the poor are just too lazy to work.

Words matter. What you say and how you say it is important.  It doesn't matter to me if those of you who read this blog are Atheist, Pantheist, Christian, Hindu or belong to the Church of Sleeping in on Sunday. What matters to me is the language that is used to vilify, belittle and marginalize people of faith.  I know some of you have had your run ins with Christianists or had other personal experiences that soured you on religion. I respect that. I understand your anger. I've been there.  All I ask is that you remember that when you swing the brush to paint all Christians or people of faith in one broad stroke that you're including me and others like me.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Passing on the Love

Sassy from Well Okay, Sassy Britches gave me this. Thank you, Sassy.

The rules are simple:

* Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.

* Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you've newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Now the tricky part here is coming up with 15 other blogs to give this to that I've found recently. I know I have a long list of blogs on the sidebar but not so sure how many of their authors are going to care if I give them this award and pretty sure I couldn't come up with 15 new ones to save my own life but here goes:

And that's it. I can't make 15.  Sorry.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Noblesse Oblige

Pseudo at Pseudonymous High School Teacher just graced me with this little award:

This award is one of the more thoughtful ones that I've seen or been given.  It's got a purpose behind it that really makes you think about why you're blogging and who has influenced you. And of course it comes from a blogger whose insights and work are creative and humbling.
The recipient of this award is recognized for the following:

1) The Blogger manifests exemplary attitude, respecting the nuances that pervades amongst different cultures and beliefs.
2) The Blog contents inspire; strives to encourage, and offers solutions.
3) There is a clear purpose at the Blog; one that fosters a better understanding on Social, Political, Economic, the Arts, Culture, Sciences, and Beliefs.
4) The Blog is refreshing and creative.
5) The Blogger promotes friendship and positive thinking.

The Blogger who receives this award will need to perform the following steps:

1) Create a Post with a mention and link to the person who presented the Noblesse Oblige Award.
2) The Award Conditions must be displayed at the Post.
3) Write a short article about what the Blog has thus far achieved – preferably citing one or more older posts to support.
4) The Blogger must present the Noblesse Oblige Award in concurrence with the Award conditions.
5) Blogger must display the Award at any location at the Blog.

Thank you, Pseudo.  I'm honored. Memory is not my strong suit, so I'll admit that I'm unclear on how I found your blog.  Mostly like it was through Jen's Spin Cycle on Sprite's Keeper . Whatever it was, what I found there kept me coming back. Partly, it was living vicariously through you and getting a glimpse at paradise.  Your frank talk about your breast cancer journey is full of not just hope and laughter but courage as well.  One of my favorite posts is Sometimes, There Are Worse Things Than Nipplage.  Laughter is really sometimes the best medicine.

And I'll admit, too, that I love it when you visit cause I get this really cool little dot in my map in the middle of the Pacific that's all because of you.

So, like most of us out there I had no idea what I wanted from this blog when I started it .  It was really cool to "be published" even if no one saw it. I only blogged sporadically those first few months but I didn't find my voice until September of last year when things were getting really crazy during the Presidential election. I found I simply had to vent my frustrations and was soon up to almost daily posts.  I almost quit when I was convinced that no one but my family was reading anything I wrote and I was making no impact at all.  It wasn't until October 29 and my first comment from someone not related to me that I realized other people really were reading it. It was a few more weeks before I started getting regular commenters but let me tell you, the knowledge that other people were reading what I wrote and being interested enough to comment was like a drug.  And like any addict I wanted to find ways to get more readers and more commenters.  Changes in design, regular features , lots of dog pictures , participation in other blog's memes . I did it all.  

But what I found in diving head first into the blogosphere was a community of diverse people.  I've made blog buddies from all over the country. I have political blogs I read regularly, both big and small. Mommy and Daddy blogs and personal journals.  All them have been way to connect with a wider world that was refreshing and inspiring.  And they've changed me.  I am a stronger, happier person for blogging. I've become a vocal advocate and ally for LGBT issues.  I know that I am not the only person in Texas that thought Bush was a tool or who voted for Obama. I've found others who feel the way I do about LGBT issues. And I've even been attacked by a troll or two. 

In short, though this blog is far from a full time job, it is some of the most important work I do.  It's not always serious. Sometimes it fails to be entertaining at all. But sometimes I manage to express myself in a way that I hope is worth reading. 

Now to share this award.

First on the list is my first commenter, D at Political Morsels and Other Droppings. She kept me going when I was thinking of quitting. 
Next is Skyewriter at November Fifth. This is a great political blogger who researches her posts and writes intelligently. She's had her share of nut jobs visit her blog but she's persevered all while completing her dissertation.

Cathy at A Time for Change is another great political blogger who for some unknown reason likes my blog.  How I ever caught the attention of such a passionate writer is a mystery.  Her blog is always informative, forthright and thorough.

Keely at The Un Mom is absolutely hilarious and has this great shared meme. Her writing is fresh, funny and her meme has created quite a community.

My last recipient goes to Val at Monkeys on the Roof . This blog has the best writing of the ones I follow.  She is able to transport you with her words and images.  I encourage you to visit her blog and look around.  I think you'll be amazed at what you find.

Thanks again, Pseudo. 

Friday, April 24, 2009

Call your Representative Today

Let them know that you support the Matthew Shepard Act and urge them to do the same. Even if you're like me and your Representative will no doubt ignore your pleas, they need to know that this is needed legislation.

Join the Human Rights Campaign. Call your Representative. You can find their phone number here.

Talking points from HRC:
Let them know that hate crimes against LGBT people are on the rise.
1 out of every 6 hate crimes is based on sexual orientation.
It creates an atmosphere of fear.
The Matthew Shepherd Act will not tell any clergy member what they can or cannot preach. It addresses violent acts not speech.

Call today. I did.

Together, we can stop the madness.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ok, here's the thing...

I am deeply disturbed by the poll posted at DailyKOS that purports that an astonishing 35% of Texans think Texas would be better off as an independent nation.  A poll that uses 600 likely voters to represent the 14 million plus Texans of voting age is absurd. Even if you assume that only half of them vote, I still have problems.  I know that a statistical sample is supposed to represent the larger number but there are so many ways this can be slanted and misused that it boggles the mind.

I am NOT accusing DailyKOS or Research 2000 of bias. I just have problems with polls.  I don't trust them. 

But if we assume for the sake of argument that the pollsters were diligent in acquiring a cross section of the state's voters, then that means that over 5 million Texans think secession is a good idea.  5 million of my fellow Texans think that the Texas would be better off without the US to provide interstate roads or fund military bases or pay their social security checks.  When you look at the break down of who voted which way, it's even more disturbing.  48% of Republicans, 39% of men and 40% of the Independents approve of the idea.  In fact, the Republicans are split 48/48 with 4 percent, the margin of error,  being unsure.  So if 4,479,328 Republicans voted for McCain does that means 2,150,077 of them want to secede?  That leaves 3 million but the poll says only 15% of Democrats want to secede so....see why I don't like polls? I can never get the numbers to add up. 

Whatever the reality is, I think it's safe to say that secession is a really monumentally stupid idea.  The last time this was tried we got the Civil War.  No one who claims to support the idea of secession acknowledges this little fact.  

Now we've got the Texas legislature considering issuing a "cease and desist" order to the federal government. There's already a resolution by the Texas house that reiterates the state's authority granted by 10th amendment that Perry backs. Unfortunately, my state representative agrees. I wrote her complaining about HCR 50 and hoping to find a kindred spirit in Austin. After all, she is a Democrat.  Instead I get a lovely letter that states, in part:

"It is imperative that Texas maintain control of its authority as granted by the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, The erosion of state's rights can have a detrimental impact on not only the states, but upon our nation as well.

HCR 50 states, 'The scope of power defined by the Tenth Amendment means that the federal government was created by the states specifically to be an agent of the states.' As your State representative, I take very seriously the duty of serving the people of Texas. Any attempt to diminish the role of state government should not be taken lightly."

Sounds like she agrees to me.  Agrees with the idea that Texas has the right to tell the federal government what to do.  The cry of "states rights" was one of the heralds of the Civil War.  In fact one of, if not the, key causes of the war.  Are we headed down that road again? And isn't it ironic that the party of Lincoln should be the ones hell bent on destroying the Union this time around?

As a Democrat in a Red State, I've not been very involved in local politics aside from voting.  I think its time that changed. It's one of the reasons I've added a list of Texas-based left leaning blogs to the sidebar.  The first step is being informed.  Next, will be getting involved in a more direct manner.  Not sure what that will be just yet, but I'm damned sick and tired of the Republican trash talk that comes out of Texas.  And more than tired of the inept response of our state democratic party.  I checked out the Texas Democratic Party website today. No mention of HCR 50 or secession talk.  

And that is just wrong. Deeply, deeply wrong.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Best Response to NOM's idiotic ad yet

And this one isn't a parody-

This is the best response yet to the homophobic fear-mongering ad of NOM's to date.  It doesn't strive to make fun of NOM or their ad but instead shows that there are real people of all faiths, creeds, colors and orientations who support gay marriage. Good job.

Shamelessly stolen from Joe.My.God.

Justice for Angie!

Angie Zapata's murderer Allen Andrade has been found guilty of first degree murder and guilty of a bias motivated crime!

He will receive an automatic sentence of life without parole.

H/T to Pam's House Blend for the excellent coverage of this important case. This is a great day for justice.

Wednesday Weirdness- On Time!

Okay, last week I barely posted my weekly weirdness on Wednesday. Sorry.  But this week, I'm on time.

We start with a couple of stories that, at least for me, fall under the title "I've been tempted to do that". First is a report of a judge in Idaho who had a defendant's mouth duct taped shut after he refused to be quiet.  Nicklas Frasure was unable to behave appropriately and Judge McDermott had baliffs restrain him.  They used duct tape to seal his mouth shut.  Apparently, Frasure had no hard feelings.  When the hearing was over and the duct tape removed, he asked the judge is he wanted to arm wrestle. I ask you, who hasn't wanted to duct tape someone mouth shut when they just wouldn't shut up?  Generally, for me at least, that someone was under the age of 18 and related to me.  Just saying.

Next we have a mom in White Plains, NY who got fed up with her daughters' bickering and made them get out of the car.  What mother hasn't threatened to pull the car over when her kids were at each other's throats in the back seat?  I know I have.  In fact, I have. Pulled the car over, I mean.  I just didn't take it quite as far as Madlyn Primoff who actually made her 10 and 12-year-old daughters get out of the car. And then she drove away.  She's been charged with child endangerment.

This next one is in a category all by itself. Filed under  E for "Ewww". Researchers in India are working at creating an artificial heart modeled after a cockraoch's heart. It seems that a cockroach is so sturdy in part because its heart has 13 chambers.  These researchers are hoping to build a working artificial heart for human's that will be cheaper and have multiple chambers like the lowly cockroach.

In the Dominican Republic, authorities are considering a ban and unusual names after a spate of decidedly weird names on birth certificates.   There have been names based on car brands, body parts and fruit. Samples include "Dear Pineapple", "Mazda Altagracia" and "Toshiba Fidelina" .  A judge thinks these names should be banned since they are "confusing and give no indication of a person's gender". Another judge thinks someone should talk to the parents and explain to them just how inappropriate these names are and how they will be scarring their children for life.

More naming problems but this time in New Zealand.  Officials have discovered that the two main islands in the country, North Island and South Island, aren't officially named that, legally at least.  Oops. The islands have Maori names and those are the only ones that appear on the earliest maps and charts. So the Geographic Board, whose official job it is to name things in New Zealand, will make it legal and at the same time formalize the alternative Maori names.

And last we have a lake in Massachusetts. Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg near Webster has been spelled incorrectly on several signs in the area. Seriously.  Someone noticed that a 45 letter name was misspelled. One myth says the name means 'You fish on your side, I fish on my side, and nobody fish in the middle.'  Locals just call it Lake Webster. I call it weird. How the hell do you pronounce something like that? Anyone?

That's it for this week. Later.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

RTT- hmmm. do I have to have a topic?

It's Tuesday and that means you need to go visit Keely at the Un Mom. Seriously. Go.

So, well and have you heard about the big change that's coming to YouTube? I have but I can't tell what they've done. If anything. Maybe they just haven't done it yet. I hope that whatever "it" turns out to be that the little guys still get to post their craptastic videos. Cause, I happen to think that YouTube, as cheesy as it often is, has made a difference. Speaking of YouTube, I suppose you've seen the video that everyone's talking about. The one with Susan Boyle. And if you haven't, I must ask you what rock you've been living under.

Another nifty YouTube jewel is one Sungha Jung. All I can say, is Oh. My. God. This kid is amazing. Don't believe me? Watch this:

See? He's fantastic. He's 12. AND HE'S FREAKING SELF-TAUGHT!!

I wonder sometimes about what makes a person a successful artist. I mean, clearly, this kid has talent. And just as clearly, if you read his YouTube or MySpace pages, he works hard. It's not enough to have talent. Skills like that don't come easily. It's like Stephen King says, "Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work." This kid has what it takes. It will be fun to watch.

Puppy update- She's 22 pounds. She beginning to show indications that our days of picking up poo are growing fewer in number. Thank God. She knows her name and will stop whatever it is you're yelling at her for, most of the time. She also looks at Myrddin at times like she's not quite sure what he is. I can't blame her. This morning, he jumped in bed with us, stuck his head down by my leg as I scratched his back and stuck his butt up into the air. Actually, that's not quite right. He didn't just do the elevator butt, something I've only ever seen in cats, but tossed his butt into the air and did a flip. As in ass over tea kettle. Sometimes, he just makes me laugh.

Myrddin watches TV. Seriously. It's unnerving. He especially likes commercials. Sometimes, however, he gets a little too "into" the show. Mostly when there are other animals on the TV. We can't watch Animal Planet with him in the room. Last night, I tried to watch Marley and Me (which if you haven't seen, make sure you have lots of hankies ready for the last 15 minutes). I had to put him outside. He seems to think that the dog on the TV is just on the other side of the window. He goes and stands up and tries to look in. The other day, the Tums commercial with the Bear came on. Myrddin got all excited, barked, whined, ran up to the TV and whined some more at the bear. And then turned around and placed himself between us and the TV. I swear to you, the dog thought he was protecting us from the bear.

Argghh. I need to get back to work, which today is transcribing interviews by an engineer of another engineer. The fact that one of the engineers is my husband helps not at all. Just shoot me now.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Bush isn't from Texas

But these folks are...

Two presidents:
  Lyndon B. Johnson
  Dwight D, Eisenhower

Neither Bush was born in Texas.  I, for one, refuse to claim them.

Other famous politicians:
  Barbara Jordan
  Ann Richards
  Sam Rayburn
  Sandra Day O'Connor

  Audie Murphy
  Admiral Chester Nimitz
Famous Texans in the Arts (a seriously partial list):
  Meat Loaf
  F. Murray Abraham
  Debbie Allen
  Alexis Bledell
  Carol Burnett
  George Eads
  Hilary Duff
  Farrah Fawcett
  Horton Foote
  Jamie Foxx
  Jennifer Garner
  Gene Rodenberry
  Kris Kristofferson
  Janis Joplin
  Matthew McConaughey
  Dennis Quaid
  Randy Quaid
  Brent Spiner
  Renee Zellweger
  Sissy Spacek
  Beyonce Knowles
  Gene Autry
  Buddy Holly
  Norah Jones
  Scott Joplin
  Tex Avery

  Walter Cronkite (ok, he wasn't born here.  He's a University of Texas grad and was raised here)
  Sam Donaldson
  Linda Ellerbee
  Molly Ivins
  Dan Rather
  Stone Phillips
  Rex Reed

  Denton Colley
  Michael DeBakey

If you want to learn who all these people are and see more, go here .  For other Texans' take on all things Texas, go here and here .

The point is that Texas is more than just the latest air head politician trying to make a name for himself.  We've had a bad run of luck, no question.  But I for one am getting really tired of being hated because of Bush and Co.

As some of you know, I was a Reagan Era Zombie  and one of the things that drove me most nuts about him was his overarching condemnation of the Soviet Union and its people.  The "Evil Empire"nonsense. I studied Russian history, things being what they were it started as a know your enemy kind of thing.  Understanding Russian history shed so much light on how we got in the mess we were in. What I learned led me to believe that it was important to separate the people from the politics.  The Soviet Union was officially an atheist state.  But the people were not.  The politicians hated us.  The people, not so much. We all share an essential humanity that is all too easily stripped away by labels and prejudices.  It's a lesson I learned many years ago and one that needs relearning periodically.

It's easy to hate.  Very easy.  It's also lazy.  It takes far less effort to dismiss a person or group because you think that something about them- where they live, what religion the follow, how they vote, the color of their skin or who they love- defines them completely.  Getting to know someone or a group and learn all the nuances that make up their lives and personalities is hard work.

And almost always worth the effort.

How many more children have to die?

Join the Equality organization in your state to let your state legislatures know that this kind of harassment needs to be addressed.

Visit Equality Texas and sign up. For those of you outside Texas, Google Equality and your state. This should provide you with a link to your local organization. 

Stop the Madness.

Day of Silence

Today is the annual Day of Silence sponsored by the GLSEN.  Kudos to all the students and teachers out there that are participating.  This year's DOS is in honor of Carl Walker-Hoover.

Youngest and my trans friend are participating at their colleges. I found a video on Sassy Britches' blog that I just had to share. There are certain phrases out there in popular use that are hurtful.  Most of the time, people don't even stop to think about what they're saying.  

Dude, don't you just love Wanda Sipes? Stop and think about the throw away phrases you use and how the language in them could be hurtful.  And then find something else to say.  Please.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Governor Perry and Secession

I've resisted talking about this because part of me thinks that drawing attention to it only serves to fuel the idiocy but I have been really disgusted alarmed insulted put off by the negative commentary I've found on nearly every article about Governor Perry and his remarks.

Let me be clear.  With few exceptions, the articles themselves have been reasonably restrained in their tone.  Shocked, yes.  Amazed that an elected official could say something seemingly endorsing secession.  But few bloggers have been openly derisive of Texas.  Lots of scorn heaped on Perry.  Deservedly so.  But it's really been the commenters that have gone off the deep end.  The general consensus has been let the stupid ass hats go. We'd be better off without their stupidity, their blind prejudice and hatred, their gas guzzling trucks and, oh yes,  please keep Bush.

Let me explain a few things.  For one, Texas was nearly purple in this November.  Yes, it shows as a Red State because of our winner take all Electoral College.  In reality, 3,528,633 Texans voted for Obama.  4,479,328 voted for McCain. Let's do the math, shall we?  That's a difference of 950,695.  Out of a voting age population of 14,977,890. There's plenty of room there to make up that difference.  Second, Texans are taught just what Perry said. That Texas, when it joined the Union in 1845, reserved the right to leave the Union, in part because of its history as an independent republic.  It may not be true but it's part of the state mythos and something every child in Texas soaks up with his cornbread and jalapenos.  Hell, I had to look it up and I took Texas History in college, in addition to the indoctrination usual rigmarole I got in high school. (But in my own defense, that was 26 years ago. College, not high school, that is)

 I've lived in Texas all my life.  We are not all Republicans and all the Democrats aren't confined to Austin. Every major city in Texas went for Obama, including Houston, which was a first. Isn't it more important to try to strengthen the Democratic party in Texas rather than write off the state because our ass hat Governor thinks he can run for President?  Because believe you me, that is what this is all about.  Jindal screwed up the Republican response to Obama's address to Congress. Palin is being hounded by both sides of the aisle in her state legislature for trying to leave town during the final week of the legislative session while looking like the idiot that she is for backing out of speaking engagements and yelling at Senatorial aides for keeping their boss up to date on her activities.  Christ, the Repubs are looking at Newt again.  They're desperate. So, Perry thinks he has a chance.  And the only way these days to make it in the Republican party is to cater to the extreme right wing.  In Texas, that's the Secessionists.

I've read so many comments and a few postings (not yours, Cathy) whose authors seem willing to write off a state of 24 million people because their governor is an idiot. Saying this is like saying that you'd like all of the other 21 Red States to leave the Union. The thinking goes that since all Republicans are ass hats then everyone in those states must be an ass hat, too and wouldn't we all be better off without them?

The short answer to that is NO. Don't give up on Texas just yet.

Recommended reading

There a few blogs out there that are off the beaten path but well worth the time to peruse.  None of them have overly large followings and only one of them has gotten recognition of any kind.  That doesn't mean they're not worth your time. So here are my own awards.

Best word imagery able to transport you to another place:
Monkeys on the Roof
This link is to a specific example of Val's amazing talent.  Read it and go on safari.

Best able to knock your socks off with raw emotion and amazing photography:
Pacing the Panic Room
Ryan is simply amazing.  Go read the one about his mom and the comments.

Best letter to the future:
A Letter to Xander
Keely is better known as the UnMom, but here she's Xander's mom.  She tells him about all the crazy, wonderful things he does and how much she loves him.  Sappy? Sometimes.  Funny? Often.  But an amazing idea that I hope she continues and that Xander someday reads.

Best able to piss me off (in a good way) by opening my eyes to things I'd rather not see:
It Dawned On Me
Don't go if you're not prepared to be incensed. Diane is passionate about human rights. Some of the things she talks about are difficult to hear.  And all the more important for it.

Best new find:
Zirgar's Fresh New Brain Squeezins'
He's funny. He holds back nothing. He thinks Rush Limpburger is a tool. Just my kind of guy.

Most unique idea for a blog:
Speaking in CAPS
Jim not only writes his posts, he records them. Both can be found on his blog.  It's a truly neat idea.

That's all for now.  I keep finding new ones.  Some big. Some small. They'll keep being added to the never-ending list on the sidebar. Check them out.

Flag this video!

For those of you out there with YouTube accounts and any one else who finds this replusive, please go flag this video.  If enough people do so, YouTube will take it down.  We did it once, but they put it up again after making minor changes. Go to Joe.My.God to get the full story on this group. Thanks, Joe, for the updates.


Be an ally. Stand up for the rights of your LGBT friends. Join GLAAD.  I have.  Have you?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wednesday Weirdness- I have until midnight, right?

Okay, so I'm late.  I'm sorry.  It was a really busy day. I finally have this week's news of the weird ready for your perusal.

We start in Texas where researchers at Sea Turtle, Inc have created a suit to help a one-legged sea turtle  swim straight.  The neoprene suit holds a carbon fiber fin in place that helps Alison, that's the turtle, swim in something other than tight circles. South Padre Island is generally known for the drunken debauchery that takes place every Spring Break.  Glad to see they're getting some positive press. Plus, it's just damn cool.

Next we move to Fort Smith, Arkansas where a man drove his pick-up through the airport fence in an attempt to reach an airplane.  Problem was the plane had no propellers.  And he was kinda crazy. Aside from the general level of craziness required to drive your truck through an airport fence, this fellow thought he, and I quote, "needed to get to Israel and that he had all the answers".  Whatever.  He's in jail now.  No going to Israel.

Further north in Pennsylvania, a gentleman accused of stealing gas from a convenience store asked a judge to throw him in jail. 6 times he stole gas from this store . 6 times.  Dude, after, I don't know, the first couple of times you'd think the convenience store workers would get a little creative.  Like refusing to turn the pump on when he comes in.  Any way, the judge said no.  He told Jerome Banks to borrow money if he had to, but he was going to repay the $214. No fair hiding in jail.

This one is so crazy it must be true.  Seems that producers of a new NBC reality show want Gov. Blogojevich on their new show.  First of all, the asshat is under indictment.  That generally means he can't leave the jurisdiction and certainly not the country.  Since the show will be filmed in Costa Rica that kinda makes this a no brainer.  Second, why the hell do we need another damn reality show?  Why?

Moving on.  Remember when I told you that Stephen Colbert fans hijacked the NASA contest to name the next module of the International Space Station?  Well, NASA has thrown them a bone , of sorts.  They're naming a treadmill after him. In its entirety the item in question is called the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill, or COLBERT.  *Sigh*  NASA, the bunch of weenies, isn't even going to use the second place name, Serenity.  Nope.  They're using the eighth most popular name, Tranquility. Jerks.  In other words, they had that name picked out already and held a contest just for shits and grins and had no intention of ever honoring said contest, geeks and comedy fans be damned! Bunch of fucking weenies!

Well, that just ticks me off.  I don't know if you could tell.  So, let's move on.  We started in Texas and we'll end there as well.  Seems that a gentleman living in Universal City, a San Antonio suburb, has a real hate on for the local elementary school.  He's filed a noise complaint against the school after their family Field Day on March 20th.  He's quoted as saying that ambulances, police, fire and the Air Force training jets weren't too loud but the school was.  They've already built a fence, removed loud speakers and installed noise-reducing backing on basketball goals in response to previous complaints.  Hopefully, this idiot will be told that he's a nuisance and here's some ear plugs, live with it.

And what would today's Weird Wednesday be without a mention of the national weirdness currently that is the Tea Party follies? What can I say?  I think the best part of the day came when the folks in Washington DC learned that they would be unable to dump their million tea bags in Lafayette Park because they did not have the proper permits .  Followed closely by this jewel from CNN's Anderson Cooper:

And while I could comment on Rick Perry and his idiotic statements of late, I will not.  Let it suffice to say that I never voted for the man and the hatefulness that I have seen spewed by people claiming to be liberals and progressives in regards to Texas on various blogs and websites doesn't inspire me to discuss it.  Not all Texans are ass hats. Please, please remember that the next time you feel the need to paint us all with the same red brush.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

RTT- and now for something totally random

This, my friends, is glorious. And that's all I have to say except, go see Keely at the UnMom.

Trans Tuesday

I have been remiss of late in discussing transgender issues on Tuesdays. There are two important recent events that I want to discuss. One is the beginning of the Angie Zapata murder trial in Colorado and the other is the story of Sarah Vestal and her treatment by a National Car Rental employee in Little Rock, Arkansas. Both stories highlight the dangers faced by the trans community and the importance of including protection for gender identity in hate crime legislation.

Angie Zapata was murdered in Greeley, Colorado in July, 2008. Her alleged killer's trial begins today with jury selection. Angie was a 18-year-old transwoman beaten to death with a fire extinguisher after a date discovered she was trans. Allen Andrade is charged with first-degree murder and a bias-motivated crime. He is being prosecuted under the Colorado state hate crime law. Angie had been living as a woman for 4 years when she had the misfortune to encounter Andrade.

The other incident I want to discuss is Sarah Vestal and National Car Rental. Sarah, a transwoman, was harrassed and verbally threatened while attempting to return her rental at the Little Rock Airport by an employee of National. To add insult to injury, the airport cop told her he couldn't help her since the employee hadn't actually struck her. I'm fairly certain that assault laws in most states include the threat of violence in their definition. Regardless, this employee threatened to take her head off (using colorful expletives) and cocked his fist back to strike her. That certainly sounds like grounds for an assault charge. Sarah did get some help from airport employees who took a written report.

Until she receives something more than the form letter reply from National and an apology from the Little Rock PD, I believe she needs to keep news of this incident alive. Boycotting National sounds like an appropriate first step. While Sarah survived this incident with no physical harm, she deserved better from her home town. It's important that transfolk keep reporting these kind of incidents.

No one should live with the fear of physical or psychological harm just because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. LGBT individuals, their allies and families need to keep pushing for federal hate crime legislation. If the states cannot or will not include protection for these people, then the federal government must step in and do what is right. it is my job as an ally to let everyone know that this kind of behavior is real and happens all too often. We, as Americans, need to understand that everyone deserves the right to live their lives without the threat of physical injury or death for simply being who they are.

It is acts such as these that highlight the need to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the federal hate crime laws. Without their inclusion, victims of sexual orientation or gender identity hate crimes are subject to varying state laws. Currently, only 11 states and Puerto Rico include both sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes under hate crime legislation. Another 19 include sexual orientation as a protected class. A whopping 19 have no protection for either. (Michigan says sexual orientation is a protected class for the purpose of data collection about hate crimes.)

The federal hate crime bill, also known as the Matthew Shepard Act, is currently under consideration in the House. Through the Human Rights Campaign website, you can send an email to your Senators and Representatives encouraging them to vote for this important legislation. I urge you to do so. Let them know about Angie. Remind them that all Americans deserve their protection.

Just Watch It

H/T to Pam's House Blend.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Contest alert!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher has a contest going.  She's giving away Hawaiian goodies like chocolate covered macadamia nuts.

But seriously, you should go check out her blog.  It's almost as good as a trip to Hawaii.

Puppy Watch

Okay, so I've been talking about how much the little miss has grown.  She's a puppy and all so she's supposed to do that but it's been really unbelievable how fast she's grown.

Here is a photo Youngest took of her when she first arrived on March 1st.
Here she is last night with the same bone:

She was about 5 pounds when we got her.  She now weighs...wait let me go fire up the Wii and check...18.9 pounds.  That's 13 pounds in 6 weeks.  Well on her way to becoming a horse.

She's getting better at confining her nocturnal (and diurnal) emissions to the pads.  Not a 100% yet but we're getting there. She comes to her name, when she wants to. She has learned to sit and we're working on shake.  She eats the same food as the boys (large breed Pedigree, good for pups and adults) and damn if we're not going through a ton of food.  You wouldn't think the addition of one more dog would push up the consumption rate so much but we've gone through two large and one extra large bag of food since we got her.

We're considering purchasing a trough for them to eat out of since they trade bowls as the spirit moves them.  Myrddin is the most timid dog I've ever met.  He waits for Rowan to eat before he will unless its people food.  He even waits for Aibhne.  Course that was cause at first he was cleaning up the gooshy food that she wasn't eating in one go.  Now she eats hers and will push him out of the way to eat his.  You hear a lot about who's the Alpha dog but what they don't tell you is that in a pack there is something called the Omega.  As the name implies, this is the dog at the bottom of the pile.  This is Myrddin.  He may have harbored hopes that he would bestow that honor to the pup but it's not going to happen.  She has no fear and is supremely confident in her ability to take down the big boys, all evidence as yet to the contrary.

Of course, that will change.  She will make 20 pounds by the end of the month at which time she will be half Myrddin's weight.  I predict she will overtake him by July 4. Maybe sooner.  When she does, heaven help both of the boys.

But for now, Myrddin can hold her down with one paw, which she hates.  Rowan has established he's the boss dog, for now.  When she gets big enough to take him down, that may change. Should be an entertaining summer.

Had to add these two.  I find it endlessly amusing to watch them sprawl on their backs.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Beck and ACORN

I found two posts today that I want to share.  One is a really beautifully written piece on the DailyKOS.   Hunter manages to be funny while skewering the Right over their idiotic obsession with ACORN.

After reading this post, the thing I came away with, besides a general damn I wish I could write like that, was that the Conservative pundits, talk-radio hosts and "newscasters" on Fox and all their talk about socialism, fascism and left-wing radicals really boils down to just one thing.  Fear.  Fear of the other.  Fear of change. Fear of loss of power.  The pundits and their ilk are pandering to this fear.  From blaming ACORN for the financial melt down for forcing the banking industry to give loans to minorities and the underlying racism that implies to calling everything that President Obama does a step on the road to (fill in the blank); this kind of fear mongering brings out the worst in people.  The fear-mongering of Fox News is outrageous.  It seeks to inspire hatred and fear in its viewers for the sake of ratings.  But they are not alone.  There's a long list of Conservatives that seek to stir that pot in an attempt to retake power.

The other post is on a blog called Orcinus.  This post goes into some really thorough detail on the current use and misuse of the term fascism and in particular Glen Beck's general level of idiocy.  It's well thought out, well researched and thoroughly takes Beck to task for his reinterpretation of history.  The Right has thrown about the terms socialism and fascism a lot lately.  Not only that, the Republicans seem intent on spinning our history in such a way that seems to have little or no resemblance to reality.  When Glen Beck can say that Theodore Roosevelt started the US on the path to fascism by adopting Progressive positions that betrayed the Founding Fathers and the Constitution, there's a real problem; in part because so few people remember enough of their history classes to realize just how idiotic that statement is.  I encourage you to read Orcinus and the history lesson he provides to clarify the situation.

Taken together, the two posts are a glorious explanation of the times in which we find ourselves living.  On one hand we have the psychological explanation of Hunter on the DailyKOS and the other is Orcinus and his political science lesson.  Together, they make clear the dangers of what we face.

In my opinion, one the worst things about this entire situation is that the mainstream media will not refute what Fox and their Conservative "experts" say.  In their desire to present both sides of the story they've chosen to ignore reality.  Some of the issues we face are so complex that their reality is difficult to see, admittedly.  Yet, why is it that the best journalism in this country is not found on CNN or in the pages, real or virtual, of the Washington Post or the Wall Street Journal but instead on Comedy Central and on the many websites large and small of the Internet? Why?  Because the MSM has abdicated their responsibility under the guise of fairness.  And that is the real reason why they're dying.  Not that I advocate a newspaper endorsing political candidates or a news channel spinning the news. Instead, responsible Journalism is about reporting the truth and making complex issues understandable. It doesn't assume that two competing viewpoints are both factual and give them equal weight. It seeks to reveal the agendas of the newsmakers so that we can form our own educated opinion and doesn't simply tell us what to think.  At least, that's what I was taught when I got my degree in Journalism.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Tormented no more

Another child has chosen to end his life rather than endure continued torment that his school was either unwilling or unable to stop. Carl Walker-Hoover, 11-years-old, hung himself after enduring repeated bullying that included daily taunts of being gay.

According to GLSEN, his mother asked for help from the school more than once to end the bullying. His is the fourth suicide of a middle school aged child this year that is linked to bullying.

Despite the obvious need for awareness to solve this problem, anti-gay groups like MassResistance would rather pull their children out of school than let them be contaminated by protests on the National Day of Silence organized by the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN) on April 17. Groups like MassResistance don't see the need for education on the bullying and harassment that LGBT students face on a daily basis. Instead they see the Day of Silence as an endorsement of the "Gay Lifestyle" and a threat to their children.

Someone from MassResistance needs to try to explain that to Carl's mother. Explain to her that her son's suicide had nothing to do with anti-gay bullying and that the DOS, which will fall on what would have been Carl's 12th birthday, is a threat and advocation of sin.

I don't think she'll believe them. But I bet she could give them an eye-opening description of just what this kind of bullying can do.

H/T to Joe.My.God.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wednesday Weirdness

Time for the weekly installment of weird news.  I thought at first that this week was going to be slim pickings but I think I've managed to scrape up a few winners.

We start in Cailfornia where a helicopter pilot has lost his license for gross negligence.  One of his passengers videotaped the pilot and another passenger, who just happened to be a porn adult film actress, in the act during a  2005 flight.  The video even became public.  An NTSB judge upheld the FAA's suspension recently.  The pilot's only remark was that while his actions were unwise, he's much more responsible now. The judge didn't care.

In Detroit, it is apparently illegal to own a pillow, at least if you're going to use it in an outdoor pillow fight.  Organized by an unnamed social networking site, the outdoor pillow fight was to take place at Campus Martius Park in downtown Detroit. Police prevented the fight by disarming the combatants, citing concerns about the potential mess.  Spoil sports.

A woman in a Fort Worth, Texas suburb called 911 when her fried rice didn't have enough shrimp. I just don't get why people think the police give a shit about whether or not your fast food order is correct.  I mean, come on, people. 911 is reserved for emergency use.  Don't they get it?

Enough of the stupid people.  The next ones are all about critters.  In Australia, a blue heeler dog thought to have been swept off a sailboat and drowned was reunited with her people 4 months later.  She was found on St. Bee's Island, nearly 6 miles from where she was lost.  Authorities think she'd been going between two islands and living off goats.  She was reportedly quite estatic to see her people.  Good dog.

Next is a report of a bunny with two noses.  A pet shop owner discovered the bunny, who has two noses, complete with a second set of nostrils, amongst a recent delivery of 6-week-old bunnies.  The store workers are holding a naming contest for the bunny.  So far Cyrano de Bergerac and Deuce are the top contenders.

And last I leave you with this video.  I would've loved to have been that 911 operator.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

First Iowa then Vermont

As amazing as the judicial ruling in Iowa was, the fact that the legislature in Vermont made same-sex marriage legal is even more astounding.

No longer can the Right cry about "activist judges". A state legislature, elected by the people of their state, has made same-sex marriage legal and by overriding the Governor's veto. I have to say that I was doubtful that they would pull off enough votes to override the veto.  Never been happier to be wrong.

Way to go Vermont.

RTT-Or As the Puppy Grows

It's Tuesday. so its that time again.

Well, the little miss has not been weighed recently but estimates abound to her actual poundage. Last time she was 15.5 pounds. After having her jump on my head this morning, I'd estimate she's up to at least 17. And she must be teething or something because she wants to chew on EVERYTHING. Paper, people, underwear, socks, shoes, XBox memory cards (sorry, Tay-Tay), her tail, Rowan and anything she can pin down long enough to get her chompers on.

I've had requests for more pictures so here's a video of them all in the back yard.

She got catapulted onto her back the other day after making the mistake of straddling Rowan's back legs while she tried to chew a hole in his throat. He kicked. She went sailing. And got back up and tried again.

Enough of the puppy. She's still adorable and still not quite water tight.

I am at work way too early cause Hubby had to be in early for a meeting. Having only one car really sucks. But it's quiet and not too many people in yet, so I can blog without fear of being caught in peace.

Hey, Keely, have you read World War Z? I'm listening to the audiobook now. It's all about the Zombie war and its aftereffects. Speaking of audiobooks, why is it that my iPod will recognize TV shows, podcasts and movies but not audiobooks? They get tagged as songs and even if I put them in a seperate playlist, on shuffle they will still pop up in between the music. What it really needs to be able to do is shuffle a playlist. Maybe I should write to Apple.

Eldest's car seems to have made a fairly remarkable recovery. After being towed to Denton from some small nameless burg just north Hillsborough, the mechanic repaired the whatsit that was broken and in doing so seems to have fixed the massive oil leak at the same time. Hurrah! Now if she can just get the AC working, she's set. And she got her first ticket in it already. Seems that the little town of Itasca, Tx. doesn't like people driving in the left lane on the Interstate that runs through their lovely hamlet. They want it reserved for passing only. So she got a ticket for driving in the passing lane. Cost her $140 plus an extra $50 to expunge it from her record. Sounds like a scam to me. The city website claims that the major employers are the local electrical co-op and the school district. The city must be hard up for cash if its got this kind of scam going. Dipshits. Just so you know, Itasca is located on IH-35W 42 miles south of Fort Worth. So, if you're ever traveling the IH-35 corridor through Texas, take IH-35E through Dallas and avoid the entire area.

Well, work beckons. Actually, it's just sitting there. Pouting. But I do have things I should be doing for actual money and not the fame and fortune that blogging brings. So, I'm off. Oh, and go visit the UnMom and leave your own RTT post.

Monday, April 6, 2009


In case you forgot, MDG stands for Millennium Development Goals.

The second UN MDG  seeks to achieve universal primary education.  In 2006, 73 million children were not attending school. In some areas of the developing the world, the percentage of children out of school is as high as 29%. Globally, the average is 12%.  Most of these children are from poor or rural households and an alarming percentage of them are girls.  

Achieving this goal addresses more than just universal enrollment but also learning basic literacy and numeracy as well as completing primary school on time.  This means students should be learning to read, acquire basic math skills and complete their primary course before they reach secondary school age. For nations to compete globally in an increasingly technological world, their students need more than basic math and reading.  They need to build on a successful primary education experience and complete a secondary education as well.  As of 2006, less than 55% of children in developing countries attend secondary school.

The UN estimates that $11 billion is needed annually in direct aid for education efforts in order to reach the goal of universal primary education by 2015.

Despite an increase in funding, we all well short of that monetary goal.

So, what can we do? First, we have to understand that this goal is a basic requirement for the long-term success of all the others.  Education opens so many doors.  Doors out of poverty and the cycle of violence for one.  A door to a better understanding of ourselves and our global community.

We can support Unicef. Their school-in-a-box program supports 80 students.  We can keep governments honest and encourage free, universal primary education for all children.