Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Spin Cycle- Halloween

Well, it's been a long, long time since I've participated in the Spin Cycle. Let's hope I remember how it works.

Living in Texas, as I do, this is one of those holidays that for me has been almost ruined by the Christianists. At some point, while my girls were in elementary school, we went from having a Halloween carnival to a Fall Festival. We went from decorating doors with ghosts and witches to being restricted to pumpkins and fall leaves. Even though the kids were allowed to wear their costumes to the festival it was explicitly NOT about Halloween. All in the name of political correctness.

Someone, and it was probably just one person, complained and ruined it for everyone else. The Fall Festival at church was the same way. We musn't include the witches and monsters. Someone might think we were worshiping the Devil.

What a complete crock of poo.

There is some basic need in human nature to spin tales and try to freak each other out. You can see it on every elementary school playground as little boys try to find ways to gross each other out, or better yet gross out the little girls. It's multi-billion dollar a year business - from horror movies to roller coasters and video games - we get a thrill out of being scared. I'd dare to say that we're hard wired to do so.

And it has nothing to do with worshipping evil.

Whatever the origins of Halloween, in our modern world it's a chance to be someone else, to use your creativity and get a little scare on. If you're anything like me, you can pull together about half a dozen costumes out the detritus that fills your closets. There might even be a few unfinished costume projects hiding in there, too. I once purchased material and pattern to turn my kids into Power Rangers. I think I still have the material in my closet virtually untouched a decade later. (Though I did use some for triangular bandages for the first aid kit. The yellow, of course. Anyone who gets one of my slings is going to be the hit of fashion.)

So, what are you going to be for Halloween this year? Me? I'm leaning towards overweight, middle-aged mom. At least the costume will be easy.

Monday, October 26, 2009

"Aggravated Homosexuality" in Uganda and Christianists in America: Two Sides of the Same Coin

Ugandan MP David Bahati has introduced a bill that could impose the death penalty upon gay and transgender citizens for acts of "aggravated homosexuality". It also calls for citizens to report any person they know to be homosexual to authorities.

Uganda already has some of the toughest anti-gay laws on the planet but this proposed law has sweeping implications for HIV/AIDS programs and gay rights organizations. "The bill would criminalize the promotion and dissemination of materials that are affirming of homosexuality". Its feared this could be applied to any charity that helps a known homosexual for any reason.

Many Christianists have praised Uganda for its tough laws and open and institutionalized homophobia. It seems that once they journey there they feel free to speak in ways that would get them into serious trouble here at home but reveals their true beliefs. One such is President of Defend the Family International Scott Lively. If you can stomach it, go read his "Report from Uganda" on his website. He equates giving those convicted of the "offense of homosexuality" the choice of undergoing "reparative therapy" instead of prison to choosing therapy after being arrested for drunk driving to avoid prison time. He also thinks that things would be much worse in Uganda if it wasn't for the fact that homosexuality is illegal in Uganda since the "international gay movement" is trying to befoul this proud pro-family Christian nation.

It's embarrassing that we're exporting this kind of filth.

When we hear the Christianists spout their madness and rail against LGBT rights, same-sex marriage or transgender "bathroom bills" this is kind of thing their belief system would bring about. If they could, they would criminalize homosexuality and transgenderism in the US. They would seek to roll back the tide of human rights in order to preserve a way of life that never really existed.

When we hear stories about the abuses heaped upon LGBTs in Uganda and other countries in the name of Christianity or Islam, we cringe. The extreme cases are so obviously egregious that they are easy to condemn but while we are safe in our outrage for the problems "over there" we fail to equate the equally egregious events in our own backyard.

From discrimination faced by someone like 8-year-old Josie Romero who couldn't attend school in Arizona because she was transgendered to Christianist activists spreading lies in the fight for marriage equality in Maine, we stand on the precipice of the infamous slippery slope. While we slog our way towards an enlightened way of thinking about and dealing with our LGBT sisters and brothers, the impetus to fall back into the depths of hate are ever present. They are present in the voices of those on who screech hate towards Josie's parents; present in the ads of Stand for Marriage Maine and others like them that try to stop same-sex marriage; present in the violence and verbal abuse that are sad facts of life for far too many LBGTs in our country.

As long as we stand idly by and allow those who hate to continue unchallenged, they win.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009


The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act has passed in  the Senate and President Obama will sign it before the month is out!

The legislation will provide for federal grants and assistance to local law enforcement investigating and prosecuting hate crimes and gives federal authorities jurisdiction where local law enforcement refuses to step up.

It's a good day.

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Rep. Alan Grayson - why oh why can't he be from Texas?

Instead of John Carter, I want Alan Grayson as my Rep. in Congress. Here's another Congressman unafraid to stand up for what he believes and tell it like it is.

He has created a new website called Names of the Dead for people to add their stories about loved ones who died for lack of health care in America. This is a fantastic idea and comes as we approach November 1, All Saint's Day, a day traditionally set aside by many Christian faiths to remember those who have died. I'd love to see the list of names that this site will generate read in every church across this nation.

Won't happen, of course, but it's a worthy goal.

Grayson's idea here is simple and powerful. Let the people most affected by our broken health care system speak. As their stories come out it becomes harder and harder for those against reform to sound like sane, reasonable people.

There's also a link on this site to sign Grayson's petition to Harry Reid that tells him to get off his butt and lead. Even if you have no story to contribute to the site, I encourage you to visit and sign the petition.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Comedian is a better prerequisite for Senator than Lawyer

So Senator Al Franken (D-MN) is my hero. He doesn't tolerate bullshit and he's managed, with his first piece of legisaltion, to show a certain bunch a Republicans for the insensitive, bought-and-paid-for idiots that they are.

His amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act 2010, Franken Amdt. No. 2588, had this stated purpose:

To prohibit the use of funds for any Federal contract with Halliburton Company, KBR, Inc., any of their subsidiaries or affiliates, or any other contracting party if such contractor or a subcontractor at any tier under such contract requires that employees or independent contractors sign mandatory arbitration clauses regarding certain claims.

What this basically means is that KBR and any other contracting party, who wants to force its employees to agree to arbitration, loses its government funding. Those certain claims that the amendment refers to are the criminal acts of sexual assault. KBR requires its employees, specifically its female employees, to sign a statement  restricting said employees from taking workplace sexual assault, battery and discrimination cases to court but forcing them instead to use arbitration.

Franken's legislation was inspired by the story of Jamie Leigh Jones, who was gang-raped by co-workers in Iraq while working for KBR. She was held against her will for 24 hours and threatened with her job if she left Iraq for medical attention.

KBR has never disputed the facts of her case.

What they did do was insist that she go through arbitration to deal with her "complaint". The Department of Justice agreed and it took 3 years for Jones to get the legal right to sue Halliburton/KBR. Franken's amendment would defund KBR and any government contractor who tries to insist upon mandatory arbitration for this kind of "claim".

One of the 30 Senators who voted against this amendment was my own John Cornyn (R-TX). If the Texas Democratic Party has any brains at all they will use this in every single ad run against Cornyn in his next election. Every. Single. One.

Fresh of this victory, Franken next tackled Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Diana Furchtgott-Roth as she testified at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on medical bankruptcy. The exchange is a thing of beauty. She claimed that a move to "European-style" universal health care would increase the number of medical bankruptcies. Franken disputes those claims in a straight-forward and take-no-prisoners moment of zen.

H/T to Think Progress for the clip and accompanying article.

Franken is the kind of Senator that we all wish we had representing us. He'd certainly be an outstanding improvement over either my two Republicans. Cornyn tows the "party of no line" so hard it's amazing that he can remain vertical against the forces of reality that he so strongly opposes. Kay Bailey-Hutchison is more concerned about her next campaign - will she/won't she run for Governor against Rick "Gov. Big Hair" Perry. Her dithering, by the way, is in no small part responsible for Mr Perry's right turn into Wing-Nutistan.

Though how weird must it be to hail from Minnesota? How can one state give us both Al Franken and Michele "Bat-Shit Crazy" Bachmann? Seriously. How?

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A voice from the "Greatest Generation"

What we fought for on Omaha beach indeed.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." That's what this man fought for, what he considered worth dying for and what he believes is the right of his son and all LGBT people in the country - EQUALITY.

Now is the time. Ours is the generation. Will we fight for what is right or will we surrender to the status quo?

Over the Top!

Thanks, Wild Child!

The award rules are:

Answer the survey below…you can only use one word answers!
Pass this along to 6 of your favorite bloggers!

Where is your cell phone?desk
Your hair?damp
Your mother?gone
Your father?gone
Your favorite food? cheese
Your dream last night? none
Your favorite drink? soda
Your dream/goal? -100
What room are you in?office
Your hobby? internet
Your Fear? republicans
Where do you want to be in 6 years? ireland
Where were you last night? home
Something that you aren’t? skinny
Muffins? homemade
Wish list item?Kindle
Where did you grow up? Texas
Last thing you did? email
What are you wearing?purple
Your TV? off
Your pets? dogs
Friends? bloggers
Your life? good
Your mood? meh
Missing someone? Dad
Vehicle? Hyundai
Something you’re not wearing? makeup
Your favorite store? bookstore
Your favorite color? purple
When was the last time you laughed? yesterday
Last time you cried? forgot
Your best friend? hubby
One place that I go to over and over? work
One person who emails me regularly?Alice
Favorite place to eat? out

Now, the hard part. Six bloggers...Aliceson @Feetoffthetable , Sprite's Keeper, Chris @ Chris' Rants and Raves, Texas Trailer Park Trash @ I Tried Being Tasteful.., Unmitigated, and I think that's it. Sorry, couldn't make it to six. I mean, I could send it to any number of people but would they actually a) know who I am, b) fill it out or c) think I'm stalking them with random awards. Hopefully, these 5 can answer these questions appropriately. If not, oh well. I tried.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

RTT - It's raining. Oh. Joy.

It's Tuesday. It's raining. It must be Belgium.

But seriously, you know what to do. Drop by the Unmom and see for yourself. She explains it so much better than I.

So, yes, it's raining. After a dry, hot summer it looks like we're in for a wet, cool fall.  I can't complain too much except that it means my carpet stays slightly damp from the tracks of wet dogs x3. The current plan to get rid of the stained, stinky carpet is to just rip it up over Christmas break and live with the concrete sub flooring until such time as we can scrap up enough dough to cover it with something else. I'm currently leaning towards concrete overlay. Easier to clean, far less likely to get stained and stinky and as an added bonus will provide endless amusement in the form of one neurotic dog who thinks tile is the devil.

Eldest and her roommate were home over the weekend. While I'm always glad to see them they always end up costing me money and screwing with my diet.

Speaking of which, the Wii Fit board has one last chance at life and then I'm chucking it. I've bought a rechargeable battery pack that stays plugged in on it's 12 foot cord at all times and I've re-synced it more times that I can remember including a master reset last night that wiped all syncing memory from the Wii, forcing us to sync all remotes and the board. No joy. About halfway through boxing last night it lost connection. We're going to try a shim under the battery pack under the assumption that it's loose and losing connection which causes the board to loose connection with the Wii. If that doesn't work, it's done for. Anyone who knows a solution to this problem will be generously rewarded. Not sure with what, but I'll think of something.

Thanks to all of you who commented about Youngest's bout with the hospital. I have to ask, what does it say that one of her first questions when the doctor told her in the emergency room that she could go upstairs for observation or go home and follow up with our doctor that after she said she preferred to stay she asked me if that was okay and could we afford it.  I paid our $100 emergency room visit co-pay and was visited bright and early the next morning with someone from accounting to hit me up for $700+ more for the estimated costs. So while the true answer is not really we're okay since they accepted a payment plan.  Now we just have to see how close they were in their estimate. And what the doctor's charge. Which is separate, of course. I can't imagine what the cost would have been if she'd actually had appendicitis and needed surgery. 10% adds up pretty damn quickly.

Speaking of that emergency room doctor, he asked her five times if she was absolutely sure she wasn't sexually active. 5 times. Since he didn't think it was appendicitis he was partially convinced that it was some kind of pelvic inflammatory issue and that was only possible if she was sexually active. I'm still not convinced that he ever really believed her protestations to the negative. If she'd felt better I have no doubt that she would have put him in his place. She has a sharp tongue and isn't shy about using it. I have no idea where she gets it.

So, that's about it for this session. Can't think of anything else to say. Go visit the Unmom for more Random Tuesday Thoughts. You'll be glad you did.

Monday, October 12, 2009

There is hope for the future

And comes in the form of this young man and the millions of his generation that have decided to be heard:

This is the voice of the future. It is unstoppable; it is firm in it's resolve and it will ultimately win the day. It may require that this generation step forward and enter the political arena and replace the stodgy old fools that seem permanently ensconced in the halls of Washington. I, for one, will welcome the day.

H/T to Andrew Sullivan.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Home again, home again

Youngest is out of the hospital without a definitive diagnosis. They think it's gastroenteritis, which is really just a generic catch-all for your gut is unhappy.

She is feeling better. Mostly because they finally let her eat real food today.

We celebrated with dinner at TGI Friday's and Zombieland. I recommend both.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Have I told you lately how much I hate hospitals?

No? Well, let me assure you, I do. Doesn't mater if I'm the patient or someone else. The bureaucracy drives me nuts.

Youngest went to the emergency room last night with abdominal pains. We checked in at 7:45. At around 5 AM, we were moved upstairs after a CT scan and ultrasound found no signs of appendicitis or ovarian cysts. She's a mystery.

We've waited almost 2 hours for a tylenol. The doctor assigned is a surgeon and he must have been in surgery because it took that long to get a dose approved. Still haven't seen it though.

Since we're not sure what is going on, we're sitting here waiting. Waiting to see if she gets better or if she gets sicker. So far, there hasn't been much, if any, change. She is now running a slight fever. Points in the appendicitis column despite a negative CT. Her pain level, which is really why we're still here, hasn't changed. Not better. Not worse. So points in the I don't know what the fuck is going on column.

Chances are high that we will be here through at least tonight. I've gotten about 3 hours of sleep, mostly in little cat naps. Hubby is going to stay tonight. Despite not joining us in the ER (he stayed home and did laundry, of all things) he stayed up almost as late as I and is leaving work early since his brain is too fuzzy to focus on work.

Happy, happy. Joy, joy. To top it off, Youngest is a really cranky and non-communicative patient. She just withdraws when she's feeling bad and you have to push her to tell you what's going on. It's frustrated her surgeon enough that he wants her to hold off on the prescribed morphine. Since he wants her conscious and marginally verbal when he sees her.

Any way, that's the latest from my neck of the woods. Some of you have emailed me to let me know comments have not been working. I checked the settings and everything looks okay. I had changed comments to embedded but I changed them back to pop-up. Let me know if that works.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

RTT- And the saga continues...

It's Tuesday. I'm late. You know the drill.

Two doctors visits in as many days later and the news is in. It's not anything really unexpected.  Blood work normal. Blood pressure good. Pulmonary Function Test fine. Poked, prodded and scrapped ( you know what I mean, ladies). The only real oddity was a questionable result or two from the echocardiogram. Since none of these tests gave the good doctor an answer, it's off to more tests. Now I get to do a stress test to make the sure oddities are nothing to be concerned about. Yay me.

Oh, and the good doctor concedes that I need to see a Lymph specialist. Since nothing he's done so far points to anything else. It's so much fun having a condition that is diagnosed by ruling everything else out first.

I predict that the stress test will show that I am a fat, out of shape, middle aged woman. And nothing else. Cause that about sums it up when you take out the Lymphedema.

Any one in your neck of the woods down with the dreaded H1N1? The only people I know with the nasty bug are from church. One enormously pregnant friend has a sick kiddo. She's due in like two weeks and here's hoping she doesn't catch this. That would suck.

Youngest is moping around today with what I've diagnosed as stayinguptoolate syndrome. As in, I don't care what you say I can function on only 3 hours of sleep a day during the week with a marathon sleep session on Saturday to "make up" for my general nocturnal behavior and suffer zero consequences.  She is now suffering the consequences - dizziness, stomach upset, general feeling of crap - that we're hoping doesn't morph into the dreaded H1N1. Cause being a college student is apparently a risk factor according to my OB/Gyn.

I'm about ready to concede defeat and simply pull up the carpet and be done with it. We got some volcanic ash from someone who swears this should solve our odor problem. If it doesn't work, it's coming out. I'd rather have concrete sub-flooring than spend any more time in the miasma. Seriously. It's embarrassing just writing about it.

Speaking of the doctor, he's all, you're going to keep loosing weight, right? And start getting some exercise, right? And I'm all, yes doctor. I'm using the Wii Fit and doing Weight Watchers. So, I am going all official here and declaring that I am going to use the Wii Fit every morning and be a good girl and stay on the diet. I've been reluctant to chronicle the weight loss here but maybe someone will keep me honest. Because I am essentially a lazy coward who doesn't want to be accountable to someone else. Or, you know, get all I've only eaten carrots all week and why is my skin turning orange kind of blogger.

About my general laziness in re blogging. Well, what can I say? Weird Wednesday has died a quiet little death. I missed last week and wasn't actually too bothered. Apparently, no one else was either. Work has actually provided me with actual work of late, so no blogging at work. And Facebook has sucked me in a spat me out - FarmVille and Zynga Poker mostly. Clearly I am addicted. Since the first step is admitting you have a problem, I'll say it here:

Hi, I'm TrueBlueTexan and I'm a Facebook-aholic.

Care to join me in a game of Zynga Poker?

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Do You Read Banned Books?

What do The Grapes of Wrath, Little Red Riding Hood, Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary and Playboy have in common?

Every one of these works has been censored somewhere in the United States. Censorship comes in many forms. Whenever a school board librarian, newspaper editor, politician, or store owner tries to take away your right to decide what you want to see, hear or read, that is censorship.

In honor of Banned Books Week (September 26 -- October 3), I took a quiz to see which classic novels of the 20th century have also been banned or challenged. Take the quiz to find out for yourself.

Blatantly stolen from the ACLU website. They sent it to me first in an email so I think they won't mind. ; )
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None so blind... those who will not see.

John Boehner is one of the blind. GOP Minority leader Boehner is quoted as saying "I'm still trying to find the first American to talk to who's in favor of the public option, other than a member of Congress or a member of the administration. I've not talked one and I get to a lot of places. I've not had anyone come up to me -- I know I'm inviting them -- and lobby for the public option. This is about as unpopular as a garlic milkshake."

Health Care for America Now as an online petition to let Mr. Boehner know that there are Americans in favor of the public option. Won't you join me in signing and let him know that there are plenty of us out there that want health care reform.

Contact Rep. Boehner here and send him this nifty garlic ice cream recipe I found. Apparently, there's this garlic festival in California every year that makes garlic ice cream. From there it's just one small step to a milkshake. H/T to Charles Lemos at

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