Tuesday, February 23, 2010

RTT- Snow in Central Texas, just another sign of the Apocalypse

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.

That's puppet cleavage folks. And it's too much for the Colorado Springs 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 and James Madison must be spinning in their graves

It gets tossed around a lot these days that the Founding Fathers intended the United States to be a Christian nation. Many of the Founding Fathers had some pretty strong views about religion and government.

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

Just one more reason I hate Ronald Reagan

As I've written before, I came of age, as the saying goes, during the Reagan years. The man scared me then and as I cast my eye back over that time I find no reason to change my assessment of the man. Remember, St. Ronnie. He'll be making an appearance shortly.

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.

Snow in DC means Climate Change is a farce

At least according to that respected scientist Sean Hannity, because, you know, when it snows in FEBRUARY, it must mean that the planet isn't actually getting warmer.

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?

    Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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

Rachel Maddow tells it like it is

You go girl!

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

More Evidence that the Internet makes a difference

While perusing my blog reader this week, I came across this tidbit on Feministe. Intrigued, I read on. And was just as disgusted as the Feministe writer.

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.

1.    The three main reasons women make easy targets for random acts of violence are:
o   Lack of awareness (you MUST know where you are & what's going on around you.)
o   Body language (keep your head up, swing your arms, stand straight up)
o   Wrong place, wrong time (DON'T be walking alone in an alley, or driving in a bad neighborhood at night)
2.   Some women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc.). DON'T DO THIS! A predator could be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR, LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE.
A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:
o   Be aware: look around you, check under the car as you approach it, look into your car at the passenger side floor and in the back seat.
o   If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. A lot of serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.
o   Look at the car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out. IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. 
3.   Always take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone.)
o   Do not get on an elevator if your instincts tell you that something is wrong (Remember, bad men don't always look bad).
o   Do not stand back in the corners of the elevator, be near the front, by the doors, ready to get off.
o   If you get on the elevator on the 25th floor, and the Boogie Man gets on the 22nd, get off when he gets on. 
4.   If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS run!
o   POLICE only make 4 of 10 shots when they are in range of 3-9 feet. This is due to stress.
o   The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times. And even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN! 
5.   Women are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP IT, it may get you raped, or killed.
Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good looking, well-educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked "for help" into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.
6.   Tips to saving your life, if you have gotten into a violent situation:
o   REACT IMMEDIATELY: If he abducts you in a parking lot, and is taking you to an abandoned area, DON'T LET HIM GET YOU TO THAT AREA. * If you are driving, react immediately in the situation, and crash your car while still going 5 MPH. * If he's driving, find the right time, and stick your fingers in his eyes. He must watch the road, so choose an unsuspecting time, and gouge him. It maybe your ONLY defense. While he is in shock, GET OUT. (This sounds gross, but the alternative is your fault if you do not act.)
o   RESIST: don't go along with him: run, if you are able: Yell statements "Help me," "Rape," or "I don't know this man." * You DO NOT want to get to crime scene # 2. DON'T EVER GIVE UP! 
7.   Always keep your distance when walking past strangers on the street or in dark areas. 
o   There are packages for $19.95 a month that allow you to program only 911 or 5555 (The VSU Emergency Number) into the dialing out program (this is for parents who say it is too expensive for their kids to have a cell phone.) 
9.   BREAKDOWNS: (avoid this by ALWAYS keeping your car in good working order)
o   If your car breaks down, you better have a cell phone to call for help, and lock your doors.
o   Keep a blanket, and a pair of warm clothes and boots, and a flashlight in your car always for emergencies.
o   If you don't have a cell phone, shame on you
o   If it's noon on a business day, you MAY want to put your hazards on and walk to safety.  If it's 2 a.m. and you're close to a populated and well lighted area, go there ASAP. Otherwise, your best bet is to stay in your vehicle. 
10.                 Physical defenses that we can use against the violent predator:
o   The number one, best target you can aim for is, of course, the groin. A good knee strike to the groin will ruin his day.
o   The eyes are one of the most vulnerable parts of the body. Poke him there and you have (possibly) your best window of opportunity.
o   The neck is also a vulnerable spot. Two fingers in the clavicle notch (the v-shaped notch between the breastbone and the chin) will do the job for you. 
11.If you are walking alone in the dark (which you shouldn't be) and you find him following/chasing you:
o   Try to get to a lighted area, preferably a populated area.
o   If he's following you, cross the street. If he follows you, turn around and look at him. He will know that he can now be identified and that he has lost the element of surprise.
o   If he chases you, yell for help and run!
o   Find an obstacle, such as a parked car, and run around it, like ring around the rosy. This may sound silly, but statistical data shows that this has SAVED LIVES. 
12.                  Never let yourself or anyone that you know be a in any type of business (bar, store, restaurant, gas station). 
13.                  Sign up for VSU R.A.D. course. It's a self-defense course for ladies.
Remember, awareness and the realization that it can happen to you are your best defenses.

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.

What does all this mean? Only that the myth of the woman as non-victim and even willing participant is alive and well. Such a piece of garbage passed off as prevention tips enforces the idea that women are the cause of sexual assault.  Clearly, by placing herself in harm's way, she' asking for it. 

What it's really saying is that men are not to blame.

Thankfully, there are those out there that are taking a more proactive view on rape prevention. One that focuses on both sides of the equation. Check out Jezebel.com for more information. I'm not going to go into to much detail about what's on that page except to say it's well worth the time to read it and watch the videos.