Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Preaching hate, when it should be love

I'm not a religious person in the traditional sense.

But, although my family has mixed roots (Jewish, Apache, Irish, etc.), I am the daughter of a former clergyman, and I have read the Bible cover to cover.

I know enough to believe that, as a great bumper sticker says, the Christian right is neither.

I am writing this because I am tired of people who supposedly follow Jesus distorting his message.

I am tired of megachurches, including one near my own town, firing off hateful messages about homosexuality.

Why not leave consenting, loving adults alone? Why not tackle the real issues that are simply shameful in this rich country of ours, like children living in poverty and hunger?

Apparently it's much easier to rile people up. Never mind that, as you'll note if you read the scriptures, Christ never talked about homosexuality. He never talked about family. He didn't even have a wife or kids.

He hung out in what would be considered low company: beggars, prostitutes, adulterers, and other poor people were his companions. The group he hated most of all? Hypocrites.

And that's exactly what these hate-mongers are. What happened to judge not, and ye shall not be judged?

What's even more disgusting, though, is people who are really bigots - or who side with bigots - and duck under the name of Christianity.

Take Washington State Sen. Brian Hatfield. He's a Democrat in a safe, safe district. He's been waffling on support for a bill that would grant just a few rights to same-sex couples that straight couples take for granted.

And when pressed for a real response about his support regarding the bill (as opposed to sending constituents a form e-mail saying he was "torn" about it), he told a group of supporters of the bill - many of whom are gay Christians - that he was a born again, and his church members said they were afraid of losing their rights if a gay rights bill passed.

Excuse me? This last bit defies logic. Hatfield, if he really buys into it, is dumb enough to be ousted from his seat.

Then he went on to say that the bill would probably pass anyway without his support.

Personally, I think I'd rather have him say, "Fuck the gays, I'm not in favor of equal rights," and have him be honest about it.

But he'd rather straddle the fence. Won't do any damage, obviously, because his balls are nonexistent.

What was that part from Dante's Inferno about the hottest places in hell being reserved for those who are neutral in times of crisis?

Monday, February 19, 2007

10 Key GOP Values

A friend sent me the Green Party's 10 Key Values - which sounded really neat.

So I couldn't help surmising what the Republican Party's 10 Key Values were:

Republican Party 10 Key Values

We define "grassroots democracy" as "the people with money should control things." Money's green, grass is green - it's a logical conclusion.

All persons earning $500,000 or more annually should have the rights and opportunity to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by those who make less. We must consciously confront in ourselves, our organizations, and society at large, barriers such as taxes, regulatory agencies and laws.

Ecology is outdated; this is wisdom.

We will work to keep our own children out of the military, while sending poor ones to chase fictitious weapons of mass destruction, without being naive about the intentions of the businesses we will help profit. We recognize the need for skyrocketing profits at the expense of others who are in helpless situations. We promote violent methods to oppose practices and policies with which we disagree, and these include actions toward lasting personal, community and global peace.

Centralization of wealth and power contributes to social and economic injustice, environmental destruction, and militarization. And we are just fine with that.

We recognize it is essential to create a vibrant and sustainable economic system, which we define as one that can maintain a balance between profits and pollution. A successful economic system will offer low-paid work more than 40 hours a week, without overtime, paying a market wage which reflects the real value of a person’s work.

Local communities must look to economic development that assures exploitation of the environment and workers’ rights; the exclusion of citizen participation in planning; and enhancement of our “quality of life.” We support independently owned and operated companies which are controled by fewer and fewer individuals

We have inherited a social system based on male domination of politics and economics. And we are fighting to keep that in place.

We believe it is important to value diversity: rich, richer, and richest.

We encourage individuals to act to improve our companies' well-being and, at the same time, forgo ecological balance and social harmony.

Our actions and policies should be motivated by long-term profits, as well as short-term ones. We seek to protect our own wealth. We must counterbalance the drive for short-term profits by working to ensure our own long-term wealth as well. (See "Diversity" above.)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Another idiot copy editor...but it made me laugh

Here's the lastest headline to laugh at:

Turkey boss defends his company

Is he defending the company he's keeping socially (turkeys)?
Is he a turkey pimp?
Is he, himself, the turkey, defending a non-turkey company?

The possibilities are endless...

Note to readers: this post is what happens when you are bored waiting for people to return phone calls on a story.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

It's about time

With the naming of Drew Gilpin Faust as Harvard University's new president, it's the first time in history that fully half of Ivy League colleges have females at the helm.

Go you, ladies! It's about time.

Gilpin Faust is a breath of fresh estrogen for Harvard, which hasn't had a female president in its 370-year history until now. She's a welcome contrast to their prior prez, Larry Summers, who opined that there were fewer women than men in the higher ranks of math and science because we're simply deficient - e.g., not as smart as our counterparts with dicks.

Well, Larry, I hope you're smarting over the fact that a woman much smarter than you got your job.

And may I say tactfully, Fucking hurray!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A not-so-open letter

Some things you just can't say in public - at least if you are working with a group of people and everyone has to get along.

Me, I find it difficult to keep my mouth shut.

However, for the sake of my volunteer leadership team, I have so far only communicated my thoughts about one of the "leaders" to a couple of others.

Hopefully, the subtle announcement at our leadership planning meeting reminding everyone that we are volunteers and should treat each other respectfully will sink in for this asshole.

But I'm not counting on it, and so I hereby wish to drain my supply of ire before it spills out at a meeting.

Here's a letter I wish I could send:

Dear volunteer co-chair:

I was really excited at first, when you became the co-chair for our Portland chapter of the volunteer group which shall remain unnamed on this blog. You seemed to have lots of energy, a good sense of humor, and a readiness to take on any task.

Alas, I have since realized that you are ruled by your moods. You were in a good mood then. You have not been in such a good mood for the past five months or so.

Among the things that piss me off about you:

1. As a friend and fellow volunteer put it, you do condescending really well. I don't understand this. We're all working for free, not for you.

2. You are a hypocrite more often than not. You critique and criticize others' contributions while producing no work of your own. Contribute before you castigate! Especially because you took a job IN ANOTHER CITY and at least for now, you are gone four days a week, and "can't" help much.

3. On that note, I hear your job is ending soon, and I am sorry about that. However, all of us are sick of taking directives from you in Seattle, when we're on the PORTLAND volunteer committee.

4. Frankly, you are a jerk. After you apologized for sending me that nasty e-mail out of the blue, you claimed several other volunteers had found the same fault with my e-mail habits - e.g., discussing more than one - gasp! - topic in an e-mail. Funny thing is, they're not the back-stabbing types, and furthermore, who gives a shit? I like efficiency, not bureaucracy. If I happen to ask about more than one thing - and mind you, they're related things - in an e-mail and you don't like it, I think you should go fuck yourself.

5. This is totally unrelated, but my guess is that part of your frustration is that you have no one but yourself to fuck, seeing as how your partner wants to have another partner in addition to you. Then again, can I blame him? After a decade with you, I'd probably be hunting, too.

6. Your only redeeming quality is that in some light, you resemble the Purple Pie Man.

Hopefully you'll start being nicer, or step down, before all of this spills out of my mouth at a future meeting.


Jr. Woodchuckette
E.g. volunteer girl

Friday, February 02, 2007

Billions and billions

I wish I were spoofing Carl Sagan, but I'm not; the latest Bush budget "request" calls for a record $622 Billion budget for the Pentagon.


It is horrifying that we have children in our own country that don't have enough to eat, that we have elderly people who must choose between food and heat this winter, but we can afford - apparently - nearly 3/4 of a trillion dollars to blow ourselves and other people up overseas.

Actually, we can't afford it - our grandchildren's children will probably be paying this debt, while trivial things like transportation projects, schools, and health care go unfunded.

Well done, Mr. Bush.

Record $622 Billion Budget Requested for the Pentagon

Published: February 3, 2007

WASHINGTON, Feb. 2 — The Bush administration is seeking a record military budget of $622 billion for the 2008 fiscal year, Pentagon officials have said. The sum includes more than $140 billion for war-related costs.

The administration is also seeking $93 billion in the current fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30, to pay for military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, the officials said.

The requests are part of the annual budget request to Congress for all federal spending programs. The budget is to be made public on Monday, and Congress will revise it in the coming months.

Together with money for combat operations this year already approved by Congress, the new request would push spending related to Iraq and Afghanistan to $163 billion.

“It is the highest level of spending since the height of the Korean War,” said Steven Kosiak, a military budget expert with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a policy analysis organization here.

Mr. Kosiak said that in 1952 the United States spent the equivalent of $645 billion in today’s dollars, factoring in inflation, and that in the Korean War military spending exceeded 13 percent of the gross national product. The figure is now 4 percent.

With Democrats in control of Congress and opposition to the Iraq war running strong, the administration’s request may face even greater scrutiny than it has in recent years. But few if any budget experts expect significant cuts in military spending while large numbers of troops are in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In a statement, the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, said: “Democrats pledge that our troops will receive everything they need to do their jobs. We will also subject this supplemental to the tough and serious oversight that Congress has ignored for four years.”

The regular Pentagon budget request for 2008, which excludes war-related costs but covers Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine costs as well as other spending, will be $481 billion, a Pentagon official said. That would be an increase of $49 billion over what Congress provided this year, Mr. Kosiak said.

“As long as we’re engaged in major military operations, you are probably not going to see decreases in the baseline budget,” he said.

The Pentagon is seeking $128.6 billion for the Army, $110.7 billion for the Air Force and $140 billion for the Navy, department officials said.Background briefings for members of Congress and their staffs have begun. As details leaked out, Pentagon officials agreed to provide an outline of the request. The officials said the budget included no cancellations of major weapons systems, despite delays and escalating costs in procurement accounts in all the services.

The $141 billion request for war-related costs in 2008 represents the first time the administration has tried at the beginning of the budget cycle to provide a total estimate for how much the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other military operations will cost a year in advance.

Congress has been pressing the administration for several years to provide such estimates. Even as they comply, Pentagon officials emphasized that actual costs could be far different, depending on the course of the wars.

The budget request, which takes many months to prepare, is being released as the administration is sending an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq.

A spokesman for the Pentagon, Bryan Whitman, said Friday that that the Office of Management and Budget had estimated that the additional forces would cost $5.6 billion in the current fiscal year, which ends in September.

On Thursday, the Congressional Budget Office released its estimate, which said the costs could run much higher.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, at a Pentagon news conference, disputed the office’s estimate, saying it greatly overstated the number of support troops that would be necessary to go along with the 21,500 increase in combat forces.

Mr. Gates also said he had recommended that President Bush nominate Adm. Timothy J. Keating of the Navy, now commander of Norad, as commander of the United States Pacific Command, making him the top commander in the Pacific, and Lt. Gen. Gene Reunart of the Air Force to head the Northern Command, which is responsible for defending the continental United States.