Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Adieu to my favorite lone star lady

Whether you liked her or hated her, Molly Ivins was one of a dying breed of journalists - those who truly cared about the underdog and weren't afraid to raise hell.

She came up through the ranks at a time where journalism was, to quote my later professor Ed Diamond, "pale, male and horny" - and grew up in a state known for its sexism. (Trust me: I've lived there.) She must have been told many times to sit down and shut up.

Lucky for us, she didn't.

She hated the stuffiness of working at The New York Times, where she showed up in bare feet and blue jeans, bringing her dog (whose name was an expletive - I'd really like to know which one!) and once dared to refer to a cockfight as a gang pluck. A woman after my own heart!

In the true tradition of great journalism, she spared no one. While she went after Bush II in particular, she also wrote about lesser known public "servants", justifiably skewering former cabinet members such as Gale Norton and Ann Veneman for their industry connections and flagrant dismissal of public health concerns. She railed against corruption, whether it was the war in Iraq, the Bush presidency, or uncounted votes.

She bravely fought her own war with breast cancer for seven years.

There's no one to fill those shoes.

It's interesting to note that she was close friends with the late Ann Richards, another bright light we lost recently.

Richards, when asked what she would have done differently if she had known that she'd only have one term as the governor of Texas, replied, "I probably would have raised more hell."

Rest in peace, my heroines.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Brian Hatfield, You Suck

There's nothing worse than a politician who won't stand ground of any kind, but sits on the fence to see which way the wind blows.

Brian Hatfield, a state senator from Washington's 19th District, has a history of doing exactly that.

What royally pisses me off is the condescending response he sent a friend of mine - one of his constituents - when she expressed her support for a bill that would create just a few domestic partnership rights for Washington state citizens.

His comments to her basically said the bill - mind you, a civil rights bill - wasn't a big deal and that he needed to focus on "what's important" for Washington. He and his spouse have all the rights they need, so screw everyone else:

Dear ,
> I am extremely torn over these types of measures.
> I believe they take way too much time and focus away
> from education,
> health care, job creation, etc... ...the things the
> state REALLY needs
> to be focusing on. I opposed DOMA legislation in
> the mid-90s, because
> it was clearly a "for politics only" attack from the
> far right, and a
> complete waste of time. Because of my previous
> votes, many people
> assume I will be an automatic "yes" vote on 5336 or
> similar measures.
> However, at this time, I really can't tell you how I
> will vote IF (and
> that's a pretty big "IF") these bills make it to the
> Senate Floor.
> Again, preventing discrimination and protecting
> Constitutional rights
> and freedoms will be the test I apply to these
> measures.
> Thank you for contacting me.
> -Brian Hatfield

Mind you, he was so "torn" that he sent an identical reply to everyone I know who wrote him in favor of this bill. Except me; he didn't reply to this:


Your constituent (name witheld) forwarded me your response to her inquiry about your stance on the domestic partnership bill.

You have always struck me as fair and reasonable. That's why I was shocked that you don't think that ensuring all Washingtonians have the most basic civil rights, that you take for granted as a heterosexual, are "what the state needs to be focusing on."

Yes, you voted against DOMA, and that was admirable.

But consider this: what if you were unable to visit your spouse in the hospital? Or unable to leave her your property in your will? Or unsure if she would be granted custody of your children in case something happened to you? None of these rights are guaranteed to unmarried and same-sex couples. It's not theoretical for them; it's harsh reality.

Furthermore, as same-sex couples aren't allowed to marry in the state of Washington, this legislation is the only vehicle they have to gain some of the few rights that you and I take for granted.

It is unjust, unfair and unconstitutional that anyone must live with these potentially life-changing uncertainties every day.

What reason would you possibly have for denying your constituents these rights?

I urge you to support any and all efforts toward more inclusive domestic partnership legislation.

Yours truly,

Jr. Woodchuckette (names may have been changed)

In the meantime, if you think he's ignoring a critical issue, let him know!

State Sen. Brian Hatfield
360-786-7806 phone
105 John L. O'Brien Building
Olympia, WA 98504-0600

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

She was obviously never a kid

Here's an open letter (ha! If only I could send it before he changes schools) to my little brother's teacher:

Dear Mrs. Bitch:

I'd really like to know why people like you, who seem to dislike children, become educators. Why do you assign three and four hours of homework every night to fourth graders? Were you never a child? Do you, like the principal in Uncle Buck, want 10-year-olds who "take their career as a student seriously"?

You dumb bitch. You have completely changed my little brother, who used to love school, who used to love putting on his school uniform. You have made him into someone who hates school and hates YOU. And who can blame him? Your stringent belief from the get-go, when he was struggling with your college-load homework, that he wasn't up to par - actually, he's quite smarter than you - and your unwillingness to help any child who falls behind your huge workload is simply wrong.

When it comes to the assignments these poor kids have to do, apparently you have a markdown system that involves nicking points here, there and everywhere, at every available moment, and content means nothing to you. You're obviously not very creative, and don't value creativity. No, you're more into creating future bureaucrats with no imagination, aren't you? You probably talk about test scores during sex.

If you get any.

For that matter, how did a ramrod bitch like you even get a partner? Did you critique your future husband's proposal? Did he pass? By how many points? I'm surprised he hasn't tried to poison you since then.

I can't imagine my brother is the only smart, disappointed kid who now dreads Mondays. I hope you're happy with yourself. In the meantime, I can't wait until the school year is over. Hopefully he won't have a bitch like you for a teacher next year.

Yours truly,
An older sister

PS I know your real name isn't Bitch. I actually find it hilarious that your last name is Old, and the principal's last name is Grapes. That's something I couldn't have made up.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Have they heard of adoption?

A face transplant is scary enough.

But a uterus transplant?

Are there really women out there so desperate to give birth that they would pay thousands of dollars to do this unnatural, insane shit to their bodies? Wouldn't that money be better spent on adoption fees, or enough therapy to talk them out of such a crazy idea?

And incidently...where do they get them?

You couldn't pay me enough to pop out something the size of a watermelon from somewhere the size of a quarter, anyhow, let alone convince me to pay other people to replace my guts so that I could.

I'll stick with cats, thank you.

Monday, January 15, 2007

MLK's anti-war speech

Martin Luther King, "It's A Dark Day In Our Nation"

Martin Luther King Jr.: "Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam"

Sermon at the Ebenezer Baptist Church on April 30, 1967

The sermon which I am preaching this morning in a sense is not the usual kind of sermon, but it is a sermon and an important subject, nevertheless, because the issue that I will be discussing today is one of the most controversial issues confronting our nation. I'm using as a subject from which to preach, "Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam."

Now, let me make it clear in the beginning, that I see this war as an unjust, evil, and futile war. I preach to you today on the war in Vietnam because my conscience leaves me with no other choice. The time has come for America to hear the truth about this tragic war. In international conflicts, the truth is hard to come by because most nations are deceived about themselves. Rationalizations and the incessant search for scapegoats are the psychological cataracts that blind us to our sins. But the day has passed for superficial patriotism. He who lives with untruth lives in spiritual slavery. Freedom is still the bonus we receive for knowing the truth. "Ye shall know the truth," says Jesus, "and the truth shall set you free." Now, I've chosen to preach about the war in Vietnam because I agree with Dante, that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality. There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal.

The truth of these words is beyond doubt, but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplexing, as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict, we're always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty. But we must move on. Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony. But we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for in all our history there has never been such a monumental dissent during a war, by the American people.

Polls reveal that almost fifteen million Americans explicitly oppose the war in Vietnam. Additional millions cannot bring themselves around to support it. And even those millions who do support the war [are] half-hearted, confused, and doubt-ridden. This reveals that millions have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism, to the high grounds of firm dissent, based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Now, of course, one of the difficulties in speaking out today grows the fact that there are those who are seeking to equate dissent with disloyalty. It's a dark day in our nation when high-level authorities will seek to use every method to silence dissent. But something is happening, and people are not going to be silenced. The truth must be told, and I say that those who are seeking to make it appear that anyone who opposes the war in Vietnam is a fool or a traitor or an enemy of our soldiers is a person that has taken a stand against the best in our tradition.

Yes, we must stand, and we must speak. [tape skip]...have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam. Many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns, this query has often loomed large and loud: "Why are you speaking about the war, Dr. King? Why are you joining the voices of dissent?" Peace and civil rights don't mix, they say. And so this morning, I speak to you on this issue, because I am determined to take the Gospel seriously. And I come this morning to my pulpit to make a passionate plea to my beloved nation.

This sermon is not addressed to Hanoi, or to the National Liberation Front. It is not addressed to China or to Russia. Nor is it an attempt to overlook the ambiguity of the total situation and the need for a collective solution to the tragedy of Vietnam. Nor is it an attempt to make North Vietnam or the National Liberation Front paragons of virtue, nor to overlook the role they must play in a successful resolution of the problem. This morning, however, I wish not to speak with Hanoi and the National Liberation Front, but rather to my fellow Americans, who bear the greatest responsibility, and entered a conflict that has exacted a heavy price on both continents.

Now, since I am a preacher by calling, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is...a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I and others have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed that there was a real promise of hope for the poor, both black and white, through the Poverty Program. There were experiments, hopes, and new beginnings. Then came the build-up in Vietnam. And I watched the program broken as if it was some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war. And I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money, like some demonic, destructive suction tube. And you may not know it, my friends, but it is estimated that we spend $500,000 to kill each enemy soldier, while we spend only fifty-three dollars for each person classified as poor, and much of that fifty-three dollars goes for salaries to people that are not poor. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor, and attack it as such.

Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hope of the poor at home. It was sending their sons, and their brothers, and their husbands to fight and die in extraordinarily high proportion relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in Southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with a cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same school room. So we watch them in brutal solidarity, burning the huts of a poor village. But we realize that they would hardly live on the same block in Chicago or Atlanta. Now, I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.

My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettos of the North over the last three years--especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through non-violent action; for they ask and write me, "So what about Vietnam?" They ask if our nation wasn't using massive doses of violence to solve its problems to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without first having spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence I cannot be silent. Been a lot of applauding over the last few years. They applauded our total movement; they've applauded me. America and most of its newspapers applauded me in Montgomery. And I stood before thousands of Negroes getting ready to riot when my home was bombed and said, we can't do it this way. They applauded us in the sit-in movement--we non-violently decided to sit in at lunch counters. The applauded us on the Freedom Rides when we accepted blows without retaliation. They praised us in Albany and Birmingham and Selma, Alabama. Oh, the press was so noble in its applause, and so noble in its praise when I was saying, Be non-violent toward Bull Connor;when I was saying, Be non-violent toward [Selma, Alabama segregationist sheriff] Jim Clark. There's something strangely inconsistent about a nation and a press that will praise you when you say, Be non-violent toward Jim Clark, but will curse and damn you when you say, "Be non-violent toward little brown Vietnamese children. There's something wrong with that press!

As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough, another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 1964. And I cannot forget that the Nobel Peace Prize was not just something taking place, but it was a commission--a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for the brotherhood of Man. This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances. But even if it were not present, I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me, the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I am speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the Good News was meant for all men, for communists and capitalists, for their children and ours, for black and white, for revolutionary and conservative. Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the One who loved His enemies so fully that he died for them? What, then, can I say to the Vietcong, or to Castro, or to Mao, as a faithful minister to Jesus Christ? Can I threaten them with death, or must I not share with them my life? Finally, I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be the son of the Living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood. And because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned, especially for His suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come today to speak for them. And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond in compassion, my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. I speak not now of the soldiers of each side, not of the military government of Saigon, but simply of the people who have been under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades now. I think of them, too, because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution until some attempt is made to know these people and hear their broken cries.

Now, let me tell you the truth about it. They must see Americans as strange liberators. Do you realize that the Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence in 1945 after a combined French and Japanese occupation. And incidentally, this was before the Communist revolution in China. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. And this is a little-known fact, and these people declared themselves independent in 1945. They quoted our Declaration of Independence in their document of freedom, and yet our government refused to recognize them. President Truman said they were not ready for independence. So we fell victim as a nation at that time of the same deadly arrogance that has poisoned the international situation for all of these years. France then set out to reconquer its former colony. And they fought eight long, hard, brutal years trying to re-conquer Vietnam. You know who helped France? It was the United States of America. It came to the point that we were meeting more than eighty percent of the war costs. And even when France started despairing of its reckless action, we did not. And in 1954, a conference was called at Geneva, and an agreement was reached, because France had been defeated at Dien Bien Phu. But even after that, and after the Geneva Accord, we did not stop. We must face the sad fact that our government sought, in a real sense, to sabotage the Geneva Accord. Well, after the French were defeated, it looked as if independence and land reform would come through the Geneva agreement. But instead the United States came and started supporting a man named Diem who turned out to be one of the most ruthless dictators in the history of the world. He set out to silence all opposition. People were brutally murdered because they raised their voices against the brutal policies of Diem. And the peasants watched and cringed as Diem ruthlessly rooted out all opposition. The peasants watched as all this was presided over by United States influence and by increasing numbers of United States troops who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem's methods had aroused. When Diem was overthrown, they may have been happy, but the long line of military dictatorships seemed to offer no real change, especially in terms of their need for land and peace. And who are we supporting in Vietnam today? It's a man by the name of general Ky [Air Vice Marshal Nguyen Cao Ky] who fought with the French against his own people, and who said on one occasion that the greatest hero of his life is Hitler. This is who we are supporting in Vietnam today. Oh, our government and the press generally won't tell us these things, but God told me to tell you this morning. The truth must be told.

The only change came from America as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept, and without popular support and all the while the people read our leaflets and received regular promises of peace and democracy and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us, not their fellow Vietnamese, the real enemy. They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps, where minimal social needs are rarely met. They know they must move or be destroyed by our bombs. So they go, primarily women, and children and the aged. They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the towns and see thousands of thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers. We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops. We have cooperated in the crushing of the nation's only noncommunist revolutionary political force, the United Buddhist Church. This is a role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolutions impossible but refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that comes from the immense profits of overseas investments. I'm convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, militarism and economic exploitation are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our present policies. On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be changed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth with righteous indignation. It will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say, "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war, "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

Oh, my friends, if there is any one thing that we must see today is that these are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of the wounds of a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. They are saying, unconsciously, as we say in one of our freedom songs, "Ain't gonna let nobody turn me around!" It is a sad fact that because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch anti-revolutionaries. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has a revolutionary spirit. Therefore, communism is a judgment against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions that we initiated. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo, we shall boldly challenge unjust mores, and thereby speed up the day when "every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the rough places shall be made plain, and the crooked places straight. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together."

A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies. This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing, unconditional love for all men. This oft misunderstood and misinterpreted concept, so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of mankind. And when I speak of love I'm not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of John: "Let us love one another, for God is love. And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us."

Let me say finally that I oppose the war in Vietnam because I love America. I speak out against this war, not in anger, but with anxiety and sorrow in my heart, and, above all, with a passionate desire to see our beloved country stand as the moral example of the world. I speak out against this war because I am disappointed with America. And there can be no great disappointment where there is not great love. I am disappointed with our failure to deal positively and forthrightly with the triple evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism. We are presently moving down a dead-end road that can lead to national disaster. America has strayed to the far country of racism and militarism. The home that all too many Americans left was solidly structured idealistically; its pillars were solidly grounded in the insights of our Judeo-Christian heritage. All men are made in the image of God. All men are bothers. All men are created equal. Every man is an heir to a legacy of dignity and worth. Every man has rights that are neither conferred by, nor derived from the State--they are God-given. Out of one blood, God made all men to dwell upon the face of the earth. What a marvelous foundation for any home! What a glorious and healthy place to inhabit. But America's strayed away, and this unnatural excursion has brought only confusion and bewilderment. It has left hearts aching with guilt and minds distorted with irrationality.

It is time for all people of conscience to call upon America to come back home. Come home, America. Omar Khayyam is right: "The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on." I call on Washington today. I call on every man and woman of good will all over America today. I call on the young men of America who must make a choice today to take a stand on this issue. Tomorrow may be too late. The book may close. And don't let anybody make you think that God chose America as his divine, messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world. God has a way of standing before the nations with judgment, and it seems that I can hear God saying to America, "You're too arrogant! And if you don't change your ways, I will rise up and break the backbone of your power, and I'll place it in the hands of a nation that doesn't even know my name. Be still and know that I'm God."

Now it isn't easy to stand up for truth and for justice. Sometimes it means being frustrated. When you tell the truth and take a stand, sometimes it means that you will walk the streets with a burdened heart. Sometimes it means losing a job...means being abused and scorned. It may mean having a seven, eight year old child asking a daddy, "Why do you have to go to jail so much?" And I've long since learned that to be a follower to the Jesus Christ means taking up the cross. And my bible tells me that Good Friday comes before Easter. Before the crown we wear, there is the cross that we must bear. Let us bear it--bear it for truth, bear it for justice, and bear it for peace. Let us go out this morning with that determination. And I have not lost faith. I'm not in despair, because I know that there is a moral order. I haven't lost faith, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. I can still sing "We Shall Overcome" because Carlyle was right: "No lie can live forever." We shall overcome because William Cullen Bryant was right: "Truth pressed to earth will rise again." We shall overcome because James Russell Lowell was right: "Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne." Yet, that scaffold sways the future. We shall overcome because the bible is right: "You shall reap what you sow." With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream. With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when the lion and the lamb will lie down together, and every man will sit under his own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid because the words of the Lord have spoken it. With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when all over the world we will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we're free at last!" With this faith, we'll sing it as we're getting ready to sing it now. Men will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. And nations will not rise up against nations, neither shall they study war anymore. And I don't know about you, I ain't gonna study war no more.

Is a safe workplace such a radical idea?

There is pro-business, and then there is evil.

Apparently the Alabama Supreme Court can't distinguish between the two.

A worker is exposed to so much benzene at work that it gives him leukemia, but he legally can't have any recourse.

Why is it legal to expose people to life-threatening chemicals in the first place? Is it such a radical idea that workplaces be healthy and safe?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Because Government has your best interests at heart...

Republicans are always clamoring about the "free market" when debating, say, minimum wage and benefits - all of those frills for us regular folk.

But the government - gasp? - to negotiate prices for Medicare prescriptions? That's too much control, they say! God forbid the feds get lower prices and pass the savings on to the taxpayer.

Mind you, the Medicare legislation was co-authored by former U.S. Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., when he was NEGOTIATING FOR A JOB IN THE PHARMECEUTICAL INDUSTRY. The legislation FORBIDS the government from negotiating prices.


C'mon, why do you think? Industry influence, anyone?

So the Dems are saying we should get to negotiate. Here is yet one more issue where while they're not perfect, D's are certainly better than R's.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Just one more reason I like her

Nancy Pelosi has noted that she thinks Congress should "lead by example" and has banned smoking from the Speaker's lobby.

One more way she's making history...unlike the inconsiderate idiot from Ohio, Rep. Boehner, who smokes with reporters in his own office. Dumbass.

Now if she could help us ban public smoking in Oregon...

Monday, January 08, 2007

Great Headlines From 2006

I have been sending these to friends, one of whom asked, "Are you writing these down?"

Why yes!

Here are the best of 2006 that I have seen:

Castle Rock Woman and Dog To Compete At National Show
(My money's on the dog)

Dicks Not Seeking Intelligence Post
(Well that's a relief! But what about idiots?)

Trump Shows Miss USA His Soft Side
(Too much information for me...hasn't he heard? There are drugs that can help...)

Wise Men Testify To Dragon's Virgin Birth
(Wise men who have smoked what, exactly?)

No Sex, Please, We're Lizards
(Well that's an excuse I haven't heard before!)

New Year Will Be Really New
(No, really?)

Fatal Tour Boat Unsafe
(You think so?)

Republicans Want to Turn Over a New Page
(Apparently, more of them than you'd think...)

Priest's Relations With Foley to be Probed
(I think this one speaks for itself)

Boring Man Dies in Car Crash
(Interesting man survives?)

First drugs, then terror: Now US in War With Spinach
(Our nice reputation in the international vegetable community)

Gay husband denied Studds benefits
(That might be a downer)

Wild Boar May Have Caused Tainted Spinach Outbreak
(And a kangaroo secretly wrote those WMD memos...)

Sharks Can't Fight Power
(I head they support renewable energy, though)

Ex-rep Foley Expresses Regret at his Father's Funeral
(He had wanted to be cryogenically frozen...)

And my personal favorite:

In Oregon, Every Day is Turkey Day
(All of us who live here are well aware of this every time we get on the freeway.)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

And a note to the spammers

How you got my e-mail is anyone's guess. I have Firefox to protect me, I don't give my e-mail to anyone except friends, and I even have a separate yahoo address for online orders IN CASE there's spam. (Somehow, you missed that one. Thanks.)

So low and behold, it turns out I am suddenly, after nearly two years, starting to get spam. Thanks to a friend's infected computer, likely, I am told, whose computer also had my address.

Well, fine. But just answer me this: why don't you spammers ever e-mail me anything interesting? I mean, I'm not even getting porn, or any invites into the latest Nigerian scam. Just the same two ads for 1) fake Rolexes and 2) diet pills.

Sorry, buckos, you've missed your market. I have no need for anymore timepieces, and I've dropped two sizes in the past three years simply by going off the pill and learning to cook.

Can't you do better than that? A penis extension ad would at least make me laugh.

Bad kitty!

This story just speaks for itself:,,11069-2536148,00.html

But I have to wonder: why take a job at Disney World if you hate kids? Then again, anyone who gets paid to dress up as Tigger probably has some problems.

At least the kid hit him back! Go, kid!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Why I won't be eating Good Humor ice cream

You have to be so vigilant as a consumer these days. It's not as if our government is doing what it's supposed to, and keeping food and consumer products safe; the Bush administration and ones previous (Reagan was particularly bad, eliminating many food inspection jobs, for instance) have been busy loosening food safety rules, product regulations, and packing oversight boards with industry reps.

Keep in mind that the agriculture lobby is so strong that the federal government has no authority to recall meat or produce. I'm not making this up. Finally these asshole produce companies are actually asking to be regulated due to business loss during the recent e.coli contamination scare. Might cost them money, after all, if they sell products that can make people sick, or die.

Sickening. But then, so is fish blood in ice cream. (Yeah, I know - I've always been a picky eater.) But seriously:

Think this doesn't affect you? Think again. It's still legal to label a product "organic" even if it isn't; and even USDA-certified organic products only have to be 95 percent organic.

Why can't we be more like the European Union, and actually have a government that gives a flying fuck about things that can harm us, as opposed to having a government so far into the pockets of industry that we have to worry about lies on food packaging?

It's the same mentality from the same industry that doesn't want food labeled vegetarian or non-vegetarian, because what they call "natural flavor" is sometimes, for instance, "bugs". I'm not making this up. Look up "carmine" and see how much you want that Dannon strawberry yogurt. Bugs give it the pink coloring.

Likewise, Good Humor and other manufacturers refer to the fish blood as "ice structuring protein." And they wonder why 14 million of us vegetarians here in the U.S. want the fucking packages labeled!

On the bright side, Democrats have promised to introduce a bill that would beef up (no pun intended) inspections of food processing facilities.

Let your rep know you care about this. Make some noise. The agriculture and food industries won't do it for you.