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Friday, June 30

Said in my most comforting and motherly tone, "That which does not kill us merely maims us. Or something like that.

Long Suffering and I are about to become grandparents again. Our grand-daughter, Grace, is due to arrive in early September. My son told me he has written a birth plan to present to the obstetrician at their next checkup.

What is it with men and birth plans? Do they love devising these birth plans because it gives them something to do in the waiting room besides pretending to read the magazine articles their wives keep shoving at them. ("Jack, read this about inverted nipple syndrome: it's fascinating!")? However, birth plans do distract men from dwelling on the age-old question of why some women seem to recruit armies of small, whiny children to bring with them to every appointment.

My daughter-in-law asked me about my birth plaln, and I said it had been real simple. "Really?" she said. "Your son has several pages of plans with supporting documentation and footnotes. He's amazing. Did you manage to keep yours under two pages?"

"Well, uh, we didn't really write that much down," I said.

Did I have the heart to tell Mary the truth? That my "birth plan" consisted of one line hastily scrawled ont he back of a maternity pantyhose carton? That it read "Drugs. Lots of 'em and keep 'em coming"?

She thought I was kidding and began to chuckle. And then she said in that hormones-are-eating-my-brain-out way that pregnant women say: "Oh, I don't want any drugs. I just want to have as natural an experience as possible. I don't want to miss a single second!"

Sure you do. Listen to me. If I could have, I would have been sitting on the third-base at Royals Stadium, roughly three thousand miles from that hospital, eating a sausage dog and swilling Bud Light during my kid's births.

You don't want to miss a second? True. You want to miss hours. I'll let you in on a little secret, hons. The whole delivery thing is vastly overrated. Sure, you think you're going to lie up there with Mozart softly playing from the portable CD player hubby so thoughtfully packed. He's going to be rubbing your back with tennis balls rolled up in a sock while you speak in loving tones about the wonderment that is taking place in your body, your lives.

He's going to gently spoon ice chips into your alarmingly dry and crusty mouth while murmuring that you are, without a doubt, the bravest, most wonderful woman in the world.

As the time draws near, you experience some discomfort, surely, perhaps even some pain, but this is more than countered by the presence of your dear partner telling to you to "Breathe, darling, just like in class."

A doctor will enter the room, and softly say, "It's time." Then, after a few soap-opera birth-scene squeals, for which you apologize profusely, presto-whammo, you've got a baby.

Birth plans are silly because they give the illusion that you have any control at all over a situation that is completely beyond your control.

I didn't say this to Mary, who has watched way too many episodes of 'A Baby Story' on the Learning Channel and is convinced she wants a water birth. At home. With a midwife.

Mary is insisting on wearing regular cloths throughout her pregnancy just because "all the pregnant celebrities do it."

Mary isn't alone. Although I was happy to see the demise of the "BABY" shirts with the arrow pointing crotchward and the dancing bear casual Bo Peep-collared business wear that used to define maternity fashion (as though just because we were pregnant our IQs had inexplicably plunged 75 points), tight clothes on pregnant women look, well, well,.......like pregnant women in tight clothes.

I saw Jane Leeves (Frasier's Daphne Moon) at the Emmys once stuffed in a painted-on sleeveless sheath that made her look like a cover girl for White Trash Weekly. All she needed was some Vi-enna sausages and Saltines and a True Story magazine. ( Not that there's anything wrong with Vi-enna sausages and Saltines.)

Mary said she was proud for the world to watch her blooming body. I told her that while she thought she looked chic and fabulous, she really looked just like the tired-ass boa constrictor at the zoo right after he had his once-a-month bunny rabbit lunch.

I finally gave up. Mary was granola. I knew she would plant the afterbirth under a tree (on our farm, they live in an apartment) and nurse Grace until she was using works like "pontificate."

Then she insisted on a couples baby shower. I've been to a half a dozen of these now, and the men always wear that frozen look of horror that is usually reserved for when they discover that ESPN's showing the world figure skating championships.

Men have no place at baby showers. They can never figure out how to retrieve a mini-pizza from beneath the puffy fold-out stork centerpiece and it'll break you heart to watch 'em try.

Recently, I took my son aside and gave him some tips. "Here's the drill. You open the gift, hold it up, and squeal something like, "It's beautiful. Oh, thank you so much. It's exactly what we wanted.!"

I even told him how you have to pass it on to the person beside you so it can make the long, strange trip around the room and everyone can repeat the exact same comments. ("Why, yes! This IS the most precious and darling breast pump I've ever seen!")

The dad-to-be finished his beer, burped, and said, "Huh? Yeah, okay. Got it."

My duty done, I returned to my chair and watched him help his wife open an adorable bib. He held it aloft---so far, so good----and said, "Wow. Where the hell did you get this thing" This is why no man should be at any party that ends in the "shower" word.

It's not their fault. We've had practice. At bridal showers, we women can gush worthy of an Oscar over a crocheted toilet paper cozy.

The men who go these showers always abandon their buddy at the first announcement that it's present time. Utter the phrase "mucus plug" or debate the merits of Baby Bjorn over Snugli and they leave him like a wounded animal, fleeing to the room with the big TV or the deck, where they can bond over a few foamers.

My son had done better than most of at their shower, probably because, as Mary frequently pointed out, "He is very much in touch with his feminine side," causing his buddies to snicker and make tent tits by pulling on their Polo knits.

As Mary's time draws near, I feel I must tell her the truth about unrealistic birth plans. That's all I have to say about that tonight. I'll write about that tomorrow.

Maybe this is why Arnold said "No" when boygeorge wanted him to send more troops to the Mexican border

Maybe Arnold figures he'll need the troops for cleanup.

Earthquake Rattles Southeastern California
"BRAWLEY, California — A small earthquake rattled a rugged mountain area in southeastern California, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage."
Read more.

Then, if you're interested in knowing what earthquakes have been happening, how big, and where, go to the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program. (Click on the maps to localize.)

Bush Had Little Reaction to Supreme Court Ruling

Wonder why? This morning's WaPo has a good analysis of the War Criminal in Chief's defeat by the SCOTUS.

For five years, President Bush waged war as he saw fit. If intelligence officers needed to eavesdrop on overseas telephone calls without warrants, he authorized it. If the military wanted to hold terrorism suspects without trial, he let it.

Now the Supreme Court has struck at the core of his presidency and dismissed the notion that the president alone can determine how to defend the country. In rejecting Bush's military tribunals for terrorism suspects, the high court ruled that even a wartime commander in chief must govern within constitutional confines significantly tighter than this president has believed appropriate.

For many in Washington, the decision echoed not simply as a matter of law but as a rebuke of a governing philosophy of a leader who at repeated turns has operated on the principle that it is better to act than to ask permission. This ethos is why many supporters find Bush an inspiring leader, and why many critics in this country and abroad react so viscerally against him. Read on...

I think you ought to take this into consideration too when you think about the boy king:
"George W. Bush, following the briefing at his Crawford, Texas, homestead on Aug. 6, 2001, about a CIA memo titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." Upon listening to the CIA briefer, Bush says, "All right, you've covered your ass, now." Bush proceeds to go fishing… " -Ron Suskind

Clarke on the Big "Leak"

Terrorism Czar, Richard Clarke opines in today's NY Times what we had already figured out- The Secret the Terrorists Already Knew

Big excerpt:
Going after terrorists' money is a necessary element of any counterterrorism program, as President Bill Clinton pointed out in presidential directives in 1995 and 1998. Individual terrorist attacks do not typically cost very much, but running terrorist cells, networks and organizations can be extremely expensive.

Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist groups have had significant fund-raising operations involving solicitation of wealthy Muslims, distribution of narcotics and even sales of black market cigarettes in New York. As part of a "follow the money" strategy, monitoring international bank transfers is worthwhile (even if, given the immense number of transactions and the relatively few made by terrorists, it is not highly productive) because it makes operations more difficult for our enemies. It forces them to use more cumbersome means of moving money.

Privacy rights advocates, with whom we generally agree, have lumped this bank-monitoring program with the alleged National Security Agency wiretapping of calls in which at least one party is within the United States as examples of our government violating civil liberties in the name of counterterrorism. The two programs are actually very different.

Any domestic electronic surveillance without a court order, no matter how useful, is clearly illegal. Monitoring international bank transfers, especially with the knowledge of the bank consortium that owns the network, is legal and unobjectionable.

The International Economic Emergency Powers Act, passed in 1977, provides the president with enormous authority over financial transactions by America's enemies. International initiatives against money laundering have been under way for a decade, and have been aimed not only at terrorists but also at drug cartels, corrupt foreign officials and a host of criminal organizations.

These initiatives, combined with treaties and international agreements, should leave no one with any presumption of privacy when moving money electronically between countries. Indeed, since 2001, banks have been obliged to report even transactions entirely within the United States if there is reason to believe illegal activity is involved. Thus we find the privacy and illegality arguments wildly overblown.

So, too, however, are the Bush administration's protests that the press revelations about the financial monitoring program may tip off the terrorists. Administration officials made the same kinds of complaints about news media accounts of electronic surveillance. They want the public to believe that it had not already occurred to every terrorist on the planet that his telephone was probably monitored and his international bank transfers subject to scrutiny. How gullible does the administration take the American citizenry to be?

The American Values Agenda

Just in time for Independence Day celebrations and in an election year, the GOP's "Values Action Team" or VAT, announced its "American Values Agenda" this week to appease those voters who hold "American" values dear. I would have had quite a few more suggestions for our representatives in Washington, but apparently an amendment to ban pre-emptive war based on lies and an amendment to hold oil companies responsible for raping drivers is not a "value."

Dennis Hastert:
“The American Values Agenda will defend America’s founding principles. Through this agenda, we will work to protect the faith of our people, the sanctity of life and freedoms outlined by our founding fathers. Radical courts have attempted to gut our religious freedom and redefine the value system on which America was built. We hope to restore some of those basic values through passing this legislative agenda and renewing our country's commitment to faith, freedom and life.”


What is the Agenda?

The American Values Agenda
• Pledge Protection Act (HR 2389; Akin)
Summary: Protects the Pledge of Allegiance from attacks by activist federal judges seeking to rule it unconstitutional. failed
Freedom to Display the American Flag Act (HR 42; Bartlett)
Summary: Ensures an individual has the right to display the U.S. flag on residential property. passed

I was shocked. I had no idea that my right to wave my flag on my house was in jeopardy. Well it really wasn't afterall. It turns out that some voters in Bartlett's district were having problems with their condo associations regarding the placement and size of their flags. So, by all means, let's make a law. It passed. Whew.
The Flag Protection Amendment
failed however. Our First Amendment right to desecrate the flag is saved. hmmm.

The Public Expression of Religion Act (HR 2679; Hostettler)
Summary: Ensures local officials and communities do not face financial ruin to defend their rights to free speech under the Constitution (provides that when state or local officials are sued over public expressions of religion, no monetary damages, costs, or attorney's fees may be awarded).

The Christian right loses most First Amendment battles (Christmas tree wars) and is forced to pay the legal expenses of the other party (mostly the ACLU) as it stands now. I can sort of see the point to this on one hand, but on the other hand, the way things stand now, it kind of makes people think before they waste time with frivolous law suits. But then again, it may scare people away from suing big corporations.

Marriage Amendment (HJRes 88; Musgrave)
Summary: Constitutional amendment declaring marriage to be between a man and a woman. failed

Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act (HR 356; C. Smith)
Summary: Requires that those performing late-term abortions inform the woman seeking an abortion of the medical evidence that the unborn child feels pain, and ensure that if she chooses to continue with the abortion procedure, she has the option of choosing anesthesia for the child, so that the unborn child’s pain is less severe.

Um, I don't think that will appease values voters, guys.

• Human Cloning Prohibition Act (HR 1357; D. Weldon)

Summary: Bans human cloning and the importation of products derived from a cloned human embryo (e.g. stem cells).

BATFE Reform (HR 5092; Coble)
Summary: Reforms the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (BATFE) to protect citizens’ rights.

Internet Gambling Prohibition (Leach/Goodlatte):
Summary: Addresses the issue of illegal internet gambling by making gambling laws apply equally to the internet.

Permanent Tax Relief for Families
Summary: Likely series of votes on the child tax credit, marriage penalty relief, tax incentives for adoption, and other priorities for American citizens.

Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act (HR 5013; Jindal)
Summary: Prohibits governments from using federal funds to confiscate guns from law-abiding citizens during emergencies.

James Dobson: "The House leaders are to be commended for demonstrating their commitment to the issues American families hold dear: marriage, life and freedom of religion. The announcement of the 'American Values Agenda' and its 10 priority bills signals that the GOP leadership in the House is in touch with the concerns of the values voters who sent them to Washington."

His base must not read the papers or watch the evening news.

What kind of "values" amendments would you like to see?

Crafting with Lizzy Part 1

The kids are home, long weekend, raining, bored, whining... why not make lovely garden junk for your backyard? (click images for larger picture)

Materials
Old bowling ball or a kids rubber ball
Small plastic animals or doodads
Glue (hot, crazy or white)
Sandpaper
Spray paint, preferably metallic
Acrylic paint-turquoise, blue, white
Sponge

Instructions
Rough up the ball with some sandpaper so that the glue and paint will stick. Wipe off the ball. Prop the ball on a bowl to keep it from rolling away. Artistically glue tiny plastic lizards, bugs, frogs, army men, worms, whatever, on the ball -evenly distributed, of course. Wait for the glue to dry before turning it over. (hot glue worked the best, crazy glue worked well too, but my fingers stuck to the lizards, white glue took really long to dry)

When the doo dads are secure, take the ball outside or into the garage and spray it with metallic paint. I used copper on one and bronze on another. You can use whatever you have on the shelf. Wear protective glasses and something over your mouth and nose to keep from breathing the paint. If you're outside, spray down wind. Wait for it to dry before you add another coat if necessary. I balanced mine on an old plastic cup.

If you like the way it looks, you can leave it at that, but this crafty lady's agenda was to make it look like weathered copper so I mixed up some turquoise and blue paint with some white and water and sparingly dabbed the paint all over the ball. (They also sell patina looking paints at the craft stores and neato sea sponges.) Test it on paper before you glob up the ball. You can use some paper towels to blot excess paint off the ball.

I glued a painted plastic cup to the bottom of the balls so that they could rest above the foliage or flowers in the garden. The point here is to have fun and be whimsical. Use primary colors if you want. Glue macaroni on the ball and spray it gold, whatever.
Send your results to blondesense (at) optonline.net

For future projects: Don't throw away any toy trucks. Keep saving little doodads, charms, trinkets. Don't throw away broken dishes or china. Don't throw anything away, just yet.

Thursday, June 29

CAT KILLER

First, Aretha the dwarf hamster died because I didn't separate her from my evil killer hamster Uma fast enough.

The next week, I murdered a squirrel because he ran out in front of my truck faster than I could hit the brakes.

Then, two days ago, I cranked the truck & put it into gear to pull out of the parking lot here at Hotel du Fucktards, and I hear this horrible THUMP!, but nothing fell out of the transmission or the engine block, so I assumed that it was more vandalism by the mouth-breathers that have been attacking my truck, its antenna, and my sticker collection since I moved into this hell-hole.

Then, yesterday, came The Smell. Something between a skunk that's been dead a month and raw garbage in the July sun. Jake goes out to examine the interior & exterior of the truck, to see if I'd run over something and didn't know (which couldn't really happen, I don't think) or if we'd left some old Taco Bell bags in the truck.

He comes back in and tells me that he had discarded the carcass of a dead possum (that's "opossum" to you nit-pickers) from the engine block, because it had been caught-up in the engine fan the day before, hence the thump and the smell. He got rid of the evidence, I hosed-off the fan today, no more smell, no problem. Possums are vile, vicious, snarling, hissing, garbage-eating, dog-harrassing, food-stealing nasty greasy little verminous MONSTERS, so I wasn't too too torn-up over it.

Then we get into version #9,875,999 of the same schizophrenic fight that we've had over the past year (well, as of July 13, it'll be a year. Friday the 13th, I should've taken the hint.), and he blurts out that he'd lied about the possum.

It was this little orange stray cat that hangs around our dumpster, and who we occasionally feed when we can afford to.

I'm a cat-killer.

I didn't think that I could fuck anything up as badly this year as I did the Toofus-Re-Doofus fund (four dentists, money gone, no progress, no toof, one badly-mangled root canal that resulted in a cracked tooth), but now I'm officially John Wayne Gacy. Former "professional" clown who kills several small animals.

If anybody needs me, I'll be under the bed, nursing a half-pint of JD and trying not to think about cats.

SCOTUS says Bush went too far

From CNN SCOTUS rules that Bush 'overstepped' his authority regarding Gitmo

Oddly Enough, I DO Feel Safer

As I am sure you have heard, the weather in my little portion of the world has been a bit dangerous lately. My general area has received between 8 and 12 inches of rain over a period of 4 days. Toss us some flotation devices 'cuz they are calling for more.....

We have bridges underwater, roads eaten away, houses (whole and in pieces) floating down rivers, rock slides, land slides, more flooding than I can recount and loss of power and other vital services. And you know what? We're doing okay.

In Pennsylvania (at least as of Wed night) there has been one fatallity, an older man in his car. That's it. We have had to evacuate over 200,000 (two hundred thousand) people from Wilkes-Barre, and you know what? Aside from the aggrevation of traffic, everything went smoothly with no major issues or interventions.

You want to know what else? Its pissing off the MSM and a few of the powers that be. Wolf Blitzer 'interviewed' the Mayor and asked him "Why are you evacuating the town, don't you have faith in the Army Engineer Corps?"

Ya gotta luv the Mayor. His response was simple, quick and unarguable. "Listen, we have what could easily turn into the Northern version of Katrina, no one HERE wants that. My decisions are made on the information I have available and with the safety of our citizens being my topmost priority. I have given the order for mandatory evacuation and if faced with the same scenario I will do the same thing again."

My little town was just as forceful with their decisions. Most of Jim Thorpe is a series of large hills and small mountains with a surprisine amount of creeks, lakes and, of course, the Lehigh river running through it. We have had a good amount of flooding and debris being carried down the mountains and into the streets. Part of Route 209 was under water from Monday until this morning. We have nothing but volunteer services here, volunteers who were kept busy pumping out homes and businesses, rescuing stranded motorist and doing their best to prevent any further damage. The town and the mayor were behind them 100%, people were asked to evacuate, they evacuated; they either went to a neighbouring firehall or other families took them in. We were asked to stay indoors and use our cell phones to call numbers to report emergencies, these numbers were broadcasted constantly over the radio stations. Police scanners also announced the number once every 20-30 minutes as they knew many towns people have and listen to scanners.

Our mayor was a real hoot, he made it very clear that we didn't need "rubber neckers" coming up to look at the damage. If you were caught there once with a car your info was taken down and you were given a warning, do it again and your car was impounded and you were delivered to a shelter for the duration. I have no idea what, if anything happend to anyone who walked downtown.

Now admittedly, some people may feel this is a bit draconian, but to be honest it didn't feel that way. It was a community working together to take care of its own, we knew who was in charge, the chain of command was not only clear but PRESENT. Everyone knew what they were expected to do and they did it, wether that meant operating heavy machinery, feeding evacuees and first responders, or just staying inside and out of the way.

This was the complete opposite of what happened in New Orleans, LA.

Both had prior knowledge that levvees (in our case, multitudes of earthen dams) could be breached. Both areas have many large and small bodies of water, both had the same technology, and aside from climate both situations were very similar. The biggest difference is the size of the population and the area effected (NOLA bigger population in a smaller area, NorthEast bigger TOTAL population but spread out).

So, what do you think? Apparently we, the people, have learned from Katrina, even it the Federal Govnmt and MSM have not. We, the people, have shown that we can work together to help one another out, that we can be counted on to use common sense and that we can pull off a wide-spread operation over a period of days under harsh conditions. What has the government learned?

For Your Edification

Eight ways to kill someone using an iPod Nano according to Marine.

So, what do you guys want to talk about today?

Blondesense Accuses Bush Of Diverting Attention from Penis Pump Trial

Bush is out there blabbing about Democrats who want to wave the white flag of surrender in Iraq even though 3 years ago he declared that the war was over and he's pretending that the news of the US' spying on bank records was a secret even though he talked about it a number of times. Supposedly spying on bank records was a "vital tool" in fighting the war on terra, says our leader. Everyone else in the country wants the Republicans to shut the hell up and talk about getting our troops out of Iraq, lowering the gasoline prices and getting cameras into the penis pump trial in Oklahoma.

The judge who was arrested for using his penis pump behind the bench while conducting trials is having his day in court much to the giggling amusement of the jurors in the Oklahoma town who have seen both the defense attorney and the prosecutor mimic masturbation in the courtroom and also demonstrate the "sh-sh" of air through the "white handled sexual device".

Thompson's former court reporter, Lisa Foster, wiped away tears as she described tracing an unfamiliar "sh-sh" in the courtroom to her boss. She testified that between 2001 and 2003 she saw Thompson expose himself at least 15 times.

"I was really shocked and I was kind of scared because it was so bizarre," said Foster.

She testified that during a trial in 2002, she heard the pump during the emotional testimony of a murdered toddler's grandfather.

The grandfather "was getting real teary-eyed, and the judge was up there pumping on that pump," she said. "It was sickening."
/snark

Starting the weekend early:

Robot Bartender

A man walks into a bar and orders a drink. The bar has a robot bartender. The robot serves him a perfectly prepared cocktail, and then asks him, "What's your IQ?" The man replies "150" and the robot proceeds to make conversation about global warming factors, quantum physics and Spirituality, biomimicry, environmental interconnectedness, string theory, nano-technology, and the Kama Sutra.

The customer is very impressed and thinks, "this is really cool." He decides to test the robot. He walks out of the bar, turns around, and comes back in for another drink. Again, the robot serves him the perfectly prepared drink and asks him, "What's your IQ?" The man responds, "about a 100." Immediately the robot starts talking about NASCAR, supermodels, hunting, beer and women's breasts.

Really impressed, the man leaves the bar and decides to give the robot one more test. He heads out and returns, the robot serves him and asks, "What's your IQ?" The man replies, "Er, 50, I think." And the robot says...real slowly:
"So...............Ya gonna vote for Bush again?"

Wednesday, June 28

Guess What He's Talking About

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), yesterday on the senate floor:

I was asked this afternoon by a large body of media: Is this the most important thing the Senate could be doing at this time? I can tell you: You’re darned right it is.

Need an appetite suppressant?

View this montage from Media Matters of St. Ann Of The Codpiece's recent whoredom, an entire collection of her batshit-crazy ravings & blatherings in order to shill her new abortion-in-print "book."

This critter is proof that evolution has made a few hard left-handed u-turns.

And if you're not reduced to bowing before the great white porcelain god, dry-heaving up your toenails from watching shim, then you're probably as demented as I am, and you laugh very heartily before you start to cry.

The mere fact that this crusty sore from the anus of hell is allowed to EXIST is proof that there is no "god", no benificent deity that cares a flying rat-fuck about any of us. But the further horror that shim is allowed to PROSPER by shim's lies, insanity and pure-dee EVIL --- that right there ought to be enough to pass manditory-birth-control legislation, if not manditory STERILIZATION legislation.

And yes, I'd want to be the one to perform the retroactive abortion on this great bony glob of afterbirth.

(I'm just so thankful that transsexual transvestites aren't fertile. Tim Curry ought to rip shim a new one with a "theft of artistic property" lawsuit. IF it could be proven that shim has ever actually ATTEMPTED cosmetic improvements, anyway...)

Adulterers: GOP Frontrunners

Hillary Clinton wasn't the one who was caught in an adulterous affair, yet conservative writers just cannot leave her personal relationship with her husband out of the equation. What I think really pisses off the conservatives is that despite her husband's extra-curricular activities, is that they are still together as a couple. Why that is completely unheard of in conservative politics- it's ok if you're a cheater and a Republican, just as long as you divorce your wife and marry the other woman. Or is it?

Serial monogamy is the name of the game in God's Own Party (as long as the press doesn't dwell on it) despite the fact that Jesus expliticly mentioned that once you get divorced because of your own unfaithfulness, you will live in the state of adultery for the rest of your life should you have a relationship with anyone else. Luke 16: 18. Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery. But those are just silly details and the 7th commandment is soooo Old Testament.

I don't care what people do in their private lives, but don't go around telling everyone how "christian" you are when your claim to fame is your "family values" platform. It's the hypocrisy that really pisses off the liberals, not the polyamory. I had been meaning to point out that the Republican presidential candidate front runners are adulterers but Steve Benen of Washington Monthly beat me to it in "Adulterers in Chief". I was wondering just how the 'values voters' were going to take to this and if they don't mind, will they ever forgive Hillary?

Benen writes:
Lurking just over the horizon are liabilities for three Republicans who have topped several national, independent polls for the GOP's favorite 2008 nominee: Sen. John McCain (affair, divorce), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (affair, divorce, affair, divorce), and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (divorce, affair, nasty divorce). Together, they form the most maritally challenged crop of presidential hopefuls in American political history.
Both Guiliani and Gingrich have had affairs while in public office, Gingrich being the most hypocritical because he was cheating on his wife during his "Let Our Family Represent Your Family" congressional campaign in 1978. He divorced his first wife during her bout with uterine cancer. He has allegedly had quite a few mistresses and had a young one during the time he was lambasting Clinton for his affair.

Guiliani, as New Yorkers know asked his wife for a separation during a press conference and was seen in public quite often with his mistress including a parade. Guiliani, America's mayor didn't go around telling everyone how moral he was, however. He's not running for president, but NY's former senator, Al D'Amato who spent the better part of his last term in the senate investigating Bill Clinton's infidelities, doing nothing for his constituents, was granted a divorce because he fell in love with gossip columnist Claudia Cohen in 1995. New Yorkers are more concerned with gay rights and women's rights. I wonder how the rest of the country will view Guiliani's rather liberal views?

Steve Benen wonders if these GOP front runners with adulterous pasts will face the music from the press, Democrats, or stragglers in the race for the GOP nomination who are "faithful" husbands. He wonders how the press will be beaten into reporting the news and if they do report it how will the right fight back? By saying it's just old news? Just how mad will the Democrats be? How about actually sincere Republicans who because of religious beliefs stay in their marriages until death do them part even if they are miserable? That could be a force to be reckoned with.

It's still pretty early to tell, but if the right keeps touting their values, someone is going to bring this up in the mainstream media. No?

"Had Enough?"

Gary!! Your new favorite blog is now MY new favorite blog! Orwell's Grave. If you have not read this speech from Barack Obama, Gary has all the links to this on his blog. It is great!

All of the posts at Orwell's Grave are wonderful. I was particularly interested in the Unity08 post on June 4th. I thought Mr. McArthur handled the comment thread quite well. I wish I knew about this site before I spent time running around in circles trying to understand unity08.

Thanks Gary. Nice find.

Tuesday, June 27

New Study: Women responsible for gayness in men.

If you're gay, it's probably your mother's fault for having too many sons, says psychologist.

Study Links Male Gays, Birth of Older Brothers

Having one or more older brothers boosts the likelihood of a boy growing up to be gay — an effect due not to social factors, but biological events that occur in their mother's womb, according to a study published today.

In an analysis of 905 men and their siblings, Canadian psychologist Anthony Bogaert found no evidence that social interactions among family members played a role in determining whether a man was gay or straight.

The only significant factor was the number of times a mother had previously given birth to boys, according to the report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences...

I can think of dozens of exceptions to this, but on the other hand a number of my gay friends have several older brothers. Anyway, I love these scientific studies because next week, something will come out that contradicts this week's studies.

Shooting The Messenger

The news last night was all abuzz with the story of the bushistas outrage that the NY Times dared to print the story regarding the government tracking our bank transactions. Peter King wants to sue the Times for treason. oy vay. The press has been pretty darn accomodating to the bushistas over the years and basically sold out the American people to the fascists. Somehow, according to the Republicans, this big secret that the Times revealed, that the US inspects banking records, which is supposedly legal, is harming our national security. yawn. If I hear, "We are in a time of war" one more time, I'm gonna hit someone. The war ended 3 years ago. We're in an occupation now. duh.

If it's legal that the government can spy on our bank records, then how is it illegal that the NY Times would report it? It seems like a lousy excuse. The government doth protest too much. This is what the press is supposed to do according to Thomas Jefferson.

They are just embarrassed that yet another incident of how the government has trod over our civil rights has been outed. So they are listening to our calls, monitoring our call history, inspecting our bank accounts... and what's next? We'll find out that they are also monitoring our health records? Sorry, but divulging that our government is spying on us, is not hurting the war effort. It's hurting the effort by the fascists to end democracy.

Terrorists with E.D.

Does Darryn Kagan have to report this on CNN this morning? Eeeks. (I hate the guy, but holy shit) Makes you wonder if there is more to this than meets the eye.
Bottle of Viagra Gets Limbaugh Held at Airport

Abstinence Education: Girls Don't Like Sex

You have got to read this article at alternet, "Abstinence Double Standard Threatens Girls' Health" because it's a mind blower. This is a cause I can jump on because it's chock full of lies and outdated social mores. It's dangerous. There's no mention of birth control other than abstinence, which doesn't work, and it has no effect on the spread of STD infection. Nice.

Shame based abstinence education is what the government is funding and it has no health value and NO redeeming social value to boot. It teaches that "boys will be boys" and girls just have to control themselves, say no and never to "tease" them by wearing sexy clothing. It's up to girls to stop kissing the boy when things get heated up, because after all, girls don't really like sex anyway. Girls have to STOP sending the sexy messages to boys. Boys simply cannot control themselves so if a girl gets pregnant or ABUSED by a boy, it's her fault.

It almost seems like whomever is writing these "health" books has also written, but not published yet, new rules for who has to pay child support when the girl forgets to say no and gets knocked up- why the girl of course. If a boy sexually abuses a girl, it's her fault. The boy couldn't help it. So if a girl gets AIDS, HPV or other STD, it's her fault for not stopping the boy. "Waddaya gonna do?" There's no actual health and safety information.

Where do they come up with this shit? In their rich fantasy lives of life in ancient times? Our tax dollars are funding this crappy excuse for sex education? And it doesn't work either. Trying to fight nature with nonsense is a losing battle. They had better come up with something that works. Why do they think that boys and girls got married at 14 before the modern era? It's no easy task to delay what nature urges human beings to do. The government is funding a curriculum rife with misinformation- our children are unarmed and dangerous.

Monday, June 26

June 27th - "National Day of Action"

Last week, Lt. Ehren Watada refused to deploy with his unit to Iraq. I was very touched by this open letter from his mother.

Here are some locations around the country that will be supporting Lt. Watada on the 27th. I thought I would pass it on in case anyone was interested.


billy boy and rush must be having a field day with this -- Has anyone caught any MSM reporting on this?

Movements against partisan politics

I am finally reading more and more about people who are fed up with our political parties in this country. This morning, I read about a group of recent graduates from Wesleyan University in Connecticut, who launched a new website. Here is the article and a link to their site.

"The website is part of a budding movement against partisan politics, driven largely by college students and playing out primarily on the Web. The most prominent of these groups, Unity08, intends to hold an online convention to nominate a bipartisan presidential ticket in 2008....."

I had not heard of Unity08 until I read this story. Here is the technorati tag link to Unity08:
. Lots of good reads! WOW!!! What do you think of this group (founded by several washington insiders)?

Well, I wonder how this will play out. I'm kinda thinking that the internet plugs will be pulled on all of us in the very near future. In case that happens, I just want to say that it has been a pleasure conversing with ALL of you and I wish you the very best (in heaven or hell); until then -- party on dudes!

How's by you?

Not only do the nation's politics suck, the weather sucks too.

I am soooo sick of watching television, I could scream. It's off today. I don't care. I'll go out back and see how my studio and all the projects held up. It would have been a great sky watching weekend with the new moon and all... Sure I caught some interesting movies, nature shows, decorating shows and documentaries and of course, I could have been doing other things for the past few days, but this dismal, dreary excuse for summer had me laying on the couch all weekend. And muggy? My hair curled. I missed out on the usual excitement of setting pots all over the house to catch the rainwater because the intrepid testosterone twins(TM) did a pretty good job of sealing the roof around the chimney and where the 2 levels of house meet during the last deluge a few weeks ago (when I discovered pots and pans I had long forgotten about). Look honey, it's the indoor fountain you always wanted!

I read that the west is having record heat. Not sure I'd prefer that either.

Silliness

At the Last Chance Democracy Cafe, the question was asked, "Could I Love A Republican?" He is talking about romantic love and a love that you choose, not your relatives who happen to be Republican. I suppose it would all depend on what type of Republican you are talking about. If it's one that doesn't really follow the news, thinks the war in Iraq is wrong and is truly compassionate when it comes to social justice, there's a possibility that a love connection could be made. I find it unlikely that a liberal political newshound and activist could fall for a Faux News watching, Lush Bimbo listener and a Weekly Standard Reader unless that person is also turned on immensely by controversy.

Waddayathink?

For Our Edufacation: Know Your Fascist

Drives me nuts when the wingers call bloggers, liberals or anyone but themselves, Fascists. But then again it only proves that liberals are smarter than wingers and paid attention in school.

The 14 Characteristics of Fascism
by Lawrence Britt
Spring 2003
Free Inquiry magazine

The 14 characteristics are:

Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottoes, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

Supremacy of the Military
Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

Rampant Sexism
The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.

Controlled Mass Media
Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

Obsession with National Security
Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

Religion and Government are Intertwined
Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

Corporate Power is Protected
The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

Labor Power is Suppressed
Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed .

Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.

Obsession with Crime and Punishment
Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

Fraudulent Elections
Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

--------------

“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power” -Benito Mussolini

Sunday, June 25

Democrats: Stay With the Program or Lose

Jonathan Alter points something out in "How To Beat 'Cut And Run'"that most Democratic strategists haven't figured out as of yet- Rove goes after Democratic strong points and makes them look like weaknesses. With all this "cut and run" hooha going on, will the Democrats change their focus? Alter posits that if the Democrats drop the Iraq fiasco from their political agenda because of the labels put on them by Rove and the Republicans, then the Republicans have won. By name calling, the Republicans continuously bully the Democrats into retreating on the most pressing issue of the day. Right now, the Iraq quagmire is the most important issue on people's minds. Will the Democrats seize the moment?

Alter says it's not that hard to do either. They don't have to state every detail of their plan- just that they had one. (Most Democrats will tell you that they do have a plan and that the media is not reporting it. I say, then keep the message simple.) Nixon claimed to have a "secret plan" for getting out of Vietnam and the voters bought it. Democrats need to drive home the fact that Iraq is a distaster and it's all because of the Republican's failed policy. Alter writes: "Unless things improve dramatically on the ground in Iraq, Democrats have a powerful argument: If you believe the Iraq war is a success, vote Republican. If you believe it is a failure, vote Democratic."

He's right about that. It's NOT unpatriotic to criticize a president or a war. In fact, it's only under Bush that war critics have been labeled 'unpatriotic'. Remember when Clinton took military action, you couldn't hear enough anti-war criticism from the right (and the left too). No one was called "unpatriotic". We know that there is nothing unpatriotic about criticizing our government. In fact criticism is good for the republic. We can keep the fascists at bay.

So what can we do? Keep the heat on the Democrats to do the right thing and keep their focus on the war. Call them, write them, bug them. What the hell, bug the Republicans too. If they want to keep their jobs, they better focus on the important things- like pointing out all the policy failures and sticking to it.

The Great Divide?

Newsweek wants you to take this Baby Boomer survey if you're a baby boomer. (1946-1964)
If you're not a boomer then take this one.

I guess that they expected to see a big difference or a "divide" in the political views of boomers and non boomers. There really isn't much of a difference except that boomers were greatly influenced politically by Vietnam and non-boomers chose 9/11.

Try the survey and see what you think about the results. It's not really a scientific survey. It's like when Fox does an online survey- of course the results will be skewed towards Fox type viewers and Newsweek readers are probably more like me than say Time readers.

Saturday, June 24

Evil Overlord List

Just a fun little list to help pass some time. I know we've all seen these movies and most of us have groaned and gnashed our teeth at how stupid the bad guys were to allow so-and-so to do this or to build a huge doomsday device and never take any precautions, like, say, pluging it into a surge protector.

So for all you horror and Sci-fi fans out there, the top 100 things an evil overlord must remember. (and you can click on cell block A for 101-250)

John Stossel - The Myth Buster

'20/20' Busts Ten Body Myths:

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=2109291&page=1


Nothing Will Age You Faster Than the Sun
You might think it's just the sun that causes premature wrinkles and ages your body, but a growing body of research shows your own anxiety levels can take years off your life.

There's a Wrong Way to Breathe
It turns out there's actually a better way to take a deep breath than what you're probably doing.

I knew it! I knew it! I knew it! All we really need to do is breathe the right way and get rid of the stress in our lives.

When Does Life Begin? A Poll

After reading Liz's post below, and then jaunting over to Pharyngula and reading some comments regarding abortion rights there....well my mind is now swimming between thoughts of life and death and all that those events can mean.

Now, of course, it is fairly easy to determine when something is dead. (Sans a Terri Schiavo-like tragedey) however when life begins is fair more iffy. So I was wondering, what is your view? When do you think human life actually 'begins'? Is a newly fertiziled egg the same as a 2 day old infant? At what point would an embryo/fetus obtain the rights of a child, or would it obtain those rights, or do you think that a fetus is a fetus and only obtains the rights of a living person once it is separated from the mother's body?

I have C&P two posts from Prof. Myer's blog regarding the Raving Atheist who seems to be more of a Raving Lunatic for Jeebus. The conversation quickly turned to reproductive choice and I thought these two comments were simply wonderful:


Basically, outlawing abortion means that right of the fetus to live trumps the right of the pregnant woman to have a say in what happens to her body. By that logic, not only should organ donation be mandatory, but living organ donation as well. Everyone should be tissue typed for possible matches to people needing liver, bone marrow, or kidney transplants and forced to provide if a match is found, because the right of the sick person needing it to live trumps that of another person who would just suffer a short inconvenience to his/her body. Same argument.
Posted by: Carlie


Precisely, Carlie. We must distinguish between moral/ethical obligations and legal ones.
I would say that everyone has an ethical obligation to donate useful organs when they die in order to help others, but no one has the right to force others to make that choice, whether they are part of the legal system or not.


The legal system permits us to do many things that we really have obligations not to do, and it does not force us to do many things that we really have an obligation to do. That is precisely how things should be.
Posted by: Caledonian

So, what are your thoughts? When does life begin? When (if ever) is the fetus' rights more important to that of the mother. And while we're at it, how much of a say should the father (sperm donor) have in its care prior to birth? At what point could/should society intercede (say a crack-head mother, sky-diving mother, constantly drunk mother, etc) or at what point does society's rights and concerns supercede the mother's rights to do as she pleases?

Discuss and don't feed the trolls. ;)

So Who's In Hell Anyway?

Newsweek recounts a nifty poll taken at beliefnet.com about your prospects of going to hell. And naturally more conservatives think they are not going to hell than liberals. Of course conservatives have a pretty good idea who is going to hell. Conservative christians generally believe that what one believes determines their salvation. Catholics said it was because of a person's immoral actions. It just shows you how people like to play "god". That's pretty much the ongoing beef between protestants and catholics anyway: deeds or faith. It depends on how you interpret that very ambiguous book that God supposedly inspired.

For a moment here, I am going to pretend that I am a christian who believes in the god that we created. The christian god is pretty 'human', you know, yet he is most merciful because after all, he created all of us and he doesn't want his creatures to 'fry'. Not even Jerry Falwell or Osama bin Ladin. Would you want your children to burn in hell? Of course not. You'd want to give them every chance possible to redeem themselves right up until the last second. You'd pretty much give them every opportunity to show some sort of inkling of respect for you before you threw them to the wolves and even then, you'd still probably like to give them another opportunity to change their hearts, take them into your house, albeit a less luxurious room in the back of the house with no view, until they got their act together.

If I were a believer, I'd tend to go along with the Catholic Church's theology concerning hell. Contrary to all the stuff Catholics tell you about going to hell, the church really takes a broader view and you're not going to hell for eating meat on Friday's during lent (unless you really want to). It's really what's in your heart that determines if you will have a happy afterlife.

In Catholicism, you have to absolutely positively reject God consciously when you do something immoral in order to be hell fodder. It has to be pre-meditated too. You have to wake up one morning and tell yourself that you don't care what god thinks and don't care if you ever meet him in heaven because you are going to commit a particular immoral act that day regardless of the consequences and you will never ever think twice about your heinous action or regret it.

Now that's a pretty hard thing to do, isn't it? Most people do terribly immoral things on the spur of the moment and probably don't even think of their afterlife when they're wrapped up in their passion. And according to Catholic theology, god still gives you a chance at your last moment on earth to repent even if you did consciously do something immoral to deliberately set yourself apart from god. If you still reject god's love at the last nanosecond, then you will be separated from god for all eternity. And that's hell. It's YOUR choice. Not God's. The only thing god actually judges is whether or not you really, really have chosen to be separated from him at that moment. God is very sad when you choose to exist without God after your time on earth.

A lot of thinking and theology went into that Catholic doctrine (which I will not go into here) and it pretty much makes sense from a human perspective unless you're really really mad at someone at the moment and you want them to burn for all eternity for hurting you. Luckily it's not other people's judgement that determines your spiritual future. Only God knows what is in your heart and you probably have a good idea of what's in your heart too regardless of what you may project.

And that ends this brief sermonette. Go in Peace.

For more information on the Catholic Church's position on hell, you can read this brief talk given by Pope John Paul II to a general audience on July 28, 1999 where he talks about God's mercy.

As Flame Might Say, "Distraction Much?"

We haven't talked too much here about those scary Miami terrists arrested the other day. From what I've read, these guys couldn't terrorize themselves out of a paper bag. They sound like your garden variety knuckleheads, sitting around popping off at the mouth, visions of glory dancing through their heads. The so-called Al-qaeda contact, who was really an FBI agent, had to supply them with a rental car for surveillance, a map and, I kid you not, boots. It used to be that when the government went that far in supplying the means for the commission of a crime, it was called entrapment. Anywho, this looks to me like more of the usual, "hey, look over here, terra, terra, mumble mumble, fight 'em there before we have to fight 'em here" bullshit.

I mean, does anyone really buy this shit anymore? Do any of y'all think these guys were for real?

Friday, June 23

Friday Sex Post

Get your freak on.

World Cup sex toys!

I'll give you an enemy of democracy

...The guy who wrote this column in WAPO entitled Jon Stewart, Enemy of Democracy?
who claims that The Daily Show may poison democracy because it may keep youths from the polls (even though young people generally vote less than other age groups anyway). So a study was done having a group of college students watch the corporate CBS evening news which most likely reported what they were told to report and The Daily Show which actually analyzes the news and politician's double speak.

The results showed that the participants rated both candidates more negatively after watching Stewart's program. Participants also expressed less trust in the electoral system and more cynical views of the news media, according to the researchers' article, in the latest issue of American Politics Research.

"Ultimately, negative perceptions of candidates could have participation implications by keeping more youth from the polls," they wrote.
There is SO MUCH WRONG with the above paragraphs because there is no proof and there are no numbers supporting that informed young people would stay away from the polls after watching TDS. And what is wrong with American citizens being less trustful of their government and political candidates? The political candidates in 2005 were jerks. What is wrong with questioning our governments policies? Why, that is quite American. Naturally that scares the powers that be. They expect everyone to quietly take in the ass what they dole out without asking any questions. Now that's unamerican.

Drama in DC- Why do the bushistas hate NY?

NY and DC on 9/11 provided the bushistas with opportunities to make their cronies very wealthy and powerful. Why slap the cities in the face?

According to Dana Milbank of Wapo, in Republicans Gone Wild, two very unhappy mayors, Anthony Williams (DC) and Michael Bloomberg (NY) spent some time yesterday at the House's Homeland Security Committee hearing ripping the Department of Homeland Security representative, George Foresman, a new one for for slashing counterterrorism funds by 40% to NYC and DC.

What was astounding to Milbank, was that it was Republicans who were going off on the DHS and Peter King and others were talking about forcing the administration to restore funding to 2 of America's most vulnerable cities to terrorist attacks.

Long Island's only Republican congressman, Peter King, who must be up for re-election, led the assault on the DHS. Not only that, James Sensenbrenner also ripped the administration and the DOJ for failing to provide them with documents pertaining to the NSA's telephone surveillance.

BYU Physics Prof Finds Thermate in WTC Physical Samples, Building Collapses an Inside Job

"Based on chemical analysis of WTC structural steel residue, a BrighamYoung University physics professor has identified the material as Thermate. Thermate is the controlled demolition explosive thermite plus sulfur. Sulfur cases the thermite to burn hotter, cutting steel quickly and leaving trails of yellow colored residue."

Portland Independent Media Center


It's a little easier to understand now if Grove's Transcript is to be believed.

They did it for the money.

Thursday, June 22

I'm so askeered, I'm gonna vote Republican.

Seven people were arrested in Miami for plotting to blow up the Sear's Tower, yadda yadda yadda,there are WMDs in Iraq, oh wait, they are from before 1991, yadda yadda yadda and fortunately the gubmint caught the bad guys in Miami, but oh wait, there were no bomb making materials in the building in Miami and there were no ties to al Qaida, but I'm still askeered anyways and gonna vote for a Republican to keep me safe even though the ninja guys in Miami stood in front of the building in plain site of everyone pretending to guard, um, nothing, but they had a Murkan flag flying on their building so how bad could they be? I know it's an election year and I know that the Republicans count on me being askeered, but, but, but, what if they are right this time? Oh I don't know what to do. What if gay people get married? Then people will marry animals and oh my. I better vote for a Republican so I won't be forced to have an abortion some day.

MRSA

A few post below, I gave a CDC update on the bird flu, and Jo asked about MSRA and Jo is right, it is far more of a pratical concern than H5N1 Avian flu. And since most readers do not know about this disease I thought I might give a VERY broad overview of what it is and why it is dangerous.

Methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA for short, is a type of staph infection. And while most staph infections are rather bothersome they can easily be treated with antibiotics and of course, many (20-30%) healthy people do have the Staph bacteria in their bodies with no ill effects. The problem, however, is that MRSA is antibiotic resistant, (it was accidentatly 'bred' in hospitals due to the wide spread use of antibiotics in patients), and can spread via contact in many cases.

It used to be pretty much confined to hospital settings, but with the prevelance of 'day' surgeries and the rise of immunocompromised patients (HIV/AIDs, Cancer, Transplant, etc) it has now taken hold in the general population. Its spread has been most noticeable amongst the immunocompromised, prison populations, military members, and amongst atheletes. The atheletes seem to be two pronged; the close proximity of players (on the field, in the shower, sharing equipment, etc) and also due to the use of steriods which do effect the immune system.

Just as an FYI, the CDC has a special classification for MRSA that is contracted outside of the healthcare setting, CA-MRSA. However they are still on the survelliance and research part of the job with no set 'guidelines' for CA-MRSA. Factors that have been associated with the spread of CA-MRSA skin infections include close skin-to-skin contact, openings in the skin such as cuts or abrasions, contaminated items and surfaces, crowded living conditions, and poor hygiene. Some Staph can also be spread via coughing or sneezing, causing pneumonnia, but that one is a bit less of a concern for the moment.

At this point in time there are 3 genetically distinct strains of CA-MRSA in the community and the outbreaks tend to happen in clusters. (And contrary to popular myth, the flesh eating bacteria is NOT among them, that one is STREPT, not Staph). CA-MRSA is treatable via several methods (depending on the type and where the infection is) anything from a lancing and drainage to hospitalization with IV antibiotics can be required. And as ALWAYS, basic hygiene is the first and best prevention.

I would strongly suggest that anyone who is concerned about this disease read the articles via the links I have provided. I have done my best to find appropriate articles written in everyday language and if you have any further questions or if you think you or somone you know has this disease please contact your healthcare provider immediately. I should also add that many people have had CA-MRSA and have mistaken it for a 'spider bite' that becomes infected, per the abstract via the CDC.

Factoid of the Week:

The typical worker's compensation averaged just under $42,000 for the year (2005), while the average CEO brought home almost $11 million.

There's a Reuters article on it at Yahoo.com.

Myth Busters

LiveScience.com: The Most Popular Myths in Science
There IS gravity in space.
Lightning can strike the same place more than once.
Your hair and nails do stop growing after you die.
It doesn't take 7 years to digest gum.
Cats don't always land on their feet.

Take the tour on Live Science to get the facts on popular myths. We blondes already know this information, but it's good for the rest of the population to be up on all this stuff.
(Click on the 'browse images' buttons on each page to learn more)

Seems there's a story along these lines every day or so.

I've lost track. There was the VA. Then FedEx. Maybe more. Now this:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A computer hacker may have stolen "personal identity information" for 26,000 current and former Agriculture Department headquarters employees, agency officials said.

I'm reminded of that old Godfather's Pizza ad: "I know where ya' live".

Reuters


UPDATE:
Visa says ATM breach may have exposed data

"SAN FRANCISCO - Visa USA on Tuesday confirmed an ATM security breakdown has exposed more consumers to potential mischief, the latest in a long line of lapses that have illuminated the often flimsy controls over the personal information entrusted to businesses, schools and government agencies.

"The latest breach dates back to February when San Francisco-based Visa began notifying banks of a security problem affecting a U.S.-based contractor that processed automated teller machine transactions."

Hey Wingers! Good News

Army takes older recruits
People can now volunteer to serve in the active-duty Army or the part-time Army Reserve and National Guard up to their 42nd birthday after the move aimed at increasing the number of people eligible to sign up, officials said.

It marked the second time this year the Army has boosted the maximum age for new volunteers, raising the ceiling from age 35 to 40 in January before now adding two more years.

Isn't America great? We don't have to rely on only our kids taking the brunt of Bush's folly. Y'old farts who voted for bush can help win the war on terra. Yeah, you might get killed cause you're all slow and everything, but it's the thought that counts. Really.

Where do they come up with this stuff

Tuesday night, while half asleep, I caught Stephen Colbert conducting an interview with a nut from the WSJ

HENNINGER: This is a footnote to our gay marriage discussion: A woman in India last week married a snake. I would like to ask the proponents of gay marriage--which violates, after all, traditions going back through all of human history--to now absolutely, positively guarantee that the next movement is not going to be allowing people to marry their pet horse, dog or cat. And you know What? Given the "anything goes" culture we live in, I don't think they can deliver that guarantee.

Naturally Colbert went on to say that he has no problem with people marrying snakes but he condemns people marrying gay snakes.

Honestly, ladies and gentlemen, how do people with these sorts of opinions get jobs where they have to speak in public? Even here in Gomorrah, such an aberration was never brought up. Lots of things happen in India that never happen here.

I wonder where these ideas of human/animal relations come from among politicians and conservative pundits? It's quite shocking for me to even entertain these ideas in jest. Yes, I've heard about goat fuckers (I had never heard of it before the internet), but they are hardly the norm in first world countries and I can hardly imagine that Americans who support gay rights would also support human/animal relations. Gay relations take place between human beings. How dare these idiots even compare gay marriage to animal relations?

The perverse allegations that spew from the right sort of makes you wonder, don't you think?

Wednesday, June 21

How do Republicans teach their young that lying is wrong?

rom the New York Times

WASHINGTON, June 20 — House Republican leaders today abruptly canceled a planned vote to renew the Voting Rights Act after a rank-and-file rebellion by lawmakers who say the civil rights measure unfairly singles out Southern states and promotes multi-lingual ballots.

Well, duh? That is where black Americans and white Americans were murdered for registering to vote and if we can buy products with instructions written in Japan or Germany in French, Spanish, and English why should we fret about multi lingual ballots. (Republican looks the same in any language. JEB BUSH is pretty easy to understand in Vietnamese, right? Don't forget Neil Bush's fondness for Asian women.)

This is unbelievable.

What else is unbelievable is that it probably won't get as much attention as Jolie-Pitt's obsession with adopting children from hell-hole countries when they could adopt children from right here in the good ol' US of A. What the hell is wrong with American kids? Not exotic enough? Not saving the world enough? Not getting in the newspapers enough? (She reminds me of Mia Farrow. Doesn't anyone realize that she isn't changing those diapers? And neither is Pitt. ABC's Nightline was wondering this week just how gay is Superman? We all know that there is something going on with Batman and Robin, not Clark Kent. And don't even discuss The Lone Ranger.)

The media is making us stupid. And we like it.

If the Republicans defeat the bill and keep control of all three branches of government this fall and retain their ownership of the deregulated Fourth Estate, then we can just stop calling ourselves a democracy. And if things in South Dakota with their abortion ban go as well, women might as well stop going to college and to work and marry that man with the three jobs and no health insurance who promises to love her forever, ever, ever.

This isn't a stunt. These Republicans are serious. They think the poor South has been picked on enough and that everything is just great in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. Why black people are literally falling over each other to get to the polls.

Remember the 2000 presidential election when blacks were turned away from the polls because they were on a list that said they were felons? Never mind they had never been arrested. They were on the felon list, usually because they shared a name with a convicted felon--in other states! They couldn't vote. Never mind that armed police are going into elderly black homes to "investigate" voter fraud. Never mind that the ballots are so confusing--in English--that well educated people can't use them. Oh, well thank God for Diebold. You don't need any pesky paper ballots, the machine will count your vote for you. Whether you actually voted for that candidate or not.

This would be surreal if for the reality that we are living in the day when if you don't support the president you are a traitor. If you don't support the war, you hate America. If you don't denounce the terrorists while mourning dead Americans then you support the terrorists.

If this bill fails, will someone finally notice that the ship has sailed and we haven't been a democracy or even a republic for quite sometime. We impeach a man because he lied about a consensual sexual relationship but we can't impeach Bush over lying about Iraq. How do Republicans explain to their children that lying is wrong? How are they going to explain that everything is so rosy in America that we don't need no stinking civil, reproductive or voting rights?

In This Week's Episode of Fuck The Poor

The Senate has killed a Democratic proposal to raise the minimum wage gradually from the $5.15/hour to $7.25/hour. The proposal has been defeated repeatedly by the Republican led Senate for the past several years.

Let's do the math: a worker making $5.15/hour working 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year (that's right, no vacation, who could afford one on that wage) would make $10,712 a year before federal and state income taxes, and before FICA contributions.

Honestly, words fail me.

Republican Talking Points

Wasn't the big one this week and last week, "If you are not with the president, then you don't support the troops"? And wait, the other popular one is "If you don't support the war, you're with the terrorists"?

What are the other ones going around? Where's Orwell when you need him?

Empathy:

The ability to put oneself in another's shoes.

Not everyone is born with it. Some people have to be taught to empathize, others learn it throughout their lives by experience, maturity and even by their religious upbringing.

Having empathy enables us to learn to avoid certain potentially aggressive situations. ie: how would you feel if someone did that to you or to your child? (On the other hand, showing ones empathy for others may spark aggression from those who have never experienced the emotion. Perhaps their moms never held them for some reason. Yesterday, Lush Bimbo told his heartless listeners to condemn those who condemn the war. His heartless minions were sent out to hurt those who hurt for the families of the victims.)

Empathy is good. Too much empathy is not good. No empathy is a really bad thing. It's not human. As in all things, moderation is key.

My first emotion upon seeing the photo's of the 2 young men who were tortured and beheaded by evil people in Iraq was one of empathy for the families of these victims. I felt their pain immediately. Perhaps, being a mom of a young man who is around the same age made it really hit home. Our children are OUR children always no matter how old they are. Looking back at when I was that age, I have to admit that although I thought I was such a grow up in my 20's, I was just a kid too. You live and learn a lot over half a century on earth. Perhaps knowing that some of my son's childhood playmates are or were in Iraq is what brought on the pain yesterday. It was real pain. I wrote from my heart when I condemned those who put our youth into such a terrible situation where they are subject to such heinous acts and furthermore, taught to inflict such pain on others as well. Have you ever looked into the eyes of parents of convicted killers?

When a mother holds her baby in her arms, she wants no harm to come to her angel. Ever. The mother's of the terrorists surely felt the same way when they held their babies. The mother's of the soldiers who tortured inmates in Abu Ghraib would never have wished that their precious angels would grow up to inflict pain on others. Mother's don't have babies only to wish they'd grow up and become killing machines and risk being killed. Even if you are part of a military family, the mother certainly doesn't want their child to have to face war. You want your kids to live long, non violent lives. How can your heart not cry out when you see pictures like this? Would you ever in a million years want to be the parent of the these babies or the ones who killed them?

How can we believe there is a god when our children must endure the results of nothing but greed on the part of world leaders?

As you grow older you begin to see the puppet strings leading right up to the puppeteers. God sure as hell isn't the puppeteer. That's where righteous indignation comes in. You don't need talking points to tell you how to feel once the truth is revealed to you. Only the truly heartless, who never learned compassion or empathy, need to rely on talking points and they are merely pretending to feel anything.

You don't have to be a parent to feel empathy. I was empathetic before I was a parent. There is something about war that makes parents feel so very betrayed. To those parents who have children in the service, I also empathize with you. You most certainly do not want to think for one minute that it was all in vain. I understand. God bless you.

Happy Summer Solstice

I took this from the resident poet commenter here at the blog:

What a lovely first day of summer.

Children are dying, mothers are crying, Shell Oil is buying,
troll-shit is flying, Mother Mary is sighing, and I keep on trying,
and trying, and trying not to lose hope.
-kablooie

Latest on Bird Flu

I figured I'd keep you up to date to prevent any rumors or mis-information. There has been LIMITED human-human transmission, but nothing that is unexpected at this point.


The epidemiology of H5N1 human infections has not changed significantly since February 2004. Therefore, CDC recommends that H5N1 surveillance in the United States remain at the enhanced level first established at that time. However, this revised interim guidance provides an updated case definition of a suspected H5N1 human case for the purpose of determining when testing should be undertaken and also provides more detailed information on laboratory testing. Effective surveillance will continue to rely on health care providers obtaining information regarding international travel and other exposure risks from persons with specified respiratory symptoms as detailed in the recommendations below. This guidance will be updated as the epidemiology of H5N1 changes. Note: CDC is revising its interim guidance for infection control precautions for avian influenza A (H5N1). These will be issued as soon as they are available.


Current Situation

The avian influenza A (H5N1) epizootic (animal outbreak) in Asia has expanded to wild birds and/or poultry in parts of Europe, the Near East and Africa. Sporadic human infections with H5N1 continue to be reported and have most recently occurred in China, Egypt, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, and Djibouti. In addition, rare instances of probable human-to-human transmission associated with H5N1 viruses have occurred, most recently in a family cluster in Indonesia. So far, however, the spread of H5N1 virus from person to person has been rare, inefficient, and unsustained. The total number of confirmed human cases of H5N1 reported as of June 7, 2006 has reached 225. The case fatality rate for these reported cases continues to be approximately 50 percent. As of this date, H5N1 has not been identified among animals or humans in the United States.


The epizootic in Asia and parts of Europe, the Near East and Africa is not expected to diminish significantly in the short term and it is likely that H5N1 infection among birds has become enzootic in certain areas. It is expected that human infections resulting from direct contact with infected poultry will continue to occur in affected countries. Since no sustained human-to-human transmission of influenza H5N1 has been documented anywhere in the world, the current phase of alert, based on the World Health Organization (WHO) global influenza preparedness plan, remains at Phase 3 (Pandemic Alert).* In addition, no evidence for genetic reassortment between human and avian influenza A virus genes has been found. Nevertheless, this expanding epizootic continues to pose an important and growing public health threat. CDC is in communication with WHO and other national and international agencies and continues to monitor the situation closely.


THESE ARE THE RISK GUIDELINES WE ARE CURRENTLY USING:


A) History of travel to a country with influenza H5N1 documented in poultry, wild birds, and/or humans,† AND had at least one of the following potential exposures during travel:

• direct contact with (e.g., touching) sick or dead domestic poultry;
• direct contact with surfaces contaminated with poultry feces;
• consumption of raw or incompletely cooked poultry or poultry products;
• direct contact with sick or dead wild birds suspected or confirmed to have influenza H5N1;
• close contact (approach within 1 meter [approx. 3 feet]) of a person who was hospitalized or died due to a severe unexplained respiratory illness;

B) Close contact (approach within 1 meter [approx. 3 feet]) of an ill patient who was confirmed or suspected to have H5N1;

C) Worked with live influenza H5N1 virus in a laboratory.




As you can see, at this point it is still a non-issue, so if the machine starts cranking out warnings and hysteria, please inform others of what the CDC has released 6.20.06.

PS
There is a SUSPECTED, and as yet UNCONFIRMED, case of H5N1 in a Canadian fowl, but we are still waiting lab results. But still, the chance of human-human transmission is low and there is no need to panic, basic hygene will keep most people covered. So wash your hands and stop touching yourself (no, silly, I meant your face). ;)

Note to Democratic Politicians

It's the war, stupid. Like the trolls who visited us yesterday, the Republicans are all about the politics of distraction, division and distortion. There are great factual arguments to refute every single talking point they have, of course, but when you do that, you are engaging them on their own terms. Bill Clinton, for all his faults, intuitively understood the value of staying on message, and for that he was rewarded with two terms, the only Democrat re-relected to the presidency since Truman. So you guys and gals, get a clue, take a lesson from Bill.

It's the war, stupid.

Tuesday, June 20

Think of It as Troll Bait

BlondeSense commenter Terrible makes I think a very astute observation in a thread below: The liberal blogosphere seems full of trolls today, which makes him wonder whether there aren't some new pathetic poll numbers out for His Heinie King George, so the trolls have been told to fan out and spin, spin, spin. We get some interesting trolls around here, and they're pretty good at sticking assiduously to the Neocon talking points. The timing is so, well, coincidental, it almost makes one wonder whether they might be professionals.

Well, I haven't seen any bad polls over the past couple of days, but damn, the news from the glorious war in Iraq sure ain't good. Obviously, there is the grisly torture death of two more American soldiers. And there is the quite ordinary daily bombings. A few American soldiers were charged with murder of Iraqi detainees. The Japanese are pulling their troops out. And the Iraqis who work for the American embassy in Baghdad are scared shitless.

Oh, and George Bush is out raising money for Republicans.

I'm sure all of this is susceptible to a logical Neocon explanation. So, bring it on. I really want to hear this one.

From the comments section in Liz' post below:

"Wow, even Red State Blues is a hateful leftist who engages in personal attacks without knowing who I am. Is that the only argument you have? A lame chickenhawk argument? You're the ones making claims about the administration and the fighting of the war without listing any of your credentials. If you believe that your moral authority can only be backed by your bona fides, then let's see them. Come on, don't hide behind your purse." -- Don Rumsfeld

My great-great grandfather and great-grandfather built railroads throughout the American midwest during the Mexican, Civil, and Spanish-American wars.
My grandfather was postmaster of the town during World War One.
My father entertained troops during World War Two.
My Godfather was a decorated veteran of the South Pacific during World War Two.
My father-in-law was a Korean War veteran who guarded P.O.W.s
My son is a decorated veteran of Gulf War One who came home with a case of depleted uranium poisoning.
During the Vietnam War, I worked in a midwestern steel mill, where the "end uses" on some of the orders that I processed were: "Humvee parts", "hand grenade handles", and "ammunition boxes".

"Bona fides" in order? 'Course, some of us are still alive, Don. Perhaps in order to qualify for your idea of authenticity, we would have to be dead. Is that your idea of a "hero"? Or is it someone who has his Daddy get him a position with the Texas Air National Guard so he won't have to see combat?

Finally, the people on this blog are among the best friends I have ever had in my life and just remember one thing: When you speak to one of them, you are speaking to me as well.

He's Just A Kid!

You fucking bastards in DC. You think of reasons to start wars so you can profit from them, and then you cowardly pieces of shit send our kids to fight your battles for you while you sit on your fat asses in air conditioning. Rot in hell, all of you.

On the left is Pfc. Kristian Menchaca, 23, of Houston, one of the boys who was believed to be "killed in a barbaric way." The other boy was Pfc. Thomas L. Tucker, 25, of Madras, Ore.

And there by the grace of god go all the college republicans to their orientations this summer. Yeah, support the barbarians who are sacrificing your former classmates so that you can drive SUV's to campus.

UPDATE: interestingly the right is more concerned about the liberal's outrage at the senseless killings of these young men, but not angry at the terrorists. They hate us more than they hate the terrorists! Can you imagine? Check this out: The right is claiming that the left is happy about the deaths. Liars! Where the hell do they come up with this shit? Oh yes, the master of disinformation: Lush Bimbo

Me thinks our trolls listened to Rush today.

Comments

I Want to Have Bill Maher's Babies

If my uterus would still cooperate. I'd settle for a good snogging. His take on the state of the nation, and in particular, Gore's loss in 2000 and whether Ralph Nader is at fault:

I don't blame Ralph Nader at all. Please. The people who are to blame are the Democrats for not having the Ralph Nader platform. Ralph Nader is right. I would welcome the Democratic Party co-opting Ralph Nader instead of blaming Ralph Nader. Ralph Nader's big issue is that America, our democracy, is being slowly strangled by the influence of corporations and lobbyists and money in politics. And that is the root of all our problems. Nothing in this country ever gets done without somebody getting paid off. Everybody talks about how everything changed after 9/11. No, nothing really changed after 9/11. We don't really have adequate protection of the homeland because it's still a matter of pork-barrel politics.

Damn straight, Bill. You da man!

I personally don't care for Nader because I think his run over the past two elections was more about his ego than what is good for the country, but there is no doubt in my mind that he is absolutely right about this issue.

Meanwhile NYC Is Going To Hell in a Handbasket

Update: Actually, no we are not going to hell because we are the politest city in the world, goddammit.

Here in Gomorrah, where homosexuality runs free and abortions are legal, the crime rate is up. Not the kind of crime you are thinking of though. Jay walking is out of control. Motorists are chatting on cell phones despite the NYC ban on handheld devices. The cops are so busy pursuing smokers of cigarettes that the stoners are back. Scanners have to be used at the doors to public schools because kids are trying to sneak cell phones in. People seem to be eating illegal hotdogs from unlicensed vendors. It won't be long before motorists think that they can turn right on red. I shudder to think of the chaos.

New Yorkers Don't Let a Few Laws Get in the Way