Friday, July 31, 2009

Never Say Never

I'm a little obsessed with this song (even though it makes me feel really "girly" admitting that for some reason). Not only do I adore the Fray's lead singer, but the lyrics are really sweet in my opinion.

Lyrics are a big aspect of music for me.



For Ryan, the music is more important but I'm all about the lyrics. (I wonder if the fact he plays the guitar and I read/write has any bearing on that. Interesting thought.) I look at a song lyrics the same way I do any other piece of literature or poetry. Even if a song is mediocre, if the lyrics are exceptional then I'm hooked.
Some things we don't talk about,
Rather do without,
Just hold a smile.
Falling in and out of love,
Ashamed and proud of,
Together all the while...
This song is a good depiction of love in my opinion. Though I realize these sorts of truths and interpretations are completely relative, I agree with the idea that love is about the process of falling in and out of love continuously with the same person over and over. (Well maybe not "out of love," but at least out of infatuation or strong interest for small windows of time.)

Man, I sound like such a corn ball when I talk about things like this. I just can't help it though. At heart I'm a total romantic. As hard as that probably is to believe.

Does the Obama DOJ think it’s okay to intimidate white voters?

No it doesn't.

Not unless you're Fox news that is.

I know this video is a little long and annoying as all hell, but you really need to watch it if you want to have any idea what I’m talking about:



First, just because a black man is wearing “military style” clothing and standing in front of a polling place doesn’t mean that he is “intimidating” voters. I do agree that the first man’s decision to hold a club was a bad choice, but he was removed from the poll place by the police. The other man, who is in the second interview with Fox News' Rick Leventhal, was a certified poll watcher.

The certified poll watcher told Leventhal he did not want to be interviewed, but no one thinks we should press harassment charges on him now do we? (Really though, Leventhal must have the courage of a lion to risk getting that interview with such a big scary black man. Pulitzer Prize in Leventhal's future? I think so.)

Second, Leventhal clearly states, “we don't know that any voters were denied entrance to this polling facility. We don't know that anyone was intimidated to the point that they decided not to vote here.” I think that pretty much sums this situation up.

I could go on and on, but there’s really just no reason to. This happened last November and the Obama Department of Justice has decided this case doesn’t warrant pressing any charges.

Here, of course, is where the big ol’ black president hating white people conspiracy comes in:


FNC's Jarrett: That other message may be, that this is a Department Of Justice who thinks it’s okay to intimidate white people, not okay to intimidate black people at the polls.

The fact this incident has been turned into some race baiting whites vs. blacks situation really makes me angry. Either this man was intimidating voters or he wasn’t. If the fact he was simply standing outside the poll - where he was certified to be - was intimidating to some white people, it’s probably because those people have tiny little brains and shouldn’t be voting in the first place.

I also want to point out that the Alejandro Miyar, the by Civil Rights Division spokesman of the DOJ, does not agree with the Washington Times reporter in the above clip. He said:
Contrary to the report in the Washington Times, a career attorney in the Civil Rights Division made the final decision to dismiss charges against three of the defendants in this case following a thorough review that determined the facts and the law did not support pursuing the claims in this case

Well isn’t that interesting. Maybe, like the Fox News reporter Rick Leventhal, they couldn’t find any evidence anyone was intimidated.

Now the Washington Times reporter did get one part right – not everyone thinks it was best to leave this situation alone. Some members of the DOJ have filed a complaint that claims the men, “brandished weapons and used “coercion, threats and intimidation” to harass voters, both black and white, at a Philadelphia polling place last Nov. 4. The defendants wore “military-style uniforms” including black berets and combat boots.

Well, at least they acknowledge if there was any intimidation it was of all people and not only those fragile white folks with delicate sensibilities.

If you can't tell, this really pisses me off. But what makes me the most upset about this situation, is the fact people just don’t care when a black or Hispanic voter is disenfranchised from the voting process.

But let there be a black man with combat boots on, and people are outraged.

What about all the voters that were turned away in Florida because of vague felon lists that wrongly claimed that as many as 12,000 voters didn't have the right to vote, even though they did? (In fact the entire 2000 voting process in Florida was a joke. This article highlights some of the problems they experienced.) What about the fact that 5.3 million Americans aren’t allowed to vote because they have prior convictions? Or the untold hundreds of thousands of would-be eligible voters that are kept in the dark about their rights simply because voting officials don’t know the proper information? The incarceration inequity among race in this country means that minorities are being disenfranchised at a much higher rate then everyone else.

But does any of this matter? No, unfortunately it doesn’t.

And it makes me sick.

-You can read the entire DOJ complaint here (.pdf).
-I also want to point out that Florida now automatically restores the civil rights of ex-felons once they've served their time.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I hate the neighbor’s kids

I know that’s not a nice thing to say, but I don’t really care.

I always imagined having a houseful of kids after I had Holden. I’m of the mindset that it’s better to have him hang out with his friends here, where I can watch him, rather then be at his friend’s house. Like everything surrounding parenting, I had no idea the reality would be nothing like the quiet group of boys I envisioned in my mind.

Not that I still don’t prefer him to be here (since he’s only three going to his friends house alone is still out of the question), I just didn’t realize what a pain in the ass it would be to have other people’s kids in my house.

Especially when they don’t listen to me at all.

If I could, I wouldn’t let them come over at all. They’ve taught him bad habits and he whines a lot more now, but the truth is they’re all we’ve got. I just don’t know anyone with children out here (ironically all my friends back home have children). Maybe if we went to church it would be easier to meet young parents with children around Holden’s age (there’s definitely no shortage of young parents in Utah), but there’s no way in hell that’s gonna happen. So, I have to just deal with the yelling and fighting and messes and be satisfied with venting about it on the internet.

Surprisingly, that just doesn’t bring me the measure of satisfaction I was hoping for.

I’m not a racist. I just sound like one.

I love when racist people say racist things and then claim they weren’t racist. Sexist people do this all the time as well, but it seems like it’s the racists that really take it to that whole other level.

In case you haven’t heard, a Boston police officer sent an e-mail the Boston Globe objecting to the way their journalism of the Gate’s case. Instead of offering a calm coherent argument for why the media was treating this case incorrectly, the officer, Justin Barrett, decided to spew a bunch of random brouhaha where he decided that it was appropriate to call Gate’s a “jungle monkey.”

Picture from the Boston Globe

This is how the email ends:
Your final statement reads, “Gates, whose great success has allowed him to transcend the racial divide-” to which I ask, when did he transcend? He indeed has transcended back to a bumbling jungle monkey, thus he forever remains amid this nation’s great social/racial divided that makes it a free and great nation mixed with crazy and awkward differences. Go ahead, ax me what I think? Gate’s is a goddamned fool and you the article writer simply a poor follower and maybe worse, a poor writer. Your article title should read CONDUCT UNBECOMING TO A JUNGLE MONKEY – BACK TO ONE’S ROOTS.

A hate to break it to all the racists out there, but using the term “jungle monkey” is a dead give away. (I don’t even get this slur. We all come from the same ancestors. This is like telling your sister her mother’s a whore. It just doesn’t make much sense.)

It’s actually a bit ironic. Not that long ago, I think it was the Fourth of July, Ryan’s father and I got in this very discussion. He had told me a story about calling some guy on t.v. a “monkey” while he was at work and he didn’t understand why people were so shocked by it. (I don’t want to misrepresent this discussion so I want to make it clear that there was a group of them standing around watching television. Ryan’s father, Robbie, didn’t bring it up out of the blue, but the problem is the guy on the t.v. was black.) Though they tried to explain to Robbie that calling black men “monkeys” was a racial slur, Robbie didn’t agree. He stood by the argument that, “I’ll call anyone who acts like a monkey a monkey.”

What Robbie failed to realize is that is a racist argument. Intent is not the most important factor when it comes to using racial slurs, because to even use them in the first place questions the integrity of your intent.

Officer Barrett chose to go with a different racist justification standby though – the good old “I was just describing his behavior, not actually calling him [insert slur].” Unfortunately for Barrett, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis wasn’t having it and stripped Barrett of his gun and badge and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino wants Barrett fired from the department.

Even the Massachusetts National Guard, in which Barrett is a captain, denounced his conduct as being a “complete violation of Army and National Guard Values and will not be tolerated."

While at first I thought it might be a little much too potentially ruin this guy’s life for this one mistake (I am not excusing the behavior, but I think our energy would be better well spent educating Barrett rather then just punishing him in a way that’s bound to only cause more resentment), after reading the sentence, “If I was the officer he [Gates] verbally assaulted like a banana-eating jungle monkey, I would have sprayed him in the face with OC deserving of his belligerent non-compliance,” I can understand why people aren’t feeling so forgiving in this situation.

You can read the full e-mail here.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"The Land Where Rapists Go Free"

I just read a really moving post over at feministing about a series by Marianne Pearl for Glamour Magazine called the "Global Diaries."

Pearl usually focuses on a problem that strongly affects women and then profiles a woman who is trying to make a difference. In "The Land Where Rapists Go Free," Pearl highlights the disproportionate rate of rape among Native American woman and the low number of prosecutions for those rapes.

It's always heartbreaking to hear how women's bodies are used as vehicles of fear, but to be confronted with the fact my own country is doing nothing for these women is infuriating.

Red tape and juristiction confusion is not an excuse to ignore the rapes of these women.

Reading the article brought the scene "Crooked Braid" from the Vagina Monologues to the forefront of my mind. I can't even begin to explain how moving this scene was. I found this video, but nothing can do it justice the way seeing it live does:



(The only scene more heart wrenching than this one is "My Vagina Was My Village." The line, "I became a river of poison and pus" will stay with me forever.)

So check out the article by Pearl. Information and education is the only way we'll ever change this sort of atrocious mindset. The link to feministing is also interesting because it also talks about the prevalence of rape in Native Alaskan tribes as well.

Edit: The video seems to be having some problems. If you can't see it, here is the link.

In which our heroine talks about nothing

I think my brain is deteriorating from boredom. I’m not even joking. It’s like some sort of subconscious self preservation.

I could really use a little of this in my life right now:




1. Ted Abbott 2. Grufnik 3. Alexander Yee 4. Joe Penniston

I can't sleep either. Instead of taking the easy way out and falling into a blissful rest; I’m sitting here at 3 a.m. trying to find something interesting in the world.

Irony sucks sometimes.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How the time flies

I don't have anything to talk about today. I decided to be a good wife and actually cleaned the house, so I didn't get to the enormous amount of news I usually wade through daily.

(On a side note, I hate going a day without reading the news. I feel like I'm out of the loop. I mean, if a giant spider creature decided to attack Arkansas I would be totally ignorant. How people live their lives this way I'll never know.)

I did stumble across some old photos of Holden while I was straightening up. Even though I'm happy he's growing up, it does make me a little sad to see pictures of how little he once was.







Sometimes I need a reminder to take the time to enjoy my son while he's still little.

Monday, July 27, 2009

#54 - See the Northern Lights

I recently came across an old list I had made of things to do before I die. Since my life is ridiculously boring, I thought I'd post some of them here whenever I feel like it. (This is really one of those things that just depends on my fancy.)

Number 54: See an aurora (also know as the Northern Lights)

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee

I would like to visit Alaska and since auroras can be seen from there (that's where the top picture was take actually), I figured I could kill two birds with one stone.

-Top picture taken by Joshua Strang. Bottom one taken by NASA and The Cremation of Sam McGee is by Robert W. Service.

Elle Macpherson STFU

I found this interview of Elle Macpherson over at Jezebel and I thought it’s ridiculousness called for it to be posted here.

Though I thought her comments on plus size women were a bit naive, these particular answers were just special:

Are you a feminist?

I'm somebody who truly honours femininity. And I believe in individuality, and uniqueness, and that's all I'm going to say on that.

But you shy away from the word "feminism"?

It's one of those coined phrases that has a lot of innuendo and not much meaning these days. There's a stereotypical perception that a feminist is somebody who believes in equal rights for men and women. Well, I believe men and women are different and they have different needs, therefore the concept of equal rights doesn't really sit with me in many ways

My brain doesn’t really know how to respond. I don’t know if I should laugh or cry at the inanity of a woman who owns her own business telling us that feminism has little meaning these days.

First, feminism has nothing to do with “femininity.” Her even saying that comment shows her ignorance. Also, feminism isn’t the “stereotypical perception” that men and women should have equal rights. That’s what it is.

And that's what makes it beautiful.

Second, why is the fact that men and women are different mean that we can’t have equal rights? I may not be able to lift a car engine, but Ryan will never push a giant headed baby out of his vagina. Does that mean one of us should be denied the same rights as the other?

The idea that since men and women are inherently different, they can never be equal is as old an idea as it is unimaginative. Feminism isn’t about making men and women equal. It’s about working for the idea that both sexes should be treated equally through the eyes of the law and the values of society. It's about fighting for the idea that men and women should be able to do whatever they want with their lives, no matter what anatomy they happen to been born with.

It's about empowerment.

To hear a woman who is a classic example of why women are just as capable of men spew this tired old drivel is disheartening and disrespectful to the women who have dedicated their lives to making sure women like Macpherson could be in the position she’s in today.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Facebook Polls = Lameness

I am friends with Ryan's grandma, Nancy, on facebook. Now even though I know she's a conservative Mormon, it made me sad to see this:







I totally expected it, but I still found it depressing. This is a prime example of why I'll never fully "belong" in Ryan's family. There's just too many of them who think this way (all except for Ryan and his brother Aaron actually) for me to ever be comfortable around them.

I took the polls myself so I could see the numbers and these ones were shocking to me:





Way to rip my heart out facebook.

These two were the only polls were logic trumped religious superstition and dogma:




I still can't understand how people who claim to be religious can be so heartless.

Surviving the World

You know those random web pages you keep in your favorites? The type you forget all about until your super bored? Then you rediscover them and wonder why it is you forgot about it in the first place.

Yeah, Surviving the World is like that.

The creator, Dante Shepherd, describes STW as a "webcomic focusing on all shades of life, from science to literature, politics to sports, romance to religion, and everything else in between." Really what it is is a sort of picture web blog. Dante post daily pictures about random crap.

But it's totally awesome.

These daily "lessons" range from the poignant, to the just plain weird. Either way they're bound to be entertaining.

His first lesson

I agree with this completely


I thought today's was especially silly:







So there you have it. Feel free to check it out. :)

(I found myself wanted to post a ton of them, so you I'm just going to link to a few of my favorites - here, here, and here.)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Did you know that female marsupials have two vaginas?

They have separate uteruses too.

I never knew that.

I’m a little irritated I didn’t. I mean, that’s a pretty awesome piece of information to have. I’ve gone my whole life without knowing that marsupial males have a double pronged penis to correlate with the females two vaginas. I find that upsetting.

I’m blaming the public education system.

Erin Andrews and Consent

I saw this video over at feministing and I think Jessica asks an interesting quesion about the recent video that was released of Erin Andrews walking around naked:



I don’t know if I agree with the sentiment that this video is popular solely because it was taken without Erin Andrews’ consent. I think there are actually a lot of different issues going on here.



First, there’s the simple fact that Andrews is somewhat famous and people are interested in seeing people they “know” naked. In that respect this video is seen as interesting to some people for the same reason any naked pictures of celebrities are seen as interesting. It’s just the way things are. That doesn’t mean there aren’t other contributing factors. I just think it’s a bit disingenuous of us to say that all people who watch this video do so because they get off on the idea it was taken without Andrews’ consent.

Then there’s the issue of “purity” our society is so obsessed with. Andrews has long been considered "America's Sideline Princess" for not only being attractive, but for being seen as “sweet” as well. As usual, many people then decided that that sweetness must therefore equate into innocence and chastity. It’s this combination of “hotness” and “innocence” being defiled that makes this video so appealing to some people.

Classic "Madonna and the whore" complex.

There’s also the professional reality that Andrews has demanded respect and acceptance in a male dominated field. Not for being a hot woman either, but for the fact that she is a skilled reporter who has just as much right to be on the field as anyone else. As usual, the standard response for people in our society to combat these “professional women” is to turn them into sex objects. As one commenter said, “The men who don't like her now are able to say, "ok, fine, you can be where I don't want you, but I have seen you naked, and we both know it."

Unfortunately, this sort of fetishizing of women who are seen as “professional” or “innocent” is not surprising or new in any way (Sarah Palin is a prime example). Add the weird fetish for women who like sports - which is pretty ridiculous considering how many women really do like sports. It’s not some rare unicorn like some people like to think – and this video is bound to appeal to some people.

Now, the issue of consent; I do think these sorts of videos are indicative to the idea that since women are seen as the “gatekeepers” of sex, men therefore have the right to do whatever they must in order to “get it” from women. (The automatic victim-blaming in sexual assault cases is a symptom of this.) And for me, the lack of consent makes the situation unethical.

Simple as that.

So is consent the underlining reason people want to watch this video? In my opinion, not really. Does that make Andrews feel any better? Probably not.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Stewart takes on the Birthers

I must admit I was a little shocked when I went to Media Matters today and saw that Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Rush Limbaugh, G. Gordon Liddy, and Liz Cheney are all still promoting the "birther" conspiracy idea that Obama's not an American citizen.

I guess I just assumed they'd have a little more class then that (obviously, I was wrong). I mean, this is complete lunacy.

So when I saw this video from last night's The Daily Show, I knew I had to post it. It's awesome.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Born Identity
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJoke of the Day


I just don't get these people. When even Michelle Malkin thinks you're crazy, it's time to step back and re-evaluate you life.

It has been a while since we heard from the Boss Limbaugh I suppose

I know Limbaugh is scum, but this talk about "racism" against the poor unfortunate white man makes me really pissed off.



As usual, Limbaugh is a stranger to the facts.

Here is the transcript of what President Obama said (from Media Matters):
Question: Thank you, Mr. President. Recently, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., was arrested at his home in Cambridge. What does that incident say to you and what does it say about race relations in America?

Obama: Well, I should say at the outset that Skip Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here. I don't know all the facts.

What's been reported though is that the guy forgot his keys, jimmied his way to get into the house. There was a report called in to the police station that there might be a burglary taking place. So far, so good, right? I mean, if I was trying to jigger into -- well, I guess this is my house now, so...

(Laughter)

... it probably wouldn't happen. But let's say my old house in Chicago.

(Laughter)

Here, I'd get shot.

(Laughter)

But so far, so good. They're -- they're reporting. The police are doing what they should. There's a call. They go investigate what happens.

My understanding is, at that point, Professor Gates is already in his house. The police officer comes in. I'm sure there's some exchange of words. But my understanding is, is that Professor Gates then shows his ID to show that this is his house and, at that point, he gets arrested for disorderly conduct, charges which are later dropped.

Now, I don't know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that. But I think it's fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home; and, number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there's a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That's just a fact.

As you know, Lynn, when I was in the state legislature in Illinois, we worked on a racial profiling bill because there was indisputable evidence that blacks and Hispanics were being stopped disproportionately. And that is a sign, an example of how, you know, race remains a factor in the society.

That doesn't lessen the incredible progress that has been made. I am standing here as testimony to the progress that's been made. And yet the fact of the matter is, is that, you know, this still haunts us.

And even when there are honest misunderstandings, the fact that blacks and Hispanics are picked up more frequently and often time for no cause casts suspicion even when there is good cause.

And that's why I think the more that we're working with local law enforcement to improve policing techniques so that we're eliminating potential bias, the safer everybody is going to be.


I'm still waiting for the part where he talks about a federal program for profiling.

I'd also like to know why the police dropped the charges if something "we don't know about" happened.

Update: I just read a great article by Eric Deggans about this very issue. You can read it here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Live What You Love

Before I accidentally deleted all of my pictures, I had been working on a set of poster ideas. Most of them were just words and sayings I really loved that I had been thinking of incorporating into some of my paintings.

Well, like I said, all of these were deleted. Luckily, I do most things by hand and was able to scan the hard copies.

Today I've been fiddling around with a "Live What You Love" poster idea that I had started but never finished. (Sorry about the ugly banner I put across them, but I don't want to risk them being taken by anyone - Not to sound pretentious or anything.)






Out of all of them I think I like the original (the first one) the most. In all actuality, I'll probably end up having the one with the red writing and white background printed since our office has a red/black/white theme going on. Kind of.

I don't know.

I think I might make a series of them too. I was planning on screen printing them, but I'm totally broke and can't afford to buy the supplies right now. I'll probably just print a trial one out on some high quality paper since my printer is pretty bad ass.

We'll see.

Rep. John Adams: You fail at life

Then again, maybe I’m being a little hard on Adams. Really all he wants to do is protect the unborn and stop Slutty McSlutterson from having all those abortions that rocks her socks off.

And forcing grown women to provide "written consent" to abortion centers from the biological fathers just seems like common sense. If you don't know who the father of your fetus is? Well, too bad so sad you dirty whore. Let your unwanted pregnancy be a lesson to you.



But don't let my blatant sarcasm fool you, this is about love. Really. All Adams wants to do is, "keep the two people who have created that child together, and I suppose if you just go back to the simple beginning, there is merit to chastity, and to young men and women waiting until marriage."

And nothing says love like the ability to force a woman to do what you want with her body. I mean, what are these uppity bitches thinking anyways? Deciding medical decisions all on their own. Talk about getting above their stations. Now make me a sandwich!

But Adams doesn't stop there.

Oh no. He also cares about women who have been raped. Case and point: women won't need to get their rapists approval first, so long as they present that police report "proving" they've been raped. I know, I know. Adams is such a kind kind man, especially considering how most women are irresponsible and allow themselves to be raped. (He best control himself before that bleeding heart of his dries up and he just doesn't have anymore to give.)

Sigh. What would the world do without him?

Pay Equity in the Obama White House

I just read a really interesting post, by Ariel Boone, over at feministing about the wages of women vs. men in The White House under the Obama Administration.

Not too surprising, women still earn less overall (on average, a White House woman earns $9,462 less than a White House man). Whether they are being paid equal pay for equal work though is unknown, but the data shows that there is a clear influx of women in lower paid jobs.

Boone made a few charts so we could visually see the differences:



As you can see, there are quite a few more women in the lower end of the spectrum then there are men. Obviously, these positions (Staff Assistant, Executive Assistant, Scheduler, Receptionist, etc) are traditionally filled by women, but I’m concerned with the way women are sorely missing from the levels of senior staff.

As Boone points out, “these figures say nothing of hiring practices or of attitudes toward women in the administration” or, as I stated earlier, if women are earning equal pay for equal work but it does show that the people at the highest levels of the government are increasingly male.

Though I suppose that’s not really too surprising.

The real silver lining to all this, is the number of female and male staff are pretty much equal (woman comprise 49.7% of the White House staff). Even though this is very close to the nationwide population average, Boone brings up a very interesting point:
Should we be judging by a population benchmark? Of the Class of 2009, women were awarded close to 60% of all degrees, including Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Professional, and Doctoral. The perceived gap between female WH employees and female graduates entering the workforce is larger: 49.7% vs 60%.
Makes you wonder doesn't it?

Boone also goes on to compare this administration with the Bush and Clinton Administrations as well.





Though the Clinton information is a bit skewed (you can read more about it here), it does make for an interesting read; because though women are well represented, there does seem to be a point where they start to disappear.

And unfortunately that point is near the top.

Boone’s notes about her process:
Besides making “assumptions” about the 487 names, there were about 50 gender-ambiguous names (Ashley, Jamia, Tracy, etc) that I researched to confirm the person’s pronouns. I do realize this process is not trans-inclusive. Patricia McGinnis and Michael Warren were counted into the total number of employees, but not into the salary averages and medians, as both earned $0.00. The total percentage of staff was includes detailees, but the average salary does not. Detailees are essentially employees on loan from other federal agencies, whose salaries are determined and paid for by the other agencies.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Senators out spoke Sotomayor 2-1

If you paid any attention to Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing, then you might have noticed she disn’t get to speak very often or for a very long time.

REUTERS/Jason Reed


Most Senators used their time to pose for the camera and ramble on about whatever boring drivel they thought they should talk about instead of focusing on cross-examining Sotomayor so we could of learned more about her.

Which was really the point.

Well, someone has actually done the math to figure out how many words had been spoken by Sotomayor and the Senators using the transcripts. Turns out the Senators spoke 70% of the time.

Here are the tallies from Tommy De Seno of Justified Right:
Day 1 totals:
Senators: 23,175
Sotomayor: 942

Day 2 totals:
Senators: 27,907
Sotomayor: 19,786

Day 3 totals:
Senators' words: 20,322
Sotomayor's words: 19,100

Day 4 totals:
Senators' words: 21,188
Sotomayor's words: 9,304

Here is the final 4-day total of words spoken just during the examinations of Judge Sotomayor:
Senators: 95,592 (66%)
Sotomayor: 49,176 (34%)
You can go to De Sano’s blog to see Senator specific numbers, but keep in mind that this is not a blog I read myself and it’s from the conservative point of view. (All I needed to read was a post bashing Obama for his supposed checking out of a young woman, which we all know is complete crap, and one defending Palin’s paper thin excuse for resigning as Governor to know it was not my cup of tea.)

I know the hearings have ended, but I thought this was really interesting.

And I wonder why they were so afraid to hear what she had to say.

Miss Cleo teams up with Yahoo

I didn't know the opinions of astrologers were so paramount to our every day lives.


I know this is stupid, but it bothers me for some reason. I mean, do people really care? These people don't know any more about the future then I do. Why are we always looking for stupid shit to fulfill our lives with?

I'm sorry to be the realist here, but there is no big mystery in life. No deep reason for living. It just is. And it's wondrous enough on it own.

Then there's the fear mongering. We get it - we're all going to die a horrible painful, probably fiery, death. The future is bleak...blah blah blah.

Can we move on now?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Oquirrh Mountain Temple

We just got home from visiting the Oquirrh ("oak-er") Mountain Temple.

Oquirrh Mountain Temple


I have to admit I wasn't really that impressed. I posted before about our visit to the Draper Temple, and both temples had similar set ups.

Draper Temple


The main difference was the amount of stairs we had to climb to get around the place. Though similar in style, the Draper Temple is wider and shorter then the Oquirrh Mountain Temple. Besides that, the decor was really similar. While the Draper Temple focused on pale blues and cooler colors, the Oquirrh Mountain Temple stayed in the gold/yellow family.

I also think the heat had a lot to do with my indifference. It was so hot outside that it was hard to be fully cooled off while trekking up stairs.

You could even see the Draper Temple from where we were though. I know this picture kind of sucks, but it's just amazing how huge that Draper Temple is.



All in all it was an interesting way to spend the day (though I doubt I'll see inside another temple again).

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tell me again why Pat Buchanan is still relevant…

Have you guys seen this video yet? It’s crazy (I know it's a little long, but it's worth it).

I think white men were 100% of the people who wrote the constitution, 100% of the people who signed the Declaration of Independence, 100% of the people who died at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, probably close 100% of the people who died at Normandy. This has been a country basically built by white folks.
First off, I have to say I just love Rachel Maddow. The fact she was able to keep her cool in the face of Buchanan’s idiocy and blatant racism is testament to her awesomeness. (Though I do wish she would have laid the smack down a little more aggressively.)

Second, Buchanan’s effort to compare the nomination of Supreme Court judges to Olympic track runners or hockey players is a blatant straw man argument. With sports, there is a clear way to measure who the fastest runner is or the stats of a hockey player, but with judges there is no clear qualifier.

Also, in all of the Republican arguments against Judge Sotomayor they’ve failed to mention what equally qualified person was overlooked for this position (not to mention how we’re supposed to even begin to quantify who’s more qualified) or why they believe that Sotomayor must automatically be an “affirmative action pick.”

At least beyond the reason that she’s brown.

President Obama may have set out to nominate a judge that was a female minority, but that doesn’t necessarily make his pick of Sotomayor a lesson in affirmative action. Obama’s single goal was to diversify a court that is supposed to represent all of the people of the United States. I don’t understand why the idea that a court made up of 98% white males may not be the best representation of the people of America is such a hard concept for some people to grasp.

I also find it interesting that in Pat’s mind there weren’t any other races in the 1960’s besides white and black. Maybe he’s just hoping we’ll return to the “good old days” when white made up 90% of the American population (though when that was ever historically correct I have no idea), but defying the facts of history to try and rationalize his racism is a poor move on his part.

(I should point out though, that this is coming from a guy who claimed that, ‘no people anywhere has done more to lift up blacks than white Americans,” and that “America has been the best country on earth for black folks.”)

The sad thing is Buchanan doesn’t even realize that pointing out the racial inequities that this country was founded on doesn’t make people more sympathetic to the poor downtrodden white male. If anything, it makes the white male privilege even more obvious.

See, when a person of color (or a woman) is accomplished it must be because society gave him/her a leg up. They are simply seen as being incapable of having any achievements based on their own merits. But when a white male is accomplished, they are seen as doing so in face of “reverse racism” and therefore exalted to an even higher level in the eyes of other white males.

It’s all bullshit.

The fact MSNBC continuously gives Buchanan a platform to spew this sort of nonsense makes them no better then Limbaugh or Beck. I wonder if any other MSNBC anchor will call them out on it.

Update: I just want to add this video of Maddow where she re-addresses this issue.

Cosby Portrait In Jell-O

Ryan, if you really loved me you'd make me a portrait out of jello shots.




I know it's not as fitting since I never made any jello commercials, but I still want one.

Thanks in advance,

alana

-Created by artist Andrew Salamone.

Meghan McCain Interview

I just read a great article over at Jezebel. It’s about a recent interview with Meghan McCain and I feel like the article really gets straight to the heart of the issue. I’m not going to post the whole thing here, but you should definitely check it out.

Meghan McCain Interview Misses Too Much Prejudice To Ignore



I hate to admit it, but Meghan has really started to bother me.

At first I thought she was a fresh voice in the perpetual stagnation that is the Republican Party, but she’s really not. The only difference between Meghan and other Republican Pundits is her views on gay marriage and her admission that…gasps…she’s had sex. (Even worse, I think she enjoyed it. Oh the horror!)

Really, these are two issues that many people her age are open to talk about. It only seems as if this is some wondrous new direction because the party has continued to push out these moderate Republicans.

To give her some sort of free pass or a gold star, just because she holds opinions many other republicans hold, is kind of disingenuous of us I think.

Jamies Kirchick, the interviewer, also goes on to list the reasons people don’t like Meghan and it reads a little Palin-ish to me. (People don’t like her cause she’s young and pretty and therefore we’re incapable of having any constructive criticism without it ultimately being because of professional jealousy.)

I wonder why, when we legitimately question a person’s character or experience (like why Meghan didn’t speak out against Prop 8 during the campaign), it’s automatically labeled as ‘sexist.” But the subsequent dismissing of those questions because the person must be some jealous bitch isn’t.

Then again, it’s always easier to point the finger I suppose.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Obama's All-Star Pitch

I love this video because it shows the ridiculousness that is Fox News.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Obama's All-Star Pitch
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJoke of the Day


The coverage of this pitch is just more proof that the right is incapable of any constructive criticism.

At least we've moved past the "leering ass checker-outer" fiasco though.

Soldier Won't Deploy Over Obama Birth Certificate

I can’t believe people are still pissing themselves over these “birther” conspiracy theories. I mean, is there really no other sure-fire way to let the world know you’re batshit crazy?

Perfect example: U.S. Army Maj. Stefan Frederick Cook. Cook is claiming that he shouldn’t have to deploy to Afghanistan because he believes Barack Obama was never eligible to be president.

Um…Okay.

Let’s look at the facts:

1. Cook is a reserve soldier who volunteered for an active duty tour on May 8, 2009. (Wait – that’s after Obama was already sworn into office…)

2. He received his orders on June 9, 2009.

3. As a reserve soldier who volunteered for an active duty tour, Cook may ask for a “revocation of orders up until the day he is scheduled to report for active duty.”

4. There is an administrative process to request revocation of orders, but Cook hasn’t done so for some odd reason.

5. The U.S. Army no longer expects Cook to report Wednesday for mobilization to active duty.

I don’t get these people. Obama was sworn in as President of the United States of America. He is the Commander in Chief. Even if he is removed from office, commands he has given while in office will remain legal.

Questioning his orders on the basis of his qualification for office is not valid.

I also think Cook and his lawyer should explain why he volunteered in May if he felt this way to begin with. At least that way we can find out if his delusional thinking is a pattern or if he’s just gone of his dosage.

As usual, I turn now to Keith Olbermann:



I don’t want to advocate suicide, but…if I someone found Cook’s head in the oven I admit I wouldn’t be too upset over it.

Update:
Leave it to the Fox Nation to turn this situation into a chance to advance the birth certificate conspiracy theory.

As if the headline, "Soldier Who Challenged Obama's Citizenship Fired from Job," wasn’t enough, The Fox nation then goes on to link to WND's "Where's the birth certificate?" campaign promotions.

Pathetic.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Daily Obsession - Dropkick Murphys

To be honest I heard this song on The Departed. I'm still testing the waters, but I'm thinking they're a keeper. (I'm kind of a sucker for bands that use interesting instruments.)





They seem like the type of band that's best live. Like someone said on youtube, "they're like a flower that grew out of a pot of crap."

In which our heroine blubbers on

I shouldn’t be writing this right now because I’m kind of upset and that never tends to end well, but I need to talk to someone. Even if the computer screen is just another mirror, sometimes typing things out is the only way I can figure out what I’m really feeling without all the bullshit getting in the way. Thoughts often jumble together and lead to unknown places and it’s funny how I can still surprise myself after all this time.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I miss my friends back home. Even though I’ve met some really cool people out here, I don’t have the same feeling of connectedness I do with my old friends. I try not to let it bother me, but sometimes I can’t help being irritated at how close they are to one another because that’s how I feel with the friends I left behind.

And I did leave them behind. I may have had good reasons to leave San Diego, but it doesn’t make it hurt any less.

I miss them.

I miss my mom and fighting with my sister over the most trivial things.

I miss the feeling of belonging I get only when I’m with them. Even though Ryan feels like home, they feel like acceptance.

I don’t even know why this has upset me so much. Somehow just typing out these words has made me feel lonelier. I keep thinking about how selfish I’m being since I have Ryan and Holden and how that's much more then some people and I just cry harder.

I wonder if I’ll ever get that feeling back; the feeling of truly belonging to a group of people instead of feeling like a hanger-oner.

God I hope so.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Toobin On Sessions' Suggestions That White Men Don't Carry Biases

This video clip sums up the problem with the Republican party in just a few sentences.


CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin: "What's worth noting about what Jeff Sessions -- the line of questioning, was that being a white man, that's normal. Everybody else has biases and prejudices ... but the white man, they don't have any ethnicity, they don't have any gender, they're just like the normal folks, and I thought that was a little jarring."

The problem here isn’t that Sotomayor might have certain life experiences based on the fact she’s a woman and Hispanic. It’s that that very experience must automatically be “prejudiced” because she is a Hispanic woman.

Two thumbs up to Toobin.

A plea to Mexico: Please take Texas

You think I would learn to expect the worse from Texas by now, especially when it comes to education, but they still have the power to surprise me.

Not only has the Texas Board of Education recently approved new science standards that have made room for creationist critiques of evolution, but now they’re busy revising the states social studies curriculum.

Why you might ask? So they can decide how central religious theology should be to the teaching of history of course.
In early recommendations from outside experts appointed by the board, a divide has opened over how central religious theology should be to the teaching of history. Three reviewers, appointed by social Conservatives, have recommended revamping the K-12 curriculum to emphasize the roles of the Bible, the Christian faith and the civic virtue of religion in the study of American history. Two of them want to remove or de-emphasize references to several historical figures who have become liberal icons, such as César Chávez and Thurgood Marshall.

"We're in an all-out moral and spiritual civil war for the soul of America, and the record of American history is right at the heart of it," said Rev. Peter Marshall, a Christian minister and one of the reviewers appointed by the conservative camp.

The conservative reviewers say they believe that children must learn that America's founding principles are biblical. For instance, they say the separation of powers set forth in the Constitution stems from a scriptural understanding of man's fall and inherent sinfulness, or "radical depravity," which means he can be governed only by an intricate system of checks and balances.

The curriculum, they say, should clearly present Christianity as an overall force for good -- and a key reason for American exceptionalism, the notion that the country stands above and apart.

"America is a special place and we need to be sure we communicate that to our children," said Don McLeroy, a leading conservative on the board. "The foundational principles of our country are very biblical.... That needs to come out in the textbooks."

Besides the obvious reasons I’m not happy with this new distorted focus of Christianity and American History crap, I’m really annoyed by the fact a minister is part of these “outside experts.” (Who preaches that Watergate, the Vietnam War and Hurricane Katrina were God's judgments on the nation's sexual immorality no less.)

I don't know about you, but it would make sense to have people who are actually trained in history studies to help decide the framework of our children's history courses.

The article goes on to point out that the three reviewers appointed by the moderate and liberal board members are all professors of history or education at Texas universities. Not only do these three want “less-sweeping changes to the existing curriculum,” but they also want to include more “diverse role models.”

Why am I not surprised?
But the emphasis on Christianity as a driving force is disputed by some historians, who focus on the economic motivation of many colonists and the fractured views of religion among the Founding Fathers. "There appears to me too much politics in some of this," said Lybeth Hodges, a professor of history at Texas Woman's University and another of the curriculum reviewers.

The conservative Christian reviewers, in turn, are skeptical of the professional historians' emphasis on multiculturalism, views stated most forcefully by Mr. de la Teja but echoed by Ms. Hodges. Reaching for examples of achievement by different racial and ethnic groups is divisive, Mr. Barton said, and distorts history.

Wait, what? I’d really like Mr. Barton to explain how including Latinos and Native Americans into Texas’ history curriculum is “divisive” and “distorts history.” Maybe in regards to the corrupt and one sided “Christianity is amazing and wonderful” history Barton wants to force unto children, but in respect to the actual facts, not so much.

The only plus side is these six reviewers aren’t the last stop in this process. After they make their recommendations, social studies teachers will meet to write the new standards this summer. Then the teacher’s recommendations will be sent to the Texas Board of Education. (Unfortunately, they'll probably muck everything up anyways.)

The fact some people think this way though, is more evidence of what a sham our current education system is and why religious activists do not belong on curriculum boards.

We should not allow these sorts of people to use our schools to indoctrinate our children.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Crazy Talk: Liz Cheney might run for political office

I just love this.

Liz Cheney has said that she might run for political office.

"It's something I very well may do," said Elizabeth "Liz" Cheney, a lawyer and State Department appointee who has worked on two Republican presidential campaigns.

Ms. Cheney, 44, has emerged as one of the strongest defenders of the effectiveness and legality of Bush-Cheney policies on enhanced interrogation methods. More recently, she and her father have become two of the most outspoken critics of President Obama's position on terrorism and other national security issues, which has led Republicans to consider her a strong candidate for national political office.

"I've spent a lot of time promoting democracy around the world," Ms. Cheney said Monday. "It has made me really grateful for our system and has given me a real understanding of how important it is to participate."
It's actually kind of funny; I never thought someone would proudly proclaim to be promoting democracy through the use of torture.

Good luck Liz. The only name more toxic than “Bush” in this country has to be “Cheney.”

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Wise Man’s Fear

I am so excited. It seems that a new date has been set for Patrick Rothfuss’s long awaited sequel, The Wise Man’s Fear.


The pre-order listing is only on the UK Amazon, but I’m hoping it’s correct. If so, it will be released on April 15, 2010.

If you haven't read The Name of the Wind, then you should be ashamed of yourself. It is by far the BEST fantasy book I've read to date. His writing is like eating the most decadent desert you've even tasted. It's like the smell of fresh cut grass or a pot of chili on a cold day.

It's every positive adjective in every language ever spoken since the beginning of time. I could go on, but I already sound a little crazy. (It's just so good.)

Here's great interview of Rothfuss:



Man I love this guy. He's up there with Keith Olbermann and Albert Einstein (and if you've been paying attention, then you know that's really saying something).

If this is a marketing ploy by Amazon, I'll...well I won't do anything. But I sure will be thinking not very nice thoughts.

(Have you noticed that the UK covers are always so much more kick ass then the US covers? wtf?)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I promise I'm not pink obsessed

I came across this Pink Ruffle Cake from Martha and I just fell in love:



Isn't it adorable? Now don't get me wrong, I love a Super Mario Brothers cake as much as the next gal.

But sometimes it's nice to revel in my femininity.

And since I was bored, I thought I'd look up some other pink images from flickr:

1. 1960 Ford Thunderbird in the Pink by hz536n 2. Love is pink! by minxlj 3. Pink Tutus by rustman 4. Balloons by Diamond Geyser 5. Broken Heart by bored-now 6. Bubble Yum by flowers & machinery


I also loved this orchid picture (And yes, it's mostly because it makes me think dirty thoughts):

Pink Lady’s Slipper by Lady-bug


So that's it. Have you put a little pink into your life today? :)