Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
The Kat has requested that I get her some serious rawking music--as opposed to her usual fare of Tori Amos, Ani DiFranco, etc.--and she named some bands about which I know little to nothing. I spent the 1990s listening to a lot of the pop and country music that was big at the time, and I steered my way clear of the Rage Against the Machine/Nine Inch Nails oevre. However, this is exactly what Kat wants, so I'm clueless!
I need some help--what are some good album (sorry, CD) titles that will contain the --er--"hits" and must-have songs of these bands? I've heard of Pretty Hate Machine and The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails (courtesy of a chick I used to date back in the day), but--are those the "good ones" to get? And Rage Against the Machine--what the hell is that, anyway? What a weird name for a band. Rage against what machine?
Anyway--if you can offer some other suggestions for good music in this genre, that would also be appreciated.
A music dork who still thinks '80s-era Pat Benatar is "hard rock"
Friday, April 25, 2008
U.S. military-contracted ship fires on Iranian boat, U.S. defense official tells Reuters --At least one shot fired, defense official says A ship contracted by the U.S Military Sealift Command has fired at least one shot toward an Iranian boat, a U.S. defense official said Friday. "It was an MSC vessel," the official said, confirming the ship fired on an Iranian boat. (h/t to CLG)
Monday, April 21, 2008
Liberality tagged me to post six random things about myself. Here are the rules:
Link to the person who tagged you.
Post their rules on your blog.
Write six random things about yourself.
Tag six random people by linking to their blogs.
Let each of the six know they’ve been tagged by leaving them a comment (on their blogs).
Let your tagger know when your entry is up.
So--shall we begin?
1. I've never had the flu, measles, mumps, or even the chicken pox. I'm 43 now, though, so if I did get something like chicken pox, I'm told I'd probably have to be hospitalized. Can you imagine? Just for chicken pox! Of course, I love to scratch when I'm itchy, so they'd probably have to sedate me or strap me down so I wouldn't scratch--so maybe a hospital is the best place for me if I get the pox.
2. I'm not much of a traveler. I've never been out of the country except to go to Mexico (to visit my mom's family) when I was a kid. I have only visited a few states, too--all the ones on the bottom row of the country, plus just a few others. But I've never been in the Midwest or the Northeast. Not even Colorado. I would like to, but there's always something else to spend money on besides travel, I guess.
3. I have what The Kat calls "Restless Body Syndrome." I don't just get the jimmy-legs; I get the jimmy-body, often tossing and turning and itching and scratching and just readjusting all over. It doesn't happen every night, but when it does, it's really annoying to both of us.
4. I have flat feet.
5. (okay, I'm struggling now to think...) I really enjoy grocery shopping. I've often thought I should offer myself out to shop for other people who don't like the grocery store (like almost everyone I know). But unless I lived in a big city, with lots of lazy-ass rich people who'd pay me for this service, it will remain in the file drawer marked "crazy job ideas."
6. Speaking of crazy job ideas, I'd really like to someday open a coffeehouse/restaurant, one of those cool places that resells books, has great organic fair trade coffees, offers whole vegetarian food, hosts guitarists and other entertainers, and is an all-around great place to hang out. I doubt it will ever happen, but it's also in that "crazy job ideas" folder.
Now--I am suffering from a very bad cold/sinus thingie today, so I don't know if I can think of six random people who haven't already done this meme. I think I'm going to just say that if you wanna do it, do it. If not, don't. And pass me the tissues, please.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Liberality asked me whether I was going to post on “Equal Pay Day,” the creation of the National Committee on Pay Equity. This is the first I’d even heard of Equal Pay Day, but I catch up pretty quick! Here are my thoughts on the subject. Equal Pay Day is April 22, but I am posting today so others who read this post can join in too.
First, here’s a bit of info from the National Committee on Pay Equity’s web site to explain:
"Equal Pay Day was originated by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men's and women's wages. The day, observed on a Tuesday in April, symbolizes how far into the year a woman must work, on average, to earn as much as a man earned the previous year. (Tuesday is the day on which women's wages catch up to men's wages from the previous week.) Because women earn less, on average, than men, they must work longer for the same amount of pay. The wage gap is even greater for most women of color."
I’ve worked a lot of different places after almost twenty years in the working world, and not once have I ever worked anyplace where there were more or even as many women in positions of authority than men. I’ve heard many stories about women with master’s degrees making less for the same job as men with bachelor’s degrees, qualified women not getting a promotion while a less-qualified man does. No one ever says the old classic lines: “Well, he’s a man with a family to support!” or “You’ve got a husband to earn for you, so you don’t get the promotion over the man.”
No, sexism and inequity is far more subtle these days, which I suppose is a gain in itself. Still, the wage gap doesn’t lie. Women make only 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. That’s on average; when you take into account race, education, and home state, it gets even worse.
As a kid growing up in the late 1960s and 1970s, I vividly recall the days of women burning their bras and marching in the streets, the epic (and inevitably futile) struggle to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, and the general mood of possibilities: “you’ve come a long way, baby.” (Ironically enough, “baby” had come a long way because she had “her own cigarette”—thanks for the cancer, guys!) Still, thirty years later, I see evidence that while we may well have come a long way from those days when we couldn’t vote or own our own property, we still have oh so far to go.
Will humans ever overcome their sexism? I’ve known both men and women who have internalized and accepted the concept of men having the power and women being the “weaker sex.” With a population where women outnumber the men (so far), you’d think that at some point, women would have gotten equal access to the reins of power as men. You’d think women would be getting paid the same wage as men for the same job. You’d think women as a group would have gotten sick of this shit and finally put our collective foot down and made the world accept us as the equals of men in every way.
But you’d be thinking wrong. The sexism brought out into the open by Hillary Clinton’s campaign is well documented. The wage inequity is well documented. If she could get here in a time machine, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton would probably be both impressed by our gains, and disgusted by the things that remain the same. And there doesn’t seem to be much of an end in sight. Until women are equally represented in the halls of power, with the authority to make laws and change minds, I don’t believe we’ll ever see an end to gender inequity.
What do you think it will take to close the wage gap?
Phone numbers of note, for you working women out there:
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) 800-669-4000 The Equal Rights Advocates (ERA) Advice and Counseling Hotline 800-839-4372
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
See that tiny little black dot under the monster up there? That's us. You and me. We are as a speck of dust to this monster. The way this separate monster universe is set up, we have no impact on the monster, no matter how loud we scream or how hard we try to poke the monster and get its attention.
The rest of the world sees only this monster when it looks at us; the rest of the world, and indeed a small number of us, only see how it tortures, how it lies, how it exploits, how it shits on everything it touches. People in other countries can't see us, you and me, after all. They only see what their monster-controlled media lets them see.
We pretend to live in a democracy, but the monster chooses our candidates. The monster gets its loyal footsoldiers to control who "wins" elections. One man pretends to be king, pretends to be running this monster, bullying our representatives in Congress and telling them what laws to pass or what trade agreements to approve. One man pretends the monster speaks for all of us when he approves torture, decides what countries to invade, or throws trillions of dollars of our money to his pals. The monster chews up everything it sees; it has no conscience, no sense of restraint, no knowledge of finances and budgets.
Those things are for ordinary people to worry about. The monster can't be bothered.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Now I gotta tell ya, after reading this post at Shakesville, I just don't even know what to think. You know by my sidebar that I support Hillary Clinton. I feel good about that choice, despite her rather poorly run campaign and her not-always-so-smart actions. I think she's a strong woman, one who will use her connections in the corporate world to start squeezing some corporate nuts and returning the scales to more of a balance between corporatocracy and democracy. Call me crazy, but I just think she'll get into office and discard all that war-hawk big-pharma bullshite she's been forced to say to get where she is, and then she'll polish up her shoes and start kicking some ass.
Anyway, that said, I really don't have too much of a problem with Barack Obama. I'm not a fan of his attitude toward teh gays, and I don't he will be tough enough to turn the country around and get us out of the shitter that BushCo has put us in. Still--the guy's a Constitutional law scholar, and lord knows he would show a hell of a lot more respect for that document than the currect idiot-dictator in the White House. That point alone made me feel like if I had to cast a ballot for Obama in November, I wouldn't have a problem with that.
But now I read his comments on abstinence programs, and like I said -- I just don't even know what to think. Every single reputable and scientifically sound study ever done proves that abstinence-only programs DO. NOT. WORK. While the idea of teaching (or should I say preaching?) abstinence sounds like a great idea to many folks, the plain truth, the undeniable fact is that kids will STILL have sex, no matter what.
So whatever your hopes, your beliefs, your attitudes about kids and sex, I firmly believe that it's just plain irresponsible to deprive your kids of knowledge about sex and the options that exist for birth control/health. I firmly believe that you cannot legislate morality. Legislation absolutely must be based on reality, on what people actually do, not on what you hope they do. I mean, you hope that people will find work and start making their own money, but you don't cut off unemployment because you think it encourages people to be lazy and not get jobs. You realize that in the real world, with the job market being what it is, some people are going to need longer than three months to secure employment, and you give them more time. You don't ignore reality and then pretend you're being "tough" on those "welfare queens" because you think that in your heart of hearts you would NEVER accept unemployment!, so neither should any other decent upstanding person!
I apply this same reality-based logic to sex education. I know and you know that kids will have sex. Maybe not YOUR kid, and maybe not MY kid, but kids in general will have sex. Right or wrong, sin or not, whatever--it's unrealistic and irresponsible to pretend that because you tell your kid not to have sex until marriage (of course, you're assuming your kid isn't gay!), and because the schoolteacher tells them to wait, that they will absolutely unequivocally wait. When the CDC shows that 1 in 4 girls aged 14-19 has a sexually transmitted disease, it doesn't take a statistician to figure out that one of those 1-in-4-girls just MIGHT BE YOUR KID. Sure, you hope that your kid will make a responsible decision and "just say no" when they're in that car or under the bleachers. But JUST IN CASE, I'd rather my kid have a condom in her purse and the knowledge about how to use one. Just in case. Because it's better than seeing her become one of those 1-in-4, isn't it?
Now--back to Obama and his comments on abstinence programs. With a h/t to Shakesville's Kate Harding, here are the things he's said:
And what I have consistently talked about is to take a comprehensive
approach where we focus on abstinence, where we are teaching the sacredness of
sexuality to our children.
My view is, is that we should use whatever the best approaches are, the
scientifically sound approaches are, to reduce this devastating disease
[HIV/AIDS] all across the world. And part of that, I think, should be a strong
education component and I think abstinence education is important.
I do think that -- and I've said this when I was in Kenya -- that there is
a behavioral element to AIDS that has to be addressed. And if there is -- if
there's promiscuity and we are pretending that that's not an issue in spreading
AIDS, then we're missing part of the answer.
I'm not arguing the fact that indeed "there is a behavioral element to AIDS that has to be addressed." That's pretty fucking obvious when men are raping women all over the world as I type this. But to say that "a comprehensive approach where we focus on abstinence, where we are teaching the sacredness of sexuality to our children" is going to work is to ignore the scientific evidence, to do a disservice to our children who depend on us, the grownups, to educate them. How "comprehensive" can you be when you're "focus[ing] on abstinence," Obama? There's nothing comprehensive about abstinence education. It's hope-based bullshit that deprives kids--my kid included, thanks to the idiots who run her school--of the knowledge they need to not only avoid pregnancy, but to SURVIVE. To remain HEALTHY.
I can only hope that Obama is smart enough, realistic enough, to lay this abstinence-only crap to the side and push for truly comprehensive sex education programs for kids, should he become president. I can only hope.
And in case you're wondering what Hillary thinks of abstinence-only, peep this.
I'm honored, especially to be so awarded by Tomcat, whose brilliant and compelling posts always leave me hungry for even more. Thank you, TC! I'll do my best to continue shouting "Impeach the bastards!" until January 9, 2009; after that, I'll change to "Prosecute the bastards!"
UPDATE: Tomcat reminded me that I need to award this --er--award to ten other bloggers. It might be hard to find that many who haven't already gotten the award, but I'll do my best. Let me see now...
1. The undisputed champion of the whole fucking cussing world, Jess Wundrun -- whose commitment to buying US-made products, being incredibly hot, and writing insightful posts makes her blog one of my first stops of the day.
2. For pure Texan plain-speaking goodness, Karen Zipdrive's Pulp Friction is a must-read. For an extra treat, be sure to stop by Princess Sparkle Pony's blog and read Zip's comments; just be prepared to spit out whatever you're eating or drinking all over your computer.
3. Sorghum Crow's ability to attach hilarious headlines to current newsphotos always makes me chuckle.
4. Liberality writes some hard-hitting posts about politics, violence against women, and other topics close to my heart.
Okay--I'm starting to sweat now. So many blogs are excellent, but they already won the award! Can I just get away with these four? Please, TC?
Friday, April 11, 2008
First, I must tell you that I plugged my bloggy into the meter again and got an improved score--though the page did not load correctly so I just got this screen capture--I'm up to 52.9!
That's not even close to Jess Wundrun's just plain stupefying 69.3%. Yo, that Jess got skee-ulz.
So let's look at a few of your comments:
First, fellow lady-lover, native Texan, and Princess Sparkle Pony-worshipper KarenZipdrive tossed her chip into the ante:
If I knew how to install one of those fucking meters, I'd kick all y'alls' butts.Damned righteous, complete with a pluralized "y'all," which only Texans are allowed to use, BTW. Then of all the people to come in and taunt me while I'm down, who else but Necco-Wafer-lover CDP's gotta throw down:
Damn, I thought yours was pretty fucking high, too, but JW is kicking your bird-watching ass. That shit is messed up. Son of a bitch.And she didn't limit her jibbah-jabbah to me, oh no; after The Divine Democrat commented:
OK, now try it again. Assuming comments are included, I might have helped your score. You're welcome)
Hey, how do I get my cuss-o-meter score? I have no doubt, I could melt the ##&%# down! Of course, I would need to redeem myself in the confessional afterwards, but it would be fun to see if I could get that sucker to smoke.CDP even let Nunly have some:
Mary Ellen--if you're bleeping yourself in other people's comment threads, then I have serious doubts that you can, in fact, bring it.
Day-um. So it's like that now. In her defense, Nunly did offer a feeble "you should hear me!" retort, but the damage was done.
I decided, therefore, to take the cussing into my own hands; I plugged-in and screen-captured the lot of you!
Oh Flying Nunly, how dost thy roll?
Ah, a respectable 29.3! Nice work -- especially for a nun! Now Father Sheehy says to do ten Hail Marys, five Our Fathers, and an Act of Contrition, Sister.
And the Parenthetical CDP herself?
WHOA! Rejected! Less than 20%! Tsk, tsk! Better start polishing off those F-bombs and representin', mah girl.
And my Texas buddy Zipdrive:Yeesh. Zip, give it a little spice, will ya?
Just for kicks, I threw in the most wonderful and non-hypocritical christian person I know:
So--how do you roll? Check yourself. (Though I'll tell you that the meter's been a little cranky about loading properly today. Maybe it's just me, though.)
Thursday, April 10, 2008
HOLY SHIT. I bow to my worthy adversary, and I congratule her on fucking domination of the dirty words.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Said 'Murkans, take it slowHow about those deep and meaningful lyrics, folks? Let's give 'em a big round of applause!
It'll work itself out fine
All we need is just a little patience
Said soldiers, make it slow
Iraq'll come together fine
All we need is just a little patience
Patience...Ooh, oh, yeah
What's that, you say? You think you've heard this song before? Well, let's check the American Bandstand archives!
Let's take her back to 2005:It's got a good beat, and you can dance to it! Besides, any song that links Iraq with 9/11 is music to our ears! Like with every successful band, people just wanted to hear more!Let's try 2007, and a full 1 year and 9 months later:
I guess some songs just won't die!
And now, the Little General Who Couldn't tries to pass the same old shit off as a brand-new song:
So how will our dancers rate this record? Only time will tell--just be patient!
One thing's for sure: While Amurkan tastes in music might accept this reprocessed bullshit, apparently the Iraqis are looking for a new sound:
Now there's a song you can sing along with.
Friday, April 04, 2008
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
The tone and intent of Bush's actions are both familiar and obvious: he is the one calling the shots. Like a parent telling a child what to do, Bush thinks he can tell Congress--the legislative branch which is guaranteed by our Constitution to have an equal amount of power as the president or the judicial branch--what bills to pass, what laws to make. We all know how intelligent and capable Chimpy is when it comes to the best course of action for this country, right? And we've seen our Congress stand up to Bush time and time again, right?
Has any other president ever been so bold in his assertion of power over Congress as Chimpy has? I decided to google the words "president tells Congress" to find out. Obviously, the results were all Chimpy-related, all recent. He's been telling Congress what to do since he got into office, basically. So I googled "Reagan tells Congress;" after all, Chimpy claims to idolize moRon Reagan.
Here's what I got:
"President Reagan today warned Congress against passing protectionist trade legislation and insisted that the United States would seek to 'meet the competition head on.'
Renewing his attack on protectionism as Congress prepares to take up a trade bill later this month, the President, in his weekly radio speech, criticized what he said was 'heavy-handed legislation to deal with our trade problem.''' New York Times, 9/6/87
First off, note the change the in tone; the media certainly treated Reagan's "warnings" to Congress with softer language. Then I read the passage again, and I realized I was seeing the very seeds of our "globalization" of business, all here in two sentences. According to Saint Reagan, it's "protectionism" to pass laws that keep jobs and money here in the US. I guess it's better for everyone if businesses can ship US jobs overseas to lower their costs, and thus put us in the shithole we're in now -- oh, and make a few republican-friendly businessmen very rich for a very long time.
This was a little more than I was bargaining for; I wanted to get back to my original goal so I googled "Carter tells Congress." No hits, at least not for anything like Carter telling anybody what to do.
"Nixon tells Congress"--surely I'd find some Chimpy-like statements here! I mean, this guy was trying to be king long before Chimpy made it so trendy! Again, however, nothing. Nixon tells of China, and all other sorts of disjointed uses of those three words, but Nixon didn't tell anybody what to do, at least not according to the media.
However, I did find this interesting tidbit:
"Faced with what he considered a profligate Congress, Richard Nixon transformed an occasional practice of former Presidents into a tactic of confrontation. Claiming he had a presidential right of impoundment, Nixon simply refused to spend at least $16 billion appropriated by Congress for a variety of projects. In 1973 the Supreme Court, aware that it might soon face more serious tests of presidential power, ducked the issue. Last week, with those problems behind them, the Justices turned to an impoundment-related suit and by a 9-to-0 vote delivered one more resounding no to the Nixon doctrine of Executive power" (my emphasis). New York Times, 3/3/75
As Archie and Edith Bunker used to sing, "those were the days" indeed! Nixon's tactic of refusing to obey Congress sure sounds familiar, but the Supreme Court basically slapped him back down, something that has not happened since that same institution gave the presidency to Chimpy back in 2000.
By now, my mind was getting blown by the contrasts, as well as by the other things I was finding out. I was alive during all these presidents' terms, but I was a kid for Nixon and Ford and Carter. I was in high school and college during Reagan, and only then did I realize that republicans didn't give a shit about people like me or my family or my friends. Ketchup is as close as poor hispanic kids like me will ever get to a vegetable, right, Saint Reagan?
I then googled the forgotten president, "Ford tells Congress," and got a timeline from the Presidential library web site for Gerald Ford.
"In his final State of the Union Address, Ford tells Congress and the American People, 'I can report that the state of the union is good. There is room for improvement, as always, but today we have a more perfect Union than when my stewardship began.'" 1/12/77
Not really what I was looking for; again--Ford didn't try to tell Congress what to do. He did, however, do one thing that interested me:
"Ford urges financial restraint and a financial review for New York City during its budget crisis. Ford refuses to support Federal help for New York at this time. He proposes bankruptcy legislation to ensure the City undergoes an orderly default process. On November 26, 1975, after he believes city leaders have begun to adequately address the crisis, he authorizes Congress to extend the City a line of credit." 10/29/75
I'm sure New Yorkers like DCap and FranIAm will remember this, but I was in fifth grade then so I didn't. But just imagine: refusing to bail out a broke institution until they show some initiative on their own! Such fiscal responsibility is absent in Chimpy's reign.
Would that republicans these days were so loathe to just throw money around and do massive bailouts.
I also found this on the same site:
"In what the press dubs the 'Halloween Massacre,' President Ford orders a reorganization of his cabinet. He names Donald Rumsfeld as Defense Secretary, Elliot Richardson as Commerce Secretary, George Bush as CIA Director, and Richard Cheney as White House Chief of Staff. Henry Kissinger remains Secretary of State; however, he turns over his duties as National Security Advisor to Brent Scowcroft." 11/74/75The irony makes me cringe: Rumsfeld, Bush, Cheney, Scowcroft -- the architects of today's biggest disasters. And of all people to put them into power, a clumsy and ineffectual seat-warmer of a president.
Some days, researching just makes me sad.