Tuesday, May 31, 2005

What to do after Downing Street

We lose all credibility as a nation and a people if we stand by without demanding an investigation of whether intelligence was fixed in order to intentionally mislead Congress into supporting an invasion of Iraq. President Bush is no better than any other imperialistic tyrant if the information contained in the Downing Street Memo is accurate and we, as a nation, are complicit in his crimes if we do not insist in an investigation and that suitable action be taken as appropriate.

After Downing Street is a coalition of veterans' groups, peace groups, and political activist groups announced a campaign to urge that the U.S. Congress launch a formal investigation into whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in connection with the Iraq war. The campaign focuses on evidence that recently emerged in a British memo containing minutes of a secret July 2002 meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top national security officials.

Review the information contained at After Downing Street and get involved as you see fit. If you are a blogger, you can get involved with the Big Brass Alliance at Shakespeare's Sister.


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Death in vain is far from pro-life

Many of my friends have gone through countless cycles of IVF. Until recently, all but 1 of my friends have been successful (the last decided for 1 last go, her umpteenth in 5 years, last Fall and I'm happy to say, is due in August). As we all know, couples who undergo IVF frequently have blastocysts left over after experiencing the joy of success. These blastocysts are either destroyed (rarely) or stored for years but never used. After many years in storage, these blastocysts have little chance of implantation and therefor have little chance at resulting in pregnancy or birth.

In Judaism the mitzvah of pikuah nefesh (saving a life) over-rides everything else. According to Rabbi Elliot Dorff, Rector of the University of Judaism, "The overriding principles of honoring the dead (k'vod hamet) and saving lives (pikuah nefesh) work in tandem. That is, saving a person's life is so sacred a value in Judaism that if a person's organ can be used to save someone else's life, it is actually an honor to the deceased."

A blastocyst (the stage at which implantation occurs), there are two layers of cells: the outer layer (trophoblast) develops into the placenta; the inner layer (embryoblast) develops into the embryo. There are no organs, much like anyone at the very last moment of life, there is nothing about the blastocyst that is capable of sustaining/maintaining it's own life.

Banning the parents of these "unborn babies" from allowing them to be used for potentially life saving research/development is like banning people from donating the organs of loved ones post-mortem when those organs have the potential to save a life (or, in some cases, many lives). Keeping them frozen is not keeping them alive, it is not bringing them to life, indeed it's more like keeping them in the throes of a slow but sure death. How can someone insist "all life is sacred" then prevent a blastocyst that is doomed for destruction or an eternity in liquid nitrogen from fulfilling some living destiny and still claim to be Pro-Life? Why is a life not yet begun (nor likely too) more sacred than a life that is? By preventing use of embryonic stem cells, the so-called "Pro-life" movement compounds what they consider a tragedy every day by insisting this "death" be in vain. But then, what do you expect from the same movement that stood in the way of using embryonic/fetal tissues from abortions for no other reason than they wanted to prevent the possibility of any good coming from something bad?

For perspective from a woman who's gone through IVF, check out Sherri Nichols commentary which I discovered through FP.



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Womb for more: a solution to the carnage that is IVF

Lindsay has come up with a novel way to address all those poor unimplanted embryos laying to waste in liquid nitrogen at fertility clinics around the country: implantation in wombs of currently unoccupied uteruses of females.

In order for this program to work most efficiently and produce the highest yield of children we will have to make some changes in laws/guidelines in the medical monitoring of the female population, fertility treatment and HIPAA (to remove certain aspects of privacy regarding personal health information). First and foremost, all new harvesting and fertilization of ova must stop effective immediately; the state needs to obtain an accurate census of available embryos to determine how many uteruses need to be drafted for implantation. Parental rights to all unimplanted embryos are terminated effective immediatley regardless of the wishes of the biological parents; all embryos are wards of the state until they are born.

Embryos will be disseminated for adoption as follows:
  1. Any woman currently in the midst of fertlity treatment that does not already have pre-born children pending implantation will be an immediate recipient of 2 donor blastocysts; she will continue to undergo implantation cycles (2 blastocysts/cycle) until she has at least one successful pregnancy resulting in live birth
  2. Any childless adult woman who has an intact uterus will begin hormone treatments in preparation for implantation while the women from group 1 above are going through initial implantation cycles. When clinics are available to start a second round of implantation, each of these women will undergo implantation of 2 blastocysts with repeated cycles until at least 1 live birth has occurred
  3. If there are unborn children available for implantation after initial cycles of groups 1 and 2, adolescent females who've experienced onset of menarche will undergo hormone treatment followed by implantation of 1 blastocyst/cycle
The above cycles will continue until all embryos are implanted. All embryos are to be given the opportunity for implantation regardless of quality, results of pre-implantation testing and/or likelihood of successful outcome.

IVF, contraception, pre-natal testing and abortion are banned effective immediately (caveat: abortion will be allowed only in the event of ectopic pregnancy in which neither the child nor mother would survive). The following measures will be put in place to ensure sexual morality laws are not broken and/or to ensure that when broken, the transgression does not go undetected:
  • Children born as a result of the embryo adoption program will be monitored to ensure they do not become romantically involved/procreate with a primary biological relative (incest is an abomination)
  • Pre-pubescent females will be monitored annually until they reach Tanner Stage 1, at which point in time they will be monitored quarterly until onset of menarche
  • All females of child-bearing potential (from onset of menarche through 1 year post diagnosis of menopause) will undergo monthly testing for sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy
    • females who leave the country will require a negative pregnancy test the day of scheduled departure; those who have a positive pregnancy test will not be permitted to leave the country until the pregnancy is resolved
      • any miscarriage occuring in a female who tried to leave the country during her pregnancy will be treated as suspect requiring an investigation to determine if an illegal abortion was obtained

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Monday, May 30, 2005

Colorado Springs, where WACO & Stepford meet?

I came across this at Leah's Life, it goes to the heart of what our current Revangelical administration's plans really are.
The Man is the Christ; the Woman is the Body. He is coming; she is the church; she must open her doors. United, they are the Kingdom, ready for battle. “The Christian home,” preached Pastor Ted, “is to be in a constant state of war.” This made many so happy they put their hands in the air, antennae for spirit transmissions. “Massive warfare!” Ted cried out.
They are not, as previously described by Evangelical leadership, out to just ensure they can lead their own Christian lives unencumbered by the sins of others, they are not setting themselves up to fulfill a prophecized destiny when it comes as planned, they are out to create this destiny by forcing their own armageddon.
Hounded by the sins they see as rampant in the cities (homosexuality, atheistic schoolteaching, ungodly imagery), they imagine themselves to be outcasts in their own land. They are the “persecuted church”—just as Jesus promised, and just as their cell-group leaders teach them.

[. . .]

“We [Christians] have lost every major city in North America,” Pastor Ted writes in his 1995 book Primary Purpose, but he believes they can be reclaimed through prayer—“violent, confrontive prayer.[4]
This isn't religion as a deep reverance and committment to living a life of conscience and devotion to G-d, this is a rabid indoctrination with religion being abused as a weapon of torture. We have found the Weapon of Mass Destruction and it is right here in the good ol' US of A.

In her OP/ED piece in yesterday's Inky, Jane Eisner puts forth the notion that Americans are widely moderate who are standing on the sidelines while leaving the debate to the pols, media and extremists. She references Morris Fiorina's new book Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America which compares the average American to third world citizens stuck between an oppressive regime and freedom fighters. The difference is, the citizens in the third world country are shell-shocked and for good reason. By and large, they cannot speak up for fear of retribution. Unlike Americans, they are already completely dominated and controlled by an extreme; here we have a chance to stem the tide of the extremists and yet, if Eisner and Fiorina are right, our complacency that we will always have the freedom to speak/act/choose will lead us directly to a situation in which critical decisions will be made for us and not necessarily by those with whom we agree. It's already begun. As Fiorina states, American views are still moderate and have changed little but our choices have changed dramatically and we've done nothing to stem the tide. This isn't football, it's our lives and it's about damned time the folks on the sidelines realized it's their game to play too.

Edit: Liz @ Blondsense has posted the 14 characteristics of fascism. Reading it is like looking at a picture of today's USA.


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Sunday, May 29, 2005

A brief respite

"Yet even then, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or spurn them so as to destroy them, annulling My covenant with them, for I the Eternal am their G-d. I will remember in their favor the covenant with the ancients, whom I freed from the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their G-d: I the Eternal" (Leviticus 26: 44-45)
While I wasn't able to attend shul on Friday (it was Saint Petersburg's birthday with the opening of the bridges and I had to leave for the airport for a 6:55 am flight Saturday morning), I did get a quick peek at the Synagogue which was restored with funding by Edmond & Lily Safra. It's a very Sephardic/Moorish temple with some very intricate wood-work.



The front entrance


view of the sanctuary from the gallery


I took this shot to show the intricacy of the work along the border of the gallery

Of course, I had to check out the Kosher Market as well



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Sunday Sermonette: A different kind of Memorial Day

While driving to our meeting last Tuesday morning, Dima mentioned he wanted to make a quick detour to show me something he generally doesn't show our colleagues when they come to visit. Dima explained that knowing I am Jewish and tended to pay more "respectful" attention to differences of culture, holidays and goings on of the countries in which my colleagues live/work, he thought I would have a deep appreciation for what he was about to tell and show me. We only had a few minutes, but I knew we were at Piskarevskoye cemetery when I saw the eternal flame and heard Pachebel's Canon playing. The cemetery honors over a million people of Leningrad who died during the 900 day siege of Leningrad during WWII.



The cemetery itself is approximately 26 hectares and is immaculately kept. As you walk down the steps from the entrance, you see the main avenue that runs over 1,400 feet; at one end an eternal flame and at the other a statue of a woman (representing the motherland) laying a wreath of oak leaves at the graves of her children.

Most of the people of the city who died, did so due to cold and starvation brought about by the war. Half a million of those who died (420,000 of which were civilians) are buried in 186 mounds (mass graves) that line the cemetery. Each mound/mass grave has a granite tombstone indicating the year of burial, but nothing else about those buried in the grave.



When we think of WWII, we think (primarily) of the 6 Million Jews, Gyspsies, Gay & Handicapped people exterminated by the Nazis for political/"moral" reasons. We know there are a good deal more who died in battle, who died as "casualties of war." Those casualties of war are real people with friends and family who loved them, who tried to save them only to watch them die. A vast majority of those deaths were cruel and unnecessary. When we finally engaged as a country in WWII, it was for the honorable purpose of ending the war. The servicemen who gave their innocence, if not their lives, did so for the cause of freedom. Since that time most of this country has been lulled into a false sense of security that we would always be free, that fascism could never take hold here and that we'd never have to fear that one man's religious opium be our own. Fundagelical "Christians" have waged an all out war against those who will not live in accordance to their beliefs, they see the only way to preserve fundagelical religious beliefs and lifestyle is to prevent others from living in accordance with their own and they will ensure that via legislation. Neither the founding fathers, nor those who gave their lives protecting the very freedom of religion that is threatened by today's Revangelical party would be pleased by the current holy war in which we are engaged. I wonder what Memorials our descendants will be building to our attempt at revolt and restoration of freedom. But I wonder most about all the casualties to come and how preventable they were.




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Friday, May 27, 2005

Parents prohibited from exposing their child to their own religion

It happens. . . couples divorce and in the midst of a custody battle, arguments over which of the parents religious beliefs can/can't be taught to their child. This, however, is not one of those cases. When Tammie Bristol & Thomas Jones, Jr. divorced last year, the Marion County (Indiana) Judge who issued the divorce decree included an order that prohibits them from exposing their child to "non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals." The twist in the case is that both parents are practicing Wiccans and agree they want to raise their 9-year old son in their religion. Despite the couple's vehement objections to the order, Marion Superior Court Chief Justice Cale J. Bradford issued the order based on the a Domestic Relations Counseling Bureau report which indicated the child attends a local Catholic school.
"There is a discrepancy between Ms. Jones and Mr. Jones' lifestyle and the belief system adhered to by the parochial school. . . . Ms. Jones and Mr. Jones display little insight into the confusion these divergent belief systems will have upon (the boy) as he ages," the bureau said in its report.
Mr. Jones himself attending Catholic school growing up despite not being Christian and disputes the bureau reports concerns. Aside from the fact this is an outrageous example of judicial activism, if there was concern about inconsistency between religious views taught at home and school, shouldn't the issue have been raised with the parents and, if determined to be a legitimate issue, wouldn't the most logical step be to advise the parents to reconsider sending their child to Catholic school? I guess Scalia, Santorum, et. al. will soon be telling us that if we read the First Amendment of the Constitution literally, we'll see the freedom of expression is only [Christian] denomination neutral but does not apply to other religions.

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Thursday, May 26, 2005

Don't ever play chicken with a Russian

These people drive like maniacs (anyone from Philly should just picture the Willow Grove exit of the PA turnpike/route 611 at it's worst, and you have driving in Russia)! Needless to say, those bizarre traffic patterns in Moscow yesterday made it an even more treacherous place to drive when the electrical outage hit. We decided to cab it from the train station when the line for the metro was outrageous (very lucky for us or I'd have been spitting bullets stuck in a train with no electricity in 8o F weather - I now feel really guilty for complaining about being stuck on the PA turnpike for 6 hours last Monday).

The original story we heard upon our arrival in Moscow was that there was an electrical fire.
15 of 28 hospitals in the city had adequate back-up generators to keep them functional (the one we were at was one of these hospitals - and they were inundated with new patients). To understand exactly how many patients weer affected, you need to understand how HUGE these hospitals are - they are small cities, many of which have in excess of 1,500 beds. Four regions - Moscow, Tula, Kaluga & Ryazan were affected. In Moscow alone, the power outage left 1500 people stuck in elevators (their elevators are about 1 third the size of an average elevator in a US building) and 20,000 people stranded on the Metro. It looked like another 5-10,000 people were on the street trying to get a taxi and the fares were increased accordingly; the cost to get from the train station to Domodedovo airport went to about 5,000 rubles, which is about $180 dollars. To put this in perspective, an attending level physician makes about $200/month.

The rumor mill and rumor control was quite interesting. We had originally thought the traffic problems were due to solely to some nasty accidents ahead of us, at the hospital we were informed that there had been some sort of electrical fire and a power outage. Later we heard there'd been an explosion and, even later still, we were told that we should stay inside/seek immediate cover if it started to rain as there were stories there may have been a chemical explosion. This, of course, spiked rumors of terrorist activity - a few folks here think the black-out in NY was terrorist activity as well (I had to tell them I was sure it wasn't because our current regime would have milked that bit of information for all it was worth). Oddly, with all the rumors and the swealtering heat + humidity, people seemed relatively calm. Restaurants & bars were back open by dinner time (Jalapeno Margaritas = interesting experience) and by the time I got back to the hotel to catch the news, Putin was ripping Unified Energy Systems chief, Anatoly Chubais a new asshole.

This morning, the newspapers reported the explosion story came from Energy & Industry Minister Viktor Khristenko, who stated there was an explosion at the Chagino power station located south of Moscow. This story has been denied and the official story is that there was a glitch shortly after the Chagino sub-station caught fire the previous evening. The chemical explosion story and warnings came about due to a discharge of nitrogen dioxide at the Origsintez chemical plant in Tula (south of Moscow).

The Prosecutor General's Office has opened an investigation into "Criminal Negligence" against Chubais, who apologized for the inconvenience but blamed the record heat for the problem. A conviction could land Chubais with a fine of up to $120,000 rubles and up to 3 months in a forced labor camp or prison. If convicted, he'd best pray he's not locked up with anyone who was stuck in the metro yesterday.


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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Things about Saint Petersburg that I found interesting

Peter the Great was apparently so taken with Venice, St. Petersburg is chock full of canals.

For the most part, it seems like any other old European city (except for all the signs in cyrillic); I guess I pictured it to be very gray and regimented.

They have the worst parking situation I have ever encountered in any city.

I saw quite a few lesbian couples walking around last night (I thought that was nice to see the Russians didn't even seem to take note - but now that I've mentioned it, I can imagine Fred Phelps will come set these people straight!).

They have vineyards in Chechnya - Chechen wine is very hearty and full-bodied (a little heavy for my taste); it goes well with bear (I had to try it, don't think I'll try it again).

Georgian Vodka ("grape" vodka) is somewhere between Vodka

"Mors" is Cranberry Juice

They have Mexicans (real ones) here. The best thing about Mexicans in Russia (I can't be the only one suprised by them being here) is that means I had really good Mexican food for dinner last night. They also had this French beer called Desperados that has Tequila in it (I tried that at a pretty good Mexican place in town). The food was great, not really sure what I thought of the beer.

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Sunday, May 22, 2005

Sunday Sermonette: sacred sperm and monkey's uncles

Tantalizing, no? It's just a teaser to point out some pretty darn-tootin' interesting findings coming from a Cornell lab (lead by Rasmus Neilsen) that suggests the genetic differences between humans and chimpanzees may predispose humans to cancer.

A comparison of chimpanzee genes to human genes shows a concentration of genes unique to people in areas associated with sperm production and cancer, and suggests the changes that make humans unique also make us uniquely prone to cancer.

"While we expected to find genes involved in olfaction, spermatogenesis, and immune defense among the 50 annotated genes ... we were surprised to find a very large proportion of cancer-related genes, especially genes involved in tumor suppression, apoptosis, and cell cycle control sequences," they wrote.
For non-geeks: cancer is cell proliferation gone awry & apoptosis is programmed cell death (keeps cell proliferation from going into overdrive) - as this overview summarizes it, develpment & cancer are "flip sides of the same coin".

The creationists among us will have a problem with this, it shows an inter-relatedness of species they consider unbiblical and therefor blasphemous. My most vivid memory of my Human Genetics class was when my Professor showed us the karyogram of a chimpanzee. The chimpanzee had 24 pairs of chromosomes vs. humans , which have 23 (including the sex chromosomes). I vaguely remember a reference to the material on human chromosome #2 being split into 2 different chromosomes in the chimp. I probably still have a copy of the karyograms she showed us and my notes (I know for a fact I still have a copy of the first karyogram I did for my class). Alas, all that stuff's packed away somewhere & I don't have time to hunt it down. However, thanks to the internet, I was able to find a pretty interesting read supporting evolution using chromosomal evidence to support common ancestry.

The creationist "bible is complete and inerrant" crowd need to understand that the subtle destruction of gospel and perversion of faith was predicted by Jesus himself:
“For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” [Acts 20:29-30, Matthew 7:15, 24:5]
Knowlege and religion are not enemies, I just wish everyone understood that.

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Deep in the heart of [what used to be] Mennonite country

Tenacious-D ponders a week at camp





(and Ol' Cranky worries that certain wacky Republicans fixated on homosexuality and bestiality will get turned on by what they'll consider "puppy porn")

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Privacy, of course, will be next to go

"The reason the judiciary has been able to impose a separation of church and state that’s nowhere in the Constitution is that Congress didn’t stop them. The reason we had judicial review is because Congress didn’t stop them. The reason we had a right to privacy is because Congress didn’t stop them." [Tom DeLay, 13Apr05]
The Fundagelical controlled Republican party will work hard as the seek to ensure return to the days of John Cotton. Like the Puritans, the Fundagelicals understand that privacy is a threat to iron-fisted control.

Outlaw of things like hormonal contraception & abortion (as well as HPV vaccination for females) that can help a sexually immoral female avoid easy detection will improve detection and punishment of these women, but privacy enables the Jezebels who are most fastidious & the sexual deviants escape paying pennance. Laying claim there is no right to privacy so that the average person without power or connection has no recourse when it is invaded allows those with power to peer into our homes, review our medical records and/or take samples from our bodies to detect (or create) evidence to be used against "undesirables." The sins of the undesirables will be amplified in the public realm while those in the privileged class will be protected for the most part, lay claim all is a conspiracy against them and, at worst, get a slap on the wrist (Bill Clinton lying about being blown by Monica Lewinsky was considered a heinous impeachable offense, a judge ruling on case law instead of as directed by political leadership has also been bandied about as an impeachable or worse offense and lying to initiate a war that'd been planned for some time won't get a fundagelical President anything but a little bad press). Without the right or privilege of privacy, the government can do anything it damn well pleases, based on whim rather than reason.
And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created, it was created in Griswold — Griswold was the contraceptive case — and abortion. And now we're just extending it out.
. . .
I've been very clear about that. The right to privacy is a right that was created in a law that set forth a (ban on) rights to limit individual passions. And I don't agree with that. [Rick Santorum, 23Apr03]
Santorum's use of depravative logic aside, statements from Republican leadership indicating there is no right to privacy and their fight to enact legislation with no presumptive neutrality of religion seems remarkably similar to the German government in 1933 (especially considering the "Patriot Act"). While those who engage in sexual immorality (women & gays) are the first, most obvious & easiest targets, Catholics and others who currently support the Fundagelical movement may want to review what the Puritans and Nazis thought of them and take heed. Without those fundamental right to privacy they may find themselves next to be scrutinized and they'll have no place to hide.


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Saturday, May 21, 2005

The penultimate in travel preparation

It has never been more evident how far from a boyscout I am than it is right now. I'm leaving for Russia tomorrow. Am I prepared? Nope.

I have known about this for some time I had to obtain a visa for this trip and that is no small fĂȘte (on the bright spot, I know I'm HIV negative since I had to be tested to get the visa). I put off doing laundry and packing because I knew today would be a crappy day and figured I'd spend the whole day getting stuff like that done. Did I? That's a big negative. It was crappy out and Tenacious D's being all snuggly because he knows I'm going out of town (snuggling with the D-man + rainy day = long nap).

I finally finished my laundry and finally started packing to realize the bag that I thought was my big bag was really my gym bag and not so big. Come to think of it, I actually chucked the big bag a few years ago. Oops. I actually had to do something I have never done in over 10 years of business travel: pack 2 bags. . . I can't really figure out why all my stuff doesn't fit in my regular roller bag, I'm coming back next Saturday and I'm sure I should be able to fit all my clothes for work in that bag - I've done it before. I will use the excuse that the real reason I needed the gym bag was because toting my computer, camera and phone around requires converters and chargers I don't normally carry with me (which is true if I limit my statement to traveling in North America). I have no friggen clue what I put in those bags, but I'm not unpacking them now and going through that whole process again. Let's hope I at least have everything I need.

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United States of Puritanica: differential treatment for sexual immorality

I've been thinking about Lindsay's post on Alysha Cosby and the reasons girls who get pregnant out of wedlock have to endure punishment while the guys who got them pregnant don't seem to face punitive action.

As much as we hate to admit it, no matter how depraved our mainstream entertainment industry is (and how sales/viewership increase in a directly proportional relationship to that depravity), America is still Puritan at heart. The Fundagelicals are the modern day task-makers whose primary goal is to put Puritanism back in action to control those of us who've gotten away with living outside the limited social norms of their small, closed society.

The Puritans and Fundagelicals have the same view of gender roles, G-d ordained man as King of his castle and women are to submit to the authority of men. For the Puritans, religion was central to life with members of both sexes expected to be devout practitioners of faith and people were kept in line by harsh punishment that included and relied on public humiliation.
Puritanism regarded men and women as spiritual equals. The men might be the church leaders but women were seen as the more disciplined and moral sex. They supported each other and excluded men from the risky moment of childbirth, supporting the mother-to-be with beer as well as prayer.

Even if they had no official standing, women exercised a lot of informal influence. Few male leaders, especially religious leaders, could survive the widespread disapproval of a community's women. Women frequently appeared in court charged with slander or as plaintiffs in a variety of cases. They also played a part in policing sexual morality in the community. [Pioneer House - Daily Life]
That controlling mechanism is alive and well today, it absolutely thrives in Junior Highs & High Schools as evidenced by Odd Girl Out/Odd Girl Speaks Out, Queen Bees & Wannabes, getting mono, etc. We, unfortunately, see a degree of it in the workplaces and, of course, it's back in the forefront of our country's politics in which much of the debate centers on matters of "sexual immorality".

There was a high road to take that could have served the purpose of the Catholic church and the community that Cosby's school didn't take. One would think, in the current political environment, that Alysha Cosby's school would praise her for making the choice to continue her pregnancy while facing the all too real consequences of engaging in sexual activity the church does not condone. She could, and should, have been used as an example of someone who made the wrong choice (committing the sin of pre-marital sex) but did not compound her sin by using proscribed contraception or having an abortion. Additionally, despite the difficulties and uncertainty of pregnancy and looming motherhood, she worked hard to finish high school so as not to put her or her child at even further disadvantage that frequently accompanies dropping out of high school. Instead they were focused on keeping Cosby out of the classroom and preventing her from partcipating in the graduation ceremony (keeping her out of sight) to maintain the illusion of student purity. Cosby wasn't just someone who set a bad example, she was the crack in the facade that they'd have to acknowledge if she had been allowed to graduate with her class (her boyfriend was allowed to participate in the graduation ceremony because he showed no obvious signs of his lack of chastity).

The orthodoxy of all 3 Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam & Judaism) view the women as the gatekeepers to sexual morality. They believe that the female form and voice are enticing to men and, as such, must be kept from view to prevent men from experiencing that temptation. When a female flaunts her femininity, she must be aware of the temptation she presents to men and so, if she will not prevent the man from experiencing that temptation, it is her responsibility to prevent him from succumbing to it.

It is based on this that the orthodox Christian denominations, while quietly acknowledging the men who impregnate women out of wedlock are guilty of the sin of fornication, hold the women more culpable and deserving of more severe punishment than the men (boys will be boys, girls should know better). A pregnant woman who is not married (or only recently married) is viewed as having thumbed her nose at propriety as if she's loudly proclaiming her willful engagement in the sin of fornication; she is an example to other females and, as such, those other females must know she has been suitably punished for her indiscretion.

The Fundagelicals and Catholics are fully cognizant of the fact the message they are sending to girls is not to get caught, this is why they want to ensure that the knowledge of and access to means of prevention of STIs and pregnancy (contraception & HPV vaccination), as well as abortion remain inaccessible to all women regardless of the circumstances. If the women are unable to prevent getting caught and live in dire fear of the potential repercussions they will, for the most part, remain the "good" girls that don't shame their fathers or cuckhold their husbands. Their fathers and husbands on the other hand will still be able to find the odd whore to dally with, but we'll know how to differentiate the two and which one will have to endure disease, raise bastard children without assistance all while facing the wrath of "decent" society.


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Friday, May 20, 2005

BOHICA


The D-man gets in position for another Republican forcible sodomization


I
completely missed the clear, logical and completely rational explanation of the real reason the Republicans are compelled to ban the judicial filibuster:

“THE ISSUE IS NOT CLOTURE VOTES PER SE. IT'S THE PARTISAN LEADERSHIP-LED USE OF CLOTURE VOTE TO KILL, TO DEFEAT, TO ASSASSINATE THESE NOMINEES.”
[House Majority Dictator Bill Frist, 18May05]
Needless to say, U.S. District Court Judge Joan Lefkow failed to appreciate the Senator's comment.


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I'm not a Nazi in real life, but I play one in Senate

I'm taking a little break (late lunch) to get my thoughts together but, unfortunately, in the few minutes of quiet time I've had I keep focusing on the "need" Super-Rick Santorum had to liken the Democrats filibuster of judicial nominees to Hitler. Now, I know I babbled about Santorum's statement last night and I know the irony of his statement wasn't lost on me but I focused more on the hypocrisy of his rebuff of Byrd last March.

This morning, however, something kept niggling at me (my head's clear despite the fact my sinuses are not) as Santorum's words continued to echo in my mind [emphasis added]:
'I mean, imagine, the rule has been in place for 214 years that this is the way we confirm judges. Broken by the other side two years ago, and the audacity of some members to stand up and say, how dare you break this rule. It's the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942 saying, 'I'm in Paris. How dare you invade me. How dare you bomb my city? It's mine.'
Byrd's reference likening the rise of the fundagelical controlled Republican party to the rise of fascism was not off the mark (though his words were). Santorum's likening senators of a certain party to Hitler forcibly seizing control of Paris and then acting as though no one had the right to fight back to limit the damage he could do to Paris (let alone try to wrestle control fo the city from him) was actually pretty damn close to the mark. He did, however, miss the mark. The Republicans did not forcibly seize control of the Senate but they are acting like any other tyrant/child with temporary control of something they want to keep forever by trying to change rules to increase the duration of the effect of their current power (i.e., ensure more laws can be specifically enacted to make sure that it will be harder for those who disagree with them to fight back/protect themselves and that additional rigidity is added to ensure the country adheres to their extreme conservatism long after they lose the power of being the majority).



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Thursday, May 19, 2005

More on pots & kettles: Santorum and Hitler, working together for you

Our little friend Rick Santorum spent this afternoon doing exactly what he criticizes others for doing. Today during debates about the filibuster, he likened Democrats who support continued use of the filibuster to prevent our country from become an oligarchy to Hitler:
'I mean, imagine, the rule has been in place for 214 years that this is the way we confirm judges. Broken by the other side two years ago, and the audacity of some members to stand up and say, how dare you break this rule. It's the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942 saying, 'I'm in Paris. How dare you invade me. How dare you bomb my city? It's mine.'
This past March, Santorum criticized Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) for comparing Republican threats of the "nuclear option" to the rise of Nazism/Fascism in the 1930s:
"We, unlike Nazi Germany or Mussolini's Italy, have never stopped being a nation of laws, not of men," Byrd said. "But witness how men with motives and a majority can manipulate law to cruel and unjust ends."

Byrd then quoted historian Alan Bullock, saying Hitler "turned the law inside out and made illegality legal."

Byrd added, "That is what the 'nuclear option' seeks to do."
At the time, Santorum called for Byrd to retract his comments, saying they "lessen the credibility of the senator and the decorum of the Senate."


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What kind of crack-pot state am I from?

Dauphin County and PA Superior Courts have both ruled that Joel L. McKiernan must pay child support of $1520/month for twins he fathered for Ivonne V. Ferguson over 10 years ago. Ferguson, who was married to another man when the twins were conceived, asked her ex-boyfriend McKiernan to donate sperm so she could conceive by IVF and the couple had a verbal agreement [the verbal agreement has not been contested by the mother] similar to those used by sperm banks that stipulated the donor would have no legal, financial or moral obligations to any resultant child(ren). Ferguson's now ex-husband was listed a the father on the birth certificates for the twins.
Five years after the twins were born (and 3 years after Ferguson's last contact with McKiernan), Ferguson filed a suit for child support against McKiernan who had moved to the Pittsburgh area, married and fathered two children with his wife. Pennsylvania is among the states that have not adopted a version of the Uniform Parentage Act, which ensures donors cannot be forced to take on the responsibilities of active fatherhood.
The implications aren't limited to just sperm donors, but could also affect ova donation as well as donor embryos. Standard agreements for embryo donation usually contain the following statement or a similar one:
In the event that one or more Resulting Children are born from the Embryos donated, the Parties agree that the Recipients shall assume and shall be entitled to all rights and responsibilities described above. The parties further understand and agree that should further legal action on the part of any Party be necessary or advisable to facilitate the establishment of the Recipient’s parental rights, and/or the termination of the Donor’s parental rights (to the extent any are recognized), each of the Parties agree to take such action.
If the PA Supreme court rules that agreements not to hold a donor financially, legally or morally responsible for any resultant child(ren) are essentially invalid:
State appeals courts have previously said parents may not bargain away their child's right to support, and even private agreements between parents can be invalidated if they harm the child's welfare.
There's no word on what, if any, personal or financial relationship Ferguson's ex-husband has with the children (or if he was aware of her arrangement with McKiernan prior to the couple's divorce). Ferguson is yet another in a list of selfish women making life more difficult for not only their sperm donors but for good women who bust their asses raising their children without the support of the kids dead-beat dads; while the states seem to just be looking to make sure someone (usually the alleged father) will be held financially responsible regardless of the circumstances.


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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

11 states say "no 'mo marriage"

What better way to get folks to the polls during an "off year" election than to appeal to a person's needs to feel morally superior to another. Yesterday, eleven states voted to make sure same-sex participants in sexual immorality don't erode the sacred and only acceptable idea of marriage the same way good Christian folks do.

Despite the fact that SSM was already banned in the states, voters in the following approved a measure to amend the state constitution to define marriage as a union of one man and one woman:
  • Arkansas
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • Utah (including specific language not to recognize legal SSM performed in another state)
Other states voting No to Mo:
  • Montana had already defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman, but amended their state constitution to avoid "activist judges" from pointing out the law was unconstitutional (thereby verifying the definition of "activist judge" to mean a judge that follows the rule of law instead of the rule of religion)
  • North Dakota not only limited marriage rights to heterosexual couples, they now restrict previously afforded rights of civil union that gave homosexual couples many of the same rights as heterosexual married couples
  • Ohio banned not only SSM, but also prohibited granting of legal rights via civil union regardless of whether a couple is gay or straight
  • Oklahoma voted to ban SSM and send extremely rational Tom Coburn to Washington as an example of a conscientious Okie
  • Michigan & Oregon also voted to ban SSM (though the latter may consider allowing pharmacists to dispense EC without a prescription)

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To atone, they'll only sell electric ovens from now on

Walmart sent a letter of apology to the ADL for a full-page ad to protest Flagstaff's Proposition 100 that would limit the "big box stores" to location and community standards of design. The ad itself featured a photo of a Nazi book-burning (complete with folks in Nai uniform). The text under the photo said: "Should we let government tell us what we can read?'' and continued with "Of course not, So why should we allow local government to limit where we can shop?''

Walmart admits it made a terrible mistake in approving the ad, but stated the were "unaware of the photo's historical context until after the fact."
"We feel strongly that our ads speak the truth but we regret the image we used offended some of those who have sacrificed so much," added the letter from Protect Flagstaff's Future Committee.
The ads speak to the truth? Other ads in the series featured a child praying and a woman with duct tape over her mouth.
Company president Chuck Coughlin defended the intent of the ad, saying, "We wanted people to think about the freedoms we enjoy in America. The intent was wholly honorable and good(.) We will not back away from substance of the ads .
I have to agree with the folks at Morons.org on this one, it's presumptuous (to say the least) to compare retail zoning ordinances with civil liberties.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Be a pro-life hero

Woo-freakin'-HOO!

For those of you who, like me, have been unable to donate blood due to work/travel leading to time spent outside North America that exceeded cumulative times acceptable to the Red Cross, I have great news for you: The Red Cross has updated the blood donor eligibility guidelines this past March!

Go donate blood and/or consider apheresis! If you're African American, there's a special need for blood for transfusions to children with Sickle Cell Disease. Heck, why not go all the way and register with the National Marrow Donor Program (Black & African Americans have a greater difficulty finding suitable matches and more minority donors are needed badly).


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Sunday, May 15, 2005

Sunday Sermonette: unraveling

The United States has been a country that glorified our difference to other countries by emphasizing our own early struggle for autonomy and individuality as a cornerstone of the country's foundation. We were the country of liberty and justice for all, the country in which the oppressed could escape their oppressors, and the country where individual autonomy allowed our people to believe and live as they saw fit (provided nobody else's civil rights were infringed upon). Our current leadership invaded another country and hawks stories of how, through war, the people of another country have been freed from a tyranical Dictator who forced them to act as though they believed a certain way and live under fear of constant threat for not living in accordance with his whim. Our current leadership decries the Islamic fundamentalists that rule other countries with an iron fist to ensure their citizens must live in accordance with their strict interpretation of Islamic Scripture and the persecution of anyone who does not. Our current leadership rails against the exportation of Islamic fundamentalist beliefs through acts of aggression and calls that those outside the faith act in adherence to it. Our current leadership supports a Christian Fundamentalist tyranny that is eerily similar to the Islamic one they fight world-wide.

There seems to be an abundance of black pots and black kettles ready, willing and eager to cook up non-compliant citizenry and too many of the real majority that are apathetic or to afraid to join in solidarity to support those at risk to be the first to fry. If people do nothing, there will be nobody left to speak up for them and they will have no one to blame but themselves. The
Christian Alliance for Progress is a new group trying to organize moderate, mainstream & progressive Christians to fight the bastardization of their religion into a weapon to be used by the Fundagelical Inquisition who threaten the very fabric of American life, I pray they will have success in their endeavor lest I have to face the pogroms my grandfather thought he left behind.

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Saturday, May 14, 2005

I found a great deal on Oreos at Walmart

The American Family Association, those fine purveyors of Wingnut Butter, are all a tizzy these days threatening a boycott of Kraft for supporting those gay games and considering shopping somewhere other than Walmart for its decision to promote the homosexual lifestyle. With all of their attention focused on fighting the dastardly Gay Agenda, they almost missed the looming threat of cell phone porn. The AFA, along with the FRC and Morality in Media recently met with the FCC to find ways for unsuspecting consumers to block digital file transfer of pornographic materials from cell phones.
With virtually no blocking devices being presently available to consumers, this presents a frightening reality to most parents of minors. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported on Wednesday that digital porn technology already is available in South America and Europe. One company based in Denver is marketing such software to companies overseas including "pictures of naked women to hard-core porn videos ... to ring tones that would make a sailor blush." While the Colorado company does not directly make adult-oriented products, it is clearly working with elements of the porn industry to incrementally bring this material on line to American consumers.
I hate to break it to them, but this isn't a case of Jenna Jameson finding out some horny Christian kid's cell phone # and forcing porn on him. I guess we just have to accept that these folks are trying to control what's available to everyone regardless of their beliefs or tastes because they (and the Bible) can't seem to control their own. We really have to stop persecuting these poor slobs who are incapable of making the choice their religion dictates on their own.


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More bear-back riding

and I guess it has to be bearbare-back this time (does this make me lesblogian or into blogeastiality - either way, it's sure to piss the fundies off). Pandagon notes via Tennessee Guerilla Women (the antidote to Tennessee Pig-lovin' Men) that among the pending bills in the state's legislation includes a bill that [emphasis added]:
Redefines person to mean a live human being with life beginning when the ovum is fertilized by the male sperm; permits abortions only if the mother’s life is at risk and after the physician certifies certain information.
I'm not sure what they mean by "male" sperm, I don't think they've defined that but as only the male of the species produces sperm, it's quite possible they mean to protect zygotes that contain a Y chromosome? If this fails, they's also suggested a bill that [emphasis added]:
Redefines person to mean a live human being with life beginning when brain activity commences, which is five weeks after a fetus is conceived
First off, a fetus doesn't exist 5 weeks post conception, when conception and implantation is successful the implanted blastocyst develops into an embryo which enters the fetal stage the 9th week after conception (pregnancy is timed from last menstrual period of the mother, not from time of conception). Brain development is trickier.

What the neanderthals in the Tennessee legislature are claiming as brain activity are early neuronal reflexes; interesting since House Majority Dictator (and cardio-thoracic surgeon) Bill Frist authored a book in 1989 in which he suggested including anencephaly as in indicator of brain death (a child born with anencephaly has greater brain function than one that's merely in an early stage of histogenesis of its nervous system.


The truth is, the reasons for these laws are because the "Pro-life" crowd, who claim to be constitutional literalists (and state thast if no explicit right is stated in the constitution, it doesn't exist), cannot claim the US consititution supports an inalienable right to "life" (let alone implant and develop to be born alive) to organisms of human origin that are not yet born.
SECTION 1. All Persons Born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any Person of Life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any Person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
The references to a person do not indicate to "all persons conceived" or all persons "gestated" in the US as being citizens, they reference those born in this country or naturalized as citizens. Contrary to "pro-life" claims, they are not defining person in the first sentence they are defining US citizen (the phrasing discusses "all persons born . . .in the US", not "all persons born" -there's a big difference).

Later in the section, the founding fathers refer to person/persons meaning the protections they afforded were to be applied to all persons in the country's/state's jurisdiction, not just to citizens in the jurisdiction. They are clarifying which persons are US citizens, which are not and what protections apply to each defined class of person. As they went out of their way to define these different types of persons and afford them unalienable rights, but did not make any mention of rights or definitions of citizens to those yet to be born, there is no legtimate claim that the constitution protects a zygote, blastocyst, embryo or fetus as a person or human being. In order to gain that protection, the states are re-defining person to apply the constitution to this new unrecognized legal class.


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The Pot's diversion technique: call the kettle black

Tom DeLay's exceptionally out of touch supporters staged a gala $250/plate to honor the ethically challenegd Congresman at the Capitol Hilton last night. When he took the stage last to address the crowd, Delay attacked Democrats for having
"No ideas. No leadership. No agenda. And, just in the last week, we can now add to that list, no class"
Reiterating the Republican response to Harry Reid's comment to Las Vegas HS students in which Reid called President Bush a loser:
"The man's father is a wonderful human being," Reid said in response to a question about President Bush's policies. "I think this guy is a loser. "I think President Bush is doing a bad job," he added to a handful of chuckles. "He's driving this country into bankruptcy," Reid said, referring to the deficit. "He's got us in this intractable war in Iraq where we now have about 1,600 American soldiers dead and another 15,000 injured."
While the comment wasn't respectful of the office of the President and unbecoming of a statesman (Reid later apologized), the statement was no more disrespectful of the President/Presidency than much of what the Republicans said about Clinton during his presidency (or any other Democrat they wanted to run down). Reid's statement was a sad sign of a man frustrated with our current system of the sound bite and the temper-tantrums being the center of focus as a method of diverting attention from the real issues. While unfortunate, at least Reid's statement was qualified and not incendiary like those made by Fundagelicals and their lapdogs (including DeLay) in response those ornery judges who rule on legal precedent instead of politicy party decree.

While the news outlets are focused on DeLay saying Dems have "no class," I'm much more fascinated by his statement that the Dems have "no agenda." Does that mean DeLay is finally admitting that Democrats (and their supporters) aren't fighting a war on Christianity now (we're obviously not forcing good fundagelicals into acts of sexual immorality as they, unlike the evil "anti-religion" dems, seem to be initiating those activities on their own)?!?

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Friday, May 13, 2005

If I wasn't already on the evil daily abortifacient

I'd go have some casual sex to celebrate (since I could, theoretically, get some Plan B by prescription).

I guess I'll just piggypanda-back on Amanda, who gleefully passed on the news that Dr. W. David "don't mind my dick up your ass" Hager will will no longer be on the FDA’s Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee as of July 1st. This is a pretty sweet thing after yesterday's big news that a puffed up Hager proudly announced his extraordinary pull with the FDA that the agency requested him to write an unheard of "minority opinion" that would justify nixing Barr Pharmaceutical's filed Rx-to-OTC switch for Plan B despite the fact the advisory board overwhelmingly voted to approve the switch (Hager was one for 4 naysayers compared to 23 experts who thought the application should be approved). According to a videotape obtained (and reported) by the maganize the Nation (and media outlets everywhere), Hager told attendees at a speaking engagement at Asbery College [emphasis added]:

"I was asked to write a minority opinion that was sent to the commissioner of the FDA. For only the second time in five decades, the FDA did not abide by its advisory committee opinion, and the measure was rejected."

Hager told the group that he had not written his report from an "evangelical Christian perspective," but from a scientific one -- arguing that the panel had too little information on how easier availability of Plan B would affect girls younger than 16. The FDA later cited that lack of information as the reason it rejected the application.

"I argued from a scientific perspective, and God took that information, and he used it through this minority report to influence the decision," Hager said. "Once again, what Satan meant for evil, God turned into good."
An FDA spokesperson verified that not only was Hager bearing "false witness" when he said the agency itself requested his minority opinion, she verified that the agency doesn't request minority reports/opinions at all and nobody at the FDA asked him to write his private citizen letter. Hager himself pointed out (see emphasized language above) that he'd written his letter from a scientific perspective (no offense to social scientists) but made it clear that, if his opinion was what swayed the decision, the Not Approval response the FDA sent to Barr was based not on any actual Clinical/Medical science but based purely on conjecture of possible behavioral of girls under 16 (who, like females over the age of 16, can legally obtain the drug with a valid prescription). This lends some pretty significant credence to concerns expressed by Senators Hilary Clinton (D-NY) & Patty Murray (D-WA), who have asked for an investigation into allegations that FDA decisions about the application have been based on politics, not science and/or medicine.

PDUFA ran out on a re-submission of Plan B ("behind the counter"; OTC for women 16 and older and by prescription for younger girls) last December, but 6 months later no decision appears forthcoming. Clinton & Murray have vowed block the nomination of Acting FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford as permanent commissioner until the agency finally rules on the current application of Plan B (just this past Monday, the Pink Sheet announced a vote would be set in the next couple weeks). They're not the only Senators who've expressed concern about Crawford and the Plan B debacle, Charles Grassley (R-IA) is not fan of the FDA's bullshit either (he's none too pleased with Crawford's lack of candor either).


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Friday DOG blogging


puppy uppers?

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Thursday, May 12, 2005

The security system you use doesn't matter when the triggers are faulty

From Pam Spaulding, Former Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge admits the Bush Administration just jerked the public around on whim. According to Ridge, the administration insisted on raising terror alert levels to High (that'd be Ernie) with flimsy evidence even when Homeland Security officials contended there was no need to do so. Ridge admitted to the disagreement between agency officials and the administration in order to "debunk" the myth that the agency itself was responsible for raising alerts. The facts themselves are, of course, not suprising in the least: many people, myself included, found the timelines for increased terror alerts were highly correlated to Bush's performance ratings (ratings dip, alert is increased, and Bush's approval ratings follow suit); and, as early as 2003, FBI agents were claiming that the Bush Administration was manufacturing hysterics specifically for the political effect.

Current Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is considering possible "improvements & adjustments" to the alert system, including the possibility of revising of scrapping the color coded terror alerts. Announcements about the changes may begin in the next few months. The actual system and method of communication is absolutely meaningless unless the triggers for action are based on credible evidence of an actual terror threat to the country instead of a threat to the administration's/a political party's hold on the American people.


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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Would that be a moving violation?

G-d bless Dan Abrams! If it weren't for Dan, crappy TV & my inability to concentrate long enough to do something productive (like read), I wouldn't know that pedestrian poultry could be cited for crossing the road. According to the ContraCosta Times (and Dan), a chicken belonging to Linc & Helena Moore flew the coop and went for a little stroll on March 26. Unfortunately, the chicken didn't cross the road at a designated cross-walk, jay-walking is illegal in Johannesburg, CA and Kern Count Sheriff's Deputy J. Nicholson issued the chicken a ticket for "impeding traffic." The Moore's have since entered a plea of "not guilty" in Superior Court, and a trial date has been set for May 16. I'm really looking forward to gavel-to-gavel coverage on Court TV.

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Monday, May 09, 2005

I've heard about not knowing your head from your ass

Contrary to a Florida woman, the orifice on your face is not a vagina.

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If I roll back the odometer to 0, do I have a new car?

I've got Olbermann on in the background and I'm chuckling at his discussion with Dr. Drew Pinsky about the Run-away bride" case that is so very irresistable. Apparently, among the problems "Run-Away Bride" Jennifer Willbanks had was her history of shoplifting (her current attorney successfully prosecuted her in the past), and her fiancees born-again virginity [note to self: there is such a thing as bad publicity if you're not a wannabe celebrity]. Now I've heard of girls talking about "secondary virginity," but this is the first I've heard of it from a guy.

I hate to break it these folks but you can go through a long period of celibacy but unless you're a time traveler (or have secret knowledge how to perform a targeted brain injury to remove the memory), you can't regain your virginity. Trust me, I'd love to forget the less than stellar experience of losing my virginity (and every other bad sexual experience I'm sorry to say I've had), but you can't and telling yourself and anyone else you're a born-again virgin doesn't make you anything but a liar or someone in denial. If you regret past sexual experiences and think it's best to remain celibate until you get married - go ahead, but don't disregard your past. It was a learning experience, it was how you learned what is right for you and lead you to being the person you are today - but rest assured, you are not a virgin anymore than my car is brand new.

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Political Pork and Fundamentalist Financing

According to this morning's WaPo, Congress has assisted in the financing of a five-year old, unaccredited College in Alaska to the tune of $1 Million over the past 2 years. Alaska Christian College (ACC) is a small school associated with the Evangelical Covenant Church and has 37 students that will be eligible to receive certificates in biblical studies for the completion of 1 year of study or certificates in biblical and general studies to those who complete 2 years. The Madison, WI based Freedom From Religion Foundation is suing the Education Department to rescind the funding as a breach of the separation of church and state. Under current guidelines, the federal government is permitted to give money to schools with religious affiliation provided that money is used for secular purposes.

According to ACC President Keith Hamilton, the purpose of the school, which is predominantly Native American, is to help students make the transition from high school to college. Hamilton also notes that the school has applied for accreditation beginning in 2007 and teaches much more than bible-study, non-biblical courses are offered in choir, physical education and leadership which, he asserts, makes the school a Christian College and not a Bible School.

According to the Association of Biblical Higher Education, in order to be accredited,
undergraduate institutions
require students to complete a substantial general education core involving study in such areas as humanities/fine arts, social/behavioral science, and natural/information science. General education is a common element in most college degree programs. The idea of general education is to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need for thinking and citizenship throughout life.

ABHE undergraduate institutions insist on general education in order to help students learn how to think Biblically about every area of life. The goal is the development of a comprehensive Christian world view. Graduate education normally would not have a general studies component; however, graduate students would need to have an appropriate general education background in their undergraduate studies. Graduate students would be expected to engage in research and writing at a progressively more advanced level than undergraduate students.
The above description doesn't even begin to describe ACCs programs. Even the description of non-religious courses don't seem to support the stance that the school assists students in preparing for a transition to post-secondary school as they appear to be akin to what many of us took as non-academic/extra-curricular courses in secondary school. I tried to obtain more information about the curricualum from ACC directly, but the web-site is down for maintenance. Regardless, it appears as though Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) has done a fine job finagling some pork to support his constituents, unfortunately that money was applied in an obviously unconstitutional fashion.



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