Tuesday, November 23, 2004

O Christmas Tree

O Christmas Tree

Let's start with my usual rant: who's brilliant idea was it, anyway, to think "I know, let's celebrate the birth of Gawd by killing a tree, dishonoring its spirit by adorning it with bright lights, ribbons and glass bulbs, and leaving it to rot for 2 weeks or more until we finally get so tired of picking pine needles out of our asses that we haul the dead carcass out to the curb"?

I paint such pretty, pretty pictures, don't I?

So anyway here comes Santa Claus Day, right? The countdown begins, 1 minute past midnight on Thanksgiving Day. Eat, drink, be merry...then shop your ass off.

I'm such a cynic.

Anyway, the point of this little rant is that I went out to do a little scouting of the Xmas Tree scene. I'm going artificial, of course - it's more practical and I don't have to feel any guilt about killing a tree for my own pleasure. I figure this year I'll go arctic white; I've never had a white tree, it's always been green. Be different, right?

Oh and before anyone starts in on the "Hah you hypocrite, you celebrate Xmas and you don't like Xtianity" - when you can rationalize to me why you celebrate the birth of a child in Jeruselem by decorating a pine tree, then you can ask me why I celebrate the winter solstice. Otherwise shut the frag up. Hah.

So here I am in KMart, because where else except there and Target am I going to get a tree, and I find a tree I loke. Realistic enough, good depth, preferred a 4-1/2 footer but I'll live with the 6-footer. $70bucks! Geez. But fine, it'll last me several years. I can do this.

Then I see the brand. Martha Stewart Living.

I walked out, on general principle. Dammit.

Oh well. I know I'll go back and get it, if I don't find another that I like. It just sucks that I'll be forced to admit I bought a Martha Stewart product.

Happy Turkey Day.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Being Divisive

November 18, 2004 - Thursday

Being Divisive

I don't mean to be divisive. I don't. And yet...weeks after the general elections, I'm still angry. Specifically I'm angry at the "red states", for being more focused (I want to say, blinded) on "continuing the war on terror" than on the bigger picture of what our esteemed, re-elected President has done to this country both at home and abroad.

I'm supposed to look at it as water under the bridge, accept that its happened and move on. Get with the program. Go with the flow. Quit arguing about what could have been, what should be, and just support what our President is doing - whether I personally agree with it or not.

Isn't that the very reason (one of the ever-changing reasons, actually) we "freed Iraq" for? To release them from an undemocratic society that inposes the will of their leader upon them, leaving them no free choice, no way to express themselves?

So, to those who say I should join the healing process and come together with "the rest of the country" - does that mean I should give up my beliefs? Should I, then, just conform to the rest of society? No longer voice my discontent?

Because, true believers, I'm reading "join in the healing of this country" as "you lost, there's nothing you can do about it, so just get assimilated and forget your personal standards."

I'd like to see the people of this country come together again, I do. But not at the expense of standing up for what I believe in.

* Today, the House of Representatives took steps to approve the THIRD rise in the national debt in THREE YEARS, raising our national debt by $800 billion to $8.14 TRILLION DOLLARS.

* The Senate is planning to move forward on a White House plan to open the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, now that the November elections gave the Republican base enough votes to push it through.

* The Russian Government announced it is developing a new form of nuclear weapon that "other nuclear powers do not and will not have."

* The Agriculture Department has proposed a rule that would give control over a third of the country's forestry to state governors, opening nearly 60 million acres of FEDERAL forests to logging interests.

* Colin Powell, the most (perhaps only) respected person in the Cabinet - the one person in the administration who preached caution and diligence before invading Iraq - is replaced (by "mutual agreement") with Condoleeza Rice, the President's "yes-woman". (It's no coincidence that Powell vanished from the public radar in the weeks leading up to the election. Try finding a significant quote from him in that time period.)

* In Ohio, nearly 2,600 votes from nine precincts may have been double counted. One precinct reported 131% of registered voters had cast ballots.

* House Republicans yesterday changed a party rule so Tom DeLay, R-Texas, could remain as leader if indicted in a Texas campaign finance investigation that he calls political. The old rule required GOP leaders and committee chairmen charged with a felony to relinquish their positions. The new language orders a case-by-case review, with the leaders retaining their posts until all House Republicans decide their fate.

All of the above has been announced since the general elections on November 2nd. That's 16 days ago, people. Just over 2 weeks.

What's going to happen 2 months from now?

Allow me my anger. Eventually I'll climb down from my pedastal and put away the guns, but for now I need to be angry at the state of my country.

Because if I didn't care so much for it, none of this would matter. Would it?

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Danke, Herr Doktor

You're gonna love this.

Druggists: New Soldiers of the Moral Majority

Here's an excerpt, for your horror and amusement:

"Mississippi enacted a sweeping statute that went into effect in July that allows health care providers, including pharmacists, to not participate in procedures that go against their conscience. South Dakota and Arkansas already had laws that protect a pharmacist's right to refuse to dispense medicines. Ten other states considered similar bills this year.

The American Pharmacists Association, with 50,000 members, has a policy that says druggists can refuse to fill prescriptions if they object on moral grounds, but they must make arrangements so a patient can still get the pills. Yet some pharmacists have refused to hand the prescription to another druggist to fill.

In Madison, Wis., a pharmacist faces possible disciplinary action by the state pharmacy board for refusing to transfer a woman's prescription for birth-control pills to another druggist or to give the slip back to her. He would not refill it because of his religious views."

Welcome to der New Amerika™, folkeins.

Where does it end? Will the girl taking your order at McDonalds be able to refuse to serve you a cheeseburger because her religion keeps her a vegetarian?

Let's not go so extreme, then. Let's look at the "right to refuse service" these pharmacists have. If I, as a pharmacist, do not believe - for religious or moral reasons - that you should be having sex when you're not married, can I ask to see a marriage license before selling you contraceptives?

The precedent is already there, if they're refusing to sell birth control. In the article we already have an example of someone refusing to sell contraceptives, because they don't believe in their use.

Well you know what? If I'm a vegetarian, I sure as hell wouldn't work at a burger joint. If you have an objection to selling certain drugs...don't work in a place that does.

Cigarette smoking by pregnant women has been found to cause defects in children. So has alcohol. While I'm not condoning the use of either by pregnant women, I also don't believe they should be refused service if trying to buy any. Purchasing is not using.

Can these same pharmacists refuse to sell over-the-counter cold medicines to you, if they morally believe you shouldn't be using them?

Can these same pharmacists refuse to sell you a pregnancy test, if they don't believe you should be having sex?

Where the fuck do they get off telling me what I can, and can't, buy? If you sell it, I can buy it. Don't put your moral judgements on me!

This is a back-door anti-abortionist policy. If it's okay for you to morally condemn a woman to prevent her from avoiding pregnancy, then what is to stop you - by the same logic - from preventing her from terminating a pregnancy?

Jesusland indeed.

Is this why Bush wants to prevent prescription drugs from being bought from Canada? So these woman have to go into a good-old-American-pharmacy and be told "You evil spawn of Satan! Fornicator! Jezabel!" and sent home to reflect on the evils of her life?

This isn't only pharmacists, people. Apparently there are various clauses around the country for Health Care Workers, exempting them from liability if they refuse to offer you service on grounds of moral or religious opposition.

A health care worker. Refusing. To offer you service.

What the fuck is wrong with this country? Are we even IN America anymore? We invade Iraq to impose our will, I mean, free them from a dictatorship, and here we are in our own rapidly-expanding hierocracy where the Church is Law, and freedom is a term relative to the freedoms the Church of America offers you.

Do what thou wilt. As long as the Bible says you can.

Picture this, true believer. You can be refused medical service by a doctor in Michigan if you are gay, and that doctor believes being gay is a sin against God.

You don't have to be gay. You can be pregnant and not married. Or maybe you're an interracial couple. Maybe you're not even Christian.


New Amerika Medical Form:

Question 1: Are you a Christian

__ Yes (continue)

__ No (get the fuck out of my hospital, heathen!

...doesn't this scare anyone else?

Letter To The Red States

November 10, 2004 - Wednesday

Letter to the Red States of Bush's Amerika

I found this blog repaste on a myspacer's ( ponycore ) page and found it extremely well written and to the point that many of us "Kerry-ites" tried to make. It's a good read. Enjoy.
Sorry, I try not to deluge people with my ramblings. But I had to write this and, having written it, had to send it. Even though I don't know anyone I can send it to (without alienating my Republican in-laws, who are the only "middle country" people I know.)

I am writing this letter to the people in the red states in the middle of the country -- the people who voted for George W. Bush. I am writing this letter because I don't think we know each other.

So I'll make an introduction. I am a New Yorker who voted for John Kerry. I used to live in California, and if I still lived there, I would vote for Kerry. I used to live in Washington, DC, and if I still lived there, I would vote for Kerry. Kerry won in all three of those regions.

Maybe you want to know more about me. Or maybe not; maybe you think you know me already. You think I am some anti-American anarchist because I dislike George W. Bush. You think that I am immoral and anti-family, because I support women's reproductive freedom and gay rights. You think that I am dangerous, and even evil, because I do not abide by your religious beliefs.

Maybe you are content to think that, to write me off as a "liberal" -- the dreaded "L" word -- and rejoice that your candidate has triumphed over evil, immoral, anti-American, anti-family people like me. But maybe you are still curious. So here goes: this is who I am.

I am a New Yorker. I was here, in my apartment downtown, on September 11th. I watched the Towers burn from the roof of my building. I went inside so that I couldn't see them when they fell. I had friends who were inside. I have a friend who still has nightmares about watching people jump and fall from the Towers. He will never be the same. How many people like him do you know? People that can't sit in a restaurant without plotting an escape route, in case it blows up?

I am a worker. I work across the street from the Citigroup Center, which the government told us is a "target" of terrorism. Later, we found out they were relaying very old information, but it was already too late. They had given me bad dreams again. The subway stop near my office was crowded with bomb-sniffing dogs, policemen in heavy protective gear, soldiers. Now, every time I enter or exit my office, all of my possessions are X-rayed to make sure I don't have any weapons. How often are you stopped by a soldier with a bomb-sniffing dog outside your office?

I am a neighbor. I have a neighbor who is a 9/11 widow. She has two children. My husband does odd jobs for her now, like building bookshelves. Things her husband should do. He uses her husband's tools, and the two little girls tell him, "Those are our daddy's tools." How many 9/11 widows and orphans do you know? How often do you fill in for their dead loved ones?

I am a taxpayer. I worked my butt off to get where I did, and so did my parents. My parents saved and borrowed and sent me to college. I worked my way through graduate school. I won a full tuition scholarship to law school. All for the privilege of working 2,600 hours last year. That works out to a 50 hour week, every week, without any vacation days at all. I get to work by 9 am and rarely leave before 9 pm. I eat dinner at my office much more often than I eat dinner at home. My husband and I paid over $70,000 in federal income tax last year. At some point in the future, we will have to pay much more -- once this country faces its deficit and the impossible burden of Social Security. In fact, the areas of the country that supported Kerry -- New York, California, Illinois, Massachusetts -- they are the financial centers of the nation. They are the tax base of this country. How much did you pay, Kansas? How much did you contribute to this government you support, Alabama? How much of this war in Iraq did you pay for?

I am a liberal. The funny part is, liberals have this reputation for living in Never-Neverland, being idealists, not being sensible. But let me tell you how I see the world: I see America as one nation in a world of nations. Therefore, I think we should try to get along with other nations. I see that gay people exist. Therefore, I think they should be allowed to exist, and be treated the same as other people. I see ways in which women are not allowed to control their own bodies. Therefore, I think we should give women more control over their bodies. I see that people have awful diseases. Therefore, I think we should enable scientists to try to cure them. I see that we have a Constitution. Therefore, I think it should be upheld. I see that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Therefore, I think that Iraq was not an imminent danger to me. It seems so pragmatic to me. How do you see the world? Do you really think voting against gay marriage will keep people from being gay? Would you really prefer that people continue to die from Parkinson's disease? Do you really not care about the Constitutional rights of political detainees? Would you really have supported the war if you knew the truth, or would you have wanted to spend more of our money on health care, job training, terrorism preparedness?

I am an American. I have an American flag flying outside my home. I love my home more than anything. I love that I grew up right outside New York City. I first went to the Statue of Liberty with my 5th grade class, and my mom and dad took me to the Empire State Building when I was 8. I love taking the subway to Yankee Stadium. I loved living in Washington DC and going on dates to the Lincoln Memorial. It is because I love this country so much that I argue with my political opponents as much I do.

I am not safe. I never feel safe. My in-laws live in a small town in Ohio, and that town has received more federal funding, per capita, for terrorism preparedness than New York City has. I take subways and buses every day. I work in a skyscraper across the street from a "target." I have emergency supplies and a spare pair of sneakers in my desk, in case something happens while I'm at work. Do you? How many times a month do you worry that your subway is going to blow up? When you hear sirens on the street, do you run to the window to make sure everything is okay? When you hear an airplane, do you flinch? Do you dread beautiful, blue-skied September days? I don't know a single New Yorker who doesn't spend the month of September on tip-toes, superstitiously praying for rain so we don't have to relive that beautiful, blue-skied day.

I am lonely. I feel that we, as a nation, have alienated all our friends and further provoked our enemies. I feel unprotected. Most of all I feel alienated from my fellow citizens, because I don't understand what you are thinking. You voted for a man who started a war in Iraq for no reason, against the wishes of the entire world. You voted for a man whose lack of foresight and inability to plan has led to massive insurgencies in Iraq, where weapons are disappearing into the hands of terrorists. You voted for a man who let Osama Bin Laden escape into the hills of Afghanistan so that he could start that war in Iraq. You voted for a man who doesn't want to let people love who they want to love; doesn't want to let doctors cure their patients; doesn't want to let women rule their destinies. I don't understand why you voted for this man. For me, it is not enough that he is personable; it is not enough that he seems like one of the guys. Why did you vote for him? Why did you elect a man that lied to us in order to convince us to go to war? (Ten years ago you were incensed when our president lied about his sex life; you thought it was an impeachable offense.) Why did you elect a leader who thinks that strength cannot include diplomacy or international cooperation? Why did you elect a man who did nothing except run away and hide on September 11?

Most of all, I am terrified. I mean daily, I am afraid that I will not survive this. I am afraid that I will lose my husband, that I will never have children, that I will never grow old and watch the sunset in a backyard of my own. I am afraid that my career -- which should end with a triumphant and good-natured roast at a retirement party in 2035 -- will be cut short by an attack on me and my colleagues, as we sit sending emails and making phone calls one ordinary afternoon. Is your life at stake? Are you terrified?

I don't think you are. I don't think you realize what you have done. And if anything happens to me or the people I love, I blame you. I wanted you to know that.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Would You Be My Friend

November 4, 2004 - Thursday

Would you be my friend?

Now don't go and get all excited here. There was a point to that subject.

I was crusing profiles and blogs when I came across a question that has come up with others: "Why do people randomly ask to be your friend, on My Space but then not leave a message, intimation or a reason as to why?"

Now, I never really thought much about it before. It's no biggie to me. If you send me a friend request I go look at your profile and decide if you have enough interest factor to toss you into my swamp of friends. No offense to the gators, newts and snakefish already there :warmfuzzy:

But this question, on this particular day, got those brain cells firing up. Why don't we, in general, send a message? Why is it so easy to click that "Add as Friend" button and pray we win the lotto?

I'll tell you, true believers. It's because clicking that little button keeps things generic. There's no...personal touch to it. Which is ironic, considering what you're asking to do.

Think about it. If you send a message to someone outside your friend circle, the only way you get added is 1) if you also send a friend request, 2) if they like what you send and send you a friend request or...

3) you ask, directly, in your message: "Will you be my friend?"

Now you may try to cool it up a bit. "Yo, let's be pals!" "So hit me back and add me to your list", "I'll add to you mine if you add me to yours", blah blah blah. In the end you still sound like that smelly kid in 4th grade who transferred school late in the semester and ended up sitting next to you in home room.

Nobody likes to beg. And there just isn't any nice way to say "Will you be my friend."

The button is your friend. If they decline, you never know! You can live your life never wondering, "Why didn't xxDubyaSucks!xx add me? Did they even read my message? What could I have said different? Did I come on too strong? Maybe I shouldn't have used the words "love" and "handcuffs" in that message! Arrrrgh!!!"

Hey Tom, here's a thought: add a message section to the Add As a Friend link, would ya?

In the meantime, folks...click that anonymous little button to your heart's content.

Anything to keep me from talking about the "election". Americans suck. Well, 51% of us anyway.