Friday, March 31, 2006

Good Idea Run Amok

Chevy is having an online "contest" ala The Apprentice, and people are invited to create commercials for the Chevy Tahoe.

A few people have been ...well, let's just say misusing the editor to create some hilarious anti-SUV commercials. They seem to be created faster than chevy can take them down, but here's an example and here's another. It may not be valid -- I'm sure they're deleting these as fast as possible.

Blame the Whistleblower

Apparently, the Boston Archdiocese fired the freelance photographer (who worked for their newspaper, the Pilot, for a decade) who took the picture of Antonin Scalia making a extremely rude gesture in response to a question on how he handles his critics. The photographer, Smith, sold the picture to the Boston Herald. Scalia said that the incident was being spun by his critics and it wasn't what he actually did. Yeah, it was, as other witnesses have supported.
Scalia said, “To my critics, I say, ‘Vaffanculo,’ ” while making the gesture. That’s Italian for (expletive) you
Not quite -- it actually means 'up your a--', but we get the idea.

Why am I not surprised?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Crazed Software Developers

Ack! Busy couple of days, so here's a fun link while I work on other things:

Mild-Mannered Software Developer? or Serial Killer?

See if you can tell. I got 7/10 -- but you learn to identify that weird-yet-harmless look (as opposed to Hannibal Lector sneer) after dealing with software developers for a while. Or so I hope!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Dregs of Humanity

Phelps and his 'god hates fags' crew were in Denver yesterday. They've taken that vitriolic hatred on the road and are now protesting SOLDIER"S FUNERALS. Why? Because they are quite sure that their twisted, f-cked up version of god is "punishing america" because we allow gays in the military and tolerate homosexuality in our culture. Their latest chant was praising the IED (improvised explosives) in Iraq for killing soldiers. That's vomitous.

It was bad enough when these a**holes protested the funeral of a murdered gay man, and started travelling around the country to wave signs and announce that people were going to hell ...but protesting a soldier's funeral? Because the psychotic leader of their 'christian church" is so homophobic he starts to fit the stereotype of and anti-gay man with serious homosexual tendencies? The whole lot of them are mentally disturbed and quite possibly dangerous.

Yes, I fully realize that these people don't in any way, shape, or form represent christianity. But they certainly put themselves out there as "good christians" doing the work of god. Whatever made-up, twisted version of "god" they worship, these cowardly morons deserve contempt and dismissal. They really deserve to be treated as what they are: diseased animals.

Most of the words that come to mind to describe these hateful, hypocritical people are not for polite company. I am reduced to pure, white-hot rage when I think of these people waving signs to "prove" that america is failing because gays are not exterminated. That's what they want -- gay people, and any people who disagree with the Westboro church, should be killed. Only they have the right message from 'god', didn't you know?

The Colorado legislature was considering a law to ban them from picketing the funerals of soldiers. Unfortunately, while I"d like nothing more than to see the whole lot of them in jail -- it is free speech. Hateful speech. Disgusting speech, but they have the right to do it. Passing a law preventing them from expressing themselves sets a bad precedent. I hate that that's true. I'd like to see them spend years in prison for hate speech. They've crossed a line that simply shouldn't be crossed by a people in a modern society.

Of course, what really bothers me about this is that I'm sure there are people out there who look at the picketing of gay funerals and government session where gay marriage is being considered as a good thing. They wouldn't say it out loud, of course, but they're just a-quiver with glee that someone is standing up and saying the hateful things they believe. But even these people have to be squirming a little at the bizarre notion that soldiers are to be blamed, and their deaths to be celebrated, because gays exist. But are they standing up and loudly denouncing the ass-marmots of Phelps' "church"? I don't hear very many of them.

The only way to minimize their impact is to completely ignore them. COMPLETELY. No news coverage, no newpaper articles, no sobbing interviews with the maligned family, no pictures, no audio clips, no counter-protests, no confrontations. Treat them as if they are invisible. Do not report on any of their actions, don't print any letters pro or con, don't pass legislation aimed specifically at them, simply behave as if they don't exist. Sounds like just ignoring the problems, right? But what it's really doing is taking away from them the only thing they really want: attention. They don't care about anything but being in the spotlight. Deny them that and they cease to be of any importance at all. In fact, it just might push their psychotic leader into doing something that is actually illegal...and then he can be jailed and hopefully left in a cell as somebody's b--ch. All without any coverage by the media, of course, so that the slack-jawed followers of his homophobic paranoia get nothing out of the martyrdom of their leader.

There are several articles in the local paper (, but I really don't want to link to them and give anyone the misguided notion that I support this psychopath. Search on google if you're interested.

I need to go take a shower. Just reading about this guy makes me feel slimy.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Most Annoying Modern Conveniences

For those of us who can't stand the incessant beeping of cell phones, the fact that there are 900 channels on cable, or the plethora of other "time saving devicese" -- a righteous rant on the Top 9 Most Annoying Conveniences.

Of course, other than the bloop!-bloop! of idiots with walki-talkie cell phones, I like most of the things on the list. I'm a freak.

Monday, March 20, 2006

It's easier to go out

Americans can't cook. Well, that's not quite true -- but when they do cook they need explicit directions and organizations are "dumbing down" recipes by removing any actual cooking words. Can't say 'saute', or 'cream' or 'dredge' because people just don't understand them. So, instead of assuming that people are smart enough to learn the required words to cook, recipes are just deconstructed to the lowest common denominator.
"Thirty years ago, a recipe would say, 'Add two eggs,' " said Bonnie Slotnick, a longtime cookbook editor and owner of a rare-cookbook shop in New York's Greenwich Village.

"In the '80s, that was changed to 'beat two eggs until lightly mixed.' By the '90s, you had to write, 'In a small bowl, using a fork, beat two eggs,' " she said. "We joke that the next step will be, 'Using your right hand, pick up a fork and ... ."
I can't decide if this is funny, or sad. I hate anyone assuming that we're all so stupid we can't be relied on to perform simple actions without fifteen-step directions. But, there are a lot of people out there who don't understand and are apparently too stupid to look things up. Lazy. If you don't know how to cook, wouldn't you assume that you needed to learn? And if you came across something you didn't understand, you'd look it up? It's not that hard, people!
There was the person who didn't have any eggs for baking and asked if a peach would do instead. One man railed about the fire that resulted when he followed instructions to grease the bottom of the pan — and slathered the pan's outside.
There is a different between genius and stupidity....genius has limits.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Eavesdroppers Anonymous

If you, too, get a laugh out of eavesdropping on inane restaurant conversations, you'll love Overheard in New York.

There's also Overheard in the Office.


Bit of a scare this weekend -- my mother headed into the emergency room on Friday night because of severe leg pain, swelling, and discoloration of her right leg. She's had this sort of thing off and one since July, but she's been in denial about any sort of problem and refused to see a doctor. It got bad enough on Friday that she went to Urgent care, where the doctor said he believed she had a blood clot and should go to the ER.

My mother argued with him. Apparently the statement that finally got her to the hospital was, "Fine. You can either go to the Emergency room and have this treated, or you can go home and it will kill you."

She has Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), and a 3-4" clot in her right leg. My sister, a nurse, told her months ago that this looked serious and she should have it looked at, that it was probably a clot, and it could migrate to her heart or lungs and kill her; but no, your kid can't ever actually be right about anything, and she was ignored. This is the stuff they warn you about on planes -- a clot forms, and goes to your lungs where it becomes a pulmonary embolism and people die from this. Apparently quite a lot of people.

She's on injectible blood-thinners right now, and will go on Coumadin for however long it takes for this to dissolve. They didn't check her into the hospital, which I found a bit odd. She's ok, but scared spitless at the moment. The Adorable husband, also a nurse, and my sister both lit into her about how serious this was and she couldn't ignore it. We're hoping they scared her into compliance with the doctor's orders.

From a website talking about DVT:
The symptoms for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) may be subtle and difficult to detect. When DVT is spotted early and properly cared for, it may often resolve itself. When left untreated, it may cause severe complications, some even fatal. Complications from DVT kill up to 200,000 people a year in the U.S. — that's more than AIDS and breast cancer combined!
Fun. The complications they talk of are pulmonary emboli. And she ignored this for SEVEN MONTHS. Because, you know, she knows more about things than a medical doctor. All of us deny things, and many of us do not go to the doctor as often as we should, but I think she may change her behavior a bit. I hope!

More here
and here at Wikipedia.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


I meant to post this yesterday, what with St. Patricks Day and all, but time got away from me. First off, the practice of drinking green beer all day and galavanting about pretending to be Irish is rather funny.

But, if you're going to do it -- it's not St. Patty's Day (if you must abbreviate). It's St. Paddy's Day. His name is Padraig (or Padraic). We've anglicized it to Patrick, but Patty is a woman's name, not a shortening of Patrick, and any Irishman I know would be annoyed beyond belief to be called Patty. Pat is an ok nickname, but Patty...well, no.

Friday, March 17, 2006

There IS a Word for it

kak·is·toc·ra·cy, n. Government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens. [Greek kakistos, worst, superlative of kakos, bad.]

The Bush Photo Op Curse

There is a long history (joke? horrible consequence?) that when Bush publicly praises a group, has a photo op with them to make himself look's the death knell for any program related to the photo op.

Did he praise veterans? Cut the VA medical budget! Did he get his photo taken with top teachers? Funding dries up. And so on. The correlation is quite striking.

So, last week, Bush had a lovely photo op with the autistic kid who scored three baskets in a high-school basketball game. He made some inane comments about how it was wonderful, would he play more games, didn't let his problems slow him down.

Well, the Curse of the Photo Op struck again.

- In his proposed budget for next year, Bush has cut all funding for the National Children’s Study, a project that planned to investigate the causes of autism, asthma, and other serious illnesses.

- The President’s budget will eliminate Medicaid reimbursements for schoolchildren with disabilities, denying them “access to medical services they need to fully participate in school and learn to their greatest abilities.”

- The number of children diagnosed with autism and served by schools under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) increased by more than 500 percent in the last decade, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The President’s FY07 budget, however, will fund IDEA at $6.3 billion below the amount Congress recommended.

It's the MO for Bush to provide a positive photo op that gets all the coverage, then quietly undermine the project, which doesn't get mentioned in the media. Apparently it's ok to say that you're doing something That makes you a good guy. That means you are, right? Never mind that you never put your money where your mouth is. Hypocracy, at it's best.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Dog Flu?

A rather virulent strain of dog flu has hit Colorado -- and since one of the beasties is coughing, I'm a bit concerned. It's just viral flu, but can become pneumonia pretty easily, and the beasties are getting a bit old.

Snopes notes that the rumors of "deadly dog flu" are true and that seven states have recorded cases. Definitely check out the snopes site for more info.
Dr. Crawford describes the contagion as producing in dogs "a moist, productive cough that ends in a gagging response, that will persist for one to four weeks, despite treatment with antibiotics or cough suppressants. Some dogs develop a thick, yellow discharge from the nose. A very few dogs will spike a high fever, between 105 to 107 degrees Fahrenheit. They become lethargic and weak, with rapid, shallow breathing. This is likely to progress to pneumonia."

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Basement FInishing

Well, got the first estimate on the basement finishing. Ouch. It looks like the cost per square foot can start as low as $35 here, and doesn' t seem to have an upper limit. From what I can tell, the lower end is a "standard" finish, which is pretty much run-of-the-mill carpet, framing/wallboard, standard interior doors, 3" trim, can lighting. As you run up the cost, you get better carpeting (which I think is a requirement over a concrete floor), the same framing and wallboard, doors that match upstairs, trim that matches upstairs, etc. Again, ouch.

I want the basement to match the upstairs, as much as possible. I hate basements that look like bad 1970s panelling jobs that are completely out of synch with the rest of the house. I really do want the same woodwork and doors, and, well -- anyone who knows me knows that I have a) expensive tastes, and b) I'm very picky. This does not bode well for the basement refinishing or my sanity.

We're thinking of refinishing about 900 square feet into a home theater, a fairly large wine cellar, bathroom, a "family room" and exercise room. Really, what we're talking about is putting a framed wall inside the concrete all and adding a bathroom. Nothing really fancy, except that we have uncommon doors, and more detailed woodwork than most new houses. Maybe 900 square feet finished -- and the first estimate came in "somewhere between 35K and 50K". Um, that's a bit too large a gap for me, and it was explained as "it depends on what you pick for fixtures and finish". I asked them to try again, with a bit more detail. I'm impressed with their design service, and we might cough up the 1500 bucks to have the architect do the design and get bids on that. I'm not sure.

I do know that smaller basements cost more -- the cost per square foot is roughly $45 if you include a bathroom (the most expensive room to add to a basement) and that it goes down as you finish more than 1200 sq ft, for example. But...ouch. I mean, it's a worthwhile investment (espeically the theatre) but that's a bit painful.

Then again, based on what we spent on the kitchen remodel in the other house, I shoudln't be surprised. We figured less than 50K for the basement, which I think is more than reasonable for what we're looking for, but I think we may have to change the scope of our job a bit to get there.

I guess the biggest question is whether we really need to do the basement at all -- it's entirely "fluff". No one needs a home theater with a 115" screen. No one needs a winecellar. It seems a ridiculous expense, but we both really do want the "fun" parts. I keep having second thoughts because I think that, my god, this house is way more space than the two of us need and we're going to expand it? We do watch a boatload of movies, and having the big screen is something that both of us want...but I keep thinking that there must be other ways. We're used to doing the work ourselves...hiring someone to do the whole things smacks of laziness or something. I guess crossing the "more money than time" line is very difficult for us. Neither of us are good at framing or wallboarding, but the rest of the finish work? That's always been something we've done ourselves. Having someone else paint, for example, is a bit hoity-toity for the likes of us.

But we are total DINKS. We have the cash, we can swing the remodel. We wwant to watch Stanley Cup hockey in cinematic glory. The Adorable Husband assures me we can do it even with me not working right now (I go back on 4/15). I'd like to start the work before I head back, so I'm here when things get rolling. Beyond that, it's a matter of getting quotes from reputable builders. It's harder than you think.

Unlike the painting contractor -- he never showed up to give me an estimate. Yeah, I'm likely to hire him, you think? The guy doing the 3M window stuff was prompt and I fully expect the work to be painless.

I've got another contractor coming tomorrow, and a third on Monday. W'e'll see what comes of things. We may scrap the whole plan right now, or we may be figuring out how to give workers access to the house while we're at work for 6-8 weeks. More to follow...

Monday, March 13, 2006

Turning Water into Beer

A woman in Oslo, Norway, turned on her water taps and Talk about a bad plumber!!

"I turned on the tap to clean some knives and forks and beer came out," Haldis Gundersen told Reuters from her home in Kristiansund, west Norway. "We thought we were in heaven."

Beer in Norway is among the most expensive in the world with a 0.4 litre (0.7 pint) costing about 50 crowns (4.3 pounds) in a bar.

Gundersen said she tried the beer but that it tasted a bit odd and was not fizzy.

It turned out that a worker in a bar two floors below had mixed up the pipes on Saturday evening, wrongly connecting a new barrel to a water pipe leading to Gundersen's flat. The bar got water in its beer taps.

I bet the bar patrons were a bit more put out!

Snow Snow Snow

Unexpected and great trip skiing up in Steamboat this weekend. My company does a quarterly team-building thing (and don't think it's one of those horrid, you-must-go-and-be-happy-about-it situations, TUSC actually does some pretty fabulous stuff like skiing, evenings out at the theater, that sort of thing.)

I had not initially said that I'd go; since I'm not working at the moment, it didn't think it would be kosher to go along on the fun stuff, you know? But when I met the group for lunch on Friday, not only was I told in no uncertain terms that I should have rsvp'd, but that there had been a cancellation so I had better come.

Called the Adorable husband at noon, and by two he had gotten off early from work, packed, and dropped the dogs off to be kennelled. Think he wanted to ski? Naah!! We still had to wait around for the 3M window-film guy to give us an estimate, but we were out of the house at 4 and into Steamboat by 7:30 or so. Not too bad. Some dumb schmuck on the way into the ski area decided that SNOW = SCARY and drove 30 f-ing miles per hour the whole way down...with about seventy cars behind them. Yes, drive carefully, but that was ridiculous. If you're that afraid to drive in the (barely blowing) snow, STAY HOME.

Skiing was great -- eight inches of new powder. I know this only by second hand testimony, as I do not ski at all. I spend the day lounging about the hotel and warming my feet by the fire, waiting for everyone to come back off the slopes. The whole group met for dinner in the restaurant at the top of the gondola -- and then were stranded up there when the wind picked up and they closed down the gondola. THey were tranporting people down the mountain in open sleds pulled by the Sno-Cats (a half hour trip in the howling wind!), but we waited long ehough that the gondola re-opened and we got down in a few minutes without freezing to death. I rather wanted to go down in the sled, but no one had brought up appropriate clothes (most people didn't even have hats) and we'd have been bloody cold!

The Adorable Husband took a snowboarding lesson Sunday morning, and I was quite put out that I didn't have a camera. First lessons are supposed to be pretty hairy and most people spend more time laying on their faces in the snow than actually boarding. He did pretty well, though, and thinks that this might be a better long term snow sport for him than skiing. Easier on the knees. I spent the morning getting my head rubbed and being massaged with hot rocks. Lovely.

Nothing much else to report. It's sunny again today, and what remains of the snow is quickly melting off. Gotta love Colorado.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Different News

I usually page through Time magazine when it arrives, reading the quotes, the political cartoons, and the Numbers column before tackling anything else. This immediately caught my eye:
72%: Proportion of US troops in Iraq who say a total pullout should occur in the next year.
85%: Proportion who say the main mission in Iraq is to retaliate for Saddam's role in 9/11
I'm not surprised at the first number, I've seen the results of the Zogby poll. Zogby does good work and has been a consistent source of data for years.

But the second? Can 85% of the soldiers actually believe that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11? Was it a badly worded question? Are they just 'toeing the party line" and giving the answer they are instructed to?

What are they being told?

Wait -- add to this the reports that there are websites being blocked from computers in Iraq (offficial computers, but it's not important which computers are being affected, but which websites are being blocked -- and more importantly, which ones are not.) and it suddenly seems plausible that most of the troops in Iraq believe this:

Bill O'Reilly's show, Rush Limbaugh, and the G. Gordon Liddy websites are not blocked. Air America, Al Franken, Wonkette are blocked. The message from Air America?
“Forbidden, this page ( is categorized as: Internet Radio/TV, Politics/Opinion.”
And Rush Limbaugh is not 'Internat Radio/TV, Politics/Opinion'? Looks like someone is carefully filtering out any information that doesn't fit what the administration is saying. That certainly might account for the fact that 85% of troops believe that Saddam was involved in 9/11 -- when that particular "fact" is utterly false and clearly proven to be so.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

It's a Neck Massager! Really!

Two bits of stupidity today:

Two legislators have proposed a bill in Tennessee to make sex toys illegal. I really have no idea why, except that there seems to a be large group of people who want sex of any kind except procreative to be illegal and are squicked out by the thought of the whole thing. Methinks that these two legislators really have no idea how many good, married christian women have vibrators.

I can only believe that the Tennessee legislators are in the same camp as the bizarre and completely WRONG "facts" that are provided by the abstinence-only crowd. A recent congressional study found that abstinence-only classes are intentionally misleading teens. No, misleading is a much too tame a word. What they are doing is either making shit up wholesale or lying outright. Pick one.
The report concluded that two of the curricula were accurate but the 11 others, used by 69 organizations in 25 states, contain unproved claims, subjective conclusions or outright falsehoods regarding reproductive health, gender traits and when life begins.
Sure, teach abstinence, it's the only sure-fire way to prevent pregnancy and STDs. But it is only one option available and -- let's face reality -- one that is ultimately ineffective. I think that refusing to teach kids about sex and birth control (because it might convince them to have sex? Is that the reason? ) is criminal.

And let's see just what they are teaching teens (other than "facts" that directly contradict actual scientific findings. Remember science? The testable stuff?). Oh, yes - women are supposed to be dumb and submissive and rely on men. Yup:
Some course materials cited in Waxman's report present as scientific fact notions about a man's need for "admiration" and "sexual fulfillment" compared with a woman's need for "financial support." One book in the "Choosing Best" series tells the story of a knight who married a village maiden instead of the princess because the princess offered so many tips on slaying the local dragon. "Moral of the story," notes the popular text: "Occasional suggestions and assistance may be alright, but too much of it will lessen a man's confidence or even turn him away from his princess."
Abstinance is not the issue here -- it's this backwards, mysogynistic view of women that the right-wing seems to want to enforce. Women must be secondary to men and are not supposed to actually feel desire or want sex. Don't actually express an opinion or show any power, or men won't like you. Is that the message we want to teach girls? Of course, if it's stupidity and compliance that they want from women, and this causes them to be chosen as sexual partners, don't you think that we should be encouraging girls to use their brains and be independent. According to this logic, they'd never get laid, so it's even better!Gah.

Monday, March 06, 2006


Long, boring weekend. The Adorable Husband is on call this weekend (as he is on 2-3 each month) and so we are limited in our escapades. We can only head north (we live on the very southern boundary of the 30-minute recall limit for the hospital) and since we have a tendency to lounge about on the weekend doing nothing until noon, our days are a bit slow.

I made the mistake of consulting the Adorable Husband on paint colors for the guest bedroom. I picked out a half-dozen shades of mustard yellow and he dutifully looked them, hemmed and hawed, held them up to the light, and made appropriately supportive noises. It's not fair, of course. As he's said many times before, men only see in 16 colors.

"Yellow." He says with a frown. "Yellow would be good. Nothing too bright, though." (Translated: Ah-hah! A color I recognize. Sort of.)

"It's not really yellow. More gold-ish. Do you like Gourd or Deep Cowslip?" I ask, holding up only two of the little yellow squares. It's much easier if it's an either-or decision.

He squints at the cards, turns them to the light. "Which one do you like?" (Translated: These are different colors? )

"This one is more muted. I think it will go better with the other colors." At this point, I should just give up and pick on myself.

"Yes." he says, peering at the two colors like a curator looking at fine paintings. "It is." (Translated: Pick one. I have no idea.)

I finally relent and hold up one of the colors. "I like this one." Relief blooms on his face.

"Yeah. I like that one better, too." He really is a good sport about all this.

I learned after the first try at painting a dark color that just blue painters tape to protect the baseboards is not enough. Paint manages to slither under the tape and the edges look horrible. Every time I look at the side of the window in our bedroom, I wince: the dark green is all over the side of the window trim and it makes me nuts.

So, once the tape goes up I go through and caulk every edge. The idea is to put down a bead of caulk and then wipe away as much of it as possible, just enough to seal the edge of the tape against the wall and give a clean line. My painter friend usually tapes, then paints over the tape with the trim color, then pains the walls. The white paint then fills the gaps between the trim and tape and the edge comes out clean. Caulking is easier, I think.

So, two days painting. I still need the Adorabel Husband to do the ceiling, since even on a 6' ladder I'm too short, but it looks lovely. Bright. Not as bad as the Big-Bird Yellow bathroom that I painted in our first rental. I bought a gallon of cheap, yellow paint to brighten up the dingy bathroom and painted everything (the trim, the door, the walls). I did it during the day, it looked pretty good.

The poor husband came home after dark, walked into the bathroom and flipped on the light. And screamed. With the four 100-watt bulbs over the sink turned on, it was retina-burning neutron-star yellow. I'll never hear the end of it.

Stamp your feet

There's a rumor that Bush is going to send a proposal to Congress to get them to grant line-item veto powers. Because he needs to be able to fine-tune legislation, you know?

What part of the Supreme Court decision that ruled that congress does not have the authority to grant that kind of power to the president does he not understand? Line item veto was revoked by the supreme court on those grounds when it was (illogically) granted to Clinton.

Mayhap the king is planning on calling in favors, now that he's got two of his hand-picked guys on SCOTUS?

Saturday, March 04, 2006

But, I don't want to actually do the job!

Here's a hint, people -- if you REFUSE to do the job, you can't be a pharmacist. If you can't bring yourself to provide the legally, dr-provided prescriptions for birth control, morning-after pill, or RU-486, then DON'T GO TO PHARMACIST SCHOOL. You are not qualified to do the job. You don't get to decide which drugs are ok and which are not, based on some fantasy you have of "morality".

The Missouri proposition is:
SB 609 - This act protects the conscience rights of pharmaceutical professionals. Such pharmaceutical professionals shall not be required to perform, assist, recommend, refer for, or participate in any service involving a particular drug or device that they have a good faith belief is used for abortions. In these instances, the pharmaceutical professional shall be immune from civil or criminal liability and will not have their license suspended or revoked. Employers cannot refuse to hire, discriminate against, segregate, or terminate a pharmaceutical professional because of their opposition to any service involving a particular drug or device that they have a good faith belief is used for abortions. Colleges and teaching hospitals are also prohibited from discriminating against any person who refuses to participate in any service or training which involves a particular drug that they have a good faith belief is used for abortions. In addition, they are prohibited from requiring a student or teacher to pay fees to fund these activities.
The people proposing these narrow minded, bigoted laws are beneath contempt.

"Oh, I shouldn't have to do anything that I find uncomfortable or difficult. The world should revolve around me and my views. " What next, doctors refusing to treat people who smoke? Turning people away from the ER because they are muslim, because a nurse has an issue? Sorry, charlie. The world doesn't quite work that way.

Why is it that women are innocent, hapless victims who are cruelly exploited by the availability of abortion while simultaneously being selfish, slatternly sluts who deserve the punishment of forced pregnancy? Do these people even understand the concept of hypocracy?

Which version?

David Sater, a state representative in Missouri has sponsored a bill making 'christianity' the official state religion of Missouri.
The resolution would recognize "a Christian god," and it would not protect minority religions, but "protect the majority's right to express their religious beliefs.

The resolution also recognizes that, "a greater power exists," and only Christianity receives what the resolution calls, "justified recognition."
Oh, great idea. Now the easy question: Which Christianity? There is no ONE view christianity that everyone agrees with. Does his version give priority to the new or old testament god? salvation through faith or works? eastern or western orthodoxy? biblical literalism? child baptism or adult? Jesus divine or not? support gay marriage? ordination of women? which bible? how old is the earth? Quite a few of the evangelical sects think that Catholicism is not Christian. There are literally hundreds of basic, fundamental questions that differentiate the hundreds of different sects of christianity. If you visit ten churches, you'll get ten different versions. Of course, this guy means his church, of course. Which will be the official version? When will we have the Defender of the Faith outlining what is required to be a good citizen?

And let's be perfectly clear: This is a completely manufactured issue. No one is saying that you can't express your christian beliefs. Please do. You just can't force them on anyone else and you can't have the government do that enforcing for you. Simple. Some christians apparently want you to believe that denying them the right to "enforce" their view, that they then are then persecuted and that they are oppressed. They are just getting a little bit pissy that we aren't giving them special treatment anymore. We've realized that there are other views in the world and we no longer give automatic priority to their view. What they want is to legislate that "special treatment" for themselves.

So, "only christianity" gets "justified recognition" -- what does that mean? Are you going to enforce christmas? Refuse to acknowledge other religions' holy days? ban expression of any religion but the christian one? Then we can give priority to christians for jobs, and ensure that their prayers are forced on everyone in school and no other beliefs can be expressed. What absolute, unmitigated arrogance.

Think that isn't what the 'religious right' wants? Keep a close eye on their proposed laws and tell me that they don't want a theocracy. Because, you know, the enforced state religion of medieval europe surely worked so well. (Think I'm sounding a bit hostile? This is pretty toned down, for me).

I think that amendments should be proposed to the bill to a) identify exactly what 'christian' means and what details are supported, and b) identify non-christians in some way, and c) outline how non-christian religion is to be treated. It would also be nice if the church leaders in the state would be required to approve the "official" version. That last bit? That will be the stick that breaks the whole movement's back, I can guarantee it. Each group has to believe that they are the ones who are right and everyone else is wrong, if only slighly. How else can they be special?

When I lived in Glennville, GA, oh-so-many years ago, there were a round dozen churches in the tiny town. Two that stick out in my memory were the 'Ebeneezer Baptist Church' and the 'Old Line Ebeneezer Baptist Church'. Members of each church did not socialize with the other. The difference? As far as we could see, the Ebeneezer Baptist Church allowed women to wear pants to church and didn't forbid dancing. Yup, these two groups would be able to agree on an official standard. I'd like to see that.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Don't Pay your Bills

Yet another thing that is being monitored, apparently. Paying "too much" on your bills is getting flagged to Homeland Security? From Scrippts Howard News Service:
They were told, as they moved up the managerial ladder at the call center, that the amount they had sent in was much larger than their normal monthly payment. And if the increase hits a certain percentage higher than that normal payment, Homeland Security has to be notified. And the money doesn't move until the threat alert is lifted.
This is because of changes to banking privacy act, which I'm trying to track down. One more bit of privacy down the tubes. Oooh. I feel so much safer now. Feh.

I'm me! I'm me! I think.

Ah-hah! I think I have finally tracked down some sort of certified documentation as to who I was in 1989. It took about a dozen phone calls to finally track down what hope will be an acceptable document for the SSA. SOcial Security initial suggested a college transcript -- easily available certified copies, right?

Well, not so much. Because of Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, the U of M no longer includes either social security numbers (because the law says they can't be used as identifiers) nor birth date on any day school transcripts (because of age-ism). There is no way to get them added, it's a violation of their privacy policy.

Note that I said day school, though. The extension (night) class program has not yet been entirely rolled into the regular transcript. So -- with the help of a lovely woman in the records department, we discovered that the original microfiche of the few extension classes I took in 1986 would still have all the info. I need a copy of the microfiche to be certified and that should do it. Cross your fingers that this works. I have no idea what to try next!

I still think I should go with the Adorable Husband's suggestion to demand an investigation into my identity.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Poe Would be Proud

The rapid spread of bird flu that is currently nearing Europe (it has reached France) has done what bombings and blizzards have not been able to do in 350 years: the famous ravens of the Tower of London are being sequestered inside for their own safety.

Not only are they in seclusion, they are only visited by hazmat-suited humans careful to protect them from any outside pathogen:
Four times a day, Coyle dons a full-body bio-suit, steps carefully into a disinfectant foot wash, and brings food and comforting words to Branwen, Hugine, Munin, Gwyllum, Thor and Baldrick in the Brick Tower, "one of the castle's roomier" spaces. He said the suit is for the ravens' protection. Given the speed at which the flu seems to be spreading around the globe, Coyle said, one can't be too careful. (Toronto Star)
The reason for all this? The legend that says that if the six ravens ever leave or if they all die, then the kingdom of England will fail.