Saturday, November 18, 2006

Inhofe Needs To Go. Now.

John Warner, my OTHER Senator, is old and somewhat ineffective. But if he can manage to oust Inhofe (Crackpot- Oklahoma) from the top minority spot on Barbara Boxer's new committee, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, it would be a very good thing. I don't want to get my hopes up too high, but "[e]nvironmentalists have been hailing [Boxer's] impending replacement of Inhofe as chairman, Warner's takeover of the ranking minority member's slot, [and] said yesterday, [that these developments] would raise even greater hopes for advancing their agenda.

"That could drastically change the way that committee operates," said Karen Steuer, government affairs chief at the National Environmental Trust. "We might see, on a number of issues, bipartisan legislation coming out of that committee, and that would be a huge step forward. . . . In one fell swoop, it's gone from the Dark Ages to the Space Age."

Virginia. We're trying not to be such big dummies.

Saturday Goddess Blogging


Encyclopedia Mythica tells us that:

In Norse mythology, Freya is a goddess of love and fertility, and the most beautiful and propitious of the goddesses. She is the patron goddess of crops and birth, the symbol of sensuality and was called upon in matters of love. She loves music, spring and flowers, and is particularly fond of the elves (fairies). Freya is one of the foremost goddesses of the Vanir.

She is the daughter of the god Njord, and the sister of Freyr. Later she married the mysterious god Od (probably another form of Odin), who disappeared. When she mourned for her lost husband, her tears changed into gold.

Her attributes are the precious necklace of the Brisings, which she obtained by sleeping with four dwarfs, a cloak (or skin) of bird feathers, which allows its wearer to change into a falcon, and a chariot pulled by two cats. She owns Hildesvini ("battle boar") which is actually her human lover Ottar in disguise. Her chambermaid is Fulla. Freya lives in the beautiful palace Folkvang ("field of folk"), a place where love songs are always played, and her hall is Sessrumnir. She divides the slain warriors with Odin: one half goes to her palace, while the other half goes to Valhalla. Women also go to her hall.

Best known today as a goddess of beauty and love, Freya was also specifically associated with a form of shamanism/witchcraft practiced primarily by women. Wikipedia says that: According to Snorri's Ynglinga saga, Freyja was a skilled practitioner of the seiðr form of magic and introduced among the Æsir. Practioners of this form of magic would enter a state of trance in which her soul was supposed to "become discorporeal", "take the likeness of an animal", "travel through space", etc. This state of trance may have been achieved through any of several methods: narcotics, sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, etc. To galdra, i.e. the chanting of galdrar, was also involved in the creation of the state of trance. The galdr and its Old English counterpart, the gealdor, has evolved into the word yell (modern Scandinavian: gala), and there are a number of kennings which compare the sound of battle to seid chanting. It is probable that this sound was very high-pitched.

Wiki explains that: Shamanism is a tradition which has been maintained widely throughout the world and it is probably of prehistoric origin. Since the publication of Jakob Grimm's socio-linguistical Deutsches Wörterbuch (p. 638) in 1835, scholarship draws a Balto-Finnic link to seid, citing the depiction of its practitioners as such in the sagas and elsewhere, and link [seior] to the practices of the noajdde, the patrilineal shamans of the Sami people. However, Indo-European origins are also possible (for references see Hall 2004, 121-22).
. . .

Diana Paxson and her group, Hrafnar, have put in a lot of work reconstructing seid from available historical material, particularly its oracular form. Jan Fries traces seid as an inspiration for his "seething" shamanic technique, though he is less concerned with precise historical reconstruction. See further Blain 2002, which discusses different ways in which seidr is being re-constituted today, in Scandinavia, the UK and the US.

Within British Heathenry, seidr is becoming an intrinsic part of spiritual practice. This is not necessarily 'reconstruction', but may relate more to associations of people, land, and spirits.

More information on images here, here, and here.

Bush's Idea Of Being Bipartisan.

The Mad Melancholic Feminista exlains in detail exactly what's wrong with Bush's latest anti-choice appointment.

Oxytocin my sweet ass.

And, remember, this is who he appointed in the face of South Dakota's rejection of abortion criminallization.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Well, At Least That's How It Should Be

From an interview with Terry Pratchert about his latest book:

"Certainly witchcraft for Tiffany has very little to do with magic as people generally understand it. It has an awful lot to do with taking responsibility for yourself and taking responsibility also for the less able people and, up to a certain point, guarding your society. This is based on how witchcraft really was, I suspect. The witch was the village herbalist, the midwife, the person who knew things. She would sit up with the dying, lay out the corpses, deliver the newborn. Witches tended to be needed when human beings were meeting the dangerous edges of their lives, the places where there is no map. They don't mess around with tinkly spells; they get their hands dirty."

The whole post is absolutely excellent and you really, really should read the whole thing

I'm Glad To Hear That The Economist Agrees With What I've Been Saying All Along

Economist Calls Clean Energy Technology an Investment Boom

The Economist said that alternative energy is becoming increasingly attractive to investors, writing: "Investors are falling over themselves to finance start-ups in clean technology, especially in energy. Venture Business Research reckons that investment in the field by venture capitalists and private-equity firms has quadrupled in the past two years, from some $500 million in 2004 to almost $2 billion so far this year."

The magazine said analysts "confidently predict the clean-energy business will grow by 20-30 percent a year for a decade." Because of decisions by politicians such as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-Calif., "clean-energy advocates insist growth is sustainable."

Though growth is evident, "there's legitimate debate about a couple of segments," the Economist quoted Cleantech Venture Network head Keith Raab as saying. "In some instances," wrote the magazine, "valuations accorded to firms with no profits - and little chance of making any soon - were reminiscent of the excesses of the dotcom bubble. As Douglas Lloyd, of Venture Business Research, puts it: 'There's too much money chasing too few opportunities. How is it possible [for instance] that this many solar companies are going to succeed? They're not'."
The Economist, editorial , Nov. 18.

From today's EEI newsletter.

I'm Beginning To Think That Boxer Gets It -- I Hope So

From EEI:

In Letter from Senators, Bush Asked to Work With Hill on Climate Change
Sen. Barbara A. Boxer, D-Calif., the incoming chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, led an effort to write to President Bush to urge him to work on climate change legislation with the new 110th Congress that starts in January.

. . .

The letter said: "The U.S. must move quickly to adopt economy-wide constraints on domestic GHG emissions and then work with the international community to forge an effective and equitable global agreement. Scientists are now warning that we may be reaching a tipping point beyond which it will be extremely difficult, or perhaps impossible, to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. If the world continues on its current path of emissions increases, we could risk global climatic disasters on an unprecedented scale, ranging from dangerous sea level rise, to increasingly damaging hurricanes (such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita), increased deaths from air pollution and disease, to widespread geo-political instability."
Orange County, Calif., Register , Nov. 16.

Man, HoJo Complicates Everything. He's The Wrong Man For This SubCommittee.

Today's EEI newsletter reports that:

Sen. Boxer May Form Subcommittee Focused on Climate Change Issues
The incoming chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., is considering establishing a subcommittee totally focused on climate change issues – a maneuver that could "spark a race between Sen. Joseph Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Thomas Carper, D-Del., to win" the chairmanship, Inside EPA reported today. Boxer was quoted as saying: "We've had one hearing in the past four years on global warming. All the facts have to be laid on the table. The legislative process starts with laying the groundwork and having debates."

Wrote the newsletter: "Sources say the question of which Democrat will lead any new subcommittee with jurisdiction over climate change is complicated because Lieberman and Carper each have a claim to the issue. According to one source, Lieberman was the leading Democrat on a subcommittee that oversaw clean air and climate change issues in the 108th Congress, but gave up the slot to lead Democrats on the Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee when that committee gained new jurisdiction over homeland security matters. After the 108th Congress, the EPW subcommittee was stripped of its jurisdiction over climate change issues."

The Senate Democratic Caucus has named four new members to the Environment and Public Works Committee – Sens. Benjamin Cardin, D-Md., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., has departed from the panel to take a seat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Inside EPA, Nov. 17.

I think Boxer's idea is a great one -- a sumcomittee devoted purely to climate change is desperately needed. But Lieberman's the wrong man for the job; he's had plenty of time to get serious about climate change and he hasn't done it. He'd been a rubber stamp for the Bush administration and a pawn of big energy companies. I hope Boxer can work this out.

And, hey, Obama. You're useless, you know that? You're so fucking busy trying to positon yourself to run for president that you make me sick. You are, in many ways, the new Lieberman.

Michael Moore Talks To Crestfallen Conservatives

From Today's LAT:

A Liberal's Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives:

1) We will always respect you. We will never, ever, call you "unpatriotic" simply because you disagree with us. In fact, we encourage you to dissent and disagree with us.

2) We will let you marry whomever you want (even though some among us consider your Republican behavior to be "different" or "immoral"). Who you marry is none of our business. Love, and be in love — it's a wonderful gift.

3) We will not spend your grandchildren's money on our personal whims or to enrich our friends. It's your checkbook too, and we will balance it for you.

4) When we soon bring our sons and daughters home from Iraq, we will bring your sons and daughters home too. We promise never to send your kids off to war based on some amateur Power Point presentation cooked up by men who have never been to war.

5) When we make America the last Western democracy to have universal health coverage, and all Americans are able to get help when they fall ill, we promise that you too will be able to see a doctor, regardless of your ability to pay. And when stem cell research delivers treatments and cures for diseases that afflict you and your loved ones, we'll make sure those advances are available to you and your family too.

6) When we clean up our air and water, you too will be able to breathe the cleaner air and drink the purer water. When we put an end to global warming, you will no longer have to think about buying oceanfront property in Yuma.

7) Should a mass murderer ever kill 3,000 people on our soil, we will devote every single resource to tracking him down and bringing him to justice. Immediately. We will protect you.

8) We will never stick our nose in your bedroom or your womb. What you do there as consenting adults is your business. We will continue to count your age from the moment you were born, not the moment you were conceived.

9) We will not take away your hunting guns. If you need an automatic weapon or a handgun to kill a bird or a deer, then you really aren't much of a hunter and you should, perhaps, take up another sport. In the meantime, we will arm the deer to make it a fairer fight.

10) When we raise the minimum wage, we will raise it for your employees too. They will use that money to buy more things, which means you will get the money back! And when women are finally paid what men make, we will pay conservative women that wage too.

11) We will respect your religious beliefs, even when you don't practice those beliefs. In fact, we will actively seek to promote your most radical religious beliefs ("Blessed are the peacemakers," "Love your enemies," "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" and "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me"). We will let people in other countries know that God doesn't just bless America, he blesses everyone. We will discourage religious intolerance and fanaticism — starting here at home.

12) We will not tolerate politicians who are corrupt and break the law. And we promise you we will go after the corrupt politicians on our side first. If we fail to do this, we need you to call us on it. Simply because we are in power does not give us the right to turn our heads the other way when our party goes astray. Please perform this important duty as the loyal opposition.

I promise all of the above to you because this is your country too. You are every bit as American as we are. We are all in this together. We sink or swim as one. Thank you for your years of service to this country and for giving us the opportunity to see if we can make things a bit better for our 300 million fellow Americans — and for the rest of the world.

Now pull yourself together and let's go have a Frappuccino.

When A Child Throws A Temper Tantrum, It's Important That The Parents Not Give In And Let Him Have His Way

Just last week, voters went to the polls and rejected, in language loud and clear, the Bush junta's extreme policies. Voters in South Dakota, one of the country's reddest states, rejected attempts to criminalize abortion.

But the boyking just didn't get the message.

Today's WaPo reports that: Bush Choice for Family-Planning Post Criticized

By Christopher Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 17, 2006; Page A01

The Bush administration has appointed a new chief of family-planning programs at the Department of Health and Human Services who worked at a Christian pregnancy-counseling organization that regards the distribution of contraceptives as "demeaning to women."

Eric Keroack, medical director for A Woman's Concern, a nonprofit group based in Dorchester, Mass., will become deputy assistant secretary for population affairs in the next two weeks, department spokeswoman Christina Pearson said yesterday.
Keroack, an obstetrician-gynecologist, will advise Secretary Mike Leavitt on matters such as reproductive health and adolescent pregnancy. He will oversee $283 million in annual family-planning grants that, according to HHS, are "designed to provide access to contraceptive supplies and information to all who want and need them with priority given to low-income persons."

The appointment, which does not require Senate confirmation, was the latest provocative personnel move by the White House since Democrats won control of Congress in this month's midterm elections. President Bush last week pushed the Senate to confirm John R. Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations and this week renominated six candidates for appellate court judgeships who have previously been blocked by lawmakers. Democrats said the moves belie Bush's post-election promises of bipartisanship.

Population affairs; this whacko is going to be in charge of population affairs. And he thinks that access to contraceptives demeans women. Sweet Kali on a kaleidoscope.

The Democrats are going to have to stand firm and start threatening those Republicans up for re-election in 2008 with the prospect of being labeled as a "George Bush extremist rubber stamp" if they go along with this nonsense. If this is Bush's version of a test of wills, the Democrats need to make sure that they win, and win in a way that even the village idiot, currently ensconced at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue can understand.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Bush Censors Climate Scientists

Ya Think?

David Kuo, who we all know has been possessed by evil, liberal demons, presents some interesting statistics in today's NYT:

Evangelicals are beginning to see the effect of their political involvement on those with whom they hope to share Jesus' eternal message: non-evangelicals. Tellingly, Beliefnet's poll showed that nearly 60 percent of non-evangelicals have a more negative view of Jesus because of Christian political involvement; almost 40 percent believe that George W. Bush's faith has had a negative impact on his presidency.

Wow. That's a surprise, huh? You present Jesus as some kind of sex-obsessed, militia-adoring, consumer-spending-icon who hates on women, hates on gays, and hates on brown people and then you're surprised that a majority of other folks don't want to have anything to do with your religion? You evangelicals help install the Bush junta because you believe patent bullshit about his "deep xianity," he destroys our country and the Middle East, insists that his wrong-headed policies come from "a higher father," and you're amazed to find that lots of people would probably just as soon have someone from the local UU church sitting at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? You people must be drinking the communion wine, because there's really no other excuse for such blindness and stupidity.

Kuo also gets something that I'd think would have been clear to most evangelicals, especially if Falwell, Dobson, et al., desperate to hold onto power, weren't working very hard to make sure that they didn't notice:

There is also the matter of the record, which I saw being shaped during my time in the White House. Conservative Christians (like me) were promised that having an evangelical like Mr. Bush in office was a dream come true. Well, it wasn't. Not by a long shot. The administration accomplished little that evangelicals really cared about.

Nowhere was this clearer than on the issue of abortion. Despite strong Republican majorities, and his own pro-life stands, Mr. Bush settled for the largely symbolic partial-birth abortion restriction rather than pursuing more substantial change.
(War is apparently A-OK with conservative xians (like Kuo) because he doesn't mention that. Who would Jesus bomb and waterboard?)

Gee, Mr. Kuo, feel used much? Feel like a chump, much? Why would Bush have delivered on his promises to criminalize all abortion? If he'd done that, he wouldn't have been able to whistle every election season and get chumps like you to donate, vote, and turn over your church directories to Karl Rove.

And the rest of us are supposed to let geniuses like you run our lives? Control our bodies? Run our schools? Spend our tax dollars?


I Hate The Way That They Lie All The Time

In some ways, this sort of thing has come to represent for me what's wrong with the Bush junta every bit as much as their illegal war.

Some Americans Lack Food, but USDA Won't Call Them Hungry

By Elizabeth Williamson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 16, 2006; Page A01

The U.S. government has vowed that Americans will never be hungry again. But they may experience "very low food security."

Every year, the Agriculture Department issues a report that measures Americans' access to food, and it has consistently used the word "hunger" to describe those who can least afford to put food on the table. But not this year.

Mark Nord, the lead author of the report, said "hungry" is "not a scientifically accurate term for the specific phenomenon being measured in the food security survey." Nord, a USDA sociologist, said, "We don't have a measure of that condition."

The USDA said that 12 percent of Americans -- 35 million people -- could not put food on the table at least part of last year. Eleven million of them reported going hungry at times. Beginning this year, the USDA has determined "very low food security" to be a more scientifically palatable description for that group.

It's like polluting and calling it "Clear Skies." It's like setting up an education program, the only demonstrable value of which is to allow your loser brother to sell stuff, and calling it "No Child Left Behind." It's like a coward who did everything that he could to avoid serving calling a decorated war hero a coward. It's like, well, it's like something out of George Orwell and it's incredibly dangerous. Once words have no meaning at all, we lose our ability to communicate.

People who don't have enough food are hungry. I know that no one in the Bush junta has ever experienced what it's like not to have enough food; if they had, they'd know that, when that happens, you're hungry.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Grow The Fuck Up.

This kind of bullshit, via Witchvox, is still all too common when it comes to Wiccans. I have to ask myself if The Auburn Citizen, Serving NY's Finger Lakes Region would print a letter that schreeched that Jews mix the blood of xian babies in their motzah balls or that Catholics swear allegiance to the Pope over and above that of their own country. If not, why are unhinged letters like this still published?

I'm reminded of the story that Son and D-i-L told me a while back. Grandson was born a few weeks early and, as a result, D-i-L's mother (the nicest, sweetest, kindest Southern Baptist you've ever met, I'm not kidding) was up in DC when I had my 50th birthday. I'd planned a magnificent tea party at the local Ritz and invited all my witchy friends, Son, and D-i-L. I told D-iL that I'd love to have her mother join us and Son and D-i-L sat her mom and dad down to explain, after all these years, that I was, well, a witch. D-i-L's mom and dad handled it amazingly well, D-i-L's mom came to the tea and had, as far as I can tell, a wonderful time. But at one point in "the discussion" D-i-L's dad said, "Well, they don't worship the devil, or anything, right? They just worship nature or whatever, right?"

The fact that D-i-L's dad, who is just a genuine, all-round nice guy, even had to ask this question is an indictment of publishing policies such as those of The Auburn Citizen.

Come on people. It's the 21st Century. Grow the fuck up.

Well, Duh!

Maybe now that Warren Buffett's said it, people will listen.

From today's EEI newsletter:

Buffett Calls Dereg Flawed, Says He'll Look for Utility Investments

At the annual NARUC Convention, billionaire investor Warren Buffett said his company, Berkshire Hathaway, was on the prowl for additional utility investments, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.

. . .

Buffett indicated that deregulation was flawed. Wrote the Sun- Sentinel: "In his view, a deregulated utility operator would be reluctant to maintain excess power-generating capacity, but 'that's not what society would want' from the producer of such an essential commodity."
South Florida [Fort Lauderdale] Sun-Sentinel , Nov. 14.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

San Francisco Values

Deborah Oak has a wonderful post up about "San Francisco values" and what they really mean. I adore the idea that a group of witches have been beaming San Francisco values to the rest of the country for several years now.

One of the happiest days of my life was spent in San Francisco, in Union Square, and in the Compass Rose bar of the Westin St. Francis, taking myself out to afternoon tea.

We could all use some San Francisco values.

Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?

If you've ever enjoyed walking through New Orleans, I think that you'd better go check out Scout and her pictures. Kind of says it all.

Too Little, Too Late. Koo, Koo, Kechew.

Today's NYT has an article that shows just what those of us concerned about global warming are up against. In spite of having elected a Democratic Congress and Senate, our margins may to too thin to push through measures that seriously address environmental issues. While an environmental spokesman says that "“I think you'd have to go back to the Enlightenment to find such a big change in worldviews," and that "“I think we're still looking at a big turnaround in the tenor of the debate, and the nature of information coming out of Washington,"” it's clear that what we can expect in the short term is likely limited to hearings to expose the problems and half-hearted measures that, while attempting to slow the rate of increase of carbon emissions, do nothing to reallly save the planet. Slowing the rate of increase is simply not enough.

Hearings can be worthwhile, especially if the results are widely-reported and result in a change in the public's attitudes. But we need immediate and serious action NOW if we're going to save even some of the planet. We've wasted a lot of the time that could have been spent gradually working up to real measures.

I've long had a theory that an airline that advertised that there was no security check to get onto its planes, that if you got on and there were terrorists, then you'd have to take your chances at beating them into submission, could sell out every seat on every flight. Most of what goes on in airline "security checks," (aka making old ladies take off their flip flops when they get on the flight back to DC from the Caymans, I'm looking at you, American Airlines, making people empty their bottles of skin lotion, taking away people's nail clippers) is bullshit that doesn't protect anyone and simply inconveniencesninces everyone. If we aren't willing to enact serious measures to protect the environment, then we almost might be better off doing nothing. Simply inconveniencing people, while the planet continues to die off, will do nothing more than irritate people and convince them that there's nothing we can do to prevent global warming. At that point, hell, why not turn up your thermostat in winter and drive a big, comfortable SUV?

Al Gore, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Children! Millions And Millions Of Children!

Every feminist in America needs to go read Echidne's post on (ugh!) Quiverfull families. First, however, every feminist in America needs to have a good, stiff drink. I'm just saying.

The Radical Voices Of English Dissent

C.J. Stone does an excellent job of explaining the connection between belief and political activism.

So I'm on the main shopping street of the little North Kent town where I've made my home these last twenty years - me and a few friends - handing out leaflets calling for an end to the occupation of Iraq, and it's surprising the amount of good will we're receiving. Everyone wants to sign our petition. Everyone wants to talk. Everyone wants to find out what we're doing and why.

I'm engaging people in debate, talking, laughing, sharing jokes and jibes, calling out to people across the street, occasionally arguing, stating the case and the history as clearly as I can: listening, absorbing, paying attention, looking out for the contradictions as people repeat the formulaic mantras of their mutually shared and received world-view.

It's then that I feel it, on the glinting, grey pavement outside Barclay's Bank, one sunny Saturday morning on the High Street. It's like a thread from the past. Down, down it reaches, down. Down through the concrete into the earth below. Down through the centuries, through the ages, through the generations. It's like a life-line, like a conduit, like a deep-seeking tap-root nestling into the rich, dark soil of the English soul: the proud and non-deferential, great historical tradition of radical English dissent.

And, between activism and magic. If you've never felt that thread when you were at a protest, handing out literature, collecting signatures, driving folks to the polls, well, then, I don't know you. Because it hits me, too, every single time. The Pankhurst Sisters, standing there with me, encouraging me, urging me on.

Stone continues:

And I can feel it now, even as I sit at my computer: through the anti-war movement, through the anti-capitalist movement, through Stop the City and Reclaim the Streets, through the poll-tax protests, through the Miner's strike; through Bertrand Russell and EP Thompson and Ban-the-Bomb; through Bruce Kent and Trevor Huddlestone and all the members of the clergy and the laity who have stood up for peace and justice in this world.

On the street, however, it's an older image that comes to mind. I begin to feel like one of those anti-fascist organisers back in the thirties, and I'm reminded of a story an old guy down the Labour Club told me once, of how Moseley and the Blackshirts had arrived in this town, and how the local Fire Brigade had turned out to greet them. Moseley took on his famous heroic stance, chin up, back straight and arm vaingloriously raised, preparing to make his speech. But it was not appreciation that washed over him then. His voice was not drowned out with any kind of applause. Was he a little wet-behind-the-ears? He certainly was. They turned the hoses on him, as he and his fascist henchmen ran dripping from the town!

I guess you can say that all of these illustrations are fundamentally political in nature. True. But who are we to deny the spirit that passes through all of them? And the further back we go, the more clear it becomes just how deeply spiritual it is. Through the Suffragettes, through the Chartists, the urge for democracy is like a cry for human freedom in a world of hide-bound privilege. Through Tom Paine and Mary Wollstonecraft, The Rights of Man and The Vindication of the Rights of Women: these are the radical democratic voices of English dissent as it blazoned into print in the late eighteenth century. Through William Blake (who knew them both) representing the fully evolved, spiritual-political force as it explodes in a blaze of energy and colour, like the rage of eternal humanity upon the ever turning page of history.

We don't spend enough time, IMHO, celebrating those people. Hallmark hasn't figured out how to make a buck off of it. But celebrate we should.

Talkin' Bout A Revolution

As usual, Anne Johnson asks some very good questions, this time about a Wal-Mart heiress:

How can this woman look in the mirror? How can she lie down at night and sleep? She has just spent nearly $68 million for a painting but can't offer affordable health care to her workers.

Maybe I'm missing something, but isn't this the kind of thing that starts revolutions? One woman buys a painting. Thousands of hard-working poor people are denied lunch breaks and insurance in the stores that provided this one woman with her $18 billion fortune.

Oh, look! Britteny is getting divorced!

At Least 20 Pro-Environment Challengers Unseated Brown Incumbents In The House

An e-mail from NRDC bolsters my suspicion that we've reached a point where being green is going to be good for a candidate -- regardless of party.

[C]onsider this: of the "Dirty Dozen" (the 13 members of Congress targeted by the League of Conservation Voters for the poorest environmental voting records), nine were defeated.

On the flip side, eight out of nine of the League's "Environmental Champions" won their races. Dozens of candidates -- from both parties -- who ran on forward-looking energy policies were chosen by voters. At least 20 pro-environment challengers unseated anti-environment incumbents in the House. And Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger won strong voter support by signing a Global Warming Solutions Act.

Last Tuesday may well go down as one of the greenest days in American political history.

The people have spoken. They've had it with corporate cronyism and the failed policies of nineteenth century oil barons. They want a clean energy economy that will break our dependence on oil, slow global warming, spare our natural heritage from destruction and create millions of new high-tech jobs.

NRDC notes that the changed landscape should be very good for green causes:

Speaker-elect Pelosi has promised that she'll start tackling the energy issue in her first 100 hours in office!

And you won't be seeing the same old Congressional attacks on our wildlife refuges, national forests and clean air. In fact, the new leadership has promised aggressive oversight of President Bush's Interior Department and Forest Service, which have done little but front for energy and timber companies.
Oversight, imagine that!

Gotta hold the Dems feet to the fire, but environmentalism appears to be a large, and largely-unheralded, winner in last Tuesday's election.

Go, Barbara!

Thank the Goddess.

EEI reports that: Sen. Boxer Says Her Top Priority Will Be Climate Change Next Year

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., the incoming chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has declared that focusing on climate change will be her number one priority during the new session of Congress that will begin in January, the Fresno Bee reported.

Wrote the Bee: "Citing California's own recent moves to combat greenhouse gas emissions, Boxer announced plans to conduct oversight hearings and move legislation in the 110th Congress that begins in January. Her predecessor as committee chairman, Republican Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, blocked legislation and repeatedly cast doubts about whether the Earth really is heating up."

Boxer leveled a charge against Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., the outgoing chairman of the House Resources Committee, as an "obstacle" to pro-environment legislation. Pombo was defeated in his bid for reelection.
Fresno Bee , Nov. 10.

It's also nice to see that climate change deniers such as Pombo got beat. I don't claim that his opposition to, you know, science was the main reason for his defeat, but I do believe that we've reached a point where obstructing legislation designed to save the environment is going to hurt, rather than help, political careers, regardless of party.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Shut The Fuck Up

Here's a pretty good list of people who should now shut the fuck up. I have a few more to add to the list:

1. James Carville should shut the fuck up. He's sleeping with the enemy and he hasn't done shit for the Democratic party in, oh, a decade or so.

2. Dobson, Falwell, et al. should shut the fuck up. They don't speak for a majority of Americans who were disgusted by the Terry Schiavo incident that began Bush's serious slide into lower-than-low approval ratings and, this time around, they couldn't even deliver enough voters in South Dakota to save the state's criminalization of abortion, much less the voters to keep the Congress in Republican hands. They're useless, worn-out tools of the patriarchy and they need to shut the fuck up.

3. Chris Matthews needs to shut the fuck up. His sexist comments about women's voices tell us all that we need to know about him. He's an idiot who spews from the darkest corners of his id and he needs to shut the fuck up.

4. The oil companies and other global-climate-change deniers need to shut the fuck up. Americans understand that the planet is dying. You had your chance, about twenty years ago, to develop alternative sources of energy. You chose not only not to do so but to fight those who wanted to. You got us into this damn mess. Now shut the fuck up.

5. Karen Hughes needs to shut the fuck up. Condi Rice needs to shut the fuck up. Laura Bush needs to shut the fuck up.

6. Ann Coulter needs to shut the fuck up and go to jail for voter fraud.

7. Colin Powell, quit biding your time. It's come and gone. You need to shut the fuck up.

8. Nancy Reagan, quit being a tool for racist fucks like G. Felix Allen, Jr. who oppose stem cell research. Shut the fuck up.

9. Rudy Giuliani, shut the fuck up. You are so pre-11/7.

10. Pope Ratzi, shut the fuck up. I haven't forgotten what you did in 2004. Stay quiet. Stay very, very quiet.

Worse Than W Keys Missing From The Computers

One of my core beliefs is the importance of celebration. I adore birthdays, both my own and those of my family and friends. Everyone needs one day a year devoted entirely to the joy and pleasure and wonder of their own existence. I love celebrating the eight Sabbats of my religion, marking the turning of the wheel of the year, from sexy, flowery Beltane to deep, dark Samhein. And I love to celebrate victories. I work with a guy, very nice and absolutely brilliant, who often doesn't get how important it is to take all the secretaries, paralegals, young associates, etc. out for a big celebration when we get a brief filed or win a case; he doesn't understand why I always insist on it.

And like every Democrat, hell, like every half-way sentinent being on the planet (dryads, elephants, manatees, and cats included), I've been celebrating ever since Tuesday night when America finally decided to start being America again.

And, yet, deep believer that I am in celebrating, there's also a strong element of Cassandra in me. And here's what my inner Cassandra is worrying about now:

One of the most pernicious thing that the Bush junta has done, and they've been doing it actively and deliberately for the last six years, is to place "true believers" in every government post that they possibly could. I'd go so far as to say that a major purpose of the "reorganization" around creation of the odiously-named Department of Homeland Security was so that they could further this goal. The federal government is now studded, from the highest levels to the lowest, with Bush fanatics, with dominionist fundies, and with free-market whack-jobs.

In D.C., it's always been the case that a new administration could make some changes, but that they'd have to depend upon a whole slew of life-time federal employees to carry out those changes and, often, that the changes would be blunted by those civil servants. Everyone in D.C. today knows a number of people who, after long careers in the federal government, gave up and left every agency from NOAH to NIH, from Justice to Ag, because they couldn't stand the creeps that the Bush junta put in place. Those creeps, kind of like viruses, have been replicating themselves, replacing those career civil servants with graduates of Bob Jones University and lawyers from George Mason Law School.

Remember this Bush appointee who managed to get the phrase "to understand and protect our home planet" deleted from NASA's mission statement? Or this presidential appointee who "told a Web designer working for [NASA] to add the word 'theory' after every mention of the Big Bang, . . . . [He said that the] 'Big Bang is 'not proven fact; it is opinion, . . .' adding, 'It is not NASA's place, nor should it be to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator . . . .'" Here's a report prepared for Waxman that details Bush's attempts to interfere in scientific endeavors. Multiply these sorts of incidents across the Department of Education where appointees of the Bush junta push the demonstrably-failed Abstinence Education initiative, to the State Department where anyone "disloyal" to Bush has been purged, to every other branch of the federal government.

So I worry that, regardless of what legislation the new Congress passes, it's going to take a long, long time to root out all the crazies that are planted, almost precisely like land mines, everywhere you look. I don't know what can be done about this, in the short term, but the new Congress needs to keep this problem in mind when it writes new legislation. Be clear. Be very, very clear.

Ah, Freud's Old Question

Here's a post that is worth reading all the way through:

[T]here is a feminist theologian and Catholic nun (Sr. Elizabeth Johnson) who has written in her book She Who Is that to insist upon only one image for God; to insist that God can only be imaged exclusively in male terms, is paramount to idolatry; it is comparable to creating a "graven image," an idol. That's when a few of the boys lost it. Towards the end of class one of them asked, “What is it that you (meaning, you feminists) want?” I began by saying that the feminist critique of religion and feminist theology were important to me because I am convinced that, “our theology shapes our humanity.” I am convinced that the ways in which we image God directly affect and influence our images of each other. What God becomes, becomes God. To quote Mary Daly, “God is man writ large, man is God writ small.” And as long as only men get to reflect the divine; as long as men are the symbolic representation of God; as long as men are the only human beings who are considered worthy enough to mediate between the divine and the human, then the feminine and women will be rendered inferior. Regarding his question as it related to the issue of women's lives I responded this way, “I would like it if a woman were not sexually assaulted every few minutes in this country. I would like it if a woman were not beaten every few seconds in this country. I would like it if the trafficking in women’s and girls’ bodies was not the third largest illegal trade in the world. If globally, women could be educated, could own property, inherit, sign contracts, witness in courts of law, vote, etc, etc. “

I received an email later from a young woman in the class who said that on the way out of class someone said to her that if she didn't "think of God as a man," she was going to hell. Just one more reason for going to hell. I am starting to count how many things I violate that condemn me.

Sunday Akhmatova Blogging

In Dream

Black and enduring separation
I share equally with you.
Why weep? Give me your hand,
Promise me you will come again.
You and I are like high
Mountains and we can't move closer.
Just send me word
At midnight sometime through the stars.