My position is that the "culture wars" are largely fiction. They're the hysterical overreaction of some Christians to the fact that Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Animists and even (gasp!) atheists no longer "know their place." Being denied a privileged position, even if it's a traditional one, is not a form of oppression.
Mary Ellen Solt, a poet and poetry critic who often arranged words on the page in a visual graphic, resulting in such works as"Forsythia,"a poem that looks like a flowering shrub, has died. She was 86.
Some 10,000 years ago, somewhere in the Near East, an audacious wildcat crept into one of the crude villages of early human settlers, the first to domesticate wheat and barley. There she felt safe from her many predators in the region, such as hyenas and larger cats.
The rodents that infested the settlers’ homes and granaries were sufficient prey. Seeing that she was earning her keep, the settlers tolerated her, and their children greeted her kittens with delight.
At least five females of the wildcat subspecies known as Felis silvestris lybica accomplished this delicate transition from forest to village. And from these five matriarchs all the world’s 600 million house cats are descended. . . .
Unlike other domestic animals, which were tamed by people, cats probably domesticated themselves, which could account for the haughty independence of their descendants. “The cats were adapting themselves to a new environment, so the push for domestication came from the cat side, not the human side,” Dr. Driscoll said.
Cats are “indicators of human cultural adolescence,” he remarked, since they entered human experience as people were making the difficult transition from hunting and gathering, their way of life for millions of years, to settled communities.
More amazing history from mitochondrial DNA.
I'm v. grateful to that ancient Near Eastern wildcat, the many-times-foremother of my own sweet Miss Thing.
You know, I think that advice such as that offered today by in the WaPo sucks the big wazoo. First of all, Democrats do not need a class in remedial religion. Every prominent Democrat in America is a member of one of the two main Abrahamic cults. Democrats, by and large, understand, as Michael Gerson, Republicans, Xianists, and (and, sadly, perhaps Obama) do not, that religion has no place in politics nor our government. So fuck off with your insinuation that Democrats need a remedial class in religion. The assholes who are destroying America need a remedial class in our Constitution.
Second, the true pity is that an aethist, or a Wiccan, or a Moslem could not give her version of Hilaire Belloc's speech in America today and have any hope of being elected.
But the bullshit goes beyond that.
Survey research shows that evangelicals under 30 tend to be more concerned about the environment than are their elders, more engaged in international issues such as HIV-AIDS, a little more open on homosexual rights and less attached to the religious right. This should provide an opening for Democrats. But there is evidence, according to Green, that young evangelicals are as conservative on abortion as their parents and grandparents, if not more so. . . . Democrats should emphasize common-ground issues that credit the moral concerns of religious conservatives while calming the waves of the culture wars -- such as confronting the toxic excesses of popular culture, encouraging character and discipline in public schools, and promoting religious liberty abroad. Obama's speech showed little creativity on such matters.
No, Michael Gerson, government should not be involved in deciding what constitutes nor in "confronting" (aka passing laws against, which is all tht government can do) "toxic excesses of popular culture." I dislike most of what's on tv, for example. So I don't watch it. No government intervention is needed. It's too easy for government to decide that, for example, criticizing the government or rejecting patriarchial views about sex constitute "toxic excesses of popular culture."
Further, here's a clue. Fundie whackjobs who "are as conservative on abortion as their parents and grandparents, if not more so" are not going to vote for Republican-lite. Not. Going. To. Happen. Know why? For the same reason that I'm not going to vote for a Republican who makes a few encouragin noises about the environment. Because I really care about the envirnoment and i want an Al Gore in office, not a Christie Todd Whitman. And, you can see what happens when Democrats follow this kind of putrid advice. Obama's speech showed little creativity on such matters. Obama gave his speech at a liberal church, not at a whackjob church. Obama didn't go far enough, blah, blah, blah.
I like Obama and I'd love to see an African American president. But he's listening to idiots on this issue of strategy. Obama, I'm glad you've got a religion that feeds your soul. So do I. Neither of us need to be dragging it into government.
You go watch the CNN video at Rawstory of the kids who gave Bush a letter asking him to stop torturing detainees. You go watch it. And if you're not in tears by the end, and if you don't feel some renewed hope for our country -- along with a terrible grief that these young people have so much more courage than so many adults -- well, then you and I are different.
I especially love the young woman who responds to the talking hairdo anchor who asks about their courage in making "such a controversial point" to the emperor. She tosses it right back at him, "human dignity isn't controversial." Dems, take note. That is how it's done.
PS. Man, you know it just torqued the boyking's intestines into a stone to have to come into contact with honest-to-god smart kids (the kind that he always hated) who weren't pre-screened by Rove to include only adoring fans. This is exactly why he tries so hard to appear only in "town hall" meetings full of the Republican faithful. Has anyone seen Barney in the last few days?
We have to discard the old-fashioned teaching of both science and [patriarchial] religion and begin to look on the forested land surface of the Earth as something that evolved to serve the metabolism of the Earth; it is irreplaceable. We have already taken more than half of the productive land to grow food for ourselves. How can we expect Gaia to manage the Earth if we try to take the rest of the land for fuel production.
~James Lovelock The Revenge of Gaia: Earth's Climate Crisis & the Fate of Humanity
It figures that the Bush junta, which never misses an opportunity to fuck up, has seized on biofuels as their "compromise" answer to global climate change.
Interesting article in today's LAT about some former members of Exodus International, an organization devoted to "curing" gay people of their homosexuality who publicly apologized Wednesday for the harm they said their efforts had caused many gays and lesbians who believed the group's message that sexual orientation could be changed through prayer.
That's great; I'm glad they've apologized. But their harm went beyond those gay individuals who believed Exodus International's snake oil claims. Exodus International also pushes the notion within society that being gay is a "lifestyle choice" and something that one can change if only one will "work" at it. That's complete bullshit and it gives cover to evil Christianists and cynical power-grabbers such as the Bush junta.
An apology to individual gay people harmed by your actions is a nice start, guys. But it's not enough.
1. I can recite, from memory, huge swaths of Dorothy Parker's ouvre.
2. In high school, I cooked my way through books in the high school library entitled Austrian Cooking and Greek Cooking. I made my own sourdough bread starter and made sourdough bread every week. I made tea and oranges that came all the way from China. I made mint jelly from the mint in my mother's garden. I made boeuf burgundy from the Julia Child cookbook. I made eclairs. I made Lady Baltimore cake. I made mead. I still make a mean spanakopita. But I prefer to make reservations.
3. I purchased the first edition of Ms. Magazine ever printed and, as a result, had long debates w/ my best friend about why we wear underwear.
4. I count among my best friends at least one domanitrix, one prominent author of slash fiction, several members of polyamorous relationships, at least one sub, and quite a few v. hot babes.
5. I grow gardenias and sage, thyme and roses, jack-in-the-pulpit and mint, caladyia and woad, daylillies and sweet woodruff.
6. I record my dreams.
7. I wake up every morning and think, "Ah. Jeff Skilling's in jail and I'm not. I think I'll pet my cat, drink fresh coffee, walk in my garden, and enjoy the day." Fuck you, Jeff. Fuck you very much. She laughs last who laughs best.
8. For years, I meditated upon the Nine of Pentacles card. Wherever you go, there you are.
I tag Necropolis Now, watertiger, NTodd, and Mrs. Morrison.
Jason, at the Wild Hunt, has a disturbing story of a Pagan politician being singled-out for harassment and intimidation by a group of Christianists.
Rita Moran is the Chair of the Kennebec County Democratic Committee in Maine. She runs a local bookstore, Apple Valley Books, that sells Pagan books, including books related to Pagan parenting, a popular topic among Pagans, most of whom converted to Paganism as adults and are now having families that they want to raise in their religion. Moran is also a member of the Immanent Grove, a gnostic circle.
A group that goes by what I consider to be the unAmerican name The Christian Civic League has put up a web page with information about Moran's political postition and her religious beliefs, including the terrifying fact that she sells books for Pagan parents. The Christian Civic League helpfully provides lots of contact informaton, including Moran's address, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses. We all know the purpose of that.
Moran reports that: My primary concerns are financial. When this happened, I "zeroed out" the donation total on our county Dems website (http://www.kennebecdems.org). There has not been a single donation since I've been "outed". I'm even more concerned about the loss of business here at our bookshop as Michael Hein's attack turns to even more vicious rumors. I guess what I'd ask from the community is whatever support they can offer. Tranquil energy, book orders, donations to our county committee if you wish to recognize that aspect of my community service. Thanks all..."
I don't have much to add to what Jason said in his post. I just think this story needs to get out. This is an attack not only on Pagans, but on Democrats, as well. It's also, as Jason notes, part of a deliberate campaign to make it impossible to hold office in America if you don't belong to one of the two main Abrahamic cults. Fuck that shit.
As a scholar of Caribbean literature writes, again of the Vodou rites: "This experience of election [possession trance], its shock of communion, is not evidence of psychic disruption, or proof of pathology, but rather a result of the most intense discipline and study. Not everyone can be possessed, for not everyone can know how to respond to the demands and expectations of her god." So the ecstatic rites of these diaspora religions were not mad orgies, as whites often perceived them, but deliberately nurturedtechniquesof ecstasy, derived from ancient traditions.
~From Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy by Barbra Ehrenreich.
Climate Change Forging Unusual Unity in European Community
American Prospect Co-Editor Robert Kuttner, in an op-ed published by the Boston Globe, said the normally fractious politics of the European Union have turned into cooperation on the issue of climate change: "European governments have invested heavily in alternative energy technologies, and induced utilities to rely increasingly on renewable sources. This not only cuts greenhouse emissions, but produces a market for new technologies, making such nations as Spain and Germany export leaders in advanced windmills and solar panels."
The European focus on climate change has sharpened this decade for four key reasons, Kuttner noted: The Stern report on the financial costs of climate change; "the failure of French and Dutch voters in 2005 to ratify the proposed new EU constitution (which) left Europe's leaders struggling to find a common project to restore momentum and unity, and they found that in climate change; the assumption of the rotating EU presidency this year by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a former minister of environment; and the Bush administration's earlier unwillingness to accept climate change science, "where Europe has earned the right to lead and to relish its leadership." Boston Globe, op-ed , June 25.
Thanks to the Bush junta's hatred of science, Spain and Germany have jumped ahead of us as producers of windmills and solar panels and Europe has seized the lead on issues of global climate change. America has been harmed in so many ways by this junta. We need to get rid of them now.
If you’ve got a blog, no matter how small, please put up a link. It actually takes a ridiculously small number of books (relative to total sales) to push a book to #1 on Amazon and that plays a big part in his ability to get on the NYT best seller list and gain wider notice and recognition for the tremendous amount of work he did to put this book together.
Glenn shows up every day for us. Let’s show up for Glenn
Goddess knows, I've got a small blog and that's ok with me. I'm always going to be a boutique, more appealing to a small crowd of interesting people than to a larger crowd. But if you like what you read here, please go buy Greenwald's book. He completely rocks.
Zero Emissions, Carbon Capture Highlight Norwegian Planning
Norway plans to be the first "zero-emission" nation by 2050, E&E News PM reported. In announcing a goal of reducing GHGs by 10 percent within five years and 30 percent by 2020, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said: "Norway has a particular responsibility regarding the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in part because we have been producing hydrocarbons, that is to say fossil fuels, for a number of years, but also because we are a rich country."
Elements of the plan include a ban on oil-burning stoves; increasing the use of biofuel by 7 percent by 2010; a quota system for the transport industry, subsidies for green energy providers, reforestation, tolls for city drivers, and a ban on throwing away recyclable goods. Agence France Presse quoted Norges Natur og Ungdom environmentalist Lars Haltbrekken as saying: "In the best case scenario, we will have in 2020 the same greenhouse gas emissions we have today. In the worst, we will be emitting more in 2020."
Greenwire reported that Norway will test carbon-capture technology in 2008 at a refinery in Mongstad, Norway. Statoil will use chilled ammonia to capture as much as 80,000 tons of CO2 each year from flue gases or from a new combined-cycle plant under construction nearby. Alstom Power Systems designed the CO2-capture technology, Greenwire reported, quoting President Philippe Joubert as saying the project "represents our mutual commitment to both the [chilled ammonia] technology and society at large." E&E News PM ; Greenwire , June 22.
Church leaders say they are frustrated by Catholic politicians like Rudolph W. Giuliani who say they oppose abortion but do not want to impose their beliefs.
Here's a clue, fucktards. This is not Tenth Century Europe. This is Twenty-First Century America and you don't get to impose your evil, woman-hating ways on the rest of us. Now go bugger an altar boy.
And for the sake of my blood pressure, we'll just ignore the article's opening line: At first glance, Rudolph W. Giuliani should be an appealing presidential candidate for observant Roman Catholics. Sure, sure, other than, you know, having been twice-divorced and having lived openly in sin with several of his mistresses. Other than that. And his condoning a war that even Ratzi the Natzi says is immoral. Other than that, he's the best Catholic candidate EVER.
Ken MacLeod explains the flaw in Tony Blair's plans for post-prime-ministerhood. Ken's theory might make sense, if the antichrist weren't already alive and well at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And, I think Neil Gaiman already wrote this book.
Good Magazine has two related articles concerning gardening as a subversive activity. The first, Horticulture Jamming discusses how Cadres of illicit horticulturists, equipped with hoes and shovels, have been venturing into the [London] night to plant guerrilla gardens -- carefully landscaped areas in the small open spaces that cities build to beautify the landscape but then so often leave fallow. The movement, cultivated [cute, heh?]onlineby 30-year-old Richard Reynolds, . . . has spread throughout the United Kingdom . . . . Missions require reconnaissance, strategy, and stealthy gardening, and each successful planting strikes a blow for a more refined metropolital aesthetic.
The second article, Parlor Park explains that Verde Coalition, a Los Angeles non-profit turns grim scraps of public land -- like bus stops, traffic meridians, or dangerous street corners -- into welcoming public spaces. In Los Angeles, where many low-income communities enjoy almost no park space, a new "living room" cheaply and quickly creates a mini-sanctuary from the fast-paced and sometimes ugly reality of the city. The article describes how the addition of a few benches and flowers to an empty lot induced locals to hang out there, making the drug-users and prostitutes who had been using the space look for other locations.
I'd love to do some guerrilla gardening within the context of a ritual, maybe charging the plants and other objects before doing the actual planting so that they could release peace, healing, pleasure to the surrounding area. Perinnial herbs would be great, as they'd come back year after year, will grow even when neglected, and often provide food for bees and butterflies.
Two months before the Iraq war began, President Bush received detailed and comprehensive secret reports warning him that the likely result of an American-led invasion of Iraq would be increased support for Islamic fundamentalism, deep divisions in Iraqi society, high levels of violent internal conflict, and guerrilla warfare aimed at U.S. forces.
Yet in spite of those analyses, President Bush chose to supress those warnings and conceal that information, and instead he went right on conveying to the American people the absurdly Pollyannaish view of highly questionable and obviously biased sources like Ahmed Chalabi, a convicted felon and known swindler.
~from The Assault on Reason by Al Gore
Worse, he went ahead with his vanity war, which had no justification other than Rove's desire to make Bush a "war president." If there was ever a clearer case for impeachment, I'm unaware of it.
Some of Akhmatova's best-loved poetry was inspired by her experience of standing in line with other women outside a Soviet prison, waiting to see a loved one -- in Akhmatova's case, her son.
Remembrance hour returns with the turning year. I see, I hear, I touch you drawing near:
the one we tried to help to the sentry's booth, and who no longer walks this precious earth,
and that one who would toss her pretty main and say, "It's just like coming home again."
I want to name the names of all that host, but they snatched up the list, and now it's lost.
I've woven them a garment that's prepared out of poor words, those that I overhead,
and will hold fast to every word and glance all of my days, even in new mischance,
and if a gag should bind my tortured mouth, through which a hundred million people shout,
then let them pray for me, as I do pray for them, this eve of my remembrance day.
And if my country ever should assent to casting in my name a monument,
I should be proud to have my memory graced, but only if the monument be placed
not near the sea on which my eyes first opened -- my last link with the sea has long been broken --
nor in the Tsar's garden near the sacred stump, where a grieved shadow hunts my body's warmth,
But here, where I endured three hundred hours in line before the implacable iron bars.
Because even in blissful death I fear to lose the clangor of the Black Marias,
to lose the banging of that odious gate and the old crone howling like a wounded beast.
And from my motionless bronze-lidded sockets may the melting snow, like teardrops, slowly trickle,
and a prison dove coo somewhere, over and over, as the ships sail softly down the flowing Neva.
The photo above shows relative lined up outside abu Ghraib. One wonders how many women stand in line outside prisons in Iraq and one wonders how many would stand outside Guantanamo, were it not impossible to do so. Akhmatova speak as eloquently for them as she did for the Black Marias and the howling old crone. Send Amnesty International a few dollars in her memory. Say a prayer for political prisoners everywhere.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."