Saturday, August 25, 2007

Operation Mosquito

You know, America was formed when some people, many of them with something significant to lose, decided that they'd rather lose their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor than go on living under a tyrant. I think we lose sight, sometimes, of what that means. At its inception, the American Revolution wasn't at all a sure thing. There was an awfully good chance that the Founders were going to wind up killed in the war or swinging on the end of King George's finest hemp rope. I dredge up this historical point to say that, while Goddess knows that I understand it, I get really upset by the comments on some blogs to the effect that America's done for, the fascists have taken over, there's nothing we can do, we puny little individuals arrayed against the might of the corporate state backed by the mainstream media. That's not the way that our Founders thought, thank the Goddess.

So what can you do? What can one person, with a job or who's unemployed, with a mortgage or a rent payment to make, with kids to feed, with student loans to pay, with no police force, no army, no engine to catapult the propaganda -- what can one person do? Because, believe me, sitting around and bitching on blogs, much as I enjoy that pursuit, ain't action.

NTodd has some very practical suggestions. He's launching Operation Mosquito and you can take action to save our Democracy without quitting your job or missing your mortgage payment or even your kid's soccer practice.

August 26th is a great day for revolution, it seems. What I'm planning to do is similar to Operation Nancygram but adjusted and in some ways expanded, to wit:

The usual variety of missives to Nancy Pelosi.

Also send letters to Harry Reid.

Occasional additional physical messages, such as peaches and books to both Leaders (My first one this week will be War Is A Racket by Major General Smedley Butler, The Fighting Quaker, thanks to Polishifter).

E-mail "updates" to Nancy and Harry as well as my entire Congressional Delegation: Peter, Pat and Bernie.

Demands now include not only impeachment, but ending the war in Iraq, resisting war with Iran, restoring civil liberties (wrt to FISA, habeas, etc) and directing war monies to necessary services at home (e.g., universal healthcare, infrastructure maintenance).
DC mailing addresses for the Dem Leadership are in the [PaxAmericana] sidebar--you can find the contact information for your own Senators and Reps.

Will this end the war by Tuesday? Nah, of course not. Again, it's an escalation point. Next up for me and a lot of other people is Take A Stand Day on the 28th. Then it's the march in DC on September 15th. After that?

Click on over to Pax Americana for all the details. This matters and the only way for things to change, the only way, as Margaret Meade once noted, that things have ever changed, is for a committed group of ordinary human beings to make them change. That would be you and me.

People Who Throw Stones Shouldn't Live In Glass Houses

Karl Rove's got his pasty self all in a huff because Bill Moyers reported what everyone in Washington has always known: Rove, that master manipulator of the xian right, that gaybaiting son of a gay body-piercer, is an agnostic.

Here's the thing. I'd love to live in an America where one's religious beliefs, or lack thereof, were irrelevant to one's participation in politics. I remember a time when someone else's religion was a minor interesting thing about them: she keeps kosher so we need to pick a restaurant that will work for her, too, he sings in the Methodist choir and can't come on Wednesdays because that's when he has choir practice, they're Catholic and their kids go to St. Mary's Parochial School. Beyong that, no one cared.

You know who made religion one of the most important issues in politics? Karl Motherfucking Rove. It didn't have to be religion; Rove was looking for a guillable group of people to manipulate into voting for his candidate and America's fundie whackjobs were just sitting there in the middle of the road with a sign that said, "Use us" taped to their collective ass. Rove orchestrated the Catholic bishops humphing and pumphing and threatening to deny Communion to John Kerry. Rove's entire electoral strategy consisted of shifting the focus from who would be a more competent president to who was a "better" or "truer" xian. I didn't hear Rove issue a peep when whackjob xians showed up to protest a Hindu minister's invocation in Congress, upset that the Hindu wasn't praying to the "one true" god.

So, you know what Karl? Suck on it. I hope that the press spends quite a bit of time snooping into your lack of religious beliefs. I hope you spend a lot of time upset about it and defending yourself and pretending that you really, really, really, really do believe in Jebuz. I'd like to have you explain over and over why the pope is wrong when he says that anyone who isn't catholic isn't really right with god. I'd like to hear what you think of Mitt's Mormonism and why Mormonism isn't so bad but Hindus don't pray to the "one true" god. You reap every bit of that whirlwind, ok? Cuz it's yours, babe. You unleashed it and were glad to do so. Ass.

As per usual,What Athenae says.

Saturday Goddess Blogging


The beauty of your face
Glitters when you rise
Oh come in peace.
One is drunk
At your beautiful face,
O Gold, Hathor.
From a hymn to the goddess Hathor, Egypt, 18th Dynasty

Hathor was associated with erotic music and dancing, patron of sexual love, the sky, the sun, the queen, music, dance and the arts, and the Egyptian’s cognate of the Romans’ Venus, while the Greeks identified her with Aphrodite. Egyptian women prayed to Hathor for assistance during childbirth, and as a cow deity she was envisioned as suckling infants. On the occasion of a birth in Egypt, seven Hathors (rather like European fairy godmothers) would appear to ‘speak with one mouth’ and determine the child's fate. . . . She was also a harvest goddess; congruent harvest goddesses are Demeter, Ceres, Mawu, Spider Woman, Ukemoshi, Gaia, Ge, Rhea, Tellus Mater, Carna, Chicomecoatl, Coatlique. More here.

Wiki says that: Essentially, Hathor had become a goddess of Joy, and so she was deeply loved by the general population, and truly revered by women, who aspired to embody her multifaceted role as wife, mother, and lover. In this capacity, she gained the titles of Lady of the House of Jubilation, and The One Who Fills the Sanctuary with Joy.

The worship of Hathor was so popular that more festivals were dedicated to her honour than any other Egyptian deity, and more children were named after this goddess than any other. Even Hathor's priesthood was unusual, in that both men and women became her priests.

An ancient hymn praised Hathor, saying: Thou art the Mistress of Jubilation, the Queen of the Dance, the Mistress of Music, the Queen of the Harp Playing, the Lady of the Choral Dance, the Queen of Wreath Weaving, the Mistress of Inebriety Without End.

Art found here, here, and here.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday Cat Blogging

No. U Can Not Haz Morris Chair. I Is In Morris Chair. U Is SOL.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


I had dinner tonight w/ my brilliant, brave, and amazing friend M., her wonderful husband, and her two granddaughters, here in town to visit colleges. It was a gift, a lovely gift, to spend time with M. and to see the two gorgeous young women who've somehow morphed out of the cute little babies that I remember. One of them is a Pagan and, when we talked about her practice, she noted that no covens will accept a woman under 18 so, "it's just me and my altar."

You know, we Pagans need to figure this out. There are legal and ethical issues related to practicing with teen agers, but we should be ashamed at how many brilliant young women are out there, just them and their altars. There has to be a way to navigate this path.

Came home to find that while I was eating oysters and drinking martinis w/ M., my datura had blossomed under the waxing moon. Here are a few dark shots for all the solitaries out there.

May The Goddess Guard Her. May She Find Her Way To The Summerlands. May Her Friends And Family Know Peace

WaPo reports that Grace Paley, peace activist and feminist poet and author, passed away yesterday:

Ms. Paley, who once described herself as "a somewhat combative pacifist and cooperative anarchist," was willingly distracted from her writing by other pursuits.

. . .

During the Vietnam War, she encouraged young men to avoid military service, participated in rallies against the war and in 1969 went to Hanoi as part of a U.S. delegation to bring home prisoners of war.

She once spent time at Greenwich Village's Women's House of Detention for blocking a military parade. She described her time there in the essay "Six Days, Some Rememberings," noting among other things that the bullpen is "an odd name for a women's holding facility."

In 1978, she and other members of the War Resisters League were arrested and fined $100 for unlawful entry on the White House lawn and unfurling an antinuclear banner. During this period, she also attended peace conferences in the Soviet Union and El Salvador, meeting in the second with mothers of the disappeared during a bloody anti-government struggle.

A New Yorker, she also maintained a second home in Vermont, where she protested the war in Iraq in a low-key manner she once described as "vigiling on the common."

Ms. Paley could talk wryly of her activism. In her introduction to the "Greenwich Village Peace Center Cookbook," she warned the reader that "this cookbook is for people who are not so neurotically antiauthoritarian as I am -- to whom one can say, 'Add the juice of one lemon' without the furious response, 'Is that a direct order?' ".

Blackberry Picking

Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full,
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's.

We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not.

~Seamus Heaney

Art, by Elizabeth Adela Forbes, found here.

Heaney's poem seems perfect to me for this time of year, when there's so much abundance but also the beginning of signs of rot. Just this week, I've noticed a few green acorns making it dangerous to walk on my front path. A few leaves are starting to turn yellow and drift to Earth. And we've even had a few cool days, although this weekend temperatures will be up in the nineties again. I think the message of Heaney's poem is -- eat the blackberries. Stand there by the "hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills" and stuff them into your mouth. Lick the juice off of your fingers. Summer's coming to an end and trying to stop the turning of the wheel never works; it only leads to rot.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Emperor Must See No Dissent. The Emperor Must Hear No Dissent. The Emperor Must Be Aware Of No Dissent.

He's the boy in the bubble and the baby with the babboon heart.

Today's WaPo reports on a WH manual, recently come to light, that described the ways in which Emperor Bush must be protected from the merest chance of coming in contact with anyone who dares to disagree with him. It's pretty disgusting. Here are a few examples:

Any event must be open only to those with tickets tightly controlled by organizers.

Those entering must be screened in case they are hiding secret signs.

Any anti-Bush demonstrators who manage to get in anyway should be shouted down by "rally squads" stationed in strategic locations. And if that does not work, they should be thrown out.

But that does not mean the White House is against dissent -- just so long as the president does not see it. In fact, the manual outlines a specific system for those who disagree with the president to voice their views. It directs the White House advance staff to ask local police "to designate a protest area where demonstrators can be placed, preferably not in the view of the event site or motorcade route."

Kali on a cracker. This is America. The president works for us. We have a right to let him know when we're not happy with his job performance and, contrary to what George Bush thinks, he as, like every American worker, thousands of "accountability moments" -- not just one. Allow demonstrators to demonstrate only in a seclued area outside of the view of the president no more complies with the First Amendment that my boss giving me my performance review off in a secluded room out of my sight and hearing complies with good business practices. MBA president, my sweet ass. The whole point to their demonstration is to let the president know that they're not happy with the job that he's doing. And if his pissy, fragile ego can't handle that, then he really has no business in this job. (But, then we knew that. It's why we elected Al Gore. Thanks, again, Sandra Day!)

But the report makes clear that there was another reason, beyond the boyking's gentle feelings, why the WH decided to trash the First Amendment: a Leni Riefenstahl-like desire to control how the event "looked" to the press, thereby controlling the press.

The manual offers advance staffers and volunteers who help set up presidential events guidelines for assembling crowds. Those invited into a VIP section on or near the stage, for instance, must be " extremely supportive of the Administration," it says. . . .

Advance teams are advised not to worry if protesters are not visible to the president or cameras: "If it is determined that the media will not see or hear them and that they pose no potential disruption to the event, they can be ignored. On the other hand, if the group is carrying signs, trying to shout down the President, or has the potential to cause some greater disruption to the event, action needs to be taken immediately to minimize the demonstrator's effect."

If they're not visible to the press, then they don't exist. Which is why the WH tries to get them shuffled off to "Free Speech Zones" (War is Peace, Slavery is Freedom), in the first place.

I hate these fucking people.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

March On Washington September 15th

WaPo reports that ANSWER has sued the city over the city's attempts to make it difficult to publicize the September 15th march to end the war in Iraq.

An antiwar coalition filed court papers yesterday challenging D.C. laws that regulate posting signs in public places.

The court action comes one week after the D.C. Department of Public Works ordered the ANSWER Coalition to remove its signs pasted on electrical boxes around the city or face nearly $10,000 in fines. Public Works officials say the posters advertising a Sept. 15 antiwar march were improperly put up using an adhesive that makes the posters hard to remove.

The coalition asked a federal judge to stop the city from regulating signs posted on D.C. property until the city creates a "constitutionally allowable and non-discriminating system" for determining the rules on sign posting. The coalition alleges the city gives preferential treatment to signs for political candidates, commercial businesses and crime prevention, while bankrupting grass-roots campaigns with massive fines.

. . .

City law allows people and organizations to hang posters on lampposts as long as they can be easily removed and there are no more than three on one side of a block. Sign hangers must date the signs when they are posted and register two copies of the sign with the city.

Violations carry fines of $150 for each offending sign.

Coalition organizers said they use water-soluble paste to hang the signs and provide all people who hang signs with a copy of the rules. They argue that electrical boxes are equivalent to lampposts and that no individuals or groups should have to notify the government of their political opinions.
. . .

Yesterday morning the Alliance for Global Justice, a nonprofit organization that shares office space with the coalition, received two similar citations and potential fines from the city for the posters, said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of the Partnership for Civil Justice.

The National Park Service has also asked the coalition to remove signs on federal property or pay for their removal but has not set a deadline.

At a news conference yesterday, several coalition members and supporters said the large yellow and black signs were lawfully posted. They argued that D.C. laws need clarification and revision so that all who post signs are treated the same.

The fines have not stopped the coalition from plastering posters across the city. Coalition members said that as the march draws nearer, they plan to ramp up publicity with more posters, banners and stickers. Sarah Sloan, national staff organizer, said publicity of the fines has brought waves of support and volunteers to the coalition.

"We heard they were taking down posters on Connecticut and Wisconsin," she said, "and the next day there were people out there putting even more up. . . . They can't stop this."
More on the lawsuit, including a link to the complaint here.

Additionally, Code Pink has called for the DC government to rescind the fines it imposed on the ANSWER coalition for putting up posters advertising the September 15 anti-war rally. We view posters as one of the few low-cost ways of letting the DC community know about our rallies and this form of advertising should be protected as our free speech right. The $10,000 fine is meant to not only suppress ANSWER, but all grassroots organizations that don’t have large budgets to advertise through the mainstream media.

The posters around Washington DC let the public know about a march from the White House to the Capitol on Saturday, September 15 to stop the Iraq War and Impeach George Bush. This is something supported by the overwhelming majority of DC residents. Informing them about this march is actually a public service, and should be treated as such.

The ANSWER Coalition is right to refuse to remove the posters. Local regulations permit the posters, and such messages are supposed to be protected under free speech. Every community group, religious institution, union, and individual who values the right to assemble and speak out in public should join in protesting these fines and demand they be rescinded.

A list of nationwide transportation centers for those interested in coming to the march is available here.

Since the goverment is taking down the signs that publicize the antiwar march, please use your blog, LiveJournal, or MySpace page to publicize it. This is our last best chance to convince Congress to stop funding George Bush's war.

Update: NTodd's organizing the bloggers here.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Monday Afternoon Cloudy Garden Blogging

Thank all the Gods and Goddess, it rained last night, hard enough to wake me up about 3:00 am. And, it's raining now, a slower, steadier rain, which is just what we need. I'm more than grateful.

Liturgy Circa 1976 (Mother! How Little Has Changed!)

Look, Goddess
can I call You God for short,
or is that too butch for You?

I don't know what to call You
let alone how to serve You --
I've lost touch with the ritual.

Goddess, Mother, Mistress of the world,
my faith is strong
but my theology is floundering.

I want to love you perfectly.
I want to wear my hair for You
like a Nazarene,

But I don't know how to dress or walk
or where to put my hands
or who to give my body to.

Should I love a woman?
Could I come close to You
by coming close to someone close to You?

Or should I love a man
to flatter You by imitation
of Your boundless Motherhood?

Or should I be chaste for You,
lest I throw myself at idols
because they make me come?

I mention this last
just to show the lengths I'd go
if I knew what lengths to go

to get to You.

by Janet R. Price

Hymn To Kali

Come swallow me like the night, you ageless mother,
Come drown me in the blanket of your tide.
Dissolve me in your blackness, then uncover
What lingers on when all the rest has died.

by Jennifer Paine Welwood

Governing The Ungovernable

I see that Time Magazine is covering a story that the Wild Hunt has been coverning for some time, involving the battle between store owners in Salem and those who run psychic fairs in the town.

It seems to me that the store owners have been wrong-headed about this. Psychic fairs that bring more people to Salem can only be good for local stores; many who come for the fair will also wander through the stores.

The Time article actually doesn't do too bad a job of covering the story, which certainly lends itself to the sort of "aren't these people silly" or "let's get a xian to comment for balance" slants so often seen when the media report on Pagans. It's encouraging to see.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sunday Afternoon Garden Blogging

August can be a cruel month in the garden; it's not as easy to have color and excitement as it is in, say, May and June. But there's still lots of interesting stuff happening. Here's a random blue flower that I can't name, some big fat Datura buds that I hope will pop open this week into big, white, lovely-smelling blossoms, that August stand-by Black-Eyed Susan (which has handled our drought with amazing aplomb), some grapes beginning to turn purple on the grape arbour (big attractant to birds and other wildlife), a blossom on the Butteryfly Bush, and another summer stalwart, Coleus, growing on top of the now-almost-done-for-the-year iris bushes.

Sigh. Blogger hates me and has screwed up the order of the photos, for reasons that the Bitch Goddess, Bloggista, keeps to herself. I bet you can figure it out, though.

Sunday Relevant Poetry Blogging


Our efforts are those of the unfortunate;
our efforts are like those of the Trojans.
Somewhat we succeed; somewhat
we regain confidence; and we start
to have courage and high hopes.

But something always happens and stops us.
Achilles in the trench before us
emerges and with loud cries terrifies us

Our efforts are like those of the Trojans.
We believe that with resolution and daring
we will alter the blows of destiny
and we stand outside to do battle.

But when the great crisis comes,
our daring and our resolution vanish;

our soul is agitated, paralyzed;
and we run around the walls
seeking to save ourselves in flight.

Nevertheless, our fall is certain. Above,
on the walls, the mourning has already begun.
The memories and the sentiments of our days weep.
Bitterly Priam and Hecuba weep for us.

Constantine P. Cavafy (1905)