Friday, November 30, 2007

Evel Knievel 1938-2007

Robert Craig Knievel, Jr., aka Evel Knievel, has passed on. My mother adored him, and now he is gone, as indeed, she is also gone.

He was crazy, and everyone in the 70s loved him for it. This was back in the day, before everybody did weird things to get on TV. Evel Knievel was ahead of his time, and understood public relations. He would talk to anyone, any time. About himself, of course.

Knievel was a pole vaulter, hockey player, and insurance salesman, before getting into the motorcycle business. He was a bust as a salesman, but soon found his calling as a professional motorcycle-daredevil, jumping over a box of rattlesnakes, mountain lions, a cargo van, a speeding motorcycle, Greyhound buses, double decker-buses (in London) and cars. Lots and lots of cars. As a child, I watched with heart pounding as he smashed into the pavement, again and again, one of the famous filmed intros to ABC's WILD WORLD OF SPORTS.

One of his biggest disasters was his jump over the fountains at Caesars Palace, which made him ultra-mega-famous, but left him in a coma for 29 days. At some point, it seems he broke nearly every bone in his body, while doing daredevil jumps at $25,000 a clip. Going to see Evel in one of these shows was like going to see a rock star or a concert, and people lined up for the opportunity.

The Snake River Canyon jump was first conceived because the US Government would not allow Evel to jump over the Grand Canyon, which is a national park, after all. I recall conversations on late night TV, in which it was posited that he might jump from skyscraper to skyscraper (later seen in THE MATRIX), and it was thought he might actually be insane, but nobody cared. He broke a record selling tickets at the Houston Astrodome, as he also broke a record on February 28, 1971, jumping over 19 cars in Ontario, California.

Weirdscifi describes the Snake River Canyon jump:

Knievel hired former Navy engineer Bob Truax to build a rocket-powered Sky-Cycle. The Sky-Cycle cost over $150,000 and was unsuccessful in clearing the canyon in test runs. Despite this, Knievel decided to make the attempt.

“I didn’t think I even had a 50-50 chance to make it,” Knievel remembers. “Everyone told me not to do it, but I was determined to keep my word, so I climbed up and got strapped in. When I punched that power button I thought, ‘God, here I come.’”

The parachute of the Sky-Cycle deployed almost immediately after launching and Knievel fell to the riverbank hundreds of feet down in the canyon. He escaped with minor injuries.
He brawled, he drank, he got hepatitis, he filed for bankruptcy. He was sued by the state of Montana for back taxes. He was busted for soliciting an undercover policewoman, as well as possessing illegal firearms. He also played himself on The Bionic Woman and his likeness was made into a plastic toy action-figure for little boys across the USA.

Evel Knievel became a Christian earlier this year, and it is my prayer that he rest in peace. He was always big, it was the canyons that got small.

Listening to: Red Hot Chili Peppers - Hollywood (Africa)
via FoxyTunes

My Genius level blog

cash advance

HA, you thought I was kidding! Nope, IF U CN READ THIS, U R A GENIUS!

And here I thought I was posting too many videos. Not to worry!

Actually, this concerns me greatly. If my blog's reading comprehension level is supposedly "genius", what does this mean about most blogs? The REAL geniuses must be pretty freaked out.

BlogBurst (no link for you--Google 'em yourself!) just turned me down for a link, saying my blog did not have "high quality" content. Should I send them a copy of my new GENIUS BLOG status?

I'll bet they're sorry now!

Listening to: Blondie - X Offender
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Missing internet porn star

Photo at left from

The newest tabloid scandal of the hour involves a missing 18-year-old from Kansas, whom it turns out was an "upstart porn star" (quoting ABC):
Her Web site may have been taken down, but pictures of an upstart porn star named Zoey Zane can still be found on the Internet.

Now investigators in Kansas who have been searching for 18-year-old Emily Sander, a college student missing since Friday, must consider a startling discovery: Sander and Zane are the same person.

Sander was last seen leaving a bar in El Dorado, Kan., with Israel Mireles, 24, who has since taken off. Police say Sander met Mireles for the first time at the bar.

Suddenly the girl described by her grandfather as a "sweet," good kid appears to have been leading a secret double life as an aspiring adult movie starlet.

Sander's brother, Jacob Sander, confirmed last night to The Associated Press that his sister was, in fact, Zoey Zane, an actress who describes herself on an introduction to her Web site as "a spunky little teen with a super sexy side."

"As soon as I turned 18, I started shooting for my site," Sander writes under her screen name.

Nikki Watson, who described herself as a close friend of Sander's at Butler Community College in Kansas, first revealed Sander's double life Wednesday, telling the AP that Sander "enjoyed" making movies for the extra money. "Nobody in El Dorado knew besides her close friends," Watson said, adding that Sander recently signed a contract with a pornography company and had just told her parents over the Thanksgiving holiday. Sander's boyfriend, according to Watson, did not approve.

The FBI and Internet crime experts from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation have been called in to try to determine whether Sander's work as a porn star may have contributed to her disappearance.
A bit of a warning here? Watch it, gals, making your own porn might get you knocked off.

After leaving the bar with Mireles, the two went to a motel. Law enforcement was called when the motel manager (accompanied by Mireles' boss) later found the room covered with blood. DNA tests are under way as I write. Meanwhile, as stated above, Israel Mireles is long gone.
The revelation that Sander was keeping a double life as a porn star came as a shock to Sander's grandmother, who said she did not believe what people were saying about the teen. Earlier in the week, in an appeal to the public, Sander's grandfather, Clement, described her as "a sweet little girl" who has "done real good in school."

Sander is described as 5 foot, 3 inches with brown hair and blue eyes. She was last seen wearing jeans, a "Don't Mess With Texas" T-shirt and sneakers. She has multiple tattoos and body piercings.
My prayers are with Emily and her family.

Listening to: Son Volt - Highways and Cigarettes
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

CNN YouTube debate: White guys talk politics

The GOP debate crackled with intensity, as Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani (in CNN photo at left) looked ready to take swings at each other. Will they slit the other's throat? became the main event, for me at least. Giuliani was accused by one questioner of running New York City as a "sanctuary city" for illegal immigrants, and Rudy shot back that Mitt was running a "sanctuary mansion" by hiring illegals to work in his own house. Direct hit!

Rudy deftly fielded an inquiry from Anderson Cooper about the story currently dominating, charging him with having billed various New York City agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in phony security expenses, whilst trysting with Judith Nathan in the Hamptons. (At the time, he was still married to second wife, Donna Hanover.) Nonetheless, it doesn't look like that story is going away any time soon.

When asked a question about continuing the space program (!), Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee made a joke about sending Hillary to Mars. Afterwards, David Gergen and various other commentators agreed that fundamentalist Huckabee had suddenly seemed so warm, funny and "human." Huh? Did I miss something?

Meanwhile, John McCain (just back from Iraq), accused Ron Paul of being the kind of leader who would allow Hitler free reign (apparently, he hasn't heard of Godwin's Law, and thereby forfeited the argument outright). Boos from the audience, many of whom had obviously heard of Godwin's Law. Ron Paul unabashedly and unreservedly rocked it once again, saying the best thing we can do for the Iraqi people is to give their country back:

Asked which government programs they would cut, Paul said bringing the troops home from Iraq would save "a trillion dollars."

McCain said: "It's that kind of isolationism that caused World War II," which drew some hoots from the crowd.

Paul replied: "The real question you have to ask is why do I get the most money from active duty officers and military personnel?"
If he keeps on like this, I might have to vote for him in the primary, just to mess up the omnipresent South Carolina Mitt Romney fundie faction.

The YouTube debate questions were chosen from 5000 submissions, and apparently, these were overwhelmingly from white men, because that's who dominated the debate; white men's issues, concerns, agenda. No mention of pharmaceutical drugs or Medicaid, for example; not their problem. This being TV, whimsical presentations and flashy animations took precedence--and this favored participants with internet savvy and know-how. One question from a Pittsburgh mom about lead-based Chinese toys, brought forth a lot of meaningless jabber about free-trade, showing that these guys, clearly, have NO CLUE about ANYTHING in the real lives of most folks.

My summary: Vote for Ron in the GOP primary, then vote Democratic in the general election. Unless, of course, Ron keeps on delivering the unequivocal straight talk about Iraq... and then he could actually win.

Bring them home now.

Listening to: Yo La Tengo - Autumn Sweater
via FoxyTunes

All These Blues

MissCripChick has posted an insightful and fascinating piece on what it's like to be the only ___(fill in the blank)___ in a political group, and thus, used as a political dodge. The amusing term that she uses is "crip on a stick":
A dear friend and activist was at a planning group for some community festival and when they did not have any Native American people present, a committee member actually suggested creating life-size images of people in ceremonial outfits, putting them on sticks, and dancing around in a circle with the stick images during the event. Ridiculous, huh? Now we use the term Crip on a Stick to describe people in the Disability Rights Movement who are brought in to meetings to be that one token crip, young person, person of color. etc.
(Aside: That's hilarious!)

One of the primary perils of being the Crip on the Stick, that is to say, a token, is that you are then used to bludgeon your own kind... and that certainly AIN'T what you intended:
Obviously we NEED representation—I’m not arguing against that. My point is that this tokenized representation [a person just being a symbol] may come off as a good thing (getting X group to the table) but in reality, a tokenized person is often used first as a tactic to invalidate [cancel or take away] points made by others.— i.e. “We HAVE a woman of color on our board and she LOVES this idea. You’re wrong.” Secondly it is used as an excuse not to act on something—“Can’t you see we’re already talking about youth issues? We have a young person on our committee!”
I've noticed this particular dynamic whenever ANY complaints from ANY group come up, in ANY setting at all: Well, this TV show/book/movie/thing/blog entry/situation/committee blah blah blah cannot possibly be racist/sexist/homophobic/ableist/anti-semitic/ageist yada yada, because my good friend ________ sitting here beside me is black/female/gay/trans/Muslim yada yada, and they say it isn't.

What's weird about this, nobody ever reverses it. White people, males, straight people, etc. never look to other white people (for example) to validate whether something is personally offensive. By God, if it's offensive, then it is. They/we are regarded as individuals speaking for ourselves, not for "our race."

But then, if you have been BROUGHT IN precisely to speak for your group, then what? We want representation, as MissCripChick makes clear, but we don't want to invalidate other voices from our side. The idea, after all, is MORE involvement, not less. And more involvement will always mean a diversity of views.

Is there a positive way to say "This is my opinion as a _____, but I also speak only for myself." Does that take the teeth out of our involvement, when we do that? Isn't that equivocating?

And how can we support the alternative view(s), without losing our own voices?

In feminism, this has been particularly difficult. Not surprisingly, MissCripChick's post was in response to Brownfemipower's recent post about Jessica Valenti's book, Full Frontal Feminism, subject of intense feminist blogwars that I have mostly stayed out of. I don't want to get too far into that, except to say that I am largely in agreement with women of color bloggers, and their criticisms. For instance, echoing the above "crip on a stick" criticisms, Brownfemipower asks:
Would a white person’s critique of a book only count unless every single white person in the world agreed with that person? Why on earth should it make a fuck of a difference if there’s fifty or a hundred or a thousand women of color who disagree with any woman of color blogger? Is it possible that disagreement between community members is a part of any fully fledged self-actualized community?
At the same time, I have to say: good for Jessica for publishing a feminist book. I wish all feminists could.

Is it possible to take both positions? I try.

What do you think?

Listening to: The Paul Butterfield Blues Band - All These Blues
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sweet Sixteen

Not the fun kind. Check out the gashes and the blood.

Wasn't he just so wonderful?


Iggy Pop - Sixteen

[via FoxyTunes / Iggy Pop]

Monday, November 26, 2007

Elizabeth Kucinich...

...looks like a movie star. Yeah, I was surprised, too. Dennis, dude, you've been holding out on us.

The official Dennis Kucinich 4 President website links to an article sweetly titled How Kucinich Found Love:

Elizabeth's mother [Julia Massey] was a bit concerned about her daughter's plan. An American politician? In England, people mostly hear about America's conservative political figures. She couldn't imagine Elizabeth with such a man.

"But then I went to Dennis's Web site and I realized he was so much like Elizabeth," Massey says. "It just seemed heaven-sent."

She, too, found the age difference - Elizabeth's 27 years to Dennis's 58 - insignificant. "This is about a meeting of souls."

Of course, the age difference has garnered them attention.

"People who see us together understand - they see our connection," Elizabeth says. "And it's not like I'm some ditsy young thing and he's an old fogey. He has the wisdom of an ancient and the energy of youth."

Dennis says, "I've never seen myself as time-bound. When you make a connection on a soul level, age is not important."

As for having a family - Elizabeth says she would like children some day - Dennis says, "There's no problem there."
Maybe it's my age, but I seem to remember that as a young women, I similarly hooted when people would justify their attractions to young, beautiful, famous and/or affluent people with stuff like "We're on the same wavelength," or "We're soul-mates," or some other nonsense. Yes, of course you are, and this person just happens to be half your age, rich and/or drop-dead gorgeous.

My question: Why aren't the old, unattractive and/or poor people ever soul-mate material?

I admit, I was shocked that Dennis, regarded as the mousy nebbish of the Democrats, has gotten himself a trophy wife. I know, I'm way behind the curve; this has been under discussion for some time now. For instance, CNN Political Ticker humorously reported back in August, that Dennis managed to bring up the wife's age while discussing veganism, of all things:
Cedar Rapids, IOWA (CNN) – At the Livestrong Forum Monday, Democratic presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, hit home the message of proper health education and personally shared the benefits he’s experienced since adopting a vegan lifestyle.

“I didn't need as much sleep. I had a lot more energy. I had a lot more clarity. I didn't have the health problems that I had previous to that,” the Ohio congressman said. “And as a result, I had a better quality of life.”

Kucinich added: “People want a president who is healthy because if you’re healthy you can think right.”

The White House hopeful emphasized his commitment to a “full disclosure” health education policy, where Americans are made aware of the nutrition value and health risks of the food they eat.

Referencing the epidemic of American obesity owing to such lack of information, Kucinich pushed for overall “health consciousness” that includes physical fitness, proper nutrition and access to health care.

“There is a direct connection not only between diet and health, but diet and the environment, diet and the economy. And so as president I'm going to be singularly positioned to be able to lead that discussion because I take in my own journey toward health based on my dietary choices,” he said.

While describing a diet free of animal products and an improved quality of life, MSNBC Hardball Host, Chris Matthews, ignited laughter when playfully remarking “And you married a young woman.”

Kucinich joked, “And I did. And my – hello. I mean, I'm 60 years old, I have a – my wife's 29. You draw your own conclusions. Diet helps.”
Draw your own conclusions? Dennis, please.

Karen Heller, in the Philadephia Inquirer, gets to the point:
There are two ways of looking at the field of presidential contenders. On the one hand, there's the novelty of a woman, an African American and a Latino pursuing the White House.

On the other, presumably the left with a sizable rock involved, there are so many trophy wives.

Many candidates traded in their original models for younger, leaner and leggier partners, often producing a second family
of adorable tykes so ideal for photo ops.

I know, a shocking turn of events in Washington.

This does mark progress of some sort.

In the old days, pols rarely married their daughter-aged girlfriends.

That was because they were still wed to their wives, divorce being a greater political liability than adultery.

Fred Thompson's wife, Jeri, is 40, almost a quarter century his junior. Given to plunging necklines and soaring hems, she will never be mistaken for Laura Bush. The couple have two toddlers, making him one of several AARP diaper dads seeking the White House.

Sen. Chris Dodd, 63, who engaged in a 1985 "waitress sandwich" with Ted Kennedy while their dates were in the ladies room, is another. His second wife, Jackie, is a mere 18 years younger.

As is Cindy McCain, the Arizona Republican's second wife of 27 years. Not being one to endure a marital vacancy, McCain began courting his second wife while married to his first.

Dennis Kucinich's third wife, Elizabeth, has late-night pundits, You Tubists and, well, most males salivating. The former "boy mayor" of Cleveland, now 61, has a babe wife less than half his age.

She is car-crackup gorgeous and - for a change from the requisite blondage - a redhead, resembling Julianne Moore, only better and taller.

Should the Ohio Congressman be elected president, Elizabeth Kucinich would become the first first lady with a pierced tongue.
Of course, most political observers think there is no chance Dennis will be elected, especially after admitting that he had seen a UFO (this in reply to a direct question from Tim Russert during the Democratic debate in October). That seemed to finish him off. Nonetheless, the trophy wife issue lingers. Sad to say: I expect a Hollywood actor like Fred Thompson to have a younger wife, but I expect a lot MORE from a progressive candidate like Kucinich. How will menopausal, baby-boomer-aged women (of which I am one) feel about this glut of guys with babe-wives? Are we supposed to ignore what Tom Wolfe memorably dubbed "wife-shucking"? Can we trust a man who ditches his older wife for a younger model?

Does he value older women enough to fight for our rights?

Well, it's time to remind everyone, that one politician never ditched his wife, and right now, his wife is running for president. Let's all just vote for her, as a menopausal-pride thing. :)


Listening to: Howlin' Wolf - I Ain't Superstitious
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Playing with my new camera...

My cat is not impressed with my new toy, and wonders why I am harassing him.

Your humble narrator, on Thanksgiving Day.

Listening to: Jimi Hendrix Experience - Are You Experienced?
via FoxyTunes

Nothing can change the shape of things to come

Dead Air Church brings you classic NOSTALGIA with Max Frost and the Troopers, a fictional band made up for the movie WILD IN THE STREETS!

Wild in the Streets (1968) was a super-fabulous B-movie about adult paranoia circa 1968, as the kids lower the voting age to 14, feed LSD to everyone over 30, and take over the country. Christopher Jones, beautiful ex-husband of Susan Strasberg, brazenly channels Jim Morrison, and gives us this fantastic Doors-as-garage-band song (by brilliant songwriting duo Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil), which ominously reminds us that Nothing Can Change the Shape of Things to Come. Ain't it the truth.

The kids elect Max president in the movie, which doesn't bode well, as you might imagine.

And if your kids try to get you to drink anything suspect, REFUSE IT!


Max Frost And The Troopers - Nothing Can Change the Shape of Things to Come

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Georgia on my Mind

After 20 years of marriage, me and Mr. Daisy have certain rules worked out. One of these rules: whoever drives gets to choose the music. That's seems fair enough.

And since I refuse to drive in nightmarish metro-areas such as Atlanta, Houston, Washington DC, etc. this means that I am subjected to continuous, ear-bleeding rounds of Stiff Little Fingers, Dinosaur Jr, Social Distortion, The Clash, etc. (What? Did you say something?) Mr. Daisy likes to punctuate blasts of The Clash with Elijah Wood's addled statement in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, as he memorably jumped up and down on the bed while smoking dope with Kirsten Dunst: The Clash, the only band that mattered! They called themselves that for a reason!

I find Atlanta traffic terrifying. My driving-panic-threshold seems to be cities the size of Austin, Columbus, Cleveland, Baton Rouge, St Augustine, where I can drive fairly decently. Atlanta? Not on your life. Or mine!

And so, I invariably arrive half-deafened at my in-laws. I hope they don't take this personally and think I am not listening.

This year, I handed my mother-in-law a fancy gourmet cinnamon crumb cake, and she deadpanned, "I hope you brought your own water. Don't need CAKE, need WATER."

Indeed, we had just passed Lake Hartwell, which is usually quite majestic, blue and beautiful in the sun. (From the air, it looks like a large and lovely blue flower imprinted on the earth.) Not today. The drought is so severe, an ugly brown island was poking up out of the lake, that I didn't even know was there. The coast of the lake is lined in dried reddish Georgia clay. What's happened to the water? What the hell is going on? Georgia politicians are threatening to take water from South Carolina, which as you might imagine, is not going over so well around here.

The real estate pimps at Lake Hartwell, eager to contain the damage, are assuring everyone everything is A-OK, and arranging the Lake webcams (see left) to minimize any appearance of drought. Everything is fine! Getcher lakefront property here! Everything IS FINE FINE FINE.

Obviously not. The Army Corps of Engineers informs us that yes, lake levels are very low:
Extreme drought conditions have persisted across much of Georgia with moderate to severe drought conditions over most of the Savannah Basin. Over the past 30 days, precipitation has averaged less than 30% of normal for this time of year in the Upper Savannah Basin. As a result, the soil is very dry which reduces the amount of runoff and inflow from tributaries after rain events. Additionally, low soil moisture reduces the amount of water available for evapotranspiration that causes cloud formation for afternoon thunderstorms this time of year. Current long term forecasts from the National Weather Service do not indicate a change in the current dry pattern over the next 90 days.

The updated Savannah District Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) took effect on September 30th, 2006. The DCP includes the operational rules for the reservoirs as drought conditions develop. This plan was developed with extensive stakeholder input and seeks to balance the needs for water resources during times of shortages.

Drought Level 1 was triggered at the end of June 2007 resulting in a flow reduction to a maximum weekly average release of 4200cfs at Thurmond Dam. Drought Level 2 was triggered in mid-August 2007 resulting in a flow reduction to a maximum weekly average release of 4000cfs at Thurmond Dam. Additionally, as of Tuesday, October 23, 2007, after gaining agreement from other federal and state stakeholder agencies, the minimum daily discharge from Lake Thurmond has been temporarily reduced from 3800 to back to 3600 cubic feet per second. These flow reductions at Thurmond cause flow reductions at Hartwell that are necessary to keep the pools near balance. The Southeastern Power Administration (SEPA) is purchasing replacement energy from other sources to cover the reduced hydropower generation from the DCP implementation.
And in Atlanta, emergency measures have been utilized for some time now, hence, my mother-in-law's joke:
An unprecedented drought stretching across the southeastern United States has forced some of the region's largest cities to declare water emergencies.

The situation has become so serious that officials in Atlanta, where rainfall totals are more than 16 inches below normal, said they could run out of drinking water in a matter of weeks.

"Without any intervention, we are likely to run out of water in three months," said Carol Couch, the director of the Environmental Protection Division in Georgia.

The drought has been sucking the city and its water sources dry.

"We have actually classified it as an exceptional drought," said David Stooksbury, a climatologist at Georgia State. "Basically [it is] the type of drought that we expect to see about once in 100 years."

Most of Atlanta's water supply comes from two lakes. Lake Lanier is the main source, but the drought has affected it.

The city's second source for water is Lake Allatoona, which should be about 16 feet higher than it currently is and continues losing a foot a week. Docks used for boats sit high and dry, hundreds of feet from the water's edge.

At the heart of the drought drama is the question of how state and federal officials ration the shrinking water supply.

Georgia officials have threatened legal action if the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers does not drastically cut the amount of water it releases from state lakes for agricultural and industrial use. Much of that released water ends up in Florida and Alabama, where officials are likely to oppose any additional decrease in the flow of water. Florida officials say low water levels already threaten the survival of endangered river mussels.

The corps already came under fire when it accidentally released 22 billion extra gallons of water from Lake Lanier last June, just as the region was sinking into a deep drought.

The dry weather has caused the state governors in the region to request that residents cut back on their water usage.

In the Atlanta area, while the conservation measures inside the home are still voluntary, the entire state is under a mandatory outdoor watering ban.
Read the rest of the story, from ABC news. The situation is so dire, water thefts have begun.

And so, the horrible consequences of global warming continue to manifest. And all while various Republicans and conservative wackos refuse to believe global warming is real.

How about those global-warming-skeptics start bringing THEIR own water?

Frequent updates: Atlanta Water Shortage

Listening to: Lou Reed - Berlin
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Yearly Thanksgiving Harangue

You knew it was coming, dincha? ;)

None of my friends and family IRL escape this, and dear reader, neither will you.

Excerpted from Turkeys: Factory-Farmed Torture on the Holiday Table:

More than 40 million turkeys are killed each year at Thanksgiving, more than 20 million are slaughtered at Christmas, and another 19 million die for Easter dinners. Before ending up as holiday centerpieces, these gentle birds spend five to six months on factory farms where thousands of them are packed into dark sheds with no more than 3.5 square feet of space per bird. To keep the overcrowded birds from scratching and pecking each other to death, workers cut off portions of the birds’ toes and upper beaks with hot blades and de-snood the males (the snood is the flap of skin that runs from the beak to the chest). No pain relievers are used during any of these procedures.

Genetic manipulation and antibiotics enable farmers to produce heavily muscled birds who can weigh 35 pounds in as little as five months, and “their internal organs are noticeably crammed together in the little bit of space remaining for the body cavity,” according to The Washington Post. An industry magazine said, “[T]urkey breeders have created birds with huge, unnatural, outsized breasts, since white breast meat is where the money is.” Another turkey breeder complained that birds “are bred to grow fast just to live to 16 weeks [and then] they die,” usually from organ failure, and some suffer from broken legs because their bones are not able to support their weight. A 12-year study of turkey farmers in Iowa (one of the nation’s top turkey-producing states) revealed that leg problems and aneurysms were among the top three health problems in turkey flocks. Factory-farmed turkeys are so large that they cannot even perform normal reproductive behaviors, so all turkeys raised for food are the products of artificial insemination.

Millions of turkeys don’t even make it past the first few weeks before succumbing to “starve-out,” a stress-induced condition that causes young birds to simply stop eating. Catching and transportation are particularly stressful processes for birds, and yet they are repeatedly moved during their short lives—from hatchery to the brooding area to the growing area and finally to the slaughterhouse.

At the slaughterhouse, turkeys are hung upside-down by their weak and twisted legs before their heads are dragged through an electrified “stunning tank,” which immobilizes them but does not kill them. Many birds dodge the tank and, therefore, are fully conscious when their throats are slit. If the knife fails to properly slit the birds’ throats, they are scalded alive in the tank of hot water used for feather removal.
Okay, I'm done.

Consider a nice tofurky, or some mashed potatoes?

Butterball Cruelty
United Poultry Concerns
Animals Voice
Vegan Outreach

Listening to: Dead Kennedys - Holiday in Cambodia
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Odds and Sods II

The Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive has FREE (YES! I SAID FREE!) books available, including the book at the left, Illuminating the Path to Enlightenment by the Dalai Lama. Go here and have a look. They make great Christmas presents for those folks you'd like to give a gift to, but you know they'd feel weird if you spent money on them. :)

I wrap these books up all *Christmas-pretty* and include ordering information, if they should want to order more. If you know non-Christians, progressive Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Jains, Wiccans, pagans, etc... most are usually very pleased with these gifts, and you can also have some great (if highly esoteric!) discussions afterwards! (I've never given them to any atheists, so you're on your own there; agnostics seem fine.)

Bonus: Some of the books have Richard Gere's name in the acknowledgments! :D

Of course, you should send money for postage and whatever you can afford. Charity (Dana) is one of the six requisites of Buddhist discipline: Giving leads to being reborn in happy states and material wealth. Alternatively, lack of giving leads to unhappy states and poverty. Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archives is generously providing us lovely, new books, and we should give back.

So, yes, they are free, but I always give something.


Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day of memorial for all transgender persons who have died as a result of intolerance and violence.

Thanks to Lisa at Questioning Transphobia for the heads-up.

More at Transgender Day of Remembrance and Remembering Our Dead.


Anthony wants you should contribute to his blog carnival, Surfer's Paradise Hullabaloo. Deadline midnight! Go to Anthony McCune's blog for the details.


New Grateful Dead Hour shows are posted every Wednesday on the fabulous and invaluable Click on FEATURES and then GD HOUR. Great stuff to get you through your working week!

Listening to: New York Dolls - Personality Crisis
via FoxyTunes

Monday, November 19, 2007

Rich man step on my poor head

Left: Alex Allan's website photos feature a photograph of Allan windsurfing on the Thames and one of him as a young rock fan in 1969. Photos from UK Telegraph. (Check out Deadhead logo on the sail)

Ted Christian, who will soon take congress totally BY STORM, wants me to know that the new head of British intelligence is a Deadhead:

New intelligence chief reveals all on website
By Robert Winnett, Deputy Political Editor
Last Updated: 2:37am GMT 16/11/2007

The most senior British intelligence official, appointed yesterday to oversee MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, has a website revealing his home address, phone numbers and private photographs of himself, family and friends.

Alex Allan, 56, is the new head of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) with access to sensitive documents and information regarding anti-terrorist operations.

But the details on his website, described by a security official as "a serious breach", reveal him as a devoted fan of the American rock band Grateful Dead and a keen cyclist who once windsurfed to work in Westminster during a train strike.

The security breach, uncovered by The Daily Telegraph, raises questions over the vetting of senior Whitehall intelligence officials whose identities are publicly announced by the Government.

The website shows Mr Allan posing in a skin-tight cycling outfit as well as pictures of his 50th birthday party, complete with details of friends and family.

He is also seen in bowler and pinstripe windsurfing past Parliament in the early 1980s.

On the website, he says: "I first saw the Dead in the mud at Bickershawe in 1972 and was so knocked out....I have been a Deadhead ever since.

"I was Principal Private Secretary to the (British) Prime Minister, first John Major and then Tony Blair after the Election. It's the same job as 'Bernard' in Yes, Prime Minister for those who watched that!"

Mr Allan then goes on to detail other posts he held in Whitehall and his role as British High Commissioner to Australia from November 1997 to January 2000. The website also has transcripts of his speeches and details his wife's successful career as an artist.

Potentially more serious is the address of his west London house and his home and mobile telephone numbers. The Daily Telegraph has agreed not to publish further details. One security official said: "This is a very serious breach of security. Mr Allan is a target for terrorists and having this information in the public domain is a very naive move on his part. He may well now have to move."

Mr Allan replaces Sir Richard Mottram as chairman of the JIC.

Last month, The Daily Telegraph revealed that Sir Richard was to pick up the most generous pension package awarded to a Whitehall civil servant after retiring this month.

A spokesman for Mr Allan said he "didn't want to say anything" but would be removing personal information from the internet.
Very amusing, and you undoubtedly know the line, Mr Allan: Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothing new to say.
Listening to: The Kinks - Interview
via FoxyTunes

A case of the cutes

...was an expression employed by this blog's namesake, my grandmother. She did not mean it as a compliment. My grandmother dripped contempt for certain feminine excesses, thus precociously prepping me for the cold-showers-and-root-canal ideology of 70s radical feminism. (Sometimes you can still find this philosophy in certain corners of Blogdonia, but I digress.)

To have a case of the cutes was to be cuter than the damn dickens, oozing cute from every pore, the veritable personification of Brady-Bunch CUTENESS. When rude boys made fun of cute, my grandmother-the-gender-cop snorted her approval, thereby sending me mixed messages. Cute was bad, but one could be nauseatingly sentimental, particularly if talking about Jesus or anyone He may have known personally or been distant kin to. In fact, my grandmother's sentimentality annoyed the hell out of me, and I was as dogged in making fun of it as she was in lambasting my periodic Cases of the Cutes.

The Sentimental Epoch of her life was the Silver Bridge Collapse, which had been fairly close to her family home. (We'd all been across it many times.) This event prompted her to purchase awful collector dinner plates, bad country/western records and unreadable books cobbled together by local historians. I now realize the bridge was not simply the bridge connecting West Virginia and Ohio, but the bridge connecting North and South. It's collapse obviously signified something very personal to her, possibly symbolizing the psychological break she made with the South. (If you saw The Mothman Prophecies, you saw the dramatization of this collapse. Some of the film's terrifying rural sequences were set near my grandmother's family home, where I had always refused to stay overnight as a spooked, spoiled city kid!)

Thus, I always feel I need to apologize for cute, because the fact is--(deep breath) I often like cute things. I suppress it, and it therefore bubbles up, blossoms forth, bursts into waking life, unbidden.... a MASSIVE CASE OF THE CUTES! My cup runneth over, and when I was surfing ye olde net today (trying to get into that Currier and Ives Seasonal spirit, and everything, particularly since I am in RETAIL) I saw something SO CUTE, well, I had to haul it over here. Just had to. I am helpless to resist.

Cute Overload!

2 Sweet
2 B
4 Gotten

Listening to: The Kinks - See My Friends
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Orangeburg Massacre governor dies

Former South Carolina Governor Robert E. McNair, age 83, died Saturday in Charleston. He was born in Hell Hole Swamp in Berkley County, served in WWII, the House and the Senate.

McNair was Democratic governor during the tumultuous Civil Rights era, and famously sent the National Guard into Orangeburg, SC in 1968:

Although South Carolina avoided the level of bloodshed seen in Alabama and other Southern states during the civil rights movement, an incident at South Carolina State University in February 1968 weighed heavily on McNair, he told his biographer and former speechwriter, Philip Grose.

McNair, a Democrat, was governor during what would come to be known as the Orangeburg Massacre. Three students were shot to death by state troopers and 27 were injured on the S.C. State campus following two days of protests over a segregated bowling alley.

McNair had sent troopers and members of the National Guard to Orangeburg to keep the protests peaceful.

In a biography Grose published last year, "South Carolina at the Brink: Robert McNair and the Politics of Civil Rights," McNair took responsibility for the massacre.

"The fact that I was governor at the time placed the mantle of responsibility squarely on my shoulders, and I have borne that responsibility with all the heaviness it entails for all those years," he is quoted as saying.

Left: The victims of the Orangeburg Massacre, Samuel Hammond, Delano Middleton, and Henry Smith. There were also 27 other young people wounded.

Many folks, I have discovered, are completely unfamiliar with the Orangeburg Massacre:
On the night of February 8th, 1968, officers of the law opened fire on protesting students on the campus of South Carolina State College at Orangeburg. When the shooting stopped, three young men were dead and twenty-seven other students, male and female, were seriously wounded. What had begun as an attempt by peaceful young people to use the facilities of a local bowling alley had become a violent confrontation between aroused students and the coercive power of the state. This tragedy was the first of its kind on any American college campus and became known as the Orangeburg Massacre.

When gunfire felled students again two years later at Kent State University in Ohio, banner headlines carried the news to every corner of the globe. But the Orangeburg tragedy prompted little news coverage in national media, and most of that was superficial and distorted. The victims at Kent State were white students protesting an unpopular war. At Orangeburg, the dead and wounded were black students seeking equal treatmewnt and opprtunity. Most reporters were willing to accept without question the “official version” peddled by state and federal authorities on the scene. The students, parents, the president of the college, and members of the faculty had a different story to tell, but no one wanted to hear.

Orangeburg Massacre - Wikipedia
Historic Places of the Civil Rights movement: SCSU Historical District, Orangeburg

Listening to: The Paul Butterfield Blues Band - Mary, Mary
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Bob Jones and Billy Graham

Fascinating article about Billy Graham's career, by James Shannon in Upstate Beat. I often forget that Rev. Graham started out at Bob Jones University, and had a famous falling-out with our local Jones boys.

Some excerpts:

[Marshall] Frady’s biography of Graham contains details of his tangled relationship with another local institution, Bob Jones University. When Billy’s mother Morrow Graham heard Bob Jones, Sr. speak in Charlotte in 1936, she decided her son would attend what was then called Bob Jones College. Founded in 1927 in the Florida panhandle, the small fundamentalist academy had moved to Cleveland, Tennessee in 1933.

As Graham would recount years later, “I didn’t have the slightest idea what kind of school it was. All I knew is that it was Christian.” When the dutiful son followed his mother’s wishes to Bob Jones, he encountered an environment far different from the family farmhouse where he had been raised. Described as “a kind of an evangelical boot camp,” Bob Jones College in 1936 housed students in “grim brick barracks with long low corridors lit with drab glares and posted with notifications like ‘Griping Not Tolerated’ and presided over by the autocratic and irascible figure of Jones.”

At least that’s how Frady described what he called “the Dickensian bleakness” of Bob Jones in those days. When he went home at Christmas after his first semester, Graham persuaded his parents to let him transfer to Florida Bible Institute near Tampa. There he would find respite from cold Tennessee winters and a place where his outgoing personality could be put to more effective use.
In "those days"? Compared to most colleges, that's how people describe the place now, too.
Gov. Strom Thurmond invited Graham to stay at the Governor’s Mansion when he held a crusade at the University of South Carolina football stadium in 1950, attended by some 42,000. While he was there, Graham received an invitation to speak at his former school. Now called Bob Jones University, it had moved from Tennessee to Greenville, South Carolina in 1947. In a program held on campus before an overflow crowd, Graham was warmly introduced by school president Bob Jones, Jr. Before the decade was over, however, the position of the school towards their former student would undergo a remarkable transformation.

Although Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. had bestowed an honorary doctor of humanities degree on Graham in 1948, the decision to seek sponsorship from officials of other, non-fundamentalist religions for Graham’s New York crusade in 1957 brought him into sharp conflict with Bob Jones doctrine. Bob Jones Sr. said such outreach across denominational lines violated 2 John 9-11, which prohibits receiving in fellowship those who do “not abide in the teaching of Christ.”

Jonathan Pait, current spokesman for Bob Jones University, would not comment directly on these events that occurred years before he was associated with the school – years before he was even born, for that matter. But Pait was frank in describing the theological impasse that led to the split between Graham and Bob Jones.

“As I understand it, the problems arose when he began moving his crusades in a more ecumenical direction,” says Pait. “Having multiple types of theology to participate in his campaigns - liberal theologians as well as people of other religions who would join in those crusades - is basically giving credence to others with quite different beliefs.”

Although at the time Bob Jones (both senior and junior) insisted there was nothing personal in their position, and Billy Graham attested to his love and respect for both men, the controversy was played out against the backdrop of a broader split between fundamentalists and mainstream Christian churches. Not all of the participants in these disputes adhered to the principles of Christian charity professed by their leaders, and it didn’t help when Graham accepted honorary degrees from two Roman Catholic colleges and had his Boston campaign endorsed by Richard Cardinal Cushing.

It all came to a head when the Graham organization announced they would hold their only American crusade of 1966 in Greenville. The Southern Piedmont Crusade was held from March 3 to 14, 1966 at the mammoth new Textile Hall, drawing tens of thousands of participants – but presumably not any of the 3,800 students of Bob Jones who had been publicly ordered not to attend on threat of expulsion.

Just as the Pope in Rome often makes his views known through encyclicals, matters of faith on the Bob Jones campus are often proclaimed through chapel talks, a tradition begun by the founder and continued by his successor son and grandson. “ The Position of Bob Jones University in Regard to the Proposed Billy Graham Crusade in Greenville, A Chapel Talk by Dr. Bob Jones, Jr., on February 8, 1965 ” was the transcript of one such event that surfaced publicly that year. It proclaims, “The Bible commands that false teachers and men who deny the fundamentals of the faith should be accursed; that is, they shall be criticized and condemned. Billy approves them, Billy condones them, Billy recommends them… I think that Dr. Graham is doing more harm in the cause of Jesus Christ than any living man; that he is leading foolish and untaught Christians, simple people that do not know the Word of God, into disobedience to the Word of God.”

The key sentiment expressed in that 1965 chapel talk, “Dr. Graham is doing more harm in the cause of Jesus Christ than any living man,” is repeated to this day as an example of religious intolerance by Bob Jones, though the view makes a little more sense when viewed in context as a matter of doctrine – or at least it did before Bob Jones III endorsed Mitt Romney for president despite the fact he is a Mormon.
Read the whole thing.

Listening to: Etta James - Security
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, November 15, 2007

She rocked and she rolled!

Photo: Yahoo News

Did everyone watch the Democratic Presidential debate tonight? It was broadcast live from Las Vegas by CNN, and for a political debate, seemed a pretty energetic affair; there were even some boos!

Ten-second review: Hillary blew the doors off the guys. She came, she saw, she kicked ass:

LAS VEGAS - Under pressure in a feisty debate, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton accused her closest rivals Thursday night of slinging mud "right out of the Republican playbook" and leveled her sharpest criticism of the campaign at their records.

"People are not attacking me because I'm a woman, they're attacking me because I'm ahead," Clinton said, striving to protect her standing as front-runner in an increasingly competitive nominating campaign.
Complete debate coverage.
Listening to: Bob Marley & the Wailers - Exodus
via FoxyTunes

We're gettin tired of hangin around...

I've been told this song was popular in Vietnam, out in the bush. "When the music's over" as in, when you died: Music is your only friend/Until the end.

I've been wondering what songs the troops are listening to now, that have the same emotional resonance this once had for another generation of soldiers.

The Doors - When The Music's Over

[via FoxyTunes / The Doors]

I hauled this video out of mothballs to prove to my 20-something friend that Carlos Santana was once a beautiful, thin man with lots of hair:

Santana - Soul Sacrifice (Woodstock 1969)

[via FoxyTunes / Soul Sacrifice]

Proof of greatness is when an 'unknown' can nearly steal a movie from the stars!

I recently passed through HOT TOPIC and noticed all the Christopher Walken T-shirts. Apparently, he is particularly popular with the irreverent kids. But I've noticed that most of the kids don't know about his big acting break, so I hereby offer it here:

Walken in Annie Hall

[via FoxyTunes / Annie Hall]

Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff for President?

Left: Major Arcana XX: Judgement

I knew whenever I finally drew this card, it was time to talk about the radical feminist running for president. How ironic it is also the same day as a major presidential debate. That is to say, a day that serious candidates subject themselves to questions from the media, and their ability to answer determines their future electability.

What if I told you that a well-known blogger is running for president, but won't allow any dissenting voices on her blog? And she will NOT subject herself to questioning?

You'd probably say, well, that's how most politicians are.

But wait, this is a RADICAL FEMINIST candidate, who believes that the current patriarchal, power-based, racist, sexist, heterosexist system is CORRUPT! But she still won't allow dissenting voices on her blog.

"HUH?" You might reply, incredulously. "You mean, a RADICAL?"

(I actually had this conversation yesterday.)

Yes, I refer to the amazing Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff, aka HEART, infamous blogger at Women's Space, who is now running for president as a radical feminist, a group to which I have a lifelong connection (unlike her). This radical feminist blogger will accept no criticism, or discussion about her views. And now she claims to be running for president. What do you think about someone who runs for president but allows no dissent? Does that make you somewhat nervous? Good thing she can't win, huh? I have no desire to see the inside of a Gulag, even an organic one.

Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff defies all description. Copious links to her theoretical flotsam and jetsam are at the links, above. Some other criticisms, by me and others, are listed below.

Suffice to say that a few scant years ago, Cheryl was the darling of the fundamentalist Christian homeschool set. Today, for instance, she tells us:

What follows is disturbing and might be triggering to women from this type of background. In fact, what is here might be more disturbing than almost anything you have read so far from the Quiverfull reconstructionist writers. One reason is that it is quite well-written. The young woman who wrote it is clearly highly educated and intelligent. I saw this all the time in my old world, bright young women, completely controlled by their fathers, convinced that this is what they — the daughters – wanted and that it was best for them. My own daughter who is now 31 and who, of all my daughters, spent the most time in this world at my side, sent a link to me in abject revulsion and disgust which included a link to this article. She came across the link looking for a girl who was her friend in our old world and who, she learned, still shares the views of the young woman who wrote this essay. I knew my daughter’s friend’s father as a colleague; I sometimes shared speakers’ platforms with him. He ruled his family with an iron fist and was brutally controlling in ways it would be hard for outsiders to believe. When feminists castigate and mock girls women in these groups, calling them names, stereotyping them, treating them hatefully, they are failing to take into account what girls and women are subjected to in this world.
(Italics mine) She did WHAT? She shared a speaker's platform with this man?

Does Heart take any responsibility for being an active PARTISAN and PROPAGANDIST in this "old world" of hers? Does she ever say how WRONG she was for oppressing other women by preaching the Gospel of endless childbearing? Is she sorry she instructed women to be submissive from podiums, as these iron-fisted husbands pointed to Heart as an example their womenfolk should follow? Is she sorry she exuberantly, constantly instructed women FOR YEARS that the public schools are bad, hence as a good mother you must teach your own children AT HOME whether you are cut out for it or not? These are the tenets of the Quiverfull movement that she belonged to, wrote for, agitated for, preached at podiums for, ad nauseum. Any apologies for any of that? Nope. Never. Nada. Not a single time. Because if she had any shame or self-awareness about the gravity of what she did, she would be too ashamed to open her mouth in criticism of OTHER WOMEN.

And criticizing WOMEN is what Heart does best. Why does this make me think her fundamentalism runs deep, deep, deep in her soul? Because little has changed. In Heart-universe, whores are still the root of all evil, just as her Bible tells her so.

Heart's version of these years is that she was entirely a victim, a sort of brainwashed sleep-walker. Even though she also claims she was a feminist in the 70s, and MADE A DECISION to become one of these kinds of Christians, she takes no responsibility for that decision. Even though she openly and unapologetically brags about having been a publisher, writing and editing a popular Christian homeschooling magazine, meeting deadlines, homeschooling 11 children, etc... . she does not credit the environment that made this possible for her to do, and lauded her for doing it. Heart enthusiastically traveled around the country on speaking engagements, promoting her magazine, and brags about that, too, as she managed to sneak it into her comments, above. When it makes her look good, she hauls out her fundamentalist, Quiverfull work-history for the purpose of intimidating others. However, she ABDICATES all ideological responsibility when it might make her look suspect.

According to Heart, she was a powerhouse/force to be reckoned with in the Quiverfull movement, UNTIL this narrative infringes on her feminist self-definition as a victim. And then, she was--what? Forced? Intimidated? Tellingly, no details concerning her decision-making process are provided. All these feminine activities she describes as unmitigated joys, such as homeschooling and breast-feeding, were these chosen activities or forced on her? Obviously, she made decisions to do as she did, and doesn't even have the moral decency to apologize for the disgusting garbage she propagated as a reactionary, dangerous, misogynist, homophobic, right-wing fundamentalist.

And so, we see that Heart was no ordinary woman in this Quiverfull set, but a mover and shaker and magazine publisher. Also, a "high achiever", as mother of 11 children in a culture (like Catholicism and Mormonism) in which childbearing is status-related for women. Would she have been chosen to speak for this set if she had been infertile or less fertile? Interestingly, she never discusses that, along with so much else she ignores. Wikipedia tells us (Quiverfull link, above):

Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff, a former ardent Quiverfull adherent, birth-mother of eleven children, and former editor of Gentle Spirit Magazine, argues that the Quiverfull movement is one "in which women and children are routinely and systematically subordinated and subjugated by the men in their lives - fathers, husbands, older sons, sons, pastors, elders, leaders - as a matter of biblical principle."[31] Seelhoff charges that Quiverful adherents "never talk about the victims of the movement, other than to distance themselves, to explain how it is that the victims are aberrations," and do not talk about "the way the lives of so many, many women in that movement have been all but destroyed - women with 5, 7, 9, 11 or more children".
In 1997, Seelhoff won a lawsuit of over a million dollars against some of the Quiverfull people, for making off with her Gentle Spirit mailing list--although in reading these many accounts, the timeline is a little hazy. Cheryl/Heart also remarried in 1995 and was apparently excommunicated by her sect, Calvary Chapel of Tacoma.

It is interesting that Heart was a charismatic leader, editor, speaker and popular figure in the Quiverfull movement, and insists on being the same sort of hotshot in radical feminism. In signing onto the radical feminist project, she must also be front and center. No humility here, no mere follower she. The ego is tremendous.

A short catechism, for Cheryl's benefit

Around the time of Cheryl's lawsuit and excommunication, I became a serious, full-time vegetarian. No more slumming, no more dilettante vegetarianism! I forced myself to speak up for animal rights, I read books, I went to the appropriate classes and websites, and I studied. And I invite the reader of this blog to look at how many times I have blogged or commented about vegetarianism.

Not many, you say.

Why? Well, because I was late to the game. I have humility about the subject; I am humbled before lifelong vegetarians and animal rights activists. In fact, I made fun of vegetarianism for years, before I became convinced it was morally right. So, I do not grandstand and soapbox, I am humble. I am learning. I am a BABY in the cause.

(Graphic at left from Radical Women.)

Likewise, Cheryl was anti-feminist for years, hobnobbing with the likes of Dr. James Dobson and condemning women who didn't have babies every year. As she says on her website today, she even raised her daughters in this noxious environment. In short, she is late to the game. She came to radical feminism after doing untold damage to feminism and women. Does she show any humility? Are you kidding? No, she sets up a blog titled WOMEN'S SPACE--not, say, "Heart's Space"--as most feminists do. No, she presumes to speak for all of womankind, as her type of fundamentalist Christian characteristically claims to speak for all women, all families, all children.

Does she sit down and shut up and learn from women who have been feminist all their lives? No. Does she show respect for her feminist elders? No. Are you kidding? She runs for fucking president. From one podium to another, barely missing a beat.

She has no shame. None at all. She is right, and everyone else is wrong, and this is the CONSTANT, this is the THEME of her life. Whether the "truth" is dogmatic Christianity or dogmatic radical feminism, the approach is exactly the same. She "feels sorry" for her opposition, but she will not lower herself to actually debate with them or answer her critics, as it is notable the aforementioned Dr Dobson believes you should never do.

Do you want this person to be president? Are you ready for the Gulag? To the transpeople: are you ready to GO BACK? I think she would likely enforce re-transitioning, re-education camps, etc. I think it is likely she also supports the "vouchers for homeschoolers" movement, at the expense of public schools, a political position right in line with Dr Dobson and Pat Robertson.

It is interesting that although she calls herself a radical feminist, she has alienated dozens of feminists, and will not let the purged feminists reply to criticisms on her site. As far as I know, none of the persona non grata feminists (including me) has banned Heart in return.

Needless to say, I don't want this person representing feminism, radical feminism, me or the USA. As Someone Else once said: By their fruits shall ye know them.


More about Heart:

Despite calling herself a feminist, Heart works to actively withhold basic civil rights from certain women, such as sex workers and transgendered women.

This Women's Space thread about race, is kinda fun, primarily because it starts out with Sidney Poitier. Unfortunately, it goes downhill from there. Here is Bint's reply at My Private Casbah.

Other disgusted feminists include Veronica and Belledame.

In this fascinating thread, Ren is attacked for writing "Fall under a truck and die choking on your own blood," in response to some of Heart & Co.'s feminist excesses. Heart freaks out over this remark and holds a War Crimes Tribunal. What I find especially interesting here is that Heart is all over Ren's ass, yet still does not apologize for having told women (for decades) that they will burn in hell, eyeballs melting, tongues blackening and curling up like burnt newspaper, screaming for all eternity.... which is at least as nasty as choking on blood. Also, she does not apologize for promising to deny sex workers their rights, and upholds the status quo of putting women in prison if they should attempt to earn a living in a way her feminism or her religion does not approve of. Isn't that as unpleasant as choking on blood? (I guess it's all a matter of who is doing the insulting, and for what reasons, huh?)

I Shame the Matriarchy took on the Heart-faction, and got 70 posts in reply!

My Private Casbah: Evidently, Cheryl Seelhoff lieks moar drama
Listening to: Nina Simone - Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Like everything else that I been through, it opened up my eyes

From GeekZenDaddy comes the most amazing thing I have seen in awhile. It's ONE TOKE OVER THE LINE as performed on the Lawrence Welk show.

I wish I had a date for this, but alas, nobody seems to know. From that awful dress, we can assume it was about 1971, shortly after the song hit the top 10. (The clothes really do not go with the subject matter!)

This song landed Brewer and Shipley on the Nixon/Agnew enemies list, for the crime of subverting the nation's youth. Apparently LW and crew were completely unaware of that, which is one reason middle America loved them so much: They were clueless, and so was Lawrence Welk, and they were fine with that.

And you thought I was kidding!

Just in case you youngsters don't know the song, the original is below:

I missed Dead Air Church this week, so consider this your weekly meditation. Today is in fact the Feast of St Gertrude, author of that prayer we are supposed to say to have 1000 souls released from purgatory, but I can never remember the prayer (bad Catholic!).

In any event, pot and purgatory are definitely related, but such enlightening theological reflections will have to wait for a later date.

The Murder of Meredith Kercher, pt 2

Left: Amanda Knox on her MySpace page, as reprinted in the UK Telegraph.

A couple of days ago, my blog stats when BOOM again* all because people are DYING to know about the Meredith Kercher/Amanda Knox murder case. Nobody seems to be Googling the guys' names... people want the lesbian-tinged, sadomasochistic, play-by-play action. As naive as this sounds, I really didn't think I'd get 300 hits in 48 hours, all due to searches like "Kercher Knox rough sex murder" (there! I made it easy for yall!)... so now, it's time for some feminist analysis, if I can manage it.

The fact is: I think this case may be out of my depth. Where to start?

I've asked some people who are genuinely into "rough sex" (obviously one of those eye-of-the-beholder things; rough sex for one person will not necessarily be rough to another) if they might contribute or comment on this case for me, and they seem thoroughly disinclined to do so. I totally understand that, since they should not have to answer for an isolated SM crackpot on the loose, but I am still curious about what they think of the press coverage so far. Fox News and various other news outlets can hardly stop leering long enough to focus on the facts of the case, try as they might. How often do you have free-wheelin American girls from Seattle running amok in Italy, forcing "rough sex" on nice, proper British girls? And bringing in Italian boyfriends and Congolese bar-owners to participate in the fun? Good lord. That's enough for a movie all by itself.

And... did the whole thing just get out of hand, or was Meredith's torture-death the intention from the git-go?

What really sets this case apart is the fact that Amanda had an ongoing narrative, as FOXY KNOXY--a MySpace blogger who openly wrote about BDSM scenarios and had something of a fan-base. One wonders if this case would keep us so enthralled if this pre-conceived character did not already exist, as the Columbine boys also had online personas that dovetailed with their real-life intentions. The Telegraph puts it very plainly, titling their update: AMANDA KNOX WROTE STORIES ABOUT RAPE (all that's required is an exclamation point, or several):

Amanda Knox, a 20-year-old language and creative writing student from Seattle in the United States, wrote enthusiastically on the social networking site MySpace about her new life studying Italian in Perugia, about her friends and her new house.

Like most people of her age, her tastes are diverse and she rambles about the people she loves and the ways she likes to spend her time.

But Knox, writing under the name Foxy Knoxy, also reveals a different side to her character with a series of short stories - one concerns a stalker and another talks about the drugging and rape of a young woman.

In the latter, an older brother Edgar, challenges his younger brother Kyle over a woman called Victoria.

His brother responds, laughing: "Icky Vicky, huh? Jeez, Edgar. You had me going there. A thing you have to know about chicks is that they don't know what they want," before attacking him.

Detectives currently questioning Knox are expected to trawl through the blogs, and every element of her life, in the coming days, looking for any clues as to how an average young woman at the beginning one of the most exciting periods of her life might have been caught up in murderous sexual violence.

It was Knox and her Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, who claim to have first found Meredith Kercher's body at the house the two girls shared.

Knox gave an alibi to police but in the four days after the killing, it allegedly began to crumble.

She last logged onto her MySpace page on Monday - four days after the killing, but will not have seen messages of support posted by friends telling her they love her and to "stay strong".

Before this week's events, she corresponded regularly with friends and family back home, telling them "I still miss those people I love".

Of her new life in Europe, the primary school teacher's daughter wrote in a blog on October 15: "I've actually been living in Italy for about a month now and I've had classes for two weeks so far. Everything is going great.

"I really like the Italian lifestyle. everything shuts down in the middle of the day so everyone can have a three hour lunch break. I love it. I wish we had that in America.

"I think Americans work too much and don't live. Having that time in the middle of the day reminds you that life really isn't all about going to work and making money.

"It's about who you are and what you choose to do and who you choose to spend your time with."

She also refers to the man who is suspected of carrying out the killing with her, Congolese bar owner Patrick Lumumba.

"I've been working every night (except for Monday night) from 10pm to 2.30am at a bar called Le Chic. It's a really small place owned by this man from the Congo. His name is Patrick," she wrote.

She makes no mention of Sollecito in her profile.

She is however chided by her aunt - who is unnamed on MySpace- for having a picture of an apparently naked man called Federico on her page.

Her aunt warned her: "Do not get naked with strange Italian men!!” Knox replied that Federico was just a friend.

Under "marital status", she wrote "single", listed her mother under "heroes" and under "children", wrote: "someday".

She wrote: "I love things like good wine, rock climbing, backpacking long distances with people I love, yoga on a rainy day, making coffee, drinking tea, and lots of languages".

"I’m 20 years old and I like new things. Ooh, and soccer, and roller coasters, and Harry Potter, and..."

Last night, her parents insisted there had been a "horrible mistake" and that she was innocent.

Her stepmother Cassandra Knox, 45, said from her home in Seattle: "I just don't believe a word of it. I just can't imagine there is any truth in it at all."

She added of Knox's father William, 47: "He is in a state of utter shock and disbelief. There's no way she could have done it, it’s all a horrible mistake."

Knox's mother, Edda, 45, was said to be flying out to Italy today.

(Left: Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, from ABC News.)

What frightens many bloggers, is how Amanda's blog is now being used as evidence.

Moral of the story: Fantasies we write about may one day bite us in the ass, so be careful. For example, if I should write that a certain person makes me sick and I wish they would die, and they end up dead under questionable circumstances, does that automatically make me a suspect? (And if so, is that fair?)

If your roommate ends up raped and murdered and you have written fantasies on your blog about rape and murder, well, talk about some bad luck, huh?

Monica Guzman, at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, asks some of these questions:
If there is a unwritten Law of Internet Privacy, it is this: Anything you post can and will be used against you in the court of public opinion.

Take Amanda M. Knox, the University of Washington student whose alleged involvement in the killing of British exchange student Meredith Kercher has set the media and the public on an online manhunt for every shred of Knox's online presence, with those aspects that paint her as the circumstances do -- as a drunk, misbehaving bad girl -- rising to the top.

Forget "you have the right to remain silent." Amanda is a child of the social Web. She may not have ever had a choice.

And for someone heavily involved in a murder investigation, "public opinion" isn't the half of it. Dan Gonsiorowski of Seattlest commented this morning:
From the papers in Europe, and particularly in England, you'd think that UW student Amanda Knox had already been tried and convicted of sexually assaulting and killing her roommate Meredith Kercher in Perguia, Italy. ... The English media has already dug up plenty of evidence from the detritus a student leaves on the Internet in the course of a modern life.
Gonsiorowski doesn't use the word "evidence" literally. But he points out that all these things -- the MySpace profile, the Facebook self-descriptions, the YouTube video
[Now removed--DD] that under different circumstances would be laughed off as typical college debauchery -- are, in fact, playing the role of evidence online. The boost of legitimacy comes from several media outlets for which the Internet is just as open and easy a source of information as it is for everybody else.

It may be easy. But is it fair? Are we, the media, and we, the public, presenting personal information posted on the You Tube and MySpace world -- with which we have only a couple of years' experience -- as responsibly as we should?

It should be noted that Knox's statement to police, as reported in the Times UK (she describes being in the room next to where Kercher was killed, hearing her screams but doing little about them), and the fact that this was the second story she told police remain the most damning pieces of evidence against her.

Still, statements she made to the world before she knew we'd be listening are having an impact. This morning I asked the Big Blog's official Facebook group how (and if) we can ensure that personal information posted online -- which has become such a goldmine of quick, juicy information -- is viewed so that fairness rises above assumption. Most agreed that there is no shame in distributing information that is already public when events call for it. But they also expressed concern that online "evidence" can be taken too far, and that the conclusions inferred from it can do more harm than good.

On Knox's MySpace profile today, friends have left messages of consolation and offers to help. "I believe in you," said one commenter. "Stay strong," another said.

What do you think?

P.S. -- About that YouTube video, which was made remarkably, almost ridiculously prominent in this Daily Mail article ...

The most common way we avoid our responsibility as online viewers is to pin it all on the online creators. There are good reasons for this, but they get weak as online profiles become more entrenched in our social lives.

It is true that no one's forcing anyone to share themselves online. It is also true that many people who do share parts of their lives choose to leave out the drunk parts. That doesn't mean they don't happen.

Clearly, something in Knox's personality made her feel comfortable enough posting that video. But that scene was something I saw in college every week. Does Knox's choice to post the video excuse us from placing it in its appropriate context?
Context? Like, getting drunk and going apeshit?

That kind of context hurts, rather than helps, which is sorta the point.

And so, the tabloid-story-of-the-season (the year?) rages on. The truth, as usual, is wrapped up somewhere in the media-mess. For everyone's sake, let's hope we get it.

*Comparatively speaking, that is! I usually don't get much traffic, which is why that kinda blew my mind.

Listening to: Grateful Dead - I Know You Rider
via FoxyTunes