Saturday, January 31, 2009

Octuplets mom obsessed with having kids

I don't really know what to say about this... which as my regular readers know, is pretty unusual for me.

So, opening the floor for discussion, as they say.

What do you think? I just end up shaking my head in abject amazement. A 33-year-old woman with 14 kids? And no husband or grandma to help? Yow! Daisy's mouth is agape.

Grandma: Octuplets mom obsessed with having kids

By RAQUEL MARIA DILLON, Associated Press Writer
Sat Jan 31, 10:30 am ET

LOS ANGELES – The woman who gave birth to octuplets this week conceived all 14 of her children through in vitro fertilization, is not married and has been obsessed with having children since she was a teenager, her mother said.

Angela Suleman told The Associated Press she was not supportive when her daughter, Nadya Suleman, decided to have more embryos implanted last year.

"It can't go on any longer," she said in a phone interview Friday. "She's got six children and no husband. I was brought up the traditional way. I firmly believe in marriage. But she didn't want to get married."

Nadya Suleman, 33, gave birth Monday in nearby Bellflower. She was expected to remain in the hospital for at least a few more days, and her newborns for at least a month.

A spokeswoman at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center said the babies were doing well and seven were breathing unassisted.

While her daughter recovers, Angela Suleman is taking care of the other six children, ages 2 through 7, at the family home in Whittier, about 15 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

She said she warned her daughter that when she gets home from the hospital, "I'm going to be gone."

Angela Suleman said her daughter always had trouble conceiving and underwent in vitro fertilization treatments because her fallopian tubes are "plugged up."

There were frozen embryos left over after her previous pregnancies and her daughter didn't want them destroyed, so she decided to have more children.

Her mother and doctors have said the woman was told she had the option to abort some of the embryos and, later, the fetuses. She refused.

Her mother said she does not believe her daughter will have any more children.

"She doesn't have any more (frozen embryos), so it's over now," she said. "It has to be."

Nadya Suleman wanted to have children since she was a teenager, "but luckily she couldn't," her mother said.

"Instead of becoming a kindergarten teacher or something, she started having them, but not the normal way," he mother said.

Her daughter's obsession with children caused Angela Suleman considerable stress, so she sought help from a psychologist, who told her to order her daughter out of the house.

"Maybe she wouldn't have had so many kids then, but she is a grown woman," Angela Suleman said. "I feel responsible and I didn't want to throw her out."

Yolanda Garcia, 49, of Whittier, said she helped care for Nadya Suleman's autistic son three years ago.

"From what I could tell back then, she was pretty happy with herself, saying she liked having kids and she wanted 12 kids in all," Garcia told the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

"She told me that all of her kids were through in vitro, and I said 'Gosh, how can you afford that and go to school at the same time?"' she added. "And she said it's because she got paid for it."

Garcia said she did not ask for details.

Nadya Suleman holds a 2006 degree in child and adolescent development from California State University, Fullerton, and as late as last spring she was studying for a master's degree in counseling, college spokeswoman Paula Selleck told the Press-Telegram.

Her fertility doctor has not been identified. Her mother told the Los Angeles Times all the children came from the same sperm donor but she declined to identify him.

Birth certificates reviewed by The Associated Press identify a David Solomon as the father for the four oldest children. Certificates for the other children were not immediately available.

The news that the octuplets' mother already had six children sparked an ethical debate. Some medical experts were disturbed to hear that she was offered fertility treatment, and troubled by the possibility that she was implanted with so many embryos.

Others worried that she would be overwhelmed trying to raise so many children and would end up relying on public support.

The eight babies — six boys and two girls — were delivered by Cesarean section weighing between 1 pound, 8 ounces and 3 pounds, 4 ounces. Forty-six physicians and staff assisted in the deliveries.
Forty-six doctors? (Holy shit, I don't think that came cheap.) As I said, I hardly know what to say. It appears the mom has already filed for bankruptcy:

Octuplets' Family Filed For Bankruptcy

BELLFLOWER, California
Jan. 30, 2009

(CBS) CBS News has learned that the family of the octuplets born this week outside Los Angeles filed for bankruptcy and abandoned a home a little over a year-and-a-half ago.

Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman says the mother is in her mid-thirties and lives with her parents.

There's been no mention of the octuplets' father, Kauffman observes.

The grandfather, she adds, is apparently going to head back to his native Iraq to earn money for the growing family. He told CBS News he's a former Iraqi military man.

Kauffman reported Thursday, and the octuplets' maternal grandmother now confirms to the Los Angeles Times, that the babies' mother already had six young children.

And a family acquaintance had told Kauffman that two of the six other kids are twins, and the six range in age from about two to about seven.

The mother's name is still being kept under wraps.

But her mother, Angela Suleman, also tells the newspaper her daughter conceived the octuplets through a fertility program.

Suleman told the Times her daughter had embryos implanted and, "They all happened to take."

On The Early Show Friday, the scientific director of an Atlanta-area fertility clinic blasted whichever clinic did the implantations, saying he's "stunned."

Doctors at the hospital where the octuplets were born, Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center in Bellflower, Calif., some 17 miles southeast of L.A., say the patient came to them already three months pregnant.

Asked at a news conference whether fertility assistance should be provided for a mother who already has multiple children, Dr. Harold Henry, part of the team that delivered the octuplets, said, "Kaiser has no policy on that," adding that doctors counseled the woman on her options.

"The options," said Henry, "were to continue the pregnancy or to selectively abort. The patient chose to continue the pregnancy."

Dr. Karen Maples, who also helped deliver the octuplets, read a statement from the mother saying, "My family and I are ecstatic about all of their arrivals."

The woman and her children live in a neighborhood of small, one-story homes, Kauffman reports, all with two-to-three bedrooms at most. Soon, she pointed out, there will be 14 children and at least three adults living in one of the homes -- until the grandfather heads back to his native Iraq.

Kauffman says unanswered questions include where the woman got the fertility treatments and how they were paid for.

On The Early Show Friday, Michael Tucker, scientific director of Georgia Reproductive Specialists, says all these developments leave him "stunned. As the story's unfolded and it's gone from the potential use of just fertility drugs, or misuse thereof, to actual, apparently, IVF (in-vitro fertilization) with transfer of embryos, this is just remarkable to me that any practitioner in our field of reproductive medicine would undertake such a practice."

Tucker, who has a doctorate in reproductive physiology, says it's "absolutely" possible the octuplets' mother got pregnant with them by taking fertility drugs on her own without the help of a clinic, "and that seemed the most plausible scenario, simply because the profession, we're policed by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, has focused so minutely on the fact that we need to reduce the number of embryos that we transfer. We really are all about seeking the one, the one embryo that's going to make the healthy, single-born baby.

"And this kind of multiple plethora excess of babies is too much of a good thing. And it's rather a slap in the face of the whole profession, simply because it's going in the wrong direction.

"And it's unfortunate," Arthur Kaplan from UPenn (University of Pennsylvania) said, "the media tend to go goo-goo gaga over this and, in fact, it's really a bit of a medical disaster."

"Had she walked into a fertility clinic and said, 'Listen, I've got other children, the oldest seven, the youngest two,' co-anchor Julie Chen asked Tucker, "is there any ethical responsibility on the clinic's part to say, 'I'm not going to treat you,' or, 'You know what? This is not a good idea?" '

"Suffice to say," Tucker responded, "I've been in this business for 25 years now. And it's pretty much standard practice in all clinics to have some form of psychological evaluation of the patient. Also, their sociological circumstances. And I'm stunned, actually, that a clinic would proceed to treat a patient in this circumstance and then even to get to perhaps the transfer of embryos and ponder the transfer in, I believe, the lady's mid-30s, a 35-year-old -- she should be receiving two embryos, maximum, as a transfer into her uterus to have had eight transferred is somewhat -- is extremely irresponsible."
So, there is also the additional question of just how all of these babies occurred... I mean, you don't think mainstream medicine in the USA is UNETHICAL ((gasp)) do you? Banish the thought!

Friday, January 30, 2009

This is for Mike!

Don't wanna lose my cred as certifiably OLD SCHOOL, now do I?

In my 80s-music post on Wednesday, Mike commented that I needed to turn the clock back 10 or 15 years, so these next videos are for him!


This is like a really good movie! Great work... it was made by another young classic rock fan named Jordan Bell.

I have always imagined something remarkably similar when I hear the song. Love the hoodie-as-grim-reaper touch, where you never see the hitch-hiker's face. WELL DONE!

The Doors - Riders on the Storm (1971)


Watching the Sonic Youth video--which has already been removed "by the user"* (((curses substantially)))--I was puzzling over whether that was a quickie-shot of Joni Mitchell from LADIES OF THE CANYON, so I went looking for it. It is; the same head-shot is featured in this one.

And I was reminded of how very much I love this song. Very, very Lilith Fair, so if you don't like female-folkies, do not listen. After all, she is the prototype, my friends.

One of the first songs to pass the Bechdel test--a song about how much a woman admires and loves a certain group of other women, and wants to be like they are. (Just try to find another one this early... go ahead, I'll wait.)

I'd say she succeeded admirably, too.

Joni Mitchell - Ladies of the Canyon (1970)


Rather obscure Eagles song that I identified with in my youth. As a young woman, it was the first time I'd seen men acknowledge that some women may not enjoy constant sexual attention, and in fact, might even find it threatening, harmful, stifling and just thoroughly unwelcome. I therefore found it very validating at the time, although listening to it now, I realize it was an early sign I might have been in some trouble.

Or at the very least, I was getting pissed off:

there's too many hands
being laid on her
too many eyes will never see
that it's dragging her down
but you won't hear a sound
as she turns round

Obviously, a radical feminist in the making!

This song was written by Randy Meisner and Don Felder, sung by Meisner. Great guitar work and excellent production.

The Eagles - Too Many Hands (1975)


*We finally have a baddie to blame for this phenomenon... which I have complained about before. WARNER MUSIC GROUP, capitalist swine, are keeping us from looking at Sonic Youth, as well as several other videos I have already posted--and probably a few you've already posted too!


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

SC House to consider abortion bill today

I always imagine that the pro-life activist fantasy must go like so:

Woman sees ultrasound of fully formed infant, waving at her lovingly, maybe even saying HI MOMMY! She shrieks, sobs, and decides not to do it.


Given the option of not viewing the ultrasound, the nurse says: BUT WAIT, see the sweet little baby who is WAVING at you? Finally, the woman breaks, and tearfully peeks at the ultrasound after several hours have passed; seeing that the baby is her spittin image, decides not to do it.

I suppose it has to be one of those.

The Associated Press • January 28, 2009

COLUMBIA — Women seeking an abortion in South Carolina would have to wait at least 24 hours after their ultrasound under a bill being considered by a House subcommittee.

The measure would increase the waiting time from an hour to a day. Lawmakers will consider it today.

Last year, legislators passed a bill requiring that women be given the option of viewing the ultrasound. It set the 60-minute wait before getting the procedure.

The compromise was approved after more than a year of debate over whether to require a woman to view the image before an abortion.

Rep. Greg Delleney had been steadfast on a requirement but settled for the option, as a way to reduce abortions. The Chester Republican is also sponsoring the latest bill

It's a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it...

I've been listening to Left Of The Dial: Dispatches From The '80s Underground...actually I've nearly worn it out.

It's hard to locate some of this stuff now, but I have managed to find a couple of these gems to share with you all. (I apologize that they aren't in chronological order, since I confess I looked up the exact years after the fact. Hey, I can't remember everything!)


The title of my post comes from this song, which I try to keep in mind when I get too sanctimonious for my own good.

Faith No More - We Care a Lot (1987)


Just like the winsome heroine of the movie JUNO, Mr Daisy unsympathetically trashes Sonic Youth, thereby hurting my feelings. :(

See if you can spot all the famous people flitting by in the film clips.

Sonic Youth - Teen Age Riot (1988)


Just some really elegant racket!

Gang of Four - To Hell with Poverty (1981 -live)


One can hardly believe music can be this bad. Even worse, by the middle of the song, you realize the badness is the POINT, and it's time to make REVOLUTION! YES, WE ARE BAD, AND WE ARE PROUD OF IT! Fuck your bourgeois quality standards!

I imagine it could have been truly dangerous to actually perform this live, amidst all that flying proletarian debris. And this was way before Henry Rollins was getting quoted like some sage on VH-1.

Lyrics are helpfully included in this video, except for the chorus:

Are tired!
Of your!

To stop us!
No use!

Really a mosh-pit special.

Black Flag - Rise Above (1981)


This one is decidedly strange, but it can really grow on you. The lead singer of Japan, David Sylvian, sounded like equal parts Bryan Ferry and David Bowie, and didn't seem to be at all ashamed of his outright, unabashed impersonations. I'm also not quite sure what to call the music, "synth-pop" or early techno? (At least hang around for the pretty chorus, even though all that techno-curlicue noise can get on your nerves.) Great visuals, but also decidedly strange.

Another song that speaks to me very personally:

Just when I think I'm winning
When I've broken every door
The ghosts of my life
Blow wilder than before
Just when I thought I could not be stopped
When my chance came to be king
The ghosts of my life
Blew wilder than the wind

Japan - Ghosts (1981)


Me oh my, take a listen to this...they were just little babies! (Ahh, weren't we all?) If you own Murmur, you'll notice this version is a bit different. It was re-recorded for Murmur in 1983.

R.E.M. - Radio Free Europe (1981)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

John Updike 1932-2009

The amazing writer John Updike has passed on. He was sexist (like most men of his era) but he was also quite wonderful. Still, he specialized in lines like: Men are all heart and Women are all body. I don't know who has the brains. God maybe.

We also had a common ancestor, which made us something like 9th cousins. The ancestor was named Opdycke, from the Netherlands. Apparently, I was doing genealogy at the same time Updike was, and I read of our common ancestor in one of his essays. I was delighted to learn we were related.

There is a harrowing sequence in Rabbit Run (1960), wherein Janice accidentally drowns her infant child while she is drunk. It has stayed with me most of my life. (Updike wrote this long before anyone talked seriously about postpartum depression or female alcoholism.) Actually, several of his colorful passages have stayed with me, their magical prose magnifying my own life.

For instance, in Rabbit is Rich (1981), Harry Angstrom is thinking about aging:

The cars sell themselves, is his philosophy. The Toyota commercials on television are out there all the time, preying on people's minds. He likes being part of all that; he likes the nod he gets from the community that had overlooked him like dirt ever since high school. The other men in Rotary and Chamber turn out to be the guys he played ball with back then, or their ugly younger brothers. He likes having money to float in, a big bland good guy is how he sees himself, six-three and around two fifteen by now, with a forty-two waist the suit salesman at Kroll's tried to tell him until he sucked his gut in and the man's thumb grudgingly inched the tape tighter. He avoids mirrors, when he used to love them. The face far in his past, crew-cut and thin-jawed with sleepy predatory teenage eyes in the glossy team portraits, exists in his present face like the chrome bones of a grille within the full front view of a car and its fenders. His nose is still small and straight, his eyes maybe less sleepy. An ample, blown-dry-looking businessman's haircut masks his eartips and fills in where his temples are receding. He didn't much like the counterculture with all its drugs and draft-dodging but he does like being allowed within limits to let your hair grow longer than those old Marine cuts and to have it naturally fluff out. In the shaving mirror a chaos of wattles and slack cords blooms beneath his chin in a way that doesn't bear study. Still, life is sweet. That's what old people used to say and when he was young he wondered how they could mean it.
I find myself wondering: Who else will talk about mundane middle/working-class America now? Bruce Springsteen?

Goodbye, cousin. May your soul rest in peace.

60 Minutes and why Calorie Restriction goes nowhere one of the subject lines on my Calorie Restriction mailing list this week. Alas, if you saw 60 Minutes on CBS Sunday night, you know why.

Not real flattering.

And it was sexist too.

First, the story focused on Resveratrol, the active ingredient in red wine that has so many healthful properties. (And I sell it!--she momentarily preened.) Researchers believe that it can "turn on the longevity gene" and they are currently developing a supplement/pill that will have the higher concentrations necessary to do this.

So far, so good.

And then the story turned to the Calorie Restriction Society and I just gritted my teeth. Oh no, I thought.

I was right.

From the transcript of the show:

Meet the members of CRS - the Calorie Restriction Society - a group that has been severely restricting their calories for years now. They are also part of a Washington University study to see if humans "mimic" the monkeys. Does this kind of self-denial makes them live longer, healthier lives?

60 Minutes joined them for what they call "happy hour," consisting of a cocktail of low-calorie soup for starters, and walnuts, and baby food - green bean puree on flour-free bread to top off this feast fit for a flea.

So far the participants have lowered their blood pressure, reduced body fat, and lessened risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. And what's more, to one husband anyway, starvation has its sexy side. "To be honest, if you saw her without any clothes, you'd see she looks pretty darn good, like a woman like of many, many years younger," the man told 60 Minutes.

Their emissaries travel the world, spreading the faith and the word: hunger turns on the survival gene.

The skinnies may not die young, but given their diet they just might die of boredom. But if the scientists at Sirtris are on the right track, it could mean forget dieting, forget the sweaty business of working out - just pop a pill and you are in guilt-free couch potato paradise.
Yes, we must assure the men, it makes the women LOOK GOOD! Offensive as hell. (Let's hear about how the men look!)

One email-list participant wrote of the experience:
[We hoped "60 Minutes" would share] some of the brilliant comments by Richard Schulman and Don Dowden, both of whom shared insights about the way they practice CR and the significant success they have had.
A woman replies:

This is what I wanted to hear! In fact they cut ALL comments by anyone except Paul describing Meredith without clothes.

It should be obvious to anyone, without having to ask, why CR doesn't go anywhere as a scientifically viable alternative to unproven "miracle drugs."

The fault rests squarely on the MSM (mainstream media) and their treatment of the subject matter.
As one thoroughly disappointed in the coverage, let me add my hearty amen to that. Several people are emailing CBS:

I've also emailed them to tell them what I though of the editing on the show. Very poor representation of CRON* in humans, and hardly mentioning the years of research behind it, the excellent results in humans, completely lying about our experience on the diet... and not even giving a chance for the other CRers in the clip to talk about how they feel. He practically used a voice over for almost all of that section!
Indeed, the focus seemed to be, look at these weird thin people who have made guinea pigs of themselves. Do they say this about any other 'diet' that people find useful? Why are various goofy fad diets (yes, I'm lookin at you, Dr Atkins) treated respectfully by the mainstream media, but CR is not? In fact, CR was presented primarily as a counter-point to the Resveratrol story:

Yup, it really wasn't about CR it was about CR effects in a bottle, pop a pill and live longer! Gee, you don't need self control like these poor CR folks, if revenge is living longer, we win. The story is about living longer in a pill, CR was background.
And besides that, the arrogant nastiness directed at the menu overlooked the main reasons for the food being eaten by the folks on CR, which is that they are exceptionally nutrient-rich, densely packed with vitamins and minerals. This fact wasn't mentioned at all in the story, which focused only on calories, not surprisingly. Another comment:

I wish the CR Society representatives featured on 60 minutes would have chosen different foods. The baby food on bread is probably a big turn off to most viewers, including myself. It makes CR look like a cult. There are many people who practice CR by eating better tasting foods.
Personally, I see no difference between "baby food" on bread, or anything else on bread... but the choice of the word "baby food" was certainly interesting, when the word purée would have been used exclusively if this was some sort of gourmet cooking show. Obviously, it was deliberately used for effect.

One CRS member's response was to write a post titled Media: How Does It Portray CR?:
If I depended on the media, I would think people on a CR diet must:

* Peel their apples, eat the peels and throw away the rest;
* Lick their plates in public to get every last scrap;
* Make oddball, tasteless canapes, perhaps with baby food;
* Make one food only and eat that same food day in and day out.
* Eat horrible looking food, portrayed as unappealingly as possible;

Here's the reality: you can eat absolutely any food you desire, as long as you meet your nutritional needs within your calorie limit. This is not that hard. My wife makes all sort of dishes (most recently, Indian cuisine). There is nothing she makes that I don't eat (except asparagus - yuck - some people will eat anything!). I just make sure I know what the nutritional value is, then eat an appropriate amount.

You can even eat pure, totally adulterated, junk food. But you will have to limit the amount of junk so you have enough remaining calories for the day to get 100% of your nutritional needs.

Reality: You can eat perfectly normal food similar to what you are used to, but you will probably also start eating more nutritious foods.
I don't think that rather undramatic reality would have made "good television" though, now would it? Fuck the facts, we want razzle-dazzle bozo weirdness!

Jerry Springer, call your office.

Whatever happened to real reporting?


*CRON stands for Calorie Restriction with Optimal Nutrition

Monday, January 26, 2009

On male modesty, naked protests, etc.

Olivia Mora protests the unethical treatment of circus animals in downtown Greenville Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. Photo by Cindy Hosea of the GREENVILLE NEWS. (The protest was against the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, coming to Greenville the first week of February.)


Wednesday, I wrote about PETA's penchant for employing naked women at their protests. In response I got this post, from "Lacey":

You folks might want to check the actual news: PETA uses men nearly as often as women and would use more except that women willing to get partially naked are easier to find.
This has been bugging me.

If appearance standards are more strict for women, why are men seemingly more modest?

Why are men so much less likely to get naked for a protest? Are men less likely to shed clothes in general?

Is this a way to make sure certain parts of the male anatomy remain mysterious and sacrosanct? Or are naked men also more likely to be arrested than women? (Since the PETA demonstrations are covered by the First Amendment, that doesn't seem to be the issue.)

In my post, I mentioned the readiness of male Yippies to get naked for protests. I was specifically recalling the infamous "streak for impeachment" back in the 70s, but there were several other such incidents.

Unfortunately, I found only one online mention of this fun chapter in radical history, focusing on the University of Wisconsin:
The UW's Daily Cardinal quoted various students who claimed explicit political meanings for the activity: fifteen students who chanted "Dicks against Dick" during their streak; a woman who planned to streak for women's rights; a male streaker who said, referring to Nixon, "We have to show that bastard we don't care about him and want him out. Streaking is an expression of freedom against his policies" [...] The paper also reported on "streak-ins" planned by the Yippies and ran an editorial by a leading African-American campus activist, Kwame Salter, calling for more political streaks [...]
It seems PETA is the only group left employing these tactics. Why has it largely fallen to animal-rights people to use this attention-getting tactic, and where are the guys?


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Free Planet Radio

Today, a visit to the Bohemian Cafe, where I was lucky enough to catch Free Planet Radio, a world music trio from Asheville, featuring (left to right, in photo) the talented Chris Rosser, River Guerguerian, and Eliot Wadopian. I was so impressed I bought their CD, The Unraveling (click on link for a listen)--conveniently being sold right next door at fabulous Horizon Records.

This was a special taping for WNCW's Tower of Song series.

Thanks for the fantastic jams!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Cat Blogging, musings about capitalism, etc

Caption: Why won't she let me sleep in peace?

Also see: Daisy the Curly Cat's extremely cool new kitty digs and John Scalzi's cats, who are currently tripping in outer space. (Yes, the first one's always free!)


Thoughtful article in The Nation, by Benjamin R. Barber, titled A Revolution in Spirit... has me thinking some deep thoughts.

Excerpts with commentary:

But it is hard to discern any movement toward a wholesale rethinking of the dominant role of the market in our society. No one is questioning the impulse to rehabilitate the consumer market as the driver of American commerce. Or to keep commerce as the foundation of American public and private life, even at the cost of rendering other cherished American values--like pluralism, the life of the spirit and the pursuit of (nonmaterial) happiness--subordinate to it.

Economists and politicians across the spectrum continue to insist that the challenge lies in revving up inert demand. For in an economy that has become dependent on consumerism to the tune of 70 percent of GDP, shoppers who won't shop and consumers who don't consume spell disaster. Yet it is precisely in confronting the paradox of consumerism that the struggle for capitalism's soul needs to be waged.
I work in consumerism, yet I am critical of consumerism. I realize, that's a contradiction, but it does mean that I think about it a lot.

Tomorrow, I am going to a social event sponsored by a business. At my (capitalist retail) workplace, we also sponsor various "special events"--even though they are usually "progressive" in nature. These capitalist-sponsored "events" have ever-so-slowly supplanted social events and parties sponsored by individuals, in real homes and recreational areas.

What does it mean that so much of our social life in this age is determined by commerce? The kids make their best friends in malls. Our social life is guided by work, more often (it seems to me) than leisure. Back in the day, social life was centered around neighborhood, church, family, free time. Those institutions have now taken a role subordinate to the marketplace.

In my workplace, there is a cafe, where people meet each other for lunch, coffee, dinner. (Certainly, it's the most common place I meet with my friends, also.) We go to people's homes, even our best friends, far less often than we once did.

And what does it mean that such cafes are now in retail spaces, such as grocery stores and bookstores? (Even Starbucks now makes the major money with drive-through windows and retail sales, rather than relying primarily on cafe revenue.)

How did this whole state of affairs come to be, and why? (Again, let me recommend Robert D. Putnam's excellent book, BOWLING ALONE, which also addresses some of these issues.) Barber writes:

The crisis in global capitalism demands a revolution in spirit--fundamental change in attitudes and behavior. Reform cannot merely rush parents and kids back into the mall; it must encourage them to shop less, to save rather than spend. If there's to be a federal lottery, the Obama administration should use it as an incentive for saving, a free ticket, say, for every ten bucks banked. Penalize carbon use by taxing gas so that it's $4 a gallon regardless of market price, curbing gas guzzlers and promoting efficient public transportation. And how about policies that give producers incentives to target real needs, even where the needy are short of cash, rather than to manufacture faux needs for the wealthy just because they've got the cash?

Or better yet, take in earnest that insincere MasterCard ad, and consider all the things money can't buy (most things!). Change some habits and restore the balance between body and spirit. Refashion the cultural ethos by taking culture seriously. The arts play a large role in fostering the noncommercial aspects of society. It's time, finally, for a cabinet-level arts and humanities post to foster creative thinking within government as well as throughout the country. Time for serious federal arts education money to teach the young the joys and powers of imagination, creativity and culture, as doers and spectators rather than consumers.

Recreation and physical activity are also public goods not dependent on private purchase. They call for parks and biking paths rather than multiplexes and malls. Speaking of the multiplex, why has the new communications technology been left almost entirely to commerce? Its architecture is democratic, and its networking potential is deeply social. Yet for the most part, it has been put to private and commercial rather than educational and cultural uses. Its democratic and artistic possibilities need to be elaborated, even subsidized.
Are these changes a matter of sheer 'political will' (i.e. doing what needs to be done) and/or a public consensus?

Could such changes happen 'organically'--naturally evolving, or will some sort of government action actually be necessary to prompt such change?

As regular readers know, I have some pesky libertarian, Ron Paulesque tendencies, and I am not sure a government-sponsored social life is superior to one guided by simple commerce. Public schools are a good (bad?) example of that already, aren't they?

It seems the same social (emotional) bankruptcy is at the root. If we don't go to some contrived commerce-driven "common area"--we simply don't know how to make friends anymore. We require something "in common" before we are able to talk to people--and that commonality is no longer our belief-system or neighborhood; the commonality we increasingly depend on is taste in product, the fake commercial-culture that has evolved around the marketplace.

I am not sure how to phrase these things. It's like discussing the air we breathe, circumstances simply taken for granted these days. (I think the kids DO take them for granted, so will the baby-boomers have to lead the discussion, because we can still remember a very different social atmosphere?)


Of course, much of what is required cannot be leveraged by government policy alone, or by a stimulus package and new regulations over the securities and banking markets. A cultural ethos is at stake. For far too long our primary institutions--from education and advertising to politics and entertainment--have prized consumerism above everything else, even at the price of infantilizing society. If spirit is to have a chance, they must join the revolution.

The costs of such a transformation will undoubtedly be steep, since they are likely to prolong the recession. Capitalists may be required to take risks they prefer to socialize (i.e., make taxpayers shoulder them). They will be asked to create new markets rather than exploit and abuse old ones; to simultaneously jump-start investments and inventions that create jobs and help generate those new consumers who will buy the useful and necessary things capitalists make once they start addressing real needs (try purifying tainted water in the Third World rather than bottling tap water in the First!).

The good news is, people are already spending less, earning before buying (using those old-fashioned layaway plans) and feeling relieved at the shopping quasi-moratorium. Suddenly debit cards are the preferred plastic. Parental "gatekeepers" are rebelling against marketers who treat their 4-year-olds as consumers-to-be. Adults are questioning brand identities and the infantilization of their tastes. They are out in front of the politicians, who still seem addicted to credit as a cure-all for the economic crisis.
Agree? Disagree? What do you think?

Even more than that, what to do? How can we encourage these changes?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Woman murdered in my apartment complex...

... and I still can't believe that, as I read back the title. This is MAYBERRY, people. This kinda stuff only happens in the big cities.


Driving home from work last evening, I saw a cop car hovering outside my complex, then another one exiting the gate as I was entering. We have an entry gate, you know, to keep out the bad people. (What about the bad people already living here?)

As I entered, I saw floodlights, the Fox News van, oodles of cops. I knew it was more than a drug bust, since people were milling around in that weirdly morbid, expectant way you've seen so many times on TV. I knew this meant a dead body.

And it did. Her name was Shivani Boparai and she was only 32 years old. I have probably seen her before, if she lived here for any appreciable length of time. No photos have been published so far.

Her 6-year-old son told neighbors he was locked out; Fox News Carolina initially reported that he was covered in blood. But the door was unlocked, and neighbors discovered Shivani dead from multiple stab wounds. There is some concern that the child may have witnessed this horrible act, but details haven't been released.

When I initially saw all the police cars, I floored my vehicle, pedal to the metal; I wanted inside as fast I as could humanly move. It was an almost unconscious fear that surfaced, that I didn't realize I had...I think I instinctively knew the victim was a woman, somehow. Possibly because this was at home, late on an uneventful, icy-cold weeknight. (Who else would it have been?)

They busted the husband, 37-year-old Harvinder Singh, on his way out of the Wal-Mart... (yes, the very same Wal-Mart I have complained about for over a year).

I guess he needed to do some shopping.

Of course I know that violent crime happens everywhere... and yet somehow, to have it happen so physically close to me, has indeed shaken me. And as a feminist, I am once again reminded that violence against women, wives, mothers, does not take a vacation and you can't keep it out with security gates.

Right now, Singh is being held without bail.

EDITED TO ADD: I can't seem to upload this photo of Shivani--but here is the link.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Random notes on PETA, with politically correct linkage

The circus is coming to town.

Argh, here we go again.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is demonstrating. I would like to demonstrate, but not with PETA. In fact, some PETA members demonstrated yesterday here in downtown Greenville and... yes, you guessed it, one attractive female got naked, or nearly naked in the winter cold.

Can I ask why they keep doing this? The naked-girl routine? Does this mean we should be clothing the poor animals? What is the purpose? What's the frequency, Kenneth?

And why is it always a bombshell gal that gets naked? I mean, if we are discussing circus elephants... shouldn't a chubby gal (like me) get naked instead? Isn't that closer to what we are talking about?

But then, how would that go over? People might well ask: why is she doing that? Are we supposed to clothe the elephants? But see, with a young and attractive female, people just GAPE and forget their sense.

Does anyone honestly believe that the GREENVILLE NEWS would take 44 photos of two everyday PETA demonstrators, if one wasn't nearly-naked and covered with fake-blood?

Graphic at left from strength never power.

And yes, as a former Yippie, I get it. I really do... getting media attention in our jaded times is important and necessary. I have enthusiastically participated in several rather bizarre political actions in my life, wearing chadors, clown make-up, Nixon masks (while blowing bubbles!) and such. But when the Yippies wanted naked women in a political action, the women would always demand naked men accompany them in said action, which was only fair. (Yippies being what they were, this was never a problem.) PETA has apparently never heard of that, and I never see naked men in their demos, only women. Why?

Anyway, if yall want me to go out there (fully clothed, I do not want to frighten the horses) and hold a sign about the elephants, I will be happy to do that. My email is in my profile, drop me a line. But this will be as an independent person... not as a PETA member, which I'm not and won't be, unless they cut this shit out.


More cool stuff/linkage:

Rural Advancement Foundation International USA - cultivates markets, policies and communities that support thriving, socially just and environmentally sound family farms: While focusing on North Carolina and the southeastern United States, we also work nationally and internationally.

Southwest Women's Fiber Arts Collective - connects fiber artists with one another and with opportunities to sell work, learn new skills, teach, and secure materials. SWFAC performs outreach to women and children by teaching fiber arts: We promote the concept of cottage industry as a means of fostering economic self-sufficiency and artistic development for women and others working in the fiber arts.

Local Harvest - a handy-dandy online guide to locate locally grown food: Use our website to find farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area, where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats, and many other goodies. (Of course, you know you shouldn't be eating meat, at all, ever, under any circumstances, but if you DO, please eat meat with no hormones or chemicals, grass-fed, free-range, blah de blah.)

Equal Time, since I mentioned meat!

Pangea Vegan Store - sells a very nice fake leather jacket that looks real. (Unfortunately, it costs about the same.)

Ethical Planet - sells all kinds of neat stuff...including some of my favorite candles from Way Out Wax!

My post about calorie restriction last week brought some private emails from people who wanted to ask me some questions but didn't feel okay posting. That's fine, people, keep those cards and letters coming in! It all makes me feel dreadfully important. And let me assure you, at this time of year, when they start giving out all the bigshot blog awards to 23-year-olds, I really need that.

One person asked me which "woo-woo vegan cookbooks" I was talking about... so here are some:

Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz - comes with a blurb from Joan Jett, of all people. (This cookbook is popular among people I know.)

How It All Vegan!: Irresistible Recipes for an Animal-Free Diet and The Garden of Vegan by Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard. Sarah has her own website... and both of them have fabulous tattoos!

But the best vegan recipes are from my friend Jackie, at her blog THE VEGAN DIET! And the best vegetarian/vegan publication overall is still VegNews.

Listening to: Joy Division - A Means to an End
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Inauguration Day!

Lots of great stuff happening... unfortunately, I'll be working this evening and will miss the local party, at Connolly's. (((waves at everyone there!))) I am glad to be home to watch it as it happens, though. You can't have everything!

I think I will find the mention of his middle name HUSSEIN, during the swearing-in, the most inspiring. If you need any more proof that this country has CHANGED, obviously, you didn't grow up with presidents with boring-ass names like Johnson and Ford.

Too thrilling for mere words. The Angry Black Woman and Vanessa of Plucky Punk, are both ON THE SCENE--check out their blogs!


Below: From Boing Boing, comes Obama as Bob Marley and St Martin de Porres.

Interestingly, the folks at Boing Boing (not well-versed in Catholic iconography) thought the image on the vigil candle was supposed to be Jesus. (The photo was taken in the Mission District of San Francisco.) In fact, St Martin de Porres was a Peruvian Dominican of mixed-racial heritage, the patron saint of the poor. I just realized this meant that the folks at Boing Boing didn't fully get the reference that was being made with that candle.

Madonna fans, of course, will remember St Martin's famous appearance in her controversial 1989 video, Like a Prayer.


And finally, it's time to throw our virtual shoes at the departing Dubya! Good riddance, and thanks for screwing everything up beyond belief!

This act is in solidarity with Iraqi shoe-thrower Muntader al-Zaidi, who made world-headlines throwing his shoe at George W. Bush.

Let us also throw our shoes today, with aplomb!

If you haven't thrown yours yet, there's still time!


I had my final X-ray yesterday, and I have moved up from the leg cast/boot in this photo, to a sort of corset-looking thing, that laces up around my ankle. At long last! So, I am finally FREE to THROW this cast at Bush. (Is that great timing or what?)

I throw this leg cast in solidarity with all the people not lucky enough to get a final X-ray, not lucky enough to get their broken and twisted bones healed by modern medicine. I throw this leg cast in hopes we will AT LAST HAVE A CIVILIZED MEDICAL SYSTEM IN THIS COUNTRY, that does not throw people out in the cold when they have no money. That does not look only at the bottom line, but attempts actual healing. That doesn't let Big fucking Pharm rule the roost! WE PRAY THAT THE PEOPLE WILL BE HEALED, AMEN.

What might our economy look like, if people weren't so bogged down with health-insurance concerns, that they (we!) are too afraid to change jobs? How can we start dynamic new businesses (like the capitalists are always burbling about) when we are worried that one simple illness could totally take us down? If we were free to actually move up, as the so-called American dream has promised? How many people stay in one awful job forever, when they have so much to contribute, all because they are afraid to lose usually-shitty health-insurance, that is indeed, still better than none at all? How many kids drag-out their time in college, since they know when they finally graduate, they probably won't have any health insurance on their entry-level job?

How many people with disabilities do not bother to find jobs, afraid they will lose the few benefits they have? (Some are having benefits cut constantly, as it is.)

THIS STATE OF AFFAIRS is disgusting... the fact that we are supposed to be THE GREAT WESTERN CIVILIZATION, and pronounce on the affairs of other nations, and still can't even take care of our own sick and disabled citizens? This is totally and completely fucked up, maybe the most fucked up thing about this country. As an alternative-medicine practitioner, I hear about it daily. It is stagnating us. We must change.


As Bill O'Reilly would say, there's the memo.

And now, I log off and join the virtual festivities, as HOPE comes to our nation.

Again, Amen.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Leonard Cohen's songs in McCabe and Mrs Miller...

...literally define the modern soundtrack of movies. We cannot imagine this incredible film without these songs.

Iconoclastic director Robert Altman decided to use actual songs in the fabulous McCabe and Mrs Miller (1971), which was pretty rare at the time. Lush, orchestrated soundtracks were the unwritten rule of movie-music at that time. As always, he broke with the trend.

These songs are heart-breakingly lovely, as the movie is also. I have seen it upwards of 20-30 times. I cry every time.

Note in this first clip, the stunningly beautiful Shelley Duvall, big favorite here at Dead Air!

Altman consistently shoots both Duvall and Julie Christie (Mrs Miller) as if they are angels, when in fact, they are working in Mrs Miller's some shots their ringlets appear to be halos.


Leonard Cohen - Sisters of Mercy

This movie was progressive in that it was McCabe--the guy(!)--who wants love from Mrs Miller, and is upset she always expects money. She is fond of him, but her first love is opium.

Cohen's songs reflect this sadness, so perfectly:

I'm just a station on your way
I know I'm not your lover

McCabe and Mrs Miller - trailer

Friday, January 16, 2009

More on Israel, Gaza, antisemitism and Armageddon

Although I have written before about having a "black" first name, I have never before written about having a Jewish last name, as I did for over 6 years.

I loved the combination, which made everybody just stare at me... and this was before Whoopi Goldberg became famous, using a similar fun name.

As I have written here, my father and I never got along, and I was therefore happy for the opportunity to dump his name. At age 19, I married a Jewish man, and decided it was my golden opportunity. I changed it as fast as I could. I didn't think twice. Good riddance, I thought, and I have never regretted it. [1]

I liked the double takes I got, from my African-American-associated first name, coupled with the Jewish last name. People would just *blink*--and it was fun and exotic to me.

At first, anyway.

I won't give the name here, but I will say the kind of name it is: Steinberg, Seinfeld, Silverman, Goldstein, Rosenthal. There isn't any question what kind of name it is. [2]

I like to think I catch on quick; it took me no time at all to figure out that there was significant negative fallout from having a Jewish surname. And I was totally unprepared for it. After all, I didn't grow up with the name. Who knew?

In school; on the job; in the Philadelphia airport or the Pittsburgh Greyhound depot; in a doctor or dentist's office; in an argument with some activists in D.C.... and countless other instances I have undoubtedly forgotten. The name would get exaggerated for effect: STEIN-BERG, dragged-out, an unexpected emphasis on the syllables, a certain weird facial expression... showing unmistakable surprise, quickly followed with barely-disguised contempt. A narrowing of the eyes, an unexpected glare or coldness from one who had been friendly only seconds before hearing the surname. In one instance, a superior who engaged in an ongoing, deliberate mispronouncing of the name in endless variations, virtually daring me to correct him.

I learned.

Therefore, let me assure you, I would never argue, in a million years, that antisemitism isn't real or is not a force to be reckoned with. In fact, over the years, I have repeatedly had to argue with skeptical, enlightened-liberal gentiles that YES, IT IS.

And so, in the giant monster thread over at Feministe (the first of a several-part series), I was more than willing to listen to David Schraub's analysis of how Israel's attack on Gaza, of which I have been very critical, must include an analysis of antisemitism.

Unfortunately, I don't think he made the case very well. Which isn't to say he isn't right.[3]


I moved south in 1987, where there are far fewer Jews than there are in the north, apart from certain long-standing enclaves in the cities (Charleston, Savannah, Atlanta)[4] and retirement areas (Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head). As in the movie Norma Rae (wherein Sally Field suddenly blurts out "You a Jew?"), there can be a free-floating hostility to Jews for reasons nobody can really explain. (In Norma Rae, she adds "I never met a Jew before! I thought yall had HORNS!") Since there has been so little previous interaction, the antisemitism is mixed with general xenophobia. Jews are regarded as weird strangers with strange ideas, and usually liberals.

But not always.

In moving to Greenville, South Carolina, I learned I was moving to a smallish southern town that had elected a Jewish mayor back in the 70s. (Max Heller)

You say what?! I was stunned; certainly, there are plenty of northern towns and cities that can't make that claim. At my first area gig, I learned that wasn't odd at all... local Baptists often regard Jews as special and 'chosen'...after all, they are Jesus Christ's own relatives. And from then on, I discovered a whole fundamentalist Christian cult around Jews and Jewishness, that I had not known existed.

This cultish devotion permeates modern Protestant evangelical theology today. It is most obvious in the whole LEFT BEHIND [5] cult, but is also apparent in the feverish obsession with eschatology in general.

And let me be very clear: this theology prizes the state of Israel, almost as much as it does the USA.

Israel is the crucial cornerstone of this theology. Without Israel, Christian end-times prophecies simply can not happen. Making sure these events DO happen, is regarded as one of the charges to fundamentalist and evangelical Christians; something they have literally conflated with The Great Commission.

Conservative writer Rod Dreher, back in 2002:

It may sound strange, but it's true: Aside from Jews, the strongest American supporters of Israel are Evangelical Christians, many of whom fervently believe God has granted the Jewish people a divine right to rule over historic Palestine. At times like the present, when the Jewish state is largely friendless in a hostile world, the Israelis depends on the backing of this politically potent bloc of American voters to exhort Washington to look favorably upon its interests.

"I think it would be fair to say that Evangelical support for Israel and its legitimate security interests has been paramount to Israel's support in Congress and in many administrations, second only to the Jewish Committee itself," says Republican political consultant Ralph Reed. "The Jewish community has played a strong role in keeping the Democratic party strongly pro-Israel, and Evangelicals have played a similar role among Republicans."

In 1998, Benjamin Netanyahu, who was then prime minister of Israel, was not falsely flattering an Evangelical audience in Washington when he said to them: "We have no greater friends and allies than the people sitting in this room." Indeed, as Columbia University religion scholar Randall Balmer puts it: "Evangelicals have been very charitable, to say the least, toward Israel, because they believe the Jews are the Chosen People of God, even though they failed to recognize Jesus as Messiah. They believe that God's promises to Israel are still good, and that any nation that doesn't line up with Israel is against God."

In this climate, to hold the opinion that Israel is out of line to attack Gaza, is to attack Christianity itself. (As one who took that position a couple of weeks ago, my subsequent emails are a testament to that very strong conviction.)

Thus, when I criticize Israel, I criticize the wedding of Christian theology to government... the unholy union of Church and State, which I think is unfailingly catastrophic for both Church and State, as history has repeatedly shown us.

I am very, very disappointed in David Schraub and other liberal apologists for Israel, who look the other way when this is pointed out to them.

My comments directed to Schraub (blogger at The Debate Link) during the Feministe brawl, echo my exasperation that the conversation remains focused on Israelis vs. Palestinians, overlooking that sticky issue of WHERE THE MONEY TO MAKE WAR COMES FROM in the first place. I was pretty much ignored by people (including Schraub) who don't want to look at that... and having just had a long and convoluted conversation with a fundamentalist Christian who wears a Star of David (really), I am then astounded to go to a thread wherein people say things like "Jews are hated by most"... say what?!?

The juxtaposition of these world-views (my daily-existence here in hyper-Baptist upstate SC/the version of reality reflected in the thread) makes me dizzy. Erasure does that to people. I finally get it: This is New York, the East coast, the West coast, people with highfalutin educations talking. They have no idea what's going on out here. Clueless as hell. They don't even know the lyrics to "Our God is an awesome God"--I should not be surprised. These were the people who were slack-jawed at Sarah Palin's rise; these are the people who argue about Gaza at elite cocktail parties, not with people of faith.

But you know, when you count the votes, they start to add up. There are a lot of us that don't live on the coasts. There are a lot of us who don't even go to fundamentalist churches, yet can give you the 1-2-3 of apocalyptic events, right after the Rapture. It's just osmosis. Of course we know. We know what the Book of Revelation says, what the antichrist is supposed to do, what the Tribulation will involve. This is second-nature if you live in certain corners of the south; how do you avoid hearing about it? I am Catholic, and I was officially told that the End of Days would be, you know (dismissive wave of the hand) a long time from now. I have never heard a single Catholic sermon on the End Times, unless it's to warn you to stop obsessing about it. (My priest, whom I have criticized here before, actually told people in our parish to stop reading the dopey Left Behind books, unless they properly understood it was all fiction.) Everything I know about the Rapture, was communicated to me via Bible tracts, personal conversation, radio, TV, emails, and numerous intense sermons delivered face-to-face.

And as I attempted to tell the intrepid David Schraub: These people are all 100% pro-Israel. Schraub talks about "gentile privilege"--and then refuses to see that the backing of Israel by these Christians, is part and parcel of that privilege.

On the tumultuous thread in question, I wrote:
And I believe an understanding of fundamentalist Christian prophecy, (The Book of Revelation, Armageddon, The Rapture and Tribulation, the antichrist, false prophets, et. al.) is necessary to understand exactly why many Christians will gladly pay any amount of money necessary to do what they believe is crucial to Israel’s survival, which of course means mowing down the heathens and infidels that surround it. No questions asked… I mean, that IS part of the prophecy…you know that, right?

I’m amazed at how many people don’t.

The Southern Baptist Convention (to name only the largest denomination that subscribes to these prophecies) has over 16 million members and more than 42,000 churches. And this isn’t counting the Sarah Palin Pentecostals and countless other fellow-traveler denominations. Now, imagine all those votes, from very politically active people, deciding where the money goes.

Do you see now?
And then David replied:
Daisy: I’ll be talking somewhat about the role Christians have been playing in constructing the norms of philo-Zionist discourse in America a little bit in parts III and IV (short answer, I think what they’re doing is horrific), but the better discussion would be found in my post Can Zionism Be Defended by Proxies?
And if you go to that linked post, you basically get David saying, Wow, we wish the wacko Christians wouldn't use us like that...

You sure?

Rod Dreher again:
...tens of millions of Protestant Christians (though not all Evangelicals) [believe in the Rapture], and they tend to back Israel with an uncritical fervor that exceeds that of even some American Jews. The Israeli government tapped this deep, unlikely vein of support in the 1970s, and has assiduously courted these Christians for a generation — especially because many self-described "Christian Zionists" back Israeli settlements in the occupied territories as part of God's prophetic plan. One of the leading Christian Zionist organizations is the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, a nondenominational Protestant group (without diplomatic standing) which established a presence in the Israeli capital in 1980.

"We're trying daily to encourage the Israeli people," says Susan Michael, director of ICEJ's Washington office. "The Israelis are very depressed. We want to let them know that they have friends who understand the battle they're in."

Esther Levens is a Jew and a Kansas Republican who founded an ecumenical group called National Unity Coalition for Israel, a network of over 200 Jewish and Christian congregations who pray for, donate to and lobby on behalf of the Jewish state. She chides American Jews for being "a little short-sighted" in not properly valuing the efforts Christian conservatives make for Israel.
What is David Schraub saying to Esther Levens and her friends? Anything?

I replied, in part:
David–no offense, but I found a lot lacking in that post you linked to. I’ll be writing more about this myself, because I think it’s a major paradox that needs illuminating when we discuss these issues.

If you want to discuss “gentile privilege”–then understanding that the present agenda has little to do with you, and everything to do with the gentiles, is a necessary first step. You don’t seem ready to do that, since this discomfiting reality disturbs you. Of course, the gentiles will use Israel as the gentiles see fit. That’s what privilege is.

FACT: Zionists are actively collaborating with hard-line fundamentalist Christians, who seek to bring about the conditions necessary for the Second Coming. Period. You don’t get to tell them to back off. They have the privilege, remember? They are calling the shots; you have helped to create a monster. What are you going to do about that, besides pointing at Rick Warren and Mike Huckabee and going “Ew!” –? (PS: They don’t care what you think, they have a prophecy to fulfill.)

You have reminded me of the joke about the southern Baptist preacher who was asked if he believed in infant Baptism.

“Are you kidding?” he said, “I’ve SEEN it done!”

“Can Zionism be defended by Proxies?”

“Are you kidding? I’ve SEEN it done!”
Of course, this whole discussion is far from over, and Part II up already, titled Anti-Semitism and Subordination Part II: The Myth of Jewish which Schraub writes:
Folks talk about the way the Christian Evangelical community defends Israel. But as far as I’m concerned, their defenses are anti-Semitic too – the glee they hold at the prospect of Israel being the front-line of the “clash of civilizations” is taking pleasure in Jews dying for their cause.
No, their defenses are not textbook antisemitism... again, Schraub doesn't live here, and has obviously never spoken to these people he thinks he knows.

It is IDEALIZATION of Jews that marks the Evangelical approach, the idea that they are the Chosen People and can therefore do no wrong. [6]
The dominance of the Christian narratives amongst the defenses of Israel considered acceptable in the global sphere isn’t proof of Jewish power, but Jewish irrelevancy. Our voice gets superseded by Christian speakers who claim to be speaking on our behalf, but in fact are articulating a vision of “pro-Israel” that is very hostile to Jewish interests (this is one of the reasons I find groups like AIPAC allying with such speakers to be utterly unforgivable).
How is supporting Israel hostile to Jewish interests? In my humble opinion, that appears to be THE major Jewish interest right now, as evidenced by Schraub's whole series.


By coincidence, I wrote some of this when I was exhausted from cleaning up a huge mess of Acai berry juice, cheerfully flung across the floor of the store where I toil... by a 3-year-old ball of energy, a human pinball he was, bouncing off the walls and into the produce bins.

"Zion!" his mama kept calling, sternly, "Zion!"

Zion's beleaguered mama was wearing Quiverfull clothes and had five or six other energetic children to tend to.

In short, I very much doubt his name was a reference to THE MATRIX.


[1] I have been married three times, and I have had three last names. This, of course, echoes my mother, married four times, with four names. She always told me, if you want to be cool, you have the right to use all of them together, just as the Hollywood media has sometimes referred to my idol as Elizabeth Taylor Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Warner Fortensky. Sometimes, I like to put them all together like that, just to see how it sounds. It makes me sound either like a floozy or worldly, can't decide which.

(Since Liz was married to Richard Burton twice, does that mean we should repeat "Burton" twice? Do any of you Miss Manners fans know the answer to that one?)

[2] Lots of jolly fun at THIS WEBSITE... where you can find out the ethnic derivation of names, and where in the world they are concentrated. My maiden name, for instance, is most concentrated in Waimate District, New Zealand and Leeds in the UK.

This website is as addicting as Hershey's Kisses and you will eventually end up entering every name you know.

[3] Other participants in the thread asked why we had to talk about antisemitism, specifically. What about the concurrent hatred of the people under attack? Are we discussing hatred of Palestinians also? I think this is an excellent point, never sufficiently addressed by Schraub. In any event, I am putting this question on the back-burner for now, to better address my subject. But I do want to acknowledge the importance of this point, and underscore it here.

[4] For those who don't know about the lynching of Jewish factory-owner Leo Frank in Atlanta in 1915, educate yourselves.

[5] The co-author of these billion-selling books, Tim LaHaye, is a famous alumni of Bob Jones University, frequent subject of this blog.

[6] I find this whole sentiment to be reminiscent of the ancient claims about the Merovingian monarchs, recently popularized by the novel, The Da Vinci Code. The concept was that the Merovingian kings of France were actual descendants from the bloodline of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. If this were true, of course, overthrowing them would have been 'blasphemous' and impossible. (This is likely one reason that the royal family never debunked the rumors, even as they regarded themselves as devout Catholics.)

The Evangelical concept that Jews are "Jesus' family" and (as I once heard a local preacher say) have "His actual blood running through their veins"--seems based on the mystical idea that Jews are holy simply by virtue of being related to God Himself. And if Israel is their ancestral home, then Israel is holy, too, and must be defended at all costs.