Saturday, January 31, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
The Smithsonian's putting together an exhibit on the historic Obama inauguration -- so of course they want Aretha Franklin's hat. The Swarovski-crystal-encrusted, big-bowed, hat-line-inspiring chapeau (to use Aretha's own word -- so chic!) has since acquired a sort of following of its own.
And as if Aretha needed help making a statement, the Smithsonian's now planning to give the hat an even wider audience. Will she? Won't she?
So, this answers Sondheim's question, "does anyone still wear - - - a hat?"
The full release:The Inaugural ceremony of President Barack Obama on January 20 had the world talking -- about the official oath of office, the President's Inaugural address, the record breaking attendance, the adorable First Family, Aretha Franklin's gospel-infused rendition of the anthem "My Country 'Tis of Thee," and "the hat." The Smithsonian Institution has now asked Franklin if she will donate the now iconic Inaugural hat to the museum to become a part of an exhibit of President Obama's Inauguration, joining other items scheduled for display including First Lady Michelle Obama's Inaugural night gown. Commenting on the Smithsonian's request, Franklin says, "I am considering it. It would be hard to part with my chapeau since it was such a crowning moment in history. I would like to smile every time I look back at it and remember what a great moment it was in American and African-American history. Ten cheers for President Obama." The now-famous bow-tied, Swarovski jewel-studded, heather grey wool hat worn by the Queen of Soul seemingly took on a life of its own, becoming an overnight sensation worldwide in the media and cyberspace. Everyone from Jon Stewart on the "Daily Show" to the ladies on "The View" to Jay Leno of The Tonight Show" talked about the hat the following day, and Ellen DeGeneres wore an exaggerated version of the hat on her show. Women's Wear Daily (WWD), the fashion-industry trade journal sometimes called "the bible of fashion," wrote about the hat in their daily publication. On the Internet, people have created dozens of sites devoted to the hat and, using software, it has been placed on mug shots of Dick Cheney, dogs, President George Washington and the heads of Mt. Rushmore, among many others. The hat even has its own Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Aretha-Franklins-Inauguration-Hat/71597018624). With the onslaught of coverage the hat generated, newspapers from across the country began writing about it: "Aretha Franklin's Inauguration Hat Becomes Overnight Fashion Sensation" (Detroit Free Press), "Aretha Franklin's Inauguration Hat Inspires a Line of Toppers" (People Magazine), "Aretha Franklin's Hat, Detroit-Made, Wins Global Acclaim" (Detroit Free Press), "Fans Flock to Copy Aretha Franklin's Big Bow Inauguration Hat" (New York Daily News), "Aretha's Hat Upholds Tradition Born in Churches of the South" (The Providence Journal) -- many outlets asked readers to voice their own opinions about the hat. Aretha Franklin performed at President Obama's historic Inauguration during the Swearing In Ceremony in front of an international audience of billions. Franklin is now recording and releasing a commemorative version of "My Country 'Tis of Thee."
I'll drink to that.
And so it goes.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Judge Michael Kirby, who retires next Monday, aged 70, showed courage both outside and inside chambers. Australia's first openly gay High Court judge famously "outed" himself with an entry in Who's Who.
A maverick in the often musty legal profession, the nation's longest-serving judge thought it was "uncool" to be predictable. So when it came time to give one of his final public speeches, he spoke in praise of a four-letter word he said had the power to extinguish human rights injustices, racism and discrimination.
"I refer to love," Justice Kirby said in a festive season speech in Brisbane. "Love for one another, love for our community, love for others everywhere in the world. I have always thought that the essential underpinning of fundamental human rights is love.
"Some Australians still did not love their indigenous people, consigning them to the outskirts of civilisation. So too with Asian people in the decades of White Australia. We did not love them either. So also for women and for gays."
It was the last that affected him most directly, never more so than in 2002 when Liberal senator Bill Heffernan used parliamentary privilege to accuse Justice Kirby of misusing his taxpayer-funded car and of trawling for under-aged male prostitutes in Sydney.
Senator Heffernan's evidence turned out to be a forgery, and he was forced to apologise. But it was the dignity of Justice Kirby's response that stuck in many minds.
"I accept Senator Heffernan's apology and reach out my hand in a spirit of reconciliation," he said. "I hope my ordeal will show the wrongs that hate of homosexuals can lead to."
Kirby did not come out until 1999, but thereafter quickly embraced his status as an iconic gay Australian. He visited schools and encouraged gay students to feel comfortable about their sexuality. He spoke publicly in support of gay rights, and opened the 2002 Gay Games, where he said the "unstoppable" movement for equality would eventually reach the four corners of the world.
As an Anglican Christian, he accused Sydney's Anglican and Catholic archbishops, Peter Jensen and George Pell, of reinforcing homophobia.
He campaigned for same-sex marriages, saying Australia lagged behind many countries and the relationships of gay couples could only be registered, "rather like a dog or busker's licence".
He won a victory late in 2008 when federal MPs agreed on measures which included equalising his partner Johan with the pension rights of the partners of other judges.
Read the rest HERE.
And so it goes.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
The view from the big window is a swirling of all of the above and not much wind to speak of, but there is no sign of the marshes or the edge of the property, for that matter.
Fortunately, we've not yet lost electric power as some of our neighbors to the north and west. This apartment is all electric and with the temperatures in the upper twenties it would be very uncomfortable.
The good news is that the forecast for the rest of the day is calling for the mercury to rise into the 40s or 50s, so it will eventually turn to all rain and (hopefully) rid us of the snow and ice. The other good news is that the sun is scheduled to make an appearance tomorrow. Yay!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Snow was supposed to begin falling overnight, but when I left for work this morning there was no sight of the white stuff. And then it happened. By the time I headed back to the apartment, three inches of light powder had fallen.
Roads were clear, but drivers were in panic mode and given a wide berth.
When I got here I grabbed the broom and cleared the steps and porch, then swept the snow off my landlady’s car as well as her steps and porch. Recovering from serious surgery for about a week, I didn’t want her to exert herself – which she is apt to do – and disrupt her healing process.
It was with joy and relief that I finally entered the apartment, shed wet clothes and boots, and slipped into a perfect Manhattan. There is nothing like bourbon to warm the body and extremities.
In warm fleece and snuggled in a comforter, I warmed up as supper heated. It was difficult to tear myself from that cozy cocoon, but the roast and veggies were just what this old body needed; I am full of comfort food, feeling satisfied, and will likely head off to sleep after the KO program.
Forecast is calling for another 2 to 4 inches of snow overnight, but since I am off for the next two days, I don’t care. Enjoying the sight of snow as it settles over the marshes and the anticipation of seeing water birds that will undoubtedly visit will be fine with me.
It's back to the cocoon now.
And so it goes.
Monday, January 26, 2009
From Wayne Besen at TWO
NEW YORK – Truth Wins Out (TWO) today called on Colorado officials to investigate New Life Church, after the Associated Press revealed that New Life paid money to keep a male volunteer from publicly disclosing a romantic affair with the church’s former minister Ted Haggard.
According to the AP, New Life’s current Senior Pastor, Brady Boyd, said that the church reached a legal settlement to pay the man for counseling and college tuition, with one condition being that none of the parties involved discuss the relationship publicly.
“Until conservative churches stop shaming gay people and learn to accept them, we will see more tawdry scandals,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. “These calamities are a direct result of the closet.”
Rev. Boyd denied that New Life paid hush money and said, “Our desire was to help him. Here was a young man who wanted to get on with his life. We considered it more compassionate assistance – certainly not hush money.”
TWO called on Colorado officials to look into the matter.
“Authorities should investigate to ensure that this volunteer was not manipulated or coerced into silence,” said Besen. “The leadership of New Life has little credibility and should not simply be taken at their word. At a minimum, Boyd should resign for using his position of power to pressure a vulnerable member of his congregation into silence.”
In 2006, Denver escort Mike Jones disclosed that he and Haggard had a three-year relationship where money was exchanged for sex. Shortly after, Haggard stepped down from New Life. Next week, HBO will air a documentary on the rise and fall of Haggard. The disgraced minister will be promoting the show in media appearances throughout the week.
There is speculation that the HBO special spurred the volunteer to contact a Colorado Springs television station to discuss the situation.
Truth Wins Out is a non-profit organization that defends the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community against anti-gay lies. TWO also counters the so-called “ex-gay” industry and educates America about the lives of GLBT people.
Can I get an AMEN?
Sunday, January 25, 2009
It turned cold again last night so I have spent today indoors cooking and baking bread. Yes, I dug out the old bread machine and tried one of my old recipes – olive, Parmesan, and garlic bread. Turned out great and I enjoyed a slice of the warm, fresh bread smeared with olive oil or butter.
Now I’ve got a cranberry, raisin and cinnamon breakfast bread kneading away in the machine. This place smells wonderful. I didn’t realize how much I missed the smell and taste of fresh bread until today.
Had a nice break this afternoon when my friend, Ron, stopped by with a book he is sure I will enjoy and a calendar featuring some of his best photos of last year. A favourite waitress and I am in one of them - for the month of February. We visited for a while and had a nice chat before he hit the road for home.
I shifted into dinner mode prepping ingredients for a spinach salad – I’ve been craving one for a week, must need iron – then sliced chicken breast for stir-fry. A pretty good day.
Time now for a shower and I think I smell olives in my future…
And so it goes.
Wynton Marsalis:Pretty much right on the mark, huh?
"At the root of our current national dilemmas is an accepted lack of integrity. We are assaulted on all sides by corruption of such magnitude that it's hard to fathom. Almost everything and everyone seems to be for sale. Value is assessed solely in terms of dollars. Quality is sacrificed to commerce and truthful communication is supplanted by marketing. The type of gamesmanship that separates races, genders and ages by 'preferences' is a most cynical brand. The integrity and dedication shown by American artists throughout our history provides a most needed and unequivocal counterstatement. On the eve of Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday, let's recognize the pernicious effects of separating people by generic categories."
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Two days this week, the drive to work was nightmarish, to say the least. Sleet, freezing rain, fog, and slippery roads made for some scary moments since I set out before dawn. The conditions were horrid so extra caution was in order for a safe journey. The fog made seeing traffic and traffic lights almost impossible until you were almost upon them. And, of course, when the weather and driving conditions are a challenge many drivers lose brain cells and chromosomes forgetting that the speed limit is just that – the LIMIT one should safely drive in optimum road conditions. I was almost broad sided by a scrawny bitch shouting into her cell phone apparently unaware that she was in a skid on black ice. Thankfully I saw her coming and was able to get out of the way as she careened into the curb inches from my trunk still screaming into the phone.
Two days later, under the same conditions I was nearly rear-ended (and not in a good way) by an old man in a huge Cadillac something-or-other, who realized almost too late that there was a red traffic light and traffic just ahead. The look of terror on his face probably matched mine as I inched forward and to the side just in case his brakes locked up and he slid. He managed to stop about two feet from my tail and for a moment I thought he might have a heart attack. He was breathing heavily, visibly shaken. I thought, that’s as it ought to be. As the light turned green and traffic began to move the geezer moved forward slowly keeping a vast distance between his vehicle and the one in front of him – me. He remained overly cautious until he made it to his destination. I watched him closely and was very relieved when he got off the road.
Both incidents left me rattled for a few hours as I went about setting up the store.
For years I have said that cell phones should be banished from the hands – and ears – of those operating a vehicle and that older drivers should be required to take a road test with an examiner present before being issued a new license.
With everything else happening in the world this isn’t that a big a deal…only it is. Roads are dangerous enough without people like this making things worse. I’ve been the victim of my share of automobile accidents; the victim of a hit-and-run driver as a kid, and accused of being an overly cautious driver ever since I got my first license. Whatever.
And so it goes.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
It’s been 36 hours, and what an amazing ride it has been. When I woke this morning thinking I was prepared to write about my feelings regarding the events of yesterday (G*d, it feels more like a week ago) I hadn’t connected events to myself and my personal experiences when I actually worked on campaigns.
I’ve spent the day in quiet and occasional prayer for the changes begun today, and for the future.
I worked yesterday so listening to NPR was my only connection to the events of the day. I experienced chills, goose bumps, tears, laughter, and sadness.
I got back to the apartment in time to see the “stroll” and parade. Watching via the networks was distracting with the voiceovers, commercial breaks, and pundits mouthing off, so I went over to C-SPAN. Ah, no interruptions, which meant there was no editing, or cutting away from, the Lesbian and Gay Band’s appearance. The cheers from the crowd were audible as the band strutted its stuff.
Watching and listening as I prepared the evening meal, I sat down to eat after the LGBA left the neighborhood. I had no appetite at first, too wrapped up and hypersensitive to the events of the day.
I cracked open a bottle of wine, put the food on hold, and as I enjoyed a moment of celebration – the relief that Bush was gone – with my glass held high I found that I couldn’t go deeper. That wasn’t the time. I had no idea why then, but I do now. My brain was full and couldn’t handle any more stimulus, or new possibilities. That may sound bizarre, but I’m sure you’ve had such moments, as well.
I visited a few “Christian” sites this morning (an eye opening experience, to say the least) and virtually all of them are writing their prayers for President Obama’s early demise, so that a ‘real’ Christian Man can step in. (I see Stoopid People!) The christianists give me chills because they stand by what they write and say – I mean, the idea that all men are created equal in God’s eyes is blasphemy to them – and their vitriol today was saved for the real black president than it was for Clinton.
This is a bit rambling and for that I apologize. It’s been such a quiet and peaceful day and I am grateful for that.
The peace was important today.
It’s cocktail time and I smell olives.
Wallace: "I have to say I'm not sure Barack Obama really is the President of the United States because the oath of office is set in the Constitution and I wasn't at all convinced that even after he tried to amend it that John Roberts ever got it out straight and that Barack Obama ever said the prescribed words. I suspect that everybody is going to forgive him and allow him to take over as president, but I'm not sure he actually said what's in the Constitution, there."
Then there’s this:
Chief Justice John Roberts is a man who has made very few public missteps in his life -- but he appears to have made one when swearing in Barack Obama. Roberts slightly flubbed the oath, which then tripped up Obama.
The oath is contained in the Constitution: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
But when Roberts swore in Obama, he flipped some of the words, saying: "I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully."
Here's the transcript:
ROBERTS: Are you prepared to take the oath, Senator?
OBAMA: I am.
ROBERTS: I, Barack Hussein Obama...
OBAMA: I, Barack...
ROBERTS: do solemnly swear...
OBAMA: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear...
ROBERTS: that I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully...
OBAMA: that I will execute...
ROBERTS: faithfully the office of president of the United States...
OBAMA: the office of president of the United States faithfully...
ROBERTS: and will to the best of my ability...
OBAMA: and will to the best of my ability...
ROBERTS: preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
OBAMA: preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
ROBERTS: So help you God?
OBAMA: So help me God.
ROBERTS: Congratulations, Mr. President.
It's called a transcript, Chris, I'm sure you've heard of them, if not read any personally.
Jeez, the man was sworn in about 5 minutes before the stoopid began oozing out at Rupert's House.
And so it goes.
It really starts today. This will make your face muscles happy.
And this is simply AWESOME! The inauguration as seen from space. You can click on the image, scan in all directions, and zoom in and out.
photoshop by bob_weaver at DU.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
To read President Obama's speech, go HERE.
Our long nightmare is over and the work begins soon. From Americablog; Photo by John Aravosis.
And so it goes.
Monday, January 19, 2009
An appropriate and thoughtful prayer.
Nothing more to say, except...
And so it goes.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
As +Gene wrote:
Sunday's opening inaugural event at the Lincoln Memorial will be taped by HBO. You may be able to watch it LIVE on HBO (I'm not sure.) What I DO know is that HBO will be airing it on Sunday evening -- and the signal will be available to EVERYONE, WHETHER OR NOT you are a subscriber to HBO! This may turn out to be an edited version of the event. Given that HBO is an ENTERTAINMENT channel, my prayer may be edited out. Who knows?!And it was also ignored in the live broadcast beginning at 2:30 pm EST. I mean, they were broadcasting live, why not let the moment happen then edit for the rebroadcast this evening? If you are a subscriber to HBO, please let them know that this was not a good move. I'll bet that Rick Warren's invocation won't be cut on Tuesday.
This is part of what we ought to have seen and heard by the Bishop:
By The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of
Opening Inaugural EventMore later.
Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC
January 18, 2009
Welcome to Washington! The fun is about to begin, but first, please join me in pausing for a moment, to ask God's blessing upon our nation and our next president.
O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will…
Bless us with tears – for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women from many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.
Bless us with anger – at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
Bless us with discomfort – at the easy, simplistic "answers" we've preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and the world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.
Bless us with patience – and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be "fixed" anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.
Bless us with humility – open to understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those of the world.
Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance – replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger.
Bless us with compassion and generosity – remembering that every religion's God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world.
And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.
Give him wisdom beyond his years, and inspire him with Lincoln's reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy's ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King's dream of a nation for ALL the people.
Give him a quiet heart, for our Ship of State needs a steady, calm captain in these times.
Give him stirring words, for we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.
Make him color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.
Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.
Give him the strength to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters' childhoods.
And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we're asking FAR too much of this one. We know the risk he and his wife are taking for all of us, and we implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand – that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace.
HBO has opened the broadcast to all. Thrilling.
And so it goes.
I found this over at BB place and thought I'd share. I'm sure he won't mind.
I'm preparing to watch the Inaugural events this afternoon on HBO. I hope it's broadcast to all.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
And everyone said he couldn’t possibly do any more damage on the International stage, but not so fast, Chimpy does it again. The Guardian:
Less than a week before it leaves office, the Bush administration has sparked anger across the Atlantic by tripling the import duty rate on Roquefort cheese to 300%, a move which the US hopes will "shut down trade" in the sheep's milk product by making it prohibitively expensive.
The decision, part of Washington's attempts to force the EU into dropping its ban on hormone-treated beef, was greeted with disbelief by the French government and by farmers in the south-western Aveyron region who depend on the industry for their livelihoods.
"Maybe the Bush administration indulged itself by taking this decision just before it leaves," Robert Glandieres, president of the roquefort producers' group, told Reuters.
Well, with less than three days to go, what new surprise will he pull to piss off the planet?
And so it goes.*
Rumors were rampant around here that we were in for extremely low temperatures over the weekend beginning with a possibility of snow showers on Friday evening. It was gray and windy all day and certainly felt like snow all day. It didn't.
With all this in mind I stocked up on groceries and supplies enabling me to hibernate for the weekend. So glad I did. It was 2 degrees when I woke this morning and it’s only up to 8 as I write this. There's the possibility of getting into the double-digits by the afternoon, before plunging again tonight.
I have no plans to leave the place until I head to work on Monday. I’ve already cooked a huge batch of BBQ ribs, and am now enjoying the smell of a chicken and veggie soup simmering in the Crockpot. Then there’s the 2 pounds of ground turkey that I’ve mixed with diced onions, parsley, sweet basil, Lea & Perrins, and black & white pepper. In a few hours it will be ready to shape into burgers and individually frozen for quick lunches or light suppers. If I am not ‘all cooked out’ after this, I may make a chili, too. I love hot chili in the winter. With the exception of the turkey burgers, everything can be taken for lunch at work, or evening meals after long days.
I was on the receiving end of some very good news yesterday. A call from the hospital letting me know that they had reduced the ER charges from November because I qualified for a state program for folks without insurance. I was mystified. I didn’t know of such a program. It’s not an insurance plan, but it seems they’ve found that the uninsured are more willing to pay for services at a lower rate rather than skipping out on the responsibility altogether. Sixty percent of the bill was knocked off and they set up a monthly payment plan that will be a tight squeeze, but doable. It will take a year to pay it off, but it’s better than what I would have had to deal with otherwise.
A phone message from my doctor’s office was waiting for me when I got in yesterday; when I returned the call I was informed that my doctor is in association with the hospital’s plan and that 60% would be lopped off my future office visits. It’s still hard to believe, and it’s likely that it won’t really sink in until I get the membership cards in the mail next week.
Now if I can find another part time job, 2009 will be looking a hell of a lot better than the previous two years. It’s like crawling out of a very deep hole – to see a glimmer of light – and that’s a good thing.
And so it goes.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Please God, I fear for the Bishop's life as well as that of the President-elect, keep them all safe from harm and make this inauguration a positive experience for us all. In your many names, I pray.
I downloaded the practice exam two days ago and read the instructions carefully. Most of it didn’t make any sense – even when I held it up to a mirror. What should I have expected of the Federal Government?
You see, the Census Bureau –which is short for bureaucracy – recruited me and the exam was scheduled for today at 8:30 am. I was told the exam is timed; 28 answers to be completed in 30 minutes; that I should block at least 2 hours because they scored the exams and provided your individual results, so it might take that long if the group was large. There were 15 applicants.
Having completed and printed the application as suggested by the recruiter, I was ready to go. The other 14 were not. Yes, 14 of the 15 applicants had not completed the application; said they didn’t know it was online, then spent the next 20 minutes doing just that because the examiner couldn’t begin the test until applications were completed, as well as the additional form from Homeland Security – ‘cause we might be terrorists – and two forms of ID was confirmed. One woman attempted to use her Library card, another whined that she shouldn’t have to take the test again because she worked the 2000 census; one elderly veteran gentleman presented something from the VFW, or other military papers.
I couldn’t believe it. Are people really so dumb these days? If only folks had followed instructions at the Census 2010 website - or took notes if/when they were recruited, there would have been no confusion and things would have gone smoothly. Plus, I got dirty looks when I presented my passport for ID because a valid passport is the only identification necessary. Nobody was aware of this, either. So, no good deed goes unpunished and even though I followed all instructions and suggestions I was forced to sit and wait while all of this craziness went on before my eyes. As the exam was introduced we were told some of us would be required to be computer literate. In the next breath we’re told that no calculators would be allowed for the exam!!! I asked why, as this seemed old fashioned and equations would take up an inordinate amount of time. “Rules are rules,” he said. It’s been a very long time since I’ve done Division and Multiplication on paper, but I did and it took up more time. What should have taken seconds (there were 5 math problems) took minutes.
Following the test, the examiner dismissed us. I asked about receiving our results. He shook his head and said that rule had changed and we would be receiving our scores by telephone.
It was quite an experience and interesting to find out how much clerical and math I remember as it’s been years since I sat through a timed exam. I think we were all in the same boat on this one. Only the ‘2000 census’ whiny bitch finished the exam in the allotted time. But I would expect so; since she said it was the same test she took back then. Obviously she has a good memory. And it’s equally obvious that the people at the Census Bureau are LAZY!
I know I missed a few answers due my lack of knowledge of the terms the bureau uses instead of, you know…English.
All in all, I’ll probably not be receiving a friendly phone call any time soon.
And so it goes.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Separate the good from the bad.
Condemn the bad and celebrate the good.
Never let your celebration of the good
lessen your condemnation of the bad.
Never let your condemnation of the bad
lessen your celebration of the good.
(This thought has been brought to you by'nuf said.
CHRISTIAN HUMANISM AT OCICBW...)
If you think you don't belong, go HERE.
And so it goes.
“Don’t tell me the federal response was slow when there was 30,000 people pulled off roofs right after the storm passed…”
– President George Bush’s last official lie about Katrina, Jan. 12, 2009.
Here is just one appropriate response to his BS from one who survived. Over at Humid City, WetBankGuy writes:
When challenged on the slow response by the central government to the failure of the Federal levees after Hurricane Katrina sideswiped New Orleans, Bush responded, “there was [sic] 30,000 people pulled off roofs right after the storm passed.”
No one from New Orleans should be surprised that Bush should end his presidency on a lie about New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Flood, but we in New Orleans cannot let it go unanswered.
There was a prompt response to the flooding of New Orleans from one arm of the Federal government but it came unbidden. Helicopters from the U.S. Coast Guard and the Louisiana National Guard flew into the city immediately behind the storm, when winds aloft were still blowing at 60 knots, according to the excellent summary of rescue efforts “Katrina: What Went Right” by retired Newsday reporter and volunteer fireman Lou Dolinar. CBS News separately reported that the Coast Guard deployed in spite of the lack of any direction from FEMA or their commander in chief.
Dolinar’s online column clearly stands up on the side of the President’s version of events. He ends his article stating “help was rarely late, delayed, or inadequate.” While that may be true of the Coast Guard and other local or state agencies and volunteers, the same can’t be said of the official response of FEMA and the agencies the Feds actually coordinated.
From reports Dolinar collected, somewhere between 40,000 and 50,000 people were rescued by some agency at some point during the week that began with 8-29. According to Dolinar’s excellent summary, the Coasties pulled between 3,000 and 5,000 people from rooftops between Monday and Wednesday, a time frame that we can reasonably call a prompt response. Ultimately the Coast Guard would claim 24,135 total “rescues” and another 9,400 evacuated from medical facilities but this covered the entire Gulf Coast from New Orleans to Louisiana and not the actual number of people air-lifted to safety in New Orleans.
More people were rescued by the Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries Service than by the Coast Guard. The WL&F Service chalked up 20,000 rescues using their own boats and volunteers from the “Cajun Navy,” people from around the region who saw what was happening and immediately hitched up shallow draft fishing and hunting boats and headed to the scene unbidden. More were hoisted to safety by National Guard choppers from Louisiana and other states, or taken away in boats from other agencies like the Lafayette, La. office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
With the exception of the Coast Guard, acting in its normal capacity under extraordinary circumstances, Bush has it flatly wrong. Worse, tries to hide behind behind the brave efforts of the Coast Guard and other non-Federal rescuers the inadequacy of the response of FEMA on his watch. While Bush cut birthday cake with Sen. John McCain and cut brush on his ranch, others stepped in where the lead federal agency–FEMA–failed.
Outside of search-and-rescue, the coordinated Federal response was tardy. Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco declared an emergency and requested Federal assistance the prior week, but the first federal “aid” to reach 30,000 people trapped at the New Orleans Superdome and 25,000 more and the Morial Convention Center did not arrive until Thursday, in the form of National Guardsmen to “restore order”. It wasn’t until Lt. Gen. Russell Honore’ arrived on site on Thursday, Sept. 1 and famously told the Guardsmen at the Convention Center to lower their riffles that real relief efforts began.
At that time, FEMA’s leadership claims to have been unaware of the 25,000 people at the Convention Center even as they were shown repeatedly on national television. Food and water only began to arrive for almost 50,000 survivors in the downtown area on Friday, Sept. 2, four days after the storm. Even by the emergency plan standard of a 72 hour response endorsed by FEMA, it was already a day late. For those who were forced to wade or swim out of their homes with no supplies in hand (under the approved emergency plan, people “evacuating in place” were responsible for their own 72 hours supplies), it was late enough to leave the street in front of the Convention Center littered with the dead.
Anyone who watched closely is painfully aware how slow and disorganized the response to the Federal flood was, at every level of government. The outgoing President has demonstrated once again he is the least lucid chief executive since George III of England.
There’s more HERE, and links to other NOLA bloggers’ take on the comments by the coward in chief.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington (GMCW) will perform at WE ARE ONE: THE OBAMA INAUGURAL CELEBRATION AT THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL, the Opening Celebration for the 56th Presidential Inaugural, on Sunday, January 18, 2009. The event will take place from 2:00-4:00 pm with an exclusive broadcast on HBO the same day (7:00-9:00 pm ET/PT). The event is free and open to the public, kicking off the most open and accessible Inauguration in history. This is the first time in American history that the GLTB Choral Movement will be represented at an inaugural ceremony. 100 GMCW members from the larger chorus of more than 225 singing members will perform. Both President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden will be in attendance. An audience of 800,000 is expected at the Lincoln Memorial.
Musical performers scheduled for the event include Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Bono, Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Renee Fleming, Josh Groban, Herbie Hancock, Heather Headley, John Legend, Jennifer Nettles, John Mellencamp, Usher Raymond IV, Shakira, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, will.i.am, and Stevie Wonder. Among those reading historical passages will be Jamie Foxx, Martin Luther King III, Queen Latifah and Denzel Washington. The Rt. Reverend V. Gene Robinson will give the invocation. Rob Mathes will be the music director and arranger for the backing band, which will support all of the artists.
Oh, the calls and letters HBO will receive...I can hear the sound of wingnut heads exploding already.
And so it goes.
Monday, January 12, 2009
We received this email from Bishop Robinson this morning:MP adds:
I am writing to tell you that President-Elect Obama and the Inaugural Committee have invited me to give the invocation at the opening event of the Inaugural Week activities, "We are One," to be held at the Lincoln Memorial, Sunday, January 18, at 2:00 pm. It will be an enormous honor to offer prayers for the country and the new president, standing on the holy ground where the "I have a dream speech" was delivered by Dr. King, surrounded by the inspiring and reconciling words of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. It is also an indication of the new president's commitment to being the President of ALL the people. I am humbled and overjoyed at this invitation, and it will be my great honor to be there representing the Episcopal Church, the people of New Hampshire, and all of us in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
COMMENT: Well, you can spend your presidency trying not to offend anybody (the Grand Tufti option) or you can upset absolutely everybody before you even begin and then have the freedom to get on with the work that needs doing. Hang on, folks, it's going to be a bumpy ride but, hey, this magical mystery tour may just end up somewhere worth traveling to.From his mouth to God's ear. Pay him a visit.
And so it goes.
The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, who was elected the Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop in 2003, will deliver the invocation for Sunday’s kickoff inaugural event on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the Presidential Inaugural Committee said.
President-elect Obama is scheduled to attend the afternoon event, which is free and open to the public.
“The president-elect has respect for the Rt. Rev. Robinson, who offered his advice and counsel over the past couple of years,” an inaugural official said. “It also has the benefit of further reinforcing our commitment to an open and inclusive inaugural.”
Robinson remains the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire.
Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay civil rights organization, said in a statement that the choice was "encouraging."
“Bishop Robinson models what prayer should be — spiritual reflection put into action for justice," Solmonese said. "It is encouraging that the president-elect has chosen this spiritual hero, and that should remain our focus today."
Many of Obama’s supporters were furious at the choice of Rick Warren, the evangelical pastor and best-selling author, to deliver the invocation at the swearing-in ceremony.
Warren had endorsed California’s Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage, with a statement saying: “There is no reason to change the universal, historical definition of marriage to appease 2 percent of our population.”
The furor has been Obama’s biggest clash with his party’s left wing since he was elected.
An Obama source said: “Robinson was in the plans before the complaints about Rick Warren. Many skeptics will read this as a direct reaction to the Warren criticism — but it’s just not so.”
Last summer, Robinson was united in a civil union with his longtime gay partner. The Concord (N.H.) Monitor reported at the time: “The day marked the five-year anniversary of the New Hampshire election that, once ratified, made Robinson the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican church.”
Robinson’s bio on the diocese website says: “Gene enjoys entertaining and cooking, gardening, music and theater. He is the father of two grown daughters and the proud grandfather of two granddaughters. He lives with his partner, Mark Andrew, who is employed by the State of New Hampshire's Department of Safety.”
As my friend Elizabeth wrote, "the inaugural invocation for the rest of us." Can I get an amen?
And so it goes.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
From Max Blumenthal:
Team Obama likes to cite Warren’s work on AIDS in Africa to combat criticism about the controversial pastor. But how does burning condoms in the name of Jesus save lives?
Once hailed by Time magazine as “America’s Pastor,” California mega-church leader and best-selling author of The Purpose Driven Life Rick Warren now finds himself on the defensive. President-elect Barack Obama’s selection of Warren to deliver the inaugural prayer has generated intense scrutiny of the pastor’s beliefs on social issues, from his vocal support for Prop 8, a ballot initiative banning same-sex marriage in California, to his comparison of homosexuality to pedophilia, incest and bestiality. Many of Obama’s supporters have demanded that he withdraw the invitation.
Warren’s defense against charges of intolerance ultimately depends upon his ace card: his heavily publicized crusade against AIDS in Africa. Obama senior advisor David Axelrod cited Warren’s work in Africa as one of “the things on which [Obama and Warren] agree” on the December 28 episode of Meet the Press. Warren may be opposed to gay rights and abortion, the thinking goes, but he tells evangelicals it is their God-given duty to battle one of the greatest pandemics in history. What could be wrong with that?
But since the Warren inauguration controversy erupted, the nature of work against AIDS in Africa has gone unexamined. Warren has not been particularly forthcoming to those who have attempted to look into it. His website contains scant information about the results of his program. However, an investigation into Warren’s involvement in Africa reveals a web of alliances with right-wing clergymen who have sidelined science-based approaches to combating AIDS in favor of abstinence-only education. More disturbingly, Warren’s allies have rolled back key elements of one of the continent’s most successful initiative, the so-called ABC program in Uganda. Stephen Lewis, the United Nations’ special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, told the New York Times their activism is “resulting in great damage and undoubtedly will cause significant numbers of infections which should never have occurred.”
Warren’s man in Uganda is a charismatic pastor named Martin Ssempa. The head of the Makerere Community Church, a rapidly growing congregation, Ssempe enjoys close ties to his country’s First Lady, Janet Museveni, and is a favorite of the Bush White House. In the capitol of Kampala, Ssempa is known for his boisterous crusading. Ssempa’s stunts have included burning condoms in the name of Jesus and arranging the publication of names of homosexuals in cooperative local newspapers while lobbying for criminal penalties to imprison them.
Dr. Helen Epstein, a public health consultant who authored the book, The Invisible Cure: Why We’re Losing The Fight Against AIDS In Africa, met Ssempa in 2005. Epstein told me the preacher seemed gripped by paranoia, warning her of a secret witches coven that met under Lake Victoria. “Ssempa also spoke to me for a very long time about his fear of homosexual men and women,” Epstein said. “He seemed very personally terrified by their presence.”
Joining Ssempa at Warren’s church were two key Bush administration officials who controlled the purse strings of the president’s newly minted $15 billion anti-AIDS initiative in Africa, PEPFAR. Ugandan first lady Janet Museveni also appeared through a videotaped address to tout the success of her country’s numerous church-based abstinence programs.
These Bush officials—Randall Tobias, the Department of State’s Global AIDS coordinator, and Claude Allen, the White House’s chief domestic policy advisor—are closely linked to the Christian right. Tobias, the so-called “global AIDS czar,” declared in 2004 that condoms “really have not been very effective," and crusaded against prostitution, until he resigned in 2007 when he was exposed as a regular client of the D.C. Madam’s escort service. Allen, once an aide to the late Senator Jesse Helms, resigned in 2006 after he was arrested for felony thefts from retail stores.
The piece is long but, you know, worth the read. HERE.
Then there's the Alternative Invocation Option.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
You Go For Brains and Body!
You like a guy who can make your heart melt with his smile...
But he's got to have something in his head to really draw you in.
You're not superficial - just honest!Do You Go For A Guy's Brains or Body?A Lotta good this knowledge does for me...
And so it goes.
In an interview with Fox News Sunday, George H.W. Bush congratulated his son on running a “clean operation." Bush apparently wasn’t paying very close attention. Everyone remembers weapons of mass destruction, the US attorney firings. But historians will note that those are only the beginning of the Bush administration scandals…Oh, and there is so much more. Read the rest HERE, and let's count down the days, hours, and minutes together.
The Bush administration will leave the annals of presidential disrepute several times thicker than it found them. There’s Iraq, the hospital visit to John Ashcroft, the US attorney firings. But historians will note that those are only the beginning of the Bush administration scandals. Does the name Jeff Gannon ring a bell? Boxgate? What about the anti-prostitution AIDS tsar who purchased the services of—wait for it—the D.C. Madam? The Daily Beast has put together 20 of Bush’s greatest forgotten scandals.
Interior Department officials "frequently consumed alcohol at industry functions, had used cocaine and marijuana, and had sexual relationships with oil and gas company representatives."
Sex and Shoplifting
1) In March 2006, Claude Allen, Bush's top domestic policy aide, was arrested when he tried to return items he had shoplifted from Target for cash refunds. Allen, who made $161,000 a year, blamed stress from Hurricane Katrina.
2) In 2005, bloggers pricked up their ears when a reporter named Jeff Gannon asked a softball question at a Bush press conference. Some sleuthing turned up nude photos of Gannon—real name: James Guckert—on male escort websites.
3) Randall Tobias, Bush’s AIDS Czar, mandated that organizations must oppose prostitution in order to receive American aid. It later emerged that Tobias purchased services through the notorious D.C. Madam, though Tobias maintained he only bought “massages.”
Can I get an AMEN?
And so it goes.
I had a good feeling about Friday. I had my to-do list and planned the day carefully to minimize mileage and time.
First up was a PC visit to Microsoft to download security updates for Windows XP. Turns out MS doesn’t support XP any longer and when I searched the site I found this:
If your Microsoft product was preinstalled, distributed with your computer, or if you obtained an upgrade directly from your computer manufacturer, your primary source for support is the personal computer manufacturer who provided your Microsoft software. Browse this alphabetical list of OEMs to find the appropriate support number.
When one clicks the link labeled “XP Professional” the new page hawks the lovely Windows Vista – an attempt to sell an upgrade from XP to Vista for $200.00!
When I purchased my present PC last year it came loaded with Vista, so I had no other choice because most major manufacturers were forced to discontinue preloading XP. Like many others unfortunate enough to be stuck with Vista I struggled to get around the built in redundancy, the fact that Vista was not compatible with some programs, and the damned wizards to get to my work. Intuitive, my ass!
Anyway, knowing my boss would not spring for the Vista Upgrade, I settled for a download of updated XP drivers instead.
The work day went quickly and smoothly; everyone visiting the store seemed in a good mood. Well, it was Friday, after all, and I am off the entire weekend.
After work, though it was windy, I took a walk on the boardwalk and get a little sun on this lilywhite body. Even if only on the face. My plan is to walk more this Spring and Summer and the boardwalk is the best place around. It is exactly 1 mile from end to end making it easy to count the distance of each walk.
Ran a few errands and stopped for a little grocery shopping on the way back to the apartment.
Having changed out of business drag I made a festive martini and turned on the news. Big mistake, that. All the screeching, arguing, hand-wringing, made me dizzy, so I switched over to the History Channel airing a documentary about Greece and relaxed before cooking supper.
I decided to prepare one of Peter’s recipes found here, ‘Salmon Filets with a Balsamic Glaze’ - which turned out to be the most satisfying part of the day. I was going to take a picture, but couldn't wait, so I eated it instead. Delicious memories.
Aside from the MS debacle everything went as planned. Can’t ask for more than that.
And so it goes.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
White House Asked Howard To Stay In Blair House To Give ‘Some Plausible Reason’ For Refusing Obama»
In December, President-elect Obama asked the White House if he and his family could move into Blair House — the White House’s guest house — a week early, so that his daughters Malia and Sasha could start school. The White House rebuffed them, saying the house was already booked for another guest. A White House source added that “Blair House was appalled” by the request.
After weeks of speculation, the mystery guest that trumps the President-elect and his family has finally been revealed. The White House offered the house to John Howard, the former Prime Minister of Australia who is set to receive a Medal of Freedom. Instead of arranging other accommodations for Howard’s one-night stay, the Bush administration told the Obama family to stay in a hotel for two weeks. (Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Colombian President Álvaro Uribe, who are also receiving the Medal of Freedom, opted to find other accommodations.)
Last night on MSNBC’s “Countdown,” Bloomberg journalist Margaret Carlson revealed that when the White House turned down Obama’s request in early December, it had not yet even invited Howard to stay at the Blair House:
It's nice to see that Bush is consistent in at least one area. Read the rest and watch the video - if you missed it last night, that is.
Two weeks, but who's counting...
And so it goes.
Eleven gay bars in Seattle were sent letters Tuesday threatening ricin attacks — in what some are describing as a hate crime.
The anonymous letters say, "I have in my possession approximately 67 grams of ricin with which I will indiscriminately target at least five of your clients. ... I expect them to die painfully while in hospital."
A 12th letter was sent to the alternative weekly The Stranger, according to its Web site. That letter says the paper should be "prepared to announce the deaths of approximately 55 individuals."
The letter lists the bars as: The Elite, Neighbours, The Wildrose Bar, The Cuff, Purr, The Seattle Eagle, R Place, Re-bar, C.C.Attle's, Madison Pub and The Crescent. The letter implies the attacks will take place one Saturday this month.
In a statement, the Seattle Police Department said it takes the threat seriously. It has seized the letters and is processing them and is coordinating efforts with the FBI and other federal agencies.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans that can be deadly if purified and then ingested or inhaled.
Dan Giroux, a bartender at The Elite, said he read the contents of the letter through the envelope with a flashlight after being warned not to open it and found the experience "a little horrifying."
"I expect to feel safe at work. Being here is like being at your house. But this doesn't make you feel safe," he said.
Elite manager Kay Hansen said the bar has been informing customers of the threat and warning them to make sure they don't leave their drinks unattended: "On the one hand you don't want to overreact, but on the other hand, you want to make sure your staff and clients are safe."
Here's a snippet (with image of the original letter) from Dan Savage at the Stranger:
A letter also arrived in The Stranger's offices, addressed to the attention of "Obituaries." The letter's author said the paper should "be prepared to announce the deaths of approximately 55 individuals all of whom were patrons of the following establishments on a Saturday in January." The listed bars are: the Elite, Neighbours, Wild Rose, the Cuff, Purr, the Eagle, R Place, Re-bar, CC's, Madison Pub, and the Crescent. "I could take this moment to launch into a diatribe about my indignation towards the gay community," the letter concludes, "however, I think the deaths will speak for themselves."
Alison, Luying, and Tippett, local promoters and DJs who do nights at various bars around town, came up with the idea of organizing a pub crawl for this Friday night to show support for the bars that were threatened.
Carla at Re-bar added that, as distressing as the letter was, she was pleased with the response from the community.
"Everyone is calling each other, everyone's got each other's backs."
Nothing else to do? Maybe, but this sentence stood out for me: ... "I expect them to die painfully while in hospital."
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Don't approve of Rick Warren offering the Invocation at President Obama's Inauguration? Here's a great option - The Alternative Invocation:
And here's the very cool video:
On January 20, 2009, President-elect Barack Obama will be sworn in as our next president. Many of us look forward to this day as a moment of new hope, new direction, and positive change.
Unfortunately, many of us also view this day with mixed feelings. Many Americans are upset with Barack Obama’s decision to have controversial conservative minister Rick Warren deliver the invocation for the inaugural ceremony.
Over the years, Mr. Warren has supported the idea of criminalizing reproductive choice, he has advocated for the assassination of foreign leaders who oppose the policy positions of the American government, and most recently, he gave support to California’s controversial Proposition 8, which outlawed marriage equality for gay and lesbian citizens of that state. He has, in the past, compared gay marriage to incest, child abuse, polygamy, and rape (video here).
As an act of protest against the appearance of Rick Warren at the inauguration, we ask our fellow progressive bloggers that on January 20, 2009, you post your own alternative invocation.
We ask that you post a message of compassion, empathy, tolerance, diversity, and true Christian (or other) love to America. Post a message that stands in opposition to the messages that Rick Warren and those of his particular political persuasion use to divide our country.
If you’re posting, let us know! Send an email or leave a comment, and we’ll add you to the list which will be on our blogroll.
Thanks for your support.
Namaste. - QuakerDave
And BB writes: "I don't want protests, in any usual sense, when the invocation is given at Obama's inauguration. What I would love to see is millions of lighted candles held high on behalf of all those who have suffered in the struggle and in hope for a brighter tomorrow."
And so it goes.
Lake Superior State University in Michigan has unveiled its 34th annual list of words that should be banished from our vocabularies this year, a selection of which we set out below.
Green (and all its derivatives) Whether list compilers are sick of worrying about the planet's destruction or merely of the shorthand used to describe it and the means to avert disaster remains unclear, but this term tops the list, closely followed by "carbon footprint" and "carbon offsetting". Truly, we are all doomed.
First Dude "Skateboard English is not the appropriate way to refer to the spouse of a high ranking public official," says one commentator on the university's website.
Maverick The word has been left so battered and bruised by the assaults perpetrated on it by John McCain and Sarah Palin that it might be a kindness to leave it in peace to recover for a while.
Bailout Because it only ever seems to apply to impossibly rich people and institutions who have screwed up, and never to the much poorer people they have screwed over.
Icon/iconic The Guardian has fielded a number of complaints about the mis- and overuse of this word. We promise to use "legendary", "famous for" or "seen once or twice before" as appropriate.
Staycation Banishment of this seems harsh. Staycation is a succinct, witty way of labelling the new trend for staying in your home country at holiday time, but it is suffering for enshrining both green and economic concerns, which as we have seen above, is a sure way to tick people off.
<3 A new text icon (we use the word in its technical sense), resembling a heart and meaning "love". As a contributor to the list explains, "Just say the word, instead of making me turn my head sideways and wonder what 'less than three' means."
The Guardian features desk collectively wishes to call for "going forward" to be stricken for ever from the record. Personally, I intend to pistol-whip anyone using "FYI" in conversation (instead of confining it to the realms of brief email instructions). Please do add your own suggestions/vent your own furies by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line "banned words", and have a maverick-free new year.
I can think of quite a few, how about you - where ever you live?
And so it goes.