Tuesday, December 30, 2008

quote

"Success can eliminate as many options as failure"

--Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

Friday, December 26, 2008

if Obama has time to stay healthy...

then there really are not many excuses left.

The Washington Post reports:

But one habit endures: Obama has gone to the gym, for about 90 minutes a day, for at least 48 days in a row. He always has treated exercise less as recreation than requirement, but his devotion has intensified during the past few months. Between workouts during his Hawaii vacation this week, he was photographed looking like the paradigm of a new kind of presidential fitness, one geared less toward preventing heart attacks than winning swimsuit competitions. The sun glinted off chiseled pectorals sculpted during four weightlifting sessions each week, and a body toned by regular treadmill runs and basketball games.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

using human fat to power SUVs

A Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, with the permission of his patients, used their fat to power his car. Haha. That makes me laugh. Apparently he had to stop because it is illegal under California law to use human medical waste to power vehicles--although I can't imagine why. Read the full article.

Bush v Gore setting precedent afterall?

Although the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Bush v. Gore that “Our consideration is limited to the present circumstances for the problem of equal protection in election processes generally presents many complexities,” it was used in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati, and was a key talking point in Minnesota Supreme Court’s consideration of the Norm Coleman/Al Franken recount litigation. (full article)

I guess the one-time-only carries no weight...but I am more disturbed by the fact that recounting votes to ensure accuracy allegedly violates the equal protection clause, because "by later arbitrary and disparate treatment" one person's vote is valued over another.

Rather, it seems to me that the equal protection clause is violated when reasonable evidence that clearly indicates a false outcome within the results of a certain voting bloc is ignored.

STEM CELLS COUND END ANIMAL TESTING!

Hooorraayyy:
As well as their potential for creating effective therapies for debilitating diseases, embryonic stem cells could open the door to improved pharmaceutical drug testing, according to a leading British stem cell researcher.

Speaking at a recent meeting of the British Pharmacological Society in Brighton, UK, Christine Mummery described how using embryonic stem cells to create human heart cells could be a viable and scientifically exciting alternative to animal testing.

...before new drugs can go forward for clinical trials, it's necessary for the chemical compounds which make up a drug to undergo thousands of tests for toxicity before beginning trials on animals -- initially on rodents and then often on dogs.

It's here, at this ethically sensitive stage, that Professor Mummery believes stem cell research could transform drug development.

...stem cell based drug testing is already being promoted in the UK with the public/private initiative "Stem Cells for Safer Medicine" which was set up in 2007.

It's something Mummery hopes will be replicated in other countries and particularly in the U.S. under President-elect Obama who is a proponent of stem cell research. (full article)

more shocking news regarding the diet industry

It seems like the FDA is actually being productive as of late. In addition to pointing out the bullshit claims of Diet Coke Plus, the FDA has found:

more than 25 weight-loss products contain undeclared, active pharmaceutical ingredients that may jeopardize the health of consumers. Ingredients contained in these products include sibutramine (a controlled substance), rimonabant (not approved in the United States), phenytoin (an antiseizure drug), and phenolphthalein (used in chemical experiments and is suspected to cause cancer). Some of the products are promoted as "dietary supplements" or claim to contain only "herbal" ingredients and are sold online and in some stores, according to the FDA. They are not FDA approved and are considered illegal. (full article)

You can check a list of products here.

Diet Coke Plus is more like a minus

It is not very shocking that the FDA has found that Diet Coke Plus makes a claim to contain nutritious content, but does not comply to the standards of that claim. Moreover, the FDA does not find it appropriate to fortify snack foods (interesting). Coke has 15 days to respond.

Monday, December 22, 2008

love targeted ads

I have to say, I love targeted ads. My facebook ads revolve around vegan goodies and animal organizations. It's great.

MoveOn agenda

MoveOn recently sent out an email to its members so that we could rank a list of issues and craft MoveOn's agenda for the upcoming year. 1.6 million ratings were received...and I am very not enthusiastic about the results (this is one of those instances where direct democracy has failed...so not into the passion of the masses right now):

1. Universal Health Care

2. Economic Recovery and Job Creation

3. Build a Green Economy and Stop Climate Change

4. End the War in Iraq

Building a green economy and ending climate change has to be a number one priority--and
job creation comes before universal health care in my book.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

tampons and eco-periods

Let's face it: periods are neither convenient nor eco-friendly. Just imagine that one uses 15 tampons per cycle, and one has 35 years of menstruation. 15 x 12 x 35=6,300 tampons--and that does not account for packaging, production, shipment, etc.

This is all just too much to bare, so I decided to invest in a cup (it's actually called the DivaCup--but while I am certainly not embarrassed to talk about my period, I am definitely embarrassed to admit I purchased an item with the word "Diva" in it).

Basically, it is a reusable, latex-free, plastic-free, hypoallergenic cup without dyes or additives that you insert and empty/wash as needed. I was so excited to give it a trial run and blog about it--but I honestly could not work the damn thing. I have friends that swear by it...maybe I'll have better luck next time.

Anyway, this led me to 7th Generation organic tampons. If you were not already aware, regular tampons contain additives and other icky stuff not suited for your insides. I was happy to see that 7th Generation makes organic tampons that are 100% cotton--nothing else. Not even an applicator which, by the way, IS SUCH A WASTE OF PLASTIC. Without the applicator, the box is an eighth of the size of conventional brands.

As for the cup, I'll get back to you on that.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bush eliminates choice before he leaves office

The Bush administration has now limited the rights of women seeking reproductive care by a federally funded health care provider. Anti-choice staff does not have to provide information about abortion, birth control or sex education to their patients.

According to Planned Parenthood:
Facilities that receive family planning funding, like Planned Parenthood, will have to certify that they will not refuse to hire nurses and other providers who object to abortion and even certain types of birth control. For example, a doctor who opposes pre-marital sex could refuse to provide a prescription or even information about emergency contraception to an unmarried woman.
Please ask the Obama administration to take action against this.

boyfriends, best friends, and bad investments

As I was watching Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants last night, I took a moment to think about what happened to my friendships. I still have a great circle of best friends--but it is much different than it used to be in high school. No more calling each other 45 times a day, reporting back and forth details of the day, sleepovers, daily laugh attacks, lounging around watching tv and reading. Is it that we all grew up and we are busier?

No. Well that could be a small part. But I look back and realize that I had replaced those intimacies formerly reserved for girlfriends with boyfriends. A year and a half with one, and a year with another. And then I thought--what bull shit.

All of that bonding time, and for what? Neither one will speak to me--one for reasons that have been explained, and the other...who the hell knows.

I guess that I am just mad at myself. How did my long-term investments of best friendships morph into these short-term boyfriend best buddies, with my real best friends becoming a side dish? I should have kept a better balance. What a rip off. Cumulatively, I committed 2.5 years of my life to people who are currently yielding ZERO return. That's just bad business.

As for my best friends? We are still laughing about things that happened 3, 4, 5, even 6 or more years ago.

I have to say, it may have taken 21 years, but I am so happy to be single. And I am so happy that I switched boyfriend best buds back in for my real best friends.

And yes, I am going to stoop really low right now and quote Big, but "a guy is just lucky to come in fourth."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

eating disorders, addictive behavior, and comorbidity: a genetic outlook

While psychological, sociological, and feminist frameworks have understood the emergence of eating disorders through cultural, familial, and patriarchal models, the influence of genetics if often undermined or ignored altogether.

Ghrelin, a peptide in the stomach, has been recently found to play a role in addictive behaviors. Jorgen Engel, professor of pharmacology at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg explains:
Previous research had shown that ghrelin levels in blood plasma are altered in addictive behaviours such as alcohol dependence and compulsive overeating…It may be that common mechanisms in the brain underlie different forms of addictive behaviours, including compulsive overeating, pathological gambling and drug dependence," he said. "We hypothesized that the ghrelin system may be an important player in the brain-reward systems and, more specifically, wanted to investigate if the ghrelin system is involved in alcohol dependence in humans.
Additionally, variations of ghrelin make individuals more or less susceptible to experiencing multiple addictive behaviors, such as alcoholism and over-eating—underscoring the genetic basis of such disorders.


Source: "Alcoholism; Peptide ghrelin may be involved in both alcohol dependence and overeating." NewsRx Health & Science (Oct. 2008): 21.

come lobby Prop 8 in Sacramento

Please join us on Tuesday, February 17 in Sacramento for Equality California’s Marriage Equality Lobby Day.

www.eqca.org/2009lobbyday

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

ending unanimity for execution

After a jury failed to unanimously agree to execute Brian G. Nichols for the rash murder of 4 government employees:
Georgia legislators have began lining up to introduce bills eliminating the requirement that juries be unanimous for a death sentence. Hard-on-crime lawmakers have long favored easier rules on death sentencing, but the Nichols sentence has given new urgency to their cause. full article
Representative Barry A. Fleming believes the law should be weakened because “Unfortunately, you have people who say they’re willing to consider the death penalty, but when they get on a jury, it becomes clear that they’re actually death penalty opponents.”

Uhhh...you mean once citizens become personally involved in the process, they tend to realize that execution is cruel and unusual punishment? That Americans retract support of the death penalty on the spot lends credence to eliminating the punishment--not making it easier to execute (no pun intended).

what's the good in good?

I have been chewing over this for quite sometime--what is the good in doing good? I mean this from an existentialist or even nihilist perspective. If the end is the end, why not act purely in self interest and indulge? Who cares about anything or any one if reality is not real, or if everything is irrelevant and meaningless?

To this end, I had a few answers. Life may be ultimately meaningless, but I can still process stimulation--so why not just feel good, mentally or physically? The second is rather civil libertarian. We must fight for freedom in general to ultimately protect the security of our own. Once a certain group is oppressed, oppression becomes permissible, and our own stability is compromised. Fine. Self-interest connected to the whole.

But that answer was not enough. What could explain my environmental edge? As far as I am concerned, I will not live to see the true dangers of climate change. As far as actual rights are concerned in the political sphere, animals are irrelevant. To this end, I attributed the urge to cultural appraisals of kindness and care taking--specifically hammered in as a social product of my vagina. Because I have been made to believe that being ethical will make me happy, I live my life giving and being ethical. I ultimately decided that even if the joy I experience from giving is indoctrination, the physical and emotional sensations prevail, and for this effect, such actions are taken in self-interest.

Still, I felt as though something was missing--and a few weeks ago, I found my answer. I realize that positive feelings and positive energy simply feel good. Smiling feels good. Watching people smile feels good. Being around happy people feels good. Being around sad people feels bad. APATHY DOES NOT FEEL LIKE ANYTHING. So why would I ever be negative or apathetic if I need not be? It is in my own self-interest to be positive about as many things as possible at any given time.

This translates into the way one considers the rest of the world. For example, I could hate animals or be apathetic toward them. If I hated them, I would detract from my own positive experience through anger or abhorrence. If I were neutral, I would simply not gain anything from them at all. I would eat a burger and be unaffected. But if I love animals, I win--because I have something extra in my life to enjoy. I get free, positive energy. And when I love animals all of the time through veganism, I have replaced a wash with a win--everyday.

If positive energy feels good, reasonable altruism can be a drug. I have also realized that the same applies to people. I could chose to not care or hate a person--or I could be forgiving and wish that person well, and instead feel the gains of happy thoughts. This is different than being happy because I am the type of good person who wishes one happy thoughts (which is the effect of the indoctrination theory). This is literally about taking away some other neutral, worried, or negative thought in my brain and replacing it with a positive thought.

I suppose I could enjoy only the select things that directly bring me pleasure: food, friends, movies, infatuation. Only a limited pool would contribute to my self-interest and pleasure. Or I could just appreciate life and all living things, and suddenly the pool of things that give me pleasure seems unlimited.

This is not about care taking. This is about receiving pleasure. No matter how upset I may be, seeing a doggy on the street makes me shriek with joy. By loving animals instead of being apathetic to them, I just win. It isn't about giving.

Perhaps this is all a matter of framing. Perhaps I only say all of this now because I am at a different place in my life. A more appreciative and thankful place. The more I care about life, the more I appreciate life, the more positive I feel all around. I have less anger. I have less stress. I get to experience gratitude, affection and joy much more.

In fact, I am starting to wonder how or why I could even waste my own precious, self-interested time with anger or stress to begin with? Instead, I can just find something to appreciate in everything--and always win.

first face transplant in the US

Face transplants, used to treat birth defects, burns, and other diseases, are making significant advances:

Cleveland Clinic surgeons have performed the nation’s first near total face transplant, officials said on Tuesday. The patient is a woman who was not identified.

Three partial face transplants have been performed since 2005, two in France and one in China. All have involved using facial tissue from a dead donor with permission from their families.

The Cleveland surgical team, led by Dr. Maria Siemionow, said it had replaced about 80 percent of the patient’s face with that of a dead woman in the last two weeks. The doctors offered no details on the patient, but said they would discuss her surgery at a news conference on Wednesday. full article

great quote

"Liberty is not built on the doctrine that a few nobles have a right to inherit the earth"

--John Adams

Monday, December 15, 2008

Supreme Court to revisit ex-detainee torture case

Thanks to new precedent set forth by Boumediene v. Bush, Guantánamo prisoners have the right to challenge their detention in federal court--and in light of this, the Supreme Court is restoring a law suit by 4 British citizens/former detainees against Rumsfeld. Read it hot from the New York Times

Oh Kennedy. You old swing vote, you.

why all the smack about the exclusionary rule?

I am trying to understand all of the frenzy surrounding the exclusionary rule, or at least quell academic criticisms (that through some scholastic snobbery feebly posit American adversarial courts as less concerned with justice by deeming illegally-obtained evidence as inadmissible).

Thanks to Mapp v. Ohio (1964), evidence obtained in violation of the 4th and 5th Amendments is thrown out of court to deter wrongful police conduct...

EXCEPT when there is a good faith attempt by police to obtain the evidence legally, and
EXCEPT when evidence would have been obtained by other means (free will, inevitably, whatever)

Can we all recognize the wiggle room here and quit the yapping?

going deaf from a kiss?

So, I thought this was a joke...but apparently it isn't...

A young Chinese woman was left partially deaf following a passionate kiss from her boyfriend.

The 20-something from Zhuhai in Guangdong province arrived at hospital having completely lost the hearing in her left ear, said local reports...

The doctor who treated the girl in hospital was quoted in the paper explaining what had happened.

"The kiss reduced the pressure in the mouth, pulled the eardrum out and caused the breakdown of the ear." full article

props to CPK

I was checking out the California Pizza Kitchen menu online--and there is a special menu for vegetarians. But that's not all--it's divided into vegan, lacto-vegetarian, and lacto-ovo-vegetarian.

I am really impressed.

I wish more restaurants--and more people--were veg-friendly.

ads

Dear readers,

You may have noticed that there are currently two ads that have been recently added to The Colonic. I would like to clarify that my blog does not include any paid advertisement, but that of my own good will and spirit, I have decided to advertise for certain companies/organization that I find to be of particular merit.

Love always,
The Colonic

P.S.
Some of my lovely readers have been emailing me articles that they think are up my alley. I really enjoy hearing from all of you, and please feel free to email me at thecolonic@gmail.com whenever you'd like.

atheist group challenges governor of Colorado

Kudos to the Freedom From Religion Foundation:
Reporting from Denver -- Bill Ritter Jr. was not the first governor of Colorado to declare the first Thursday in May as a day of prayer.

But he was the first to attend a celebration of the National Day of Prayer at the state Capitol, joining a crowd of several hundred Christians in 2007. His appearance at the event caught the attention of a Wisconsin-based atheist group, which has mounted a campaign its leaders hope will dissuade him and other governors from participating again.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has filed a lawsuit in state court, seeking to stop the governor from issuing any proclamations it says endorse a particular religion and send a message to nonreligious residents "that they are expected to believe in God."

"Everybody has become too comfortable with this interaction of religion and government. Sometimes someone needs to push back," said David Habecker, 63, one of the lawsuit's plaintiffs and a member of the foundation.

Habecker was ousted as town trustee in Estes Park, Colo., in a 2005 recall after he refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance because he objected to the phase "under God."

The suit is part of a broader campaign by the group to overturn the 1952 law designating a National Day of Prayer and mandating an annual proclamation by the president. full article

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

From the ACLU:
Marking the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the ACLU is calling on the incoming Obama administration to recommit to the rights and principles laid out in the document and use it as a guidepost for setting policy at home and abroad.

The UDHR was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948 to codify the basic human rights of all people and is widely considered to be the founding document of the modern human rights movement.

Sign petition here

ACLU video blog from GITMO

Check it out

Friday, December 12, 2008

NOW's Feminist Action Agenda

Despite some philosophical disagreements, I still have much love for the National Organization for Women (NOW). Although I have to say, pretty flippin' weak strategy on NOW's Feminist Action Agenda.

Are you kidding me? Not only is this list waaaaaaay too long, it covers so many controversial topics in such detail that coalition building is really not looking so hot. And I won't lie--I didn't even have it in me to sit and read through the thing to pick out how much of it I don't like.

What ever happened to the good old 10 point plan? Let's get as many people on board as possible--not alienate everyone except a limited die-hard core.

Come on NOW. The point is to be effective--not just to act on singularly determined principle.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

is the economic crisis furthering the climate crisis?

I am starting to worry that all of this--justifiable, of course--concern with the economy is taking attention away from the imminent threat of climate change. I am on Senator Boxer's mailing list, and was really scared by the following:
My top priority -- in fact, my only priority right now -- is to stabilize the housing market, create new, good-paying jobs, and get our economy back on track.
I really hope that she actually meant that she is working to revitalize our economy--and planet--with green jobs and sustainable infrastructure.

Power Shift 2009, here I come.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

training the "feminine" body

What with my inconspicuous consumption of a snazzy new gym membership, I decided that I should inconspicuously consume some personal training sessions as well.

While discussing my goals with my new trainer (10 pull ups!), I couldn't help but notice--over and over and over again--the emphasis placed on social constructions of gender, and what exactly it means to be and look "feminine."

Since my goal is to get super strong, I was assured that I would be guided through this process appropriately as to maintain a "feminine" body--and presumably not look bulky and "masculine."

I couldn't help but think how difficult it must be for female body builders, who have been undoubtedly interrogated why they would ever want to look "big" and "manly".

All I'm saying is, if I am going to pull my own weight in life, I best be able to pull up my weight on a silly little bar.

tax cow farts!

Cow flatulence, believe it or not, is a significant contributor to climate change (thank the over-consumption of meat and factory farming).

In light of this, the EPA is considering a tax on livestock gaseous emissions. This initiative to tax cow farts, however, is not without heavy opposition. The counter-claim holds that New York farmers are too fiscally burdened as it is to pay for bovine gas.

I say, if you're going kill the cow, you have to pay for its cheese.

Full article

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

gay rights are not a matter of constitutional relativism

Textualist, activist, textualist, activist...

Aside from my own humble opinions concerning judicial philosophy and the schools of jurisprudence (which I have yet to unfold to my readers...but it's in the oven), the fact of the matter is that gay rights do not fall under a relativist rendering of the Constitution--but pleasantly reside under the original intent of equal protection under the law.

The Huffington Post featured a long rant on the matter, which you may read here.

tell Brit to leave exotic animals alone

A few posts ago, I explained that I love our girl B. Spears, but am extremely upset with her exploitation of exotic animals in her sexy comeback video, Circus (Please Brit...we all creamed ourselves before the lions and elephants at the end...there is no need).

Well, now PETA has something to say about it:
“As Britney is such a victim of the paparazzi and always complaining and crying about how she hates to be held up in her guarded house and can’t feel free, she of all people should be able to relate to the horror that captive animals go through when they’re used for entertainment… Animals are ripped away from their mothers at a young age, kept in chains, and prodded with electric shock devices to make them perform. That doesn’t sound so voluntary to me.”
Click here and let Britney know that she's hot, but animal abuse is not.

Supreme Court refuses Obama citizenship case

The Court will not consider whether or not Obama is a natural born citizen.

The plaintiff Leo Donofrio also claims McCain is not a natural born citizen either. Full story.

Barack, close Guantánamo


Sign this petition and remind Barack Obama where we stand on Gitmo and torture. (Image from the ACLU)


Sunday, December 7, 2008

gym fees and shopping sprees: conspicuous v inconspicuous consumption

I recently read a study that found money can buy happiness--if you know where to shop. This got me thinking a lot about conspicuous versus inconspicuous consumption.

Conspicuous consumption refers to pricey clothing, snazzy jewelry, and fabulous shoes. You know, those things that you buy for yourself--and incidentally for everyone else to see.

Conspicuous consumption does nothing for happiness after a certain degree of basic needs are met. What would make us happier is inconspicuous consumption. That is, longer vacations, more time with friends, and other leisurely folly.

This all came to head yesterday as I found myself once more contemplating life alongside the latest pieces of one of my favorite fashion designers. I believe that clothing is worth a pretty penny if it fits well and you feel great in it. Yet I have come to discover a trend among all those pretty pennies I have been spending.

My closet is teeming. In fact, all of my clothes do not even fit in it. I have so many dresses crammed in such close proximity--and I have not a thing to wear. What looked great two weeks ago is boring and ugly and fits poorly this week. And that is when I realized, that maybe I just don't know where to shop.

Yes. I could have dropped more than I should have on that red dress that would be quite stunning on Monday night at the Christmas party that I am going to. Or, I could take that money and buy plane tickets to visit very dear friends in New York and Louisiana.

Amidst these buzzing thoughts, I did a quick inventory check. Of all the new items I have been so pleased to bring into my collection, none of them have made me any happier. In fact, not many of them retain their original flare in my heart (that's not to say I don't like anything--it's just that buying new things all of the time doesn't make me feel any better about what is really bothering me).

Today, after years of being frugal with my gym fees and loosey goosey in my shopping sprees, I decided it was time to reprioritize my finances and focus on inconspicuous spending. I am at the gym nearly everyday--it is an important part of my life and my health--and I keep going back to my usual shit hole because it costs me 12 dollars a month (I've been a member forever). However, what would truly improve the quality of my day is working out in a beautiful, upgraded, hygienic atmosphere with luxurious amenities to boot.

A few hours ago, I did just that. Such a better work out. Such a better day. Such a better bang for my buck.

natural selection, adaptability, and assholes: a follow-up

A few posts ago, I asked why natural selection has not weeded out warrantless assholes. In search of an answer beyond my own conjecture, I consulted an expert in the field who teaches at the University of Southern California.

Turns out, there is no known adaptable purpose for being mean without merit--but as long as the reputation costs are not too high, a person can engage in d-bagery freely.

Montana judge OKs assisted suicide

perhaps some progress:
A Montana judge has ruled that doctor-assisted suicides are legal in the state, a decision likely to be appealed as the state argues that the Legislature, not the court, should decide whether terminally ill patients have the right to take their own life (full article)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

natural selection, adaptability, and assholes

I have to say, I am stumped: why would natural selection favor the qualities of a warrantless asshole?

A territorial or violent prick I completely understand. These qualities would be helpful in protecting the family or competing against other mates.

But the warrantless asshole? What good is an unreasonable and unpredictable d-bag? Shouldn't natural selection just weed them out? And who the hell wants to reproduce with a shit head?

Perhaps I am just confused by people with personality disorders. After all, how could any one be cruel? I just don't understand. And why would any one be very cruel to someone extremely kind?

Rest assured, I will consult an authoritative source to answer my scientific inquiry.

I suppose idiots like me would have already reproduced offspring with said asshole in more primal times.

Friday, December 5, 2008

using a computer to speak through your mind...nuts


Watch CBS Videos Online

Supreme Court Take Case on President’s Power to Detain

Exciting stuff:
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to decide the most fundamental question yet concerning executive power in the age of terror: Can the president order the indefinite military detention of people living in the United States? (full article)

atheist placard alongside nativity scence--what's the fuss?

The Freedom from Religion Foundation put a sign celebrating the winter solstice and denouncing religion next to a Nativity scene in the Legislative Building of Olympia, Washington. While calls of appreciation are pouring in (25% of residents are unaffiliated with religion or atheist), so are angry residents and Christian organizations.

On the issue, Governor Gregoire commented, ""I happen to be a Christian, and I don't agree with the display that is up there,but that doesn't mean that as governor, I have the right to deny their ability to express their free speech."

Thanks, Governor. You are exercising rational thought.

Read the full article.

tits, tees, and treadmills

The other day I thought I would pop downstairs and hit the gym in my building--but alas, it is closed for renovation. So I hopped in the car and drove to my actual gym.

I got there and realized, that since I was doing a quickie at home, I had skipped the sports bra. The funny thing is, I rarely ever wear bras in everyday life. Frankly, I don't need them. Secondly, I think my own shape is more attractive. Thirdly, I am all about female nipple liberation. Fourthly, I am all about comfort.

But I couldn't help but wonder, why was I so insecure about my bitties at the gym? Is it all that moving around on the elliptical that made me feel over-exposed?

So I ran the internal dialogue in my head. Self, compulsory over-regulation of the female body is irrational and oppressive. Self, my body is no one's business but my own. Self, I reject male privilege and the notion that any and every word out of my mouth or article of clothing on my body is some sort of calculated sexual message. Self, I reject the notion that I am only a walking, talking sexual message.

It is funny that I have to worry about what I do or don't do under the privacy of my own clothes...

a musical against Prop 8

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Thursday, December 4, 2008

OMG IM SAVED

I was just lamenting the loss of designer shoes a few posts ago...

And now, I have seen the messiah.

olsen Haus.

Britney...why?

No one loves Britney as much as I do. I could not get through the gym without all of the leaked tracks from Circus.

And while I admit that the Circus video is smoldering...DID SHE HAVE TO USE EXOTIC ANIMALS? Those animals are not treated well, have poor living conditions, and are subjected to discomfort or abuse for the purposes of training. They can often be scared by conditions on sets, and are not allowed to be in their natural habitats and do natural animal things.

Zoos make me cry. Britney, I love you--but your video breaks my heart.

the happiness equation

H=S+C+V

There you have it. According to Heidt, happiness consists of your genetic set point, conditions in your environment, and voluntary actions.

The equation has certainly held true for me--but then again, one could argue that I have certain genetic characteristics that make me more self-initiated and determined. I firmly believe that there is no seemingly automatic and unproductive psychological tendency in me that I cannot identify, explore, and resolve. Perhaps it is my unwavering belief that has allowed me to take more control of my life, become more self-aware, and enjoy myself much more.

Speaking of increasing happiness, a study just came out today finding that happiness can be contagious.

I also would like to point out a very fun fact: natural selection does not favor my happiness, because I don't want to make babies.

I think I can give better things to the world than by genes anyway.

AT&T cuts job

AT&T has announced that it is cutting 12,000 jobs in the next year.

The least it can do is use the savings to improve its shitty service.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I have decided, at least when it comes to First Amendment cases involving sexual content, that the "activists" are the originalists, and the "originalists" are the activists.

In fact, at least when it comes to First Amendment cases involving sexual content, the "originalists" are just conservative d-bags in a black robes.

More on this some other time...when finals are over...

Monday, December 1, 2008

post-traumatic growth: a reappraisal of trauma and adversity

In The Happiness Hypothesis, by Jonathan Haidt, the author dedicates a chapter to the uses of adversity. His claim is that, instead of post-traumatic stress, an individual can actually achieve post-traumatic growth. This occurs in three ways:
  1. Rising to the challenge reveals hidden strengths and abilities and can change your self-concept. Appreciating one’s own strength can increase one’s confidence. People can also become inoccuous to future stress, and recover more quickly because they know how to cope.
  2. Adversity also filters out good relationships from bad ones, by sorting out those who are supportive or helpful. We usually feel love and gratitude for those who have cared for us in our time of need. Susan Nolen Hoeksema found that the most common effect of losing a loved one was greater appreciation of and tolerance for others in our lives.
  3. Trauma can also change priorities and philosophies toward the present, i.e. live life to the fullest.

Haidt claims that if the strong version of the adversity hypothesis is true, "people must endure adversity to grow" and "the highest levels of growth and development are only open to those who have faced and overcome great adversity" (141).

It goes like this: "When tragedy strikes, it knocks you off the treadmill and forces a decision: Hope back on and return to business as usual, or try something else?" (143). Apparently, this window of opportunity ranges from a few weeks to a few months--but the changes might stick.

Turns out, the nature of human trauma is irrelevant--what matters is what people do afterward.

I do have to say, the adversity hypothesis has undoubtedly held true in my own life, and I think I am a much happier and "better" (according to my standards) person for it.

hormones to cure obesity?

This concerns me:
Researchers are studying variations of a family of human hormones - known as N-acylphosphatidylethanolamines, or NAPEs - for their effectiveness in controlling appetite and therefore obesity. (full article)
Obesity is not about some abnormal and insatiable hunger. I lack exact scientific figures, but I would venture to guess that actual obesity is caused by binge eating that is likely emotional, and/or poor understandings of food, health and nutrition, and/or lack of physical activity.

Learning how to process emotions alone can drastically curb emotional or compulsive eating.

Try a holistic approach--not simply hormones in pill form.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

kombucha crisis

If any one can answer either of the two questions below, I will be thankful as long as I shall live:

1. Why is it that a perfectly sealed bottle of pristine-looking kombucha can turn out to be flat?
2. Are there any methods of detecting the defect kombuchas?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Hell for Leather

Check out this informative documentary, Hell for Leather, which explores the high cost of cheap leather production on human health, water, and the ecosystem. Click here to watch.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

soy milk and Manolos: reflecting on one year of veganism

Today marks the day that, one year ago, I began my vegan transformation. I have to say, I am still excited and happy as ever to be leading an animal-free dietary lifestyle. I have reduced my carbon footprint, improved my digestion, and experience overall feelings of heightened wellness and energy.

Although today is a day of celebration, it is also a day of reflection for me--and honesty. While eating vegan has been a simple and extremely enjoyable transition, I cannot say the same about dressing vegan. I know that this difficulty stems from my own class privilege and materialism, and so I have been shy to explore the challenge on my blog, or to anyone but a circle of close friends. However, I have decided it is time to come out of the closet. The shoe closet, that is.

When I first developed a vegan dietary lifestyle, I did not jump on the vegan wardrobe bus, but instead told myself that lasting change is incremental, and I needed to transition according to my own comfort level to achieve lasting change. While I certainly decreased the leather shoes and bags I bought, I still made those guilt-ridden purchases, albeit more sporadically. And I felt terrible. But then I got to wear my new purchases, and I felt fantastic.

Here's the thing. It's very easy for me to look at a hamburger and think "dead tortured cow." But when it comes to--let's be honest--Marc Jacobs and Manolo Blahnik, the connection is a little fuzzy. I certainly learned this from my ex-boyfriend, but when it comes to love--or what/whom we think we love--we only see what we want to see. And I have to admit it. I love shoes.

So what's the problem? Non-leather shoes certainly exist, but they do not encompass my classist perception as to what qualifies as an amazing shoe, or a well designed shoe, or an artistic shoe, or a well-made shoe...let's get real: 99% of vegan heels are fugly as hell. I know Natalie Portman has paved the way a bit, but her line just about touts the price, and sadly not the aesthetics, of other high-fashion lines.

Despite the agony I feel, a few months ago I decided I was ready to make the shoe/bag commitment (although I also decided that I am not a vegan when it comes to waste, and so I will keep my prior leather collection). However, I decided not to blog about it until I passed the real test: a Barney's shoe sale. While I haven't hit the big B in a while, I did make it out of a Marc Jacobs shoe sale alive...although many cows did not. And so here I am, being honest about my whole superficial dilemma.

It really does pain me that over-priced wardrobe items are interfering with my own ethical convictions. On the plus side, I have kept my promise to myself for the past few months, despite many tempting offers (insert well-dressed mother here). I also need to realize that I have been superficial my entire life, and only socially conscious for a couple years now. In all honesty, it is extremely difficult to un-do what has been programmed inside of me since birth. Why, my very first pair of high heels purchased in the 6th grade were a fabulous Yves Saint Lauren strappy black sandal that still sit in my closet today for memory's sake. Mama didn't raise no fool--when it came to shoes, my feet had only the very best.

So here I am today. Torn. Will my commitment only last so long as my old Chanels are still in wearable condition? Luckily, leather lasts longer than a human lifetime because it's treated with chemicals that later run off into the soil and poison our groundwater...so I should be good for a while. I also cannot ignore the voice of my mother in my background (Louis Vuitton makes canvas heels).

But this only raises greater philosophical questions: why do I need many pairs of extremely over-priced shoes to satisfactorily complete my ensembles? Because, come on now, one is never enough. I have black pointed-toe heels, black round-toe heels, black wedge heals, black strappy sandal heels, black sling-back heels...the list goes on. And this is only one color.

So here I am. Vegan and aspiring life-style activist...but today I am coming out of the closet. I am still materialistic when it comes to my wardrobe. For all of my reusable shopping bags and aluminum water bottles and compulsive unplugging of unused appliances and vintage this and that, my closet is abusive to the environment.

And since I am being brutally honest, let me just clean out my entire closet. Last week, I bought a fantastic faux-fur jacket from Marc Jacobs--a vegan wet dream, really--but I couldn't escape being haunted by the label. Made in China.

I am just going to sidestep the whole international low-wage labor debate (worker exploitation/humanitarian crisis versus providing jobs to the jobless/growing economies in the 3rd world) and go straight to a fact that is undeniable: it makes no sense environmentally to ship my fantastic faux fur jacket across the world. It might not be a tortured dead animal who required a taxing amount of energy to birth, transport, raise and slaughter--but its an artificial piece of crap that literally just shat carbon emissions across the ocean. And I love it so much.

I do not really have a conclusion for this piece. Suffice it to say that I am acutely aware of my own materialism and class privilege, and the subsequent intersections with over-consumption and waste. Also, suffice it to say that I am deeply engaged in introspective work to challenge and question why it is I do the things I do, and why the things that make me happy really make me happy.

And to be honest, I am also wondering why I carry the burden of the earth on my shoulders, and think that I must be eco-perfect in every single way possible. After all, I do flirt with nihilism and question reality quite often.

This is not something that can be resolved or magically disappear over night. It's one of those life work things. But I thought I would be honest and open up a discussion.

terrorist attacks in India

NEW DELHI — Coordinated terror attacks struck the heart of Mumbai, India’s commercial capital, Wednesday night, killing dozens in machine-gun and grenade assaults on at least two five-star hotels, the city’s largest commuter train station, a historic movie theater and a hospital. There were unconfirmed reports of hostages having been taken at one of the hotels. Mumbai police control room said at least 75 people had died and 240 injured, according to preliminary reports.(full article)

Monday, November 24, 2008

inauguration irritation

I just received an email from my congressional office, explaining that inauguration tickets will be distributed according to lottery.

Excuse me? Distribution should be on a first-come, first-serve basis. I requested my tickets very far in advance, and am annoyed that my probability of receiving a ticket is now dramatically reduced by this lottery.

200 tickets for 2,000 people. Fabulous.

At least I get a vacation either way.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A note to my readers

Dear readers,

On January 9, The Colonic is turning 2! I can hardly believe it myself. In preparation for The Colonic's birthday party, I was hoping that you could drop me an email with your favorite post, or what you like about The Colonic, or any other comments you may have. You can email me at thecolonic@gmail.com.

As always, thank you for being a part of my blog.

Love,
The Colonic
I wish someone had told me earlier that most things in life can be better understood by seeking to answer for oneself the purpose of art, and the purpose of government.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

food and god

As I was spreading my organic sodium-free peanut butter on my organic low-sodium bread, and sipping on my multi-green raw, organic kombucha, I couldn't help but wonder: is this my god? Is this the thing that really makes no sense, but I need to believe in it to organize my life?

Although I can't be certain, I don't think my longevity would be compromised if my bread had a little more salt in it, but I have this unshakable faith in the most pure and minimalist forms of food as my own physiological savior.

Granted, as a vegan, I feel stronger and healthier and have more energy--but I certainly take health far beyond veganism alone. These extra steps don't necessarily yield results that I can see, but it feels so good to believe. Actually, I need to believe.

So maybe health really is my god.

Friday, November 21, 2008

vegan treat

Dark chocolate sorbet has just knocked off frozen chocolate covered bananas as my favorite vegan goody from Trader Joe's.

Really, if you love chocolate, this is a must-try.

Sarah Palin and dead turkeys

As for this whole Sarah Palin interview in front of slaughtered turkeys, I am a bit confused. To start with, I don't know what this woman does in her free time that she is chilling on a dead turkey farm. But what confuses me is how this clip has been received culturally.

I just want to know why the anchor feels the need to give an ominous preface to the coverage, or why the turkey guts were blurred. For vegans and vegetarians, I would understand--but to the omnivorous world, I am just baffled. Why should people who have no qualms eating dead animals be squeamish about the slaughter process? If animals are meant to die and be eaten, should you all be at peace with it? You know what you are eating is a turkey, why can't you acknowledge how it has to die for your palette? And if you can't, maybe you should reconsider why you are eating turkeys.

Why are the omnivores phobic of watching their dinner die?

Cloning the woolly mammoth

Michael Crichton wasn't so far off.

Despite it's extinction over 10,000 years ago, the woolly mammoth could be making a comeback soon. Scientists are slowly collecting more genetic information on the ancient elephant, and with a complete genome, cloning is plausible.

Stephan Schuster, a Penn State University biochemistry professor and co-author of the research explains, "This really is the first time that we have been able to study an extinct animal in the same detail as the ones living in our own time."

full article

the first human wind pipe transplant

PARIS — Physicians at four European universities have successfully transplanted a human windpipe, using stem cells from the recipient’s own bone marrow to reline a donor trachea and prevent its rejection by her immune system (full article)

child porn and free speech


I have been brewing up an in-depth blog on free speech and censorship, but while it's baking, let me get a simple issue off of my chest.

Advocates of censorship generally lay their claim on the premise that the dangers of completely unregulated speech allow atrocities such as child pornography to run rampant. Oh, those heathen civil libertarians who want to protect free speech!

I would like to clarify that the aforementioned argument simply does not fly. Child pornography is unethical because it exploits a minor who cannot give consent--therefore kiddie porn is out the window before it can even enter the domain of free speech discussion.

elementary school renamed for Obama

ABC News reports:
A New York elementary school has been re-named in honor of President-elect Barack Obama. Ludlum Elementary School in Long Island's Hempstead Union Free School District was re-named at a board meeting Thursday, at the request of numerous school students. (full article)

meat and deadly intestinal germs

A potentially deadly hospital germ called Clostridium difficile has been found in 40% packaged meats sampled from Arizona.

This raises the question if these germs are being transmitted through food.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention claims there is not yet any scientific evidence that the presence of C. diff in meat causes illness in humans. Full story

Thursday, November 20, 2008

disabled man disabled from further law suits

After filing over 400 lawsuits under the Americans With Disabilities Act, a federal judge barred a disabled man from future ADA litigation, claiming his actions were extortion.

Is enforcing the ADA really frivolous litigation, or is it just a strong push for access on behalf of the disabled?

Get the full scoop here.

Eharmony to offer same-sex matches

Finally...
The Pasadena-based dating website, heavily promoted by Christian evangelical leaders when it was founded, has agreed in a civil rights settlement to give up its heterosexuals-only policy and offer same-sex matches. (full article)

Bush, get out of office and leave women alone

Despite the fact that the Bush administration promised not to make any regulations past November 1st, Dubya has decided to impose new ultra right wing restrictions on female access to health care. According to Planned Parenthood:
The rule could allow health care organizations that receive federal funding to redefine abortion to include the most common forms of birth control — and then refuse to provide these basic services. For any health care provider to intentionally withhold information about widely embraced health care options from a patient is absolutely unconscionable under any circumstances. The federal government has no business funding providers who do not abide by this most fundamental standard of care.
Senator Clinton added:
"In the final days of his administration, the president is again putting ideology first and attempting to roll back health care protections for women and families. This HHS rule will threaten patients' rights, stand in the way of health care professionals, and restrict access to critical health care services for those who need them most. Senator Murray and I are standing up once again to the administration against this rule and will continue to fight for women's reproductive rights."
You can take action here

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

keep your kids out of my gym

I recognize that babies and small children have taken over. They are on our airplanes, restaurants, department stores, movie theaters, car washes, coffee shops and nail salons. In fact, wherever you go, chances are you will see one of those baby back packs, and odds are, the thing will be crying.

Fine. The babies have landed, and I have to listen to their noises wherever and whenever they may be. But I was not prepared for what happened today.

I was working out in the gym in my building, and some parent brings her tiny toddler to come play on the treadmill. WTF? Is there nothing sacred? Is there no such thing as adult space? The gym is my only true freedom. Keep your kid everywhere else.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Supreme Court rules in favor of US Navy

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that military training trumps protecting whales in a dispute over the Navy's use of sonar in submarine-hunting exercises off the coast of southern California.
The divide of the Court is a real shocker: Alito, Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy joined onto Robert's opinion. Stevens did not join the majority opinion, but said that the lower courts failed to justify why they had sided with environmental groups. Breyer would have kept some restrictions in tact.

Ginsburg and Souter said oh hell no--the prospect of harm to marine life is sufficient in justifying limits on sonar.

dreading the v card

And no...I'm not talking virginity.

I'm talking veganism.

I have been a vegan for almost a year now (in about two weeks I hit the big 3-6-5), and lately I have been spending a lot of time reflecting on my transition. I can't help but wonder--why have some people had such a problem with it?

Whether the snide and loaded "why?" (eyes rolling, no less), descriptions such as "freak food," or monologues that include how "sad" my new life is, I'm just wondering...what the fuck is it to you?

I am not difficult in choosing a restaurant. I still go out to eat frequently with friends and family. I have never made a scene. I have never asked a family member to accommodate me. I never try and recruit vegans, but I do recommend food that I enjoy.

The only person whose palette I pressure is my father, and that is because he has a weight problem and is at high risk for cardiovascular disease.

Frankly, I get the impression that some people find my eating habits just plain annoying, and I will never understand why. I am not judgmental, I am no less social--and guess what? I am healthier than I have ever been, and have drastically reduced my carbon foot print. This is cause for celebration.

Please, stop projecting your shit on me. I know that cultural conformity is praised, but it should not be compulsory.

On the flip side, thanks to every one who has been supportive, taken a trip to RFD, or eaten a Big Maque.

Monday, November 10, 2008

2 trillion dollars and 0 transparency

Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve is refusing to identify the recipients of almost $2 trillion of emergency loans from American taxpayers or the troubled assets the central bank is accepting as collateral.
While the Federal Reserve might think that it is super cool in creating a rescue plan that did not need the approval of Congress (I really need to research the details of that one), it is super un-cool to spend 2 trillion dollars in tax-payer money and not disclose any information to the tax-payers.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

the D-O-E is D-U-M-B

Despite the fact that Yucca Mountain is over 20 years late in its completion (at the earliest), and despite the geological limits of the site due to fault lines and volcanic activity, the Department of Energy wants to expand Yucca Mountain as a repository for nuclear waste.

Not to mention the government told utility companies it would begin dumping their waste in 1998, and began collecting from them of one-tenth of a cent per kilowatt-hour generated at their reactors. Alas, it is 2008 and the repository is not ready, leaving the United States with a tab of 11 billion dollars or more in commercial damages.

At least our President-elect thinks this is sketchy. I just hope the alternative solution is not found at the bottom of Alaska.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

3 lawsuits already filed against Prop 8

Lawyers for same-sex couples argued that the anti-gay-marriage measure was an illegal constitutional revision -- not a more limited amendment, as backers maintained -- because it fundamentally altered the guarantee of equal protection. A constitutional revision, unlike an amendment, must be approved by the Legislature before going to voters. (full article)
While I was horrified that Prop 8 passed in my own backyard, I can't help but look at the silver lining: this issue will finally be dealt with once and for all. If Prop 8 did not pass, we would continue to see it again and again. It might take some time, but let's just kill this once and for all in court.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

if you have clogged arties and like to kill animals for fun, the joke might be on you

Apparently, the adrenalin of killing an animal innocently prancing around its natural habitat can cause heart attacks. Those with a history of heart disease or poor cardiovascular health are particularly at risk, and are more likely to keel over from a lethal heart rhythm disturbance than a stray bullet.

Oh the irony.

Get the full story from CNN.

"Farmer in Chief"

Author Michael Pollan, whose best-selling books have prompted readers to think differently about food, is now asking the next president to rethink the nation’s food policies...

One of Mr. Pollan’s concerns is that national policies subsidize the least healthful calories that we eat. He notes that the “building blocks” of fast food are soy and corn, used to make hydrogenated soy oil, the protein and starch in cattle and chicken feed, and high-fructose corn syrup used in sodas and sweets.

“That’s what we’ve been heavily subsidizing, encouraging farmers to grow more of, and that’s what makes fast food so cheap,” he said. “Meanwhile over in the produce section, the head of broccoli costs more than a fast-food hamburger. Why is that? We do very little to encourage farmers to grow what are called specialty crops, which is actual food you can eat. We need to level the playing field between the unhealthy and healthy calories.”

He has also called for a new definition of food.

“What if we had a definition of food that said a food is something that doesn’t just have calories but has a certain amount of nutrients and micronutrients?” he asks. “If your product did not reach a certain threshold of nutrients per calorie, it’s just not food. We’re not even going to call it junk food. We’ll call it junk.” (full article)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

natural law

Admittedly, the idea of natural law repulsed me before I could even give it fair thought. God-given rights? Gag me. My atheist leanings gravitated toward positivism, where humans/government create laws and grant freedom. But I was being hasty.

Natural law must not be confused with theology, and instead must be examined through a secular humanist lens. Indeed, natural law mirrors the fundamentals of basic human rights. By virtue of being humans, we are entitled to specific liberties (and I would also argue that animals and nature also have certain rights...but that is another discussion)

More importantly, the United States Constitution does not grant any rights--it merely specifies that there are certain rights which the government cannot take away. If our own government does not give us rights, it is clear then that liberty precedes government.

Natural law is also crucial because, in a purely positivist and democratic framework, the majority would lawfully be able to take away certain rights. In my book, despite mob mentality, certain rights should never be taken away. These rights can be viewed as basic human rights, or as rights derived from natural law.

Perhaps in another law, we can argue about which rights are "natural" and which are not. Tricky, as this is not written down in sea foam. But fun to think about nonetheless.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

what does Palin know about liberty?

After all, she supports an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would ban same-sex marriages in America. Small government my ass.

McCain believes that this is a state issue--but as he is likely to croak sooner than later, one must give Palin's bible-beating banter strong consideration.

Check out the full article.

Monday, October 20, 2008

W. stands for WORST MOVIE EVER

During the film, I could not help but think, "this movie is just like the war in Iraq--way too long, and I don't even know why I'm here."

One can only laugh at George W. Bush for so long. The damn thing just dragged. The film also would have been much better if it stopped once Bush reached the White House. As we are still in the midst of the Iraq debacle, it's just too soon to try and recapture it in film. I was bored and antsy.

I also am not sure how fact-based the movie even is. I question how the relationships between W. and his daddy, and W. and his wife were created. I should look into this.

Overall, don't waste your time.

I must say, Condy suffered the most. Her portrayal was so awful that it was painful to watch.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

gag me

We all know how much The Colonic loves PostSecret for the sheer thrill of learning the intimacies of strangers--and also for analyzing social constructions and culturally embedded horse shit.

This secret makes me want to throw myself off of a building. Please--treat me differently because I have a vagina! There is nothing I love more than the vestigial organs of legally-sanctioned sexism. Oh, the days when I was actually only property, and was bought and paraded like a doll! I love the watered-down socially praised remnants of such a life.

Gag me.

I prefer when the first person to reach a door holds it open for those to follow. That is the pragmatic/polite approach.

But while I am on the topic--let me just vent a little and shed light on my own prevailing indoctrination. As a person with a vagina who prefers not to be differentiated based on my genitals, I take issue with men holding the door open for me simply because I am a woman (and not based on convenience, who got there first, etc).

At the same time, it happens nearly every day that a phallus feels the need to assert his maleness and awkwardly reach over to get to a door first, or wait for me to exit an elevator when he is ahead of me, etc...and I feel like I just have to take it, pass a sweet smile, and say thank you. On a rare occasion, if I sense a person is extra-friendly, I can make a joke to shed light on the fact that discrimination offends me, but more often than not I feel that it would be bad for the overall movement to offer some sort abrupt commentary that was likely be misconstrued as rude and further stigmatize women favoring equality.

But that is not what weirds me out.

What is bizarre is that when I say "thank you," I subconsciously switch into some stupid cutesy voice--the same one that comes out when I talk to parents or extended family--and I can't help but think it's still in there. That need to enact a specific form of culturally accepted femaleness just comes out on auto-pilot sometimes, and it grosses me out.

Thanks, Powell

Colin Powell endorses Obama.
“As gifted as he is, he is essentially going to execute the Republican agenda, the orthodoxy of the Republican agenda, with a new face and a maverick approach to it, and he’d be quite good at it,” Mr. Powell said. “But I think we need a generational change.”

In offering his endorsement, Mr. Powell becomes the highest profile Republican to add his support to the Democratic ticket. Aides said it was not yet known whether the two men would campaign together – or what Mr. Powell would do alone – in the final two weeks of the presidential campaign.
full article

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Virginia registers almost 1/2 million new voters since January

Obama much?

Full article

dick in a box, box in a box...vote in a box

the science of heartbreak

interesting:
Working with mouse-like rodents called prairie voles, scientists have found that close monogamous relationships alter the chemistry of the brain, fostering the release of a compound that builds loyalty, but also plays a role in depression during times of separation.

The scientists found that after four days away from their mates, male voles experienced changes in the emotional center of their brains, causing them to become unresponsive and lethargic. When given a drug that blocked the changes, however, lonely voles emerged from their funk.

The same loyalty chemical is found in human brains, and scientists said the research could provide insight into treating human grief and separation.

The study might also "shed light on why couples remain in relationships that are bad for them"

Others call for scrutiny in anthropomorphizing voles. Read the whole thing.

P.S. the voles were killed to examine their brain chemicals.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

is anyone surprised?

An investigation by the Alaska legislature concluded that Palin had abused her power by pressuring subordinates to get her former brother-in-law/state trooper fired. (Full story)

gay marriage in Connecticut!

woot woot:
The ruling, which cannot be appealed and is to take effect on Oct. 28, held that a state law limiting marriage to heterosexual couples, and a civil union law intended to provide all the rights and privileges of marriage to same-sex couples, violated the constitutional guarantees of equal protection under the law. (read more)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

balls coming in handy

This just in: testicles may be as versatile as embryonic stem cells. Why, cells from your nut sack may even be able to grow replacement tissue for other body parts.

I would love to hear a reporter ask politicians if they favor testicular cell testing over embryonic cell testing.

Get the full story.

Monday, October 6, 2008

gluten-free vegans

A blog just for you!

Perfect timing--I am going to go gluten-free for a week...one of these weeks...when my life calms down...whenever that could possibly be...certainly not this week...hoping to get my life together by next week...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Palin can't even name a Supreme Court case

She could have just said Plessy v Ferguson...
COURIC: Do you think there's an inherent right to privacy in the Constitution?

PALIN: I do. Yeah, I do.

COURIC: the cornerstone of Roe v Wade

PALIN: I do. And I believe that --individual states can handle what the people within the different constituencies in the 50 states would like to see their will ushered in in an issue like that.

COURIC: What other Supreme Court decisions do you disagree with?

PALIN: Well, let's see. There's --of course --in the great history of America rulings there have been rulings, that's never going to be absolute consensus by every American. And there are--those issues, again, like Roe v Wade where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So you know--going through the history of America, there would be others but--

COURIC: Can you think of any?

PALIN: Well, I could think of--of any again, that could be best dealt with on a more local level. Maybe I would take issue with. But you know, as mayor, and then as governor and even as a Vice President, if I'm so privileged to serve, wouldn't be in a position of changing those things but in supporting the law of the land as it reads today. (source)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

mommy, mommy. where does pork come from?

not pretty.

PETA's video on the fashion industry

eek.

largest known prime number found

243,112,609-1.

Nuts. Read all about it.

iTunes becomes accessible to the blind

The Massachusetts attorney general's office and the National Federation of the Blind reached an agreement with Apple Inc. under which the consumer-electronics icon will make its iTunes service accessible to the blind. full article

Thursday, September 25, 2008

the debate must go on

MoveOn is circulating an emergency petition demanding that the debate must go on. Sign it here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

world guide to vegan/vegetarian restaurants

Happy Cow!

Travel will never be the same.

jury finds that threat of global warming justifies breaking the law

Many thanks to Heart of Green for linking this great article:

The threat of global warming is so great that campaigners were justified in causing more than £35,000 worth of damage to a coal-fired power station, a jury decided yesterday. In a verdict that will have shocked ministers and energy companies the jury at Maidstone Crown Court cleared six Greenpeace activists of criminal damage.

Jurors accepted defence arguments that the six had a "lawful excuse" to damage property at Kingsnorth power station in Kent to prevent even greater damage caused by climate change. The defence of "lawful excuse" under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 allows damage to be caused to property to prevent even greater damage – such as breaking down the door of a burning house to tackle a fire.

The not-guilty verdict, delivered after two days and greeted with cheers in the courtroom, raises the stakes for the most pressing issue on Britain's green agenda and could encourage further direct action. Read the full article

Saturday, September 20, 2008

accent discrimination

A linguistic professor once told me that accent discrimination is the only socially acceptable form of discrimination left--well, minus sexism, racism, classism, ageism, heterosexism, etc...but there is still something to be said about the tendency for people to judge others based on dialect, and for this to be acceptable.

Even aware of this tendency, I still slip up. A teacher's assistant for a political science class is from England, and just because he has that wonderful British intonation, I register him as more intelligent. Well, I don't always pay attention when people speak, and finally I decided to follow along--needless to say, the bloke is not quite my idea of intellect of the year. But I let the sound of his voice guide my perception.

Aside from being the perpetrator, I also can also fall victim to this tendency. You see, I am from the valley--as in valley girl--and while my "likes" are not abused, when I get very excited or am with good friends, that pitch infamous valley girl pitch kicks in. And let me tell you, I have been assumed to be stupid, ditsy and the like because of it.

So just a gentle reminder, it's not how people say it, but what they are saying. And, as always, a person is more than appearance and sounds.

Monday, September 15, 2008

winter boy/girlfriend

Thought this was funny.

Ate dinner with a friend who lives in New York. We were doing the dating-life update. He said, "I need to find a winter girlfriend."

"Huh?" I ask.

I then learned that in extremely cold climates, people do not go out very much in the winter. Hence the need for a winter boy/girlfriend. Funny.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

the best 12 bucks you could spend right now


Donate to MoveOn.org's drive to register 500k new voters in swing states, and get this sweet Obama shirt!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

FOX News says eat less meat

I guess one can only deny science for so long.

Check out FOX explaining why cutting down on your meat consumption is the way to in preserving our planet. You don't have to become a vegan (although that would nice)--just be mindful of the extent to which you consume animals. I always like to say only have animal in one meal a day.

Here are some goodies from the article:

"Give up meat for one day [a week] initially, and decrease it from there," Dr. Rajendra Pachauri [the head of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] told Britain's Observer newspaper in comments published Sunday.

Pachauri reasons that because raising, feeding, slaughtering and shipping livestock produces much more greenhouse gas than does growing plants, a decrease in the number of livestock worldwide would do a lot to offset the threat of global warming.

"In terms of immediacy of action and the feasibility of bringing about reductions in a short period of time, it clearly is the most attractive opportunity," he told the Observer.

A U.N. study in 2006 found that 18 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions came from the livestock industry, chiefly in the form of methane burped up and otherwise emitted by cattle, sheep and pigs.

Additionally, as meat consumption grows as developing countries get richer, more and more forests are cut down for pasture, resulting in fewer trees to replace carbon dioxide with oxygen.

Monday, September 8, 2008

oh, the "fitness" industry

As I focus on framing food in terms of health, calorie-counting, carb-phobia and the like have no place in my life. I know what my body needs to be full, I know what my body needs to be strong, and I know what I enjoy eating. It truly makes me happy to eat things that grow from the earth in their natural and unprocessed forms.

Along those lines, I also like to push my body to its physical limits because a) it feels good, b) it maintains my cardiovascular system and rejuvenates my body and mind, c) it's the only way to alleviate my anxiety.

Recently at the gym, I was offered a free personal training session in an effort to get me purchasing packages again. I gladly accepted, having fond memories of my old trainer.

Then I met "Mr. T"--who has to walk with his legs unnaturally spread apart because his behemoth leg muscles are in the way of an ordinary gait. He might as well have had "steroid junkie" tattooed on his ass.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciated Mr. T's friendly personality and challenging weight-lifting regimens. But then it crept up--the ubiquitous and dangerously self-deprecating attitude toward "health" and "sex-appeal."

My favorite quote was "You could stand to tone your outer thighs."

What is more intriguing to me is that he views this "honesty" as being a good trainer--as if through policing the contours of my body and pinpointing my perceived weaknesses, he could offer me the golden keys to perfection, improve my life, and boost his commission.

Bitch please. I am so sad for that drug-popping, bench-pressing addict who likely spends hours every day pumping iron to make sure every single muscle in his body is grossly over-developed--not to mention he likely suffers from male body dysmorphic disorder. The sad and petty misfortune of obsessing over the exterior only indicates internal unfulfillment with life and self.

More to point--I am as healthy as they come. I live a life of of fresh vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains and nuts, with some fucking fabulous vegan cupcakes to get my goat when I so desire. I am very fit, and you know what? I'm incredibly intelligent, ambitious, and extremely sexy. In fact, my thighs have their own natural, healthy and strong shape, which if they were to change significantly (smaller and toner, as Mr. T would like), that would only be an indication of unhealthiness.

Newsflash: all bodies are different. Real health looks different on everyone. I have a fabulously round ass--I will never wear an itsy bitsy pair of jeans.

This warped idea of "health"--the hard and ripped size 0-2 that all women "should" have who work out and eat well--is statistically false and realistically ignorant. It's so sad to watch people chase around bull shit instead of enjoying their bodies and their lives.

Not to mention, if a person is unhappy with my outer thigh (how lame does that sound? I laugh even writing it), that person has no place in my life--and especially in my bed.

There was a time in my life when Mr. T's comments could have devastated me--but now, I feel proud of myself, proud of my body, and sad for the people who suffer the way Mr. T (and our culture at large) surely does.

Needless to say, he is not my new trainer.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Palin hates polar bears--and loves her oil cronies

Palin said that Alaska would sue to challenge the listing of the polar bear as an endangered species. Why? She worried that her oil buddies might have to care that they are degrading an entire ecosystem.

Oh, there's more. Out of either complete stupidity or complete deceit (likely a combination), she claimed that polar bears are increasing in numbers, and that continued warming and loss of ice mass is not certain.

Then again, she has already demonstrated that science and common sense mean nothing to her. That actually horrifies me.

Read full article

Thursday, September 4, 2008

deeply offended

I am deeply offended by Sarah Palin's mockery of grassroots organizing. She snidely stated:
I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a "community organizer," except that you have actual responsibilities.
What makes this country great is our Constitution--and our protected rights to freedom of speech and assembly which allow for political empowerment and governmental accountability. Those are the underpinnings of democracy. This is why, despite much-needed progress, I love my country.

Without organizing, politically marginalized and under-represented communities would continue to fall under the radar and face gross socio-economic injustice. Without organizing, our elected officials could not represent their constituents. Without organizing, political speech would be a fart in the wind.

And let me tell you, I have been an organizer--and those experiences were among the most challenging and draining in my life. Nothing but deep concern for social justice and political participation could ever compel any one to take on such a tremendous burden (and a great joy).

As David Plouffe so keenly commented:
Community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies.
In my view, Palin just took a shit on democracy--and she'll have a whole lot more time to pray and shoot animals when this campaign is over, because Obama/Biden is the winning ticket.

I am a Constitution Voter

Love this from the ACLU. Sign the petition and get an "I am a Constitution Voter" bumper sticker.

I Am a Constitution Voter

  • I believe that no one -- including the President -- is above the law.
  • I oppose all forms of torture, and I support both closing the Guantánamo Bay prison and ending indefinite detention.
  • I oppose warrantless spying.
  • I believe that government officials, no matter how high-ranking, should be held accountable for breaking the law and violating the Constitution.
  • I believe that the Constitution protects every person's rights equally -- no matter what they believe, how they live, where or if they worship, and whom they love.
  • I reject the notion that we have to tolerate violations of our most fundamental rights in the name of fighting terrorism.
  • I am deeply committed to the Constitution and expect our country's leaders to share and act on that commitment -- every day, without fail.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008