Thursday, January 31, 2008

increase in US army suicides

Army officials said relationship problems were the main cause of suicides among soldiers, but those problems were increasing due to repeated long deployments as the force is strained by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Presidential Prayer Team--and no, I did not keep a straight face

Oh goody, look what I found: The Presidential Prayer Team!

Because "prayer is the most significant way you can impact our country."

Right...instead of say, actually doing something?

And in case you were concerned about the next administration, pray the vote! Apparently this cook-fest has millions of members.

"Bringing our President and our nation before Almighty God is the very best thing we can do to support our nation and its leaders. Seeking to uphold our leaders and those they lead, patriotic Americans have found prayer to be surest way to bring positive change to our world. Together we are fighting the spiritual battle that threatens our religious freedoms and our personal well-being." victims of the Holocaust who passively awaited god's intervention.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mukasey wades around the waterboarding issue

Mukasey refrained from qualifying waterboarding as torture--actually, he defended it without explicitly calling it legal.

Worse, he claimed that labeling waterboarding as torture would give "our adversaries the limits and contours of generally worded laws that define the limits of a highly classified interrogation program."

Hate to break it to you, but I think the adjectives "cruel" and "unusual" are descriptive and self-explanatory, and anyone with a (WHATEVER LANGUAGE) to English dictionary can put a round peg in a round hole and understand what contours our Constitution was meaning to hit.

be torture if it was done to you?", our attorney general still felt the need to say in a letter on Tuesday evening that And although Mucasy answered "I would feel that it was" in response to "Would waterboardingwaterboarding is not clearly illegal and that perhaps it could be used again against terrorism suspects if requested by the White House.

By the way, it is funny that "perhaps" it could be used again when dear old Jeff Sessions of Alabama said that it is “an embarrassment” to imply that American interrogators use this method often.

Scotty take it down a notch--sounds like your buddy is clearing the way for future pseudo-drowning, because YES, we use it that often.

WTF, congress extends surveilleilance law

15-day extension of the Patriot Act while Congress figures out how to update FISA and maintain our civil liberties. GOOD LUCK with that one, Pelosi.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

down with scientology

Got to love the anonymous war launched by mysterious group Anonymous against Scientology. This is allegedly an organized venture, and not just a few hackers in a room. Kudos.

sedentary lifestyle accelerates aging

Not that we really needed a scientific study to say that activity keeps the body up and running. But here it is anyway.

"A sedentary lifestyle increases the propensity to aging-related diseases and premature death. Inactivity may diminish life expectancy not only by predisposing to aging-related diseases, but also because it may influence the aging process itself," study author Lynn F. Cherkas, of King's College London, said in a prepared statement.


A friend once commented that if Huckabee were to become president, she would leave the United States of America. I share those sentiments.

Campaigning in Missouri, Huckabee declared, “Whether the life is in a mother’s womb or the bed of a long-term care facility, or that of a disabled, chronically ill or even terminally ill person, we would still treat that person with dignity and respect.”

Let's not even get started on the ambiguous and frightening "right to life amendment" that Fuckabee wants to slap on our Constitution.

Bush doling out the dough to faith-based orgs

Although it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside that Bush spent his time reminiscing about days of alcohol abuse among recovering addicts, it is all too convenient that this institution is a religious rehabilitation center--called Jericho--and has received more than a half-million dollars in grants yearly under the Bush administration.

"Our government should not fear the influence of faith on our society," Bush said.

My apologies, but the government should not be paying for a bunch of bible lovers to trade some vulnerable person's crack with Jesus.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Pelosi DID green the cafeteria

Although circulating articles sought to diminish Pelosi's environmental adjustments to congressional eateries, as a new regular on the hill, I can't help but admire all the work she has done.

Undermined as "mahi mahi instead of meatloaf," what has been ignored are the compost receptacles, biodegradable cups and utensils, recycling bins, and less overall packaging in food items.

There is also criticism that members of Congress have the right to eat poorly. Well let me tell you, I still see plenty of fried chicken, greasy cheeseburgers, and fatty gravy to go around for all those without a cardiovascular care in the world.

By the way...the whole get-up is very vegan friendly. But perhaps only Kucinich and I appreciate that.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Bush watching the internet more closely

Bush signed a directive this month that expands the intelligence community's role in monitoring Internet traffic to protect against a rising number of attacks on federal agencies' computer systems.

The directive, whose content is classified, authorizes the intelligence agencies, in particular the National Security Agency, to monitor the computer networks of all federal agencies -- including ones they have not previously monitored.

I guess the federal government should always know exactly everything that we are doing at every moment, especially when we don't know it, or we will never be safe. I guess we should complacently allow it to monitor every facet of our lives. I guess Bush must really love America. He wants to protect us so badly. What a leader.

Gandi's grandson resigns after anti-Semitic remarks

Arun Gandi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, resigned as board member of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence (which he founded) after, for lack of more eloquent phrasing, inappropriately putting Jews on blast--in ways that are anti-Semitic.

He wrote that Jewish identity is "locked into the holocaust experience," which Jews "overplay . . . to the point that it begins to repulse friends." The Jewish nation -- Israel, he wrote -- is too reliant upon weapons and bombs and should instead befriend its enemies.

"Apparently, in the modern world, so determined to live by the bomb, this is an alien concept. You don't befriend anyone, you dominate them. We have created a culture of violence (Israel and the Jews are the biggest players) and that Culture of Violence is eventually going to destroy humanity," he wrote.

What makes his comment anti-Semitic is not his distasteful assessment of the Jewish/Holocaust experience, but rather the undeniably separate standard to which Jews and Israel are held, as opposed to other international and political actors.

Can a person honestly assert that Israel is the most violent nation, to the point of repulsing friends? Sorry, I thought that was America.

Can a person honestly address a "culture of violence" without considering the systemic extermination of a people in Darfur. Yeah...just forget genocide in a country no one gives a shit about, and then blame violence on the Jews.

Although the matter of Israel is dicey and there are many heated perspectives, the statement that only Israel is perpetrating violence is a) factually incorrect, and b) an over-simplification of the situation.

Arun hit it dead-on by marking in his resignation letter that his words were "couched in language that was hurtful and contrary to the principles of nonviolence."

But what he did not admit is his contribution to the stereotype of the diabolical and scheming Jew. Listen fucker, there is not a unified Jewish collective, nor is there one type of Jew, nor is there a singular Jewish experience. To assert such is ignorant and fallacious. Orthodox, modern orthodox, conserva-dox, conservative, reformed, reconstructionist, secular, cultural...the list goes on. Any one who has studied an ounce of Jewish history can easily understand that the Jewish experience has been marked by diversity, opposition, and a creative evolution of what it means to be Jewish, and who is. Not to mention there is still vast disagreement between Jews today on the subject.

Not to mention that there is not one type of Zionist either. Social, political, religious, cultural--schools of Zionist thought are far more diverse than mainstream discourse cares to recognize. Not to mention that not all Jews are Zionists. Not to mention there are PLENTY of Jews who actually disagree with Israel's military strategies.

Next time a person cares to engage Israel's political/military tactics, that discussion should be qualified to just that--Israel's political/military tactics--and NOT infused with this imaginary concept of the Jewish unit. And such a discussion should be considered in balance with other international actors, and not based on double-standards for "Jews."

how will the candidates respond?

Given that heightened surveillance laws expire in February, it will be interesting how Congress--and more specifically, presidential candidates--will respond to the continuing pressure to renew unwarranted, unchecked, and unconstitutional infringements on American liberties.

Friday, January 25, 2008

We knew it was inevitable...but still...

Kucinich called off his White House run, and is now focusing on winning his congressional re-election--which is being challenged by 4 other Democrats.

Although the Ohio Representative is not endorsing another presidential candidate, he did say to Iowans in the primary that if he is a nonviable candidate, supporters should get behind Obama. Kucinich remarked "Sen. Obama and I have one thing in common: Change."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

dangerous mercury levels in tuna sushi

Sushi at 20 New York City restaurants tested positive for unacceptable levels of mercury and might pose a health risk, and experts say the problem likely exists elsewhere, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

According to the story, consuming just six pieces of sushi per week would exceed the standard levels set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

"No one should eat a meal of tuna with mercury levels like those found in the restaurant samples more than about once every three weeks," Michael Gochfeld, professor of environmental and occupational medicine at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, N.J., told The Times.

I could spin this into vegan propaganda, but the truth is, vegetables aren't free of risk either.

The Wyoming Department of Agriculture is urging consumers to check their cupboards for cans of green beans and garbanzo beans that are a part of a national recall.

Clostridium botulinum bacterium spores have the potential for growth that produces a toxin that causes a potentially fatal form of food poisoning — botulism. Symptoms of botulism poisoning can begin from six hours to two weeks after eating food that contains the toxin and include general weakness, dizziness, double vision and trouble speaking or swallowing. Difficulty breathing, drooping eyelids, muscle weakness, abdominal distension and constipation are also common symptoms. Botulism poisoning can result in death unless medical assistance is provided.

935 false statements of the Bush administration

WASHINGTON - A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks...

The study counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. It found that in speeches, briefings, interviews and other venues, Bush and administration officials stated unequivocally on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to produce or obtain them or had links to al-Qaida or both...

"The cumulative effect of these false statements -- amplified by thousands of news stories and broadcasts -- was massive, with the media coverage creating an almost impenetrable din for several critical months in the run-up to war," the study concluded.

Cheney seeks to EXPAND surveillance law

WASHINGTON — Vice President Dick Cheney prodded Congress on Wednesday to extend and broaden an expiring surveillance law, saying "fighting the war on terror is a long-term enterprise" that should not come with an expiration date.

"We're reminding Congress that they must act now," Cheney told the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. The law, which authorizes the administration to eavesdrop on phone calls and see the e-mail to and from suspected terrorists, expires on Feb. 1. Congress is bickering over terms of its extension.

Monday, January 21, 2008


I stumbled upon an interesting atheist revision of Martin Luther King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Romney is cuddling up to Spanish voters in their own language--despite his English-only stance

Despite the fact that the English First Political Victory Fund endorses Romney, citing his repeal of the 1971 Massachusetts policy that made bilingual education mandatory, and calling upon Mitt as the strongest pro-English contender of all Republican candidates...he just released an ad in Spanish for the Miami media market.

caffeine raises risk of miscarriage in pregnant women

2 cups of coffee a day can put a pregnant woman at risk...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

intersections of race and sex

Interesting story of a black female to male transperson who, upon becoming a black male, experiences drastically higher rates of driving infractions, citing the offense of "driving while black."

Black transpeople highlight the overlap of racism and sexism that creates different life experiences for men and women, but also for black men and women.

Bush and his anti-choice holiday

A Proclamation by the President: National Sanctity of Human Life Day, 2008

Contact: White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 202-456-2580

WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 /Christian Newswire/ -- The following text is a proclamation by President Bush:

On National Sanctity of Human Life Day, we recognize that each life has inherent dignity and matchless value, and we reaffirm our steadfast determination to defend the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society.

America was founded on the belief that all men are created equal and have an inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and our country remains committed to upholding that founding principle. Since taking office, I have signed legislation to help protect life at all stages, and my Administration will continue to encourage adoption, fund abstinence education and crisis pregnancy programs, and support faith-based groups. Today, as our society searches for new ways to ease human suffering, we must pursue the possibilities of science in a manner that respects the sacred gift of life and upholds our moral values.

Our Nation has made progress in its efforts to protect human life, and we will strive to change hearts and minds with compassion and decency. On National Sanctity of Human Life Day and throughout the year, we help strengthen the culture of life in America and work for the day when every child is welcomed in life and protected in law.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Sunday, January 20, 2008, as National Sanctity of Human Life Day. I call upon all Americans to recognize this day with appropriate ceremonies and to underscore our commitment to respecting and protecting the life and dignity of every human being.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-second.


cell phones before bed disturb sleep

Radiation from mobile phones delays and reduces sleep, and causes headaches and confusion, according to a new study...

But Professor Bengt Arnetz, who led the study, says: "We did find an effect from mobile phones from exposure scenarios that were realistic. This suggests that they have measurable effects on the brain."

He believes that the radiation may activate the brain's stress system, "making people more alert and more focused, and decreasing their ability to wind down and fall asleep"...

Dr William Kohler of the Florida Sleep Institute added: "Anything that disrupts the integrity of your sleep will potentially have adverse consequences in functioning during the day, such as grouchiness, difficulty concentrating, and in children hyperactivity and behaviour problems."

So what the hell are the consequences for use during the day?

illness in the slaughterhouse

Two employees of an unidentified pig slaughterhouse in Indiana are being treated medically for symptoms similar to a suspected neurological illness that sickened 12 workers at a Minnesota pork plant.

marking hormones in milk

Bowing to pressure from consumer advocates, Pennsylvania officials have dropped plans to bar farmers from revealing whether or not milk hails from hormone-enhanced cows. The state's agriculture department on Thursday issued new guidelines that allow dairies to label milk so that customers know if it was produced from cows pumped with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) also known as recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST).

''This is a victory for free speech, free markets, sustainable farming and the consumer's right to know," Michael Hansen, a senior scientist with the Consumers Union (CU), said about the state's about-face. "Consumers increasingly want to know more about how their food is produced and, particularly, whether it is produced in a natural and sustainable manner. There is no justification for prohibiting information about rBGH use on a milk label.''

Saturday, January 19, 2008

will ferrell sponsors solar panels for skid row housing

check it out

RACE VS SEX--not gender

There is all of this banter on "race versus gender" in terms of the presidential election. But actually, I would argue that this assessment is off.

In fact, it isn't Hillary's gender that is so problematic. Aside from an occasional cleavage comment and perhaps a dress, she is in professional--and by professional, I mean traditionally "masculine"--garb, carries the demeanor of a seasoned politician, and does not strike me with her "feminine" ventures.

In fact, I think this is a classic example of RACE versus SEX...because the only problem with Hillary is her vagina and fully developed breasts--and that is sex, not gender. It isn't how she is behaving or what she is her chromosomes.

If the problem were gender, that would mean that Hillary could cross-dress completely as a man and become perfectly acceptable. This is not the case. And as stated, she isn't dressing so "girly" to begin with.

This is an issue of genitals.

Friday, January 18, 2008

estrogen/progestin hormone-replacement therapy linked to breast cancer

I don't understand--if estrogen/progestin hormone-replacement therapy is linked to breast cancer (presumably because of the estrogen/progestin components), why does this not explore the implications of birth control--which is primarily estrogen and progestin?

don't you just love homophobic news?

"Drug-resistant staph found to be passed in gay sex"

Right. Because only gay men have anal sex.

Is that why women are waxing and/or bleaching their assholes at growing rates?

fatal germ found on dairy production line

A germ that killed three people and sickened two others originated on the production line of a mom-and-pop dairy in Shrewsbury, state disease investigators reported yesterday as they provided the clearest evidence yet of how milk became contaminated with the lethal bacteria.

polar bears wait-listed as endangered species

The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the Interior Department Agency which determines endangered species, has delayed its one-year-plus investigation of the polar bear (due for ruling on January 9th), asking for another month to make the decision. The federal government was sued two years ago by environmental groups to declare the polar bear endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

If the species is declared threatened, FWS will have responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act to protect the bears from their main danger — in this case, climate change. That means the government could be challenged legally for anything that increases carbon dioxide emissions — like a new coal power plant — on the grounds that further climate change would further endanger the polar bear. "It would be the first time that the Bush Administration would recognize that global warming had a significant and specific impact on a living being," says Eben Burnham-Snyder, a spokesperson for Markey. "This could have a wide-ranging effect on the energy and environmental policies of this country."

That's a positive spin, but the reality is that FWS will only have limited ability to deal with global warming — and the polar bear is the only first of countless millions of species that could be forced into extinction because of rising temperatures. Conservationists are facing the depressing possibility that all the effort of the past several decades to save endangered species — controlling poaching, creating wildlife reserves, banning animal trade — may be for naught if climate change continues unchecked. In a drastically warmer world, habitats for many species — like the polar bear — could simply disappear, taking the animals with them. Nearly one-third of the world's animals are already under the threat of extinction, and the current rate of species loss is 10,000 times the natural rate. "Global warming has such far-reaching implications [for conservation] that it's very depressing," says Kert Davies, research director for Greenpeace. "Those are the thoughts that send me to the bar." It could start with polar bears, but if we can't get a handle on climate change, one more species might end up threatened: us.

White House missing 473 days of emails

The White House possesses no archived e-mail messages for many of its component offices, including the Executive Office of the President and the Office of the Vice President, for hundreds of days between 2003 and 2005, according to the summary of an internal White House study that was disclosed yesterday by a congressional Democrat.

The 2005 study -- whose credibility the White House attacked this week -- identified 473 separate days in which no electronic messages were stored for one or more White House offices, said House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.).

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

footage of elephant abuse in circus

Ringling trainer Joe Frisco Jr. of the Carson & Barnes circus was attacked by an elephant and sent to the hospital--but you can see what his brother was caught on tape doing to the poor animals in the first place. The footage is long and disturbing.

I hate zoos and circuses.

illness from buttery aroma of popcorn?

What a hoot.

This guy ate too much popcorn, and now has popcorn lung--which is apparently serious.

Watson's lungs have been damaged by the flavour chemical diacetyl in the artificial butter flavour, something that previously only damaged popcorn factory workers who mixed large vats of popcorn.

Hundreds of workers have said they have lung disease from working in these conditions and have launched lawsuits against companies that produce or use the butter flavouring.

Instead of taking on popcorn makers like the workers have done, Watson is suing the store that sold him his daily fix. Watson's lawyer, Kenneth McClain, said the lawsuit filed in a US district court names The Kroger Company, grocery store King Soopers' parent company Dillon Companies Inc, and food distributor Inter-American Products Inc.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, states that the companies "failed to warn that preparing microwave popcorn in a microwave oven as intended and smelling the buttery aroma could expose the consumer to an inhalation hazard and a risk of lung injury".

Diacetyl is a naturally occurring chemical compound that gives butter its flavour. It has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

After workers became ill, new workplace standards were developed that isolated microwaves from workers testing popcorn bags coming off the manufacturing line.

Last month, the United States' four biggest makers of microwave popcorn announced they were reformulating their recipes to remove the chemical from nearly all their products.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Paul McCartney to Laurie David

Some interesting facts from Laurie David, reflecting on a conversation with Paul MaCartney on vegetarianism.

The report found that 18 percent of global warming emissions come from raising cows, chickens, pigs, turkeys and other animals we eat. That's 40 percent more than all the world's cars, SUVs, airplanes, and other modes of fossil-based transportation, which combined account for 13 percent.

The UN report details how 70 percent of the Amazon rain forests have been cut down for grazing, and fully one-third of the planet's arable land is now used for growing feed for livestock. The UN predicts that global meat production will more than double by 2050 to keep pace with increasing demand.

FDA says food clones are safe

So the FDA says food clones are safe.

Everything sounds well and good if cloned animals have been found as safe as ordinary animals. but the end of the article becomes problematic. Particularly, how are these findings compiled, and what is the methodology behind determining wellness? Can we use the same methods for both ordinary and cloned animals?

The 600 animals that the FDA tested were:

"made by scientists scattered among various universities and companies using different methods that in many cases were difficult to compare."


"many of those animals were not just clones but also had genes added to them for projects unrelated to food production."

So there is no standard cloning procedure--and by the way, standard procedures create regulations which create compliance which create enforcement which create stability and functionality--and some animals have different shit added to them than others.

And here is the real kicker: the study overlooks epigenetics, which are subtle alterations in gene activity in cloned animals due to one parent, because such factors are not considered in ordinary animals.

If epigenetics are the difference between cloned and ordinary animals, wouldn't that be the first place to look in comparing factors of health?

It was found that:

"newborn cattle are often unhealthy, probably because of epigenetic changes. They are usually extremely overweight and have respiratory, gastrointestinal and immune system problems. (Cloned pigs and goats are mostly healthy from the start.)"

These problems allegedly disappear after the first months of life--but it is all a bit peculiar to me. I don't eat animals or animal products anymore, but for me to theoretically accept cloned animals as equally healthy as ordinary animals (which, due to hormones and treatment, aren't so ordinary), I need to see some hard and multi-faceted research. Not just some vitamin measurements.


My brain started doing this new and really cool thing. It is interesting that some mental journey lead me to this gradual and automatic processing evolution.

Every time a person, place, thing makes a (culturally motivated) assumption, I literally see (in red stencil font) the word ASSUMPTION in my mind. My brain stamps it on the spot. Now I notice the assumptions everywhere.

"Like when you were a kid at Christmas"--ASSUMPTION of the Christian normative
"Do you have a boyfriend?"--ASSUMPTION of heterosexuality

There are the political assumptions. Democrat or Republican? Conservative or Liberal?

References to marriage and children really tickle me. Oy vey do the gendered ones get me.

I am just really into the new and instant processing of assumptions. It is fair to say that these assumptions, viewed in theme and in numbers, create the borderlines of our culture.


As I glanced at the chalked-in specialty menu at Starbucks, I wanted to punch someone in the face.

Aside from the new and obnoxiously named "skinny latte," the way in which this new latte genre is pitched is not only factually false, but indicative and chronic misunderstandings of health (due to conflations with weight).

A skinny latte, which features non-fat milk and FAKE SUGAR SUBSTITUTES, was advertised below a rainbow-shaped text which read "Better for you!"

No, toxic and synthetic chemicals that save you some calories but over time hammer away at your wellness are not good for you. No, weight is not the same as health, although the two can be related. If I was in the mood, I would attach some info on what aspartame does to rats, although the FDA does not require that food additives be tested on people. And yes, Splenda is different than aspartame, but it is all the same poisonous crap. When I am not lazy, I will pull some info on that as well.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

2 ingredients that make any dinner a hit

Chopped onion and garlic powder. mmmmmmm.

Monika would say chile powder. I have yet to try it.

The Colonic moves to DC

That's right, dear readers--I am heading to Washington DC for the Spring semester. Aside from 3 political science courses, I will also have a congressional internship. I leave on Thursday, and so you can imagine how frantic my life will be tomorrow.

Looking forward to a fresh and exciting perspective from which to blog!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

helping his wife overcome nearly-fatal anorexia

This story made me cry. But you have to read it to the end. I appreciate legitimate exposures of eating disorders.

no, really? is For Girls, Social Status Tied to Weight anything new or newsworthy? Thank you, Captain Obvious.

"Adolescent girls who view themselves as unpopular have a higher risk of gaining
weight in subsequent years, researchers have found."

But it gets worse. The article concludes with "Making Weight Control a Priority." How the fuck does this happen? Isn't the obvious question "why are these young girls correlating their worth with their bodies, and how can we fight against this? How can we stress internal qualities?"

I can only only imagine all of the "fat" and "unpopular" girls and/or their parents reading this article, and in response to the overwhelming pain of rejection and inferiority, a diet and exercise plan is the only way to feel good about who you are.

Great way to replace insecurity with obsession and insecurity brewed in one! Great way to make young girls and their families dwell on food as the answer to lack of confidence. Way to go! We sure are raising strong women!

I know it is hard to realize at the time, but generally, if you don't fit in the high school mold, it is a good thing.

But no no. What could be more fulfilling and more conducive to exploring and shaping one's identity than being hot and desired by every one? After all, that is all women are good for.

Monday, January 7, 2008

what losers

SALEM, N.H. (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign stop was interrupted Monday when two men stood in the crowd and began screaming, "Iron my shirt!" during one of her final appearances before the New Hampshire primary.

some fortune teller

Some fortune teller stopped me on the street today, as I was pacing back and forth and staring at the ground. I have a hard time actually comprehending words when people talk to me, but I think he told me at some point that he is a yogi. Which confuses me, because I thought yogis were masters of yoga. Whatever. Incidentally, he reads palms.

But this is not how he disrupted my mid-day rumination.

It happened something like this:

Him: You know, you are very lucky. God has (no idea what the fuck he said here, but he pointed to his forehead).
Me: Oh? Why is that?
Him: You are very beautiful. You could be actor. But you think too much, so you have bad habits.

This is when I wanted to drop-kick the guy--I am lucky because I am beautiful? My redeeming quality is something I have absolutely zero say in, and something that says nothing about myself as a person? And of course, I could only think of my recent blog post....being pretty--blessing or curse?

And instead of exploding on the palm-reading defrauder, I let him ramble. Perhaps because it would be too difficult to explain why his words hurt me, anger me, and severely disenfranchise my ability to be viewed as a productive and well-achieved person...and perhaps also because I was bored and curious.

So I let him finish his banter. And the most hilarious part is even though I know the whole thing is horse-crap, I actually gave a moment of thought to what he said. Ha.

My career and life are changing. Three great things will happen to me in March. Someone who loves me is a liar. Someone else who loves me loves love too much. One of them is old, and one of them is younger. More on my bad habits and over-thinking.

So glad I believe in chaos and meaninglessness.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

another great blog on my list

I love features anonymous secrets mailed in from all over the world.

it is only me changing...not the world

I suppose if one were to look at my starting point (senior year of high school) and compare it to my current state, the change is extremely drastic. But for me, it is more of a domino effect, and in that respect, my changes have been incremental and connected to one another.

In the way infancy as compared to adulthood is a startling transformation, yet changes are hard to decipher daily...I too have changed gradually over time to a point where I don't identify particularly as liberal, and actually abhor the linear scale of political orientation. I see myself somewhere in between progressive and radical (not on a polarized continuum, thank you).

Where this gets confusing for me is that I occupy my own mind quite vigorously, and I have experienced my own natural and logical progression, and it makes so much sense to me that I automatically feel like the rest of the world would just be following suit, or see the same plain logic that I do, and make my same progression.

Every once and a while I look around and get a whiff of mainstream ideologies; I just get so thrown-off and confused. Homophobia? Racism? Sexism? Gender oppression? Compulsory heterosexuality? Religion? Ageism? Environmental devastation?

These things absolutely blow my mind. I can't even see where people are coming from anymore. I can't even excuse it anymore. It is just so bizarre that I feel alien many times.

And every so often I have to remind myself, "Vanessa, it's just you that is changing. Not the world"

Well, hopefully the world is changing a little bit, too. Hopefully.

(Check out my optimism and assumption of reality. Hopefully I will feel a little more nihilist in my next post)

Atheist display repeatedly vandalized

WEST CHESTER — "The “Tree of Knowledge” in front of the county courthouse was vandalized Saturday night, marking the fourth time in the last month someone has defaced this monument to atheism.

Members of the Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia put up the 15-foot evergreen just before the Christmas season and have been monitoring it ever since.

The atheist group got the idea for the tree after seeing the menorah and nativity scene that the county had allowed religious groups to place on the courthouse property. County commissioners granted approval for the tree, allowing the Freethought Society for the first time to put up such a display.

While the religious displays have drawn little public ire, the “Tree of Knowledge” has been a source of many complaints."

It is strange how freedom of religion sounds so tolerant--but really, how tolerant is a compulsory religious attitude? Why is any religion, so long as you have one, necessary?

Freedom to choose any religion should be as vital as freedom to abstain from religion without shame, harassment, disenfranchisement, discrimination, and the like.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

what's up with all the crazy christian banter wrapped up as legislation?

The Colonic was angered a few posts ago by the Christmas bill...but what the fuck is this shit?

H. Res. 888 affirms "the rich spiritual and religious history of our Nation's founding and subsequent history and expressing support for designation of the first week in May as `American Religious History Week' for the appreciation of and education on America's history of religious faith."

Everyone should call respective representatives ASAP and say this is a bunch of shit. If you are in the mood to be irritated, read the whole bill.


Let me just put it out there--I am vehemently opposed to the sexist and contradictory laws that allow the male nipple in public and relegate the female nipple exclusively to the private sphere, with gawking and whispers accompanying any "deviance."

This, by the way, is a discriminatory and pathetic socio-cultural distinction that has transcended into nudity and obscenity laws, althose these laws vary by state.

Back to my point. I was practicing yoga and looking across the room at all of the topless men, thinking about how much more I would like to practice in the freedom and comfort of toplessness. And then it occurred to me that if I just got down and took off my shirt, suddenly the rules of the game would change, and the case would be that I want attention. I am trying to make a point. I want people to look at me.

I could not be like an the men--innocently wanting a different experience, feeling, or comfort level. I would be wanting people to look at me. That pisses me off so much.

Maybe next time I'll just take it off.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

why third parties?

Great article explaining why third parties are essential

white teeth, the microphysics of power, and the skewing of self

Each day that I live my life and as a born and raised Los Angelina, I cannot help but remark at my own internalization of gendered relations of power, my active participation in such relations, and my chronic self-regulation. This is what Foucault means in his concept of the microphysics of power--how we police our own bodies when no one is watching because we have actually absorbed relations of power. Think panopticon.

But what I am most fascinated with, beyond the actual process of internalization and self-surveillance, is how these evolve to skew perceptions of self in ways that are bizarre (and largely gendered)

I was reminded of all of this once more in a heated discussion I had with Monika about the color of our teeth. There are a few points I need to get at:

a) I am one detail-obsessed critter, and I can tell you that Monika has some fucking WHITE teeth.
b) Monika's teeth have become progressively and undeniably whiter over a process of whitening, but she absolutely cannot perceive this. This is why we argue--because I see the difference and she can't.
c) Monika is convinced that my teeth are whiter than hers. I am convinced of the opposite.

And this is the kicker...

d) I explain to Monika that she thinks that my teeth are whiter because she is focusing on my front teeth. I then go into a detailed explanation of the progressive changes of color and contour in my enamel extending backward from my two front teeth.

It really struck me how much I have absorbed image-orientation, to the extent that I can map out nuance in the shades of my chompers. I can do that with every physical attribute I possess.

I am still humored by the passionate disagreements that I have with Monika. We both insist that the other one severely needs help and is desperately out of touch with reality (not that I particularly believe in reality...but that is for another post).

However, as I am the self-appointed authority on the matter, I hereby proclaim in public forum that Monika's teeth are not only one consistent shade of bright white, but also much whiter than mine.

The fact that we continue to debate such reflects our adherence to a culturally sanctioned heteronormative script of femininity that has wound us up in obsessive minutiae and thrown-off our perception of self.

nonfat milk linked to prostate cancer

The amount of calcium and vitamin D in the diet appears to have little or no impact on the risk of prostate cancer, but the consumption of low-fat or nonfat milk may increase the risk of the malignancy, according to the results of two studies published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.