Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Honest Scrap Award(s)

I finally posted on the award, and you can find the post here.

Thanks, Leonardo!

S. 909: From Matthew Shepard's Mom, an Appeal



The Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Protection Act (HR 1913) has passed the house (249-175, go here to see how your congressional member voted, only 18 republicans voted FOR the bill), but now faces the US Senate as S.909 introduced by Senator Ted Kennedy with bipartisan co-sponsors including:

Sen. Edward Kennedy [D, MA]
Sen. Daniel Akaka [D, HI]
Sen. Evan Bayh [D, IN]
Sen. Jeff Bingaman [D, NM]
Sen. Sherrod Brown [D, OH]
Sen. Maria Cantwell [D, WA]
Sen. Benjamin Cardin [D, MD]
Sen. Robert Casey [D, PA]
Sen. Susan Collins [R, ME]
Sen. Christopher Dodd [D, CT]
Sen. Richard Durbin [D, IL]
Sen. Dianne Feinstein [D, CA]
Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand [D, NY-20]
Sen. Thomas Harkin [D, IA]
Sen. Tim Johnson [D, SD]
Sen. John Kerry [D, MA]
Sen. Amy Klobuchar [D, MN]
Sen. Mary Landrieu [D, LA]
Sen. Frank Lautenberg [D, NJ]
Sen. Patrick Leahy [D, VT]
Sen. Carl Levin [D, MI]
Sen. Joseph Lieberman [I, CT]
Sen. Jeff Merkley [D, OR]
Sen. Barbara Mikulski [D, MD]
Sen. Patty Murray [D, WA]
Sen. Bill Nelson [D, FL]
Sen. Ben Nelson [D, NE]
Sen. John Reed [D, RI]
Sen. Charles Schumer [D, NY]
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen [D, NH]
Sen. Olympia Snowe [R, ME]
Sen. Arlen Specter [D, PA]
Sen. Mark Udall [D, CO]
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse [D, RI]

S 909 is next scheduled to go to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Likely no votes:

Cobern (R-OK) is very anti-gay. Cobern is about as anti-gay as one could be. He supports a ban on gay adoptions and likewise a federal ban on gay marriage. For more of his record, go here.
Cornyn (R-TX) is very anti-gay and strongly called for a constitutional amendment opposing lgbt marriage.
Graham (R-SC) very anti-gay and strongly supports a constitutional amendment to ban lgbt marriage.
Grassley (R-IA) very anti-gay. Record here.
Orin Hatch (R-UT) previously opposed gender identity in hate crimes legislation, supports gay marriage ban. Record here.
Kyl (R-AZ) anti gay, supports gay marriage ban as constitutional amendment, previously voted no on inclusion of gender identity in hate crimes legislation. Record here.
Sessions (R-AL)
ditto Kyl, above. Record here.

If you are represented by any of the above senators, please contact their offices about this bill. Let them know you want them to support the bill and that you are watching their votes:

You can reach your senator by going here:

You can click on the state, your US Senators will be at the top of the list with e-mail and telephone contact information. I did both, sent a letter and called.

Please help our friends, family and those we do not know. Help law enforcement by giving them the legal tools they need to properly prosecute hate crimes against our lgbt friends and family.

Thank you.

Additional Links:
(Bill Language not yet available on line).
Matthew Shepard Foundation
Human Rights Coalition

hat tip to electblue.org

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Very Kewl:) The Scraper Award

Better late than nevah!

Well thanks to Leonardo, I have received the Scrap Award. Kewl, thanks, Leonardo.

I have been putting off thinking about this because of the 10 things to say about yourself. Some things are easy for me, and some things are not.

Thanks, Leonardo! Back atcha:)

One of the requirements of the award is that I list ten things about myself. Gads, hard to pick ten truths about myself that would seem relevant or interesting among, probably, the thousands of declarations I could make.

Also, we must award seven others. That part is easy. So many, many great bloggers.

So... the Ten Things:

1. I have a rat living in my SUV and it is driving me nuts. Go here for more.

2. I deal with illness and death all the time in animal rescue. It worries me that I might ever become staid or nonchalant about it. It's painful and human defense is natural. I have been in rescue for a long time and it worries me.

3. See above. I worry too much.

4. I had a child at barely 16.

5. I miss my ex. I have no one to play tennis with. Such a nice man. Fun to play tennis with. (5a would be... LOVE being single.)

6. I love my mom, and in many, many ways deeply respect her, but just don't like her sometimes. Control and guilt are not my thing.

7. I haven't taken a vacation since 1996. Not even for two days. I'm nuts.

8. As a cancer survivor, I am very, very worried about my health. I have not gone to the doctor for years... as in over a decade, at least. I have no medical insurance and if you are a cancer survivor, you know the cost of paying insurance monthly which defies my income. I know something is wrong but am now afraid to go anywhere and can't pay for it, besides. Sucks.

9. I don't like the color yellow. (note my blog has a yellowish tinge... but is not, NOT yellow).

10. I don't believe in the physical resurrection of Christ. Sorry. Off my list of acceptable. Nor do I care about whether Mary was or was not a virgin. Neither makes any difference to me, nor does it matter.

Okay, now the seven receivers...

1. Fran I Am. She makes me laugh and has little restraint. Just the kind Just Another Black Sheep so likes.

2. Fred at Real Anglicans. Fred is a black sheep, just doesn't yet ID with that, and is quite conciliatory yet willing to kick your butt. Ah, the mark of the black sheep. Hez got itz.

3. Friends of Jake gets my nod. Always enjoy the excellent postings here.

4. Grandmere also gets my smiling nod. Part pacifist, part punch and seemingly always on the right side of God, though MP might disagree.

5. Mad Priest who makes me laugh, keeps me thinking, and loves animals.

6. Episcocamp, starring Lynn and Fred. Here, between wonderful music, some great recipes and some great thought, I feel quite at home.

7. Susan Russell, An Inch At A Time. She has more patience than Mars has candy bars. Anyone with that kind of patience and wherewithal definitely deserves this award.

Paging Goran, Paging Goran...Check In Please!

Have not seen Goran on any sites lately commenting. Anyone know if he is okay?

I don't have a contact address. Hoping he is on vacation or something...

Elvis Lives! And Other Stuff

This photo is for Fred since I know he likes Sia- mese cats and I suspect he probably likes Elvis, too.

Meet Elvis. Elvis is our newest entry, a Siamese mix that is so affectionate, he is almost impossible to photograph! Every time you get near him, Elvis rubs on whatever is nearby... basket, cat, dog... Yesterday during attempts, he fell off the cat tree twice. I thought I shouldn't try a third time least he hurt himself. What a nice, nice cat. And is he absolutely gorgeous or WHAT!

*****
Well, the news of Sen. Arlen Specter's (PA) change of party to the dems is everywhere. But one of the comments I found most telling came from Maine Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe:

"I believe in the traditional tenets of the Republican Party: strong national defense, fiscal responsibility, individual opportunity. I haven't abandoned those principles that have been the essence of the Republican Party. I think the Republican Party has abandoned those principles." [emphasis mine, obviously]


And McCain's former campaign czar has some VERY interesting thoughts:



Yeah, I'd say, and here's a case in point.

For several months, the GOP has been blocking Kathleen Sebelius, President Obama's nominee to head Health and Human Services. The problem? Her stand on abortion. Sigh.

As though Sebelius was out there demanding every woman have one, the GOP in their typical "no" mantra just cannot get past the notion that religious belief trumps secular law.

Twice now, Team Sarah (the fans of She From the North) , has tried to lobby against the Sebelius nomination as well. In fact, they're still at it, failing at the first attempt. As well, other pro-fetus groups have fought the nomination.

Then of course, there is Fox's weepy Glen Beck who never saw anything Obama (probably including his skin color) that he likes, braying once again about climate change, anything green, and don't forget immigration in the context of Sabelius:


Gads, Glen. And the balance to this? I hear the sound of silence. Fox: Fair and Balanced. Right.

Nonetheless, Sebelius is expected to be approved today. Given we are perhaps on the front end of a pandemic, it would be good to have a Secretary of Health Services, doncha think?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

H1N1 Flu and a Timeline

I don't really know much about this, nor am I either an epidemiologist or a virologist. But, thankfully, others are.

If you go here, you will find a timeline for the seeming origin of the flu in Mexico, though no one really knows that for sure.

Real interesting reading.

I have terrible upper respiratory problems normally, so this is really quite scary for me, personally.

I'm supposed to cook at a big community event on May 9. I think I will be skipping that. A little too risky for me.

And within all this... politics. At every turn, the GOP is delaying Obama nominee Kathleen Sebelius from taking her position as head of Health and Human Services (HHS).

So, now having a national emergency pandemic potentially at our door, who is running the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)? A Bushie who spent most of his time in HHS more or less as an accountant.

Read more about the political situation, here.

Happy 4th Week Birthday, Noodle!

Noodle's foster family (which includes a darling little girl) sent these photos today on this his 4th week birthday.

This is one ENORMOUS kitten!

Noodle started eating solid food at less than four weeks of age, early for a kitten. But given his enormous size, he seems to be doing everything early!

Incredibly, the foster has found a wonderful home for the Noodle! Now we are looking for a home for mom, Ragu, when she is spayed and ready to go.

Noodle won't be leaving mom any time soon. Rather, he will stay with her until he is 10 weeks of age.

Enjoy!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Hubble!

For me, the Hubble was a dream come true. Imagine being in space and taking pictures not of the earth, but perhaps of the earths and suns and galaxies to be or the earths and suns and galaxies that were.

What hubble is photographing is simultaneous future and past. And the exact place where WE ALL live, as well... the future and the past. We breathe in the past. We exhale the future.

And if you believe in God and are not a Biblical literalist, you might understand this, as I do, as witnessing with the Hubble the enormity of God with our current understanding of science and imagine what we would see in 200 years! Isn't it just exciting to even THINK and dream about that?!

With our first successful space mission, we busted our own earthly prison to look out into the creation of the past and future!

For instance, go here and see how the photos go from black and white to the magnificent photos here using light wave filtering so that we can see what we cannot see (not all earthly species see the same ranges of light)!

So with this in mind, enjoy a few of my favorite photos and let us celebrate and thank the fabulous scientists from so many fields, religious or not, as well, that think beyond the limits of the known into the greatness of what is... whatever that may be. For me, it is the greatness--the enormity and magnificence of God.

This, from the Swan Nebula, is one of my favorites. It reminds me of the man I loved for so many years, and still so deeply love. He had such a quiet elegance about him.

This (the second photo) one is one of my all time favorites.

At night, in the winter, I watch Orion March across the sky. I have always loved this constellation and this photo of the Orion Nebula is stunning. Had I ever had a son, his name would have been Orion (poor kid!).
This is for Leonardo whose photos and art work are always a gigantic and glorious burst of color.

This sort of reminds me of something slightly out of focus from Harry Potter. Or, it could be a manger with two staring down and the Easter Bunny behind. Heh, Rorschach... what do YOU see?

Happy birthday Hubble!

Newt's Nuclear Fear Mongering

Remember all the hype over North Korea's recent missile failure with Newt co-starring as Mr. Negative Scare-the-Pants-Off-You Fear Monger with his electromagnetic doomsday groove?

Well, Gordon Prather over at antiwar.com has a thing or twenty to say about how this gabob of scary science actually works.

So, here is Newt doing acting in the assigned GOP role of Mr. Negative Scare-the-Pants-Off-You Fear Monger (video, 3:05) :



And here is antiwar.com's great piece on the topic.

Now in regard to the missile itself and international law, again I refer you to Scott Ritter's fine piece on the subject, here, at Truthdig.com.

So, now come out from those bomb shelters, ditch the shovels and boards, put the solar radio and canned beans back on the shelf and have a lovely weekend. We're covered.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Biblical Literalist on Global Warming

If some in the GOP don't realize they are bumping along on the crazy train, Illinois Rep. John Shimkus has arguably taken hold of the train's controls when it comes to global warming as you can see from his comments during this March 25th hearing of the US House Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment (2:26), ending with his statement that God will be the one to determine when the world ends.

So... never mind global warming, or starvation, or pollution or torture, for that matter. It's all in God's control and we mere mortals and our stinking secular laws have little place in this human realm. Makes God seem pretty nasty, doesn't it?

No wonder many who are not either spiritual or religious think those who are nuts. Oy.

"The earth will end only when God declares it's time to be over."

Realize that the context of the quote above is a congressional discussion on climate change/carbon load/global waming.

During this attack of crazy-trainitis, Shimkus' reference to flooding and the first passages read from Genesis ends in his statement that he believes Gods words to be "infallible, unchanging and perfect".

Makes me crazy.

Why vote for congressmen at all? Why not just have priests, pastors, preachers etc. make the laws? Oh wait... that would mean we abdicate our human responsibility and that atheists and others who don't share his views are not represented, not to mention that first amendment nonsense about not establishing a state religion (obviously, it might suit Jews but then there's this thing called CE and oops, there he is... Christ! So I guess it is safe to say that this clown believes in establishing Christianity as our state religion... so all you other folks... OFF the crazy train right now! Go home wherever that is!).



Now, go wash your brain.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Light on the Front of the Torture Train

Who would have thought--even six months ago--that torture in all its ugly form might completely bring down the former white house?

I think many of us did, but the caveat was whether or not the current administration would release "the memos" which, of late, they did--at least some--after five very long years.

For those of us that watched Watergate spin up to speed then take everything in its path with it, we saw an accident at slow speed... same as now with the torture issue.

Interestingly, until yesterday Condi Rice had never really been implicated. But implicated she is now along with Bush, Rumsfield, Wolfowitz, and Cheney. Other names are popping out as well. Rice's involvement appears to date as far back as 2002.

As more comes to light on this situation (which it seems to almost hourly...), a startling fact cannot be ignored and it's emphasized in this Olbermann interview with Fmr. Gen. Brig. Janis Karpinski who is obviously mad as hell:



More and more calls are coming from politicians and many former high-ranking military officers for hearings on the issue which the public has been demanding for several years.

So, if you see that light at the front of the train, you probably have a really good sense of where this is going. And it ain't gonna be pretty.

This is, of course, why Fox News is trying SO hard to make torture look okay.

Shameful.

Why the GOP is Lost (video)

This incomprehensible video with John Boehner explains so much. Here, Boehner not only cannot answer a simple question, he begins to make about as much sense as She From the North or Pres. Bush did when trying to answer a simple question. Sheesh.

Yes, folks. This is the current GOP leadership.

Newt's Negs: "The Handshake"

Jed Lewison over at Daily Kos takes on Newt... short and sweet...



And Obama's short and clear response:



And, finally, (update) the newest DNC 1 min commercial... heh. Meet the new boss... same as the old boss...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Kizo and Silk the Cats, BO33, and Rick Warren

Well, my won- der- ful rescue cat, Kizo, is leaving for his very nice new digs this Saturday. And just in time to live in air conditioning, no less. A nice thing when temps--like today--are (sigh) almost 100 degrees F.

Kizo's new mom is very excited, and so are we!

*****

Silk the Cat is so much better! Thank you all for your prayers for her (please don't stop!). The specialists still cannot figure out why her BUN levels are high... they still believe she is bleeding internally somewhere perhaps a small stomach or intestinal lesion or ulcer. We are hoping to have her scoped when the specialist hits my vet next.

She is getting stronger and looks SO much better... has the run of the vet office pretty much... but we just cannot seem to get her well. The vet is trying some new medication and we are hoping this might help.

*****

Bumped into an explanation of the BO33 issue with some elementary explanations about resolutions at convention and the basic making of sausage in the church which I found extremely helpful. Perhaps you will too.

Read here.

There are eight separate resolutions pertaining to the "issue" of B033, none of them specifically revoking B033, but all of them supplanting it one way or another (which is how it often works, I learned). There are links to each resolution on the issue.

An excellent read.

*****

Since I went off on a toot yesterday about Bul, today it's back to Rick Warren who, as you know, spent a lot of time supporting Prop 8 and in general defaming lgbt folks and who also has an interest in Uganda/AIDS, including non-distribution of condoms, and who lobbied heavily against an update to PEPFAR to strike funding for abstinence-only programs. The bill failed, Warren succeeded and Uganda's AIDS infections rose dramatically.

Read about Warren in Uganda, here. This is a January 2009 piece, but warrants reading if you have not, already... even re-reading because of the cast of characters you will find below.

Interestingly, the Bush Administration lackey that supported abstinence-only programs--Randall Tobias, AIDS Czar-- was eventually found to be using the services of the D.C. Madam. Oops. Like Craig's wide stance, Tobias admitted he had only gotten massages. Read here.

Massages. Uh huh.

Tobias shared a stage with Warren as PEPFAR Czar.

Kay Warren has a vision of STOPPING aids. Her approach is that the ONLY way to really accomplish this is through abstinence, though she does not view condoms as an evil (or so she says), she just, personally, doesn't prescribe to the notion that this is any kind of solution. Uganda Rev. Ssempa (note that he and the Warrens are also friends and Ssempa has appeared several times at Warren's church) also has testified at the behest of the government of Uganda before the US Congress.

So, the next stop is Human Rights Watch (HRW) and their 2007 letter to Congress on the issue where they more or less tie all of this into a big bundle, though without direct mention to Warren. Read it here. It is well foot-noted, BTW.

One of the most important things to carry away from the HRW letter is that your taxes and mine are supporting not only religious people, such as Warren who has spoken extremely harshly IN Uganda about lgbt people, government agencies in Uganda that are killing, harassing, and/or jailing lgbt Ugandans. In the case of religious organizations funded through PEPFAR, both US and not, they are free to promote terrible legal penalties to be visited on the lgbt people of Uganda, but lgbt people are NOT free to speak for themselves. Rather a terrible irony. In fact, Ssempa has asked that the media refrain from ANY debate or discussion on the matter.

Nothing like a free press, right?

So, the bottom line here is that we are supporting human rights violations not only with our taxes, but through our Communion. I cannot speak for you, but as for me... that is just never going to be acceptable.

As an aside, now it turns out that Mark Carver who is an apparent employee of Warren's PEACE program is editing the Wiki discussion on Warren and it has created quite the war!

You can read about it at Lavender Newswire, here.

Monday, April 20, 2009

What Bul(l)!

It is hard to like this photo for so many reasons not the least of which is the cross near his head and the actually pretty cool giant Christian symbol he wears across his chest. Too bad it seems meaningless--no, contrary--on the chest of this particular man.

Now, here's a challenge: Type into google Sudan human rights, or click here.

Then type into Google any form of Bul's name and any other word but gay. You know, words like starvation, rape, killing, enslavement... you know those minor things in comparison to GAYS.

Go ahead. Do it.

Now, for brevity, you tell me that Sudan doesn't have bigger problems that gays in Sudan but what does Bul actually talk about? Well it sure as hell isn't Darfur.

Sudan gays seem to be the topic that Bul is not only interested in getting out there, but almost the ONLY topic. Little mention of starvation. Little mention of torture. Little mention of displacement. Almost nothing (if ANYthing) on Darfur.

Now ask yourself this... WHY are we (the corporate WE as in TEC) in any way shape or form supporting with US dollars a Bishop that doesn't seem to be able to speak out on killings, kidnappings, rapes, murders, violence etc. but manages to speak out plenty on gays and receives money FROM gays to say nothing about anything else?

Go ahead. Ask yourself that.

And when you come up with something actually reasonable (even slightly reasonable), please post it.)

I don't want to hear that we as Episcopalians have to help the people of Sudan through the church. Bullshit. When Bul says NOTHING about these problems, and clearly spends his time on anything BUT, that is, well just bullshit. Knee deep bullshit.

Why not send the money to humanitarian groups that don't view these problems in this way and don't sort the wheat/chaff this way either?

And then, just let me ask this:

Did Christ talk about the poor, the afflicted or did he rang on about gays? Go ahead, give me the voluminous diatribes of Christ on gays side by side with his rants on poverty, love, etc. I'm just dying (as are, no doubt, the people in Sudan) to see them.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Bigots Last Hurrah (Frank Rich, The NY Times)

There are a number of important strategic political observations in Rich's op-ed piece. I highly recommend the piece, here.

Be sure and watch the Colbert take off on NOM's absolutely crappy scare mongering. There is a link in the op-ed.

Scott Ridder Inadvertently Takes on Newt Gingrich

There has been a whole lot of trivial carping lately by Newt Gingrich on President Obama. Newt, who is obviously running for president or, de minimis, testing the waters, has a string of pretty odd things to say some of which are expected attacks, and some of these attacks are just plain strategically wrong and very, very dangerous (enter Scott Ritter. To get right to the Ritter/North Korea/Newt problem, please scroll all the way down to the END of the article for the link).

So first, let's take a look at a few of Newt's recent attacks on President Obama.

First, Newt Gingrich with his pals at enter-
tain-
ment network Fox News and other wingers took on the infamous Obama "bow" to King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz (Photo: Getty Images). Much ado about nothing unless you want to fire up the 'Obama is a Muslim' meme wingers (which was probably the point) or perhaps appear respectful to another world leader as apparently interpreted by Muhammah Diyab, a commentator in a Saudi paper, who, approved of Mr Obama's gesture, and saw it as a clear bow: "Obama wished to demonstrate his respect and appreciation of the personality of King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, who has made one of the most important calls in the modern era, namely the call for interfaith and intercultural dialogue to defuse the hatred, conflict and wars." Okay.

Now, let's put this in perspective, shall we?

On April 25, 2005, the news was abuzz with photos of President Bush strolling through Crawford Ranch holding hands with Abdullah (photo:Gerald Herbert/Associated Press). And while this got plenty of press attention, not a mention of Bush being a Muslim (not that this would matter, but hey, it seems to matter to the wingers) or of ceding some sort of power to the foreign leader. The Bush family has a long-time personal relationship with the Saudi's Royal Family, and as the Christian Science Monitor points out: Fred Jones, the National Security Council spokesman, said hand-holding is an Arab expression of "friendship, respect and trust."

Interestingly, the National Republican Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is using the Obama photo to fund raise and spinning this in a really interesting way (well, typical for them, but realize it is interesting!).

And of course this Obama bow occurred on the heels of the very hot international issue of Michelle Obama's hugging The Queen. Sheesh.

Then there was the criticism of Obama saying we are not a Christian nation (or any other religion). Dobson and others about had a predictable fit given they just ignore our constitutional history (not to mention contents) most of the time. I am blogging about this tomorrow (Sunday) if you would like to read my thoughts on this.

Of course, all this is far more important than anything else including our standing, internationally, after torture and an illegal war. The GOP always focuses on the hard stuff, doesn't it?

And of course there is the scary matter of Obama actually shaking hands with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. I have to tell you, this is almost funny:



If you cannot see the video, here is the link.

And don't forget Newt's com-
ment that news on the first family's new dog, Bo, a Portuguese Water Dog, was, "stupid". Well, Newtie boy, you don't get animal lovers, do you? This is probably one of my very favorite Obama Photos.

There is something you missed in the rule book on running for or becoming president, Newtie:

1. Like babies, you MUST love animals and hug and respect them when on the campaign trail.
2. If you become president, don't ever hold your dog up by its ears.
3. When president, get a dog (or cat) and make sure you at least look like you care.
4. And even if you don't stand a chance, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER make mean spirited comments about the White House companion animals. NEVER. It makes you look old, mean-spirited, grumpy, heartless and out of touch. All of which are true in your case, Newt.

Second, Newt Gingrich (who has NO current access to national security information, BTW) takes on the North Korean missile "crisis" lambasting Obama for not having done one of the "several" things he (Newt) would have done as "President Gingrich" to stop the launch. This is the meat of the the obvious conflict between Scott Ritter's fine article, and Newt's ridiculous comments in which he panders to the hawks that have a tendency to know nothing, yet be willing to bomb anyone and everyone into oblivion apparently at mere mention.

But the real issue here is the fact that Newt, unlike Ritter, hasn't a clue about international law and, apparently willing to follow the footsteps of President Bush into the Iraq mess, actually poses a real danger in his ignorance.

Listen to what Newt says, then read Ritter (link below): Here's Newtie Boy prattling on about North Korea.



Ritter was an UN Weapons Inspector from 1991-1998 and a Marine intelligence officer. If anyone understands the North Korean missile situation in perspective, Ritter does because his job was part in parcel with possessing a deep understanding of international law and convention.

And, BTW, Ritter isn't afraid to call out Obama on his errors either, as you will read.

What is terribly, terribly disturbing is that virtually none of the MSM, either television or print news, even framed the missile launch correctly... which is the beginning of the terrible coverage of this missile launching.

So... read Ritter's EXCELLENT piece on this (here at TruthDig), entitled Up, Up and Away: The West’s Hysterical Reaction to North Korea.

Because few if any media outlets even framed this issue realistically, it is critical that we understand this. We don't need to run around bombing people or invading their countries every time we turn around and especially when our actions, as in Iraq, are illegal.

Anyone that thinks our nation is in ANY position right now to send soldiers or anything else to yet another country is flat off their rocker!

Friday, April 17, 2009

WOW! An Earlier Recording by Susan Boyle

Listen to this... it is quite good, allegedly recorded by Boyle some ten years ago (she would have been 37 years old then).

It's Cry Me a River... and done so nicely (sound only, no vid):



Boy, what a surprise this woman is! Great for her! Makes me really, really happy to see this!

I LOVE This Site: Eagle Cam

If you have never visited here, please do... quite something! Right now, mama bald eagle is feeding her three chicks!

So neat to watch them!

You can learn a lot here, click on the DGIF Blog on the right.

Also, if you see no motion, could be the babies are asleep... or click refresh.

You can also view the 2008 nest which has some really interesting complications!

So, so kewl!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Some New Minions and Other Stuff

Today was photo update day, so here are some photos of several new minions, beautiful cats, all.

First, Beauty. This is a fabulous cat, VERY sweet, excellent with children. She is affectionate and really a 10+ cat... and her name fits her well.

She was given up, sadly, with her friend Bella (below) from a family that was developing allergies; one of the most common reasons people give up cats, though often it really isn't necessary.

They are both feeling comfortable here, though after about 12 days, so they are now free to do what they like. They are being slowly transitioned off dry food onto wet food, and tomorrow we are trying raw food for them to see if that transition is easier. Usually it is not, but you never know.

Bella is an incredible cat. Absolutely gorgeous. As you can see, she has found a basket to sleep in and is taking a wee cat nap (or was until I snuck up on her!).

Here is a picture of Whaler, taken today, and perhaps one of the better photos given he does NOT like the camera and resists whenever I try to photo him. Silly cat.

Whaler was found sitting on a street corner wailing away, but he actually got his real name from his weight... at 25 pounds, he was a "whale" when he came in, though he looks almost perfect now. He's a real character.

Finally, here's Chuckie, a 12yo cat twice abandon- ed. What crummy luck, eh? He has a number of medical issues we are trying to straighten out, so it is evident no one really EVER took good care of him, poor fella! But given he was as close to dead as a cat could be when we got him (we lost his brother, Spencer, sadly), I would have to say he has improved remarkably.

And here is a shot of some mini roses that finally decided to bloom.

Now... on dogs, take Stein's advise seriously!

Update: Watch his you tube vid (From CBS)... and GET A DOG!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My Tea Party

Tea around here is short for tequila. In fact (and MP will probably scold me) there isn't a tea bag in sight around here. Right now, neither is in sight.

So... Rachel Maddow takes on the (non-liquid) "tea party" topic with a Libertarian:



So much for the tea parties. I really couldn't care much though Stephen Gordon, the character being interviewed, has a decent--if droll--take on Newt. Having lived most of my life in both libertarian and GOP country, I find neither attractive or sound.

The interesting thing about all this is the politics and infighting amid the skeleton of the GOP which is now riding the tea party "wave", including Newt Gingrich who was pretty much driven out of congress a decade ago by his brethren.

Newt's been all over the news lately and in some funny ways; saying the president was weak on the recent piracy issue (to have it resolved just hours later), and attacking Obama on failing to militarily intervene in North Korea's recent antics. Every time we turn around, some GOP nut like Newt is suggesting we blow someone different out of the water.

As one writer put it recently, "Newt just won't shut up." To that, I might just lift a toast.

But, as predicted, the fringers are out in force. You might really be surprised at the signs at these protests. Go here, to the Huff Post, to check the photos, and here to check the vids.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Is My God Silent? Me and My Spiritual Desert

For about nine months, I have been in the desert. The spiritual desert to be specific.

I am not one that expects conversation with God because that is not the way I experience God. My God is seen in my daily life... in people, in actions. In the entire way I view and experience the world and react. It is a sort of knowing of God's power. It is... hard to explain.

But my God is silent now. I don't have those glimpses or the rare full-on 'wow' experiences and it troubles me greatly.

So, for a while, I was silent. I didn't spent much time in prayer except intercession. I didn't talk to God, though I routinely say TLP at night and often as almost a mantra concentrating on each word and thinking about its meaning. Of all the odd things that put me to sleep, this is one. Being a sheep, counting my brethren doesn't help.

There were two things that early on changed my experience in the church: Being asked to be in the choir (meaning I had attendant duties during our extraordinary liturgy which WAS magical for me) and being on the vestry (I hated this, we had a micromanaging Priest at the time and the vestry was, ultimately, hardly an independent body).

Then the whole lgbt debacle which just pisses me off--no, actually it infuriates me--to no end. Intellectually, I cannot return to my parish (or any) until B033 is repealed. I just cannot stand with a church that parses either the treasure and sanctity of baptismal rights, or thinks so little of God's creation that we continually corral one group or another for exclusion in His/Her name. I will not stand with a church that does not both honor the baptismal sacrament AND honor creation as perfect, sacred and important whether human, 'animal' or plant. I cannot do it in the pews, and I cannot do it in the choir. I cannot do it. It is contrary to my nature and feels ALL wrong.

Yes, the Los Angeles Diocese is progressive and I totally appreciate and support the fine work of Bishop Bruno. He is a wonderful, wonderful, Bishop. But BO33 stands, Bruno or not. I will NOT go UU etc. Not where my spiritual heart is at all. I will not change churches. I love (and generally respect) the Episcopal church dearly and it is here that I belong. I really DO respect the big tent. But not to the extent that I am willing to sing or sit in a church that does not value our lgbt members as wholly equal.

Some have suggested I volunteer for the convention given it is close to me. No, that would be a bad, bad thing. I really don't want to know how sausage is made and I have 25 minions to care for which are always my first priority.

The other thing that REALLY, REALLY bugs me is that there isn't more emphasis in the church on good, modern theological scholarship. At my age (55), it annoys me to no end that most around me don't have a clue about church history let alone modern scholarship on the matter. I am far from anything considered even a lay expert, but the failure overall of the church to advance and emphasize this really, really bugs me. And I think this starts in Sunday School.

So, yeah, I am whining. I am whining because I don't feel whole. I am whining because I cannot feel whole until we ARE whole.

And I cannot go back until I get a sense that the church is realistically and wholly on the path of making everyone whole.

So, yeah, I need prayers, obviously, but more than anything else, come convention, I need to see action.

On yeah... one more thing. When the fires of 2007 happened, and we were displaced for 14 days, no one tried to find me or even ask if I was okay. I really needed my church. They were nowhere to be found.

I don't know how that has worked out for others in Katrina or the midwest flooding, but I can tell you that the people that came to me (and who I prayed with) were from Billy Graham's org.

Pitiful.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter Everyone!

Well, though I am totally in a spiritual funk (today's not the time to elaborate), I did listen to some services and some really cool music so I don't feel completely lost.

I did spend the day doing taxes, however, catching up on my animal microchip forms and animal files, sleuthing some chipping problems that I have had trouble dealing with for months. I finally got really FIRM with AVID and told them they need to get this stuff solved and quit goofing around. I stashed the Home Again chip info somewhere... for safety... and now can't find it. Sigh. My memory!

The Noodle is two weeks old today, and his eyes are open. Check these photos out!

The relative size of this kitten to his normal-sized mom should give you an idea how incredibly HUGE he is! I wouldn't be surprised if this kitten grows to be 18 pounds AT GOOD WEIGHT. I have never in my life seen such a huge kitten.

And And what a cute and fuzzy little face!

Last year, I had taken in a cat who had her babies ON Easter, thus we named them "Easter and the Eggs". Five little wee ones, normal sized. The vet didn't thinks she was very far along, and boy was SHE wrong!

THIS is a really nifty site on kitten development with pics that I think you will enjoy.

Right now, as we know and the text confirms, Noodle is still virtually blind though his eyes are open, and notice his ears are not away from his head yet. His main goal in life is to eat and sleep. His sense of smell works, but not much else:)

On another cat note, Kizo may have a home. I sure hope so as the woman interested is really into cats and has taken a lot of time to do reading over the years so really gets the importance of appropriate diet and was just excellent with him! Kizo came to me with his brother Kahn from a woman going into drug/alcohol rehab. I was VERY reluctant to take them in given how busy we are because I just knew they would end up here rather than, as the owner suggested, here for nine months and she would pay all expenses. Well, I was right. Sigh.

But, as it turns out, it was for the better. We have gotten 7.5 pounds off of Kahn, and about 5.0 pounds off Kizo. Both were obese. Obesity in cats is no laughing matter. It can and does lead to diabetes, and dry food (along with open feeding) is the major culprit. They are both extremely healthy now, and Kizo is at weight. Kahn is almost there.

Here's Kahn, and I have to tell you, this is just SUCH an appropriate photo for him!

So, from all of us, we hope you have a very wonderful and meaningful day!

And Kahn says... don't eat too, too much!

Heh:)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The GOP is Dead Says Conservative Batchelor

Jon Batchelor is a conservative talk radio host. He is not of the ilk of Glen Beck or Limbaugh. He is cut of very different cloth.

The quotes below come from this article penned by Batchelor and found on his site.

Before you stand and applaud, you really need to read the entire piece. It is actually telling and powerful and a rather clear indictment of what the GOP has become.

And least you think Nixon or Reagan are spared, they most certainly are not spared.

It's a very interesting read from a Republican that isn't on TV screaming at us from a major entertainment news station or savaging just about everything over the radio waves.

The Democrats win just because the Republicans have disqualified themselves as leaders with their greed, cruelty, and surprising clumsiness
*****
The Republican Party's death doesn't really threaten anyone, and I puzzle why
Democrats and independents who vote Democratic spend words and worry debating the look of the corpse. We few Republicans with long memories wander around the cemetery admiring the tombstones and enjoying the rain. I can hear you doubting that this could truly be the end. The final stage of grief is acceptance.
[emphasis mine]

It's an interesting read.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Candace Gingrich Takes on Brother Newt

Horray for Candace again taking on her brother Newt Gingrich.

Read about it here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Screw You, Newt! Gingrich Attacks Iowa Supremes

Today , (unannounced) presidential contender Newt Gingrich comments on Iowa's Supremes allowing gay marriage in the state:

"It's the height of judicial arrogance," Gingrich said. "You have seven lawyers who have decided, on their own, to fundamentally change Iowa."

He didn't use the traditional "activist judges" meme, but the next best thing.

But, being the arrogant ass that he is, and never having attended law school, Newt had the sheer audacity to say this:

Gingrich said he sees the beginning of a "major movement" to bring the judicial branch into check in the wake of last Friday's Iowa Supreme Court decision. The ruling said a state law limiting marriage to a man and a woman violates the constitutional rights of equal protection.

So here's the deal according to Newt: The only people that get equal protection are those that have it. The door is closed, no need to apply.

Apparently, judges in this country are not allowed to follow constitutional law or thinking. They MUST follow theocratic lines of thinking, especially those of a Baptist recently converted to Roman Catholicism which is odd given his affairs and three marriages.

From the rather conservative US News and World Report, read here.

So screw you Newt (but not your little dog, too).

You'll be reading a lot about Newt here in the future given I think he may turn out to be the GOP pick and is most certainly positioning himself to be just that.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Noodle, 6 Days Old! Update on Silk the Cat

Darned if this isn't just a cute baby and such a great and nice mom!

We are still looking for some mom-less babies about this age to add for Noodle's sake in terms of socialization. The fosterer has fallen in love with both these wonderful animals, so I may have lost a foster (!) but the kitten, Noodle, may have a home! Foster believes she also may have a wonderful home for Ragu, the mom. Wouldn't that be swell! She still needs her vaccines and microchipping (can't given vaccines to pregnant cats), and will be spayed when Noodle is 10 weeks old, but that's a cinch! Finding a wonderful indoor only home (so much wildlife here, cats are unsafe outside) is often not so easy.

Mom and baby are healthy and happy and Ragu is now playing again when not being her supermom self. She is getting spoiled by the family including their cat-loving 8 year old.

*****
The news on Silk is mostly great... but confounding.

Silk came to the razor's edge of life, quite literally. Scarlet, the vet's blood donor kitty, saved Silk's life. That much is certain.

And I am as certain that God heard your prayers for little Silk. Please continue to keep Silk on your prayer list.

After 50 days, we appear to have successfully kept Silk's kidneys from failing. That is remarkable in and of itself for many reasons. Her creatinine levels are now normal as are almost all levels except her BUN levels... the confounding factor:
  • creatinine: Creatinine is a waste product excreted through the kidneys. It is indicative of overall declining kidney function.
  • BUN: BUN is a waste product excreted through the kidneys. BUN is more reflective of dietary impacts than creatinine. An increase in BUN can also be due to dehydration (a symptom of CRF and many other diseases and syndromes).
Kidney disease is a major cause of death in both cats and dogs and understanding its origins can be helpful in avoiding it. Also, and I cannot emphasize this enough, PLEASE keep your cat's and dog's teeth clean. Dental disease is responsible for heart, liver, kidney and lung disease and there is literature indicating that bacteria from bad teeth can pass through the blood/brain barrier as well. Serious stuff.

If you are interested in chronic kidney failure (CRF, often found in seniors) in either dogs or cats, I refer you to the following:
Here, a basic primer.
Here, which is excellent on feline CRF and here to explain testing and results.

If you have a hyperthyroid cat (this is the thyroid disease most common in cats, while dogs generally become hypothyroid), it is important to understand the connection between the diseases and kidney problems and good to know which breeds of cats and dogs are more likely to come down with the thyroid disease. Because these autoimmune diseases can wreck havoc on organs, one must be aware of the symptoms for cats and dogs as a preventative measure.

In Silk's case, diet may have had a LOT to do with her condition. Cats are obligate (strict) carnivores and Silk and her 21 brothers and sisters were fed a largely vegetarian diet--a HUGE no-no. Cats were NOT evolved to eat such a diet, including vegetables and particularly grains. Think lion and corn on the cob. A complete mis-match.

Silk is still at the vet... day 50 today. She is only three years old, so this is not related to age. In two weeks, my vet is going to a three-day seminar with the country's experts on renal conditions in cats. She is taking Silk's case with her to run by these veterinary experts in renal disease. I cannot even tell you how many tests she has had! That Silk will have the free benefit of experts reviewing her charts is a dream come true.

My vet is fantastic with cats, as you can see, and really has done an absolutely fabulous job with Silk, who she adores. I honestly think she is considering making her one of her own cats by her statements today which is a match made in heaven!

Silk is wandering around the clinic, getting her stregnth, and hops up, now, about four feet to sit in the sun on the window sill. Her coat is shiny, her ears are still giving her a bit of trouble (but this is the least of her worries), and she has gained a bit of weight though she remains quite petite. The vet believes the rise in BUN levels MAY be due to some sort of ulceration in her stomach or intestines, a problem sometimes associated with this disease but very hard to pinpoint. Hopefully the super experts will be able to help.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Gallop Polls Roman Catholics on Moral/Social Issues

This is a REAL eye opener if ever there was one, though I have suspected as much for a very long time.

Here is a brief quote about some of the conclusions:

The data show that regular churchgoing non-Catholics also have very conservative positions on moral issues. In fact, on most of the issues tested, regular churchgoers who are not Catholic are more conservative (i.e., less likely to find a given practice morally acceptable) than Catholic churchgoers.

The accompanying table shows that regular churchgoers who are Catholic are significantly more liberal than churchgoing non-Catholics on gambling, sex before marriage, homosexual relations, having a baby out of wedlock, and divorce. Committed Catholics are at least slightly more likely than devout non-Catholics to say that abortion and embryonic stem-cell research -- the two key issues highlighted by those protesting Obama's appearance at Notre Dame -- are morally acceptable. Only on the death penalty are committed Catholics more conservative than regular churchgoers who are not Catholic.



Here We Go...Again. Newt News.

Some bad things never seem to leave completely, and Newt Gingrich is one. I have thought for a long time that Newt might run in 2012, and he has not said he would not. Rather, he has said he will decide as the time draws nearer.

Clearly, there is no match in intellect between she from the north and Newt. Despite my dislike of everything Newt, he's got her hands down in this capacity as does the exorcist, anti-volcano-monitoring governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, which says a lot about the strange folks mantled under the GOP elephant.

I swear, one just couldn't find a weirder bunch.

So, what is Newtie Boy doing now? Well, one of the things he is doing is pandering to the Christian right (of course!) again as reported by TPM:


"I think there's a clear to desire to replace the church with a bureaucracy, and to replace people's right to worship together with a government-dominated system," said Gingrich.

And what is driving this drastic move to a government-dominated bureaucracy? A decrease in tax deductions for churches from those making over $250K. A what does he use for any kind of proof this is the case? Well... nothing, actually.

All Newt did was put Christianity on the end of a hook and dangle it in front of folks on the Christian right that don't like President Obama, don't like taxes, and probably couldn't define socialism if their lives depended on it (though now Glen Beck, in a VERY weird and dangerous broadcast that you really should see, has said we are on our way to fascism, so I guess the socialism meme didn't work so well).

As I said, one couldn't find a weirder bunch and I didn't even include Coulter, O'Reilly or Buchanan!

Replacing she from the north as the keynote speaker at a big GOP spring dinner, Gingrich is stepping out again as the brains of the party (God help us all) warning that if the GOP doesn't get its act together there might be a viable third party in the mix.

A viable third party? I don't know whether to whistle dixie or laugh. Sure, the right wing could start their own Christian Dominionist Theocracy Party (with help from the likes of Howard Ahmanson and other funders) and run she from the north (though many don't like her because while she might have the right moral chops, she's dumb as dirt on issues), but that would leave a moderate GOP population with no leadership (same as the last eight years given the GOP moderates were pretty much driven from the party) . Viable? Hah!

So where is Newt heading with this? A populist party apparently built on some odd form of intellectual leadership where the lamb can lie down with the lions again? Seems so.

The problem is that those on the far right don't need no stinkin' intellectual. They just need a few nonsensical slogans to chant and a couple of sparky speeches and hey, they're in line! So how does Newt figure into that equation? Well, let's watch and see. He's not a populist leader and never has been so it will be interesting to see what he does with the teeming masses and their tea bags.

It should be entertaining. We'll need cases of popcorn because the infighting should be delicious to watch along with Newt roasting she from the north on an intellectual spit.

Action for Today (the first in a series)

Ya'll that read this blog know how much I love both domestic animals and wildlife. I have considered, for a while, doing a day of action for animals, or including in my posts an action a day for the animals.

Will you help?

Today's actions involve wolves.

As you know, along with the Alaskan slaughter of wolves, President Obama's Department of Interior Secretary, the now-evil Ken Salazar, has ok'd the slaughter of wolves in several Rocky Mountain states. It would be wrong in any course, but the fact is that the second a wolf steps off federal land in these states, they can be shot. And have been. AND will continue to be shot unless people band together to stop this.

The groups that are coalescing to stop this senseless slaughter are many, but they cannot do it without me and you. So...

Please watch this short one minute video (not upsetting) from Defenders of Wildlife, a group which has done much to help the wolves in both Alaska and the Rockies.



Now, click here and send a message to President Obama that Salazar's action is wrong.

Each of us is responsible for God's creation. Let us not mouth the words only, but believe it in our hearts and sustain it with our actions.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

April Fools and the Everyday Kind

No, this isn't a joke, but it should be. This from Mother Jones:

As was the case last fall, white evangelical Protestants (19%) and Republicans (17%) are among the most likely to view Obama as a Muslim. Fewer than half in each group -- 38% of white evangelicals and 46% of Republicans -- correctly identify Obama as a Christian.

So, what does this say about Republicans?
I will leave you to your own conclusions.

*****
And this is incredibly funny coming from probably the most vitriolic, fact-light uber right persona this side of the increasingly nutty Glen Beck, Ann Coulter, who, apparently, has absolutely no sense of humor. In a rather astounding display of gullibility, Coulter is caught by Media Matters going off the deep end (again). I swear, Coulter is a crack up. Or maybe just cracked up.

*****
And from the Christian right, opposition (again) to the passage of hate crimes legislation. The Washington Post's column God in Government covers the story with the predictable Perkins et. al.:

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, predicts a "wave of federal prosecution." In a fund-raising e-mail sent to supporters on Tuesday, he warned that offended gays could accuse a religious broadcaster, a pastor or a Sunday school teacher who expresses the viewpoint that homosexual behavior is morally wrong and unhealthy.

There's no explaining Perkins especially in light of the New Testament.

Mark Tooley New IRD Pres

And the hits just keep coming. Read here.

And of course, another piece here.

Okay... HERE is the Latest Addition (Really!)

Meet Ragu (mom) and this absolutely ENORMOUS kitten, Noodle. This kitten, about an hour old in this shot, was the singular kitten for this mom and was born a startling 8" long--enormous.

This is the kitty we took in with six kittens that was preggers--again. This will be the last time though... she will be getting spayed as soon as her kitten is 10 weeks old, and she is strictly an indoor cat now.

Noodle has a cute little Maynard Krebs goatee... though we're not sure if the kitten is a male or female yet (she is at a foster home, much quieter for her than being here).

In the photo, the kitten is a few hours old.

Click on the pic to enlarge.