March 15, 2008 archive

Still resisting five years on

I’ve just returned home from the World Against War demo today in London. It was a fantastic event, with an excellent turnout (between 10-40,000, according to the BBC) and a great atmosphere. The march was called to mark five years since the invasion of Iraq, although Israel’s recent crimes in Gaza were definitely on everyone’s mind – which is excellent, of course. The march was convened by the Stop the War Coalition around three basic demands: troops out from Afghanistan and Iraq, no attack on Iran and an end to the siege of Gaza. On all three, as Tony Benn was sure to remind us, the marchers spoke for the majority of British and world public opinion.

On Race, Gender and Reconciliation

It was a brilliant summer day in Atlanta, and the lumescent, blue sky lifted my already risen spirits as I was planning my wedding. A coworker and I were shopping for wedding dresses in an upscale suburb, both of us dressed in the standard uniform for such an event: sweats and sneakers. My coworker carried the look off with much more chic than I, with her tall frame, warm brown eyes and rich, espresso colored skin giving her the natural grace of a woman for whom sweats is a weekend indulgence.

Me? I just looked a little dumpy.

Unauthorized/ Underground Pony Party: Tattoo Talk

We are moving to two pony parties a day but I thought I would toss in a third just for today.

Tattoos. They aren’t exactly “underground” these days and probably haven’t been for a while. They do however, have a rich history.

According to this site, the oldest known example of a human with tattoos is 5,000 years old. There is speculation given the location, that they were thought to be treatments for arthritis.

If you look here you can see the tattoos on the “iceman” found in the Austrian Alps.

It was an exclusively female practice in ancient Egypt. There is debate about whether it symbolizes the wearers were low members in society or protection as amulets during crucial times like pregnancy.There is speculation that among ancient Greek and Romans the markings symbolized belonging to a particular religious sect.

Women in Borneo were said to use tattoos to indicate a particular skill to attract a mate.

According to wiki the word tattoo is derived from a Samoan usage tatau meaning to strike.

They were introduced to the west by those who were sailors and travelers. When Captain Cook returned to England after his forays  in the South Pacific he brought with him a heavily Tattooed Polynesian man and that may have helped contribute to the new trend. Thanks to the spreading empire and a navy that supported it it became a popular trend in 19th century Britain. It gained even more legitimacy when the Prince of Wales returned from a trip to the Holy Land and returned with a tattoo of a Jerusalem Cross. Others followed suit.

It also gained popularity in the United States and was assisted by some good old ingenuity when in 1891 a tattoo artist named Samuel O’Reilly invented a hand held machine that allowed the artist to do his creation more quickly by having the needles move up and down automatically. Art meets capitalism. Another heavy influence in American society was the popularity of the circus culture, every one of them had a tattoo man or woman on display.

Tattoos have morphed from being a counter culture rebellion to a completely mainstream indulgence in The United States from the since the post WWII era. Apparently,

36 percent of those aged 18-25 and 40 percent of those in the 26 to 40 age range claim to have one here in the United States.

And, many tattoos artists today have a background in fine arts/painting/visual arts prior to becoming an apprentice. Most of the people at the place where I went have some kind of arts degree.

Open source Obama Speech — Bring in Hagee and Parsley

Cross posted on Kos

I don’t think Obama’s Olbermann appearance is enough to stem the Wright tide.  The best argument is the much worse connection between McCain and the crazy right preachers. Because the traditional media never will do it, Obama may have to be the one to reveal the outrageous double standard of excoriating him for Wright, while not touching McCain for embracing Hagee and Parsley.  

I’ve put together a draft Obama speech that tries to weave together his message with an attack on the double standard.

In the comments or a diary, let’s try to put together an “open source” speech for Obama (or a surrogate who will have a platform).  Here’s my try:

The past few days my campaign has been engulfed in nearly constant, furious attacks of guilt by association.  The words of Pastor Wright, which I have repeatedly denounced, have been broadcast non-stop on radio, television and the internet.  Despite my rejection of these statements, so-called pundits have seen fit to tie me irrevocably to them, and impugn my patriotism and tolerance.

And yet, my campaign is based on patriotism, as exemplified by tolerance, unity and hope.  We have been trying to appeal to the best in people, not the worst.  For too long, our discourse and our elections have been dominated by the forces of fear, demagogy and, yes, hate.  We have been trying to change that, and to bring hope to this country after years of fear, war and economic insecurity.  But there are many who will do anything to fight against hope, to continue the fear-infused politics of the past eight years.

Unfortunately, John McCain, the probable Republican candidate, has openly welcomed the support of those who would divide our country by religion, race or ethnic group.  Rather than distancing himself as we did, he has sought out and embraced the Rev. James Hagee, whose shameful statements have not been nearly as widely disseminated as those of Pastor Wright.

Senator McCain has said he was “very honored” by the endorsement of someone who has said:

—  Catholicism is “‘The Great Whore,’ an ‘apostate church,’ the ‘anti-Christ,’ and a ‘false cult system.'”

— Hurricane Katrina was inflicted upon New Orleans by God because of the city’s supposed “immorality.”

— Those who live by the Koran have a scriptural mandate to kill Christians and Jews.

—  Just before us is a nuclear countdown with Iran, followed by the final battle, the battle of Armageddon.

—  Jews brought the Holocaust on themselves by rebelling against God

Senator McCain has said his “spiritual advisor” is Rod Parsley, someone who has said:

— “Americans must be ‘Christocrats’ — citizens of both their country and the Kingdom of God”; “And that is not a democracy; that is a theocracy”; “That means God is in control, and you are not.”

I have specifically repudiated the noxious statements of Reverend Wright.  John McCain has sought and welcomed the support of those who espouse these noxious and unpatriotic ideas, with only the vague and mildest of “disagreements”.

I call on John McCain to specifically address each one of the statements by these preachers.

Let us make this a campaign about hope, about the future, and about policies that will protect and sustain our children.


Flashback ’05: A Second Lieutenant’s Grim Commentary From Iraq, Part I

Disclaimer: I conducted this “interview” in June 2005 but for some reason never posted it on DKos. I hope that it brings some reality back to the silly infighting of the Dem Primary. You’re welcome.

Not too many people, outside of soldiers’ families or political junkies, seem to actually pay close attention to the war in Iraq anymore, even two years into it. Getting people to notice anything these days other than their own little cognitive-dissonance-world is like pulling teeth from a rabid yeti, and I get pretty batshit crazy about it sometimes. I haven’t exactly become a raging hippie as far as war-protesting goes, but I just got tired of being judged by people who didn’t know what they were talking about and who didn’t know anything about me, simply because I disagree with the war and everything it truly stands for. Of course, I guess if everyone did think about this rationally all our heads would explode and no one would be thinking about anything important anyway. Maybe that’s already happened.

Weekend News Digest


Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 More rate cuts from Fed expected Tuesday

By JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics Writer

30 minutes ago

WASHINGTON – Desperate to aid an economy in crisis, the Federal Reserve is ready to deliver yet another big interest rate cut.

How big? One-half of a percentage point, some economists say. Investors and others hope for even more, a three-quarters cut or perhaps a full point, given the turmoil on Wall Street. It will be a close call, Fed watchers say.

The speculation ends Tuesday afternoon after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and central bank policymakers have met.

The Dance

To return to harmony…we must realign our gestures into those of dancers. We must become beings who do not wish to control life, but only to listen to its music, and dance it.

from The Great Cosmic Mother by Monica Sjoo and Barbara Mor

We cover music, poetry, literature and other arts all the time here. I thought it was time for some dancing. I’m absolutely addicted to the tv show “So You Think You Can Dance.” Here’s Jamie and Hok dancing “The Hummingbird and the Flower”

In the Sun

All signs point to the fact that we have entered a dark period in terms of human liberties and how people treat each other in general. Things have to either move forward or go backward as they can never just stay the same. It certainly appears now that humanity is choosing the option of going backwards. Some of this comes from the profit-seeking force of the powers that be. Some comes from the environmental consequences of our petroleum based system and rapacious use of resources. Finite nature of petroleum, water, top soil and other resources is catching up to us all. In many ways things look bleak for our children and grandchildren.

However I can report that after almost three years of homesteading based on solid spiritual principles, my family and I have felt a great sense of wellbeing coming from our collective efforts at leaving behind a dying system by returning to a more natural state of being. Our work has centered on learning some of the many skills required for homesteading and discovering through experience that a personal connection to one’s food brings deep benefits. We started our first homestead by converting our small 3.7 acre property in central VA into a small dairy. After completing that, we moved to a more rural mountain community where we have worked hard to rebuild an old farmhouse with just under four acres into a homestead that suits us.

Now finally emerging out of a rough homesteading winter, I came across some of our pictures from our old homestead and made a slideshow of homesteading pictures past and present with Joseph Arthur’s “In the Sun” providing the music. It has really given us a boost to see the best of our homesteading ventures strung together to music we really enjoy.

For anyone who is suffering from despair or depression due to the current state of our Union – and the current state of the earth for that matter – one remedy is to make some progress in freeing yourself of our dying system by taking steps towards a more sustainable system. In that spirit, then, please enjoy pictures of cows, dogs, cats, happy children and a view of the future.

Some Fun for Your Brain

Note: Originally posted at DailyKos.

I was inspired to post this by a little pun RiaD made in a comment earlier today.

It’s a bit long, and not topical at all. It is Saturday.


Pony Party: Animal Friends

I always wanted a dog when I was a kid. My mother was pretty reluctant being a cat person and told me if I got straight A’s, I could have one. It never quite happened.

To that end I adopted all my friend’s dogs. There was “Flip”, the sweet German Shepherd who had epilepsy who came along on all of my adventures around the neighborhood when Gail and I went exploring. There was poor “biscuit”, a happy mixed breed my buddy Susie had as a teenager. Biscuit sat around at several unauthorized parties shaking his doggy head at us. “Tiger” was a dachshund down the street. He hated people and bit my ass once when I was playing in a backyard. Another kid was teasing him and I was the closest. Thus, my life long avoidance of wiener dogs.

I used to house sit for one of my professor and walk his Husky,Satin. She also had diabetes and I had to give her shots. They lived in a not very good neighborhood because young academics don’t make much. One weekend the neighbor dude threatened his wife with a gun ( pretty rare at that time in Canada ) while Satin and I were walking by. I suggested to my prof and his wife they might want to think about moving elsewhere. They did and after that, the professor’s wife became my friend partially out of gratitude. She had been bugging him for months to put the house on the market and get out.

Bosley, the bull terrier belonged to my friend Susie. She asked me to come and house sit one weekend, Bosley knew me well so it was a good match. I was eager to get out of town having just had a fight with my on again off again painter/photographer boyfriend.

Bosley and I were having a good old time with belly rubs and the hockey game when my boyfriend showed up apologizing. He drove an hour to visit so I let him in. He seemed genuine in his intent but Bosley thought otherwise. Although my boyfriend had never been physically abusive to me the dog would not let him near me. He barked, snarled, and I had to leash him to keep him away. Ultimately, the boyfriend had to hop in his car and drive an hour back home.

My grandmother had a friend with a poodle who could growl what sounded like, “Mama” and she learned to drink water out of a bottle.

When I got married I told my spouse animals were a requirement of the deal. He had an adored Rhodesian Ridge back who was stolen from his parents while he was tenting it in the desert during Bush I. Lucky, the Rhodesian Ridge, back liked to eat popcorn and counter surf when muffins were concocted.

I adopted a cat as a “pet” for a now deceased dog. Roxy was a gentle chow/shepherd who loved cats. My cats hated her, so I went out and got her a kitten, Sawyer. The problem is Sawyer is that he likes dogs and doesn’t see them as adversaries. He and Arno, my Dutch Shepherd like to goad one another on in chase matches. Arno learned how to jump through an open window to get back into the house after watching Sawyer. We don’t actually like Sawyer getting out, he is an escape artist. Sawyer suddenly developed a like of getting belly rubs after watching Arno get extra attention rolling on his back.

The house is always chaotic because one of the cats hates Arno, and the other dog hates him to. Our other dog was stolen from my brother in law because he neglected her. She likes killing things outside but never even looks at our cats.

Tell me about your animal friends past and present.

Please don’t rec pony party, hang out, chit chat, and then go read some of the excellent offerings on our recent and rec’d list.

At Long Last, Spring

cross posted from The Dream Antilles

This morning I went for a long walk with my faithful retriever dog friend.  We live in Columbia County, in eastern New York in the foothills of the Massachusetts Berkshires.  The ground in the fields was wet but not frozen, the grass is still brown, and it was about 35 degrees and overcast.  We were looking for signs that Spring really was coming.

I know that the Solstice is on March 20, 2008 at 1:48 am EDT.  We should be able to find some sign of the impending change of season, if we look for it, right?

Yes! This morning for the first time this year I heard the referee’s whistle song of the red wing blackbird.


A Redwing Blackbird

If you’ve never heard the Redwing Blackbird, try this.  The sound I’m hearing is called the “okalee call.”  It’s about setting out a new territory for the year.

In this corner of the world, the redwing blackbird is the very first sign of Spring.  Before crocuses.  Before paperwhites.  Before anything.  In fact, its basketball referee whistle call usually coincides with the beginning of March Madness.  The selections for the NCAA tournament aren’t until tomorrow.  The birds are a little early this year.

And so, in celebration of the fact there is a sign that at long, long last spring is about to emerge, and as important, that the northeastern winter is on its last legs, I offer you ee cummings:

in Just-

spring       when the world is mud-

luscious the little lame baloonman

whistles       far       and wee

and eddyandbill come

running from marbles and

piracies and it’s


when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer

old baloonman whistles

far       and       wee

and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and






baloonMan       whistles




Join me in gratitude far and wee for the coming of Springtime.


GBCW (?)

Although I have thoroughly enjoyed my 9 days at Docudharma, the cruel realities of capitalism are beckoning me toward greener pastures.  The blogging world is a cut-throat competition filled with endless choices.  And I have heard the siren song of . . .

Paris Hilton.

She needs a new best friend.  And will stop at nothing to get one.  Her new web site is soliciting new soulmates as we speak.  Applicants need to submit a 90-second video and write a blog entry that appeals to Paris’ short attention span.  Then the concerned public can vote on Paris’ web site to narrow the field to 20 finalists.  We will then all be treated to a new reality show where Paris will choose her BFF from those 20 lucky candidates.

Load more