Lesson Learned Too Late

I was just over at the Heretik's, reading this post, and I came to the following bilge from Scotty:

MR. McCLELLAN: And who made any suggestion of a link to the attacks? What the President was talking about was that September 11th taught us important lessons. It taught us that we must confront threats before they full materialize, before they reach our shores.

Gee, Scotty, you know when it would have been a good time to learn that lesson, if in fact that is a lesson you learned? How about on August 6, 2001? How stupid do you have to be to ignore a report that says bin Laden determined to attack?
And Scotty, your fucking master should have resigned for his failure to learn that the words "bin Laden determined to attack" actually meant that bin Laden was determined to attack. Even if Bush didn't deliberately ignore the August PDB, he is guilty of a terrible incompetence for letting 9/11 happen. So please, Scotty, keep reminding us of the colossal failure that Bush exhibited before and after 9/11.

Blair continues his non-defense defense

Here's a quick little timeline:

There is a meeting between the U.S. and the U.K. at Downing Street in July of 2002.

The Downing Street Memos give us an account of what occurred at the meeting.

In October of 2002, the U.S. Senate gives Bush the authority to wage war on Iraq.

In November of 2002,
Blair and Bush go to the U.N.
for a final Iraq resolution. We now know that this "final opportunity" for Iraq to come clean about its weapons programs was just a legal covering that the Blair administration insisted upon, because the case for war at that point was flimsy. Then the Bush and Blair administrations used the lack of weapons discovered by weapons inspectors between November of 2002 and March of 2003 as evidence that Hussein was hiding weapons.

And here we have the tony Tony:

TONY BLAIR: They take bits out here of this memo or that memo, or something someone's supposed to have said at the time, and what people ignore is we went through a very open, obvious process through the United Nations and the issue was how did you -- because the view I took, as the president did, was we had to enforce United Nations resolutions against countries that were developing and proliferating WMD, that after Sept. 11 the world had changed, we had to take a definitive stand.

Stop playing games, Blair! The fact that you went to the United Nations does not contradict or negate the contents of the Downing Street Memos! In fact, it supports the information that the Downing Street Memos gives us - Bush wanted war, you wanted a stronger legal covering, so you guys gamed the system.

Look at the timeline - Bush wants war against Iraq prior to July of 2002. In October of 2002, he gets authority from the U.S. Senate. In November of 2002, he goes to the U.N. You cannot suggest, Mr. Blair, that the open process you claim to have undertaken with the U.N. was the determining factor for invading Iraq. The decision for war was already made.


Right now, both of my children are away from home, and instead of using the time productively*, I've been worrying over my life. I come home, I take the dog out, I wash the dishes, I watch TV. Tons of TV. Flip, flip, flip the remote.

I tried to shake myself out of this yesterday by going to the bookstore, thumbing through some memoirs of other peoples lives. I was struck by the fact that no matter how upsetting or crazy parts of my life have been, there will always be someone who's had it much worse. Ordinarily, this would make me feel grateful, but yesterday, it made me feel like an underachiever - instead of embracing the chaos, I worked to get out of it. Is this some kind of survivor's ennui?

I've been trying to go swimming because if I can't think my way out of a period of angst, I find that a repetitive physical activity will jog me out of it. But I've been stymied every day this week: on Monday, my bus broke down, so I had to take another bus home that dropped me about a mile away, so I had to walk, and my hip was killing me by the time I got home, so I couldn't even think about riding my bike to the pool. Tuesday, I had to pick Sio up for her day off from camp, and do the grocery shopping, so no time for swimming. Today, there are thunderstorms, so the pools are closed.

How can I be 35 years old and not know what to do when I'm alone? I mean, there are lots of things I could do - I could clean, I could read, I could practice the piano, I could go for a walk, I could take a nap...but there is nothing that I could do that I want to do. I don't know what I want to do.

*When asked by my friend Leslie what Loki and I were going to do with no children in the house, I said "we're going to have sex in the living room."



It's interesting that Rumsfeld can make an observation like the following:

Rumsfeld said he does not "known much about" Ahmadinejad. "But he is no friend of democracy. He's no friend of freedom. He is a person who is very much supportive of the current ayatollahs, who are telling the people of that country how to live their lives."

without a hint of irony.

emphasis mine


Some call it a meme, I call it a questionnaire

I've been tagged.

1. What were three of the stupidest things you have done in your life?

a)Dropped out of college
b)forgot to pay a credit card bill that ruined my credit for several years
c)Third on the list but the number one stupid thing I've ever done: voted for Nader in 2000 (although if I lived in a state that was up in the air, I would have definitely voted for Gore. I was not as politically aware then as I am now. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa)

2. At the current moment, who has the most influence in your life?

My kids, my husband, the liberal blogosphere.

3. If you were given a time machine that functioned, and you were allowed to only pick up to five people to dine with, who would you pick?

Mark Twain
Oscar Wilde
Joe Orton
William Shakespeare
David Niven

4. If you had three wishes that were not supernatural, what would they be?

I'm not sure if I can answer this question. Does it mean that the wishes (which, I think wish fulfillment of the magical variety definitely falls under the category of supernatural) would have to be something that could be accomplished by non-supernatural means?

Aside from wishing I understood the question, here are my wishes:

a) I wish I didn't have to worry about money (I don't want to be fabulously wealthy, just to not spend several hours every month sweating over whether or not I can pay all my bills, and not have to worry about paying for college)
b) I wish I could take a few years off from work to finish college.
c) I wish to live long enough to meet my great-grandchildren.

5. Someone is visiting your hometown/place where you live at the moment. Name two things you regret your city not having, and two things people should avoid.

Regret not having: an independent bookstore within walking distance of my house and an easy, convenient and quick way to travel around town

People should avoid: the mall area, the post office on Main Street (which is run by a bunch of religious whackos)

6. Name one event that has changed your life.

Giving birth

I'm supposed to pass this one to 5 people, but I would feel snubbed if they didn't reply, and my readership has dropped some, so let me just ask the first five people who read this to put their answers in the comments.



This blog makes me proud to be an American.



I started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer at the very end of season 3, after the series put their finale on hold due to Columbine. I quickly became a fan. I became more devoted to the show when I bought the DVDs of Season 1, 2, and 3 and found them to be even better than the show I fell in love with. I resisted Angel until Season 4, but I thought it had an exciting story arc, and got better almost until the end. (There were a few season 5 episodes that I was not too thrilled with, but the concluding episodes were outstanding. I think as a parent, the Angel/Connor storyline resonated for me.)

I didn't come to any of these series as a sci-fi/fantasy fan. I was a fan of well-written dialogue and interesting storylines, and both of these series met the bill. I have criticisms of Joss Whedon's writing - he sometimes becomes a little too enamored of a particular phrase (count the number of times various characters say "It's a thing" in the last two seasons of Buffy), but I like how he takes cliches of the genre and turns them inside out.

I first heard about Firefly from pissed off Buffy fans who were mad that Joss's attention was diverted from their beloved vampire slaying heroine. They felt the show suffered from Joss's absence and placed the blame squarely on the new baby. (Personally, I felt Marti Noxon was the real culprit in the diminishing quality of Buffy - for evidence, I point to Point Pleasant, a show that, to paraphrase Buffy, both sucks and blows)

But I have a lot of faith in Joss Whedon as a creator and writer, and I was very excited as I started to follow the news of Firefly. I got concerned when Fox put the pilot on hold, and I began to wonder if maybe my faith was misplaced.

But then I saw the first episode (which was actually the second episode, re-tooled with lots of exposition since Fox wasn't running the pilot), and my faith was restored. My love for Buffy and Angel revealed itself as a mere infatuation when compared to my deep and abiding love for the Firefly class ship Serenity and her crew. I checked the ratings and sent postcards and donated money to try to convince the Fox execs to keep the show. I got pissed with every promo for John Doe and Joe Millionaire, two crap shows that were the darlings of Fox execs. But alas, the series was canned. The final episode that Fox aired was the pilot episode, and I couldn't believe the idiots at Fox didn't realize what a gem it was. I got the DVD's the day they were released and savored the series in the order in which it was intended to air. I was kind of heartbroken, to be honest.

Last night I got to see the advance screening of the Firefly movie, Serenity. Before the movie started, Joss Whedon filmed an introduction to tell the rather remarkable story of how a cancelled TV series became a major motion picture.

Hi, my name is Joss Whedon. Before we begin the special screening, I have a little story I want to tell you. It's about a TV show called Firefly.

Firefly went on the air a few years ago and was instantly hailed by critics as one of the most canceled shows of the year. It was ignored and abandoned and the story should end there, but it doesn't, because the people who made the show and the people who saw the show (which is...roughly...the same number of people) fell in love with it a little bit...too much to let it go, too much to lay down arms when the battle looked pretty much lost. In Hollywood, people like that are called 'unrealistic' ... 'quixotic' ... 'obsessive'.

In my world, they're called 'Browncoats'.

Whether you've watched the show, or saw the DVD's, or whether you've never set foot in the Firefly universe before tonight, the fact that you're here means that you are part of something...something that is a little bit remarkable. This movie should not exist. Failed TV shows don't get made into major motion pictures unless the creator, the cast, and the fans believe beyond reason.

It's what I've felt. It's what I've seen...in the DVD sales, the booths at the cons run by fans, the websites, the fundraisers... all the work the fans have done to help make this movie. It is, in an unprecedented sense, your movie...which means, if it sucks, it's your fault. You let us down, but let's not dwell on your failures because the work is not done.

I have to finish making it. Obviously not quite the final cut and you will notice some placeholders in music and effects, but we're very close. Once we are finished, we have to get people to see it. Now, obviously the studio is going to do their thing. There will be ads and trailers and all that joy, but this movie doesn't have stars and it doesn't have a giant mega-budget or even a simple salable premise. What it has is us, the people who believed unreasonably.

If this movie matters to you, let somebody know. Let everybody know. Make yourselves heard. If you don't like the movie, this is a time for quiet, silent contemplation. But, when the unfinished credits roll, if you still call yourself a Browncoat, remember the millions of people who don't...who might.

I want us to do this together. The cast is going to be appearing wherever they can. I'm going to be blogging and stumping and whatever I can think of. We've got Can'tStopTheSignal.com up and running...I'm fairly certain. We're all doing everything we can to make this the event that it should be.

Just remember, they tried to kill us...they did kill us...and here we are. We have done the impossible, and that makes us mighty. Thank you for helping to get this movie as far as it has gotten.

Welcome to Serenity.

The movie itself? Was hilarious, heartbreaking, tragic, hopeful, terrifying (seriously, it's really scary in parts), moving, with so much action it made the movie title ironic. In a metaphoric way, the story of Firefly, the cancelled show that became a movie, is the plot of Serenity. If you want to catch an advance screening, check the website cantstopthesignal.com, or sign up with the Browncoats. I had high expectations going into the movie, and I was kind of blown away, which I think means it's a pretty damn good movie.

Words, words, words, I'm so sick of words

I think the reporter here asked the wrong question:

GREGORY: But if you're talking about the number of troops necessary, the level of American casualties, the force and intensity of the insurgency. . . did the president mislead the American people about the cost of the war or was he just simply surprised by what happened?

The primary questions that the Downing Street Memos raise are not about the cost of war (although the lack of planning for the post-war environment does come up), but about the case for war. The question I would have asked is whether or not the president mislead the American people and their elected representatives in Congress about the case for war. Let's start there, before we advance to all the other choices this administration made about the war.

ROVE: I would go back to the president's statements over the last several years and I would defy you to find one speech which he talked about Iraq where he doesn't say there would be difficult times ahead, that we had a long road to hope that a great deal of sacrifice was going to be called for by both the American people and by the Iraqis to achieve this goal. Look, we do not underestimate the ferocity and the anger and the viciousness of the people that we face. We are in a war. Some people may treat it as a law enforcement matter and be worried about indictments from the U.S. attorney from the southern district of New York. But we recognize this administration and the American people we are in a war and the only way you have a successful outcome in the war is to aim for a complete and total victory, which is exactly what we're doing.

Really? So what was this all about?

The issue is not what the Bush administration SAYS. Look at what they DO. Their actions reveal how much planning was put into a post-war Iraq - little to none, and all piss-poor. Their actions reveal how they view 9/11 - 3,000 Americans murdered is just an opportunity to pursue their craven foreign policy. Their actions reveal how they feel about the troops - we have soldiers who are asking their parents to buy body armor for them.

I don't want to examine the words of the Bush administration, I want to look at their actions - that's where we see their intentions.



When I was younger, I looked forward to tests. I especially loved those standardized, fill-in-the-bubble types, which generally revealed that I was a genius and could take over the world with my sparkling intelligence that spanned every subject.

(BTW, my skill at standardized tests is #1 on my list of evidence of how standardized tests are a bullshit way to measure whether a students education has been a success.)

As I get older, I find that any sort of test (or audition or performance) is more nervewracking now than it's ever been before. I'm not sure why.

As I was driving to my interview this morning, my stomach was doing gymastics. I almost didn't go, I felt so queasy.

But I went, and I kicked some interviewing ass.

The interviewer asked me about what I could bring to their office, and I started talking about my management style, about how I've successfully implemented big procedural changes while keeping morale high. I talked about successful sales campaigns, incentive programs, the way I've dealt with employees who are performing under par, etc.

And when I was finished, the interviewer went through some of the problems they are experiencing with their customer service department, and, although he didn't say it outright, my skills and knowledge align perfectly with the issues they need to deal with.

I don't know whether I'll get an offer, but I feel great about how the interview went.


Good things that might happen

1. I have a job interview tomorrow morning. The job is at a newspaper, for a position that is definitely higher profile than secretary*, and the office is about 2 miles from my house - close enough for me to ride my bike. I don't know what the benefits are yet, and that will be a big factor in my decision. I don't know what the pay is, either. And I don't know whether or not it's a good place to work. But it might be a good thing, and it might happen.

2. I may have a ticket to see a preview of the movie Serenity tomorrow night. If it happens, I can thank a very nice young lady I met during NaNoWriMo last year.

Sorry I'm kind of quiet today, I'm hellishly busy, and now I need to get my desk organized in case I have to say sayonara to my office!

*Not to denigrate secretaries. I work with 15 people with Master's Degrees who would cease to function at work without their secretaries. I have a lot of respect for secretaries. I'm not really good enough to be a secretary, as a matter of fact.



Loki got a very special* Father's Day present this year. He was looking for Sio, and he walked in on her and her boyfriend making out. I believe the boyfriend's hand may have been under Sio's shirt.

That night, after the boyfriend went home, and Sio was asleep, Loki asked me if I had talked to her about sex.

"Of course!" I said.

"Well what did you tell her?" he asked.

"I told her this: sex is a wonderful thing. It feels good, and there will come a time when you really want to have sex. But women have to be careful, and not just to protect your feelings. There are real negative consequences that can do more than just make you feel heartbroken: unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, for example. Of course, you can use contraception and condoms, but there are failure rates for both of those. You're a living example of contraception failure. So right away, you need to look at the failure rates and decide if the risk is worth it.

So maybe you decide it is worth it. You have to plan to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. The time to make your decision about whether or not you are going to have sex is *before* you are in the throes of passion. You can't go on the pill on Monday and expect to be protected on Tuesday. And frankly, I don't think you should *ever* have sex with a man who makes a stink about wearing a condom. A guy who protests wearing a condom does not respect you enough to be worth the trouble.

My hope is that you will come to me before you decide anything. The decision is yours, but I want to make sure you are safe. My hope is that you will put yourself first - don't defer your dreams for the thrills of sex, don't let it distract you from your goals. My hope is that you will wait until you're an adult, and in a better position to handle the negative consequences should you experience them. But no matter what, you can always, always come talk to me and we will work through everything together."

Loki was a little concerned that my attitude was too permissive, but I had to remind him that this is Sio we're talking about. She has a good head on her shoulders, and she has a long history of making wise choices.

"You just have to trust her to make a good decision about this," I said. "If you want to be the bad guy, go ahead, but that makes it easier for her to ignore your opinions and defy your wishes. You'll be the enemy, and the boyfriend will be the man on her side. Is that how you want it to be?"

"No," he grumbled. "I just wish they didn't have to grow up and deal with men. Men are assholes."

"Not all of them, not all the time," I said.

"Yes, they are, all of them, all the time," he said.

"Let's just go to sleep," I said.

*the same kind of special you feel when the dentist tells you you need a a root canal.


Dudes, Tenacious D is a comedy album

Nevertheless, there are scientists working on tube technology.


Last Day

Today is the last day of school for the minors in our house. Both of my sisters with children are sort of bemoaning summer vacation, because neither of them work over the summer. One is a teacher, one is a lunch lady.

Meanwhile, your hostess the wage slave just got asked one of those questions that can make you* cry: Monkey asked me if I could please take the summer off so we could hang out together. I will have to remember this feeling as I sit through remedial algebra, to trigger a little more motivation to finish my degree in Music Education. I don't think I will complain about the kids being home all day.

Sio has a big huge summer planned: 2 weeks working at camp, trip to London and Greece, possibly a job at a very nice hotel. In addition, she will be going to school over the summer to organize the costume room, and to meet with the Computer Science teacher for a few projects (she's taking AP Computer Science as an independent study next year).

Monkey is going to overnight camp (the same one that Sio will be working at) for 2 weeks, then she'll be at the Parks & Rec day camp for the remainder of the summer.

My mother-in-law is coming for a visit in mid-July, and thankfully I have an excuse to stay at work - I'm saving up my time off for potential hip replacement surgery. MIL is a wingnut. A nice wingnut, as wingnuts go, but a wingnut nonetheless. Because I take good advice, I won't say anything about her husband.

I'll try to go swimming every day at one of the public pools. And I'll take a day off here and there for a day trip to one of the fine beaches of Rhode Island (because it really is not as much fun on the weekend).

And I have my Ben Folds/Rufus Wainwright concert in August.

And - fingers crossed - the end of the Bush era to look forward to.

Added to blogroll

Morgan Spurlock


30 Days

I watched the premiere episode of this new series last night. Created by Morgan Spurlock of Supersize Me fame, it proposes the theory that 30 days experiencing a different kind of life can change your life forever.

Last night, Morgan and his fiancee Alex tried to live on minimum wage for 30 days. And oh, the misty water-colored memories it brought back! Loki and I were actually making more than minimum wage when we got married, but due to the cost of living in Connecticut, I'd say we were doing about as well as Morgan and Alex were in the episode.

We lived in the cheapest apartment we could find that was actually habitable for human beings - it cost $425/month, and we had a lovely view of a graveyard that was a popular place for drug deals to go down. We lived on the 3rd floor, had no shower, only a tub, and we never once turned on the heat while we were there because we couldn't afford it - we just bundled up or snuggled up or walked to the hospital down the road to hang out in the spacious and warm lobby, reading the old magazines.

I was on a message board about the show and I noticed that even while people were sympathetic to the plight of the working poor, there is an attitude that poor people should punish themselves for daring to be poor - similar, in a way, to the attitude expressed by people over at Gilliard's blog about the girl in Aruba, who some seem to think deserve what happened to her because she made some foolish choices.

How should they punish themselves? Let's start with the basics: they certainly should never splurge and eat out - that's just wasteful. Let them eat ramen noodles! They shouldn't be messing around with sex, even if they have birth control - birth control can fail, so it's way too risky - so poor folks, abstinence only until you get a better job! You injured yourself? Suck it up, dude - health care is for people with money.

I realize that people can make bad choices, and depending on the circumstances of your life, one bad choice can be so devastating that you wish you could go back and do it differently. But we only expect poor people to live lives of Spartan perfection. There are people who can live that way and do live that way, and kudos to them. But human beings in general won't do it.

And when you live that way for a while, even when you make good choices, you can find yourself getting knocked down, hard, and it can whittle away at your spirit.
Loki and I scrimped and saved for a car back then (public transportation in CT is not great). We didn't turn on the heat, we ate ramen noodles and only ramen noodles, we didn't leave the apartment, etc. We needed the car to get out to find better jobs - where we were living, there was very limited public transportation, so we had to work at places within walking distance.

So we get the car - we paid $500 for a 1979 Chevy Malibu. I got a job as a certified nurse's aide, which paid $8.00/hr. Loki got a job working in the lab at the hospital, which was a 5 minute walk from the apartment and paid almost $9.00/hr. We were rolling in the money!

But things go wrong with the car, you end up paying over $300 to fix it. You get rolling again, but someone behind you slides into your car, pushing you into the car in front of you, so now you have a car that needs body work, you are at fault for hitting the person in front of you, and then your car insurance goes up.

You start to realize that no matter how careful you are, shit happens. You never get ahead because it costs money to make money. I remember showing up for a job interview in my nicest clothes, including a pair of shoes that I spent $12 precious dollars on. I sat in the waiting room, and I looked at everyone else who was interviewing for the job. I looked like a hobo compared to them, even in my nicest clothes. I did my best, but it was for a bank teller position, and your appearance is important, so I didn't get the job (even though I am an engaging interviewee - when I get an interview, I usually get offered the job.)

I remember suffering through an abcessed tooth, because I didn't have any dental insurance. Eventually, the whole left side of my face swelled up, so I didn't have a choice - even at the grocery store they don't like deformed people manning the cash registers. The electric and the gas didn't get paid that month because I had to spend $120+ to get the tooth pulled, and I suffered through the pain of recovering from the abcess because I didn't have medical insurance and the painkillers would have cost $60 that I didn't have. (And the pain? Worse than childbirth. By a lot.)

Next week's episode doesn't look quite as interesting - I think a couch potato tries to use drugs to improve his physical appearance, kind of meh - but I will be tuning into this show in the future.


Quote of the Month

"Republicans sodomize sheep and drink piss straight from the cock. Straight from the coooock."

-Jon Stewart, presenting a truly offensive statement to contrast with the level of outrage from the Republicans at Howard Dean calling them "White Christians"


Super busy day today, so just a couple of quick little things:

1. I spent a chunk of my morning in a meeting with a bunch of fuel oil, diesel and gasoline vendors. They said they don't know what is happening with the fuel oil market anymore. A few years ago, having a price change a half a cent in a day was excitement. Now they come back from lunch and the prices are up 8 cents. They pointed out that they only make 2 or 3 cents on the gallon, it's the energy traders like Morgan Stanley who are making out like bandits. I think it's pretty amazing to sit around with a bunch of guys in this field and hear them complain about the greedy bastards at the top of the oil chain.

2. Last night I picked up Chris Hedges book, "War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning". Wow, what a beautifully written book, and lots of food for thought. I didn't have any money on me, but I'll be purchasing this one when I get paid this week. I only made it through chapter 2 when they booted us from the store.

3. I was the first person in my family to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and I was already devoted to Firefly before it ever aired even a single episode. Last week, I was supremely pissed because I missed getting tickets to a preview of the Firefly movie, Serenity, which is playing about 3 miles from my house next Thursday. I spent about an hour trying to get tickets only to find they sold out in the first 6 minutes. So you can imagine my jealousy when Sio came home from school yesterday with a ticket to see the preview. One of her friends bought 14 tickets, and Sio got one of them. But she didn't get one for her dear mother, who sacrificed 9 months of food because I was so sick when I was pregnant with her, who went through labor and delivery without so much as an aspirin, lest the painkillers interfere even one iota with my precious child, who gives her everything she wants (that we can afford). Nope. No Serenity for me.


Perfect, as usual

Of course, I'm talking about Digby. Someone get that man a New York Times column!


Liberal Pie Fight

Okay, I'm sure you know all about the pie fight over at Kos. Various bloggers have been weighing in on it. I just read Steve Gilliard's post about it.

Just for the record, I could not give less of a shit about the pie fight ad. I don't even notice the ads on most of the blogs I visit. I understand that some people find the ad offensive. I don't think the ad warrants enough attention to be offensive, but I certainly understand those who feel otherwise.

But the vitriol directed towards those who are offended by the ad has been eye-opening. Demeaning, condescending, obnoxious, belittling comments have been directed towards those who were bothered by the ad. And it's been expanded towards anyone who dares to stand up and say that the issue's that matter to woman are important, perhaps too important to be sidelined.

So let me move from the pie fight to the abortion issue. Kos wrote today that he thinks abortion is horrible. He is pissed at NARAL and is really not happy with voters who favor a single issue. I hear what he's saying, and I understand, from an electoral perspective, that his opinion has value.

But I have a uterus. I have two daughters, too. I understand how at campaign time, it might not be bad to talk about the issue of privacy rather than about pro-choice, but it feels much more urgent when you are actually in possession of the body parts that are on the table for discussion of compromise. There is no equivalent imposition on men (unless of course there is a draft). Of course this is an issue that is going to be more resonant and personal to some of us.

So here I am, a woman, a mother, a loyal Democratic voter, and I'm telling my party: I want a Democratic majority, and I want the soldiers to come home, I want a sane foreign policy, I want equal rights for all people, I want all Americans to have health care, I want a clean environment, I want to cut down our dependence on oil, I want NCLB to die in favor of a less ignorant education policy *and* I want to have autonomy over my own body. I don't see how any of those things can be sidelined, or put down as not *as* important. If the Democratic party doesn't stand up for those things, then I'll try to find a party that will.

I really believe the key to electoral victory lies in taking a stand. I've said it before. Look at the shit that the Republicans stand up for: polluting factories, mercury in the water, corruption in the boardroom, torture, creating classes of people with fewer rights than others, let the rich get richer, screw the poor. It's all complete shit, and they proudly smile and serve it up like it was apple pie a la mode. And they win. Maybe the Democrats can learn something from them - not how to be more like them, because that would be retarded, but how to stand up for the things you believe in. The Democrats (the voters, I mean) believe in a lot of good stuff, why run away from it?

All this pie stuff has also revealed how much a lot of the big bloggers hate it when women stand up for themselves. They really hate it when we tap them on the shoulder and say "you're full of shit, dude." So they tell us that what we are saying isn't really important, that we're being selfish, or bizarre, or that our arguments have no merit. And that's fine - if you want to disagree with me, and tell me so, I'm a big girl, and I can stand up for myself. Maybe you will even convince me. But you won't do it by hurling insults and attacks, and insinuating that I'm a humorless bitch. I'm really not.


Things are happening

I just have to throw out a huge thanks for the efforts of After Downing Street, the Big Brass Alliance, and Shakespeare's Sister. The Downing Street Memo is starting to get some attention, and new information has come out in the Times that implicates the Bush and Blair administrations in ginning up a phony case for war.

What a disgusting way to treat the men and women who volunteer to sign up to defend the country. Yeah, yeah, I'm not crying any tears for Saddam Hussein, I certainly wouldn't want him as the leader of my country. He seems like the kind of guy who might make up reasons to attack other nations, for example. He's also the kind of guy who thinks torture is an acceptable way to gather information.

I think a big chunk of the reason why they wanted to do this was to bolster their legacies. For Bush, I think it was primarily personal - he wanted to do something bigger and better than daddy. For Blair, I suspect his intentions were more along the lines of being the man who paved the road to peace in the Middle East. But essentially, these men sent over 1700 Americans, I'm not sure how many Brits (last count I could find was from 2003), and countless Iraqi civilians to their deaths to glorify themselves in history.

Meanwhile, the actual guy who attacked us on September 11, 2001 is still roaming around somewhere. Or dead. Hey, who cares about him, anyway?

Winding down

Insanely busy week has come to a close.

Yesterday Loki and I got out of work early to watch the 1st & 2nd grade talent show. Monkey did an awesome rendition of the National Anthem and got a standing ovation. I managed to keep all the rowdy second graders in line backstage, and the show went off without a hitch.

Yesterday night, Sio and I sang in our Gilbert & Sullivan Pops concert, which went much better than it really had a right to. Our choir director is usually on top of everything, but this concert was surprisingly slapped together - we got one piece of music as the audience was filing into their seats! My solos were big hits, particularly my turn as the Fairy Queen in the segment we did on Iolanthe. Got lots of compliments after the show.

My favorite song was Sio's duet on "I Have a Song to Sing, O" - she did a beautiful job both with the singing and acting.

Tonight, Sio is at the senior prom with her boyfriend. They both looked gorgeous. Loki and I were talking after they left, about Sio's boyfriends. Her first boyfriend was very formal, a very nice kid, and one I strongly suspect has a "coming out" party somewhere in his future. The new boyfriend is very quiet, seems like a nice kid, and I would say extremely unlikely to be even a little gay. He has a blog (which I won't link to because I'm not supposed to know about the blog), and he writes a lot about Sio -- very sweet stuff, though, nothing that would make a mother too upset.

I met his mom tonight, and she mentioned that she married the boy she went with to the senior prom. I suspect she's angling to have Sio for a daughter-in-law someday.


But remember, these meetings were BEFORE we went to the UN

Raw Story is reporting that one of the questions asked at yesterday's joint press conference has been changed, and there is video to prove it.

But I'm stumped by Blair's defense:

Q Thank you, sir. On Iraq, the so-called Downing Street memo from July 2002 says intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy of removing Saddam through military action. Is this an accurate reflection of what happened? Could both of you respond?

PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: Well, I can respond to that very easily. No, the facts were not being fixed in any shape or form at all. And let me remind you that that memorandum was written before we then went to the United Nations.

Emphasis mine.

Can someone explain how this is a defense? Blair is stating that this memo, which says that the U.S. was fixing intelligence and facts around the policy of removing Saddam Hussein from power via military action, was written before they went to the United Nations....where they continued making what we now know was a deceptive case for war, fighting against weapons inspectors, etc. So is it really a defense to point out that they were planning to do this before they went to the U.N.? Help me out here, what am I missing?


The kids are all right

I may have mentioned that this is a busy week in the LW household. We have a concert, a CPR training session, a prom, and one event that I was really looking forward to, the 1st & 2nd grade talent show. But instead of watching the show from the audience, I will be hearing it from backstage, because I volunteered to help out.

I had a lot of fun with the kids, though. I was a real hard-ass about their volume and behavior backstage, but I made them all laugh, too. And I'm pretty impressed with the variety of talents - in addition to singing and dancing, we have a mime, several magicians (including a Houdini escape artist who escapes from handcuffs), a couple of wannabe stand-up comics (which is something that terrifies me, as much as I'd love to do it), and one girl who is dressing like an elf and *gargling* "Jingle Bells" (which is just awesome, though I'm saying this as a woman who juggled while singing "50 Nifty United States" at her senior year talent show*, so perhaps there is no accounting for taste.)

Whenever I volunteer at school, I always feel my inner control freak wanting to take over, particularly since I tend to volunteer for arts/stage productions, a universe in which I feel quite confident. I managed to only take over a little bit today, and it worked out really well - I didn't step on anyone's toes or take on more than I can reasonably chew.

And now I'm going to try something novel, going to bed - I've been an insomniac all week.

*Can you believe I didn't win?


I must be an idiot

Because I haven't put The Heretik on my daily "to read" list.

I shall amend that starting now.

Blogswarm 6 June 2005

Curiouser and curiouser.

Kudos to Newsday for this article - I particularly like the second paragraph:

A former Bolton deputy says the U.S. undersecretary of state felt Jose Bustani "had to go," particularly because the Brazilian was trying to send chemical weapons inspectors to Baghdad. That might have helped defuse the crisis over alleged Iraqi weapons and undermined a U.S. rationale for war.

Bushco wanted this war and rigged the game so they could have it. It's that simple.


We're good

John at Upon Further Review has tagged me with another little questionnaire, and so I'm answering it, and then we're even steven.

Total volume of music files on my computer -- there is very little music on my computer. I think there are some songs from The Electric Company and some funky Christmas carols, and that's it. I don't even know how those ended up on there, although I must have had something to do with The Electric Company ones, because I loved that show. I have never knowingly downloaded a song, I'm so old fashioned, I even still use my turntable regularly. But not for rap, just for regular listening.

The last CD I bought -- Ben Folds 'Songs for Silverman'

Song I'm listening to right now -- Today, I listened to the above CD, but Gilbert and fucking Sullivan is what's running through my mind right now, curse those operetta writing bastards.

Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me-- Drown in my Own Tears by Aretha Franklin, With Karate I Kick Your Ass by Tenacious D, Tunnel of Love by Bruce Springsteen, Caterpillar Girl by The Cure, and Still Fighting It by Ben Folds.

I pass it on to Shakespeare's Sis (surely she is loafing around, with nothing to do), The Fixer (now that I know he's a regular reader), and The Chemist.


Good parents

So I got to thinking about those parents who operate from the starting position that their child is perfect. Their perfect children piss rainbows and shit gold nuggets. When their children are disciplined at school, the parents come to the principal's office with their lawyers*, to defend their flawless spawn.

We all know what happens to those children. They turn into monsters. They come to believe that they are perfect, and that they can do no wrong. Everything they do is justified, because they are the ones who did it.

I think that relates to this great nation of ours. The so-called patriots on the right who think any criticism of United States policy is "blaming America first" are the parents who refuse to correct their children when they do wrong. As I've been reading the defenses of Richard Nixon in the wake of the Deep Throat revelation, the parents of perfection are coming out in force, to defend their lying, stealing, criminal child.

True patriots are good parents - they take their stewardship of this democracy seriously, and work to correct the nation when it's on the wrong path.

So forget the authoritarian parent vs. the nurturant parent frames. Bad parents let their kids get away with stuff they should be disciplined for. Good parents recognize when their child needs to be corrected, and they do so - lovingly, but firmly.

Liberals are good parents. People who believe "America, right or wrong" are essentially telling us they don't care. I care, and that's one of the reasons why I'm a liberal.

*one of the guys I sing with is a principal. It happens more often then you might think.


It's Oh So Quiet

If it seems kind of quiet on Laughing Wild in the next week or so, it's because our real life is going to be crazy busy. In the next week, we have 2 birthday parties, SATs, several meetings at work, singing at church, rehearsal for fucking Gilbert & Sullivan (listening to lots of G&S probably violates the Geneva Conventions - the music bores into your brain and you cannot rid yourself of it), dentist appointments (not for me, thank goodness), ophthalmologist appointments, shopping for a costume for the Gilbert & Sullivan concert, the Gilbert & Sullivan concert itself (after which I will be rid of them hopefully forever!), second grade talent show rehearsal and the show itself (Monkey is singing the national anthem and playing Ode to Joy on the piano), trucking Sio out to camp for CPR training, trucking her back with 1 hour to get ready for the prom, the prom itself, Performing Arts awards at the high school, and of course, all that is on top of all the regular day to day things you need to do, like eating, sleeping, walking the dog, doing the laundry and working at our despised jobs.

And on top of all of that, our one and only car is acting up. It is hesitating at lower speeds. What I really don't need right now is a huge car repair bill. (And from our perspective, anything more than $300.00 qualifies as huge.)


Downing Street Memo
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George W Bush
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Iraq war
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At last - cat blogging

At last - cat blogging
Originally uploaded by maurinsky.
Here is our male cat, Casmir, actively engaged in his second most favorite activity. His very favorite activity is very similar, only with a human trapped underneath him.


My spawn is better than your spawn - or maurinsky kills a metaphor, and beats it while it lies dead on the ground

Over at Pandagon, Amanda has a post up commenting on John Tierney's continuing discussing of competition; specifically, how women aren't as competitive as men.

My own theory is that women are *more* competitive than men, but they hate losing so much that they will often opt out of competition rather than risk losing. Although I may be extrapolating too much from my personal feelings about winning & losing.

As I child, I hated losing - at anything - so much that I was not above cheating to win. More than once, I upended a game board when it was clear that I was going to be defeated. I was a big time sore loser.

I learned how to lose graciously when I played team sports - particularly softball. It was easier, of course, because the whole game wasn't in my hands - when we lost, I didn't have the shoulder the full blame.

(And through all of it, I was always a gracious winner - I never gloated or taunted the losers, although I will do it now when I'm playing a game with one of my brothers-in-law, just for laughs.)

Anyway, my evidence for the competitive nature of women comes from my experience in Motherhood Competition, East Coast division.

There are many divisions, of course. From the moment you are pregnant, you can participate in the "Pukiest Pregnancy"*, "Gained Most" or "Gained Least" competitions.

When the baby is born, there are competitions for "Lightest" and "Heaviest", "Most Hair", "Cutest", "Ugliest", "Longest", "Shortest", "Funniest Shaped Head". There are sub-divisions for "Longest Breastfeeder" - a very cut-throat competition - when you drop out, you will be accused of negligence and child abuse.

Things heat up in the Toddler Division: "Earliest Walker", "First to be Potty Trained", "Most Words". There is an elite group of moms that compete for their children to be the youngest baby to do everything. I suspect a lot of them shave months of their childrens age when they report in.

It doesn't stop at school, either, although the track is much different and the competition very subtle. You might not realize that volunteering to chair a carnival for the PTA will not actually move your standing any - people will still look at the way your child dresses and snicker about your attempts to move up in the Motherhood Stakes.

Most moms I've met seem to lose their zest for competing when their kids hit high school. You suddenly realize that while you signed up for a sprint, it's really a marathon, and the finish line is so far away, and the requirements for winning seem so fuzzy and ill-defined, and the child you've been proudly displaying like a show horse is really not interested in competing on your behalf - you just realize it's not worth it.

Some moms keep it up forever. We hate those moms.