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I'm feeling really disillusioned and a bit despairing this morning. Part of it is reading the news and following, even loosely, politics, particularly American politics. Part of it is the ongoing conversation with my cousin. It's like the conversation with my cousin is the microcosm of the macrocosm that is the news. Basically, people are stupid. People don't think. I'm pretty stupid and don't think in many areas of my life, so I'm not off the hook. My only saving grace is that I can think critically. I'm certainly no less judgmental than most, and maybe only a tad bit more compassionate, but this is a relatively recent development.

I am winding down the conversation with cousin. There's only so much a person can say. If a person doesn't have sound reasoning skills what can you do? And it's way too much work to read through his atrociously written responses. I am disappointed. Because my cousin is a Nice Guy, and I always liked him. But really, he's a sexist. Of course, he doesn't think he is, but he is. He doesn't see the consequences of his lines of reason. He has no excuse, either. It makes me think I'll never make it as a university professor. How do those of you who teach handle it? Do you cling to those students who are brilliant and/or really really try? I'm afraid my low bullshit tolerance will cause me to be rude and demeaning to the idiots. Teaching singing seems sooooo much easier.

I don't think that my cousin is all that unique. I think a lot of people are like him. For a variety of reasons. I recognize that I have a considerable position of privilege that I can sit around and study to such an advanced degree and challenge the status quo. There are a lot of people who have to work longer hours than I do, who have various other circumstances that prevent the navel-gazing I spend much of my time doing. But I also know that it's uncomfortable to challenge the status quo. The powers that be offer us tastes of power and privilege in hopes that we won't challenge them any further. I find this glaringly obvious in feminist politics (and I don't mean political politics only). If I am officially Sexy then I'll go a hell of lot further than if I am not. Sarah Palin is a great example of this.

And then there's just plain ol' politics. Not that I ever thought Obama was the second coming, but I am officially over his administration. We had loads of hope in the beginning, but I've seen no change at all. Just standard Democrat politics. And the recent hoo-ha over the Sherrod firing is disgusting. Instead of really discussing race, it was knee-jerk political correctness. I am no longer convinced that America as a nation can have a debate about anything. It is nothing but sound bites, sensationalism, and status quo rhethoric. Fox News and their hosts are the worst of the worst. I am embarrassed that those entertainers get airspace called 'news' and I am appalled that millions of people (some of them I know to be very nice!) consider that actual reasoning and debate. Where did our critical thinking skills go?? And the 'liberal' media is only a teeny-tiny fraction better. Their bias is veiled but its there. And most people don't seem to worry about this. Most people will eat up anything that's delivered from 'on high'.

I'm tired of xenophobia masquerading as patriotism. Britain, though more moderate than the US in many ways, definitely has its share of racist xenophobes running around. If I hear any more 'mosque at ground zero' nonsense I think I'll hurt some one. (It's not a mosque, it's not at ground zero.) I'm tired of people who don't question the justice system and assume that because 'justice' is in the title it is, actually, just. Basically, I don't think I can handle the masses anymore. Even though I'm getting a little bored here in bucolic west Wales, maybe I can just convince my thinking, creative friends to come join me in a commune?

I'm ready for the anarcho-feminist revolution now. Thanks.

(But not all is lost. It's not raining this morning and I found out this morning, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] bravenewcentury that Avatar:the Last Airbender is getting a series sequel. I will die of the squee and of anticipation. Gotta focus on the little things. Also, my son is deadly cute, and deadly whingey this morning, and covered in corn flakes.)
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I've been having a long and interesting discussion about religion with a distant cousin. I make no claims to have any of the answers, though I do spend damn near all my waking hours engaged in religious thinking in some capacity or another. What's KILLING me is his inability to reason, while all the time trying to convince me that he's too logical and I'm too emotional. Now, I am very emotional: I get passionate, yes, sir. But in my engagement with him I've been very even handed, perhaps too even. But his refusal to understand that in the world of religion X *and* Y need to be considered not incompatible Truths but simultaneous truths, has me coming off as emotional to him. It's not out of some namby-pamby love-fest that I say this. It's because after practicing and studying religions and spending time with people who believe differently than I do, to assume that only Jesus is THE God is to basically tell 4.5 billion other people to fuck off and die. It's not saying Jesus is MY God, but Jesus is THE God. I know the vast majority of Christians don't see it that way, but that's how it is.

I have spend considerable time in Jewish communities and developing friendships with both cultural and religious Jews (which doesn't make me an expert, merely informed to some degree), I have never ever had a Jew tell me that their God was THE God and boy I'd be a lot better off if I argreed. If I want to join their party, many would welcome me (many would not, since I'm not ethnically Jewish), but the Jewish people are content to worship their god and go on their merry way. They don't need to convince the rest of the world of their religious superiority. I would love to know if the Jewish world sees their God as THE God, or merely as THEIR God - that's a huge difference.

I'm really fed up with the mainstream idea that logic means there can only be one big-T Truth. I fear that modern Western schooling has ruined the brains of generations who were taught to find Right Answers - there can be only One! - rather than to develop arguments and think critically. Unless you are in the hard sciences, there is rarely One Answer. I think this is why academics are stereotyped as elitists: because it's very difficult to talk with people for whom there is only One Right Answer. If I had to talk with people like my cousin (who's a Nice Guy) regularly I think my head would explode. This is why people like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin give America/politics/conservatives/Christianity such a bad name, because they don't reason. At all. Cuz reasoning and arguing is some Lefty Agenda out to confuse the Average Joe. Of course it confuses the Average Joe - because they went to school where there was only one right answer!! (Excuse me while I go stab out my eyes in the corner.)

I'm starting to wonder if there isn't some religious causation here. In the Protestant Christian world (which makes up the vast majority of America) there is one sacred text - the Bible. It is entirely correct. It is The Right Answer. Everything must be squared with it. There is One God. The Bible says X, so X it is. There is no tradition of critical engagement. No tradition of wrestling or questioning. No understanding that the Bible is a sacred text that grew up in certain times and places and is relevant to certain people. One billion Hindus grew up in a different time, place and culture with different sacred texts? Well, fuck them. They're Wrong. How mind-bogglingly ignorant and arrogant is it that?? Oh, says my cousin, truth is truth. Gahhhhh! Religion is not a hard science! The same rules do not apply as when we determine, say, that the earth rotates around sun.

I wonder too if perhaps (stereotypically) more Jews go into academia because of their tradition with engaging with texts. The Jewish tradition has a long and rich tradition of arguing and engaging with their sacred texts and teachers - Midrash and Talmud come immediately to mind. Perhaps there is less of a need for One Right Answer, and therefore the world of academia, where it's not about Right Answers but more about better and worse arguments, comes more naturally?*

I don't know. All I know right now is that mainstream reasoning seems to be dying a slow, disgraced death. Many people considered themselves religiously well educated if they made it through 5 years of Sunday school. It makes me want to hide under the bed and weep. Or just hole up with other people who can think, like the elitist I am.

*[livejournal.com profile] hraffntinna and [livejournal.com profile] msmidge please smack me upside the head if I'm full of shit.
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I’m a little dismayed at how my last post (immigration and food politics) was derailed by the topic of abortion. However, all the big issues are intertwined and I’m sure we could find a link between abortion, food politics and immigration if we tried. All the comments, as well as another thread elsewhere, and my ‘at home’ reading got me thinking again about when ‘life begins.’

Two years ago I spent two days discussing abortion with tenth grade boys in a Catholic high school in California. It was a great experience – for everyone I think. I was 5 months pregnant at the time. In my preparation for the presentation I came across many differing ideas about when life begins. I think the discourse around this needs to be changed from ‘life’ to ‘personhood’, because we are not debating life, we are debating what makes a clump of cells – indisputably alive! - a sentient human entity. If life is what the abortion debate is about then the life of dividing cells, the life of a person-shaped squidlet with spine, eyes, heart and brain clump, is given a lot of weight and other creatures with similar characteristics need to be given the same consideration. This means no animal testing of any kind – rats and monkeys are easily more advanced beings than a fetus at 12 or 20 weeks gestation. This means that eating meat is murder of advanced forms of life. There are many anti-abortion* advocates who are vegetarians, but as a whole the movement needs to address the fact that what we are debating is personhood.

Personhood is more than about whether or not something is alive. Cancer cells are ‘alive,’ mosquitos are alive, that spider you squashed is alive, that chicken is alive. We are talking about placing a priority on human sentience. Now sentience is more than intelligence because I am not suggesting in any way, shape or form that the less intelligent, the developmentally disabled, the infirm, the insane, etc are less than human. So what exactly does being human mean? I would like to see the anti-abortion advocates address this issue. Is it potential for human life? In that case, male masturbation, female menstruation, birth control methods, and any sex that is not intended to procreate are hindering the potential for human life. (Hey! That’s the Roman Catholic position! At least they are consistent.) What about miscarriages? Approximately 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage – often women just experience a heavier period, not knowing that the egg had in fact been fertilized. What do we say to those women?** ‘Potential’ is such a tricky word.

Personhood is about more than ability or potential. Whatever definition of personhood we choose says something about what we believe about humanity and its/our role in the greater picture. Many theologians who delve into this issue of personhood (theological anthropology – an area I love) talk about dignity, particularly the Catholic theologians. I think this is also a murky word. If Catholics and Evangelical and other forms of Protestants (though, again, not all) believe that life begins at conception (a belief that is enabled by modern science!) what do others believe?

Muslims (broadly, as with any large group there are bound to be many exceptions) tend to see personhood as beginning at the first sign of quickening (the first movement felt by the mother). According to David Abrams in The Spell of the Sensuous, Australian Aboriginal cultures believe that the spirit of the baby is inserted into the womb at the first quickening as well. What’s interesting is that this is usually between the 4th and 5th month of pregnancy – after the risk of miscarriage, once pregnancy has firmly taken root. This makes so much sense to me. Some Jewish traditions do not consider the baby a person until its head is outside the womb. Until that moment it has the potential (that word again!) for personhood but isn’t considered a full member of humanity until it is born.

This makes sense in a less scientific world, with less advanced medical care. So why shouldn’t we advance our standards with science? Because I don’t think our lived human experience aligns with that of science. So we can now see a baby-shaped squidlet at 8 weeks. I admit, seeing that is deeply mysterious and profound. But it is a disembodied experience: my mostly still flat belly is rubbed around with a cold instrument (or at this early stage a desexualized dildo is inserted) that produces a blurry black and white digital image. But I still can’t feel the baby. It is still experientially abstract. Our brains know, but our lived experience doesn’t. Women still miscarry – something that is considered shameful. The older I get the more I realize how many women have miscarried and how few of them speak about it. Obviously there is something shameful about this experience if we cannot speak openly about it and comfort one another.


*I have just decided to quit using the term pro-life because I think it is a misnomer. The issue isn’t life – it’s personhood. Most ‘pro-life’ advocates eat meat and are in favor of the death penalty, both of these would fall under ‘against life’ in my logic. ‘Anti-abortion’ states clearly what the group is about. Pro-choice however is more an accurate fit as it indicates that this group is in favor of… choice. I personally would never choose to abort and I feel that I share some of the reasons and emotions of the anti-abortionists, but I believe very strongly in defending this choice.

**I would be really really sad if I thought I was pregnant and miscarried. Those who are trying to have a baby are (usually) saddened no matter when the miscarriage occurs – 3 weeks or 13 weeks. But miscarriages happen for all sorts of reasons, usually ones that do in fact support life. I firmly believe that life wants to perpetuate itself so if a pregnancy miscarries there is most likely a very good natural reason for it.
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I've been asked my thoughts on the Arizona immigration law. It's impressive how well informed people are about US news. Of course, after living in the US my standards for informed people are pretty low. I have to say that I don't know much about it. [livejournal.com profile] snowcalla is basically my only source at this point! And the Daily Show. Hee. I figure the Economist will clue me in next week too. It's hard to get too worked up about it, even though I think it's a terrible law. But, of course, I do have some opinions!

Firstly, I'm wary of spouting off on Arizona. I think this law is a reaction to specific issues in the state. I have always been wary of people spouting off about Alaska and it's issues, including opening ANWR and wolf culling. Most people get all worked up, but don't really understand the complexities of the issues. (And do not get me started on the idea of 'untouched wilderness.') So I'm going to ignore Arizona, since I don't know anything about it.

Secondly, and I'm not defending the law, mind, but if the US as a whole won't deal with the issue of immigration, then I guess the citizens of Arizona have to take the lead. Even if Congress start debating this issue I can't see any real change occurring. It will be like health care - a start. But as we've seen, even though everyone will get health care, but it's still at the mercy of the insurance business and the medical-industrial complex. I see the same thing happening in immigration issues: band-aid beginnings. Unless the US is willing to pay the REAL COST of food corporate farms, producers, meat packers, restaurants, etc will continue to hire (and in many cases BUS IN) illegal immigrants to do the work that US citizens refuse to do for such low pay in such abysmal conditions. Are you willing to pick produce in the California sun for less than a dollar a boxful? Yeah, I didn't think so. And are you willing to pay $9 for strawberries? Or $11/lb for sustainably raised, ethically slaughtered, grass fed beef? No? Then chances are good you won't want to pay that much for feedlot fed, mechanically slaughtered meat when US citizens are working the cattle yard.

My liberal compatriots in the United States are all up in arms over this Arizona bill - and my conservative friends want stricter enforcement - but if they/we are serious about creating immigration reform then we've got to look at the much bigger and more uncomfortable picture.
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Thank you all to those who responded. Please feel free to add your opinions/knowledge.

All of you gave me really interesting, smart perspectives on this. Nobody is satisfied with this bill (as far as I can tell) but many are split on whether or not it's worth it to pass such a flawed bill.

The cons for me: it doesn't address all the issues that are important to me, health care is still in the hands of huge insurance companies leaving care basically a for profit industry, health care costs will rise for the middle class, people should not be penalized if they choose to go with out health insurance.

The pros: Pumping breast milk is legal no matter where you work, no one can be denied for pre-existing conditions, more lower income people will have access to insurance, but the most important pro for me is that it's a start. A humble and problematic one, but a start.

I think many of the details will continue to be contested, as they should be. I hope that in a generation or two there will be health care in the US that the majority of people will be proud of and happy to have. I really wish that the US wasn't so skeptical of all things socialist, because the NHS system in the UK is really blowing my mind. It's not perfect, and if you're wealthy you do have access to other private forms of care, but my basic health care needs are FREE and accessible.
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I admit to not following closely (read: barely at all) the health care debates. Since coming to Wales I have been more than enlightened by what real nationalized health care can look like. Lo, I have seen the light and never want to return to insurance policy madness, which will still occur in the US despite this bill that is making its way through legislation. My immediate feeling is, well, we've got to start somewhere; the system as it is isn't getting it done.

I'm quite frustrated with the internet in general since only the loudest jackasses seem to make headlines. Therefore, dear LJ friends, I turn to you. You have many and varied political stances. Please link or opinion spam me. What do you think of this bill and why? Do not link me to anything too overtly biased - just like I refuse to read stories of 'Teabaggers' shouting racist slurs, I will not read about conservative politicians comparing this legislation to fascism/communism/etc, which is a grave insult to people who actually do live/have lived under those kinds of regimes.

Go.
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What the hell is going on the US? Wasn't the Obama administration supposed to usher in a new era of political engagement, responsibility, transparency and hope? I expected nothing under Bush and was deeply dissatisfied by his policies. I didn't expect Obama to be the second (or even third, fourth or fifth) coming of the Messiah, but, frankly, it's like a gigantic clusterfuck over there. The Brown election in Massachusetts is a great example - two bland candidates. The Democrat self-satisfied and wussy, the Republican too glossy for his own good, auctioning off his daughters in public. Gah. I need some mouthwash to get the nasty taste out of my mouth.

Health care is a disaster, pleasing no one. Obama is trying to be all things to all people. The Democrats remain spineless, the Republicans remain way off course (moral ills ARE NOT America's biggest problems). And now the US Supreme Court just granted individual rights to corporations. WHAT THE FUCK?! I look forward to posts from several of you who are more savvy in this arena than I am. But, really, what little I've read doesn't bode well. It's a huge set back for campaign finance reform and for the public's best interests in general.

I'm thoroughly dismayed this morning. I don't know if I'm happy or troubled to be living abroad at this time and out of the loop.

Wow

Jan. 12th, 2010 06:28 pm
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Another great day. I'm beginning to feel the ebb and flow of energy and blockage in our life, personally, in my relationship with Adam, and in our larger life. I don't understand it, but it's good information. I worked for 4.5 hours straight today, reading and writing. I ate delicious, healthy meals and even got in 20 minutes of yoga this morning. I've had great snuggle time with B. Adam has work. The snow is coming down thick and wild. Praise be for it all.

And this: a great article from a conservative point of view, in fact, from the council for the case against Prop 8, on why gay marriage should be allowed. It is clear, succinct and right on. The queer, radical feminist in me has thoughts about this, essentially negating marriage altogether, but for the moment, those thoughts are irrelevant. If you have qualms about gay marriage, and I know some of my friends out there do, please read this really excellent article.

Dinner is ready. .... and my back just seized up. Uh-oh.
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We live under a rock. With our internet time so public and infrequent, we hardly check the news. Today I see (thanks to Facebook status updates, at least they're good for something!) that Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize. Really?! That seems absurd to me. And NASA is crashing shit on the moon. I used to be a news junkie, but it feels good getting a media break.


Things I love about Lampeter:
*Lace curtains - Most houses have two sets of curtains, one set of lace and one other heavier set. The lace are always drawn. They let light in and you can see out, but it's very hard to see in. The curtains make even a rundown place look just a little classier. Very nice.

*I live next to a cemetery. Have I said that? The biggest cemetery in town is my immediate neighbor. So cool. Our house also is beloved by spiders. This too is really neat. Inside, outside, all different kinds. None of them are very big (well, a few outside are fat) and none are poisonous. I love it. It seems a good omen, if for nothing else than for the environment, indicating a rich biosphere.

*Again, the grass fed meat and dairy are amazing.

*This place is so small that I can leave my house 5 minutes before I have to be somewhere and I can walk there and be on time.

*When I walk to my office I pass a large field that has two pony paddocks and four ponies. At the bottom of the hill, next to the paddocks, is a large childrens'/picnic park with a gorsedd (standing stone circle) that modern Welsh Druids built. It's really beautiful.

*Autumn has fully set in. I've been meaning to comment on it for two weeks, but in the last few days the temperature has dropped and the mornings have been frosty. It's so gorgeous here: greens, greys, golds.

*I love the culture of tea here. The Chinese students in the offices meet for tea every morning at 10.30. I love going over to people's houses and being offered tea. 'I'll go and put the kettle on.' So cozy and hospitable!

*The local public library is wonderful. One librarian in particular is a doll. I mentioned that there is a book coming out at the end of the month, the third in a young adult trilogy (Nancy Farmer's Sea of Trolls trilogy) and was the library going to carry it? No, but she said she'd order it for me.... and well, we can't have the third if the library doesn't have the first two, right?

*The grey streak in the front of my hair is growing daily. It's fabulous. Although I actually got carded at the store when I bought a bottle of wine last week. They card if they think you look under 25. !! That hasn't happened to me in a long time....

--------
Books I have read:
*Every single Sookie Stackhouse book and short story.
*The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - so good!
*The Little Stranger - Sarah Waters' latest. Ok.
*The Little Prince - how is this a classic? It's banal.

------
Also, I don't know what the Heavens want from us, but clearly it's to go bankrupt. Our internet is scheduled to click on next Friday. What arrived in the mail this morning? A notice from the power company that next Friday the area will need maintenance and power will be off all day. I just had to laugh out loud.

Ask LJ

Sep. 1st, 2009 06:09 pm
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We are in the midst of packing. The heat (and all the AC to combat it) is taking a toll on me. Stress, excitement, poor self care, it's all adding up. Bennett remains amazing and brings joy to every single day.

What I'd like to write about: books, breastfeeding, food, etc.

But I have a question for you: Do you think email petitions - where the text is the same and you just add your name - does anything? Do you think a personal letter (either email or paper) is more effective? Thoughts?
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This is a brilliant editorial on Sarah Palin, the Republican Party, and the media. Basically, it's that Sarah Palin is a fraud and is promoting lies about "values" and Conservatism. Written from a Republican point of view. I completely agree with this piece. Let's stop deluding ourselves. Middle class is not working class, ignorant and undereducated is not "real people," party line is not parties need.

Like mud

Jul. 7th, 2009 09:44 am
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I am slow like mud. Inert. Thick. Stuck.

Sarah Palin is, of course, all over Facebook. This is unsurprising given the high number of Alaskans I know. I can't believe any one will ever take her seriously for the presidential race in 2012. I mean, what happens when Russia resists her? Or the press takes issue with her? Or her ratings drop? SHE'S JUST GOING TO QUIT. She says she doesn't need a title to effect change for Alaska. Well, it's not about HER, it's about ALASKA. And yes, actually, being Governor can effect quite a lot of change. If it's not about a title, I don't want to see her run for anything ever again. Ignorant, narcissistic, selfish woman.

Today is my 2nd wedding anniversary with Adam. To celebrate we are taking our books to Moe's, our cds to Amoeba, his clothes to Goodwill, and money to the bank.

Time to go attend to a poopy diaper.
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I just finished watching the two part interview with Mike Huckabee on The Daily Show. While I don't want him to be president and I don't quite agree with the way he framed his perspective on pro-life, I have to say that I really love Gov. Huckabee. No really, I do. I think he is thoughtful, articulate, patient, slow to inflame and has a great sense of humor. While no new ground was covered in this interview (which was all about pro-life), it's a great example that not all pro-lifers or Public Christians or politicians or Republicans etc etc are nutjobs.

Mike Huckabee can come have dinner at my house any day of the week.


....and Bennett just dumped out a box of matches. Whee!

Dr. Tiller

Jun. 2nd, 2009 08:16 pm
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I'm having a hard time with Dr. Tiller's murder. I have missed it on the news cycles, thankfully, but it is all over the internet. Having built and birthed my own child I am more sensitive to this issue than I was 2 years ago. I have heard from thoughtful, though dogmatic, individuals that a person cannot be both pro-life and pro-choice, but I think these politicized terms are a false dichotomy. I claim both. Maybe out of a desire to piss off each side. I hate the abortion debate with the power of a thousand white hot suns. It in no way addresses the issues at hand. Yes, abortion is killing the unborn. But an eight week old fetus is not the same entity as a 29 week baby. If you mourn the passing of a first trimester fetus, then I think you ought to be vegetarian. Squid are more intelligent than a fetus. If it's the potential for human life you are concerned for, then why aren't you doing more to support the lives that exist here and now? Approximately 25% of all pregnancies spontaneously miscarry in the first trimester. Are these women murderers or culpable in some way?

And yet, I would weep if one of my close friends chose to abort. I have had a good friend, pregnant, wonder if she should keep her baby, and I have talked with Adam about offering to adopt the baby if she would consent to carry it to term.

Abortion sucks. It is something that I wish no woman ever had to choose. Sure, there are some stupid women out there who are careless and use it as birth control. Sure. But I'll take them as collateral damage to protect the rights of women who are raped, who have no health insurance and are told their child will have severe disabilities, whose partners are abusive and know that her home is no place for a child, who are starting out in life and are partnerless, who didn't have access to birth control to begin with.

There are plenty of professions I don't agree with, plenty of individuals whose morals and choices disgust me. Do I think they deserve to die? No, I do not. Those who rejoice in Dr. Tiller's murder are misguided and cruel. They are as cruel as the man they claimed deserve to die.

ETA: Because of the murder issue, I am coming down hard on the "pro-life" side of things, but I also am not a fan of the "pro-choice" side of politics. When NOW or other sorts of "feminist" organizations start branching out and doing more for women's health in general then perhaps I'll be inclined to give them money. Women's health includes more than just the right to abort. It includes advocating for pre- and post-natal care for women, it involves pressing for the rights of midwives and homebirth, it involves working for access to birth control and education. Etcetera.
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Facebook has exploded with all kinds of nonsense since the California Supreme Court handed down their decision regarding Prop 8 - they upheld it, so that means no more gay marriages.

I feel like such a curmudgeon, but GAH. I will not sign stupid internet proclamations like "One Million for Marriage" or "Repeal 2010". At this point, I am bored and frustrated with California's system of initiatives and court battles. There is no legitimate reason to keep gay people from getting married. Argue as you wish, but no. Your reason? Not a good one. But California's political system is a gigantic ball of FAIL. It warrants its own post, I think. So much time and money gets wasted with the initiative system.

What I REALLY want to hear people talking about is to separate marriage entirely from the government. Civil unions for all! Want to legally partner with someone? Civil union. Want a spouse? Civil union. Are you a spinster who wants to legally partner with your sister? Civil union. Three men want to legally bind together? Civil union. Want your religious community to recognize your union as a marriage? Then go to your church/synagogue/temple/etc. Let spiritual communities decide the marriage and let the government decide unions.

I think it is weird and legally hazy that in order to officiate the wedding of my two non-religious friends I have to get ordained. How stupid is that! And the state doesn't care how I'm ordained - it's important enough to have an ordination, but I can sign up through an internet Universal Life "Church" and voila! Legally binding! What hypocritical nonsense.

GAH. This curmudgeon is off to make tea and stomp around her apartment.
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I am a little sad to have missed Obama's first State of the Union address. I chose to go to yoga instead. This was definitely the winning choice. And I've yet to read a transcript or reviews, but I ask you: those of you who watched it or listened to it, what are your thoughts? Any one listen to Bobby Jindal's response?
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Praise Song for the Day, by Elizabeth Alexander )

When I heard it live I deliberately held my judgment in check, for I am a notorious poetry hater. Not that I hate poetry, but that I think most is crap. I didn't think that Ms. Alexander did a very good job of reading her poem. But at the end I decided that I liked it. I also thought it had a very pagan feel to it. I don't know anything about her spiritual leanings. Any one else get a pagan flavor from it?
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No Gays for a Day

If only I worked on Fridays. And I don't really go out much anyway. But - spread the word folks!
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I really want to like Palin. I do. I want to support women in politics. I want to support the Alaskan. But I also see some of myself in her. She loves Alaska, as do I. She's bossy, speaks her mind, and is used to getting her own way. Me too. She's a big fish from a small pond. I'd be a liar if I said that isn't one of the appealing things about living in Alaska.

But I just can't get behind her. She's not smart (in terms of studying and learnin' and whatnot) and isn't curious about the world around her. She's an opportunist - and I think this is one of her most unappealing qualities. While I support taking opportunities as they come, she seems to have sold out her former allies and burnt bridges to get to each next step.

Every time I see footage of her I want to like her. I think the Republican party has completely used her. A taste of her own medicine? I really hope she doesn't run for national office in the future. But I'm pretty certain she will.
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If this is what being conservative means, I might sign up. This article amuses me. Who knew I'd enjoy reading the Weekly Standard?

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