piranha: red origami crane (Default)
white paper birch bark, with a bit of it peeling back to reveal the layer below which is an orangey tan


the crud has mostly departed now, though a bit still lingers in my nose.


the US senate advanced the healthcare bill to the floor, 60:39, dems and independents allowing it to go to debate, repubs united against it, one of them absent. mitch mcconnell: YOU LIE.


i am spectacularly disorganized today. don't want to make a list because that will overhwelm me. maybe i just knit -- i started knitting up my grey handspun shetland. i am inordinately proud of it; it really is a big deal for me to be knitting my very own yarn. also, it knits up better than i expected, being that it's so uneven (between DK and bulky); it looks loveably rustic, *heh*.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
single yellow grape leaf with brown spots hanging from grapevine with empty stalks, in front of faded and cracked brick red wooden siding

bright colours are getting very rare now. we're under a deluge, and everything is dubdued. i rather like it, except that i don't really like to be outside for long when it is pouring.


the crud will not completely leave; it's moving back into my sinuses. it just seems intent on staying the standard 14 days, even if it's just hanging on by a thin thread of phlegm.


dear sarah palin. thank you for describing yourself so aptly:

rogue (\ˈrōg\)
n.
1. An unprincipled, deceitful, and unreliable person; a scoundrel or rascal.
2. One who is playfully mischievous; a scamp.
3. A wandering beggar; a vagrant.
4. A vicious and solitary animal, especially an elephant that has separated itself from its herd.
5. An organism, especially a plant, that shows an undesirable variation from a standard.

adj.
1. Vicious and solitary. Used of an animal, especially an elephant.
2. Large, destructive, and anomalous or unpredictable: a rogue wave; a rogue tornado.
3. Operating outside normal or desirable controls: "How could a single rogue trader bring down an otherwise profitable and well-regarded institution?" (Saul Hansell).

v. rogued, rogu·ing, rogues

v.tr.
1. To defraud.
2. To remove (diseased or abnormal specimens) from a group of plants of the same variety.

v.intr.
To remove diseased or abnormal plants.
[Origin unknown.]


The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009.

so, it's pretty much never anything GOOD.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
Canadian authorities are asking a court to rule that Canada's 19th-century anti-polygamy law — which provides five years in prison for polygamy or for living in a polygamous-like household or relationship, or for attending a group-marriage-like ceremony — is legal and enforceable today.

The long-forgotten law criminalizes most of today's poly households in Canada. In response, organizers of the Vancouver polyamory group VanPoly are seeking Canadian polyamorists to file written affadavits, and/or speak at an upcoming hearing, on whether the law should be enforced or struck down as a violation of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


call for action and background information.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
apparently GM is set to start repaying government loans this december, and be done repaying 4 years ahead of schedule.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
i learned something new today. washington DC has as part of its legal code a provision that prohibits any referendum that would have the effect of authorizing discrimination against DC residents on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender.

that is awesome.

and fortunate. because the forces of bigotry, hiding behind another "marriage initiative", are busy trying to work against same-sex mariage in DC, since there is clear movement towards recognizing it in the district.

the arguments are... i know i said i'll try to no longer use words like "stupid" as an insult, but what else is it if a christian quotes pontius pilate: "let the people decide". good grief! does this person not know what those people voted on? "stupid" doesn't even cover it.

read this report from a hearing in DC; the unintentional irony can be shoveled with gigantic trowels. what can you say to such people? they don't even know their own religion, their own history, the meaning of words they use:

Another woman patiently explained to me that the 60-odd people who testified against equal rights for gay people [...] did not hate gay people. They just feared gay people, she said. They were not homophobic.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
those of us who have it hate it! or not. instead we seem to actually be fairly realistic about its benefits and shortcomings.

canadians overwhelmingly support universal health care; think obama is on right track in US. (pdf from nanos research.)

The survey found that nine in ten Canadians support universal health care (90% support or somewhat support), and seven out of ten Canadians believe that President Barack Obama is on the right track with respect to health care in the US (71%). Results were consistent across regions.

When asked what they believed was the key strength of the current Canadian health care system, six in ten said, unprompted, it was accessibility and universality (61%). The key weakness identified, unprompted, was wait times (33%), a more than two-to-one margin over the next most cited weakness - a shortage of doctors and nurses (14%).

When asked to look south of the border to the US, the majority of Canadians felt that President Obama was on the right track when it came to making changes to the health care system in the United States (71%) with only seven percent saying he was on the wrong track. One in five were unsure (21%). Quebecers were comparatively more likely to say Obama was on the right track (82%), followed by Ontarians (74% right track).


i should add that the wait times are for non-urgent care problems. the paramour's mother waited too long (in my book) for a hip replacement. but when i had life-threatening high blood pressure and tachycardia, i was immediately seen at the ER, ushered past a waiting room with other people. i've also always been able to see my GP when i needed to. and all that costs a mere C$54/month for british columbians (and if you can't afford that there is help); nobody is dependent on an employer offering health insurance and spousal/dependent benefits; if you lose your job in a bad economy, you don't also lose your health care (i find that incredibly frightening).

having lived under both type of systems, i greatly prefer universal, single-payer health care. and i don't at all mind paying taxes to support such care for people who have less than i do. i like living in a society that cares about all its members, whether they're currently fortunate and able-bodied or not.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
closeup of burgundy foliage of plum tree with rain drops hanging from every place a raindrop could hang

civil rights should not be put to a popular vote. i'm supposed to become more conservative as i grow older, but it's not happening. i see less and less in today's conservative movements that is the least attractive to me; heck, i am not seeing much to recommend in liberals when they are in power either anymore. they're better than conservatives, sure, but still so far from what i'd consider actually good. i might well end up an anarchist, *sigh*. when i was in college, i thought anarchists were too cynical...

i'm looking at you, maine. WTF, you voted FOR pot and against gay marriage? what are you smoking there?

at least washington state seems on the right path, though they're not done counting yet.

and hurrah for kalamazoo, michigan, for passing ordinance 1856, prohibiting discrimination against glbt persons in housing, employment and public accommodations. 62 to 38%!

it just bothers me to no end that so many people in the US are perfectly willing to deny others the same rights they enjoy. i can't be calm about it anymore; it is so very wrong.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
ACTA = Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

we need a global DMCA like we need a hole in the head. we also don't need to make ISPs responsible for their users' copyright violations, and for sure we don't need service providers to proactively police for them -- that'll just about close down sites like youtube and flickr; nevermind blogger, livejournal, and dreamwidth.

dear white house: transparency? you promised, didn't you?

what's with the freaking secrecy about the copyright treaty then? how is this in any way a national security issue?

or are you just trying to hide what an execrable piece of shite this is for anyone but the RIAA, MPAA and large corporations jealously guarding their copyright way beyond what copyright law was ever intended to do? anti-counterfeiting? where are china and russia in these talks? no, this is instead pushing copyright even further than you've already pushed it.

- michael geist has info on ACTA.
- IDG news service has some more.
- so does numerama (in french)
-
the EFF chimes in.
- and lawfont in australia.
- needless to say, cory doctorow is unhappy.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
too much politics. not good for my mental health. if only i could easily sort the stuff that will energize me from the stuff that will suck it out. i can do that on dkos for the most part because i know the participants. but links to various other places are apt to set me off frothing at the unsubstantiated rumour mill that gets het up over total bullshit.

*GAAAAAAH*!

more 538, less huffpo, and fewer random leftie journals. more matt taibbi. why is there not more matt taibbi? *sigh*.

and i need to learn to hit back on my browser as soon as i see something that's bound to piss me off the longer i contemplate it.
piranha: hate is not a family value,rainbow-coloured (anti-shrubwads)
i watched the whole thing on CSPAN (thank you CSPAN, btw, for regularly being the best source for information, unfiltered and undistorted by talking heads who're all too often not thinking heads).

now, i don't really think much of marches, unless they can bring incredible numbers, and this one was unlikely to do that. but i think now that i was wrong. i had forgotten the incredible energy a good rally that connects you with many like-minded people can provide, and that energy goes back home with you, and provides you with more oomph to continue the fight.

there were some really excellent speeches, and i wrote down a lot of quotes from people who impressed me specifically. see them here )

what struck me most poignantly is the contrast between this rally and the teaparty event last month. for one, this was an incredibly racially diverse crowd, not just whites. and these people have suffered throughout their lives tremendously more than the teapartiers; they have every reason to be seriously pissed off -- and yet the rally wasn't filled with hatred; the signs weren't crude, insulting, nor disgusting; the atmosphere was positive, focussed on working together despite the obstacles.

if "by their fruits you shall know them" it was pretty obvious to me whose fruit is spoiled and rotted, and whose is wholesome.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
rant #1: on obama getting the nobel peace prize.

oh yeah, i was surprised. my first impulse was that it was too early, that he hadn't done much yet, that he was still involved in two wars, still shooting missiles into pakistan. but then i started thinking about prior nobel awards, and about what he _had_ done so far.

the nobel prize is sometimes awarded for potential, for making the right moves towards peace in a way that could really change the world if they succeeded. when awarded for that, it's an award to draw attention to those moves, to give support and encouragement. rabin and arafat were awarded a nobel for their moves towards recognizing each other's right to exist. kissinger was awarded a nobel for trying to get out of vietnam. they certainly didn't get it for what they had done with their lives previously, for their general peacefulness. and neither went as far as one might have hoped. but giving the awards was important at the time. and anyone who screams that the award has been tainted by giving it to obama needs to do some fsucking research.

the furor from republican mouth pieces about obama's win was sadly only to be expected. apparently if obama does it, it's ok to side with hamas and the taliban in one's criticism. the party of "no" is becoming increasingly anti-american. i thought after the election things would calm down, but instead they're becoming worse and worse -- and my own reaction to republicans is becoming worse as well. i don't want to read anyone anymore who throws their lot in with people who're this unhinged; it gives me stomach cramps (i am not kidding; the pure hatred that comes from followers of limbaugh and beck makes me ill, and worries me sick). every time i see obama in the trending topics on twitter i expect that he has been assassinated by somebody whipped into a murderous frenzy by those people.

but what's also ridiculous is all this yammering by others about how he doesn't "deserve" it. and "what has he done?". can those people not read? the nobel committee said why they gave it to him.

obama is getting this award because he's the man with the right vision for a more peaceful world at the right time in the right place. it's an encouragement for his politics of dignity. if one know nothing of the world one won't see that, but outside of the US obama has a huge amount of credibility, and has single-handedly turned the view of the US around from being a scary, warmongering imperialist into something civilized again. i can think of other people who'd deserve the nobel peace prize for what they have done, yes. but i can't think of anyone who'd deserve it as encouragement for what they CAN do better than obama. he's not the messiah (*rolls eyes*), but he's a pivotal character at a critical time.

the nobel peace prize for obama is meant to be a call to world-wide positive action in the areas of nuclear disarmament, climate control, easing of tensions between religious groups. here's hoping it bears some fruit.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
the minnesota supreme court decided against norm coleman, and he's now actually conceded.

i've heard it argued (in the context of politics) that for liberals hypocrisy is the greatest sin, while for {religious} conservatives belief in the right values is more important, even if one occasionally fails at upholding them (because humans are imperfect sinners who are bound to fail at times).

as a broad generalization, i am inclined to believe that conservatives tell themselves that, and i have taken it under consideration when analyzing political events. but frankly, i think looking closely at actual cases makes them often hypocritical even under their own rules for behaviour.

it does make sense in certain situations -- a religious conservative who believes that homosexuality is deeply wrong will rail against it, and vote against it, but might succumb to the temptation if he has homosexual urges, and will afterwards profusely apologize for his failure -- and be forgiven by many of his constituents. rinse, lather, repeat (though usually much more quietly).

while an outright gay liberal will never be forgiven by those people, even if he lives in a monogamous relationship and never cheats -- because he holds the "wrong" belief that being gay and acting on it is acceptable.

what doesn't fit with this model are examples of conservaties being forgiving of conservatives who do bad act X and apologize, but not of {religious} liberals who do bad act X and apologize. edwards boo, sanford yay. how come?

or norm coleman, who argued at the end of the election that al franken should concede for the good of the voters -- but who didn't concede himself when the totals looks favourable for al franken, and instead dragged the whole thing out all the way to the minnesota supreme court (who decided for al franken just today). coleman deprived minnesota of a senator for 6 months, while he originally asked franken to consider the voters of minnesota. first he wasn't in favour of counting every legitimate vote, then he was in favour of counting even illegitimate votes if it would get him ahead.

coleman is just an example of this (and he's of a different religion); but i have oodles of them (and with christians). how is that sort of thing not hypocrisy first and foremost? coleman seems to very clearly have different rules for himself and his opponent, not one set of rules for everyone which he occasionally fails too.

and in how far does expected failure and forgiveness-when-apologizing drive continued failure? sanford promised his wife fidelity, and failed. when she found out, he promised her again, and failed again. how often can one repeat that cycle before realizing one needs to change something in a fundamental way? psychologically this strikes me as insane impractical and foolish decisionmaking.

i actually wanted to go elsewhere with this noodling, but it'll have to wait until i've had some food with which to feed my neurons.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
trying to make me sorry i left, eh? :)

france is becoming the first country to no longer pathologize transsexuals.

if only the american psychiatric association would get its collective head out of its collective ass.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
progress marches on in new england. the bill passed relatively smoothly through the legislature, but conservative groups are arming for a ballot initiative in november's elections.

governor baldacci was previously opposed to same-sex marriage, but said his own views evolved over time:

"I did not come to this decision lightly or in haste. I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage."

matthew daly has some very good thoughts on why this is actually better than california and new york leading the way.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
arlen specter switched parties.

"As the Republican Party has moved farther and farther to the right, I have found myself increasingly at odds with the Republican philosophy and more in line with the philosophy of the Democratic Party."

i care less about the 60 seats than i care about the psychological effects, because IMO 60 seats don't safely convey a filibuster-proof majority. senators do not always vote the party line, moderates on both sides move to the other side on many important issues. but it will be a psychological stick in the eye, and that's worth something. it might also make it a bit harder for the GOP to lean on their most moderate members, such as olympia snowe.

this is what happens if you totally fuck up your party by letting amoral arseholes like limbaugh set the tone, and by playing more and more to your socially conservative base; you lose your moderate members.

please keep doing that. make it into a death spiral. long-term the 2-party system in the US needs to be replaced to more adequately represent a broader number of voters.
piranha: hate is not a family value,rainbow-coloured (anti-shrubwads)
for becoming the 4th US state to legalize same-sex marriage. there is a part of the new law that makes me somewhat uncomfortable -- not only religious institutions are exempted from having to perform services for same-sex couples, but also religiously motivated groups (like the knights of columbus can refuse to rent same-sex couples their hall for the reception). on the positive side, neither general vendors (caterers, florists) nor justices of the peace may do so, and if religious organizations accept state funds they will be required to adhere to the terms as well.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
by now i imagine everyone has seen the republican budget plan, and i don't think there is anything new i can say. besides, i am still sorta speechless.

but i decided it needed some presentational pizazz to make it more appropriate, a bit more dazzle to cover up the bullshit; a more suitable font, for one, and...


maybe i should throw in a vampire?
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
byebye, shrubwad. hope to see you in court.

now to see which of the atrocious laws and regulations of the bush era can and will be rolled back or successfully repealed. i'm not exactly hopeful in that regard. but i am breathing a little easier today.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
and here i thought there would be a little political peace on the north american home front.

then came blagojevich's press conference.

imagine a huge ASCII-art OMG here.

have you seen this? you must. this marries chutzpah with incompetence in a rarely seen display, and for good measure it comes with some nutty prayer sprinkled on top. for all i know burris is innocent as the white-driven snow, but he made himself look corrupt just by the way he handled this press conference, and completely avoided legitimate questions.

part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBStRU2QRqo
part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFFJwwQx5Z0

and wow, congressman rush. that wasn't just the race card, that was an entire race deck.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
seems like harper is looking to bail out the big 3 automakers here in canada. man, that must make his little, stony, "the free market is god" heart go into arrythmia.

what's with the $6 billion price tag for that bailout? they're asking for $14 billion in the US, and our car-manufacturing sector is what, 1/10th of that of the US? hello! and say, what's the plan? what will we get for those $6 billion? anyone?

also, parliament is prorogued. GM claims it's going bankrupt even as we speak, within days. how is this going to get done?

i can smell a huge deficit coming our way. ah, conservative governments.

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