No Ordinary Princess

...anything but ordinary...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

US or Them?

I read about this in my Philly Inquirer over "brunch" this afternoon and almost spit my coffee all over the newsprint. Here's the whole AP story from

My favorite part was the first few paragraphs (in all honesty, I couldn't read the whole thing...I was eating after all):

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP) -- Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Tuesday accused critics of the Bush administration's Iraq and counterterrorism policies of lacking the courage to fight terror.

In unusually explicit terms, Rumsfeld portrayed the administration's critics as suffering from "moral and intellectual confusion" about what threatens the nation's security.

Addressing several thousand veterans at the American Legion's national convention, Rumsfeld recited what he called the lessons of history, including the failed efforts to appease the Adolf Hitler regime in the 1930s.

"I recount this history because once again we face the same kind of challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism" he said. he talking about Iran or the US?

tags: bitchy / facism / Rumsfeld / US politics

TGW Did it Again!

Tennessee Guerilla Women did it for me again...gave me a great topic to pass on. This piece by egalia led me to the full text of the article she referenced in The Nation about George "Macaca Man" Allen, incumbant Senatorial candidte.

If you live in Virginia, please consider carefully, come November, how you want your commonwealth to be represented for the next six years. Is a racist/white supremicist really the person you want acting in your stead in the Senate? Supposedly on your behalf.

This man is not simply a bewildered good ol' boy. This man believes in the supremecy of the white race and of the southern Confederacy. They were cheated, damn it!

But, aww, hell. Maybe we should just lop the country in half lengthwise and let them have the damned place. Too damned muggy anyway, though New Orleans would be missed. Or maybe the northern states could just merge with Canada. I wouldn't mind paying courtesies to my 'queen.' We could rebuild 'N'Awlans' somewhere in Ontario. That ought to go over well, though Mardi Gras might be a little different.

tags: assholes (that's got to be a valid tag!) / bitchy / racism / US politics / Virginia ploitics

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

"See Dick Run..."

Via the Tennessee Guerilla Women, one of my favorite online sources, I found this in The American Prospect, by way of a detour at We Move to Canada. It's an article by Robert Kuttner about who really runs the country...the current male resident of the White House or Dick Cheney. We Move to Canada reportedly has excellent resources for any who are seriously considering the switch. It's prudent, I think, to bookmark the site, just in case. You never know.

It's frightening when you add all these things up...this article, the connections between Cheney and Halliburton, the oil baron connections, the video I found on thefreeslave a few weeks ago featuring the impassioned, enraged plea of a mother who lost her child on 9/11. It all fits.

So why is the mainstream media so averse to looking more closely at Cheney? Why don't we read about these things in places other than left wing sites on the web? I just don't get it. What happened to the days when journalists salivated like Pavlov's dog at the prospect of a Watergate-esque story. Here it is, lying just beneath the surface and it's overlooked like a legless homeless man.

Once an objective media is gone, is there really any hope left for democracy in America?

tags: conspiracy theory / media / US politics

My Mixed Feelings about OTC Plan B

I'm very glad Plan B was approved for over-the-counter distribution for women 18 and older. I think many women can make these decisions themselves and don't need the permission of a physician to decide whether she'd like to take action to prevent the possibility of a pregnancy following assault or contraceptive failure.

I have concerns, though. I'm concerned that many pharmacists don't feel the same obligation to serve women in these circumstances as most ER physicians I've worked with. Consequently, women may face steeper barriers at the pharmacy in obtaining Plan B.

I'm also concerned that women will not have an open opportunity to talk with a health care professional about what circumstances led her to seek emergency contraception.

When a young woman presents to my triage area seeking emergency contraception, I immediately want to know why. Not because I'm looking for lurid details but because I want to ensure the woman is safe. I am able to look into her eyes and ask the most important question, "Are you okay?"

I want to know that someone who's been sexually assaulted has resources upon which to draw. I want a representative from WAR to be with her if she wants that. (I'm saying "her" because the majority of victims of sexual assault are women and we're talking about emergency contraception here, not because I deny the sexual assault of men.) I want to be able to help her get into emergency shelter if she needs it. I want to help her begin to deal with issues of abuse and low self-esteem, if she's ready. I want to know that she's got a safe place to go, family or friends to provide emotional support and phone numbers in case she needs to contact an agency or health care/mental health professional.

Will there be someone there to ask that question? Will there be someone there who cares enough to help?

Plan B is a victory, yes. But let's not lose sight of some other things that are important for the health and autonomy of women in this country. Let's all ask the questions that need to be asked.

tags: autonomy / emergency contraception / feminism / health care / nursing / Plan B / sexual assault / women

Monday, August 28, 2006

Rene Descartes

Rene Descartes walks into a bar, sits down and orders a beer.

A little later, the barkeep approaches and inquires, "Want another beer, Mac?"

Descartes replies, "I think not,"

And, immediately, disappears.

(Shamelessly stolen from yesterday's broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion.)

tag: humor (and attempts thereat)

Talk of the Nation, Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tomorrow's broadcast of Talk of the Nation is going to focus on race and Hurricane Katrina. It's on at 2PM on my local NPR station. I plan to be there, should be interesting. You can check out when it's being broadcast in your area at the Talk of the Nation site.

tags: Hurricane Katrina / life / NPR / racism

"Just Friends"

Debra Haffner, of Sexuality and Religion, has a great post today on the term "just friends." Here's a snippet:
I shared though that we can take back the term "just friends" if we understand that “just” comes from “justice”, right relations. “Just friends” love and nurture each other. “Just friends” listen to each other, sit with each other, and offer each other unconditional regard. “Just friends” show up. “Just friends” tell you the truth when no one else will, but always with kindness and compassion.
It's an excerpt from the Sunday sermon at her church, the Unitarian Church of Westboro. Transcripts of the sermon will be available on the church's website in a few days, if you'd like to read the whole thing.

Yes, I wish I had some more of those kinds of "Just Friends."

tags: friendship / humanism / life

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Will somebody, please,...

...teach BlogRolling how to alphabetize properly so I don't have to enter links as, "Secret Brain, The," in order to get them in their proper place? Sheesh! I'm not a frigging libriarian!

tags: bitchy / blogging / blogroll / proper-fucking-English

Compassionate Redneck Redux

I found a comment somewhere in the blogosphere last night from someone who claims to be "Princess's Secret Admirer," or some such nonsense, which links...ta da, here. As a result, I felt the need to add a few disclaimers...
  • I live in eastern Pennsylvania and have no real interest in Texas politics, aside from the sideshow factor. You've got to admit, this race is a hoot from a distance.
  • I live in eastern Pennsylvania and have no real knowledge of Texas politics. I've got enough of my own problems right here at home.
  • If Jesse "The Body" Ventura can be elected governor of the state of Minnesota (by the way, Minnesota is, I think, where I'd like to make my next roadtrip), why the hell shouldn't a secular Jewish, singing cowboy, redneck, comedian, author, see-gar-puffing Independent run for the top spot in the great state of Texas?
  • I really know very little about Kinky's stances on the issues. As I said above, I have enough pressing problems right here in PA to occupy my political interest and time.
  • For all I know Kinky Friedman could be a "bomb-all-the-brown-folks, destroy-the-environment-for-a-profit, build-a-big-stupid-fence, money-is-the-true-god, rob-from-the-poor, give-to-the-rich, fuck-with-the-womenfolk, grab-all-the-power" right-wing asshole. In other words, a typical Texas politician, if recent history is to be believed. I don't care because it doesn't really matter to me...I live in eastern Pennsylvania and have my own issues to deal with.
  • My posts about Kinky have been for his novelty factor and nothing more. If you want serious commentary on the Texas gubernatorial race, you'll have to look elsewhere. And you'll have to find that link yourself. As I said, I live in eastern Pennsylvania where we have our own asses, erm, axes to grind.
I apologize to my secret admirer. Damn, first time in my life I get a secret crush and I have to go burst their bubble, huh?

**No Ordinary Princess (TM) does not endorse any candidate in the 2006 Texas gubernatorial race. However, No Ordinary Princess (TM) is intrigued by the race and by Kinky Friedman in particular. All commentary about the race on this site should be considered bullshit, unless otherwise specified.**

Kinky Friedman for Governor?

Why the hell not?

tags: bitchy / blogging / humor / Pennsylvania politics / Texas politics / US politics

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Compassionate Redneck

I tell ya, I love this candidate! I don't care whether he's Republican, Democrat, conservative, liberal, libertarian, green or Commie. I just want to pull that lever for Kinky!

Kinky is Awesome dropped by recently and read my Kinky Friedman post. He/She pointed me in the direction of several sites and articles about Kinky that I hadn't seen. Thought you might like going there, too.

Kinky is strongly disavowing himself of any liberal bent, proudly pointing out that he voted for Bush/Cheney in 2004. Hey, we all make mistakes. Some interpret the fact that Kinky only voted once in the past 12 years as apathy or disinterest. Kinky explains it otherwise:
"Quite often, I did not like my choices," Friedman was quoted as saying in Friday's Dallas Morning News. "If God wanted us to vote, he'd give us a choice. This time, God has given us a choice."
God has given Texas Kinky. At least here is a candidate who doesn't shy away from or try to hide his God complex. That is certainly refreshing in American politics.

He has developed a friendship with GWB and believes Bush has been "handling that well" when asked about Bush's policies in the Middle East. So, we'll have to agree to disagree on that one. He's got a fairly radical plan for controlling illegal immigration along Texas' border but, hey, his Five Mexican Generals plan is no more radical (or idiotic) than erecting a physical fence all along the US's southern border.

He wants to reinstitute non-denominational prayer in Texas' schools (I could live with a period of silent reflection at the beginning of each school day) and restore the Ten Commandments to the hallowed halls of secondary education in the Lone Star State (I'm not so sure about that one).

I can understand Kinky pandering to a conservative majority in Texas. Hey, do what you've got to do, Cowboy. He's also claimed his political incorrectness:
"That's the problem with politicians; they don't want to offend anybody. In so doing, though, they offend all of us." Friedman later questioned any conflict between cracking wise and delivering a message voters weigh seriously. "I'm not a politician," he said. "I'm a compassionate redneck; relate to me different than these guys or you won't get accurate results."
I may not agree with everything he's got to say but I sure as hell respect him for having the balls to say it. It's about time we stopped being afraid of our own shadows here in America, folks. Do you believe strongly in something? Then say so. wise politicians will claim what they are while allowing room for inclusion of others and the courage and openess to listen to and consider another view. What a concept.

Hey, he likes windmills, so he can't be all bad though, if he's a redneck, I have to wonder if he kills birds.

tags: bitchy / humor / life / Texas politics / US politics

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Sadie, In Heaven

Thought you might like to see my sweet pooch, happy as the day is long all spread out over my feet. I swear she would crawl inside me if she could!

Pay no attention to the dirt on the carpet, please. Bitching makes for a busy lifestyle.

"Dull women have immaculate houses."

tags: bitchy / dogs / life

Site Stats Fun

I just looked through my site stats and found a couple of the most interesting scenarios played out:

One person, some poor trudge law clerk burning the midnight oil no doubt, presented from a US Court in DC through a Google search for:
boggs "sixth circuit" detroit
That brought him or her to a recent post on the District Judge's denial of the NSA domestic spying program. This reader exited to Pinko Feminist Hellcat's site.

The very next hit was from somewhere in Texas (I know, doesn't narrow it down much) and came here looking for
"cunt positive" and "betty dodson"
on Google. That brought them to any number of posts here from May (National Masturbation Month, remember? Have you been practicing for next year?). This kind reader left my site to go check out the Employment Non-Discrimination Act information at the Human Rights Campaign.

God, I love the internet!

tags: blogging / humor / life / smart is sexy

My Kind of Candidate

Meet Richard S. "Kinky" Friedman, who is running for governor of the great state of Texas.

I can't recall just how I happened upon Kinky. I swear it wasn't a Google search gone awry. I already know where the kinky sites are that I like.

Is this a candidate name with a limitless bounty of campaign possibilities or what? "Don't vote for [insert name of sex-hating right-winger here]! Go Kinky, instead!"

Why the hell not, indeed? If you need convincing, check out this pdf for Ten (presumably good?) Reasons to Vote for Kinky. If nothing else, vote for that massive cigar (see-gar).

How refreshing to discover a candidate who can say, frankly, "It's all screwed up now so what the hell have you got to lose?" I wish we could find a few national candidates capable of such candor. They might even get my vote.

I've looked over what (little) Kinky has to say about the issues. Things may be big in Texas but apparently detailed discussion of political issues isn't one of them, if Kinky's site is any example. I guess no one can match the guilt, angst and political intensity of those of us who grew up between Boston and the Beltway. We want to know it all. We want to believe we're smart. We are desperate to be "informed." Consequently, we are far too snooty to appreciate the simple pleasures of such a campaign. Maybe we stuck-up Northeasterners could learn a thing or two from Texans, after all, hmmm?

If I lived in Texas, I'd sure be pulling Kinky's lever come November, whether he stood on "the right side" of the issues or not (which he does, btw [Okay, on closer inspection, maybe he doesn't quite meet my criteria for someone I could endorse based on the issues. He's still a hell of a lot of fun to watch. He can't be all bad...he likes alternative energy!]). I'd do it for its WTF factor alone. A Jew in Texas making a kinky, Independent pitch for governor. You've just gotta love American politics.

(Psssst...some of the pictures are linked.)

tags: bitchy / fun / humor / kink / life / US politics

Monday, August 21, 2006

Right-Wing New York Times

Egalia, of Tennessee Guerilla Women, pointed me in the direction of this hilarious mock-up to be found at The Huffington Post. Want to know what the right-wing sees when they read the front page of the NYT? Go see for yourself.

(Egalia credits Avedon Carol of The Sideshow for pointing it out to her.)

tags: bitchy / blogging / humor / US politics

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Post I've Been Avoiding

Most of you probably know I lost my dad in March. I've written more about it on my old, now-unused blog, MadMom and Mutt, if you want to read about it a bit. Check the February and March archives. Hell, check out April, too, if you want. Just no snickering...that was my first foray into public blogging!

It was a tough time for me and a difficult process. We didn't have much time to get used to it, really. Less than a year prior, Dad was only beginning to complain of feeling seriously short of breath on exertion. He was still robust enough to tinker around the house, go to the shore house most weekends, travel, etc. until July of 2005. He was on home oxygen for only nine or ten months before he died. He had a procedure done late last July which drained 2 liters of fluid from the space surrounding his right lung...the pathology came back showing no evidence of cancer. Dad's recovery from that relatively minor procedure was terribly slow and no one could understand why.

It wasn't until 10 weeks before his death that we had a definitive diagnosis of mesothelioma, the "asbestos cancer." He was only under hospice care for 11 days following cessation of chemotherapy. Only eleven days of resigning ourselves to having no more hope. A week and a half to say all our good-byes, to forgive all the old sins and slights, to heal decades of old wounds. It was not enough time, not nearly enough to get used to the idea of living in a world without Dad.

Over the course of the spring, I discovered a wonderful blogger named Liz from Granny Gets a Vibrator. Liz is 52 and fabulous! She's the woman I wanna be someday. She's mother to two (okay, so I'm not having another kid to be like her) amazing, talented, feeling, gorgeous, self-confident grown sons; arty as the day is long; has impeccable taste and great hair! I'd French-kiss a slug to be one tenth as cool as Liz!

Was it really less than a month ago that Liz posted about some upcoming diagnostic tests for the nagging cough and dyspnea she'd been experiencing for a while? Asthma, right? Sure. 52 isn't too old to get asthma. Or some freaky form of COPD which will affect healthy, middle-aged, athletic, regularly-exercising, healthy food-eating women who never smoked. Yeah. That's the ticket. Not bad news, God. Not bad. Have a heart.

Liz doesn't have a definitive diagnosis yet. She's still in that initial investigatory phase, getting tests, biopsies, seeing specialists who are trying to figure out just what this is that is making her breathing so damned difficult while raising a massive tumor behind her mediastinum.

It's not easy to read Liz now. There are too many similarities to a pain that is still so fresh. The parallels are too great. But, read her I do. How can I stay away? She's so fresh and honest, so intuitive and open, so energetic and optimistic, so real. How could I not read her now?

In 1984, my 19 year-old sister was struck by a car and killed. A few days later, as my mom and I were out shopping for the funeral, we witnessed a woman get hit by a car. It was nothing like my sister's event. This car was going very slow and had braked hard when the woman walked in front of it. She seemed to be unaware of walking into traffic. Turns out she had diabetes and probably was not aware of much when she walked into the street.

I made a deal with God. Okay, you took my sister. Let this woman live instead. I'll forgive you for taking Lisa if you let this one, who was also hit by a car, live in her place. The woman, whose name escapes me now, lived for a few weeks but ultimately succumbed to her other, chronic illnesses and their complications.

About a month after Lisa died, I began taking care of a 19 year-old girl with a rare form of ovarian cancer. Back in those days, women used to stay overnight on a unit like mine for their chemotherapy so we all got to know Joanne quite well over the next several months. Joanne was a challenging patient. She was a pampered child whose parents thought the sun and moon rose around her. She might have been an only child, I can't recall. She couldn't accept the things that were happening to her body. She cried and cried over her hair loss, her nausea, her pain. Once again, I bartered with God...let this 19 year-old live to make up for taking my beloved 19 year-old sister.

No deal, said God. Joanne died in the spring of 1985, about 6 months after my sister. I don't think she had any idea that she was really dying until the very end.

So now, in Liz, God throws me another opportunity to seek that elusive trade-off. My dad's mystery lung illness. Granny's mystery lung illness. How can I not make the comparison? How can I not try to make the deal?

I won't. I will pray for Liz and root for her and offer any advice I can. I will wish for her and keep her and her loved ones in my thoughts but I will not ask God to keep her alive to make up for losing my dad. I don't have a very good track record, anyway, so Liz might be better off if I don't. There is no substitute for my dad, just as there was no substitute for my sister. Liz's good thoughts and prayers are all her own, not a phony deal I'm trying to make with God to shield me from my pain.

There is no substitute for Liz, either. (I sure hope we don't find that out for many healthy years to come, Liz.)

I will continue to read her, as painful as it might be, because I love her indomitable spirit, her joie de vivre, her family, her hair and those incredible biceps. I'm sure she'll get back up to speed at the gym ASAP after her treatment is over. Liz is invincible.

I hope you might read her a bit. She blogs very honestly about her experiences. She can leave you feeling raw at times but it's worth it. Read her son, Finnegan, too. Because he's just such a cutie! Finn has a PayPal post up on his site, which I'll link here, if you'd like to donate to Granny's Shoe Fund. See, Liz is one of the millions of Americans without health insurance. So, not only does she have to deal with health problems and a whole new concept of her body, she's also got to learn to navigate the intricacies of obtaining health care without benefit of insurance. (Thanks go out to GWB and his ilk, the Republicans and Big, Bad Insurance from the, what, 45 million similarly afflicted Americans!)

Even if you choose to do none of those things, please offer a prayer or positive energy or wishful thinking or whatever good stuff floats your boat in her direction, for my sake. I'd like to think I've done something positive for Liz. I'd like to think I did some positive things for my dad, too, before we lost him.

Go, Liz! If anybody can do it, you can!

tags: blogging / cancer / health and science / health care / health insurance / life / life sucks but it beats the alternative / medicine / nursing (Guess which is the fake tag!)

Saturday Night Links of Laziness

Believe it or not, I don't have much to say today so I'm going to surrender to my reticence and simply post some notes about the 'places' I've been recently:
  • Empowerment4Women is a great site which enjoys as one if its claims to fame the contributions of the dashingly handsome and painfully brilliant Bryan McKay of Les Faits de la Fiction. Check out this list of blogs!
  • Somebody (who, I canNOT remember) pointed me in the direction of a hilarious article in which Steven Wells chronicles the pitfalls of a Brit trying to wrangle the health care system of my, fair "hometown" city, Philadelphia...the City of Brotherly Love. Enjoy, please, his Patient From Hell story, The English Patient, from Philadelphia Weekly.
  • Sunshine Industries has a pretty collection of handmade cosmetic jewelry. Much of it isn't my style but I've seen a few things there I like, including a baby bracelet I could get for Brendan. The photo on that page shows the bracelet with my dog's name on it...that's got to mean I should buy one from them.
  • Bryan McKay again (I think?) led me, through the comments, to the uproarious Boudica of Suburbia, a hilarious superhero you simply must check out.
  • Boudica led me to Bitch Club. Yes, it is what it sounds like. Love the fact they're at "" I don't think I'm quite up to their caliber yet but I'm working on it!
  • My site meter sent me to my new best friend, at Nine Pearls. A rich yet delicately beautiful site provides the backdrop for some of the most stunningly intelligent and bitingly witty writing I've ever had the pleasure to read in the 'sphere. Three cheers!
"Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!"
  • Maybe Nine Pearls is where it all started several nights ago, I can't recall. But somehow I wound up Her Milfesty, Mistress UberMILF. I swear, I don't know how it happened. I'm not "that kind of girl." Okay, maybe I am but I still don't remember how I got there. Read her! She's hilarious!
  • Finally, I found some wonderful items of interest on Being Amber Rhea. I even managed a mention! Now haven't I just died and gone to heaven, again! Check out the 21st Carnival of Feminists, hosted by Amber. Sex-positive feminism, male allies of feminism, sex-negative feminism, middle-aged feminism (that would be me). Read the rest of her while you're at it. She's worth the trip.
I hope you find something that interests you. Enjoy!

tags: blogging / feminism / humor / isms / life

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Sucking Aliens!

I had to play around at Blogthings after being sucked into the notion implanted over at Belledame's place...

Your Bumper Sticker Should Be

Buckle up - it makes it harder for aliens to suck you out of your car

And here I thought it should be the one I already have on there:

tags: blogging / humor / life / US politics

Friday, August 18, 2006

Cuttlefish and Dinosaurs

I don't know how some people can look at photos like these and not concede that we evolved from the oceans. I found these at Neptune Divers.

As much as I love snorkeling and as much as I'd love to see, up close and personal, the wonders which only exist at the bottom of the sea, I don't think I could ever get beyond my claustrophobia and fear of death by drowning to bring myself to don a wetsuit and tanks and go


Yet, look at these colors, created with no benefit of sun and soil, propogated without wind.

Chemistry at its best. How I wish I could witness it.

Then again, there's the other life forms of the sea floor.

How can we ignore the evidence that this was our foundation?

Hell, some of my relatives don't look this good!

Seriously, could one ever look at a cuttlefish and deny the existence of dinosaurs in earth's past? Mastadons. Sabre-toothed tigers. Wikipedia delicately describes the photo below as "two cuttlefish interacting." Un-huh.

Birds do it. Bees do it. Even cuttlefish and trees do it.

Lid for every pot, I say.

tags: humor / life / nature / photography / senses / sex

Best News I've Heard All Week

I read this article in my Philadelphia Inquirer this afternoon. Yes, I was up until 4 AM and stayed in bed until after noon. It was the first day I didn't have to set an alarm in over a week so I savored it!

Anywho, a federal judge (in Detroit...makes me wonder who appointed the judges for the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals) has finally weighed in (pdf of the opinion from the court's official site) on the Bush administration's NSA warrantless wiretap favor of the ACLU. This is sure to be viewed by the right at another example of activist judges run amok:

Fri, Aug. 18, 2006

Judge voids surveillance program
By Sarah Karush
Associated Press

DETROIT - A federal judge struck down President Bush's warrantless-surveillance program yesterday, saying it violated the rights to free speech and privacy, as well as the separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution.

U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor was the first judge to rule on the legality of the National Security Agency's program, which the White House says is a key tool for fighting terrorism that has already stopped attacks.

"Plaintiffs have prevailed, and the public interest is clear, in this matter. It is the upholding of our Constitution," Taylor wrote in her 43-page opinion.

The administration said it would appeal to the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. "We're going to do everything we can do in the courts to allow this program to continue," Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said at a news conference in Washington.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said that eliminating it would put the nation in a "very weakened" position. "Without programs that allow us to do surveillance of communications and transactions in real time... it will be as if in the Cold War we had dropped all the radar," he said.

Taylor ordered an immediate halt to the program, but the government said it would ask for a stay of that order pending appeal.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the suit, said it would oppose a stay but agreed to delay enforcement of the injunction until Taylor hears arguments on Sept. 7.

The ACLU's executive director, Anthony Romero, called Taylor's opinion "another nail in the coffin in the Bush administration's legal strategy in the war on terror."

The ACLU brought the lawsuit in January on behalf of journalists, scholars and lawyers who say the program has made it difficult for them to do their jobs. They believe many of their overseas contacts are likely targets of the program, which monitors international phone calls and e-mails to or from the United States involving people the government suspects have terrorist links.

The ACLU says the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which set up a secret court to grant warrants for such surveillance, gave the government enough tools to monitor suspected terrorists.

The government argued that the NSA program is well within the president's authority but said proving that would require revealing state secrets.

The ACLU said the state-secrets argument was irrelevant because the Bush administration already had publicly revealed enough information about the program for Taylor to rule.

The administration has decried leaks that led to a New York Times report about the existence of the program last year.

Taylor, who was appointed by President Jimmy Carter, said the government appeared to argue that the program is beyond judicial scrutiny.

"It was never the intent of the framers to give the president such unfettered control, particularly where his actions blatantly disregard the parameters clearly enumerated in the Bill of Rights," she wrote. "The three separate branches of government were developed as a check and balance for one another."

Administration officials said the program was essential to national security. The Justice Department said it "is lawful and protects civil liberties."

Sen. Arlen Specter (R., Pa.), the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, has been championing a compromise that would allow Bush to submit the surveillance program to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for a one-time test of its constitutionality. But under yesterday's ruling, that would not be enough, said Richard Pildes, a professor at the New York University School of Law.

Taylor suggested in her ruling that the program "would violate the Constitution even if Congress authorized it," Pildes said. "Until Congress actually addresses these questions, I would expect most appellate courts to be extremely reluctant to address many of the questions this judge was willing to weigh in on."

While siding with the ACLU on the surveillance issue, Taylor dismissed a separate claim by the group over NSA data-mining of phone records. She said that not enough had been publicly revealed about that program to support the claim and that further litigation would jeopardize state secrets.

The lawsuit alleged that the NSA "uses artificial-intelligence aids to search for keywords and analyze patterns in millions of communications at any given time." Multiple lawsuits related to data-mining have been filed against phone companies, accusing them of improperly turning over records to the NSA.

The data-mining was only a small part of the Detroit suit, said Ann Beeson, the ACLU's associate legal director and the lead attorney on the case.

One of the plaintiffs in the case, Detroit immigration attorney Noel Saleh, said the NSA program had made it difficult to represent his clients, some of whom the government accuses of terrorist connections.

Saleh, a leader in Michigan's large Arab American community, also said he believes many conversations between people in the community and relatives in Lebanon were monitored in recent weeks as people here sought news of their families amid the violence in the Middle East.

"People have the right to be concerned about their family, to check on the welfare of their family and not be spied on by the government," he said.

Read the judge's ruling in the wiretapping case at

It's viewed by me as a refreshing example of American democracy still living and breathing in the US of A.

In answer to my own question, above (from the Wikipedia article on the Sixth Circuit Court):

(Chief Judge) Danny Julian Boggs 1986–present 2003–present — Reagan

(Chief Judge) Boyce F. Martin, Jr. 1979–present 1996–2003 — Carter

Alice M. Batchelder 1991–present — G.H.W. Bush

Martha Craig Daughtrey 1993–present — Clinton

Karen Nelson Moore 1995–present — Clinton

R. Guy Cole, Jr. 1995–present — Clinton

Eric L. Clay 1997–present — Clinton

Ronald Lee Gilman 1997–present — Clinton

Julia Smith Gibbons 2002–present — G.W. Bush

John M. Rogers 2002–present — G.W. Bush

Jeffrey S. Sutton 2003–present — G.W. Bush

Deborah L. Cook 2003–present — G.W. Bush

David W. McKeague 2005–present — G.W. Bush

Richard Allen Griffin 2005–present — G.W. Bush

However, I want you to consider and perhaps commiserate with we progressive voters in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania who will make selections for the United States Senate this fall.

Arlen Specter

Sen. Arlen Specter (R., Pa.), the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, has been championing a compromise that would allow Bush to submit the surveillance program to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for a one-time test of its constitutionality.
Rick Santorum
is a terribly dangerous radical conservative activist legislator who probably has presidential aspirations. The day he's elected to (or cheated into or buys) the presidency will be the day I relinquish my US citizenship and move to Europe.

Bob Casey

Damn shame when your best pick is your senior, Republican Senator.

tags: bitchy / US politics


Through Pinko Feminist Hellcat, I found this disturbing but telling site. Go read for yourself the horror our country has become as we've devolved over the last three decades.

It makes me sick.

tags: classism / economy / parenting / US politics

Playing with my


If I don't hang around much over the upcoming weekend it's because I'll be twiddling my template. I downloaded some nice Blogger templates,
gratis, from a site -which-shall-remain-nameless until I (hopefully) get one to work for me here. Wish me's my first real head-long dive into fiddling with this stuff.

tags: blogging / computing / life

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Hospital Around the Corner

It's official! I will leave my current place of employment on Saturday, September 2nd and start at The Hospital Around the Corner on September 13th. Woo-hoo!

I'm very excited about leaving this place with which I am so displeased and disillusioned and starting in a place where they really seem to have staff buy-in in their hospital and unit. I think I'll like it there. If only it weren't 5 days a week. Ugh! I guess I should accept that I'll work like most of the rest of the world but, damn, I'll miss only working 3 days out of every 7! We'll see how that goes. There are changes afoot in the ER at THAC which might facilitate my move to 10- or 12-hour shifts.

Wish me luck.

tags: life / nursing / work

Sunday, August 13, 2006

What to Make of This?

I got an e-mail the other day from the owner of the Nectar of Life Coffee Company desiring a link to his site on my blog here. Has anybody ever heard of them? I never have. I made up my list of fair-trade suppliers of various sorts, mostly coffee, a couple of months ago following a really interesting web cruise. I don't remember seeing a Nectar of Life. Or I saw it and passed it over for some reason.

I took note of the fact that they
will donate $1.00 to Catholic Relief Services for every bag of Nectar of Ice sold!
I don't know what that means. I've never had anyone contact me asking for a link before. I'd be more than happy to provide it if I could learn a little more about the people behind the company. I don't shop at Wal-Mart of JC Penney's or drink Coors because of their very right-wing or anti "social justice for all" political leanings (and, for Coors, because it tastes like piss water).

Any info anyone might have would be appreciated. I don't care a whit about exchanging links but do want to make sure I'm not helping bolster the 'enemy' in doing so.

And, yes...I know Catholic Relief Services does a lot of good work.

tags: bitchy /
civil rights /coffee / economic justice / fair trade / skepticism / social justice / US politics

P. S. Does anyone know if a backspace key can be reaffixed to a laptop keyboard? Mine just broke off! Lol! Add humor and life to those tags.

I Have Died and Gone to Heaven!

Yes, it's that good.

In checking to make sure my tags worked (See how it pays to be a diligent and courteous blogger?) I found the most amazing sexuality link. In case you haven't noticed, I'm a spiritual person. I've half hung onto the religious conversion afforded me in 1976 by Christ and the fundamentalist Christian community I interacted with then. Although my firm idea of what God and Christ may be may have evolved over the past 30 years, the fundamental belief has never left me and I strive to live my life in a Christ-meets-George-Carlin-like manner. God loves me despite my gutter mouth.

Anyway, "sexuality" on Technorati led me to "sexuality and religion" which is where I found the Rev. Debra Haffner. Is this an amazing woman or what? Rev. Haffner crafted this:

The above is the Religious Declaration on Sexual Morality, Justice and Healing. Read's fabulous. Why can't the entire world have this attitude? I don't mean a Christian attitude, but a moral and open and accepting one. You could be Buddhist, Muslim, evangelical Christian, Catholic, Sikh, or The Plain People, I don't give a shit. (Though, if you're Amish, should you be reading this?) Let's just live and let live! I promise not to convert your daughter to "Lesbianism" (capital "L") if you'll just keep your nose out from between my thighs unless invited, okay?

::breathes deeply, exhales slowly::

If you have any interest in the interconnectedness of sexuality and spirituality, I recommend a look-see here, at the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice and Healing. You can also find some very interesting thoughts on Rev. Haffner's blog, Sexuality and Religion: What's the Connection? Wish her a happy hundredth-post while you're there.

Did I miss out on another party opportunity? Just counted 'em...nope!

tags: Christianity / faith / life / religion / sex / sex-positive / sexuality / sexuality and religion / sexual orientation / spirituality

A Great Weekend

I just got back from the Jersey shore after visiting with my family. Mom is good and looks great and Mike is not nearly as bothered by his back (two herniated disks have had him laying off running for the better part of the last year). He ran in his ten-mile race at a seaside town and finished 50th. That's the poorest I can recall though he tells me he did worse the first time he ran it. The weather was pretty good but he hit a wall after the 7th mile. He hasn't run over seven miles in almost a year. Still, he managed to finish and not without some respect.

Jen looks well and seems to be just loving motherhood! I feel so happy for her as I recall what it meant for me to raise her husband. And, of course, my grandboy is marvelous! He's smiling and cooing and giggling a little bit. He loves his Nana. I do have a way with babies and making them smile, if I must say so myself.

I don't have anything interesting to post since I've been blessedly out of touch for the last two days. Is there a cease-fire? Did I hear that? See...I came here even before I went off to read the headlines!

Weatherwise, it was one of the most perfect beach weekends I've ever seen! I feel good!

Envy me my beautiful grandboy! ; )

tags: family / grandchildren / life

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Change of Scenery

It looks as if I have a new job. I interviewed today with some of the staff at The Hospital Around the Corner (here after to be known as "THAC." THAC is two blocks from home or a short hike up the hill and 100 yards, if I'm running late. I wonder how long it'll take me for the secondary route to become the default?

I hope to be able to leave my current place of torment, erm, employment in three, no more than four weeks tops! Woo-hoo! I was very impressed with what I saw today...clean and orderly (I think I've died and gone to heaven, really!), pleasant people, equipment that works. There's a lot more to say but Hell calls on the morrow.


tags: life / nursing / work

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Do Yourself a Favor

Go on over to my absolute favorite female (and supportive) progressives at Tennessee Guerilla Women. Read every post from Tuesday, August 8. Follow every link. Read all the connecting articles (but skip the'll want to get right back to TGW).

Laugh your socks off!

Is this fun or what???

tags: bitchy / comeuppance / fairness / US politics / truth /
justice / American way
('bout time we see all those tags together!)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Important News

From SCOTUSBlog, dateline, yesterday:
Justice Antonin Scalia on Monday afternoon denied the request of the Texas GOP to delay a federal appeals court ruling that requires the name of former Rep. Tom DeLay to remain on the congressional ballot for this fall's election. That ended the matter, since the Republican party's lawyer, James Bopp, Jr., said he would not renew the request with another member of the Court.
I wonder how that felt. You know, as much as I revile Scalia, he does have arguments sometimes based on sound law.

Too bad, Tony. Better luck next time. Keep breathing, Justive Stevens!

Technorati tags: bitchy / Supreme Court of the United States / US politics

Monday, August 07, 2006

Godbags, Wingnuts and Christians

I stopped by Fetch Me my Axe after work last night to discover the most interesting post on shame and religion and the former’s relative value for political progressives. I believe this originally sprung from a discussion of the value of the use of the term “godbag” at PunkAssBlog. What I started as a “good post and oh, by the way” comment took on a life of its own, grew completely out of control and settled in over here. Please go read Belledame’s whole post, if you’re at all inclined. I highly recommend it. I’ll be excerpting it below.

In a nutshell, Belle thinks it’s a bad idea for the left to risk offending “religious” people because we need all the help we can get.

And what I hear you saying here is that you don’t particularly mind offending religious folk.

I may be misunderstanding.

But if that’s the case–well, personally? I don’t think the left can afford it. Not in this country.

And lord (ha) knows I have no love for the theocrats. and no, I’m not always so careful–nomenclature’s a bitch, I know who I’m talking about, no doubt someone else might not. I know I used to use “godbag” fairly frequently. As terms go I actuallly think that one’s potentially useful–provided you do, in fact, use specifically for people who are using their supposed piety as a cover for the fact that they're basically just being 'bags. Blowhards. Bullies. Yes.

Okay, I'm trying to follow along here. Many of the things Bellle talks about are relatively new concepts for me so bear with me. And, damn, I wish I had her way with words!

I agree that shaming one’s opponent has very little political value. I happen to think that shame has very little value of any sort in society or interpersonal relationships, period. Mocking people as a group sport may well be my least favorite activity on the planet. I agree that name-calling, stick- and stone-throwing, belittling, condescending and shaming do little to positively influence undecided voters or those unsure of their stance on a given issue. And, if you think about it, are the kinds of people who would be positively influenced by shaming and other brutality-based behavior really the people we'd like as our allies?

I also believe a vast majority of the American public is basically good-hearted and finds little joy in mocking others and being unkind. I believe the average American believes in fairness, feels the suffering of those less fortunate and truly cares more for their fellow humans than for world domination, killing our planet and buck-a-gallon gas. I believe a large majority of Americans want to be good and to do the right and moral thing...many of them just don’t know how.

I believe there are a lot of very moral people out there in the middle of America...even, maybe especially, among fundamentalist Christians. I'm sure my lovely mother- and father-in-law, Fundies all their lives, cringe to their toes when they hear Ann Coulter vomit her venomous filth. I married their son in their church, a little white clapboard chapel in a small city in the middle of southern NJ farmlands. The pastor was a quiet 60-something with a gentle, golden soul. He counseled me when my marriage was in trouble. He had the heart (and patience) of a saint.

That church has now "grown" into a monstrosity. Gigantic congregation, huge cathedral, theater acoustics, fancy-schmancy, high-falootin', flashy, young pastor "on fire!" I may be exaggerating a bit but it has become a mini-mega in South Jersey. All of this was accomplished, of course, with a move from the heart of a tiny, "decaying" city to a patch of former farmland on the outskirts of town. I’ve been to the new church once or twice since construction was completed maybe fifteen years ago. There’s lots of money and flash and bling and glitz but very little of the heart and spirit I recall of that tiny church on a side street in a "dying" town. For those who have truly heard (figuratively, not literally) the voice of their Lord, for someone who truly strives to live their life in a Christ-like manner, the appropriation of spirituality for political purposes and material gain and the "rock-star-ization" of Christianity must settle like a cold, dead stone in the gut.

In a post a couple of weeks ago, I talked about Greg Boyd, the pastor of Woodland Hills Church, a megachurch in St. Paul, Minnesota. (And Belle was kind enough to leave a comment on that post, thanks.) I really must get his book because this subject greatly interests me. What comes to mind right now is the discussion in the NYT article about how the congregation's make-up changed following Pastor Boyd's series of sermons. The exodus included mostly white, upper- or middle-class, comfortably-situated members, who were replaced (nearly replaced...the membership dropped by a net of around 1,000, if I recall) by local poor/working/middle-class, Latino/a, black, Asian and white congregants.

I was not discouraged by this but, rather, encouraged. These are the people who are the heart of Christianity...the ones who come for the love of their Lord, not those people who are threatened by the expulsion of lawyers, guns, money and politics from the pulpit, not those who are wearing Christianity because it is de rigueur. These are the people who need to hear the sermon that making war is not a part of a Godly plan, that caring for one another is the primary charge of Christ. These are the people the liberals and progressives need to reach out to, not offend.

I read somewhere once that more people identify themselves as trying to live by the Golden Rule than say they go to church each Sunday or read the Bible daily or describe themselves as “religious” or claim that their “religion is very important to them.” (This is why I will never be a journalist or a good gossip...I simply can’t recall who told me what/when and I’m too lazy to go research it.)

Personally, I try never to refer to any group of people in derogatory terms or with malicious intent. I might fault the Religious Right but try not to refer to the whole category in demeaning ways. When I call GWB an “asshole” and Ann Coulter a “bitch” (though I cringe at her appropriation of my identifier), refer to Cheney as a lying, manipulative, evil prick and Rumsfeld as the American Mengele, I consider these factual assertions, not name-calling. Hell, they're all a bunch of assholes, as this fabulous video proves.

(Think about it...die the hair and slim down the chest and Tim Curry is Coulter!)

I find it offensive when derogatory terminology is directed toward an entire class or group of people because that makes assumptions about all its members. While it might be fairly safe to assert that most right-wingnuts are Republicans, it’s not fair to say most Republicans are evangelicals or fundamentalists or even Christians. It is not fair to saddle Christians with the baggage of the Religious Right. There are wonderful groups of committed Christians who are doing good work, helping those less fortunate, even working for progressive and liberal political causes.

If the vast majority of Americans report their religion is “very important to them,” and even more respond that they try to live by the Golden Rule and if, like me, a majority of Americans are offended by stereotypes and name-calling, progressives risk alienating a large and important segment of the American electorate by the use of derogatory terms for right-wing groups.

I agree with Belle that “godbag(s)” or “right wingnut(s)” might be appropriate when calling out a blatant nut case or group of them but we need to exercise restraint when we include “Christian(s)” in those categories. I believe in the separation of church and state but, like it or not, America was founded by Christians and the vast majority of Americans identify themselves as Christians today. These people are not theocrats, just ordinary citizens like you and me who may be equally disgruntled and displeased by the direction in which our present “leadership” has been taking our nation. They could be powerful allies. Or they could be just as disgruntled with a group of “left wingnuts” who they feel has called them a derogatory name.

Damn, I hope this makes sense and I’ve gotten my point across. Basically, Americans are good, as a rule, and Christians don’t necessarily deserve to be lumped in with “godbags” and “wingnuts” and doing so may keep them further on the side of the godbags and wingnuts and away from the side of the 'right' (little "r").

Jesus is a liberal!

Technorati tags: bitchy / Christianity / liberal politics / progressive politics / religion / US politics