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I heard John McCain is a Scientologist. Is it true? (Pass it on.)

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Ths news story was just too funny to keep to myself. I mean, just the URL alone is awesome, and then you read the story and find out that the crazy cat in question is far less whack than any of the humans involved in the story. Hee!

And now I must race home to put out our CSA box even though I'm probably too late already.

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I need to go to the store for basic food staples like eggs and bread (we've finally admitted that the bread machine isn't working) but in the meantime, a little brain dump.

Previously worrisome tax stuff about the house has been sorted with our big scary corporate lender; now all I have to do is remind Lane County that I own this house, too. That's not so bad. However, while I'm on the subject of taxes, I for one am not happy to hear that the Bush administration's tax reforms may focus on taxing consumption instead of income. That translates as "big tax cuts for people with more money than they can spend", mmkay? It is bad news if you are spending anywhere near what you earn, living paycheck to paycheck, or borrowing money, you will be paying proportionally more. Isn't that kind of the definition of regressive taxation? I haven't looked it up yet, but I'm definitely feeling suspicious. If any of you want to beat me to researching this and writing or drawing it up in catchy Internet meme form, please feel free.

I think maybe I need one of these shirts. Longsleeve, though; my t-shirt collection is still pretty out of control. I'm glad to report that my crew at work is mostly shell-shocked and/or disgusted by the events of this Tuesday; the one guy who probably voted for Bush isn't scheduled to work with me for at least another two weeks, so that's all good. By then I'm sure he'll be rooting for some other team he thinks is a winner, or else I can always kick him in the balls accidentally bump him with a hot pan add him to my list of "okay, so you voted for the guy, now explain me why" interviewees. I think I'll probably be able to maintain horrified curiosity, but if he gets obnoxious, there's always the hot pan fallback plan.

I am loving SorryEverybody.com. Part of me still wants to be writing letters to everyone I know outside the U.S. to remind them that 3.5 million is not that big a lead and there's no way of knowing how much of it is faked or stolen or due to voter intimidation or crappy machines or provisional ballots or whatever but most importantly there's still millions of people in this country who are not actively trying to bring about the Eschaton. But actions are louder than words, yes? Better than a personal letter from me to a few friends and relatives is for many more people to see the world news have report millions of U.S.-ians protesting the stupids in charge. Hint, hint, y'all.

Speaking of news, self-censorship can suck it. Last night after I finished closing, I stopped by the office to chat with my manager, as I am wont to do. He's in "turn off the TV'" mode, which I can respect a bunch, oh yes. But I was never big on the TV to begin with, and I do still want to keep informed. This is where all y'all help me make a list of independent media sources so I can see things through more filters than just The New York Times, AlterNet, and whatever generic Associated Press-style shows up on my Yahoo! homepage when I make my daily email check there. I check out Common Dreams from time to time, I don't read or listen to Democracy Now! nearly as much as I should (note to self; independent radio news is kewl) and I like Salon, maybe even enough to put my money where that comment is and subscribe (they do, after all, publish Lynda Barry and Keith Knight's comix, which is reason enough to love them right there). But where else should I be looking? Keep me posted, kids!

I don't want to take the No on 36 sign out of our window. I'm thinking of adapting it to say "Constitutional Amendment 36 is still wrong".

At the very least, I'm working on compiling a big list of the good and hopeful and productive and just interesting things people are saying in the wake of this election. I'll probably write some more about hope, since that's my theme for now, but after that I'm not sure where to go. Do I try to make it into a book? Would any of you who wrote in last time be interested in contributing to a book about hope? How about a more self-published indie zine-type thingy that we sell on the Internet all underground economy style because it's easier than trying to shop things around to publishers? Again, bring the ideas, please.

Note to self: write defiant "Dear U.S. of A." letter.

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This just in: mifepristone, formerly known as RU-486, is a drug that induces abortion if administered early in a pregnancy. Emergency contraception, such as Plan B or just high doses of regular birth control pills, prevents ovulation and fertilization, or sometimes implantation of a fertilized egg 1 )

if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex (in the best of all possible worlds, when a condom breaks). They are not the same thing, but the phrase "morning after pill" keeps getting used to describe both, and it makes me grumpy. First of all I hate it when writers don't bother to get their facts right, and second of all, even if abortion and contraception weren't hugely controversial issues, confusing the two is still dangerous, if only from a public health perspective. Right now, the FDA is stalling on a decision whether to make emergency contraception available over the counter (by which I hope they mean "over the counter if you ask a pharmacist who double-checks to make sure you know what you're taking and what it does", if only because that's useful in my experience). They are not trying to make the abortion pill available over the counter, and rightly so. But already we've got pharmacists who refuse to dispense EC for ethical reasons, and hospitals who won't offer it to rape victims, and a public that's rampantly confused about these issues, judging by the frequency with which I hear people call mifepristone the "morning after pill", when it isn't! (For one thing, it's effective for the first 63 days of pregnancy, which is much longer than just the 72 hours after unprotected sex that might conceivably be called "the morning after", and it really does induce an abortion no matter how you slice it. Grumblegrump.)

I suspect that writers on both sides of the issue fuck this up because "morning after pill" is less harsh-sounding than "abortion pill" to the pro-choice side, and on the anti-abortion side the distinction is less important because emergency contraception can arguably be said to induce an abortion. I don't care. I just want people to get their damn facts right.

Oh, and here's a link to the article that got me ranting first thing this morning. I can't finish reading it, let alone trust what I've read in it, because of this stupid factual error. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a letter to the editor to compose.

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Johnny Cash is dead. The voices in my head have been singing "Folsom Prison Blues" ever since I heard the news at work (I've been singing along, from time to time). Now I'm listening to his collaboration with U2, because as far as I know it's the only recording of him we've got. It's more than time to correct that condition, I think.

I went out searching
Looking for one good man...
I went out walking
With a Bible and a gun.
The word of God lay heavy on my heart
I was sure I was the one.

Big goosebumps. He was only 71. I would've sworn he was at least a hundred, but more like older than God. I dunno. I want to say something about agelessness and immortality and suchforth, but I'm striking out. Also I want to say something about yay for defying easily-defined musical genres and artistic categorization in general. Woo. (That was a very solemn, thoughtful, almost reverent "Woo" --- could you tell?)

In other, but much more minor, news of the "Well, dang" persuasion, today at work I managed to give myself a huge nasty splinter --- with a toothpick. Go figure.


Update, 17:46: This just in! The New York Times obituary for Johnny Cash includes a link to a multimedia retrospective that includes a snippet of the man's cover of "Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails. Holy shit. It's brilliant. I think I'm still processing just how cool it is.

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"WASHINGTON, July 30 — President Bush said today that federal government lawyers are working on legislation that would define marriage as a union between a man and woman."

So much for states' rights, let alone recognizing other countries' laws.... though really, people who really want to reap government benefits for their relationships should just incorporate. There's no restriction on gender or number of people involved in a limited-liability corporation, either... and the law says it's a person. I know that's oversimplifying things grossly, but on the other hand it merges two of my hot-button issues in a gloriously perverse way. If loopholes in corporate law could take down both marriage discrimination and corporate personhood, that would pretty much make my day, yep.

I fuckin' hate the law, but stuff like this makes me wish I knew more about it. Grumblegrump.

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Okay, so the U.S. government and media scream bloody murder when dead or captured U.S. soldiers appear in the Iraqi media, but it's okay for pictures of dead Iraqis to be front-page news in U.S. newspapers. That's one thing, and it's pretty disgusting hypocrisy in and of itself, but I just caught an Associated Press article about U.S. anti-war protesters wounded by the police, complete with graphic pictures (you might want to skip these, [livejournal.com profile] pants_of_doom). I read the full text of the article, but I got the unstated message loud and clear: "Sit down and shut up, peacenik: 'your' government is in control, and you could be next in line for rubber bullets, mmkay?" It makes me mad.
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I didn't have a camera at the Portland anti-war rally and march on Saturday (March 15), but I took pages of notes, mostly on the signs and slogans I saw around me. Now judging by the livejournal comments I've posted, emails I've sent out, and Everything2 homenode update I've posted today, I feel like writing more about the experience, so here's some preliminary thoughts, taken from the aforementioned email and LJ comment and E2 homenode post.

The bad news first: I was really disappointed by the number of signs and effigies making fun of George W. Bush. As much as I agreed with some of them, they mostly struck me as petty and counter-productive. I know he wasn't really elected, I know he comes across as an idiot (I can't stand to hear him on the radio, let alone watch him on TV) and most of all I know it's embarrassing he's the public face of the United States in entirely too many ways, but dangit, I for one was marching for something bigger than personal dislike of Dubya. Sigh.

Now for some happier news: One of the coolest things about the anti-war rally and march in Portland was that there were people of all ages there, not just teenagers and college students. It's not just rebellious kids who think the war is stupid, it's grandmothers. Which is just great. It's good to know that not everybody is hypnotized by the TV news. Also, I feel like there's much less of getting teargassed or shot by riot police when there's little old ladies in the crowd. Which is a good feeling as well.

According to the Sunday newspapers (including the New York Times), there were 20,000 to 30,000 people at the rally and march in Portland. I was glad it made the news. Even if the administration isn't listening, at least the media couldn't ignore it, and in turn that means people who didn't march got to see that there's plenty of people opposed to the war. Whether it will make them think is a different story, but it's a start. I wonder if the U.S. anti-war protests make the news in other countries. I hope they do, because one of my major reasons for getting involved is to try to show as many people as possible that not everyone in the U.S. is blindly supporting the administration's war plans.

That pretty much sums up everything I've been telling people about my experiences at the march and rally. I feel like I should have more to say, but I'm kind of drawing a blank right now. Oh well. At least I've gotten those thoughts down where I won't forget them too quickly.

Update, 13:43: Happy Saint Patrick's Day, all. And please keep sending me your book recommendations (for those of you who just tuned in, yesterday I asked for suggestions on good books about the history and theory of nonviolent social protest).

Update, 15:55: Picture of me at the Portland anti-war march and rally courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] qousqous: Read more... )

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In case you needed any more proof that shopping malls are lame... (it's a New York Times article, so you might need a login. Sorry about that.)

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