The reason for the season.

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The cutesy little commercials and signs and even storefronts (guess where I won't be shopping) that say, "Remember, Jesus is the reason for the season" irritate me to no end.
Don't you remember anything from grade school science? The tilt of the earth's axis is the reason for the season.
Christians don't get to monopolize an entire season. They don't even get to claim the entire month of December. There's Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, Bodhi Day, and in Islam there's either Eid ul-Fitr or Al-Hijra depending on their calendar.
Jesus is not the reason for the season. He's the reason for your holiday of Christmas, for which you stole the practices and traditions of Pagans. Get over yourselves.

Dear fellow Pagans/Wiccans/Witches and the like,

9:28 AM Posted In , , , Edit This 3 Comments »
It is spelled ALTAR, with an "A." Alter with an "E" means to change something. Here, I will even use them in sentences for you.
She altered her appearance with a spell.
He performed the spell at the altar.
Quit butchering the English language.
~SLiver of Jade

Argument for same-sex marriage

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The following came up in a debate on a Ravelry forum by member Farfalla (note: you have to be a member to view it), which I found to be wonderfully and sadly true as are most of her posts and observations. Formatting imposed by me, but the rest is all her.
"An argument has been coalescing in my mind recently, as more and more religious people are making me understand that their definition of marriage is “a specific type of union that is sanctified by God according to their beliefs.”
I draw your attention to an adoptive mother. She is not, biologically, a mother. But she is legally (and socially and practically) a mother. But none of that will ever make her biologically a mother. Let’s say a group of people, for some reason, decided that it was patently ridiculous for someone to be legally allowed to use the term ‘mother’ and have all the rights & responsibilities associated with motherhood when they were clearly, factually, not a mother biologically. They decided that the definition of a mother was a female who had borne a child, and to that child, or children, she was now a mother. Well, that’s impossible to argue with, right? I mean, that’s the biological definition of mother.
To those religious people who believe that a marriage is any union between any one man and woman and therefore sanctified, that definition is as true to them as the biological definition of mother is a true definition. But that’s the key–it’s only one definition of mother. Legally, mother has another meaning. You can be an adoptive mother without having to call it “civil parenthood” or “nonbiological parenthood” or some other weird word whose rights were not clearly defined already and may not be recognized even if legal. You’re just a mother – a different type of mother.
So why can’t we do it this way with marriage? To be a biological mother or a legal mother you don’t have to fulfill the same criteria. It should be that to have a (sanctified according to some religions) marriage and a (legal; has nothing to do with religion) marriage you don’t have to have the same criteria, either.
The stranger who swats the cat away from eating my hair at night pointed out that in Connecticut, the reason they wound up with gay marriage was that they tried separate but equal (the civil union thang) and people weren’t recognizing it. Like, they passed a law saying they were supposed to be treated equally, but people weren’t. It’s not just a word. It’s over a thousand individual rights. That’s one definition of marriage. The one some Christians talk about is clearly another one. We don’t need another word, just like we don’t need to call someone a life parent or some other contorted phrase when they’re a mom of an adopted kid."

Outrage of the Day Part 2-Homophobia, rape, insurance, and pregnancy

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"Jury selection began in a federal lawsuit against two Chicago police officers accused of beating a gay man.
Alexander Ruppert claims that officers Vincent Torres and Kent Pemberton beat him and denied him his civil rights solely because of his sexuality in a 2006 altercation.
Ruppert, 37, says he was beaten nearly unconscious while the cops hurled anti-gay remarks at him and then placed him in a holding cell for two days without food or water.
The lawsuit also names the City of Chicago as a defendant.
The lawsuit claims Ruppert was removed by the two officers from the Uptown Lounge following a disturbance and placed in a squad car.
He was not initially charged with any offense and was not handcuffed, court papers say.
The suit says that Ruppert then was driven to deserted area behind a theater where he was beaten while the officers called him a “faggot” and other derogatory remarks.
The cops allegedly stopped the beating when Ruppert told them he had AIDS.
Ruppert was then taken to an area hospital where he received 16 stitches for injuries to his face and head.
The lawsuit says that following the hospital visit, he was taken to the Foster Avenue police station and held for 48 hours without food or water. The court papers say that Ruppert was forced to drink from a toilet.
He was charged with resisting arrest and aggravated battery against a police officer, and held for a week in the Cook County Jail, until he could make a $50,000 bond.
The felony charges were dropped after Ruppert agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge."
"Prosecutors have asked two patrolmen to turn themselves in to face charges in the case of a man who claims he was sodomized during an arrest on a subway platform, the officers’ lawyers said Monday.
Officers Richard Kern and Alex Cruz face arraignment Tuesday on charges contained in a sealed indictment, the lawyers said. A third officer also is expected to surrender.
The lawyers were not notified of specific charges but said their clients would plead not guilty.
Representatives of the district attorney’s office declined to comment.
“We don’t know what the people’s proof is, but as far as I’m concerned my client is not guilty,” said Kern’s attorney, John Patten.
Cruz “never observed any misconduct nor engaged in any misconduct,” said his lawyer, Stuart London.
The two officers approached Michael Mineo on Oct. 15 outside a subway station because they believed he was smoking marijuana, police said. When Mineo fled into the station, they and two other uniformed officers wrestled him to the ground face down and handcuffed him.
Mineo, 24, a body piercer at a tattoo parlor, claims that during the struggle his pants were pulled down and one of the officers sodomized him. He has said he believed he was violated with the antenna of a hand-held radio, and that the assailant was Cruz.
A transit officer told a grand jury last month that he saw Kern place a baton near Mineo’s buttocks, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the proceedings are not public.
The Police Department has said other eyewitness witness accounts don’t support Mineo’s claim.
Mineo was given a ticket for disorderly conduct. He was hospitalized for several days and treated for anal injuries, according to medical records reviewed by The Associated Press.
Meanwhile, in a separate New York City case, authorities say a 16-year-old boy has been charged with sodomizing a 14-year-old boy with a broomstick.
The Staten Island district attorney’s office says it is not ruling out more arrests.
Authorities said 16-year-old Joseph Lavalle was arraigned Saturday on a charge of aggravated sexual abuse and assault. He was released on his own recognizance and is due for another court appearance next month.
His attorney, Richard Kopacz, was not in his office for comment Monday morning.
Police say the incident occurred last week as the victim, the suspect and several other teens were hanging out together in the backyard of a Staten Island home."
"[Starla D.] Darling, who was pregnant when her insurance ran out, worked at Archway for eight years, and her father, Franklin J. Phillips, worked there for 24 years.
"When I heard that I was losing my insurance," she said, "I was scared. I remember that the bill for my son's delivery in 2005 was about $9,000, and I knew I would never be able to pay that by myself."
So Ms. Darling asked her midwife to induce labor two days before her health insurance expired.
"I was determined that we were getting this baby out, and it was going to be paid for," said Ms. Darling, who was interviewed at her home here as she cradled the infant in her arms.
As it turned out, the insurance company denied her claim, leaving Ms. Darling with more than $17,000 in medical bills."

Outrage of the Day-Man forfeits job to marry

11:52 AM Posted In , Edit This 1 Comment »
"One familiar sound during the holidays is the ringing of Salvation Army bells, beckoning passersby to spread good will and compassion for their fellow man.
One volunteer is forced to leave his job because he wants to marry a non-member.
But for Salvation Army Capt. Johnny Harsh, that same sound signifies quite the opposite. It is the sound of an entire life he will likely be forced to leave behind -- all because he fell in love and found himself in opposition to church doctrine that is nearly a century and a half old.
The Salvation Army, a church established in the 1860s and widely known for its charity work, expressly forbids officers to marry non-officers of the church.
That means that Harsh, after working for the church for 14 years, will have to forfeit his job in order to marry his girlfriend and non-member, Cia.
"This ruling, like a lot of other things in other churches, is a manmade rule," Harsh told "Good Morning America." "God does not look at a Salvation Army uniform." "
Compassion is not on the Salvation Army's agenda. I'll be donating my spare change elsewhere.

Cat Videos

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Outrage of the Day-Woman Killed at Work Because of Race

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"Taneka Talley was stabbed to death in March 2006 while she was working as a clerk at a Dollar Tree store in Fairfield. Her killer’s only motive, prosecutors say, is that she was African American. That’s also the reason the store’s workers’ compensation insurer is denying $250,000 in death benefits to Talley’s 11-year-old son.

The boy’s grandmother, the child’s legal guardian, said Specialty Risk Services is taking the position that a racially motivated killing is personal, not work-related - even though the man charged with killing Talley had never met her before. The insurance company, Dollar Tree and their lawyers aren’t talking publicly about the case but are defending their position before a state appeals board that hears workers’ compensation disputes.

The opposition by Dollar Tree and its insurers to paying benefits to Talley’s son represents an attempt to set new limits on California’s workers’ compensation system, under which a company provides benefits to employees or their survivors for work-related deaths or injuries regardless of whether the firm was at fault.
“The doctors testify that Mr. Thompson’s motivation in stabbing Taneka Talley was purely race motivated,” attorney Kelly Hamilton wrote. “As such, it is our belief that our denial in this matter is proper.”

The compensation law doesn’t consider an on-the-job injury to be work-related if the
motives were entirely personal - for example, if an estranged lover or spouse comes to the workplace and attacks an employee because of a private grudge.

“Taneka Talley was at work, doing her job, when she was killed,” the lawyer said. “If she had not been in that store, she would not have been available to (the killer), and she would still be alive.

“It’s shocking that Dollar Tree and its insurance carrier are using the alleged racist motivation of a killer as an excuse to get out of paying benefits,” Stagliano said. (San Francisco Chronicle)"
via Feminocracy. Even the worker's comp aside, it's horrible that someone thought she should die because of the colour of her skin. Makes me sick.

The Colbert Report- Radical Knitting

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Here they go again.

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"Unfortunately for the little lord Jesus, his manger was placed in the Illinois Capitol, where it could draw criticism on many fronts. On the one hand, protests and demonstrations are allowed at the Capitol. Displays such as this, which use freedom of expression, are clearly allowed within the grounds of the capitol building.On the other hand, the Constitution states that the governments of the United States will be separated from religious connections. Putting a nativity scene inside of a government building runs completely against that idea. In fact, it is a blatant attempt at mixing religion and government.Unlike a Christmas tree, which despite the name can be decorated in many ways to support different religions and ideas, a nativity scene depicts the baby Jesus lying in a manger, a story directly from the Bible."
This shit happens every year, particularly in the Midwest and the South. Pisses me off because you know they would never allow a Goddess, also. (Jesus was a Sun God, however. Another note on changing carols to fit Paganism is I substitute "Sun King" for "Jesus"). If anyone even tried that in this area, I would be among the first in line to be displaying a lunar Goddess right next to the baby Jesus. And it wouldn't be a politically correct, "maybe She's really the Virgin Mary" type Goddess, either. We're talking pentagrams, Goddess symbols, and the like so there is no question, whatsoever.

I don't agree with...

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the phrase "I don't agree with." As in "I don't agree with your lifestyle." There is nothing to agree upon. You don't like it? Fine. Don't be whatever it is you take offense to. Don't be gay, of a certain religion, kinky, etc. I am not asking anything of you except, "Let me live as I choose/the way I am." The only thing that can even be agreed upon is that I won't hit on you, ask you to dance naked around a bonfire, or go to Fetish Night with me... Unless you want to.
"I don't agree with your lifestyle" is just a slightly more polite way of saying "I don't approve. You are wrong, and you are going to hell." That's nice. I didn't ask for your opinion, but while we're at it "I don't agree with yours, either." Which you know by now is a societally correct way of saying "You are a hate-mongering bigot whose head is so far up your ass that you condemn anyone who doesn't hold the exact same beliefs as you."

Dad, your white male privilege is showing.

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While people watching (and being watched in turn) with my dad over the weekend, I was reminded that he is somewhat of a "good, ole' boy" and lives in a conservative, small, primarily white Christian town. We were at Fry's in Wilsonville and he commented on how many Asians were shopping there, he guessed that a third of our fellow shoppers were and attributed it to so many electronics brands being based in those parts of the world. I wouldn't say that many, but I suppose that in his mind, more than one group is enough for comment. I did remind him that we were in an area with more diversity than where he lives.
He also referred to a singer as "a black guy from such and such." Really, is the race even an issue in the guy's performance? Would he refer to a white performer as "a white guy"? No. And yes, if the artist in question were a woman, he would refer to her as a "gal" with some size connotation. (i.e. "big gal" vs. "little gal"). I grew up hearing him say about cheerleaders while watching football, "Not bad for a bunch of fat chicks." Yes, he does mean it somewhat ironically. I do love him, but I have mentioned before that my father is the primary reason I am a feminist.
I remember a friend of my father's whom I had never met before came into the backyard of our rural farmhouse while I was jumping on the trampoline. I was about 8-10 years old. I stopped and watched him warily. He laughed and asked, "You're probably wondering what a strange black man is doing in your yard, aren't you?" He probably was the first black man I had ever met. I answered, "No, I am wondering why there is a strange man in my yard and who he is." In other words, the fact that there was a stranger at all in our yard was the only thing going through my head. (In case you are wondering, Dad had sent him out back to look at our aviaries as we raised exotic birds until he could finish his telephone call).
Now I am not saying that I am completely colour-blind, either. For example, last night at the crowded grocery store I noted that a gentleman who moved so I could squeeze by was tall and black. The woman he was with was short, and perhaps Latina, I don't remember exactly. There was also a very pregnant white woman in the soup aisle. While I was eyeing toys for my niece, I moved out of the way for a white man with a pot belly and a Hawaiian shirt. A male store employee (didn't note race, but I think he was white) almost knocked over a pallet of heavy boxes. And the checkout clerk was a white woman with long hair. There was a man and his daughter looking at seat covers for a car, I believe they were both Latino. The only racist thought that went through my head about any of them was that many Latinos in this area took good care of their cars and have pride in them, like putting religious stickers, keeping them very clean, and their names in gothic font in the back windshield. Then again, I also thought the Hawaiian shirt guy was rude for not even smiling when I made a crack that I was hogging the whole aisle to myself. And I noted that the pregnant woman was a bit older than the average for conceiving, I made a guess at her age being late 30's/early 40's.
I am just a horrible person for people watching, I suppose.

Blog-a-licious

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NZ columnist: Women would stop getting beaten if they'd just stop having abortions, Feministing.
In Italy, Feminism Out, Women As Sex Symbols In also at Feministing. I heard that this morning on NPR, also.
And another plug for Feministing, Walgreens harasses woman buying Plan B.
Update on Amanda Palmer at Shakespeare's Sister.
Shakespeare's Sister also has a wonderful quote from Robert Novak showing what a douche he is.
Eating disorders in children growing, the F-Word. No surprise there.

Knitting Madness

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Will be rather quiet this month as I have a pile of knitting projects to finish for the holidays. Yes, I did refer to holidays in the plural. I do celebrate Yule and then Christmas in a secular fashion with my family. The good news is, is that I have a little extra time to get my family's done. The bad news is, is that my friends' gifts have to get done first.

Knitting in Public

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While out shopping on Black Friday with my family, at one large electronics store my dad decided he would rather get off his feet and sit on the benches at the front of the store. Where we sat, everyone leaving had to pass by us. So I took out my knitting and worked on my first ever pair of socks.
People stared as they passed. I joked to my dad that I felt like I was on display, and he said, "On your left we have the rare and endangered knitter..." One male teenager told me that it was "cool." I felt special. :D

Promoting Christianity in the military

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"In March 2008, this presentation, titled "A New Approach To Suicide Prevention: Developing Purpose-Driven Airmen," was shown at a commander's call that was mandatory for an estimated 1,000 of Lakenheath's Air Force personnel, and sent out by email to the entire base of over 5,000 the following day. As the use of the phrase "Purpose-Driven" in its title implies, also incorporated into this presentation is the wisdom of presidential candidate inquisitor Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, a book that, second only to the Bible itself, is the most heavily promoted religious book in the military.
Following a slide stating, "Dr. Rick Warren's book, The Purpose Driven Life, provides a powerful model for Suicide Prevention, developing leaders, and making troops combat ready and effective," the author of the presentation, Air Force chaplain Capt. Christian Biscotti, brings up Charles Darwin for the first time in defining what he calls "3 Levels of Purpose."On one of the next slides, Capt. Biscotti states that if we don't know where we came from we are lost, and that knowing where we come from is the origin of hope. This is followed by a slide comparing "Chance" and "Design," a.k.a. evolution and creationism.
And, why not work a little religious nationalism into this "suicide prevention" presentation? (I'm still trying to figure out how Capt. Biscotti came up with the notion that Charles Darwin was a leader of the former Soviet Union.)
Another segment of Capt. Biscotti's presentation, titled "FAITH is Foremost," contains three stories -- his own personal story, the story of the woman who made the news a few years back by talking her way out of a hostage situation by reading to her captor from The Purpose Driven Life, and, incredibly inappropriately for a presentation promoting religion, the story of Pat Tillman. I'm sure everyone remembers Lt. Col. Ralph Kauzlarich's outrageous remarks that Tillman's parents' dissatisfaction with the investigation of their son's death was caused by their religious beliefs, or lack thereof, saying in an ESPN.com interview, "When you die, I mean, there is supposedly a better life, right? Well, if you are an atheist and you don't believe in anything, if you die, what is there to go to? Nothing. You are worm dirt. So for their son to die for nothing, and now he is no more -- that is pretty hard to get your head around that. So I don't know how an atheist thinks. I can only imagine that that would be pretty tough." I'm fairly certain that the Tillmans would not be very happy to find out that their son is now being used as an example in a presentation promoting religion to the military.
The presentation ends by asking the viewer to receive their fist tool, which is to "Impart Faith." According to MRFF founder and president Mikey Weinstein, "The shocking discovery of this hideously unconstitutional, mandatory, military PowerPoint presentation, which is essentially coterminous with Rick Warren's sectarian Purpose Driven Life, takes the quintessential cake as far as magnitude of odiousness of illegality is concerned. Indeed, it is arguably not only the most prominent example in MRFF's current Federal lawsuit against the DoD of the 'pervasive and pernicious pattern and practice' of unconstitutional rape of the religious freedoms of our honorable armed forces members, but an example of the reckless substitution of religious ideology for the real professional help that could save the life of a member of our armed forces considering suicide.
Bertrand Russell once sagaciously opined that very few people can be happy without hating another person, nation or creed. This 'Purpose-Driven Airmen' mandatory presentation is the epitome of military-sanctioned 'hatred of the other' and those commanding its viewing must face trial by General Courts Martial."
The entire "Purpose-Driven Airmen" PowerPoint presentation can be viewed here."
Sad to say, I am not all that surprised. My inability to believe in Christianity's doctrine that contributed to my suicidal idealogy when I was younger. I simply could not believe the bull and contradictions touted in the Bible, but the faith of my friends seemed to make them happy so it should work for me, right? Wrong. When I stopped forcing myself, I defined what I felt in my heart which then led me down what the military would see as the "path of sin."
When you join the military, you give up some rights. Evidently the freedom of religion is one of those.