Harry Potter Part of Zionist Conspiracy

2:38 PM Posted In , , , , , Edit This 1 Comment »
"A short Iranian documentary recently translated by the Middle East Media Research Institue and published on the Jerusalem Post's website claims that the teen wizard hero of J.K. Rowling’s best-selling books and movies is being used to promote Zionist propaganda. The five-minute segment (video below), which aired on Iranian news channel IRINN on December 15, shows clips from 2002's "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" while several commentators offer their explanations of the symbolism in the series."Now more than ever," the Iranian film's narrator says, "this tool serves to spread the dark and evil essence of Zionism and its goals."
The commentators point to several different elements of the story as evidence of a Zionist agenda - pointing to the themes of witchcraft and wizardry, which the documentary ties to Kabbalah, the study of Jewish mysticism."
There are so many reasons why this is a load of bunk. Many witches (real life, not Harry Potter) do use aspects of Kabbalah, but not necessarily the religious components of it. Harry Potter, however, really only uses European mythology and methodology. For example, the wands and riding brooms. You don't find those in Kabbalah, which favours the ceremonial rather than the "low magic" you'll find in Harry Potter. Granted, I am not an expert on Kabbalah, just somewhat so on witchcraft.
""[The Zionists] are trying to convince viewers that because there is no easy way to distance oneself from witchraft, Satan and the like…they are saying indirectly, 'Join us,'" says Ali Asghar Sa’adati, billed as an Iranian expert on religious cinema."
They're conveniently overlooking the obvious fact that in Harry Potter World only those who have the ability born into them can use magic, those who can't classify as a muggle (i.e. non-magic user). So we couldn't "Join them."
"The IRINN piece also looks to the battle over "pure" wizarding blood as evidence of a Zionist subtext."
Only the bad guys in the books and movies place an emphasis on "purebloods." The good guys generally couldn't care less.
"Iranian film critic Sa'id Mostaghasi, meanwhile, sees Harry raised up as a Messianic figure, and his final battle with the Dark Lord Voldemort as being akin to the End of Days."[The Zionists] support Harry Potter because he is the promised Messiah," Mostaghasi says. "As you can see, he has the same traits and wants to defeat a dark force, which in this film is depicted as Voldemort. In the sixth episode, there is even mention of the War of Armageddon."
That part is open to interpretation. I don't personally see Harry as a potential saviour figure, namely due to his character flaws and the fact that no One Greater Power gave him super abilities to defeat Voldemort. Then there's the point that he does not fight alone. The entire wizarding world is divided into two camps, but certainly does not affect the entire world. Some Christians argue that Harry Potter contains Biblical allegories. And us real-life witches have the biggest claim on Harry Potter. We could probably go round and round this point for hours, comparing Harry Potter to cultural folklore and practices around the world and you'll find some way to make it fit each one.
Ultimately this was produced by people who are out looking for boogeymen and will find them by dint of their own imaginations, and lack a true understanding of the differences in various magickal systems.

Outrage of the Day - Drunken Rape is Still Rape

12:43 PM Posted In , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
Recent Savage Love column
"That's Rape
By Dan Savage
I'm an 18-year-old straight female. Two nights ago, I went to a party. My ex-boyfriend was present, but my current boyfriend was not. I had several beers, and while I wasn't drunk, I was tipsy. I had to go to my car to get my cell phone, and my ex offered to accompany me. When we got to the car, he pushed me against the car and started making out with me. I tried to push him away and said, "No, I can't" several times. He kept trying to pull my pants down, and every time he did, I pulled them back up. He took his dick out and tried again to pull down my pants. I know it sounds stupid, but all I could get out were meek "nos" and "I can'ts." I was afraid of a confrontation because he and I have been friendly since we broke up.
I eventually discontinued my attempts to pull my pants back up because I figured the easiest way to get out of this situation was to let him finish. He had sex with me. I wanted to cry the whole time, but as much as I wanted to scream, "Stop! Get the fuck off of me!" I couldn't get the words out.
I called my boyfriend when I got home and told him what happened. He is angry because he thinks I had a part in it. I don't know how to make him understand how many times I said no and how at first I physically stopped my ex from taking my clothes off. My boyfriend and I have been through a lot together, and we talked about getting married one day. I never wanted to cheat on him, and while I feel guilty about what happened, I think he's being harsh on me considering I succumbed to force.
I've apologized again and again, but I don't know how to make things right. I still don't want a confrontation with the ex. I just want to forget about him and never see him or speak to him again. I just want things to be okay again with my boyfriend. Is there anything I can do or say to make him understand?
Date Rape Engenders Awful Depression
Understand that you were raped, DREAD—date-ish raped, acquaintance-ish raped, gray-area-ish raped, blurry-booze-soaked-lines raped, and raped under circumstances that would make bringing charges a futile exercise. But raped. Your ex kept coming at you, and you were paralyzed by a set of inhibitions—a desire to avoid confrontation at all costs (even the cost of your own violation), a desire to avoid making your victimizer feel bad—that are pounded into the heads of girls and young women. Your ex exploited this vulnerability. Your ex may not think he raped you since you finally "let him," and perhaps he interprets that as consent and so, distressingly, does your boyfriend. But raped you were.
So what do you do now? I'd suggest a bit more contact with your ex. You need to confront him—for your own sake, DREAD, but also for the sake of all other women he's going to encounter over the course of his life. If you can't face him, call him. If you can't speak to him, write him (a letter, not an e-mail). Wherever he is right now, he's rationalizing away his responsibility for what happened. He may be telling himself that he was drunk, that you were drunk, and that, sure, he may have been aggressive at first, but that you came around and enjoyed it as much as he did. He needs to hear from you that you regard—and, for what it's worth, I regard—what happened as rape. Tell him that he didn't get away with it—that he raped you, you know it, and now he knows it. Then tell him that if the circumstances were just a little less ambiguous, DREAD, that you would be going to the police.
Hell, tell him you still might. Put the fear of God into him.
Then you need to confront the boyfriend: If your boyfriend can't take your side, DREAD, if he can't see what really happened here, if he insists on victimizing you, too, then you don't need him in your life any more than you need your ex in your life."
Amen. Hallelujah. So say we all. Blessed be. So mote it be.
The worst part is that the damn boyfriend is blaming the victim when his sorry ass should be supportive, caring, and oh, I dunno, maybe all the things a partner should be?

Vegetarian = gay!

10:40 AM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »
"(New York City) A Wall Street currency trader is suing his former bosses claiming he was subjected to homophobic slurs after he said he did not eat meat.
Ryan Pacifico worked in the New York office of Calyon in the Americas, a firm owned by Credit Agricole CIB of France.
According to Pacifico’s suit, filed in a Manhattan court, he was doing well at the company until he got a new boss.
The discrimination suit names the supervisor, Robert Catalanello, Calyon, and one
other employee.
Pacifico claims that after complaining about the slurs he was fired last March.
In papers filed with the court, Pacifico claims that when Catalanello learned the 28-year-old trader did not eat meat, he called him “a vegetarian homo.” The slurs continued when Catalanello saw a photo of Pacifico in running tights.
The court papers say that Pacifico is not gay and married, but that the law protecting workers from homophobia in the workplace extend to heterosexuals.
The company has not commented on the lawsuit. “They associated being a vegetarian with being gay,” Pacifico’s attorney Rick Ostrove told The Daily News. “It’s a ridiculous male stereotype that only real men eat meat.”
I like 365gay.com for their news and articles, but I really wish they'd get their terms right. They've referred to a bisexual woman as a lesbian, and now a vegan = vegetarian. And it's also a ridiculous stereotype that gay men aren't real men, either.

Why I am not on a diet

12:22 PM Posted In , , , , , Edit This 2 Comments »
All right, so after my last post I feel the need to come clean. I am not on a diet. I am completely altering my lifestyle. Here is what I wrote in a forum on Ravelry when I began two weeks ago:

"So eating healthy/losing weight is a huge can of worms. I have several health issues so when I exercise everything below my knees soon hurts. My family has been on my case basically ever since high school, when I put on the weight after my first foot surgery. So I tend to get easily upset over my weight, just grocery shopping has been known to bring me to the brink of tears. I realized I really can’t do this without a support system.
I play Dungeons and Dragons a couple nights a week, and on those nights there’s the junk food/7-11 pilgrimage. Sunday night, most recent game night, I announced my plans to not indulge in junk (i.e. no more bags of Doritos to myself and energy drinks in the course of one game). Cheese is one of my true loves, next to crafting and s/o. “Bob” is a big guy, and really great cook of unhealthy stuff. He started everyone in a
round of teasing me with, “Jer is so full of Brie.” Or “I promise I won’t mention those compressed bits of dairy curd.” “So no Swiss for insert my character’s name here?” It wouldn’t stop, even after I threatened to stab everyone with size 2 Addi Turbos [knitting needles]. I almost started crying.
Luckily, my s/o and I are doing this together and he cooks on game nights when I don’t have time after work.
The plan of attack is what I did when I was on LA Weight Loss (but couldn’t afford that much food/so many trips to the store at the time nor driving across town to the center, as well as shame when I fell off the wagon for a couple of months).
Weight: No idea, perhaps around 200?

Highest weight ever was 205

Height: 5’3”

Size: 18

Goal: 140?

Goal Size: 10-12?

Veggies: 4 servings

Fruit: 3 servings

Carbs: 2 servings

Protein: 2 servings

Dairy: 1 serving :( Fat: 1 serving Water: 8 glasses Exercise: When I can get it, in addition to bellydance with friends a couple of hours once a week.
Today: low fat string cheese, an apple, applesauce cup, a can of Progresso Healthy Request Soup, two cups of coffee (creamer added, which was still in the fridge and needs to be finished to make room for low-fat versions), and no water.
Not too bad, but could be better.
Edited because a stated goal is a good thing. I don’t really know how much I want to lose, but at least 50 pounds would be good."

I only threw in the last bit about the amount of weight I would like to lose because I don't want to stop after 10 pounds, thinking that I did good and not continue. On the other hand, I don't want to go overboard and starve myself to skin and bones. (Not that have ever been, nor ever will be skin and bones, but I want to be healthy).
And this is what I wrote this morning:
"So I have this habit of occasionally grabbing my belly (where I carry almost all of my excess fat i.e. anywhere else but my boobs) with both hands and just jiggling it up and down. Sometimes I’ll yell at it in frustration. Sometimes I do it just to make me laugh. Sometimes it’s to remind me why I’m doing this. The past couple of days, it’s felt, I dunno, somehow looser. Less dense.
Being an anti-scaleworshipper, I hopped on my non-digital one. And I’ve lost five pounds since I last posted. Granted, I was fairly bad last week for my birthday (two
parties, one involving pizza and cheesecake, the other lots of rich Italian food).
But I’ve been hiking (not uphill really because we’re working up to that) at least once a week. I haven’t been drinking enough water because I work in a cold warehouse and the thought of cold water is enough to make me run for the coffee. And when I really want junk food, I have some. Not an entire bag of chips, which I can do without even blinking, but last night I wanted jerky and a couple of mini chocolate donuts. So I did, but my dinner wasn’t just junk (which was normal on game nights for me)."
The scale was only out of curiosity to see if it was my imagination or not. This isn't about fitting some insane ideal image that has been pressed onto me by society and the media. This isn't a New Year's Resolution to be forgotten in February. I am not going overboard and denying myself everything but carrots and water. Hell, I don't even have a gym membership.
I want to be able to get out and do all the things I want to do like hiking, camping, and biking. I want to be able to fit into clothes, theatre seats, and other crowded spaces. I want to have energy. In short, I want to be healthy. My previous ways of eating and sedentary lifestyle were the exact opposite of that.
And eating healthier, home-cooked meals is a) cheaper and b) not contributing to huge evil fast food corporations.
The focus isn't on weight and how I look, but how I feel.

Just another reason to hate Fox News...

12:12 PM Posted In , , , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
They think Jessica Simpson's fat.

Rather than grace Faux News with a link, I'm going to send you over to William K. Wolfrum Chronicles where I read it first, who deserves it far more than they do.

Btw, not fat. ------->

Outrage of the Day- Part 2 Gay Man's Killer Released Early

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"(Vancouver, British Columbia) The man described as the ringleader in killing of a gay man in a Vancouver park eight years ago is being released early from prison after serving four years of a Ryan Cran was convicted of manslaughter in 2005 in the slaying of Aaron Webster.
Webster’s naked body was found in a pool of blood on a footpath near a public parking lot in a gay cruising area of Vancouver’s Stanley Park in November 2001. An autopsy showed he had been beaten to death with a blunt instrument, probably a baseball bat. Stanley Park was a well known cruising area and the killing galvanized
Vancouver’s gay community and police at the time.
Cran was sentenced to six years in prison, while two young offenders received lesser terms after admitting their roles in the November 2001 beating. A fourth man was found not guilty.
At Cran’s sentencing, prosecutors asked for a six- to nine-year sentence, but did not seek to have the case treated as a hate crime to allow for a longer sentence - something that angered Webster’s family and BC LGBT activists.
Nevertheless, at the sentencing hearing, the judge was told that Cran had not shown any remorse for the killing. The prosecutor said that the pack of armed men were looking to hunt down another human being for entertainment.
The two juveniles were released after serving two years in a youth detention center.
During his four years behind bars, Cran launched several unsuccessful appeals. Under Canadian law, a prisoner can be freed after serving two-thirds of a sentence if there have been no problems during the incarceration.
Webster’s cousin Denise Norman had lobbied the National Parole Board to have Cran banned from the predominantly gay West End where the park was located.
The board disregarded Norman’s plea. Cran’s release conditions only require counseling, refraining from alcohol, and having no contact with Webster’s family."

Go Arizona!

11:44 AM Posted In , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
"Two gay Arizona men have begun a voter initiative to legalize civil partnerships in the state.
Gino Meriano and Philip Cotton filed notice of the proposal with the Secretary of State’s Office, the first step to begin collecting signatures to have the question put to voters in 2010.
“This was a special moment and one that Philip and I will not forget, at last a new start and fresh approach for Arizona by bringing a new concept that will provide same-sex couples full and equal legal rights and protection that is well overdue,” Meriano said in a statement.
To get the question placed on the ballot they will need to collect 230,047 valid signatures.
If approved, the measure would provide almost all of the rights and obligations of marriage that are covered under Arizona law. That would include tax benefits currently available only to married couples, partner rights to determine each other’s care if one is unable to make medical decisions, inclusion in domestic violence laws and the ability to collect benefits after a partner’s death or to inherit a partner’s assets on death."
Unfortunately, I doubt that it'll go through. After all, this is the state that produced McCain. The majority of my friends are from Arizona, and I hear tons of stories about how conservative it is. And when I say conservative, it lives up to the stereotypes of the ignorant, redneck, shove-Christianity-down-your-throat Republican. Obviously, not all Arizonans fit this stereotype, after all, my friends came from there. But that is the prevailing atmosphere.

Outrage of the Day- Slumdog Millionaire Child Actors

9:58 AM Posted In , , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
The economic discrepancies between America and India don't mean squat in this case. The following is from Thinkprogress.org:
"Rubina Ali and Azharuddin Ismail, two of the child actors in “Slumdog Millionaire,” are still living in the slums of Mumbai, despite the film’s $14 million budget and worldwide success. Ali earned 500 British pounds ($710) for one year’s work and Ismail earned 1700 pounds ($2414), “less than many Indian domestic servants“:
Both children were found places in a local school and receive £20 a month for books and food. However, they continue to live in grinding poverty and their families say they have received no details of the trust funds set up in their names. Their parents said that they had hoped the film would be their ticket out of the slums, and that its success had made them realise how little their children had been paid.
Ismail is in fact “worse off” now, as his “family’s illegal hut was demolished by the local authorities and he now sleeps under a sheet of plastic tarpaulin.” Ali lives nearby — in a “hut.” A Fox Searchlight spokesperson said he is “proud” of their treatment and boasted, “For 30 days work, the children were paid three times the average local annual adult salary.”"
Ok, they get kudos for helping the kids to get an education. That's about it. The movie itself has been a huge success, awards all over the place. And I'm not surprised to see Fox behind it all, really.

Bloggity, blog, blog

10:28 AM Posted In , , , , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
Good reads in no particular order.



Shakespeare's Sister: Math is Hard.



William K. Wolfrum Chronicles: Catholic Skinheads Made the Pope Happy. (They don't get the irony that they're following a religion that originated in the Middle East, from "those brown people.")



Religious Right Watch: Soldiers Pressured to Applaud Warren.



Feministe: Gender Discrimination in Kidney Transplants.



Feministing: Surprise! Women Have to Work Harder!

I love being a Witch...

12:35 PM Posted In Edit This 0 Comments »
Because every time I start craving for the next book in The Hollows series, it's just about time for it to come out. It's like my spider senses are tingling.
Much better than Anita Blake, which is geared more towards 30-somethings and are really detective novels sexed up. And light years beyond Twilight, which is really the new Buffy for teens and early 20-somethings with no taste.
The Hollows has attitude, sex, kicking ass, and chock full of strong, independent feminine characters. It's not a love story in any way shape or form. Love is thrown in there in all its messy glory because that's how it happens in life.
I want to take Tonya up to Powell's for Kim Harrison's Oregon appearance.
From The Devil's Panties, who obviously has a slightly different opinion than I do on Twilight.


Contraceptive Stimulus Myth Debunked

12:30 PM Posted In Edit This 0 Comments »
"This week, the focus is on contraceptives. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) has claimed that the package would spend “hundreds of millions on contraceptives.” Yesterday on ABC’s This Week, host George Stephanopoulos asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) about the provision.
Pelosi replied:
PELOSI: Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children’s health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those - one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.
Here is the actual text from the stimulus package’s summary:
State Option to Cover Family Planning Services. Under current law, the Secretary has the authority under section 1115 of the Social Security Act to grant waivers to states to allow them to cover family planning services and supplies to low-income women who are not otherwise eligible for Medicaid. The bill would give states the option to provide such coverage without obtaining a waiver. States could continue to use the existing waiver authority if they preferred.

Like other portions of the stimulus bill, this measure would not only aid states, but also provide preventative, cost-saving health care to help low-income women support their families and keep working. It focuses on access to recommended services and contraception to prevent unplanned pregnancies and promote maternal and infant health — not abortion. ThinkProgress has learned that an upcoming Congressional Budget Office report estimates that this change would save $200 million over five years and $700 million over 10."
Either way, contraceptives are much cheaper than medical care and welfare for the unwanted children that would have resulted.

Oh noes! It's teh gayz!

12:26 PM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »
"Democratic party politicians in Maryland have announced plans to legislate against surveillance of non-violent groups after a gay rights activists were targeted by state police.
Equality Maryland, a group with thousands of members, works to secure and protect the rights of LGBT Marylanders by promoting legislative initiatives at state, county and municipal level using professional lobbyists and legislative staff.
It was one of several non-violent groups deemed a security threat by the Homeland
Security and Intelligence Division of Maryland State Police, who kept dossiers on activists and protests.
State Senator Jamie Raskin is one of those proposing new legislation:
“The State Police are not Maryland's thought police," he said.
"Marylanders have a right to work for environmental protection, an end to the death penalty, marriage equality, peace, and bike lanes without being spied upon and called terrorists by law enforcement officials.
"Our bill will forbid covert tactics against our citizens unless there is specific reasonable suspicion that they are engaged in criminal activity.
"It will also forbid the Orwellian practice of keeping political dossiers on citizens that are not part of actual criminal investigations. At a time of staggering financial crisis, let's stop wasting our money spying on people nonviolently exercising their political freedom."
Police have said they will purge the existing files."
It's nice to see our basic rights being protected again.

At least it's a step in the right direction...

12:24 PM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »
"A majority in the state House has signed on as co-sponsors of a bill that would give same-sex couples in Hawaii all of the rights of marriage but without the name. But whether the bill will make it to a vote on the floor depends on just a couple of committee members who are expressing reservations.
If passed, the measure would legalize civil unions with all of the benefits, protections and responsibilities of marriage. It would also recognize domestic partnerships entered into in other states where they are legal. Marriages from Massachusetts and Connecticut would be regarded as civil unions. Under the legislation, same-sex couples would have to obtain a license and then have the civil union performed by a judge, a retired judge or a member of the clergy."
W00t! Go Hawaii!

Hypocrisy: It's Your God-Given Right

12:06 PM Posted In , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
Let's examine this, shall we?
"The Shadow Justice Secretary has expressed support for an amendment to laws protecting lesbian, gay and bisexual people.
In May the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act created an offence of incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation.
However, an amendment by Tory peer Lord Waddington, a former Home Secretary under Margaret Thatcher, was added to the legislation.
His amendment to the offence of using threatening language with intent to stir up hatred on grounds of sexual orientation said that urging someone to change their sexuality should not count "of itself" as threatening or as intended to stir up hatred."
Wait, so harrassing someone who won't "change" their sexuality to fit your religious ideals is perfectly ok?
"While Lord Waddington claimed his amendment was about "free speech," in effect it gives people leeway to claim they were just following their religious beliefs if accused of inciting others to hate gay, lesbian or bisexual people."
It's not ok for people to persecute me because I'm a Christian, but it's ok for me to persecute others because they're gay and my religion tells me to.
"Treatment such as this makes me ashamed of the system we seem to be creating in this country," said Mr Grieve.
Ben Summerskill, chief executive of gay equality organisation Stonewall, said the Waddington amendment has no effect on the law and categorised it as "a bit of red meat for the Tory Right."
"You would not put a clause in saying it is OK to hate Jewish people," he said."
Hatred is not a virtue.
"Guidance will be issued making crystal clear the difference between the trivial causing of offence and the criminal incitement to hatred," said Mr Summerskill.
"There is a catalogue of cases cited by the Christian Institute last year, not one of which withstood scrutiny.
"It is distressing that some organisations that claim to be Christian do not put as much emphasis on truth as one would expect."

We can't help but rape because Italian women are so beautiful

10:59 AM Posted In , , Edit This 1 Comment »
Seriously? "We can't help it"? It's really simple: she says no, you go home with just your hand. Obviously he's not dedicated to stopping this if he is making excuses for rapists!
"Around 3,000 armed troops have been patrolling Italian cities and guarding sensitive sites since August. Mr Berlusconi, who was re-elected for the third time last year, said the aim was to increase "ten-fold" the military presence in order to confront "an evil army" of criminals.
When the opposition said the soldiers had done nothing to reduce crime, Mr Berlusconi responded by saying that Italy did not have a large enough force to avoid the risk of attacks on women.
"We could not field a big enough force to avoid this risk [of rape]. We would need so many soldiers because our women are so beautiful," he said."
Gee, he makes it sound enjoyable. As though women should take rape as a compliment to their beauty.
"The 72-year-old billionaire, whose fondness for flirting with women has earned him public reprimands from his wife, was accused of being flippant about a very serious matter.
"Berlusconi ought to refrain from saying offensive things about women," said Vittoria Franco, the shadow equality minister.
"Basically what he is saying is that if women leave home alone they run the risk of being raped or attacked because it is not possible to make the country safe," she said."

Quote of the Day

10:43 AM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »
"I've never heard of any educated individual asserting that the viewing of naked or near naked people would shock a 10 year old into puberty." -Jim McGee, Editor of Vivid Light magazine.

Completely and shameless kiped from Reave Vanshar, originally from Vivid Light.

Creationism vs. Real Science Once Again

10:09 AM Posted In , Edit This 0 Comments »
"One would think that by now the teaching-evolution-in-schools debate was settled. But not in Texas, where the State Board of Education fumbled a decision on curriculum standards last week. The struggle will be resumed in March, when the board is scheduled to take its final votes on new science standards that will govern what is taught in the classroom and in textbooks.
Seven of the board’s 15 members are deemed social conservatives. What the board decides could have an impact on many other states, because Texas is a huge market for textbooks and publishers are often reluctant to produce multiple versions of the same textbook.
The voting, a preliminary test of how the culture-war winds are blowing, concerned whether to approve or amend proposed new standards that had been carefully crafted by teams of educators and other experts. The new standards dropped a phrase that had been in previous ones requiring students to study the “strengths and weaknesses” of all scientific theories. Although that language may seem innocuous, it has been construed in recent years as code words for introducing critiques of evolution theory put forth by advocates of creationism and its close cousin, intelligent design.
We were heartened when the board beat back, by a very narrow margin, efforts to reintroduce the language on “weaknesses.” But the conservative bloc immediately recouped by pushing through amendments that require students to assess the arguments “for and against” common ancestry, a core element of evolution theory, and its “sufficiency or insufficiency” to explain the fossil record. How that differs from the old language of “strengths and weaknesses” is not readily apparent.
The lesson we draw from these shenanigans is that scientifically illiterate boards of education should leave the curriculum to educators and scientists who know what constitutes a sound education."
If ya'll want your kids to be exposed to Creationism (or the vaguely politically correct terminology giving it the illusion of actual science "Intelligent Design"), here's a radical thought: TAKE THEM TO SUNDAY SCHOOL! Read your particular scriptures with them. Enroll them in fundamentalist Christian schools. Spend time with them indoctrinating them with your beliefs. Don't make public school teachers do what you think is your job for you. Quite simply, your personal laziness should not affect all children because what you really want is proselytizing in the classroom.

Hmmm, abortion donuts

10:01 AM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »
Makes me wanna go out and buy me some abortion donuts!
"Krispy Kreme, being the genial purveyor of glazed goodness that it is, decided to get in on the Obama inauguration craze and is offering one free doughnut to every costumer on January 20, Inauguration day, and released this seemingly innocuous press release:
"Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. (NYSE: KKD) is honoring American's sense of pride and freedom of choice on Inauguration Day, by offering a free doughnut of choice to every customer on this historic day, Jan. 20. By doing so, participating Krispy Kreme stores nationwide are making an oath to tasty goodies -- just another reminder of how oh-so-sweet 'free' can be."Well, The American Life League noticed the liberal use of the word choice and decided to blast the chain bakery for producing abortion doughnuts."The unfortunate reality of a post-Roe v. Wade America is that 'choice' is synonymous with abortion access, and celebration of 'freedom of choice' is a tacit endorsement of abortion rights on demand," the group's president, Judie Brown said in a statement.File this under "Overreactionary Wing Nuts" and another attempt of conservatives to redefine words for their political means (You can try to rewrite the Constitution, but not the dictionary). Of course, the "overreactionary libtard" counter to this is that conservatives want to demonize all choice from America until we're living under a fundamentalist dictatorship.
A fundamentalist dictatorship without doughnuts."

Outrage of the Day- Human Rights Lawyer Assassinated

9:06 AM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »
According to what I heard on NPR this morning, the Russian government has been targeting those critical of it. Their only recourse is to use lawyers, those who are willing to stand up are especially in danger.
"One of Russia's top human rights lawyers was assassinated in the centre of Moscow yesterday in a killing apparently linked to his work defending opponents of the pro-Kremlin government in Chechnya.
Stanislav Markelov, 34, was shot in the head by a man using a pistol with a silencer in the middle of the afternoon on a busy Moscow street. Markelov worked as a lawyer for Novaya Gazeta, the newspaper whose special correspondent Anna Politkovskaya was murdered in Moscow in 2006. The paper's co-owner Alexander Lebedev last night said Markelov had dealt with Politkovskaya's case.
Before escaping, his killer also shot Anastasia Barburova, a 25-year-old trainee journalist also employed by Novaya Gazeta. She had been walking with the lawyer to the metro when the killer, who wore military fatigues, opened fire. Barburova died last night in hospital.
Witnesses said she tried to chase the assassin, who turned and shot her in the head. Lebedev said the newspaper had grown concerned for the safety of its staff on Saturday after it published an article about Chechen execution squads roaming around Moscow. Several staff were put under protection, he added.
Markelov was one of Russia's most prominent human rights advocates. As well as his work for Novaya Gazeta, he represented the family of an 18-year-old Chechen woman who was murdered and raped in 2000 by a drunken Russian army colonel. The case was one of the most notorious to arise out of the Kremlin's two savage Chechen wars.
Col Yuri Budanov snatched Kheda Kungayeva from her father's house during a late-night raid in 2000, killed her inside his tent, and then ordered his subordinates to secretly bury the body. He was convicted of murder in 2003, despite claiming he had temporarily gone insane and had mistaken her for a sniper.
Budanov was released from prison last week, 18 months early. The case had prompted outrage in Chechnya, and news of his release sparked protests across the republic. Hours before he was murdered yesterday, Markelov had said he planned to appeal Budanov's release. Human rights activists yesterday said they were appalled by Markelov's killing, which they compared to the murder of Politkovskaya. "We don't know who killed him. But we know he was killed for doing his job, without a shadow of a doubt," said Tanya Lokshina of Human Rights Watch in Moscow. "He was one of those people prepared to risk his life for the cause. He was funny, outrageous and sometimes quite obnoxious. He was a colleague and friend. We travelled to Chechnya together. He was always telling jokes, including the most obscene ones. I can't believe he's gone." She went on: "His murder is similar [in scale] to Politkovskaya's. He is the latest in a long line of strong critics of the state who have got killed. In each case the killers are never caught. We are just appalled that this has happened.' The lawyer was murdered outside a historic palace in upmarket Prechistenka Street.
Witnesses at the scene said there was no sound of gunshots. "It was 3pm. A passerby came in to call for an ambulance. She said a man and a woman were lying on the ground," Natalya Ivanova, who works in the chemist's opposite, said, adding: "The killing was outrageous. It was in broad daylight in a street full of people."
Russia's prosecutor general Yuri Chaika announced he was taking personal charge of the investigation. The assassin was described as of Slavic appearance, 5ft 11in tall and wearing a baseball cap.
Relatives of the dead Chechen woman yesterday said Markelov had received threats before his assassination.
"He said: 'I am being sent text messages, people are calling. They are saying they will kill me unless I stop the Budanov affair,'" her father, Visa Kungayev, told Ekho Moskvy radio. Last night sources suggested that the killers responsible for Poltikovskaya's murder may have been involved in yesterday's. Chechnya's president Ramzan Kadyrov, a close ally of Russia's prime minister Vladimir Putin, has been accused of involvement in Politkovskaya's death, one of several such charges he denies.
As well as the Budanov case, Markelov represented the family of a Chechen man who vanished last August. Mokhmadsalakh Masaev was abducted in Chechnya several weeks after giving an interview to Novaya Gazeta, in which he said he had been kept and tortured in a prison in Kadyrov's home village for four months.
Another critic of Chechnya's president, 27-year-old Umar Israilov, was shot dead in Vienna last week. Israilov had filed a complaint to the European court of human rights in 2006, alleging that Kadyrov had personally tortured him.
According to last week's New York Times, another Chechen, Artur Kurmakayev, claimed Kadyrov had a death list of 300 Chechens living abroad."
The Guardian

Outrage of the Day- Witchcraft Deemed Illegal

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"Sources within the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice [CPVPV] in Saudi Arabia have revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that the CPVPV will move to combat magic and those who practice it, and regulate the exercise of legitimate spiritual healing, by instituting a system designed to deal with such practices which are against Islamic Shariaa Law.

Sources close to the CPVPV leadership in the Saudi capital of Riyadh revealed that a number of legal consultancies were studying the draft version and procedural guidelines of this project. Asharq Al-Awsat managed to obtain a copy of this draft which gives the police the right to deal with witches and sorcerers, and the means to identify and convict them."

In short, the Saudi religious police are stepping up their efforts to persecute anyone and everyone who is not a male Muslim.

Why I couldn't care less about Sam Adams

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Synopsis: he had a fling with a young man a few weeks after the younger man turned 18, and then lied about it.
I don't care about a politician's personal life. Even if he was married and had an affair. As long as it was not a person working for him and otherwise not breaking any law, who cares? Yes, it makes the gay community look bad at first. But if you think about it, countless politicians have done the same and not been asked to resign (Clinton excluded). Straight politicians do it all the time. Why should we have to be even squeakier clean than them?
It comes down to this: straights/conservatives/homophobes are going to persecute us, anyway. Let's not do the job for them. Not saying that we should trust and protect Adams unconditionally, either. Just ease up on the pitchforks and torches, mm'k?

Lies Women Must Tell

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This topic came up on a feminist's board. I shamelessly gleaned and condensed them here in no particular order.

1. I’m sorry for coming across so strongly.

2. The lie of omission, as in keeping one's mouth shut.

3. We can't get along in groups.

4. All women like children. And if you don't, there's something wrong with you.

5. Weight.

6. No, I'm really not hungry.

7. No, I don't want dessert.

8. Intelligence, as in dumbing ourselves down.

9. Our real hair colour, even in its glorious grey.

10. Physical strength and capabilities.

11. Competitiveness.

12. Math and computer skills.

13. I don't like sex/don't have a sex drive.

14. I don't like sports.

15. I love housework and all things domestic.

16. I am not angry/uncomfortable/upset/having any emotion other than bland vapid cheeriness.

17. I like and care about fashion.

18. I like and care about celebrity gossip.

19. I can't manage my own finances efficiently.

20. I know absolutely nothing about cars.

21. Age.

22. I can't be the sole/primary earner of the household without there being something wrong.

23. I have no sense of direction.

24. I have no political opinions. Or if I do, I can't disagree with a man in the room.

25. I don't have hair anywhere other than my head, brows, and lashes.

26. I don't have a single physical imperfection.

27. I don't have a single bodily function.

28. I am unable to make large purchase items alone.

29. I only want a man with a giant penis.

30. The only time a man is annoying is when I'm hormonal.

31. I have no accomplishments. Or if I do, I'm not proud of them.

32. I love shopping.

33. I prefer girly drinks.

34. I love shoes, especially high heels.

35. I prefer a man to drive.

36. I want a man to dominate the conversation.

37. I am a bad driver.

38. I am always watching my weight.

39. I hate other woman who might possibly be competition.

40. I love chick flicks.

41. I am happy to be with anyone, anyone at all because no one else will want me.

42. Being a stay-at-home parent is all the fulfillment and intellectual stimulation I need.

43. I don't mind being called pet names by male strangers.

44. I like being called a "girl," despite the fact I am an adult woman.

Happy Chinese New Year!

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"The Chinese New Year — or the Year of the Ox — is fast approaching on Jan. 26.
One of the great traditions is to clean out the house a week before the New Year to "sweep out the old in order to usher in the new," according to Grace Young, the author of The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen.
Another is to make offerings to the kitchen god as a sort of bribe.
"The kitchen god is a domestic god that resides behind the stove and he watches over everything in your home," Young tells NPR's Melissa Block. "And the Chinese believe that the heart of the family resides in the kitchen. … The family always puts a food offering in front of this little altar that they have right by the stove."
The idea is that when the kitchen god goes up to see the jade emperor, his report will be favorable and you'll have a prosperous new year, Young says.
Young says that her grandmother used to put out a whole chicken because it represents "a proper beginning and end to the year and a wholeness of life on earth." Her grandmother would also put out roast pork — because it signifies prosperity — a stir-fried lettuce dish and rice wine.
Stir-Fried Scallops With Snow Peas And Peppers
Scallops, clams and mussels are regarded as lucky foods. The opening of their shells represents a fresh beginning for the New Year. This is a classic Cantonese stir-fry lightly flavored with ginger and garlic. You can also add 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes in the sauce mixture for a more fiery stir-fry. Serves 2 to 3 as a main dish, or 4 as part of a multi-course meal.
1 pound sea scallops
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons oyster flavored sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
1 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
4 slices ginger
3 medium cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
1 cup snow peas, strings removed
2 scallions, cut into 2-inch sections
1. Wash the scallops in cold water, removing any visible bits of shell or grit. Drain well in a colander and pat dry with paper towels. If there are any large scallops, halve or cut them into thirds to match the size of the other scallops. In a small bowl, combine the chicken broth, soy sauce, oyster sauce, cornstarch, rice wine, sesame oil, sugar, and salt. Stir until the cornstarch is dissolved. Set aside.
2. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or 12-inch skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Add 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil and the scallops, spreading them evenly in the wok. Cook undisturbed 1 minute, letting scallops begin to brown. Then, using a metal spatula stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes, or until scallops are firm and slightly brown but not cooked through. Remove scallops from the wok to a plate.
3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil, ginger, garlic, red bell pepper, snow peas, and scallions. Stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes, or until pepper begins to soften. Re-stir sauce mixture and swirl it into the wok. Return the scallops and any juices that have accumulated on the plate to the wok and stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly and scallops are just cooked through. Adapted from The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen: Classic Family Recipes for Celebration and Healing, by Grace Young, Simon and Schuster 1999.
Good Fortune Stir-Fried Garlic Lettuce
Lettuce is a favorite New Year's dish because the Cantonese word for lettuce saang choi, sounds like plentiful wealth. This stir-fry is extremely easy to make. The iceberg attains sweetness from the soy sauce, sesame oil and rice wine, and only takes three minutes to stir-fry. Bok choy is also delicious cooked in this manner. The best pans for stir-frying are a carbon-steel wok or a stainless-steel skillet. Do not stir-fry over high heat with a nonstick skillet. Serves 4 as a vegetable side dish.
1 medium head iceberg lettuce
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
3 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
3 medium cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Core the iceberg and separate into leaves. Wash the lettuce in several changes of cold water, breaking the leaves in half. Drain thoroughly in a colander until dry to the touch.
2. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine, sugar and pepper.
3. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or 12-inch skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Add the peanut oil and garlic, and stir-fry 10 seconds or until just fragrant. Add the lettuce and stir-fry one minute. Add the salt and stir-fry another minute, or until the lettuce is just limp. Swirl in the sauce and stir-fry one more minute, or until the lettuce is just tender and still bright green.
Adapted from The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen: Classic Family Recipes for Celebration and Healing, by Grace Young, Simon and Schuster 1999."
From NPR

Outrage of the Day- The Cross is Secular

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"The Christian cross is not an appropriate symbol to memorialize deceased veterans of many different faith perspectives and should not be displayed on government property, Americans United for Separation of Church and State has told a federal appeals court.
Americans United and other religious and civil liberties groups today asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a lower court’s ruling holding that the Mt. Soledad cross in San Diego is a secular war memorial."
“American service personnel come from many different faiths and some follow no spiritual path at all,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “It is disrespectful to our deceased veterans to use the symbol of only one faith to memorialize them all." “As a Christian minister, I know the cross has great meaning for many Christians,” Lynn continued, “but it is simply not an appropriate marker for non-Christians.”
“That the cross is used in a veterans’ memorial here does not make it secular,” asserts the brief. “In fact, as a burial marker, the cross has been used almost exclusively for Christian burials in order to convey a sectarian message that the deceased lived and died as a member of a particular Christian community. And as a monument in a veterans’ memorial, the cross conveys a similar sectarian message: that only fallen Christian soldiers are being remembered. Given the ‘commanding presence’ of the Mt. Soledad cross in relation to the rest of the memorial, the primary message that this cross communicates is religious, not secular.”
Added Americans United Senior Litigation Counsel Alex J. Luchenitser, “The towering cross, visible for miles around, sends a message that the government favors and endorses Christianity, and it fails to honor the sacrifices of the many non-Christian soldiers who have given their lives in the service of their country.”
What drugs do you have to be on to interpret the freaking cross as a secular symbol?

Rush Limbaugh's obsessed with anal sex.

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Does anything more really need to be said?

Obligatory Musings on the Inauguration

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I was only able to listen through to the end of Biden's speech because I had to work. That was enough to make me tear up.
The prayer, unsurprisingly, annoyed me with its tendency to beat you over the head with Christianity. Then again, I am spoiled because I attend a Unitarian Univeralist church. Our prayers are much more general and are usually to the Divine, however we define it personally. As they said on NPR, Rick Warren was chosen as an appeasement to the religious right. You should already have guessed what I'm going to say. Why should anyone, let alone our very leader, have to go out of his way to make a minority happy? No, the religious nutjobs do not compose the greater portion of our nation.
Naturally, I was, and am, proud to have our first African American President. But I find the argument that this could only happen in the U.S. ridiculous. True, we are one of the few democratic countries. However, not all countries in the world are as prejudiced and racist as we are. How many other countries were founded by genocide? (Note that I said "founded by" not "currently or have ever practiced").
I do believe there will be a female president in my lifetime, only on the condition that she is white, happily married with children, moderately attractive, and Protestant. I do not, however, believe that there will be a non-Christian in the White House for at least another century, if we are still around by then.
As I have said before, I don't care what religion our leader is as long as it's a positive, life-affirming one. But the religious nutjobs and Republicans have convinced everyone that we need to have a Christian leader because we are a Christian Country (tm). And we certainly couldn't have a Muslim in office, even if it might have provided him a unique insight to help. They have even convinced people without a particular faith that Obama is a Muslim and we can't have a Muslim as President. I was talking to Bronn, who is a witch, about this very topic and he became very angry, saying that the Qur'an tells Muslims to kill anyone who is not of the faith.
Every religion has its good and bad parts. The Bible tells Christians to kill disobedient children, non-virgins who marry, women who have a flashy appearance, and just about anyone who does not conform. The same as parts of the Bible, the Qur'an tells Muslims to defend themselves, but not wholesale slaughter. Just like the infamous "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live," some Muslims have taken parts of their scripture out of context for their own purposes. And don't forget, we Pagans have had our human sacrifices, feeding Christians to the lions (although that was more for political purposes than anything else), and the like in our past.
Ultimately, it's what we take from our faiths and focus on and practice in our lives. Sure, some people can take the hate and violence from theirs, and just as many, if not the majority, choose to focus on the positive, life-affirming aspects.

Burger King Commercial-Old is Bad

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Driving to work, listening to NPR when this Burger King commercial comes on. There's an older gentleman talking about his life and when people *gasp* actually used to make their own food! Naturally, it's in the much joked about manner of "uphill, both ways, barefoot, through the snow."
Then his alleged grandson interrupts with (highly paraphrased) "Yeah so? I got this greasy, fake little sandwich at BK for a dollar." In other words, don't bore me with how food is actually made and give me something fatty and cheap.
I was ranting about this the other day to Bronn, about how in our culture the old and elderly are not revered and instead we worship the young and dumb. Granted, not all the elderly are necessarily good or wise, but we should not dismiss them out of hand because of grey hair and wrinkles. Stop throwing away your money on "young again" methods, like Botox! Embrace who you are and how you got here, not what you used to look like.
That having been said, part of my extended hiatus has been due to health problems.

And we're back on the air.

12:34 PM Posted In , Edit This 0 Comments »
Or the internets. Whatever.

The Devil's Panties