County Trying To Stop Home Bible Studies

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"A local pastor and his wife claim they were interrogated by a San Diego County official, who then threatened them with escalating fines if they continued to hold bible studies in their home...
The county employee notified the couple that the small bible study, with an average of 15 people attending, was in violation of county regulations, according to Broyles.
Broyles said a few days later the couple received a written warning that listed "unlawful use of land" and told them to "stop religious assembly or apply for a major use permit" -- a process that could cost tens of thousands of dollars."
I'm not surprised at all, really. I've seen a handful of articles over the past couple of years involving the same issue with earth-based religious groups who don't have anywhere else to go (i.e. no church). They're common enough that I don't have any articles at hand to cite.
Most likely the real problem here is the neighbours complaining about parking and noise. Since the studies are on a weekly basis, the neighbours have to fight for parking and listen to "Praise the Lord!" and "Hallelujah!" every five minutes.
I don't know about San Diego, but here in Eugene, at least, we work out regular events with our neighbours before calling the cops. For example, someone I know hosts weekly play parties at his house and when they grew fairly large, he asked his guests to park at a nearby park and to keep the noise down because they are held on a weeknight. Then again, the BDSM community is rather accustomed to the nuances of not attracting attention.

Racist Mother Custody Case

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"WINNIPEG - The mother of a girl who went to school with white supremacist symbols drawn on her body didn't see why her daughter should have to sit next to Muslims, a social worker testified Wednesday.
Nor did the mother appear to understand why it was hateful to laugh if someone beat up a black child, the social worker told a custody hearing.
"White pride is worldwide," the social worker recalled the mother as saying during one of several interviews last year.
"It's not a crime to have pride in who I am." "
"Child services removed the children last year after the girl showed up at her elementary school with white supremacist symbols and slogans drawn on her skin in permanent marker. The social worker said the mother admitted to drawing a symbol on the girl to "deliver a message to the school."
The social worker outlined numerous conversations with the girl's mother, including one in which the woman referred to an incident where someone she knew "beat up a kid" because he was black.
"If I laughed, I am apparently full of hatred," the social worker quoted the mother as
saying."
Who the hell thinks it's funny if a child is beaten?
"The mother questioned why her daughter should have to sit next to a Muslim classmate when that child's religious beliefs ran counter to her daughter's, the worker said."
You don't want your children exposed to other religions? Simple solution: private or homeschool. Although I shudder to think of what would have happened had the girl been raised in a homeschool environment.
"Child welfare officials also allege the children were exposed to drug use, something the mother has denied saying it's "not a white thing to do." In court Wednesday, the social worker testified the mother admitted to being on anti-depressants while the girl's stepfather had done heroin and smoked marijuana."
Naturally, the assumption that only people of colour do drugs pisses me off. My experiences of working within the judicial system showed me nothing if that drug abuse crosses all racial boundaries. Then they're trying to use anti-depressants against the mother. If they're legally prescribed and kept safely out of the kids' reach, that's not exposure to drug use. That's like saying to a diabetic, "You use insulin, therefore you're exposing your kids to drugs."

Knitting and SCA geekery combined

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Here's kind of a beginner's Guide to Period Knitted Stockings. Very little of it is actually SCA specific, but definitely helpful.
And then one that is SCA approved, but only on knitting in general.
Early "seamed" stockings, with a row of purls down the back to give the illusion of the sewn stockings at the time.

All Life is Sacred... Unless it's a Pregnant Woman

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Side by side analysis of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on the Terry Schiavo case vs. the Angela Carder case.

In short, completely opposite stances on the two issues. Read it: it's very short and succinct.

Woman Charged for Sacrifice

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I don't belong to a sect that practices animal sacrifice, but at the same time I am a carnivore. So I see it as a bit hypocritical that a state with lobster as a main product should suddenly get up in arms over a chicken. Slitting a chicken's throat is a thousand times more humane than dumping a boiling a bound creature alive. (As any animals rights activist will tell you, it's all about the charisma of the animal. Mammals are at the top of the hierarchy- i.e. how much crap the average person could be moved to care. So the "cuter" the animal, the more we care about it. You don't see very many lizards on Animal Precinct, do you? No, it's puppies and kittens.)
In fact, early laws banning "animal sacrifice" were to disenfranchise legitimate religious practices rather than over any concern for the animal's well-being. Hell, kosher slaughter is actually quite humane and stems from the ancient Jewish sacrifices! So yeah, pardon me if I don't give two shits about the animal "cruelty" charge considering what slaughterhouses get away with. But that's ok! That's big business! We don't care about the little farms that cook their own chicken every night, but once you start mixing it with religion... Watch out!
The "journalist" left out some very important details: the size of the fire (was it a handsized or a bonfire?) Whose grave it was (a relative's or some random stranger?) How the rooster was slaughtered (slit throat or dismemberment?) And the greatest of all of them, the "expert" consulted on the matter isn't even freakin' Santerian! He was a freakin' Christian minister! No matter that Santerians eat the sacrifice instead of setting it on fire...
The woman was especially screwed for being a) female b) of colour c) possessing a non-Caucausian name and d) not belonging to the Big Three (aka Abrahamic religions). Now, that having been said, a graveyard is hardly the place to be doing this. I will blatantly "blame the victim" here. This is America, you committed the aforementioned sins. You have to be very circumspect about where you practice what.

More bad news- Suspects Can be Interrogated Without a Lawyer

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"The Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned a long-standing ruling that stopped police from initiating questions unless a defendant's lawyer was present, a move that will make it easier for prosecutors to interrogate suspects."
Am I the only one who's worried about how easily a jump could be made from "easer to interrogate suspects" to "waterboarding?" (Because waterboarding isn't really torture, ya know).
"The Obama administration had asked the court to overturn Michigan v. Jackson, disappointing civil rights and civil liberties groups that expected President Barack Obama to reverse the policies of his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush."
And please tell me I am not alone in noticing the tragic irony in the administration of our first African American president requesting that certain laws that were enacted in the first place to protect marginalized citizens be overturned?

Prop 8 Upheld

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Gods, of all the times when I have a reason to get stinking drunk....

And in other news, I hate people.

Ultraconservative Radio Talkshow Host Waterboarded

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Yeah, you know why it "feels like" you're drowning? Because you effectively are, even though someone held your nose for you. Water forced down your throat and up your nose? That's drowning.

Oil Rant

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The following is blatantly and unashamedly stolen from a friend's email rants.
Peak Oil is PART of the understanding that at some time in the future the oil will run out. The 'Peak' in peak oil is referring to the highest point of oil production for an oil well or an oil field. Unlike a water well which is refilled every time it rains there is no way to refill an oil well, so there is only a very limited amount of oil in the ground.
Now due to the way oil is produced and the machines that pull it up and the pipes that carry it, it can only be produced at a very limited rate. This means that a well is drilled, then a pump is put on and the oil starts to flow. A couple of decades later somebody with a clipboard and a lot of notes notices that this well has produced less oil this month than it has last month, and the month before, and the month before. This means that the well is past its peak and will never, EVER again hold steady or increase in its production. From that point onward it will be in 'terminal decline' meaning that while it may never run dry, it will fall off to the point of being useless.
This happens with every well, in every field, in every country. In fact back in 1971 it happened here in the US. That was the cause of the big oil shock and big price jumps you may have heard about. The US oil production had been falling for more than a year and then on day the amount we produced could not meet the amount we needed and everybody freaked. On a world wide scale this happened in July 2008, according to OPEC and Saudi Arabia and as you saw by the price of gas last year... everybody freaked.
It is a known and widely accepted fact that on a world wide scale we will never again be able to produce, or match, the amount of oil pumped up from the ground as we had in July 2008. In fact, on a world wide scale, our oil production is already in terminal decline. Oil production will gradually decrease until sometime in 2010 at the rate of about 5% to 7% per year. After 2010 the rate of decline goes into a "free fall" at about 17% to 25%.
"OK." You may think. "But what the hell does that mean to me and mine?" Good question. What it means in the personal scale is that the price of gas and electricity will rise, taking with it the price of food, clothing, and housing. At some point we will no longer have the energy to sustain this disposable lifestyle and we will have to go back to living like the Amish, or as we like to say, communal lifestyle.
Now here is the spooky part. According to the Saudi Arabian government, they peaked last year and they were among the last. There is a saying in Saudi Arabia, "My father rode a camel, I drove a car, my son drives a jet, his son will ride a camel."
Right now the world is using about 82.2 Million Barrels a Day of oil. That right about 3,616,800,000 gallons a day, or about 150,700,000 an hour, or about 2,511,667 gallons per minute, or about, 41,861 gallons per second. In understandable terms, 4 Olympic sized swimming pools every minute. A bar of soap or two is not gunna change much. The basic fact is that all we gotta do is wait a couple of years and oil use will change itself.
I am thinking when we run out of oil, or it becomes to expensive to use, our society is in for some deep shit problems. But thats just me.

Conservative Activists Argue Gay Marriage Threatens Religious Liberty

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My reaction: say what? *Sigh.* Honestly people. If churches, especially the Catholic church, can refuse to marry anyone on the basis of religion, then they can certainly refuse to marry them on the basis of sexuality. Some churches (I'm drawing heavily on the Catholic church as an example because that's what I was raised in) will even refuse to perform a wedding ceremony if you will not raise your potential children in their religion.
And just as churches have the right to say, "Nope, doesn't hold with our religion" people have the right to say, "Then screw you, I'm going to go find a church that won't hate me for living the way I was meant to." It's downright childish for them to blame their lack of converts on this one issue. People will attend churches that are loving and welcoming, not hateful and spiteful.
If anything, they should be mad that they are exposing themselves by refusing to do so. They have only themselves to blame.

Infiltrating the enemy

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So my last post got me to thinking: what would those nutjobs think about me? According to them, "feminism is the religion fueling lesbianism."
  1. I wear mostly skirts, and am transitioning out of pants completely. And even then I rarely dress provocatively.
  2. I attend church regularly.
  3. I am crafty and self-sufficient in that I knit, sew, embroider, etc.
  4. I rarely wear makeup or jewelry.
  5. I agree that unnatural foods, Walt Disney, and nuclear war is evil, if not for the same reasons.
  6. I wouldn't have an abortion, if not for the same reasons.
  7. I don't drink soda nor alcohol. Nor do I smoke.
  8. I wear my hair long.
  9. I would like to be a stay-at-home mom some day.
  10. I submit to my male partner in most things.
And yet...
  1. I haven't made any of the above choices because I am a woman, nor do I think that anyone should do anything purely because of one's gender.
  2. I am a feminist.
  3. I am a Witch.
  4. I am pro-choice.
  5. I am polyamourous, but faithful to my lovers.
  6. I am liberal.
  7. I do NOT blindly submit to my partner. If he asks for something unreasonable without an explanation, I'm sure as hell gonna put the brakes on.
  8. I am strong-willed, intelligent, and put both to good use.
  9. I love teh Devilz Muzik.
  10. I am bisexual.

They would probably say something about a wolf in sheep's clothing (they're overfond of that phrase), but I'd rather be a cunning wolf than a brainless sheep. I'm not even going to bother with "defending" my feminism because if anyone tries to tell me that I'm part of the problem instead of the solution then I'll tear them a new one. Until then, I couldn't care less.

Is it spoof or not?

10:04 AM Posted In , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
I'd say not, actually. Some of my favourites from it are: I promise to never question authority. I promise to never bring up my rights. Then, later on, there's a bit about how the government is corrupt and heading towards a police state. Although the "Scare 'em Sober" page is pretty accurate, although whether or not the accidents portrayed involved alcohol is another topic entirely. But then we get into the whole alchol is bad because drinking and driving is bad. That's like saying knives are bad because stabbing people is bad. Then there's Protest Gay Day and a blurb about how they're not a hate site. Made of fail.
Wow, and they say that people like me are attacking Christianity. I'd say that they're already doing a pretty good job of it themselves.
But if you want a site that is actually tongue-in-cheek, check out Landover Baptist. One of their current articles is titled "Divorced Conservatives Unite to Save the Sanctity of Marriage From Homosexuals!" Satire of hypocrisy at its finest.
Then there's the ever popular Dark Dungeons, courtesy of Chick Tracts. You know, I have been suicidal and have played tabletop rpg's. I can honestly say that all of the problems that contributed to the former had absolutely nothing to do with the latter. In fact, it helped me forget about my bigger problems for a little while as well as helped me to develop a support network of friends who helped me through those times. As someone who has been suicidal, the thought of anyone claiming that something so trivial as a game could drive someone to take their own life pisses me off beyond belief. Only someone from a position of privilege and self-righteousness could possibly make such an outrageous connection between the two.
That having been said, I've even played epic levels and I never got to the learn the "mind bondage" spell. :(

Care and Feeding of Your Poppet

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Many people hear "poppet" and think "voodoo doll." Close but not quite. Both are symbolic figures for sympathetic magick, but not necessarily for malignant purposes. Although most people associate them with baneful magick because they are so closely tied to the person they represent, perfect for the passive agressive, which is why most Witches can't conceive of creating one for themselves.
In fact, poppets can be used for many beneficial reasons: health, wealth, and the like. It's what you do with your poppet, or don't do, that could land you in trouble. You've got this "mini-me" all crammed with bits of this and that, pieces of your hair and/or nails, and stuffed with your energy. You don't just want to toss it in a drawer and forget about it.
  1. Do take care of your poppet as you would yourself.
  2. Do dispose of it properly: ritual burning or burying. If you flushed it, and then your life goes to shit, what did you think would happen?
  3. Don't leave it out where others can get a hold of it. Last thing you want is Fido thinking you got him a new chew toy that smells just like Mommy!
  4. Have a set timeline for the poppet and then dispose of it.
  5. Use common sense.

If you're asking how I know this or why I felt the need to write this, just don't put your poppet in your purse. And I've been wondering why I've been feeling overwhelmed...

Outrage of the Day- Matthew Shepard Crime a Hoax

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Outrage of the Day- Afghan Schoolgirls Attacked

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"Afghan officials accused militants of launching a poison gas attack today that caused dozens of schoolgirls to collapse with headaches and nausea as they waited for a Qu'ran reading.
The Taliban and other Islamist groups have regularly attacked girls' schools in Afghanistan, and the second apparent poisoning in two days has raised concerns that they have found a new weapon to scare girls into staying at home.
Students were gathering in the yard of Aftab Bachi school in Mahmud Raqi, in Kapisa province, for a morning reading of the Qu'ran when a strange odour filled the area. First one girl collapsed, then others, the school's headteacher, Mossena, said from her
hospital bed. Teachers told the rest of the students to go home. Mossena said she did not know what happened next because she too collapsed.
At least 98 people were admitted, including 84 students, 11 teachers and two cleaners, said Khalid Enayat, the hospital's deputy director. He said doctors were monitoring the condition of about 30 students.
The incident was the third alleged poisoning at a girls' school in a matter of weeks. Yesterday, 61 schoolgirls and one teacher went to hospital in the neighbouring Parwan province with a sudden illness that caused some to pass out. In late April, dozens of girls were taken to hospital in Parwan after being sickened by what officials said were strong fumes or a possible poison gas cloud.
"The enemies of Afghanistan are behind this poisoning," said the Kapisa education director, Abdul Gani Hedayat. "I am 100% certain it is poison. Ninety-eight people suddenly fell sick. This isn't something that happens just normally." He said blood samples had been sent to the capital, Kabul, for testing.
An interior ministry spokesman, Zemeri Bashary, said officials suspected some sort of gas poisoning in Kapisa, and police were still investigating.
The Kapisa patients complained of similar symptoms to those in the Parwan incidents, including headaches, vomiting and shivering, said Aziz Agha, a doctor treating the girls.
Sonya Sidiqi, 13, said she smelled something like cigarette smoke, "then my head started hurting and I started throwing up". Sidiqi said she was feeling better after resting at the hospital but was still dizzy and nauseous.
Another pupil, 11-year-old Tahira, said she planned to go back to school when she recovered, but was afraid to do so. "I'm going to be scared when I go back to school. What if we die?" she said.
Conservative groups in Afghanistan oppose education for girls, who were not allowed to attend school under the 1996-2001 Taliban regime. Militants in the south have previously assaulted schoolgirls by spraying acid in their faces and burning down schools. Scores of Afghan schools have been forced to close because of violence.
North-east Afghanistan, where the three recent apparent poisonings have taken place, is typically less conservative. No group has claimed responsibility for the mass illnesses.
A Parwan education official said no evidence of an attack had been found after yesterday's incident. He said one student had fallen seriously ill before the others, and suggested some of the symptoms could have been psychological. A Parwan health official said they were awaiting blood test results."

Dijon Mustard... The Elitist Shibboleth

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"Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and Mark Steyn criticized President Obama as an elitist because he ordered a burger with "spicy mustard" or "Dijon mustard.""
Hannity also accuses Obama of having watched too much tv as a kid. Um, Hannity? Pot and kettle, considering you referenced the freakin' 80's commercial. Judging one's condiment choices? Reaching for straws here, boys and girls. Besides, how "elitist" can a Kraft (which is an American company, by the way) product be?

Western Medicine vs. Herbalism

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Say you've got ovarian cysts. Let's assume that you can afford health care in the first place. Go to the doctor and they just want to give you pain killers, but before they can do that they want to make sure that you do, in fact, have agonizingly painful cysts. This involves an ultrasound technician shoving something cold and slimy up your vagina while you're trying not to think about tentacle rape, to make sure that it's not "all in your head" or scamming for drugs. If you happen to have a high pain tolerance, you certainly couldn't have any cysts, even if you have had them before, because most women are curled into the fetal position on the floor and puking their guts out. It's "all in your head" or something minor like cramps because women are just delicate little flowers who can't handle a little pain.

Let's say you take the drugs they've prescribed, usually Vicodin, and you're also looking for a job. And you have to take a UA, guess what shows up on it? If you try to explain why you took them, then you look like a little weakling and/or addict who's scamming the system. Either way, you're screwed. Now you're still unemployed, in debt for at least $1,500, and in blinding pain. Isn't America great?

Instead of paying a ridiculous amount of money for drugs, which you could have instead bought cheaper on the street if you were willing to gamble that they weren't laced with something, you could go to a certified herbalist. She will hook you up with herbal remedies which will actually treat the problem instead of the symptom, tell you how to avoid them in the future, and all for under $20. It won't show up on drug tests, and just don't mention the herbs while doing job interviews otherwise they'll think you're a pothead. The only downside is that if you mention how you took care of the cysts, most people will think you're a crazy, organic hippy for not going to the doctor.

And you know what? I'm ok with that as long as the fucking things go away.

Happy Beltane!

9:58 AM Posted In , , , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
Just a few tips on how to have a safe and sane Beltane.
Don't dance too close to the bonfire when naked.
If you do jump the fire, do so naked. Imagine all those dangling sleeves and flowing robes over a huge balefire. Despite your childhood fantasies, you do not really want to be the Human Torch.
When you find a cozy bush with your partner, make sure that it is thorn-free and not poison oak.
It is bad form to relieve yourself on the fire.
And please do not inflict any of the following on your fellow revelers:

13. Guy: "That ritual gown is skin-tight baby... How do you get into it?" Gal: "Well... you can start off by getting me a chalice of mead."
12. "Hey-hey, is that a magick mirror in your pocket - because I can see myself in your pants."
11. "If I said you had the body of a Goddess - would you hold it against me?"
10. "Hey babe, what's your sign? What's it's ascendant? What's your Moon...?" (*caresses your butt*)
9. "Read any good Llewellyn Books lately?"
8. "Would you like to come over to my place and get busy kickin' wytchy-boots?"
7. "Hey beautiful, your feet must be tired... because you've been spiral dancing in my mind all night long."
6. "Haven't I seen you in another life before?"
5. "Wow... You have the most beautiful third eye I've ever seen."
4. "So... do you do The Great Rite here often?" or "So... ya wanna jump the bale-fire together?" *wiggle eyebrows*
3. "What's a georgous Nymph-Goddess like you, doing in a Circle like this?"
2. "Yes, I'm handfasted, but that's not a "legal" marriage.... but we *could* go out in the forrest for a Greenwood Marriage..." *wink*
And the TOP BELTANE PICK-UP LINE IS......... *Drumroll please*
1. "Is that a Maypole in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?"