Blessed Cold Moon

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It is the Cold Moon, also known as the Wolf Moon. While it's cloudy here, hope you can enjoy the view.

Still alive... Mostly.

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This cold (possibly H1N1) is still kicking my butt, although I am getting better... slowly. Going to watch the State of the Union address here in about an hour. While I am on the wagon, here is a fun drinking game for those of you who do imbibe.

Fun with "Pregnancy Crisis Centers"

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What I don't want my tax money spent on.

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France Tries to Ban Niqab

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"A French parliamentary committee has recommended a partial ban on women wearing Islamic face veils.

The committee's near 200-page report has proposed a ban in hospitals, schools, government offices and on public transport.

It also recommends that anyone showing visible signs of "radical religious practice" should be refused residence cards and citizenship.

The interior ministry says just 1,900 women in France wear the full veils.

"The wearing of the full veil is a challenge to our republic. This is unacceptable. We must condemn this excess," the report said.

The commission called on parliament to adopt a formal resolution stating that the face veil was "contrary to the values of the republic" and proclaiming that "all of France is saying 'no' to the full veil".

Presenting the report to the French National Assembly, speaker Bernard Accoyer said the face veil had too many negative connotations.

"It is the symbol of the repression of women, and... of extremist fundamentalism."

*Headdesk.*

It's France, not Saudi Arabia. I highly doubt that they are being "forced" into this.

Who gets to judge what is considered "radically religious"? Considering they estimate that "only" 1,900 women in France wear niqab, this would indicate that the majority is attempting to dictate the wardrobes of a minority. Since Catholics can also be considered radical, does this mean that they can ban nuns' habits and rosaries as well? This is a slippery slope when attempting to control the rights of a minority.

How on earth is showing modesty considered an "excess"?! This from a country where nude beaches are de rigeur! Personally I think that the French have long had an obsession with the female form and find those who hold to strict traditions of modesty as offensive, at least was my impression when I visited Paris. Thus I would not be surprised if most of those pushing for this ban are male.

They are operating under the assumption that they have to rescue these poor, oppressed women who are quite loudly saying, "Don't touch my veil!" It's rather condescending for men to step in with the presumption that they know what is best for the rights of women, especially so when they are told to butt out.

The law that they want to write even includes a clause that patients cannot have a say in the gender of their doctor. I, obviously, do not belong to an orthodox faith, but I choose female doctors whenever possible. I have found that they actually listen to me more, and when it comes down to it, I do not want men who are not family or close friends touching me. Period.

In their "attempts" to liberate Muslim women from their clothes chains, they are saying with every ounce of their white male privilege, "You only have the rights that we say you can have."



Abercrombie & Fitch Sued Over Religious Discrimination

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"Given the hyper-sexualized advertising that Abercrombie & Fitch has long embraced, it is no surprise that the company encourages its employees to let their hair down. But is the company practicing discrimination if it won't hire a young woman who covers her head for religious reasons? Yes, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Last week the EEOC filed suit against Abercrombie on behalf of Samantha Elauf, a 19-year-old community college student from Tulsa, Okla., who is Muslim. The suit alleges that Abercrombie "refused to hire Ms. Elauf because she wears a hijab, claiming that the wearing of the headgear was prohibited by its Look Policy," or employee dress code. The suit says that Abercrombie "failed to accommodate her religious beliefs by making an exception to the Look Policy. These actions constitute discrimination against Ms. Elauf on the basis of religion."

Elauf, who had experience working in retail, interviewed for a position at a Tulsa Abercrombie Kids store in June 2008. During the interview, she wore a black hijab, or headscarf, in line with Muslim religious tradition. According to the EEOC, Elauf got word through a friend, who worked in the store, that the headscarf cost her the job. The EEOC alleges that during its investigation, Abercrombie & Fitch flatly told the agency, in a position statement, that "under the Look Policy, associates must wear clothing that is consistent with the Abercrombie brand, cannot wear hats or other coverings, and cannot wear clothes that are the color black." Elauf is suing for back pay and compensation related to emotional pain and anxiety. "If these allegations are true," says Chuck Thornton, deputy director of the ACLU of Oklahoma, "they are serious. In this day and age, it's not acceptable. Certainly, a headscarf is part and parcel of the Islamic experience."

When contacted for a response, Abercrombie & Fitch issued the following statement: "We cannot comment on pending litigation. We have a strong equal-opportunity policy, and we accommodate religious beliefs and practices when possible. We are confident that the litigation of this matter will demonstrate that we have followed the law in every respect."

Was Abercrombie & Fitch within its rights to enforce its dress code? Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits religious discrimination. "It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to fail or refuse to hire .... any individual ... because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex or national origin," the law states. The key language, says Stewart Schwab, an employment lawyer and dean of Cornell Law School, is found in a 1972 amendment to Title VII. This amendment defined "religion." It reads, "The term 'religion' includes all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief, unless an employer demonstrates that he is unable to reasonably accommodate an employee's or prospective employee's religious observance or practice without undue hardship on the conduct of the employer's business."

This case could hinge on a jury's interpretation of the phrase "undue hardship." If Abercrombie & Fitch had made an exception of its Look Policy for Elauf - a "reasonable accommodation" - would that move have hurt the Abercrombie brand? On the surface, that argument seems specious, at best. Would shoppers at that Abercrombie Kids store have been so jarred by the hijab that they wouldn't have bought the company's jeans? If the company makes that case, it doesn't think much of the religious tolerance of the good folks of Oklahoma."

I hope she takes them for as much as she can. Before I get into this can of worms let me say that while I am not Muslimah, I do dress modestly and cover my hair.

It is not an undue accommodation to allow a headscarf: it's a scrap of cloth, not a hoopskirt. It's not like she wears niqab or something that hides her face, preventing a rapport with customers. Scarves are ridiculously popular right now. Hell, she could even wear one that A & F carries, and she would practically be an expert on giving tips on how to wear it!

They might have a sliver with the "undue hardship" because many Americans are still pissing their pants over idiots who can't blow up his underwear properly, and I can readily believe that some little air-headed bippy twats might be afraid of the Terrorist. At first, I sighed and gave in to despair due to the fact that this is in Oklahoma, until I read that they had a previous encounter in the school system where the courts upheld the rights of a young hijabi.

So there is some hope for Elauf, and I wish her the best. And before anyone comes along saying that she's forced to wear it, Muslimahs should dress like Paris Hilton just because they're in the West, she should leave, blahblahblah.

  1. She is in the US, not Saudi Arabia.
  2. She has the right to wear as little or as much as she wants. If Brittney can flash her kitty to the whole world, Elauf can cover her hair.
  3. Many Christians, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, and even Pagans wear headscarves. Are you going to kick out the Mennonites, Amish, Orthodox Jews, and every other woman who chooses not put herself on display for the random passerby to drool over?
  4. Freedom of religion means freedom for all faiths, not just your own.

Quote of the Day- Haiti

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"Why is it that we, in America, can have telethons on 24 different channels for Haiti within a few days, but have so many of our own population without healthcare, employment, or food? And we couldn't do anything for New Orleans for fifty years?*" -A friend

*He alleged that officials have known that the levees would fail for fifty years, and I have not found any evidence to support that fact. However, it doesn't make his argument less sound.

It's amazing what people do to peddle their crap.

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That's right. Christian aerobics cardio. Anything to make a buck, I guess. Then they wonder why they are "persecuted." Call me crazy, but didn't Jesus preach against materialism?

Outrage of the Day-Teen Tasered and Beaten by Cops

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"An arrest in which several punches were thrown has triggered an accusation of brutality against Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, police from the mother of the 18-year-old honor student who was taken into custody.

Police, in a criminal complaint on the incident, say "closed fist strikes" were used by the undercover police officers, but only to subdue the teenager as he tried to get away.

His mother said she plans to file a civil rights claim against the officers.

Terez Miles said her son, Jordan Miles, who is black, thought his life was in jeopardy when three white men jumped out of a car on the night of January 11 as he walked not far from his home.

"My son tried to run thinking his life was in jeopardy," Terez Miles said. "He made three steps before he slipped and fell." After that, she said, the police used a stun gun and beat him, pulling out a chunk of his hair.

The criminal complaint says the officers, considering Jordan Miles' appearance suspicious, got out of the car and identified themselves as police. He tried to flee, fell, and then struggled to escape.

The officers "delivered 2-3 closed fist strikes to Miles' head/face with still no effect," and then a "knee strike to Miles' head causing him to momentarily stop resisting," so that he could be handcuffed, the document says.

Miles' mother said the officers did not identify themselves as police to her son, a viola player and student at the city's Creative and Performing Arts High School.

The complaint says the police officers believed Miles was engaged in criminal activity and possibly armed with a "large heavy object." The object turned out to be a bottle of Mountain Dew.

Miles was charged with aggravated assault, loitering, resisting arrest and escape."

I, too, would be afraid for my life if three white people jumped out of a car and ran after me, and I am white! He was walking from home to his grandmother's, he could have been coming home or simply taking a walk. How the hell is that loitering? Considering that the kid is not that big, I highly doubt that he was thinking "I could take these guys." So why is he the one being charged with aggravated assault after he took three steps and fell?

What is even more ridiculous is that they felt it was necessary to beat him after Tasering him. In college, I had a roommate who was studying criminology and had essentially an apprenticeship with the local police force and academy. Before you could carry a stun gun, you first had to be hit with it in order to know what it feels like so you wouldn't go around hitting people with it willy nilly. (Or at least that was the requirement here). Trust me when I say that immediately after being Tasered, even at a low setting, you aren't capable of doing much unless you are on PCP, speed, or some other insane drug. So why did the officers feel that it was then necessary to beat him when he was already pretty much as subdued as he was going to get.

Even if the officers did announce themselves as such, it would have still been hard to believe them since they were plainclothes and (I am assuming here) in an unmarked car. As if their actions weren't already questionable enough, they did not even show for the hearing.

Outrage of the Day-Rape Victim Punished

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"An overseas Filipino worker launguishing in a Saudi Arabian jail suffered miscarriage and now fears getting a hundred lashes before finally being freed.

Camille (not her real name) has been in prison since August last year after her employer turned her over to authorities because she got pregnant out of wedlock by a co-worker who raped her.

Camille, who lived with her in Quezon City, went to Dammam on May last year to work as a janitor in a dental clinic on a two-year contract, the victim’s mother told GMANews.TV in an interview.

Three months into the job, a co-worker – a Bangladeshi national – raped her.

But Camille chose to keep quiet, fearing her rapist would kill her if she reports the incident.

In September, after undergoing a medical check-up – a requirement before she decided to return to the Philippines – she discovered she was pregnant and was reported to Saudi authorities by no less than her employer.

However, hard life in Hafr Al-Baten prison caused the miscarriage of her daughter’s four-month-old baby in December, Camille’s mother said.

Although Camille was able to go to the hospital, she was sent to prison immediately after.

The Shari’ah or Islamic law imposes imprisonment for women who get pregnant out of wedlock and, after giving birth, a penalty of lashes to be determined by courts before being freed.

The law applies even to victims who claim to have been raped."
GMANews.
As if that wasn't bad enough, her children have been forced to leave school because their mother has not been able to work to send money home for them. Unfortunately, because of injustice such as this, all too many Americans believe that ALL Muslims are like this and/or are terrorists.

I have been in denial.

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My friends have been trying to convince me that America is actually a fascist country, which I have been denying. Until now.
Due to the recent decision that allows unlimited corporate "donations" to political campaigns, McDonald's claims that they are going to have the power to pick the next president with their "You Pick the President" promotion. While I have not been able to verify this via other news outlets, I am going to keep an eye out. Even if it's a joke, I would not at all be surprised.

Apologies for the break.

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My friends gave me a cold for my birthday, but am planning on regifting it. (Shh, I want it to be a surprise). My computer also caught a virus, and is recovering much faster than I.

I was told, "Congratulations on surviving H1N1! You should celebrate with bacon." I think that is a fantastic idea.

Just because.

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Yes, that is Leonard Nimoy.

"Here's your sign moment" brought to you by Brigit.

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So I lay in bed last night, after having kept a red candle in honour of Brigit going by my computer and knitting area while I researched and planned projects all day. (For those not familiar with the practice, I am part of an online group on Ravelry that shares the task of keeping a flame in either our hearts or in reality every day in Her Name). I was so wired, everything was running through my head as more ideas crept in. Now this is unusual for me. Then it hit me and I began laughing hysterically.

Once calmed, my partner asked, “Ok, now that you’ve snapped, what was the final straw?”

“I couldn’t figure out why my brain won’t shut down. Duh! I’ve spent my day honouring my patron Goddess, whose purview includes CRAFTS!”

His response: “Why did I have to end up with the slow one?”

Yes, a pillow fight did ensue.

Outrage of the Day-Man Fined for Good Deeds

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"A Eugene man says he could be $800 in the hole when he was just trying to be a good Samaritan.

"I was getting ready to go into the Post Office and I paid my meter," Ben Bond tells KEZI 9 News. But as he was sliding his quarter into the allotted slot, Bond noticed a meter maid headed his way. At that point, he says he noticed the car's meter next to his flashing zeros. Bond says, "I put money in it and the meter maid said she was still getting at ticket."

Bond says he simply continued on his way. Once he was finished with the Post Office, though, he says he saw the meter maid down the street, continuing to ticket more cars. Bond says he confronted her, unhappy that she gave the car neighboring his a ticket, despite his attempt to keep it from happening.

"I went two blocks ahead and put money in the meters," Bond says. That confrontation ended with Bond handcuffed and charged with harassment and obstruction of justice.

"They basically said that they got him for harassment for filling the parking meters because he was doing a random act of kindness," says Juaqin Hildebrandt, who saw the whole ordeal unfold through the window of his nearby restaurant.

"They about slammed him up against the wall," Hildebrandt continues. "I dont know [why] what he was doing wrong. They obviously thought something was wrong, putting quarters in parking meters is like some horrible crime."

Bond says he was given the choice of going to jail or being ticketed for $800 -- $530 for the obstruction of justice charge, another $270 for harassment.

"I was just trying to save people from getting tickets," says Bond. "I just want people to have a heart. Wake up. We're all in it together."

KEZI 9 News called the Eugene Police Department for comment, but our calls weren't returned."

I just love my local police department, and they'll get to hear just how much! /sarcasm

This guy is my hero.

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"Jim Simpson would have to be the toughest man to ever pick up a pair of knitting needles.

The former prisoner of war, who spent more than 19 months in Germany's World War II prison camps, not only survived interrogations and torture but managed to knit arguably Australia's most valuable war artefact, outside a museum.

Jim's rug is a perfectly preserved 1.83m x 1.9m knitted woollen blanket, featuring the map of Australia and the Coat of Arms.

"I knitted it with straightened handles from the camp's cooking pots; they looked like pieces of number eight wire," Jim says.

"The cook agreed to give them to me if I knitted him a pair of socks.""

The toughest knitter.

I refuse to post my bra colour.

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I am on Facebook, and here is what I wrote: "Refusing to jump on the colour bandwagon, I am just going to say instead: Check your breasts." I do not feel that announcing one's unmentionables is going to raise awareness, especially since nothing is mentioned about the twins or cancer, merely the garment that contains them. And part of the giggle factor is that Teh Menz won't know what it's about, when not enough people realize that men can get breast cancer, too. Kinda defeats the point of raising awareness, don't you think?

I think that this is a much better way of going about it.

Do not trust your corn.

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"In a study released by the International Journal of Biological Sciences, analyzing the effects of genetically modified foods on mammalian health, researchers found that agricultural giant Monsanto's GM corn is linked to organ damage in rats.
According to the study, which was summarized by Adam Shake at Twilight Earth, "Three varieties of Monsanto's GM corn - Mon 863, insecticide-producing Mon 810, and Roundup® herbicide-absorbing NK 603 - were approved for consumption by US, European and several other national food safety authorities."
Monsanto gathered its own crude statistical data after conducting a 90-day study, even though chronic problems can rarely be found after 90 days, and concluded that the corn was safe for consumption. The stamp of approval may have been premature, however."
That's right. Corn that is genetically modified damages kidneys and livers in rats. The conclusion of the study is:
"However, in the three GM maize varieties that formed the basis of this investigation, new side effects linked to the consumption of these cereals were revealed, which were sex- and often dose-dependent. Effects were mostly concentrated in kidney and liver function, the two major diet detoxification organs, but in detail differed with each GM type. In addition, some effects on heart, adrenal, spleen and blood cells were also frequently noted...
We therefore conclude that our data strongly suggests that these GM maize varieties induce a state of hepatorenal toxicity. This can be due to the new pesticides (herbicide or insecticide) present specifically in each type of GM maize, although unintended metabolic effects due to the mutagenic properties of the GM transformation process cannot be excluded [42]. All three GM maize varieties contain a distinctly different pesticide residue associated with their particular GM event (glyphosate and AMPA in NK 603, modified Cry1Ab in MON 810, modified Cry3Bb1 in MON 863). These substances have never before been an integral part of the human or animal diet and therefore their health consequences for those who consume them, especially over long time periods are currently unknown."
They are not entirely certain whether it's all because of the insecticides and herbicides used, the mutations of the corn itself, or some combination of both. Oh joy. And by the way, Monsanto's corn is used in Dorito's, among many others.
At least the company's response was somewhat entertaining:
"the research is "based on faulty analytical methods and reasoning and do not call into question the safety findings for these products.""
In other words, "We don't like what you found, so we question your Science!" Not to mention that they responded immediately with denial, rather than, "Oh no, can this be? We shall research this right away." Kinda makes you wonder what they already knew to try and make this go away so quickly?
But theirs was quite classy, as well as essentially being a bitchslap.

Outrage of the Day-Homophobic Attacks on Teens

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"A 19-year-old man was found guilty yesterday of a homophobic attack on two gay teenagers.

Michael Lee Hannan shouted that he hated gays before punching and headbutting the pair, aged 17 and 18, Blackburn magistrates' court heard.

The Lancashire Telegraph reports he was given a six month suspended sentence and was ordered to pay £200 compensation to the teenagers, along with £85 costs.

The court heard he and his friends had approached a group of people, including the 18-year-old, in Blackburn town centre on the night of the assault and asked them for a cigarette.

A woman in the group gave him one but Hannan became abusive.

The group walked away to a nearby bus stop where they were joined by the 17-year-old but Hannan followed them, making homophobic comments.

Prosecutors said Hannan then punched the 17-year-old several times in the head without any warning and then turned to the 18-year-old to punch and headbutt him.

Hannan pleaded guilty to the attack.

In mitigation, his lawyer said he had been suffering from psychosis which was now being controlled by medication.

He added that Hannan was making progress with his prejudices through help from the Probation Service after a previous racially-aggravated assault."

At least he's equal opportunity in his hatred of anyone different.

Mature Content

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"(Portland, Maine) A gun collector who introduced several weapons into sexual play with two other men contends the weapons were intended to fulfill a sexual fantasy. Instead, a lethal combination of drugs, extreme sex and Russian roulette has put him on trial for manslaughter.
Both the defense and prosecutors say there was no intention to kill. But prosecutors say defendant Bruce Lavallee-Davidson, a farmer from Skowhegan, was responsible for ensuring his gun wasn’t loaded when it was being handled."
Anyone worth their salt in the community knows that you never, ever play while under the influence of ANYTHING. And if you do play with weapons, you make damned certain that it is under the safest conditions possible. Unfortunately this was in a private home, or else I would be screaming, "Where the hell was the Dungeon Master/Mistress?!" A gun collector should have known to triple check the chambers before even bringing it into the scene. Hell, I don't even own one, let alone ever use one in a scene, and I know that! This was in no way safe nor sane.
Too bad Darwin's Law didn't take out Lavallee-Davidson.

Beware the Pagans who like to braid!

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"POLICE believe a bizarre outbreak of horse mane weaving may be the work of a secretive cult of pagan worshippers practising a form of white magic."
*Sighs and breaks out the soapbox.* Paganism does not automatically equal cult! Note how they also do not explain white magic.
"Although the braiding does no harm to the affected horses, owners are becoming increasingly bemused and concerned."
Honestly, having had a horse, it helps keep their mane from snarling. If it had happened to mine, I just would have laughed.
"Mrs Parsons urged horse owners to send pictures of the plaits to local police and to remain vigilant. She added: "Until we know anything different this is worth taking very seriously. They seem to be targeting some individuals more than others, but why?""
Ok, they were afraid that this was a way of marking the horses for thieves, but say now that is obviously not the case. In short, it's another case of "We have no explanation for this so we're going to blame it on Pagans." But why not Satanism like they usually do? Because no harm is being done. The public can easily imagine a Satanist killing cats and the like, but running around and braiding horses' manes? That's so silly, it sounds like something a Pagan would do! They run around the woods naked, right? Yup, must be them.
Sounds more like a bunch of horse-crazed twelve year old girls if you ask me.

Fun with quizzes.

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Here are my results:
1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
2. Neo-Pagan (98%)
3. Liberal Quakers (86%)
4. New Age (86%)
5. Secular Humanism (85%)
6. Mahayana Buddhism (78%)
7. Theravada Buddhism (74%)
8. Jainism (71%)
9. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (68%)
10. Reform Judaism (65%)
11. Orthodox Quaker (59%)
12. Taoism (58%)
13. Sikhism (57%)
14. Nontheist (56%)
15. Baha'i Faith (56%)
16. Scientology (51%)
17. Hinduism (49%)
18. Orthodox Judaism (47%)
19. New Thought (46%)
20. Islam (39%)
21. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (35%)
22. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (29%)
23. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (29%)
24. Seventh Day Adventist (28%)
25. Eastern Orthodox (21%)
26. Roman Catholic (21%)
27. Jehovah's Witness (16%)
No surprises there.

Daily Dose of Hysterical Bouts of Laughter

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Sorry if the fonts are very small on some of these, I did the best I could.
That's exactly what I thought when the N64 came out! That and the fact that they did not take into account people with small hands. Oh right, because women can't be gamers. Silly me, I'll just go play with my Easy Bake Oven.
Gee, can you guess how I feel about Twilight?
Preparedness
see more deMotivational Posters
Ever since I was very little, I have had recurring nightmares of everyone turning into zombies but me. Yeah, needless to say I actually have a zombie preparedness plan. Doesn't everyone?

Modesty

12:51 PM Posted In , , , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
I dress fairly modestly for a number of reasons, which may sound contradictory considering I participate in a certain four-letter acronym community. I came of age when Britney Spears was arguably at her peak, yet I, unsurprisingly, never felt the need to emulate pop stars whose music I didn't particularly enjoy. In fact, one of my father's typical rants is the physical appearances of some of my favourite bands. I can honestly say that I have no earthly idea what most of them look like let alone what they wear even to this day, which usually results in an argument because he is convinced otherwise. So I was fairly oblivious in my formative years to the "You have to wear as little clothes as possible in order to be attractive" brainwashing.
My mother instilled in me that leaving a little to the imagination is sexier than baring it all. (She should know, she grew up on Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn). Although being the incorrigible tomboy, I wore whatever was comfortable, which meant jeans and a t-shirt. At least it generally ensured that boys looked me in the eye rather than staring at whatever was popping out of my top. Some, however, needed to learn that lesson the hard way.
As an adult, we all know that I prefer to make my own clothing through knitting and sewing rather than overpay for something that was cheaply made and won't fit anyway. So my wardrobe is not limited to the fare of the local mall. (Speaking of which, I lived through the '80's the first time and have no need to relive that, thank you very much).
I respect myself enough to dress in a way that is comfortable to me, which does not include vast expanses of skin bared to every passerby. I want to be respected and valued for my mind and personality, not for my triple D's. If I am going to be on display, let it be for my intelligence first. Having somewhat outgrown the tomboy phase, I wear skirts because they are comfortable and more flattering to my figure than jeans. (Hey, with a small butt I need some help to visually balance out that chest!)
I am wondering just what possessed designers and the parents to dress their pre-teen girls like strippers? Oh right, because Miley Cyrus is doing it. Just because I tend to avoid popular fashion does not mean that the two are mutually exclusive. While I am not religiously motivated, I have found a couple of sites with fashionable examples on how to do so without needing a gynecologist to extract those pair of jeans.
Not being religiously motivated I am free of the "Oh noez! I haz to hide my hawtness from teh menz cuz they just can't help demselves!!1!1!" But it does bring a mixed blessing: at least if I am ever raped (again) they can't use the excuse of "She was asking for it, just look at how she was dressed!"

Vote for this guy... so he can take away your rights.

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George Hutchins is a Republican running for Congress in the 4th North Carolina District in 2010. On his website, which could easily win The Worst Website In the History of the Internet (the only ones I have seen that could tie belong to white supremacist groups and/or conservative Christians), he specifically asks people of all colours to join his campaign:

"GEORGE HUTCHINS INVITES ALL BLACK, WHITE, SPANISH, AND ASIAN U.S. VOTERS TO JOIN US !!"

No, I did not change the formatting. Then further down the page, there is this lovely little tidbit:
"This POISON TREE, is the "Social Engineering" located within the so-called 1964 Civil Rights Act, to the U.S. Constitution."
But what is this "social engineering" of which he speaks?
"Social Engineering," includes FORCED DIVERSITY, FORCED RACIAL INTEGRATION..."
That's right, he is against desegregation and yet simultaneously expects the votes of the people he wants to marginalize.

Yet more reasons why I'm glad I'm going organic.

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Antibiotic resistant fecal bacteria is found in nearly half of all soda fountains.
Then there's this lovely ad for KFC in Australia. Blacks like fried chicken, har, har, har! *Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink.* Say no more, say no more.

Cross your fingers, folks!

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The New Jersey Senate votes on marriage equality on Thursday, and Portugal does on Friday.

Why the term "Xtian" is offensive, even to Pagans.

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No one likes to have their faith derided. No one. Yet we love to Christian bash whether it's on the internets, with friends, or even in writing. I have even heard of fellow Pagans becoming outright hostile (check the comments) when asked to join in prayer around the dinner table. If that is not the definition of "hypocrisy" then I don't know what is.
That's not saying that I think we should collectively bite our tongues and not stand up for ourselves as a group. I am just wondering when good manners, tact, and common sense left us? Have we forgotten the Threefold Law or even the Golden Rule?
Most of us have left the Big Three with a soured faith in both the divine and our fellow humans. However, since enlightenment is a central focus to most earth-based religions, one would think this would result in better treatment of all Gaia's creatures, not just the ones with which you agree. Then again, that would be expecting each individual to overcome their own prejudices and become a better person in all facets of their life.
Let's take the example which sparked off this musing. Say the person who initiated the prayer knows that one of the group is not of their faith, yet persists. The solution is not to cause a scene and glare at your neighbours (unless you prefer your tuna casserole flavoured with negative energies and hurt feelings). Why not take the moment to meditate quietly? Or, I dunno, pray to your own Deity/ies? Neither of these requires your participation physically nor energetically, just an understanding that you are willingly a guest in the home of someone who obviously is a devout believer. Later, perhaps you could approach the host and let them know the conundrum in which this puts you. Or simply decline future invitations if you are so disposed.
Take, for example, my former High Priest. For years, he and his conservative Christian brother butted heads because of a difference in ideologies. Once reconciled, the brother said to him, "While you may not be a Christian, you are Christ-like." This was not intended in any way to convert, but rather as the compliment it is. The brother came to understand that he was not a Satan-worshipper, because my friend loved his brother and treated him with respect.
Then there is my handyman. At the end of the traditional message, his voicemail chirps, "Good day and God bless!" I have kept quiet about my own faith without hiding nor denying it, and have since learned about his growth as a person, a Christian, and a recovering alcoholic. The only confrontation I have had with him is when I came home one day at the beginning of a multi-day repair project (after two years, I trust him enough that he has a set of keys to my apartment). My altar, which had been moved out of his way, was covered with construction paraphernalia. I cleaned it, putting his tools carefully aside, and left a note indicating its purpose as it has been mistaken for a coffee table before. He was courteous to leave a note in response apologizing and explaining that he meant no disrespect. The last time Mr. Handyman came by to replace a faulty heater we had a polite and heartfelt conversation about how important it is to one's spiritual growth to respect others. In the same exchange he even complimented me on a decorative religious item. The connection and understanding we made meant that I was never so happy as to be without heat in the dead of winter because we shared the light and hope of both Yule and Christmas.
Had I thrown a tantrum about his choice of electronic greeting, cheerful chatter as he works, or faux pas in seeing my sacred space as a convenient flat surface our working relationship would have disintegrated. He would lose a viable source of income, I would have to find someone else who was trustworthy and reliable, and we would both come away with a negative view of the other's faith.
We all have our experiences that have made us who we are today. That will not change. All that we can do is try to change the world by how we interact with others. This is not to say that we should attempt to proselytize, but rather we tend to be representatives for our community on a personal level. Nothing is to be gained by donning the Armour of Self-Righteousness and wielding the Victim's Sword except for alienating others and perpetuating hate.

Chemicals have a secret identity, thanks to current regulations.

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Unsurprisingly, the consumer is prevented from knowing what chemicals are in the products they use by federal law. Why? To protect government's favourite customers: major corporations. Although "a number" of the 17,000 secret chemicals "may be harmless" (emphasis mine, as usual) but many "pose a substantial risk" to both public health and the environment. These businesses don't even have to disclose the ingredients if you are in intensive care as a result of exposure to their products. Simply because it contains "inert" components does not mean that they are safe.

Dallas treats prostitutes like human beings.

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The city is actually helping them clean up and turn their lives around. Admittedly, it's not working very well or fast, but they are making progress. It's especially important with the younger ones, sometimes even teenagers, rather than locking them up and ensuring that they have no options at that point.

Crabs, whales, and rhinos oh my!

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The cutest crab has been recently discovered off of Taiwan. (I refuse to say "new" because it isn't. We just haven't seen one before. It's like referring to Christopher Columbus "discovering" the Americas. No, he didn't. The Native Americans did). Unfortunately, the crabs died soon afterward "possibly because the water in the area was polluted by a cargo ship that ran aground." So, we find a species that we have never encountered before and then manage to go and kill it. Brilliant, just brilliant.
Also being killed off by humans, false killer whales are being considered for the endangered species list. Not to mention another rare white rhino was killed by poachers in Kenya, where hunting has been strictly outlawed since the 1970's. Luckily, they caught most of the killers and the buyers. They are primarily hunted for their horns, which they can actually live without and even grow back because it's the same material as fingernails and hair.
Then the largest freshwater fish in North America, the white sturgeon, has been dwindling because Libby Dam prevents sufficient water flow to allow the prehistoric fish to swim upriver to spawn. Unfortunately, they are only one symptom of the many problems caused by the dam.
Even the North American honeybee has been declining, which puts not only the environment at risk but our agriculture. Although one theory is, is that they are suffering from Colony Collapse Disorder because of climate change.
Not just animals are rapidly disappearing, quiver trees in Namibia are dying out due to drought. But, as we all know, there is no such thing as human-caused climate change.

It's a New Year! You have to lose weight and find a mate!

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Ah yes, a New Year a new beginning. At least in the muggle world. And with that comes a whole bombardment of advertising trying to convince everyone they are too fat and, if they are single, miserably lonely. Only one website managed to combine the two: You can't join our site because you are too fat. Wow, apparently some people can't leave high school beauty pageants prom court behind.
"Letting fatties roam the site is a direct threat to our business model and the very concept for which BeautifulPeople.com was founded."
Roam? As opposed to being a customer? Cows and horses and other ungulates roam. Nice analogy there, folks. And what a courteous way of actually hoping that their "fattie" customers return after they've worked off that unsightly fruitcake. According to their site:

"Do looks matter to you, when it comes to selecting a partner?
Do you want to guarantee your dates will always be beautiful?
No more filtering through unattractive people on mainstream sites."
Beautifulpeople.com: weeding out the shallow people from other dating sites for your pleasure.

The G-Spot is a myth! Science says so!

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"The elusive erogenous zone said to exist in some women may be a myth, say researchers who have hunted for it.

Their study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine is the biggest yet, involving 1,800 women, and it found no proof.

The King's College London team believe the G-spot may be a figment of women's imagination, encouraged by magazines and sex therapists."

My first thought was: "Were all of the researchers men?" No, seriously. I can find mine just fine. I have found those belonging to my ex-girlfriends just fine. But no, we poor widdle women are just confused by whatever Cosmo tells us.

Then I thought, "No, that's not fair. Most of my male partners have been able to find it just fine." The cynic in me (I know, it's shocking because I'm such a Pollyanna) wonders if they set out to find evidence to support their own lack of sexual prowess and knowledge in order to bolster their own pathetic egos. It's more likely that the test subjects did not find a clinical and sterile environment to be conducive to enjoyment and relaxation, as anyone who has ever had an annual will tell you.

It's not surprising, however, considering we females are so stupid that we can't even tell when we are aroused. Gee, it couldn't be at all related to the stigma that men are expected to be sexual creatures and women are not, unless there is a ring on her finger. Any witch worth her salt could tell you that most women are not in tune with their bodies, living mostly in their head, as a result of being told that we are too fat and too ugly our entire lives. Inundation of "You are not good enough" produces a schism between one's mind and one's physical being that carries over to the soul itself.

Now, if you don't believe in "New Agey crap" just imagine how this translates psychologically. The minds of women are trained over time to first divorce their mental image of themselves with their actual appearance, then dissociate the mind from the body. And we wonder why cases of eating disorders are skyrocketing.

The hypocrisy deepens.

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You might want to put on your hip waders, gentle readers. According to Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele Bush was right to wait before reacting to the shoe bomber, but unacceptable for Obama to wait a falsely alleged two weeks after the crotchbomber. Thinkprogress, as usual, does an excellent job of finding the falsehoods and proving them incorrect.

Organics For Dummies

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In accordance with my own New Year's resolutions, I donated all of the conventional food in my kitchen. Now I hate shopping. Especially for shoes. Going to the supermarket has been known to give me nightmares. I know, I know... A woman who doesn't like to shop? What's the world coming to?

Bearing in mind my tendency to assume the expression of a deer right before 35 tons of steel plow through its cranium while trying to calculate how many ounces are in a pound to determine which spaghetti noodles are the cheapest (not to mention the Regular vs. Whole Wheat debate), I asked a friend to accompany my partner and I.

Now our friend, Christopher, has been organic for about four years now due to multiple chemical sensitivity. Before you go and Google that, yes, some believe it to be "all in your head." Let's just say that in just a few weeks, I have found that the difference is I used to spend a chunk of a typical evening in the bathroom with a good book. Organics mean that I do not have to ensure that the nearest restroom is within 50 feet. "All in your head" my butt. So we figured that it was best to learn from his mistakes rather than making our own.

That is how I found myself reading store codes (initial digit of "9" indicates organic) in the produce section and pawing wistfully at the ice cream freezers. I remember when the only organic products you could find were of a granola variety and tasted like bark and twigs. Imagine the happy dance when I discovered that there are organic oreos, no more high fructose corn syrup! There is even organic ice cream, whereas before you were lucky if you got pureed fruit on a stick. Not only are there more and more varieties of food being offered, but there are even options between a handful of companies for most products. (Personally, I don't need fifty choices of brands for canned corn).

We only got one very strange look, but I suppose a woman asking the opinion of two men concerning hair care products warranted that. While I am not fairly loquacious in public, I do tend to be the odd one who never learned not to talk to strangers. I told her about my New Year's resolution and joked that, "There is no Organics for Dummies book."

Here are some main points that I learned, so hopefully you won't have to learn the hard way:
  1. Read the label backwards. A product is required to be at least 95% organic for certification, and if you remember from home-ec the ingredients are listed in descending order of overall percentage. If the final ingredient is "organic spice extract" you are good to go.
  2. Just because it says organic does not mean that it actually is. Chips, for example, may have been made with organic corn, but the oil might not be. While this has not yet *knocks on wood* been a problem for me, your mileage may vary. When doubt look for the little green and white symbol, it will become your friend.
  3. If it contains anything you cannot reasonably pronounce, don't eat it.
The down side was when I hit the register. Yes, each item was a little more expensive, and it adds up. The way I figure it is this: it's cheaper than cancer, easier this way to support local businesses, and, quite frankly, I save on toilet paper.

Top Ten Anti-Christian Attacks in 2009

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Most Top X of the Previous Year/Decade lists have been: "This is the worst year/decade evar!!1!1" This one is no different. As usual, radical Christians are breaking out their soapboxes and bemoaning how mistreated they are in this country.
"10. Pro-life Pastor Reverend Walter Hoye of Oakland, CA was jailed for exercising peaceful, pro-life speech."
Actually, it was not so peaceful considering he violated a law requiring him to stay 100 yards away so as not to obstruct access to the clinic, even though he had, had a previous offense. Funny enough, he didn't win the "But it's my right to free speech!" argument. What about a person's right to medical treatment?

"9. Rev. Fred Winters was murdered while preaching in his pulpit in Maryville, Illinois."
Yes, this was a horribly tragic murder. But Terry Sedlacek was obviously suffering from some severe mental issues that his family mistakenly attributed to Lyme disease, not acting out of some deep-seated hatred of Christianity.
"8. HBO's program "Curb Your Enthusiasm" aired an episode where the main actor urinates on painting of Jesus. When confronted HBO would not apologize."
Wait, preventing patients from reaching a clinic is free speech, but making fun of people who go so far as to put a painting of Jesus in the bathroom, near the toilet no less, is off limits? The logic fail, it confuses me.
"7. The overt homosexual participation in Obama's presidential inaugural events by "Bishop" Vickie Eugene Robinson, the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington D. C., and a homosexual marching band."
The overwhelming majority of Christian presidents, the National Prayer Breakfast, the Oath of Office, and the Pledge of Allegiance must not be enough for them. Also, they seem to have forgotten that gays can be Christian, too.
"6. Police called to East Jessamine Middle School in Lexington, Kentucky to stop 8th graders from praying during their lunch break for a student whose mother was tragically killed."
Now I could not find any information on this save for gossip from purely Christian sources. Considering the school district's history of allowing time for prayer in the Board of Education's meetings, I find this story dubious in nature.
"5. Pro-life activist Jim P[o]ullion was murdered in front of his granddaughter's high school for showing the truth about abortion."
First of all, they couldn't even spell Poullion's name correctly, which inevitably calls the rest of their list and "facts" into question because one has to wonder how much research they actually did. That having been said, Poullion had also killed Mike Fuoss, the owner of a gravel company. Does this mean that he also had a vendetta against rocks? Do businesspeople now get their own martyr? The police still do not have any motives, other than the guy was off his rocker, a suicide attempt being only one indicator among several.
"4. An activist judge ordered a home school mom in New Hampshire to stop home schooling her daughter because the little girl "reflected too strongly" her mother's Christian faith."
Actually, that's not the entire story. The reason why this even went to court in the first place is because the father was protesting the fact that she did not have exposure to any other viewpoints. What it comes down to is, is that the mother did not want her in public school and the father wanted her to be able to come to her decisions as she grew up. It was a parenting conflict between divorced parents rather than the government randomly intervening in homeschooling techniques. The judge decided in favour of the father, get over it.
"3. The Federal Department of Homeland Security issued a report entitled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate" that labeled conservative Christians extremists and potential terrorists."
Finally, the government is being equal opportunity in it's judgment of radical groups. And with due reason. You will also note in the report the following definition:
"Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration."
So to be labeled a Christian extremist you have to hate (which seems antithetical to a follower of Christ, but hey, what do I as a heathen know?) and reject the government. Seems pretty reasonable, and still in keeping with jihadists who hate Others and the American government. Note, that conservatives are the ones saying we should do profiling, but protest when they are the victims. Go figure.
"2. President Obama's appointment of radical anti-Christians like homosexual activist Kevin Jennings as the "safe school czar;" pro-abortion advocate Kathleen Seblius made Secretary of Human and Health Services, and Chai Feldblum, pro-homosexual and anti-religious liberty judge nominated for Equal Employment Opportunity Commission."
Yes, Obama has made appointments that reflect our multicultural and multiracial nation. How horrible of him.
"The Federal Hate Crimes Bill that attacks religious liberty and freedom of speech. For the first time in our history ministers are vulnerable to investigation and prosecution for telling the truth about homosexuality."
The Federal Hate Crimes Bill makes it punishable by federal law to harm, assault, or generally victimize someone because they might or might not belong to a "race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim..." Unless you are urging your followers to go out and attack any particular group you should be fine. Again, it makes one wonder if a) they read the law at all and b) if it's a case of the lady doth protest too much?

Why government watch lists don't really work...

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I have tried to stay out of the insanity that is the Crotchbomber, and succeeded in doing so save for the previous post... Until I saw this post on You Are Dumb. Here is the reality: since 9/11 you could end up on a watchlist for being a peacenik or to fill a quota.
A former partner of mine was a writer. He had written a fairly innocuous article, which was then stolen and placed on the website of a fringe group that was on some alphabet agency's list. He then found himself on the same list because someone else had taken excerpts from it out of context and twisted them to suit their own ends. A group to which he had absolutely no connections.
Then when you factor in other stupid stories, there are simply too many people being watched for ridiculous reasons or simply have the same name as a "potential threat" for them to be effectively caught. In short, I am not surprised that Farouk Abdul Mutallab was reported, yet allowed to fly. I say, throw out all the old lists from the Bush regime and start over. But that would be too logical, wouldn't it?