Monday, January 29, 2007

Molly: "They Don't Know About Love"

I found this on YouTube. It is sweet and moving to me. It reminds me that the need to express one's creativity is beautiful. The simplicity and transparency speaks to me.

Your Prayers Requested: My Cousin Dina

My cousin Dina was involved in a fatal accident on a local two-lane highway. A car crossed into her lane attempting to pass a car - the driver responsible for this accident died at the scene. Dina is really bad, and I hope that some of you will say a quick prayer for her and her son.

UPDATE: Well, maybe some of your prayers were answered in the past 48 or so hours. Against all odds, Dina has come off life support, is breathing on her own, as survived one surgery, is having another tonight to repair her pelvis/hip, she recognized her son (calling him "my sweet boy" according to reports) and can now squeeze a hand on command. Dina remains in ICU, but her return to consciousness and medical turn around is nothing short of miraculous.
Thanks to all who sent our family their love, support and prayers.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Watch This Clip!!!

This is the kind of passion I want to see. Ted Kennedy, I've been disappointed in you in the past, but goddammit you've redeemed yourself with this righteous rant.

Click This Link: And Watch the entire thing, please.

(link fixed, sorry!)


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

In Vogue: Disapproval of George W. Bush

It's quite in vogue right now to hate George W. Bush. And I find it somewhat disturbing.

It's like all the Johnny-Come-Lately's are tainting the long term legitimate concerns many Americans have had about George W. Bush, his competence, and his administration. It's been evident to some of us from day one.

Everyone is now (finally) against the war in Iraq, and recognizing the lies that were told to get us into it. That's the sole basis for many American's disapproval of the President and his administration.
However, I have been watching this president since he took office, I and others have been tracking his harmful actions, and so this post will be dedicated to informing readers and showing the reasons -- other than Iraq -- that the President and his Administration are worthy of your disapproval.

The following table documents the actions of Bush during the first four months of his "reign" - and prior to September 11, 2001. It's what alerted some of us early that he would be a disaster of a President.

1-22-2001: CNN
Bush defunds international organizations that provide abortions or abortion counseling to poor women. Organizations that provide healthcare to the third world will no longer be allowed to offer abortions or even counseling about options that include abortion if they want to continue to receive federal funding. Either they forego the funding, which could mean they'd have to shut down, or they comply with this directive, which adds to population problems and subjects women to the morality of conservative Americans. Back-alley abortions will likely result in death for many women.

2-7-2001: CNN
Bush almost closes White House AIDS and race offices. In what will become a pattern for the Bush administration, Chief of Staff Andy Card announces that White House will close its offices on AIDS and race relations. After a brief but virulent media firestorm, the administration backtracks, claiming that the person responsible for running the White House "wasn't aware" that the offices were remaining open.

3-3-2001: Washington Post
Bush lies about his tax cut. Contrary to Democratic reports that more than 40 percent of his tax cut goes to the richest 1 percent of Americans, Bush says that only 22 percent will go to them. But his analysis, Bush leaves out the estate tax cut and the last bits of income tax rate reductions--all of which go to the rich. He just picks and chooses the portions he likes in order to come up with the number he wants--and it's still too high.

3-9-2001: CNN
Bush postures over North Korea. Secretary of State Colin Powell announces that he'd like to continue the diplomatic progress the Clinton administration has made with North Korea. A day later, Bush contradicts his chief diplomat, saying he doesn't trust North Korea to honor their agreements. When a reporter later points out that America has only one agreement with North Korea--which the country has honored--the administration's press flacks explain this by saying that referring to the future in the present tense is just the way the president talks. Meanwhile, the world sits in wonder over our Bush's huge diplomatic step backward.

3-13-2001: CNN
Bush reverses stance on CO2 emissions. Despite a campaign pledge to the contrary, Bush decides he won't tell American factories to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, one of the leading causes of the greenhouse effect. He says the energy crisis requires him to delay action in this area, but does nothing to curb U.S. consumption, which would reduce pollution and alleviate the energy crisis.

3-20-2001: CNN
Bush signs ergonomics repeal. Bush signs a bill that repeals Clinton administration rules designed to protect Americans from ergonomic injuries. The rules, 10 years of study by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the making, are opposed by Bush's friends in the business world, who fear the cost. Of course the long-term cost of dealing with injured workers is much higher.

3-20-2001: CNN
Bush keeps the arsenic levels in drinking water high. Bush delays Clinton administration rules that would have lowered the maximum allowable level of arsenic in drinking water. The standard has remained unchanged since 1942. Who benefits from the higher levels?. The mining companies and other industrial interests that would have to pay more to avoid polluting the water supply. These interests donated generously to Bush's campaign. Anyone surprised?

3-22-2001: CNN
Bush ends ABA's role in selecting federal judges. For 50 years, the American Bar Association has advised the White House on the qualifications of potential nominees for the federal bench. Ever since it gave Reagan Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork a mixed (but mostly positive) review, conservatives have been gunning for the ABA, claiming that the organization has a liberal bias. Bush has given into their demands and seems poised to replace the ABA's advice with that of the Federalist Society, a group of lawyers that makes no bones about its ultraconservative biases.

Bush cuts programs for children in his budget. Showing the compassionate side of his conservatism, Bush reduces spending on programs that deal with child abuse, preschool education, and training for pediatricians.

3-29-2001: CNN
Bush pulls out of the Kyoto treaty. Prompting an outcry from the international community, Bush says that the United States won't support the Kyoto treaty to reduce global warming because it would hurt the American economy and doesn't hold third-world countries responsible for their pollution. Bush sees no irony in being concerned about the effects of pollution reduction on the world's strongest economy while caring not a whit about the most fragile economies.

3-30-2001 : Washington Post
Bush cuts police budget. One of the reasons for the sharp reductions in crime during the Clinton administration was the increase in community police. Now Bush wants to cut those cops out of the budget to pay for increased security in our schools because, after all, shootings in schools get more media coverage than shootings on the street.

3-30-2001 : Washington Post
Bush makes it easier for criminals to get federal contracts. Our law-and-order conservative president doesn't want to throw the people who run corporations that break worker safety and environmental laws in jail. Bush would rather they get federal contracts, so he suspends Clinton administration rules making it more difficult for companies that broke the law to bid on lucrative federal contracts. Why isn't this simply illegal?

3-31-2001 : Women's Enews
Bush closes White House Office for Women's Initiatives and Outreach. A common campaign theme for Bush was "W Stands for Women." This catchy slogan made it onto thousands of posters, but the message never got through to Bush. One of his first acts as president is to close the White House Office for Women's Initiatives and Outreach, created by President Clinton to give women's groups a greater role in public policy.

4-4-2001 : New York Times
Bush cuts health programs for uninsured. The budget plan Bush sent to Congress includes deep cuts in programs championed by the Clinton administration. The cuts will make it more difficult to provide training to doctors and nurses who want to provide services in underserved areas. The programs he's cutting have also increased the number of minorities in healthcare jobs.

4-4-2001 : USA Today
Bush declares open season on the national parks. Soon visitors to our now-peaceful national parks will be greeted with a dramatic new site: oil and natural gas drills. While I'm not an expert in such manners, it's impossible to imagine a national park remaining unchanged after an oil drilling team gets through with it. National parks are supposed to be preserves, not oil fields, and Bush's insistence on solving energy problems by finding more fuel instead of reducing consumption is doubly bad for the environment.

4-6-2001 : San Francisco Chronicle
Bush removes protections for marine wildlife. Every environmental policy has its opponent in the world of business, and marine wildlife protection zones are no exception. Commercial fishermen resent the zones because it limits the areas that they can catch fish. Given the choice between a U.S. business interest and saving a few hundred species of fish, mammal, and plant, President Bush unsurprisingly looks poised to choose the former.

4-12-2001 : Washington Post
Bush delays release of a report linking dioxin consumption to cancer. While some of us would like the government to keep us fully informed on public health issues, the Bush administration and congressional Republicans are doing the bidding of the chemical and agribusiness industries and delaying a report on that links dioxins--one of which was the active ingredient in Agent Orange--to cancer. The EPA has studied and restudied this issue for years, but it has never released a final report because of industry pressure. Now that Bush is running the EPA, cattlemen and chemical companies aren't worried at all about these results affecting administration policy.

4-12-2001 : Washington Post
Bush tries to cut birth control coverage for federal workers. In what can only be described as an attempt to impose his religious beliefs on all federal workers, Bush is trying to remove birth control coverage from all federal insurance plans. He is, in effect, trying to make sure that women who choose to work for the government--single or married--don't make their own decisions about whether or not they want to have a baby. It's an unprecedented attack on women's freedom to make their own reproductive choices, one that has nothing to do with abortion.

4-12-2001 : Washington Post
Bush makes it harder to put species on the endangered list. The vast majority of animals and plants on the endangered species list get there because of lawsuits. Someone (usually an environmental group) sues a government entity or private company to prevent encroachment on a species' habitat, and a court order places the species on the endangered list. Now Bush wants to take that power out of the courts' hands and give it to Gale Norton--a woman who once wrote that the Endangered Species Act was unconstitutional.

4-13-2001 : CNN
Bush donates cash to the gay-bashing Boy Scouts. Making money off campaign autobiographies is a no-no for politicians. So Bush made sure to find an appropriate charity to donate the proceeds from his ghost-written A Charge to Keep. He split the money evenly among the Boys and Girls Clubs (although the $25,000 they got doesn't do much to make up for the $60 million he cut out of the budget--see item for 14 April above), the Girl Scouts, and the Boy Scouts, which regularly kicks out its members for being gay. It's always nice to know that our leader has no qualms about supporting an organization that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation.

4-13-2001 : Washington Post
Bush relaxes standards on appliance energy efficiency. Faced with an energy crisis, the Bush administration has consistently chosen to plunder the land for more oil rather than try to conserve energy--the better for his cronies in the energy business. Pleasing one more sector of the corporate world--appliance manufacturers--Bush decides to relax Clinton administration rules requiring air conditioners to be more energy efficient.

4-14-2001 :
Bush cuts funding to programs he's used as photo ops. The president visits an Atlanta area children's hospital. His wife goes to a library to kick off "The Campaign for America's Libraries." He visits a Boys and Girls Club six times since he started campaigning, always making sure there are plenty of photographers around. But the budget Bush sends to Congress cuts training programs for pediatricians, federal funding for libraries, and money that goes to the Boys and Girls Clubs. Just like in the campaign, where he took credit for Texas laws he had fought, Bush has no problems appearing to support the things he doesn't, as long as it looks good for the voters.

4-17-2001 : USA Today
Bush auctions the rights to offshore Florida oil drilling. The president is a states' rights conservative who often during the campaign refused to tackle difficult questions (such as the one about the Confederate flag flying over the South Carolina statehouse) by saying that issues should be decided by the people of an individual state. But Bush doesn't stick to his principles if it stands in the way of his oil buddies making some cash. Against the wishes of the people of Florida and the state's Republican governor--Bush's brother Jeb--the administration has decided to auction the rights to offshore oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. This is the first time we've seen someone say "fuck you" to the environment, states' rights, and his own brother in one fell swoop.

Check out this comprehensive list of actions and links for more information.

For Posterity's Sake: Madame Speaker Presiding Over Her First SOTU Address

Congrat-ulations, Nancy. It's about damn time.


"It is the fundamental principle and unalterable law of this Nation that public servants, agencies, and governmental bodies exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business. It is critical and central to the Constitution of the United States that the people’s business be conducted openly so that the public may remain informed.

“The people find and declare that it is the intent of law that the actions of public servants – whether appointed or elected – agencies, and governmental bodies be undertaken openly and their deliberations be conducted openly.

“The people of this county do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies or officials that serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know.

“The people insist on remaining informed and with access to all manner of information so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.”

--By: Shella

State of the Union: Two Words


(Love, Shella)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Tribute: Martin Luther King, Jr.

It's important for me to acknowledge and honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on this, the day America celebrates his birth.

Below are selected excerpts from L. Harold DeWolf in his Funeral Tribute to MLK at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA on April 9, 1968.

"Martin Luther King spoke with the tongues of men and of angels... Now that knowledge and that wisdom have been transcended as he shares in the divine wisdom of eternity.

It is now for us, all the millions of the living who care, to take up his torch of love. It is for us to finish his work, to end the awful destruction in Vietnam, to root out every trace of race prejudice from our lives, to bring the massive powers of this nation to aid the oppressed and to heal the hate-scarred world."
L. Harold DeWolf (1905-1986) was Martin Luther King's dissertation advisor at Boston University's School of Theology. From 1965 to 1972 he was the dean of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Lobster and the Sunk-Cost Fallacy

What does a lobster have to do with the sunk-cost fallacy? And if the two are related at all, what’s the worst that can happen? Let me tell you the true story of what happens when a lobster purchase meets the sunk-cost fallacy, enhanced by loss aversion.

First, the sunk-cost fallacy is applicable to economics, human behavior, business decision-making, warfare, gambling – and evidently buying shellfish.

The sunk-cost fallacy is the phenomenon closely related to loss aversion. For example, a person who purchases a non-refundable movie ticket feels obligated to go to the movie despite not really wanting to, because doing otherwise would be wasting the ticket price; they feel they passed the point of no return and must see the show.

Dan (Remarkable Simone’s father), after having unsuccessfully attempted to catch lobster, found and purchased the largest tail he'd ever seen at a local market. It was the size of a meat loaf and weighed two pounds! It also cost $55.

All you can eat lobster is right up my alley. Dan decides that the 2 lb tail should be sliced, and the medallions sauteed in garlic and butter. So far so good.

I get started late. My plate is beautiful. Plenty of lobster medallions, superb salad, red wine (Shiraz again and YES even with seafood). I pick the most succulent piece of lobster, place it delicately in my eager mouth…. Begin to chew when…. YUCK! It tastes like ammonia! Same with the second attempted bite so I toss all mine in the garbage.

Dan has just paid $55 for the largest lobster tail he’s ever seen. And he’s going to eat it, goddammit, he tells me it tastes great and doesn’t smell like ammonia. He consumes nearly the whole thing.

I decide to do a little sleuthing on the internet to see if there’s anything about lobsters smelling like ammonia. As it turns out, there are about a million pages describing how shellfish decay and contamination results in ammonia smell! I must tell him.

“Dear Dan, I am sorry to inform you that the lobster was rotten, and you may be in for a long night.”

He’s horrified. He’s pissed-off. He’s gotten ripped off. HE ATE IT.

Within a short time food poisoning hits. Dan’s feeling nauseous, then the stomach cramps begin, then frequent visits to the loo, then he’s retching. Dan curls on the couch through the night sick as a dog, too sick to go home or be on his own.

The moral of this story is: NEVER consumer nearly two pounds of rotten lobster simply because you paid $55 for it. It’s not worth it. It’s a sunk cost, just let it go.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

I think I Still Mourn For Italy...

As you know, my daughter has disabilities. Something happened recently (I don't know yet if I'll post about it) that made we spend some time considering if I've fully come to accept what this means, and whether or not I still have grief about it.

by Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy.

You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy." But there's been a change in the flight plan.

You've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there.

And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Shella's Sick: Sniffle, Cough, Wheeze, Sneeze, Wipe

Remember how I told you that Remarkable Simone was sick?

Remember how I said that I was hoping to escape without getting sick as well?

Remember how I stayed home from work, cleaning and disinfecting every surface and object known to man that she could have possibly touched?

Well, it didn't work. I am officially down for the count.

I just wanted to let you know in case you're expecting a decent post from me. I'll knock your socks off when I get better.

Carry on.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

The only job more dangerous than Madam Speakers

Yikes. This poor guy.

You're looking at the only job in the world more dangerous than Nancy Pelosi's right now.

The democrats have been in charge of both houses for a couple of days. Bush is being a complete dick, anyone who believes one word out of that liars mouth about his bipartisan actions should - I don't know - maybe hold up targets for some army's firearms practice.

Evidently, the traditional media is still taking talking points from the GOP and White House, and republicans are beginning to harp, as though they have ANY credibility left.

Hey guys - Nancy's seat is not even warm yet. What say you give her and your democrat colleagues some time? After how badly you've fucked up the WORLD it's going to take a little time to take our damn county back from your disastrous combination of negligence and harmful acts.

Not inclined to help? Fine, if you don't want to be an honorable part of the solution then get out of the way. We're moving forward, and America's got Nancy's and the democrats back on this one.

I get so pissed off.


Friday, January 5, 2007

History: Madam Speaker Nancy Pelosi

When I saw this pic, it inspired song in my heart. Please be kind folks.

(Sung to the tune of the Beatles' classic "Maxwell's Silver Hammer")

Nancy's quizzical; “cut the Bushit” critical;
Justice in the house.
Late nights working hard with the outcasts.
Oh, oh, oh, oh.

Bush Incompetent, majoring in circumvent,
Whines "she’s now in charge".
“We will spin the press, and dismiss you,
Ho, o, o, o.”

But as Repub'kins run from the light,
The girl, she stands up tall…..

Bang! Bang! Nancy’s silver hammer
Came down upon their heads.
Bang! Bang! Nancy’s silver hammer
Made sure they were dead.

Back in school again, Bushkin is a fool again,
America’s annoyed.
How much more of this can we ta-ake,
Oh, oh, oh, oh.

We tell Bush to go, he’s protecting status quo,
We won’t pay his price.
Having been duped twice, we know better,
So, o, o, o..

But as Repub'kins scurry away,
the Dems have got our back!

Bang! Bang! Nancy’s silver hammer
Came down upon their heads.
Bang! Bang! Nancy’s silver hammer
Made sure they were dead.

D.C. smirkin'-one, say’s he’s not a dirty one.
Bushkin stands alone.
Praying, killing, all in the name of God,
Odd, odd, odd.

Repub debauchery, rampant in the gallery.
Says "he must go free".
America don’t agree, and we tell them,
So, o, o, o.

Impeachment hearings now in the wings,
A Girl comes from behind…..

Bang! Bang! Nancy’s silver hammer
Came down upon their heads.
Bang! Bang! Nancy’s silver hammer
Made sure they were dead.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Prank Calls: Little Irish Girl

I ran across a couple of totally HILARIOUS taped prank calls made by 8 year old Becky, who lives in Dublin Ireland. Visit the blog of John Edwards (NOT THE PSYCIC).

(The pic is really little Becky Barry at her confirmation.)

In the first call, Becky calls a demolition company to knock down her school! The second prank call has Becky calling the Irish equivalent of the DMV to schedule a driving test because she's become so skilled from having a Barbi car. The third call has Becky calling the zoo to inquire about purchasing an elephant for her dad - because her mom says her dad is getting as big as an elephant. Another has Becky calling an auto shop to see if they'll purchase the "spare tire" her dad says is around her mom's tummy. Talk about a precocious little imp - wow - you have to hear her in action to believe it.

The site has a link to more of little Becky's prank call antics. It's quite possibly the cutest stuff around. It turns out that 8 year old Becky is a regular contributor on the morning show of a Dublin radio station. For those interested in listening to what's happening on Irish radio, the station link is here: Dublin's 98FM Radio Station

Happy New Year everyone.