A Blog devoted to progressive politics, environmental issues, LGBT issues, social justice, workers' rights, womens' rights, and, most importantly, Cats.
Monday, May 31, 2010
Memorial Day 2010
It's that time of year again. And while Americans all over the land rush to the beaches and parks to "celebrate" by eating barbecue and potato salad, others wait anxiously for news of those deployed; visit graveyards, lay wreaths; weep for those who never came home; or wonder why they lost their home, spouse, job, sometimes every anchor that holds them in place in society.
I never understood the "celebrate" aspect of Memorial Day. There is nothing to celebrate in the deaths of men and women, mostly young, of any race, nationality, ethnicity, skin colour, or religion. Rather, it is my sincere hope that all of you enjoying yourselves today will pause for a minute and contemplate this. Or simply bow your heads and think of the young boys and girls we have sent to so many places to be hurt and killed to make our oligarchic owners a little richer.
Today we at this blog bow our heads and think of Louis Rochat (Rocket, to members of the 1/9 Cav), who fought his last fight on Saturday. Rocket risked his life to save his fellow troopers. He lost part of a leg, the vision in one eye, and two fingers for them.
There's plenty of stories among troopers of the 9th Cav, that elite group of helicopter pilots who flew missions in VietNam. Most of them portray Rocket, fairly accurately, as an ornery SOB with courage and class, and a willingness to lay down his life for his fellow troopers. He was just a lad when he arrived in VN, and a wreck when he left, leaving behind pieces of himself. In his own words:
I was twenty years old and just married when I left for Vietnam, and I couldn’t wait to get there. I didn’t even think about the feelings of my folks or my new wife. . . . She watched a twenty-year-old, six-foot, 175-pound Army warrant officer gunship pilot, full of piss and vinegar and a will to live life to its fullest, leave for a place she had heard nothing but bad things about. She got back a 102-pound, dark hollow-eyed, morphine and Demerol dependent, shrapnel and nine times gunshot-wounded, nine-month and two-day Vietnam veteran, who barely knew where he was, much less that he was facing two years in the hospital and thirteen surgeries.
Despite his injuries and the horrors he had seen, Lou pulled himself together and went on to make a long and happy life with his doubtless-horrified young wife. And he took his time to say all his goodbyes when, wrecked by the horrors of that war, his body failed him. He found a new vocation and a voice as a writer, with passion reverberating in his stories. Here is his wonderful description of the sacrifice one of his fellow Troopers made for him.
Louis Rochat, you were a class act. You made the world a better place and showed how to live and how to die. Rest in peace, trooper, you've earned it.
So stop for a moment today and think about how you can make your fellow citizens' lives better. Send a letter to someone deployed out there, telling them you care. Put together a package for a trooper on the front lines. Volunteer for a couple of hours a week or a month with any organization that works with vets, especially the VietNam vets who didn't have the many opportunities we provide for troopers today.
As for all those people who wear flag shirts and "support the troops" with tacky crap made in China? Go read this. And then get off your fucking ass and do something. Other than flapping your gums, that is.
It breaks our hearts to announce to all the friends of La Casa de Los Gatos that the last of our beloved feral kitties, Domino, left us today around 2:30 pm.
Domino came to the House Upon The Hill in 1996, with his sister, Simona. He was black from nose to tail with three white spots on his belly — thus the name — and the most beautiful golden eyes.
Domino was a wary feral. No one could get close enough to pet or stroke him. He came here to live because where he lived previously, he was being fed by a nice man with a horrid little bitch of a wife. She apparently had a thing about cats, and kept threatening to call animal control on them. When he wasn't around, she would throw things at them and kick them. We're still amazed that she didn't just poison the food he put out for them.
In the event, in the interest of preserving his life and health, some kind soul kitteh-napped him and Simona and we drove them to The House Upon The Hill, wherein they were entrapped for the requisite 12 weeks that it takes for the average cat to transfer its attachment to a new home.
Being feral, Domino hated being indoors, and cried (in tiny squeaks — for a long time we thought he was mute); and whenever a hoomin approached he would rush to hide or try to fling himself out of the nearest window. In fact, he would hurt himself trying to escape.
Eventually, we gave up and let him out of the house, and he was very happy to live in our crawl space and on the hill, and eventually adopted our neighbours as co-parents.
Domino had tested FIV+, and we knew we were taking a risk adopting him, with two older cats in the house. Little did we know that, a year or two later, we would end up with seven other cats and a dog. All rescues, all needing immediate assistance. But Domino (and Simona) were happy to live up on the hill, and required very little from us except regular food and clean water. They didn't want to be petted or held or even touched. They certainly didn't want vet visits. Try as we might, we never managed to capture them long enough to take them to the vet, except on three occasions.
Yesterday was the third visit to the vet, for Domino, since Simona had long since left us. We noticed that Domino, who had always been very healthy, appeared to have a cold and was weak and shaky. Last night when we managed to capture him, it was obvious that he was very dehydrated. His beautiful golden eyes were watering terribly, and his nose was blocked and stuffy. He was coughing and sneezing and could barely hold his head up.
We rushed him to the emergency care clinic our vet runs. They did everything they could. But it wasn't enough. They called us today and asked us to come down right away. We found our beloved little free spirit locked in a hideous metal cage, surrounded by barking dogs and busy people. We knew we couldn't leave him there. He could hardly lift his head.
So we took him outside into the little back garden of the clinic, where the grass grows tall and the sun shines down on flowering camellias. There, among the butterflies and birds, and the small life of every garden, we said goodbye to our beloved boy. He was so happy to be outside in the fresh air and sunshine that he almost got away from us. A sudden resurgence of energy brought him to his feet and he struggled against our restraining hands and arms until we talked him down, calming him, stroking him, petting him. He was struggling to draw each breath. It was obvious that he was suffering, and we made the hard decision all of us who love our little fourfoot companions must make. We couldn't bear for him to suffer.
Forgive me for not covering all the other scandals — Rand-Away Paul's reprehensible comments on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the right of private property owners (even those who do business with the public) to discriminate; Roy Ashburn's sudden 180 on LGBTQ rights after he got busted driving drunk with a young man in his car, having just left a GAYGAYGAYGAYGAY bar; Professor George Rekers, married (can you say "beard," children? I knew you could) co-founder (with James Dobson) of homophobic organizations Family Research Council and NARTH (one o'dem "cure teh ghey" groups) and his rent boy (who gives ass-levitating massages, I hear); et cetera, ad infinitum, ad nauseam. Because, frankly, I'd be here all day with stubby bloody little finger-stumps if I tried.
Meet Nimrata Randhawa Haley. Nimrata seems to be suffering the same Westernizification disease that has afflicted Louisiana governor Piyush Jindal. Just as Piyush became "Bobby," so Nimrata has become "Nikki" in her attempt to please the Betty Browns of this world.
In case you didn't know who Betty Brown is and don't want to clicky teh linky, Ms. Brown is the Texas State legislator who asked Americans of Asian descent to change their names to names that are "easier for Americans to deal with." Thereby implying, of course, that such Americans are not, you know, real Americans. Well, she won't have to worry about Nimrata and Piyush. Any American, even an Asian-American, can say "Nikki" and "Bobby."
Nikki Haley is a South Carolina representative in Washington, D.C. Apparently, a former colleague of Nikki's, one Will Folks, claims they've been boffing. They met when they both worked for South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (yeah, the guy who was "hiking the Appalachian Trail" on Nude Hiking Day, when he was supposed to be in the office, or at least reachable by his staff, not to mention his wealthy wife who bought him the job).
At the time, Folks was one of Sanford's top spokesweasels. It's not clear exactly what Haley was other than a hot mama with a nice booty. However, Folks apparently is leaking the nasty details of their affair in a slow drip to the South Carolina press. None of it has convincing probative value, but a lot of it is pretty damn suspicious. For one thing, Mr. Folks apparently worked for Ms. Haley's campaign at one time. During which period, some 700 telephone calls were made, mostly by Ms. Haley to Mr. Folks, many of them late at night, and some of them lasting several hours.
Ms. Haley defends herself with the claim that she works hard and works her staff hard as well. (Perhaps she should have avoided the word "staff.") That's all well and good, Nikki, but if my spouse got on the phone at 11 pm and stayed on for three fucking hours, I would not be a happy camper at all. It would take some smooth smooth talking and lots of excellent sex to quiet my suspicions, if you know what I mean. And she was calling him at 2 am and talking till 5 am. OK, so, what's the story here, Nikki? I work hard too, but I would never call a colleague at 2 am. I would assume that they were sleeping the sleep of the righteous and just.
We've all pulled all-nighters, sometimes several days or weekends in a row. Would you feel it was cool to call a colleague who was not also pulling an all-nighter, after 10 pm? I sure wouldn't. Hell, I've been chewed out for calling people after 8 pm, especially if they have young children.
And three hours? Seriously, girl-child, if it takes you three hours to discuss your bidness, you in the wrong line of work.
The most interesting thing about this very strange and creepy story is, Ms. Haley has yet to deny it. She's said things along the lines of she doesn't want to give any weight to this story and it's not worth her time and energy and yadadadayada. But she hasn't actually denied that she had an affair with the guy. The furthest she has gone is to say:
"I have been 100% faithful to my husband throughout our 13 years of marriage," Haley said in a statement. "This claim against me is categorically and totally false."
See, now, it would have been so easy for Ms. Haley to say, "I never had an affair with Will Folks."
But that's not what she said. And we hairsplitters know there's a difference between lying outright and lying by implication.
More to the point, Ms. Haley said she "barely knew" Will Folks. That's quite possible, of course, we don't all know every single one of our former colleagues or employees well. But if you make 700 phone calls to someone, some of them lasting two or three hours, it gets kinda hard to argue that you don't know them well. People I don't know well might get one telephone call a year from me. On the other hand people I'm screwing like a bunny, yeah, I'm so there with the three-hour phone calls (much as I hate using the phone) and the everyday emails and shit.
Oh, and Nikki Haley has the endorsement of Scary Failin', aka Babble Spice. Who was rumoured to be screwing her husband's business partner some time ago, although the guy sealed his court records so none of us will find the hard evidence. Birds of a feather, and all that.
OTOH, you know, given that soon-to-be ex-Governor Sanford was making the beast with two backs (or whatever else he was doing) with Maria Belen Chapur, the Argentinian beauty for whom he dumped his wealthy wife Jenny, just recently; Lt. Governor Andre Bauer (also running for the same post) recently informed a shocked nation that giving welfare to poor people just encourages them to breed like stray animals; Third-string Repugly candidate Gresham Barret, polling at a whole 16% has won the endorsement of Darth Cheney himself (that should be teh kiss of death right there) — nah, we still hope she loses to the Democrat.
Now, normally, we at this fine blog could give a fuck who's fucking who, you know? The more people fuck the less likely they are to be beating the crap outa each other, right? OTOH, the Scary Failin' ranks of Fambly Valyooz hypocrites really, really get our fucking goat. We'd like to see them all pilloried in public, pelted with rotten fruit and past-use-by-date eggs. They fucking suck because they want everyone but their sick sad selves to abide by rules that they themselves can't live by.
So, Nikki, here's a little song for you from the South Carolina electorate — Why don't we get drunk and screw:
By now, the only people who haven't heard of SB 1070, Arizona's Immigration Bill, are the acephalous. Because, you know, this feckin' thing has been teh Talking Point of every rightwing nutjob windbag since the first of them crawled back into the slime from which the rest of us fled.
While we would never incinerate that you, dear visitor, might be one of the impaired, we will, nevertheless, post a link to that foul piece of legislation, just so you can cast your seasoned and cynical eyeball over it.
One of the major talking points bandied about by the aforementioned RWNJs (Right-Wing Nut Jobs, for those of you who were not paying attention) is that the Arizona legislation is Teh Good and Totally Not Stinky Because It's Exactly Teh Same as Teh Nanny-Nanny-Boo-Boo Federal Legislation, So Suck It Lib H8ers.
Yeah, right. Here for your perusal is the Federal legislation, also known as the Immigration and Nationality Act, Title 8 of the U.S.C.
While the Arizona law refers extensively to Federal law, it goes way beyond what Federal law envisioned as appropriate in criminalizing the presence of undocumented migrant workers.
And it is a great danger to the civil liberties of American citizens and especially to American taxpayers.
For example, Title II, Chapter 7, Article 8 G states:
G. A PERSON WHO IS A LEGAL RESIDENT OF THIS STATE MAY BRING AN ACTION 37 IN SUPERIOR COURT TO CHALLENGE ANY OFFICIAL OR AGENCY OF THIS STATE OR A 38 COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE THAT ADOPTS 39 OR IMPLEMENTS A POLICY OR PRACTICE THAT LIMITS OR RESTRICTS THE ENFORCEMENT 40 OF FEDERAL IMMIGRATION LAWS TO LESS THAN THE FULL EXTENT PERMITTED BY FEDERAL 41 LAW. IF THERE IS A JUDICIAL FINDING THAT AN ENTITY HAS VIOLATED THIS 42 SECTION, THE COURT SHALL ORDER THAT THE ENTITY PAY A CIVIL PENALTY OF NOT 43 LESS THAN ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS AND NOT MORE THAN FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR 44 EACH DAY THAT THE POLICY HAS REMAINED IN EFFECT AFTER THE FILING OF AN ACTION 45 PURSUANT TO THIS SUBSECTION.
Pardon the formattage, it's from a PDF and this is just what Blogger does to it.
What does this section do? It allows any fucking nutbag who is a citizen *or resident* of Arizona to sue any police officer and any police department if they think such officer/department is not enforcing this law stringently enough.
I don't recall Federal law containing any such provision. Note that since police departments are funded by taxpayers, it is the taxpayers who must pay all costs associated with such lawsuits. Now why would the legislators of Arizona want to screw the citizens because they get a woody from h8n' on "teh illegalz"?
And how many cities are so wealthy that they can afford to cough up between $1K and $5K per day, if successfully sued?
It also permits the same mentally deficient RWNJs to sue any city or other state-level entity that adopts a "sanctuary" policy. Which, frankly, sucks. But what the abovementioned language means for the law enforcement personnel who have to put it into practice in the streets is that if you call the cops because, oh, I dunno, you're being raped or murdered? And someone else calls reporting a suspected "illegal alien"? You're shit outa luck, because the PD won't get sued if it doesn't immediately show up to save your injured ass. It will fershure get sued if some litigious asshole made the "illegal alien" call and found out that the police failed to respond or did not respond swiftly enough.
Arizona, you sure you want this shitty law?
And that's just the peripheral stuff.
Here's the real reason why this law seriously sucks hind end:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
This, boyz'ngurlz, is the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. It is part of what is called The Bill of Rights.
For decades now, the courts have chipped away at various provisions of the Bill of Rights, but none so brutally and continually as the Fourth Amendment. See, the Fourth Amendment prevents the government from violating its citizens rights to a great degree. It says "... no warrant shall issue but upon probable cause, ..." et cetera. This means the cops can't haul your ass to jail for looking, or dressing, or even acting funny without swearing under oath that they have a good reason to believe that you're a dangerous criminal. They can't bust down your door, they can't enter your home, they can't stop you when you walk down the street, they can't do shit to you without that little piece of paper signed by a judge and sworn to under oath. So if the cops lie to get that little piece of paper, they're guilty of perjury and you have the right to sue their asses off.
However, this law amends Section 13-3883 of the Arizona Revised Statutes to permit the police to arrest without a warrant, not just for dangerous felonies and suspected terrorism, which we would probably all agree is justified by the demands of public safety, but also for mere misdemeanors. Under this law, the cops can come into your house and demand to see everyone's papers if there's too many people in your house, or you're violating some noise ordinance, or there's a car on blocks in your yard.
The po-pos can impound your vehicle if you give someone a ride without inquiring for evidence of their immigration status. Isn't that nice? Give your elderly neighbour a ride to church? Bam! Go to jail, do not collect, etc. Give your friend's kids a ride home from school? Tough shit for you if they were born someplace else and are "undocumented." Wifey in the car had a little nip of alcohol? If she's under 21, off you go to teh jailhouse. What's even worse, the law specifies that your insurance company has no duty to pay any charges that you might rack up during this period. What, not even while you're pleading your innocence and wrongful arrest through the courts? Nice.
This law also shifts the burden of proof regarding entrapment charges to the defendant. If the cops entrap you into doing something illegal (we all know the honourable po-pos would never do that, right?), this law says it is up to you the citizen to prove that they entrapped you. As a rule, the burden of proof has been on the prosecution because the Government has vast resources and power, compared to the average citizen. It is less costly for the Government to prove that it has clean hands than for you, joe citizen, to prove that it does not.
Nowhere in the Constitution or in Title 8 of the USC does it say that an American citizen must carry identification on their person at all times. But SB 1070, the Aryanzona law (as it's popularly known among the bright sparks of the InnerTubes) says that if the cops stop your ass for, I dunno, crossing against a light? Walking your dog off leash? Parking in the wrong zone? — they can ask you for ID, and if you don't have any, it's off to the hoosegow with you, buddy.
Don't take my word for it. Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, AZ, has done this several times. In his opinion, it's totally cool to throw all the brown people in jail and release the US citizens later. Does this sound like the Fourth Amendment is being respected and obeyed at all in Aryanzona?
And when did AZ flatfoots become experts in determining the ethnicity of a brown person, let alone their possible immigration status? Because, you know, stuff like this happens all the time.
By now you're probably sick of hearing about this. I'm certainly sick of writing about it. In honour of the humongous fucking headache this issue has given me, I'd like to leave you with this very enjoyable video clip.
And for the last word, we turn to the Native inhabitants of this land:
We'll be blogging on this issue regularly. Stay tuned.
Let's start with last week's little fiasco. A math teacher in Jefferson County, Alabama apparently decided the best way to teach his students about geometry was to give them a hypothetical about the correct angle to use when attempting to assassinate the President of the United States.
They finally put the sum'bitch on leave, but I'm willing to bet it was paid leave. And it took them forever to do it. Apparently the only reason the school put him on leave at all was because they were flooded with irate calls from all over the country. However, you'll be relieved to hear that the Secret Service did pay the little asshole a visit, which probably gave him diarrhoea for a week or two. Here's hoping it left teh burn of overuse and chilli dogs on his hemorrhoids. Fecking eejit. The school has not released his name. Wonder why? For those of you who care, his name is Gregory Harrison, and he teaches, or taught, at Corner High School.
So kudos to those of you who called. Until you did, the school was going to "have a conversation" with him. Probly along the lines of "Don't say stuff like that again in public, dood."
Now, back when the Bouchebag Gee, Dumb? Yeah! was in charge, this is how teachers who did anything similar were treated:
Steve White, a science teacher at West Limestone High School near Athens, Alabama, was fired in 2006 after showing a film clip to his class in which President George W. Bush, members of his staff, and conservative personalities were referred to as "a–holes."
Incidentally, White was a Democratic candidate for the Alabama House of Representatives at the time. Imagine that, fired for telling the truth! I mean, how many people on this planet would disagree with the conclusion that conservative personalities are assholes? Geez, perhaps they're not. Perhaps they're GIANT MAJOR FUCKING OUTRAGEOUS SYPHILITIC ASSHOLES! There, I feel better already.
OK, it might look like I'm pickin' on poor ol' 'Bama, what with that story about the right Reverend or whatever you call those Baptist preachers, you know, that guy Aldridge with the two wetsuits and a condom-covered dildo stuck up his ass; followed by that darling little story about the homophobic, anti-sex-toy Attorney General of the State being busted by his wife schtupping his GAYGAYGAYGAYGAY male aide in the marital bed.
But, trust me on this, we're equal opportunity oppressors at mi Casa, just like Dear Old Mum. Catholic, as it were, in our hatreds. In fact, our next story takes place in Lumpkin County, Georgia.
I know. WTF were those dumb lumps thinking when they named the fecking place?
In the event, another fucking high-school teacher in that god-forsaken place apparently decided it was cool for her high-school advanced placement students to study racism by filming themselves cavorting around in — you guessed it, Ku Klux Klan costumes.
Except she didn't mention this little fact to anyone else in the school.
Imagine the surprise of the black and brown kids in the school who are sitting there eating their lunch when in come a bunch of assholes in Klan sheets with pointy hoods. Excuse me, Catherine Ariemma, what the fuck were you thinking? So far so bad, but here's where things take a turn for the abso-fucking worst.
The Klan-costumed kids start taunting the black kids and end up by inviting one of the black kids to join them in re-enacting a lynching.
Note that Zinge is easily two to three times the size of any other cat in the house. We take this opportunity to mention that his favourite sleeping position is on top of any nearby creature. Yes, he will crush every last molecule of air out of your lungs.
Also, to ensure you don't roll over while he's sleeping on you, he hooks all 20 razor-sharp claws in for better grabbage and rotatage. No, it's pointless trying to escape. Yes, the pillowcases have bloodstains.
Whadya mean, "Why do you put up with it?" There's a choice?
Besides, he's better than an electric blanket on cold nights. If you can push his 22-pound bulk into a comfortable position, that is. Plus, he purrs. There's definitely something to be said for a warm, enormous, purring ginger cat snuggling up on a cold night. What it is, we don't know just yet. We suspect it's in the nature of "GERROFF ME YOU FAT FUCKING HAIRY LOUT!"
*Skooksie* created this photo. Someone at a New Orleans neighborhood grocery store called the Breaux Mart created the cake. If you'd like to download this photo, go here to Flickr's site. This photo has a Creative Commons license.
Watch this interview on Democracy Now! Amy Goodman interviews former EPA investigator Scott West about past spills caused by BP.
Over on Treehugger.com, some fine individual posted a few videos that will touch you to the very depths of your soul.
Watching these, who can say that animals do not feel love, joy, gratitude, kinship, friendship — all those emotions that we arrogantly assume are reserved only to us humans?
Here is a gorilla named Kwibi, meeting again someone who helped raise him a decade ago:
Kwibi clearly has not forgotten his human friend, to whom he clung, and by whose sleeping place he stayed all night, calling and crying out. If we could understand his words, what would they say? "I love you, I remember you, I've missed you all these years? Thank you so much for saving my life?"
And what about this lion, returned to the wild to live among his kind?
Obviously, he hasn't forgotten the people who loved him and played with him when he was just a cub. What a joy, to be privileged to witness the friendship between these members of two different species.
And here, a dog tells her person how happy she is that he came home in one piece, safe, from a battlefield far away.
Hey, little doggie, you tell that human. Hey, human person, lucky you to be the object of such lavish affection!
Love is love. It doesn't matter what race you are or, obviously, even what species you are. La Casa de Los Gatos is grateful for these beautiful glimpses of the enduring power of love.
May the long time sun shine upon you All love surround you And the pure light within you Guide you all the way on.
Which poses the question of why the fuck it is OK to ask people that you think might be gay about their sexuality, yet nobody asks straight people if they ever practice sodomy (you know, like anal sex which is apparently pretty popular with the teenage Christian straight population, who want to save the other orifice for their Jebus-sanctioned fucking), or those dreadfully perverse practices such as anilingus, cunnilingus, fellatio, mutual masturbation, manual stimulation of various body parts, et cetera, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.
Notice that we do not even begin to mention the many paraphilias rampant in this world of ours — sadism, masochism, coprophilia, water sports, full-body massages from rentboys (see Reker, George, or Rentboy.com for details).
Also, teh softball? Denizens of La Casa de Los Gatos hold that you can't claim to be a real dyke unless you play field hockey. Softball is for pussies (um, you know, that is, what I mean, uh ... never mind).
Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by a east coast resident, which was posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:
Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:
When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?
I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?
A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?
Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?
Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? - Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.
We're in the midst of the worst ecological disaster of our lifetimes, in case you didn't know. That would be BP's oil rig leaking billions of gallons of oil into the ocean. The ocean that feeds and sustains us.
The RightWingNutJob Noise Machine, aka Faux Noise and Rupert Murdoch's various rags (the Wall St. Journal, various local fishwrap in different cities), the various "pundits" and opiners, talk show hosts and mouthpieces for the corporatocracy are already trying to spread the meme that President Obama and the Federal government that he heads are somehow culpable in this disaster. They're calling it "Obama's Katrina."
Oh, yeah? Well, I got your Katrina right here, fuckwits. What, do these idiots think that we have forgotten what happened during Hurricane Katrina? That was a mere five years ago, you bilious bloviating bilebags. We all lived through that, in person or vicariously. We have not forgotten the terrible scenes we saw.
So, peeps, if some RWNJ starts haranguing you with this bullshit? Here's what you tell them:
Timeline of events courtesy of Media Matters For America, a nonpartisan fact-checking organization devoted to exposing inaccuracy in reportage.
April 20 (10 p.m.): Oil rig explosion. An April 21 ABCNews.com article reported, "An overnight explosion in the Gulf of Mexico rocked the Deepwater Horizon oil rig off the Louisiana coast, sending spectacular bursts of flame into the sky. The fires were still raging today." The U.S. Coast Guard's National Oil and Hazardous Substances Response System assigns primary responsibility for cleaning up oil spills to the spiller as the responsible party.
April 21: Deputy Secretary of Interior, Coast Guard dispatched to region. An April 22 White House statement noted that following a briefing with President Obama, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen, Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe, and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, "Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Hayes was dispatched to the region yesterday to assist with coordination and response." The Coast Guard announced that four units were responding to the fire, with additional units en route.
* Search and rescue efforts begin for 11 missing. An initial focus of the response was the search for 11 missing crewmembers. The search was called off April 23.
* BP confirms U.S. Coast Guard was "leading the emergency response" In an April 21 press release, British Petroleum stated that it was "working closely with Transocean and the U.S. Coast Guard, which is leading the emergency response, and had been offering its help - including logistical support."
* CNN.com: "The U.S. Coast Guard launched a major search effort." An April 22 CNN.com article reported:
The U.S. Coast Guard launched a major search effort Wednesday for 11 people missing after a "catastrophic" explosion aboard an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico engulfed the drilling platform in flames.
Another 17 people were injured -- three critically -- in the blast aboard the Deepwater Horizon, which occurred about 10 p.m. Tuesday. The rig was about 52 miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana, said Coast Guard Senior Chief Petty Officer Mike O'Berry. As of late afternoon Wednesday as many as six firefighting vessels were working to contain the massive fire caused by the explosion.
"It obviously was a catastrophic event," O'Berry said.
April 23: Coast Guard "focused on mitigating the impact of the product currently in the water." On April 23, the Coast Guard stated:
The Department of the Interior, MMS [the U.S. Minerals Management Service], and the Coast Guard continue to support the efforts of the responsible parties to secure all potential sources of pollution. Both federal agencies have technical teams in place overseeing the proposals by BP and Transocean to completely secure the well. Until that has occurred and all parties are confident the risk of additional spill is removed, a high readiness posture to respond will remain in place.
Although the oil appears to have stopped flowing from the well head, Coast Guard, BP, Transocean, and MMS remain focused on mitigating the impact of the product currently in the water and preparing for a worst-case scenario in the event the seal does not hold. Visual feed from deployed remotely operated vehicles with sonar capability is continually monitored in an effort to look for any crude oil which still has the potential to emanate from the subsurface well.
"From what we have observed yesterday and through the night, we are not seeing any signs of release of crude in the subsurface area. However we remain in a 'ready to respond' mode and are working in a collaborative effort with BP, the responsible party, to prepare for a worst-case scenario," Landry stated early Friday morning.
April 25: Response team implements plan to contain oil spilling from source, weather delays cleanup.
* Storms delay response efforts. An April 25 Associated Press article reported, "Stormy weather delayed weekend efforts to mop up leaking oil from a damaged well after the explosion and sinking of a massive rig off Louisiana's Gulf Coast that left 11 workers missing and presumed dead." AP further reported:
The bad weather began rolling in Friday as strong winds, clouds and rain interrupted efforts to contain the spill. Coast Guard Petty Officer John Edwards said he was uncertain when weather conditions would improve enough for cleanup to resume. So far, he said, crews have retrieved about 1,052 barrels of oily water.
* Oil recovery and cleanup were to resume after adverse weather passed. On April 25, the unified command team responding to the spill stated:
The unified command is implementing intervention efforts in an attempt to contain the source of oil emanating from the wellhead at the Deepwater Horizon incident site Sunday.
The unified command has approved a plan that utilizes submersible remote operated vehicles in an effort to activate the blowout preventer on the sea floor and to stop the flow of oil that has been estimated at leaking up to 1,000 barrels/42,000 gallons a day.
Also, BP is mobilizing the DD3, a drilling rig that is expected to arrive Monday to prepare for relief well-drilling operations.
Additionally, the oil recovery and clean-up operations are expected to resume once adverse weather has passed. These efforts are part of the federally approved oil spill contingency plan that is in place to respond to environmental incidents.
April 26: Response crews "to resume skimming operations." On April 26, the response team stated, "Sunday, an aircrew from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sighted five small whales during an over flight in the vicinity of the oil spill, which currently measures 48 miles by 39 miles at its widest points with varying levels of sheening, and is located 30 miles off the coast of Venice, La." The command team further stated, "Following adverse weather that went through the area, response crews are anticipated to resume skimming operations today," including 1,000 personnel, 10 offshore vessels, 7 skimming boats and more than 14,000 gallons of dispersant. At that point 48,384 gallons of oily water had been collected.
April 28: Federal officials realize spill was far more severe than BP led them to believe. An April 28 New York Times article reported, "Government officials said late Wednesday night that oil might be leaking from a well in the Gulf of Mexico at a rate five times that suggested by initial estimates." The Times further reported:
In a hastily called news conference, Rear Adm. Mary E. Landry of the Coast Guard said a scientist from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had concluded that oil is leaking at the rate of 5,000 barrels a day, not 1,000 as had been estimated. While emphasizing that the estimates are rough given that the leak is at 5,000 feet below the surface, Admiral Landry said the new estimate came from observations made in flights over the slick, studying the trajectory of the spill and other variables.
An April 30 Associated Press article reported, "For days, as an oil spill spread in the Gulf of Mexico, BP assured the government the plume was manageable, not catastrophic. Federal authorities were content to let the company handle the mess while keeping an eye on the operation." The article continued:
But then government scientists realized the leak was five times larger than they had been led to believe, and days of lulling statistics and reassuring words gave way Thursday to an all-hands-on-deck emergency response. Now questions are sure to be raised about a self-policing system that trusted a commercial operator to take care of its own mishap even as it grew into a menace imperiling Gulf Coast nature and livelihoods from Florida to Texas.
April 29: Napolitano declares spill "of national significance"; BP insists its "plan can handle this spill." On April 29, BP official Doug Suttles appeared on ABC's Good Morning America and stated, "At this point, I believe our plan can handle this spill, and that's what we're doing." That day, Napolitano declared the spill "of national significance," explaining that "we can now draw down assets from across the country, other coastal areas, by way of example; that we will have a centralized communications because the spill is now crossing different regions."
* EPA preparing for oil to hit shore. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson commented at an April 29 press briefing: "[A]s the oil does hit the shoreline, EPA will provide support to assess the impacts on the coastal shoreline and play a key role in implementing the cleanup. As a daughter of the Gulf Coast, I know that it is our job to ensure people that we will be eyes and ears working with the states who have valuable and vital resources to monitor air, water and land quality." Jackson also stated that the EPA has deployed air-monitoring aircraft "that is gathering information on the impact of the controlled burn on air quality, both in the area of the burn, and, of course, further away."
* AP: "Air Force sends planes to help with Gulf oil spill." An April 30 Associated Press article reported: "Two Air Force planes have been sent to Mississippi and were awaiting orders to start dumping chemicals on the oil spill threatening the coast, as the government worked Friday to determine how large a role the military should play in the cleanup."
* WSJ: Navy joins Obama's "robust response." An April 30 Wall Street Journal article reported that "The U.S. Navy said it will send more than 12 additional miles of inflatable oil booms to the Gulf, as well as seven towable skimming systems and 50 contractors with experience operating the equipment." The article continued: "The Navy is making two large facilities available to the Coast Guard personnel and BP-employed contractors who are currently taking the lead in fighting the spill. Military officials said the booms and skimmers were being sent to a Naval construction base in Gulfport, Miss. The Navy also opened its air base in Pensacola, Fla., to the effort."
The timeline is clear. The incident was reported on 4/21 and the same day, the Deputy Secretary of the Interior and the Coast Guard were on the scene. BP assured everyone that the situation was under control, and minimized the scope of the disaster.
Seven days later, the Coast Guard realized that BP had underestimated the leakage by a factor of five times or more, and had no plan to deal with the disaster. President Obama has told BP that they must pay for the cleanup, but he has assigned the highest level of resources to this crisis.
So I'd better not hear "Obama's Katrina" coming out of anyone's mouth, any time soon. Because Katrina was what caused me, finally, to take a stand against Gee, Dumb? Yeah! and his cohorts, the Bouchebags who squatted in the White House and the Houses of the People and every administrative office and department in this country.
Here are a few ways in which Hurricane Katrina differs from the current disaster:
BP, NOAA, NASA — no organization could have predicted the oil rig accident.
Hurricane Katrina had been predicted weeks beforehand. There was plenty of warning, it was hurricane season, and researchers could see the hurricane approach landfall.
BP oil rig explosion — 11 dead
Hurricane Katrina — 1,500 dead
BP oil rig explosion — Federal Government/POTUS response: same-day dispatch of Coast Guard and high-ranking official to determine nature and extent of damage
Hurricane Katrina — Federal Government/POTUS response: Bush flew to McCain's to celebrate birthday party
Meanwhile, Dick Cheney was off on a week-long fishing "vacation" in Wyoming — supposedly. And Condi Rice was checking out the plays on Broadway, diverting herself with a little shoe-shopping at Ferragamo. Here's the timeline of events, if you want to see for yourself.
Bush waited for FIVE WHOLE DAYS between the time aid was requested and the time he finally reported back to work. He was too busy enjoying photo ops with John McCain's birthday cake and horsing around with a guitar and lying to seniors about his new Medicare drug benefit.
Meanwhile, this just in: Halliburton, Dick Cheney's old company which won so many no-bid contracts after Dick picked himself to be Georgie's Veep, is implicated in the widening scandal. And has been involved in similar environmental disasters.
Moreover: President Obama has already directed that BP will pay the cost of cleanup. BP has, apparently, agreed.
So I'd better not be hearing nothing about no fucking Katrina.