Thursday, August 30, 2007

What the Craig story is really about

Sarah Whitman on Hufpost says it very well:

...this is a man, who for his entire political career, has worked in fervor against any LGBT issues on the table. He claimed a higher moral ground while he was cruising for sex in bathrooms because... well, because his fundraising clearly depended on it. It's doubtful that a gay man in Idaho would get elected Senator but I might be wrong about that. Regardless, if he wanted to be in the closet, still stay married, be a Senator, well, I can understand all of that. It's not easy to be out, it means job discrimination, it means physical harassment and sometimes violence, it means not being able to have your loved one be your legal spouse or any of those benefits. It means, often, losing your family and friends. It's not an easy path. I can respect anyone who chooses to live in the closet on one condition:

They don't actively fight for laws in an elected office that allow for discrimination, hate and bigotry. If Senator Craig needs a pick me up every now and then from the men's room, I think that's pathetic, but ... to each his own and understand, you're going to get caught.

That's really the bottom line to this whole story. It's not about him being gay. Yes, he did break the law and chose to not go public with the story. And, as a senator who makes laws he should expected to follow them. But, if Craig were merely a closeted gay man and got caught that would be sad, but it wouldn't be the same story. The story here is that Craig has decided to live in the closet so that he doesn't have to deal with the difficulties of being an openly gay man while spending his professional life trying to outlaw the very thing that he wishes he could be. Just because he can't come to terms with his sexual orientation doesn't mean that those of us who have should be discriminated against. The hypocrisy of his professional actions compared to those of his personal life is the real story. Sadly the traditional media just seems hung up on the fact that he was trying to find sex with another man in a public bathroom and can't move on from there.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The end of summer, at least for me

So just another week here. I'm afraid there's not lots happening to talk about, but I guess that's a good thing really. The saying no news is good news definitely applies. We spent several hours last week getting the boat ready for winter. Since the new sail won't be ready until at least October, we're not going to get any sailing in before then. So, we took off all the extraneous lines, the mainsail cover, etc. We'll still spend weekends on the boat but that will be it until next spring. So, for me it feels like summer is over at this point. Forget that it's still 80 degrees outside (at 8:45 at night) I'm officially ready for autumn.

I ran across a few things on the web that I felt I wanted to talk about. As most people probably know, it's the second anniversary of Katrina hitting New Orleans. There's been some rebuilding of the area, but there is still so much to be done. Bravenewfilms has a short film showing how much of the area is still a disaster area. It's pathetic that the supposedly wealthiest nation on the earth can't even rebuild one of its cities in a timely manner. $116 billion was allocated by the feds for rebuilding the area, and of that only 30% has ended up being directed towards long-term rebuilding projects. Less than half of that 30% has been spent so far. Why isn't rebuilding one of our major cities more of a priority?

So speaking of Katrina, apparently when Bush arrived at the airport and met Mayor Nagin, he felt compelled to rub the mayor's head head. Who is this guy pretending to be President of the US? No world leader should be rubbing the head of, well, anyone in public. It's just creepy.

So everyone has probably already heard of the problems of Senator Larry Craig. However, this video with various talking heads discussing the issue is particularly nauseating. Tucker Carlson, who on his best day is about the equivalent of pond scum, actually admits to gay bashing when he was in high school and is proud of it (it happens at about 2:50 into it). What kind of moron would be proud of assaulting another human being? Should someone who's proud of committing a hate crime be allowed to remain on TV, and why should anyone take this clown's opinion seriously? To make matters worse, after he was called on it Carlson changed his story saying that he didn't really assault anyone, he just held the guy in place until the police arrived. What's wrong with people today that they feel they can say anything and then just deny it when it causes a problem? Do these kinds of people think that the rest of us are stupid and that we don't realize what they've said, in this case 12 hours before? Silly question on my part...of course they think we're stupid.

But back to Larry Craig, it's interesting that the GOP is abandoning him by calling for an ethics committee investigation, pushing him out of his committee appointments, and calling for him to resign. He's apparently poison to the GOP all of a sudden. However, barely 6 weeks ago Senator David Vitter admitted having hired a prostitute after his name showed up on a madam's customer list in D.C. Prostitution and soliciting a prostitute are both illegal in D.C. and Vitter admitted to committing the crime. Yet where are the GOP calls for an investigation and resignation from Vitter? Apparently if you cheat on your wife and commit a crime but are straight, it's okay. If you cheat on your wife and commit a crime but are gay, it's a bad bad thing and you can't play in the GOP sandbox anymore. 

had a very interesting thought today about coming up with a new name for guys like Craig. They want to have sex with men but they are definitely not part of the gay community and we should NOT welcome them in. They've gone out of their way to demonize gay men and lesbians, try to take away what rights we do have, and tried to write hate and discrimination against gays into law. We definitely don't want to own these guys so we need something else to call them. After all, Craig was very adamant about not being gay, so let's not call him gay.

I've uploaded some new pics onto the blog. You can get to the various galleries from the links on the right. If you're reading this through RSS sorry, you'll have to visit the page. I'll be uploading some more as I get around to. I'm trying to get more of these pics online so they are visible to more than just me sitting at my PC.

Friday, August 24, 2007

General rambling, Friday edition

So another week has come and gone. It's felt like a busy week but I can't honestly name anything that would have made it so busy. Life at home is returning to normal, which is a good thing. If you're not sure what I mean you can see on my partner's blog what I'm talking about. I was in a pretty dark mood myself for a few days at the beginning of this week, but I just needed a little time to feel sorry for myself and I was done with it after that. I found it interesting that some people I tried to talk to about my mood didn't seem interested in it, or would just brush it off with "you'll feel better once Jayson is in a better mood." I thought that was awfully dismissive, but I can actually understand it. It's typical for people to not worry about someone who's being a caregiver to someone else. I've seen before and saw this week that people will only worry about the person who's dealing with the underlying issue (in this case my partner and his depression). Caregivers are supposed to just knuckle under and be strong and help everyone get through it. But who takes care of the caregiver? A lot of times no one. In my case, I was lucky. The people I reached out to (even just to chat about it briefly) who I expected to really be there for me were definitely there for me. Hearing that they understood what I was going through and also that they were concerned about me means a lot. It's really nice to have my faith in my friends confirmed. Thanks guys. Special hugs to C, R, B, B from up north, and JE (you know who you are!)

I've been meaning to write about last weekend all week but am just now getting to it. Young Frankenstein, the musical, on Saturday was great fun. I wasn't sure what to expect going in, but it was definitely a treat. The stage adaptation was done very well, even though some of the scenes were either deleted or abbreviated. No matter…it all worked perfectly well. Brooks left in the most memorable scenes and lines from the movie and the audience was appreciative of that fact. The "Puttin' on the Ritz" number was greatly expanded from the movie and it came off well; it was one of those showstopper moments on stage. I believe all the shows are sold out in Seattle but it's going to Broadway after it leaves here and I'm sure it will travel. If you're in a city where it's playing, do what you can to get tickets. Sunday afternoon we were at B & C's house for dinner and our sorta-monthly game night. Dinner was great, as always, and we played the DVD version of The Amazing Race. I'd never seen the TV show before so I didn't know what to expect. Jayson and I won, but only by a very very slim margin. It was a fun game so hopefully we'll break it out again.

This weekend I'm not exactly sure what we're doing. I think tomorrow we're going to hang out on the boat with a friend of ours that we've not seen all summer. I might get wild and measure for a new sail that I can order from someone else. Measuring it ourselves will save us about $1000 so I'm going that route this time. Maybe this time we'll actually end up with something to show for it (like a new sail!). Not sure what we're doing on Sunday, but I hope to sleep in and just veg a little bit.

Thought I'd end this ramble on an up note. This is a pretty funny satirical video on Exeter, an ex-gay organization. Worth watching for a small laugh. This morning I heard a song by the Carpenters on the Stephanie Miller show on the way to work and I cannot get it out of my head. I usually like the Carpenters (Karen had a beautiful voice) but this song is just weird for it's subject matter. I'd never heard it before, but now it won't go away. Enjoy it but be warned, it's catchy.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Words my mother taught me

My mother and I are both word geeks. Whenever we're together it's likely that the dictionary will come out. When my mother was here last month we had our typical fun with words and we ended up with three words we thought were good, that kept coming up in conversation. I'd almost forgotten them until last Saturday when I was working on the boat and they popped back into my head. So, before I forget them again, here they are:

Perspicacity - Mental acuity or sharpness. (I love this word)
Amanuensis - A scribe. This is one I had never heard before.
Dystopia- The opposite of a utopia.

One thing mom and I talked about was how people don't use "big" words much in conversation anymore, and often not even in writing. My mother has a large vocabulary and she used it when I was growing up. It obviously rubbed off on me, and I'm glad it did. She and I have tried to use words like these in conversation but it inevitably comes across as condescending. So, we're reduced to playing word games with each other. But why is is the art of language vanishing in American culture? Our language is being filtered down to the lowest common denominator. Read any newspaper or online article and there are few if any really descriptive words, let alone any challenging ones.

I would very much like if people began using more descriptive words on a regular basis. That being said, I'll toss out some "big" words that I particularly like, and use whenever I get the chance.  There may be more than one definition for each of these, but these are how I most use the words:

Plutocracy - A government of and by the wealthy.
Curmudgeonly - Being grouchy or bad-tempered.
Plebeian - Common or commonplace.
Trite - Stale, overused. (This isn't a truly big word but I don't hear it used very often)

I ran across a list compiled by the Worthless Word for the Day site. Most of these I'd not heard before, but some of them are great. Anyone else have any favorite 50 or 75 cent words they want to share?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

At least we know what's important to him

So we have American involvement in another country's civil war, the economy about to take a major dive, millions of Americans without any health care, an infrastructure that is crumbling around us, a military that is stretched so thin it's at the point of breaking, and what is Dear Leader worried about? Fashion.

A two-bit newspaper, the Austin American-Statesman, wrote a style piece on Bush's attire while he's at his ranch. It's completely non-threatening and doesn't even come close to insulting him. (The article went up behind a registration wall in the last few minutes but maybe it will work for you all out there. The apparently offensive paragraphs are here.) However, with all the troubles in the world and at home, Bush decided that this article absolutely had to have his attention. He directed the White House deputy press secretary to call the author of the article and express his displeasure. Bush didn't pay this much attention to the August 6, 2001 memo entitled "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US." I guess the threat of a terrorist attack is nothing compared to his fashion sense being called into question. So this is the guy that's supposed to be keeping us safe? I thought he was supposed to be the hardened-by-war Mr. Tough Guy who can land on aircraft carriers while showing a big bulge. If so, that doesn't jibe with this kind of pettiness. 520 days and counting...

Friday night

It's been a very short week in a lot of ways, and I'm glad for that. Work was typical with moments of busy punctuated with moments of boredom (hence so many blog posts since Wednesday). I've been a little bit of a slug at home. I developed a new habit of taking a short nap each afternoon which has turned into a 2 hour nap each afternoon. Today was closer to 2.5 hours. I can't say that I'm not enjoying it and I apparently need the rest. I've also gotten into the habit of driving to work each day instead of riding the bus. I know it's not the environmentally friendly thing to do, especially with my truck not getting the best mileage (or is that yardage?) on the road. But, I get to sleep almost 1/2 hour later in the morning to get to work at the same time, plus I get home almost 30 minutes earlier too. The biggest reason is that over the last couple of months my buses have gotten busier and busier to the point that I rarely get a seat anymore. So, instead of being able to use the time to relax and read I end up hanging on and constantly stepping out of the way. Yeah, seats will open up but being the gentleman I try to be, I can't plop my butt down when there's a woman or someone older than me who needs a seat. I also like the few minutes in the morning and afternoon to myself in the truck; it's really some of the only time I get to myself during the day. I realize I'm rationalizing here but it's been very nice to hop in the truck in the morning, listen to my music or talk radio, and be at work in less than 10 minutes. The only downside is that I have to pay to park.

Wow, that was a lot about my work commute. On another note I'm hoping to spend a few hours on the boat tomorrow doing some minor projects. Sadly we're probably not going to sail the boat at all this summer. The sail I ordered 6 weeks ago never materialised. The guy from the sail loft I'd chosen has simply vanished and I can't get hold of anyone else there. I'm glad I didn't pay them anything! However, we're left with a boat with only one sail, and that wouldn't get us very far very fast. I'll just start the process again very soon and just expect to sail next spring. Our usage on the boat has gone down steadily over the last two summers and I hope it's not something that will continue into next year.

For the rest of the weekend we've got a show tomorrow night; we're going to see Young Frankenstein. I'm really looking forward to it since it's always been one of my favorite movies. The reviews I've read have been favorable so far, and I'm also anxious to see Meagan Mullally perform live. On Sunday afternoon we're heading to some friends' for dinner and game night. We're doing it earlier than usual but seeing as it's Sunday they agreed to move up the time. Our semi-regular game nights really are a lot of fun and are usually a highlight to the week, if not the entire month.

I think that's all I've got right now. It's getting late and I needs my sleep. I'll write something about the show later this weekend

Friday, August 17, 2007

The "librul media" at work again

From Waldo Jaquith 

"Black is white"; no, it’s black.

I love this:

The White House maintained Monday that the surveillance measure signed into law by President Bush over the weekend did not give the government any sweeping new powers to eavesdrop on Americans without court warrants.


The new measure, signed into law by the president on Sunday, allows intelligence officials to eavesdrop without a warrant...
I don’t know if it’s the Times or the White House, but somebody’s got a black sense of humor.

And here I thought we could trust anything that appears in the newspapers. I wish the NY Times would simply decide what we're supposed to think about this instead of trying to play both sides.

More religious fun

Nice christian love in this press release. If you do something wrong and get caught, pray to have those people die. Seems like a good use of prayer to me.

The background is that this pastor issued a press release on church letterhead endorsing a presidential candidate. He also endorsed the same candidate on his weekly church-owned radio show. According to IRS rules, churches can't do that and maintain their tax-exempt status. So, when an organization calls him on it, does the pastor admit he did wrong and apologize? No, he decides that he is being victimized and calls for God to smite his enemies in order to protect the Church with a big C...he seems to think that being called out for his illegal activities is a threat to christians everywhere. How low will these people go...?


This guy is a former "gay drunk", according to his own description. There are so many things wrong with this that it's best to let it speak for itself.

You have to watch some of his other vids as well. The abstinence one has a particularly catchy tune. But who doesn't think this guy practices abstinence only because it's been forced on him?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Is this what we're reduced to as a country?

This is a really amazing but sad story. It's amazing in that it happened in the first place. This man obviously felt he had no other options in terms of treating his wife, so he killed her. The woman really wasn't very old but had obviously been sick for a while and without insurance how could anyone afford to care for a terminally ill loved one? It's really appalling that in one of the wealthiest countries on earth, the last "superpower" in fact, health care is in such a sorry state that someone finds that his only option when a loved one gets ill is to kill her. Health care should be one of the first things that is funded by the government. Shouldn't we expect a country that will spend $200 million a day to occupy a foreign country and take part in their civil war to make a priority of keeping its population healthy? The money is obviously there to spend on huge no-bid contracts to companies like Haliburton who are doing nothing more than stealing from the government, and therefore from us. At the same time the government is being outrageously wasteful when it comes to purchasing items. How much health care could this woman have received for the $998,798 that we paid a supplier to provide two tiny washers to the government? The argument that single-payer health care would require a tax increase falls on its face when wasteful spending like this enters into the equation. Again, the money is there but our current government has different priorities for it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Let's talk politics

Since I've not had time to post much all week I figured I'd combine a few political topics into one post.

First off is Bush is going on vacation again. While the majority of the country can't afford to take vacation, if they even get paid time off, he's off for yet another extended period. Considering all the issues going on this country that desperately need to be addressed, the last thing he should be worrying about is taking a vacation. The Iraqi parliament has taken the entire month off and now Bush is going out as well. Is this what supporting the troops is supposed to be about?

What a difference a decade can make. This video shows very nicely how Cheney, and the entire Bush administration, will say whatever they think will benefit them the most at the time. So in other words, Cheney was against the war before he was for it…?

That big report on Iraq that's coming out in September that's supposed to be used to determine if the "surge" is working…? Turns out it's going to be written by the White House itself instead of by the general in charge of the war. From the LA Times:

Despite Bush's repeated statements that the report will reflect evaluations by Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, administration officials said it would actually be written by the White House, with inputs from officials throughout the government.

Um, does anyone in Congress see a problem with this? The same people who need the report to show glowing progress are the ones writing the report. What are the chances that the report will be full of only positive results, descriptions of how well the surge is working, and why we should stay? With the lives of over a hundred thousand US troops and the entire population of Iraq riding on this report, maybe Congress needs to insist on a report from a third party.

And on a positive note, in Oregon the movement to have the state's anti-discrimination and domestic partner law repealed are nowhere near getting enough signatures. Score one for the good guys. In a similar vein, a majority of voters in New Jersey favor equal marriage rights for same-sex couples as opposed to civil unions that are separate but equal. It's nice to see some areas of the country are actually waking up to the fact that the only thing threatening heterosexual marriages is heterosexuals. The bigger point here is that this is the way to package the debate: we should stop referring to "same sex marriage" and only refer to it as "marriage equality". In the end, that's what it's about...equal marriage rights regardless of whether it's two men, two woman, or a man and a woman. This poll and others show that the term "marriage equality" is something that a lot more people can get behind since equal rights is something more people than not can identify with.

Weekend wrap up

So it's been a while since I'd added anything here. Figured it was time to catch up. Had a great weekend last weekend out of town. Jayson booked a cabin for us out on the Olympic Peninsula, near Sequim, and it was really nice. We were able to take off Friday morning which gave us three days to do whatever we wanted. We couldn't get into the cabin until about 3:00 so we headed to Port Angeles to have some lunch and wandered around the waterfront down there. For the first time in over 10 years the dog voluntarily got into the water. I think it was only because something grabbed his attention and the wet and cold weren't enough to deter him from being nosy. (it was only seaweed that he wanted to get close to). We had a quiet dinner that night and hung out at the cabin the rest of the evening. Next day we spent most of the day driving around the peninsula. We were going to go to the Hoh Rainforest until I pointed out that it was about 100 miles away. We decided that it wasn't worth 4 hours driving round trip so we just wandered around the area east and west of Port Angeles. We had fun doing some walks, doing some sightseeing, doing some eating. Next day on the way home we decided to stop at Vashon Island to see if there is anything there. There isn't. At least nothing overly exciting for visitors. Now we know. Overall it was a great weekend. I felt like I got to relax a great deal and it was a lot of fun too. You can see some of the pics from the weekend by clicking the image below.

Olympic Peninsula

Now that I'm back at work it hasn't been relaxing. Lots going on this week but anymore that's typical for the job. Jayson is working an altered schedule this week because of the possibility of bad traffic, so he's not getting home until after 7:00. I'm using the time before he gets home to nap and catch up on some sleep. This weekend we're going to see the stage production of Young Frankenstein, the musical. I'm really looking forward to it since I’m a huge fan of the movie. We're also going to some friends' for dinner and game night Sunday afternoon. I always look forward to that.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Happy Friday (okay, Thursday)

Today is my Friday since I decided to take tomorrow off. I wasn't going to but then thought that I didn't take the day off for my birthday and I would like an extra day. Might also help us get out of town at a decent hour tomorrow too. Jayson and I are headed to the Olympic Peninsula this weekend. He's rented a cabin out there in honor of my birthday (since he had to work last weekend) and I'm looking forward to the trip. I'm not sure what we'll do yet, but it's going to be nice to not have anything scheduled. It might just be a weekend of sitting and staring at the water and maybe taking a hike or two through the woods. I've not gotten nearly enough sleep this week and catching up on rest will be nice. Had a nice evening last night though. We met an acquaintance for coffee/tea on the spur of the moment and it was enjoyable. Would have been good to spend more time but we didn't get to the place until 8:45 and Jayson still had work to do after that. Still, one of those nice unplanned pleasant things in the day.

Here's the type of headline you don't see much these days. It's so rare anymore to see any story, let alone a news headline that calls Bush or any other Repub on their lies, but there it is. Of course, if you look closely you'll see that AFP is Agence France-Presse which explains a lot. The US media would never write a story that tried to portray Bush as less than god-like. I wonder how long before Yahoo yanks the story. In another shocking instance of reality-based reporting, check out the final paragraph in this article. I thought media outlets weren't supposed to acknowledge global warming…? It's a sad time we live in when it seems newsworthy that the media is reporting facts instead of propaganda.

Tonight is the LGBT Presidential forum on Logo. It's not going to be a debate but a question/answer session with candidates on stage one at a time. It should be interesting I'm hoping. If you don't get the Logo channel you can watch the forum online here both live and in archive after the fact.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The ex-gay movement is alive and well

I can't really add anything to the story here, but I wanted to post this in case some of you hadn't seen it. Clearly PFOX will never "get it", proven by lines like "unwanted same-sex attractions." They're the ones who consider same-sex attractions unwanted but they try project that onto younger gay boys and girls who have a hard enough time as it is figuring out their feelings and fitting in. To me this amounts to nothing more than bigotry sanctioned by the school board. The idea of PFOX's free speech being challenged is BS. As a counter to gay-straight alliances in schools, it doesn't add up. The gay-straight alliances are there to help and encourage young people and to foster a healthy environment in which everyone can feel safe and accepted. Groups like PFOX want to teach that what these young people are feeling naturally is wrong and should be changed. That's not the kind of thing that should be encouraged by any school board. It's not mentioned anywhere that I've seen, but I wonder if the school board chose to settle the lawsuit because of the pervasive idea in this country that everything have to be fair and balanced. What that usually means, as in this case, is that conservative ideas (especially those that have been discounted or proven wrong) are given equal air time as reality-based facts. Sometimes there is no such thing as fair and balanced. Sometimes there are only facts.

Compassion at its finest

The culture of hate in this country continues. Jesus would be so proud that his followers have taken his message and twisted it to use it for their own political gain. I'm no theologian, but I don't remember anything in the bible from Sunday school that says "Hate thy neighbor" or "Do unto others as you would never want done to you." I guess I missed that day in class. Anyway, this group seems to be such a parody of true Christianity that I'm beginning to wonder if that's what it is. I doesn't seem possible to me that a group of people could be so unfeeling towards others, so ignorant, and so hateful. It's like it's the ultimate satirical play making fun of fundy Christians, but sadly I know that's not the case. They're just a bunch of hate-filled people who have tried to use every recent major tragedy in the world to further their own selfish causes. They really are horrible people.

Very few people seem to take them seriously which is good, but what really bothers me is the pain they bring to people who have already suffered enough. Families of people killed in the bridge collapse (as well as those killed in Iraq, gay bashings, the NOLA flood, etc) don't need or deserve the extra stress and angst from petty small people like these.  One thing I'm wondering is how this group affords to travel around the country to picket at all these funerals? It's supposedly a small Kansas church, so who funds these trips?

You have to check out their press release too (PDF file). I couldn't help but laugh at some of the childishness and pettiness in it. "Better give our signs back." What is this, 5th grade? What small, pathetic people...

Monday, August 6, 2007

End of day rambling

So just a quick late in the day birthday wrap up. Was really just a normal work day for me, but I did get calls from my mother, father and stepmother, a good friend in North Carolina, and some nice birthday wishes online. It's always nice to be remembered on one's birthday. After Jayson got home I opened the gifts he got me...he picked our several really nice and thoughtful things for me. We had a nice dinner out and now we're back at home having a typically quiet night. Well, not so quiet for Jayson since he's on call for work and is dealing with customers as I type this!

I'm really okay with a quiet birthday today since I like to be remembered but don't need a big deal made of it. I'm really enjoying getting older...I know, as a gay American male I should be mortified by getting older. I wrote in an earlier post how every year is a little bit of a triumph for me, but it's more than that. As I get older I feel like I'm finally able to become the person I always knew I was. Does that make any sense or sound like psycho mumbo jumbo? Maybe I mean that as I get older I stop worrying as much about what people think and am able to let the real me out. My good friend in NC said years ago how in her 20's she was too young to know who she was, in her 30's she figured out who she was but didn't have the wisdom and tools to be that person, and in her 40's she was finally able to become that person. I think it rings pretty true for me. The ironic thing is that she doesn't remember saying that so I guess I could take credit for it saying it originally. ;-)

In any event, Jayson has a getaway planned this weekend out to the Olympic Peninsula. I'm looking forward to getting away for a couple of nights and just relaxing. The dog is going with us and that should be fun. I'm hoping we get to do some hiking, some sitting, and some plain old relaxing.

The type of legislation I like to see

Interesting new bill that was put forth in both the Senate the House recently. There are the kinds of things I would expect to see from a progressive party in Congress. It's sad that this type of bill doesn't get the express train treatment through Congress like the horrible domestic spying bill did. I'll be curious to see if this ever makes it to the floor of either chamber for a vote.

While a bill like this is a good start, it's really just a band aid measure. The real problems that the bill addresses are not going to change and aren't being addressed. One reason that companies are sending jobs overseas is because of the cost of healthcare in this country. It can cost a company the equivalent of a yearly salary for an employee to provide healthcare, whereas in other countries it may not be an issue at all. This article from 2005 about a new Toyota factory says it all.  Some US states were willing to offer hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks to Toyota if a new plant was built in their area. But, in the end it was still cheaper for Toyota to go to Canada where there is a well-trained workforce that has healthcare coverage instead of build in the US where they found uninsured and illiterate workers. Two of the biggest issues that need to be fixed in this country are healthcare and education, and this is a perfect example of why. Offering an 11% tax break to companies who do the right thing is great (although I'd like to think that they'd do the right thing without tax breaks…I must be naïve), but the inherent problems still exist. That's where Congress needs to concentrate it's energies, and our dollars.  

Saturday, August 4, 2007

This is just too much

I'm pissed off right now. You can read why here, here, and here.

I don't even know where to begin ranting about this, so I'll just jump in. Fair warning: this rant went on longer than I initially anticipated.

Remind me: what are the differences between Repubs and Dems in Congress? I can't tell anymore. Do the Dems even believe the BS they tell us about standing up to Bush, protecting our civil rights, defending the Constitution? I really don't believe so anymore. At this point I am officially disillusioned. If the Dems are willing to roll over and piss on themselves any time Bush says he wants something, we might as well just have the Repubs back in control of Congress. This bill didn't just pass by a couple of Dem senators giving in; 16 Dem senators decided that our unitary executive doesn't have quite enough power in his hands, so they give him more. Feinstein was one of those voting in favor of it (see my last post), but at least our two Washington senators voted against it. Nothing like taking Bush's illegal activities and justifying them for him after the fact.

FISA is not broken and doesn't need fixing, yet the Dems gave in to Bush's scare tactics and decided to help him overhaul a program that suffered from no other problem besides holding him accountable to the law. Nice job there. It's possible that the House might grow a spine and vote this down, but I'm not holding my breath. The law would be in effect for 6 months but that's only so Senate Dems who are afraid of Bush can craft a permanent Bill. I can't believe that anyone in his or her right mind would hand someone like Gonzales practically unfettered power in the area of spying. I'm not sure why the Dems bought into the panic that something had to be done about FISA and it had to be done right away. They also don't seem to understand that as the party in control on the Congress, they can affect change by NOT doing anything. They don't need to vote for spending bills that fund the Iraq war, or that give Bush spying powers, or do anything else to help his agenda. Just let the bills die and move on. Why they feel compelled to even bring bills like this to a vote I don't understand. They have the power in these matters but seem absolutely terrified to use it.

If the Dems want to retain their control in 2008 and take the White House, they'd better realize that they are passing bills that over 70% of the population in this country don't want. They need to get their act together and start working for the people who put them in power (that would be us, not Bush).

So I guess the real difference between the Repubs and Dems is that Repubs flat out tell us that they want to take our civil liberties away and then do it while the Dems say they want to protect our civil liberties and then don't.

Update:  Nice take on things here.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Friday afternoon yacht spotting

Anyone who knows much about me knows that I like boats. Okay, I love of almost any type, the bigger and more complex the better. So when an impressive (both for size and engineering/design) yacht shows up in town I have to go check it out. This one was moored in Lake Union. For those who care, the boat was built in 2000 by Feadship at the DeVries yard in Holland. It's 175 feet long and was actually designed as a way to hold part of the owners' art collection. For the name, think chocolate kisses. There was actually another large-ish boat there, an interesting wooden sailboat. It looked small in comparison although it was probably three times larger than our own boat. Was a nice way to end my week, wandering around the outside of a boat I've seen online in and in magazines for years.

Kisses & S/Y Tatoosh

Other than getting excited over a big boat, it's been a weird week. I had some frustration at work with an employee being sick too often and thinking that she didn't need to stick to a schedule. So, I sat her down and talked to her about it and she was very receptive to what I had to say and didn't realize that I had concerns. So, she responded to me saying to not have so much sick time by calling in sick the next day. At least what I said sunk in. I did have a meeting with my boss where we discussed my yearly goals and how I'm doing. It was a good meeting in that I came out of it feeling confident in my job and how I'm doing it. He seems happy with what I'm doing and has several new projects for me. Job security is such a nice thing in this day and age!

There were quite a few political things going on this week, but I'm not sure I even want to talk about them. I'll attribute it to burnout I guess, and I hate being that way. But, after a point, how much outrage can I muster? I expect to be mortified by pretty much anything the Repubs and especially Bush do, but one thing that did get to me was this story about Diane Feinstein voting to confirm an anti-gay racist nominee to a federal court. My problem with this is that the Dems weren't able to do much about these nominees while the Repubs had control of both houses of Congress. The Dems told us that they would do things differently if they had control of Congress. Now that they do, they're still voting for these extreme far-right nominees that Bush puts forward. What's up with that? Are the Dems so inherently emasculated by the Repubs that even when they have to ability to stop Bush's extremist nominations they don't? I'm beginning to wonder...

There is one other thing I came across, a movie by Max Blumenthal. I really like some of the work he does because he gets the wingnuts to simply describe what they believe in which makes them look ridiculous. In this video he's at the College Republican National Convention and he doesn't hesitate to ask them why they're not enlisting in the military if they're so pro-war. Some of their answers, when they give answers, are actually funny. It's really amazing how people are so quick to send someone else to fight and die for a cause they won't fight and die for themselves.

No real plans for the weekend here. Jayson is on-call so we'll be staying near home. I might head up to the boat and spend some time there. It's always therapeutic to spend time up there even if I'm doing work. Beyond that, I can't imagine what will be going on. I intend to sleep late and maybe we'll meet a friend for lunch. My birthday is on Monday but it doesn't seem like a big deal to me. I guess I don't like having a a lot of attention paid to me.

This is kind of random, but maybe not really. I'm sitting watching an episode of the Golden Girls where Rose (no snide comments please) where Rose is afraid she's contracted HIV through a blood transfusion. One of the things my mother and I discussed during her visit last week was my grandmother, her mother, who died of leukemia in 1977. There were some odd things about it. The leukemia apparently progressed VERY rapidly, more so than it should have. There were some other things my mother mentioned, but the upshot is both she and my aunt seem convinced that my grandmother died of AIDS. She had been in the hospital roughly 10 years before she died and received several blood transfusions. That was way before HIV had even been identified so no blood was tested for it. The time from HIV infection to full blown AIDS without treatment would be right. And, my mother mentioned some other things that would indicate AIDS symptoms. I don't really have any point here but I thought it was very interesting.